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

Sunday, November 16, 2008

So We're Not Racists?

Much was made in the run-up to the recent election about Obama's middle name, and the fact that there was widespread belief among local yokels that Obama was a Muslim, and that latent racism played a major part in the decision-making when it came to choosing a presidential candidate, and that Southwest Virginia still harbors attitudes toward black people that linger from the days of Jim Crow, and that, had Barack Obama been a white boy, he'd have swept the region in a walk.

Well, the results are coming in. And all that blather about racism ... racism ... racism is just that. Blather. Turns out, the 2008 election was a simple remake of the 2004 election. From "Virginia Seeing Widening Political Divide Between Southwest, Northern Regions Of State" in this morning's Bristol Herald Courier):

But for all of the bright political lights who courted votes here in recent months – Gov. Mike Huckabee, former President Bill Clinton and presidential nominees Sens. John McCain and Barack Obama – and for all the expectations of record voter turnout, little changed Nov. 4.

McCain and his running mate, Gov. Sarah Palin, carried virtually every locality in the southwest region of Virginia, including the bastions of Democratic support in the coalfields. They won by margins that ranged from less than 1 percent in Dickenson County, to more than 40 percentage points in Scott County.

In Bristol, the GOP presidential ticket prevailed by 62 percent to 36 percent – a result almost identical to the 2004 presidential race.

Of registered voters in Bristol, Va., 62 percent turned out – a rate within a percentage point of the turnout levels in the general elections of 2004 and 2000.

So, when it comes down to it, despite the whining of local newspaper columnists about a dearth of "justice, equality and peace" in Southwest Virginia (because his guy lost here), it turns out that we voted - not on the basis of skin color or rumors about religious affiliation - but on the same issues that prompted us to vote overwhelmingly for the more moderate of two candidates running for president four years ago. The question was asked: Who would best serve the people of Southwest Virginia? And answered.

It wasn't Al Gore four years ago with his promise of more and more safety nets for the poor and it wasn't Barack Obama for the same reason.

Opportunity is the key to success here. Whoever comes to Southwest Virginia with hat in hand in 2012 might want to remember that.

Are These Guys Paying Attention?

With the prediction that we are heading into a major depression gaining voices, with the rate of unemployment inching ever upward, with consumer confidence sagging ever lower, with 54,000 homeowners being handed foreclosure notices just last month, with the stock market having lost thousands of points in recent months, with credit card debt burgeoning, with retirement savings accounts of millions of current and soon-to-be retirees vanishing, with the costs of bread and milk soaring, with personal and corporate bankruptcies skyrocketing, with retail sales just coming off a record decline ...

... the Washington Post calls for a massive tax increase on consumers.

And not just on those who can afford it.

But on those who can least afford it.

My God, what are they thinking?
Raise the Gas Tax

The price of crude oil closed at $57.04 a barrel on Friday. That's about $90 cheaper than it was in July. The average price of a gallon of regular gasoline Friday was $2.15, nearly $2 less than it was in July. This is definitely good news for the battered American consumer. But we fear that the temptation to return to gas-guzzling vehicles, to drive more and to forget the painful lessons learned last summer will be too great to resist.

In a perfect world, we'd like to see a gas tax that was the equivalent of oil at $100 per barrel. This would send a loud-and-clear signal to drivers to continue eschewing gas guzzlers for fuel sippers and mass transit.

As he puts his administration together and considers his priorities, [Barack Obama] faces the choice of playing it safe with incremental steps or going bold with dramatic action when he assumes office on Jan. 20. We urge Mr. Obama to take the latter course. The United States cannot afford to backslide to its voracious, polluting ways as it did in the 1970s. (link)
They worry about a return of the 1970's.
As we head into the 1930's.

Fools. Absolute fools.

Bush's Last Act?

Let's Hope:
Begging Your Pardon
Investor's Business Daily editorial

Two Border Patrol agents convicted of shooting a drug smuggler have been resentenced for the crime of protecting the borders of the United States. Mr. President, you do not have the right to remain silent.

Former agents Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean are 20 months into their sentences for shooting drug dealer Osvaldo Aldrete Davila, who tried to elude the two agents after driving a van near Fabens, Texas, that was found to hold 743 pounds of marijuana. He tried to flee back to Mexico and was shot in the buttocks by the agents who had reason to believe he was armed.

Last week the two agents had their resentencing hearing before U.S. District Judge Kathleen Cordone. The hearing was prompted by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals' throwing out a minor obstruction of justice count. Ramos and Compean were resentenced to virtually their original 11- and 12-year sentences, the bulk of which is a mandatory sentence of 10 years for the use of a firearm in the commission of a crime.

Ramos and Compean were charged under section 924(c) of the criminal code. This section is intended to punish felons who use firearms in the commission of a crime, not law enforcement officers attempting to apprehend lawbreakers.

Compean and Ramos thought they were fulfilling their duties on Feb. 17, 2005, when they shot an allegedly unarmed Aldrete Davila as he was fleeing back into Mexico. They were also convicted of violating Aldrete Davila's civil rights and trying to conceal their "crime."

From the beginning U.S. Attorney for West Texas Johnny Sutton took the word of Aldrete Davila over anything the two agents had to say. In exchange for testifying against the two agents, Davila was given immunity from prosecution for smuggling drugs on the day he was shot. He was also given a border pass card issued by the Department of Homeland Security. (link)

Taking the word of an habitual (foreign) lawbreaker over those of law enforcement. What?

The system has been corrupted. President Bush should recognize that fact and set these two American heroes free. Now.

Google Wins Elections?

Seems so. Just ask recently reelected Senator Mitch McConnell:
Old Dog Mitch McConnell Tries New Internet Tricks
By Paul Bedard, U.S. News & World Report

So it may not have made all the difference in what looked to be a nail-biter, but we're told that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell ran one heck of an E-campaign. Much like the presidential candidates, the Kentucky senator used everything from E-mail to online advertising to YouTube and Facebook to boost his re-election chances against challenger Bruce Lunsford and ended up beating the Democrat by six percentage points and being re-elected to a fifth term.

"Senator McConnell, when he hired me, stated as a goal that he wanted to run the best Senate campaign in America and he wanted to take advantage of all the latest technologies and methods," Campaign Manager Justin Brasell tells Whispers. With that, McConnell's Web team created a new site for the senator, TeamMitch.com, and advertised heavily through Google. They promoted the senator's campaign using banner ads that were often timely ...

McConnell would check with staffers for weekly updates on how many people were viewing his YouTube videos, how many were opening his E-mails, etc. "He followed it pretty closely," Brasell says.

The Web presence brought in supporters and money alike. "Conservatives were really looking for a way to support him and they were using Google to do it," explains Peter Pasi, executive vice president of Emotive, the company that developed McConnell's Web strategy. When people Googled the senator's name, they would see sponsored links from the campaign that enabled them to donate to the candidate. "What we found is that starting around September, when the race got really tight, we had a lot of money coming in just from basic search," Pasi says. By Election Day, the average person who Googled McConnell was giving the campaign $80. And for every $1 the campaign spent on advertising on the search engine it was making between $25 and $30. (link)
A lesson others might learn.

- - -

A side note: In the last days of the campaign, I was driving down some street somewhere and a Bruce Lunsford (McConnell's opponent) attack ad came on the radio. A few questions was asked (in sinister tones) about McConnell's military service of many decades ago, something to the effect: Why did McConnell's service end early? What is he hiding? Why won't he answer questions about his military record?

One of the wackier campaign spots I've heard ... since Dan Rather left CBS anyway.

Lieberman Plays Both Sides

I can't imagine Senator Joe Lieberman ever jumping to the Republican Party - not if he wants to be reelected in Republican-hating Connecticut - but that's the signal he's sending to those in the Senate who want him punished for his sins.

Good for him. I hope his ploy works:
Spiting a Patriot
New York Post editorial

Sen. Joe Lieberman finds himself a man without a political home.

Democrats, their Senate majority bolstered, want to punish him for his apostasy in not only endorsing Republican John McCain but also addressing last summer's GOP convention - where he openly criticized Barack Obama.

That was especially embarrassing for the Democrats, given that Lieberman was their vice-presidential nominee in 2000.

In retaliation, the party wants to strip him of his Homeland Security Committee chairmanship. During a private meeting Thursday, Majority Leader Harry Reid reportedly called on Lieberman to accept a less prestigious assignment.

"His comments and actions have raised serious concerns among many in our caucus," said Reid.

The Connecticut senator, to his credit, rejected Reid's demand.

Now he's reportedly in talks with Minority Leader Mitch McConnell about joining the GOP lineup (he officially became an independent after the 2006 election, although he caucuses with the Democrats).

But that's a step Lieberman insists he doesn't want to take. (link)
It's all a bluff, of course. But if it gives Harry Reid indigestion, I'm good with it.