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

Monday, April 23, 2007

A Nice Tribute

Henry Jake Lee, 20, was killed last Monday in The Virginia Tech Massacre. Ironically he was the son of Vietnamese immigrants, who were themselves refugees from a violence-torn nation. Lee was remembered by a thousand good friends yesterday in Roanoke:
Fleming grad stood tall in hearts of many
By Matt Chittum, The Roanoke Times


Their rivalry was intense, surpassed only by the bond of their friendship.

Zach Zimmerman was William Fleming High School's 2006 valedictorian. Henh Ly, known to many now as Henry Lee, finished right behind him. Friends since elementary school, Zach began to grow after a while. Lee didn't. He called Zimmerman "fatty," and Zimmerman called him "Number Two."

By graduation, Zimmerman was a full head taller than Lee.

"That puts his head at my chest, at my heart," Zimmerman said Sunday at a memorial service for Lee at his old high school. "And that's where he'll stay."

Lee, 20, perished with 31 other people at the hands of an enraged gunman a week ago at Virginia Tech, where he was a freshman computer engineering major.

Sunday's memorial service revealed how his diminutive size belied the huge space he occupied in the hearts of those who loved him.

Some 1,000 mourners packed the Fleming auditorium for the memorial service organized by his classmates, and spilled over into the gym to see the service on closed-circuit television. Some came from several states away. Zimmerman flew in at the expense of Princeton University, which he now attends. (link)
An American story in many ways. Son of immigrants. Wonderfully successful academic career. A promising future ahead of him. A life cut short at the hands of a psychotic madman.

A sad story too often repeated.

A Petition For Your Consideration

In the comments attached to this post, we find out that a website has been set up to compile signatures of those who request that Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University change the name of its now infamous Norris Hall to Librescu Hall, in honor of the professor who gave his life so that his students might live.

Join me in signing this petition.

To those at Virginia Tech, he will be remembered as "a friend, a colleague, a hero among the ages." To the rest of us, Liviu Librescu's selfless act of valor deserves to be writ large for all time. The renaming of this building is the least a grateful community could do for him.

* It is with great pride that I became the 6,299th signer - already - of the petition.

Defining The Problem

Nothing more needs to be said about a Roanoke Times editorial this morning that calls for changes in Virginia's gun regulations than for me to cite this quote:

"Federal law requires that people with mental illnesses be treated in the least restrictive environment possible. We applaud that standard ..." (link)

Cho Seung-Hui suffered from mental illness. He was permitted to operate in the least restrictive environment known to humankind - the university campus. 32 innocent people died because of it.

A standard to be applauded.

Grasping At Straws

I heard the other day CNN News anchor Wolf Blitzer, in an interview with Virginia Attorney General Bob McDonnell, talking about the Virginia Tech massacre, ask if Virginia was going to look at passing legislation requiring a waiting period for gun purchases. What that has to do with the Virginia Tech tragedy is anyone's guess. But it was Wolf's only available response to the events that played out last Monday, unrelated though it was, so he asked.

His futility is evidence that the left has finally run out of ideas. All these gun laws and yet the mayhem continues unabated.

And, exasperatingly for those who look to laws to solve all society's ills, Cho Seung-Hui didn't fit the stereotype of a pissed-off plowboy who had had a few drinks, wrapped himself in a confederate flag, went down to the local NRA artillery store, stocked up on weaponry, and headed toward the university campus to wreak mayhem. A Korean immigrant, a graduating senior at a prestigious university, he had purchased his firearms lawfully long before he plotted, carefully and with malice aforethought, to kill as many people as he could on campus. Yeah, he was insane, but we don't go there.

So how 'bout that waiting period, Bob?

Then today there's Donna Brazile, writing in the Washington Times (who wants you to know that she is "a firm believer in the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution which allows us to own a firearm," but ...). How does she propose to have stopped Cho from killing all those innocent people? It's almost pathetic:

"It's time for Congress to find some common ground and look into some bills already lurking under the political radar. In February, Rep. Carolyn McCarthy ... re-introduced the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) Improvement Act of 2007, which would require states to automate criminal history and inform the FBI of anyone barred from having a gun." (link)

Swell. But Cho had no criminal history. So a background check would have produced squat. An insignificant detail to Ms. Brazile, I'd bet.

Along with a need for electronic upgrades, she adds this:

"Sen. Diane Feinstein ... has also stepped up to extend the 1994 federal Assault Weapons Ban, which prohibited the manufacture and importation of 19 military-style assault weapons."

An assault weapons ban. Cho used a 9mm and a 22. Neither of which is considered an "assault weapon" - at least not yet. But what the hell.

Then, after proposing that we need a slew of new gun laws, Brazile goes on to inform us of the fact that existing laws failed utterly anyway:

"Cho Seung-Hui, the shooter at Virginia Tech, was found mentally ill by a judge in 2005. This would have barred Cho from purchasing a weapon under the 1968 Gun Control Act. By law, his record was required to be entered into the National Instant Criminal Background Check System database. However, the gun shop owner put him through a federal and state background check and he passed."

We have a boatload of gun laws. They have failed. So now we need a flotilla-load of gun laws.

Brilliant.

As is always the case, neither Brazile nor Blitzer asked about legislation allowing municipalities and our state governments to actually solve the problems we face with regard to crazed sociopaths wandering our streets. They, instead go back to that worn-out argument - we need to add to the thousands of gun laws we have on the books.

More of the same laws that failed the students and faculty of Virginia Tech utterly - and tragically.

Hopeless. They're simply hopeless.

Something The Europeans Might Want To Remember

The massacre that was perpetrated on the Virginia Tech campus played well into a stereotype that the Europeans (where starvation, ovens, and Zyklon B are the preferred method of slaughter) have cultivated over the years. Much has been written in recent days about the "wild west" nature of American culture, a culture that led to the killing of so many innocent people in Blacksburg last week.

Well, columnist Suzanne Fields has something to say on that subject:
The Europeans, addicted to anti-American venom, served up most of the early stereotypes, citing Western and gangster movies as if [Cho Seung-Hui] was a runaway "ride 'em, shoot 'em" cowboy, or a remorseless Clyde without Bonnie.

The European moralizers mostly exposed their ignorance of the real, as opposed to the celluloid, America. Virginia Tech is a gun-free campus, mandated by law [ed: well, not exactly]. Since they brought it up, the Germans should be reminded that Hitler first deprived Germans of their arms and then of personal and civil liberties. Only later the good ol' boys from Virginia and the West and a lot of points between, having been brought up to use and respect guns, had to ride to the rescue of Europe. Speaking of stereotypes.
"When stereotypes stalk tragedy," The Washington Times, April 23, 2007

I Thought We Had Voted To End This Travesty

Didn't we throw the bums out so as to end the power and influence of those devilish lobbyists in Washington? If we did, it didn't work:
Lobbyists Profit From Power Shift In Congress
By Jeffrey H. Birnbaum, Washington Post Staff Writer

The Democratic takeover of Congress has not only been good business for Democratic lobbyists, but it has also turned into a bipartisan boon: In the four months since the midterm elections, the number of new lobbyist registrations has nearly doubled to 2,232 from 1,222 in the comparable period a year earlier.

"We're having a huge surge in business right now," said David M. Carmen, president of the Carmen Group, a mid-size lobbying shop that has added both Democratic and Republican lobbyists since the elections. "We are up almost 30 percent compared to last year." (link)
Well, fellas, Plan A didn't work. What do we do now?

Plan B: Hang the bastards?

A Looming Problem With The Economy

We are riding high right now. The economy is doing great. We are operating at near-full employment. Real wages are up. The stock market is in record territory. Inflation, miraculously, is being held in check.

And the Democrat-controlled Congress is about to screw it all up:

Economists warn of perils of expiring tax cuts
By Patrice Hill, The Washington Times


Congress will have to steer carefully to avoid a shock to the economy as it strives to balance the budget by allowing tax cuts to expire in the next few years, economists say.

Economists warn that ending tax cuts abruptly can damage the economy, which has been weakened by the housing downturn and has slowed with the end of business investment deductions that Congress provided at the end of 2005.

Economists expect congressional action to do little to set back the economy in the next few years, but some fear that a mishandling of expiring tax cuts combined with a collapsing housing market and imploding mortgage market would be damaging. (link)

And the Democrats are calling the shots ...

Gold as an investment avenue is looking pretty good right now. Too bad.

I Thought A Lucid Art Critic Had Banished It


Well, it appears that the critically acclaimed Edvard Munch painting, "The Scream," rumored to have been completed while he was having a bowel movement, has been returned to its rightful owners and those who stole it have been sentenced to prison. Too bad:

3 Sentenced in Theft of Munch Paintings
By The Associated Press

Oslo, Norway (AP) -- An Oslo appeals court sentenced three men to prison Monday in the 2004 theft of the Edvard Munch masterpieces ''The Scream'' and ''Madonna.''

The paintings were recovered by police on Aug. 31, just over two years after they were stolen by masked gunmen in a brazen daylight heist at Oslo's Munch Museum. Both were damaged and are undergoing repairs.

In late March, the Borgarting appeals court in Oslo found three men guilty of helping the armed robbers and acquitted three others. (link)

Personally, I think the thieves should be given a medal.

Isn't That Just Like a Liberal

New York City Mayor Bloomberg has a serious problem on his hands with rats. The scourge has gotten so bad that restaurants are being temporarily shut down right and left as it becomes increasingly clear that the rat population has gotten out of control. It is estimated that there are now as many as twelve rats living in the Big Apple for every human being.

So how does Mayor Mike - the most liberal Republican in America, ahem - respond to this growing epidemic of vermin?

He changes the subject. To the old standby - saving the planet:
Mayor's Vision Of Green Apple
By David Seifman, New York Post City Hall Bureau Chief


April 23, 2007 -- Looking to catapult New York to the environmental forefront in one dramatic bound, Mayor Bloomberg yesterday proposed a far-reaching plan for remaking the city over the next quarter-century that would impact virtually every facet of workaday life.

Bloomberg marked Earth Day by offering his plan for "A Greener, Greater New York" - 127 initiatives that would boost housing, improve transportation and water quality, create more open space and severely cut energy consumption by 2030.

They ranged from the intriguing (adding mussels to waterways for natural filtration) to the fascinating (installing a deck over a submerged portion of the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway to add nine blocks in Brooklyn). (link)
There are rat turds floating in the chicken soup in restaurants throughout the city, the rat population is growing in exponential numbers, and the mayor not only evades the subject, he introduces a 127-point plan (!) to make his city even more inviting to the estimated 96 million rats that currently reside there.

Hey, Mike! How about you worry less about the year 2030 and do something about the here-and-now?

And We Thought We Had Problems

To hear the Democrats tell it, our country is going to hell in a handbasket. That's why we need to raise the minimum wage, end the tax cuts (or at least some of them), etc.

But, in looking around, perhaps high-fives are in order. We ain't France:
Voting Sets Up Left-Right Duel to Lead France
By Elaine Sciolino, The New York Times

Paris, April 22 — Nicolas Sarkozy, the conservative, and Ségolène Royal, the Socialist, won the first round of the presidential election on Sunday, setting up a classic left-right contest next month between two candidates with competing visions of how to govern France.

The election finds the country in a gloomy mood.

The country suffers from the fastest-growing public debt in Europe, high unemployment, entrenched protectionism, a bloated public sector and concerns about both immigration and the failure to integrate ethnic Arab and African populations. (link)
Sheesh. And John Kerry was so enamored of this bunch that he wanted to make America the Sixth Republic. Thank God you all sent that cheese-eating surrender monkey packing.