What is forced pooling?

•December 20, 2014 • Leave a Comment

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Contrary to what many believe, Forced Pooling is not a requirement that everyone in the neighborhood install a pool.  All kidding aside, Forced Pooling is a very serious issue!  Here in West Virginia our legislature is currently deciding if we, if West Virginia want to allow Forced Pooling to be passed into law.  So what is forced pooling?

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If an oil/gas company wants to drill on or near your land, they may be able to force you to allow them to drill if they get a certain percentage of your neighbors agreeing to drill!  With the inevitable passing of this bill, because of the incredibly large amount of money being thrown at our legislators, a land owner will no longer have the right to decide what is done with the mineral rights on one’s property!   Yes, they could put up a drilling rig near your home!  So much for NIMBY legislators  (Not in my back yard) who are comfortable with drilling in other places that do not effect their own environment.

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Maybe this last election was more about oil/gas companies getting the right folks elected so that they could get forced Pooling Passed than it was about all the other stupid stuff that we were fed by the media. I think it is more than interesting that so near the election we are already talking about Forced Pooling.  The new guys have not even tried out their assembly chairs before forced pooling has become a major discussion point.

Anyone who is a student of human behavior knows that land owner’s rights are taken away little by little.  The best analogy to explain this is the slowly cooked frog.  If one places a frog in a pot of cool water, it will likely sit blisfully there for a long time.  Upon increasing the heat gradually way, the frog will slowly cook, never trying to escape before it heads to that great pond in the sky.  If that frog is placed in hot water, it will immediately jump out to live to eat another insect.  We humans are very similar to our frog.  If they take away our rights very slowly, some of us, will complain, but little will be done to rectify the situation.  When a disastrous situation arises suddenly, we jump into action to save the day.

If you are concerned about your rights to decide what you want to do or not do with your land and personal property, you better be contacting your legislature to express your feelings regarding Forced Pooling. Do not be like the frog who enjoys the heat and get slowly cooked.

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Dear Mr. Putin

•December 13, 2014 • Leave a Comment

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You are a pathetic, puny, mean, power-hungry sociopath who has the potential of pushing the world into war.  With that said, I wish to offer my humble advice to your ‘nobleness.’  Despite the fact I am somewhat unclear why you wish to reunite former elements of the Soviet Union, I might have some advice that would help you in this quest; be nice!  Rather than sending troops and mouthing propaganda to your potential member, why not try to be gentle and understanding of the people who live there. Show them the potential benefits of being part of your country.

Now the second part of this idea:  Why not start being nice to your own citizens by creating a more understanding and caring government?  Here in America, we have numerous fast-food restaurants and their level of service ranges from crappy to incredibly good.  Take Chick Filet, for example.  When a customer walks into a Chick-Filtet he are greeted with smiles, a very clean environment  and very fast service.  If the food is not ready, it is brought to the customer.  While you are eating an employee will come around to each table and offers an additional drink at no extra charge!  Sometimes the owner will walk around to chat casually with the customers.  Now, across the street there is probably a Wendy’s, which has good food but lacks the service, the cleanliness, the extra drinks and the cordial feeling one get in Chick-Filet. So Mr. P, where would you eat?

I hope I have not lost you, Mr. P with my logic, but what I am trying to say is that you might have better results with this country-annexing-thing if you would appear to be the Chick-Filtet of countries rather than a Wendy’s.  Try being nice to your own people first!  Here in America everyone knows that the service at a Wendy’s is horrible so we try to avoid it if possible.  Do you see where I am going with this?  Maybe a little sugar might get you farther than all this vinegar you are so frequently showing others.  Its my opinion you would really prefer people to like and respect you so, this may well be is way to that end.  Good luck with that world-domination thing, and have a Merry Christmas!

Hampshire county schools could be some of the worst schools in the world!

•December 6, 2014 • 1 Comment

I woke up this morning in a cold sweat thinking about the state of our local schools and then decided to write about it.  It is time for me, I believe, to again point to the obvious elephant in the room.  No jokes or smart-ass comments just the plain and simple truth!

It is apparent that there are some excellent teachers and a few good administrators in this county and they deserve mounds of credit for what they are able to do, but the simple truth is that we as a county are failing as a providers of education to our youth. This county can no longer afford to sit back and wonder what to do; time has run out.  There are success stories in our county, places where kids are excelling, but the end result of our thirteen years of ‘leading (children) from darkness’  has been a massive failure!  After all, the very word educations implies that our children are lead from darkness to the light of knowledge.

Here is our world-wide ranking

 

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Don’t look for the good old USA at the top. Notice some of the countries ahead of us like Estonia or Viet Nam!  We are the last place country in math!

Now, how did we do as a state? Sorry, this data-set is not as pretty to the eye as the worldwide one, but it gets the point across.
Below are the state Rankings for Math and Science Education

Well Above Average
1 Massachusetts      4.82
2 Minnesota            4.06
3 New Jersey          4.04
4 New Hampshire 4.01
5 New York             3.94
Above Average
6 Virginia                3.73
7 Maryland             3.57
8 Connecticut        3.28
9 Indiana                3.28
10 Maine                 3.24
Average
11 Florida               3.13
12 Illinois               3.08
13 South Dakota  3.08
14 Wisconsin        3.06
15 Colorado           3.04
16 Kansas              3.00
17 Kentucky          3.00
18 Vermont          2.93
19 Georgia            2.88
20 Washington   2.86
21 Utah                 2.85
22 Pennsylvania 2.80
23 Tennessee      2.67
24 Ohio                2.64
25 Delaware       2.60
26 Michigan       2.60
27 Oregon           2.58
28 Wyoming       2.58
29 Montana        2.53
Below Average
30 Idaho                 2.47
31 Texas                  2.45
32 North Dakota  2.40
33 Missouri            2.39
34 California         2.38
35 Rhode Island   2.38
36 North Carolina 2.34
37 Hawaii               2.29
38 Iowa                   2.25
39 Alaska                2.20
40 South Carolina 2.20
41 Arkansas            2.14
Far Below Average
42 Oklahoma         2.01
43 Nebraska          1.97
44 Nevada              1.93
45 Arizona             1.91
46 New Mexico     1.72
47 Alabama           1.60
48 Louisiana        1.59
49 West Virginia 1.58  Here we are way down here at the bottom of the far below average group!
50 Mississippi      1.11  Thank god for good old Mississippi!

 

So, do you ever wonder why no industries want to come to West Virginia?  Who would willingly bring their children to some of the poorest performing schools in the world?

Now, just when you think you cannot get any more depressed, let’s look where good-old Hampshire County stands in the state!

Rank (of 113)

This is a composite score.
Rank Change From 2012

1 Bridgeport High School                                       148.8
2 George Washington High School                      142.2
3 Van Junior/Senior High School                        134.2
4 Winfield High School                                          127.1 1
5 Shady Spring High                                               124.3
6 Hurricane High School                                       122.6
7 Fairmont Senior High School                            120.7
8 Pendleton County Middle/High School         120.3
9 Nitro High School                                                120.2
10 Morgantown High School                                117.8
11 Cabell Midland High School                             114.1
12 University High School                                     111.7
13 Paw Paw High School                                        111.3
14 Wyoming County East High School               110.5
15 Tyler Consolidated High School                     110.4
16 Wheeling Park High School                             109.8
17 East Hardy High School                                   109.5
18 Frankfort High School                                     109.3
19 Williamstown High School                             108.8
20 Liberty High School                                         108.7
21 Ritchie County High School                           108.0
22 Princeton Senior High School                       107.3
23 Jefferson High School                                     106.8
24 Sissonville High School                                  106.5
25 Tucker County High School                           106.2
26 East Fairmont High School                           105.0
27 Ripley High School                                          102.8
28 Westside High School                                     102.1
29 Magnolia High School                                    102.0
30 Saint Albans High School                              101.7
31 Oak Glen High School                                     101.5
32 Herbert Hoover High School                        101.4
32 Paden City High School                                 101.4
34 South Charleston High School                      99.7
35 Wahama High School                                      98.9
36 Weir High School                                             98.4
37 Keyser High School                                          98.1
38 Greenbrier East High School                         97.9
39 Pocahontas County High School                   97.8
40 Washington High School                                97.1
41 Musselman High School                                 96.7
42 North Marion High School                            96.5
43 Buffalo High School                                        95.0
44 Gilmer County High School                          94.6
45 Bluefield High School                                    94.2
45 Woodrow Wilson High School                     94.2
47 Martinsburg High School                              94.0
48 Clay-Battelle High School                             93.8
49 Grafton High School                                       93.5
50 Parkersburg High School                              93.1
51 Spring Valley High School                             92.6
52 Poca High School                                            92.5
53 Berkeley Springs High School                     92.3
54 Meadow Bridge High                                    92.0
55 Hedgesville High School                              91.9
56 Elkins High School                                       91.0
57 Liberty High School                                      90.6
58 Wirt County High School                            90.4
59 Capital High School                                      90.3
60 Cameron High School,                                90.1
61 Richwood High School                                90.0
62 Midland Trail High                                      89.9
63 Summers County High School                  88.5
64 Nicholas County High School                    88.4
65 Huntington High School                             88.3

66 Point Pleasant High School                       88.7

67 Brooke High School                                     87.5

68 John Marshall High School                        87.5

69 Moorefield High School                              85.7
70 Sherman High School                                  85.7
71 South Harrison High School                      85.6
72 Lincoln High School                                   85.4
73 Fayetteville High                                         85.3
74 Scott High School                                        85.2
75 Riverside High School                                85.1
76 Parkersburg South High School               84.3
77 Robert C. Byrd High School                      83.1
78 Pikeview High School                                81.9
79 Buckhannon Upshur High School          80.6
80 Petersburg High School                            79.3
81 Calhoun Middle/High School                   79.1
82 Philip Barbour High School Complex    77.9
83 Roane County High                                    77.9
84 Greenbrier West High School                  77.8
85 Wayne High School                                    77.7
86 Doddridge County High School              77.4
87 Man Senior High School                          77.3
88 Clay County High School                         77.0
89 Preston High School                                 76.8
90 Tolsia High School                                    76.8
91 Lewis County High School                      76.5
92 Ravenswood High School                        75.9
93 Tug Valley High School                            75.9
94 Mingo Central Comprehensive High    75.7
95 Valley High School                                   74.9
96 Oak Hill High                                             73.3
97 Braxton County High School                  73.1
98 Independence High School                    72.8
99 James Monroe High School                   72.7
100 Logan Senior High School                    71.5
101 Tygarts Valley Middle/High School    71.1
102 Webster County High School              70.4
103 Montcalm High School                        70.3
104 St. Marys High School                         69.6
105 Hannan High School                           69.0
106 Valley High School                               69.0
107 River View High School                       66.5
108 Lincoln County High School              66.1
109 Union Educational Complex              65.1
110 Hundred High School                          64.2
111 Chapmanville Senior High School     62.6
112 Hampshire Senior High School   60.4  Here we are way down here at the bottom!
113 Mount View High School                      50.7

 

Does this bother anyone!!!??? One of the lowest scoring countries in the world, second to the last state,  Mississippi!

I wonder if our students would score any better if we just let them stay home.  What is even sadder is that I will get very few responses to this blog, other than from a few loyal readers!  I guess it is hard to defend oneself when the data is so obviously damning, that we are an ineffective and failing school system!  If I were an administrator in Hampshire county, I would be headed to Bridgeport High School to see what in the world they are doing so right! How can their students score 2.35 times higher than ours?  The teachers are paid similar wages; I doubt their school buildings are that much better than ours and; they take the same standardized tests.  What we are doing is not working!  Something is so wrong that it defies logic to continue following the same course of action!…But we will.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Good-bye to an old friend: Tom Magliozzi.

•November 29, 2014 • Leave a Comment

imagesF1TVX0E2 If any of you happened to tune to NPR on a Saturday morning at 10:00 am, you were greeted by the voices of Ray and Tom Magliozzi.  Their show, which has run from something close to beginning of time, was called, CAR TALK.  The MIT educated brothers have entertained and educated folks for nearly 35 years with their wild hoots and infectious laughter, in addition to providing valuable information on automobiles.  I often listened to them while driving, which in hind sight was probably not a good idea.  It is tough to pay attention to the road when you are laughing hysterically at the brothers’ antics.  It saddens me greatly that Tom passed away on November 3 with complications arising from dementia. He will be missed by many. The insightfulness of the brothers is legendary to the folks who tuned in every Saturday.  One mother called up to complain about her son driving too fast while she sat in the back seat protesting.  I believe it was Ray who offered the suggestion of a good old-fashioned dope-slap up against the side of the speeding driver’s head.  He went on to explain that that is what his father did to him, and then admitted that it did effectively slow down his driving.  Another caller asked how to remove cat pee smell from his auto. The reply was that the Pharaoh’s pyramid’s still smell like cat pee after several thousand years, and the caller might just as well buy another car!  One thought that Tom expressed was particularly interesting to me because it pertained his relationship with his wife.  The quote went like this: “I would rather be loved than be right”.  He admitted to arguing with his wife early in their relationship but decided one day that winning an argument oftentimes led to hard feelings with his wife.  So he decided that being loved, was more important than winning a silly argument!  That sounds like advice many of us should trust in. We will miss you, Tom!

Why do I write this blog?

•November 19, 2014 • 1 Comment

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This sounds sort of like a stupid question,  but in all seriousness, it is a question I repeatedly ask myself.  Why do I spend hours of my valuable time, with my pathetic grammar skills trying to write a blog?  Why do I bother my good friend Rich, an ex-English teacher, to help make my writing more readable? These are all good questions to which I have several inadequate responses.  But before I go down that road, I want to discuss the many benefits of writing a blog.  First, there are all the positive responses one gets, like: “Hey, aren’t you the one who writes that blog for the Hampshire Review?”  Or I hear, “I like your writing,” but there is no extended discussion about the issue I was writing about, just simply put, I like your writing!  I particularly enjoy the constant praise and rewards I get from the paper I write for….which amounts to nothing. And as an added benefit, most of my Republican friends no longer talk to me.  And, there are the regular checks in the mail rewarding me for my hard work. HA! HA! HA!

Well, the reason I write these blogs is purely selfish in nature, ie that is I enjoy writing and experimenting with the English language with all its complexities and nuances needed to express my point of view.  I relish the idea that I might make someone think a little harder after reading one of my blogs or even consider what I have written as a useful addition to their thinking process.  Additionally, I have always been told that ‘the pen is mightier than the sword’ but I believe that to have been the case before the creation of the Fox News Channel.  The other nice thing about writing a blog is that one is free to write whatever or whenever one pleases, which gives a person a freedom that paid writers do not have.

Lastly, many believe that present day media are bought and sold by corporate powers who determine the content of the news and the nature of the reporting.  If this is true, and it appears more so every day, the blog-a-sphere may be the only place to actually read totally unbiased news and ideas.  I have nothing to sell, no material gain, and although I am sensitive to what my readers think, I am for the most part indifferent.  For those reasons I write and will continue to write until I no longer want to, then I will stop.

A penny for your vote

•November 11, 2014 • 2 Comments

images I would like to thank the Supreme Court for their wisdom in deciding that corporations are people, thus enabling them to donate as many zillions of dollars to the political process as they wish.  Because of that decision, our current voting climate reminds me of the vote for class king and queen back in junior high.  Everyone could vote by adding a penny to the jar of the contestant who they wanted to win.  That seems all fine and cheery, but the ugly truth is there was much ‘jar action’ from voters who had more financial clout than the rest of us.  Sometimes the parents, relatives or teachers would get involved by stashing large bills in their favorite contestant’s jar.  Somehow this never did seem quite fair to me as the one who was donating pennies. It appears that our elected officials are caught up in the same game.  The corporations in this country have decided that they know better than we do, what is best for all of us.  In order to achieve their objective, they must support and eventually elect persons who best represent their philosophy and interest.  So, just like the king and queen contest back in junior high, the election is won by the man or women with the most money in the jar! This is not necessarily a partisan point of view but a plea to the supreme court to fix their blunder and restore some meaningfulness to the voting process. Politicians will be the first to tell you that the current political system is broken and in need of serious repair.  Today’s politician spends ridiculous amounts of time and energy simply raising money and kowtowing to whoever has the most money, when in fact, he/she should be serving the people they represent.  To compound the problem, should a politician try to change the rules for donating to a campaign, he would lose the support of the big corporate contributors.  For this reason alone, it may be impossible for congress to change the rules. One of my favorite movies is Roller Ball, (the original edition), because it portrays convincingly  a society that is completely controlled by international corporations.  According to this world view the corporation is the government and everything they do, maintains or increase their profit.  People are simply devices they use in their industrial machine.  Yes, that is very close to where we are currently going and yes, I fear what I see in our future! So, one has to ask who won this last mid-term election?  Did the people win or did the corporations take one more step towards their goal of  government through corporation. although I am unable to find the verbatim quote, several years ago I read a quote by John D. Rockefeller that roughly says, Give me a world currency and there is no need for countries.   karlrovequote What else can I say?

Looking for magic in the sand.

•November 2, 2014 • 1 Comment

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Most anyone who has been to the ocean has wandered along the sand looking for that perfect shell.  Sue and I are no different from any of those folks.  We are at the Saint Augustine Beach in Florida wandering along the shore line gazing down at the sand in search of the perfect shell. Although I thoroughly enjoy searching for treasure, Sue is the true eyes in our relationship.  It seems as if she has the ability to see things that few others are capable of seeing.  It never fails that after a short time of meandering along she has found a perfectly beautiful conch shell with exquisite colors.  I, on the other hand, will look for hours and find nothing.  Because of my poor shell finding ability I become impatient and less likely to spend large amount of time searching for shells, so I return to our beach towels and soak up some more sun while Sue combs the beach.

I still wonder why so many folks spend so much time looking for things along the shore.  Maybe it is the notion that people have found valuable coins or the  fact that almost anything could potentially show up on a shore line.  Or maybe it is the notion of the stories the shells could tell, the places they have been or the things they have seen. I know, that sounds a little crazy, shells seeing and telling stories, but it sounds really cool and intellectual so I am going to stick with it.

Yesterday, Sue met her match in the shell spotting business. While talking to a young, fellow shell searcher, she mentioned that she found hands full of sharks teeth on this very beach.  Sue, excited with the prospect of finding sharks teeth began searching, and searching, and searching to no avail.  A short time later the young lady approached Sue to show off her big, beautiful, inch long sharks tooth that he just found.  I think Sue was a little perturbed that she was able to find a tooth so quickly.  So today we are returning to the beach, and I think Sue is on a quest to find at least one tooth before we leave.  Lets all wish her luck!

 
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