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I am NOT given to gratuitous swearing.  However, god damn it all anyway.  54+ dead in Baghdad, 140+ injured.  8 dead in Jerusalem.  The dems don't have a nominee.  Utah ended its stupid ass legislative session (more on THAT forthcoming).  

And this afternoon, competing news releases flying from the committee chair, Ted Kennedy, and the ranking member, Mike Enzi.

Because
Kerry Allred
Don Erickson
Luis Hernandez
Juan Carlos Payan
Brandon Phillips
Manuel Sanchez
Gary Jensen
Dale Ray Black
Brandon Kimber

are DEAD.

And it is the fault of Bob Murray, MHSA, Elaine Chao and w*.

The Crandall Canyon mine collapsed early in the morning of August 6, 2007.  Various rescue efforts went on, futilely, until a second collapse killed 3 rescue workers, including an MHSA employee.  

There were many fine diaries about the tragedy at the time.  There was a bit of Senate hearing news in September, also diaried at the time.  My first diary reported on meeting minutes obtained through FOIA by the Salt Lake Tribune, my hometown newspaper.  The Utah governor convened the UTAH MINE SAFETY COMMISSION.  The chair of that committee, incidentally, is Scott Matheson, Jr., brother of Rep. Jim Matheson (UT-02), and Huntsman's Democratic rival for the governor's seat in November 2004.  

Today's news:  Senator Ted Kennedy released a 75-page Report from the Health, Labor, Education, and Pensions Committee.  I skimmed this report, and it looks damning.  Not damning enough for me.  

Senator Kennedy issued a press release summarizing the major findings from the report:
 

"The committee's investigation has revealed that the owner of Crandall Canyon mine, Murray Energy, disregarded dangerous conditions at the mine, failed to tell federal regulators about these dangers, conducted unauthorized mining and -- as a result -- exposed its miners to serious risks," Kennedy said in a statement. "MSHA also unconscionably failed to protect miners by hastily rubber-stamping the plan. This is a clear case of callous disregard for the law and for safety standards, and hardworking miners lost their lives."

Republican Senators Mike Renzi (Wyoming), Orrin Hatch (Utah), and Johnny Isakson (Georgia) immediately issues a competing press release, pooh-poohing the report.  This is the sentence that lit my fire, put a bee in my bonnet, and caused further regret that I quit drinking alcohol for Lent.  

"Mine safety is too important an issue to risk misunderstandings about highly technical data prepared by non-experts"

That wasn't enough for Senator Hatch.  No, he had to dig deeper.  

"I will weigh the opinions of his (Kennedy's) inquiry with the official findings in the Inspector General's and Mine Safety and Health Administration's official reports that are due to be released later this year."

Who the hell does Orrin Hatch think he works for?  As I recall, Senators are paid for by the USA taxpayers and elected by the citizens of their state.  Bob Murray cut a deal with MHSA for lax standards.  w's entire administration is appointed based on loyalty and not expertise.  

And there are NINE DEAD UTAHNS (Utah residents).  At least the families filed lawsuits last fall, after the FOIA report by the Salt Lake Trib.  

Any information that comes out about any of w's administration's screwups comes out so slowly and painfully.  Then when someone suggests or proves that w's cronies screwed up, the republican locksteppers immediately begin to disparage the news.  Official reports, my ass, Senator Hatch.  Will the Inspector General reports that the mine collapsed under the weight of 2000  vertical feet of solid sandstone ?  Will the Mine Safety and Health (excuse me while I puke) report that Bob Murray reported an earthquake caused the initial disaster?  Did this hamper the initial rescue efforts in any way?

Now the most hilariously tragic item to me is that Kennedy's committee is going to ask the Dept. of Labor (Elaine Chao, wife of Mitch McConnell) to refer this issue to the Justice Department (Mukasey ♥ Orwell).  This is the same inJustice Department that will not refer charges for Harriet Myers and Josh Bolten.  And Ted Kennedy wants them to chase down Bob Murray and the MHSA.  And Orrin Hatch wants to wait for more reports.  

Oh, USA taxpayer dollars pay for the inJustice Department too.  And yes, Bob Murray is a Republican donor.  He doesn't live in Utah, though, so he's not one of Orrin's constituents.  Of course, 6 of Orrin's constituents are dead.  (3 of the victims were Mexican nationals).  

And why did Bob Murray think this mine was a good financial idea?  Because we, as a country, have not learned to conserve energy.  We have not developed alternate forms of energy.  We continue to elect people who do not make this a priority.  And our world's idea about coal mine sucks, too.  Miners in China die right and left, dozens at a time.  

We put people on the moon and in space.  We must develop safe, renewable energy.  Save lives, save the planet.  

Because
Kerry Allred
Don Erickson
Luis Hernandez
Juan Carlos Payan
Brandon Phillips
Manuel Sanchez
Gary Jensen
Dale Ray Black
Brandon Kimber

are DEAD.

and Bob Murray and MHSA are walking free.  

w*  I believe that the current occupant of the White House does not deserve any more typing that a single letter.  

Notes:
Devilstower front paged my initial diary in their Support These Troops

A Siegel and Stranded Wind both write fine diaries on renewal energy issues.  

Originally posted to Jenn's Corner on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 08:29 PM PST.

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