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Hoppy’s Commentary Archives

FridayJune 25, 2021

From Defund to Re-Fund the Police

The murder of George Floyd by former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin spawned nationwide protests and ignited the “Defund the Police” movement. “Defund the Police” meant different things to different people. A few activists wanted to dismantle police departments.  Others had a more nuanced approach where policing could be reinvented to include more funding for

ThursdayJune 24, 2021

An Important and Timely Victory for Free Speech

Fourteen-year-old Brandi Levy sounded like she was mad at the world when she failed to make the varsity cheerleading squad at Mahanoy High School in Eastern Pennsylvania. She posted a picture of herself and a friend flashing the middle finger on Snapchat and wrote, F—school f—softball f—cheer f—everything.” School officials were alerted to the post,

WednesdayJune 23, 2021

The Filibuster Hypocrisy

To say that there is hypocrisy in Washington politics is like saying the sun will come up tomorrow.  It is a given. Politicians often twist themselves into pretzel-like logic to justify their positions.  And they are pretty good at it—probably because of all the practice—which is why many of the incumbents continue to get re-elected.

TuesdayJune 22, 2021

West Virginians Pulled Together During the Flood

Five years ago tomorrow, torrential rains produced widespread flooding in West Virginia.  Up to ten inches of rain over a 12-to-18-hour period sent creeks and rivers roaring over their banks. Mud and debris-filled flood waters killed 23 people, hundreds of homes and businesses were destroyed or damaged, roads and bridges were washed away. The National

MondayJune 21, 2021

Manchin Pitches Compromise, But Who Wants It?

Two weeks ago, Senator Joe Manchin published a commentary in the Charleston Gazette-Mail newspaper explaining his opposition to the For the People Act and his support for continuing the filibuster. Those were not new positions for Manchin.  He had already said in multiple interviews that he thought the federal elections bill was too broad and

FridayJune 18, 2021

A Father’s Day Gift

It is Father’s Day Sunday, and I have feelings of sadness and regret. My father, Harvey Kercheval, Jr., (Yes, I am his namesake) died 12 years ago this September at age 87.  I loved my father, but I was not always a good son. I chalk that up to, among other things, that I was

ThursdayJune 17, 2021

Justice Wants to Party

Governor Jim Justice said there are a lot of reasons to celebrate this Sunday. June 20th will mark the state’s 158th birthday and it is Father’s Day.  Also, the state’s mask mandate expires, and the state will hold the first of a series of lottery drawings for prizes for West Virginians who have been vaccinated

WednesdayJune 16, 2021

The Politics of Boundaries

The 2022 election in West Virginia will be about campaigns, fund raising, political ads, debates, and policy disagreements. But now, the election is about boundaries, as in the lines that separate the political districts within our state. Every ten years, each state uses new Census data to reapportion congressional and legislative districts based on population.

TuesdayJune 15, 2021

Higginbotham Comes Out

I’m gay. I’ve wanted to tell you this for many years, but I couldn’t be public like I wanted because there were still a few people in my family who didn’t know yet—now they do. So now I’m telling you, too. — Joshua Higginbotham (@Higginbotham4WV) June 13, 2021 Joshua Higginbotham, a Republican House of

MondayJune 14, 2021

Once-in-a-Lifetime Opportunity for West Virginia

During the state legislative session earlier this year, McDowell County Delegate Ed Evans rose on the House floor to speak about the conditions back home.  As our Brad McElhinny reported, the Democrat from Welch was near tears as he described the challenges in his community. “This week, Thursday, we closed Walgreens.  Who closes a Walgreens?

FridayJune 11, 2021

Alien Encounters

  The New York Times reported recently, “American intelligence officials have found no evidence that aerial phenomena witnessed by Navy Pilots in recent years are alien spacecraft.” Darn it.  We could use the distraction. Just imagine if aliens have been flying around, checking us out and looking for a place to land.  What would their

ThursdayJune 10, 2021

Economic Setbacks, But Also Progress

Unfortunately, we are used to bad economic news in West Virginia. Just this week, Monongalia County Resources announced the pending shutdown of an underground coal mine and prep plant near Blacksville.  180 employees will lose their jobs. Meanwhile, the pharmaceutical plant in Morgantown, formerly owned by Mylan and now owned by Viatris, is closing permanently

WednesdayJune 9, 2021

Manchin Draws Ire From the Left; Capito Pushes Ahead on Infrastructure

West Virginia Democratic Senator Joe Manchin is at the center of a political maelstrom now because of his opposition to the massive “For the People Act” federal elections bill and his commitment to keeping the Senate filibuster. Manchin has also spoken out against the size and scope of President Biden’s infrastructure plan, as well as

TuesdayJune 8, 2021

Do It For Babydog

West Virginia is now offering a series of prizes to encourage individuals who have not yet been vaccinated against Covid-19 to get their shots.  The giveaways include a $1.6 million grand prize, a $588,000 second prize, custom-outfitted trucks, hunting rifles and shotguns, lifetime hunting and fishing licenses, scholarships at state colleges and weekend stays at

MondayJune 7, 2021

West Virginia Democratic Party Divide is on Full Display

Humorist Will Rogers said, “I belong to no organized party.  I am a Democrat.” That disorganization was on display last week when the West Virginia Democratic Party Executive Committee’s virtual meeting turned chaotic. The party leaders were trying to adopt an affirmative action plan.  However, the members of the party’s new affirmative action committee had

FridayJune 4, 2021

Justice: “Quit Worrying About That.”

There is a scene in the comedy film Naked Gun where inspector Frank Drebin is standing in front of an exploding building as its occupants flee in panic.  A crowd gathers, but Drebin waves them away. “Nothing to see here.  Please disperse.” I was thinking about that as Governor Jim Justice again tried to assure

ThursdayJune 3, 2021

Don’t Defund; De-escalate

The murder of George Floyd by former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin one year ago pushed to the forefront concerns about police use of excessive force, particularly against Black Americans. The Defund the Police movement emerged, and it has different meanings. To some, defund means just that—eliminate the police and redirect the money toward the

WednesdayJune 2, 2021

Governor Justice’s $700 Million Problem

The headline in the Wall Street Journal is an attention grabber: “West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice is Personally Liable for $700 Million in Greensill Loans.” Justice’s companies have a long history of non-payment, slow payment and legal fights over debts.  The investigative news outlet ProPublica reported last year that “Justice’s constellation of companies has been

TuesdayJune 1, 2021

WV Should Not Pay Bonuses to Lure People Back to Work

Governor Justice is considering paying a cash bonus to individuals to entice them to return to work.  Employers are having trouble filling vacant positions and the argument is that paying people to go back to work will help solve that problem. Initially, the Governor offered to match bonuses paid by employers.  However, businesses balked at

FridayMay 28, 2021

Our Memorial Day Obligation

Imagine a debt that can never be fully repaid. That obligation is so great that it is nearly incomprehensible to think about, so we block it from our thoughts and pretend that it does not exist. But each of us who enjoys the myriad benefits of living in this great country and acknowledges the sacrifice