Thursday, January 31, 2008

The Exodus Continues

An article in this morning's Roanoke Times ("Roanoke population signals rebound") that reveals an interesting population trend in the city of Roanoke also points to another ongoing trend - the depopulation of much of the rest of Southwest (and Southside) Virginia.

From the latest demographic study (cited by the Times article) coming out of The Weldon Cooper Center For Public Service:

Metro Areas Gain, Rural Counties Lose Population
Final 2006 and Provisional 2007 Population Estimates for Virginia

Virginia’s population reached 7.7 million on July 1, 2007, increasing by more than 633,000 new residents since the 2000 Census. The Commonwealth has the 12th largest population in the nation. While Virginia’s population continues to increase annually, the growth rate has declined in recent years.

The pattern of population change in Virginia is dramatically uneven throughout the state. A relatively small number of very fast growing localities in and around Virginia’s three major metropolitan areas fuel the Commonwealth’s population increases.

Since 2000, 31 counties and cities lost population, primarily older central cities (Richmond, Petersburg, Portsmouth, and Roanoke) and rural localities in Southside and Southwest Virginia. (link)
A map that illustrates the continuing population shift:

Here, courtesy of the Weldon Cooper Center, is a chart of the fastest growing - and fastest shrinking - regions in the state:

As that saying goes: Will the last person leaving the area please turn the lights out?

Map and chart courtesy of The Univeraity of Virginia's Weldon Cooper Center For Public Service.

Does It Pass The Smell Test?

The president and vice president of the Wise County Chamber of Commerce have written a letter to the Roanoke Times in which they extol the virtues of that "unusual treasure" that existed in their county - the High Knob Observation Tower that arsonists torched last year (see "High Knob tower is worth the price") - and contend that it should be rebuilt, partially at taxpayer expense. Because of its ... value to the area's burgeoning tourism industry.

Before I go further, see the post above that reveals - once again - the flow of human beings out of the area because of a lack of economic vitality and a glaring absence of jobs.

The pair do indeed make a reasonable argument ...

... until they cite a deviously deceptive state study to support their argument:
According to the Virginia Tourism Corp., in 2006, this regional tourism area, which includes Wise, Lee and Scott counties, posted a 8.9 percent increase over 2005. Making Virginia's top 15 list is the city of Norton, with a 9.8 percent change in 2006 on total tourism expenditures of nearly $14.6 million.
As you now know, if you regularly read this weblog, that Virginia Tourism Corp. "report" isn't a tourism study at all. The VTC goes out of its way to call it a "travel" study and makes the point that it wasn't intended to be used for the purpose of drawing inferences relating to tourism ("The word tourism is avoided in this report because of its vague meaning ...") - even though every politician in the commonwealth (along with most every newspaper editor) used it for just that.

In truth, the study can more appropriately be called a "commerce" study (constructed upon wildly precarious assumptions and the weakest of data) and is nothing more.

But then that wouldn't serve the purposes of either those who fashioned it (the tourism cheerleaders at the Virginia Tourism Corp.) or those who use it to bolster arguments intended to make people in Southwest Virginia believe that somehow the tourism industry is turning this region's economic circumstances around.

Just one more hiking trail, one more observation tower, success will be ours ...

I again refer you to the demographic trend that continues to play out - cited above. If this plan were succeeding - if we were seeing all these tourists flocking to the area that these politicians claim - then wouldn't we be seeing growth? Rather than precipitate decline?

This is getting really annoying.

Bon Voyage

The conservative movement shuddered in shock and disbelief shrugged when this news hit the wires:

Davis joins House GOP exodus

Prospects for a more conservative Congress just heightened.

Quote Of The Day

This will make you scratch your head:

"Voters have been telling pollsters that they want 'change' in this election, but two consummate Washington insiders — Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton and John McCain — are the presidential front-runners of the moment."

"'Change'-hungry voters shun Washington 'outsiders'," Ralph Z. Hallow, The Washington Times, January 31, 2008

David Souter Redux

It is to our everlasting shame that the most liberal member of the United States Supreme Court was put there by a Republican senator from New Hampshire and a Republican president from Kennebunkport.

Are we about to be disgraced again? It sure looks like it:
GOP Judge Dread
By Robert D. Novak, The New York Post

January 31, 2008 -- As John McCain neared his momentous primary election victory in Florida after a ferocious campaign questioning his conservative credentials, right-wingers buzzed over word that he had privately suggested that Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito was too conservative. In response, Sen. McCain recalled saying no such thing and added Alito was a "magnificent" choice. In fact, multiple sources confirm his negative comments about Alito nine months ago. (link)
Does Ruth Bader Ginsburg have a twin sister? Guess we'll find out.

On 'Two Americas' & All That

Regarding John Edwards's failure to capture the imaginations of his new-found friends in the 9th Ward of New Orleans:

"His exceptional weakness among African-Americans, in 2008 as in 2004, provides a cautionary tale about the breadth of appeal of 'populism.'”

"Netroots Unplugged," Chris Suellentrop, The New York Times, January 30, 2008

Bob Dole Rushes To Victory!

Like Giuliani, New York G.O.P. Rushes to McCain

Looks Like I'm Not Alone

It appears that the strategy that I intend to adopt when I enter the voting booth in November (should current trends prevail) is going to be deployed by others as well. Glenn Reynolds has posted an email response from one of his readers to an earlier weblog post he'd put up regarding John McCain:
Long time daily reader, first time writer. I have noticed the Fred Thompson comments as well; file under "You Don't Know What You Got 'Til It's Gone". For the record, not only did I donate to his campaign, I went door to door to get signatures so he could be on the ballot here in Ohio and my wife was a state delegate to boot. I have been wondering who to support since Fred dropped out of the race and I am now fairly certain that I am going to vote for Fred anyway. Screw John McCain!
Well, I'd never tell McCain to go screw himself. In public anyway. But I appreciate the sentiment. And the man's intentions.

Here's to the write-in ballot!

Headline Of The Day

Regarding that candidate who wants to be the leader of the free world and the next commander-in-chief of the mightiest fighting force the world has ever known:

Clinton Says She Can Control Her Husband

That'll be a start ...

Freedom For Me, Not For Thee

This is typical of the radical left. They will fight to protect your right to free speech. As long as you say nothing they disagree with. From a Move America Forward press release:

City Calls Marines “Unwelcome Intruders”

San Francisco – The City of Berkeley, California has passed two resolutions attacking the United States Marine Corps, calling the Marines, “uninvited and unwelcome intruders in the city.”

The Berkeley City Council voted to condemn the Marines on Tuesday night (January 29th) as part of a campaign by anti-war activists to shut down a U.S. Marine Recruiting Center located in the city of Berkeley.

The actions by the Berkeley City Council followed continuous protests by Code Pink and other anti-military organizations that vandalized and defaced the U.S. Marine Recruiting Center in September 2007.

One of the two resolutions passed by the Berkeley City Council last night granted a parking spot in front of the Marine Recruiting Center to be used by anti-military activists to harass Marine recruiters. The anti-military activists would not need to apply for a sound permit for the next six months – allowing them free reign to disrupt the day-to-day operations by the Marines. (link)

Move America Forward has posted this in response:

The people of Berkeley have always been a disgrace to this nation. I don't know why the good men and women of the Marine Corps even try to work with them. Still, there's the larger point to be made, one having to do with the pledge we maintain to protect their sorry asses ...

John Edwards Drops Ou...

... oh, never mind.

Vermont Town Becomes Laughingstock

Ever wonder where all those 60's hippies went to die of old age?

It would appear that Brattleboro, Vermont is now retirement central for those who hit the bong a few too many times and went "trippin'" on LSD more than they should have.

And now, after having fried far too many brain cells, they're making themselves look like fools.

Consider this: The Select Board of Brattleboro must have solved all the town's problems, and thus has lots of time on its hands to engage (in the above and ...) in developing dopey resolutions that only make the members thereof look like burned out flower children grandparents. And, in doing so, they've made themselves and the residents of their town the laughingstock of the nation:

Vermont anti-Bush petition lambasted
By John Curran, Associated Press Writer

Brattleboro, Vt. - A town petition making President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney subject to arrest for crimes against the Constitution has triggered a barrage of criticism from people who say residents are "wackjobs" and "nuts."

In e-mail messages, voicemail messages and telephone calls, outraged people are calling the measure the equivalent of treason and vowing never to visit Vermont.

"Has everyone up there been out in the cold too long?" said one.

"I would like to know how I could get some water from your town," said another. "It's obvious that there is something special in it."

News of the measure made the rounds on the Internet, and soon people started calling and writing. The Brattleboro Area Chamber of Commerce got about 60 e-mails Monday, all of them negative, said Executive Director Jerry Goldberg. (
I'm inclined to schedule a trip to Brattleboro, just to get a look at - and take a few photos of - the loons living there. On the other hand, why encourage the aged hippies who decided to live out the final years of their lives in their world of delusion peace and solitude.

Consider my trip cancelled. Forever.

- - -

Update 04:40am: A link to this post was sent to the Brattleboro Chamber of Commerce in hopes that cooler heads will prevail. If any exist.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

One Of Those Mysteries Of Life

If nearly all of us taxpayers are getting a rebate check from the government, who's writing those checks? Guess we shouldn't worry ourselves over little things like that, huh?

Bartender, drinks for everyone! Charge it to our grandchildren.

Is This Meant To Be Tongue-In-Cheek?

You decide:

Talk radio impugns McCain's liberal record
By Donald Lambro, writing in the Washington Times

Conservative talk radio is ganging up on presidential candidate John McCain, attacking him for joining Democrats to push liberal legislation and opposing bedrock Republican positions from tax cuts to immigration.

While most polls show the two men in a dead heat in key primary and caucus contests across the nation, the campaign battle on talk radio has turned into a lopsided offensive against Mr. McCain, whose positions on illegal aliens, President Bush's tax cuts, oil exploration in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and campaign-finance regulation have infuriated conservative commentators. (link)

What's rather eye-catching about this article is the fact that it is accepted as a given that John McCain, despite his own protestations, has over the years pushed a number of liberal legislative initiatives. Which is the case, of course. McCain-Feingold, McCain-Kennedy, McCain-Lieberman, etc.

There's no argument here. John McCain has exhibited - and exhibits to this day - some very liberal tendencies. Nothing to "impugn" about that.

As Bizarre As This Seems ...

John McCain may be the Republican Party's nominee despite the fact that most Republicans would rather have someone else.

In the year of our Lord 2008 ...
Winning Despite The Base
By Ryan Sager, The New York Post:

January 30, 2008 -- They don't like him. They really don't like him. But he's going to be their nominee.

John McCain has won yet another primary without carrying either self-identified conservatives or Republicans - at least according to the Florida exit polls, which show McCain losing self-identified Republicans by 31 percent to 33 percent for Mitt Romney. More, Romney scored a stunning 37 percent of self-described conservatives to McCain's 27 percent.

But a win is a win - and there's little that can stop the Straight Talk Express now. (link)
You're scratching your head too, I'll bet.

I've never gone the "write-in" route. Can you do that in a presidential general election? Because I've got news for you, it's either that (if McCain runs against Hillary) or I stay home on election day and chase Paula around the house.

I Think I'm Next In Line

When they get around to apologizing for Europe's feudal system, circa 1650, a time in which my ancestors were treated little better than the cattle they tended and the pigs they slopped, I'll be first in line.

Until then though, we work our way down that lengthy list of put-upons ...
Australia to Apologize to Aborigines
By The Associated Press

Canberra, Australia (AP) -- Australia will issue its first formal apology to its indigenous people next month, the government announced Wednesday, a milestone that could ease tensions with a minority whose mixed-blood children were once taken away on the premise that their race was doomed.

The Feb. 13 apology to the so-called ''stolen generations'' of Aborigines will be the first item of business for the new Parliament, Indigenous Affairs Minister Jenny Macklin said. (link)
Next on that list? Aborted babies?

These People Make My Head Hurt

You know how those on the left have gotten all freaky about those electronic voting machines and are demanding that elections officials turn back the clock and use paper ballots at the polls? Well ...
ACLU Sues Over Paper Ballots in Ohio
By Thomas J. Sheeran, The Associated Press

Cleveland (AP) — The American Civil Liberties Union asked a federal judge on Monday to block the March 4 presidential primary in Ohio's biggest county if it switches to a paper ballot system that doesn't allow voters to correct errors.

In a follow-up to a suit it filed Jan. 17, the ACLU of Ohio asked for a preliminary injunction against any election in Cuyahoga County if the switch is made.

The lawsuit argued that the proposed paper-ballot system would violate voters' constitutional rights because it doesn't allow them to correct errors on ballots before they are cast. (link)
For the love of God.

Who Can Predict?

I know that Rudy Giuliani's liberal leanings on social issues had him fighting an uphill battle from the start. And the fact that his wife is routinely portrayed in the press as being some kind of contemptibly narrow, haughty (wife-stealing) witch provided for additional baggage.

But am I the only person who is shocked at how his candidacy fell apart? This to me is the big news to come out of the Florida primary yesterday:
For Giuliani, a Dizzying Free-Fall
By Michael Powell and Michael Cooper, The New York Times

Perhaps he was living an illusion all along.

Rudolph W. Giuliani’s campaign for the Republican nomination for president took impressive wing last year, as the former mayor wove the pain experienced by his city on Sept. 11, 2001, and his leadership that followed into national celebrity. Like a best-selling author, he basked in praise for his narrative and issued ominous and often-repeated warnings about the terrorist strike next time.

Voters seemed to embrace a man so comfortable wielding power, and his poll numbers edged higher to where he held a broad lead over his opponents last summer. Just three months ago, Anthony V. Carbonetti, Mr. Giuliani’s affable senior policy adviser, surveyed that field and told The New York Observer: “I don’t believe this can be taken from us. Now that I have that locked up, I can go do battle elsewhere.”

In fact, Mr. Giuliani’s campaign was about to begin a free fall so precipitous as to be breathtaking. Mr. Giuliani finished third in the Florida primary on Tuesday night; only a few months earlier, he had talked about the state as his leaping-off point to winning the nomination. (link)
I understand that the Democrats quickly forgot 9/11 (on or about 9/12), but I would have thought that national security would have been a bigger issue in the Republican primaries. Does that voter who sees it as his number one issue view McCain as being the best man to combat global terrorism? Seems so.

In any case, here's to a good man. May Rudy do well in whatever he decides to accomplish going forward. Now that we know what he won't be accomplishing ...

Lest We Forget

The most important quote from President Bush's State of the Union speech the other night:

“We are engaged in the defining ideological struggle of the 21st century.”

That struggle, despite what small-minded people in this country think, is ongoing; the threat level remains high; the potential hazards are immense.

We Expected More From This Woman?

Virginia's own Extreme Mortman brings to our attention this editorial from the Manchester Union Leader that makes us aware of the fact that ... Hillary is a liar!

I'll pause for the shock to wear off ...

The editorial, in part:

Hillary's word: It's worth nothing

Courting voters in Iowa and New Hampshire, last August Sen. Hillary Clinton signed a pledge not to "campaign or participate" in the Michigan or Florida Democratic primaries. She participated in both primaries and is campaigning in Florida. Which proves, again, that Hillary Clinton is a liar.

Clinton kept her name on the Michigan ballot when others removed theirs, she campaigned this past weekend in Florida, and she is pushing to seat Michigan and Florida delegates at the Democratic National Convention. The party stripped those states of delegates as punishment for moving up their primary dates.

Clinton coldly and knowingly lied to New Hampshire and Iowa. Her promise was not a vague statement. It was a signed pledge with a clear and unequivocal meaning.

She signed it thinking that keeping the other candidates out of Michigan and Florida was to her advantage, but knowing she would break it if that proved beneficial later on. It did, and she did.

New Hampshire voters, you were played for suckers. (link)

Lying to the people? This is so out of character for the Clintons. I'm appalled.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

It Must Be Tuesday

The Bristol Herald-Courier is calling for an increase in taxes on the poor. Again.

Don't Try To Make Sense Of It

The Richmond Times-Dispatch:

"Barack Obama bills himself an agent of change. Yesterday he received the endorsement of Edward Kennedy, the Senate's leading liberal dinosaur."

In Brief," January 29, 2008

The Light Comes On?

George Will on the Democrats' (seeming) awakening to that which the rest of us knew to be the case many years ago:
The week before South Carolina voted was the week when, at last, even some Democrats noticed. Noticed, that is, the distinctive cloud of coarseness that hovers over the Clintons, seeping acid rain.

That cloud has been a constant accouterment of their careers and has been influencing the nation's political weather for 16 years. But by the time Bill Clinton brought the Democratic Party in from the wilderness in 1992, the party had lost five of the previous six, and seven of the previous 10, presidential elections. Democrats were so grateful to him, and so determined not to resume wandering in the wilderness, that they averted their gazes to avoid seeing, and hummed show tunes to avoid hearing, the Clintons' routine mendacities.
"Staying The Coarse," The Washington Post, January 29, 2008

Leave It To The New York Times

You know, if we left the news reporting to the "news" people, I somehow think we'd get something less than the news.

To illustrate, let me post four headlines that appear in this morning's New York Times. They as a whole speak for themselves:

For Democrats, a Gleeful State of the Union

Camelot ’08 Overshadows Bush Speech

Acrimony Reigns in G.O.P. on Eve of Florida Vote

High Enthusiasm Propels Democratic Voters

Nope. No bias to be seen here ...

On McCain's Illegal Immigration Conversion

From Mickey Kaus:
[John] McCain seems to have conned a lot of Republicans into thinking he's transformed his position on immigration -- for example, Victor Davis Hanson, author of "Mexifornia," who now writes about "McCain's won't-make-that-mistake-again changed views on closing the border." This even though it's obvious to anyone paying attention that McCain hasn't altered his support for legalization of illegals (once he's declared the border "secure"). One reason we know this is because he's said it--he said it again on Meet the Press yesterday, when asked if he'd sign the McCain-Kennedy "comprehensive" immigration bill as president if it came to his desk. Answer: "Yeah."
KausFiles,, January 28, 2008

The Truth About the 'Jena 6'

The truth is we may never know the truth.

Outrage! I Love It.

You can just bet, the Republicans - and Bush - are going to be blamed in the end ...
NY NOW: "Betrayal!"
By Ben Smith,

Whoa. The New York State chapter of the National Organization for Women attacked Ted Kennedy for his endorsement today with some real heat.. The Times Union reported it first (writing, "'Scathing' feels inadequate here."), and I confirmed its authenticity with the president of the organization, Marcia Pappas.

I started to pick out the most eyebrow-raising passages but, that proved kind of hard, so here's the whole thing [or not]:

“Women have just experienced the ultimate betrayal. Senator Kennedy’s endorsement of Hillary Clinton’s opponent in the Democratic presidential primary campaign has really hit women hard. Women have forgiven Kennedy, stuck up for him, stood by him, hushed the fact that he was late in his support of Title IX, the ERA, the Family Leave and Medical Act to name a few. Women have buried their anger that his support for the compromises in No Child Left Behind and the Medicare bogus drug benefit brought us the passage of these flawed bills. We have thanked him for his ardent support of many civil rights bills, but women are always waiting in the wings.

"And now the greatest betrayal! We are repaid with his abandonment!" (link)
Seems odd that this bunch of wrinkled old hags didn't have a problem with Bill Clinton sexually assaulting his female employees or with his alleged rape of a young woman in Arkansas. But let a black man try to get all uppity and stand in the way of what they perceive to be political progress, and all hell will rain down.

And we haven't even gotten to the general election yet. How will a Republican nominee top this?

It Fits The Pattern

This seems to be the way things work in this day and age. Liberals - in today's case, Arnold Schwarzenegger - introduce wildly irrational and completely unsupportable health care proposals, meant to provide assistance to ... well, everyone, and, upon thorough study, get their proposals shot down by those who actually have their heads screwed on properly. (Or in this instance, by those who actually dreamt the mess up in the first place.)

The news:
Schwarzenegger's Health Care Plan Rejected
by John Boitnott, Web Producer,

The [California] Senate Health Committee on Monday rejected Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's ambitious effort to reform the state's health care system, voting it down 7-1. Only one of the committee's seven Democrats supported the bill. All four Republicans opposed [it].

Even Senate President Pro Tem Don Perata, a co-author of the bill, came out against it.

The Democrats who voted against the bill or failed to vote said they were afraid the cost of the program would be too great, especially as California faces a $14.5 billion budget shortfall. (link)
You'd think these guys would have learned from Tennessee's TennCare debacle. Or from Hillary's attempt at nationalizing the USA's health care delivery system. Or even from the recent episode in Washington with trying to provide assistance to those who can well afford their own insurance (SCHIP).

But no.

And, in the end, it doesn't matter. It's the thought that counts. They fail but they tried, and all that.

A complete waste of time? You bet.

Am I complaining? Not one bit.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Uh, Not Exactly

Breaking news out of Danville!
Danville ranks fourth in loss of population
Danville Register and Bee

The City of Danville ranks fourth in Virginia localities that lost population since 2000, according to a report released recently by the Weldon Cooper Center at the University of Virginia. (
The release date of that recently released report? Over a year ago.

The concept of time, it appears, is not an absolute.

Nice Try. No Cigar.

Delegate Ward Armstrong (D-Henry County) says he proved to his colleagues that he's not going to be pushed around by bullies

This occurred on a day when those "bullies" - the Republican leadership in the House - did just that.

I'm sure he means ... next time.

Somebody Got Up On The Wrong Side Of The Bed

Gosh. A Washington Post editorial that uses phrases like "immigrant-bashing," and "closed-minded and foul-tempered," and " long regarded as among the more intolerant," and "xenophobia," and "overzealousness," and "absurd," and "blame-shifting," and "perversely penalize," and "grossly unfair," and "immigrant-bashers," and "a rich and ugly history," and "a venomous new chapter," and "lawmakers of Mr. Cuccinelli's ilk." All because we find it appropriate that the person taking our order for a Big Mac and fries at the drive-up window be able to habla Englais.

Does somebody have his undies in a bunch or what?

Maybe Marylanders Aren't As Stupid ...

From a Washington Times news article:

[Maryland] Gov. Martin O'Malley's top staffers pitched the governor's $1.4 billion tax plan passed during the recent special General Assembly session as a political effort akin to the one former Virginia Gov. Mark Warner passed in 2004, which elevated him to national political prominence.

Mr. Warner was hailed in national Democratic circles for doing the near-impossible: increasing taxes and improving his approval rating.

But after Maryland's special session closed in November, Mr. O'Malley's public-approval rating dropped — not the outcome called for in the Warner playbook.

"O'Malley finding Warner's path rough." January 28, 2008

The Sytem Has Nurtured This Kind Of Outrage

A man who lives in Washington D.C. files suit because restaurants in other cities deprive him of his right to patronize their establishments, should he ever want to visit, because their owners allow people to smoke. And the courts (along with legislatures around the country) support this sort of vindictive malice to occur.

The story:
Virginia smoking suit cites ADA
By Jen Haberkorn, The Washington Times

The bars and restaurants of Virginia are a smoker's last haven in the Washington area, following bans in Maryland and the District. But four Virginia restaurants may be added to the smoke-free list if a local court agrees with a D.C. man.

James Bogden, 51, says four Northern Virginia restaurants are violating the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) by allowing smoking. Mr. Bogden has suffered a heart attack and has coronary artery disease. He says he can't safely patronize the restaurants because secondhand smoke can increase his risk of another heart attack.

He claims the disease limits his "major life activities." (link)
Though the case is preposterous on its face (How many other restaurants are there around Washington? If smoking is banned, aren't smokers then being treated as he feels he's being treated?), this joker will probably win. It's the age in which we live.

No compromise. No middle ground. Non-smokers set the rules. Don't like it? Change the way you live your life.

It's sad, in a way. There was a time, not long ago, when we weren't like this toward one another.

The Big Question

But will she bring with her that slug of a husband who's destroying her chances of being president?

Clinton Brings Campaign To Florida

If she's smart, she'd leave his butt in South Carolina.

But then, if she were indeed smart, she would have left his sorry butt long ago.

Tying Himself In Knots

John McCain is now trying to have it both ways on the illegal immigration debate. But darned if I can figure out what those ways are. Tell me if this makes any sense to you:
McCain sees attrition as way to ease illegal entries
By Stephen Dinan, the Washington Times

Sen. John McCain now is embracing a version of the attrition strategy to fight illegal immigration, saying his version of a guest-worker plan would actually force many illegal aliens to leave the country over the next couple of years.

"I would propose, once the borders are secure and the borders stay government-certified, then I would have [a] tamper-proof biometric-document system so that the only people that can work are those who have that. And that would cause many more to leave this country," Mr. McCain told "Al Punto," Univision's Sunday political talk-show program, in an interview broadcast yesterday. (link)
Illegals living here can get a "tamper-proof biometric-document." Except the ones that can't. They'll leave.

Uh. Yeah. Whatever.

Where There's Smoke ...

Regarding yesterday's news that Advance Auto Parts (a Fortune 500 company) may be considering a move of its headquarters from Roanoke to Minneapolis, Ms. Elenaeous thinks there is a very good possibility that might just happen. And a big reason for it seems to center around the difference in airports, Minneapolis having a real one, of course.

I'll say this: I live about the same distance (in terms of driving time) from Roanoke, Charleston, Greensboro, and Tri-Cities (and just a half hour further away from Charlotte). As often as I fly, I've used the Roanoke airport once. Once. (To the tune of $1700; a round-trip flight from Roanoke to Chicago to Cedar Rapids to Charleston to Roanoke). Admittedly, that was four years ago, and prices change, but is Roanoke a good deal for air travellers? You decide.

The fact that Minneapolis is a hub for Northwest Airlines is a big deal as well. No business traveller wants to spend a sizeable portion of his working day sitting in a terminal, waiting for a connecting flight to somewhere. Direct non-stop, baby. All the way. A hub affords that opportunity.

Knowing that, will Advance move its headquarters? I seriously doubt it. In terms of the big picture, there's nothing to gain. And lots to lose. If nothing else, I'm sure these guys are looking at tax implications. Assuming there'd be an incorporation change involved (AAP could incorporate in Delaware and dodge the issue), Minnesota has a much higher corporate tax rate than does Virginia (the extremely high federal rate being equal). 9.8% compared to 6.0%. That's nothing to sneeze at.

More important to these executives, individual income tax rates favor Virginia. The top rate in Minnesota is 7.85%. In Virginia, it's 5.75%. This alone should sway these guys. That 2.1% difference is going to save these gentlemen a wad of cash each year, enough to send their kids to Aruba on spring break.

Yes, the fact that several of the new corporate heads now live there is distracting. And sillier things have happened. But my guess is they are looking forward to a move south.

Still, it's interesting speculation.

Just When I Started To Like The Guy

Ted Kennedy embraces Obama

This Is News?

McCain attracts the GOP establishment

The news media as well.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

We Don't Need No Stinking Jobs

I usually try to avoid commenting on letters written to newspaper editors, though it often proves to be a target-rich environment. But this one I just can't ignore.

A friend of the earth living up in Salem proves himself to be an enemy of the people of the coalfields. And, as is usually the case, he's calling for their economic ruin for their own good.

For the love of God, I can't deal with this:

Boucher needs to wean district off coal

I listened recently to Rep. Rick Boucher's interview on WVTF as he made the case for increased federal investment in clean coal technologies.

Yes, we want jobs, economic development and clean energy. It is worth noting though that there are also substantial economic opportunities in the development of solar energy technologies -- although probably not for the same corporations that have supported Boucher's campaigns over the years.

I can't help but wonder how a municipality that has its own electric utility wouldn't make its future brighter, cleaner and more economically viable by investing aggressively in the free energy of the future. Imagine our competitive advantage if we could tell the companies we hope to lure here, "come to Southwest Virginia where the energy we consume is 100 percent renewable and free from nasty collateral damage, the air is clear, we can eat the fish we catch without worry, and we can travel our region without witnessing the atrocities of mountaintop removal coal mining." (link)

Atrocities? Are you serious? Down this way, and outside the big city, we call that surface mining rural landscape beautification.

And you want us all to what? Switch to ... solar energy? Are you nuts? Pal, if it was going to have been a viable alternative to coal and nuclear and hydro, it would have spread beyond pocket calculator technology long before now.

Then there's that silly "... where the energy we consume is 100 percent renewable" line. If you want to get real about 100% renewable energy sources (and not be talking about calculators), you'd be advocating the use of wood-burning (and corn-burning) fireplaces. They are the only true "renewable" energy sources. But then those animated Disney movies (or was it Judy Garland's "Somewhere over the rainbow"?) from which you have developed your theories probably never went into a great deal of detail on the subject.

The mindset of today's (comfortably employed) environmentalist: "Yes, we want jobs, but quit the shorted-sighted thinking." Like gas in the car and food on the table should be long-term goals.

I can feel my wheaties churning.

Gun Show 'Loophole' Reality

From David Adams:
What the gun-ban lobby and many in the media refer to when discussing this non-existent loophole is the fact that federal law allows private individuals who do not engage in the business of selling firearms to sell firearms from their personal collection without the requirement of the buyer undergoing a background check. Sometimes these individuals show up at a gun show to sell one or two of their guns.

Unfortunately, it is rare to read a report about gun shows where the reporter gets it right. That is probably not really his fault. Unless the average reporter is also a firearms enthusiast or recreational shooter, he probably does not visit many gun shows. Thus, he simply relies on information he is fed by people he interviews, and sometimes this information is less than accurate.

The fact is, existing laws apply at gun shows just the same as any other place guns are sold. Further, contrary to what has been written on many other state editorial pages since the beginning of the General Assembly, and even uttered by the former superintendent of the State Police, the overwhelming majority of guns offered for sale are from federally licensed dealers. Those pushing the gun-show bill have said on more than one occasion that between 22 percent and 35 percent of the vendors at gun shows are private sellers. The only way one can arrive at that figure is if you include all of the T-shirt, book, novelty, and hot sauce vendors in the calculation.

Besides frequenting gun shows for recreation, I have worked many shows recruiting volunteers to assist the campaigns of pro-Second Amendment candidates. Rather than the private individual plopping down $45 to rent a table on the weekend to sell one or two guns, I more often see the occasional guy walking in with a rifle or shotgun over his shoulder with a "for sale" sign in the barrel. And, more often than not, the same guy walks out the door an hour later carrying the gun, as he found no takers for his wares.
"The 'Gun-Show Loophole'," Richmond Times-Dispatch, January 27, 2008

Uh Oh

A red flag?
Holding on to Advance Auto Parts
Roanoke Times editorial

The decision by new Advance Auto Parts CEO Darren Jackson to hire three former Best Buy executives may give some hint of the business approach he'll bring to the auto parts and accessories retailer.

But the fact that all three, in addition to coming from Best Buy like Jackson, also live in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area should give Roanoke area economic development officials even more cause for concern that Advance, the only Fortune 500 company based here, might eventually defect from the region.

Jackson already announced that he would soon start working from a new regional office the company plans to open in Minneapolis.

Roanoke officials need to do some serious courting of Jackson and his leadership team. They need to actively sell the region and its work force.

Advance officials have said the corporate headquarters will remain in Roanoke, but that assurance should not lead to complacency, especially when so many signs point to a different outcome. (link)
Barring a bidding war erupting between Minnesota officials and those here in Virginia who might want to provide a slew of tax breaks and assorted other incentives to the company, there is no compelling reason for AAP executives to move the headquarters location to the cold confines of a harsh and inhospitable Minneapolis (okay, that was my feeble effort at "selling" them on the idea of staying put).

But this wouldn't be the first time a stupid decision was based on a stupid notion.

So be forewarned. Be on guard.

This Crazy Country Of Ours ...

... where Barack Obama is somehow considered a "black man."

George Will explains:
The conventions that govern America's racial discourse derive from the odious "one drop" rule. According to it, anyone with any admixture of black ancestry -- one drop of black "blood" -- is black. So, ["black" activist Ward] Connerly is an African American. One of his grandparents was of African descent, one was Irish, a third was Irish and American Indian, and the fourth was French Canadian. Two of the grandchildren of Connerly and his Irish wife have a Vietnamese mother. Are these grandchildren African Americans?

Will the superstitions surrounding race ever fade away? Not before governance is cleansed of the sort of race-based policies opposed by Connerly, who intimately knows the increasing absurdity of racial classifications and the folly of government preferences based on them. (link)
The Nazis in the 1930's made a science of all this, by the way, something that should tell you how far we've progressed.

To Will's point, Barack Obama's "white" mother must scratch her head every time she hears her son being called a black man and wonder how it came to be that, after all these years, we have not yet gotten to the point where we can judge a man by the content of his character and not by (a portion of) his genetic makeup.

I Have To Admit ...

... this to be true.

Despite the tears flowing down Paula's cheeks (okay, I got a little misty-eyed too) as we watched Eli Manning make Brett Favre and our beloved Green Bay Packers look like chumps in the recent NFC playoff, we are both in this category now:

This Is Our Country
By Steve Serby, The New York Post

Because everybody loves the underdog, everybody except those misguided souls who harbor an anti-New York bias, an ESPN poll this week tallied 59 percent of the country rooting for the Giants.

Tough town. Tough team.

New York's team.

Tough country. Tough team.

America's team. (link)

It'll take a miracle, but ... GO Eli!

Quote Of The Day

Attributed to Republican presidential candidate John McCain, the subject - illegal immigration and border security:

"By the way, I think the fence is least effective. But I'll build the [expletive] fence if they want it."


Marching Toward Oblivion

You know that Episcopal Church that has seen its membership plummet in recent years and certain of its congregations break away over the issue of homosexual bishops and siding with a more traditional wing of the Anglican Communion? Seems the leadership of the church hasn't gotten the message:

You're supposed to be about God, stupid!

Instead, we witness a church of defiance. Resistance. Anti-American resentment.

This'll sure fill the pews, fellas:

Episcopal church agrees to 'resist' illegal alien laws
By Julia Duin, The Washington Times

Virginia Episcopalians tangled over immigration yesterday, finally passing a resolution committing the 86,000-member diocese to resisting the "criminalization of persons providing humanitarian assistance to migrants."

Meeting at the Reston Hyatt for their annual council meeting, Episcopalians passionately debated whether they should "resist legislation and actions that violate our fundamental beliefs as Christians."

The resolution, "Working for a Just and Humane Legal Immigration Policy," also includes a provision that the council "opposes recent efforts by some local governments within our diocese to implement policies that deny rights, privileges and services to immigrants." (link)

I wish they hadn't brought Christ into this. He is, after all, an afterthought to these people. Theirs is a social movement, not a church. Christ plays no part in their decision-making, only political calculation does.

My reaction? Whatever. Through their crafty machinations, they've made themselves irrelevant anyway. Let them play.

Where Once Redemption & The Pathway To Heaven Were Preached

Bishop conveys message of activism

A Book I Intend To Read

War had its staggeringly profound effect on the nation in the years 1861 through 1865. That effect was felt most acutely in the hundreds of thousands of homes where the relatives of young sons, of fathers, even grandfathers, dealt with the tragedy of knowing that their loved ones were gone forever. Killed on the battlefield or died in a far-away hospital. Three quarters of a million of them.

Of those, some untold thousands simply vanished from the face of the earth, never to be heard from again.

The sense of unfathomed grief and the compelling need for mourning would last for many years after the war ended, resulting in - consecrated in - the creation of what we know today as Memorial Day.

The lament that arose was particularly palpable in the South, where nearly every household experienced the death of a family member. In many cases, the deaths of several family members. All told, a generation of southern men ceased to exist.

A new book on the subject has been released: "THIS REPUBLIC OF SUFFERING:
Death and the American Civil War
," by Drew Gilpin Faust.

I'll be looking for it.

McCain Is Desperate

It's getting painful to watch:

McCain Goes on Offensive in Tight Race in Florida
By Michael Luo and John M. Broder, The New York Times

Sun City Center, Fla.— Senator John McCain stepped up his attacks on his Republican rival Mitt Romney on Saturday, accusing him of once wanting to withdraw from Iraq and likening him to Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton in his approach to the conflict.

In response, Mr. Romney lashed back, saying Mr. McCain was being “dishonest,” and demanded that he apologize.

At a town-hall-style meeting later in Sun City Center, a retirement community, Mr. McCain reiterated his accusation.

“My friends, I was there — he said he wanted a timetable for withdrawal,” Mr. McCain said.

The charge appears to be misleading. The McCain campaign pointed to remarks Mr. Romney made last year in which he said he believed that President Bush and Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki of Iraq should have “a series of timetables and milestones” that they discussed among themselves but did not announce publicly.

But Mr. Romney has not called for setting a date for withdrawal. (link)

I read the other day Bill Clinton's comment that John McCain and Hillary are "very close." In many ways, it now appears.

Hillary Is Toast

Obama is on a roll.

At least until the next primary returns come in.

The Russians Were The First In Space ...

... perhaps because they took a different approach to the project. We sent chimps up in sub-orbital capsules; they sent ... human guinea pigs:
Gagarin was not the first cosmonaut

As 40 years have passed since Gagarin’s flight, new sensational details of this event were disclosed: Gagarin was not the first man to fly to space. Three Soviet pilots died in attempts to conquer space before Gagarin's famous space flight, Mikhail Rudenko, senior engineer-experimenter with Experimental Design Office 456 (located in Khimki, in the Moscow region) said on Thursday. According to Rudenko, spacecraft with pilots Ledovskikh, Shaborin and Mitkov at the controls were launched from the Kapustin Yar cosmodrome (in the Astrakhan region) in 1957, 1958 and 1959. "All three pilots died during the flights, and their names were never officially published," Rudenko said. (link)
We may never see this story validated, but it fits the Soviet narrative of those years. Citizens of the USSR (Russian, Ukrainian, Uzbhek, Latvian, Mongol, ...), from the days after the overthrow of the czar, were nothing more than cannon fodder in World Wars I and II and human chattel to be relocated or eliminated in the various gosplans that were churned out by the bureaucracies and in the many political purges that took place over those years. People were a means to an end. A communist workers' paradise. An end that was never realized. A "means" that brought about the demise of tens of millions of innocent lives.

It would do our children and grandchildren well to be taught the lessons learned in this shameful period of human history.

I'll Bet That Hurt

Power tools and their unintended cnsequences ...

Click twice on the triangle to activate.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

A Point To Consider

With all the hysteria flying around regarding that mythical "gun show loophole," it's worth your time to know what the hand-wringing is about. The Richmond Times-Dispatch this morning (in "Loaded Question") provides a bit of context:

What, exactly, is an unlicensed dealer? News reports note that as many as a third of the vendors at gun shows don't have gun-dealer licenses. That's because they're not selling guns; vendors peddle everything from beef jerky treats to bone-handled Bowie knives. Licensed gun dealers at gun shows sell large numbers of guns as a business, just as automobile dealers sell large numbers of cars to earn a living. "Unlicensed dealers" are, apparently, those individuals who might occasionally sell a gun or two from their private collections. Using the loaded language of gun-control activists, then, would anyone who sells a car through the classified ads qualify as an "unlicensed car dealer"?
Last time I was at a gun show, I remember passing by a booth offering athletic socks. Was that vendor one of those infamous "unlicensed dealers?" Does it even matter to those who simply want guns banned and who use this "loophole" as an excuse to achieve that end?

Thanks, Times-Dispatch, for injecting some reality into the discussion.

- - -

A good example of the confusion that exists can be seen in this Bristol Herald-Courier editorial. I'd recommend that the ignoramuses who pontificate on such matters actually visit a gun show (like this one being held tomorrow up in Salem). They might then have some attachment to reality and have a clue as to that which they criticize.

Guess The Busybody

Here's the headline from Drudge. Guess which political party the lawmaker is affiliated with:

Lawmaker in New Mexico: Tax TVs, video games to fight fat...

You'll not need two guesses.

What's This 'Urge' Nonsense?

If you as a Republican lawmaker believe that earmarks are wasteful and make for bad public policy, don't use them. Calling on "the other guys" to eliminate them as well is nothing more than an insult to our intelligence.

This, upon careful reading, looks to me like ... same old, same old:
House Republicans Urge Earmark Moratorium
By Robert Pear, The New York Times

Washington —House Republicans called on Friday for “an immediate moratorium” on earmarking money for pet projects. They urged Democrats to join them in establishing a bipartisan panel to set strict new standards for such spending.

As an interim step, House Republican leaders said, they will insist that all House Republicans follow standards to eliminate “wasteful pork-barrel spending.”

Republicans set forth their intentions in a letter to Speaker Nancy Pelosi. (link)
What these fellas are signaling is the fact that they can't - or won't - stop earmarking unless the Democrats do the same. Which is tantamount to saying "Party on, Wayne. Party on, Garth."

Sometimes I wonder what ever happened to our two-party system.

You Gotta Admit It's Creative

When Environmentalist Worlds Collide

A tree hugger vs. a solar power-ist. One side has to lose. Too bad.

The Soft Bigotry Of Emptymindedness

A story about one of those open-minded liberals we hear about from northern Virginia:

Hundreds of activists on both sides of the gun control debate crammed into the General Assembly's office building Monday to lobby for or against measures addressing the issue.

Many of the gun rights activists were armed, which is legal under Virginia's concealed weapons law. The spectacle of armed men and women trolling the halls of the General Assembly makes some lawmakers nervous, especially those who represent areas of the state that generally support gun control.

John Pierce, cofounder of Open, said he and other activists got into the same elevator as Senate Majority Leader Richard L. Saslaw (D-Fairfax) at one point on Monday.

According to Pierce, Saslaw said "I see we're debating a gun bill. Half of the cast of 'Deliverance' is in town," a reference to the 1972 movie about a group of friends who survive a canoe trip in rural Georgia.

In an interview today, Saslaw didn't deny he made the remark. But he added, "How do they know I was referring to them and not the other side? I never said anything other than we must be debating the gun bill. I never said which side. Some of those people must have one hell of an inferiority complex."

Tim Craig, "Dueling Banjos," The Washington Post, January 24, 2008

Hat tip to Alton and Charlie

They Are Blind To The Truth

They were so close. Losing the war was in their grasp. Then they saw it slip away. Dramatically. Precipitately.

Or not.

Leftist columnist Joe Conason, writing in the New York Observer:
As America marks the first anniversary of the troop escalation in Iraq, at least one thing has become clear. Although the “surge” is failing as policy, it seems to be succeeding as propaganda.
As you might imagine, the benchmark that Conason and his ilk used not long ago to gauge progress in Iraq - casualties - no longer matters. It's now about Sunnis and Shia putting down the swords they've held for centuries and hugging one another. That hasn't happened. Therefore the war is still a hopeless failure.

Give it up, Joe. America won. You lost.

Deja Vu All Over Again

I'm not sure I'm mentally prepared for this:

Bill Clinton again wagging finger, raising eyebrows

The accompanying photo ...

... reminded me so much of this unforgettable moment in America's history:

Like that pimple on your butt that just won't go away ...

Friday, January 25, 2008

When Good Power Tools Go Bad

Run for your lives!

Put 'Em To The Test

Read carefully this Roanoke Times editorial ("Shooting down a gun sales reform") that chastises two Southwest Virginia Democratic senators (Reynolds and Edwards) for voting against closing that non-existent "gun show loophole" and ask the following questions:

1) Why do they want it closed?
2) What problem - real, not imagined - exists that would be remedied by passage of the bill?
3) What statistics are provided to bolster the argument that sales of firearms by private individuals in this state or country need to be curtailed?

For those of you who choose to not waste your time, it boils down to this:

The two senators "ignored the pleas of bereaved families touched by the Virginia Tech shootings in April."

No stats. No clearly defined problem. Just:

Though all evidence points to the contrary, if certain ill-defined perameters were to exist, a problem of unknown magnitude may someday develop and we need to be prepared for that remote possibility.

The stuff Roanoke Times editorials are made of.

As Virginia Becomes More Liberal ...

... we draw ever closer to adopting liberal ideas. Like government employees in Richmond being able to bargain collectively with the state.

This news comes from Delegate Chris Saxman* in the form of an email:

House Republicans Unanimously Support Retention of Virginia’s Right to Work Status

House Democrats refuse to record position on a measure sponsored by one of their own

Richmond, VA 24 January 2008: House Republicans today defeated House Bill 852, an effort to wholly repeal the prohibition on collective bargaining by government employees. House Bill 852 – sponsored by Delegate Adam Ebbin (D-Arlington), former Virginia Department of Commerce and Labor Chief Deputy Commissioner under Governor Mark Warner – would have allowed state and local government employees to collectively bargain with a union. If approved, the bill would have marked a reversal of Virginia’s long-standing status as a Right to Work state.

All House Republicans voted against this anti-business measure, citing it as detrimental to Virginia’s economy and likely to endanger the Commonwealth’s status as America’s best state for business. In contrast, House Democrats – at the insistence of House Minority Leader Ward Armstrong (D-Henry) – remained in their seats refusing to cast a vote on this critical piece of legislation, even though sponsored by a delegate in their ranks.

“What we learned today is that Virginia is just five votes away from abandoning its status as a Right to Work state,” declared House Majority Leader H. Morgan Griffith (R-Salem). “The Democrats expressed an unwillingness to have their votes recorded because they don’t want the public to know the extent of their fealty to organized labor. The Democrat leadership’s refusal to allow their members to vote violated a basic responsibility of elected public service, and did so to allow them to continue their practice of saying one thing to business and another to labor.”

“HB 852 pointed a dagger at one of the fundamental tenets that has enabled Virginia to become the best place in America for business to do business,” remarked House Majority Whip M. Kirkland “Kirk” Cox (R-Colonial Heights). “There was a clear choice. A vote ‘for’ this bill was a vote for giving Virginia’s pubic employees over to union boss control and a vote ‘against’ was a vote to protect and preserve an essential component to Virginia’s business-friendly environment. I am pleased that all House Republicans voted against this assault on public employees and the taxpayers of Virginia and am puzzled why Democrat members chose once again to turn away from tough decisions.”

“Today’s vote was another disturbing trend from Virginia Democrats’ efforts to erode the positive business climate that Republicans have fought hard to create and continue,” noted Delegate Terry G. Kilgore (R-Scott), Chairman of the House Commerce and Labor Committee. “House Republicans believe Virginia’s status as a Right to Work state is crucial to retaining the vitality of our Commonwealth’s economy. Failure to actively vote against this dangerous bill demonstrates that House Democrats do not support this pro-business legislation.”

We descend ever so slowly into the fiery depths of ... New Jersey.

* "Authorized and Paid for by Chris Saxman for Delegate"

This Ain't Badminton

More on that effort yesterday on the part of the Democrats in the House of Delegates to not be forced to vote on a measure put forth by one of their own.

Come with me on a journey into kiddie-land:
House vote corrodes civility
By Bob Lewis, The Washington Times

Richmond (AP)— What little remained of bipartisanship in the House of Delegates lay in shambles yesterday after a rare procedural move by Republicans triggered a fierce floor dispute.

The extraordinary partisan rancor arose over a delegate's routine request to withdraw a bill he sponsored and left in doubt whether the House Republican majority and the Democrats can cooperate effectively in the remaining 43 days of the 2008 General Assembly.

"It was not a good day for the commonwealth," House Minority Leader Ward L. Armstrong said after lambasting the Republicans as bullies and tyrants. (link)
Bullies and tyrants. I can see Armstrong thrashing about on the floor alternately sucking his thumb and moaning about the injustice of it all. In his jammies.

House Republican Leader H. Morgan Griffith watched the spectacle unfold and had this response: "They put a bill in, then they're too cowardly to take a vote on it."

Key (root) word being coward.

As we learned in our growing-up years: "Never send a boy to do a man's job."

Seems we have some wienies walking the hallowed halls ...

Warner Stabs The President In The Back. Again.

The other Warner that is. The old guy who is about to favor us with his retirement:

A Nominee Withdraws
Washington Post editorial

President Bush owes E. Duncan Getchell Jr. a debt of gratitude. Mr. Getchell recently asked that his nomination be withdrawn for a seat on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit, the federal court that hears appeals from Virginia, Maryland, West Virginia and the Carolinas.

Mr. Bush nominated Mr. Getchell in September to a so-called Virginia seat on the court. The nomination was virtually dead the moment it was announced. Virginia's two senators, John W. Warner (R) and James Webb (D), had vetted about a dozen lawyers for the court and forwarded to the White House the names of five candidates they jointly supported. Mr. Getchell's name was not on that list; his nomination was seen as an unwise and counterproductive snub of the senators.

That misstep has come back to haunt Mr. Bush, who withdrew the nomination Wednesday. Without the support of the home-state senators, the nomination could not go forward. (link)

Webb, a traitor to his country in time of war, can be forgiven for this lesser offense. He is, after all, a Democrat. (He hasn't changed his mind on that again, has he?)

Warner on the other hand, well, let's just say we've come to expect this kind of treachery from a "Republican" who should have been driven from office many years ago for a whole host of such transgressions.

Where's the champagne? That retirement can't come soon enough.