King Coal Corruption? Surely Not!

What happens when a coal miner videotapes serious safety issues inside a mine and shares the footage with federal mine safety officials? He gets punished by his employer, of course, and then has to file a lawsuit seeking cash.

Yay King Coal and the lovely labor practices this great country employs. Overlooking incidents like this is a great way for the Mine Safety and Health Administration to further improve its lovely image among everyone who pays attention to the world around them.

From the Herald-Leader:

On April 27 last year, Howard, a veteran miner, took video footage of seven mine seals at Cumberland River’s Band Mill No. 2 mine. The seals, constructed to close off abandoned sections of underground coal mines, are supposed to be impenetrable so that explosive methane gas can’t seep into working areas.

These seals were so cracked that water gushed through them, the lawsuit says.

Before videotaping the cracked and leaking seals, Howard had documented the problems in writing in a Cumberland River preshift examination book and had told company officials, including the mine superintendent, two mine foremen, and two section foremen, about the unsafe conditions, the lawsuit says.

After nothing was done, Howard testified at a public hearing held by the Mine Safety and Health Administration in July 2007 and showed those in attendance the video he had taken of the mine seals.

MSHA later cited Cumberland River for multiple seal violations.

After the company was cited, Cumberland River officials gave Howard “a written warning of disciplinary action” for “taking a non-permissible video camera underground.”

Regardless of whether Cumberland River had a company policy about videotaping underground, Oppegard said Thursday, Howard had the right under state law to document and report to MSHA unsafe conditions at the mine.

TGIF Update Dept. Great Flood Edition.

From mayor of Lexington to substitute teacher: Teresa Isaac whips the kiddies into shape in various Fayette County schools. That’s gotta be more fun than listening to a bunch of old codgers fight over crap 24/7. [H-L]

George Clooney’s new movie – Leatherheads – is premiering at the Washington Opera House in Maysville. (Yeah, we know.) Those expected to be in attendance include Gubnuh Steve & Jane along with Heather French Henry and her husband, disgraced former Lt. Gov. Steve Henry. No mention of whether or not Steve will be paying for his ticket with illegal senate campaign fund dollars or misused non-profit funds. [Maysville Ledger Independent]

Giant idiot Jim Gooch is dicking around with his position in the legislature, queening out over the fact that his stupid corruption doesn’t get a leg-up from every committee under the sun. Apparently the committee system is broken because everyone hates his fat ass. Also, Greg Stumbo is gonna pounce on his big, fat ass like ASAP. He’s all fired up. Ugh. When is the mainstream media gonna tear that idiot to bits? What an embarrassment for Kentuckians everywhere. [PolWatchers]

Gay hating, Barack Obama is black! OMG!, scary internets, and David Williams gets scared of some children after the jump…

Read moreTGIF Update Dept. Great Flood Edition.

General David Patraeus for President in 2012?

From Ben at What’s Required:

Let me spell it out very directly for everybody here: David Petraeus will run for President in 2012. Whichever non-white man the Democrats put forth this year will win, and then “King David” will challenge them in four years.

This is bad. Petraeus isn’t Wes Clark. He’s Eisenhower. He’s driven, he’s brilliant, and he wins. Clark was smart, and nice, but not special enough to stand out. Petraeus is a hero.

The war in Iraq was going so terribly that even the most hawkish minds knew that simply “staying the course” wouldn’t do after the disaster that was 2006, and when Dr. David Petraeus (from Princeton, no less!) took the reins, he immediately changed the approach. The author of the Army Counterinsurgency Manual insisted that the Army begin using it in Iraq, and casualties, both Iraqi and American, fell precipitously. He’s setting himself up for the Vietnam narrative all over again: I did my job, it was the politicians who failed. And that’s exactly what’s happening– the surge is creating the military breathing room it intended to. The Iraqis simply are refusing to accomplish their political goals in concert with it, and so the strategy has been doomed (I know, who didn’t see that coming…).

Read the rest

Bill Yung: One big, hot mess

Ralph Dunlop has an eye-opening story about controversial casino honcho Bill Yung and his troubled professional life. Yung, you’ll recall, gave $1 million to the Bluegrass Freedom Fund allegedly in an effort to push Steve Beshear’s gambling initiative. He’s also under investigation in New Jersey and Nevada for some shady casino dealings.

There’s so much going on under the Yung blanket that there’s no way to pick out one issue that’s more crazy than another. Millions to Beshear, $7 million land purchase in northern Kentucky for a future casino, $30 million tax shelter in the Cayman islands, $15.5 million in back taxes and penalties to the IRS, fraudulent Florida residency status to avoid personal income taxes.

No wonder Steve Beshear lied about meeting him! No wonder those visitor logs at the Capitol disappeared.

From Ralph’s story:

Since last May, Yung — a registered Republican in Florida, where he claims legal residency to reduce his taxes — has made political donations totaling $1,049,500 that have at least indirectly buttressed the pro-casino cause championed by Kentucky’s Democratic governor, Steve Beshear.

And earlier this year, according to published reports, Yung paid $7million for land on which to build his hoped-for casino in Kenton County, near Cincinnati, even though expanded gambling in Kentucky appears no better than a long shot.

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The 67-year-old Yung also has run afoul of the Internal Revenue Service for a questionable $30million tax shelter in the Cayman Islands, which Missouri gaming officials have questioned along with his Florida residency and nearly $100,000 worth of personal items that Yung charged to corporate credit cards in 2003 and 2004.

Just who is Bill Yung and what kind of history does he have? Make sure you read the rest of the story

Oh Snap Monday! Stock Market Dies Edition

Governor Steve Beshear admits one of the following: he’s a hack who will break the law like woah and doesn’t want to be caught or he has no idea what on earth email is. Take your pick. Ralph Long chimes in, too. [H-L, Ralph Long]

Kentucky and Indiana are in a unique position with the Democratic presidential primary this year: bend over. Both Barack Osama and Hillary Clintoon are going to kill us all with their commercials, bumper stickers, yard signs and door knocking. Words of advice: act like you do when the Jehovah’s Witnesses show up. [C-J]

In case you didn’t know, Wall Street is dying and you’re going to lose your house like right now. Bear Stearns is being snatched up by JPMorgan for a mere $2 per share. Bear Stearns was at more than $170 per share last January, for reference. So, hopefully, some more crap will go down and we’ll not only be able to buy a new condo for cheap but also take several vacations this year. Cross your fingers. [Financial Times]

And the Fed has cut lending rates to financial institutions to 3.25%. World. Is. Ending. [Yahoo! Business]

Well? Crackhead or Leprechaun? We pick crackhead. How bout you? [Barefoot & Progressive]

Now Louisville’s Chris Thieneman says he’s potentially back in the congressional race since he didn’t file proper paperwork to withdraw. All we can say is this is a jacked up situation. Rick will probably have more on this later today. [Hebert]

Pork Barrel McConnell Still Pushes Immunity

What the hell is with Mitch McConnell STILL pushing for telecom immunity in the wake of the ILLEGAL wiretapping the Bush Administration pushed after the terra-ist attacks of September 11, 2001?

Why can’t these major corporations defend themselves? Why do they get to hide behind George Dubya’s crew and people like Senator McConnell? Why shouldn’t the entire country get to find out what sixteen telecom providers did that may or may not have been illegal and in violation of the very freedoms that make this country a country?

From the CNN Money feed:

WASHINGTON -(Dow Jones)- The U.S. House of Representatives approved with a 213-to-197 vote Friday legislation that would allow telephone companies to use secret court proceedings to defend themselves from civil lawsuits for their alleged participation in the Bush administration’s warrantless wiretapping program.
-SNIP-
The administration has confirmed the existence of a warrantless wiretapping program in the wake of the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, but has never confirmed the participation of phone companies such as AT&T Inc. (T) and Verizon Communications Inc. (VZ).
-SNIP-
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., called the bill “irresponsible, ” saying it had no chance of being signed into law.

“This bill…has set back every effort the Senate made on a bipartisan basis to enact responsible national security legislation this year,” McConnell said.

The House-passed bill differs from the blanket immunity that would be granted telephone companies in a Senate version of the bill and being demanded by the White House.

Rumors on the Internets. Wednesday Edition.

Greg Stumbo no longer has an opponent. Chuck Meade is calling it quits, saying he’s talked it over with his family. But he couldn’t bow out without criticizing all of Stumbo’s supporters and friends. We love it when politicians get their panties in a twist. But not as much as we love how Greg Stumbo has totally taken control of the House. [PolWatchers]

The Courier-Journal’s editorial board favors Steve Beshear’s streamlined procedure for restoring voting rights to convicted felons who have served out their sentences. But some crazies in the comment section certainly disagree! [C-J]

Heather French Henry, the woman who loved staring at our pageant-esque beauty during the Wendell Ford Dinner a couple weeks ago, is working the circuit in Wisconsin these days. Ticket price is $125 to hear her speak about her “inspiring” experience on the road to becoming Miss America, Kentucky’s second lady and a woman with some serious attitude. You can also part with $50 for a “private consultation.” Oy, we smell the crazy pageant moms slowly killing their little girls with Aqua Net right now. [Pageant Crap]

More after the jump… discharges and KDP funnies…

Read moreRumors on the Internets. Wednesday Edition.