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Tag Archives: West Virginia

The Death of King Coal

The end is coming fast for coal as an energy source…

The World’s Largest Private Coal Company May File For Bankruptcy

Peabody Energy, the largest private coal company in the world, may soon file for bankruptcy, citing falling global demand and “substantial doubt” about its future.

The company has been hit hard by a glut in cheap natural gas and the Obama administration’s tougher, climate change-minded government. Several major coal companies have already succumbed to the changes, including Arch Coal, the second largest supplier in America.

“These projections and certain liquidity risks raise substantial doubt about whether we will meet our obligations,” Peabody said in a filing to the Securities and Exchange Commission. “There exists substantial doubt whether we will be able to continue.”

Shares in the company fell more than 45 percent on Wednesday after the filing.

Coal has long been lambasted for being a fuel of the past as growing concerns about climate change have led to harsh crackdowns on future mining operations. President Barack Obama halted new coal leases on public lands earlier this year. And China, by far the largest burner of coal on the planet, has promised to tackle it’s gargantuan greenhouse gas emissions by 2030.

Several leading environmental groups, including 350.org, Greenpeace and WildEarth Guardians, called on Peabody to end its coal business, citing the announcement as an “opportunity to protect the climate” in a press release.

“All we’re doing is calling on the company to get on board with helping our nation and our communities transition away from coal by winding down their operations in an orderly and effective manner,” Diana Best, Greenpeace’s senior coal campaigner, said in the statement.

Peabody has laid off hundreds of employees over the past few years and announced in January it would pay $75 million into a health fund for thousands of retired coal workers from a now-defunct company it spun off in 2007.

The company had $6.3 billion in debt and a net loss of more than $2 billion at the end of 2015.

Talking about Kentucky and Coal…A little Bluegrass is in order in a song about Peabody…

This is a modern electrified version of a Bluegrass classic – “You’ll Never Leave Harlan Alive”. Harlan County Kentucky was featured in a television series a few years ago, and it’s theme song featured a new style blending Bluegrass, funk, and rap.

In case you need to ask, my Grandfather was a coal miner, and my Dad did a stint to get though school up in the mountains working the Pocahontas mine.

 
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Posted by on March 17, 2016 in American Greed, General

 

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Black Coal…Black Workers

Black coal miners date back to slavery. The first Unions formed in West Virginia  included black coal miners. Today a coal miner makes about $85,000 a year. That is good money – especially in he mountain regions of West Virginia. Coal is dying though as an industry due to pollution.

First…A little bit of history –

Most slaves from present-day West Virginia lived in the Eastern Panhandle counties, but a substantial slave population existed in the Kanawha Valley. Due to the decline of plantation agriculture in the 1800s, slavery was no longer as profitable in the east and slaves were frequently hired out or sold. The salt industry was driven by poor white transients and slave labor, often leased from eastern Virginia. This was the first significant introduction of slavery into western Virginia because salt was the first major industry to develop. In fact, by the 1800s, slave labor was rarely used in areas that did not rely heavily upon industry. Similarly, industrialization in the late 1800s and early 1900s would later bring many transient African Americans into the state.

Of the slaves in the Kanawha Valley, half were owned or hired by salt firms. Forty percent of these slaves were used to mine coal for the salt works because they could be hired from their owners for much lower wages than white laborers demanded. These slaves were usually leased and insured rather than bought due to the risk of death or injury in the coal mines.

In 1863 West Virginia separated from Virginia.  West Virginia placed a greater emphasis on funding white schools than it did black schools. The African- American community took it upon itself to create the first schools in the state for blacks. In 1862, a year before the state’s creation, a black school was opened in Parkersburg. In 1866, the state agreed to take over the Sumner School, making it the first publicly financed black school in the entire South. Black schools sprang up in other towns, including Charleston, Clarksburg, Fairmont, Grafton, Keyser, Lewisburg, Malden, Martinsburg, Morgantown, Piedmont, Point Pleasant, Ronceverte, Shepherdstown, Union, Weston, Wheeling, and White Sulphur Springs. There was a growing need for individuals to teach the increasing number of black students. Storer College, established at Harpers Ferry in 1867, was comprised of two components, a grammar school and a normal school for the training of teachers. In the 1890s, the state created two additional black normal schools, West Virginia Colored Institute (later West Virginia State College) and Bluefield Colored Institute (later Bluefield State College).

Coal was King, and it was mined as far South as Alabama. From 1880 to 1904, 10 percent of Alabama’s state budget was paid by leasing (mostly black) prisoners to coal companies.

As a history tidbit – The original “Mother Jones” was a Union organizer at the Pocahontas Mine in Tazwell, Va. She would help organize coal fields in West Virginia in the Kanawha Valley. Mary Harris “Mother” Jones, led striking miners. Jones, a native of Ireland, was already a major force in the American labor movement before first coming to West Virginia during the 1897 strikes. Although she reported the year of her birth as 1830, recent research indicates she was probably born in 1845. As a leader of the UMWA’s efforts to organize the state, Jones became known for her fiery (and often obscene) verbal attacks on coal operators and politicians.

Among the elected delegates to the founding UMWA convention were at least five African American miners. By 1900 approximately 20,000 black miners had joined the union, representing about 20% of UMWA membership.

One of the best known African-American UMWA members was Richard L. Davis, who mined coal in West Virginia and Ohio. A delegate to the founding convention in 1890, Davis later served as a UMWA organizer in Alabama, Ohio and West Virginia, and was twice elected to the UMWA National Executive Board.

 

This is drift mining with a continuous mining machine. Notice the cut is only 3-4 feet tall, and the tunnel is not tall enough to stand in.

In W.Va., fortunes of black minority fall along with coal

Coal Miners in 1920’s West Virginia Kanawha Valley

Buck Wade wanted to be just like his dad. His father, a widower, raised five children on a coal miner’s salary, working long hours and in his free time teaching the kids to cook and clean house. At 17, Wade got his first job in the mines. It was 1943, and he was so anxious to work underground that he lied about his age on the application form. No one cared. His father took him on as an apprentice, and Wade made 23 cents for every ton of coal he mined. “I was just as happy in the mines as I could be,” he says.

Wade grew up in Keystone, a busy town in McDowell County, West Virginia, unusual for its racial diversity and the economic power of its black residents. Though the county was an anomaly in that sense, residents here, like elsewhere in the region, were ensconced in the world of coal. That’s what brought Wade’s dad to the state — he’d walked all the way from Montvale, Virginia, to the West Virginia community of Edmond, the old man always said — along with thousands of other African-Americans.

Coal was booming, and work was plentiful. By the 1930s, the industry employed 400,000 miners, 55,000 of whom were black. African Americans were restricted to more physically demanding positions requiring less skill, earning30 percent less than whites. But their wages were still high by national standards: $118.30 per month, according to one 1929 survey. By contrast, a national study in 1939 later found that black men earned an average income of $460 per year.

By the 1950s, African Americans made up 24 percent of McDowell’s population, compared with 6 percent statewide. Locals came to refer to the area as “the Free State of McDowell.” Black doctors, lawyers and entrepreneurs also flocked to the county, drawn to the promise of a better life. Even in the Jim Crow era, unions in the area were integrated, blacks in West Virginia enjoyed voting rights, and local political leadership included many people of color.

“Everybody had money,” says Clif Moore, a current state delegate for McDowell who was born in the county in 1949. “It was sort of like little New York. Like a little Manhattan. Everything was popping.”

But at mid-century, as machines began to take over the tasks of drilling and blasting coal and hauling it above ground, black miners were the first to lose their jobs. What had once been an all but certain gateway to the middle class began to close. African Americans fled the industry at even higher rates than whites; by 1960, the share of black workers in coal shrank to 6.6 from 12 percent a decade earlier. In 2014, the most recent year for which Bureau of Labor Statistics data are available, only about 2,500 blacks worked as coal miners, less than 3 percent of the total…Read the Rest Here

 

 
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Posted by on February 23, 2016 in Black History, The Post-Racial Life

 

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Racial Attack Against Restaurant Owner In Tiny Town

Lot of the KKK, Militia, and Aryan Nation types resettled along the Va-WVa border in the Shenandoah and Monongahela Mountains, giving Va one of the larger numbers in terms of Hate Groups as identified by the SPLC. Folks have been getting along for a long time in those hills…Unfortunately the inbred hater type seems to be causing issues. The Extreme Court has made is substantially more difficult to prosecute Civil Rights violations, protecting the SCUMUS 5 base. As the owner of the Pretty Penny Cafe in Hillsboro just found out.

This is a “must stop” place on the way to the Ski Resorts, and to her credit, owner Blair Campbell has drawn a lot of business into an otherwise dead little town.

“The N-word is a horrible word, but how is it a threat?”: The search for justice after a terrifying racial violation

The man who defaced the Pretty Penny Cafe was arrested, but proving civil rights violations was more elusive

On Jan. 8, the words “nigger lover” were spray-painted in dark green onto the north-facing exterior wall of the Pretty Penny Cafe, the only restaurant in Hillsboro, West Virginia, a town of about 300 that sits near the state’s southeastern border with Virginia. The cafe, which was once the general store, is owned by Blair Campbell, a white woman raised in the area who lives down the road with her husband, originally from Jamaica, and their two children; the cafe also employs a black chef raised in Greenbrier County, just to the south. Pocahontas County, which contains Hillsboro, is 96 percent white, 1 percent black and 3 percent Latino or mixed race.

In an article that ran on Martin Luther King Day, I reported here that Hillsboro showed strong support for Campbell’s family in the aftermath of the crime and that Hillsboro might be looked to as an example of how small rural towns can grapple with racism and their histories of exclusion. A group of Campbell’s friends came out in six degree weather and helped her scrub the words off with brake fluid. In the days following, Campbell and supporters started a unity campaign called “We Are One,” which has to date just shy of 1,500 likes, and organized a “Love Fest” potluck held at the Presbyterian Church, which was attended by more than 200 people. Campbell is well known in town as the owner of this prominent business; when the Derecho wind storm of 2012 left the community without power or water for a week, her cafe became the center of relief efforts and cooked up nearly 3,500 meals.

Justice initially seemed swift: “The cops did a great job,” Campbell says. Halfway through the “love fest” potluck, an officer with the Pocahontas County Sheriff’s Department arrived saying he was on his way to interview a suspect. Robbie Ratliff, 40, of Greenbrier County, who has a record for other misdemeanor crimes, was arrested and soon confessed. His tape-recorded confession, later played in court, says he was acting solely out of a personal grudge against Campbell — that he simply wanted to hurt her feelings because of what he felt was a monetary debt owed to his girlfriend, a former employee of Campbell’s cafe, and that he is not a racist. Neither Ratliff nor his lawyer returned requests for comment.

Ratliff was charged with destruction of property — a misdemeanor carrying a maximum penalty of $500 fine or up to one year in jail — and violating Campbell’s civil rights, a felony. West Virginia state code Section 61-6-21 states, “All persons within the boundaries of the state of West Virginia have the right to be free from any violence, or intimidation by threat of violence, committed against their persons or property because of their race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, political affiliation or sex … If any person does by force or threat of force, willfully injure, intimidate or interfere with, or attempt to injure, intimidate or interfere with, or oppress or threaten any other person in the free exercise or enjoyment of any right or privilege secured to him or her by the Constitution or laws of the state of West Virginia or by the Constitution or laws of the United States, because of such other person’s race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, political affiliation or sex, he or she shall be guilty of a felony, and, upon conviction, shall be fined not more than five thousand dollars or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both.”

But enforcing this statute is another matter. Ratliff’s trial on Aug. 28 was inadequate and disappointing to Campbell, her husband, Charlan, and their supporters. It took less than five hours and Pocahontas County Prosecutor Eugene Simmons only questioned Campbell about how she felt when she saw the racist graffiti: “Scared. Sad.”

“I had no voice,” Campbell says. In addition to two witnesses who testified that they saw Ratliff’s truck in the area of Campbell’s business the night of the crime, the only other witness called by the prosecution was Pocahontas County Sheriff’s Department Capt. McCoy who introduced the tape of Ratliff’s confession. According to local attorney Clint Carte who was observing the proce

Pretty Penny owner, Blair Campbell

edings, “They had him nailed dead to right on the destruction of property. But when he discussed his own internal motivations he was careful to say, hey, this wasn’t a racial thing. I came away thinking, gosh, this confession may actually help him.”

After deliberating for 20 minutes, an all-white jury found Ratliff guilty of destruction of property but not of the civil rights violation. To Campbell, the jury’s verdict was insulting and devaluing. “There was nobody there to testify to how fundamentally terrifying that word is for people of color,” Campbell says. “That was really frustrating.”

Robert Leslie, senior deputy for the West Virginia attorney general, says that the statute was a difficult one that is not widely used. “It must be proved beyond a reasonable doubt. That is a very hard conviction to get.”

Why? According to ACLU executive director Jennifer Meinig, a conviction on a civil rights violation charge rests on proving that the perpetrator was motivated by discriminatory intent. “Prosecutors have to prove some sort of motive based on a protected class,” says Meinig. “Proving someone’s motive or state of mind is always difficult to do.”

Prosecutor Eugene Simmons ran for the office as an Independent and has supported some progressive policies in the county such as gun control. Simmons, who did not return requests for comment, argued that Ratliff used force to put the words on Campbell’s wall, but did not present witnesses testifying that Ratliff’s words were intended to intimidate Campbell or that Ratliff had a pattern of racist behavior.

“It’s pretty obvious that’s racist,” Campbell says. “I don’t know how you can get any more threatening or intimidating than that word on my business.”

Unfortunately, the law does not agree. “The N-word is a horrible word we don’t use,” says Phil Morrison, executive director of the West Virginia Prosecuting Attorney’s Institute, “but how is it a threat?

“They have to prove a threat under this statute. The N-word is not a threat in and of itself. It has to be combined with other words to create a clear threat, as in, N-lover, I’m gonna kill you.”…

The place also has live bands, with Bluegrass, Country, and Blues. Here is the Daddy Mack Blues Band playing…

 
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Posted by on November 8, 2015 in The Definition of Racism

 

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President Obama – About that Dogcatcher Thing…

Uhhhh…Pres…

The primary results in West Virginia yesterday were not good. A convicted felon serving time in jail got 41% of the vote!

While it isn’t time yet to circle the wagons…

I do think it is (long) past time to start hanging some foot up Republican derriere.

You need to do 3 things to get the Moderate and Progressive Dems to turn out and vote:

  1. Get the rhetorical Louisville Slugger out of the closet and apply it liberally to Republicans every time you speak from now until the election.
  2. Turn Harry Reid loose to exercise the “Nuclear Option” on baseless filibustering by the Reprobates. Get those Judges appointed immediately.
  3. Make it very clear to the electorate that simply electing you to office isn’t enough. They need to get behind their local Democrat politicians to throw the scumbags out – else watch their states suffer as Wisconsin has.

No matter how intransigent and crooked the Republicans are – YOU are the man in charge, and one seen as having the responsibility ultimately to make the system work. The General gets the blame for losing the war – not the moron soldiers who loaded cases of liquor instead of artillery shells in their trucks.

Harry Truman faced the same issue – as did FDR.

There are some folks in this world you just can’t reason with other than at the receiving end of a baseball bat.

Ouch! Obama loses 41 percent of W.Va. primary vote to federal inmate.

Inmate Keith Judd

In an embarrassment to President Obama, Federal Inmate No. 11593-051 – otherwise known as Keith Judd – won 10 counties and 41 percent of the vote in West Virginia’s Democratic presidential primary Tuesday.

Mr. Judd is incarcerated at the Federal Correctional Institution in TexarkanaTexas, where he is serving a 210-month sentence for extortion, according to TheCharleston Gazette. Judd had paid the $2,500 filing fee and submitted a notarized “certificate of announcement” to appear on the ballot.

He is even qualified to have a delegate at theDemocratic National Convention, because he won at least 15 percent of vote. However, no one has stepped forward to fill that role.

But those are just details. The Republicans are having a field day with this slap at the president. Mr. Obama is deeply unpopular in West Virginia and was already certain to lose the small mountainous state in November. But the fact that enough people bothered to turn out in an uncontested primary to register a protest against the incumbent is telling.

“Just how unpopular does someone have to be for this to happen?” says Joe Pounder, research director and deputy communications director at the Republican National Committee, in a statement.

He notes that Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia wouldn’t say whom he voted for in the primary. “Apparently, it’s a smarter political calculation to let people believe you may have voted for the guy in federal prison over the sitting president of your own party. Just saying,” Mr. Pounder writes.

West Virginia’s Democratic governor, Earl Ray Tomblin, has also not revealed his vote. Energy is a big issue in his state – America’s second-biggest producer of coal – and the Environmental Protection Agency’s handling of mining-related permits has angered the local industry, writes theAssociated Press.

In addition to being a convicted felon, Judd is also a serial presidential candidate. In the 2008Idaho Democratic primary, he finished third behind Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton with 1.7 percent of the vote, per The Charleston Gazette.

 
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Posted by on May 9, 2012 in Stupid Democrat Tricks

 

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Megan Williams – Bombshell… Or Just Raped Again?

Breaking news in the Megan Williams case –

This is a photgraph of Megan and her Mother Carmen showing some of the spots where her hair had been pulled out.

This is a photgraph of Megan and her Mother Carmen showing some of the spots where her hair had been pulled out.

Woman in W.Va. torture case now says she lied

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A black woman whose racially charged allegations of horrific abuse helped put several people in prison now says she lied when she alleged she was kidnapped, sexually assaulted and tortured in a ramshackle West Virginia trailer.

West Virginia authorities said in 2007 that Megan Williams, now of Columbus, Ohio, had been stabbed, beaten with sticks, sexually assaulted, doused with hot water, forced to eat animal feces and taunted with racial slurs by seven white men and women. She later said that hot wax was poured on her and that two of her captors had forced to drink their urine. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on October 21, 2009 in Nawwwwww!

 

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