Letters to the Editor
Late last summer friends of the National Radio Astronomy Observatory in Green Bank sent out a call to pens when word was handed down that a potential divestment of the GBT and VLBA telescopes from the National Science Foundation Astronomy budget had been suggested by a review committee.
Outside of our own congressional delegation not much was heard from Washington. Ho hum. So this is just another cut in the vast fabric of our national budget.
Fast forward one half cycle around the sun and two traveling celestial bodies later and it seems people in DC are starting to see the light. Witness a Washington Post article this past Friday morning in which Congressmen Rush Holt (NJ) and Donna F. Edwards (MD) discuss the importance of funding programs that track asteroids. Their opinion article concludes with: “We should make the investments necessary to track near-Earth objects and prepare for disasters of all kinds.”
US House Science, Space and Technology Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (TX) announced his committee will hold a hearing in the coming weeks to examine ways to better identify and address asteroids that pose a potential threat to Earth.
Now is perhaps the opportune time to remind our leaders in Washington that the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) in Green Bank is an integral component in our Very Long Baseline Array (VLBA), a network of telescopes that, among other duties, is tasked with “Tracking Near-Earth Asteroids.“ -such as Asteroid 2012 DA14.
While discussing investments in new research and inventions intended to track asteroids, it may be wise to also consider not de-funding a valuable system already in place, our very own NRAO and the system that just helped the world track Asteroid 2012 DA14.
I loved C. A. Curry’s article, “The Big Red School House.”
I was disappointed to discover that my favorite part of the old schools was left out – the huge metal sliding fire escapes!
The Marlinton Jr. High and the High School also had the sliding fire escapes.
From inside the classroom you opened a door in the outer wall, sat down, pushed off, swirling downward in the dark, on a two-story, in-school sliding board amusement ride!
The Jr. High continued to have the sliding fire drills until the mid 70s. The only kids who didn’t like the sliding fire drills were the young ladies who had decided to wear a skirt on that day.
In the early 70s “The Big Red School House” stood vacant, but the local kids still played on the swings and see-saws on the playground and on the best ride of all – the sliding fire escape. It was a tough, two- story climb up the sliding board in the dark. Sometimes you made it to the top and sometimes you lost your grip and slid out early, but for a kid, it was absolutely worth it.
D. Edward Kennison
In regards to the National Monument debate, Mr. Paul Wilson stated last week in reference to his group, The West Virginia Wilderness Coalition (WVWC), quote: “We advocate for a monument designation that will stay with the Forest Service, with wildlife and fisheries management under the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources, preserving special lands where hunting and fishing will continue in perpetuity.”
I don’t doubt Mr. Wilson’s statement one bit. However, I can’t get over that one word, “advocate.” Which implies to me that the coalition wishes to keep the national monument with the Forest Service, but cannot guarantee, nor know for certain if it will or not. They only hope, wish, and pray that our honorable, trustworthy President will heed the coalition’s wishes.
I, however, do not trust my ancestor’s property to the Federal Government. Even if it was to stay with the Forest Service initially, it can be changed. Changed over to what, readers may be wondering? Any time the President wants to put the monument under the control of the National Park Service he can do so. Which would allow the Federal Government to outlaw hunting and fishing, or tax it to the heavens or enforce some other kind of unforeseen ridicules regulations onto it. Please don’t take my word for it. Look up the American Antiquities Act of 1906 and read it for yourself. Also, keep in mind that this thing can be changed at any time. It doesn’t have to happen immediately. It could happen 20 years from now when President Taylor Swift decides to give control to the National Parks Service.
Another issue is Jobs.
Now again, admittedly, I don’t know for sure how the monument would affect jobs. But I do have common sense. But if it was to happen as Wilson describes it, staying with the Forest Service, how would we gain any jobs? I mean, if they want me to believe all that is changing is some minor paperwork and changing the name of the forest then how do hundreds of new jobs appear from that? Something stinks a little bit about that one. I mean how can supporters say it’s going to bring new jobs unless they know something we don’t. Maybe they think the National Parks Service is coming to town. Perhaps someone can explain that one to me sometime.
So, let’s break this down as simply as we can. If you trust the Federal Government to keep the Monument under the control of the Forest Service for all of eternity, that’s great, I’m happy for you. I would love to live in the same fairytale land as you. But, if you believe it is possible, maybe even probable, that the Monument, if established, would be switched over to the control of the National Park Service, then you should stand against it.
Ben Franklin, referring to the Declaration of Independence once said, “We must all hang together, or assuredly, we will all hang separately.” The “noose” Franklin was referring to back then is present in this argument, it just happens to be tightening around our freedoms instead of our necks.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a German political figure in the 1930s and 40s stated once, in reference to Hitler’s regime: “Silence in the face of evil is itself evil: God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.”
More people like Mr. Curtis Walker need to speak up. If you can see through the empty promises. If you have the insight to see how easily our rights of use of the land could be taken, then the county needs to hear from you.
You need to comment to the paper with your thoughts and opinion.
You need to call your senators and tell them this is a bad idea.
On WVMR this morning, I heard Gibbs Kinderman interviewing Gene Simmons, our prosecuting attorney, about Obama’s new gun control efforts. Gene said he had a hard time understanding why anyone needs a semi-automatic rifle with a thirty shot clip.
The reason many decent people want to keep their constitutional right to own military-style weapons is to protect their families, homes and freedoms from violent crazies (including rogue cops and military people), violent drug traffickers (as in Mexico and at times, even in Pocahontas and surrounding counties), burglars, rapists – and vicious government tyranny as we have seen at Ruby Ridge and the Waco siege.
We live in an age of increasing collusion between big government and big business, with public officials bought and paid for by large corporations even right here in West Virginia, as Big Coal uses union-busting and MTR mining to encroach on and destroy our mountain way of life. In particular, we West Virginians should remember and honor the brave miners who once armed themselves with military-style rifles to defend their homes and families against coal company thugs and government agents at Matewan and the Battle of Blair Mountain.
Many seem to forget that George Washington and our Founding Fathers used flintlocks, the modern military rifle of their time, to overthrow the “legal” government in order to secure their freedom and found our nation.
While the government and major media conspire to disarm the American people, they simultaneously grow a bigger and deeper security apparatus of police, F.B.I., C.I.A., B.A.T.F. and “private contractors” to protect themselves and their self-enriching activities. They have given the President secret, unchecked power to target American citizens for assassination by the C.I.A. They have weakened the Freedom of Information Act and waged unprecedented war against whistleblowers. And it was the liberal supporters of gun control, Rahm Emanuel and Michael Bloomberg, who were the first to use naked police state tactics to brutally crush the peaceful protests in their cities.
This government is becoming less and less responsive to the will of the people and less tolerant of any opposition or protests. Our right to Keep and Bear Arms has nothing to do with hunting. The day may come when we Americans need to follow the example of our Founding Fathers and re-establish a government “of, by and for the people.”
Alan R. Balogh