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

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Quote Of The Day

To those who believe the war is unwinnable, a message: We Are Winning.
When the Bush administration came into office, only Egypt and Jordan were functioning allies of the U.S. Iran and Iraq were already declared enemies, Syria was hostile, and even its supposed friends in the Arabian peninsula were so disinclined to help that none did anything to oppose al Qaeda. Some actively helped it, while others knowingly allowed private funds to reach the terrorists whose declared aim was to kill Americans.

The Iraq war has indeed brought into existence a New Middle East, in which Arab Sunnis can no longer gleefully disregard American interests because they need help against the looming threat of Shiite supremacy, while in Iraq at the core of the Arab world, the Shia are allied with the U.S. What past imperial statesmen strove to achieve with much cunning and cynicism, the Bush administration has brought about accidentally. But the result is exactly the same.
Edward N. Luttwak, "Two Alliances," The Wall Street Journal, January 14, 2007

The Logic Escapes Me

This (contained in a letter to the editor of the Roanoke Times from a former commissioner of VDOT) reveals the typical mindset that leads the transportation budget debate here in Virginia:
In traffic-jammed Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads, the cold hand of congestion yanks hard-earned cash out of every pocket:

In Northern Virginia -- $1,169 taken from every peak-hour traveler struggling to get to work.

That boils down to $577 from each person living in the metropolitan area. Children. Women. Men.

In Hampton Roads -- $438 robbed from every peak-hour traveler. That's $296 lifted from the pocket from every child, woman and man living there.

And congestion doesn't just steal your money. It ... (link)
Those numbers may very well be accurate. I have no way of knowing. But then comes the standard solution to the "stealing" of "your money":
Same song.

Same dance.

Same partners.

Any rhythm this time?

Maybe.

Del. John Welch, a longtime defender of no-new-taxes, announced his support for a gas tax increase. He acknowledges that his constituents want action and not another year of excuses.
Huh? So we will relieve Virginians' problem of money wasted in traffic backlogs by relieving Virginians of their hard-earned income in gas tax increases?

Did I fall off the turnip truck? Does this make any sense whatsoever?

Study Finding: Breathing Is Good For You

Try as they might to make the world accepting of ignorance, "education experts" just can't get away from the fact that intelligence and years of studying do pay off in the end for America's youth:
Study links high SAT scores to degrees
The Washington Times


Baltimore (AP) -- A study of Maryland's four-year colleges and universities has concluded that SAT scores, already dropped by one state university as a requirement for admission, can be used to accurately predict retention and graduation rates.

The report, prepared for the Maryland Higher Education Commission, looked at the percentage of undergraduates who started college in 1999 and graduated within six years. It also examined second-year retention rates of students who started at universities in 2004.

"The higher the SAT scores of students, the greater the likelihood that they not only returned for a second year of study but eventually earned a baccalaureate," the report states. (link)
This news will not go over well with those who have decided that we shouldn't test students. They are of the opinion that, since McDonald's came up with those cash registers with the little pictures of burgers and fries on them, what's the need?

For those living in the real world, though, this reinforces that which we tell our children: Study hard and succeed. Be a slacker and you'll grow up to be an "education expert."

We Took A Vote Here In The Office And ...

A famous film critic for The New Yorker, Pauline Kael, is said to have been dumbfounded at the time by the fact that Richard Nixon was elected president in 1972, allegedly commenting, "I don't know anyone who voted for Nixon."

I was reminded of that story when I read this:
Picking Up the Pieces
New York Times editorial

It was surreal how disconnected President Bush was the other night, both from Iraq’s horrifying reality and America’s anguish over this unnecessary, mismanaged and now unwinnable war. Indeed, most Americans seem far ahead of the president. They understand that what the country urgently needs is for Mr. Bush to chart a way out of Iraq that also limits the chaos that will be left behind.

The president’s disconnect goes far to explain the harshly critical reaction of ... (link)
What's being said here is this: We in the editorial boardroom are of like mind. Those with whom we luncheon agree with us. As do our friends and associates who attend the same Upper West Side social gatherings. We all believe the war to be unwinnable. Therefore, what's this president thinking?

Of course, this is nothing new for them. In fact, this bunch has been telling us that all hope is lost since before the war began.

The war on terror in fact is very winnable. And it must be won. Otherwise it returns to the streets of Manhattan - an event in American history that these cloistered myopes quickly forgot.

Coal Mines Claim More Victims

Sad news out of southern West Virginia:
2 W.Va. Miners Die in Tunnel Collapse
By The Associated Press

Cucumber, W.Va. (AP) -- Two members of a coal mining crew removing pillars in a mine died Saturday when a portion of the tunnel collapsed and the men were buried in debris deep underground, authorities said.

None of the other miners in the 35-member crew was injured, said Ted Pile, a spokesman for Alpha Natural Resources, whose subsidiary, Brooks Run Mining, operates the mine.

Pile said the crew was working on a process called retreat mining in which the miners work back toward the entrance extracting coal from the pillars that support the ceiling, Pile said. (
link)
For those interested, Cucumber is just north of Tazewell, Virginia, west of Bluefield.

I don't know enough about all this to offer an educated opinion but to the layman, this method of coal extraction seems awfully risky. As this accident suggests.

Two more deaths ...

Call Me Nannook

So I'm in The Great Frozen North all week.
It wasn't.
I have to come back to Southwest Virginia and Big Walker Mountain to see snow on the ground.
My world.