March 26, 2016

Hard times

The topic of this week's Front Porch from WV Public Broadcasting was the woes of a certain demographic you may have heard about this election season, to with the white working class. We kicked some ideas around here. And remember, no trolling till you listen to the podcast.

(Fair warning: there are some odd juxtapositions and turns of a phrase in this one.)

March 24, 2016

This could get interesting in all kinds of ways

The WV legislature spent a lot of time this session on...stuff. Some things it didn't get around to were minor items the state budget and the looming funding crisis of the Public Employees Health Insurance Agency, which provides health care to over 230,000 West Virginians.

Prior to the session, "draconian" cuts were planned, although it was hoped that some kind of fix would be worked out in the session. However, other urgent priorities, such as mucking with the constitution, making it easier for angry white men to carry concealed weapons, and the terrors of gayness took precedence.

Now, the cuts are back on the agenda. This is a loaded political issue that could echo through November if it doesn't get fixed.

On a more positive note, the Our Children Our Future campaign is urging political candidates to make kids' well-being a top priority.

March 23, 2016

Talking Appalachia

It's no secret that Appalachia in general and WV in particular are in a tough spot. The question is not only what to do about it but how to talk about it. The Topos Partnership, using the tools of ethnography, came up with a valuable guide for people who have to navigate these stormy seas.

AND WHILE WE'RE AT IT, here's a look at what won't help, i.e. cutting state taxes. This should have  been obvious a long time ago.

March 22, 2016

Three for the road

These are interesting times in Appalachia. If you are up on the whole apocryphal Chinese proverb thing, you'll recognize that as not altogether a good thing.

Today, I'd like to share three items that reflect the interestingness of the times.

FIRST, here's one on young Appalachians moving ahead in a world beyond coal's domination.  Several of these guys are friends of mine.

SECOND, here's a look about the violent reshaping of Appalachia in recent years.

FINALLY, here's a little reality therapy about Hilary Clinton's alleged coal gaffe.

March 21, 2016

Down dog

Edith crashing (photo credit Spousal Unit)

This blog has been sorely neglected lately. It was a combination of things, including:

*a brutal 60 day legislative session;

*Hell Day (when the time changes, robbing innocent people of a blessed hour of much needed sleep); and

*a mandatory staff retreat that entailed a 1000 mile car round trip.

I'm trying to lick my wounds, although I lack some of the abilities in that department displayed by some other residents of Goat Rope Farm.

HERE WE GO AGAIN. Session aside, WV's ruling class last week was engaged in another hissy fit over Hilary Clinton's unfortunate remarks about coal. In fairness to our ruling class,however,  leading national Democratic politicians seem to have forgotten how to throw their WV counterparts a bone every now and then.

In this climate it's nice to find some common sense. Here's what my friend Ken Ward had to say about WV's economic situation and what can be done about it at Coal Tattoo. It's also nice to see that the  Gazette-Mail's conservative editorial side has come around to the idea that WV should take advantage of federal initiatives to help the coalfields rather than just complain about it.

NOTE: I hear some people are not getting Goat Rope through email these days. If that's the case, I think you might need to resubscribe.