More Bad News…

… For the typical West Virginian. Seems our legislators have finally completely lost all their marbles. Yes, the rumor is true about some fool wanting to ban the sale of Barbie dolls in WV! This has become the latest WV joke NATIONALLY. But that’s not what this article is all about.

Oh, this definitely gives insight into the WV legislator mentality, for sure. But there is something much more sinister than Barbie to worry about.

It seems that there is a bill proposed which seeks to drug test anyone who applies for welfare, foodstamps, or unemployment benefits in the state.

Now, there are already several existing remedies for the use of illegal drugs in this state, some of which you may not know anything about, and some you are already familiar with. We already know how effective police officers and the legal system are at treating the serious problems related to drug use and addiction. And we are already quite familiar with the methods used by the medical profession. But that is only the tip of the iceberg.

First of all and most commonly, we have drug testing for those individuals who want to go to work. You don’t test “clean” you are not allowed to have a “real” job.

Relatively recently, it seems that going to the doctors office for a medical condition will also get you drug tested, and if you are discovered to have some illegal or un-prescribed drug in your system, the doctors now have the option to REFUSE treatment of your condition. So, now, you don’t test clean, you are not allowed to have medical treatment.

But that is only the start of the bad news.

There is now a bill before the WV legislators that would seek, ONLY IN WV so far, to drug test all those who would sign up for food stamps, welfare, and unemployment benefits! This will CERTAINLY cure the drug problem!!!!! Right?

Anyone who chooses to do ANY illegal drugs will no longer be allowed to have money or food! So, no medical treatment, no jobs, no money, no food. Yes, that will surely fix everything!

But, does anyone actually have a clue what will REALLY happen if this becomes law? So far, no amount of laws, police, jail, death by overdose, divorce, or anything else has made any impact what-so-ever in stemming the DANGEROUS use of drugs. Let alone the totally UN-dangerous use of marijuana.

So what makes this any different? The difference will be that there will be a huge growth in homeless, moneyless, foodless, jobless drug addicts for starters. These are the folks who NEED the drugs to feel normal and will do anything to get them. The crime rate will go thru the roof from theft AND violent crime will be more common. The already ridiculously full jails will get fuller, and more will have to be built to accomodate.

Many people who are otherwise law abiding citizens at this point will turn to other means of survival including DRUG DEALING to get their money. And some individuals will go underground, thus making it HARDER for “big brother” to keep track of them, tax them, or manipulate them.

In other words, this is not going to stop or even slow down the illegal drug business, just create a new set of  problems for everyone, and create more “criminals” for the legal system to deal with. And with it already taking at least 4 to 5 years to get a case through the court system, look for the time it takes to increase…

If this bill passes, you will be seeing many more homeless on the streets. Even in your small towns. Look for more pan handlers asking for spare change. Look for the community cupboards and any churches offering assistance to be overwhelmed with requests for help. You will need to be much more aware of who comes and goes at your home. You will probably need to place armed guards near your front door and your gardens…

I see only one FAIR thing for the legislators to do if they MUST pass this barbaric and totally un-compassionate law, and that would be: If you are prepared to totally kick  out anyone doing any sort of illegal “drugs”, and remove them from “your” system all together, at that point you should simply allow those people to do their drugs without fear of retaliation! Surely if you are heartless enough to starve out the drug users and cause them to no longer be members of this society, then you should allow them the actual FREEDOM to not be members of this society if they so choose!!!

Published in: on March 12, 2009 at 3:23 pm  Comments (3)  
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Letter to the Editor : Voting for Obama

Sunday, October 19, 2008
Dominion Post, Morgantown, WV


When integration came to Morgantown Junior High, I knew my life had been enriched. To my good-fortune, a young African-American, Charles Blue, and I were placed in the same eighthgrade homeroom. That year, “Chuck” led our homeroom to the eighth-grade championship in allaround sports. Best of all, I had gained a dear, honorable friend for life. Another African-American, Charolotte Johnson, tried out for cheerleader that year. Her “tryout” was a song and dance number that went something like: “Strawberry shortcake, huckleberry pie, let’s all cheer for Morgantown Junior High.” She won in a landslide. Charolotte’s wonderful innocent spirit infected all students and teachers who were fortunate to see her try-out that day.
The turmoil and racial violence percolating in the ’50s exploded in the ’60s. But as a sophomore at WVU in 1960, I got to watch the great running back Ernie Davis lead his Syracuse football team to victory against the Mountaineers, and contrary to the recent film, “The Express,” I witnessed none of the violent racist actions seen in the film. Needless to say, it is dismaying to see West Virginians portrayed in such a deplorable light.
Today when I hear crowds at John McCain’s campaign stops disparaging Barack Obama with shouts of “terrorist,” “kill him,” “bomb him,” “Arab,” “uppity” (which in the dark days was often followed by the “N” word), and “elitist,” I am unfortunately reminded of the mobs of the sixties. It seems to me that the McCain campaign, to say the least, is pandering to racism — dangerously so. West Virginians did not hurl racial invectives or throw garbage at Ernie Davis in 1960.
They are, however, familiar with stereotyping. They know all too well the words, “hicks,” “uneducated,” “inbred,” “hillbillies” and “white trash.” Educators at all levels in West Virginia have worked hard to give all children in the state a good education. Will these children be called “elitist” because they dare to aspire? We want our leaders to be smart and well-educated.
Pete Seeger, a Harvard drop-out, has an admirable ability to elicit a sense of hope about the future and self. Call Seeger a folk singer, a socialist, a communist, poet, musician, story-teller or savior of the Hudson River, his credibility seems to transcend politics, philosophy or science. As a friend of his has said, “[Seeger] personifies what can happen when a human being maintains hope in adversity, restructures his thinking and helps those around him to do the same.”
Obama is helping me rediscover my hope — a hope that is not a thoughtless, carefree walk in the sun, but a hope that allows me to put one foot in front of the other, to keep going forward. He dares me to believe that together we can mend the fences of fear. He encourages us to do what West Virginians have always done, take pleasure in each other, in community, and have faith in the good part of ourselves. West Virginians have long held the strong belief that all people are, in principle, equal and should enjoy equal social, political and economic rights and opportunities.
I am a white male from West Virginia, and the perception for some is that I am not supposed to want a black man for president. In that case, America, not just Obama, loses, and our country’s climb out of its decline — whether in our economy, education, medicine, science, or world prestige — will stagnate. Abraham Lincoln wanted this country to be an example of what democracy could be for the world. I believe Obama represents that best example and is the only candidate who can turn this country around. Obama has convinced me that I can trust my better angel. All West Virginians can trust their “better angels” and feel better the morning after Obama safely crosses the finish line and is elected our president. Don’t be fooled; don’t let fear get in the way. We can do it, West Virginians. Yes we can.


is a Morgantown native, who is best known as a television, stage and film actor. This commentary should be considered another point of view and not necessarily the opinion or editorial policy of The Dominion Post.

Published in: on October 21, 2008 at 12:17 am  Comments (1)  
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High Voltage West Virginia

For your education, here are TWO letters to the editor which I have received permission to re-print here. One was published in the Roane County Reporter and one was in the Charleston Gazette. As usual, pass this info on to everyone you see.


Sent: Monday, July 28, 2008 10:45 PM
To: d hedges
Subject: letter/op-ed piece

No 765,000 Volt line

To the Editor,

It’s amazing what our government, along with powerful corporations, seems willing to do to us here in WV. They have proposed to build an extremely high voltage, 765-kilovolt line that would cut right through Kanawha, Roane, and Calhoun counties in a 270 mile long and 200 foot wide path, from one end of our state to the other. This line would cost over a billion dollars to build, and guess who’s going to pay for it? WV electricity consumers. Guess who it’s mostly for? The east coast grid. They also want to build a 4.3 billion dollar coal-gasification plant just north of the John Amos plant. That’s how they plan to have enough electricity to feed that line to Md. and beyond. They’ll want us to pay for that too, but that electricity is not needed here either. However, the health dangers and the loss of the unspoiled natural beauty of our area and the loss of property values and quality of life will be ours. And for that we’ll be charged over $5,000 apiece if we let this happen. Maybe we should put it on the ballot this fall and vote on it. We’re supposed to live in a democracy, but it seems more like fascism when corporations are spending our money to tell us what they will do whether we like it or not.

A 345-kilovolt line will light up a florescent bulb if you hold one in your hand under the wires. A 765-kilovolt line is even higher voltage than that, but it is the electromagnetic field that is produced by high voltage lines that is reported to be dangerous, especially to children and embryos. Study after study in many countries has shown the connection to childhood cancer and leukemia rates being triple the national average from living near high-voltage lines. Other studies have shown how these EMF’s, (electromagnetic fields), affect human cells and act as a cancer promoter by causing cancer cells to thrive and the cells that fight cancer to be weakened. In Houston Texas a court case was won that forced a power company there to move a high current power line away from a school. In Virginia, there are signs posted around these high power lines that say
“Stay Away. Do not walk under these lines. Exposure may cancer”. How is mining and using even more coal, building a 4.3 billion dollar power plant, and running an enormous, annoying, humming power line across our state a better idea than producing any new energy we need from clean, renewable sources, and then have those sources slowly but surely take over more and more from our use of fossil fuels?
Let me note some clean ways to produce energy that will make us more energy independent, help clean up our environment, create jobs that can stimulate our economy and help slow down global warming. For our coastal areas there’s the energy of the ocean that we can tap. They have developed buoys that bounce around in the ocean and can produce enough energy to power 60,000 homes. They can also put turbines underwater to capture the energy there. We can build wind turbines in high wind areas in our nation and use that electricity right there to create hydrogen from water, and then make hydrogen fuel cells, the by product of that process being
oxygen. No transmission lines are necessary for that project. If we would mass-produce hydrogen fuel cells for our homes and cars, they would get cheaper and more affordable. Our homes would be twice as efficient with a way to store energy, same as a hybrid vehicle. If we would mass-produce solar cells, they too would be much more affordable and we could put them on our homes and businesses. Toyota is soon going to put solar cells on the roof of their hybrid cars to power their air conditioners.
Won’t these types of projects, building 765,000 volt electric lines and building more coal-fired power plants undermine efforts to produce energy from clean, renewable sources?
When they buy or take a two hundred foot wide right of way across your property, they only pay for that portion of your property. But they have reduced the value of your entire property, and you’re not being compensated for that. You may no longer want to live near one of these annoying, humming power lines, they may give you a headache, or make you nauseas. You may not want your children playing near them, or your cows grazing under them. And maybe no one else would want to buy that property with one of those massive lines going across it. I imagine a lot of people
have put a lot of hard work and investment and time and sweat into their places, and want to pass that on to future generations. That’s worth more than a million dollars to some people, and the power company is just going to pay for what they cross, not what they ruin. No one wants them near their school, no one wants them near their home, no one wants them where they work, and no one wants them on their land. No one should be forced to live with these things. How dare they run these lines through our beautiful state! They should be illegal.

Steve Gormezano

Sent: Tuesday, August 05, 2008 12:16 PM
To: Gazette
Subject: 765 KV lines

To the Editor,
765,000 volts. That’s over 3/4th of a million volts to be running through these proposed 765 kV power lines. The electromagnetic field that is generated, feels like a field of negative life-force energy. I see you reported that the Governor is wondering if there is anything at all in these proposed lines for West Virginia and it’s people.
Well there’s plenty. There are the decreased property values all the way across our state. When they pay a landowner just for the strip of land they cross, they do not compensate anyone for the loss in value of their entire property and for nearby properties. There’s the destruction of the scenic beauty everywhere they go. That could affect tourism, and people who live here could lose loving where they live. No one chooses to live under these lines, they get stuck there. Let’s not forget the health or economic benefits. We know that cancer and leukemia rates triple in children that live under high current power lines with less current than these. And naturally, our electric rates would go up for the costs involved in making more electricity that we don’t even need, since it’s all for the east coast grid. .
There’s the loss of respect for the turn our form of government has taken lately, where most people believe that corporations now rule our country, and that is fascism.
We’d also end up undermining efforts to produce clean renewable energy with projects like these. This project includes building 4 more coal fired electric plants. That would lead to an amazing contribution to global warming.
However, if we choose to, within 10 years, we could produce most of our homes energy needs with solar and hydrogen technologies, and we wouldn’t need half the power we use now from coal. No one doubts that power companies would hate to see that. Clean, renewable energy? Are you kidding? They have made it a crime in some places. Whose country is this anyway?
Thank you, sincerely, Steve Gormezano


Steve Gormezano is vice-president and a spokesperson for the CCC, the
Concerned Citizens Coalition of Roane and Calhoun Counties. He is also
been featured on the news recently growing organic garlic and Jerusalem
artichokes on his Roane County farm. He was a founding member of WV’s
organic growers and buyers association. He also harvests bark and trees in
a sustainable manner, runs a bandsawmill, and makes baskets and furniture
featured at both Tamarack and Mountainmade.


Sold Out

I fear West Virginia has finally been sold out. The plan to build an enormous high voltage power line thru our area seems to be rapidly approaching completion. The WVPSC approved the proposal (Did we expect any different? Former Prosecutor Matt Minney is on the PSC now…), and George Bush, the criminal, gave away your land while you weren’t looking. He seems to be going for broke. Having already done plenty of damage to the USA to the point of actual talk of impeachment, apparently he has nothing left to lose, and plans for continuing the rape of our beautiful state are being formalized. It’s enough to make you just want to give up and say “whatever”, change channels, and grab another beer from the icebox.


Bush says coal part of his “sprint to the finish”

By NEDRA PICKLER – 2 days ago

WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W.Va. (AP) — President Bush says he’s using his last six months in office to push new energy plans that include electricity from coal.

Reliable sources of electricity must be part of a strong economy, and “there is no more reliable source of electricity than coal,” Bush said in a speech Thursday to the West Virginia Coal Association gathered at The Greenbrier Resort.

He said promoting a variety of energy sources will be part of the “sprint to the finish” he plans for his presidency.

Coal should be part of the solution to reduce dependance on foreign oil, he said, adding that the United States has 250 years of coal reserves that leave the country “in good shape.”

After the speech, Bush went to Kennebunkport, Maine, for a long weekend with his family.

Well, apathy is most likely what they are hoping for and maybe even expecting, but I have just a bit more faith in most Calhoun County natives than that. I figure that if people actually KNEW what was in the works, those who grew up here and still feel that old Calhoun Pride running thru their veins, they would get mighty fired up. You know the type. The guy down the road, born and raised here, probably hauls scrap metal every week to sell. Your uncle who moved to Ohio to find work and who desperately misses the WV hills and wants to retire here. Granny who would pick up her frying pan and tar the daylights out of those pesky “yes men” who would attempt to convince her it was in the common good for them to mar the view from her kitchen window. IF she only knew that the place of her heritage could be permanently scarred and polluted for the benefit of a bunch of “city slickers” from “up north”.

West Virginia has always been looked down upon by those who would TRY to keep us down. Labeling us as “illiterate hillbillies” or “inbred rednecks” and PUSHING that image to the outside world does nothing for our SELF image. We can be taken advantage of because we are “poor”, “uneducated”, and of course, money is EVERYTHING. We are lied to and terrorized with the idea that we could have “blackouts” or lose jobs, without actually admitting that their mountaintop removal method of extracting coal caused something like 10,000 coal mining jobs to go bye-bye. And the power company is ALREADY so unreliable that we lose our power regularly, so to us it would be ” just another power outage, go get the lamps Mildred”…

Most folks will say “as long as it’s not in my back yard…” But the problem is, it has to be in SOMEONE’S back yard, and if nobody wants it, what then? Can we afford to keep passing the buck and hiding our heads in the sand while our neighbors and friends lose their land and privacy and peace, and maybe even their health too? What happened to the big “global warming” scare, and the “green” revolution? I thought everything was supposed to revolve around that now… But instead, it appears that our wonderful Governor has been doing the usual “bubba rubbing elbows” thing with the other big-wigs, just like always. Unless I miss my guess, “someone” has been doing some dealings under the table to free up a tremendous amount of potential new coal fields just recently. This big power line they want to force upon us will be able to transfer far more electricity than John Amos can produce, so guess what? They will build ANOTHER, bigger plant for a couple more BILLION bucks, and of course then they will have to behead even MORE mountains in the process. I figure it’s already a done deal. Bush assumes he can just do anything he wants with your land, givingimminent domain in 41 of West Virginia’s 55 counties in support of the Amos project”, and ultimately you have no say-so in the matter. No matter HOW many generations of your family has “owned” it, no matter how much land taxes you’ve paid, you must sacrifice what is yours for the “common good”. Isn’t that kind of like COMMUNISM? Isn’t that sort of like living under a dictatorship?

Calhoun County has plenty of troubles. All we REALLY have to show for ourselves is the oil and gas industry which has done little to nothing to alleviate our problems. We have TERRIBLE local government, rotten schools, criminal cops, no jobs, bad roads. But we have ONE thing that anyone can see if they look. We have our incredible natural beauty which SHOULD be able to attract lots of tourists if only we would promote ourselves. We have a full and interesting heritage which includes generations of life in a relatively UNSPOILED area. Now, they want to take that away from us as well.

Don’t get fooled, get angry. They are above NOTHING in order to get what they want. As usual, it’s all about money. Money that we will see NONE of. They will lie, and *bribe, and apparently others are finding out they will trespass on your property too if they can get away with it.

We are definitely not alone. Groups are popping up all over the state as well as thru Pennsylvania, NY, MD, etc. in an attempt to fight against this desecration. In PA they have the attention of senators and attorneys. The fight is heating up across the board. In this area we have some folks who are determined to not allow this to happen without a HECK of a fight. But, the biggest fighters that I have spoken with or encountered so far tend to be TRANSPLANTS from other states, drawn here years ago by the peace, beauty, laid back lifestyle, and friendly folks. Surely it’s not just the “outsiders” who realize what we have here? Perhaps the rest have just lived here too long and can’t see what is right in front of them? I really want to be proved wrong. This could be the biggest issue to ever hit Calhoun County in present times. No one can afford to sleep thru it. If we do, we are just as criminal as those who would rob us.


W.Va. panel OKs $1.3B power line from Pa. to Va.
8/1/2008, 9:40 p.m. EDT
The Associated Press

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — West Virginia’s Public Service Commission approved Allegheny Energy’s proposal to construct a 240-mile high voltage power line to increase electrical supplies to 13 eastern states.

The PSC faced a 12:01 a.m. Saturday deadline to reach a decision on the 500-kilovolt line dubbed TrAIL: short for Trans-Allegheny Interstate Line. As proposed, the line would run from southwestern Pennsylvania across West Virginia to northern Virginia.

Allegheny has said the line is needed to prevent blackouts, rolling blackouts and brownouts. PJM Interconnection, the organization responsible for the transmission grid for a 13-state area, said reliable flow of electricity within the Mid-Atlantic region could not be guaranteed past 2011.

Opponents questioned that claim and argued the line would mar scenic views, lower property values and continue an environmentally damaging reliance on coal-fired electricity.

*To ease opposition to the $1.3 billion line, Greensburg, Pa.-based Allegheny agreed to give West Virginia customers a seven-year reprieve from costs associated with building the line.*(Is this bribery or what?)

The proposed settlement was reached with the PSC’s Consumer Advocate Division and staff, and the West Virginia Energy Users Group, a coalition of large energy-consuming companies that includes DuPont and PPG Industries. (Big corporations deciding our fate…)

The Consumer Advocate Division *also agreed not to oppose the line after Allegheny modified the route through northern West Virginia. Allegheny agreed to supply free electricity to about 500 residential landowners. The deal is worth about $70 a month and only applies to residential customers. (But they keep saying the route is not etched in stone yet?…)

“Decisions concerning projects of this magnitude are never easy,” said PSC Commissioner Jon W. McKinney. However, he said commissioners believe the utility “proved the need for this project as an active part of the solution to regional electricity supply issues, and also showed a good faith effort to minimize environmental and cultural impacts.”

State law required the PSC to issue a decision on the power line by May 3, but in April the agency extended the deadline to Saturday, saying it needed more time to review the proposed settlement and other issues.

A Virginia State Corporation Commission hearing examiner recommended earlier this week that regulators approve the application for Virginia’s portion of a proposed line.

The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission has yet to issue its decision.


Massey Coal’s Blankenship Versus ABC News

Apr 3, 2008 12:01 PM
Subject: Now Hear This: Blankenship Blows Top
Normally he Blows our WV Mountain Tops…ABC News says Massey CEO attacked producer

By The Associated Press

Massey Energy Chief Executive Don Blankenship threatened to shoot an ABC News producer and physically attacked him, a network spokesman said today.

ABC plans to air footage next week that shows Blankenship telling the producer, “If you’re going to start taking pictures of me, you’re liable to get shot,” ABC spokesman Jeffrey Schneider said. Blankenship then moved quickly toward the producer, grabbed his camera and snapped off a microphone before putting his hand’s to the man’s throat and tearing his shirt collar, Schneider said.

Calls to Blankenship weren’t immediately returned, but Massey spokesman Shane Harvey said today that the ABC producer surprised Blankenship “on company property and some sort of tussle ensued.

“We are aware that over the years Mr. Blankenship’s been attacked a number of times and not surprised that there was a reaction that somebody just jumped out at him and didn’t identify themselves,” Harvey said.

Blankenship told the Charleston Daily Mail newspaper he grabbed the man only after a camera was shoved at him, bruising his chest.

“I don’t know exactly how the tape will look or exactly what I said,” Blankenship told the newspaper. “It all happened quickly. In my view, the cameraman was unprofessional and not knowing him, I didn’t know what his intentions were.

Blankenship also said he couldn’t recall threatening to shoot the producer. “Quite frankly, I don’t know what I said except that I know I’m never loud, vulgar or rude to strangers.

Schneider said the producer, whom he declined to name, attempted an unannounced interview after unsuccessful attempts to arrange a face to face meeting.

ABC is working on a story about Blankenship’s relationship with state Supreme Court Chief Justice Elliott “Spike” Maynard. The two were photographed vacationing in Monaco in July 2006 while Massey had cases pending before the court.

Schneider said ABC also interviewed Maynard and expects to run the story next week.