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

Monday, April 20, 2009

You Ask, I Answer

The subject came up yesterday in a blog post about the town of Abingdon having a couple of police officers show up at the Tea Party rally held there last Wednesday on Segways. See photo to the right.

It turns out, those Segways are one piece of an effort on the part of the town to "go green."
Va. town wants to set green example
Associated Press

Abongdon, Va. (AP) -- Abingdon officials are working to reduce the town's carbon footprint and to set a green example for others to follow.

As part of that effort, the town has acquired an electric car for its information technology department.

Information Technology director Floyd Bailey says the VerdeGo [a Volkswagen conversion] produces no emissions and no noise. It cost about $15,000 and is about the size of a tall picnic table.

Abingdon also has acquired two Segway battery-powered scooters. Town Manager Greg Kelly says the town may purchase two more Segways and a second electric car. [link]

Now, you're probably wondering how an officer of the law is supposed to hop on one of these little doohickies and pursue a scofflaw who happens to be speeding down the street at 75 miles an hour in a 225 horse 5.0 liter Mustang.

No worries. Abingdon has no crime or criminals.

Which makes one then wonder ...

One By One, They Leave Us

But what a wondrous record of accomplishment our exalted heroes of World War II have left behind:
Last surviving WWII "Bedford Boy" Elisha Ray Nance dies at 94
By Courtney Cutright, Roanoke Times

Elisha Ray Nance died at the Elks National Home in Bedford on Sunday, less than two months before the 65th anniversary of D-Day.

Nance, 94, was the last surviving officer of Company A and the last surviving Bedford Boy. He was one of 34 servicemen from the Bedford area who landed on the beaches of Nazi-held France during World War II in the first waves of the largest land, air and sea invasion in military history.

On June 6, 1944, 19 of the 34 Bedford men in Company A of the 116th Infantry were killed on Omaha Beach. The death toll is considered one of the largest per capita suffered by any American community during the invasion, a fact instrumental in establishing the National D-Day Memorial in Bedford.

Nance and the other Bedford Boys were members of the Virginia National Guard. The young men joined the Guard to earn an extra dollar during the years after the Great Depression. Before D-Day, none of the Boys had seen combat. [link]
Yon marble minstrel's voiceless stone
In deathless song shall tell,
When many a vanquished ago has flown,
The story how ye fell;
Nor wreck, nor change, nor winter's blight,
Nor time's remorseless doom,
Can dim one ray of glory's light
That gilds your deathless tomb.

The Latest On Coal-To-Liquid

(A subject, by the way, about which Rick Boucher and I agree ... ahem), here's the latest. It's great news for the people of Southwest Virginia's coalfields:
Human ingenuity beats the neo-Malthusians yet again
From Armed and Dangerous

OK, this is big news. A research team has worked out a way to nearly triple the efficiency of the Fischer-Tropsch process.

This means cheap synthetic hydrocarbons from coal are on the horizon. It probably sinks shale oil and biofuels for good - which is a good thing, as biofuel demand has been driving food prices higher. Potentially, it could make the U.S. - which has huge coal reserves - independent of foreign oil sources for the forseeable future. [link] [the link links to a paid subscription site, alas]

Of course all is not roses. The environmentalists are predicted to have a cow ...

Now watch for it: I predict that the so-called “environmental movement” will scream in horror at this prospect, and we will learn yet again that they are mostly about enforcing eco-puritan poverty on us all rather than doing anything actually useful about actual ecological problems.

Environmentalists are hell bent on "enforcing eco-puritan poverty on us all." I think we've all come to realize that. That's why we want them imprisoned.

Anyway, things are looking better and better for the coal industry in this energy-starved world of ours. Let's hope coal-to-liquid comes to fruition on a large scale and area politicians don't lose their already flaccid spines.

Name Names

I found this blurb in a Washington Post piece (see "What Was the Civil War Really About?") rather interesting:

Debate over teaching the conflict [Civil War] traces back to the late 1800s, when Confederate supporters propagated the "Lost Cause" view of Civil War history, according to Ed Bonekemper, an adjunct professor at Muhlenberg College and author of several books on the war.

This pro-Confederate interpretation held that slavery did not cause the war and that the South fought heroically despite having no chance of winning. Many historians nowadays say the outcome was not, in fact, inevitable.

Two things:

Yes, there are "historians" who will argue that the Civil War wasn't a direct result of America's "peculiar institution" rending the country in two in the early part of the 19th century. They lean on the crutch of "states rights" (usually) to make a different, in fact desperate, argument. But there aren't very many of them. And they would be wrong.

But on that second point, "Many historians nowadays say the outcome was not, in fact, inevitable"? Many? Who are those historians? I want names.

Because they would be dead wrong too.

If, in fact, they exist, which I doubt, I'd ask them to turn to the best book on the general subject of the Civil War ever written, "Battlecry of Freedom," by James M. McPherson. If one gains nothing else from his exhaustive research, it is that the South was doomed from the start.

As the renowned Shelby Foote put it so succinctly:

I think that the North fought that war with one hand behind its back. At the same time the war was going on, the Homestead act was being passed, all these marvelous inventions were going on... If there had been more Southern victories, and a lot more, the North simply would have brought that other hand out from behind its back. I don't think the South ever had a chance to win that War.

A careful student of the conflict will come away after reading legitimate works on the subject knowing that the South never had a chance of winning the war and, at best, could only have hoped for some accommodation being made with the North.

An accommodation that millions of Northerners were willing to make, by the way.

Except for there being this guy named Abraham Lincoln ...

Anyway, are those "many" historians out there? If so, name them.

My My. This From a Democrat.

It seems like only yesterday that we were hearing this kind of thing from America's leftists:

"Dissent is the highest form of patriotism."

Today?

Well, now, suddenly, dissent is ... "unhealthy."

What changed, I wonder?

This is almost humorous:
Axelrod suggests 'Tea Party' movement is 'unhealthy'"
By CNN Political Producer Peter Hamby

Washington (CNN) – Senior White House adviser David Axelrod on Sunday suggested the "Tea Party" movement is an "unhealthy" reaction to the tough economic climate facing the country.

Axelrod was asked on CBS's "Face the Nation" about the "spreading and very public disaffection" with the president's fiscal policies seen at the "Tea Party" rallies around the country last week.

"I think any time you have severe economic conditions there is always an element of disaffection that can mutate into something that's unhealthy," Axelrod said.

Axelrod appeared to backtrack when pressed on whether the movement is unhealthy.

"Well, this is a country where we value our liberties and [blah blah blah] [link]

Just to prove to a national audience that he's as clueless as his boss, he adds this:

"The thing that bewilders me is that this president just cut taxes for 95 percent of the American people," Axelrod argued. "I think the tea bags should be directed elsewhere because he certainly understands the burden that people face."

For the thousandth time, it's not about taxes, moron. It's about too-smart-by-half politicians thinking they can buy off the American people with gifts that aren't theirs to give.

We've had enough!

From The Desk Of Delegate Anne Crockett-Stark

Annie B's Capitol Buzz

Unemployment Benefits: The Whole Story

While much has been written about the House of Delegates' vote against permanently changing Virginia's unemployment insurance law through a federal mandate in order to receive $125 million in short-term, temporary funding, little has been written about the comprehensive initiatives put forth by the House and passed by the General Assembly during the regular and reconvened sessions. These are initiatives that will not leave our state with another UNFUNDED MANDATE when the money runs out. A program this big, to be picked up by employers, would probably put many of the small main street businesses in the Sixth District out of business. Who would then pay the bill?

Unemployment insurance (UI) is a benefit totally paid for by employers. It is designed to replace a portion of income lost if one is out of work through no fault of one's own, but is physically able to work and is actively seeking work. This system was created by the Social Security Act of 1935 and has oversight by the Department of Labor for the federal guidelines. It is administered by each state who sets the requirements for eligibility, benefit levels and taxes for administering the program. In Virginia, the Virginia Employment Commission is the lead state agency who has set three goals for the program: to alleviate hardship for the unemployed, prevent unemployment, and promote reemployment. Unemployment benefits are meant to be a bridge between jobs, not a permanent entitlement program. For Virginia to accept the $125 million, we had to meet four new regulations including one provision that this would be a permanent increase not subject to discontinuation.

How does this play out? At present, a claimant is eligible for 12 to 26 weeks of unemployment benefits and must have earned $2,700 in the two highest quarters of the base period combined. In 2003 the General Assembly changed the law to allow a change in the base period if a claimant could not reach that standard. That change allowed us to receive $62.5 million in ARRA funds (stimulus) in 2009. Sam Nixon, (R-Chesterfield) has been the spearhead to steadily increase the amount of funding by $90 over the last decade. The range is $54.00 to $378 per week. However, House Bill 1889 that I co-patroned with Mr. Nixon has increased funding by $25, has postponed a scheduled increase in earning threshold that allows 1,000 people to remain eligible for unemployment benefits and has extended the time from 26 weeks to 59 weeks that a person can receive unemployment benefits. One main difference is that three weeks before the $62.5 million in stimulus runs out, we have a sunset clause that does not leave employers paying at the same level the Stimulus Package mandated. I truly believe our bill provides a balance that protects laid-off workers as well as employers. In 2008, the VEC paid out $516,660,970.00 to 356,220 individuals with only a one week waiting period.

The whole picture includes other legislation passed to recognize that we are in unusually difficult times. House Bill 2024 by Delegate Danny Marshall (R-Danville) establishes a "mini-COBRA" program to allow employees of small businesses to have better access to the federal health insurance premium assistance program. Federal funding will support the continuation of benefits for nine months and assist the laid-off worker in obtaining affordable health insurance coverage to weather the storm.

Delegate Lacey Putney (R-Bedford) carried a bill that extends the current major business facility job tax credit January 1, 2010 to January 1, 2020.

In order to continue actively recruiting jobs in Virginia, Delegate Kirk Cox (R- Colonial Heights) introduced a bill that authorizes financing high impact regional economic development projects. These must have at least a $250 million in capital outlay and bring in at least 400 jobs.

There is no one right answer. The General Assembly understands and has worked hard for a comprehensive and balanced approach to our economic problems. We are also aware that economic development and employment policies are not enumerated powers of the federal government, but the powers of the state governments as established by the Tenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. As Robert Schuller once wrote, "Tough times don't last; tough people do."


Received via email 04/20/2009

When Guns Are Outlawed, Only Outlaws ...

News from the once-free and proud nation of England, where the private ownership of handguns has been outlawed and the people now live in bliss and harmony:
Men shot dead at anti-gun Event
By Paul Cheston, Courts Correspondent, Evening Standard

An alleged double killer, his accomplice and one of his victims were all carrying firearms at an anti-gun event in London, the Old Bailey heard today.

Shakah Anderson is accused of shooting dead Mohamed Korneh and Selorn Gbesenete, both 21, at the Tudor Rose night club in Southall at Unarmed 2, dedicated to stopping gun crime among young black people, the jury was told.

The killings in December 2002 were part of a series of shootings in the area. Korneh, known as Shorty, had allegedly been responsible for one shooting. When police arrived they found a Luger handgun in his waistband.

Anderson had been shot earlier that year and his alleged accomplice Wayne Freckleton has since died in a shooting.

Stephen Batten, prosecuting, said “there must have been other guns at the event as well”. [link]
"There must have been other guns at the event as well." Ya think?

This belongs in the You Can't Make This Stuff Up category. A double murder occurs at an event "dedicated to stopping gun crime among young black people" and every young person there is armed to the teeth with guns.

Just goes to show ...

Oh, never mind. Let's close that gun show loophole and all will be better.

Déjà vu

1978: Carter [could have easily said] Reaching Out to Enemies Strengthens US

2009: Obama Says Reaching Out to Enemies Strengthens US

1979: Iran Makes US Laughingstock of the World

2010: ???