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

Friday, February 23, 2007

America Loses One Of Its Finest

And Southwest Virginia honors a fallen hero:

Covington man killed in Iraq
Shawn M. Dunkin, 25, loved Army, had 'sense of duty,' his father says
By Peter Bacque, Richmond Times-Dispatch Staff Writer


Army Sgt. Shawn M. Dunkin was born in Petersburg and graduated from Alleghany High School in 1999.

Army Sgt. Shawn M. Dunkin, who called Covington home, died in Iraq on Monday.

Dunkin and two other soldiers from the 10th Mountain Division were killed in Baghdad when their vehicle was attacked with an improvised explosive device, the New York-based division said in a statement yesterday.

"He loved what he was doing," his father, Micheal Dunkin of York, S.C., said yesterday. "He felt like it was important and he was going to continue to do it." (link)

Our best. Our most promising. Our hero. A salute.

Too Good To Be True

It is being reported that one-time loyal and by-all-appearances sane Republican Russ Potts (I'll let you parse that phrase in any way it suits you) (R-Winchester) is on his way into permanent ignominy.

From the incomparable VCAP:
Victory for conservatives–Potts announces retirement

Russ Potts announced on the floor of the Senate today his retirement. This announcement could not come soon enough given Potts’ unquenchable thirst for spending and his persistent demand for tax increases every year…just so he can spend more. Potts completely betrayed his constituents and Virginia when he campaigned on being pro-life, and has since done everything possible to kill all pro-life legislation in Committee. (link)
Not to be left out is Potts' longstanding love affair with our hard-earned income. Or tax revenue as he prefers to think of it.

Retirement is too good for this turncoat. But we'll celebrate just the same if we can't force him into a straightjacket.

"This day is a day that the Lord has made and we can rejoice in it and be glad."

The Man Who Would Be Legend

Six days after he was elected governor, Tim Kaine announced that we needed to do something about our transportation woes here in Virginia. The key word being after. He said nothing about raising our taxes before he was elected. Odd how that got by him - and the media.

Since then, the legislature has descended into internecine warfare over the issue, with our ostensibly brave and visionary governor only venturing out from the confines of his self-imposed seclusion to make the occasional comment, and to take the stray - and pitiable - potshot at the House Republicans who chose to not do his bidding. But beyond that, to do nothing on his own to bring about a solution to the road repair funding problems in NoVa.

Nothing:

Tim Kaine's failed leadership
By Ed Gillespie, writing in the Washington Times


Citizens across Virginia are watching with interest as Republicans in the General Assembly work to solve the pressing problem of traffic congestion in Hampton Roads and Northern Virginia, but one who should be doing more than simply watching is Gov. Tim Kaine.

You'd be hard pressed to find anyone in Richmond who thinks Mr. Kaine has been even marginally relevant in the ongoing debate over Virginia's most vexing policy challenge. He has followed a self-marginalizing path on transportation — and he's running out of time to change his course.

He's been awaiting a sign of a breakthrough so he can race in and take credit, but otherwise has meekly avoided doing anything to irk the Senate's increasingly isolated advocates of higher taxes.

At their behest, Mr. Kaine last year jettisoned his no-new-taxes campaign commitment with embarrassing haste and ease, jeopardizing both his credibility and long-term political viability in the process. He ended up with nothing for the commuters stuck in traffic and nothing for his legacy. (link)
It wasn't supposed to work this way. The liberal press here in the commonwealth, particularly the Washington Post, did all the heavy lifting for the governor to get him elected. Kaine took it for granted that the mainstream media would get his massive tax increase passed as well, and he focused his attention on Katie Couric's sure-to-be-scheduled-soon interview on national television.

But what he and they failed to consider were the new media (with all required modesty, I take only partial credit), our courageous Republican Delegates, and the people of the state of Virginia who saw through this mockery from the beginning and refused to go along with it.

Thus Tim Cane ... er, was it Kane? er ... Kaine fades into inglorious obscurity.

Katie will have to look elsewhere for that towering political figure who rises above the fray and is prepared to lead America into that bright, shining tomorrow. Only Democrats, of course, need apply.

***

More on what the governor "appears" to be doing from the Washington Post this morning here.

Why We Get Our Smart People From India

If you graduated summa cum laude from an Ivy League School, and need help reading this blog post, you probably fall into the following category:
Grades Rise, but Reading Skills Do Not
By Diana Jean Schemo, The New York Times


Washington, Feb. 22 — High school students nationwide are taking seemingly tougher courses and earning better grades, but their reading skills are not improving through the effort, according to two federal reports released here Thursday that cite grade inflation as a possible explanation.

The National Assessment of Educational Progress, an exam commonly known as the nation’s report card, found that the reading skills of 12th graders tested in 2005 were significantly worse than those of students in 1992, when a comparable test was first given, and essentially flat since students previously took the exam in 2002.

The test results also showed that the overwhelming majority of high school seniors have not fully mastered high-school-level math. (link)
For those of you who can read AND comprehend, that "significantly worse" should be troubling beyond measure.

Someone asked me the other day in a blog post comment about my running for Congress to fill the vacancy that was created when Rick Boucher was elected two decades ago. I replied to his plea by saying that I couldn't handle the cut in pay.

In fact, I couldn't be a politician - state or federal - and sit by and watch this abortion we call public education go on in the disgraceful condition it's in and not ask - scream my demand! - that it be scrapped and every administrator imprisoned. Or taken out back and shot.

We warehouse kids for 12 years (and we here in Virginia want to now include universal pre-school!) - twelve years - and they graduate - with honors - and can't read.

Hanging is too good for those responsible.

It's a crying shame. And it will go on. Every day. Until the end of time. Or until the Indians take over and end the madness.

Make This Guy Our Education Czar

While our public school administrators are unable to create conditions that allow for their little charges to be able to learn to read in twelve years of trying, a young man can spend a mere 13 weeks on Parris Island and gain skills that last for a lifetime. A long lifetime:
Ex-Marine, 70, Kills Tour Thug
By Brigiite Williams-James and Joe Lopez, New York Post Wire Services


February 23, 2007 -- A retired 70-year-old Marine killed a mugger with his bare hands after a tour bus of U.S. senior citizens was held up in the Costa Rican city of Limon, authorities said yesterday.

The retiree squeezed the 20-year-old mugger in a headlock, broke his clavicle and choked him, police said.

The thief's two accomplices, who were armed, fled ... (link)
Perhaps we should have our 70-year-old Marine retirees supervise our high school administrators. Think the kids will learn to read?

What You Learn, What You Won't

My, my. The things you learn while reading the New York Times.

Did you know that you can prevent AIDS with garlic and beetroot? That's what the South African minister of health says anyway.

I don't know. I'm just a bit skeptical.

Back here on planet Earth, we also find out that genital mutilation (okay, we call it circumcision, but I still think the feminists are behind it) can prevent AIDS too:
Circumcision’s Anti-AIDS Effect Found Greater Than First Thought
By Donald G. McNeil Jr., The New York Times


Circumcision may provide even more protection against AIDS than was realized when two clinical trials in Africa were stopped two months ago because the results were so clear, according to studies being published today.

The trials, in Kenya and Uganda, were stopped early by the National Institutes of Health, which was paying for them, because it was apparent that circumcision reduced a man’s risk of contracting AIDS from heterosexual sex by about half. It would have been unethical to continue without offering circumcision to all 8,000 men in the trials, federal health officials said. (link)
Beetroot prevents AIDS (or not) ...

Circumcision reduces the threat of AIDS ...

I'm looking now ... for that ... other ... article in the Times ... on the best AIDS prevention ever devised: Monogamy (and avoidance of shared heroin hypodermic needles).

Seems to be missing ...

Must have been in yesterday's edition.

On To Phase 2

The House passed a non-binding resolution that puts the lower chamber of Congress on record as being against the war in Iraq (supported by 17 turncoat Republicans), and now the Democrats in the Senate are taking it to the next level in the party's effort to defeat our troops in the field:
Senate Democrats in Bid to Limit U.S. Role in Iraq
By Carl Hulse, The New York Times


Washington, Feb. 22 — Senior Senate Democrats, stepping up their confrontation with President Bush over Iraq policy, are preparing legislation that would limit the role of United States troops there to counterterrorism efforts and prohibit them from interceding in sectarian violence.

Senate officials said Thursday that the proposal now being drafted would be a new turn in their attempts to force the White House to halt its troop buildup in Baghdad. They described it as more substantive than the nonbinding resolution of opposition to the increase that stalled in the Senate last Saturday.

The officials would speak only if not identified because ... (link)
Of course they didn't wish to be identified. They are cowards. Their actions - and these deeds - prove it daily.