The Devastation of Mountaintop Mining

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I visited eastern Kentucky at the invitation of Marianne, a friend from school, and her husband Jim. While there, we met many people engaged in fighting mountaintop removal and took an air tour of the mining sites. Appropriately enough, after our tour, we landed at Wendell Ford airport, the site of a former mountaintop mine now turned into a flat table where a steep mountain had once been. Greeting us at the airport were posters claiming that “coal is the future,” with photos that can only be described as Orwellian:

  • Before: a mountain, looking barren and useless.
  • During: big trucks and bulldozers, implying jobs.
  • After: animals and grasses and specific claims that reclamation of mined areas “improves” the land.

The lie represented by those photos was seen clearly from the air where all we could see for miles was barren rock, not fertile productive farms. Rick, who has lived in the area his entire life, told us that there are no animals in mined areas. Animals, he explained, need nuts to last through the winter. Nuts obviously come from trees and the biggest piece missing from these lands are trees.

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Thursday Afternoon Ice Disaster Craziness

Since everyone has frozen to death or still don’t have fancy things like running water or electricity, we figure we’ll just do a quick update. After spending nearly two hours digging our old Jeep out of an ice cave or whatever and using a chainsaw (yeah, we’re tough, rawr!) to remove the fallen trees surrounding it, we’re pretty much spent for the day. So. Hope you’re warm and such.

This is easily one of the funnier things we’ve read in a few days. Denial, denial, denial. Thank goodness for Fail Blog. [Huge Fail]

Remember that voter fraud mess Sarah Palin was going crazy over? Yeah, all of one person committed fraud. One. [Wonkette]

The Public Service Commission’s latest release says the ice storm outages top 607,000 customers. The total exceeds Hurricane Ike (600k) and is now the worst on record in the Commonwealth of Kentucky. Utilities are telling the PSC that outages will extend into next week and beyond. Repair crews from other states have begun arriving in Kentucky to assist with restoration efforts, thankfully. [Press Release]

International Game Technology, the company Bob Babbage lobbies for, is laying off an additional 200 employees today. That’s in addition to a cut of 500 last November. Guess they’ll be lobbying extra-hard now to make up for lost sales? Just a thought. [Money Central]

Woah – the wind industry now employs more people than coal. Imagine that. [CNN]

Mitch McConnell warns of impending abyss for the GOP. “”We’re all concerned about the fact that the very wealthy and the very poor, the most and least educated, and a majority of minority voters, seem to have more or less stopped paying attention to us,” McConnell said Thursday. “And we should be concerned that, as a result of all this, the Republican Party seems to be slipping into a position of being more of a regional party than a national one.” [The Hill]

Marc Ambinder has more on Mitch McConnell’s diagnosis for the Republican Party. [The Atlantic]

Governor Steve Beshear’s approval rating has taken a dip according to the latest Survey USA/WHAS 11 News poll. His current approval rating is 48%, down from 52% in October. [SurveyUSA]

American Idol apologized to Louisville. It made Perez Hilton, so, it’s kind of majorly hilarious. You’ll need to read it. [Perez Hilton]

Monday Afternoon Dept of Blizzard Eve Fear!

First, how hilarious is it that Daniel Mongiardo announced his campaign for the U.S. Senate today but wouldn’t make himself available for television interviews?

The Hill thinks Crit Luallen is a man. It’s almost like they don’t know how to use the Google machine. And they obviously don’t know how to check their own archives for interviews that clearly state she’s a female. Nice job. [The Hill]

The Kentucky Folklife Program is collecting documentation of inaugural celebrations. It, along with the American Folklife Center, would like to receive a copy of recordings made between January 16 and January 25 to include in their collection of President Barack Obama’s inauguration records. Visit this site for required forms and mailing regulations to be submitted by February 26. Or for further assistance, contact KHS folklife program director Bob Gates at 502-564-1792 x 4481 or by email at [Press Release]

Governor Beshear is asking all state agencies for a 6.7% budget cut. This is getting nightmarish. [Mark Hebert]

The Kentucky Club for Growth links to our story about J. Marshall Hughes and says he’ll hold the line on taxes. Unfortunately, KCG neglects to mention that Hughes has a major problem paying his own taxes and has had several government liens placed against him.  Isn’t it boldly hypocritical to link to the story and avoid mentioning the content of the story itself? [KCG]

Joe Sonka was able to sum up Daniel Mongiardo’s campaign of homophobia and love of mountaintop removal in under 100 words. And it is, indeed, great news that Kim Geveden is running the show. [Barefoot & Progressive]

And the dirty librul media barons at LEO are reminding readers of Daniel Mongiardo and his past foibles. [LEO’s FatLip]

Can we put this rumor to rest? Andrew Horne is not running for the U.S. Senate. [BlueGrassRoots]

Governor Steve Beshear and the University of Louisville today announced a gift to create a renewable energy research center at the University. $20 million from Henry and Rebecca Conn. Henry Conn is a “senior executive advisor for corporations” and previously worked with A.T. Kearney, Tarkenton Conn & Co and TRW, Inc. [Stephenie Steitzer & C-J]

It’s ten years later and the first hand transplant still works. Rick has all the details from today’s press conference at Jewish Hospital. [The ‘Ville Voice]

OMG. Watch the Blagojevich clip from The View today if you get a chance. Joy Behar roughed him up and then messed up his hair! She tried to get him to do an impression of Richard Nixon. “I am not a crook!”  I knew I watched these hateful ladies for a reason.  That reason is today. [Huffington Post]

A large group of citizens in Lexington are urging Lexington Vice Mayor to run for Mayor in 2010. Join the Facebook group. [Jim Gray in 2010]

TGIF! Cold Will Return Way Too Soon

The weekend is finally here and we couldn’t be happier. We’ll be in meetings for most of the morning, so enjoy the few posts we’ve got scheduled.

In other news, Jennifer Moore attacked poor old Jim Bunning for attending the very Bluegrass Ball she attended. Quite the hypocrisy, really, considering she told people she only wanted to stick around as the now-disgraced KDP chair long enough to attend the balls herself. It’s too bad the Beshear Administration can’t find anyone to wants to be the new, non-disgraced chair. Otherwise she’d already have moved back to full-time ambulance chasing.

Deep thoughts on gambling in the Commonwealth of Kentucky: Greg Stumbo spent his time before the Licensing & Occupations Committee talking about being a Southern Baptist and how all the Southern Baptists are saying his video slot machine/racino bill really isn’t expanding gambling. We’d sure like to hear what some actual Southern Baptists think about that. Maybe a seminary student or two? [Just Wondering]

John Mark Toby, president of the state affiliate of the Southern Baptist Convention, certainly objects to Stumbo’s false claim that Southern Baptists are standing up in support of expanded gambling. [C-J]

Mitch McConnell is still terrified of organized labor and now Code Pink. [Politico]

It’s time for you to raise money for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Kentuckiana to help them find mentors for kids in need. So bowl for kids’ sake February 11th or 25th. [Clicky Clicky]

Yesterday Daniel Mongiardo filmed a Public Service Announcement about his experience with colon cancer at the VA Hospital in Louisville. Mongiardo discussed the importance of early detection, risk assessment testing and the need for widespread attentiveness to this often overlooked disease. We can’t help but wonder if he discussed colorectal cancer with the Hooters gals from yesterday. [Colon Cancer Prevention]

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Inaugural Celebration Giveaway Thanks

We owe a special debt of gratitude to the great folks at Sustain for their generosity. The green lifestyle store (3724 Frankfort Avenue, Louisville) provided us with awesome t-shirts and water bottles as a giveaway for our readership that couldn’t make it to Tuesday night’s celebration.

We stopped by the store recently and want to share some pictures we snapped in anticipation of their grand reopening planned for late February. The store is open right now, but will be stocking thousands of great new products over the next few weeks. So stay tuned for that.

Without further ado, take a look and stop by their store sometime.

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Wednesday Dept of New Presidenting

Thanks to all who attended the inaugural luncheon yesterday and to those who came out to the party last evening. Was definitely a success and tons of fun.

We’re getting a late start this morning, thanks to meetings, so we’ll share this gem of a comment left earlier: “Last night, Lewis Black, show 2, Wet Willie’s downtown Louisville…. (After much maligning of the term ‘Kentuckiana’)… “So what’s with Mitch McConnell anyway? He’s yours, right? What’s he storing in those cheeks?? Enough nuts for nuclear winter?” HAHAHA.

We were at our fancy party last night and couldn’t participate in John Yarmuth’s conference call. So we have to rely on a common reporter (hehe, we kid) to reveal that Yarmuth sais he believes we should investigate George W. Bush for war crimes. And for unauthorized eavesdropping and torture. He says Bush overstepped his power and should have sought congressional approval. Snap. [Mark Hebert]

Court of Appeals rules that Kentucky can’t shut out internet gambling sites. Maybe now the Beshear Administration will realize you can’t pull ignorant crap like this without knowing what you’re talking about? [The ‘Ville Voice]

This is what happens when a city government offers one cable provider a monopoly. [Fat Lip]

This opener from Halimah Abdullah is priceless: Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and fellow Republicans received a reception Tuesday that rivaled the frigid winter weather as thousands of inauguration attendees greeted GOP officials with boos, chants, hisses and — in some cases — stony silence. [Bluegrass Politics]

Human-induced global warming is real, according to a survey of 3,146 scientists. What nutbag will Jim Gooch drag out of a cave to deny it this time? [CNN]

This is either terrifying or hilarious. Barack Obama Chia Pets? Really? [AmericaBlog]

Some Letters to the Editor several mouth-breathers sent to LEO last week didn’t play so well to its readership. Check out all the reaction letters in this week’s edition. [LEO Weekly]

A Green Team Film For Kentucky

You may remember that the state is sponsoring a Green Team Film Festival, a project that will promote green living and film making in Kentucky.

There’s an impressive panel of judges (Ashley Judd, Gill Holland, Bob Edwards, Nappy Roots) and $1,000 prizes in each of three categories, the idea being that the films encourage energy savings and green living.Winners will be announced March 16.

That led to the creation of “The Collaborative” a group of five Louisville filmmakers who share an interest in film and share equipment to complete various projects.

One member of The Collaborative, Brennan Clark, entered and won a national contest to produce an Aquafresh toothpaste commercial, and was part of a team that won the local 48-Hour Film Festival. I met him at Monday’s Ville Voice Breakfast of Champions, where he agreed to film the event (we’ll have that for you soon!).

The Collaborative produced this PSA as its entry in the Kentucky Green Team Film Festival, and it’s pretty cool. Take a look: