October 22, 2016

Celebrity Apprentice should have won...

...at least when Gary Busey was on there. The latest Front Porch podcast is about third parties and whether elections are rigged. Alas, we recorded it before the third presidential debate.

October 19, 2016

Cuts and more cuts

If you're a public employee in WV and you feel something on your back, it could be a target. PEIA, aka the Public Employee's Insurance Agency, is gearing up to make millions of dollars in benefit cuts. This could be the next major health care fight here. Or one of them anyway.

On top of that, food assistance in the form of SNAP benefits is declining around the nation as many states impose time limits and difficult to comply with work requirements. WV did that in nine pilot counties. Meanwhile, right wing groups (whose staff seems to be pretty well fed) are pushing for further food cuts in WV. I guess that'll be another fight.

October 17, 2016

There's this anyway

Times are hard in WV and especially in the coalfields. I wish the Obama administration had gotten onto the case a few years back, even for cynical political reasons. But there's this news anyway about some federal help for economic transition in Appalachia.

Then there's this: the Our Children Our Future campaign to end child poverty in WV just completed a pretty major voter drive. Here's a link to the story and the guide.

Finally, I guess it's not all bad news for coal miners (the ones who are working, anyway).

October 16, 2016

Perhaps you will remember John Brown

On this date 157 years ago, assuming I got the math right, John Brown and his band of black and white guerrillas began their raid on Harpers Ferry in what is now West Virginia. It was an epic fail tactically but a huge win strategically in that things got pushed to the point of no return. I'm not big on theologizing history, but sometimes it seems like Brown was God's monkey wrench that got thrown into the machinery of a sinful land.

Here's a poem about him by Langston Hughes:

You will remember
John Brown 
John Brown
Who took his gun,
Took twenty-one companions,
White and black,
Went to shoot your way to freedom
Where two rivers meet
And the hills of the
And the hills of the
Look slow at one another —
And died
For your sake.
Now that you are
Many years free,
And the echo of the Civil War
Has passed away,
And Brown himself
Has long been tried at law,
Hanged by the neck,
And buried in the ground –
Since Harpers Ferry
Is alive with ghosts today,
Immortal raiders
Come again to town –
You will recall
John Brown.”