| 1. One-day happiness makes a man forget his mis- fortunes, and one-day misfortune makes him forget his past happiness.|
|2. Get ready for a Dale Earnhardt Jr. special edition all terrain vehicle from Polaris.|
3. Various types of pollution impair about 6,200 miles of state streams and rivers.
4. The percentage of credit card payments that were past due shot up to a new record in the final quarter of last year.
5. Delinquent taxpayers owe the state at least $200 million.
6. Forester Research Inc. predicts that 3,3 million American jobs will be shipped overseas by 2015.
7. About one-fifth of state residents age 50 or over live in nursing homes or other institutions.
8. Statewide last year, 21 residents developed tuberculosis and 26 had ongoing cases.
9. West Virginia has 1.8 million people as residents.
10. Gas retailers are reporting increases of 200 to 300 percent in thefts as prices increased over the last couple months.
11. Nationally men accounted for 13 percent of all plastic surgery performed in 2001.
12. More than 3,000 people were arrested in 2002 as the result of 1,708 wiretaps.
13. In 2003, 712,000 women earned Bachelors Degree compared with 531,000 men.
14. Across the country, one in every 10 chemical-related jobs has vanished in the past five years.
15. Rates of asthma have more than doubled since 1980.
16. Marshall University plans to raise tuition and fees as much as 14 percent next fall.
17. More than 28 million Americans over age 40 have eye ailments that put them at risk for vision loss and blindness.
18. In a large survey of American habits, 74.4 percent of West Virginians reported they always used their seatbelt.
19. In a recent study, men who regularly took aspirin had a 15 percent lower risk of prostate cancer and those who took 2 or more had a 20 percent less risk.
20. The state’ Poison Control Center reported 209 calls in 2003 from people potentially exposed to carbon monoxide.
Letter to Brother Bill
By Evelyne McLaughlin
Dear Brother Bill: Some days we are the bug and other days we are the windshield. I think I have been the bug lately. I have been taking medication for cat scratch fever. That isn't fun. With Memorial Day just around the corner, itbrings back pleasant memories. Remember when we lived on Twistabout Ridge? On this particular holiday, Daddy would bring in a watermelon. We always had ice cream also. We did not have electricity, so the ice cream had to be ordered at the store. When we were ready to eat the ice cream, Daddy would go either to Uncle Adrian Hill's store or Uncle Grover's store, and bring it home. It seems that the ice cream those days was so much better than what we get today. We had to eat it right away and that pint and one-half we each got totally filled us up. The watermelon was put in a tub of cold well water to try and keep it cool. Those were happy childhood memories.
Our recent visitors include, Donald Shearer, of
Phoenix, Arizona, your family (Allie and Renee Nickel) of Pennsylvania, Robert Lanham, and Melissa Weese.
Delphia Hanshaw Satterfieldd (CCHS l955), her sister Norma and her mother Mary Hanshaw, all of Ohio, were visiting relatives in Clay County last week. Other county visitors were Glenn Samples (CCHS l955), his wife Francis and his mother Chessie Rhodes Brown, of Ohio. Glenn and his wife live in Virginia. It is always good to see old friends.
Services at the Blue Knob Church are being held each Sunday Morning at ten o'clock. Recent speakers were Jessie Runnion and Quention Scott. Both of these young men did a very good job. Quention Scott will be bringing the message this coming Sunday morning. Services are still being held at the Blessed Hope Church on top of Camp Creek Hill. These services are each Sunday afternoon at 2:30 P.M. Everyone is welcome to attend both places.
Several folks have been on the sick list recently. Vernile Truman has undergone by-pass surgery. Darlene Burdette recently had back surgery. Pauline Deems has had major surgery and is to have another surgery soon. Blendine Daubenspeck, of Leon, underwent gall bladder surgery this week. We need to put all of these folks on our prayer list. Denvil Brown, of Ohio, and Sylvia Summers, of Ovapa, were recent visitors of Gerald and Geraline Samples, of Ovapa. Miranda McLaughlin and Randy Herald stopped by as they were going to the prom the other evening. They looked so pretty all dressed up for the big event. This also brought back memories - was it really 50 years ago that I attended the CCHS Prom? I was a junior. Mom bought my dress from Nancy Sizemore for $5.00 (I wore it two years). The dress was very pretty, but also very small. I couldn't eat any supper that evening if I was to get into the dress. I think my stomach growled all evening. Fifty years ago, mercy I am getting old.
Mrs. Guinea decided to set on a nest of eggs far away from the house, up on the hill. Well, Champ had to investigate and he has been bringing me an egg a day from the nest. No, he doesn't eat them, just lays them down so I will know about them. I suppose we shall have no baby guineas. Then, I went to the back porch to get something from a little cabinet out there not knowing a bird had decided to make a nest in the cabinet until she flew out and gave me a scare!
I hope you and yours are well and happy. Help us all to be brave. Love to see you, Sis
Not too much has been happening since election night, in so far as the Fayette County politicians are concerned. The closeness of the race between Perry and Staggers for third place in the Democratic House of Delegates race all evening of May 11 caused Perry to exert soooooo much... The election results were very interesting in Fayette County. Perry's vote count went down from previous elections although he probably spent more money donated to his campaign by those industries he supports in the House! It is surmised by veteran Fayette County politicians and observers that he lost votes in the precincts where he is now known, and was supported in precincts where he is unknown and where "campaign workers" were hired! Perusal of campaign finance reports
when submitted will reveal some very interesting facts, I'm certain. Clay County voters are sure to learn the intricacies of vote influencing and... when these reports are published!
Another interesting fact from Fayette County voting occurred in the 11th Senatorial District where Shirley
Love ran unopposed. Although 7,683 Democrats voted in the 11th District, 2,298 Democrats chose to skip voting for Love for State Senator! That is 29.9% of the total Democrats voting who chose to NOT support Love. If these 2,298 Democrats join the Republicans in voting for the Republican candidate in the November election, Love will be up that well know creek without a paddle, where he deserves to be anyhow! I suspect Love will seriously deplete his campaign coffers to win this one!
Until the next issue, that's it from Fayette County!
Harold D. Bragg
Glen Jean, WV
John Kerry and his massive media war-chest is waging an assault against the global war on terror. Millions of dollars are being spent to lessen our resolve in Iraq. As a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom, I am appalled at the political rhetoric coming from some of our leaders. Do not be fooled, they WANT us to fail in the war on terror. It is in fact, John Kerry's only hope at winning the presidency. We must not let down. We must support our President and our Troops.
John Kerry is pretending to be a friend of of veterans and West Virginians. In the Senate, he has fought tooth and nail against everything that West Virginia stands for; hard work and commitment, pro-faith, pro-family, and pro-freedom. He is already pretending to be a hunter and a pro-gun candidate even though his record reflects strong support for nearly every gun control measure ever considered. He is pretending to be a friend of veterans when in fact he stood hand-in-hand with Jane Fonda during Vietnam.
Kerry's recent stops in West Virginia highlights one important fact: John Kerry is not going to take our five electoral votes for granted. We must recommit to the cause of reelecting George W. Bush. We must work harder than the opposition. They offer only one vision for the future of our country: "anyone but Bush."
We can and will do better. We must. Please join me in renewing a commitment to help our president defend his record. I look forward to working with all of you to help President Bush win West Virginia again.
Hiram Lewis, IV
Editor's note: Mr. Lewis is the Republican candidate for Attorney General of West Virginia.
Dear Mr. Waddell,
I was very disappointed to read your current posting regarding the graduating seniors incident at CCHS yesterday. I was equally dismayed to read your derogatory and disparaging remarks as to Mr. Dobbins reaction to the event. With the typicality of someone who is not in charge of these students, you condemn the authority figure and not the students who made the first mistake by showing up dressed as they were. Students, even graduating seniors, should have to abide by school policy while on school grounds. If you or I went to the school to visit or for any other reason, we would be expected to abide by school policy.
Perhaps Mr. Dobbins was over the line, but I am sure his frustration level was at an all time high. His reaction
to this event only illustrates the loss of power and authority that schools have over their students. All you hear is
About student rights, student rights, student rights! I agree that students should have rights. I fought for changes to be made in the 60's and 70's. I participated in sit-ins and petitions to get the school dress code changed and other issues that I felt passionately about. But somewhere along the way, we took the power that school officials had (and should still have) away and replaced it with a snide and sarcastic attitude toward teachers and administration alike. Students no longer see school as "their job" and "their responsibility." It is always, "The teacher failed me!" No. If the student fails then the student failed himself.
So many of our children are the way they are because
society has shifted its thinking. When I was a young girl,
parents could spank a child (and I am NOT talking about beating them!) and not fear retribution from the local CPS clan. Parents have lost control of their children (at least many of them have) and society pushes children to believe that they are in control. And as a parent, I beg to differ. As I inform my teenagers on a regular basis, "they are 1 of 5 children in our home, not 1 of 3 adults." Children today want all the rights of being an adult, but hesitate to accept the responsibility it requires to be one.
You have been talking about the "thugs" who are running rampant through the streets of Clay and are vandalizing your beautiful community. Well, I am quite sure that these thugs graduated from CCHS and were just as bad then as they are now. Children who believe that adults have no power over them, or who refuse to abide by personal and appropriate restraints become the "thugs" you speak of. As you can tell, I am "hot" on this subject.
Children are not being taught a sense of self-responsibility or self-accountability. So many children want everything they see before they can walk (a slight exaggeration) and grow up to think the world owes them a living. They treat their parents with disrespect and any other adult who gets in their way to tell them no! They threaten their parents with the law and CPS if they don't get what they want.
I am still disappointed however that you felt it "responsible reporting" to call Mr. Dobbins names and to be disrespectful to him. Could you do better if you were there? I am not sure that I could. Your name calling only inflames the students outrage that they have been abused. There wouldn't have been a conflict if they had simply dressed appropriately.
Sincerely, Kate Whitteker
Mother of 2 CCHS Students
TOWN OF CLAY Back before the May election, volunteer Town Chief of Police Phillip “Buckshot” Butcher quit. During a council meeting, council members Murphy and Zegeer questioned the amount of time Butcher spent away from town duties as he rode around with other law enforcement agencies, the hours he worked (volunteered), and such. Butcher got hot and quit. Since then Mayor “King” Arthur Jarrett has assumed the police duties for the municipality. Last week word spread that Jarrett was considering rehiring Bucky, as some call him. According to Jarrett, the rehiring decision has not been made but “hone calls”have been placed asking how best to pursue hiring a Chief of Police.
So what did Butcher do during the 13 months on the job? On May 5th Butcher provided this near award winning newspaper with several pages of activity reports. During his tenure, it appears around 80 entries were made. Everything from trespassing to harassing phone calls to indecent exposure and more. He also provided a statement which read in part: I worked many [more] complaints where no persons wanted to press charges where no paperwork was done…. I worked with Sheriff Deputies all the time when they didn’ have anybody working to back them up on domestics…. I have been on as many as 4, 8 hours shifts with them…
Seems to be a little bitterness between Jarrett and Murphy/Zegeer, too. Two weeks ago thugs ripped up several flowers and trees from Joe Murphy’ front yard on Main Street. When Joe, that’ Betty Murphy’ son, called Mayor and Chief of Police Jarrett asking what he planned to do about the incident, Jarrett replied something along the lines of: Go ask your mother! She’ the reason Buckshot ain’ here!
As you’e already read in this edition’ Magistrate Report, the town’ lone street department employee Darrell “awkie”Keener was caught drunk driving after blowing a .14 on the breathalyzer. Keener is often seen driving the streets of Clay in the town’ white Chevy pick up as he goes about his work. After going his bond, Jarrett made it clear, he had told Hawkie time and time again, if he ever gets caught drunk driving, he would fire him!
Clay County PSD During their May Board meeting, Office Manager Cindy Schoolcraft reported they ended the prior month with just $130.98. With nearly 30 easements and right of ways still unsigned for their Lizemores/Tucker’ Bottom water line extension project, top guns were hired. To the tune of $5000, a Joe Nunes was contracted to get the remaining easements completed one way or another. When asked about the unexpected hiring, Chair King said the employees had done all they could and were not capable of completing the easement duties, that they didn’ have the time for such work, and the hiring of a professional “is common practice”
Somewhere along in the meeting, the comment was made that the PSD’ attorney did NOT want to use the court system to secure the needed rights-of-way based “n prior court decisions” Isn’ that interesting? Jim Lane is the attorney for Clay County PSD.
COUNTY COMMISSION You might want to start marking your calendars again. Matthew Bragg was absent from the May 24th County Commission (CCC) meeting. Back this time last year, Commissioner Bragg earned the nickname HAC (Matthew “e Ain’ Coming”Bragg) for the number of missed meetings. Bragg lost his bid for the sheriff’ spot in the primary and as far as we can determine, there is no state code mandated requirement to attend Commission meetings. He’l still receive his pay and benefits of course.
Remember back four months ago when Mr. Bragg announced that he had secured $50,000 in grant monies for the BDA to repurchase the Filcon site?
And later he said they were coming for sure and don’ worry about it? To date, the 50 K has yet to arrive. BDA Chair Willis said the Clay County Bank wouldn’ wait much longer and the dollars are needed soon.
From that most recent CCC meeting, a couple of notes. FRN Board Chairman Jerry Linkinoggor asked county to cover the cost of insurance for the Family Resource Network’ lone employee Lynn Romano. Currently FRN covers the $3000-4000 cost itself. Commissioner Sams, “ don’ think there will be a problem, we’l check.”
Volunteer Emergency Service Director Dave King told the boys up front little progress has been made in getting the new radio repeaters in operation. He did mention some “onflicting info”where it sounded like the Lizemores Fire Dept. team wanted to be 911 toned to calls from the Fayette system instead of our own center located in Nicholas County. Might be the beginning of a big Hmmmm... there, readers. Concerns were also raised over Nicholas County calling out other ambulance crews while Clay crews set idle. Also on the ambulance service and the number of times recently they haven’ been able to find county roads and residents, Paige Willis commented that there’ been a change, “ listen to some on the scanner. They can’ possibly be that dumb.”Willis felt that rumors of moving the 911 center to Clay might be “ushing”the employees to respond differently to dispatcher directions. On that same subject, Clerk Moore, “hey need some training.” Sensing the entire ambulance team coming after him when Willis’remarks hit the news, Sams did some damage control with, “t’ just a few of them. There’ some good employees up there...”Willis wasn’ letting it go, “hey’e all good. They just need some adjustment!”
And, a juicy nugget. A CPA from the State Auditors Office provided the CCC with an “xit”report from the recently completed annual audit. Seems there are a couple of problems. Problems that have surfaced before. One item is one department in the courthouse (she didn’ say which one) cashing personal checks for employees. Sams, “hey were told to stop doing that.”A bigger issue was Wayne King’ reporting of funds. Here’ the way we got it. Attorney King maintains escrow accounts for people in the court system. Those accounts have to be accounted for as do all courthouse funds. King, even after being instructed to do so, has not provided such reports for inspection. The CPA said this is not the first time such reports have been missing, “e don’ like to see that. We write them up.”
RANDY SCHOONOVER Our man Randy has made the front pages of the big papers in Charleston after disappearing on his 4 wheeler two Saturdays ago. 30 some hours later, Schoony was found and taken to CAMC. Most in the county already know, he nearly died from the injuries sustained when the ATV toppled on top of him. Best wishes and prayers extended to our one of a kind Randy Schoonover. Get well soon !
There is a Republican Party in Clay County
The Clay County Republican Executive Committee hosted a Lincoln Day Dinner at Clay County High School on Friday, May 21. Monty Warner, Republican candidate for governor of West Virginia, was the featured guest and speaker at the well attended event. In addition to Warner, many on the slate of Republican candidates running for state office in West Virginia this November came to meet and talk with the Clay community.
The crowd immediately warmed to Mr. Warner when he declared, “here is a Republican Party in Clay County!” Warner, a real estate developer and former Army colonel who retired last year after 25 years of service, said it was the hand of providence that George W. Bush was president on September 11, “e had the right leader at the right time,”and that President Bush had said in January of 2002 that the war would last 5 to 10 years. “here is no way to deal with or appease global terrorism other than to cut it out like a cancer,”Warner said, “e must re-elect George W. Bush.” He highly praised the 6000 member West Virginia National Guard, for whom he served as Inspector General for two years, noting they had been ranked #1 for seven years in a row.
Concerning his Democratic opponent in the November election, Joe Manchin, Mr. Warner said, “’ one hundred percent behind President Bush. Joe Manchin is one hundred percent behind the liberal senator from Massachusetts.” He said Manchin should be supporting Bush, too, and is challenging him to do so. “anchin supports John Kerry, and I’ going to hang that around his neck until it strangles him.” Warner pointed out that the next president would probably appoint two Supreme Court Justices, and if Kerry is elected they will have social, liberal agendas. “e can’ stand John Kerry in the White House.” Warner said, “oe Manchin has been a career politician for 22 years and that’ all he’l ever be.”
Mr. Warner told the crowd, “hen I get the line item veto, we’e going to balance the budget.” He vowed to deal with the corruption he said was present in every corner of the state saying, “ight now, you will never get a public works project in Logan unless you know Bubba.” He blamed plaintiff lawyers for running business, kids, population and jobs out of state. The first action of the Warner administration, he said, would be to pass legislation for nonpartisan elections of judges. His primary goals are to provide a first class justice system and a first class education system in the state.
The other candidates each spoke briefly and most voiced their support of President Bush. Hiram Lewis IV, candidate for attorney general, has roots in and is related to many in Clay County. Lewis just returned from Iraq this year after serving there in the West Virginia National Guard. He strongly supports our troops and President Bush. Brent Benjamin, candidate for the WV Supreme Court, vowed, “ will retire McGraw.” Rob Cornelius spoke on behalf of Betty Ireland, candidate for secretary of state. Charlie McKown from Calhoun County, who is challenging Bill Stemple in the 33rd District House of Delegates race, described himself as pro-life, pro-gun, and anti-abortion. TK
Septic Ooze Complaint Aired
Health Department Meets
For 2 ½ hours the Clay County Health Department Board of Directors met in regular session Tuesday, May 25 and attended to the needs of the county. Attending the function were boardsters Joe Morris, Herman Rogers, and Chair Connie Harper. Absent: Loretta Bird and Mary Lou Devlin. 10 sat in the peanut gallery.
Lots of stuff was covered. Everything from minor policy changes, to approving expenditures, to approving an in-the-red budget for the coming year, to hearing the complaint from Sue Parsons. We’l give you the highlights.
Health Dept. Director Karen Dawson handed boardsters the complaint letter. At issue is a faulty septic system installed with the blessings of the County Sanitarian Teresa Morton. Here’ the skinny: Clay Mountain Housing bought some property at Blue Knob to set up low cost housing some years back. Two of the lots share a septic system. One lot is lower in elevation and their sewage is pumped to the higher lot’ system. Due to the nature of the lower lot, it could not support it’ own septic system. In the original deeds for the lots was a clause that both land owners would share the operation and maintenance of the common septic system.
When Clay Mt. Housing went bankrupt and Dream Homes took over the assets of the nonprofit, they neglected to include the “haring”clause in the new deed.
With raw sewage squirting 1 foot in the air from their front yard and settling in puddles under the front steps, Parsons wanted the Clay Health Dept. to be responsible for the defective system since they gave the OK to install it a couple years back. Confusing? You bet, and it was even more confusing for those attending the gathering because the complaint letter was not read publicly. Director Dawson said the complaint was primarily directed at Sanitarian Morton.
Morris and Rogers read and reread two pages of info before asking questions. Questions like: Is there a leach bed? Are the pumps working? Is there a storage tank on each system? How close to the creek are the houses? What’ the difference in elevation? Was this system designed for both houses?
Ms Morton seemed well prepared for questioning. She showed maps of the problem lots at Deer Track Acres ( lots a and b); showed copies of the system; stated that when Dream Homes took over, they neglected to include the “haring”clause in the deed; that when Clay Mt. housing bought the prefab house from Clay High, Lot B would not support a septic tank; and some “om”fellow designed the problematic system for 5 bedrooms of housing… translation: 2 homes.
As for the problems on lot B, the pipe could have been damaged by trucks driving in the yard and “t was the best system to put in. I approved it… the sewage from the drain field is coming back on them…”
More questions came on perk rates, how the tests were originally done, and on state guidelines for such systems. To the side, both ladies held their words. That didn’ last long as they, Parsons and McLaughlin, interjected their side of the complaint. The Board and staff at times appeared to talk around the complaining visitors. Could the problem be from road run off? What else could have changed or be damaging the approved system? Maybe the tanks are leaky and filling with water?
Stacy McLaughlin informed them, the problems started after the second home was connected to the system. Stacy’ mother Sue Parsons, “e have it on video… you can see it’ like a fountain shooting out of the ground…You can go over there now and all it is is sewage.”Stacy, “nder my steps is all sewage.”
Here’ the clinker. Someone with the Health Dept., at some time, told Mother Parsons that “hey”would take care of the problem. Parsons told the assembled that she had talked with Dream Homes and was told there was nothing the agency could do about it, that Clay Mountain Housing was the responsible party. It was beginning to sound like: don’ pass the buck over here!
When Morton remarked that the system was designed good and the Clay Health Dept. was NOT responsible, things warmed up. Words came quicker. The complainers pointed some accusing fingers and disputed statements made by Morton. The question finally came after 30 minutes of discussion: Who is responsible? Morton thought the thumb should be on Dream Homes. Morton, “here is no guarantee on septic systems… There are so many factors… the Health Dept. has no control…. We’e done with what we could do with the two homes…
Boardster Rogers thought the contractor was at fault. The other property owner is a “raddock”who, based on meeting talk, is unwilling to bare any expense of fixing the system. Health Dept. employee Jay Carper, in a nutshell: the Craddocks are putting sewage on your property, that’ not legal, you could block off their system, and “It’ a legal question” Joe Morris disagreed with Carper and raised issue with the actions of the now defunct Clay Mt. Housing. A State Health Dept. representative reiterated Morton’ position, “here are options to repair and replace systems.”She also made the group aware, replacing failing systems can be very costly. After acknowledging McLaughlin “Has a tremendous problem” this, “he Health Dept. did nothing wrong.”Adding salt to the wound, Herman Rogers, “Are we responsible? The perk test was OK but the system doesn’ work… I can’ see where she [Morton] failed to do her job.”
Of course the issue remained: raw sewage bubbling up in the front yard of a new home and the adjoining property owner was the culprit. Stacy, “hat will fix the problem?”As the words got a little huffier and quicker, Joe Morris, “HIS MEETING IS NOT GOING TO GET OUT OF HAND!”
Ms Parsons said she had been to the Prosecutor’ office for advice and was told he couldn’ help, that if this goes to court, he would be representing the Health Dept.
After 40 minutes of lively and sometimes tense discussion the property owners with sewage in the front yard left the meeting with no answers and no decisions made.
Other board news: the new 2005 operating budget was approved by the Board after learning the chief operating instrument of the agency called for a $32,000.00 deficit. Doc Boggs was reappointed as County Health Officer. Connie Harper was reelected Board President. The Health Dept. will give $5000 in grant monies toward the purchase of a generator system for emergency situations. And, Joe Morris asked for a letter to be sent to the County Commission seeking a replacement for absent-from-duty-for-9-months Mary Lou Devlin. The Board concurred. Next meeting of the Health Dept Board of Directors, Sept 14, 7pm.
CLAY MIDDLE WRAP UP
Jeremy Samples is this year’ recipient of the Clay Middle School Principal’ Award. He earned this honor by accumulating the most points overall in the four categories used to determine the winner. His first place finish in Math Filed Day combined with being a finalist in the Golden Horseshoe Contest, the Spelling Bee, and grade point average lead to his distinction.
Jeremy, the 14 year old son of Nancy Samples of Procious WV was awarded a plaque of honor for his achievements. In addition, his nam and picture will be added to a display that hangs in the school cafeteria. Jeremy is a member of the CMS award winning band and received a superior rating for playing his trombone at the Regional Solo and Ensemble Festival at WV State College. He is a membr of the Junior honor Society and received the President’ Award for Educational Excellence. Jeremy finished fourth in his class with a 3.89 grade point average.
AWARD’ DAY Thanks to the business education partnership with Amron Truss Company over 300 awards were presented to Clay County Middle School students May 21st during their annual Awards Day program. Academic disciplines honored their top students in addition to various other special awards which included the President’ Academic excellence Award; Outstanding Students Award, and the Principal’ Award.
CMS Vice Principal Joe Paxton commended Brent and Reba Legg for their commitment to the school children of Clay County. Paxton stated, “ur partnership with Amron Truss allows us to recognize more students and to present them with special ribbons, pins, and plaques that would not have been possible without their support.
Mason Hamrick was named CMS valedictorian at the James G Dawson Hall of Fame on Thursday May 20, 2004. Mson earned a 4.13 grade point average during his three years at CMS. Mason is the 14 year old son of Anissa and Geoffry Hamrick of Maysel and is a member of the National Honor Society, Technology Student Association and Student Council. He achieved a perfect 4.0 on the WV Writing Assessment, placed third in the CMS Field Day competition, and was a state winner in the TSA Manufacturing Challenge. He also received the President’ Award for Educational Excellence. Beside’ his academic accomplishments, Mason distinguished himself in athletics as a member of the school’ football and wrestling teams.
Alysia Hively was name Salutatorian with a grade point average of 4.01. Alysia is the 14 year old daughter of Lisa and Bill Hively of Bomont. She was inducted in the National Junior Honor Society, was awarded the President’ Award for Academic Excellence, and received a perfect 4.0 on the WV Writing Assessment. Governor Wise dubbed her a Lady of the Golden Horseshoe for her efforts. Alysia finished first place in the WV Technology Student Accociation competition in both Manufactoring Challenge and Problem Solving. She was voted Homecoming Queen and was names CWVAC All Conference in Volleyball and Basketball. She was the MVP for the conference basketball tournament and earned top point honors for the Girl’ track team.
The following students finished with top 10 grade point averages of their class: Jared Sams 3.93; Jeremy Samples 3.89; Christina Tanner 3.88; Stephanie Baughman 3.87; Allen Tanner 3.85; Holly Samples 3.84; Jese Street 3.81; William Chaise Robertson 3.78; and Ethan Curry 3.78.
Steps to Buying a Home
Buying a house now is the right time. Interest rates andprices are slowing raising so this means that in the future property will have higher price tags and cost you more.
Whatever the reason you are thinking about purchasing property, there are certain steps you will inevitably take. If you do them in the right order, you will save yourself time, frustration, and money. For example, if you start shopping for homes on the internet without knowing how much you can spend, you will not only waste time looking at the wrong homes, but you may ultimately be disappointed at what you can actually afford.
Step 1: Find out how much you can spend: The first thing you need to do is figure out what kind of home you want to buy and how much you can afford to pay in monthly installments. Keep in mind that the results of your calculations will only be an estimate. Until you have chosen a home and the type of loan you want, and communicated with the lender, you can only use the calculated amount.
Step 2. Get pre-approved for a loan. Either go to a mortgage broker or a direct lender (our local banks Clay Co. Bank or Bank of Gassaway) and find out for certain the size of mortgage for which you can qualify. The pre-approval letter the lender issues you will help you be taken more seriously by agents and sellers because they recognize you as someone who is prepared to buy. If you want a larger mortgage or better rate, investigatethe government sites such as HUD.
Step 3 Hire an agent. Using an agent can help you in numerous ways, especially because you are already paying for those services in the purchase price of the home. Both the seller's agent and the buyer's agent are paid out of the transaction proceeds that are included in the marketing price of the home. If you don't take advantage of an agent, you are paying for services you aren't getting. If you are planning to buy a home available through foreclosure or a for sale by owner (FSBO), you can still use the services of an agent. Find agents in your area that are knowledgeable in your area. Contrary to popular belief only 20 per cent of homes are actually sold through newspaper ads. The other 80% are sold through networking among agents. ( to be continued)
This article is brought to you by Dave Derby, Sales Associate, Greenlee Properties Inc. GMAC Real Estate: Clay Office.
Prisoners of Ignorance By Jim Chafin
As if our memory needs to be refreshed from time to time, scripture tells us, “ithout a vision, the people perish…” In these days when so called “nformation”flows like an on-rushing flood, when spreadsheets envelope this celestial rock in a cocoon the likes of which would reach to Mars and back to earth, when it would seem that society is in dire need of some straight forward truth-speak, more and more it seems as if crucial issues of the day are being designed and dispensed via a network of back-fence gossips in 30 second sound bites. With computers talking back and forth to each other 24/365 and millions of Americans mesmerized in front of their wide-screen/digital thing-a-ma-jig, the attention span of this nation’ electorate seems to be more fleeting than the images it sees on the boob tube. What else could possibly explain the lackadaisical attitudes we encounter in the media and in places of public congregation? How does one explain the abyss of public misinformation, other than that there simply must be a determined cliché out there somewhere whose agenda is to deceive and wreak havoc upon the foundations of this federation of states? Is fraud too strong a word, or might we contemplate stronger terms?
National issues aside for the moment, let’ discuss a topic closer to home, one which directly affects every West Virginian – no matter his/her financial status. Back in October 2003, the West Virginia Public Service Commission approved, and put into effect, a 24 percent increase in the natural gas rates for Allegheny Power. This on top of a 42 percent increase that went into effect in 2000, making a total of a 66 percent increase for this one company within three years. However, it seems that they are not done yet, because a small item in Charleston newspapers made note of another increase to be put into effect (this spring?), just when and how much we have no way of knowing.
In a series of complaints filed with the Commission and Allegheny Power this citizen has left no stone unturned in an effort to relate to the parties involved, the relative seriousness of their decisions and the harm being meted out to, not only individual people, but to corporations and the entire economy of this state. For their part, the PSC has attempted to educate me in the higher arts of mathematics by talking about heat factor, non-heat factor, heating degree days (as a measure of coldness) and numbers such as 1167 which, they say, apply to my particular case. And all the while, I thought I was complaining about a charge of $9.68 per MCF, a 66 percent increase in natural gas prices since early 2000. Here in Williamson, other residents are complaining about natural gas bills of $400.00 and more – economic pain is widespread, and the City of Williamson received a due bill of $3800.00 for its field house during February/March 2004.
The PSC states that it bases its decisions upon a theory of what is “air and reasonable.” Something I could agree with if their policy contained all the elements of the corporate body within the State of West Virginia and the diverse economic conditions experienced by all those who are expected to pay tolls. However, this seems not to be the case. Average West Virginia citizens do not, as a rule, attend PSC hearings in Charleston. Indeed, I submit, they cannot, for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is an overwhelming need to be at their assigned place each day in order to provide for the needs of their families. Others could include unemployed folks, disabled, the elderly, thousands upon whom these excessive rates fall like thunder, and who have no recourse but to shoulder these increased burdens. Unlike those shielded and protected by the PSC, the consuming public has no one to whom it can pass through increases in costs of its goods and services. While guaranteeing a profit to those who are defined as utilities in this state, this must be accomplished without playing fast and loose with the public’ money. And one way to do this would be to access every line item of the rate increase request to determine if it is “air and reasonable”under the rules of Certified Public Accounting; not that of Anderson and Enron vintage. This is mentioned because the PSC’ own Charlotte Lane traveled the length and breadth of this state a few years back in an effort to have the power industry deregulated. This, at a time when other states, chief among them California, were being fleeced out of billions of dollars because of mass fraud within this industry. With CEO’ and other management types walking away with unwarranted billions in a feeding-frenzy unlike any ever witnessed in earth’ history, our government officials were actively promoting this type of behavior on the citizens of this State. How’ that for “upervision”of this state’ corporate giants?
As we survey the mean-spirits that inhabit corporate America and their influence upon this nation’ world economic position, and the government designed to protect all of its citizens, we are reminded of the words of J. Pierpont Morgan: “nybody has a right to evade taxes if he can get away with it. No citizen has a moral obligation to assist in maintaining the government. If Congress insists on making stupid mistakes and passing foolish tax laws, millionaires should not be condemned if they take advantage of them.” As I see it, there are some major hitches to this story of corporate tax evasion. One being that this attitude of greed upon greed has filtered down to every ordinance, statute, and law in this country. Anyone who doesn’ like whatever law can simply ignore it – if one has enough money to corrupt the legislative process.
Then there is this: “here there is an income tax, the just man will pay more and the unjust less on the same income.” - Plato
05/09/04: Delk – John David Hickman, driving while revoked for DUIA 3rd offense, arrested, ROB 05/10, preliminary hearing 05/26.
05/13/04: Elswick – Larry W. Hailey, DWR/DUIA-3rd offense (04/30/04), case dismissed with prejudice upon motion of Prosecuting Attorney; bond exonerated; Delk – Clyde Earl McQuain, possession with intent to deliver meth (05/06/04), preliminary hearing continued by Def. to 05/26/04; Delk – Clyde Earl McQuain, warrants issued for altering or changing serial number, removal of manufacturer serial number, and receiving and transferring stolen vehicle, arrested 05/20, ROB 05/21.
05/17/04: Delk – Amy Marie Beasley, grand larceny (11/24/03), arrested, ROB 05/18.
05/20/04: Delk – Harry Miller, wanton endangerment X 2 (03/24/04), preliminary hearing: probable cause found, case bound to Circuit Court.
05/09/04: Elswick – Jerry Roger Fugate, driving while revoked for DUIA, arrested, ROB.
05/12/04: Gino’ – Vickie L. Williams, worthless check complaint, warrant issued; Delk – Rickey D. Dowden, battery, arrested, ROB.
05/13/04: Elswick – Larry Hailey, driving suspended, appeared, pled no contest, assessed fine and cost.
05/14/04: Bailey – David L. Elkins, driving suspended/revoked non-DUI 2nd offense, appeared, pled no contest, assessed fine, cost and 10 days jail; Belt – David Lee Ramsey, driving under the influence-2nd offense and DWR/DUIA 2nd offense, arrested.
05/17/04: Belt – David Lee Ramsey, escape from an officer and destruction of property; Light – David Wayne Smith, possession of marijuana less 15 grams, appeared, assessed fine and placed on 6 month unsupervised probation.
05/18/04: Sizemore’ IGA – Tanya L. Hinzman, warrant issued for worthless check complaint; Sizemore’ IGA – Kristie English, warrant issued for worthless check complaint; Delk – John Jeff Summers, driving under the influence, possession of marijuana less 15 grams; no POI and registration violation, arrested, ROB 05/19.
05/20/04: Cunningham Motors, Inc. – Marie Boggs, warrant issued for worthless check; Belt – Michael Shawn Godbey, driving suspended/revoked non-DUI 2nd offense, appeared, ROB; Delk – Darlene Joyce Jackson, driving suspended/revoked non-DUI and no POI, appeared, ROB.
05/21/04: Slack – John Doss, domestic battery, warrant issued; Rider – Fabian D. Cottrill, petit larceny, warrant issued; Larry Legg – Nathan Malcik, failure to cause child to attend school, summons.
05/22/04: Bailey – Darrell A. Keener, driving under the influence, arrested, ROB.
05/24/04: Slack – Loretta Stewart, destruction of property, warrant issued.
05/17/04: Credit Acceptance Corp. – Richard and Melissa Postelwait, money due.
05/20/04: Dimple Rogers – James Rogers and Loretta Stewart, wrongful occupation.
05/21/04: Glada Lanham – Billy and Cynthia Jones, wrongful occupation, subpoena.
Notices issued –
05/10/04: Clay Farm Cooperative – Cheri Burdette (paid 05/18).
05/12/04: Burton Mullins – Crystal Lea Justice X 2.
05/14/04: Clay Co. Board of Education – Jennifer D. Grose.
05/18/04: House’ Market – Naylene Harvey.
05/20/04: IGA – Daniel Raike X 2; Naylene Harvey X 2.
05/24/04: Clay Supermarket – Ronnie D. Beasley; Darius Cummings.
05/03/04: Sheriff’ Dept. – Michael S. Godbey, driving suspended/revoked non-DUI 2nd offense.
05/04/04: Sheriff’ Dept. – Howard H. Hanshaw, speeding and no POI; State Police – Lindsey B. Shafer, operator’ and no POI; Phillip R. Summers, driving suspended/revoked non-DUI and seat belt violation.
05/05/04: State Police – David Wayne Smith, possession marijuana less than 15 grams.
05/06/04: Sheriff’ Dept. – Richard Blankenship, registration violation; Timothy S. Cochran, registration violation.
05/07/04: State Police – Cynthia Larne Bays, no POI; Irleen L. Coe, operator’; Charles M. Fields, Jr., seat belt violation and operator’, James Wayne Legg, Jr., no POI; Ricky F. Taylor, registration violation and no POI; Sheriff’ Dept. – Ronnie Allen Fox, no POI.
05/08/04: State Police – Mark W. Coulter, speeding; Bernie E. Johnson, driving suspended/revoked non-DUI; Isaac Moore, speeding; Stephen R. Thaxton, speeding and registration violation; Teresa Woodrum, speeding.
05/09/04: State Police – John H. Cunningham, MVI and registration violation; Robert Ray Jeff, Jr., MVI; Candice S. Murphy, no POI.
05/10/04: State Police – Timmy Wayne Nichols, driving suspended/revoked non-DUI; Jerry L. Pierson, driving suspended/revoked non-DUI.
05/13/04: Sheriff’ Dept. – James T. Cottrell, registration violation and operator’; Gina R. Holbert, failure to stop/yield, driving suspended/revoked non-DUI, registration violation and no POI; State Police – Brad E. Proctor, fire arm violation.
05/14/04: DOH – Lowell Thomas Jarvis, overweight, overwidth, overlength.
05/16/04: State Police – Adam Caleb James, no POI; David Allen McBee, speeding.
05/18/04: DOH – Cecil Anthony Jones, overweight, overwidth, overlength.
05/20/04: Sheriff’ Dept. – Patricia Jo Moore, operator’.
05/21/04: Sheriff’ Dept. – Marina Kay Lanham, speeding.
05/22/04: State Police – Darrell A. Keener, driving under the influence.
More Grants Coming In! School Board Meeting
The Clay County Board of Education finished their yearly obligation to meet with the county’ Local School Improvement Councils (LSIC) during the May 17, 2004 regular meeting of the Board held at Clay County High School (CCHS) in the library. Board members Gene King, David Pierson, Kimberly Sams, Rick Tanner and Board President R.B. Legg, Jr., moved swiftly through the 26 item agenda and meeting with the CCHS LSCI to be able to attend the school’ National Honor Society Induction Ceremony which was to start at 7:00 p.m. in the school cafeteria. The meeting was wrapped up after about 35 minutes. Member-elect Beth Cercone was also in attendance.
The Board approved the release of the Distance Learning contract to Beckley-based Ablesoft, Inc. effective immediately. Superintendent Jerry Linkinoggor told the Board that the successful bidder was the only company that could meet all the standards they had set. He said that sometime this summer they would be able to offer high speed internet service to anyone within 5 air miles of a school, and without the need for a telephone line, for about $20 a month. For school employees the cost will be even less.
Employment was approved for many, mostly summer activities and programs: Grithel Holcomb as Pre-School extended year teacher; J.B. Butcher, Patricia Underwood, Majorie Mullins, Vicky Walker, Paul Adkins, and Mary Stanley as summer school teachers, pending enrollment, at Clay Elementary; Valerie Facemire as Transportation Aide for the bus for the handicapped, an extra curricular contract, for 2004-2005; Dave Mullins as School Bus Operator Instructor, as needed and pending successful completion of training (replacing the retired Jim Mollohan); Dorothy Childers as summer school cook at Clay Elementary; Linda Workman as part time summer school cook, pending enrollment, at Clay Elementary; Ann Triplett as Camp Mustang cook at Clay Middle School (CMS); Frances White as part time cook for Camp Mustang, pending enrollment; Loretta Triplett and Frances White as cooks for 4-H Camp at Camp Shepard; Dorothy Childers as cook for the band camp at Camp Shepard; Debbie Cantrell and June Holcomb as cooks for football camp at CCHS; William Schoolcraft, Paul Edwards, Ronald Tanner and Mike Taylor as Summer School bus drivers; Jerry Cunningham and Delno Coen as summer bus trip drivers; Tony Salisbury and Earl Tanner as summer bus painters, as needed; Mike Taylor, William Schoolcraft, Ronald Tanner and Earl Tanner as activity bus drivers for the 2004-2005 school year; and, Juanita Mays as extended year teacher at Clay Elementary. Wayne Litton transferred from bus driver to mechanic, effective July 1, and Earl Tanner resigned as summer bus trip driver to be able to take the position as bus painter. All of the above were successful bids.
Carrie Mace and Angela Samuels were again hired to fill the school psychologist position, for 2004-2005. Student tutors were employed for summer school at Clay Elementary: Lindsay Legg, Ashley Legg, Kelly Tanner, Kaci Taylor, Julie Linkinoggor, Kristin Sirk, Alexandra Johnson, Jamie Mullins, Megan Backus, and Cassandra Fitzwater, to be paid with 21st Century Grant dollars. And, based on seniority for summer work only, the following were hired as substitutes: cooks - June Holcomb, Frances White, Robin Belt, Mildred Bullard, Loretta Triplett, Dorothy Childers, Nancy Preast, Linda Workman, Lois Winemiller, Charlotte Fitzwater, Jo Carver and Sandy Jones; bus drivers – Mike Taylor, Ronald Tanner, Earl Tanner, Tony Salisbury, Richard Talbot, Jerry Cunningham, Roger Morris, Dave Mullins, Paul Edwards, William Schoolcraft, Goldie Woods, Gary Tanner, Mike Evans, Delno Coen, Randy Holcomb, Mary Kincaid, Brenda Griffin, Wyona Ramsey, David Belt, Pat Legg, Dallas Hanshaw and Norman Ramsey.
An out of state trip to Denver, Colorado for Katherine Claytor was approved. She and Joyce Legg will chaperone Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) students Cody Thomas and Jerrica Caudill at the FBLA National Leadership Conference July 13-18. The Board agreed to cover the $308.66 lodging and registration cost.
All motions passed unanimously.
More grant money is coming to the school system. Mr. Linkinogger announced a $150,000 Enhancing Education Through Technology Grant had been awarded that will provide for two teachers that will assist teachers in the classrooms with the use of technology tools in the class. The teachers will work in the larger schools in the town of Clay. Money is also provided to have training for teachers in an academy.
The second grant announced is a $79,000 21st Century Community Learning Center Grant Expansion that will provide funding to hire an additional teacher at the out-lying schools for the after school program and summer school, as well as supplies for math and reading, and, a part-time secretary.
Linkinoggor also mentioned that money may be coming to be used for the kids in ALC. He said, “ think we can do more with kids that need help…in the old days we just kicked them out. Now we try to work with them.” More information will be coming about this grant at the next meeting. Linkinoggor praised grant writer Cindy Willis who he said had written 60-some grants, and compared her to Jerry Mezzatesta, recently publicized Chairman of the House Education Committee and employed as a grant writer for Hampshire County, who has written none.
CCHS LSIC President Dennis Legg quickly presented the Board with a three item request list. The LSIC asked for a mobile radio for the driver’ ed car, cost about $400, more emergency lighting in the main hallways, cost $500-$600 with John Brown doing the installation work, and the addition of restrooms on the auditorium end of the building. Legg provided some nice drawings of the proposed addition on a projector and estimated cost of the project at a little over $9,000 with CCHS teachers Holcomb and Pierson’ classes doing some of the work. The two restrooms would be placed below the water tank on the back of the school. Total cost of the proposed projects would be around $11,000, Legg saying he tried to over-calculate on cost. Legg said the only item not figured in was putting heat into the restrooms as he didn’ know enough about the school’ heating system. No real indication from the Board on how they’l respond to the requests, but from R.B. Legg, “his is about the cheapest we’e got off with…”
Next regular meeting of the board will be Monday, June 7, starting at 6:00 p.m. at their administrative office in Clay. TK
DON GREENE WV RADICAL
TAKING CARE OF BUSINESS
Well, we've put the primary behind us and now it's time to mend fences and pull the Democrats together, if that's possible. There are plenty of campaign issues facing Clayberry. You appear to have poor law enforcement, weird judicial rulings, lazy office holders, inconsistent water service, failure to expand or improve the water service and run-away crime. Take your pick folks, there has to be an issue for every voter.
I had to laugh at the whining about the volunteer police chief that wasn't spending enough time in Clay. I may be wrong but I would think that they get what they pay for, which is nothing. Good luck to the town I guess.
As I've tried to follow the weirdness concerning your appointed boards, I've had to scratch my poor old head. No matter how you slice it, any board, committee or body that accepts and uses public funding is accountable to the public. If you can't crack that nut then you just aren't trying.
The goings-on over the abuse of the Iraqi prisoners are just plain old sad. The paper trail is right in front of the investigators but it heads where none of them want to go. The idea of bypassing the Geneva Conventions came from our good King George and wallowed its' way down to the poor girl from WV. But the point of contention on this will be: was it an order or a suggestion? History shows that the U.S. military operates and holds itself to higher standards than nearly any other military force on the planet, which is both correct and laudable. If we as a nation see ourselves and expect the world to see us as the ideal for a form of government then we have to function at the highest moral standards. Torturing, degrading and abusing helpless prisoners is far from meeting those standards; it's just that plain. Our military forces have an obligation to NOT perform illegal acts. It is part of the training of every soldier, sailor and marine. That all of this has taken place in a nation where we aren't welcome has only made it worse. God help the girl that appeared to be so pleased with herself as the prisoners were being abused.
Hey, it's summertime and the living is not so good for many of us but the time is ripe for Clayberry to start drawing tourists into its fold. How many campgrounds are ready? How many uses for the lovely little Elk are ready to go into action? How many daily and weekly attractions are ready to begin drawing out of town and out of state money into your little edge of the mountains? If all of the above aren't ready, up and running then someone is asleep at the wheel yet again. There's no time better than today to get started. The best advice on this is "Early to bed, early to rise, work like a dog and advertise."
BOB CLARKE Curmudgeon’ Corner
| We are paying $8 million a year for the |
privilege of living in an ungrateful volcano,
out of which we are in no circumstances to
get anything worth having.
These words, having more than a vague application to our time, were spoken by an obscure colonial secretary named Winston Churchill over 75 years ago. They refer to the disastrous British occupation of Iraq. That unhappy adventure led to the death of thousands of British troops, but at least the empire never descended into the hypocritical claptrap of proclaiming the noble motive of turning the country into a “emocracy.” Churchill knew his England was there for the booty, the magnitude of which then, as now turned out to be a disappointment. A second operative motive was racism. Kipling wrote: “ake up the white man’ burden.” Caucasians, with their assumed mantle of superiority, are duty bound to civilize and enlighten lesser beings. In his poem “ecessional,”later to become a popular hymn, Rudyard Kipling wrote:
God of our fathers, known of old,
Lord of our far-flung Battle-line.
Beneath whose awful hand we hold
Dominion over palm and pine
With superiority, as we know, comes responsibility. At this time, God was unquestionably an Englishman. Manifest destiny carries its heavy burdens. It is now apparent, however, that the Deity has immigrated to American shores at the beginning of the 21st century. This glorious news is conveyed almost daily from the White House. Should anyone consider this observation an exaggeration, one has only to consult Bob Woodward’ book Plan of Attack. Woodward, whose earlier love-in with the Crawford Commando, entitled Bush at War made him a White House darling, is one of the few, perhaps the only reporter with virtual unlimited access to the Oval Office.
Woodward, however, is a canny fellow and a clever amateur psychologist. He knows that, once an aura of trust is established, the interviewee may reveal more than he intends. When asked if he derives strength and advice from his father, George Jr. replies that he gets these qualities from a “igher father.” Whatever we may make of this, it may signify that we are presided over by a man who has never been assailed by such ordinary human limits as doubt. One of Bush’ memorable recent media appearances involved the president being asked if he had made any mistakes. He replied that he couldn’ think of any. Playing to the audience, Bush smirked that he would be better prepared next time.
One of the curious aspects of Woodward’ latest book is that it was approved by the White House, or to use the term now in fashion, “etted.” One might think that faint warning bells were tinkling in the back of neocon/radcon minds about Woodward. After all, this is the man who, with his co-writer Carl Bernstein, exposed Watergate and brought down Tricky Dick Nixon. On more than one occasion the author gently pulls the rug out from under our warrior king. It is fairly obvious that George W. did not want the public to know that the invasion of Iraq was a done deal before 9/11. Moreover, the reader is presented with the astounding disclosure that the president, in conference with his most trusted yea-sayers revealed the invasion plans to Saudi Prince Bandar before Secretary of State Colin Powell was informed. Has a top government official ever been so deliberately insulted? Amazingly, Powell took it when he learned. A Roman general would have fallen on his sword. A Japanese official would have committed hari kari. We do not expect such desperate measures in our arguably “ivilized”world, but perhaps the question arises: whatever happened to honor, pride, dignity? The White House might as well have sent an embossed message to the entire State Department saying: “ou are deadwood.” Still, Colin Powell soldiers on, diminishing a life well-lived, shilling for a corrupt and tragically misguided administration. It will be interesting to see how the general augments his tattered legacy in the inevitable spate of million dollar contracts and lecture fees that will follow his exodus from the corridors of power.
The wonderful Yiddish word, chutzpah is variously defined as shameless audacity, impudence, brass, gall, but a more dramatic illustration of its meaning, or at least more fun, is a short story. A young man, who has been called before the law, charged with murdering his parents, throws himself on the mercy of the court, his defense being that he deserves pity because he is now an orphan. If, however, there are varying degrees of chutzpah, this fellow is a rank amateur compared with our all-powerful vice president. Last week at tiny Westminster College in small town Fulton, Missouri, Cheney made his bid to join the immortals of history. The attempt at grand phrasing in the previous sentence is caused by the fact that this is the town where Winston Churchill made his legendary “ron Curtain”speech. Incidentally, Churchill borrowed that phrase from Queen Elizabeth of Belgium (1876-1965). Meanwhile, back to Cheney. In his speech, he attacked John Kerry’ military record. It is true that the First Amendment gives us license to mount such an attack, that is, until Inquisitor General Ashcroft obliterates it, but, consider the source. This is the man who avoided Vietnam by securing no less than five deferments. He married quickly when the draft board loomed. When the board’ rules changed to include men with dependant children, the Cheney’ firstborn entered the world 9 months and two days later. Well, no one ever said that Dick was a slouch at planning, but the real kicker came much earlier. When questioned about his brilliant avoidance of the Vietnam conflict, he replied: “ had other priorities.” How he escaped the wrath of various veteran’ organizations for that contemptuous and arrogant remark will remain one of the mysteries of our time. Cheney seems lately to have entered some sort of time warp. He still makes claims about intelligence reports that have long since been disproved.
It is almost beyond the bounds of imagination that there are still people appearing on TV, stating that we fought Saddam in Iraq to avoid fighting him and his minions on the streets of New York, Boston, etc. Is it possible that the American public still believes this drivel? Former presidential speechwriter David Frum made one of his numerous appearances on TV this week. Frum is the bloke who coined the majestic phrase “xis of Evil.” He has ridden that construction to fame and fortune. Striking while the iron was hot, he co-authored with the repulsive and manipulative think tank commando, Richard Perle, a book with the silliest and most mindless title in publishing history, The End of Evil. Boiled down to its barest essence the book’ thesis is that we must impose our will on the entire planet by military force. Further, we mist ensure that no other country must be allowed to pose a challenge, imagined or potential. When this is achieved, “hey”will have achieved the ultimate morality: they will be like us. It may be no accident that the suffix of “eocon”is “on.” Get it? In any case, here is David Frum’ latest Delphic utterance:
…The U.S. went to Iraq in order to protect Americans from Saddam Hussein.
The jaw-dropping imbecility of this remark lies beyond description. What is perhaps more frightening is that none of the “uits”on the program challenged Frum.
The fine art of political discourse has fallen on evil days. The grotesque revelations of the Abu Ghraib prison came to the American public through the heroic actions of CBS and New Yorker columnist Symour Hersch. Lest it be forgotten, Hersch is the reporter who uncovered the My Lai massacre, where over 400 Vietnamese civilians, many of them women and children were gunned down by American troops. It is not pleasant to bring up this loathsome moment in our history, but sometimes the forlorn hope arises that some noble purpose may be served if we can ever halt the interminable back-patting tendency of broadcasting how superior we are to the rest of this globe. Barbarous behavior must be understood in the degree of its nature, but the apologists for the torture scenes in Iraq and elsewhere immediately throw out the old, invalid argument: “hey do it.” This is the false logic of witless children. Johnny is about to be punished for misbehaving. His parents do not let him off the hook when he attempts to argue that brother Fred has done worse. Yet the hardliners spring forward, eagerly reminding us of the admittedly horrible beheading of Nick Berg. That action, no matter how unspeakably vile, in no way excuses the behavior of Abu Ghraib’ interrogators. Of Berg’ public execution Michael Ignatieff of the New York Times rightly observes:
…such provocations are intended to drag us down to their level. We are constantly being tempted to descend to the logic of terror itself.
And to close, characteristically, with words of wisdom, it is well to remember that, behind every silver lining, there’ a dark cloud. Cur