West Virginia editorial roundup

Recent editorials from West Virginia newspapers:

Sept. 20

News and Sentinel, Parkersburg, W. Va., on strategy to drive up electricity costs:

President Barack Obama and his minions clearly are hoping the public misses the point about the war on coal and affordable energy.

Under questioning during a House of Representatives hearing Wednesday, Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz and Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy assured lawmakers that coal will continue to be a major source of energy for Americans.

But at what cost?

A new set of regulations intended to limit burning of coal at power plants is to be released today. Critics of the plan point out that meeting the rules with a new power plant would require technology that is not available or affordable.

That is the idea, of course. Obama is keeping his promise that the cost of building coal-fired generating stations will bankrupt utilities.

Coal now generates about 40 percent of the electricity used by Americans. “Alternatives” favored by the White House simply cannot fill the void that would be left by retiring every coal-fired power plant in the country.

So some would have to be retained. In essence, that is all Moniz and McCarthy told lawmakers.

What they did not add is that environmental regulations may double or even triple the price of power generated from coal.

That always has been Obama’s strategy – regardless of how badly it will hurt tens of millions of American families.




Sept. 24

The Herald-Dispatch, Huntington, W. Va., on need for immunizations doesn’t stop at adulthood:

Although West Virginia hasn’t had widespread outbreaks of whooping cough like many states have, it has seen an increase in the number of reported cases in recent years, according to health officials.

The disease, also known as pertussis, can be particularly serious among infants before they can be vaccinated against it at age 2. The potential consequences include lung infections, seizures, inflammation of the brain and even death.

Unfortunately, more than three-quarters of the children in the state who contracted the disease in recent years did so through household contact with other family members, mostly parents and grandparents, officials say.

That picture — of adults who have not kept up their immunizations against preventable diseases — is one reason that so many of those diseases remain so present in the population. The example of whooping cough speaks to the larger issue — that many adults do not receive recommended vaccines, thus putting their own health at risk and/or risking the health of others they contact.

Dr. Harry Tweel, executive director of the Cabell-Huntington Health Department, spelled out the problem clearly in comments published Sunday in The Herald-Dispatch. …

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says thousands of adults suffer serious health problems, are hospitalized or even die from diseases that could be prevented by vaccines. Among the most common threats that could be minimized through timely immunizations are influenza, whooping cough, certain bacterial infections, hepatitis A and B and shingles.

The vaccination rate is particularly low for adults older than 60, with 15.8 percent vaccinating for shingles, and only one-third of women age 19 to 26 opting to receive the HPV vaccine, which can help prevent cervical cancer, among other things.

Many adults believe that it’s not important or necessary for them to maintain vaccinations. But, as the CDC notes, vaccines are recommended throughout people’s lives based on age, occupation, lifestyle, locations of travel, medical conditions, and vaccines they’ve had in the past. Those who are not up-to-date with their vaccines leave themselves and people around them vulnerable.

Those who want to learn more about recommendations for immunizations as adults can go to the website at http://www.cdc.gov/ vaccines/adults — including whether they are up-to-date on their vaccines. Doing so could help keep everyone healthier.




Sept. 19

Charleston (W. Va.) Gazette on will GOP shut down government:

Republicans in Congress, backed by fundamentalist and tea party groups, are going all-out to prevent 30 million “working poor” Americans from obtaining health insurance.

Here’s one facet of the battle: The American Family Association — known for its hostility to gays and its desire to revoke women’s right to choose — asked its 2.5 million members to “flood the Capitol switchboard” with nonstop calls demanding that Congress halt funding of the Affordable Care Act.

The white evangelical organization supports a House resolution to wipe out financing for the ACA. “The House can stop Obamacare in its tracks this week,” President Tim Wildman announced. “No money, no Obamacare.”

Why, for heaven’s sake, would a gay-hating religious outfit want to block medical coverage for millions of American families? Maybe its leaders should read the commandments by Jesus to care for the sick and the poor.

Tea party Republicans threaten to shut down the U.S. government, rather than let the ACA go into effect. House Resolution 62 would supply money to keep the government afloat temporarily through mid-December — but only if Obamacare is scuttled. Keep watching to see how West Virginia’s two House Republicans vote in the tally expected today.

Former Republican Allan Tweddle of Charleston wrote angrily to Rep. Shelley Capito this week, saying it would be idiotic for the GOP to “shut down the government because you don’t like the ACA.” …

It seems insane to shut down the federal government to prevent an expansion of health care.

Meanwhile, Republicans also threaten a second U.S. shutdown when it’s time to raise the national debt ceiling in mid-October.

Sometimes it seems that madness is running amok in Washington.



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