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

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Can We Talk About This?

I have to be honest, my confidence in Bland County Administrator Jonathan Sweet is teetering. First, he announced with great fanfare a couple of years ago that the town of Bland was going to become a "wireless hotspot" (which was a cool thing). You see, upon investigating, I found out shortly thereafter that the free wireless signal being transmitted from the courthouse grounds in town didn't reach across the street to my laptop computer when it was searching for that signal at B&R Auto Repair (a location that still has the "Wireless Hotspot" sign in its window).

Directly across the street. 300 feet away?

Maybe I picked the wrong day.

Though the proprietor, after letting out a chuckle, said that was the norm.

I guess you have to be sitting in the District Court room to appreciate the hotspotness of the occasion.

Since then, I've done all my blogging and net surfing here at home, using Embarq's ass-kickin' ADSL services. Yeah, it requires a cable hookup and microfilters, but at least it works as advertised. And it works great.

But I digress.

What, Jonathan Sweet, has possessed you, man?
County to take over Wolf Creek Indian Village
By Jeffrey Simmons, Bland County Messenger

The Wolf Creek Indian Village & Museum will have a new owner in early 2009. The tourist attraction will become the property of the Bland County Board of Supervisors as the Bland County Historical Society relinquishes ownership.

According to County Administrator Jonathan D. Sweet, the original deed states the property will revert to the county if the historical society ceases to operate the complex. [link]
Okay, the historical society is dumping the "tourist attraction." No surprise there since it never attracted tourists. And the county - we're in Appalachia, remember - is obligated to take ownership. Understood. A shame. But understood.

But what's this, Mr. Sweet?
“It will most certainly be a challenge for us,” Sweet stated earlier this week. “It is an asset to the county and the region as a piece of historic culture. We certainly want to explore ways to market and operate the village and museum in a way that will benefit us all.”
The only way that "Indian village" could possibly provide area residents any benefit, Jonathan, is if you run over to the Citgo, buy a few six-packs of Bud and a book of matches, invite us all over to the wigwam, and entertain us by burning the damn thing to the ground. You're actually going to "explore" ways to make a go of this silly notion? Have you lost your mind? Has Bland County come into a pile of cash that the rest of us don't know about? Have you been visiting the beer cooler at the Citgo a few too many times yourself?

Here are a few details worth grasping:
The Indian village has struggled for several years with financial problems. The project was started with a $256,230 grant from the Virginia Department of Transportation.

In June of 1997, the Indian village received a second $250,000 grant to pay for a museum. That September, the Hugh I. Shott Foundation of Bluefield, W.Va., added a $75,000 grant.

The historical society raised $75,000 to match the Shott grant and completed the funding for the museum addition.
That's two thirds of a million dollars (not counting special event fees, other donations, and museum gift shop revenue) coming in. Sweet! (a pun)

With expenses, taxes, amortization, depreciation, and interest, however, that comes up $140,000 short of where it needs to be to make the Wolf Creek Indian Village profitable.

WCIV is $140,000 in debt.

A debt that the county is going to assume:
[Sweet] noted the county will absorb the approximately $140,000 debt of the Indian village and museum. Any money the complex makes in the future will be applied toward the indebtedness, according to Sweet.
"Any money the complex makes in the future..." What a jokester that Sweet is.

Oh, and finally, there's this, just to prove that he's completely lost his mind:
Denise Smith and Penny Plummer are co-directors of the village and museum and members of the historical society. They will become county employees, according to Sweet.

The county will lease the old sheriff’s office to the historical society. It will pay insurance and utilities costs.

“We see this as a win-win situation,” Smith remarked Monday. “We’re trying to get funding to restore the old jail building. It’s a perfect spot for research because it’s so close to the courthouse. We’ll house all our records there.”

Sweet added, “This is not going to be a drain on our coffers. It’s not going to be a burden to county taxpayers.”
A win-win. Right. For Smith-Plummer for sure.

And it'll be a win-win-win-win-win-win ... [ad infinitum] if the county takes over the other abandoned buildings and failing businesses in town and seeks funding to make tourist attractions of all of them as well. Starting with that Bland Sportswear factory crumbling-shell-of-a-building that's been vacant on the edge of town for years now. Maybe we could turn it into Dollywood North. Or Ft. Apache. Indians, cavalry - get it?

Or, if we were smart, maybe we go over to Citgo, get some matches ...

It's not going to be a burden to county taxpayers, Jonathan? Are you and Obama friends? Are you expecting some kind of bailout from the feds that we haven't heard about?

Has Boucher gotten to you?

So now Bland County, home to the huge and growing Bland Ministry complex that ministers to a growing number of the Appalachian region's distressingly impoverished citizens, owns a by-God Indian village. From which profits are anticipated. Somehow.

For the love of God.

McAuliffe The Jokester?

Who knew?

From a Roanoke Times editorial piece on Brian Moran's call for his opponents to forgo campaign donations from out-of-staters:

"Former Del. Brian Moran wants to be governor. His first task is surviving the Democratic primary battle against Sen. Creigh Deeds and Terry McAuliffe, former Democratic National Committee chairman and Clinton corny."

A Clinton corny? Terry McAuliffe? I thought Janet Reno was the Clinton corny.

Ah, The Memories

This sub-header on the front page (on-line version) of the Washington Post regarding Obama's choice for head of the CIA says it all:

"Clinton White House chief of staff has little intelligence experience."

Brings back memories, doesn't it? Janet Reno. Joycelyn Elders. What the definition of is is.

There is a host of Clinton people who displayed little experience with intelligence back then, including the Dude in Chief himself. And now they're finding their way into the Obama administration.

Swell. Just swell.

On The Exploding National Debt

Why aren't reporters - or pundits - asking a simple question of The Messiah: What happens when global creditors no longer see an upside to buying U.S. debt?

A follow-up question: What will a 2 trillion dollar annual deficit do to Chinese creditors' interest in buying dollars?

A third: Does anyone care about this looming disaster?

Let's go back to Saturday's Washington Post article ("U.S. Debt Expected To Soar This Year"):
For now, investors are frantically stuffing money into the relative safety of the U.S. Treasury, which has come to serve as the world's mattress in troubled times. Interest rates on Treasury bills have plummeted to historic lows, with some short-term investors literally giving the government money for free.

But about 40 percent of the debt held by private investors will mature in a year or less, according to Treasury officials. When those loans come due, the Treasury will have to borrow more money to repay them, even as it launches perhaps the most aggressive expansion of U.S. debt in modern history.

With the government planning to roll over its short-term loans into more stable, long-term securities, experts say investors are likely to demand a greater return on their money, saddling taxpayers with huge new interest payments for years to come. Some analysts also worry that foreign investors, the largest U.S. creditors, may prove unable to absorb the skyrocketing debt, undermining confidence in the United States as the bedrock of the global financial system.

"There's a time bomb in there somewhere," [Lou Crandall, chief economist at Wrightson ICAP] said, "but we don't know exactly where on the calendar it's planted." [my emphasis]
A time bomb.

That should frighten the crap out of those who are responsible for our fiscal well-being. It should, but it doesn't. They are racing headlong into a financial disaster like this country has never experienced before. And no one is asking questions. No one cares.

Couple that with Rich Lowry's prediction that Barack Obama will be forced to raise taxes in order to keep that time bomb ticking - "time" being the operative word:

During the campaign, Obama was careful always to say - less than honestly - that his spending proposals were paid for. Now, it doesn't matter. The spirit of Father Coughlin, who ranted at the beginning of the New Deal that Franklin Roosevelt had "to be stopped from being stopped," grips the land. Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland left a begging voice message with Obama Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel that captured the moment perfectly: "Rahm, it's Ted. You've never failed me, and I need $5 billion."

The Congressional Budget Office is about to release a new estimate of the "baseline" (i.e., if nothing changes) budget deficit of roughly $950 billion a year. That's before Congress does anything else this year, when it's about to disgorge Obama's stimulus plan, and before Obama has even embarked on his expensive campaign promises in earnest.

The stimulus spending - or most of it - will eventually disappear, and Obama will have to raise taxes.
It's been said in recent years that Congress is spending us into oblivion. We'll soon be able to establish a date-certain for that inevitable occurrence.

And may God have mercy on us all.

They Figure They Have The Muscle

Just don't couch your efforts in terms that include the word "bipartisan," babe. We ain't that stupid:
Pelosi Erases Gingrich's Long-standing Fairness Rules
By Connie Hair, Human Events

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi plans to re-write House rules today to ensure that the Republican minority is unable to have any influence on legislation. Pelosi’s proposals are so draconian, and will so polarize the Capitol, that any thought President-elect Obama has of bipartisan cooperation will be rendered impossible before he even takes office.

Pelosi’s rule changes -- which may be voted on today -- will reverse the fairness rules that were written around Newt Gingrich’s “Contract with America.”

In reaction, the House Republican leadership is sending a letter today to Pelosi to object to changes to House Rules this week that would bar Republicans from offering alternative bills, amendments to Democrat bills or even the guarantee of open debate accessible by motions to recommit for any piece of legislation during the entire 111th Congress. These procedural abuses, as outlined in the below letter obtained by HUMAN EVENTS, would also include the repeal of six-year limit for committee chairmen and other House Rules reform measures enacted in 1995 as part of the Contract with America. [Link]
It's a step back in time, to be sure. To the 1960's when the Democrats had such power - and so little opposition - that they simply ignored the Republican minority and ran amok.

Prepare for lots of amok.

Where's Al Gore?

Didn't Crazy Al "win" a Nobel by putting together a really cute slide show that depicted melting ice caps and Arctic destruction on a scale the likes of which humanity has never seen before?

And wasn't it Mr. Gore who said "The entire north polar ice cap will be completely gone in five years"?

For those who don't believe it, see it:

I wonder how The Global Warming Herald of Doom and his many acolytes (especially in the press and in Washington) square that prediction with this FACT:
Sea Ice Ends Year at Same Level as 1979
By Michael Asher, DailyTech

Thanks to a rapid rebound in recent months, global sea ice levels now equal those seen 29 years ago, when the year 1979 also drew to a close.

Ice levels had been tracking lower throughout much of 2008, but rapidly recovered in the last quarter. In fact, the rate of increase from September onward is the fastest rate of change on record, either upwards or downwards.

The data is being reported by the University of Illinois's Arctic Climate Research Center, and is derived from satellite observations of the Northern and Southern hemisphere polar regions.

Earlier this year, predictions were rife that the North Pole could melt entirely in 2008. Instead, the Arctic ice saw a substantial recovery. Bill Chapman, a researcher with the UIUC's Arctic Center, tells DailyTech this was due in part to colder temperatures in the region. [link]
Colder temperatures in the region. Hmm. That wasn't supposed to happen.

Does this mean Al Gore has to give his Nobel back?

A Baffling Appointment

The only thing I can figure is that Obama wanted to appease the Valerie Plame wing of the CIA:
Panetta a surprise pick to run the CIA
By Greg Miller and Christi Parsons, Los Angeles Times

In choosing Leon E. Panetta to be the next CIA director, President-elect Barack Obama appears to have concluded that a spy chief who understands politics may be better equipped to carry out the incoming administration's national security agenda than one who understands espionage.

The surprise selection of Panetta, a former California congressman and chief of staff to President Clinton, would give Obama a CIA director with loyalty to the White House and an experienced managerial hand to steer the administration away from potential intelligence scandals. [link]
So the first responsibility of a CIA director should be to steer Obama away from scandals? Ever heard of 9/11, Junior?

This is just another reason - one of many - why I fear for my country.