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Tuesday, July 06, 2010

That's Your Argument?

This, an editorial in today's Roanoke Times, is a gut buster.  The kids there are upset that Virginia Tech is going to have a conservative on its Board of Visitors.

A conservative!!!!

And what's wrong with that?
Gov. Bob McDonnell stuck his thumb in the eye of the Hokie nation last week when he returned John Rocovich to the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors.

Rocovich sat on the board from 1997 to 2005 and led it as rector from 2002 to 2004. During his stint at the top, he worked to impose a socially conservative agenda on the university appropriate only to the Virginia of yesteryear.

The board denied a spousal hire for the lesbian partner of a university administrator Tech had recruited. [link]
That's right.  Tech chose not to hire the "wife" (husband?) of a potential employee in order to get that employee to agree to come to work for the university.

Now ask yourself, if Virginia Tech had hired any other wife on the planet, simply because she was a wife, an actual wife, not a "wife," would the same beanbrains at the Times have been upset over it?

Of course they would have.

But this involved a lesbian.  So all rules and orders of propriety go out the window.

Too funny.  In a pathetic sort of way.

Pathetic, too, for this reason: The lesbian "wife" was later hired by Virginia tech anyway.

For the love of God.

Makes Sense

All bets are out the window if this story is skewed by heavy federal subsidies that drive the price per ticket down.  But if not, the case is solid that Roanoke Times columnist Dan Casey makes for hopping on a passenger train to D.C. if you want to save time, money, and aggravation:
With air fares sky high and driving no bargain, rail rate is good

In time, convenience and cost, taking the Northeast Regional in many cases is the best option.

Adult ticket prices on Amtrak to Washington are as low as $29 if they're purchased at least two weeks in advance (children are half price).

A "business class" car with more comfortable seats and more leg room costs $19 more each way and includes complimentary soft drinks.

It takes about the same amount of time to drive to Washington. Considering the cost of gasoline, wear and tear on a car, and parking in the city, the train prices are competitive if not cheaper.

They're a stunning bargain compared to airfare.

Even purchased two weeks in advance, round-trip flights to the D.C. region begin around $400. That's the cheapest fare I could find last week on kayak.com. And with connections through New York and Boston, the time one way was 5 hours, 24 minutes.

You can fly to Dulles International Airport in an hour for $479 round-trip and to New York in two hours for prices that begin at $260, according to kayak.com

But either of those flights still leaves you miles away from your destination and require expensive taxi or shuttle rides.

By contrast, Amtrak drops you at Union Station on Capitol Hill, which is also a Metrorail stop, or at Penn Station in Manhattan.

Both are near the center of those cities' downtowns and have onsite [sic] subway trains.
If you've ever driven into D.C. or flown into Dulles to conduct business, you know how much of a pain in the ass driving is.

I wouldn't be surprised to find that that $29 ticket (round-trip?) is actually $229 before the federal Santa Claus tosses in his subsidy. But if not, this works.

Should be fun too.

Count me in.

* Note: Casey chooses not to mention it but, at present, you'll need to drive over to Lynchburg to take advantage of the Northeast Regional Amtrak system.

Bland to Lynchburg? 145.22 miles.  Add that to the calculation.

** One reason why one might assume that Amtrak is either losing money on the route - big time - or is being subsidized by the government - big time - or both - can be illustrated by the accompanying photo to Casey's column. The photo shows a virtually empty passenger car.  By headcount, and by estimated ticket revenue, do you suppose it cost Amtrak more than $150 in fuel to take the 1100 ton train to D.C. and back?  That, it appears, is about what Amtrak grossed in ticket revenue on this run (without knowing about any other cars or their occupancy rates).


Senator Robert Byrd, who still garnered widespread support in his "home state" of West Virginia right up to the day he died, is to be buried today in Virginia.


Could it be that he recognized the fact that statehood was granted Virginia's wayward western counties illegally and considered himself a Virginian all along?

Could it be that Byrd considered those who opposed Southern secession from the Union but favored western Virginian secession from Virginia to be bold-faced hypocrites and considered himself to be a Virginian for that reason?

Whatever his reason, he ain't being buried in Crab Orchard, western Virginia.

Duelling Banner Ads

Let the people decide:

Or ...
At some point results, not advertising, are going to matter, big guy.

Bob Zeller:
Martinsville, Va. -- The black scourge of double-digit unemployment stretches for 300 miles across southern Virginia. A dozen counties -- from Sussex County near the Tidewater to Scott County in the heart of the Appalachian mountains -- are plagued by joblessness levels above 10 percent, and thus appear in black on the color-coded map of the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Nowhere is it worse than right here in Martinsville, a small Southside Virginia town that would be all but unknown in American popular culture except for a small oval track called Martinsville Speedway, and the twice-annual visits of the country's premier racing series, the NASCAR Sprint Cup series.

Last December, in the midst of a cold, snowy winter, the unemployment rate in Martinsville reached twenty percent (20.3 percent, to be exact), moving this city of slightly less than 15,000 into joblessness levels approaching those of the Great Depression. 
"Joblessness levels approaching those of the Great Depression."

Of all things for this nitwit to tout in his reelection ads, his ability to bring JOBS to Southside should not have been one of them.

What in God's name was he thinking?


From a mission set to grow tomato plants from seed aboard the multi-hundred-billion dollar space shuttles to improving relations with the Muslim world, now NASA's "foremost mission," our once-premier government agency dedicated to the exploration of the universe can best be described as ...

... lost in space.

Good grief.

This Should Scare The Snot Out Of You

Tom Blumer:

"On a population-adjusted basis, the June 2010 figure is the worst June performance in the 63 years [the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics] has been tracking the data."

Barack Obama, a week ago:

""The economy is strengthening, we are into recovery."

The worst June ever is a sign of recovery?

Obama says we're into recovery.  I say we're into denial.

This Has To Hurt

Chris Cillizza, Washington Post:

"The latest NBC-Wall Street Journal poll reveals that Obama's standing among white voters is remarkably similar to that of President George W. Bush at this same time two years ago."

Two years ago, you may recall, Bush's approval numbers were in the toilet.  And now Mr. Messiah finds himself there as well.

Can he blame George Bush for that too?

You betcha.

Morgan Griffith Speaks Out

The American people are wondering: How in the heck do the Democrats in Congress deem (i.e., to regard as; consider) one of their primary Constitutional responsibilities to have been met without ever having actually made the attempt to meet it?

9th District candidate for U.S. Representative here in Southwest Virginia Morgan Griffith is shaking his head in disbelief as well.  From a press release:
No Budget, No Problem!

- Nancy Pelosi and Rick Boucher can't pass a budget, but can pass Cap & Trade -

(Christiansburg, VA) - Morgan Griffith spoke out against last weekend's "deemed as passed" vote in Congress for the federal budget. This procedural vote will allow Congress to spend federal funds without having passed a federal budget.

"This will be the first time Congress has ever failed its obligations to pass a federal budget," Griffith said. "Rick Boucher voted along with Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the left-wing Democrat leadership in the middle of the night Thursday before the Fourth of July weekend, hoping no one would notice. He should be ashamed of voting for this 'fake budget,' for more reckless spending and for less accountability to the American public."

"Any business owner would laugh at the idea of not having a budget, but that's exactly what our government is doing. It's unconscionable that Congress can find the time to pass job-killing Cap & Trade, bail out Wall Street, and takeover the healthcare industry, but can't get around to passing it's own budget."

The "deemed as passed" measure had 38 Democrats vote against it, including Virginia congressman Tom Perriello and Glen Nye. No Republicans voted for the measure.

During Morgan Griffith's service in the state legislature, he always voted for a balanced budget.
"It's unconscionable that Congress can find the time to pass job-killing Cap & Trade, bail out Wall Street, and takeover the healthcare industry, but can't get around to passing it's own budget."

Unconscionable is right. And unforgivable.