Pat’s Chat - 02.15.15

The Gilmer Free Press

It is always exciting when our children are reaching milestones.  At our church this past week end little Bobby Furr was promoted from the Cradle Roll/Kindergarten class to the Primary class.  He recited some memory verses and sang a song, with his sister, Annie Furr and friend, Jason McClanahan.  Darlene Parker, his teacher, then gave him a certificate of promotion.  He likes to help his big brother, Ike Petty, do special music or help lead the song service before Sabbath School.  He is growing into a fine gentleman and brings much joy to his parents, Bobby and Lisa Furr, his grandmother, Biddie Love, and the rest of his church family.

I viewed a video this weekend from under the title, The Most Amazing Prophecies.  If you go to that site, I am sure you will find something that will captivate your interest, too.  Jesus truly IS coming soon.

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If you want to have a background of your favorite music when you are browsing on your computer or working at some site, just go to YouTube and in the search bar type in “songs by Bing Crosby” (if you are as old as I am) or any other singer or band that you like, and it will come up and will play for hours of good listening or background.  I put in The Kings Heralds and listened to them for most of the afternoon as I read.

For those of you from Burnsville High School, I am sure you remember Coach Jack Stalnaker.  He has a birthday on Wednesday, February 18 and will be 85.  Happy Birthday, Jack.  (Thank you, Hilda Clutter, for letting me know.)

At church this week Bucky Scott handed me a copy of the Religion page from the Sunday Gazette for February 08, 2015, and under the “Essays on Faith” section, I was surprised to see an article written by Dr. Ronald McCowan and D.C. Nosakhere Thomas entitled THE RESURRECTION : CAN ONE BE SURE?  This was the doctor that performed a radiofrequency ablation on me several years ago.  Even as a child I would suddenly have an attack of tachycardia (fast heart beat) and several times ended up in the ER especially as I got older. I read about this ablation in Reader’s Digest and searched and found Dr. McCowan in Charleston.  Since he did that ablation for me, I have never again had such an attack.  Dr. McCowan is a Charleston Heart specialist and his coauthor is a Seventh-day Adventist theologian.  I asked for permission to use their article in my Chat.  Here it is:

“Evelyn R. Smith wrote a thought-provoking article in the November 30 Essays on Faith section of the Sunday Gazette-Mail entitled “How can we be sure there is life after death?”  The biblical book of Job was used as a source, as it deals extensively with many aspects of death.  Smith quoted Job 14:14, which says, “If a man die, shall he live again?”

“In verse preceding this one, Job adds some details and asks a question for the ages: “But man dieth, and wasteth away: yea, man giveth up the ghost, and where is he?” (Job 14:10).  Thus, the question: What happens when one dies (gives up the ghost) and where does the person go?

“Much has been presented to the public lately regarding after-death experiences and of course, the wildly popular topic of zombies has captured the interest of many.  But to those who consider God’s word to be the final authority on what happens at the time of death and afterward, a review of what Job says is very instructive.  Therefore, it is important to establish that “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God” (2 Timothy 3:16).  Upon that basis, Old and New Testament Scriptures will be considered to understand what happens after death.

“First, in regard to the process of dying, Psalm 146:4 says, “His breath goeth forth, he returneth to his earth: in that very day his thoughts perish.”  This “breath” is the very life-infusing and life-sustaining medium (Genesis 2: 7) that preserves humanity.  Job acknowledged this when he said, “The Spirit of God has made me, and the breath of the Almighty has given me life” (Job 33:4).

“Secondly, Job commences to answer the question of where a person goes at the end of life.  Job 14:12 states, “So one lieth down, and riseth not: ‘til the heavens be no more, they shall not awake, nor be raised out of their sleep.”  This suggests that the deceased person remains unawake and in an unconscious state until the heavens be no more and he or she is raised from the grave.

“The heavens will cease to exist (“be no more”) after Christ returns at the end of time (1 Peter 3:10) to take followers of Christ to their heavenly home (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17).

“Thirdly, Job 14:13 states, “O that thou wouldest hide me in the grave, that thou wouldest keep me secret, until thy wrath be past, that thou wouldest appoint me a set time, and remember me!”  Through death, God, in His infinite love and tender mercy, has afforded the deceased freedom from the pain, worry, sickness, distress, hatred, murder and calamity of this world.  Accordingly, Solomon in Ecclesiastes 9:5-6 says, “…the dead know not anything…” and are thereby insulated from the aforementioned earthly ills.  So then, death is really an unconscious, trouble-free, suspension in time (‘wait”) until a person’s “change comes” (Job 14:14) at the “appointed time” (Job 14:13).

“Lastly, it is appropriate to return to Evelyn R. Smith’s original Scripture: “If one dies, shall he live again” (Job 14:14)?  As alluded to above, Job infers that life exists after death in context of the transitional “change” and “appointed time,” as the transformation that occurs at the Second Coming of Christ when dead believers in Christ are raised and granted immortality (everlasting life) (1 Corinthians 15:51-52).

“This is the ultimate Gift of God for those who follow Jesus.  Therefore, the answer to Smith’s question: “How can we be sure there is life after death?” is simple; one can be sure there is life after death to the extent to which he or she believes that the Bible is true and that “God is not man, that he should lie” (Numbers 23:19), and “not one word has failed of all the good promises He has given” (I Kings 8:56).  Therefore, we trust Him to keep His Word concerning our life, death, resurrection, and life eternal.”

If, if I ever need more heart surgery, this is a doctor I would trust because he loves the Lord.


WV Capitol Comments - Delegate Roger Hanshaw - 02.16.15

The Gilmer Free Press

The second half of the 2015 session of the West Virginia Legislature is now well underway in Charleston.  Jobs and economic development remains the focus of the work of the House of Delegates, though other important issues are now beginning to surface, too.  For the smaller counties of West Virginia, like those in our District of Calhoun, Clay, and Gilmer, business development means something different than it means to folks in Charleston.  In our area, big factories have never been the key employers.  No matter what steps we take to make West Virginia more attractive for businesses, our smaller communities are still not likely to attract the big factories.  That means we must focus on another form or economic development – entrepreneurship and small business development.

According to Forbes Magazine, approximately 52% of all Americans working in the private sector work for a small business.  The role these small businesses play in our communities cannot be overstated, and we must do everything that is possible to support the men and women who own and operate these engines of our local economy.  This past week, the House of Delegates passed a bill to make the law more clear on when and how employers may face lawsuits for workplace injuries.  The bill provides good protection to workers, and also helps the employer understand his or her responsibilities.  These steps will make our law more clear and help business owners avoid costly lawsuits that can cripple a small business.

This week the House of Delegates is taking up the important issue of healthcare for West Virginians.  As the state with the oldest average population in the nation, long-term care is a priority issue for many West Virginians.  Despite our aging population, it is often difficult for many families to find available long-term care options when those services are required for family member.  To help address this shortage of long-term care facilities, the House of Delegates has been considering a bill to add long-term care facilities to the list of providers covered by West Virginia’s medical professional liability act.  Long-term care providers have indicated that this coverage will help speed up the construction and opening of new long-term care facilities in West Virginia, which will be welcome news to many West Virginia families.

Many folks from our District have been in touch to discuss issues related to public education and the role of the West Virginia State Board of Education in our public schools.  I appreciate that input.  Over the past week I have had meetings with staff from the state Department of Education and leaders from school systems in our District to specifically address those concerns.  It is encouraging to see so many people in our District with such an interest in the future of public education in our counties.  As a product of our public education system, I share those concerns and have been devoting time each week to public education issues.  I still need your input, and I appreciate your involvement.

This past week I heard from citizens in all the counties in our District – Calhoun, Clay, and Gilmer – who were in the capitol when the House of Delegates passed the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which places limits on abortions performed after twenty weeks of pregnancy.  I heard from citizens in all parts of our District on this bill, and the message was loud and clear.  The House adopted this bill with a wide bipartisan majority.

The remaining weeks of the session will be busy, and these weeks offer a great learning opportunity for young people in our District to serve as House Pages for a day during the session.  I was honored to host two House Pages this past week, and I would welcome other young people interested in learning more about our government to take advantage of the opportunity.  Later this week I will be providing information to each elementary school in our District on how students can visit the Capitol to serve as a House Page for a day.  I would welcome any interested student to come spend the day in our Page program. 

The doors of the State Capitol are open to every citizen of our State, and I would be delighted to have you visit during this year’s legislative session.  If you find yourself in Charleston, please feel free to stop by.  Sharing your thoughts and ideas is an important part of making sure the concerns of our District are heard.  I hope you will take that opportunity.  I can be reached in Room 229E at the State Capitol, or at 304.340-.3135 or at .  I look forward to seeing you when you visit our Capitol.

Have a great week.

G-Comm™: A Worthless Piece of Paper

President George W. Bush was fond of saying that “9/11 changed everything.” He used that one-liner often as a purported moral basis to justify the radical restructuring of federal law and the federal assault on personal liberties over which he presided. He cast aside his oath to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution; he rejected his oath to enforce all federal laws faithfully; and he moved the government decidedly in the direction of secret laws, secret procedures and secret courts.

During his presidency, Congress enacted the Patriot Act. This legislation permits federal agents to write their own search warrants when those warrants are served on custodians of records — like doctors, lawyers, telecoms, computer servers, banks and even the Post Office.

Such purported statutory authority directly violates the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which guarantees the right to privacy in our “persons, houses, papers and effects.” That includes just about everything held by the custodiansof our records. Privacy is not only a constitutional right protected by the document; it is also a natural right. We possess the right to privacy by virtue of our humanity. Our rights come from within us — whether you believe we are the highest progression of biological forces or the intended creations of an Almighty God — they do not come from the government.

This is not an academic argument. If our rights come from within us, the government cannot take them away, whether by executive fiat, popular legislation or judicial ruling, unless we individually have waived them. If our rights come from the government, then they are not rights, but permission slips.

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The terms of the Patriot Act were made public, and those of us who follow the government’s misdeeds could report on them. After all, this is America. We are a democracy. The government is supposed to work for us. We have the right to know what it is doing in our names as it is doing it, and we have the right to reveal what the government does. Yet, under this law, the feds punished many efforts at revelation. That’s because the Patriot Act prohibits those who receive these agent-written search warrants from telling anyone about them. This violates our constitutionally protected and natural right to free speech. All of this has been publicly known since 2001.

Then, in June 2013, Edward Snowden, the uber-courageous former CIA and NSA official, dropped a still smoldering bombshell of truth upon us when he revealed that the Bush administration had dispatched the NSA to spy on all Americans all the time and the Obama administration had attempted to make the spying appear legal by asking judges to authorize it.

Snowden went on to reveal that the NSA, pursuant to President Obama’s orders and the authorization of these judges meeting in secret (so secret that the judges themselves are not permitted to keep records of their own rulings), was actually capturing and storing the content of all emails, text messages, telephone calls, utility and credit card bills, and bank statements of everyone in America. They did this without a search warrant based on probable cause — a very high level of individualized suspicion — as required by the Constitution.

Snowden revealed that Obama’s lawyers had persuaded these secret judges, without any opposition from lawyers representing the victims of this surveillance, that somehow Congress had authorized this and somehow it was constitutional and somehow it was not un-American to spy on all of us all the time. These judges actually did the unthinkable: They issued what are known as general warrants. General warrants were used against the colonists by the British and are expressly prohibited by the Fourth Amendment. They permit the bearer to search wherever he wishes and seize whatever he finds. That’s what the NSA does to all of us today.

Last week, we learned how deep the disrespect for the Constitution runs in the government and how tortured is the logic that underlies it. In a little-noted speech at Washington and Lee Law School, Gen. Michael Hayden, the former director ofboth the CIA and the NSA, told us. In a remarkable public confession, he revealed that somehow he received from some source he did not name the authority to reinterpret the Fourth Amendment’s protection of privacy so as to obliterate it. He argued that the line between privacy and unbridled government surveillance is a flexible and movable one, and that he — as the head of the NSA — could move it.

This is an astounding audacity by a former high-ranking government official who swore numerous times to uphold the Constitution. He has claimed powers for himself that are nowhere in the Constitution or federal statues, powers that no president or Congress has claimed, powers that no Supreme Court decision has articulated, powers that are antithetical to the plain meaning and supremacy of the Constitution, powers that any non-secret judge anywhere would deny him.

If the terms and meaning of the Constitution could be changed by the secret whims of those in the executive branch into whose hands they have been reposed for safekeeping, of what value are they? No value. In such a world, our Constitution has become a worthless piece of paper.

~~  Andrew P. Napolitano - A former judge of the Superior Court of New Jersey ~~

Flu Season: Missing the Mark

The Gilmer Free Press

Do you know someone who had a flu shot this year and still got the flu? It’s happening a lot this year. Have you wondered how this could happen? Let us share some of the background.

For well over fifty years, health officials in Washington convene each year in February to project what type of influenza will occur perhaps 9 months later. They then select a vaccine to combat the flu strain(s) they’ve identified.


Unfortunately, 20% of the time they get it wrong. This year they really got it wrong.

For the current flu season, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) projects that 200,000 people could be hospitalized and 50,000 people may die because of the ineffectiveness of their vaccine. Think about that: More Americans will die this year from the flu than were killed in combat in the Vietnam War.

America deserves better.

First, the process to select a vaccine is an archaic procedure that needs immediate reform. It is too much a “game of chance” rather than reflecting the science that is available. Once a vaccine is chosen, it then takes up to 6 months to bring it to market. We’ll discuss the problems with that later in this column.

Flu strains are complex and constantly evolving. Almost immediately after the particular strains were identified last year, the deadliest strain began mutating, or “drifting,” and by September it was 50% different than it was in February.

Despite the CDC goal of an effectiveness rate of 60% or more, the current vaccine will only be 23% effective this season. That means that only one in four getting the vaccine has been effectively protected; this is unacceptable.

Therefore, the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigation held a hearing on Feb. 4 of this year to discuss what went wrong and how to better address the issue going forward.

At the hearing, the CDC claimed they only knew their vaccine would be ineffective in September of last year – too late to make any new vaccines. However, it became clear that in May the CDC found that the “drift” of the dominant strain was becoming a concern. Instead of acting then, our public health officials made excuses for their inaction.

In the weeks following September the CDC still did not send out a health advisory warning doctors and nurses of the risks and proper treatments. Meanwhile, new flu vaccines were being developed for South America’s flu season – the kind of vaccine which could have saved lives in the United States had it been brought to the market.

What could the CDC have done instead of make excuses? In 2009, Americans were given the option of receiving an additional targeted vaccine for the swine flu virus not treated by that year’s standard flu vaccine. As a result, only 20 people died from this unexpected and deadly strain.

Additionally, the CDC could have used public service announcements advising people to get an antiviral drug within 48 hours after developing flu symptoms. Or for adults, a high-dose vaccine could have been administered. All of these would have lessened the harsh, flu-related hospitalizations and deaths the American public is experiencing.  

As for the issue of a prolonged production schedule, shouldn’t our medical community be able to use the science available today and shorten the time it takes to bring a vaccine to market? Almost 90% of America’s vaccines are still produced using a slow, egg-based process that is more than 80 years old.

The National Institutes of Health should prioritize new types of flu vaccines that are more reliable and effective. There has been research into new technologies such as recombinant DNA techniques and cell-based manufacturing, which would allow faster production of the flu vaccine and would eliminate the guessing game.

In the testimony given on February 04, a panelist acknowledged that a modified vaccine could have been made in 12 weeks, but in quantities insufficient for the entire population. Apparently the decision was made that if 150 million modified vaccines could not be available, then none would be made! They did not even make enough for the most vulnerable population, our elderly and young, and which would have saved lives.

This pandemic raises questions about CDC’s public health strategy and whether they manage taxpayer dollars effectively. For example, between 2000 and 2014, the CDC budget nearly doubled from $3.5 billion to $6.8 billion. Instead of funding a more effective vaccine-selection process, shortening production timelines, or developing additives like adjuvants to existing vaccines, they spent taxpayer dollars on teenage dating sites, sexual violence, firearm related injuries, and youth violence. These latter issues all have value, but the CDC itself may be “drifting” from its core mission of disease control. 

Americans need to be vaccinated, but they need peace of mind that their public health agencies are doing all that they can to help protect them. We need to ensure that funding is going towards development and research of medicines that can save lives and that in times of crisis those medicines are reaching those in need.

The American people deserve better from their public health officials, and unfortunately the current flu vaccine program is not serving them.

David B. McKinley has represented West Virginia’s 1st Congressional District since 2011. He is vice chair of the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee for Oversight and Investigation. Mary G. McKinley, his wife, is a critical care nurse with more than 30 years experience.  A graduate of West Virginia University, she is a partner at the firm Critical Connections and is a clinical educator at Ohio Valley Medical Center.

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