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

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Photos & Captions Say It All

A protest of sorts took place yesterday over in Blacksburg. According to Roanoke Times reporter Lerone Graham (see "New River Valley group protests Israeli attacks"), the protest was launched in an effort to "raise awareness of the conflict while pushing for a peaceful resolution."

But was it really?

See the accompanying photos (to the left). The top one shows a protester with a sign that says "Free Palestine," not "Peace in the Middle East." And the bottom photo shows a woman holding a Palestinian flag and who attended to "protest Israel's attacks on Gaza."

"Peace," last I heard, was a two-way street.

But not in their mixed-up world.

The fact that Gazans have been firing missiles into Israel with the clear and stated intention of killing "Zionists" is of no consequence to these people. They only want "peace" when the Israelis declare "enough is enough" and retaliate.

(I should also mention to the enlightened person in the top photo that Palestine IS free. Free to hold elections for its political leadership. Free enough for its Gaza wing to elect the terrorist organization Hamas for that leadership. Free enough for its leadership to manufacture and to launch rockets into Sderot without local outcry.)

My guess is, these people would find it to be perfectly acceptable if "peace" came to the Middle East with a Muslim invasion and occupation of Israel and wholesale slaughter of Jews to ensue. After all, we know they deserve it.

Such is the warped notion of "peace" they hold. 14 children blown up in a terrorist attack? "Hey, let's go to the Mall." 6,000 Gazan rockets landing in Israel? "Hey, when's American Idol coming on?" Israel decides to stop daily terror attacks on its people? "Genocide!"

So give me a break. Take your protest and stick it. You want peace in the Middle East? Get your buddies in Palestine to come out of the 9th century and act like civilized human beings.

Photo courtesy of Jeanna Duerscherl and the Roanoke Times
Click on the image to enlarge it.

Like I Said ...

My extensive education in the law (okay, I took a couple of business law classes in graduate school) prompted me to state yesterday that any action taken by the Democrats in the Senate to bar Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich's appointee from being seated to replace Barack Obama would run counter to the law. On that point, I have some heavy duty support.

Law Professor Brian Kalt:
Can the Senate Refuse to Seat Blagojevich's Appointee?

I'm not sure where the Senate Democratic leadership thinks it gets the authority to not seat Burris. Under Powell v. McCormack, the ability of the Senate to exclude someone would seem to be limited to judging that he hadn't won the election (not applicable here) or that he is not qualified (30 years old, a resident of Illinois, and a U.S. citizen for nine years). Their discomfort with Burris's appointer doesn't enter into it.

My best guess is that the Senate Democratic leadership would argue that the Senate's authority to judge the elections of its members extends by analogy to judging the appointments of its members; and that a corrupt election would be cause to not seat someone, so a corrupt appointment should be too. But surely this sort of determination would require some sort of investigation rather than a conclusion that Burris is unfit for office (even if the Senate could get away with this constitutionally, it shouldn't try to). Burris has not been connected to the corruption case as far as I know.
Perhaps the Senate Democratic leadership will simply take the law into their own hands and deny the appointment without a legal basis. Then our rapid descent into the realm of Banana Republic would be certified as having been successfully achieved.

I wouldn't put it past them either.

I Don't Get It

Washington Post columnist David Ignatius says a reckoning is upon us. We Americans have been spending money we don't have and have run up debts that we don't have the ability to ever repay. And he's not all that supportive of all the bailouts that are in the works - even if they are successful.

"It's Time To Pay The Bills":

But what if the bailout policy "works," and prevents the deep global depression that many analysts had feared? In recent days, even super-bear Nouriel Roubini has seemed hopeful that the worst outcomes can be avoided. What would be the lessons of such a "near-miss" world?

The first precept would be that bad behavior brings a rescue. If Wall Street investment banks can get away with it, why not auto companies? And if auto companies, why not the guy who bought a house he couldn't afford, or who maxed out his credit cards without a hope of repaying the debt? What the heck? We're all living in bailout nation. As a prominent foreign investor observes: "In America, loans have gone from 'something to be repaid' to 'something to be refinanced.' "

Ignatius's preferred solution to the problems Americans face? Running up government debt that WE have little ability to repay. Say what?

What:

A second course, and to me, this seems more likely, is that the bailout that's now in place won't work -- and that a major new recovery program will be needed from the Obama administration. And here is the chance to shape the lessons for our children in a positive way.

A cornerstone of Obama's rescue policy is likely to be reinvestment. That will cover infrastructure projects, to be sure, but the power boost will be new technologies to retool the failing auto industry and dozens of others. Visit universities around the country, and you realize that there is a wealth of new ideas ready to be put to work -- in every aspect of energy creation and consumption, and in most other sectors of manufacturing and distribution.

A recovery program. A recovery program that involves spending money that we as a nation don't have. Federal debt like this country has never seen before.

"In America, loans have gone from 'something to be repaid' to 'something to be refinanced.' "

The national debt - as of this morning - stands at $10,558,087,894,842.26, and climbing.

And Ignatius is okay with it exploding.

Isn't that unrecoverable bad debt - that "bad behavior" - an extension of the problem this guy outlines in the first place?

To The Idiots At The Charleston Gazette ...

... not that you'll ever be able to grasp this, but there is a valid reason that the Israelis are striking back at the terrorists who now run Gaza, and it has nothing to do with George W. Bush.

Here's Melanie Phillips, writing in The Spectator ("On the other side from civilisation"):
The issue of Israel sits at the very apex of the fight to defend civilisation. Those who wish to destroy western civilisation need to destroy the Jews, whose moral precepts formed its foundation stones. The deranged hatred of the Jews lies at the core of the Islamists’ hatred of America, the ‘infidel’ west and modernity, and is the reason why they wish to destroy Israel. Unless people in the west understand that Israel’s fight is their own fight, they will be on the wrong side of the war to defend not just the west but civilisation in general.
It's not about Bush, you nitwits. Or the "fact" that he pressured Mahmoud Abbas to schedule elections. And it's not about anything that Israel has done to the Palestinian people. It is entirely about "the deranged hatred of the Jews" and hatred of western civilization that persists, and metastasizes throughout the Middle East. A hatred so intense that Arabs are willing to strap bombs to their chests and to attempt to kill as many "Zionists" indiscriminately as possible. And to fire off explosive-laden rockets into civilian neighborhoods with the same intent. And, yes, to fly civilian airliners into American skyscrapers.

So get off your hackneyed and discredited "It's all Bush's fault" mantra. It's about terrorist thugs who deserve to die. Nothing more. Nothing else.

Let Me Work That Sentence For You

Here is how the Washington Post greets the news that America is slowly turning control of Iraq over to the Iraqis:
When the clock struck midnight on Wednesday, the U.S. ... relinquished formal control over the Green Zone, a heavily fortified six-square-mile enclave on the Tigris River where key U.S. and Iraqi bureaucracies are situated.

The handover is a sign of the shrinking footprint and influence of the United States in a country where it has lost thousands of lives and spent billions of dollars.
To those of us who support the United States of America in its efforts to defeat the terrorist menace wherever it surfaces, that last sentence actually reads:

"The handover is a sign of the shrinking footprint and influence of the United States in a country where we were victorious in a hard-fought stand-up fight against the foot soldiers of fear, butchery, and repression."

And, yes, where thousands of lives were lost to make it happen. We will always honor those who "gave their last full measure" in order to make this world a better place.

The Downside

There is much to cheer these days as the newspaper industry crumbles. If the word schadenfreude was meant for any circumstance it has to be this. The ultra-liberal New York Times may be beyond hope? Sweet!

But there is a downside to the story too. In fact, lots. Here's one:
Village Voice Lays Off Nat Hentoff and 2 Others
By Stephanie Clifford, New York Times*

The troubled Village Voice laid off three employees Tuesday, including Nat Hentoff, the prominent columnist who has worked for the paper since 1958, contributing opinionated columns about jazz, civil liberties and politics.

“Nat Hentoff wrote liner notes for every great musician that I’ve ever loved, from Billie Holiday to Bob Dylan and Aretha Franklin, and that’s not even what he’s been writing about for the last 30 years,” said Tom Robbins, a Voice staff writer.

Mr. Hentoff plans to continue to write a weekly column for the United Media syndicate and contribute pieces to The Wall Street Journal. His book “At the Jazz Band Ball: 60 Years on the Jazz Scene,” is expected next year. [link]
There is a small handful of writers whose articles I read regardless of the subject matter - Kimberly Strassel, Dorothy Rabinowitz, and Nat Hentoff are three that immediately come to mind. (Interestingly, all three write for the Wall Street Journal, and all three are the best in the business). Hentoff, like the other two, always provides a well-reasoned, fully sourced column that provokes thought and provides memorable quotes worth ... remembering.

I hope the Village Voice's misfortune is not to be Nat Hentoff's misfortune. Long may he impart!

- - -

Oh, by the way, the newspaper industry is being considered for a bailout along with all those others. Line up, hat in hand, boys. The government has all the money in the world. And it's willing to share - at a price.

* Yes, I recognize the irony.

Quote of the Day

I suppose this comparison was bound to come up. From Jonah Goldberg:

"[Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich's pick to replace Barack Obama in the Senate] Roland Burris is more qualified to be undemocratically appointed to the Senate than Caroline Kennedy is."

Perhaps her lack of qualifications, though, makes her qualified to be president. No?

Telling It Like It Is

Another voice shouting out the truth about "global warming":

“I’ll not be stopped saying what I believe needs to be said about climate change.

“I think in 20 years’ time we will look back at this whole climate change debate and ask ourselves how on earth were we ever conned into spending the billions of pounds which are going into this without any kind of rigorous examination of the background, the science, the implications of it all. Because there is now a degree of hysteria about it, fairly unformed hysteria I’ve got to say as well.

“I mean I get it in the Assembly all the time and most of the people who shout about climate change have not read one article about climate change, not read one book about climate change, if you asked them to explain how they believe there’s a connection between CO2 emission and the effects which they claim there’s going to be, if you ask them to explain the thought process or the modelling that is required and the assumptions behind that and how tenuous all the connections are, they wouldn’t have a clue.

“They simply get letters about it from all these lobby groups, it’s popular and therefore they go along with the flow — and that would be ok if there were no implications for it, but the implications are immense.

“HIV, lack of clean water, which kills millions of people in third world countries, lack of education.

“A fraction of the money we are currently spending on climate change could actually eradicate those three problems alone, a fraction of it.

“I think as a society we sometimes need to get some of these things in perspective and when I listen to some of the rubbish that is spoken by some of my colleagues in the Assembly it amuses me at times and other times it angers me.”

The person being quoted? British Minister of the Environment, Sammy Wilson.