July 31, 2015

The great pepperoni roll war

A titanic albeit brief nonviolent war for social justice was concluded yesterday. At issue was a product sacred to many West Virginians, especially up north, to wit pepperoni rolls. For the uninitiated, pepperoni rolls in the Mountain State are something like what maple syrup is to Vermonters or what ambrosia is to Greek gods.

They are pretty  much what they sound like, i.e. rolls with pepperoni in them. Some may not be anything to write home about but when they are good they are really good.

At issue in this epic struggle was the decision announced earlier this week by Sheetz, a gas/convenience store/fast food chain that has significantly expanded into WV, that it would no longer purchase pepperoni rolls from here. Instead, they were to come from Pennsylvania.

Nothing against the Keystone State, but some folks pointed out that pepperoni rolls from PA would be like pirogis from WV, an inversion of the laws of nature, decency and propriety.

Anyhow, after a firestorm of tweets and howls from outraged West Virginians, to which I contributed my share, Sheetz announced it would continue to source the product from here.

The moral arc of the universe is long, but it bends toward pepperoni rolls.

You can read more here and here.

July 28, 2015

Sad news

It looks like the Century Aluminum plant in Ravenswood, WV is going to permanently close. In one incarnation or another, it's been around for nearly 60 years.

I also have very fond memories of one of my favorite fights back in the early 1990s, when union members won what seemed like an impossible victory after being locked out for nearly two years. At least they were able to get their jobs back for around 17 years, since they went back to work in 1992 and the plant stayed open until 2009.

I guess this is another reminder that victories (and defeats too maybe?) are impermanent.

July 27, 2015

This doesn't happen every day

What might that be? An economist talking sense about West Virginia. Usually the ones we hear from are Koch funded but this is a refreshing change from all that.

July 26, 2015

Tough times

This hasn't been the best of news weeks for West Virginia. First, a Kids Count report came up that child poverty in the state has increased by 13,000 kids since 2008. On top of that, we now have the highest unemployment rate in the nation. There are things that would help, given the political will, as this article from the Clarksburg Exponent-Telegram reports.

Something else that would help would be for Congress to put up or shut up by helping Appalachia's coalfields transition to a more diversified economy. So far, they've done neither.