Wednesday, July 30, 2008

I keep straining my ears to hear a sound, Maybe someone is digging underground

I spent my early years in the California high desert, in Victorville. In that desert, although not too near, were and still are lots of mines. Dangerous abandoned mines.

Blue Girl, Red State has this about that:
Scattered all over the western United States are more than 12,200 abandoned mines on Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and National Parks Service (NPS) lands, many of which pose significant dangers and public health risks. A recent audit (.pdf) by the Inspector General for the Department of the Interior finds that not only are many of the sites a danger to the public health and safety, but apparently, because they were worried about liability and cost, supervisors told staff members to ignore these problems and that employees "were criticized or received threats of retaliation" for identifying contaminated sites.

To prepare the audit, the Inspector General's staff visited more than 45 abandoned mines. The report highlights two distinct dangers to the public - dangerous levels of contaminants such as arsenic, lead and mercury are present at sites easily accessible to the public; and immediate threats to public safety posed by frequently unmarked open mine shafts and crumbling yet unsecured, access points (see above). "The potential for more deaths or injuries is ominous," the report states. The office said a "limited search" of accident records showed that 12 people were killed at abandoned mines from 2004 to 2007. Go back five more years to 1999 and the number of fatalities rises to 33.

The IG's team found that many of the open shafts weren't even marked. Placement of signs such as this, that could warn unsuspecting hikers, ATV riders and off-road mororists that a mine shaft is in the area and there is the possibility of death or injury.

Population growth and the use of off-road vehicles in the Western states are likely to increase the incidence of additional deaths or injuries.

Some of the open, unmarked shafts are large enough to swallow up an entire vehicle.

Catch that? The BLM, a federal bureau, is ignoring the problem. Think this is a silly topic? Anyone remember Kathy Fiscus?
On the afternoon of Friday, April 8, 1949, Kathy Fiscus (born August 21, 1945 - died April 8, 1949) was playing with her sister Barbara and cousin Gus in a field in San Marino, California when she fell down the 14-inch wide shaft of an abandoned water well. Ironically her father, David Fiscus, worked for the California Water & Telephone Co., which had drilled the well in 1903. He had recently testified before the state legislature for a proposed law that would require the cementing of all old wells. Within hours a major rescue effort was underway with "(d)rills, derricks, bulldozers and trucks...from a dozen towns...(t)hree giant cranes...(and f)ifty floodlights...from Hollywood studios." After digging down 100 feet, workers reached Kathy Sunday night. After a doctor was lowered into the shaft an announcement was made to the more than 10,000 people who had gathered to watch the rescue: "Kathy is dead and apparently has been dead since she was last heard speaking." It was determined that she died shortly after she fell, peacefully, from a lack of oxygen in the shaft.

Lassie isn't going to save Timmy if he falls into a mine. It's time to not only reclaim the White House, the Congress, but all the regulatory agencies who haven't been, you know regulating, during the GWBush regime.

Banking/mortgage down the toilet? Check.

Big ass holes in the ground? Check.

Veterans living in filth at Wlater Reed? Check.

Oil profits at a record level? Check.

God, it makes me tired, oh so tired.

Oh, and can anyone figure out the connection with this video? Full disclosure: I played this in a band in '68.