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Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Virginia Blog Carnival

The VBC is up at A Prince William Citizen. Check it out!

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Bad Day for Democrats

It was a bad day for the democrats. Alito gets the up or down vote he deserves after all the BS only 25 democrats opposed cloture. Over at Kos they were eating their own. The most common remarks were about not giving any more money to the DNC. This is great news as Drudge reports that the DNC has only $5.5 million compared to the RNC $34 million bankroll. Many democrats are not happy with Howard Dean, but the republicans are. Did Harry Reid take that tribe money or not? Dean said any democrat who did is in trouble. Reid in an interview on Fox called Dems On the Defensive has no idea who makes policy for the democrats. Here in Virginia Raising Kaine is heartbroken that Webb went deaf to their pleas to run against Sen Allen. Maybe Lowell will run. Heh. Bush is up to 50% approval in the latest poll. What a day! What are the democrats going to do you ask? Blackmail of course. From Redstate:

Democrats Blackmail United States Senator

That should be the headline for certain Democrats pushing this tactic. A lefty activist threatened a United States Senator, informing the Senator that should he vote for cloture on Samuel Alito, the activist would out the married Senator as a homosexual. Because of this Senator's vote, the activist intends now to out him at an inopportune time during the Senator's re-election bid this year.

Amazing......I will stop here because I am sure you get the picture.

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Monday, January 30, 2006

W.Va. Miner Killed in Fire Is Buried - A Different View

This article has a different view about the coal mines. It also has some pictures.

They honored the fallen miner in the fashion of a fire fighter. 40 coal trucks took part in the funeral and a huge crowd was on hand.

"In West Virginia, we're all family," Baker said. "We know how firefighters and policemen honor their own and we feel our miners deserve to be honored in a similar way."

Mourner Bruce Holbrook, who left the mine last March for a better-paying job at another coal mine, said he doesn't blame Massey Energy for the death of his friends.

"It's just a way of life. It could happen where I work now. It could happen anywhere," he said.

I think the people there are tired of being told how bad their jobs are. I wonder why the fact that mining is safer than ever with deaths at an all time low was not driven home by the MSM.

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Virginia's best e-zine

The new edition of Bacon's Rebellion is out. The e-zine is top notch as always. A couple of my favorite articles this week are

Kaine's Plan Doesn't Cut It

Tim Kaine's transportation plan will cost more money - and it won't work.

by Patrick McSweeney


The Big, Bad Warner

Mark Warner is touring the country telling fables about his fiscal conservatism, i.e. ramming through a tax hike in a red state. Why, Governor, what big lies you have.

by Steven Sisson

Great articles one and all!

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Sunday, January 29, 2006

The Barter and a timely Play.

The 2006 season at The Barter Theatre , located in Abingdon, VA, opens February 1st. The theater received it's name from the practice of trading goods for admission. The history page has this:

During the Depression, Robert Porterfield, an enterprising young actor, returned to his native Southwest Virginia with an extraordinary proposition: Bartering produce from the farms and gardens of the region to gain admission to see a play.

So on June 10, 1933, Barter Theatre opened its doors, making Barter Theatre one of the oldest professional theatres in the nation. Proclaiming "With vegetables you cannot sell, you can buy a good laugh." The price of admission was 40 cents or the equivalent of produce. About 80 percent of the Depression-era audience paid their way with vegetables, dairy products and livestock.

The "Ham for Hamlet" continues at least once a season and the proceeds go to the area food bank. The Barter has two stages and a cafe close by. If you have the chance go see a play at the Barter by all means do so. Explore the web site and I am sure it will garner your interest. The 2006 calender can be found here. The first play is Laying In State by David C. Hyer. I caught it last year and I thought it was great. The play is a first rate political comedy:

The late state senator has been laid to rest as a result of a ridiculous gun accident that has made him into a national hero. The local political party officials are strenuously looking for someone to fill his Senate seat. His ex-wife is looking for a bugler to play for his funeral. And Buttons, the stripper, and a host of other zany characters are looking for love, votes, the right casket, and a big purple squirrel named Mel - all in this madcap comedy about love and politics in a world where everything is not what is seems.

That should fit right in after this weeks happenings at the capital. The timing for this play is right on target and I plan to see it again. Abingdon is my favorite city around SWVA. With the recent trend of Virginia's bloggers getting together, I would like to see that happen here in SWVA. Rooms at the Martha Washington Inn, catch a play at the Barter, and then a nice dinner at The Tavern built in 1779. I could go for that. The three above mentioned places are rich in history. I hope everyone who reads this will check out the links and make plans to visit. If you do, you will see how lucky Chad, Brian, Charlie, Steve, Mandy, Adam, and myself are to live close by.

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Friday, January 27, 2006

Randal McCloy moved to rehab center

It looks like a long road is ahead for Sago's miracle survivor. The latest update has this

Family members of the lone survivor of the Sago Mine disaster believe he has weeks, possibly months, of therapy ahead of him at a rehabilitation center where he was transferred.

Randal McCloy Jr., 26, remained in fair condition, no longer in a coma but still unable to speak, doctors said Thursday after he was taken to the center.

"The family is very pleased with his progress," said family spokeswoman Aly Goodwin Gregg. "However, they are fully aware that the recovery process is still ongoing, and it will be a long process. We're talking about weeks and months."

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Reid not charged

Reid was not charged according to the RTD.

The Capitol Police investigated the incident and spoke to the Richmond Commonwealth Attorney's office. Both agreed it was an accident, said Maj. Mike Jones of the Capitol Police. No charges were filed.
"Any time a weapon discharges absent a malfunction, it is considered operator error," Jones said. "Somebody made a mistake and fortunately it was not tragic."

Reid had this to say about it

The office door was shut. He said he took the .380-caliber Kel-Tec pistol out of his front coat pocket, pulled it from its case, and was pushing the button on the grip to release the magazine when it went off. The gun doesn't have a safety, he said. The slide cut his right hand between his thumb and forefinger, "so obviously I wasn't holding it correctly," he said. "When the slide comes back, it comes back off the back of the weapon and it cut my hand."

When asked if he will continue to carry Reid said "I have some soul-searching to do about that." Yes he does. This leaves a lot of questions in my mind. As I posted here I don't really think his choice of a firearm was good one. I have been looking at the blueprints of the Kel-Tec and it has an unusual safety feature that I would not trust.

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Thursday, January 26, 2006

John S. Reid shoots vest-Vest said he was “just hanging around.”

Kel-Tec 380

By now everyone knows John S. Reid fired his Kel-Tec 380 in his legislative office this morning. A picture of a Kel-Tec 380 is above. This is big news for bloggers in Virginia. Norman had this first. NLS and Raising Kaine have followed with a host of others. Most are making jokes, calling for action, and slamming Ried. (Thus the Title of My post)

Accidental discharge is nothing to joke about. It happens to the new and experienced gun owners alike. It has never happened to me but I have seen it happen to a friend. Maybe they should have fingerprinted him before he got his permit. Reid called the police and the RTD did not say anything about charges against him. I am sure there will be more in the morning about this. But so far it seems Reid did the right thing in reporting the discharge. A quick Google about the gun will show many say it is safe while others say it is not. Loving hand guns myself, I can say I would not own a Kel-Tec 380. The same Google of accidental discharge will show a lot of results. Most concerning cops and military having the same thing happen to them. Many are not as lucky and ended up with someone injured or dead. I posted this link in the comments over at NLS that shows a DEA agent speaking to kids. He pulls the slide back on his Glock 40 and shows it is empty. He then releases the slide and proceeds to shoot himself in the leg. You can watch that here. Nothing funny about this. I will not take sides and condemn the man. I will ask this question that any cop should of asked. If the vest was hanging on the door and he was unloading the firearm, why was it not pointed at the floor? I will tell you why. He was sitting at his desk which most likely faces the door, unloading so the shells eject on his desk top. Not smart. Should they pull his permit? Indeed. Does this prove he is a bad man or lacking in character? I don't think so. I am glad no one was hurt.

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Just plain fun to read

Want some fun reading today? If you answered yes please go here first and read what Raising Kaine has to offer about the Senate vote on the gay marriage amendment. There is much sorrow and gnashing of teeth about the democrats who support this. Oh the comments are grand to read! The man they named their blog after could veto this....but the WAPO has this

Virginia Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D) does not have to review the amendment resolution. He could veto a separate bill that specifically calls for the November referendum, but press secretary Delacey Skinner said he will not do so.

"The governor's position is that a marriage is between one man and one woman," Skinner said.

Kaine scores a point with with me. Could that position be a religous position? Also worth noting is Creigh Deeds voted for the bill. Again pointing out how democrats are against it before they were for it or vice versa...makes you dizzy trying to keep up.

It is not over with that. Continue here and read this attack on Bill Carrico. The author of the post says

Religious extremism, Muslim and Christian, peppers today's world, causing much strife. Osama bin Laden. Pat Robertson.

Comparing Pat to Osama? Watch out folks, those 700 clubbers are learning to fly planes and loading up the Ak-47's....I posted about Carrico here and so far he is sticking to his platform about Christian values. Then the author attacks Carricos bill HB 401 in which Carrico stands up for law abiding citizens not to be finger printed to receive a concealed weapons permit. Continuing on to bill HB 364 that removes the useless language of trains from the DUI law. Train engineer's are covered by federal law. No alcohol can be present under FRA standards. While leaving trains in the state law they would be able to have a .08 alcohol level. The author argues that Carricos bill will " eliminate references to "trains" in the DUI and drugs statute, presumably making it easier for train conductors to be stoned drunkards. Be afraid. Be very, very afraid. I wonder who was lobbying for this." That is simply not true. It strengthens the law and takes away any confusion or argument that the engineer could have a .08 level. BTW, engineers operate locomotives not conductors. Good stuff

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Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Trapped Miners and Grandstanding- What about Cornelius Yates?

I received a lot of Emails about this.

The politics after the mining deaths in West Virginia are worth discussion. The emotional Governor stated that three things would be changed. First was tracking devices would be required by all miners. I support that but everyone should know that these devices are not very good in a underground environment. I support using them even though they are not dependable. They could save lives. Would they have helped in Sago or Melville? I doubt it. The miners at Sago may have been found quicker, but most likely still to late. At Melville the rescuers would have known the miners were at the fire zone, but again it would not have gotten them there any faster.

The Governor next said stockpiles of oxygen in the mines. This was absurd and shows what happens when non-miners grandstand. There is no miner who wants tanks of combustible oxygen stockpiled in a mine. The stupidity of that statement is echoed across mining community's everywhere. What West Virginia did pass was a stockpile of the same self rescuers the miners already wear. These will be placed throughout the mine with strobe lights to help miners find them. Will this help? In heavy smoke no. Sago would have benefited but not at Melville. I support this anyway, but a study to make the self rescuers that the miners wear last longer would have been better. The bottom line is this would have saved lives at Sago.

The Governor next addressed rapid response. I know that most thought this would be the key change that would save lives. In fact this only means that the mine has to make the call that an accident has happened in 15 minutes. It will not get a rescue team in any faster. It will not speed up the tests and standards rescue teams must address before entering a mine. Mine rescue is a little different than a house fire. From the emails I have received (over 200 in one day) a lot of people were mislead by the Governors statements and the legislation passed. As I said before there will be much grandstanding but little change. I want safer mining and we are achieving that as records show. I hope we leave this subject to mining experts and not politicians emotionally charged and wanting votes.

I also want to address this. All we heard about was the West Virginia miners. I would like to add that Cornelius Yates was killed in a roof fall and who reported that? Don't be fooled my friends. The press and politicians are not interested in dead miners. They are interested in trapped miners and the emotional toll it takes on family, rescue, company, and friends. It is good press that makes for high ratings and grandstanding by politicians. I should know as I had the highest traffic ever blogging about this. I have been attacked by socialists, received hate mail from unions and others. I have also been thanked for being honest and providing my thoughts from miners and families. What I think most about now is that in eastern Kentucky the family and friends of Cornelius Yates are left wanting.

Technorati : Coal, Mining, News, Politics


Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Randal McCloy in fair condition

Randal McCloy's condition remained fair Monday at West Virginia University Hospitals.

He continues to show slight neurological improvements each day, according to his physician, Larry Roberts, M.D. He has been able to respond to simple commands and follow movements with his eyes, but remains unable to speak.

His physical condition is also slowly improving, and he has been given additional physical therapy. Link

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CNN has this front page story.

More than a decade after 16-year-old Amy Fisher had a sexual relationship with a much-older car mechanic and shot his wife in the face, the one-time "Long Island Lolita" and Joey and Mary Jo Buttafuoco have agreed to appear together in a televised reunion.

What else is there to say...........

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Sunday, January 22, 2006


In a small town not far from Chicago, 41 years ago today, a life was spared. A drug addicted mother gave birth to a child. This child was now to endure weeks of blood transfusions and treatments.

In the city a few miles away a young husband and wife dreamed of having a child of their own. The husband was a dirt farmer from Mississippi who went in the army young and then to Illinois to find work after his discharge. The young wife was a honors student, her family rooted deep in coal from the dark hollows of Dickenson County was there doing the same. They met in church and were married a few months later.

They adopted the unwanted child born on this day in 1965 years after that. The hospital where the child was born was closed a short time later for abortion issues and a black market baby selling deal. The parents provided this child with love and a home. They afforded this child a chance to dream, to become what he wished, even though working in coal was not their wish for him. We should not forget the biological mother. You see, she afforded him the same dream. She chose not to hold her mistakes against him. She chose to offer him life and a chance to dream. She should be commended for her unselfishness. The child had never told her this until today. She said it gave her such great peace to hear that. Her child responded he was just glad she gave him the chance to be here. So many are not given that chance.

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Saturday, January 21, 2006

West Virginia Miner Tribute

West Virginia Miner Tribute

If that link does not work try this or go here and scroll to the bottom of the page.

This is who we are....This is what we do. People from the coalfields are the best.

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Trapped Miners found dead at Melville, West Virginia

Don Israel Bragg 33, and Ellery "Elvis" Hatfield, 47, were found dead near the fire.

They were in the fire zone and the conditions were bad. I would think their passing was quick. I am not saying much more about it now. I will say the Governors response covers 3 things. Tracking devices, oxygen supplies, and Rapid Response. Tracking is a great idea. Oxygen and Rapid Response is pure BS. I hate unthoughtful grandstanding and promises. I will post more about that later.

For now my prayers are with the Bragg and Hatfield families.

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News Flash

Quote from Fox News

"There is no doubt about it...coal burns"- Jamie Colby

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Coal Miners still not found at Melville, W.Va. mines and Randal McCloy is improving.

I am losing hope about the two trapped miners in Melville, West Virginia. I had posted earlier that I was confident they would be found. Time is not on their side. My friends and myself are dumbfounded as to how the two got separated from the group they were with. We all find that very strange. There is still hope as all the ventilation has been working and in a mine that size there should be good air in many places. I do like how they are handling the scene and release of information. The press is being kept away from the families and the miners who escaped are not talking. This rescue has went like clock work. There are over 20 rescue teams working to find the miners. The teams got in fast and the conditions reported do not even compare to the Sago tragedy. The sign we see behind the reporters from the MSM reads one word.....Pray. I have heard that word a lot tonight. Has anyone else noticed that? Every reporter has mentioned that. "These are people of faith....These folks believe in prayer" or something similar has been spoken on every network. I think that is worth a mention.

On a better note it is reported that Sago's lone surviver Randal McCloy Jr. ate a cracker today. That may not seem like much but it is a lot better than a coma. That was his first solid food since the accident. No one can explain how he survived at Sago. I call it a miracle but some will argue that. I believe in prayer and I am sure McCloy's eating of a cracker was the answer to someones prayer.

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Open Office and Google Pack

While chatting I was asked why I had not posted anything about open source goodies in a while. I went back to look and found out she was right. I will correct that with this post. I have been using a great open source program called Open Office.

Open Office is a alternative to Microsoft Office. The free suite includes Impress, Math, Base, Calc, Draw, and Writer.

I have used Microsoft's Office for years. I have been using Open Office for a month and I like it. I have used Impress to make some power point presentations. Writer, which replaces Word is the best text program I have used. I have not encountered any bugs or gotten any errors using this program. I am sold! I don't know why anyone would pay when this program is out there free. Download it and try it out.
I will add this Google freebie also. It is not open source but it offers some good utilities and programs for free. Google Pack includes all the cool Google software like Earth and the tool bars. It also includes Firefox and the anti-spyware program Ad-Aware. You can also get a free 6 month subscription to Norton Anti Virus included. That is a good deal for cheapo's like me. Included is the Google Updater that will automatically check for updates for all the software included.

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Friday, January 20, 2006

HB 1443 Wireless communication in underground coal mines.

Dud Bud Phillips has a good idea with this bill.

Be it enacted by the General Assembly of Virginia:
1. That the Code of Virginia is amended by adding a section numbered 45.1-161.176:1as follows:
§ 45.1-161.176:1. Wireless communication required; Chief to promulgate regulations.
Every underground coal mine shall be equipped with wireless communication accessible to miners in order to communicate with others in the mine or on the surface, which can be employed in case of emergency situations. The Chief shall, after consultation with the Virginia Coal Mine Safety Board and in accordance with the provisions of Article 2 (§ 2.2-4006et seq.) of the Administrative Process Act promulgate regulations requiring all underground coal mines to be equipped with wireless communication as described in this section.

I don't know how well this would work in realistic situations but I will support the effort. The power supplies and high voltage equipment in the mines would probably cause nothing but static.

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More on the Coalfield Expressway

Kathy Still has this report in the BHC today. Now that the coal companies have given this project a shot of life as I posted here, Rick Boucher is there to grab some press. His only mention was at the end of Still's article

More than $100 million in federal highway money could be made available for the project, U.S. Rep. Rick Boucher, D-9th, said.

That did not take long huh. Look for Boucher to grandstand when in fact he should of had the money already secured. This is not a new project and we should thank the state and the coal companies for the deal they have put together. As far as I can tell, Boucher played no part in this deal. I look for a press conference and mailer soon with Boucher taking credit. Hey Rick! Get us the money!

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West Virginia Mine Fire-19 escape-2 miners not found

Two miners are trapped in West Virginia. I recieved a call last night at around 8pm saying there was a fire at a Massey mines. Here is the report. 19 miners made it out unharmed.

It seems most are just concerned with the mines safety record. You can read about that here. Is anyone seeing a difference in this and Sago? The media is under control it seems. No circus yet. No badgering of the family.

There are six miles of tunnels in the section where the fire occurred, according to a map. By 6:30 a.m. Friday, two rescue teams had moved past the fire, which was smoldering, and were trying to reach the mine car the miners took to get into the section.

6 miles of tunnels should mean lots of places for the two miners to find good air. The rescue teams are past the point of the fire. I am very confident we will see the 2 miners rescued today. That is my opinion.

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Thursday, January 19, 2006

Wanda McCoy's Husband Speaks Out about Mark Warner and Roger Coleman

I posted this piece titled Mark Warner and Roger Coleman on Jan 13. In that post I tried to convey my feeling that the whole retesting of the DNA was a political move by Mark Warner and the anti-death penalty crowd. I felt then as I do now it was part of an agenda to hand the anti-death penalty ball to Tim Kaine. We all know how he feels about it. He fought to get convicted killers off death row. It seems I am not the only one to feel that way as today the victims husband Brad McCoy, in a letter to the editor, feels the same way. From the BHC-Bold text added by me

On Jan. 12, the press, Centurion Ministries, opponents of the death penalty, the big-city lawyers and the world learned that on May 20, 1992, a guilty man (Roger Keith Coleman) was executed for the crime he committed against Wanda McCoy on March 10, 1981.

Contrary to what the press, the magazines and the books have printed, it has been proven that the residents of Grundy (portrayed as a hick town in the backwoods of Southwest Virginia) do have the good sense to investigate a murder, make an arrest, select an impartial jury, try the murder case and convict the guilty person. Neither I nor my family has ever doubted the guilt of Coleman. I know many people in Grundy and around the world doubted his guilt, especially after the big-city lawyers came to Grundy trying to distort the truth. I am sorry the DNA test results disappointed you.

For 25 years, Coleman was considered the victim in this case. Wanda McCoy was the victim. And for 25 years, I have been a victim of this heinous crime and will be for the rest of my life. You never forget something as tragic as this. The victim’s needs for counseling or other assistance to help them cope with the crime is never considered. I am thankful I have had the help of the Lord and the support of my family and good friends.

Mark Warner has been praised by the press, Centurion Ministries, opponents of the death penalty and the big-city lawyers for his boldness in having the DNA tested. I am glad the testing was done to prove that Roger Coleman and only Roger Coleman was the guilty party. But, I firmly believe Warner only did this for political gain, support of the big newspapers and support of the death penalty opponents.

For any individual or group of individuals to use McCoy, Thompson, Coleman or any other family to abolish the death penalty or further their political ambitions or their agenda is totally unacceptable and wrong. I pray for all the families involved that "it is finished." In the Bible, John 8:32 says, "And you shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free."

Brad McCoy

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Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Sago Mine survivor Randal McCloy Jr. is coming out of coma

This is even better news than yesterday.

Sago Mine survivor Randal McCloy Jr. is breathing on his own and appears to be coming out of his coma, more than two weeks after a mine explosion that led to the deaths of 12 other miners, doctors said Wednesday.

"With great hope we announce that Randy McCloy is awakening from his coma," said Dr. Julian Bailes, a neurosurgeon at West Virginia University's Ruby Memorial Hospital.

He said McCloy moves his arms and legs, and he opens his eyes when doctors call his name

Keep him and his family in your prayers

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The Coalfield Expressway

The Coalfield Expressway is very important to the economic growth in SWVA. To date the project has been at a standstill. Enter Pioneer Group, Inc.and Alpha Natural Resources and we are seeing progress. From a VDOT press release

"VDOT's agreement with Pioneer and Alpha begins the next chapter in the development of the Coalfields Expressway," said Whirley. "Building on the effective development and engineering work by KBR, Pioneer and Alpha will use coal recovery opportunities to significantly lower the cost of building the base roadbed for the project." "We are pleased to become a vital participant in the development of the Coalfields Expressway and excited about the opportunity to help lower the construction costs in conjunction with removal of the coal reserves throughout the counties," said Clyde Stacy, representing Pioneer Group, Inc.
"Utilizing our expertise in the construction of the King Coal Highway in West Virginia and as a major employer in Southwest Virginia, we are pleased to participate in the Coalfields Expressway project," said Michael J. Quillen, president and CEO of Alpha Natural Resources Inc. "We understand the importance of building this highway system and opening up the coalfield region for successful economic development for years to come."

This is great news. I have witnessed projects similar to this on a smaller scale here in Wise County. It is a win-win situation for all. VDOT gets a good deal. The coal companies make some money. People get jobs and the most important thing is the tax payers get a much needed road built cheaper. The coolest thing about this to me is this deal is not really political. All of our state and federal politicians want this road built. The real movers are the coal companies.

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Tuesday, January 17, 2006

3 Sept. 11 Workers Die

This is exactly why mine rescue teams do not rush into things as fast as some would like. The 9/11 rescue was heroic, but the price will be high. The true death toll of the terrorist attack will take many years to assess. We should never forget.

"I think that there are several people who died that day and didn't realize that they died that day."


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Randal McCloy Jr moved out of ICU

This is good news

The sole survivor of the Sago mine disaster was moved out of the intensive care unit at Ruby Memorial Hospital on Tuesday as his condition continued to improve.

Randal McCloy Jr., 26, was transferred to a step-down unit with less intensive monitoring because his condition, while still serious, has become more stable, said Dr. Larry Roberts.

The article updates us with some private hearings have started with the public hearings to come later.

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The Virginia Blog Carnival

The Virginia Blog Carnival is up over at The Virginia Centrist. Please check out all the great work posted this week.

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Monday, January 16, 2006


I think this would be helpful to read what people are asking MSHA about Sago. From MSHA webpage
This post will be reduced in a couple days. It seems there are a lot of bloggers out there and one commenter not posting the facts. Here we go

Question: Why were there so many health and safety violations issued by the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) against Sago Mine last year?

Answer: Mining operations at the Sago Mine more than doubled between 2004 and 2005, prompting MSHA to dramatically increase – by 84% – its on-site inspection and enforcement presence. As a result, MSHA also took significantly more enforcement actions – 208 in total – against Sago Mine in 2005, requiring the operator to quickly correct health and safety violations in accordance with federal Mine Act standards. MSHA’s aggressive inspection and enforcement record at Sago Mine exemplifies the agency’s record-setting commitment to strong enforcement over the past five years.

Question: Doesn’t the high number of citations against Sago Mine last year indicate that the operation was simply unsafe, an accident waiting to happen?

Answer: Of the 208 citations, orders and safeguards issued in 2005, none involved an immediate risk of injury. Less than half of the citations against Sago Mine in 2005 were for “significant and substantial” violations – and all but three have been corrected by the operator. The three remaining issues, which relate to roof control, were being addressed by the operator in compliance with the abatement provisions of the Mine Act.

Question: Should MSHA have shut down the Sago Mine in light of the health and safety violations it identified?

Answer: MSHA has the authority to suspend mining activity by issuing “withdrawal orders.” MSHA aggressively exercised its suspension authority against Sago Mine in 2005, issuing 18 separate “withdrawal orders” that shut down mining activity in specific areas of the mine until health and safety problems were corrected by the operator. All of the safety issues that caused the withdrawal orders were corrected. It would be unusual for MSHA to shut down an entire mine unless there were mine-wide hazards that the mine operator did not remedy within the abatement requirements of the Mine Act.

Question: Could any of the health and safety violations cited by MSHA have caused the explosion?

Answer: Until MSHA completes its investigation of the accident and determines the likely causes of the explosion, it is impossible to speculate on what the causes might have been. At the same time, none of the health and safety violations cited by MSHA at Sago Mine last year involved an immediate risk of injury. At MSHA’s direction, the operator has worked to correct all health and safety problems in accordance with the requirements of the Mine Act.

Question: Does the Sago Mine disaster indicate that MSHA has grown “too soft” on mine operators and has not been aggressive enough in enforcing the Mine Act?

Answer: MSHA’s actions at Sago Mine demonstrate the opposite: the agency rapidly expanded its inspection and enforcement presence at the site – by 84% between 2004 and 2005 – in response to increasing employment and production activity at the mine. Last year, MSHA more than tripled the number of citations, orders and safeguards issued against the company and insisted that the operator quickly remedy all safety and health violations in full compliance with the Mine Act. MSHA’s aggressive actions at Sago Mine reflect MSHA’s overall record of increased enforcement against mine operators during this Administration. Specifically, from FY 2000 to FY 2005:

Total Citations and Orders issued by MSHA at all mines increased by 4% (119,334 to 124,467)

Total Citations and Orders issued at coal mines increased by 18% (56,983 to 67,300)

Total “Significant and Substantial” Citations and Orders issued at coal mines increased by 13% (23,774 to 26,779)

While MSHA has also pursued cooperative health and safety partnerships with labor unions, mine operators and industry associations, it has consistently backed up those compliance assistance efforts with strong enforcement against unsafe operators. And for the past several years, the President’s Budget for the U.S. Department of Labor has requested that Congress more than triple the current statutory penalties that MSHA can impose on companies for egregious mine safety violations.

Question: What level of enforcement activity did MSHA perform at the Sago Mine last year?

Answer: MSHA personnel spent 744 on-site inspection hours at Sago Mine during calendar year 2005. This represents an 84% increase from the 405 on-site inspection hours spent at the mine during calendar year 2004. The increased level of oversight led to the issuance of 208 Citations, Orders and Safeguards at the Sago Mine in 2005.

Question: MSHA issued 49 citations against Sago Mine in December. Is this an unusually high number, and does it indicate that the mine was becoming increasingly unsafe?

Answer: The 49 citations and orders that MSHA issued in the fourth quarter were not for December alone, but represented all health and safety issues identified during the fourth-quarter inspection, as stipulated by the Mine Act. Of these 49 violations, 18 were considered to be “significant and substantial.” Fifteen of these were corrected by the mine operator; and the remaining three, which relate to roof control, were being addressed by the operator in compliance with the abatement provisions of the Mine Act.

Question: What kinds of violations were uncovered in the fourth quarter 2005 inspection?

Answer: MSHA cited the operator for a variety of health and safety issues, including the suitability of cable fittings, warning devices on mobile equipment, location of first aid equipment, location of fire fighting equipment, roof bolting, insulation of power wires and cables, and roof control plans, among others. All of these issues have been addressed under the provisions of the Mine Act.

Question: How large were the fines levied against the Sago Mine in 2005?

Answer: Thus far, the Sago Mine has been assessed $24,155 for penalties cited in 2005. Nine violations are currently under appeal and have not yet been assessed, although the conditions cited in those violations have been corrected.

Question: How many fatalities have there been at the Sago Mine in the past?

Answer: In the decade between 1995 and 2005, there were no fatalities at the Sago Mine.

Question: How many people did MSHA have on the site of the rescue effort?

Answer: Approximately 25 MSHA mine safety professionals were on scene at any given time.

Question: What is MSHA’s next step?

Answer: The Department of Labor is appointing an independent MSHA investigative team that will perform a thorough investigation including an assessment of why the explosion occurred, whether or not the mine operator failed to take any steps that would have prevented the accident, and how the rescue efforts unfolded – including the handling of emergency information relating to the miners’ condition. The team will be headed up by a senior MSHA safety professional who has not been part of the initial inspection and enforcement efforts.
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Sunday, January 15, 2006


Congratulations to the Steelers and their fans. Chad is happy and the Red Queen may need a valium. What a game!

My Chicago Bears are not doing so well. I knew going in that a rookie QB was a problem. They are down 16-14 in the third. There is hope........

The great thing is that there are three Virginia players in the games. Heath Miller and James Farrior for the Steelers and Big Stone Gap's own Thomas Jones for the Bears.

Bears lose 29-21......Maybe Rex Grossman can stay healthy next season and gain some experience. The Bear's defense let us down today. I think they passed to much today. We have all seen it before as a team abandons their bread and butter in the playoffs.

Thomas Jones had 80 yrds rushing, 3 catches for 30 yrds, and a fumble. He ave 4 yards a carry.

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Sago Miners Remembered-The Family of Randal McCloy Jr to attend service

Today a service will be held at West Virginia Wesleyan College. The program for the service can be found here, The Logo they have created is very nice, so take a look. The service is called "Honor Hope and Healing."

The people there want the service to consist of local folks. "It really is who we are."

The Dean of the Wesley Chapel, where Sunday's service for the Sago miners will be held, says they've worked to make sure that the service represents that part of West Virginia and the people there. Sunday's service will be held on West Virginia Wesleyan's Campus in Buckhannon, near the Sago Mine site.

Most of the musicians for the service are from the local area, and Angela Gay Kincaid says that's how it should be for such a service.

"As much as other people have called us and said, 'I have this song I want to sing, and I live in Nashville or Long Island, and I want to come sing it at the service,' all of the musicians and all of the people participating in the service, with one exception, are local folks," says Gay Kincaid.

The exception is author Homer Hickam, a native of Coalwood, W.Va., who is also scheduled to make some remarks as part of that service that begins at two o-clock on Sunday.

Gay Kincaid tells MetroNews the people who will be part of the service for the community are part of the community.

I can understand that. It is also reported that the family of the lone survivor Randal McCloy Jr will attend.

Governor Joe Manchin will escort family members, individually, into the Wesley Chapel. One family member for each of the miners will light a candle for their loved one.

There will be 12 white candles for those killed and a 13th candle of a different color for 26-year-old Randy McCloy, Jr., who is in critical condition at a Morgantown hospital. His family members will attend that service.

They will be in my prayers. This service makes a statement that the people there are close knit people of faith. If you read the program it shows that. It confirms what I posted here. It may also show that the people there are tired of the outside MSM putting them under a microscope.

Update-The Service is over. Read about it here.

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Will the Other Sago Miners Return to Work?

Will the Other Sago Miners Return to Work? That is a good question. This is a decent article about a few of the miners working at Sago. The sum of it is some will and some wont. There are 145 workers affected. All were offered work in other mines for ICG. I did notice this statement that seems to contradict what the MSM is saying about the company.

The returning miners include Danny Loudin, 56, of Norton. He said he accepted ICG's offer of employment at Sycamore, about 40 miles away, because "they're excellent people to work for.

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Friday, January 13, 2006

Mark Warner and Roger Coleman

The Virginia Supreme Court declined to order the testing in 2002, so Centurion Ministries asked Warner to intervene.

So three years later as Warner is about to leave office he orders the testing to be performed, as the new governor Tim Kaine, who does not believe in the death penalty is ready to take office. I question that agenda. I do believe agenda is the right word. If the new tests proved Coleman innocent, Tim Kaine would have a drum to beat on against the death penalty he strongly opposes. Yes, my few readers, I believe there was an agenda.

Why wait till 2005 to order the tests governor? Why not 2003? 2004? Why now and why Roger Coleman? Those are very good questions that no one is asking. I bet it was for the family, but which one? The victim's family? I cant find any proof that the McCoy family wanted this brought up. I think they got the justice they wanted when Coleman rode the lightning in 1992. Well it was for the Coleman family. His mother always thought he was innocent. Now she knows the truth after all these years. How happy she must be.I also noticed in Warners grandstanding on this that he only offered sympathy to the McCoy family. Who cares about Coleman's mother and how her heart feels today. That still does not answer why he did this and why now. To me the agenda is clear.

This article by Mathew Lakin has some reactions from people involved with the case. It will not surprise you that no one supported all this. It should not surprise you that the ones who also thought Coleman was innocent still think he is. Nothing gained or changed there. You will read how Brenda Ratliff whom Coleman attempted to rape and was sent to prison feels. She also asks this question:

"I'm just tired of it," she said. "Grundy has been tried so many times for this. Every time, it's just like, here we go again."

She and others wonder why Coleman's advocates, such as Centurion Ministries, which works to free wrongly convicted inmates, couldn't see what she saw. She wonders why they ignored his background - obscene phone calls in high school, the 1977 rape attempt, the day he flashed two women in the public library and masturbated onto a desk.

"They never tried to talk to me," she said. "I don't understand how they could be taken in by someone like him. Why did they believe him instead of us?"

I wonder that also Ms. Ratliff. I wonder why Warner caved in to the Centurion group.....Unless.....Unless there was an agenda. The agenda was foiled this time, but they will keep trying. They will try to find that one innocent man that was put to death. Then pound that drum to abolish the death penalty. If that does happen one day, I can say the wrongful execution was an innocent mistake. There was nothing innocent about Wanda McCoy's murder. There was nothing innocent about Warner's actions. It was all part of the agenda.

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Thursday, January 12, 2006

Charles W. "Bill" Carrico Sr. vs Rick Boucher

I think this is worth sharing. With the republicans searching for a solid platform we have Carrico making it clear right off the bat where he stands. This is refreshing. From the

Carrico also noted several of his priorities if elected, including:

* Working to bring better-paying jobs to the region;

* Seeking ways to "reconstruct" the federal Immigration and Naturalization Service, to prevent illegal immigration and help those who want to immigrate legally;

* Working to get more affordable health care, including possible re-importation of certain medicines from outside the country;

* Using the country's natural resources, and researching alternative and renewable fuels, to make the nation more energy self-sufficient;

* Voting for constitutional language to "protect our flag from desecration;"

* Protecting the right to own firearms;

* Defending "the institution of marriage as being between one man and one woman;"

* Protecting individual's "right to pray and profess your faith in Christ no matter where you are;"

* Opposing "the slaughter of innocent children through abortion;" and

* Being a voice for Christians and striving "to strengthen the moral fabric of this faltering nation and stand for the one true God, Jesus Christ, on which our forefathers built this nation."

In the House of Delegates, Carrico sits on the committees on Transportation, Education and Militia, Police and Public Safety. He chairs the education subcommittee on students and day care, as well as one of the transportation subcommittees.

Carrico also was appointed to the Virginia Coal and Energy Commission, and to a joint subcommittee to study lead poisoning prevention.

I can support that. This will be very interesting indeed. After Jerry Kilgore's loss, there was a lot of speculation as to why. Too conservative or not enough, not clear enough on conservative issues? The list is long. I will say I am pleased Carrico has stated a very clear platform this early. I wonder if he will stay with it. Time will tell. For my few readers I would like your thoughts on this. Thank you.

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MSHA on Sago-"Mine blast may have been in sealed-off area"

Rescuers sent into a West Virginia mine after last week's fatal explosion found indications that the explosion might have occurred in a part of the mine that was shut down, a member of the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration said on Wednesday.

"I defer to the investigation team to make sure they see the same things our people did," Ray McKinney, the administrator for coal mine safety and health for the agency, told reporters.

McKinney said it was a "logical assessment" that the explosion happened in the shut-off area. (LINK)

It is about time they made this known. As I said yesterday, Hatfield made a good point. I dont believe the rescue team would falsely report where and how the explosion area looked.

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I have watched the hearings and read a few blogs about Alito. I support his confirmation 100%. Yesterday I sat in amazement as Sen Kennedy made an ass of himself. I know that is not hard for him. We all know that Alito's wife left the hearings in tears, only to return hand in hand with her husband. What a bad move by the dems. Even my mother who had been silent on the hearings was in a rage. Kennedy is beating a dead horse to death. What he requsted has already been gone over by the NY Times and they found nothing to tie to Alito. The democrats are so concerned....To quote Jon Stewart on The Daily show "The democrats are staging a Fretabuster" LOL

I also noticed that this brought about another first. The Red Queen posted about politics. Yes, I could not believe it. What brought this about I wonder. I went back three times to read this post. Her writing is excellent. Her lead in is better than any MSM writer so far. If you read one post today click here and read this. Even her Highness can see that the democrats actions in these hearings are out of hand. Confirm this man!

Send the message to your senators.

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Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Was Sago Safe?

A good ariticle is out about Sago. It is full of info about safety at the mine. The article is here. We are all hearing about violations but Ben Hatfield, chief executive of International Coal Group makes a good point saying

Hatfield said, however, that company officials "have heard nothing in the course of all this debate about the safety violations that even remotely connects" with any possible cause of the explosion.

Officials have said the explosion likely occurred in an area of the mine that was sealed in December.

A very good point indeed. If you read the article you will hear from union supporters like Tony Oppegard and Dennis O'Dell, as well as Ronald Grall, the last inspector to check the mines saying this:

Ronald Grall, a 40-year veteran of coal mining, worked at the Sago mine for four months before the accident as an inspector of the mine's air intake system, escape passageways and water pumps.

"They have made vast improvements in the ventilation since I've been here," Grall said. "This company, ICG, they really go safety first."

This is one of the best articles so far.

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Virginia Blogoshere

I have neglected the Virginia blogoshere for the past couple weeks. I have been consumed by the coal mining tragedies, the miners, and the coal companies. The reason being that I love the coal industry. Some see coal as a dirty fossil fuel. I see it as the life blood of so many regions and people in America. I see coal as our future and a great tool to aid us in being self sufficient. With that said, this is some of what I have been reading.

Bacons Rebellion has this post about VDOT's performance. Is there anyone who is happy with VDOT?

Charlie has changed his blog to Good Sense. Great change Charlie!

Bearing Drift has been watching the Alito hearings and offers up this post. I am watching also. Confirm this man!

Very interesting fact from Too Conservative.

The Virginia Blogfather Chad Dotson has a great post up about who will lead the Virginia Republicans. I say look no further than the Wise County Courthouse. (Shameless plug from Kilo)

I have moved up in the rankings at Not Larry Sabato. I am giddy as a school girl. Thanks NLS!

Romeocat is fired up with her post called A gross mis-carriage of "justice" Right on Sis!

Waldo makes all of us political junkies lives easier with this tool. Thanks Waldo.

Brian Patton has........Well Brian is rated above me on NLS and that is enough. Heh! I feel the lowest Wise County blog (me) is still better than anything Dickenson County has to offer.

I could continue for hours. I read a lot of blogs and there are none better than what the Virginia bloggers have to offer. The best are contained on my sidebar under the heading ODBA.

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One Coal Miner Killed at Maverick Mining Near Pikeville Ky.

I just returned from Pike County. There was not a media circus and the miners I know are all safe. The bad news is one miner was killed. WHAS11 has this:

Wolfe said Tuesday night the miner who was killed was the only person harmed. The miner was identified as Cornelius Yates, 44, of Shelbiana in Pike County, Wolfe said.

Yates was operating a roof bolting machine when a section of the mine roof approximately 20 feet wide, 4 1/2 feet thick and 10 feet long fell, according to a statement from the state Environmental and Public Protection Cabinet.

I had heard of Cornelius Yates from his coworkers but I did not know him. Roof bolt operators have a tough job. I talked to a few people there, and there was some speculation as to what happened. I will not spread rumors but the investigation should not take long. MSHA will release their findings soon. I will say that if the roof bolt plan was up to par, then there are only a couple reasons this happened. One being it was bad top that was properly bolted, but fell as a freak accident. The other being the miner was under unsupported roof. Neither offer comfort to the family I am sure.

The Yates family are in my prayers. My friends and I wondered if this will get the attention that Sago recieved. Will money poor in from across the country? I hope so, but I would not hold my breath. Will the company start a fund for the family? Again I hope so. The Red Queen offered this post the other day. RQ wondered about the 12 brave soldiers who parished when their Blackhawk helicopter went down Saturday. I went and read her post again and she is right. Now I am really troubled. We acknowledge some tragedies and ignore others. I will try to pay more attention from now on.

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