Blair Mountain is History Worth Keeping

(Cross-posted at the new Appalachian Voices blog)

In 1921, in Logan County, West Virginia, federal troops looked through their crosshairs at 1000s of ramshackle coal-miners. On the 1,600-acre Spruce Fork Ridge of Blair Mountain, there was a showdown between an army of at least 7,500 miners and a 3,000-man defensive force "bolstered by private planes that dropped homemade bombs on the miners."

The miners - abused, exploited, and upset by lack of working conditions, living conditions, and lack of collective bargaining ability, had taken up arms. The United Mine Workers of America had been working to organize workers in the coalfields, due to constant oppression and tight control of coal-towns in Appalachia.

The defensive force was led by Logan County Sheriff Don Chafin and other law officers, many of whom were on the coal companies" payrolls.  

The confrontation was the largest armed labor conflict in the nation"s history, with miners seeking the right not only to unionize but also to exercise civil liberties such as freedom of speech and assembly.

There's more...

Poison Water in the Coalfields: Part II (people are still dying)

(Cross-posted at the new Appalachian Voices blog)
(Part I)

We've talked about the long-struggling residents of Mingo County in their quest for clean drinking water, which has been polluted by coal sludge. Here's a quick recap...

This is coal sludge in the water supply.

Coal companies have been injecting coal sludge into abandoned long-shaft mines in Mingo County for nearly two decades. The heavy metals and toxins from these illegal dumps have leached into the water supply and now the people of Rawl and Mingo County, WV are fighting for their lives.

Many have liver and kidney problems, various forms of cancer and skin rashes-- health problems associated with long-term exposure to high levels of arsenic, lead, manganese, selenium, and other toxins which scientists have found in residents' well water.

Now, via West Virginia Public Radio, we learn that a man (hero) trying to help these people, named Kevin Thompson is being sued by a subsidary of Massey Energy for...GASP... defamation

Don't believe me? Listen for yourself, or go below to a transcript.

There's more...

Economic Growth IS BAD for the environment

A few weeks ago, Scott alerted us to the anti-environment lies and drivel that Richard Pombo is spreading through the House Committee on Resources website.  The site is disgusting propaganda under the guise of official US policy.

Scott made one comment though which I cannot let pass without more discussion:

Last time I checked, "[e]conomic growth harms the environment" was not one of the chief claims being put forward by the environmental movement. Rather, it seems to me that the exact opposite claim has been repeatedly made by mainstream environmentalists, that development of new, more environmentally responsible technologies can help to grow the economy.

In fact, economic growth does harm the environment and this is beginning to be addressed by ecologists and environmentalists, including The Wildlife Society, for example.

There's more...

Some Thoughts on Rhode Island

Rhode Island is a strange state.  Lincoln Chafee will be quite hard to beat in the general election, and the real threat to him comes from Laffey in the primary.  There's no way Rhode Island will send Laffey to the Senate.

Which makes the Sierra Club and the League of Conservation Voters and their encouragement of their members to vote for Chafee so irritating.  You see, there's not many Republican primary voters in Rhode Island.  30,000, I think.  But it's an open primary, so independents can vote.  So the Sierra Club and LCV could have actually ensured Chafee's defeat.  They did not.  They did the opposite.  More importantly, they didn't even use the leverage they had to force Chafee onto their turf.

Let me put it another way.  The LCV and the Sierra Club could, for instance, have demanded that Chafee caucus with the Democrats for their support.  They could have demanded this and defeated Chafee had he not acceded.  But they did not.  They chose to support a majority Republican Senate and Republican Commttee Chairs.  Don't give me any nonsense about them supporting their friends.  If they wanted Chafee as a friend, they could have demanded he act like it and still endorsed him.  They didn't.

So if there's an open primary, and the Sierra Club and the League of Conservation Voters are encouraging their Independent members to vote for Lincoln Chafee in the primary, then why don't Rhode Island Democrats organize voters to vote against Chafee and for Laffey in the primary?

(I'm not up on Rhode Island election law - can Democrats vote in the Republican primary?)

There's more...

Sierra Club responds: Reaffirms desire to re-elect Chafee!

How is it possible for a "leading" national environmental organization to support the re-election of a vulnerable rubber stamp Republican when the future of American Democracy itself is in the balance? How can the Sierra Club be so eager to return a Republican majority to the Senate? A majority that has completely slashed 30 years of environmental progress, that facilitates the looting of America's resources, that fights to poison and pollute our citizens, that completely sabotages any attempt to address global warming, and that is beholden to nefarious oil companies?

Complete insanity!!! That's the only explanation. Follow me below the fold to see the Sierra Club's response to my letter.

There's more...


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