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Here is how real leaders react to a disaster.  Pay attention, President Bush.  There was an explosion this morning in the Sago Mine in Upshur County WV.  Approximately 13 miners were trapped at the Sago Mine, about 100 miles NE of Charleston, near Buckhannon.  WV Governor Joe Manchin will be returning to the state tonight to stand vigil with the miners and their families as a rescue effort is planned.

Why is this real leadership?  Because Manchin will be leaving the WV football team behind tonight to play the Sugar Bowl in Atlanta.  He is a huge fan, and there are tons of locals at the game, the best Mountaineer team in many decades.  The Mountaineers are 10-1 this season, but sometimes a real leader goes home to help out instead of staying for the party.  Manchin has his priorities straight.

Please say a prayer or think a good thought for the miners who are trapped and their families.  It will take a miracle, I am afraid.

Originally posted to murrayewv on Mon Jan 02, 2006 at 03:22 PM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  It seems wrong to care about football.... (4.00)
    but the state is crazy about this team.  Hopefully they facein the glare of the spotlight tonight and play hard and well.

    You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you mad. Aldous Huxley

    by murrayewv on Mon Jan 02, 2006 at 03:21:15 PM PST

    •  I only found out about this about 6:15 p.m. (4.00)
      because I haven't had any news on or been online - mom came in talking about it so I checked out the news and they talked about Manchin leaving to come to WV tonight and I had the exact same thought: here is how a leader behaves.

      I wish people didn't have to work in this nasty dangerous industry.  

  •  murrayewv (none)
    Thank you for posting.

    There is nothing more stimulating than a case where everything goes against you. -- Sherlock Holmes

    by Carnacki on Mon Jan 02, 2006 at 03:36:00 PM PST

  •  Here's to miracles. (4.00)
    I grew up in WV; I come from a family of coal miners. I ache for the families of these men. Murray, it's not silly to think about the football game right now. I know quite well how important sports is in small towns and West Virginia is, after all, a collection of small towns. And even those of us who didn't go to WVU still love our Mountaineers.

    Joe Manchin will go to Tallsmansville and stand strong with the families of those miners. I'm sure they will take heart in what he said earlier today:

    "There's always that possibility, that hope and that chance, they were able to go to a part of the mine that still has safe air," Manchin said. "There's places they can retreat in all these mines. They have catacombs."

    You're right. He's a real leader.

    •  Let's hope the miners weren't injured (4.00)
      in the explosion and did make their way to good air.

      Rescue teams cannot even begin their job because of the methane gas still there.

      Our... constitutional heritage rebels at the thought of giving government the power to control men's minds. Thurgood Marshall

      by bronte17 on Mon Jan 02, 2006 at 05:22:47 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Not to rain on your parade... (3.33)
    ...but Manchin strong-armed the legislature last term in order to push through a tort reform package penned by big insurance.  If the mine was negligent in causing injury to these miners, the victims will be limited as to what they can recover for pain and suffering, even if they will have a lifetime of pain and suffering.  And if the insurance company stonewalls them, strings them out, denies claims that are clearly valid, etc., the victims will not be able to act against the insurance company, as Manchin's insurance reform package eliminated third-party bad faith as a cause of action in WV.

    He stands with miners and other working people much like Bush stands with the troops while sending them to war with inadequate armor, cutting veterans benefits, etc.  Manchin is a Dem, but he toes the Republican line.  To paraphrase Harvey Keitel in Pulp fiction, "Let's not start suckin' his dick just yet..."

    "Every normal man must be tempted at times to spit upon his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin slitting throats." -- H. L. Mencken

    by roxtar on Mon Jan 02, 2006 at 04:01:25 PM PST

    •  Apparently the mine was inspected about (4.00)
      a month ago and according to one of the 24-hour news channels they were fined for a fairly lengthy list of violations which resulted in "thousands of dollars in fines".  All I could think was that maybe it wasn't enough money to make the mine owners feel the need to fix the problems.  If there is no recourse from the families or the miners themselves should they survive, there is clearly even less incentive to do all they can to preserve lives.  Very sad.
      •  Mine's safety record nosedived in 2005 (4.00)
        According to this AP story the mine had a 172% increase in safety violations for 2005.

        Federal inspectors cited the mine for 46 alleged violations of federal mine health and safety rules during an 11-week review that ended Dec. 22, according to records.

        The more serious alleged violations, resulting in proposed penalties of at least $250 each, involved steps for safeguarding against roof falls, and the mine's plan to control methane and breathable dust. The mine received 185 citations from MSHA during 2005, up from 68 citations in 2004.

        Reuters story:

        Since October, the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration has issued 50 citations to Sago mine, some as recently as December 21, including citations for accumulation of combustible materials such as coal dust and loose coal.

        The AP article indicates the miners had air purifying equipment but no oxygen tanks. I spent some of my misspent youth in West Virginia. Miners and their families have a very tough road to he. My prayers go out to the trapped miners and their loved ones. They darned well deserved better attention to safety.

        •  This is George Bush's America. (none)
          The infraction count would be higher if the Federal inspectors weren't controlled by the GOOPERS.

          Just a thought, but I am sure true.

          You only regret the things you don't do.

          by DailyLife on Mon Jan 02, 2006 at 06:03:17 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Not surprised. (none)
          I'll admit I have an attitude about coal companies, as anyone who read my mini-rant in today's Midday Open Thread already knows. And while I grew up Democrat in WV (everyone was back then, except the rich folk and there weren't many of them around), the Dems have done their share with letting the coal operators get away with screwing the workers and raping the land. Because it's always about money.

          But the Bush administration, with their predilection for cronyism and their utter disinterest in the environment, has made matters worse. It started when Bush appointed David Lauriski, a former coal industry executive and lobbyist, to Assistant Secretary of Labor for Mine Safety:

          Shortly after taking office, Lauriski bragged to a group of coal industry executives that his regulatory agenda "is quite a bit shorter than some past agendas." Indeed, death warrants usually tend towards brevity. Part of Lauriski's abbreviated agenda is to reduce the number of times a mining company has to sample coal dust levels inside the tunnels, a move that is certain to increase incidence of black lung disease. And yes, Lauriski wants to get rid of the chest X-ray program that tests miners for black lung disease. Lauriski also wants to slash the number of mine inspectors by 25 percent.

          Lauriski's moved on now though. Went to work for a mine-industry consulting company. Probably pays better than government work.

      •  NY Times reported: (4.00)
        "West Virginia ended 2005 with three mining deaths, the lowest since 2000."  Sometimes good enforcement makes you over confident.  The increase in citations may be in part to better enforcement rather than more violations.

        You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you mad. Aldous Huxley

        by murrayewv on Mon Jan 02, 2006 at 05:26:11 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  More facts (4.00)
      FYI - Gov. Manchin grew up in Farmington, WV, where a mine disaster killed 78 miners in 1968. He knew a lot of those killed. And according to his interview on CNN, his own uncle was in that mine.

      "They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." Benjamin Franklin

      by WV Democrat on Mon Jan 02, 2006 at 05:02:14 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Consol No. 9 (none)
        I was just a kid, but I remember it. My mom lost a cousin in that one.

        There were a lot more mines operating in those days. More explosions, more accidents. I spent my child terrified that one day it would be my dad who wouldn't come home from the mine.

        •  A little too teary to proofread. (none)
          should read childhood, not child.
          •  I know what you mean (none)
            I am also flashing back to Farmington 1968. I lived just a few miles away then, and I had classmates whose fathers died in that mine. My father worked at a different mine, but when something like this happened, we were all in it together. There but for the grace of God go I.

            Keep the faith. As long as there is any hope to cling to...

            "They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." Benjamin Franklin

            by WV Democrat on Mon Jan 02, 2006 at 08:13:03 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  Tort Reform is an interesting problem in WV.... (4.00)
      the state gets very poor marks for having big insurance settlements.  People are quite litigeous and the car insurance is quite high.  The tort reform was a bid to get additional business into the state.  However, it may not help, because even with tort reform, the peole who rank the business atmosphere don't actually check out how laws have been changed- they just go with their perceptions.  And perceptions then become reality.  

      Sort of like, you can't make the businesses happy, even when you change to accomodate them.

      You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you mad. Aldous Huxley

      by murrayewv on Mon Jan 02, 2006 at 05:18:28 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  CNN is exploiting the hell out of this (none)

    "We must all hang together or assuredly we will all hang separately." - Ben Franklin

    by RandyMI on Mon Jan 02, 2006 at 06:56:28 PM PST

  •  Prayer or meditation please (4.00)
    Please spare a moment of prayer or good thought for the trapped men and for their families.  My grandfather died in a coal mine accident in Pennsylvania; they are thus kin and in my thoughts tonight.

    Democrats give you the Bill of Rights; Republicans sell you a bill of goods!

    by barbwires on Mon Jan 02, 2006 at 07:28:20 PM PST

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