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

Friday, December 26, 2008

Hello? Anyone Piloting This Plane?

While the city of Blacksburg (and a small, vocal minority of residents Virginia Tech outlanders there) fight to keep Wal-Mart from building a store downtown, downtown is crumbling. The latest from Main Street:
2 Blacksburg retail businesses closing
By Jeff Sturgeon, Roanoke Times*

Two Blacksburg retail businesses recently have closed or are on the verge of closing, one selling big-ticket items and the other general merchandise at a discount.

J.D. Byrider used cars on South Main Street in Blacksburg will close and turn over its accounts to the Roanoke J.D. Byrider location effective Jan. 1.

Meanwhile, Family Dollar at 1411 N. Main St. has closed in recent days. [link]
There are those who will declare, particularly those who live on campus, that this is actually a good thing. These stores' closings will help the city meet its goal of reducing carbon emissions. No stores, no people. No people, no breathing. No breathing, no carbon emissions. Sweet!

Let me sum all this up for you: The city of Blacksburg is working to reduce carbon emissions. And it's still working just as hard to keep Wal-Mart out. All this while its downtown is - increasingly - becoming a ghost town.

Carbon emissions. For the love of God.

- - -

Hey, they let Jeff Sturgeon write an article!

Yeah, That'll Work

Ever wonder why credit card interest rates are so high? (I know, it's those evil corporations. The ones that defy the laws of retail competition). Let me tell you. It's because - in part - of the meddling of government (another large part being extraordinarily high default rates on loans by card holders). And the Bristol Herald Courier says, "Yeah, baby. Bring on the meddling!"
Credit Card Rules Benefit Consumers
editorial

On Thursday, federal regulators approved new rules for the credit card industry to protect consumers from large spikes in interest rates on existing balances. The changes will allow credit card companies to raise rates only on new cards and future purchases or cash advances, not current balances.

This is good news for Americans who are working to pay down credit card debt, but may have been getting stuck with higher interest rates from their credit card companies. If you are one of those people, especially if you have noticed your rate jump, this measure is aimed at helping you.

We support this measure ... [link]
Ever heard the term, "Cause and effect"?

Suppose those (evil) credit card companies are simply going to accept lower profits (or bankruptcy?) No. They'll raise rates on everyone to compensate for this heavy-handed move by the government to block rate increases. They'll simply do it on the front end, when you apply for a new account.

So how's that supposed to "benefit consumers," genius?

Credit card interest rates are going to increase. Anyone with half a brain knows that.

Which explains ...

Barney Frank To The Rescue

He keeps this up and America is sure to fold:
Fading Housing Hope
Washington Post editorial

Passed by Congress in July and put into effect on Oct. 1, the federal government's Hope for Homeowners program was billed as strong medicine for the twin ills of rampant foreclosures and sagging home prices. Advocates argued that it would help stave off recession by delivering mortgage relief to the most deserving of distressed homeowners -- all while creating the least possible taxpayer expense and avoiding perverse incentives. Well, the early returns are in, and the program is, at this point, a flop. There have been only 312 applications, according to the Department of Housing and Urban Development. At that rate, the three-year program would help only about 5,400 borrowers.

The Bush administration and the program's congressional author, House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank (D-Mass.), are now engaged in a blame game, with Bush officials saying that the program is a victim of burdensome conditions imposed by Congress and Frank asserting that he only agreed to those conditions as the price of a politically acceptable bill. [link]
Hang on a second. Wasn't it this Barney Frank guy who caused the mortgage crisis in the first place? And we're letting him fix it? Who's acting crazy here?

Anyway, we find out that Elmer Fudd is still at it. And America's economic plight worsens by the day. Will he be put in charge of fixing his fix now too?

Quote of the Day

From Investor's Business Daily on that misguided - and doomed - automaker bailout:
The government gave the Big Three a $17.3 billion bailout based on the idea that both management and the unions would make concessions. Now the UAW says no thanks. Can we have our money back?
"The UAW Reneges," December 24, 2008

Believe In Global Warming Or Else

On the fanatical nature of the environmental movement, James Lewis:
"You can believe what you want, I don’t believe, I know that global warming is a reality."

And there you have it, folks, the voice of skeptical reason assaulted by militant dogma, ready to burn as many witches as may be needed to defend the One True Faith. If this sounds familiar, just think of Galileo and Pope Innocent III, who did not want to peer through Galileo’s telescope at the night sky, having a rock-hard faith that made evidence unnecessary.

Enter the Barack Obama administration. Between new “Climate Czar” Carole Browner and Science Advisor John Holdren, the True Believers are now taking over Federal policy on energy and the weather. (The weather? Yes! We are now blessed with an official bureaucracy tasked to change the weather. It includes NASA Goddard Space Center’s James Hanson, who believes that CEOs of energy companies “should be tried for high crimes against humanity and nature” if they spread foul skepticism about global warming. Hanson’s career at NASA was boosted by Al Gore when he was “reorganizing government” during the Clinton years. His job is to spread planetary catastrophism, come hell or high water. We have our own Danny the Reds, who know the answers without bothering to consult Mother Nature.)

The trouble is that the actual evidence for global warming has been shot full of holes, and has actually flipped the other way in the last ten years.
Evidence? We don' need no steenking evidence! "Evidence" has always run afoul of those computer models that scientists set up (and continue to adjust in order to fit changing circumstances). We prefer to believe - Believe! - despite all the data that is pouring in that should at least allow for a tiny tad of skepticism, that the planet is warming. And that we are the cause.

And by god, we're not going to let reason get in our way. So don't YOU get in our way.

Or else ...

Where It All Began

I'd probably be on fairly solid ground if I tried to make the argument that the modern-day environmentalist movement began with the 1968 publication of Paul Ehrlich's book, The Population Bomb. Its introduction on college campuses at the time electrified a student population already aroused to social action (think Vietnam, black power, bra-burning ...), and a tome devoted to (a) predicting the end of humanity, and (b) humanity ("the establishment," as it was called back then) being responsible for it fit right into the evolving dogma.

Well, what of that epic tome that shook the world ("shook the world," see, I can do it too)

Ross Douthat provides us with a recent quote from Obama's new "science" adviser, John Holdren, and comment:
"This was the key insight in Paul Ehrlich's The Population Bomb (Ballantine, New York, 1968), as well as one of those in Harrison Brown's prescient earlier book, The Challenge of Man's Future (Viking, New York, 1954). The elementary but discomfiting truth of it may account for the vast amount of ink, paper, and angry energy that has been expended trying in vain to refute it."

It is, I suppose, possible to find a "key insight" about population growth in Ehrlich's book that's anodyne enough to qualify as "elementary" and irrefutable. But there's a pretty good reason that the book is remembered primarily for its mix of hysteria and moral idiocy: When you kick off your argument by predicting that "the battle to feed all of humanity is over," and that "in the 1970s and 1980s hundreds of millions of people will starve to death in spite of any crash programs embarked upon now," and then proceed to argue for mass sterilization programs, the quarantine and abandonment of countries too overpopulated to save from total collapse, and various other "triage" methods (honestly, The Population Bomb has to be read to be believed), you pretty much forfeit the right to be praised for your prescience forty years down the line.

Unless, that is, one of your friends goes on to become the science advisor to the President of the United States.
These ignorant fools are dangerous.

And they've taken over the asylum.

While Tim Kaine Wants To Raise Their Taxes ...

... Retailers Want In on Stimulus Plan
The country's largest retail trade association asked President-elect Barack Obama Tuesday to add a series of sales tax-exempt shopping days to a coming economic stimulus package in an effort to revive consumer confidence and spur spending.

The National Retail Federation called for three periods of sales tax-free shopping that would last 10 days each in March, July and October 2009. The trade group estimates that it would save consumers about $20 billion, or $175 per family.

Under the industry group's proposal, which would exclude alcohol and tobacco sales, the federal government would reimburse states for the lost tax revenue. [link]
Chances are slim that the government is going to listen to America's retailers (if only they had UAW membership). But isn't it at least odd that the governor of Virginia, according to the Roanoke Times, is contemplating a tax increase on retailers at the very time that those retailers are pleading for help?

Hello?