Wednesday, June 8, 2011

No Country For Sane Men - Wednesday, June 8, 2011

No Country For Sane Men

  No Country For Sane Men
    One Man's Journey Into The Mind Of America

Good Wednesday Morning,

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Some Facts For Today:

1) Junebugs freak me out. They slam into the window screen so hard you think they're going to break through. You check to make sure everything is tight and closed and the next thing you know that mindless dive-bomber managed to find his way in slamming into anything and everything around. In the morning he's just sitting there on your desk stunned and dazed and all innocent-like while everything near him is broken and battered. I swear, they're from Mars.

2) An Australian Cattle Dog can hear a refrigerator door open at 200yds. While he's asleep.

3) When the feeder is empty a hummingbird will let you know - and rather angrily at that.

4) Today is, "Get Really Drunk and Post Stuff on the Internet That You'll Regret Tomorrow" Day. I encourage your participation.

5) The Bible contains six admonishments to homosexuals and 362 admonishments to heterosexuals. That doesn’t mean that God doesn’t love heterosexuals. It’s just that they need more supervision.  – Lynn Lavner

6) My congresswoman is Nan Hayworth and she's for sale. Corporate bids began at $10,000 but you can have her for free. Please.

7) New York Congressman Anthony Wiener has one and now everyone is upset. Jeesuz Freaking Christ. Get real lives, okay?

8) A couple in Spring Hill, Florida were arrested for stealing $61.44 worth of sex products from a Wal*Mart.

9) Andrew Breitbart. Bill O'Reilly. Rush Limbaugh. Roger Ailes. Donald Trump. Sarah Palin. Oh, nothing in particular. I just thought we could all use a good laugh this morning.

Oh, the West Virginia hills! How majestic and how grand. Not Anymore.

In West Virginia, the heart of US coal country, entire mountains are being leveled off and pushed into valleys to feed America's need for coal. Hundreds of square miles of mountains have been leveled over the past several decades in order to feed this obsession Americans have with doing everything they can to avoid something as simple as changing a light bulb or turning one off when they're not using it.

If you'd like to see what strip mining, now known as mountaintop removal looks like, point your browser here and have a look around. See that seven mile across bare spot at Kayford? You did that and continue to do so every time you flick on a switch or don't work toward renewable energy as a national strategy.

But it's not just the visual damage being done to the landscape that's at issue, it's that when you lob off the top of a mountain that debris has to go somewhere and it's going into the valleys that once made mountains, mountains. This is choking off streams and rivers and sending vast quantities of silt and detritus into America's waterways which are the primary water sources for many causing pollution issues that cannot be easily repaired. The number of fish species, such as native trout, that have been killed is an anglers worst nightmare. And the killing and environmental destruction continues on unabated with the full support of West Virginia's congressional delegation.

And while there are some living in the Mountain State who make their livelihoods off this horrifically destructive method of coal extraction there are many, many more being affected in negative ways who are now beginning to stand up and fight for their lives.

Earlier this week a group of citizens began a foot-march across Appalachia, walking 50 miles from Marmet, WV to Blair, WV to bring national attention to this issue. Upwards of 500 began a 5-day march under state police guard to protect them from mining companies and their hired thugs under a shadow of previously unresolved battles.

But why Blair Mountain? Because in August of 1921, following escalating tensions between miners and mine owners, Blair Mountain was the scene of an epic battle which was the largest armed uprising in the United States since the civil war. In the end near 100 people were killed and hundreds more wounded in an effort to create safer working conditions and collective bargaining rights for West Virginia's coal miners. Logan County Sheriff Don Chafin went so far as to drop bombs on striking miners and President Warren Harding threatened to send Federal troops - and additional bombers - in order to put the workers down - kill them all, if necessary. Nine hundred and eighty-five miners were tried for treason and other crimes and many went to prison for their roles in defending labor (that's you, by the way) against the mining company owners who still control your lives to this very day.

Today, thousands of coal miners sit unemployed as strip mining requires many fewer men to operate the massive machines that tear at the earth than did underground mining. The economic devastation that has ensued matches the environmental damage that has taken place and neither is foursquare in the minds of Americans who blithely go about using electricity as if it were water during a monsoon. But it's not: the mining of coal is a destructive effort that destroys lives and the environment around mining sites, that decimates entire communities and does nothing to economically benefit those most hurt. On the other hand, coal mining companies are raking in billions.

If you'd like to help make a difference turn off damned light bulb or two at home, at work, wherever. Yeah, it's that easy.

On the Ball

New York State Senator Greg Ball is one of the more active tea baggers elected to office over the past few years and he's happily showing that in many creative ways. For one, he's sponsored a bill that denies municipalities the right to legislate land use on lots that have a development plan in place. The result, if passed, would be that developers could flood into communities with outrageous projects on their minds and once in the planning and review process they would be locked in place regardless of the economic or environmental damage these projects could effect. The bill only applies to several mid-Hudson region counties and not the entire state so there's a Constitutional problem there. But little things like State Constitutions never bothered the 'baggers. Scenic Hudson's Ned Sullivan says this:
"It's back (A.347/S.4554). Another version of the so-called Vested Rights Act was just amended by the state Senate. Defeated in previous years and rightly so, the amendment calls for five Hudson Valley counties (Orange, Rockland, Westchester, Dutchess and Putnam) to be the testing ground for many alarming and potentially damaging land-use decisions. As a Hudson Valley resident, no one understands better than you that the magnificent beauty and heritage of our region is tied to the land and how it is managed. The natural assets that make this region so extraordinary aren't only a source of pride, but a cornerstone of economic growth."
In another interesting attempt at ridiculousness, the same Senator is sponsoring S.3806. So, let's say, for example, that for whatever reason an animal cruelty charge has been leveled against you by some over-zealous PETA member and the police come and take your animal(s) away. Under the proposed bill you're required to post a bond to cover the full cost of maintenance and upkeep for a length of time equal to the time it would take to adjudicate the matter through the courts. it could be weeks or months before the courts find that nothing was wrong. But that bond could be tens of thousands of dollars, as Putnam County, New York residents saw a few years ago when their Humane Society was on a massive cash grab, charging outrageous fees to house confiscated animals for no other reason than to build up their cash flow. These animals were sometimes returned, sometimes not, even when the courts found nothing untoward had taken place but their owners were left destitute and heartbroken. And if you don't have the money to post upfront? Your animal is now at the mercy of the shelter or person who is holding it. It could be given away or killed and you have no control. None.

In one final insult to his constituents the same State Senator is doing all he can to scuttle New York's proposed Marriage Equality bill by setting up hurdles that are impossible to overcome and demanding they be incorporated into the bill in order to gain his support. At first he was demanding "carve outs" for self-righteous religious groups who are still living in 1102 and not 2011. When told those were already in the bill or covered by other state laws he upped the ante to include "small businesses", undefined of course, to permit them to refuse to acknowledge same-sex relationships under the law if their owners did not agree. But we've been there before: what if these same people did not believe that Whites should marry Blacks? What if they thought women should earn less than men? These are not 'pie-in-the-sky' objections as they've been defeated time and again as silly, ignorant and downright medieval but Senator Ball continues on his march toward madness unabated.

What's Going On in your little part of America? Write us and let us know.

No Country For Sane Men is Copyright © 2011 by Jeff Green under the Fair Use Doctrine. Pass it along, just don't steal it.
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