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

Sunday, April 18, 2010

This Is Not Nazi Germany

And the police, prosecutors, and local judges in Rockingham County shouldn't act like Sturmabteilung brownshirts, circa 1932.

What in God's name is this?
Police seize riot photos from JMU student newspaper
By Jordan Fifer, Roanoke Times

At least half a dozen police officers and the Rockingham County commonwealth's attorney raided the offices of James Madison University's student newspaper Friday, confiscating hundreds of photos of an off-campus riot last weekend, the paper's editor said.

Katie Thisdell, editor-in-chief of The Breeze and a 2007 graduate of Patrick Henry High School in Roanoke, said Commonwealth's Attorney Marsha Garst came Friday morning armed with a search warrant after Thisdell refused Thursday to hand over newspaper photos of the April 10 brawl.

Friday morning, Thisdell said, Garst and police officers executed a search warrant for photos of the riot at her newspaper's offices.

"I said ... I don't have to give you these photos right now," Thisdell said. "I can consult with legal counsel."

But Garst appeared prepared to take all of the newspaper's equipment, Thisdell said, so she complied. Officers copied more than 900 images from computer hard drives, only about 600 of which were from the riot.

Garst could not be reached Saturday for comment, but she told The (Harrisonburg) Daily News-Record the search was "an attempt to get the violent criminals off the streets so they don't hurt anyone else. The pictures were sought to identify those responsible for the violent crimes associated with the weekend riot." [link]
Her intentions were honorable -  "to get the violent criminals off the streets" - if her methods were right out of the Hugo Chavez "How To Ignore Your Country's Constitution, Seize Control of Power, & Turn Your Country Into a Banana Republic" playbook.

And what judge signed off on the search warrant?

This ain't right.  If Freedom of the Press means anything, it means the government doesn't raid newspaper offices and seize press materials in order to "get the violent criminals off the streets."  Search warrant or no.

What is this world coming to?

Not A Way To Win People Over

I've some advice for Blue Ridge Muse.  If your intention is to get your jollies, I understand.  If, by the same token, your interest is in winning the debate, this ain't gonna get you there:
Palin and the Tea Party: Phony populists playing a con on the rubes

When you get down to it, Sarah Palin is not only a sick joke but a poster bimbo for what’s wrong with this nation. Even in our celebrity-driven society she is a caricature so far removed from reality that it is hard to imagine how anyone with an IQ above that of the average turnip can take her seriously.

Yet some do.
Pithy, dude.  Insightful.  Cogent. Powerfully persuasive.  I stand in awe.  I suddenly feel ashamed that I find Sarah Palin to be the perfect antidote to that which is so wrong with America today.

Look, if you're going to operate in my territory - Southwest Virginia - you need to kick it to a higher level.  This is embarrassingly puerile.  Stop it.  Or go back to D.C. from whence you came.

Frank Rich Is a Hoot

The New York Times columnist who obsesses on the issue of race to the point of being obnoxious is upset that those of us on the right make every effort to ignore the issue of race.  And for doing so - or for doing not so - we are, therefore, racists.

I know.  It makes no sense.

In "Welcome to Confederate History Month" Rich goes after Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell for the egregious sin of not acknowledging in his now-infamous proclamation that which has been acknowledged at least 45,000 times in the past - that slavery brought about the Civil War - Stop The Presses! - and he goes after the rest of us because, as racists, we oppose the federal government's takeover of our health care industry.


That's right.  We oppose the destruction of the finest health care delivery system ever devised by humankind because we are racists.  And the fact that McDonnell didn't apologize for slavery (yet) makes him a racist as well.

Get the impression that Frank Rich so wants us to be racists?

Bad news, Frankie Boy.  It ain't happenin'.  We have now moved beyond race.  To that point on the continuum at which we see - and have every intention of maintaining - a color-blind society.  As Doctor King would have wanted.  And nothing you can do or say will draw us back into that dark period in our nation's history.  We'll not be going back.

We reject the issue of race.  

Call me a racist for that if you choose.

We Live Worlds Apart

Obama to the American people:

"You would think they’d be saying thank you."

The Tea Party movement to Obama:

Thank you for what?  It's our money, you asshole.

I Get Really Tired Of This

It was bad enough when gun control fanatics started shouting "Close the gun show loophole!" after Cho Seung-hui slaughtered 32 students and faculty members on the Virginia Tech campus back in April of 2007 ...

... despite the fact that the guns that the murderer used were not purchased at a gun show.

But to have the New York Times editorial page fanatics suggest that "closing the gun show loophole" would have prevented Columbine is just unforgivable.

See "Columbine, 11 Years Later."

"Eleven years later, and Congress has failed to close the gun show loophole that made the carnage possible."

In truth:

Those who purchased the weapons used at Columbine High School in 1999, had that "loophole" been "closed," would have made their purchases anyway.  They were adults with no past criminal record.

So what's the argument?

Well, there really isn't one.

Except this: In lieu of a good argument, misguided emotion will always suffice.

- - -

Almost as weak is the argument made by rabid anti-gun Roanoke Times columnist Dan Casey.  He tells us that a new law permitting citizens to carry guns into restaurants and bars here in the commonwealth is going to bring hell and damnation down upon us because some guy shot some other guy in Blacksburg thirteen freaking years ago.

Please.  Stop. 

Wishful Thinking

The blogging community is having fun these days pointing out the mainstream media's frequent use of the adjective "unexpected" when referring to bad jobs news.  Whenever there's a report of rising unemployment or related jobless claims, the press can be expected to dutifully report the news as being "unexpected."  Week after week, month after month.  One has to ask, at what point is bad news the expected news?  After all, we've been pounded with bad economic news now for 28 months.

And on those initial unemployment claims that the media say are encouraging and pointing toward an upturn?  They really aren't going down - or up - at all.  They are staying uncomfortably high.  Here's Geoff at Uncommon Misconceptions:
Recovery? Hah! Just Oscillating Unemployment Claims.

I tried to make this point yesterday at Innocent Bystanders, but I don’t think it came through very well. And I don’t think it’s been pointed out anywhere in the media, so it’s really worth making the point well. So, sans plus ado, here’s the point:

For the past 5 1/2 months, the initial unemployment claims data have not really changed. Here’s what I mean [click on the image to enlarge it]:

The data are oscillating about a slowly increasing value, indicating that, if anything, unemployment claims are increasing. That means that for the past 5 1/2 months, every time the administration has told us that the unemployment situation is slowly recovering, and that the data show “the right trend,” they have been absolutely mistaken.

The media has been doing their typical baby duck analysis: every day is a brand new day, every unemployment claims report is the first one they’ve ever seen. So we get headlines like, “job situation improving” when the number of claims drops, and “unexpected increase” when the number rises.

For half a year the claims data has just been oscillating – going nowhere. And nobody seems to have noticed.
That's because the mainstream media crowd - Obama supporters all - doesn't want to notice.  It disrupts the narrative.  After all, if Obama is going to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, something positive has to ... oh ... wait. He already got the Prize.  For fabulous works yet to be - but most certainly to be - performed.

Maybe that explains why they see bad news as being "unexpected."  Good times, with the ascension of St. Obama, were most assuredly going to roll.  Anything less than Nirvana was just just not to be.

Thus, bad news comes ... unexpectedly.

And lots of it.

Every freaking day.

Explains everything.

To Those Who 'Man The Walls'

Our never-ending gratitude and wholehearted thanks:
Fridays at the Pentagon
By Joseph L. Galloway, McClatchy Newspapers

This week, I'm turning my space over to a good friend and former roommate, Army Lt. Col. Robert Bateman, who recently completed a yearlong tour of duty in Iraq and is now back at the Pentagon.

Here's Lt. Col. Bateman's account of a little-known ceremony that fills the halls of the Army corridor of the Pentagon with cheers, applause and many tears every Friday morning. It first appeared on May 17 on the Web-log of media critic and pundit Eric Alterman at the Media Matters for America Web site.

"It is 110 yards from the 'E' ring to the 'A' ring of the Pentagon. This section of the Pentagon is newly renovated; the floors shine, the hallway is broad, and the lighting is bright. At this instant the entire length of the corridor is packed with officers, a few sergeants and some civilians, all crammed tightly three and four deep against the walls. There are thousands here.

"This hallway, more than any other, is the 'Army' hallway. The G3 offices line one side, G2 the other, G8 is around the corner. All Army. Moderate conversations flow in a low buzz. Friends who may not have seen each other for a few weeks, or a few years, spot each other, cross the way and renew. Everyone shifts to ensure an open path remains down the center. The air conditioning system was not designed for this press of bodies in this area. The temperature is rising already. Nobody cares.

"10:36 hours: The clapping starts at the E-Ring. That is the outermost of the five rings of the Pentagon and it is closest to the entrance to the building. This clapping is low, sustained, hearty. It is applause with a deep emotion behind it as it moves forward in a wave down the length of the hallway.

"A steady rolling wave of sound it is, moving at the pace of the soldier in the wheelchair who marks the forward edge with his presence. He is the first. He is missing the greater part of one leg, and some of his wounds are still suppurating. By his age I expect that he is a private, or perhaps a private first class.

"Captains, majors, lieutenant colonels and colonels meet his gaze and nod as they applaud, soldier to soldier. Three years ago when I described one of these events, those lining the hallways were somewhat different. The applause a little wilder, perhaps in private guilt for not having shared in the burden ... yet.

"Now almost everyone lining the hallway is, like the man in the wheelchair, also a combat veteran. This steadies the applause, but I think deepens the sentiment. We have all been there now. The soldier's chair is pushed by, I believe, a full colonel.

"Behind him, and stretching the length from Rings E to A, come more of his peers, each private, corporal or sergeant assisted as need be by a field grade officer.

"11:00 hours: Twenty-four minutes of steady applause. My hands hurt, and I laugh to myself at how stupid that sounds in my own head. 'My hands hurt.' Christ. Shut up and clap. For twenty-four minutes, soldier after soldier has come down this hallway — 20, 25, 30. Fifty-three legs come with them, and perhaps only 52 hands or arms, but down this hall came 30 solid hearts.

"They pass down this corridor of officers and applause, and then meet for a private lunch, at which they are the guests of honor, hosted by the generals. Some are wheeled along. Some insist upon getting out of their chairs, to march as best they can with their chin held up, down this hallway, through this most unique audience. Some are catching handshakes and smiling like a politician at a Fourth of July parade. More than a couple of them seem amazed and are smiling shyly.

"There are families with them as well: the 18-year-old war-bride pushing her 19-year-old husband's wheelchair and not quite understanding why her husband is so affected by this, the boy she grew up with, now a man, who had never shed a tear is crying; the older immigrant Latino parents who have, perhaps more than their wounded mid-20s son, an appreciation for the emotion given on their son's behalf. No man in that hallway, walking or clapping, is ashamed by the silent tears on more than a few cheeks. An Airborne Ranger wipes his eyes only to better see. A couple of the officers in this crowd have themselves been a part of this parade in the past.

"These are our men, broken in body they may be, but they are our brothers, and we welcome them home. This parade has gone on, every single Friday, all year long, for more than four years."
Some may have forgotten, but this world of ours is still a dangerous place. 

It takes a brave person to willingly confront that danger with his or her "last full measure."  To those who have served, and especially to those who have sacrificed so much, we give our thanks.