January 13, 2012

Would that it were so

Kudos to AFLCIO president and former UMWA leader Rich Trumka for calling for serious discussions about climate change and the future of coal. Of course, I don't expect political leaders in the Mountain State of Denial to pay a lot of attention, but every little bit helps.

ON THE POSITIVE SIDE, climate change may  make reptiles smarter.

NOT ONLY ARE CORPORATIONS NOT PEOPLE, but America isn't one either.

LOOKING AHEAD, Nobel economics laureate Joseph Stiglitz sees a rough year in 2012.

HAS ANYONE NOTICED that I've gone a week without mentioning zombies?


January 12, 2012

One good thing

I was a little underwhelmed by WV Governor Tomblin's state of the state address last night but there was one high point. Here it is, by way of Ken Ward's Coal Tattoo blog:

Just as we must continue to mine coal, we must make certain that our miners are safe. We have created a new rock dusting laboratory. We have increased the number and the salaries for our mine inspectors. We are re-checking our rescue chambers to make sure that they are safe. And, we have diligently worked to determine the causes of the Upper Big Branch disaster to make sure a disaster like that never happens again!

To build on this progress, I will submit legislation designed to improve mine safety. This legislation will enhance rock dusting standards, protect whistleblowers, mandate methane sensors at long walls, and increase pre-shift reviews. We will prohibit mines from announcing that an inspector is coming, and we will provide more training for self-rescuers. We will also begin a year-long study on the training of our inspectors, our foreman, and our miners. Coal mining is a dangerous profession, but we can make it safer. One death in our mines is one death too many.

Some of these recommendations were part of an independent study team appointed by then governor Joe Manchin in the wake of the Upper Big Branch disaster.

If Tomblin's legislation goes through--and governors' bills often do here--that might be the only bright spot in what looks right now to be a less than stellar legislative session.

January 10, 2012

The writing on the wall

I saw a bit of graffiti today that had a Zenlike quality. It just said "Life takes time."

CLOSER TO MIDNIGHT. That would be the doomsday clock.

OCCUPATIONS. Naomi Klein discusses the future of the Occupy movement here.

TO SEE THE WORLD IN A GRAIN OF SAND. Or, to be more exact, to see the amazing biodiversity in a single scoop of sea sand.


January 08, 2012

Mondegreens are us

“Mondegreen” is a term coined by Sylvia Wright for what happens when we mis-hear song lyrics. The word originated when Wright misunderstood the lyrics of an old ballad which she believed contained the lines that said
They have slain the Earl O' Moray,
And Lady Mondegreen.

The real second line said

“and laid him on the green.”

I think most people have come up with their share of Mondegreens, consciously or otherwise. When the Spousal Unit was a kid, she though the lyrics of Johnny and June Carter Cash’s "Jackson" started by saying “We got married in a peanut” instead of a fever.

El Cabrero, of course, is way above such silly errors. Although there was one time when the Stevie Nicks song “Edge of seventeen” came on the radio and I wondered aloud, “why the hell is she singing about a one-winged dove?”

I’ll bet you’ve got a Mondegreen or two up your sleeves as well, Gentle Reader.

FIXING AMERICA. Here's a review of a book on the topic by one of my favorite economists.


DOGS LOVE TO SNIFF IT. But who would have thought this could help killer whales?