Friday, March 03, 2006

Take Out the Trash Day

Some things that fell through the cracks this week, as well as an update on some new content today.

We’ve got a new post up, waxing rhetorical about the Clarke County School District and their overwhelming desire to spend $41,000 of your money on a special election they don’t need.

Also new today – more resignations in the DA’s office. Seriously, we’re pretty sure that felony cases are being tried by Ken Mauldin, two paralegals, and a pizza delivery guy that walked into the wrong office.

AOL, Yahoo, and the death of internet neutrality
We got an interesting email in out inbox recently from the American Progress Action Fund, calling our attention to some new developments on the internets. Seems that AOL and Yahoo are partnering up with a company called Goodmail to create an optional service that “certifies” emails from companies that pay between ¼ of a cent and one cent per email for the privilege. In exchange those companies get the satisfaction of knowing that their emails to customers will get through AOL and Yahoo’s anti-spam screeners and into customers’ inboxes. For some people out there, it sounds an awful lot like those “email tax” hoaxes that pop up every once in awhile. Anyway, draw your own conclusions. Here’s a link to the story we got in our inbox (they didn’t pay for the privilege, we presume), and here’s a link to an ABC News story about the same thing.

Norwood and Mine Safety
Charlie Norwood, who is more than likely going to be our next Congressman, is also the chairman of the House Workforce Protections Subcommittee. Why is this important? Well, seems that ol’ Sorry Charlie decided to shut down a hearing on mine safety, cutting off the ranking Democrat in the middle of his questioning, a full thirty minutes before the hearing was scheduled to conclude. Just thought you’d like to know that your future congressman values protecting the mining industry executives and the government appointees charged with overseeing mine safety. Of course, the fact that he values protecting those d-bags more than protecting the guys in the mines risking their lives should be troubling, to say the least. By the way, 21 miners have died since January 1 of this year, only one less than the 22 that died during all of 2005. Here’s what the AFL-CIO has to say about the whole thing. If you’re really, really, wonky – and you know we are – here’s a link to a pdf of a report on the Bush administration’s record on mine safety, courtesy of the House Education and Workforce Committee.

Dan Matthews
Local blogger, Oconee County Democratic Party Chair, political gadabout, and former professional breakdancer Dan Matthews has a new talk show on Hot 100 FM. Tune in, bitches.


Ned said...

I think the Bush Administration's mine safety record is abysmal and basically says that they think corporate profits are more important than saving lives.

If we look to our kooky neighbors to the north - they had a mine fire this year that trapped 70 miners and all of them were able to get out safely because they had proper emergency procedures in place.

Jmac said...

Not that I'm surprised the current GOP leaders stifled debate, nor am I shocked it was Charlie Norwood leading the way, but one would think this is something which needs to be adequately investigated. To simply, well, not is absurd.

Fishplate said...

As I read it, the hearing was over when Rep. Miller asked if Rep. Holt (who wasn't on the comittee) could ask questions, and Norwood said no. The two then entered into a shouting match...hardly the atmosphere for investigation.

Why Miller could not have asked Holt's questions, I don't know. But the rules only allow Comittee members to participate.


I took a brief moment to look at the report report on the Bush administration’s record on mine safety, "courtesy of the House Education and Workforce Committee."

First, I note that it was signed by a Democrat...OK, somebody has to sign it. Next, I looked at Table 1: Industry Connections of Top-Level MSHA Officials During Bush Administration. Selecting a random name we see the information as given in the table: Melinda Pon, now Chief of Health for Coal, formerly "Management position at BHP Minerals-Utah International".

That seems a little vague, let's examine what "Management position" really means: from the Austrailian Institute Of Occupational Hygenists 23rd Annual Conference website, we find this:

"Melinda Pon is currently Special Assistant to the Coal Administrator for the US Department of Labor, Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA). She joined MSHA in May 2002 as Chief of the Coal Health Division.

In October 2003, Ms Pon was a government representative on the US tri-partite delegation to the 3rd European Union/USA Joint Conference on Occupational Health and Safety and was a member of the Global Management of Chemicals work group.

Prior to her role at MSHA, Ms Pon held executive positions in Melbourne, Australia as Global Practice Leader – Knowledge Management for BHP, and then Acting Global Leader – Knowledge Sharing for BHP Billiton, following the merger of natural resource giants, BHP and Billiton. Her career in the minerals industry began as an Industrial Hygiene Technician and progressed through increasingly responsible positions to Manager, Occupational and Environmental Health in BHP. Ms Pon has held leadership roles in a number of US industry associations and international non-governmental organisations. These included Chair of the National Mining Association’s Occupational Health Subcommittee and Chair of the International Council for Metals and the Environment’s Committee on Health and Environmental Sciences.

Ms Pon holds a Master of Public Health degree (Environmental Health Sciences) from the University of California at Berkeley and a Bachelor’s degree in Biological Sciences from Holy Names College, Oakland, California."

What an astounding blunder! You would think they could find someone more qualified for Chief of Health for Coal...and, she attended Berkeley. I can't believe they let her slip into the Government.

My point is, you can't buy this report at face value, no more than you can buy any other report whether signed by Republican or Democrat. ~Everyone~ has a bias. Some are obvious, and some take more work to root out.