I don't write diaries very often, and when I do, it's usually about some news event rather than an opinion piece; the intellectual firepower on this site is intimidating.
But in the aftermath of the mine disaster - and all the thoughtful, caring diaries and comments yesterday - I started wondering ...
Did you know that over the past 365 days, there have been 172 diaries that included Massey as a keyword? And 92 that included Blankenship? (And that doesn't count today's FP entry by Devilstower or this one, or any others that get posted later.)
I didn't go through the two lists to weed out duplicates, so let's assume every Blankenship diary is included in the Massey list and use the higher number. And I read through the titles and estimate that about 35 aren't directly applicable to Massey (overnight news digests, diaries and stories where "Massey" refers to someone or something else, etc.). So let's say there have been approximately 135 diaries by, rough count, about 75 different writers - in ONE year - about Massey Coal and Don Blankenship and their despicable tactics.
That's one diary about every three days. About just one publicly-held company and its CEO. Did you realize this community has talked about them so much?
Some more search results: Over that same year there have been more than 2,500 diaries about coal (about 106 on MTR, 356 on mountaintop removal - sometimes I wish we had more standardized tags) and more than 1,100 that included West Virginia as a keyword. I didn't go through all the coal diaries to see if they mentioned West Virginia, and I didn't go through all of the WV diaries to see how many were about something other than coal or Massey, but I'm assuming the ones using coal as a keyword really did talk about coal. Using the same 20 percent estimate as I turned up on the Massey diaries to weed out those not directly applicable, that means this site had roughly 2,000 diaries about coal.
So one way or another, coal, mountaintop removal, Massey, and Don Blankenship really get a lot of electrons on Daily Kos.
And I am left wondering, what are you doing about them?
Have you joined an MTR protest? Have you written to your senators and representatives asking them to support the EPA in its push to control MTR? Or asking them to support cap-and-trade? Or educating them on the myths of "cheap" coal or "clean" coal?
Have you ever checked whether your mutual fund(s) invest in coal companies? Have you ever checked to see if it includes Massey?
Have you sent a donation to Coal River Mountain Watch, or the Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition, or the West Virginia Environmental Council, to name three out of dozens? (In the interest of full disclosure, I'm on the board of the WVEC.)
Have you studied this administration's energy policy? Have you evaluated the arguments for and against expansion of the electrical grid? (And why do you believe the power companies' threats of blackouts??) Have you really looked at what is planned for windfarms? A hint: Tell me why we are putting so much effort into developing Midwestern wind resources when the best, highest, and most consistent winds are off both coasts - incidentally near the population centers that most want more electricity?
Have you joined any of the many anti-coal, anti-MTR groups on Facebook, to help build those communities? Have you posted anything on your own Facebook page about why you oppose U.S. coal policies, MTR practices, failures in mine safety? Have you posted anything about beefing up the EPA, the Mine Safety and Health Administration, the Clean Water Act, Clean Air Act, wetlands protection, etc.?
Have you given any thought to how West Virginia's economy can move past its fixation on coal? Have you reached out to West Virginians trying to fight our corrupt political culture? (Or do you believe the cruel stereotypes?)
Take a look at some of the tags I've put on this diary. Do you know why I included Monaco? Spike Maynard? Kayford Mountain? The Supreme Court? I was going to put in links, but if you're not familiar with them, do a search here on Daily Kos or on the Internet; you'll be shocked at what you find.
If you have read this far, I want you to know that I am grateful for the diaries, the conversations, the exposure these issues get on Daily Kos. And I am grateful for all the individual acts that I bet thousands of Kossacks have taken to try to change our political and economic status quo w/r/t coal.
But as the tragedy at the Upper Big Branch mine shows, it's not enough.
So my question is, what will you do now?