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

Saturday, January 14, 2006

So The Sago Mine Disaster Wasn't Bush's Fault?

Various and sundry newspaper editorialists condemned President Bush in recent days for having brought about the mine explosion in Tallmansville, WV that took twelve lives. The general consensus of these experts was that it took far too long (eleven hours) for rescue teams to assemble and begin the rescue and recovery process and Bush's crony-laden, ideology-driven MSHA was to blame. Typical was this from The New York Times:
Lost Time, Lost Lives in the Mine

The haunting question from the deadly mine disaster in Sago, W.Va., last week becomes ever clearer: Why did it take nearly 12 hours for enough rescuers to gather so they could attempt their first descent toward the 13 miners trapped with limited emergency oxygen?

Warning signs have abounded in recent years. Yet ... a plan begun a decade ago to upgrade the mine rescue program was quietly scuttled by the Bush administration. The pro-company bias of the administration is itself a factor deserving full investigation if the inquiries now being promised are to have any credible effect. (link)
Well, we are finding now that George Bush may not have caused the delay - or the disaster - after all. The Associated Press has this:
Deadly gases poured from West Virginia mine for hours after explosion
By Vicki Smith, Associated Press

BUCKHANNON, W.Va. — Hours after an underground explosion, deadly carbon monoxide gas poured from the entrance to the Sago Mine at more than five times the level considered safe for humans, according to government documents released today.

The lethal gases were recorded by air-quality monitors a full two miles from the Jan. 2 blast that led to the deaths of 12 miners.

Documents posted today on the Web site of the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration offered more details about why rescue teams were prevented from entering the mine immediately after the accident [my emphasis].

Six hours after the explosion, the air monitors measured carbon monoxide, a byproduct of combustion, at 2,200 parts per million, more than five times the level considered safe for humans. The level peaked at 2,600 parts per million, before starting to drop, the documents said.

The first rescue crew entered the mine nearly 12 hours after the blast, but it took two days before the miners were found deep inside the mine about 100 miles northeast of Charleston. (link)
So. There was a legitimate concern for the safety and health of the rescue teams that brought about the decision to delay entering the mine.

I expect we'll see corrections and apologies on op/ed pages around the country any day now.

Funny Marcus Vick Parody

Check out JR's photo purportedly taken of Marcus Vick visiting a neighborhood fast-food establishment over at Bearing Drift.

Good humor makes for a good day.

They Are Coming After You

You wondered yesterday what kind of person could vote to create a special Wal-Mart tax? (see story and commentary here). The same kind of person who is deciding how many rooms you're going to be allowed in your home and how large your back yard is going to be:
The War Against Suburbia
By Joel Kotkin, The Wall Street Journal

Suburbia, the preferred way of life across the advanced capitalist world, is under an unprecedented attack -- one that seeks to replace single-family residences and shopping centers with an "anti-sprawl" model beloved of planners and environmental activists. The latest battleground is Los Angeles, which gave birth to the suburban metropolis. Many in the political, planning and media elites are itching to use the regulatory process to turn L.A. from a sprawling collection of low-rise communities into a dense, multistory metropolis on the order of New York or Chicago. (link)
Never forget: These are elected officials doing this. You get what you vote for. And for those of you who don't get off your dead ass to vote, you deserve everything you're about to get.

When Judges Are Leftist Moonbats

Vermont, not that many years ago, was a bastian of conservative life. Today it is best known for harboring left-wing zealots like Ben & Jerry, Bernie Sanders, and Patrick Leahy, and lunatics like Jim Jeffords.

And then there's a category of Vermonter that defies description. From an editorial in today's Washington Times:
A 60-day travesty

Vermont Judge Edward Cashman is a mockery of our judicial system. In sentencing a confessed child rapist to just 60 days in jail recently, because punishment "accomplishes nothing of value," he has abdicated his judicial responsibility. State prosecutors formally asked him yesterday to reconsider his decision, but so far the judge has refused.

Unfortunately, neither Judge Cashman's resignation nor his impeachment will help the little girl whom Mark Hulett raped over a four-year period. Nor will it help her family, who one day will have to explain to her what happened. What is she to think knowing that her rapist walks free? These are the questions Judge Cashman should have considered when sentencing Hulett. Instead, the judge seems more concerned about giving the rest of us a lesson in tolerance and anger management. "The one message I want to get through is that anger doesn't solve anything," he said during last week's sentencing. "It just corrodes your soul." (
There has got to be something in the drinking water up there in Vermont.

The Gathering Storm

You can expect to see the daisy cutters dropping any day now. When it comes to world stability, the sooner the better:

By Ian Bishop, New York Post Correspondent

WASHINGTON — President Bush bluntly warned yesterday that a nuclear-armed Iran would be a "grave threat" because it could "blackmail" the world.

But Iran's America-hating leader said he would not give in by "one iota" — and threatened to bar some U.N. arms inspections.

Bush indicated he agreed on the need for U.N.-imposed sanctions if a new round of diplomacy fails and used exceptionally tough words to warn that Iran could not be allowed to go ahead with its nuclear arms program.

"The reason it's unacceptable is because Iran armed with a nuclear weapon poses a grave threat to the security of the world," he said after his first White House meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

He urged a diplomatic effort with the goal that "the Iranians not have a nuclear weapon in which to blackmail and/or threaten the world."

"I want to remind you that the current president of Iran has announced that the destruction of Israel is an important part of their agenda. And that's unacceptable." (link)

This is not going to end well. But end it must.

Well, I Was Wrong

I thought the other day (see thought here) that Governor Mark Warner failed miserably in his disreputable attempt at capturing headlines by dredging up an old capital punishment case, and doing emotional damage to McCoy family members over in Grundy in the process.

As it turns out, Warner's ploy worked. He gets a nice fluff piece in The New York Times this morning:
Governor Finds New Middle Ground in Death Penalty Debate

WASHINGTON, Jan. 13 - Criminal justice was not high on Mark Warner's to-do list when he was elected governor of Virginia in 2001. And he did not mention the subject in his farewell address to the legislature on Wednesday.

But in four years as governor, Mr. Warner has incrementally and with little fanfare established groundbreaking policies on the use of DNA testing to confirm, or challenge, criminal convictions, many of them in death penalty cases. Last week, he became the first governor to order a DNA test involving a man who had already been executed.

The actions of Mr. Warner, who leaves office on Saturday, have established new middle ground in the polarized world of death penalty politics. Unlike former Gov. George Ryan of Illinois, who ordered a moratorium on executions in 2003, Mr. Warner has not called for halting executions, and he still supports capital punishment. His goal, he has said, has not been to undermine the system but to make sure it works. (link)
"His goal ... has not been to undermine the system but to make sure it works." I'm kind of mystified as to what exactly that means. Isn't that what every governor in the history of the Republic has been doing? The secret must be buried in the language. Some nuance. It probably came out of Bill Clinton's "legal but rare" playbook.

Anyway, ol' Mark has him a right nice write-up in the Times. He did himself well.

There was no comment in the article from the family of the girl in the case who was raped and murdered, and was but a pawn in this political stunt ...