Hoppy’s Commentary Archives

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,

ThursdayApril 14, 2022

Tax Facts

This year’s tax filing deadline is coming up, and here are some tax notes: –The tax deadline this year is Monday, April 18th instead of Friday, April 15th.  That’s because Washington D.C. is celebrating its Emancipation Day holiday on Friday and the IRS offices in the city will be closed. Taxpayers in Maine and Massachusetts

WednesdayApril 13, 2022

‘There’s Too Much Month at the End of the Money’

The late Nobel Prize-winning economist Milton Friedman said, “Inflation is just like alcoholism; In both cases, when you start drinking or when you start printing too much money, the good effects come first, and the bad effects only come later.  That’s why in both cases there is a strong temptation to overdo it—to drink too

TuesdayApril 12, 2022

WVU Begins Paying Scholarship Athletes for Remaining Academically Eligible

West Virginia University will now pay student athletes for their labor. Athletes Director Shane Lyons has announced the Mountaineer Academic Incentive Program where qualifying scholarship athletes who meet certain criteria will get an annual check of $5,980.* The athletes should find it relatively easy to qualify for the money—remain academically eligible with at least a

MondayApril 11, 2022

West Virginia Veterans’ Medical Centers Targeted for Major Changes

A proposed massive overhaul of the sprawling veterans’ health care system across the country and in West Virginia has triggered deep concern among leaders of veterans’ groups and politicians that the quality of care will suffer. The recommended restructuring is included in the Department of Veterans Affairs report that will be taken up by the

FridayApril 8, 2022

Gas Prices and Democrat Hypocrisy

Americans are understandably upset over high gas prices, and they are pressing their political leaders for relief.  The Biden administration, absent any meaningful policy to address the issue, resorted to the well-worn canard—blame Big Oil. That tactic was evident this week as the House Energy and Commerce Committee held an oversight hearing entitled, “Gouged at

ThursdayApril 7, 2022

#FTDR (Fix the Damn Roads)

According to John G. Morgan’s book, West Virginia Governors, when the state’s first chief executive, Arthur Boreman, took office in 1863, he said collections on toll roads and maintenance of highways were among his top priorities. Okey Patteson, the state’s 23rd Governor, during his 15-minute inaugural speech, pledged better roads.  Morgan reported that in Arch

WednesdayApril 6, 2022

How About Hoppy?

Names.org has released its list of the most popular baby names in West Virginia for 2022 based on Social Security data and feedback on its website. For boys, Liam tops the list, followed by Waylon, Asher, Elijah and Oliver. “Liam” surprises me since I don’t know of any offhand, but then again, I don’t know

TuesdayApril 5, 2022

Congressional Earmarks Make a Big Return

Congressional earmarks are back. The process by which politicians attach funding for a variety of projects in their home state or district returned with the $1.5 trillion federal government spending bill approved last month after an 11-year absence. A New York Times analysis of the earmarks finds that members of the Senate and House of

MondayApril 4, 2022

Mesidor Transfer Prompts Portal Questions

WVU head football coach Neal Brown looked tired.  It was noon on Thursday and he admitted he had not slept much since Tuesday because of the news he was delivering to the press. “Late Tuesday, end of the day, I learned that Akheem Mesidor was going to enter the transfer portal,” a glum Brown said. 

FridayApril 1, 2022

U.S.-Mexico Border Insecurity

The U.S. border with Mexico is overwhelmed with individuals trying to either enter the country illegally or claim asylum. And things are going to get worse. President Biden is expected to lift Title 42, a public health provision the federal government has used since the Trump administration to stop the potential spread of Covid in

ThursdayMarch 31, 2022

Employment Conundrum: Greater Marijuana Use

America is slowly, but inevitably, moving toward legalization of marijuana. Recreational use of cannabis is legal in 18 states and Washington, D.C. Thirty-seven states, including West Virginia, allow marijuana use for medicinal purposes. A Gallup Poll released last year found the most support ever for legalization. Sixty-eight percent of Americans questioned say pot should be

WednesdayMarch 30, 2022

Midweek Musings

–The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has authorized a second booster shot of either Pfizer or Moderna Covid vaccines for people 50 and older along with certain immunocompromised individuals. Older West Virginians have the highest vaccination rate, but their participation has waned with each recommended shot.  Just 29 percent of those 51-60 have been boosted,

TuesdayMarch 29, 2022

A Poor Health Report for West Virginia

West Virginia is not feeling very well.  If our state went to the doctor and was asked about our symptoms, there would be a long list. The United Health Foundation (UHF) has released its 2021 annual report of America’s Health Rankings.  The report “examines 81 measures from 30 unique data sources to understand the impact

MondayMarch 28, 2022

Drill, Pump, Ship: Europe Needs the Gas

President Biden announced before he left Poland a plan to significantly increase shipments of liquefied natural gas (LNG) to Europe to help those countries reduce their reliance on Russia for energy. “I know that eliminating Russian gas will have costs for Europe, but it’s not only the right thing to do from a moral standpoint,

FridayMarch 25, 2022

Cutting Financial Ties With Russian Companies is Not as Easy as it Sounds

Earlier this month, Governor Jim Justice called an emergency meeting of the state’s Investment Management Board (WVIMB) to consider divesting from Russian-backed securities. “We continue to witness unspeakable human atrocities being committed by the Russian government against the people of Ukraine, and even though this action may seem small, everything we can do to help