28 August 2008

Election 2008 Roundup

  • State Democratic Party Chairman Nick Casey tells The Charleston Gazette that either Obama or running mate Joe Biden could headline the party's annual Jefferson-Jackson Dinner this fall. (Gov. Joe Manchin had earlier told The Associated Press that he had signed up Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine for the gig -- but back when Kaine considered himself on Obama's veep short list.)
  • The Charleston Daily Mail reports that Republican Dan Greear took repeated aim at his Democratic opponent, Attorney General Darrell McGraw, during the West Virginia Chamber of Commerce's ongoing annual Business Summit.
  • Gov. Joe Manchin has incurred the wrath of the West Virginia State Firemen's Association for failing to attend its recent Charleston convention, "held just a week after the governor traveled to Las Vegas for a national firefighters' function," the Daily Mail also reports.
  • Poised to begin accepting public campaign funding next month, presumptive GOP presidential nominee John McCain came close to outraising Obama among West Virginians in July, AP reports. McCain attracted about $51,800 and Obama around $53,300 from Mountain State residents that month, bringing their in-state totals to $172,700 and $302,500, respectively.

Ask Joe Manchin

From the Democratic National Convention, Gov. Joe Manchin will answer viewer questions on behalf of party leaders this afternoon at 2:30 p.m. (EST) on the NewsHour with Jim Lehrer on PBS.

Folks can submit their questions here.

Rockefeller at the Dem Convention

The Democratic National Convention offers both text and video of Sen. Jay Rockefeller's speech there Wednesday.

West Virginia's junior senator told both The Associated Press and The Charleston Gazette beforehand that presidential nominee Barack Obama should not write off the Mountain State.

Update: Rockefeller also spoke to The Journal of Martinsburg, The Register-Herald of Beckley, Public Broadcasting (with audio), MetroNews (ditto) and the Charleston Daily Mail.

Public Broadcasting also has audio of his convention speech.

27 August 2008

West Virginia, By The Numbers

  • Though it remains well below the national level, median household incomes grew in West Virginia last year at a much higher rate than seen nationally, according to the latest U.S. Census estimates. The 8.3 percent increase equals about $3,129, bringing the median to $40,800 and a 45th ranking. The national median was $49,901, a 2 percent increase.

Manchin Speaks At Dem Convention

Gov. Joe Manchin addressed the Democratic National Convention during the 7 p.m. (EST) hour. The convention has posted video, while C-SPAN has a link as well.

The Associated Press has an article and text from his prepared remarks. Others with coverage include Public Broadcasting (with audio), MetroNews and MSNBC.

26 August 2008

West Virginians at the Democratic National Convention

  • MetroNews Talkline is broadcasting from the convention all week, and has posted numerous articles along with audio and photo galleries;
  • The Intelligencer of Wheeling has Robert Rupp as its special convention correspondent;
  • A contributor to the above's coverage is also posting at Wabi-Sabi.
(Will update if more are found.)

Saving Rocky in West Virginia

The West Virginia northern flying squirrel is coming off the federal endangered species list today, but not without some controversey, The Charleston Gazette reports.

"Two of three academic experts brought in by the Interior Department recommended against the delisting," the article said. "Those outside scientists backed wildlife advocates who said the agency had little data to support its claim that the squirrel has recovered."

Taking the squirrel off the list "would remove the general prohibition against killing the squirrels or seriously damaging vital habitat," The Gazette explains. "It would also relieve developers of various projects - from housing developments to wind farms or strip mines - from going through Endangered Species Act reviews or writing habitat conservation plans."

Besides the third academic reviewer, "the U.S. Forest Service backed the delisting, as did West Virginia's Divisions of Forestry and Natural Resources," the article continued. "Plum Creek Timber and the owners of Snowshoe Mountain Resort also submitted letters of support."

The Gazette also has photos, while Public Broadcasting (with audio) and The Associated Press have items as well.

Legislative Interims Roundup

  • West Virginia is weighing whether to charge prison inmates for their upkeep by having them " work on-site for private firms at prevailing wages," The Register-Herald of Beckley reports. The article notes that "back in the 1930s, owing to abuses, the federal government ended the concept of letting convicts work for private industries."
  • Because more younger members than expected left the state's 401(k)-style retirement plan for its traditional pension program, the state is looking at a $22 million savings from the recent mass transfer, The Associated Press reports. The Charleston Gazette also has a story.
  • Lawmakers quizzed West Virginia Turnpike officials about the Aug. 5 accident that left hundreds of motorists stranded for hours on the toll road, The Gazette reports.
  • AP reports on plans by Kanawha County to return to court over the library funding issue, unhappy with the measure passed by lawmakers last year in response to its initial legal challenge.

25 August 2008

W.Va. Dispatches from the Dem Convention

  • Gov. Joe Manchin talked to The Intelligencer of Wheeling about his plan to focus on the economy when he addresses the convention audience. "Manchin, presently chairman of the Democratic Governors Association, will be among 10 governors slated to speak between 7-8 p.m. Tuesday," the newspaper reports.
  • At least one convention delegate from West Virginia is holding out hope that Hillary Clinton somehow steals the nomination from Barack Obama. “Theoretically, she could still win it,” state Sen. Shirley Love, D-Fayette, told The Register-Herald of Beckley. “Probably? No.”
  • MetroNews reports that superdelegate and U.S. Sen. Robert C. Byrd, D-W.Va., is not expected to make the trip to Denver. It also offers a photo gallery of scenes outside the convention center.

Election 2008 Shorts

  • With the election less than three months away, The Associated Press peeks into the coffers of the state's main political parties to find some significant disparities;
  • The Charleston Daily Mail reports on the pro-choice support enjoyed both by U.S. Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, R-2nd, and her Democratic challenger Anne Barth.
  • (Update) After touting friend and Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine for the slot, Gov. Joe Manchin tells the Times-West Virginian of Fairmont that he supports the choice of Sen. Joe Biden, D-Del., as Barack Obama's running mate.

W.Va. Seated At Dem Convention (Updated)

West Virginia's 44-member delegation (39 actual delegates plus five alternates) to the Democratic National Convention have been assigned seats to the extreme house right of the main stage, behind Utah and next to South Dakota, according to this online chart:

(click to enlarge)

Update: The state Democratic Party has posted a delegation roster.
Update II: So has the convention.