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

Saturday, December 04, 2010

I Cherish The English Language

I find this from the Roanoke Times to be interesting.  If almost unimportant.
An absurd typo needs a legislative fix

In Fairfax County recently, a man who failed to stop for a school bus unloading students was acquitted because of a typo.

Apparently, the law making such an action a reckless driving offense was amended back in 1970, and lawmakers left off the word "at." The section reads, "A person is guilty of reckless driving who fails to stop, when approaching from any direction, any school bus which is stopped on any highway, private road or school driveway for the purpose of taking on or discharging children."

Yep. Strip away the clauses, and the law says, "A person is guilty of reckless driving who fails to stop any school bus which is stopped for the purpose of taking on or discharging children." [link]
Right they are.  There's a cardinal sin in the writing world - losing track of proper syntax because of a sentence's complexity.

I guess I find this interesting because I have been accused, over the years, of writing excessively long sentences with far too many clauses, using in the process more commas than you can count.  I try, with the launch of such gems, to go back and make sure, by removing those clauses one at a time, that I've got my sentence right.  And that it hasn't confused the crap out of my readers.

An example:

"On the twelfth of November, when I was reflecting on hot cocoa, because it was very chilly outside and because I enjoy hot cocoa, thinking I'd heat up some milk, the very last cup of milk in the refrigerator, as the wind whistled and rattled the door."

Very descriptive.  But it ain't a sentence.

Here's to Dan Radmacher.  Or whoever caught this.  Good stuff.


Politics Makes My Head Hurt

The Commonwealth of Virginia is in the liquor business.

In the year of our Lord 2010, the Commonwealth of Virginia is in the liquor business.

Prohibition ended in freaking 1933 and still the Commonwealth of Virginia, in order to protect the citizenry from itself, is in the freaking liquor business.

And, if the positions adopted on the subject by the two candidates for the office of Delegate up in the 8th House District, an open seat now held by Morgan Griffith, are any indication, the Commonwealth of Virginia will remain in the liquor business until the end of time.

For the love of God:
Election foes Habeeb, Mumpower spurn alcohol proposal
By Michael Sluss, Roanoke Times

Richmond -- The candidates for the 8th District House of Delegates seat may disagree on many issues, but it looks like Gov. Bob McDonnell's liquor privatization plan won't be one of them.

Democrat Ginger Mumpower said Thursday that she strongly opposes privatizing Virginia's state-run liquor operation, raising concerns about community impacts, a loss of state revenue and effects on small businesses. Republican Greg Habeeb said he opposes the latest version of the GOP governor's privatization plan.

Under a plan advanced in September, the state would auction off 1,000 licenses to large retailers, specialty package stores and convenience stores, and an unlimited number of wholesale licenses. The plan would generate an estimated $458 million in one-time revenue that the state would put toward transportation, according to estimates.

"Why would we look at something that we know is bringing in a revenue, that we have control on, instead of fixing some kind of problem or looking for new ways to bring in additional revenue?" Mumpower said.

Habeeb said he would vote against the latest version of McDonnell's plan, a position he said he did not reach lightly. He said the ABC debate should be "decoupled" from a debate over transportation funding. And then, he said, "I would be willing to debate the issue subject to three absolutes.

"I have to know it protects small business, I have to know the controls are in place to avoid the social ills that some other jurisdictions have had when they've privatized, and I have to know that the revenue stream is preserved to the point where we're not going to do the kind of harm our budget can't handle right now," Habeeb said.

So far, he said, McDonnell's plan does not meet those criteria. [link]
I'm prepared, believe it or not, to defend the Democrat here.  This Mumpower woman, being one, isn't expected to know the first thing about free enterprise (I don't care if she did run a small business - she obviously didn't do it very well).  Her only priority, as is every Democrat's wont, is to keep pumping money into government coffers.  And the booze business does that.  So she's happy with the status quo (the status quo being to maintain a government program that was launched two centuries ago to get and keep the demons out of rum).

But I have to tell you, when a Republican talks about wanting to "avoid the social ills that some other jurisdictions have had when they've privatized," I get more than a little demoralized.  Does Mr. Habeeb honestly believe that the government can avoid that "social ill" - or any social ill - by promoting it through its own (high volume, beautifully displayed, stacked to the rafters, priced to move) government distribution network?  He's a Republican, right?

Beyond the silliness of such a position, will he argue that there is a social ill running rampant in Bluefield, West Virginia that isn't inundating Bluefield, Virginia just down the street?

This is the kind of "I'm here to save you from yourself" nonsense I would expect from Ginger Mumpower.  She is a Democrat after all.  And, therefore, not all that bright.

But tsk, tsk, Mr. Habeeb.  We expect more from you.

Think this through, dude.  Remember who it is that you are representing in this race.  Let the Democrat worry about the "social ills" brought on by subhumans who can't deal with a sip of Old Grand Dad.

- - -

Update 12.05.10 (5:19am): I received an email from Greg Habeeb reiterating his position.  That being that "privatization is a good idea but it shouldn't be linked to transportation funding. That's why [he] supported Obenshain's bill last year but opposes McDonnell's current plan."

Fair enough.

When Two Sides Dislike Each Other

This gets complicated, so I'll not provide all the detail to be found in "Confederate flag flap alive again in Lexington" in today's Roanoke Times.  I'll instead give a brief synopsis along with a bit of background.  Here goes:

1) The group Sons of Confederate Veterans wants to fly Confederate flags from lampposts on downtown Lexington streets from January 10 to 15 to celebrate Lee-Jackson Day.

2) Lee-Jackson Day, a state holiday, is scheduled for January 14.

3) Lee-Jackson Day is, of course, a day set aside to commemorate the lives and deeds of Robert E. Lee and Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson here in Virginia and throughout much of the South.

4) City fathers in Lexington (I'm guessing) would rather have Victoria Secret edible panties flying from their lampposts on January 14 than those now-infamous Confederate flags (that despite the wealth that Civil War history brings to the area in the way of tourism).

5) So those same city fathers decided to allow the SCV to fly their (infernal) flags, as a reasonable concession, but not on January 14, the day to be set aside to honor the two most famous Confederates to have ever trod the soil of the fabled Southland.  They could only fly their flags from January 10 through 13, when Lee-Jackson Day isn't a day.  The Lexington City Council, for some weird reason, decided that the American flag should fly on the 14th to commemorate ... the heroes of the Confederacy?  That and Martin Luther King Day, apparently.  Which isn't until January 18th.

6) The local commander of the Sons of Confederate Veterans was duly outraged by the decision.

7) Get the impression that they's a whole lotta anymosity goin' on here?

So the city of Lexington is going to fly the old "Stars and Bars" on a day when that flag has no specific purpose or meaning and will fly the American flag on the day which is set aside to commemorate the lives of those who fought desperately against the American flag.

8) The rest of the English-speaking world is more than a little perplexed by the whole thing.

9) Get the idea that maybe the two sides detest one another?

Reason Unclear

We Need Employers

We Need Employers.

We Need Employers.

We Need Employers.

When Military Leaders Lose Track Of Their Mission


Getting To The 'Climate Change' Truth

From Harold Lewis, Emeritus Professor of Physics, University of California, Santa Barbara, former Chairman; former member of the Defense Science Board, chairman of the Technology panel; Chairman DSB study on Nuclear Winter; Former member of the Advisory Committee on Reactor Safeguards; Former member, President’s Nuclear Safety Oversight Committee; Chairman of the APS study on Nuclear Reactor Safety; Chairman of the Risk Assessment Review Group; Co-founder and former Chairman of JASON; Former member USAF Scientific Advisory Board:
Since I am no philosopher, I’m not going to explore at just which point enlightened self-interest crosses the line into corruption, but a careful reading of the ClimateGate releases makes it clear that this is not an academic question.

I want no part of it, so please accept my resignation.
"US physics professor: 'Global warming is the greatest and most successful pseudoscientific fraud I have seen in my long life'" James Delingpole, The Telegraph, December 4, 2010

- - -

It's not just a matter of corruption in the personal gain sense.  It also involves the corruption of a person's ability to reason, corruption of a person's need to seek out rational, intellectual truth.  For an example of how that corruption manifests itself, see "Are we freezing because of global warming?"

When reason gives way to blind faith one can argue, with a straight face, that it's cold because it's warm.

Quote of the Day

From Miguel A. Guanipa:
But the truth is that today, in America, taxes no longer represent the collectively shared altruistic impetus that once encouraged the wealthy to help assuage the needs of the less fortunate. It more resembles a kind of legally sanctioned criminal enterprise which consists mainly of arbitrarily conjured usury that is regularly foisted upon the often unsuspecting, and not so wealthy citizens. This is complete and utter madness.
"Why they call it Taxachusetts," American Thinker, December 4, 2010

Chase Bank Invites Negative Publicity

What were they thinking?
Chase orders Southlake bank to remove Christmas tree
By Terry Evans, Star-Telegram [Ft. Worth ]

Southlake -- Chase Bank told a businessman to remove the Christmas tree he donated to a local branch because it could offend people.

Antonio Morales, owner of Bellagio Day Spa in Southlake, had assembled and decorated a 9-foot-tall tree in the lobby of the Chase Bank branch at 1700 E. Southlake Boulevard as a favor to the branch manager, who is one of his clients.

The tree remained in the lobby from the Monday before Thanksgiving until Tuesday. Morales said his friend called him Wednesday to tell him the tree had to go. She later showed him an e-mail from JPMorgan Chase saying that the tree had to be removed because some people were offended by it.

The bank referred questions to corporate offices. [link]
Well, I've got a question for your corporate offices.  I'm in the process this day of setting up an account with Chase.  How bad do you want it?  Your goons decide to remove a Christmas tree from the lobby of one of your banks at Christmas time?  Why, because putting ants all over the body of the baby Jesus had already been done?  Couldn't you geniuses find something more offensive to pull off at this our most sacred time of year?  Are you nuts?

And another question: Is the Chase executive who made this moronic decision the same guy who is in charge of securing the bank's assets?  If so, I don't want to be anywhere near your train wreck.

I have to tell you, I see this kind of political correctness run-amok every year at this time of year and am simply amazed at the stupidity that finds its way into the marketplace.  In an effort to avoid criticism potentially leveled by some Muslim or, worse yet, by one or two curmudgeonly atheists who lurk in the back allies of our society, someone at Chase decides to offend 80% of its potential customer base instead. 

For the love of God.