Archive for April, 2008

Mountaintop Removal Bill Dies

Wednesday, April 30th, 2008

This is a real shame. Jeff Woods puts it in perspective:

With a coal company essentially promising to mine by blowing off the tops of Tennessee mountains, lawmakers inexplicably refused to act and all but guaranteed great swaths of ecologically important woodlands will be laid to waste.

The National Coal Corp. threatened to shut down in Tennessee if mountaintop mining were banned. So to save 234 jobs, the sum total of the company’s workforce, lawmakers decided to sacrifice the natural beauty that underpins a gazillion-dollar tourism industry.

There is some hope for next year, but tragedy looms if the legislature doesn’t act soon:

Environmentalists say they’ll present their bill again next year, and the governor has indicated he might help this time. There’s a sense of urgency. Mountaintop mining is about to become more familiar to Tennessee. National Coal sold its operations in Kentucky this year to focus on mining in this state. The Tennessee Valley Authority’s coal-fired power plants are about to be fitted with newer pollution scrubbers, making this state’s high-sulfur, dirty-burning coal more marketable, according to Barger.

Via ACK (cross posted at Hillbilly Savants)

Is Hillary Closing the Gap in NC?

Tuesday, April 29th, 2008

Two recent North Carolina polls (both via Political Wire) show two very different results among Tar Heel Democrats. The first, from Rasmussen, finds Obama leading Hillary 51% to 37%. The second, from SurveyUSA, shows a closer race which Obama leads 49% to 44%.

So which poll is accurate? My own sense is that SurveyUSA is the more reliable of the two, and it supports my suspicion that the North Carolina primary will be closer than early polls suggested. Perhaps Easley’s endorsement has given Hillary a boost, but generally holds that races tighten as voters become more engaged.

Barring some major event (like maybe a John Edwards endorsement) I suspect Obama will win North Carolina, but not by double digits.

Easley to Endorse Hillary

Monday, April 28th, 2008

North Carolina Gov. Mike Easley is finally going to weigh in on the Democratic primary:

North Carolina Gov. Mike Easley will endorse Hillary Clinton’s White House bid, two sources close to the campaign tell CNN.

The endorsement could give the New York senator a boost in the state with one week to go until its crucial May 6 primary. Recent polling suggests Barack Obama currently holds a double-digit lead over Clinton there, though no polls have been released since Clinton’s win in Pennsylvania last week.

I still expect Obama to win the Tar Heel State, but this endorsement probably will close the margin. It will be interesting to see if Obama’s margin of victory is small enough that the pundits spin it as a Clinton victory.

Via ACK

“A Living 14th Amendment”

Monday, April 28th, 2008

Aunt B takes to task those who favor denying birthright citizenship to the children of illegal immigrants. She contends that it is hypocritical to argue for strict constructionism on the one hand while ignoring what the 14th Amendment says on the other:

Many of you are clinging desperately to the notion that the 2nd Amendment means what it says. Well, if Representative Lynn and her colleagues succeed in making the 14th Amendment mean something other than what it clearly says–”All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.”–what kind of precident do you think that sets for the next time one of us Lefty crackpots tries to argue that the 2nd Amendment doesn’t mean what it says?

What kind of precident is Lynn trying to set? And are you prepared to say that rights enumerated in the Constitution don’t apply should some Legislator gets a bug up her butt to undermine them?

I have mixed feelings on the whole birthright citizenship debate; I don’t want to punish babies for the misdeeds of their parents, but I also don’t want to encourage illegals to have children just so it will be harder to deport them. It is a more complex issue than partisans on either side want to admit.

I doubt that that the Framers had this in mind when they wrote the 14th Amendment, but it says what it says: the children of illegals ARE entitled to U.S. citizenship. If Rep. Lynn or anyone else want to change this, they should push for a new constitutional amendment that would explicitly deny birthright citizenship to the children of illegal immigrants. Until such an amendment is ratified, they do not have a legal leg to stand on.

Via ACK

Key to Defeat

Monday, April 28th, 2008

Alan Keyes loses the Constitution Party nomination to Chuck Baldwin. No, I don’t have any idea who Chuck Baldwin is either.

Saudi Blogger Freed

Saturday, April 26th, 2008

In Saudi Arabia, blogging can be hazardous to your health:

Saudi Arabia’s most popular blogger was released Saturday after serving four months in prison without charge.

Fouad al-Farhan, 33, was detained Dec. 10 after authorities warned him about his online support of an activist group. At the time of his arrest, the Interior Ministry said only that his violations were not related to state security.

Farhan had used his blog to criticize corruption and call for political reform in Saudi Arabia, an absolute monarchy.

In a telephone interview Saturday, Farhan said he was happy to be free and described his time behind bars as “a unique experience.” He said he had been “fairly treated” but would not comment on the specifics of his case.

“I will be blogging soon,” he said.

It’s so easy for us to blog and criticize the government here in America that we sometimes forget that millions of our fellow human beings do not enjoy this right. I hope that someday Al-Farhan will be viewed as a pioneer who helped bring basic human rights to the Kingdom.

Muddy Pond Missionary Baptist Church

Thursday, April 24th, 2008

Fentress County, TN

Anti-War Exploitation?

Thursday, April 24th, 2008

Some Greeneville parents don’t want their son’s name used by anti-war activists:

The parents of an East Tennessee soldier killed in Iraq are suing an Arizona online merchant for including their son’s name on anti-war shirts that list names of troops killed in the war.

The lawsuit filed by Robin and Michael Read of Greeneville accuses Dan Frazier of Flagstaff of inflicting emotional harm by including Spc. Brandon Michael Read’s name on his shirts’ casualty lists. They say their son’s name was used without permission and that Frazier ignored a demand to remove his name.

I’m not a lawyer, but it does seem like a pretty shabby thing to ignore these mourning parents’ wishes.

Podcast Appalachia: “Appalachian Music”

Wednesday, April 23rd, 2008

The latest episode of Podcast Appalachia is now available! In this episode I discuss the musical heritage of Appalachia, who influenced this heritage, and how numerous genres of music (including rock, country, blues, and others) owe a dept to Appalachian musicians. You may listen here or view a transcript here.

Clinton’s Keystone Win

Wednesday, April 23rd, 2008

With 98% of the precincts reporting, Hillary Clinton leads Barack Obama in Pennsylvania by a solid 55%-45% margin. Slightly more than I predicted, but I was close. In any event, this was a win and a margin Hillary needed, so she will fight on. It will be hard for her to win to nomination, but not impossible. This will give her a boost. That’s my analysis anyway. Watch for all the pundits to say the exact thing over and over on cable news while using lots more words.