Friday, May 12, 2006

My Contribution To Boucher's Reelection

Want to know what the most picturesque and most quaint - but relatively unheard of - vacation destination in all of Virginia is?

Cedar Bluff. Tazewell County.*

I've been there several times and will tell you that the vista is breathtaking. And, for the photographer in the family, a river runs through it reminiscent of ... well, A River Runs Through It.

You'll need to Mapquest it to find Cedar Bluff. And you'll need to be wearing your glasses to see it on the map.

But I'm telling you, it's a great stop on your way to Red Ash.

* I was reminded by this story.

Uh Oh. Two Days In a Row

I agree with the Roanoke Times editorial page again today.


Actually we agree only to a point. Here's where we're on the same side:

Restore state neutrality to the marriage debate (link)
That's where the agreement begins That's where it ends. The editorial goes into ... well, actually I don't remember. I fell asleep while trying to sift through it.

But I'm of the belief that the government has no business licensing a marriage between two people. (!) Nor should the government demand adherence from religious institutions. Nor should the government step in and police insurance policies for sexual discriminations. And the government shouldn't play Human Resources Manager when it comes to businesses and their benefits packages.

The state should indeed be neutral in all this. It won't be. But it should be.

We would never think of licensing homosexuals. Why do we accept the licensing of a loving couple that intends to marry?

For the love of God.

Here's My Contribution

Interesting challenge:
Patrick County wants wind comments
Mason Adams, The Roanoke Times (
I'm not sure why they want it but here goes:

The breaking thereof while standing in line at the buffet table in a crowded Shoney's is not cool.

Caption Contest Brings Arrests

I never thought it* would go this far:
92 people charged after Henry County investigation
By David Harrison, The Roanoke Times (
Personally, I think Martinsville is a swell place and people shouldn't ever make fun of it (lesson learned).

* Don't look. The story has to do with a drug bust.

Where We Excel

Southwest Virginia may not be able to compete with the north when it comes to high-achieving high schools or businesses in the defense industry. Or aerospace. But we always come out ahead when it comes to competing for two kinds of concerns.

Prisons and power plants. It's a mystery how that works.

In any case, we aren't going to complain about it. In fact, Kilo and I shout it from the rooftops. Jobs are coming to Wise County:
Wise County selected for plant
Coal-burning power facility still faces some hurdles -- permits
By Greg Edwards, Richmond Times-Dispatch Staff Writer

LEBANON -- Dominion Virginia Power said yesterday it has chosen a Wise County site for a $1 billion coal-burning power plant.

The plant, which would be built on a reclaimed strip mine partially within the town of St. Paul in an area known as Virginia City, could feed electricity to Virginia consumers by 2012.

Hundreds of workers would be needed to build the plant, and it would provide work for 75 operators. About 250 coal miners would be needed to supply the 2 million tons of coal that it would burn annually. (
We can expect environmentalists to fight this. But they'll lose. We need the energy.

And we need the jobs.

My Two Cents

When it comes to the issue of Washington DC statehood, everyone has a different opinion. Here's (sorta) that of Representative Tom Davis (R-NoVa):
D.C. Vote's Stars Are Aligning, Davis Says
Co-Sponsor Sees Enough Support On House Panel
By Lori Montgomery and Elissa Silverman, Washington Post Staff Writers

A bipartisan proposal to give the nation's capital a vote in Congress has "more than enough votes" to win approval in one House committee, the panel's chairman said yesterday, the first step in a process that could add two seats to the House and permanently expand its membership for the first time in nearly 100 years.

U.S. Rep. Thomas M. Davis III (R-Va.) said he will push the measure through his Committee on Government Reform as soon as next week. (
This makes sense.

This does not:
[The bill] would add seats for the District and Utah ...
Say what? What does Utah have to do with it?

I know. I know. I didn't just fall off the turnip truck. But performing some Republican/Democrat balancing act is a silly notion.

Here's what needs to be done: Roll the city of Washington DC into the state of Maryland. In doing that, the citizens of DC will have Senate representation too and, if the rapid decline in population ever stops, they'll probably end up with more than one rep.

It's the fair thing to do. And it makes sense.


For the love of God.

As I Said

Obviously someone at the New York Post picked up on my blog post last night that had to do with the latest media/lunatic left non-news scandal - that being the NSA phone bill acquisition broohaha:


May 12, 2006 -- Far from disqualifying Gen. Michael Hayden from the job of CIA director, the political and news media uproar over a report that the National Security Agency is mining data from domestic phone calls only reinforces why Hayden should be confirmed.

For all the hyperventilating on the TV news and on Capitol Hill - by Republicans as well as Democrats, sad to say - there is little new in yesterday's "disclosure" by USA Today. And even less to cause Americans concern.

As a matter of fact, prominent stories in both The New York Times and the Los Angeles Times reported the details of the program months ago. And a lawsuit filed against the NSA in January spelled out specific details.

Plus, the program has clear antecedents in a widely rumored surveillance program called Echelon, which was hotly debated across the Internet back in 1999 - nearly two years before President Bush took office. (

As to the NSA program itself and the privacy issue, I heard Senator Jeff Sessions (the only remaining sane person in the United States Senate) put it in perspective, saying essentially that the US Postal Service gets more information off an envelope you put in the mail than the NSA got off the phone records the agency acquired.
No names, no addresses. No personal information. Just phone numbers.
Indeed, notes the Media Research Center, that's far less personal information than another government agency - the IRS - maintains on Americans, including investments, banking activity and even medical expenses. The Census Bureau, too, maintains a database with much more personal info than does the NSA.

You all are sheep, reading the latest headlines and herding in fear. Or, remembering for a moment 9/11, you're acting like lambs preparing for the slaughter.

This Is Typical

In one sense, it's no wonder people are locking their doors and closing the blinds in fear. The news media are doing their best to scare the bejeebers out of people. An example:
Phone 'spying' draws fire
Bush defends domestic calls monitoring, but many lawmakers see shades of Big Brother.
Detroit News staff and wire reports (
So you know, the NSA isn't listening in on domestic calls. And the agency isn't monitoring anything in that regard. It's reviewing phone records. That's all.

So shameful.

Trouble Ahead

Paula and I have CD's coming due (Certificates of Deposit; not eBay winnings) and I mentioned to her that we shouldn't move away from short-term CD's just yet. For this reason:

Inflation Stirs Worry on Wall St.
By Jeremy W. Peters and Vikas Bajaj, The New York Times

Stock prices fell sharply and broadly yesterday as investors worried that rising oil prices would quicken the pace of inflation and force policy makers to raise interest rates further. (

The bond market is looking pretty good right now too.

That $70 oil is going to play havoc soon on the price of commodities at the retail level. Has to. Then wages. Mortgage interest rates.

And CD's.