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

Sunday, September 20, 2009


The library of the From on High organization:

I took this photo of some of my bookcases a few minutes ago while sitting here at my desk to make a point.

Actually to prove my bona fides.

Look closely and you'll see - along with bottles of the world's finest bourbons; Maker's Mark, Wild Turkey Rare Breed, Old Grand-Dad, Henry McKenna, even an unopened bottle of 1966 Kentucky Nectar, along with a bottle of Macallan scotch (which snuck in) - a few hundred books. Nearly all of which are devoted to one subject.

The Civil War.

I'm not just a collector. I have absorbed a thing or two over the years offered up by the world's leading authorities on the War Between the States. Including works by James M. McPherson, Bruce Catton, Douglas Southall Freeman, Harry Pfanz, Shelby Steele, Edwin Coddington, Stephen Sears, James I. Robertson, Stephen B. Oates, and William C. Davis. I also have books written by those most in the know: Ulysses S. Grant, Jubal Early, Phil Sheridan, William T. Sherman, Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain, and Abner Doubleday, to name a few. I also have a host of books of lesser-known figures from the war. Including a sizable number of regimental histories. An expert? I don't claim the title.

Knowledgeable? You bet.

So when I read something in the newspaper this morning about a Civil War battle that took place in this area, with all my reading, knowledge, and understanding, and I have no idea what battle the article is referring to, there's a problem somewhere.

But a "battle" it indeed cites:
Winds of change make battlefield center of fight
By Laurence Hammack, Roanoke Times

Camp Allegheny, W. VA. -- From an alpine meadow west of Allegheny Mountain, Richard Laska gazed at a pristine landscape that has changed very little since the day Confederate soldiers defended the ridge from an onslaught by Union troops.

"If wilderness is sacred, and if American history is sacred, then there's no doubt this place is doubly sacred," Laska said.

So when ground was broken last month for a row of 400-foot-tall wind turbines along the ridge that overlooks Camp Allegheny Battlefield, it didn't just dismay Laska and other nearby property owners who have been fighting the project for years.

It also prompted a state agency to raise new questions about the wind farm's effect on a historic Civil War battlefield. [link]
The Camp Allegheny Battlefield?


My SkeptoMeter just went to Level Orange.

Let's be clear. There was/were, by anyone's reasonable measure, one - maybe two, if you call Summersville, West Virginia part of the local area - battle(s) fought in this region in all the Civil War years. That would be the Battle of Cloyd's Mountain that took place up near Dublin in Pulaski County in 1864. The second having been fought at Carnifex Ferry in 1861 (some wouldn't even categorize that as a battle since "only" 250 casualties resulted; but there were armies/divisions involved - as opposed to companies, regiments, or brigades, so ...).

Camp Allegheny?

Here's how the Roanoke Times lays it out:

Winter had taken hold of Allegheny Mountain when, in December 1861, Confederate forces occupied the summit to protect the nearby Staunton-Parkersburg Pike.

The stronghold was attacked by Union forces on Dec. 13. Fighting continued throughout the day before the Northern troops were eventually forced to retreat.

Of the nearly 300 soldiers killed, 146 were Confederates. Some were buried in gravesites that remain at the site, which is just across the Highland County line in West Virginia.

300 killed? 146 Confederates? That would give it more significance than Carnifex Ferry. Had I been missing something?

Well, terminology can be slippery. Just as the word "battle" can sometimes be tossed about with regard to what most historians might call a skirmish, so the word casualties can sometimes be ... misconstrued.

In truth, the Battle of Camp Allegheny resulted in there being 300 casualties. Not 300 killed. Including, yes, 146 Confederate. With 25 killed.

Note the fact that the word "casualties" included in its definition not just those killed in battle, but those wounded and missing (which generally included those who ran off - deserted - never to be seen again). In addition, many of those casualties continued to fight with only minor wounds. It's worth noting that Major General Don Carlos Buell was a "casualty" in the Battle of Perryville (Kentucky) in 1862 when he was thrown from his horse and injured.

So. I'd be careful how I bandied about words like "battle" and "killed."

Had the reporter only used the word "engagement" all would be well.

Although "Engagement at Camp Allegheny" sounds like a betrothal party, I suppose.

- - -

Here's partly why the action at Camp Allegheny in 1861 is given more prominence than it deserves. From the article:

"A wind farm within eyesight 'will likely have a negative impact' on the battlefield, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places ..."

The wind farm won't even be on the "battlefield." It will be within eyesight. A criterion that automatically puts all of northern Virginia and most of central Virginia off limits to any kind of commercial construction, if adopted as law.

Please. Stop. You're "killing" me.

- - -

* No, Lead Mines, Marion, Saltville, Greenbrier River, Droop Mountain, Crockett's Cove, Wytheville, don't rise to the level.

** Click on the image to enlarge it.

Heaven On Earth

Here's a photo I took one afternoon recently off the back porch:

They barely acknowledged my presence. And moved on.

- - -

I just remembered ...

I had the opportunity the other day of rescuing a fawn from certain doom. I was working at the back of my property when I heard the distinct and prolonged bleat of a young deer. A distressful bleat (you live amongst them and you get to where you can understand the language). I walked about a hundred yards down the old turnpike to see what was going on but the screaming stopped. I figured the fawn had found its mother and all was well. I went back to work.

Then a neighbor drove up and told me that, sure enough, a young deer was caught in the farm fence down the road a bit.

So I hopped on my ATV and went to the rescue!

The fawn had tried to leap the fence (standard woven wire farm fence), had accidentally slipped a leg through the top wires and, when the little guy came down on the other side, had wrapped the wire around its lower leg. The fawn was hanging almost vertical when I got to him/her.

I had this happen once before down below my house. I pulled what was left of a carcass (after the buzzards got through with it) of a deer that had gotten entangled in the exact same way, but wasn't able to escape, and I disposed of the remains. I'll bet this sort of thing happens more than we would all imagine.

Anyway, I climbed the hillside to the fawn, wrestled with the tightly wrapped wire, and finally freed the deer.

It was disoriented (in fact it slammed into the fence upon release) and was hobbling. But it looked to be in good shape as it scampered off.

A good deed on my part. I saved a deer for the hunters to shoot next year.

Ah, life on the frontier.

Why Isn't Boucher Saying This?

From someone who has no legislative authority whatsoever:

MidAmerican president vows to "fight to our last breath" against cap and trade

And from one of Congress's most senior members, one with - presumably - a great deal of clout:

Well, the EPA forced me to agree to legislation that will destroy the coal industry. I had no choice but to go along. I'm a powerless little congressperson.

Where in Southwest Virginia is there a Joe Wilson who'll stand up to radicals within the EPA and say, "Over my dead body, you sunsabitchas"?

"Fight to our last breath." A rallying cry we could all get behind.

Boucher Bill Fading Into Obscurity

The legislation that Congressman Rick Boucher (D-VA,9) sacrificed his political career for seems to be in ruins. And good riddance:
Climate Bill Drifts Into a Potomac Fog
By Jessica Leber and Christa Marshall, New York Times

A day after Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) hinted that climate legislation might be postponed until 2010, some analysts wondered whether that actually could mean 2011.

Or perhaps that it wouldn't be considered in the Senate at all.

With congressional midterm elections looming next year, they say the timetable is limited for politicians to act on a major bill before partisan rancor dominates Capitol Hill. That is raising speculation that lawmakers and the Obama administration may go for a "Plan B" next year that involves passage of a general energy bill without its most complex climate elements.

"The most likely scenario is that we get a more climate-friendly version of the 2005 and 2007 energy bills," said Barry Rabe, a professor of public policy at the University of Michigan. "It would be a half-loaf approach without cap and trade." [link]
If the end-product doesn't tax us into oblivion, it's a step in the right direction.

But we are talking about saving "the environment."

And we are talking about Democrats.

And we are talking about global wa ... uh, skip that.

I still like Drill, baby, Drill.

'Hey, Recession Is Good For the Environment'

Some joker with the Earth Policy Institute looks at the horrific economic data from 2008-09 that's coming in and pronounces it encouraging.

Only a whacked-out environmentalist ...
On Energy, We're Finally Walking the Walk
By Lester R. Brown, writing in the Washington Post

The United States has entered a new energy era, ending a century of rising carbon emissions. As the U.S. delegation prepares for the international climate negotiations in Copenhagen in December, it does so from a surprisingly strong position, one based on a dramatic 9 percent drop in U.S. carbon emissions over the past two years and the promise of further huge reductions.

Even though part of this decline in carbon emissions was caused by the recession and higher gasoline prices, part of it came from gains in energy efficiency and shifts to carbon-free sources of energy, including record amounts of new wind-generating capacity. This impressive drop in carbon emissions should enable the United States to push for a steep cut in Copenhagen.

For a country where oil and coal use have been growing for more than a century, the fall since 2007 is startling. Last year, oil use dropped 5 percent, coal 1 percent and overall carbon emissions 3 percent. Projections for this year, based on Energy Department data for the first eight months, show oil use down by an additional 5 percent. Coal is estimated to fall by 10 percent. Altogether, carbon emissions from burning fossil fuels, including natural gas, dropped 9 percent over the two years. [link]
Whoa! Let's back up. To that "[e]ven though part of this decline in carbon emissions was caused by the recession and higher gasoline prices..." In fact nearly ALL the decline can be attributed to the recession and higher gas prices.

So is this guy saying high gas prices and a severe recession are good?

Is the Pope Bavarian?

We've always suspected that environmentalists won't be satisfied until we're all living in caves and eating (organic) leaves and twigs. But it's a rare day that they admit it. And even rarer that they actually extol the virtues thereof.

There are tens of millions of Americans out of work and not driving their cars. This winter they'll not be heating their homes either. And to this genius that's reason to celebrate. Progress.

In any other era of human existence, this fool would be locked up. Or sent home to mommy. Today he gets prominent space in the Washington Post.

For the love of God.

Dogs & Cats Living Together

From Hot Air:

Biting witticism. I love it.

Quote of the Day

Short is sweet.

Glenn Reynolds:

"JIMMY CARTER’S RACE PROBLEM. And then there’s his more recent anti-semitism problem. He’s a foul old man, and a disgrace to the office he once held."


We Sink Ever Deeper

When the corporation that was set up by the government to guarantee bank deposits has to start borrowing money from the government institution whose prime purpose these days is to borrow money, you know the United States of America is in big trouble.

What's that term?

Dead man walking?
FDIC chief considers tapping Treasury for funds
By Daniel Wagner, Associated Press

Washington (AP) - The chairman of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. says she is "considering all options, including borrowing from Treasury," to replenish the dwindling fund that insures bank deposits.

The FDIC estimates bank failures will cost the fund around $70 billion through 2013. Ninety-two banks have failed so far this year. Hundreds more are expected to fall in coming years largely because of souring loans for commercial real estate.

The FDIC's fund has slipped to 0.22 percent of insured deposits, below a congressionally mandated minimum of 1.15 percent. The $10.4 billion in the fund at the end of June is down from $13 billion at the end of March, and $45.2 billion in the second quarter of 2008.

The FDIC board will meet at the end of the month and will likely put out several options, Bair said Friday, including tapping a Treasury credit line, assessing fees on banks in advance and again increasing the fees that banks must pay. [link]
Thank God the commies are willing to keep lending us the funds necessary to keep this train wreck from becoming ... oh, wait. It's already a train wreck. Maybe the Chinese aren't so magnanimous - or stupid - after all.

It's Not Like The Old Days

The days when the left-wing smear machine could get away with it.

See "Another Distortion and Attempt to Defend ACORN by Attacking the Messenger."

Pathetic. And shameful.

Breaking News!

The "journalists" at the New York Times are all over the John Edwards/Slut/Love Child story.

The story that is now astoundingly unimportant.

Fourteen months after their betters at the National Enquirer (for God's sake) first brought us the news.

News. A foreign concept to the liberal press.

"All the news that's fit to print" fourteen months after it was news.

These people make me laugh.

That Makes Him a Racist

Obama asks [black] N.Y. governor to step aside