Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Philippi Covered Bridge

West Virginia Historic Marker for the Philippi Covered Bridge.
Barbour County Sheriff's vehicle is approaching the bridge in the background

During my recent trip to West Virginia, I got to take in some historic sites. One afternoon the Lovely Spouse, her lovely mother, and I took a little drive south from Grafton to Webster and Philippi (pronounced "FILL-uh-pee"). This town is rich in history from the Civil War era. The line of loyalty to the Union or the CSA was between Philippi and Grafton, 20 miles to the north.

Philippi holds the distinction of being the location of the first land battle of the Civil War (with Ft. Sumter, SC being the first sea-based battle). The state of West Virginia owes its existence as an entity to that war, as it was created from loyalist counties in what was the western part of Virginia. In any case, the highway between Grafton and Philippi parallels the Tygart Valley River, and today carries US highways 119 and 250. In 1861, this was the main route south to Richmond, Virginia. Troops from both sides had encampments along the road, and one of the rail lines that runs beside it was a major transportation line even during the war.

The covered bridge at Philippi was used during the Civil War, and today is part of US highway 250. It is also one of the longest covered bridges in the United States, and is the only double-barreled covered bridge carrying traffic of a major federal highway.

As an additional note, three of the miners who died in the 2006 Sago Mine Disaster were from Philippi.

A side view of the Philippi Covered Bridge

View of one end of the Philippi Covered Bridge

Politics and Lies

So, I haven't pontificated on the political situation for a while, so let's have at it for a few short items of note.

#1. Lipstick, Pigs, and Pit Bulls
Rather than focusing on the important issues facing the nation, such as the economy, the mortgage and financial industry failures, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Russian incursions into Georgia, etcetera, etcetera, the McCain campaign is stirring up passions about a non-issue.

Yes, Sarah Palin, who I am already sick of hearing about, compared herself to a pit bull wearing lipstick. Yes, both presidential candidates have used the expression "lipstick on a pig" in reference to dressing up the same old, same old. But the disingenuous Republican spin machine has latched onto Obama's use of the phrase to imply that he was calling Governor Palin a pig. Get off it, and let's get back onto the issues.

#2 Lies and More Lies
There is an adage that if you repeat a lie often enough, people will begin to believe it. The GOP liars have learned well from the late Lee Attwater and Karl Rove. Despite the fact that if you make less than $250,000 per year, your taxes would be reduced under Obama's plan, the GOP candidates continue to say he will raise your taxes. Only if you are their rich buddies, but at this point, a Washington Post / ABC News poll shows that 51% of voters believe otherwise. In addition, Obama has proposed complete elimination of the income tax on seniors making $50,000 or less, but 41% of those very seniors think Obama will raise their taxes. This lie is repeatedly used by both McCain and Palin, and was a cornerstone of their speeches at the Republican National Convention. Obviously the GOP has found that lying about their opponents and ignoring the issues win elections. Unfortunately, people tend to vote personalities rather than substance.

#3. Universal Health Care
The disingenuous John McCain has ads not only blaming Senator Obama for high gasoline prices, but now is asking "Do you want a government bureaucrat deciding issues related to your healthcare?" Well, Senator McCain, even though that is not what is being proposed, it is a far sight better than a corporate bean counter at an insurance company who is compensated for cutting costs and denying needed procedures making those decisions.

#4. E-bay and Chefs
Governor Palin said at the GOP convention that she sold her plane on Ebay. Nope...not true. And that is one thing I would not have denied her. The governor of a state as big as Alaska probably needs a jet to get around to her widely-dispersed constituents. Then she claimed to have fired her chef. Nope...just gave him a new job title as "cook" for her kids. This hockey mom is more of a hokey mom, who will lie to appear to be fiscally conservative. And then there's her tale of the so-called "bridge to nowhere". Puhleeeze!

Folks, we cannot even trust these crooks and liars to tell the truth during a campaign. Why would we elect them? They will tell any lie, regardless of how bold; distract us from the vital issues facing us; and pander to the fundamentalist crazies to retain power. We can send this bunch packing with their tails between their collective legs. Don't be deceived! This is more of the scared elite trying to fool you into voting against your own interest and for those of the privileged few. Ask you have more in common with the fat cat insurance and oil lobby, or with working class Americans? Does it make sense to continue to shift the tax burden from the top tier of the wealthy and putting the burden on yourself and your family? If you answer yes, then go ahead and vote Republican. You will get what you deserve. If the answer is no, it is clear. It is time to give Senator Obama a chance to effect the change we need to take this nation back from the corporations and return it to the people.

OK...rant over...for now.