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

Saturday, May 28, 2005

I Need Your Help

If any of you know anything about pigeons, you might be able to help me. Yes, pigeons. As long as Paula and I have lived here on Big Walker Mountain, we've never seen one - even fleetingly. I don't know why. We have masses of other wild creatures living here (including a raccoon that dug up some of Paula's potted flowers last night!). But never a pigeon. Maybe it's the altitude.

Well, several days ago, one landed on our roof. And has been there ever since.

It is a good-looking bird, as pigeons go, and is either a homing pigeon or a racing pigeon (are they one in the same?) because it has a band on both legs. It is tame enough. We can get within three feet of him/her/it - Paula is now climbing a ladder daily and dutifully feeding him/her/it - but no closer. So we've not been able to see what is printed on the leg bands - if anything.

She is assuming that the pigeon either became disoriented or hungry or tired or a combination of the three and has decided to stay.

The only time he leaves our roof is at night. He disappears - presumably to roost somewhere in a tree - only to return in the morning.

If you know what I need to do to return this little guy to its rightful owner, or if you're missing a pigeon, email me. I'm not looking forward to having to hose down the shingles on my roof.

What To Do With Those Cute, Cuddly Bears?

Bears are a growing problem here in Virginia. Down in this part of the state, they are considered pests much like folks in other parts of the country view raccoons and their nighttime garbage-can raids. Aggravatingly, the solution to the problem of bear invasion in the big city is to bring them out to our rural neighborhoods.

Thanks loads.
Bear goes back to country
By BILL FREEHLING, The Free Lance-Star


The black bear caught Thursday in Spotsylvania County's busy Four-Mile Fork area has a new home about 40 miles west of Fredericksburg.

The 120-pound animal was taken to a remote Piedmont area Thursday afternoon, said Ron Hughes, a wildlife biologist with the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries. (link)
My daughter called yesterday and said that a black bear had shown up at her next-door neighbor's house (at the base of Sand Mountain) and proceeded to rip their brand-new bird feeder post out of the ground and was last seen carrying off their brand-new bird feeder.

I'm thinking what we need to do to solve our problem with our overabundance of bears is to trap them and ship them up to the Richmond area where they can be released into a more favorable habitat, where there's lots of garbage for them to subsist on ... and plenty of bird lovers.

Judicial Madness

How far astray from the Constitution's framers' original intent have the courts strayed? When they demand that a cross erected 70 years ago to honor fallen World War I veterans be destroyed because it's now on public property.

High Noon at Sunrise Rock
The ACLU sues over a cross honoring fallen soldiers--and cashes in.
BY CHRISTOPHER LEVENICK, The Wall Street Journal

Just west of the California-Nevada border, 11 miles south of the freeway that connects San Diego with Las Vegas, a small hill rises above the sun-baked floor of the Mojave Desert. Atop that hill stands a six-foot cross, fashioned out of four-inch-diameter steel pipe. That dusty hilltop and its lonely marker just might become the scene of the most
significant church-state controversy since last year's fight over the Pledge of Allegiance.


In 1934, a gritty prospector named J. Riley Bembry gathered a couple of his fellow World War I veterans at Sunrise Rock. Together they erected the cross, in honor of their fallen comrades. The memorial has been privately maintained ever since, with small groups still occasionally meeting to remember the nation's veterans.

A wrinkle developed in 1994, when the federal government declared the surrounding area a national preserve. With the cross now located on newly public land, the memorial soon caught the attention of the American Civil Liberties Union. Working with Frank Buono, a retired park ranger turned professional activist, the ACLU demanded that the National Park Service tear down the cross.

Mr. Buono insists that his seeing the monument ("two to four times a year") violates his civil rights. A federal district court found in his favor, and the decision was subsequently upheld by the Ninth Circuit. Last-ditch attempts to deed Sunrise Rock over to the local Veterans of Foreign Wars were struck down in April. Defenders of the memorial hope to appeal, but their options are narrowing. (link)
I won't bore you to tears but it wasn't until 1947, in the case of Everson v Board of Education of Ewing Township which dealt with New Jersey's subsidizing transportation for students attending parochial schools, that the concept of "separation of church and state" arose. In that case, interestingly, the court ruled that the state could continue subsidizing the busing of kids to parochial schools.

But a theory was born. And has been elaborated upon and clarified and refined and adapted and reinforced - and inflated - to the point where the courts, in this case the whacky Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, have instructed the government to destroy a monument to soldiers killed in battle because it takes the shape of the cross and it's on public land.

And they want us to not disrespect them. For the love of God.