Snowflakes and Snowjobs
Finding poetry in snowfalls & exposing snowjobs in West Virginia | dec. 26, 2022
“Every Single Snowflake”: A Video Poem
Here are seven peaceful minutes of snowy splendor, mostly from around the hills and valleys of West Virginia, with a short, but timely poem swirling amid the snowflakes. It is WestVirginiaVille’s year-ending — and new year-beginning — wish for thee. The video comes from the endlessly creative studio of Bobby Lee Messer, featuring improvisational piano by WestVirginiaVille.com editor Douglas John Imbrogno.
An AmpMediaProject.com production for WestVirginiaVille.Substack.com | CLICK TO VIEW
Something Rotten in the State of the Gazette-Mail
Our last two editions of this newsletter — here and here (courtesy of Kyle Vass’s Dragline) — have taken the powers-that-be at the Charleston Gazette-Mail to task for slicing, dicing, and knifing the legacy of a once-great American newspaper. There has been not a single word published in that paper about how three fine reporters — Ryan Quinn, Caity Coyne, and Lacie Pierson — were instantly fired earlier this month for criticising on their Twitter timelines the sorry decision by Doug Skaff, president of the media company that owns the Gazette, to serve up a softball interview to Don Blankenship, the execrable, climate-crisis denying, former Snidely Whiplash of the West Virginia coalfields.
Until, that is, the paper published an excellent op-ed on Dec. 23, 2022, by Eric Engle, board president of Mid-Ohio Valley Climate Action. Engle doesn’t mince words as he makes mincemeat of both Blankenship’s climate denialism and Skaff’s helping hand in platforming such an odious figure. Engle writes:
“Skaff, minority leader in the West Virginia House of Delegates, thought for some reason that having Blankenship on his [“Outside the Echo Chamber”] show, tossing him softball questions and telling Blankenship that his “heart was in the right place” was the way to go. The West Virginia Democratic Party in the House would be wise to remove Skaff as House minority leader, and I fear Skaff is bad for the Gazette-Mail’s survival as a daily newspaper.”
Riley Moore’s Folly
New York Times, Aug. 5, 2022: Riley Moore, the West Virginia treasurer, announced last week that several major banks would be barred from government contracts with his state. Kristen Thacker for The New York Times
Engle delivers an equally damning overview of the also-odious West Virginia state treasurer, Riley Moore, nephew of W.Va. Sen. Shelley Moore Capito. Moore is a leading figure among right-wing state treasurers, leading the charge against what is called environmental, social and governance (ESG) investing. ESG, as Engle explains, “is a type of investment management that considers environmental hazards like climate change, as well as social responsibilities like working conditions and employee relations and diversity, when weighing potential investments.”
An Aug. 5, 2022, New York Times investigation cited Moore as one of the instigators in a piece headlined: “How Republicans Are ‘Weaponizing’ Public Office Against Climate Action: A Times investigation revealed a coordinated effort by state treasurers to use government muscle and public funds to punish companies trying to reduce greenhouse gases.”
Times reporter David Gelles goes on to write that Moore is at the heart of this rear-guard action to stymie decisive climate crisis action, even as the world’s operating system continues to veer wildly out of whack:
Nearly two dozen Republican state treasurers around the country are working to thwart climate action on state and federal levels, fighting regulations that would make clear the economic risks posed by a warming world, lobbying against climate-minded nominees to key federal posts and using the tax dollars they control to punish companies that want to reduce greenhouse gas emissions …
Last week, Riley Moore, the treasurer of West Virginia, announced that several major banks — including Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan and Wells Fargo — would be barred from government contracts with his state because they are reducing their investments in coal, the dirtiest fossil fuel.
In his Gazette-Mail editorial, Eric Engle lacerates this attempt by Moore — as a Moore-Capito clan member, climate-change denial is a family affair — to stymie urgent action on greenhouse gases and to seriously address winding down the fossil fuel extraction industry, before the human race fries itself like a frog in a soon-to-boil pot. Says Engle:
Moore calls ESG “woke capitalism” and rails against it. Apparently, for Moore, investment that takes into consideration our long-term ability to safely inhabit this planet and recognizes laborers as the heart of the American economy is just nonsense.
Fortunately, he goes on to note, “Moore’s outlook is not the prevailing one.” According to PricewaterhouseCoopers, Engle recounts:
“Asset managers globally are expected to increase their ESG-related assets under management (AuM) to U.S. $33.9 trillion by 2026, from U.S. $18.4 trillion in 2021. … ESG assets are on pace to constitute 21.5% of total global AuM in less than five years.” | READ ON
Keep an eye on this one. Riley Moore, I mean.
PS: Why we live where we live
'The road goes ever, ever on ...' | Tucker County, W.Va. | August 2021 | TheStoryIsTheThing.Substack.com photo