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People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it. Welcome to From On High.

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Why Didn't He Just Rewrite His Will?

Maybe there is a need for an anger management course here.

Police: Man Angry About Getting No Presents Burns Down Home

The Associated Press Published: Dec 28, 2004

FEASTERVILLE, Pa. (AP) - A man angry that he got no presents for Christmas burned down his parents' house early the next morning, police said.

Steven Murray, 21, was charged with arson and risking a catastrophe in the blaze that broke out early Sunday. No one was injured.

"He was irritated that his family gave him no presents for Christmas," Lower Southampton police officer Peter Liese said. (link)

I will admit that I was upset that I didn't get that Wonderbra for Christmas (It involves a personal problem that I'm revealing here for the first time), but I never thought of burning anyone's home when Santa failed to come through. I thought of exposing my sexual proclivities to the world in order to bring shame upon my children ... but I never considered physical violence.

A little humor, folks.

I Guess It Could Be Worse

You will often find me ranting about out-of-control state taxes and expenditures. But all things are relative, as they say. We could live in New York. Here is the bad news for you New Yorkers, released in a report today. As if you didn't already know all this.

"Upstate's businesses and taxpayers are paying state and local taxes that are about $5 billion to $6 billion a year higher than they would be if they were living in, say, Ohio," the report said. "And that's more than enough to impose a significant drag on the region's economy—one reason Upstate's job growth has lagged behind competing states' for so long."

State income taxes per capita Upstate are about 22 percent above average, which means Upstaters pay about $800 million a year above the norm. But the disparity in
local taxes is even higher: about 55 percent above the national average. This costs Upstate taxpayers about $4.2 billion a year more than they would pay if they paid local taxes at the national average per capita, the report said.

This difference includes higher property taxes (more than $3 billion extra a year) and higher local sales taxes (more than $1.3 billion extra a year), the report noted:

Property taxes: "In Monroe County, for example, property taxes collected by all units of local government (the county, school districts, Rochester, towns, etc.) in 2001 added up to almost $1,400 per capita—about 70 percent above the national average," the report said. "Property taxes in Albany County appear to have been about 75 percent above the national average per capita. In Broome County the gap was about 46 percent; in Erie County , about 42 percent; in Onondaga County, about 48 percent; in Oneida County, about 25 percent."

Sales taxes: Local sales taxes Upstate are even farther above the national norm in percentage terms, the report noted. "Local sales taxes per capita Upstate were $369 in 2001, or about 110 percent above the national average—some $1.3 billion higher than they would have been if they had matched the national average. In Ohio, by contrast, local sales tax collections per capita were less than half the national average."

Upstate's taxes are so far above average because spending is higher, especially in two key spending areas: government payroll and Medicaid.

Local government payrolls: Upstate local governments have some 93,500 more employees than they would have if they merely matched the national average ratio of local government workers to population. This excess of more than 25 percent along costs Upstate taxpayers more than $4 billion extra a year.

Local Medicaid spending: New York's Medicaid program costs Upstate taxpayers about $1 billion more a year in state and local taxes than it would if it matched the national average per recipient.

As of 2001, total Medicaid spending Upstate was about $2 billion more than the program would spend Upstate if New York reduced its cost per recipient to the national average. In other words, if New York held its Medicaid spending to the national average, Upstate taxpayers could save about $1 billion in their state and local taxes. (The other $1 billion in savings would go to the federal government).

The authors of this report, by the way, focused on upstate New York because people there know how much of a burden New York City is on them. And they also know there is no hope of turning this around.

Right Guy Wrong Reason

From the Associated Press we get this bit of news:

Ethics Committee to Investigate Rep. Jim McDermott, D-Wash.

The Associated Press Published: Dec 28, 2004

WASHINGTON (AP) - The House ethics committee will investigate Rep. Jim McDermott, D-Wash., to determine whether he violated standards of conduct when an illegally recorded telephone conversation was leaked to reporters during a committee investigation.

Committee Chairman Joel Hefley, R-Colo., and ranking Democrat Alan Mollohan of West Virginia formed a four-member investigative subcommittee Tuesday to investigate the 1997 incident. McDermott was ranking Democrat on the ethics committee at the time, and the panel was investigating the conduct of then-Speaker Newt Gingrich, R-Ga. (link)

Jim McDermott needs to be investigated all right. But whether or not he leaked information, he surely had a problem with leaking brain matter. After all, he is, these days, a blithering idiot. This was the genius that flew to Baghdad to beg Saddam Hussein to go easy on President Bush just before the 101st Airborne arrived and sent Hussein scurrying into his infamous spider hole.

To which Jim McDermott should consider making a permanent household move.

The Passing of a Generation

Samuel Roseberry died December 21st after a long illness. You don't know the name but his passing is worth noting. Mr. Roseberry was one of a relative handful of remaining World War I veterans alive in the USA today. It is estimated that there are less than 500 veterans of that war still with us. (link)

Whatever story they had to tell, it is fair to say that it had better have been told by now. For the hundreds of thousands of soldiers who marched off to war in Europe in 1914-1917, their story has gone to the grave with them. Or they remain in the memories of their grandchildren - people like me. My grandfather was a lumberjack in northern Wisconsin when the call to arms came. Despite the fact that neither he nor others from the area around Tigerton spoke good English - German was their first language - they answered the call. And served admirably. An American of German ancestry warring against the Germans.

What a story that in itself must have been. Cousins fighting cousins. Fuhrmans killing Fuhrmanns. His was an American story. Heinrich, son of Gustav, ein auswanderer von der alten land sein, willing to risk his life for ... the United States of America. Like his fellow veterans, my grandfather never talked about his experiences in France. He chopped down trees for a living, then went off to war and fought the Germans, returned to Wisconsin, married my grandmother, Ida, provided for and raised a large family. A family that included my father, Harold Fuhrman, a man who was destined to answer a similar call and to go off to fight the Germans himself many years later in a place called Normandy.

End of story. Unfortunately.

My grandfather died a quarter-century ago. Son, husband, father, grandfather, great-grandfather, now great-great-grandfather to Chase, Kaid, and Jayla, lumberjack, hero. American. A marker in a cemetery. Dwindling memories.

A generation of our collective family passing into history.

U.N. Stooge Thinks We're 'Stingy'

The United Nations is arguably the most wasteful, most corrupt, and least accountable organization on earth. It is made up of arrogant, condescending bureaucrats who need to have their passports revoked and be put on a boat bound for the "paradise" from which they came.

The latest "world leader" who can't help but bite the hand that feeds him is U.N. Undersecretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Jan Egeland, a Norwegian. He says we Americans are stingy.

"It is beyond me why we are so stingy, really. "Christmastime should remind many Western countries at least, [of] how rich we have become." (link)
He has decided we are not paying enough in taxes.

"There are several donors who are less generous than before in a growing world economy," he said, adding that politicians in the United States and Europe "believe that they are really burdening the taxpayers too much, and the taxpayers want to give less. It's not true. They want to give more."
"They want to give more." The old New York Times trick. Start the big lie with the false premise that we really want our taxes to be raised; the debate should only then be what we spend all the new revenue on.

Wrong.

The United Nations budget, as best anyone can figure it, was $1.603 billion in 2003. Of that, U.S. taxpayers shelled out $762 million. In one year. (link)

And what did we get for our $762 million per year? Besides smart-ass Norwegian bureaucrats who tell us we aren't giving enough to his many worthy causes?

  • We get a worldwide campaign to promote abortion.

UNICEF, the World Bank, the UN Development Program, the World Health Organization, and the UN Populations Fund (UNFPA) promote and fund abortions worldwide. The UNFPA, for instance, sent to Balkan refugee camps "Emergency Reproductive Health Kits" that contained abortifacient pills, intrauterine devices, and even a suction apparatus called a "manual vacuum aspirator." What a misleading term to describe a devices that sucks a tiny baby out of the mother's womb! Other elements of the global abortion network, working hand-in-glove with the UN, include the International Planned Parenthood Federation, the Population Council, and International Projects Assistance Services.

"Reproductive health care in the context of primary health care should ... include ... abortion...."
-Report of the United Nations International Conference on Population and evelopment, Cairo, 1994 (
link)

* We get a worldwide campaign promoting gun control.

The UN-funded Commission on Global Governance (CGG) called for civilian as well as international disarmament programs in a 1995 report entitled Our Global Neighborhood. In the chapter "Promoting Security," the CGG claimed: "Militarization today not only involves governments spending more than necessary to build up their military arsenals. It has increasingly become a global societal phenomenon, as witnessed by the rampant acquisition and use of increasingly lethal weapons by civilians -- whether individuals seeking a means of self-defense, street gangs, criminals, political opposition groups, or terrorist organizations." (link)

* We get the International Criminal Court.

On July 1, 2002, the International Criminal Court became reality. The United Nations' International Criminal Court would deny Americans the right to a trial by a jury of their peers. An ICC "trial" would be decided by a panel of six or more judges, no more than one of which could be an American. In addition, the 1998 Rome Statute of the ICC contains no right to habeas corpus and no right to confront accusers. ICC prosecutors could even provide secret evidence to judges. (link)

* We get a worldwide campaign to end private ownership of property.

"[H]umanity must undergo a radical change in its attitudes, values, and behavior ... a new global ethics is taking form, and it is finding expression in international law."
- International Union for the Conservation of Nature's Earth Ethics magazine (
link)

* We get calls - and schemes - for creative ways to raise our taxes.

"A tax of one U.S. cent on every 100 lengthy emails ... would generate well over $70 billion a year." - UN Development Program, Human Development Report, 1999

"A viable way to [establish an international finances regulating body] would be by establishing not a 0.1% tax on speculative financial transactions as Mr. Tobin brilliantly proposed, but rather a minimum of 1% which would permit the creation of a large idispensable fund -- in the excess of one trillion dollars every year."
- Fidel Castro promoting UN-taxation before the UN-affiliated Group of 77, Havana, April 2000 (
link)

* We get an organization made up principally of terrorists.

Criminologist Harvey Kushner, a professor at Long Island State university and a widely respected analyst of terrorism, ... compares the role of the UN to that of Afghanistan's Taliban government in sheltering Osama bin Laden: "The UN provides cover [for terrorism] almost the same way the Taliban does.... It serves as the laboratory, the linchpin for legitimizing incendiary rhetoric" against the United States. (link)

* And of course we get rampant corruption on a colossal scale.

For this U.N. Undersecretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Jan Egeland thinks we are not doing enough. We are stingy.

He's lucky I'm not put in charge. He'd quickly learn the meaning of the word. He might even find himself having to go out and get a real job.