Tag Archives: Social Responsibility

TNGOP’s Hunger Games

Get A Job, Kid

Ah, the party of moral values! Gotta love these good, Christian folk. Proving once again that Tennessee Republicans are not compassionate conservatives but rather conservative with their compassion, I bring you the aptly-named Kevin Kookogey, chair of the Williamson County Republican Party, coming out against the school breakfast program:

“This is not a complicated issue,” he said. “It is not the role of government to feed people. Government exists to protect and defend our God-given rights. Government fails when it usurps these bounds. One only need look at the hundreds of billions of dollars wasted by the Department of Education since its formation in 1980 with no improvement in student achievement. … Our founders understood this, which is why they expressly determined that education should be the province of states, local government, and families.”

Got that? It’s your God-given right to starve! And have your kids starve! No soup for you! That gnawing in your stomach is freedom!

This is positively Dickensian. Some 3,840 children qualify for the program. Guess they just need to show some more personal responsibility, right?

Oh, but it gets better:

Mindy McAlindon, first vice chair with the Williamson County Republican Party, agrees with Kookogey.

“It’s not the government’s job to feed students. It’s our job to provide for ourselves,” the Franklin home-school mom said. “The government is deciding where our money goes. And we should be deciding where our money goes.”

Do you people even know what “the government” is? It’s people, you morons. It’s you and the people you elect to represent you locally, in the state capitol, and in Washington, D.C. It’s not some building up on a hill somewhere, some inanimate thing. You decide where your money goes by electing representatives to “the government.” So go find some folks who agree with you that children should starve, that it serves the country to have thousands of kids start out in life on the wrong foot because they were too hungry to succeed in school. Go elect people who believe personal responsibility trumps social responsibility. If you’ve been unable to do that it means you’re in the minority and your crackpot ideas are not mainstream. Majority rules. Suck it up.

Ah, but this is life inside the gated community. Williamson County is one of the wealthiest counties in the entire country, and remains the wealthiest in Tennessee. If everything is good for you and your friends, why worry about anyone else? Of course, even in the land of plenty, there is poverty:

According to the most recent census data, poverty is on the rise in Williamson County.

More than 5 percent of school-aged children in the county school district and almost 15 percent of the students in the Franklin Special School District were living in poverty in 2010.

Clearly these people are just lazy, getting fat sucking on the taxpayer teat. Which begs the question: if welfare benefits are so generous, why is there any poverty at all? Oh well, don’t worry your pretty little minds about the hungry children in your community — or for that matter, the 14 million of them all across America.

Maybe the TNGOP would like to put all these hungry kids in Titans Stadium and watch them fight to the death over a loaf of bread? I wouldn’t put it past them.

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Filed under Tennessee, Tennessee politics, TNGOP

This Should Solve Everything

The elites are getting their own version of Facebook, an invitation-only social network targeted to the “right” people:

Ranadivé is in Davos this week to unveil Toplink (formerly called TopCom), his invite-only social network for the world’s richest and most powerful people.

He envisions it as a tool to “unlock the collective wisdom” of the world’s best and brightest.
“You can bring the right people and the right information together to solve problems, such as the financial crisis, pandemics and food shortages,” he said.

Users who are privy to the network will be able to hold group video conferences, ask questions and discuss ways to solve the world’s most significant issues.

Wow, this is terrific news. Surely the only reason the world’s best and brightest haven’t heretofore solved global problems like pandemics and financial crises is because there haven’t been enough opportunities for them to gather away from the hoi polloi.

Yay. We’re saved.

/sarcasm

And I didn’t know this but, apparently the global elites — people like Bill Gates, in fact — are akin to your mother in law or elderly aunt, who still can’t figure out which icon thingie to click on to print out an e-mail. They got the young’uns to beta test the thing, and the results have been simply smashing, my good man; really top-shelf:

The world leaders won’t be getting the first look, though. That honor went to a group called the “Global Shapers” four months ago.

Global Shapers are defined by the World Economic Forum as people under the age of 30 who are making a significant impact in their community.

David Aikman, a senior director at the World Economic Forum, was one of the few people to use Toplink since its unofficial roll-out four months ago and said the Global Shapers group had already leveraged the power of the platform.

“One of the guys posted a poll about blood donation,” Aikman said. “The results that followed encouraged the city hub in Monterrey, Mexico, to host a blood drive.”

That’s what I call leveraging power! Take that, you Egyptian revolution and Arab spring! Their poll encouraged Monterrey, Mexico to host a blood drive! Those global pandemics will be history any day now.

Seriously, call me a radical but I find it a little presumptious to assume “the world’s best and brightest” are going to be hobnobbing at Davos. Trying to think if Gandhi would have been there. Or Martin Luther King Jr. Or Mother Theresa. Or Jesus.

Whatever.

It was just a couple days ago that I wrote about the alternate reality our 1%ers have created for themselves. Don’t know why anyone would be surprised that they’d create their own social network too. Just another way for the plutocrats to pretend they’re part of the world while really separating themselves from it.

It’s gonna be hilarious when Anonymous hacks this thing, though. Bwaahaaahaaa.

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Filed under social good

Clean Coal Strikes Again

Looks like another coal slurry mess polluting a river in Tennessee:

Coal mining waste has tainted several miles of the New River in East Tennessee in violation of a permit held by Premium Coal at a plant in Devonia, TN, according to state information.

The release of a fine, grayish-black material that results when separating coal from shale and rock is estimated to have lasted 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Jan. 2.

The state was not notified at the time, as required, said Tisha Calabrese-Benton, spokeswoman for the Tennessee Department of Environment said.

Of course not! The glorious free hand of the market was supposed to fix the problem! Oppressive government agencies like the Tennessee Dept. of Environment & Conservation just get in the way of the natural order of things!

TDEC says slurry was found seven miles downstream, while the activist group Community eMpowerment says black water was seen 40 miles downstream from the coal processing plant. Just keep repeating: coal is cheap! And clean! And cheap!

And since we’re talking about “clean” coal, I’ve been wanting to update folks on the cleanup from our last big coal slurry disaster, the devastating 2008 Kingston Coal Ash spill, which dumped 1.1 billion (that’s with a “b”) gallons of toxic coal ash sludge into the Emory and Clinch Rivers, obliterating everything in its way (including homes). The cleanup involved hauling the toxic goop over 300 miles away to a landfill in Alabama, which just so happens to be located in Alabama’s poorest county. It’s also, surprise surprise, a predominantly African-American county. While landfill operators touted the 30 jobs and $3 million in “host fees” Perry County would receive, I wrote at the time that this placed the community in the untenable position of choosing between poverty and poison.

I wrote then:

And if taking this coal ash waste were such a great thing, well, we’ve got some landfills here in Tennessee, in counties that could use those jobs and that money. Gotta ask yourself why we’re shipping it out of state to begin with.

Well, it appears the residents of Perry County, AL asked that same question and have filed a civil right lawsuit against the Alabama Department of Environmental Management:

The complaint charges ADEM with violating Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prevents discrimination by government agencies that receive federal funds. ADEM receives millions of dollars in financial assistance from the EPA each year.

[…]

The population of Perry County is over 68 percent African-American, and over 35 percent falls below the poverty line, making it Alabama’s poorest county. The landfill is located near Uniontown, Ala., a community where 88 percent of residents are African-American and almost half live in poverty. The population in the census blocks surrounding the landfill range from 87 to 100 percent African-American (click on map for larger version).

The landfill sits only 100 feet from the front porches of some residents, who say they have experienced frequent foul odors, upset appetite, respiratory problems, headaches, dizziness, nausea and vomiting. They also complain that fugitive dust from the facility has contaminated their homes, porches, vehicles, laundry and plantings.

This is how the “free hand of the market” works in America. Coal is cheap, we tell ourselves, and it fuels our glorious lifestyle, and government support of clean technology like wind and solar is socialism. And then when the inevitable disaster strikes, we make our poorest citizens suffer the longterm consequences. Oh right, and be sure to tell these poor people living with radioactive, arsenic -laden coal sludge that their health problems are just proof of how irresponsible they are. Any notion they had of getting some kind of access to the world’s best healthcare is just more crazy socialism talk.

Anyone who can’t see how all of these issues are connected is simply lying to themselves. And who is going to solve this problem? The man from Bain Capital who fired thousands so his company could be more profitable? The intellectual policy wonk who is allergic to drama?

No. It’s our problem. We caused it. We are the ones who demanded “cheap” electricity, so we’ll just ignore the costs on things like healthcare, blame the people who are suffering, remind ourselves we’re a Christian nation, drop a check in the collection plate on Sunday and call it a day.

How much longer can we operate like this? Not much, I’m afraid.

Wake up, America.

4 Comments

Filed under ash spill, clean coal, eco-justice, environment, EPA, racism, Tennessee

Sometimes The Answers Are So Simple

I don’t know if this was a subtle ad for Pepsi but I’m thinking not. If it were, they’d be shrieking about what good corporate citizens they are by donating gazillions of empty bottles to the cause.

I really loved this, though. What a great reminder that sometimes you can transform someone’s life with the simplest solutions. And yes, ingenuity can be found even in a Philippine slum:

Isang Litrong Liwanag means “a liter of light.” Find out how to help here.

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Filed under recycling, solar energy