Oct 082015

The Nation — h/t JL

In July 29, 2013, a Latina mother in Illinois named Natasha Felix sent her three sons, ages 11, 9, and 5, out to play with a visiting cousin, a young girl, in a fenced park right next to her apartment building. The oldest boy was charged with keeping an eye on his siblings, while Felix watched them all from the window. While they were outside, a local preschool teacher showed up at the park with her class. She saw the 9-year-old climb a tree. Felix’s youngest son fought with his cousin over a scooter and, at one point, ran with it into the street. Based on this, the teacher called the child-abuse hotline, and Felix received a visit from the Department of Children and Family Services.

However, when Rodriguez asked Felix if the boys had any special needs, Felix replied that the 11-year-old and the 9-year-old had been diagnosed with ADHD. On the advice of their doctor, they were off their medications for the summer. Rodriguez later wrote that “based on the mother not knowing that the kids were running into the street with the scooter, based on the children having ADHD,” she recommended that Felix be cited for “Inadequate Supervision” under the Illinois Abused and Neglected Child Reporting Act. As a result, Felix was placed on the state’s child-abuse registry, which led to her losing her job as a home healthcare aide and ended her dreams of becoming a licensed practical nurse.  


“Certainly, prior to this, I don’t think most white people knew very much about the child-welfare system, or were afraid that someone was going to knock on their door and say, ‘Let me see your kids,’” says Dorothy Roberts, a University of Pennsylvania law professor and the author ofShattered Bonds: The Color of Child Welfare. “Whereas in black neighborhoods, especially poor black neighborhoods, child-welfare-agency involvement is concentrated, so everybody is familiar with it.” …​

Whatever you think of parents who use drugs, it’s clear that poor parents and parents of color are held to a very different standard than middle-class white parents. “My daughter broke her collarbone twice when she was a young child,” says Guggenheim. “I took her to the same hospital, and the second time I brought her they treated me with great dignity and respect. If I were in Bed-Stuy and a single parent, [CPS] might have come to my door, they might have found some joints on my nightstand and taken my child, and I would be lucky if, 12 months later, I got her back in my custody. That’s how I live my white privilege every day. And they would have found joints on my night table, let’s be clear about that.”

Read the remainder of this article at The Nation.

This is not just a US problem.  There are the same types of issues in Canada, the UK, Australia and other so called developed countries.  As reported at News 1130

Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond says the province has fewer social workers now compared to 13 years ago and that the government must hire more by boosting funding for the Children’s Ministry.

Turpel-Lafond concludes in a report that consistent failures within the ministry mean it has failed to meet its own standards to protect children.

A woman I know had 4 children with her spouse.  She had a minimum wage job in agriculture, while he was not working because when he did have one, he was chronically late and unreliable.  She went to work one day leaving the children ages 3, 5, 8 and 11 in the safe keeping of her husband.  Later in the day, she received a call from police to get home immediately.  When she arrived home, she discovered that the children had been running loose, the youngest literally playing on the street.  The children had been left in the care of her husband but he was nowhere to be found.  She had a choice to make . . . quit her job to look after her children or lose them to CPS.  She quit her job.  She would not abandon her kids. It turned out that her husband was bored so took off to be with friends, either drinking or gambling, rather than honour his obligation as a father.  She is a loving mother who is loved by her kids in return.

This situation is all too common, especially if the family is poor or a minority.  In this case, they are both.  Now the father is gone and a community has come to the aid of the mother and kids to support them in all sorts of ways.  I am part of that community.  

I think that a family's culture is also important to consider.  People have different ways of bringing up their children depending on circumstances. For example, refugee children may almost be "adults" in certain ways because of what they have endured.  The full story of a family should be listened to.  Social workers should not be saying  "this is how we do things here" and leave it at that.  But I am also concerned that the caseload for an individual social worker is too high, and possibly contributes to a "get them through" mentality.

Look at First Nations families that have historically been ripped apart, the community ignored.

There are no cookie-cutter solutions or quick fixes, but some respect is a good place to start along with ensuring that children are in no immediate danger.  What do you think?  How has this impacted your life, if at all?

It takes a village to raise a child.

Oct 082015

Man, did it ever rain today . . . enough that I got soaked going from my car to a building!  Mind, I wasn't moving very fast.  Seems I have done something to my good knee and put the cartilage out of place.  At least when I dried out, my hair was "rain barrel" soft.  And of course, all the windows in our complex were washed today . . . great timing!  My three furbabes were so frantic at the sight of water and brushes on the windows that they went under the bed for much of the day!  Ah life!

Puzzle — Today’s took me 3:46 (average 6:05). To do it, click here. How did you do? For those that don't know, we always do the 48 piece classic.

Short Takes

Daily Kos — Drudge: Obama named ISIS that so it would 'be confused with Darrell Issa'.  Dear conservatives: Your entire movement is an exercise in self-parody.[right wing conspiracy theorist delinked]

Read this very short piece at Daily Kos.   If there weren't so many gullible people, this might actually be funny.  But there is no place for such BS in a modern society.

Alternet  Three Harvard debate team members faced off against three men incarcerated for violent crimes. This was two weeks ago.

After an hour of fast-moving debate on Friday, the judges rendered their verdict.

The inmates won.

Read the rest of this story at Alternet.  Rehabilitation through education to prevent recidivism.  What a great programme!

The New Yorker Citizens of the Roman town of Pompeii who were victims of Mt. Vesuvius’s eruption in 79 A.D. could have survived if they had “just outrun the lava,” the neurosurgeon Ben Carson told Fox News on Wednesday.

“Most of the plaster casts we have of Pompeii victims show them basically just lying down and whatnot,” he said. “If I had been in Pompeii and I heard Mt. Vesuvius erupting, you can bet I would have made a run for it.”

Read the remainder at The New Yorker.  Old Ben proves that not only is he ignorant about science and volcanology, but he isn't any smarter in medicine either.  Good shot Andy!

Alternet — In July, Barack Obama announced that he would issue presidential clemency to approximately 80 non-violent drug offenders. This news was great, but 80 prisoners doesn’t even come close to being a drop in the bucket that is the prison industrial complex.  

However, all of that is about to change. On Tuesday, the Justice Department announced that they will release about 6,000 inmates between October 30 and November 2. This will be the largest ever one-time release of federal prisoners in the history of the United States.

The early release comes on the heels of the U.S. Sentencing Commission, an independent agency that sets sentencing policies for federal crimes, lowering the penalties for drug offenders.

Read the rest of the article at Alternet.   There are too many non violent offenders incarcerated in the federal system.  I dare say that there will be much nashing of teeth as the prisons see their revenues drop.

My Universe — 


Now isn't THAT the truth!


Oct 072015

And the good news from the four of us (Lynn [aka “Squatch”], JLA, Joanne D, and myself, SoINeedAName) just keeps rolling along.

I’ll begin with our routine Disclaimer: We share your desire for as much information on TC as possible.  But we will continue to respect his privacy, and recognize the hospital has an ethical and legal obligation as directed by HIPAA guidelines to also protect his privacy. 

Today I had the chance to speak with his nurse at his NEW LOCATION!

Yep, TC had a successful transfer over the weekend and is now in the process of settling in at his new (hopefully fairly short-term) abode!  He’s continuing multiple therapy regimens – ones that anyone would anticipate after facing several very major medical problems.

The new nurse was very pleasant, but more circumspect than the ones at the previous hospitals, with whom I had the chance to speak with on multiple occasions.  She was clearly intent on protecting his privacy – which is only appropriate (just frustrating for someone snoopy like myself).  But she did a good job in the regard, so I really don’t have much more to share, other than he’s settling in and working on getting better.

None of us are “designated contacts” which allows medical personnel to provide a fuller update – so we’ll have to wait and see what we can learn from some friends in the Portland area who are and have had the chance to visit him at his previous institutions.  They have been kind enough to share updates with us in the past; but so far, according to the nurse today, they’ve not had the chance to get to the new location yet.

So we’re all glad to see that he’s continuing to make progress, and ask you to keep him in your thoughts and prayers – AND keep those cards and letters coming, addressed as follows …

c/o Lynn Squance,
436 Lehman Place, 
Port Moody, BC
V3H 3Z6

For US residents: Please note: International Postage required!


For other International residents: please check locally for stamp rates

For Canadian residents: please use “oversize” letter rates if applicable (applies to many but not all cards):https://www.canadapost.ca/cpotools/apps/far/business/farLetter?execution=e5s1


Oct 072015

Well, well . . . Lona was here earlier!  But despite her presence, I did manage to get 3 loads of laundry finished.  That's good so now I can go out in public without fear.  Most of the day was reasonably nice weather wise, but this evening we had lightning, thunder and some rain.  News had it that this little storm came in from Hawaii.  Now that is quite a trip.

Fantasy Football — 

Rank Team W-L-T Pct Stk Waiver For Against


4-0-0 1.000 W4 9 438.36 302.68

Progressive UnderdogsProgressive Underdogs

3-1-0 .750 W1 8 398.90 331.08

Monster MashersMonster Mashers

3-1-0 .750 W2 10 348.98 275.34

Size 9 StompersSize 9 Stompers

2-2-0 .500 L1 7 334.16 331.26

Lefty HillbilliesLefty Hillbillies

2-2-0 .500 W1 6 329.94 308.62

TomCat Teabag TrashersTomCat Teabag Trashers

2-2-0 .500 L1 5 381.82 404.42

BALCO BombersBALCO Bombers

2-2-0 .500 W2 4 327.16 313.82

Playing without a helmetPlaying without a helmet

1-3-0 .250 L3 3 351.34 486.68


1-3-0 .250 L3 2 323.48 405.00

Purple DemonPurple Demon

0-4-0 .000 L4 1 333.54 408.78

Well here we are, 4 weeks down.  TC has a player with a bye week this coming session so I will try to fix that, but I don't know if I am able to.

Puzzle — Today’s took me 3:35 (average 5:00). To do it, click here. Do you know how difficult it was to do this puzzle while I was relaxing in the hammock?  How did you do?

Common Dreams — America's Fortune 500 companies are "playing by different rules" when it comes to the federal tax system and, according to a new report out Tuesday, are stashing $2.1 trillion in offshore tax havens—with as much as $620 billion owed to the U.S. taxpayers who are left footing the bill.

The report, Offshore Shell Games 2015: The Use of Offshore Tax Havens by Fortune 500 Companies (pdf), examines the accounting tricks that have enabled the country's most profitable companies to hide their earnings.

"The American multinationals that take advantage of tax havens use our roads, benefit from our education system and large consumer market, and enjoy the security we have here, but are ultimately taking a free ride at the expense of other taxpayers." —Michelle Surka, US PIRG"U.S.-based multinational corporations are allowed to play by a different set of rules than small and domestic businesses or individuals when it comes to the tax code," wrote advocacy organizations Citizens for Tax Justice and the U.S. Public Interest Research Group (U.S. PIRG), which together authored the study. 

Read the rest of the article at Common Dreams and take a look at the report.  If you don't want to read the entire report, the 3 page Executive Summary by itself should make your blood boil.  Here is an excerpt:

Most of America’s largest corporations maintain subsidiaries in offshore tax havens. At least 358 companies, nearly 72 percent of the Fortune 500, operate subsidiaries in tax haven jurisdictions as of the end of 2014.

• All told, these 358 companies maintain at least 7,622 tax haven subsidiaries.

• The 30 companies with the most money officially booked offshore for tax purposes collectively operate 1,225 tax haven subsidiaries.

Approximately 60 percent of companies with tax haven subsidiaries have set up at least one in Bermuda or the Cayman Islands — two particularly notorious tax havens. Furthermore, the profits that all American multinationals — not just Fortune 500 companies — collectively claimed they earned in these two island nations in 2010 totaled 1,643 percent and 1,600 percent of each country’s entire yearly economic output, respectively. Fortune 500 companies are holding more than $2.1 trillion in accumulated profits offshore for tax purposes. Just 30 Fortune 500 companies account for 65 percent of these offshore profits. These 30 companies with the most money offshore have booked $1.4 trillion overseas for tax purposes. … If we apply that average tax rate of 6.0 percent to the entirety of Fortune 500 companies, they would collectively owe $620 billion in additional federal taxes. Some of the worst offenders include:

• Apple: Apple has booked $181.1 billion offshore …    

• American Express: The credit card company officially reports $9.7 billion offshore for tax purposes …              

• Nike: The sneaker giant officially holds $8.3 billion offshore for tax purposes …                                                                                                    

Read on in the report.  With so many large corporations forgoing their responsibilities as American corporate citizens, is it any wonder that average citizens are tired of such shenanigans?  Add the tax perks on their declared American income, and you get a full scale ripoff of ordinary American tax payers.

Alternet — Doctors Without Borders says it is under “the clear presumption that a war crime has been committed” after a U.S.-led NATO coalition bombed its hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan.

The aid organization, referred to internationally in French as Medecins Sans Frontières (MSF), asserted that it “condemn[s] this attack, which constitutes a grave violation of International Humanitarian Law.”

The U.S. military’s version of the story behind the bombing is full of holes, and constantly changing. After launching airstrikes on Kunduz, which has recently seen an insurgency by the Taliban, on Saturday morning, NATO said its bombing “may have resulted in collateral damage to a nearby medical facility.”

Read the rest of this story at Alternet.  Official US response has rocked back and forth from "Oops, sorry." to "Who cares?" (my words based on reading).  But one historical fact has come up . . . this has happened before some 45 years ago.  From The Nation,

In direct testimony and in letters, the veterans said hospitals often were considered targets rather than areas to be avoided as required by the Geneva convention on warfare.…

Is this policy still?  If so, then the US is apparently guilty of war crimes as MSF maintains.

Raw Story — Fox News host Bill O’Reilly dismissed the idea on Tuesday that children can be poor in the US during a discussion with contributor Kirsten Powers, Media Matters reported.

“If you look at the studies of poverty, most poor people in this country have computers, have big screen TVs, have cars, have air conditioning,” O’Reilly said. “This myth that there are kids who don’t have anything to eat is a total lie.”

If I were classifying this article, I'd put it under "humour".  Bill O’Reilly is a jackass!  Read the rest and see the video at Raw Story.

My Universe — The teacher was talking about Republicans . . . 


Oct 062015

It has been a busy day with over 2 hours of physiotherapy and then 3 hours of teaching.  After a quick trip for a loaf of bread — yum, cinnamon bread (has shaved cinnamon in it!) — I arrived home.  No cat nap today, although I would have loved one!

Puzzle — Today’s took me 4:03 (average 5:53). To do it, click here. How did you do? For those that don't know, we always do the 48 piece classic.

Short Takes

Alternet — Bill Maher took some time out on Friday night's Real Time to point out the modern GOP was currently worshiping a totally fantastical Jesus. One who's contemptuous of the poor, greedy, and less about values and more about maximizing shareholder value. 

Read the remainder of this short Alternet article and watch the video above.  Bill is always entertaining.

ABC News — South Carolina is enduring its worst rains "in 1,000 years," Gov. Nikki Haley said Sunday, urging residents to stay off the roads as conditions were "changing by the minute," with roads flooding and rivers at their highest levels in decades.

According to the National Weather Service, one area of downtown Columbia, the South Carolina capital, received nearly 17 inches of rain in 17 hours, and it was still raining.

flood south carolina

Consensus has it that this large and powerful storm is not part of Hurricane Joaquin but certainly influenced by Joaquin.  Read the rest and see the live reporting at ABC News.  There will be more and more extreme weather unless we learn to effectively deal with global warming and climate change.  That is not a Democratic thing or a Republican thing. . . that is a human thing.  Please keep the people of the affected areas and their families in your thoughts and prayers.

Mother Jones — "It seems like there is nothing like a mass shooting to suddenly spark political interest in mental health," Oliver said, while featuring the talking points of Republican presidential candidates Donald Trump, Ben Carson, and Mike Huckabee—all of whom steered away from discussing increased gun control legislation after the shooting in Oregon, to tout the need for better mental health programs.

John Oliver makes some very salient points about mental health and gun control.  Society needs to look seriously at how we deal with mental illness , but it also needs to deal with gun control.

My Universe — I love me some Simon's Cat.  What cat parent has not had to deal with this?

Oct 052015

Okay, so maybe it’s not Bullwinkle himself, but all the moose in Alaska (and unlike goose/geese, the plural of moose is … moose) are in the crosshairs of hunters on hovercrafts.  But more on that later.

As most of us recall, the new term for the Supreme Court begins on the first Monday in October – today!

The docket for this term will most likely not produce the fireworks of last term with rulings we liberals liked, including the 5-4 decision to recognize a constitutional right to marriage equality for gay and lesbian couples, the 6-3 ruling to uphold health insurance subsidies under the Affordable Care Act and the 5-4 decision to ratify a broad definition of discrimination under the Fair Housing Act.

This year’s docket, marking the start of Chief Justice Roberts’ second decade, is heavily tilted to favor the Roberts-Scalia-Thomas-Alito wing of the Court, with Kennedy casting his customary tie-breaking vote.

And there are no real breath-holding cases … so far.  But there are currently only about 50 petitions, out of about 10,000 submitted, that have been granted cert.  Usually the Court will hear about 80 cases in all, with the final docket not set until January. 

So we’ll begin with the ones that are set.  The case with the largest monetary impact – and one that is based on a ruling from the Civil War era – has been filed by Iran’s central bank (Bank Markazi v. Peterson).

More than 1,300 Americans have already been awarded almost $2 Billion by the courts, in frozen assets held by Iran’s central bank, Markazi, based on claims that the Iranian government sponsored the terrorists’ attacks involved in the 1983 bombing of Marine barracks in Beirut that killed 241 service members and the 1996 Khobar tower bombing in Saudi Arabia.

The legal aspect deals with the Separation of Powers Doctrine. The Court in the 1872 case of United States v. Klein, ruled that under Article III of the Constitution, Congress cannot direct a federal court on how a pending case should be decided.  Bank Markazi contends that Congress did just this with a law passed in 2012 that declared the victims were entitled to the bank’s assets.

A case from Puerto Rico (Puerto Rico v. Valle) deals with the limits of sovereignty with regard to the prohibition on double jeopardy provided for in the Fifth Amendment. 

The Double Jeopardy Clause guarantees that a citizen will not be retried for the same crime. However, this does not protect a citizen from prosecution in both the State and Federal systems for the same action.  And the claim is that Puerto Rico’s sovereignty granted in 1950 allows it to pass its own laws, and thereby precludes it from being subject to the Double Jeopardy Clause of someone already prosecuted under the US federal justice system.

The First Amendment is the focus of Heffernan v. Paterson, N.J.  Hefferman was a police Detective who was seen by a superior picking up a yard sign for his bedridden mother supporting a candidate running against the incumbent mayor.  He neither supported nor campaigned for that candidate, but the supervisor who saw him with the sign demoted him to patrol and assigned him to walk a beat.  He maintains his First Amendment rights were violated by the demotion, but the courts ruled that since he was not supporting that candidate in any manner, he wasn’t exercising any First Amendment rights.

There are two cases that greatly excite conservatives because they deal with public unions and affirmative action in higher education. 

Conservative hope to overturn the 1979 “Fair Share” decision allowing a public employee union (Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association) to collect from non-union members the part of union dues used to represent them in collective bargaining.  It would allow non-union members to become freeloaders to enjoy the gains of winning union benefits while not contributing anything to unions’ pocketbooks.

And in the affirmative action case (Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin), conservatives hope to further limit utilizing race as a factor in admissions.  The U. of Texas has created a hybrid program combining race-neutral and race-conscious factors to achieve diversity. 

An appeals court has actually sustained the hybrid, but a small conservative advocacy group, the Project on Fair Representation, has brought this case forward.

The same right-wing group is mounting a challenge to the Voting Rights Act with Evenwel v. Abbott, which asks the court to address the meaning of “one person, one vote.”

It deals with whether state voting districts should have the same number of people, including undocumented immigrants, children and others not eligible to vote, or the same number of voters.  Allowing states to count only voters would in many parts of the country shift political power from cities to rural areas, to the delight of Republicans.

The court will actually begin where it ended the last term – dealing with the Eighth Amendment and the death penalty.

In the ruling of the last case of the last term Justice Breyer was joined by Justice Bader Ginsburg in a surprising and comprehensive opinion in Glossip v. Gross, which announced that both Justices now “believe it highly likely that the death penalty violates the Eighth Amendment.” 

There are currently FIVE cases involving the Eighth Amendment as pertains to the death penalty on the docket, so we'll see if Justice Alito is correct when he said there’s a “guerilla war against the death penalty,” which prompted Justice Sonia Sotomayor to fire back that supporters of the death penalty would be content to allow condemned inmates to be burned alive.

To further heat things up, the court, which hasn’t heard an abortion case since upholding the Partial Birth Abortion Act in 2007, will likely hear a challenge to a Texas law (Whole Woman’s Health Center v. Cole) which would reduce the number of clinics providing abortion services from more than 40 to less than 10. 

The state law requires all clinics to meet the criteria for “ambulatory surgical centers” and all its physicians having admitting privileges at nearby hospitals.  Standards few clinics currently have – or are deemed necessary by the medical community.

So this court, which “The New York Times” has called “the first in history split along partisan lines” and as a consequence “has generated more marquee decisions divided by party alignment than all other courts combined” will likely hand down that decision in June, 2016. 

Such a divisive and volatile ruling will thus land in the middle of the presidential race.  Emphasizing, yet again, the need to GOTV – “Get Out the VOTE!” – because the next president will likely have the responsibility to fill several anticipated vacancies, given the ages of several justices.

Oh, yeah … Bullwinkle.  Let’s end on a lighter note.  Well, the moose and his brethren are following Sturgeon v. Masica very closely.

Plaintiff John Sturgeon has been going on his annual moose hunting (and beer swilling) trips with his hovercraft on the Yukon River and its tributaries for years.  But in 2007 he was stopped by National Park Service agents who told him the vehicle was banned in waters inside the national preserve.  So he did what any proud gun-toting, moose-killing, hovercraft-hunter would do – he immediately pulled out his satellite phone to call his lawyer.

The question is whether the federal government is allowed to enforce federal rules pertaining to federal navigable waters in federally operated National Parks.  Now you would think this is pretty clear cut, but apparently you would be wrong.

So far Sturgeon has lost at every stage.  But he now gets to plead his case before SCOTUS, armed with amicus briefs from Sarah Palin’s state of Alaska as well as a hunting rights group, Safari Club International. 

We can all recall how Cecil the Lion fared against the Minnesota dentist.  So heads up, Bullwinkle – or maybe heads down – because you’re in the hovercraft hunters’ crosshairs!


Multiple Sources:













Oct 052015

Mother Jones has an excellent article about the coal industry and one of its big players, Don Blankenship.  As the former CEO of Massey Energy Co., Blankenship is charged with conspiracy to violate safety laws, defrauding the federal government, securities fraud and making false statements to the Securities and Exchange Commission.  If convicted in this corporate accountability case, he could face 31 years in prison.  Not enough in my opinion for the misery and death he created and left in his wake.  Perhaps his golden parachute, nay platinum parachute he received from Massey Energy Co in 2010 when he left, will be taken back and distributed to the families of miners killed at a Blankenship operation.  That would be an attempt at justice for those families.


…he was a harsh taskmaster whose cutthroat management style transformed what was once a modest family business into the region's largest coal producer.  

Blankenship cultivated an image as a Mingo County son made good—a good ol' boy who ran a multibillion-dollar company from a double-wide trailer. And he saw himself as a heroic figure who brought jobs to the depressed enclaves of his native West Virginia. But with his gaze fixed on the bottom line, Blankenship crushed the mine workers union that was baptized in his backyard. Voluminous court records and government investigations show that he presided over a company that padded its profits by running some of themost dangerous workplaces in the country. Massey polluted the waterwaysthat had sustained Blankenship's forebears, rained coal dust on the schoolyards where his miners' children played, and subjected the men he grew up with in southern West Virginia to unsafe working conditions.

A mascot of the coal industry's worst excesses, Blankenship pumped millions of dollars into West Virginia's political system to promote an anti-regulatory agenda and curry favor with state lawmakers and officials.

The irony is that, even at the nadir of Blankenship's power, his ideology is ascendant. He transformed West Virginia not just physically (entire towns have been wiped out by Massey's footprint), but politically. Now, by playing off fears of creeping government involvement, the coal industry has strengthened its grip on state politics. Lawmakers friendly to the industry, with financial support from Blankenship, have won sweeping victories at the ballot box and used their mandate to roll back health and safety regulations while trumpeting the survival-of-the-fittest capitalism that was Blankenship's gospel. The man on the mountaintop may have fallen, but the widespread impact of his legacy shows no signs of diminishing.  

Down the road from Upper Big Branch, a memorial funded in part by Alpha touted the job-creating legacy of the coal industry. By a back entrance to the now-shuttered mine was a more informal installation—29 hard hats and two mourning angels. Their wings were solar powered.  



These are pictures of mountain top removal . . . from lush forested mountain tops to wastelands that resemble tar sands mines like those in Alberta.

From Alternet

Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. had this to say about Blankenship in a report on EcoWatch last fall:

Don Blankenship once boasted to me that it was impossible to conduct mountaintop removal mining without violating the law. He prided himself on his cold-blooded capacity for turning America’s purple mountains majesty into coal company cash. His criminal mind allowed him to view the human beings of Appalachia as disposable production units. He is a sociopath and gangster whose gift was felonious greed and a stone-cold heart that allowed him to put his yearning for money and power ahead of human lives. Those qualities had great value to his friends and investors: the Wall Street robber barons. But they were poison and destruction to the noble communities of coal country.  We can’t bring back the towns he destroyed, the lives he took, the mountains he flattened, the rivers he poisoned, but there is some consolation in knowing that he’s getting what he deserves: three hots and a cot and long days in the company of fellow criminals of lesser appetites and lesser distinction.

Blankenship's trial has begun with the jury selection expected to be completed by today.  I understand that he has top notch counsel and is pleading innocent to all charges.  I wonder how far his cultivated political connections will get him?  Any doubt that he is a Republican!


Please sign the Protect Communities from Hazardous Coal Mining Waste prepared by the Sierra Club.