February 7, 2007
As part of his campaign to publicize his proposed increased budget for national parks, President Bush and First Lady Laura Bush visited the Shenandoah National Park today. He held a discussion with Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne and leaders of various concerned citizen groups, and then spoke to reporters at the Big Meadows visitors center. (Even if the weather had been nicer, the event would still have been closed to the public, which is unfortunate. I would have loved to have gone.) Bush proposed an increase of nearly 10% in this years national park budget, even as other civilian programs are being cut back. In preparation for the National Park Service's 100th birthday in 2016, he wants to mobilize a joint public-private funding effort to provide enough resources for the parks, which have been on a very tight budget since the 1980s. Mrs. Bush called attention to how rewarding bird watching and hiking are. See Associated Press. Bush is to be commended for undertaking this initiative, and his wife is to be commended for encouraging him. User fees at national parks and forests have risen sharply over the past decade, which is fine with me, because I think it is worth it, but the parks have been deteriorating and need more public money. They are a national treasure for the good of all Americans -- and other creatures of God.
Ward Smythe has reconsidered his opinion of C-ville blogger Waldo Jaquith [link fixed] based on recent events. Like me, he felt that Waldo was justified in de-listing a certain blogger from the Staunton-Augusta area. I stand by that judgment (see Jan. 5), though I must say I am less impressed with Waldo the more I read his blog. I think fame went to his head, and he forgot that high standards apply to him, too. In any case, it's not about him, it's about the state of blogging in the Old Dominion. Whatever happened to the "Virginia Gentleman" tradition? (I'm not talking about whiskey.) Bloggers on all sides of the political spectrum need to get a grip, put an end to all these nasty innuendos and rumors, and present their opinions in a frank and honest manner, without hiding behind some pseudonym. (Hat tip to Chris Green. Oops: I named a name! )