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

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Sh*t Happens

Let me recount an interesting story. It was brought to mind by this less than shocking news:

Price sank plan for Wal-Mart site
By Cody Lowe and Jeff Sturgeon, The Roanoke Times

Wal-Mart canceled plans for a 200,000-square-foot Clearbrook supercenter because some landowners apparently wanted more money than the project's developer would pay.

Kelly Hobbs, Wal-Mart spokeswoman, said Wednesday that Holrob Investments "and a few of the sellers couldn't come to a price." (link)
I don't think I'm divulging confidential information in retelling this story, so ...

For a short time, I worked in the real estate department of a large corporation several years ago and was involved in the work that went into, among other things, looking at property leases that were coming due and making recommendations as to whether or not we wanted to re-up, renegotitate, or walk away from them. A whole mess of factors impacted the process, none of which are really important to this story.

In one particular instance, the company had entered into a long-term (either a 20 or 25 year) lease with a Japanese real estate company years before in a deal having to do with land out in northern California. That lease period was soon to expire. Because of the whole Silicon Valley thing, with property values going through the roof at the time, we knew that the asking price to renew the lease was going to be sky-high.

But it was worse than that. A representative of the company contacted me and told me that his firm had no interest in renewing at any (remotely reasonable) price. The property, he said, had been appraised at $10 million (in 1990's dollars) and his plan was to sell it and take the profits to the bank. Perfectly understandable.

But this was California.

In the course of obtaining all the necessary permissions and permits in preparation for the transfer of the property to a potential buyer and for the demolition of the existing structures there, it was determined through an environmental impact study performed by the state that some protected species of fish was thought to be dwelling in a stream that flowed across the land involved. Some minnow or something.

You can imagine the potential problems. The company was going to pave over the habitat of some endangered fish? The state said: We don't think so.

The Japanese were caught in a vice. Knowing that their efforts to sell the property would now take several years, they came back to us with a deal. We could continue to occupy the building on that site, with a substantial per-month lease payment increase (which we were willing to accept) and, once all the necessary environmental regulation hoops had been jumped through (and the stream diverted), and the company could transfer the land, we would have built for us another building on another site owned by that same company. We agreed.

Odd how these things play out.

As Wal-Mart (and I) will attest (see above), these things sometimes come together, sometimes not. But we move forward regardless.

A Portent

When you as a Republican support "comprehensive immigration reform," but maybe not as much as the Democrats ...

When you as a Republican support targeted tax increases, but maybe not as much as the Democrats ...

When you as a Republican support earmarks, but maybe not as much as the Democrats ...

When you as a Republican support the growth of government, but maybe not as much as the Democrats ...

When you as a Republican support withdrawal from the war on terror, but maybe not as much as the Democrats ...

When you as a Republican support climate change legislation, but maybe not as much as the Democrats ...

When you as a Republican support national health care reform, but maybe not as much as the Democrats ...

When you as a Republican oppose Big Oil and Big Pharma and Big Coal and Big Tobacco and Halliburton, but maybe not as much as the Democrats ...

... We as voters wonder why we shouldn't simply pull the lever for the real deal:

Republican Election Losses Stir Fall Fears

After String of Losses, Republicans Face Crisis

Earth to GOP ... Earth to GOP ...

I Rest My Case

When you as a Republican stand shoulder to shoulder with those who would take food from the mouths of America's children and take the money connected to it and hand it over to rich mega-farmers, why shouldn't we ignore the GOP and throw our support to the weasels we know - like Rick Boucher?

House Passes Farm Bill by a Veto-Proof Margin
By David M. Herszenhorn, The New York Times

Washington — Ignoring a veto threat from President Bush, who says he wants to sharply limit government subsidies to farmers at a time of near-record commodity prices and soaring global demand for grain, the House on Wednesday approved a five-year, $307 billion farm bill with a solid bipartisan majority.

The House voted 318 to 106 — well above the two-thirds needed to hand Mr. Bush the second veto override of his presidency — with 100 Republicans joining the Democratic majority in favor.

The Senate was expected to follow suit with wide bipartisan support on Thursday, sending Mr. Bush a bill that he described this week as bloated and expensive and said “resorts to a variety of gimmicks.” (link)

"100 Republicans joining the Democratic ..." Why again do we have a two-party system?

- - -

Yes, Rick Boucher voted for this disgusting legislation.

But then so did Bob Goodlatte.

May they both rue the day ...

* To his credit, Virgil Goode voted no.

I Rest My Case II

This from a Republican administration:

Polar Bear Is Made a Protected Species

I wonder how differently Al Gore would have handled this. Or John Kerry ... Ted Kennedy ...

I Rest My Case III

GOP to rally around McCain

On The Bright Side

All you people over in West Virginia should take heart, now that the Democratic primary is over. You can rest assured that Bill and Hillary Clinton will never set foot in your state again, what with the distaff member of the team having no chance at the nomination and she not really wanting to be anywhere near you lower class subhumans in the first place.

You're forever free of the Clintons!

'Saving The Planet,' As They See It

You can bet every one of these people, because of the universe within which they all travel, considers himself to be an advocate for the environment. It's the "in" thing to do:
Avoid Traffic: Take a Helicopter to the Hamptons
The New York Sun

New Yorkers interested in avoiding the gridlock of highway traffic on their way to the beach this summer now have the option of purchasing a Hamptons Helicard.

For prices between $28,000 and $82,000, Blue Star Jets is offering membership in what the company is calling the first-ever helicopter club to the Hamptons. They claim it will eliminate the woes of traffic on the Long Island Expressway.

The different packages offered include ten one-way trips for $28,000, 20 one-way trips for $55,000, or 30 one-way trips for $82,000 between the city and the Hamptons. Each leg of the trip takes about 30 minutes and comes with complimentary Champagne. (link)
Champagne sipped from environmentally friendly recyclable paper cups no doubt. Saving the planet one Dom Perignon at a time.

For the love of God.

Strength In Numbers

Because of the millions of weblogs in operation today, each doing what I do - more or less - the gray area surrounding the term "copyright infringement" has become somewhat pronounced. Legal scholars are grappling with the blog phenomenon, that associated gray area, and the law as they knew it.

Tim Wu, a professor at Columbia Law School has developed a new concept to address the issue that is worth noting, something he calls "tolerated use":

"Tolerated use" is a term that refers to the contemporary spread of technically infringing, but nonetheless tolerated use of copyrighted works. Such patterns of mass infringement have occurred before in copyright history, though perhaps not on the same scale, and have usually been settled with the use of special laws, called compulsory licensing regimes, more familiar to non-copyright scholars as liability rules. This paper suggests that, in present times, a different and slightly unusual solution to the issue of widespread illegal use is emerging - an "opt-in" system for copyright holders, that is in property terms a rare species of ex post notice right. In addition, this paper proposes a several ways to deal with tolerated use problems, including a complement-driven theory of derivative works, and the "copyright no action policy." (
Nobody seems to know how to deal with the masses out here in the cyber world when it comes to the widespread infringements that are occurring on a daily basis. But at some point in time the copyright issue will be settled and we'll know our boundaries. I hope.

I'll keep you posted ...

* Let me do my due diligence: The quote copied from Professor Wu's abstract (above) may in itself be a copyright infringement. If so, it was done without malice and in total ignorance of where the law stands today as it pertains to such matters. Ignorantia legis non excusat not withstanding.

God Only Knows ...

... what kind of warped understanding of the meaning of faith this guy has acquired, considering the fact that he received his Christian instruction from a racist, America-hating, Jew-hating bigot for twenty years:

Something worth noting: Barack Obama has been accused of late of exhibiting a Messiah Complex. That "I won't be fulfilling God's will unless ..." sure supports the notion.

Obama campaign poster courtesy of KY.BARACKOBAMA.COM

It's Not About Principle

It's about sticking with the man who has - or will have - the power.

Remember, not long ago, how all the feminist organizations in America lined up in support of Bill Clinton when he was accused of sexual harassment? Gloria Steinem, feminist icon, as I recall, dismissed the charge saying Clinton stopped groping Kathleen Willey (one of a handful of women who leveled the charge) when told to stop, therefore he wasn't harassing her. Gloria Steinem. Feminist. Hypocrite.

Well, it continues to this day. NARAL, the one-issue feminist organization that champions the abortion industry in this country, and champions the candidacy of every feminist politician of like mind, has come out in support of the first feminist to have a viable chance of winning the White House the male contender.

From NARAL's website:

Washington, DC - Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, released the following statement today, announcing that her organization's political action committee proudly endorses Sen. Barack Obama for president.

"Today, NARAL Pro-Choice America PAC is proud to endorse Sen. Barack Obama for president. Sen. Obama has been a strong advocate for a woman's right to choose throughout his career in public office. He steadfastly supports and defends a woman's right to make the most personal, private decisions regarding her reproductive health without interference from government or politicians.

"Sen. Obama has been a leader on this issue ..." (link)
Obama, who was a lowly, powerless southside Chicago hack until recently, has a track record that runs into ... what ... five years or so? Hillary was defending their cause four decades ago, and counting. So much for "...throughout his career."

So Hillary gets thrown over the side in favor of a guy - a chauvinist at that - who has a better chance of seizing power.

"Fundamental principles? We don't need no steenking principles."