April 09, 2016

This is interesting

There's been some good news for working people this week. In Wisconsin, a circuit judge struck down that state's "right to work" law.  Here's some of what the Center for Media and Democracy had to say:

In his ruling today, Judge Faust found that the unions had “a legally protectable property interest in the services they perform for their members and non-members.” 

“When members pay their dues and non-members their fair share fees, all would say the union is building a treasury that it holds as property. When it expends those funds to perform services, as it must, no one would dispute that that money is the union’s property. Plaintiffs will be obligated to spend treasury—their property—on services for which they cannot legally request compensation. This is enough to establish that unions do have a legally protectable property interest at stake,” read the ruling, in part.  
I wonder if an argument like that could hold up here. Hmmmm....

HELP NEEDED. So I've heard from several people that they no longer get Goat Rope by email. I'm trying to sort that out but if you DO get it that way could you please let me know? Thanks!

April 07, 2016

Three more for the road...from the road

I'm traveling tonight but found a few things worth a look. First, here's an interesting item by Charleston Gazette-Mail reporter and Coal Tattoo blogger Ken Ward on the Blankenship verdict.

The NY Times editorial on the subject is here. Here's the first paragraph:

It was the rarest of news in the coal mining hollows of Appalachia: A once powerful executive, Donald Blankenship, was sentenced Wednesday to a year in prison for conspiring to violate federal mine safety laws at the Upper Big Branch mine in West Virginia, where 29 workers died in an explosion six years ago. The very idea that a dominant baron of the industry called King Coal could be brought to justice and put behind bars shook the region, where miners have long complained that they face dangerous and illegal working conditions that routinely result in no punishment.
Kudos to federal judge Irene Berger, who had this to say to Blankenship:

 “You, Mr. Blankenship, created a culture of noncompliance at Upper Big Branch where your subordinates accepted and, in fact, encouraged unsafe working conditions in order to reach profitability and production targets.”
Finally, just for fun, here's a parody of a famous Robert Frost poem as Donald Trump might have written it.

April 06, 2016

The big news

It's not enough. But it took so much to get this far. Here's the Gazette-Mail on the Blankenship verdict. Here's the New York Times. Here's NPR. And here's the Washington Post.

April 05, 2016

Six years out

I'll probably never forget when I heard about the Upper Big Branch mine disaster. I was in Okinawa attending a karate seminar. It was the dream of a lifetime to meet and train with the greatest living masters of the traditional styles.

I think it was morning Okinawa time when I got a profanity laced email from my daughter, who was interning at a Charleston hospital then. Her email said something like "****ing Massey just killed a bunch of miners."

It was weird for something like that to happen at home when I was so far away, not that I could have done anything about it if I was there. This post was my first reaction. In it, I expressed my desire that the goddess Nemesis be swift to render justice.

I'm not sure about the swift part, but I'm hoping there will soon be a little justice to report.

April 04, 2016

Hunger games, continued (again)

Low income adults without dependents are facing a hit when it comes to basic food access in 9 WV counties, which have a disproportionate share of the state's population. For a good look at the problems this could cause, check out this great article the the Charleston Gazette-Mail's Lori Kersey.

The best outcome for the state of WV, for low income people, and for local charities and food banks is to slow this down and get it right.