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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, May 18, 2009

Mikey Moonbeam

Who's been telling you all along that Jim Webb is a flake? And who voted for the oddball anyway?

Maybe this will give you pause:
Webb opposes Gitmo timetable
By Andrew Cain, Richmond Times-Dispatch

Sen. Jim Webb, D-Va., says he now disagrees with President Barack Obama's timetable to close the Guantanamo Bay prison camp in January 2010.

But Webb supports Obama's idea of reviving military commissions to try some terror suspects now detained there.

Webb, appearing on ABC's "This Week" program, acknowledged that in January he said the president had established a reasonable timeline for closing the detention center.

He said he has changed his mind on the timetable.

"We spent hundreds of millions of dollars building an appropriate facility with all security precautions at Guantanamo to try these cases," Webb said.

"I do not believe they should be tried in the United States."

He added: "We should at the right time close Guantanamo, but I don't think that it should be closed in terms of transferring people here."

Webb said he supports military commissions because "there are issues of evidence that you cannot take care of inside the regular American court system," such as classified information that might affect how the U.S. collects intelligence.

"On the one hand, it can be argued that they were simply conducting dissident activities against the government of China," Webb said.

"On the other, they accepted training from al-Qaida, and, as a result they have taken part in terrorism. I don't believe that they should come to the United States." [link]
Translated: "I have no control over the words that come out of my mouth."

Translated: "I wholeheartedly support President Bush and his efforts to combat global terrorism."

For the love of God.

- - -

Moe Lane:

"Oh, Webb is saying that he’s merely against the timetable, but that’s just political-speak for ‘I need to start laying down the groundwork for my retreat on this issue.’ By this time next year he’ll be telling everybody how he’s fully satisfied that Obama’s ‘reform’ of Gitmo addresses the issues brought up during the campaign, etc, etc, etc. Amazing how quickly some of these guys catch Washington Establishment Disease, huh?

- - -

Allahpundit:

"To be more precise: He now opposes closing it anytime soon but naturally is A-OK with closing it at some murky, distant time in the future. Which, as far as I can tell, means he holds the same position on it as George W. Bush or Dick Cheney."

A Recommendation To Virginia's Democrats

Rather than pour money down that union-inspired rat hole we call pre-K public education, how about you work on creating conditions such that Southwest Virginia's young people can, over a period of twelve freaking years, be able to read?

The report card is in. Grade? D. Progress? Non-existent.
SREB study finds the same old problem: Johnny still can't read
Kingsport Times News editorial

A new report by the Southern Regional Education Board (SREB) shines a light on an old and persistent problem in our region: the lack of good reading skills.

The report, “A Critical Mission: Improving Adolescent Reading in SREB States,” cites students’ low skills in reading as a chief cause of why southern states’ college completion rates are lower than their high school graduation rates. The report urges state leaders to make the improvement of students’ reading and writing skills the number one priority of all public schools in the 16 SREB states.

The Southern Regional Education Board, which is based in Atlanta, was created in 1948 by southern governors and legislatures to help leaders in education and government work cooperatively to advance education and improve the social and economic life of the region. SREB member states are: Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and West Virginia.

The SREB reading report stemmed from a special committee of state leaders headed by Virginia Governor and SREB Chair Tim Kaine.

The conclusions of the SREB study, while disturbing, are really nothing new. It’s scarcely a secret that poor reading skill is the overwhelming reason children repeat grades, are assigned to special education programs or given long-term remedial services. [link]
So why are Virginia Democrats working feverishly to fund pre-K education while existing funding is wasted in our public schools? Because, in their eyes, it's not about the schools. Or the students. It's about the NEA. More union members.

So what if our kids can't read? Political donations continue to roll in, baby.

So shut up and support kiddygarden for four-year-olds who will never be taught to read.

My Kinda Fun

Ya learn something every day. Ever heard of a mountain delicacy called "ramp"? Neither did I. Apparently it's a wild leek or wild onion that grows in a relatively confined area of Southwest Virginia and northern North Carolina that is considered a delicacy by those who know of them and love them.

Imagine ...

Anyway, there is apparently a Ramp Festival held each year down in Whitetop, Grayson County, that draws a crowd each year. Who knew?
Festival Celebrates Pungent Plant, Appalachian Tradition
By Debra McCown, Bristol Herald Courier

Whitetop, Va. – The world might be moving ahead at breakneck pace, but that’s one reason so many people come back here every year: to get centered again on down-home food, old-time music and unhurried fun.

“Stuff like this is going to grow, not die out,” said Ian Snider, 26, of Todd, N.C., one of hundreds who attended the Whitetop Ramp Festival on Sunday despite the chilly wind blowing through the remote mountain community.

While the ramps – wild members of the onion family that come up early in the spring – take center stage in a contest that reportedly leaves participants stinking for days, a lot of people say they come for the music.

“That’s been a big family thing for us since we were kids – the music, and I think the bluegrass music, it’s America,” said Mike Taylor of Bristol, Tenn., who came with his wife and other family members. “It’s a piece of who we are and where we come from. It tells the stories of who we are.” [link]
Sounds like a good time. Good music. Good friends. And good food ramps. What could be better?

We Need An Effective Congressman

One who will fight the powers-that-be in Washington. One who will fight for the best interests of the people of Southwest Virginia. One who has greater interest in us than in getting along with those who are hell-bent on destroying this country.

Instead we have Rick Boucher, who hasn't the strength of character to stand up to his bosses and, if truth be known, who probably no longer even cares that they push him around like the wiener that he is.

The Democrats in Congress are poised to pass "global warming" legislation that, by anyone's standard, is doomed to fail to achieve its goal (unless levying crushing taxes is its only real goal, which is my surmise), and is predicted by some to bring about grievous devastation to the American economy, starting with the already-teetering coal industry here in the region.

That doomed-to-fail global warming legislation? Cap-and-trade.

A failure that is best described by those who have gone down that path - the Europeans.

So what is Rick Boucher's response to this effort to destroy the America that we know and love?

"Well, we got as good a compromise* as was possible. I'm just thankful that I was thrown a bone by my bosses."

For the love of God:
Boucher: Cap and trade deal preserves coal jobs
By Charles Owens, Bluefield Daily Telegraph

Washington — The House Energy and Commerce Committee has reached a tentative agreement on federal legislation that will control greenhouses gases while also preserving coal jobs, according to U.S. Rep. Rick Boucher, Va.

“For about the last six weeks, I’ve been involved in an intensive and continuous negotiation with the chairman of the House Energy and Commerce committee that is Henry Waxman from California,” Boucher said. “We reached a tentative agreement on legislation that will control greenhouse gases. That measure can now be brought before the full Energy and Commerce Committee for passage.”

Boucher said the agreement will be presented to the Energy and Commerce Committee Monday.

“The fact is that we will inevitably have controls on greenhouse gases,” Boucher said. “Refraining from controlling is no longer an option. [link]
The fact is, Rick, there is absolutely no need - scientifically speaking - for us to have controls on greenhouse gases. And there is every reason to oppose with every fiber in your body to oppose legislation that will - guaranteed - destroy the coalfields of Wise and Buchanan, and Tazewell and Dickenson Counties. You champion the fact that they met you halfway. Again. Are we to celebrate with you the fact that the bullet only passed half way through the brain pan?

You gave up the fight for Southwest Virginia's future with "we will inevitably have ..." We won't inevitably have, pal.

But we will inevitably have representation in Washington that has the interests of his Southwest Virignia constituents in mind rather than those of his party bosses. And inevitably can't come soon enough.

Give-up-the-fight-before-it-began Rick Boucher. A contemptible disgrace.

- - -

Boucher:

"And so I’ve been working extensively to fashion a controlled program that Congress can adopt which will preserve coal jobs, create the opportunity for increasing coal production and keep electricity rates in regions like Southwest Virginia affordable. The compromise that I have reached with Chairman Waxman achieves those goals.”

Bullshit.

* Said Obama to the aborted child: "We reached a compromise. We agreed to kill you but we'll mourn your passing."

Quote of the Day

The Wall Street Journal:
Amid so much other news, a Senate vote last week to allow loaded guns in national parks slipped under the media radar. The vote shows how the political cause of gun control is as dead as a mounted moose.

As recently as the 1990s, guns in parks legislation would have provoked a Congressional uproar. But gun control has proven to be a consistent political loser, and last year the Supreme Court cast doubt on state gun bans. No fewer than 27 Democrats voted for Mr. Coburn's amendment, and the ayes included Majority Leader Harry Reid, who is up for re-election in Nevada next year.

Congressional liberals are furious, and are threatening to hold up the credit-card bill, much as they have held up Washington, D.C. voting-rights legislation to which Republicans attached gun-owner protections. Holding up both bad bills forever would be fine with us, but in any case it's clear liberals have lost the gun control debate even within their own party.

"Democrats and Guns," May 18, 2009

Why Virginia Needs To Dump the Dems

Before it's too late:
Soak the Rich, Lose the Rich
Americans know how to use the moving van to escape high taxes.
By Arthur Laffer and Stephen Moore, writing in the Wall Street Journal

Updating some research from Richard Vedder of Ohio University, we found that from 1998 to 2007, more than 1,100 people every day including Sundays and holidays moved from the nine highest income-tax states such as California, New Jersey, New York and Ohio and relocated mostly to the nine tax-haven states with no income tax, including Florida, Nevada, New Hampshire and Texas. We also found that over these same years the no-income tax states created 89% more jobs and had 32% faster personal income growth than their high-tax counterparts.

Did the greater prosperity in low-tax states happen by chance? Is it coincidence that the two highest tax-rate states in the nation, California and New York, have the biggest fiscal holes to repair? No. Dozens of academic studies -- old and new -- have found clear and irrefutable statistical evidence that high state and local taxes repel jobs and businesses. [link]

There is a veritable host of enitities here in the commonwealth that are calling for a very real host of tax increases - on the rich, on business, on gasoline, on cigarettes, on property, on financial transactions, on carbon, on sales ...

Meanwhile, Texas beckons.

As does China and Singapore and Korea and Mexico ...

I Wonder

Do you suppose anyone on the Washington Post editorial board reads the Washington Post?

One day after that editorial team called for an increase in the gas tax (again), a regressive tax that slams the poorest among us hardest, we get this:
Poor? Pay Up.
By DeNeen L. Brown, Washington Post Staff Writer

Consider this a primer on the economics of poverty.

"The poor pay more for a gallon of milk; they pay more on a capital basis for inferior housing," says Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.). "The poor and 100 million who are struggling for the middle class actually end up paying more for transportation, for housing, for health care, for mortgages. They get steered to subprime lending. . . . The poor pay more for things middle-class America takes for granted."

Poverty 101: We'll start with the basics. [link]
The long and short of it is this: The poor find themselves paying more for everything. With money many of them don't have.

Knowing that, how can the Washington Post editorialists call - repeatedly - for increases in the gas tax? And the cigarette tax? And health care taxes? And climate change taxes (for God's sake)? Have they no compassion? Are they that far removed from the reality we call America? Are their heads buried so deep in Washington politics that they are unable to get a whiff of that odor that emanates from the impoverished environs of Appalachia? Do they not care?

The answer comes in the editorial that demands higher gas taxes:

"Hardly anyone welcomes higher gas prices. But Bob Chase, head of the Northern Virginia Transportation Alliance, estimates that a 10-cent increase in the gas tax would cost Virginians an average of $60 a year."

Chump change. $60.

Unless that's what you have to spend on groceries over the next two weeks.

On Ms. California & Waterboarding

What, you ask? Ms. California and waterboarding?

Mark Steyn puts the two together in "Pelosi peregrinations":
Mrs. Feinstein says airily that no reasonable person would hold dear Mrs. Pelosi to account for what she supported all those years ago. But it's OK to hold Mr. Cheney or some no-name Justice Department backroom boy to account?

Well, sure. It's the Miss USA standard of political integrity: Miss California USA Carrie Prejean and President Obama have the same publicly stated views on gay marriage. But the politically correct enforcers know Mr. Obama doesn't mean it, so that's OK, whereas Miss Prejean does mean it, so that's a hate crime.

In the torture debate, Mrs. Pelosi is Mr. Obama and Mr. Cheney is Miss Prejean. Mr. Cheney means it, because to him, this is a national security issue. Mrs. Pelosi doesn't, because to her, it's about shifting political-viability breezes.

A question: Which of these people would you want in that foxhole next to you?

A Warning

Lawrence Kudlow, writing in Investor's Business Daily, on ObamaCare and the path to fiscal Armageddon:
'Public' Health Plan Will Bankrupt A Nation Already Drowning In Debt

Does anybody really believe that adding 50 million people to the public health care rolls will not cost the government more money? About $1.5 trillion to $2 trillion more? At least.

So let's be serious when evaluating President Obama's goal of universal health care, and the idea that it's a cost-cutter. Can't happen.Won't happen. Costs are going to explode.

Think of it: Can anyone name a federal program that ever cut costs for anything? Let's not forget that the existing Medicare system is roughly $80 trillion in the hole.

And even if you put aside the demerits of a government-run health system, Obama's health-care "funding" plans are completely falling apart. Not only will his health program cost at least twice as much as his $650 billion estimate, but his original plan to fund the program by auctioning off carbon-emissions warrants (through the misbegotten cap-and-trade system) has fallen through. [link]
At some point, you're going to have to start thinking beyond, "Hey, I like the idea that someone is going to pay for my health care, dude." News flash: There ain't no "someone" out there. Dude. And there isn't enough money on the planet to make government-run health care work efficiently and well.

You think it's bad now ...

What Does This Say?

This means absolutely nothing. It's just an observation. I don't think it makes me a racist, but you're welcome to decide for yourself.

I knew, when I read this header on the front page, that the accompanying (totally uninteresting) story in the New York Times this morning that can in no way be construed as "news," was going to be about a black person:

From Serving in Iraq to Welcoming White House Guests

Sure enough. In fact, it's about a black female. In the quota that someone at the Times is tallying - TWO POINTS!

The 1,086 word story is about ... hold onto your seat ... the White House receptionist.

When a lowly reader like me can predict the underlying motive behind the paper's efforts - as pathetic as they are - it may be time to rethink the newspaper publishing business and to reflect on what it has become.

Just sayin'.

Fascinating

If you want a lesson in how politically motivated the newspaper publishing business can be, read John Hinderaker's piece called, "Killing a Story: How It's Done." It's about the New York Times killing a potentially explosive story on the Obama campaign's (illegal?) relationship with ACORN back in October, just days before the election.

John's analysis is the kind of stuff that one once found in newspapers. But no longer. Now you'll only find this kind of quality criticism in the weblog world.

Here's to Powerline.

In Obamaland

A definition.

Common ground: Supporting abortion but professing to regret its use.

There Is No Middle Ground Here, Sir

How easy it is for people like Obama, people who have no conscience, to say things like this:
Obama calls for understanding in Notre Dame speech
By Julie Pace, Associated Press

South Bend, Ind. (AP) - President Barack Obama strode head-on Sunday into the stormy abortion debate and told graduates at America's leading Roman Catholic university that both sides must stop demonizing one another.

Obama acknowledged that "no matter how much we want to fudge it ... the fact is that at some level, the views of the two camps are irreconcilable." But he still implored the University of Notre Dame's graduating class and all in the U.S. to stop "reducing those with differing views to caricature. Open hearts. Open minds. Fair-minded words. It's a way of life that always has been the Notre Dame tradition." [link]
"Open minds."

The thirty million American children slaughtered in this country's abortion mills over the last thirty years by "open-minded" friends of Obama were unavailable for comment.