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

Sunday, April 27, 2008

The Next Generation

It seems like only yesterday that the young man in the photo was me. Today it's Kaid Fuhrman starting his baseball career. This is from his first game ever:

Not to be outdone, Jayla had her second game ever yesterday. She quickly found a unique way to wear her batting helmet:

Ah, life goes on ...

- - -

A side note: Kaid is left-handed. Like me. Jayla, though right-handed, seems to want to bat left-handed. She was 2 for 2 yesterday (she's in a slow-pitch softball league for girls) so who's to argue?

I've Been Waiting For This

If American Electric Power were to announce that it was going to carve out of the pristine Smyth County forest a site for a new power substation, environmentalists in the area would be up in arms over the destruction that would be wreaked. As they are in Roanoke County for that very reason.

Well, I've been waiting for those same environmentalists to express similar outrage over Congressman-for-life Rick Boucher's unrelenting effort to have Southwest Virginia's virgin forestland permanently scarred with a bewildering network of hiking trails and bike paths, as well as that now infamous horseback riding trail in Scott County, an environmental devastation that dwarfs AEP's measly effort, a crusade that can only be explained as providing a considerable level of self-gratification for our esteemed representative because it sure as hell hasn't brought us our first tourist to the area, as he's promised now these 20 years.

Oh, and such shenanigans get him reelected. Not a small matter that.

Looks like my wait has not been in vain. Sorta. There are some folks in Smyth County who are indeed opposing the construction of another hiking trail for environmental reasons - though not the specific reason I'd expected.

Still ...
Residents simply concerned about trail's environmental impact
By Matthew B. Crum, writing in the Bristol Herald-Courier

On March 24, the Bristol Herald Courier published a front-page article presenting an inaccurate depiction of the controversy surrounding the proposed rails-to-trail project in Saltville. The article stated that “a group of more than 40 area residents, represented by an Abingdon lawyer, continues to actively oppose the trail. The group claims the town doesn’t own the rail bed, and they have environmental concerns.”

A group of 43 Saltville residents has retained an attorney to investigate and advise them with regard to public health and environmental impacts of the proposed trail. This group is concerned about contaminants that may be present in the rail bed and the threat such contaminants may present to users of the trail and adjoining landowners. (link)
I'm not sure why this group would turn to an attorney for expertise on "public health and environmental impacts" unless they had sought the advice of a hydrologist for advice on tort law.

But to the point, I'm enjoying the irony here. There are those in the area - legions, it sometimes seems - who promote the idea that we can sell northern tourists on the notion that they will feel better about themselves if they come down here and hike our environmentally friendly "nature" trails, the same trails that nature had to sacrifice dearly to create in order to bring the dream to reality.

Now, a group is opposed to one particular nature trail on the grounds that it may be harmful to nature - and to any humans who come in contact with it. It don't get better than this.

From here I expect some politician to soon come forward and advocate the removal of all the trails that have disfigured this already-tortured region and call for the return of the land to its original natural condition. It's the right thing to do.

Call it fighting fire with fire.

Yeah. Make It Worse.

I made mention recently of the trifecta that is being ... won? ... by homeowners up in Montgomery County as property values decline, property assessments skyrocket, and - remarkably - property tax rates are increased. Apparently, they ain't alone:

Property Tax Revolt
The Wall Street Journal

Arizona has been hit hard hit by the real-estate bust, with the average home value down 17% in a year and a record number of foreclosures. So Democratic Governor Janet Napolitano has devised a clever way to revive the housing market: Raise property taxes.

Last week Ms. Napolitano vetoed a bill that would have made a two-year suspension of the state property tax permanent. "It's untimely. It's untenable. It's unwise," she said of her untimely and unwise veto. So as housing values slide, Arizonans next year will get walloped with an extra $250 million property tax bill.

Arizona is one of a growing list of states and big cities looking to raise taxes on homes to close budget gaps in 2008 and 2009.

In recent weeks, Fairfax County in northern Virginia, Washington state, Chicago and Memphis have announced proposals to increase residential property tax rates to offset declining revenues. So at the very time that states and cities are begging for money from Washington to help distressed homeowners pay their mortgages, property tax hikes could push hundreds of thousands of homeowners under water. (link)

It's worth noting that Fairfax County, Montgomery County, Memphis, Chicago, Washington, and Arizona have one thing in common: Democrats rule.

So folks in all these locales will soon find themselves paying considerably more for considerably less. In order to perpetuate government.

I'm not sure but don't they have this ass-backwards?

The Court Needs To Right This Wrong ...

... a grievous wrong that it - the Supreme Court - and George W. Bush, and John McCain, and Congress brought about.

George Will, writing in this morning's Washington Post:
Parker North [Colorado] is a cluster of about 300 houses close to the town of Parker. When two residents proposed a vote on annexation of their subdivision to Parker, six others began trying to persuade the rest to oppose annexation. They printed lawn signs and fliers, started an online discussion group and canvassed neighbors, little knowing that they were provoking Colorado's speech police.

One proponent of annexation sued them. This tactic -- wielding campaign finance regulations to suppress opponents' speech -- is common in the America of the McCain-Feingold campaign finance law.

John McCain bears principal responsibility for legitimizing the idea that government should have broad powers to regulate political activity in the name of combating corruption. If his wanderings take him to Parker North, he can make partial amends by congratulating the Parker Six on defeating annexation and by endorsing their federal lawsuit, which is supported by the libertarian Institute for Justice, to overturn Colorado's
regulations as unconstitutional burdens on the exercise of fundamental rights. That last might be too much straight talk to expect from the perpetrator of McCain-Feingold's restrictions on the quantity, timing and content of political speech. (
James Madison and Thomas Jefferson must be shaking their heavenly heads in dismay - not just because John McCain was able to foist this harmful legislation upon an undeserving people, in defiance of everything that our founding fathers held precious, but also because he may very well be our next president.

May God have mercy on us should that occur.

A Homecoming

Chances are there'll be no flags waving or bands playing, but a heroes' welcome awaits the return of these brave American warriors:
WWII crew's remains coming home
By Jennifer Harper, The Washington Times

Capt. Robert L. Coleman and his crew were right on target that day [Dec. 3, 1943]. They radioed home once with the good news, made contact again, a third time — then nothing. "The Swan" never made it back, the fate and whereabouts of aircraft and crew a mystery.

Until now. After 64 years, the 11 lost airmen have at last come home.

The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) said Friday that their remains, classified as "missing in action from World War II," have been identified and will be returned to their families for burial with full military honors. (link)
Lost in the jungles of New Guinea for 64 years. Lost but now found.

Welcome home, fellas. Mission accomplished.

This Gets a Little Silly

There are those - lots of those - who are calling for either Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton to drop out of the race - to stave off utimate defeat and ensure victory. I call on both to drop out for the same reason.

So Does The Entire Western World

G.O.P. Now Sees Obama as Liability for Ticket

Still A Topic Of Discussion

I remember being mildly shocked in the late 80's and early 90's when GM announced that it was going to create and promote a whole new brand at a time when executives needed to be thinking about consolidating its many offerings, what with foreign competitors nipping at its heels.

That brand became known as Saturn.

That nipping became carnivorous feasting.

And those executives ain't learned a thing from the experience.

Did you know that the average Buick dealer sells a whopping four cars a month?

Perhaps it's time to add another brand, eh boys?

Democrats Doing What They Do Best

Confiscating and spending your hard-earned income like they own it. This from the Washington Post:
Who'll Cover the Checks?
The Democratic candidates' tax and spending plans are costly and ambitious -- and probably short on fiscal realism.


The Democratic presidential candidates have some big plans -- with big price tags attached. By our calculations, using figures supplied by the campaigns, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.) has proposed new spending and tax breaks that would amount to almost $265 billion a year when fully implemented, while the initiatives proposed by Sen. Barack Obama (Ill.) total nearly $333 billion. Those initiatives, which would be phased in over time and which the candidates say they have identified ways of funding, don't include billions of dollars more in one-time spending.

In addition, both candidates would extend the Bush tax cuts for those making less than $250,000 a year, at an annual cost of another $140 billion in 2012, and renew the research tax credit ($9 billion). And both say they would take steps to prevent the alternative minimum tax from sweeping in additional taxpayers, adding $50 billion or so to the annual price tag. So the deficit -- even before any new spending -- would be that much deeper than it would have been if the tax cuts were permitted to expire.

These numbers, moreover, don't include ... (link)
Actually, I see this as an improvement over the last viable candidate the Democrats put up for the highest office in the land. Remember when Bill Clinton promised a middle-class tax cut if elected and, upon being elected, raised taxes instead?

At least Hillary and Obama are telling us up front how we are going to be raped and down which ratholes they'll be pouring our money.

The Reason Philly Has Become Lawless

The top law enforcement officer there sees no reason for his police department to obey the laws either. This, from the NRA, is troubling:

As we recently reported, the Philadelphia City Council passed five gun control measures, which were subsequently signed by Mayor Michael Nutter in direct violation of Pennsylvania’s state preemption law.

And while District Attorney Lynne Abraham previously advised Philadelphia’s city council and mayor that their gun control proposals were unconstitutional, the city pressed on, defying the state’s firearm preemption law in its attempt to circumvent the Pennsylvania legislature.

Enter [Philadelphia Police Commissioner, and former Washington, D.C. police chief, Charles] Ramsey, whose anti-gun leanings and arrogant, above-the-law mentalities have followed him to the City of Brotherly Love.

Not content with his city passing illegal gun control “laws,” Ramsey is actually encouraging the City Council and Mayor Nutter to ignore the legal advice of city attorneys against enforcing the ordinances. Not only is he in favor of enforcing the illegal measures, he was recently quoted as saying, “As far as I am concerned, the laws are valid, and we will act as if this whole conversation with the D.A. just didn't take place.” (link)

And America wonders why Philadelphia is the dangerous city that it has become, with the lawless, seemingly, running things. This proves it to be true.

The lawless do run things in Philadelphia.

Looking In From The Outside

An interesting perspective on American life from a British expatriate, writing for BBC News:

Why is it ... that so many Americans - and foreigners who come here - feel that the place is so, well, safe?

A British man I met in Colorado recently told me he used to live in Kent but he moved to the American state of New Jersey and will not go home because it is, as he put it, "a gentler environment for bringing the kids up."

This is New Jersey. Home of the Sopranos.

I have met incredulous British tourists who have been shocked to the core by the peacefulness of the place, the lack of the violent undercurrent so ubiquitous in British cities, even British market towns.

Wait till you get to London Texas, or Glasgow Montana, or Oxford Mississippi or Virgin Utah, for that matter, where every household is required by local ordinance to possess a gun.

Folks will have guns in all of these places and if you break into their homes they will probably kill you.

They will occasionally kill each other in anger or by mistake, but you never feel as unsafe as you can feel in south London.

It is a paradox. Along with the guns there is a tranquillity and civility about American life of which most British people can only dream.

What surprises the British tourists is that, in areas of the US that look and feel like suburban Britain, there is simply less crime and much less violent crime.
We Americans live our lives in relative peace and tranquility without fear of violence AND there are tens of millions of guns in circulation.

Naaahh. There couldn't be a correlation.

- - -

There are exceptions of course. Chicago comes to mind, where gun ownership is virtually forbidden and the gun companies are causing unprecedented murder and mayhem in the streets.