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

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Where's The G String?

What's up with the Olympics this year? I've seen more clothing on exotic dancers (not in person of course, only ... uh ... on cable). I can only surmise that some shrewd coach has figured that if this babe can keep the judge's eyes off her skating, she'll get bigger scores. Or something ...

Photo courtesy of the Washington Post

They Make My Head Hurt

Just a day after championing the rights of the individual in a Roanoke Times editorial decrying the attempt on the part of the Virginia House of Delegates to force pediatricians to not talk to clients about gun control (an editorial stance with which I agreed), the same editorial staff today denounces the House of Delegates for ... championing the rights of the individual:
A sensible ban up in smoke

A House of Delegates subcommittee Thursday snuffed out a smoking ban passed by the Senate, marking the triumph of a self-destructive minority over public health.

Opponents of a smoking ban in most public indoor areas cited rights of smokers and business owners.

But smokers' rights end at the lungs of nonsmokers. As Sen. Brandon Bell, sponsor of the measure, said, "The bottom line is that we're not talking about a smoker's right to smoke indoors. We're talking about my right not to breathe in 4,000 chemicals and 60 known carcinogens that are associated with secondhand smoke."

Non-smoking customers have a right to breathe safe air. So do non-smoking employees. Business owners don't have the right to subject them to unsafe conditions, and employees shouldn't have to choose whether they want to earn a living or breathe fresh air. (link)
When it comes to pornography on television, liberals would be the first to tell you, "You don't have to watch. Turn the channel." But when it comes to a restaurant - make that every restaurant on the planet - they demand that you follow their dictates, whether you like it or not, even if they never set foot in your place of business; even if every patron and employee smokes; even if a sign was prominently displayed at the entrance to the business establishment that reads, "WARNING. YOU ARE APPROACHING AN UNSAFE ENVIRONMENT. ENTER AT YOUR OWN RISK"; even if a signed waiver was required of every employee and customer entering into that unsafe environment that acknowledged the fact that he or she is of sound mind and had the legal capacity to understand the issues at hand and the actions he or she was about to undertake.

No. There'll be no freedom of choice when it comes to restaurants and smoking. No reasonableness. No "changing of the channel" or going to the smoke-free restaurant next door.

So much for championing the rights of the individual. It lasted a whole day.

These people make my head hurt.

Motel 6 Will Take Them

The United Methodist Church, one of the most liberal in America, has decided not to meet in Richmond in 2012. You're not going to believe the reason:
Braves strike out in Richmond
By Michael Hunsberger, The Washington Times

The United Methodist Church has rejected Richmond for its 2012 international conference because the city's minor league baseball team is named the Braves.

"Many Native Americans, if you ask them what they think about team mascots, will tell you that they find [them] to be demeaning," said Stephen Drachler, a spokesman for the United Methodist Church. (link)
It is not known if Drachler has ever spoken to a real brave ... er, Native American, or even been near one. It appears that some of them don't give a hoot:
Apparently, nobody asked Virginia's Monacan Nation, located near Lynchburg about 130 miles west of Richmond.

Kenneth Branham, Monacan chief, yesterday said, "The mascot thing has been blown out of proportion."
To completely muddle the issue, it turns out the Braves' mascot is actually ... a duck:
"... a big, happy, yellow one named "Diamond Duck," Braves spokesman John Emmett said.
We await word from the United Methodist Church on where the leadership stands on ... ducks. (And God for that matter, but I digress)

So, it turns out the gurus (I'm reluctant to call them ministers any more) that run the United Methodist Church have no clue what they are talking about. But then, the fact that their member churches have mostly empty pews each Sunday will attest to that fact.

Rumor has it, based on a rapidly declining membership, that the United Methodist Church is considering Ernie's Motel in Axehead, Maine for its "international conference." The seven rooms there will work out just fine.

Ancient History

99.9% of America has no idea how significant this occasion was at the time:
Fifty years ago today, the Soviet Union's new leader, Nikita Khrushchev, delivered a speech to the 20th Congress of the Communist Party that shook the entire communist world to its roots — and laid the groundwork for the eventual collapse of the Evil Empire.

In his so-called "secret speech" — word of it only leaked out slowly — Khrushchev did the unthinkable: He publicly denounced the late dictator Josef Stalin not only for "grave perversions of party principles" but for committing monstrous crimes against the entire Soviet people. (link)
I have a copy of that speech. It shook the world - even though the world didn't know about it at the time it was delivered. In my estimation, it was the most significant speech rendered in the 20th century.

So long ago. So momentous. So forgotten.

I Thought McCain Fixed This

There were those of us who scoffed at John McCain's goofy notion a few years ago that he could get the money out of politics. We didn't scoff for long though. He and Senator Russ Feingold got together and launched (successfully as it turned out) the most egregious assault on the First Amendment in my lifetime in a misguided and shameful effort to ... get the money out of politics. Our scoffing quickly turned to anger.

You may have heard of McCain-Feingold. It's a law that now prevents certain forms of political speech at election time (!) and took the money out of politics.

Well, as it turns out, half of that is true:
I.R.S. Finds Sharp Increase in Illegal Political Activity

The I.R.S. said yesterday that it saw a sharp increase in prohibited political activity by charities and churches in the last election cycle, a trend that it aims to reverse as the country heads into the midterm elections.

The infractions included distributing materials that encouraged people to vote for particular candidates and giving cash to campaigns. (link)
How awful. Better get McCain after them.

He'll get the money out of politics ... or have every one of these sunsabitchas imprisoned in the attempt.

Why Can't They Major In Basketball?

I've been wondering in recent years why athletes can't go to college and major in ... athletics. The subject came to mind again this morning when I read this headline in the New York Times:
Schools Where the Only Real Test Is Basketball (link)
It's a story about prep schools that structure their curricula for their most promising athletes around basketball - and nothing else.

That's extreme. But is it so wrong for, say, Virginia Tech to build a course of "studies" around athletics? If you're going to respond by telling me that an athletics degree does nothing to prepare a person for the outside world, check out the resume of one Professor Angela Davis, whose career is outlined in detail in today's Roanoke Times (and thank you for the accuracy). It reads in part:
She is now a tenured professor in the History of Consciousness Department at the University of California Santa Cruz.
History of consciousness. Not just a course, mind you. A whole freeking department.

So what will a degree in "history of consciousness" get you in later life? Besides a meaningless but lucrative job at the U.N. for a handful of you, it may get you noticed when you stand in the employment line at McDonald's. Next to most of the athletes that find themselves there now.

There's no mention in the article about whether Professor Davis' "conscience" is affected by such matters. She has a pretty good (six figure) gig taking money from the (rich, guilt-consumed, white) parents of susceptible young people who don't know any better, and from making speeches to enthralled groups that have no interest in the fact that a degree in the horseshit this woman teaches brings graduates all of a discount on a diet coke at their eventual place of employment.

Masters Degree in Power Forward. Advanced degree in the history of consciousness. Not a spit's worth of difference when you come down to it.

Wal-Mart 26 Million, Target 0

For those of you who have been wondering if I've caved to the pressure, the answer is no. My boycott of Target continues. Until the retail giant allows the Salvation Army bell-ringers to seek donations for the poor in front of their stores at Christmastime, I'll continue to do my part to drive them out of business.

It is hard to assess the effectiveness of my efforts but the numbers are coming in relating to the other retailer that does still think of those less fortunate at the one time of year when we should all be more charitable. More giving. Wal-Mart, by allowing the bell-ringers to set their buckets in front of its stores, helped raise a whole pile of cash for the needy:
Wal-Mart Customers Contributed More Than $26 Million for The Salvation Army's 2005 Red Kettle Campaign

BENTONVILLE, Ark., Feb. 21 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- As a result of an enhanced partnership between Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE: WMT) and The Salvation Army, the nation's largest retailer today announced it raised more than $26 million for The Salvation Army's Red Kettle campaign through in-store donations. Additionally, more than $17,000 was raised through online donations. The funds collected through the generous contributions of associates and customers represent a more than $9 million growth from 2004 and account for nearly 25% of the $107 million raised on behalf of The Salvation Army during the 2005 holiday season. (link)
I don't know if that $9 million increase (a healthy portion of which came from yours truly) made up for the loss the Salvation Army incurred when Target Stores banned their bell-ringers two seasons ago, but it had to be welcome news.

I encourage everyone to run over to Wal-Mart today and show your appreciation. From the latest demographic data, you'll all probably be there anyway.

And if you could pick me up some white socks, I'd be indebted.