CONTEMPORARY ISSUES

Stay In The Know!
QUOTES YOU MAY HAVE MISSED ON FACEBOOK by Editor

QUOTES YOU MAY HAVE MISSED ON FACEBOOK by Editor

“Well, our brilliant leader (no one is smarter than him, he said so) has begun cavalierly calling this man with his finger on the trigger in North Korea and total control over the use of monstrous weapons, “Rocket” Man like a child in the schoolyard trying to provoke a fight. If conflict ensues it will not be this draft-dodger or his pampered children who are placed in danger and sent in harm’s way to a far-flung war zone to engage. We are talking about the deaths of literally thousands and tens of thousands of people-maybe even millions-many of them sons, daughters, fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, and even grandparents that are Americans. To treat the threat of a horrible war with such a thoughtless approach-as though it is no big deal-something to be joked about and belittled shows the depth of this-and I’m choking on it-president’s ignorance, arrogance, and lack of feeling for his fellow man. Is there no end to this madness? Is there no balm in Gilead for those of us seeking a return to sanity?” –Pat Jones   “This is the final paragraph of an article I just read in answer to a friend who asked his Black friends to provide examples of white privilege. (I would like to note that more accurately, his statement should be “white, straight, male privilege”) This woman wrote an extensive, sensitive response to his request which is quite long. This last paragraph is good instruction for everyone: “As to you ‘being part of the problem,’ trust me, nobody is mad at you for being white. Nobody. Just like nobody should be... read more
CONVERSATION ON CRITICISM AND ABORTION by Editor and Reader

CONVERSATION ON CRITICISM AND ABORTION by Editor and Reader

[The following mostly unedited conversation appeared in the E-edition of the Herald-Dispatch in August, 2017. Explanatory notes placed appropriately; otherwise, it appears as originally printed. The exchange was brought on by the editor’s response to a column in the H-D by a local columnist, who shall remain unnamed. The subject of the original column was anti-abortion and the body of the exchange, after a bit of back and forth on criticism, is on the subject of abortion.] BILL: Milt, as you so often say when facing criticism regarding what you write in your own column, this is the opinion section. What’s good for the goose? MILT: So it is. And so, I expressed my opinion above, as I generally do when I disagree with comments about my own columns. Also, it irks me and many others that [unnamed whose column was on the subject of “abortion”] never comes here to defend, explain, comment on criticisms, or expand on his thinking, etc., etc. Sometimes, he writes like he’s the voice of God, and anyone who disagrees with him (especially us liberals) is bound for the lowest levels of hell. Balderdash! I’m certainly neither goose nor gander, so what’s your point Bill? BILL: My point, Milt, is that you lash out at people who criticize you on your column seemingly using the defense that it’s your opinion, therefore immune from criticism. And here you are lashing out at [unnamed] for his opinions. Seems rather hypocritical. MILT: Bill, sometimes I’m hypocritical. What’s so strange about that? Most people are from time to time. Actually, it’s not hypocritical to be aggravated by responses... read more
DO NOT REPAY EVIL WITH EVIL by J. William St. Clair

DO NOT REPAY EVIL WITH EVIL by J. William St. Clair

I attended the University of Virginia (1982-1986). One summer, I worked at a restaurant about a block from the park where the clashes occurred last Saturday morning. My memories do not match what I witnessed on the television screen. It was surreal to watch people yelling and taunting each other, lobbing and being hit by bottles, spraying and being sprayed by mace and then engaging in random fistfights in an area I recall as being quiet and bucolic. What caught my attention is that those engaging in the violence were doing so voluntarily. They were mutual combatants. Certainly the young woman killed by a car was not part of the melee that I saw. Her death was an act of evil. And, I would place in the evil category (albeit a lesser category) the mutual combatants I witnessed fighting in the street. They were both returning evil for evil.   The public outcry in the wake of the street skirmishes apparently did not witness what I saw on the news. Government officials and media pundits generally focused on the white supremacists, Klan members and neo-Nazis (bigots) - their wrongdoing and our public intolerance for their thoughts and beliefs. There was no mention of the beatings I saw some of the bigots received in the streets. The hatred, loathing and disdain heaped upon the bigots in the street and later in the media is exactly what the bigots want the public to feel and then pile upon them. Evil wants to be repaid with evil because even righteous loathing fuels the bigot’s hate-filled rhetoric intellectually and has no connection with... read more
TELL ME I’M NOT WORTHY by Jen Hayden

TELL ME I’M NOT WORTHY by Jen Hayden

Kristin Beck, who spent two decades as a Navy SEAL, has a challenge for Donald Trump in the wake of his morning tweetstorm announcing a ban on transgender service members. From Business Insider: “Let’s meet face to face and you tell me I’m not worthy,” Kristin Beck, a 20-year veteran of the Navy SEALSs, told Business Insider on Wednesday. “Transgender doesn’t matter. Do your service.” Beck is a bonafide American hero: Beck is not just your average service member. Born Christopher Beck, she served for 20 years in the Navy with SEAL Teams 1, 5, and, eventually, the elite 6. She deployed 13 times over two decades, including stints in Bosnia, Iraq, and Afghanistan. She received the Bronze Star award for valor and the Purple Heart for wounds suffered in combat. “I was defending individual liberty,” she said. “I defended for Republicans. I defended for Democrats. I defended for everyone.” Beck’s missions in Afghanistan helped take out Osama bin Laden. What an embarrassment to this nation and a stabbing insult to patriots like Beck, who simply want to serve their country. [Article first appeared in Daily Kos, Wednesday, July 26, 2017. Reprinted with permission.]... read more
COLLECTED THOUGHTS FROM JOURNALIST ED RABEL ON FACEBOOK

COLLECTED THOUGHTS FROM JOURNALIST ED RABEL ON FACEBOOK

[Renowned West Virginia reporter and commentator Ed Rabel shares his thoughts on social media. Following are some of the important, unedited comments he has shared in the past few weeks.] “I have decided to treat Trump for the joke he is. As Sigmund Freud theorized, by turning something threatening into a game, we rob it of its power over us. In this way, play transforms a passive experience into an active one, allowing us to gain mastery over a threat. “We liberals give Trump way too much importance by parsing every tweet and speaking about him in hushed tones. It’s easy to feel powerless by the deluge of depressing headlines. But by subverting his authority even in subtle, silly ways, we loosen his herculean grasp on us. “Who’s with me? All together now: ‘Little Donnie Duck is a quack, quack, quack!'” LOL   “During ‘Made in America Week,’ Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Club applies to hire 70 foreign workers… “The for-profit club, where President Trump spent numerous weekends this spring, asked permission to hire 15 housekeepers, 20 cooks and 35 waiters because it says it cannot find qualified Americans for those jobs.” “Trump doesn’t understand that Robert Mueller is not a contractor, he’s in a civil litigation dispute with, someone he can intimidate and wear down and threaten and bleed out. “Bringing in another New York deal maker, “The Mooch,” won’t help him understand the existential threat he faces in Washington from Mueller.” “When Trump lies that millions of votes were cast illegally for Clinton in 2016, he betrays an insecurity that stems both from his personality and from knowing that... read more
WATCHING THE DEAD AT MY FUNERAL HOME by Ed Rabel

WATCHING THE DEAD AT MY FUNERAL HOME by Ed Rabel

My residence is a funeral home in West Virginia. I live among the dead. Night and day, I witness the arrival of dead West Virginians from my apartment atop the funeral home garage. I hear the sobs of loved ones who bid farewell in the chapel down below. Sad songs echo in my home place, Christian anthems once reserved mostly for natural deaths now performed often for the overdosed, the suicides and those killed by coal. For me, death by misused drugs is not theoretical. Suicides are no rumor. And coalfield departures are not left to my imagination. The unnaturally deceased arrive, in mounting numbers, at my doorstep without fanfare on stretchers for me to see, firsthand. Such blatancy is injurious to my soul. Not to mention my civility. Many of my neighbors are in disbelief when I tell them that deaths from cancer, black lung, suicide and drug addiction are outpacing natural causes for the first time in our written history. To them, such deaths are simply statistics to be denied. From my funereal vantage point, such deaths cannot be refuted. How difficult must it be for someone not as profoundly acquainted with death as I am to understand what it means when I tell you that, in mountaintop removal mining counties in central Appalachia, an additional 60,000 cases of cancer are directly linked to federally sanctioned strip mining. Not until you see, personally, a withered body made so by deadly particulate blown by strip miners into our mountain air can you appreciate, fully, just how toxic and lethal our land has become. I am dismayed by what... read more