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

Friday, December 19, 2008

Snooze, You Lose

I had the idea more than a decade ago to develop an electronic book to replace - as they were going to inevitably be replaced - the printed version. An e-book that could download every book ever written, for your reading pleasure. It was going to have the look and feel of a real book. And it would have read just as easily.

But, alas, I never acted on my idea. Now others have.

Meet Kindle® from Amazon:
With this baby, you can download from over 100,000 source materials, each within just a few minutes.


And Christmas is just a few days away ...

Photo courtesy of Amazon.com

More On That Mythical 'Gun Show Loophole'

This from a Virginia Tech graduate student is worth reading:

"But he could have gotten his guns from the classifieds!"

Good stuff. It appears there is some small modicum of sanity on the VT campus.

'A Sound Policy Decision' ...

... involving the environment? Is it possible?

E.P.A. Ruling Could Speed Up Approval of Coal Plants
By Matthew L. Wald and Felicity Barringer, The New York Times

Washington — Officials weighing federal applications by utilities to build new coal-fired power plants cannot consider their greenhouse gas output, the head of the Environmental Protection Agency ruled late Thursday. Some environmentalists fear the decision will clear the way for the approval of several such plants in the last days of the Bush administration.

The ruling, by Stephen L. Johnson, the administrator, responds to a decision made last month by the Environmental Appeals Board, a panel within the E.P.A., that had blocked the construction of a small new plant on the site of an existing power plant, Bonanza, on Ute tribal land in eastern Utah.

[A] memorandum issued by Mr. Johnson late Thursday puts the agency on record saying that carbon dioxide is not a pollutant to be regulated when approving power plants. He cited “sound policy considerations.” [link]
Common sense dictates that one of the most important chemical compounds to the maintenance of all life on the planet - CO2 - cannot, under any circumstances, be "a pollutant." But common sense and the environmentalist left rarely meet in the same room.

This is a win for common sense. And for all of us.

Now bring on those power plants. The country sorely needs 'em.

Automaker Bankruptcy Explained

This is the "best-case scenario":
Bet Ron Gettlefinger is kicking himself
By Megan McArdle, The Atlantic

Bush weighs "orderly bankruptcy" for the Big Three.

This is the option that's always seemed to make the most sense to me. The "Car Czar" didn't really seem to be much different from a bankruptcy judge, except perhaps in allowing all three to collude to beat up on either consumers or suppliers. We have a very, very good system for taking distressed companies back to profitability--to be sure, it doesn't always work, but it works better than anything else anyone's ever tried.

The biggest concerns about bankruptcy are two:

1. How will the Big Three obtain Debtor-in-Possession financing in a credit crunch?
2. How will they convince people to buy their cars if there's a risk that the warranties will be no good, or Detroit will fail and hence stop making parts?

The government is in a pretty good position to answer that question; it can be the lender of last resort, and if necessary, it can guarantee the warranties, and loan Detroit the money to build a "parts bank" to insure customers against liquidation risk. [link]
This makes perfect sense, until one factors in the news media. Once "journalists" find out that bankruptcy proceedings can have a prominent impact on new-car warranty contracts, they are liable to go nuts and broadcast to a gullible public all kinds of doomsday scenarios. If they scare consumers to death (read the "left-wing campaign that started one of the biggest food scares in U.S. history" if you don't believe it's possible), all bets are off.

In any case, Megan is right. Bankruptcy is not the end of the world. Perhaps. But it is without doubt the only world that awaits the Big Three.

On Those Who Wish To Prosecute Bush ...

... for war crimes (and God knows what else), Robert Stacy McCain has a padded cell with your names on it:

Read "Thank You, Glenn Greenwald" (and the update at the end).

I love this kind of stuff.

Well, Somebody's Lying

Obama hasn't even taken office yet and his administration sinks ever deeper into a scandal that shouldn't be an Obama scandal at all. It's the Clinton years all over again:
Emanuel talked directly to gov: source
By Natasha Korecki,Federal Courts Reporter, Chicago Sun-Times

President-elect Barack Obama's incoming chief of staff Rahm Emanuel had a deeper involvement in pressing for a U.S. Senate seat appointment than previously reported, the Sun-Times has learned. Emanuel had direct discussions about the seat with Gov. Blagojevich, who is is accused of trying to auction it to the highest bidder.

Emanuel talked with the governor in the days following the Nov. 4 election and pressed early on for the appointment of Valerie Jarrett to the post, sources with knowledge of the conversations told the Sun-Times. There was no indication from sources that Emanuel brokered a deal, however.

A source with the Obama camp strongly denied Emanuel spoke with the governor directly about the seat, saying Emanuel only spoke with Blagojevich once recently to say he was taking the chief of staff post. [link]

So, did he or didn't he? The world awaits an answer.

And Obama? Well, he's "monitoring the situation." In other words, he's just a bystander.

I think we'll be seeing a lot of that strategy over the next four years.

How Times Have Changed

And so rapidly.

Where once the USA was the leader of the free world ...

Chinese flag up anti-pirate fleet

Not a proud moment for America.

Slowly They Come Around

Before too long, everyone will be in agreement that global warming (or "climate change," for the nitwits out there) theory is nothing more than hot air. So says another CNN meteorologist:
CNN Meteorologist: Manmade Global Warming Theory 'Arrogant'
Network's second meteorologist to challenge notion man can alter climate.
By Jeff Poor, Business & Media Institute

Unprecedented snow in Las Vegas has some scratching their heads – how can there be global warming with this unusual cold and snowy weather?

CNN Meteorologist Chad Myers had never bought into the notion that man can alter the climate and the Vegas snowstorm didn’t impact his opinion. Myers, an American Meteorological Society certified meteorologist, explained on CNN’s Dec. 18 “Lou Dobbs Tonight” that the whole idea is arrogant and mankind was in danger of dying from other natural events more so than global warming.

“You know, to think that we could affect weather all that much is pretty arrogant,” Myers said. “Mother Nature is so big, the world is so big, the oceans are so big – I think we’re going to die from a lack of fresh water or we’re going to die from ocean acidification before we die from global warming, for sure.” [link]
I don't know about that last statement. I personally believe that we're all going to die from the machinations of do-gooder Democrat "environmentalists" before we die from global warming or ocean acidification.

But it's good to know that the experts are finally coming around to reality.

They Have a Mind of Their Own

A headline on Accuweather.com makes you stop and wonder if sinister forces are at work:

Storms Target Major Cities Coast to Coast

Can "climate change" be behind this dastardly attack?

A Good Question

Posed by Victor Davis Hanson:
One of the strangest things about the current California meltdown is how no one in state government here ever pauses to ask simple questions like: Why do we have the largest annual deficit with one of the highest sales tax and income tax rates in the country?
From "More California Dreaming," National Review's "The Corner," December 18, 2008

The Perfect Gift

With an insane murderer on the loose somewhere around here, this seems more appropriate than ever:
This year, give her a gun for Christmas
By Michael Hartwell, The Independent

With a single week left until Christmas, a lot of us are still scrambling to find a gift for that person who already has everything. Chances are, the person who already has everything has an interest in keeping their stuff safe, and one way to do that is give that special someone in your life a firearm.

A lot of Christmas gifts end up as bothersome clutter, such as goofy trinkets or unread books. A gift certificate is a good sign that you don’t know much about the person, but aren’t quite thoughtless enough to just send cash. But with a gun you can give that person a new hobby, an ongoing lesson in responsibility, peace of mind, and make the world a better place. [link]
Paula and I have decided that, if the authorities don't catch that madman, Douglas Albert Jaccard, today, we're going to load a handgun and keep it on the fireplace until he's caught. Better safe than sorry, as 2.5 million Americans prove each year.

The Springfield XD 9. The gift that keeps on giving.

- - -

Update: Madman caught. Tensions ease. Gun remains locked in cabinet. Till next time.

How Cool Is This?

A masterpiece sat right under everyone's nose. For 500 years. And no one knew the work existed:
Three near-invisible drawings discovered on back of Da Vinci masterpiece
By Adam Sage and Marie Tourres, Times of London

The mystery is set in the Louvre and the clues are hidden behind a 16th-century masterpiece by Leonardo da Vinci. Remind you of anything?

Lovers of Dan Brown novels will be salivating at the discovery of three previously unknown drawings on the back of one of Leonardo’s major works. A curator spotted the sketches on the back of The Virgin and Child with Saint Anne when it was taken down in September for restoration.

Sylvain Laveissière pointed out some grey marks that had previously been dismissed as stains. To him they resembled a horse’s head and a human skull.

When the painting was photographed with an infra-red camera at the Centre for Research and Restoration of the Museums of France, he was proved right. On the wood on which the work was mounted was an 18cm by 10cm (7in by 4in) equine head and a 16.5cm by 10cm skull, complete with orbital and nasal cavities, jaw and teeth. The camera detected a third drawing, a 15cm-high infant Jesus with a lamb, which was invisible to the naked eye. [link]
Fascinating stuff.