Saturday, May 31, 2008

Clinton and Obama Struggle for Power

by Sheldon Richman

Many Americans are spellbound by the historic contest for the Democratic presidential nomination between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. Forgetting the political context, it is indeed something spectacular, even inspiring. A woman and a black man have reached a pinnacle that just a few years ago seemed impossibly far off.

If it were happening outside politics, it would be something to appreciate.

But we can’t forget the political context, and it’s the nature of that context that should keep us from truly rejoicing in Clinton’s and Obama’s achievements.

For more on this commentary, go to The Future of Freedom Foundation

Friday, May 30, 2008

One suit settled, another dismissed against former Mason physician

Two civil suits involving a former Mason County physician have come to some sort of conclusion.

On April 22, a malpractice suit Ralph Barcus brought against Dr. Jack M. Levine was "fully compromised and settled." A month earlier, U.S. District Judge Chuck Chambers ordered the case removed from the active docket when legal counsel for both sides informed him that a possible settlement was in the works.

Originally filed in Mason Circuit Court on Dec. 4, 2006, the case was transferred to the U.S. District Court's Huntington division on May 27, 2007.In the suit, Barcus, of Gallipolis, Ohio, alleged Levine inserted a catheter into his chest in November 1999. Levine later removed the catheter in May 2001.

However, Barcus alleged that Levine failed to remove the entire catheter. According to his suit, another physician in 2004 discovered that an object near Barcus' mid-left lung was a holding disc from the catheter.

It was not until two years later that the disc was removed, records show.

When contacted, Levine's attorney, Barry M. Taylor, with the Huntington law firm of Jenkins Fenstermaker, declined to comment on the terms of settlement. Also, Barcus' attorney, Michael Eachus, with the Gallipolis law firm of Eachus and Finley, was not immediately available for comment.

Earlier this year, a wrongful death suit in Shelbyville, Ill., in which Levine was named as a respondent-in-discovery, was dismissed. According to court records, on Jan. 24 Shelby Circuit Judge Kimberly Koster dismissed the suit because of its lack of a certificate stating the death of Donna Ogilvie was "willingly wrongful."

The case which was filed by Penny Shasteen, Ogilvie's daughter, and the special administrator of her estate, alleged that Dr. Arnold V. Agapito, Shelby Memorial Hospital and Shelby Area Ambulance Service, where all in some way responsible for Ogilvie's death.

Court records show, Ogilvie died at Decatur Memorial Hospital 15 days after Levine performed a colonoscopy on her at Shelby Memorial Hospital on Oct. 25, 2005. Though Levine performed the surgery, Shasteen's suit placed the blame on her mother's death on Agapito for first, not properly preparing her for surgery, and second, not timely informing Levine of post-surgical complications.

As a respondent-in-discovery, Levine was asked to comply with all discovery requests made by Shasteen. Though the wrongful death was dismissed, it was done so without prejudice.

According to Shasteen, Koster gave her one year to refile it with the proper certificate.

"We are working with our experts and we intend to refile," Shasteen said. "There are so many acts of misconduct in my mother's death that I don't intend to stop until I find the truth."

Monday, May 26, 2008

Billionaire N.C. racetrack owner gets milllions in taxpayer funds for drag strip addition

Concord, N.C. - Last August, Concord leaders learned that Bruton Smith, billionaire owner of Lowe's Motor Speedway, wanted incentives for a proposed drag strip and track expansion.

Three months passed, and Smith threatened to move his racing complex, before Concord and Cabarrus County worked out a deal he would accept. The $80 million package included $20 million that local leaders hope the state will pay. If the state doesn't pay -- and there has been no indication that it will -- local taxpayers will be on the hook for the entire amount.

Smith agreed to stay in Concord, spend $200 million to expand the track and build a $60 million drag strip.

For more on this article, go to The Charlotte Observer

Sunday, May 25, 2008

The state is always the enemy

by Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr.

The web loves nothing more than a good brawl, so people often write me to ask me to respond to a critic of or the Mises Institute. There's certainly no shortage of them, and they come from the left, the right, and everything in between.

My first thought on the request is that the archive speaks for itself, and a response would amount to little more than reprinting. And yet the criticisms in themselves are interesting because often they come from people who liked one thing we said and then felt betrayed by another thing we said, so we get praise for the first thing and attacked for the second thing.

For more on this op/ed, go to

Saturday, May 24, 2008

The importance of borders

by Walter Block

Doctors without borders. Journalists without borders. Educators without borders. Librarians without borders. Rivers without borders. Potters without borders. Hydrogeologists without borders. Facilitators without borders. Builders without borders. Life without borders. Students without borders. Veterinarians without borders. Friends without borders. MBAs without borders. Words without borders. Dogs without borders (see here). Mexicans without borders. Slavery without borders. Dumping without borders (see here).

These are only some of the quickly burgeoning groups that share the same last (two) name(s), "without borders."

What is going on here? What accounts for this new "without borders" initiative? What do all these groups have in common? Do they resemble each other in any way apart from choice of appellation? And, where are the "libertarians without borders?"

At first glance, these groups are as dissimilar as they can be. What, after all, do doctors, reporters and Mexicans share apart from their humanity, of course? But, by digging a little deeper we are able, at least, to hazard an informed guess as to what is going on.

All of these organizations are associated with leftish political philosophy in general, and with support for world government in particular.

For more on this op/ed piece, go to

Friday, May 23, 2008

Secretive Calif. agency doles out public money for private development

SACRAMENTO - What do $3.70 lattes, an Indian casino and a BMW dealership have in common?

An obscure California agency thinks they're all public benefits worth tax-free money.

The agency, the California Statewide Communities Development Authority, issued about $4.2 billion in tax free bonds in 2007, ranking behind only the states of California, Ohio and New York.

County supervisors and city council members statewide formed the agency. Last year, their political associations pocketed $4 million from it.

The Bay Area businessmen who staff it made even more. They collected $10 million.

For 20 years, they have operated out of the public view, using a public agency to help finance their special interests while siphoning off tax revenue for projects of dubious public value.

They have taken a public agency and made it a private benefit.
"This is the ultimate in invisible government," said Orange County Supervisor Chris Norby, who's been suspicious of the agency since he was a Fullerton City Councilman in the 1990s.

"It's kind of the worst of both worlds," he said, "public and private."

For more on this article, go to The Orange County Register

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Mismanagement costs Rochester, N.Y. school district $1.4 million over last two years

Rochester, N.Y. - A teacher scoops up copies of a writing textbook at the Rochester School District's annual book giveaway."We've been asking for this stuff all year," she mutters, "and they're throwing it away."

A few steps away, inside the district's book depository, hardbound copies of an illustrated history of China fill 19 cases, 18 of which are still wrapped in the publisher's tape. All await shipping to a shredder.

Fresh from a pickup of discarded books at the depository, a trucker parks his rig on the scale at a Rochester recycling plant. His load weighs in at 10,460 pounds, more than five tons. "Oh yeah," he remarks to a reporter. "They go through a lot of books."

Those are a few of the scenes recorded by the Democrat and Chronicle as it examined the textbook procurement procedures of the Rochester School District, where books can go unused for years, tens of thousands more are discarded annually and students complain they do not have books to take home.

Reviews of inventories and purchase orders; interviews with educators, parents, and students; and an inspection of the book depository revealed that the district's process for buying, tracking and distributing textbooks has been plagued by mismanagement and miscommunication for years.

For more on this article, go to The (Rochester, N.Y.) Democrat and Chronicle

Monday, May 19, 2008

Additional discrepancies found in Musgrave bankruptcy

CHARLESTON - A closer examination of a Mason County attorney's bankruptcy petition reveals he may have not only falsified information about lawsuits involving former clients, but also his safekeeping of a settlement awarded to a Mason physician.

For more on this story, go to The West Virginia Record

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Musgrave failed to list judgments on bankruptcy petition

CHARLESTON - Records show a Mason County attorney has failed to list on his bankruptcy petition judgments in two civil suits against former clients for non-payment of legal services.

The issue may be a moot point, however, as his petition may be dismissed for, ironically, delinquent payments.

For more on this article, go to The West Virginia Record

Monday, May 12, 2008

Musgrave comes up flat in three other lawsuits

Court records show that Raymond Musgrave not only sued two other clients for non-payment of legal fees, but also another attorney for luring one of his clients away from him.

However, all suits were to no avail.

According to court records, he brought suit against Cary Dale Arbogast, and Kevin Curl on July 7, 1995. In both suits, he alleged Arbogast, who lived in Newton, South Carolina, and Curl, a resident of Marietta, Ohio, each owed him $1,140.11.

Court records are unclear as to the nature of Musgrave's representation in both cases.

In addition to what he believed he was owed for legal fees, Musgrave also asked for $75 in court costs. Following a motion made by Musgrave to dismiss the suits due to his inability to serve process, then-Mason Circuit Judge O.C. "Hobby" Spaulding dismissed Curl's case on Dec. 5, and Arbogbast's on Dec. 6, 1995.

At the time of the ruling, Mason and Putnam counties were part of the same judicial circuit.

On Feb. 26, 1998, Musgrave brought suit against Dennis O'Bryan, an attorney in Birmingham, Michigan. In his complaint and suit, filed with the assistance of Guy Bucci, with the Charleston law firm of Bucci, Bailey and Javis, Musgrave alleged O'Bryan "tortuously interfered with the central relationship existing between Plaintiff, Raymond Musgrave, and his client, Kevin D. Glover."

According to court records, Musgrave and Glover entered into an attorney-client relationship to bring suit against Kanawha River Towing, Inc. However, records are unclear as the nature of the suit.

Also records are unclear is to when, but Musgrave alleged after taking Glover as a client, he received a faxed letter from O'Bryan saying Glover was now his client. This prompted Musgrave to accuse O'Bryan of "improperly soliciting clients."

However, the day after he filed the suit, Musgrave, without explanation, made a motion to dismiss it. Then-Mason Circuit Judge Clarence Watt granted the motion on June 1, 1998.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Musgrave sues other clients in spite of Bar's warning

Despite a warning by the state Bar Association not to do so, a Mason County attorney has sued at least one former client for non-payment of legal fees without communicating fee arrangements, and payment expectations.

For more on this article, go to The West Virginia Record

Photo: Apple Grove resident James Watterson is one of three Mason County residents Raymond G. Musgrave sued in 2005 for non-payment of legal services. The suits came three years after the state Bar Association warned Musgrave about taking such action unless he first commuicated payment arrangements with his clients.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Harriett Nibert brings suit against city, former mayor

A former Point Pleasant city employee is alleging her removal as secretary following least year's municipal election was politically motivated.

On March 26, Harriett Nibert filed suit against both the city of Point Pleasant and former Mayor Marilyn L. McDaniel for wrongful termination. In her complaint and suit filed with the assistance of Walt Auvil, with the Parkersburg law firm of Rusen and Auvil, Nibert alleges she "and other City employees associated with the previous administration of Democratic Mayor James H. Wilson were conducted in violation of the West Virginia Open Governmental Proceedings Act ..."

Specifically, Nibert alleges that from February 2002 until June 29, 2007, she was employed as executive secretary to the Mayor. On June 29, 2007, Nibert says "her position as Executive Secretary was eliminated by the City Council of the City of Point Pleasant effective July 1, 2007."

For more on this article, go to the West Virginia Record

Photo: Pictured here with Mason Circuit Judge Thomas C. Evans III are members of the Point Pleasant city council during a swearing in ceremony on June 30, 2007. A lawsuit filed by Harriett Nibert, the wife of Mason's other circuit judge, David W. Nibert, alleges she was fired the next day from her position as city secretary for politically motivated reasons.

Bend-area firefighters indicted for arson; Kim Blake not among them

The daughter of Mason County’s emergency services director has not been indicted for her alleged role in a series of Bend-area arsons. However, two of her fellow volunteer firefighters and apparent co-conspirators have.

On Wednesday, the Mason County grand jury returned indictments against 52 people. Among those indicted were Jamar Juel Cuthbertson, and Brent Donavan Kapp.

Both Cuthbertson, 19, of Mason, and Kapp, 20, of West Columbia, were arrested and charged on January 11 with one count, and two counts of first degree arson, respectively. According to court records, their arrests stemmed from the state Fire Marshal’s Office investigation into the men deliberately setting fires so as to later respond them as firefighters.

Prior to their arrests, Cuthbertson was a member of the New Haven Volunteer Fire Department, and Kapp was a member of Mason’s volunteer squad.

According to court records, Cuthbertson was involved in setting fire to an outbuilding at 16698 Ohio River Road near West Columbia on September 29. The Fire Marshal’s investigation also linked Kapp to this fire.

About two weeks later on October 15, Kapp was involved in another alleged arson. Only this time, at an abandoned trailer at 286 Front Street in Mason.

Also implicated in the Fire Marshal’s investigation was Kimberly Sue Blake, daughter of Mason County Office of Emergency Services/911 Director Chuck Blake. Like Kapp, Kim Blake, 24, was a member of the Mason volunteer firefighter.

Blake’s brother, Chuck II, is the department’s chief.

According to court records, Blake and Kapp were driving around Front Street and allegedly set fire to the trailer because they “were bored and wanted something to do.” About 10-15 minutes prior to the fire being reported, Kapp and Blake were seen by Sgt. Woolard of the Mason Police Department pulling into in the fire station in a green Pontiac Sunfire.

Though the cases against Cuthbertson and Kapp were bound over to the grand jury, the case against Blake was dismissed on March 3. According to court records, Mason County Prosecutor Damon Morgan made the motion following the failure of Jason Baltic, assistant state Fire Marshal to testify at Blake’s preliminary hearing.
A subpona was apparently issued for Baltic to testify, but never served on him.

Subsequent to her arrest, Blake, who worked in the county 911 center as a dispatcher, was placed on paid administrative leave. According to records provided by the commission, she earned a salary of $23,952 last year.

During a special meeting held March 10, the commission took up the issue of reinstating Blake. However, she surprised everyone by tendering her resignation.

Commission President Rick Handley was quoted in the Point Pleasant Register saying that the commission would be conducting "a search of its records to see if Blake is due any back pay." Handley is seeking the Democratic nomination for a third term as commissioner.

Following the dismissal of the charges against Blake, Morgan said a case could still be presented against her during a future meeting of the grand jury. It was not immediately clear if Morgan declined to present Blake to the grand jury during this term, or if they declined to return a true bill against her.

In any event, Cuthbertson and Kapp, like all those indicted, are scheduled to be back in circuit court Wednesday, May 14 beginning at 9 a.m. to answer to the charges against them. Both Cuthbertson and Kapp are free on $5,000 and $10,000 bond, respectively.

Below, is a complete list of all 52 people indicted by the Mason County grand jury during its May term:

Anthony Darrell Black, 20, Point Pleasant – 2 counts breaking and entering, fourth degree arson, conspiracy, 2 counts grand larceny. Black is also charged separately with grand larceny, conspiracy and destruction of property; Billy Joe Bowman, 31, Point Pleasant –breaking and entering, grand larceny and conspiracy; David Allan Bowman, 31, Point Pleasant – breaking and entering, grand larceny and conspiracy; Timothy Dale Clagg, 29, Lesage – grand larceny, fraudulent scheme and conspiracy; Russell Lee Clinton, 36, Buffalo – grand larceny, fraudulent scheme and conspiracy; Gary Wayne Cochran, 37, Bancroft – grand larceny, fraudulent scheme, conspiracy; Harold Lee Cochran, 38, Buffalo – grand larceny, fraudulent scheme and conspiracy. Harold Cochran is also charged separately with burglary, battery and destruction of property; Christopher John Corbin, 29, Point Pleasant – 2 counts breaking and entering, fourth degree arson, conspiracy and 2 counts grand larceny; Michael Lee Craig, 30, Letart – grand larceny, conspiracy and aid in concealing stolen goods; Jamar Juel Cutherbertson a/k/a J. J. Cuthbertson, 19, Mason – first degree arson and conspiracy; Eli Wayne Freeland, 20, Pomeroy, Ohio – robbery in the first degree and conspiracy; David Lee Gibbs, 38, Point Pleasant –third or subsequent offense DUI, 2 counts third or subsequent offense driving on revoked-DUI, improper registration and no proof of insurance; Jonathan Franklin Gibbs, 23, West Columbia – 3 counts grand larceny; Charles Wesley Hazlett, 22, Point Pleasant – 2 counts possession of controlled substance with intent to deliver and conspiracy; Lindsey Michelle Hope, 24, Leon – 4 counts possession of a controlled substance and conspiracy; Larry Thomas Huffman, 44, Letart – second offense DUI, third or subsequent offense driving on revoked-DUI, improper registration and no proof of insurance. Huffman is also separately charged with 2 counts of burglary, domestic battery, 2 counts of destruction of property and petit larceny; Everett Albert Hunter, 31, Point Pleasant – failure to appear; Joey Keith Jeffrey, 31, Hurricane – domestic battery and 8 counts maliciously killing and animal; Donald Eugene Johnson II, 24, Mason – burglary and grand larceny; Keith Matthew Johnson, 41, Culloden – breaking and entering and petit larceny; Anthony Levi Jones, 27, Mason – 3 counts wanton endangerment, 3 counts battery and 2 counts assault; Brent Donavan Kapp, 20, West Columbia – first degree arson and conspiracy. Kapp is also charged separately with three counts of first degree arson and conspiracy; Ruth Ann Kerns, 34, Buffalo – grand larceny, fraudulent scheme and conspiracy; Dennis D. Knopp, 48, Leon – 11 counts first degree sexual assault, 8 counts second degree sexual assault, 8 counts third degree sexual assault, 13 counts sexual abuse by a parent, 13 counts incest, 6 counts sexual abuse by a custodian and 6 counts child abuse resulting in bodily injury; Rebecca D. Leon, 19, Point Pleasant – first degree robbery and conspiracy; Andrew Jesse Lewis, 22, Gallipolis Ferry – 4 counts of forgery and 4 counts uttering; Melissa Mae Lynn McCarty, 25, Point Pleasant – 38 counts of possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver; Harry Donald Norris, 19, Pliny – burglary, grand larceny and conspiracy; David A. Nott, 45, Point Pleasant – 3 counts delivery of a controlled substance; Michael Shawn Ohlinger, 43, Point Pleasant – malicious assault and domestic battery; Larry Sheridon Riffle II, 28, Hartford – first degree robbery and conspiracy; Brian Christopher Roush, 25, New Haven – grand larceny, conspiracy and aid in concealing stolen goods; Michael Allen Russell, 21, Mason – first degree robbery and conspiracy; Lewis Matthew Sayre, 35, Henderson – second offense domestic battery, first degree sexual abuse, burglary, 2 counts second offense domestic battery, battery, destruction of property and 2 counts second offense battery on an officer; Rex Allen Sayre, 50, Point Pleasant – 4 counts possession of a controlled substance and conspiracy; Sandra Yvonne Sayre, 45, Point Pleasant – grand larceny, fraudulent scheme and conspiracy; William Anthony Sherman, 53, Gallipolis, Ohio – 2 counts possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver and conspiracy; Mary Clydie Sigman, 35, Buffalo – 4 counts possession of a controlled substance and conspiracy; Debra Elaine Smith, 53, Bidwell, Ohio – possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver; Brandon Edward Spencer, 26, Point Pleasant – grand larceny, conspiracy and destruction of property; Robert Lewis Stewart, 45, Southside – delivery of a controlled substance; Kurtis Swisher, 19, Gallipolis Ferry – burglary, grand larceny and conspiracy; Anthony Edward Tomblin, 24, Huntington – grand larceny, fraudulent scheme and conspiracy; Staci Renee Vance, 36, Point Pleasant – 3 counts vehicle breaking and entering, 3 counts second offense petit larceny; Justin Lee Wamsley, 21, Mason – breaking and entering, petit larceny and battery on an officer; Curtis Leroy Ward, 36, New Haven – grand larceny, conspiracy and aid in concealing stolen goods; Tonie Marie Ward, 33, Mason – 2 counts burglary, 3 counts vehicle breaking and entering and 3 counts petit larceny; David Lee White, 49, Point Pleasant – 4 counts possession of a controlled substance and conspiracy; James Frank Will a/k/a Johnny Will, 26, Point Pleasant – Possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver and conspiracy; Carry I. Wills, 23, Point Pleasant – first degree robbery and conspiracy; Cassandra Dawn Windsor, 21, Pomeroy, Ohio – first degree robbery and conspiracy; Rufus Anthony Wright Jr., 35, Point Pleasant – 2 counts possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver and conspiracy.
Photo: The state Fire Marshal's Office alleges this abandoned trailer on Front Street in Mason was deliberately torched by volunteer firefighters Brent Kapp and Kim Blake in October 2007. The Fire Marshal's investigation also implicated Jamer Cuthbertson, and Kapp in setting fire to another structure two weeks prior. Though both Kapp and Cuthbertson were indicted Wednesday by the Mason grand jury for arson, Blake, daughter of Mason County 911 director, Chuck Blake, was not.