“Man of the People” or Shill for Coal Industry?

If you read a letter to the editor you believe is completely lopsided and inaccurate, write and send a response, like my friend Perry Thomas did:

Indiana State Representative Matt Ubelhor is a former manager for Peabody Energy  – one of the, if not the largest, coal companies in the country. He’s leading the charge to continue coal power in Southern Indiana as well as pushing school ‘vouchers’ to help dismantle public education (of course, while his children attend expensive private schools). 

There was a vapid letter to the editor praising Ubelhor in this past Sunday’s local Herald Times as “a man of the people,” “who unlike so many of the liberal politicians, has worked, and worked hard for a living, providing for himself and his family” and as a man who “loves Indiana and wants to keep it environmentally safe and clean, while providing for growth” – “truly a man for us.”

Perry sent this letter in response:

Coal workers lung

Lung of a coal worker with Anthracosilicosis, showing black pigmentation and fibrosis due to inhalation of carbon pigment and silica.

“In response to Joseph HJ Grott’s L.T.T.E. 2013 Mar 10 giving kudos to Ubelhor: If you want your family, your friends, neighbors and community members to suffer poor health, than Mr. Grott’s right- ‘Ubelhor is a man for the people.’ If you want your family, friends, neighbors and community to suffer increased risk of stroke, asthma, COPD, slowed pulmonary reflexes, reduced lung function, reduced cardiac ability, increased risk of heartbeat arrhythmia, increased risk of heart attack & stroke, increased risk of blood clots, peripheral thrombosis, reduced oxygen in your system, accelerated atherosclerosis, endothelial dysfunction, vasoconstriction and hypertension- then Ubelhor’s your man.

You see, Mr. Grott was right in one regard “Matt . . . has worked, and worked hard for a living.” Unfortunately for most people he has worked hard in the coal industry (who he is currently shilling for as a government tool of big coal). Coal fired electricity plants regularly shower us with mercury, lead, other heavy metals, sulphur dioxide, dioxins, polycyclic aromatic chemicals, nitrogen oxides, and other fine particulate matter. All these emissions have horrible sometimes deadly health effects, but Ubelhor doesn’t care. He and his big coal backers are making millions while you get sick and die.”

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