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

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Just What We Need ...

... another park:
New state forest coming to life in far southwest Virginia
By Rex Bowman, Richmond Times-Dispatch Staff Writer

Far Southwest Virginia boasts some of the state's most rugged and beautiful woodlands, but up until this week it has never had a patch of forest specifically protected by the state.

That's set to change tomorrow when Virginia forestry officials, along with legislators and sundry other dignitaries, plan to gather to declare more than 4,800 acres of mountainous Washington and Russell counties the Channels State Forest.

The land, known locally as Brumley Mountain, was purchased from The Nature Conservancy for nearly $3.8 million. It contains the 400 million-year-old feature known as the Great Channels, a narrow sandstone passageway through which hikers walk. (link)
Amid all the hoopla and din, consider this:

There is not one politician in Southwest Virginia - or on Planet Earth for that matter - who can articulate an argument that this new state forest is going to bring something, anything, economically or socially, to the area that all our other local, state, and national parks can't bring. Parks that have, to date, brought us nothing.

But articulation of a coherent message isn't what this is all about. Nor is the undertaking intended to really provide for the general welfare of our people.

Our overpaid and clueless pols are getting together tomorrow morning to slap each other on the back and celebrate the purchase - at great expense - $3,800,000 - using money that could have gone toward economic development - that could have gone toward reducing the tax burden experienced by our ever-dwindling cadre of small business owners - that could have gone toward stemming the outflow of employers to China - that could have gone toward stopping the depopulation of Southwest Virginia (ironically, the Brumley Mountain area being one of the hardest hit with an exodus of citizens the likes of which hasn't been seen since the days of Pharaoh) ...

... of another pile of rocks.

I'll not be at the party. Unlike those who'll be in attendance, I have important things to do tomorrow.

And While Our Political Leaders Cheer ...

... the purchase of more weeds and boulders, the people of the area ask: When is someone going to step up and do something to bring a halt to headlines like this?

Tri-Cities region loses 439 jobs in first quarter
By Sharon Caskey Hayes, The Kingsport Times News

The Tri-Cities region lost more than 400 jobs in the first quarter this year, reflecting the downturn in the national economy.

According to the latest labor market report issued Wednesday by East Tennessee State University, the Tri-Cities lost 439 jobs in the quarter while the unemployment rate climbed 13.23 percent to 5.14 percent.

Bristol lost 94 jobs in the first quarter, while its unemployment rate rose 6.95 percent to 4.86 percent. (
link)
I wonder if all those politicians who will be gathering just up the road from Bristol tomorrow on Brumley Mountain will have anything to say about this. I can see it now:

"Unemployment is up. Job opportunities evaporate. People are leaving the area by the tens of thousands. Factories are closing. The people continue to suffer. We need to buy some more rocks and bushes."

May God have mercy.

The Best Idea Of All

This seems like a good idea under the circumstances:

Gate City official hoping liquor by the drink spurs business in town

Gate City is just up the road from Brumley Mountain. The ordinance change may not bring business vitality to the area - like the purchase of that mountain is sure to - but it will certainly allow people to drown their sorrows. I'm for it.

Drinks are on these guys.

In Their World This Makes Sense

The New York Times editorial page will endorse Barack Obama for president come October. The same Obama who was railing yesterday about high gasoline prices and all the swell things he was going to do about them. The Times will be endorsing him - enthusiastically - and will be making pronouncements like this ... and not see any inconsistency:

The Tax Trickery Spreads

Americans must find ways to curb their use of fossil fuels. That will require higher, not lower, prices for gas — even during a presidential campaign. (link)
They applaud higher prices. Obama decries higher prices.

So who's right? The Times or the guy the Times blindly supports?

Good Advice For Those Seeking The Way

This from Victor Davis Hanson makes perfect sense to me. That's why it will never fly:

In short, low taxes, secure borders, moral governance, sober government spending, ethical leadership, exploration and conservation of petroleum, and strong defense is what the American public wants — but those core principles have to be articulated hourly and can't be compromised. In an honest debate, Obama's alternatives to the above would be to turn toward more government, higher taxes, more bureacracies, more dependence of the individual upon the state, etc. And I can't believe the public wants a prescription that historically simply doesn't work.

I think in their depression, the Republicans fail to see that their problems were not in their principles, but rather in the sometimes sleezy [Newt Gingrich] and sloppy [George Bush I & II]way they advanced them — and even more often in the manner that they abandoned them — and as a result, they are apparently eager to compromise on them.

To the degree McCain can articulate the above, he will win; to the degree that he either cannot or believes the latest gurus that he must abandon them, he will lose.

"What's Wrong with Republicans? ," The Corner, May 17, 2008

The Herald-Courier Calls For Judge's Resignation

I've been interested in this story much as a bystander watches with rapt attention the aftermath of a terrible train wreck. The train wreck in this case being a Wythe County judge.

The story from the Wytheville Enterprise:
Judge facing hit-and-run charge
By Nate Hubbard


M. Keith Blankenship, a former Wythe County commonwealth’s attorney and current juvenile court judge, found himself on the wrong side of the law for the second time in the past two months Saturday when he was arrested on one misdemeanor hit-and-run count stemming from an April 27 incident in Powhatan County, just west of Richmond. According to a Virginia State Police new release, Blankenship, 43, was arrested at his Wytheville residence around 9 a.m. Saturday morning.

In the latest incident, Blankenship was driving northbound in a 2006 Subaru Forester on Huguenot Springs Road in Powhatan County at about 5:15 p.m. on April 27 when he swerved off the right side of the rural road and plowed into a telephone-line box, said Corinne Geller, public relations manager for the state police.

On March 1, Blankenship was pulled over on Interstate 81 in Smyth County and charged with driving under the influence and refusing a breath test. A hearing on those charges is scheduled for May 20 in Smyth County General District Court. (link)
The Herald-Courier asks the following of this seemingly troubled man:
Blankenship’s continued presence on the bench casts an unnecessary cloud over the state’s judicial system. He should have the grace and dignity to step aside and resolve his personal problems before seeking a professional second act.
Seems right to me. Sad but right.

So, You Thought California Was Broke?

Well, you'd be right. But that matters not. Left-wing crusades will go on regardless:
California Awards $271 Million for Stem Cell Research
By Andrew Pollack, The New York Times


Los Angeles — California has awarded $271 million in grants to build 12 new stem cell research centers in the state, even as one of the political rationales for the building program might soon disappear.

The awards, announced here Wednesday, represent the largest chunk of money awarded at one time by California’s taxpayer-backed stem cell program, which is slated to spend about $3 billion over about a decade. (link)
$3 billion.

Wasn't it only two months ago that we were reading this headline?

California's budget gap at $16 billion

And, because the pinheads who run the state think more of spending money on unworthy causes like stem cell research than of being fiscally responsible, didn't we read not long ago that:

California ranks at or near the bottom in almost every measure of economic freedom.

And, about that research, didn't we read in the papers recently that:

Embryonic Stem Cells Are Already Obsolete

For Christ's sake, have these people gone stark raving mad?

Sure!

Apologies ... apologies ... apologies ...

Another call for an empty apology:

Should Georgia apologize for slavery?

What the heck. What harm could it do?

I'm thinking one apology every week. Now till the end of time. Or until these guys shut up and go away. Whichever comes first.

Out Of The Past

I love stories like this:

WWII Tank Found after 62 Years
WW II Russian tank with German markings uncovered after 62 years.

WW II Buffs will find this interesting . Even after 62 years (and a little tinkering), they were able to fire up the diesel engine!

A Komatsu D375A-2 bulldozer pulled the abandoned tank from its tomb under the boggy bank of a lake near Johvi, Estonia.

The Soviet-built T34/76A tank had been resting at the bottom of the lake for 56 years.

According to its specifications, it's a 27-ton machine with a top speed of 53 km/hr.

From February to September 1944, heavy battles were fought in the Narva front in the Northeastern part of Estonia . Over 100,000 men were killed and 300,000 men were wounded there. During battles in the summer of 1944, the tank was captured from the Soviet army and used by the German army. (This is the reason that there are German markings painted on the tank's exterior.) On 19th September, 1944, German troops began an organized retreat along the Narva Front.

It is suspected that the tank was then purposefully driven into the lake to conceal it when its captors left the area.

A photo of the just-recovered tank:

For more details on this story, go here.