November 14, 2019

Call the point

In another lifetime, I used to referee sparring matches at karate tournaments.

This was before my pilgrimage to the Holy Land (Okinawa in my case), when I came to believe that turning our sacred art into a game was a sacrilege.

Still, one thing I kept from that experience was simple but worth hanging on to: call the point.

At the time, that meant that whatever I thought of the personality, style, instructor or uniform of the fighter I was judging, I needed to watch as objectively as possible and call the point if a legitimate technique hit a legitimate target.

It was a matter of fair play, and one which our world is sorely lacking.

For that reason, I make an effort to "call the point" when people I usually disagree with do the right thing or make a valid point.

So, in that spirit, I want to call a point in favor of (now former) Republican Kentucky governor Matt Bevin, who announced today that he would concede the election to his opponent Andy Beshear.

It goes without saying that I opposed Bevin's attacks on Medicaid and public education and pretty much everything else. But he probably could have dragged out the recount and pulled all kinds of strings to annul the results.,

He didn't. So, not that anyone cares what I think about Kentucky, I award him with an ippon (Japanese for full point).

Another basic rule of fair play I took from those days is this: when your opponent is no longer a threat to you or those you love, it's OK chill out.

November 13, 2019

A little good news for the coalfields

I'm a bit behind in blogging, but there does seem to be some good news for around 90,000 retired miners. Without congressional action, their benefits would end next year.

After blocking the bill for months, senate majority leader Mitch McConnell finally came out in support of long overdue legislation to ensure retirees get the benefits they were promised long ago. Both of West Virginia's senators have long supported the measure.

(Hmmm..I wonder if the results of Kentucky's race for governor had anything to do with that.)

Any, as I wrote here a while back, that's a good step. Then next step would be passage of the RECLAIM Act, which would draw on Abandoned Mine Lands (not land mines!) money to pay miners to undo some of the damage of mining. It would be another welcome boost to the economy of the coalfields as coal companies continue to go bankrupt.