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

Sunday, August 03, 2008

On The Never-Ending Need For Slavery Apologies

This, on why we should apologize for something that none of us had anything to do with, and none of can really comprehend, is such absolute bullshit that I'm astounded that the editorialists at the Roanoke Times can write it with a straight face:

There's a whole lot of hurting still. We can't move on unless we acknowledge that this country's sins created a pattern of discrimination that, while no longer overt, still exists through subtle prejudices, including those espoused by opponents of apology measures who feel blacks ought to stop acting like victims.

Not one of us knows what it is like to be black in America or white in America unless we are of that color. It is no more possible than for a person born into chronic illness to understand what it is like to live each day without one thought of health or sickness. Or for a healthy person to know what it feels like to live disabled.

Many of us have moved on, pal. That's what really frustrates to no end those who demand silly, empty apologies that change nothing. Nothing.

If anything, apologies that were dreamt up at the last minute Congress was in session, and passed on a simple voice vote because members wanted to get out of town for recess, diminish the record relating to the hard-fought victories of those who affected positive change in race relations all those many years ago.

This was nothing more than a political stunt. A check mark on a politician's roster of good deeds that will get him or her reelected.

Oh, and it makes bleeding-heart liberals feel better about themselves for a brief moment, allowing them to write goofy editorials about how we are all better for having done it.

The rest of us out here in normal America? We put the issue into the history books long ago, where it belongs, and have moved on.

Never to go back.

No matter how longingly they want us to.

- - -

Oh, and by the way, I'm one of those who "feel blacks ought to stop acting like victims." All except those who can show me their scars.

A Wonderful Opportunity

As you all know, I think the efforts of Southwest Virginia politicians - efforts that, in some cases, have been ongoing for decades - to bring northern tourists to the area to take in our scenic landscape (like they don't have rocks and trees in the Catskills) through the (costly) construction of a bewildering network of hiking trails and bike paths that now crisscross the region, the intention of which is to bring (a handful of low-wage, no benefit, seasonal, part-time) jobs to this tortured land, is a complete waste of time and taxpayer money.

If only they'd start thinking through the implications that one can infer from the following, and start acting on it:

Shipping Costs Start to Crimp Globalization
By Larry Rohter, The New York Times

When Tesla Motors, a pioneer in electric-powered cars, set out to make a luxury roadster for the American market, it had the global supply chain in mind. Tesla planned to manufacture 1,000-pound battery packs in Thailand, ship them to Britain for installation, then bring the mostly assembled cars back to the United States.

But when it began production this spring, the company decided to make the batteries and assemble the cars near its home base in California, cutting more than 5,000 miles from the shipping bill for each vehicle.

“It was kind of a no-brain decision for us,” said Darryl Siry, the company’s senior vice president of global sales, marketing and service. “A major reason was to avoid the transportation costs, which are terrible.”

Cheap oil, the lubricant of quick, inexpensive transportation links across the world, may not return anytime soon, upsetting the logic of diffuse global supply chains that treat geography as a footnote in the pursuit of lower wages. (link)
So how does this affect us here in Southwest Virginia?
Globe-spanning supply chains — Brazilian iron ore turned into Chinese steel used to make washing machines shipped to Long Beach, Calif., and then trucked to appliance stores in Chicago — make less sense today than they did a few years ago.

“If we think about the Wal-Mart model, it is incredibly fuel-intensive at every stage, and at every one of those stages we are now seeing an inflation of the costs for boats, trucks, cars,” said Naomi Klein, the author of “The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism.”
So where does Wal-Mart get its furniture? China.

And where does China get a good bit of its raw materials that are used to make the furniture that Wal-Mart sells here in Southwest Virginia?

Southwest Virginia.

How expensive has it gotten for a company to haul timber out of Wise County, rail it to the port in Richmond, put it on a boat to China (or Italy or Spain or the U.K. or ...), build from it desks, beds, cabinets, etc., and then send the finished product back to the USA? According to the New York Times article, transportation costs (relating specifically to shipping containers) has gone up an astronomical 166% in recent years. ($8,000 on a 40-foot container compared to $3,000 "early in the decade"; times two for the container bringing the finished goods back).

I have an idea. How 'bout we build furniture plants here in Southwest Virginia to defray the cost? Say, in Galax? Where all that timber stands not far away in abundance?

Is that a great idea or what?

And how 'bout we ask our elected representatives in Washington and in Richmond to shift their focus from those many trails to nowhere they've carved out of our valuable forestland and start creating conditions that will reduce the tax and regulation burden on new and existing manufacturing enterprises here in Southwest Virginia and do what they can to help fledgling businesses thrive?

I don't expect Boucher is going to change his ossified mindset. He'll be flushing taxpayer money down the Virginia Creeper toilet until he's finally hauled out in his wheelchair many years from now.

But younger minds, those intent on actually doing something that will have a positive impact on our communities, can - and should - start looking to the future. That future is indeed bright.

And destiny awaits.

Uh, Only One Problem

This certainly fits the global warming template:

Stinging Tentacles Offer Hint of Oceans’ Decline
By Elisabeth Rosenthal, The New York Times

From Spain to New York, to Australia, Japan and Hawaii, jellyfish are becoming more numerous and more widespread, and they are showing up in places where they have rarely been seen before, scientists say. The faceless marauders are stinging children blithely bathing on summer vacations, forcing beaches to close and clogging fishing nets.

“These jellyfish near shore are a message the sea is sending us saying, ‘Look how badly you are treating me,’ ” said Dr. Josep-MarĂ­a Gili, a leading jellyfish expert, who has studied them at the Institute of Marine Sciences of the Spanish National Research Council in Barcelona for more than 20 years.

The explosion of jellyfish populations, scientists say, reflects a combination of severe overfishing of natural predators, like tuna, sharks and swordfish; rising sea temperatures caused in part by global warming; and pollution that has depleted oxygen levels in coastal shallows. (link)

The environmentalist doomsday scenario. Overfishing. Pollution. Global warming.

There's only one problem. A problem that calls into question the competence of those "scientists." Ocean temperatures are not rising. Ocean temperatures are not rising.

And how do you measure the global effect of "pollution" - whatever that means - on the world's flora and fauna?

Methinks these jellyfish experts have been stung a few too many times ...

Quote of the Day

From Joel Achenbach:
We're heading into the heart of hurricane season, and any day now, a storm will barrel toward the United States, inspiring all the TV weather reporters to find a beach where they can lash themselves to a palm tree. We can be certain of two things: First, we'll be told that the wind is blowing very hard and the surf is up. Second, some expert will tell us that this storm might be a harbinger of global warming.

Somewhere along the line, global warming became the explanation for everything. Right-thinking people are not supposed to discuss any meteorological or geophysical event -- a hurricane, a wildfire, a heat wave, a drought, a flood, a blizzard, a tornado, a lightning strike, an unfamiliar breeze, a strange tingling on the neck -- without immediately invoking the climate crisis. It causes earthquakes, plagues and backyard gardening disappointments. Weird fungus on your tomato plants? Classic sign of global warming.
"Global Warming Did It! Well, Maybe Not." The Washington Post, August 3, 2008

OK, Crisis Averted

For those of you who were struggling with getting your weblogs to load yesterday - and those of you who were trying but failing to access your favorite weblog using the Internet Explorer 7 browser - the problem WITH SITEMETER seems to have been repaired.

Ed Morrissey:
Starting yesterday, Sitemeter has caused thousands of blogs to fail in Internet Explorer 7 for some reason. Both Hot Air and Michelle Malkin sites have been affected. According to Charles Johnson, the problem exists on Sitemeter’s own website. It appears that Sitemeter changed its coding yesterday without warning its users, and without testing it before going live with the changes.

In a way, I feel a little silly posting this, because the people who really need to read this won’t be able to access it, and the people who can read this won’t have the problem. It only affects IE7; all other browsers load the page with no problem. I’m hoping that the message will filter through to our readers and they will start using alternate browsers to access their favorite sites. In the meantime, we are working on disabling the Sitemeter code at both sites to restore full operability.
I had quickly come to the conclusion yesterday morning that the problem I was experiencing was with the Sitemeter tag (by carefully watching the weblog load) that resided in my From On High template. I deleted the HTML scripting relating to Sitemeter and the problem immediately went away.

It now turns out that Sitemeter has solved the problem that it created for tens of thousands of us. From the Sitemeter website this morning:
Dear SiteMeter Users,

We corrected a compatibility issue with our SiteMeter tracking code and IE7 and IE6 browsers that started last night.

The problem was related to some work we were doing on the backend system for our upcoming website launch.

We’ve identified and resolved two separate but related issues -

1 - IE Users viewing pages - The error occured when the SiteMeter tag was not a direct child of the body tag (e.g. if the tag was within a table or div). Recent changes we made created a failure for visitors viewing sites using Internet Explorer 7 and Internet Explorer 6.

2 - Accessing SiteMeter and Stats - Individuals trying to access or view their SiteMeter stats by clicking on their SiteMeter logo/icons were unable to gain access. This again appears to have affected only individuals using IE7 and IE6.

At this time both problems have been fixed and our services are fully operational.
Until the next problem arises ...

A Fascinating Bit Of History?

Experts are still trying to decide:
Museum: Civil War surrender document no photocopy
By Dan Robrish, Associated Press Writer

Philadelphia - Officials at a small Civil War museum made an intriguing discovery while sifting through storage: A document long treated as a photo reproduction of the terms of Gen. Robert E. Lee's surrender appears, upon closer inspection, to contain actual signatures and date to 1865.

Museum officials believe they have one of the three original documents signed by representatives of the Union and Confederacy in Appomattox Court House, Va., on April 10, 1865, a day after Lee's surrender.

The National Park Service historian at Appomattox said it's more likely a souvenir copy signed by the same men at that time -- still a significant discovery, he said, even if it's not an official copy.

The Civil War & Underground Railroad Museum of Philadelphia has held the document since the early 20th century. It was pulled out of storage and re-evaluated as officials prepared for the museum's shutdown Saturday ahead of its move to a new building. (link)
It's the kind of thing you'd love to find in your grandma's attic. Yes?

An intriguing story.

Read Between The Lines

What the media really mean:

"Obama would consider off-shore drilling [if it would help get him elected] as part of comprehensive energy plan

So now he's changed is mind on this too.

My my my.

Read Between The Lines II

On the surface this looks straightforward. And it'll excite the blogosphere here in Virginia for a period of time. But I think there's more to it than meets the eye:

In veep search, McCain considers Va. congressman
By Bob Lewis, Associated Press Writer

Richmond, Va. - John McCain's campaign has asked Virginia Rep. Eric Cantor for personal documents as the Republican presidential candidate steps up his search for a running mate, The Associated Press has learned.

Cantor, 45, the chief deputy minority whip in the House, has been mentioned among several Republicans as a possible running mate for McCain. A Republican familiar with the conversations between Cantor and the McCain campaign said Cantor has been asked to turn over documents, but did not know specifically what records were sought. (link)

I don't think there's any way that McCain is going to pick Eric Cantor - a wonderful choice, by the way - as his running mate. I think the McCain campaign views Tim Kaine, possible Democrat nominee for the same post of vice president, as an empty suit with as little foreign policy experience as Obama, and as an embarrassingly weak campaigner. Which he is, on both counts. McCain is goading the Dems to go ahead and pick Kaine as Obama's running mate "to win the state of Virginia."

Like Kaine could do that for him. The man couldn't even get the state senate - the majority of its members being fellow Democrats - to take up his emergency transportation funding bill, for God's sake. The man who was met at his many town hall meetings that were carefully scripted to gain public support for his proposed tax increases with one big yawn.

No, there's more to this than meets the eye(brow).

Expect the kids who run the Child Prince's campaign to fall for the trap.

Expect also another one of those vice presidential debates to take place at which a mortifyingly unworthy candidate says, "Who am I? Why am I here?"

Question(s) Of The Day

You own a Corvette. Would you let a man who has been a mechanic for less than 200 days rebuild the engine?

If not, why would you allow a man whose been in Washington for that amount of time run the freaking country?!