Ban Coal: Coal Industry Chemical Threatens 300,000 in West Virginia

FEMA: The federal government sent 75 trucks - each carrying 18,500 liters of water - as well as bottled water to help provide water for those in need
FEMA: The federal government sent 75 trucks – each carrying 18,500 liters of water – as well as bottled water to help provide water for those in need.
 | Reuters

I’m not an advocate for coal so I agree that this report by Juan Cole is on point.

Juan Cole – Informed Comment

Some 300,000 West Virginians are at risk from their tap water after a company making MCHM spilled it into the river, turning it a little purple and making it smell like liquorice. MCHM can be fatal if imbibed, and otherwise it can make you vomit your guts out. It is used to wash coal of impurities.

Coal is destroying the earth. Some 40% of US carbon dioxide emissions come from burning coal. That amounts to 2 billion metric tons of C02 annually that Americans spew into the atmosphere by burning coal. Carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas, extra amounts of which have been building up in the atmosphere since the Industrial Revolution and it is warming the earth and the seas inexorably. Humankind only has to 2020 to avoid going beyond a temperature increase of 3.4 degrees Fahrenheit. If we go to 7, 8, 9 degrees F. increase, the whole weather system could become chaotic, threatening human life.

But apart from the threat burning coal forms in causing climate change, it is just really bad for you. Burning it releases massive amounts of mercury into the environment. Mercury is a nerve gas. It isn’t normal that you can only eat fish once or twice a week for fear of being mercury-poisoned. There is some evidence that it may be implicated in the increase in autism among children. Burning coal kills 13,000 Americans each year. That is four 9/11 attacks every year. We had a war on terror, but no president dares announce a war on coal.

And now it should be clear that some of the chemicals used in producing coal for power plants are themselves highly toxic and form a constant health threat.

It doesn’t have to be this way. Wind power is just about as inexpensive as coal, now. The American Midwest, the most highly coal-dependent region in the country, is the Saudi Arabia of wind. And, it has substantial potential for solar power generation, as well.

There are already as many American jobs in the solar power industry as there are American workers in coal mines. The workers can be retrained to install solar panels on people’s roofs.

The US and the world need to make a final push to go as green as possible as soon as possible. Coal is a drag on any such effort.

AP reports:

For the evils of coal see:

Bachmann: ‘If We Reject Israel, Then There Is A Curse That Comes Into Play’

Imagine a President of the United States issuing such a statement!  Bachmann just proved she is not presidential material.


Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) has declared that America has a serious obligation to support Israel — and if not, God will curse the United States, and it will be the end of this country.

The Minnesota Independent –  

reports that Bachmann told the Republican Jewish Coalition, at an event last week in Los Angeles:

“I am convinced in my heart and in my mind that if the United States fails to stand with Israel, that is the end of the United States . . . [W]e have to show that we are inextricably entwined, that as a nation we have been blessed because of our relationship with Israel, and if we reject Israel, then there is a curse that comes into play. And my husband and I are both Christians, and we believe very strongly the verse from Genesis [Genesis 12:3], we believe very strongly that nations also receive blessings as they bless Israel. It is a strong and beautiful principle.”


Family values? Seriously?

I was going through my blogroll list and came across this site

There was no text to go with the pictures but none was actually needed. 

I will say that the so-called Family Values  family (Rick Santorum’s picture) and the Obama family, who is viewed by the right wing as just the opposite of a family values  family, show a vast contrast in that way of thinking.

Just saying…

The Conservative Lie


Sarah Palin and the Tea Partyers Create an Opening for Democrats

The Nation

For Democrats, Republican primaries are the gift that keeps on giving.

Just as a Nevada Republican primary result renewed the reelection prospects of Senate Democratic Majority Leader Harry Reid, just as a Connecticut GOP vote handed advantages to Democrat Richard Blumenthal, so an Alaskan primary has positioned Democrats to try for an upset on the Arctic Circle.

If there was one Senate race in the country that was not expected to be competitive this year, it was the contest in Alaska.

Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski was seeking a second full term, with a moderately conservative track record and one of the state’s biggest political names. She was never beloved by the far right, yet she had the political skills and the style that made it likely she would win Republican, independent and perhaps even a few Democratic votes in November.

But Murkowski appears to have lost a Republican primary where, with a boost from former Governor Sarah Palin and the Tea Party movement, political newcomer Joe Miller has taken the lead.

Murkowski is refusing to concede and preparing for a fight—initially over absentee ballots that are yet to be counted and then via the recount process—that could extend well into the fall. National Republicans are moving to aid Murkowski, while Sarah Palin and the Tea Partisans are lining up behind Miller in what could turn out to be a bitterly divisive battle to settle a close primary.

If Miller ends up as the nominee, as seems likely, things will get interesting in Alaska—a state where, it should be noted, Democrats capitalized on a series of unfortunate events to dislodge a sitting US Senator in 2008.

Here’s why Democrats are rethinking the Alaska race?

1. Murkowski is mad. She refuses to rule out the prospect of running as a write-in or independent candidate in November. And Alaska has rich traditions of supporting renegade candidacies; indeed, when former Alaska Governor Walter Hickel fell out with conservative Republicans in 1990, he won a term as the candidate of the Alaska Independence Party.

2. Even if Murkowski does not make an independent or write-in run, a refusal by her to back Miller could weaken his bid.

3. Miller is an extreme player whose current stances on economic and social issues may have struck the fancy of the hard-right voters who dominated the Republican primary but who are not in touch with mainstream voters.

4. As recently as last month, Miller was calling for phasing out Social Security and Medicare and Medicaid. The Anchorage Daily News reported that: “Miller has called for across-the-board cuts, phasing out government Medicare and Social Security, and getting rid of the federal Department of Education because it is not in the Constitution, leaving the function to the states.” Says Miller: “Ultimately, we’ve got to transition out of the Social Security arrangement and go into more of a privatization. And you know, it’s not that radical of an idea.”

5. Miller opposes federal unemployment benefits. Not only did he oppose extending existing benefits, he argued in July (according to an ABC NEW report) that providing assistance to out-of-work Americans is “not constitutionally authorized.”

6. In Alaska, arguably the most libertarian-leaning state in the nation, Miller is a militant proponent of getting big government into the business of making decisions about sex, sexuality and reproductive choices. When it comes to reproductive rights, Miller’s a no-exceptions man, arguing that: “I am unequivocally pro-life and life must be protected from the moment of conception to the time of natural death.”

7. In a state with a large and politically-engaged indigenous population, one of Miller’s primary themes was his opposition to providing federal funds to “Indian tribes to prosecute hate crimes.”

Add it all up and the Republican primary result looks like a political game-changer.   Continue reading…

Legitimate Questions for Sarah Palin

Questions for the ex-governor…


Sarah, I read with interest your questions for the president. Now I have some for you.

You believe in the US constitution, don’t you? You believe in people’s freedom to worship as they see fit? If so, what’s the problem?

You believe in small government, right? You believe that big government should get out of people’s lives, don’t you? If so, then what business does the president have in telling anyone what they should build where?

You make an interesting point that having the right to do something doesn’t mean you should. Would you extend the same principle to – oh, let’s say – gun control as well? Or would that be an attack on freedom and a trashing of the constitution? How can you try to have it both ways?

And you believe in the free market don’t you? So if you object to the owners’ plans for the site, why not just outbid them? Why not let the market decide?

In short, how can you justify a position on this issue that contradicts your positions on just about everything else?