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Hoppy’s Commentary Archives


ThursdaySeptember 9, 2021

Men Are Giving Up on College

Men have fallen behind women in the pursuit of a college education in West Virginia and across the country. The Wall Street Journal reported this week that statistics from the National Student Clearinghouse show that at the end of the 2020-21 academic year, “women made up 59.5 percent of college students, an all-time high, and

WednesdaySeptember 8, 2021

The Acceleration of Covid in West Virginia

The number of Covid-19 cases is accelerating faster in West Virginia than any other state. That is according to an analysis by Emory Parker, data project manager at STAT, a national media company that investigates and reports on health, medicine and life sciences. “Cases in West Virginia are speeding up faster than they ever have,

TuesdaySeptember 7, 2021

Election Results Denial Damages Democracy

The claim that Donald Trump won the 2020 election is demonstrably false, but in politics the “facts” are malleable. Trump and many of his supporters have continued to perpetuate the falsity by clinging to allegations that have been disproven or dismissed by credible sources—both Republican and Democrat.  In a few instances, they have latched on to

FridaySeptember 3, 2021

West Virginians Weigh In On Pandemic Response

West Virginia Governor Jim Justice gets better marks for his handling of the Covid-19 pandemic than President Joe Biden. The MetroNews West Virginia Poll finds that 71 percent of registered voters are either “very satisfied” or “somewhat satisfied” with Justice’s leadership during the pandemic. A survey by FiveThirtyEight released Wednesday showed that 53 percent of

ThursdaySeptember 2, 2021

Justice Lands On His Financial Feet

West Virginia Governor Jim Justice sounded relieved when I spoke with him.  He had just learned that his companies had reached a settlement with Carter Bank & Trust restructuring loans of more than $360 million. The legal sparring between the Justice family businesses and its long-time financial partner was resolved.  The two sides agreed to

WednesdaySeptember 1, 2021

We Missed You, Maryland

I have looked forward to the West Virginia University football season with varying degrees of anticipation all my adult life, dating back to when I was a student at WVU in the mid 1970s.  The level of interest was typically a nexus of my love of college football, the level of expectations for the team,

TuesdayAugust 31, 2021

How West Virginia Let Early Covid Success Slip Away

Just two months ago, it seemed West Virginia had the Covid-19 virus licked.  The number of current active cases dropped below 1,000.  Hospitalizations for the virus were down to a couple dozen. Unfortunately, the good news was temporary. The rate of vaccinations dried up just as the new Delta variant was moving into West Virginia. 

MondayAugust 30, 2021

The Afghan Failure

John F. Kennedy said, “Victory has a thousand fathers, but defeat is an orphan.” In the long view, military historians will study the United States’ 20 year commitment in Afghanistan and analyze whether it was a success or a failure. The fog of war is still dense, so that determination is still elusive. However, in

FridayAugust 27, 2021

West Virginia’s Population Decline Hits Cities Hard

The 2020 U.S. Census data released earlier this month showed that West Virginia’s population declined by 3.3 percent in the last decade, dropping to 1,792,147.  All but eight counties lost population.  (See the Census Data here.) The data also show that the majority of our cities suffered population declines. —Charleston remains the state’s largest city,

ThursdayAugust 26, 2021

Ethics Panel Charges Rep. Mooney Used Campaign Funds for Personal Expenses

West Virginia 2nd District Congressman Alex Mooney has run afoul of the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE). As CQ Roll Call reports, the OCE has determined that the four-term Republican has spent campaign money on personal expenses and failed to properly disclose campaign expenditures. “Overall, according to the OCE, ‘there is reason to believe’ lack

WednesdayAugust 25, 2021

WV Hospitals Take the Lead With Mandatory Covid Vaccinations

West Virginia hospitals are beginning to adopt policies requiring employees to be vaccinated against Covid-19.  WVU Medicine and Mon Health, both based in Morgantown, were among the first. They announced the decision to their employees Monday.  (Read more here.)  WVU Medicine is the largest private employer in the state.  It operates 21 hospitals, most in

TuesdayAugust 24, 2021

Greenbrier County Says ‘No’ to Justice as Boys Coach

West Virginia Governor Jim Justice believes he can expertly carry out the responsibilities of the state’s chief executive, navigate his family businesses through a financial crisis and coach the Greenbrier East girls and boys high school basketball teams—simultaneously. How to put this politely:  Justice does not lack for confidence. But that confidence is not shared

MondayAugust 23, 2021

Coal is Back… For Now

Coal is hot. Even as the United States and many countries around the world pledge to reduce carbon emissions to slow climate change, the demand for coal has increased significantly. The Wall Street Journal reported recently, “Coal use is surging in some of the world’s largest economies as electricity demand rebounds from the pandemic, illustrating

ThursdayAugust 19, 2021

Justice: To Mask or Not to Mask

West Virginia Governor Jim Justice has provided a steady hand at the helm during the pandemic.  He has listened to the right people and followed sound science in making the best decisions over the last 18 months to try to keep West Virginians safe. His choices have not always been popular, but that is expected

WednesdayAugust 18, 2021

Why Can’t West Virginia Be Home For Afghan Refugees?

Thousands of Afghans who worked for and with the United States are trying to get out of the country and find a new home, hopefully in this country. Why can’t West Virginia be one of the destinations? Typically, West Virginia receives only a few refugees each year.  According to Migration Information Source, their destination is

TuesdayAugust 17, 2021

Time Catches Up With the U.S. in Afghanistan

“You have the watches. We have the time.” That is the quote attributed to a captured Taliban fighter assessing the battle with U.S. Forces, and it speaks to the different objectives. Initially, the American mission was to take out Osama Bin Laden and the al Qaeda cells responsible for the 9/11 terror attacks. Then there

MondayAugust 16, 2021

Breaking Down the Data Drop from the Census

The U.S. Census has released a wealth of data from the 2020 survey.  Here are some characteristics about West Virginia that caught my eye: –West Virginia continues to lose people.  The state’s population dropped by 3.3 percent between 2010 and 2020, down to 1,792,147.   Two other states lost population during the decade, but Mississippi’s decline

FridayAugust 13, 2021

Covid-19 Sickbed Conversions

Covid-19 patients being treated at WVU Medicine J.W. Ruby Memorial Hospital in Morgantown, who are the sickest of the sick, end up in the ECMO program. ECMO stands for extracorporeal membrane oxygenation. It is one of the most advanced forms of life support available to patients experiencing acute failure of the cardio-respiratory system.   Doctors use

ThursdayAugust 12, 2021

Pandemic Blamed for Tanking Test Scores

The 2020-21 school year in West Virginia was rocked by the pandemic, and new test results show just how much learning students missed. The Statewide Summative Assessment standardized test results, released Wednesday by the State Board of Education, show students lost substantial ground in core subjects. The test results for grades 3-8 and grade 11

WednesdayAugust 11, 2021

Governor Justice or Coach Justice. Pick One.

Governor Jim Justice loves kids, and he gets great joy from coaching high school basketball.  He coached both the Greenbrier East boys and girls teams from 2010 until 2017 when he gave up the boys, but kept the girls. Now Justice wants to take on the responsibility of the Greenbrier East boys team again.  The