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

Saturday, October 10, 2009

I Get So Confused

The International Olympic Committee awarded the 2016 Summer Games to Rio de Janeiro.

But Rio, being in the southern hemisphere, will be in the midst of winter when the games are being held.

Shouldn't they then be called the Winter Olympics?

My head hurts.

Will Obama Abandon Our Troops In Afghanistan?

Will the sun rise tomorrow?

Mark Steyn on the administration's dithering:
This is – how to put this delicately? – something of a recalibration of Obama's previous position. From about a year after the fall of Baghdad, Democrats adopted the line that Bush's war in Iraq was an unnecessary distraction from the real war, the good war, the one in Afghanistan that everyone – Dems, Europeans, all the nice people – were right behind, 100 percent. No one butched up for the Khyber Pass more enthusiastically than Barack Obama: "As President, I will make the fight against al-Qaida and the Taliban the top priority." (July 15, 2008)

But that was then, and this is now. As the historian Robert Dallek told Obama recently, "War kills off great reform movements." As the Washington Post's E.J. Dionne reminded the president, his supporters voted for him not to win a war but to win a victory on health care and other domestic issues. Obama's priorities lie not in the Hindu Kush but in America: Why squander your presidency on trying to turn an economically moribund feudal backwater into a functioning nation state when you can turn a functioning nation state into an economically moribund feudal backwater?
Only the blind saw Obama's speeches about Afghanistan back when he was running for president as being something other than a bold-faced lie.  He never had any intention of continuing the war there (despite his pledge, "Afghanistan is a war we have to win.").  He wants out and always has.

But the politics of it won't let him out.

So he'll neither fight to win nor extract our troops before more of them die.  He'll let the thing drag out.  And let more of our brave young men and women die.  And he'll try his best to ignore it all.

You read here yesterday of a dramatic decline in morale among the troops posted to Afghanistan since Obama became their commander-in-chief.  Any wonder?  There can be nothing more dispiriting than knowing that you are risking your life for inhospitable people in an inhospitable land and that leaders back home don't give a damn about you.

I'm reminded of a pledge made many years ago by a commanding officer to the unit he was taking charge of:

"I will not waste you."

Obama, at the time, was shoving cocaine up his nose.  Oblivious to the world around him.

He might as well be doing the same today.

I Agree With Obama

Even he doesn't believe he's earned the Nobel Peace Prize:

"To be honest, I do not feel that I deserve to be in the company of so many of the transformative figures who’ve been honored by this prize — men and women who’ve inspired me and inspired the entire world through their courageous pursuit of peace."

I also agree with Obama sycophant Matt Lauer:

"We’re less than a year into the first term of this president and there are no ... major foreign policy achievements, to date.

Then there's retired English professor Claire Sprague, 82: "It would be wonderful if I could think why he won.  They wanted to give him an honor I guess, but I can't think what for."

There's not much more that I could add that these three haven't already said, other than this:

Barack Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize for bringing peace to Iraq. Uh, no.

Barack Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize for bringing peace to Afghanistan.  Not even.

Barack Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize for bringing peace to the Middle East.  In his dreams.

Barack Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize for routinely badmouthing the USA.

The openly anti-American Nobel committee members love that sort of thing.  Bush Derangement Syndrome lives.

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Bill O'Reilly: "Someone writes a speech, he reads it, he gets the Peace Prize.  He hasn't done anything!"

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Even the New York Times is perplexed by the award:

"Whatever it meant on the world stage, in the United States the award to Mr. Obama was a decidedly mixed blessing. It was a reminder of the gap between the ambitious promise of his words and his accomplishments."

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Headline of the Day:

"Next: Help Obama win the Heisman Trophy!"

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How about this one from Ezra Klein?

"Obama also awarded Nobel prize in chemistry. 'He's just got great chemistry,' says Nobel Committee."

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Matt Welch: "... nominating him for the planet's most prestigious peace award after he'd been on the job for only one month is like naming Derek Jeter MVP after spring training."

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One of my favorites:

"Was he, like, the tenth caller or something?"

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David Hassan of Pine Brook, New Jersey: "Obama won? Really? Wow.  He deserves it I guess.  He's the president, he's a smart guy, and I guess he's into peace."

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"I can just see it now..... a TV commercial with Barack Obama saying 'I'm going to Disneyworld!'

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"He should win the Cy Young Award for throwing out the first pitch." 

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"Next: An Emmy Award.  After all, he did play a president on TV." 

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The front page of the New York Post:

James Taranto: "The question is not whether Obama can live up to the Nobel Peace Prize, but whether he will be able to live it down."

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Washington Post columnist Ruth Marcus gets it right, I think.  This isn't about Obama.  It's about the nitwits who now choose Nobel recipients:

"I was stunned and amazed.  And I have to say that I kind of agree with President Obama when he said, ‘To be honest I do not feel that I deserve to be in the company of so many transformational figures.' Neither do I. I don't understand this prize. And I actually, I think it reflects poorly on the Nobel Committee more than it does on President Obama who I presume did not nominate himself two weeks after he became president."

New Business Comes To Danville

Every little bit helps in these troubled times.

In this case, it's a new business (to Danville) linked to a very old - and storied - industry:
JTI Leaf Services To Open New Facility In Danville

Danville, VA, (October 8, 2009) – Danville Mayor Sherman M. Saunders and JTI Leaf Services today announced the creation of 39 full-time and 150 seasonal jobs in the Danville area with the opening of JTI Leaf Services’ new facility, which will procure and process U.S. leaf tobacco.

“We are excited to become a part of the Danville community, bringing new jobs and new energy to the area,” said Steve Daniels, President of JTI Leaf Services. “The area has a long and rich history in the tobacco industry and is home to a very experienced workforce. We look forward to creating new opportunities for Danville residents and developing long-standing relationships with the community.”

The acquisition of the new facility follows an announcement on June 12 that Japan Tobacco International (JTI) became the majority shareholder in a joint venture with Hail & Cotton and J.E.B. International. The new company, JTI Leaf Services, will procure U.S. leaf tobacco on behalf of the JT Group.

“Virginia – and especially Danville – is pleased to welcome JTI Leaf Services,” said Gov. Kaine. “This area is well-known for its tobacco heritage and has a lot to offer JTI Leaf Services. In return, the company’s commitment to the area will help stimulate growth, new jobs and further development.”

“Our partnership with JTI will strengthen our presence as a major exporter of goods and services in the global marketplace,” said Mayor Sherman Saunders. “The tobacco industry was once an anchor of the local economy, and as a result, we have a knowledgeable workforce that is immediately available.” Mayor Saunders concluded, “I have no doubt JTI will be able to find many talented people in the Danville area who will help the company become a valuable contributor to our local commerce and beyond.”

The company will begin filling seasonal positions in May 2010 and will make employment information public prior to that time.
Sweet. Here's to its success.

Win Some ...

... lose some:
30 Norfolk Southern jobs moving to Atlanta
By Jeff Sturgeon, Roanoke Times

Norfolk Southern Corp. will move 30 jobs from Roanoke to Atlanta, effective Nov. 16, the company said.

Railroad spokesman Robin Chapman said Friday the move is designed to improve "communication, coordination and teamwork" between members of the railroad's safety and environment department -- the ones whose jobs are moving -- and four Atlanta-based departments with which the safety and environmental team works. [link]

A Story

The Old Fisherman

Our house was directly across the street from the clinic entrance of Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore. We lived downstairs and rented the upstairs rooms to out-patients at the Clinic.

One summer evening as I was fixing supper, there was a knock at the door. I opened it to see a truly awful looking man.

"Why, he's hardly taller than my eight-year-old," I thought as I stared at the stooped, shriveled body.

But the appalling thing was his face, lopsided from swelling, red and raw.

Yet his voice was pleasant as he said, "Good evening. I've come to see if you've a room for just one night. I came for a treatment this morning from the eastern shore and there's no bus 'till morning."

He told me he'd been hunting for a room since noon but with no success; no one seemed to have a room.

"I guess it's my face. I know it looks terrible, but my doctor says with a few more

For a moment I hesitated, but his next words convinced me:

"I could sleep in this rocking chair on the porch.. My bus leaves early in the morning."

I told him we would find him a bed, but to rest for now on the porch.

I went inside and finished getting supper. When we were ready, I asked the old man if he would join us.

"No thank you. I have plenty." And he held up a brown paper bag.

When I had finished the dishes, I went out on the porch to talk with him a few minutes. It didn't take a long time to see that this old man had an oversized heart crowded into that tiny body. He told me he fished for a living to support his daughter, her five children and her husband, who was hopelessly crippled from a back
injury. He didn't tell it by way of complaint; in fact, every other sentence was prefaced with thanks to God for a blessing. He was grateful that no pain accompanied his disease, which was apparently a form of skin cancer. He thanked God for giving him the strength to keep going.

At bedtime, we put a camp cot in the children's room for him. When I got up in the morning, the bed linens were neatly folded, and the little man was out on the porch. He refused breakfast, but just before he left for his bus, haltingly, as if asking a great favor, he said, "Could I please come back and stay the next time I have a treatment? I won't put you out a bit. I can sleep fine in a chair."

He paused a moment and then added, "Your children made me feel at home. Grownups are bothered by my face, but children don't seem to mind." I told him he was welcome to come again.

And on his next trip he arrived a little after seven in the morning. As a gift, he brought a big fish and a quart of the largest oysters I had ever seen. He said he had shucked them that morning before he left so that they'd be nice and fresh. I knew his bus left at 4 a..m., and I wondered what time he had to get up in order to do this for us.

In the years he came to stay overnight with us there was never a time that he did not bring us fish or oysters or vegetables from his garden.

Other times we received packages in the mail, always by special delivery; fish and oysters packed in a box of fresh young spinach or kale, every leaf carefully washed. Knowing that he must walk three miles to mail these and knowing how little money he had made the gifts doubly precious.

When I received these little remembrances, I often thought of a comment our next-door neighbor made after he left that first morning. "Did you keep that awful looking man last night? I turned him away! You can lose roomers by putting up such people!"

Maybe we did lose roomers once or twice. But, oh! If only they could have known him, perhaps their illness would have been easier to bear.

I know our family always will be grateful to have known him; from him we learned what it was to accept the bad without complaint and the good with gratitude to God.

Recently I was visiting a friend who has a greenhouse. As she showed me her flowers, we came to the most beautiful one of all, a golden chrysanthemum, bursting with blooms.

But to my great surprise, it was growing in an old dented, rusty bucket. I thought to myself, "If this were my plant, I'd put it in the loveliest container I had!"

My friend changed my mind. "I ran short of pots," she explained, "and knowing how beautiful this one would be, I thought it wouldn't mind starting out in this old pail. It's just for a little while, till I can put it out in the garden."

She must have wondered why I laughed so delightedly, but I was imagining just such a scene in heaven. "There's an especially beautiful one," God might have said when he came to the soul of the sweet old fisherman. "He won't mind starting in this small body."

All this happened long ago -- and now, in God's garden, how tall this lovely soul must stand.

The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.

* Received via email.