Supreme Court showdown over Danny Jones' extortion scheme.
Well, at least he tried. Thornton Cooper tried his best (not really saying much, but still....) to get Danny "Worker Tax" Jones' little dollar per week extortion racket thrown out today at the West Virginia Supreme Court. I can't really fault Cooper much. He tried. He was doing this on his own time and without compensation (the most he could get would be like 100 bucks plus a year's worth of interest - maybe like 12 bucks?). Danny "Worker Tax" Jones hired Charlie Lorensen (at probably a couple hundred per hour - on the city's dime, I'm sure) to defend his little extortion scheme. To say the deck was stacked in favor of the racketeers, is an understatement of the first order.
The saddest part of listening to the arguments (which, anyone can watch/listen to by simply going to the WVSC's website), was that several times, the Justices served up softballs to Cooper, and he missed just about every one of them. He could have really taken the ball and ran with several of them and put Lorensen squarely on the defensive, if he had just been paying attention. I think it was Starcher (Donny Blankenship's new target) who basically said to Cooper, "Isn't this really just a tax on those people who are unable to vote against it?" Cooper, instead of simply saying, "Yes, it is. That is exactly what it is, your Honor," went on some long-winded explanation that by the time he got to the end, you had almost forgot the question. This was just indicative of the way the arguments went. The Justices would ask him a softball question extremely favorable to his argument, and he'd try and play lawyer, instead of simply answering the question. This was repeated over and over.
So, Bing's official prediction (and one that if I am wrong about, I'll be even more happy than if I was right)? Danny's little money grab will be upheld. So, not only will Charleston, Huntington, and Weirton workers continue to get raped every week, get ready everyone else in West Virginia. No matter what city you work in, there's a good chance you'll be getting dinged for a couple bucks too in the not too distant future. I bet by this time next year, there'll be at least 8 total cities in West Virginia with some form of a worker tax, and countless others considering the idea.
Cooper didn't hammer home, that the UNEMPLOYED, or the RETIRED, or the INDEPENDENTLY WEALTHY in Charleston (none of which "work") get off without paying the fee at all. Even though, they may use the city services more, often MANY times more, than some guy who's working in Charleston from 8 to 5. Or that the people who come in to Charleston to shop, or go to church, or go to ballgames, or whatever, don't pay it either, even though, they use the services. He could have said, "If a guy lives in Nitro, but buys season tickets to the WV Power, he'd be using the city services like roads, and Charleston police protection around the stadium 60+ times a year, without paying the fee." Cooper could have really hammered on this type of argument, but he hardly mentioned it.
And what would a post be without some commentary on our resident idiot of the airwaves, Chicago Furlip (Micheal Agnello)? After opening the phones up to callers today, he began getting some callers not too happy about his conservative (more accurately, republican) commentary. Agnello replied that he was not simply a Bush apologist, and that he had things he disagreed with Bush on. For one, he disagrees with Bush's increased spending (he didn't list any other issues he disagreed with). But, the best part, is that Agnello then turned around (and I mean in a span of about 30 seconds) and DEFENDED Republican Danny Jones' Worker Tax. Agnello's idea is that "Well, a buck a week is not bad, and I feel that I'm getting my money's worth." Well, either increased spending is bad, or it isn't. If it's bad for Bush, it should be bad for Jones (who, has increased NOT ONLY the worker tax, BUT also the hotel/motel tax - and that can't even be used for city expenditures - it has to go to "promote tourism" - which is codeword for paying Jones' cronies at the Visitor's Bureau more money, and sending them on trips to conventions around the country). This is why Agnello is such an easy target here at the Sweatbox (that, and he's just plain annoying). He's not consistent, in the least. If a republican raises taxes, Agnello's for it. If a democrat raises taxes, he says they are irresponsible spenders.
Another instance of inconsistency? Abortion. The other day (Monday, or maybe it was Friday), Johnson (in a rare moment of clarity and insight) questioned Agnello if abortion is murder, and you are against it, then you should be against it even in instances of rape or incest. Either it's murder, or it's not. Agnello couldn't bring himself to go that far. Why? Because he knew people wouldn't like the all or nothing choice. Many people who "oppose" abortion, only oppose it on pure "choice." In instances of rape or incest, many pro-lifers get a bit wishy washy on it. And it's a valid concern. If you are going to preach to the pro-choice crowd that abortion is murder, against God's will, blah blah blah, amen, then there IS no excuse for EVER doing it. Agnello couldn't go that far on the radio (though, he wanted to), because he knows the position is indefensible. Agnello quickly tried to change the subject, and again, to Johnson's credit, he wouldn't let him off easily. Agnello actually squirmed a bit. It's the same hypocrisy Agnello and cronies pull on the death penalty. Agnello is all for dropping the hammer on true scumbags. Even though, it's murder. It's still taking a life, and man making a conscious judgment to take that life. Why does Agnello not have a problem with capital punishment? Because he's simply a Republican Party errand boy.
If you have a true philosophical aversion to "murder," and are vehemently pro life on abortion, then you must also be equally vehement in your criticism of capital punishment. Same thing with the democrats. They are pro choice, but get squeamish on capital punishment. This is where both parties suck bigtime.
I have no problem with people who are against something for philosophical reasons. I DO have a problem with people who support positions, SIMPLY because "their party" tells them to. And that is Furlip to a "T."