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

Friday, July 16, 2010

Goodlatte Tries To Make Sense of Obama's "Stimulus'

Poor schlep.  He needs to get with the program and learn to love it and not ask so many questions.

But Virginia's 6th District congressman just can't seem to accept government waste on a massive scale without someone taking a few minutes to explain it to him:
Goodlatte wants probe of building renovations
By Laurence Hammack, Roanoke Times

U.S. Rep. Bob Goodlatte is calling for a federal investigation into the $51 million in stimulus funds to renovate the Poff Federal Building in downtown Roanoke.

Goodlatte, R-Roanoke County, has called the project "a waste of taxpayer dollars."

In letters sent Thursday, Goodlatte requested an investigation by the inspector general of the U.S. General Services Administration, the agency in charge of the project. He also sought a separate inquiry by the Government Accountability Office, the investigative arm of Congress.

Goodlatte said he has been trying in vain since last year to get details from the GSA about whether the renovations are really worth spending more than four times the $12 million it cost to construct the building in the 1970s.

In response to questions from The Roanoke Times, the GSA has defended the project as a "hallmark in taxpayer savings through higher performing, greener improvements."

Work on the building -- scheduled to begin in the spring and expected to take three years -- will include replacing the all-glass north and south sides of the 14-story structure to make it more energy efficient. Other improvements will include renovating restrooms to promote water conservation, replacing the heating and cooling system, building a new roof and installing solar panels. [link]
Left out of this otherwise informative report is this:

The government offices that are being renovated to the tune of $51,000,000 - thank God it's only taxpayer income - are soon to be abandoned by the government.  "The Veterans Administration -- which occupies about half of the building -- plans to relocate."

You might wonder, by the way, where Virginia's other elected representatives stand on this kind of government waste.  Well, you know those road signs that Obama has spent millions (of taxpayer income dollars) to produce that don't stimulate anything other than criticism from an America that is no mood for government self-congratulation at a time when millions (of taxpayers) are hurting?
A vote was taken yesterday and Rick Boucher, Democrat, 9th District, along with Tom Perriello, Democrat, 5th District, voted in favor of slapping more of them out there on the nation's highways (at additional taxpayer expense) (purpose unknown).

As to the waste of taxpayer dollars?  No questions asked.

Get with the program, Bob.  It's not your money.  Let it go.

A Controversy That Just Won't Go Away

I've touched on this brouhaha before so there's no need to restate my view on the matter.  But it does strike me as interesting that the controversy just won't die.

And maybe it shouldn't:
Virginia museum's bust of Stalin is an atrocity by any name
By Michael Gerson, Washington Post

Statues and busts of Stalin were once mass-produced in Russia as icons of a political cult. Few can now be found on public display outside the Stalin museum in his home town of Gori, Georgia, where some people remain perversely proud of a local boy made bad. But a newly cast memorial bust of Stalin stands at the National D-Day Memorial in Bedford, Va., accompanying sculptures of Franklin D. Roosevelt, Charles de Gaulle and Winston Churchill. A plaque recounts Stalin's practice of "eliminating" his opponents. But Stalin would doubtless be pleased by the likeness and its setting.

Stalin and Hitler were moral equals in nearly every respect -- the slave labor camps, the mass graves, the night arrests, the sadistic and sycophantic circle of enablers. Stalin added forced famine -- in which millions of lives were taken like a scythe takes wheat -- along with show trials and purges. Stalin's lieutenants would act out for his entertainment the pleadings of old colleagues about to be executed. "The greatest delight," Stalin once said, "is to mark one's enemy, prepare everything, avenge oneself thoroughly, and then go to sleep."

The main difference between Hitler and Stalin is that one lost a war and ended with a bullet in his head. The other gets a bust at the National D-Day Memorial. [link]
I love that last line.  But it isn't factual.  The main difference between Hitler and Stalin is the fact that one opposed us on D-Day and the other - more than any other living human being at the time - like it or not -  made D-Day possible. (Stalin's only complaint was that the Allies - led by Dwight Eisenhower - wouldn't launch it earlier than they chose to.)  He made it possible by sacrificing millions of his own countrymen - killing millions of Nazis and bleeding the vaunted Wehrmacht dry in the process - by stopping Hitler in his tracks, finally at Stalingrad in 1943. (In this battle alone, Stalin inflicted an estimated 850,000 casualties on our enemies.)

The history part of this argument is not debatable.  Nor can Stalin's role in creating conditions such that the invasion of western Europe on June 6, 1944 could take place.

But does that warrant a bust of Stalin over in Bedford, considering the fact that he was also one of the most infamous mass murderers in history?

The debate rages.  As it should.

Photo courtesy of the Roanoke Times.

Cuccinelli: Here's Your Wake-Up Call

I started wondering a few months ago, as the outrage professed by so many esteemed academicians around the Commonwealth of Virginia built into a crescendo over Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli's efforts to determine if one of their own had committed a fraud on the people who paid his paycheck at the time, when did "academic freedom" find its way into the Bill of Rights?  I haven't looked in a while, but last time I did, it wasn't there.

Nice try though.

But our AG is having none of it:
Cuccinelli: Academic freedom won’t shield scientist from fraud probe
By Brian McNeill, Charlottesville Daily Progress

Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli argued Tuesday that the University of Virginia must comply with his demand for a trove of documents related to the research of former UVa climate change scientist Michael Mann, saying that Mann’s academic freedom does not shield him from Cuccinelli’s probe into possible fraud.

Cuccinelli, a Republican and global warming skeptic, has been attempting to subpoena the documents to investigate whether Mann violated Virginia’s Fraud Against Taxpayers Act when he received four federal and one state research grants totaling $466,000 while employed by UVa between 1999 and 2005.

Cuccinelli’s office filed a 41-page brief Tuesday that urges an Albemarle County judge to ignore UVa’s petition to throw out Cuccinelli’s subpoenas and to order UVa to hand over the requested documents, e-mails, data and more.

“ … It is clear that there is ample reason to believe that Mann may have committed a violation of FATA while he was at the university,” the filing says. “There is no debate that the university is in possession of documents relevant to determining if such a violation did occur. Accordingly, and for the reasons that follow, the court should deny the university’s petition.”

A sizable section of Cuccinelli’s latest filing questions the integrity of the scientific research behind climate change. The filing spends many pages disputing studies authored by Mann and his colleagues and goes on to suggest that a few dozen leading climate change scientists, including Mann, may have wanted to make global warming appear as a major threat to protect their research funding.

“Not only are they few in number, but through connections with Mann, they formed a mutually supporting and reinforcing group; peer reviewing and co-authoring each other’s papers,” the filing says. “ … Because neither the [Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change] nor governmental grants to climate scientists would likely continue were it to be determined that man-made global warming was not a serious threat, potential conflicts of interest flow predominantly in one direction.”

Cuccinelli’s filing also pooh-poohs UVa’s argument that it cannot comply with the investigation because it would hinder academic freedom and have a chilling effect on science.

“In dealing with any claim of academic freedom, it must be remembered that the doctrine, to the extent it applies, only arises out of the First Amendment, a point the university concedes. … Thus, by definition, it offers no protections for things that fall outside of the protections of the First Amendment – such as fraud and fraud investigations,” the filing says.
[link] [emphasis mine]
Academic Freedom ≠ Freedom To Defraud

"Academic freedom."  Another one of those creative emanations of a penumbra"?

Duh of the Day

The Globe Was Warming. And Now It's Not.

Imagine that. Several decades of news reports about [A]rmageddon and melting ice and, after 30 years, we're exactly where we were in 1980.

A Bottomless Pit

It's mystifying - at least to me - that this problem continues to worsen after all this time:

You know The Troubles have ended when the housing market finally hits bottom and begins an actual - and sustained - and non-government-induced - rebound.

We aren't there yet though.

It only gets worse and worser.

It Was Inevitable

Massachusetts and "conservative" go together about as well as water and oil.  Knowing that - having forgotten that - this seems to be the predictable outcome of Republican Scott Brown's victory in the state liberals rule:

My guess is, Brown never "drifted" to the left at all. He was there but no one knew it. Or knew him.

So conservatives in the Bay State are having buyer's remorse. Again.  Remorse being a regular thing for them all these many years.

Maybe someday ...

Oh My

This should irritate the crap out of 'em:

What does that tell you? Sarah isn't even running, and Dr. Change is running like hell. And they're tied in the polls?

2012 should be a fun year. I can't wait for the left to howl in derision, outrage, and disgust with her every pronouncement. And be rewarded for their efforts to marginalize her by seeing Sarah Palin propelled into the White House.

You go, girl. Make 'em squeal.

What Is This Woman Talking About?

Can you imagine going out of your way to go on national television and proceed to make yourself out to be a blithering idiot?  Texas Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee did just that.  Enjoy.

At the same time try to figure out what in God's name she's talking about:

"Today we have two Vietnams, side-by-side, North and South ..."

Two things: (1) Let it be noted that this goofball is a Democrat. (2) It was her critical vote that brought ObamaCare upon us. It all now becomes clear.

May God have mercy.

* For a map of Vietnam, the only one the rest of us know about, go here.

Like I've Been Saying

A shock to some: The vast majority of us who are opposed to illegal immigration are very much in support of legal immigration.  In my case, that's because I recognize the fact that the caliber of graduates American schools are churning out these days is just this side of awful.  High school graduates need remedial classes to get into college; college graduates - steeped in useful knowledge of women's issues and environmental falderol - haven't the skills to make them productive in society.  In other words, they're ignorant of that which is required to keep America on the cutting edge of technological and entrepreneurial advancement..

That's why we need Indian, Chinese, and Japanese immigrants.  To do that which American youth can't anymore.  Sad.  But fact.

To that point:
We Need an Einstein Immigration Policy
By Darrell M. West, writing in the Wall Street Journal

In the years leading up to World War II, the United States recruited Europe's top talent for our nuclear program. Scientists such as Albert Einstein, Enrico Fermi, and Edward Teller immigrated to America and played an instrumental role in securing our country's future and developing its nuclear advantage.

Today, we need to think about a new "Einstein Principle" for our immigration policy. It would make brains, talent and special skills a priority. The point is to attract more individuals with the potential to enhance American innovation and competitiveness, increasing the odds for economic prosperity and rising living standards for all down the road.

At a time of high unemployment, the most pressing need is for more innovators who will start new businesses and create high-paying jobs. We've certainly done so successfully in the past.

A Duke University study by Vivek Wadhwa found that 25% of all the technology and engineering businesses launched in the U.S. between 1995 and 2005 had a foreign-born founder. In Silicon Valley, that number was 52.4%. Much of the high-tech boom of recent years has rested on immigrant entrepreneurship.

Yet only 15% of our annual visas are now set aside for employment purposes. Of these, some go to seasonal agricultural workers, while a small number of H-1B visas (65,000) are reserved for "specialty occupations" such as scientists, engineers, and technological experts. [link]
Here's the cold, hard truth: When it comes to our best and brightest in certain technical fields in this country today, they aren't our best and brightest at all.  They're foreign-born here on temporary work visas or are naturalized citizens.  It's unfortunate, but it is what it is.

Until American school administrators decide to start schooling students to become our leaders of tomorrow - and not on how the white man throughout history raped the land and transgressed against the good graces of Gaia - we'll be needing a whole lot lore smart people than we currently have in our labor pool.

So bring on the foreigners.  Let's keep this country afloat.