Monday, April 02, 2007

Why 'Tourism' Is Bound To Fail Us

(1) Southwest Virginia ain't Dollywood with its many amusements and attractions.

(2) And it isn't Las Vegas.

(3) Most importantly, the demographics just aren't here.

In the last regard, pay attention, and heed the lesson being provided by your typical Southwest Virginia "tourist":

Appalachian Trail trekker found his meals on the move
By Khristopher Brooks, Bristol Herald Courier

Abingdon – If you could choose who to be lost or stranded with in the woods, Ben Casteel would be a good choice.

The 21-year-old horticulture student at Virginia Highlands Community College walked the Appalachian National Scenic Trail last spring. He survived the five-month trek by eating wild plants he found along the way.

Casteel said he ate wild trilliums, wild greens and ramps during his walk. Paying attention in horticulture and botany class, Casteel said, taught him which plants were edible.

Casteel taught himself to play the mandolin three years ago. He took the instrument on the trail and often played in exchange for food.

"One time we opened up the guitar case and got $3 in change," ... (link)

He eats weeds and twigs. So restaurants gain nothing.
He walks a trail. No car rentals.
He sleeps under the stars. No motels.
He provides his own form of amusement. No music or entertainment venues.
He gets excited when he earns $3.00. No disposable income.

And we are investing millions in a program intended to lure his kind to Southwest Virginia.

Somebody kill me.

We Are No Different

There are many historians who look upon those Americans of long ago who contributed to the passage of the 18th Amendment to the Constitution with contempt. They disparage the knuckle-dragging Victorian neanderthals who brought about a revision of our most sacred document that banned "the manufacture, sale, or transportation of intoxicating liquors within, the importation thereof into, or the exportation thereof from the United States and all territory subject to the jurisdiction thereof for beverage purposes."


That was 1918.

90 years later and 90 years ... wiser?

Tenn. First Lady leading smoking ban statewide tour
The Associated Press

Nashville, Tenn. (AP) -- Tennessee First Lady Andrea Conte and other advocates of a bill that would ban smoking in the workplace plan to push for the legislation's passage in a statewide tour.

Advocates will kick off the tour on Monday with a rally outside the Capitol, while Conte will lead a rally supporting the bill in Memphis on Thursday at the newly smoke-free Rendezvous restaurant.

Gov. Phil Bredesen put forth the proposal, which would ban smoking in all enclosed public places and places of employment with two or more employees, including ... (link)

Can a constitutional amendment be far behind?

Modern-day knuckle-dragging Victorian neanderthals.

The more things change ...

Worlds Apart

Mark Steyn has a unique perspective on the British-Iranian hostage crisis and more generally on that which separates The West from the Islamist world. And on the fact that the Islamists are winning:

Taking of hostages by Iran is not Britain's finest hour
By Mark Steyn, Chicago Sun-Times Columnist

"Those 14 European men and one European woman have been held at an undisclosed location for nearly a week, interrogated, denied consular access, but shown on Iranian television, with one of them making a staged 'confession,' clearly under duress. So if Europe is as it claims to be, what's it going to do about it?''

Short answer: Nothing.

OK, well, how about the United Nations? HMS Cornwall is the base for multinational marine security patrols in the Gulf: a mission authorized by the United Nations. So what's the U.N. doing about this affront to its authority and (in the public humiliation of the captives) of the Geneva Conventions?

Short answer: Nothing.

The U.N. will do nothing for men seized on a U.N.-sanctioned mission. The European Union will do nothing for its "European citizens." But if liberal transnationalism is a post-modern joke, it's not the only school of transnationalism out there. Iran's Islamic Revolution has been explicitly extraterritorial since the beginning: It has created and funded murderous proxies in Hezbollah, Hamas and both Shia and Sunni factions of the Iraq "insurgency." It has spent a fortune in the stans of Central Asia radicalizing previously somnolent Muslim populations.

So we live today in a world of one-way sovereignty: American, British and Iraqi forces in Iraq respect the Syrian and Iranian borders; the Syrians and Iranians do not respect the Iraqi border. Patrolling the Shatt al-Arab at a time of war, the Royal Navy operates under rules of engagement designed by distant fainthearts with an eye to the polite fictions of "international law" ...

On Sept. 11, a New York skyscraper was brought down by the Egyptian leader of a German cell of an Afghan terror group led by a Saudi. Islamism is only the first of many globalized ideological viruses that will seep undetected across national frontiers in the years ahead. Meanwhile, we put our faith in meetings of foreign ministers. (link)

Aggressive and frighteningly well-armed terror cells vs. interminable meetings of foreign ministers.

I fear for western civilization.

Speaking Truth To Power

Though some churches* have forgotten this, one of the responsibilities they are charged with is to speak out against sin, wherever they find it, no matter who doesn't want to hear it.

Also forgotten is the fact that immoral acts are sins.

Who knows, perhaps they choose to forget it. After all, a powerful bloc of sinners doesn't want to hear it, or even allow it to be spoken of. So it's easily "forgotten."

But there are a few towering exceptions:
Archbishop Offends Gays

April 2, 2007 -- Rome - The head of Italy's bishops has outraged the gay community by comparing a bill that would grant rights to same-sex couples to allowing incest and pedophilia. "Why say 'no' to forms of legally recognized co-habitation which create alternatives to the family? Why say 'no' to incest?" said Archbishop Angelo Bagnasco. "Why say 'no' to the pedophile." (link)
Should the church remain silent - cower in fear - when immoral acts are being committed? Some, startlingly, would say yes. But the church has been down that road before, to its everlasting shame.

Never again?

* Like the idiot in this story, the Rev. Michael O'Donnell, who calls himself a shepherd of his Episcopal flock but who doesn't understand the difference between being a shepherd and being a cheerleader.

And From The Booby Hatch ...

New York Times columnist Paul Krugman is considered by most connoisseurs of fine newspaper column writing to be a complete and abject nut. This morning's column, well, the first sentence of his column, fosters that notion:
Distract and Disenfranchise
By Paul Krugman

I have a theory about the Bush administration abuses of power that are coming to light. Ultimately, I believe, they were driven by rising income inequality. (
Since the Times requires a hefty fee for on-line access to Krugman's inanity, we'll never know what twisted thoughts brought this gem to his keyboard, but ...

... "rising income inequality" drove ... what?!

In The Blink Of An Eye

Every parent's nightmare:
Minn. Boys Missing Since Nov. Found Dead
By The Associated Press

Minneapolis (AP) -- Two years after a teenage gunman went on a rampage at the Red Lake Indian Reservation, the community is grieving once again.

The bodies of two young brothers missing since November were found encased in ice Sunday about a half-mile from where they lived. Authorities have not determined whether foul play was involved.

Tristan Anthony White, 4, and Avery Lee Stately, 2, were found by a volunteer search in First Thunders Lake. Police dogs picked up their scent, FBI Special Agent Ralph Boelter said.

The two boys, both American Indian, disappeared while playing outside their home at the remote reservation near the Canadian border.

One theory is that the boys wandered from their home about a quarter-mile to the southern edge of the lake, then walked across the partially frozen water before falling through the ice, Boelter said. (link)
A sad day. But at least the parents know ...