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

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Johnny One Note

I'm now certain of the fact that the boys who write editorials for the Roanoke Times are filing their work from their comfy digs on the breezy, sunny shore of the Erythraeum Sea.

On Mars.

Going a long way toward explaining their complete detachment from the realities that exist on this planet one need only look at their recent offerings having to do with putting 8.4 million Americans back to work ...  with stimulating growth in private sector wages ... with turning the fiscal calamity we call the United States of America around ... with feeding the government's gaping and increasingly unsatiated maw.

Today we get an editorial supporting a "temporary" meals tax in Roanoke the intentions of which don't make any difference once the money hits the city coffers and needs - so many needs - will be addressed with it.

Yesterday we were subjected to a Times editorial in support of a tax on travelers over in Hampton Roads.

The day before that the Times gave a thumbs up to Governor Tim Kaine's (failed) effort to introduce an income tax surcharge that would have been applied to ___fill in the blank______.

In weeks past, they've been orgasmic over gas taxes and cigarette taxes and I-81 toll road taxes and corporate taxes ...

I could go on, but you get the point.

The well-being of our loved ones is unimportant.  It's government's vitality that should be our major concern.

Meanwhile 8.4 million Americans - many of whom live here in Virginia -  are desperate for the economy to turn around.  Not the government.  The economy.  Them.  Us.

Mars.  The Roanoke Times editorial team must be living on Mars.

An American Hero, Dead at 76

If you've seen "Charlie Wilson's War," you'll note with sadness the passing of the man who defeated the Russians in Afghanistan in the '80's.

If the portrayal was accurate, he was a character.  A relentless character.

If only we had more like him.

- - -

If there's to be an epitaph, let it come from the movie:

Charlie Wilson: This thing [arming the Mujahidin in Afghanistan] is going to get done by the CIA and it's going to get done quietly.
President Zia of Pakistan: You have authority to do this?
Charlie Wilson: [shrugging] None whatsoever.

The Question Conservative Republicans Dread

But should they?

The question liberal reporters love to ask conservative politcians when the subject of budget cuts come up:

"Are you willing to cut funds to education?"

If results are important, maybe those conservatives should respond with:

Hell, Yes!

From Investor's Business Daily:
Money For Nothing

The Education Department is getting one of its largest spending increases under the president's proposed budget. And what can the country expect in return for all this added spending? Not much.

History shows us that spending increases do not equate with improved results. Though there are a lot of problems in America's public school system, a lack of funding is not one of them.

The Heritage Foundation says that since 1985, five years after the Education Department was established, "inflation-adjusted federal spending on K-12 education has increased 138%." Yet during that time, enough time for bright minds to put a lot of money to use, "indicators of educational improvement such as increases in academic achievement and graduation rates have remained flat."

For instance, in the 1990-91 school year, the graduation rate was 73.7%. It crept up to 74.7% in 2004-05 before slipping to 73.4% the next year.

Reading scores have also stagnated. Rather than increasing as spending has increased, they have gone sideways for a quarter of a century. (See chart.)

Math scores on the SAT have gone nowhere. In 1966-67, the mean for that section was 516. In 2007-08 it was 515.

American kids are not even making great strides in geography. In 1994, the fourth-grade average was 206. Seven years later, it was 209. Over that same period, eighth-graders went from 260 to 262 and high school seniors haven't been able to move from 285.

Meanwhile, science scores for eighth-graders fell from 148 in 1996 to 147 in 2005, though fourth-grade scores rose from 145 in 2000 to 149 five years later.

Yearly spending on public education, including state and local dollars, on grades kindergarten through 12 is now well beyond a half-trillion dollars. That's a big chunk of the economy. For that amount of money, our kids should be getting far better educations. [link]
This, coupled with an earlier report that shows that lavish government funding of pre-K education serves no worthwhile purpose,should give politicians every reason in the world to say, "Hell, yes, we can cut education spending!  Obviously there'll be no detrimental effects.  Why not make drastic cuts?"

They can say it.  They won't.  Our schools need more money.  Otherwise the kids will grow up stupid.  That's what all the experts say.

- - -

Just think what Abraham Lincoln might have accomplished had he more than a few months of formal education ... what Benjamin Franklin might have been had he not been taken out of school after only two years of study ... what wondrous works Charles Dickens might have crafted had he not been removed from school at age 12 to go to work to support his family ... what George Washington might have done for his country had he even one day of formal education in his entire life ...

Nah.  We all know it takes lots and lots of money.

Chart courtesy of IBD.
Click on the image to enlarge it.

So Much For 'Green Jobs'

"Creating green jobs and a renewable energy sector of the Virginia economy is one way we can create opportunity from our current economic challenges. With this package of bills, not only will we be able to create jobs for hardworking Virginians, but we will be taking proactive steps to reduce our reliance on foreign oil and improve our environment."
-- Virginia Governor Tim Kaine --

"So we have a choice to make. We can remain one of the world's leading importers of foreign oil, or we can make the investments that would allow us to become the world's leading exporter of renewable energy. We can let climate change continue to go unchecked, or we can help stop it. We can let the jobs of tomorrow be created abroad, or we can create those jobs right here in America and lay the foundation for lasting prosperity."
-- President Barack Obama --

"Jobs of tomorrow" is an apt description. Because they sure ain't jobs of today. In the news:
New Wind Farms in the U.S. Do Not Bring Jobs
Millions Have Been Invested in Wind Farms, but That Hasn't Brought Jobs
By Jonathan Karl, ABC News

Despite all the talk of green jobs, the overwhelming majority of stimulus money spent on wind power has gone to foreign companies, according to a new report by the Investigative Reporting Workshop at the American University's School of Communication in Washington, D.C.

Nearly $2 billion in money from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act has been spent on wind power, funding the creation of enough new wind farms to power 2.4 million homes over the past year. But the study found that nearly 80 percent of that money has gone to foreign manufacturers of wind turbines.

So Where Are the Jobs?

"Most of the jobs are going overseas," said Russ Choma at the Investigative Reporting Workshop. He analyzed which foreign firms had accepted the most stimulus money. "According to our estimates, about 6,000 jobs have been created overseas, and maybe a couple hundred have been created in the U.S." [link]
Two billion dollars used to create "a couple hundred" jobs here in the U.S.

Next time I hear one of these Democrats talk about the wondrous opportunity they're providing to create green jobs I'm going to throw up.

The Slave Trade Thrives

I consider those who earn a handsome living off of the racism issue in this country to be "slave traders."  No, they don't carry whips and chains, and they don't buy and sell human beings in the normal course of their careers.  But they live off of the exploitation of the issue - if not off the human flesh involved - just the same.

Take as an example, one Charles J. Ogletree, Harvard professor, founding and executive director of the Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race and Justice.  An institute for race.  Says all you need to know.

Or not.  Let's put meat on them bones.

Charles J. Ogletree had some things to say about Sarah Palin's speech the other day delivered to the conventioneers at the Tea Party rally held in Nashville.  Referring to the terrorists out there who are still plotting to kill us all, she said:

"They know we're at war, and to win that war we need a commander in chief, not a professor of law standing at the lectern.”

To Ogletree that was a racist comment.

I'm not kidding.

From "Professor in Chief," in Inside Higher Ed:
Ogletree, founding and executive director of the Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race and Justice, says he sees the “professor” label as a thinly veiled attack on Obama’s race. Calling Obama “the professor” walks dangerously close to labeling him “uppity,” a term with racial overtones that has surfaced in the political arena before, Ogletree said. Describing his divisive confirmation hearings as a “circus,” Justice Clarence Thomas called the proceedings “a high-tech lynching for uppity blacks who in any way deign to think for themselves, to do for themselves, to have different ideas.…” It is perhaps ironic, then, that Ogletree, who represented Anita Hill when she made harassment allegations against Thomas in 1991, now sees a bit of the “uppity” label being placed on Obama.

“The idea is that he’s not one of us,” Ogletree says of the professor label. “He has these ideas that are left wing, that are socialist, that he’s palling around with terrorists -- those were buzzwords, but the reality was they were looking at this president as an African American who was out of place.” 
Calling Obama "professor" is an attack on his race.

It's at this point that it should be remembered that this Ogletree character gets paid (lots?) to say laughably absurd shit like this.

The slave trade, version 2010.

Knowing that, and remembering that, makes his idiotic comment understandable.

It's worth mentioning too that he'll get away with it.  No questions asked. 

And heaven forbid Inside Higher Ed make mention of the fact that Charles J. Ogletree is a ... professor.

Hat tip to Duane Lester.

Bill Clinton Smiles

When he was president he would have pulled a stunt like this:
PROMISES, PROMISES: Jobs bill won't add many jobs
By Stephen Ohlemacher, Associated Press Writer

Washington – It's a bipartisan jobs bill that would hand President Barack Obama a badly needed political victory and placate Republicans with tax cuts at the same time. But it has a problem: It won't create many jobs.

Even the Obama administration acknowledges the legislation's centerpiece — a tax cut for businesses that hire unemployed workers — would work only on the margins.

As for the bill's effectiveness, tax experts and business leaders said companies are unlikely to hire workers just to receive a tax break.

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office recently concluded that reducing Social Security taxes for companies that add workers would be among the most efficient ways for the government to create jobs. However, in showing how difficult it is to create jobs through tax policy, CBO estimates that such a tax break would generate only eight to 18 full-time jobs per $1 million in tax breaks. [link]
Our government is going to create - at most - 8 to 18 jobs for every million dollars that it throws at the problem.  And it's supported by Republicans and Democrats alike.

For the love of God.