"Nicholas Kristof blamed Appalachian poverty on the absence of federal anti-poverty programs (“To effectively fight poverty, you have to start early,” op-ed column, Feb. 25). Allegedly, the United States doesn’t start the poverty war early enough in Johnny’s life. Well, how does 1964 sound? President Lyndon Johnson’s administration started a war on poverty, particularly Appalachian poverty. Since then, an alphabet soup of anti-poverty programs has consumed $17 trillion in means-tested assistance."
" As I watched the opening credits of Reelz’s new show, 'Hollywood Hillbillies,' I expected to be annoyed or outraged by yet another show that continued the exploitation of the mountain Southerner. I expected to see every hillbilly stereotype in the book. After all, 'Hollywood Hillbillies' is billed as a fish-out-of-water story, like the horrible 'Real Beverly Hillbillies,' which CBS threatened to create more than a decade ago. Appalachians have been dreading a program like that ever since TLC stopped broadcasting educational content and the History Channel became a 24/7 ghost and UFO fest. The closest we’ll be able to get to 'The Real Beverly Hillbillies' is here, and I’m not worried. You shouldn’t be either. Because I can’t imagine that the show will last longer than a season."
"One of the nation's largest coal companies will pay a record $27.5 million fine over violations of federal clean-water rules in Kentucky and four other Appalachian states.Alpha Natural Resources also will spend an estimated $200 million to reduce illegal pollution discharges into hundreds of waterways in Appalachia, the U.S. Environmental Protection agency announced Wednesday. The $27.5 million fine is the largest ever for violations of water-pollution permits under the federal Clean Water Act, the EPA said. The discharges — many of them from Massey Energy mines that Alpha later acquired — occurred in Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia."
"It’s well documented that the American banjo has its origins in instruments brought to the colonies by enslaved Africans. Virginia has a long history with the banjo, and it didn’t start with bluegrass--it started with enslaved Africans."