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

Thursday, January 26, 2012

HB 291, What's Up With That?

Sometimes you go along, in a good mood, reading the news of the day, everything looking like roses, and then you halt in mid-coffee-gulp.

What caused the gulp?

Tyler Blount of Wytheville brought to my attention in an email a seemingly - on first read - innocuous piece of legislation that has been introduced in the Virginia House of Delegates by Washington County Democrat (and generally okay guy) Joe Johnson.

Here's a (.pdf) copy of the bill:
You might want to enlarge it (by clicking on it) in order to read it.

The legislation addresses - through a change in the existing Code of Virginia - the very real problem of poachers stealing timber from landowners.  Which is fine.

That's Section 1a.

But what's up with 1b?

"B. Any owner of property on which timber is to be cut shall send written notice, via certified mail, to all owners of property adjoining the property on which the timber is to be cut at least 60 days prior to the cutting of any timber. The owner shall send written certification to the State Forester, via certified mail at least 45 days prior to the cutting of any timber, that such notice was sent to the adjoining property owners."

Protecting property owners is one thing.  But what's this written notification of neighbors and the government nonsense?

Wytheville's Tyler Blount smells a rat.  Here's a portion of the email he sent me, which references the email he sent to Delegate Johnson:
I am particularly worked up about yet another Democrat, perhaps the most conservative Democrat left in the House of Delegates, and a man who is  a very kind and reasonable person being willing to offer legislation that restricts free enterprise and needlessly regulates one of the larger industries in his district- the forest products industry.  

I sell timber for private landowners throughout southwest Virginia every year for whom the timber sale income helps hold on to their farm, finance college educations, purchase more land, a tractor or car/truck and kick-start their retirement.  The logging companies, sawmills, heavy equipment machinery (dozers, skidders, knuckleboom, log loaders) and parts dealers, fuel distributors.... and various other attendant businesses that benefit from the private wealth redistribution initiated by a timber sale would all be negatively affected by this bill.  A neighbor with an axe to grind could send a registered letter to a landowner who intends to sell timber and dispute a long-established property line and threaten to use the Timber Trespass law this proposed bill would amend to effectively block a timber sale for an indeterminate time.  

This bill appears to be a pernicious, incremental, back-door attempt to halt timber sale on private land  just like they have been halted on public lands. The environmental wackos are ever vigilant to cripple free enterprise and seemingly always able to find a Democratic politician to carry their socialist water.

The impact this bill would have on timber marketability, administrative costs and its just plain inconvenience merits our opposition.  Perhaps most importantly the "foot in the door" that passage of such a requirement would give to those opposed to timber harvesting is significant. If this bill passes It is not hard to imagine that a future amendment would require that adjoining landowners approve the sale of your timber.

Here is the body of the email I sent to Delegate Johnson and excerpts from other emails with relevant comments:

Dear Delegate Johnson:

I am writing to inquire into your motivation for offering house bill 291 requiring sixty days written notice before cutting timber.

As a private consulting forester I support my family and contribute to my church and community from the commissions I earn from professionally marketing timber for my private landowner clients. One of the most important considerations is managing timber is deciding when to sell. And one of the best times to sell timber (and to cut it) is during the winter months. Snow, rain, freezing and thawing and generally inclement weather makes harvesting timber in the mountains very challenging during winter months or periods of prolonged wet weather. The resulting decline in log supplies at area sawmills and wood using plants can lead to sharp spikes in demand for timber that can be logged in winter. When an informed or professionally assisted landowner offers timber for sale that can be logged during bad weather he/she will very often receive premium price for the timber. However, if the logger cannot begin immediately to harvest trees and pulpwood and transport logs to sawmills and other wood processing plants the winter logging premium evaporates. Requiring 60 days notice before beginning harvesting is the same as taking money from the landowner's pocket.

Why do you in this economy or even in a booming economy want to sponsor legislation that hamstrings a significant source of income for so many southwest Virginia landowners?

This bill would have a very deleterious effect on the value of standing timber and is a significant encroachment on private property rights. Values of standing timber fluctuate widely over a period as small as a few weeks. Requiring 60 days written notice before cutting timber is taking money out of the pocket of the private timberland owner and empowering disgruntled or contentious neighbors to hinder ones benefits from owning timberland. Whatever happened to the self-evident truths that we are endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable rights... the right to pursuit of happiness was originally to own property and was expanded to include all private business. What business has the state in interfering in private business of private landowners?

Please help me understand why you wish to hamstring my business and eclipse the private property rights fo so many of your consituents?


Tyler Blount, Consulting Forester
I'm guessing Delegate Johnson has a legitimate reason for having introduced this change to existing law. Darned if I know what it is though.

Mr. Johnson?

Why You Can't Debate Liberals

They are, in a word, blockheads.

Take Roanoke Times columnist Dan Casey for instance (please).

In his latest exercise in byte-waste (see "There's no good future in unsustainable practices"), he goes after the Roanoke Tea Party.


Because the Roanoke Tea Party - as a collective - sees no good in Roanoke County's participation (at an annual cost of $1200?) in a bosomy international kumbaya society that goes by the acronym ICLEI.

So why is the Tea Party wrong for opposing ICLEI?

Here's Casey's reasoning:

ICLEI is for "sustainability." ► ► ► The Tea Party opposes ICLEI. ► ► ► Therefore the Tea Party opposes sustainability. ► ► ► Therefore the Tea Party stands for "unsustainability." ► ► ► And who is for unsustainability?


How do you even argue that?

Who would even want to?

You'd be better off arguing with a potted plant.

Bill Carrico Makes Us Proud

That silly one-handgun-a-month law is one step closer to repeal, with Republican Senator Bill Carrico out in front leading the effort:
Va. Senate panel votes to scrap one-gun-a-month rule
By Jim Nolan, Richmond Times-Dispatch

The Senate Courts of Justice Committee today approved a measure that would eliminate Virginia's one-gun-a-month restriction on the purchase of handguns.

Approval of the one-gun-a-month repeal (Senate Bill 323), sponsored by Sen. William Carrico, R-Grayson, signaled what is likely to be the most significant change to Virginia's gun laws this year.

The vote was 8-6 on the GOP-controlled committee, with Sen. John S. Edwards, D-Roanoke, voting for passage with seven Republicans and Sen. Thomas K. Norment, Jr., R-James City, who was not present at the time of the vote, being recorded as abstaining.

The measure has strong support in the Republican-dominated House of Delegates, and Gov. Bob McDonnell has previously indicated he is inclined to sign the repeal bill into law.

The one-gun-a-month law -- adocated by then-Gov. L. Douglas Wilder -- was first implemented in 1993 to address interstate trafficking of firearms in Virginia. Opponents of Carrico's bill said repeal of the law would hamper efforts to stem the flow of weapons. [link]
As you might expect, the gun ban crowd is all apoplectic over this legislation having passed the Senate committee.  Guns will start flowing out of Virginia and into the hands of bad guys ... blah, blah, blah.  Which would be news to New York Mayor Bloomberg, who's been telling us that that has been happening all along.

Oddly, those who are wetting their beds over Carrico's legislation don't seem to care about our 2nd Amendment rights being rationed by government.

To them I provide a quote from a great American, Charlton Heston:

"You know, the Bill of Rights guarantees every citizen the right to own and bear firearms. It doesn't say anything about how many or how much you can pay for them. That's in the Bill of Rights. That's a sacred document in our country. There's no other country in the world that has such a document."

In my weaker moments, I want to tell those who would pick and choose the freedoms that I'm allowed to have: You ration my rights and I'll ration yours.

Is that really where we as Americans want to go?

Well, Ya Live Long Enough And ...

... you just know that everything the "experts" tell you will prove to be hogwash.

The latest undeniable health "facts" to be denied:

Fried food heart risk 'a myth'

Nutrition: No Obesity Link to Junk Food in Schools

When it comes to the foods that have graced my table over the years, my motto has been, "Screw the experts; I choose to live la vida loca."

To those who've endured those same years with a diet regimen that amounted to the equivalent of tree bark I say:


Is that Colonel Sanders I hear calling my name?  Can you squirt some chocolate on that Extra Crispy?

Why I'm Uncomfortable About Romney

Can we cut through the bull plop?  I read the other day a piece written by someone who tried to make the argument that Ronald Reagan was a great pro-life president.  The meat of it was that he said all the right things about the issue when he was president.

Big deal.

In my world, it comes down to this: What did Reagan do about ending the heinous practice of abortion?

The answer, if we're honest with ourselves, is, in a word, SQUAT.

So, when a politician tells me he's in favor of doing something, I shrug.  Words are cheap.  Especially coming from a politician.  Especially at election time.

Mitt Romney is going to repeal the most hated piece of legislation to come out of Washington since Prohibition.  Or so he says.

Those around him?  His close advisors?  We get a completely different story:

With Friends Like Romney's . . .: Norm Coleman tells voters the GOP won't repeal ObamaCare.

Who to believe?

Remember this: We're not required to believe either of them.

Which is where I'm at today.

I can't get past this bad feeling ...

And This Guy Scares Me Too

Say what?

Gingrich pledges moon colony during presidency

Earth to Newt ... Earth to Newt ...

The Greatest Commercial Ever Made

I suppose it's a good moment in time, what with Eastman Kodak having filed for Chapter 11 reorganization bankruptcy, with liquidation of assets a real possibility in its future, to look back on Kodak's glory days and on the best TV commercial ever aired.

Where are you going, my little one, little one,
Where are you going, my baby, my own?
Turn around and you're two,
Turn around and you're four,
Turn around, there's Fuji knocking at your door.

* That's Ed Ames's voice, in case you're wondering.
** Actual lyrics.

Too Funny

That secretary who earns slave wages working for gazilionaire Warren Buffett?  The one who pays a higher tax rate than he does?

Turns out, she's quite likely to be in the top 1% of American taxpayers in this country too.

It don't get better than this.

Why I Support Our Nuclear Weapons Program

You'll want to enlarge the photo.  It's priceless.

Hillary and her buddy in the White House worry about our image in the Muslim world.

That image?  It should be cut from this asshole's cold, dead, bloody carcass.

Dumb & Dumber

What do you want to bet there are people who actually tune into this nonsense?

[MSNBC host Ed] Schultz Guest [mentally challenged Alan] Grayson: Gingrich Running Most 'Overtly Racist' Campaign Since George Wallace

Clowns. Circus. Amusement.

As a Public Service ...

Grassfire Nation has a petition drive going that calls for the ouster of the most contemptible United States attorney general since ... well, since the last Democrat in the White House had an attorney general (look it up).
Petition to Congress:
Holder Must Go!

Attorney General, Eric Holder’s tenure has been pockmarked by deception, lies and inconsistencies, culminating in the botched “Fast and Furious” firearms sting that ran from September 2009, until December 2010 and saw U.S. officials “walk” more than 2,500 assault weapons into drug-infested corridors of Mexico, only to lose track of the guns. Tragically, those weapons have resulted in the deaths of hundreds of Mexicans and U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian A. Terry.

Dissatisfied with Holder’s lack of honesty, accountability over the “Fast and Furious” scandal as well as increasing public demand for answers, 40 Republicans sent a letter urging President Obama to ask for Holder’s resignation.

Obama discounted the letter and in fact, publicly endorsed Holder in hopes the issue would fade away. That hasn’t happened. Public pressure has continued to intensify, and now the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee has summoned Holder to testify on February 2.

Just prior to this hearing, Grassfire Nation will be hand-delivering tens of thousands of grassroots petitions to the White House, key members of Congress and the Committee demanding Eric Holder’s resignation.

Read our petition and add your name today so that you will be included in these important deliveries prior to the Holder hearing.
Holder is an incompetent political hack who should be held in contempt by all Americans because of the way he's turned the Department of Justice into a Department of Justice For Some but Not For Others.

And then there's the Fast and Furious tragedy, about which we still have too few answers, for which Holder refuses to apologize.

Sign the petition. Let your voice be heard.

Why Am I Busting My Hump Again?

I'm thinking I should chuck the fifty hour weeks and kick back and enjoy the fruits of other people's labor.