Rick Johnson and Michael Agnello. A punishment from God.
To be fair, Johnson seems to be the milquetoast half of this less-than-dynamic duo. He usually just whines. No real substance behind his arguments, just whining. From a debate and/or argument perspective, he's harmless. Agnello, on the other hand, is a self-righteous obnoxious loudmouth right wing nutjob (remember, I said I'd go after nutjobs on either side with equal ferocity). As a loudmouth, Agnello is usually as wrong, as he is loud. Johnson is a native Mountaineer. Agnello, however, is a "fer'ner." He's from Chicago, and it only takes about 2 seconds of listening to his accent to figure that out.
A quick perusal of the bio's listed above, shows that Agnello's claim to fame is he worked with Team Thrust for Nations. A quick internet search for Team Thrust shows what it is: an evangelical outreach group. There you have it. Agnello is a certified bible banger. And as such, he'll be treated with the respect that group deserves, which is slightly less than zero. Agnello also likes to also tell everyone how he's a "Certified Senior Advisor," and how he served on Manchin's transition team for "senior issues." In short, Agnello never passes up a chance to tell everyone how great he is. When in fact, being a "certified senior advisor" really means, "I attended (and paid for) a seminar," (see this link). It doesn't take much beyond a check for the right amount to be a "certified senior advisor." And it didn't take much to be on Papa Joe's transition team, either. You simply signed yourself up. So Mikey, don't strain your arm patting yourself on the back. It's also quite evident by listening to Mikey that he's either a) still in the insurance industry, or b) was at one time. So you figure where he's going to stand on issues like tort reform. It's not hard, if you give it about 1.2 seconds of thought.
One of the big issues these two guys really harp on is gambling. They are opposed to it. They don't even TRY and be objective. Agnello will quickly launch into how bad gambling is, and how it destroys lives and quickly bring up John Kindt, a paid number cruncher by the bible banging anti-gambling lobby who's done "studies" about how bad gambling is (studies funded by anti-gambling groups). Let's face it. West Virginia needs all the help it can get. When the biggest coup of economic development in the last 5 years, is the opening of a sporting goods store (Cabela's) ANYTHING that can get a few more jobs here (like table games at the race tracks) should get OVERWHELMING support. Yet, self-righteous bible bangers like Agnello, oppose it. There's gambling on TV several nights a week. The World Poker Tour, the World Series of Poker on ESPN, Celebrity Poker, etc., are all getting TV coverage. There are multiple shows about gambling and Las Vegas on the Discover, Travel, and History Channels. It's evidently something people like to watch; otherwise, there'd not be so many TV shows about it.
Yet, people like Agnello continue to use their media pulpit to continually knock the gambling industry. Remember, Agnello worked (or maybe still does) for an insurance company. Isn't insurance just another form of gambling? You pay a premium, hedging your bet you'll have a wreck. The insurance company takes your premium, and bets that you won't have a wreck. But Agnello is against gambling. Except for that kind of gambling that the Catholic Church does in the form of bingo. In all his anti-gambling rants, he has, to my knowledge, NEVER cracked on the Catholic Church for bingo. I guess Jesus has no problem going "all-in" for bingo. In short, Agnello is a hypocrite. He’s a loudmouth, self-righteous, bombastic hypocrite.
Another thing Agnello likes to do is, basically kiss Danny Jones' ass. It should say that in Agnello's bio. Certified Senior Advisor, on Manchin's transition team, and Danny Jones' personal ass kisser. See, Agnello likes to come off as this enlightened neocon. He's anti-gambling, he's pro-tort reform, he's a bible banger, etc. And he’s always complaining about taxes being too high, and how state employees are paid too much. Yet, today on the air, when presented with the issue of the user fees that cities are starting to impose (First Huntington, then Charleston, and now S. Charleston), he sees no problem with that. WTF? As a conservative, he should be AGAINST tax increases. And let's not bullshit anyone here with semantics, ok? These aren't "user fees." They are taxes. They are taxes on those who happen to work in those cities. Just because you "call" them user fees, doesn't make it so. But Agnello has no problem supporting this nonsense, because he needs Danny Jones to come on his show. Remember my first blog entry about how the media (like Agnello and company) are a bit too cozy with the politicians, because they need access? Here's a prime example. Agnello and Johnson have no problem using public money to build the new ballpark. A new ballpark that Danny Jones and Toast Boy Rod Blackstone now admit is over budget, and is being built to accommodate the 300 people a night (on a good night) who'll go to the games (once the newness wears off). Burn those tax dollars on this kind of crap, but pitch a holy fit when someone brings up the potential for 2000 new jobs at the racetracks, including a new revenue stream. [Note: I will give Danny Jones this, he's supportive to this point of the table games at the tracks.]
Could someone tell me just what great injustice Charleston did in a past life, to be saddled with the punishment from God that is Mike Agnello? I swear, I never thought I'd say this. I actually miss Steven Reed.