September 28, 2012

Good turkeys gone bad

I think the free range turkeys of Goat Rope Farm may have committed a federal crime this week by blocking the road in such a way as to prevent a mail carrier from discharging her duty. The Spousal Unit was able to intervene and chase the flock off the road before too much damage was done so I'm hoping they avoid prosecution. Previously, they did the same to an electric company truck (gas trucks are fair game). They have also chased away dogs and deer.

I'm not sure they're very smart but they have great self esteem and are living proof of the power of acting in solidarity.

September 27, 2012

The war on whatever

It is an article of faith among West Virginia's ruling class that any and all of the ills of the coal industry are solely the fault of a certain black man in the White House and his diabolical EPA. Actually, I imagine that some of the smarter ones know better but still feel obligated to pretend that this is the case.

I guess it would be too inconvenient to recognize that the gas boom in northern WV has anything to do with the coal bust in southern WV.

Many "conservatives" around the country are joining the "war on coal" chorus. The irony here is that the real driving force behind the relative decline of coal as an energy source is the market which these same people worship as a god.

Meanwhile, here's a bit of rationality about the subject from the Christian Science Monitor.

September 26, 2012

Point taken

This blog is dedicated to the cutting edge of positive social change...and like other stuff too. One example of the "other stuff" category was a link featured in yesterday's post about a scientific study of longevity records of Korean eunuchs from the 14th to early 20th century which suggested that castration might lead to a longer life.

(Which makes me think that longevity is sometimes overrated.)

I received an email yesterday from a Goat Rope reader who pointed out that such surgical measures did little to promote longevity for members of a certain religious outer space cult back in the 1990s. Duly noted.

One can only hope that anyone today who adopts such a drastic measure in search of a few more years of life is selective in his choice of religious affiliation.

REDISTRIBUTING WEALTH seems to be OK with some folks when the direction is upward.

BAD LIT, REVISITED. Here's an item dealing with the true love a certain vice presidential candidate has for a really bad writer.


September 25, 2012

Let them eat emergency rooms

It's kind of entertaining these days watching the whole political circus. Or circuses, to be more exact, there being so many to choose from. I must admit to being amused by presidential candidate Mitt Romney's latest prescription for health care for the uninsured: using the emergency room.

Ironically, this is something that another Mitt Romney not so long ago denounced as "socialism," as this Huffington Post article points out. His  Massachusetts plan, this Mitt said, was designed to put a stop to that.

On the other hand, many conservatives view the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare, as socialistic, even though it was modeled largely on the Massachusetts plan associated with you know who.

Is anybody else confused yet? Would the real socialist please stand up...

Meanwhile, for all the talk about how unpopular health care reform is supposed to be, I imagine there would be hell to pay if provisions of it were actually repealed.

SPEAKING OF WHICH, WV is on the verge of making decisions about how its health care system will unfold. I wouldn't look for a lot of boldness here.

HE'S RIGHT THIS TIME. El Cabrero is not always on the same page with David Brooks, but I think he nailed with this piece on conservatism old and new. To tell the truth, I kind of like the old version.

A DRASTIC CURE. An historical study of Korean eunuchs suggest that castration could lead to longer lives. Which leads me to ask, who wants to live forever anyway?


September 24, 2012

Not to be

Here's a bit of a downer dug up by researchers at West Virginia University: suicide has now surpassed motor vehicle accidents as the leading cause of deaths by injury. Further, as Science Daily reports, the number of deaths by injury have increased even while deaths by disease have decreased. The suicide mortality rate was 15 percent higher in 2009 than in 2000.

I find myself wondering to what extent this change is due to the skyrocketing increase in military suicides. My guess is that it is a significant factor.

The French sociology pioneer Emile Durkheim was probably the first to systematically study suicide. His 1897 work on the subject is still extremely influential. One major take home point from his work is the argument that this most seemingly individual of acts is a reflection of larger social facts or social currents going on within a given society.

To coin a phrase, there's something happening here.