Sunday, August 24, 2008

Muddy water, elliptical orbits, underlings ...

Ricky Thompson of the Huntsville Times has some timely timing in attacking Paul Hubbert of AEA using language of "miners, more than any other working group, still do not receive a fair shake and proper protection from the short- and long-term dangers of their jobs today" in that we learned just today that "confidential" interviews of various MSHA employees as to the Crandall Canyon mine tragedy have been delived directly to Dick Stickler.

Richard Stickler is pictured with admittedly some modifications. He is Bu$hCo's mine safety underling. This Mining Safety and Health Administration Acting Secretary works for Dubyah's Labor Secretary Elaine Chao. News that MHSA was negligent there at Crandall Canyon and beyond resulted in action alright yet the action was to go after those failing to follow the Corporatist Code! Bu$hCo wanted him there for a reason of course, enough to do an end run around Congress to keep him in place until the end of the Reign of Error. They have no shame yet Shame on Elaine remains a solid resource.

I'm certainly no fan of every move by Dr. Paul Hubbert so I agree with much of what Ricky Thompson writes. He's entitled to his opinion that Hubbert "owns most of the Alabama Legislature lock, stock and barrel" yet I think at best AEA has a timeshare on Goat Hill. Other Big Mules like ALFA, Alabama Power, etc. have at least as much, if not more, power. Danny's Most Influential Non-Elected Alabamians - Complete is the definitive list of the juice held by those that don't hold office and I agree that Sir Paul is rightly #1.

Ricky's "little monster they bred and birthed in a fog of inebriation and loosed upon the world" is an instant classic. I've taught that kid! Actually several of them yet I digress.

When Ricky writes of "insulating yourself from sleaze via an underling or two" I'd suggest Dr. Hubbert is but one of many that practice that protection. Certainly Bu$hCo knows this technique, DOJ's "God Squad" being one example. Bob Riley's use of Black Jack Abramoff's gambling money likewise comes to mind. Would the Alabama Christian Coalition qualify as an "underling" in that case?

Ricky's on a rant yet I find it a righteous one for the most part. Afflicting the comfortable usually is! Nevertheless, perhaps in an effort to provide balance between left and right, he goes a little to far.

I take exception to Ricky's suggestion that most on the left support anything unconditionally. I like to think one on many, many positive traits of a liberal is that we'll wrestle with issues and then try to formulate our opinions. I'd also like Ricky to point me to "the U.S. industries on the verge of collapse from strangleholds by unions that are at least as exploitative as the companies the unions were supposed to mediate with on the workers' behalf." I just don't think he can deliver on that claim. On the other hand, Wal-Mart was busted recently for "educating" their low-level management on issues in this next election. For decades unions have been losing influence Ricky!

Given the ongoing JuCo mess I expect Paul Hubbert and AEA will be given much scrutiny over the days to come. I'm still chapped at the way Sue Schmitz was arrested yet I'm following her trial with interest. Sunlight is always good yet I do wonder if some on the right might not be tempted to twist what ought to be merely about justice to their advantage. Finally, I predict an acquittal (or at least a hung jury) based on my understanding of the applicable law and facts. Even if not illegal, this episode is just one more sorry story about Alabama. Covering Montgomery and beyond with a critical eye toward her leaders and those pulling their strings is always appreciated. John Gunn

UPDATE ~ Miss Laura's Daily Kos post Big Business Goes After Unions to Defeat Democrats is another timely find.

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