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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, November 19, 2005

Trouble In Paradise

The Virginia Tech campus is seething. Aboil with racial hatred. Rife with overt oppressive subjugation of minorities. Either that or it has a few thousand teenagers in residence with time on their hands and mischief in their thoughts.

We all, of course, prefer the racism storyline. It's more exciting. Trendy. Unconscionable.

The latest act to expose the rise of the Klan on campus and the heavy hand of conservative Republicanism throughout the land is this news in the Roanoke Times:
Steger condemns more racist graffiti
By Kevin Miller, The Roanoke Times

Racially insensitive or inflammatory graffiti was written on a door in one of Tech's residence halls.

Virginia Tech administrators have once again found themselves having to respond to an incident of racist graffiti on campus.

Earlier this week, Tech President Charles Steger sent out a statement saying that he was "disappointed and deeply troubled that another incident of hate and intolerance occurred on our campus this semester."

This most recent incident apparently involved racially insensitive or inflammatory graffiti written on a door in one of Tech's residence halls. (link)
Neither college administrators nor left-wing newspapers are allowed to use the "N" word but you can bet that's what's involved here. That's why all these champions of free speech leave us with a confusing void as to what the crime is exactly.

Regardless, my experience on campus allows me to postulate the following:

Tell a bunch of bored college students, who are exploring their new-found independence being out on their own for the first time in their lives, not to do something and you can bet it's going to be done. Often.
In my day it was the "F" word. Any mention of or use of the "F" word in print or on the side of a wall and the worst kind of punishment will rain down on the perpetrator. So, in response to "the man's" hostile and oppressive attitude towards students' right to free expression, the word was used more often by students than "study" or "I understand, professor."

I remember my dormitory roommate once setting the stereo speakers up on the window ledge of our room, cranking up the volume full throttle, and blaring an MC5 tune across campus. The tune, like the rock group, was totally forgettable, but it included the words, "Kick out the jams, mother f**kers!" Now that was cool. Or stupid, depending.

Call it rebellion. Speaking truth to power. In reality it was just adolescent idiocy. A bunch of morons - including moi - getting their kicks and giggles in lieu of studying finite math.

But this reality cannot - will not - be tolerated. Virginia Tech is launching an investigation to determine what to do with the individuals (Republicans all - you can count on it) who committed this heinous crime. Everyone will issue statements. Again. The school will issue a diversity pledge. Again. Diversity experts will be brought to the area to counsel those who have been psychically harmed. Again. Virginia Tech will feel the need for Al Sharpton to come and explain the meaning of it all to the student body. Again. There'll be "coming-together" rallies on and off campus that will include a lot of "F" words. Again. There'll be protests against the four culprits, the university, KKK America, George W Bush, and the fact that the school cafeteria isn't vegetarian-friendly. Again.

And some kids will spraypaint the door of a campus building with the "N" word. Again.

God, I miss my college days.

Quote of the Day

The Clinton Legacy

It must be very frustrating to be Bill Clinton. The president who was obsessed with his "legacy" is unquestionably going to be overshadowed in history by his successor--and that's true even if, or perhaps we should say especially if, President Bush's detractors are right and he's the most godawful president in world history. Anyway, the Austin American-Statesman reports on an appearance by Madeleine Albright, Clinton's secretary of state, who made a weak effort to burnish her erstwhile boss's legacy:

Albright criticized the Bush administration for "a deliberate way of not learning the lessons" of Clinton's efforts to make peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians. She said Clinton had so impressed the Arabs that he "could be elected president of any country" in the Middle East.

How many countries in the Middle East even had free elections when Bill Clinton was president? If you limit it to Arab countries, you can count them on the fingers of one foot.

James Taranto, Best of the Web, November 18, 2005

Tellin' It Like It Is

John Ellis, writing in the world's premier newspaper, disparages the worthiness of second-rate newspapers and the companies that own them. I couldn't agree with him more.
For Sale -- Mostly Second-Rate Newspapers
By JOHN ELLIS, The Wall Street Journal


Knight Ridder has been publishing mostly second-rate newspapers for as long as anyone can remember. Its strategy has been straightforward: Leverage de facto monopoly newspaper status in individual cities into ownership of the classified advertising business in those communities. With high-speed broadband and wireless access now a fact for most Americans, consumers are no longer at the mercy of second-rate information providers. They can get better, more reliable information, faster, on their computer or on their hand-held devices. Unsurprisingly, they are abandoning second-rate information providers at an escalating pace. (link)

Included in that list of second-rate Kmight Ridder properties are the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Miami Herald, and the San Jose Mercury News, all of which have two things in common - they have reasonably large circulation and they all suck.

Though not owned by Knight Ridder, I would include the Detroit News - once my favorite newspaper except for the Wall Street Journal - on my list of once-venerable newspapers that now are hollow shells relying on former greatness for their reputations.

Oh, and I should include USA Today, which should be banned by government decree.

It's sad. I always enjoyed the morning paper. Now I can read six or seven a day and find the same AP and UPI content in every one; the only difference between them being their relative hatred of George Bush, both in news articles and on editorial pages.

Where will this decline end? Nobody knows, but it ain't going to be pretty.

Hero From Olympus or Tottering Old Fool

I chuckled when I read the praise that the Roanoke Times heaped upon Congressman John Murtha, (D-Vietnam) after he announced his desire that we immediately retreat from Iraq. Get this (from today's article, "Debate belongs in Congress"):

U.S. Rep. John Murtha would know better than most that the war in Iraq "is a flawed policy wrapped in an illusion."

Before Thursday, Murtha's name and influence weren't well known outside Pennsylvania or Washington, D.C., where it is legendary. He might not carry the name recognition of Sen. John McCain, but he is McCain's peer when it comes to military service and knowledge of national defense.

Which is to say Murtha's credentials far outrank those of President Bush and Vice President Cheney, who both sat out the Vietnam War. (link)

John Murtha toted a rifle in Vietnam four decades ago so he's more than qualified to speak to foreign policy matters, you see.

Leaving aside the fact that Murtha has been against the Iraq war from the beginning, and the fact that his idea of our retreating in the face of an enemy hell-bent on killing us all is morally reprehensible, and the fact that Murtha's mind took the United shuttle to lalaland two decades ago, the Roanoke Times - in saying "Murtha's credentials far outrank those of President Bush and Vice President Cheney" - must have you overlook the uncomfortable facts that Dick Cheney ran the most powerful military organization in the history of mankind as Secretary of Defense and that President Bush was Commander-in-Chief of those forces who were victorious in Afganistan and are now working to bring victory in Iraq. Credentials indeed.

So. When we enter into a discussion about foreign policy, whose credentials really outrank? The Commander-in-Chief, the Secretary of Defense or an enlisted soldier who fought in a war 40 years ago and who thinks terrorism began - not at Kobar Towers, not with Leon Klinghoffer's execution, not with the Beirut barracks bombing, not with the World Trade Center Towers bombing, not with the bombing of the USS Cole, not with the simultaneous bombing of two American embassies in Africa, not on 9/11, but at Abu Ghraib:
[Margaret] Warner [on The NewsHour With Jim Lehrer]: But may I ask you, sir, if you believe--[the president] says--for whatever reason, Iraq has become the center of terrorism - that if the U.S. appears to retreat in the face of that, that it will be a blow to the American fight against radical Islamic terrorism? What do you say to that?

Murtha: Well, I say that the fight against Americans began with Abu Ghraib. It began with the invasion of Iraq. That's when terrorism started. It didn't start when there was criticism of this administration. This administration doesn't want to listen to any ideas. (link)
Credentials are one thing. Credibility is another. And then there's sheer lunacy.

So please. Don't insult our intelligence by trying to make the babbling incoherence of a tottering old dolt something it's not.

The New Religion

I want you to read this (from Verlyn Klinkenborg, "The Grandeur of Evolution in a New Exhibition Called 'Darwin'," The New York Times) (link)
It is possible to say, in fact, that humans did not begin to understand their place in nature until 1859. I found myself wondering, oddly, what it must have been like to be alive at such a revolutionary moment. But we live in a moment that is no less revolutionary. "Our ignorance of the laws of variation is profound," Darwin wrote. In our time - the DNA era - the mechanisms of those laws have been revealed in ways that Darwin could only dream of, and in ways that confirm the essentials of his theory beyond a shadow of a doubt.
"... humans did not begin to understand their place in nature until 1859.

"... beyond the shadow of a doubt."

The arrogance.

Christians are vilified by the likes of Verlyn Klinkenborg for making such provincial and absolutist statements. Verlyn is the classic true believer. He's no different from the person who finds the image of God on the underside of a pirogi. Like the old woman who finds God speaking to her through her pet cat. Like them, he's unwilling to believe anything else. But what of those hundreds of millions of people who may disagree with him?

Neanderthals. Worse, the proletariat.

So what guides Verlyn's belief system?

Faith. How else to explain this:
The new exhibition called "Darwin" at the American Museum of Natural History portrays the making of the man and the scientist, and it reminds us how well and how fully evolution explains the life around us [my emphasis]. It also captures the way Darwin's theory opened an entirely new window in the human imagination.
For those of you who have studied the matter, does evolution theory explain life? In any way? Did Darwin attempt to explain how life begins? What happens to it when it ends?

No he didn't.

Verlyn just wants to believe he did. He needs to believe. He has nothing else.

Darwin theorized that species evolved from other species. The science that evolved, called "the theory of evolution," explains how tiny one-celled creatures became tadpoles, became frogs, became alligators, became Tyrannosaurus rex, became - oops - reverted to apes - somehow - and became humans. From which evolved Manhattanites, like Verlyn Klinkenborg.

As for me, I believe the theory of evolution is a powerful one but there are holes in it you could drive a truck through (someone explain the dinosaurs!). Just ask Michael Behe.

Or do what I do. Ask God for guidance in the matter.