Sunday, April 30, 2017

This Dem Candidate Should Be Challenging Massie Instead of Barr

C'mon, Lt. Colonel: Candy is a pushover.  Don't you want a challenge?  You grew up in the 4th District, the District that Thomas Massie is making into a national laughingstock for electing and re-electing him. Take him down.

From the Herald:

A combat fighter pilot who grew up in Northern Kentucky might run for U.S. Rep. Andy Barr’s seat, according to CNHI News

Marine Lt. Col. Amy McGrath, a fighter pilot, former congressional aide and instructor at the U.S. Naval Academy has expressed interest in the race to Kentucky Democratic Party Chairwoman Sannie Overly.

“I can confirm that Col. McGrath is considering the race,” Overly told CNHI news. “I’m impressed with the caliber of the potential candidates, including Col. McGrath.”

Read more here:


After flying 85 combat missions in Iraq and Afghanistan, McGrath served as foreign policy adviser to U.S. Congresswoman Susan Davis, D-San Diego, according to CNHI news. 

“She has been a trailblazer,” Davis told CNHI news. “She is not intimidated, so being a woman in the Congress would not intimidate her. She’s had far more difficult assignments.”
Candy's a punk, but Massie's a motherfucker. Go get him, Colonel.

Read more here:

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Terrorist at Transy: White, Male, Conservative

No, the Orange Loser and Bevin aren't empowering right-wing terrorists at all.

Morgan Eads at the Herald:

A man has been arrested after a machete attack on Transylvania University’s campus that sent one woman to University of Kentucky Chandler Hospital. 

Mitchell W. Adkins, 19, of Cincinnati has been charged with first-degree and fourth-degree assault, and three counts of wanton endangerment, according to police. Adkins is a former Transy undergraduate student who withdrew in 2015, Transylvania spokeswoman Michele Gaither Sparks said.

The attacker walked into a coffee shop inside the Glenn Building on Friday morning, asked people their political affiliation, then went on the attack, one witness said. Adkins appears to have a history of publicly protesting what he considered the mistreatment of conservatives on college campuses.
To a repug student, Adkins said "you're safe."

Obviously a left-wing rioter in the pay of George Soros.

Read more here:

Read more here:

Bevin Must Be So Proud

Resign, motherfucker.  No sweet judgeships for practicing homophobic bigots.

From the AP:

A Kentucky family court judge says he won't hear any more adoption cases that involve gay adults.

The Courier-Journal reports Judge Mitchell Nance issued an order Thursday saying he believes that "under no circumstance" would "the best interest of the child be promoted by the adoption by a practicing homosexual."

Nance cited an ethical rule that says judges must disqualify themselves when they have a personal bias or prejudice.

Nance's order said lawyers representing gay people in adoptions in Barren and Metcalfe counties would have to request a special judge.
Don't bother sending Nance the dozens of studies showing that the vast majority of pedophiles and child abuses are heterosexual.  Or the hundreds showing that children thrive with gay parents

He's a trumpy.  He doesn't care about the facts. Fags make him feel icky in his bathing suit area, so no adoptions for them!

Read more here:

Trump Voters Aren't Dems and Never Will Be

So yeah, all those supposedly unhappy Trump voters here in Kentucky who are worried about losing their health care and him not bringing back coal jobs?  They'd have voted for Trump again in a heartbeat, knowing what they know now, because in the end America is completely cool with the racist asshole running a country of majority racist assholes.

As I keep saying the problem in this country isn't Trump, it's the people who voted for Trump knowing full well what he is, and especially the 96% of Trump voters who would still vote for him today.  They are the problem, and I want not a damn thing to do with them.

So can we formally dispense with trying to "win Trump voters" as Democrats?  It's not happening. They're a cult.  Let's worry about getting the 47% of people who didn't vote at all interested in saving their country instead.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Unity, Not Compromise

Conservatives used to sneer at liberal "open-mindedness" by pointing out that an open mind lets your brains fall out.  

They were wrong.  But now I say that a too-open tent that lets your enemies in is suicidal.

People who fought for the other candidate in the Democratic presidential primary are not our enemy. 
People who want to deny our basic human rights are our enemy.
  • People who think it's OK for cops to shoot and kill unarmed black people with impunity are not our allies.
  • People who think women are mindless wombs who must be forced to give birth are not our allies.
  • People who think it's OK to treat non-cis, non-straight people like criminals or sub-humans are not our allies.
  • People who think it's OK to discriminate against somebody else's religion but demand special favors for their own are not our allies.
  • People who think workers are drones who don't deserve a living wage or a union are not our allies.
  • People who descended from immigrants but think all other immigrants should be deported are not our allies.
  • People who think torture works are not our allies.
  • People who support the death penalty are not our allies.
  • People who think climate change is real but we need fossil fuels so there's nothing we can do about it are not our allies.
  • People who think for-profit corporations can operate public services like schools and water and parks better than government can are not our allies.
  • People who think rich people need more money are not our allies.
  • People who think poor people are lazy, criminal drug addicts are not our allies.
  • People who think health care is a privilege reserved for those who can afford it are not our allies.
  • People who think the War on Drugs is a great idea are not our allies.
  • People who think marijuana is worse than heroin but alcohol is not are not our allies.
  • People who think war is the answer are not our allies. 
  • People who think that some people shouldn't be allowed to vote are not our allies.
Open the Democratic tent to everyone who shares ALL our values.  And no one else.

Political Animal:
The issues that suddenly divide us? Apparently whether we, as a party, will be unyielding in a woman’s right to choose. Taking a page out of the right’s playbook, Jane Sanders called fighting for that right “political correctness.” I see it as core and just as central to who we are as a party as the bullet points above. We’re apparently arguing over whether economic equality would keep immigrant families from being torn apart by immigration authorities (it wouldn’t), or keep African Americans from being shot in the streets and killed in jail cells (it wouldn’t), or keep Donald Trump from grabbing a woman’s pussy (it hasn’t).
From there Markos discusses where he sees the current divide.
It is interesting to me that these are sometimes referred to as “cultural issues.” But if you are a woman whose economic survival is threatened by a pregnancy, I’m sure that the right to chose can’t simply be relegated to a cultural phenomenon. Same would be true if your family’s survival depends of what an ICE officer decides to do with his time, or if you are a black man in the middle of getting pulled over by a police officer. In all of those instances, these are life and death matters. That is why women and people of color react so strongly to being told that speaking up about them is divisive. It is actually the other sides trampling of their lives that is divisive. We need to be clear about that.
A lot of this discussion was reignited when Bernie Sanders chose to endorse a Democratic candidate who was openly anti-choice. I tend to think about that this way: would I vote for an anti-choice Democrat if the only alternative was the mini-me Trump that is my current representative? You betcha I would! That is what politics is often about in a two-party system.
On the other hand, this morning I read an article from Politico about why the Christian right is so thrilled with Donald Trump’s presidency and have become the one constituency he can rely on. It is all based on what we call “cultural issues” – and that is overwhelmingly about the steps this president has taken (and promised to take) to strip women of their right to chose. So let’s be honest…these are the battles we face right now. Any backing off from fighting them will destroy decades of progress that our predecessors fought for so valiantly.
The challenge Democrats have always faced can be summed up with questions like this:
  • Are men prepared to fight for a woman’s right to chose?
  • Are white people prepared to fight against racism?
  • Are citizens prepared to fight for those who are undocumented?
  • Are white collar workers prepared to fight for unions?
  • Are the wealthy prepared to fight for the middle class?
  • Are those who have good health insurance through their employer prepared to fight for those who don’t?
  • Are members of the upper and middle class prepared to fight for those in poverty?
  • Are the middle-aged prepared to fight for seniors?
  • Are seniors prepared to fight for young people?
I could go on, but perhaps you get the point.
Whenever the answer to one of those questions is “no,” or when the message is sent either directly or indirectly that “my issue is more important than yours,” the divide widens. That is what makes the challenge more difficult for Democrats than Republicans. We can’t afford to play a zero-sum game. We have to care about people who aren’t like us because that is the definition of what “liberal” means.
Marcos ends his piece with a powerful quote from Australian Aboriginal activist Lilla Watson.
If you have come here to help me, you are wasting your time.
But if you have come because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together.
The over-arching goal of liberalism is that “your liberation is bound up with mine.” That is what it means to form a coalition. That was Bernice Johnson Reagon’s message way back in 1981 and it is what Rev. William Barber is talking about when it comes to “fusion politics.” It is the only path forward for Democrats.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

The Orange Loser's Real Accomplishments

1- Protecting Wall Street profits that siphon billions of dollars from retirement savers


2- Letting employers hide fatal injuries that happen on their watch. 


3- Allowing potentially billions of taxpayer dollars to go to private contractors who violate health and safety protections or fail to pay workers. 


4- Undermining important regulations that protect workers and consumers.


5- Allowing employers to penalize employees who don’t want to reveal their private medical information. 


6- Gutting the strength of labor organizing by forcing unions to represent and protect non-dues-paying workers. 


7- Cutting pay for construction workers on federally funded infrastructure projects. 


8- Putting the brakes on overtime pay for the middle class. 


9- Slashing the budget for the Department of Labor, hindering its ability to enforce wage theft and worker safety laws or provide job training programs. 


10- Declining to raise the minimum wage and lift pay for low-wage workers


The Resistance: "We Must Come Together Now"

You all know what an adamant, aggressive Atheist I am.  I cut freakazoids no slack whatsoever. But when it comes to preaching social justice, there's only one voice in the room.

Rev. Barber preaches the paint off the walls at the United Steelworkers:

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Yes, trumpies are doing all the terrorism

The Justice Department tried to warn us almost a decade ago, but the repug apologists for right-wing terrorism screamed and cried and stamped their tiny feet until the grownups withdrew the report.

So ten years of ignoring the problem has only made it worse.


The GAO scienced up some numbers and found that far-right wing extremists groups are responsible for over 70% of all terrorist incidents, and that’s left the rightwing think tank Cato Institute full of butthurt that Bubba may be more dangerous than Mohammed.

Still Treason in Defense of Slavery

These motherfuckers never quit.  That's why we need to shut them down at every opportunity.

In the wee hours of Monday morning in New Orleans, workers wearing flak jackets and military-style helmets, with balaclavas over their faces to protect their identity, removed the first of four monuments to the Confederacy that the city council voted to get rid of in 2015. The military-grade armor, supplemented by snipers on nearby rooftops, was deemed a necessary precaution for the workers after death threats were made toward contractors. Just to be on the safe side, even the name of the company on the sides of the trucks hauling the monument away was covered up with cardboard, because some people really, really love the losing side in the U.S. Civil War — which, as you know, was only about tariffs and states’ rights.

The big ugly obelisk taken down Monday commemorated the “Battle of Liberty Place,” a failed 1874 coup by white supremacists during Reconstruction, and included this cheery inscription remembering — with lots of heritage but no hate at all — what a terrific time for white supremacy that was:


Plenty of people in New Orleans are perfectly happy to see the Confederate monuments go; for a nice thinky-piece on the real historical significance of taking down these tributes to white supremacy, see this Times-Picayune op-ed arguing that the monuments themselves were a despicable revision of history in pretending the Civil War was a noble fight for freedom and self-determination — for a bunch of slaveholders. Says columnist Jarvis DeBerry,
Apparently, the crime of rewriting history is far worse than the crime of being a warmongering, secessionist white supremacist. The crime of rewriting history, to hear the monument-huggers tell it, is offensive in a way that slaveholding is not and treason is not and the decision to elevate and honor slave-holding traitors is not.
But the real revisionism, he says, was embodied by the monuments themselves, erected after Reconstruction to help advance the lie of the Noble Lost Cause, depicting the integrated city government as “usurpers” and lionizing the brave racist insurrectionists who tried to murder as many as possible.

Erik Loomis at LGM:
I know people will say, and not just neo-Confederates, that these are history and shouldn’t be torn down. But let’s be clear. New Orleans is a black city and was a black city in the 1890s. These monuments, among them some of the most imposing Confederate monuments erected, were placed there an overt symbol of post-Reconstruction white power. They were intended to intimidate African-Americans into submission. They are an insult to every African-American in New Orleans. We need to remember history, but we are not obligated to leave the public monuments of our racist ancestors there because of some vague appreciation of the past. These things are living, breathing symbols of white supremacy and they need to go. That this is happening in 2017 is all the more important.
Blantantly stolen from Juanita Jean:

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Bevin Just Chopping Poor People Into Hamburger Now

Congratulations, motherfucker.  You have exceeded any AynRandian wet dream Paul Ryan could come up with.  You've got a plan that will turn Kentucky into a fourth-world hellhole that will make Haiti look like Denmark. You've out-Brownbacked Kansas' own Destroyer.

Bevin's plan to "reform Medicaid" is so off the Outrage Meter that only Wonkette can deal with it properly:

How will they do this, you ask? WELL. First they’re going to tell everyone that employment leads to good health, which is as true as saying that marriage gets you out of poverty! Then they’re going to give everyone jobs (they’re not going to give anyone jobs) and when everyone is working they can all buy employer-based health insurance! That is actually their plan to fix the public health crisis in their state! It’s kind of like listening to Jeb! talk about 4.5% GDP growth year over year, or Donald Trump explain who’s paying for the #FuckingWall.

Anyway, that’s not the bit that’s outrageous, that’s just the wet dreams of Sam Brownback. Here’s the really innovative and start-uppy and consumer-driven part! See, if you want something swanky like glasses or God forbid dental care, then you can do various Character-Building activities like community service or rehab! And accrue points in an account! Which will be taken away if you misbehave!

God bless the free markets, I tell you what. This state is faced with what even they admit is close to epidemic level rates of HIV and hepatitis, and how many times do you have to have to fall asleep to an audio version of Atlas Shrugged before the following actual sentence isn’t dystopian as all fuck: “The cornerstone of the Kentucky HEALTH program is the introduction of a community engagement and employment initiative aimed at increasing workforce participation rates in Kentucky, which is critical to improving the health status of Kentuckians.”

THEIR BEST TACTIC FOR STOPPING A HEALTH EPIDEMIC IS JOBS AND GROWTH. Anyway, poor people of Kentucky: We hope you enjoy your new Medicaid plan, in which you can have all the fun of a prison work-release program and if you do earn enough points in side quests, you’ll get to have a root canal achievement!
The state has not yet commented on how it plans to pay for the ridiculous amount of administration and at least one new agency it will take to get caseworkers to follow up on all this new bullshit, nor on how much extra staff they plan to take on to keep up with demand. When reached for comment, the spokesmonkey just yelled at us about how well Kansas is doing then called us fake news.
Here's my plan for fixing Kentucky's real problem, which is that we are ruled by a bunch of rich motherfuckers who have never worked a day in their privileged fucking lives.

Take them out of their fancy houses and take away their fancy cars and cancel their health insurance and freeze all their accounts and give them a job mopping up puke in the filthy restrooms of some fast-food joint for minimum wage.  Part time.  Then make them find a place to live on $200 a week that is not a slum or a shack.

Then when they are coughing their lungs out with pneumonia or screaming from the agony of back pain tell them that they haven't earned enough good behavior points to get health care.

Candy Barr Clings to Trump In Face of Constituent Protests

Really, Candy?  More than half of congressional repugs are running away from the Orange Clusterfuck as fast as they can, but you're going to be the last rat on the sinking ship?
Candy's an ass, even by the standard of trumpian repugs. If the Sixth District conservadems can't come up with a candidate who can beat Candy in 2018, the losers should just give up and let real liberal progressives lead the party.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

The Resistance: Fuck You, It's Science!

That's from my favorite sign among these from Digby:

There was yet another big national march today, this one the March for Science. Here's a report from Los Angeles:
Ryan Erickson, 28, of Crenshaw, held a sign that read, “I like big brains and I cannot lie.” He said he was marching because he believes facts and science should dictate policy, and he’s worried the Trump administration doesn’t agree.
Asked why she was marching, Claudia Kries of San Pedro said, “Why wouldn’t I be? I’ve been at every march since Trump got elected. It’s how I stay sane.”

Saturday’s event fell within the first 100 days of the Trump administration, which has proposed drastic budget cuts for the National Institutes of Health and the Environmental Protection Agency. Top administration officials are openly skeptical of the scientific consensus that climate change is caused by human activity.
Saturday's march drew a diverse crowd of scientists, researchers and teachers, many of whom said they are new to activism.
Andrew and Chelsie Lee took the Gold Line from Pasadena for Saturday's protest. The couple said that beyond voting they aren't particularly politically active. He is an energy efficiency engineer and she is a customer service executive at a food company.

Since Trump's election they have been taking to the streets.

"With all of the things that are happening right now, it is exciting to be a part of something," she said. "Science is such a important underlying part of why we are successful as a nation.'

"As humankind," he chimed in.

Julianne Cuellar, 34, took a break from the march to sit under a tree in Grand Park. Cuellar, who works at an e-commerce company, had never been to a march before the November election. She described herself as being a casual observer of politics.

Trump changed that.

Since his inauguration, Cuellar has been to the Women's March in downtown, a Tax Day march last weekend demanding Trump release his tax returns, and a protest at Los Angeles International Airport against Trump's executive order limiting travel from several Muslim-majority countries.

"I just wanted to be part of a group standing up for facts and truth," she said. "I wanted to demonstrate resistance."

Allison Santos, a 31-year-old marine biologist and research assistant at Cal State Fullerton, said she had been so busy earning her master's degree that she only just voted for this first time last November. She said President Trump's victory shook her.

"I've never been a part of any type of march," she said in front of City Hall while holding a sign with a drawing of Earth that read, "I'm with her."

Daniel Blackburn, a software engineer from Irvine, held up a neon green sign that summed up how many scientists turned activists feel under the new administration: “We are so mad that even the introverts are outside with people.”

Blackburn said he is worried that the U.S. under Trump will fall behind on combating climate change through research or policy.

“We are losing out on valuable time we need to actually take action,” he said.

Blackburn is channeling his newfound activism into local politics.

He said he has been calling his congresswoman, Rep. Mimi Walters (R-Irvine), repeatedly but said he hasn’t gotten past interns or voicemail.

Walters is one of seven congressional Republicans in California who represent districts that Hillary Clinton won in 2016 and that Democrats are targeting for defeat in 2018. Blackburn is keeping a close eye on that race.

“There is a lot of anger at her,” he said.

Jeniffer Hernandez, a professor and immunologist at the Keck Graduate Institute School of Pharmacy in Claremont, had never been to a protest before Saturday.

But she said she felt attacked by Trump: because her parents are immigrants from Mexico, because of Trump’s comments about assaulting women and because her research lab is funded in part by federal grants.

“I’m outraged. I’m upset,” she said. “We need to be out here.”

She carried a sign, written partially in the colors of the Mexican flag, that read: “I’m a 1st generation Mexican-American scientist not a murderer, rapist or drug dealer.”

But while Saturday's marches made a political point — calling on elected officials and policymakers to fund science that enhances the common good and to rely on scientific evidence when making decisions on behalf of the country — they were intended to be nonpartisan.

“Science is not just for us in ivory towers, or for the liberal elite, and it’s not opinion,” said Alex Bradley, a PhD student at UCLA and one of the organizers of Saturday’s event. “We want to make it known that there are Republicans and Democrats doing science, and we all recognize its value.”

There were a lot of those Mexican criminal scientists in this crowd.
Some pictures from LA and around the country:


There's a lot of energy out there and as far as I can tell, it's not dissipating. The Resistance is for real.

You Want Public Funding? Then Pay Public Taxes, You Motherfucking Freakazoids.

They're not satisfied with the constitutional right to spew lies and indoctrinate stupidity into children and let those children die of treatable conditions in the name of their invisible sky wizard.

They're not satisfied with piling up tax-free fortunes from tax-free donations and then using that money to put themselves into public office where they attack science and reason and facts in their name of their invisible sky wizard.
They're not satisfied with making the United States of America into an international laughingstock for letting freakazoids dictate our national policies.

No, now they want the public dollars to which they do not contribute a single dime.
Missouri’s Scrap Tire Grant Program recycles tires and subsidizes non-profits to upgrade their playgrounds with recycled rubber surfacing. Under the previous Democratic governor, religious institutions were barred from the program. This meant that Trinity Lutheran Church’s preschool could not receive a grant, but a Montessori school would be eligible.

Trinity Lutheran argues that jungle gyms aren’t religious, and that excluding parochial schools from public funding illegally penalizes them for their religion. Their Christian kids are just as entitled to protection from skinned knees as your heathen brats, right?

Opponents argue that States have always had the right to exclude religious institutions from public funding, and 39 states expressly outlaw it in their Constitutions. For instance, Missouri’s Constitution says:
Neither the general assembly, nor any county, city, town, township, school district or other municipal corporation, shall ever make an appropriation or pay from any public fund whatever, anything in aid of any religious creed, church or sectarian purpose, or to help to support or sustain any private or public school, academy, seminary, college, university, or other institution of learning controlled by any religious creed, church or sectarian denomination whatever; (Art. IX, § 8)
Which seems pretty unambiguous, right?

There is also a PLOT TWIST. The former Democratic governor of Missouri Jay Nixon was replaced by Republican Eric Greitens, who is happy to disburse state funds to religious institutions like it says in the Bible. Under normal circumstances, that would mean that the case was moot — Trinity would get its rubber playground, and the case would disappear. But the Republican Attorney General has hired outside counsel to defend the old law, on the theory that maybe one day a future Democratic governor could reenact it. And if you think this reeks to high heaven, YOU ARE RIGHT. Missouri has propped up a fake opponent so that Trinity Lutheran and its adorable, skinned-knee toddlers can give us the magical gift of public funding for religious schools forever. Hosanna!

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Sanders Leader Named Leader of Kentucky Democratic Party

So, the Kentucky Democratic (Republican) Party thinks it can fool the restive liberals in its ranks by naming a Sanders leader as executive director.

I sincerely hope that she knows better.  I sincerely hope she understands that party apparatchiks throughout the state are already sabotaging any effort to build a movement and organize members to elect real Democratic candidates. I sincerely hope she rallies the awakened and enraged progressives in the Commonwealth to take back the party that has betrayed us for decades.

But I doubt it.

From the AP:

The party announced Mary Nishimuta (Nish-ah-moo-tah) of Frankfort as the new executive director on Friday. She will serve under state party chairwoman Sannie Overly, a state representative from Paris.

Nishimuta was a national team leader for Sanders' 2016 presidential campaign and was a delegate for him to the Democratic National Convention.
A graduate of Georgia Tech, Nishimuta has worked for various Fortune 500 companies and is the co-owner of the Kentucky Coffeetree Cafe in Frankfort. She said her goal is to build a strong party in all of Kentucky's 120 counties.

Read more here:

Friday, April 21, 2017

Newsflash: Poor People Can't Afford Drugs. Test the Motherfucking Rich Instead. Start With Bevin.

Not that any waste of money bothers repug legislators as long as they get to humiliate poor people.

Josh Israel and Bryce Covert at Think Progress:
Low-income Americans who need to enroll in the country’s only cash assistance program—the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)—face an onerous process. It typically requires extensive paperwork, visits to welfare offices, and sometimes even upfront job searches. Despite these hurdles, the chances of success are slim: out of every 100 families living in poverty, less than a quarter are enrolled in the TANF welfare program.
But some states have made the process of getting help even more difficult.

At least 15 state legislatures have enacted laws that require drug testing TANF applicants or beneficiaries. Last year, 13 of those testing programs were up and running. That means poor people who try to get assistance in these 13 states have to be screened for potential drug use and, if they are deemed suspicious, must come back to pee in a cup in order to receive benefits. While some states offer treatment programs to those who test positive, in essence, if you can’t prove you’re drug-free, you lose all benefits.

Some states test applicants, some just test beneficiaries. All states use some sort of screening to determine who has a reasonable suspicion of abusing drugs. Some states pay a lot for this screening, some pay next to nothing. Those different methodologies and rules lead to wide disparity in how many people were tested and how much they cost.

For the third straight year, ThinkProgress reached out to each of these states to ask how many applied for their TANF programs and how many were approved; how many of those were given drug tests; how many tested positive and negative; how many were rejected because they refused or did not show up for a required drug test; and the total cost of the program for 2016.

The states’ own data shows the costs were high, yet the positive tests were few.

All told, these 13 states tested 2,826 people out of about 250,000 applicants and recipients in 2016. Of those tested, just 369 came back positive. In four states, drug testing uncovered exactly zero positive tests for the whole year. The positive drug test rate out of all applicants, in states where people tested positive, ranged from 0.07 percent in Arkansas to 2.14 percent in Utah; none of them came anywhere close to the national drug use rate of 9.4 percent for the general population.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

40 Years Late, Solar Finally Comes to Eastern Kentucky

By 1977, strip mining in the Appalachians was turning hundreds of miles of spectacular mountain panoramas into bare, dead, empty moonscapes as far as the eye could see.

Two groups were speaking past each other on the subject.

The coal operators were shrugging off the destruction, one of them actually recorded on video saying "These mountains ain't no good for nuthin' anyway." Nothing except supporting families with the bounty of mature, diverse forests.

The environmentalists and local activists were jumping up and down with their hair on fire, accurately predicting the devastation of mountain communities to come over the next decades and demanding a solution.

You see, when you strip mine for coal, you are literally stripping everything from trees and leaf mold right down to bedrock.  Mining laws required that operators "restore" the original slope after the coal is gone, but that is just exactly as impossible as you imagine.

Then people looked at those new expanses of horizontal land and saw development that hadn't been possible on Appalachia's vertical slopes.  But bedrock is unwelcoming to water lines and septic tanks. Turns out bedrock was really not good for nuthin'. 

But even back then, some crazy hippies were shouting "Solar! Put solar panels on that bedrock!"

Silly hippies. Everybody knows solar power is a myth. Or at least not something that could bring good jobs and cheap, clean energy to the mountains.

A Kentucky coal company announced Tuesday that it is planning to build a solar farm on a reclaimed mountaintop removal coal mine and that the project would bring both jobs and energy to the area.

Berkeley Energy Group, the coal company behind the project, billed it as the first large-scale solar farm in the Appalachian region, which has been hit hard by the decades-long decline in the U.S. coal industry. The company, in partnership with EDF Renewable Energy, is currently conducting feasibility studies for the project on two reclaimed strip mines, both located in the eastern part of the state. Berkeley Energy Group estimates that the solar farm could produce as much as 50 or 100 megawatts of electricity, which would be five to ten times the size of Kentucky’s largest solar farm.

Berkeley Energy Group’s project development executive told the Louisville Courier-Journal that the company did not intend to replace its coal production with the solar farm, but instead viewed the project as a chance to reclaim used land while creating job growth in the area.

“I grew up with coal,” said Ryan Johns, BEG project development executive. “Our company has been in the coal business for 30 years. We are not looking at this as trying to replace coal, but we have already extracted the coal from this area.”

Coal, which for decades has been the primary source of electricity production in the United States, has suffered from competition with cheaper sources of energy like natural gas, as well as solar and wind. Increased automation and stronger environmental regulations have also pushed the industry into decline. According to the Louisville Courier-Journal, coal extraction in Eastern Kentucky fell from 23 million tons in 2008 to about 5 million tons last year. Over the same period of time, mining employment dropped from 14,373 to 3,833.
Note the power of the stinking, decomposing corpse of coal that even now renewable energy can't get a break in Kentucky without denying any intended insult to coal.