June 29, 2016

Flotsam and jetsam

Here's a good website to keep up with developments in the response to the massive flooding in West Virginia.

Meanwhile, here's a cool rant linking WV's rainy days with the state budget and rainy day fund, which took a heavy hit during the legislative special session. It underscores the state's need for new revenue, which will likely face opposition from anti-tax zealots unless the composition of the statehouse changes.

Speaking of taxes, the Paul Ryan "Better Way" plan isn't. It's mostly a rehash of the failed policies of the past.

Meanwhile, it will be interesting to watch developments between the United Mine Workers union and Murray Energy. Union members recently voted to reject the deal. CEO Robert Murray seems to be gunning for the king of coal throne vacated by former Massey CEO Don Blankenship.

Finally, in the spirit of "it's not all bad," there are some exciting things happening in WV around youth leadership development and civic participation.

June 27, 2016

Who'll stop the rain?

Even as much of WV tries to muck its way out of the 2016 flood, more rain is hitting the Mountain State. In some areas already hit, flash flood watches have turned to warnings. On the brighter side, the estimated death toll is down to 23 from yesterday's estimate of 25.

Here's some good coverage from the Charleston Gazette-Mail.

For those who want to contribute to flood relief, here are two credible agencies (admittedly out of many others): Catholic Charities and WV VOAD (Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster).

People who want to get directly involved have been encouraged to register with Volunteer WV rather than self-deploy, although that hasn't stopped plenty of people and groups.

As is almost always the case, the disaster has also brought out the best in many people. I'm reminded of the book  A Paradise Built in Hell: The Extraordinary Communities that Arise in Disasters by Rebecca Solnit (see earlier Goat Rope post here). Here's one story about how hundreds of people stranded at a shopping plaza in Elkview got treated to an epic cookout by Kroger's employees.

I guess it was another case of making lemon-aid. Or cheeseburgers.

Here's hoping WV gets through the night with minimal additional damage.