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

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Soon Enough. Soon Enough.

Economists are worried about deflation at present. But as the economy stabilizes (wishful thinking?), a rapid rise in inflationary pressures is sure to kick in, what with the massive amount of cash that the government is going to have to print and dump on the marketplace (not to mention the cost of interest on the national debt) in a relatively short period of time.

So, to prepare:
That's right. A million dollar bill. With Obama's likeness - appropriately - affixed to its center.

And when we have to take a wheelbarrow of these to the IGA to buy a loaf of bread (a la Weimar, Germany, circa 1930), we'll know who to thank.

As we spin out of control ...

Image courtesy of Novelties Wholesale

A Little Over The Top, Wouldn't You Say?

This from an environmental activist writing in this morning's Roanoke Times is borderline hilarious (see "Disaster may be worst since Chernobyl"):

I spent most of the Christmas/New Year's holiday at ground zero in Kingston, Tenn., documenting the TVA Kingston coal ash disaster. This huge and terrible catastrophe may be the worst man-made environmental disaster since Chernobyl.

It is difficult to grasp the immense size of this toxic nightmare.

TVA released 5.3 million cubic yards (1 billion gallons) of coal waste into tributaries of the Tennessee River, almost 100 times the size of the Exxon Valdez spill. It will take approximately 250,000 truckloads to haul away the ash. The coal ash mountain was 40 acres wide and 65 feet high. The trucks working on site look like ants.

"TVA released 5.3 million cubic yards of coal waste into tributaries of the Tennessee River"? They, of course, did no such thing. If you read a news report from the scene, you find out that an inifitesimal portion of that spill made it to a lake nearby. Not to the river. And not 5.3 million cubic yards. And not "released." And it involved a benign substance called coal fly ash.

And "the worst man-made environmental disaster since Chernobyl"? Did he write this with a straight face?

I don't know whether to denounce this environmental crusader for the propagandist that he is or simply laugh at him.

I choose the latter.

Great American Artist Dies

Unlike all the "modern" "art" that "artists" create these days that is intended to allow the spectator to conjure feelings about what the "art" represents, Andrew Wyeth was a hold-over from the days when painters painted to convey to the viewer the artist's perception of the artist's reality. And unlike the crap that passes for art these days, "art" that will be unceremoniously tossed into the dustbin of history, Andrew Wyeth's paintings will be cherished by fans for millenia.

Unfortunately, there'll be no more Wyeths:
An Unmistakable Figure on the Barren Landscape
By Henry Allen and Bart Barnes, Washington Post Staff Writers

Andrew Wyeth, best-loved painter of wistfulness, rural bleakness, menace, Puritanical solitude and an America lost to 20th-century dry rot, died yesterday morning in his sleep at the Wyeth family estate in Chadds Ford, Pa., between Philadelphia and Wilmington, Del. He was 91. He died in just the sort of weather he loved, the empty cold and the sharp sunlight of the dead of winter.

"America's best-known and best-loved artist," said a catalogue for a 1996 show at the Baltimore Museum of Art, before it elevated him still higher: "America's artist." [link]
For those of you not familiar with his work, go here.

A genius. He'll be missed.

Kill 'em All!

Well, I guess we should have anticipated this:

Seems a bit harsh ...

Click on the image to enlarge it.
Screenshot courtesy of the New York Post

Let Me Finish That Paragraph for You, Bob

Bob Herbert of the New York Times sheds crocodile tears this morning over the plight of the people of Zimbabwe. (Over which genuine tears are certainly in order.) From"Zimbabwe Is Dying":
If you want to see hell on earth, go to Zimbabwe where the madman Robert Mugabe has brought the country to such a state of ruin that medical care for most of the inhabitants has all but ceased to exist.

Most of the world is ignoring the agony of Zimbabwe, a once prosperous and medically advanced nation in southern Africa that is suffering from political and economic turmoil — and the brutality of Mugabe’s long and tyrannical reign.
"... a reign that began when small-minded, racist, Western leftists like me decided in the 60's that it was more important for the nation of Rhodesia to have black leadership than to have effective leadership. Rhodesia was killed off. Many of the nation's white landowners were killed off - or exiled - or impoverished when their land holdings were confiscated at the point of the machete. And the new nation of Zimbabwe - with great fanfare in the salons and coffee klatches of western Europe and New York - was born. And Robert Mugabe came to power. A change we all hailed as a wonderful thing.

A change about which we are all profoundly shocked and saddened ... now."

Leftists. They should be forced to live in that nation of their creation.

So Predictable

The House Democratic leadership has released its "stimulus" plan and, as expected, it is targeted toward stimulating every pork project, fly-by-night scheme, and whimsy imaginable. To the tune of a jaw-dropping $825,000,000,000. Some detail:
The Spending Plan is Out
Posted by Amanda Carpenter on Townhall.com

I just got a copy of the $825 billion spending plan outlined by the Democratic-controlled House Appropriations Committee.

It is frightening.

The highlights of this bill, allegedly crafted to save us from the Wall Street crisis but is obviously being used to fund every hail Mary liberal, entitlement cause under the sun, includes [sic]:

-$6 billion to weatherize "modest income homes."
-$6 billion to provide internet in "underserved" areas
-$6 billion for "higher education modernization."
-$20 billion in health information technology to "prevent medial mistakes."
-$20 billion to increase food stamp funding
-$87 billion to provide a "temporary" increase in Medicaid funding
-$300 million to provide rebates for people who purchase Energy Star products
-$600 million for the federal government to buy brand new energy efficient cars
-$400 million for state and local governments to buy brand new energy efficient cars
-$2.4 billion for carbon capture demonstration programs
-$350 million to research using energy efficient technology on military bases
-$300 million for grants and loans to state and local governments for projects that reduce diesel emissions, "benefiting public health and reducing global warming"
-$500 million for energy efficient manufacturing demonstration projects.
-$400 million to build major research facilities "that perform cutting edge science"
-$1.5 billion for expanding "good jobs in biomedical research"
-$400 million "to put more scientists to work doing climate change research"
-$600 million for satellite development and acquisitions, including climate sensors and climate modeling.
-$250 million "to address long-term economic distress in urban industrial cores and rural areas distributed based on need and ability to create jobs and attract private investment."
-$650 million to continue the coupon program to enable American households to convert from analog television transmission to digital transmission.
-$300 million for the National Wildlife Refuges and National Fish Hatcheries
-$50 million for the National Endowment for the Arts
-$400 million for "ready-to-go habitat restoration projects"
-$2 billion to provide child care services for an additional 300,000 children in low-income families while their parents go to work.
-$120 million to provide subsidized community service jobs to an additional 24,000 low-income older Americans
-$1.5 billion to help local communities build and rehabilitate low-income housing using green technologies.
-$500 million to rehabilitate and improve energy efficiency at some of the over 42,000 housing units maintained by Native American housing programs
-$10 million for "rural, high-need areas to undertake projects using sustainable and energy-efficient building and rehabilitation practices" [link]
My personal favorite? That "$50 million for the National Endowment for the Arts." Economic stimulus.

Frightening is right. Frighteningly wasteful. And yet so predictable.

Here's Where The Blogging World Comes In

Many of you are wondering just what wasteful spending your congressman has gleefully inserted into that just-released "American Recovery and Reinvestment Act." Both Rick Boucher and Bob Goodlatte here in Southwest Virginia are old personal friends of Mr. Porky and can be expected to have a field day with our confiscated income, spending money on crap that will be of absolutely no consequence to anyone but the Boucher and Goodlatte supporter(s) who become the recipient(s) of their our largesse.

I'm wondering the same thing.

But who has time to read the bill? It comprises a greater number of pages than War and Peace, for God's sake (well, almost).

Here's where the blogging world steps in. A website called ReadTheStimulus.org is seeking volunteers to help put the massive bill into a searchable spreadsheet/database - quickly - before the snakes in Washington can pass it, snakes who hope to put it to bed before anyone can actually read it, before howls of anger can thunder into the happy halls of Congress, before We The People can stop it.

The plan:

One of the additional features we want to add to ReadTheStimulus.org is more detail on the actual dollar amounts being appropriated in the bill text. But to do that, we need to extract out all the individual appropriations and put them in a spreadsheet. Unfortunately, there's just no way to do that automagically, and so that means we have to brute force it: have real live humans manually read each page of the document and enter in the dollar appropriations into a collaborative spreadsheet.

To that end, we're creating an online spreadsheet that can be edited by many folks simultaneously that we'll use to "crowdsource" the effort. If you have time this weekend and want to help out, please email us atinfo@readthestimulus.org and we'll let you know how you can assist. Thanks!

What would take a person weeks (especially if that person is lucky enough to be employed) will take an army of internet aficionados an hour.

As soon as these guys and gals get the database set up, I'll bring you the news on just how shameful our local representatives are in doling out our (dwindling) hard-earned income.

Stay tuned. I'll be posting the sordid details.

Brrr

Okay, it's -4˚ outside. This isn't fun anymore.

Recommended Reading

From Jerry's Book of the Month Club:

An action-packed thriller from start to finish.

I Hope This Plays Out

James S. Robbins:
Hamas about to Crack

The magnitude of Hamas' imminent defeat in the Gaza War is impressive. Israel scored a major tactical victory in taking out Hamas' Interior Minister, chief of internal security and Gaza City military commander while they were meeting at an allegedly safe house. This demonstrates the amazing job Israeli intelligence is doing in identifying targets, something that must make the surviving members of Hamas somewhat uncomfortable. It is hard to see how Hamas can continue to coordinate their defense or maintain internal cohesion having lost their top Gaza-based leaders. In other good news, the elite 100-man Hamas "Iranian" unit, trained in Iran and Lebanon by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps and Hezbollah, has been destroyed while fighting in the Zeitoun neighborhood in south Gaza City. This shows that Israel is able to bring the fight to the city and inflict heavy casualties while suffering few in return, negating any advantage Hamas thought it had in defending the "complex terrain" of the urban area. Hamas will soon be forced to agree to the terms of the terms of the ceasefire being proffered by Egypt and France. Whether Hamas will be able to maintain control of Gaza is open to question ...

Meanwhile Israel has erased the shame of the less decisive 2006 war in Lebanon and proved that groups like Hamas provoke confrontations with the IDF at their peril.
[link]
Who knows, maybe this will bring peace and stability to the Middle East.

But then there is the little problem with the real world encroaching on the pipe dream.