Happy Birthday, West Virginia!
Posted on 06.20.13 by Danny Glover @ 7:00 am

Editor’s note, June 20, 2013: I’m re-posting this today in honor of West Virginia’s sesquicentennial. For all you fellow rednecks out there, that’s a fancy word for 150th birthday.

I was born and raised in West Virginia, and I love my heritage. I’m not much of a talker, but if you get me talkin’ about the Mountain State — its culture, its people, its politics, its scenic beauty — you’ll be listening for quite a while.

West Virginia is without a doubt the greatest state in the union.

Nine years ago while serving as the associate editor of the now-defunct online magazine IntellectualCapital.com, I penned an essay that retold the fascinating, and technically illegal, story of how the state came to be. Today, on West Virginia’s 146th birthday, as I sit before my father’s computer in my hometown, I tell that story again, as reprinted from the June 22, 2000, issue of IC.

Happy Birthday, West Virginia!
By K. Daniel Glover

Every month when I pen this historical essay looking at “Congress Back Then” for IC, I have one goal in mind: Cast the congressional news of today in the context of the past to show readers the “big picture” of American policy and politics. In the spirit of George Santayana’s familiar warning about history, I aim to remind us of the mistakes of our forebears to keep us from repeating them.

This month, in writing about the creation of my home state of West Virginia, I have no such higher purpose. I am simply availing myself of the columnist’s prerogative to write about whatever he chooses. Oh, I do have a news peg: West Virginia celebrated its 137th birthday on Tuesday. But that is really just an excuse to write about a topic dear to my heart.

Fortunately for IC readers, the story of West Virginia’s birth, coming as it did in the heart of the Civil War and under constitutionally questionable circumstances, is an engaging one, as Granville Davisson Hall made quite clear in his 1901 book The Rending of Virginia: A History. “To carve a new state out of an old one … in the midst of a civil war threatening the existence of the Union itself,” Hall wrote, “was a task as serious as any people ever had to confront.”
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Filed under: Government and History and West Virginia
Comments: 1 Comment

Hitting The Nail On The Gender Head
Posted on 05.28.13 by Danny Glover @ 7:56 pm

It took Ph.D. John Gray 268 pages to explain the differences between the sexes in his 1992 best seller “Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus.” It only took 87 seconds for Jason Headley, who happens to be from my hometown, to make the same point in this hilariously brilliant video:

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Filed under: Culture and Entertainment and Just For Laughs and People and Video and West Virginia
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Why We Home-School, Lesson #46
Posted on 04.20.13 by Danny Glover @ 12:28 am

We don’t want our children subjected to the disciplinary whims of school officials who lack common sense and ignore their own policies about what qualifies as acceptable behavior, speech or dress.

The latest case of bureaucratic overreach occurred at Logan Middle School in my home state of West Virginia, where an anti-gun zealot who also happens to be a teacher picked a fight with a student over his pro-Second Amendment t-shirt. This particular student, eighth-grader Jared Marcum, was old enough to protest — and did.

Marcum should have respected authority enough to change shirts and let his father argue the point, but he’s just a kid. When that didn’t happen, the adults in the room should have acted like it. Instead, the school not only suspended Marcum but also had him arrested, a decision that forced Marcum’s father to leave work and just inflamed the situation further.

Unfortunately, Marcum’s case is not unique, and the other students punished by public schools for simulating guns or carrying toy guns have been far younger. Here’s a list of the incidents, which likely will continue to grow as the hysteria over guns does:

  • The most egregious case occurred in Nebraska. Grand Island Public Schools insisted that 3-year-old deaf student Hunter Spanjer not use Signing Exact English to say his name because “Hunter” in sign language is the hand in the shape of a gun. The school system backed down when it appeared the American Civil Liberties Union and National Association of the Deaf could get involved in the dispute.
  • Mount Carmel Area Elementary School in Pennsylvania suspended a 5-year-old because she invited her peers to make a game of shooting each other with a Hello Kitty bubble gun. The charge from Principal Susan Nestico: The girl made a “terroristic threat.”
  • Center School in Hopkinton, Mass., suspended 5-year-old Jonah Stone for taking a toy gun to school. School policy did not prohibit such replicas, so the school superintendent overturned the suspension.
  • Roscoe R. Nix Elementary School in Montgomery County, Md., suspended 6-year-old Rodney Logan for holding his fingers in the shape of a gun. The school lifted the suspension and removed it from Lynch’s record after the decision became public. Talbot County Elementary School suspended two other 6-year-olds for similar behavior while playing cops and robbers during recess.
  • UPDATE, May 11: Driver Elementary School in Suffolk, Va., suspended two 7-year-olds, including Christopher Marshall, for pointing pencils at each other and making “machine-gun noises.” Outcry over the incident prompted the school district to revisit its policy on “look-alike” guns.
  • Park Elementary School in Baltimore suspended 7-year-old Joshua Welch for eating his pastry into a shape that his teacher thought looked like a gun.
  • Mary Blair Elementary School in Loveland, Colo., suspended 7-year-old Alex Evans for tossing an imaginary hand grenade and making the sound to go with it. Evans was acting in a game he called “rescue the world.” The school has an “absolute” rule against weapons both real and imaginary.
  • The Suffolk County, N.Y., Pistol License Bureau suspended the pistol license of John Mayer because Mayer’s 10-year-od son by the same name threatened to use a water gun, paint gun or BB gun on two classmates. The son didn’t actually commit a crime or even posses a weapon.

These anti-gun witch hunts of children (and their parents) have become so ridiculous since the Newtown, Conn., school shooting last December that one Maryland lawmaker has proposed legislation to crack down on the schools, not the students.

By teaching our children at home, we don’t subject them or ourselves to such nonsense.

(Read previous “Why We Home-School” lessons.)


Filed under: Business and Education and Government and Human Interest and Hunting & Guns and People and Rednecks and West Virginia and Why We Home-School
Comments: None

The Day The NRA Hung Up On Joe Manchin
Posted on 04.19.13 by Danny Glover @ 9:39 pm

Joe Manchin’s attempt to seduce colleagues with booze and the trappings of power on his yacht the Black Tie failed miserably this week when the Senate defeated the West Virginia Democrat’s bid for new gun restrictions. And now the senator once known for his “A” rating with the National Rifle Association is on the outs with the Second Amendment group.

During Senate floor debate, Manchin scolded the NRA for conducting a campaign of “misinformation” about his proposal. But a tidbit in today’s Washington Examiner makes it clear that the relationship soured before then.

NRA President David Keene was so irked by Manchin that he hung up on the senator when Manchin called to pester Keene during a trout-fishing trip to Montana last week.

“Unfortunately, I took my cell phone with me and my cell phone rings in the midst of my float and it’s Joe Manchin, who’s talking about how reasonable his idea is,” Keene told the Examiner. “And finally I said, ‘Look, I’m in the middle of the Missouri River, I’ve got a trout on the line. I don’t agree; you will have to make your own decisions.’ And I hung up.”


Filed under: Government and Hunting & Guns and News & Politics and People and West Virginia
Comments: None

A Glamouress Mountaineer
Posted on 04.02.13 by Danny Glover @ 9:23 pm

If you go to West Virginia University and make Glamour magazine’s top 10 college women for an innovation you created before college, you’re definitely an enlightened redneck.

Katherine Bomkamp is that woman. She invented a prosthetic device to eliminate “phantom pain” in amputees for a 10th-grade science project and has been winning accolades ever since, including during her three years at WVU.

Bomkamp said her company is starting to plan clinical trials and raise private funds for her device. A patent was issued last summer.

Since coming to WVU, Bomkamp has become one of the nation’s most celebrated students. She is the youngest person to ever present to the Royal Society of Medicine’s Medical Innovations Summit in London and was also one of 162 college students from 32 states to be named a Newman Civic Fellow.

Her innovation has received global media coverage that includes CNN, The New York Times, Popular Mechanics and BBC.


Filed under: Business and Education and People and Rednecks and West Virginia
Comments: None

Joe Manchin, Then And Now
Posted on 03.06.13 by Danny Glover @ 11:02 pm

Washington changes politicians. No matter how much they may want to stay true to their roots, they start thinking like the people they spend most of their time with inside the Beltway instead of those they represent back home.

Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., illustrates this unfortunate phenomenon perfectly. The redneck who did this in his first Senate campaign …

… is now guilty of this very Washingtonian attempt at message control:

Manchin’s regression toward “typical Washington politician” has been gradual. He first started going weak in the knees about gun control after then-Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz., was shot in 2011. Manchin voiced second thoughts about the “Dead Aim” campaign ad he had run a few months earlier.
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Filed under: Hunting & Guns and Media and News & Politics and Video and West Virginia
Comments: 2 Comments

There’s Only One Tavon Austin
Posted on 03.02.13 by Danny Glover @ 12:14 am

And he had a spectacular football career for the West Virginia University Mountaineers.

Here are two videos that capture the essence of Tavon’s senior year in 2012 — the first being the biggest game of his career and one of the best individual performances in college football history, and the second being a recap of great clips from the whole season:

We Mountaineers salute you, Tavon! Thanks for the memories.


Filed under: Sports and Video and West Virginia
Comments: None

WVU’s Big 12 Bust
Posted on 12.30.12 by Danny Glover @ 10:36 pm

Every diehard West Virginia University fan was excited about our debut season in the Big 12 four months ago, and the Mountaineers justified our enthusiasm early in the season with five straight wins, including back-to-back, high-scoring, come-from-behind thrillers against Baylor at home and Texas in Austin.

But the season fell apart after those first two Big 12 games. The Mountaineers, plagued by a horrendous defense (one of the worst in the nation) and an offense that couldn’t make big plays at key moments, lost five straight Big 12 games. WVU closed the season with two wins over the bottom dwellers of the Big 12, Iowa State and Kansas, lifting the spirits of us fans.

Then came yesterday’s Pinstripe Bowl, where the Mountaineers decided to embarrass themselves one last time against former Big East rival Syracuse. This Yahoo Sports analysis sums up the pitiful performance nicely, albeit painfully:

The Mountaineers defense was awful, as always. It is a poorly coached unit with not a lot of talent, which is a horrible combination. Teams like Baylor and Syracuse worked to get better on defense and put forth a good showing in the bowl game. West Virginia didn’t look like it really cared how bad its defense was, and it didn’t look like it took any steps to fix it in the time before the Pinstripe Bowl. The offense usually keeps the Mountaineers in games, but that wasn’t the case against Syracuse.

[Quarterback Geno] Smith looked like he was bothered by the snowy weather, but that’s nothing that will be excused by NFL teams evaluating him. … He had poor pocket awareness on many plays, never seeming to figure out where the Syracuse rush was coming from. He was sacked in the end zone twice for safeties, which is something that shouldn’t happen to a highly skilled senior quarterback.

Adding insult to injury, the newspaper in Weirton, W.Va., published an embarrassing typo that put the bowl loss in comedic perspective: “WVU loses bowel.” We Mountaineers fans, who endured ridicule even after a record-setting Orange Bowl victory one year ago, had to laugh to keep from crying.

Now we have to eight months to see if Dana Holgorsen, who has taken WVU football fans on a two-year roller coaster ride using players recruited by his predecessor, Bill Stewart, can coach the Mountaineers out of the Big 12 basement. Considering Holgorsen coached a team with great potential at the beginning of the season to WVU’s our worst record since 2001 (3-8), count me among the skeptics.


Filed under: News & Politics and Sports and West Virginia
Comments: None

Gun Control For WVU’s Mountaineer
Posted on 12.07.12 by Danny Glover @ 8:14 pm

December 6, 2012, is a date which will live in infamy in West Virginia history. That is the date, or thereabouts, that WVU imposed gun control on the Mountaineer!

His sin: Mountaineer Jonathan Kimble killed a bear with the university-issued musket, and someone who shot video of it didn’t have the sense to keep the kill off YouTube.

“While Jonathan Kimble’s actions broke no laws or regulations,” spokesman John Bolt told the Charleston Daily Mail, “the university has discussed this with him and he agrees that it would be appropriate to forego using the musket in this way in the future. There are some provisions regarding the gun, but none that prohibit its use outside of the University-sponsored functions or for hunting purposes.”

Way to go, WVU. Bob Costas wins.


Filed under: Hunting & Guns and News & Politics and Video and West Virginia and Wildlife
Comments: None

The Travesty That Is ‘Buckwild’
Posted on 12.07.12 by Danny Glover @ 6:26 pm

The juveniles who run MTV have gone “Buckwild,” and the result is a new show that twists reality about life in West Virginia into a 12-part series of sensational stereotypes. It’s just the kind of script you would expect from ignorant Hollywood honchos.

I’m talking about “Buckwild,” the show that will replace “Jersey Shore” on MTV come January. The content in the online trailer is so vulgar and vile that I won’t even embed it in this blog. The full episodes are sure to push the boundaries of decency further still.

I first heard about “Buckwild” earlier this week while watching “The Five” on Fox News. The hosts exposed the MTV show for what it is — bigoted nonsense that reveals nothing about the true nature of people in the Mountain State and everything about the profit-driven motives of entertainment elites. They degrade American culture with shows like “Jersey Shore” and “Buckwild” because recent TV history has proven that phony reality is a reliable get-rich scheme.

They also know that such shows are sure to get people like me riled. Or Sen. Joe Manchin, the West Virginia Democrat who today released a letter asking MTV president Stephen Friedman to “put a stop to the travesty called ‘Buckwild’” before it debuts.

“As a U.S. senator,” he wrote, “I am repulsed at this business venture, where some Americans are making money off of the poor decisions of our youth. I cannot imagine that anyone who loves this country would feel proud about profiting off of ‘Buckwild.’

“Instead of showcasing the beauty of our people and our state, you preyed on young people, coaxed them into displaying shameful behavior — and now you are profiting from it. That is just wrong.”

Sen. Manchin and I have personal reasons for condemning “Buckwild.” We love West Virginia and won’t tolerate the haters who prowl our backwoods for every oddball character they can find to perpetuate myths about our beloved state. But “Jersey Shore” is just as bad. And “The Real World.” And “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo.” They’re all garbage.

The real travesty is that the Stephen Friedmans of the world have their pick of stereotypes to exploit because gullible people don’t mind humiliating themselves for a paycheck — and because today’s TV watchers are more unrefined than any West Virginia hillbilly.


Filed under: Culture and Entertainment and Hatin' On Rednecks and People and Rednecks and West Virginia
Comments: 1 Comment

About That Alabama Sorority Girl
Posted on 10.30.12 by Danny Glover @ 1:42 pm

Elitists are so determined to perpetuate their redneck myths that they spread lies on the Internet to deceive gullible people. If you’ve heard the yarn about the illiterate sorority girl from Alabama who believes President Obama was born in Kenya, you’ll know what I mean when you hear the real story.

The girl in the photo is Kim Stafford, and she’s not from Alabama. She grew up in Massachusetts and attends an liberal arts university in the western part of her home state. The school doesn’t even have a Greek system, and she’s a registered Democrat who plans to vote for Obama next week.

But the reason Stafford has become the subject of Internet ridicule is because people who don’t know any actual rednecks are so willing to believe the worst about those rubes from places like Alabama or West Virginia or even Pennsylvania.

I suspect that somewhere along the Internet chain, a liberal with a chip on his shoulder about the tea party movement decided to add fiction to Stafford’s satire. He or she added phony details about the photo to get other redneck haters riled, and voila, an Internet legend was born.

Stafford has tried to rebut the lies on her own blog, one with a vulgar phrase that captures the essence of redneck bigotry, but the Internet meme persists. People will believe what they want to believe about rednecks.

As for me, I’d rather be an enlightened rube than an uniformed dupe who clings to fables.


Filed under: Hatin' On Rednecks and News & Politics and People and Photography and Rednecks and Technology and West Virginia
Comments: None

Mountaineers Fans Gone Bad
Posted on 10.08.12 by Danny Glover @ 3:27 pm

Burning couches to celebrate a momentous sports victory is funny in theory. That’s why West Virginia University fans are still laughing at the Sprint commercial several years ago that poked fun at the Mountaineers’ couch-burning tradition.

But in reality, couch-burning is no joke. It is riotous behavior that incites troublemakers and burdens the city governments who have to deploy police and safety personnel to control the fans. Morgantown, the home of WVU, is so fed up with the misbehaving students in the city that it may slap a financial penalty on them to help cover the costs of constant post-game parties.

Speaking with a reporter hours after hundreds of revelers set fires and attacked police officers, [Mayor Jim] Manilla said efforts to tone down the post-game party atmosphere have failed. “Whatever good has been done in the past has been all wiped out,” he said. “We’re getting close to an injury or loss of life.”

… Manilla said he has been thinking about bringing the idea of a “student impact fee” to Morgantown City Council. If a $20 fee is assessed for each WVU student each semester, he said enough money would be raised to pay for extra public employees. With an enrollment of nearly 30,000, that would equal about $1.2 million in revenue for the city annually.

The mayor aired the idea after WVU defeated Texas 48-45 and students literally set the streets of the city on fire in celebration. Worse, they threw rocks and bottles at police trying to keep the peace and picked fights with others in the streets. Similar troubles arose after WVU defeated Baylor 70-63.

I witnessed this kind of behavior firsthand as a WVU student and reporter for the local Dominion Post. WVU defeated Penn State 51-30 that year in a rare victory over Joe Paterno’s team. The victory was so sweet that students charged the field with 49 seconds left, and those last seconds of play had to be cancelled — an embarrassing display of unsportsmanlike conduct that was follow by more unruly behavior in the streets that night.

At that same time, WVU students were complaining of unfair, albeit unrelated, treatment at the hands of city officials. The confluence of events inspired me to write an op-ed that still seems relevant 14 years later as unruly Mountaineers are causing trouble in Morgantown. Here is what I wrote:
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Filed under: Government and News & Politics and People and Sports and West Virginia
Comments: None

The Dangers Of ‘Butt Chugging’
Posted on 09.26.12 by Danny Glover @ 4:05 pm

I attended a university with a storied reputation as one of the nation’s top party schools — sadly, we reclaimed the No. 1 spot this year — but I had the good sense to avoid the party scene and the people who loved it. In other words, I kept my distance from fraternity row.

Stories like this, which make it tough to rebut redneck stereotypes, remind me why:

Campus police went to the student’s fraternity house, Pi Kappa Alpha (aka Pike), to find out [why he had a deadly blood-alcohol content of nearly .40]. They found at least three males passed out — and this scene, as described by a Knoxville police spokesman in a Monday statement that was obtained by The [Washington] Post:

“Upon extensive questioning it is believed that members of the fraternity were utilizing rubber tubing inserted into their rectums as a conduit for alcohol, as the abundance of capillaries and blood vessels present greatly heightens the level and speed of the alcohol entering the blood stream as it bypasses the filtering by the liver.”

If you ask me, every way to get drunk (or drinking booze in general) is stupid. But “butt chugging” definitely rises to a new level of stupidity. As Hot Air blogger Ed Morrissey noted on Twitter: “I thought I knew every stupid way to get drunk. Sadly, I was mistaken.”


Filed under: Culture and Hatin' On Rednecks and News & Politics and Redneck Hall Of Shame and Rednecks and West Virginia
Comments: None

The Heart Of West Virginia
Posted on 08.31.12 by Danny Glover @ 12:58 pm

Earlier this week, West Virginia State Police Cpl. Marshall Lee Bailey was killed in the line of duty during a traffic stop along the interstate. Another officer, Trooper Eric Michael Workman, was shot and is on life support. (Update: Workman died today after being taken off life support.)

The outpouring of compassion for state police since then has been remarkable. Almost immediately on Facebook, my West Virginia friends posted status updates about the shooting. Some asked people to pray for the dead and wounded, even the suspect who shot the two state policemen, a sheriff’s deputy and a truck driver who had arrived to tow the suspect’s victim. (The shooter, Luke Baber, was killed on scene.) Several shared this request:

RE-POST: If you have a U.S. flag, post it today in memory of the WV state troopers who were killed in the line of duty and in honor of all our police/fire/EMTs who put their lives on the line for us every day.

People in the state did not restrict their concern to heartfelt but easy Facebook comments, though. They took action offline as well. The generous gestures have included deliveries of Wendy’s sandwiches to the scene of the shooting, more deliveries of food trays and pizza to state police headquarters the day after the shooting, an impromptu donations for the families of the officers, and frequent phone calls from people asking how they can help.

“The generosity and the kindness we’ve been shown is just amazing,” said Sgt. Michael Baylous, the state police spokesman.

The response is typical for West Virginians, and it isn’t limited to public officials. My state family bestowed similar kindness on journalists in 2010 when they come to cover a coal-mining tragedy. “These people are extraordinary,” one journalist wrote of his experience.
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Filed under: Media and News & Politics and People and Rednecks and Weather and West Virginia
Comments: None

Take A Stand For Lemonade Liberty
Posted on 08.17.12 by Danny Glover @ 11:09 am

Once upon a time in America, the government largely stayed out of people’s business unless they asked for help or were up to no good. Those days are over. Today’s politicians and bureaucrats — especially bureaucrats — are a bunch of nib-noses and proud of it.

The latest proof: Lemonade Freedom Day, which will be celebrated tomorrow. In a country that embraces liberty and personal responsibility, why do we need a special day to defend the rights of budding young entrepreneurs everywhere to sell sweet drinks? Because nanny-staters across the country are denying them that right.

The insanity hit close to home for our family last week when the Republican presidential ticket came to our neighborhood. With Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan scheduled to speak just two blocks from our house in Virginia, we expected a steady flow of foot traffic on our street and encouraged our three children (ages 7, 10 and 12) to sell drinks and snacks from our front lawn.

I work in marketing, so I couldn’t resist the urge to add the creative touch to our product names. We called our lemonade “Romney-ade,” and we sold “Sweet LiberTea,” a nod to the tea partiers in town. The menu also included West Virginia’s unofficial state snack with a partisan spin — “GOPepperoni Rolls.” And for the journalists in the neighborhood who might want to maintain the appearance of objectivity in refreshment choices, we offered “Nonpartisan Bottled Water” and “Capital Cookies,” which were just Costco cookies marked up to make a profit.

The recent nationwide controversy over lemonade stands did make us wonder whether our attempt to teach our children how to run a business and serve customers with a smile might rile the local regulators. But we live in a Republican city that is friendly to the free market and we put the stand on our own property, so we figured it was legit.

Just to be safe, we also told the councilman who owns a business three buildings down from our house. He didn’t register any objections. We decided to take a chance.
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Filed under: Business and Culture and Family and Food and Government and News & Politics and People and West Virginia
Comments: None

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