Monday, April 16, 2007

Blogliciousness

Some of you have probably noticed that I've been adding a plethora of Appalachinistas to our Kith & Kin section - all part of our effort to connect to the greater Appalachian society (and to keep up with the folks at Lincoln Walks at Midnight). That said, I have a few that you just can't miss, cause if you do, well, you'll both rue and lament it. Consider:


On the Sunsphere:
As my dad always said, 'Make yourself useful instead of ornamental.'
Appalachistan

On an anniversary:
This month marks my 10th year as East Tennessean. In December 1996 I landed, "fresh off the boat", from the proximity of the Arctic Circle to the backwoods of Kingston. The ramshackle cabin my then-fiancee and I were leasing had no heating, scant insulation, broken windows and yard littered with rifle shells. We were so broke that a can of Laura Lynn refried beans was a feast. With only one vehicle, I spent endless months at the cabin, emailing resumes with a 9600 baud dialup connection, watching Geraldo on TV and trying to stay warm while she was at work. Those were trying times, but also magic, once-in-a-lifetime times. It was a great adventure.
I often wonder if folks around here realize how fortunate they are to be living here. There is so much beauty in these ancient mountains and valleys. The volunteer spirit springs from the land around, from close-knit communities forged by hardship and common faith. As our country is being ravaged by avarice and callousness, here between the Cumberlands and the Smokies the true American spirit of unity and caring for fellow countrymen still lives. This is my home, and I'm proud to be from around here.
Birds, Etcetera

On ramps:
I have a well-aged bottle of ramp wine that should compliment Charles’s recipe nicely. We bought it as a joke, but have never had the nerve to give it to anyone as a gift, nor the bravery to open it for own enjoyment. Having eaten ramps in many different ways, it’s hard to imagine what ramp wine might taste like. Oh, . . . it says here that ramp wine is 'great for cooking.'
Carpe You Some Diem

On ghost signs in Charleston:


Change West Virginia

On partisan campaign signs:
They are the 'poor man’s' version of a real media campaign. If you see an absolute boatload of signs for a candidate on right-of-ways, etc. you can pretty much guess that candidate isn’t going to win and doesn’t have much money.
Cup of Joe Powell

On improving ethics among state legislators in the good state of Tennessee:
1.) One committee recommendation that should be made law is plain: elected officials (state and I would also add local officeholders, too) should not be receiving or accepting gifts, travel, free meals and entertainment. If a paid lobbyist or party official cannot use the power of logical or sound business ideas to urge support for an issue before the state, then tough. This would not prevent an elected official from speaking to a Kiwanis Club or other group, as long as no pay and yes, no meal, is a part of their appearance.

2.) All votes in the state legislative meetings and committees must be recorded and votes posted for public view. How can any resident of the state expect honesty and accountability when committees can meet in secret sessions where no vote is officially recorded? As Sen. Rosalind Kurita, D-Clarksville said, 'I was disappointed that they [the ethics committee] did not address secret meetings or the legislative work schedule. And we need online access for all votes. The panel did some good work, but I believe Tennessee deserves better.'

Republican Hamblen County Commissioner Linda Noe, and a few other commissioners, has kept up a steady drumbeat on the issue of Openness and Accountability in her commission votes and on her web log, and the public response has been quite positive.

State Representative Frank Buck echoes those very sentiments, noting in his essay printed in
The Tennessean : AccountabilityA record of legislative votes should be readily available to all voters. On voice votes in committees, legislators have the choice of voting contrary to the call of the chair.

3.) End the special privileges and secrecy surrounding lobbyists. There are a few simple rules that would bring major changes. While the current Ethic Committee suggestions call for a one-year ban on moving from elected office to a lobbyist job, I say say make it longer. Make it a four-year ban, which would prevent them from having access to the legislature and their business until at least the end of one gubernatorial term. The committee also had two other suggestions that would aid in making the lobbyist influence transparent to voters and the press alike.
First, Require lobbyists to disclose any family members in state government.
And Second, Require lobbyists and their employers to disclose payments for lobbying and money spent on lobbying.

The residents of this state, whether in a business organization, a political party organization, or just a private citizen would then know how many untold thousands and thousands of dollars are being heaped upon lawmakers to influence legislation.

4.) The Ethics Committee still has much work to do, but I think they are missing a golden opportunity to enact changes that include the participation of the public in general -- a committee to review any questions of ethics violations seems appropriate, HOWEVER, this panel needs to also include two or more average residents -- not a CEO, not a state employee, not another private business club member and not someone who has already served in some elected office. A private citizen is a must, someone who would bring eyes to this process not already tinted by the view of 'that's just how we have been doing business.'
Gene Patterson

On theft at the University of Tennessee - Knoxville:
Tune in tonight at 6 pm for a story about a former UT employee who admits to stealing $20,000 from the University over a 3 year period. And he did it, literally a quarter at a time.

How many quarters is that?

(Answer - 80,000)

The Lone Meth Ranger

On himself and his blog/newsletter:
Hello, my name is John Manis Richards, (Johnny). I am the Editor of The Lone Meth Ranger Newsletter. I am also a Core Member of the Meth Eradication Team (M.E.T.) that served Calhoun and Gilmer Counties for over two years. M.E.T. was a stealth group of friends working undercover to eradicate Methamphetamine from the reach of our friends in and around our communities. In August 2005, a local News Organization blew the cover off The Meth Eradication Teams undercover operation. In November 2005 an emergency meeting was assembled with Core Members of M.E.T and other allies. The topic of the emergency meeting was the explosion of meth related activity in and around our community during the past few months. At that point we all knew that M.E.T. must not die. After further discussion, The Lone Methranger Newsletter was born. Like M.E.T. it is not the purpose of The Lone Methranger to send Meth Cookers to jail. Therefore, we will utilize The Lone Methranger Newsletter to provide information to educate our friends concerning the harm meth causes, where to seek help for addictions to meth and the new laws on meth manufacturing etc. Thereby keeping our friends healthy, safe and keeping the police from kicking in their doors and hauling them off to jail.
Huntington West Virginia

On wrought iron:
I have noticed a lot of high quality security fencing and wrought iron fence going up around Huntington WV in the last 2 years. I think it has a lot to do with crime increases due to the fact that there are too many crackheads running loose. I recently discovered that there is a wrought iron fence and wrought iron gates factory right here in Huntington WV. I am pleasantly surprised to know that some degree of manufacturing still goes on in Huntington in spite of the long term economic troubles. The business I am speaking of is Mountain State Metal Works at 625 8th. Avenue that is owned by Carrie and Doug Wallace. www.wviron.com . One of the purposes of this blog is to promote local businesses.
Mountaintop Removal Clearinghouse

A poem by Wanda:

Firefly evenings
in mountain shadows,
water sung music
from scyamore choirs
on quiet mist mornings,
even Kudzu our savage
invader,

views of legends,
breaths of greatness,
creations of heaven,
memories,
culture,

dignity.

Pictures From West Virginia

On Blackwater Falls:


The Question

On being an 'Eer and being tired of burning couch jokes:

Can one be a die hard Mountaineer fan and a die hard opponent of some well-known fan shenanigans? (You know what I’m talking about! SHHHHHHHHHHH!)

Rootscene

On Creech Holler:
This is the music of funeral processions and dirge-filled bereavements. Of sin. Of salvation. Of old termite infested boards standing stoically side-by-side for impromptu juke houses in the way back of hazy mountain hills, brimming with fresh shine. But be weary of mistakes because while this music embraces you lovingly with a cupped drone it also hits with a barrage of reckless abandon and whup ass; Hill Country Stomping Hell Fire and Blues for those who like there heaven with a bit of hell.
Many of the songs here are of traditional origin and the fact that they are here at all illustrate that the boys from Creech Holler know their shit – but rather than bow silently to whatever expectations may creep, they punch and jab at the songs with an audacious fervor and wear them like well worn string ties.

This is good. Real good.

So. From here forth, let it be known, there’s a trio of hell-raisers in Roots Music right now and they’re taking up serpents, their name? Creech Holler
The War in Appalachia

On mountaintop removal:


West Virginia Sock Monkey

On the Sock Monkey's friend Barkley and his "employee," Dave Peyton:
Barkley is my good friend. He is my dog though I trust his safety and upkeep to my employee, Dave Peyton. We like to be convivial. We do not discuss politics, however, since he leans to the left and I lean toward Don Blankenship and other rich people who might someday give me money. I like Barkley because he knows how to relax. He does it extremely well.

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