By Dave Peyton, Columnist
Charleston Daily Mail

More things to look forward to in 2006

In West Virginia, some things are quite dependable

JANUS, for whom January is named, is the Roman god of gates and doors, beginnings and endings. He is represented by a double-faced head, one looking backward and one looking ahead. In the spirit of Janus' forward-looking face, I humbly offer these predictions for 2006:

Gov. Joe Manchin's approval rating, already nearly 70 percent in West Virginia, will continue to be positive. In fact, a poll in Logan County early next year will show his approval rating in that county is 122 percent.

Don Blankenship will join the tort reform campaign in the state with a new group -- And For The Sake of The Judicial Hellhole. He will advance his cause by suing every defense lawyer in West Virginia for a million dollars each. (Just kidding, Mr. Blankenship, Sir. Don't sue me.)

Not satisfied with being just governor, the captain of a boat and a pilot, Manchin, the overachiever, will go to school in 2006 to learn how to operate a bulldozer, run an underground continuous mining machine and do brain surgery. He will pay for all of this by giving dancing lessons on Friday and Saturday nights at local watering holes.

The most remarkable plan for Kanawha Boulevard will be unveiled in 2006. It will call for transforming the four-lane Boulevard into a canal and paving the Kanawha River.

Instead of the bird flu, the population of the United States will be overcome with CLD - chronic laughing disease. West Virginia lawmakers will spend the entire 2006 session guffawing and rolling on the floors of both houses, causing extreme distress to House Speaker Bob Kiss. Thus, West Virginia will be saved from all embarrassing new legislation and grateful voters will return all incumbents in the November general election.

West Virginia vote-buying will move to the Internet when three Lincoln Countians auction their votes in the 2006 primary on eBay. The governor, always the optimist, will offer this as proof that Mountain Mama is ready to welcome Information Age businesses.

Marshall University President Stephen Kopp, who recently put the skids on an indoor football practice facility for The Herd, will change his phone number due to all the calls from life insurance salesmen.

Charleston Mayor Danny Jones, always the promoter and politician, will make police wear T-shirts with "This officer brought to you by the Charleston user fee" on the front and the back. He'll also announce that all the development planned for the vicinity of the new baseball stadium means there will be no room for baseball.

The Department of Motor Vehicles will report there are only 12 vehicles in the state without handicapped stickers. As a result, the state will remove all the handicapped parking signs and sell them for scrap, replacing them with 55 "Non-Handicapped Parking Only" signs statewide, one in every county.

The Wyoming County Council on Aging will attain nirvana, declare it has more money than West Virginia, and secede from the state.

West Virginia, a Democratic state beleaguered by inattention from a Republican-controlled administration in Washington, will urge citizens to write e-mails that begin "Terror. Bin Laden. Dirty bomb. "Now that we have your attention, here's what we need in West Virginia. ..."

It may drive the spooks at the National Security Agency crazy, but maybe the messages will get to President Bush.

Janus and I wish you a happy 2006.

Peyton may be reached at davepeyton@davepeyton.com

Peyton's column appears twice each week in the Daily Mail

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