Thursday, September 29, 2011

The End of Coal. The End of West Virginia?

According to the U.S. Department of Energy in an article posted on The Charleston Gazette's website on September 27th, 2011, coal production in Appalachia will be half of what it was in 2008 by 2015.  Yes there is still coal in them thar hills, but it is getting harder to mine.  They have mined most of the thick seams in the state, and are left with the harder to reach and thinner seams.

What does this mean to West Virginia?  Well the last figures I saw said there were 15,000 miners in the state.  So about 7,500 of them will be out of work.  While this is bad, the worst is yet to come.  The state will be losing a considerable amount of coal severance tax.  They will need to plan now for the shortfall.

The smart thing to do is to plan to transition away from coal.  Coal has been good to West Virginia for about 100 years.  But the news that production will be cut in half should be a wake-up call to the people and businesses in the state.  We need to diversify our industries.  With the vast experience in energy and chemical production, we need to leverage that knowledge to move forward.  Renewable energy technology would seem like the best, most likely fit for the state moving forward.

And, it would be best, if the companies providing this technology were home-grown West Virginia businesses.  It would help to break the cycle here in the state of outside companies making money off of West Virginia resources and taking the money out of state.  With home-grown businesses, more of the money stays in West Virginia and benefits our state.

Click here to read the article in The Charleston Gazette.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Has It Been Eleven Months?

OMG!  I can't believe it has been so long since I have posted here.  Oh well,  so much has happened and yet nothing has happened.  My daughter finished 6th in the County Math Field Day 4th Grade Division.  Not too shabby.  My son has decided that he wants to get better grades and improve his reading.  He is a much happier boy this year than he was last year.

Me, I am still unemployed.  I have been looking and I continue to look daily.

I would like to work no farther than 25 miles from home.  I HATE commuting.  Working from home would be ideal.

This past spring, I took the kids to "ShepRoboFest" at Shepherd University.  Lots of cool robot happenings.  First Lego League Demo Competition, Firefighting Robots, and the favorite - Mech-Warfare.  All of us agree that they should hold it again next year.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Proud Parents

My 4th grade daughter was just chosen to be on her school's Math Field Day Team.  AWESOME!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Thunder in the Mountains

Thunder In the Mountains: The West Virginia Mine War, 1920-21Over the summer I read Thunder In the Mountains: The West Virginia Mine War, 1920-21.  It is about the largest armed insurrection in US history.  About ten thousand miners rode, drove and marched from Charleston, West Virginia to Blair Mountain.  There they had an armed stand-off, with occasional gunfire, with about five thousand men made up mostly of deputized citizens and some State Police along a 10 mile line.  This went on for 3 days until the Governor convinced the President to send the military.  The miners disarmed and surrendered without a fight, because their fight was not against the US Government, it was against the mine operators.  

I grew up 10 or 15 miles from where this happened and I did not hear anything about it until maybe 10 years ago.  The book is very readable.  A lot of it is in short snippets of news stories.  It was very interesting to read things I did not know about the town I lived in and about a couple of people I knew.

I recommend this book to anyone who likes history, and specifically West Virginia History.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Write it When I'm Gone

Write It When I'm Gone: Remarkable Off-the-Record Conversations With Gerald R. Ford I just got finished reading the book about President Ford.  It is the result of interviews given between 1974 and 2006.  It was refreshing to read about a genuinely good politician.  Part of the book talked about how civility in politics turned into the hyperpartisanship we see today.  While there was nothing quite earthshaking about any of the revelations, it was interesting to read about the Ford/Clinton phone conversation just before Clinton's impeachment trial.  I always felt Ford was underrated as President, and this book, at least for me, proves it.

I recommend it.  Pick up a copy at Amazon today!

Friday, July 9, 2010

One Year and Counting

Still unemployed after a year. But it is not for lack of trying. I have sent out at least 2 applications/resumes each week. Most weeks it was three or four. I have approached my job search in a very organized manner and sensible manner. I never blindly send out resumes. I always targeted them to either specific ads or specific companies which I research.
Now, I am asking you - the one or two people that still check this blog. Do you know of any jobs either in IT or retail sales. I would prefer the job to be somewhere in the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia or in Central West Virginia (telecommuting would be great as well)

Please let me know if you know of anything.

Thank You!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Why Now?

News Alert: Obama administration to order lenders to cut mortgage payments for jobless
06:02 PM EDT Thursday, March 25, 2010

The Obama administration plans to overhaul how it's tackling the foreclosure crisis, in part by requiring lenders to temporarily slash or eliminate monthly mortgage payments for many borrowers who are unemployed, senior officials said Thursday.

For more information, visit

My question is why now?  Would it not have made better sense and helped people to do this when they were doing the Economic Stimulus Package.  This could have helped me out a lot (and it still may).  I am sure the mortgage company lobby will be out in full force on this.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Spys, Terror, Organization

At the Center of the Storm: My Years at the CIA

I just read this book and I thoroughly enjoyed it.  Of course it helps that I have an avid interest in the CIA.  I really think this book was underrated when it came out (My wife found a hardback copy for sale at Dollar General for $1).
Mr Tenet and Mr. Harlow have a good writing style.  The book flows from Administration to Administration and from each area of concern to the next smoothly.  I don't want to give away much about this book, but it did confirm some suspicions and theories I had.  In conclusion, I would recommend At the Center of the Storm: My Years at the CIA.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Another Interview

I recently had another job interview.  This job seemed to me perfect - an IT job in an area I wanted to live.  My skill set matched the ad almost perfectly.  I thought the interview went well.  Then I was notified by email that there was another candidate who matched more closely what they were looking for than me.

Nothing like a kick in the gut to wake you up.  From now on, I will redouble my efforts to find a job, refine my interview skills, review old skills and learn new skills.  I really need a job.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Commericalized Space

Is anyone following what President Obama has proposed in the way of the space program.  Here is a good post from NASA.  I hope they are listening to themselves.  We need to get this right.

I have been following the space program since I was a kid.  In many ways it inspired me to be the best I could be even faced with impossible obstacles.  I hope for the millions of kids around the world that they get the transition right and inspire those kids as I have been inspired.