Saturday, June 02, 2007

Decisions. Decisions.

We here in Bland County have some tough decisions to make come election day. Here are our choices (as reported in the Bland County Messenger, "Local parties pick their contenders for election") (my emphasis has been added):
Bland County Commonwealth's Attorney Clinton Kegley received the Democratic Party nomination for re-election. He faces no Republican challenger.

Republican incumbent Clerk of the Bland County Circuit Court Rebecca I. Johnson also is running unopposed for re-election.

Cindy Wright, Bland County commissioner of the revenue, is running unopposed for a second four-year term.

Incumbent Jason R. Ramsey was nominated by the Democratic Party for re-election as the Mechanicsburg Election District's Board of Supervisor representative. He is running unopposed.

Henry M. Blessing, an independent, is seeking another four-year term on the Board of Supervisors. He represents the Sharon Election District.

County Republicans offered no supervisor candidates for the Mechanicsburg or Sharon districts. Democrats had no challenger for Blessing's board seat.
This will give me sleepless nights. A veritable plethora of options.

We Make Progress

Washington County employment is getting a boost. In the manufacturing sector no less:
172 new jobs coming to Washington County, Va.
By Debra McCown, Bristol Herald Courier

Glade Spring -- Gates Corporation plans to have operations up and running by September at its new production plant, which will be located in the Highlands Business Park off Exit 29 of Interstate 81.

The company, which manufactures hydraulic assemblies for farm and construction equipment, is benefiting from a nearly $1 million free building, which is being paid for with state and county dollars. Washington County officials say they'll get the money back in taxes.

The business is expected to hire 172 at the plant.

It is the first industry to locate in the industrial park, which has sat empty for half a decade. (link)
The Highlands Business Park is one of those developments that Congressman Rick Boucher touts as one of his big accomplishments when he makes his biennial trip to Southwest Virginia to seek reelection. The occupancy rate at most of them is somewhat better than here at Highlands - which was 0%.

But this is good news. The park, owned by a quasi-governmental authority, has 13 business lots, with the opportunity for a 14th. All have been vacant since the site was developed.

Expect to see much made of the fact that 1 of the 14 is now in use. Perhaps rightly so.

Calling It Art Don't Make It So

With great fanfare, Richmond is getting a news "arts" center.

The question is: Will it be a repository of any actual art? Or will it contain crap like this?

The news:

32 nudes are talk of artwalk
By Cynthia McMullen, Richmond Times-Dispatch Staff Writer

Richmond CenterStage broke ground yesterday evening, but the real party was in the streets.

After the CenterStage celebration, the First Fridays Artwalk crowd braved the downtown heat for a night of mostly free and highly diverse culture, ranging from an exhibit featuring 32 nude models to still lifes, landscapes, photography and ... (link)
Raw nudity serving in lieu of actual artistic ability. How avant-garde. How cutting edge. Pushing the envelope. Risque. Naughty. Spicy.

Did I leave out any of the tired old banalities that are usually spewed at such moments?

It's been done, fellas. Over and over again.

Let's hope this new museum of the commonplace has more to offer when it opens. Otherwise, the liquor bottles atop the bar down at the local tavern will offer more artistic delight and will be more enticing.

Photo courtesy of the Richmond Times-Dispatch

Back When He Was a Republican ...

The latest attack on his conservative base to spill from President Bush's mouth reminded me of something that Peggy Noonan wrote the other day.

First the now-daily slap-in-the-face:
Bush scolds balking GOP
By Stephen Dinan and Ralph Z. Hallow, The Washington Times

President Bush yesterday renewed his attack on Republicans who oppose his immigration bill, again charging that they are trying to "frighten people" and calling on supporters to rally around the compromise.

The president pleaded with senators to "show courage and resolve" to withstand outrage from voters in their districts. (link)
This plea, as a side note, is unnecessary when it comes to our two senators here in Virginia, by the way. John Warner hasn't given two hoots about what folks in this state think for years, and James Webb doesn't know what the hell he believes anymore, nor what he will believe tomorrow.

But to Bush's attack on the most loyal members of the Republican Party, here's Peggy Noonan in response:

What political conservatives and on-the-ground Republicans must understand at this point is that they are not breaking with the White House on immigration. They are not resisting, fighting and thereby setting down a historical marker--"At this point the break became final." That's not what's happening. What conservatives and Republicans must recognize is that the White House has broken with them. What President Bush is doing, and has been doing for some time, is sundering a great political coalition. This is sad, and it holds implications not only for one political party but for the American future.

The president has taken to suggesting that opponents of his immigration bill are unpatriotic--they "don't want to do what's right for America." His ally Sen. Lindsey Graham has said, "We're gonna tell the bigots to shut up." On Fox last weekend he vowed to "push back." Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff suggested opponents would prefer illegal immigrants be killed; Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez said those who oppose the bill want "mass deportation." Former Bush speechwriter Michael Gerson said those who oppose the bill are "anti-immigrant" and suggested they suffer from "rage" and "national chauvinism."

Why would they speak so insultingly, with such hostility, of opponents who are concerned citizens?

Bush the younger came forward, presented himself as a conservative, garnered all the frustrated hopes of his party, turned them into victory, and not nine months later was handed a historical trauma that left his country rallied around him, lifting him, and his party bonded to him. He was disciplined and often daring, but in time he sundered the party that rallied to him, and broke his coalition into pieces. He threw away his inheritance. I do not understand such squandering.

(The Wall Street Journal, "Too Bad, President Bush has torn the conservative coalition asunder")

Noonan finishes with this call to arms:
Now conservatives and Republicans are going to have to win back their party. They are going to have to break from those who have already broken from them. This will require courage, serious thinking and an ability to do what psychologists used to call letting go. This will be painful, but it's time. It's more than time.
It's time.

Bush led conservatives across a bridge to nowhere. Noonan's right. It's more than time.

Quote Of The Day

From the incomparable Bart Hinkle:
Foes of cracking down on illegal immigration start out with the premise that the economic needs of illegals trump an abstract principle like the rule of law. They ought to think about where that premise could lead them.
"Logical Extension: Why Should Illegal Immigrants Have to Obey the Law -- Any Law?," The Richmond Times-Dispatch, May 29, 2007

Words To Live By

From the Richmond Times-Dispatch:

The wisdom of forcing people by law to wear seat belts is debatable -- but the wisdom of buckling up is clearly not.


When Gov't Has All The Money In The World

Yippee. Free college. And "the government" is going to pay for it.

I wonder how many taxpayers in Massachusetts will read this and actually think it so:
Massachusetts Governor Proposes Free Community Colleges
By Pam Belluck, The New York Times

Boston, June 1 — Community colleges in Massachusetts would be free to all students within 10 years under a proposal by Gov. Deval Patrick.

The plan would make Massachusetts the only state with no-cost community college. California’s system was free until 1984. (link)
If the educators there are willing to work for free and if the facilities are donated and the textbooks are free, this is a wonderful idea. However ...

Of late, it has been some Republican who has come up with an idiotic way, like this, to waste the taxpayers' money. But Patrick is a Democrat.

Go figure.

This Is What's Wrong With This Country

They break the law each day they are here! They should be in prison! Or sent back to Guadalajara in chains!

But no. We give them tax breaks.

Somebody string me up:
Bill to Reduce Tuition for Illegal Immigrants Passes in Connecticut
By Jennifer Medina, The New York Times

Hartford, June 1 — Illegal immigrants who graduate from Connecticut high schools will be eligible for the resident tuition rate at the state’s public universities and colleges if the governor signs a bill that the Senate narrowly passed on Friday.

Connecticut would join 10 other states, including New York, that allow illegal immigrants to pay the in-state rate that is available to other residents. Illegal immigrants now often pay twice as much to attend Connecticut’s taxpayer-supported colleges and universities.
The word illegal means nothing anymore to lawmakers. What does that say about them and any laws they pass?