Despite over two and a half weeks of rescue efforts, six coal miners
remain trapped in Utah in a tragedy
that has also claimed the lives of three rescuers. The
conditions apparent at the mine, as well as the treacherous rescue
into question the quality of federal Mine Safety and Health Administration
(MSHA) procedures. MSHA approved the mine operation plan in June, just months
after serious structural problems forced the operators to abandon work in an
area that was only 900 feet from where the miners are trapped.
The effects of the sub-prime lending disaster are
being felt as the stock market has been rocked in
recent weeks and many families find themselves locked out of the
mortgage market. As we
in the past, the subprime mortgage market was largely aimed at
economically-strapped families trying to find some way to afford
homes. For low-income renters who never had the money to
even be in the game, rising rents have increasingly priced them
out of their homes.
Despite real progress over the last generation in overcoming discrimination in our society, the reality is that Americans are still regularly refused employment, housing or equal treatment under the law because of their nationality or the color of their skin. The numbers highlighting this racial discrimination are stark:
Kentucky Governor Ernie Fletcher picked the wrong blogger to fight with. BluegrassReport.org host Mark Nickolas has filed a federal lawsuit against Fletcher and other state officials for arbitrarily censoring blogs following criticism of Fletcher and his administration's deeply held commitment to corruption.
Some politicians have a simple way to deal with the challenge of
providing health care to the uninsured: cut the funding for those
currently receiving care and deliver half-rate care to more people. West Virgina and Kentucky legislatures both voted recently to cut benefits
for existing Medicaid recipients, taking advantage of a new federal law
that allows states to selectively cut benefits for different
In Indiana, critics are condemning
a rushed $1 billion privatization of the states' social services work
-- despite the fact that the companies bidding on the contract have
mismanaged similar contracts in other states and, more tellingly, no
one even bothered to determine whether the companies could do the job
cheaper than current state employees:
Efforts to advance an anti-labor agenda died in recent weeks in both Indiana and Kentucky
when workers and their allies in statehouses rallied opposition to the
proposals. So-called 'right-to-work' legislation was brought up in both
states. In Indiana, legislative leadership had indicated they wouldn't bring it up for a vote, but a representative moved it as an amendment.
Hard work led to an overwhelming defeat of the measure 65-31. Union
leaders who helped lead the victory said that number overstates their
support. Once legislators realized that they were going to lose and
look bad, many of them switched their votes to the winning side.