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Gender: Do not display
Hometown: WV
Member since: Thu Jan 15, 2015, 01:37 AM
Number of posts: 5,829

About Me

Ancestral WV hillbilly & old-style liberal who believes in US Constitution & detests RW revisionism of its principles (esp Establishment Clause)

Journal Archives

Mitch McConnell has recruited some new passengers to ride his Coal Train Express to kill Clean Power

From EnvironmentalAction.org fundraising email. I've edited out pleas f/ funds (donation link: http://environmental-action.webaction.org/p/salsa/donation/common/public/?donate_page_KEY=9485&utm_campaign=McConnell&utm_medium=email&utm_source=email_8305&track=email_8305 ) but info is important.
x p in Appalachia

Mitch McConnell has recruited some new passengers to ride his Coal Train Express to kill the Clean Power Plan. ... West Virginia Senators Capito and Manchin that they're riding the wrong train.

{We've run} a series of ads calling out Mitch McConnell for his attempts to block President Obama's Clean Power Plan. When Louisville's bus company rejected our ads for, "mocking and debasing the stature and integrity" of McConnell, we had to switch to an online plant to tell Kentuckians that Mitch would rather groove on dirty coal than back clean power -- even though residents, utilities and the Governor are ready to race forward with wind and solar.

But while we were busy getting our ad ready for Kentuckians, McConnell was busy cajoling new passengers to ride his Coal Train Express to kill the Clean Power Plan. His two new passengers are Senators Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) and Joe Manchin (D-WV). This month they punched their ticket-to-ride by introducing a bill Capito calls the "principle legislative vehicle" to block clean power. Its also been described as a polluter's wish list and a direct attack on clean air, public health and the environment.

Among other things, Capito and Manchin's bill would allow states to opt out of complying with the new Clean Power rules if a governor determines "it's not in the state's best interest." But a new report just found that the Clean Power Plan would save thousands of lives, reduce hospitalizations due to poor air quality and prevent thousands of heart attacks.2 In 2012, dirty emissions from coal plants in West Virginia were responsible for an estimated 317 deaths and nearly $200 million in medical costs.3 *So it begs the questions, how could clean power not be in a state's best interest, and why are Capito and Manchin more worried about coal companies than public health, or the health of our climate?*

Sometimes you have to follow the money to find the answers. McConnell, Capito and Manchin have taken *over $2.6 million from King Coal in the last four years alone!2 *Put another way, these Senators of Soot were paid $3 million, which allowed King Coal to stick West Virginians with a $200 million medical bill thanks to air pollution. Add the fact that Jim Justice, a billionaire coal executive, just announced that he will run to become governor of West Virginia,4 and it all adds up to one big COALamity.

When it comes to Kentucky and West Virginia, it's time to overthrow the king.


1. Doniger, David. "Capito Bill Brings Out The Knives for the Clean Power Plan - Frightening Remake of The Orient Express. Huffington." May 15, 2015. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/david-doniger/capito-bill-brings-out-th_b_7287506.html

2. Hauser, Annie. "Clean Power Plan Could Save 3,500 Lives Annualy". Weather.com. May 5, 2015. http://www.weather.com/health/news/clean-power-plan-public-health-benefit

3. Clean Air Task Force: Find Your Risk From Power Plant Pollution. 2012. http://www.catf.us/fossil/problems/power_plants/

4. Maher, Kris. "Jim Justice, West Virginia Billionaire, Launches Campaign For Governor". Wall Street Journal. May 12, 2015. http://www.wsj.com/articles/jim-justice-west-virginia-billionaire-launches-campaign-for-governor-1431380406

Most dramatic music video ever - recorded during total solar eclipse | EarthSky


Some of you will argue with me about whether this is the most dramatic music video ever, but, honestly, if you’ve ever experienced a total eclipse of the sun, you’ll agree that no event in nature can beat it. The doom metal band Hamferð originally released this song in 2013, but someone associated with the band had the amazing idea of re-recording it during the March 20, 2015 total eclipse of the sun over the Fareo Islands.

The result is spectacular. What I love most is the strange quality of the light as the video begins and ends. The light really has this eerie quality shortly before and after the awesome moments of totality during a solar eclipse. On the video, as the eclipse becomes total, you can see a tiny sun silhouette in the sky over the Fareo Islands. In the middle of the video, the screen gets too dark to see anything at all … which is not the case when you are there to experience a total solar eclipse. In the real sky, although it does get very dark in the sky, and stars do pop into view, there’s plenty to see throughout. During an eclipse, in fact, there may be a fiery 360-degree horizon of twilight surrounding you, as you gaze up at the darkened sun.

Anyway, although I’ve seen other photos and videos that captured solar eclipses better, this music video has now become my second-favorite ever. Can anything ever really replace astronaut Chris Hadfield’s rendition of David Bowie’s Space Oddity? No. I don’t think so.


Oil & Gas Drilling and Fracking are Destroying our Landscape


O & G Drilling and Fracking are Destroying our Landscape

TITLE: Oil and gas development transforms landscapes

From a Report by Brady Allred, et al., The University of Montana, April 29, 2015

Researchers have conducted the first-ever broad-scale scientific assessment of how oil and gas development transforms landscapes across the US and Canada. A landscape transformed by broad-scale vegetation loss and fragmentation from oil and gas development ...

But what are the ecological consequences of this accelerated drilling activity? Researchers at the University of Montana have conducted the first-ever broad-scale scientific assessment of how oil and gas development transforms landscapes across the U.S. and Canada.

Their work was published April 24 in an article titled “Ecosystem services lost to oil and gas in North America” in Science. The article concludes that oil and gas development creates significant vegetation loss of rangelands and croplands across broad swaths of central North America.

Lead author Brady Allred said, “There are two important things here: First, we examine all of central North America, from the south coast of Texas to northern Alberta. When we look at this continental scale picture, we see impacts and degradation that are missed when focusing only at a local scale. Second, we see how present policies may potentially compromise future ecosystem integrity over vast areas.”

Allred and co-authors estimated that from 2000 to 2012 oil and gas development removed large amounts of rangeland vegetation, culminating at a rate per year of more than half of the annual grazing on U.S. public lands. Vegetation removed by this development on croplands is equivalent to 120.2 million bushels of wheat, approximately 13 percent of all wheat exported by the U.S. in 2013.

Fragmentation and loss of habitat also disrupts wildlife migration routes, alters wildlife behavior and assists new disruptive invasive plant species. Co-author Dave Naugle highlights the complexity of the issue: “We’ve known about the impacts of oil and gas development for years, but we now have scientific data from a broad regional scale that tells us we need to act now to balance these competing land uses.”


Unaffiliated and Underrepresented; Congress more Christian than constituents


President Obama is a Christian (despite the fact that most Republicans apparently still believe that his “deep down” beliefs are Muslim, according to one poll conducted last year.)

In fact, according to the Public Religion Research Institute, there have only been four “religiously unaffiliated heads of state in American history,” the last being Rutherford B. Hayes, who left office in 1881. This, however, does not mean that they did not believe in God.

Perhaps the most famous unaffiliated president was Abraham Lincoln, who wrote in 1846:

“That I am not a member of any Christian Church, is true; but I have never denied the truth of the Scriptures; and I have never spoken with intentional disrespect of religion in general, or of any denomination of Christians in particular.”

Now it is almost unconscionable to think of a president who didn’t believe in God. In fact, a poll last year by the Pew Research Center found that not believing in God was the most negative trait a presidential candidate could have among a variety of options, even more negative than having an extramarital affair.

Furthermore, in the House and Senate at the beginning of this session of Congress, 92 percent of members were Christian, 5 percent were Jewish, 0.4 percent each were Buddhist and Muslim and just 0.2 percent were unaffiliated. For those doing the math, that leaves only one member unaffiliated: Representative Kyrsten Sinema, a Democrat from Arizona.

But how long can this overrepresentation of Christianity and underrepresentation of the unaffiliated last in government? According to a Pew report released last week, “The Christian share of the U.S. population is declining, while the number of U.S. adults who do not identify with any organized religion is growing.” In fact, the percentage of adults who “describe themselves as Christians has dropped by nearly eight percentage points in just seven years,” from 78.4 percent in 2007 to 70.6 percent in 2014.

But the report also found, “Over the same period, the percentage of Americans who are religiously unaffiliated — describing themselves as atheist, agnostic or ‘nothing in particular’ — has jumped more than six points, from 16.1 percent to 22.8 percent.” Much of the change comes from younger people. According to the report, “About a third of older millennials (adults currently in their late 20s and early 30s) now say they have no religion, up nine percentage points among this cohort since 2007, when the same group was between ages 18 and 26.”

This begs the question: How much longer will this be thought of as a strictly Christian nation (if it ever really was one) with an overwhelming Christian government?



Strange question in that last paragraph I posted, considering the only ones who think this is/ever was a 'Christian nation' are radical RW Christians. Oh, and pandering politicians (& their media hacks) who seek their votes.

New family update

Here are the 2 at about 3 weeks.

Yin & Yang


New additions to my family

They're about 2 weeks old in pic.

(problems posting pix. Damn old phone)

Played With That Viral Age-Guesser This Week? You Just Gave Microsoft A Bunch Of Free Photos To Use


If you use Facebook, Twitter, or basically any part of the internet at all, sometime in the last 24 hours you’ve seen Microsoft’s newest tool, the age-guesser. Everyone’s sharing it, using it, and laughing over (or feeling insulted by) the results. But the tool’s rapid spread also accidentally highlights one of the biggest challenges of the digital age: the fine print.

The tool, How-Old.net, has gone viral very fast because of how hilariously wrong it often is. The world-weary baby at the top of this post, for example, was 9 months old when the picture was taken, which isn’t too far off — but the Cheerios on her tray were neither sixteen, male, nor in fact human at all. Plug in fictional characters or politicians, and the results are jokes that basically write themselves.

Microsoft isn’t planning to make age guessing a fixture of its Office Suite anytime soon; the tool was put together quickly as a demo for the company’s Azure cloud platform and services. But buried in the fine print of the Azure terms and services, as Fast Company points out, is a clause that might give Microsoft more power than you want them to have:

(B)y posting, uploading, inputting, providing, or submitting your Submission, you are granting Microsoft, its affiliated companies, and necessary sublicensees permission to use your Submission in connection with the operation of their Internet businesses (including, without limitation, all Microsoft services), including, without limitation, the license rights to: copy, distribute, transmit, publicly display, publicly perform, reproduce, edit, translate, and reformat your Submission; to publish your name in connection with your Submission; and to sublicense such rights to any supplier of the Website Services.

In other words: Microsoft now maintains the rights to use any image you uploaded in basically any way they want. And that “public performance” bit is basically an out that prevents you from suing on copyright grounds if they do.


Religious Right Leader Rick Wiles is Fascinated by Obama’s Privates


Religious Right Leader Rick Wiles is Fascinated by Obama’s Privates

You know the Religious Right, and maybe some of its male leaders, have got nothing when they start worrying about Obama's presidential package


ACHE Act: A Way to End Mountaintop Removal Mining

ACHE Act: A Way to End Mountaintop Removal Mining

(Originally published in the Charleston Gazette on Aug. 25, 2014)

Coalfield residents living near mountaintop removal mining sites have long suspected this terrible, destructive practice is hurting our health.

I first started thinking about it during the long fight to replace the Marsh Fork Elementary School, which sat at the foot of a huge mountaintop removal mining site near my home in Peachtree Hollow. We had organized an educational day at the school in 2004, and a teacher came up to me and told me there were a lot of kids at the school getting sick, mostly with respiratory problems.

Coal River Mountain Watch did a survey of 60 families who went to that school and found that 91 percent of the children had respiratory problems. More than 80 percent had felt sick at the school with headaches, nausea and other health problems.

The school was next to a coal processing plant and below a huge sludge impoundment, and in large part surrounded by massive mountaintop removal mining sites.

It got me thinking about how many people I knew who were sick and dying of cancer. Cousins, neighbors. My good friend Judy Bonds had cancer. (Bonds died in 2011.)

Dr. Michael Hendryx at WVU had started doing some research. It wasn’t 100 percent conclusive, but all indications were that a lot of people who lived near mountaintop removal sites were getting sick and dying. Other research showed the rate of birth defects was increasing dramatically in regions where mountaintop removal mining was becoming more prevalent.

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