May 15, 2015

If it's the end of the week...

...that means it's time for the latest Front Porch podcast by way of West Virginia Public Broadcasting.  This time around we have a special guest and the topic is about how hard it can be for WV to attract and retain young adults, with digressions into the water crisis, the environment, etc.

May 14, 2015

It's about time

For a good while lately, people on my end of the spectrum have been calling on the federal government to step up and assist those parts of Appalachia going through tough times because of the decline of coal. It looks like that is starting to happen, although on a fairly small scale.

I also found it interesting that WV's new senator, who metaphorically could be said to be a high priestess of the "war on coal" cult, is critical of the program, although she doesn't quite come out against it. For mythology buffs out there, her comments seem downright Protean to me.

May 13, 2015

This is your higher education system on tax cuts

It's no secret that a tax overhaul is on the newish WV Republican legislature's to-do list. This is kind of ironic, since we are still dealing with the impacts of the last round of tax cuts, courtesy of the then Democratic majority.

The jury is in on that: the main result of cutting taxes in WV is making higher education MUCH less affordable than it had to be in a state with the lowest educational attainment in the nation.

I guess learning from the past isn't much of a strong suit around here.

ONE MORE THING. Last year's chemical spill could be even more toxic than we thought.


May 12, 2015

A day late and...

Usually I leave Obama bashing up to others who are better suited to it and more capable of it. However, I feel obliged to point out to the administration, as if anyone was listening, that their belated concern about Appalachia and the future of coal communities might have been more helpful a couple of years ago. I guess you could say "Better late than never" about this. But not by much.

And here's a little bit of more good news for a coal community while we're at it.

May 11, 2015

Faith, hope, love, foregiveness

I feel lucky to have been a second generation student, sort of, of Reinhold Niebuhr, one of the 20th century's greatest theologians. To be more specific,the Rev. William Kirkland,  an Episcopal priest who studied under Niebuhr, was a major influence on my life. He even taught my reluctantly agreed to confirmation classes when I was in junior high.

Here's a little sample from the vast treasury of Niebuhr's thought:

Nothing that is worth doing can be achieved in our lifetime; therefore we must be saved by hope. 
Nothing which is true or beautiful or good makes complete sense in any immediate context of history; therefore we must be saved by faith. 
Nothing we do, however virtuous, can be accomplished alone; therefore we must be saved by love. 
No virtuous act is quite as virtuous from the standpoint of our friend or foe as it is from our standpoint. Therefore we must be saved by the final form of love which is forgiveness.

May 10, 2015

Late on a Mother's Day...

...It has occurred to me that this is my first Mother's Day without a living mother. Mine passed at age 90 in early January. I am not one to put private sentiments on public display but I will say this: her life was quiet but good and touched many people and her passing was like that of a sweet candle that finally burned out.

I'm glad that I was there when she drew her last breath as she was there when I drew my first. I feel honored to have received my life from her. From her, I received the greatest gift: that of tenacity. I have long felt that my active life was the complement of her quiet life.

As the Episcopal Book of Common Prayer says, "May light perpetual shine upon her."