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

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


You folks over in Norton are rollin' in the dough. Did you know that? It says so right here. Pay no attention to all those abandoned buildings and lines at the unemployment office. Good times are here. And you lucky people down in Galax, you probably thought all those textile plant closings and accompanying layoffs were bringing you ruin. Well, think again. You economy is booming!

This according to a (paid?) consultant cheerleader:
What impact is the Crooked Road having on the region's economy?

An independent consultant traveled the length of the Crooked Road, visited the major venues along the way, and interviewed hundreds of people. Robert Jones documented what many already suspected, that the Crooked Road is making a significant contribution to the economy of western Virginia. Jones estimates that 264,000 people have visited the Crooked Road in 2008.

The impact on the economy, $23 million, a figure that equates to 445 full-time jobs. [link]
And just who are those hundreds of thousands of visitors to the Crooked Road? Well, they include me. I've been up and down that road many times. I guess my stops at the local BP for gas are indeed a contributor to the local economy, but does it have anything to do with "tourism"? My guess is, yes. How else is this guy going to get those numbers up? If not, how does he separate my visits to Clintwood from those of ol' Pap from uppards of Alabama come up 'is way a'lookin' fer some pickin' and a'grinnin?

The Roanoke Times provides a bit more detail (if a woefully little bit) on the same news item:
Floyd and Galax are clearly seeing the benefits of being part of the approximately 260-mile-long corridor linking Franklin County to Dickenson County. According to the study, accommodation spending in Floyd (home of the Floyd Country Store) increased by 90 percent from 2003 to 2007, and by 232 percent in Galax (home of the Rex Theater and Blue Ridge Music Center).
What do you want to bet, that number for Galax includes the new motels over on I-77? Which is actually closer to Hillsville. That "accommodations" figure can get mighty slippery when you try to separate out the travelers on their way to Dollywood from those looking for the Ralph Stanley Museum.

Which makes for a good point in itself. Rather than use undefinable numbers to draw wild conclusions about the "booming" tourist traffic in and out of Southwest Virginia, why didn't this consultant give us an actual, quantifiable, undeniable headcount at the Stanley Museum? Because the number would be less than staggering?

Look, no legitimate study is going to take "accommodations" in general and make more of them than is there. The Hotel Floyd might work. Or even the Cranesnest Campsite over near Clintwood. Have their occupancy numbers skyrocketed?

Using the Holiday Inn Express on the interstate won't fly. Not if the researcher is looking for legitimate answers to very important questions.

But what do I know?

Anyway, this consultant says times are great in Southwest Virginia. His numbers say so. Others are less ... kind. You be the judge.

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For more on how all this works (not meaning to use it to disparage Mr. Jones's work; we're not given any real details or his methodology), see "'Tourism' Ain't What It Used To Be."

Question Of The Day

From Investor's Business Daily:
Barack Obama meets with Al Gore to discuss global warming, green jobs and his energy team. Did they also discuss how their policies will put America's ailing economy in a deep freeze?
"Economic Chill," December 9, 2008

Get a Grip

I think part of the reason that Democrat sex scandals never reach the heights that Republican scandals do (apart from the biased media hyper-glee) is that conservatives can view a Democrat caught in some embarrassing situation, condemn him for it, and move on. But Democrats prefer to wallow in it. They try to make something far more of it than it really is. Some universal truth has to be articulated.

It's usually at that point I begin to say, "Enough already."

With regard to the Obama speechwriter groping "scandal," enough already:
Favreau's Sexist Photo Is No Laughing Matter
By Dee Dee Myers, writing in Vanity Fair

Oh, what to do. An incredibly talented young aide, to an impossibly idealistic new president, gets caught doing something indefensibly stupid and undeniably sexist. Everyone is uncomfortable. But should anyone be held accountable? Apparently not.

The incident I’m talking about, of course, is the photo of Jon Favreau, Barack Obama’s 27-year-old wunderkind speechwriter, with his hand on a cardboard cutout of Hillary Clinton’s chest. Yes, that’s the wunderkind on the left; on the right, is an as-yet- unidentified member of the “Obama staff.” Charming.

I can’t stop thinking about this picture, and I confess I find it really upsetting. And, no, it’s not because I don’t have a sense of humor. I like to think I have a well-earned reputation for often irreverent, sometimes ill-advised humor. But I’m not laughing now.

What’s bugging me is his intention. He isn’t putting his hand on her “chest,” as most of the articles and conversations about the picture have euphemistically referred to it. Rather, his hand—cupped just so—is clearly intended to signal that he’s groping her breast. And why? Surely, not to signal he finds her attractive. Au contraire. It’s an act of deliberate humiliation. Of disempowerment. Of denigration.

And it disgusts me. [link]
Holy cow. Get a grip, woman. He didn't hold Hillary in bondage. And he didn't drag her through the streets by her hair. "It’s an act of deliberate humiliation. Of disempowerment. Of denigration." What?

The guy was drunk and did something drunk guys do. He is, I'm sure, ashamed of his actions. But the Republic is no less strong this morning because of his foul deed. There will be another tomorrow. All is not lost.

Take a pill. Relax.

Headline of the Day

Why Does [Khalid Sheikh Mohammed] Want to be Executed? Who Cares?

That's The Story Of His Life

Obama Tries to Stay Above the ... Fray

How Convenient

Think this story wasn't hastily written and handed to the New York Times by a desperate Obama lackey?

Obama’s Intervention for Ethics Bill Indirectly Led to Case Against Governor

Pravda couldn't have reacted more quickly.

Works For Me

I can't say it's the Best Picture of the Year - I've not seen that many - but it ranks up there as a pretty darn good flick:
L.A. critics wired for 'Wall-E'
By Justin Chang, Variety

The Los Angeles Film Critics Assn. has named Disney/Pixar's "Wall-E" the best picture of the year, marking the first time in its history that it has given its top prize to an animated film. [link]
Paula and I took Kaid and Jayla to see it and were somewhat surprised by the fact that Wall-E is not a kid's movie. But it is great adult entertainment. So I enjoyed myself, even if the kids were less than whelmed.

I give it three stars.