PRAISE&nays

West Virginia’s winning Google artist Andrea Siles-Loayza (right) stands with Google spokesman Clive de Freitas and her parents Sergio and Ysabel Siles-Loayza at Washington High. Google will announce its national winner.

West Virginia’s winning Google artist Andrea Siles-Loayza (right) stands
with Google spokesman Clive de Freitas and her parents Sergio and Ysabel
Siles-Loayza at Washington High. Google will announce its national winner.

PRAISE for Andrea Siles-Loayza, the Washington High senior who bested students across West Virginia to become our state’s champion in the sixth-annual Doodle 4 Google competition.

Her entry, entitled “Diving in the Coral Reef,” could be named Google’s national winner. She and her family are in New York today for the announcement, with the top design set to adorn Google’s home page Thursday.

Siles-Loayza’s work, along with the doodles made by the other state winners, will be displayed in a special showcase at the American Museum of Natural History in New York.

 

NAY to the West Virginia Supreme Court for its awful, extended bungling of decisions related to any effort to hold to account Don Blankenship, the recently retired CEO of Massey Energy, the longtime iron-fisted head of central Appalachia’s biggest and most powerful coal company.

As outlined in Laurence Leamer’s new book, “The Price of Justice: A True Story of Greed and Corruption,” fair hearings of allegations against Blankenship have been thwarted by the West Virginia high court since the 1990s. It’s been said Blankenship bought judges like cheap hookers and treated workers like dogs, both in terms of their livelihoods and their very lives.

Two Pittsburgh lawyers fighting Massey saw their case turned down in Virginia, where Massey is based. The judge’s rational: The issue had already been given its day in court.

But then in April, the Virginia Supreme Court ruled that case could go to trial. “The 27-page opinion was a stunning rebuke not only to the lower court judge but also to the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals,” Leamer writes in a recent column about his book. “Rarely does one state high court so dismiss the opinions of another state’s high court, but the corruptions of the Charleston court were egregious, its opinions outrageous. “The Virginia Supreme Court is a conservative body, and like the Republican judges who were so crucial to protecting civil rights workers in the ‘60s, these justices were not advancing a legal agenda, but were simply seeking to enforce the law fairly.”

He predicts Blankenship will soon be indicted, and that is a move that many in West Virginia would celebrate. But West Virginians ought to demand an accounting, too, from our high court for giving Blankenship free reign for so long.

The case has been made that Blankenship’s many fiercely protective friends on the state high court let him again and again sidestep safety measures that could have saved miners’ lives. Shameful.

 

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