January 03, 2011

Back to the salt mines

El Cabrero took some time off between the holidays. Nothing exciting, although it was nice to remember what it's like to wake up naturally without an alarm clock screaming at 4:45 a.m. Now it's back to sleep deprivation and all that. I didn't even turn on the computer for that period, if checking the Precious iPhone doesn't count.

A number of interesting news items came out in the interim but I will avoid commenting at length on all but one. The Dec. 24-Jan. 6 issue of The State Journal, a WV business paper, featured a list of the most influential business leaders in West Virginia. Topping the list was former (as of January 1) Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship.

I take no issue with that. For good or ill, Blankenship has no doubt made the most ripples in the pond. But I can't resist mentioning that the article quoted WVU free market economist Russel Sobel, of Unleashing Capitalism fame, to the effect that

The nice thing about this list is these are all people who've done it the right way. Their success is not based on political connections but on competing against others.

I guess buying a state supreme court seat in the 2004 election doesn't count. And apparently neither does trying to buy the state House of Delegates in 2006. If the latter didn't work as well as the former, it wasn't for lack of trying. I imagine some major change was also dropped in the 2008 and 2010 elections as well.

I guess doing things the right way also includes union busting; major environmental and coal mine safety violations--including the highest criminal fines ever levied against a company by MSHA; far too many dead miners; pumping sludge into old mines to contaminate well water and a whole host of fun and games.

The nice thing about subscribing to an ideological creed is that one never has to be bothered with the facts.

HOLED UP. Krugman's latest reminds us that we're still in deep despite recent economic good news.

HATE RADIO. Here's an interesting take on the right wing media and the rage machine.

LOOKING BACK. Here's Wired Science on the biggest scientific breakthroughs of 2010.


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