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

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Diversity = Conformity?

If this exposé in "The Torch," the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education's website, is any indication, the concept of "diversity" on the Virginia Tech campus goes well beyond conformity. It's the kind of stuff the Soviets would have been proud of.

At Virginia Tech, diversity = inviolable lockstep.

Say what?
Virginia Tech to Demand ‘Diversity’ Conformity by Vote
The Torch

Suppose the provost at your college started a new "patriotism" initiative. In the first year, he would permit faculty members to self-report their "patriotism accomplishments." In the second year, faculty members would be strongly encouraged to report their "patriotism accomplishments" on their annual reports of their activities. In the third year, faculty members would be told that "patriotism accomplishments are especially important for faculty seeking tenure and promotion," and dossiers for tenure and promotion would include a multi-part section on "patriotism."

Or put the word "Christianity" in place of "patriotism." Suppose the provost tells all faculty, graduate students, and tenure and review committees that Christian activities are something they can choose to report in their self-assessments. After three years, there is a "Christian accomplishments" section in the tenure dossier, a list of approved activities, and strong pressure to incorporate Christian themes into faculty members' research, teaching, and professional development.

Do you think this kind of thing couldn't happen at a public university? It's been happening at Virginia Tech. Just change "patriotism" or "Christianity" to a different matter of individual conscience: dedication to "diversity." FIRE, the National Association of Scholars, the American Council of Trustees and Alumni, the student newspaper, and others have all come out strongly against Virginia Tech's coercive policy of pressuring faculty to show their commitment to "diversity" in their research, teaching, and professional development.

If you wouldn't stand for a mandatory "patriotism" or "Christianity" assessment for faculty merit raises, promotion, and tenure, you can't stand for a mandatory "diversity" assessment either. And neither can the First Amendment. [link]
"Mandatory diversity."

Mandatory diversity.

Read the whole thing. Then go to "Mark Bauerlein on Virginia Tech Diversity Requirement for Faculty Assessment."

Then read "FIRE Letter to Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University President Charles W. Steger."

And "FIRE Calls on Virginia Tech to Abandon New Political Litmus Test for Faculty."

Then, if you haven't been frightened enough, go to "Commitment to Diversity as a Job Requirement."

This, friends, is sobering stuff.

Virginia Tech. What has this once-superlative institution of higher learning, this former bastion of individual freedoms, this oasis where the sanctity of reason and conscience were championed, come to?

Celebrate If You Will

Some would argue - with a good deal of justification - that Virginia Tech celebrates "Gay Awareness Week" 52 weeks a year. At the point of a gun. See above.

Others would argue that it is an attempt at showing the outside world, and the student body, that gay Americans are normal human beings, just like the rest of us.

If that's the case, though, why turn it into a freak show?
Transgendered minister Rev. Erin Swenson leads workshop in Blacksburg
By Tonia Moxley, Roanoke Times

It's been more than five decades since 11-year-old Eric Karl Swenson hid a newspaper clipping with the headline "Ex-Marine becomes bride" in a hole in the bedroom wall of his family home in Atlanta, Ga.

That story about a transsexual Korean War veteran who married a man in the late 1950s "was a thing of hope for me," the Rev. Erin Katrina Swenson said.

But it would take nearly 40 of those years for Swenson to come to grips with her gender identity. In that time, Eric Swenson would marry, father two children, become pastor of a Presbyterian congregation and establish a successful marriage and family therapy practice. Yet, he would struggle with crippling depression, even thoughts of suicide, before confronting himself, his family and his church with a truth he'd known since he was a child: He felt like he was a woman.

When Swenson asked the church to recognize her new name and identity, she touched off a nearly two-year fight to keep her ordination. She succeeded, and in 1996 became the first known mainline Protestant minister to transition from male to female while in ordained office.

So she has partnered with the Washington, D.C.-based Human Rights Campaign Foundation to help rally churches across the country to lobby for the legal rights of gay, lesbian and transgendered people at the annual Clergy Call for Justice and Equality scheduled for May 4-5 on Capitol Hill.

One of those participating churches is Glade Church in Blacksburg, which in conjunction with Virginia Tech's Gay Awareness Week celebration, will host two days of workshops with Swenson, said the Rev. Kelly Sisson of Glade. [link]
You too can celebrate. Gay Awareness Week over at Virginia Tech starts today. Go hug a homosexual.

For those of you who think I'm being harsh in calling this "minister" a freak, you need to come to grips with the fact that the selfish bastard ruined the lives of a wife and two children (two children who didn't ask to be brought into such circumstances but whose "father" had self-centered needs along those lines as well) so that he/she could "find" him/herself.

Freak is charitable.

Slimeball is more accurate.

And While Obama Rebuilds The Auto Industry ...

... his pals in Congress work to control the Earth's weather:

House Democrats Plan to Introduce Greenhouse-Gas Bill.

And they all wonder why Americans hold them in such low regard.

Common Sense From The Roanoke Times?

This editorial header this morning says it all:

Ask Boy Scouts to clean up

Problem solved.

The Bottom Line

New York Times analyst David E. Sanger on Obama's decision to take the reins of General Motors:
When he stood in the White House to unveil his approach, Mr. Obama took pains to assure the country — twice — that “the United States government has no interest in running G.M.”

If the generous health care plans that autoworkers have grown accustomed to are pared back, if wages fall to something closer to what workers at the Japanese and German transplants in the South are paid, it will be Mr. Obama — not G.M.’s management — who will be blamed.
Expect him to blame Bush.

You're Dreaming

It has taken the United States government 234 years to get the post office right (and, after all the effort, USPS is now on the brink of disaster). So that same government is going to get General Motors right in 60 days?

Pardon me for a moment while I try to stop the uncontrollable laughter:

The New York Times editorial page:
The Last Best Chance for Detroit

President Obama struck an acceptable compromise on Monday between two unappealing options: letting General Motors and Chrysler go bankrupt right away or giving them tens of billions of dollars more while hoping for the best. Instead, he decided to finance their operations for just a matter of weeks while forcing them to come up with a better plan to overhaul their businesses.

The government has 60 days to clean up G.M.’s balance sheet, eliminate debts and shed product lines and dealerships so it can emerge as a smaller, viable car company.

[T]he auto task force has come up with what seems to be the best shot we have at obtaining a viable auto industry. The president must stick to it. [link]
Right.

The small, viable government is going to create a "smaller, viable car company" in 60 days.

An effort to be led by a man who has 0 days experience in corporate governance.

Why am I less enthused about Obama's prospects than are those who have an equally broad-based background in business at the Times?

'The Best Defense ... Is None At All'

These people baffle the crap out of me. They scare me a little too. But I just can't understand the mindset that would prompt a college student (or former college student) to argue that one shouldn't try to defend oneself against a madman intent on killing everyone within eyesight - including him - because chances are slim that he would be successful in the attempt.

The better alternative, according to said genius, is to accept the bullet smashing into the brain cavity and die.

Idiot?

Without doubt, according to Rand Simberg.

See "Mindless."

Monday, March 30, 2009

There Are Some Weird People Out There

What's up with this?
Man Said to Idolize Va. Tech Shooter Faces Trial
By Allison Klein, Washington Post Staff Writer

As the second anniversary of the Virginia Tech massacre approaches, federal prosecutors are preparing a criminal case against a Nevada man who police say idolized shooter Seung Hui Cho, owned the same type of guns Cho used and sent threatening e-mails to two Tech students who had run-ins with Cho before the rampage.

In the e-mails, Johnmarlo Balasta Napa, 27, included a picture of Cho holding paper dolls with photos of the faces of the two students and the people he killed, according to court records. Napa is accused of sending the e-mails from the address seunghuichorevenge@yahoo.com hours before the first anniversary of the April 16, 2007, shooting.

When Napa was arrested last year, police found 13 guns and three bulletproof vests in his house in Henderson, Nev., police said.

Bart McEntire, who worked on the case as a supervisory special agent in Roanoke for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, said he thinks Napa posed a legitimate danger to public safety.

"The patterns of behavior are very much similar to persons who have committed violent school shootings in the past," McEntire said. "It is apparent they research each other's actions, document how they carry out those actions and start developing plans based on those past actions." [link]

I'm not at all comfortable with the authorities arresting people based on the "patterns of their behavior," but the alternative is ... Virginia Tech.

I hope they do some serious evaluation of this joker. He's an imbecile at least. And a very dangerous man at worst.

With Blinders On

I can't get over the reaction of the mainstream media to Dick Cheney's mild criticism of the Obama administration. It's as if the best vice president this country has ever had stumbled into some kind of taboo that calls for ex-executive branch officials to never speak unkindly of those currently in power.

Today's glaring example:
Hail to the Chief — in Public, That Is
By Richard Reeves, New York Times

President Obama must have been a bit surprised when, on his 54th day in office, the former vice president, Richard Cheney, decided to go on television and brand him a danger to the Republic. “ “He is,” said Cheney, “making some choices that, in my mind, will, in fact, raise the risk to the American people of another attack.”

That is not the way the game is usually played. Even former President George W. Bush understood that. Speaking two days after Cheney to an audience of 2,000 people in Calgary, Canada, he was, predictably, asked about Cheney’s remarks and said of his successor:

“He deserves my silence. I love my country a lot more than I love politics. I think it is essential that he be helped in office.”

That’s better — or at least validates the norm of history. [link]
Is that right? The norm is to remain silent?

Has this nitwit never heard the names Bill Clinton or Jimmy Carter before?

Unbelievable. Simply unbelievable.

Judge a Man By The Friends He Keeps

Virginia Senator James Webb is feted as a hero this morning by the New York Times editorial page.

Another really good reason (besides the fact that he's been totally inconsequential thus far) to drive him into exile if he chooses to run for reelection.

A Mystery Solved

Fascinating. Civil War lore continues to be cultivated all these years later.

I had read the account of Sergeant Amos Humiston of the 154th New York Volunteer Infantry Regiment and his death at Gettysburg many years ago. What made the account fascinating was the manner in which his death was confirmed. It came through the identification weeks later of a photograph he was clutching in his hand when he died of three small children. By his wife back home in New York. After the Philadelphia Inquirer had run a story entitled, "Whose Father Was He?"

It was noteworthy to me because, unlike the tens of thousands of Civil War casualties that fell off the face of the Earth and went "missing in action" forever, never to be identified,* Amos Humiston's last moments were chronicled.

And now a new book has been written about his life and death. From the New York Times this morning: "Whose Father Was He? (Part One)," by Errol Morris.

For me a must-read.

- - -

* As one example, of the 15,000 graves in the Fredericksburg Civil War cemetery, more than 80% are marked "unknown."

I Wondered When We'd Get Around To This

Although I didn't think of the Sarah Palin connection, I recognized the potential hypocrisy that just drips from the story about Joe Biden's daughter. If it's okay to make Sarah Palin's children an issue, is it okay to go after Biden's little girl and her alleged drug use?

Those on the left, of course, won't think so.

But wait a minute ...
Holding Joe Biden’s Family to the Barney Frank Standard
By GayPatriot

During last fall’s presidential campaign, Barney Frank likely served as an inspiration to some bloggers eager to score points with the far left when he became one of “the first Democrats to publicly say Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin’s family background, including the pregnancy of her unwed teenage daughter, should be fair game for campaign discussion.“

If the daughter of a candidate for Vice President is “fair game” for campaign discussion, it follows that the daughter of the sitting Vice President should be “fair game” for political discussion.

Apparently the mainstream media doesn’t think so.

Starting yesterday, Drudge has been linking a number of articles reporting that a “‘friend’ of Vice President Joseph Biden’s daughter, Ashley, is attempting to hawk a videotape that he claims shows her snorting cocaine at a house party this month in Delaware.“ Yet, except for a few New York area papers (Newsday, NY Post, NY Daily News), the “old media” have not picked up on this story.

In an ideal world, this wouldn’t, indeed, likely shouldn’t be news. But, it seems that whenever the child of a Republican politician is caught up in a scandal, the MSM, following the lead of Democrats like Frank, calls their private lives “fair game.” Recall how quickly they were in May and June of 2001 to jump on the story of Jenna Bush’s underage drinking escapade.

The story made the cover of People magazine. And this was drinking not drugs.

Maybe it’s time for Barney to start bullying them, holding them to the standard he set for Biden’s rival for the Vice-Presidency last fall. [link]
I avoided the Drudge story about Biden's daughter and her alleged cocaine use. It's just too "iffy," and she's of no interest to me.

But when I was reminded of the meanness directed at Sarah Palin's family, it takes on a whole different light.

Should we crawl down in the gutter with the likes of Barney Frank? You decide.

Feel Used Yet?

He suckered you into buying those awful curlicue light bulbs, and for what? So that he could afford to shine spotlights on the trees that accentuate his palatial grounds at night. That's what:
Al Gore Leaves The Light On For Ya
By Kleinheider, Nashville Post

Even during Earth Hour. President of the Tennessee Center For Policy Research Drew Johnson takes a Saturday drive by Al Gore’s during the time most environmentalists went dark:

"I pulled up to Al’s house, located in the posh Belle Meade section of Nashville, at 8:48pm – right in the middle of Earth Hour. I found that the main spotlights that usually illuminate his 9,000 square foot mansion were dark, but several of the lights inside the house were on.

"The kicker, though, were [sic] the dozen or so floodlights grandly highlighting several trees and illuminating the driveway entrance of Gore’s mansion.

"I [kid] you not, my friends, the savior of the environment couldn’t be bothered to turn off the gaudy lights that show off his goofy trees." [link]
And yet people continue to listen to the fat blowhard. Unbelievable.

Self-Preservation

A spokesman for Remington Arms, one of America's leading manufacturers of sporting ammunition:
We underestimated the impact of a Democratic president; we didn't fully understand the 'fear factor' that would result among our best customers. Even if everything leveled off tomorrow, it would take 60 to 90 days for our production to normalize. We have no inventory, the trade has no inventory and the stores have no inventory. What's worse, the supply of reloading components has really dried up. There's a shortage of primers and bullets, so the reloaders are temporarily out of luck, too.
A sporting goods store owner in Birmingham, Alabama:
I've seen some strange things in the past 29 years in business but I never thought I'd see the day when I would make one order in one day for more ammo than I sold during all of the previous year. I'm doing that, knowing I won't get it, and also knowing that if I did, I could sell it all and be ordering more three days later. [link]
From Google Trends, which provides insight into what people are searching for on the internet each day, take a look at the number of times the word "ammo" was searched:

Note the trend line beginning around the fourth quarter of 2008, when Obama began locking up the Democratic nomination.

We knew what we were getting into.

Chart courtesy of ESPN.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

These People Are Weird

The Boy Scouts want to bring their national jamboree to Rockbridge County.

Sweet.

Or, not so sweet if you're an "environmentalist" living in Rockbridge County, if you have a steady income despite the fact that others may not, and if your head is stuck up your ass.

For the life of me, I don't understand what the big deal is:
Opponents of Scouts proposal speak out
By Courtney Cutright, Roanoke Times

The Boy Scouts of America set Rockbridge County abuzz last month when it announced that Goshen Scout Reservation is the top choice for its national jamboree -- an event that could bring 240,000 people to the region, ring up $100 million in investment and create dozens of full-time jobs.

But not everyone's doing a jamboree jig.

Since the Boy Scouts made the announcement, letters to the editor -- and paid advertisements -- opposing the project have appeared in the area's weekly newspapers. And an opposition group, Save Goshen Pass, has been formed.

A main question being asked: Can Goshen and Rockbridge County handle such an influx?

Jay Gilliam, a member of the opposition group, said the magnitude of the project would change the natural, rural character of the area and pose significant hazards to Maury River users downstream of the site.

One opponent, Linda Larsen, raised questions about whether the secondary roads leading to the area will be able to handle the traffic loads. Virginia 39 is "a scenic historic byway. It parallels the Maury [River]," Larsen said. "There are curves and twists and a couple of doglegs to it." [link]
Memo to Linda Larsen: Come up with a better whine. You're arguing that the jamboree should be banned from Rockbridge County because a road is twisty and curvy? And has a dogleg? Got a Complaint B?

And this Gilliam character is up in arms because some kid might pee in the river?

For the love of God.

There are a few facts one needs to consider here:

1) The jamboree is held only once every four years.

2) The jamboree is held over a 10 day period.

3) That's ten days out of every four years. Imagine the global chaos that will ensue.

4) The unemployment rate in Rockbridge County is up 141% from just two years ago (2.7% in 01/07 to 7.0% in 01/09).

5) Both environmental champions quoted in the article have gainful employment, it would appear, if 7% of their neighbors don't.

6) That 7% is no accident. From the story: "Opponents to economic development projects in the past have driven business away from the county. [O]pponents 'chased off' Nestle when the company wanted to build a water-bottling plant in the county a few years ago."

7) I wonder how these selfish twits would feel about jobs coming to their county if they were unemployed, their bellies were empty, and their children were crying out for food.

I wonder ...

I'm Not Impressed

A political reporter for the Washington Post characterizes a new biography of Ted Kennedy as being "insightful." The name of the book is "Last Lion."

One wonders just how insightful it is, knowing that the author didn't even have the insight necessary to come up with a unique title.

I Ain't Alone

David Rothkopf, writing in the Washington Post on the subject of our political leadership:
You wake up in the morning and once again the financial weather report calls for the Apocalypse followed by brief showers of despair. Seeking a ray of hope, you turn on the television and settle in to watch a Capitol Hill hearing. There in the hot seat is the man who holds the entire U.S. economy in his hands. And he looks like Harry Potter.

You listen, eager for new ideas, but somehow much of what he says seems dispiritingly predictable. Is this the best America can produce? Aren't great crises supposed to bring forth great men? Did President Obama really just compare Timothy Geithner to Alexander Hamilton? We need Roosevelt and Churchill. Even watching Obama at times, it seems that we've elected -- despite their smarts and earnestness -- a government of stumbling technocrats whose solutions either fall short or go too far. It's enough to make you want to pull the covers back over your head.
Obama has a great jump shot, though. We still have that.

Business 101

There are two things you must grasp about America's efforts to switch to some as-yet failed "alternative energy source" to replace fossil fuels.

1) Cost Works Against Alternative and Renewable Energy Sources in Time of Recession.

2) Cost Works Against Alternative and Renewable Energy Sources in Time of Growth.

Senility Is In The Eye of The Beholder

Most of America now views the hapless Joe Biden as being nothing more than that crazy old uncle in the attic.

The New York Times sees something entirely different:

Speaking Freely, Biden Finds Influential Role

That's right. Biden is "influential."

God, I hope not. Or we're all in trouble.

What's Wrong With This Picture?

Remember the fad of a few years ago when all the would-be environmentalists out there decided they'd do their part in saving the planet by, uh, foregoing the Olympic size swimming pool uh, canceling the vacation in Aruba uh, moving into an 800 square foot house, which is all any family really needs going out and buying a curlicue light bulb at Wal-Mart?

What exactly were they saving again?

A report, of sorts, from Glenn Reynolds:
RELIABILITY PROBLEMS WITH COMPACT FLUORESCENT BULBS. The first batch I bought — from Feit, as in the story — was no good. The Sylvanias were so ugly that I replaced them with better-looking GE bulbs almost immediately, so who knows how they would have worked out over time. The GE versions I bought produce nice light and haven’t had any failures. On the other hand, I’ve put in over two dozen bulbs in the house, and I haven’t noticed any drop in my electric bill. With weather, etc., it’s hard to really compare, but it’s about the same as last year. That’s kind of disappointing. If you made a shift, what’s your experience been?
They're ugly, they don't work, and they don't (perhaps) save on the electric bill.

But those who got caught up in the idiocy shouldn't bemoan their failure. They were doing their part to save the planet, right? Buying those screwy light bulbs was akin to buying war bonds back in the 40's. It was the patriotic thing to do.

Just because it was a shallow, misguided, cost-ineffective, environmentally hazardous (and let's not forget goofy) notion from the git-go shouldn't disturb those who got caught up in it.

Surprise. Surprise.

Didn't the mainstream press criticize George Bush for "going it alone" and for failing to obtain global (meaning European) consensus on an array of issues, issues involving global crises that needed to be confronted?

Could it be possible that the problem wasn't Bush at all?
Obama Will Face a Defiant World on Foreign Visit
By Helene Cooper, New York Times

Washington — President Obama is facing challenges to American power on multiple fronts as he prepares for his first trip overseas since taking office, with the nation’s economic woes emboldening allies and adversaries alike.

Despite his immense popularity around the world, Mr. Obama will confront resentment over American-style capitalism and resistance to his economic prescriptions when he lands in London on Tuesday for the Group of 20 summit meeting of industrial and emerging market nations plus the European Union. [link]
Notice how the press made it out to be the opposite when Bush was president. The world loved the U.S. but hated "the cowboy." Now the world loves Obama but hates our way of life. Yet the story itself plays out the same way. The rest of the world stands in opposition to us.

What does this say about the media?

As a side note, I should mention: At least Bush tried. Get a load of the way Obama's efforts to make his plans "multilateral" are being portrayed:

"The president will not even try to overcome NATO’s unwillingness to ..."

"He seems unlikely to return home with any more to show for his attempts to ..."

"Mr. Obama is unlikely to push for ..."

Why don't you stay home and save the taxpayers a few bucks, Barry?

Oh, and then we get the reason Obama's effort is already being characterized as a failure:

"The challenges stem in part from lingering unhappiness around the world at the way the Bush administration used American power."

It's all Bush's fault.

For the love of God.

We'll Not Go Quietly Into that DARK NIGHT

In opposition to the notion that we need to live in caves, provide our children no hope for the future, and pay homage to a silly fad called Earth Hour, today we celebrate Human Achievement Hour:



"Happiness lies in the joy of achievement and the thrill of creative effort."
Franklin D. Roosevelt

Click on the triangle to activate.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Say Goodbye To More Area Businesses

Memo to Tim Kaine: Haven't you and your kind driven enough companies from Southwest Virginia by making it too costly to operate here? You actually want to make things worse?
Kaine proposes insurance expansion
By Michael Sluss, Roanoke Times

Richmond -- Gov. Tim Kaine appears likely to face opposition from Republican legislative leaders and business groups as he develops a plan to accept enhanced unemployment benefits from the federal government, a step that would require the state to expand eligibility for the insurance program.

Kaine said Thursday that he is developing a proposal to expand unemployment eligibility so that Virginia meets requirements for receiving $125 million in benefit enhancements from the federal government. The funds are part of the economic recovery package Congress passed last month.

With a 6.4 percent unemployment rate, Virginia is already eligible for $62.5 million in additional federal unemployment funds. But some Republican legislative leaders and business groups have raised concerns about accepting the additional $125 million, warning that it could drive up taxes on Virginia businesses. That's because Virginia would have to change state law to extend benefits to at least two classes of workers. [link]
More taxes on Virginia's businesses. More burdens many cannot shoulder.

It's rumored that the Chinese are very supportive of Tim's initiative.

Kaine the Moderate

Or not:

Kaine Vetoes Bills to Expand Death Penalty
By Anita Kumar Washington Post Staff Writer

Richmond, March 27 -- Gov. Timothy M. Kaine vetoed several bills Friday, including those that would have expanded the death penalty to criminals who assist in murders or who kill fire marshals or auxiliary police officers.

It was the third year in a row Kaine vetoed the "triggerman" bill that targets accomplices in murders. In Virginia, only the person directly responsible for a killing can be sentenced to death.

Kaine also vetoed several gun bills allowing concealed-carry permit holders and retired law enforcement officers to carry firearms into restaurants that serve alcohol and exempting active-duty service members from the state's one-handgun-per-month purchase limit. He also rejected bills allowing those applying for a concealed-carry permit to complete the required firearms training online and prohibiting law enforcement agencies who hold voluntary gun buy-back programs from destroying the weapons. [link]

On the plus side, Kaine will be moving to Washington soon to take on his new role as head of the Democratic Party full time. The glorious occasion can't come soon enough.

I speak for hundreds of thousands in saying: So long, Tim. Don't let the door hit you in the ass on your way out.

What Is He Afraid Of?

This should make you shake your head in disbelief this morning:
Obama Town Hall Questioners Were Campaign Backers
By Garance Franke-Ruta, Washington Post

President Obama has promised to change the way the government does business, but in at least one respect he is taking a page from the Bush playbook, stocking his town hall Thursday with supporters whose soft -- though far from planted -- questions provided openings to discuss his preferred message of the day.

[W]hile the online question portion of the White House town hall was open to any member of the public with an Internet connection, the five fully identified questioners called on randomly by the president in the East Room were anything but a diverse lot. They included: a member of the pro-Obama Service Employees International Union, a member of the Democratic National Committee who campaigned for Obama among Hispanics during the primary; a former Democratic candidate for Virginia state delegate who endorsed Obama last fall in an op-ed in the Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star; and a Virginia businessman who was a donor to Obama's campaign in 2008. [link]
That's not a town hall forum. That's a chant.

Is Obama so frightened of the American people and unsure of his positions that he has to shield himself off from policy discussions with those who might disagree with him?

While Liberals Diddle With Windmills ...

... scientists are making astounding leaps forward in their quest for cheap and abundant energy ...

... with coal as its source:
Bad News: Scientists Make Cheap Gas From Coal
By Alexis Madrigal, Wired Science

Electric cars have been getting a lot of buzz lately, but a more immediately viable transportation fuel of the future could be liquid derived from coal. Scientists have devised a new way to transform coal into gas for your car using far less energy than the current process. The advance makes scaling up the environmentally unfriendly fuel more economical than greener alternatives.

If oil prices rise again, adoption of the new coal-to-liquid technology, reported this week in Science, could undercut adoption of electric vehicles or next-generation biofuels. And that's bad news for the fight against climate change.

The new process could cut the energy cost of producing the fuel by 20 percent just by rejiggering the intermediate chemical steps, said co-author Ben Glasser of the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa.

The process of cooking coal into liquid fuel, on the other hand, has already proven itself on a massive scale. Take coal, add some water, cook it, and you've got a liquid fuel for your car. The hydrogen in the water bonds to the carbon and voila: hydrocarbons, such as octane. [link]
The downside? It makes those who cling to the notion that the globe is warming angry:

"[C]oal-derived fuel could produce as much as twice as much CO2 as traditional petroleum fuels and at best will emit at least as much of the greenhouse gas.

"If oil prices rise again, adoption of the new coal-to-liquid technology, reported this week in Science, could undercut adoption of electric vehicles or next-generation biofuels. And that's bad news for the fight against climate change."

Which, in the big scheme of things, is of no real consequence. Unless you worship at the altar of "climate change."

Here's to coal-to-liquid technology.

Now, where will the industry obtain that source material, I wonder ...

What Goes Around ...

Let's see how quickly the liberal nitwits in Hollywood become flaming laissez faire libertarians now:
Poll: 1 In 3 Want Star, Athlete Salary Cap
By Clemente Lisi, New York Post

One in three Americans believe the government should make it illegal to pay athletes and movie stars more than $1 million per year, according to a new poll.

A Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey released Thursday found that 30 percent favor government pay limits for jocks and film stars. [link]
Evil Jerry wants those in La La Land to reap that which they've sown. I'd be amused.

But I try to remember, too, that limiting the opportunities of others does nothing to enhance your prospects for success. It only punishes others, to no good end.

You think Alex Rodriguez is a slimeball? Don't go to Yankees games.

But don't stand in the way of others trying to better themselves.

She Has a Way With Words

Though most of the time I don't agree with that which tumbles out of her keyboard, New York Times editor and columnist Gail Collins can certainly deliver her thoughts succinctly. Take, for example, her explanation for her governor's shrinking popularity poll numbers (in "How to Train a Governor"):
The most remarkable thing of all is that while [David] Paterson certainly did mess up on that Caroline Kennedy-Senate thing, he achieved this political free fall without help from any big personal scandal. In a state capital where anybody who is anybody is under indictment, he managed to completely alienate the public just by being terrible at his job.
Good stuff.

What The 'Climate Change' Blather Is Really All About

It has nothing to do with global warming. It has everything to do with a new world order:
U.N. 'Climate Change' Plan Would Likely Shift Trillions to Form New World Economy
By George Russell, Fox News

A United Nations document on "climate change" that will be distributed to a major environmental conclave next week envisions a huge reordering of the world economy, likely involving trillions of dollars in wealth transfer, millions of job losses and gains, new taxes, industrial relocations, new tariffs and subsidies, and complicated payments for greenhouse gas abatement schemes and carbon taxes — all under the supervision of the world body.

Those and other results are blandly discussed in a discretely worded United Nations "information note" on potential consequences of the measures that industrialized countries will likely have to take to implement the Copenhagen Accord, the successor to the Kyoto Treaty, after it is negotiated and signed by December 2009. [link]
So where does Obama stand on this effort to destroy U.S. sovereignty and to seize massive amounts of America's wealth in the name of "climate change abatement"?

He's just fine with it:
The Obama administration has said it supports the treaty process if, in the words of a U.S. State Department spokesman, it can come up with an "effective framework" for dealing with global warming.
Global warming. A global hoax. Being perpetrated by extremely dangerous people. And our president goes along to get along.

For the love of God.

Quote of the Day

From Investor's Business Daily:

Writing in the Financial Times recently, Czech President Vaclav Klaus said: "As someone who lived under communism for most of his life, I feel obliged to say that I see the biggest threat to freedom, democracy, the market economy and prosperity now in ambitious environmentalism, not communism."

Klaus told the Cato Institute recently that "environmentalism is a religion" that accepts global warming on faith and seeks to exploit it to reshape the world and economic social order.

Its commandments are now being written. The U.N. will be its temple and U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon its high priest.

"Copenhagen: Environmental Munich," March 27, 2009

The Sun Will Rise In The East

U.S. Expected to Give More Financing to Automakers

'Those Evil Republicans Did It First!'

On Obama constantly whining about the mess that Bush left him, here's Charles Hurt:
New Era of Spend and Blame

For a guy who talks so much about wanting a new era of responsibility, President Obama spends an awful lot of time blaming Republicans for all the wild and reckless spending he crammed into his own budget.

After running a campaign against the $1 trillion deficit he "inherited" from President Bush and the Republicans, Obama quickly matched it.

Under Obama's proposed budget, the overall national debt doubles in five years and triples in 10.

Not exactly "moving from an era of borrow and spend to one where we save and invest," as he promised.

How does Mr. Responsibility explain the disconnect between this reality and his absurd claims? By insisting that Republicans were worse.

Surveying the political landscape here today, Obama is thinking of that adage cherished by cutthroats everywhere.

If you and a buddy are walking through the woods and encounter a hungry, angry bear, you don't have to outrun the bear. You simply have to outrun your buddy. [link]

Can Republicans ever be "buddies" with this guy? I doubt it. But the point is well taken.

Run!

Whadayaknow

How is this possible? Nearly 2/3rds of Americans polled have an unfavorable opinion of our ditsy, deceitful, ultra-partisan, anti-American Speaker of the House?

From "Rasmussen Reports: Congressional Favorability Ratings":

"Sixty percent (60%) of U.S. voters now have an unfavorable opinion of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, including 42% Very Unfavorable, according to a new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey. A growing number of her doubters seem to be fellow Democrats."

If this were a democracy, she'd be back home, plying her wares on a San Francisco street corner.

Instead ...

Well, It Was A Nice Thought

Ah, yes. "Green" jobs. Democrats do have such a raucous sense of humor:
Job Losses From Obama Green Stimulus Foreseen in Spanish Study
By Gianluca Baratti, Breitbart.com

March 27 (Bloomberg) -- Subsidizing renewable energy in the U.S. may destroy two jobs for every one created if Spain’s experience with windmills and solar farms is any guide.

For every new position that depends on energy price supports, at least 2.2 jobs in other industries will disappear, according to a study from King Juan Carlos University in Madrid.

U.S. President Barack Obama’s 2010 budget proposal contains about $20 billion in tax incentives for clean-energy programs. In Spain, where wind turbines provided 11 percent of power demand last year, generators earn rates as much as 11 times more for renewable energy compared with burning fossil fuels.

The premiums paid for solar, biomass, wave and wind power - - which are charged to consumers in their bills -- translated into a $774,000 cost for each Spanish “green job” created since 2000, said Gabriel Calzada, an economics professor at the university and author of the report.

“The loss of jobs could be greater if you account for the amount of lost industry that moves out of the country due to higher energy prices,” he said in an interview.

Spain’s Acerinox SA, the nation’s largest stainless-steel producer, blamed domestic energy costs for deciding to expand in South Africa and the U.S., according to the study. [link]

Industry is fleeing Spain because of government efforts to create green jobs. The Chinese must be liking that. And, based on this study, we can expect to look forward to losing two jobs for every one that the Democrats create. Swell.

On a related note, didn't our own fun-loving Governor Kaine have a similar idea about creating "green" jobs?

Why, yes he did.

Was I the only one laughing hysterically when he spewed such a silly notion?

I wonder if the Spanish see the humor in all this.

Things That Make You Go Hmmmmm

Do you trust Congress with health care after AIG?

Friday, March 27, 2009

Works For Me

On first read, this would seem to be a (mild) attack on the area's coal companies and their raping of the land.

But when you think about it ...
UN lauds effort to reforest Appalachia's mountains
By Roger Alford, Associated Press Writer

[Sam Adams] was one of about 70 people gathered in Blackey [Kentucky] last week to plant thousands of trees on the barren grasslands* left behind by mining companies that have ripped the mountaintops apart to unearth coal, decimating entire forests.

"We've got an estimated 741,000 acres in Appalachia that are barren," said Adams, the Kentucky coordinator for the conservation group Appalachian Coal Country Watershed Team. "If we put a dent in that, if we could correct that, I think it's well worth doing."

Adams and the others were volunteering for the Appalachian Regional Reforestation Initiative, a movement led by the U.S. Office of Surface Mining and several Appalachian states to replace trees uprooted in the search for coal. The campaign is being lauded by the United Nations Environment Programme, which wants to plant 7 billion trees worldwide in the next three years to combat global deforestation. [link]
Why, those rotten coal companies.

But wait.

Take out the pejorative phrases ("barren grasslands" "ripped the mountaintops apart" "decimating entire forests") written by this objective reporter and you find a quite hopeful story. A story about renewal:
The overall goal is to plant about 38 million trees on Appalachian mine sites.

The U.S. Office of Surface Mining, armed with university research debunking the myth that trees won't grow on the played-out mine lands, has been encouraging coal companies to restore the forests. Patrick Angel, a Kentucky-based forester for the federal agency, said native trees can grow as long as the soil and rock isn't so heavily compacted that their roots can't penetrate the reclaimed land.

University of Kentucky forester John Lhotka said research over the past 25 years shows it can work.

"In terms of the growth rate, some of them are similar to natural forests," Lhotka said.

The coal industry supports reforestation, said Luke Popovich, spokesman for the National Mining Association in Washington.

Preparing the mine land for reforestation is no more expensive than compacting the ground and turning it into grasslands, Popovich said.

So Appalachia can be mined, the citizenry therein can be fruitfully employed, and the land can then be returned to its natural state.

Who knew?

In reality, all of us who don't live in Manhattan or on some insular college campus know it.

I think we all know, too, that my reading of this story isn't what the blind-to-reality environmentalists want us to take away from this story.

"Barren grasslands ..." "Ripped the mountaintops apart ..." "Decimating entire forests ..."

- - -

* Earth to reporter: Grasslands can't be barren. Barren means lifeless. Soil that is able to support plant life is just the opposite of barren. Perhaps you simply meant treeless. Either that or you took your cue from the morons who lead the environmental movement.

On This We Disagree

Washington Post columnist Michael Gerson thinks we are making a mistake in believing that Obama's reliance on his teleprompter signals a weakness in intuition:
What the Teleprompter Teaches

The issue gathered momentum when Irish Prime Minister Brian Cowen read 20 seconds of Obama's teleprompter remarks at a White House ceremony before realizing his mistake. Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, at her nomination as head of Health and Human Services, was made to wait in awkward silence while Obama's teleprompter was adjusted. Then came Obama's use of the big-screen autocue at Tuesday night's news conference.

Coverage by Ron Fournier of the Associated Press began: "What kind of politician brings a teleprompter to a news conference?" A recent Politico story asserted, "President Barack Obama doesn't go anywhere without his teleprompter," calling it a "crutch."

But it is a mistake to argue that the uncrafted is somehow more authentic. Those writers and commentators who prefer the unscripted, who use "rhetoric" as an epithet, who see the teleprompter as a linguistic push-up bra, do not understand the nature of presidential leadership or the importance of writing to the process of thought.

Governing is a craft, not merely a talent. It involves the careful sorting of ideas and priorities. [link]
No argument there. All that's well and good - if Obama wrote what he reads to us.

But he doesn't. From his teleprompter we get thoughts directed at us from some faceless committee. We get poll-tested rhetoric. We get carefully crafted nuances written by operatives whose goal it is to not let Obama say anything that might affect his popularity numbers. Goofy things such as "It's like - it was like Special Olympics or something." He reads the approved message.

What we don't get are Obama's thoughts.

And that's fine too, if one understands that Obama - lacking any real leadership capabilities - is going to rule by committee in the coming years and we might as well know what that committee's attitude is on subjects of the day.

So Obama reads what's written for him. Don't object to it. But don't make it out to be something it's not.

Beware That Which You Hope For

Investor's Business Daily brings some sanity to the discussion about America's awful, AWFUL health care delivery system:
How U.S. Health Care Really Stacks Up
editorial

Manipulative filmmaker Michael Moore says "we have the worst health care in the Western world" and has offered up Cuba as a paradigm for the U.S. to follow.

The kindest thing most Democrats will say about health care in the U.S. is that it's broken.

But what we spend isn't thrown down a rathole. The National Center for Policy Analysis has published a study, "10 Surprising Facts About American Health Care," that shows how Americans get something for the extra dollars they lay out. To wit:

• "Americans have better survival rates than Europeans for common cancers."

• "Americans have lower cancer mortality rates than Canadians."

• "Americans have better access to treatment of chronic diseases than patients in other developed countries."

• "Americans have better access to preventive cancer screenings than Canadians."

• "Lower-income Americans are in better health than comparable Canadians."

• "Americans spend less time waiting for care than patients in Canada and the United Kingdom."

• "People in countries with more government control of health care are highly dissatisfied and believe reform is needed."

• "Americans are more satisfied with the care they receive than Canadians."

• "Americans have much better access to important new technologies like medical imaging than patients in Canada or the U.K."

• "Americans are responsible for the vast majority of all health care innovations."

Can the nationalized, universal systems in Britain, Canada or anywhere else improve on this? No, but we can ruin our health care by following the policies of countries where medical treatment is far below the American standard. [link] [my emphasis]
The U.S. has a high number of (temporary) uninsured. To "correct" that, we're going to destroy the best system ever devised by humankind? Have we gone mad?

It Figures

The New York Times is more fearful of incoming Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu than it is of the terrorist group Hamas.

See "Being a Partner for Peace."

See how screwed up east coast liberals are.

Why Not

It serves no other purpose ...

Tourist and 2 Others on Way to Space Station

Surely space exploration has a higher purpose.

Or not.

Quote of the Day

If you've been following the economic trade wars that the Democrats in Washington have precipitated, particularly with Mexico, you'll understand this from John J. Miller:

"Democrats seem more intent on keeping Mexican trucks out of the United States than illegal aliens ..."

The age in which we live ...

Crunch Time

We all know that Hillary has balls. But Hillary is in charge of nothing. We'll soon be finding out if Obama is as courageous as so many of his sycophants have been telling us:
Clinton: NKorea plan to fire missile 'provocative'
By Matthew Lee and Pamela Hess, My Way.com

Mexico City (AP) - Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton on Wednesday warned North Korea that firing a missile for any purpose would be a "provocative act" that would have consequences.

North Korea is loading a rocket on a launch pad in anticipation of the launch of a communications satellite between April 4 and 8, U.S. counterproliferation [sic] and intelligence officials said. North Korea announced its intention to launch the satellite in February, but regional powers worry the claim is a cover for the launch of a long-range missile capable of reaching Alaska.

Clinton told reporters during a visit to Mexico City that the U.S. believes the North Korean plan to fire a missile for any purpose would violate a U.N. Security Council resolution barring the country from ballistic activity. She linked a missile launch to the future of talks between the U.S., North Korea and four other nations aimed at ending North Korea's nuclear weapons program.

"We have made it very clear that the North Koreans pursue this pathway at a cost and with consequences to the six-party talks, which we would like to see revived," Clinton said. [link]
Uh, that's it? If North Korea launches its missile, we are going to bar them from participating in sure-to-be fruitless talks ... about North Korea? What's that?!

Obama's gotten to her. That has to be what's going on here. This isn't even tough talk, much less a tough response. This is mindless idiocy. Jimmy Carter idiocy.

For the love of God. It's no wonder ammunition sales in this country have gone through the roof since November. It's every man for himself.

What Are These People Doing?

Sick. That's what Obama's people are. Demented.
Terror inmates may be released in US: intel chief
Breitbart.com

President Barack Obama's intelligence chief confirmed Thursday that some Guantanamo inmates may be released on US soil and receive assistance to return to society.

"If we are to release them in the United States, we need some sort of assistance for them to start a new life," said National Intelligence Director Dennis Blair at his first press conference.

"You can't just put them on the street," he added. "All that is work in progress."

The Obama administration is currently evaluating what could be done with the prisoners, he said, but pledged that if they are sent to another country, "we have to be sure that that country will treat them in a humane fashion."[link]

This slimeball is nothing more than a social worker disguised as an Obama bigwig.

Treat them in a humane fashion? Will they treat our children and grandchildren humanely when they succeed in their ultimate mission? Their avowed mission to slaughter our loved ones in our streets?

They've gone mad. Our elected leadership in Washington has lost its collective mind.

This Should Fry Their Eggs

As Obama's poll ratings head into the nether regions, Rush Limbaugh's soar. I have to tell you, there is satisfaction in this that goes beyond words:
Rush's Ratings Bonanza
By Brian Maloney, The Ratings Equalizer

Will the White House ever learn its lesson?

A combination of several powerful forces has resulted in explosive talk radio ratings growth, with indications of much more to come in the months ahead.

Primary factor driving the upward move? You guessed it: Rush Limbaugh. That's in contrast to declining support for Rush's arch-rival Obama.

With Limbaugh at the top of his game, including a more deeply loyal audience than ever, the numbers were expected to be strong. The beginning of the Obamist era, combined with a direct White House campaign targeting the talk titan, however, provided rocket fuel for El Rushbo's ratings. Even to seasoned industry veterans, this data should prove stunning.

Some specifics:

In New York City, WABC has experienced huge gains during Rush's noon- 3pm timeslot: from 4.6 to 6.7 overall ...

In the second-largest market, Los Angeles, KFI-AM has surged into the number one position ...

Chicago, saw another huge move, with Rush affiliate WLS also taking first place during his timeslot ...

KSFO / San Francisco saw similar results, despite the extreme-left bent of the Bay Area: 4.7 to 6.0 share, now ranking second overall ...

In Dallas - Fort Worth, 4.8 to 6.4 men 35-64 and fourth overall ...

Houston's results were truly blockbuster: 6.0 to 9.8 overall, ranking number one with a bullet ...

Keep in mind that these numbers don't even include Limbaugh's strongest markets, medium-sized cities such as Reno, Albuquerque, Boise, Fresno, Bakersfield and hundreds of others where his program dominates local radio. [link]
It's unfortunate that my work precludes my catching much of his show, but it's heartwarming knowing that the man's unwavering devotion to his country (first) and to conservatism (second) is followed - and greatly appreciated - by so many. Rush is a powerful force to be reckoned with.

Obama would do well to pick on those that can't fight back - like Wall Street executives - and leave the "lovable little fuzzball" alone.

Publicity photo courtesy of Rush Limbaugh.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

I Have The Remedy

Well, this can't be good:

Washington Post Newspaper Facing Losses, Chairman Says

My recommendation? Downsize.

Eliminate the editorial section of the paper.

Save trees. Save on expenses. Make half your readers deliriously happy.

A win-win-win.

Trivial Pursuit

In an otherwise forgettable story appearing in the Washington Post this morning about Creigh Deeds - the rural candidate - and his uphill battle to win the Democrat nomination for governor ("Rural Roots Offer Benefits, Obstacles To Deeds's Run"), there's this bit of trivia:

"Deeds's home is worlds away from the clogged roads and glass towers of Tysons Corner. Sprawling over 540 square miles in the Allegheny Mountains, Bath County has not a single stoplight."

Hmm. Even Bland County has that beat (we have a total of ... one).

But if that's interesting, this is highly revealing:

"The U.S. Census Bureau put [Bath County's] population at 4,635 two years ago, a drop from 5,048 in 2000."

This explains a lot about why Deeds is running for governor. He's trying to flee the depopulation of Virginia's rural counties that he and his fellow Democrats have brought about in recent decades.

Vote for Creigh Deeds. He's going to do for Virginia what he's done for Bath County.

On the plus side, we'll no longer have to deal with traffic lights anywhere in the commonwealth when he's finished with us.

Obama Butt Boy Calls For Tax Increases

Was there ever any doubt that we'd get to this point? And quickly?

E.J. Dionne: "The task of those who genuinely care about deficits is to make the world safe for tax increases."

Which explains how we are where we are today. The most heavily taxed, and deficit/debt-plagued, people on the planet.

Food For Thought

From Investor's Business Daily:
The math is clear. In the next five years alone, Obama's budget adds $5.7 trillion to the U.S. debt. That's $48,000 per household. Put in perspective, servicing that debt each year will cost as much as the annual defense budget by the end of the decade.
"Trojan (Tax) Horse," March 25, 2009

It's Time To Revisit This Whole Mass Transit Thing

This can't come at a worse time for those environmentalists out there who want us to put our SUV's in the garage and find more eco-friendly means of travel:
The Great Train Robbery
By Tom Namako, David Hastie, and Brendan scott, New York Post

Welcome to the end of the line.

The [New York metro] MTA came through on its grim promise to wallop riders with a crippling fare hike -- coupled with severe service cuts -- in a desperate bid to close its $1.2 billion budget gap without any help from Albany lawmakers.

The moves include a $103 monthly MetroCard -- a staggering $22 hike.

Without an Albany rescue, things will get worse, the agency warned.

Just minutes after their vote, MTA officials said they could return next month to demand even higher fares from straphangers in 2010 unless state lawmakers pass a true plan. [link]
New York slowly inches closer to the true cost of riding mass transit. And this in a city where mass transit actually has ridership.

Let this give pause to those who think it's a swell idea to have passenger rail service installed from Roanoke to Richmond. Are you prepared to shell out hundreds - perhaps thousands - of dollars per trip to maintain the thing? Or will you be looking for "someone else" to pay for your whimsy?

Let this be a lesson ...

Myopia

This is so wrong, it's silly:
The Fierce Urgency of Peace*
By Roger Cohen, New York Times

Pressure on President Obama to recast the failed American approach to Israel-Palestine is building from former senior officials whose counsel he respects.

Deploring “seven years of absenteeism” under the Bush administration ... [blah blah blah] [link]
So a liberal east coast Bush-hating columnist thinks Bush failed.

Stop the presses.

But when it comes to Middle East peace, was he any less successful than was Clinton (one photo op not withstanding)?

Was he any less successful than was Carter (ditto)?

Or, for that matter, Bush I, Reagan, Ford, or Nixon?

All "failed" to bring peace to the Middle East.

Oh, and Obama will fail too (but look for a swell photo op with smiling faces and handshakes all around in abundance).

So how was Bush's failure any different?

Well, we hate Bush. That's what's different.

- - -

* Don't ya love that title? If there were truly any "urgency" for peace - "fierce" or otherwise - the two sides in the conflict would at least be talking to one another. But no. It's only urgent - make that fiercely urgent - in the insular environs of faraway Manhattan.

Good grief.

The Fight Of Our Lives

You were warned that Obama was lying through his teeth during the presidential campaign when he said - repeatedly - that he was a supporter of the 2nd Amendment. Now that he's comfortably ensconced in the White House, the real Mr. Obama comes out:
‘Common Sense Gun Laws’: Obama’s Attack on the Second Amendment
By AWR Hawkins, writing in Pajamas Media

Throughout the election campaign both the NRA and Gun Owners of America warned that Obama’s pro-gun talk was all a sham, but Obama laughed off their concerns. Then, the moment he was sworn into office he posted an urban policy that proved them right and proved that those of us who love liberty have a fight on our hands. Adding insult to injury, Obama followed this up by appointing Eric Holder and Rahm Emmanuel to his cabinet. Gun Owners of America strongly opposed Holder’s nomination, and Emmanuel shares Obama’s deep dislike of the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms.

How will Obama use the “common sense gun laws” approach to undercut the Second Amendment? If the past is any indication, he will use tragedy to justify further regulation as he did in early 2008 in the wake of the deadly shootings on the campus of Northern Illinois University. [link]
With all the other battles he's taken on, does this guy really want to go at it with 4,000,000 pissed off gun owners?

Apparently so.

Ya Think?

Stop the presses:

Clinton Says U.S. Feeds Mexico Drug Trade

And it has been - in a major way - for at least half a century.

They must not have taught that in baking class.

Here You Have It

You probably saw the commercial and asked the TV screen: Can it really be that good?

It's that good:
Shamwow vs. Zorbeez: Which works Better? As Seen On TV Lab Test
Popular Mechanics

The Claim:
In a radio interview on Feb. 10, 2009, infomercial superstar Billy Mays claimed that the popular Shamwow has trod on the turf of Zorbeez, a super-absorbent towel he promoted in a separate infomercial about two years prior.

Zorbeez is the most absorbent towel in the world, Mays said in the interview.

The Test:
We put the rival rags head-to-head in a spill test of some blueberry beer we had lying around. We also soaked snow puddles and clocked drying times.

The Verdict:
Shamwow, by a mile.

The Details:
After the first champagne flute tipped ... it became clear that the Zorbeez was outgunned on this one. The Shamwow soaked three paper towels' worth of blueberry beer on a single swipe, but the Zorbeez pushed the liquid off the edge of the table. We sopped and wiped with both sides of the Zorbeez, but a single stroke of the Shamwow chugged the beer with fratboyish speed. We threw each rag into two deck chairs wet with puddles of melted snow—the Zorbeez sloshed some out on the ground while the Shamwow sucked it up as if with a straw. Disclosure: we actually caught ourselves whispering "wow" while the Shamwow worked—and as our earlier tests proved, that's no guarantee. [link]
Sham ... Wow!

Bankrupt

This is what Senator Judd Gregg had in mind when he said Obama's profligate spending would "bankrupt" the USA:

Here's the accompanying story in the Washington Post. The key point:

"The result, according to the CBO, would be an ever-expanding national debt that would exceed 82 percent of the overall economy by 2019 -- double last year's level -- and threaten the nation's financial stability."

We're on our way toward being a banana republic.

My God.

Graph courtesy of the Congressional Budget Office and the Washington Post.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

ObamaCare Coming To a Town Near You

We often look to Britain or Canada to see what our nationalized health care program is going to look like once Obama twists it into the monstrosity he envisions. But we needn't look that far away. All we need do is look to the health care system provided by our government to America's veterans.

This will be you in a few years:
Miami vets get procedures with unsterile equipment
By Matt Sedennsky, Associated Press Writer

Miami -- A Veterans Affairs hospital here has notified thousands of patients that their colonoscopies were performed with improperly sterilized equipment, officials said Monday.

The hospital urged about 3,260 patients who had colonoscopies between May 2004 and March 12 of this year to get tests for HIV, hepatitis and other diseases.

The VA insisted the risk of infection was minimal, saying the tubing that was improperly cleaned didn't make contact with patients.

It was the second recent announcement of errors during colonoscopies at VA facilities. [link]
Good Lord.

Now Here's a Tourist Attraction

Rather than build hiking trails and bike paths intended to lure lice-infested, smelly - penniless - college students to Southwest Virginia, why not do more of that which actually works?
Speedway revs up Martinsville's dollars
The track's owner trumpets its value on the job-hungry region.
By Dustin Long and Michael Sluss, Roanoke Times

Martinsville -- Get through the numbers, formulas and prose and you get the point of the report: Racing is good. Good for cities, states, jobs and tourism.

That's the message the parent company of three NASCAR tracks is trying to send to residents, fans and even politicians this week as the Martinsville area gears up for one of its two big annual weekends of racing.

Martinsville's economic impact in Virginia is valued at $170 million. The track, according to the report, provides 2,824 jobs either directly or indirectly. [link]
$170 million. 2,834 jobs.

By comparison, Congressman Boucher's three-decade effort to boost the tourism industry has cost an estimated $170 million and has resulted in the creation of an estimated 12 jobs. And those are part-time and seasonal at that.

Me? I vote for a dozen more Martinsvilles.

The Law Works As Intended

When you can't wait for a 911 response ...
1 dead, one injured in Miami Burger King shooting
By Robert Samuels and Jennifer Lebovich, Miami Herald

One man was killed and another seriously wounded in a shootout inside a Miami Burger King on Tuesday, officials said.

Police said a man wearing a ski mask walked into the store at Biscayne Boulevard and 54th Street and demanded money from a clerk.

A customer, who has a concealed weapons permit, pulled a gun, said Officer Jeff Giordano, a Miami police spokesman.

The customer and robber exchanged fire.

The robber was shot dead at the scene.

The customer, who had several gunshot wounds, was taken to Ryder Trauma Center in serious but stable condition, said Lt. Ignatius Carroll, a Miami Fire Rescue spokesman. [link]
Let's hope for his speedy recovery.

Headline Of The Day

Comedy gold: Maxine Waters grills Geithner on the secret Goldman Sachs cabal or something

The Catholic Church, Lost In The Wilderness?

This comes to us from Ralph McInerny, "a writer of philosophy, fiction, and cultural criticism, who has taught at Notre Dame since 1955":
And now we have come to the point where the University of Notre Dame is publicly excluding itself from allegiance to and acceptance of one of the most fundamental of Christian moral truths, mentioned explicitly in the Didache and again and again over the centuries. Abortion is an essentially evil act, both from the viewpoint of natural morality and from the explicit teaching the Church. There is no way in which an individual, a politician or an institution can finesse that fact.

By inviting Barack Obama as commencement speaker, Notre Dame is telling the nation that the teaching of the Catholic church on this fundamental matter can be ignored. Lip service may be paid to the teaching on abortion, but it is no impediment to upward mobility, to the truly vulgar lust to be welcomed into secular society, whether on the part of individuals or institutions.
"Is Obama Worth a Mass?" "The Catholic Thing," March 23, 2009

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

'A Revolution Is Brewing'

Hey, you can't make the tea party protest being held in either Roanoke or Abingdon next month? How about joining those who are going to peaceably assemble over in Rocky Mount on the 15th?
Taxed Enough Already! TEA PARTY
On April 15, be part of the Taxed Enough Already (TEA) party rally in your community
By the Franklin County Tea Party

On the day you pay your taxes, Wednesday, April 15, join others across the country and in your hometown who will be participating in TEA party rallies in front of their city halls. The TEA party rally will begin at 12 noon.

* Are you fed up with a Congress and a president who:
* vote for a $500 billion tax bill without even reading it?
* are spending trillions of borrowed dollars, leaving a debt our great-grandchildren will be paying?
* consistently give special interest groups billions of dollars in earmarks to help get themselves re-elected?
* want to take your wealth and redistribute it to others?
* punish those who practice responsible financial behavior and reward those who do not?
* admit to using the financial hurt of millions as an opportunity to push their political agenda?
* run up trillions of dollars of debt and then sell that debt to countries such as China?
* want government controlled health care?
* want to take away the right to vote with a secret ballot in union elections?
* refuse to stop the flow of millions of illegal immigrants into our country?
* appoint a defender of child pornography to the Number 2 position in the Justice Department?
* want to force doctors and other medical workers to perform abortions against their will?
* want to impose a carbon tax on your electricity, gas and home heating fuels?
* want to reduce your tax deductibility for charitable gifts?
* take money from your family budget to pay for their federal budget?

If so, participate in the TEA party rally, the Taxed Enough Already (TEA) party.

Bring your cell phone and call Congress and the president while attending the TEA party rally (Representative and Senators, 202-224-3121; President, 202-456-1414). Tell Every American about this effort by forwarding this invitation to your friends. Together we can make a difference.
Yes! Together we can make a difference!

Does Boucher Still Support Fascist Tactics?

He did in 2007.

Does our congressman still intend to vote for that union-contrived "card check" worker intimidation bill that only a brownshirt could love?

The citizens of the 9th want to know.

Surely the honeymoon's over by now, Rick. Come back to work. Talk to us.

It Ain't The Holiday Inn

Boo ... freaking ... hoo:
End price-gouging on inmate calls
By Ronald Fraser, writing in the Roanoke Times

Prison inmates who use the telephone to maintain strong family ties will be better prepared to rebuild their lives upon returning home. Why, then, do Virginia elected officials allow price-gouging phone companies to drive prison telephone rates sky high, isolating state inmates from the outside world?

For a 15-minute call, including per-call and usage charges, the [Campaign to Promote Equitable Telephone Charges] calculates that inmate families in Virginia pay 40 cents per minute for intrastate long-distance collect calls, and a whopping 59 cents per minute for interstate collect calls. A similar interstate call using a debit, or prepaid, card costs 56 cents per minute. [link]
Look on the bright side. They're not kept in chains. They're not beaten with metal bars. They're not subjected to electric shock. As some would advocate.

Higher telephone charges? Heart wrenching it ain't.

They Have Minds Of Their Own

A headline in today's Roanoke Times:

Sneaky signs confound plant opponents

The rascals ...

'This Is Not Sustainable'

This is what Senator Judd Gregg was referring to when he said the other day that Obama's budget, as proposed, would bankrupt the country:

From Investor's Business Daily:
Taking Debt To The Next Frontier
editorial

In his budget message, the president says "the time has come to usher in a new era of responsibility." But a new report shows the only thing his budget delivers is an unprecedented era of deficits and debt.

Late Friday, the Congressional Budget Office issued its review of the Obama budget. It's a standard exercise for the CBO, except this time the results were stunning.

According to the CBO, the Obama administration lowballed its deficit forecast by $482 billion over the next four years and $2.3 trillion over the next 10. In other words, the CBO says that 10-year deficits will be 33% higher than the president claims, should his plans get enacted.

This makes Obama's budget one of the worst accounting jobs ever put forward in modern times by a new administration.

Over the next decade, Obama's plan will produce annual deficits averaging 5.3% of the economy — compared with a post-war average of 2%. Even Obama's own budget director says that's unsustainable. Meanwhile, the national debt will hit 82.4% of GDP in 2019 under Obama's plan, according to the CBO, more than double the post-war average.

Worse, none of this includes Obama's pledge to expand health coverage.

Worse still, Obama would pile on all this debt just before the baby boomers start retiring in earnest, putting intense new pressures on federal deficits. [link]
This reminds me of the 8-year-old who goes to the candy store, picks out an armload of goodies, takes them to the cashier and, when he's told he owes $23.49, he says "I owe what?"

Except in this case, it's our children and grandchildren who will have to pay up for Obama's goody bag.

Let's hope mature heads prevail. Otherwise this country is in big trouble.

Graph courtesy of the Congressional Budget Office and Investor's Business Daily.

How Do We Get a $2 Trillion Deficit?

By following the Washington Post's reasoning:

"There are no guarantees, but what [Geithner's] come up with to deal with banks' toxic assets is worth a try."

How much money has been lost at the roulette table in Vegas by really smart people harboring the same philosophy?

Wait a Minute

Few rational Americans want this embarrassment of a bill of attainder to pass but wouldn't it be nice if our senators - Webb and Warner - had to go on the record and let their constituents know where they stand on using the tax code to punish otherwise law-abiding citizens?

We may never know:
Senate Will Delay Action on Punitive Tax on Bonuses
By Shailagh Murray and Paul Kane, Washington Post Staff Writers

Jarred by a cool reception from the White House and fears of unintended consequences across the financial world, Senate leaders are likely to delay until late next month legislation to punitively tax bonuses at banks and investment firms that receive federal aid.

[S]enators in both parties voiced increasing skepticism about the tax approach taken by the House, echoing President Obama's admonition Sunday night on CBS News's "60 Minutes" against using the tax code "to punish people." [link]
My guess is, Mark Warner, what with his tenuous connections to Wall Street, would have been opposed to this awful, awful bill. But I'd also guess that James Webb, with his sometimes screwy populist beliefs, would have voted to single out a handful of Americans for punishment.

But do they want me to guess?

How about putting their reputations on the record?

Quote of the Day

From George Will:

When the Congressional Budget Office announced that the president's budget underestimates by $2.3 trillion the likely deficits over the next decade, his budget director, Peter Orszag, said: All long-range budget forecasts are notoriously unreliable — so rely on ours.

This is but a partial list of recent lawlessness, situational constitutionalism and institutional derangement. Such political malfeasance is pertinent to the financial meltdown as the administration, desperately seeking confidence, tries to stabilize the economy by vastly enlarging government's role in it.

"The Toxic Assets We Elected" Washington Post, March 24, 2009

Say It, Brutha

Michael Goodwin on our political leadership in Washington:
Class-warfare crazed government mob is running amok

Everybody makes mistakes, and I made a beaut the other day. I was wrong to call members of Congress blow-hards and buffoons and declare them worse than useless.

I was too kind.

I should have said our representatives are gangsters in pinstripes and pearls. They are petty tyrants and the more power they grab, the more at risk we are. Homeland Security should flash Code Red any time this Congress is in session.

It is twilight in America now. The House vote to use the tax code to retroactively punish bonus babies was an act of sheer madness. What started as phony outrage at AIG has crossed the line into insane policy. It is stunning that the vote was lopsided and bipartisan.

The Senate is itchy to go along, and President Obama says he's ready to tighten the thumbscrews on the banks. Is there no adult who will bring a straitjacket?

We should all be very afraid. Class warfare is mere predicate for a witch hunt that, once unleashed, will not stop with misbegotten wealth. It will punish success and stifle innovation. Dissent will invite dishonor.
Yes to all that. And more.

Monday, March 23, 2009

A Movement Grows

Memo to Debbie Meade of the Roanoke Times: How about sending some people over to the Wiley Drive Greenway on the 15th to cover this story?
Roanoke Tea Party Update
By Roanoke RnR

We are confirmed as a go for April 15th - 5:00pm - 7:00pm for the Roanoke Tea Party.

Join us on Wiley Drive Greenway, next to the Roanoke River near the footbridge to the old stadium site and across from the River's Edge Sports Complex.

There should be plenty of on-street parking, and anyone coming from downtown could take advantage of the free trolley. Please be aware that we are permitted to carry signs, but they cannot be on sticks. Don't ask me why 'cause I don't know.

We have set up a Roanoke Tea Party Facebook page, so stop by and visit.

Contact information: LvsCrittersTwo@aol.com

Please join us in getting the word out...You can make a difference! [link]
This one I can vouch for (see another tea party protest plan in the works below). Though we've never met, I've communicated on-and-off in recent years with Roanoke RnR. She's one of us. A by-God American who wants only the best for her country. And she's a take-no-prisoners kinda woman. My kinda woman. If she's committed to this, then so am I.

A second memo to the Roanoke Times's publisher, Debbie Meade: I'd bet the reason protest signs aren't allowed to be on sticks at this gathering has to do with police fears that the protesters will want to beat the shit out of your reporters with them, should said reporters show up. But these aren't left-wing nuts. These are law-abiding, red-blooded Americans. So your reporters are safe. And your reporters don't seem to be the blinded-by-liberal-bias types.

So send 'em. And drop on by yourself. You might learn something.

Graphic courtesy of Roanoke Tax Day Tea Party.