O/T: I Vent My Spleen

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Tonight I weep for the miner's families in West Virgina who have lost loved ones in this latest mine disaster.
According to reports, lots of major safety violations that were not corrected at this mine.
Due to the current political environment, that doesn't surprise me.
They don't call this place "West By God" for nothing.
Less than 2 million people inhabit this state.
Proud people live here, most trapped here by economics as well as a love of the place they call home.
Most are destined to work the mines.
There are few other jobs that will support a family.
I once called on the mines, both deep and strip.
Got as close as the entrance, which was close enough.
Don't think I would have had the guts to go down into the mine.
As far as strip mining is concerned, take a look at a typical drag line, say "Little Egypt" which has operated in SE Ohio for years.
What the strip mines have done to the once fertile lands of SE Ohio, is quite another matter.
When the news came in that all but one miner had perished, it brought back memories of times past.
From 1946-1950, We were returning to a peace time economy, Truman was president, John L Lewis was the bushy eyebrowed leader of the United Mine Workers, and reports of miners being trapped down in a mine were not uncommon.
Pennsylvania, West Virgina, Kentucky, Southern Illinois, the location made no difference, they all claimed miners.
The results were predictable. The miners bodies were recovered, seldom rescued.
People would then forget about the disaster, and put another shovel of coal on the fire.
During this period, coal was king. It was the energy source of choice.
Steam engines were still in service on the railroads.
Steam power was used to generate electricity as well as operate industrial plants.
During this time, my father was a boiler fireman. He shoveled a lot of coal.
John L Lewis would take the miners out on strike, Truman would employ the Taft-Hartley.
Sooner or later, a new contract was signed.
Meanwhile, the miners continued to be screwed.
Back then, the "Company Store" still flourished.
Under ground mining was and still is one of the most dangerous jobs on the planet.
It is now almost 60 years later and not much seems to have changed.
When will they ever learn, when will they ever learn as the line from the protest song goes.
Lew
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Good post, Lew. My father-in-law earned enough money right after WWII working in a coal mine to buy extra acreage for his farm. As soon as that was up and running, he left the mines forever. I've seen photographs and talked to miners, and you could not get me down in one with a shotgun.
I listened a couple days ago to some snotball female national news type state that most miners make around $700 a week, not much money. Obviously, she has never lived in Appalachia, but she also doesn't know a whole lot about working 60 and 65 hours a week in a hole a half mile underground, when the money becomes far better, and your family has a better life.
John L. Lewis. Oh, man. I hadn't thought of him in ages, though Truman had popped to mind recently, as happens when you start thinking about probity and courage in politics, something we have seen a severe shortage of for several decades, but are now finding totally lacking.
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I'm with you, Lew. We have no huge deep coal mines (to my knowledge) in Texas. However, in my years in construction I have talked to and worked with all manner of blue collar trades, coal mining being no exception. The guys I talked to seemed to have a sad, soulful understanding of the risks and what they faced, and due to lack of other opportunities many of their family members were in that industry.
The description of being inside a deep coal mine seemed like a descent into hell. No thanks. I would (and did) take decking apartments in 110 degree summer time heat over some gawdawful job like that.
I was horrified to see what happened to the families of those men. I don't care how the leak/announcement/overheard conversation/bad information or any other horseshit came about. I just cannot imagine hoping against all odds, then thinking you have been blessed by God, then have it all taken away again.
My heart goes out to all of those people.
Robert
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I remember in the late 80's a mining accident near here, Hopkins county, The guys were working in a strip mine. Out in the open air. They were working near the high walls when the earth let go and fell in on them. There is no safe job in a coal mine. 6 guys died that day, all well known, all had families. The guys in the office keep pushing the pencils.
Tom in KY, often called the heart of the coalfield.
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snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

I was having a bout of insomnia. I came into my office, popped on the tube and saw the elation, the rejoicing...I got caught up in it...Way to go!! and all that...a really nice buzz...as I was peeking at the tube between drawings.. I may have said Hallelujah out loud... . . then the cold agony of realizing that nothing could have hurt those families more, in a worse way. . . . I felt sick to my stomach
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One thing that hasn't been addressed yet is how the news media took and ran with this story, apparently without bothering to attempt to get official confirmation. After all, that confirmation might have taken them 15 to 20 minutes and lost them the scoop. Not only did the families of those miners suffer such an agonizing let-down because someone at the scene thought they heard something and just couldn't wait to get on the phone to someone else, since the news media (the professional reporters) really stepped on their d!*&$s rushing to be the first to report the story, the rest of us who had been praying for a successful rescue similar to the last accident were also affected -- albeit by orders of magnitude less than the families. This was then one of those cases where the company was then caught in a no-win situation -- they did not immediately know all of the facts either, so what were they to do, tell people to stop celebrating, or wait until they had all the facts?
+--------------------------------------------------------------------------------+ If you're gonna be dumb, you better be tough +--------------------------------------------------------------------------------+
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I was wondering about that too. Or was the "official" confirmation screwed up too? This story is far from over.
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wrote in message

I seem to recall some official or company type getting a garbled message and leaping to conclusions here. How the media got a hold if, I don't know, but IIRC, the families did NOT find out from the media, but from someone closer to the situation.
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On Sat, 07 Jan 2006 11:22:40 GMT, "Charles Self"

Seems there were two information paths stemming from a single event. The first, someone at the command center (who was not an official spokesperson) heard a message, "we found them!", took that to mean they had found them alive and rushed to call the relatives based upon that incomplete set of information. This set off a round of celebrations and church bell ringing that got the attention of reporters. In the two accounts I read, the reporters heard the celebration and saw people running in the street shouting, "they found them alive! (or only 1 dead, the accounts I read varied on that detail)". That is what the reporters then broadcast live rather than as they should have done, contacting the company officials to get the real story. Now, this was based on stories written immediately folowing the event. That can be both good and bad, on the good side, nobody had yet had a chance to come up with a story to cover themselves, on the negative side, it was based upon preliminary impressions that may or may not have been accurate.
+--------------------------------------------------------------------------------+ If you're gonna be dumb, you better be tough +--------------------------------------------------------------------------------+
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[snipped an excellent synopsis of what transpired live on CNN due to brevity]
Chicken/egg, dog wagging tail etc... what I saw was that Anderson Cooper (AC) was approached by a very excited chum of one of the miners who told AC that they found "twelve alive, twelve alive". AC wanted to find out where he got the info. Then he heard the jubilation and reported the events as they unfolded. At no time did CNN state categorically that they were found alive, they always prefaced any comments with "we are told" "Story has" "people are saying". I'm no Cooper fan, but I found him very guarded and reserved until the 'buzz' became so overwhelming That it "must be true". On several occasions did he mention that he was awaiting official confirmation.
It was very unfortunate that the rumour flared up like it did, but to try the pin all that on the media, in this case, is unfair. I said; "In This Case."...because quite often they are bloodsucking vultures who don't give a rat's ass about people's feelings.
They reported the rumour. They did not start the rumour. This time.
r
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Charles Self wrote:

I was about 7 when "Give'em Hell Harry" took office. Still one of my favorite presidents.
But I remember being really pissed off when Roosevelt died They interrupted "Terry and the Pirates" to announce his death!
--
It's turtles, all the way down

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Oh., horrors! Right up there with interrupting Jack Armstrong, All American Boy. I think you're older than I am, unless I've got my dates confused. I was 6 when Truman took office, I think. Or almost 6.
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Charles Self wrote:

I'm 68.
BTW, I also remember sitting at the kitchen table with my parents listening to the first A-bomb test that was broadcast. Being a small boy, I was anticipating the world's largest "boom". I was really upset when all we got was some very loud static :-).
--
It's turtles, all the way down

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Ya got me by a year. My memory doesn't pull that one up, which is probably a good thing.
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[snipped for brevity]
The fat cats can't make any money without some good men taking chances with their lives in order to give their families a better life.
The cozy relationship between the fat cats and the MSHA 'inspectors' is a sham.
I have done a few things in my life which, in retrospect, I did because of 'pressure from above'. Allowing stuff like pounding steel wedges in the safety valves of a boiler in order to get the rated output from the generators.
Having the operators light 500MW boilers after half the required purge time.... because 'upstairs' wants to be on line in time and there ain't no union for shift supervisors...
In first year college, summer job, taking a 14-foot dinghy towing a floating fuel line (to supply fuel to a weather station in the Arctic) from the reel on the aft deck of a tanker in weather which was clearly too high risk...but the skipper wanted to be back in time for his bonus.
That summer in the Arctic...wow.. the sights.."it's just ice, Robbie..."
Peace out.
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For those of you who took a trip down memory lane remembering radio programs of your youth such as Jack Armstrong, The Green Hornet, Sgt Preston, Sky King, etc.
How many of you remember Capt'n Midnight or even better, how many of you still have your secret decoder ring?
Lew
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It's curious to think how very, very different the Wreck is going to be in the next 10 years or so. I had a LOT more of the regulars pegged probably 20 - 25 years younger than they really are.
--
Life. Nature's way of keeping meat fresh. -- Dr. Who

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Me too. Like that now-famous cartoon "On the net nobody knows you're a dog", age is sometimes very difficult to notice, especially in a timeless hobby like woodworking. It all comes down to this: you're only as old as the woman you feel.
Rob, since 1949
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I'm a '59, myself.
And a gentleman never discusses the woman he's feeling.
--
"Do I want my girlfriend to look like you? No! I want her to have secondary
sexual characteristics!" -- Ed the Sock
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Robatoy wrote:
>It all comes down to this: you're only as old as the woman you feel. > >Rob, since 1949
Dave Balderstone wrote:
> I'm a '59, myself. > > And a gentleman never discusses the woman he's feeling.
Good grief, a couple of rookies.
I attended my 50th high school class renunion this fall.
You do the math.
BTW, any discussion of women in my life is not for this list.
Lew
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