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

Monday, November 22, 2010

How Do We Measure Success?

I've been meaning to comment on this Bristol Herald Courier editorial for some time and just never was able to get to it.  So ...
U.S. Rep. Rick Boucher, the gentleman leaves a legacy

As ugly as the campaign rhetoric became – on the airwaves, at the rallies and even on this Opinion Page – one might have understood if U.S. Rep. Rick Boucher had been more, well, silent in his defeat.

True to his character, though, he remained the consummate, scholarly gentleman: Beaming his signature broad-grinned, twinkly-eyed smile he ... [blah blah blah]

[H]is constituency voted for change. The reasons likely are as varied as the voters themselves – from anger over joblessness, a bad economy and growing national debt to fear over the cap-and-trade legislation and new health care laws.

Still, Boucher was good for Southwest Virginia. As we outlined in our endorsement for his re-election, he was able to bring progress to previously underserved regions of Southwest Virginia in terms of long-needed infrastructure – water and sewer projects and even the more modern broadband Internet service.

On election night, Boucher said he hoped his legacy of public service lives on, and lives on positively.

It could hardly be otherwise. [link]
I'm inclined to give this person the benefit of the doubt and judge this editorial as a sloppy sop to an outgoing politician.  But then I'm also inclined to think that whoever wrote this shit actually believes it. In which case it needs to be addressed.

Are we to measure Rick Boucher's "legacy" by the "progress" he brought to "previously underserved regions of Southwest Virginia"?  Does the author really want to do that?  Where, pray tell, is the most "underserved" region of the 9th Congressional District?  Is it fair to say that it's the coalfields region of Dickenson, Lee, Russell, Scott, Tazewell, and Wise Counties?   Are these the same counties that found their populations steadily declining throughout Boucher's time in office in Washington?

How do we measure progress?  By the standard of living over there?  A standard of living that has been in decline for two decades?

By the cohesion level in the family structure in an area where turmoil and breakup are rampant?

By the drug dependency level that continues to grow?

By the level of dependency on the federal government for a handout, the level of which continues to rise?

How about the simple poverty rate?

By the rate of suicide that continues to be heartrending?

Or, more analytically, by the fact that the per capita income level in Lee County is now one-fourth of that in Arlington County?


My guess is, the author looks past all that and remembers that Boucher brought a sewer system to a tiny part of Pulaski County.  And that he moved Grundy out of the flood plain (at a cost of $200 million). And that he secured the federal funds to extend broadband and high speed telecommunications to parts of his district.

It wasn't enough, pal.

In the end, it did the district no good.

While Boucher was installing commodes in Pocahontas, Chilhowie was crumbling.

Here's where we reach the chasm that separates the editorialists in Bristol from thinking persons who can look around and see the reality that is Southwest Virginia.  The author of this editorial sees some of the "gifts" that Rick Boucher secured for the area and is pleased.  I see the dozens and dozens of major employers that have closed their doors - forever - taking thousands of excellent-paying jobs with them - and left the region.

If you are inclined to wait for the federal government to do something for you, you're probably appreciative of the job Rick Boucher - otherwise known as Santa Claus - did.

If you understand that our elected representative in Washington could have done so much more to improve the lives of every citizen of the 9th Congressional District by creating conditions such that those who employ people thrive, you rejoiced at Boucher's defeat.

A robust economy "raises all boats."  Not just in Grundy,  Or Damascus.  But throughout the region.  We all prosper when employers prosper.

Employers that packed their bags and left for China while Rick Boucher was handing out checks here and there in his District.

Rick Boucher's legacy can be found here: "Percent of total population in poverty."

It's worse today than it was the day he arrived in office last century.

Sing his praises if you will.  Those who voted with their feet - and their U-haul trailers - offer a different melody.

Then They Aren't Really Secret, Are They

The first sentence in a New York Times editorial (see "What the Secret Donors Want") about "secret campaign donations" was as far as I went.  If the author is that stupid ...

"According to tax records unearthed by Bloomberg News, the health insurance lobby secretly gave $86.2 million to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in 2009 to try to prevent the health care bill from becoming law."

Secret?  How "secret" were those donations when they could easily be found in the Chamber's tax records?

My, my.  Such the boogeyman.

These people crack me up.

Why China Is Winning

While we here in the USA are off chasing windmills ...

While their standard of living is rising, ours is falling.

"And the Big Fool said to push on ..."

Some Join The Tea Party ...

... others take on the opposition in more direct ways:
The days of playing nice with those who have done their best to destroy our great nation are over.

Don't Be Fooled

When it comes to taxation ...

Been there.  Done that.

Stephen Moore and Richard Vedder, writing in the Wall Street Journal:
Higher Taxes Won't Reduce the Deficit

Reagan used to complain that he waited his entire presidency for the $3 of spending cuts that Congress promised for every dollar of new taxes he agreed to in 1982. The cuts never came.

We're constantly told by politicos that tax increases must be put "on the table" to get congressional Democrats—who've already approved close to $1 trillion of new spending in violation of their own budget rules over the last two years—to agree to make cuts in the unsustainable entitlement programs like Medicare and Social Security.

Our research indicates this is a sucker play. After the 1990 and 1993 tax increases, federal spending continued to rise. The 1990 tax increase deal was enacted specifically to avoid automatic spending sequestrations that would have been required under the then-prevailing Gramm-Rudman budget rules.

The only era in modern times that the budget has been in balance was in the late 1990s, when Republicans were in control of Congress. Taxes were not raised, and the capital gains tax rate was cut in 1997. The growth rate of federal spending was dramatically reduced from 1995-99, and the economy roared.

We suspect that voters intuitively understand this tax and spend connection, which is why there is such hostility to broad-based tax increases. [link]
That's right.  The "fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me" adage applies.  Democrats proved (over and over again that if given piles of new cash, they'll spend it, the whole time giving lip service to the national debt.  And when it's gone, they'll whine for more in a few years.  And Republicans haven't a whole lot better track record either (except when ol' Newt took over).

So don't let your guard down.  We pay dearly in taxes now.  We'll not pay more.  They'll need to live with what we give them or we'll find others who can.

And let them whine.  The entertainment value is priceless.

Who Would Have Ever Thought?

Get this: As it turns out, those whose first act when they enter this country as immigrants is to break our laws by entering illegally continue to break our laws when they settle in.

Who would have guessed that?

Well, Prince William County board of supervisors chairman Corey Stewart, that's who.  And he did something about it:
FNC Highlights UVA Study That Shows Enforcing Immigration Laws Decreases Violent Crime
By Brad Wilmouth, NewsBusters

On Thursday’s Fox and Friends, FNC hosts Gretchen Carlson and Steve Doocy gave attention to a University of Virginia study which found that, since Prince William County in Virginia became more strict in dealing with illegal immigrants in 2007, the jurisdiction has enjoyed a substantial drop in crime - including a 32 percent drop in violent crime - while neighboring Fairfax County has seen crime levels remain steady.

Introducing an interview with Prince William County board of supervisors chairman Corey Stewart, co-host Doocy began: "Back in 2007, Prince William County in Virginia became the first large jurisdiction in the country to adopt a strict immigration enforcement policy. That move was widely criticized."

Co-host Carlson added: "But a new study by the University of Virginia shows crime has dropped since the policy went into effect. ... After a three-year study, here's some of the stuff that's happening: 41 percent drop in the hit-and-run accidents; 46.7 percent decrease in aggravated assaults."

After noting that the University of Virginia and other "neutral organizations" were behind the study, guest Stewart informed viewers violent crime had dropped substantially in his county compared to neighboring Fairfax County. Stewart:

Well, you know, more than anything, it saved us lives. And we had a 32 percent drop in our overall violent crime rate in Prince William County. Prince William County, by the way, very large county. Second largest county in Virginia. And in Fairfax County, neighboring Fairfax County, they had a stable crime rate, and Prince William County's dropped by 32 percent over the same period of time. [link]
There are folks in this Commonwealth, like those who editorialize at the Roanoke Times, who don't give two squirts about the hardships and depredations inflicted upon the populace up in Prince William.  They'll only think of the plight of those poor illegals who are being mistreated.  Illegals who shouldn't be here in the first place.  Illegals whose plight won't be nearly so bad when they get shipped back to Mexico.

Here's to Corey Stewart for making life better for the citizenry he's charged to protect and nurture.  And here's to Fox News for bringing this great news to us.