Thursday, January 31, 2008

Blogging For the Mountains.........

A very exciting project is in the works, folks! As you all know, I am very passionate about putting an end to the destructive practice of Mountaintop Removal Coal Mining. I have to temper my posts about it, so that I don't drive all my readers away. :)

Well, in the process of blogging about MTR issues and action steps, I have connected with some other bloggers who are spreading the word, including Denny, over at Backwoods Drifter. He is just as passionate about ending MTR as I am, and some lively discussions have been going on over at his site.

In the same conundrum as I about the topic being somewhat all-consuming, he is beginning a blog entirely devoted to MTR awareness, issues, and action steps and has invited me to be a contributing author, along with another blogger. The link is in my sidebar: 'Stop Mountaintop Removal Blog'. I invite you to stop over and tell Denny 'Hi', and continue to check in regularly to see what is going on in the fight against the destruction of our mountains. I am sure more lively discussions will be happening and I am excited that the word is spreading and people are uniting against this atrocity.

"A strand of three cords is not easily broken....."

(Oh, and just a side-note... to get an idea about how bad the Coal propaganda is in our mountains, go to This post by Denny. It's about these ridiculous commercials that Walker Machinery (which supplies the big machinery for MTR sites) has out. )

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Wordless Wednesday...

“In the depths of winter, I finally learned there was in me an invincible summer.”
-albert camus

(Taken on a Sunday afternoon drive..... more Wordless Wednesdays here)

Monday, January 28, 2008

You Say you want a revolution...........

I am ready for one! After much apathy this voting season, with no candidate capturing my mind, heart, or interests... none with radical ideas about getting America back on track... I think I have finally found my man. This is by no means a proselytizing post to get you to share my opinions on Ron Paul... I'm just excited to find someone with big ideas!

From His Mouth:

"Christ came here for spiritual reasons, not secular war and boundaries and geography. And yet, we are now dedicating so much of our aggressive activity in the name of God, but God, he is the Prince of Peace. That is what I see from my God and through Christ. I vote for peace. "
Values Voter Presidential Debate, September 17, 2007

"We have a lot of goodness in this country. And we should promote it, but never through the barrel of a gun. We should do it by setting good standards, motivating people and have them want to emulate us. But you can't enforce our goodness, like the neocons preach, with an armed force. It doesn't work. "
Republican Presidential Debate, Manchester, New Hampshire, June 5, 2007

"America was founded by men who understood that the threat of domestic tyranny is as great as any threat from abroad. If we want to be worthy of their legacy, we must resist the rush toward ever-increasing state control of our society. Otherwise, our own government will become a greater threat to our freedoms than any foreign terrorist."
Freedom vs. Security: A False Choice, May 31, 2004

"In the free society envisioned by the founders, schools are held accountable to parents, not federal bureaucrats. "
Statement on the Congressional Education Plan, May 23, 2001

"One day I walked into an operating room, to just be an observant, which we would do generally, as a medical resident. They were performing this hysterectomy, which was a caesarean section. And they lifted out a fetus that weighted approximately 2 pounds, and it was breathing and crying. And it was put in a bucket and set in the corner of the room, and everybody in the room just pretended that they didn't hear it. And the baby died. And I walked out of that room a different person... Roe v. Wade is a reflection of the moral climate of the country, because the law was being defied, and then the law was changed, the law sort of caught up with the culture. So even though we work in the legal area, and work politically, ultimately I believe it's an issue of personal morality, and is a reflection of the country, more so than just the lack of laws. Just changing the laws won't be enough, we will ultimately have to have a society that's moral enough, where the fetus deserves legal protection. "
National Right to Life Convention, Kansas City, Missouri, June 15, 2007

In the third Republican debate on June 5, 2007, Paul said about the U.S. military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy:
"I think the current policy is a decent policy. And the problem that we have with dealing with this subject is we see people as groups, as they belong to certain groups and that they derive their rights as belonging to groups. We don't get our rights because we're gays or women or minorities. We get our rights from our Creator as individuals. So every individual should be treated the same way. So if there is homosexual behavior in the military that is disruptive, it should be dealt with. But if there's heterosexual behavior that is disruptive, it should be dealt with. So it isn't the issue of homosexuality. It's the concept and the understanding of individual rights. If we understood that, we would not be dealing with this very important problem."

On Environmental Issues:"The federal government has proven itself untrustworthy with environmental policy by facilitating polluters, subsidizing logging in the National Forests, and instituting one-size-fits-all approaches that too often discriminate against those they are intended to help.
The key to sound environmental policy is respect for private property rights. The strict enforcement of property rights corrects environmental wrongs while increasing the cost of polluting.
In a free market, no one is allowed to pollute his neighbor's land, air, or water. If your property is being damaged, you have every right to sue the polluter, and government should protect that right. After paying damages, the polluter's production and sale costs rise, making it unprofitable to continue doing business the same way. Currently, preemptive regulations and pay-to-pollute schemes favor those wealthy enough to perform the regulatory tap dance, while those who own the polluted land rarely receive a quick or just resolution to their problems. "

More Quotes here.......

Friday, January 25, 2008

Good things are meant to share.......

First of all, anyone that puts Bible stories to banjo music and sings them while wearing bird wings, is a kindred soul. :)

If you haven't noticed by my music player, I've had quite the fascination with Sufjan Stevens as of late. My friends have talked about him for years, but I just discovered his music shortly before Christmas, and was very excited to receive "Sufjan under the tree", as I phrased it, on Christmas morning....

So I'll leave you with a little Sufjan magic for the wintry weekend. Enjoy!

(as a side note, I have put up an original song on my Myspace page. The link is in my sidebar. You'll have to scroll down on the player, as it's the last song..... it is just a simple love song to God I wrote as a young 'un.... ) :)

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

wordless wednesday...

"I prefer winter and fall, when you feel the bone structure of the landscape—the loneliness of it—the dead feeling of winter. Something waits beneath it, the whole story doesn't show." -Andrew Wyeth

(more wordess wednesdays here)

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Before there was P.Diddy, there was Uncle John Scruggs.......

Unbeknownst to most people, African-Americans had a huge influence on Appalachian music, including bluegrass and modern day country music. In fact, the banjo, what is considered one of the most traditional Appalachian instruments, was derived by slaves in the southern Appalachians...... they fashioned it from traditional instruments that they remembered from their homeland. The earliest banjos, they made out of gourds.

"Until 1800, the banjo remained essentially a black instrument, although at times there was considerable interaction between whites and blacks in enjoying music and dance—whites usually participating as observers. What brought the instrument to the attention of the nation, however, was a grotesque representation of black culture by white performers in minstrel shows...." ( excerpt from 'A Short History of the Banjo' by Mick Moloney)

Also, traditional flat-foot dancing has African-American roots. Regarding the different settlers in Appalachia:

"The social dancing of the wealthier groups was influenced by the French courts and Playford's English country dances, reflecting the formal and methodical philosophy of the Age of Reason. In contrast, the backwoods people danced lively and boisterous reels, jigs and square dances, brought from their native countries. Into this cultural melting pot were added dance steps copied from the native Indians and the African slaves. The resulting free style step dancing was known as flatfooting, buck dancing or hoofing."

This rich African-American tie to Appalachia has been lost in many ways, but there is somewhat of a revival in it amongst some young, black southerners... including one of my favorite new traditional groups, The Carolina Chocolate Drops. Go here to listen to their music.... I bet you won't be able to keep your feet still. :)

Friday, January 18, 2008

On My Plate.....

Besides the usual after-holidays crashing period, there has been a lot on my plate this past month. A cold virus has been present in our little family of three since before Christmas, and just seems to keep making the rounds. Sir Laughsalot was home sick from school for almost a week, and we had lots of middle of the night awakenings when cough medicine wore off. Now hubby has it, but everyone seems to be on the mend overall.

Also on my plate has been writing letters to the editor, making phone calls, and being a general nuisance about a mining permit that got approved in our county, with another pending. Despite our county government opposing it, along with the mayor and residents of the town it will affect, our state's DEP approved it. The decision is being appealed and two people are in the process of taking the decision to court, so all is not lost yet. This particular mine will be mostly underground, but some strip mining is involved. The reason it is being heavily contested is that it will take place near a water reservoir that services over 900 residents of our county. Residents of this community have already had their water supply disrupted by previous mining activity, and even in underground mining, there is acid mine drainage that runs off and is deposited in our streams. The second permit that is being sought will dump waste directly into the main river that flows through our town. This river is already struggling in water quality and health and has seen an abundance of fish kills in recent years. It seems absurd after last year's drought that a mining company is being allowed to come into our county and pollute and disrupt our water even more.

And lastly (is that a word? ) on my plate has been some music projects. I have been practicing with Fiddlegirl for an upcoming coffeehouse performance and I have also put up a music page on Myspace. The music page will serve as a way to pass along the mountain songs I love so much, and I will also use it to help spread the word about Mountaintop Removal, as it will be a wide open venue for me. There are already some songs up, and I hope to put some live music up from when Fiddlegirl and I perform locally.... You can check it out here.

Whew! :)

Hope everyone has a wonderful weekend!!

Monday, January 14, 2008

Hello all! First, let me just say that I miss everyone and I hope to start posting again soon. I have had several things going on, not the least being caring for a croupy Sir Coughsalot. :) He is better now and back in school this week. Meanwhile, Coal Companies are going full forward and trying to win the propaganda war and make their last billions before any more people find out about Mountaintop Removal. Please read these links and help!!!!

Shop Kroger.....

Here's Why and Here's How (You have to order the card directly from OVEC)!
These stores take Kroger gift cards, too:

Also, Blogging friend Brandy needs help for her friend, whos community is about to be overtaken by a very toxic coal-fired plant. Please go over to THIS link and see how you can help. Everyone's help is needed to stop this ravaging of Appalachia by the coal industry. Letters to the editor are great, no matter where you live.... and calls only take a few minutes of time. I have been busy with similar projects, one going on in our county. I will post again soon... PROMISE!!!!!

Take care everyone!