November 14, 2014

Hail, Caesar, we who are about to die (or at least be really miserable) salute you!

So like my daughter, yes, that would be the over-educated one who believes a zombie outbreak is possible, told me a year or so ago about this cool train run called The Canary in the Cave. As I recall, she said it involved running down and then up West Virginia's New River Gorge.

I thought that sounded cool, except for the up part. So as a birthday present she signed me up for it. It was only after I was registered that I learned it was a 25K+ course, as in somewhere past 15.5 miles, with the hill coming near the end.

As if that wasn't extreme enough, thanks to a polar inversion, the temperature is going to be in the 20s when we start.

Now, part of the charm of endurance events is the voluntary misery. But this Saturday morning promises to be off the charts.

The Spousal Unit has already requesed that if I die, I not do so at the bottom of the gorge in order to spare others the ordeal of bringing me up.

I'll try to comply, but if it does come to that, someone could just roll me into the New River.

It's as good a way as I can think of to celebrate birthday #56.

Maybe a little justice

These days, as the late great Lou Reed said, you need a busload of faith to get by. I got a bit of a boost yesterday when word came the former Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship had finally been indicted on federal charges.  Federal prosecutor Booth Goodwin has been saying for a long time that more indictments were coming, but I'd almost given up hope of seeing this day. Not surprisingly, this news brought a measure of comfort to the families of the 29 miners who died in the April 5 2010 Upper Big Branch disaster.

When that disaster happened, I was in Okinawa at a karate seminar. It felt strange to be so far from home at a time like that, not that I could have done anything about it. What I did at the time was post this blog entry about the disaster and about my musings on the ancient Greek goddess Nemesis, she who renders what is due and punishes human hubris.

Looks like she stepped up.

November 13, 2014

What's next?

As you may know, West Virginia went through a bit of a political earthquake recently. Here's one take on what may happen from my friend Ted Boettner, aka Debbie Downer, at the WV Center on Budget and Policy. The good news is that it looks like Medicaid expansion may be relatively safe here, for the time being anyway.

November 12, 2014

Race matters

I've been running around too much lately and this blog has been a casualty of all that. However, I had a pretty good excuse for at least part of the time. That would be the Race Matters in Appalachia that my organization, the American Friends Service Committee, was proud to sponsor, help plan, and participate in.

(Sorry about ending that last sentence with a preposition.)

Race in Appalachia is a timely topic, especially given the racial dog whistling that helped flip WV in the last election. Here is some of the coverage from the Charleston Gazette, the Charleston Daily Mail, and WV Public Broadcasting. For good measure, here's an op-ed by my friend the Rev. Ron English.

This event was meant to be a conversation starter and just the beginning of a whole lot of needed work.