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

Friday, August 05, 2005

It's a Small World

Kilo brings our attention to this sad news:

Kentucky coal mine roof collapse kills one; search on for another

CUMBERLAND, Ky. -- A roof collapse at a southeastern Kentucky coal mine killed one miner, and rescue crews were digging through a wall of rocks in search of another miner who was presumed dead.

The body of Brandon Wilder, 23, of Letcher County, was recovered about 5:30 a.m. Thursday, about seven hours after the collapse at the Stillhouse Mining Mine No. 1 near Cumberland, said Paris Charles, executive director of the Kentucky Office of Mine Safety and Licensing. (
Cumberland is deep in the mountains of Appalachia. It's a speck on the map where nobody goes without a good reason.

Ironically, I passed through Cumberland just hours after the mine tragedy began. I was heading up Route 119 from Harlan to Pikeville and noticed, as I came into Cumberland, an increase in activity, including several state troopers heading into town. But it wasn't until hours later that I learned of the rescue/recovery operation that was underway.

This is sad on so many levels. Of all the areas I've travelled in my life, at least here in the USA, there is none more poverty-striken than this backwater region. Life is hard under the best of circumstances. And there aren't many of those.

The mines claim another life. Brandon Wilder, of Letcher County, who is survived by a wife, Kimberly, and a two-year-old daughter, and who would have been expecting a second child on Dec. 18, is one of eleven miners to have been killed this year.

VA Conservative Jumps Ugly

John over at Commonwealth Conservative says there are strange physical kinda things goin' on over at Raising Kaine.
Del. Terry Kilgore has a (weak) opponent this year in his campaign for re-election in the 1st House district. The guy’s name is Rex McCarty, and the folks over at Raising Kaine have been falling all over themselves drooling over him. I think there’s some kind of man-crush going on, or something [my emphasis]. (link)
What in God's name is a man-crush? I am visualizing something gooey and despicable. I know nothing about this Raising Kaine but obviously they should be ashamed of themselves. And keep away from impressionable children. Man-crush indeed.


Does anybody down here on earth believe this goofy story beamed down from the twilight zone?
Environmental damage seen from shuttle
By Jeff Franks, Reuters

HOUSTON (Reuters) - Commander Eileen Collins said astronauts on shuttle Discovery had seen widespread environmental destruction on Earth and warned on Thursday that greater care was needed to protect natural resources.

"Sometimes you can see how there is erosion, and you can see how there is deforestation. It's very widespread in some parts of the world," Collins said in a conversation from space with Japanese officials in Tokyo, including Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi.

"We would like to see, from the astronauts' point of view, people take good care of the Earth and replace the resources that have been used," said Collins, who was standing with Japanese astronaut Soichi Noguchi in front of a Japanese flag and holding a colorful fan.

Collins, flying her fourth shuttle mission, said the view from space made clear that Earth's atmosphere must be protected, too.

"The atmosphere almost looks like an eggshell on an egg, it's so very thin," she said. "We know that we don't have much air, we need to protect what we have." (link)
I came to the conclusion recently that the shuttle program - perhaps even the NASA space endeavor in its entirety - is a complete waste of our hard-earned dollars. Now, watching our astronauts attempt to inject their political points of view into the mission, especially with new-age fatuity like "We know that we don't have much air, we need to protect what we have," I can only hope our government pulls the plug sooner rather than later.

We can better spend the money on our thin eggshell.

Keep Your Seatbelts Fastened ...

You have certain expectations when you climb aboard a rocketship - otherwise known as a Boeing 737. One of them is that you won't have a lunatic on board with you who decides to de-plane while you're still at 4,000 feet.

The Associated Press has the story:
Woman Who Tried to Open Plane Door Arrested

SEATTLE (AP) -- A woman was arrested Wednesday for attempting to open an airplane exit door while the plane was still in the air, police said.

The 52-year-old woman from Dania Beach, Fla., left her seat and tried to open the door as the United Airlines flight was descending into Seattle to land, police said. The plane was at an altitude of about 4,000 feet at the time. (link)
If this nut had been on my plane, I would have helped her depart, with a parting admonition, taken from a famous character in a movie: "Sell crazy some place else -- we're all stocked up here."

Count Me In

I'm adding ConocoPhillips to my burgeoning list of companies I'm boycotting. Well, the list only has Target on it right now (you thought I forgot, didn't you?) but it could mushroom at any time.

Here's why:
NRA boycotts ConocoPhillips over guns at work
By Hugh Aynesworth, The Washington Times

DALLAS -- The National Rifle Association is boycotting ConocoPhillips in response, it charges, to the company's anti-gun policies.

NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre, in speaking to a packed house at the Kiamichi Technical Center in Idabel, Okla., recently, vowed to make ConocoPhillips "an example of what happens when a corporation takes away your Second Amendment rights."

ConocoPhillips is the largest of several companies challenging in federal court an Oklahoma law that allows workers to keep guns in their locked cars on company property.

That law was passed primarily because of public reaction to those fired at a Weyerhaeuser plant in Idabel in 2002. (link)
Here are the details of that which prompted NRA's bold action:
Twelve employees at a Weyerhaeuser plant in Valliant [Oklahoma] were fired after a search [by company employees; not law enforcement] turned up guns in their vehicles parked on the company's property.

State Representative Jerry Ellis introduced a bill in 2004 that prohibits companies from preventing workers from carrying legal firearms in their vehicles.

The bill passed the Legislature and was signed into law by Governor Brad Henry, but several companies, including Conoco-Phillips, sued to stop it. (link)
I have no idea when I last pulled into a Conoco or Phillips gas station, but they're taboo to me ... until further notice.

I'll get my Gatorade somewhere else.

McCain The Hypocrite

It's too bad this guy just got reelected in November, because I've had just about enough of him.
By Ryan Sager, the New York Post

AS Sen. John McCain gears up for a prospective presidential run in 2008, he's trying to put an ugly little incident behind him — one that makes him look like a flat-out hypocrite on his signature issue, campaign-finance reform.

If members of the national media are anything more than lapdogs for the war-hero, "maverick" senator, they'll start asking some tough questions about a bogus little think tank in Alexandria, Va., called the Reform Institute.

According to the inside-the-beltway paper Roll Call, McCain has stepped down as chairman of the Reform Institute, citing "negative publicity" from earlier this year when it was discovered that the Institute was accepting large cash contributions from businesses with interests before the Senate Commerce Committee.

At the time, McCain was chairman of the Commerce Committee (he no longer is, due to committee term limits). (link)
McCain isn't just another sleazy politician. He's a self-righteous windbag who enjoys attacking his fellow sleazy politicians whenever his pals in the mainstream press stick a mike in front of his nose.

Go away, McCain.

Unearthing The Palace of King David

Now this is kinda cool:
Digging Deep for Proof of an Ancient Jewish Capital

JERUSALEM, Aug. 4 - An Israeli archaeologist says she has uncovered in East Jerusalem what may be the fabled palace of the biblical King David.

scholars are skeptical that the foundation walls discovered by the archaeologist, Eilat Mazar, are David's palace. But they acknowledge that what she has uncovered is rare and important: a major public building from around the 10th century B.C., with pottery shards that date to the time of David and Solomon and a government seal of an official mentioned in the book of Jeremiah.

Ms. Mazar believes she has found a riposte: a large public building, with at least some pottery of the time, and a bulla, or governmental seal, of an official - Jehucal (or Jucal), son of Shelemiah, son of Shevi - who is mentioned at least twice in the Book of Jeremiah.

The building can be reasonably dated by the pottery found above and below it. Ms. Mazar found on the bedrock a large floor of crushed limestone, indicating a large public space. The floor and fill above it contain pottery from Iron Age I of the 12th to 11th centuries B.C., just before David conquered Jerusalem. (link)