www.wvgazette.com http://www.wvgazette.com Gazette archive feed en-us Copyright 2014, Charleston Newspapers, Charleston, WV Newspapers Funerals for: September 11, 2014 http://www.wvgazette.com/article/20140911/OBIT01/309119973 OBIT01 http://www.wvgazette.com/article/20140911/OBIT01/309119973 Thu, 11 Sep 2014 00:02:44 -0400 Aliff, Charles R. 1 p.m., Miller Cemetery, Rock Creek.


Barnette, Allen Noon, Waybright Funeral Home, Ripley.


Burns, Albert L. 2 p.m., Lobban Funeral Home Chapel, Alderson.


Copen, Molly A. 11 a.m., Hafer Funeral Home, Elkview.


Cummings, Betty 2 p.m., Curry Funeral Home, Alum Creek.


Dunn, Susan K. 10 a.m., Keller Funeral Home, Dunbar.


Feldhaus, Margaret 6 p.m., Bream Memorial Presbyterian Church, Charleston.


Frazier, Nellie 1 p.m., Gatens


Hanson, Richard 7 p.m., Gatens


Johnson, Leatha 2 p.m., Mount Moriah Cemetery, Hurricane.


Ray, Mac A. 1 p.m., Wallace & Wallace Funeral Home, Ronceverte.


Reese, Lola 11 a.m., Tyler Mountain Memory Gardens, Cross Lanes.


Shank, Clifford R. 5 p.m., Nitro Church of God, Nitro.


Sharp, Hilda G. 2 p.m., Kimble Funeral Home, Marlinton.


Smith, Cammi 2 p.m., Keller Funeral Home, Dunbar.


Smith, Sandra K. 1 p.m., Bartlett


Syner, Roger D. 2 p.m., Pax Community Cemetery, Pax.


Tredway, Willie L. 1 p.m., Stevens & Grass Funeral Home, Malden.


Willard, Geraldine 11 a.m., Waybright Funeral Home, Ripley.

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Joseph Wayne Bostic http://www.wvgazette.com/article/20140911/OBIT/309119997 OBIT http://www.wvgazette.com/article/20140911/OBIT/309119997 Thu, 11 Sep 2014 00:02:21 -0400 Joseph Wayne "Jo" Bostic, 24, of Summersville, died Sept. 8, 2014. Graveside service will be 1 p.m. Friday, Sept. 12, at the McClung Family Cemetery in Canvas under the direction of White Funeral Home.

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Micah Tyler Burdette http://www.wvgazette.com/article/20140911/OBIT/309119975 OBIT http://www.wvgazette.com/article/20140911/OBIT/309119975 Thu, 11 Sep 2014 00:02:43 -0400 Micah Tyler Burdette, 20, of St. Albans, passed away Sept. 9, 2014. Casdorph & Curry Funeral Home, 110 B St., St. Albans, is in charge of arrangements.

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Ramona T. Coles http://www.wvgazette.com/article/20140911/OBIT/309119978 OBIT http://www.wvgazette.com/article/20140911/OBIT/309119978 Thu, 11 Sep 2014 00:02:39 -0400 Ramona T. Coles, 83, died Sept. 5, 2014. Service will be noon Saturday, Sept. 13, at Mountain View Church of God, Hilltop, with visitation beginning one hour prior. Arrangements entrusted to Ritchie and Johnson Funeral Parlor, Beckley.

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Ann Lowe Conner http://www.wvgazette.com/article/20140911/OBIT/309119991 OBIT http://www.wvgazette.com/article/20140911/OBIT/309119991 Thu, 11 Sep 2014 00:02:27 -0400 Ann Lowe Conner died peacefully at her home in Fayetteville on Tuesday, Sept. 9, 2014. Ann was born Dec. 30, 1921 in Meadow Fork to James Douglas Lowe and Ethel King Lowe. She graduated from Fayetteville High School in 1940. After graduation she married Joel Ernest Conner. They began their life together in Beckley, where he worked at Beckley National Bank and she worked for several years as a dental assistant for Dr. Brown and then, later, for Dr. James Farris. Joel and Ann then moved back home to Fayette County to make their home in Fayetteville, where she had lived since.

Known by many names — Addie, Nannie, Shorty, Ann B, Annie, Nana, Nan, Aunt Nannie, Mamma and Mom — she loved taking care of nieces, nephews and grandchildren. Her hobbies were pitching horseshoes, sewing, card playing, cooking and, most of all, church work. Ann was proudly a Christian and a member of Fayetteville Baptist Church for 60-some years, where she served as choir director, music committee member and chair, Sunday school teacher, Awana coach and financial secretary.

Ann was predeceased by her husband of 40 years, Joel Conner; her parents, Douglas and Ethel Lowe; and brothers, Berkley Lowe, Edward Lowe, Doug Lowe and the Rev. James Lowe.

Ann is survived by a brother, the Rev. Donald A. Lowe; a sister, Ruth Loving; and a sister-in-law, Rita Lowe, all of Beckley; her daughter, Jo Ellen Conner Dangerfield; grandson, Joseph Dangerfield (Ami), and their children, Conner, Piper and Jillian; granddaughter, Anna Dangerfield Frost; and grandson, Noah; her daughter, Cathy Conner Young and her husband, Ralph; grandsons, Clint Young (Jackie Smith), Joel Young (Tiffany Garrison) and their son, Christian; and granddaughter, Ashton Young; and a host of nieces, nephews and friends with whom she remained in contact.

The combined visitation/ service will be held on Friday, Sept. 12, at Fayetteville Baptist Church. Friends may call from 10 to 11:45 a.m., with the service beginning at noon, officiated by the Rev. David Sneed and the Rev. Ron George Jr. Burial, immediately following the service, will be at Huse Memorial Park, Fayetteville.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to the Fayetteville Baptist Church Scholarship Fund, 104 Ankrom St., Fayetteville, WV 25840.

Dodd-Payne-Hess Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements. Condolences and memories may be shared at www.doddpaynehessfuneralhome.com.

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Lucy L. Douglas http://www.wvgazette.com/article/20140911/OBIT/309119981 OBIT http://www.wvgazette.com/article/20140911/OBIT/309119981 Thu, 11 Sep 2014 00:02:35 -0400 Lucy Lucille (Facemyer) Douglas, 87, of Wills Creek, passed away Tuesday, Sept. 9, 2014 at her daughter's home in Hagerstown, Md.

She worked 10 years at The Diamond Department Store. She was an avid gardener, quilter, seamstress and cook and could be found in her garden from dawn until dark! She grew up as a member of Jordan Light Baptist Church. Her life was spent devoted to Jesus Christ and her family.

She was born Aug. 18, 1927 to Charles and Melissa (Hayes) Facemyer. She was preceded in death by her husband, Hubert Douglas, and son, Ronald Hubert Douglas. She was also preceded in death by brothers, Luther and Herman, and sisters, Gertrude Huffman, Phoebe Huffman and Wavy Chapman.

Surviving are her daughter, Barbara J. Zimmer and her husband, William R. "Chip" Zimmer, of Hagerstown, Md.; granddaughter, Kaitlin M. Zimmer of Williamsburg, Va.; and sister, Earnie Burdette of Wills Creek.

Service will be at 11 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 13, at Woodall Cemetery, Sunset Drive, Wills Creek. Pastor Robert Jett will officiate. All are welcome. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to your local hospice.

Online condolences may be sent to www.haferfuneralhome.net.

Hafer Funeral Home, Elkview, is assisting the Douglas family.

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Susan K. Dunn http://www.wvgazette.com/article/20140911/OBIT/309119999 OBIT http://www.wvgazette.com/article/20140911/OBIT/309119999 Thu, 11 Sep 2014 00:02:19 -0400 Susan K. Dunn, 53, loving wife, mother and friend, died Sept. 9, 2014.

Susie was born Oct. 23, 1960 in Spencer. She graduated from Stonewall Jackson High School, where she was active in the VIP's Show Choir.

She spent two years caring for Mildred V. Smith and most recently worked for Dr. Somes Guha at Kanawha Medical Center, assisting with patient care. She was a kind, compassionate and loving individual who will be missed by the Smiths and her Kanawha Medical Center family.

Susie is survived by her husband, Richard; sons, Jonathan, Ryan and Ricky; stepdaughter, Stephanie; parents, Carroll and Jo Ann Jones; brother, Steve; grandchildren; and nieces and nephews. Susie will be missed by all.

The family would like to thank Dr. Somes Guha for his love and devotion.

Funeral service will be held at 10 a.m. Thursday, Sept. 11, at Keller Funeral Home, Dunbar, with the Rev. Dr. Ed Grant officiating. Visitation will be from 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 10, at Keller Funeral Home, Dunbar.

In lieu of flowers, the family would like donations to be made in Susie's name to Hospice Care, 1606 Kanawha Blvd. W., Charleston, WV 25387; Hubbard Hospice House West, 4605 MacCorkle Ave. SW, South Charleston, WV 25309; or the Kanawha/Charleston Humane Association, 1248 Greenbrier St., Charleston, WV 25311.

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Debra Lynn Fitzwater http://www.wvgazette.com/article/20140911/OBIT/309119993 OBIT http://www.wvgazette.com/article/20140911/OBIT/309119993 Thu, 11 Sep 2014 00:02:25 -0400 Debra Lynn Fitzwater, 48, of Chesterfield, Va., passed away Sunday, Sept. 7, 2014 at St. Francis Medical Center.

Debbie was born in Richwood, W.Va., on Jan. 3, 1966. She was a teacher with the Chesterfield County School System. Debbie was a loving wife, mother, sister, daughter, cousin, niece and friend who touched many lives during her short time here.

Debbie is survived by her husband, James Richard Fitzwater II; her two daughters, Nicole Fitzwater and Ashley Fitzwater; her mother, Billie Gordon; her sister, Stacie Amos; her aunt, Marge Pritt; nephew, Jacob Amos; and many more beloved family members. She was preceded in death by her brother, Gary Gordon Jr.

Service will be 1 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 13, at the Chesterfield Chapel of Bennett Funeral Home, 14301 Ashbrook Parkway, with Pastor Wayne Porter officiating.

In lieu of flowers, the family is requesting donations be made in Debbie's name to the Richmond SPCA.

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Betty Lee Gosnell http://www.wvgazette.com/article/20140911/OBIT/309119983 OBIT http://www.wvgazette.com/article/20140911/OBIT/309119983 Thu, 11 Sep 2014 00:02:33 -0400 Betty Lee Gosnell, 90, of Charleston, went home to be with the Lord on Monday, Sept. 8, 2014 in the comfort of the home of her daughter and son-in-law, Darla and Brad Chittenden.

Betty was born in Martinsburg on June 26, 1924 to the late Robert and Edna Myers Cline. She was a retired secretary from the state of West Virginia with many years of faithful and dedicated service. She was of the Presbyterian faith and loved traveling to the beach with family and friends.

Along with her parents, she was preceded in death by her loving husband of 66 years, retired Sgt. with the West Virginia State Police, William "Bill" Gosnell.

Betty is survived by her son, Darryl William (Lea Anna) Gosnell of Virginia; daughter, Darla Jean (Brad) Chittenden of Charleston; grandchildren, Amber Lea (Geoff) Merl and Amy Lyn (Brian) Jennings, all of Columbus, Ohio, Jonathan William (Elizabeth) Brumfield and James Matthew "Matt" Brumfield of Charleston; great-grandchildren, Anna Lea and Ainsley Lyn Merl and Christian Robert William Brumfield; and step-grandchildren, Jamie Brumfield, Matthew, Curtis and Emily Chittenden and Nicole Markle.

A celebration of life service will be held at noon Saturday, Sept. 13, at Stevens & Grass Funeral Home, Malden, with her son-in-law, the Rev. Bradley Dale Chittenden, officiating. Burial will follow in Kanawha Valley Memorial Gardens, Glasgow.

A visitation with family and friends will be held one hour prior to the service.

The online guestbook can be accessed at www.stevensandgrass.com.

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Virginia Grandon http://www.wvgazette.com/article/20140911/OBIT/309119986 OBIT http://www.wvgazette.com/article/20140911/OBIT/309119986 Thu, 11 Sep 2014 00:02:31 -0400 Virginia Main Grandon, 92, of Sweetbriar Assisted Living, Dunbar, passed away Sept. 9, 2014 at Hubbard Hospice House West.

A former resident of South Charleston (where she resided with her son, John) and Cass, Virginia was born in Garrison, Pa., on Jan. 2, 1922 to the late Harley Main and Myrtle Six Main of Hundred.

She was preceded in death by her husband, Glen; one sister, Helen Main; one brother, Zinn Main; her stepfather, Alonzo Bartrug; and her beloved dog, Joey.

Virginia "Ginny" and Glen lived in Charleston for nearly 20 years before moving to Cass, where they resided for nearly 30 years. Virginia, at one time, was the mayor of Cass and Glen was the chief of the Cass VFD. Glen retired from the Green Bank Observatory.

A fabulous cook, Virginia loved baseball, especially the New York Yankees.

The house in Cass that Glen and Ginny lived in is now a tourist home and is named "The Grandon House" in their honor.

Virginia is survived by her sons, John Grandon (Sharon) of South Charleston and Paul Grandon (Joann) of Amherst, Ohio; one daughter, Joyce Grandon Cutlip of Winfield; and one brother, Duane Main (Eileen) of Lyons, Mich. Also surviving are 10 grandchildren; 13 great-grandchildren; three step-great-grandchildren; two great-great-grandchildren; four step-great-great-grandchildren; plus a host of nieces and nephews.

Many, many thanks to the Sweetbriar employees for all their kindness and patience.

There are not enough words to express our sincerest appreciation and deepest gratitude for the love and compassion Hubbard Hospice House provided to our mother and to the family members.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations be made to Hubbard Hospice House West, 4605 MacCorkle Ave., South Charleston, WV 25303; St. Marks United Methodist Church Memorial Fund, 900 Washington St. E., Charleston, WV 25301; or to the charity of your choice.

Graveside service will be held on Friday at the convenience of the family. Burial will be in Thomas Cemetery, Ned, Pa.

The Tennant Funeral Home, 2678 Hornet Highway, Hundred, is in charge of arrangements.

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Your Vents, Thursday, September 11 http://www.wvgazette.com/article/20140911/DM04/140919880 DM04 http://www.wvgazette.com/article/20140911/DM04/140919880 Thu, 11 Sep 2014 00:01:00 -0400 n I'd like to make a comment about state troopers' illegal driving. They do it day after day. They tailgate, they go over the speed limit without having their blue lights on and I just wonder what the law is on that because I see it every day.

n When I moved here from the East Coast I discovered that everything in West Virginia was political. The debacle at Coonskin Park with the tree plundering is just one of the many examples I have noted.

n Why is it when the school lights are on in Scott Depot/Teays Valley the bus comes out of Scott Lane going about 25 or 30 miles an hour? The bus is empty at the time. Where are the police?

n Because of credit card fraud I think people need to start using cash. If more people used cash the credit card fraud would stop. The world needs to wake up to a lot of things. Especially all the good in the world and God.

n ISIS needs to be destroyed.

n Stupid is as stupid does. The Obama administration and the Democratic Party is waging a war on coal and the coal miners' union is backing two Democrats who will just give two more votes for the war on coal.

n What's wrong with Tomblin, Manchin and Rockefeller? They need to be out and working for Natalie Tennant. W.Va. is two to one Democrats to Republicans. These Democrats need to act like Democrats. She can win that race but she needs some help.

n Would a person driving a company vehicle with a family member in it and having a wreck, would the company's insurance cover this? Or would it mess the company's insurance up?

n Democrats, pay attention. Republicans, pay attention. Barack Obama is not on the ballot so stop with it already and tell us what you are running for.

n Why can't public defenders and county commissioners be reimbursed in a timely manner? I was supposed to be paid in early July 2014 but still not paid. Does this have anything to do with Oasis?

n Yes, I voted for Capito and I'm going to vote for her again. Because we are going to need our guns against socialists like you.

n Danny Jones says he doesn't want guns in the community centers. But how many drunks hang around them? Is it better to have drunks around the children?

n The truth is finally coming out about nice sweet, generous, kind Shelley Moore Capito.

n How many hundreds of people have to call in about the drug dealer on Morningside Drive in Pinch before the DEA or the State Police do something about it?

n Good for the nurse at St. Francis Hospital for suing them about a flu shot. Get them, Miss Dean.

n Wouldn't it be great if we started vaporizing ISIS on 9/11?

n You know the kid in the Jenkins coal commercial had better hope Rahall wins the election. Because he will lose his high-paying job if Jenkins wins.

n Eric Holder is investigating the Ferguson, Missouri Police Department. He'd better start investigating himself because he is corrupt to the core.

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Let the fall network TV season begin http://www.wvgazette.com/article/20140911/GZ0601/140919886 GZ0601 http://www.wvgazette.com/article/20140911/GZ0601/140919886 Thu, 11 Sep 2014 00:01:00 -0400 By Amy Robinson The first new shows of the networks' fall season premiere Wednesday.

There are just two, plus a few other season premieres. It's the week starting Sept. 21 that things really kick into gear. Until then, though, let's take a look at what we've got:

n "Red Band Society": 9 p.m. Wednesday, Fox.

This coming-of-age comedy/drama revolves around teens in a pediatric hospital ward, who bond over the experiences they have as they face life-threatening illnesses. If you're wondering, as I did, the name comes from the red hospital bracelets they must wear.

The group includes 16-year-old Leo, the de facto leader (Charlie Rowe, "The Golden Compass"); Jordi, a 16-year-old cancer patient about to lose his leg (Nolan Sotillo, "Prom"); Emma, a 15-year-old know-it-all with an eating disorder (Ciara Bravo, "Big Time Rush"); Dash, a rebellious 16-year-old with cystic fibrosis (Astro, "The X Factor") and Kara, a mean girl high school cheerleader with a heart problem (Zoe Levin, "The Way Way Back"). Narrating things is Charlie, a comatose 12-year-old (Griffin Gluck, "Back in the Game").

The names and faces most people will probably recognize are the adults in the cast: Octavia Spencer ("The Help") as the head of the ward and Dave Annable ("Brothers and Sisters") as the doctor who oversees much of the teens' treatment. Fittingly, since this is a coming-of-age series, Wilson Cruz of the seminal '90s coming-of-age drama "My So-Called Life" co-stars as a nurse.

n "The Mysteries of Laura": 10 p.m. Wednesday, NBC.

Although NBC is calling this a preview, it's really the series premiere. It's just in a different timeslot than its regular 8 p.m. one because it's displaced by the "America's Got Talent" finale. (It moves to that slot next week.)

Anyway, it's an hour-long cop comedy starring Debra Messing ("Will & Grace") as homicide detective with a hectic home life that includes raising trouble-making twin boys as a single mother. Working alongside her on the streets of New York is her partner, played by Laz Alonso ("Avatar"). Further causing trouble in her home life is her ex-husband, played by Josh Lucas ("Sweet Home Alabama").

The show is executive produced by McG and Greg Berlanti, among others. One of my favorite shows ever comes from the former and one of my favorites on TV now is from the latter ("Chuck" and "Arrow," respectively). This, however, does not look like it will be even close to joining those ranks; the three-minute promo did nothing to pique my interest - and besides, it's on opposite "Arrow," anyway.

n Network season premieres: "The Biggest Loser," 8 p.m. today, NBC (this season's contestants are all former athletes); "Dancing with the Stars," 8 p.m. Monday (performances) and Tuesday (results), ABC; "New Girl," 9 p.m., and "The Mindy Project," 9:30 p.m. Tuesday, Fox.

nnn

Scripted series premieres: "Z Nation," 10 p.m. Friday, Syfy (a ragtag team in the zombie apocalypse must escort a zombie bite survivor cross-country to a lab in hopes his blood will manufacture a cure); "Nicky, Ricky, Dicky & Dawn," 8:30 p.m. Saturday, Nickelodeon (sitcom about quadruplets who have little in common except their birthday).

Other series premieres: "Love & Hip Hop: Hollywood," 8 p.m. Monday, VH1 (cast includes Ray J, Soulja Boy and Omarion); "Love Prison," 10 p.m. Monday, A&E (online couples who have never met spend a week together on an island to decide whether to continue the relationship or not); "The Jennie Garth Project," 9 p.m. Tuesday, HGTV (the actress renovates her home); "Hidden Habitats," 9 p.m. Tuesday, BBC America (exploring self-contained ecosystems); "Southern Justice," 9 p.m. Wednesday, National Geographic (sheriff deputies in Tennessee and North Carolina); "Smoky Mountain Money," 10 p.m. Wednesday, National Geographic (ginseng scavengers in the North Carolina mountains).

Miniseries premiere: "The Roosevelts: An Intimate History," 8 p.m. Sunday through Sept. 20, PBS (Ken Burns' seven-part series about Theodore, Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt).

Timeslot premiere: "Utopia," 8 p.m. Tuesday, Fox.

New to cable: "Spartacus: Gods of the Arena," 9 p.m. today, Syfy (six-part miniseries that originally aired on the Starz premium channel).

Season premieres: "Haven," 8 p.m. today, Syfy; "Mysteries at the Museum," 9 p.m. Friday, Travel; "Henry Danger," 8 p.m., and "The Thundermans," 9 p.m. Saturday, Nickelodeon; "Eyewitness War," 9 p.m. Monday, National Geographic; "Twisted," 10 p.m. Monday, ID; "Kim of Queens," 10 p.m. Tuesday, Lifetime; "Brickleberry," 10:30 p.m. Tuesday, Comedy Central; "Naked and Afraid," 8 p.m. Wednesday, Discovery.

Returning: "Abby's Studio Rescue," 8 p.m. Tuesday, Lifetime.

Season finales: "The Quest," 8 p.m. today, ABC; "Reckless," 8 p.m. Saturday, CBS (two-part; probable series finale); "Unforgettable," 9 p.m. Sunday, CBS; "American Ninja Warrior," 8 p.m. Monday, NBC; "MasterChef," 8 p.m. Monday, Fox; "America's Got Talent," 9 p.m. Tuesday (final performances) and 8 p.m. Wednesday (results), NBC; "Finding Carter," 10 p.m. Tuesday, MTV (season marathon starts at 11 a.m.); "Extant," 10 p.m. Wednesday, CBS.

Specials: "The Secret Life of Pets," 10 p.m. today, NBC; "Star-Spangled Spectacular: The Bicentennial of Our National Anthem," 8 p.m. Saturday, PBS (with Melissa Etheridge, Kristin Chenoweth, Smokey Robinson, Kenny Rogers and more); "Deliverance Creek," 8 p.m. Saturday, Lifetime (TV movie/possible series pilot; Civil War-set revenge drama from executive producer Nicholas Sparks and starring Lauren Ambrose); "The 2015 Miss America Competition," 9 p.m. Sunday, ABC (countdown special at 8 p.m.); "Million Dollar Maze Runner," 11 p.m. Sunday, MTV (mental/physical challenge tie-in to "The Maze Runner" movie).

Of note: ABC Family airs "Dolphin Tale" at 6:30 p.m. today if you want to re-watch it before catching the sequel, which opens in theaters Friday; Fox has the first two of three unaired episodes of "American Dad" at 9 p.m. Sunday, followed by the third next week before the show moves to TBS on Oct. 20.

Reach Amy Robinson at flipside@wvgazette.com or follow @thegazz on Twitter.

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International film festival returns, expands focus http://www.wvgazette.com/article/20140911/GZ0601/140919890 GZ0601 http://www.wvgazette.com/article/20140911/GZ0601/140919890 Thu, 11 Sep 2014 00:10:00 -0400 By Bill Lynch The West Virginia International Film Festival returns this year with a new location, a new addition to its name and a brand new approach.

The festival, now the West Virginia International Food and Film Festival, will kick off Friday at the LaBelle Theater, 311 D St., South Charleston. It will screen films through Sept. 21, and ticket holders will receive discounts on food at international restaurants in South Charleston.

There will also be street vendors selling international food outside the LaBelle on Sept. 20 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Festival president Emmett Pepper said,"The food and film idea was something that just caught on with the board. The more we thought of it, the more we started thinking about synergy. On so many levels, food and film intersect." 

So, the board reached out to restaurants and to the city of South Charleston.

"We thought it was a great opportunity for us," said Bob Anderson, executive director of the South Charleston Convention and Visitors Bureau. "We're excited to have them and thought it would be a way to show off the renovations to the LaBelle - new seats, new carpet, lights and a high definition projector."

Pepper acknowledged that the facelift was a factor, but just one of several.

"The LaBelle was really the right size for us," he said. "There was a cost benefit , plus lots of great parking."

Films to be shown come from India, France, Belgium, Japan, Chile and the U.K. Among the U.S. films being show are the Roger Ebert documentary, "Life Itself," and the comedic Iceland adventure "Land Ho!" co-directed by Martha Stephens of Charleston.

If this year's festival is successful, Pepper said he hopes the organization might expand next year's offering, working to bring in more international food vendors and trying to pair them with films.

"A lot of people are very excited about this," he said.

Anderson, meanwhile, said it was just good to have films back at the LaBelle, which got its start as a moviehouse.

"We had 'The Graduate' here," he said. "They played 'Gone with the Wind,' and people lined up to see it. That was back when a blockbuster meant people lined up around the block."

Reach Bill Lynch at lynch@wvgazette.com, 304-348-5195 or follow @LostHwys on Twitter.

Tickets are $8 per film for adults or $5 for students, with a six-ticket package for $30. Visit www.wviff.org.

FRIDAY, SEPT. 12

6 p.m.: "Obvious Child"

American romantic comedy about unplanned pregnancy. Starring Jenny Slate, Jake Lacey and David Cross. Rated R (language and sexual content).

8 p.m.: "The Lunchbox"

Indian drama about a romance between a young housewife and an old widower. Subtitled. Starring Irrfan Khan ("Slumdog Millionaire," "Life of Pi"). Rated PG (thematic material and smoking).

SATURDAY, SEPT. 13

3 p.m.: "Ernest & Celestine"

French-Belgian animated comedy-drama about an unlikely friendship between a bear and a young mouse. Oscar nominee for Best Animated Feature. With the voices of Forest Whitaker, Lauren Bacall, Paul Giamatti, William H. Macy, Megan Mullally and Nick Offerman. Rated PG (some scary moments).

4:45 p.m.: "Like Father, Like Son"

Japanese drama about a man who discovers his son was switched at birth, forcing two families to make difficult decisions. Subtitled. Unrated.

7 p.m.: "Gloria"

Chilean drama about a free-spirited older woman. Subtitled. Independent Spirit Award nominee for Best International Film. Rated R (sexual content, some graphic nudity, drug use and language).

9:30 p.m.: "A Hard Day's Night"

Digitally restored 50th anniversary re-release of the Beatles documentary. Original release was an Oscar nominee for Best Screenplay and Best Music. Unrated.

SUNDAY, SEPT. 14

2 p.m.: "Compassion Connects"

Short documentary about an acupuncture clinic in Nepal. Free. Sponsored by Micro Acupuncture.

3 p.m.: "The Broken Circle Breakdown"

Belgian romantic musical drama about a couple in a string band that specializes in Appalachian bluegrass. Subtitled. Oscar nominee for Best Foreign Language Film. Soundtrack includes "Will the Circle Be Unbroken," "Wayfaring Stranger," "Over in the Gloryland," "The Lion Sleeps Tonight," "If I Needed You" and "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry." Unrated.

5:30 p.m.: "The Lunchbox"

7:30 p.m.: "Ship of Theseus"

Indian philosophical drama that explores meaningful questions about life through the stories of three organ transplant stories. Subtitled. Unrated.

MONDAY, SEPT. 15

6 p.m.: "Citizen Koch"

American documentary following the money behind the rise of the Tea Party. Sundance Grand Jury Prize nominee for Documentary. Unrated. Free. Sponsored by WV Citizen Action Group and the AFL-CIO.

8 p.m.: "Gloria"

TUESDAY, SEPT. 16

6 p.m.: "Life Itself"

American documentary about Roger Ebert's life and career. Includes interviews with Martin Scorsese, Warner Herzog and A.O. Scott. Rated R (brief sexual images/nudity and language).

8:30 p.m.: "The Broken Circle Breakdown"

WEDNESDAY, SEPT. 17

6 p.m.: "The Lunchbox"

8 p.m.: "Like Father, Like Son"

THURSDAY, SEPT. 18

5:45 p.m.: "Life Itself"

8 p.m.: "Obvious Child." Free. Sponsored by WV Free and Planned Parenthood of WV.

FRIDAY, SEPT. 19

6 p.m.: "Land Ho!"

American comedy about two elderly former brothers-in-law who embark on an Icelandic adventure. Followed by Q&A with co-director Martha Stephens of Charleston.

8:30 p.m.: "The Broken Circle Breakdown"

SATURDAY, SEPT. 20

11 a.m. to 2 p.m.: International Food Festival with street vendors and free showing of Oscar Nominated Animated Shorts.

2 p.m.: "Compassion Connects." Free.

3 p.m.: "Ernest & Celestine"

5 p.m.: "Obvious Child"

7 p.m.: "A Hard Day's Night"

9 p.m.: "Gloria"

SUNDAY, SEPT. 21

2 p.m.: "Life Itself"

4:30 p.m.: "Like Father, Like Son"

7:30 p.m.: Wrap party with The Sea, The Sea

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Jared Hunt: Welcome to Wal-Mart . . . er, West Virginia http://www.wvgazette.com/article/20140911/DM05/140919897 DM05 http://www.wvgazette.com/article/20140911/DM05/140919897 Thu, 11 Sep 2014 00:01:00 -0400

Perhaps Wal-Mart should consider placing their greeters at the state border.

For the seventeenth year in a row, the Bentonville, Ark.-based seller of things made mostly in China has once again ranked as the top private employer in the state, according to the annual top 100 employers list released by Workforce West Virginia. Wal-Mart Stores Inc. has had a firm grip on the spot since 1998.

It's no surprise the "Always Low Prices" retailer is popular here.

Given the state's entrenched near-bottom per capita income and spending ranking, "Wallyworld" is pretty much one of the few stores many West Virginians can afford to shop at on a regular basis. And considering the low pay and benefits this top employer typically pays its employees, it makes it difficult to see how the state could break out of that cycle anytime soon.

But fortunately it's not all low-paying jobs in the top five.

Health care-related employers West Virginia United Health System, Charleston Area Medical Center and Mylan Pharmaceuticals ranked second, third and fifth, respectively. This was Mylan's first year in the top five, moving up from its sixth-place ranking a year before.

Grocery store chain Kroger Corp. was the only other retailer in the top five; it was ranked fourth.

It's been a meteoric rise for Mylan in the last 15 years. Back in 1999, the generic drug maker was only ranked 51st on the list.

Coming in sixth this year was Murray American Energy Inc., which recently bought out last year's fifth-ranked employer, Consolidation Coal Co. It was followed in the top ten by St. Mary's Medical Center (soon to be merged with 11th ranked Cabell Huntington Hospital), Lowes Home Centers, Mentor Management and Res-Care Inc.

Workforce West Virginia said that the top employers this year had a total of 369 more employees than the top ten employers from last year. It does not provide employment data for the individual companies, however, as the agency is not allowed to divulge that data due to the confidentiality rules.

Nearly one-half of the employers in the top 100 list increased in rank compared to last year, the agency said. Just over a third fell in ranking. Sixteen employers held the same rank while six employers were not present on last year's list.

On the Workforce West Virginia website, you can go back and look at the top employers list dating back to 1999. It's interesting to see how the top companies has changed since then. Several large manufacturers

Back in 1999, the top 15 were: Wal-Mart, CAMC, Kroger, Weirton Steel Corp., hospital group Columbia/HCA, Dupont Corp., CSX Corp. (which at the time included The Greenbrier), Bell Atlantic, Union Carbide Corp., WVU Hospitals, Rite Aid, Telespectrum Worldwide Inc., Century Aluminum, K-Mart Corp., and Appalachian Power.

Many of those large employers either no longer exist or employ significantly fewer workers.

Weirton Steel, since bought out by ArcelorMittal, has significantly downsized, now ranking only 43rd on the list.

Columbia/HCA, later called the Hospital Corporation of America, sold off its West Virginia hospitals - St. Joseph's in Parkersburg, Saint Francis in Charleston, Raleigh General in Beckley and Putnam General in Hurricane - in the mid-2000s.

CSX sold The Greenbrier out of bankruptcy to Jim Justice (the resort now ranks 27th).

Bell Atlantic became Verizon which then sold its West Virginia landline operations to Frontier Communications (now ranked 16th).

Union Carbide became Dow Chemical and now no longer makes the top employers list.

And Century Aluminum split off its rolling mill and that company, now called Constellium, ranks 46th while the Century Aluminum smelter has gone cold.

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Introducing new symphony concertmaster Anton Shelepov http://www.wvgazette.com/article/20140911/GZ0601/140919901 GZ0601 http://www.wvgazette.com/article/20140911/GZ0601/140919901 Thu, 11 Sep 2014 00:05:00 -0400 By Bill Lynch The new concertmaster for the West Virginia Symphony Orchestra doesn't really think of West Virginia as rural.

"Not in my book,"Anton Shelepov said. "For me, it's perfect. It's in the center of everything: five hours from D.C., six hours from Detroit, seven hours from Atlanta, eight hours from New York and 15 hours to Minneapolis."

These are all places where the 36-year-old violinist sometimes plays when he's not performing with the WVSO and its ensemble, the Montclaire String Quartet, which opens its season Sunday at the University of Charleston's Erma Byrd Gallery.

"Charleston is very convenient," he added.

Those big cities are all within what he considers driving distance. Shelepov could probably find more work if he flew, but the Russian-born musician isn't a fan of air travel.

"I hate flying," he said wearily. 

Driving, however, is fun and something Shelepov just didn't do in Russia. He had no car and didn't even have a license when he came to the United States in 2006. 

He smiled and said, "I didn't learn how to drive until I was 28 years old."

Still, America and Appalachia are very different from where Shelepov grew up.

He was born in Siberia, near Lake Baikal, one of the largest freshwater bodies in the world.

"It's bigger than all five of the Great Lakes," he said. "But we didn't stay there very long."

Instead, his family moved to Novosibirsk, the capital of Siberia, which Shelepov said is the center of violin training in Russia.

He picked up the instrument when he was about 4 years old.

Because Shelepov was good at it, violin sort of became his life. 

"This was not my decision," he said. "It was my mother's decision."

Shelepov said he would have liked to have played more soccer and hung out with friends. Instead, he practiced and got into good schools. His profession was almost assured from an early age.

"How you find your profession is very different in America than how it is in Russia," he said. "Here you can try this or that and pick something. In Russia, that decision gets made for you."

He was 16 years old before he actually discovered that he loved the music and loved to play. It was his first year at the St. Petersburg Conservatory.

"That's when I made a conscious decision to make this life choice," he said.

Shelepov ended up in the U.S. largely because of a job he accepted in Moscow. He was just about to being the fourth year of his five-year program at the conservatory when he was offered a position with the Kremlin Chamber Orchestra.

It was a good job, but he still had two years to go before he'd be conferred his Master's degree.

"My teacher told me to take the job," Shelepov said. "I could just do the last two years in one."

So, he did. He performed with the Kremlin Chamber Orchestra, commuted 400 miles back and forth between Moscow and St. Petersburg and got his degree.

In 2005, Shelepov left Moscow and the chamber orchestra for Michigan State University, where he performed with several symphonies and earned his doctorate.

He met his wife, Irina, stateside in 2008. She was a Russian violinist, too, and while the pair had never met before, they shared an unusual connection.

"She took my old job when I left the Kremlin Chamber Orchestra," he said.

Shelepov has been a member of the West Virginia Symphony Orchestra for the last five years, and Irina will begin her first season this year. They make their home in Charleston, and their youngest son, Ivan, was born here.

Shelepov said they love being part of the community, and he's honored to have earned the job as concertmaster for the symphony.

"We have a leader," he said. "Maestro Cooper is our leader. He provides the musical ideas for us, and I try to help communicate those ideas to my colleagues."

Shelepov said it's a physically demanding role, relying largely on body language and intense concentration.

Maestro Cooper is glad to have him taking over for Amelia Chen, who returned to her native Hong Kong this summer, after serving as the symphony's concertmaster for a decade .

Cooper said, "Anton Shelepov has served our musical community with distinction for several years as a member of the Montclaire String Quartet and as principal second violinist of WVSO.

"Our audition process requires that all applicants be considered anonymously, so it was particularly gratifying when Anton emerged from behind the screen as the unanimous choice of the committee. I look forward to developing a close relationship of musical trust with Anton as our new concertmaster and for him to be able to further enrich the musical lives of West Virginians in his new position."

Reach Bill Lynch

at lynch@wvgazette.com, 304-348-5195

or follow @LostHwys on Twitter.

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Editorial cartoon, Thursday, Sept. 11 http://www.wvgazette.com/article/20140911/DM04/140919904 DM04 http://www.wvgazette.com/article/20140911/DM04/140919904 Thu, 11 Sep 2014 00:01:00 -0400 Editorial cartoon, Thursday, Sept. 11

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Alexandra Petri: Twitter aims for relevance and is falling short http://www.wvgazette.com/article/20140911/DM04/140919905 DM04 http://www.wvgazette.com/article/20140911/DM04/140919905 Thu, 11 Sep 2014 00:01:00 -0400 If a chicken somewhere ever became convinced that the sky was falling, we would hear about it on Twitter first.

On Twitter, news spreads like wildfire, unfiltered, from the ground up. In fact, sometimes impatient wildfires get on Twitter to speed the process along.

This is one of the advantages the social media network offers.

So it is no wonder that a report in the Wall Street Journal with Twitter's chief financial officer sent the entire bloc of Twitter-crazed-power-users (not a great band name) into a panic.

We summoned up Henny Penny and Cocky Locky and the whole unfortunately rhyme-named gang and went marching off to see the king.

But, as someone wise once said, "Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they aren't out to get you."

It may be that Twitter is not on a path to changing for the worse. But it certainly sounds that way.

The essence of Twitter is that you get to curate your own feed: You follow those who interest you, you read what they tweet and retweet, and you see what they favorite.

For everything else, there are "trending topics." You hear about things from people, not algorithms: A story makes its way into your feed because your friends or colleagues or favored Internet strangers found it interesting and decided to pass it along.

Facebook is not like this.

What you see there, by default, gets tweaked and altered by algorithms that decide what you would Like and Engage with.

This became particularly apparent during the events in Ferguson, Missouri, when Twitter overflowed with news and Facebook kept rambling on about the Ice Bucket Challenge.

The interview was worrisome in several ways.

As the Journal noted, "Twitter's timeline is organized in reverse chronological order, a delivery system that has not changed since the product was created eight years ago and one that some early adopters consider sacred to the core Twitter experience. But this 'isn't the most relevant experience for a user,' CFO Anthony Noto said."

True, the reverse chronological timeline may not be "the most relevant experience for a user," but this democratic organization of content, centered around people, not algorithms, is crucial.

I hate it when my online feeds try to show me content that is "relevant to me."

I don't want content that I already know is relevant to me.

I want the things I don't already know I want -- the kind of mouth-to-mouth information that Twitter is known for.

Filtered feeds that cut through the "noise"? The value of Twitter is that it doesn't filter.

We're used to this sort of thing from Facebook -- changing everything we knew and loved, willy-nilly, with little notice, or altering our feeds for Sinister Social Experiments. We are, after all, not the consumer. We're the product.

And that's true of Twitter, too. We'd just forgotten.

Petri writes the ComPost blog, offering a lighter take on the news and opinions of the day.

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Margaret Carlson: Obama giveth, Obama taketh away in N.C. http://www.wvgazette.com/article/20140911/DM04/140919906 DM04 http://www.wvgazette.com/article/20140911/DM04/140919906 Thu, 11 Sep 2014 00:01:00 -0400 Sen. Kay Hagan, a North Carolina Democrat whose seat is a top target of Republicans to regain control of the Senate, walked into the debate hall in Raleigh looking sharp in a gray suit.

It only took a few minutes for her Republican challenger, Thom Tillis, to make her a stand-in for President Obama, whose job approval in the state is overwhelmingly negative. In his opening statement, Tillis accused Hagan of rubber-stamping everything Obama wanted to do, and he never let up.

"Kay Hagan has voted with President Obama 95 percent of the time," he said.

He later reprised this theme by adding that the only independence Hagan has shown is "from the citizens of North Carolina."

Ouch!

This is especially harsh for Hagan, who ran in 2008 on the proposition that she should replace Elizabeth Dole because the senator had voted with President Bush 92 percent of the time.

Tillis also tried to link Hagan to Obama's threat to bypass Congress and use executive action to make amnesty-like changes to immigration rules.

This even though Hagan says she opposes unilateral measures by the president.

But a zinger is a terrible thing to waste, so Tillis took this shot at Hagan: Obama's definition of the three branches of government is "the executive branch, his pen and his phone."

Hagan has made her share of attacks on Tillis, who oversaw, as North Carolina's House speaker, a legislative session that undid many moderate laws on the books.

She quoted Tillis at a state Republican convention in 2011 as saying that members of the state teachers' association didn't care about children or classrooms -- only about jobs and pensions.

Hagan accused him of cutting education funding by $500 million, causing teacher flight to jobs in other states, and harming the state university system.

She said she would "never let women down," as Tillis had done by supporting the U.S. Supreme Court's Hobby Lobby decision, which gave bosses the power to decide which birth control should be covered under employee-sponsored health insurance for workers in private companies.

These were glancing blows on both sides, but there was also no memorable moment that might have moved the needle in a race that's neck and neck.

The debate did little to change the images of the candidates as pasty, grainy, angry and sometimes foolish versions of themselves that have been created by their barrage of competing ads ($29 million worth, making this the second-costliest race after Mitch McConnell's in Kentucky).

Tillis' job was to seem more moderate and pragmatic than he was in the primary and that he is in real life. He's Exhibit A in the state's lurch to the right, curtailing voting rights, letting the earned income tax credit expire, and reducing eligibility for pre-kindergarten programs.

He supported the government shutdown over the Affordable Care Act and killed a bill that would correct pay disparity.

After being hammered by Hagan for policies such as restricting abortion rights and attempting to defund Planned Parenthood, which she said proved he "just doesn't understand the needs of women,"

Tillis said several times that he would make birth control available over the counter.

Hagan's job was more singular: to show that she is her own senator, independent of an unpopular president.

She had to compensate for an Obama drop-in last week to speak at an American Legion convention. When Republican Senator Richard Burr went to greet the president at the airport, she had no choice but to go herself.

Once there, she could hardly brush off Obama's kissy, huggy greeting. She tried to reverse the damage last night with her repetitive listing of her differences with Obama -- on trade agreements, the Keystone XL pipeline, immigration and arming the Syrian rebels in the early stages of that country's civil war.

There wasn't much time to accentuate the positive, though Hagan got in her strong military ties, a selling point in a state that's home to more than 100,000 active-duty service members and more than 700,000 retired personnel. She's married to a Vietnam veteran, her father and brother were officers in the Navy, her father-in-law was a general in the Marines, and two of her nephews are on active duty.

She touted the steps she took to fix Veterans Administration hospitals in the state and the legislation she got passed to improve conditions at Camp Lejeune.

She shares a problem with other Democrats in defending their vote for the Affordable Care Act. The program is popular in her state, where the sign-up rate is one of the highest in the country.

It might win her the votes of the happily enrolled, if only she could risk reminding them that the health benefits they enjoy are, in fact, Obamacare. Tillis did the reminding for her, calling her out for breaking the promise to North Carolinians that if you liked your health insurance, you could keep your health insurance.

Hagan isn't the raging liberal Tillis has made her out to be in campaign ads. In fact, as she pointed out, the National Journal ranked her as "the most moderate senator in the nation."

Tillis, however, is a deeply conservative nominee who might not fly in a state that's trending red but has pockets of blue.

Hagan is on uncertain ground, too. In 2008, Obama helped her across the finish line. But the president lost North Carolina in 2012, one of only two states to flip to Mitt Romney. In 2014, if Hagan loses, it may be Obama who held her back.

Carlson is a columnist for Bloomberg View.

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Thomas Sowell: Obama's strategy on ISIS is to punt the ball http://www.wvgazette.com/article/20140911/DM04/140919907 DM04 http://www.wvgazette.com/article/20140911/DM04/140919907 Thu, 11 Sep 2014 00:01:00 -0400 Those people who say that President Obama has no clear vision and no clear strategy for dealing with the ISIS terrorists in the Middle East may be mistaken.

It seems to me that he has a very clear and very consistent strategy. And a vision behind that strategy.

First the strategy -- which is to get each crisis off the front pages and off television news programs as quickly as he can, in whatever way he can, at the lowest political cost. Calling ISIS a junior varsity months ago accomplished that goal.

Saying before the 2012 elections that "bin Laden is dead" and that terrorism was defeated accomplished the goal of getting reelected.

Ineffective sanctions against Iran and Russia likewise serve a clear purpose. They serve to give the illusion that Obama is doing something that will stop Iran from getting nuclear bombs and stop Russia from invading Ukraine.

This forestalls the massive and enraged outcries there would be if the public were fully aware that he was doing nothing serious enough to prevent either of these things from happening. Generations of Americans yet unborn may curse us all for leaving them hostage to a nuclear terrorist Iran. But generations yet unborn do not vote, so they carry no weight with Barack Obama.

No one has a perfect batting average in any field, so Obama has been caught in some dicey situations, such as the sudden eruption of ISIS on the world stage, with their videotaped beheadings that make it hard to get them off the front pages and off the TV newscasts.

Caught off guard, the president has played for time -- time for Iraq to get its internal politics fixed, time for our allies to come together, time for the military to create a strategy. Ideally, from his standpoint, time for the whole ISIS crisis to blow over.

There is always someone else to blame for whatever goes wrong in the Obama administration. Supposedly the intelligence services had not kept him informed about how imminent the ISIS threat was. But others who received top-secret briefings by the intelligence services say otherwise.

Some people are wondering how someone of obvious intelligence like Barack Obama could be so mistaken about so many things, especially in deadly foreign policy issues. But there is no way of knowing whether anyone is succeeding or failing without first knowing what they are trying to do.

If you assume that Barack Obama is trying to protect the safety and interests of the United States and its allies, then clearly he has been a monumental failure. It is hard to think of any part of the world where things have gotten better for us since the Obama administration began.

Certainly not in Iraq. Or Iran. Or Libya. Or China. Things went from bad to worse after Obama intervened in Egypt and helped put the murderous Muslim Brotherhood in power. Fortunately for Egypt -- and for the whole Middle East -- the Egyptian military took the Muslim Brotherhood out of power, in defiance of Obama.

If you start from the assumption that Barack Obama wanted to advance America's interests, this is truly an unbelievable record of failure. But what is there in Obama's background that would justify the assumption that America's best interests are his goal?

He has, from childhood on, been mentored by, or allied with, people hostile to the United States and to American values. His mentors and allies have all been very much like the Reverend Jeremiah Wright, even if they were not as flamboyant.

Barack Obama has succeeded in reducing America's military strength while our adversaries are increasing theirs, and reducing our credibility and influence with our allies. That is completely consistent with his vision of how the world ought to be, with the West taken down a peg and humbled.

We are currently at a point where we can either kill as many of the ISIS terrorists as possible over there -- where they are bunched together and visible against a desert background -- or else leave the job half done and have them come over here, where they will be hard to find, and can start beheading Americans in America.

Everything in Barack Obama's history suggests that he is going to leave the job half done, so long as that gets the issue off the front pages and off the TV newscasts.

Sowell is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University at Stanford.

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George Will: Democrats want to repeal the First Amendment http://www.wvgazette.com/article/20140911/DM04/140919909 DM04 http://www.wvgazette.com/article/20140911/DM04/140919909 Thu, 11 Sep 2014 00:01:00 -0400 WASHINGTON -- Since Barry Goldwater, accepting the Republicans' 1964 presidential nomination, said "extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice," Democrats have been decrying Republican "extremism."

Actually, although there is abundant foolishness and unseemliness in American politics, real extremism -- measures or movements that menace the Constitution's architecture of ordered liberty -- is rare. This week, however, extremism stained the Senate.

Forty-eight members of the Democratic caucus attempted to do something never previously done -- amend the Bill of Rights.

They tried to radically shrink First Amendment protection of political speech. They evidently think extremism in defense of the political class's convenience is no vice.

The First Amendment as the First Congress passed it, and the states ratified it 223 years ago, says: "Congress shall make no law ... abridging the freedom of speech."

The 48 senators understand that this is incompatible -- by its plain text, and in light of numerous Supreme Court rulings -- with their desire to empower Congress and state legislatures to determine the permissible quantity, content and timing of political speech.

Including, of course, speech by and about members of Congress and their challengers -- as well as persons seeking the presidency or state offices.

The 48 senators proposing to give legislators speech-regulating powers describe their amendment in anodyne language, as "relating to contributions and expenditures intended to affect elections."

But what affects elections is speech, and the vast majority of contributions and expenditures are made to disseminate speech. The Democrats' amendment says: "Congress and the states may regulate and set reasonable limits on the raising and spending of money by candidates and others to influence elections," and may "prohibit" corporations -- including nonprofit issue advocacy corporations (such as the Sierra Club, NARAL Pro-Choice America and thousands of others across the political spectrum) from spending any money "to influence elections," which is what most of them exist to do.

Because all limits will be set by incumbent legislators, the limits deemed "reasonable" will surely serve incumbents' interests.

The lower the limits, the more valuable will be the myriad (and unregulated) advantages of officeholders.

The point of this "improvement" of James Madison's First Amendment is to reverse the Supreme Court's 2010 Citizens United decision.

It left in place the ban on corporate contributions to candidates.

It said only that Americans do not forfeit their speech rights when they band together to express themselves on political issues through corporations, which they generally do through nonprofit advocacy corporations.

Floyd Abrams, among the First Amendment's most distinguished defenders, notes that the proposed amendment deals only with political money that funds speech. That it would leave political speech less protected than pornography, political protests at funerals, and Nazi parades.

That by aiming to equalize the political influence of persons and groups, it would reverse the 1976 Buckley decision joined by such champions of free expression as Justices William Brennan, Thurgood Marshall and Potter Stewart.

That one reason President Harry Truman vetoed the 1947 Taft-Hartley Act was that he considered its ban on corporations and unions making independent expenditures to affect federal elections a "dangerous intrusion on free speech."

And that no Fortune 100 corporation "appears to have contributed even a cent to any of the 10 highest-grossing super PACs in either the 2010, 2012 or 2014 election cycles."

There are not the 67 Democratic senators and 290 Democratic representatives necessary to send this amendment to the states for ratification.

The mere proposing of it, however, has usefully revealed the senators who are eager to regulate speech about themselves.

Sens. Jay Rockefeller and Joe Manchin are among the sponors.

The rest of the list includes:

Mark Begich of Alaska, Cory Booker of New Jersey, Christopher Coons of Delaware, Dick Durbin of Illinois, Al Franken of Minnesota, Kay Hagan of North Carolina, Edward Markey of MAssachusetts, Jack Reed of Rhode Island, Brian Schatz of Hawaii, Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire, and Mark Udall of Colorado.

Those last senators are on the ballot this November. But all 48 Senate co-sponsors are American rarities -- real extremists.

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