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

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Ted Kennedy Must Be Very Proud

Representative Patrick Kennedy (D-RI) chooses to waste his time beating a dead horse. And his constituents seem to accept his doing it at their expense. I'm fine with that.

Patrick Kennedy Says Resistance to Gun Ban Is 'Insanity'
By Jeff Johnson CNSNews.com Senior Staff Writer

(CNSNews.com) - U.S. Rep. Patrick Kennedy implied Tuesday that congressional colleagues who do not share his support for a failed gun ban being reintroduced in the House are mentally ill. The Rhode Island Democrat also accused lawmakers who oppose the anti-gun legislation of not caring about police safety.

... Kennedy made the comments at a Capitol Hill press conference to promote the reintroduction of the "50 Caliber Sniper Rifle Reduction Act." The bill, introduced by U.S. Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.), would ban the manufacture of such rifles and severely limit the sale or transfer of existing .50 BMG rifles except for those owned by the military or civilian law enforcement agencies.

"Any policy maker who, on the one hand, says that they are for combating terrorism but, on the other hand, will not back this legislation, backed by Representative Moran, to me has a lot of explaining to do," Kennedy said "In fact, I think it would be the definition of insanity to say that."In addition to challenging his opponents' mental stability, Kennedy also questioned whether his fellow lawmakers could claim to support police while opposing the gun ban. (
At the risk of boring you non-shooters to tears, the .50 caliber rifle is no more a sniper rifle than a hand grenade is a fishing pole (Wait, maybe I shouldn't use that analogy. I hear that the strategic use of a hand grenade in a pond full of bluegill will make for a short fishing excursion.) The rifle generally weighs 35 pounds and is nothing a sniper would want to lug around. Idiots like to call rifles of all shapes and sizes sniper rifles and assault weapons and such because it makes them (both the idiots and the rifles) sound scary. Secondly, and this is critical to everyone's understanding, nobody has ever been killed by one of these rare and unique rifles. There are not that many in circulation, they are extremely expensive, and they are used only on the shooting range.

And another thing: I don't want to go up against the good congressman when it comes to the topic of insanity. He has much more experience with the subject than I do. He is a Kennedy, after all.

But I have a suggestion for boy-Kennedy. If you're going to ban things based on the number of people that have been killed, we have to put your uncle just ahead of .50 caliber rifles. Because although the .50 caliber rifle has never been used in the commission of a crime, Ted Kennedy's cowardice has.

The score, so far, is Ted Kennedy 1; .50 caliber rifles 0.

So, if you're truly interested in supporting law enforcement, and in bringing the murderer of Mary Jo Kopechne to justice, you'll seek - no, demand - the incarceration of your uncle Teddy.

Before he kills again.

It's the sane thing to do.


I came to a stop light yesterday in Cumberland Gap and noticed a bumper sticker on the car in front of me. It had one word with large multi-colored letters. The "word" was "ERACISM." Eracism. One of those twists that gives you pause. You think, eracism. Eracism. Hmm. Oh, I get it. Erase racism. OK.

Then the light above turned green and the silver-haired woman in the Toyota drove on.

But I kept thinking about the experience I had just had. Not about ending racism. To me, that is taking care of itself - over time. It's that I have no idea what her intention was in slapping that sticker on her car. I believe the tiny words underneath said, "Universalist Unitarian Church," which says something in itself. It is to this church that all the 60's hippies migrated in subsequent years. Upon what do they base their church beliefs? Peace. Love. Humanity. Togetherness. Inclusion. "If it feels good, and there is love in your heart, do it - no matter if the person you're doing it to is adult, male, female, consenting, or even a human being for that matter. I don't remember God - or Jesus - playing a part in their foundational beliefs but I could have overlooked Him in my extensive readings on the subject.

But I digress.

What was the old lady's intention? To get the rest of us to change our ways? Probably. And she is probably one of the elitists on the left who think a bumper sticker will do it. "Eracism? Oh, I never heard it put that way. From this point on, I'm going to love my fellow black man, Latino woman, ..."

But I was made aware of another bumper sticker the other day the motivation behind which runs in a different direction. My daughter called me in semi-amusement and startled amazement at something she had just read on the back of a pickup truck right here in Bland, Virginia. Beneath a confederate flag sticker was another that read, "WORK: It's The White Thing To Do."

Now I know you can find this sort of sentiment up in Brooklyn or out in Los Angeles. Shoot, we know it is the prevailing attitude in certain Democratic circles in Washington D.C. But around these parts, there is an ugliness that accompanies the hatred. These people have not given up. To them, the civil rights battles that took place in the 60's are still underway. And they soldier on.

Reality - and the turn of a new century - be damned.

So I have a thought. What would happen if I got the old silver-haired hippie who is still living in the sixties together with the Bland County racist who is still living in the sixties and locked them in a room over at the Motel 6? What would come of it?

I already know. If I could lock them both in, and throw away the room key, America would be better off for it. And the demise of racism would accelerate.

Without the need for another bumper sticker.

Encouraging News From The Boardroom

The Board of Directors of Hewlitt-Packard asked for the resignation of its high profile chief executive officer, Carleton (Carly) Fiorina yesterday after having attempted to get her to make what they considered to be fundamental - and critical - changes to the way H-P is doing business. After having refused to accede to their demands for change, she complied to their request for her resignation.

Here is how the Wall Street Journal reports the story:
Fallen Star H-P's Board Ousts Fiorina as CEO Amid Languishing Stock, Computer Chief Resists Pressure to Delegate
A Big Merger's Missed Goals
By PUI-WING TAM Staff Reporter of The Wall Street Journal

Hewlett-Packard Co.'s board, amid mounting displeasure with the Silicon Valley computer giant's performance, ousted Chief Executive Carly Fiorina after she resisted the directors' plan for her to cede some day-to-day authority to the heads of H-P's key business units.

The move culminated weeks of escalating pressure from the board on Ms. Fiorina, one of the most powerful women in business. She bet her career that a bitterly contested $19 billion merger with Compaq Computer Corp. would give H-P enough scale to thrive in the brutally competitive market for computer hardware.

But with H-P's stock down more than 50% since the start of Ms. Fiorina's tenure as CEO, H-P's board decided on the management-reorganization plan at a mid-January meeting. The decision came after three directors presented a four-page analysis laying out the board's concerns about the company's performance after 5½ years with Ms. Fiorina as CEO.

People familiar with the matter said directors felt too much of the company's vast operations had been centralized in Ms. Fiorina's office, creating decision-making bottlenecks. Meanwhile, H-P had failed to meet key performance targets Ms. Fiorina had set for the company during the Compaq takeover fight. (
link requires subscription).
I have no way of knowing whether Fiorina deserved to be sacked. And I don't care. What interests me in this story is the role played by the board members. They are taking an active part in the day-to-day decision-making process at H-P - unlike so many of the rubberstamp boards of directors you read so much about these days. This tells me that Hewlitt-Packard is in good hands.


Could I Make A Suggestion?

This comes to us from the New York Post this morning:

By URI DAN Mideast Correspondent

February 10, 2005 -- JERUSALEM — Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice next month will attend another Mideast summit in an effort to keep the Israeli-Palestinian truce on track, officials said yesterday.

British Prime Minister Tony Blair previously announced plans for the March 1 meeting in London on Palestinian reforms but it had been regarded as a low-key discussion.

However, that changed with yesterday's announcement that Rice would attend along with other members of the Mideast "quartet" — the United Nations, European Union and Russia.

The summit is intended to find ways to strengthen Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' government, including his security services, so that he can carry out changes that his predecessor, Yasser Arafat, refused to do [my emphasis]. (link)

First let me say, nobody wants the mess in the Middle East cleaned up more than I do. And as for Condi, she is my nominee (for now) for the presidency in 2008. I have the utmost respect for her and have only good things to say about her.

That having been said, let me say this:

Have we learned nothing from history?

For those of you too young to remember it, the same entities (with different faces) got together in the late 1940's in an effort to solve the problems in the same part of the world. After lengthy deliberations, the state of Israel was formed. Not by Jews and Arabs. By us. And the United Nations.

And open warfare ensued (as opposed to random violence occurring prior to 1947).

Don't jump to the wrong conclusion here. I believe deeply in the protection of the state of Israel. But I also believe that we on the outside can easily do more harm than good by meddling too much in the inner workings of the soon-to-be state of Palestine. It will have to be the Palestinian people who take control of their streets and disarm Hamas and Hezbolah.

We all want a peaceful and prosperous Palestine (and I'd love it if no more of my hard-earned tax dollars went over there to support the Palestinians). But we can't make peace happen there. Only the Palestinian people can.

Someone At The Times Gets It

Tom Friedman, one of only two credible individuals working for the New York Times, got it right today.
I think there is much to criticize about how the war in Iraq has been conducted, and the outcome is still uncertain. But those who suggest that the Iraqi election is just beanbag, and that all we are doing is making the war on terrorism worse as a result of Iraq, are speaking nonsense.

Here's the truth: There is no single action we could undertake anywhere in the world to reduce the threat of terrorism that would have a bigger impact today than a decent outcome in Iraq. It is that important [my emphasis]. (link)
There are those of us who have been saying since long before the war on terror was taken to Iraq that the overthrow of Saddam Hussein was integral to changing both hearts and minds of those who adhere to Islam and lean toward radical Islamism.

I applaude Friedman's epiphany here. Of course, anyone who reads him regularly knows that he is prone to change his mind. So I would recommend that you save this quote to your harddrive. He's likely to say the opposite tomorrow.

And he has this odd quirk of saying something really foolish - just after having said something really profound. As in this next paragraph.
The war on terrorism is a war of ideas [true]. The greatest restraint on human behavior is not a police officer or a fence - it's a community and a culture [true again]. Palestinian suicide bombing has stopped not because of the Israeli fence or because Palestinians are no longer "desperate." It has stopped because the Palestinians had an election, and a majority voted to get behind a diplomatic approach. They told the violent minority that suicide bombing - for now - is shameful.

Where on earth did he come up with that silliness? The suicide bombings in Israel slowed and then stopped all together months before the elections were held. They stopped before elections were even scheduled. They stopped long before Yassir Arafat died, requiring elections to be held. Where has Friedman been?

Anyway. He has come around to our way of thinking with regard to the link between Iraq and the war on terror. For that he gets credit. If however brief.