- It presents only one side. There are seldom any explanations for why governments, organizations, and individuals want to limit the use of coal. Beyond the ludicrous ones (the Intelligencer sometimes claims that it is a "vendetta" by Obama), the explanations that are offered seldom do justice to the arguments presented by the other side.
- The articles never mention that most of the jobs lost in the coal industry occurred a generation ago.
- The articles seldom deal with today's economic realities - that other sources of energy (for example, natural gas) are much cheaper.
- The industry people quoted in the article are never asked a tough question. For example, this article's final paragraph tells us that "(t)he 214 Mountain State layoffs come as Murray announced plans last week to pay $1.37 billion for a 34 percent stake in St. Louis-based coal company, Foresight Energy." Okay, Murray Energy, if the future of coal is so bleak, why did you just pay over a billion dollars for a stake in another coal company?
Each year at about this time, coinciding with the April 15 deadline for most people to file income tax returns, the nonpartisan Tax Foundation releases figures on how much it costs Americans to pay for local, state and federal governments. The foundation announces dates for "Tax Freedom Day," the point during the year at which an average person has worked long enough to pay all his taxes.
But in both our states, Tax Freedom Day comes later and later each year. Last year it was April 10 for West Virginians and April 14 for Ohioans.
Again, don't blame your local and state officials. They appear to have done a good job of limiting the damage to our bank accounts. The fault lies in Washington, which takes an ever-increasing bite out of our budgets.According to the Tax Foundation, the average American will have to work until April 24 to cover his tax bill this year. In 2009, the date was April 10.
The foundation invites journalists to describe it as “a non-partisan research think tank, based in Washington, DC,” but not all agree. For example, Dan Crawford, writing for Angry Bear, says, “Its work is aimed at one purpose–convincing Americans that they pay too much in taxes and that government is too big.” Others point out contributions from the Koch Family foundations and ties to other conservative groups as signs of partisan bias. Paul Krugman says flat-out that “knowledgeable people don’t trust the Tax Foundation.”
The Tax Foundation wants to sweep away all those subtleties in service to its ideological bottom line. That's not what a real think tank does. That's propaganda, pure and simple.
It seems likely that the primary purpose is to mislead ordinary Americans about the role of taxes and the amount of taxes they pay. The Tax Foundation gets my maximum "boo" for its shameless exploitation of statistics to mislead Americans about both their own tax burdens and the role of government in our lives.
1. How about misrepresenting a source? Scroll down one post and you see how the Intelligencer cherry picks its quotes. An isolated incident? Hardly -- see posts on December 20 and February 21, for example.2. How about lying about what a source says? Go to a December 20 post about a prevailing wage editorial ("How low can they go?") in which the Intelligencer claims a study found that the prevailing wage cost West Virginian $224 million in one year. If you actually go to the study you'll find that the study was about Michigan; West Virginia is not mentioned anywhere in the report. But that didn't stop the editorial writer from telling us about how the prevailing wage had cost West Virginians so dearly. (Who's going to actually bother to check, right Michael?)3. What about editing out of Associated Press articles material which didn't agree with their biases? In the most egregious example last year, they edited out polls from an AP report that a majority of both Democrats and Republicans believed in limiting greenhouse gases? (See my post of June 10 in the old section.) And how about dropping the last couple of paragraphs which criticized Republicans in another AP story after the most recent inaugural address in January?4. How about refusing to carry stories about climate change? When the most important study of climate change in 2014 was released, neither paper carried the story (see March 26). When the largest worldwide rally on climate change took place last September most papers featured previews and then published long AP stories on their front pages about the event with pictures. The locals ignored all of this except for a couple of paragraphs about it on an inside page.5. How about plagiarism - stealing from another source without proper attribution. Check the April 2 post below titled "Plagiarism."
We draw a hard line between our news pages and those on which we as an institution and as individual writers provide our opinions.
Here at the Wheeling News-Register and The Intelligencer, we make our money by selling a single product to readers: trust.
"We know climate change is not a distant threat . . . most Americans see climate change hitting their communities through extreme weather events - from more severe droughts and wildfires to more powerful hurricanes and record heat waves . . ." (The ellipses are in the editorial. Note that the rest of the editorial will ignore the severe droughts, wildfires, and record heat waves that the president cites as the editorial focuses only on "more powerful hurricanes." Can we conclude that the Intelligencer agrees with the president on droughts, wild fires, and heat waves?)
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration scientists studied hurricanes since 1878 and found what may have been a slight increase. But statistically, "this trend is so small . . . that it is not significantly distinguishable from zero," they note."It is premature to conclude that human activities - and particularly greenhouse gas emissions that cause global warming - have already had a detectable impact on Atlantic hurricane activity," NOAA concluded.
Coal has got to go. That much is undeniable. Climate change is presenting us with a tremendous, urgent threat, and coal is the dirtiest and largest single source of the fossil fuels still pouring into our atmosphere.But while that’s settled (among scientists, if not some particularly stubborn politicians), the conversation about how we’re actually going to transition away from coal is just getting started. And too often left out of that discussion, says journalist Richard Martin, is the human cost of the industry’s decline — how the people, and communities, built on Big Coal’s promises will be left to fare once it’s no longer in the picture.
This is not a book of advocacy or environmental policy or technology. The premise of the book is if we don’t do something to drastically reduce our consumption of coal, there is no hope of limiting global climate change. My view is either we shut down the coal industry, or it’s going to shut us down. What the book tries to do is take a look at the human drama and the human costs associated with this effort to transform our power system and really, if not shut down, then certainly limit our ongoing consumption of coal.
Oil and gas drillers ran afoul of regulators on average 2.5 times a day in three energy-intensive states for mistakes such as wastewater spills, well leaks or pipeline ruptures during the boom in hydraulic fracturing.Online records in West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Colorado showed regulators issued 4,600 citations from 2009 to 2013, the Natural Resources Defense Council said Thursday in a report. The report excluded violations in 33 other states with drilling because such records aren’t available on the Internet.
The five healthiest counties in West Virginia, starting with most healthy, are Pendleton, Jefferson, Monongalia, Pleasants, and Upshur. The five counties in the poorest health, starting with least healthy, are McDowell, Wyoming, Mingo, Logan, and Mercer.
For decades, people in southern West Virginia have suffered from elevated rates of health problems like lung cancer, cardiovascular disease, and birth defects. In McDowell County, for example, life expectancy for females is about 73 years, approximately eight years below the national average.Although many attribute these problems to the poverty of the region, scientists and epidemiologists have been looking at a different culprit. Beginning in 2006, more than two dozen studies have explored the possibility of a link between the region’s illnesses and mountaintop removal mining, a common term for the surface mining of coal.
Governor Earl Ray Tomblin announced that the state would conduct an official review of those studies, under the leadership of the state Bureau for Public Health’s commissioner, Dr. Rahul Gupta.
WEST LIBERTY - Citing the availability of a witness and ongoing settlement negotiations, the West Virginia Ethics Commission has postponed former West Liberty University president Robin Capehart's hearing until June 29.The hearing had been set for April 16, but Capehart's attorneys requested the delay as a witness will be unable to testify on that date, according to a continuation order issued Tuesday by Hearing Examiner Jennifer Taylor.The order also notes there are "ongoing settlement negotiations" with the Ethics Commission, which may require additional time beyond April 16.
In January, the commission's Probable Cause Review Board issued a 13-count charge of alleged ethics violations against Capehart for misuse of university resources and personnel in production and promotion of two motion pictures involving his daughter and produced by Capehart's privately owned independent film company, Flyover Films.Among the allegations is that Capehart put film company manager/producer Kristen Siebert on the university's payroll, first as a temporary employee at the university's cable-access TV station and eventually as a consultant under a $4,000-a-month professional services contract.Capehart also is accused of charging personal expenses to his state credit card while traveling to promote the movies.Capehart resigned from the university March 11, but remains on staff as a legislative liaison and consultant at his president's salary through the end of the year.
An Ethics Commission hearing for former West Liberty University President Robin Capehart has been postponed to June 29, according to a continuation order issued Tuesday by Hearing Examiner Jennifer Taylor.The hearing had been scheduled to begin on April 16, but attorneys for Capehart sought the delay, indicating a key witness will be out of the country and unable to testify on that date.
While they're waiting, perhaps the Ethics Commission can get Capehart to watch the legislature for them.The order also notes there are “ongoing settlement negotiations” with the Ethics Commission, which may require additional time beyond April 16.Ethics complaints are frequently resolved prior to going to public hearing, with the accused entering into conciliation agreements, in which they admit to fault on some or all of the charges and agree to pay restitution and fines.
U.S. coal companies that are publicly skeptical of man-made climate change acknowledge in mandatory financial disclosures the widely accepted scientific link between fossil fuel emissions and a warming planet, a Greenwire analysis has found.Sustainable investment advocates warn that such doublespeak undermines the industry's credibility with shareholders. And scientific integrity experts are critical of the coal companies' climate communication strategy, which they argue is detrimental to the long-term health and security of the American people.
A new study from PEW Charitable Trusts shows a decrease in America's middle class.The analysis was conducted by Stateline, a PEW project. Researchers found through the study all 50 states experienced declines in the percentage of middle class households, even as the median income for most states declined.The research also showed the share of a family's income going toward housing state-by-state is generally about 30 percent.With still one of the smallest median incomes, West Virginia's share of households in the middle class in 2013 was 44.7 percent, while it was 46.7 percent in 2000.
Following West Virginia Governor Earl Ray Tomblin’s March 20 veto of Senate Bill 347, a move possibly inspired by U.S. Senator Joe Manchin’s fierce opposition to the civil rights proposal, gun rights supporters have renewed calls to ouster Manchin from their ranks.Manchin, infamous for his authorship of the Manchin-Toomey gun control proposal, attacked the West Virginia civil bill in a March 12 press release.
Gun owners and Second Amendment advocates can participate in the #BootJoe initiative at bootjoe.com, a website created by the Firearms Policy Coalition to urge gun rights groups to revoke the memberships of Manchin and other anti-gun politicians.
But many of its flaws had been worked out when something incredible happened: The bill was killed by the LGBT - lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender - lobby. LGBT advocates persuaded state senators to amend the charter schools bill to ban specifically any discrimination against students or employees based on sexual orientation.House of Delegates members decided they'd rather ban discrimination for any reason, so they substituted a line simply barring it for any reason that would be unlawful if practiced by a public school.Sounds reasonable. But the LGBT folks raised the roof over the change - and the charter school bill died.
■ CHARTER SCHOOLS — A plan for private-run public schools died after a House committee voted to let the schools reject gay students, teachers and staff.
The charter schools bill had generated criticism from educators who said it would be a drain on the state's public education system, but opposition exploded when a House committee removed language from the bill which protected gay, lesbian and transgender students from discrimination.
Skinner said that while bullying against LGBT students is considered in state policy, there are plenty of other ways that charter schools could discriminate if the amendment becomes part of charter schools law, including during enrollment into charter schools and discrimination against school staff.
Asked about school personnel, Seufer said that decisions by the precursor to the Public Employees Grievance Board established that discrimination based upon sexual preference or orientation is illegal. But under the current version of the bill, charters would be allowed to opt out of the state grievance process.