Friday, December 24, 2010

Yes, Virginia, There Is a Santa Claus

Eight-year-old Virginia O'Hanlon wrote a letter to the editor of New York's Sun, and the quick response was printed as an unsigned editorial Sept. 21, 1897. The work of veteran newsman Francis Pharcellus Church has since become history's most reprinted newspaper editorial, appearing in part or whole in dozens of languages in books, movies, and other editorials, and on posters and stamps.

"DEAR EDITOR: I am 8 years old.
"Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus.
"Papa says, 'If you see it in THE SUN it's so.'
"Please tell me the truth; is there a Santa Claus?


VIRGINIA, your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe except [what] they see. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds. All minds, Virginia, whether they be men's or children's, are little. In this great universe of ours man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect, as compared with the boundless world about him, as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth and knowledge.

Yes, VIRGINIA, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus. It would be as dreary as if there were no VIRGINIAS. There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence. We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The eternal light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished.

Not believe in Santa Claus! You might as well not believe in fairies! You might get your papa to hire men to watch in all the chimneys on Christmas Eve to catch Santa Claus, but even if they did not see Santa Claus coming down, what would that prove? Nobody sees Santa Claus, but that is no sign that there is no Santa Claus. The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see. Did you ever see fairies dancing on the lawn? Of course not, but that's no proof that they are not there. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world.

You may tear apart the baby's rattle and see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, nor even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived, could tear apart. Only faith, fancy, poetry, love, romance, can push aside that curtain and view and picture the supernal beauty and glory beyond. Is it all real? Ah, VIRGINIA, in all this world there is nothing else real and abiding.

No Santa Claus! Thank God! he lives, and he lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay, ten times ten thousand years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Statement of Acting Governor/Senate President Earl Ray Tomblin

From West Virginia Metro News. This statement reaffirms AG/SP Tomblin's position that he does not see his holding of both of his offices as a violation of the State Constitution. The 1872 Constitution clearly mandates a separation of powers between the three branches and that no one can hold offices in two or three at once. The acting governor ought to step aside from his legislative position. Then the state legislature needs to pass legislation to more strictly define the succession.

Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin released the following statement Wednesday regarding the rules of the State Senate:

“With the passing of Senator Byrd, our State has had a shifting of governmental power not recently realized. With Governor Manchin becoming Senator Manchin, another transition has occurred as the duties of acting as Governor have fallen on me as Senate President.

“As you know, the Senate membership has been deeply divided regarding the changing of Senate Rules as it relates to the role of the Senate President while acting as Governor. This has resulted in an emotionally charged environment.

“During our caucus, I opposed the specific rule change that was proposed, which could be read to have prohibited my return to the Senate at all times and for any matters while I act as Governor. I did not believe that such a drastic rule change was necessary to preserve the appropriate separation of powers in our government.

“I am extremely mindful of separation of powers concerns. Indeed, I have taken steps which demonstrate that my main focus will be on running the executive branch only. Current Senate Rules provide that, while I am away from the Senate, the Senate Pro Tempore acts as President. Moreover, I have continually expressed to the members of the democratic caucus that I would listen to their wishes in determining who would be Senate Pro Tempore, i.e., act as President in my absence. Again, I have repeatedly indicated my willingness to abide by the wishes of the caucus in who presides over the Senate while I act as Governor.

“At this critical juncture in our State’s history, we cannot allow political disagreement to get in the way of improving West Virginia and moving her forward. We do not need to create chaos and instability at a time when the people of our State need reassurance that their government is functioning and that the business of vital services they expect continues without interruption.

“I take great pride in the role I have played as one of 34 Senators who have regularly placed the interests of our State first – ahead of personal interests and ahead of politics.

“My colleagues and I have been working feverishly to reach some conclusion where the Senate can come together without fractious differences that prevent the work of the State from being completed. The Senate is so terribly divided at this time that my main concern is getting all sides to begin the process of reconciliation in a manner that will permit the Senate to organize. If we do not work together to resolve our differences, we all lose, regardless of the particular set Rules we adopt.

“I am confident that, as we move toward the Legislative Session in January, the Senate will come together and do what is right for West Virginia. I am committed to continuing that dialogue and working with my colleagues toward a resolution.”

- Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Michael Vick As NFL MVP?

It's a looming issue for the National Football League. Tom Brady is having a typically wonderful year and his New England Patriots seem to have returned to their machine like precision, mauling every team in their path.

The NFL would love to have Brady win the Most Valuable Player award this year. But that may not happen.

Enter Michael Vick.

His very return to football after serving prison time on severe dog abuse charges was in debate. Most figured that the out of shape former Atlanta Falcon would sit the bench for a good team or start for a bad team. After all, he was a potentially exciting, yet mediocre quarterback in his first stint. What would be the difference this time?

He signed with the Philadelphia Eagles and made promises of commitment to coach Andy Reid. Vick's new approach to work and preparation has given a picture of what could have been a Hall of Fame career had he not wandered off the legitimate path and engaged in dog fighting. He now does the right things, says the right things, and makes you want to believe.

But there's still the heinous nature of his crimes. Vick didn't just get into a bar fight or end up at the wrong place at the wrong time. He caused dogs to suffer purposefully.

This begs the question, can the NFL honor a man with such a heinous crime in his past? Or is complete redemption possible?

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

West Virginia Population grows by 2.5% between 2000 and 2010

The U. S. Census Bureau reported that West Virginia's population grew by 2.5% between 2000 and 2010. This was enough to help the state retain its three representatives while Ohio and Pennsylvania each lost one.

West Virginia will see changes in the next year as the state legislature opens the redistricting process. This will undoubtedly reflect the increasing population growth in the Eastern Panhandle and continued diminishing counts south of Charleston. It will also reflect the political priorities of the Democrat controlled legislature. They will try to limit the potential damage done by gains in GOP dominated areas while trying to redraw districts to reflect the new population patterns.

It is difficult to predict what this means for the House and Senate districts locally. However, Mineral County should brace for changes at not only the state legislative, but perhaps also the congressional level as well. It sits on the eastern edge of both the 14th senatorial and 1st congressional districts.

The Potomac Highlands voters need to take an active part in the discussions of where they will end up.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Commentary By Mac Warner From Monongalia County GOP Site

I am not sure where I stand myself on Don't Ask, Don't Tell. I lean towards repeal, personally. However, I agree 100% with Mac's description of Manchin as "gutless" in skipping out on such an important issue. Either vote your conscience, one way or the other, or resign.

Monongalia County GOPManchin: Gutless and AWOL in Don't Ask, Don't TellGutless. Absolutely gutless. At a time of war when so many West Virginia soldiers are deployed, risking their lives in the fight against radical Islamic terrorism, we deserve a Senator who will represent West Virginia values -- not run and hide to protect his own political career.Yet, where was our new Senator, Joe Manchin, on Saturday when it was time to represent West Virginia values on repeal of the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" (DADT) policy? He was purposely avoiding the controversy, hiding at “a pre-planned Christmas party.” Yes, Senator Manchin, the career politician who has been angling for this job the last decade and quit being governor two years early to get this position, now chooses to sit it out when the votes aren’t easy. Less than one month on the job, he thought it better to let others decide whether DADT is right or wrong for our fighting forces.In a case resembling Senator Kerry's "I voted for it before I was against it" fiasco, Joe Manchin voted for the policy before he apologized to fellow Democrats, saying he'd probably be against it in time. You see, Joe Manchin knows West Virginians are largely a conservative, family-value type of people. Joe had hoped DADT would go away after his first vote (a parliamentary issue) with the new Congress being seated in January. He even hoped the President would act unilaterally, saving Joe from having to make a decision. He was trying to pull in DC what he's gotten away with for so many years here in West Virginia, having it both ways. But, when Senator Lieberman continued to push for repeal of DADT in the lame-duck session, Joe Manchin felt very lonely. He had been the only Democrat to vote against lifting the ban. So, when push came to shove, Joe ran. Joe ran out of town, and hid from his place of duty in DC. In less than one month, Joe's Achilles heel was revealed: no principal, no morals, no solid ground on which to stand.You see, his job is to represent us, the people of West Virginia. The people of West Virginia know that open homosexuality will not enhance the US military. That should have been Senator Manchin's vote. Or, he could have stood on principal -- again, open homosexuality is not a family value, and it should not be foisted upon our troops as a social experiment. But, Manchin's political career has taught him to avoid principal, to not make morals the basis for action, and to ride the tide of polls and the political sentiment of the day. When the tide of his own Democrat Party no longer provided him safe harbor, he chose the path of least resistance. Joe ran. The reasons why the policy should not have been lifted are many-fold, but in the interest of time, I briefly mention three. First, the survey used as the basis for this action was flawed. The questions were framed so as to skew and predetermine the outcome. The survey did not ask soldiers if they thought gays should be allowed to serve openly, but rather phrased the question so that if the soldier answered negatively, it made the soldier appear bigoted or insecure. Second, sexual attraction goes to the heart of human nature. Unlike skin color, religion, gender and other benign bases for civil-rights advancements, action based on sexual attraction must be regulated to maintain good order and discipline in our Armed Forces. That is why adultery, fraternization, bestiality, and certain other sex-based actions are prohibited by the Uniform Code of Military Justice. Third, take this to its logical conclusion. What logical basis is there now for not housing men with women? Upon what basis should the military provide separate showers or latrines? What about bisexuals, transgender individuals, bigamists, polygamists, pedophiles, and people with sexual desires/fixations on objects other than the opposite sex?Don't get me wrong. Our military faces much larger threats than repeal of DADT. Our soldiers are resilient, mature, and intelligent. They'll make this work. But, just because you can do something, doesn't mean you ought to do it. DADT worked because it was a compromise -- it kept both a lid on open homosexuality in a conservative, mission-oriented environment, and yet it provided for a reality that has existed in armies since the beginning of time. Gay people serve, fight and die just as straight people do. Until it could be shown that repealing the policy would actually help mission accomplishment (not just be tolerated or used to celebrate a social agenda), the policy should have remained in effect. Senator Joe Manchin wants the advantage of 20/20 hindsight. He wanted to be able to claim victory either way. You watch -- he'll have his spin, put on the Mo-Joe, and tell us how great our Armed Forces are. But, we need to remember that when the battle lines were drawn, and the engagement commenced, Joe Manchin was AWOL. West Virginia deserves better. We deserve leadership, not gutless avoidance. Remember Joe's failed response to DADT in November 2012.Mac Warner3110 North Greystone DriveMorgantown, WV 26508(304) 826-0998