Saturday, September 01, 2007

in memoriam


My iPod, HP Apple iPod 20GB with Click Wheel - 4th Generation, passed away today. He enjoyed playing my eclectic mix of songs, from vivaldi to chemical brothers and everything in between (except right wing country and christian rock), as well as dozens of Podcasts in two languages. He also stored my term papers, outlines, cover letters, photos, bar review lectures.

my iPod is survived by a gray mini (my father's) and two black nanos (my mom's and sister's). In lieu of money, the family is accepting cash donations...for the new iPod

Murray's self-inflicted wounds

(© 2007 Trent Nelson/The Salt Lake Tribune)

His diatribe against Global Warming, Unions, and all things progressive, as well has his actions, may have hurt his beloved coal industry more than the fact that his mining practices killed 9 people.
According to the industry newsletter "Coal & Energy Price Report," the mine was near the end of its life, producing 604,000 tons in 2006, down from 1.6 million tons in 2005. Production dropped by more than half in the last 12 months.
Unwilling to just shut it down, Murray's company embarked on a new plan to extract every last bit from the mine. According to an expert quoted by a Salt Lake newspaper, the Crandall mine before the recent disaster was pulling out coal that should have been left standing to support the roof.
The operators used a tactic known as "retreat mining," where miners pull the remaining pillars of coal and collapse the mine behind them. The federal Mine Safety and Health Administration may have allowed the mine to remove too much.
Then again, the Bush Administration officials weren't exactly doing a great job either. While the above article was basically an op-ed and the expert could be construed by the Murray-types as a highsight union boss...but not if those facts were the same as the ones by actual federal inspectors.
"I have been concerned about pulling pillars in this environment," Falk, a mine inspector for the Bureau of Land Management, wrote in February 2007, referring to the retreat mining going on in the mine - where huge blocks of coal left to support the roof are cut away, leaving the roof to fall in.
He was back days later. A major seismic bounce on March 10 had rocked the mine, blasting coal from the pillars, damaging tunnels and supports, and making it impossible for mining to continue, Falk wrote in an inspection report obtained by The Salt Lake Tribune.
It was a smaller version, and perhaps a harbinger, of the event that tore apart the mine Aug. 6, trapping a half-dozen miners inside, and it was never officially reported to the Mine Safety and Health Administration, as apparently required by federal rules.

But don't worry, people of Carbon County and Emery County.
Murray on Sunday described the layoffs - impacting all three of Murray's Utah mines - as temporary. Miners told The Salt Lake Tribune Saturday that 270 employees were to be laid off.
Miners who were at Murray's meetings with employees over the weekend said he lashed out at Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr. and The Tribune, pinning part of the blame for the layoffs on them.
Many residents of Carbon and Emery counties interviewed Sunday applauded Huntsman's intervention and blasted Murray.
"The governor was completely right," said Rae Lyn Peak.
Anita Brady, whose husband works at the Deer Creek mine, said those in the community "know how [Murray] runs his business . . . and it's not good. It's not the mines. It's the way they were mining them."
Danny Erickson of Wellington, a cousin of Don Erickson and one of the miners laid off Sunday, commended the governor rather than Murray for making sure the Tower mine is safe. The layoff, he said, "is just pushing more quickly to get out of mining."
Wellington said his 9-year-old daughter had already begged him to stop mining.
"I enjoy it, but it's not safe," he said.

Couldn't have said it better myself.

Friday, August 31, 2007

Friday round-up

  1. Like Karl Rove, today is my last day at work. And I have to turn in my badge and clear out my desk. Unlike Karl, I am going to Washington this fall (he will probably never leave) and work to fix our election laws (Karl will work to muddy them to avoid disclosure, maybe by working for Fred Thompson

  2. The gang of Republithugs got together to kill the voucher referendum that will end their dreams of privatized education. I am with Bob, where's my car voucher? Rolly reports, you listen.
    About 20 lobbyists were summoned to a meeting Monday...
    ...held at the Utah Board of Realtors office and the lobbyists were put in the position of either committing to the pro-voucher campaign or rejecting a request from the very lawmakers they need to help pass their legislative agendas each year.
    The legislators hosting the meeting were House Speaker Greg Curtis, R-Sandy; House Majority Leader Dave Clark, R-Santa Clara; House Assistant Majority Whip Brad Dee, R-Ogden; Senate Majority Leader Curtis Bramble, R-Provo; and Senate Majority Assistant Whip Sheldon Killpack, R-Syracuse.
    Most were lobbyists for business associations representing manufacturers, mining, homebuilders, small businesses, real estate agents, food retailers, trucking, the Chamber of Commerce, utilities and others.
    They were asked to raise money for the effort and lend the names of their institutions in support of vouchers.
    The lobbyists have been summoned to a follow-up breakfast meeting Thursday at the Board of Realtors to report on their fund-raising progress.
    Nothing like a little blackmailing between lobbyists and legislators.

  3. Speaking of vouchers, here's another good thing that will change if vouchers succeed--diversity.
    [A]ccording to a new report by the Pew Hispanic Center...
    ...the percentage of white students in Utah attending all-white schools decreased more than any other state in the nation - from 51 percent in 1993-94 to 14 percent in 2005-06.
    "The world is not predominantly white," he said. "When students are exposed to the culture and language of ethnic minorities, it's a healthy thing because once they move out, they'll be facing a world that is more diverse than their communities."
    Sorry I just loved that last quote. It is true too. Why pretend the world is a little blond, blue eyed place filled with folks named Jensen or Christensen when even on your mission, you will learn otherwise?

  4. Here's one surefire way to avoid future Crandall Canyons:
    Local officials on Thursday launched the Solar Salt Lake project, which was funded by a $200,000 cash grant plus at least another $200,000 in technical assistance from the U.S. Department of Energy. Salt Lake was one of 13 cities nationwide to receive funding as part of the Solar America Cities program.

    With that money and national expertise, Salt Lake city and county officials hope to reach grid parity between coal and solar energy by 2015. And if solar power is just as cheap as coal, local officials believe residential and commercial developers will pick the environmentally friendly choice.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

can we stop calling it an accident?

ac·ci·dent (ˈæksɪdənt[ak-si-duhnt])–noun: ... 3) any event that happens unexpectedly...
Maintaining he cares deeply for his employees, Murray has accused the UMWA of using the collapses to criticize him and unionize his employees. The Deer Creek mine and the Emery mine are the only organized coal mines in Utah.
Mike Dalpiaz, international vice president of the UMWA office in Price, and the mayor of Helper, said the union had no strong interest in organizing the Crandall Canyon mine. He pointed to indications the mine was due to close soon anyway.

The [Bush Administration's] Mine Safety and Health Administration has determined the United Mine Workers of America union cannot represent the families of six trapped coal miners in the agency's upcoming investigation of the Crandall Canyon mine disaster.

[A] mine in southern Illinois owned by Murray subsidiary American Coal Co. has had a significant number of recent violations.

The Galatia mine, which has about 850 workers and produced 7.2 million tons of coal in 2006, has 869 violations so far this year, leading one mining expert to believe the company is "just going for the production and not going for the safety."

A Deseret Morning News review...shows that while the White House requests increased slightly each year from the 2002 to 2006 fiscal years, the requests did not exceed or even match what Congress had approved in each prior year when adjusted for inflation.
Meanwhile, the number of coal-mine safety inspectors with the Mine Safety and Health Administration also decreased during those years.

[Indy's Channel 6 News] 9:21 pm EDT August 10, 2007 PRINCETON, Ind. -- Three people were killed Friday at the site of an air shaft under construction at the Gibson County Coal mine in southern Indiana, police said.

Associated Press 08.30.07, 11:52 AM ET WINNEMUCCA, Nev. -Rescue crews have recovered the body of a miner killed during a cave-in at an underground Nevada gold mine, authorities said.
Does all this still sound like an accident to you? Because it sure seems like a direct consequence to me.

Attorney General Orrin Hatch?

I have previously said that Hatch is pining for the Attorney General spot within the lame duck Bush Administration.

Now here is some "confirmation" from a trusted name in wingnut news:
White House officials are considering five names that "have kind of emerged" as possible candidates to take over the beleaguered Justice Department, according to a senior Bush administration official.

The official who spoke on condition of anonymity in order to speak more openly about the process declined to identify the five contenders who were being looked at "pretty seriously."
Interviews with current and former Justice Department officials, congressional aides, attorneys and other legal experts yielded as many as 24 names of possible, if highly speculative candidates for the attorney general's job.

When contacted Tuesday, several contenders asked to remain anonymous and flatly said they did not want the job. Others declined to comment.

"I love the Department of Justice — it's the most wonderful professional experience I've had in my life," said Ted Olson, a former solicitor general for the Bush administration who declined to say whether he has discussed the attorney general's job with the White House or whether he would accept the post if offered.

Similarly, George Terwilliger, a deputy attorney general under former President George H.W. Bush who has emerged as an often-mentioned contender, declined to comment.

Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, who formerly chaired the Senate Judiciary Committee, once said he would take the job if offered.

When asked if he would take the job of running the Justice Department, former Deputy Attorney General Larry Thompson sent word through a spokeswoman that "he's very happy in this role" as general counsel at PepsiCo.

Solicitor General Paul Clement could remain acting attorney general for an indefinite time after Gonzales leaves.
So the top five are 1) Ted Olson, 2) George Terwilliger, 3) Orrin Hatch, 4) Larry Thompson, and 5) Paul Clement. Let's review each [except Hatch, whom we have documented repeatedly as a GOP water-carrier].

Ted Olson argued Bush v. Gore before the U.S. Supreme Court. He was part of the crack investigative team that tried to take down Bill Clinton in the "Arkansas Project." His wife was on the plane that terrorists crashed into the Pentagon on 9/11. Expect that to be the part Fox News focuses on.

Terwilliger also has Bush v. Gore street cred: he was a leader of President George W. Bush's legal team during the Florida election recount. Moreover, he also "oversaw the BCCI settlement, which saved the US some money in bailouts, but probably also increased the comfort level of the Saudis who had bankrolled the giant money-laundering scheme."

Larry Thompson is a corporate whore. Thompson "was the director of the Providian Financial Corporation, during the time when Providian paid over $400 million to settle charges of consumer and securities fraud. Thompson made $4.7 million dollar in the sale of Providian stock prior to the allegations. In 2002, Judicial Watch filed suit against Thompson for artificially inflating the stock price in order to illegally increase his earnings in the sale of stock." He is also the author of "the Thompson Memorandum written to help federal prosecutors decide whether to charge a corporation, rather than or in addition to individuals within the corporation, with criminal offenses. the guidelines were considered tough because they require that to claim cooperation, companies must (1) turn over materials from internal investigations, (2) waive attorney-client privilege, and (3) not provide targeted executive with company-paid lawyers. The guidelines were criticized for, among other things, "seriously eroding" attorney-client privilege. These guidelines were "eased" in December 2006 by Deputy Attorney General Paul J. McNulty who issued a revised version of the memorandum." He is now Corporate Counsel for PrepsiCo. Look for Faux News to point out that he is black.

Paul Clement is the acting AG and was the Solicitor General, the attorney with the honor of representing the Administration before the US Supreme Court. He is very smart and a very good arguer. However, he has argued during the detainee cases (Rasul v. Bush etc.) that the Justices must "trust the executive to make the kind of quintessential military judgments that are involved in things like that." The government's interrogators understand that information obtained through coercion may be unreliable, Clement said, and they know that "the last thing you want to do is torture somebody or try to do something along those lines." When Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg noted that some governments engage in "mild torture" to obtain information, Clement shot back: "Well, our executive doesn't." Clement has similarly outrageous views about unlimited executive power in the area of the US Attorneys.

Personally, I think Clement is the most dangerous man to have in the chair. Hatch will sound like Gonzales under tough questioning, but Clement could argue that the world is flat and make you believe it, if only for a moment. Terwilliger seems like the old school conservative wise man that Washington loves. Thompson and Olson are the ones that someone like Hatch would jump on the 9/11 or black/racist specious arguments to rally for. After all, he first tried calling Democrats racists for attacking Gonzales since Alberto is of Mexican descent.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Fire near my parents' home

(image courtesy of

This morning, my mom spotted smoke coming from over the hill, so she called my Dad asking how to turn on the sprinklers. He told her how to do it, but told her to get out of there. From his office in downtown, he could see smoke coming from the canyon. My dad reports to the children, "I talked to her about an hour ago and she was at the library. ... I don't see the smoke now, but she is not answering her cell phone (she said the battery was low) and I don't think she is home yet."

I have told my Mom a million times to keep her cell phone ON and CHARGED. When ever I need to reach her, I never can via cell because it is either turned off or not charged fully. Generally, I don't even try her cell anymore. I called a couple of minutes ago at home and she didn't pick up. It is times like these when you need your freaking mobile phone working.

Here's a report from the Salt Lake Tribune:
a blaze...has consumed nearly 20 acres of grassland in east Salt Lake City's Emigration Canyon today.
Shortly before 1 p.m., firefighters believed they were getting the upper hand on the flames, having gotten aid from aerial fire-retardant and water drops.
KUTV reports that late this morning workers were grinding rebar at a new fire station site four miles up the canyon when sparks ignited nearby scrub oak. Flames quickly spread, at one point threatening several homes before firefighters reined in the fire.
KUTV has streaming video

KSL's Sandra Yi has a great line
It's a little bit ironic it was the construction of a fire house that started this fire, but authorities say that's exactly the reason why there needs to be a fire house up in Emigration Canyon.

The Yi's page has video of the blaze but I can't seem to get it to work on my computer.

It seems all is OK with my mother and with their house (where I lived from age 11-19) and others persons and property. I was just thinking about how glad I was that the County was building that fire station. If I hear anything more, I will update everyone.

UPDATE:My Mom just called and said all is
well. She used up all of her juice calling neighbors and telling them to get out/there's a fire etc.

There are literally fire trucks in their driveway and they told her to
park her car outward because she won't have time to back up. She invited some in to use the bathroom.

The smoke she said is mostly gone now but she saw actual flames over the hill. That is really freaking scary. She ran the sprinklers some and is back home.

Craig lied about not having an attorney

While most probably saw through the "if only I had known I should have gotten an attorney when I faced criminal charges" excuse, it is now clear that Sen. Larry Craig (R-his own private Idaho) was making a bald faced lie to his constituents and the media.

Thankfully, one newspaper checked out his stories.
As Craig apologized Tuesday afternoon for "the cloud placed over Idaho," he also acknowledged that he had told no one about his June 11 arrest for making sexual advances on an undercover police officer in the men's restroom of the Minneapolis airport.
But 11 days later, on June 22, Craig revisited the Minneapolis airport to complain about how he'd been treated by police and asking for someone with whom his lawyer could speak, according to police records. [emphasis added]
Court and arrest records released Tuesday show that Craig negotiated his plea over the telephone, then signed and returned it to the courts in the mail, much like a traffic ticket.
In his plea, signed and dated Aug. 1, but not recorded until Aug. 8, Craig agreed that by handling the matter through the mail, he was giving up a trial and his right to be present at the time of sentencing.

In my (meager) experience in Utah state courts, this plea by mail is typical for out of state defendants of minor crimes. The courtesy of telephonic pleas is afforded to people with attorneys who arrange such a thing and are not considered especially dangerous/likely to offend again.

It seems pretty dang obvious that Sen. Craig was doing everything a good defense attorney would suggest to avoid publicity and attention from his family, staff and Republican colleagues. Now it could also be true that he was trying to avoid Dan Popkey's investigative reporting by pleading, but it doesn't explain what he was doing in that notorious Minneapolis airport bathroom.
The airport restroom was so well known it was featured on an adult Web site that offers information about where men can link up for romantic encounters in both public and private locations.

If you read the plea agreement, it states what he is agreeing happened, and it even states that can "make no claim that I am innocent of the charge to which I am entering a plea of guilty,", as well as waiving his trail rights etc.

He had from June 11 until August 1 (when he signed in Washington) to seek counsel and advice. It is pretty clear from the circumstances of his plea and the events subsequent to his arrest but prior to his plea that he knew exactly what he was doing, thanks to legal counsel.

While the Senator might not go quietly into the night, as his Republican "friends" hoped he would, the facts are pretty clear that he was attempting to proposition (an undercover cop) in a public restroom for sexual activity.

Mitt Romney is a lying hipocrite, part 2,138

No I am not talking about making Sen. Larry Craig his Senate Co-chair only to yank his support video and compare him to Mark Foley...and Bill Clinton. I am talking about his claims that he is a budget balancing governor/businessman who will get our fiscal house in order thanks to going to Harvard Business School with George W. Bush and running Bain. Previously, I had pointed out that his no-tax cut claims were a myth hidden by regressive fee hikes. Now the media finally caught on.
When Mitt Romney wanted to balance the Massachusetts budget, the blind, mentally retarded and gun owners were asked to help pay.
The Republican managed to slash spending to eliminate a deficit pegged at $3 billion, but he also proposed or presided over a far-ranging series of fee hikes - a strategy that allowed him to maintain the no-new-taxes stance he now boasts about as he runs for president.
In all, then-Gov. Romney proposed creating 33 new fees and increasing 57 others - enough, he said, to pull in an extra $59 million for the cash-strapped state.
Horseback riding instructors, prisoners, those seeking training to combat domestic violence and used car shoppers were asked to dig a little deeper.
"For me, generally, a fee is something which applies to a subset of the population. A tax is something which is far more broadly applied," Romney said in 2003.

Mr. "lifelong hunter" also increased the gun licensing fee from $25 to $100. Maybe that's why the 250-million dollar man only went twice in his life. The article has more details of him sticking it to the little guy so he could claim the mantle of no-tax-raises and fiscal-conservative.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Larry Larry quite contrary

(Actual booking photos, courtesy of THE USA Today's Kathy Kiely)
without a shred of truth or evidence to the contrary, the Statesman has engaged in this witch hunt. In pleading guilty, I overreacted in Minneapolis, because of the stress of the Idaho Statesman’s investigation and the rumors it has fueled around Idaho. Again, that overreaction was a mistake, and I apologize for my misjudgment.

Shorter Sen. Craig: If it weren't for that newspaperman looking through my underwear drawers to find out whether or not it was true that I was gay, I wouldn't have propositioned myself to a undercover cop.

This line of defense is not as laughable as Bob Allen's "I'm racist, not gay" defense, but I guess that is why Bob Allen is state senator, and Larry Craig is a full senator (the previous "wide stance" defense didn't work).

This reminds me of another cartoonishly closeted character from a Tony Award-winning play, Ron, who's song is about as believable as Craig's version of events.

(Rod and John Tartaglia, singing "My girlfriend who lives in Cananda from Avenue Q. Image courtesy of
I wish you could meet my girlfriend, my girlfriend who lives in Canada.
She couldn't be sweeter
I wish you could meet her,
My girlfriend who lives in Canada!

Her name is Alberta
She live in Vancouver
She cooks like my mother
And sucks like a Hoover.

I e-mail her every single day
Just to make sure that everything's okay.
It's a pity she lives so far away, in Canada!

Last week she was here, but she had the flu.
Too bad
'Cause I wanted to introduce her to you
It's so sad
There wasn't a thing that she could do
But stay in bed with her legs up over her head!

I wish you could meet my girlfriend,
But you can't because she is in Canada.
I love her, I miss her, I can't wait to kiss her,
So soon I'll be off to Alberta!
I mean Vancouver!
Shit! Her name is Alberta, she lives in Vancou-

Both guys need to work on keeping their stories straight. Pleading guilty about a month after the incident means he had plenty of time to get an attorney or even just ask one. If it really was a misunderstanding, as he has claim, he would have fought it and not pled guilty ASAP.

This story looks to be staying around for a while. Even if the local media in Utah are pretending nothing is happening in Idaho.

UPDATE: The local media finally pick up the ball, thanks AP wire stories. Note, only the Trib has used this, no DesNews yet.

How has Hatch been good for Utah?

In a follow up to their Hatch-as-AG-candidate story, the Deseret News added some more quotes, one of which was laugh-out-loud funny:
"I don't make the decision on it. This is a decision the president is going to make," [Hatch campaign manager David] Hansen said, adding he had not heard anything from the senator about it and that Hatch is "more valuable to Utah as a senator."

Really? I call on anyone to name anything that Hatch has done that benefited Utah exclusively in his entire career in the Senate. Sure, he has changed copyright laws to protect a Utah company that was getting sued by Steven Spielberg et al. due to their "cleansing" of those directors' movies, but Orrin also changed copyright laws around so he could make a few more bucks on his terrible "musical" albums.

He may have raised cigarette taxes to pay for sCHIP with Ted Kennedy, but he also rakes in tons of money from tobacco lobbyists, which is odd considering smoking is supposed to be a sin for him.

Hatch has used his seniority and power from day one to help Orrin Hatch. He got his mission companions and other friends spots in the federal judiciary. He loves his front row seats at Jazz to the players. He has tried to make every conceivable Republican scandal look not so bad, from Clarance Thomas to Alberto Gonzales.

Now Hatch is trying to cash in on all of this water carrying, despite the awe-shucks routine.
One Utah GOP insider said the rumor floating for months now has been that Hatch's office started spreading his name - though Hatch's office has been batting down the rumor as well.
"Most of us assume Hatch will be wheeled out of the Senate chamber on a gurney like Strom Thurmond," the insider said.

For at least since 1992, Hatch has gotten the praise while Bennett brings home the pork. Not that I think Bennett isn't also a partisan hack, but at least he has done something to help this state.

I have heard that his staff does great constituent service, much like his friend Ted Kennedy, but again, that should not be appropriated to Hatch himself. The only time he does constituent service is to help a drug dealing music friend of his get out jail in Dubai.

Like other media hungry senators, he is more interested in being on "Meet the Timmeh" than meeting the needs of Utahns. So please find me an instance where Hatch's presence in the Senate has helped out the Beehive State.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Hatch Begs to be a Bush Crony

UPDATE: Sen. Hatch give a non-denial denial.
David Hansen, Hatch's campaign manager, said Hatch has not received a call from the White House to fill the Cabinet spot.
"It is not going to happen," Hansen said.
Staffers in Hatch's Senate office said they knew nothing of a potential job switch. Hatch declined any media interviews Monday.
Hatch has said he doesn't believe the president would nominate him for the position but he also noted that he wouldn't turn down the president if he asked.

If you haven't been out of it this morning, by now you have surely heard that Alberto Gonzales finally resigned of Attorney General (he called Bush on Friday, Bush asked him to think about it, and then they announced on Monday, during which time they lied to reporters about it, naturally).

What you might have missed is the next phase in this saga... who is going to replace Gonzo? The rumor mill has DHS head Michael Chertoff, a Bush loyalist who was appointed to the DOJ in 2001, then to the 3rd circuit, and gave it up to head DHS. And besides the obvious terrible management of the agency during Katrina, Chertoff also has a number of other scandals under his watch waiting to surface.

With Chertoff hearings looking to be a gold-mine for Democrats in Congress, a smart White House would pick someone who was equally loyal and partisan but less likely to have contentious/embarrassing hearings. Enter Sen. Orrin Hatch:
Many Democrats — and some Republicans — had been calling for Gonzales' resignation for months based on his involvement, or lack thereof, of the Justice Department's firing of eight U.S. attorneys and the administration's policies on warrant-less wiretapping.
Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., said on "Meet the Press" April 1 that Hatch was "actively running" to be Gonzales' replacement to which Hatch replied, "Oh come on, Pat." Hatch was just re-elected to another six-year Senate term in the 2006 election.
Hatch has repeatedly sided with the Justice Department and Gonzales' role as attorney general. He said in a statement issued Monday that Gonzales "has been the president's strong right arm in fighting terrorists using the tools of law enforcement, and he helped successfully protect the American homeland during his tenure."

"I hope that history will remember Attorney General Gonzales for his honorable service to his country, rather than for the absurd political theater to which some critics have subjected him," Hatch said in a statement. "He has overseen the Department of Justice's efforts to protect children from Internet predators, to combat human trafficking, and to prevent the spread of meth in our communities."

Hatch played coy in April, but now he is probably trying to add his name to the rumor mill and placing calls into the White House. One would think that a fellow Senator would be harder for Democratic Senators to vote against, especially one that had been there so long.

It would be great to have the GOP have to defend another open seat, and to watch Utah GOPers scramble to out-conservative each other for the spot. I have no illusions about a Democrat's chances in the inevitable election, but beating an 2 to 4-year Senator is a lot easier than beating 40 year Senator for life. That means better quality candidates would emerge on the Democratic side. Not to say that our last two were bad, but more folks would consider running and more folks would be willing to donate.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Bob Murray Loses Another Round

(Photo Credit: AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, courtesy of

See below for an update

Poor Bob Murray. He is so old school that he refused to listen to media consultants in the beginning who would have told him to STFU and get his mug off the TV. Murray talked his way into a mess, especially when the results on the ground got worse and worse for the miners trapped in Crandall Canyon and those 3 rescuers died.

Meanwhile, businessman-turned-ambassador-turned-governor Huntsman sat back and watched the implosion. Not until it was clear how badly everything had gone and how little chance there was of changing things around his Jon jr. begin to trash Murray in his own press conferences.

Rather than pointing out this Jon-y-come-lately and hindsight aspect, Murray went to the old school "we have be reckless with human life because that's the only way to make a profit" mentality:
"If you persist in your statements and course of action, you, Governor, are going to jeopardize 700 jobs in Carbon and Emery Counties," Murray said in a letter [PDF] obtained Friday by the Deseret Morning News.
"I cannot maintain them alone, and I definitely cannot do it if I am going to be your whipping-boy."
Yes, apparently Bob Murray employs all of Emery and Carbon Counties. It is this man's benevolence in allowing these rural men to work in his unsafe mines.

This from a man that is about to be sued by the miners' families to keep the mine from being sealed so that they can at the very least extract their loved ones bodies out from the rubble.

Not only is Murray's argument as ridiculous as it is specious, the miners' families seem to be echoing what Huntsman is saying:
the families feel Murray Energy Corp., the mine owner, has misled them about the effort to find, rescue or recover their loved ones - Kerry Allred, Don Erickson, Luis Alonso Hernandez, Juan Carlos Payan, Brandon Phillips and Manuel Sanchez.
"We don't intend to abandon them," [their attorney Colin] King said.
King cited several reasons for the families' perception that Murray Energy officials had given up on their loved ones.
He said the families were told repeatedly that a large-diameter drill rig capable of boring a hole big enough for a rescue capsule was en route to the mine, "but it never arrived on site and we're suspicious about those statements."
As early as Monday, King added, Olsen and the families had requested the full study done by eight outside experts brought in by Murray Energy and MSHA to evaluate the ground-control system used before the implosion that killed and injured the rescuers.
MSHA released only a three-paragraph statement from the expert panel that said it was too dangerous to send anyone underground to search for the missing miners.
King said "that may or may not be the case. I don't want to second-guess the experts. But we are upset that we were not provided a copy of the [full] report and they did not provide a reason why.
"We would like to see [the report] so we can analyze it and talk to our experts about how we can get in there and get these people out," he added, noting that he already has begun obtaining mining experts as consultants.
King asked Murray Energy officials whether there had been a major bump in March, as reported by The Salt Lake Tribune, that forced the company to stop mining a long "barrier pillar" of coal adjacent to a large mined-out area. That barrier pillar was left to hold up the mountain overhead.
"Mr. Moore refused to answer," King said.
Was a report about this collapse filed with MSHA, as required by law? he asked.
"Moore refused to answer," King said, while MSHA official Jack Kuzar, who was brought in only recently from Pennsylvania to help with the operation, said he did not know.
"MSHA ought to know at this point," King contended.
Given all of these unsatisfactory responses, the lawyer added, "I can't imagine how [missing miners' spouses] Martha Sanchez and Nelda Erickson are even coping. You do what you have to do. But they need closure."

Mr. Murray is not arguing from a position of strength. He has shown his true colors during the course of this debacle and it isn't pretty. While Huntsman might not have been as "take charge" as others in similar disasters in PA and WV, he avoided having to say that the miners were alive when they were in fact all dead like Gov. Joe Machin did. Politically, Huntsman played this as well as he could without taking unnecessary risks.

Mr. Murray, the letter makes you look only worse as a megalomaniac ower-first businessman of a extraction industry. If I was your PR guy/atttorney, I would have never have let you send that letter.

But as a blogger, you are posting-gold. Keep it comming.


Thanks, Mr. Murray!
Bob Murray made good on his threat to cut jobs in Utah's coal country early this morning.
The owner of three Utah mines met with workers at the Tower Mine in Carbon County at 7 a.m. today. During the meeting, Murray told workers he is shutting down the mine and offered workers there jobs at his other mines in Illinois and Ohio, several laid-off miners said.
He really doesn't think he has the upper hand, does he?

This reminds me of Dr. Evil holding the world hostage for "One MILLION dollars!"

The man gets more cartoonish by the minute. Yeah I am sure a x-th generation central Utah miner is going to pick up and move to Illinois or Ohio. This guy has no clue about our state, our people, or people in general.