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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, March 08, 2009

Moran Stumbles Into Abingdon

What does a politician from Massachusetts know about the problems we face here in Southwest Virginia?

Short answer: Squat.

So what is one doing wandering around down here?

Ah, it's that vote thing.

See "Moran stumps in Abingdon" in the Washington County News.

Any bets on whether gubernatorial candidate Brian Moran said he was a big fan of coal while he was there?

Let's Take a Look

Congressman Rick Boucher (D-Obama cheerleading squad) was sent down to Southwest Virginia from his palatial home in Washington recently to make the people here believe that the Democrats' economic stimulus plan is actually intended to stimulate something. What exactly, he ain't sure.

Let's take a look at his list of stimuli, as provided in an interview he did with the Floyd Press (see "Boucher optimistic about stimulus plan") and decide just how stimulating his spending of our hard-earned income is:
“We are in the worst economy since the Great Depression,” Boucher commented. “I wanted this to have a local focus to get the economy moving.

“Right after the election in November, we began urging the transition team to include specific things for rural areas,” Boucher noted. “I’m pleased to report that was successful.

“There are three basic categories that will help the Ninth District and rural areas across the nation. They will provide a short term benefit and create a firm foundation for growth.” These include:

*$7.2 billion for high speed internet broadband deployment.

[jf: arguably a legitimate role for government]

*$10 billion for water and waste-water facilities.

[jf: a primary role of government, but the federal government?]

*$8.8 billion for school construction and modernization.

[jf: a primary role of government, but the federal government?]

*A tax credit of $2,500 for college tuition.

[jf: Make the argument that that's stimulative in any way, Mr. Democrat.]

*Extending unemployment benefits for an additional 20 weeks.

[jf: He's now off the reservation. This is the classic Democrat feel-good program that does nothing to stimulate the economy]

*Weatherization funding will increase by $5 billion. “This will enable residents to get better insulation in their homes.

[jf: For the love of God. Isn't this what we used to call welfare?]
Having tossed these happy horse feathers on an eager populace over in Floyd, Boucher went back to the Magic Kingdom, satisfied that he'd done his master's bidding well.

"They'll buy it, Barry. They're suckers for that sort of thing. I tell 'em all the neat things the government is going to do for them, and how prosperity will flow as a result of my actions, and they're happy as pigs in slop.

"The ploy has been working for me for a quarter of a century and counting. The schmucks."

While Boucher Blows Smoke ...

... up our butts, Southwest Virginia continues to crumble:
Glade plant idled
By Mark Sage, Washington County News

The third month wasn’t the charm for Utility Trailer Manufacturing’s Glade Spring facility.

In early February, the Washington County plant laid off 49 workers, citing a lack of trailer orders and lower-than-expected sales. A month earlier, the company announced it would lay off about 90 assembly workers at its Smyth County plant in Atkins.

Now, come early March, Plant Manager Jack Washburn says the Glade Spring facility would close in 60 days, shedding its remaining 117 workers. [link]
246 more jobs lost here in Southwest Virginia.

At least the laid-off workers will have the federal funds on hand to weatherize their homes, before they put them on the market and move north.

Don't Be Stupid

Oviously the kids at the Roanoke Times have never been hunters or hikers:

Hunters and hikers don't mix

Earth to editorialists:

Hunters and hikers have always mixed.

You just don't read about it in your Associated Press feeds because there's no body count to be had.

Gotta Love Them NoVa Liberals

Remember not long ago when wildly liberal Fairfax County Supervisor Gerry Connolly convinced the just-as-freaky-liberal county Board of Supervisors to get into the sub-prime loan business after every bank in the area got out of the sub-prime loan business because of the practice's inherent failures?

I wondered at the time if this guy - and those guys - were in their right minds.

Appears not:
Fairfax Co. mulls public safety cuts
Associated Press

Fairfax, Va. (AP) -- Fairfax County officials are proposing cuts to public safety programs to help slim down the county budget.

The County Board of Supervisors will take up proposals over the next two months, including reducing the number of police and firefighters by nearly 200 uniformed posts.

County Executive Anthony Griffin has proposed hundreds of program cuts as part of a $3.3 billion spending plan. [link]

The county gets involved in dishing out huge amounts of cash in risky loans to people who don't qualify for a regular loan from a bank. At the same time, the county is cutting back on fire and police protection because of a lack of cash.

Hmmm.

Three points come out of this:

1) Barack Obama, who has guaranteed spending trillions of dollars he doesn't have on everything under the Sun, won Fairfax County by a margin of 109,000 votes in November.

2) Gerry Connolly, a Democrat, having made a mess of Fairfax County, moved on. He's now representing northern Virginia's now-just-as-freaky-liberal 11th district in Congress.

3) Without doubt, northern Virginians deserve the representation they've brought on themselves.

Obama To The Rescue

I suppose it makes sense that, if the purpose of the federal government spending a trillion dollars is to stimulate the economy, with the little matter of how that money is being spent only being a distant secondary matter, it doesn't hurt if a municipality receives a wad of cash from the president to solve a problem that doesn't exist and has never existed.

Welcome to ObamaLand:
$578,661 for Union homeless questioned
By Nancy Dooling, Press Connects.com

Union - The Town of Union [New York] is getting $578,661 in federal Recovery Act funding for a homeless problem that may not exist within its borders.

The money is coming from the federal Housing and Urban Development program to pay for homeless prevention and emergency shelter programs.

Union did not request the money and does not currently have homeless programs in place in the town to administer such funds, said town Supervisor John Bernardo.

"We were surprised," Bernardo said. "We've never been a recipient before."

Bernardo said he isn't aware of any homeless issue in the largely suburban town. [link]
Look. The fact that the town of Union has no homeless problem isn't the point. Stimulus is the point. So Bernardo and his pals in town need to (shut up, ...) take the money, buy some Bud, get crazy, and live large.

America will be better for it.

Hat tip to James Taranto.

A Gentle Nudge

Republicans in Washington have been criticized in recent weeks for not providing an alternative to Obama's massive government spending binge that is intended - according to him - to stimulate the economy. An unfair criticism? Let's assume not.

Let's assume that the Republicans have no ideas that don't revolve around spending our grandchildren into oblivion. Let's assume they need some guidance. My suggestion?

Look to New Zealand's prime minister. He's going to show you how to revive an economy.

Conservatism 101: You Can't Spend Your Way Out of the Crisis

Read and learn.

Welcome To ObamaCare

I find it curious that people can look at America's health care delivery system - the finest ever devised by man - see problems with it, and think bureaucrats in Washington can "fix" it. Without having the first clue what that "fix" involves. Without knowing whether or not the fix is worse than the problem.

Here's a fact to chew on. The only way Obama is going to be able to get costs under control is by mandating a rationing of care. As the British routinely do:
Victims Of Socialism
Investor's Business Daily editorial

The gatekeeper for Great Britain's national health care system is denying cancer patients drugs that would extend their lives. Why? Because the medication is considered too expensive.

What's a life worth? Apparently not much in Great Britain.

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence, the government agency that decides which treatments the National Health Service will pay for, has effectively banned Lapatinib, a drug that was shown to slow the progression of breast cancer, and Sutent, which is the only medicine that can prolong the lives of some stomach cancer patients.

Banning beneficial drugs due to cost is nothing new in Britain.

Once again, we have to ask: Do we really want to use the British system as the model for a U.S. health care regime? [link]
Humans have this natural tendency to think "the grass is always greener on the other side." When it comes to health care, the other side is Britain.

Give it some thought. Do you really want our health care system structured like that which they have in jolly old England, where the citizens get their "universal care" as long as they don't have a major illness?

That's where we're headed if the liberals in Washington aren't stopped.

"Ma'am, the tests have come back. You have something called hemochromatosis. Here's a contact name and number of a really nice funeral home."

'Laziness' Is The Operative Word

New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd, prophetically, starts her column today (entitled "Should Michelle Cover Up?") with this:

Journalists are never supposed to start a piece with a scene in a taxi because it signals either laziness about gathering facts or a tendency to embroider facts.

Nonetheless, I’m going to.
Yeah, you don't want to come across as being lazy.

Dowd then begins to wander, as is her wont.

But I was struck by her - dare I say it - laziness when I read this sentence several paragraphs later:

"Her husband urges bold action, but it is Michelle [Obama] who looks as though she could easily wind up and punch out Rush Limbaugh, Bernie Madoff and all the corporate creeps who ripped off America."

I could see her making the case that Madoff is a corporate creep (he having been the chairman of a major American investment firm and a former head of NASDAQ) (oh, and it's fairly likely that he is a creep), but Rush Limbaugh? Did Ditsy Dowd mean to include a talk radio host in that sentence as structured?

I'm sure she considers Rush - along with all of us conservatives - as being a creep but how does the corporate angle work?

And how did he "rip off America"?

My guess is, there's another explanation that has nothing to do with her attitude toward El Rushbo. Maureen Dowd is a lazy person who wrote a lazy sentence that made no sense.

Writing for the once-venerable New York Times. Tsk. Tsk.

On America's Warrior Class

It's a fascinating thing. Here George W. Bush told our fighting men and women over the last eight years that he was going to send many of them off to die. Which he did. And they did. Today we have Barack Obama who offers peace - a certain freedom from war if circumstances allow - to those same military men and women.

Yet look how America's warriors react to each.


Wild enthusiasm for Bush; polite applause for Obama.

Remarkable.

America's best and brightest. A special breed of American. I couldn't be more proud.

Hat tip to Roger Simon.

Only 46 Months To Go, There, Big Guy

Well, this is not promising. Obama is exhausted and confused already:
Barack Obama 'too tired' to give proper welcome to Gordon Brown
By Tim Shipman, London Telegraph

Sources close to the White House say Mr Obama and his staff have been "overwhelmed" by the economic meltdown and have voiced concerns that the new president is not getting enough rest.

Allies of Mr. Obama say his weary appearance in the Oval Office with Mr Brown illustrates the strain he is now under, and the president's surprise at the sheer volume of business that crosses his desk.

The American source said: "Obama is overwhelmed. There is a zero sum tension between his ability to attend to the economic issues and his ability to be a proactive sculptor of the national security agenda. [link]
Obama is overwhelmed. Who would have predicted it?

I'm not liking this.

Now We're Talkin'

As I read through this piece in the Wall Street Journal, two things struck me: (1) I'm in agreement with the Obama administration (!) and (2) I'm about to be in disagreement with the exalted Wall Street Journal editorial team because of it.

The piece:
Obama Channels Cheney
editorial

The Obama Administration this week released its predecessor's post-9/11 legal memoranda in the name of "transparency," producing another round of feel-good Bush criticism. Anyone interested in President Obama's actual executive-power policies, however, should look at his position on warrantless wiretapping. Dick Cheney must be smiling.

In a federal lawsuit, the Obama legal team is arguing that judges lack the authority to enforce their own rulings in classified matters of national security. The standoff concerns the Oregon chapter of the Al-Haramain Islamic Foundation, a Saudi Arabian charity that was shut down in 2004 on evidence that it was financing al Qaeda. Al-Haramain sued the Bush Administration in 2005, claiming it had been illegally wiretapped.

[Details of the case are provided here]

The Obama Justice Department has adopted a legal stance identical to, if not more aggressive than, the Bush version. It argues that the court-forced disclosure of the surveillance programs would cause "exceptional harm to national security" by exposing intelligence sources and methods.

In court documents filed hours later, Justice argues that the decision to release classified information "is committed to the discretion of the Executive Branch, and is not subject to judicial review. Moreover, the Court does not have independent power . . . to order the Government to grant counsel access to classified information when the Executive Branch has denied them such access." The brief continues that federal judges are "ill-equipped to second-guess the Executive Branch." [link] [my emphasis]
In fewer words, the Obama administration is arguing that the judicial branch of government has no authority to tell the executive branch how to conduct executive matters. Something I've been saying for years (going back to the desegregation school busing saga), including here in January.

As for number (2), the Wall Street Journal didn't let me down after all:
Hide the children, but we agree with Mr. Obama that the President has inherent Article II Constitutional powers that neither the judiciary nor statutes like FISA can impinge upon. The FISA appeals court said as much in a decision released in January, as did Attorney General Eric Holder during his confirmation hearings. It's reassuring to know the Administration is refusing to compromise core executive-branch prerogatives, especially on war powers.
So the Journal and I agree with Obama. Will wonders never cease.