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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, April 04, 2009

On The Abingdon Tea Party Saga

It only gets curiouser and curiouser.

Here's a copy of an email that went, apparently, to either the Abingdon Tea Party organizers or to one of its sympathizers by one Cathy Lowe who, it's my understanding, is on the town council (apologies to Ms. Lowe if I got that wrong), explaining the reason for the town to have rejected the application that was submitted - or wasn't submitted - for the event.

Now I'll warn you, I have only a Masters Degree. It's going to take someone far more versed in the English language than I to explain all this.

But here goes. The email (grammar and syntax as they were in the original):
First and foremost, unless Council is contacted PRIOR to a request to Town Management or in conjunction with contacting town management we (the council) have no idea about the requests or their answers until someone is upset. You should put all requests in writing and copy the council when submitting the request if you want us to have a hand in the decision making process. Per the code of Virginia management makes decisions about daily operations unless council is asked to oversee the process.

Second, One of the emails we received says and I quote” you suck and you can go to hell” , doesn’t sound very peaceful to someone who has no idea at that point what the author was referring to.

Third, we have been informed that someone from your group has been contacted by the Town Manager via phone and told the reasons he said no to the mustering grounds this year and that there are other properties available for use. You are correct you have many rights afforded to you under the constitution and I know my fellow council persons well enough to know we believe in your rights. Not using the Mustering Grounds had nothing to do with denying your right to peaceful assembly it had to do with protecting the property because of it’s current condition. I am told that you were offered Veteran’s Park as well as other locations with in the town. Please let us know if that is incorrect.

Fourth, the mayor is Ed Morgan not Lois Humphreys, the vice mayor is French Moore.

In conclusion, I understand how upsetting this situation was for your group and I am sorry for your aggravation. I hope the Town Manager eased your suspicions and the conclusion was a satisfactory one. If not The Town Council Meetings are the first Monday of each month at 7:30 p.m. in Council Chambers located in the Municipal Building on Main Street beside of the Barter Theatre. As I said none of us knew about your dilemma and would have been very willing to help solve this problem in a professional manner at a Council meeting. To my knowledge no one has ever been denied an opportunity to speak to council during a meeting and there is an agenda item called matters not on the agenda for just that purpose . It is very difficult to respond professionally to an angry person given recent violent behaviors that are happening through out our country when we are unsure of who we are speaking with via internet and telephone.

I hope I have answered your questions and concerns.

Cathy Lowe
I have two responses (well, three, but I'll save the third till the end).

(1) There is a great deal of confusion here. Whoever is in charge of putting this protest together needs to seize the initiative and cut through all this fog, or there'll be no protest.

(2) I learned long ago that the best way to kill something like this is to act on Ms. Lowe's suggestion that "the request be put in writing." What decade did the organizers want to pull this off? Again, if you want to get the party off the ground, seize the initiative. If you want to bureaucrat this thing to death, follow Ms. Lowe's instructions.

(2a) I like the suggestion made by someone (admittedly outside Washington County) regarding the obtaining of necessary permission(s). There's this little thingie called "We The People." You own the street. Exercise your right to ownership thereof. Grab a sign. Picket. Make your voices heard. Let the town council pass its resolutions afterward.

Finally, there's (3). Along with everything else that has turned out to be bewilderingly confusing about this whole mess comes this: The title of the email that went to (from?) from Ms. Lowe has this:

Subject: Re: From On High peaceful Tea Party tax protest [my emphasis]

The What peaceful Tea Party protest?

Unless the get-together in Abingdon has been named in my honor, my weblog has been sucked into this affair because I posted comments (twice) on "From On High" information about the protest (or non-protest), even though I have nothing to do with it.

In another part of the email back-and-forth there's a reference to a "From On High organization ." (!!) I got news for you, fellas, I could hold a convention on a toilet seat and no one in the "organization" will feel encumbered.

I - "From On High" - am an organization of one.

Tangentially, if I were one of those "angry persons" that this Lowe woman is fearful of, I wouldn't be chuckling right now at how I got sucked into this. Innocent me. Bemused me.

A special note to the Tea Party organizers, whoever you are: Maybe you do need me. Though I hadn't planned on participating, I may be of value in getting this thing going (despite the short time yet available). I've dealt in the past with much bigger projects than this and know how to get the attention of those who need their attention gotten and I know who's just going to jack us around. I also know how to meet deadlines. My email is off to the left of this post. Use it or lose it.

A special note to Ms. Lowe: You strike me as being a kind person interested in getting the job done you were elected to do. My hat is off to you. But don't be too negative about all those angry voices out there. We have lots of reasons to be angry these days. Read "From On High" lately? Read the news lately? Have you seen what Obama's doing to this once-great nation of ours? Have you contemplated what he's doing to your grandchildren's future? Can you really blame these people if they don't "follow procedure" as outlined in your town's Rules of Proper Conduct When Trying To Organize a Mass Gathering For The First Time? I think you owe it to yourself - and your grandchildren - to be taking the reins and organizing this event yourself. It's that important.

A special note to my readers: Yes, I've occasionally written "You suck and you can go to hell," but my wife addresses it more often to me than I do to others. So there. To dispel the possibility that new misinformation might arise, I herewith deny any involvement in that email that went to Ms. Lowe.

Anyway, the saga continues. And it appears that the Abingdon Tea Party is no closer to reality than it was a week ago. Alas. April 15 fast approaches ...

When Gov't Officials View Citizens As Terrorists ...

... you get the Washington D.C. attorney general arguing against relaxing gun laws in the city:
DC attorney general decries gun amendment
By Brian Westley, Associated Press Writer

Washington (AP) -- The nation's capital would be more vulnerable to a terrorist attack if the District of Columbia's gun laws were weakened, the city's attorney general said Friday.

Peter Nickles testified before a House subcommittee examining the potential effect of a gun amendment attached to legislation that would give D.C. its first full vote in Congress.

The measure sponsored by Sen. John Ensign, R-Nev., would repeal the city's strict gun registration requirements and restrictions on semiautomatic weapons.

"The terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, demonstrated something that we have known for some time: government facilities, dignitaries and public servants are prime targets for terrorists," Nickles said. "As a result, it would seem to me the district is the last place where residents across the country would want to allow assault weapons." [link]

9/11 taught us, sir, that Islamist fanatics shouldn't be allowed to take over commercial airliners and fly them into buildings. At least those of us who don't have shit for brains and who are capable of rational thought.

You're wanting restrictions placed on guns because of the horrific attacks that took place in New York City back in 2001? Wouldn't it make more sense to argue for a ban on the weapons that were actually used? Boeing 757's?

His is as weak an argument as the Washington Post editorial page makes about closing the mythical "gun show loophole" because a madman on the Virginia Tech campus who didn't acquire his weapons at any gun show killed a lot of people with weapons that might have been purchased at a gun show had he not gotten them where he got them and had gotten them at a gun show instead.

What?!

But still these people persist. Even today, the Post leaps into its tired refrain that calls for "strict registration requirements to cooling-off periods before purchases are permitted, to a resurrection of the federal ban on assault weapons" because a lunatic in Binghamton, New York shot and killed 13 innocent people (a) with weapons that may - as far as anyone at the Post knows - have been purchased long ago, (b) with two handguns (and a hunting knife) (assault handguns, maybe?) that were probably (c) registered in the state of New York as the law currently requires, and (d) in a terrible tragedy that didn't involve any "assault weapons."

I'm surprised they didn't call for closing the gun show loophole, for God's sake. That relates just as well.

They're flailing, people. They have no argument that stands under scrutiny. Or that holds against events as they play out. Why? Because bad people find the means to do bad things when they choose to. We have 10,000 gun laws. The Washington Post - and the genius who heads the legal division in D.C. - would have us believe that it'll never happen again if we have 10,004.

Go away. We tried it your way. 10,000 times. You failed.

Just go away.

Speaking Truth To The Insolent

Investor's Business Daily:
Echo Of Europe

Sixty-one years to the day after Truman signed the Marshall Plan rebuilding war-torn Europe, President Obama apologizes to French youth for U.S. arrogance.

News reports quoted French men and women hailing the first African-American president of the United States as a hopeful sign for global racial reconciliation.

But is there another reason they're so smitten? Might they be imagining the decline of America and the rise of a Eurocentric multilateralism?

Barack Obama's words to the thousands of squealing young French and German fans at the Rhenus Sports Arena in Strasbourg certainly seem in harmony with such hopes.

"In America," the president claimed, "there's a failure to appreciate Europe's leading role in the world. Instead of celebrating your dynamic union and seeking to partner with you to meet common challenges, there have been times where America has shown arrogance and been dismissive, even derisive."

President Obama promised that "America is changing" and that there would now be "unprecedented coordination" in our policies.

He lamented that "we got sidetracked by Iraq"; he extolled the "social safety net that exists in almost all of Europe that doesn't exist in the United States."

"We just emerged from an era marked by irresponsibility," the president claimed in reference to the global financial crisis.

But when he flaunts his "excellent meeting with President Medvedev of Russia" to begin the reduction of U.S. and Russian nuclear stockpiles with the claim that working with Moscow will "give us greater moral authority to say to Iran, 'don't develop a nuclear weapon,' to say to North Korea, 'don't proliferate nuclear weapons,'" isn't he actually embarking on a new era of naive foreign policy irresponsibility? [link]
I can't speak to that. But I know it's the height of irresponsibility - and betrayal - for our president to trash his own country in the presence of those in foreign lands who love to do the same.

If you love them - and their way of life - so much, Mr. President, why not leave this den of iniquity to the rest of us and go and live with your buds over there? Permanently.

Yeah. Right.

A New York Times reporter tries valiantly to refute the arguments being made by the growing chorus of global warming skeptics.

Only one problem: He uses those notoriously unreliable computer models in the attempt:
Study: Cool Spells Normal in Warming World
By Andrew C. Revkin

A valuable short paper that has been accepted for publication in Geophysical Research Letters (subscription required) makes a strong case against presenting any argument about human-driven global warming that’s based on short-term trends (a decade or so).

The paper shows, both in recent records and projections using computer simulations, how utterly normal it is to have decade-long vagaries in temperature, up and down, on the way to a warmer world. The paper is titled simply, “Is the climate warming or cooling?” It is written by David R. Easterling of the National Climatic Data Center and Michael F. Wehner of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

The bottom line? “We show that the climate over the 21st century can and likely will produce periods of a decade or two where the globally averaged surface air temperature shows no trend or even slight cooling in the presence of longer-term warming,” the paper says ... [link]
The bottom line? The use of computer models (or "computer simulations") was discredited long ago when it was shown that they couldn't even predict the past, much less the future.

The bottom line?
The current cooling trend was not predicted by any computer simulation. Until the factual data came in and it was actually proven to be occurring.

Now, lo and behold, computer models are not only predicting the cooling trend we're in ("short-term," don't forget), but future "short-term" cooling trends as well.

The bottom line: Get the idea these guys are making this stuff up as they go along?

Know What Makes Me Extremely Uncomfortable?

What makes me extremely uncomfortable is a Federal Reserve that promoted the bank bailout a few months ago as the thing to do but is now ...

... "'extremely uncomfortable' about bailouts."

Good grief. Is anyone steering this ship?

Crunch Time

Here's where we hope he can bring change. Let's see how much of a leader Obama really is:
Obama’s Farm Subsidy Cuts Meet Stiff Resistance
By David Herszenhorn, New York Times

Washington — Among the audacious proposals in President Obama’s budget was a plan to save more than $9.7 billion over a decade by putting strict limits on farm subsidies that are disbursed regardless of market conditions or even whether the land is actively farmed.

But Mr. Obama’s grand ambitions have run into political reality.

The budget outlines approved by the House and Senate on Thursday night do not include limits on farm subsidies at all, and even champions of change say that if the president’s plan can be revived, it will have to be scaled back so significantly that the savings could amount to just several hundred million dollars. [link]
Another pledge down the drain.

This is change? For this we could have kept Bush. And Clinton. And Bush. And ...

Nice Work

"In order for satire to work, it has to be grounded in the truth."
-- Rush Limbaugh

Political satire at its best:

Created by Founding Bloggers.

The Plan Seemed So Perfect

Bush was a cowboy, going it alone. He couldn't get European cooperation to fight the terrorists because he was too arrogant and condescending. His unilateral approach to foreign policy was setting back relations with other governments. The only way to win in Afghanistan is through a multilateral strategy. Bush was a flop but Obama's the guy to git 'er done.

Or not:

Obama flops on European participation in Afghanistan

Hey, it wasn't a total flop. Such buffoonery got the little squirt elected.

Wal-Mart Rocks!

Not only do they deliver great prices to millions of Americans each day, not only do they provide decent pay and quality benefits to hundreds of thousands of American employees, not only did they provide a safe haven in the storm for millions of investors at a time when the market was crashing, but through these turbulent times Wal-Mart still manages to find the wherewithal to donate hundreds of millions of dollars to charity.

Folks, it don't get better than this:
Wal-Mart Donated $423 Million to Charity, Increase from Prior Year
The Morning News

Springdale — Bentonville-based Wal-Mart Stores Inc. donated $423 million to charity in the year ended Jan. 31.

That's an $85.6 million increase in giving from the prior fiscal year, the company reported Thursday.

"During these tough economic times, we know we have a responsibility to continually look for ways to increase our giving and focus our local contributions towards organizations that can do the most good — and have a lasting, positive impact in communities around the globe," said Margaret McKenna, Wal-Mart Foundation president.

In addition, Walmart U.S. and Sam's Club employees volunteered for more than 1 million hours. The company anticipates employees will log 1.5 million volunteer hours this fiscal year. [link]
Average schmucks donating a million and a half hours to charity. I wonder how many of the MoveOn.org types donated?

This is another reason - one of many - why I love this all-American company.

Wal-Mart rocks!