Tuesday, August 20, 2019

GRAND RAPIDS, Michigan - It is difficult to discourage and impossible to manage Justin Amash because he, unusual among politicians, does not want much and wants nothing inordinately. He would like to win a sixth term as congressman from this culturally distinctive slice of the Midwest. He does not, however, want it enough to remain in today's Republican Party, which he has left because that neighborhood has become blighted. Amash, 39, a founding member of the House Freedom Caucus, also has left that once-admirable faction because he does not define freedom as it now does, as devotion to the 45th president.

Election security is a bipartisan issue

It's time to recognize election security as fundamental to America's national security. Today, America's elections are under attack from hostile foreign actors like Russia and Iran. That's not a talking point. It's a fact.

For several decades, the Marshall University campus has seen growth and change. Old buildings have come down - remember Northcott Hall? - while others, such as Drinko Library, have gone up. When Marshall students return to campus this weekend and early next week, they will see changes.

Monday, August 19, 2019

WASHINGTON — Recently, I wrote that conservatives need to find a way to address gun violence and mass shootings that isn't blathering about "mental health" or "violent video games" before the public decides that the Second Amendment isn't worth the cost of keeping it around. On Friday, I explained why I think so many mass shootings are happening now: because the avalanche of publicity from each incident inspires more shooters.

We've reported extensively on West Virginia's economy, highlighting the positive developments but also shining a light on the fact that some regions and some people are lagging behind. In a state with a proud industrial, blue-collar base that has been hurt by a slow transition to the new economic reality, we've seen generations of West Virginians left behind.

Newspapers bring value to readers: Thank you for your paper; it starts my day off right. What do I enjoy about your paper? I appreciate reading the local news and your op-ed writers. I value the opinions of Patrick Grace, Dave Peyton, Chuck Landon and Diane Mufson plus the national writers. What else do I enjoy? National news, obits and business news. On the light side, I read The Lawrence Herald every Friday and Dear Abby and the funnies. I do or try to do the crossword puzzle.

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Avoid traffic jams; ride the school bus: Well, it's time for school to start again. I hope drivers will watch out for the students and buses.

WASHINGTON — President Trump has warned China that it must respond "humanely" to the protests in Hong Kong if it wants a trade deal, for the first time suggesting that the United States would impose costs on Beijing if it launched a Tiananmen Square-style crackdown on the city. It's about time. China is in a much weaker position in Hong Kong than many realize. It claims to be showing "restraint," but the fact is if China could easily crush the protesters, at a cost acceptable to Beijing, it would have done so by now.

WASHINGTON — Someday, in the not-so-distant future, sea-level rise could claim Mar-a-Lago. Perhaps President Trump — by then no doubt disgraced, shunned and all but forgotten - would still be around to see his beloved Florida resort wiped out by a "Chinese hoax."

For decades, Big Pharma has raised drug prices with impunity. Here in West Virginia, the average annual cost of brand name prescription drug treatment increased 58 percent between 2012 and 2017, while the annual income for West Virginians increased only 2.9 percent.

I posted the saddest picture I have ever seen on my Facebook page a few days ago. It is a picture of a wide open sea except for small iceberg the size of a Volkswagen. And on it sat a mama polar bear hugging her baby.

Saturday, August 17, 2019

If you're interested in submitting a Letter to the Editor, click here.

Saturday, August 17, 2019

OSWIECIM, Poland — Recently, the State Department revised its definition of anti-Semitism to include "drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis" — an apparent response to the rise of the anti-Israel BDS (Boycott, Divest and Sanctions) movement whose supporters routinely make such comparisons. That is a good thing.

Avoid fish; go vegan: A new study in the journal Nature has found that warming oceans are leading to higher mercury levels in fish. Mercury is a documented poison that can cause brain damage, memory loss, tremors, joint pain, and gastrointestinal disturbances and has been linked to cardiovascular disease.

WASHINGTON — I once watched a comedian's stand-up routine about discovering the existence of the "silent heart attack" — a heart attack with no outward symptoms. He rushes off to his doctor and says, "I have no symptoms! I'm obviously having a silent heart attack!"

Friday, August 16, 2019
  • Updated

If I were to compile a list of my favorite bridges over the Ohio River, the 6th Street bridge here in downtown Huntington would be high on the list. Actually, it already is. I just haven't shared it yet.

Recent letter was meant as sarcasm

The Herald-Dispatch recently published a letter I had written. To clear up any misunderstandings, I wanted to plainly state that it was fully intended to be sarcasm. In fact, the original title I suggested was "Sarcastic Note Concerning Store Owners of Bygone Era." However, I'm afraid there may have been some confusion as to the intended message of this author since it was published with the title of "Bare chested and barefoot welcome" in the Aug. 1 edition of the newspaper. In reality, the article was meant to reveal the absurdity of today's societal mindset that basically believes the special rights of "protected" people groups should trump the rights of others (such as private business owners) by labeling certain acts as discrimination or a hate crime.

CHICAGO - Given its surplus of violence and scarcity of resources, Chicago surely has bigger things to worry about than the menace, as the city sees it, of Laura Pekarik's cupcakes. Herewith redundant evidence of regulatory government's unsleeping solicitousness for the strong.

Thursday, August 15, 2019

"You're going on another trip?" asked a friend. True, Maury and I were ready for another adventure. But the question made me think. Why do people travel, and what are the advantages of visiting places far from home? Here are a few thoughts on this topic.

Huntington is getting a new bridge over Fourpole Creek at 8th Street. There have been concerns about its cost and what drivers will do during construction, but those aren't the biggest concerns the community has. The one question that looms over everything else is what color will it be?

Marshall football should retire '10'

Someone told me that they retire basketball jerseys at Marshall University (Hal Greer, John Taft and so on).

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Tyler Childers got a key to the city of Lexington, Kentucky, last weekend.

The singer-songwriter born and raised in Lawrence County, Kentucky, posted on Instagram overnight to thank Lexington Mayor Linda Gorton for the gift.

There is discrimination of all sorts, and that includes racial discrimination. Thus, it's somewhat foolhardy to debate the existence of racial discrimination yesteryear or today. From a policy point of view, a far more useful question to ask is: How much of the plight of many blacks can be explained by current racial discrimination? Let's examine some of today's most devastating problems of many black people with an eye toward addressing discrimination of the past and present.

The Akron (Ohio) Beacon Journal published this editorial on Aug. 11 regarding gun-control legislation:

John Kasich didn't warm many hearts at the Statehouse last week. The former governor addressed the proposals of his successor, Mike DeWine, for expanded background checks on gun sales and "safety protection orders" to keep guns out of the wrong hands. Kasich took credit. He told a Toledo Blade reporter, "We plowed the ground on that, and they ought to move quickly."

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Most schools in this area resume classes this week and next. Cabell County, Lincoln County, Fairland, Chesapeake, South Point, Ironton and Symmes Valley all return Wednesday, with other openings coming later through Aug. 22.

"A man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still." - Benjamin Franklin

Tribalism. That, says the former op-ed page editor of The New York Times, is what holds sway in American politics these days. And it's hard for members of one tribe (left or right) to change the minds of those on the other side.

Pass sensible gun safety laws now

Now it's El Paso and Dayton. Dozens more killed or maimed by gun violence.

The carnage will diminish only when we pass gun safety legislation like funding gun violence prevention research and criminal background checks for all gun sales.

Monday, August 12, 2019

WASHINGTON — Have we become a shithole country? Uruguay seems to think so. Its Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued an alert after the El Paso and Dayton, Ohio, shootings for Uruguayan nationals traveling to the United States. It advises they "take extreme precautions in the face of growing indiscriminate violence, mostly hate crimes, including racism and discrimination, which killed more than 250 people in the first seven months of this year."

"No candidate received a polling bump as a result of the Detroit debates," writes Morning Consult analyst Anthony Patterson. That's a big disappointment for the dozen or more candidates struggling to make the Democrats' 2 percent cutoffs for further debate appearances, as well as for the pundits weary after six or so hours of debates and post-debate interviews.

President Trump is often accused of transgressing major political and governmental "norms." Norms are "rules of the game," enabling participants to contest the game fairly on a level playing field in expectation that others will follow suit. They are also historic and philosophical guard rails preventing government from careening dangerously out of control.

Sunday, August 11, 2019

After reading Travis Crum's article in the Aug. 1, 2019, issue of the Herald-Dispatch — titled "Huntington Foundation seeks solution to city's cramped Wall of Fame" — I am reminded of a conversation I had with the CEO of the city of Huntington Foundation several months back. It was then when I was informed by Maxine Loudermilk, during a conversation we had at the Huntington Habitat for Humanity ReStore, that my plaque commemorating my induction into the Wall of Fame in 1991 was removed from the wall, which is located in the lobby of the city-owned civic center, currently known as the Big Sandy Superstore Arena. 

An aerial photo was taken by the Blue Stars Drum and Bugle Corps from Georgia who used the beautiful campus of Wayne High School last summer for their final practice before their Drums Across the Tri-State competition at Laidley Field in Charleston.

WASHINGTON — Regimes, however intellectually disreputable, rarely are unable to attract intellectuals eager to rationalize the regimes' behavior. America's current administration has "national conservatives." They advocate unprecedented expansion of government in order to purge America of excessive respect for market forces, and to affirm robust confidence in government as a social engineer allocating wealth and opportunity. They call themselves conservatives, perhaps because they loathe progressives, although they seem not to remember why.

WASHINGTON — As soon as authorities said they suspected the El Paso mass shooter was the author of a hate-filled, white-supremacist online manifesto, Democrats began blaming President Trump. "He is a racist," said Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., "and we've seen the consequences of it." Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., said on Twitter about the president, "Your language creates a climate which emboldens extremists." Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., declared that Trump was "directly responsible" for the shooting.

WV should just legalize marijuanaL Our state seal contains two images: the miner and the farmer. For almost 100 years, the miner has eclipsed the farmer in our economy. This is no longer necessary. Since legalization of marijuana in 2014, the state of Colorado has officially collected over $1 billion dollars in taxes. At that state's taxation rates that represents over $2 billion in sales for Colorado farmers. As you are aware, industrial hemp production is currently legal under permits in our state and limited medical marijuana grow permits will be issued whenever our state ends the senseless and tragic delay for the sick and dying — and farmers. 

Saturday, August 10, 2019

Back-to-back massacres in El Paso and Dayton kill 31. Cue the thoughts and prayers! "Melania and I send our heartfelt thoughts and prayers," tweeted President Trump, who vows to veto gun control.

WASHINGTON — It is not just his stoking of white supremacist sentiment that makes Donald Trump such a dangerously unfit president. It's also the corruption, the weakness, the ignorance, the incompetence and the stunning lack of empathy — all of which we saw this week on grotesque display.

Aircraft story was misleading: Your recent story ("U.S. issues hacking security alert for small planes," July 31) missed or mischaracterized some key points about small-airplane security.

Friday, August 09, 2019

Elected officials have duty to denounce bigotry

In the wake of the deadly shootings in El Paso and Dayton, another renewed debate has emerged about the role of guns in society, mental health services, hatred and racism.

Thursday, August 08, 2019

My husband and I are often asked, "Why are you still living in Huntington?" Since we're not West Virginia natives, no longer have family living in the state and are past retirement age, it's often assumed we would leave. It would be wonderful to live nearer our family, but here are some reasons that keep us anchored here:

WASHINGTON - Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and the Republican Party may not have pulled the triggers, but they still bear some responsibility for the weekend's atrocities. The only way to keep military-style weapons of war out of the clutches of would-be mass killers is to take away McConnell's power - which means electing a Democratic majority in the Senate next year.

This day is

truly sufficient

One secret of a sweet and happy Christian life is learning to live by the day. It is the long stretches that tire us. We think of life as a whole, running on for us. We cannot carry this load until we understand the ways that others behave toward one another. Life does not come at us all at one time; it only comes one day at a time.

Wednesday, August 07, 2019

WASHINGTON — The more we learn, the more Jeffrey Epstein resembles an evil comic book character for the developmentally arrested intellectual - the charming-but-lurid mastermind with a plot to take over the world by impregnating scores of women on a remote desert estate.

This is my country, too: America is named after the Italian explorer Amerigo Vespucci of the early 16th century. Many other countries are named after an ethnic group — Franks, Mexica, Angles, Somali, — some even after a goddess (Eriu), Ireland. Better if we had used a native term like the Mexicans to name our country. Too late.

Tuesday, August 06, 2019

Catholics across the U.S., just as here in West Virginia, are now reading a 103-page book titled "Letter to a Suffering Church," distributed in bulk in thousands of parishes. The author is Los Angeles Auxiliary Bishop Robert Barron, formerly rector of Mundelein Seminary just northwest of Chicago.

Atomic bomb's use was necessary

It is clear to me that a recent letter writer has no knowledge or incorrect understanding of history of World War II with Japan. First, the Japanese military were indeed fanatics. They believed their emperor was a god and they were invincible. Most of the Japanese war deaths were attributed to disease and mistreatment of their citizens. We were not on the wining side when we dropped the atomic bombs on Japan. The Soviet Union was our ally; there was no tool used against them. They were engaged with the Japanese as well who had occupied Chinese territory. President Truman told Stalin what we were about to do. Dropping bombs on Japan had nothing to do with the Cold War between the West and the USSR. Germany, the USSR and the USA were working to develop nuclear power; it just happen that we did it first.

The investigative report into the causes of equipment problems within the Huntington Fire Department has been released to the public. People who expected it to name a specific person who should be held accountable for the department's problems will be disappointed.

"Moscow Mitch" was red hot.

Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, on the Senate floor Monday, denounced critics (including me) who say his recent blocking of efforts to fortify defenses against another Russian attack on U.S. elections are aiding and abetting Vladimir Putin.

Monday, August 05, 2019

Trump lives in Peyton's head: Is there nothing that pleases ole Dave Peyton? It was not President Trump who bragged on West Virginia; it was Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross. Apparently he despises the people who mine West Virginia coal so much he can't bring himself to acknowledge our met coal is providing jobs for many.

WASHINGTON — I'm sorry to be the one to say this, but somebody has to: We are going to have to deport Baltimore. I'm not naive. I know that deporting the Maryland city, which itself is one of America's busiest ports, will be a logistical headache. And yet, it could not be clearer that Baltimore has no place in President Trump's America.

Sunday, August 04, 2019

When I was a child in the long ago, I always hated to hear the jar flies, aka summer cicadas. There are many nicknames for them. Periodic cicadas (17-year cicadas) are often called locusts. Annual or summertime cicadas are called jar flies, harvest flies or dog day cicadas, depending on what part of the USA you're from.

Recent events are sad to hear: I'm sad, or make maybe crazy, about two things today. First, it appears that it's OK to harass a woman you raped until she has to leave the university. See her in the library? It's OK to taunt her there and other places on campus. Does the university ever check up to see if she's OK? No. Doesn't seem right.

WASHINGTON — It is time to dust off this marvelously appropriate verb for its quadrennial use to describe the thinning of a field of presidential aspirants. After two rounds of quasi-debates — "10-participant debate" is a quasi-oxymoron — the Democratic field is well on its way to contraction.