I don’t know about you but I’ve been watching the mining disaster coverage pretty much non stop, or anyway I’ve had MSNBC on while I’ve been working and at least initially they’d been covering it non stop. (notice the way as hope fades the coverage does too?)
In way it’s somehow similar to the failure of outrage, investigation, even attention given tot he pathetic incompetents at NASA.
You’ve probably seen the voluble Wilfred Brimley look-alike Bob Murray, the mine’s co-owner gabbing non stop in an I-really-care emtional way to make up for his (and everyone’s ) ignorance. Giving the impression that he’s doing everything that can be done to save the trapped miners. Some people seem to buy his act.
Trouble is it seems like he and his company could have done a lot more before the disaster to prevent it if you believe the record of violations reported and not–to my knowledge–denied by the company.
Thirty safety violations in the past year according to CNN.
And look at this Times report on August 14:
The Salt Lake Tribune reported Sunday that the mine experienced serious structural problems in March, and, that miners had abandoned work in part of it after pressures within the mountain caused coal pillars to burst, affecting roof conditions. The poor roof was thought to be 900 feet from where the six miners remain trapped, the newspaper said.
A woman answering the phone for Agapito Associates, a Colorado engineering company cited by the newspaper that had compiled a memorandum on how to mine other areas of the mine safely, referred inquiries to Murray Energy. At the news conference, Mr. Murray insisted the mine was safe..
And yet the reporters at the press conferences, almost to a man, tip-toe around this (that’s giving them credit for not being ignorant of it) and the coverage leaves us with an image of a deeply troubled, caring fuddy-duddy but paternalistic guy who’d do anything for his beloved employees. Disgusting!
And then there’s this amazing damning testimony of our Wilfred Brimley before a Senate subcommittee headed by Barbara Boxer just two months before the mine shaft collapse.
Testimony in which Wilfred Brimley takes off the Mr. Fuddy Duddy nice guy mask and makes the old meretricious argument that too much safety regulation could hurt the jobs and the families–oh! does he feel for the families! Why would the families suffer? Because if the Murray Energy Company had to comply with stricter safety regulations his profits would suffer and he’d have to lay of workers rather than make the mines safer.
Here’s the testimony that comes from a a blog that supports W.B. against Barbara Boxer. But read in the light of the tragedy unfolding the past week it’s a searing indictment of a greedy heartless, transparently disingenuous, mine owner and a criminally inadequate mine safety regulation bureaucracy that refused to shut the unsafe mine down.
Friday, June 29, 2007
Barbara Boxer’s Mean Left Hook
…some personal observations from the most recent hearing on global warming in Senator Barbara Boxer’s committee:
Senate Environment and Public Works Chairman Barbara Boxer said that she wanted to continue hearing from all sides of the global warming debate during her closing statement at yesterday’s global warming hearing.
We have reason to doubt her sincerity.
Those who disagree with her particular view of global warming can end up on the receiving end of Boxer’s very mean left hook.
Just ask Bob Murray, CEO of Murray Energy Company. During his testimony yesterday, Murray implored the committee to resist regulations that would inflict hardship on American families. He said he was particularly concerned about the welfare of the 3,300 people directly dependent and up to 36,000 indirectly dependent on Murray Energy for their livelihoods.
In response, Chairman Boxer introduced a Columbus Dispatch article, littered with quotes from her trade union movement allies, that questioned the safety record of Murray’s mines.
Yes, the article was way off-topic, but the point of introducing it was to impugn Mr. Murray’s reputation and undermine his credibility when he spoke of his deep concern for workers.
Senator Boxer had intended to criticize Mr. Murray without allowing him to respond, but he defended his company’s safety record, sometimes speaking over her gavel.
…author David Ridenour, firstname.lastname@example.org
Good for Barbara Boxer and her “mean left hook”. If only someone had paid attention to this disaster waiting to happen.Stories like this bring out the old fashioned populist–and Dickens devotee–in me.
Yes, Mr. Murray’s “deep concern for his workers” and the “hardship” imposing stricter safety regulations would cause their “American families”. Obscene!
What’s remarkable it seems to me the way the media continues to fall for the pathetic Wilfred Brimley act and fails to treat this Dickensian creep as the heartless greedy buffoon he is and to hold him and the bought-and-paid for mine safety regulators accountable for the tragedy of the trapped miners.
Maybe they have a future at NASA.