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

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Memo To Roanoke Times:

Practice what you preach.

See today's editorial "Remembering the Civil War."

It includes this truth:

"Remembering [the Civil War] at significant milestones is not only right, but also helpful and even necessary to understanding the shared history of a diverse country once at war with itself."

It also includes this, a request: "Remembering so tragic an event as the Civil War, though, must be, above all, civil." An attitude and a hope with which we can all agree.

All except the lowlife who wrote the editorial. For he or she immediately went on an uncivil attack:
South Carolina's Secession Gala -- hoop skirts, frock coats and all -- which last Sunday marked the day of the first secession among the Confederate states, carried the particularly bad odor of glorifying an Old South of elegance and extravagant wealth built and supported by human slavery.

Reports of other events -- all, like the gala, privately sponsored -- seem similarly nostalgic for the Lost Cause: a re-enactment in Georgia of the state's 1861 secession convention; a mock swearing-in of Confederate President Jefferson Davis in Alabama.

Events that led up to the bloodiest conflict in U.S. history, fought in defense of slavery.

No wonder Benard Simelton, president of the Alabama conference of the NAACP, recoiled, saying, "It's almost like celebrating the Holocaust."
"Celebrating the Holocaust." In an editorial calling for civility.

Is that civil?

To the editorialist, a plea: Let those people in South Carolina have their fun. They do you no harm.

Another: Learn the meaning of the word toleration.

Then look up the word hypocrisy.

Let's Name a Trail After Him

In fact, since he's "one of Southwest Virginia's most important figures," let's name every freaking hiking trail and bike path (not to forget the horse trail in Scott County) in Southwest Virginia that he wasted our hard-earned tax dollars on after him.

We'll call them all "The Rick Boucher Memorial Taxpayer Funded Trail To Nowhere."

That's his 28 year legacy.  He should have to live with it.

See "After almost three decades in office, outgoing congressman Rick Boucher has cemented his status as one of Southwest Virginia's most important figures."

Whatever.

Quote of the Day

From George Will:
San Francisco is spending $400 million a year on public employees' pensions, up from $175 million in 2005. In November, San Franciscans voted on Proposition B, which would have required city employees to contribute up to 10 percent of their salaries to their pension plans, and to pay half the health-care premiums of their dependents. Michael Moritz, a venture capitalist, says: "A typical San Francisco resident with one dependent pays $953 a month for health care, while the typical city employee pays less than $10."

San Francisco voters defeated Proposition B.
The most liberal city in America will soon be coming to us begging for a bailout. I say let them reap the whirlwind they they themselves sowed.

Let's Have a Party

Think what you will of Oprah, this from a gathering assembled to pay homage to her is very cool:






I'll try to avoid mentioning anything about this being "a new strain of populism, metastasizing before our eyes, nourished by the same ... impulses that have unsettled American society for half a century now; anarchistic like the Sixties, selfish like the Eighties, contradicting neither, estranged, aimless, and as juvenile as our new century." Or that Oprah "appeals to petulant individuals convinced that they can do everything themselves if they are only left alone, and that others are conspiring to keep them from doing just that; the one threat that will bring Americans into the streets."

It was simply an assemblage of Americans, motivated by a common influence, doing that which they felt moved to do.

"Today's gonna be a good day." We could use that thought on a day like this, with a blizzard descending ...

'Global Warming' - Time For a Reckoning

Is prison appropriate?  Or do those who plotted the greatest scam to have ever (or nearly ever) been pulled off deserve more harsh a punishment?

One thing is certain: The jig is up:
Weather Channel boss calls global warming 'the greatest scam in history'
Telegraph of London

The founder of the The Weather Channel in the US has described the concept of global warming as 'the greatest scam in history' and accused global media of colluding with 'environmental extremists' to alarm the public.

"It is the greatest scam in history. I am amazed, appalled and highly offended by it. Global Warming; It is a SCAM," John Coleman wrote in an article published on ICECAP, the International Climate and Environmental Change Assessment Project, which is known for challenging widely published theories on global warming.

His views challenge the consensus of the international science community that it is at least 90 per cent certain that temperatures will continue to rise, with average global surface temperature projected to increase by between 1.4 and 5.8ºC above 1990 levels by 2100.

This increase will be accompanied by rising sea levels, more intense precipitation events in some countries, increased risk of drought in others, and adverse effects on agriculture, health and water resources.

A recent joint statement by the scientific academies of 17 countries, including the UK's Royal Society, endorsed the theory of climate change and dismissed doubts raised over the need for action to mitigate possible damage caused by climate change.

"We do not consider such doubts justified," the group said in a joint statement, urging prompt action to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases.

But Mr Colemen slams their views as part of a global conspiracy: "Some dastardly scientists with environmental and political motives manipulated long term scientific data to create in [sic] allusion of rapid global warming."

"Other scientists of the same environmental whacko type jumped into the circle to support and broaden the "research" to further enhance the totally slanted, bogus global warming claims. Their friends in government steered huge research grants their way to keep the movement going. Soon they claimed to be a consensus.

"Environmental extremists, notable politicians among them, then teamed up with movie, media and other liberal, environmentalist journalists to create this wild "scientific" scenario of the civilization threatening environmental consequences from Global Warming unless we adhere to their radical agenda.

"Now their ridiculous manipulated science has been accepted as fact and become a cornerstone issue for CNN, CBS, NBC, the Democratic Political Party, the Governor of California, school teachers and, in many cases, well informed but very gullible environmental conscientious citizens.

"Only one reporter at ABC has been allowed to counter the Global Warming frenzy with one 15 minutes documentary segment."

He added: "I have read dozens of scientific papers. I have talked with numerous scientists. I have studied. I have thought about it. I know I am correct.

"There is no run away climate change. The impact of humans on climate is not catastrophic. Our planet is not in peril." [link]
The last words.  Our planet is not in peril.

- - -

As a side note, it's at least interesting that the founder of the Weather Channel considers global warming to be a hoax while the founder of the CNN news channel considers it to be an impending catastrophe.  Both can't be right.  As for me?  On this subject, I'm going with the weatherman over the crackpot.

- - -

A portent of things to come: Here's how they're explaining these days the fact that the globe's temperature quit rising years ago.  It's cold here, but warm somewhere else.  And that warmth there brings cold here.  So, yeah, it's cold.  But that cold is being caused by warming.

And they soooo want to believe that bit of idiocy.

The Law of Unintended Consequences

In May of last year the really smart Barack Obama and his equally brilliant Democratic colleagues gathered in the Rose Garden at the White House for a signing ceremony. A sea of smiling faces. Each more liberal than the next.


Why the party?

They "solved" the credit card debt problem by stroke of pen. With the Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility and Disclosure Act (or Credit CARD Act) of 2009.

Said Obama: "With this bill we're putting in place some common sense reforms."

One of those "common sense reforms? Putting limits on when, how, and how much lenders could raise rates.

Another "common sense" reform? Limiting the practice of raising interest rates on customers based on their payment records with other unrelated credit issuers. (source)

Also the right to "opt out" of changes in the way lenders intend to do business with customers.

And the right of cardholders to take longer to pay that which is owed lenders.

And limits on fees.

And limits on how much lenders can charge for a new card offered to a consumer with bad debt.

And the "common sense" requirement limiting late fees.

SWEET!

Seems so ... perfect.  So born of ... common sense.

Here's a second truism for the day: The words "Democrat" and "common sense" should never appear in the same sentence.

So how have those lenders and, in turn, America's consumers reacted to this new law?

In what can truly be seen as the most predictable - and most common sensible - manner:
Payday Lending Booms as Credit Cards Become Less Available
By Todd Zywicki

A nominee for least-surprising business story of the year–payday lending booms as new credit card regulations and the credit crunch reduce access to credit cards, especially for higher-risk borrowers.

“'We believe that we’re starting to see a benefit of a general reduction in consumer credit, particularly ... subprime credit cards,' Patrick O’Shaughnessy, Advance America’s chief financial officer, told investors in November. The Spartanburg, S.C., company has 2,360 payday-loan offices, including 13 opened this year. Company officials plan to open an unspecified number of additional offices, partly to take advantage of the upheaval."

Unintended consequences really suck sometimes. Hmmm, I’m starting to question whether mindless moral outrage that wishes away unintended consequences is the best way to think about consumer credit regulations. Maybe instead we ought to acknowledge that there will be unintended consequences, such as by making credit cards less available regulation will drive many consumers to substitute to more expensive types of credit, such as payday loans? And just wait until the well-intentioned bureaucrats at the CFPB really start protecting those poor folks, then they are really going to get it. [link]
Expect another "common sense" fix to emanate from those über-intelligent smiling faces seen above that will target the "common sense" fix that they all signed into law last year.  If enacted, expect another fine mess.

Common sense dictates.

Photo courtesy of MSNBC.

This Is Not Encouraging

You're familiar with that famous George Santayana quote, I'm sure:

“Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.”

That's what we call a truism.

But learning from history is one thing. Learning it at all is another. Ignorance puts the odds of repeating the most egregious sins of humanity much greater.

I read the following and wonder: Where are our schools?
Historical Illiteracy
By Eileen F. Toplansky, American Thinker

The results from the schools of higher learning are very discouraging. This confirms the findings of David McCullough, who, in a 1995 address at the National Book Awards Ceremony in New York warned about the steady decline of historical knowledge among American students. He wrote in "Why History? Remarks by David McCullough in Acceptance of the National Book Foundation Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters, how "a young woman told [him] how glad she was to have attended [his] lecture, because until then, she explained, she had never realized that the original thirteen colonies were all on the eastern seaboard." This student was from an Ivy League university!

here we are in 2010 where in Massachusetts, a school now issues permission slips for the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance and my own students repeatedly display abysmal ignorance about basic American history. This semester alone, my students did not know when the American Revolution occurred, who Dwight D. Eisenhower was and most astonishing, who the President was during the Civil War.

[A]ccording to the findings of the ICI group, when tested as freshmen, "half of the incoming [college] freshmen tested fail the 60-question multiple choice [history] quiz." Three years later they have learned very little, with seniors scoring a mere four percent higher. In fact, "no school, not even Harvard or Yale, got above a 69 percent average among seniors. Worse still, in some schools, students did less well coming out than going in." [link]
Just to put a fine point on it, we lock our students in a room (figuratively) for sixteen years, their one and only assigned goal being to learn, and this is the result?   What were they doing those sixteen years?

This is beyond pathetic.  It's troubling.

Another quote, one that should force us to remedy this problem now, before it's too late:

"Give us the child for 8 years and it will be a Bolshevik forever."
-- Lenin --