Stevieslaw: Mr. Peabody’s Coal Train
My old friend, John Prine, stopped by last night. He sang his great Kentucky song, Paradise,” and I joined in for the chorus.
When I was a child my family would travel
Down to Western Kentucky where my parents were born
And there’s a backwards old town that’s often remembered
So many times that my memories are worn.
And daddy won’t you take me back to Muhlenberg County
Down by the Green River where Paradise lay
Well, I’m sorry my son, but you’re too late in asking
Mister Peabody’s coal train has hauled it away
Well, sometimes we’d travel right down the Green River
To the abandoned old prison down by Airdrie Hill
Where the air smelled like snakes and we’d shoot with our pistols
But empty pop bottles was all we would kill.
Then the coal company came with the world’s largest shovel
And they tortured the timber and stripped all the land
Well, they dug for their coal till the land was forsaken
Then they wrote it all down as the progress of man.
When I die let my ashes float down the Green River
Let my soul roll on up to the Rochester dam
I’ll be halfway to Heaven with Paradise waitin’
Just five miles away from wherever I am.
Peabody’s coal company is still there and if Senator Mitch McConnell has his way they will be doing better than ever. Mitch is using his power as Senate Majority leader to get Republican Governors, State Legislatures and State Judges to oppose EPA’s new set of emissions standards which might close coal fired power plants. This, in spite of the fact that the power industry is the major carbon polluter in the nation, and if we wish to avoid the worst consequences of global warming, we must reign in emissions.
The appeal to Republicans on the state level makes a good strategy, as many of them will consider global warming a liberal hoax even as they drown. McConnell spokesperson, B.L. Rock, said that we must be willing to do more than just hold the line on the use of coal. “We must burn coal, coal and more coal, even if there is no immediate need for it for power or heat.” “Think Centralia,” he said with a loopy smile.