Hearings This Week on Mine Safety


Tomorrow, Tuesday, the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, & Pensions is conducting a hearing on “Current Mine Safety Disasters: Issues and Challenges.”

It begins at 10:00 am, EST. Continue reading


Stalling the Utah Mine Safety Commission

The recently formed Utah Mine Safety Commission has received a letter from MSHA’s ‘acting soliciter’, Jonathan Snare regarding the commission’s request for information. The letter from Mr. Snare is essentially a flat refusal to allwo the commission any information until MSHA’s official inquiry is completed.

“By granting the commission members, including a member of the trade association that includes the Crandall Canyon mine owners, access to sensitive investigative information during the progress of the investigation, we run an unacceptable risk that testimony of witnesses could be prejudiced, witnesses could be intimidated and possible civil or criminal violators could be tipped off that they are under suspicion. I am sure you can appreciate the impropriety of giving the public access to such information during a law enforcement investigation.”

Gov. Jon HuntsmanAll we’re looking for is sharing – in real-time – information that might be helpful to our state efforts.”

The Labor Department took issue specifically that the Utah Mining Association is part of the commission and it represents owners of the Crandall Canyon Mine. Continue reading

Media suing Secretary of Labor over Crandall Creek Hearing

The Salt Lake Tribune and other news media are suing U.S. Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao for access to closed Mine Safety and Health Administration panel hearings on the Crandall Canyon mine disaster.
The lawsuit, filed Monday in U.S. District Court in Salt Lake City, says the public has a “legitimate interest” in attending MSHA panel proceedings. Two catastrophic collapses in the central Utah coal mine killed six miners and three would-be rescuers.

I’ve been keeping track of the stuff with MSHA, and especially in relation to the latest going with Crandall Creek. This is undoubtedly in response to the media being kept out of the proceedings that have involve the panel set up by Governor Huntsman to investigate the disaster. Without question, the media should be allowed in. Federal, state, county, and city monies have been and will be expended. Continue reading

Where’s Larry today?

That’s kind of an important question. I mean, he did say he was uh, leaving…..


…… well, he will hang on until someone drags his arrogant ass out.

Yep – stick to this, Larry. I mean /snort/, I believe ya, dude.

On Wednesday, Craig issued a statement saying that the court hearing was a “major step in the legal effort to clear my name. The court has not issued a ruling on my motion to withdraw my guilty plea. For now, I will continue my work in the United States Senate for Idaho.”

(If so inclined, here are some letters to the editor in the Idaho Statesman today.)

The Burma revolt is over,” she said.

While watching something on MSNBC over the weekend, I caught the lead-in for another program. It was how a very lovely, predominantly Hispanic community by day became a drug-infested gang-banger oasis at night. Some heavily tattooed dude with a kerchief around his head quietly said this: “I rather be feared, ya know.”

The Guardian in the UK has ‘One monk for every soldier‘:

How will the predominately Buddhist population of Burma respond to this attack on members of its revered religious order? With absolute horror, I imagine, as they have done to previous attacks (an unverified number of monks were shot dead during the nationwide uprising in 1988, and over 500 were imprisoned). But people’s reactions will probably be expressed behind closed doors. The regime has a terrifyingly effective network of spies and informers,and people are often not willing to openly voice any criticism of the regime for fear of imprisonment and torture. we-dont-want-killer-junta.jpgThe surveillance has been so insidious that there are Burmese people I have met who do not trust anyone outside their immediate family; they won’t talk openly to cousins or close friends. When I asked a friend for advice on how to safely do research in Burma, he told me to operate under the assumption that everyone I met was an informer – including him.

The Norway Post is reporting that a high end commander is seeking asylum in Norway. “He said he had defected after refusing to lead his men in an attack on the demonstrating monks.”

Norway has deep ties to the opposition movement in Myanmar, formerly called Burma, through the Democratic Voice of Burma, which runs a robust news operation out of Oslo. So far, it has posted no English-language reports of Mr. Win’s reported defection, but it referred to him in an earlier piece as a “local commander” in Yangon.

The Daily Mail is reporting that Mr. Hla Win has stated, “Many more people have been killed in recent days than you’ve heard about. The bodies can be counted in several thousand.” (He is “the most senior official to defect so far”).

However, he is, after all, only one small man. The junta, not even trusting those who apparently are the closest or most available, has opted to bring in troops from the border to quell the resistance.

Soldiers from the government’s elite 77th Brigade — its toughest fighters — are positioned under the trees lining some of the city’s boulevard…..

The generals have shown few scruples in using deadly force against their own people, a population that has somehow managed to intimidate them at the same time. Two years ago, on an astrologically auspicious date, the ruling junta moved the country’s capital to Naypyidaw, a remote location in the jungle 320 kilometers (189 miles) north of Yangon, where they believed themselves safe against uprisings.

Yes, isn’t that what all bullies do – hide, surround themselves with those who will do their bidding for whatever reason?