A major change occurred in Kentucky just a few years ago. For 350 years the population had been rural, the change came when city and environs populations out numbered others. Often we long for a return to simpler times, times when neighbors were neighborly and all were alike in eking a living from farming. Forgotten are the callouses, sweat and blisters. Farm folks knew animals quite well, even the smallest tyke knew the difference between a donkey and a jack. Girls knew from experience that an old jack was likely to bite or kick them. They little understood the vendetta the jack showed in singling them out. Times change but old jacks, such as the one we send to Washington,continue to bite and kick females. Just ask Ms. Ashley.
The old jack has an affinity for coal, we have his word on that. Unfortunately he does not share this affinity equally with miners and mine owners. He cozies up to the Kentucky Coal Association—a group of twenty two coal mine owner members such as Peabody Energy, Alliance, and Patriot---it is not surprising that there are no coal miners in their list of members as annual dues are as much as $12,000. This is the bunch who has foisted on Kentuckians the impression that they somehow represent miners. The results are 50,000 license plates with the motto “FRIENDS of COAL” when it should read “FRIENDS OF COAL BIG MONEY.” We have really been snookered. Miners deserve better.
The old jack has been a denier or negligent or an idiot to have sat on his rump in D.C. eating carrots fed to him by big money. Two decades of forecasts for diminished coal use, mining and burning with an attendant residual effects that are clearly harmful to children and other living things are not state secrets. A powerful jack could have used his influence to legislate retraining, education, and job opportunities for displaced miners. A diligent jack would have made an all out push to make “clean coal” clean. The exact opposite of concern for miners has been reported by Kentucky.com in pointing out the “tag team” nature seemingly existed between the old jack and his jenny. Any undesired coal action that got by the jenny could be buttonholed by the jack or simply kicked clean out of the pasture.
As chief overseer of for mine safety and health the jenny took a “relaxed” attitude in regulating coal mines according to reports per Kentucky.com. The old jack denied any interface with the jenny concerning mine oversight---what a horrible admission for an imitation champion of coal miners to make. Why did he not get out the buggy whip and get after the jenny to do the utmost to protect miners?
The old jack is now like all old jacks, crafty, sly, self aggrandizing, and often will bite and kick without purpose. He should be harnessed to a farm wagon, replete with a license plate reading”BIG COAL MONEY'S BEST FRIEND”, and confined to roam around the pasture, not needing to be “fixed” because he has done this to himself as reparation for his misdeeds to Kentuckians and especially miners. Unfortunately he will not be around to witness the misery, mayhem, and suffering that will come, the fruit of the seeds sown by a jack who once wore the chief obstructionist crown.
The topic for this week's Sunday Train was brought to my mind when I listened to the Energy Gang podcast. They were discussing the question of whether "CSP (that is, concentrated thermal solar power) is dead", and the always entertaining, but not uniformly informative, "energy futurist" Jigar Shah declared that "CSP is dead" (segment starts 30:29), backing the claim up with a set of bullet points that fell far short of supporting the claim. And listening to the set of bullet points, it seemed to me that he was talking in the context of the phase of the transition to renewable energy that we are presently in, and ignoring the phase of the transition that we will have to pass through if we are to survive as a national economy and national economy.
In short, he seemed to be talking more as an energy presentist than an energy futurist, claiming that there was no plausible position for solar CSP power based on both the technology currently rolled out for a technology that is experiencing rapid development, and on context of renewable energy being added to an energy system which is untenable over the long term.
But I do not mean to single out Jigar Shah, since as I have recently been exploring various discussion spaces talking about various issues in the roll-out of renewable energy, cross-talk between the different phases of the transition to renewable energy seems to be commonplace. So what I wish to write about this Sunday afternoon is the "Two Transitions" to renewable energy: the Current Transition and the Next Transition.
"Mitch McConnell's a guy who's made a cottage industry out of hatred for the president of the United States," says Kentucky State Treasurer Todd Hollenbach, a Democrat.
A lot of Kentuckians buy what the senator is selling.
Many of them are white folks who still can’t get over the fact that the country elected, then re-elected, an African American president. More than a few of these white folks live a long way from Easy Street.
McConnell is a millionaire whose politics are calculated to make the rich richer.
He despises unions. He’s for keeping tax breaks for American companies that move factories to cheap labor countries.
He loathes government programs that help anybody who needs help. He’d love to gut Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid and, of course, deep six the Affordable Care Act.
He hates laws that do things like protect workers’ lives and limbs on the job, shield the environment against polluters and ensure the products we consume are safe.
At the same time, McConnell is all for lavishing hefty tax breaks on rich people like himself and on big corporations while tossing tax crumbs to working stiffs like me.
McConnell wins elections largely by making political hay off multitudes of my fellow Kentuckians who are of modest means and who benefit from the very government programs he wants to wipe out.
New York Times AUSTIN, Tex. — A grand jury indicted Gov. Rick Perry on two felony counts on Friday, charging that he abused his power last year when he attempted to pressure the district attorney here, a Democrat, to step down by threatening to cut off state financing to her office. Read more.
Remember Mitch McConnell proudly posting this YouTube video of Rick Perry endorsing him?
Don’t be surprised when Team Mitch takes the video down.
Timing is everything in politics, for better or worse.
The National Rifle Association is sending a mailer into Kentucky portraying Mitch McConnell as the savior of the Second Amendment against President Barack Obama and – wait for it – Michael Bloomberg, the millionaire anti-coal guy on whose foundation board the senator’s spouse sits.
Bloomberg is also for tougher gun control laws.
Okay, it’s Bloomberg Philanthropies’ anti-coal stand that has put Chao in the news because her husband says coal is the love of his political life.
But if I were McConnell, the last thing I’d want to see in the Bluegrass State is anything with Bloomberg’s mug on it.
The buzz over the Bloomberg board giving $50 million to the Sierra Club’s anti-coal campaign seemed about to die down. Now comes a flier telling Kentuckians that Chao’s boss on the board is one half of the “OBAMA/BLOOMBERG GUN CONTROL AGENDA.” Bloomberg has pledged $50 million of his personal fortune toward candidates who will vote for stronger gun laws.
So where does the flier leave the significant other of Kentucky’s NRA-backed senior senator?
"If she [Chao] is on that board and he [McConnell] definitely is for coal, I think it's time for her to resign," Marilyn Kirtley, a Team Mitch player, told a Louisville TV reporter.
Chao says she’s not stepping down and her husband supports her.
I wonder how many McConnell partisans who got the flier would say the same thing Kirtley said but would now add “guns” to “coal.”
Naturally, the flier ignores Alison Lundergan Grimes, the Democrat who wants McConnell’s job. “She’s anti-coal!” is McConnell’s manta.
The union-busting coal barons have put their big bucks behind McConnell. The United Mine Workers of America has endorsed Grimes. Interestingly, McConnell, the supposed gun guy, has yet to accept her invitation to meet on a gun range, hallowed ground to the NRA faithful.
Team Switch has steered clear of the Chao/Bloomberg board fray, though some big-name Bluegrass State Democrats have called for Chao to resign.
Anyway, you can bet the farm if Grimes’s hubby were on the Bloomberg board, McConnell would muster his trademark affected high dudgeon, call a press conference and demand that he quit.