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With Gwyneth Paltrow’s new movie, “Country Strong,” due out, the Los Angeles Times asks which were the best “country themed” movies.

“Nashville” (above) is one. (We recently watched that one again and were surprised to like it.) “Tender Mercies.” “Coal Miner’s Daughter.” 

•The Washington Post’s Kimberly Kindy has a long story on the paper’s front page this morning on the continuing effort to make coal mining a safe occupation.

There is a cycle to the mine safety business. There is a disaster, a reform bill, then a watered down reform bill, then water down enforcement.

The Obama Administration has already said that federal mine inspectors will be “cops on the beat,” quite a change from the more cooperative stance taken by earlier administrations. But a new bill has been delayed and new enforcement actions have been stymied.

Nobody has been better at fending off federal inspectors than Massey Energy, the owner of the Upper Big Branch mine that exploded last April, killing 29 miners. Kindy explains how Massey and its CEO Don Blankenship used political power and legal muscle to reduce the effect of federal inspections. 

If you want to know why miners continue to die, this story tells part of the reason. 

Nice to see that India has the same enviro vs. developer fights we have in this country. 

• Great! We have a new food safety law, just no money to enforce it. 

The Post reports that funding for new food safety inspectors is in question in the Republican-controlled House. 

• What are the ten trends driving the economies of small towns? Look here

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