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

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

There's Only One Problem

This sounds like such a swell idea:
Richmond Times-Dispatch editorial

[Washington DC] is experimenting with rubber sidewalks made of recycled tires. Unlike concrete sidewalks, the rubber ones are easier to work with -- they can be cut and molded and moved with comparative ease and they don't crack or crumble, which lessens the likelihood of lawsuits. They let tree roots breathe, so the roots don't fight upward through the sidewalk for air and water.

Old tires used to present a gawdawful environmental problem. If not used for rope swings or poor-man's planters, they ended up in landfills, collecting water where mosquitoes could breed or catching fire and poisoning the air. More and more, however, they are being ground up and used for a variety of purposes -- from garden mulch to playground cover. Molding them into sidewalk material makes as much sense or more. (
Sounds great. The only problem is that the most common tire on the road today is a steel-belted passenger tire. And those steel wires, once the tire is shredded, will slice the hell out of little tootsies if the rubber is laid down as sidewalk material. To date, they haven't figured a way to separate the steel from the rubber and maintain the integrity of the rubber.

What recycling companies are using currently are tractor tires and big-truck tires, neither of which contain steel. And though they work great for the purpose, how many are floating around the marketplace? Probably enough to outfit a few sidewalks in one city.

Now, if they can figure a way to remove those steel wires ...

Boy, Am I In Trouble

I wonder what the penalty is if you qualify for two out of three:
Man charged with possession of drugs, firearms, whiskey
Shawna Morrison, The Roanoke Times

Your Tax Dollars At Work

There are those that giveth and those that giveth away. It is our lot in life to be the former and to be raped by the latter:
No Drought Required For Federal Drought Aid
Livestock Program Grew To Cover Any 'Disaster'
By Gilbert M. Gaul, Dan Morgan and Sarah Cohen, Washington Post Staff Writers

CHANDLER, Tex. -- On a clear, cold morning in February 2003, Nico de Boer heard what sounded like a clap of thunder and stepped outside his hillside home for a look. High above the tree line, the 40-year-old dairy farmer saw a trail of smoke curling across the sky -- all that remained of the space shuttle Columbia.

Weeks later, de Boer was startled to learn that he was one of hundreds of East Texas ranchers entitled to up to $40,000 in disaster compensation from the federal government, even though the nearest debris landed 10 to 20 miles from his cattle.

The money came from the U.S. Department of Agriculture as part of the Livestock Compensation Program, originally intended as a limited helping hand for dairy farmers and ranchers hurt by drought. (
For the love of God.

Abandon Ship

Scene: The foghorn blasts a loud, low groan. Thomas Andrews, chief designer of the Titanic, is seen standing in the main lounge of the "unsinkable" luxury liner, hands in vest pockets, his long, fixed, despondent countenance gazing in the general direction of the floor but whose thoughts are, in fact, far, far away. The ship is listing alarmingly. Andrews is suddenly shaken back into reality for a brief moment and reaches up to the ornate clock sitting atop the fireplace mantel and ... adjusts the minute hand.

I was reminded of that scene when I read this:
Ford to produce 'green' buses
Automaker wants to be environmental leader; experts say hydrogen vehicles decades away.
Bryce G. Hoffman, The Detroit News

DEARBORN HEIGHTS -- Less than three weeks after abandoning its promise to build 250,000 hybrid vehicles for the North American market by 2010, Ford Motor Co. said Monday it will invest more than $1.8 billion to develop hybrids and other fuel-efficient vehicles in Britain.

Meanwhile, closer to home, the automaker said it has begun producing engines in Dearborn Heights to power a new line of hydrogen-fueled shuttle buses. (
And then the ship sank ...

But The Democrats May Need Them!

Just in time for the November 2004 election:
City clerk to clean Detroit voter list
Janice Winfrey is ready to remove 55,000 nonresidents and deceased from rolls.
David Josar, The Detroit News

DETROIT -- City Clerk Janice Winfrey is set in less than a month to eliminate from voting rolls the names of nearly 55,000 dead people and those who no longer live in Detroit, as she undertakes a blitzkrieg aimed at restoring integrity and respect to Detroit elections. (
55,000. That's a good start. But what about the other 100,000 people who will still be on the roster and who are dead or gone?

A Quiz

All right now. No cheating. Here's the headline:
All Smiles as Shuttle Ends a Nearly Perfect Mission
By John Schwarz, The New York Times
Question: What was the mission?

Breaking News!

Republicans Coming Up Short in Effort to Reach Out to African-American Voters
Political Memo, The New York Times

When Legislators Think They're God

There must be some mental psychosis that takes control when one has been in government too long. How else to explain the regular recurrence of this kind of madness:
Chicago Weighs New Prohibition: Bad-for-You Fats
By Monica Davey, The New York Times

Edward M. Burke, who has served on the Chicago City Council since 1969, when cooking oil was just cooking oil, is pressing his colleagues to make it illegal for restaurants to use oils that contain trans fats, which have been tied to a string of health problems, including clogged arteries and heart attacks.

Chicago officials have been on a bit of a banning binge these days in what critics mock as City Hall’s effort to micromanage residents’ lives in mundane ways.

The aldermen voted in April to forbid restaurants to sell foie gras. They have weighed a proposal to force cabbies to dress better. And there is talk of an ordinance to outlaw smoking at the beach. (

Richard Daley had this response to the latest affront to our way of life:
“Is the City Council going to plan our menus?” Mayor Daley asked.
I think we know the answer to that question. Give 'em time. Give 'em time.

When You're Praised By The NY Times ...

You folks in South Carolina must be wondering where your boy went and what lifeform now has control of his body. Lindsey Graham's mother is probably wondering the same thing now that his efforts to destroy the Republican party are lauded on the front page of the New York Times:
G.O.P. Senator Resisting Bush Over Detainees
By Kate Zernike, The New York Times

WASHINGTON, July 17 — Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina often plays the contrarian, the conservative Republican willing to poke a stick in the eye of the White House.

Now Mr. Graham is playing an even higher-profile variant of that role, as the Senate’s foremost expert on military law in the midst of the emotional debate over what rights to provide to terror suspects. (
Graham is a close ally to John McCain. That's all that needs to be said.