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

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

A Day Late And 80,000 Jobs Short

Someone in state government has been reading this weblog, the lone voice in the wilderness making the point that the cost of doing business in Virginia - outside Washington DC, where capitalism feeds on government largesse - is too high and is destroying our manufacturing base:
Manufacturing costs to be studied
Survey will ask companies how much it costs to follow regulations
By John Reid Blackwell, Richmond Times-Dispatch

State lawmakers want to know how much it costs manufacturing companies to do business in Virginia.

The General Assembly's Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission is surveying manufacturing companies to find out how much it costs to comply with state and federal regulations.

The study could lead to legislation that would change some compliance requirements.

"We know intuitively that there is exorbitant over- head cost for our industry," said Brett Vassey, [Virginia Manufacturers Assn.] president and chief executive. (
Employees of Mack Truck, Ethan Allen, Celanese Acetate, Johnson & Johnson, Lear Corp., Dan River, Tultex, Spring Ford Industries, National Textiles, Buster Brown, Natalie Knitting Mills, American of Martinsville, Virginia Glove, Virginia House Furniture, Lea Industries, ArvinMeritor, Alcoa Wheels, Rowe Furniture, VF Knitwear, Vaughan Furniture, Webb Furniture, Burlington Industries, Renfro, Hooker Furniture, Bristol Compressors, Stanley Furniture, Dana Corporation, Thomasville Furniture, Sara Lee Branded Apparel, Bassett Furniture Industries, and Pulaski Furniture were unavailable for comment. They are all up north looking for gainful employment.

Executives for those same companies were also unavailable. They're doing deals in Honduras and Indonesia and Ireland and China, where the costs of doing business are much lower and government regulation is far less prohibitive.

What's The Big Deal?

If men have a problem dealing with childbirth, they are going about it the wrong way. But such is apparently the case:
Feeling Her Pain
Intensity of Childbirth Experience Leaves Some Men Feeling Ill-Prepared
By Ranit Mishori, Special to The Washington Post

Witnessing firsthand the miracle of childbirth, perhaps even cutting their babies' umbilical cords, is supposed to be a privilege for dads. These days, being present is also the only politically correct choice -- a litmus test for commitment to both mother and child: "Nowadays, any self-respecting father has to be there -- blood, gore and all, standing there smiling," says obstetrician David Downing, who delivers babies at the Washington Hospital Center.

"Some men are freaking out," says Judith Leavitt, a professor of science and women's studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, who explored fathers' delivery room experiences in a 2003 journal article, "What Do Men Have to Do With It -- Fathers and Mid-Twentieth-Century Childbirth." (
Guys, we need to talk.

Pay no attention to those who tell you you need to be in the delivery room so that you too can experience the joy of childbirth. Do as I did. Stay out in the waiting room and party with family and friends. After all, as I explained it to Paula as she was being carted off to "experience the joy," one of us was going to be racked with pain while, at the same time, retching uncontrollably and screaming in agony; there was no need for both of us to.

So do what's most important. Be there to entertain the guests assembled for the glorious event. And occasionally ask a nurse how things are going back in the room of doom.

We're All Going To Die! Part LVII

We have something new to worry about this morning:
Growing Acidity of Oceans May Kill Corals
By Juliet Eilperin, Washington Post Staff Writer

The escalating level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is making the world's oceans more acidic, government and independent scientists say. They warn that, by the end of the century, the trend could decimate coral reefs and creatures that underpin the sea's food web.

Although scientists and some politicians have just begun to focus on the question of ocean acidification, they describe it as one of the most pressing environmental threats facing Earth. (
"... one of the most pressing environmental threats facing Earth." That's not going to go over well with the global warming crowd. Or the rainforest depletion crowd. Or the ozone depletion crowd. Or the acid rain crowd (although that may be the same bunch).

Ever get the impression these "scientists" were afraid of the dark when they were kids?

Acidic oceans. For the love of God.

A Space Shuttle To ... Where?

Noun: anachronism

1. An artifact that belongs to another time
2. The space shuttle program

The space shuttle Discovery was launched yesterday ... for some reason:
The Shuttle Takes Off
New York Times editorial

The apparently successful launch of the shuttle Discovery is cause for restrained jubilation. The astronauts are not out of danger yet. Only further inspections will tell whether their fragile vehicle sustained any significant damage on ascent. Even before takeoff, inspectors discovered a piece of damaged foam insulation — the threat that most troubled NASA. But engineers decided it was not a risk to either the ship or its crew.

The striking thing about this shuttle flight is that the most important task is simply survival — of both the vehicle and the astronauts who are riding in it. (
How did it come to this? Nobody knows what the mission is anymore, beyond trying to keep the astronauts alive.

Is it worth it?

Good News In Coal Country

They're finding more and more uses for our black gold:

Search for New Oil Sources Leads to Processed Coal
By Matthew L. Wald, The New York Times

EAST DUBUQUE, Ill. — The coal in the ground in Illinois alone has more energy than all the oil in Saudi Arabia. The technology to turn that coal into fuel for cars, homes and factories is proven. And at current prices, that process could be at the vanguard of a big, new industry.

Such promise has attracted entrepreneurs and government officials, including the Secretary of Energy, who want domestic substitutes for foreign oil.

Here in East Dubuque, Rentech Inc., a research-and-development company based in Denver, recently bought a plant that has been turning natural gas into fertilizer for forty years. In an important test case for those in the industry, it will take a plunge and revive a technology that exploits America's cheap, abundant coal and converts it to expensive truck fuel. (link)
Coal as a truck fuel. Who'da thunk it?

Things are looking up for Virginia's poorest counties. Finally.