December 10, 2015

Mother of Exiles

I guess we'd have to ban this poem if some people got their way:

The New Colossus by Emma Lazarus:
Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

December 09, 2015

Something that works

OK, in the grand scheme of things, improving child nutrition in public schools may not sound like a big deal. But you know what? By more than one measure, it's working. This year, in spite of the whole WV-going-to-hell-in-a-handbasket thing, huge strides have been made in feeding kids. And it's something to build on in the future.

December 08, 2015

It's not all bad (another installment)

There's been a lot of nastiness in the air over the Syrian refugee crisis. It was nice last night to attend an event at the Islamic Center in which Christians, Jews and Muslims stood together against hate and in favor of a humane response.

THIS MAY SOUND LIKE INSIDE BASEBALL, but an article in the Sunday Gazette-Mail by statehouse columnist Phil Kabler shows what happens when media is concentrated into a few very rich and very ideological hands. 

TALKING SENSE IN HUNTINGTON. This Herald-Dispatch editorial argues that mine safety violations should carry felony rather than misdemeanor charges. I'm with them.

December 06, 2015

The verdict

Sorry about the slow posts. Aside from running around, I was without phone and internet for a good chunk of last week, which was very frustrating. The big news, obviously, was the Don Blankenship verdict. Short version: guilty on conspiracy to evade mine safety laws, not guilty on charges related to corporate reporting and the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Here's my thought: how (fill in the blank)-ed up is it that the maximum sentence he could face for helping to bring about the needless deaths of 29 miners is one year, whereas the sentences for misleading investors carried a penalty of decades? OK, so that was a rhetorical question.

I mean, golly, one might almost think that the interests of the wealthy and powerful count for more than those of working people in this country.

Still the fact that a corporate boss got any penalty (or even inconvenience) at all for causing the deaths of workers is a big deal, so I'll try to focus on the positive.

Anyway, the story is all over the web. I think WV Public Broadcasting did a good job on Inside Appalachia and Ken Ward at Coal Tattoo had this to say after following this developing story for years.