Train to nowhere

The lead paragraph from a smart piece in The New York Times Magazine that explains why the old jobs are never coming back, and why any politician who says they are is a liar:

As anyone who rides Amtrak between New York and Washington knows, the trip can be a dissonant experience. Inside the train, it’s all tidy and digital, everybody absorbed in laptops and iPhones, while outside the windows an entirely different world glides by. Traveling south is like moving through a curated exhibit of urban and industrial decay. There’s Newark and Trenton and the heroic wreckage in parts of Philadelphia, block after block of hulking edifices covered in graffiti, the boarded-up ghost neighborhoods of Baltimore made familiar by “The Wire” — all on the line that connects America’s financial center and its booming capital city.

More here.

Poor multimillionaire CEO


If they hadn’t insisted on lying to themselves for so long, they could have seen that cutting back on dirty coal was inevitable no matter what. But you know how the 1% is:

For the chairman and chief executive of Murray Energy, an Ohio-based coal company, the reelection of President Obama was no cause for celebration. It was a time for prayer – and layoffs.


Robert E. Murray read a prayer to a group of company staff members on the day after the election, lamenting the direction of the country and asking: “Lord, please forgive me and anyone with me in Murray Energy Corp. for the decisions that we are now forced to make to preserve the very existence of any of the enterprises that you have helped us build.”


On Wednesday, Murray also laid off 54 people at American Coal, one of his subsidiary companies, and 102 at Utah American Energy, blaming a “war on coal” by the administration of President Barack Obama.”


Murray Energy is the country’s largest privately owned coal mining company, with about 3,000 employees producing about 30 million tons of bituminous coal a year, according to its Web site.


The company was the subject of an article in the New Republic that said the company had forced miners to attend a Romney campaign speech in southeastern Ohio in August. Murray denied the account. The New Republic also reported that Murray Energy employees have given more than $1.4 million to Republican candidates for federal office since 2007.


Murray has also been a target of environmentalists. Notably, the company has spilled coal slurry into a creek on seven different occasions.

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