The President is supposed to take charge of the oil spill in a major speech tonight, but until then let’s just gossip about Rand Paul.
First off, I hope you didn’t miss the juicy bit about Rand not being a board-certified ophthalmologist, as he had claimed. He’s certified by a board, the National Board of Ophthalmology. But the National Board of Ophthalmology is a board Rand set up himself about ten years ago and runs out of a post office box in Bowling Green, Kentucky. He is not certified by the American Board of Ophthalmology, which is the official board that certifies ophthalmologists.
Apparently he had claimed to have been certified by both boards, but fibbed. When asked about this, the best excuse he could come up with was “what does that have to do with the election?”
The other juicy bit was brought up by Dave Neiwert over the weekend. It’s been a few years since I’ve been to Kentucky, but I’ve always found it beautiful in its way. But what is making it not so beautiful is mountaintop coal mining, the kind of mining that takes off the tops of mountains and doesn’t put them back.
So here’s our boy Rand on mountaintop removal:
PAUL: I think whoever owns the property can do with the property as they wish, and if the coal company buys it from a private property owner and they want to do it, fine. The other thing I think is that I think coal gets a bad name, because I think a lot of the land apparently is quite desirable once it’s been flattened out. As I came over here from Harlan, you’ve got quite a few hills. I donâ€™t think anybody’s going to be missing a hill or two here and there.
And some people like having the flat land. Some of it apparently has become quite valuable when it’s become flattened. And I think they do a good job at reclaiming the land, and you know, adding back in topsoil, bringing in help. So the bottom line is, it’s not just me pandering to coal. It’s me believing in private property.
Now, the part about “some people” liking the flat land and claiming it becomes “quite valuable” when it is flattened is hallucinatory. Yes, the excuse the coal companies trot out for leaving the former mountain tops barren is that the flattened land is ready to be “developed.” Developed by whom, pray tell, and for what? Many of these mining areas are too sparsely populated, and too far off the beaten path, to support a bunch of shopping malls or housing developments. And the land doesn’t offer much else in the way of resources, except that it used to be pretty. Dave has some graphics showing how much of the land has not been “reclaimed,” and data that says only 4 percent of “flattened” land in Appalachia has been “developed” in any way.
The thing is, how can you live in Kentucky and not know this? Put another way, how far up his ass has Rand shoved his head?
The other major factor of mountain removal is that the mining operations pollute water for miles around. Rand is in denial about this, saying that if it were true, “local judges” would stop it. But the fact is that “local judges” have no authority to do anything about it, and many hundreds of miles of mountain creeks and streams have been polluted.
Are you hearing this, Kentucky?