May 31, 2012

The nutmeg of (zombie) consolation

The Spousal Unit, also known here as La Cabra, is away from home for a few days. I am, needless to say, prostrate with grief. Darkness has covered my light and has turned my day into night.  All day I sit like Job on a garbage heap scratching myself with a potsherd and lamenting the day where in I was born and all that.

Or at least that would be the case were it not for a little solace sent by a merciful Providence. That would consist of watching episodes of The Walking Dead on Netflix.

I would write more about my desolation and desperate longing for reunion but I got some zombies to watch.

Oh yeah. And, I apologize to regular readers for neglecting to provide links and comments about the issues of the day, but zombies trump everything. And if I'm late for that 11:30 meeting tomorrow, I was up late watching you know what.


May 30, 2012

Feeding the trolls, again

Over Memorial Day weekend, some women shaved their heads in protest of mountaintop removal mining. I admire their dedication, although I obviously wasn't consulted on tactics. Maybe this is just the martial artist in me talking, but I prefer strategies that inconvenience one's opponent/s rather than oneself or one's allies.

Unfortunately for the protesters, it didn't seem to get a lot of press other than a picture and brief paragraph in the Gazette.

That was enough, however, to bring out the trolls, i.e. all the right wingers who lurk around media websites so they can spew their views. So far, over 60 comments have been made on the article. I highly recommend checking them out.

Hats off to one commentator, ProudRight, who I believe to be a great satirist. He comes so close to saying the things that real people say in forums like this so it's kind of hard to tell what is jest and what is not. Here are two gems ProudRight added to this discussion:

Either you're a friend of coal or an enemy of coal. Almost all the people here like MTR and want to keep mining the coal. By getting rid of the mountains we make WV better. If they don't like the way we mine coal, why don't they do us all a favor and leave? The people against coal are using big words and talking it up because they think they are better than the rest of us. How smart is it to shave your head, like we're not going to mine coal because you shave your head? The truth is these protesters can't stop us doing our job. They're just a wasting their time away. Coal is WV. Everybody likes coal just like they like the Mountaineers. How you tree huggers going to watch ball if your sitting there in the dark? I'm sick of looking at ugly green mountains when we could have more factories. Coal is the future they can't stop.


The know it alls just use the fancy facts and numbers to lie about coal. We mine the coal because WV is coal. Without coal there will be no WV. You don't see us going around shaving our heads. In November we're going to vote Obama out and vote the tree huggers to jail where they belong. I'll be watchin the Mountaineers win football games and riding my 4 wheeler while you tree huggers will be sitting in the dark. EPA out of WV, Obama prison.

I think the only thing that distinguishes ProudRight's satire from the sincere venting of those he/she imitates is the fact that the author manages to insert a reference to Mountaineer games in every comment.

Rock on, ProudRight. And wake up, America!

May 29, 2012

Then what?

El Cabrero is getting a little worried about the ruling class in my beloved state of West Virginia. As I've mentioned before, they are several years into a protracted hissy fit over the allegedly job-killing agenda of the Obama administration and its "war on coal."

They had a bit of a setback recently when it was noticed that coal jobs are actually significantly up to their highest level since the mid 1990s, higher even than the ruling class Golden Age of the Bush administration.

Resourceful guys that they are, no pun intended, they managed to dodge that bullet by essentially saying, "Yeah,  well, maybe, but he's about to start killing jobs."

(It is a truth universally acknowledged amongst the WV ruling class that declining jobs in coal mining are exclusively caused by black commanders in chief and not by things like a warm winter, cheap natural gas and competition from other places.)

Here's what I wonder about though. Suppose Romney wins in November and the EPA is gutted or abolished and mining regulation falls back into industry hands and enforcement is replaced by "compliance assistance." If coal jobs go down then, as will probably be the case, who are they going to blame?

The Obama excuse is bound to wear off in time and then it may become apparent that there were plenty of warning signs about the long term decline of Appalachian mining but that the people running the state were in a state of denial and blew any chances to work towards some kind of transition that might have eased the crunch because they were too busy throwing a hissy fit.

But, knowing them, they'll probably find somebody else to blame it on.

May 28, 2012

Memorial Day and troubled homecomings

As Memorial Day weekend runs down, I've been thinking about the troubles that await those who do make it home safely. For one thing, it has been reported for some time that around 18 veterans a day commit suicide.

For another, an unprecedented number of veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan are filing for disability benefits. The Associate Press reports that around 45 percent of recent veterans are filing for some time of benefit due to service related injuries, including PTSD and concussive injuries and a host of other wounds and traumas.

For another, a story on NPR which I can't yet find online also reported that one of the most immediate struggles for returning veterans is finding a job in a weak economy.

The people who served in these wars and those who love and care for them have been through a lot. And many of them who survived it are still a long way from really being home.