Random (but not really)

Saturday, June 8, 2019

Summer Food Programs

USDA: Find Summer Meals in Your Community

Nutritious free meals are available for children and teens 18 and younger at many locations throughout the nation throughout the summer while school is out of session. Use the mapping tool below to find a site near you.

Mountaineer Food Bank

Mountaineer Food Bank is located in Gassaway, WV. Our organization provides food and other household items to our emergency food network in 48 counties including programs such as food pantries, soup kitchens, shelters, Backpack programs, senior programs and mobile pantries.

MFB works with the West Virginia Department of Agriculture to distribute USDA commodities in 43 counties in West Virginia, almost 3.5 million pounds annually. The products are generally staple items such as green beans, corn, canned fruit, juices and proteins such as meat or peanut butter.

Written by Michelle at 10:01 am      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Politics,West Virginia  

Monday, April 15, 2019

It’s Tax Day! HOORAY!

That’s right, I like taxes! I like the benefits of living in a society that cares for all members, not forcing the indigent and needy to struggle and do terrible things if they don’t want to die on the streets.

So what are some of the benefits?

Public roads!

Made about the potholes? Of course you are! Justifiably! You know what those potholes are there! Because of people who try to avoid paying state and local taxes! (Yes, I AM judging you!)

But it’s more than that. We’ve traveled much of WV, and I can tell you precisely why the economy is so bad in so many areas: because no manufacturer in the right mind is going to build a plant where there are two lane roads with 9-11% grades and hairpin turns. They just aren’t. And it takes state and federal tax money to build those roads that might–just might–bring in businesses.

Without those roads? It’s just not going to happen.

Public schools!

Even if you don’t have kids, public education is necessary for a an informed citizenry. The number of complete idiots who refuse to vaccinate their kids because they don’t understand how herd immunity works is in many ways a failure of our education system.

We’ve failed not just to teach people about basic science, we’ve also failed to instill critical thinking skills, which is possibly more important than basic science. (Possibly.)

Public Sanitation!

Read much about London during any number of historical periods?

Here’s something I read earlier this month. The woman is interview a night-soil man.

“The worst is them cesspits what’s hooked up to them newfangled water-flushing contraptions.”

“Why?”

“’ Cause a cesspit, it ain’t designed t’ take all that water, that’s why. So them things is always overflowin’. If ye ask me, what they oughta do is let them nobs who wants them danged patented washdown pedestals connect ’em to the sewer system.”

London had long possessed an elaborate sewer system, but the sewers were intended only for stormwater and underground rivers. It was illegal to use them for the disposal of waste.

Hero said, “The sewers empty into the Thames.”

“Aye.”

“We get our water from the Thames.”

William Bell laughed, showing a mouthful of surprisingly even, healthy teeth. “Aye. So?”

Harris, C. S.. Who Slays the Wicked (Sebastian St. Cyr Mystery) (p. 341). Penguin Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

You think dog poop on the sidewalks is annoying? Without public sanitation, human waste was just thrown out into the streets.

Public Safety!

Ever read anything about police services 200 years ago? If you were rich, you could hire people to solve your crimes, and if you were very rich, you’d have to do something really terrible to keep the authorities from looking the other way.

In general, a child who stole food to eat could be thrown into prison or transported. And sometimes the only alternative to thievery was prostitution. Or starving to death.

Fire services were even worse. The first fire services were private ones–you paid them in advance to make sure your house didn’t burn down in there was a fire. You didn’t pay a fire service? They’d protect your neighbors home while watching yours burn to the ground. Which sometimes meant a “protected” home burned as well.

Public Health!

Just 100 years ago, the “Spanish Flu” swept the world, killing more people than WWI, which was happening at the time.

Public health laws required people to wear masks in public, which helped slow the spread of the virulent and dealy illness.

Public health also protects our food supply, as well as regulating those who prepare our food. Everyone has heard the phrase “Typhoid Mary” but do you actually know she was a real person who caused serious illness and death? She was a carrier of Typhoid, but it did not make her ill.

(P)reviously the cook had served in 8 families. Seven of them had experienced cases of typhoid. Twenty-two people presented signs of infection and some died.

That year, about 3,000 New Yorkers had been infected by Salmonella typhi, and probably Mary was the main reason for the outbreak. Immunization against Salmonella typhi was not developed until 1911,

Public health also insures that our water supplies are safe–and if you think this isn’t still a problem, then you have not been paying attention.

Public Parks and Forests!

To end on a more positive note, our national and state parks and forests are a result of state and federal taxes. Thanks to Theodore Roosevelt, we have wild and historical places preserved for us and for future generations.

The Grand Canyon, the Giant Redwoods–without our park system, these things would be either destroyed, or available only to the wealthy. Forests and park contribute to our health and well-being, from the air they clean, the plants and animals they preserve, and the green spaces they provide for the physical and mental health of those who use them.

I’d also like to note that here in WV, our state forests are also public hunting grounds. Without our state forests, that land would be in private hands, unavailable either because it had been destroyed, or because it had been restricted by private land-owners.

These–and many other reasons–are why I am always glad to pay taxes. And why I am judging you every time you use ploys to avoid paying taxes while still wanting to government to fix your potholes and fight crime and all the other many services governments provide.

Written by Michelle at 6:00 am      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Politics  

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

You Want to Spend Money on WHAT?!

There are not words strong enough for me to describe how I feel about this: Three delegates want to divert $10 million from WV surplus to fund border wall.

I love West Virginia.

But this? This is despicable.

Idiot 1, R-Upshur, Idiot 2, R-Lewis, and Idiot 3, R-Webster

First of all, this is no more and no less a political game.

Second, WV is struggling so much, the idea of throwing away money on ANYTHING that doesn’t directly benefit the state enrages me.

Let’s take a look at just a couple of things the state could be spending money on.

Education

Estimated average annual salary of teachers in public elementary and secondary schools, by state

Source: National Center for Education Statistics, https://nces.ed.gov/

Here are the numbers for the five states at the bottom of that list.

Colorado 46,506
West Virginia 45,701
Oklahoma 45,245
Mississippi 42,925
South Dakota 42,668

Here we see how WV compares to the surrounding states:

Maryland 66,961
Pennsylvania 65,863
Ohio 57,000
Kentucky 52,339
Virginia 51,049
West Virginia 45,701

See also: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_wv.htm#25-0000, https://www.wvea.org/content/goal-set-starting-teacher-salaries-west-virginia

——

Let’s move on.

Broadband

Last year I ranted about high speed internet access .

These numbers are the percent citizens in the selected counties with access to broadband internet.
Pocahontas = 0%
Calhoun = 0%
Ritchie = 14.0%
Clay – 16.7%
Monroe = 17.9%
Barbour 21.4%

That’s right. We have two counties where there is NO ACCESS AT ALL to high speed internet.

You can go to my original post for the sources and data.

——

Moving along again.

Food

You may remember I’ve also ranted about the number of food deserts in WV. The data in that post was from 2017, so it’s about two years out of date. Unfortunately, I can’t update it because of the government shutdown means much of my source data is currently inaccessible, but here’s what I found.

West Virginia has 14 counties that contain major food deserts [C]–cities are were more than 20 miles from “grocery stores, farmers’ markets, and healthy food providers.” The entire county of Gilmer is a food desert. Nine (9) of those counties with food deserts are NOT along the state border, and nine (9) of those counties also have a mean yearly income less than $50,000.

Here’s a more recent articles about food deserts in WV:
In McDowell County ‘food desert,’ concerns about the future

——

Let’s continue further.

Roads

One of the things I will go on about are the roads in WV.

Here are the “major” roads in WV. The heavy green and red lines are our interstates.

The rest of those highways are anything from four lane divided highways to two lane roads with 11% grades and hairpin turns. (Note the significant amounts of area without interstates or highways.)

Outside of those “major” roads?

Well, I’ve mentioned them before. The GPS Really Is Trying TO Kill Us, Traveling WV: The GPS Really Is Trying To Kill You

Also: ‘Enough is enough’ say advocates for better W.Va. road maintenance

——

One final thing (for now).

Water

Lots of people heard about the crisis when the chemical spill in Charleston left more than 300,000 without usable water in 2015.

Thing is, in many areas of WV, lack of safe drinking water is a way of life, rather than a one time event.

Today, an estimated $17 billion is needed to correct water infrastructure challenges for all of West Virginia, per the Infrastructure and Jobs Development Council, a state agency that serves as a clearinghouse for funding on infrastructure projects. That figure is almost four times the state’s entire budget for 2018.

Stirring the Waters: In Southern WV, days without water are a way of life

$17 billion so all of WV can have access to clean drinking water.

Here’s an excerpt from a WV DEP report on streams and rivers in WV:

(There are currently) 1,142 impaired stream segments, covering approximately 5,091 stream miles that are impaired…

The most common criteria violations in West Virginia streams in order of total stream miles are:
Fecal coliform
Total iron (warmwater)
Biological impairment, as determined through application of the West Virginia Stream Condition Index
Dissolved Aluminum
pH
PCBs
Selenium

Why is stream and river health important? Because here in WV, that’s where our drinking water comes from. Here’s a bit from our water company on where my water comes from.

In 2016, MUB produced 3.67 billion gallons of drinking water, an average of 10.868 million gallons per day. The main source of drinking water for the Morgantown area is surface water from the Monongahela River, which supplied 75.7 percent of the area’s drinking water. The remaining 24.3 percent of our raw water supply was taken from the Cobun Creek reservoir.

And I’ll give you three guesses as to where our treated sewage goes.

Here’s another article on drinking water in WV:
Millions consumed potentially unsafe water in the past 10 years

So, here in WV we have underpaid teachers. Many areas WV lacks the roads for industry and manufacturing to be willing to move here. Significant stretches of the state are food deserts and lack access to safe tap water. And we didn’t even get to the opioid crisis.

All that? THAT’S why we lack jobs and economic growth.

You want to fix WV? Improve education. Build roads and infrastructure. Fix the water supply. Until those things happen, we’ll remain at the bottom. And with the ideas of the Republicans currently in power, that won’t be happening any time soon.

Written by Michelle at 10:38 am      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Politics,West Virginia  

Sunday, October 28, 2018

The Best Lack All Conviction, While the Worst Are Full of Passionate Intensity

The Second Coming

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: somewhere in sands of the desert
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.
The darkness drops again; but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?
— W. B. Yeats (1919)

Written by Michelle at 3:27 pm      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Books & Reading,Politics  

Saturday, October 6, 2018

Why I Am DONE with Manchin

For years I have been holding my nose and voting for Joe Manchin.

Never again will I vote for him, because with the chips were down, he lacked the testicular fortitude to do what needed to be done for the country, instead focusing what would get him re-elected.

And now we have a person who completely lacks judicial temperament given a life-time position on the Supreme Court.

Aside from the allegations of sexual assault. Aside from the untruths in his stories. He threw a temper tantrum and whined about a liberal conspiracy attempting to keep him off the court. He behaved as if that seat was his by right. He utterly exposed his partisanship and made it quite clear he is a conservative activist judge.

A judge with whom we will have to live for decades.

The only reason I voted for Manchin–the ONLY reason–was to keep conservative activist judges off the supreme court. To keep them from sending the country back to the dark ages.

His claim he is working for the betterment of West Virginians is complete and utter bullshit. He is instead working to return us to the days of out-of-state ownership of everything of value here. Of being dependent upon our employers for utterly everything.

Anyone remember company scrip? You could only buy things from the company store? You think that isn’t happen to our health care? Remember mine disasters where hundreds of men died? You think that can’t happen anymore? Remember when black lung killed men on a regular basis? You know that’s happening again, right?

This is a Supreme Court that voted that corporations are people. People who place the good of a corporation of the good of citizens don’t give a shit about what happens to us.

And that’s what Manchin has given us.

So the argument that we’re screwed if a Republican gets that seat holds no water anymore. A Democrat HAD that seat, and he failed to stand up for us, instead looking out for his political future.

To hell with that.

I don’t know who is the 3rd party candidate for the Senate, but I will write in “None of the Above” before vote again for Manchin.

Written by Michelle at 7:52 pm      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Politics  

Monday, September 3, 2018

Labor Day

Textile Mills

ChildrenSpinning

girl-working-at-cotton-mill-P

millgirl

Landscape

Factories

child-labor

Fields

child-labor-3

Triangle Shirtwaist Factory

Triangle-Fire

triangle3

Chimney Sweeps

childsweep2

Mining

Come all of you good workers,
Good news to you I’ll tell
Of how the good old union
Has come in here to dwell.

youngminers

My daddy was a miner
And I’m a miner’s son,
And I’ll stick with the union
‘Til every battle’s won.

Breaker boys working in Ewen Breaker Mine in South Pittston, Pennsylvania, 10 January 1911, from a 1908-1912 series on...

They say in Harlan County
There are no neutrals there;
You’ll either be a union man,
Or a thug for J. H. Blair.

child-miners

Oh workers can you stand it?
Oh tell me how you can.
Will you be a lousy scab
Or will you be a man?

Farmington-Mine-Disaster-smoke

monongah-mine

sago

Upper Big Branch

child labor today 1

child labor today 2

child labor today 3

child-labor_idp_2

child labor today 4

child-labour-pakistan

Child_labour_Nepal

child_labour

Just a reminder what we’re celebrating today.

Written by Michelle at 6:00 am      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Holidays,Politics  

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Back-to-School, Back-to-Free Lunch

Two news bits, one after the other, struck me the other day. They were the following:

Staff Council to collect back-to-school supplies for children of WVU families

Third Annual Back-to-School Supply Drive sponsored for local families

It’s laudable and awesome that the WV and WVU communities support WV and WVU families in need.

HOWEVER

I find it upsetting that so many local families and WVU EMPLOYEES are unable to afford the basic necessities for their children to get a proper education.

WVU is the state’s flagship university but doesn’t pay some employees enough for them to buy pencils and papers and notebooks for their children for school.

How can anyone read that and not be mortified? How can we live in a day and age where people need go-fund-me pages to pay for medical bills so they don’t go bankrupt?

How can people think that education, health care, and a living wage are privileges and not basic human rights?

How such people can live with themselves–especially people who claim to be Christian–is beyond me.

Written by Michelle at 9:05 pm      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Morgantown,Politics,West Virginia  
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