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

Monday, August 28, 2006

Never Again!

The following article first appeared in the Roanoke Times August 17, 2006.

A media lap dog no longer
Jerry Fuhrman
The New York Times recently revealed in a front page article ("Partisan divide on Iraq exceeds split on Vietnam," July 30) the results of a study that showed more polarization exists today with regard to opinions on the war in Iraq than existed at the time of the Vietnam War:
"No military conflict in modern times has divided Americans on partisan lines more than the war in Iraq, scholars and pollsters say -- not even Vietnam. And those divisions are likely to intensify in what is expected to be a contentious fall election campaign."
The reason for this is simple. Unlike the turbulent days of Vietnam, in which the opinions expressed on network news shows held sway over the populace, much of America today relies on an array of alternative sources for news. And we are the better for it.

When Walter Cronkite declared in 1968 that the Vietnam War was "mired in stalemate" and couldn't be won, people's resolve was profoundly shaken. The former CBS News anchorman is now credited with having nearly single-handedly turned America against the war and to have brought it to an end. He deserves that credit.

Many of us on the right learned a valuable lesson from Vietnam, the offshoot of which is that it is because of Cronkite and others like him that those alternative news sources exist today. In the '60s, we were witness to nightly bouts of anguish and remorse displayed on the evening news over the pain and suffering inflicted by American military personnel upon innocent women and children in villages and hamlets seemingly throughout Vietnam -- North and South. And we subsequently learned that all the anguish was completely phony.

As soon as we retreated, Cronkite and his ilk on the left turned their backs on our allies there and the real slaughter began -- in South Vietnam in 1975 when wholesale executions of North Vietnam's former foes began, and, at the same time, in Pol Pot's Cambodia, where the killing fields were sown with the corpses of up to 3 million innocent people. Little was said about it on the evening news. Cronkite, et al, had moved on to Watergate and more enticing matters. Many of us learned not to trust these people ever again. We came to know them for what they are -- pretenders.

So, when President Bush appeared before a joint session of Congress 10 days after 9/11 and said, "Americans should not expect one battle, but a lengthy campaign unlike any other we have ever seen. It may include dramatic strikes visible on TV and covert operations secret even in success," we took these words to heart, steeled our resolve, prepared for that long, protracted conflagration that was forced upon us by a fanatical foe, cheered our loved ones who volunteered by the thousands to enter into harm's way in order to make us safe here at home, and vowed to stay the course.

And we expected no help from the left.

What we expected we have gotten. More stories of pain and suffering. More complaints of brutality. At the same time that accounts of buses carrying school children in Jerusalem being blown up gain only passing comment, a report of prisoners in Baghdad being forced to wear panties on their heads is condemned ad nauseam. A Koran supposedly being flushed down a toilet in an American prison gets far more air time than does the cold-blooded execution of four Americans in the streets of Fallujah.

They expect us to take them seriously. We did indeed learn from Vietnam -- and its aftermath. We learned the slogan taken up by Jews after the Holocaust: Never again! And we took to heart and live by the powerful words of Abraham Lincoln spoken at a time when another great struggle was under way, one that was taking a far more grievous toll: "We shall nobly save, or meanly lose, the last best hope of Earth."

We resolve to maintain the world's last best hope in part because these pretenders won't. So we find ourselves with this great divide between the attitudes of Americans on the left and those of us on the right. We expected it. We accept it. We celebrate it.

As for Vietnam -- Never again.

Good News On The Teenage Sex Front

I've often thought that anyone who says we shouldn't try to influence the habits of teenagers as far as sexual activity is concerned because, after all, "they are going to [like rabbits and other lesser species] do it anyway" is saying more about his or her own ability to self-control and less about human nature.

My thought seems to be backed up by a University of Chicago study that is referenced by Peter Hannaford in The American Spectator that has supportive data showing that abstinence education has at least a correlative relationship if not an influential relationship with teenage sexual activity:
Though Planned Parenthood would no doubt deny it, teenage sex has declined as abstinence programs have increased. The American Enterprise Institute, which has been tracking data on this for over a decade, recently reported a University of Chicago study showing that the percentage of high school students who had ever had sex dropped from 59 percent to 46 percent between 1989 and 2001. (link)
And from that naturally flows this:
Not surprisingly, the teenage birthrate has dropped steadily over approximately the same period. In 1991 it was 62 per 1,000 teenage girls (ages 15-19); by 2004 it was down to 41.

We've a long way to go but studies like this prove that teenagers have cognitive and intuitive skills (beyond those of lesser mammals) and react favorably to cogent lessons provided in a straightforward manner.

So quit making excuses and start providing guidance! Our children deserve nothing less.

Where Errors Are Never Allowed To Occur

For those who travel a good deal, this is always troubling news:
49 Die in Crash as Jet Takes Off From Wrong Runway
By Ian Urbina and Amanda Van Benschoten, The New York Times

LEXINGTON, Ky., Aug. 27 — A Comair jet that mistakenly took off on a short runway crashed into a woody field here on Sunday, killing all but one of the 50 people aboard, federal aviation officials said.

An initial examination of the flight recorders, or so-called black boxes, indicated that the pilots of the plane, a Bombardier Canadair jet, used a 3,500-foot runway at the Blue Grass Airport, much shorter than is typically required for a fully loaded aircraft of that type. A runway twice that length that is perpendicular to the shorter runway is used mostly by commercial jets at the airport. (
Without knowing the specifics of this tragic accident yesterday, I knew that the plane involved, a Canadair Bombardier (either a 100 or 200), one of my personal favorites, is an extremely reliable machine. I was figuring on pilot error. I wasn't figuring on pilot and air traffic control error.

To make the story worse, I just heard that a young couple had gotten married the day before (Saturday) and were off on their honeymoon when their lives were horrifically ended together on that aborted flight.

So sad.

When A Good Day Can Be Ruined In a Heartbeat

As many of you know, my son is a firefighter. I think about him when I read stories like this:
By Steve Dunleavy, Larry Celona, and Bridgette Williams, The New York Post

August 28, 2006 -- A rookie firefighter battling an inferno in a Bronx store was killed and his lieutenant nearly crushed to death yesterday when the floor collapsed beneath them - plunging them into the basement and burying them in flaming chunks of the building.

Michael Reilly, 25, yesterday became the first city firefighter to die in the line of duty since then.

In addition to Reilly and his lieutenant, three other firefighters crashed into the basement. All five remained trapped for a terrifying hour and a half - as the air in their tanks began running out - covered in rubble that had been the floor and shelves of the 99-cent store.

In all, 23 Bravest were injured. (
A plane crashes. A floor collapses. Lives are taken from us forever in the blink of an eye. It makes you want to take hold of your loved ones and give them a hug ...