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

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

You Mean The Landscape Can Be Restored?

Who knew? That "vast, empty stretch of disturbed earth" made empty and disturbed by those evil strip mine companies can be made whole again. With relative ease. I'll be darned. With all the hand-wringing and bellyaching, I thought the landscape was forever ruined. Apparently not:
Partnership Seeks To Reforest Former Surface Mine Site
By Kathy Still, Bristol Herald Courier Staff Writer

The Nature Conservancy; the Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy; and Virginia Tech are working together to capture carbon dioxide the old-fashioned way – by using trees.

The partnership is striving to restore 80 acres of land to native Appalachian forest so the trees planted can absorb carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas that many say leads to global warming. (link)
A vital energy resource replaced by a renewable resource.

Cool.

What was it again you all were bitching about?

The Latest In a Long Line Of Plant Closings

This one at (what's left of) Vaughan Furniture:
Vaughan Furniture to close its last factory
By Duncan Adams, The Roanoke Times

Import competition finally nailed Vaughan Furniture's last factory.

About 275 people will lose their jobs when the plant closes in Galax, with layoffs beginning about May 20.

Vaughan Furniture, a Galax-based, privately held company, shared the bad news Tuesday morning with employees. (link)
Thank God for all those tourism jobs ...

If Only That Were True

I generally consider the fellas who write editorials for the Richmond Times-Dispatch to be well-grounded, clear-headed people. But I had to shake my head when I read this, in "No Exceptions," an editorial regarding the Supreme Court 2nd Amendment case:

"Like any other constitutional question, the Heller case emphatically does not concern two things: (a) public opinion or (b) costs and benefits."

Is there a person alive today who believes that Justices Ginsburg, Souter, Breyer, and Stevens believe that? A quote from the Associated Press this morning regarding yesterday's session:

"Is it 'unreasonable for a city with a very high crime rate ... to say no handguns here?' [Justice Steven] Breyer asked."

See (b) above, Times-Dispatch dudes.

If I Were a Democrat ...

... I sure wouldn't be feeling warm and fuzzy as the presidential nominating process plays out and the by-the-seat-of-our-pants delegate-selection rules seem to morph daily.

Today's suggested playing field alteration, from the governor of Tennessee, a Democrat (in "Choose, Or Lose in November"):

We Democrats have a problem, but it’s one we can fix.

We are blessed with two fine candidates, but it’s entirely possible that when primary season ends on June 3, we will still lack a clear nominee.

Here’s what our party should do: schedule a superdelegate primary. In early June, after the final primaries, the Democratic National Committee should call together our superdelegates in a public caucus.
And if that doesn't work, we'll dream up a host of new rules that we'll follow ... until we don't.

These people think they can run the USA. They can't even manage themselves.

U.S. Replies: Sorry; Move On

Obama Urges U.S. to Grapple With Race Issue

Why I'm Not Excited ...

... about the news that the Supreme Court "seems likely" to uphold an individual's right to keep and bear arms. Expressed by Ilya Somin:

Even if the Court recognizes the existence of an individual constitutional right to bear arms, that doesn't necessarily mean that the right will get any effective protection. The Court might recognize the existence of the right, but defer to the government in defining its scope, thereby effectively leaving the right to the tender mercies of the very officials whom constitutional rights are intended to protect against ...
That, I fear, is where this will end up. The Court will decide that the provision in the Bill of Rights that declares there to be a right of the people to keep and bear arms does indeed acknowledge a right of individuals to keep and bear arms, but the Court will also accept certain "reasonable" restrictions on ownership and use, deferring to legislators in Washington and the various states on the matter of degree. Which would put us right where we've been. 10,000 gun laws and counting.

But we'll see. The Court of 2008 isn't the Court of 1998. Perhaps the people will win one.

- - -

Take, for example, the Roanoke Times editorial this morning - "States may limit individual gun rights." The editorialists now begrudgingly admit that individual Americans may have the right to keep and bear arms but ... the D.C. handgun ban (and, in effect, an across-the-board gun ban in the city) should still be held constitutional. The right of the people extends only to having photos of your father's Winchester on the wall if the legislature so decides. And, depending on the make-up of the legislature at any given time, it may not even allow that.

The Bill of Rights thus becomes a joke.

Harsh Criticism For Obama

Coming from Shelby Steele:
Thus, nothing could be more dangerous to Mr. Obama's political aspirations than the revelation that he, the son of a white woman, sat Sunday after Sunday -- for 20 years -- in an Afrocentric, black nationalist church in which his own mother, not to mention other whites, could never feel comfortable. His pastor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright, is a challenger who goes far past Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson in his anti-American outrage ("God damn America").

How does one "transcend" race in this church? The fact is that Barack Obama has fellow-traveled with a hate-filled, anti-American black nationalism all his adult life, failing to stand and challenge an ideology that would have no place for his own mother. And what portent of presidential judgment is it to have exposed his two daughters for their entire lives to what is, at the very least, a subtext of anti-white vitriol?

What could he have been thinking? Of course he wasn't thinking. He was driven by insecurity, by a need to "be black" despite his biracial background. And so fellow-traveling with a little race hatred seemed a small price to pay for a more secure racial identity. And anyway, wasn't this hatred more rhetorical than real? (emphasis in the original)
"The Obama Bargain," The Wall Street Journal, March 18, 2008

What Obama Got Right

From his speech given yesterday in Philadelphia in which Barack Obama embraced/distanced himself from his hate-filled racist preacher:
The profound mistake of Reverend Wright’s sermons is not that he spoke about racism in our society. It’s that he spoke as if our society was static; as if no progress has been made; as if this country – a country that has made it possible for one of his own members to run for the highest office in the land and build a coalition of white and black; Latino and Asian, rich and poor, young and old -- is still irrevocably bound to a tragic past. (link) (my emphasis)
In fact, it goes beyond that. A growing number of Americans - as white-guilt liberals die off and more clearer thinking Americans are being born - believe that our country is now and forever more irrevocably unbound from the tragic past. We look upon that which took place centuries ago with a sense of compassion for those who suffered and died as a result of being swept up in the horrid institution of slavery. But we accept no guilt for what happened in the 17th or 18th or 19th century. Any more than we feel guilty for the Spanish Inquisition.

And that's what drives today's racists - like Jeremiah Wright - crazy. We just no longer accept the premise.

We freely, clearly, and unwaveringly declare that we are irrevocably unbound from the past.

So get over it. And join us in the 21st century.

The Most Inane Response ...

... to yesterday's proceedings at the Supreme Court comes from reporter Patti Waldmeir of Financial Times:

"The US Supreme Court appears ready to rule that Americans have a constitutional right to keep a gun in their home for self-defence, a ruling that could help Republicans in the upcoming presidential election." (link)

Yeah, that's why we fight the fight. To help John McCain.

Good grief.

The Bare Truth

The city of Washington D.C. is a cesspool. By anyone's standards. It got that way over time with a whole lot of help from people who - with the best of intentions - didn't have a clue as to what the ramifications of their actions would be. No city in America has seen more government oversight; no city is more broken.

The Supreme Court this week has the chance to either remain a willing accomplice in the capital's inexorable slide into demise or it can begin the process of making things right. The opportunity affords itself like at no time in this modern era.

How bad are things there?
The District of Columbia: No guns, still deadly
By Clark Neily, writing in the Minneapolis Star Tribune

As anyone who knows anything about Washington, D.C., can tell you, the city's gun ban has been a total failure. Its only real effect has been to disarm law-abiding citizens while giving criminals -- who have no trouble acquiring illegal firearms -- the peace of mind that comes with knowing they will never be confronted by a homeowner, neighbor or potential rape victim wielding a loaded gun.

The District of Columbia does not trust its citizens with guns. Unlike every other state and city in the country, D.C. forbids anyone from keeping a functional firearm -- including a handgun -- in his or her own home. This Tuesday, the U.S. Supreme Court will consider whether the city's gun ban violates the Second Amendment right of D.C. residents to keep and bear arms. (link)
Sadly, anyone's best guess is that the Supreme Court will vote for the status quo. And the city will continue to crumble.

The citizenry deserves better.