September 26, 2014

Two from the Times

Here are two items from the NY Times the growing gap between the very wealthy and everyone else: one on how out of whack we are and the other on how some folks are getting better at conspicuous consumption.

September 24, 2014

One that the grows well these days

The recent release of Census data showed that child poverty grew in West Virginia. That wasn't the only thing: so did the share of income going to the wealthiest state residents. That seems to be part of a national trend, one that's been growing since (surprise!) the 1980s.

September 22, 2014

Not to worry

NPR had a feature on the website today about the importance of not stressing out about things.

According to some of our good friends on the far right, here are a few more things not to worry about:

*Unemployment. John Boehner says unemployed people are just lazy.

*Racism. Bill O'Reilly said last month that white privilege doesn't exist. A rich white guy would know, right? and...

*Climate change. The American Spectator says it's "A false alert."

And here's a bonus item: a WV radio personality says poverty isn't really a problem because lots of people have cars, video games and air conditioning.

Now all that is a relief. I feel better already.

September 21, 2014

This is what I'm talking about

As I've mentioned before here, in another lifetime, I used to referee karate tournaments. (This was before I went to Okinawa and saw the real thing and realized it should never have been turned into a sport, but I digress.) Anyhow, I really tried to call em like I saw em regardless of what I thought of the competitors, their style, teacher or uniform.

So, in that spirit of fair play, I'm calling "Ippon!" (Japanese for full point) to WV Republican congressman David McKinley. He cosponsored a bill, with Democrat Peter Welch from Vermont, that would provide transitional assistance to coal miners who lose their jobs. The legislation was modeled in part on the Trade Adjustment Assistance Act, which was designed to help workers who lost employment due to trade policies. As I argued in this op-ed, there is plenty of precedence for this kind of thing.

Welch is concerned about climate change. McKinley is a denier. Both may have different views on what is causing distress in the coalfields, as in the market or federal policies. But they did find something important to agree on

I think this is a put up or shut up moment for any Appalachian politician who holds or aspires to federal office. If you pretend to care about miners, then do all you can to push for policies to help those who are losing their jobs. Or else shut up about the so-called "war on coal." Because even if Obama and the EPA would go away today, the market wouldn't.