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

Monday, March 09, 2009

I Have a Question

Rather than the state of Virginia moving to close the rest areas along I-81 to save a few bucks, why not close the weigh stations instead? Isn't there a lot of payroll there too? And don't they "serve" a whole lot fewer people?

Oh, wait. Those are revenue producers. I forgot.

Boucher Gives It Away

A new database has been released that lists all members of Congress and the pork they've stuffed into the FY 2009 Omnibus Bill. The one that Congressman Rick Boucher brags about. It can be found here.

So how wasteful is ol' Rick?

Does $14,963,500 get your attention?

According to the source, Boucher has offered 10 "solo" earmarks in the bill - to the tune of $2,564,000 - and co-authored 6 more - totaling 14 million samollions.

What's not included - yet - is a breakdown as to what the waste actually involves. That will come though. And we'll have it for you.

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To his credit, Bob Goodlatte has come home to his conservative roots (to a degree). He's listed as having only one solo earmark in the pork bill with three more he co-sponsored (totaling $1,668,000). Much improved over the past.

And good old Virgil Goode, before he left, managed to outdo even the spend-crazy Boucher. His name is on a total of 32 pork projects that will cost the taxpayers $22,515,500! Did I mention how much we'll miss him?

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The authors provide this note: "And remember, this is just the Omnibus and does not include the three FY09 spending bills that passed back in the fall (Defense, Homeland Security, and Military Construction/Veterans Affairs) that had more than 2,000 earmarks worth $6.6 billion."

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Note: The database isn't searchable (it's in simple Excel format). But if you're half-way decent with Excel spreadsheets, you should have no difficulty navigating the report. Just note the different tabs.

Today's Chuckle

The cash-starved Virignia Polytechnic Institute (Virginia Tech to you football fans) is going to be realizing a big windfall when Obama's stimulus plan comes crashing down upon us. And folks there say it's going to "create jobs."

This explanation should be a laugher:
Virginia Tech poised for a piece of stimulus pie
University researchers say grants funded by the economic plan will also create jobs.
By Greg Esposito, Roaonke Times

The federal stimulus package dedicates $18 billion to research proposals. That leaves $3.5 billion for new equipment and capital projects.

Tech is building a research center in Northern Virginia that could benefit from that money, said Jim Bohland, executive director of Tech's National Capital Region.

The project was estimated to cost $100 million, but Bohland said construction costs are coming in well below budget. Funding for the project has already been financed by the Virginia Tech Foundation, but the stimulus could support information technology infrastructure for the 144,000-square-foot building in the Arlington County neighborhood of Ballston. [link]
Virginia Tech had committed to building this facility. Now the feds are going to help pay for it. The plans don't change; only the financing. That's what some really smart academics call "stimulus."

That's what I call muddleheaded thinking. See next post ...


Adjective: muddleheaded mə-dəl-ˈhe-dəd
1. Stupid and confused

And speaking of Huffington Post contributors, can anyone figure out this guy's thought process?
Open Letter to the Republican Traitors (From a Former Republican)
By Frank Schaeffer

Dear Republican Leaders: The Republican Party has become the party dedicated to sabotaging the American future.

You Republicans are the arsonists who burned down our national home. You combined the failed ideologies of the Religious Right, so-called free market deregulation and the Neoconservative love of war to light a fire that has consumed America. Now you have the nerve to criticize the "architect" America just hired -- President Obama -- to rebuild from the ashes. You do nothing constructive, just try to hinder the one person willing and able to fix the mess you created.

I used to be one of you. As recently as 2000 I worked to get Senator McCain elected in that year's primary.

In the mid 1980s I left the Religious Right, after I realized just how very anti-American they are ...

How can anyone who loves our country support the Republicans now? Barry Goldwater, William F. Buckley and Ronald Reagan defined the modern conservatism that used to be what the Republican Party I belonged to was about. [link] [my emphasis]
Well, okay. This Schaeffer character is another conservative - like me - who believes the Republican Party is no longer true to the values that made him - being conservative - want to be a Republican.

So who is this champion of conservative principles?

Some other of his works:

Why This Former Right Winger Likes Obama

Conservative Frank Schaeffer: Obama Will Be One of the Greatest (and Most Loved) American Presidents

Pro-life and Pro-Obama

Confused about what this guy thinks a right-wing conservative - like him - is supposed to look like?

Don't be.

Go back to the beginning and start reading this post again.

Muddleheaded ...

Hypocrisy 101

I'm not big on Senators blocking presidential nominees from being confirmed. My attitute is - if Obama wants them in his administration, and they're not fugitives from justice or traitors to the state, they should give him what he wants, and make him live with his decisions.

But I'm not big on hypocrisy either.

Speaking of which, you might want to look at today's New York Times: "Who’s Filibustering Now?" It's about Republicans threatening to filibuster Obama nominees to the courts (the headline is misleading; The Republicans haven't blocked anyone - "now" especially).

It's an editorial that includes this line:

"A filibuster can be an appropriate response when it is clear that a particular nominee would be a dangerous addition to the bench."

Dangerous? Gosh. Quite the threshold.

Well, let's look at another quote, this one from the same New York Times, back when the Republicans were doing the nominating - in 2004, right after John Kerry got his butt kicked by GW:
The Republicans see the filibuster as an annoying obstacle. But it is actually one of the checks and balances that the founders, who worried greatly about concentration of power, built into our system of government. It is also, right now, the main means by which the 48 percent of Americans who voted for John Kerry can influence federal policy. People who call themselves conservatives should find a way of achieving their goals without declaring war on one of the oldest traditions in American democracy."
See anything in there about "dangerous" nominees? No. In 2004, the filibuster was seen as an opportunity (a simple every day "influence") for the 48% of Americans who lost the election that year to have a voice in the matter of judicial nominees.

So which is it?

Typical. So typical.

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* Don't start accusing the Republicans of being hypocrites too. They haven't actually filibustered anyone. When they do, fire away.

Clinton Butt Of Jokes

Hey, the Russkies are making fun of my Secretary of State:
Russian media teases Clinton over 'reset' button

Russian media has been poking fun at US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton after she gave her Russian counterpart a "reset" button with an ironic misspelling.

Clinton's gift to Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov at their meeting in Geneva on Friday evening was meant to underscore the Obama administration's readiness to "to press the reset button" in ties with Moscow.

But instead of the Russian word for "reset" (perezagruzka) it featured a slightly different word meaning "overload" or "overcharged" (peregruzka).

Daily newspaper Kommersant put a prominent picture of the fake red button on its front page and declared: "Sergei Lavrov and Hillary Clinton pushed the wrong button."[link]

Condoleezza Rice and Collin Powell must be chuckling about now.

You can bet, the mainstream press will still dub Wild Bill's wife as being the best Sec State ever!

Of Course, Al Gore Won't Be There

He thinks any scientific debate about the theory of global warming is a waste of time. As if scientists ever stop challenging scientific theories:
Scientists meet to dispute global warming theory
By Pete Chagnon, OneNewsNow

New York - The A-list of manmade climate-change skeptics is meeting in New York City for the 2009 International Conference on Climate Change.

The Conference is definitely international in scope. Opening the conference is Vaclav Klaus, president of the Czech Republic and the European Union. When it comes to manmade global warming, Klaus calls that a myth. He is also an outspoken critic of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and says the panel is one-sided and has a political agenda.

Featured at the conference will be more than 70 scientists who do not subscribe to the notion that so-called global warming is driven by manmade emissions of carbon dioxide, one of those being Harrison "Jack" Schmitt -- one of the last astronauts to walk on the moon.

"What we are trying to accomplish with this conference is to present to the politicians and to the public that the debate is not over about global warming or climate change; that there is plenty of room for disagreement; and that sound science shows that the earth is not warming," says Miller.

"For much of the latter part of the 20th century there's been a mild warming as we come out of an ice age -- but the planet today is much cooler than it was a thousand years ago." [link]
But what do these guys know? They're only scientists. Al Gore is a Nobel Peace Prize recipient, by God. And a favorite of the Hollywood elite.

End of discussion.

Well, This Isn't Good

It looks like Obama had better be thinking of a way to stimulate the entire global economy now. Can he print that much money?
World Bank offers dire forecast for world economy
By Edmund L. Andrews, International Herald Tribune

Washington: In a bleaker assessment than those of most private forecasters, the World Bank predicted Sunday that the global economy would shrink in 2009 for the first time since World War II.

The World Bank also warned that global trade would contract for the first time since 1982, and that the decline would be the biggest since the 1930s. [link]
It's those fat cats on Wall Street ...