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

Saturday, August 21, 2010

It Doesn't Do Her Justice

"In order to give meaning to the world, one has to feel oneself involved in what he frames. This attitude requires concentration, a discipline of mind, sensitivity, and a sense of geometry."
-- Henri Cartier-Bresson --

In the news:

Michelle Obama portrait debuts at Smithsonian
By Brett Zongker, Associated Press Writer

Washington (AP) -- Move over Martha Washington. Martha Stewart and Michelle Obama are getting space in the National Portrait Gallery in Washington for the first time.

A new exhibit, "Americans Now," opened Friday, featuring famous names from science, business, government and the arts.

President Barack Obama and the first lady are among those portrayed. It's the first time Michelle Obama's individual portrait has been shown at the gallery.

Familiar names in the collection also include ... [link]
Here's the portrait that's going to be put on display:

Oops.  Wrong piece of artwork.

Here's the real one:

Question: Does that look anything like our First Lady to you?  Tell me that's not Diana Ross on her best day:

"Art is making something out of nothing and selling it." -- Frank Zappa --

On The Press & Religion

They tie themselves in knots. And leave themselves open to scorn.

And to that end:
Remember when a Christian president was a bad thing?

When George W. Bush was president, journalists and the left had two templates for Bush-faith stories. The first cast his faith in a dark light, with suspicion and conspiratorial thinking. Bush’s faith, they said, clouded his thinking on vital issues, and his judgment was called into question. The ultimate message of this template was simple: can we really trust a guy who believes that he’s doing God’s will?

The second template was almost exactly the opposite. Reporters and the people they quoted were asking themselves a different question…can the warmongering George W. Bush really be a Christian?

As I’ve said, I don’t really care what Obama believes. What bothers me is that the press only seems to think a president’s religion is important when his faith can be used to question his policy priorities. If those priorities go against the views of those in the media, then Christianity is a scary fringe faith that needs examining. If the president is progressive, then his faith is pure and he’s only trying to do what’s best for the country. No reason to ask uncomfortable questions.

If Obama says he’s a Christian, that’s perfectly okay.

Just so long as he doesn’t become one of those ‘Christianists.’

Obama's faith is not to be questioned. We're bigots if we inquire as to the motives of those Muslims who are working to build that 9/11 Victory Mosque at Ground Zero. But God help the person who tells the press that he's born again (pun intended).

Ridicule. Condescension. Venom. Distrust.


Take It For What It's Worth

If I lived in Tel Aviv I'd feel reassured:

Maybe we should pin down that word "imminent," eh?

Hopefully the Israelis will file that "assurance" in its proper place.

Fires And Floods. Oh My.

Someone give Hillary a history book. Maybe then she'd open her mouth and stupid wouldn't fall out.

If only she'd spent less time lining up chicks for her husband and more time studying way back when, she'd have learned a bit about ...

... the Great Peshtigo Fire of 1871.

And she might have gained an understanding of ...

The Big Burn of 1910.

The Kaifeng Flood of 1642.

The Great San Francisco Earthquake of 1906.

The India Cyclone of 1839.

The Tri-State Tornado of 1925.

The Shaanxi Earthquake of 1556.

The Yellow River Flood of 1887.

The New England Hurricane of 1938.

The Aleppo Earthquake of 1138.

Instead, history, for Hillary Clinton, began the day she stopped buying her husband condoms and decided to go into politics.  That explains this:

SECRETARY CLINTON: [F]or us, having gone through Katrina and seeing what’s happening around the world with the increase in the number of natural disasters and the extent of the damage that they’re causing, which some people believe is linked to global climate change, I think more than ever the United States both –

QUESTION: Do you believe so?

SECRETARY CLINTON: I think that there is a linkage. You can’t point to any particular disaster and say, “it was caused by.” But we are changing the climate of the world; we’ve seen that with the Russian forest fires, even the Russian Government that has been somewhat skeptical about climate change.

QUESTION: Do you agree with those who say that there’s a link between the Russian forest fire and the flood in Pakistan?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Not a direct link. But when you have the changes in climate that affect weather that we’re now seeing, I think the predictions of more natural disasters are unfortunately being played out.
Three questions for the smartest Democrat in America:

1) In what year didn't Pakistan flood?

2) If far more Russians died in the Nord-Ost Theater Siege of 2001 than have been swept away by the fires raging there today, just how bad has it been?  Or was that a product of global warming too?

3) An earthquake in 1202 took the lives of 1.1 million human beings.  50 have died in Russia.  Care to compare "the extent of the damage"?

Pardon me.  I just have no patience for ignorant people.

I Blame Bush

Okay, who pooped on Obama's vacation?

He's worked so hard. He didn't deserve that.

On That Elk Initiative

You've read where Virginia's Department of Game and Inland Fisheries is working up a plan to reintroduce elk to Southwest Virginia. (If not, go here.)

It looks, though, like the elk may have their own plan. From "Strip Mines into Elk Habitat," by Rosslyn Smith:
In a story that again shows that mother nature can be much more resilient than some people imagine, for the first time in over maybe 170 years or more, a large wild elk herd roams the Appalachian woods in significant numbers.

I am talking about the as many as 10,000 elk that freely roam in Eastern Kentucky today.

I read an amazing success story about land reclamation. It was a 1997 joint project of the state of Kentucky and the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation to introduce elk onto abandoned strip mining land in eastern Kentucky. The original population of eastern elk subspecies largely disappeared before the mid-1800s and was declared extinct in 1880. Coal companies are required by law to return strip mines to a natural state. Most of the time, that means leveling the area off and creating a grassy field, which is a perfect habitat for elk, especially when there is wooded cover nearby. It seemed a good idea to introduce the eastern elk's somewhat smaller cousins from the Rockies to these abandoned mining sites, according to the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation's Land Between the States chapter.

The elk have thrived in Kentucky. They are achieving a 90% breeding success rate and a 92% calf survival rate. The absence of predators, relatively mild Kentucky winters, and abundant food sources have not only contributed to the remarkable population growth, but also account for the fact that the Kentucky elk are on average 15% larger than elk found in western states. By July 2000, Kentucky had the largest free-ranging wild elk herd east of Montana.

The Kentucky elk were doing so well that soon, neighboring states were starting to have an elk problem. Within a few years, there were elk sightings in the neighboring states of Virginia and West Virginia. There may have even been a sighting across the major obstacle of the Ohio River in Southern Ohio. It is thought that enough elk have now wandered into West Virginia to stay that there is now a breeding elk herd in that state, not just the occasional stray.
Why, you ask, does the author refer to the Virginia elk population as being a problem? Read on:
There isn't a lot of agriculture in the counties in Kentucky where the elk were introduced. That is also true in the adjacent counties in West Virginia. The counties of Southwest Virginia, however, are a different matter. While the area immediately around the Kentucky border contains many old strip mines, other nearby areas are heavily agricultural. Elk are much bigger than deer and could do extensive damage to crops. They also harbor several diseases that might infect cattle, as well as a chronic wasting disease in deer.
That's why Virginia has cut back on its plan. See "Virginia to grow elk herd in 1 southwest county." One county. Buchanan. Which is hardly a plan at all.

Anyway, elk are here. Perhaps to stay. And have lots of babies.

Get your cameras ready.

ObamaCare Kicks In. God Help Us.

"At the end of the day, this decision for me came down to whether working families would see savings at the kitchen table. They will."

Did you believe him?

The cold, hard result of his vote that pushed Obama's health care legislation over the top:

Insurer seeks steeper rates
By Alan M. Wolf, staff writer, Raleigh News & Observer

The state's largest health insurer plans to hit some members with sharp rate increases again next year, blaming changes from the health overhaul and rising medical costs.

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina asked state regulators Thursday for permission to increase rates an average of 6.97 percent for its 300,000 individual members in the state. That's the lowest proposed annual increase since 2007. About 28,000 people would see their rates decrease, including women in their early 20s.

But rates for some children, men and older members will increase 30 percent or more.

It's partly because of increasing medical costs and more people using expensive services, but also because the new federal health law is forcing changes such as eliminating annual or lifetime limits on coverage, expanding dependent care for children until age 26 and more, [John McDonnell, a principal with Progressive Benefit Solutions in Raleigh] said.

"With everything that's been added, you can't really expect costs to go down," he said.

The situation isn't likely to improve any time soon. As more provisions of the health overhaul law take affect in 2014, Blue Cross officials said they expect rates to rise further.

"We do expect significant premium volatility in 2014 as the industry moves to an entirely new rating structure," said Patrick Getzen, Blue Cross' chief actuary.

The rising rates will likely force more people in North Carolina to cut back on coverage or go without, said Adam Linker, a policy analyst with the N.C. Justice Center's Health Access Coalition. [link] [emphasis mine]
"At the end of the day, this decision for me came down to whether working families would see savings at the kitchen table. They will."
-- 5th District Congressman Tom Perriello, Democrat --

"With everything that's been added, you can't really expect costs to go down."  Isn't that exactly what Boy Wonder expected?

Misinformed?  Or Malicious.

You decide.  November 2.

Civil War Trivia

Would you believe 27,871 Union soldiers died in one year alone?

That year?


They died of old age and related complications.

* This information was compiled and made public by the U.S. Pension Bureau.  At the end of that year, 243,520 known veterans who fought for the Union were still alive, along with 290,100 widows, who were also eligible for a monthly war pension.

** That year pensioners had their monthly stipend increased to $72.  Widows (if they were married to soldiers during the war) to $50.

*** Total pension outlay in 1920 - $213,295,314.

**** Confederate veterans, in most cases, had pensions made available to them as well, but only through their individual states.  Oddly, Maryland, a border state that furnished cavalry, artillery, and infantry units to the South, never set up a pension system for those who fought for the Confederacy.  And those who were from West Virginia found themselves to be shut out as well.