Debt ceiling: Recall the Solomonic judgment
Those of us who read the Old Testament may recall the story of Solomon solving the dispute between two women each claiming the same child. The false mother proved herself to Solomon by being willing to have the child cut in half.
This has bearing upon the following exchange, taken directly from the transcript of the recent CNN town hall with former President Trump.
CNN: You once said that using … the debt ceiling as a negotiating wedge just could not happen. You said … that when you were in the Oval Office.
TRUMP: Sure, that’s when I was president.
CNN: So why is it different now that you’re out of office?
TRUMP: Because now I’m not president.
How many of my fellow West Virginians, their representatives and senators are willing to have the full faith and credit of the federal government be destroyed — to have the baby cut in half? Is it because their candidate lost the election (both Electoral College and popular vote) despite winning in our state?
The debt ceiling is an anachronism from World War I. Democrats in the Congress did not use this as a weapon during any of the three times during the late unlamented Trump administration when the ceiling needed to be raised (primarily because of the tax cuts enacted for the ultra-wealthy and real-estate developers during that time). It should not be weaponized now, because funds were expended during the pandemic for health care and infrastructure.
The bill from the credit card company has arrived. We will have the collection agency at our door, if the bill is not paid forthwith. After we arrange for the bill to be paid, we can talk about how to adjust our budget for the future.
‘Low’ utility rate does not mean affordable
On Sunday, May 15, The Dominion Post published a letter to the editor that suggested rising West Virginia electric power rates are more affordable than several other neighboring and so-called “green” states because they are “low”: “The U.S. Energy Information Agency Electric Power Monthly site states, from February 2022 to February 2023, the cost per kilowatt hour in West Virginia went up 1.65 cents to 13.57 cents. Our neighboring states’ rates: Ohio 14.60, up 1.94 cents; Pennsylvania 18.29, up 3.81 cents; and Maryland 16.12 cents, up 2.04 cents. The deep “green” state of Connecticut was 34.32 cents, up 7.81 cents. California was 27.07 cents — more than double the West Virginia rate.”
The letter concluded: “West Virginia should do its best to hold onto its coal-fired power plants. Our utility rates are low compared to ‘green’ states.”
This is another example of cherry-picking the data to mislead. What does “low” mean in this context? Other data (not referenced in the letter) suggest that “low” does not mean “affordable.” Each of the states used as illustrations has a median income that far exceeds ours (source: wisevoter.com):
- Ohio — $62.7K
- Pennsylvania — $72.6K
- Maryland — $97.3K
- Connecticut — $81K
- California — $81.6K
- West Virginia — $46.8K
As West Virginians, the question we should be asking is not whether our electric rates are nominally “low.” Instead, let’s ask, are they affordable?
We are a relatively poor state. Therefore, affordable energy includes the costs in dollars but also costs in associated health and environmental impacts of coal. We cannot afford to continue clinging to the past.
Judy K. Ball
League of Women Voters of Morgantown-Mon County
WVU was unfair to Coach Bob Huggins
Bob Huggins does not know me. I am only a fan of basketball for many years. But WVU has been unfair! Has any man ever received such disciplinary action?
But that wasn’t all, President Gee and Athletic Director Wren Baker went much too far to please the LGBTQ+ community and throw a winning coach under the bus.
In case you don’t know, Dr Gee, LGBTQ+ is a perversion of men and women who have decided to disobey the law of the Universe and want society to applaud their defiant decision. They have stolen the God-given symbol of the rainbow, and its colors, that was given to all life on earth as a symbol that God would never again destroy life on earth by a flood. This is sacred to believers. LGBTQ+ people don’t care one snap about this sacred symbol.
Bob Huggins is an upstanding member of our university community. Not only the $1 million “volunteered” from Bob’s salary, but the further 10 stated plans to punish Bob. The university chose an unpopular “far left” agenda — a disservice to WVU and the whole state of West Virginia.
Dr. Gee is wrong. He made a decision that is far-reaching into WVU’s future. What coach would want to come to WVU knowing “one word” misspoken could change their life and destroy their future?
Bob Huggins is deeply loved by West Virginia fans but will have to endure stringent disciplinary action because of a “slip of the lip” in favor of pleasing an unpopular diverse 1% and offending 99% of West Virginia fans. Where is truth and fairness?
Thanks to Stonerise staff for health, smiles
Thanks to all of the Stonerise employees who helped me during my recent stay at Stonerise. With its rehab program, its therapists really work to help you get your strength back.
I’m walking, slowly but surely, thanks to the therapists who made rehab fun. Within three days, I was able to get up from a seated position and walk a long distance with my walker.
The therapists are cheerful, fast and efficient and very helpful when they would bring our food and snacks, fix our beds and keep us cheerful. They all are happy, kind and compassionate and care about each patient. They definitely earn their money. They are always busy, and they definitely treat each patient like they are family.
The nurses are busy all day and night, taking vital signs, distributing pills and helping patients with whatever they need. The doctors are always checking on their patients, finding out what their questions are and sometimes just visiting with the patients to cheer them up and to see if they need anything to eat or drink, or books, magazines, etc., to read. The activities director has all kinds of fun things for the patients to take part in — games, entertainment, books. drawing, coloring, painting and, last but not least, the patients’ favorite Bingo.
May God bless all employees and staff at Stonerise, and my sincere thanks for all of your help in helping me get back my strength and health.
Carol Ann Miller
Don’t save Pleasants at Fort Martin’s expense
Mon Power recently announced that if it buys the Pleasants Power Station, as requested by the West Virginia Legislature, it will likely close the Fort Martin plant, thus putting 180 people in Monongalia County out of work and causing a $3.4 million drop in local property taxes. The current owners of Pleasants want to demolish the power station because it is not profitable, despite an annual subsidy of $12.5 million from West Virginia taxpayers since 2019.
Mon Power’s plan for potentially saving Pleasants requires an additional $36 million per year surcharge on West Virginia electric rates, to be paid by you and me, simply to give Mon Power time to decide whether to buy Pleasants. Note that this $36 million payment does not require any coal to be burnt or electricity produced at Pleasants; apparently that would cost even more, because operating Pleasants is so uneconomic.
A recent letter to The Dominion Post declares disappointment that Delegate Evan Hansen doesn’t support this plan (DP-5-14-23, “Utility rates bad reason to not buy Pleasants”). In contrast to the author of that letter, I definitely don’t feel my electricity bill is “low” and that raising my rates yet again is a good way of propping up an uneconomic power station.
Supporting Pleasants at the expense of Fort Martin is unfair to West Virginia ratepayers and even more so to Mon County. It doesn’t even make sense as a pro-coal policy, as either Pleasants or Fort Martin will close, whether the plan is followed or not. The only surprising thing is that, with the exception of Delegate Hansen, most of our politicians don’t seem to be concerned about the lack of economic sense in this plan, the higher electric rates it entails or the resulting loss in employment in our area.
Scafella book provides insight into Morgantown
Growing up, my parents always paid attention to local government and made it clear to us that participating in it is the best way to have a say in the future of your community.
After reading “Building on Trust: Reinventing Morgantown” by Frank Scafella, the context of those remarks became richer and more meaningful. In chronicling the political landscape of Morgantown from the 1980s onward, Scafella provides not only a factual basis for understanding why things are the way they are, but the recipe for effecting lasting change.
His account of the passage of R1-A zoning provides a case study in community organizing, building power and coming to consensus. At all points in his story, the importance of having community investment in a vision and trust between leadership and the community are presented as a recipe for success.
Morgantown had problems back in the day and has different ones today. In approaching today’s challenges, we should take heed of the wisdom of those who faced the challenges of the past head-on. By endeavoring to approach issues with facts and each other with respect, we can build community power. By engaging with our leaders and daring to dream with them, we can develop and execute a vision for the future we want.
Local government is all about making the place we live better. This book demonstrates just how much power ordinary people can have in that process. It is a must read for anyone seeking knowledge about our community.