Panhandle (W.Va.) Grassroots for Democracy

The Panhandle Grassroots for Democracy is working to improve our corner of eastern West Virginia, our state and our nation.

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Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Cheney hearts Shelley

From Shelley Moore Capito's web site:

"Shelley Moore Capito answers to no one except the people she represents. The President and I need people of Shelley's caliber to help us keep our nation prosperous. ..."
Vice President Dick Cheney.


Her caliber?

Capito was the largest recipient of former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay's ARMPAC campaign contributions. DeLay is being prosecuted on charges of felony money laundering of campaign finances and conspiracy to launder money. To date, Capito has not offered to return any of the $48,500 she received.

snip

According to federal prosecutors, Capito's name appears in e-mails that suggest her former chief of staff was trying to help lobbyist Jack Abramoff secure a GSA lease for land for a religious school. However, Capito denies knowledge of the action and her former chief of staff claims that he did not bring the issue to her attention.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Publisher has no journalism ethics

Anytime the president of the United States, even one as unpopular as George W. Bush, arrives in a small town it is big news.


However, the ethically challenged Ogden newspaper chain in West Virginia stepped so over the line from covering the news to being a Bush cheerleader that GOP water carrier and alleged Washington Post media critic Howie Kurtz called it a blunder (albeit in rather tepid criticism).

From the Wheeling Intelligencer:


Bush will be in Wheeling on Wednesday, March 22, to conduct a town hall meeting on the War on Terror. No time for the event has been released, though the visit is tentatively scheduled to take place at the Capitol Music Hall.


A number of local businesses are underwriting the event. Among them are The Ogden Newspapers Inc., Valley National Gases Inc., Paull Associates Insurance/Real Estate, EPS Industries Inc., Wheeling-Pittsburgh Steel Corp., Wheeling Island Racetrack and Gaming Center and Beyond Marketing.


"We are extremely pleased to have the president in Wheeling again, and we are pleased to help underwrite the expenses," said Robert Nutting, president and chief executive officer of Ogden Newspapers. "Terry Sterling (chamber president) has done a great job of pulling together the logistics and details of the visit.


A questioner asked Kurtz about this in the Post 's online chat:


Wheeling, W.Va.: Last week President Bush visited my hometown of Wheeling, West Virgina for a town hall meeting. The local publisher, Ogden Newspapers, proudly listed itself as a "sponsor" of the visit, along with the local Chamber of Commerce and some other businesses. The papers (yes, we still have morning and afternoon papers, both owned by Ogden) had numerous articles over the course of about a week before and after the visit, as well as several editorials. I would characterize the coverage as supportive of the President to the point of giddiness. I have to say that I was surprised by this - not so much by the editorializing, as the editorial pages of the Ogden papers have always been quite conservative - but by the papers' sponsorship of the visit and the cheerleading news articles. What do you think of the publishing company's sponsorship? Why would a presidential visit even need a sponsor? And what does this say about the papers' ability to cover the visit fairly?


Howard Kurtz: I had not heard that the papers co-sponsored the Bush visit. What a journalistic blunder. Why compromise yourself in that fashion when it's a big local story that your reporters will have to cover?


I can vouch for the questioner's characterization of Ogden newspapers. The local rag I subscribe to, the Martinsburg Journal, is owned by the same company.


Of course, Kurtz is handed a perfect example of the corporate media showing their support for Bush once again. Does he follow up this tip with a story about the media's conservative bias? Or will he ignore it like he has many other examples as he writes another story parrotting GOP talking points about the media out to get Bush?


I think we know the answer to that one.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Byrd's faith

Article in the Charleston Daily Mail:

U.S. Sen. Robert Byrd is thankful that he and his wife of nearly 69 years grew up in Christian homes where they were taught that faith is a matter of action.

"Erma and I grew up together," Byrd said. "We were raised in homes of coal miners. She was my sweetheart since 10th grade.

"We have always been thankful we lived in the homes of parents who were religious people. They didn't wear it on their sleeve. They were quietly religious."

It's not too surprising that the Byrds quietly put together a booklet of their most treasured scriptures and are giving them away. Byrd said he paid more than $3,000 to print 10,000 copies of the black-and-white booklets.

"We gave some to various churches and those churches gave them out," he said. "That was our way of spreading God's word. We were amply rewarded by the desire of people to have these."

Entire article well worth reading.

Democratic candidates forum

From an email:

THIS SUNDAY MARCH 12 4 PM
Charles Town Library
The Democratic candidates running in the primary for S.M. Capito's Congressional seat will present their views on Healthcare in West Virginia.

Organized by the Jefferson Democratic Women

Questions on other topics will also be entertained.

All are welcome!

Monday, March 06, 2006

Driving a stake through the heart of a monster

Via BooMan and our own Georgia10, I see Bill Kristol is attempting to separate the failure of George W. Bush from conservative ideology.


BILL KRISTOL: I think it's become in people's minds an emblem of the administration that just isn't as serious about the competent execution of the functions of government as it should be. And even -- I'm struck talking to conservatives and Republicans -- they agree with the president on basic political philosophy, the they agree with his basic policy agenda, but they are worried that they just don't seem to be able to execute as well as they should be.


Kristol's just the latest in a line of conservatives to claim that Republican policies didn't fail Bush; Bush failed the Republican policies.


They cannot separate Bush from their movement, however. They can't escape the monster they created.


Kristol is like the conspirator in a murder case: "Sure I drove Bush to the house, gave him the gun, advised him what to do, but I'm not responsible for the crime."


The same is true of every Republican, conservative and neo-conservative that ever supported Bush.


They've got blood on their hands, and no amount of trying to wash the taint of Bush away is going to cleanse them of their shared guilt.


Bush gave them what they wanted and if they don't like it, they should renounce their party and their ideology and seek forgiveness and to undo the damage they have done to their country and the world.


They wanted less regulation of industry and America got dead miners.


CRAIGSVILLE, W.Va. -- In its drive to foster a more cooperative relationship with mining companies, the Bush administration has decreased major fines for safety violations since 2001, and in nearly half the cases, it has not collected the fines, according to a data analysis by The New York Times.


Federal records also show that in the last two years the federal mine safety agency has failed to hand over any delinquent cases to the Treasury Department for further collection efforts, as is supposed to occur after 180 days.


As John at AmericaBlog said:


This is Republicanism in action, folks. There's no way to sugar coat it. You vote Republican, this is what you get - people who favor corporations over people. Republicans alway say they're going to cut back on federal regulations, so no one should be surprised when they do.


snip


You vote for it, you own it. It's time the American voter takes responsibility for his and her own vote. You elected these guys, and they're doing what they told you they'd do. If you don't like it, then stop voting Republican.



Bush didn't fail the Republican policies. The Republican policies failed the American people.


Kristol and the Republicans should be handcuffed to George W. Bush to keep them from escaping what he has wrought.


Grover Norquist wanted tax cuts. Americans got the highest deficit in history.


Norquist wanted to drown the federal government in a bathtub. We lost an American city to flooding. And as people grew hungry and desperate, John McCain laughed and gave Bush cake.


The Republicans wanted less environmental regulations. We got melting polar icepacks and record-levels of children with asthma.


The Republicans wanted war in Iraq. Americans got dead soldiers, dead Iraqis, a broken military, an escaped Osama bin-Laden, high gasoline prices, lost national prestige and a rise in terrorism and anti-American hatred in return.


And the efforts by Kristol, Norquist and others to make Bush their Jonah should not be allowed to succeed.


Bush should be the stake we use to drive through the heart of their conservative ideology.


And once we drive the stake in, we need to chop off the monster's head, stuff the mouth with garlic cloves, burn the body, grind the bones to dust and bury them deep in consecrated ground to keep this horror from ever rising again.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Bush cuts fines for mine safety

We lost 24 miners working in mines recently -- 12 in Sago -- with numerous safety code violations. So what does President Bush do in response? Cut the penalties that are used to make mine companies get into compliance and make the mines safer.

CRAIGSVILLE, W.Va. — In its drive to foster a more cooperative relationship with mining companies, the Bush administration has decreased major fines for safety violations since 2001, and in nearly half the cases, it has not collected the fines, according to a data analysis by The New York Times.

Federal records also show that in the last two years the federal mine safety agency has failed to hand over any delinquent cases to the Treasury Department for further collection efforts, as is supposed to occur after 180 days.

With the deaths of 24 miners in accidents in 2006, the enforcement record of the Mine Safety and Health Administration has come under sharp scrutiny, and the agency is likely to face tough questions about its performance at a Senate oversight hearing on Thursday.

"The Bush administration ushered in this desire to develop cooperative ties between regulators and the mining industry," said Tony Oppegard, a top official at the agency in the Clinton administration. "Safety has certainly suffered as a result."


Americablog sums it up:

Bush kills miners

What else to title this article?
This is Republicanism in action, folks. There's no way to sugar coat it. You vote Republican, this is what you get - people who favor corporations over people.

Republicans alway say they're going to cut back on federal regulations, so no one should be surprised when they do.

Just imagine what our country is going to look like if yet another Republican wins the presidency in 2008.