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

Saturday, February 05, 2005

Great Cherokee Warrior Gets Spanked

I will burn in hell for this but I have a confession to make. When I saw the first photo of University of Colorado professor and erstwhile Cherokee Indian chief, Ward Churchill - oh, and I shouldn't forget the fact that he is a huge cheerleader for the 9/11 terrorists - my immediate reaction was, "This guy is no more an Indian than I am."

I know I'm not supposed to make such judgements based on a person's physical attributes. Call me a racist, er ... ethnicist, for having had the thought but, as it turns out, I was right.


Ward Churchill, the university professor under fire for likening victims of the 9/11 attacks to Nazis, has been misrepresenting himself as a member of an American Indian tribe, a Cherokee official claims.

Churchill, coordinator of American Indian Studies at the University of Colorado, claims to be a member of the Keetoowah Cherokee tribe in Oklahoma but "is not in the database at all and is not a member of the Keetoowah," tribal clerk George Mauld told the Rocky Mountain News. (link)

Another white guy wanting to be something other than what he is. Move over, Eminem.

Photo courtesy of Boulder Daily Camera
Click image to enlarge. Posted by Hello

Another Ignorant Judge

Question: Does one have to go to law school in order to be a judge?
Answer: In many jurisdictions, the answer is no.

Question: Is there a requirement that a judge be as stupid as owl dung?
Answer: You'd think so if you read the headlines in recent days.

We all got a chuckle the other day out of the federal judge who determined, based on her having watched Oprah each day, that foreign terrorists are entitled to rights guaranteed by the Constitution, just as if they were American citizens.

Today we have this genius (Hmm. Another female. You all are starting to form a pattern here.)

February 5, 2005 -- A [New York] judge said "I do" to gay marriages in New York City yesterday in a historic — and controversial — decision that blasted the city's denial of same-sex unions as unconstitutional.

"Marriage is viewed by society as the utmost expression of a couple's commitment and love. Plaintiffs may now seek this ultimate expression through a civil marriage," Manhattan state Supreme Court Justice Doris Ling-Cohan wrote in a 62-page ruling in favor of five gay couples who sued the city for the right to tie the knot. (link)

This judge doesn't rely on the usual "penumbra" or on "associative relationships between ... ." She didn't pull the classic slight-of-hand, finding a right to abortion in a right to privacy in a right to equal protection. No. "Judge" Ling-Cohan relies on the views of society. Probably as viewed on Oprah.

And what are those views? "Marriage is viewed as the utmost expression of a couple's commitment and love." Dear Judge Ling-Cohan. You're leaving out an important societal view. We believe - and have believed since the beginning of time - that marriage exists only between a man and a woman.

Please. Unless you want to continue to be "viewed by society" as a complete moron, go find yourself a penumbrum to cling to.

Due Process And Terrorism

Breaking news from the New York Times:

3 Frenchmen Among Those U.S. Military Holds in Iraq


PARIS, Feb. 4 - Three French nationals are among the dozens of foreign fighters being held by the American military in Iraq, French officials confirmed Friday.

The men, captured late last year, are part of a small group of young French militants who have gone to Iraq to fight what some Muslims view as a holy war against the Americans. At least three have been killed there. Two others are in custody in France, where they were arrested on the eve of their planned departure last month together with the suspected leader of the group. (link)

The lightweights at the New York Times will argue that these terrorists are entitled to due process as granted by the Constitution of the United States of America. But these are French terrorists. They should be shot for that reason alone.

Email Buddy Day

I am declaring today "email buddy day." This is the day I am setting aside to respond to my email buddies - or at least those that don't use the "f" word in their messages to me. I give them a special - more personal - response.

The first email today comes from Robert in Portland (Maine? Oregon?). I mentioned the other day that I'm a proud member of the National Rifle Association. He has a problem with that.
You and your gun-toting buddies are all alike. Rednecks all. The NRA and the Republicans - is there a difference? oppose every progress this country attempts while there are people out in the streets of our cities armed with ak47's killing women and children. Doesn't that bother you?
Answer: No.

What bothers me is the fact that people like you are allowed to watch reruns of old Clint Eastwood movies and to fantasize about mayhem in the streets. I have some familiarity with the AK-47. It is a fully automatic weapon that is fully illegal in this country for a citizen to own - or to fire at women and children (without a special federal permit; to own that is, not to shoot women and children with). You probably meant one of the civilian versions of the weapon. I sometimes make the same mistake. You are forgiven.

What I won't forgive you for is being a coward and for buying in to this kind of bullshit. Show me one instance of an individual (adult/child, male/female) who was killed by someone armed with an AK-47 in 2004 (in the USA) and I'll kiss your hairy, wrinkled, pimpled butt.

Now to more serious matters.

Why am I a member of the NRA? I am not a fanatic. I don't even hunt any more. I did years ago but drifted away from it for whatever reason (I don't drink much anymore either. The two are surely related.). I own a sizeable arsenal of weapons but don't flaunt them. Truth be known, I don't often fire any of them. My daughter will occasionally drop by to hone her skills at dropping an intruder with her Ruger 9mm semi-automatic badass handgun, but with that exception when we go back the turnpike and blow the hell out of a dead tree, I don't "sling much hot lead."

I am, however, a member of the National Rifle Association for what I consider to be the most important reason on earth. They protect me.

I have a passion for liberty. For the freedoms that a bunch of dead white guys passed down to us. For those precious rights outlined in the Bill of Rights (as well as others that are delineated in natural law) that many of our ancestors fought for - and in the case of heroes like my father at Normandy, shed blood to protect.

I know how insecure our freedoms are. There are politicians in Washington who find it cumbersome to have to work around these rights relating to freedoms of speech, religion, assembly - to bear arms in defense of one's home and country- and would, if given the chance, legislate them out of existence.

John McCain comes to mind.

The NRA is focused on one of these issues - with passion and unrelenting fortitude. They - we - accept no less than that our elected representatives (our employees!) adhere to the principles upon which these United States rest, whether they like it or not. We - the people - have a right to keep and bear arms. We make this demand - that the government not interfere with this most precious of rights - for the most fundamental of reasons. One that has been driven home by Charlton Heston, a man of towering integrity - and another of my heroes.

The original amendments we refer to as the Bill of Rights contain ten of what the constitutional framers termed unalienable rights. These rights are ranked in random order and are linked by their essential equality. The Bill of Rights came to us with blinders on. It doesn't recognize color, or class, or wealth. It protects not just the rights of actors, or editors, or reporters, but extends even to those we love to hate.

I say the Second Amendment is. in order of importance, the first amendment. It is America's First Freedom, the one right that protects all of the others. Among freedom of speech, of the press, of religion, of assembly, of redress of grievances, it is the first among equals. It alone offers the absolute capacity to live without fear. The right to keep and bear arms is the one right that allows "rights" to exist at all.
Either you believe that, or you don't, and you must decide. (link)
I do. I have. I proudly send the NRA $35 each year having made that decision.

And I sleep well at night.

Now aren't you glad you brought this up, Robert?

Virginia Toll Roads

There are certain concepts that are not to be trifled with. This - from a regular reader - is one of them.
Do you folks have extra money down there to spend ? [a yankee emailer, can you tell?] I recently was on the Powhite Expressway [Richmond], or whatever the correct name is (no I am not sure how to pronounce it) and came to a 50 cent toll. Having quarters handy, I chose the "Exact Change" lane. When it was my turn, I tossed in the quarters, and as I waited for the gate to open, I observed an employee in the toll booth. Do you folks in Virginia have excess highway funds to pay salaries of toll takers who don't take tolls, but just watch folks like me use the exact change lane?
Answer: The toll booth worker is there to help you count out the correct change before you throw your two quarters into the basket next to the toll booth worker. My tax dollars at work.

Actually, the bigger issue is this. Why on earth are there two main arteries in Richmond, Virginia that have roadblocks set up to bring traffic to a stop in order for you to throw a few coins in a basket? There is a new bypass there that opened up not long ago that gets you from the southside to the eastside in lightning speed. But some politician decided to make it a toll road. I have, therefore, never taken that road (I almost called it an expressway, but how can it be considered "express" when it has barriers erected to impede progress?). I will never take that road. And before you begin to think I'm a tightwad or something, understand, I expense the tolls. My company pays for them. It is the principle of the thing. God meant for expressways to be used for the express purpose of moving from one point to another in an express fashion - meaning rapid transport.

And while we're on the subject, northern person, have you ever driven the Pennsylvania Turnpike? Toll road. Or the New Jersey Turnpike? Toll road. I-95 north to Baltimore? Toll booths in Delaware and in Maryland. Ohio Turnpike? Tolls big time. New York? You even have a toll road on Long Island, for God's sake. Tri-State Tollway in Chicago? Ditto. There is even a toll booth setting out in Chickensqwatt, Kansas (It might be Chickensqwatt, Missouri. I forget which side of the Mississippi I was on.) on I-70 outside of Kansas City.

I'll give you this. At least up north you don't call these barriers to human progress "expressways." You are more cultured. You call them turnpikes. And charge accordingly.

Making Fun Of Virginians

A respected email buddy sends the following question:
Why is it that when I drive in VA, folks with VA plates seem to like to drive in the left lane, below the speed limit, or below the prevailing traffic flow speed? When driving 95, 64, 81,whatever, and I am passing cars, inevitably, there is a car in the left lane driving slower than folks in the right and center lane.... and they always have VA tags?

Four lane roads are new to us here. Give us time. We're just now getting accustomed to the idea that we don't have to go, "giddyup, ol' Nellie" in order to go forward.

Actually, if you think it's bad here, drive the streets of Orlando. Or better yet, Ft. Myers, where there are 10,000 old people behind the wheel of their cars for every young person. I can remember a few years ago coming to an intersection of two heavily travelled streets in Orlando and finding myself behind an older gentleman in a Cadillac, waiting at the light. A green light. Traffic on either side of him was moving forward briskly, but the old guy just sat there. I don't know why. When I finally got the chance to shoot around him, I glanced over at the poor old fella and recognized the fact that his mind was somewhere far, far away. And I moved on.

I want to tell you, in response to this impertinent yankee emailer, that y'all need to slow down when you come down to these parts. But, as Paula will tell you, I have been known to lash out with a bit of road-rage myself on occasion. But it's not just a Virginia thing. I've gotten enraged at other drivers in most every city in the nation.

I even got into it with some moron in St. Louis once, after he cut me off at a light. He and I exchanged gestures. Then words. We both pulled over, got out of our cars and started toward each other, until he suddenly wheeled around, got back in his car and shot down the I-70 on-ramp. I want to say I scared him, but it was more likely that he realized we were both about to do something really stupid and he was a little smarter than I am.

So why do people in Virginia drive (in the left lane) so slowly? As my wife would tell you, they know they are going to get to their destination, just like us. We'll beat them by 17.45 seconds, but they are going to get there just the same.

They's Southerners & The Rest O' Y'all

In furtherance of my attempt at reaching out to my email buddies, here's another.
I am a Yankee.... ahhhh, yeah, a guy from the north..... you know us..... we won that war thing that occurred not last century, but the one before that....... Ok, before you get ticked off at me ...... I am just putting things in perspective. I am from the north and don't always understand you folks in the south........
Here's the funny thing - for you folks up north. I moved to Southwest Virginia from Detroit about four years ago. This being a rural area, our massive Mayflower moving van (which had just enough room inside when it was loaded to include my 1952 Ferguson TEA-20 tractor -I'm not kidding) created a good bit of interest. It wasn't long before an old fella came over to check us out. His name was Seldon. It turns out Seldon was - at the time - 80 years old and had lived his entire life in Bland, by God, Virginia. And is a good-old-boy in the best sense of the word.

The day the moving company showed up with my worldly belongings turned out to be - for Paula in particular - a very bad day. The Mayflower people had prepared by having two locals show up to assist in the unloading, so there were four bodies all together, which should have been sufficient. But they immediately ran into a problem.

You may remember, or for those of you who are new to this site, it's time you knew, I live on a spur of Big Walker Mountain. I think the Mayflower driver blamed me for not telling him that our house was at the top of this steep gravel incline. My memory of his reaction to the task before him was something like, "Jesus. You've got to be kidding. I can't get up there with this."

He was right.

Not that he didn't try.

I'm still finding hunks of rubber from his tires where he (got enraged and) spun them until the smoke rolled off of them, having gotten stuck in the pasture, having tried to back down the hill and gotten sideways, having made the attempt to go up the hill and having failed. (This is where old Seldon comes in. We had to get him to bring his bulldozer over to free the stuck moving van).

After a brief conference, it was decided the Mayflower crew was going to have to unload the truck at the base of the mountain, load my belongings on a pickup truck (the only one there was mine, unfortunately), and haul one load at a time up the hill, unload it, and come back down for another.

So old Seldon and I had plenty of time to talk. (I don't unload. I checked the contract.)

In the course of his trying to figure out who these new people were coming to the Bland area, he asked me where we were coming from. "Detroit." His eyes fixed on mine. I could tell he was thinking, "A goddam yankee in Bland County, Virginia. This ain't happened since Colonel Toland and that bunch of thievin' yankee cavalry of his came through here in 1863 on their way up the turnpike to burn the train depot over in Wytheville and, in the process, burn every barn and mill along the way." (true story).

All he said was, "They's some folks livin' 'round here still have a problem with yankees. 'Specially the further back in the hills you get. Might watch yourself."

Wait a minute. Wait A Minute. This is not starting well. Word will get around - believe me, in a county of only 6900 people where everyone knows everyone, word gets around - I didn't want people around here to think I was a goddam yankee.

I tried to make Seldon understand that I was not one of them. That I was from Kentucky! Well, you have to understand the history of the Civil War. Perhaps not as well as everyone around here understands it - and lives it - but a working understanding would be a good thing. Kentucky was considered both a northern state and a southern state in those years. Or in the eyes of many around here, neither a northern state nor a southern state. Its young men fought in regiments on both sides - though there were twice as many northern regiments as Confederate from the bluegrass state. To southerners, we were neutral. Or neutered. Same as being a goddam yankee.

So I'm not sure my telling Seldon that I wasn't a goddam yankee, I was from Kentucky, helped all that much. Perhaps I should have told him I was from Alabama.

What do the folks around here think of me these days? It's hard to say. I'm a good neighbor. When one one of the local coon hunting dogs turns up on my property, lost, I call the owner to come and fetch him/her. When the local cattlemen get together down below to mend fences or haul their stock in or out, I'll occasionally chat with them. ** Tip to you city folk. Mending fences is a community affair. Fences often separate your property from someone else's and it is an accepted practice that when a fence needs mending, and you see your neighbors prepare to mend it, you drop what you're doing and mend together. I've even pitched in and helped the neighbors during a flash flood last winter. We had an unusually warm day last February and the snow on the mountain above began to melt at the same point in time we started getting an inch of rain. The streams running down the mountain became a torrent, overflowed their banks and created general mayhem throughout the county - including the properties below mine. So I helped do what little could be done.

So I get along real well with the local folk. I notice when I approach them on occasion, they still have a tendency to slowly reach for their sidearms but I'm accepting of that. After all, I am not to be trusted - seeing as how I'm a goddam yankee - from Kentucky...