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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, May 03, 2005

Any Second Thoughts, Judge Greer?

In circumstances hauntingly similar to those Terri Schiavo endured, before a judge in Florida ordered her starved to death, a Buffalo firefighter suddenly came back from a debilitating brain injury and started talking to friends and family members - after ten years of mental dysfunction.
No Explanation for Firefighter's Recovery
By MALCOLM RITTER, AP Science Writer


Nearly 10 years after a brain injury left a firefighter virtually mute, he suddenly started talking to his wife and sons last weekend. A couple of years ago, it happened with a severely injured car accident victim who'd spent 19 years in silence.

And before that, a paralyzed policeman whose brain had been damaged in a shooting suddenly regained his speech after eight years.

Normally, brain-injured patients who get better do so within the first five years, especially in the first two years, and usually the change is gradual.

The latest case involves firefighter Donald Herbert, 43, who has lived at a nursing home in suburban Buffalo, for more than seven years.

In December 1995, the roof of a burning home collapsed on him. He went without oxygen for several minutes before he was rescued, and he ended up blind with little, if any, memory. He was largely mute and showed little awareness of his surroundings.

But last Saturday, he suddenly asked for his wife, Linda. And over the next 14 hours, until he fell asleep early Sunday morning, he chatted with her, his four sons and other family and friends, catching up on what he'd missed.

"How long have I been away?" Herbert had asked.

"We told him almost 10 years," said his uncle, Simon Manka. "He thought it was only three months."

A steady stream of visitors arrived at the Father Baker Manor nursing home in Orchard Park to see the fireman, whose plight had been a major local news story when the fire and accident happened.

Herbert's sons were 14, 13, 11 and 3 when he was injured. (link)
No word yet on whether the American judicial system will order him starved to death anyway.

They're Coming Around

Since President Bush launched his campaign to overhaul Social Security, I made clear the three options open to lawmakers (not including the turbid private accounts initiative). They are:
  • Raise taxes
  • Reduce monthly benefits
  • Raise the age of eligibility

After analyzing the strengths and weaknesses of each approach, I came to the conclusion that the most viable - and least painful - fix is to simply raise the age at which people can start collecting their retirement benefit, probably to age 71 or 72.

Now, all the smart people are coming around to my way of thinking, one at a time.

Why not raise retirement age?

Expert says it would fix Social Security, but it’s political trouble
By David Gregory, White House correspondent, NBC News

WASHINGTON - The idea of raising the retirement age has somehow been lost in the debate over changing Social Security for today’s workers. And yet it seems to be the most obvious.

After all, experts say, the retirement program President Franklin Delano Roosevelt started never envisioned retirees’ living as long as they do now — on average at least a decade longer.

"As a result, it now costs an awful lot more money than anybody ever expected 70 years ago," says David John with the Heritage Foundation.

The Social Security retirement age is now 65, but it's slowly going up. For those born in 1960 or later it will be 67. But experts say you would have to raise it quickly to 72 over the next several years to make a real dent in the program's shaky finances.

"If you raised it to something like 72 and then kept on going in future years, that would pretty much solve problem," says John. (link)

And Jerry ...

Those Germans and Their Fast Cars

There is probably a joke in this story but I'm still scratching my head over the story itself.

Tourist terrified by 100mph tow

A tourist whose car broke down feared for his life after another motorist offered him a tow but then pulled him down a motorway at 100mph.

The tourist, 36, from Poland said he was amazed at the friendliness of the German after a man pulled over to offer him help.

"He offered to tow me to the next service station which was just a few miles down the road, and got out a rope from the boot of his car," the Polish man told police.

But just minutes after setting off, the German began to accelerate and dragged the hapless Pole down the busy A9 motorway in Thuringia, overtaking numerous cars and swapping lanes, at 100 mph.

He only stopped after crashing into a construction site that left both cars badly damaged.

A police spokesman said it had been a 'miracle' neither driver was injured in the crash, or that they had not crashed into any other vehicles on the motorway.

The man from Stendal has now been charged with dangerous driving and endangering lives. (link)

The lesson to be learned? Call AAA.

Judicial Fog

First the supreme lawmakers of the land decree that teenagers are not old enough to understand the implications of any actions they may undertake in the way of premeditated murder - because their brains are too underdeveloped. Now a state court in Florida has determined that a 13 year-old girl is old enough - and mature enough - her brain is developed enough - to decide on her own that she should have an abortion.

Can somebody explain all this to me?
Florida ends fight against abortion for 13-yr-old
By Jim Loney


MIAMI (Reuters) - Florida dropped its fight on Tuesday to prevent a 13-year-old girl in state care from having an abortion in a case that marked the state's second recent foray into controversial personal rights issues.

Weeks after it unsuccessfully tried to intervene in the bitter dispute over the fate of a brain-damaged woman, Terri Schiavo, the state's Department of Children & Families said it would not appeal a ruling from a Palm Beach state court allowing the teenager to have an abortion.

"There will be no further appeals and we will respectfully comply with the court's decision," DCF District Manager Marilyn Munoz said in a written statement.

It was not immediately known if the girl, who is 14 weeks pregnant, had had the abortion. (link)

So which is it? What is the law these days when it comes to teenagers and their decision-making capapbility? Let me give you a hint. It's whatever they want it to mean. They are the law.

Show Me Your Scars

While each plantation had its own set of social, religious, and labor codes, all had the basic format for an instilled hierarchy in which the slavemaster reigned as gad. He maintained the element of slave misery, by controlling the degree of pain.

*Treatments were given such as mutilation, branding, chaining, and murder which were supposedly regulated or prohibited by law.

*Whipings (sic), beatings, drownings, and hangings were as unpredictable as they were gruesome.

*It was clear to plantation owners that slavery cold not survive without the whip (even though owners were forbidden to deliberately kill or maliciously mutilate a slave). Males and females were whipped indiscriminately. The severity of whipping depended on the number of strokes to the type of whip. Fifteen to twenty lashes were generally sufficient, but they could range much higher.

* Other items used for punishments included stocks, chains, collars, and irons.

*Slaves could also be hanged or burned at the stake.

*Women could be raped by the owner of the plantation, his sons or, any white male. (from the text Slavery In British America and the United States)

Those Americans who endured the beatings, the rapes, the chains, and the starvation must look down on the sight of scum like "Minister" Louis Farrakhan, the "Reverend" Jesse Jackson, and the "Reverend" Al Sharpton with rage. And sorrow.

The three apostles of slavedom met yesterday, along with a host of other race-baiters to announce the formation of another march - this time on Washington - to call attention to the plight of America's poor black citizenry. If that were all it was, I'd join the march myself.

Farrakhan Plans Millions-Strong Fete to March
BY JOSH GERSTEIN - Staff Reporter of the New York Sun

Flanked by respected leaders in the African-American community, the leader of the Nation of Islam, Minister Louis Farrakhan, yesterday announced plans to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Million Man March by bringing millions of black men and women to the nation's capital in October. (
link)
My problem with charlatans like Farrakhan is that they use the slaves of the 18th and 19th century (totally defenseless in life and now unable to fend off the likes of Farrakhan in death), for political - and monetary - gain. And in the course of their efforts, they spread hate - and enrich themselves.

"'How could you be in a room with racists?' We've been in a room with you for 400 years," Minister Farrakhan continued. "'How could you be in a room with those who are divisive?' When you brought us here, we weren't integrated. We were in the holds of ships. ... [my emphasis]. Don't accuse us of being divisive."
The spitual leader of the Nation of Islam spoke of the shackles and the pain and suffering his people have endured for over 400 years. Of the systematic degredation and imprisonment of a race of people who have been enslaved by the system only because of the color of their skin.

As I read this, I could see the scars created by the lash across his back; the dripping blood from the yoke that had been affixed around his neck, the bones protruding beneath taut flesh, the result of years of neglect and malnutrition. I could envision his wife and children being torn away from him and sold to a plantation master from down Mississippi way, the children, one clutching her mother's breast, screaming, pleading not to be taken away from their father.

And then I remembered that this was Louis Farrakhan's gig. This is how he makes his millions. There are no scars. He's never been shackled. His family, whenever I see them with him, are all decked out in much finer clothing than I've ever been able to afford. And for a man who talks of the suffering and privation his people are having to endure, the rotund voice of the enslaved certainly looks like he hasn't missed a meal of late.

His act works. For some inexplicable reason, there is a segment of the populace that eats his bullshit up. Including "soul and hip-hop artists" like Erykah Badu.

"This is the beginning of the new world," she said as she pledged her backing for the anniversary march. "This is the beginning of the freedom of the slaves and the slave masters."
How pitiful is that? Another rich black chick pretending to be suffering under the master's whip.

Show me your scars, babe. Tell me about the suffering you've endured. Tell me about the sting of the lash. I want to hear the stories about your immediate family members who were hanged or butchered. I want you to tell me of the time - any time - you've talked to anyone who has ever been enslaved.

If you can't - and you can't - then stop it. All of you. You degrade yourselves and shame your ancestors. You have no more right to talk about your "enslavement" than I can make up stories about my own sufferings because I may have had a distant ancestor who came to America as an indentured servant 400 hundred years ago.

Shame on all of you.

When a new hand, one unaccustomed to the business, is sent for the first time into the field, he is whipped up smartly, and made for that day to pick as fast as he can possibly. At night it is weighed, so that his capability in cotton picking is known. He must bring in the same weight each night following. If it falls short, it is considered evidence that he has been laggard, and a greater or less number of lashes is the penalty...

The hands are required to be in the cotton field as soon as it is light in the morning, and, with the exception of ten or fifteen minutes, which is given them at noon to swallow their allowance of cold bacon, they are not permitted to be a moment idle until it is too dark to see, and when the moon is full, they often times labor till the middle of the night. They do not dare to stop even at dinner time, nor return to the quarters, however late it be, until the order to halt is given by the driver...

No matter how fatigued and weary he may be - no matter how much he longs for sleep and rest - a slave never approaches the gin-house with his basket of cotton but with fear. If it falls short in weight- if he has not performed the full task appointed him, he knows that he must suffer...


This done, the labor of the day is not yet ended, by any means. Each one must then attend to his respective chores. One feeds the mules, another the swine - another cuts the wood, and so forth; besides, the packing is all done by candle light. Finally, at a late hour, they reach the quarters, sleepy and overcome with the long day's toil. Then a fire must be kindled in the cabin, the corn ground in the small hand-mill, and
supper, and dinner for the next day in the field, prepared. All that is allowed them is corn and bacon, which is given out at the corncrib and smoke-house every Sunday morning....

When it is "done brown:' the ashes are scraped off, and being placed upon a chip, which answers for a table, the tenant of the slave hut is ready to sit down upon the ground to supper. By this time it is usually midnight. The same fear of punishment with which they approach the gin-house, possesses them again on lying down to get a snatch of rest. It is the fear of oversleeping in the morning. Such an offense would certainly be attended with not less than twenty lashes .. .

An hour before day light the horn is blown.... Then the fears and labors of another day begin; and until its close there is no such thing as rest. He fears he will be caught lagging through the day; he fears to approach the gin-house with his basket-load of cotton at night; he fears, when he lies down, that he will-oversleep himself in the morning. (
link)

Solomon Northup, a slave

Your booty might be bigga
But I still can pull your nigga
But I don't want him
Ya got sugar on your pita
But ya nigga thinks I'm sweeter
But I don't want him
Ya know the whole encyclopedia
But ya nigga thinks I'm deeper
But I don't want him
Got a whole lot a junk off in ya trunk
But ya nigga think I'm live and I keep him crunk
I don't want him

Erykah Badu, "Booty"

Dawn of a New Age or Wishful Thinking?

This is an interesting development in the world of the weblog.

Three Political Web Logs Make a Run for the Mainstream
BY RODERICK BOYD - Staff Reporter of the New York Sun

In a dramatic sign that Web logs are going mainstream, three of the largest political blogs are banding together to form what is believed to be a first-of-its kind ad-supported network.

To broaden their appeal beyond national security issues, the three - ArmedLiberal.com, RogerLSimon.com, and LittleGreenFootballs.com - will receive editorial advice from the owner of one of the most heavily trafficked blogs, Instapundit.com's Glenn Reynolds, among others.

The venture will be called Pajamas Media, a not-so-subtle reference to the September remarks of a CNN executive, Jonathan Klein, who said a typical blogger has "no checks and balances" and is just "a guy sitting in his living room in his pajamas."

No launch date has been set.

The idea of Pajamas Media is to use an extensive network of globally affiliated blogs to provide first-person, in-depth coverage of most major news events, including both camera and video footage, Roger Simon said. (
link)

Will it catch on? Who knows. But that's the mystique surrounding the weblog world.

"Round and round she goes. Where she stops, nobody knows."

Newspaper Circulation Declines

A decades-long trend is starting to cause serious problems.
Newspaper Circulation Continues to Decline
Internet, Cable Cited as Competition
By Annys Shin, Washington Post Staff Writer


Circulation at 814 of the nation's largest daily newspapers declined 1.9 percent over the six months ended March 31 compared with the same period last year, an industry trade group reported yesterday.

The decline continued a 20-year trend in the newspaper industry as people increasingly turn to other media such as the Internet and 24-hour cable news networks for information.

Newspaper industry officials also blamed the National Do Not Call Registry, which has forced newspapers to rely less on telemarketing to secure subscribers, and a shift in strategy among major newspapers away from using short-term promotions to acquire new readers. (link)

They can't telemarket. Yeah, that's the reason people have turned away from the New York Times, the Washington Post, and the LA Times. It has nothing to do with the liberal slant, the fraulent reporting, and the presence of literary giants like Maureen Dowd, Richard Cohen, and Bob Herbert.