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

Sunday, April 24, 2005

If Those Boobs Get Any Bigger ...


For the love of God, would someone stick a pin in those baloons before this poor girl floats away?
And please harness the damn things before someone nearby gets hurt.
Click on image to enlarge.
Photo courtesy of the New York Post. Posted by Hello

A Genocidal Act Forgotten

If we were to round up every man, woman, and child in the state of Maine, send them en bloc to Washington DC, where they're all summarily executed - because we considered them to be different and a threat to our way of life, do you think it would make the news?

If that difference was cultural, perhaps only ancestral, would it be considered genocide? A crime against humanity?

Without doubt.

My apologies to the people of the great state of Maine for abusing them in such a crass way, and I hope I didn't give the paranoid left a new conspiracy to demagogue. But the population of Maine is more or less equal to the number of Armenians who were slaughtered in 1915 by the Ottoman (Turkish) government - for being Armenians.

It was an atrocity that went unnoticed by the outside world and has been ignored since. Stirring up these old wounds is counterproductive to good relations with the current Turkish government, you see.
Armenians mark anniversary of killings
AVET DEMOURIAN, Associated Press

YEREVAN, Armenia - Armenians on Sunday marked the 90th anniversary of the mass killings of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire, vowing to press their case to have the killings recognized by Turkey and the world as a genocide.

Ottoman authorities began rounding up intellectuals, diplomats and other influential Armenians in Istanbul on April 24, 1915, as violence and unrest grew, particularly in the eastern parts of the country.

Armenia says up to 1.5 million Armenians ultimately died or were killed over several years as part of a genocidal campaign to force them out of eastern Turkey. Turkey acknowledges that large numbers of Armenians died, but says the overall figure is inflated and that the deaths occurred in the civil unrest during the collapse of the Ottoman Empire.

France, Russia and many other countries have already declared the killings were genocide; the United States, which has a large Armenian diaspora, has not. (
link)
Why bring this up now?

The Nazis and Soviets learned a valuable lesson from the Turks' elimination of its most powerful internal antagonist. That lesson is: The West will stand down and do nothing about it.

And it has relevance today because the Sudanese government must have been paying rapt attention as well.

A Big Bounteous Blogging Bearhug

Many thanks to Commonwealth Conservative and The Salt Lick for having directed readers to my site this afternoon.

Here's back at ya.

And for those of you who are new to this weblog, welcome. This sure beats getting out in the snow, yes?

Money Talks

My congressman, Rick Boucher, a mysterious and elusive man except at election time, is about as ineffective a legislator as one could have. While much of his district languishes in abject poverty, and amid rising despair, Boucher gets the occasional paragraph in a local newspaper for having introduced legislation relating to making it legal to tape movies on your VCR and for streamlining the unemployment line. He's been in office for more than two decades and has nothing - nothing - to show for it.

As far as I'm concerned, we would do as well with no representation.

But as dejected - call it resigned - as people around here are about the potential for change, Boucher ran for reelection in November and received nearly sixty percent of the vote against a reasonably good opponent.

How? Money. And money will get the worst incumbent reelected. Just ask Ron Crews.

Last fall, Ron Crews ran for Congress in Massachusetts against four-time incumbent James McGovern of the Third District. Crews brought significant experience, credentials, and resources to the campaign. He had served in the state senate in Georgia. He had headed the Massachusetts Family Institute for four years (a position he resigned to campaign), where he became the go-to guy for conservative comment on family issues not only in the state, but nationwide. He had reasonably good name and face recognition (if you watch cable news, you've seen Crews). An experienced speaker and leader, Crews is nationally known as a lifelong Army chaplain (he is still a Colonel in the Guard) and an ordained Presbyterian minister.

He lost, pulling only 30 percent of the vote. (link)

Crews was interviewed for this article by Lawrence Henry. In it Crews is clear about what killed his candidacy.
LH: What about the [election] results?

RC: I got 30 percent of the vote. I had certainly wanted to win and had hoped to do better. But when I look at the fact that I spent about $150,000 on the race, the incumbent spent $1.25 million, I don't feel so bad about the vote I got.

LH: Some years ago, I heard that the minimum cost for a Congressional run is about $400,000. Is that true?

RC: Yes, yes. I had hoped to be able to raise far more than we raised.

LH: Funding is the ultimate endorsement.

RC: It is. That was very difficult.

LH: Suppose you had had the supposed minimum of $400,000. What other things would you have done?

RC: I did no polling, because I had no funds for that. I did very little advertising. I ran some radio ads in Worcester and Fall River. If I had had sufficient funds, I would have done radio and TV ads and some mail pieces. My opponent ran six or seven mail pieces. One mail piece is about a $60,000 or $70,000 item. So if I had had the funds to be able to do some direct mailing, particularly in Worcester area, that would have helped for name recognition.

LH: How does a challenger build name recognition?

RC: You've got to be able to buy direct mail pieces as well as advertising in such a way, and in such volume, that people begin to see your name.

LH: You were an unusually experienced rookie for a national race.

RC: Money is the name of the game. It takes a significant amount of money.
I invite you to take a look at Rick Boucher's reelection campaign committee membership (here), otherwise known as his Political Action Committee (PAC) donors in 2004. The list is staggering. What is revealed is that Boucher received campaign funds from 322 PAC's (give or take), in amounts ranging from $10 (from the Sierra Club Political Committee) to the following, each of which shelled out a whopping $10,000.
There were many more that wrote checks for $3000 to $5000. To one of the most ineffective members of Congress in office today.

It kinda makes your $8 donation to Kevin Triplett seem rather trifling, doesn't it?

Is it any wonder that 98% of our elected representatives in Washington who ran for reelection were rewarded with just that? And that we have a representative who works diligently to close the VCR taping loophole while his constituents who reside in Wise County are unable to drink their tap water because there is human waste floating in it?!

Rumsfeld Goes Where He's Loved

Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, the most villified man in politics today, save for John Bolton, John Negroponte, Condolleezza Rice, George W Bush, Trent Lott, Newt Gingrich, Dick Cheney, Antonin Scalia, Bill Frist, Tom Delay, Rick Santorum, Ann Coulter, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, and Ronald Reagan (still), knows where he is loved and revered.

Rumsfeld Appearance a Hit With Opry Fans
Associated Press

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- As members of the U.S. military watched on television via satellite from Iraq, Dolly Parton invited their boss, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, onstage at the Grand Ole Opry on Saturday.

The audience applauded as Rumsfeld appeared and thanked the troops serving in the military.

As people entered the auditorium for Saturday's show they were given postcards with "America supports you," printed on them. Audience members waved the cards and shouted their support to the troops watching on television. (link)

Don Rumsfeld on stage at the Grand Ole Opry. The Dixie Chicks waiting tables at the Chug & Puke. As it should be.

NY Times: Gun Ban Was a Waste of Effort

The New York Times reports today that the repeated predictions of their editorial staff last year that the end of the "assault weapons" ban would bring a wave of buyers to the gun stores and mayhem to the streets, the likes of which the world has never known, never came about.

What a shock.

Many Say End of Firearm Ban Changed Little
By DEBORAH SONTAG

Despite dire predictions that the streets would be awash in military-style guns, the expiration of the decade-long assault weapons ban last September has not set off a sustained surge in the weapons' sales, gun makers and sellers say. It also has not caused any noticeable increase in gun crime in the past seven months, according to several metropolitan police departments.

Assault weapons account for a small fraction of gun crimes: about 2 percent, according to most studies, and no more than 8 percent.

Gun crime has plummeted since the early 1990's. But a study for the National Institute of Justice said that it could not "clearly credit the ban with any of the nation's recent drop in gun violence."

Research for the study in several cities did show a significant decline in the criminal use of assault weapons during the ban. According to the study, however, that decline was offset by the "steady or rising use" of other guns equipped with high-capacity magazines - ammunition-feeding devices that hold more than 10 rounds.

The uneventful expiration of the assault weapons ban did not surprise gun owners, nor did it surprise some advocates of gun control. (link)

Reasonable people knew at the time, back in the Clinton days, that the dire warnings from the leftists and Democrats regarding so-called assault weapons was hogwash. And many of us knew that they knew it as well.

Of course, now that the results are in and their predictions proved to be fallacious, the Times reporter, unable to leave well enough alone, spins the reason there is no surge in buying weaponry or in violent crime. It's because the law was "porous." Of course.
The uneventful expiration of the assault weapons ban did not surprise gun owners, nor did it surprise some advocates of gun control. Rather, it underscored what many of them had said all along: that the ban was porous - so porous that assault weapons remained widely available throughout their prohibition.

"The whole time that the American public thought there was an assault weapons ban, there never really was one," said Kristen Rand, legislative director of the Violence Policy Center, a gun-control group.
Oh, and then there is the fact that those high-caliber messengers of death fell out of fashion. I think Ms. Sontag, the "reporter," is serious.
... law enforcement officials say that military-style weapons, which were never used in many gun crimes but did enjoy some vogue in the years before the ban took effect, seem to have gone out of style in criminal circles.

"Back in the early 90's, criminals wanted those Rambo-type weapons they could brandish," said Jim Pasco, executive director of the Fraternal Order of Police. "Today they are much happier with a 9-millimeter handgun they can stick in their belt."
If Ms. Sontag had interviewed any of the four million members of the NRA back when the assault weapons legislation was being debated (Can we assume she was out of diapers back then?), she would have learned that the firearms being targeted by radicals like Senator Dianne Feinstein were rarely used in the commission of a crime. But she didn't, and so the news, tens years later, is so fresh, she asked that the Times kill some trees just to put the startling discovery on the front page of the newspaper. Some things will never change.

Oh wait. Then we get to the real reason the article was written. The same Dianne Feinstein has introduced legislation to - drum roll - ban assault weapons.

Indeed, a replica of the ban is again before the Senate.

"In my view, the assault weapons legislation was working," said Senator Dianne Feinstein, Democrat of California, a chief sponsor of the new bill. "It was drying up supply and driving up prices. The number of those guns used in crimes dropped because they were less available."
This time, I guess, the legislation will effectively ban those fallen-out-of-favor rarely-used-in-commission-of-a-crime but still some-kind-of-threat "assault weapons."

For the love of God.

Hunting For Mayflies ... Or Something

I've gotten to where, whenever I see Verlyn Klinkenborg's name attached to a piece in the New York Times, I go to it with eagerness. Not because I'm going to be informed. Or provided with a point of view. Or that I'm going to be entertained. Rather, each time I slog through his meandering prose, I'm fascinated by the fact that someone high up in the Times' hierarchy must find Klinkenborg's bullshit literary. Go figure.

He must have read Hemingway and decided to emulate his writing style. The output of both are/were tedious, rambling, unfocused, prosaic. Dull. Boring.

Today's article by Klinkenborg has him out in Montana after a snowstorm at the height of a drought searching for mayflies. I provide - for your wonderment - a sampling of his composition. Pay close attention.
There was no sitting among the willows on the Beaverhead that day. The only way to stay warm was to walk the river, watching for bugs and fish. Fat robins stood on the tops of metal fence posts and chided me as earnestly as a kingfisher. A pair of northern harriers coasted over the willow tops and then rose on the breeze into the bleached cottonwoods and above. In the back channels of the river, soft ice had begun to form. It was almost exactly the color of the clouds hanging just overhead, still dropping snow that pattered against my rain hood. On land, I felt clumsy and encumbered. My boots gathered snow underfoot and the brush caught at my clothing. The way to move was through the water, along the shallows, crossing as needed. (link)
This is as good as he gets. Ever.

The mention of mayflies comes in the next-to-last paragraph in this discursive piece of work, after we endure references to "old men with long memories eating breakfast at the Blue Anchor in Twin Bridges" and to the drought being like a bad debt, "compounding itself day by day."

There is this perverse side of me that enjoys this crap. For two reasons. (1) Verlyn Klinkenborg is to literature what dyspepsia is to fine dining. (2) In the cultured circles of Manhattan, this guy's musings are revered.

Call it curiosity. Like standing on the hilltop watching the trainwreck being cleaned up.