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

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Like They Give a Damn

The New York Times editorial page feels our pain.

Well, not exactly. If we were Appalachian trees or streams, those who write from far away Manhattan would be feeling our pain. As it is, they don't really think of us, it's our landscape they care about. Bushes and boulders. For the few remaining humans here there is only indifference. Ongoing and unrelenting indifference:
More Sadness for Appalachia
editorial

The Bush administration is writing one more sad chapter in the long, tortured history of Appalachia’s coal-rich hills. Last week, the Interior Department’s Office of Surface Mining proposed a revision, amounting to a repeal, of one of the last regulatory protections against an environmentally ruinous mining practice called mountaintop removal.

Mountaintop removal is just what the name suggests: enormous machines scrape away mountain ridges to expose the coal seams. The leftover rock and dirt are then dumped into adjacent valleys and streams. The practice has gone on for years. By one estimate, 1,200 miles of Appalachian streams have been buried this way and hundreds of square miles of forests damaged. (link)
Pity the mountain streams (we call them dry gullies around here, the ones that many of us have cursed in the springtime when the first thaw comes to the mountaintops and a raging torrent flows into our basements and washes out our bridges and roadways, then dry up again).

As for the human beings who are trying to scratch out a living (including those who are employed by those surface mining companies), the New York Times editorialists haven't one word to say. They don't care.

"Sadness for Appalachia" indeed.

And a man's life is Ruined

If I were editing the Bristol Herald Courier, I wouldn't have even touched this story. It makes no sense. And a man's reputation is being destroyed because of it:
Student’s Allegations Lead To Suspension Of Teacher
By Mac McLean, Reporter, Bristol Herald Courier

A Sullivan County teacher under investigation following allegations of improper conduct with a student has not been charged with a crime, despite initial information to the contrary released Wednesday by the county Sheriff’s Office.

The 34-year-old Sullivan Central High School math teacher was suspended with pay Friday following allegations that he accidentally touched the breast of a 16-year-old female student. The incident is under investigation by the Sheriff’s Office, which released a statement Wednesday saying that the teacher had been charged with forcible fondling, a felony.

During a Wednesday afternoon phone call, when asked how a man who is alleged to have “accidentally touched” someone’s breast could be charged with forcible fondling, [Capt. Keith Elton, who handles media relations for the Sheriff’s Office] said there have been no charges. He said the Sheriff’s Office was simply conducting an investigation prompted by the school system.

Elton said that once the document had been filed with the Sheriff’s Office, he could not change the report’s content to clarify that the teacher had not been charged. Elton said the report “stands on its own.”

Soon after the phone call, Elton sent a new e-mail to reporters saying that although the report’s narrative said the “ ‘Suspect is charged with Forcible Fondling.’ This sentence was not indended [sic] by the writer to mean what it says.”

In his e-mail, Elton apologized for any confusion that this may have caused any of you.” (link) [my emphasis]

Did anyone follow that? A teacher either intentionally or accidentally touched a girl's breast. The teacher has either been charged or not charged. The charge involved "forcible fondling" or it didn't.

One thing is certain. This math teacher's reputation is now bankrupted.

That "The people have a right to know" mantra that newspaper editors so often chant should have an asterisk attached to it:

* To know implies the notion that facts are involved.

In the glaring absence of facts in this story, the Bristol Herald Courier should have left it alone. We didn't need "to know" what the journalists there don't know.

'Please Don't Call Me With The Truth'

Read these words written by the Roanoke Times editorial staff this morning carefully:

Thanks to Virginia's battleground state status, you may be lucky enough to receive several of these automated phone calls, like this one about Obama's "relationship" with William Ayers:

"You need to know that Barack Obama has worked closely with domestic terrorist Bill Ayers, whose organization bombed the U.S. Capitol, the Pentagon, a judge's home, and killed Americans."

Now read the Times's take on that assertion:

That makes it sound like Obama was part of the Weather Underground with Ayers during the '60s, when the fact is that by the time Obama met him, Ayers was an education professor respected in Chicago circles by Republicans and Democrats alike.
In fact, that makes it sound exactly the way the reality of the matter calls for it to be portrayed. The truth hurts, doesn't it, fellas?

Obama, in fact, worked closely with Bill Ayers at the Chicago Annenberg Challenge. Mr. Obama was appointed the first chairman of the board, which handled fiscal matters. Mr. Ayers co-chaired the foundation's other key body, the "Collaborative," which shaped education policy.

And Ayres, in fact, was a domestic terrorist. He is an unrepentent domestic terrorist.

The kids at the Times wish it weren't so. It is so. Denying the truth won't make it less so.

Mystery Solved!

Probably.
Clues come together in Mountain Lake mystery
By Shawna Morrison, The Roanoke Times

Pearisburg -- The McCreery wingtip shoes made in New York offered one clue. The silver cigarette case and belt buckle with the fancy engraved initials -- first letter S, last letter F -- offered another.

But it was the class ring found Sept. 20 at the bottom of dried-up Mountain Lake that helped two Virginia Tech graduates who do genealogy research as a hobby uncover what they believe is the probable identity of the man whose remains were found alongside it.

According to newspaper clippings, Samuel Ira Felder, 37, fell overboard as he boated on the lake with his wife and friends late the night of July 23, 1921. Though divers searched for days, Felder's body was never recovered.

Giles County investigators wouldn't go so far Monday as to say they believe the remains are Felder's. But they admitted that all the clues seem to point to him. (link)

Canoeing on the lake one moonlit night. An accident occurs. A man disappears. Only to "resurface" 87 years later.

The stuff UnSolved Mysteries is made of.


An Unremarkable Trend

The loons at the Charleston Gazette editorial page this morning are surprised that the grossly biased mainstream print medium is ... biased:
Remarkable trend
editorial

Across America, dozens of newspapers ... are endorsing Democrat Barack Obama for president. Editor & Publisher magazine says the trend is 3 to 1 in Obama's favor, with 51 endorsements for him (by papers totaling 6.3 million circulation), compared to just 16 for GOP nominee John McCain (by papers with 1.5 million subscribers).

These are voices of intelligent members of their communities worried by the harm inflicted on America in the past eight years, who want a better course for the nation. (link)
Either that or they're the voices of liberal Democrats who once loved John McCain when he went up against the Republican Party on specific issues but is now hated - oddly - for being a neanderthal fascist bent on making America Guantanamo North.

And we might discuss that charge that newspaper editors are "intelligent."

Questions That Need Answers

From William McGurn, writing in the Wall Street Journal this morning:
Obama Talks Nonsense on Tax Cuts
editorial

Now we know: 95% of Americans will get a "tax cut" under Barack Obama after all. Those on the receiving end of a check will include the estimated 44% of Americans who will owe no federal income taxes under his plan.

In most parts of America, getting money back on taxes you haven't paid sounds a lot like welfare. Ah, say the Obama people, you forget: Even those who pay no income taxes pay payroll taxes for Social Security. Under the Obama plan, they say, these Americans would get an income tax credit up to $500 based on what they are paying into Social Security.

Just two little questions: If people are going to get a tax refund based on what they pay into Social Security, then we're not really talking about income tax relief, are we? And if what we're really talking about is payroll tax relief, doesn't that mean billions of dollars in lost revenue for a Social Security trust fund that is already badly underfinanced? (link)

Anyone out there believe that this guy is thinking that expansively? He'll worry about Social Security after he's bribed taxpayers with their own money (which comes after he gets himself elected by offering bribes willy nilly). And don't forget - Obama is a Democrat. The National Debt is but an inconvenient function of accounting. And they now have ownership over the money printing presses. So let them presses roll.

"Name your problem. We have the cash to solve it."

So Obama is going to "refund" money never paid. And 50% of America says ... SWEET!

For the love of God.

Well, It worked For Obama

Perhaps Governor Kaine should borrow a line that Barack Obama made famous when the financial sector crashed and Congress assembled to confront the never-before-seen Wall Street meltdown: "I told them to call me if you need me." A sign of "leadership" his handlers called it.

Hmmm.

Well, it worked for him; maybe it can work for our wayward governor too:
Kaine split by budget, campaign
Critics say work for Obama, trips distract governor from state's crisis
By Gary Emerling, The Washington Times

Once considered a top choice to be Sen. Barack Obama's running mate, he must now balance his time between campaigning for the presidential candidate and trying to fix a $2.5 billion budget crisis.

Hustling between appearances last week in Northern Virginia, Mr. Kaine, a Democrat, said his first priority "absolutely" is managing the state. But his critics suggest that a more focused chief executive may be better-suited to tackle the issues confronting Virginia.

"He clearly has spent almost as much time out of the state as he has in the state," said House Majority Leader Delegate H. Morgan Griffith, Salem Republican. "I think we're going to find a lot of little things that he probably should have been on top of." (link)

In Obama's case, at least according to his supporters and the press (are they one in the same?), leadership means staying out of any effort to solve the nation's problems. And to go around making speeches.

Perhaps Kaine would do well to spend some time in Poughkeepsie. A lotta time. A whole lotta time ...

A Road Too Travelled

Investor's Business Daily:

When novelist Christopher Buckley recently endorsed Barack Obama for president, he didn't come up with very compelling reasons. "He is that rara avis" (rare bird), according to the son of the late conservative icon William F. Buckley Jr., "the politician who writes his own books. Imagine." That presumably will make our armed forces feel better when Obama squanders the extraordinary turnaround they engineered in Iraq.

The younger Buckley's backing sounds eerily similar to another skilled writer's equally irrational judgment of another dangerous Democratic presidential nominee. "It was as if he knew that God had given him intelligence and good work that would make sense, and so he could give his strength to the world and get new strength back," Norman Mailer wrote after meeting candidate Jimmy Carter in 1976.

Carter's "strength" was viewed differently by the Soviet Union, which after less than three years of Carter was emboldened enough to invade Afghanistan.

More seriousness might have been expected from former Secretary of State Powell. But ...
"Petty Officer," October 20, 2008

Meet Your Next Two Justices ...

... should The Messiah win.

Think judges aren't political whores just like everyone else who angles to find that dream job in Washington D.C.? Even Appeals Court judges? Think it's an accident that these two august jurists are writing disparagingly about Antonin Scalia's landmark Heller decision at this opportune moment when the man who might appoint them to the highest court in the land seems on the verge of victory?
Ruling on Guns Elicits Rebuke From the Right
By Adam Liptak, The New York Times

Two prominent federal appeals court judges say that Justice Antonin Scalia’s majority opinion in the case, District of Columbia v. Heller, is illegitimate, activist, poorly reasoned and fueled by politics rather than principle. The 5-to-4 decision in Heller struck down parts of a District of Columbia gun control law.

The judges used what in conservative legal circles are the ultimate fighting words: They said the gun ruling was a right-wing version of Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision that identified a constitutional right to abortion. Justice Scalia has said that Roe had no basis in the Constitution and amounted to a judicial imposition of a value judgment that should have been left to state legislatures.

... J. Harvie Wilkinson III ...

... Judge Richard A. Posner ... (link)
First to the argument that Heller is in the same league with Roe v. Wade. Scalia, in his Heller decision, simply affirmed the original framers' meaning (and the only non-preposterous meaning) of the words, "... the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed." On the other hand, those who wrote the Roe v. Wade decision found it to be supported in the Constitution where it guarantees the right to priva ... oops, where there ought to be a right to privacy that a careful reading places in the Ninth Amendment that states, "that "the enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people." Which allows for anything an activist wants to dream up.

But to my original point, Posner and Wilkinson see an opportunity to gain favor with Obama. Thus the trashing of the left's favorite villain on the Supreme Court.

Unseemly, fellas. But we do understand.

This Is To Make Us Vote For The Man?

Thus far in his sheltered life, the worst crisis Barack Obama has had to face was how and where to stash the blow when the cops drove by. He goes from that to this?
Sen. Joe Biden, D-Del., on Sunday guaranteed that if elected, Sen. Barack Obama., D-Ill., will be tested by an international crisis within his first six months in power and he will need supporters to stand by him as he makes tough, and possibly unpopular, decisions.

"Mark my words," the Democratic vice presidential nominee warned at the second of his two Seattle fundraisers Sunday. "It will not be six months before the world tests Barack Obama like they did John Kennedy. The world is looking. We're about to elect a brilliant 47-year-old senator president of the United States of America. Remember I said it standing here if you don't remember anything else I said. Watch, we're gonna have an international crisis, a generated crisis, to test the mettle of this guy." (link)
Of all the glowing commentary I've endured over the last several months from a fawning press, I've not once read or heard an account depicting strength, bravery, or daring as traits that he's ever exhibited. And Biden warns us that he - and we - are going to be put through a crisis, just to test to see if the man has any strength or or bravery or daring in him.

Why am I not feeling all that warm and fuzzy at the moment?

Another Hole In The Hot Air Balloon

This kind of story is starting to come at regular intervals now. You know that "global warming" calamity that Congress and Bush and McCain and Obama and the U.N. and Europe and Big Al and all the fruity environmentalists and all the mindless Democrats (including my congressman) are working feverishly to head off before it engulfs the planet?

Only one problem:
Thirty years of warmer temperatures go poof
By Lorne Gunter, The National Post

In early September, I began noticing a string of news stories about scientists rejecting the orthodoxy on global warming. Actually, it was more like a string of guest columns and long letters to the editor since it is hard for skeptical scientists to get published in the cabal of climate journals now controlled by the Great Sanhedrin of the environmental movement.

Still, the number of climate change skeptics is growing rapidly. Because a funny thing is happening to global temperatures -- they're going down, not up.

Don Easterbrook, a geologist at Western Washington University, says, "It's practically a slam dunk that we are in for about 30 years of global cooling," as the sun enters a particularly inactive phase. His examination of warming and cooling trends over the past four centuries shows an "almost exact correlation" between climate fluctuations and solar energy received on Earth, while showing almost "no correlation at all with CO2."

An analytical chemist who works in spectroscopy and atmospheric sensing, Michael J. Myers of Hilton Head, S. C., declared, "Man-made global warming is junk science," explaining that worldwide manmade CO2 emission each year "equals about 0.0168% of the atmosphere's CO2 concentration ... This results in a 0.00064% increase in the absorption of the sun's radiation. This is an insignificantly small number."

Other international scientists have called the manmade warming theory a "hoax," a "fraud" and simply "not credible." (link)

How 'bout we take the Rodney King approach to this dilemma and determine to just get along. A compromise? You fools who got suckered into believing that global warming actually exists can declare victory now that the problem has been ... overcome and the Earth is cooling, and the rest of us can avoid being taxed back into the stone age to prevent that which you all were so brave and beneficent enough to have stopped in its tracks. Deal?

Credit for being right is not my goal here. Being right is.