Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Learning Environments Are Important

When discussing whether or not Marion County needs new schools I hear a common phrase against the large bond: School buildings don't teach students, good teachers teach students.

Obviously, I can't argue against that observation. If I put a child in the best school in the world but give them an educator who can't teach, that student will learn nothing. But I could also argue the other way: If I put a student in a room with a great teacher but that student never feels comfortable, the student won't learn. Children are easily distracted and improper learning environments detract from the educational experience.

Room temperature, comfort of seating, background noise and visual distractions all detract from the learning experience. Put yourself in a classroom. If it is sweltering hot, you tire and can't concentrate on what is being said. If it is freezing cold, you feel uncomfortable and can't concentrate. If there is noise coming from outside, your mind wanders to what may be occuring just out of sight. And if it is in sight, forget about it.

I can't speak for Monongah and Mannington, but I know for a fact that heating and cooling is a major issue at East Fairmont Junior High School and East Park. East Park has window air conditioners to try to keep classroom cools. Loud and ineffective...not to mention an eyesore. Even the new East Fairmont High School has heating and cooling issues...but I am sure they pale in comparison to those at EFJHS and EP.

I'll warn you now, this will probably be a repetitive issue for me to write about. I have several more reasons why students need better schools and I will address them later.

Oh, and I want to applaud the Times-West Virginian for making it through an entire press-run without talking about gas prices today. That was amazing to me. Of course, after writing an editorial on Sunday endorsing consolidation of East Fairmont and Fairmont Senior, they're going to need many more days of gasless paper to appease me. If I didn't hate the local television news so much, I would cancel my subscription.

Shoot a Giant Pig and Receive Hate Mail

Too funny to pass up -- the kid who shot the giant pig down south has started his own webpage at Apparently not everyone is impressed by his pig-shooting abilities and he has been receiving hatemail. Luckily for us, he decided to post his hatemail online for the world to read. Find it here...and enjoy. Negative Comments & e-mails

Build It and They Might Come

I attended the Board of Education meeting at East Fairmont High School on Tuesday night because I like to be informed and I thought hilarity could ensue. The meeting covered the proposed school renovation plans that the BOE are currently evaluating. No decision has been made on what plan the board will support (wink, wink). A final decision will be made on June 18th -- and, at that point, they will prepare the bond and petition the SBA for matching funds ($1 SBA to every $3 contained in the bond).

Here is a quick list of what the proposed plan looks like: New East Fairmont Middle School and New North Marion High School; Gymnasium additions for Barrackville, Blackshere, East Dale, Fairview Elem., Jayenne, Monongah Elem. and Pleasant Valley; Renovations at East Fairmont High School, EFJHS Gym, East Park, Fairmont Senior High School and Watson Elem.; and, Relocate Softball/Soccer Complexes at NMHS and locate tracks at EFHS and NMHS. The estimated bond call is $60 million with matching funds of $20 million from the SBA -- bring the price tag for this wishlist to $80 million dollars.

A 20-year bond at today's interest rates would raise the average property taxes by $110.51 per year. In addition to the need for newer schools, the board argues that Marion County is losing citizens and students to Mon and Harrison County and that realtors are pointing to schools as a major contributor in those losses. And with that big waterpark moving in, we need new schools to house all the additional residents in Marion County.

Anyway, with that opening, the floor was opened to the public. The first person to speak was former BOE member, Dr. George Boyles. I am guessing that Boyles is preparing to run again. He was fast to the podium...I mean lightning fast. Boyles said, "the state of schools are not that bad." He stated that "he didn't believe this bond is a realistic one" and "little old ladies are having tough times finding money for food, medicine and rent." He thought the board needed to "prepare a small bond issue." But while calling for a smaller bond, he laid out his priorities for Marion County - tear down East Fairmont Jr. High, a new access road to EFHS and a track, soccer field and tennis courts at East Fairmont. And a new Monongah. And a new North Marion. But a smaller bond? Boyles finished up by saying "I am not dumb." And that he new that "if we don't pass this bond issue..." the next step would be consolidation. He challenged the board to say they would not consolidate East and West and they refused to answer by stating it wasn't in the proposed plan.

I won't go through all the speakers but I will give you some highlights quickly...
  • What are the plans for the old Junior High? State Street decayed...what is going to happen to Dunbar and Miller? What about an old EFJHS? Phares said they sold the State Street School and that they could sell Dunbar and Miller and use the money for bond payoff. Old EFJHS could be used as the location for the new middle school.

  • Patty from Pleasant Valley said the bond would only cost $0.40 per day...and cliched "How can we look our children in the eyes and not pass this bond..." She received the loudest applause of the evening.

  • Ed said we need new schools and that "without education, we'll die." He believes that the new schools will attract residents into Marion County.

  • Tom was upset that the paper hasn't given the specifics of the plan. The Board rebutted that once a plan is finalized, all the details will be made public before the bond call. Since the Board has not approved a plan, they can't give all the details yet because they don't know all the details...that's the reason for the meetings.

  • Elton said that this bond was "not only an investment in our children's futures but also in our community and county." We need to go door to door to push this bond to the citizens of Marion County and tell them it is only $2.50 a week for this investment. He also received applause (a rarity).

  • Chris is upset the Monongah and Mannington are being consolidated. He said they are the two largest middle schools in the county and yet they are being consolidated. The asked the Board if they were truly committed to community schools and received no response.

  • John "has disagreements." He is "opposed to consolidation because elementary schools should be in close proximity to where students live." Then he said something about Abe Lincoln and talked about how much school students missed this year. He explained that if the schools were closer to the students, he believes they wouldn't have missed as much school. Then he pulled out the "I walked two miles to school..." routine. I laughed.

  • Glenn wanted to know about the upkeep of the schools...could the Board handle $80 million worth of schools? The Board responded by saying the maintenance would be similar to what it is now. Glenn then said that there was a diaper under the seat in front of him. It was pretty embarassing and probably uncalled for. A lady got up to verify (she was a couple rows behind him.) I laughed at that point. I'm not sure who he was hoping to embarrass but it was pretty bad. Then he went on a story about teachers and students make schools, not the walls. He then said we should hire $80 million worth of teachers. I'm not sure...

That was about the end of the public forum. Phares announced that the bond would be contained on the 2008 Primary so he hoped everyone would vote. The meeting was adjourned and the diaper was removed.

Most people said they thought the bond was too large. Make it smaller...chop it up. I don't think they realize that it won't happen if you chop it up. If you pass a 10-year bond for the new North Marion...that's nice. But that means East Fairmont Junior High is in commission for at least 10 more years because Marion County will never pass a bond on top of another bond. It just won't happen. So, it has to be an all-in-one thing or it will never occur.

Personally, I think the investment is worth it. But I think the people supporting this bond have a lot of work in front of them if they want it to happen. It's important to Marion County to make this successful. If Marion County can't make an investment into the schools of the county, they will continue to lag behind Mon and Harrison. With a relatively inept government in the county, we already have an uphill battle. Why make it any harder?

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Hilary Clinton - Modern Communist

Okay...maybe I'm going a little far in saying that but I want you to read this article and then read my rebuttal.

"Fairness doesn't just happen. It requires the right government policies."

Ummmm...yeah. First, I agree there has to be some regulation on business...some. But I believe business is overregulated already. And Hilary Clinton is proposing to create more rules and regulations. That is insane.

The reason for prosperity in this country is simple: capitalism. The ability to create a business that provides goods for profit is what has made this the richest country in the world. People with ambition and drive continue to succeed in America. There is no doubt about that.

But Hilary doesn't believe that. Read the article again. Hilary is saying that no one in the U.S. can make it without government intervention. Punish business is her message. Remove tax breaks. Punish successful CEOs. Continue to punish businesses that provide jobs to Americans. That is her goal...and it is insane.

The continuing tax burden that is placed on business and the average American is what hurts the poor. How can a business pay employees more money, or even hire more employees, when the tax burden is so high? But Hilary's message is that businesses are selfish...providing a job to citizens isn't enough.

Do you want to know why people are getting lazier? Do you want to know why people are giving up? It's because of people like Hilary. Her constant preaching that you can't be successful on your own is holding down our society. Hilary is wrong. Maybe my subject title isn't...

Monday, May 28, 2007

Goodbye Cindy Sheehan

Cindy Sheehan has retired as the "face" of the American anti-war movement. You can read her resignation letter over at the Daily Kos -- it's definitely an interesting read. She rips both parties...and really points out the hypocrisy of the left. At least the right has been consistent in their support of the war.

On one hand, I do feel for Sheehan...she lost her son. I sympathize with her and every other American who has ever lost a loved one in battle. It is truly the ultimate sacrifice that can be made. Her son made that sacrifice...and, in some way, she did too. All Americans benefit from those who pick up arms in defense of this country.

On the other hand, Sheehan completey lost her mind. She attempted to befriend the enemies of America (such as Hugo Chavez) and that cannot be forgiven. Her attempt to undermine America's interests is contemptible. And her consistent degradation of our military sullied the sacrifice of her son. There is a way to protest and keep dignity...Sheehan failed at that completely.

In reading Sheehan's resignation letter, I was really struck by her unwillingness to see alternative points of view. It was Sheehan's way or no way. No compromise. To listen to Sheehan, there is never a point that combat is the answer. Sheehan presents no answers to the threats America faces outside her borders...just the unwavering belief that all our troops should be home regardless of the cost. It may sound cliche, but thankfully a Sheehan wasn't in charge in the WWII era or we could be living under a Nazi empire.

Sheehan is right though...she was the darling of the left until she called them out on their hypocrisy. Cindy's rise was brought about by Democrats...but when she called Mrs. Clinton to the carpet, the left quickly labeled her as a grieving idiot.

Regardless, farewell to Cindy Sheehan. At times infuriating, at times comical, she attempted to build an anti-war movement equivalent to that of the '60s and '70s. Unfortunately for her, only the same people who protested then were interested in protesting now. Maybe the new generation understands...or maybe they're just to lazy to care...either way, Cindy failed. Best of luck at trying something else...

Friday, May 25, 2007

Worst National Anthems of All Time

I have to thank for coming up with the Ten Worst National Anthems of All-Time. These are truly pathetic...and funny. You would think that if you were called upon to sing the Star Spangled Banner in front of an audience, you would learn the words...and you would have the ability to sing. Anyway, without further adieu, The 10 Worst National Anthems of All-Time.

Thursday, May 24, 2007


I almost forgot a very major reason for you to get to Fairmont...not just this summer but right now. Because, you're missing it. It started yesterday...and you're missing it. And I almost missed it too...but I'm not going to because it is the highlight of the year for the Fairmont area. Ladies and Gentlemen, I present the Three Rivers Festival!!! formerly the Coal Festival and some other names that didn't stick.

Anyway, the Three Rivers Festival is the celebration of the multiple rivers that converge in Fairmont...I believe the West Fork and Tygart Valley form the Monongahela River -- thus, Three Rivers. If it weren't for the rivers and the easy transportation of goods from Fairmont to Pittsburgh via the Mon, Fairmont would not be the thriving metropolis that it is today.

But I digress...the festival actually kicked off last night with the carnival opening at 6:00 p.m. But, today the festivities truly begin. From 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., Josh Knotts (Illusionist/Magician), THE Ronald McDonald, Scooby Doo and Friends and Burger Bear are all scheduled to be at Palatine Park. Then, tonight at 6:00 p.m. will be the Grand Parade, featuring the Cadets Drum and Bugle Corps. This is the first time I can remember, at least in recent history, the parade will feature a group from outside of, ya know, Fairmont. Then, the action kicks into high gear with Rick K and the Allnighters performing at 7:30 p.m.

Friday is featuring some talent contest with West Virginia celebrity Lacy Neff. No idea...something called "Fairmont's Got Talent." I expect it to be a short show considering the talent level in Fairmont...and the fact that all 3 high schools are having graduation the same evening. Not very well planned in my opinion.

Anyway, Saturday afternoon is full of activities. An art exhibit, floating flamingo race...but the highlight is the Amateur Pepperoni Roll Bake-Off. Hmmmm...well, that should be interesting. That evening they will crown the "Fairmont's Got Talent" winner and Froggy 102.7 will have a country artist there to perform (Name Withheld -- must be really, really good). And, at 10:00 p.m., the Grand Fireworks to end the festival.

Yes, this is definitely a reason to come to Fairmont...ASAP. Be here tonight. You don't want to miss this. From past experience, the Three Rivers Festival always brings out Fairmont's finest citizens to Palatine Park for a lot of fun. You should be there too...and, well, if you are...good luck!

The Three Rivers Festival -- yet another adequate reason to visit Fairmont.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Oh, Times-West Virginian...SHUTUP!

I'm sorry...I really have tried to control the anger I feel against the Times-West Virginian. It's a newspaper...and, it's not completely horrible. But I can no longer stand the daily gas updates. It is asinine. I know how much gas costs. And I don't care that Morgantown gas is $.20 cheaper than Fairmont gas. Why do we need this daily gas updates?

Today's Times revelation is that "BP has put a smaller nozzle on the 93 octane for Mustangs so that the car will take gas faster." I don't know if that makes sense? Does that make sense? Someone, please elborate because I would think a smaller nozzle would slow the gas down...maybe? Secondly, who cares? Are they attempting to say there is some conspiracy?

Gas costs money. Gas prices are going up. I get it. I don't need a daily update. I drive. I see. Please, I beg you, move on. There has to be more important things going on. Let's focus on how important this school bond is going to be. Or, if you want to complain, complain about the construction on the interstate. Complain about the oversized loads that keep stopping traffic on the Interstate near the Kingmont exit in the mornings...nearly causing me to rearend several vechicles. Get over the gas prices..AHHHH!!!!

Just Let Them All In

I'll be honest...I don't know all there is to know about this proposed immigration bill that is being touted as the fix for America's illegal immigration issue. Obviously, I am in favor of strengthening border security, which this bill is supposed to do by creating a 370-mile, triple-layered fence between the United States and Mexico. I am in favor of anything that strenghtens the border. It's not illegal workers that I worry about as much as terrorists using our porous borders to carry out sinister deeds. But I digress...

Another aspect of this bill is to make English the national language and force new immigrants to take English classes. I understand that to some degree...but it's not a big deal to me really.

Anyway, the bill gets really odd with the three-tiers of citizenship eligibility. Those here five years or longer would be allowed to stay and apply for citizenship, provided they pay back taxes, learn English and have no serious criminal records. Those here two to five years would eventually have to return to another country and apply for a green card, which could allow their immediate return. The roughly 2 million immigrants who have been in the United States illegally for less than two years would be ordered home and be subject to deportation. Illegal immigrants convicted of a felony or three misdemeanors would be deported no matter how long they have been in the United States.

First, rounding up 2 million illegal aliens and deporting them is impossible. Are they going to turn themselves in? Yeah, right. Second, how is someone going to prove they have been here for 5 years versus 3 years? Are we just trusting them? Why would they tell the truth?

At its very core, this bill rewards illegal aliens who have violated United States law for 5 years. Shouldn't that disqualify them from citizenship immediately? It also punishes people who have attempted to get into the United States by legal means. Why should they be forced to wait to get into this country because others cheated the system?

It seems pretty stupid to me. Obviously, if I have been in the country under 5 years, I'm going to lie. If I don't think I can lie my way in, I'm not going to turn myself. And people who would normally crack down on illegal workers are going to look the other way because we're providing amnesty to all the workers what makes the difference. This is stupid...and is not the solution to our immigration problem.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Fairmont - Your Vacation Destination

Well, it's time for part three of the many part mini-series of why Fairmont should be your vacation destination this summer. First, let me reiterate that I have researched the story that accompanies each attraction as best I could...some of my facts might be off a little.

Last week I covered the shopping metropolis that Fairmont is thanks to the Middletown Mall. But some people find the mall too sprawling and large...and even though all your shopping needs can be covered at the mall, some people prefer another store near the mall. Ladies and Gentlemen, I present to you the NEW Super "Wal-Mart."

For those of you not in the know, a "Wal-Mart" is a large complex in which goods of all kinds can be purchased. The one in Fairmont used to be known simply as "Wal-Mart," but the company decided that it wasn't large enough so they built a new one and added "Super" to the title. At these "Wal-Marts," you can purchase food stuffs, garments, toiletries, detergents and even VCRs. It is an all-in-one shopping complex for the thrifty shopper.

Personally, I don't see the need for this "Wal-Mart" considering the thriving stores at the nearby mall but some people actually prefer this "Wal-Mart" over the mall. Very interesting indeed. The "Wal-Mart" is also rumored to have attracted a new restaurant near it's location. I think a Red Lobster...or an Appleby's...or maybe it was a Burger King. No idea really.

This so-called "Wal-Mart" is yet another reasont to visit the metropolis of Fairmont. I don't think these "Wal-Marts" will catch on, so you might want to visit it while it is still in business. But, hey, it might actually work.

So, head to Fairmont and see this colossal store. "Wal-Mart" - yet another reason to visit Fairmont. I look to forward to seeing you soon! More next week.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

I Present Princess Favre

Brett Favre is a quarterback for Green Bay. Brett Favre led Green Bay to one Super Bowl victory. But, for some reason, Brett Favre is considered to be the king of Green Bay and he gets a pass for every selfish thing he does in Packer-land.

Last year, he kept the Green Bay front office guessing on his intentions of coming back for another season. They didn't know if they should make a run at a quarterback or not...or what the future held. And Favre just kept them twisting in the wind all at his pleasure.

Then, this year, Favre has criticized the front office for not making a run at Moss and, allegedly, he asked for a trade following Moss' announcement that he would go to New England. First of all, Brett Favre is not a GM and his opinion shouldn't be counted as such. Second, if Moss was given a choice between a great quarterback like Tom Brady and the average, at best, Brett Favre, where do you think he'd go? Favre has thrown 47 interceptions in the last two years. Moss doesn't want to fight defenders for the ball. Plus, Favre likes to break fingers with the ball...just to prove he can throw it really, really hard.

Most recently Favre announced that he would miss the mandatory mini-camp because of his daughter's wedding. Did he talk to anyone at Green Bay about this? No. So, the Green Bay front office "leaked" that he was not excused from mini-camp and he could lose part of his signing bonus if he didn't appear. Favre has suddenly changed his toon and wants to bond with the team now.

Any team leader would never say he wasn't going to attend a mandatory camp. This is where he gets to meet the new players on "his" team...but apparently that isn't important to Favre. Do you think he's the only person on that team who has other things going on in their lives? But Favre is special...I guess. Actually, Favre is a Prima Donna who is washed up. He gets a pass from the media despite his constant selfishness. Just because he's tough doesn't mean he should get to hold a whole team hostage.

Favre might have been a good quarterback at one point in his career...but that time has passed and he has consistently proven that he is willing to put himself before the Green Bay Packers. There are plenty of other quarterbacks that would be willing to put the Packers first...but they'll never get a chance as long as Favre is around. It's a shame...Green Bay has found their Roger Clemens...but without the talent.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Michael Vick Kicked My Dog

I was just minding my own business last night when, out of nowhere, Michael Vick showed up. I thought...well, I don't like this guy but that's cool...Michael Vick can hang out here. As long as he keeps control of Ron Mexico, I have no problem. But he never said a word...he just showed up and kicked my dog. Why, Michael, why? Why did you kick my dog?

If the reports are true, my dog was lucky. Mike Vick has been doing much worse to dogs...or at least allowing people who rent off of him to do much worse to dogs. There is a lot of evidence mounting that Vick knew what was happening at the apartment in which dog fighting was occurring. And now, ESPN is quoting an investigator who says Vick attended the dog fights.

If this is true, Vick needs to go to jail and never play football again. It's a very disturbing thing. If Vick attended the dog fights, or advocated dog fights on his property, there is no defense for that at all. I hope the Humane Society keeps the pressure on the Virginia prosecutor who is working on this case...something must occur.

This will also be an interesting case for Roger Goodell. He's enjoyed handing out punishments...I'm be anxious to see what he does to one of the "faces" of the NFL. Vick has long been lauded as an elite player despite his mediocre performances. Let's see what happens now. But if the NFL turns the other way on this, expect some real fireworks this season. In the meantime, keep Michael Vick away from your animals.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Bloomberg to Buy Presidency

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg may be willing to spend up to $1 BILLION dollars to purchase the presidency of the United States as a third party candidate. That seems like an insane amount of money for someone to personally put up to run for the presidency...and probably lose. Bloomberg is a fiscal conservative (good, good) and a social liberal (ah, whatever). I don't think Bloomberg stands much of a chance...that's why he's being so coy about the entire situation.

On an unrelated note, I am contemplating my own run for the presidency despite the fact that I am still constitutionally ineligible for the office (age...not the illegal alien thing). I am willing to use up to $25 dollars of my own money to run. I know that pales in comparison to Bloomberg's $1 BILLION but my message will resound with my voters. I promise you everything that I can't possibly deliver, just like Hilary.

Lastly, I haven't been watching much of the NBA playoffs. But I did catch some of the Spurs/Suns last night. Whew...things are getting ugly there. A small brawl broke out last night after Robert Horry (one of my most despised players in basketball) bodychecked Steve Nash into the scorers bench. I'm just glad that series is tied at 2 each because it could definitely get interesting. Hopefully Stoudemire doesn't get suspended for leaving the bench last night...that would definitely be a shame.

Monday, May 14, 2007

No Gas Day

Tomorrow is the boycott gas day. Here are the highlights from the e-mail encouraging people to boycott the gas stations on May 15th:

“There are 73,000,000+ American members currently on the Internet network, and the average car takes about 30 to 50 dollars to fill up,” this par­ticular e-mail read. “If all users did not go to the pump on the 15th, it would take $2,292,000,000 out of the oil companies’ pockets for just one day, so please do not go to the gas station on May 15. Let’s try to put a dent in the Middle Eastern oil industry for at least one day." makes no difference. If you want to boycott gas on May 15th, that's fine. If it makes you feel better, great. But, the fact is that a one-day boycott will have zero impact on gas prices. The problem is that these "boycotters" are going to top off their tanks on May 14th or they will be back at the pumps on May 16th. All that does is shift the profits from May 15th and split them between the 14th and 16th. What differences does that make? I will gladly pay you Friday for a hamburger today syndrome...someone's going to get paid whether it be today or Friday.

To make any difference at all, everyone would have to boycott driving for a day. Keeping all the cars off the road for a day would actually stop some gasoline consumption for a day. But that's not going to happen.

If people really want to make a difference, they will not call for a one-day boycott but rather a lifestyle change. If you want to lower gas prices, look at mass transportation, car pool and more fuel efficient vehicles. Those are longer term solutions and will actually have an impact. A one day boycott, not so much.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Fairmont - Your Vacation Destination

Well, it's time for part two of the many part mini-series of why Fairmont should be your vacation destination this summer. First, let me reiterate that I have researched the story that accompanies each attraction as best I could...some of my facts might be off a little.

Today's reason is a really good one...a sprawling shopping center. People enjoy shopping and Fairmont boasts a mall. A very -- a very, very -- well, it's a mall.

In addition to having things like lights and doors, this mall contains many stores. Among some of the highlights for your shopping pleasure: GNC, Hallmark, the DMV, Dollar General, Shop and Save and the High Life Lounge.

Granted, the mall hasn't been the same since Chess King moved out...but it's still a heckuva mall. Unpictured are some of the great restaurants that surround the mall...such as Arby's, Hardees and Taco Bell. Oh, and a Bob Evans. And don't forget the empty sports bar that sits right next door.

Rumor has it that the mall was built by ancient Egyptians. I don't see it...really, I don't. Does this look like the work of Egyptians?

Anyway, Fairmont's mall can suit all your shopping needs. And, if it can't, I will cover something in a later article that definitely will. It rhymes with Fal-Mart. But that's for another article.

So, Fairmont's mall...yet another reason to make Fairmont your vacation destination this summer. you think you can do any better? Have you seen gas prices? (If not, read the Times-West Virginian...they like to write about them.) Come to Fairmont...and shop! More next week...

Saturday, May 12, 2007

It's a Wreck

Well, I was out researching my next part of the "Reasons to Vacation in Fairmont" article (scheduled for tomorrow) when I heard the screech of breaks and the sound of collision. Oh, what could it be? A wreck...right behind me. I was taking pictures of something else so I decided to take a few of the accident scene. The folks around didn't seem to enjoy me taking pictures instead of, you know, helping...but, hey, what's a journalist to do. Besides, there were other far more competent people helping the victims.

There were no injuries...just a good hard thud. The ambulance and fire department soon arrived and I barely escaped before being blocked in and stuck there. I then went to eat.

That was pretty much my excitement for this beautiful Saturday. I think I'll go look for more accidents now. Remember, tomorrow is part two of the many part mini-series on why Fairmont should be your vacation destintation.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Poor Katie Couric

Poor, poor Katie. She leaves the Today Show to become the first female anchor on a major evening news program. And she was hyped beyond belief. Katie was going to change the way you and I watched the news. And then...well, something went horribly wrong and then earlier this week it was reported that "CBS Evening News" last week recorded its smallest audience since 1987. Wow...that's bad.

So, why you might ask? Well, it's pretty clear to me. Katie developed her skills as the fluff artist of the Today Show. She was cutesy and nice...and, well, no one wants cute and nice for their serious evening news. Katie's news stories also reek of bias. Dan Rather wasn't the most neutral guy in the world but at least he had credibility. Katie has been a bleeding heart since she first hit the airwaves.

When Couric hit the airwaves in a barrage of media hype, people watched. But they quickly learned that Katie was all about style and presentation...but there was no substance to the stories she was telling. When people turn on news in the evening, they want facts...not some cute story from Katie.

CBS needs to stand up and find a real journalist with real credibility to anchor their news desk. Katie's fluff has proven to be a disaster. She hasn't revolutionized the newsroom...and she has destroyed the chances for other, more credible, women to take the lead for years to come.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

France's Radical Move

I've been wanting to write something about the recent election in France but I couldn't come up with anything really good. Essentially, the people of France rejected 25 years of socialism and elected the conservative Nicolas Sarkozy. France, despite their superior attitude, has long suffered from high unemployment, high government dependency and social and economic unrest. But I couldn't come up with the I am borrowing some highlights from Cal Thomas, a syndicated columnist. I thought he summed it up pretty well...this isn't America electing Ronald Reagan or Britain electing Margaret Thatcher...but it could be a move in the right direction for France and, hopefully, the entire European Union:

After decades of socialist influ­ence in France, could the French election be a precursor to a Margaret Thatcher-like comeback for conservatives? Perhaps. Though, on foreign policy, Sarkozy is more pro-American than his predecessor, Jacques Chirac, he is still opposed to the Iraq War and doesn’t want to seem too pro-American since most of the French remain firmly anti­American. But let’s not look a gift horse — French or otherwise — in the mouth. Any turn away from policies that have hurt the French economy and threatened its cul­ture with a flood of immigrants who refuse to assimilate is bound to be an improvement.

Sarkozy may not be a Thatcher (whose 1979 victory in Britain heralded an economic revitaliza­tion) or a Ronald Reagan (ditto in the U.S.), but he vows to at least begin where they did. Sarkozy wants to “loosen” the 35-hour workweek by offering tax breaks on overtime in exchange for work­ing longer hours. He wants to trim fat from the bloated public service sector, cut taxes and do something to correct high unemployment (currently at about 8.3 percent). France has also suffered from falling living standards and a decline in industrial might.

Cutting taxes will help create jobs and raise living standards. When such policies have been implemented in other countries (Ireland, Britain and the United States) an economic boom has fol­lowed. The Conservative victory shows that the French are ready for that boom.

Sarkozy also sounded a little like Thatcher and Reagan when, during his campaign, he promised to crackdown on criminals and curb the power of unions. Unions have been a driving force behind guaranteed jobs that have kept employers from firing incompe­tent workers.

Among the most pressing prob­lems for Sarkozy’s presidency will be how to handle its estimated 5 million Muslim immigrants, some of whom shook the foundations of the country when they rioted in 2005. He will have to be more rhetorically cautious than during his campaign when he promised to rid neighborhoods of the “scum” responsible for the troubles. Still, France, which has the largest Muslim immigrant population in Europe, is faced with a major challenge to its culture, freedoms, language and everything else that makes France what it is.

So, it should be an interesting transition France. Of course, Sarkozy's party needs to win the Parliament next month to actually implement his plans. It's apparent that socialism has failed the French people and they are wanting to take a step back and give free market a chance. Many will be watching closely, including me.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Fairmont - Your Vaction Destination

Today will mark the first of a many part mini-series on why Fairmont should be your vacation destination this summer. I, along with the help of my assistant (Note to self: Find assistant), will bring you the highlights of Fairmont and its surrounding areas. Updates on Fairmont will come every Sunday because, well, Sunday is the day the Lord rested at Fairmont Motor Lodge. Seriously. I have researched the story that accompanies each attraction as best I could...some of my facts might be off a little. I really don't know...the assistant did most of the research (Note: Find assistant to blame for factual errors).

Anyway, without further adieu, the first reason to come to Fairmont this summer:

Literally "bridging" Fairmont together is the Robert H. Mollohan Bridge. Reopened on October 27, 2000, after undergoing nearly $16 billion dollars woth of restoration, the "Billion Dollar Bridge" originally opened for traffic in 1921. Because of time constraints, it is rumored that 72 "legal" workers lost their lives in the concrete arch bridge.

Due to the height of the bridge, both Ted Kennedy and Robert C. Byrd have been banned from driving across the span. The bridge is currently listed on the National Register of Historic Places despite the fact it's not really a Place but, rather, a Thing. Due to the intense security that surrounds the bridge, these are the best pictures I could get of the structure:

The Mollohan Bridge was built for one reason, and one reason only, and that was to give people on the East Side of the river a chance to eat at Yann's Famous Hot Dogs on the West Side. Yann's is located directly beside the bridge and is considered one of the greatest places to eat in all of Fairmont.

Yann is specifically known for the hot sauce that he puts on his hot dogs. Don't ask for ketchup at this establishment because everyone knows you don't put ketchup on a hot dog. Yann's sauce is so hot that it is rumored that jalepenos sweat when they get too close to his sauce. (Note: Does that make sense? Read that again and maybe correct.).

Anyway, a multi-billion dollar bridge to lead to Yann Dogs. You better make the trip and get a few while you are in town.

So, there you have it. My first two reasons to come to Fairmont. A "Billion Dollar Bridge" and Yann's Hot Dogs. Do I really have to write the next part of this series? Probably not but I will anyway. Thanks for reading and I'll see you in town soon!

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Follow up on Environmentalism

After starting that article yesterday I was thinking I could probably expand it into a 7-part mini-series. But I didn't want to do that. I don't have the energy to write about global warming and environmentalism for that long. I just wanted to compress it into a nice little package.

Personally, I thought the Mars argument was decent. From the National Geographic: In 2005 data from NASA's Mars Global Surveyor and Odyssey missions revealed that the carbon dioxide "ice caps" near Mars's south pole had been diminishing for three summers in a row. Habibullo Abdussamatov, head of space research at St. Petersburg's Pulkovo Astronomical Observatory in Russia, says the Mars data is evidence that the current global warming on Earth is being caused by changes in the sun. "The long-term increase in solar irradiance is heating both Earth and Mars," he said.

Is it possible that the giant ball of gas that heats this planet is responsible for the heating of the planet? I think so -- I mean, it's a giant ball of super-heated gas.

Second, there is an agenda out there that makes it sound as though man-made global warming is a fact and is science. There is no conclusive evidence that global warming is man-made. Is it not possible that the planet is going through natural weather patterns? To attribute every change in climate to Man is ignoring history. There was a "Little Ice Age" ending as recently as the 17th to 19th century. Weather patterns change without the assistance of man. It has happened many times throughout the history of this planet...before Man even existed.

With that said...I appreciate Mr. Davis' efforts to "make the earth much happier." I encourage you to ride a bike...or walk and save gas. Mostly for selfish reasons try to save some gas for me and maybe lower the cost.

But seriously, I don't mock anyone's efforts to recycle or drive a fuel efficient car. Personally, I think Sheryl Crow was joking about the toilet paper...I hope. I encourage people to be conservationists and care about the environment. What I don't encourage is the apocalyptic view that is shoved down our throats by the wacko-environmentalists. I don't encourage people to blindly follow Al Gore and live in the woods while he flies over the world and uses many times the energy of the average Man. I like the environment. I like clean air. I don't want another Love Canal or Bhopal disaster. But I also don't want the government dictating how much toilet paper I it?

Lastly, as for Mr. Gore, I congratulate Al. Shoot...if he can afford to travel the world and use the energy he does, more power to him. He has found a way to live a good life...and that's what capitalism is all about. But for him to live that good life and yet expect everyone else to sacrifice is just crazy. Gore is the modern day Jim as I say, not as I do. And, for as long as he can get away with it...have fun. But eventually his sheep will stop least he has a nice, big house to retire to.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Environmentalism has become a Religion

A hotel in California recently decided to replace the Bible with Al Gore's book "An Inconvenient Truth." This really doesn't surprise me and I expect to see more privately owned hotels jump on that bandwagon. Environmentalism in this country has gone from a movement to a religion for many people. Look at contains all the essential elements of religion:

Eden: The world was pure before Man and before knowledge. As Man learned he could reap benefits from the Earth, he was cast from Paradise and into a world of pollution and sin.

Sin: We are all sinners by using the resources we have gained from knowledge. We must repent by eating organic foods and drinking pesticide-free waters. We must walk instead of drive and we must punish those who choose to harm the environment.

Judgment Day: Any day now. The environmentalists insist that our Judgment Day is coming and the only way we will survive it is to atone for our sins.

Prophets, believers, etc.: Al Gore. And the enabler scientists and media that supports him and the rest of his religion.

Environmentalists claim to have "consensus science" supporting their beliefs. They completely discount scientists who have history on their side that prove weather patterns do change (sound like Catholics and Galileo?). They ignore the fact that recently scientists have said that Mars is heating (last I checked, no humans to ruin Mars environment). The ridicule anyone who has a difference in opinion and devoutly believe in their environmentalism.

Listen, I like clean air and I like a clean environment to enjoy. I do support oversight that forces companies to be accountable for their impact on the environment (within reason). But, along the same lines, I do not believe Al Gore or John Travolta or any other blowhard has the right to tell anyone how to live their lives (especially considering the hypocrisy this people show). Also, I do not believe we have to make wholesale changes that has a detrimental effect on the masses.

I think it's sad that we have reached a point where so many people devoutly believe in environmentalism and worship the false idols who preach it. How surprised will they be when they learn that salvation does not come from Al Gore?

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Very True

This is about how my day goes...

And I mean everyday...