Hoppy’s Commentary Archives

TodayMay 26, 2023

Our Unending Debt

(This is a reprint of a commentary I have posted previously about Memorial Day.) Imagine a debt that can never be fully repaid. That obligation is so great that it is nearly incomprehensible to think about, so we block it from our thoughts and pretend that it does not exist. But each of us who

YesterdayMay 25, 2023

Jim Justice’s Unpaid Bills Stack Up

  There have been three more news stories in recent days about bills left unpaid by companies owned and operated by West Virginia Governor Jim Justice and his family. One in the Gazette-Mail detailed how a federal judge found  Justice family coal company liable for six years of unpaid premiums for a United Mine Worker

WednesdayMay 24, 2023

Happy Birthday Big Brother

I don’t think much about personal identity. Most of what makes me who I am, I take for granted. I’m a husband and father, a journalist and commentator, a sports fan, an avid reader and, sometimes, a fitness buff. Both of my parents are gone now, but I will always think of myself as their

TuesdayMay 23, 2023

No Commitment From “No Labels” on Manchin

A co-founder and senior leader of the centrist bipartisan political group No Labels says they are impressed with Joe Manchin, but the organization is months away from choosing candidates for a “unity ticket” to run for president against the Democratic and Republican Party nominees. “I’ve never been in a room or a conversation with him

MondayMay 22, 2023

Will the Lights Always Come On?

One of the great benefits of living in a wealthy country with lots of energy is that there is always enough electricity to keep the lights on and power everything else that needs electricity. However, the reliability of the service that we take for granted is now threatened. Nine states experienced rolling blackouts during the

FridayMay 19, 2023

Ben Salango Considers 2nd Run for Governor

Charleston attorney Ben Salango is seriously considering a second run for Governor of West Virginia. Salango, who is also a member of the Kanawha County Commission, was the Democratic Party’s Gubernatorial nominee in 2020, but lost to Republican Jim Justice in the General Election. Salango joins Huntington Mayor Steve Williams as the leading Democrats who

ThursdayMay 18, 2023

One Small Step of Regulator Approval, One Giant Leap for MVP

The U.S. Forest Service’s “Record of Decision” concerning the proposed Mountain Valley Pipeline does not make for very exciting reading. The 29 pages are long on bureaucratic terms, dry language and lots of acronyms and abbreviations. However, deep in the report is this key sentence: “The environmentally preferable alternative seeks to attain the widest range

WednesdayMay 17, 2023

MANCHIN WATCH: Will He or Won’t He?

There is a lot of speculation that West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin may run for President in 2024 as an independent candidate.  Manchin has done nothing to dissuade those discussions, and he simply will not be pinned down yet about his plans. He likes to say he will do what is in the best interest

TuesdayMay 16, 2023

When I Wasn’t Throwing Up or Falling Down, My Vacation Was Great.

My two-week long vacation did not turn out as planned. My wife and I scheduled a series of day hikes along the Appalachian Trail in Virginia. We would start in the southern Virginia trail town of Damascus and work our way north, hiking a section of the trail each day and then staying in a hotel

SundayMay 14, 2023

Bob Huggins’ Second Chance

  WVU basketball coach Bob Huggins is getting a second chance. Many may question the decision by WVU President E. Gordon Gee and Director of Athletics Wren Baker to give Huggins an opportunity to make right the ignorant and hurtful comments he made on a Cincinnati radio show. In just a few seconds, Huggins managed

MondayMay 1, 2023

Gone Hiking

Gone hiking.   I’ll be back… when I get to the end of the trail. Hop

FridayApril 28, 2023

The Knowns and Unknowns of the WV Senate Race

We are more than a year away from the West Virginia Primary Election and a year-and-a-half before the 2024 General Election, but the political chatter in the Mountain State is already at a high volume. Two-term Governor Jim Justice is officially in the race for the U.S. Senate seat now held by Joe Manchin. Representative

ThursdayApril 27, 2023

The EPA Prepares To Go After Fossil Fuel Power Plants… Again

Last year, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 6-3 in favor of a West Virginia-led coalition that Congress did not grant President Obama’s Environmental Protection Agency broad authority to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from power plants that burn fossil fuels. Chief Justice John Roberts wrote the majority opinion: “A decision of such magnitude and consequences rests

WednesdayApril 26, 2023

Will Trump Back Justice, Mooney or None of the Above?

Governor Jim Justice is expected to announce Thursday night that he is running for the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate seat now held by Democrat Joe Manchin. West Virginia Republican Congressman Alex Mooney and coal miner Chris Rose have already announced their candidacies. To simplify things, here is how the leading candidates are going

TuesdayApril 25, 2023

WVU: Land Grant 2.0

West Virginia University is pivoting. The state’s flagship land grant institution is facing a significant budget shortfall, not only now, but in the years to come. The University projects a $45 million shortfall for fiscal year 2024, and that could rise to $75 million over the next five years. (Brad McElhinny reports here.) The primary

MondayApril 24, 2023

Mike Lindell’s Election Conspiracy Theory Debunked

Mike Lindell must have been feeling confident. The businessman famous for his My Pillow bedding products had acquired computer data he believed would show China’s interference with the 2020 election. The information would support claims by he and others that the election was stolen from Donald Trump. Lindell even convened a “Cyber Symposium” in Sioux

FridayApril 21, 2023

Fate of Pleasants Power is a Harbinger of Future Electricity Generation

The State Public Service Commission is deciding what should be done with the Pleasants Power Station. Energy Harbor, which owns the coal-fired power plant in Pleasants County along the Ohio River, is going carbon-free so it has targeted the plant for closure at the end of May. First Energy subsidiaries Mon Power and Potomac Edison

ThursdayApril 20, 2023

Big Money in Early for WV Senate Race

A political action committee with connections to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is delivering early body blows to Senator Joe Manchin well ahead of the 2024 election. Politico reported One Nation PAC is spending $1 million on media ads in the Mountain State attacking Manchin for supporting the Democrats’ Inflation Reduction Act. The ad shows Manchin

WednesdayApril 19, 2023

Wall Street Signs Off on WV Tax Cut

The West Virginia Legislature’s 2023 regular session had been over only a matter of hours when the state was contacted by the Public Resource Advisory Group (PRAG), the state’s bond advisors. PRAG was following up on requests it had received by two of the nationally recognized bond rating agencies—Moody’s and Fitch.* They wanted details on

TuesdayApril 18, 2023

Yes, We Know it’s a Crisis. Now Fix it.

State government’s attention to the shortage of jail and prison correction officers feels like a wash, rinse, repeat cycle. Legislators and state Division of Corrections and Rehabilitation commissioner William Marshal rehashed the ongoing crisis during a legislative interim committee meeting Sunday. There are over 1,000 vacancies. The vacancy rate averages 27 percent, but it is