House Bill 2934 to repeal the Common Core State Standards has been on a fast track in the House of Delegates since House Education Chairwoman Amanda Pasdon, R-Monongalia, and 10 other sponsors introduced it on Tuesday. The House Education Committee approved it with bipartisan – but not total – support after little debate on Wednesday morning and sent it to the full House of Delegates for approval. It is scheduled for second reading in the House today, which means that the House could approve it as early as Monday.
Leaders from the Department of Education oppose the bill, but efforts to slow down its progress so far have been unsuccessful. The West Virginia Board of Education called an emergency meeting for 1:00 p.m. today to discuss “recent actions of the West Virginia Legislature that may pose imminent substantial harm to the students, teachers, and school systems” of the state. That is an apparent reference to the Common Core repeal effort.
“If the state board is forced to repeal the standards, it would be financially irresponsible. The cost of developing and implementing new West Virginia standards is estimated at over $42 million and at least two years of time. Where do we get the resources to develop different standards? How do we recapture the time, cost, energy and effort already spent?” – Supt. Michael Martirano
The Education Committee approved the bill several hours before the legislature even asked the Department of Education for a fiscal note about what passage of the bill might cost. State Supt. Michael Martirano was present for the committee meeting but was not asked to speak. However, in a written statement, he said, “If the state board is forced to repeal the standards, it would be financially irresponsible. The cost of developing and implementing new West Virginia standards is estimated at over $42 million and at least two years of time. Where do we get the resources to develop different standards? How do we recapture the time, cost, energy and effort already spent?”
But that’s not all Martirano said the bill could cost the state. “If the state board is forced to repeal the standards, it would put West Virginia at tremendous risk of losing federal dollars that support children in poverty, special needs students and English language learners,” he wrote. “The Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) requires all states to have standards. West Virginia would be in violation of existing ESEA flexibility waiver and thus risk the loss of over $225 million annually in federal dollars.”
The Education Department’s fiscal note, which the legislature requested Wednesday afternoon, estimates the long-range costs upon full implementation of the bill would be more than $126 million, but that does not include federal funding that would be put into jeopardy. The estimate includes costs of developing new standards, meeting with stakeholders, holding public forums, development of instruction resources aligned to the new standards, purchase of new instructional materials, and several other items.
On Wednesday, the House rejected a motion to refer the bill to the House Finance Committee on a vote of 27 delegates in favor, 64 against and nine absent.
Although representatives of several interested parties attended the House Education Committee’s meeting, committee members called on only two of them to comment on the bill. One was Erin Tuttle, an Indiana resident representing the American Principles Project, a conservative group opposed to Common Core. She warned that the Smarter Balanced Assessment associated with Common Core would endanger the privacy of West Virginia students. “All individual-level student assessment results will be available to the federal government to access through Smarter Balanced,” she said.
But Heather Hutchins, general counsel for the Education Department, said that wasn’t true. She said the department’s contract with the test vendor has an addendum that “specifically precludes the vendor from sharing that information. There is no mechanism by which the testing vendor shares individual student data with the federal government.”
The committee accepted several amendments from Delegate David Perry, D-Fayette. One would require the review of standards to begin by July 16, 2015. Other amendments from Perry, who is the ranking Democrat on the committee, added such groups as the West Virginia School Board Association and teacher organizations to those that would be represented on a commission of stakeholders that would be involved in developing new standards.
Howard O’Cull, executive director of the WVSBA, and Jim Crawford, a Kanawha County school board member who is president of the WVSBA, attended the meeting, but neither was asked to speak. Later, Crawford issued a written statement on the issue.
“I think, as county board members, we should be vigilant about the notion of repealing Common Core.” – WVSBA President Jim Crawford
“I think, as county board members, we should be vigilant about the notion of repealing Common Core,” he said. “I understand the issues presented in House Education Wednesday, but also realize the time and effort of those who have worked on the standards – and the fact there seems to be no immediate alternative. I do agree strongly in the review of the standards by a stakeholder group. In fact, we worked to ensure that a county board representative is part of that group. This is being done in other states as well. I agree with many of the delegates who talked with me both before and after the meeting that matters of this nature, in order to work, have to have broad stakeholder involvement, have to be transparent and have to be seen as more than a top-down decree or edict from the state board of education or state Department of Education. Otherwise they take a life of their own. We join the state superintendent who is making similar statements in regard to state Board of Education and state Department of Education initiation of Common Core. That being said, let’s carefully watch this issue. There is much at stake.”
In his statement, Martirano said, “If the state board is forced to repeal the standards, it will mean we do not trust our teachers to know what is best for our students and four years of work by our teachers would be wasted. This includes time that West Virginia educators spent over the last four years in writing the standards, participating in multiple professional learning sessions as well as the countless hours developing rigorous, engaging and creative lessons that help students learn the content while deepening their problem-solving and critical-thinking skills. If the state board is forced to repeal the standards, we will be ignoring the voices of our teachers, principals and superintendents who urge us to ‘stay the course.’”
The House Education Committee meeting room was so crowded Wednesday morning that more than a dozen people could not get in and spilled out into the hallway. Because Republicans on the committee caucused for half an hour before the meeting began, more debate on the bill occurred in the hallway prior to the meeting than among committee members during the meeting. One debate occurred between John Carey, a lobbyist for the Christian Home Educators of West Virginia, who was opposed to the Smarter Balanced Assessment associated with Common Core, and several members of the American Federation of Teachers, who want to stick with the state’s version of the standards, called the West Virginia Next Generation Standards and Objectives.
Carey said he didn’t object to Common Core so much, but he didn’t like it that West Virginia had to join a multi-state consortium for the Smarter Balanced Assessments. He said West Virginia would not be allowed to change the assessments without getting permission from the other consortium members.
“The procedures say we have to ask them what we can do here,” Carey said. “I’ve never, ever heard of anything like that. It’s actually illegal in Texas because you have to go through a process of asking teachers and parents and county boards what kind of standards you have.”
Jerry Throckmorton, a teacher from Kanawha County, asked, “So your only objections really are some top-down-from-the-federal-government control?”
“These might be the most wonderful standards today, but if we have something that’s real important for our kids, why do we have to ask people outside the state whether or not we can do it?” – John Carey
“Right,” Carey said. “These might be the most wonderful standards today, but if we have something that’s real important for our kids, why do we have to ask people outside the state whether or not we can do it?”
When Carey contended that the Common Core Standards were required by the federal government and developed by people outside of West Virginia, the teachers from the AFT said that wasn’t so. They said they personally knew West Virginia teachers who were involved in developing the standards.
Aaron Radcliff, a teacher from Lewis County, said the Common Core Standards were written to meet international benchmarks. “We cannot build walls around our students,” he said. “We have this amazing revolution happening right now with the Internet, and it’s so tragic to build a wall around our students saying, ‘You’re for West Virginia.’ That’s a tragedy because we’re not just raising West Virginia citizens. We’re raising students that should be able to interact with anybody in the world, and we have the tools now to make that happen.”
Radcliff said he wouldn’t want each local school board deciding what standards would be best for students. “The only way to build it up is to have some national input, which would be, in other words, other states,” he said.
Carey said he grew up in California, where people would never say that. “It’s only when I moved to West Virginia in ’90 that I realized this state has got an inferiority complex out the kazoo,” he said.
As typically happens in debates over Common Core, the arguments went in circles with one side not accepting the premises on which the other side’s arguments were built.
Health Officials Share Importance of Heart Disease Awareness
Health officials with the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources (DHHR) and Thomas Memorial Hospital today reminded residents about the importance of cardiovascular disease during an awareness event hosted by Thomas Memorial Hospital as part of American Heart Month.
“West Virginia leads the nation for the highest prevalence of cardiovascular disease and heart attacks,” said DHHR Cabinet Secretary Karen L. Bowling. “Today, we joined our public and private partners to underscore the preventive measures that can be taken to turn these statistics around as well as highlight the resources available. It is my hope that events like these will encourage all West Virginians to adopt a heart healthy lifestyle.”
The term “heart disease” refers to several types of heart conditions. The most common type in the United States is coronary artery disease, which can cause heart attack, angina, heart failure and arrhythmias. While most of these conditions are preventable, heart disease is the leading cause of death in both men and women.
“We, at Thomas Memorial, believe that education is key to knowing how to prevent heart disease. Every month we host free health screenings so you can know your numbers and the steps to take to prevent heart disease,” said Dan Lauffer, COO of Thomas Health System.
“Prevention starts with knowing the risk factors. For heart disease, these include tobacco use, physical inactivity, family history, diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity, said Dr. Rahul Gupta, State Health Officer and Commissioner for the Bureau for Public Health.
Dr. Kishore Challa, cardiologist at Thomas Memorial Hospital, recommends the following preventive measures to reduce the risk of heart disease:
• Eat a healthy diet.
• Maintain a healthy weight.
• Exercise regularly.
• Do not smoke.
• Limit alcohol use.
DHHR’s Division of Health Promotion and Chronic Disease (HPCD) combats heart disease in West Virginia by putting prevention research to work. HPCD promotes policies that make nutritious, reduced-sodium foods, self-management programs and physical activity opportunities more available in communities, worksites, schools and daycares. To learn more about heart disease and HPCD, www.dhhr.wv.gov/hpcd, stop by your local health department or call 304.356.4193.
STRAWBERRY GROWERS NEEDED FOR FESTIVAL MARKET 2015
Fresh, local strawberries are needed for this year’s West Virginia Strawberry Festival to stock a “Strawberry Market” planned for the May 09-17, 2015, event.
The Strawberry Festival board, the City of Buckhannon and the West Virginia Department of Agriculture (WVDA) are working cooperatively with private farmers to have local berries for sale at locations throughout West Virginia’s “strawberry city.”
“This great festival is an excellent opportunity for local farmers to benefit from the visitors that pour into Upshur County each May,” said Commissioner of Agriculture Walt Helmick. “But like the other tremendous food-related opportunities in our state, we need more growers to become involved.”
While local growers have continued to produce small amounts of berries for the traditional strawberry auction and other festival events, retail sales of West Virginia berries has been nearly non-existent for decades. At one time, the area grew a surplus of strawberries that were shipped out of state following the festival. One undated historical report in the archives of the Upshur County Historical Society notes that more than 1,500 gallons of berries were shipped to Pittsburgh. It also said that farmers would be supplying cherries, raspberries and currants “later in the season.” But over the years, that supply was replaced by berries from large-scale, out-of-state producers.
However, local berries made a reappearance in 2014. WVDA project coordinator Buddy Davidson said that the few berries provided by state growers sold well last year.
“We sold 200 pints of berries at quite a premium over farmers’ market prices, and that was only at one location and only over two days,” Davidson said. “I think we can duplicate that number at three or four other locations in Buckhannon.”
He noted that the timing of the festival has been problematic for growers, who have had a difficult time having berries ripe in mid-May. The increasing prevalence of high tunnels – low-cost, unheated greenhouse-type structures – makes fresh berries in mid-May a more practical proposition than in past years. In fact, many farmers report using the tunnels to grow some types of produce year-round.
He noted that the WVDA will be able to purchase berries up-front as a way of simplifying the financial aspects of the project. Berries will be then be priced to recoup the price paid to growers, with a little bit left over to donate to the Upshur County FFA club for helping with the sale.
“We serve two goals with this project,” said Davidson. “One is to help farmers take direct advantage of the pricing opportunity they have with a large, popular namesake festival. The other is to educate high school students about agriculture and business, and steer some of them to become food producers in the future.
The age of the average farmer in West Virginia and the U.S. continues to climb and few young people see farming as a viable career option, but it is, he noted.
“People will always need to eat and more and more, they prefer to eat food produced close to where they live,” Davidson said.
For more information, contact WVDA Communications Officer Buddy Davidson at 304.558.3708, 304.541.5932 (cell), or
House bill 2011 Pass the House of Delegates Lead sponsor Delegate Roger Hanshaw Republican Clay County (quote )This bill strikes a good balance between protecting the rights of both employees and employers, while also making sure that our small businesses aren’t driven out of business by they potentially devastating effects of lawsuits. I beg to different with your opinion. This bill to clarify deliberate intent exemption to the West Virginia compensation system. The judiciary Council admitted Monday that the draft legislation is so egregious that the burden of proof for one of these claims is higher than for first degree murder.I worked construction , oil and gas my entire career. On numerous occasions my employer violated safety regulation without my knowledge. Which did cause me harm and hospital stay twice. It is outrageous that Delegate Roger Hanshaw would ever consider a bill that provides immunity to companies who risk the lives of their workers.
Quote it is inconceivable that this legislature would back a bill that let’s a corporation get away with murder because that’s what this bill is going to do, said Anthony Majestic, president of the West Virginia Association for Justice.
If you kill with a gun you go to jail for life. If you harm someone in an automobile accident you are liable. Its called justice but under Delegate Roger Hanshaws bill a company and its leaders get off and the families are left with nothing. Its wrong. No worker will be safe and No company will be held accountable.
Under current West Virginia law, all employers have a responsibility to ensure that there faculties and work sites meet with federal and state standards as well as written standards for that particular industry. A worker who is injured or killed on the job as the result of been exposed to known unsafe working conditions can file a deliberate intent / . exposure claim . All state deliberate intent claims must meet a strict 5 part test number one Specific , unsafe working condition exist which present risk of serious injury or death . Number 2 ; The specific , unsafe working condition is a violation or contradictory to federal, state or written Industrial safe workplace rules and regulations. Number 3 ;The employer through its management knows the unsafe working condition exist and the risks it presents. Number 4; the employer nevertheless exposes employee to the unsafe working condition; and number 5 the employee is injured or killed. If any one of these elements is found not to exist, there is no claim and the case fails.Given West Virginia’s long history of on the job injuries, pariticularly in the coal mines,the availability of deliberate intent claims is crucial tool to hold companies accountable for unsafe practices.Delegate Roger Hanshaw don’t believe these 5 specific conditions are fair to his corporate buddies.
I don’t believe Delegate Roger Hanshaw has the working men and women of West Virginia in mind with this type of legislation but his H.B. 2011 is just what would please his corporate sponsors. A get out of jail free card and a bump in corporate profits when they don’t have to compensate the West Virginia families who’ve been hurt or killed.I hope that in Nov.2016 When you get the phone call from Roger Hanshaw for all working men and women to go vote, that his first bill as Delegate was against working men and women and a attack on your 7th Amendent rights [ Trial by Jury]
Margie Hale, executive director of West Virginia Kids Count, says when the impact of societal safety net programs are taken into account, the percent of children living in poverty in West Virginia fell by more than half between 2011 and 2013.
“These programs have made an enormous impact,“ she says. “In West Virginia, our rate went from 30 to 13. That means the programs we’re supporting are working and they are reducing poverty.“
The official poverty measure used as the standard was developed in the 1960s. The report calls for further development of the Census Bureau tool to reflect county-level data.
Laura Speer, associate director for policy reform and advocacy at the Annie E. Casey Foundation, says the foundation is aware safety net programs aren’t the only solution. The report encourages more investment in other ways known to set children on a path to success.
“Access to high-quality early education,“ says Speer. “Changing tax credit policies to help families keep more of what they learn. Linking up programs for parents to programs for children.“
The report estimates child poverty costs the country $500 billion annually in lost productivity and earnings, including costs related to health and crime.
Gallery Talk with Honnie and Art Wagner - Staring Today
You are invited to join artists Honnie and Art Wagner in a Gallery Talk on Monday, March 02, 2015 from 10:00-11:00 AM at the Spears Gallery in the Glenville State College Fine Arts Center.
The pair will talk about the works of three generations within one immigrant family of realist painters and their visual journey as a metaphor for the multigenerational immigrant experience in West Virginia.
These works are currently on display in the gallery show, ‘Three Generations of Asturian-American Painters.’
The exhibit includes pieces by Art, his mother Honnie Wagner, and his grandfather Emilio Fernández Alvarez for a dynamic show that encompasses around 100 years of culture and history in West Virginia’s Asturian communities that got their start in the early 1900s.
Honnie is a retired school teacher who enjoys painting picturesque Spanish scenes. She learned clay and molded sculpture from her father as a child and majored in art at West Virginia University, but suspended her artistic activity when she became a mother. In 1977 she visited her family in Asturias for the first time, meeting cousins, aunts, and uncles she had never known. She was charmed and fascinated by the traditional urban and rural lifestyles of her family in Asturias. Her paintings reflect images captured on film during visits to her ancestral home.
Art is a clinical social worker. As a child, Art played with his mother and grandfather’s art supplies, explored their books, and absorbed their art, which was displayed in the home. As a young studio artist, Art lived in Spain for two years, visiting his mother’s Asturian family on holidays. He later studied Asturian culture for three summers in the Asturian capital, Oviedo, in order to learn more about the culture his maternal grandparents left behind. These childhood and adult experiences led to his focus on the psychological, relational, and spiritual aspects of añoranza, or longing, through images of the human figure and landscape.
The show is open to the public and will run until Friday, March 06, 2015.
The gallery is open Monday through Friday from 10:00 AM until 2:00 PM and one hour before all GSC Fine Arts events.
For more information, contact Brenner at
Oilfield services company Baker Hughes Inc. says the number of rigs exploring for oil and natural gas in the U.S. fell by 43 this week to 1,267 amid depressed oil prices.
The Houston-based company said Friday in its weekly report that 86 rigs were exploring for oil and 280 for gas.
One was listed as miscellaneous. A year ago 1,769 rigs were active.
Of the major oil- and gas-producing states, North Dakota’s count fell by 11, Oklahoma lost nine, Louisiana seven, Texas six, New Mexico four, Colorado three and Wyoming two. West Virginia, Ohio and Kansas dropped one each.
Alaska increased by five.
Arkansas, California, Pennsylvania and Utah were all unchanged.
The U.S. rig count peaked at 4,530 in 1981 and bottomed at 488 in 1999.
TWO WV COAL OPERATORS SENTENCED IN $10M CASH SCHEME
Two West Virginia coal operators will each spend three years in prison for participating in a $10 million cash selling scheme.
Fifty-five-year-old William “Bill” F. Adams of Yukon, West Virginia, and 43-year-old John B. Ward of War, West Virginia, are among more than two dozen people who’ve been sentenced in the scheme.
Adams and Ward were convicted in 2014 of conspiring to defraud the government in the collection of taxes, and structuring cash transactions to avoid reporting requirements. They were sentenced Friday in federal court in Abingdon.
Prosecutors say the scheme involved people who provided cash and fraudulent invoices to coal operators in exchange for a 10% fee. The coal operators would pocket cash obtained from the scheme or pay their workers in cash to avoid paying taxes.
PIPELINE DEVELOPERS SEEK ACCESS TO WV LANDS FOR SURVEY
Developers of a proposed pipeline have warned landowners in West Virginia that they risk legal action if they don’t allow surveying of their properties.
Mountain Valley Pipeline spokeswoman Natalie Cox says the company sent certified letters last week to landowners in West Virginia who have refused to allow their properties to be surveyed.
Cox says the letters reminded the landowners that surveying is needed to help design the pipeline’s best route.
She says the letters also notified landowners that developers will take legal action against those who continue to deny access to their properties. She didn’t know how many letters were mailed.
The proposed 300-mile natural gas pipeline would run from Wetzel County, West Virginia, to another pipeline in Pittsylvania County, Virginia.
ALL 3 MERCER COUNTY JUDGES RECUSE SELVES FROM SEX ABUSE CASE
All three Mercer County Circuit Court judges have recused themselves from a child sex abuse case.
West Virginia Supreme Court administrative director Steve Canterbury says each judge cited a conflict of interest. He says the judges didn’t provide details.
Mercer County prosecutor Scott Ash says retired Fayette County Circuit Court Judge Charles Vickers has been appointed to hear Timothy Probert’s case.
Probert is charged with 50 counts, including 27 counts of sexual abuse by a custodian and 17 counts of first-degree sexual abuse. The charges involve nine male teens.
A trial date hasn’t been set.
THREE NEW CASES OF CHRONIC WASTING DISEASE DETECTED IN VIRGINIA DEER
Virginia game department officials say three new cases of chronic wasting disease were detected in white-tailed deer in northwestern Virginia during the 2014 hunting season.
The Department of Game and Inland Fisheries says the disease was detected for the first time in Shenandoah County in a buck that was killed by a vehicle near the Frederick County line.
Two other bucks shot by hunters tested positive for the disease in eastern Frederick County near the West Virginia border.
The department says it plans to change the boundary of the current chronic wasting disease containment area for the 2015 hunting season to include the entire counties of Shenandoah, Frederick, Warren, and Clarke.
The disease was found in West Virginia’s Hampshire County in 2005 and spread to Hardy County in 2010.
The Producer Price Index for final demand decreased 0.8% in January.
Final demand prices moved down 0.2% in both December and November.
In January, the index for final demand goods dropped 2.1% and prices for final demand services fell 0.2%.
Gross Domestic Product: Fourth Quarter and Annual 2014 (Second Estimate)
Real gross domestic product—the value of the production of goods and services in the United States, adjusted for price changes—increased at an annual rate of 2.2% in the fourth quarter of 2014, according to the “second” estimate released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis.
In the third quarter, real GDP increased 5.0%.
Consumer Price Index
On a seasonally adjusted basis, the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers declined 0.7% in January after falling 0.3% in December.
The index for all items less food and energy rose 0.2% in January after increasing 0.1% in December.
Real average hourly earnings rose by 1.2% in January, seasonally adjusted.
Average hourly earnings increased by 0.5% and the CPI-U decreased by 0.7%. Real average weekly earnings increased by 1.2% over the month.
EPA Orders CSX to Clean up Areas Impacted by West Virginia Train Derailment
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency ordered CSX to clean-up and restore the areas affected by the Feb. 16 train derailment in Mt. Carbon, WV. Twenty-seven cars derailed from the 109-car CSX train carrying more than three million gallons of crude oil from the Bakken Shale in North Dakota. The derailment resulted in an explosion, fires, loss of a house and required nearby residents to evacuate.
The EPA order follows an emergency response conducted under a Unified Command with federal, state and local agencies and CSX responding.
Under EPA’s order, CSX must first develop and submit a comprehensive plan for all the areas impacted by the derailment. CSX has committed significant resources to respond to the derailment and has worked closely with the Unified Command at the scene. The plan must include short-term and long-term cleanup and restoration.
EPA has closely coordinated with the State of West Virginia on the order and will continue to work closely with the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection and other agencies to ensure proper cleanup and to minimize any immediate or lasting environmental impacts of the derailment.
Specifically CSX must:
*Continue air and water monitoring and testing;
*Contain and recover oil on Armstrong Creek, the Kanawha River and their tributaries and the adjoining shorelines;
*Regularly inspect the boom located along the river to capture the residual oily water as ice continues to melt;
*Maintain the integrity of the metal sheet pile wall that creates a barrier between the rail line and the Kanawha River to allow the recovery of oil to continue;
*Provide education to residents about the potential effects from the incident including potential health threats, protective measures, wildlife preservation, and claims and notification procedures;
*Conduct long-term monitoring of Armstrong Creek, the Kanawha River and their adjoining shorelines to detect oil that may be discharged from area facilities;
*Report to EPA and West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection on progress and confirm compliance with the approved plan;
*Respond immediately, if another threat to public health or welfare occurs while implementing the order; and
*Conduct long–term monitoring for air quality and testing for ground water, surface water and shorelines to ensure that the cleanup and restoration remain effective.
The EPA order follows an emergency response conducted under a Unified Command with federal, state and local agencies and CSX responding. The response was conducted under and affected by harsh winter weather conditions. The residents were able to return to their homes in six days after being evacuated. Clearance for their return was based on verification from consistent monitoring and testing of air, drinking water and surface. The roadway and the railroad track are now open.
OBAMACARE THREATENS TO END JOHN ROBERTS’S DREAM OF A NONPARTISAN SUPREME COURT
The first time the Affordable Care Act came before the Supreme Court, its constitutional foundation under attack, John G. Roberts Jr. was its unlikely savior. In a spectacular display of spot-welding, the chief justice joined fellow conservatives on some points and brought liberals on board for others. Roberts was the only member of the court to endorse the entire jerry-rigged thing, and even he made sure to distance himself from the substance of the law. (“It is,” he wrote, “not our job to protect the people from the consequences of their political choices.”) Still, his efforts rescued President Obama’s signature achievement on grounds that many had dismissed as an afterthought.
As long as Justice Anthony M. Kennedy is on the court, he will most often be the decider when the justices split along their familiar ideological fault lines. But, slowly and quietly, Roberts is the one trying to build its legacy. He sees it as somehow exempt from the partisan fugue that long ago enveloped Washington. Justice Stephen G. Breyer has worried that the public might see him and his colleagues as “nine junior-varsity politicians”; public approval of the Supreme Court is falling. But while all of the justices bristle at the notion of a political court, the eponymous head of the Roberts court has the most to lose. After all, its decisions cannot be respected if the court is not respected. “It is a very serious threat to the independence and integrity of the courts to politicize them,” Roberts said at his 2005 confirmation hearings.
Roberts, 60, jokes about the “odd historical quirk” that gives the chief justice only one vote. But he has learned to use the tools that come with the job: He shapes the discussion at conference; he writes the court’s opinion, or assigns it strategically, when he is in the majority; he’s happy to settle for nonthreatening, incremental changes that may bloom later into something more. And last term, what Roberts has described as the chief justice’s “particular obligation to try to achieve consensus” paid off. The share of unanimous decisions soared to 66%, a level not seen since the 1940s. The share of 5-to-4 decisions, high during Roberts’s tenure compared with those of other chief justices, fell to 14%, the lowest since he joined the court.
And then here comes Obamacare II. In King v. Burwell , to be argued Wednesday, plaintiffs say the text of the law must be interpreted in a way that would neuter it, canceling health insurance subsidies for about 7.5 million Americans in at least 34 states. Can Roberts’s portrayal of the Supreme Court as above politics survive another round with the most partisan issue of the decade?
Roberts, of course, has not ceased to be a conservative. Before Obamacare — or since — it’s hard to think of a case in which he has not voted the way conservative activists had hoped when they recommended him to President George W. Bush. The Roberts court has been described as the most pro-business in history. Its liberals complain that consumers are on a losing streak and that the court has imposed new roadblocks for those trying to prove discrimination.
And when the issue is important to the chief justice, or when there seems to be no chance for compromise, he has been decisive. In a suite of cases, for instance, the court has systematically dismantled campaign finance restrictions, calling them hostile to free speech rights — Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission being the most famous of several 5-to-4 votes. Roberts wrote the majority opinion in the most recent, which featured the Republican National Committee as a plaintiff.
He has also forcefully opposed the government’s use of racial classifications, and he wrote to strike down a key provision of the Voting Rights Act. Roberts, unlike Kennedy or even Justice Antonin Scalia, had never been the lone conservative to join the court’s liberals to make a majority in a major case — until the Affordable Care Act.
Yet chief justices tend not to see the court as a vehicle for advancing their unadulterated ideas. A transformation came over Roberts’s predecessor and mentor, William H. Rehnquist, after becoming chief. As an associate justice, Rehnquist wrote so many solo dissents that his clerks awarded him a Lone Ranger doll. But like chief justices before him, in his new role he felt a responsibility to guard the court’s precedents and image. The most famous example is his metamorphosis on the Miranda rule, requiring police officers to read suspects their rights. For years, Rehnquist had denounced the rule as constitutionally unsound. But after his ascent he voted to uphold it, saying the warnings “have become part of our national culture.”
Roberts came to the court as chief, so there is no similar evolution to judge. But those who know him say his vision of the responsibilities of the chief is paramount. “Associate Justice Roberts would be much closer to Scalia than Chief Justice Roberts is in terms of their approach to cases,” says one lawyer, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he argues Supreme Court cases. Anticipating this approach, Roberts pledged himself to the principle of stare decisis at his confirmation hearings and preached a gospel of judicial modesty, saying he came with “no agenda.”
While he can’t change Washington’s partisan warfare, Roberts does what he can to avoid becoming a weapon in it, those who know him say. Unlike his colleagues, he does not give interviews. He avoids partisan gatherings such as the Federalist Society’s annual gala (where Scalia and Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel A. Alito Jr. take turns providing the after-dinner remarks) or the American Constitution Society (where Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor have been honored). Even the bipartisan Gridiron Dinner, where the nation’s political elite gather for gentle roasts, may have proved too much for Roberts: There’s always a seat at the head table for the chief justice of the United States, but this one hasn’t attended since 2009.
His protection of the court’s image extends to his colleagues. In the first Affordable Care Act case, conservative activists and pols demanded that Justice Elena Kagan recuse herself because of her work as Obama’s solicitor general, while liberal groups called for Thomas to step aside because his wife is a prominent conservative activist. Roberts, without specifically mentioning either, tried to shut down those complaints in his annual “state of the judiciary” report that year. “I have complete confidence in the capability of my colleagues to determine when recusal is warranted,” he wrote. “They are jurists of exceptional integrity and experience whose character and fitness have been examined through a rigorous appointment and confirmation process.”
But the consensus compulsion is clearest when the court issues narrow opinions. With Obamacare, for instance, Roberts bobbed and weaved, agreeing with conservatives that Congress had exceeded its power to regulate interstate commerce but also siding with liberals to save the individual mandate by calling it a tax. In the last term, narrow rulings made it possible for the court to unite, at least on the bottom line, in striking down abortion-clinic buffer zones in Massachusetts and rejecting efforts to restrict class-action suits alleging security fraud.
His efforts are not universally revered. “John Roberts, Thy Name Is Traitor,” one conservative news site blared after the Obamacare decision. Glenn Beck offered T-shirts with Roberts’s smiling face and the word “COWARD” underneath. John Yoo, a former Justice Department official in the George W. Bush administration, wrote that this coming week’s challenge gives Roberts a chance to “atone.” Scalia, a frequent Roberts ally, once mocked Roberts’s “faux judicial modesty.” And in last term’s case on the buffer zones, he dismissed the chief’s majority opinion as “Something for Everyone.”
Roberts insists that the nation’s poisonous political climate, rather than anything the justices have done, is to blame for damage to the court’s reputation. But he lives in a universe with a gridlocked Congress, a combative president who calls out the court at his State of the Union address and colleagues identified as often by party affiliation as by their judicial philosophies. “Today’s partisan split, while unprecedented, is likely enduring,” says a study of the court by professors Neal Devins of William & Mary and Lawrence Baum of Ohio State. “A five-member Democratic Court will reach sets of decisions that are quite different from those of a five-member Republican Court.”
Perhaps then political tensions are simply inescapable. But paradoxically, the court is hard to characterize precisely because of its close balance. The Roberts court has found rights for Guantanamo detainees; ruled that the Second Amendment secures an individual right to keep guns; handed gay rights activists some of their most important victories; drastically cut back on the ability of legislatures to restrict campaign contributions; and narrowed the options for punishing juvenile defendants. Alternating liberal and conservative victories on this term’s two most important cases — gay marriage and health care — offer similar chances for “balance” when the justices complete their work this June.
The court’s conflicting messages usually depend on Kennedy siding either with the conservative justices or the liberal ones. But about two-thirds of the time, the Reagan appointee finds his natural home on the right. And while such snapshots can be misleading, in the last term Roberts agreed with Kennedy more than any other justice did. Kennedy was on the winning side in more opinions than any of his colleagues; Roberts was right behind.
This hardly means that either side sees the court as a neutral arbiter. Most liberal analysts praised Roberts’s first Obamacare decision, but some forecast that his reasoning would be used to secure conservative victories in the future. Others speculated that it gave Roberts “cover” to move on to issues about which he felt more strongly. They felt vindicated a year later when he sided with his conservative colleagues and wrote the 5-to-4 opinion striking down a crucial component of the Voting Rights Act.
Roberts appears to know this. At an appearance at the University of Nebraska law school last fall, he talked about how gridlock between Obama and congressional Republicans means collateral damage for the nine justices, too. “I don’t want it to spill over and affect us,” he said. “We are not Democrats and Republicans in how we go about it, and in nine years I’ve never seen any political issue like that arise between us.” He worried that the near-party-line confirmation of “somebody as eminently qualified as our newest member,” Kagan, could suggest that people perceive the court, too, as a political body.
It is a perception that, despite Roberts’s zealous labors, the court could soon reinforce, at least on the left. “A 5-to-4 decision invalidating the premium tax credits” in King v. Burwell “would seriously call into question the legitimacy of the court,” Tim Jost, a Washington and Lee University law professor and health-care expert, said in a video distributed by the liberal Center for American Progress. “I think it’s going to be [decided] pretty transparently for political reasons.” ~~ Robert Barnes ~~
WHAT’S IN A NAME? A LOT, THE SUPREME COURT SAYS
Reporters covering the Supreme Court got an important message Thursday from the court: There was an error in the transcript of Wednesday’s oral arguments in an employment discrimination case.
The case involved a woman who claimed Abercrombie & Fitch denied her a job because her headscarf didn’t comport with the company’s dress code. The company argued the woman didn’t say she wore the the headscarf for religious reasons.
Justice Elena Kagan, according to the transcript, posed this question to Abercrombie lawyer Shay Dvoretzky.
“Now, Mr. Dvoretzky, suppose an employer just doesn’t want to hire any Jews, and somebody walks in and his name is Mel Goldberg, and he looks kind of Jewish and the employer doesn’t know he’s Jewish. No absolute certainty and certainly Mr. Goldberg doesn’t say anything about being Jewish, but the employer just operates [on] an assumption that he’s Jewish, so no, he doesn’t get the job. Is that a violation?”
There was, it seems, an important error, the court said. It was the wrong hypothetical Goldberg.
“Attached is a further revised transcript,” the court said, “with the following change: On p. 35, line 8, Mel Goldberg is replaced with Noah Goldberg.”
Did Mel call to complain? Was Noah upset? But wait a minute. Mel is a fictitious person, made up for purposes of argument. Granted, the name Melvin is somewhat dated, and Noah is hipper, but. . . .
So we asked court spokeswoman Kathy Arberg what happened.
“The early version of the transcript yesterday said ‘Mel,’” she e-mailed back. Seems some reporters at the argument had said “they were pretty sure the Justice said ‘Noah.’ So the Marshal’s Office checked the audio, confirmed Justice Kagan said ‘Noah,’ and had the reporting service correct the transcript.”
Well, the Goldbergs will be happy that’s taken care of.
HYUNDAI RECALLS 263,000 CARS DUE TO POWER-STEERING PROBLEM
Hyundai is recalling about 263,000 cars in the U.S. and Canada because a sensor problem could cause drivers to lose power-assisted steering.
The company has not reported any injuries or accidents. A representative for Hyundai Motor America wasn’t immediately available for comment.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says a sensor in the affected cars could detect a discrepancy in the steering input and signals and disable power-assisted steering as a result. Cars would revert to manual steering and require greater effort to steer at low speeds, raising the risk of a crash.
Hyundai Motor America says it plans to notify owners and that dealers will fix the control unit of the electronic power steering at no cost.
The affected cars include model years 2008 to 2010 of Elantras made between June 01, 2008 and April 30, 2010 and Elantra Touring vehicles made between November 01, 2008 and April 30.
The recall includes nearly 205,000 cars in the U.S. and about another 58,000 in Canada.
Owners can contact Hyundai’s customer service at 1.855.671.3059.
WHAT STAR TREK’S MR. SPOCK TAUGHT US ABOUT FOREIGN POLICY
Actor Leonard Nimoy died on Friday at the age of 83. He had led a long and full life, with career footnotes that would be the crowning achievement in lesser obituaries, but for most, he’ll always be remembered best for one thing: His role as Mr. Spock in “Star Trek.“
For those who care about international relations (such as, hopefully, the people who read WorldViews) “Star Trek” has a special place in their theoretical universe: There are few works of art as easy to relate to IR theory than the 1960s sci-fi television series and its subsequent spin-offs – and Spock has a special place in that concept.
For years, people have pointed out the echoes between the “Star Trek” universe and an idealist school of thought in foreign policy. The broad set of ideas labeled idealism generally contends that governments should try to hold true to their internal political ideals in their foreign policy, in spite of the anarchy of the global stage. The idea is that these political ideals – such as democracy, human rights, and education – can ultimately transcend that anarchy, especially if surpranational institutions are involved.
In the"Star Trek” universe, set far into the future, Spock and his fellow Starfleet officers are representatives of the United Federation of Planets – an interplanetary, inter-species federal group with clear Utopian principles. The creator of Star Trek, Gene Roddenberry, told reporters that he modeled it on the United Nations but at other points it began to look more like NATO.
The Federation, while interplanetary, seemed to be dominated by Earth – a pretty easy stand in for the United States, many would argue. As Amit Gupta, an associate professor in the Department of International Security Studies at the USAF Air War College, the “bad guys” who weren’t part of the federation could also be linked to international powers in the 1960s: The brutal, totalitarian Klingons representing the Soviet Union while the more admirable Romulans could be Communist China (though they were also, at least in part, based on the Roman Empire).
Gupta contends that the non-human race to which Spock’s father belongs, the logical, unemotional Vulcans, probably best match up with Japan. The history kind of makes sense – the Vulcans had a violent past that they renounced for pacifism and were considered the best friend to humankind. They also shared historical links to the Romulans and even had their own form of martial arts.
Much of the original series grappled with the inherent problems similar to those of idealism in foreign policy – Starfleet is often drawn into complicated situations and even conflicts, despite its exploratory mission and altruistic values. In these situations Spock, with his unemotional, half-Vulcan view on the universe, was the counterpoint to Captain Jame T. Kirk’s emotional, human manner. As Stephen Benedict Dyson of the University of Washington explained a couple of years ago on the Monkey Cage blog, they succeeded when they combined their character traits. “Separately, Kirk is impetuous and Spock rigidly utilitarian,“ Dyson wrote. “Good decisions come when they weave their analyses together.“ This combination of emotion and region was something political scientists had begun to look to, too, Dyson added.
The debates about foreign policy that “Star Trek” first touched upon in the 1960s are still relevant today, even if the threat from the Klingons and Romulans has changed. Idealism (plus the related neo-liberalism) and its counterpart, realism, are still very much a part of the foreign policy debate. President Obama’s cool, calm demeanor has even earned him repeated comparison to Spock (“I loved Spock,“ Obama said in a statement on Friday). It’s interesting to imagine what Spock and Captain Kirk might have done in Obama’s position. You could see Kirk calling for boots on the ground to fight the Islamic State, but Spock demanding he hold back. Spock might veto Kirk’s plan to provide lethal weaponry to Ukraine. Exactly who is Spock and who is Kirk in Obama and Netanyahu’s disagreement over Iran’s nuclear program would no doubt be a subject of dispute.
Nimoy wasn’t actually Spock, of course, a fact he made quite obvious with his 1975 autobiography, “I am not Spock.“ But he did deeply influence the character (to be fair, the title of his 1995 autobiography is “I am Spock”): as The Post’s Abby Ohlheiser writes, Spock’s famous “live long and prosper” salute had its roots in Nimoy’s Jewish upbringing. And Nimoy did seem quite confident in Obama’s Spock-like attributes. “He is measured and stable,” Nimoy told the New York Observer in 2008.
The Glenville State Pioneers forced West Virginia Wesleyan into 17 turnovers and had three players score in double figures as they defeated the Bobcats on Senior Day by 26 points.
The Pioneers and Bobcats would go back and fourth early however Glenville State would take a three point lead over West Virginia Wesleyan, 12-9, at the 12:45 minute mark of the first half. West Virginia Wesleyan would come back and tie the game up at 22 all 6:20 left till halftime.
However Glenville State would end the half on a 17-3 run as the Pioneers took a 15 point lead over the Bobcats, 40-25.
In the second half the Pioneers would keep there foot on the pedal and cruise to a 26 point victory, 75-49.
There were three ties in the game, all coming in the first half. The Pioneers would lead the entire game.
Glenville State caused 17 turnovers and scored 31 points off of them. The Pioneers bench outscored the Bobcats bench 29 to 11.
Glenville State was led by senior Reggie Williams as he scored a game high 14 points and handed out a team high four assists. Fellow senior guard Donte Morales chipped in with 13 points while Sedric Nady scored 10 points.
Pioneers senior center Ed Newell scored a career high nine points in the win.
West Virginia Wesleyan had two players score in double figures led by Tanner McGrew scoring 12 points while Austin Shell chipped in with 11 points.
Glenville State (18-10, 14-8) will host UVa –Wise on Tuesday, March 03, 2015 at the Waco Center in the first round of the MEC Conference Tournament. Game time is set for 7:30 PM.
Glenville State freshman guard Kayla Tibbs scored a game high 25 points as she hit five three-pointers as the Lady Pioneers rolled over West Virginia Wesleyan on Senior Day by 49 points, 104-55.
The Lady Pioneers would get off to a slow start as they held a one point lead over West Virginia Wesleyan, 12-11, with 14:11 left till halftime.
After that Glenville State would go on a run and take 15 point lead, 34-19, at the 6:33 minute mark. The Lady Pioneers would cruise into halftime up by 31 points, 58-27.
In the second half it would be all Glenville State as the Lady Pioneers were firing on all cylinders as they went on to win, 104-55.
There were only two ties in the game, also the Lady Pioneers never trailed in the game.
The Lady Pioneers defense caused 27 turnovers and converted them into 36 points. Glenville State also won the rebounding battle as they outrebounded West Virginia Wesleyan by one, 41-40.
Glenville State shot 51 percent from the floor and 38 percent from behind the three-point line while West Virginia Wesleyan shot only 36 percent from the floor and 28 percent from behind the three-point line.
The Lady Pioneers had five players score in double figures with Kayla Tibbs scoring a game high 25 points. Senior Keyanna Tate scored 16 points while fellow senior Briana Smythe scored 14 points and grabbed a team high seven rebounds.
Freshman Juile Bishop chipped in with 12 points, hitting four three-pointers in the game, while freshman Tayana Stewart chipped in with 10 points, a career high for Stewart.
Senior Katrina Salins dished out a game high six assists.
West Virginia Wesleyan was led by Alexa Mortenson as she scored 17 points while Mari Stewart finished with a double-double scoring 17 points and grabbing 11 rebounds.
The Glenville State Lady Pioneers (14-12, 12-10) will host West Virginia State on Tuesday, March 03, 2015 in the first round of the MEC Conference Tournament at the Waco Center. Tip-off is set for 5:30 PM.
There is no tiebreaker to determine the regular season champion and co-champions are recognized. The tiebreaker procedure is only to determine seeding for next week’s conference tournament.
We will release the brackets and seedings after the results are in on Saturday evening.
Below is the tiebreaker process:
1st Tiebreaker: HEAD-TO-HEAD
Two Teams: Head-The first tie-breaker is head-to-head. If the head-to-head record between the two does not resolve the tie-breaker, then move to the 2nd tie-breaker.
Three Teams or More: Head-to-head is still used when it is more than two teams.
Three Teams: The three tied teams are looked at as a subset head-to-head versus the group. You would compare the records against all tied teams. In a three-team tie in the MEC schedule, the subset would be a 4-game record against the two teams with which a team is tied. If this breaks all ties, then the teams are ordered by record in the subset. In a scenario where Team A if 4-0, and Team B and Team C are both 1-3, then head-to-head is used between Team B and Team C using the two games they played against each other to break the secondary tie (in this case they obviously would be 1-1 against each other). Then proceed to the 2nd Tiebreaker.
In simplest terms, head-to-head continues to be used after initial ties are broken between more than two teams if ties remain.
2nd Tiebreaker: Record vs. Teams in Standings - 1st-12th place teams.
If a tie still exists after head-to-head comparisons, then in descending order the tied teams record is considered against other teams in the standings starting with 1st place.
vs. 1st place TEAM A 0-2 | TEAM B 0-2
vs. 2nd place TEAM A 1-1 | TEAM B 0-2
TEAM A wins 2nd tiebreaker.
► Top-25 College Men’s Basketball Game Results
(Sunday, March 01)
Final Score: (5) Wisconsin 68, Michigan State 61
Frank Kaminsky was sensational on Senior Day, scoring a season-high 31 points to help No. 5 Wisconsin secure a share of the Big Ten regular-season title with a 68-61 win over Michigan State. Kaminsky added eight rebounds, three assists and three blocks in his last game at the Kohl Center on Sunday. The Badgers (26-3, 14-2 Big Ten) honored their senior class which included Traevon Jackson, Josh Gasser and Kaminsky prior to tipoff. Nigel Hayes had 14 points for Wisconsin, which clinched a share of its first Big Ten championship since 2008. The Badgers rebounded from Tuesday’s 59-53 loss at No. 14 Maryland that snapped their 10-game winning streak. Bryn Forbes made all five of his 3-point attempts and finished with 21 points for the Spartans (19-10, 10-6), who have dropped two straight on the heels of a four-game winning streak.
Final Score: Connecticut 81, (21) SMU 73
Rodney Purvis scored a career-high 28 points on 9-of-16 shooting as Connecticut posted an 81-73 win over No. 21 SMU on Sunday. Ryan Boatright had 23 points and Daniel Hamilton added 16 with seven rebounds for the Huskies (17-11, 10-6 AAC), who have won three straight games. Markus Kennedy led SMU (23-6, 14-3) with 18 points and nine rebounds. Yanick Moreira scored 12 of his 14 points in the first half for the Mustangs, who were looking to match a school record with an eighth consecutive road victory. SMU, which had won five straight overall, will battle Tulsa at home next Sunday for the American Athletic Conference regular-season title.
Final Score: (25) Providence 77, Marquette 66
LaDontae Henton had 25 points and 15 rebounds and No. 25 Providence rolled to a 77-66 win over Marquette on Sunday. Kris Dunn scored 16 points and Tyler Harris added 13 off the bench for the Friars (20-9, 10-6 Big East), who were coming off an 89-61 loss to No. 6 Villanova on Tuesday, a day after entering the Associated Press rankings for the first time this season. Duane Wilson scored 22 points and Matt Carlino had 21 for the Golden Eagles (11-17, 3-13), who have lost five games in a row and 11 of their last 12.
► NBA Game Results
(Sunday, March 01)
Final Score: LA Clippers 96, Chicago 86
Chris Paul had 28 points and 12 assists and the Los Angeles Clippers pulled away to beat the injury-riddled Chicago Bulls 96-86 on Sunday. DeAndre Jordan grabbed 26 rebounds in the win, including 17 in the first half, while Jamal Crawford added 16 points and Spencer Hawes had 14 points and nine rebounds. The Clippers have won two in a row and are 6-3 without star forward Blake Griffin, who underwent surgery before the All-Star break to remove a staph infection in his right elbow.
Final Score: Houston 105, Cleveland 103 (OT)
James Harden scored 33 points with eight rebounds and five assists to help the Houston Rockets take down the Cleveland Cavaliers, 105-103, in overtime on Sunday. Terrence Jones posted 19 points with seven rebounds and Donatas Motiejunas added 16 points for the Rockets, who swept their five-game homestand. LeBron James had a rough night shooting, and it was his two misses from the free throw line that cost Cleveland the game late in overtime. He finished with a game-high 37 points despite shooting 15-of-35 from the floor and 3-of-11 from the charity stripe. Kevin Love had 21 points and Tristan Thompson recorded 14 points with a season-high 19 rebounds for Cleveland.
Final Score: Golden State 106, Boston 101
Stephen Curry’s 37 points fueled the Golden State Warriors’ monumental comeback in their 106-101 win over the Boston Celtics on Sunday night. Klay Thompson tallied 20 points, Harrison Barnes posted 17 points with eight rebounds and Draymond Green added 14 points with 11 rebounds for Golden State, which trailed by as many as 26 in the first half before surging back into the game in the fourth quarter. Isaiah Thomas deposited 20 points off the bench to lead Boston, Tyler Zeller had 17 points and Evan Turner netted 10 points with nine rebounds and six assists.
Final Score: Indiana 94, Philadelphia 74
Roy Hibbert had 14 points and 15 rebounds as the Indiana Pacers defeated the Philadelphia 76ers 94-74 on Sunday night. George Hill posted 17 points, nine rebounds and four assists, while Luis Scola added 15 points and six boards off the bench for the Pacers, who have won five of their last six games. Nerlens Noel supplied 10 points and 12 rebounds for Philadelphia, which has dropped six of its last seven contests.
Final Score: Charlotte 98, Orlando 83
Mo Williams had 23 points while dishing out 11 assists Sunday as the Charlotte Hornets beat the Orlando Magic 98-83. All five Hornets starters reached double figures in points, with Al Jefferson, Gerald Henderson and Cody Zeller each scoring 16. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist posted 11 points and 13 rebounds as Charlotte won for just the second time in its last eight games. Victor Oladipo led Orlando with 21 points. Tobias Harris added 13 points and nine rebounds in the Magic’s third straight loss.
Final Score: Portland 110, Sacramento 99
LaMarcus Aldridge had 26 points and 15 rebounds and the Portland Trail Blazers took down the Kings in Sacramento on Sunday, 110-99. It was Aldridge’s third straight double-double, and Portland’s third straight win, since he missed a 98-92 loss to Memphis on Feb. 22 with a thumb sprain. Damian Lillard tallied a game-high 31 points with seven assists and Wesley Matthews added 17 points for the Blazers. Sacramento gave them a game despite All-Star center DeMarcus Cousins missing his second straight game with a left ankle sprain and bruised left hip. Rudy Gay went for 24 points and eight rebounds for the short-handed Kings, while Derrick Williams chipped in 18 points in a reserve role.
Final Score: Oklahoma City 108, LA Lakers 101
Serge Ibaka had 18 points and 14 rebounds as the Oklahoma City Thunder defeated the Los Angeles Lakers 108-101 on Sunday. Russell Westbrook sat out for Oklahoma City after suffering a fracture of his right cheek during Friday’s game against the Portland Trail Blazers. Westbrook, who was in the midst of recording three straight triple-doubles, took an inadvertent knee to the face from teammate Andre Roberson in the closing seconds of Friday’s loss and was clearly shaken up. He stayed in the game but was taken to a Portland hospital afterwards. D.J. Augustin posted 18 points, nine boards and five assists, while Enes Kanter added 16 points and 15 rebounds for the Thunder, who had lost two straight coming in on the heels of a seven-game winning streak. Jeremy Lin led the Lakers with 20 points, eight assists and six rebounds.
Final Score: New Orleans 99, Denver 92
Tyreke Evans stuffed the stat sheet with 22 points, seven rebounds and seven assists and the surging New Orleans Pelicans won their fifth straight game with a 99-92 takedown of the Denver Nuggets. Eric Gordon scored 18 points, Dante Cunningham gave 14 and Omer Asik pulled down 16 rebounds for the Pelicans, who are tied with Houston for the longest current win streak in the league. Their best stretch of the season has come at a bizarre time, as All-Star Anthony Davis (shoulder) and sixth man Ryan Anderson (knee) both missed their fourth straight game. They are back in action on Monday in Dallas before returning to New Orleans for a three-game homestand. The Pelicans sit one-half game behind Oklahoma City for the eighth spot in the Western Conference. Newly acquired guard Will Barton had 16 points and 10 rebounds off the bench for Denver, while Danilo Gallinari paced the NBA’s coldest team with 21 points. Denver has dropped six in a row and 12 of its last 13 games. It is the only team that hasn’t won since the All-Star break. Randy Foye scored 19 points on 5-of-10 from deep in the setback, while Ty Lawson had just five points on 2- of-6 from the floor.
► Pittsburgh Pirates: It’s ‘sickening’ that ‘Jihadi John’ is wearing our hat
“Jihadi John,” who has been filmed beheading a number of American, British and Japanese hostages in videos released by the Islamic State, was revealed on Thursday to be Mohammed Emwazi, a Kuwait-born Londoner. In one photo of Emwazi released by Sky News in England, he is wearing a baseball hat that should look very familiar to U.S. sports fans.
The Pittsburgh Pirates, suffice to say, are horrified that a symbol of their team is now connected with a murderer, and on Friday they released a short statement.
► Former White Sox star Minnie Minoso dies
Former Chicago White Sox star Minnie Minoso has died.
The White Sox didn’t release details of the Minoso’s death, saying he passed away Saturday night in Chicago.
Baseball-reference.com listed Minoso’s age as 89 and the White Sox said he was 90.
“Our organization and our city have suffered a heart-breaking loss today,“ said White Sox chairman Jerry Reinsdorf in a statement Sunday. “We have lost our dear friend and a great man. Many tears are falling.“
Minoso, a native of Cuba, began his big league career with Cleveland in 1949, but spent 12 of his 17 seasons in the majors with the White Sox. He was Chicago’s first black player when he was acquired from the Indians in 1951.
A nine-time All-Star, Minoso played most of his career in the outfield and was a lifetime .298 hitter with 336 doubles, 83 triples, 186 homers and 1,023 runs batted in. He won three Gold Glove awards, led the American League in triples and stolen bases three times and topped the circuit in doubles once.
In addition to his time with the White Sox and Indians, Minoso also played for the Cardinals and Senators.
Minoso retired in 1964, but returned to action in 1976 and picked up a hit in eight at-bats over three games with the White Sox. He was hitless in two more plate appearances in 1980, which allowed him to play in five different decades.
The White Sox retired his No. 9 in 1983 and unveiled a sculpture of the man known as the “Cuban Comet” in 2004.
► NHL Game Results
(Sunday, March 01)
Final Score: Winnipeg 5, Los Angeles 2
Andrew Ladd had two goals as the Winnipeg Jets grabbed a 5-2 victory over the Los Angeles Kings on Sunday. Drew Stafford, Tyler Myers and Blake Wheeler each scored a goal for the Jets, who had lost three of four coming in. Michael Hutchinson turned aside 18 shots in the win. Jeff Carter scored both goals for the Kings, who have lost three straight following an eight-game winning streak. Jonathan Quick allowed four goals on 21 shots through two periods before being replaced by Martin Jones, who stopped all seven shots he faced in relief.
Final Score: Florida 4, Tampa Bay 3
Jaromir Jagr posted a goal and an assist to lead the Florida Panthers in a 4-3 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning on Sunday. Jonathan Huberdeau had three assists, while Aaron Ekblad, Aleksander Barkov and Brad Boyes all scored for the Panthers, who have won their past two after losing four straight. Al Montoya stopped 20 shots in the win. Anton Stralman had a goal and an assist while Tyler Johnson and Steven Stamkos also scored for the Lightning, who had won three of four coming in. Ben Bishop turned aside 22 shots in the loss.
Final Score: Pittsburgh 5, Columbus 3
Evgeni Malkin picked up two goals and one assist as Pittsburgh toppled Columbus by a 5-3 count at CONSOL Emergy Center. Steve Downie, David Perron and Derrick Pouliot also lit the lamp for the Penguins, winners of four straight games after dropping three in a row. Kris Letang and Sidney Crosby each contributed a pair of assists while Marc-Andre Fleury came up with 22 saves. James Wisniewski, Ryan Johansen and Nick Foligno scored for the Blue Jackets, whose losing streak reached six consecutive games. Curis McElhinney played well in defeat, making 36 stops.
Final Score: Washington 4, Toronto 0
Braden Holtby’s seventh shutout of the season came thanks to a 32-save effort, as Washington prolonged Toronto’s road woes with a 4-0 decision on Sunday night at Verizon Center. Alex Ovechkin paced his club with two goals and one assist for the Capitals, who put an end to a three-game losing streak. Marcus Johansson and Joel Ward added markers in the third period. James Reimer allowed three goals on 31 shots for the Maple Leafs, who failed to pick up a win away from home for the 16th straight time. Toronto heads to Florida and Tampa Bay on Tuesday and Thursday before a three-game home stand.
Final Score: Anaheim 3, Dallas 1
John Gibson stopped 39 shots to lead the Anaheim Ducks in a 3-1 win over the Dallas Stars on Sunday. Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf each had a goal and an assist, while Clayton Stoner also scored for the Ducks, who have won five of their last six games. Patrick Eaves scored the only goal of the game for the Stars, who have lost their last six games. Jhonas Enroth stopped 19 shots in the loss. Prior to the game, Dallas shipped forward Erik Cole to Detroit for defensive prospect Mattias Backman, forward prospect Mattias Janmark as well as a second- round pick in 2015. The Stars also sent a conditional third-round pick in 2015 to Detroit, but the pick goes back to Dallas if the Wings advance as far as the Eastern Conference Finals.
Final Score: Vancouver 6, St. Louis 5 (SO)
Chris Higgins netted the deciding shot in the third round of the shootout, rescuing Vancouver from a worse fate and producing a 6-5 victory over St. Louis from Rogers Arena. Shawn Matthias, Yannick Weber, Jannik Hansen, Henrik Sedin and Nick Bonino tallied in regulation for the Canucks, who blew a three-goal, third-period lead but recovered to win for the first time in three contests. Eddie Lack stopped 34 shots over the game’s first 65 minutes, then held off T.J. Oshie in the shootout. Ryan Reaves, Alex Pietrangelo, Dmitrij Jaskin, Petteri Lindbohm and David Backes lit the lamp for the Blues, who have gone 2-0-1 on their current six-game road trip. Jake Allen surrendered four goals on 25 shots through most of regulation, but was beaten three times in the contest’s final segment in defeat. Brian Elliott gave up one goal on six shots during a brief appearance at the outset of the third.
► Ferrer upends Nishikori for Mexican Open title
David Ferrer is once again the Mexican Open champion, topping top-seeded Kei Nishikori 6-3, 7-5 in Saturday’s final.
Ferrer, seeded second this week, won this event three straight years from 2010-12 and was the runner-up to fellow Spaniard Rafael Nadal in 2013.
His 24th career ATP Tour title came at the hands of Nishikori, who had his serve broken six times on the hardcourts at the Fairmont Acapulco Princess.
Ferrer, who collected $343,000 with the victory, had lost five straight meetings against the Japanese star and is just 4-7 all-time against him.
Nishikori will still reach a career-high of No. 4 in the world rankings next week.
► Abierto Mexicano Telcel Men’s Tennis Update – February 28
Fairmont Acapulco Princess, Acapulco, Mexico
Total Prize Money: $1,414,550
David Ferrer (2) defeated Kei Nishikori (1), 6-3, 7-5
Kei Nishikori (1) defeated Kevin Anderson (4), 6-2, 3-6, 6-3
David Ferrer (2) defeated Ryan Harrison, 4-6, 6-0, 6-0
Kei Nishikori (1) defeated Alexandr Dolgopolov (5), 6-4, 6-4
David Ferrer (2) defeated Bernard Tomic, 6-4, 3-6, 6-1
Kevin Anderson (4) defeated Viktor Troicki, 3-6, 6-3, 6-3
Ryan Harrison defeated Ivo Karlovic (6), 4-6, 7-6 (7-0), 7-6 (7-4)
SECOND ROUND MATCHES
Kei Nishikori (1) defeated Yen-Hsun Lu, 6-1, 6-3
David Ferrer (2) defeated Marinko Matosevic, 7-6 (7-3), 6-4
Ryan Harrison defeated Grigor Dimitrov (3), 7-5, 4-6, 6-0
Kevin Anderson (4) defeated Steve Johnson, 3-6, 7-5, 6-3
Alexandr Dolgopolov (5) defeated Andreas Haider-Maurer, 6-2, 6-3
Ivo Karlovic (6) defeated Dusan Lajovic, 3-6, 6-3, 6-1
Viktor Troicki defeated Santiago Giraldo (7), 6-3, 6-4
Bernard Tomic defeated Benjamin Becker (8), 4-6, 6-3, 6-2
FIRST ROUND MATCHES
Kei Nishikori (1) defeated Alejandro Gonzalez, 6-3, 7-5
David Ferrer (2) defeated Igor Sijsling, 6-3, 7-6 (7-4)
Grigor Dimitrov (3) defeated Filip Krajinovic, 6-3, 5-7, 6-0
Kevin Anderson (4) defeated Dustin Brown, 6-1, 6-2
Alexandr Dolgopolov (5) defeated Sam Groth, 6-3, 4-6, 6-0
Ivo Karlovic (6) defeated Teymuraz Gabashvili, 6-4, 3-6, 6-2
Santiago Giraldo (7) defeated Austin Krajicek, 7-6 (10-8), 6-1
Benjamin Becker (8) defeated Tobias Kamke, 7-6 (7-4), 6-2
Bernard Tomic defeated Adrian Mannarino, 3-6, 6-4, 6-4
Marinko Matosevic defeated Marcel Granollers, 6-4, 6-2
Dusan Lajovic defeated Thanasi Kokkinakis, 6-4, 7-6 (7-4)
Ryan Harrison defeated Donald Young, 4-6, 6-2, 4-2, Retired
Steve Johnson defeated Ivan Dodig, 6-4, 6-4
Viktor Troicki defeated Daniel Garza, 6-4, 6-3
Yen-Hsun Lu defeated Victor Estrella Burgos, 6-2, 7-5
Andreas Haider-Maurer defeated Robin Haase, 6-3, 2-6, 6-2
► Bacsinszky wins Mexican Open
Timea Bacsinszky won her first WTA Tour title in over five years by topping Caroline Garcia Saturday in the final of the Mexican Open.
The fifth-seeded Bacsinszky did not have her serve broken in the quick match and cruised to a 6-3, 6-0 victory on the hardcourts at the Acapulco Princess.
Bacsinszky’s only other win on tour came in Luxembourg in October 2009. She did not lose a set this week after dropping the opening set of her first-round match against Richel Hogenkamp.
Garcia, who was seeded third, walked into the final when top-seeded Maria Sharapova pulled out of their semifinal meeting due to a stomach virus.
Bacsinszky pocketed $43,000 with the victory.
► Abierto Mexicano Telcel Women’s Tennis Update – February 28
Stakes winning 3-year-old The Great War has been taken off the Kentucky Derby trail after finishing last in Saturday’s John Battaglia Memorial at Turfway Park.
Churchill Downs was told by trainer Wesley Ward that The Great War is no longer a candidate for the 141st Kentucky Derby on May 02. Betting on The Great War was suspended prior to the start of Sunday’s third and final day of the third of four Kentucky Derby Future Wager pools.
The Great War, owned by Joseph Allen, Mrs. John Magnier, Michael Tabor and Derrick Smith, finished 10th as the 3-10 favorite in Saturday’s $116,450 John Battaglia Memorial at Turfway Park. The official Equibase chart of the race notes that the colt bled when he faded from second to last in the 1 1/16-mile race.
After beginning his career in Europe, The Great War finished fourth to Texas Red in his United States debut in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile last November at Santa Anita. He won the 96Rock Stakes at Turfway Park by 7 1/4 lengths on January 31.
► 2015 Sprint Cup Driver Leaders
2015 Sprint Cup Driver Leaders
Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Martin Truex Jr.
Sam Hornish Jr.
► Liverpool topples City at Anfield
Liverpool produced a pair of fabulous goals at Anfield on Sunday to claim a 2-1 victory over Manchester City.
Jordan Henderson and Philippe Coutinho scored in similar fashion on either side of halftime to clinch the victory, lifting the Reds to 48 points on the season to keep pace with Manchester United in the race for fourth place.
City remains on 55 points to stay five points back of top spot.
Henderson got Liverpool off the mark just 11 minutes in when he settled a pass from Raheem Sterling, cut the ball inside to his right foot and fired a stunning effort that grazed the underside of the crossbar on its way past Joe Hart.
The Citizens, though, were level within 14 minutes as a well-worked passing sequence from David Silva and Sergio Aguero released Edin Dzeko through on goal to slip a shot past Simon Mignolet.
The two sides were level until the closing stages when Coutinho struck with another goal from distance. The Brazilian drifted inside from the left flank in the 78th minute and uncorked a curling right-footed shot that rose above Hart but dipped just under the crossbar, handing the hosts the win in spectacular fashion.
Arsenal, meanwhile, reclaimed third place in the Premier League table on Sunday by claiming a 2-0 home victory over Everton.
The Gunners grabbed the lead just before halftime through Olivier Giroud while Tomas Rosicky provided a late insurance goal to secure all three points.
► Ajax rallies to edge PSV
Ajax completed a late charge at the Philips Stadion on Sunday to claim a 3-1 win over PSV Eindhoven.
Ajax held the lead through much of the contest thanks to Ricardo Kishna’s strike just before the half-hour mark, but Luuk de Jong managed to draw PSV level with an equalizer 13 minutes from time.
The visitors would not be denied maximum points, though, as Lasse Schone restored their lead six minutes later before Anwar El-Ghazi provided an insurance goal in stoppage time.
The result sees Ajax improve to 53 points to close the gap on first-place PSV to 11 points.
Excelsior claimed three points on Sunday by cruising to a 3-0 victory over Heerenveen.
Luigi Bruins netted the opener in the fifth minute, but second-half goals from Tom van Weert and Kevin Vermeulen secured the club a comfortable win in the end.
Also on Sunday, Tjaronn Chery and Xander Houtkoop exchanged goals as Groningen was held to a 1-1 draw by Den Haag while Feyenoord only managed a point from a 0-0 draw at Utrecht.
► Chelsea tops Tottenham in Capital One Cup final
Chelsea scored in either half at Wembley on Sunday to claim a 2-0 victory over Tottenham in the Capital One Cup final.
Spurs nearly grabbed the lead inside the opening 10 minutes when Christian Eriksen curled a superb free kick toward goal, but the crossbar came to Petr Cech’s aid to keep the two sides on equal footing.
Tottenham would rue that miss as the Blues went in front just before the break. Spurs failed to clear their lines following a corner kick and John Terry took advantage of some slack defending to hammer a rebound through traffic and past Hugo Lloris.
Chelsea’s lead was doubled 11 minutes into the second half when Diego Costa collected a pass to the left side of the box and fired a left-footed shot past Lloris from a tough angle. The shot took a deflection off of Kyle Walker, who was credited with an own goal.
It proved to be more than enough for the Blues, who have not lost a cup final under the guidance of Jose Mourinho.
Chelsea keeps its hopes of a “Treble” alive as the club continues its pursuit of the Premier League title and a Champions League crown.
► Wolfsburg defeats Bremen in eight-goal thriller
Wolfsburg kept pace with Bayern Munich at the top of the Bundsliga table with a thrilling 5-3 victory at Werder Bremen on Sunday.
Bremen seized control of the lead on three occasions in the opening period.
Zlatko Junuzovic broke the deadlock in the ninth minute before Daniel Caligiuri brought Wolfsburg level immediately after.
Franco Di Santo restored the lead in the 16th minute before Maximilian Arnold responded two minutes later, but an own goal from Vierinha in the 28th minute granted Bremen a narrow halftime lead.
The second half, though, belonged to Wolfsburg, and it was the in-form Bas Dost who helped the visitors get in front.
The lanky Dutch striker tied the game three minutes after the restart before granting Wolfsburg the lead in the 51st. Caligiuri then struck two minutes later to give the visitors some breathing room.
There was no way back for Bremen as Wolfsburg improved to 50 points to stay eight points back of first-place Bayern.
Borussia Monchengladbach scored in either half to collect a 2-0 victory over lowly Paderborn.
United States international Fabian Johnson opened the scoring in the 18th minute while Patrick Herrmann wrapped up the affair nine minutes from time, handing ‘Gladbach its 11th league win of the campaign.
4 DAY EVENT
Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday
March 05-08, 2015
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Gilmer County Recreation Center - Bennett Building
NEW ITEMS ADDED FROM VICTORIA’S SECRET BEAUTY LINE
ALSO NEW INVENTORY OF POCKET/HUNTING KNIVES!!
Plus older boot inventory will be reduced to just $50/pr!
All New Rocky, Georgia, Durango Brand Clothing from adult to youth(Coats, Pants, Shirts.)
Boots (Casual, Western, Insulated & Non, also Steel Toed) for Outdoor Hunting or work use.
Also, Camo & Bling Purses (some concealed carry) plus an array of Guns, Knives, Hunting items,
1200 thread ct. camo sheet sets, crafts, tools, home décor,
candles, melts, chainsaws and misc. items from the home.
Wednesday March 04 is day 50 of the session. It also is the last day to consider bill on third reading in house of origin. This deadline does not include budget or supplementary appropriation bills. With only two weeks remaining in the session, the activity level will pick up beyond the already frantic pace.
If you’re like me and the majority of West Virginians, before you would make a major purchase – let’s use a car, for an example – you would evaluate your current vehicle; determine if it was more cost effective to fix your current vehicle; and, if you decided to purchase another car, find out the price so you would know if the cost fit into your budget. It would be irresponsible to make the transaction without getting the facts, including the price.
Yet, in this somewhat bizarre legislative session, that is exactly what happened Saturday, when the House voted to roll back and eliminate the much maligned Common Core education standards without the benefit of knowing what it will cost.
Now, let me say up front, that many aspects of Common Core give me and others cause for great concern. The math component standards are most problematic, especially to many parents that have difficulty in helping with homework. Eliminating these standards and replacing them may well be the way to go. And, the bill passed the House on Saturday night. It now goes to the Senate for consideration.
The distressing part is that this moved at light speed through the House Education Committee, despite warnings from the State Department of Education and educators from around the state that scrapping these standards could cost West Virginia taxpayers millions (possibly hundreds of millions) in lost education matching funds. In spite of those warnings, the current House leadership refused on multiple occasions to second reference this education bill (standard operating procedure) to House Finance to evaluate the costs and ascertain if it was fiscally responsible to throw out current standards without having developed new standards and having them in place. In nineteen years in the Legislature, I’ve never witnessed such willful refusal to ascertain what a bill will cost taxpayers. Many members from across the political aisle agreed but felt pressured to move the bill quickly.
In recent days, I received several emails that talked about Common Core standards and a few of those messages made them out to be something they’re not. First, they are standards or benchmarks. For instance, what a particular student in a grade level should be able to achieve at that grade level. It does not dictate any curriculum or mandate any textbook (that’s up to local school boards), or rewrite history.
But I am open to concerns that have been raised and willing to address them. However, I believe to blindly throw these out without having a single plan in place to replace these standards or to measure student achievement is a path to fiscal irresponsibility that could stick county school systems with a huge price tag that is ultimately paid for by taxpayers. Now that the bill passed the House, I hope the Senate exercises fiscal responsibility to second reference the bill to their Finance Committee for evaluation. I look forward to getting some real facts about costs so an informed decision can be made that takes into account all aspects of this issue. Then when the bill comes back to the House for a vote, I can make an informed decision.
Send your inquiries to the Capitol Office at: Building 1, Room 462-M, Charleston, WV 25305. Or, call Nancy Butcher in the Finance Committee office at 304.340.3230; or fax to 304.340.3388. If you have an interest in any particular bill or issue, please let me know. For those with Internet access, my e-mail address is:
You may also obtain additional legislative information, including the copies of bills, conference reports, daily summaries, interim highlights, and leave me a message on the Legislature’s web site at www.legis.state.wv.us/. When leaving a message, please remember to include your phone number with your inquiry and any details you can provide. Additional information, including agency links and the state government phone directory, may be found at www.wv.gov. Also, you may follow me on Facebook at “Brent Boggs”, Twitter at “@DelBrentBoggs” , as well as the WV Legislature’s Facebook page at “West Virginia Legislature” or on Twitter at twitter.com/wvlegislature.
Continue to remember our troops - at home and abroad - and keep them and their families in your thoughts and prayers. Until next week – take care.
No student on a college campus should live in fear of being attacked or feel as though they cannot report sexual assault incidents. That is why I joined with 11 other senators to introduce the Campus Accountability and Safety Act. This legislation will protect students and professionalize the response and reporting of sexual assault. Earlier this month, West Virginia University launched a campaign called ‘It’s On Us’ to prevent sexual assault and change campus culture among its students, faculty and staff. The response to that program has been overwhelming. The WVU campaign complements ‘Living the Green Dot,‘ a national campus-based campaign against all interpersonal violence.
Having volunteered at a rape crisis center on a college campus, I have seen firsthand the toll this terrible crime takes on our students and their friends and loved ones. I am proud to join this bipartisan coalition and take clear steps to help those in West Virginia and around the country affected by sexual assault, to educate campus personnel to respond compassionately and to strengthen law enforcement response.
Keystone Fight Not Over
President Obama’s veto of the Keystone XL Pipeline Approval Act was very discouraging, especially in light of the train derailment in Fayette County. The recent crash illustrates why pipelines are a viable and safe alternative to ship our energy resources. Later this month, the State Department is expected to release its final report on the Keystone XL pipeline, and the president will have the chance to reconsider this needed project.
If President Obama is serious about standing up for America’s middle-class families and jobs, I urge him to reverse course, approve this critical, bipartisan project and get behind a more responsible energy policy.
West Virginians in DC
It is always great to meet with constituents who are visiting our nation’s capitol. Below are several photos from recent meetings with West Virginians.
• Senator Capito with cadets from Civil Air Patrol’s West Virginia Wing
• Senator Capito greets cadets from Civil Air Patrol’s West Virginia Wing
• The West Virginia Farm Bureau meets with Senator Capito in Washington
• Senator Capito and West Virginia Secretary of Veterans Assistance Rick Thompson
• Senator Capito meeting with West Virginia Members of the American Legion
• Senator Capito and West Virginia Disabled American Veterans members
G-TrchNote™: The Face Detection Algorithm Set to Revolutionize Image Search
The ability to spot faces from any angle, and even when partially occluded,
has always been a uniquely human capability.
Back in 2001, two computer scientists, Paul Viola and Michael Jones, triggered a revolution in the field of computer face detection. After years of stagnation, their breakthrough was an algorithm that could spot faces in an image in real time. Indeed, the so-called Viola-Jones algorithm was so fast and simple that it was soon built into standard point and shoot cameras.
Part of their trick was to ignore the much more difficult problem of face recognition and concentrate only on detection. They also focused only on faces viewed from the front, ignoring any seen from an angle. Given these bounds, they realized that the bridge of the nose usually formed a vertical line that was brighter than the eye sockets nearby. They also noticed that the eyes were often in shadow and so formed a darker horizontal band.
So Viola and Jones built an algorithm that looks first for vertical bright bands in an image that might be noses, it then looks for horizontal dark bands that might be eyes, it then looks for other general patterns associated with faces.
Detected by themselves, none of these features are strongly suggestive of a face. But when they are detected one after the other in a cascade, the result is a good indication of a face in the image. Hence the name of this process: a detector cascade. And since these tests are all simple to run, the resulting algorithm can work quickly in real-time.
But while the Viola-Jones algorithm was something of a revelation for faces seen from the front, it cannot accurately spot faces from any other angle. And that severely limits how it can be used for face search engines.
Which is why Yahoo is interested in this problem. Today, Sachin Farfade and Mohammad Saberian at Yahoo Labs in California and Li-Jia Li at Stanford University nearby, reveal a new approach to the problem that can spot faces at an angle, even when partially occluded. They say their new approach is simpler than others and yet achieves state-of-the-art performance.
Farfade and co use a fundamentally different approach to build their model. They capitalize on the advances made in recent years on a type of machine learning known as a deep convolutional neural network. The idea is to train a many-layered neural network using a vast database of annotated examples, in this case pictures of faces from many angles.
To that end, Farfade and co created a database of 200,000 images that included faces at various angles and orientations and a further 20 million images without faces. They then trained their neural net in batches of 128 images over 50,000 iterations.
The result is a single algorithm that can spot faces from a wide range of angles, even when partially occluded. And it can spot many faces in the same image with remarkable accuracy.
The team call this approach the Deep Dense Face Detector and say it compares well with other algorithms. “We evaluated the proposed method with other deep learning based methods and showed that our method results in faster and more accurate results,” they say.
What’s more, their algorithm is significantly better at spotting faces when upside down, something other approaches haven’t perfected. And they say that it can be made even better with datasets that include more upside down faces. “We are planning to use better sampling strategies and more sophisticated data augmentation techniques to further improve performance of the proposed method for detecting occluded and rotated faces.”
That’s interesting work that shows how fast face detection is progressing. The deep convolutional neural network technique is only a couple of years old itself and already it has led to major advances in object and face recognition.
The great promise of this kind of algorithm is in image search. At the moment, it is straightforward to hunt for images taken at a specific place or at a certain time. But it is hard to find images taken of specific people. This is step in that direction. It is inevitable that this capability will be with us in the not too distant future.
And when it arrives, the world will become a much smaller place. It’s not just future pictures that will become searchable but the entire history of digitized images including vast stores of video and CCTV footage. That’s going to be a powerful force, one way or another.
Will Smith and Margot Robbie bring low-key erotic chemistry to an easy simmer in “Focus,” a smooth, sophisticated, often amusing little caper flick about con artists and their sauciest swindles. It wouldn’t do to inflate expectations — this is an instantly disposable movie, arriving in the midst of what is traditionally Hollywood’s “dump” season — but there’s much to be said for a film that doesn’t overreach, delivers on most of its promises and gets the audience out the door in just over an hour and a half. As Smith’s character, Nicky, might say: In, out, nobody gets hurt.
Nicky is the head of a criminal organization dedicated to a volume business in (relatively) small takes: pickpockets, credit card thefts and sleights of hand resulting in — whoops — the loss of your watch or your heirloom wedding band. Nicky and Jess (Robbie) meet cute in New York, and soon she’s begging him to tutor her in the dark arts of misdirection and behavioral science. Soon, they’re pulling the Big Job in New Orleans, at the Super Bowl, which is also, er, the Super Bowl of petty thievery and confidence schemes.
All of this is staged with larky finesse and cynical fun by writer-directors Glenn Ficarra and John Requa, the writers behind the snarly holiday cult classic “Bad Santa” and the wonderful romantic comedy “I Love You, Phillip Morris.” They have excellent taste — the yummy vintage soundtrack of “Focus” is worth the price of a ticket alone — and even when the dialogue gets down and dirty (and it gets way down and way dirty), it’s delivered with disarming sunniness.
Although Smith and Robbie — who delivered such a distinguished breakout performance in “The Wolf of Wall Street” two years ago — are a pure pleasure to look at, most of the entertainment value of “Focus” lies in the schemes themselves, which become more outlandish as the stakes grow inevitably higher. Nowhere is this truer than a protracted set piece in a plush Super Bowl skybox, a scenario viewers won’t believe for a minute but will nonetheless have fun indulging in if they, like one of the sequence’s principals, are willing to “play.” (For connoisseurs of the form, “Focus” sits comfortably between the still-supreme “Out of Sight” and the close-but-not quite “Duplicity.”)
Things turn darker — but also lighter — when the proceedings change course, and Nicky crosses paths with a rich racecar owner (Rodrigo Santoro) and his brutish bodyguard, played with foul-mouthed elan by Gerald McRaney. Not since “Gran Torino” has the get-off-my-lawn guy been given such rich abominations to utter, and McRaney gives each insult, profanity and breathtaking outrage a sheen as polished as his own bald pate. “Focus” isn’t great, but then again it’s not trying to be: It’s just cool enough to warm up an otherwise dull and frigid February.
★ ★ ½
R. Contains profanity, some sexual content and brief violence. 104 minutes.
2 pounds pearl onions
3 tablespoons olive oil
8 ounces pancetta (Italian bacon), cut into 1/4-inch pieces
4 garlic cloves, peeled, crushed
5 pounds skin-on bone-in chicken pieces (breasts, thighs, and/or legs; breasts halved crosswise)
Freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup balsamic vinegar
3/4 cup red wine vinegar
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup golden raisins
2 bay leaves
Cook onions in a large pot of boiling salted water until tender, 5-8 minutes. Drain and let cool. Trim root ends; peel.
Meanwhile, heat oil in a large heavy pot over medium heat. Add pancetta to pot and cook, stirring occasionally, until fat is rendered and pancetta is brown, 8-10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer pancetta to a large bowl.
Add onions to same pot and cook, stirring occasionally, until beginning to brown, 8-10 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring often, until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Transfer onions and garlic to bowl with pancetta.
Season chicken with salt and pepper. Working in batches, add chicken to pot skin side down and cook, turning, until browned on all sides, 10-15 minutes per batch; transfer to bowl with onions.
Carefully drain fat from pot and return to medium-high heat. Add both vinegars to pot and bring to a boil, stirring and scraping up any browned bits from bottom of pot. Add broth, raisins, bay leaves, and reserved chicken, pancetta, onions, and garlic to pot. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer, partially covered, until chicken is fork-tender, 35-40 minutes.
Using a slotted spoon, transfer chicken and onions to a large platter. Skim fat from cooking liquid and discard. Remove bay leaves, and season sauce with salt and pepper. Spoon sauce over chicken and onions.
The Leo moon aligns with Jupiter in Leo to impart upon us the importance of storytelling. Tomorrow brings a lucky fire trine to further emphasize the point. If you’re already an expert storyteller, do share your talent! If you could use work on this life skill, start practicing. Fortune favors those who use words to create emotional involvement.
ARIES (March 21-April 19). It’s been said that inside every uncreative person is an artist who died young. Whatever people told you in the past about your creative works, you will be inspired to overcome their influence and express yourself freely.
TAURUS (April 20-May 20). You’ll wake up and care for yourself and hope that the care lasts all day long. If midway through the day you start feeling the need for some attention and tenderness, stop what you’re doing and find it.
GEMINI (May 21-June 21). Angry people talk faster than they think and say things they don’t mean. You’ve witnessed something rather unpleasant, and you’ve decided to let it go and move on. That’s why you get to experience today’s emotional rainbow.
CANCER (June 22-July 22). You will be inspired to transcend your identification with a certain role you play. You may still have to play the role, but you won’t feel trapped by it. You’ll be like an actor, having fun with the part.
LEO (July 23-Aug. 22). You need your own space to think and work and just be you. Lately something or someone has infringed on that space, and you miss it. You’ll have to be assertive to get back what was yours.
VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22). You’ll be presenting a story or idea to a group. They will remember the beginning and the end the best, so focus on an opening that will intrigue them and an ending that will wow them.
LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 23). You may feel overwhelmed, but you also, wisely, realize that this is a gift. It means your life is super-full. You can always cut back, reschedule and reorganize. It’s better than being underwhelmed.
SCORPIO (Oct. 24-Nov. 21). It seems there are many who would like to give you a good reason to part with your money, but you’re pretty firm about sticking to your original plans. They’ll keep pitching to you, and you’ll keep saying no.
SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21). It’s said that the young can’t know how older people think and feel, but this premise will be challenged over the course of the day. Some people are quite remarkably wiser than their years.
CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19). There’s a certain kind of intimacy that happens when you have people over to your home, which is why the ones you invite will feel privileged for the offer of your hospitality.
AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18). You don’t realize how close you are to success. Do not give up! Now is your chance to rally your team, tally your resources and sound your battle cry before advancing.
PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20). Through the principles that rule boomerangs, you’ll get to experience the same kind of generosity you flung out to the world only a short while ago. Keep this karma game going!
TODAY’S BIRTHDAY. There is more than one right way to solve problems. This year you’ll experiment. You’ll meet forward-thinking friends over the next 10 weeks. Someone helps you put together a plan for financial and personal gain in April, and you’ll implement it in the months that follow. Group projects and travel are featured in June. Capricorn and Cancer people adore you. Your lucky numbers are: 4, 14, 19, 28 and 50.
STORYTELLING BY THE STARS: Inside everyone and everything is a fascinating story. The trouble is, it takes an excellent storyteller to find it. The upcoming trine of Jupiter in Leo and Uranus in Aries will bring a pop of good luck to those who can captivate an audience with a good story. Here are a few tips to help you hone this crucial life skill. Stating What Happened Isn’t Storytelling
Storytelling is much more than the retelling of events. Boring stories present facts in order. Good stories build with blocks of emotion. Instead of trying to remember and present what happened, think about what feeling is encompassed in each event of the story, and then work to create those feelings. Tools to help you do so include: colorful descriptions, your inner dialogue, people’s reaction to you, comparisons, details that speak to your senses and more. Meaty Bits Only
If your story were a steak, make it a filet mignon, thick and juicy, no fat or bone to cut around. Edit yourself down to the main idea, and leave out the boring, superfluous details and connectors. In other words, get to the point.
More on storytelling tomorrow!
CELEBRITY PROFILES: A favorite tabloid speculation of late: Are Chris Martin and Jennifer Lawrence on or off? Coldplay front man Chris Martin has his sun and Mercury in soulful Pisces and his moon and Saturn in entertaining Leo. This combination makes him more suited for the limelight than many sensitive Pisces. His usual go-with-the-flow attitude is offset by passionate exceptions to the rule.
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever.
The Importance of Faith
God has already done everything He’s going to do. The ball is now in your court. If you want success, if you want wisdom, if you want to be prosperous and healthy, you’re going to have to do more than meditate and believe; you must boldly declare words of faith and victory over yourself and your family.
Justification by Faith
15-16 “How can you, a Jew by birth, first act like a Gentile, and then turn around and urge the Gentiles to live like Jews?” I asked him. “You and I were not raised like Gentiles, ignorant of right and wrong, yet we know that following the law of Moses, apart from our faith in Christ Jesus, did not and cannot justify us before God. No flesh will be justified by works under the law. So why hold onto it?”
17 “When we, who were born Jews, preach justification through faith in Christ, we are His representatives. We cannot become servants of sin. If we preach the faith of Christ and then sin, do we not imply that Christ Himself is a servant of sin? This cannot be!”
Notes on the Scripture
Today’s Scripture is the Paul’s clarion, his first statement of the revolutionary concept that will dominate his theology: justification by faith. In a nutshell, right standing before God does not come from keeping the Law. If it did, we would be lost, because everybody sins. Right standing before God can come only through faith in Jesus Christ. Thus, all those who revert to the law are only displaying their ignorance, returning to a state of unredeemed sinfulness by reliance in a covenant that has expired; for the old covenant with the Jews was superseded — or perhaps it would be more accurate to say, fulfilled — by the Christ. To return to the law is thus tantamount to rejecting the grace of God, given to us by the cross.
We are not “sinning Gentiles”, Paul tells Peter, “yet we know that man is not justified from works of law unless through faith in Christ.” What does this last line have to do with them not being Gentiles?
In a word, Gentiles were simply ignorant of morality. The Greco-Roman world of the first century was less attuned to morality than the wildest sex club in Manhattan today. The Romans greatest amusement was to watch people being killed in the most gruesome ways possible. And what adjective do we most often associate with “orgy”? Roman.
But the Jews were not like the rest of the world; they understood and appreciated a divinely-revealed code of conduct. So Paul is saying, in effect, that one would not expect the Gentiles, who did not even understand what morality was — who did not even know that God existed! — would rely on compliance with God’s moral code to become righteous in God’s eyes.
Paul and Peter are operating on a completely different level of theological sophistication; but even they, who know God and know His commandments, have come to realize that their efforts are fruitless. Without Christ, Peter and Paul are no better off than the Gentiles. They might know much more, but what they know will not save them; for without Christ, God will still judge them guilty of sin and condemn them. And here is the ultimate irony: The faith in Christ that will save them will also save the ignorant Gentiles.
There is more to salvation than simply believing in Christ. But it is the necessary starting point, the absolute initial requirement, without which justification before God cannot occur.
Age 80, of Middle Run Road, Weston, WV passed away peacefully at 5:35 PM on Saturday February 28, 2015 in the comfort of her home surrounded by her loving family following an extended illness.
She was born in Weston, WV on June 23, 1934 a daughter of the late Claude Clay Turner and Florida Paugh Turner.
She is survived by several nieces and nephews and great nieces and nephews; three great great nieces and nephews; two brothers: Matthew Turner of Weston and Elwood Turner of Walkersville; and Lucy and Callie, her beloved Sheltie and cat, who miss her dearly.
In addition to her parents, she will be reunited with seven siblings who have already made their journey to Heaven: Doshia Turner, Lavaughn Marks, Vaughnless Reed, Wanda Kaylor, Sherwood Turner, Lydia Ervin Turner, and Burdett Turner.
Naomi was a retired health aide from the Weston State Hospital with over 30 years of service. She was gifted with a green thumb and treasured her time spent in the garden, especially when teaching the little ones how to tend to the plants to help them flourish. She also enjoyed feeding the birds, sewing and crafting dolls, collecting cookbooks, stamps and vases, and baking treats for the family.
Friends and family will gather for a Graveside Service at the Masonic Cemetery in Weston at 11 AM on Tuesday March 03, 2015 with Beverly Talbert officiating.
The Pat Boyle Funeral Home and Cremation Service at 144 Hackers Creek Rd. in Jane Lew is honored and privileged to serve the family of Naomi Turner.
The only thing state educators have given us for many years is simply more of the same failings of education.
Clearly they are unable to fix the problems.
If the legislature can, more power to them.
We elect the legislators. The Manchin politicians put their family and friends in the department of education and see what we got!
In his “common sense” plea Mr. Martirano says they can fix it but never says how. Now he tells the Legislature the prior standards can’t be used because they were “deemed not college and career ready”!
As to funding, the State Board and DOE spends every dime they get their hands on but not for students or Teachers. The student budget doesn’t grow and neither does the budget of local boards of education. It is spent to increase Charleston connected staff and benefits, to grow the power structure. From all reports MONEY is the Boards major concern.
For years they have blamed local Boards of Education, Teachers and even the students for poor test results. They consolidated schools saying new buildings were needed to repair the failing system. The WV BOE established those standards. How can anyone possibly believe another of their cut and pasted programs will fix this mess?
Think I will move back to WV and go live up a hollow so far they have to pipe in the sunshine and just used oil lamps for light and wood for heat and cooking. Also have a water spring to cool things in.
RGW just posted the MUGSHOT of Laura Cottrill and her boyfriend the Meth Cookers out there on in LINN WV they may have been conspiring with Richard Neal and Marl Cottrill to get Ruth out of the house illegally. Some Court officials may be involved.
The Legislators need to stop the State Board and its departments from destroying records every 3 years to eliminate a paper trail of their actions. They have been told this previously by the Legislative Oversight Commission. It would seem this Board won’t take good advice! It shows their unwillingness to have transparency which discourages accountability.
As to Gilmer’s bloviating President, he never did work well with others. The Board must go in another direction if they really want out of intervention.
While on the subject of Common Sense-
Is it common sense for the WV School Building Authority (part of WVBOE) to award millions of dollars of no-bid contracts to only one firm?
The same firm all the time. Who donates big dollars to WV. By coincidence or by cronyism?
Is that even legal? Surely ethically wrong.
Please, Dr. M. for the sake of our state, our teachers, our children, just review the 2004 Legislative Education Audit, or the 2010 Legislative Audit, or the 2012 Efficiency Audit or the numerous other indictments of the WVDOE/State BOE. Our educational problems are for the most part INTERNAL!Hint. Pay our good teachers for the job they do. Tell a teacher what you want done and step back, way, way back and watch the results.Go back to W.W.Trent, State Superintendent (elected by the people) and the handful of help he had to run an efficient system.The Charleston wagon is full and the contents need to be spread on the fields. That is, in my opinion, where the nutrients are needed for real growth.
And like the retired teacher said, let the teachers decide how to teach the students the way that works for them. Standardized tests are not the way to evaluate education especially when teachers are forced to “teach to the test”. Technology in elementary school becomes no more relevant than game machines to the kids. Anyone can learn to use a computer but a computer won’t give you an education. You have to want to learn in order to learn. Education is much too important to become a government agency. It should be totally run by parents and teachers, not by bureaucrats! Now we have generations of parents who were cheated out of the education their parents thought they were paying taxes for. Is that how we want to continue?
Two weeks out and the poor woman hasn’t even been let back in the house to get her hairbrush? Rumor is it’s going to cost her $600 of her $700 monthly check to just get back in the door.
And what’s with the deer horns? If a cop can leave with people’s things, apparently just because he likes them, then what’s to stop someone coming back in the house with a little something in their pocket???
And all the poor woman did was try to tell the truth about a murder… and more recently, about the fact that guests in her home (that she was good enough to help out for a few days…) had needles. All Ruth has done, once again, is try to tell the truth.
Education is too important to be left to for profit manipulators. As one of the 1st ex-first ladies in the nation along with other board members on state boe to support no-bid contracts violating the laws of the state is a good proof of it. Remeber, education is an industry that should be either government run, or not for profits.
Local boards with well intenioned, is consistently overwhelmed by national teacher union and contractors powers controlled by WVDE.
We need far more transparancy and oversight of the finances of these billion dollar taxpayer funded entities. It is near impossible to even find out how much is spent on sports versus math, let alone how many sweetheart contracts are being manipulated.
Well, we seem to have done our best to de-professionalize the teaching career and school systems in general. Billion$ may be wasted, but if we shore up our confidence in teachers, provide support for teachers, and winnow teachers that reduce morale then it would be a much better environment. Of course, it’s not as easy as writing those words, but we aren’t even really trying it. For once, the U.S. should look to other countries that do well to learn leading practices. And standards are a ruse. Teaching someone to think and care about the world does not correspond to ensuring they know how to spell ‘inane’ and ‘blase’ for a week….which is exactly the words some of the students would use to describe their experiences.
Hmm? As a retired teacher I think of the problem in the education system. Sounds to me like there is a lot of work to be done. When it comes to education why not go back to the old way meeting each day with the students and the teacher teaching what they know best for their students. I am sick of hearing about all the funds spent on technology which are mostly useless. The Standardized tests are ridiculous. One person can have AP American History and her friend can have the schools problem children but they are evaluated by the scores just the same?
Politicians, mainly want to give us an education system driven by and for capitalism. Capitalism is just a regulation away from wholesale corruption. That truth was put on display for the world to see with the financial meltdown. We may trust our money to the capitalists in hopes of a big return but only a fool would trust his kids minds and his countries future to capitalists. I believe in well regulated free markets but that is something we have never had in this country. Free markets work, but the capitalism we are practicing is feudal and predatory. It isn’t government that needs to made small enough to drown it in the bath tub, its the crony capitalists cabal that runs the Republican party and too many Democrats for that matter…
The teachers have to teach what the State Dept. mandates. For the most part the State Department personnel/County Administrators are washed out teachers who couldn’t hack it in the classroom or are Manchin family disciples.
Dr. Martirano has an impressive resume. Probably has wonderful dreams, plans, and intentions.
However, it will not be enough that one individual can undo the power maze of previous appointments, hirings, friends, nepotism, and paybacks.
-For school districts to be under state control 10 to 15 years, is self explanatory of the state board to operate in any meaningful manner.
-If Gilmer has one board member, even the president, operating in the manner suggested, that in and of itself will keep you under intervention.
Dear Dr. Martirano, welcome to the real world of West Virginia and its system of education. Now, after 10 or more years of tyrannical tactics by the WVDOE it would seem an appeal for help is a little too late. Our children have suffered dire consequences for the muddled mess of directives wrapped in more than 4,749 pages of policies and almost 800 pages of statutes; the insensitivity of the OEPA citations for counties like Lincoln, Hampshire, McDowell, Mingo, Preston, Gilmer and maybe the governor`s county of Logan. What has been done and for what purpose? The good people have been generous in monetary support of the children, in the upper ten percent in per pupil expenditures, and the bottom ten per cent in achievement. Is it not time to stop digging ?
NOW you want to talk to the great unwashed masses of WV. Now that you and your board are in trouble you talk to us of common sense.
Aren’t you the same people that thumbed their noses at the Governor’s audit? The one that said WV was one of the most overly regulated and bureaucrat top heavy educational systems they had experienced?
No, it is not a small group of West Virginians asking for the Legislatures help to control the unbridled power of the State Board of Education. It was the whole darn state that voted for change after the Governor ignored pleas of his people.No recounts required.
Mr. Martirano common sense should tell you not to dance around the truth of ESEA with informed citizens. WV has always sought a waiver to the requirements of the Elementary & Secondary Education Act (ESEA) otherwise known as NCLB (No Child Left Behind). Avoiding those requirements was the reason for creation of Next Generation Content Standards.
Then you say without it there would be no standards? How so? There were standards previous to the state’s watered down version of the non-benchmarked, newly created program called Common Core.They were waivered too. WV children are so far behind in actually meeting any national standard it is a crying shame and would indeed take years to bring them up where they should be. If you never start, it will never happen. The money should be spent for that, not for more lawyers to protect you and the Board. Aren’t you playing politics for the State Board right now? No one heard about the Board and its “stakeholders” participating in the consortia or development of Common Core until it was done. No public input permitted. You seem unaware of the timeline. Believe this, there are enough around here creating & juggling facts to build a case in their favor that intelligent people recognize the game when they see or hear it.
You seem and intelligent man. Your resume shows great experience. Please move away from the status quo and work to move education forward for West Virginia children. More of the same under a different name and lower standards will not do it and that’s what your ESEA Flexibility Waiver does.
You want people to listen to you!!?? Give us all a break.
We will listen to you the same exact way Gayle Manchin and the West Virginia Board of Education listened to the Gilmer County citizens you trampled on.
You say “common sense” is needed? That’s for daxx sure. We see it totally lacking in your close minded Board of Education, that wouldn’t listen to us.
Its a fair conclusion that YOUR West Board of Education is the VERY reason that West Virginia last election went Republican.
You may actually have to listen to the people now. Many truly hope so. Your board of education has ignored, and trampled, the people far too long.
All them “smart fellers” can opine all they want with their facts skewed to suit their agenda. Just look at last winter, just look at last summer, just look at this winter. They want to tell you the cold is a local phenomenon but did not Europe suffer through a bitter winter, one of the bitterest in history just a few years ago? A Gilmer countain dies every 15 seconds from global warming!