Saturday, April 10, 2010

coal miners discuss the Upper Big Branch Coal mine- Topix


finally, that elusive picture of me

That's all folks!

It's over - 29 dead - 2 survivors

The bright spot is that 2 miners were pulled from the mine immediately after the explosion. One has been discharged from the hospital and has requested privacy. His fellow coal miners and the community will make sure that the media is kept far away. The other is still in the hospital in critical condition as of yesterday. The family is also requesting privacy.

If you want to help coal miners the questions that need to be asked now are what violations are happening in other mines that aren't actually being addressed.

The media will focus entirely on the Upper Big Creek Mine for another week or so. The politicians will write new laws. The inspectors will inspect and the miners will mine - in spite of what is wrong in the mine because they must provide for their families and they know it they say anything they will be fired and another will be there to take their place.

That is the cycle. That is why they need the UMWA. Union mines don't tolerate the kind of infractions that are common place now. That is a whole another arguement that I don't want to get into right now though.

Friday, April 9, 2010

As of 3 pm

They have sent 2 more rescue teams in after the miners.

The last bore hole they dug hit a solid seam of coal and could not be used.

They have pumped in nitrogen to put out the burning fire (at least in the area of that particular bore hole)

There is still one emergency shelter yet to be checked. The shelters have run out of time for oxygen but the supply is for 15 people. Since there are only 4 people missing there is a minute chance of life still.

We keep hoping. (link to local news station)

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Are they setting up the inspectors to take the fall?

Any mine inspector will tell you what happens if they try to shut down a coal mine. The same politicians who are standing in front of the news cameras right now are the same politicians who will have them fired if they even try such a thing.

It's all about money. The fines are so small and the coal companies fight each and every violation for so long that the system is completely ineffective. The state wants the tax dollars and the jobs so they just keep repeatedly issuing citations. It's all a big joke. The miners know it. The coal companies know it. The politicians know it.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

In the Valley of the Squirrels

Today in the Valley of the Squirrels I fed a whole herd of them - seven to be exact. There are 3 families that come together for the evening ritual feeding of corn and sunflower seeds and when one of them gets an odd raisin here and there a squirrel squabble almost always ensues. They scamper among the food still managing to stay segregated as they feed together. There are 2 big boss squirrels that no one else bothers while they pick at any of the little ones who venture into their personal space.

All of a sudden the whole herd runs screaming and chattering to the trees. They were still scolding as I wondered what in the world was going on because I have never seen them act that way. I looked over to see a predator in our midst. A neighborhood housecat - well fed from the looks of him - strode into the watering hole like a lion into a herd of antelope on an african savannah. I have only seen him once before a long, long time ago. He got a drink from the fountain and then came over and started wallering all over my feet and legs.

A friendly fellow who could care less that he had thrown the Valley of the Squirrels into chaos that ended the daily feeding much too early.