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Editorial: Short Takes

Sen. Joe Manchin reacted bitterly to a documentary on the Upper Big Branch explosion which killed 29 miners four years ago. Massey Energy, run by Don Blankenship, owned the mine then. Many people blame Blankenship for the deaths and federal investigators continue their examination of the incident.

Blankenship funded a Michael Moore-like documentary, which includes an interview of Manchin, who was governor at the time. Manchin said he was deceived into participating in the film.

Manchin wrote a letter to Gailon Totheroh, the film’s producer, which began, “I write to demand you cease and desist the distribution of your documentary ‘Upper Big Branch -- Never Again,’ posted yesterday, March 31, 2014, remove the documentary from any websites where you posted it, and remove any and all references to my name, image, and likeness from the film.”

There is no reason to doubt Manchin’s claim of being duped. His anger is understandable. Manchin is still pained by the memory of the death of his uncle and many friends in the 1968 mine explosion in Farmington.

Senators must have thick hides, but election to public office does not mean a person no longer is a human being. If it is any comfort to him, few rational people will view this film as anything but propaganda.

***

Democratic California state Sen. Leland Yee of San Francisco is a radical advocate of state control of guns. Yee even has proposed banning certain bullets.

Yee also is an advocate on strict controls of campaign funding, despite personally raising $5 million in recent years for himself and other Democrats.

Last week, the FBI arrested Yee and charged him with gun trafficking. A sting operation alleges that to raise campaign funds, Yee was willing to arm Muslim terrorists who had waged war in the Philippines for 36 years.

Despite the hypocrisy of a gun-control and campaign-funding control advocate who is willing to sell arms illegally for illegal campaign cash, CNN failed to report the story for several days.

“When prodded by viewers, the network snarked that it doesn’t do state senators, which is odd, because searching the name of my own state senator, Stacey Campfield, turns up a page of results, involving criticisms of him for saying something ‘extreme,’” Glenn Harlan Reynolds wrote in USA Today. “Meanwhile, CNN found time to bash Wisconsin state senator and supporter of Gov. Scott Walker, Randy Hopper over marital problems.”

And they say Fox News is biased.

***

The retirement of Jim Phares as superintendent of state schools launched a search for his successor. He wants to leave in June but Phares said he will stay until a replacement is hired.

School board members said that the search involves a long and complicated legal process.

Why?

The state constitution gives the state school board the duty to hire -- and fire -- the school superintendent. While there should be a thorough search for the best candidate, the process itself should not involve a complicated legal process. This seems like another area of education that the Legislature overstepped its authority.


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