|New Civilization News: The Scourge Of Appalachia|
Category: Environment, Ecology
4 comments30 Mar 2006 @ 16:55 by jazzolog : Deadly Dust
Katie Brandt's series continues~~~
The warriors: Deadly Dust
By Katie Brandt
Athens NEWS Campus Reporter
Thursday, March 30th, 2006
Pauline Canterberry's life used to revolve around mining, and it still does today, just in a different sense. A woman well past retirement age, Canterberry lives in Sylvester, W.Va., not far from Kayford Mountain. Her smile comes easily during most conversations, but when coal is the topic at hand, she grows serious.
And how can she not? Canterberry lost two of the most important men in her life to mining - her father and her husband. Now, the air and water where she lives have become so polluted from coal dust and waste, she's fighting for her own survival. In the past few years, she has found herself up against the Massey Coal Company and West Virginia's Division of Environmental Protection.
"We're old. We should be enjoying life," said Mary Miller, a close friend and neighbor of Canterberry.
"We should be on our rocking chairs," Canterberry added.
Instead, coal dust coats those rockers, let loose from the town's processing facility. As a young child and then woman, Canterberry saw the necessary-evil relationship coal held with her community. Her father worked in the mines to support their family, and her husband followed suit.
She remembers waiting outside the mines each day to see "who would come out dead. That used to be our lives," she said.
Then one day, when Canterberry caught wind of a disaster at the mine, she rushed to the scene to see if her then-boyfriend was OK. Canterberry waited on edge, and when she saw him walk out without any major injuries, she broke into tears of relief. He proposed at that moment, telling her, "Now I know you really love me."
Fifty-seven years later, Canterberry's husband would die of pneumoconiosis, better known as black-lung disease. Decades of inhaling coal dust in the mines ate away at his respiratory health, and he struggled to breathe for 10 years after his diagnosis.
"Mining people have always been in some respect slaves," Canterberry said. "They're quiet because they think they can't speak out. But they're the best people you'll find anywhere in the world."
Not all are quiet, though, and not all consider themselves slaves. Larry Vucelich, a recently retired miner and Ohio native, now serves as a representative for the United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) in Bridgeport, Ohio, across the Ohio River from Wheeling, W.Va. He went from representing 500 people while working in the mines to 5,000 as a UMWA representative. His adamant support of coal is multi-layered.
On a personal level, Vucelich said that the 34 years he spent as an underground miner with the Ohio Valley Coal Company "improved my life and my family's ten-fold." The mining job he landed after his 1969 graduation enabled him to purchase a home and raise his children in comfortable conditions. Then, the coal industry was "booming" with "good pay and good benefits" for miners.
Vucelich said he also considers coal a way for the United States to lessen its reliance on foreign oil. "This is the best country in the world," he said. "We need coal to keep us strong and independent."
But most people who pit themselves against coal use believe there are alternative ways to do just that, such as relying instead on energy from solar and wind power. Vucelich, though, said he sees alternative energy, or green power, as a concept "way down the road." Besides, he added, "It (coal) was put there for us to use."
Like Canterberry and Miller, he said he considers miners a "unique breed. They risk their lives day in and day out."
But it's not only the miners who risk their lives, according to the two women. Canterberry and Miller share their backyards with a coal-processing plant that emits the very coal dust that killed Canterberry's husband.
"Nine out of 10 people around here die of cancer," she said. "You go into the schools, and the principal's desk is lined with inhalers for the students."
In West Virginia, no laws control the amount of coal dust companies can put into the air. The closest chance Canterberry and Miller have for protection is a law that states nothing can leave one's property that could damage others.
But apparently Massey isn't keeping to that rule. Eventually, Canterberry and Miller decided they had seen enough. "If you get between the sunshine and dust, it's like a kaleidoscope," Canterberry said. "It almost blocked the sun and they expected us to live in it. That's when Mary and I went on a warpath."
A few years ago, the two women began videotaping and photographing the coal dust in the air and on cars and lawns in the town. Their inventory of footage includes records of dust so thick, they could see it falling like a dark veil on cars parked next to a schoolyard full of children playing. They wrote letters to West Virginia's Division of Environmental Protection (DEP), trying to persuade them to put stricter regulations on the amount of pollutants the plant could let into the air. "But it was like we weren't even here," Canterberry said.
During that time, Miller's home dropped in value from $145,000 to $12,000. The women continued to videotape their surroundings, night and day. They even wiped their porch furniture with white towels and stored them in Ziploc bags. They wanted to be able to show lawyers, judges and anyone who would look that the dust that turned those white cloths black was also entering their lungs.
In response, the DEP and Massey representatives asked Canterberry what she was doing out at all hours of the night videotaping. "I may be an old lady, but I'm not stupid," she said.
Canterberry wasn't about to let a lack of power and money keep her from fighting for what she believes are her rights.
"It's really unfortunate that citizens of the United States have to fight so hard for their health, and, like with Larry (Gibson), to keep their heritage," said Sarah Watling, a graduate student at Ohio University. She had joined Gibson on the tour of his mountain about 45 minutes southeast of Charleston. (Gibson's guided tours of Kayford Mountain, to illustrate the impacts of mountaintop mining, were explored in Part One of this series.)
Driving through the valley towns around Sylvester, Watling shook her head in disbelief. She had recently returned from Ecuador with the Peace Corps, and said she couldn't believe that conditions so similar to what she had seen in the third-world country existed in the United States.
She was also shocked to see Marsh Fork Elementary School, a brick building with a jungle gym and swings in its front yard, sitting at the foot of a giant, off-white, cement water-tower type building. This structure holds coal and lets out substantial coal dust. Probably not coincidentally, about 90 percent of the children in the school are asthmatic.
"It's not excusable, but it's understandable in Ecuador due to the conditions there, the social infrastructure," Watling said after noting the usualness of such sights in that country. She didn't expect to see the same situation in one of the world's wealthiest countries, however.
For Canterberry and Miller, the situation has been a reality for as long as they can remember. When their lawsuit against Massey finally did reach the courts, they didn't end up feeling much more than insulted.
Canterberry said that in the coal company lawyer's closing statements, he "called everyone in Sylvester inbreeds and Mary and I 'glory seekers.' He said we couldn't tolerate it because we were old."
Miller was outraged when the same lawyer tried to shake her husband's hand after the trial because he had fought in World War II. Before turning their backs on the man, Miller looked at him and asked, "Isn't it a shame that he fought for this country and now he has to fight for his own home?"
7 Apr 2006 @ 09:55 by jazzolog : Final Installment On Coal
The revolutionary: The price of power
By Katie Brandt
Athens NEWS Contributor
Thursday, April 6th, 2006
Editor's note: This is the final installment in a three-part series about the effects of coal mining in this region.
Elisa Young's bathroom is full of oils and books -- everything one would need either to be healthy or to learn how to be healthy. Her kitchen is much the same, stocked with organic fruits and vegetables that she buys from an independent seller. And while she does all she can to keep healthy inside, it's what's just outside her window that keeps Young's health uncertain.
It's a quiet, gray Sunday morning in Racine, Ohio, a Meigs County town set minutes away from the Ohio River near the West Virginia border. From Meigs, four power plants are visible, but none lies within the county.
That could change. Recently, county officials have begun talking about two -- and maybe even three -- new coal-fired power plants in the county.
"They're modern, clean-coal power plants," confirmed Perry Varnadoe of the Meigs County Chamber of Commerce. "They're not like the ones built 50 years ago." Varnadoe was appointed the governor's regional economic development representative for southeast Ohio in 2004.
The plants, he said, would bring 2,000 to 3,000 construction jobs and 200 to 250 jobs within the plants once they went on-line. "They'll be a lifeline for the Southern School District," Varnadoe added, referring to a Meigs County district. Because none of the other plants are within Meigs County, the county is unable to collect property tax from them. The proposed plants, however, would pay Meigs County property taxes, and the county would benefit from the resulting increases in sales taxes, as well as all the spin-off economic activities with vendors, consumer goods, etc.
"Generally the community is very enthusiastic about it from the comments I've heard," Varnadoe said.
Young, however, is not pleased. She said that opening the plants could lead to the reopening of some of the old Southern Ohio Coal mines in Meigs and Vinton counties, which probably would contaminate the clean spring on her land with acid-mine drainage.
For the hundreds of former coal-miners who live in southeast Ohio, and are now either unemployed or making less money doing other tasks, the upside to a rejuvenated coal industry in this region likely outweighs the negatives.
Few cars travel down the winding county road that twists up through the woods and around a curve past Young's farm. The only noise comes from Chavez -- the large rooster with dark silk feathers shooting from his tail -- as he patrols the yard.
Young explained that friends who brought him to her had named him King Robert, but the name didn't fit. Partially on account of the same fiery attitude that got him kicked out of the chicken coop, he became known as Chavez, after the renegade leftist Venezuelan president.
However, Chavez isn't the only rebel on the farm. Young has spent the last four years "trying to learn the system," because she wants to change it.
Her farm, which has housed her family for seven generations, overlooks the Mountaineer and Phillip Sporne power plants, neither of which are located in Meigs County. Two smoke stacks, reminiscent of those found at nuclear plants, reach into the sky, emitting thick plumes of smoke. But this smoke is relatively safe, made up of steam from the plant. It's what the plant, and others in Ohio and West Virginia, potentially let into the river that scares Young.
Next month, now that scientists have found that C-8 contaminates her district's water supply, she's being tested for the man-made chemical. C-8, or ammonium perfluorooctanate, has caused cancer and liver damage when tested on animals and has possible adverse effects on the endocrine system, according to the Little Hocking Area C-8 Study.
In burning the coal, the plants use and produce heavy metals such as mercury and lead. When the mercury escapes into the environment, it turns into methylmercury, a chemical highly toxic in mammals, according to the U.S. Department of the Interior's Geological Survey. People sometimes joke about not eating fish from a certain river or drinking the water, but the reality is that many Appalachian rivers do contain high amounts of methylmercury. Its greatest adverse effects occur in developing organisms, according to the federal Environmental Protection Agency, i.e. children, who tend to slow in development if exposed to high levels of the toxin.
The mercury levels have gotten so high, in fact, that in early January the Ohio EPA released a fish-consumption advisory. "This year, Ohio EPA has added 12 locations to the list of places where fish should be eaten no more frequently than once a month due to mercury," according to the department's press release. Among the locations are Dow Lake and the Hocking River, which (along with the Ohio River) also have elevated levels of PCB, according to the press release.
The water that reaches Young's farm is contaminated as well. She recalls a time when the farm was self-sustaining. Her grandparents lived on it then, and Young would visit during the summers from northern Ohio. "I think that's a piece of why the environmental and health issues stand out to me as a problem, because I didn't grow up here," Young said.
After her grandmother died in 2000, Young took up residence on the land. When she did, she said her energy level dropped drastically, and she noticed that many of her neighbors were dying of cancer. She rattles off a list of names and points in all directions toward their homes. That was when Young first began looking into what the power plants in her area were releasing into the air and water.
Young's farm reflects her current state of health. White paint peels off its sides, and it sits in virtual abandonment, with only a chicken coop and a few stray cats in the yard.
People ask her why she doesn't leave. If she wants to create a sustainable living environment, why not move elsewhere, where the dream could be a reality? Young shakes her head; for her, "no other place has this generational value."
When Young speaks about the farm, her voice grows high and shaky, and tears gather at the corners of her eyes. She questions spending the money to fix it up if she could lose the land to the coal industry or lose her own health to a disease such as cancer, contracted from living so close to a power plant.
IN 2002, AMERICAN ELECTRIC Power bought the town of Cheshire, Ohio, not even a 10-minute drive from Young's farm, for $20 million. House values had seen a 90 percent drop in the town, and the people reported burning eyes, sore throats, headaches and white burns on their lips and tongues after blue plumes of smoke from the plant hung over the town. When the residents signed the agreement with AEP, they signed away their rights to sue the company over any personal or property damages sustained from the emissions.
The town today is virtually empty, with sidewalks leading to wide squares of matted grass where homes once stood. On Sundays, most of the cars in the town take up spots in the church parking lot.
People in Cheshire weren't the only ones who left. Young speaks of a Native-American friend whose people had lived on the river for hundreds of years. She left too, though, not wanting to raise her children amid the contamination.
For now, Young remains on her farm. She spends her days researching other power plant injustices and trying to learn the bureaucratic ropes of agencies that should be looking out for her. She said people always call her an environmentalist, but she thinks it's simpler than that. "I just want clean air and clean water. Is that asking too much?"
18 Jul 2006 @ 10:46 by jazzolog : Big Coal
If you subscribe to TruthOut and/or are Appalachian by heritage or new address, you may have seen or be interested in these 2 news items referenced. The first is an article by Associated Press writer Samira Jafari about the followup to the Kentucky Darby mine explosion that killed 5 workers.
Survivors of miners killed in a Kentucky explosion met privately with two congressmen Friday and expressed outrage that federal regulators kept an inspector from being asked some questions about the mine's status before the blast.
Though a panel of federal and state investigators, miner representatives and company officials were allowed to question mine company employees, only federal investigators from the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration were allowed to question Stanley Sturgill. Sturgill is the MSHA inspector who checked out Kentucky Darby Mine No. 1 the week before five miners died there May 20...
Reps. George Miller, D-Calif., and Ben Chandler, D-Ky., said after the meeting with victims' family members in Lexington that new mine-safety legislation approved last month doesn't go far enough.
"There's a massive failure in Washington," said Miller, the ranking Democrat on the House Education and Workforce Committee.
The other entry is an interview at Grist with Jeff Goodell, whose book Big Coal is just out.
In your book, you mention Americans' ignorance about where electricity comes from.
Everyone I talk to can tell me the price of a gallon of gas to the tenth of a cent, but I've not found a person -- except for one guy at a reading last night who had a solar panel -- who could tell me what they pay for a kilowatt of electricity. We're completely divorced from the price...
How do coal companies retain such a grip on the very people who have suffered most at their hands?
It goes to the very heart of the development of Appalachia. The coal barons came in and bought up the mineral rights for nothing in the 1850s and 1860s. There's never been any other economic model there. Coal's been big daddy there for a long, long time.
Much has been written about the early days, in the 19th and early 20th century, with company towns and the almost indentured servitude the coal industry required. They worked explicitly to keep other industries out in the early days of the coal industry. Although the company stores are gone, that mentality still exists there. There really is no alternative for a lot of people in coal country. You either work for the coal industry or you leave, you suffer total poverty...
Is there a cultural element to it? A little bit of red-state resentment toward blue-state elitism?
There is -- and justifiably. "We're wrecking our mountains; our people are dying for you fat cats to sit around on your butts and surf the internet. You live in a world powered by coal and you don't see at all the costs of it, but we, here in West Virginia or Kentucky, pay for it with our blood. Who are you to come down here and criticize us?" There is a big dose of that. And it's right, actually. We do take it completely for granted. We do burn their blood on that coal.
15 May 2008 @ 11:39 by jazzolog : Appalachia In The News
Obama and Appalachia appears for scrutiny in a number of major papers this week, and perhaps that encouraged a couple of interesting comments at this entry over at Blogger. My response follows~~~
And speaking of West Virginia, as expected, Hillary Clinton, yesterday, trounced Barack Obama in that State's Democratic presidential primary.
While a lot as been made by the Clinton campaign and the MSM echo-chamber that Obama has a "rural" problem, what the map is revealing there is that Obama does not have a "rural" or "white" problem: He has an "Appalachia" problem. A map of the counties in which HRC beats Obama by 2 to 1 across the US would be virtually empty, except for a solid swath covering the run of the Appalachian Mountains.
As RJ Eskow recently pointed out in a recent article, even more interesting, perhaps, is the fact that 7% of the voters in West Virginia voted for John Edwards, who isn't even in the race:
"That fact is nothing short of stunning. Faced with a black man and a white woman, these voters chose a white man who isn't running. And these are Democrats. Among Southern whites, this makes them the Left."
If you are Appalachian by heritage, or are living here now, you may have heard of, or even taken part in, one of the primaries there.
What's your take on this? Is there a cultural element to Obama's Appalachian problem?
Thank you for the link. I read jazzolog's post and the articles by the woman he posted there. It is worse than I thought. I am an American white woman who has only lived, I realize, on the more privileged edges of this great country-- from both coasts of Florida, both coasts of Cape Cod and the very privileged coast of Southern California, with a brief stop in Austin, Texas, located inland, yet on a major river, home to a large university and the capital of the state. I've always been aware that I was living on the skirt of the so-called heartland in this country. This is the country we have: the United patched-worked States of America.
On another, but related subject, I also read another post on Jazzolog's page which interested me a lot and which I would like you to take a look at; speaking of America, and comprehension, and politics and, especially on this 40th anniversary of the famous May '68 demonstrations in France:
P.S. referring to anonymous's comment (i.e. 'what the map is revealing there is that Obama does not have a "rural" or "white" problem: he has an "Appalachia" problem'), I think it is the Appalachia that has an "Appalachian problem," the entire country, in fact, has an "Appalachia problem," and, quite possibly, the whole world. The devastation of the entire planet just to give greedy populations what they want while a few are making huge profits while keeping the slave labor in ignorance and in ill health to support this system, offering them "jobs" they can't refuse and doing nothing to elevate their lives. What a waste, what a terrible waste of landscape and human potential. Why do things have to keep being that way? Is there no way out?
I think I was in college (late '50s) before I heard the word "Appalachia" (long "a" in that 3rd syllable). Bates is a small private college in Maine, which then was populated overwhelmingly by students from New England. There were a handful of us from New York, but the guys I gravitated toward were from The City and I came from Upstate 365 miles west. They thought of me as a hillbilly and made fun of my accent. At the same time I learned my part of New York indeed was considered Appalachia---and actually got federal funding for that kind of barefoot, hayseed poverty. I thought I was a pretty cool, cosmopolitan guy...and so I went through something of an identity crisis mixed with culture shock---neither of which terms existed then.
Twenty-five years ago, my wife and I moved to Southeastern Ohio, where her family had settled 10 or 15 years earlier (from Appalachian Pennsylvania). To this day, I believe all of us are considered "outsiders" by the indigenous folks here, many of whose grandfathers came from the mountains of West Virginia to work the coal mines---and who were left high and dry when those owners took off.
Fortunately in the '50s the "outsider" became a cultural hero in the movies, Beat poems, and jazz---and an existential one in Camus. So I did OK, with minimum nervous breakdowns...but the suspicious attitude of Appalachia remains. I remember Jesse Jackson courted Appalachia a few years ago...and I don't mean to imply a racial comparison. He was advocating economic revival here somehow, and his argument was the typical Appalachian is born in a trailer, goes to school in a trailer, and dies in a trailer. His fatal error was that he thought Appalachians would agree with him that this was bad.
Obama's campaign emails supporters to come to Pennsylvania, come to West Virginia, and now come to Kentucky, to run telephone banks and go door to door. Try not to think of the hillbilly with his shotgun as the city people come up his driveway...but I'm not sure this is the strategy to get these particular blue collars out of the Republican and Libertarian ranks...were they've been since Reagan. Of all places, the best article I've seen of this topic showed up this morning in the Seattle Times, which follows this postscript.
PS Elisa Young, whose photo graces this entry, continues to battle the coal-fired power plants that surround her family's farm---and does so pretty much alone.
The Seattle Times
Thursday, May 15, 2008
updated at 12:00 AM
Obama's Appalachian problem
By JONATHAN TILOVE
Newhouse News Service
According to exit polls, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton won 67 percent of the white vote in West Virginia, America's third-whitest state. Sen. Barack Obama in early March won 60 percent of the white vote in Vermont, the nation's second-whitest state.
America is learning a lot about race this year, most recently that not all white voters are alike. There are enormous regional differences in how whites vote, differences with deep historical roots.
Clinton's romp in West Virginia, and in all likelihood another in neighboring Kentucky on Tuesday, do not prove that Obama has a problem with white voters generally or that whites have turned on him. He is expected to win in Oregon on Tuesday — it's 21st on the list of whitest states. His campaign noted Wednesday that he is doing better with white voters in national matchups with Sen. John McCain than either then-Vice President Al Gore or Sen. John Kerry did in their campaigns against President Bush.
But Clinton's West Virginia landslide does mean Obama, for reasons that go beyond race, has a problem with Appalachia's whites and the Scots-Irish who settled there and forever branded its culture.
These are people whose ancestors lived and fought along the brutal borderlands between England and Scotland, and later in Northern Ireland (they are the Protestants of Ulster). Unlike other British settlers, Scots-Irish migrated "directly to the wilderness of the Appalachian Mountains, bypassing even the rudiments of colonial civilization," Sen. Jim Webb writes in his 2004 book, "Born Fighting: How the Scots-Irish Shaped America."
Frequently occupying the lower rungs socially and economically, they always have been the most likely to fight and die for their country, Webb writes. They don't cling to guns; they proudly pass them on to their young sons as a rite of passage that Webb likens to a "redneck bar mitzvah." Webb, of Scots-Irish descent, says his father gave him his first rifle when he was 8 and his first boxing gloves when he was 6.
Around the same time, his father laid out "the eternal ground rules for street fighting," now echoed in the last days of the Clinton campaign: "Never start a fight, but never run away, even if you know you are going to lose. ... And whomever you fight, you must make them pay. You must always mark them, so that the next day they have to face the world with a black eye or a cut lip or a bruised cheek, and remember where they got it."
Enter Obama. With his Harvard pedigree, mellifluous voice and high-minded talk of moving beyond the politics of confrontation, he is totally out of place in Appalachia.
"What people don't understand about Appalachia is that we've heard all this 'hope' and 'change' stuff since the English kicked the Scotch-Irish out in the 1700s. We're 'hoped' out. Nothing ever changes out here," Dave "Mudcat" Saunders, a Virginia political strategist who worked on John Edwards' campaign, told The Politico on the eve of the West Virginia vote.
For those keeping score, seven of the 10 whitest states have held primaries or caucuses. The Illinois senator has won five and the New York senator two — New Hampshire by an inch and now West Virginia by a country mile.
Stretch it to the 20 whitest states and the tally is 12 for Obama and five for Clinton, with three to go. If you limit it to primary and not caucus states, of the 20 whitest states, Obama has won four — Vermont, Wisconsin, Utah and Missouri — and Clinton has won five — New Hampshire, West Virginia, Indiana, Pennsylvania and Ohio.
Appalachia reaches from western New York and Pennsylvania down through eastern Ohio, all of West Virginia, stretches of western Virginia and the Carolinas, eastern Kentucky and Tennessee and on into north Georgia and Alabama and northeastern Mississippi. As Josh Marshall noted in a posting on Talking Points Memo after the West Virginia results were in, the map of Appalachia lines up pretty well with a map of counties where Clinton has won more than 60 percent of the vote.
"She's won the Appalachian region of every state contested," wrote Dana Houle, who in his postings on Daily Kos has dissected how Obama's difficulty in Appalachia does not necessarily translate into a broader or more permanent problem with white voters.
"No, Obama doesn't have a racial problem," Houle concluded. "It appears that Appalachia has an Obama problem."
Unlike John Kennedy who, with charm and money won the West Virginia primary in 1960, Obama barely contested West Virginia and seems to be taking a pass on Kentucky as well.
While his being black, or biracial, didn't help Obama there and elsewhere in Appalachia, ascribing racist motivations to Clinton supporters ignores the obvious, according to Michael Lind, a senior fellow at the New American Foundation. They could go with the newcomer Obama, who in April explained to some wealthy San Franciscans — their cultural arch-enemies — that small-town folks like them weren't with him because they were "bitter" about their lot. Or they could stick with a Clinton.
"Bill Clinton won Pennsylvania, Ohio, Kentucky and West Virginia in 1992 and again four years later," Lind wrote on Salon. "Is it at all surprising that these very same voters, facing a recession, would choose another Democrat with the last name Clinton?"
More like John Adams
In his classic work, "Albion's Seed," Brandeis University historian David Hackett Fischer described the four distinctly different British migrations that made America.
Obama appeals more to whites like those in New England (although he lost Massachusetts and Rhode Island decisively), who inhabit the lands first settled by the more intellectual and moralistic Puritans, and the places from the Great Lakes to the Pacific Northwest where those New Englanders migrated.
In other words, Obama is more in the John Adams or John Quincy Adams mold, and voters in Appalachia are Andrew Jackson Democrats, for whom John McCain, with his Scots-Irish heritage and temperament, may appear to be the real McCoy.
"John McCain is very true to his Southern Highlands Mississippi origins," said Fischer, the historian.
Or as Patrick Ruffini, a Republican strategist, wrote on his blog back in February, "I've heard more than one guy mention McCain's volcanic temper as a positive. They equate this with toughness against our enemies."
Webb says the Scots-Irish — who were once Democrats — created the "core culture around which Red State America has gathered and thrived." But he does not believe they are irrevocably lost to the Democrats.
"In fact," Webb wrote in The Wall Street Journal in 2004, "the greatest realignment in modern politics would take place rather quickly if the right national leader found a way to bring the Scots-Irish and African Americans to the same table."
It's an intriguing statement from a man who two years later was elected to the Senate and now is mentioned as a potential running mate for Obama.
Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company
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