A Question on CNN's New Immigration Poll Raises Concerns

CNN/Opinion Research released earlier today a new telephone survey of U.S. adults on immigration. One forced choice question asking respondents to indicate what they thought the main focus of the U.S. government ought to be with respect to the immigration issue, appears to contradict findings that a number of other public opinion surveys have reported over the past two years. Some may wrongly interpret the CNN poll as showing surprisingly high support (60%) for deportation of "illegal" immigrants and low support for a pathway to citizenship (38%). Recent surveys conducted by CBS News, AP, Pew Research and others find support for legalization or a pathway to citizenship to be in the high 50%s and support for deportation to be just above 30%.  Why does the CNN appear to be different?

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Blankenship To Testify Before Congress: The Dark Saga Continues

Its been over a month since the Upper Big Branch Mine, a Massey Energy owned and operated mine, faced a disaster due to a methane related explosion that took 29 miners lives. It was a dark day for the state of West Virginia, the coal industry, and the entire country. To West Virginians, and even those not from the state, these fallen miners will be in our hearts forever.

Don Blankenship is the current Chairman, CEO, and head right-wing gun-toting thug in charge of Massey Energy. Massey is currently the 6th largest coal company in the United States by production. Blankenship, to most people, is seen as cold, dark, and very mysterious. If you need further convincing, watch this ABC News video of one of their correspondents attempting to evoke an interview from Blankenship. The video shows the ABC News rep wanting to ask Blankenship about pictures published in the New York Times of him with Former WV State Supreme Court Judge and Current Republican nominee for WV 3rd Congressional District Eliot "Spike" Maynard. Maynard was elected to the Supreme Court in WV.

Several news outlets have begun to report that Don Blankenship will testify this Thursday before the Senate HELP (Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions) Committee regarding the April 5, 2010 mine explosion in Raleigh County, West Virginia .

Mine blast: Don Blankenship, the head of Massey Energy Co., testifies before a Senate panel investigating the explosion that killed 29 workers at his company’s coal mine in West Virginia.

Source: San Francisco Chronicle’s SF Gate

Blankenship, 60, plans to appear before the Labor and Health and Human Services subcommittee of the Senate Appropriations Committee, on May 20 in Washington, his first appearance before Congress since the explosion.

Massey said last month that it expects a second-quarter charge of as much as $212 million for the accident, more than twice its 2009 earnings.

The costs will include $80 million to $150 million for benefits for families of the miners, rescue and recovery efforts, insurance deductibles, legal and other contingencies, Massey said. The value of the damaged equipment, development and mineral rights is an additional $62 million.

Source: Businessweek.com

With the pieces still being picked up in rural West Virginia, Blankenship has a slew of problems on his hands. Massey Energy has seen its stock slump since the disaster (big shocker there) and he is constantly being questioned about the incident and his lack of care for safety violations and hazardous working conditions. It has seen a -21.7% change YTD with their stocks recently plummeting 10% after a possibility of a criminal investigation was mentioned, and 40% since the disaster.

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) — Shares of Massey Energy plunged about 10% Monday after a report surfaced over the weekend indicated the coal mining company may face a criminal investigation.

Federal prosecutors are investigating possible "willful criminal activity" by "directors, officers and agents" of Massey subsidiary Performance Coal at the Upper Big Branch coal mine where an explosion killed 29 workers last month, The Wall Street Journal reported on Saturday.

A Bloomberg report on Monday claimed that some large Massey shareholders will seek to block the re-election of three company board members at the meeting.

Another report by the Wall Street Journal on Monday said a congressional committee will vote on Wednesday on whether to give the House Education and Labor Committee deposition power to call witnesses in for questioning on the case.

Massey shares have fallen about 40% since the mine explosion on April 5.

Source: CNN Money

More interesting news for Massey Energy, in what seems to be an effort to obtain transparency in lieu of shady business, as they have now declared that they will declassify their board of directors. This according to the Wall Street Journal, the board is proposing to introduce the idea to shareholders etc. and potentially even make the process more democratic.

Massey Energy Co. said its board plans to propose that directors stand for election every year for one-year terms.

Chairman and Chief Executive Don Blankenship and lead independent director Admiral Bobby R. Inman said the move to declassify the board of the coal producer was a result of stockholder input and the board’s ongoing review of Massey’s corporate governance policies.

A classified board, where classes of directors generally are elected for three-year terms and only a portion of the directors stands for election each year, is harder to dislodge through the shareholder meeting process.

The board plans to hold a special shareholder meeting in the next three to six months where it will propose that stockholders approve declassification.

Source: Wall Street Journal

Blankenship has seen his fair share of controversy, as I have detailed in several previous blogs in wake of the Upper Big Branch Mine Disaster, and this proves there isn’t an end in sight. Blankenship, amidst numerous calls to step down and many claims of injustice and fraud, refuses to forgo his position as CEO of Massey. Its hard to tell whether this is simply Blanky trying to play a game and manipulate his business further, saving his butt from criminal allegations, or just plain stubbornness. My personal opinion? He needs to step down. Futher even, he needs to be criminally indicted. Too often, CEO fat cats like Blank are left alone to ravage whatever gets in their way in the holy name of money.

Massey Energy chief executive Don Blankenship, whose Richmond-based company is under investigation after a deadly explosion at its Upper Big Branch coal mine in West Virginia, said he has no plans to resign.

"Whatever happened at UBB is something that needs to be figured out, but it’s not the result of my management style," Blankenship, 60, said in an interview.

From The Washington Post, as reported by Bloomberg

An end is not in sight for this ongoing Blankenship conundrum, which can be seen as good news and bad news. I want resolution. I hope that one day this man will receive the proper justice brought to him, not on a silver platter, but closer to a penitentiary meal tray.

He doesn’t represent the values and culture of Appalachia, he represents the coal industry and corporate greed. I for one will not stand for this. The question still remains, will the people of Congress and those in higher powers finally grow a pair and do something about corrupt and greedy tycoons like Blankenship? Or will they let this case slither away like a cunning snake, deep into the elusive tall grass it will await yet another prey who is unbeknownst to their presence.

 

Arizona experiences "Largest immigrant smuggling raid in U.S. history"Arizona experiences "Largest immigrant smuggling raid in U.S. history"

From Restore Fairness blog

While Arizona's harsh anti-immigrant bill SB 1070 awaits its fate in the hands of Governor Brewer who will decide to sign it into law on Monday, the immigration enforcement spotlight turns once again to Arizona. Led by Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE), with the full cooperation of Mexican police agencies, more than 800 agents and officers from federal, state and local law enforcement agencies carried out a massive search and arrest operation yesterday on border crossings located on either side of the border.

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CNN: Bring Back Crossfire!

 

Mainstream news channel ratings come out, and normally there isn't a distressing situation afterwards.  This time, however, CNN faces a 40 percent drop in viewership since 2009.  Pretty large huh?  Say what you want about mainstream media news outlets, this isn't what this diary is about.

CNN has been in the bottom of the big 3 for awhile now.  Fox News Channel has been the leader for quite some time, and we are constantly reminded of this by Mr. Bill O'Reilly and other prominent noise-makers on that network.  MSNBC normally takes the second highest spot on the podium, however the difference in viewership between number 1 and number 2 is quite significant.  And then there is CNN.  Since the departure of Lou Dobbs, CNN has lacked any significant program along the lines of advocacy journalism

The lack of non-objectivity seems to be hurting CNN significantly.  Politico has noticed this (and this is where I pulled the stats for this btw) and has outlined a few tactics for Ted Turner's cable news creation to increase viewship.  One of these that I took notice to was advising CNN to bring back crossfire.

James Carville, Geraldine Ferraro, Pat Buchanan, and of course Tucker Carlson and his ridiculous bow ties. If anyone remembers Crossfire, chances are it's because of a Mr. John Stewart.  The youtube sensation of John Stewart ripping apart Tucker Carlson on air marked seemingly the end of Crossfire

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aFQFB5YpDZE

Stewart had a point.  His claim of partisan-hackery was certainly an issue, but I personally found Crossfire to be entertaining nonetheless.  I think its important to have open debates live on air between pundits, but talking points consuming the show over real issues unfortunately plagued the show in its past.

In my opinion, there is no show (with the exception of Meet the Press and other sunday news shows) that really allows for open debate with a slew of different individuals on both sides of the political spectrum, at least in the 3 big mainstream outlets.  Keith Olbermann seems to never bring anyone on his show for a serious and intellectual debate, Rachel Maddow does but not very often.  Chris Matthews and Harball normally has a decent track record of open debate, but still lacks a lot of consistency in my opinion and viewership from more right-wing sources are less likely to watch MSNBC... because its MSNBC.

Fox, on the other hand, as well all know is obviously truly fair and balanced.  Its hard to properly emphasize sarcasm via typed words so bear with me.

Glenn Beck's biggest stride in bringing on bi-partisan debate was having the esteemed guest Eric Massa on to talk about snorkeling and fondling men.  Of course, this actually was a big stride for Beck.. sadly enough.  Bill O'Reilly can sometimes have a decent guest in which to "debate" but that normally involves O'Reilly yelling louder to prove a point, to the degree of nearly soiling himself.  And of course, there is Sean Hannity and his "Great American Panel."  You can guess who is on this "Great American Panel."  Normally the token Reagan worshipers to the equivalence of Liz Cheney's and Bill Kristol's. 

I love watching open and fair debate.  Not constructed partisan ploys done by the other "debate" shows.

If CNN could craft Crossfire to actually contain a Fair and Balanced debate show, yes thats making a mockery of fox news, then they could potentially increase viewership significantly.

At least, I know I would be watching it nightly. 

Poisoned Paradise Part I

Here is Part I of CNN's prime-time investigative report on the ongoing health crisis on Vieques, Puerto Rico

 

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