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

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The Rodney Dangerfield of the Fightin' 9th

I watched a Netflix horror movie the other night - the name of which I'll not reveal because I'm about to tell you the ending - that ended with five souls trapped in a car, surrounded by horrible creatures that fed on human flesh, deciding that they'd reached the end of their endurance. The driver - the movie's protagonist - takes a handgun and executes the other four in the car, before the evil monsters can get them and rip them apart. Just after putting a bullet through the last person's skull, the police, army, and national guard show up to save them. Well, him. Just in the nick of time. Or almost. The movie ends, as you might imagine, with the driver screaming hysterically, having now completely lost his mind.

I'm reminded of Rick Boucher.

The guy who sold out the people of Southwest Virginia so as to appease his buddies in Washington and his friends in the environmentalist lobby who were pushing hard to get that cap-and-trade bill approved by Congress. The legislation that he endorsed and then, when the shit hit the fan in the coalfield counties of his congressional district, quickly unendorsed.

The guy whose job approval is now right up there - er, down there - with Nancy Pelosi here in the area.

So what does Mr. Boucher get for having walked the plank and incurred the wrath of his once-most-loyal constituency?

Reid Says Cap-and-Trade Bill May Wait till 2010
By Noelle Straub, E&E News

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) today said the Senate may not act on comprehensive energy and climate change legislation until next year, given the chamber's busy fall schedule.

Speaking to reporters about the possibility of taking up the bill this fall, Reid said the Senate must first finish work on health care and regulatory reform.

"So, you know, we are going to have a busy, busy time the rest of this year," Reid said. "And, of course, nothing terminates at the end of this year. We still have next year to complete things if we have to."

"... that's a bridge that's still a long ways away." [link]
So the Senate isn't going to take up Boucher's climate tax after all. Which means he'll have to vote on it again next year. Election year.

It turns out he sacrificed his political career for nothing.

I can hear him now, sitting behind the wheel of his car, screaming, "Aaaaaaaaggghhh!!!"

They should make a movie ...

- - -

Spoiler alert: For those who are dying to know what movie I watched, go here.

'Beam Me Up, Scotty'

"There is no intelligent life here in Washington D.C."

By George, I think I've found someone in Congress who's less intelligent than Barbara Boxer.

Meet Representative Hank Johnson, Democrat of Georgia:

If he had said "uh" one more time, I think I would have strangled myself.

Babes In Toyland

Having laid off more than my share of employees in my lifetime, I can tell you that it's not easy. In fact, it is gut-wrenching. I've also been on the other side of that scenario and found it to be little better. There is just no good way to tell someone that they are no longer employed.

So you just do it.

Millions of Americans have gone through it in recent months. Tens of thousands here in Southwest Virginia in the last several years.

But apparently layoffs are a phenomenon that neither the good folks at Radford University nor those at the Roanoke Times have ever experienced. How else to explain the grief - mixed with a tinge of anger - expressed here?
Radford University cuts jobs and morale
Roanoke Times editorial

Radford University President Penelope Kyle did not boost her already low standing among faculty, students and staff on Monday when the school fired two popular administrators. Everyone knew layoffs were coming, but dropping the ax so abruptly is no way to treat long-time employees.

The school, like all state agencies, has been planning cuts for weeks. The only question was how deep they would need to be.

Last week, Gov. Tim Kaine announced they would be very deep indeed. Radford lost $6.4 million in state funding.

On Monday, Michael Dunn, director of the New Student Programs and Services office, and Marc Jacobsen, the associate director, became some of the first cuts. That morning, officials told them to clear out by the end of the day. The school took their keys, closed their computer accounts and gave them a few hours to clean out their desks.

Dunn had worked for Radford for 24 years, Jacobsen for a decade. They were part of the campus family, well liked, judging by the outpouring of support and protests over their treatment late in the day.

They deserved better. They deserved a warning. They deserved some respect. [link]
Speaking from experience, they deserved a quick break. Agony prolonged is still agony.

But why does the Times have its undies in a bunch over the terminations of two Radford employees? After all, the countryside is littered with the carcasses of the unemployed right now. What's special about these two?

I think I know. It has nothing to do with Dunn or Jacobsen. They're just props. The editorial team at the Roanoke Times has had it in for Radford University President Penelope Kyle for some time now and this is just another attack directed her way. Go back and review previous editorials and commentary. It will all become clear.

Two layoffs. At a time when millions of Americans are without work.


Seems Only Fitting

Besides black people, it was young America that got Obama elected. It somehow seems only right - in a cruel sort of way - that they now pay for his whimsy:
Young Adults Likely to Pay Big Share of Reform's Cost
By Shailagh Murray, Washington Post Staff Writer

As health-care legislation advances through Congress, the young adults who were so vital to President Obama's election are emerging as a significant beneficiary of his top domestic priority, but they are also likely to play a major role in funding any reform.

A 2008 study by the Urban Institute found that more than 10 million young adults ages 19 to 26 lack health insurance coverage. For many of those people, health-care reform would offer the promise of relatively inexpensive individual policies, which do not exist in many states today.

The trade-off is that young people would no longer be permitted to bet on their good health: All the reform legislation before Congress would require individuals to buy at least minimal coverage. [link]
To read this article, you'd think Obama is doing the young adults of America a big favor. Hey, they get health insurance too!

In fact, few of them will ever use it. Statistics show them, by and large, to be healthy and in little need of medical care while in their twenties.

But they'll be paying for it just the same. Dearly.

That's how their guy in the White House can close the gap between outlay and revenue. On their backs. Those least able to afford to pay a luxury tax.

I wonder how excited they are about all that hopey changey stuff now.

That Says It All

A sign seen at a recent subversive gathering of the mob:

Otherwise known as a Tea Party.

Hat tip to NewsBusters.

A Star Is Born

In a chamber full of accomplished liars, this would seem to be a vote of kinship:

House Rebukes Wilson for Shouting ‘You Lie’

This would be the Wilson whose autograph is now sought by the multitudes.

So beat him down. Make him stronger.

Do These People Communicate?

The Democrats seem to be in complete disarray now. While the president still clings to his health care talking points - better care, expanded coverage, less cost - those in Congress are scratching their heads, asking "How's he think we are to pull that off?"
Obama's health prescription a problem for Dems
By David Espo, My Way News

Washington (AP) - Taken off guard, Democrats at work on health care legislation are grappling with President Barack Obama's nationally televised insistence on immediate access to insurance for those with pre-existing medical conditions, as well as richer Medicare prescription drug benefits than originally envisioned.

Additionally, Obama's pledge to hold the overall cost of legislation to about $900 billion over a decade has spread concern among House Democrats, who have long contemplated a costlier measure.

Yet another late complication, according to several Democrats, is the president's statement that he will not sign a bill "if it adds one dime to the deficit, now or in the future, period. And to prove that I'm serious, there will be a provision in this plan that requires us to come forward with more spending cuts if the savings we promised don't materialize."

The $900 billion target is "very difficult," Rep. Charlie Rangel, D-N.Y., chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, told reporters. "This is reducing coverage for poor and working people." He spoke of other "restrictions the president has given in his speech." [link]
Here's what strikes me as astonishing about this: The Democrats in Congress don't seem to know what the Democrats in the White House are doing. Rangel had to get the news about Obama's "target" in the same speech in which the Republicans and the public heard it? Don't they talk? E-mail? Tweet?

Where's the communication, fellas?

Wouldn't you think it rather important that all these guys appear to be on the same page? Rangel doesn't seem to even know what playbook they're using. What's with that?

Not a way to get legislation passed, fellas. Or run a country.

Obama's Either Lying Or Delusional

George Will, writing in Newsweek, on Obama's health care snake oil:

On the 233rd day of his presidency, Barack Obama grabbed the country's lapels for the 263rd time—that was, as of last Wednesday, the count of his speeches, press conferences, town halls, interviews, and other public remarks. His speech to Congress was the 122nd time he had publicly discussed health care. Just 14 hours would pass before the 123rd, on Thursday morning. His incessant talking cannot combat what it has caused: An increasing number of Americans do not believe that he believes what he says.

He says America's health-care system is going to wrack and ruin and requires root-and-branch reform—but that if you like your health care (as a large majority of Americans do), nothing will change for you. His slippery new formulation is that nothing in his plan will "require" anyone to change coverage. He used to say, "If you like your health-care plan, you'll be able to keep your health-care plan, period." He had to stop saying that because various disinterested analysts agree that his plan will give many employers incentives to stop providing coverage for employees.

He deplores "scare tactics" but says that unless he gets his way, people will die. He praises temperate discourse but says many of his opponents are liars. He says Medicare is an exemplary program that validates government's prowess at running health systems. But he also says Medicare is unsustainable and going broke, and that he will pay for much of his reforms by eliminating the hundreds of billions of dollars of waste and fraud in this paragon of a program, and in Medicaid. He says Congress will cut Medicare (it will not) by $500 billion—without affecting benefits.

He says the nation's economic health depends on controlling health-care costs. Yet so important is the trial bar in financing the Democratic Party, he says not a syllable in significant and specific support of tort reforms that could save hundreds of billions of dollars by reducing "defensive medicine" intended to protect not patients from illnesses but doctors from lawyers. He has said he will not add a dime to the deficit when bringing 47 million people into government-guaranteed health care. But Wednesday night, 17 million went missing: "There are now more than 30 million American citizens who cannot get coverage." Almost 10 million of the uninsured are not citizens, and most of them are illegal immigrants. Presumably the other 7 million could get insurance but chose not to. Democrats propose fines to eliminate that choice. He suggests health-insurance companies are making excessive profits. But since 1996, profits of the six such companies in the S&P 500 have been below the 500's average. He says a "public option"—a government insurance program—would not be subsidized to enable it to compete unfairly with private insurers. (The post office and the government's transportation -"public option," Amtrak, devour subsidies.)
Despite all the contradictions, prevarications, and outright deceptions, there are millions of Americans still saying, "Heck yeah, let's do it!"

Fortunately, as the light of day is shed on this monstrosity, those millions are rapidly becoming thousands. To dozens ...