Friday, January 28, 2011

West Virginia Needs a Primary Election

Kanawha County Republican Executive Committee Chair Melody Potter on Facebook Tuesday endorsed a primary election to determine party nominees for governor before the special election.

I agree 100%.

Two alternatives exist. One would just be a wide open election where every contender was on the ballot at once. This opens the door for false candidates to try and siphon votes from actual ones. More likely would be a party convention where each of the three parties that generally run candidates for governor would select their nominees and put them on the ballot. However, this might reinforce the perception that West Virginia politics is basically a good ol' boy show.

A primary election is good for Republicans for a few reasons.

First, it is the more democratic way to operate. Candidacies are open and the people get to vote. That is the expectation of the voters in the 21st Century. They want to choose. Second, the race between the various GOP candidates will bring media attention to these individuals that will create name recognition for the general election. Some major candidates are better known west of the mountains and in southern West Virginia, some are better known to the east. It is important that registered Republicans and other voters across the entire state get to know all of the potential Republican candidates so that they can make an informed Republican vote in the fall.

The Republican Party is advancing a very experienced and capable set of candidates this time, most notably State Senator Clark Barnes and former Secretary of State Betty Ireland. Both of these candidates are exceptional campaigners, so a primary election plays to both of their strengths.

A primary election can help our party build a case for its nominee in the general election.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Congressman McKinley Introduces Bill to Limit EPA Attacks On Coal

For Immediate Release:January 26, 2011Contact: Katie Martin, 202.525.0589

McKINLEY INTRODUCES LEGISLATION TO STOP EPA FROM VETOING EXISTING PERMITSBi-partisan bill co-sponsored by West Virginia’s Capito & Rahall, other coal-country repsPresses administration official on outrageous EPA power-grab at subcommittee hearing
Washington, D.C. – Rep. David B. McKinley, P.E. (R-WV) filed legislation (H.R. 457) Wednesday that would remove the EPA’s authority to retroactively veto an existing Section 404(c) Clean Water Act permit. The bill amends the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (Clean Water Act) to explicitly prevent the EPA from revoking a permit under the Act after one has been issued by the Secretary of the Army.
McKinley’s first piece of legislation is co-sponsored by Reps. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Nick Rahall (D-WV), Bill Johnson (R-OH) and Bob Gibbs (R-OH), and would be retroactive to January 1, 2011 – thereby reinstating the Spruce Mine No. 1 permit in southern West Virginia revoked two weeks ago by the EPA. Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) has announced plans to file a similar piece of legislation soon.
“For years, the EPA has been bullying coal companies and the workers they employ,” said McKinley. “But this isn’t just about the Spruce Mine. If their new policy of retroactive revocation is allowed to stand, dozens of heavily-regulated industries and hundreds of thousands of American jobs hang in the balance. Businesses will not invest in new projects and create new jobs if they know that regulatory agencies can ignore existing permits and arbitrarily pull the rug right out from under them. This has to stop.”
Also Wednesday, McKinley pressed the chief White House regulatory official on the EPA’s decision on Spruce Mine. At the request of Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-FL), the chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, McKinley asked chief White House regulatory official Cass Sunstein a series of questions at a hearing of the subcommittee. Under the congressman’s questioning, Sunstein acknowledged that the U.S. Supreme Court has generally frowned upon retroactive regulatory action and promised to follow up with more information on the EPA’s actions and the propriety thereof.
Earlier this week, McKinley sent a letter to Stearnsrequesting that the Oversight and Investigations subcommittee call the EPA in front of the panel to directly answer questions about the chilling effect its decision would have on the American economy.
McKinley concluded, “We have a long way to go in this fight. This is just the first step. But the Obama administration and the EPA are now on notice that we will not sit idly by while their arrogance kills West Virginia jobs and threatens thousands more across the country.”


World Health Organization to Waste Time Attacking Free Speech

The World Health Organization is calling a summit to propose a worldwide ban on junk food advertising to children, comparing it to limitations on the advertising of tobacco.

This is yet another United Nations stunt to grab headlines and reduce freedom while doing nothing effective. Couldn't the money spent to wine and dine world health officials be better used to pay more doctors to go to the Third World. I imagine that the starving young people in Sudan could not care less about fast food marketing to children. But they would probably like medicine and the attention of a doctor. Unfortunately such efforts have support int he United States from people like Mike Huckabee and Michelle Obama.

What the UN probably doesn't know is that there is no law against tobacco advertising. They pulled their ads as part of a court settlement. Laws that would ban such advertising would violate the First Amendment to the Constitution. Also, how would you differentiate between ads directed at children and those directed at adults. A gray area does exist, especially since lines blur when you consider media like adult oriented cartoons.

We need to save money. Consider kicking the UN out of our country and ending our participation.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Once Again the President Fails to Grasp Reality

We saw some interesting proposals in last night's State of the Union Address. Well, I didn't actually watch it, but read it this morning.

He wants to "out educate" the world, whatever that means. I asume that he will want to spend more money to implement more crackpot federal ideas that interfere with local direction and real teaching. Federal interference and spending has pushed schools into a downward spiral since the Department of Education was created. More of the same will create worse results.

Even the Associated Press questions the stated commitment to cap spending coming in the same speech as promises to spend more on a large number of his own initiatives.

Obama also called on Congress to unify together. Obama already had a Congress unified behind his agenda and the people got rid of it. We need a Congress unified behind the idea that federal spending and activity need to be considerably reduced. We need to expect less out of government and it needs to try and do less for special interests and feel good liberals.

He also doesn't get it on economics. The Adjunct Instructor in Chief still thinks that government must create conditions for job growth. The best thing government can do is keep taxes down, deregulate, and get out of the way. How does he think that a huge fee charged to banks is going to help free credit? Business often needs credit to expand operations. Obama clearly does not understand basic economics. His answer has always been to spend more money than the created jobs would actually pay.

Obama showed in this speech that he is a one trick pony. When you need jobs, spend. When you want to educate, spend. When you want to feel good, spend. If he were a private citizen, he'd be a shopaholic and a hoarder.

He must face the reality that we are running into serious trouble. We need massive debt reduction and he is proposing spending reduction measures that would equal an average wagerearner putting aside a quarter a month while increasing our burdens elsewhere. If nothing else, Obama has given the Tea Party new ammunition to build on its efforts in this non election year. Because he just does not get it. Therefore, he needs to be replaced with a fiscally responsible president in 2012.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Intrastate Coal and Use Act Gets Bipartisan Support

Delegate Gary Howell (R-49th) last week introduced a bill designed to limit the jurisdiction of the Environmental Protection Agency over West Virginia coal mining operations. It will enable mines that only sell to West Virginia customers to ignore the EPA and only deal with state officials. Though the number of mines affected by this bill are few in number, it represents an effort to assert state rights under the tenth amendment against the expansion of federal power. This bill is very similar to gun manufacturing laws passed last year in Ohio and Montana.

The EPA has withdrawn permits assigned to mines, putting thousands of West Virginians out of work. Both Obama and Biden spoke about ending the coal industry in the United States during the 2008 presidential campaign. Despite the antipathy of the national Democratic Party to coal, Democrats in the Mountain State have signed on to co-sponsor the bill.

Delegates Linda Sumner (R-Raleigh), Ray Canterbury (R-Greenbrier), Carol Miller (R-Cabell), Kelli Sobonya (R-Cabell), John Ellem (R-Wood), Mitch Carmichael (R-Jackson), Walter Duke (R-Berkeley), Finance Chairman H.K. White (D-Mingo), Economic Development and Small Business Chairman Steve Kominar (D-Mingo) and Rupert Phillips (D-Lincoln).

Monday, January 24, 2011

Time to Fix the Law

Speaker of the House Richard Thompson belives that the Legislature has a mess on its hands and he places the blame on one man, Earl Ray Tomblin.

Thompson argues that Tomblin should have spent most of his time as Senate President and only acted as governor when absolutely necessary, according to his interview on MetroNews Talkline. He still refuses to meet with Tomblin and work with the select group of lawmakers and Tomblin who are trying to set up the Special Gubernatorial Election.

This sounds like old fashioned politics. This situation is admittedly bizarre and the crafters of the Constitution of 1872 planned poorly for this type of situation. However, the decision has been made by the Supreme Court to mandate the election and it is time to make that happen.

The Legislature needs to put together an amendment to the state constitution that will address this problem and preserve the concept of separation of powers envisioned in 1872. It may also be time for a commission to be appointed to study the state constitution. Any other hidden contradictions and ambiguities should be addressed if they exist.