mining a thick vein of greed

I heard somewhere today that the average wage of the twelve men killed in the recent West Virginia mining disaster was $7 an hour. If you like statistics, here’s another one for you. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, this particular mining operation had been given 21 citations over the course of the past year for “combustible material” infractions. Of course, it’s difficult for the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration to enforce code violations and such, seeing as how they’re 170 people short, due to Bush administration cuts.

For those of you in the remedial class, I’ll spell it out for you:
“Miners don’t make campaign contributions. They’re just expendable assets.”

You know who does make campaign contributions though – the mine owners. According to the Washington Post West Virginia coal companies contributed over a quarter of a million dollars to put Bush in the White House. It’s funny how that works, isn’t it? You make big campaign contributions, and not only do your taxes go down, but the restrictions on your industry seem to melt away as if by magic. Of course, this probably won’t be covered in most of the corporate press, who are too busy celebrating the fact that “no one was killed” in the blast or in the subsequent collapse.

And, didn’t we just see the same damn thing happen with FEMA in New Orleans? The proactive, responsible government that we’ve been struggling to build since the Great Depression is being systematically gutted right in front of us by those who don’t need to send their children to public schools, won’t ever have to rely on Social Security, and most likely won’t die when OSHA protections are eliminated.

I made the comment here about a year ago that, by the time I died, children would once again have the “freedom” to work in coalmines. I thought at the time that I was being a bit satirical, but now I’m not so sure. Maybe I was just forseeing the future.

And, no, this does not mean that I’m back out of blogging retirement. It just means that I was pissed off. And, I’m sure it won’t happen again. (And, If this had been a real post, I would have somehow worked in a link to this exchange between Bill O’Reilly and David Letterman.)

(That Washington Post article on the lifting of restrictions on the coal industry, which you really should read, came to me by way of the folks at Think Progress, who have put together a really good round-up of all the information about what really just happened in West Virginia.)

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8 Comments

  1. Brian
    Posted January 4, 2006 at 11:26 pm | Permalink

    Reading this makes me sick.

  2. Tony Buttons Esq.
    Posted January 5, 2006 at 8:39 am | Permalink

    And let’s not forget that the mine execs let the families celebrate for between three and four hours before telling them that the stories concerning the survival of their loved ones were B.S. That IMHO is unconscionable.

  3. lori
    Posted January 5, 2006 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

    Unbelievable. Excellent non-post.

  4. Tony Buttons Esq.
    Posted January 5, 2006 at 5:05 pm | Permalink

    As a shareholder in that particular mining operation, I share your horror and disbelief. Do you have any idea how much each of those men will cost us?

  5. dorothy
    Posted January 5, 2006 at 5:21 pm | Permalink

    mark–did you just send me an e mail? i’m very paranoid since your site was violated.

  6. chris
    Posted January 5, 2006 at 7:10 pm | Permalink

    HEY! EVERYBODY!!!!

    MAYBE WE CAN LURE HIM BACK WITH THE TASTY DELIGHT OF VANITY!

    VOTE MARK FOR BEST BLOG HERE:

    http://2006.bloggies.com/

    And you will get a nice button or a cupcake or something.

  7. mark
    Posted January 5, 2006 at 7:34 pm | Permalink

    Yes, Dorothy… I wrote to you about something. Open it up. Seriously, it’s from me.

  8. mark
    Posted January 21, 2006 at 10:56 pm | Permalink

    And two more miners die in West Virginia….

    http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,182414,00.html

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