Friday, February 12, 2010

The South Charleston Technology Park Imbroglio

Former Republican Secretary of State Betty Ireland is fightin' mad.

The issue that has earned her ire is the jurisdictional dispute over Dow's planned donation of its technological park in South Charleston. At one time the park, situated on a hilltop overlooking the industrial center of South Charleston, formed the center of Union Carbide's research efforts. I remember living near there twenty-five years ago. It was extremely busy and a center for some of the highest earning jobs in the area. It attracted a wide variety of highly educated people who worked there while living in the surrounding residenmtial sections of Charleston and South Charleston. Thousands of skilled employees worked to create new products. The buildings there are specially built to handle the unique needs of research and development.

Dow took over Union Carbide's properties years ago, but does not get enough use out of its facilities there to justify further ownership. It contacted Governor Joe Manchin to gauge his interest in a flat out handover of the property. The state government now leases several properties around the Charleston area to house various divisions of government. Ideally it could relocate those divisions to parts of the massive park and save money on rent. Furthermore it could continue to lease buildings to Dow and try and attract other renters to the facility.

There is one snag. State government offices by law must be located in the capital city. South Charleston does not want to cede valuable land and job attracting properties to Charleston. Charleston mayor Danny Jones has flat out promised a legal battle if the state jobs relocate to property in South Charleston.

Manchin is calling all together to find a solution. One might think that a solution could be worked out where part of the park can be annexed to Charleston and the state government offices placed there. The rest of the facility should remain within South Charleston. If the Governor is successful in promoting the remaining idle parts of the park for new tenancy, South Charleston would come out ahead.

Currently Morgantown, Fairmont, and Clarksburg are all seeing rapid growth due to their 21st century technological facilities tied closely to West Virginia University and Fairmont State University. Charleston and South Charleston, if they work together, could see tie ins to this park from West Virginia State University, West Virginia Tech, the University of Charleston, and Marshall University. The connections between these schools and private industry could make Charleston, South Charleston, Institute, and other surrounding towns nationally known as boom towns in the same manner as the three north central West Virginia cities. If our model, as many have stated, is North Carolina, then the juncture of higher education and technology is critical. However such ventures need facilities such as the tech park. If Charleston and South Charleston fiddle while this opportunity burns away, their leaders should be held to account by everyone in their cities and the whole state.

Betty Ireland has repeatedly made her presence felt on this issue. In repeated Facebook statements, she has asked that all parties just get this done. She is right. The people of West Virginia care about jobs, not jurisdiction. All of West Virginia should be concerned because increases in jobs, revenue, and tax base benefit us all. If we build our private sector base, we the state can collect more revenue while lowering the tax burden for everyone around the state. Solutions are possible if Charleston and South Charleston are willing to work together.

Just get it done.

Before Barack Obama, There Was John Edwards . . .

In its never ending search for a young face to stick on the party brand, many Democrats several years back turned to John Edwards. Here, thought some, was the answer to a prayer. Young, articulate, good looking, seemingly intelligent, a combination of Kennedy style charm and Clinton's southern accent, John Edwards seemed to have it all.
The Democrats have moved on. They found their young face du jour in Barack Obama and rejected John Edwards. Of course Edwards now is persona non gratis pretty much everywhere. He cheated on his wife suffering from cancer, may have broken campaign financing laws, and has simply destroyed whatever public image he once had. Obama did get elected, but his lack of experience has sunk his presidency into a morass it may never emerge from.
Republicans sometimes are guilty of trying to follw a model rather than set the curve. It rarely works. Republicans are not the party of the young and slick. Let's leave that to liberals who want an image that makes them feel good rather than a substantial candidate. As we move towards 2012, let's be careful as we select our candidate. We need experience, knowledge, and aggressive commitment to principle, not just a GOP version of Obama's youth and hollowness. We want a presidency, not a perpetual campaign. Our nation deserves no less at this critical juncture.
Picking a person because of how they look and how that image will play could lead to disaster. Just ask the Democrats.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Capito Calls on White House to Declare Federal Disaster Area for Regions Impacted by Severe Winter Storm

WASHINGTON – Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., has contacted the White House to request a federal disaster declaration for regions in West Virginia that have been impacted by these severe winter storms. After speaking with White House officials, the congresswoman released the following statement:

“These storms have been truly unprecedented – particularly in the eastern panhandle – and I urged the White House to provide every possible avenue of assistance to the communities that have been most affected.

“As families across our state continue to dig out, it’s important that our state and federal agencies are offering all appropriate aid.”

Global Warming?

A Picture Is Worth a Thousand Words

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Blizzard Warning in effect until 7 am EST Thursday...

The National Weather Service in Sterling Virginia has issued a
Blizzard Warning... which is in effect until 7 am EST Thursday.
The Winter Storm Warning has been cancelled.

* Precipitation type... snow.

* Accumulations... 7 to 14 inches of snow.

* Timing... snow will continue through this morning. A prolonged
upslope snow event will begin this afternoon and continue
through tonight.

* Temperatures... lower and mid 20s.

* Winds... winds will increase to 20 to 30 mph with gusts around 45
mph. Blowing and drifting snow will reduce visibilities to one
quarter mile or less at times... producing blizzard conditions.

Precautionary/preparedness actions...

A Winter Storm Warning means significant amounts of snow are
expected or occurring. The combination of snow and strong winds
will make travel very hazardous.

Precautionary/preparedness actions...

A Blizzard Warning means severe winter weather conditions are
expected or occurring. Falling and blowing snow with strong winds
and poor visibilities are likely. This will lead to whiteout
conditions... making travel extremely dangerous. Do not travel. If
you must travel... have a winter survival kit with you. If you get
stranded... stay with your vehicle.

A Lesson On the Dangers of Liberality

The Prince
by Nicolo Machiavelli
Concerning Liberality And Meanness
COMMENCING then with the first of the above-named characteristics, I say that it would be well to be reputed liberal. Nevertheless, liberality exercised in a way that does not bring you the reputation for it, injures you; for if one exercises it honestly and as it should be exercised, it may not become known, and you will not avoid the reproach of its opposite. Therefore, any one wishing to maintain among men the name of liberal is obliged to avoid no attribute of magnificence; so that a prince thus inclined will consume in such acts all his property, and will be compelled in the end, if he wish to maintain the name of liberal, to unduly weigh down his people, and tax them, and do everything he can to get money. This will soon make him odious to his subjects, and becoming poor he will be little valued by any one; thus, with his liberality, having offended many and rewarded few, he is affected by the very first trouble and imperilled by whatever may be the first danger; recognizing this himself, and wishing to draw back from it, he runs at once into the reproach of being miserly.
Therefore, a prince, not being able to exercise this virtue of liberality in such a way that it is recognized, except to his cost, if he is wise he ought not to fear the reputation of being mean, for in time he will come to be more considered than if liberal, seeing that with his economy his revenues are enough, that he can defend himself against all attacks, and is able to engage in enterprises without burdening his people; thus it comes to pass that he exercises liberality towards all from whom he does not take, who are numberless, and meanness towards those to whom he does not give, who are few.
We have not seen great things done in our time except by those who have been considered mean; the rest have failed. Pope Julius the Second was assisted in reaching the papacy by a reputation for liberality, yet he did not strive afterwards to keep it up, when he made war on the King of France; and he made many wars without imposing any extraordinary tax on his subjects, for he supplied his additional expenses out of his long thriftiness. The present King of Spain would not have undertaken or conquered in so many enterprises if he had been reputed liberal. A prince, therefore, provided that he has not to rob his subjects, that he can defend himself, that he does not become poor and abject, that he is not forced to become rapacious, ought to hold of little account a reputation for being mean, for it is one of those vices which will enable him to govern.
And if any one should say: Caesar obtained empire by liberality, and many others have reached the highest positions by having been liberal, and by being considered so, I answer: Either you are a prince in fact, or in a way to become one. In the first case this liberality is dangerous, in the second it is very necessary to be considered liberal; and Caesar was one of those who wished to become pre-eminent in Rome; but if he had survived after becoming so, and had not moderated his expenses, he would have destroyed his government. And if any one should reply: Many have been princes, and have done great things with armies, who have been considered very liberal, I reply: Either a prince spends that which is his own or his subjects' or else that of others. In the first case he ought to be sparing, in the second he ought not to neglect any opportunity for liberality. And to the price who goes forth with his army, supporting it by pillage, sack, and extortion, handling that which belongs to others, this liberality is necessary, otherwise he would not be followed by soldiers. And of that which is neither yours nor your subjects' you can be a ready giver, as were Cyrus, Caesar, and Alexander; because it does not take away your reputation if you squander that of others, but adds to it; it is only squandering your own that injures you.
And there is nothing wastes so rapidly as liberality, for even whilst you exercise it you lose the power to do so, and so become either poor or despised, or else, in avoiding poverty, rapacious and hated. And a prince should guard himself, above all things, against being despised and hated; and liberality leads you to both. Therefore it is wiser to have a reputation for meanness which brings reproach without hatred, than to be compelled through seeking a reputation for liberality to incur a name for rapacity which begets reproach with hatred.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

An Image of Environmental Authoritarianism: The Green Police of the Audi Commercial

Audi is a German company and, if they were trying to portray themselves as environmentally conscious, they should probably have known better.

Certain images have a context and advertsisers ought to always be aware of what they are. Audi during the Super Bowl last night created a commercial that portrayed a police state run by environmentalists hwere the enforcement arm is known as the "Green Police."

During the height of the Nazi terror before and during World War II, much of the law enforcement in Nazi Germany was handled by the Order Police, also known as the "Green Police" because of their distinctive uniforms and their flag, portrayed on the left.

Interestingly this image created in the commercial does speak to the most extreme fears about environmentalism, that its concern for the environment is merely a stalking horse for a wide variety of political and social controls. Don Surber of the Charleston Daily Mail tabulates the slow creep of environmental authoritarianism in Great Britain and notes that left wingers want to bring the same draconian laws here that would force old ladies from their homes for not being energy efficient enough. Their desire to intrude and destroy natural rights is as chilling as almost any totalitarian movement one can think of.
Audi may have been parodying the fear of environmentalism or the environmental movement itself. What it succeeded in doing was giving conservatives and libertarians a frightening image that they can combine with the words of most extreme of environmentalists. With this, we can attack cap and trade and a host of other insane proposals brought about by enviro-authoritarianism. Some of these people, like Ed Begley Jr., want to see this world come about. A picture is worth a thousand words. How many is a short clip worth?

Thanks Audi, whether you meant it or not, you helped American natural rights supporters out tremendously!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Tuesday: Winter Storm Watch from National Weather Service