I am no longer the most powerful Mark Maynard in the world, but I still own the URL

I don’t know this to be true, but I’ve heard, over the years, that the Maynard side of my family made their way to Kentucky from West Virginia. And, as there are currently a great many Maynards there, like Lee Maynard, the brilliant author of Crum, I suspect that there may be some truth to it. So, when somoene asked today if I was related to newly elected used car dealer turned West Virginia State Senator Mark Maynard, I had to respond with a… “probably.”


I bet you’re wondering, “How’d he do it?” Well, my friends, the answer is easy… Maynard power!

He just turned on the old Maynard charm! (You can see it in his eyes.)

And it probably didn’t hurt that, accord to the Associated Press, statewide exit polls showed that three out of four West Virginia voters said that they disapproved of Obama’s performance, which shouldn’t really be too much of surprise, given the recent loss of coal mining jobs in the state, and Obama’s stance against global warming.

I know he’s a Republican, and I should probably hate him, but, according to the article above, his stances on the issues were pretty much identical to those of the Democratic incumbent he was going up against. And, more importantly, I’m thinking that, if his political career takes off, the value of the MarkMaynard.com url may increase to the point where I could sell it for big bucks and retire.

Oh, speaking of West Virginia and coal mining, do you remember a few years ago, when we were discussing Don Blankenship, the mine-owning teabagger who cut corners and ignored regulations until it cost 29 men their lives? Well it looks like he finally might be going to prison for his actions at the Upper Big Branch South Mine in Whitesville, West Virginia. Here’s a clip from the New York Times.

The former chief executive of the company involved in the nation’s worst coal mine disaster in 40 years, in which 29 men died in West Virginia in 2010, was charged on Thursday with widespread violations of safety rules and deceiving federal inspectors.

Donald L. Blankenship, who formerly ran the Massey Energy Company, was indicted on four criminal counts by a federal grand jury in the Upper Big Branch disaster near Montcoal, W.Va.

Mr. Blankenship was accused of looking away from hundreds of safety violations “in order to produce more coal, avoid the costs of following safety laws, and make more money”…

The charges hold him personally responsible for the hundreds of safety violations in 28 months leading up to the explosion. They included failing to ventilate coal dust and methane, which are highly explosive, and failing to water down equipment to prevent sparks that could ignite an explosion.

According to the indictment, Mr. Blankenship’s aggressive enforcement of mining quotas left workers no time to build ventilation systems “because constructing them diverted time from coal production.” He denied a request to build an air shaft in a mine where airflow was below the legal minimum, the indictment said. He also cut the number of miners focusing on safety in order to make the operation more profitable.

Mr. Blankenship was charged with authorizing a “scheme” of warnings to miners underground when federal safety inspectors made surprise visits. By using “code words and phrases,” word was passed by telephone from a guardhouse to a mine office to supervisors deep underground, who ordered miners “to quickly cover up violations” before inspectors arrived, the indictment said…

To quote Senator Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia, “(Blankenship was) treated far fairer and with more dignity than he ever treated the miners he employed. And, frankly, it’s more than he deserves.” I’m not a proponent of the death penalty, but if anyone deserves it, it’s this Ayn Rand acolyte.

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  1. Eel
    Posted November 17, 2014 at 8:55 am | Permalink

    Can’t you demand that he change his name?

  2. Posted November 17, 2014 at 9:31 am | Permalink

    I have the same problem. Half of Sweden has my name.

  3. Anonymous
    Posted November 17, 2014 at 10:45 am | Permalink

    Didn’t David Bowie take that as his name because he could use his real name, Davy Jones, because of the Monkees?

  4. Meta
    Posted November 17, 2014 at 11:14 am | Permalink

    Mother Jones on the content of the Blankenship indictment.


  5. Posted November 17, 2014 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

    :raises hand, knowing all about having a common and “famous” name: :weeps quietly in the corner:

  6. John Gault
    Posted November 17, 2014 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

    If the men working in the mine didn’t like it, they could have left. They stayed, though, because the wages were good. I see nothing wrong with this, and find Blankenship’s honesty refreshing. We could use more men like him. Also, how do we know that the regulations aren’t what caused the collapse? If so much of their attention hadn’t been on skirting regulations, they might have been able to hire more miners and less attorneys, and with more miners they may have been able to mine that section more quickly. Also, if they’d been allowed to hire children, they could have dug smaller tunnels, which would have been more stable.

  7. Brainless
    Posted November 17, 2014 at 12:38 pm | Permalink

    Blankenship’s activity was well-known for years. He blatantly and in full view of daylight bought the government. Those miners, whose grandfathers were some of the first strikers in this country, are now nothing more than shills for The Man. (John Gault got it right this time.) Quite frankly, I’ll be surprised if he does any time.

    If you were looking for symptoms of a true “American society” breaking down, look no further. There is no community in this country anymore. A paycheck is more important than the lives of your coworker, community members, friends and even family members.

  8. Elf
    Posted November 17, 2014 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

    Conditions in mines will get worse, not better. People like cheap energy, and they don’t give a fuck as to how they get it.

  9. Ben
    Posted November 18, 2014 at 11:48 pm | Permalink

    A ) Could you find out if you are related? B ) Could you interview him for the site?

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