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

Saturday, April 29, 2006

A Look To My Past

Wedding day. January 19, 1921. The two handsome people seated in the center of this aging and somewhat faded photograph are my father's parents. At the time, if memory serves, he was a World War I veteran and a then-lumberjack (in the vast forests of northern Wisconsin) and she was or had been a housekeeper. A simple beginning to a marriage that would soon produce my father and eventually ... me.

I have fond recollections of my grandfather. He eventually settled in a fine home in Gresham, Wisconsin, out of which my brothers, sister, and I had some great summer adventures. A rather gruff old guy, he spoke with a guttural German accent (this part of Wisconsin was originally populated mostly by immigrants from nordöstlich Deutschland, and Indians) and is remembered as having a fine cigar with him at most times (I carry on that tradition - to a lesser extent).

I didn't know my grandmother. She died at a young age, before my father went off to carry on what almost became another family tradition - fighting Germans - this time in World War II. And she rarely came up in conversation in all the years my father and I were together. So Ida Majeske Fuhrman's life has faded into history. Our loss.

So many years have passed since this photo was taken. So many triumphs. Tragedies. Good times and bad. A lot more good than bad. Thanks to them.

I Appreciate Good Writing

Paula gets peeved with me (there's a news flash) on infrequent occasions over the fact that I never finish reading 80% of the books I start. About four in five I'll slam shut at one point or another and declare it worthless and going nowhere. But I'm the kind of person who doesn't intend to waste any more of my time than is necessary on mediocre literature. And the book stores are overflowing with dull, monotonous, predictable, unenlightened, unenlightening prose written by authors who have no business being published. Included are a number of the most popular authors in America. Steven King (too often) comes to mind.

Well, I started reading E.L. Doctorow's "The March" last night. Here's the first sentence:
At five in the morning someone banging on the door and shouting, her husband, John, leaping out of bed, grabbing his rifle, and Roscoe at the same time roused from the back-house, his bare feet pounding: Mattie hurriedly put on her robe, her mind prepared for the alarm of war, but the heart stricken that it would finally have to come, and down the stairs she flew to see through the open door in the lamplight, at the steps of the portico, the two horses, steam rising from their flanks, their heads lifting, their eyes wild, the driver a young darkie with rounded shoulders, showing stolid patience even in this, and the woman standing in her carriage no one but her aunt Letitia Pettibone of McDonough, her elderly face drawn in anguish, her hair a straggled mess, this woman of such fine grooming, this dowager who practically ruled the season in Atlanta standing up in the equipage like some hag of doom, which indeed she would prove to be.
Again, that's the first sentence. The plot is beginning to take shape. Important characters are introduced and gain definition. Much of the preliminary ground is covered.

I can't think of another author writing today who could have pulled that sentence off without it drifting into meaningless hokum.

If the second sentence is as good as the first, who knows, I may finish this book.

They Don't Really Mean It

In 1992 liberals were anguishing over the fate of starving children in Somalia. Remember? In response to the evening network news footage showing emaciated babies dying in refugee camps, President Bush (the elder) sent in the Marines to bring order to the chaos and to see to it that the children received food and medical treatment. We were there doing good.

The next year however brought conflict to Mogadishu. Resistance. Our military sustained 91 casualties - including 18 killed - at the hands of a local "warlord." Suuport for our presence in Somalia immediately evaporated and President Clinton withdrew all U.S. troops.

Starving children be damned.

In 2002 the United States Congress voted overwhelmingly to authorize President Bush (the younger) to go to war against Saddam Hussein and to end the suffering of the Iraqi people. Those in favor of war included a sizeable number of liberal Democrats. (link)

Iraq was summarily invaded and Saddam's military forces were destroyed.

Then began the occupation. As soon casualties began to mount as the result of relentless terror attacks against American and newly formed Iraqi units, the Democrats in this country turned against the war, with a growing number of party leaders demanding that we immediately evacuate the country. To cut and run.

Somalia all over again.

Well, they're starting it again.

Now the liberals are shedding tears over the fate of starving children in Darfur (that would be just west as the vulture flies from Somalia), and, as hard as it is to believe, they are demanding that we intervene there. Some are even willing to spend a few minutes in jail to show how committed they are - this time:
Moran arrested at Darfur protest
By Peter Hardin, Richmond Times-Dispatch Washington Correspondent

WASHINGTON - Rep. James P. Moran, D-8th, was one of five members of Congress arrested yesterday in a peaceful protest at the Sudanese Embassy.

The lawmakers were protesting the Sudanese government's role in atrocities in the Darfur region.

"The Sudanese government is carrying out a horrible genocide in Darfur," Moran said in a statement. "They are rebuffing attempts to allow U.N. forces into the region that would bolster the African Union soldiers currently struggling unsuccessfully to quell the violence."

Also arrested were Reps. Tom Lantos, D-Calif., a Holocaust survivor and founder of the Congressional Human Rights Caucus; Jim McGovern, D-Mass.; John W. Olver, D-Mass.; and Sheila Jackson-Lee, D-Texas; and six other protesters. (link)
And leftist Congresspersons aren't the only ones getting in on the act. Here's an editorial from the Roanoke Times this morning:
Never, again and again

Two years ago, President Bush and Congress condemned the atrocities in the Darfur region of Sudan. Sticking a label of genocide on the slaughter of hundreds of thousands of people didn't save lives.

Nor did the futile gesture last year by the U.S. to support the African Union as the preferred force to enter Darfur with 7,000 insufficiently trained and poorly equipped troops.

The murders, rapes and massive diaspora of millions of people continue unabated; disease spreads, food runs short. Shamefully, two years after the world recognized the genocide, Darfur remains a horrendous crime scene, and conditions worsen. (link)
Wow, does that reek of sincerity.

Anyway, now the left is demanding that we intervene in Darfur.

But do they really mean it this time? Or is this just more of the same feel-good hand wringing, muddled thinking, and cowardly bluster for which these people are becoming famous? After all, the citizens of Baghdad are suffering every bit as much today as are the people of Darfur but the left demands that we retreat from Iraq. "Misery and death? Executions and bombings? That's too bad. We're sustaining casualties. Bye bye."

If we listen to this bunch and send troops to the Sudan, it won't be long, once a teenager with an AK-47 successfully injures an American soldier, before this same crowd will be decrying the slaughter that WE brought about there and will be calling for a withdrawal of our troops. Again.

So let them whine. Let them stage their insincere protests. Put up with their meaningless editorials. They have proven their inability to back up their talk with purposeful resolve. They will cut and run again. Guaranteed.

We're Getting There

The feds are starting to round up all our illegal aliens:
Agents nab 14 illegals in Loudoun
By Keyonna Summers, The Washington Times

Federal agents arrested 14 illegal aliens Thursday in Virginia ... (
14 down. 11,000,988 to go.

Silly Me

I guess I'm cheap. I would have done it for $17 (if they were willing to take a personal check):
Jury awards $1.7M to woman spanked on job
By Juliana Barbassa, Associated Press Writer

FRESNO, Calif. (AP) -- A woman who was spanked in front of her co-workers in what her employer called a camaraderie-building exercise has been awarded $1.7 million.

Janet Orlando, 53, was subjected to sexual harassment and sexual battery when she was paddled on the rear end two years ago at home security company Alarm One Inc., a jury ruled Friday. (link)
So spanking is a no-no. Is there nothing sacred these days?

Howard Dean's Surrogate Speaks

I thought I was reading the blathering from some Democratic politician. Turns out, I was:
Al-Qaida leader: U.S. 'broken' in Iraq
By Lee Keath, Associated Press Writer

CAIRO, Egypt (AP) -- Hundreds of suicide bombings in Iraq have "broken the back" of the U.S. military, al-Qaida's No. 2 said in a video posted Saturday - the latest in a series of messages from the terror network.

The video by Ayman al-Zawahri, posted on an Islamic militant Web forum, came within the same week as an audiotape by al-Qaida's top leader Osama bin Laden and a video by the head of al-Qaida's branch in Iraq - a volley of messages by the group's most prominent figures. (link)
Sounds like the whinings of Jack Murtha, doesn't it? It's impossible these days to tell the difference between those who are working toward America's defeat in the war on terror and ... al Qaeda members.