Opinions are just opinions

Last updated: October 29. 2013 11:36AM - 1096 Views
Ron Gregory ronjgregory@gmail.com

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Opinions are just that … opinions

Perhaps, for the 500th time in a series that appears to require infinity, I should again remind readers what a column like this is all about.

This is a political opinion column. It is written by me, who has covered and been involved in politics for 40 years. That simply means I am a political consultant with a journalism degree and some think that qualifies me to write about politics and government in general.

Unlike a front-page news story, a column such as this one is simply one man’s opinion. A news story requires absolute factual checking. We cannot report something we cannot verify to be true in news stories. Usually, documentation will exist to prove we are printing the truth on page one. A police report will be mentioned; a photo of the car wreck or fire will be printed; we KNOW the things reported there are factual.

A columnist is under no such restrictions. My rule on reporting rumors and gossip is to hear the same story from two reliable sources. But that is MY rule. I am under absolutely no obligation to confirm anything written here. That’s why you read a lot of “I heard,” “sources said,” and “allegedly” in this space. I could not get on a witness stand, affirm I’d tell the truth, and then swear to every rumor mentioned here. I simply don’t know if all are true.

What I do know is that I have the experience to separate truth from fiction in politics; I require two reliable sources; and I do the best I can to be sure I tell readers something is speculation when it is.

I am not about to ruin anyone’s life by reporting some unverifiable rumor as Gospel. Never have; never will. And it doesn’t matter whether I like the politician or not, I treat them all the same here. So, if there is a report of a rumor about an indictment, I have two verifiable sources telling me about it. If it never happens, those two sources become less reliable in the future in my book.

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It is also important to remember that I have no earthly influence over who gets in legal trouble and who doesn’t. Believe me, United States Attorney Booth Goodwin does not consult me regarding who should be indicted. So, like in sports where I regularly predict how the local team will do in any given week, my comments are simply MY opinion. They are not necessarily 100 percent accurate and they seldom reflect what I would LIKE to see happen. I am only guessing what I think WILL occur, based on what I know.

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Saturday evening’s Jefferson-Jackson salute to retiring Democrat Senator Jay Rockefeller is apt to bring out a huge crowd to cheer on the aging senator.

In my humble opinion, many will also applaud Vice President Joe Biden, the main speaker, despite their negative comments about his administration’s stance on coal. There is no question West Virginia coal has been a target of the Obama administration but I predict most of that will be easily forgotten Saturday evening. There will be some who do not attend the dinner because of Biden, however.

But your favorite columnist will be there to see and provide you with insight as to how things go. I think it will be a nice affair with positive results.

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Speaking of affairs … oh, well, uh … yeah, I WAS at the capitol last week for legislative interims.

What were we talking about?

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The announcement that former House Minority Leader Charlie Trump will seek a State Senate seat is good news in the Republican bid to take over some legislative body. Although GOP control of the Senate is still a pipe dream at best, Trump has an excellent shot at returning to Charleston — and he is a quality, good man.

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While I am NOT on the Chafin payroll, despite anything anyone would like to say in Mingo County, I HAVE clearly said here that Tish Chafin is the best candidate to replace defrocked Circuit Judge Michael Thornsbury. I also believe Charles “Butch” West is the most logical candidate to become Prosecutor. West will come as close to being fair and impartial as any lawyer in Mingo is capable of being.

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Several candidates are looking at legislative runs in Kanawha County, where the Republicans also hope to make inroads in the House and Senate. If Tea Party endorsements do not become the kiss of death, some will surely be elected.

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One reader called to ask how many political murders, other than the well-known one of the late Sheriff Eugene Crum, have been carried out in Mingo over the years.

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Williamson lawyer Timothy Koontz is perhaps more opinionated than I and seems to enjoy making his feelings known in the social media, i.e. Facebook. Koontz has surely named names, places and events over the past weeks as the Mingo fiasco continues to unfold. He obviously is no fan of former Judge Thornsbury and purports to reveal names of lawyers who did succumb to the Judge’s whims. Frankly, if some are worried about what I have written, I wonder what they think of what Koontz puts on Facebook.

Anyway, suffice it to say Koontz’s postings make interesting reading — and he says he has “unfriended” a lot of folks because of their responses to his comments.

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Do I need to “unfriend” you here?

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How do you like Thornsbury being a stickler for the letter of the law being followed? He wants a civil suit against him dismissed because the process server came to the home he formerly shared with wife, Dreama. Nothing like a criminal insisting on his or her rights under the constitution.

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The Washington Post did an interesting piece over the weekend about how West Virginia is finally following his Southern neighbors in becoming a “red” rather than “blue” state. Among comments is that Republican Congresswoman Shelley Moore Capito is the prohibitive favorite to be elected to Rockefeller’s Senate seat next year. The more media folks portray Capito as unbeatable, the more difficult the job for Democrat challenger Natalie Tennant. One would think the liberal media might downplay Capito’s favorite role.

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The Post date lined its story in Pineville, where it said folks are fed up with the Democrat party. Although they seem to have few GOP candidates on the ballot, those in Pineville voted overwhelmingly for Republicans in national elections, The Post said.

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Remember me with your comments, tips, rumors and story ideas — except about ME, of course. Use the email listed or call my cell, 304-533-5185. All comments are confidential unless otherwise requested.

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