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

Monday, May 28, 2007

On Memorial Day

"In great deeds something abides.
On great fields something stays.
Forms change and pass;
bodies disappear; but spirits linger,
to consecrate ground for the
vision-place of souls.

And reverent men and women from afar,
and generations that know us not
and that we know not of,
heart-drawn to see where and by whom
great things were suffered and done for them,
shall come to this deathless field
to ponder and dream;

And lo! the shadow of a mighty presence
shall wrap them in its bosom,
and the power of the vision pass into their souls."
-- Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain

If only it were so for those Americans who took up arms to protect this great nation and who, in the course of a war fought long ago, vanished without a trace and were forgotten for all time.

Travel with me on this Memorial Day to the Danville National Cemetery in Pittsylvania County, Virginia.

Once the Civil War began, the Confederates found themselves with large numbers of Union prisoners captured in the Battle of Manassas. These POWs were then transported to Richmond, where they were initially housed in facilities such as Ligon's Warehouse and Tobacco Factory and many others like it. However, to reduce the high prison population in the Confederate capital, hundreds of Union POWs were relocated to six tobacco warehouses in downtown Danville, Va. These six facilities held just over 7,000 officers and enlisted men, 1,400 of whom died of such scourges as smallpox and dysentery brought on by starvation.

Danville National Cemetery was established in December 1866 on 2.63 acres, about a mile from the railroad station. With the exception of the remains of four soldiers from the Sixth Army Corps, all original interments in the cemetery were Union POWs who died in the prison. The principal cause of death was disease. Many of the bodies of Union Soldiers who died in Danville’s prisons were buried in mass graves.

Danville National Cemetery has no monuments or memorials.
Buried in mass graves. No monuments. No memorials. No marker bearing their names.

Gone and forgotten.
On this Memorial Day, let's all remember - and thank - those who gave their lives to make this nation "the last best hope of Earth."

A Fitting Tribute

For a wonderful video outlining the work of a group of New Yorkers who are driven to memorialize the lives and sacrifices of American soldiers, see Green-Wood Remembers Civil War Dead.

I Will Read No Further

From today's Roanoke Times:

The inspiring fountains of poop

I don't even want to know ...

On Crimes of Thought

A story to ponder about "hate crimes" from Nat Hentoff:
Some years ago, a young white woman, I heard during my research, was sexually assaulted and terrorized by a white predator. A friend of hers, another white woman, was also the victim of similar brutality by a black man. The white attacker of the first white woman received a significantly shorter prison sentence than the black attacker of the second woman, his act having been prosecuted and judged a "hate crime." The first white woman was greatly puzzled. Angrily, she said, "Was what happened to me of less importance to the law then what happened to my friend?" So much for "equal protection of the laws."
"Prosecuting hate crimes," The Washington Times, May 28, 2007

Something Bad This Way Cometh

What's going on in Northern Virginia? Has the bubble burst? Have the good times come to a screeching halt?

There's some evidence pointing in that direction:

Demand Down, but Rents Up
Tenants Still Seeking Most Expensive Office Space
By Allan Lengel, Washington Post Staff Writer

Commercial vacancy rates climbed in the Washington area for the fifth straight quarter, but rents rose slightly and industry experts remained upbeat.

"We've had a lackluster tenant demand compared to what we've seen in the past," said Sigrid G. Zialcita, research director at Cushman & Wakefield, a commercial real estate firm.

Overall, the Washington office market, which includes the District, suburban Maryland and Northern Virginia, recorded a vacancy rate of 10.1 percent in the first quarter, compared with 9.6 percent in the previous quarter and 8.9 percent in the first quarter of 2006, according to CoStar Group, a Bethesda-based research firm.

Zialcita said much of the market's softness is in Virginia. Soft spots in Northern Virginia were farther out, in such areas as the Dulles corridor, which had a 13.1 percent vacancy rate and the Woodbridge-Interstate 95 corridor, which had a 14 percent vacancy rate, according to CoStar. (link)

The fact that rents continue to rise leads one to believe that the market is still strong. But falling occupancy rates that stretch to a period of nearly a year and a half suggest otherwise.

Is Northern Virginia experiencing a slowdown? If so, that bodes ill for the rest of us. Always remember: As goes NoVa, so goes the commonwealth.

Here's another indicator.

Wolfowitz Is Right

If you followed the World Bank/Paul Wolfowitz soap opera fairly closely, you know that he was railroaded. An article in the Wall Street Journal yesterday (the hard-copy version; it hasn't appeared on-line yet) quotes a European World Bank board member who says as much. He and his European pals simply wanted him out - for who he is, not what he's done. And out he is.

And the leftists at the New York Times and Washington Post did their part to get him ousted as well. For the same reason. Wolfowitz is a "neo-con," and therefore needed to be slandered and his reputation needed to be impugned. That's who they are. That's what they do. And, as has become expected of them, they did a marvelous job of it.

They won't admit it of course. But the facts of the case are clear enough for any reasonable person to draw only that conclusion. Paul Wolfowitz has certainly drawn that conclusion:
Wolfowitz Blames Media for Resignation
By The Associated Press

London (AP) -- Departing World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz in a radio interview broadcast Monday blamed an overheated atmosphere at the bank and in the media for forcing him to resign.

Wolfowitz, who has announced he will step down June 30, denied suggestions that his decision to leave was influenced by an apparent lack of support from the bank's employees.

''I think it tells us more about the media than about the bank and I'll leave it at that,'' he told the British Broadcasting Corp. ''People were reacting to a whole string of inaccurate statements and by the time we got to anything approximating accuracy the passions were around the bend.'' (link)
He's right. Even though they'll deny it until the end of time, they got exactly what they worked to obtain. He's gone.

How pleased the "journalists" at the Times and the Post must be.

A Tax The Left Hates

Well, this is one way to get through to the tax-'em-till-they-squeal crowd. Come up with a tax that singles them out. Then sit back and listen to 'em squeal.

The New York Times squeals - again - this morning about the alternative minimum tax:
Fixing the Alternative Tax

When lawmakers return from their Memorial Day recess, fixing the alternative minimum tax, once and for all, should be at the top of their agenda.

The A.M.T. is supposed to tax tax-avoiding multimillionaires. But over the last decade, the code has been distorted in such a way that multimillionaires hardly ever pay the alternative tax. Instead, it now falls hardest on people who make between $75,000 and $500,000 a year. Unless Congress changes the rules, about 20 million such taxpayers will be hit in 2007, with an average additional tax of nearly $3,000.

That’s unfair. (link)
In truth, progressive taxation is "unfair." But the Times is all for that. And taxes on corporations are destructive. But the Times is all for that.

The alternative minimum tax, however, is structured in such a way as to impact most heavily on those who live in states with high local and state taxes. And New York ranks at the top of that list. More particularly, the high-wage pro-tax folks at the New York Times rank at the top of that list.

So kick back and listen to those who demand ever-higher taxes squeal that this particular tax is bad for America. And savor the moment.

Where Have These People Been?

This is news to the people at the New York Times:
Militants Widen Reach as Terror Seeps Out of Iraq
By Michael Moss and Souad Mekhennet, The New York Times

The Iraq war, which for years has drawn militants from around the world, is beginning to export fighters and the tactics they have honed in the insurgency to neighboring countries and beyond, according to American, European and Middle Eastern government officials and interviews with militant leaders in Lebanon, Jordan and London.

Some of the fighters appear to be leaving as part of the waves of Iraqi refugees crossing borders that government officials acknowledge they struggle to control. But others are dispatched from Iraq for specific missions. (link)
The Times and others of its ilk have been arguing for years now that Iraq - and George Bush - have been drawing in terrorists ("militants" and "fighters" just don't get it) so that they can kill American soldiers and disrupt the attempts at forming a democracy there. It's a big stretch to suggest that now they are doing it so well that they are being sent into other countries to wreak havoc.

But beyond that, we got into this war in the first place, six years ago, because terrorism was growing around the world, seeping out in all directions from Iraq and the rest of the poisonous Middle East. This isn't new. That "seeping" began in the 70's with commercial jet hijackings.

The Times, as usual, has its blinders on.