Faculty Senate Has New Target
West Liberty faculty votes no confidence in administrator
Rep. David McKinley's bill would dismantle the EPA’s recently announced coal ash protections, put public health and safety at risk by stripping the few critical safety requirements and protections included in the rule, and result in continuing coal ash contamination with no repercussions or responsibility for cleanup.
- 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.
"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.
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.
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.
West Liberty University President Robin C. Capehart Resigns
Facing ethics charge, Capehart resigns as president of WLU
West Liberty University president resigns amid ethics probe
West Liberty President Resigns Amid Ethics Review
Capehart has new job at WLU