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

Monday, June 30, 2008

While Democrats Here Talk Of Raising Taxes ...

... the governor of West Virginia is working to lower them in his tax-heavy state:

Making ends meet in WV — Cuts in gas, food tax welcomed
Bluefield Daily Telegraph

With rising gas and food prices creating an undue hardship upon thousands of families across the region, twin announcements Thursday by Gov. Joe Manchin provided a glimmer of hope to those who are struggling to make ends meet.

Manchin joined several state officials in Charleston Thursday morning to announce the final phase down of the West Virginia food tax at a Kanawha City grocery store. While some Republican lawmakers have called for a complete elimination of the food tax, Manchin and other Democratic lawmakers have instead advocated a coordinated reduction of the food tax.

The governor has been working since 2005 to have the food tax cut in half. Manchin argues that the phase-down of the food tax will help families across the Mountain State save millions of dollars at the grocery store. (link)

There are those who will tell you that the proposed gas tax increase here in Virginia amounts to "just pennies." Just as they argue that drilling in ANWR will result in "just pennies" in savings at the gas pumps. And that drilling off-shore will reduce our dependence on foreign oil by "just pennies."

It appears that the Democrat governor of the Mountain State knows just how far "just pennies" can go.

It's a Class Issue

An interesting dichotomy reveals itself in a Bristol Herald Courier article by Debra McCown (see "Two SW Virginia Towns Have Different Views Of Wal-Mart"). The people of Abingdon are - according to the author - in overwhelming numbers opposed to the world's largest retailer locating one of its stores in their town. Folks over in Grundy, on the other hand, can't wait for the new store slotted to open there sometime in the future (when lease details are worked out) to bring jobs - and guaranteed prosperity - to their tortured area.

The difference? Well, the generous answer is that the residents of Abingdon, as one interviewee for the article suggests, already have plenty of places to shop. But that's not accurate. If Kohl's announced its intention to build a new store next to Kmart (yes, another big discounter has been there for many years, without generating displeasure), the citizenry would be pleased as punch.

No, it's Wal-Mart. They just can't stomach the thought that a ... Wal-Mart! ... would lurk in their neighborhood. Discounter extraordinaire to ... the great unwashed! The one store with the notoriety of bringing smelly, unkempt ... poor people! ... with ... less than acceptable hygiene standards! ... to town to buy their ... cigarettes and beer!


When asked, the good people of Abingdon will tell you that their economic prosperity derives from - and is dependent upon - tourism - the favored plan of favorite son Rick Boucher. And that they don't need a Wal-Mart store in order to maintain their town's growth.


But the folks over in Grundy know what the geniuses in Abingdon don't - that you can count on one hand the number of jobs (all low-paying, no benefit, no skill, part-time seasonal bike repair and canoe rental positions) that have been created by Boucher's years of trying to build the tourism industry in his back yard. They also know that the day a new Wal-Mart opens, 200 to 250 formerly unemployed Americans join the ranks of the employed. One store. One of many. Decent pay. Health/dental/optical. Career opportunity for advancement.

So don't be fooled. It's not about there being an abundance of places to shop. It's a confused attitude about growth, prosperity, how to achieve it, and ... most importantly ... Wal-Mart!

A Punchline Awaits

This story cries out for heaps of ridicule:
16 wounded in French military demonstration
By The Associated Press

Paris - A military shooting demonstration in southeast France on Sunday left 16 people wounded, including children, when real bullets were used instead of blank ones, officials said.

A Defense Ministry official said the incident occurred during a demonstration of hostage-freeing techniques at the Laperrine military barracks. The official said investigators will look into why real bullets were used. (link)
Remind me not to call the French if I ever find myself to be in a hostage situation.

This Doesn't Serve Their Cause

Yesterday, as you may recall, we were treated to an editorial in the Roanoke Times in which the editorial page editor asked that we not look upon the mainstream press with too much suspicion because, in his mind anyway, its members are by-and-large ethical, conscientious professionals. Dan Radmacher's argument is not bolstered by occurrences like the following, brought to us by Roger L. Simon in "Some Fact-Checking Questions for the Editors of The New Yorker":

In his latest New Yorker entry “Preparing the Battlefield” [in Iran] Seymour Hersh seems to be competing for a place in the Guinness Book of World Records for the greatest numbers of anonymous sources in one article. The first sentence alone presents a trifecta of the unnamed: “Late last year, Congress agreed to a request from President Bush to fund a major escalation of covert operations against Iran, according to current and former military, intelligence, and congressional sources.”

They are never identified.

It goes on in a similar mode for the next seven pages almost to the level of self-parody. So I have some questions for The New Yorker editors. How do you fact-check Hersh and do those methods coincide with your overall policies (if any)? Do you know the names of his anonymous sources? Have you queried those sources to see if the writer fairly represents their opinions or to discover whether they are disaffected civil servants with an ax to grind? When dealing with an issue as incendiary as war with Iran, it should be standard journalistic procedure to do so. I would hope the editors of The New Yorker agree readers deserve a high level of transparency on such life or death issues.

No reason to be suspicious here, eh?

This Is Laugh-Out-Loud Outrageous

You remember that "Bridge To Nowhere" up in Alaska that was intended to take automobile traffic from the inhospitable and sparsely populated mainland to a remote, uninhabited, inhospitable island - with a cost to taxpayers of an estimated $223 million? Remember who was behind that federal pork project that singlehandedly lost the 2006 election for the Republican Party?

Congressman Don Young of Alaska.

It seems an awards ceremony was held in Washington the other night and said Don Young received a couple of awards from several "taxpayer rights" groups. Awards, if you can believe it, for Young's "commitment and dedication to taxpayer’s (sic) interests." (If your heart can take this, see "REP. YOUNG NAMED HERO OF THE AMERICAN TAXPAYER ")

If that's not galling enough, Young's self-congratulation in response was absolutely revolting:

“It is an honor to be the recipient of each of these awards. Making sure that the hard-earned money of the American people stays in the pockets of those who earn it and not the government coffers, has always been a priority of mine."
Are these people that detached from the outside world?

Hat tip to Jon Henke.

A History Lesson ...

... for those of you who see a direct link between the 2nd Amendment and the freedoms we hold dear, from Antonin Scalia in his Heller majority opinion:

The “militia” comprised all males physically capable of acting in concert for the common defense. The Antifederalists feared that the Federal Government would disarm the people in order to disable this citizens’ militia, enabling a politicized standing army or a select militia to rule. The response was to deny Congress power to abridge the ancient right of individuals to keep and bear arms, so that the ideal of a citizens’ militia would be preserved.
"The ancient right" of free men. Never to be denied the citizens of the United States as long as we remain free from tyranny. This truth was (self-)evident in 1789. And was therefore recognized and sanctified as the amendment to the Constitution considered more sacred and inviolable than all others - standing shoulder to shoulder with the 1st. It is as precious - and as relevant - today as it was when the Founding Fathers wrote it.

They Won't Give Up

The editorial staff of the Chicago Tribune takes the next logical step in the 2nd Amendment wars. Demand that the right of the people to keep and bear arms be ended:

Repeal the 2nd Amendment

The 2nd Amendment to the U.S. Constitution is evidence that, while the founding fathers were brilliant men, they could have used an editor.

On Tuesday, five members of the court edited the 2nd Amendment. In essence, they said: Scratch the preamble, only 14 words count.

In doing so, they have curtailed the power of the legislatures and the city councils to protect their citizens. (link)
What? Are these fools that dense? Do they not understand that the whole purpose in the Founding Fathers' adding amendments to its finished product - what became known as the Bill of Rights - one major portion of which involves the 2nd Amendment - was to curtail the power of the federal legislature (as well as the executive) (and the courts, for that matter). Every amendment.

As we've all become painfully - and in many cases, tragically - aware, the government is under no obligation to protect us. And often doesn't. It is not for that reason principally, but it makes for a damn good reason, that we demand the right to protect ourselves ...

... from bad elements within our society.

... from a tyrannical government.

... from small-minded and woefully uneducated nitwits who write for the mainstream press.

They haven't the first clue and are therefore the most dangerous of all.