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

Thursday, February 12, 2009

The Verdict Is In

Roanoke Times editorial page editor Dan Radmacher has declared his initiative to have Times readers included in the daily dialogue to be a tremendous success. Who'da guessed? The scheme he dreamt up - one that his ass was riding on - is wonderful. According to Dan:
Voices feature is a welcome change of tone
By Dan Radmacher

If your only exposure to Voices of the Valleys, our new editorial page reader panel, is what we've published in Horizon these past few weeks, you're missing out.

We've been printing a sampling of some of the best responses to the questions we've asked of the panel every week on page 5 of this section.

But the most impressive part is what's been happening online. It's early, but a real community seems to be developing among the panelists. There's a genuine exchange of opinion by people who come at issues from a broad range of perspectives, but it has a far more civil tone to it than what is often seen online. [link]
A change of tone, Dan?

That's not a tone. That's the sound of mass snoring.

Let me be up front. I read only the initial installment. Well, most of it. Before I fell into a coma.

Awful, Dan. It's awful.

Here's an example of that changed tone (from memory). Dan posed a question (earth-shattering I'm sure, though I've forgotten the question too), and a hand-picked group of readers respond:

Ernie from Podunk: "I really don't have an opinion on this topic."

Susie Homemaker: "I'm not an expert in this area, so ..."

Billy Shoelaces: "Because of the risk of offending your readers, I choose not to express an opinion one way or the other."

Betty Beanbrain: "I'm okay with it but I'm also against it. I'm really conflicted."

Tone, Dan? Here's the tone coming from your effort:

zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

Nobody Could Be This Callous

I believe with all my heart in the free market capitalist system (that we had a long time ago). But there are those who put my trust to the test. Here's one great example:
Peanut Corp. owner urged shipping tainted products
By Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar and Brett J. Blackledge, Associated Press Writers

Washington (AP) -- Internal e-mails indicate the owner of a Virginia peanut company urged his workers to ship tainted products after receiving test results identifying salmonella.

The company e-mails obtained by a House committee show Peanut Corp. of America owner Stewart Parnell ordered the shipments tainted with the bacteria because he was worried about lost sales.

Parnell was ordered to appear before Congress on Wednesday to discuss the outbreak that has led to 600 illnesses and eight deaths blamed on his Georgia plant. Rep. Greg Walden, R-Oregon, revealed the internal correspondence from the company during a House Energy and Commerce hearing. [link]

I noticed that Mr. Parnell refused to answer questions put to him by a House committee yesterday, citing his Constitutional right to not incriminate himself. His right, of course.

But too bad for us. This story is so beyond belief that one has to think there is more to it. Greed doesn't begin to explain it. Stupidity comes closer. Short-sightedness closer still.

What was this guy thinking?!

Guess we'll never know.

Too bad.

Quote Of The Day

George Will:

"Not yet a third of the way through the president's 'first 100 days,' he and we should remember that it was not FDR's initial burst of activity in 1933 that put the phrase '100 days' into the Western lexicon. It was Napoleon's frenetic trajectory in 1815 that began with his escape from Elba and ended near the Belgian village of Waterloo.

"Runaway Stimulus," Washington Post, February 12, 2009

He Did?

This headline in this morning's New York Times is certainly an effort in wishful thinking:

Geithner Rebuffs Critics on Banking Rescue Plan

And what do those "rebuffed" "critics" have to say?

From that same New York Times this morning, a whole different story:
Asian stock markets fell Thursday, with Japan's Nikkei index losing over 3 percent, amid doubts that U.S. rescue plans costing trillions of dollars will soon restore the health of the world's largest economy.

The news came a day after the Obama administration's newly revised program to bail out the financial sector with some $2 trillion in funding met with widespread skepticism.
Our new Treasury Secretary can "rebuff" till the cows come home. The markets know a stinker when they see one.

Rebuff that, chump.

Going Down In Flames

The Obama administration, with the enthusiastic support of environmentalists and other weak-minded Americans, can throw money at "alternative energy" all he wants. If it ain't cheap, abundant, and effective - like coal, petroleum, and nuclear - it ain't going nowhere.

Solar? Wind? Biofuels? Pedal power? Voodoo?

Billions in federal support won't make them anything other than what they are.

A primer:
Ethanol, Just Recently a Savior, Is Struggling
By Carl Krause, New York Times

Barely a year after Congress enacted an energy law meant to foster a huge national enterprise capable of converting plants and agricultural wastes into automotive fuel, the goals lawmakers set for the ethanol industry are in serious jeopardy.

As recently as last summer, plants that make ethanol from corn were sprouting across the Midwest. But now, with motorists driving less in the economic downturn, the industry is burdened with excess capacity, and plants are shutting down virtually every week.

In the meantime, plans are lagging for a new generation of factories that were supposed to produce ethanol from substances like wood chips and crop waste, overcoming the drawbacks of corn ethanol. That nascent branch of the industry concedes it has virtually no chance of meeting Congressional production mandates that kick in next year.

The decline in fortunes has been extreme for both kinds of ethanol since last summer, when $145-a-barrel oil appeared to shift fuel economics in their favor. [link]
On that last point, the future of alternative energies, sources which continue to be outrageously expensive, depends on gasoline (and coal) becoming outrageously expensive. Is that the plan?

Obama can throw all the trillions at windmills he wants, someday that money will run out and windmill power will have to stand on its own. Good luck to that.

In the meantime, people will continue to make choices based upon the economics of the prospects before them. Electric cars? Right. They're really popular amongst the urban folks who use them on trips that most of us make on foot.

Anyway. Throw ethanol on the trash heap. Along with the billions that went into development.

Hey, don't lose sleep over it. It's only money. And the federal government has an endless supply of that, right?

- - -

Despite the fact that alternative sources of energy are, at present, inefficient and astronomically expensive, Democrats fools around this country continue to demand that we abandon viable fuel sources, fling reality to the wind, and start using those "alternatives" NOW.

See this bit of idiocy from a Democrat, former candidate for Congress over in the 5th Congressional District, Al Weed.

Whopper of the day:

"A recent survey by the Miller Center at the University of Virginia found that 55 percent of Virginians who see carbon emissions as a man-made problem "strongly support" requiring electric utilities to produce sizable amounts of renewable power. This would be power from sustainable sources such as solar, wind and biomass, among others."

And 98% of the people who believe trees speak to them want toothpicks to be protected by the Endangered Species Act.

Idiocy.

Slick. But still idiocy.

What To Make Of This?

It appears that Barack Obama is the gun lobby's best friend. Whether he wants to be or not:
Gun dealers experiencing shortages of bullets
By Henry Pierson Curtis, Orlando Sentinel Staff Writer

Selling bullets may be the most secure job in Florida as long as supplies last.

After months of heavy buying, gun dealers across the state are experiencing shortages.

Some say it began with the election of President Barack Obama. Others say it's about the economic downturn or fear of crime. Whatever the reasons, ammunition has been selling like plywood and bottled water in the days before a hurricane.

"The survivalist in all of us comes out," said John Ritz, manager of East Orange Shooting Sports in Winter Park. "It's more about protecting what you have." [link]
Me? I've got plenty left over from the Clinton era.

This little incident was enough for me to invoke the Castle Doctrine.

The gang that precipitated this event is in charge again.

* And they complained about Dick Cheney!

If You Believe In Polls ...

... and you want Obama remaking America in Cuba's image, this should give you indigestion:
Republicans Trail Obama Dems By One Point in Poll--Anti-Stimulus Push Is Working
By Michael Barone, US News & World Report

Astonishing news on the generic ballot question. Pollster Scott Rasmussen reports that Democrats are currently ahead of Republicans by only 40 percent to 39 percent. Given that this generic ballot question over the years has tended to understate Republicans' performances in actual elections, one gathers that if the 2010 election for House seats were held today, Republicans would win or come close to winning a majority of seats—which is to say, they would gain about 40 seats. By way of comparison, they gained 52 seats when they won their majority in 1994. This result may just be a momentary blip, which will pass away as quickly as it appeared, and we are a long, long, long way from the November 2010 elections. But if I were a Democratic member of Congress in even a marginally marginal district, I would be just a little bit worried. And if I were a conservative cheerleader against the Obama/Pelosi stimulus package, I would be concentrating less of my fire against the three Republicans who supported the Senate version and more on Democratic members of the House and (at least those who are up for reelection in 2010) the Senate. [link]
So now the American electorate is having second thoughts about decisions it made it November.

My brain hurts.