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

Saturday, July 10, 2010

VDOT Has Money To Burn

I read this editorial blurb in today's Roanoke Times and had a thought:
A new meaning to 'private' business

It's summer travel season. We all know what that means: calculating whether everyone can hold on until the next rest area. Thanks to Gov. Bob McDonnell making good on last year's campaign promise, all Virginia rest areas are open for business. But the question still remains: Can we afford them?

McDonnell's predecessor closed 19 rest areas when the state ran low on money. It was either that or skimp on road and bridge repairs that might not be so noticeable to the motoring public.

The new governor took $3 million from the Virginia Department of Transportation maintenance reserve fund, which leaves $3 million worth of other things undone. But then, VDOT doesn't hang "closed" signs on crumbling shoulders.

Yes, the toilets are open, but not for long if the governor can't find fresh money. So this week, he ... [link]
VDOT is broke.  Or so they keep telling us.

Consider this:  Next time you have the opportunity to drive northbound on I-77 into West Virginia, look off to the right just before you enter the East River Mountain Tunnel.  There's a VDOT truck sitting there.  It sits there round the clock, day and night.  With a VDOT employee lounging inside.  Sitting there.  Doing nothing.  Sometimes asleep.  On your payroll.  All hours of the day.


Who knows?

Presumably, he's on guard, prepared to leap into action should some happenstance ever occur inside the tunnel.  Though the odds are infinitesimal that it ever will.

I'll suggest this: I'll accept the argument that VDOT is short of funds when it wakes its employees up and puts them to work and quits wasting their time and our money on silly doomsday scenarios.

There's Decorous & Then There's Functional

I read this article on renovating a room in the home and turning it into a really beautiful office, and then I looked at my surroundings.  This is how Command Central here at From On High looks on the average day:

It may not be as pretty.  But it works.  And that's really what counts.

If you're wondering what the print on the wall is, go here.
Click on the image to enlarge it.

More CEO's Need To Be Like This Guy

I listened to some moron on the radio the other day being interviewed about McDonald's "Happy Meals."  Apparently this joker (from California, naturally) has threatened to sue America's favorite fast-food restaurant chain if it doesn't stop marketing its product to kids.

You can see a letter that the Center for Scientists in the Public Interest sent to McDonald's CEO here.  It reads, in part:
The Center for Science in the Public Interest (“CSPI”) demands that McDonald’s USA, LLC (“McDonald’s”) immediately stop using toys to market Happy Meals to young children.

By advertising that Happy Meals include toys, McDonald’s unfairly and deceptively markets directly to children. When McDonald’s bombards children with advertisements or other marketing for Happy Meals with toys, many children will pester their parents to take them to McDonald’s. Once there, they are more than likely to receive a meal that is too high in calories, saturated fat, added sugars, and sodium, and devoid of
whole grains. Developing a lifelong habit of eating unhealthy meals is likely to promote obesity, heart disease, diabetes, and other life-threatening or debilitating diet-related diseases.
Yup.  That's the complaint.  Parents will be pestered by their kids.  And the parents will buy them food that the busybodies at CSPI think the kiddies shouldn't have.

Well, by God McDonald's has responded to CSPI's ludicrous demand.  CEO Jim Skinner will have none of it.  And he makes it clear that he'll not be intimidated by a bunch of weirdos masquerading as scientists.

In his response, there is this:
At McDonald's, we listen to what our customers tell us. For the past 30 years they have told us -- again, overwhelmingly -- that they approve of our Happy Meal program. Three decades provide a lot of listening time. That's why we are confident that parents understand and appreciate that Happy Meals are a fun treat, with right-sized, quality food choices for their children.

On this point, it seems that you purposefully skewed your evaluation of our Happy Meals by putting them in the context of a highly conservative 1,300 calorie per day requirement. I'm sure you know this category generally applies to the youngest and most sedentary children.

Furthermore, your over-the-top rhetoric flies in the face of our 55-year track record of caring for kids, a core McDonald's value. Ronald McDonald House Charities has donated more than $465 million to children's causes since its founding. Additionally, every night more than 6,400 families with critically ill children stay in the 300 Ronald McDonald Houses close to hospitals in 52 countries around the world. Also, customers recognize that their local McDonald's restaurants and the franchisees who proudly run them continue to be some of the strongest supporters of youth athletics and activities in the world. Ronald McDonald also serves as an ambassador for children's well-being, promoting messages around physical activity and living a balanced, active lifestyle.

As Chief Executive Officer of McDonald's, I want you to know we will vigorously defend our brand, our reputation, our food and our people. CSPI is wrong in its assertions, and frivolous in its legal threats. McDonald's has proudly evolved both our menu and marketing practices and will continue to respond to our customers' needs. We have more choice and variety than ever before in our Happy Meals and across our menu. Furthermore, McDonald's makes available in-depth, comprehensive nutrition information about our food to give parents the support they need to make appropriate choices for their children.

Children's well-being requires an ongoing effort and commitment to be a part of the solution. Going forward, we will continue to make more changes that are relevant to our customers and in their best interests, as we always have.


Jim Skinner
I'll add the p.s.:

And kiss my ass.

On Obama's 'Green' Jobs

Are they worth it?

But one example:

"The addition of 2,000 temporary and 1,500 permanent jobs sounds impressive until you learn how much these two deals cost; $2 billion."


Want To Get In The Game?

Want to be part of that grassroots movement but don't know where you fit in?  Want to lead that grassroots movement?  Simply want ammunition you can use in the fight against Big Government?  Consider this: Americans For Prosperity Defending the American Dream Summit.

AFP Foundation’s 4th annual Defending the American Dream Summit will be held August 27-28, 2010 at the Marriott Wardman Park in Washington, DC. 

Today, the voices of average Americans are being drowned out by lobbyists and special interests. The result: policies that are threatening to destroy the American Dream – higher taxes and out-of-control government spending, job-killing regulations, and endless red-tape.

But you can do something about it. You can send a powerful message to the politicians, special interests, and the mainstream media by taking part in the Defending the American Dream Summit.

On August 27th and 28th you can join America’s foremost free-market voices, top experts on grassroots mobilization, and the nation’s largest gathering of grassroots leaders from across the country in a massive show of force for our shared belief in limited government and free enterprise.

Your involvement is but a click away.  HERE.


1) AFP will be providing buses from all across Virginia to the event in DC (Roanoke, Route 29, Hampton Roads, Shenandoah, Peninsula, Richmond).

2) AFP's national office is scheduling it in tandem with Glenn Beck's Restoring Honor rally, so none of its Saturday events will overlap, and AFP will provide shuttles to and from the mall for the rally.

3) AFP has a room block reserved for AFP attendees at the Marriott Wardman Park and the Washington Hilton for $139 for Friday night.
4) You can review the agenda HERE.

5) Want to learn more about AFP?  Go HERE.

Don't Blame Bush

I've mentioned in the past the fact that the economic implosion that began in 2007 can be less attributable to George W. Bush (after all, what significant changes did he make prior to the downturn that might have caused it?) than to a major change in leadership in Congress.

Red State backs up my point with this:
Everything was just fine until Pelosi took control in January, 2007.  Then the bottom dropped out.

Squeal all you want.  The numbers don't lie.

Click on the image to enlarge it.

Make Fun of It If You Will

I'm the guy who had a fire-engine-red riding lawn mower a while back and painted flowing orange and yellow flames down its sides emanating from its ass-kickin' 18 hp motor that could produce - at top end - almost two miles an hour.  I loved it.  Others thought it a little ... bizarre.

Those same critics probably won't like this either.

But I think it's kinda cool.

The Real Damage Done By 'Climate Scientists'

If Climategate has brought about nothing else, it has, at minimum, shed light on the fact that researchers in academe can be every bit the devious gutter politician, with all that that implies.

Janet Daley, writing in London's Telegraph:
'Climategate' report clears Professor Jones of dishonesty but that is not the key issue

It will come as a surprise to no one that yet another enquiry into climate science has ended up exonerating everybody involved. Professor Phil Jones is back in his academic berth at the University of East Anglia having been cleared of the charge of dishonestly manipulating evidence. But the damage done to the credibility of the anthropogenic climate change argument will remain, as much for the tone of those notorious emails as for their precise details.

What has been lost – possibly forever – goes way beyond any questions raised about the individual character or motivations of particular scientists. What the crass wording of the leaked emails exposed to the world at large was the darker side of academic science. Most people regard scientific enquiry as the purest expression of the spirit of the Enlightenment: the pursuit of objective truth in an atmosphere of free and open debate unfettered by dogma or intellectual prejudice. This mythical ideal in which the purity of science is pitted in a historical struggle against the forces of superstition and autocracy (taking Galileo and his battle with the Church as its timeless model) is rather out of touch with the modern reality. And now it is plain for all to see: science, for all its splendid contributions to modern life, is as subject to human antipathy, rivalry and downright nastiness as anything else. It survives through a competitive race for grant-funding, academic favour and professional advancement which is as susceptible to corrupt ambition, group-think and peer pressure as any other human endeavour. The general public is unlikely to forget this disillusioning little tale in a hurry.

We can argue about whether those involved in this scandal were guilty of lying and of deceit.  But this much is certain: Science took a back seat to political activism.  And it got ugly.  And distorted.

Will science ever be the same?  Probably.  But it will take years ...

Robert Byrd's Legacy

Billions and billions of dollars in pork sent to his state over a period of many years and what does the late Robert Byrd have to show for it?

"When Byrd became senator in 1959, West Virginia ranked No. 39 in median family income, and No. 42 in per capita income. Today, it's No. 48 in both categories." [source]

As with earmarks handed out here in Southwest Virginia's 9th Congressional District by Democrat Rick Boucher, and as with every other effort nationally that falls into the same category, those who are on the receiving end of federal goodies surely do appreciate them, but so few actually ever realize anything from the largesse that the end result - the overall economic impact - is negligible to nonexistent.

Byrd dumped billions on West Virginia, at the same time Democrats, who have ruled the state for decades, made it impossible for business to thrive.  Taxes are high.  Frivolous lawsuits are rampant.  And regulation of commerce there is the stuff Soviet apparatchiks only dreamt of.

So West Virginia rots.

Robert Byrd's legacy.