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What is Real?

     At the conclusion of the Masters Golf tournament, CBS went to the “cabin” for the green jacket presentation for the winner, Phil Mickelson.  Jim Nance, experienced announcer, stepped next to the Masters chairman, Billy Payne, and humbly bowed his head, as though he had never been on TV before.  Was I really watching an awards presentation to the winner?

     The absolute emotional impact of Mickelson hugging his wife as he came off the 18th tee was somewhat lessened in my eyes, as CBS replayed that hug about 5 times, while Nance provided his astute observation in pointing out that we should “see the tears”. I think I felt a bit of a lump in the throat, until Nance decided to ruin the moment with his observation as though we were a radio and not a TV audience. Of course, this is the same Nance that testified in his 2009 divorce that his wife had lost such interest in him that she would not even allow him to hang his self portrait in their family home.  I wonder if he testified about such a trauma with his golf whisper voice.  

     The theme of this blog is the discussion of what is real. Some topics grip me, A short blog is just a glimpse of my thoughts.(even a blog too long, like this one!) In the alternative, if I had to write on “Dancing with the Stars”, I would have a difficult time mustering a whole lot of pathos.

     I see that an unauthorized biography of Oprah Winfrey is coming out. It suggests, with sources, that Oprah is not the “real” person that we see on TV. That suggestion comes from such nuggets as claims that she really wasn’t poor as a kid but merely has claimed that, since such claims make her seem more real. Her relationship with Steadman is allegedly all  for show too. I’ll let you read the attachment for more on that if such claims have not yet made it to the local gossip column or on Entertainment Tonight,  yet.  

     That huge wandering introduction brings me to the meat of this blog. It relates to the recent Miners who were killed in a West Virginia mine explosion. (story) If you read public statements from Massey or see it’s officers on TV, explaining about the rescue efforts and how sorry they are, it makes you think that they might care. In fact, days after the explosion, I began to see stories pop up about Massey and all the good things that they did for charity and community. Do their words and actions match with their past conduct? What is real here?

     Since January 2009, the US Government has ordered that Massey mine to be closed on 61 occasions.(Bloomberg) The closings related to the mine ventilation violations, the very issue in these recent deaths. Prior to this tragedy, Inspectors repeatedly stated that the mine created “significant risks“. In the past year, Massey has been fined over 900K for violations. Despite these fines, they have appealed them and shown a propensity for continuing to operate the same way. A jury argument would be that they are repeatedly putting profits over safety.

     Not surprisingly, Massey’s PR department is in full swing by saying that  “the safety of our members has been and will continue to be our top priority every day”.  The statement went on to include that they would, “work in every way possible to ensure that a similar incident doesn’t happen again.” The Canada article that I am attaching also paints a picture of the CEO of Massey as combative with inspectors, lawyers and even his maid. Again, What is real?

     The saying of “What’s good for business is good for America”, has been attributed to President Calvin Coolidge. The thought behind this is the “trickle down” theory that all would benefit. After looking at lip service versus reality in the Massey mine explosion, as well as their past; perhaps it should be re-stated as “What’s good for America is good for Americans”, and maybe allowing a big business to skate by on press releases and promises is, at some point, going to generate enough publicity to make safety a real priority. What’s next, the Massey CEO,  crying during an interview on Oprah?

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