Commentary Archives


FridayMay 13, 2022

West Virginia’s Smooth, Clean Election

Democracy survived another test this week in West Virginia. That is worth noting, since the integrity of our elections in the country has been under assault since 2020. The latest trumped up grievance about the last presidential election comes from Dinesh D’Souza’s new “documentary” 2000 Mules. The film claims that geo-location data of cellphones show

ThursdayMay 12, 2022

What the Mooney Win Means

Political movements are defined as much, if not more, by who leads them, as opposed to issues that the movement embraces. For West Virginia Republicans, former President Donald Trump remains the titular head. Trump’s 2020 loss did not end his influence. He has continued his campaign based, in part, on the false grievance of a

TuesdayMay 10, 2022

Primary Election Day News and Notes

Good morning, and Happy Primary Election Day!  Here are some last-minute observations about the election: –Secretary of State Mac Warner is advising voters to check their polling place before heading out today. “This election will be the first election held after the legislature and counties redesigned the political districts and precinct boundaries due to the

MondayMay 9, 2022

Mooney Campaign Defies the Conventional Wisdom

When redistricting cast Republican Congressmen David McKinley and Alex Mooney against each other in the new 2nd district, my first thought was McKinley had the advantage. Every county he had been representing except one was in the new district.  His reputation for working across party lines and serving the district gave him strong local ties.

FridayMay 6, 2022

Candidate’s Votes Won’t Count, But Don’t Count Her Out Yet

West Virginia Republican state Senate candidate Andrea Kiessling has a big problem. The votes for her are not going to be counted. Talk about a campaign setback!  Kiessling is, or at least was, in a tight race for the Republican nomination to the state Senate in the 8th District, which includes Roane and Clay counties

ThursdayMay 5, 2022

Student Loan Bailout Makes Suckers Out of Rule Followers

Two years ago during a campaign stop in Iowa, Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) was confronted by a parent angry over Warren’s proposal to forgive student loan debt. “I just wanted to ask one question,” he said. “My daughter is getting out of school. I’ve saved all my money. She doesn’t have any student loans. Am

WednesdayMay 4, 2022

What Happens in WV if Roe is Struck Down?

The U.S. Supreme Court has not yet made a final decision on the landmark Roe v Wade case.  However, if the court adopts the draft opinion  that was leaked to Politico earlier this week, abortion will likely be outlawed in West Virginia. In the draft opinion, Justice Samuel Alito strikes down the 1973 Roe decision,

TuesdayMay 3, 2022

McKinley Gets Help From Manchin

Joe Manchin says when he arrived in Charleston forty years ago as a new member of the state legislature, David McKinley was the first person to introduce himself. They were from different political parties—Manchin a Democrat and McKinley a Republican—but it was the start of a life-long friendship. Now, with McKinley battling for his political

MondayMay 2, 2022

Dems and GOP Switch Places on Filling the Ballot

When long-time Democratic voters in West Virginia go to the polls this Primary Election cycle, they might wonder, “Where have all the legislative candidates gone?” West Virginia’s steady progression from deep blue to deep red and the ongoing decline of Democratic voters have resulted in a significant drop in the number of Democratic candidates running

FridayApril 29, 2022

Coal Mine Drug Test Law Needs Revised

This story begins with Bobby Beavers’ difficulty sleeping. The Bluefield coal miner talked with a pharmacist and decided to try CBD, a chemical compound found in marijuana, as a sleep aid. CBD may contain trace amounts of THC, the ingredient in marijuana that produces the high, but not enough to have any effect. CBD is

ThursdayApril 28, 2022

Mountaineers are Always Free… and Dependent

We West Virginians like to think of ourselves as a self-reliant bunch. The state motto, Montani Semper Liberi, which translates as “Mountaineers are always free,” suggests an engrained independent spirit. You will often find a streak of antipathy toward the federal government among West Virginians. The state voted overwhelmingly twice for Donald Trump, who campaigned

WednesdayApril 27, 2022

Joe Manchin and the Expanding Eye of the Needle

U.S. Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia has historically been a skilled needle-threader. He frequently finds ways to politically maneuver through tight situations without alienating large blocks of voters on either side. A new poll finds the eye of that needle is shifting and getting bigger and working in Manchin’s favor. The survey by Morning

TuesdayApril 26, 2022

Biden’s Half Measures on Ukraine

The United States has made its most significant contribution to date to Ukraine as it fights for survival against the Russian invasion.  Secretary of State Anthony Blinken and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin traveled to Ukraine Sunday to deliver personally to President Volodymyr Zelensky the news that the U.S. would provide over $700 million in military

MondayApril 25, 2022

Covid’s Preventable Deaths

The United States is headed toward one-million deaths attributable to Covid-19.  West Virginia had recorded 6,823 Covid-related deaths as of last week. Each death is a tragedy, a life cut short by a relentless virus, a loss that caused heartache and suffering among family and friends left behind. For all of us, death is inevitable…

FridayApril 22, 2022

Wanted in West Virginia: Workers

West Virginia’s unemployment rate is at historically low levels. The seasonally adjusted jobless rate for March was 3.7 percent, marking the sixth consecutive month of record-setting low unemployment. That is positive economic news, but it is not the whole story. The other more significant figure is West Virginia’s workforce participation rate, and it is abysmal. Data

ThursdayApril 21, 2022

HBO’s Distorted Portrayal of Jerry West

It must be difficult to be Jerry West. That may sound like misplaced sympathy, given that West is regarded as one of the greatest basketball players and executives ever.   But we know West is a tortured soul. He told us so in his 2011 autobiography–West by West: My Charmed, Tormented Life. His hardscrabble upbringing in

WednesdayApril 20, 2022

Safety and the Acceptable Risks of Life

A federal judge has ruled that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s public transit mask mandate exceeds the agency’s authority.  The decision caused airlines and mass transit systems to quickly abandon their mask requirements. The CDC still recommends that “people continue to wear masks in indoor public transportation settings” to help prevent the spread

TuesdayApril 19, 2022

DHHR: How Big is Too Big?

West Virginia’s Department of Health and Human Resources (DHHR) is a government behemoth. The DHHR employs 6,000 individuals and has a budget of $7.5 billion (state and federal dollars).  Its agencies are responsible for medical and behavioral care, family assistance, child protective services, foster care, public health, and responding to the drug epidemic to name

MondayApril 18, 2022

Drug Addiction is West Virginia’s No.1 Problem

Three West Virginia news stories stood out to me this past Easter weekend. The first is out of Raleigh County: “Two Raleigh County residents are charged with child neglect after a toddler overdosed on heroin,” MetroNews reported. The story goes on to explain how an infant at a home in Daniels ingested the dangerous drug. 

FridayApril 15, 2022

J.T. Daniels Changes the Narrative for WVU Football

  Mountaineer football fans had come to dread the transfer portal. The opportunity for athletes to transfer to another school without sitting out a year had turned into an exit ramp.  Twenty players had left the program since the start of last season. Those transfers included names fans had come to know—Akheem Mesidor, Daryl Porter,