Pinky Links



this oil spill is really bumming me out. ~.m. by maria b.

i don’t really want to get into it too much because it’s really depressing to talk about, but the oil spill in the gulf is really, really horrible. with the effects on the wildlife and on the ecosystems, the oceans, the gulfstream running along florida and up the east coast, not to mention the 11 guys that died in the initial explosion and the many, many people whose livelihoods depend on shrimping and fishing in the gulf, i honestly can’t even read another article, watch another news story or look at another picture of the effects there. it’s just really a bummer. our clusterfuck of a government had better damn well make sure BP pays for ever red cent of cleanup of this shit, for the next fucking century.



can this “anti-government” lambasting be directly harmful? ~.m. by maria b.

i would argue yes, but not just in the sense of all these right-wing militias springing up.

count me among the people who were truly saddened to hear that the four missing miners from the Upper Big Branch Mine explosion last week were found dead. like a lot of people, i was really hoping for a miracle and that those four men would somehow be found alive (there were numerous references to the airtight safety chambers in the mines that had food and water in them.) it’s a scary enough thought thinking about working in such a dark, dirty and foreboding place for 40 hours a week, walking in tunnels miles and miles long over 1,000 feet underground. add to that all the health problems that can accompany this job–from a relatively mild vitamin D deficiency to the infamous Black Lung. sure, these people do alright financially, but even if they have health insurance and other benefits that come with the job, it is far from a stable occupation. having health insurance doesn’t prevent these workers from having health problems (unlike most other occupations, this one causes health problems.) and once the mining company decides that there is no longer a large enough payoff in working the mine, they close it up and the jobs are gone.

add to this situation, then, the fact that these mining companies, including Massey Energy who runs the Upper Big Branch Mine,  are actively and vocally opposed to government regulations to better ensure the physical safety of the men who work in the mines. it’s not enough that these mining companies speak and work against rules to improve mine safety, but they have found loopholes in the system whereby they can basically indefinitely avoid paying the monetary penalties–usually no more than several hundred thousand dollars–and avoid having to change anything about the way the mine functions (they appeal the citation/violation and it is hung up in court for years.) mining companies are very reluctant to close down a mine because it costs them a lot of money to shut down, fix the problem and then start up from a dead stop. purely a profit motive–risk the lives of the people in the mine to save a buck. so that means that, in places like the Upper Big Branch mine, despite the hundreds of safety violations the mine was cited for, the company can choose to simply pay no fine and nothing about the state or function of the mine changes. this, i would argue, then directly contributes to the mining disasters we’ve seen all too often in the past few years.

note to energy and mining company CEOs (like Don Blankenship) about government regulations: they are having to write these regulations because YOU are not doing enough to ensure the safety of your employees.

note to others who have problems with the government regulating industries: this system of capitalism focuses on monetary profits, NOT on quality of life improvements; it rewards the people who can get the most out of their employees for the least money, NOT the people who work more than 40-hour weeks. and, historically, if it had been left up to private companies and businesses to regulate themselves, we would have no weekends, no limit to how many hours an employer can ask us to work, no minimum wage, employers would be able to discriminate based on whatever basis they chose, the list goes on and on.

instead of Don Blankenship railing against the government and saying (ever so disingenuously) that it’s ridiculous to say that the government cares more about worker safety than he does, he should put his money where his mouth is. he should work WITH the government to establish standards, systems and rules that do a better job of ensuring the long- and short-term health and safety of the people who work the mines instead of allowing the effect on their families and physical well-being to be a crapshoot.

on a final note, i’ve never seen a person more brazenly motivated by money than this man–his political positions are based solely on his job and what political rules (or lack thereof) will make it easiest for him to make a profit, and that’s it. he’ll throw the environment under the bus (like so many, unfortunately), but he’s also willing to risk the lives of the people who work for him. so i completely disagree with him–the government NEEDS to get involved. the system NEEDS to be changed to shift the economic incentive to match up with the action that will best care for the mine employees.

Don Blankenship says that “politicians get emotional” about disasters. fuck yes, anyone with a soul would be emotional about the senseless and PREVENTABLE deaths of 29 people, the soulless fucktard who cares more about his profits than the loss of family members sees it as an inconvenient glitch in his mine’s production.



did he just say that. ~.m. by maria b.

timothy mcveigh. timothy mcveigh the guy that blew up the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City and killed or wounded more than 800 innocent people and caused more than $652 million worth of damage timothy mcveigh? timothy mcveigh who was found guilty of this and put to death for it in 2001? timothy mcveigh whose crime was, until September 11, 2001, the most significant act of terrorism on American soil timothy mcveigh? timothy mcveigh who did all that to revolt against what he considered to be a tyrannical federal government? timothy mcveigh who railed against taxes and called them  “a joke”? timothy mcveigh who said at Waco in 1993 that “I believe we are slowly turning into a socialist government. The government is continually growing bigger and more powerful and the people need to prepare to defend themselves against government control”? that timothy mcveigh? you consider him a patriot? what fucking universe are you living in where killing innocents is an honorable thing? if that’s how you feel, then you are no better than the religious radicals you purport to consider evil, and you are a hypocrite.



i’m passing this on to all the teabaggers. ~.m. by maria b.

not that they’d be reading this blog, though. anyway, there’s this great blog i check in on every once in a while (here’s another one while i’m at it), and i came across a post there that i had to make sure i had on record for myself. i’m putting my favorite part on our blog, but the rest of it is here.

I can’t help but recall hearing a whole lot of patronizing advice from these same people [Conservatives] a few years back when anyone breathed that President Bush might not have legitimately taken office since he lost the popular vote, his brother manipulated the system in Florida and he was was installed by a partisan supreme court decision. Back then it was all “get over it,” and “I’ve got political capital and I’m gonna spend it!” Now, these same people are all screaming that it’s a usurpation if the Democrats win the majority and then pass legislation that they don’t like.

It’s fairly clear that Republicans don’t understand how democracy works. You campaign, people vote, you win elections, you get a majority, you pass legislation. They seem to think Democracy means that that elections are irrelevant, majorities are meaningless and that all legislation is contingent upon the permission of the Republican Party.

I’m sorry these people are so unhappy. I know how they feel. I used to hate it when the Republicans passed some disgusting initiative that went against everything I believe in. But I don’t recall having a mental breakdown at the notion that they could do it even though I didn’t want them to. The idea that they were obligated to do my bidding didn’t actually cross my mind.

As they used to say repeatedly, “elections have consequences.” If the people don’t like this bill, they have every right to turn the Democrats out of office and repeal it. But screaming hysterically that it’s cheating to pass legislation with a majority just proves that these folks’ great reverence for the constitution is based more on their love of wearing funny hats than anything that’s written in it.

ugh, seriously. get over it, already. btw…