Saturday, December 5, 2009

Fraud allegations leveled at Wade in wrongful death suit

A Mason County doctor -- who also is the president of the state agency that licenses and disciplines them -- is named in a wrongful death suit that includes allegations he committed fraud in filing false information, and claims to other agencies to prove the teenager who died working for him was legally employed.

Lori McCoy, as administratrix of the estate of Andrya Lynn Jordan, filed suit against Dr. John A. Wade on Nov. 20 in Mason Circuit Court. In addition to Wade, McCoy, 43, names his practice, John A. Wade, M.D., Inc., and Steelcase Inc., a Grand Rapids, Mich. Office furniture company, as co-defendants.

In addition to claims against Steelcase and Wade for product liability and/or wrongful death, McCoy alleges Wade fraudulently induced her to sign documents proving Andrya was one of his employees in an attempt to collect on a claim he filed with Brickstreet, the private insurance company that handles most workers compensation cases.

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

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Masterfleece Theater

David Harsanyi - The Denver Post: "The King James version of the Bible runs more than 600 pages and is crammed with celestial regulations. Newton's Principia Mathematica distilled many of the rules of physics in a mere 974 pages.

Neither have anything on Nancy Pelosi's new fiendishly entertaining health-care opus, which tops 1,900 pages.

So curl up by a fire with a fifth of whiskey and just dive in."

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Former Bennigan's employees protest bounced payroll checks

"They promised them to hang in there and make it right and all they did was change the name and say we're not paying," Dotty Gilbert said.

Saturday afternoon in Point Pleasant, Gilbert was protesting.

"For the past six weeks, employees' paychecks have bounced," she said.

Gilbert and her daughter, Casandra Beckett, are both former employees of Bennigan's Restaurant. Now the restaurant has reopened as Halftime Sports Bar and Grill, but they say the owner of Halftime and former Regional Director of Bennigan's, Mike Hughes, lied to them and the rest of the employees and gave them their last paychecks from Bennigan's knowing they were no good.

For more on this story, go to

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A how-to guide on how to outdo Tim the Toolman

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Thursday, June 11, 2009

Billings appointed mayor

A long-time Point Pleasant fixture has accomplished a life-long dream in becoming the city's mayor, making him the third in less than two years.

Tonight, during a special meeting, the city council appointed Brian Billings to replace Leonard "Buster" Riffle as mayor. During Monday's regularly scheduled council meeting, Riffle announced his resignation due to unspecified health reasons.

His resignation is effective Saturday, June 13.

Billings, who was elected clerk in the May 2007 city election, was appointed mayor by an 8-2 vote. Councilmembers M. Leota Sang and Sam Juniper cast the dissenting votes.

Sang and Juniper also voted together on two motions Sang made prior to the council's vote on Billings. The council shot down motions she made to first table any consideration of a new mayor pending a 30-day comment period by the public, and then another to appoint former Mayor Ed Woomer to his old seat.

Woomer was appointed mayor in 2002 after then-Mayor John Roach resigned to return to work in the private sector. Woomer lost the nomination for mayor to then-7th Ward Council Jim Wilson during the city Democrat's 2003 caucus.

During that May's general election, Wilson defeated his Republican challenger, then-Clerk Marilyn L. McDaniel, by 17 votes. A recount of the ballots narrowed Wilson's victory to 13.

During that election, Billings, who was then general manger of The Point Pleasant Register, was successful in winning one of the two at-large seats to council. In June 2006, Billings resigned as general manager when the council voted him 5-4 as the replacement for fellow Republican Stan Burdette, who resigned as clerk to take a job in St. Clairsville, Ohio.

In the next year's general election, Billings was successful in winning a full-term as clerk. He was part of a GOP ticket that included McDaniel staging a comeback to defeat Wilson for mayor, and take nine of the 10 council seats.

The victory was sweetened due to voters approving a change in the city charter to move future municipal elections to coincide with the state primary beginning in 2012, giving all those elected an extra year in office.

However, less than a year later the victory soured when in March 2008 McDaniel resigned amidst allegations of mismanagement of city resources, and a pending wrongful termination suit filed by Harriet Nibert who served as excutive secretary for mayors Roach, Woomer and Wilson.

A week after McDaniel's resignation, the council appointed Riffle as mayor. In the interim, Billings served as the city's acting mayor.

Prior to his appointment as mayor, Riffle served on council from 1966 to 1999. Billings officially takes the city reins on Sunday, June 14.

He will serve as mayor until the next general election.

During its 15 minute special meeting, the council left unresolved the issue of Billings' replacement as clerk. It is unclear if another special meeting will be called to appoint his replacement or if the position will remain vacant until the next regularly scheduled council meeting on Monday, July 13.

Monday, May 25, 2009

The War Prayer

by Mark Twain

It was a time of great and exalting excitement. The country was up in arms, the war was on, in every breast burned the holy fire of patriotism; the drums were beating, the bands playing, the toy pistols popping, the bunched firecrackers hissing and spluttering; on every hand and far down the receding and fading spread of roofs and balconies a fluttering wilderness of flags flashed in the sun; daily the young volunteers marched down the wide avenue gay and fine in their new uniforms, the proud fathers and mothers and sisters and sweethearts cheering them with voices choked with happy emotion as they swung by; nightly the packed mass meetings listened, panting, to patriot oratory which stirred the deepest deeps of their hearts, and which they interrupted at briefest intervals with cyclones of applause, the tears running down their cheeks the while; in the churches the pastors preached devotion to flag and country, and invoked the God of Battles beseeching His aid in our good cause in outpourings of fervid eloquence which moved every listener. It was indeed a glad and gracious time, and the half dozen rash spirits that ventured to disapprove of the war and cast a doubt upon its righteousness straightway got such a stern and angry warning that for their personal safety's sake they quickly shrank out of sight and offended no more in that way.

Sunday morning came -- next day the battalions would leave for the front; the church was filled; the volunteers were there, their young faces alight with martial dreams -- visions of the stern advance, the gathering momentum, the rushing charge, the flashing sabers, the flight of the foe, the tumult, the enveloping smoke, the fierce pursuit, the surrender! Then home from the war, bronzed heroes, welcomed, adored, submerged in golden seas of glory! With the volunteers sat their dear ones, proud, happy, and envied by the neighbors and friends who had no sons and brothers to send forth to the field of honor, there to win for the flag, or, failing, die the noblest of noble deaths. The service proceeded; a war chapter from the Old Testament was read; the first prayer was said; it was followed by an organ burst that shook the building, and with one impulse the house rose, with glowing eyes and beating hearts, and poured out that tremendous invocation

*God the all-terrible! Thou who ordainest! Thunder thy clarion and lightning thy sword!*
Then came the "long" prayer. None could remember the like of it for passionate pleading and moving and beautiful language. The burden of its supplication was, that an ever-merciful and benignant Father of us all would watch over our noble young soldiers, and aid, comfort, and encourage them in their patriotic work; bless them, shield them in the day of battle and the hour of peril, bear them in His mighty hand, make them strong and confident, invincible in the bloody onset; help them to crush the foe, grant to them and to their flag and country imperishable honor and glory --

An aged stranger entered and moved with slow and noiseless step up the main aisle, his eyes fixed upon the minister, his long body clothed in a robe that reached to his feet, his head bare, his white hair descending in a frothy cataract to his shoulders, his seamy face unnaturally pale, pale even to ghastliness. With all eyes following him and wondering, he made his silent way; without pausing, he ascended to the preacher's side and stood there waiting. With shut lids the preacher, unconscious of his presence, continued with his moving prayer, and at last finished it with the words, uttered in fervent appeal, "Bless our arms, grant us the victory, O Lord our God, Father and Protector of our land and flag!"

The stranger touched his arm, motioned him to step aside -- which the startled minister did -- and took his place. During some moments he surveyed the spellbound audience with solemn eyes, in which burned an uncanny light; then in a deep voice he said:

"I come from the Throne -- bearing a message from Almighty God!" The words smote the house with a shock; if the stranger perceived it he gave no attention. "He has heard the prayer of His servant your shepherd, and will grant it if such shall be your desire after I, His messenger, shall have explained to you its import -- that is to say, its full import. For it is like unto many of the prayers of men, in that it asks for more than he who utters it is aware of -- except he pause and think.

"God's servant and yours has prayed his prayer. Has he paused and taken thought? Is it one prayer? No, it is two -- one uttered, the other not. Both have reached the ear of Him Who heareth all supplications, the spoken and the unspoken. Ponder this -- keep it in mind. If you would beseech a blessing upon yourself, beware! lest without intent you invoke a curse upon a neighbor at the same time. If you pray for the blessing of rain upon your crop which needs it, by that act you are possibly praying for a curse upon some neighbor's crop which may not need rain and can be injured by it.

"You have heard your servant's prayer -- the uttered part of it. I am commissioned of God to put into words the other part of it -- that part which the pastor -- and also you in your hearts -- fervently prayed silently. And ignorantly and unthinkingly? God grant that it was so! You heard these words: 'Grant us the victory, O Lord our God!' That is sufficient. the *whole* of the uttered prayer is compact into those pregnant words. Elaborations were not necessary. When you have prayed for victory you have prayed for many unmentioned results which follow victory--*must* follow it, cannot help but follow it. Upon the listening spirit of God fell also the unspoken part of the prayer. He commandeth me to put it into words. Listen!

"O Lord our Father, our young patriots, idols of our hearts, go forth to battle -- be Thou near them! With them -- in spirit -- we also go forth from the sweet peace of our beloved firesides to smite the foe. O Lord our God, help us to tear their soldiers to bloody shreds with our shells; help us to cover their smiling fields with the pale forms of their patriot dead; help us to drown the thunder of the guns with the shrieks of their wounded, writhing in pain; help us to lay waste their humble homes with a hurricane of fire; help us to wring the hearts of their unoffending widows with unavailing grief; help us to turn them out roofless with little children to wander unfriended the wastes of their desolated land in rags and hunger and thirst, sports of the sun flames of summer and the icy winds of winter, broken in spirit, worn with travail, imploring Thee for the refuge of the grave and denied it -- for our sakes who adore Thee, Lord, blast their hopes, blight their lives, protract their bitter pilgrimage, make heavy their steps, water their way with their tears, stain the white snow with the blood of their wounded feet! We ask it, in the spirit of love, of Him Who is the Source of Love, and Who is the ever-faithful refuge and friend of all that are sore beset and seek His aid with humble and contrite hearts. Amen.

(*After a pause.*) "Ye have prayed it; if ye still desire it, speak! The messenger of the Most High waits!"

It was believed afterward that the man was a lunatic, because there was no sense in what he said.

The War Prayer was first written by Twain in 1905 following the Philippine-American war. However, when submitted to Harper's Bazaar for publication, it was rejected as "not quite suited for woman's magazine."

In a letter written eight days later to his friend, Daniel Carter Beard, Twain said, "I don't think the prayer will be published in my time. None but the dead are permitted to tell the truth." Twain's prophecy proved correct as The War Prayer was first published in an anthology of his works by his official biographer, Albert Bigelow Paine, in 1923, 12 years after Twain's death.

An animated version of The War Prayer can be found on YouTube.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

'Thought crimes' bill advances in Congress

by Nat Hentoff

Why is the press remaining mostly silent about the so-called "hate crimes law" that passed in the House on April 29? The Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act passed in a 249-175 vote (17 Republicans joined with 231 Democrats).

These Democrats should have been tested on their knowledge of the First Amendment, equal protection of the laws (14th Amendment), and the prohibition of double jeopardy (no American can be prosecuted twice for the same crime or offense). If they had been, they would have known that this proposal, now headed for a Senate vote, violates all these constitutional provisions.

For more on this commentary, go to Also, to keep updated on the status of H.R. 1913, refer to the widget on the left galley of The Free Press.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Putnam man files suit over drag strip truck fire

A Putnam County man is alleging he was severely injured during a mishap that occurred at a highly touted racing event in Mason County.

In Mason Circuit Court, Frank Paul Wingo of Hurricane filed a lawsuit against both the owners of the World's Fastest Truck, and the Kanawha Valley Dragway Park. In his complaint filed on Jan. 30 with the assistance of Teays Valley attorney Wayne Van Bibber, the 54-year-old Wingo alleges all were responsible for burns he suffered when the truck caught fire during an appearance at KVDP in 2007.

For more on this story, go to The West Virginia Record. Also, to see actual footage of the fire, click here, and here.

Photo: In this undated promotional photo, Bob Motz fires up his 20,000-horsepower Jet Kenworth engine that powers "The World's Fastest Truck." A Putnam County man has filed a lawsuit against Motz and Kanawha Valley Dragway Park after he rescued Motz when the truck accidentially caught fire during a 2007 event.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Former firefighter, 911 dispatcher Blake indicted on arson charges

Nearly 18 months after she was first implicated, a former Mason volunteer firefighter, and daughter of Mason County’s emergency services director has been indicted for her alleged role in a series of Bend-area arsons.

Today, the Mason County Prosecutor’s Office released the names of those indicted by the grand jury for its May term. Among the 33 people indicted was Kimberly Sue Blake on two counts of first degree arson and one count conspiracy.

Blake, 25, a resident of Mason, was first accused of the crimes last year. According to court records, on Jan. 11, 2008, Blake, along with Jamar Juel Cuthbertson and Brent Donavan Kapp were charged by the state Fire Marshal’s Office of deliberately setting fires to several abandoned or unoccupied structures in late 2007.

In the criminal complaint he first filed in Mason Magistrate Court, Assistant Fire Marshal Jason Baltic alleged Cuthbertson, while a member of the New Haven Volunteer Fire Department, of setting fire to an outbuilding at 16698 Ohio River Rd. in West Columbia on Sept. 29, 2007. The Fire Marshal’s investigation also linked Kapp, who at the time was a member of the Mason Volunteer Fire Department, to the fire.

About two weeks later on October 15, Kapp was implicated in another arson. This time, records show he torched an abandoned trailer at 286 Front St. in Mason.

Assisting Kapp in setting the fire was Blake. According to court records, Blake and Kapp were seen pulling into the fire station in a Green Pontiac about 10-15 minutes before the blaze was reported to Mason 911.

At the time of the fire, Blake was a dispatcher for 911 where her father, Chuck, serves as director. Ironically, Blake’s brother, Chuck II, in addition to also being a 911 dispatcher, and chief of the Mason department, was convicted a decade ago for his role in setting fire to the Hogg and Zuspan lumber yard around the corner where she and Kapp set fire to the abandoned trailer.

Though Cuthbertson and Kapp were later indicted during the May 2008 term of the grand jury, the charges against Blake were dismissed on March 3. Mason County Prosecutor Damon Morgan made the motion following Baltic’s failure to appear at Blake’s preliminary hearing.

For reasons still unclear, despite one being issued, a subpoena was never served on Baltic to appear at Blake’s hearing.

Since then, Cuthbertson, 20, and Kapp, 21, have entered guilty pleas in there respective cases. In March, Kapp plead guilty to one count first degree arson and one count second degree arson.

He is scheduled to be sentenced on June 1.

After pleading to one count of second degree arson, Cuthbertson on December 2 was sentenced by Judge David W. Nibert to an indeterminate sentence of six months to two years at the Anthony Correctional Center in Greenbrier County.

According to the state Division of Correction’s Web site, Cuthbertson is scheduled to be released on June 29.

Subsequent to her arrest, Blake was placed on administrative leave with pay from the 911 center. When the Mason County Commission met on March 10 to reconsider reinstating Blake following the dismissal of the charges, she shocked everyone by announcing her resignation.

According to records provided by the commission, Blake’s salary was $23,952.

Following her resignation, commission President Rick Handley told The Point Pleasant Register that the commission would be conducting “a search of its records to see if Blake is due any back pay.” Though it is not immediately clear what if anything the commission has done in that regard, sources tell The Free Press that discrepancies in the 911 payroll prior to Blake’s arrest have resulted in multiple investigations of the Office of Emergency Services by several state agencies.

Also, sources say that Chuck Blake offered to tender his resignation if Kim was ever indicted. Blake was not immediately available for comment concerning either Kim's indictment or a possible resignation.
In West Virginia, a charge of first degree arson carries a prison sentence of 2-20 years.

Blake, along with the 32 other people indicted, have their first-appearance hearing scheduled for Monday, May 11 at 9:30 a.m. in Mason Circuit Court. Below, is a complete list of indictments returned by the Mason grand jury during the May term:

1. Anthony D. Black, 21, Point Pleasant - one count each, burglary and grand larceny.

2. Kimberly Sue Blake, 25, Mason - two counts first degree arson; one count conspiracy.

3. James Thomas Boles, 29, Point Pleasant - two counts identity theft; three counts access device fraud; one count conspiracy.

4. Heather Dawn Bryant, 28, Leon - 10 counts each, forgery and uttering.

5. Glen A. Childers, 34, Point Pleasant - three counts each, forgery and uttering.

6. Anthony James Double, 31, Southside - one count sexual assault in the first degree; two counts sexual abuse in the first degree.

7. Richard Eugene Ellis, 38, Gallipolis, Ohio - one count each, robbery in the first degree and conspiracy.

8. Nicole R. Hager, 24, Gallipolis, Ohio - one count each, burglary and petit larceny.

9. Jonathan Wayne Hanshaw, 31, Milton - one count each, possession of controlled substance with intent to deliver and conspiracy.

10. Jessica Ann Henderson, 26, Milton - one count each, possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver and conspiracy.

11. Christopher M. Henson, 20, Point Pleasant - one count each, kidnapping, robbery in the second degree and conspiracy.

12. Josh T. Hunter, 25, New Haven - two counts of cruelty to animals.

13. Travis Johnson, Point Pleasant - one count each, kidnapping, robbery in the second degree and conspiracy.

14. Jacque L. Lee, 54, New Haven - one count of delivery of a controlled substance.

15. Evelyn Sue Litchfield, 32, Henderson - one count each, robbery in the first degree and conspiracy.

16. Zachary John MacKnight, 28, Letart - one count each, grand larceny and conspiracy.

17. Arthur Vanburen Meadows, 29, Point Pleasant - one count each, burglary, domestic battery and destruction of property.

18. Theodore Ray Melrose, 69, Point Pleasant - one count of possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver.

19. Danis Mensah, 25, Bronx, N.Y. - one count each, fraudulent scheme, identity theft and receiving stolen property in another state.

20. Gregory A. Messer, 47, Southside - one count each, wanton endangerment, domestic assault, prohibited person with a firearm; two counts domestic battery.

21. Dustin Ray Millhone, 28, Columbus, Ohio - five counts each of possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver.

22. Chad Allen Norton, 25, Mason - one count each, breaking and entering and petit larceny.

23. Christopher Ryan Perdue, 29, Welston, Ohio - one count each, possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver, conspiracy and carrying a concealed weapon.

24. Marco Joe Pickenpaugh, 26, Mason - two counts of delivery of a controlled substance.

25. Jeffrey Lee Rainey, 24, Point Pleasant - one count each, forgery and uttering.

26. Kristin June Roberts, 29, Point Pleasant - two counts identity theft; three counts access device fraud; one count conspiracy.

27. Shannon Lewis Rose, 28, Milton - one count each, breaking and entering and grand larceny.

28. Russell Dean Sargent, 30, Pomeroy, Ohio - one count of second offence petit larceny.

29. Joshua D. Stark, 25, Apple Grove - one count each, grand larceny, destruction of property and conspiracy.

30. Jonathan Mclure Stone, 32, Mason - one count each, grand larceny and conspiracy.

31. Charles Clay Sullivan, 41, West Columbia - two counts of possession of controlled substance with intent to deliver and one count of possession of controlled substance with intent to manufacture.

32. Chad VanMeter, 23, Mason - three counts burglary; two counts petit larceny; one count each, attempted burglary and grand larceny.

33. Joshua Calvin Wears, 26, Pliny - two counts of failure to provide notice of sex offender registry changes.

Photo: In a criminal complaint filed last year, the state Fire Marshal's Office alleges this abandoned trailer on Front Street in Mason was delibertately torched by then-Mason volunteer firefighters Brent Donavan Kapp and Kimberly Sue Blake in October 2007. Though both were charged with arson last year, Blake, a former 911 dispatcher, and daughter of Mason County Office of Emergency Service's Director Chuck Blake, was only indicted for her role in the blaze this week by the Mason grand jury. Kapp, who was indicted during last May's grand jury term, has since entered a guilty plea, and is awaiting sentencing.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Pleasant Valley adds doctor in wrongful death suit to staff

A Mason County hospital apparently has opened its doors to a South Charleston physician who's quality of care has been called into question multiple times in the last eight years.

Those allegations, records show, include not only being named twice in separate wrongful death suits in hospital emergency rooms, but also his privileges being revoked in 2001 from a state VA hospital.

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

Monday, May 4, 2009

K-9 officer sues for overtime pay

HUNTINGTON - A Mason County sheriff's deputy and canine officer has filed suit against the Mason County Commission, alleging he was not paid overtime for hours he spent taking care of the dog with which he was assigned to work.

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

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Living without health insurance

by Lila Rajiva

I stopped carrying health insurance over five years ago for many reasons that I won't get into here. It wasn't a big decision, because I'd done without it for a couple of years when I was between jobs.

In any case, when I had it, it was never much use. I was misdiagnosed on a couple of things and ended up having to treat myself. I got to resenting the way some doctors never really listened. I bridled at having my questions treated like the uninformed babble of a simpleton.

And since I had to pay most of the bill for "maintenance" items like vision and dentistry anyway, dropping insurance altogether seemed like the logical thing to do.

For more on this commentary, go to

Sunday, March 1, 2009

'Cowards' aplenty in academia

by Walter E. Williams

Attorney General Eric Holder said the U.S. is "a nation of cowards" when it comes to race relations. In one sense, he is absolutely right.

Many whites, from university administrators and professors, to schoolteachers, to employers and public officials, accept behavior from black people that they wouldn't begin to accept from whites.

For example, some of the nation's most elite universities, such as Vanderbilt, Stanford and the University of California, have yielded to black student demands for separate graduation ceremonies and separate "celebratory events."

Universities such as Stanford, Cornell, MIT and Cal Berkeley have, or have had, segregated dorms.

If white students demanded whites-only graduation ceremonies or whites-only dorms, administrators would have labeled their demands as intolerable racism. When black students demand the same thing, these administrators cowardly capitulate.

For more on this op/ed, go to Investor's Business Daily

Monday, January 26, 2009

Atlas Shrugged: From fiction to fact in 52 years

by Stephen Moore

Some years ago when I worked at the libertarian Cato Institute, we used to label any new hire who had not yet read "Atlas Shrugged" a "virgin." Being conversant in Ayn Rand's classic novel about the economic carnage caused by big government run amok was practically a job requirement. If only "Atlas" were required reading for every member of Congress and political appointee in the Obama administration. I'm confident that we'd get out of the current financial mess a lot faster.

Many of us who know Rand's work have noticed that with each passing week, and with each successive bailout plan and economic-stimulus scheme out of Washington, our current politicians are committing the very acts of economic lunacy that "Atlas Shrugged" parodied in 1957, when this 1,000-page novel was first published and became an instant hit.

For more on this commentary, go to The Heartland Institute

Thursday, January 22, 2009

FIRE's open letter to Pres. Obama on speech codes

January 20, 2009

President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500
Sent via U.S. Mail and Facsimile (202-456-2461)

Dear President Obama:

I write to you on this historic day to offer my heartfelt congratulations on your inauguration. Your achievement is a testament to the enduring promise of our great democracy and the constitutional ideals upon which our nation was founded.

As President of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), I write also to request your assistance in ending abridgements of free speech on our nation's college campuses. Because you have taught constitutional law, you are particularly attuned to the importance of the fundamental freedoms guaranteed by the Bill of Rights. We therefore sincerely hope that you will help to eliminate censorship on college campuses and restore respect for robust expression in higher education.

Like most Americans, you likely would be surprised to learn how often the right to free expression is violated at our nation's colleges and universities, despite the fact that the vitality of these institutions relies upon the free and open exchange of ideas. In just the last year, FIRE has defended basic constitutional freedoms in some truly remarkable cases at both public and private schools.

To read the rest of this letter, go to FIRE's Web site

Monday, January 19, 2009

Lincoln may not have welcomed Obama's election

by Leonard Pitts

On Tuesday, Barack Obama will stand on the steps of the U.S. Capitol and take an oath making him the nation's first president of African heritage.

The statue of Abraham Lincoln, which sits facing the Capitol in a temple two miles away, will not give two thumbs up. Neither will it weep, commune with the spirit of Martin Luther King Jr. or dance a Macarena of joy.

The point is obvious, yes, but also necessary given that when Obama was elected in November, every third political cartoonist seemed to use an image of a celebrating Lincoln to comment upon the milestone that had occurred. Lincoln, they told us, would have been overjoyed.

For more on this commentary, go to McClatchy Newspapers

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Sweatshops offer world's poor hope, not despair

by Nicholas Kristof

Before Barack Obama and his team act on their talk about “labor standards,” I’d like to offer them a tour of the vast garbage dump here in Phnom Penh.

This is a Dante-like vision of hell. It’s a mountain of festering refuse, a half-hour hike across, emitting clouds of smoke from subterranean fires.

The miasma of toxic stink leaves you gasping, breezes batter you with filth, and even the rats look forlorn. Then the smoke parts and you come across a child ambling barefoot, searching for old plastic cups that recyclers will buy for five cents a pound. Many families actually live in shacks on this smoking garbage.

Mr. Obama and the Democrats who favor labor standards in trade agreements mean well, for they intend to fight back at oppressive sweatshops abroad. But while it shocks Americans to hear it, the central challenge in the poorest countries is not that sweatshops exploit too many people, but that they don’t exploit enough.

For more on this commentary, go to The New York Times

Friday, January 16, 2009

Law prof, newspaper stand up for couple judge deems too old to raise grandkids

by Lisa Falkenberg

Hi, Pa!” exclaimed 2-year-old Rafael Sierra as he ran toward his step-grandfather’s outstretched arms.

Arnold Del Bosque scooped up the beaming boy while gripping plastic bags stuffed with toys. Arnold’s wife, Yolanda, took their younger grandchild, 1-year-old Luis, into her arms, already laden with a Playskool “Busy Gears” set and two Happy Meals.

It wasn’t Christmas. It was visitation day last Friday at the Child Protective Services office on Chimney Rock.

For Arnold and Yolanda, regaining the right recently to visit the grandchildren they’d raised since infancy was their first win in a painful custody battle.

Last week came another.

Juvenile Court Judge John Phillips, who ordered the boys removed from the Del Bosques’ La Porte home last year after remarking in court that the 50-something grandparents were too old to raise them, recused himself from the case.

But he didn't go quietly.

For more on this commentary, go to The Houston Chronicle

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Musgrave admonished for co-mingling settlement funds

CHARLESTON - The state Supreme Court has sanctioned a Point Pleasant attorney for mishandling the proceeds of a settlement awarded to a Mason County physician five years ago.

Finding that he "co-mingled client finds with his own business funds," a hearing panel subcommittee of the Lawyer Disciplinary Board, the prosecutorial arm of the state Bar, recommended Raymond G. Musgrave be reprimanded for his action.

In addition to a reprimand, the Board also recommended the Court order Musgrave's practice to be supervised for a year, he establish a client trust account with the Bar's Foundation, complete six additional hours of continuing education in the area of law office management and pay the cost of the disciplinary proceeding.

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

Staffing privilege dispute results in suit against hospital, fellow physicians

HUNTINGTON - A Mason County family physician is alleging that officials at Pleasant Valley Hospital conspired to harm his ability to practice medicine by revoking his staffing privileges without justification.

The suit raises similar allegations a Charleston surgeon leveled at the state's largest hospital resulting in a multi-million verdict in his favor last year.

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

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Alan Greenspan - The real culprit of the current economic crisis

by Stefan Karlsson

With no one denying anymore the obvious fact that America is in a deep slump, the discussion has instead shifted to why it happened. The Austrians (including me) who predicted these problems based on Greenspan's low-interest-rate policy know of course that the main cause was that low-interest-rate policy, with his numerous bailouts of failed financial institutions also creating a moral hazard that encouraged risky behavior.

But non-Austrians who for various reasons seem determined to exonerate the central bank have instead offered various other explanations. I will not here answer them all here. Instead, I will simply comment on the most common alternative explanations and the various arguments used for the explicit purpose of exonerating Greenspan.

For more on this op/ed, go to Mises. org.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Levine admits to misconduct with one patient, but denies others

COLUMBUS, Ohio — An attorney for a former Mason County doctor accused of engaging in sexual misconduct with three of his patients said Tuesday that his client admitted to some of the claims against him, but denied others.

Jack Levine was practicing at Pike Community Hospital in 2007 when accusations against him first surfaced, 10TV's Glenn McEntyre reported.

Levine, who operated a drug treatment program at the hospital, has been accused of taking advantage of patients who came to him looking for help.

For more on this story, go to WBNS-TV 10

Friday, January 2, 2009

False arrest case moved to federal court

HUNTINGTON - A Mason County man who alleges the actions of two fellow residents and two sheriff's deputies led to him being falsely arrested and subsequently prosecuted will now have to prove his case in federal rather than state court.

David Mohler, attorney for Mike Cooper, moved to have a civil suit filed against his client from Mason Circuit Court to U.S. District Court.

In his notice of removal filed Nov. 19, Mohler, with the Charleston law firm of Bowles, Rice, McDavid, Graff and Love said federal court is the better venue to test the claims Shawn Barker levels against Cooper and the other defendants in violating his rights under the Fourth, Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments to U.S. Constitution.

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

Thursday, January 1, 2009

New Year's Substitutions

by Gary North

Well, it’s that time of the year again. All over America, smart people are sending out last-minute charity donation checks to get their income tax deductions for 2003, making sure they get stamped, dated receipts from the Postal Service (this costs an extra 37 cents).

Other smart people are making last-minute sales decisions on investments that did well, offsetting the capital gains tax by selling investments that did poorly.

But most people aren’t this smart. They are spending their time looking forward to New Year’s Eve parties and the bowl games (husbands, anyway) on New Year’s Day. College football teams that nobody outside of the home town paid any attention to three months ago will fight it out for mythical second through tenth place, which will entitle them to be forgotten by January 2nd. One team will wind up number one. The public will remember which one until at least Super Bowl XXXVIII, just as they remember the winners of Super Bowls past: Packers, NFC (I), Packers, NFC (II), Jets, AFC (III: Joe Namath > Earl Morrall/Johnny Unitas) . . . ?

This op/ed piece was originally published on Dec. 31, 2003 on where it can be read in full.