September 10, 2009

Two silly ideas

Earlier this week, I overheard WV Public Radio coverage of the With-Friends-of-America-Like-These-Who-Needs-Enemies event in Logan County and was struck (among other things) by these remarks of Don Blankenship:

“As someone who has overseen the mining of more coal than anyone else in central Appalachia, I know the safety and health of my coal miners is my number one job," he said.

"I don’t need Washington politicians to tell me that, and neither do you," he said.

"But I also know that Washington and state politicians have no idea how to improve miner safety. The very idea that they care more about coal miner safety than we do is as silly as global warming."

I think he might have been technically correct. It seems to me that both ideas share the same degree of silliness, which is to say none at all.

And as for the devotion to coal mine health and safety, here's a look at the report on the Aracoma mine fire prepared by Gov. Manchin's investigative team. The fire, in which two miners died, also resulted in the heaviest MSHA penalties in the agency's history.

HEALTH CARE RESTART? A CNN poll found a boost in support for health care reform among those who watched President Obama's speech last night.

STIMULUS. According to a new report by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, better known as the stimulus, is working:

Although meant chiefly to help the broad economy, the stimulus plan Congress enacted earlier this year (the American Recovery and Re-Investment Act of 2009, or ARRA) had the important secondary effect of significantly ameliorating the recession’s impact on poverty.

This analysis, which comes one day before the Census Bureau will release updated poverty figures (for 2008), examines seven of the recovery act’s provisions — two improvements in unemployment insurance, three tax credits for working families, an increase in food stamps, and a one-time payment for retirees, veterans, and people with disabilities — and finds that they alone are preventing more than 6 million Americans from falling below the poverty line and are reducing the severity of poverty for 33 million more. Those 6 million people include more than 2 million children and over 500,000 seniors....

POVERTY SPURT. The WV Center on Budget and Policy is expecting a spike in recession-induced poverty, which means among other things that we need to take full advantage of all the opportunities available through the stimulus.



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