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WV Press Sharing
State Treasurer Riley Moore has condemned a new effort by the Biden Administration and U.S. Treasury to encourage the banking and financial services industries to implement an accelerated transition of investment and financing activity away from the coal, oil and natural gas industries.
The U.S. Treasury Department last Tuesday released new “Principles for Net-Zero Financing & Investment” encouraging American financial institutions to leverage their economic power to transition the country away from the coal, oil and natural gas industries.
“This is yet another attempt by the Biden Administration to use command-and-control central planning tactics to implement the Green New Deal policies that have been repeatedly rebuked in Congress,” Moore said.
As part of its focus to encourage the nation’s financial institutions to implement net-zero activities, the principles call for companies to use their financing, investing and advisory services to promote a “managed phaseout” away from fossil fuels and accelerate the transition to zero-emissions assets.
It specifically calls on financial institutions to direct capital toward replacing coal-fired power with wind and solar generation.
“This policy framework is a direct shot at West Virginia’s economy,” Moore said. “It’s sad that when consumers are facing skyrocketing gas and electricity prices this Administration’s solution is to double-down on the failed policies that have driven the rampant inflation of recent years.
“West Virginia is standing firm against these efforts by enacting reforms like our Restricted Financial Institutions List, which prohibits financial institutions from doing business with my office if they take actions intended to harm the fossil fuel industries — and institutions that comply with this new Biden agenda may find themselves on this list,” he said.
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By Lee Hamilton
As the political press continues to gear up for next year’s presidential election, I’ve been struck by how little attention many national reporters have paid to a potential third-party bid by the group known as No Labels.
The organization, which says it’s committed to bipartisanship and political centrism, has secured ballot access in at least 10 states, and appears positioned to do so in others, as well.
This has Democrats worried. Third parties in presidential contests have mostly served either as after-thoughts or as spoilers, and it’s not hard to see a No Labels presidential ticket taking votes from Democrats’ likely nominee, Joe Biden, and assuring the election of the Republican candidate—probably Donald Trump.
That’s an unpalatable option for most Democrats and even many independents, and it may be why some prominent Republicans are pushing for a No Labels candidacy.
It’s probably impossible for party leaders to leave strategic considerations aside, but for the rest of us, there are lessons for both parties in No Labels’ traction this year.
Many Americans are tired of the intense partisanship they see at the national and state levels. And for some voters, the policies the group is promoting seem to strike an attractive ideological balance.
These include policy prescriptions that call for reining in spending to keep the national debt from growing faster than the economy; regaining control of our borders but ensuring a path to citizenship; criminal justice reforms “so career criminals can’t keep committing crimes” while at the same time, “keeping dangerous weapons away from dangerous people”; committing to make U.S. students number one globally in math and reading within a decade; and a bald statement that “no child should be forced to go to a failing school.”
Now, as anyone with experience in creating policy will tell you, there is a big difference between promoting noble-sounding ideals and crafting legislation that will help the country live up to them. Or to put it another way, the devil’s in the details.
To this end, I’m struck above all by No Labels’ overarching key point—one that many politicians of both parties who are inclined toward the center have been trying to make for years: “America can’t solve its biggest problems and deliver the results hardworking taxpayers want, need, and deserve unless Democrats and Republicans start working together side by side on bipartisan solutions.”
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The Parkersburg News & Sentinel
It seems no matter how you convey the results of testing — an A-F analysis or the Balanced Scorecard that has been in place since the 2017-18 school year — West Virginia schools are still doing a poorer job for our kids than they were doing pre-pandemic; and a poor job in general.
Balanced Scorecard results for the 2022-23 school year show there has been a small improvement over last year’s performance in the annual statewide assessment, but we haven’t gotten back even to 2018-19 levels.
Improvement is good, of course, but even with improvement, only 55% of West Virginia students PARTIALLY met the standard for English Language Arts. We were at 56.9% before the pandemic. Only 50.6% of students partially meet the standard in math, compared with 53.5% pre-pandemic.
But because parents should not be content with partially educated students, let’s look at the percentage deemed profi cient. This time around, 35% of students tested were proficient in math, down from 39% in 2019. ELA proficiency was at 44%, down from 46% in 2019. Science profi ciency was 29%, down from 33% pre-COVID.
That is simply unacceptable.
Parents and guardians can and should visit wveis.k12.wv.us/essa/dashboard.html for specifics on your childrens’ school districts.
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It won’t be long until the leaves on the trees will start changing their color from green to all colors of the rainbow.
Rain or dry weather has nothing to do with it. It is that the days start getting shorter and the temperature starts to get cooler.
The trees stop manufacturing chlorophyll. In place of chlorophyll, carotenoids start showing up. These are pigments of brown, yellow and orange that put in the beautiful colors of nature that everyone likes to see and admire.
To local people ... be careful. The leaf peepers will be driving slow looking at these beautiful colors and you could run into them.
Just be careful and let these wonderful people observe the color of nature. It doesn’t last long and the people will be gone.
Submitted by Charles Teter,
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Quoting Mr. Jim Hinebaugh (LTE, 5 September): “... maybe I’m not just ‘woke’ enough.” My response: one can neither be “woke” nor “anti-woke” devoid of a full awareness of that which is represented thereby. But one example: globally-recognized philosopher Dr. Nieman, in the 2023 volume, “Left Is Not Woke,” declares (in the final chapter): “... as I’ve argued, the woke themselves have been colonized by a row of ideologies that properly belong to the right.”
Marx, a Doctor himself (Philosophy), wrote at a Ph.D. level. However, the single exception to the aforesaid was, “The Communist Manifesto,” which he and co-author Engels intentionally published at a working-class reading level. Mr. Hinebaugh claims that Marx stated: “Communists should have no compassion.” Huh? Marx was a self-aware human, ergo a humanist, and his compassion for humanity was boundless. More, it was his very compassion - observing the degraded and disenabling conditions wherein the vast majority of humankind were (and remain) bemired - that drove Marx to (correctly) understand that capitalism was the principal culprit entailing the immizeration of human life.
All of us, we humans, are worthy; we, all of us, also require quality conditions to permit our development. Thus, did Marx develop, scientifi cally, a system wherein all of us could develop freely.
Marx was an atheist, but many a clergyperson are openly communist. Godlessness, obviously, is not required of communists. A common, frightfully incorrect, error is to associate the U.S.S.R., North Korea, etc., with communism. Marx himself would have flatly repudiated the former U.S.S.R., today’s North Korea, etc., as travesties of communism.
To understand Marx, one must turn to the original writings (and not agenda-driven, cherry-picked, quotes). Both brilliant and compassionate, Marx and Engels debunked naïve “Utopian Socialism,” replacing same with, “Scientific Socialism.” The flaming radical Marx of University days was not the family-man Marx of decades later. Yet the core of Marx’s principles never wavered which, clearly and emphatically, were a love of humanity and the unswerving belief and knowledge that we humans, all, were and are more than our all present, oppressive, circumstances.
Charles L. Zorbaugh Petersburg, W.Va.
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By Dr. Glenn Mollette
National football star Aaron Rodgers’ football career may be over, but maybe not. It’s hard to keep a good man down. Sometimes, there is too much to overcome to come back.
Many of us watched the mega media debut of Rodgers as a New York Jets quarterback. His move from Green Bay after 18 seasons catapulted him to New York City celebrity status. He came to the Jets after a hugely successful career with the Packers.
His accomplishments were many and include a Super Bowl ring. He received the Super Bowl MVP award and four NFL MVP awards. He was touted as the man who would revitalize the Jets’ program and lead them to glory.
Rodgers’ financial package to make the move from Wisconsin to the Jets’ program was $75 million over two years. The money is guaranteed even though he may never play again. Rodgers reportedly took a salary cut to make the move.
During a recent Monday night football game on the fourth play of the game, Rodgers’ Achilles heel tendon was torn during the play. The injury requires surgery and the rest of the season to rehabilitate. The spirit of the electrified crowd spiraled south as Rodgers was transported off the field.
Unfortunately, Rodgers’ injury goes along with the game of football and can happen in most any sport. People can and do get hurt. There are no guarantees.
Life has no guarantees. We aren’t guaranteed another day. Regardless of the size of the financial package, doctor’s report, health, prior success, or talent, none of us can count on anything for sure.
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The Herald-Dispatch, Huntington
First, a few words from a renowned West Virginia mathematician, the late Katherine Johnson: “We will always have STEM with us. Some things will drop out of the public eye and go away, but there will always be science, engineering, and technology. And there will always, always be mathematics.”
And from one of the great scientists of all time, Galileo Galilei: “Nature is written in mathematical language.”
And from celebrity astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson: “Somehow it’s OK for people to chuckle about not being good at math. Yet, if I said, ‘I never learned to read,’ they’d say I was an illiterate dolt.”
Knowledge of mathematics — or just plain arithmetic — is a basic life skill that adults need to plan a trip, borrow money or just pay the monthly household bills. A deeper understanding of numbers and how they interact is necessary to understand just about any career fi eld a person might want to pursue. But math is getting left behind in public schools as defi cits in students’ reading skills are being addressed.
According to the Associated Press, some teachers want to bring renewed emphasis to math education. They’re not talking about complex problems involving logarithms, bell curves or quadratic equations. They’re trying to bring elementary students up to speed on simple tasks involving basic concepts such as long division.
Just as some states, including West Virginia, have gone back to basics with the “science of reading” curriculum, there is a movement called “science of math.” While a full description of the “science of math” can lose the casual reader in educational jargon, one explanation used by the AP says it requires teachers “to give clear and precise instructions and introduce new concepts in small chunks while building on older concepts.” That sounds familiar to the grandparents and great-grandparents of today’s elementary school students.
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By Autumn Shelton
WV Press Association
The clarity of a Senate Bill passed during the August special legislative session was questioned by members of the Joint Committee on Fire Departments and Emergency Medical Services (EMS) during their recent interim meeting.
Senate Bill 1021, which was passed during the recent special session called by Gov. Jim Justice, established two new sources of funding for certain first responders: the County Fire Protection Fund and the All County Fire Protection Fund.
As written in the bill, as well as an additional appropriations bill, a one time allocation of $3 million was placed into the County Fire Protection Fund to be distributed among counties, based on population, that have a countywide fee “dedicated to fire or emergency services.”
An additional one time allocation of $3 million was placed into the All County Fire Protection Fund for “the exclusive benefit of fire protection or emergency services.” Money from this fund is to be distributed among all 55 counties based on their population.
Both funds are to be administered by the Sec. of Homeland Security and distributed to county commissions. The county commissioners are then responsible for the distribution of those funds in their county, according to the bill.
Additionally, a one-time allocation of $6 million was placed into the state’s Fire Protection Fund to be equally distributed among all of the state’s volunteer fire departments, as long as they meet certain criteria, such as implementing the state auditor’s “Checkbook” fiscal reporting system by 2026.
During the meeting, Committee Vice-Chair, Del. Joe Statler, R-Monongalia, was the first to ask for clarification regarding the bill.
“I didn’t understand this to be one time money,” Statler said of the two $3 million allocations. “I understood it to be base-building in the budget.” He also asked for clarification on when departments will receive their money.
“As we go out and talk to our people across the state this is a big deal because, even if you look at the Fire Protection Fund, it’s roughly $14,000 additional dollars . . . that we gave to each department, again, for the year. If those departments go out and use that as collateral and then find out it’s a one time money–it’s critical.”
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DEAR PAWS: Recently, a new member joined our family: a toy poodle mix named Petey who was rehomed by an acquaintance who said they just couldn’t handle him and that he was untrainable. Petey is 4 years old, bounces everywhere, and loves to play soccer by catching a ball and then bouncing it off of his front paws back toward me. He’s incredibly smart, but training him has indeed been a challenge. I know the previous owners never made an effort to train him in basic obedience, and they left him alone for days at a time. His house-training is spotty. How can I make the training process faster and easier for both of us?
-- Doug L
DEAR DOUG: You’ve taken on a real challenge: a smart, independent and energetic dog. Petey sounds like a wonderful little guy, though, and I’m so glad you’ve added him to your family and committed to his well-being.
Building trust with Petey is important so that he knows what to expect from you and the rest of the family. Do that by adhering to a schedule: walks, feeding and training at the same time each day, with as little deviation as possible.
Obedience-training a smart and independent dog requires you to be smart about training, too. Petey needs to know the house rules, and he must want to do the things you’re asking him to do (or not do). Look into positive reinforcement methods like clicker training (https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/training/clicker-training-your-dogmark- and-reward/). Commit to a consistent training regimen so that desirable behaviors are reinforced and negative ones are discouraged. Work with a trainer if you are still struggling with Petey after a few weeks.
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By Leann Ray - West Virginia Watch
Have you ever seen a photo of an opossum with their mouth wide open, and it looks like they’re screaming?
That’s me, inside my head, every time I hear someone say, “I don’t follow politics. I hate politics.”
Well, yes, most people hate politics. But you have to stay somewhat informed so you know how to vote.
Right now in West Virginia, we have a Republican supermajority. Because of that, twice now this year they’ve suspended rules during the regular legislative session and the August special session to fast-track their bills for passage.
Here’s what should happen with a proposed bill: It should go through a committee, be read three times on either the House or Senate floor, be questioned by delegates and senators, and West Virginians given an opportunity to request public hearings on the bill.
With those rules suspended, legislators can just pass multiple bills and move on. In last month’s special session, the Senate voted unanimously to suspend the rules for 27 bills, which were then unanimously approved and sent to the House. The House suspended rules for eight bills, which then were sent to the Senate.
By suspending the rules, the Republican Party in West Virginia isn’t allowing for transparency. There’s no floor discussion. There’s no chance for the public to call for a public hearing to speak out against bills, even though the Republican lawmakers don’t listen when they do anyway.
This is an important part of democracy we’ve lost because one party has the numbers to do what it wants.
During the regular legislative session earlier this year, the Senate suspended rules to pass a bill clarifying that when a governor declares a state of emergency, it will expire after 60 days unless written notice is provided to the Legislature. This was in response to Gov. Jim Justice declaring a state of emergency on March 16, 2020 for the Covid-19 pandemic that did not end until Jan. 1 of this year.
Legislators also suspended rules to pass bills splitting the Department of Health and Human Resources into three agencies and to create the “The Anti-Racism Act,” which Dale Lee, president of the West Virginia Education Association, called “a solution in search of a problem.”