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

Wednesday, December 29, 2004


The news out of southern Asia is mind-boggling.

December 29, 2004 -- Thousands of additional bodies were found in Indonesia yesterday, raising the death toll from the killer Asian tsunamis to about 68,000, as health officials warned that an equal number could perish from diseases like cholera and malaria.

"There is certainly a chance that we could have as many dying from communicable diseases" caused by a lack of clean water and sanitation, said Dr. David Nabarro of the World Health Organization.

"The initial terror associated with the tsunamis and the earthquake itself may be dwarfed by the longer-term suffering of the affected communities."

A quake measuring 9.0 on the Richter scale struck off the north Indonesian island of Sumatra Sunday. It triggered 30-foot-high tsunamis that crashed into coastal areas in 10 other countries, traveling at speeds of 500 mph.

Among the staggering statistics:

* Indonesia's Health Ministry said that more than 32,500 people were killed on Sumatra.

Ten thousand people were found dead in just one town, Meulaboh — in Aceh province on the northern tip of Sumatra — and another 9,000 died in the provincial capital,
Banda Aceh, where the stench of decaying bodies filled the air.

But the ministry has not yet counted deaths along the flooded and inaccessible towns of Sumatra's western coast. Indonesia's vice president estimated that up to 40,000
could be dead there, bringing the country's death toll to 65,000.

Refugees fleeing the western coast described surviving for days on little more than

"The sea was full of bodies," said Sukardi Kasdi, who reached Banda Aceh from his town of Surang. (link)

I heard the other day that there are still as many as 200,000 people missing, perhaps swept out to sea, never to be found. This is tragic.

And You Knew This Was Coming

It was just a matter of time before someone thought to bring this up:

Tsunami Could Hit Here, Geologists Say

BY JEREMY SMERD - Special to the SunDecember 29, 2004

Could New York be next?

The earthquake that ravaged coastline communities surrounding the Indian Ocean has reawakened a debate over the possibility that a tsunami could hit New York.

Earlier this year, geologists at a research institute in London warned that an unstable, 200-square-mile chunk of a volcano in the Canary Islands could slide into the Atlantic Ocean, causing a tsunami to slam into the mid-Atlantic coast. The paper, written by a air of marine geologists at the Benfield Hazard Research Centre, Steve Ward and Simon Day, posited a worst-case scenario of 60-foot waves submerging parts of the East Coast.

This week's deadly tsunami has given that scenario - and others like it - serious consideration. (link)

You gotta love New Yorkers. Here in Appalachia, we express our concern for the people of Indonesia and India and Sri Lanka. We grieve for their losses. We pray for the wellbeing of the survivors.

In New York, they are concerned about ... New York.

John Lott Misses The Point

John Lott continues to do an excellent job of destroying the arguments of gun control advocates in this country. In an article in the New York Post this morning entitled "Shooting Blanks," he writes:
December 29, 2004 -- THIS month the National Academy of Sciences issued a 328-page report on gun-control laws. The big news is that the academy's panel couldn't identify any benefits of decades-long effort to reduce crime and injury by restricting gun ownership. The only conclusion it could draw was: Let's study the question some more (presumably, until we find the results we want).

The academy, however, should believe its own findings. Based on 253 journal articles, 99 books, 43 government publications, a survey that covered 80 different gun-control measures and some of its own empirical work, the panel couldn't identify a single gun-control regulation that reduced violent crime, suicide or accidents.

From the assault-weapons ban to the Brady Act to one-gun-a-month restrictions to gun locks, nothing worked.
Interestingly, Lott argues that the findings of this panel actually support the notion that gun control laws actually work against us.
It's bad enough that the panel backed away from its own survey and empirical work; worse yet is that it didn't really look objectively at all the evidence. If it had, it would have found not just that gun control doesn't help solve the problems of crime, suicide and gun accidents, but that it can actually be counterproductive.

The panel simply ignored many studies showing just that. For example, the research on gun locks that the panel considered examined only whether accidental gun deaths and suicides were prevented. There was no mention of research that shows that locking up guns prevents people from using them defensively.

The panel also ignored most of the studies that find a benefit in crime reduction from right-to-carry laws. It did pay attention to some non-peer reviewed papers on the right-to-carry issue, and it also noted one part of a right-to-carry study that indicated little or no benefit from such laws. What the panel didn't point out, however, is that the authors of that particular study had concluded that data in their work did much more to show
there were benefits than to debunk it.
My problem with Lott's rationale is - and this may be quibbling - that he assumes that liberals in this country pass legislation in order to affect an outcome. I would argue that that is not the case. They want more laws because they have this need to simply create more laws.

How else to explain the strange phenomenon involving crises like acid rain? I've mentioned this phenomenon before. As soon as legislation was passed - the Clean Air Act - acid rain disappeared as an earth-altering, life-as-we-know-it-is-coming-to-an-end crisis. Nothing else changed. We simply legislated the problem away. The same happened with the hole in the ozone. Where did that pesky hole go? We banned chloroflourocarbons in your can of hairspray and damned if the problem wasn't solved. Gun control is another excellent example. Liberals have passed so many gun control laws - the number is estimated to exceed 10,000 - that they are now forced to isolate on the most obscure aspects of our lives - trigger locks and gun shows. But legislate they will - if given their way.

But John Lott is providing yeoman's service to the debate that continues to rage over gun control. Keep up the good work, John. Make 'em howl.

One Billion Americans By 2099?

You will be glad to hear that the population of the USA climbed another 2.8 million in 2004.

Boosted by immigration and a new American being born every eight seconds, the nation's population grew by nearly 3 million in 2004, the Census Bureau said yesterday.

Angst-filled experts predict the total could reach a staggering 1 billion by the end of the century. Census-takers projected that by New Year's Day, the population would be up 2.8 million, or 1 percent, over Jan. 1, 2004, to 295,160,302.

If the rate continues to explode as expected, more than 100 million new Americans could be taking up space by mid-century, bureau spokesman Robert Bernstein told The Post.

Bean-counters now project about 420 million Americans by 2050, with others saying the number could double by the turn of the century. Two-thirds of the growth will come from immigration. (link)

this is a good thing, unless you're in places like Arizona, Texas, and Nevada, where you're finding yourselves having to support many of the illegals that are coming across the border looking for a future. Most of the growth is coming from immigration, and most of that from undocumented aliens.

But looking at the big picture, the continued population growth is a good thing, for two reason. (1) Most of the hispanics coming into the country are willing to take the jobs that the rest of us won't. Menial labor. Backbreaking farm jobs. (2) Most of them are young and, once they find gainful employment, are able to support themselves - as well as the elderly through social security taxes.

I'm rather surprised, with the influx of millions of young illegal aliens into the country over the last few decades, that some statistician hasn't run some numbers to determine the impact they're having on the social security imbalance. You may recall that we are moving into a period where we will have a massive number of retirees and not enough taxpayers to support them. There must have been a positive impact on that imbalance by now.

And that is why I support liberalized immigration rules - as they pertain to legal immigration. And we should grant statehood to Campeche, Yucatan, Guanajuato, and any other Mexican states that should choose to join us. Why fight it? Let's take prosperity to them.