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

Sunday, March 07, 2010

This Will Doom His Candidacy

Uhhhhh.

Morgan Griffith, Republican candidate, doesn't live in the 9th Congressional District. He lives in the 6th.  He's announced that he's running in the 9th.  Say what?  Can he do that, people are asking?

Listen up: I guarantee you the thought makes a difference to a whole lot of people around here.

This, in a letter to the editor of the Bristol Herald Courier, is the first of many such complaints:
Griffith would represent Roanoke Valley, not us

The race for the Ninth District Congressional position is heating up. On Feb. 24, Virginia Delegate Morgan Griffith issued a press release that lists a group of supposed supporters that include elected state Delegates and Senators. This is very distressing to me.

I have a strong objection to this supposed candidate and challenge the fact that he is one of us. He lives in Salem, which is in Roanoke County. Roanoke County already has a congressman in Bob Goodlatte. I would think that someone from another district would be ineligible to run in our district, the Fighting Ninth. However, should it be legal, the candidacy of Morgan Griffith would not give us a representative, but would in essence give the Roanoke Valley another representative.

Does Virginia stop at Roanoke? If Morgan Griffith were elected as the congressman from the 9th District, then it would be an absolute assurance that Virginia would stop at Roanoke.

Congressman Boucher has seniority in the U.S. House of Representatives and has an established working relationship with ... [blah blah blah] [link]
Memo to Virginia GOP: This is an uphill fight against Boucher.  In order to win in November the issue has to be BOUCHER.  Not his opponent's mailing address.

Under the best of circumstances a challenger - any challenger - comes into the race a longshot. So why pick someone with this big, bulbous, inflamed, festering, oozing blemish sticking out there for all to see and ponder?  If ten percent of the electorate is turned off by Griffith being an "outsider," there's every likelihood, if everything else went swimmingly, that he'll lose by five.  That math don't work.

It ain't gonna work.

Look, I love Morgan Griffith.  I think he'd be a great addition to the Virginia delegation to Congress.  His conservative values mirror those of the people of the commonwealth (outside Fairfax).  And when Southwest Virginia depopulates to the point that one party or the other decides to roll the 9th District into the 6th through gerrymandering, I'll be first in line to vote for Griffith.  And, I should state, I'll vote for him if he does carry the Republican banner into the November election.

But I'm not your average (or native) Southwest Virginian.

This is just too big an issue around these parts to be ignored.  Plan B, fellas.

Boucher Comes Around

We have urgency for Congress to act on greenhouse gases.  Steps have to be taken. The Supreme Court in 2007 ruled that carbon dioxide is a pollutant within the meaning of the 1972 Clean Air Act. As a result, the EPA is in effect under mandate to regulate CO2 emissions. The debate is over."
-- Rick Boucher --

That was then. This is now.

Giving up on his strategy of getting the best unemployment and permanent welfare deal for his coal county constituents, Congressman Rick Boucher (D-VA9) has finally taken my advice and has decided to fight the EPA.  And not a moment too soon.
Lawmakers From Coal States Seek to Delay Emission Limits
By John M. Broder, New York Times

Washington — Coal-country lawmakers moved Thursday to impose a two-year moratorium on potential federal regulation of carbon dioxide and other climate-altering gases.

Senator John D. Rockefeller IV, Democrat of West Virginia, said the Environmental Protection Agency should refrain from issuing any new rules on greenhouse gas emissions from power plants and other major stationary sources for two years to allow Congress to pass comprehensive legislation on energy and climate change.

Representatives Alan B. Mollohan and Nick J. Rahall II of West Virginia and Rick Boucher of Virginia, also Democrats, introduced a similar bill in the House.

The moves are the latest effort by members of both parties in Congress to slow or halt carbon regulation by the administration. Separate bills are before both houses that would essentially prevent the E.P.A. from issuing any greenhouse gas regulations.

Lisa P. Jackson, the agency’s administrator, wrote Mr. Rockefeller and seven other Democratic senators last week outlining her timetable for such regulation. She said that limits on carbon dioxide pollution from vehicles would be issued this year under an agreement negotiated last year with major automakers.

Limits for large coal-burning power plants and industrial facilities would be phased in beginning in 2011, with no restrictions on smaller sources until 2016. [link]
Remember, the EPA is soon (whether it be tomorrow, 2011, or 2016) to crush the U.S. economy by restricting emissions because bureaucrats and environmental zealots there still cling to the notion that (a) the globe is warming, (b) humans are causing it to do so, and (c) CO2 emissions - the air we exhale - need to be regulated to stop it.

All these premises have been proven to be either highly dubious or are utterly false.

Despite all that, the EPA plows ahead anyway.  In the fashion of Don Quixote.

Initially Boucher took the defeatist position that the EPA was mandated by the Supreme Court to regulate CO2 - and with it coal - as a pollutant (another falsehood; the Supreme Court did no such thing). He stated his goal to be one involving negotiating to get the best deal the people of the coalfields could get out of a bad set of playing cards. Extended unemployment compensation, funds for retraining, a push-back of the date for implementation, etc. Now he has, with my help and prodding, set himself on the right path.

Rick Boucher is set to fight the EPA.

Here's to our congressman. Let's hope he has the balls to fight this fight and not go back into whimper mode, seeking the least painful form of assassination to be offered up by an uncaring and zealously anti-American Obama EPA.

I'll keep you informed of the ongoing status of his intestinal fortitude.

Maybe That's Why Art Is No Longer Art

The producing artistic director of the Barter Theatre thinks the government should continue funding art.  To save jobs.

Art, a punch-the-clock endeavor.  My God.

Truth is, when it becomes a job, it produces crap like this:

 

And this:


I have a compromise.  Why don't we just pay "artists" welfare and leave the medium that Da Vinci, Raffael, Rembrandt, Botticelli, Renoir, Caravaggio, Dürer, della Franchesca, Rubens, Vermeer, Titian, Giotto, built to artists.

On This We Agree

Whether or not the wind energy industry will ever be able to sustain itself without government assistance and be able to provide a viable, reliable - and significant - source of energy in this energy-starved world is still an open question.  But smarter people than me say it has the potential to ease the burden, so I'm for it.  Until further notice.

That having been declared,  have to admit, this editorial in the Roanoke Times this morning could have come from the pages of From on High.  A frightening thought:
Windmills come round again

Wind energy is clean energy. The country needs more of it.

We're open to Chicago-based Invenergy's latest proposal to come into the Roanoke Valley with a plan to put 15 windmills on top of Poor Mountain.

Yes, along a ridgeline in prominent view as traffic along Interstate 81 comes and goes through the Roanoke Valley. As Roanoke County Supervisor Ed Elswick aptly suggests, Poor Mountain already makes a pretty poor showpiece for the region's mountain views. And the towering turbines of wind farms can be lovely man-made features on a natural landscape.

The more wind farms built, the better in terms of adding clean, renewable power to the nation's energy mix.  [link]
Personally, I think those giant wind turbines, awe-inspiring as they are, if they ever get erected along I-81, could be a tourist draw.  And I hear there are a lot of politicians around here who are big on tourism.  Maybe now they'll actually be able to tout some results of their efforts.

In any case, we need sustainable, affordable energy.  Let's give wind a go and see if it can be a part of that "alternative fuel" package that we hear so much about.

And let's charge the living hell out of the people of Fairfax for its end-product.

On The Education Front ...

... a glimmer of hope:
School’s Shake-Up Is Embraced by the President
By Steven Greenhouse and Sam Dillon, New York Times

A Rhode Island school board’s decision to fire the entire faculty of a poorly performing school, and President Obama’s endorsement of the action, has stirred a storm of reaction nationwide, with teachers condemning it as an insult and conservatives hailing it as a watershed moment of school accountability.

The decision by school authorities in Central Falls to fire the 93 teachers and staff members has assumed special significance because hundreds of other school districts across the nation could face similarly hard choices in coming weeks, as a $3.5 billion federal school turnaround program kicks into gear.

While there is fierce disagreement over whether the firings were good or bad, there is widespread agreement that the decision would have lasting ripples on the nation’s education debate — especially because Mr. Obama seized on the move to show his eagerness to take bold action to improve failing schools filled with poor students. [link]
I say there's a glimmer of hope, but it's only a glimmer.  The teachers union will, I'd bet, win this one in the end and most, if not all, of the teachers and administrators will be reinstated.

But let me ask you, if you hired a mechanic to keep your car running and it constantly breaks down, wouldn't you be looking for another repairman?  Or would you heap more and more pay and benefits on the dude who is failing in his one and only responsibility?

Firing teachers for their inability to teach is a healthy thing to do.  More should be held accountable.  More - far more - should be terminated.

Whatever Trips Your Trigger

Seems a little weird, but if it works ...
Electronic cigarettes gaining popularity
By Nate Morabito, Reporter, WJHL

... [S]mokers like Carolyn Hampton are adapting to the world around them. If you see the Tri-City Wholesale Tobacco owner inside a restaurant puffing on something that looks like a cigarette, don’t be alarmed. In all likelihood, it is not a real cigarette. Instead, it is probably an electronic cigarette.

“If you’re in a place that you cannot smoke and you’re wanting to light up, it does take the edge off of not having nicotine,” Hampton said.

At her Johnson City business, e-cigarettes are flying off the shelves.

“We got our first order, sold-out and had to re-order, plus I had to get some from another store,” Hampton said.

The battery-powered cigarette alternatives are advertised as being tobacco and smoke-free.

E-cigarettes contain liquid nicotine rather than tobacco and instead of smoke, people exhale an odorless vapor, which makes them legal in places that ban smoking.

“It does not meet the Smoker Protection Act’s definition of smoking,” Tennessee Department of Health Division of General Environmental Health Director Hugh Atkins said.

Although the e-cigs do not appear to break any laws, their health effects are up for debate.

“They’re smoke-free,” Hampton said. “No second-hand smoke, no tar, so they’re actually healthier.“ [link]
But they're still called cigarettes so expect the smoke nazis to be opposed to them.

My question is, do these people get satisfaction out of the nicotine or do they just find satisfaction in having something to suck on?

Interesting stuff.  A tad bizarre, but interesting.

This Should Sell a Few Magazines

The Weekly Standard cover for March 15:

 

So Where Do We Rank?

You've probably been wondering, if you're a regular reader, how From On High ranks compared to the other ten million weblogs out there (yes, there are, it's estimated, 10,000,000 active blogs).  Some of you have even been wondering - hoping? - on occasion if maybe nobody reads my daily rantings.

Well, here's the latest ranking, from Wikio.  1,930.  With a bullet.

Here's a screenshot.  Click on the image to enlarge it.:

 

So you know, that little green arrow next to From On High indicates the blog is trending upward compared to all the others ranked.

Not where we should be, but not all bad either.

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Here's how Wikio does its ranking, if you're interested:
How are these rankings compiled?

The position of a blog in the Wikio ranking depends on the number and weight of the incoming links from other blogs. Our algorithm accords a greater value to links from blogs placed higher up in the ranking.

A blog linking another blog is only counted once a month i.e. if blog A links to blog B 10 times in a given month, it is only counted as having linked to that blog once that month. The weight of any link decreases over time. Also, if a blog always links to the same blog, the weight of these links is decreased.

Only links found in RSS feeds are counted. Blogrolls are not taken into account.

Our rankings are updated on a monthly basis and also include Top Blogs for several categories: Technology, Politics, etc. New categories will be added on a regular basis.
For what it's worth.

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BlogNetNews ranks From On High 4th among Virginia political blogs this week in its "influence" rating.