March 21, 2015

How bout that?

Maybe this is true everywhere, but West Virginia politicians tend to get braver the closer they come to retirement or mortality.

WV Governor Earl Ray Tomblin, who isn't eligible to run again for that office, has shown courage on more than one occasion, including last week or so when his administration announced that it would take another look at the health impacts of mountaintop removal mining.

The very latest example is his veto of a bill that would have allowed West Virginians to carry concealed firearms without getting a permit and taking a gun safety class. It even made  the NY Times online with the headline "A Governor Faces Down the Gun Lobby." He should have plenty of political cover, however, as a recent poll found that over 80 percent of respondents opposed the bill.

All I know is it led to quite a few wisecracks in the halls of the capitol, some of which my have been uttered by me.

March 19, 2015

Classical ways of handling classes

Regular readers of this blog know that El Cabrero is a total Greco-Roman classics geek. Homer, Hesiod, Aeschylus, Virgil, Plutarch, name it. Bring it.

When I first started reading about Greek  and Roman history, I was struck by how much of it was shaped by class conflict and how they found different ways of working it out, at least for a while. I remember thinking "wow, the history of all hitherto existing society REALLY is the history of class struggles, at least a good part of the time" to paraphrase a certain out of vogue political economist whose name escapes me at the moment.

Anyhow, from the NY Times, here's an interesting look at classical approaches to class conflicts by way of Athenian democracy, the Roman republic and the politics of Aristotle.

One thing has been clear to me for a long time: the doom of the Roman republic came when they lost the ability or will to work out class compromises. Good thing that would never happen here, huh?

March 17, 2015


Every so often something truly wild and unexpected occurs that can remind us that we live in an open universe where all kinds of wild and cool *** can go down. Here's the latest example, by way of the Gazette's Ken Ward:

The Tomblin administration said Tuesday that it would initiate an evaluation of the growing body of studies that have found residents living near mountaintop removal coal-mining operations face increases risks of serious illnesses and premature death.
Bureau for Public Health Commissioner Dr. Rahul Gupta said that his agency would work with the state Department of Environmental Protection to examine the issue and to seek help from various federal scientific and regulatory agencies to review existing research on the subject.
“The analysis is something that is needed going forward,” Gupta said in an interview. “The bottom line here is to let science speak for itself. It’s time that we attempt to do that.”
Read the rest here.

March 16, 2015

In lieu of a post

The WV legislature ended (thank God) Saturday at midnight. I've been thinking about all that for the last 60 days and could use a break. In lieu of a real blog post, here's an interesting take at the role of religion in American life and how it's been manipulated.

Sorry for slow posting lately. Between internet troubles, travels and work, it was hard to do.