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Editorial: Short takes

Yeager Airport is tweaking its marketing plan, airport director Rick Atkinson told his board of directors this week.

The plan now includes partnering with the Boy Scouts of America for travel to the Summit: Bechtel Family Scout Reserve and with the Professional Golfers’ Association and rental car companies for travel to The Greenbrier Classic golf tournament.

These are the major new developments on the state’s tourism front. They bring people into the state from all over the nation. Why not have travelers come to West Virginia through Yeager?

“Our focus is fairly simple –- it’s things we know that work,” Atkinson said.

That is a good attitude for people in all walks in life.

***

Since breaking the Monica Lewinsky story 16 years ago, Internet entrepreneur Matt Drudge has been a stone in the shoe of many a Washington big shot.

At 11:09 a.m. on March 21, Drudge got to the Obama administration by Tweeting, “Just paid the ObamaCare penalty for not ‘getting covered’ ... I’M CALLING IT A LIBERTY TAX!”

The White House reacted 22 minutes later, with spokesman Jesse Lee tweeting: “Flat lie, no fee for previous year.”

But just as Drudge was correct about President Clinton’s perjury, Drudge was right this time. He was not paying the Liberty Tax for the previous year, but for this one. As a self-employed person, Drudge has to not only file his tax return for last year, but Drudge has to pay his first quarter taxes for this year -- which did include next year’s penalty for being uninsured.

Drudge is one of 14.4 million people (one of every 10 people with a job) who are subject to either buying health insurance or paying this tax this year, not next.

Lee’s misunderstanding is another indication that not only have people in the White House never run a lemonade stand but few of them even worked at one.

This may help explain why Obamacare is off to such a rough start.

***

Cresco, Iowa, population 3,868, on Tuesday celebrated the centennial of the birth of Norman Bourlaug, the man who made it possible for 8 billion people to live on this planet without starving.

After earning his doctorate in plant pathology and genetics in 1942, he headed to Mexico where he developed semi-dwarf, high-yield, disease-resistant wheat varieties. He kicked off the Green Revolution in which starving nations became exporters of agriculture.

Some have credited Dr. Bourlaug with saving 1 billion lives. He received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1970 for his efforts and India later awarded him the Padma Vibhushan, that nation’s second highest civilian honor.

There is much angst these days about genetically modified foods. Some in Europe call them Frankenfoods. But man has been modifying plants and animals for 12,000 years.

It’s called agriculture. Few were better at it than this native of Iowa. It is no coincidence that National Agriculture Day also was held on Tuesday, his birthday. This year, Congress marked it by unveiling his statue at the U.S. Capitol.


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