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

Saturday, May 20, 2006

On Treasure And The History Tied To It

I made mention Thursday of a story that appeared in an Associated Press release of the treasure that was recently discovered above the ceiling tiles in an office in the Virginia state Capitol building during renovation.

Through the magic - and the interactive nature - of the weblog, I quickly received an email from someone who had the opportunity to look over the documents that had been hidden all these many years and were just recently discovered. That person was kind enough to forward these pictures for all to see.

To refresh your memory, the AP writer, Bob Lewis, provided the following;

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) -- The construction dust inside Virginia's 18th century Capitol is still so thick, the stately House of Delegates chamber is barely discernible.

But from the mess and debris, hidden texts have emerged that afford a fresh glimpse into forgotten times - and the issues that dominated debate on Capitol Square.

The books and documents were discovered during the ongoing $99 million foundation-to-roof makeover of Virginia's 200-year-old Capitol, said Richard F. Sliwoski, who is overseeing the project for the Department of General Services.

One discovery, a yellowing, cardboard-bound volume of thousands of pages of legislative and executive branch reports from 1863 contains Gov. John Letcher's order that 5,340 slaves from across the state be used to dig fortifications around Richmond, the Confederate capital, during the height of the Civil War.

It documents that the Virginia Military Institute consumed 5,250 pounds of bacon and just three-fourths of a pound of tea in June of 1863. And salt - then the primary preservative of food - was so scarce the Joint Legislative Committee on Salt decreed that the mineral be rationed: 30 pounds per year for each man, woman and child in Virginia.

Construction workers discovered the book and other documents behind ceiling tiles in what had been the governor's third-floor suite of offices.

"As they were taking down the ceilings, the book fell with it," Sliwoski said.

Another report breaks down by gender the causes of insanity for scores of people committed to the state asylum over two years. One man was committed for "fever and loss of law suit," two men and one woman for love, one man and three women for jealousy and 11 men and three women for "pecuniary troubles."

To tie histories together, consider this:

At the same time the boys attending VMI were consuming all that bacon in June of 1863, and the legislature was duly making note of it in the documents discovered these many years later in 2006, Captain Pichegru Woolfolk was driving his Ashland (Virginia) Artillery battery toward a tiny town in Pennsylvania called Gettysburg. It was there only days later, during the assault on Little Round Top on July 2 that Capt. Woolfolk (after scheduling a duel with another member of Lee's artillery the same morning!) sustained a wound that put him out of the war - at least temporarily.

I was reminded of this bit of history - and trivia - when I read the line in the AP story, "As they were taking down the ceilings, the book fell with it ...," for this reason:

Captain Pichegru Woolfolk survived the war and was working in the Capitol building in Richmond one day in 1870 when, according to Harry W. Pfanz in his classic Gettysburg, The Second Day, the "ceiling in a chamber of Virginia's capitol fell, crushing him beneath it."

Gettysburg. Ashland Artillery. Tragic death. Renovation. Treasure. History ...

* Click on images to enlarge them.

I Have a Better Idea

The United Nations has taken sides in the War on Terror. We now have another enemy with which to deal:

U.S. Should Close Prison in Cuba, U.N. Panel Says
By Tim Golden, The New York Times

UNITED NATIONS, May 19 — An important United Nations panel roundly criticized the United States on Friday for its treatment of terrorism suspects, and called for shutting down the detention camp at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba.

After a lengthy review of United States policies, the committee dismissed several basic legal arguments the Bush administration had offered to justify such practices as the incommunicado detention of prisoners overseas and the secret transfer, or "rendition," of suspects for interrogation by other governments.

The panel, which monitors compliance with the Convention Against Torture, the main international treaty that bans such conduct, also concluded that the Central Intelligence Agency's widely reported practice of holding detainees in secret prisons abroad constitutes a clear violation of the convention. (
For what it's worth, nowhere in this article (oddly) will you find these pertinent details:

* The members of the U.N. panel were invited to tour the Guantanamo facility and to judge for themselves whether harsh treatment - or "torture" - is being meted out. All declined.

* The Convention Against Torture says nothing about the "practice of holding detainees in secret (sic) prisons abroad ..."

* As John B. Bellinger III put it, "I think the committee was guided more by popular concerns than by a strict reading of the convention itself. It obviously causes us to question whether our extensive presentation was worth it. Unfortunately, I think the committee really had essentially written its report."

All this being the case, rather than close down Gitmo, I recommend - again - that we shut down the United Nations. It is proving to be ever more injurious to our health and wellbeing.

Quote Of The Day

The religion that once put the fear of God into Hollywood now has less influence over motion picture content than People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.

Thomas Doherty, "The Code Before 'Da Vinci,' The Washington Post, May 20, 2006 (link)

On The Domestic Terrorism Front ...

Here's where Gitmo could become even more useful:
4 Are Indicted on Arson Charges in 1998 Fires at a Resort in Vail
By Kirk Johnson, The New York Times

DENVER, May 19 — A federal grand jury has indicted four people on arson charges for the devastating fires at the Vail Mountain resort in 1998 that shocked the tourism industry and drew attention to the shadowy terrain of environmental extremism.

The Earth Liberation Front, a group active in the Pacific Northwest, claimed responsibility for the fires, which caused about $12 million in damage to buildings and chairlifts but no injuries. For nearly eight years the crime was never solved.

The indictment announced on Friday by the United States attorney for Colorado, William J. Leone, includes two people who are already in federal custody in Oregon on arson and eco-terrorism-related charges — Chelsea D. Gerlach, 29, and Stanislas G. Meyerhoff, 28.

The whereabouts of the other two people, Josephine S. Overaker, 31, and Rebecca J. Rubin, 33, are unknown, but a spokesman for Mr. Leone said both were believed to be outside the United States. (

Human waste. Lock 'em up. Throw away the key.

Free Housing Forever?

Somehow this doesn't seem right:
Lawsuit Is Filed to Force FEMA to Continue Housing Vouchers
By Shaila Dewan, The New York Times

Lawyers for New Orleans evacuees filed suit in Houston yesterday, asking a federal court to stop the Federal Emergency Management Agency from ending housing benefits for tens of thousands of people who fled the flooding of Hurricane Katrina. The evacuees had been issued 12-month housing vouchers by local governments but are now being told by FEMA that they must pay rent or leave.

The class-action suit, filed in United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas, says the agency has made "arbitrary, inconsistent and inequitable housing decisions without using any ascertainable standards" and describes the situation of several plaintiffs who, it contends, received vague or contradictory letters from FEMA or were denied further housing assistance for false reasons. (

These people are living in accommodations that make half the homes here in Appalachia look like hovels - because they are - and yet we are expected to pay for free housing for Katrina victims seemingly until the end of time?

I would never wish for a hurricane to come blowing through this area but we could use a bit of that Katrina action ourselves.

While You Fret Over Your AT&T Bill

While liberals get their undies in a bunch here in the USA over the fact that phone numbers may or may not have been provided to the government at some point in time in the past, they don't seem to give a damn about things like this:
By Niles Lathem and Andy Soltis, The New York Post

May 20, 2006 -- Concerned U.S. officials and Jewish groups yesterday demanded answers from Iran after a shocking report that Tehran's radical leaders passed a Nazi-style law requiring Jews and Christians to wear identifying badges.

Renowned Iranian-affairs expert Amir Taheri reports that the law, approved by Iran's parliament last week, "envisages separate dress codes for religious minorities, Christians, Jews and Zoroastrians, who will have to adopt distinct color schemes to make them identifiable in public."

Jews would be forced to wear yellow cloth strips - like the Star of David that Jews were made to wear in Nazi Germany - while Christians would have to wear red strips, wrote Taheri, a New York Post columnist. (
For those of you who are ignorant of world history, those Jews were only required to wear Star of David patches for a short period. Soon after adopting the requirement, all the Jews then living in Nazi-occupied Europe were rounded up - six million of them - and were exterminated.

I know it doesn't compare to the phone records in the hands of the NSA scandal but the coming holocaust is at least worth noting.

* If you look closely at the Polish child being marched off to a concentration camp in the photo, he is wearing the Star of David patch.

Leaders of Tomorrow

Iran? Holocaust? Islamism?

Issues such as these aren't important in our elite east coast schools. This is:
By David Andreatta, The New York Post

May 20, 2006 -- Sen. John McCain got a hostile reception during yesterday's New School graduation when dozens of students and faculty turned their backs on him in protest and shouted, "You're full of it!" and "Sit down!" as he spoke.

The ceremony at Madison Square Garden was more carnival than commencement as graduates cackled and booed during the pro-Iraqi-war Arizona Republican's 25-minute address and one graduate speaker mocked his remarks.

The atmosphere in the 4,500-seat theater grew so acrimonious that when New School President Bob Kerrey, the former senator who had invited his fellow Vietnam veteran to speak, tried to mollify the crowd, someone shouted, "You're a war criminal!" (

The theme for the graduation ceremony?


Governor Shows His True Colors

Remember when Tim Kaine was running for office and he said he was would champion Second amendment rights? Well, he has a funny way of showing it:
Gov. Kaine vetoes gun bill, 7 others
By Michael Sluss, The Roanoke Times

RICHMOND -- Gov. Tim Kaine has vetoed legislation that would have curbed local government authority to control firearms along highways, a move that drew criticism from the bill's sponsor.

The legislation on the Democratic governor's hit list included House Bill 370, a measure designed to amend a state law governing the possession of loaded guns along state highways.

The bill's sponsor, Del. Bill Carrico, R-Grayson County, said he wanted to clean up a law that was intended to restrict hunting along highways.

Carrico's bill would have allowed localities to restrict loaded guns along highways for hunting and would have added another exception "for purposes other than hunting."

"That's basically what the law intended," Carrico said.

The bill passed the House unanimously and received broad, bipartisan support in the Senate. The House rejected Kaine's amendment, which would have required lawmakers to pass the measure again next year before it becomes law. Kaine said the delay would have allowed time to study the bill's effects.

"I am reluctant to take away local authority, without a substantial reason, and there has been no demonstrable problem with the existing law," Kaine said in his veto message.

Carrico criticized Kaine's decision, saying: "This shows the governor as an anti-gun, anti-Second Amendment rights individual."(

This is a surprise? I told you long before Kaine was elected that he was lying through his teeth about his support for gun owners. This is just more proof.

On John Murtha's Descent Into Depravity

My thoughts exactly:
Murtha's irresponsible remarks
Editorial, The Washington Times

Rep. John Murtha, who last year called for the immediate pullout of U.S. troops from Iraq, this week accused an entire Marine company of murdering 15 Iraqis "in cold blood." Mr. Murtha claims he received his information from sources inside the Pentagon, which is conducting an investigation into the Nov. 15 incident in the town of Haditha.

Mr. Murtha concedes that he has not read any part of the Pentagon's unfinished report. All he has are his "sources." But if Mr. Murtha thinks he can hide behind them, he has severely underestimated the seriousness of his accusation.

[This] makes us wonder if there's an ulterior motive behind his indefensible comments: "Our troops overreacted because of the pressure on them and they killed innocent civilians in cold blood," he said. Mr. Murtha is actually accusing the Bush administration of murder, because of the "pressure" it has put on U.S. troops. It bears noting that Mr. Murtha delivered his accusation at a press conference marking the six-month anniversary of his call for the United States to withdraw immediately from Iraq.

Mr. Murtha obviously has a problem with the Bush administration and the Iraq war. Fair enough. But he should leave the troops out of his vendetta. (
John Murtha - poster boy for the looney left.