May 31, 2013

Signal or noise?

Like many people in WV and elsewhere, I've been eagerly following the federal investigation of Massey Energy's 2010 Upper Big Branch disaster which killed 29 coal miners. The latest development is a delay in sentencing for a former company official, David Hughart, who pleaded guilty to two charges of conspiring to violate safety standards and to covering up for them.Part of it may be due to summer scheduling, but it looks like ongoing cooperation between Hughart and federal prosecutors, who have signaled that charges may move up the corporate chain.

Would that it were so.

BAKER'S DUO. Economist Dean Baker takes another whack at austerity here and comments on the Affordable Care Act here.

URGENT WOOLLY MAMMOTH UPDATE here.

SOON TO BE A TWEET. On a road trip to WV's eastern panhandle, I had a WV town insight: Milton is the Anti-Shepherdstown.

GOAT ROPE ADVISORY LEVEL: ELEVATED

May 30, 2013

Who's next?

Union retired coal miners and their families hoped for justice from a federal judge in the Patriot Coal bankruptcy case--and found none. Corporate promises these days aren't worth the paper they are written on. I think it's time once again to quote Leonard Cohen:

Everybody knows the dice are loaded
Everybody rolls with their fingers crossed
Everybody knows the war is over
Everybody knows the good guys lost
Everybody knows the fight was fixed
The poor stay poor, the rich get rich
That's how it goes.
And everybody knows.
MIGHT AS WELL eat bugs.

May 29, 2013

Old Nick

This will be a short one, but my heart quickened yesterday when I heard a story on NPR about my beloved Niccolo Machiavelli, who has a bit of a PR problem. It turns out that The Prince, one of my all time favorites, turns 500 this year. I blogged about him a bit here, as you can find if you search the box in the upper left.

I've often thought that anyone interested in fighting for social justice should be issued three books. In no particular order, they are the Tao Te Ching, attributed to Lao Tzu; the Art of War by Sun Tzu; and The Prince (with his Discourses included as an appendix).

I was lucky enough to have visited Italy two years ago, and we spent a couple of days in Florence. The Spousal Unit took a picture of me kneeling reverently at his tomb in the Basilica of  Santa Croce. I was only partly joking...

May 28, 2013

A full load for a short week

Right wingers around the country are praying for an Affordable Care Act train wreck, but it just might not happen.

ONE WOULD HOPE SO. According to a new poll, political attitudes may be shifting away from conservatism.

BUT NOT BEFORE lots of poor kids get whacked from Head Start.

GOOD BEGINNINGS. As WV's 150th approaches, here's a look at the politics of statehood.

GOAT ROPE ADVISORY LEVEL: ELEVATED

May 27, 2013

Memorial Day

I hope the reader will pardon this Shakespearean re-post from Memorial Day 2008. It's from the play Cymbeline:

Fear no more the heat o' the sun,
Nor the furious winter's rages;
Thou thy worldly task hast done,
Home art gone, and ta'en thy wages;
Golden lads and girls all must,
As chimney-sweepers, come to dust.

Fear no more the frown o' the great;
Thou art past the tyrant's stroke:
Care no more to clothe and eat;
To thee the reed is as the oak:
The sceptre, learning, physic, must
All follow this, and come to dust.


Fear no more the lightning-flash,
Nor the all-dreaded thunder-stone;
Fear not slander, censure rash;
Thou hast finished joy and moan;
All lovers young, all lovers must
Consign to thee, and come to dust.


No exorciser harm thee!
Nor no witchcraft charm thee!
Ghost unlaid forbear thee!
Nothing ill come near thee!
Quiet consummation have;
And renown├ęd be thy grave!