People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it. Welcome to From On High.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Where's The Beef?

Town leaders over in Christiansburg are starting to ask the question I've been asking for several years now. That being: At what point can we expect all these tourists (that we are paying dearly to lure down here) to actually start flocking to the area?

The story and the question(s) asked can be found in this morning's Roanoke Times ("Christiansburg leaders question tourism project"). On the hot seat is Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce director Shane Adams. He was brought in to jump-start the tourism initiative in the Christiansburg-Blacksburg area in 2005 and folks are getting a little impatient.

Cutting past all the fluff and stuff, here's the crux of the issue:

-- Tourism taxes were raised (in the form of increased hotel/motel taxes). (Naturally).

-- Brochures were developed.

-- A study was commissioned.

-- A website is being created.

-- Adams and staff are collecting paychecks.

Now, going on three years later:

"Since the tourism initiative started, few concrete accomplishments are visible."

Translated: Ain't no tourists showing up.

Such the shock.

The Lure Of Sycophancy

I'm not the kind of guy who gets swept up in emotionalism when it comes to politicians. In fact, I would probably find myself crossing the street to listen to very few of them do their schtick, even on a nice day, even if the Swedish Bikini Team was there doing its schtick at the same time. And then only if the organizers of the event weren't charging admission. I prefer to form my opinions based on that which is reported in the papers (God help me) and in the weblogs, which prove to be far more informative.

But there are certain people who do get caught up in such things. Fawning suits them. It makes them feel engaged. Happy. Fulfilled. And that's fine.

And there's no mistaking the implications of circumstances like the following. Let me ask you: Would you go to a Barack Obama rally if it was being held in your town? How about if the man wasn't even in attendance?

Ignore this phenomenon if you dare:
125 converge on eatery for Obama rally
By Rob Johnson, The Roanoke Times

Evan Mack, a concert pianist who lives in Lewisburg, W.Va., was among the 125 or so Barack Obama supporters who filled The Venue Restaurant in Northwest Roanoke on Thursday night for a campaign rally.

Chanting "O-Ba-Ma," and his slogan, "Yes We Can," the group watched videos of their Democratic presidential candidate and roared with approval when Roanoke Mayor Nelson Harris told them, "This, ladies and gentlemen, is Obama territory."

Many signed up as volunteers to phone potential voters in the Feb. 12 Virginia primary. The restaurant's first floor was filled to standing-room-only before the event's scheduled start at 6 p.m. And by then more than 50 Obama T-shirts had been sold at $15 apiece, plus dozens of $2 buttons and bumper stickers.

Many in attendance, such as Mack, said they are first-time political volunteers. (link)
Fascinating to behold.

On Bill Clinton's Legacy, Or Lack Thereof

I've made this point before. But, because the adolescent just won't go away, it needs to be made again.

The Bill Clinton years will always be remembered for ... well, Monica Lewinsky. Oh sure, some will point to U.S. economic growth in the years from 1993 to 2001 and say that he was responsible for it. Which makes him also responsible for the launch of something called Java. That revolutionary new scripting language just happened to come about on his watch too. We call those coincidences (the temporal property of two things happening at the same time).

I bring this up again in part because Charles Krauthammer, writing in this morning's Washington Post, has similar thoughts:
Clawing for a Legacy

... [F]or Clinton, there is no legacy. What he was doing on the low road from Iowa to South Carolina was fighting for a legacy -- a legacy that he knows history has denied him and that he has but one chance to redeem.

Clinton is a narcissist but also smart and analytic enough to distinguish adulation from achievement. Among Democrats, he is popular for twice giving them the White House, something no Democrat had done since FDR.

But Clinton knows this is all written on sand. It is the stuff of celebrity. What gnaws at him is the verdict of history. What clearly enraged him more than anything this primary season was Barack Obama's statement that "Ronald Reagan changed the trajectory of America in a way that . . . Bill Clinton did not."

Reagan changed history. At home, he radically altered both the shape and perception of government. Abroad, he changed the entire structure of the international system by bringing down the Soviet empire, giving birth to a unipolar world of unprecedented American dominance.

By comparison, Clinton was a historical parenthesis. He can console himself -- with considerable justification -- that he simply drew the short straw in the chronological lottery: His time just happened to be the 1990s, which, through no fault of his own, was the most inconsequential decade of the 20th century. His was the interval between the collapse of the Soviet Union on Dec. 26, 1991, and the return of history with a vengeance on Sept. 11, 2001. (link)
Reagan transformed the world in the eight short years he was in office. George W. Bush is attempting to do the same - engaging a different threat entirely - with the jury still out as to his success.

For Clinton? "His time just happened ..." The sum and substance of the man's legacy.

Is This Guy Nuts?

While the nation anxiously waits for the axe to fall, with the subprime mess growing each day and oil prices fluctuating wildly, with job growth being anemic and productivity flat-lining, with people worried about the dramatic rise in food and milk prices, wondering how they are going to make ends meet, former President Bill Clinton's thoughts turn to other more pressing Democrat issues:

What Did Bill Clinton Mean By "We Just Have to Slow Down Our Economy" to Fight Global Warming?
By Jake Tapper, ABC News

Former President Bill Clinton was in Denver, Colorado, stumping for his wife yesterday.

In a long, and interesting speech, he characterized what the U.S. and other industrialized nations need to do to combat global warming this way: "We just have to slow down our economy and cut back our greenhouse gas emissions 'cause we have to save the planet for our grandchildren."

At a time that the nation is worried about a recession is that really the characterization his wife would want him making? "Slow down our economy"? (link)

"We just have to slow down our economy." I still scratch my head in disbelief when I think that this beanbrain was elected twice to the highest office in the land.

An office he may soon hold once again.

Shouldn't The GOP Nominate a Republican?

This seems so wrong:

Democrats say McCain nearly abandoned GOP
By Bob Cusack, The Hill

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) was close to leaving the Republican Party in 2001, weeks before then-Sen. Jim Jeffords (Vt.) famously announced his decision to become an Independent, according to former Democratic lawmakers who say they were involved in the discussions.

In interviews with The Hill this month, former Sen. Tom Daschle (D-S.D.) and ex-Rep. Tom Downey (D-N.Y.) said there were nearly two months of talks with the maverick lawmaker following an approach by John Weaver, McCain’s chief political strategist.

Some of the meetings Daschle referred to are detailed in the former senator’s 2003 book.

Absolutely not so, according to McCain. In a statement released by his campaign, McCain said, “As I said in 2001, I never considered leaving the Republican Party, period.” (link)
I'm sifting through my history books, looking to see if there's ever been an instance where one political party has nominated for president someone from the opposition party. I'm looking. I'm looking.

They're Coming After Your TV Set

I remember Rush Limbaugh saying several years ago that the environmentalist movement here in the USA is the last refuge of America's socialists and collectivists. Today's news makes Rush's pronouncement spot on. This is disturbing:
N.M. Tax Would Target TVs, Video Games
By Susan Montoya Vryan, Associated Press Writer

[A] coalition of groups, led by the Rio Grande chapter of the Sierra Club, is sold on the idea that outdoor education programs can inspire children in a way that video games and television cannot.

The coalition wants state lawmakers to create a No Child Left Inside Fund with a 1 percent tax on TVs, video games and video game equipment. The fund would help pay for outdoor education throughout the state.

Supporters argue that just as health programs are often supported by excise taxes on cigarettes or alcohol, an excise tax on games and TVs would provide a steady source of cash for outdoor education. Legislative analysts have said the tax would generate about $4 million a year. (link)
These people won't stop until they control every aspect of your life. And they have one of this country's two political parties under their control. The implications are troubling.

Quote Of The Day

Naturally, it's about John McCain:

I'm getting a bit tired of Senator McCain's anti-business shtick. The line about serving "for patriotism, not for profit" is pathetic. America spends more on its military than the next 35-40 biggest military spenders on the planet combined: Where does he think the money for that comes from?

As for his line about "some greedy people on Wall Street who need to be punished", aside from being almost entirely irrelevant to the subject under discussion (the subprime "crisis"), it reveals, I think, one of the most unpleasant aspects of McCain. For a so-called "maverick", he's very comfortable with the application of Big Government power, and the assumption of Big Government virtue. Undoubtedly there are "greedy
people on Wall Street". Why should he and his chums be the ones who decide whether they need to be "punished"? If greed is to be punishable, why doesn't he start with a pilot program applied to, say, the United States Senate and report back to us in five years how that's going?

Mark Steyn, "President McCain," The Corner, January 31, 2008