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

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Outrage!

It appears that The South is rising again.

In indignation.

Over a monument placed at the Battle of Lynchburg.

Virginia.

To commemorate the valiant service of 13 YANKEE (!) soldiers who fought there in 1864, 12 of whom were killed or wounded.

O, the affront.

A Northern monument in the heart of Dixie.

See "A Yankee takes a look at monument controversy" in this morning's Roanoke Times.

I don't know.

I think I'd be a little careful if I were to pick that fight.

After all, we'd quickly have to find a home for this if we go down that road.

Personally? I think it serves its purpose where it is.

Click on the image to enlarge it.

And While We're On The Subject ...

.. of silly Civil War controversies, we learn this morning that Governor Kaine has weighed in on the Wal-Mart in Orange County kerfuffle:
Gov. Kaine, Howell urge new Va. site for Wal-Mart
By Steve Szkotak, Associated Press Writer

Richmond, Va. (AP) -- Gov. Timothy M. Kaine and the speaker of the Virginia House of Delegates are encouraging Wal-Mart and Orange County officials to find an alternative site for a Supercenter proposed near a Civil War battlefield.

The 138,000-square-foot store is planned near the Wilderness battlefield, which Kaine and Speaker William J. Howell said "ranks supremely important" among the many Civil War battlefields in Virginia.

"Every acre of battlefield land that is destroyed means a loss of open space and missed tourism opportunities, and it closes one more window for future generations to better understand our national story," Kaine and Howell said in the later [sic] dated July 13 to Lee Frame, chairman of the Board of Supervisors. [link]
Laudable, yes?

Who wants to denigrate the hallowed ground of The Wilderness (and Spotsylvania)?

But someone should probably get with Messrs. Kaine and Howell and break the news to them that the site Wal-Mart wishes to build on is not on the battlefield. It's a mile away.

And someone, in addition, should break the news to all those who have their undies in a knot over this issue that if we were to ban residential or commercial construction here in the commonwealth on any piece of land near where Civil War history was made, we'd effectively ban all residential or commercial construction. Even little backwater Bland County has its Civil War history (thus my home would have been banned). You can't sink a spade into the ground anywhere in Virginia without it being within a mile of Civil War history.

So get a grip.

Few people have more respect for those who fought here in the years between 1861 and 1865 than I do. And nobody holds our history in higher regard. But Civil War history belongs in the history books and museums (and in battlefield parks). And a line has to be drawn. And that line has to be at the park gates.

Virginians want Wal-Mart. They also want their battlefields preserved. The two needs are easily accommodated.

If everyone doesn't get all weird on us.

Is Boucher Praying For Cap-n-Tax to Vanish?

The general outcry from the citizenry here in Southwest Virginia, particularly in the area that will be most affected by Congressman Rick Boucher's climate legislation, the coalfields of Tazewell and Dickenson and Wise and Russell Counties, must have reached his distant ears by now. And he has every reason to be shaking in his boots because of it. People here are in a rage over his anti-coal, anti-growth, pro-energy tax bill and they're not soon to calm down. Many of us want his scrawny ass gone.

It now appears that Boucher isn't alone in his fright. Every Democrat in Washington who signed on to this abomination may be quaking in fear right now as well:
House Members Being Hammered Over Waxman-Markey
By Iain Murray, Hot Air

I'm hearing that the popular reaction to the passage of the Waxman-Markey electricity tax bill in the House has blown House members away. The public outrage is really hurting those who voted for it, and that's why the bill has been "parked" ... in the Senate. Very good sign. We need that sort of public pressure to defeat this monstrosity, and similarly for the health-care plans. If these two overreaches go down, Obama's political capital will be spent. How often has a president become a lame duck by his own actions within a year of taking office? [link]
The pressure is indeed on.

And Boucher, if he's smart, will react to it. And he'll quit lying about what his legislation will do to Southwest Virginia.

By the way, tell us, Rick, if your legislation is so good for the coal industry, why did you add a provision to it that would extend unemployment benefits to laid off coal miners for three years after the thousands who are anticipated to be thrown out of work get thrown out of work? Good for the coal industry? Who you trying to kid?

Hear those footsteps, pal? It's the voters of your district massing behind you. And the mood is ugly. Recant now or prepare for the worst come election day.

Uh, Aren't You Missing Something?

I suppose, if you live in the trendy suburbs of Washington D.C., you might come to the same conclusion that a Washington Post reporter came to with regard to Crocs®. They have simply lost their fad appeal and young people have moved on to other trends, putting the maker of America's favorite clog on the verge of bankruptcy:
Once-Trendy Crocs Could Be on Their Last Legs
By Ylan Q. Mui, Washington Post Staff Writer

Crocs were born of the economic boom.

The colorful foam clogs appeared in 2002, just as the country was recovering from a recession. Brash and bright, they were a cheap investment (about $30) that felt good and promised to last forever. Former president George W. Bush wore them. Aerosmith lead singer Steven Tyler wore them. Your grandma wore them. They roared along with the economy, mocked by the fashion world but selling 100 million pairs in seven years.

Then the boom times went bust, and Crocs went to the back of the closet.

The company had expanded to meet demand, but financially pressed customers cut back. Last year the company lost $185.1 million, slashed roughly 2,000 jobs and scrambled to find money to pay down millions in debt. Now it's stuck with a surplus of shoes, and its auditors have wondered if it can stay afloat.

Rachel Weingarten, a trend and marketing expert, has relegated Crocs to the wasteland of the comfort-shoe aisle. Maybe in a decade nostalgia will set in, said Weingarten, author of "Career and Corporate Cool." Then a pair of hot-pink Crocs dug from the back of the closet might inspire misty-eyed memories: "Remember when we had ugly, Flintstone-looking feet?" [link]
But wait. Is that what's really happened to Crocs? That they simply lost their appeal?

Or is it that you can buy those $30 Crocs for the kids at Wal-Mart (under a different name, made by a different manufacturer) for 4 bucks?

Many Americans are still walking around with "ugly, Flintstone-looking feet." They're just not buying the far more expensive product out of Denver. They're buying Chinese.

As goes the ... trend.

- - -

By the way, GDP growth in the USA decreased at an annual rate of 5.5 percent in the first quarter of 2009. GDP growth in China "accelerated to 7.9% in the second quarter" of the same year.

But who cares? We have climate to contend with.

Bewildering

It's worth remembering: The Episcopal Church (USA) made this mess when it decided to make itself more "inclusive" and welcome homosexuals into the fold with open arms.

Inclusive? Church leaders have an odd definition of the word:
Episcopal Church Chooses to "Walk Apart" from Anglican Communion
By Nicholas T. Wright, Washington Post

In the slow-moving train crash of international Anglicanism, a decision taken in California has finally brought a large coach off the rails altogether. The House of Bishops of the Episcopal Church (TEC) in the United States has voted decisively to allow in principle the appointment, to all orders of ministry, of persons in active same-sex relationships. This marks a clear break with the rest of the Anglican Communion.

Both the bishops and deputies (lay and clergy) of TEC knew exactly what they were doing. They were telling the Archbishop of Canterbury and the other "instruments of communion" that they were ignoring their plea for a moratorium on consecrating practicing homosexuals as bishops. [link]
So the Episcopal leadership, in its infinite wisdom, decides to stand up for inclusion by effectively excluding itself from the Anglican Communion. I'll bet in their world this makes perfect sense.

The Devil In The Details

From Investor's Business Daily:
It didn't take long to run into an "uh-oh" moment when reading the House's "health care for all Americans" bill. Right there on Page 16 is a provision making individual private medical insurance illegal.

When we first saw the paragraph Tuesday, just after the 1,018-page document was released, we thought we surely must be misreading it. So we sought help from the House Ways and Means Committee.

It turns out we were right: The provision would indeed outlaw individual private coverage. Under the Orwellian header of "Protecting The Choice To Keep Current Coverage," the "Limitation On New Enrollment" section of the bill clearly states:

"Except as provided in this paragraph, the individual health insurance issuer offering such coverage does not enroll any individual in such coverage if the first effective date of coverage is on or after the first day" of the year the legislation becomes law. [my emphasis]

"It's Not An Option," July 16, 2009

What Do I Care?

I suppose, if I were the average American, I'd be just fine with the Democrats' latest plan to pay for ObamaCare. It involves the levying of a crushing tax on the super-rich. And I'm not super-rich, so have at it, Barry. Right?

In fact, the plan will hit only a handful of Southwest Virginians at most. So it's someone else's problem entirely. Thus, I don't care.

Or shouldn't.

Right?

Especially knowing that 88% of the voters in Manhattan, where the tax will have the most impact, voted for Obama last November. Boy, is that sweet justice. I can't wait to hear the squeals.

But that's like being happy that a malignant cancerous growth has appeared on one's butt rather than somewhere that could prove to be more immediately fatal. It's still a malignancy and it will certainly spread. And it will kill.

Out of New York this morning:

You can almost hear the squeals already.

So why am I not pleased?

Because that malignancy that is soon to appear in Manhattan will be spreading across this country. Starting with small-business owners who will have to pay the same tax surcharge if their payrolls exceed a certain threshold. Which means reduced payrolls will follow. And reduced payrolls mean more unemployed. And more poverty. And more misery.

The natural tendency is to shrug off the doings by the crazy politicians up north that will only affect the crazy citizenry up north. But don't think the complacency, or schadenfreude, if you're so inclined, is going to last very long. In a short while that tumor will reach Southwest Virginia. And the squeal you hear will be coming from next door.

The Grass Is Always Greener

I read articles written by East Coast liberals about the virtues of socialized health care and my eyes roll.

Take Washington Post columnist Richard Cohen, for example. He related to us a story the other day that came out of Southwest Virginia that was told to some guy named Bill Moyers that includes this line:

"I saw people lined up, standing in line or sitting in these long, long lines, waiting to get care. People drove from South Carolina and Georgia and Kentucky, Tennessee -- all over the region." The people were lined up to get free care.

He also relates a story about an emergency room in some hospital that is crowded with people - many of whom are probably getting free treatment as well - and concludes that the entire system needs to be scrapped and ObamaCare needs to be instituted.

Two points:

1) There is no doubt that there are people here in Southwest Virginia who are in desperate need of help. And they're able to find it with some effort.

2) I distrust geniuses like Cohen because they are willing to sign on to alternatives without ever understanding the implications.

Let's look at the one existing system in the United States today that most closely emulates ObamaCare:
Massachusetts in Suit Over Cost of Universal Care
By Abby Goodnough, New York Times

Boston — A hospital that serves thousands of indigent Massachusetts residents sued the state on Wednesday, charging that its costly universal health care law is forcing the hospital to cover too much of the expense of caring for the poor.

The hospital, Boston Medical Center, faces a $38 million deficit for the fiscal year ending in September, its first loss in five years. The suit says the hospital will lose more than $100 million next year because the state has lowered Medicaid reimbursement rates and stopped paying Boston Medical “reasonable costs” for treating other poor patients.

The central charge in the suit is that the state has siphoned money away from Boston Medical to help pay the considerable cost of insuring all but a small percentage of residents.

Low-income residents, who have benefited most from expanded access to health care, receive state-subsidized insurance, one of the most expensive aspects of the state plan. But rapidly rising costs and the battered economy have caused more problems than the state and supporters of the 2006 law — including Boston Medical — anticipated. [link]
Deep thinkers like Richard Cohen never get beyond the issues perched on their noses - poor people need care; government can pay for it.

But "government" doesn't pay for anything. Taxpayers do. And the only alternatives available to the government when it comes to covering everyone include raising taxes to cover health care for the poor and forcing medical providers - including hospitals like this one in Massachusetts - to go bankrupt by withholding sufficient funds necessary to cover the cost of caring for those who get "free" care.

There are indeed inequities in the current system. But lowering the quality of care that 90% of us receive in order to get some modicum of coverage for the remaining 10% is not a solution. It is a recipe for disaster.

I don't expect liberals like Cohen to ever understand that. Deep thinkers that they are.

- - -

The one solution that will work? Economic prosperity. Jobs. Wealth.

Oh, never mind. That's so Ronald Reagan ...

- - -

About those lines of people who were seeking free care - don't make more of them than is there. My grandmother used to stand in such lines. When asked why, since she and my grandfather were reasonably well off, she replied: "Because it's free."

Tell Me This

You people are all intelligent. So explain to me how Obama is out telling those who are still listening to him that we need to overhaul the American health care system in order to control costs. But the first piece of legislation that his buddies in the Senate come up with in this regard "stops insurance companies from denying coverage based on pre-existing conditions" and "eliminates annual and lifetime caps on coverage."

Both measures are guaranteed to raise insurance company costs.

They will eat this?

Please.

These people must think we're complete idiots.

Oh, wait, we elected 'em. Maybe they're right.

Sotomayor Brings Out The Snark In All Of Us

Pundits are having great fun with Obama's nominee for the Supreme Court. Oddly, "eminently qualified" and "superior in intellect" don't seem to be entering the discussion these days, now that Sonia Sotomayor has had the chance to show America what she's got. Or don't got.

This embarrassment does not speak well for Mr. Wonderful:
Good news: Sotomayor confuses “eminent” with “imminent” — twice
By Allahpundit, Hot Air

Excruciating to watch, and apparently not her only malaprop of the day. According to Ed Whelan, she confused “providence” with “province” and said “story of knowledge” when she meant “store of knowledge,” too. If the boss routinely made embarrassing mistakes like this on her blog, it’d be a running joke among the nutroots; as it is, the fact that a federal appellate judge turned Supreme Court justice is making them at a congressional hearing will doubtless go blissfully unremarked upon. Although to be fair, she only ever claimed to be wise, not to have the vocabulary of, say, the average 10th-grader. Awesome, awesome pick, Barry.

Anyway. Doubtless we’ll soon be told that it’s racist somehow to even mention this, so I preemptively denounce both myself and Whelan for noticing it. [link]
Uh, I apologize in advance too. In my case, it's a lingering holdover from the days of slavery that I can't get out of my system.

* Don't write. I did it on purpose.

Wonderful

Two of the most gifted and most versatile vocalists alive today got together at the Grammys and made magic.

Celine Dion and Andrea Bocelli sing The Prayer.



Stunning.

Ya Get What Ya Pay For

You send a clown to Washington, you shouldn't be suprised if he gets there and acts like he's in a carnival troupe:

Franken, Sotomayor go down TV memory lane

My guess is, this is as close as Al Franken is going to get to a substantive discussion in the next five years.

This Is Your Future

I know. It seems impossible to believe. Our health care delivery system could never sink to this level, right?

Stick around:
A 9-month wait for arthritis treatment: Delay can mean a lifetime of agony for victims
By Daniel Martin, London Daily Mail

Thousands of rheumatoid arthritis sufferers face a lifetime of agony because they are not being treated quickly enough, a report says.

Guidelines state that patients should receive treatment within three months of the first symptoms appearing.

But the average wait is nine months - and GPs are not trained well enough to know what help to offer.

Blood Sport

There should be a warning label affixed to every computer monitor in the land:

Caution. The internet is not for the faint of heart or thin skinned. Enter at your own risk.

Why?

Even I find my eyes opening wide when I read things like this:
Is Regina Benjamin too fat to be surgeon general?
By Frances Kissling, Salon.com

By all accounts Surgeon General nominee Dr. Regina Benjamin is an extraordinary woman. She is an African-American family doctor who has spent most of her ...

The only problem seems to be that some people think the face is too fat.

From her photos, it appears that Dr. Benjamin will need a generous size 18 military uniform. The anti-fat brigade has been arguing in various online comments sections about her BMI and whether or not the term obese applies. These chattering masses wonder if a country plagued by obesity should have an above average-weight woman speaking to public health.

For me the answer is a resounding yes. This country is full of above-average weight women and children struggling for dignity as well as to lose weight. [link]
Actually I hadn't heard of this issue being raised until this Benjamin "supporter" raised it. But there is a point to be made, I guess. Would this guy and others who have jumped to her support be as supportive of Dr. Benjamin and her unhealthy lifestyle - considering the fact that she's to be our nurse-in-chief - and considering the fact that hers will be a ceremonial, cheerleading post within the administration - if she were, say, a chain smoker?

Oh, wait ...

I guess anything is acceptable as long as you have the right politics.

Here's to Dr. Benjamin. May she - like her new boss - set the perfect example for America's youth.

The Planet Warms ... Again

For those of you who still cling to the notion that the planet is warming, and that it is warming because of the activities of human beings who reside on it, explain this:
Past warming shows gaps in climate knowledge - study
By David Fogarty, Climate Change Correspondent, Reuters

Singapore (Reuters) - A dramatic warming of the planet 55 million years ago cannot be solely explained by a surge in carbon dioxide levels, a study shows, highlighting gaps in scientists' understanding of impacts from rapid climate change.

During an event called the Palaeocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum, global temperatures rose between 5 and 9 degrees Celsius within several thousand years. The world at that time was already warmer than now with no surface ice. [link]
SUV's? Incandescent light bulbs? Wienie roasts? 55 million years ago?

What caused that global warming, genius?

And by the way, I wouldn't call that a "gap in climate knowledge." I'd call it a complete refutation of that which today passes as climate knowledge.

It's time to face the facts, fellas. If the planet warms, it ain't us.

- - -

Even USA Today is questioning its once firmly held beliefs:

Could we be wrong about global warming?

What's this "we" stuff, kemo sabe?