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Some linky fun

December 4, 2010

Another DW crosspost.

* I guess it was only a matter of time, but ye gods…

Minefields or Coalfields: Should Big Coal Change Name For Mountaintop Removal/Strip Mining?

In a new episode of Big Coal Gone Wild last week, coal lobbyists announced their intentions to rebrand mountaintop removal mining as “mountaintop development”

Notwithstanding the fact that an estimated 50-60 percent of the coal mining jobs have been eliminated by the shift to highly mechanized and explosive strip mining operations in the last 25 years, local economies have been left in ruin, and nearly 1.2 million acres of hardwood forests and adjacent settlements have been completely wiped by out the reckless mining operations, Rob Perks at the Natural Resources Defense Council notes:

NRDC’s recent analysis found that the industry’s promise of reclaiming flat land for economic development is a big, flat lie. Our study — “Reclamation FAIL” — revealed that of the 1.2 million acres, including 500 mountains, that have been demolished by coal companies in Kentucky, West Virginia, Virginia and Tennessee, over 89% of sites have no post-mining development.”

And some of Thomas McElwain’s comments on mining (in still Mingo/Cherokee/Shawnee country) on Mingo-L might look a tad paranoid unless (a) you’ve been there, or (b) you think a minute:

Actually, mountaintop removal is not the most efficient way of getting coal. It is more expensive to repair the damage afterward than there is profit in the coal. It is part of a long-going “Appalachian Plan” that has gotten congressional approval with every bill over the last fifty years or so. Anything earmarked “Appalachian Plan” is voted through without debate. The plan is to remove the local population from the Appalachian area and artificially restructure the landscape to make the whole area a playground get-away for the eastern seaboard gentry. Look for reams of information in government archives under the title “Appalachian Plan.”

Erm, yeah. History repeats.

* Better than I expect from Newsweek: Divided We Eat: What food says about class in America

Which reminds me, I need to go and drain my soaking pot of pinto beans…

With a lovely illustration of lifestyle activism:

“This is our charity. This is my giving to the world,” says Alexandra, finally, as she packs lunchboxes—organic peanut butter and jelly on grainy bread, a yogurt, and a clementine—for her two boys. “We contribute a lot.”

I would question whether that quote was made up if I hadn’t met people like that. And quickly gone away to avoid yelling at them, because it wouldn’t help.

* What does cultural competence look like? Ye gods. (Yeah, I’m having that reaction a lot today.) From the linked PDF excerpts of the book in question:

Food may be perceived negatively in the context of witchcraft. It is thought that witchcraft promotes intentional poisoning by food. Thus, it is important to watch carefully what one eats and who gives them food.

The strange culture in question there? African-Americans.

* And in the just plain ridiculous files, from back home: Sheriff: Man Stole Christmas Presents, Forgot Cell Phone Little more comprehensive, from the Roanoke Times: One cell leads to another: Phone lands Vinton man in jail:

Investigators needed neither fingerprints nor eyewitnesses to figure out who stole wrapped Christmas presents from a home in Carroll County last week. The burglar, the sheriff’s office said, dropped his cellphone in a bedroom.

Deputies called the Vinton man’s family, saying his phone had been found in Carroll County. Could he come by and pick it up?

“He shows up wanting his phone, and we were waiting for him,” Investigator Shannon Goad said.

* And SW Virginia’s answer to racketeering: three guys call themselves “Goonz”, rob drug dealers, and get busted after they mistakenly break in on an elderly couple. That wacky ATF! They claim there are more than three in the gang, but haven’t arrested anyone else; I’m not sure they exist, nor are the reporters AFAICT. Even the criminals are more prone to catherding.

ATF charges three men in alleged organized crime ring

Racketeering case lands in federal court

It is somewhat unusual for racketeering charges to be filed in Western Virginia. The charges, with maximum sentences of 20 years in prison, allege that the Goonz was an ongoing operation that affected interstate commerce.

Interstate commerce and robbing drug dealers. Erm, yeah. At least these weren’t quite the ever-popular Children of the Corn gangsters:

These must be rural gangsters, the Children of the Corn variety. A proper gangster in a decent city would have no lonely stretch of highway in which to lure women in this elaborate scheme.

The fear forwards about rape prevention always come from other women. The myth of the rural gang bangers however, usually comes from law enforcement. We call it the Children of the Corn syndrome because it’s just gotten that stupid. Except for a few skinny white boys in baggy pants stealing Christmas lights and tipping cows, there are no gangs around her. What self respecting machismo wants to live in the middle of nowhere hiding in corn fields? Tagging the sides of barns? Even prison would be more appealing.

ETA: Maryland, Virginia, and the hate crimes stats gap

Virginia reported 150—97 based on race, 27 based on religion, 18 based on sexual orientation, and eight based on ethnicity, and zero based on disability.

Now disregard those figures! Both states harbor dozens of local law enforcement agencies that don’t report bias-motivated crime statistics to the feds at all…

While the Virginia numbers include reports from cities as small as Bluefield (population 5,122) and Bedford (population 6,335), it’s missing stats from Blacksburg (population 42,047), Herndon (population 22,078), Petersburg (population 32,966), and over 100 other Virginia cities. Also missing: Reports from the University of Mary Washington, James Madison University, and Virginia Commonwealth University; reports from the Virginia state police forces; and an account from police at Reagan National Airport. Did zero hate crimes occur at National last year? The world may never know.

Hate crimes are already an under-reported phenomenon—even in a bias-conscious place like D.C., many hate crime victims won’t come forward at all, and those who do won’t always see their crimes categorized correctly. In the District, reliable hate crime stats often depend upon police officers remembering to check the “bias-motivated” box on police reports; the least these local jurisdictions can do is make that box available at all.

Actually, having spent time in some of the listed cities, I would expect to be taken much more seriously as a victim in Bluefield or Bedford (which do report) than Blacksburg (which is crappy in a number of ways).

2 Comments leave one →
  1. December 4, 2010 5:22 pm

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2010-12-03/massey-energy-says-don-blankenship-to-retire-as-chief-executive-dec-30.html

    Well, at least one of the villains won’t be CEO anymore.

    • urocyon permalink
      December 6, 2010 9:29 am

      Yeah, he has been trying pretty hard to make himself look villainous. I made the mistake of looking at his Twitter feed, out of morbid curiosity, and wanted some Clorox. Not that I expect his replacement to be a lot better, but…

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