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

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Airbus Again

The Los Angeles Times has a frightening account of a routine JetBlue flight turning unroutine.

Disabled Airliner Creates a 3-Hour Drama in Skies
By Stuart Pfeifer, Megan Garvey and Monte Morin, Times Staff Writers

A landing gear malfunction on a packed JetBlue airliner turned a routine coast-to-coast flight into a three-hour ordeal for 145 passengers and crew members Wednesday as pilots repeatedly circled above Southern California before making an emergency landing at Los Angeles International Airport. (
JetBlue needs to switch the fleet over to the Bombardier CRJ700 Canadair Regional Jet Airliner and send those Airbuses back to France.

Click on image to enlarge.
Photo courtesy of The Los Angeles Times

Happy Days Are Here Again ...

While our political leadership concentrates on saving the area from certain doom by funding never-to-be-visited and extremely isolated parks, giving cute names to hiking trails, and renaming US 11 "The Wilderness Road," (that is a revitalization plan, folks, I'm not kidding), businessmen are actually solving problems and creating jobs. In the case of AEP, lots and lots of them - where they're needed most.

The coal fields are about to come alive again.

Great news from Business Week Online:

The New Clean Fuel: Coal Producer Goes Green
American Electric Power, once the nemesis of greens, may show the way

Among environmentalists, American Electric Power Co. (
AEP ) has long been the enemy. With two dozen coal-fired power plants from Appalachia to the Pineywoods of northeast Texas, the utility burns more fossil fuels than any other U.S. company, consuming an average of 2,000 train-car loads of coal every day. Despite new smokestack scrubbers, it also coughs out the most pollutants, including compounds that form acid rain and smog, toxins such as mercury, and gases thought to hasten global warming. "They are a very dirty company," says Bruce E. Nilles, Midwest representative of the Sierra Club.

Now, AEP Chairman and Chief Executive Michael G. Morris wants to construct at least two more coal-hungry plants along the Ohio River -- but this time environmentalists are wishing him Godspeed. Morris is breaking with other utilities, and with AEP's past, to embrace an eco-friendly way of producing electricity from coal. These facilities would be as clean as gas-fired generators from the get-go, no matter how impure or sulfurous the coal is. And they could be retrofitted easily to eliminate emissions of carbon dioxide, the chief greenhouse gas. "Let's take this to the next level -- that's what we're doing here," says Morris. (
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The article goes on to explain how AEP's new technology allows for the area's high-sulfur coal to burn as clean as natural gas.
If regulators side with AEP, it could lead other power companies to make the switch. That could boost clean-coal technology from the pilot-project stage, where it has been stuck for more than a decade, to full commercialization. Since these plants wring out pollutants instead of sending them up the chimney, their wider use could reignite demand for high-sulfur coal, which has been in decline since the Clean Air Act of 1970, and thus return jobs to the coal basin in the rural Midwest. Indeed, AEP's impact may reach all the way to China, which is facing global pressure to clean up its growing fleet of coal-burning generators.

To environmentalists, the biggest plus relates to climate change. Instead of blowing CO2 into the atmosphere, where it traps heat. The new design could one day extract the gas from the chemical reactor and then "sequester" it deep underground. That would allow power generators to stick with coal even if the U.S. joins other industrialized nations in cutting carbon emissions, notes Jana Milford, a senior scientist at advocacy group Environmental Defense. Daniel A. Lashof, science director for the Natural Resources Defense Council's climate center, agrees: "Gasification is the future for coal-fired power plants."
So get out the hardhats. Take down the sign at the entrance to the town of Pocahontas that says "Closed by EPA Decree." Write those sons and daughters up in Rochester who packed their bags and moved north looking for work. Make plans to send the kids to college after all. Good times - well, better times - are here again.

A note to Congressman Boucher, Governor Warner, and Delegate Benny Keister: Your pathetic and specious efforts to bring job growth to the area have resulted in the creation of ... a net loss of employers and jobs. Maybe it's time you let someone else take charge to show you how it's done.

It's About Time

Jordan's King Abdullah has denounced radical Islam. Finally.
Jordan's king reaches out to Jews, hits radical Islam
By Julia Duin, The Washington Times

Jordan's King Abdullah II told a gathering of American rabbis yesterday that Jews and Muslims are irrevocably "tied together by culture and history" and that he is willing to take radical measures to combat Muslim extremists.

"We face a common threat: extremist distortions of religion and the wanton acts of violence that derive therefrom," the king said. "Such abominations have already divided us from without for far too long."

Criticizing al Qaeda terrorists Osama bin Laden and Abu Musab Zarqawi for "abuses of our faith," the king, speaking at a heavily guarded lunch meeting at the Ritz-Carlton in Northwest, made clear he wishes to establish himself as the voice of moderate Islam. (link)
Now if leaders like the King would start making the same speeches within the Arab community rather than off in some distant land, we'd really be making progress. And if he'd start busting heads, well that would be all the better.

Anyway, this is a good start.