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

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Will This Tragedy Never End?

There are those in this country who have forgotten why we're chasing after terrorists across the globe. This should (but won't) be a reminder:
More Remains Found at World Trade Center
The Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) -- An additional 150 tiny bone fragments have been recovered from the rooftop of a skyscraper near the World Trade Center site, a spokeswoman for the medical examiner's office said.

The latest remains were recovered at the end of last week, and one more week of recovery work on the roof is planned, Ellen Borakove, spokeswoman for the medical examiner's office, said Monday.

The recovered remains are among thousands still unidentified more than four years after the 2001 attacks. Borakove said they will be tested for DNA with the hope of identifying more victims. (link)

It's going on five years and they're still searching for - and recovering body parts of - those killed by Islamist terrorists.

And the media focuses all its attention on the perceived malevolence of the Bush administration.

For the love of God.

Want To Make a Quick $2400?

I was a bit taken aback when I read this in Business Week magazine:
France's Plan: Pay 'Em To Go Home
By Carol Matlack

As demonstrations intensify and legislation stalls in the U.S. over the status of illegal immigrants, France has been taking another tack. It's offering cash payments -- the equivalent of about $2,400 per adult and $600 per child -- to illegals who agree to return to their native countries. (link)
Shoot. Look no further, fellas ... er, bon monsieurs. If all I have to do is sneak into your country and be offered 2400 bucks to leave, well, I'll be there in the morning!

What I can't figure out is this:
The government began to offer the payments last September but so far has found fewer than 200 takers. Now, law-and-order Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy is urging officials to cut the program's red tape to make participation easier, according to the French daily Le Figaro, which obtained a copy of an Interior Ministry memo sent to local officials. But critics say the payments are too low to entice many of France's estimated 400,000 illegals to say adieu.
No takers? To leave France? My worst nightmare involves waking up one morning and finding myself mysteriously transported to Paris and being unable to get out fast enough.

That's not to say, though, that I won't hold out for that $2400. Mama didn't raise no fool.

I Predicted This

When the horrific story came out that an East Tennessee family had been attacked by a black bear down in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and that a six-year old girl had been dragged off and killed, I told Paula I pity the first bear the authorities come upon when they begin their subsequent hunt for the killer. He or she is going to be dead meat. Whether guilty or innocent. The search party did in fact come upon a bear in the forest, declared it to be the killer mammal, and summarily executed it.

Now some spoilsport has expressed doubts about whether the bear that was caught and killed was in fact the murderer:
Euthanized Bear May Not Be Guilty Of Killing A 6-Year Old Girl Last Week
News Channel 11 Staff Reports

A bear euthanized Sunday and suspected of killing a 6-year old girl last week may not be the bear responsible for the attack.

Officials say they shot the bear they saw standing over the body of the girl last week, but the bear caught Sunday has no signs of any bullet wounds. (link)

Since today is movie day (see below), I have to bring up the Clint Eastwood flick, "Hang 'Em High" at this point. Remember the opening scene?

Clint and the snuffed bear had a few things in common. A posse. And the need for revenge.

Frightened Little Children

Yesterday I made mention of the action taken by the Board of Supervisors in Patrick County, Virginia to ban the looming menace of ... wind turbines. The imminent peril was so weighty that the board felt it necessary to pass "emergency" legislation, lest the windmills begin their rampage through the countryside. By their timely action, we were saved - just in the nick of time. We owe these brave men and women our thanks. Our children can sleep all snug in their beds from now on as a result of the swift and decisive actions of this courageous bunch. It seems.

In the course of my illuminating the details of this story, I referred tangentially to the bizarre panic that erupted from the airing of "The War of the Worlds" in 1938. Here's a bit of the coverage of the event that appeared in the New York Times the day after:
Radio Listeners in Panic, Taking War Drama as Fact
Many Flee Homes to Escape 'Gas Raid From Mars'--Phone Calls Swamp Police at Broadcast of Wells Fantasy

[Oct. 31, 1938]

A wave of mass hysteria seized thousands of radio listeners between 8:15 and 9:30 o'clock last night when a broadcast of a dramatization of H. G. Wells's fantasy, "The War of the Worlds," led thousands to believe that an interplanetary conflict had started with invading Martians spreading wide death and destruction in New Jersey and New York.

The broadcast, which disrupted households, interrupted religious services, created traffic jams and clogged communications systems, was made by Orson Welles, who as the radio character, "The Shadow," used to give "the creeps" to countless child listeners. This time at least a score of adults required medical treatment for shock and hysteria. (link)
"... shock and hysteria." What morons, right? How could those beaners get caught up in such idiocy? Right?

Flash-forward to 2006. Richard Cohen went to the movies the other day. He looked on in fear as the world once again came under assault. This time though, it had nothing to with martians:
A Campaign Gore Can't Lose
By Richard Cohen, Writing in the Washington Post

Boring Al Gore has made a movie. It is on the most boring of all subjects -- global warming. It is more than 80 minutes long, and the first two or three go by slowly enough that you can notice that Gore has gained weight and that his speech still seems oddly out of sync. But a moment later, I promise, you will be captivated, and then riveted and then scared out of your wits. Our Earth is going to hell in a handbasket.

You will see the Arctic and Antarctic ice caps melting. You will see Greenland oozing into the sea. You will see the atmosphere polluted with greenhouse gases that block heat from escaping. You will see photos from space of what the ice caps looked like once and what they look like now and, in animation, you will see how high the oceans might rise. Shanghai and Calcutta swamped. Much of Florida, too. The water takes a hunk of New York. The fuss about what to do with Ground Zero will turn to naught. It will be underwater. (link)

I'll let you catch your breath and calm down before I bring this startling statistic into the discussion: The earth has warmed 1° (f) in the last 100 years (source). No matter. The martians are among us!:
The case Gore makes is worthy of sleepless nights: Our Earth is in extremis . It's not just that polar bears are drowning because they cannot reach receding ice flows or that "The Snows of Kilimanjaro" will exist someday only as a Hemingway short story -- we can all live with that. It's rather that Hurricane Katrina is not past but prologue. In the future, people will not yearn for the winters of yesteryear but for the summers. Katrina produced several hundred thousand evacuees. The flooding of Calcutta would produce many millions. We are in for an awful time. [emphasis in the original]
Good Lord. Remind me not to get in the same lifeboat with this guy.

We Expect Them To Fail?

Sometimes, when we have the best of intentions, we can be so very cruel:

AP: States omit minorities' school scores
By Nicole Ziegler Dizon, Ben Feller and FrankBass, Associated Press Writers

Laquanya Agnew and Victoria Duncan share a desk, a love of reading and a passion for learning. But because of a loophole in the No Child Left Behind Act, one second-grader's score in Tennessee counts more than the other's. That is because Laquanya is black, and Victoria is white.

The AP found that ...minorities - who historically haven't fared as well as whites in testing - make up the vast majority of students whose scores are excluded.

Tennessee schools have federal permission to exclude students' scores in required racial categories if there are fewer than 45 students in a group. (link)
This invidious practice seems to be worst in West Virginia:

Test scores not counted
State not reporting half of black students' scores
By The Associated Press

West Virginia is not counting the test scores of more than half its black students under the federal No Child Left Behind law, an Associated Press computer analysis has found. (link)
This reminds me of the Nuremberg Laws from the 1930's. We've made such progress over time. We think we've learned. That we're above what went on back then.

I wonder if we've learned anything.