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

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Memo to Bob Goodlatte (4)

Bob:

I'm not alone in my opposition to that "Stop Online Piracy Act" you're sponsoring in the House of Representatives.

The Google home page this morning - Google! - looks like this:


The header is blocked out (signifying censorship),  with the caption beneath reading, "Tell Congress: Please don't censor the web!"

Bob, please don't censor the web!

- - -

Wikipedia is participating as well with a home page that has gone dark and with a caption that reads, "Imagine a World Without Free Knowledge."



"For over a decade, we have spent millions of hours building the largest encyclopedia in human history. Right now, the U.S. Congress is considering legislation that could fatally damage the free and open Internet. For 24 hours, to raise awareness, we are blacking out Wikipedia."

Bob.

* It's a one-day protest against egregious government action - potentially - that will have deleterious effects on our right to free expression.

Dick Saslaw's an Idiot

I shake my head in wonder.  How do morons like the senator from Springfield get reelected over and over again?

The RPV exposes the man's troubling lack of intelligence:

Surprise! Democrats Call for Gas Tax Hike

It's one of the most regular phenomena in Richmond. You can set your watch by it. Legislators return to Capitol Square, and Democrats begin their drum beat to raise the gas tax.

The most recent example? A plan by Del. Vivian Watts, D-Annandale, to stick a 4 percent sales tax on gasoline.

But fear not! It's not like raising the gas tax will make gas more expensive... just ask Sen. Dick Saslaw.

"[Saslaw] said Virginia's gas tax (17.5 cents) is lower than neighboring West Virginia (33 cents) and North Carolina (35 cents). Increasing the gas tax would not increase the price of gasoline, Saslaw said."

Don't tell Senator Saslaw, but GasBuddy.com has some bad news for his "won't increase the price" theory...

Average Gas Prices
Virginia $3.317 
North Carolina: $3.435
West Virginia: $3.493

Virginia Democrats: Trust us. You won't even notice when we take more of your money.
What, Saslaw thinks the gas companies will absorb the increased cost and not pass it on to the consumer? From Economics 101 we know that companies always pass on increased costs. Always. Especially when taxes are involved.

Did this Democrat just fall off a turnip truck, or what?

The New Legislature Gets Down To Business

For those of you who consider it important that you be able to protect your loved ones from the depredations of bad guys, take heart.  The sizable Republican majority in the Virginia House of Delegates goes into action.

An update - and call to arms - from the NRA:
Virginia: Self-Defense Legislation Scheduled for House Subcommittee Consideration [today]!

[Today], the Criminal Law Subcommittee of the House Courts of Justice Committee will consider four “Castle Doctrine” bills that will expand your right to defend yourself and your family in your home. “Castle Doctrine” establishes the presumption that an individual who forcibly enters one’s home, business or occupied motor vehicle is there to cause death or great bodily harm, and allows force, including deadly force, against that person. This legislation would guarantee a right thirty states have already recognized and one that needs to be realized in Virginia.

House Bill 14, sponsored by Delegate Greg Habeeb (R-8), would provide civil immunity to an occupant of a dwelling who uses any degree of physical force to defend the dwelling or another person in the dwelling.

House Bill 47, sponsored by Delegate Dickie Bell (R-20), would provide similar protections as HB 14.

House Bill 48, also sponsored by Delegate Dickie Bell (R-20), seeks to codify the "Castle Doctrine" by providing both criminal and civil liability immunity to someone who uses any degree of physical force against another person when the other person has unlawfully entered the dwelling and committed an overt act.

House Bill 925, introduced by Delegate Scott Lingamfelter (R-31), would codify a version of "Castle Doctrine” to allow the use of physical force, including deadly force, by a person in his dwelling against an intruder who has committed an overt act against him or another person in the dwelling.

Please contact members of the subcommittee listed below and respectfully urge them to support the above legislation. Contact information can be found below. Criminal Law Subcommittee of the House Courts of Justice Committee:

Delegate Rob Bell (R-58), Chairman Phone: (804) 698-1058 Email: DelRBell@house.virginia.gov

Delegate Dave Albo (R-42) Phone: (804) 698-1042 Email: DelDAlbo@house.virginia.gov

Delegate Ben Cline (R-24) Phone: (804) 698-1024 Email: DelBCline@house.virginia.gov

Delegate Todd Gilbert (R-15) Phone: (804) 698-1015 Email: DelTGilbert@house.virginia.gov

Delegate Jackson Miller (R-50) Phone: (804) 698-1015 Email: DelTGilbert@house.virginia.gov

Delegate Ron Villanueva (R-21) Phone: (804) 698-1021 Email: DelRVillanueva@house.virginia.gov

Delegate Richard Morris (R-64) Phone: (804) 698-1064 Email: DelRMorris@house.virginia.gov

Delegate Vivian Watts (D-39) Phone: (804) 698-1039 Email: DelVWatts@house.virginia.gov

Delegate Charniele Herring (D-46) Phone: (804) 698-1046 Email: DelCHerring@house.virginia.gov
My guess is your entreaties are going to get a deaf ear from the Democrats on the committee. But the Republicans should be there for you to a man.

Here's to the Virginia GOP for standing up for our right to self-protection.

An Armed Citizenry Saves Lives

In case you'd forgotten, it was ten years ago this week that two armed citizens came to the rescue of terrified students at the Appalachian School of Law over in Grundy.

See "Law Students Tackled Gunman, Held Him Down Until Police Arrived."

For the rest of the story, though, you have to go to Dr. John R. Lott's book, The Bias Against Guns. In it he writes:
“The fast responses of two male students, Mikael Gross, thirty-four, and Tracy Bridges, twenty-five, undoubtedly saved many lives. Mikael was outside the law school and just returning from lunch when Peter Odighizuwa started his attack. Tracy was in a classroom waiting for class to start. When the shots rang out, utter chaos erupted. Mikael said, ‘People were running everywhere. They were jumping behind cars, running out in front of traffic, trying to get away.’

“Mikael and Tracy were prepared to do something quite different: Both immediately ran to their cars and got their guns. Mikael had to run about one hundred yards to get to his car. Along with Ted Besen [who was unarmed], they approached Peter from different sides. As Tracy explains it, ‘I stopped at my vehicle and got a handgun, a revolver. Ted went toward Peter, and I aimed my gun at [Peter], and Peter tossed his gun down. Ted approached Peter, and Peter hit Ted in the jaw. Ted pushed him back and we all jumped on.’”
Three people died that day. Countless numbers were saved.

Contrast this with the tragedy that played out on the Virginia Tech campus on April 16, 2007.  Where 32 innocent people were slaughtered by a madman, with impunity.  With a pair of handguns.  On a campus that had banned the possession of handguns.

Might the death toll have been less ghastly had someone like Mikael Gross or Tracy Bridges stepped forward and stopped the carnage?  Nobody knows.  But it couldn't have been worse.

We'll never know.  We'll never know.

Like I Said ...

As I wrote the other day, we - well, most of us - have moved beyond race.

As James Taranto puts it, in a thoughtful, well-written essay on the South Carolina Republican debate the other night (see "Why They Stood and Cheered") and on the moment when Newt Gingrich received what may be - according to Taranto - the only standing ovation in presidential primary history:
[N]o Republican running for president is proposing a return to Jim Crow or a repeal of civil rights laws. [Lee] Siegel's implicit notion [found here] that only whites are capable of benefiting from economic freedom under a regime of legal equality amounts to an insidious theory of racial supremacy.

That is the idea that Newt Gingrich repudiated in answer to Juan Williams's (not particularly objectionable) question. That is what brought the crowd to their feet.

The people who stood and cheered as the former speaker forcefully defended the freedom of "every American of every background" were mostly white members of today's Republican Party in the state that started the Civil War and later produced "Pitchfork Ben" Tillman and Strom Thurmond. That it was Martin Luther King Day was lagniappe.

"Next to the election of a black president, we'd say that Gingrich's standing O was the most compelling dramatization of racial progress so far this century. Which isn't to say that racism has been completely eradicated. It lives on in the minds of liberals who see Bull Connor when they look at Ozzie Nelson."
Hear hear.

- - -

I was curious, when I read the passage cited above, about the usage of the pronoun in this sentence: "That is what brought the crowd to their feet."  Their?  Shouldn't it read, "That is what brought the crowd to its feet"?  Knowing that James Taranto is punctilious when it comes to the proper usage of grammar and syntax, I wondered how he could have used the plural "their" instead of the singular "its" in conjunction with the noun "crowd."  So I looked it up.


As it turns out, either would be acceptable.


Ya just never know ...

Desolation On The Factory Floor

I got really annoyed with the Wall Street Journal a long time ago when it repeatedly pooh poohed the notion that American manufacturing was suffering because - as it sized it up - output was still strong and productivity continued to improve.

Like saying the Titanic was doing just fine because the lights were still on.

Well, the lights have gone out.

Hello, Wall Street Journal:
U.S. losing high-tech manufacturing jobs to Asia
By Peter Whoriskey, Washington Post

The United States lost more than a quarter of its high-tech manufacturing jobs during the past decade as U.S.-based multinational companies placed a growing percentage of their research-and-development operations overseas, the National Science Board reported Tuesday.

The rapid expansion of science and engineering capabilities in China and its neighbors pose a more formidable economic challenge to the United States, according to the group, with Asia rapidly boosting the number of engineering doctorates it produces and research dollars it spends.

The report also highlights the broader loss of related U.S. jobs.

The number of high-tech manufacturing jobs in the United States has declined by 687,000, or 28 percent between 2000 and 2010, according to the report. [link]
The author, being your typical Washington Poster, attributes our demise in large part to the fact that governments in Asia did a better job of developing private enterprise over there than Obama has done here.  If only our government had invested more tax dollars (that it doesn't have) and provided more guidance ...

That might fly if it weren't for that great big elephant in the room - it's a hell of a lot cheaper to bring a product - whether high-tech or low-tech - to market in China or Indonesia than it does here in the USA.  And no amount of government intrusion is going to alter that fact.

As for the Wall Street Journal, it should have known better.  The writing was on the ... wall ... long ago.

- - -

"The United States lost more than a quarter of its high-tech manufacturing jobs during the past decade ..."

For the love of God.

Say What?

I think, if I were the captain of that cruise ship that sank off the coast of Italy the other day, I'd be coming up with a better response to the question: Why did you flee the ship, save yourself, and leave dozens of passengers in your care to a dreadful fate?

Right now, and until further notice, this is the Costa Concordia's Captain Francesco Schettino's excuse for abandoning ship:

"I didn't even have a lifejacket because I had given it to one of the passengers - I was trying to get them into the lifeboats in an orderly fashion. All of a sudden the boat listed between 60-70 degrees, I got trapped and ended up in one of the lifeboats. That's why I was in there. [source]

He accidentally fell into a lifeboat. And couldn't get out.

Meanwhile, the Italian Coast Guard has retrieved eleven bodies from Schettino's sunken ship, with nearly two dozen people still missing.

My, oh my.

- - -

May God forgive me.  I read this story and think ... how Italian.  

I know.  I know.  It's totally unfair ...

Hilarious

Here, in a nutshell, is the reason for the proliferation of the weblog community.  If we didn't exist, this would be the story fed to the American people by a cynical and scheming press:


That, though, prompted this response from Caleb Howe over at RedState:


Click on the image and savor the creativity.

Bottom line: They no longer control the narrative.

The Uprising Begins

Or not.

There’s something happening here. What it is ain’t exactly clear, but we may, at long last, be seeing the rise of a popular movement that, unlike the Tea Party, is angry at the right people.


It is, therefore, a testament to the passion of those involved that the protests not only continued but grew, eventually becoming too big to ignore. With unions and a growing number of Democrats now expressing at least qualified support for the protesters, Occupy Wall Street is starting to look like an important event that might even eventually be seen as a turning point.
-- New York Times visionary Paul Krugman --

Ah, yes.  A popular movement on the rise.  A turning point.

How does that saying go that hippies seemed to enjoy spouting back in the 60's?  What if they gave a war and nobody showed up?

Well, what if that rising popular movement of the disgruntled "99%" gave a march on Washington and nobody showed up?

This, from the Associated Press, goes out to Mr. Krugman:
Several hundred protesters affiliated with the Occupy Wall Street movement converged on the West Lawn of the Capitol Tuesday to decry the influence of corporate money in politics and voice myriad other grievances.

Organizers had touted the rally, known as Occupy Congress, as the largest national gathering of Occupy protesters to date and secured a permit that would have allowed up to 10,000 people to participate. By mid-afternoon, the protest appeared to have fallen far short of those goals.
"The largest national gathering ..." I've seen bigger crowds standing in line at McDonald's.

CBS News has the amusing video:




The jewel in the crown: At about the 2:20 mark in the video some fat revolutionary climbs a tree - reason unknown but to God - with the small crowd of beanbrains below chanting "protect the tree!" Protection from what isn't exactly clear. Having "protected" the tree, he then came down.  And they all went home.

Too funny.

In Wisconsin, Battle Lines Are Drawn

It's America's unions vs. the taxpayers of the state of Wisconsin.

The frightening part of it?  With Obama's organization and SEIU's wealth, the taxpayers there may be completely overwhelmed.

No Greater Love There Is

Young, in Love and Sharing Everything, Including a Password