Friday, June 06, 2008
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The original story:
You bet we have a transportation crisis.
This Cadillac CTS (fully loaded, MSRP $35,000) was seen the other day tooling down the street in Christiansburg. An ever watchful taxpayer (and regular reader) snapped this photo and sent it to me along with a bit of narrative.
It seems the gorgeous luxury vehicle you see before you was being driven by an equally gorgeous young blond. Which is intriguing. And it had those "OFFICIAL STATE USE ONLY" license tags on the rear, as you can plainly see (I've removed the license number to protect the innocent - me).
Which is far more intriguing.
Someone tell me the hardpressed people of Virginia are not outfitting our government officials in luxury vehicles. Please.
There is an explanation for this, and I'd like to know it. What is the standard practice here in the commonwealth with regard to providing transportation for our employees? If this is some politician's personal vehicle, can he or she go out and lease a luxury Cadillac and have all or a portion of the monthly bill reimbursed by the state? Do the "official use only" plates" allow that politician to avoid paying the confiscatory license tag fee?
Tell me we don't have a fleet of Cadillacs (and Lexuses and Infinitis and ...) cruising around out there, paid for by people who are struggling mightily to make ends meet.
We deserve answers. Yours would be appreciated.
This is so discouraging:
Intermodal site foes speak out to KaineI wonder how this bunch reacts to scenes that play out regularly around here, like the one depicted in the photo below that was shot in Clintwood the other day (with similar events being held routinely in too many other communities around the area, including here in Bland) in which Southwest Virginia's poor congregate in parking lots to shovel sweet potatoes into boxes and bags for the purpose of keeping their children from starving to death.
By Tim Thornton, The Roanoke Times
Gov. Tim Kaine came to Radford University on Wednesday to talk about his transportation plan, and he did.
But a contingent of Montgomery County residents came to talk about the intermodal rail yard that has been planned for about two years.
First Norfolk Southern and then the state said that the Montgomery County community of Elliston is the only place the facility can be built in Virginia. It would be part of a $249 million project that aims to move double-stacked freight containers between Columbus, Ohio, and Norfolk faster and more efficiently.
Area residents have opposed the site since it became public. The Montgomery County Board of Supervisors has passed four resolutions against it. They continue to consider legal action to block it. (link)
And all those new jobs these people are willing to piss away?
Bring 'em to Bland County, Governor Kaine. We need the work. And we haven't lost our collective minds.
Photo courtesy of the Coalfield Progress.
I recently attended a showing of 'Superman 3,' here at LSA Anaconda. We have a large auditorium we use for movies, as well as memorial services and other large gatherings. As is the custom back in the States, we stood and snapped to attention when the National Anthem began before the main feature.
All was going as planned until about three-quarters of the way through The National Anthem the music stopped.
Now, what would happen if this occurred with 1,000 18-22 year-olds back in the States? I imagine there would be hoots, catcalls, laughter, a few rude comments; and everyone would sit down and call for a movie. Of course, that is, if they had stood for the National Anthem in the first place.
Here, the 1,000 Soldiers continued to stand at attention, eyes fixed forward. The music started again. The Soldiers continued to quietly stand at attention. And again, at the same point, the music stopped. What would you expect to happen? Even here I would imagine laughter, as everyone finally sat down and expected the movie to start.
But here, you could have heard a pin drop. Every Soldier continued to stand at attention. Suddenly there was a lone voice, then a dozen, and quickly the room was filled with the voices of a thousand soldiers, finishing where the recording left off: 'And the rockets red glare, the bombs bursting in air, Gave proof through the night That our flag was still there. Oh, say does that star-spangled banner yet wave, O'er the land of the free, And the home of the brave.'
It was the most inspiring moment I have had here in Iraq .
I wanted you to know what kind of Soldiers are serving you here. Remember them as they fight for you!
Pass this along as a reminder to others to be ever in prayer for all our soldiers serving us here at home and abroad. For many have already paid the ultimate price.
Britain Cracks Down on Knives After 11th Teen Is Slain in London
By Kevin Sullivan and Jill Colvin, Washington Post Foreign Service
Prime Minister Gordon Brown on Thursday announced a crackdown on teenagers carrying knives, saying that those as young as 16 will be prosecuted for knife possession on the first offense. Previously, anyone younger than 18 generally received only a warning.
"Young people need to understand that carrying knives doesn't protect you, it does the opposite -- it increases the danger for all of us, destroys young lives and ruins families," Brown said after meeting with top police and government officials at his 10 Downing Street office. "Recent tragic events have reminded us of that."
In a country where almost all guns are illegal, police say knives are the most popular weapons carried by youths in major cities from London to Glasgow. A police stop-and-search campaign in London last month found that about 5 percent of the 4,200 youths randomly checked were carrying knives. (link)
And the crackdown on criminals? Uhhhhhh.
Obama Backs Away From Comment on Divided Jerusalem
By Glenn Kessler, writing in the Washington Post
Facing criticism from Palestinians, Sen. Barack Obama acknowledged yesterday that the status of Jerusalem will need to be negotiated in future peace talks, amending a statement earlier in the week that the city "must remain undivided."
Obama's statement, made during a speech Wednesday to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, a pro-Israel lobbying group, drew a swift rebuke from Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.
Obama quickly backtracked yesterday in an interview with CNN.
"Well, obviously, it's going to be ... (link)
Tune in tomorrow to find out what the man truly believes ... tomorrow.
Obama decree on funding limited to current lobbyists
Okay. Obama Vows To Never Take Money From Current Lobbyists.
"A large crowd under the bus," The Washington Times, June 6, 2008
Barack Obama learns a lot of things from the newspapers. He only learned yesterday that Hillary plans to concede tomorrow by reading about it in the papers.
He famously learned that his pastor - the man who he says led him to the Lord, presided at his wedding and baptized his two daughters - was a hateful old bigot who had been preaching racist nonsense only when he read about it in the newspapers. (He dozed through all 20 years of the preacher's sermons at Trinity United Church of Christ.)
If it hadn't been for the newspapers, the senator might never have known that Bill Ayers, in on the organization of his first political campaign and with whom he sat on the board of a charity dispensing money and favors to left-wing troublemakers, was an unreformed member of a cop-killing cell of 60s radicals.
He learned that Tony Rezko, his one-time fundraiser and accommodating pal who was convicted by a Chicago jury this week of 16 counts of fraud and money laundering, was a crook and a slumlord only by reading about it in the newspapers.
Mr. Obama, truly a pigeon among the cats, is a man badly served by his friends. They don't tell him about the bad stuff they're up to. He's the last man on the South Side of Chicago who still doesn't know where babies come from, or how they get here.