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Cindy Sheehan is in town this week, Tea Parties are happening and the ‘Nuge loves guns and coal. But does any of it matter? Do the messages on both sides go too far to be taken seriously?

State of Affairs will take a look at the anti-war movement tomorrow. Sheehan will be in the studio with two historians who will look at the effectiveness of peace activism.  But what do you think? Call in (814-TALK) tomorrow or leave your comments below. What’s the difference between the Tea Party Express and Code Pink, other than ideology? What methods are most effective to prove a political point?

Years ago, families might have gathered in West Virginia to protest poor treatment at the hand of coal company CEO’s and ask the government to help them. But on Labor Day, families gathered to cheer on a coal company CEO, TV celebrity and former rockstar and tell the government to back off…or something like that.

The Friends of America Rally in Holden, West Virginia featured speeches, musical performances and a lot of American flags.

The rally was sponsored in part by Massey Energy, whose CEO Don Blankenship took the stage to defend coal mining against so-called cap-and-trade legislation and the people he called “Environmental nuts.”

He dismissed the notion of global warming, and criticized TV ads that say it’s real.

“Only God can change the Earth’s temperature, not Al Gore,” he said, later adding, “Global warming is pure make-believe.” (from the Charleston Gazette)

But the party wasn’t just pro-coal; it was essentially a Tea Party-style protest against the government. Fox News star Sean Hannity spoke at the rally and event M.C. Ted Nugent riled up the crowd with anti-Obama sentiment.

“We have the perfect president for a nation who doesn’t care,” he said, suggesting the new national anthem should perhaps sound like a sheep’s “baa.”

“Go home and raise hell like you’ve never raised it before,” he said.

Nugent, who recently showed how much he loves freedom and human rights with his album cover, got a little violent with his rhetoric. From the Rural Blog:

…Nugent began by evoking the memory of the Boston Tea Party and American Revolution as examples of Americans fighting back against oppressive governments. “I particularly like it when the British came to get our guns so we went to Concord Bridge and shot them,” Nugent said. “I like dead tyrants.”

Note: Death threats against the President have gone up about 400%.

The Rural Blog and the Gazette both say attendance at the rally was about a third less than anticipated.

The event was essentially a response (fueled by corporate dollars) to environmental rallies. A few folks quoted in the Gazette piece were worried about their jobs. We’ve wondered about this before. Where will the workers go if mountaintop removal ends? As we wrote in July:

But what about green jobs? If the government cranks up support for clean-energy production, should workers whose industry has become obsolete get priority consideration for new jobs?

It’s easy to live and work outside of the coal industry and not think about the individual people who do the mining. It’s also unfair to…well, the world as a whole to continue environmentally harmful practices for the sake of a comparitively small group of workers and their families.

It seems easy for someone like the Motor City Madman to whip up fear that the government is out to destroy coal jobs, but does Massey care more than the government? The coal will run out and what will Massey do for the miners? The company apparently spent $1 million on the rally, how much do they spend on perks for their workers? The company is spending to survive, the environment be damned. But are the protesters fighting for their jobs or a corporation?

Here is your holiday news:

Lettuce LadiesThese are PETA’s Lettuce Ladies in Louisville. Do they and their promotion of a healthy diet make you want to give up meat? Do you eat unhealthy meat-free food or health food with meat? Are you offended by PETA’s use of women’s bodies?

Here are some quotes from my story. They feature PETA’s Tom Crain talking about the display.

“I think that it’s a statement that’s saying ‘This is how physical fit people look. This is how physical fit people act. This is what’s going on,’” he says. “And this is the way people want to behave in their lives. I think people want to be able to show off what they are.”

Crain says the group is simply advertising vegetarianism the same way some restaurants advertise hamburgers.

“You see it and they’re saying, ‘Isn’t this what you want? Beef, it’s what’s for dinner. Isn’t this how you want it? Wouldn’t you like to sink your teeth into this?’ They’re tempting you in the way that this is—not so much sexist, but it is an attention grabber,” he says. “It’s giving you the idea that, ‘Hmmm. My eye is caught.’”

Even though he likens the women to the models of how people want to look and says their display is similar to close-ups of a hamburger on TV, he says the display is only meant to celebrate vegetables, health and the human body. Do you agree?

PETA is no stranger to protesting in Louisville, and in the wake of Men’s Health’s declaration that Louisville is the 10th fattest city in the country, PETA is bringing it’s lascivious Lettuce Ladies [NSFW] to Louisville. They’ll be passing out vegetarian hot dogs.

The Lettuce Ladies wear veggie bikinis, which will make you really think about treating all creatures ethically. This display of skinny women will apparently inspire you to stop eating meat and lose weight. Otherwise, PETA will make fun of you for not being skinny, and therefore attractive to PETA. Maybe if you’re skinny enough, PETA will put you in one of their girl-on-girl videos or take you on their tofu wrestling tour. (These are real things)

The group has taken a lot of criticism for its objectification of women. Most recently, the satire masters at The Onion took a jab. Watch the video linked below with care. It contains footage of actual PETA demonstrations that may not be appropriate for work.

Advocacy Group Decries PETA’s Inhumane Treatment Of Women

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