Kenneth Lee “Kenny” Self


Kenneth Lee “Kenny” Self
Age 44 of Dusk Camp, Gilmer County departed this life Monday evening August 16, 2010 at Stouts Mills as a result of a timbering accident.

He was born May 22, 1966 in Lorraine County, Ohio a son of J. Danny and Wanda Goodrich Self who survive at Dusk Camp Road, Stouts Mills.

Kenny was a graduate of Gilmer County High School Class of 1984.

He started logging and timbering early in high school and became owner and operator of A & H Logging.

He was a member of the NRA; Wild Turkey Federation and an avid hunter and fisherman.

He was a member of the Dusk Camp Baptist Church.

On April 24, 1997 he was married to Amy M. Beall Self who survives at their Dusk Camp home along with his 2 sons Hunter and Levi Self.

One daughter survives, Annamoriah Self of Morgantown.

Amy and Kenny were expecting the birth of a daughter Arabella in November.

One brother and two sisters survive:  James Danny Self Jr. of Hillsville, VA; Vicki D. Penner (Ed) of Carlisle, PA and Deanna Beron (Tom) of Sand Fork.  He is also survived by his mother-in-law Millie Beall of Dusk Camp.  His father-in-law was the late Hunter Beall.

Kenny was preceded in death by a son, Anderson Malachi on July 04, 2007.

Funeral services will be conducted at 11:00 AM, Saturday, August 21, 2010 at the Sand Fork Baptist Church, Sand Fork with Pastor Bryan Groves officiating.

Burial will follow in the Self Family Cemetery, Dusk Camp.

Friends may call 4:00-8:00 PM, Friday and one hour prior to services at the Church.

Ellyson Mortuary, Inc. is assisting the family of Kenny Self with arrangements.

Sandra Ruth Hosay


Mrs. Sandra Ruth Hosay
Age 64, of 114 High Street, Weston, passed away at 9:20 AM on Wednesday, August 18, 2010 in Stonewall Jackson Memorial Hospital of Weston following an extended illness.

She was born in Brooklyn, New York on September 26, 1945: daughter of the late Fredrick Larsen and Minda (Heskestad) Larsen of Westwood, NJ. In June of 1969 she married Frank Hosay, who preceded her in death in March of 1988.

In addition to her mother she is survived by one daughter Minda Briley and husband Brett of Pittsburgh, PA. Also surviving is one brother Jan Larsen of Stanford, CT.

Mrs. Hosay was a school teacher at Buckhannon-Upshur Middle School.

She attended St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Weston, where she sang in the choir.

She was a member of the Buckhannon Community Theater and she loved to travel.

Family will receive friends at the Hardman-Paletti Funeral Home 730 North Main Avenue Weston on Saturday, August 21, 2010 from 1-3 PM.

Funeral services will be held on Saturday at 3:00 PM from the Hardman-Paletti Funeral Home Chapel with Reverend Father John Valentine officiating.

Private interment will be held on Monday, August 23, 2010 at the Niles City Cemetery in Niles, OH.

Hardman-Paletti Funeral Home of Weston is in charge of the arrangements for Sandra Ruth Hosay.



Today - 08.19.yyyy

Today is Thursday, Aug. 19, the 231st day of 2010. There are 134 days left in the year.

Thought for Today: “A mere madness, to live like a wretch and die rich.“ - Robert Burton, English author (1577-1640).

Today’s Highlight in History:


On Aug. 19, 1960, a tribunal in Moscow convicted American U2 pilot Francis Gary Powers of espionage, two days after his 31st birthday. (Although sentenced to 10 years’ imprisonment, Powers was returned to the United States in 1962 as part of a prisoner exchange.)

On this date:

In 1812, the USS Constitution defeated the British frigate Guerriere off Nova Scotia during the War of 1812.

In 1909, the first automobile races were run at the just-opened Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

In 1918, “Yip! Yip! Yaphank,“ a musical revue by Irving Berlin featuring Army recruits from Camp Upton in Yaphank, N.Y., opened on Broadway.

In 1934, a plebiscite in Germany approved the vesting of sole executive power in Adolf Hitler.

In 1942, during World War II, about 6,000 Canadian and British soldiers launched a disastrous raid against the Germans at Dieppe, France, suffering more than 50-percent casualties.

In 1955, severe flooding in the northeastern U.S. claimed some 200 lives.

In 1976, President Gerald R. Ford won the Republican presidential nomination at the party’s convention in Kansas City.

In 1980, 301 people aboard a Saudi Arabian L-1011 died as the jetliner made a fiery emergency return to the Riyadh airport.

In 1990, Leonard Bernstein (BURN’-styn) conducted what turned out to be the last concert of his career at Tanglewood in Lenox, Mass. with the Boston Symphony Orchestra; the program ended with Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7.

In 1991, Soviet hard-liners announced to a shocked world that President Mikhail S. Gorbachev had been removed from power. (The coup attempt collapsed two days later.)

Ten years ago:
•  Norwegian divers with video equipment went down to the sunken Russian submarine Kursk in a final attempt to find survivors trapped for a week, even though Russian officials said all 118 seamen aboard were probably dead.

Five years ago:
•  A Texas jury found pharmaceutical giant Merck and Co. liable for the death of a man who’d taken the once-popular painkiller Vioxx, awarding his widow $253.4 million in damages. (Texas caps on punitive damages reduced that figure to about $26 million; a Texas court overturned the verdict in May 2008.)
•  Attackers firing Katyusha rockets narrowly missed a U.S. amphibious assault ship docked at the Red Sea resort of Aqaba, but killed a Jordanian soldier.
•  Britain’s former Northern Ireland chief, Mo Mowlam, died in Canterbury, England; she was 55.

One year ago:
•  Suicide bombers struck Iraq’s finance and foreign ministries, killing more than 100 people.
•  Four members of an elite Army special operations unit were killed when their helicopter crashed on a Colorado mountain during a training mission.
•  Don Hewitt, the TV news pioneer who created CBS’ “60 Minutes,“ died at his Long Island, N.Y. home at age 86.

Today’s Birthdays:
Actor L.Q. Jones is 83
Actress Debra Paget is 77
Eastern Tennis Hall of Famer Renee Richards is 76
Baseball All-Star Bobby Richardson is 75
Actress Diana Muldaur is 72
Rock musician Ginger Baker (Cream, Blind Faith) is 71
Singer Johnny Nash is 70
Actress Jill St. John is 70
Actor and former U.S. senator Fred Thompson is 68
Singer Billy J. Kramer is 67
Country singer-songwriter Eddy Raven is 66
Rock singer Ian Gillan (Deep Purple) is 65
Former President Bill Clinton is 64
Tipper Gore, wife of former Vice President Al Gore, is 62
Actor Gerald McRaney is 62
Rock musician John Deacon (Queen) is 59
Actor-director Jonathan Frakes is 58
Political consultant Mary Matalin is 57
Actor Peter Gallagher is 55
Actor Adam Arkin is 54
Singer-songwriter Gary Chapman is 53
Actor Martin Donovan is 53
Football Hall-of-Famer Anthony Munoz is 52
Rhythm-and-blues singer Ivan Neville is 51
Actor Eric Lutes is 48
Actor John Stamos is 47
Actress Kyra Sedgwick is 45
Actor Kevin Dillon is 45
Country singer Lee Ann Womack is 44
TV reporter Tabitha Soren is 43
Country singer-songwriter Mark McGuinn is 42
Rapper Nate Dogg is 41
Actor Matthew Perry is 41
Country singer Clay Walker is 41
Rapper Fat Joe is 40
Olympic gold medal tennis player Mary Joe Fernandez is 39
Actress Tracie Thoms is 35
Country singer Rissi (REE’-see) Palmer is 29
Actress Erika Christensen is 28
Pop singer Missy Higgins is 27
Country singer Karli Osborn is 26
Olympic silver medal snowboarder Lindsey Jacobellis is 25
Actor J. Evan Bonifant is 25
Rapper Romeo is 21

WV Lottery - 08.18.10







01-04-13-26-28     HB: 04    


04-32-33-47-55     PB: 39   PowerPlay: x 3  

First Game: Little Pioneers vs. Calhoun‏

Little Pioneers football team traveled to Calhoun County on Saturday, August 14, 2010 to face the Little Red Devils.


C-Team Played First:

This was the first gave ever for these new kids and after fighting hard and never giving up the score was ( 8-46 ).

The stats for this game are as follows:

# 22 Dayton Grogg had 3 defensive tackles and a 60 yard TOUCH DOWN run with 66 total yards rushing.

# 15 Levi Self had 2 defensive tackles and 5 yards rushing and a 2 point conversion.

# 32 Braden Kennedy had 3 defensive tackles.

# 45 Ean Hamric had 2 defensive tackles.

#28 Avery Chapman had 2 defensive tackles.

# 65 Justin Liu had 2 defensive tackles.



B-Team Had An Impressive Games, Winning ( 52-0 )

# 10 Bradley McHenry ran the opening kickoff TOUCH DOWN for 55 yards.

# 23 Chase Steele had 141 yards rushing (3 TOUCH DOWN’s – a 40 yard run, a 21yard run and a 20 yard run) and 3 defensive tackles.

# 11 Justyn Dean had 60 yards rushing (2 TOUCH DOWN’s – a 5 yard run and a 10 yard run) and 4 defensive tackles and a 2 point conversion.

# 16 Dalton Rose had 69 yards rushing, 1 TOUCH DOWN, and (3) 2 pt conversions plus 5 defensive tackles and 2 fumble recoveries.

# 76 Autumn Law had 3 defensive tackles and a forced fumble.

# 64 Austin Pritt had 3 tackles.

# 61 Joey Frame had 3 tackles.



A-Team Also Had An Impressive Win Over Calhoun Red Devils (44-0 )

# 43 Carter Springer had 40 yards rushing, 1 TOUCH DOWN and 7 defensive tackles.

#23 Noah Aviles had a 40 yard TOUCH DOWN run on opening play of Game and 5 defensive tackles.

# 12 Trey Shuff had 25 yards rushing, 2-2 passing with (2) 2 point conversions passes and 4 defensive tackles and a fumble recovery.

# 33 Chandler Ferguson had 83 yards rushing on 4 carries and a 42 yard TOUCH DOWN Run.

#48 Jared Luzader had 43 yards TOUCH DOWN Run and 3 defensive tackles.

# 13 Hunter Self had 30 yards rushing 2 Catches for (2) 2 point conversions, 2 defensive tackles and a forced fumble.

# 57 Dalton Law had 5 defensive tackles.

# 70 George Hardman had 3 tackles 10 yards rushing and a 2 point conversion.

#74 Jason Montgomery had 3 defensive tackles.

# 76 Jared Pritt had 2 defensive tackles.

# 65 Mason Frymier had 2 defensive tackles.

~~  Report by Leisa Dean ~~



Let’s Go Little Pioneers!

Please follow the Little Pioneers Football Schedule in GFP’s Community Calendar

Rockefeller to FCC: Fix Broken Universal Service System


~~  Inadequate System Means Many Rural Areas Still Lack Service ~~

Senator Jay Rockefeller, Chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, sent a letter to all five commissioners of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) urging them to fix inadequacies in the current universal service system.

As implemented by the FCC, the existing high-cost universal service system—which was over $4.2 billion last year—is designed to subsidize the cost of telephone service in rural and high-cost regions of the country.  The bulk of the support goes to telephone companies, but support also goes to providers of wireless service.  Today, the high-cost fund does not directly provide support for broadband service.

The letter comes on the heels of a Commerce Committee hearing in June, which examined how the current system is working, and what can be done to make sure rural areas throughout the country have broadband and wireless services on par with those available in urban areas.  Additional information on the committee hearing can be found here.

“In West Virginia, as many as one in five households lack access to broadband service.  Only 71% of the state’s population has access to 3G wireless service.  This is profoundly unacceptable,” Rockefeller said.  “The existing universal service system has shortchanged too many residents of rural communities.  West Virginians—and all Americans—deserve the same access to quality communications as those in more urban areas.  This is not just my opinion—it’s the law.”

TechNews: Microsoft Links New Smart Phones to Xbox Live


Microsoft is bringing its video-game expertise to the forthcoming Windows Phone 7 line, an attempt to capitalize on the success of the Xbox 360 as the software maker tries to compete with Apple’s iPhone.

Microsoft says a dedicated group inside of Microsoft Game Studios will develop video games for Windows phones, help outside game publishers and scout out small, independent game makers. Video game companies will be able to use the same tools to make a game for a Windows phone or for the Xbox 360 console.

The company is also announcing a preliminary lineup of games that will be available when the phones go on sale during the holidays. The list includes popular Xbox 360 console games such as “Halo Waypoint,“ “Crackdown 2: Project Sunburst” and “Guitar Hero 5,“ as well as newcomers including “ilomilo,“ a puzzle game in which players try to unite cute little cartoon critters separated by increasingly tricky paths and mazes.

Microsoft is linking the Windows phone games hub to its Xbox Live service, which about 25 million Xbox and PC gamers already use to check out new games, keep track of scores and send messages to fellow players. On Windows phones, Xbox live members will be able to do those things, plus interact with their animated game-world avatar - a cartoon character customized to look like them.

The software maker plans to make its games-related announcements Tuesday at a video game conference in Germany.

While Microsoft has been working on its next-generation smart phone system, the iPhone and devices running Google Inc.‘s Android system have exploded in popularity. Apple, in particular, has advertised its iPhone and iPod Touch - essentially an iPhone without the phone - as ideal mobile gaming devices.

Microsoft’s Xbox chops may help sway some phone buyers who are already into video games. The company is also hoping that Xbox Live on Windows Phone 7 devices might get a boost from the upcoming launch of Kinect, a motion-sensing game controller for the Xbox 360. Like the Nintendo Wii, Kinect is expected to lure people who haven’t traditionally been interested in video games.

Ron Paul: Washington’s Idea of Fiscal Restraint


It has been months now since the new healthcare reform bill was passed into law.  As is so typical, this massive piece of legislation was passed with a sense of urgency so acute that leadership declared America could not afford to wait until legislators, their staff and the general public had time to thoroughly read the bill.
The truth comes out eventually, however.  Much like the recently discovered exemption from Freedom of Information Act requirements for the SEC that was slipped into the equally massive and “urgent” financial reform bill, we are finally seeing what other insidiousness has been hiding in the fine print of the healthcare reform bill.  It seems that all provisions in this poorly written and poorly conceived monstrosity need to be repealed as soon as possible.

One such disaster-waiting-to-happen is one of the revenue generating provisions used to claim that the healthcare reform bill was “paid for”.  $17 billion in additional tax revenues is supposed to come from an onerous new IRS reporting requirement that any taxpayer with business income who spends over $600 in one year with one business will have to report those expenditures to the IRS.  Mind you, this is a cumulative total of $600 in transactions in one year.  This will involve so much extra accounting and paperwork that the IRS claims it will be unable to deal with it effectively, and even the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (to whom it should be a boon) has come out against it!  Apparently they realize they will actually lose customers, especially small businesses, to bankruptcy because of this!

Gold dealers are especially alarmed by this provision, as most of their transactions easily top $600.  This represents a significant outlay of time and paperwork and no additional revenue for businesses with which to hire people.  Not to mention this makes every business a de facto IRS agent, as if they didn’t have enough to worry about already!

Of course, there is a tremendous outcry against this.  Several other legislators also see how unreasonable this is and are trying to repeal it.  However, this would simply mean that $17 billion in healthcare funding will have to come from somewhere else, and there are no good options.  Taxes from some other equally bad collection scheme?  Borrowing and more debt?  Creating more money from thin air and adding to inflationary pressures?
The best answer, of course, would be to repeal the entire health care law, along with all other unconstitutional spending.  But Congress is more likely to continue the shell game to cover the fact that we are broke and can afford none of this.
This whole idea of “paying for” new programs is a political euphemism that suggests that raising taxes is just as good as cutting spending since neither one increases the national debt.  Raising taxes and overwhelming small businesses with paperwork and regulations still increases governmental burden on our fragile economy.  But this is our government’s idea of “fiscal restraint” in action.  Washington needs to stop creating new programs and spending so much money.  That would be true fiscal restraint.

USDA Reminder: Sign-Up Deadline for the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP)


USDA Reminds Producers of Approaching Sign-Up Deadline for the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP).

The USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) reminds producers that the deadline to enroll in the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) general sign-up is quickly approaching.

Farmers and ranchers have until close of business on Friday, August 27, 2010, to offer eligible land for CRP’s competitive general sign-up.

Applications can be completed by land owners at the FSA county office where their farm records are maintained.

The 2008 Farm Bill authorized USDA to maintain CRP enrollment up to 32 million acres.

In addition to producers signing up for the first time, CRP participants with existing contracts that are scheduled to expire on September 30, 2010, may elect to re-enroll under a new 10-15 year contract.

Cropland that is highly erodible, or within a national or state Conservation Priority Area, or is covered under an expiring CRP contract is generally eligible to be enrolled into CRP, provided all other eligibility requirements are met.

Contracts awarded under this 39th sign-up are scheduled to become effective October 01, 2010.

CRP is a voluntary program that helps farmers, ranchers and other agricultural producers protect their environmentally sensitive land.

Producers enrolling in CRP plant long-term, resource-conserving covers in exchange for rental payments, cost-share and technical assistance.

In addition to the general sign-up, CRP’s continuous sign-up program is ongoing.

Continuous acres represent the most environmentally desirable and sensitive land.

For more information on the general CRP sign-up, or the continuous CRP sign-up, producers should contact their local FSA county office, or visit

USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer, and lender.

To file a complaint of discrimination, write: USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights,1400 Independence Ave., S.W., Washington, D.C. 20250-9410 or call toll-free 800.795.3272 or 800.877.8339 (TDD)

Melodie Bailey, CED
Gilmer-Calhoun FSA Office
201 E. Main St., Rm. 122
Glenville, WV 26351

Area Counties’ Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) Report for 2009-10







West Virginia public school students did better in math and reading/language arts when they took the WESTEST2 last spring.

The state Department of Education released the results Monday. They show the most improvement among 7th graders who were tested in math and 3rd graders in the reading category. The only drop came in reading testing for 11th graders.

State School Superintendent Dr. Steve Paine says he’s pleased test results were up along with the number of schools meeting Adequate Yearly Progress.

Paine says West Virginia now has a more difficult test than it used to and it’s also more difficult for students to reach mastery. Paine told reporters Monday the goal is to help West Virginia students compete on a national and international level.

“The rigor of this test is very much like the rigor of the Nation’s Report Card and the TIMSS test (International Math-Science test),“ Paine said.

The superintendent says West Virginia will now be able to do comparisons with students in other states and other countries in a very meaningful way.

“We have really raised the bar,“ Paine said. “We have made a self-correction, nobody made us do it, but we did this because we think it’s the right thing to be transparent with our parents and our kids.“

The testing last spring was the second year for the WESTEST2.

Quakes in Braxton County


A geophysics professor at Virginia Tech says it is not out of the ordinary, in most areas, to sometimes feel small earthquakes.

But Professor Martin Chapman says the frequency of such quakes recently in Braxton County is unusual.

“What’s causing them?“ Chapman asks.  “It’s uncertain.“

Since April, several small quakes have been reported in areas near Flatwoods, Sutton and Gassaway.

The latest came at about 2:30 AM Monday when the U.S. Geological Survey recorded a 2.5 magnitude earthquake in an area about ten miles east of Flatwoods.

There was no damage reported and no injuries.

Chapman says the frequency of the quakes may or may not be a clue to what is causing them.

Some residents claim drilling is causing the underground slips.  Chapman says that is a possibility.

“It’s been seen in other parts of the country, sometimes, when you do fluid injection, if that’s what’s going on up there, it can have the potential for causing, inducing some earthquakes.“

Chapman says he can only speculate, though.

“In a natural situation, the earthquakes, they’re pretty much unpredictable.  You can’t say exactly when the next one’s going to be.  But, if you do something to weaken the rock mass, for example if you pump water into the ground under pressure, you actually lubricate those faults.“

Chapman says Central West Virginia is not really a region that is in severe danger of a larger quake.

“I don’t think that that would be a very likely possibility,“ he said.

Seventy First Annual Dekalb District Sunday School Convention


The 71st annual Dekalb District Sunday School Convention will be held on Sunday, August 22, 2010 at Mt. Liberty Church.

Dinner will be at 5:00 PM and services will begin at 6:00 PM.

Come and enjoy a great evening of Christian fellowship.

The Churches in the Dekalb District include Chestnut Grove, Mt. Liberty, New Mt. Olive in Ritchie County, Tanner Chapel and Tanner United Methodist.

City of Glenville: Public Notice Regarding Unpaid Municipal Fees


August 16, 2010

To All Interested Agencies, Groups, and Persons:

West Virginia State Code §8-13-13, “Special Charges for Municipal Services” gives the City of Glenville the authority to collect fees which are imposed through the Municipal Service Fee Ordinance (400-01) which was enacted March 7th, 1991. Furthermore, West Virginia Code §8-13-14, “Penalties”, allows the City of Glenville to enact penalties for the violation of the ordinance.

The Municipal Service Fee was established for the purpose of police protection, parks and recreational facilities, street cleaning, street lighting, street maintenance, and street improvements within the City of Glenville. The public health, safety, comfort and general welfare of the citizens and residents of the City require the installation, continuance, maintenance, or improvement of said services and the revenues of the City are not sufficient, giving due regard to other necessary costs and expenses of the City government, to pay the expenses thereof.

The fee is imposed upon the respective owners, as of July 1st of each fiscal year, of all residential, commercial, industrial, governmental, or other buildings and structures of every kind and nature regardless of the types of construction. A municipal service fee in the amount of .0229 cent(s) per square foot of floor space of such residential, commercial, industrial, governmental or other buildings or structures will be levied.

The municipal service fee for the year shall be due and payable on or before the first day of November, or 60 days after the statement date, whichever is later. Failure to pay the fee by the deadline shall be deemed a delinquency and interest shall accrue on the unpaid balance owed at the rate of ten per cent (10%) per annum until paid. Any individual, corporation, or other person or business charged with the municipal service fee hereby levied and imposed, can also declared guilty of a misdemeanor, and upon conviction, the violator shall be punished by a fine of not more than $500.00.

The City of Glenville is offering a grace period which will end on September 30, 2010. During this grace period, the City will waive any interest that has accrued on an unpaid account. Fees billed through FY 2007-2009 will be collected. Anything billed prior to FY 2007, will also be forgiven.

On October 1st, 2010, the City will publish the names, addresses, and unpaid fee amount(s) of property owners with delinquent accounts. At this time, the unpaid interest will be added. A fee of $5.00 will be charged for each property owner whose name is published.

Questions regarding the municipal service fee can be directed to:
The City of Glenville
20 North Court Street
Glenville, WV 26351

Mayor Tashua M. Allman
City of Glenville

How Much Is Enough? America’s Runaway Military Spending


The August 09 announcement by Secretary of Defense Robert Gates of cost-containment measures at the Defense Department should not obscure two underlying facts.

First, as he conceded, these proposed economies will not result in cutting the overall Pentagon budget, which is slated for expansion.

And, second, as a Washington Post article reported, “defense officials characterized them as a political preemptive strike to fend off growing sentiment elsewhere in Washington to tackle the federal government’s soaring deficits by making deep cuts in military spending.“

But why should anyone want to cut the U.S. military budget?

One reason is that—with $549 billion requested for basic military expenditures and another $159 billion requested for U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan—the record $708 billion military spending called for by the Obama administration for fiscal 2011 will be nearly equivalent to the military spending of all other nations in the world combined. When it comes to military appropriations, the U.S. government already spends about seven times as much as China, thirteen times as much as Russia, and seventy-three times as much as Iran.

Is this really necessary? During the Cold War, the United States confronted far more dangerous and numerous military adversaries, including the Soviet Union. And the U.S. government certainly possessed an enormous and devastating military arsenal, as well as the armed forces that used it. But in those years, U.S. military spending accounted for only 26 percent of the world total. Today, as U.S. Congressman Barney Frank has observed, “we have fewer enemies and we’re spending more money.“

Where does this vast outlay of U.S. tax dollars—the greatest military appropriations in U.S. history—go? One place is to overseas U.S. military bases. According to Chalmers Johnson, a political scientist and former CIA consultant, as much as $250 billion per year is used to maintain some 865 U.S. military facilities in more than forty countries and overseas U.S. territories.

The money also goes to fund vast legions of private military contractors. A recent Pentagon report estimated that the Defense Department relies on 766,000 contractors at an annual cost of about $155 billion, and this figure does not include private intelligence organizations. A Washington Post study, which included all categories, estimated that the Defense Department employs 1.2 million private contractors.

Of course, enormously expensive air and naval weapons systems—often accompanied by huge cost over-runs—account for a substantial portion of the Pentagon’s budget. But exactly who are these high tech, Cold War weapons to be used against? Certainly they have little value in a world threatened by terrorism. As Congressman Frank has remarked: “I don’t think any terrorist has ever been shot by a nuclear submarine.“

Furthermore, when bemoaning budget deficits, Americans should not forget the enormous price the United States has paid for its wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. According to the highly-respected National Priorities Project, their cost, so far, amounts to $1.06 trillion. (For those readers who are unaccustomed to dealing with a trillion dollar budget, that’s $1,060,000,000,000.)

When calculating the benefits and losses of these kinds of expenditures, we should also include the opportunities forgone through military spending. How many times have government officials told us that there is not enough money available for health care, for schools, for parks, for the arts, for public broadcasting, for unemployment insurance, for law enforcement, and for maintenance of America’s highway, bridge, and rail infrastructure?

Admittedly, there are other reasons for America’s failure to use its substantial wealth to provide adequate care for its own people. Some Americans, driven by mean-spiritedness or greed, resent the very idea of sharing with others. Furthermore, years of tax cuts for the wealthy have diminished public revenues.

Even so, it is hard to deny that there is a heavy price being paid for making military power the nation’s top priority. With more than half of U.S. government discretionary spending going to feed the Pentagon, we should not be surprised that—in America, at least—it is no longer considered feasible to use public resources to feed the hungry, heal the sick, or house the homeless.

We would do well to recall an observation by one of the great prophets of our time, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.: “A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death.“

~~  By Lawrence S. Wittner ~~

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