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I was listening to Terry Gross's Fresh Air today and her guest was Jeff Goodall who wrote "Big Coal: The Dirty Secret Behind America's Energy Future". I did not hear the entire interview but what I heard was really interesting.

He spoke mostly about the coal industry and electrical power generation. He also spoke about the miners who actually bring the stuff out of the ground. He has a lot of respect for these workers and what they do. The aha moment came when he mentioned that most of these workers are 50 years old or older. There are no young people going into the mines, and all the miners he spoke with do not want their children to become miners. So in the near future we will not have any people willing to go into the coal mines, unless they are paid more than miners get now.

Suddenly bush's focus on immigration and his position on it makes sense now. I always think of the hard work of meatpackers or nannies and other jobs as being carried out mostly by our neighbors from the south.

An energy industry in need of future cheap labor is the missing link in my understanding of bush on immigration.

Have others realized this before. Am I late to the show? Now that summer is here I spend less time in front of the computer and more time outside. So I am perhaps missing some important political things.

Originally posted to jhogg on Thu Jun 21, 2007 at 01:43 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Could be... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    agnostic

    there's certainly something to the argument that those advocating the Immigration Bill want to provide a means for corporations to employ cheap labor... a slave-wage underclass of some kind is what's desired.

    The thought that immigrant labor should be put to use unearthing coal seems fitting... using our new underclass to pursue our fossil-fuels-only policy is an innovative way of giving the finger to pretty much everyone in the country.

    •  three classes. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      willb48, dantyrant

      the have mores, a destitute former muddle class, and a poor class of immigrants doing slave labor, at slave wages. But watch the DOJ rule that normal work rules don't apply to that lowest class.

      In the United States, doing good has come to be, like patriotism, a favorite device of persons with something to sell. - Mencken

      by agnostic on Thu Jun 21, 2007 at 02:04:07 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  The coal that is in the mountains of Appalachia (5+ / 0-)

    has been mined down to the narrow 18" seams now, though there's plenty of coal still left for those who are willing to go further and further into those small tight spaces.

    The mines out west, though, are set up differently. There is more space down in the mine, newer equipment. Perhaps too the state governments out there are better at protecting their citizens who do work in those jobs than the governments of Kentucky, West Virginia and Pennsylvania.

    Anyway, the coal mining "hollows" are very tight knit communities. I cannot see how the coal corporations could "bus in" loads of immigrant workers to mine the coal. Of course, many of those small towns sprinkled throughout the Appalachian foothills were originally "company towns" erected, owned and maintained by the coal companies.

    Jobs are scarce in the Appalachian mountains. Dangerous or not, there are men and women who will do it everyday to feed their families.

    <div style="color: #a00000;"> Our... constitutional heritage rebels at the thought of giving government the power to control men's minds. Thurgood Marshal

    by bronte17 on Thu Jun 21, 2007 at 02:01:20 PM PDT

  •  I agree..... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    willb48

    immigrant labor WAS brought in to mine coal once- and we now have Italians and Hungarians and even African Americans who were brought in from the South as miners as West Virginians.  But there is a lot of fancy equipment to learn to use- and if you don't communicate well, you die in those mines.  

    There are classes in coal mining being offered in community colleges around here.  The folks are signing up for these classes, sometimes without a coal miner currently in the family.  Current miners often want their kids to go to school and can help pay for it.

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

    by murrayewv on Thu Jun 21, 2007 at 02:58:40 PM PDT

  •  Coal "mining" is becoming obsolete (0+ / 0-)

    Mountaintop removal is the new method.  It doesn't take much labor.  Of course, it is devastating to the ecosystem.  Some spoil-sports oppose it.

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