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

Sunday, August 07, 2011

Some familiar names in the News

The reason I post this?

This news comes to us from spring, 1861.

The familiar names?

To those living in the southwestern part of Southwest Virginia, the names are more than familiar.  From Contested Borderland, by Brian D. McKnight, quoting from correspondence written at the time, by one W.H. Wampler, new recruit to the Stars and Bars:
The spring of 1861 "opend with grate escitement.  There was nothing but ware [war] talked about.  the noose [news] papers were full of ware [war] noose [news] and evrybody could see that the war was coming."  He added, "it was the conversation in the home and at all the public gatherings and when you went to church it was war all the time.  The people met and prayed for peace but the rumors grew stronger evry day."  In spring, 1861 Wise County sent one company to the Confederacy.  Shortly thereafter, recruiting began for another.  Wampler described the scene:

"so they appointed a day when they wowld [would] meet and call for volunteers they met at Bigstone Gap evry body was on hand old and yowng some one made a speach and kindeled the martial fire in the boys so they unfurled the flag and floted it in the air a few times and unkel Rafus Kilgore commenced beating the raley [rally] on his old war drum and some one led the way and showted fall in boys so there was not a yowng man left but what had marched under the flag I went in with the rest of the boys."

From Big Stone Gap, the new company "went to Wise court house and commenced to drilling and preparing for the grate strugel of war."
Kilgore and Wampler.  Where have we heard those two names before?

- - -

* Contested Borderland, page 33.

** McKnight, an associate professor of history at the University of Virginia's College at Wise, tells us that Wampler would "later serve as superintendent of schools and become a locally famous minister in Wise County, Virginia."

*** Grammar and syntax in the original.

**** It's unclear whether Kilgore and his company from Wise joined a regular Confederate regiment or one of the "home guards" units that sprang up early in the war that proved to be cumbersome - at times annoying - to the South's war effort.  I have emails out.

***** There is no mention of a W.H. Wampler in the official Confederate pension records.

Point. Counterpoint.

The Roanoke Times editorial page this morning:

The religious beliefs of some should not block women's access to contraceptives. Insurers should be required to cover services without a co-pay.

From on High this morning:

The religious beliefs of some should not block women's access to contraceptives. And Stalinist newspaper zealots should not force insurers to cover services without a co-pay of any kind.

Think offering birth control to customers is a neat idea?  Want to provide free contraceptives to insurance policyholders? Open your own insurance company and make the offer.

But leave others alone to conduct business as they deem appropriate.

You take all their customers and drive them out of business? You win.

You go bankrupt? You lose.

That's the American way.

Leave the Soviet central planning to the dustbin of failed ideologies.

Why America Hates Washington

(I should add the mainstream press to that short hate list too, what with the likes of the Roanoke Times labeling Congressman Morgan Griffith an extremist - or "an extremist among extremists," as the editorialists there put it, because he demands that the United States government do what every American family does - live within its means.  Extremist bastard indeed.)

As for Washington, Mark Steyn encapsulates the madness that drives us nuts (see "Mad Debt"):
Under the “historic” “resolution” of the debt crisis (and don’t those very words “debt crisis” already feel so last week?), America will be cutting federal spending by $900 billion over ten years. “Cutting federal spending by $900 billion over ten years” is Washington-speak for increasing federal spending by $7 trillion over ten years. And, as they’d originally planned to increase it by eight trillion, that counts as a cut. If they’d planned to increase it by $20 trillion and then settled for merely $15 trillion, they could have saved five trillion. See how easy this is?
To bring this to a more serious plane, here's where Washington is taking the country we love and had hoped to maintain. Again, Mark Steyn:
Oh, don’t worry, I’m not one of these “declinists.” I’m way beyond that, and in the express lane to total societal collapse. The fecklessness of Washington is an existential threat not only to the solvency of the republic but to the entire global order. If Ireland goes under, it’s lights out on Galway Bay. When America goes under, it drags the rest of the developed world down with it. When I go around the country saying stuff like this, a lot of folks agree. Somewhere or other, they’ve a vague memory of having seen a newspaper story accompanied by a Congressional Budget Office graph with the line disappearing off the top of the page and running up the wall and into the rafters circa mid-century. So they usually say, “Well, fortunately I won’t live to see it.” And I always reply that, unless you’re a centenarian with priority boarding for the ObamaCare death panel, you will live to see it. Forget about mid-century. We’ve got until mid-decade to turn this thing around.
That, to those not well-versed in the English language, is the year 2015.  We have until 2015 to get the government's fiscal house in order.  Or we as a nation are doomed.

Think this is over-the-top madness?

Tell it to Standard & Poors.

And to make matters worse, Washington politicians may no longer be able to fix this mess even if they wanted to.  Our economy is awful, jobs are not being created, no bodies are being added to the tax base, wealth is not being created, taxes can't be raised because (a) we already have the second-highest tax rate on the planet, and (b) those who might be able to contribute more to the government's revenue pool - the rich, the corporations, our small-businesspersons - are losing their shirts because of declining sales and now a massive hit to the stock market, and any talk of "stimulus" becomes a punchline what with the last stimulus - the one that only stimulated the proliferation of windmills - both of them - having produced no measurable improvement in said economy.

In other words, coupled with Washington's desire to ignore the real world - the one that it created - the one that is crashing down around it - current conditions cry out with the message ...


The one saving grace?  Obama has eliminated Don't Ask, Don't Tell.

May God have mercy on all of us.

- - -

* Note: the one good thing is this - on-hand inventories - both at the manufacturing level and at the end-user level - are at an all-time high. Which means, when interest rates start going up, what with the downgrading of our credit rating, the cost of borrowing money to build stuff won't have an immediate effect.  In the long term, though ...

... WE'RE SCREWED by high interest rates too.

For a Good Reason

What to make of this?
Southeast a holdout in mandating renewable energy
By Ray Henry, Associated Press

Atlanta (AP) -- States across the country are gradually forcing or cajoling their electric companies into buying renewable energy, but the trend has fallen flat in the Southeast.

The map is striking. Of the 11 states that haven't set even voluntary targets on how much alternative energy utilities must buy, eight of them are Southern states - Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina and Tennessee. Those involved in the debate say a mix of factors have deterred the states from more aggressively pursuing new sources of energy. [link]
I'll tell you why politicians in the Southeast haven't heaped wads of taxpayer cash on "alternative energy."  It's a pipe dream.   And it's extremely expensive.  And a massive waste of our hard-earned income.  And it will never amount to anything.

Which means politicians in the Southeast are smarter than those anywhere else in the country.

Next question?

So It's Not Global Warming

The earth warms. The earth cools. Wind patterns change over time. Weather happens.

Who knew?

Well, certainly not Al Gore, the non-pseudo ... scientist (?).

But, as real scientists are learning:
Arctic 'tipping point' may not be reached
By Matt McGrath, Science reporter, BBC World Service

Scientists say current concerns over a tipping point in the disappearance of Arctic sea ice may be misplaced.

Danish researchers analysed ancient pieces of driftwood in north Greenland which they say is an accurate way to measure the extent of ancient ice loss.

Writing in the journal Science, the team found evidence that ice levels were about 50% lower 5,000 years ago.

They say changes to wind systems can slow down the rate of melting.

They argue, therefore, that a tipping point under current scenarios is unlikely. [link]
Remember the headlines from a few years ago?

"The Arctic is melting!!!!!  It's global warming!!!!"

Now we know they were publishing the same headline 5,000 years ago.*

"The Arctic is melting!!!!!"

Just before the Arctic cooled.

And the planet went into another Ice Age.

Which means ...

... it's time to bring out that 1977 Time magazine article again!

It gets amusing after a while.

* Okay, maybe the headlines weren't exactly the same in the year 1511.  But ...

What Should the President Do? 'Apologize.'

The anger and frustration exhibited in this clip reflects the attitudes of many, if not all, of us in the business community:

"Why should I take the risk? We pay most of the taxes, right, and you want to call us what?"

Someone Needs To Tell Obama ...

... that he's the freaking president.

Why does this sound like a comment that comes from the back of the room at a town hall meeting:

"The president believes it is important that our elected leaders come together to strengthen our economy and put our nation on a stronger fiscal footing," said White House press secretary Jay Carney said in a statement. “The bipartisan compromise on deficit reduction was an important step in the right direction. Yet, the path to getting there took too long and was at times too divisive. We must do better to make clear our nation’s will, capacity and commitment to work together to tackle our major fiscal and economic challenges.” (source)

"Our elected leaders need to come together"? He is THE elected leader. Where is he? Where's his plan? Why isn't he out front saying, "Here's what we are going to do to fix this," and take THE leadership role? Instead of saying, as is his wont, "See, I told you that wouldn't work. THEY need to do something else."

Hope and change.  We elected a cheerleader, not a commander-in-chief.

Such a Waste

Said a commander to his new charges: "I will, in coming months, demand a great deal from you.  Expect much hardship. Extremes that will test your endurance.  Adversities that are going to shake your will to persevere.  Some of you may be wounded.  Some will die.  But I promise you this, when I order you into harm's way, I will not waste you."

What's Obama's goal in Afghanistan again?  To leave?

Such a waste.

- - -

Then there's this tragic news: Three Marines were killed in a fire in Herat Province, Afghanistan when their barracks caught fire, the roof collapsed, they became trapped, and rescuers weren't able to get to them before they were burned to death.  (The article says the incident is under investigation but that's what happened.) 

The Marine showcased in the article had been in Afghanistan - mission unclear - for a week.