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Hoppy’s Commentary Archives

TuesdayJuly 20, 2021

Sorting Through Critical Race Theory

I am trying to understand Critical Race Theory, and it is not a simple matter. Perhaps the easiest way to break down the idea comes from one of the primary originators, the legal scholar and civil rights activist Derrick Bell.  He posited that racism in this country is not an aberration, but rather a fundamental

MondayJuly 19, 2021

Last Thursday, South Charleston City Council passed an ordinance prohibiting the discrimination against LGBTQ residents.  There was no discussion and the ordinance passed unanimously. The matter was so routine that it hardly made news. That is because more and more communities are adopting similar ordinances.  South Charleston became the 15th West Virginia community pass a

Legislature Must Catch Up With Communities on Fairness Act

Last Thursday, South Charleston City Council passed an ordinance prohibiting discrimination against LGBTQ residents.  There was no discussion and the ordinance passed unanimously. South Charleston became the 15th West Virginia community to pass a Fairness Act. It was all pretty routine. South Charleston’s action followed the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Bostock v. Clayton County,

FridayJuly 16, 2021

Jim Crow? Not So.

President Biden delivered a speech at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia earlier this week where he talked pointedly about the importance of democracy and free and fair elections. “The democratic threshold is liberty,” he said.  “With it, anything is possible.  Without it, nothing—nothing.” He added, “And for our democracy to work, and to deliver

ThursdayJuly 15, 2021

Cuba: A Fear Society

The former Soviet dissident Natan Sharansky had a deep understanding of government repression.  He spent nine years as a political prisoner in the former Soviet Union because of his outspoken opposition to the communist regime. In his book The Case for Democracy. The Power of Freedom to Overcome Tyranny and Terror, Sharansky writes that there

TuesdayJuly 13, 2021

Republicans Expand Voter Registration Advantage in West Virginia

Republicans continue to make gains in voter registration in West Virginia, and that means Democrats are losing more ground. The latest numbers from the Secretary of State’s Office (as of June) show there are 428,542 Republicans and 396,079 Democrats.  249,951 have no party affiliation/independent. 36,844 are listed as “other,” while 8,818 are registered with the

MondayJuly 12, 2021

Delegate Joe Jeffries—West Virginia Embarrassment

  My experience over the years covering the West Virginia Legislature is that most of the members are good and decent people who want to help their state and are concerned about doing the right thing. However, the bell curve of life being what it is, the chambers are also occupied by the occasional ignoramus.

FridayJuly 9, 2021

Manchin is a Swing Vote… Again. This Time on ATF Nominee

It is time for another episode of “Manchin in the Middle.”  West Virginia’s Democratic U.S. Senator is again a key vote on a pending issue where the Senate is split. This time it is over President Biden’s nominee of David Chipman to be the director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. Chipman spent

ThursdayJuly 8, 2021

Vaccination Efforts in West Virginia Hit a Wall

West Virginia’s efforts to vaccinate against Covid-19 have paid off… so far. Figures from the state Department of Health and Human Resources show that the state’s older population is well on its way to herd immunity.  Seventy-seven percent of those 65 and older are fully vaccinated, while 87 percent of that same group has received

WednesdayJuly 7, 2021

Student Athletes Finally Get Their Earning Potential Rights

The NCAA’s annual financial report shows that the athletic departments of the more than 1,100 member schools generated $18.9 billion in revenue in 2019. * That is a huge number, but it is important to note that college athletic departments are also big spenders.  The NCAA’s financial report shows those same schools spent almost all

TuesdayJuly 6, 2021

No, Arizona’s Election Law is Not Voter Suppression

Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court, by a 6-3 decision, upheld two provisions of Arizona voting law.  The majority rejected the arguments by Democrats and civil rights groups that the provisions disproportionately burdened minority voters. From the outrage by some on the left, you would have thought that the Court ruling allows Arizona to put

FridayJuly 2, 2021

Happy Independence Day

(Editor’s note:  This is a commentary I wrote a few years ago and post every year at this time.) John Adams’s letter to his wife Abigail was filled with enthusiasm, but also carried a tone of foreboding.  It was July 1776 and revolution was in the air among the delegates at the meeting of the

ThursdayJuly 1, 2021

Statues of Confederates Do Not Belong in the U.S. Capitol

America’s continual journey to “form a more perfect Union,” is often uneven.  As Winston Churchill famously said, “Americans will always do the right thing, only after they have tried everything else.” We are still sorting out issues of race, particularly as it relates to slavery, the Civil War and Jim Crow. Our progress is self-evident,

WednesdayJune 30, 2021

The Delta Variant of Covid Signals the Pandemic is Not Over in WV

Two weeks ago, West Virginia Covid-19 Czar Dr. Clay Marsh warned that a newer and potentially more dangerous variant of the virus would soon arrive here. “We’re approaching a yellow light,” Marsh said on June 16.  “A yellow light is the risk of a new variant coming to West Virginia.” And Marsh was right. The

TuesdayJune 29, 2021

GOP-led Michigan Report Debunks Trump Claims

Many of the conspiracy theories contending the 2020 election was stolen from Donald Trump emanated from Michigan, and more specifically Antrim County—dead voters, mystery ballot dumps, rigged voting machines. These allegations and others provided fodder for The Big Lie and created a fund-raising apparatus for groups like the Allied Security Operations Group that has led

MondayJune 28, 2021

West Virginia—Wild, Wonderful… and Busy

The traveling public from outside our state is finding out what those of us who live here already know—West Virginia’s state parks are great destinations. The state Department of Tourism reports the parks are on track to reach 10 million visitors this year.   For the past 20 years, visitation has never exceeded 7 million.  Camping

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