G-Comm™: Hoppy’s Commentary - IRS Scandal Another Indication of Activist Government
The widening IRS scandal has caught America’s attention. People of all political stripes are generally united in the correct belief that one of the most powerful government agencies should not be able to target Americans for closer scrutiny, and in some cases harassment, because of their political beliefs.
The collective response from America’s coal industry could be, “Welcome to our world.”
Coal has had a target on its back since President Obama took office. Some groups, the United Mine Workers Union in particular, blithely believed that since Obama was from a coal state (Illinois) that he would be in their corner.
What they failed to consider was the President’s adherence to the environmental movement’s mission to erase coal from the country’s energy portfolio. The result has been an Environmental Protection Agency that has been openly hostile toward a legal and long-standing American business that provides about 40% of the nation’s electric needs.
The warning signs were there. Consider then-candidate Obama’s statement to the San Francisco Chronicle editorial board in January 2008: “If somebody wants to build a coal-fired power plant, they can. It’s just that it will bankrupt them.”
Back then, Obama was set on cap-and-trade legislation. When that failed in Congress, his administration’s EPA took over, imposing its own carbon reduction standards. Sierra Club executive director Michael Brune has said those new limits “will make it nearly impossible to build a new coal plant.”
Meanwhile, the EPA has made it more difficult for the coal industry to get the necessary permits. One of the worst examples of EPA overreach has been its revocation of necessary permits for a mountaintop removal mine in Logan County, after they had been lawfully issued by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
And who can forget Al Armendariz. The former EPA regional administrator once referred his enforcement philosophy to Roman crucifixions. He was fired for that, but only after the video went viral and there was a public outcry.
Armendariz landed on his feet. He’s now — surprise — the head of the Sierra Club’s anti-coal effort in Texas.
Many of us in West Virginia have been complaining since Obama took office about the EPA’s open hostility toward coal, but the arguments have not resonated much beyond the coal fields. After all, who really cares about coal except those of us who are directly impacted by the industry? The average homeowner only cares that the lights come on when they throw the switch.
But the IRS scandal comes along and now the rest of country is finally paying attention to how sprawling and intrusive the federal government can be. As folks in the coal industry know, this is nothing new.
Movies This Week - 05.23.13
Fast & Furious 6
Opens Friday, May 24, 2013 | 2 hrs. 10 min.
PG-13 - Intense Sequences of Violence, Intense Sequences of Action, Language, Mayhem Throughout and Some Sexuality
Since Dom (Vin Diesel) and Brian’s (Paul Walker) heist in Rio left them and their crew very rich people, they’ve scattered across the globe; however, they must still live as fugitives, unable to return home to their families. Meanwhile, Agent Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) has been tracking a gang of lethally skilled mercenary drivers whose second-in-command is someone Dom knows. Unable to take them down himself, Hobbs asks Dom and his crew for help in exchange for full pardons for everyone.
Cast: Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Dwayne Johnson, Jordana Brewster, Michelle Rodriguez
Director: Justin Lin
Opens Friday, May 24, 2013 | 1 hr. 43 min.
PG - Mild Action, Brief Rude Language and Some Scary Images
EPIC tells the story of an ongoing battle deep in the forest between the forces of good and the forces of evil. When a teen age girl finds herself magically transported into this secret universe, she must band together with a rag-tag team of fun and whimsical characters in order to save their world…and ours.
Cast: Beyoncé Knowles, Colin Farrell, Josh Hutcherson, Amanda Seyfried, Christoph Waltz
Director: Chris Wedge
The Hangover Part III
Open Nationwide May 23, 2013 | 1 hr. 40 min.
R - Pervasive Language, Drug Content, Brief Graphic Nudity, Sexual References, Some Violence
It all ends.
Cast: Cooper, Ed Helms, Zach Galifianakis, Ken Jeong, Jeffrey Tambor, Heather Graham, Justin Bartha, John Goodman, Sasha Barrese, Gillian Vigman, Jamie Chung
Braxton County Man Sues State Farm for Wrongful Termination
The WV Record Reports:
A Braxton County man is suing State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company for wrongfully terminating his employment because of his age.
Mary Adkins, an employee of State Farm, was also named as a defendant in the suit.
Richard M. Roach Jr. was employed for approximately 23 years as a claims representative for State Farm in West Virginia, handling claims in the company’s first-party claims unit, according to a complaint filed May 03 in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia at Charleston.
Roach claims during the course of his employment, he was entrusted to investigate, evaluate and mediate first-party claims made by State Farm’s policyholders and over the course of his employment, he was promoted numerous times, received positive evaluations and awards for exemplary customer service.
State Farm has recently begun implementing a series of cost-saving measures, including elimination of voluntary overtime and employee amenities, implementation of mandatory overtime and efforts to eliminate older employees believed to be more highly-compensated that younger employees, according to the suit.
Roach claims beginning in July 2011, Adkins began a campaign of petty harassment against him, disciplining him for purported infractions, such as clicking his computer mouse too quickly, tossing a notebook onto his desk with too much force for her liking, for tossing a pen inside his cubicle and for using his cell phone where other employees were not similarly disciplined.
Adkins also made negative comments about Roach’s attire, even though he never wore anything inappropriate to work, according to the suit.
Roach claims on September 11, he agreed to help an acquaintance and State Farm insured negotiate a settlement with Nationwide Insurance Company following a motor vehicle accident, as the acquaintance felt that she was being bullied by the Nationwide adjuster assigned to the claim.
As Roach was helping the acquaintance, he helped her on his own time, in an unofficial capacity and without the use of any of State Farm’s resources, according to the suit.
Roach claims on September 21, he was informed he was being placed on administrative leave for assisting with his acquaintance’s claim, and he was informed that was “acting like a lawyer,” and that he was giving the appearance that was “working on the side.”
Following his placement on administrative leave, Roach was informed on October 10, that his employment was being terminated for a conflict of interest based upon “his relationship with Nationwide Insurance,” according to the suit, and no one at State Farm was ever able to explain to Roach what actions he had taken that specifically constituted a conflict of interest.
Roach claims he believes his termination was motivated in whole or in part by a desire on the part of State Farm to rid itself of older employees and after his termination, the defendant failed to pay his final wages within 72 hours of termination.
State Farm is liable to Roach for the unpaid amount, as well as for liquidated damages in a sum of three times the amount, according to the suit.
Roach is seeking compensatory and punitive damages with pre- and post-judgment interest. He is being represented by Harry F. Bell Jr. and Jonathan W. Price of the Bell Law Firm PLLC.
U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia at Charleston case number: 2:13-cv-10215
~~ Kyla Asbury - WV Record ~~
To prevent Cases of Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome WV Wants Warnings on Prescription Drugs
State Attorney General Patrick Morrisey says he thinks putting warnings on opioid-based pain killers would be just one part of a much larger effort to address West Virginia’s prescription drug abuse problems.
“It’s one step of many, many steps that we need to take, as a state, in order to ensure that the prescription drug overdose issues come down,” Morrisey said on MetroNews Talkline.
Earlier this week, he signed on to a letter with officials from 42 other states and territories that calls on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to put “black box” warnings on all opioid-based pain killers.
It would warn pregnant women that those drugs can cause Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS), a series of serious health problems a newborn can suffer as a result of exposure to illegal or prescription drugs.
There could be problems with a baby’s nervous system, gastrointestinal tract and respiratory system.
Morrisey says the number of NAS cases are growing in West Virginia.
G-Biz™: Log Cabin Crafts Open for Summer
Open Monday - Saturday from 10:00 AM until 6:00 PM.
Unless appointments take us away for the day.
Feel free to call ahead if traveling long distances.
Located 6 miles out of Glenville, WV along U.S. Hwy 33 W at Letter Gap, WV.
Many handmade Country/Primitive Items. Gift Certificates Available.
Gilmer County Public Library: Author Bill Church to Sign Copies of His Books on May 25, 2013
Author Bill Church will be at Gilmer Public Library on Saturday May 25, 2013 from 11:00 AM - 1:00 PM, to sign copies of his book, Medicinal Plants, Trees and Shrubs of Appalachia.
The format the author uses is fantastic, and his book will appeal to a large range of readers.
Please join us on Saturday.
You will find more information on this site: www.tatepublishing.com/tipsheet/book.php?key=20464
Thank You Gilmer Public Library - 05.15.15
G-Comm™: Hoppy’s Commentary - Justice Delayed for School Principal
This week, a Mason County grand jury indicted Point Pleasant intermediate school Principal Cameron Moffett on charges of child abuse causing risk of injury. The charge stems from an incident 14 months ago where Moffett physically removed an 11-year-old student from a school bus.
The child had apparently been involved in a disturbance with other students and was told by a teacher to move to another seat. Later Moffett ordered the child off the bus. The bus security video shows Moffett grabbing the student. The student appears to collapse and then Moffett rolls the boy a short distance down the aisle.
Once off the bus, the child was restrained by Moffett on the ground.
The parents of the child, who is classified as a special needs student, claim the principal used excessive force. They have sued and Moffett has been removed from his principal’s job, with pay, until the issue is resolved, which brings us to the first issue in this unfortunate case.
Moffett’s attorney, Jim Lees, is furious that it’s taken over a year to even bring the criminal case against Moffett to the grand jury.
“Regardless of how you feel about the case… if somebody accuses you of something and you have witnesses to it, you want your day in court as soon as you can,” Lees said on Metronews Talkline Wednesday.
Lees theorizes that the former Mason County prosecutor, Damon Morgan, just didn’t want to deal with the controversial case. Morgan did not run for re-election and the case was held over for the newly-elected prosecutor, Craig Tatterson, who finally brought it to a grand jury.
Still, Moffett has been in legal limbo for the last year, and it will probably be another few months before the case comes to trial. The excessive delay is unfair, particularly to Moffett, but also to the family of the alleged victim, as well as the potential witnesses.
The charge against Moffett suggests the principal abused the child in a way that “creates a substantial risk of serious bodily injury or of death.” It’s a felony which could land Moffett in prison for five years, if convicted.
Meanwhile, the criminal prosecution has a potentially chilling effect on teachers and administrators who have the arduous responsibility of trying to keep the peace in schools. If a teacher grabs hold of a misbehaving student a little too forcefully, do they have to worry about getting hauled away by the police?
The West Virginia school system’s manual detailing the expected behavior for students and how teachers and principals are supposed to administer discipline is about 70 pages long. It’s hard to imagine how school officials are supposed to follow the letter of the law in every instance, especially when a situation escalates quickly.
But under state code, teachers and administrators do have the right to use “reasonable force” to restrain a misbehaving student.
Did Moffett go a little too far? Maybe, and the Mason County School Board, which is elected by the people of Mason County, can decide that. But dragging Moffett through the criminal justice system and dangling a felony conviction over his head is an injustice, and worse yet, a delayed injustice.
GFP - 05.21.2013
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This is a great example of two broken and failed systems working in unison.
~Seventy pages of ‘regulation’ from our failed educational system.
~Over a year before a ‘charged’ person gets their day in court.
By travesty for all on 05.21.2013
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Darrell McGraw and Jorea Marple Honored
The West Virginia Citizen Action Group honored Darrell McGraw and Jorea Marple at its annual banquet Friday night in Charleston for their outstanding community service.
Marple, former state superintendent of schools, was awarded the Don Marsh Public Award, named in honor of the late editor of the Charleston Gazette.
Marple said it was an honor to receive an award named after such a great guy.
“He was an intellectual, fearless warrior for the rights of the people and he understood very clearly the importance of education in terms of how everything turns out,” said Marple.
Marple’s husband, Darrell McGraw, longtime state attorney general and Supreme Court justice, was awarded the Si Galperin, in Defense of Democracy Award, a tribute to former legislator Galperin’s lifelong dedication to election reform and civil rights advocacy.
During the event, time was taken to highlight the accomplishments of both Marple and McGraw over their long careers both in politics and education. Marple said the night was ultimately about the kids.
“I think it’s a time for all of us to recommit to using our voice and our advocacy to put in place what our children need in this state,” said Marple.
Marple added that the event was a pleasant change for the two of them, who have had some obstacles to overcome since November. McGraw lost his bid for a sixth term as attorney general in November and Marple was fired abruptly by the state Board of Education from her state superintendent position in the same month.
Marple has since sued the board over the incident and that case is still pending in federal court.
“It is always a good thing to take the time to be with friends and to celebrate an honor like this,” said Marple.
The West Virginia Citizen Action Group is celebrating its 39th year as the oldest consumer advocacy organization in the state. The group was formed in 1974.
~~ Travis Brinks - WVMN ~~
G-Comm™: Hoppy’s Commentary - Musical Chairs Among House Democrats
Four Democratic members of the West Virginia House of Delegates could be considered front runners to succeed Rick Thompson as Speaker. Thompson announced Thursday that he’s stepping down next month to take a state job as Secretary of Veterans Assistance.
The four are House Judiciary Committee Chairman Tim Miley from Harrison County, House Finance Committee Chairman Harry Keith White from Mingo County, House Majority Leader Brent Boggs from Braxton County and Delegate Doug Skaff from Kanawha County.
The Thompson announcement took House Democrats somewhat by surprise and the candidates for his replacement have not yet had time to fully flush out the leadership race. However, Miley, White and Skaff did gather last night in Charleston for a meeting. It’s notable that Boggs was not invited.
That meeting may produce a decision among the three as to which will be the candidate for Speaker, with Boggs in the race regardless of what Miley, White and Skaff decide. With that in mind, here are four possible scenarios:
–Miley as the Speaker with Skaff as Majority Leader and White staying at Finance and Boggs as the odd man out. That also opens up the Judiciary Committee Chairmanship, which could go to Marion County’s Tim Manchin. It also likely takes Miley out of a 2014 challenge to state Senator Sam Cann.
–Skaff as Speaker with Miley as Majority Leader and White at Finance. Again, that leaves Boggs out of the top tier, but Skaff would be inclined to find a leadership spot for him, possibly as Judiciary Chairman.
–White as Speaker and Skaff as Majority Leader with Miley staying at Judiciary. That opens up the Senate Finance Chairmanship. Under this scenario, Miley would more seriously consider running for the state Senate in 2014.
–Boggs as Speaker with perhaps Randy Swartzmiller from Hancock County as Majority Leader. Since it appears to be Boggs vs. Miley/Skaff/White, this scenario leaves Boggs in a position to build support by promising the chairmanships of the powerful Finance and Judiciary Committees.
This will play out over the next several weeks. Thompson will resign June 15th, and the House must be called into session within ten days to choose a new Speaker. No doubt allegiances will shift many times between now and the end of the June.
It’s also possible that if a majority of the four cannot come to some agreement and hard feelings develop that they’ll have to go to another House Democrat as a compromise candidate that everyone can agree upon.
Meanwhile, the Republicans will watch with interest, hoping the selection devolves into a battle that splits the majority party. That could make it harder for the Democrats to maintain their 54-46 advantage in the 2014 election.
A Republican surge in the next election means all the maneuvering currently underway by Democrats will be moot, since it will be the GOP that will have to make key leadership decisions.
But for now, all the drama is with the House Democrats.
GFP - 05.19.2013
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West Virginia “is a full-fledged participant in the Common Core Standards program” according to >WVDOE Watcher<.
West Virginia is also a nearly, full-fledged failure incomparison to most other states. We have the reports that prove it too.
By nothing changes in WV on 05.20.2013
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G-Comm™: Hoppy’s Commentary - Tomblin’s Window of Opportunity
A recent survey by Republican pollster Mark Blankenship found that Governor Tomblin is riding a remarkable crest of popularity.
Tomblin’s job approval rating is at 69%, unchanged from March. That’s higher than Senator Joe Manchin (63%) and Congresswoman Shelley Moore Capito (54%).
Perhaps more importantly, voters don’t blame Tomblin for the state’s economic problems, and the Governor can thank President Obama for that. When asked who is most responsible for job losses in West Virginia, nearly half said the President. Fifteen percent said the West Virginia Legislature, ten percent said Congress and only three percent blamed Tomblin.
That’s amazing, especially since West Virginia has lost jobs over the last year and Republicans criticized Tomblin and the Democratic majorities in both houses for not doing more this past session for job creation.
So, Tomblin has this bank of political capital. What’s he going to do with it?
One challenge for the Governor is to figure out a way West Virginia can take full advantage of the enormous Marcellus Shale reserves. The gas boom has cooled a bit because of over-supply and the drop in prices, but West Virginia is going to be pumping gas for years to come.
The key to maximizing the economic benefit to the state is to make sure that industries that use natural gas as a feedstock locate here. How do we do that? Tax reform? Tort reform? A better infrastructure for natural gas shipping and storage?
The state has made progress on the tax front in recent years with the lowering of the corporate net and the elimination of the business franchise tax, but there is still work to be done. West Virginia has an onerous personal property tax on the inventory machinery and equipment of a business that could be eliminated (Republicans have been pushing for that).
Tomblin could tackle the state’s crumbling roads and bridges. The state’s gas tax no longer keeps up with highway construction and repair needs. Taxes and/or fees would have to be raised. Tomblin may be reluctant to go there, especially in 2014 since many Democrats, who are most likely to support an increase, will be up for re-election.
The Governor will also face pressure next legislative session to raise teacher salaries. The teacher unions believe they are due, especially after they compromised on the Governor’s major education reform legislation this year.
The trick will be finding money for a raise, while also paying the rest of the state’s bills, including rising Medicaid costs. Tomblin has kept in his back pocket a cigarette tax increase. West Virginia’s per pack tax (55 cents) is among the lowest in the nation, and sin taxes are usually the easiest to raise.
Tomblin had a couple of significant accomplishments in the last session, including education reform and a new law to relieve prison overcrowding. He has an opportunity to do more, but that window will close quickly.
Next year, politics will play an even bigger role under the capitol dome because it will be an election year and Republicans believe they have a chance to take over the House of Delegates.
And it won’t be long afterward that lawmakers will begin to see Tomblin, who cannot run again in 2016, as a lame duck.
GFP - 05.18.2013
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Wonder if the poll numbers would be that good in GC?
By doubt it on 05.18.2013
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WV: Who’s Next as WV Speaker of the House?
There will soon be a new leader of the state House of Delegates. As of now, though, it is not clear who the next Speaker will be.
The early frontrunners for the position appear to be House Majority Leader Brent Boggs, House Finance Committee Chairman Harry Keith White, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Tim Miley and Kanawha County Delegate Doug Skaff.
“Any one of us is more than capable of leading the House and we just need to figure out what’s the best direction for the House of Delegates,” said Miley, a delegate from Harrison County.
Miley admitted he has been considering a run for the state Senate in 2014. Now, he says he has to look at the possibility of being House Speaker. “I can’t say that I don’t have an interest,” he said.
Boggs, after serving in the House for 17 years, said he’s interested in serving as Speaker as well.
“I believe that I’ve certainly acquired the tools to take on the position, but we have a lot of good, qualified people out here,” Boggs said.
Kanawha County Delegate Doug Skaff said he considered running for the U.S. House of Representatives in the Second District next year, but has now abandoned that idea to focus on being a part of the reworked House leadership team.
“It obviously changes my focus completely,” Skaff said. “I think you’ll hear a lot of people talking, over the next few days. I’m honored to be on that list, to have my name mentioned as a possible replacement for Rick Thompson.”
Miley, Boggs and Skaff were guests on Thursday’s MetroNews “Talkline.” Delegate White is scheduled to be a guest on Monday’s MetroNews “Talkline.”
Other Democrats have indicated an interest in being considered for the Speaker’s role as well.
Republican leaders in the House say the name of House Minority Leader Tim Armstead or another Republican should be included on the list of possible Speakers since the 46 Republicans in the House would likely support them.
That’s more votes than the other Democrat Speaker candidates have right now.
House Speaker Rick Thompson will resign from the role he has held for seven years on June 15th to become the state Secretary of Veterans Assistance.
~~ Shauna Johnson ~~
WV Youth Environmental Day to Mark Milestone - 05.18.13
The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection is getting ready to mark the 50th anniversary of its Youth Environmental Day.
Officials say the annual event is being held May 18, 2013 at North Bend State Park in Cairo.
Youth group members will receive awards totaling more than $15,000 for their participation in litter cleanups, recycling drives, wildlife management and other community environmental projects.
Awards are made possible by donations from companies such as DuPont Washington Works.
Plant manager Karl Boelter says the youth environmental program inspires West Virginia’s young people to take an interest in the environment.
G-Comm™: Hoppy’s Commentary - The IRS Scandal Undermines Trust
We don’t trust the federal government much anymore.
Since 1958, Pew Research has being asking the question, “How much of the time do you trust the government?” Fifty-five years ago, 73 percent of Americans said they did just about always or most of the time, while 23 percent said some of the time or never.
In 2013, the numbers are reversed. Only 26 percent trust the government, while 73 percent are distrustful.
The precipitous decline in trust began during the Vietnam War and continued through Watergate. We briefly regained our confidence in the federal government after 9/11 as Americans rallied together, but that has faded.
The developments of the last few weeks will add to the cynicism.
Yesterday, I wrote about Benghazi and the apparent failure of the Obama Administration to level with the American people about the attack that left four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens, dead. Now, in an unrelated story, we’re finding out that the IRS targeted conservative groups for greater scrutiny.
The IRS scandal has resonated with Americans perhaps even more than Benghazi because anyone who gets a W-2 and fills out a tax form can relate. We all live with a certain amount of fear that we’ve made a mistake on our taxes that will trigger an audit.
Our expectation is that the IRS has no agenda; that as the powerful collector of taxes, as well as the arbiter of the meaning of a byzantine tax code, the IRS will carry out its responsibilities fairly and impartially.
But an investigation by the Treasury Inspector General for the Tax Administration found that the IRS gave particular scrutiny to conservative groups applying for 501(c)(4) tax-exempt status. The finding reinforces complaints that Tea Party groups had been making for some time.
According to a timeline from the Treasury Inspector, IRS Tax-Exempt Organizations Division Director Lois Lerner, was told in June 2011 that the unit was more closely scrutinizing groups that had the words “Tea Party” or “Patriots” in them.
However, then-IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman, a Bush appointee, vehemently denied to Congress at a March 2012 hearing that organizations with conservative political leanings were being singled out.
Even liberal columnist Maureen Dowd of the New York Times had to concede, “Maybe some of the paranoia is justified.”
The outrage is bipartisan, as it should be. From West Virginia, both Democratic Senator Joe Manchin and Republican Congresswoman Shelley Moore Capito called the IRS’s actions “un-American.”
President Obama, during a news conference Monday, called the scandal “outrageous” and said he learned about it the same time everyone else did.
According to the IRS website, the agency’s mission is to “Provide America’s taxpayers top quality service by helping them understand and meet their tax responsibilities and enforce the law with integrity and fairness to all.”
The disconnect between the latter portion of that mission statement and the conduct of the IRS means that the next time Pew Research asks the trust question, the numbers may be even more abysmal.
G-Comm™: Hoppy’s Commentary - Bungling Benghazi
Abraham Lincoln, regarded as one of America’s greatest Presidents, said, “Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.”
We ask much of our Presidents. We want people of character who possess a strong will. They must also be charismatic individuals who challenge and inspire. Above all, they must be leaders.
Even great leaders will fail, but we can forgive them if we know that they did their best, that their sense of duty was greater than personal safety, popularity or political expediency.
What we don’t like is deception.
President Richard Nixon is the poster child for deception at the highest levels. He put himself above the law during the Watergate scandal and obstructed justice. Indeed, the cover-up was worse than the crime and the duplicity and obfuscation forever changed the way we view the presidency.
President George W. Bush did not set out to deceive about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, but in hindsight we know there was an unhealthy disregard for legitimate questions about the evidence. The confidence with which the Bush Administration pushed the war, combined with the failure to prepare adequately for post-Saddam Iraq, caused many Americans to question his leadership.
Now we have the September 11, 2012 attacks in Benghazi that killed four Americans, including Ambassador Christopher Stevens. Gregory Hicks, Stevens’ deputy in Libya, testified on Capitol Hill last week that they knew immediately that the attack was a coordinated terrorist assault, not a spontaneous demonstration triggered by a YouTube video.
Yet the Administration adopted and perpetuated the video explanation.
We now know, via reporting by ABC News and The Weekly Standard, that the State Department extensively edited the talking points from the CIA to take out any references to the Al Qaeda-affiliated terrorist group Ansar al-Sharia.
When “the-video-caused-it” explanation crumbled, the Administration blamed the CIA. When questioned during the Vice Presidential debate, Joe Biden said the Administration attributed Stevens’ death to the video because “that was exactly what we were told by the intelligence community.”
As Michael Gerson wrote in the Washington Post, “In some cases, the fog of war is initially thick, then it dissipates… (in the Benghazi attacks) the fog was a later addition.”
Was the Administration worried that a resumption of terrorism would damage President Obama’s chances of being re-elected in two months? Gerson suggests it was “an effort to obscure negligence and incompetence, not criminality.”
One of the great mistakes people in power often make is that they become too clever by half; they allow perceptions of their own importance to beguile them into thinking the truth can be managed.
Now Americans must sort out the controversy, and that task is made even harder by the hyper-partisan atmosphere in Washington that is fanned by talk shows and cable channels.
Deception, obfuscation and ineptitude undermine the institution of government and breed mistrust. The truth in the beginning would have been simpler for all. Americans can handle it, and they deserve it.
GSC’s Teresa Dody Sings at Carnegie Hall
For the third time in her career, the voice of Glenville State College Assistant Professor of Music Teresa Dody has graced the world famous Carnegie Hall in New York City.
Last fall, Dody was invited by renowned British composer Jonathan Willcocks to perform in the choral premiere of his ‘A Great and Glorious Victory.‘ Dody has had the opportunity to work with Maestro Willcocks on previous occasions as well. In 2001 and again in 2008, Dody was honored to perform as a soloist at Carnegie Hall.
The performance of ‘A Great and Glorious Victory’ was held on January 20, 2013 in the Isaac Stern Auditorium of Carnegie Hall. The production included a massed choir comprised of several choirs from the United Kingdom, other singers from the United States, and orchestra and tenor soloists.
“It is always a thrill and an honor to perform in one of, if not, the most famous halls in the United States. This is the first time for me to perform in the largest hall, Isaac Stern Auditorium, and as part of an ensemble. I loved my previous opportunities as a soloist, but this was rewarding as well. Jonathan Willcock’s music is beautiful and inspiring. It is a gorgeous auditorium, and it was a joy to be part of the premiere,“ said Dody.
Dody is completing her fifth year at GSC. She teaches vocal music education, voice, and directs the GSC choirs. In 2011, Dody was selected as the GSC Curtis Elam Professor.
Professor Dody is once again looking forward to working with Willcocks but this time at Glenville State College. Maestro Willcocks has agreed to come to GSC for a week’s residency and perform a major work with students, faculty, and the community. It was hoped that Willcocks would visit GSC in October of 2013 to lead a production of ‘African Sanctus’ by British composer David Fanshawe. However, financial considerations have pushed the Willcocks’ residency to October of 2014.
“Jonathan Willcocks, a major figure in choral music, has agreed to come to Glenville State College in the fall of 2014. I was privileged to perform this work with Maestro Willcocks in July of 2011. I’ve been studying this piece with the intention of our students having the opportunity to experience it. It is an incredible work as it melds the tribal music from Africa with a setting of the Anglican mass. Mr. Fanshawe recorded the tribal music in Africa as he traveled along the Nile. At one point he was hearing the music from a Christian church alongside the Islamic call to prayer and was inspired that both societies could exist peacefully. The recordings he made are infused with the live performance of a large choir, children’s choir, soprano soloist, various percussionist, and guitar players. It is truly like something that has not been heard before and so inspiring. Maestro Willcocks is the world’s leading expert on the work as he has performed it more than twenty times world-wide. We had hoped to do it this fall but unfortunately had to postpone it for a year due to a lack of funding. I’m excited at the possibilities for bringing the world to our students here in Glenville,“ said Dody.
Willcocks’ visit to GSC is dependent on the GSC Fine Arts Department’s ability to raise approximately $7,000 needed to fund the project. Dody says that efforts are underway to secure the needed funding. Anyone wishing to contribute may contact Dody at
OddlyEnough™: New Book Teaches Children ABCs of Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway
Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc invests in dozens of businesses, and a new book tries to explain it all to young readers, from A to Z.
Two Omaha residents, author Nancy Rips and illustrator Tom Kerr, have teamed up on “My First Berkshire ABC” to teach children about one of the world’s best-known companies, and a little about the local billionaire behind it.
More than 1,000 copies were sold at Berkshire’s annual meeting on Saturday, which draws thousands of people to Omaha, and where Buffett has a say on what gets sold.
“You need something to bring home to your kids and grandkids to explain Berkshire,“ Rips, who has also written three books about Jewish holidays, said in a joint interview with Kerr.
Most pages show companies that Berkshire owns or invests in.
G, for example, is for “Geico,“ and features the car insurer’s talking gecko. And W is for “Wells Fargo”, and features the bank’s familiar stagecoach.
The book’s theme changed at Buffett’s suggestion.
“Our first effort was things like, ‘S is for sharing. Mr. Buffett believes in sharing. K is for being kind,‘“ Rips said.
“I got an email back from Warren saying, it’s too laudatory, they will lampoon him in the news,“ she continued. “And I wrote a whole new proposal: A is for Acme (Brick), B is for Borsheim’s (jewelry), C is for Clayton Homes, D is for Dairy Queen. I got an email back: ‘You’re in the show.‘“
Kerr has worked at many newspapers and drew McGruff, the Crime Dog for the National Crime Prevention Council.
“Part of what Warren talks about is investing in things that you know,“ he said. “Virtually everything in here is something that somebody can relate to and touch and understand.“
Berkshire Vice Chairman Charlie Munger is shown under “Q,“ stamping boxes of “quality” merchandise.
Rips and Kerr have not heard from Buffett on whether he likes the book. Buffett’s assistant Carrie Sova had no comment on that question.
Kerr depicted Buffett just four times, including on the cover holding his usual Cherry Coke.
“This book is not all about Warren Buffett,“ Kerr said. “I picked my spots. He’s so synonymous with Dairy Queen that I wanted him there, and obviously on the cover with Coca-Cola.“
“Cherry Coke,“ Rips interjected.
“Yep,“ Kerr said. “She had me change that.“
G-Comm™: Hoppy’s Commentary - The Miscalculation of ‘Climate Justice’
Last month, several Democratic members of the U.S. House of Representatives introduced a resolution with a rather unique take on the environmental debate. According to a report in The Hill, the resolution stated that climate change is hurting women more than men.
“Food insecure women with limited socioeconomic resources may be vulnerable to situations such as sex work, transactional sex, and early marriage that put them at risk for HIV, STIs, unplanned pregnancy and poor reproductive health,” read the resolution.
And so we have the latest absurdity under the relatively new and ever broadening category of “climate justice.”
The radical environmental movement is in transition.
Chris Foreman, a progressive writing for The Breakthrough Institute, says the more leftist environmentalists have taken a cue from advocates of the social and economic justice movements. This incarnation of environmentalism links the impacts of climate change with global poverty.
The theory goes that if the effects of global warming create an even greater hardship on the worlds’ poor, there is an even more critical moral imperative to replace carbon-based energy with green alternatives, while imposing a more even global economic playing field.
Foreman quotes Greenpeace International executive director Kumi Naidoo from South Africa as saying, “Look, 1.6 billion people have no access to energy and yet live in regions that are blessed with an abundant solar, wind, wave and geothermal energy. If we can address that problem, we can alleviate poverty and create jobs and move into a green energy future.”
Foreman says the logic is dubious. “Demands for climate justice too often ignore basic practicalities of energy, poverty, and climate change,” he writes.
Foreman isn’t alone. Two more progressives at The Breakthrough Institute, Michael Shellenberger and Ted Nordhaus, say the climate justice movement disregards history and the successes of carbon-fueled capitalism to bring people out of poverty.
“Hundreds of millions of desperately poor people went from burning dung and wood for fuel (whose smoke takes two million souls a year) to using electricity, allowing them to enjoy refrigerators, washing machines, and smoke-free stoves.”
In short, those who truly care about the impoverished of the world should be worried more about how to get cheap, reliable electricity to a remote village rather than using the plight of the poor to advance the nebulous notion of “climate justice.”
Don’t get Foreman, Shellenberger and Nordhaus wrong; they’re environmentalists, but they’re also realists who are interested in practical solutions to global poverty and climate change. In doing so, they avoid the pie-eyed convenience of extremist groups who have co-oped the justice movements.
The great miscalculation of the climate justice movement is that it is rooted in reparations and redistribution, and based on the concept that the industrialized world has benefited at the expense of the rest of the planet, which still has to pay the environmental cost.
What they miss entirely–which Foreman, Shellenberger and Nordhaus get–is that what the world really needs is more development with the cheapest, best available fuel, to help elevate people out of poverty.
Now that would be justice.
Third Annual Pioneer Showcase Winners Announced
The winners of the third annual Glenville State College Pioneer Showcase Creative Arts and Research Forum have been announced.
The showcase took place on Tuesday, April 16, 2013 and is a competition where GSC students present research and creative arts abstracts in a formal setting. The judges were made up of GSC faculty.
(L-R) Meagan Lesser and Andrea Minigh
Seniors Andrea Minigh and Meagan Lesser won first place and $250 in the research category with their project about ‘The Effect of Temperature Shock on Integrin Distribution in the Aposymbiotic Sea Anemone, Aiptasia Pallida.’ Minigh lives in Glenville (Gilmer County), West Virginia and is a Biology major. Lesser, who is from Mineral, Virginia, is also a Biology major.
(L-R) Judith Urbanic and Marteney Jacobs
Sophomore Judith Urbanic and senior Marteney Jacobs won second place and $100 in the research category with their project about ‘An Inexpensive, Automated Apparatus for Measuring Consummatory Behavior in Restrained Honey Bees.’ Urbanic is from Chloe (Calhoun County), West Virginia and is a Biology major. Jacobs, also a Biology major, is from Flemington (Taylor County), West Virginia.
Junior Tiffany Tomey won first place and $250 in the creative arts category with her ceramic work titled ‘The Cycle of Life.’ Tomey is from Linn (Gilmer County), West Virginia and is majoring in Art.
Sophomore Ashley Gish won second place and $100 in the creative arts category with her work called ‘The Immortal Form: Pencil Sketches of Human and Animal Faces.’ Gish lives in Glenville (Gilmer County), West Virginia and is majoring in English.
“Thank you to all the students and faculty that participated in the Pioneer Showcase this year. This event is a great way to showcase GSC’s research on campus,” said GSC Assistant Professor of Art Liza Brenner who was also this year’s event coordinator.
For more information about the Pioneer Showcase, contact Brenner at
Pickin’ and Singin’ at the 19th Annual North Bend Bluegrass Festival May 10-11, 2013
The 19th annual Bluegrass Festival at North Bend State Park features seven bands over a two-day period, May 10-11, 2013.
Bluegrass weekends are popular across the United States, from Kentucky, Tennessee and Pennsylvania, to “Pickin’ in Parsons” in West Virginia. “We’re not the biggest festival, but the talent and music is great. It is a family atmosphere and the price is reasonable,” said Ken Zebo, activities coordinator at this state park located in Ritchie County.
The festival also includes craft vendors and concessions.
Hart Brothers Bluegrass Band
The festival will take place at North Bend’s amphitheater. Seating is available, or attendees may bring a chair or blanket. In case of inclement weather, the bands play in Shelter #3 nearby. A refreshment concession on site helps support the park expenses for this event; however, coolers are permitted, but alcohol is not.
A Friday-only ticket is $10 and a Saturday-only ticket is $25 per person and available at North Bend Lodge or the event gate. Overnight packages are available at the park lodge and cabins as well as a camping rate that includes festival and campsite.
North Bend Bluegrass Festival Bands are:
Friday, May 10, 2013:
• The Hart Brothers, 6 PM
• Remington Ryde, 7 PM
• The Hillbilly Gypsies, 8 PM
• Carolina Road, 9 PM
Saturday, May 11, 2013:
• Buddy Griffin and Ashley Messenger 1 PM
• Carolina Road, 2 PM
• Buck and Company, 3 PM
• Remington Ryde, 4 PM
• The Hart Brothers, 5 PM
• The Sheppard Brothers, 6 PM
• Johnny Staats & The Delivery Boys, 7-9 PM
• The Hillbilly Gypsies, 9 PM to the conclusion of the festival. The Master of Ceremonies is Butch Sheppard.
For information about North Bend State Park, accommodations, restaurant, activities and events, visit www.northbendsp.com or call 304.643.2931.
G-Comm™: Hoppy’s Commentary - Poll Numbers Show Manchin, Capito, Tomblin, Tennant Strength
One of the persistent political questions over the last couple of months has been whether Democratic Senator Joe Manchin’s push for more gun control has cost him in his home state. A just-released poll by Republican strategist Mark Blankenship finds that Manchin’s overall approval ratings have dropped from 70% last March to 63% now.
The simplistic conclusion is that Manchin’s advocacy for expanded background checks for gun purchases has dug into his substantial support in a strong gun rights state. However, Blankenship insists that a closer look at his numbers doesn’t necessarily bear that out.
First, Blankenship maintains that a swing of five to ten points in approval, particularly at a time when there’s no campaign underway, may just be a temporary blip. The true test will be if the next poll shows Manchin’s approval numbers continuing to slide.
Additionally, Blankenship says that Manchin’s approval to disapproval ratio remains at nearly three to one, and there’s been no notable rise in the percentage of voters who strongly or somewhat disapprove of the job he’s doing.
Meanwhile, 67% of those questioned either strongly support or somewhat support Manchin’s gun control legislation, while only 30% somewhat oppose or strongly oppose. Blankenship believes the high approval numbers in West Virginia for additional background checks mean Manchin does not appear to be paying a high political price.
“It’s a scratch,” Blankenship told me. “You can’t use these numbers to conclude that gun control hurt Manchin.”
The poll also found a ten point drop (64% to 54% from March to now) in the approval rating of Republican Congresswoman and U.S. Senate candidate Shelley Moore Capito. Again, Blankenship is reluctant to attach too much significance to the shift.
“Capito should be cognizant of the dip, but her disapproval (number) is not dramatically higher,” Blankenship said. Both Capito and Manchin show a “consistency of strength.”
For the first time, Blankenship included Democratic Secretary of State Natalie Tennant in his questions about the 2014 Senate race. The MBE numbers show a 40% plurality for her in that race with state Supreme Court Justice Robin Davis getting 12%. Neither Tennant nor Davis has decided whether to run for the Senate.
Charleston attorney Nick Preservati and Wheeling attorney Ralph Baxter each picked up only 1%, but that’s not surprising. Neither is very well known, even in tight political circles, nor has either entered the race yet.
If anybody should be doing the victory dance after the MBE poll, it’s Earl Ray Tomblin. The Democratic Governor has a job approval rate of 69%, unchanged from the March poll.
Even more comforting to Tomblin is that West Virginian’s don’t blame him for the state’s economic challenges. When asked which elected officials are most responsible for job losses in West Virginia, only three percent said Tomblin. 49% blame President Obama.
G-Comm™: Hoppy’s Commentary - Finding a Place for the Skylar Neese Story
Reporters will tell you that after a few years on the job, stories tend to fall into categories; one late night shooting outside of a bar is similar to another. Politicians say the same kinds of things at ground breakings and car accidents have common themes.
The names change, but the circumstances can be remarkably similar. However, occasionally a story comes along that is a shock to the system.
When Skylar Neese disappeared from her Star City home last summer, I quickly put that story in a convenient place. I figured it was another instance where a 16-year-old girl had run away with a boyfriend. I didn’t give it much more thought.
Rumors about her disappearance swirled on social media. That was to be expected. But as the months passed and the gossip and innuendo continued, it became more evident that the child was the victim of foul play. That was confirmed when her body was discovered last January about 20 miles west of Morgantown.
Still, for nearly three months, no one was charged.
And then last Wednesday, one of Skylar’s University High School classmates, Rachel Shoaf, 16, quietly slipped into Monongalia County Circuit Court, where she pleaded guilty to second degree murder. The plea agreement said she stabbed Skylar to death.
We posted pictures of Skylar and Rachel on the Metronews website. Were it not for the headline, you would have thought it was a story about two attractive teenagers who had received some honor or were named to the homecoming court.
The reason Shoaf pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of second degree murder is that she will, if necessary, testify against a second defendant. Authorities have not released her name, but she’s believed to be a fellow classmate.
Skylar’s father, David, is very familiar with both suspects. They were frequently at his house visiting his daughter. He thought they were all friends. Neese says the unidentified suspect even went door-to-door immediately after Skylar’s disappearance to help search for her.
The grieving father is haunted by a lingering question:
“I want to know why it happened. I don’t want to hear ‘because we were mad at her.’ There had to be another reason why,” Neese told me. “The police can’t find it. It hasn’t come out yet. Tell me why.”
A stunned community also wants to know why.
These were apparently bright students… teenage girls who should be enjoying the benefits of youth and contemplating life’s bounty. Now one child is dead, another is off to prison for up to 20 years, and a third teen is expected to face charges. Three families are destroyed.
It’s hard to get your hands around this crime, perhaps because there does not seem to be—or at least we don’t know of—a rational explanation. If there were one, we could put the murder of Skylar Neese in one of those convenient places with other similar crimes.
But this story doesn’t fit neatly. It stands incomprehensible because of the age of the girls, the brutality and the hollowness of it all. We may learn more later that will help us understand what happened, but for now the murder of Skylar Neese rests in its own category.
Movies This Week - 05.08.13
The Great Gatsby (2013)
Opens Friday, May 10, 2013 | 2 hrs. 22 min.
PG-13 - Some violent images, sexual content, smoking, partying and brief language
Nick Carraway, a Midwesterner now living on Long Island, finds himself fascinated by the mysterious past and lavish lifestyle of his neighbor, Jay Gatsby. He is drawn into Gatsby’s circle, becoming a witness to obsession and tragedy.
Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Tobey Maguire, Carey Mulligan, Isla Fisher, Joel Edgerton
Director: Baz Luhrmann
Genres: Drama, Romance
Opens Friday, May 10, 2013 | 1 hr. 35 min.
PG-13 - Sexual content, drug material and language
After a year of living with girlfriend Grace (Kerry Washington), Wade Walker (Craig Robinson) is eager to propose to her, but she’s still reluctant to introduce him to her snobbish family. When Grace leaves for a gathering at her parents’ swanky compound, he hatches a plan to crash the assemblage, charm her folks, and slip a ring on her finger. However, his scheme soon goes awry, and Wade realizes that his only chance of marrying her is a take-no-prisoners confrontation with her father.
Cast: Craig Robinson, Kerry Washington, David Alan Grier, S. Epatha Merkerson, Tyler James Williams
Director: Tina Gordon Chism
Genres: Reunion Films, Comedy
G-Biz™: Log Cabin Crafts Open for Summer
Open Monday - Saturday from 10:00 AM until 6:00 PM.
Unless appointments take us away for the day.
Feel free to call ahead if traveling long distances.
Located 6 miles out of Glenville, WV along U.S. Hwy 33 W at Letter Gap, WV.
Many handmade Country/Primitive Items. Gift Certificates Available.
G-Comm™: Hoppy’s Commentary - Tomblin’s Medicaid Gamble
At first glance, the Tomblin Administration’s decision last week to sign up for the Medicaid expansion portion of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) seems like good deal. Almost 92,000 West Virginians who don’t have health insurance and make up to 138% of the poverty level will get Medicaid coverage and Washington will pay for it.
But as with every deal, if it seems too good to be true, it probably is.
First, there are legitimate financial concerns for the state. The federal match will drop to 90% of the total cost by 2021, with West Virginia taxpayers picking up the rest. The state share will be $66 million by 2023.
West Virginia, and all the other states buying into the expansion, have to be concerned that the federal government’s share will drop even more as Washington faces increased pressure to get its budget under control.
Governor Tomblin said during last week’s announcement that if Washington doesn’t hold up its end of the bargain, then West Virginia may be forced to cut benefits. But that’s much easier said than done. Can you imagine the political outcry if the state tried to eliminate a health benefit for the poor?
That leads to another problem with expansion. None of the participating states knows what all the rules are. The Obama Administration is running behind on crafting many of the specifics that will ultimately impact the bottom line.
As Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam (R) said, “Every day we find out a different way that our numbers are going to be impacted.” Tennessee decided against expansion.
Tomblin says West Virginia will try to get waivers from the federal government for “maximum flexibility” to run Medicaid. The Governor has some good ideas, such as expanding managed care for Medicaid and adding co-pays.
Those moves and others would be helpful, but typically the more money Washington provides, the more strings that are attached and the less likely Washington is to let states go their own way.
Also, it’s possible the entire ACA will just be too complicated to work. Even a few strong supporters of the law are now expressing concerns.
West Virginia’s Jay Rockefeller recently criticized the sluggishness in putting the new law in place saying, “The law is so complicated and if it doesn’t get done right the first time, it will simply get worse.” And Senator Max Baucus called implementation a “train wreck.”
The Tomblin Administration did its due diligence. An independent actuarial report produced enough arguments in favor of expansion to tilt Tomblin in favor of it. It’s also worth noting, however, that Tomblin will be out of office by the end of 2016. If Medicaid expansion turns out to be a fiscal and regulatory nightmare, another governor will have to worry about it.
G-Comm™: Pete Seeger: Changing the World One Song at a Time
“Any darn fool can make something complex; it takes a genius to make something simple.”—Pete Seeger
Before the Beatles or the Rolling Stones, Jim Hendrix, Bob Dylan and others, there was Pete Seeger. With his five-string banjo in hand, Seeger helped to lay the foundation for American protest music, singing out about the plight of everyday working folks and urging listeners to political and social activism. In fact, Pete Seeger is one of the most important musical influences of the 20th century.
Born in New York City on May 03, 1919, Seeger, whose father was a pacifist musicologist, was plunged into the world of music and politics from an early age. He studied sociology at Harvard University until 1938, when he dropped out and spent the summer bicycling through New England and New York, painting watercolors of farmers’ houses in return for food. Looking for but failing to get a job as a newspaper reporter in New York City, he then worked at the Archives of American Folk Music at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. In 1940, Seeger met Woody Guthrie at a Grapes of Wrath migrant-worker benefit concert. Seeger, Guthrie, Lee Hays and Millard Lampell joined together to form the Almanac Singers, which became known for its political radicalism and support of communism.
In 1942, Seeger was drafted by the U.S. Army and sent to Saipan in the Western Pacific. After the war, he helped start the People’s Songs Bulletin, later Sing Out! magazine, which combined information on folk music with social criticism. In 1950, Seeger formed The Weavers with Lee Hays, Ronnie Gilbert and Fred Hellerman. Targeted for the political messages behind some of their songs, the group was blacklisted and banned from television and radio.
In 1955, the House Committee on Un-American Activities subpoenaed Seeger to appear before them (read his testimony at www.peteseeger.net/HUAC.htm). During the hearings, Seeger refused to disclose his political views and the names of his political associates. When asked by the committee to name for whom he had sung, Seeger replied, “I am saying voluntarily that I have sung for almost every religious group in the country, from Jewish and Catholic, and Presbyterian and Holy Rollers and Revival Churches, and I do this voluntarily. I have sung for many, many different groups—and it is hard for perhaps one person to believe, I was looking back over the twenty years or so that I have sung around these forty-eight states, that I have sung in so many different places.” He was sentenced to one year in jail but, quoting the First Amendment, successfully appealed the decision after spending four hours behind bars. However, he has been blacklisted most of his life from normal radio and television work.
During the 1960s, Seeger traveled around the country, continuing to play his folk songs for the peace and civil rights movements. Deeply offended by the U.S. involvement in Vietnam, Seeger, along with other folk singers such as Joan Baez, led many protests.
“Wherever he was asked, when the need was the greatest, he, like Kilroy, was there. And still is,” said his long-time friend, Studs Terkel. “Though his voice is somewhat shot, he holds forth on that stage. Whether it be a concert hall, a gathering in the park, a street demonstration, any area is a battleground for human rights.”
In 1963, Seeger recorded the now-famous gospel song “We Shall Overcome.” In 1965, he sang it on the 50-mile walk from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, with Martin Luther King, Jr. and 1,000 other marchers. That song would go on to become the anthem for the civil rights movement and be translated into many languages. Seeger also turned his attention to cleaning up the Hudson River that ran past his home. In 1966, he helped form Clearwater, an organization dedicated to educating the public on environmental concerns such as pollution and protecting the river. The group offers educational programs for children on a 76-foot replica of a traditional Hudson cargo sloop and holds a two-day festival on the banks of the Hudson River every June.
Seeger was awarded the Presidential Medal of the Arts and the prestigious Kennedy Center Award in 1994. In 1996, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for his contribution to music and to the development of rock and folk music. In April of that year, he received the Harvard Arts Medal, and after decades of creating songs, in 1997, Seeger won a Grammy Award for Best Traditional Folk Album for his album, Pete.
Seeger, however, has not always been so lavishly praised. Often chastised for his “communist beliefs,” Seeger has dealt with criticism and misunderstanding. “I say I’m more conservative than Goldwater. He just wanted to turn the clock back to when there was no income tax. I want to turn the clock back to when people lived in small villages and took care of each other,” he says.
While many of the legendary men and women Seeger associated with are gone, he continues his political and environmental endeavors. He still seems to subscribe to the same philosophy he held to four decades ago, when he advised young people to follow their hearts and take initiative: “Well, here’s hoping all the foregoing will help you avoid a few dead-end streets (we all hit some), and here’s hoping enough of your dreams come true to keep you optimistic about the rest. We’ve got a big world to learn how to tie together. We’ve all got a lot to learn. And don’t let your studies interfere with your education.”
At 94 years old, Pete Seeger is still speaking out. Indeed, in an interview I conducted with Pete Seeger several years ago, I asked him whether he had found an answer to the question “When will they ever learn?” which he repeatedly posed in his song, “Where Have All the Flowers Gone.” Seeger’s response is one for the books:
We will never know everything. But I think if we can learn within the next few decades to face the danger we all are in, I believe there will be tens of millions, maybe hundreds of millions, of human beings working wherever they are to do something good. I tell everybody a little parable about the “teaspoon brigades.” Imagine a big seesaw. One end of the seesaw is on the ground because it has a big basket half full of rocks in it. The other end of the seesaw is up in the air because it’s got a basket one quarter full of sand. Some of us have teaspoons and we are trying to fill it up. Most people are scoffing at us. They say, “People like you have been trying for thousands of years, but it is leaking out of that basket as fast as you are putting it in.” Our answer is that we are getting more people with teaspoons every day. And we believe that one of these days or years—who knows—that basket of sand is going to be so full that you are going to see that whole seesaw going zoop! in the other direction. Then people are going to say, “How did it happen so suddenly?” And we answer, “Us and our little teaspoons over thousands of years.” But I don’t think we have forever. I now believe that all technological societies tend to self-destruct. The reason is that the very things that make us a successful technological society, such as our curiosity, our ambition and determination, will also cause us to fall.
John Adams and Thomas Jefferson corresponded for 13 years before they died on the same day. They asked, “How can one have prosperity without commerce? How can one have commerce without luxury? How can one have luxury without corruption? How can you have corruption without the end of the Republic?” And they really didn’t know the answer. Today I would ask, “How can one have a technological society without research? How can one have research without researching dangerous areas? How can one research dangerous areas without uncovering dangerous information? How can you uncover dangerous information without it falling into the hands of insane people who will sooner or later destroy the human race, if not the whole of life on earth?” Who knows? God only knows!
~~ John W. Whitehead ~~
GOVERNOR TOMBLIN INVITES STUDENTS TO ENTER STATE’S 150TH BIRTHDAY ART CONTEST
Winning artwork to be featured during the birthday celebration
Governor Earl Ray Tomblin today invited students to enter a statewide art contest in celebration of West Virginia’s 150th birthday.
Winning artwork will be featured during West Virginia’s 150th birthday celebration at the State Capitol, June 20-23 2013.
The contest, organized by the Department of Commerce, is open to all school-aged children, kindergarten through 12th grade.
“This contest provides our students a wonderful opportunity to creatively celebrate West Virginia’s 150th birthday through the expression of traditional and modern-day, multi-media art,“ said Governor Earl Ray Tomblin. “I look forward to seeing their artwork during the birthday celebration at the State Capitol in June.“
Participants will be divided into three different groups. Those in grades K-5 will create a birthday card for West Virginia’s sesquicentennial birthday. Students in grades 6-8 and 9-12 will create two minute videos wishing West Virginia a Happy 150th Birthday. Themes for the videos are “Happy 150th Birthday West Virginia - What Makes West Virginia Unique” and “What Makes West Virginia Special?“ Winning artists will receive Kindles, and the winning student’s classroom will receive gift cards will for art supplies.
Applications and information about the contest is available online at www.wvcommerce.org/art150.
Entries will be accepted through May 15, 2013.
For more information on West Virginia’s 150th birthday celebration at the Capitol or to find a celebration in your community, please visit: www.wv150.com.
Two Radio Stations on the Hook for Public File Violations
Public file violations tripped up two broadcasters recently.
In both cases, licensees were fined $10,000 each for missing quarterly radio issues/programs lists from their station public file. The fines have now progressed to forfeiture orders.
Stephen Peters, former licensee of WHAW(FM), Lost Creek, WV, was originally fined in 2011 after a station inspection.
The FCC said he told the agent during the WHAW inspection the missing lists couldn’t be found because they were drying out from water damage during a storm — one that that also blew the roof off the studio and destroyed a lot of equipment.
The commission didn’t believe that. It also didn’t agree with Peters, who thought the fine was “excessive.” He has 30 days to pay.
Peters is also the general manager of WVRW(FM). The two stations share the same main studio in Weston, WV.
The commission also upheld a $10,000 fine for WVRW licensee Della Jane Woofter.
Woofter, too, claimed water damage ruined the lists. However, during the inspection, FCC agents noticed other parts of the public file were intact and dry.
The commission didn’t believe her account, either and said Woofter is liable for a $10,000 fine and must pay within 30 days.
GFP - 05.07.2013
TV & Radio
~~~ Readers' Comments ~~~
In other Lewis County news, Lena Lunsford is getting out, and she is pregnant again. Steve’s money that he worked for will go a long way toward financing her next snap card.
$2o,ooo for a little bit of paper work is outrageous.
By anonymous on 05.07.2013
Steve has been >leaned on< because those who do the leaning know he is not a big enough business to fight back.
Or could they be taking order from the >big boys< trying to stifle a competitor?
By anonymous from away on 05.08.2013
I am a fully endorsed 1st class FCC license holder and 30 year veteran broadcaster and held on air positions at 23 station in three decades.
I was the Captain of the ship of some radio stations with some “Big Name,“ call letters, and as program director had full responsibility for the program logs and broadcast logs since I doubled as chief operator, for the reason that ... it was my license on the wall and every station had to have one.
A lot of times being a 1st license holder was great leverage for getting big jobs back then, because stations were required to have at least one 1st phone on duty at the station, and in the real ancient days, a first phone had to be present to change to a directional antenna, and/or raise or lower power either from a remote location and/or at the site and point of transmission of your broadcast signal.
These logs were especially important back then and required to maintained in a professional manner.
So, my main point is. It is the responsibility of every station to maintain both program and operation logs. You can go ahead an fudge your financial books because nobody cares and there are no regulations for that, but especially in WV.
The bottom line is. Maintain the logs in a timely and responsible manner. They must be stored and immediately available for inspection for periods of up to three years, and then only should they be moved off the premises for storage.
Maintain the logs, and guard them with your life in case the FCC would care to review them.
Anything less and the FCC can yank your license quicker than…. quicker than… well, you know what I mean.
And that is exactly what happened here, and the fact someone, an elite wants BOTH stations and called a friend “IL” who had a friend, who had a friend ...at the FCC!
Do you want me to tell ya how the story ends?
By Radio man from the 70's on 05.08.2013
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G-Comm™: Hoppy’s Commentary - Good News in Gasland
April was a pretty good month for the natural gas industry.
Prices are finally rebounding. After dropping below $2 per BTU last year, they’ve now rebounded to over $4 as cold weather lingers and stockpiles diminish.
The price of natural gas is notoriously volatile, and the initial boom associated with the Marcellus Shale deposits and hydraulic fracturing has cooled, but the long-term outlook remains promising.
A Duke University study released last month concluded that tougher environmental regulations on coal and lower natural gas prices will continue to drive utilities toward gas for electricity generation.
Meanwhile, natural gas production and hydraulic fracturing came out ahead in two separate environmental findings.
First, the Environmental Protection Agency determined that there is much less methane coming from drilling sites than first believed. Methane is the second most common greenhouse gas. (Carbon dioxide is the first.)
The EPA says the drilling industry’s pollution controls have brought methane releases down 20 percent below projections. The Associated Press reports that the decline means natural gas operations generate slightly more methane than “belches from cows and other animals.”
But perhaps the most significant development came in Franklin Forks, Pennsylvania. That has become “ground zero” in the fight over fracking. Some local folks along, with celebrities such as Yoko Ono and Susan Sarandon, have been making the case that fracking has contaminated water wells with methane.
However, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection says a 16-month study has determined that drilling did NOT contaminate three families’ drinking water.
“The water samples taken from the private water wells were not of the same origin as the natural gas in the nearby gas wells,” the DEP found.
The findings are in line with what the industry has said about the drilling process; that there have been no confirmed cases of fracking contaminating a water supply. That assessment is shared by the EPA.
West Virginia is an important player in the natural gas industry. Our state sits on top of the gas-laden Marcellus Shale. The economic benefits will extend well beyond drilling. Chris Guith, Vice President of Policy at the Institute for 21st Century Energy at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, predicted that gas-related employment will expand from the current 12,000 jobs to 30,000 jobs by 2020.
The industry knows it has to get the environmental part right. A serious mistake would help validate the claims coming from opponents, and that could lead to an overly restrictive regulatory climate.
Daily G-Eye™ : 05.06.13
From the Glenville State Art Club bench project with students from
Glenville Elementary School, Normantown Elementary School, Sand Fork Elementary School
Troy Elementary School, Gilmer County High School, and Glenville State College.
Gilmer Public Library - Glenville, WV
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G-Comm™: Hoppy’s Commentary - Rahall Vote Gives Opponents Ammo
The leaders of the National Republican Congressional Committee couldn’t believe their luck.
The NRCC had already made up its mind to target long-time West Virginia Democratic Congressman Nick Rahall in the 2014 election. But then Rahall delivered up a softball, a vote that, while largely symbolic, played right into the hands of his opponents.
On March 30th, Rahall voted in favor of the Congressional Progressive Caucus budget plan. Dubbed the “Back to Work Budget,” the proposal amounts to a traditional liberal wish list of higher taxes and more government spending.
But it was the coal-related provisions of the budget that caught the eye of the NRCC.
According to a release from the Congressional Progressive Caucus, its budget includes a carbon tax. “The Back to Work Budget would impose on polluters a $25 per ton price on carbon dioxide (increasing at 5.6% a year), rebating 25% of all revenues as refundable tax credits to protect low income families.”
The document also called for a rollback of what it says are $112 billion in fossil fuel subsidies over ten years, while spending more money on renewable energy.
The coal industry, which is so vital in Rahall’s district, is already suffering. A combination of greater competition from low-priced natural gas and increased regulatory pressure from the EPA has led to layoffs in the short-term and uncertainty for the future.
The liberal budget plan failed decisively 84-327, with more Democrats (102) voting against it than in favor of it.
Rahall’s vote in support of the Back to Work Budget is difficult to comprehend. It was not a leadership vote where Rahall had to toe the line. In fact, Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi didn’t even vote for it.
“With his vote for the ultra-liberal ‘Progressive Budget,’ Nick Rahall has declared war on West Virginia’s coal industry and the hard-working West Virginians that depend on that industry to put food on their families’ tables,’” said NRCC spokesman Ian Prior. “Rahall needs to explain exactly why he decided to turn his back on West Virginia with this devastating and irresponsible vote.”
Rahall’s office stresses that he knew the non-binding budget would not pass, and that he wanted to make a statement against the budget of Republican Paul Ryan, which passed the House and which Rahall opposed. The Ryan plan dramatically changes Medicare by turning it into a premium support system for anyone 55 and under.
“I voted to protect Medicare and the benefits seniors have earned and to move the budget toward balance in a reasonable way,” Rahall said in an email response to my questions.
The Congressman says he’s also aware that since he’s been targeted for 2014, the GOP is going to come after him no matter what he says or does.
“I know from years of experience that nearly any vote I cast can be fodder for attack—especially on big, wide-ranging package bills like the annual federal budget, the contents of which can be twisted and distorted in multiple says,” Rahall said.
Of course, for Rahall to truly be threatened, he needs a viable opponent. So far no Republican is in the race, however the NRCC is pushing for first-term state Senator Bill Cole from Mercer County. He told me on Metronews Talkline last week he’s seriously considering a run, but he has reservations.
“On the personal side, I still have two teenage daughters at home and I have to do what’s right for my family,” said the successful Bluefield car dealer. “On the political side, I want to serve where I think I can have the most impact for West Virginia.”
If Cole decides not to run, Rick Snuffer may get in. He came within eight points of Rahall in 2012 (54-46) with little national help.
Republicans have been trying to write Nick Rahall’s political obituary for years and have come up short in 18 elections. The odds still favor Rahall in his 19th, but his vote in favor of the Back to Work Budget gave an advantage to those who want to put him out of work.
G-Comm™: Hoppy’s Commentary - Nick Casey Prepares for Run in WV-2
Charleston attorney Nick Casey will hold a news conference this afternoon where he is expected to announce that he’s running for the Democratic nomination for the 2nd Congressional District seat in 2014. The seat will be open because current U.S. Rep. Shelley Moore Capito is running for the Republican nomination to the U.S. Senate next year.
Casey has been involved in politics for much of his adult life. He served as state Democratic Party Chairman from 2004-2010. Casey is closely tied to U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin and has worked as his campaign treasurer twice (1996 and 2004). Before that, he was treasurer for the late Mario Palumbo’s gubernatorial race in 1992.
But Casey has never run for office himself… until now.
The timing appears right for Casey. At 59, he’s old enough to have raised his family (his two children are grown) and become a partner in a successful law firm (Lewis Glasser Casey and Rollins), but he is still young enough to start a second career.
Capito’s departure gives the Democrats a chance to reclaim a seat that’s been held by the GOP since 2001. Plenty of Democrats are thinking about getting in the race.
Kanawha County House of Delegates member Doug Skaff says he’s 90 percent sure he’s running. Another Kanawha County Delegate, Meshea Poore, is also considering it.
Rod Snyder from Jefferson County, who is president of the Young Democrats of America, says he may get in the race, and another Jefferson County resident, Matt Dunn, says he’s running.
But Casey becomes the first viable Democrat to declare. He will have several things going for him.
As a former party chairman, Casey is well-connected throughout the sprawling 2nd District, which stretches from the Ohio River across West Virginia to the tip of the state’s eastern panhandle. Casey should know most of the Democratic players in each county.
He has some personal wealth. I’m told he’s willing to spend up to $500,000 of his own money. That’s not enough to win, but it shows he is a serious candidate, which makes it easier to raise money.
Casey should be good on the campaign trail. He’s a personable guy with an easy smile. His self-deprecating humor and his willingness to not take himself too seriously should play well with voters.
On the downside, Casey’s job as party chairman was to extol the virtues of all candidates, including President Barack Obama, who remains unpopular in West Virginia. Opponents will have plenty of quotes to use against Casey.
Also, while Casey is well-connected, he’s not that well-known. He’s going to have to spend a lot of shoe leather and money introducing himself to voters, especially in the eastern panhandle.
Casey’s close ties with Manchin could be a double-edged sword. There’s already some pushback by those who think the Senator’s political tentacles extend to too many areas of the state. Casey will have to establish that he’s his own man.
And finally, the 2nd will have had a Republican representative for 14 years by the time next year’s election rolls around. Whoever makes it to the general election from the Democratic Party is going to have to convince a majority of voters in the red-leaning district that it’s time to go blue again.
American Mountain Theater to Air on PBS Beginning in May
American Mountain Theater variety show will begin airing on West Virginia Public Broadcasting Service in May, the show’s producers have announced.
Located in the historic rail yard in downtown Elkins and billed as the “Freshest Sound in the Mountains,” AMT presents the state’s first and only Branson Style family-friendly music, comedy and variety show.
Kenny Sexton, president and producer of AMT, said he is looking forward to sharing the show statewide.
“We’re incredibly honored and blessed to have West Virginia PBS welcoming us into their lineup,” Sexton said. “We’re excited to help West Virginians recognize what the American Mountain Theater and its talented cast offer right here in their home state.”
The statewide airing comes on the heels of a successful year-long run on nationwide RFD-TV, Sexton said. As they did on RFD-TV, AMT will produce the show in-house with assistance from the West Virginia Film Industry.
“One problem with RFD-TV was that it is only available on a very limited basis in the state. WVPBS eliminates that problem, since the channel is available in every city and town in West Virginia,” he said.
Starting May 04, 2013, AMT will broadcast weekly 30-minute shows on WVPBS at 6:30 PM every Saturday.
Additional information, tickets and vacation package information are available on AMT’s website, www.americanmountaintheater.com or by calling the box office at 1.800.943.3670.
For information about other events and attractions in the area, visit the West Virginia Division of Tourism online at www.wvtourism.com or contact 1.800.CALL WVA.
GSC Announces 2013 Trilluim Reading - Friday, May 03, 2013 - Today
The 10th annual Glenville State College Trillium Reading is scheduled for Friday, May 03, 2013 at 4:00 PM in the Mollohan Campus Community Center Room 315.
The Trillium is a literary and arts journal that contains artwork, poetry, and prose created by GSC students, faculty, staff, and community members.
This years cover is based on Liza Brenner’s painting
“Murmillo with the Lions”
This year’s issue of the Trilluim will include not only works from GSC’s campus but also works from Rachel Peckham of Marshall University and Richard Schmitt of West Virginia Wesleyan College. In addition, there are works from John Hoppenthaler and Andrea Hollander who have both been visiting writers at GSC.
“I’ve been the faculty advisor to the Trillium since 2008. I’ve been proud of every single issue that our student editors have published, and this one is no exception. I’m particularly pleased that this year’s Trillium is featuring work from such an impressive diversity of writers and artists. I hope everyone can join us Friday in celebrating this year’s Trillium and in celebrating GSC’s creative spirit and talents,” said Glenville State College Associate Professor of English Dr. Jonathan Minton.
Free copies of the 2013 Trillium will be available at the reading as well as in the Mollohan Campus Community Center, the Robert F. Kidd Library, the GSC Department of Language and Literature in the Heflin Administration Building, and other locations on campus.
For more information about the Trillium reading, contact Minton at
Movies This Week - 05.02.13
Iron Man 3
Opens Friday, May 03, 2013 | 2 hrs. 20 min.
PG-13 - Intense sci-fi action/violence and brief suggestive content
Marvel’s “Iron Man 3” pits brash-but-brilliant industrialist Tony Stark/Iron Man against an enemy whose reach knows no bounds. When Stark finds his personal world destroyed at his enemy’s hands, he embarks on a harrowing quest to find those responsible. This journey, at every turn, will test his mettle. With his back against the wall, Stark is left to survive by his own devices, relying on his ingenuity and instincts to protect those closest to him. As he fights his way back, Stark discovers the answer to the question that has secretly haunted him: does the man make the suit or does the suit make the man?
Cast: Robert Downey, Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow, Don Cheadle, Guy Pearce, Rebecca Hall
Director: Shane Black
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