TGIF! Still in a Holiday Sugar Coma

Do you Twitter? If not, it’s like CB radio for nerds. You should get all up on it.

Hope you’re enjoying the final few days of your winter holiday. We’ll be back in full force on Monday.

Oh, look, our very own Billy Reed won an important award! [H-L]

Mountaintop Removal open mic night on Wednesday, January 7. Heine Bros in Louisville, Gardiner Lane location. Will feature Erik Reece, author of Lost Mountain, Ron Whitehead, KFTC members and their fancy slide show, music from Appalatin and the KFTC-produced film What We Do To The Land, We Do To The People about mountaintop removal that contains a virtual flyover of active mine sites. 7:00 to 9:00 P.M. [Email Blast]

NASA finally knows what killed those aboard Columbia. A 400-page report, considered graphic, was released between Christmas and the new year. It’s available in four huge PDFs that are filled with photographs, illustrations and video stills from the flight deck. [CNN]

Our new favorite thing: the corrupt Lake Cumberland District Health Department. Voted down a non-smoking measure and then approved a motion to to limit the ability to bring it up again. A health department supporting second-hand smoke. You know, Kentucky really impresses us sometimes. The schadenfreude is priceless. [H-L]

Grampa Steve Beshear’s plan to use coal-tax money for whatever has been burned to the ground by Rocky Adkins. [C-J]

Blue Grass Airport director Michael Gobb has resigned. He resigned this morning in a letter which he read to the airport board.  Maybe the next guy won’t flush money down the toilet? [H-L & His Resignation Letter (PDF Link)]

Ruh ro: Erin Brockovich is headed to Tennessee to rip some new ones over the coal ash spill. [Huffington Post]

Undergarment Alert: Is anyone else itching to see this hot mess called Bruno: Delicious Journeys Through America For The Purpose of Making Heterosexual Males Visibly Uncomfortable In The Presence Of A Gay Foreigner In A Mesh T-Shirt? Cause we are. [More from HuffPo]

Smithsonian Magazine: Mining the Mountains

Yeah, we’re constantly yammering on about how Smithsonian is our favorite magazine. This month’s issue is filled with all kinds of great stories. The article that really caught our attention is about mountaintop removal, what, with the increased focus an all.

So give it a read:

Now coal is back, with a different approach: demolishing mountains instead of drilling into them, a method known as mountaintop coal removal. One project is dismantling the backside of Gauley Mountain, the town’s signature topographical feature, methodically blasting it apart layer by layer and trucking off the coal to generate electricity and forge steel. Gauley is fast becoming a kind of Potemkin peak—whole on one side, hollowed out on the other. Some Ansted residents support the project, but in a twist of local history, many people, former miners included, oppose it, making the town an improbable battleground in the struggle to meet the nation’s rising energy needs.

Since the mid-1990s, coal companies have pulverized Appalachian mountaintops in West Virginia, Kentucky, Virginia and Tennessee. Peaks formed hundreds of millions of years ago are obliterated in months. Forests that survived the last ice age are chopped down and burned. The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that by 2012, two decades of mountaintop removal will have destroyed or degraded 11.5 percent of the forests in those four states, an area larger than Delaware. Rubble and waste will have buried more than 1,000 miles of streams.


“There is not a legal mountaintop mining operation in Appalachia … There literally is not one in full compliance with the law.”


In 2002, the Bush administration rewrote the rule defining mountaintop mining waste in an attempt to work around the legal ban on valley fills. This past October, the Interior Department, pending EPA approval, did away with regulations that ban dumping mine waste within 100 feet of a stream—a rule that’s already routinely ignored (though the EPA recently fined Massey Energy $20 million for violations of the Clean Water Act).

Click here to read the rest…

Day After Christmas, Rainy, Weird Weather

We’re taking it slow for a few days.

Did you bake a birthday cake for your dear lord baby Jesus or whatever? Red velvet with cream cheese icing and you have tons of leftovers? We’re on that.

Nothing is happening in Kentucky because all of our legislators are at home snorting embarrassing themselves in privacy. So we’re just gonna look at some random stuff today.

Michael Gobb, director of Blue Grass Airport, has finally been suspended. With pay, of course. All over his insane and lavish spending habits. Isn’t that how it works? The rich dudes who waste your money always get off easy WITH PAY? [C-J]

This remains one of our favorite Christmas videuhs of all time. [Hulu]

Jim Ramsey said, “The University placed among the top five nationally in seven categories of “Great Colleges to Work For 2008,” a new survey conducted by “The Chronicle of Higher Education.” in his latest email blast. We’re betting the Chronicle wasn’t talking about the CEHD. [Email]

The CIA admits to using Viagra to help win over Afhgan warlords or whatever. For real. Little blue pills. [WaPo]

Woah. This battle between Oldfather and Keane has spilled over to the pages of the Courier-Journal. Reader letters galore. [C-J]

A new New Deal? [TruthOut]

Isn’t it awkward when you’re just cold browsin’ the internets machine and you stumble across a photo from your city? It is when it’s a photo that turns up on Fail Blog. [South End Fail]

Okay, which media outlet is NOT publishing an Obama book or releasing a movie about him? McClatchy (Herald-Leader) has some “compelling portrait of an unprecedented election” thing coming out, which you can pre-order. [H-L PDF]

A look back at 2008. The embarrassing footage from eastern Kentucky that reached the world while Frankfort sat on its hands. Hillary Clinton being adopted by the Commonwealth. Expanded gambling failed. And Ronnie, who must not have spoken to anyone other than Greg Stumbo in months, thinks Jody Richards and Stumbo are “wrestling” for the House Speakership. [Ronnie Ellis]

The coal ash disaster in Tennessee is finally getting wide attention. Knox News has a huge round-up of coverage. [Knox News]

Huge Coal Ash Disaster in Tennessee Yesterday

Have you seen this mess?

It’s pretty awesome, right?

HARRIMAN, Tenn. — Millions of yards of ashy sludge broke through a dike at TVA’s Kingston coal-fired plant Monday, covering hundreds of acres, knocking one home off its foundation and putting environmentalists on edge about toxic chemicals that may be seeping into the ground and flowing downriver.

One neighboring family said the disaster was no surprise because they have watched the 1960s-era ash pond’s mini-blowouts off and on for years.

Check the video:

We Are All Frozen, Not Just On the Inside

Shop at Wal-Mart? Get your credit limit slashed by American Express. For real. “Other customers who have used their card at establishments where you recently shopped have a poor repayment history with American Express.” [AJC]

Oh, look, its Jefferson Poole protesting too much about the gay homosexuals. Again. “Intellectually dishonest” gays? Because they don’t like gay-hating homophobe Rick Warren? Comparing gay people who desire equality to EXTREMIST MUSLIMS? Are you kidding me? Meanwhile, he’s probably sending another email at this very moment proclaiming that he’s not a homophobe. I give this one about, oh, two years til he appears in a pornography for the homosexuals on some “straight” guy website. [Sweet Cheeks]

Looks like we’re not the only customers who get dicked by various businesses when they bill us for their crappy services. He’s miffed at, let’s face it, everything we’re miffed at. Imagine that. [Stephen George]

A group of those mean, awful, homosexual sympathizing environmentalists– including the Kentucky Waterways Alliance– is suing the Interior Department and EPA in an attempt to overturn the latest mountaintop removal crap. The rule, which was made final on December 12th, allows mining companies to ignore stream buffer zones if they’re able to convince regulators (haha, like that’s hard to do) that no other option is available. [C-J]

From the Department of What’s Steve Henry Up to These Days? Henry is speaking to the Mt. Washington City Council tonight about his walking trail in the city. Guess Mt. Washington hasn’t yet figured out that Henry uses the Future Fund as a giant slush fund. Or that he’s tried to personally benefit from the organization by retaining personal ownership of properties. At one point, the prominent Jones family and the parks folks were so incensed at Henry that they had to send him a letter demanding he turn over property or face legal action. [Still Swindling]

House Speaker Jody Richards today joined 36 other state legislative leaders from across the country urging the U.S. Congress to adopt an economic stimulus plan for the U.S. and A. “State governments are uniquely positioned to put this money to work right away,” said Speaker Richards, the only Kentucky legislator to sign the letter. “This plan would create thousands of jobs as we refortify our infrastructure and help stabilize Medicaid, whose rolls have grown tremendously because of this economic crisis. I am proud to sign on in support of this initiative.” [Press Release]

Heine Bros & KFTC Fight Mountaintop Removal

We’re usually not a fain of Heine Brothers’ Coffee because it’s, well, just like Starbucks. And because the owners sucker people into their cult, the ManKind Project, which preys on young members of Alcoholics Anonymous. But this is a good cause. For the next five weeks, Heine Brothers’ Coffee in Louisville will be hosting a show of photography depicting scenes of mountaintop removal from across eastern Kentucky.

Visit the Gardiner Lane location of Heine Bros (3060 Bardstown Rd, by the Watterson Expressway) now through January 14th to view the work and find out how you can stop the devastation of our beautiful Appalachian gem of a Commonwealth.

The show is present jointly with Kentuckians For The Commonwealth. And $0.50 from the sale of every 3/4lb bag of Mountain Dream coffee will be donated to KFTC to further the organization’s efforts to stop mountaintop removal.

And in other news, stream protection legislation has been pre-filed by Rep. Don Pasley.

“This bill would keep mining out of the streams, it’s as simple as that,” said Truman Hurt, a former Perry County coal miner and member of Kentuckians For The Commonwealth.

“The stream saver bill would prevent the appropriation of public waters as waste disposal sites for coal mine wastes, by prohibiting dumping of mine spoil in streams,” Rep. Pasley said as he sponsored similar legislation in the 2008 General Assembly. “I believe it is the best policy for the commonwealth and the long-term health of the region and of our state’s waters.

Since known idiot Jim Gooch is on his way out as chairman of the Natural Resources and Environment Committee, you can bet this will FINALLY get out of committee for a vote.