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

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Talking In Circles

I should ask: Is Amy Hauslohner still the news editor of the Galax Gazette?

I ask, before I make allegations, because she's married to Congressman Rick Boucher.

I ask because the Gazette this morning is cheerleading for our feckless Congressman.

I ask because that would be highly inappropriate and, frankly appalling.

If she is the editor of the Galax Gazette:
Boucher prepares for 2009
By April Wright

Looking into the new year with a new president, Rep. Rick Boucher (D-Abingdon) said president-elect Barack Obama will have a cooperative U.S. Congress that will serve in confronting the nation's challenges.

Boucher discussed future plans, legislative agenda and the previous year's successes during his annual stop at The Gazette on Dec. 31.

[blah blah blah] [link]
Here's one interesting segment (in a series of interesting segments) that should give any intelligent reporter pause:

Healthcare

In order to help the 47 million people without health insurance, which is a societal cost to the nation, Boucher plans to support a new program — backed by both Congress and Obama — that would allow everyone to have affordable access to healthcare.

Currently, the uninsured are often treated in the emergency room after conditions become serious. This is the most expensive form of healthcare, and the cost is passed along to Medicare and Medicaid — as well as insured patients — and is driving up the cost of healthcare for everyone.

“We will find a national means to do this and will work actively, starting next month, to do this,” [Boucher] said.

Who is "We?," the reporter might have asked. And is that statement true?

(1) A sizeable portion of that 47 million uninsured Americans involves those who choose to not have insurance, and who find it more cost-effective to be insurance free. Young, employed, healthy males, for example. Statistics tell them they don't need insurance.

(2) Covering those 47 million uninsured Americans is the responsibility of the United States government (says the reporter). So Boucher is going to do what? Have the government provide coverage for those 47 million Americans.

What?

Not mentioned is the fact that the rest of us will be required to accept his government-administered health care as well - at the point of a gun. That's how the government can afford to pay for the health care of those 47 million - many of whom don't want it.

What?

Anyway, the Galax Gazette provides Congressman Rick Boucher a big, wet kiss (for reasons unknown ... ahem).

Shameful. Pathetic.

Obama's Plan May Bring Ruin

Experts are now wondering what the consequences of a one-year, two trillion dollar federal deficit (with trillion dollar deficits every year beyond) will be when investors lose confidence in America's Treasurys. As well they should.

Those consequences are enough to scare the soup out of you:
We're Borrowing Like Mad. Can the U.S. Pay It Back?
By Greg Ip, The Washington Post

In its battle against the financial crisis, the U.S. government has extended its full faith and credit to an ever-growing swath of the private sector: first homeowners, then banks, now car companies. Soon, President-elect Barack Obama will put the government credit card to work with a massive fiscal boost for the economy. Necessary as these steps are [an editorial comment], they raise a worry of their own: Can the United States pay the money back?

The notion seems absurd: Banana republics default, not the world's biggest, richest economy, right? The United States has unparalleled wealth, a stable legal tradition, responsible macroeconomic policies and a top-notch, triple-A credit rating. U.S. Treasury bonds are routinely called "risk-free," and the United States has the unique privilege of borrowing in the currency that other countries like to hold as foreign-exchange reserves.

Yes, default is unlikely. But it is no longer unthinkable. [link]
Obama won the competition with John McCain to see who could promise the American people the largest mountain of cash, risk free, with no strings attached. Obama will now spend, in 2009, twice as much money as the government will take in. That, friends, is a recipe for disaster.

The American people are soon to find out that there are indeed some major strings attached. And when they do, may God help those who drove our country into bankruptcy.

The Bones of Antietam's Honored Dead ...

... are still being found. After 146 years. Remarkable:
Union soldier's remains discovered
By David Dishneau, The Associated Press

Sharpsburg, Md. -- Cutting through a cornfield where soldiers were literally blown to bits on the bloodiest day of the Civil War, a hiker spied something near a groundhog hole: fragments of bone and a metal button, clotted with red clay.

He brought the remains to the visitors center at Antietam National Battlefield, where they were turned over to experts who determined that they belonged to a Union soldier from New York state.

The remarkable find 146 years after the soldier perished is a reminder that the battlefield at Antietam is "ground that was basically changed forever by what happened on it," Superintendent John W. Howard said.

The soldier's identity may remain a mystery. He was young, probably between 19 and 21, based on the condition of teeth in a recovered jawbone, Mr. Howard said.

The soldier could have served in any of 24 New York regiments that fought in the field where fierce small-arms and artillery fire obliterated cornstalks and men alike. [link]
To give the narrative life, here's an account of the battle that raged in that cornfield on September 17, 1862, provided by the National Park Service:
Miller's Cornfield

As the Federals marched toward Miller's Cornfield north of town, the Confederates rose up in the cornfield and fired on the advancing lines. McClellan responded by withdrawing his infantry and training cannon on the corn. "In the time I am writing," Hooker reported, "every stalk of corn in the northern and greater part of the field was cut as closely as could have been done with a knife, and the slain lay in rows precisely as they had stood in their ranks a few moments before."

Hooker's troops advanced again, driving the Confederates before them, and Jackson reported that his men were "exposed for near an hour to a terrific storm of shell, canister, and musketry." About 7 a.m. Jackson was reenforced and succeeded in driving the Federals back.

An hour later Union troops under Gen. Joseph Mansfield counterattacked and regained some of the lost ground. Less than 200 yards apart, the opposing lines fired lead into each other for a half hour. "They stood and shot each other, until the lines melted away like wax," reported a New York soldier, Isaac Hall. Fighting continued back and forth over the 20-acre cornfield, with the field changing hands 15 times, according to some accounts.
Of the five thousand Americans who were killed or were declared missing in action that day would have been a 19 to 21-year old young man from New York, who died and was hurriedly buried in a cornfield just north of Sharpsburg, Maryland. Never to be heard from again. Now, 146 years later, this American - known but to God - comes back to us.

May he rest in peace.

The Light Comes On

You mean there's a third component to the equation? It's not just the government and the auto makers deciding what kind of automobiles we'll be driving in the future? Consumers have a say in the matter?

Who knew?
Detroit Goes for Electric Cars, but Will Drivers?
By Bill Vlasic, The New York Times

... Ford was feeling pressure from competitors, and decided it could not afford to fall behind in the rapidly expanding race to put electric cars in dealer showrooms.

Certainly, Ford and other carmakers are betting billions of dollars on this new direction, at a time when they can ill afford it and when Detroit is facing government scrutiny after the $17.4 billion bailout of G.M. and Chrysler.

These are risky bets. There are no guarantees that consumers — for all their stated concerns about global warming, dependence on foreign oil and unpredictable gas prices — will buy enough of them. They may balk, for example, at the limits on how far they can drive on a single charge.

But the companies could get some help from President-elect Barack Obama. [link]
Fine. Let Obama buy the damn things.

Until they come up with a (environmentally friendly) battery that doesn't require six to ten hours to fully charge, and that will allow for a person to go more than 40 miles without running out of juice, Americans are going to stay away from electric cars in droves. The little dog houses on wheels are fine for folks living in Manhattan - who don't drive - but for the rest of us, they're utterly impractical.

Obama and his magic wand cannot alter that fact of life.

You Were Played For Fools

I said at the time, "You're being played for fools."

Economy May Delay Work on [Obama's] Campaign Pledges

Surprise. Surprise.

They're Coming ...

Obama has promised to nationalize your health care program. You've decided that that's a neat idea. Understand what you're buying into:
Starved to death in an NHS hospital: Damning inquiry highlights case of patient left without food for 26 days
By Michael Lea, London Daily Mail

A vulnerable patient starved to death in an NHS [National Health Service] hospital after 26 days without proper nourishment.

Martin Ryan, 43, had suffered a stroke which left him unable to swallow.

But a 'total breakdown in communication' meant he was never fitted with a feeding tube. It was one of a number of horrific cases where the NHS fatally failed patients with learning difficulties, a health watchdog is expected to rule later this month. [link]
You say this can't happen here? Ever heard the horror stories about our government-run Veterans Administration (VA) hospitals?

This is what you've decided you want your health care system to be.

May God have mercy on you.

Out Of a String of Really Bad News Accounts ...

... comes a bit of good news:
Planned Parenthood makes staff cuts
By Miriam Kreinin Souccar, Crain's New York

Hit with declines in funding from the economic crisis and the Madoff scandal, the Planned Parenthood Federation of America is laying off around 20% of its staff.

Roughly 30 people were let go earlier this week, according to a source who works for the nonprofit. Executives at Planned Parenthood confirmed the layoffs, but declined to give more details.

“As with many other nonprofit organizations, Planned Parenthood has had to make staff reductions at our headquarters due to the challenging economic times facing our country,” said Maryana Iskander, chief operating officer at the agency. “While taking this action is never easy, we want to ensure the millions of women and men who rely on Planned Parenthood as a health care provider that the reductions will not impact our ability to deliver care to those in need.”

Part of Planned Parenthood’s funding declines stem from the closing of the Florida-based Picower Foundation, which shut down in December because its assets were managed by Bernard Madoff. The $1 billion foundation was one of the few major funders of reproductive rights issues. [link]

For this, I'm willing to do my share of suffering through a bad economy. As long as these butchers are suffering far more.