Another Pact the Devil

Words are my friends, and if I don’t mistreat them, they reward me.
Please feel free to comment, as I am greatly interested in your opinion – good or bad.

Coal production is up; fracked gas prices are up; pipelines crawl across the tristate region like eels racing for prey; a cracking plant finds life in nearby Potters Township, Pennsylvania and hope for a new one abounds for one to be dropped into our lap at Dillies Bottom. Empty coffers and politicians’ pockets are being filled. Life is promising in the tristate area.
Unfortunately. . . . West Virginians, Eastern Ohioans, and Western Pennsylvanians ––once again find themselves locked into Pacts with the Devil. The handshake: Jobs traded for long-suffering sickness and early deaths. Thrown into the bargain is a hell on earth for those non-participants within proximity of the fossil fuels seizures.
Coal production is on the upswing thanks to the President’s trashing of environmental regulations, therefore the Devils acolyte, coal, has been pulled from its dark existence to once again hover over the Appalachian landscape.
Thanks to China a proposed investment of $78 billion in West Virginia emerges. The Devil’s Minotaurs, gas and oil, will receive carte blanche to pray on Appalachian health.
Thanks to a cracking plant conquering the landscape in Potters Township and a future possibly in Dillies Bottom, centaurs––Shell––must be fed humans; PTT Global awaits its chance to seduce Appalachia farther south on the Ohio River and reap environmental chaos.
In the aforementioned three states, sacrificing one’s health and inadvertently the health of one’s relatives and neighbors for jobs has been a practice as venerable as reading Greek mythology.
The jobs, albeit not many in fracking and cracking, will pay a living wage until the resources are exhausted, and then it’s back to gloom and financial doom.
Residents’ sickness will once again creep from generation to generation to generation: The culprits are kidney and liver disease from well water; asthma from surface mining particles assaulting the air; chemical treated waste from coal slurries, gas fracking methane and covert chemicals seeping into groundwater; these life-threatening diseases take decades to destroy their host.
Stomach cancer caused by drinking water polluted by coal mines and gas fracking. Death rates in counties with mountaintop mining higher that elsewhere; higher death rates from carcinogens such as arsenic catamount chromium, nickel, beryllium dance in the atmosphere like the Devil’s handmaidens.
Opponents to common sense ––coal and gas acolytes––blame the aforementioned diseases on Appalachian poverty, smoking, and obesity, and rural location, not taking into consideration those conditions existed before fossil fuels came into play.
For every environmental passage, the fossil giants make a counter-move, neutralizing environment safeguards and confusing West Virginia society. Under the current Republican administration, life will be sacrificed for commerce. It is an old story of commerce glory and human quarry.
Bio” Sonny, Wheeling Island native and weaved from workers’ thread, is a veteran novelist currently working on a novel featuring Wheeling.

A Travel Guide for LGTB When Visiting the West Virginia Mountain State

Words are my friends, and if I don’t mistreat them, they reward me.
Please feel free to comment, as I am greatly interested in your opinion – good or bad.

City boys when traveling as two of the same sex to our beautiful mountain state do not carry your poodles in your lap; instead place your shotguns there – a concealed Glock .9 mm. is much admired. If you fail to observe these niceties, you may not be able to buy petro and will have to push your vehicle across the state line. Girls, if one of you have lifted weights or have fuzz on your upper lip, do not make eye contact when wolfing down home cooking in our restaurants – in fact, sitting at separate tables is better – otherwise your dishes will be taken away and payment demanded – not leaving a tip will be understandable.
Transvestites should always be aware of mountain people carrying garlic weed and mirrors to identify you. Make sure West Virginians see your image in the mirror; do not sneeze when garlic weed is waived in your face. If discovered, food, gas, and directions will be denied you.
Bisexual men wear Arnold Schwarzenegger muscle shirts; if they want to see your muscles, growl hasta la vista baby and scat; an Austrian accent will cause your investigators to inquire, “what did he say”; bisexual girls should wear grandma’s dresses and eat it at McDonalds – if available take your cousins’ kids along.
LGTB adherents should not be alarmed if one sees two Rottweilers chasing an old woman; it is just grandma being turned away from the polls because she had no picture ID.
If attending WVU sporting events, wear blue and gold – because many of your fellow spectators will be packing.
Here are a few do’s and don’ts: Always-always request separate rooms from check-in clerks. It is best if one of you rides behind the driver in the backseat when passing through West Virginia. Never-never allow your wrist to go limp. Women, if your hair is cropped short, wear sister’s wig.
The above satire was fun, but as we all know satire is exaggerated or it wouldn’t be satire. What is not so much fun is witnessing the West Virginia legislation against the LGTB adherents. This legislation is in a few words, senseless, antagonistic, anachronistic, and destructive to those subjected and to those who inflict it. In West Virginia, a rash of similar senseless and harmful laws have been passed or destined to pass by the Republican legislators – holding a majority in both houses –. They are: Concealed Weapons, Religious Right, Welfare-got-you Drug Checks, and Voter ID – more on these in blogs to follow.

Time To Feed The Fracking Pie To West Virginia Workers–A Second Look!

Words are my friends, and if I don’t mistreat them, they reward me.
Please feel free to comment, as I am greatly interested in your opinion – good or bad.
The statistic that West Virginia enjoyed the fifth best economic growth in 2014 as reported in the Wheeling newspaper – the economic growth due to the hydro-fracked-gas taken from the state’s mineral treasure chest – on face value, sounds healthy. But, if one positions this growth against the state’s dismal unemployment numbers and equally dismal low-wages paid to employed workers , it must be troubling for those workers, because it seems serendipity has not trickled down to them. And since, as reported in the aforementioned newspaper, the past governor– expressing revenue lost due to dwindling coal production – ordered a 4% cut in state spending; and mining companies continue to lay off employees – lately the Alpha Natural Resources – the need to help West Virginia workers is more pressing than ever.
Therefore, it is time for West Virginians to demand a better return on their resources than a skimpy 5% severance tax on Marseilles and Utica fracking fields – the state sets upon like a goose over her golden eggs. Energy companies have a timeframe for pending operations once they acquire the mineral rights; as a result of this time frame, there will be more than enough time for the state to negotiate that energy companies set up schools in state to train West Virginia workers for their higher paid, technical jobs––not a huge expense compared to drilling, fracking, and pipe laying expenditures––and hire these trained men and women for those jobs––e.g., one hundred potential employees needed, the state negotiates that the energy companies hire sixty West Virginians receiving the industry-going pay rate.
Right now, the naysayers are jumping all over this proposal, countering that the energy companies will take their business to Ohio and Pennsylvania. I respond thus: They already are taking their business there – lately in a big way: One hundred million dollars to plan a five and one half billion dollar cracking plant at Dillies Bottom, Ohio and the finalization of a huge sand hopper distribution depot at Bellaire, Ohio.
But more importantly, we must understand that the Marseilles and Utica fracking fields aren’t going anywhere, and it’s doubtful that the energy companies who have spent millions, perhaps billions, of dollars in West Virginia and expect to gain many more billions of dollars from the shale gas and its byproducts, taken from the state’s resources, aren’t going anywhere either; as far as future energy companies ignoring West Virginia because of this proposal, it seems logical that as gas continues to gain prominence over coal in electric-power generation, gas prices will increase and in-state training will cease to hinder energy companies.
Industrial giants in Germany and Japan have been training their future workers for decades at their expense – and these employers keep their employees. It is time for energy companies doing business in West Virginia to follow suit; it is time for us West Virginians to shake off the coal doldrums and make the most of our potential revenue and funnel the additional money to the better our exiled workers.

The Folly of Marijuana Punishment-Revisited

Words are my friends, and if I don’t mistreat them, they reward me.
Please feel free to comment, as I am greatly interested in your opinion – good or bad.

Coal, fracking, pipe laying, and other employers complain that they cannot find sufficient employees because applicants fail their drug tests. These laments are driven by punishment driven by ignorance. Let us see why.
Because it is unlikely a heroin or opiate abuser would take a drug test for employment, I would venture to state the reason for most drug-test failures are due to traces of marijuana being detected in the applicants’ fluids and in some cases, in a single hair.
Unlike alcohol, marijuana can remain in one’s system for as long as six months. So if Jill had a puff of forbidden smoke three months ago at her sister’s wedding reception, Jill becomes a dead duck after a drug test, falling out of the job market and if a coal miner she will be blackballed from the industry; in today’s nothing-is-hidden life, she very well could become a pariah to the workplace.
Unlike alcohol, marijuana consumed the night before has no effect on one’s work performance. Ron of the new, more progressive generation, believing alcohol punishes his body, got the same buzz off of marijuana as consumers of alcohol got. He walked to the mine ready to work.
On the other hand, Joe pounded down six sixteen-ounce beers during a Sunday Night Football telecast and feels like death warmed over on Monday morning–– head splitting, fuzzy mouth, and peptic stomach–- facing the coal mine’s maw.
George, painfully suffering from a mine injury and Mike, a wounded veteran finding marijuana a rescue from an opiate usage that played havoc with their systems and caused sleep deprivation, would fail the same drug tests as Jill.
It is suspicion in full folly to presume that if one ingested marijuana in leisure time one does so during work time.
The answer to the aforementioned employers’ dilemma finding qualified workers lies with the employer more than it does with one who ingests marijuana.
There’s another folly in full flight dropping its defecation on taxpayers and that is the state of West Virginia harshly punishing marijuana users and recreational possessors the same as heroin users and dealers. In a state such as West Virginia, struggling to crawl from the financial pit, the cost to the state, and subsequently taxpayers, from law enforcers to arresting and filing criminal complaints against harmless marijuana users, the salaries paid to personnel in court proceedings, and the cost of a long and most-times unnecessary imprisonment is counterproductive to common sense. I repeat the arrest, prosecution, long incarceration, and jailhouse overcrowding is an unnecessary debt the state legal mechanism levies on itself.
Take marijuana out of the employment and penal equation.
“I’ve Always Been a Dreamer.”

The Good Ship Lollipop

On the good ship of state, the USS Lollipop, the Commander in Chief is piped aboard with much aplomb, and the course is set for “a cruise to the candy shop.” The candy shop cruise is to the good ol’ days, but that island is under rising seas. Climate change? On the good ship Lollipop never a disparaging word is spoken.
“West Virginians, all 67% Presidential-yes voters, are invited to find serendipity promised.” At first the hillbillies roam the main deck, writing, “Kilroy was here,” on the bulkheads, but later are shown to underwater compartments adjacent to the engine rooms, where they periodically appear on deck to cheer the commander when he rails against his Attorney General, Senate leader, and those who hourly disfavor him.
The Commander’s Cabinet––such luminaries as Captains Pruitt and Devos, Rear Admiral Sessions and Commander Perry, their spouses, and accompanying baggage carriers are accommodated on the main deck, enjoying sea winds and sunny skies, and epicurean luxuries befitting their expectations.
Almost immediately the Lollipop is beset by angry skies and turbulent seas, wherein Leviathans congregate en mass, churning the waters. Water sprouts fire across the good ship USS Lollipop’s bow. The colors of Mexico, Europe, North Korea, Iran, Cuba, Puerto Rico, and the NFL appear on massive flukes slapping the waters. Astride their broad backs are Steve Bannon, Steve Spicer, Sally Yates, Michael Flynn, James Comey, and jettisoned VIPs, waving subpoenas.
The Supreme Commander’s fury rages from high atop the bridge. He, mistakenly identifying the Leviathans as boatloads of emigrants, orders his gun crew to fire upon the encroachers . Unfortunately, Navy personnel had been replaced with hotel personnel from the Trump Tower, because the swabies did not possess the refinement the Supreme Commander is accustomed to. The big guns rotate toward their targets; unfortunately shells slide out of cannons and bounce around the VIP deck and fall into choppy waters. Horrified personnel, to a man and woman, man the lifeboats. The Secretaries of EPA and Education battle to be the first to get the hell off the Lollipop; the Secretary of Energy forgot his options. A Leviathan named Public Schools swallowed the secretary of education; another called Reality gulped down the EPA head.
After the big mammals perform a few merry, air-bound somersaults while guffawing, they ram the good ship, USS Lollipop. The ship of state staggers––battered bent, and bewildered––but remains afloat. On the far horizon a huge white Moby Dick appears with Robert Moeller astride its white, potent torso. The Supreme Commander shouts, “Harpoon that monster,” but the impressed harpooners have already departed for the New York’s cement corridors. An SOS is sent out to a Russian fleet known to be in close proximity, but the Russians know a sinking ship when they see one and have turned stern to bow, sailing for Russia, signaling, “No more emails for you.”
The Supreme Commander is no Captain Ahab standing on the boat’s bow with harpoon in hand, the sea’s fury blowing in his face, to send Moby Dick to the sea’s bottom, forever sinking the special investigator. He steps over his Mountaineer followers, casts a forlorn glance at Moby Dick, and flees with his valet in the last boat for the coast, shouting, “Every man for himself!”
Sonny Fair, a Wheeling native, is a veteran novelist who just finished the novel, “This Bridge Tells No Tales,” that promotes West Virginia.

Does the Wheeling Mayor need a boot in the butt?

Words are my friends, and if I don’t mistreat them, they reward me.
Please feel free to comment, as I am greatly interested in your opinion – good or bad.

Since the demise of the steel industry in the late 20th century, the City of Wheeling has been in constant freefall, losing population and revenue. The downtown area appears as a broken city in a bad sci-fi film. Drug addiction and subsequent crime spiral in the city. Business opportunities plummet. Livable jobs are as rare as hen’s teeth. Education, albeit better than the rest of the state, remains subpar compared to the nation’s top achievers. The city has too many obese residents, too many poverty-stricken residents, too many homeless residents, and too many broken streets; and, let us not forget, too many lost opportunities.
Does the City of Wheeling need a caretaker or visionary to strike at the aforementioned troubles with a swift sword? Which of the two overseers does the current mayor inhabit?
In my view, the Mayor’s performance, as he completes the first term year, has been by far too cautious. His administration has lacked vision. You snooze you lose! Asleep at the switch. Faint heart never won fair maiden. “Inhale courage, exhale fear.” “A head full of fear has no space for dreams.”
The Mayor has all the tools, albeit hampered by caution, to catapult the city back into the nation’s spotlight; he just needs a boot in the butt to begin to accomplish what citizens expect of him, i.e., opportunities in a prosperous city.
A visionary could within a year change Wheeling from a lackadaisical business climate into a progressive climate that would attract residents and businesses. The fulcrum upon which failure and success totter is called IMAGE. Image is gained by speaking out.
Wheeling must change from an insipid city to a progressive one. The Mayor must speak against regressive acts, such as Right To Work, Prevailing Wage, Tort Reform, environmental deregulation, dismantling of the ACA, and punishing social-assistance recipients. He must voice support for recreational marijuana, LGBT protection, rent control, environmental protection, and renewable energies. He must make Wheeling a leader, not a follower. He must lay Wheeling like a knight’s shield before the nation’s sovereignty.
Every day the means for the city to get national attention are ripe apples sprouting on the nation’s tree, ready to be picked; yet our mayor keeps his hands in his pockets. He could have spoken for the Paris Accord, spoken for a sensible marijuana law, and a $15 minimum wage, advocated a retirement of confederacy monuments to private showings, spoken for DACA to name but a few, but he did not.
The Mayor’s lack of vision is most noticeable in his reluctance to change the City of Wheeling from a beat-up steel town to a renowned historical town, whereupon tourists tread. Beginning steps to accomplish this end are easy and not expensive. Begin by painting historical murals on drab city-owned buildings and encourage private owners to do the same, rename the streets with historical figures and events, establish floral gardens on all vacant lots, begin horse, buggy tours to all historical sites and locales and introduce monthly frontier celebration and costume dancing on Market Street, to name but a few. Build the foundation and the bricks will follow.
If the Mayor moves beyond viewing his picture in the media and does the aforementioned then he will give a new identity to Wheeling and the Northern Panhandle, separating both from the state’s terrible image.
“I’ve Always Been a Dreamer.”
Sonny Fair, a Wheeling native, is a veteran novelist who just finished the novel, “This Bridge Tells No Tales,” that promotes West Virginia.

Prithee, Send West Virginians a Visionary

Deception is a form of mendacity and under that umbrella untruthfulness holds the handle.
Some months ago, I wrote a commentary praising the current West Virginia governor. If I could find the back issues of the publication, I would chew the words off the pages and spit them down the sewer, because I feel betrayed, and I imagine most Democrats in this state feel likewise.
Switching from the Democratic to the Republican party, as the governor has done, benefits not one constituent in the state. The benefactor, if any, is the Governor.
It seems the Governor wants to cozy up to the Republican President, because they are self-claimed billionaires blowing kisses at each other. What can we do for each other is the cupid in the matter. The boot of the matter will kick West Virginians in their posteriors. Exactly like the President, the Governor’s ego gets and will get in his way.
It seems the new dance of West Virginia politics demands it to do the dosey doe wherein politicians readily change political parties. There was that scallywag sometime back who was elected as a Democrat and within a fortnight changed to a Republican, giving the Senate a 19 to 17 majority. The same scallywag soon resigned and went on to be a lobbyist, happily sharing his values with WV legislators.
The Governor, by his action, will polarize the Democrats against him; Republicans may accept him, but it is doubtful they will like him, given their past criticisms of the man. Just how much the Governor will accomplish in a volatile atmosphere remains uncertain.
The upcoming highway improvement bond, if voter approved, will put West Virginians––no out-of-state workers––to work, but that is a tourniquet for employment bleeding. It will not reestablish employment, tax revenue, and population to where it once was. The fulcrum upon which employment failure and success totter is called IMAGE. Currently West Virginia’s image is one of the worst in the nation, if not the worst. The state needs a leader who will catapult it from the worst to the best in the nation.
The state needs a leader who will cast off the shackles of regression and step freely into progression. A leader who will cast off regressive acts, such as Right To Work, Prevailing Wage, Tort Reform, environmental deregulation, dismantling of the ACA, and punishing social-assistance recipients and marijuana possessors. He or she must convince West Virginians to embrace recreational marijuana, LGBT protection, environmental protection, renewable energies, harsher industrial regulations, and to adopt the policies of innovative states.
A governor must make the state a leader, not a follower. He or she must lay West Virginia like a shinny knight’s shield before the nation’s sovereignty.
Given the current Governor’s performance in the first year of his term, this writer believes he has yet to prove himself the man for the job.
“I’ve Always Been a Dreamer.”
Sonny Fair, a Wheeling native, is a veteran novelist who just finished the novel, “This Bridge Tells No Tales,” that promotes West Virginia.

A Progressive View