Well, we made it through March without a major disaster, but April has shifted us to man-made crises. On top of mining disasters in China and West Virginia, today we get news of the crash of a plane en route to a commemoration of the WWII Katyn Massacre near Smolensk. The pilots ignored ATC instructions to divert due to fog. 97 people died including the President of Poland, his army chief of staff, the chief chaplain, the head of the national bank, the head of the national security office, the civil rights commissioner, deputies in parliament and the foriegn ministries, multiple presidential aides and lawmakers, and the woman whose firing in 1980 sparked the strikes that coalesced into Solidarity. A who's who of dignitaries unheard of since the sinking of the Titanic. Makes me wonder who gave the order for the pilots to ignore instructions to turn off from the North Smolensk airport to Minsk. Did the pilots choose on their own? Or was it President Lech Kaczynski, who was already flying in the face of decorum by attending without invite instead of Prime Minister Donald Tusk, who was officially invited by his Russian counterpart Vladmir Putin? In the long run, I guess it doesn't matter to the dead, who now add their ghosts to the 22,000 Poles who died at Stalin's hands there in 1940.
"This is unbelievable — this tragic, cursed Katyn," Kaczynski's predecessor, Aleksander Kwasniewski, said on TVN24 television.
It is "a cursed place, horrible symbolism," he said. "It's hard to believe. You get chills down your spine."
My other thought today is on the court battle shaping up in Greenwood, Indiana. Briefly, the student body voted to retain the traditional openning prayer at their graduation this year. Voting against was Valedictorian-to-be Eric Workman, who took the case to that bastion of the little guy, the ACLU. Now my main beef is not about the fight per se, since we see this kind of lunacy all the time any more. Nor is it at this pseudo-intellectual Workman, who thinks himself more important than the rest of his class. In my day, a handfull of football players would have taken care of his arrogance. Here's what pisses me off, excuse the appropriate language. Here's a quote from the ALCU minion fighting the case:
Ken Falk, Workman's lawyer and the ACLU's legal director in Indiana, said he's surprised that anyone would fight back against such strong case law.
"You cannot have people's rights depend on majority rule — that's the whole purpose here — the majority cannot vote to establish religion," he said. "It's pretty straightforward. That just isn't allowed."
Say what? I thought this country was run on majority rule. Does this mean McCain is actually president and health care failed? Falk seems to miss the difference between the minority's rights being protected and being highlighted to the detriment of the majority. I remember about 95 years ago, a nation was established on just the principle Falk claims we must live by. It was called the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, I'm sure you remember, it used to be in all the papers. It died an ignorant death in the 1990's due to the fact that the majority finally got tired of taking crap from a minority who thought they knew better and was willing to step on majority rights to prove it.
I'm not saying in that analogy that Falk is wrong. I'm sure that Obama and Reid and that... woman, Pelosi, would agree 100% with him. I'm just saying it's a shame Putin didn't invite Falk, et. al., to Katyn. Perhaps (if the plane landed safely), one of them might look around and say, "You know, this was done by a government just like the one, a society just like the one, we're trying to build. The Nazis were murdering Jews at the same time they discovered it, and even they were disgusted. Is this what we truly want?"
I doubt that any of them would see that, though. Odds are better with the plane crash.
I wanted to add a couple of animal sightings today. Shenan spotted a muskrat in the river when I took her down the IPFW river walk last week. And this morning, Scrappy and I found a dead squirrel on the sidewalk up by the office. By his position, I'm guessing that he missed his branch way up in the tree, but not the ground below it. Either that, or he smoked and didn't watch his diet or exercise.
Finally, Salavat Yulaev goalie Oleg Tverdovsky (formerly of the Washington Caps) was called for a hooking penalty with under 5 minutes to go in a 1-1 game- the only penalty they drew the whole game. Just before the power play expired, Illya Nikulin scored to give Ak Bars the 2-1 win and 4-2 series win over the boys from Ufa. Ak Bars will go to the Gagarian cup finals for the second straight year.