Well, this morning was no different than any other morning, wake up, get something caffeinated in me, check my email, RSS feed and of course the Kos and see what is new. Kudos to Christian Dem in NC, who did a piece on Massey today, referencing the NYT discussion on how this disaster was one "waiting to happen". We need to keep on this story.

That is what other whistle-blowers have said recently as well...

...Nelson, who left Massey in 2000, says that’s simply the company’s business model. In an interview with TWI from his Raleigh County home, the retired Nelson described a company culture — perpetuated by higher-ups — that systemically disregarded safety measures in the name of greater coal production. For example:

   * Mine ventilation systems utilize so-called line curtains to direct the flow of fresh air into underground work chambers in order to prevent highly combustible methane gas from accumulating. Massey, Nelson said, encouraged the miners to jerk down those curtains lest they get in the way of the heavy equipment and slow the process of harvesting coal.

   * Mine operators are also required to dilute combustible coal dust through a process known as rock dusting (which usually means dousing walls with limestone dust). Rock dusting should occur throughout the day, but at the Massey mines, Nelson said, rock dusting was commonly done only at the end of the shift.

   * As a protection against black lung disease, inspectors can ask miners to carry dust pumps gauging the levels of coal dust in a work chamber. It wasn’t uncommon in Massey mines, Nelson claimed, to hang those pumps near ventilation fans instead, where they’d detect only the fresh air flowing in from above-ground.

When miners learned that government inspectors were headed into a mine, Nelson added, they would race to hang curtains, fling the rock dust and generally try to get the place in compliance with the safety rules. When the inspectors left, "we were back to doing the same old business as usual."...MORE

Then when you thought they couldn't get much worse, I hear that they had a message for the miners who wanted to attend their friends funerals.. From the Washington Independent....

...Massey Energy, the Virginia-based coal giant that runs the Upper Big Branch Mine, has denied time off for miners to attend their friends’ funerals; has rejected makeshift memorials outside the mine site; and, in at least one case, required a worker to go on shift even though the fate of a relative — one of the victims of the April 5 disaster — remained unknown at the time, according to some family members and other sources familiar with those episodes. In short, the company might be taking heat for putting profits and efficiency above its workers, but it doesn’t appear to have changed its tune in the wake of the worst mining tragedy in 40 years.

"They told my husband, ‘You’ve got a job to do and you’re gonna do it,’" said the wife of one Massey miner, referring to the funerals he’s missed this month for friends who died in the blast. "What else are we gonna do?"...(MORE)

It should be noted that the company is now denying this claim. Just like they deny most of the safety violations they get charged with, but that is neither here nor there...

So, you may be wondering after all this, what is with the title? The Kentucky Democratic senate hopefuls had their debate, you can read details of it here, or watch it HERE.

Conservadem Daniel Mongiardo wants to be a "Pro-coal Champion?" Yes, Daniel you nitwit, they must feel so abused at the moment...

Conway, is obviously the better Dem, and that is what this site is for, getting the better Dems in office. Remember, ignoring this race could lead to a tea-bagger in office, Rand Paul. Help where you can, Here is Conway's website.

Originally posted to EastKYprogressive on Sat Apr 24, 2010 at 12:33 PM PDT.


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