Thursday, April 8, 2010
Not to beat a dying horse but...
So who the hell are these guys and why should anyone care? The guy on the right is Donald L. Blankenship the head man at the Upper Branch Mine that just blew up. The guy on the left is Elliot E. Maynard a West Virginia superior court justice responsible for judging a case against the Branch Mine. This 2008 picture was taken while the two were on vacation. Blankenship office insisted that the two were not on vacation together but they were observed having several meals together over several days. When these photos were brought to the attention of the court the judge (Maynard) recused himself. But Blankenship must have had a back up plan. The next judge Justice Brent Benjamin (pictured above) received some $3 million in campaign contributions from Blankenship. Why would this be important? Because the "good' judge ruled in favor of Blankenship in a $50 million dollar case. Nothing like being chumy with the judges and that's a cheap price to pay for influence.
If that weren't bad enough Blankenship in a memo gives a bit of insight as to his attitude towards his workers. Here's a quote:
“If any of you have been asked by your group presidents, your supervisors, engineers or anyone else to do anything other than run coal (i.e. -- build overcasts, do construction jobs, or whatever) you need to ignore them and run coal,” Blankenship wrote. “This memo is necessary only because we seem not to understand that coal pays the bills.”
The overcasts and construction jobs referred to here is all the work necessary for safety like the building of ventilation systems etc.
So to these fine pieces of human garbage I am forced to give my award of excellence. So to Don and Brent this award is for you.