REALLY?

A conservative Loudoun County lawmaker says controversial airport pat-downs by the Transportation Security Administration are part of a “wide-scale homosexual agenda.”

REALLY? – I suppose the gay community has infiltrated the TSA with just this exact goal in mind because for years their solitary goal has been the free cop-a-feel in airport security lines. PLEASE!

Ironic that this was reported on World AIDS Day, a day to remember those who have succumbed to this disease, shed your prejudice against those who are currently living with HIV. The disease that was once touted as a gay-man’s disease, god’s plague on an abomination. We’ve come so far but as stories like this show we still have a LONG way to go.

Until assholes like Eugene Delgaudio, a Republican representing Sterling on the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors have been voted out of ANY level of public office we have not succeeded in equality in this country.

And it’s not just gays, but ANY intolerance of the lifestyle, political view, religion, race or sexual orientation that upsets me. Until we can all get along we have, as a nation failed our forefathers. They put forth that at least in this new nation that all ‘men’ should be equal. I am not attempting an exact quote – I am paraphrasing my interpretation. ‘Men’ of course meaning mankind (read humankind).

How many years has it been and how many more will it be? Will America ever learn?

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Published in: on December 1, 2010 at 1:05 pm  Leave a Comment  

Time to refresh the tree of Liberty

The GOP recently successfully blocked legislation that would have extended a vital lifeline to over 2 million long term unemployed Americans. They claimed it was irresponsible to continue these benefits while at the same time supporting the repeal of tax cuts. In an economy struggling to recover from the worst recession since the great depression (and in fact this one rivals the 30’s) can someone tell me how this is helpful.

The tax cut for the wealthy was supposed to create jobs – clearly that was not the case or we would not have so many people unemployed for so long, unable to find a job in their field and overqualified for anything less.

Now they use the same reasoning for claiming extending unemployment benefits will simply continue to discourage those unemployed from accepting the jobs that are available.

Congress, and most of the wealthy, don’t live in the same world that the rest of us do and therefore don’t see that glaring flaw the rest of us do. As mentioned – no jobs available in the higher trained fields and overqualified (therefore un-hire-able) for those that are available which leads to extended unemployment.

Now here it is less than a month before the most expensive holiday in the world and we are going to tell over 2 million – “sorry you are cut off”! Thank you GOP!

So yes, let us drive our struggling middle class further into the hole, take their homes and force them to live in their cars, then take those too cause they can’t afford to pay for them because they can’t get a job that they are overqualified for anyway because they no longer have an address. Then we’ll take their kids because they can’t care for them, shove them into an overtaxed/overloaded foster care system that already doesn’t function, shuffle them from pillar to post so they have no hope of a quality education much less secondary education, so they can become a further drag on the economy and totally eliminate the middle class and return us to a near feudal state reminiscent of the middle ages!

Thank you GOP! No I am not a Democrat, I am actually an independent. It just seems to me that t he MAJORITY of the issues mentioned above stem from the Republicans in this country. I personally believe it is time for a complete overhaul of the entire governmental system! Thomas Jefferson said – “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is it’s natural manure.”

Published in: on December 1, 2010 at 12:27 pm  Leave a Comment  
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One Nation Rally Report

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve likely heard something about the One Nation Rally in Washington, DC this past Saturday (October 2, 2010). For those of you that missed it let me tell you it was a surprisingly emotional day.  Some of the speakers included Revs. Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson, Larry Cohen, Rich Trumpka, and Harry Belafonte. Along with actors and sports figures and everyday folks telling their stories.  New friends were made as well as alliances. It was everything great and wonderful about this country even though we were rallying against everything wrong with it.

Confused? Let me try to explain;

One Nation is a widespread movement to recommit everyone in America to our founding principles of freedom, justice and equality for ALL, not just the rich and elite who can buy it. People from all walks of life, backgrounds, experiences, hometowns and belief systems coming together to pull America back together and put America back to work. Sound lofty? Yeah, it probably is, but you have to start somewhere and you have to start sometime. Robert Francis Kennedy once said “Some men see things as they are and say, ‘Why’? I dream of things that never were and say, ‘Why not’?” I look at the status quo and say no more and on Saturday so did hundreds of thousands of my fellow Americans.

We need to re-order our national priorities and put investments in OUR people first. We need to educate our young people and ensure that they not only graduate high school with basic life skills but also have the desire to continue to college. And those that do go on to college can do so without graduating to a minimum of 10-15 years of student loan debt and can find a decent paying job in their chosen field.

We need to rebuild the middle class economy that values hard work and families over corporate greed and bottom lines that pay billions in CEO bonuses. One that holds big banks, wall street and yes even our government accountable to those that got them there.

We need to stop the rhetoric of hate and fear. We need to stop the corporate bailout agenda that fuels the economic devastation and inequality rampant in this country today. If a company is run into the ground by it’s CEO’s then either find someone new to run it or let it fail and allow someone else to succeed in their place. The government has no business deciding who can and will be allowed to succeed and who will be forced out.

We need to do these things and make these changes today! When I was a senior in high school a dear friend of mine by the name of Jeff Coyle grew tired of all my ‘someday dreams’ and said to me “Too many some-days, make a lot of empty yesterdays”. He was, and is, absolutely correct. We have had far to many empty yesterdays in this country and some-day needs to be today.

A government is supposed to be by the people, for the people, not to run over the people. Our Second President Thomas Jefferson was a man wise beyond his time. He has many famous quotes about government and how it should be run. In my opinion (and it is my blog after all) the one most applicable today is – “When the people fear their government, there is tyranny. When the government fears the people, there is liberty.” It’s time for a little more liberty in this country.

How do we achieve all this you ask? We start by educating ourselves and voting on November 2nd. If you have a friend, family member or acquaintance who either doesn’t vote in the “little” elections or worse yet has never voted – talk to them! Help them find the information to educate themselves and take them with you to the polls!

We ALL have a voice – its time we were heard. One Nation Working Together to pull America together and put Americans back to work in good paying American jobs with the freedom to form a Union if they want one (but that’s another rant) is the responsibility of every citizen. Do nothing and you’ll continue to have nothing, do something and have an impact no matter how small. After all the stir of a butterfly’s wing can create a tsunami given time.

Published in: on October 6, 2010 at 1:55 pm  Leave a Comment  

On Speaking My Mind

Want to start a riot on the web? Post to a public forum. “Walk” into any Internet chat room, yahoo forum, myspace/facebook discussion and post an opinion that disagrees with the forum modulator or original poster. Then sit back and see how long it takes them to tear you apart at best or ask you to leave at worst.

I recently posted in a Union forum on yahoo groups and was pointedly told to keep my mouth shut. The alleged pourpose of said forum is to brainstorm ideas and issues that this Union has with a particular company. When I expressed what was going on in my little piece of the world and expressed what my concerns were as well as my opinion of their issues; I was told that I was too young and/or inexperienced to have a clue and that I should keep my mouth shut and not make fun of peoples concerns!?!?

I THOUGHT I was seeking information and clarification on the topic of discussion. Apparently because I haven’t been with the group/union/company since go, my ideas are somehow radical, dangerous, invalid, or just plain dumb.

In this particular case I will respond directly to the one that made the statements and likely withdraw from the group. Seems they’re not really interested in honest discussion so much as a private bitch and moan about how we get back at the company.

The other experiences are Facebook related; in one I expressed my outrage at what I personally viewed as a crime and was told that if I didn’t have all the facts that I should keep quiet.

Funny how people keep telling me that eh? No, not really amused.

When I responded with the facts as I had them. Facts that failed to make the media. They were the ones that were quiet.

Want to REALLY get folks torqued? Religion. Nuff said? Mention anywhere publicly that you follow anything other than a traditional Christian path, be prepared to defend yourself and your faith.

I have actually managed to open mind or two through these discussions. To me that makes it all worthwhile.

And now I think I will be quiet for a little while and head to bed. It’s very, very late (or early depending on which side of 330am you’re on). G’night blogging world till we speak again . . .

Published in: on June 29, 2010 at 8:56 am  Leave a Comment  

An Update on the Murders by Massey in Montcoal WV at Upper Big Branch Mine

First I’d like to post a partial list of those murdered in the Upper Big Branch explosion;

They ranged in age from 20 to 61. Some had been miners only a few months, others for 34 years.

Carl Acord, 52, had worked in mines for 34 years and liked the work. But he told his family the Sunday prior that he was concerned about the mine’s roof and worried about going to work the Monday of the blast.

Jason Atkins was born and raised in Boone County, near the coal mine where he lost his life.

Kenny Chapman was a roof bolter in the mines, the 53-year-old Fairdale resident’s specialty was practical jokes.

Robert E. Clark, 41. Rev. F.D. Sexton, who has spoken with Clark’s family since the explosion at the mine, said he remembered Clark’s big smile as the miner left an Easter service at the church.

Cory Davis played baseball in high school and followed his family into the mines. The 20-year-old from Dawes worked with his father, and cousin at a surface mine, but all three were laid off in the past two years. And all three ended up at Massey. Cody Davis was on his way in at the time of the blast.

Timmy Davis Sr. loved coal mining — Davis Jr. said his uncle Tommy Davis and brother Cody Davis also were at the mine at the time of the blast. “He loved to work underground,” the younger Davis said of his father, who was from Cabin Creek. “He loved that place.”

William “Bob” Griffith came from a family of miners, went into the mines as a young man with his father and worked there like his brothers.

Steve Harrah — known to his co-workers as “Smiley” — was “always thoughtful and would give you a hand,” his father-in-law said. The 40-year-old enjoyed hunting deer in Pocahontas County, said father-in-law Jack Bowden Jr., who also is director of the Raleigh County Emergency Operating Center. Harrah lived in Cool Ridge, W.Va. he was leaving the mine when the explosion happened. The mining company told the family he was killed instantly.

45-year-old Rick Lane, a longwall production foreman, had been with parent company Massey for about four years and worked at the Upper Big Creek mine for about a year.

William Roosevelt Lynch wore many hats, including that of a coal miner. Over his career, the 59-year-old who went by Roosevelt was a teacher, coached three sports, and worked in the mines for more than 30 years. Lynch was among the dead, said his brother, Melvin Lynch of Mount Hope, who also was in the mine at the time.

25-year-old Josh Napper started his job in the mines a few months back, he left his fiancee an envelope with a handwritten note inside. Telling her ‘You keep it sealed until something happens to me,’ The letter was written to the his 19-month-old daughter, his mother and his fiancee. “If anything happens to me, I will be looking down from heaven,” his note read.

Howard “Boone” Payne began working as a coal miner shortly after graduating high school in 1977. He had worked for Massey Energy for eight to 10 years. He was in his early 50’s.

Gary Quarles started coal mining when he was 18. He was 33 and was among those finishing a 10.5-hour shift when the explosion happened.

Deward Scott The 58-year-old Montcoal resident had been a miner for 21 years and loved his job.

For Benny Willingham, retirement was just five weeks away. The 61-year-old from Corinne, W.Va., had been a coal miner for 30 years and spent the last 17 working for Massey.

Ricky Workman had an affection for wheels. One of the first images on his MySpace page is a motorcycle. The 50-year-old Colcord resident loved his Harley Davidson and in the summer drove miniature race cars.

Donations for the families of the dead miners are being accepted at the Montcoal Mining Disaster Fund, which is being run by the West Virginia Council of Churches.

~~~~

I scoured google for news and information to provide this update and found many touching stories and heart wrenching photos but the following letter touched me deeply;

There were two survivors – Jeremy Woods authored the following letter and requested that the http://www.register-herald.com publish it in conjunction with an interview they conducted with him detailing his recollection of the fatal explosion at Upper Big Branch on April 5.

~~~~
James Woods, 54, of Cool Ridge, also known as “Woodsie,” is one of the two survivors of the Performance UBB mine blast.

He was airlifted to Charleston General Hospital. He was there for 30 days and has been moved to North Carolina. Mentally, he is not doing good. He takes one step forward and two back in time. He has got permanent brain damage and he doesn’t even remember me after 32 years. It hits my heart deep and I don’t know how to deal with that.

Dad has been a coal miner for 31 years and was an electrician and a boss and on April 5, 2010, our lives were drastically changed forever.

Jeremy Woods, 32, of Cool Ridge, who also worked at Performance UBB mine and was in there underground that day, came through that area before it happened with God’s guidance and mercy. My dad never really wanted me working in the mines. He always told me to make something of myself and life and known for my love of hunting my dream has always been to be a big deer and elk hunter on TV. But dreams are big in this world and life is reality in this coal state of West Virginia.

Reality hit when I got a wife and three boys so I had to do something so dad got me a miner hat and belt and I headed underground to do a job so many young men have to do in this state to start a life. But I know Dad was proud of me and the man I had become and I was proud of him of how smart and hard he and his crew worked and it made me step back and think if they could do this at their age, then so can I, but that was then. Dad was a hard dedicated worker. It was his way or no way. He could get the job done when no one else could, no matter how long it took.

It was an honor to get to work with him and his crew. He had worked with some of his fallen crew for 17 years of his 31-year mine experience and he doesn’t to this day know they’re gone.

Dad was a good Paw Paw to his six grandkids, five boys and one girl: Zoey, 13, Clay, 10, Corey, 6, Braxton, 7, Logan, 5, and Jackson, 2. He loved spoiling and spending time riding 4-wheelers and fishing and hunting with them.

Dad loved church and he was a Christian and he would let you know that even if he was underground or on a mountaintop. He loved hunting with me and my wife for deer and fishing on the river with his wife and dog and every day started out at 4:30 in the morning to drive the hour and half drive to work. It started and ended with Dad listening to Christian music, which he loves, and preaching on the road and a small prayer before he started his day shift.

We are touched by the grace of God and hopefully Dad’s life and miracle has touched your life like it’s touched ours. There are so many people who have come up to us since this has happened, whether they worked with Dad a long time ago or Dad had stopped and helped somebody fix a flat or just handing them money or just being there saying God cares and they all say he told us about what God’s done for him.

And to all the families who are praying, thank you. It means so much. Words cannot express my heart goes out to all the families of the other 29 miners. They were my family, too. And to all that I worked with down there, all you guys will never be forgotten. They were all my working brothers. The two survivors and those men that died that day, were the real coal miners of West Virginia, the true heart and soul of Coal Country. I wish I could be half the dad and man my Dad is and all the heroes that the miners were
I love you Dad.

Your son,

Jeremy Woods.

~~~~

The second survivor refuses to speak to the press.  I can’t say that I would either being in his shoes.

I did discover however; The FBI is probing the company and the circumstances surrounding the explosion which killed 29 miners, including for potential negligence, and bribery.

There has also been a lawsuit filed – Labaton Sucharow LLP filed a class action lawsuit on behalf of an institutional investor in the United States District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia on behalf of purchasers of the publicly-traded securities of Massey Energy Company (“Massey”) between February 1, 2008 and May 16, 2010 (the “Class Period”). The complaint alleges that during the Class Period, Massey claimed to be one of the safest mine operators in the industry, regularly touting its safety achievements and telling investors that safety was its number one priority. In fact, safety at Massey’s mines was repeatedly sacrificed so that aggressive production goals could be met, and Massey had received numerous undisclosed citations arising from serious uncorrected safety and other regulatory violations. Then, on April 5, 2010, an explosion at the Upper Big Branch mine in Montcoal, West Virginia, revealed the falsity of Massey’s repeated representations about the safety of its mining operations when 29 miners lost their lives in the deadliest U.S. mine accident in nearly 40 years. In the days following the tragedy, hundreds of incidents of uncorrected safety violations at Massey’s mines came to light. The price of Massey common stock fell following the explosion and has continued to fall due to the subsequent revelations of Massey’s safety violations. On April 30, 2010, it was disclosed that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”) was investigating Massey for bribery of state and federal mine inspectors. As a result of this news, Massey stock fell $4.53 per share, or 11 percent. On May 14, 2010, federal prosecutors from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of West Virginia confirmed that Justice Department officials are investigating possible “willful criminal activity” by Massey subsidiary Performance Coal and its “directors, officers, and agents” for alleged violations of federal mine safety regulations at UBB between 2007 and 2010. As a result of this news, Massey stock fell from $37.00 on May 14, 2010 to a new low of $33.29, or 10 percent, on May 17, 2010.

~~~~

The accusations, charges and lawsuits continue to mount as the company’s stock continues to fall. I also found it of noteworthy interest to mention that when CEO Don Blankenship appeared before Congress, he brought not on the company lawyer but a personal criminal one as well.

Also please check out this blog – Criminal Investigations of Massey Energy Go Forward as Citizen Pressure Builds for Prosecution @ http://www.opednews.com/articles/Criminal-Investigations-of-by-Kevin-Zeese-100525-807.html

This man is eloquent in his manner, mode and speech.  He was also in attendance at the rally in Richmond and has a LOT to say on the matter.  Lend him what support you can.

Published in: on June 19, 2010 at 5:20 pm  Leave a Comment  

Memorial Day

As I am writing this it is Memorial Day. And I have to ask myself; today do we really understand the significance behind this holiday or has it become just another Christmas? Is it just another day off work to spend with family and friends to enjoy the lake or the beach and have a good old fashioned cookout? A day for the discount stores to make a quick buck on the cheap plastic flower arrangements I recall from my youth.

Does anyone today really stop to think what Memorial Day is all about? It’s not just a day to visit the family cemetery and lay a wreath for grandma. It’s more than that! It’s a day to stop and reflect and give thanks to those that have fought and died in lands foreign and domestic so that we didn’t have to.

Now I’m not asking what your position on a particular war is or on war in general, I don’t care in this case. That’s a discussion for another time and rant. Through out the history of our nation there have been those brave men and women that left their homes and loved ones behind to defend us against some threat, real or political. And many of them never made it home and many more that did were never the same again. And they way we treat these brave souls is shameful. Their hospitals are overcrowded, underfunded and often overwhelmed and unequipped to deal with the issues these vets bring home.

Injury, illness, mental disturbance, addiction, are just a few of the problems faced once a soldier is stateside. Often it is hard for the vet to deal with what they have seen and were asked to do in the name of survival. And in the case of the Vietnam vet, unspeakable, seems to sum it up in a nutshell.

If you have never been to a national cemetery – GO! If you ever have the chance to see a ceremony such as the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Solider in Arlington, TAKE IT! If you ever have the honor of being at a military graveside service, it is something you will NEVER forget! I’m not talking about seeing these things on TV or video, I mean in person, first hand. If it fails to stir something in you, check your pulse, because you are dead inside.

None of these brave men and women asked to lay down their lives, they didn’t ask for what they got, but they served their time and laid down their lives for us and it would do us all well to remember – It was not the preacher that gave us freedom of religion, it was not the reporter that gave us freedom of the press, not the poet that gave us freedom of speech, nor the campus organizer that provided freedom of assembly, or the lawyer that allowed the right to a fair trial, and neither is it the politician that guarantees the right to vote. . .it was ALL thanks to the veteran.

So take a minute from your busy day and thank a vet, because without them we wouldn’t have a lot of the things we take for granted.

Stepping off my soapbox now. . .

Published in: on May 31, 2010 at 9:46 pm  Comments (1)  
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A quick “shout-out” to thank a fellow blogger.

Folks a fellow blogger just paid me such a compliment I felt I had to share;  As you can tell I am new to this world of blogging and am trying to feel my way with minimum guidance because I want it to stand on it’s own merit.  Apparently I am heading in the right direction as shieldagent2814 just linked me asA Blog That You Guys Should Check Out‏“. I really can’t adequately express how grateful I am.

I have enjoyed exploring his blog “My Little Rants” after he welcomed me to the world of blogging.  I have seen a couple of others that have posted enjoyable reads as well but have yet to fully explore them.  On the other hand “Batman” and I have begun some interesting exchanges.  So check him out too!

Published in: on May 28, 2010 at 11:30 am  Comments (2)  

a question at large

OK blogging world, question time.

In a nutshell;   Should an infertile childless couple do everything in their power to obtain custody of their somewhat troubled 10 year old nephew who is currently in foster care, or are they being selfish and putting themselves above his needs?

The details as I know them –

The couple has been together for about 17 years and have never been able to have children but have watched members of the family toss them away like they were disposable or treat them as if they could be placed on a shelf in stasis till they were ready to play parent again.

This nephew was a surprise to his crack addicted mother and the couple offered to take him in before they even knew it was a him. The mother of course declined, she had her bargaining chip to lord over the rest of the family. Skip forward to her final trimester which was a forced sobriety by way of jail. She was released and nephew was born.

For most of his life (with the exception of about 3 or 4 months) the boy lived with his grandparents, his mother eventually overdosed and the biological father’s rights were severed by court order, and the grandparents adopted him as their own.

The couple agreed that if the grandparents became unable to care for the child they would step up. Fast forward again to about three years ago. Grandfather has passed and grandmother’s health is failing. Child services is called (doesn’t matter by who at this point) and the boy is taken from the only home he has ever known and placed with an aunt that lives in state. The couple is told you’re out of state therefore you cannot even be considered for placement.

The couple attempts an interstate study to be allowed consideration and due to several issues it fails to occur. Reunification with grandmother/mom seems likely so the couple backs off. That falls through as well. The boy is removed from the aunt’s home due to behavioral issues and placed with the aunt’s husband’s family. (Which is where he has been for about a year and a half now.)

The couple again attempts the interstate home study, this time with success. The child protective service has in the meantime decided to award permanent placement to the current foster family. The couple show up in court to be told there would be a meeting of all involved parties at the child services office and if an agreement could not be reached the judge would intervene.

At the recent meeting the couple was told another move would confuse and possibly traumatize the boy due to “medical” and behavioral issues. The department would however be open to the idea of visitation by the couple. The attorney that handled the original adoption advised the couple to petition the court for “intervention” status. At this point the so called final court date is about ten days away. This attorney advised that just because the paper is filed it does not have to be acted upon. It is simply a way to buy themselves more time to become reacquainted with the boy, whom they have been blocked from contacting for the past two years but promised to care for. A promise they are keen to fulfill.

So we return to the question at hand; Should this couple do everything in their power to obtain custody of their nephew, or are they being selfish and putting their own desires for a child above his needs?

I warned you this blog would be eclectic . . .

Published in: on May 27, 2010 at 5:59 am  Comments (5)  

Protest Rally Report

If you missed the UMWA Rally in Richmond May 17 and 18th, 2010, you missed history in the making. Normally when the UMWA and environmental groups come together sparks fly.  But on this historic date they were united in a cause and that cause was to bring a mass murder to justice.

Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock I’m sure you’ve heard about the horrible events of April 5,2010 in Montcoal, WV.  I am speaking of course of the explosion that robbed 29 miners of their lives at the Massey Energy Upper Big Branch Coal Mine.

Massey energy and CEO Don Blankenship has the worst safety and environmental record in the industry.  In records that have since been made public he has often sent memos that stated things like; if anyone asks you to do anything other than run coal, ignore them.  Your only job is to run coal.

Examples of items these men were told to ignore were such things as building ceiling braces, escape routes and ‘safe house’ spots for miners in the event of a collapse.  To disregard rock dusting and other safety standards.  First hand accounts from Upper Big Branch claimed sniffers (methane level readers) intake valves were covered in plastic to provide false readings that would keep the mine open and running when actual methane levels would have demanded a shut down.

Don Blankenship’s response to safety violations and concerns? Its part of the normal cost of doing business.  He has also been accused of buying elections and judges in southern WV.  He is also a member of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.  The man is wealthy beyond what most of us will see in a working lifetime but refuses to pay the penalties for his violations.  Instead he ties up valuable court resources to fight these justifiable fines.  Just another cost of doing business?  29 lives.  Just another cost of doing business?  The worst mining disaster in modern U.S. history.  Just another cost of doing business?

It appalls me that these men and women attempted THREE times to unionize at this mine and failed.  One vote lost, one vote tied (under UMWA a tie goes to the company) and the third won by a 70% yes vote.  After being unable to hammer out a contract, UMWA International President Cecil Roberts sat down with Blankenship and came to an agreement.  Blankenship promised his lawyers would draw up the papers and get them to Mr. Roberts.  Cecil sat down with the workers and explained to them what had transpired, all seemed well.  After a reasonable period of time there were no papers forthcoming.  When Mr. Roberts contacted Blankenship the response was “I’ve changed my mind”.  When Cecil inquired what he was to tell the workers, Blankenship said; “Tell them I lied.  They’re used to it.”

Then comes the call no miner’s family ever wants to receive.  There’s been an explosion, we don’t know how bad yet.  In early reports it was unclear if anyone could have survived.  Then word it was doubtful.  25 dead, four missing.  Rescue crews pulled out because the danger was too great.  No possibility of survivors.  Then the private details began to emerge.  Men blown apart, passed over by rescue workers time and again, unrecognizable under the soot, ash and debris.  The request for dental records to make identifications.  John Does named by process of elimination.  While rumors of Don Blankenship making requests to operate other tunnels at the same site!

One worker from another shift exchanged final words with his Father, brother and uncle; Go mine some coal boys.  Let’s go dance with the devil.  A 25 year old murdered but knew it was coming; he wrote a letter to his girlfriend and daughter saying his goodbyes.  To borrow words from Mr. Roberts – Young men going off to war write these types of letters.  In America today a young man shouldn’t have to leave a letter like this to go to work.  We just come to work here, we don’t come to die.

Outrage flew through the organized labor community, especially the United Mine Workers of America.  Calls for the removal of Massey CEO Don Blankenship ignored by the board of directors.  Plans made to send a message.  A message of Unity and Solidarity.  The call goes out from UMWA to their brothers ans sisters in the organized labor movement.  A call answered with clarity; Yes, we stand with you! Yes, we’ll be there!

Buses from as far away as Utah and as close as Washington, D.C. converged on Richmond, VA, Massey’s National Headquarters and site of their stockholders meeting.  Monday night a candle light vigil was held near the Jefferson Hotel of Richmond.  Where I personally was moved to tears as Cecil Roberts read the names of the 52 miners that have died on Massey property in the last ten years. As the final 29 names, those that died April 5, 2010, were called out into the rain soaked, candle lit night 29 miners dressed in jumpsuits, helmets and headlamps one by one extinguished those lamps.  A gesture that even in its recollection has the power to well me with emotion.

Cecil Roberts (International President of UMWA) was inspirational in his calls to justice for the Board of Directors and CEO Don Blankenship at Massey Energy. If there was justice in the world they would be in jail!  Don’t let the rain bother you, for even the heavens weep on this occasion.  And the following morning at Monroe park when he said; When Moses demanded of Pharaoh to let his people go, he didn’t send a fax.  He didn’t email him or write a letter.  He MARCHED!  And today, we are marching to see the Pharaoh of Appalachia!  And march we did!  Through the streets of Richmond to the front doors of the Jefferson Hotel.

There were two arrests made in conjunction with these events, however, those arrested were not Union members but environmentalists.  Chants of “put Don in jail”, “hang Don’s ass”, “no more deaths” and “we are – UNION” rang throughout the morning. Even the police force realized this was a historical event and some of them were seen snapping pictures of protesters and their signs. We even had support from passing motorists with horn blowing and thumbs up gestures.  The media was out in force;  Local and WV reporters of course, but Wall Street Journal, Chicago Tribune, Bloggers and others.  Al there, all asking the same questions; what is your goal here today?  And the answer was JUSTICE, NO more dead due to negligence and Don in jail.

All in all a powerful experience of Unity and Solidarity. UMWA, CWA (Communication Workers of America), IUE-CWA, USW (United Steel Workers), Bricklayers Union, Farmers Union of NC, Mill-workers, Environmentalists, and regular citizens with a unified message; Together we stand, divided we fall because an injury to one is an injury to all.

Published in: on May 22, 2010 at 7:13 pm  Comments (1)  
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Hello world!

Hello world. I started this blog because two strong women that I admire greatly have encouraged me to do so. They seem to believe that I have a voice that needs to be heard. What you’ll find here will be as eclectic as I am. I welcome your constructive criticisms, opinions and general comments. So, ready or not world here we go. . .

Published in: on May 22, 2010 at 5:14 pm  Comments (3)