Saturday, October 15, 2005

It's a Great Night to be a Mountaineer Wherever You May Be

Trailing 24-7 at the beginning of the fourth quarter, the WVU Mountaineers came back to win a 46-44 triple overtime thriller over the Louisville Cardinals that will be recorded as one of the greatest victories ever at Mountaineer Field. The Cardinals led 17-0 at halftime. A pair of touchdowns were exchanged in the third quarter. But in the fourth quarter, the team that kept running out of gas in the fourth quarter suddenly caught on fire!

MetroNews reports:

For all intent and purposes, the game was over.

The student section was nearly empty, but there was still a quarter to play. West Virginia trailed 24-7 to a Louisville team that had manhandled the Mountaineers all afternoon. But as the day turned to night a different West Virginia team took the field in the fourth quarter and stormed back to tie the game and win in three overtimes 46-44.

For three quarters Louisville ran rough shod over West Virginia, racking up 363 total yards. Brain Brohm picked apart the Mountaineer secondary and Michael Bush ran through gaping holes. The Cardinals had the ball for 27 minutes through the end of the third quarter to West Virginia’s 18 minutes. But, in the fourth quarter WVU held the ball for 11 minutes and scored 17 points to erase the 24-7 deficit and force overtime.

Steve Slaton had the game of a lifetime, rushing for 188 yards on 31 carries and scored six touchdowns—five rushing, one receiving.

Things did not look good for the Mountaineers from the very beginning. After holding Louisville to a three and out on their first drive the Cardinals faked a punt and proceeded to drive 80 yards for the first score of the game. Poor tackling and ill-timed penalties plagued the Mountaineers the rest of the half on the way to a 17-0 Halftime lead for Louisville. Michael Bush ran for 159 yards on the game and scored four touchdowns. He appeared unstoppable all game and the highly acclaimed Brian Brohm was unflappable completing 31-of-49 passes for 277 yards and two scores.

But none of that mattered because the Mountaineers held the ball for nearly the entire fourth quarter scoring 17 points and holding Louisville to one three and out possession. Overtime was a back and forth battle. Each team scored touchdowns on all three of their possessions. But in the third overtime teams are forced to go for three. Pat White connected with Dorell Jollah for the two-point conversion to give WVU the 46-38 lead. Bush scored on a three-yard run, but on the Cardinal’s two-point conversion Brohm was flushed from the pocket and sacked and the Mountaineers sealed the comeback.

Friday, October 14, 2005

WaPo, Kaine Campaign Wailing Like They Just Stepped Into a Bear Trap

In politics, there is no more sure sign that your strategy is working than when your opponent and his supporters experience an uncontrolled outbreak of apoplexy when you exploit one of their greatest vulnerabilities. Over in the Old Dominion, the army on the march is the Jerry Kilgore gubernatorial campaign, the target is Tim Kaine, and the exploited weakness is Kaine's staunch opposition to the death penalty.

In just over 3 1/2 weeks, Virginians will go to the polls to elect their 70th Governor. The Republican nominee is Jerry Kilgore, a proud conservative. The Democratic nominee is Tim Kaine, an across-the-board liberal in search of the same camouflage Mark Warner used in 2001. Kilgore supports individuals' right to keep and bear arms and has earned an A rating and the endorsement of the NRA; Kaine does not and has earned an F rating from the NRA. Kilgore supports the death penalty; Kaine does not but also wants Virginians to believe his deeply held religious views against the death penalty will not lead to him emptying Death Row a la George Ryan (the disgraced former Illinois governor who spared every Death Row inmate during his final days in office in 2003). Kilgore wants to cut taxes; Kaine has raised taxes in every office he's ever held. Kilgore believes marriage should remain between a man and a woman and is against marriage counterfeits such as civil unions or domestic partnerships; in 2001, Kaine endorsed civil unions.

Every political observer with a room temperature or higher IQ knew that Kilgore would eventually unleash the heavy artillery against Kaine's death penalty opposition. That finally came this week, with 2 superb TV ads by the Kilgore campaign, "Stanley" and "Kelly." After a day or two of bushwhacked silence, the Kaine campaign and the liberal media establishment (lead by the Washington Post) have been squealing like they just stepped into a bear trap.

And has the screaming been loud? The liberals are absolutely furious Kilgore would seek to inform Virginians of the fact Kaine has repeatedly answered the death penalty question virtually the same way Michael Dukakis did in the 1988 debate when Bernard Shaw asked Dukakis if he would support the death penalty if someone raped and murdered Mrs. Dukakis and Mr. Dukakis answered with an unemotional "No." In fact, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reported that Kaine "suggested he would not favor sending even Adolf Hitler, Josef Stalin, or Idi Amin to the gallows." The transcript of the actual questions and answers is reprinted here.

The Kaine campaign is now in the midst of a very painful, agonizing defeat they know is coming on November 8. Kilgore's slight lead in the polls before the newest ads will grow and Kaine will be lucky to win over 40% of the vote or carry a single county to the west of I-95.

Chad Dotson, Commonwealth's Attorney of Wise County, has a longer take on this at Commonwealth Conservative.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Coal Liquefaction Promising Concept, but State Must Watch Its Dollars, Avoid Potential Boondoggle

From MetroNews:

Governor Joe Manchin says West Virginia is uniquely positioned to help decrease the nation's dependence on foreign oil. Manchin unveiled the state's Coal Conversion Initiative during a Thursday morning news conference at the state capitol.

Manchin says the goal of the initiative is to take the state's coal reserves and convert them into several different kinds of liquid fuels. The conversion would take place at a plant to be built somewhere near those coal reserves. Governor Manchin says the plant would provide good jobs and alternate fuel sources.

The governor says many states are working on alternative fuel plans, but West Virginia's effort will be unique. He says the state and private sectors will join together on the planning for the plant, allowing it to come on line much faster than a plant starting alone in the private sector.

Manchin says, "How many times have you heard (from private interests) that we'd like to do something, but we can't get through the permitting process?" The governor says the Coal Conversion Initiative is different. "We've got everybody committed to making sure this is a priority for West Virginia and the nation."

The plan currently has few specifics and apparently few private investors, but it does have Manchin's enthusiasm. He says he would like to have a site chosen and ground broken sometime next year. "We have committed all of our resources. If it can happen we can make it happen quicker because we have the raw products to make it happen."

Governor Manchin says it's important to build a plant that can turn coal into several different kinds of synthetic fuel, including natural gas, diesel and jet fuel. He says places like China and other countries are demanding more energy and the U.S. needs to start now to be less dependent on foreign oil.

Coal liquefaction has been discussed intermittently for over 60 years. During World War II, the Germans used liquefied coal to fuel their aircraft. It can be done on a broad basis only if it's economical. To make coal gas economical, oil would have to retain its current cost for the long term and be forecasted to remain at such levels.

As a West Virginian and someone whose fortunes are tied to the coal industry, I hope coal gas can be made feasible. However, given our state's history, I also worry we may needlessly pour taxpayers' dollars into yet another boondoggle sold as the state's economic salvation. If Governor Manchin's primary intent is to cut the red tape and eliminate obstacles for the free market to work in this area, I wish him the very best. However, we should not subsidize coal gas production.

As is the case in almost every other area of the economy, the best thing any government can do is create an environment conducive to the private sector producing the good and services people want, need, and desire, and for which they are willing to pay. So let's ensure we remove the obstacles to private enterprise--excessive regulations, inequities in the legal system, and a bad tax structure--and avoid the temptation to fall into a boondoggle should the coal gas dream not capture the imagination of the private sector like it captures those of our politicians.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Kilgore Delivers Winning Punch in VA Governor's Race

Since this blog is targeted primarily at West Virginia, I usually do not mention issues from other states. However, our friends over in the Old Dominion will go to the polls 28 days from today to elect the 70th Governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia. Tomorrow, however, will mark the point of no retreat from an almost certain victory by Republican Jerry Kilgore.

Kilgore has been engaged in a tight contest for most of the year with Lt. Governor Tim Kaine, Democrat. Kaine used the popularity of outgoing Governor Mark Warner to attract support. However, when it came time for Kaine to stand on his own merits, he could not withstand the scrutiny.

The fatal issue to Kaine's candidacy is his strident opposition to the death penalty and his work as the lawyer for convicted double-murderer Mark Sheppard. Kaine says he opposes the death penalty in all circumstances--not even Adolph Hitler would merit execution had he been captured alive--but also says he would not abuse the Governor's unrestricted clemency powers--the same powers had in Illinois by disgraced former Governor George Ryan, who emptied Death Row in his final days in office.

Mark Sheppard was executed in January 1999 for the November 1993 execution-style slayings of Richard and Rebecca Rosenbluth in Chesterfield County, immediately south of Richmond. Sheppard and an accomplice invaded the Rosenbluths' home, where Sheppard shot Richard Rosenbluth twice in the head and shot Rebecca Rosenbluth four times in the head and neck. Tim Kaine voluntarily took Sheppard's case.

In the ads, Kilgore features Mr. Rosenbluth's father speaking of his son and daughter-in-law. When the ads begin running tomorrow throughout the Commonwealth, the final outcome for November 8 will be settled in the minds of voters. Virginians strongly support the death penalty and will not entrust its execution to an ardent death penalty opponent. Jerry Kilgore will be the 70th Governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Also check out this link.

Can't Believe I Missed This One

Over the last couple of weeks, I wrote several pieces about the case of Raymond Richardson (story 2). Richardson is a convicted kidnapper whose sentence was reduced from 30 years to 10 years by the state Supreme Court, was released after serving only 5 years because of liberal good time credits, and is suspected of the murder of a woman the State Police found dead in the back seat of Richardson's car during a traffic stop on I-79 near Charleston.

Led by "Let 'em Loose Larry" Starcher--a nickname Justice Larry Starcher has earned from some police officers, prosecutors and circuit judges--the state Supreme Court ruled 3-2 that 30 years in prison (with parole eligibility occurring after 25% of the sentence had been served and mandatory release for good behavior after 50%) was excessive and that instead the 10-year minimum sentence was appropriate for the crime despite the fact that Richardson kidnapped his victim at gunpoint and forced her to walk naked outdoors to a building where she was held during a terrifying 14-hour ordeal that included being burned by lit cigarettes, urinated upon by Richardson, doused with gasoline and threatened with being set on fire. Let 'em Loose Larry, Chief Justice Joe Albright, and former Justice Warren McGraw routinely reduced prison sentences of violent felons like Richardson and now-infamous convicted child molester Tony Arbaugh (who not only got probation but was allowed to remain on probation despite numerous probation violations and was placed into a program that could have led to his employment as a janitor in a school).

Now is the intriguing tidbit I failed to discover originally: Richardson's mother works at the Supreme Court. To most people, this might suggest a lack of impartiality, but not to the West Virginia Supreme Court when Warren McGraw was on the bench. McGraw saw no problem with ruling on cases when his own brother was a party with high stakes.

Of course, this leaves us with the no-win (for the Starcher-McGraw-Albright triumvirate, anyway) question of whether the justices were swayed by the defendant's mother working for them or whether McGraw and Albright were just following the lead of Let 'em Loose Larry, as they did when they let convicted child molester Tony Arbaugh remain on probation after he grossly violated the probation that was imposed in lieu of a 15-35 year prison sentence as part of a very generous plea deal. Before the school involved discovered the arrangement and halted it, Arbaugh was in a "rehabilitation" program that would have eventually placed him in employment as a janitor in a school. Note: in both the Arbaugh and Richardson cases, the convictions stood, but the sentences the circuit judges imposed were overturned as excessive.

Ireland Need Not Resign to Run, IF She Runs for the Senate

Since Congresswoman Shelley Moore Capito's decision to not run for the U.S. Senate next year, Republicans seeking one last hope of recruiting a viable opponent to Senator Byrd have turned to Secretary of State Betty Ireland.

Ireland, 58, became West Virginia's first woman statewide executive officeholder last year after defeating former 9-term congressman and 4-term Secretary of State Ken Hechler, 90. In her campaign, she wrote the rules for respectfully challenging an elderly officeholder, carefully running a strictly positive campaign that made no direct or indirect issue of her opponent's advanced age. Ireland also voluntarily limited herself to a $150,000 spending limit under the Code of Fair Campaign Practices written by Hechler, who nevertheless spent over $1 million of his personal funds on the race.

Some skeptics toward an Ireland Senate candidacy are objecting to her candidacy for another office while continuing as Secretary of State. However, Democrats seemed to have no problem when Democratic secretaries of state ran for other offices without first resigning the office of Secretary of State:

  • Jay Rockefeller, who unsuccessfully challenged Governor Arch Moore in 1972.
  • The late A. James Manchin, who was elected state Treasurer in 1984 (and who would have fared better had he remained SOS).
  • Ken Hechler, who unsuccessfully ran for Congress in 1990 and 2000.
  • Governor Joe Manchin.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Casey: Tackett's Appearance with Byrd No Different Than President Bush with NYC Firefighters at Ground Zero 3 Days After 9-11

Sen. Robert C. Byrd announces his Senate candidacy at the State Capitol, surrounded by Adjutant General Allen Tackett, Rep. Nick J. Rahall, Rep. Alan B. Mollohan and Gov. Joe Manchin.Adjutant General Alan Tackett, in full military uniform, appears on the far left. This photo is from the front page of the September 28, 2005 Charleston Gazette.

State Democratic Chairman Nick Casey was on Bray Carey's Sunday show this morning, mostly throwing the usual partisan bombs. Casey repeated his cheap shots from last week accusing Congresswoman Shelley Moore Capito of being an opportunistic vulture awaiting the death of Senator Byrd. On state issues, Casey drug up the coal severance tax lawsuit even though the lawyer representing the coal companies is Senator Byrd's campaign chairman. However, toward the end of the interview, Casey was asked about the controversy surrounding state Adjutant General Alan Tackett appearing on stage in uniform at Senator Byrd's reelection announcement a couple of weeks ago.

General Tackett's appearance at this rally would be a nonissue had he appeared in civilian clothes. The sole problem most people have with this is that he appeared in military uniform. While Tackett falls under state National Guard regulations and these regulations do not expressly prohibit what Tackett did, many people nevertheless feel what he did was inappropriate.

In response to this question and Carey's comments about his personal opposition to police or military involvement in politics, Casey said he felt there was nothing wrong with what Tackett did and that he saw it as no different than the New York City firefighters appearing with President Bush at the rubble of the World Trade Center on September 14, 2001. Carey was a bit surprised at this statement and pressed Casey, to which Casey responded that he felt both events were equally political.