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Monday, August 31, 2009

Time for Jefferson Davis Statue to Leave KY Capitol Rotunda

The rotunda of the Kentucky State Capitol building in Frankfort is an impressive sight. Modeled after Napoleon’s tomb and completed, along with the rest of the capitol, in 1910, it currently houses five massive statues of important figures in Kentucky’s past.

The center statue, appropriately enough, is Abraham Lincoln. Born in Kentucky of a long time bluegrass family who initially came into Kentucky after crossing the Cumberland Gap with Daniel Boone, Lincoln is not only the state’s most famous sons, but is, in many ways, the father of our United States.

In Lincoln’s shadow stand four other towering historical figures. There’s Ephraim McDowell, the man who performed the world’s first success removal of a tumor from a woman’s ovary; in some ways the father of gynecology.

Henry Clay is there too. Clay, one of the leading statesmen in American history, served as the Speaker of the House of Representatives, in the Senate, and as Secretary of State. He was a crucial leader for the Whig Party in the 19th century and ran as their Presidential candidate three times.

Representing that acclaimed generation of progressive Kentuckians allied with Roosevelt in support of the New Deal is Alben Barkley. Barkley was Truman’s Vice President and, before that, FDR’s loyal Lieutenant in the U.S. Senate where he served as Senate Majority Leader. Given the role of Kentuckians such as Ed Pritchard and Fred Vinson in that important era, it is appropriate that Barkley, the most emminent of this group, is accorded a statue.

Then there’s the odd man out: Jefferson Davis. Davis is a complicated historical figure in American history. Born in KY, he bravely served the United States as a soldier in the Mexican American War. He twice served as a United States Senator from Mississippi. During President Franklin Pierce’s administration Davis was the country’s Secretary of War, the predecessor office to today’s Secretary of Defense. In that capacity, Jefferson strengthened America’s coastal defenses and directed several surveys for the Trans-Continental Railroad that would ultimately link America from coast to shining coast.

Sadly, however, despite his service to this great nation, Jefferson Davis will forever be known as the man who led the effort against it during the Civil War and the man who sat atop the cause of the slave states to keep millions of Americans in bondage. This history makes Davis’s inclusion in the rotunda both a historical oddity and a tragic reminder to the more than 300,000 African Americans who live in Kentucky that the cause to keep their ancestors in chains still enjoys some modicum of political acceptance in the bluegrass.

Davis’s statue arrived in the state capitol way back in 1934, nearly 60 years after the Confederacy’s surrender. A gift of the United Daughters of the Confederacy, the statue was accepted by then-Governor Happy Chandler and unveiled in 1936. It stands out today in both historical significance and aesthetics: it’s the only statue of the five that’s cast in 100% marble.

There are several reasons Jefferson Davis shouldn’t be accorded such prominence in our state’s capitol. Most importantly, Davis labored mightily to keep millions of African Americans in bondage for an indefinite amount of time. If he had succeeded in his war against his country, it’s impossible to know when slavery would have ended in America. Given how long after the Union victory it took for full Civil Rights to arrive in the United States, the potential consequences of such an outcome are staggering to imagine. In a related vein, much of what America has been able to accomplish for freedom over the past 100 years is directly related to the fact that Abraham Lincoln’s vision of America as a single, united nation, represented by a robust and powerful federal government, triumphed over Davis’s vision of country fractured in (at least) two. Consider: Would America have come to Britain’s defense in two world wars? Could it possibly have stared down the menace of the Soviet Union? Is it remotely possible our nation would be the economic and political powerhouse it is today had Davis succeeded? To celebrate Davis, the loser in the epic historical fight for the direction of America, in such a position in our state’s capitol is simply wrong.

For these reasons I believe it’s time that Kentucky’s Jefferson Davis statue find a new home. But where should he go and who should replace him? First up, where should Davis go? It would be naïve to assume that Davis will go anywhere without at least a small fight. The Daughters of the Confederacy and other sympathetic groups will doubtless combat any effort to remove the Davis statue. What’s more, a legitimate argument can be made that Davis, pre-Civil War, rendered much service to the United States and therefore deserves a vaunted place in Frankfort. Some will even make the argument, sure to persuade some if not this author, that Kentucky’s many Confederate veterans deserve the current recognition and that Davis’ statue accomplishes this.

Given these arguments, a special home for Davis should be found. Perhaps the Kentucky Military History Museum is the first place to look. The Kentucky History Museum and the old state capitol grounds would seemingly be other alternatives. Even a more secluded spot on the first floor of the capitol would be better than its current location.

It’s not enough, however, to simply move Davis out. A suitable replacement should also be found. Several names come to mind. Outside of government there are a few business and cultural icons who represent Kentucky well. Colonel Harland Sanders, though not a Kentucky native, spent several decades of his life here. He adopted the “Colonel” moniker after then Gov. Ruby Laffoon made him a Kentucky Colonel in 1935. Sanders’ innovative restaurant, Kentucky Fried Chicken, has become one of the most successful brands in the world, something that’s important to acknowledge in this ever flattening world of globalization, commerce, and sophisticated brands. Cassius Clay, or Mohammed Ali, is another. Born and raised in Louisville, the black boxer was certainly the most famous individual from Kentucky in the 20th century. Robert Penn Warren would be nice if Kentucky wanted to honor its most famous author. But neither name packs the punch or carries the stature to go toe-to-toe with Davis.

What about a military hero? Kentucky has long held respect as a martial state. From service with Andrew Jackson at the Battle of New Orleans to their high number of 21 Medal of Honor winners in the 20th century, the bluegrass has always stood ready to lend its hand to help America fight its wars. A statute of Willie Sandlin, one of the most famous medal winners in the 20th century would be one option. Zackary Taylor is another, though as a former slave owner, he would also pose problems.

John Marshall Harlan is the second best choice, in my mind. The former Kentucky Attorney General who eventually became a Supreme Court Justice is most known for his dissents from the court’s majority. A Republican, Harlan was nominated to the bench by President Rutherford B. Hayes. His views on the 14th amendment and its applicability to civil rights and his views in the so called Insular Cases were important additions to our nation’s jurisprudence as were his repeated dissents in cases like Berea College vs. the Commonwealth of Kentucky, and the peonage cases.

Most importantly, Justice Harlan is best remembered for standing firm, though alone in his dissent against the rest of the court in the infamous Plessy v. Ferguson case. He lost that battle, and because of his loss our nation in general and African Americans specifically, continue to pay a steep price. Nonetheless, Harlan’s words in that famous dissent would make a wonderful statue citation:

"… in view of the constitution, in the eye of the law, there is in this
countryno superior, dominant, ruling class of citizens. There is no caste here.
Ourconstitution is color-blind, and neither knows nor tolerates classes
amongcitizens. In respect of civil rights, all citizens are equal before the
law. Thehumblest is the peer of the most powerful. The law regards man as man,
and takesno account of his surroundings or of his color when his civil rights
asguaranteed by the supreme law of the land are involved…"

Harlan would probably be a better fit than any of the aforementioned historical personages to stand in our Commonwealth’s seat of government. Further, he’d have the added benefit of paying homage to the Judiciary in a gallery filled with statues of lawmakers.

Then there’s my favorite, Daniel Boone. Boone did more than any other Kentuckian to populate the eventual Commonwealth. He helped build the Wilderness Road, established Boonseborough, brought hundreds of families, including Lincoln’s ancestors across the Cumberland Gap, and, like hundreds of thousands of Kentuckians since, eventually moved on to perceived greener pastures. Boone was a businessman, a surveyor, and a warrior. Though a slave owner and an Indian fighter, he showed humanity to Native Americans, something that’s worth noting given the statue I’m proposing Boone’s replace. Boone also stands out in the cultural sense in a way that no other Kentuckian save Lincoln ever has. From Lord Byron to James Fennimore Cooper, from Audubon to Daffy Duck, Boone has inspired people throughout the world and would be a worthy foe to go head to head with a foe like Jefferson Davis who has, after all, always played a skilled defense.

Whether we ultimately choose Boone, or Harlan, or some other foe to do battle with Davis, its past time for the only President of the Confederacy to seek a home elsewhere. His presence in such a vaunted manner in our state’s capitol hardly does justice to a state seeking to move forward in the 21st century.

Originally Posted @

Editor's comment: BRAVO, my esteemed friend, BRAVO.

I join in your analysis and conclusion, and I hold Justice Harlan to very HIGH esteem, though I am in agreement on Daniel Boone.

At this point, pretty much ANYONE -- other than Attila the Hun, Saddam Hussein, Adolph (Rupp or Hitler) or folks like those -- will do.

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Sorry For Slow Postings: Yes You Guessed It -- Professional Duties. Okay Here We Go: Something Tells Me Dick Cheney Is SCARED Of CIA "Torture" Probe.

Question: Summer Of Our Discontent: Why Is America So Angry? Answer: For Some, A Black Man Is POTUS!

Summer of our discontent: Why is America so angry?
Steven Thomma

WASHINGTON — At the dawn of the Barack Obama era, the promise of hope has faded. America's public square is an angry and bitter place.

Finger pointing and yelling at town hall meetings this summer are signs of a country that's been building toward a boiling point for several years, stressed by a fast changing economy, a flood of immigration and threats at home by terrorists.

It's a land at turns frustrated and irate at a government that led them into an unpopular war, proved itself inept at helping its citizens in a disastrous hurricane, presided over an historic economic collapse, then went on a spending spree that could commit their country to decades of crushing debt.

Related Story Secret camps and guillotines? Groups make birthers look sane

Untold numbers of Americans seethe with anger at Obama and his fellow Democrats, resentment coupled with fear even more intense than the rage other Americans expressed just a year ago at George W. Bush and the Republicans. One telling sign: The comparisons of the president to Hitler remain the same — only the face has changed from Bush to Obama.

"It's ugly," said independent pollster John Zogby. "Ugly and sad because there were many of us who felt the ugliness could be transcended this time."

Americans throughout their history have been prone to periods of anger and suspicion against one another, particularly in times of change and stress. The anti-Catholic Know-Nothings of the 1850s, the rise of the Klan in the 1870s, the Palmer Raids against leftist radicals and immigrants in the 1920s, McCarthyism in the 1950s.

This anger is more focused on the federal government, a resurgence of the hostility toward the government that started with Vietnam in the 1960s and Watergate in the 1970s, faded in the 1980s, resurfaced in the early 1990s and then faded away again.

"There seems to be a reservoir of anger in the country of a particularly intense and shrill variety that it is not simply what's appeared at the town meetings," said Michael Barkun, a political scientist at Syracuse University and an expert on extremist groups.

"In a sense, they were the most visible sign of something that may be larger."

Some of the rising anger predates Obama — built on the natural American DNA of skepticism toward the government, exacerbated by moves to give the government more power in both the Bush and Obama administrations, and magnified and spread by a new era of communications.

Threats and inappropriate messages to federal judges and court personnel doubled from 2002 to 2008, forcing the U.S. Marshal's service to open a new Threat Management Center to handle the workload.

The number of people refusing to pay taxes to a government they claim is illegitimate rose so much in recent years that the Internal revenue Service last year created a National Tax Defier Initiative to fight them.

Immigration from Latin America has fed resentment, as well as a fear among some groups that the country's very sovereignty was at risk.

Some warn of secret plans for a North American Union that would meld the U.S. with Canada and Mexico. Others say that Mexicans have a secret "Plan de Aztlan" that would reconquer the southwestern U.S.

The ranks of self-styled militia groups is on the rise, with 50 new groups cropping up, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center, a civil rights group that tracks hate groups.

"They're just bristling with anger," said Larry Keller, who wrote a recent analysis of militia for the center. "It's the most growth we've seen in 10-12 years. It's not what it was in the early '90s, but it's trending that way."

To be sure, Obama's also contributed to the anger, rage at soaring federal spending that will add $9 trillion to the national debt, a government takeover of General Motors, a huge new plan to regulate the environment, and now a big plan to change health care.

As Congress was debating the proposed regulation of emissions that cause global warming, Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., warned that people needed to stand up to the legislation.

"I want people in Minnesota armed and dangerous on this issue of the energy tax because we need to fight back," she said. "Thomas Jefferson told us, 'Having a revolution every now and then is a good thing,' and the people, we the people, are going to have to fight back hard if we're not going to lose our country."

Obama's agenda has stalled in this environment, and experts warn of a wave building against him and his party similar the one that swept the Democrats out of power in Congress in 1994.

"This is how wave elections start," said independent political analyst Charlie Cook. "If the election were held today, the Democratic losses would be huge."

At the same time, Obama's aggravated some of the anti-government fervor by maintaining some of the Bush-era national security policies that already had scared liberals and conservatives alike.

Just this week, Obama's Homeland Security Department announced that it would maintain the Bush policy of allowing the government to search laptops and cell phones of Americans returning from overseas, even without suspicion.

A common theme of much of the anti-government anger is the fear that the tools created to fight terrorism — such as the Patriot Act, warrantless spying on Americans, and the claimed right to hold people without charge or trial — might also be used against critics or dissidents.

Some of the anger is driven by conspiracy theories — secret government camps to lock up dissenters, guillotines to behead opponents and a government illegally led by a foreigner — and spread at breakneck speed via the Internet and over the airwaves.

Always there in politics, anger now is rapidly focused and spread through new forms of communication unavailable just a decade ago.

"In '94, you had talk radio," Cook said. "In '09, you have talk radio, Fox, and the Internet. It just magnifies the arguments."

And it happens often without regard to the truth, particularly on the Internet where one Web site looks as credible as the next, and a YouTube video of a speech makes one speaker appear as vetted and credible as any.

Thus, a former FBI agent named Ted Gunderson can be seen addressing a Florida conference, explaining matter-of-factly that the government has prepared a thousand secret internment camps for dissenters, and stored 500,000 caskets in Georgia for those it will kill.

In another Florida conference and a written report this year, he added that a secret government source assured him that the government also has 30,000 guillotines. "Beheading," he wrote, "is the most efficient means of harvesting body parts."

At the same time, Jerome Corsi writes for that the government is preparing to build Nazi-like concentration camps for dissidents.

Corsi, a frequent guest on the Fox News Channel, wrote a campaign book ripping Obama and was among those who argued that Obama isn't a U.S. citizen and that Bush secretly tried to surrender U.S. sovereignty to a new North American Union.

Also, a group of active and retired military, police and firefighters called Oathkeepers has stated that it "will not obey any order to force American citizens into any form of detention camps under any pretext."

The group, which says it doesn't advocate violence or an overthrow of the government, met on the April 19 anniversary of the Revolutionary War battle of Lexington and Concord, and of the bombing of the federal building in Oklahoma City.

One of the keynote speakers that day, Richard Mack, summed up his thinking about the federal government on his Web site.

"The greatest threat we face today is not terrorists," he said. "It is our own federal government. If America is conquered or ruined it will be from within, not a foreign enemy."

Editor's comment: For MANY of my fellow countrymen and women, the anger stems from the fact that a Black man is POTUS.

Unfortunately for these YEHOOs, they'll have to live with that POTUS FACT for a looong time to come -- with more of the same in our future!


Words To Live By.

"Integrity is the lifeblood of democracy. Deceit is a poison in its veins."

-- Senator Ted Kennedy


Rest In Peace, Ted Kennedy.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Jerry Mitchell On The Ghosts Of Philadelphia -- Mississippi, That Is.

In Mississippi, a cold case still burns
By Jerry Mitchell

PHILADELPHIA, Miss. — On summer's first night in 1964, Billy Wayne Posey allegedly joined more than 20 other Klansmen in gunning down three helpless young men on a deserted dirt road before loading their bodies into a station wagon and burying them 15 feet beneath an earthen dam.

Earlier this month, on Aug. 13, Posey died at age 73 of natural causes.

He spent a few years in federal prison for conspiracy but never faced murder charges in the June 21, 1964, killings of civil-rights workers James Chaney, Andy Goodman and Mickey Schwerner. A smattering of people showed up for Posey's funeral.

In the years after the killings, the Philadelphia community bore the shame of the murders and the stigma of Martin Luther King Jr. saying, after he visited in 1966, “There is a complete reign of terror here.”

Over the past decade, though, the town has begun to more fully face its history. It printed brochures that honestly describe the past, and citizens formed a multiracial group called the Philadelphia Coalition that successfully pushed for prosecution of the case.

But full disclosure is elusive, and Posey's death reminds us how long the accounting has taken.

In the days after the trio disappeared, hundreds of FBI agents arrived to investigate, and the story, which made headlines around the globe. Mississippi's governor proclaimed that the missing men were part of a desperate hoax by communists.

The truth came 44 days later. That's when FBI agents found the bodies entombed in clay.

A quarter-century afterward, I watched that true story unfold onscreen. As a 29-year-old reporter, I had been assigned to cover the state's premiere of “Mississippi Burning,” a movie about the killings, which I knew little about.

I happened to see it that night with two FBI agents who had investigated the case. After the film was over, I wondered aloud why none of these Klansmen had ever been tried for murder.

The agents said everyone knew who the killers were, but the state balked at prosecuting, believing convictions were impossible. The agents assured me that these killers were hardly the only ones who had escaped justice in those days.

At the time of the 1989 premiere, I was covering courts for the newspaper in Jackson, Miss. — a place I had never intended to live. After the movie, I wrote story after story on the cases and found myself drawn into the dark world of white supremacists, who welcomed me, perhaps because of my alabaster skin, my Southern accent and my conservative Christian upbringing.

Over plates of barbecue and catfish, they warned me of communists and told me that the stories I had heard in Sunday school about God loving all races were lies. They paid their light bills, fed their dogs, kept clean houses and moved through their communities with the respect their age required. People called them “sir.”

But sitting there, I just knew. I could feel the evil in them the same way you feel an old piece of glass that got stuck in your foot on some forgotten creek bank, slowly working its way out.

That's how it felt, anyway, when Billy Wayne Posey reassured me in 1999 that he had nothing to do with the deaths of these three men. By that time, I had been covering the killings of the trio and others from the civil rights era for more than a decade.

Seven years later — long after he had quit talking to me — I read what he had told Mississippi authorities in 2000. How he had been among the Klansmen chasing down the men that night. How he had been a member of the killing party. How he talked of “a lot of persons involved in the murders that did not go to jail.”

Days ago, as news spread of Posey's death, one man called me to rub it in: “Too late, weren't you, Jerry?”

Edgar Ray Killen did live long enough to face a Mississippi jury. Killen, who orchestrated the trio's killings, is serving 60 years in the Central Mississippi Correctional Facility, where he will undoubtedly spend his last days.

Posey could have joined him there. He came within one vote of being charged with murder in 2005. A relative of his on the grand jury cast a deciding vote against indictment.

Since 1989, 23 men have been convicted in killings from the civil-rights era. More recently, legislation has created a cold-cases unit in the Justice Department, aimed at determining whether justice is possible in any other cases.

Meanwhile, through the Center for Investigative Reporting, I am working with fellow journalists, documentary filmmakers and others to examine dozens of unpunished killings that have never been fully investigated.

After two men were finally sent to prison a few years ago for their roles in the 1963 church bombing in Birmingham, Ala., that killed four girls, then-U.S. Attorney Doug Jones stood on the courthouse steps and declared, “Justice delayed isn't justice denied.” It is a sentiment that families have repeated to me.

When a Neshoba County jury pronounced Killen guilty of three counts of manslaughter on June 21, 2005 — the 41st anniversary of the civil-rights workers' killings — many residents regarded his conviction as the thing that would help exorcise the ghosts of the past.

Perhaps it helped to do that. Six months after the nation elected Barack Obama its first black president, this majority-white town of nearly 8,000 elected James Young its first black mayor.

With each step of progress, though, the past never seems far behind. Young, who publicly supported the prosecution of these killers, still recalls the Klan terrorizing his neighborhood and his daddy gripping a gun to protect his family.

When I shared news of Posey's death with Goodman's brother, David, of New York, he expressed regret, saying Posey “should have lived forever.”

That feeling is shared by other family members and those who have been seeking justice for decades. Jewel McDonald, a 63-year-old member of the Philadelphia Coalition, can't forget Klansmen brutalizing her family members and burning down their church.

Killen's conviction has aided race relations and perhaps played an unspoken role in the mayor's victory, McDonald said. “His election means a great deal, not just to the black community but to the white community. It says we're not the same place we were 45 years ago.”

My decision to chase these crimes for more than 20 years has hardly been popular. Some people have written letters to the editor. Others have canceled their subscriptions to the newspaper. A few have leveled threats.
(4 of 4)

“Did you think we were going to let you go unscathed?” one man told me. “You are a traitor. We know where you and your family live. We have photographs.”

Another man encouraged me to visit Philadelphia so people there could cut my throat.

Four suspects in the trio's killings are alive and could still be prosecuted if enough evidence can be found. One of those suspects is Olen Burrage, the owner of the property where the bodies were buried. He has insisted on his innocence.

But an FBI informant said Burrage had talked with Klansmen in advance of civil-rights workers arriving in Mississippi, boasting that he had a dam that would “hold a hundred of them.”

Imperial Wizard Sam Bowers, who headed the White Knights at the time and ordered the killings, bragged before his 2006 death that the truth of what happened that night and on so many other dark nights in Mississippi would remain buried forever.

I believe he is wrong, and that is why I continue to dig.

Jerry Mitchell is an investigative reporter for the Clarion-Ledger in Jackson, Miss. His e-mail address is

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Cal Thomas: Many On The Right Hated And Demonized [Senator Ted Kennedy], But I Don't Ever Recall His Responding In Kind.

Kennedy's death ends surprising friendship

Most of my adult life has been intertwined with the Kennedy family. As a freshman at American University in 1960, I stayed up late watching the election returns as John F. Kennedy eked out a victory over Richard Nixon.

As with most Americans my age, the decades that followed always involved one or more members of the Kennedy family, whether it was legislation, indiscretions, speeches or just curiosity.

This larger-than-life family has been unique in American politics. But so were the friendships Ted Kennedy established across the political lines that divide us. He used those personal relationships to accomplish things that mattered to him. Many on the Right hated and demonized him, but I don't ever recall his responding in kind.

These days, people on “one side” of the political spectrum are not supposed to cooperate, much less have a personal relationship, with anyone on the “other side.” Siding with “the enemy” can get you branded a compromiser, a sellout, or worse, a fool.

While it is true that on too many occasions, conservatives have had their ideological pockets picked by liberals whose favor they curried, that is no excuse for hating people because of their political beliefs.

Kennedy once said in a speech: “I am an American and a Catholic; I love my country and treasure my faith. But I do not assume that my conception of patriotism or policy is invariably correct, or that my convictions about religion should command any greater respect than any other faith in this pluralistic society.”

What student or advocate of the First Amendment would disagree with that?

Flaws? Of course he had them in abundance, as we all do, but his, unfortunately, played out on a national and international stage. How would you like to have lived with the daily pressure of knowing that somewhere out there someone may have wanted to kill you as they had your brothers?

I recall a dinner at Ted's home when he lived in McLean, Va. His sister, the late Eunice Kennedy Shriver, was my dinner partner. He was gracious and funny. He took my wife and me on a tour of a hallway with memorabilia that would delight any political junkie. Five years ago, he showed up at a 20th anniversary party for my syndicated column. When he entered, every head turned in his direction, every jaw dropped. No one could believe that this liberal icon would so honor a conservative friend.

Over the years, I came to see Sen. Kennedy not as a symbol, but as a fellow human being who did not get up each morning seeking ways to harm the country. I know of things he did for the poor and homeless on his own time and in his own way without a press release or a desire for public approval.

I know of other hurts and concerns he shared with the very few he could trust, about which I would never speak.

Because he came from wealth, he felt a responsibility to give back. We can argue whether government or individuals do that best, but we can't say that Ted Kennedy was inconsistent. He would compromise to advance his beliefs, not dilute them.

Ted once provided a blurb for a book I wrote. He said, “Cal Thomas usually says the far-right thing instead of the right thing, but I like reading him anyway.”

With the passing of the last of Joseph P. Kennedy Sr.'s sons goes the image of youth and “vigah,” as Jack used to say in his Boston accent. I shall miss Ted Kennedy, not only because he was a worthy ideological rival, but also because with his passing, a part of my youth has gone with him.

Camelot, of course, was a myth, but what young person of that era cannot still hear the line uttered by Richard Burton from that lauded musical? It came at the end of the show as King Arthur surveys his broken kingdom and tells a young man of Camelot what might have been:

“Don't let it be forgot.

That once there was a spot

For one brief shining moment that was known as Camelot.”

Cal Thomas is a columnist with Tribune Media Services. His e-mail address is

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Civil Political Discourse. LOL.


Saturday, August 29, 2009

Senator Ted Kennedy Is Laid To Rest. Watch Video.

Watch Ted Kennedy's Funeral LIVE.

Person For The Week: Senator Ted Kennedy.

If you have to ask why Ted Kennedy merits to be named the Person For the week, then you should NOT be reading this post, and if I have to explain to you why, then the explanation will cause your brain to hurt -- literally.

So enjoy the post, will ya?


RIP, Ted Kennedy.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Kentucky League Of Cities' Sylvia Lovely Signs Severance Agreement, Agrees Not To Sue -- But What About The League?

Lovely signs severance agreement, agrees not to sue
By Ryan Alessi

Sylvia Lovely, who resigned this week as executive director of the Kentucky League of Cities, signed a separation agreement Friday in which she relinquished most duties to her deputy and agreed not to sue the League.

Lovely will draw her benefits and salary of $331,000 through Dec. 31, and will have use of such perks as KLC-provided home Internet service and a cell phone. Her expenses will continue to be covered.

Earlier this summer, she stopped using the League-provided BMW SUV.

Lovely will "complete certain projects" and help her successor transition into the job.

All of her other duties will be taken on by Neil Hackworth, the deputy director and chief operations officer, according to the agreement.

Lovely also released KLC from liability for claims of defamation, additional wages and wrongful termination.

The agreement, provided to the Herald-Leader late Friday by KLC, shows that Lovely was given the document Tuesday. It required her to announce her resignation by the close of business that day.

"Thereafter, no other public announcements shall be made by employee in her capacity as a representative of KLC unless approved by the KLC executive board," the agreement says.

Lovely has remained out of the public spotlight since then and didn't appear with KLC officials at a legislative committee meeting Wednesday. Lawmakers grilled leaders of the organization, as well as officials of the Kentucky Association of Counties, about expense policies, oversight and reforms made since Herald-Leader articles outlined spending at both groups.

Lovely, Hackworth and Insurance Administrator William Hamilton spent $300,000 over three years on travel, meals and other expenses.

Lawmakers also questioned some of the compensation policies at the League.

For example, KLC forgave nearly $100,000 of $272,000 in loans it made to Lovely, Hackworth and Hamilton for them to buy additional time in the state retirement system.

The rest of the loans were subtracted from their salaries between November 2004 and December 2007.

Those loans came under fire from legislators on Wednesday.

"I've got a problem with that," said state Sen. Damon Thayer, R-Georgetown and co-chairman of the Interim Joint Committee on Local Government.

During that committee's meeting Wednesday, Thayer asked Mike Miller, KLC's incoming president and the mayor of Jackson, whether the League's board would stop offering loans to employees to buy time in the retirement system. KLC employees are part of the the Kentucky County Employees Retirement System.

"It's a policy we will look at," Miller responded. "As of this time, I can't see it being continued."

Miller later said he wasn't aware that KLC had forgiven more than a third of the loans.

The League made five-year loans to the three top officials in August 2002 as a retention incentive, said Douglas Goforth, KLC's chief financial officer.

It wasn't until November 2004 — after a compensation consultant recommended higher salaries for Lovely, Hamilton and Hackworth — that the board decided to take the loan payments out of their salaries.

Two other KLC employees also received loans, which were forgiven in total.

Legislators also questioned the need for high-paid KLC employees, such as Lovely, Hackworth and Hamilton, to be included in the Kentucky County Employees Retirement System.

Hackworth's total compensation package is more than $246,000; Hamilton's is more than $225,000.

"I am troubled that people with such high salaries are in the pension system," said Rep. Arnold Simpson, D-Covington, during the committee meeting. He said the system was conceived as a safety net and benefit for rank-and-file state and county workers.

Simpson recommended that the League offer its next executive director other retirement benefits, such as matching contributions to a 401(k) plan, like many private firms.

Lovely, who has 22 years of service at KLC and five years she purchased with the help of a $125,000 loan from the League, is currently eligible for a pension of between $9,500 and $11,000 a month when she retires, according to estimates by a state retirement system benefit calculator.

That would make her annual benefit as much as $132,000 a year.

Reach Ryan Alessi at (859) 231-1303.

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Los Angeles Coroner: Michael Jackson's Death Is A Homicide, No Food In His Stomach Just Drugs As California Attorney General Joins Investigation.

The L.A. County Coroner has just officially announced the cause of Michael Jackson's death -- Acute Propofol intoxication.

The report says "other conditions contributing to death: Benzodiazepine effect." Benzodiazepines are a group of drugs (see below) used to treat anxiety and insomnia.

The manner of death is ruled: "HOMICIDE."

The Coroner did not release the full autopsy report -- just a press notice. It goes on:

The drugs PROPOFOL and LORAZEPAM (Ativan) were found to be the primary drugs responsible for Mr. Jackson's death.

Other drugs detected were: Midazolam (Versed), Diazepam (Valium), Lidocaine (topical anesthetic) and Ephedrine (used to treat hypotension associated with anesthesia).

The final Coroner's report, including the toxicology report, will remain on security hold, per the LAPD.

Read more from TMZ >>>>>> here and here.

Video update:

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New York Democratic CONgressman Charlie Rangel Shows That Ethics Is For The Little Guy.

Read more here.

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Charles Krauthammer: 'Obamacare': The Exit Strategy.

‘Obamacare': the exit strategy
By Charles Krauthammer

WASHINGTON — Obamacare Version 1.0 is dead. The 1,000-page monstrosity that emerged in various editions from Congress was done in by widespread national revulsion not just at its expense and intrusiveness but at the mendacity with which it is being sold. You don't need a Ph.D. to see that the promise to expand coverage and reduce costs is a crude deception, or that cutting $500 billion from Medicare without affecting care is a fiction.

But there is an exit strategy. And a politically clever one, if the Democrats are smart enough to seize it.

(1) Forget the public option. Whatever the merits, and they are few, it is political poison. It dies by the Liasson Logic, the unassailable observation by NPR's Mara Liasson that there are no liberal Democrats who will lose their seats if the public option is left out, while there are many moderate Democrats who could lose their seats if the public option is included.

(2) Jettison any reference to end-of-life counseling. People see (correctly) such Medicare-paid advice as subtle encouragement to voluntarily refuse treatment. People don't want government involvement in a process they consider the private province of patient, family and doctor. The Senate is already dropping it. The House must follow.

(3) Soft-pedal the idea of government committees determining “best practices.” President Obama's Federal Coordinating Council for Comparative Effectiveness Research was sold as simply government helping doctors choose the best treatments. But there are dozens of medical journal review articles that do just that. The real purpose of FCCCERs is ultimately to establish official criteria for denying reimbursement to less favored (because presumably less effective) treatments — precisely the triage done by the NICE committee in Britain, the Orwellian body that once blocked access to a certain expensive anti-blindness drug until you went blind in one eye.

(4) More generally, abandon the whole idea of Obamacare as cost-cutting. True, it was Obama's original rationale for creating a whole new entitlement at a time of a sinking economy and a bankrupt Treasury. But, as many universal-health care liberals complain, selling pain is poor salesmanship.

(5) Promise nothing but pleasure — for now. Make health insurance universal and permanently protected. Tear up the existing bills and write a clean one — Obamacare 2.0 — promulgating draconian health-insurance regulation that prohibits (a) denying coverage for pre-existing conditions, (b) dropping coverage if the client gets sick, and (c) capping insurance company reimbursement.

What's not to like? If you have insurance, you'll never lose it. Nor will your children ever be denied coverage for pre-existing conditions.

The regulated insurance companies will get two things in return. Government will impose an individual mandate that will force the purchase of health insurance on the millions of healthy young people who today forgo it. And government will subsidize all the others who are too poor to buy health insurance. The result? Two enormous new revenue streams created by government for the insurance companies.

And here's what makes it so politically seductive: The end result is the liberal dream of universal and guaranteed coverage — but without overt nationalization. It is all done through private insurance companies. Ostensibly private. They will, in reality, have been turned into government utilities. No longer able to control whom they can enroll, whom they can drop and how much they can limit their own liability, they will live off government largesse — subsidized premiums from the poor; forced premiums from the young and healthy.

It's the perfect finesse — government health care by proxy. And because it's proxy, and because it will guarantee access to (supposedly) private health insurance — something that enjoys considerable Republican support — it will pass with wide bipartisan backing and give Obama a resounding political victory.

Isn't there a catch? Of course, there is. This scheme is the ultimate bait-and-switch. The pleasure comes now, the pain later. Government-subsidized universal and virtually unlimited coverage will vastly compound already out-of-control government spending on health care. The financial and budgetary consequences will be catastrophic.

However, they will not appear immediately. And when they do, the only solution will be rationing. That's when the liberals will give the FCCCER regulatory power and give you end-of-life counseling.

But by then, resistance will be feeble. Why? Because at that point the only remaining option will be to give up the benefits we will have become accustomed to. Once granted, guaranteed universal health care is not relinquished. Look at Canada. Look at Britain. They got hooked; now they ration. So will we.

Charles Krauthammer is a columnist with The Washington post. His e-mail address is


Eugene Robinson: A Prince's Fate.

A Prince's Fate
Ted Kennedy Played a Role to Near-Perfection
By Eugene Robinson

That the nation is so moved by the passing of Edward Moore Kennedy testifies to his skill, grace and determination at playing a role that must have been infinitely more difficult than it sounds: a prince fated never to be king.

Ted Kennedy was the youngest of nine children in a family whose ruthless patriarch was intent on building an American dynasty. The old man, business titan Joseph Kennedy, was a king. Ted's older brother Jack, the handsome young president, was a king. The other two brothers, Joe and Robert, were slated for the throne but died too soon. Ted made a run for president, but with the air of someone who didn't really believe he was meant to win. He was the baby brother, the eternal prince.

Princes often have lives that are difficult, even within a context of wealth and privilege. They have to find ways to keep from being eaten alive by ambition that can never be requited. Some become sage counselors in the affairs of state; some become wastrels who lose themselves in women and booze; some fade away and become hobbyists who go off and pilot sailboats or collect butterflies or something. It's fair to say that at various points in his life, Ted Kennedy tried all of these identities.

The hardest task for an eternal prince is to construct an original identity of which he can be proud -- an identity that allows him to live a life of purpose, meaning and impact. Ted Kennedy accomplished this feat by becoming the greatest senator of our age and serving as the liberal conscience of the nation.

Every once in a while, the conventional wisdom is basically right. The generally agreed-upon story line is that Kennedy found himself through the experience of defeat. The consensus view is that he ran for president in 1980 largely out of a sense of obligation, that he ran such a disorganized and almost desultory campaign that it almost looked like self-sabotage, and that when he lost the Democratic nomination to incumbent Jimmy Carter he became a free man, able for the first time to find his own voice and chart his own path.

I was in Madison Square Garden -- a wide-eyed young reporter getting his first taste of national politics -- when Kennedy gave his electrifying concession speech at the 1980 Democratic convention. The famous final passage, which brought down the house, was as powerful and succinct a manifesto as any public figure in this country has ever delivered:

"For all those whose cares have been our concern, the work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives and the dream shall never die."

Those are stirring words, and Kennedy spent the next three decades backing them up. In the powerful cadences of that sentence, he makes specific commitments. He promised to work -- which he did, indefatigably, shoving and tugging legislation through the procedural molasses of the Senate. He promised not to abandon the cause -- the liberal agenda of equal opportunity and equal justice. He promised to keep hope alive -- and never, even in his final months, did he betray a hint of hopelessness. And he promised that the dream would live on -- a vision of an America that lives up to its highest ideals, an America in which those who are least fortunate or most in need are not forgotten.

By then, Ted Kennedy had already had a monumental impact on his country -- his work in reforming the nation's immigration laws in 1965 literally altered the face of the nation by changing a quota system that had made it easy for Europeans to come to this country while admitting only a trickle of immigrants from parts of the world where the people happened to be black or brown.

The cause of his life, however, became health care -- changing the unacknowledged system of rationing under which we apportion care according to an individual's ability to pay. There are those who believe that if Kennedy had not been ailing, President Obama's attempt at health-care reform might be further along. I doubt that, given the Republican Party's strategy of intransigence and fear-mongering.

But we sorely miss Kennedy's moral clarity. He believed our nation has the responsibility to ensure that every American has the right to affordable health care. Perhaps his life as an eternal prince taught him that happiness and salvation lie in sacrificing self-interest for the greater good.


E. J. Dionne: Ted Kennedy: A Friend Before He Was A Partisan.

Ted Kennedy: a friend before he was a partisan
By E. J. Dionne

WASHINGTON — Ted Kennedy was treasured by liberals, loved by many of his conservative colleagues, revered by African Americans and Latinos, respected by hard-bitten political bosses, admired by students of the legislative process, and cherished by those who constituted the finest cadre of staff members ever assembled on Capitol Hill.

The Kennedy paradox is that he managed to be esteemed by almost everyone without ever becoming all things to all people. He stood for large purposes, unequivocally and unapologetically, and never ducked tough choices. Yet he made it his business to get work done with anyone who would toil along with him. He was a friend, colleague and human being before he was an ideologue or partisan, even though he was a joyful liberal and an implacable Democrat.

He suffered profoundly, made large mistakes and was, to say the least, imperfect. But the suffering and the failures fed a humane humility that led him to reach out to others who fell, to empathize with those burdened by pain, to understand human folly and to appreciate the quest for redemption.

That made him a rarity in politics. Never pretending that he knew everything, he had a magnetic draw for talented people who stayed with him for years. He trusted them and gave them room to shine. Their guidance and his own intelligence and feverish work made him one of the greatest senators in history.

There was another Kennedy paradox: Precisely because he knew so clearly what he wanted and where he wished the country to move, he could strike deals with Republicans far outside his philosophical comfort zone.

He worked with Orrin Hatch, one of his dearest friends, to bring health coverage to millions of children, with George W. Bush on education reform, with Lamar Alexander and Mike Enzi to improve child care, with John McCain on immigration reform. It was hard to find a Republican senator Kennedy had not worked with at some point during his nearly 47 years in Washington.

Kennedy's willingness to cross party lines only enhanced his credibility when he needed to stand alone as a progressive prophet. In early 2003, while so many in his party cowered in fear, Kennedy stood against the impending invasion of Iraq, warning that it would “undermine” the war against terrorism and “feed a rising tide of anti-Americanism overseas.”

And for his entire career, in season and out, Kennedy had a righteous obsession with the profound injustices and shameful inefficiencies of an American health care system that bankrupts the sick and inflicts needless agony on those who cannot cross a doctor's threshold. It would be an unforgivable tragedy if Kennedy's death were to weaken rather than strengthen the forces battling for health care reform, which Kennedy called “the cause of my life.”

Yet Kennedy's liberalism was experimental, not rigid. Principles didn't change, but tactics and formulations were always subject to review. He gave annual speeches that amounted to a report on the state of American liberalism. He always sought to give heart to its partisans in dark times — “Let's be who we are and not pretend to be something else,” Kennedy said in early 1995, shortly after his party's devastating midterm defeat — but he did not shrink from pointing to liberal shortcomings.

In that 1995 speech, he insisted that “outcomes,” not intentions, should determine whether government programs live or die. In 2005, he criticized liberals for failing to harness their creed to the country's core values.

Many who didn't know Kennedy will wonder about the sources of the cross-partisan affection that will flow liberally in the coming days. It goes back to his humane identification with those in pain. Literally thousands of people have stories, and I offer my own.

In 1995, Kennedy was at our church on a Sunday when a call for prayers came forth for a hospitalized member of our family. Kennedy eventually learned that it was my 3-year-old son, James, who was stricken with a rare condition.

I returned home late that night after spending the day at the hospital. Waiting for me was a message from Ted Kennedy. A quiet voice described his own son's youthful illness and expressed a total understanding of the fear and pain I was experiencing.

My son recovered, thank God, and I will never forget what Kennedy did. His compassion was real, not contrived, and it extended to individual human beings and not just to the masses in the crowds who cheered him, and will keep cheering for a long time.

E.J. Dionne' is a columnist with The Washington Post. His e-mail address is


"The Decider".

The Decider
One justice routinely tips the Supreme Court into a majority. What principles guide his thinking?

The Supreme Court's newest member, Sonya ­Sotomayor, has been getting all the press ­recently, and for good reason. But she will ­probably not shift the court decisively in one direction or another. The "decider" role remains with Anthony Kennedy: He sits dead center in a court still polarized between four conservative justices and four liberal ones. In the 2006-07 term, for instance, Justice ­Kennedy joined the majority in all its 5-4 decisions. Lee Epstein and Tonja Jacobi, two political scientists who have studied the court's rulings in recent years, argue that Justice Kennedy acts as a "supermedian justice," because the views of even his proximate colleagues on the right and left are so distant from his own. He thus has enormous discretion to cast a majority-creating vote that may well make precedent for years to come.

For all its importance, Justice Kennedy's outlook can appear puzzling at times, either maddeningly ­capricious or philosophically incoherent. In "Justice Kennedy's Jurisprudence," Frank J. Colucci manages to define it with admirable precision, debunking along the way the oversimple ways in which Justice Kennedy has been characterized by people who disagree with his ­decisions. Mr. Colucci shows that his ideas are not ­inconsistent or dismissible as mere caprice or opportunism.

The key to Justice ­Kennedy's votes, Mr. Colucci says, is his moral ­reading of the Constitution: He sees the document as an unfolding story of ever greater individual liberty. Thus he ­opposes laws that abridge sexual ­freedom, including laws against homosexual conduct. If an originalist reading of the Constitution does not reveal such a liberty—relying on the received meaning of the ­Constitution's words at the time they were ­written—Justice Kennedy's moral ­reading does. But he is skeptical of race-conscious ­programs, too, because they treat applicants as members of a group rather than as individuals who possess the right to be free from group-based policies or rules.

Obviously, there is something in such positions to offend people on either side of the ideological fault line—including Justice Kennedy's colleagues on the court. The same is true in matters of religion. Justice Antonin Scalia believes that the Establishment Clause, the part of First Amendment that outlines religious freedom, limits only wholesale government efforts to favor one particular religious view over others. He thus sees no barrier to denominational prayer at high-school graduations. John Paul Stevens, by contrast, deems unconstitutional any governmental effort, like school vouchers or school prayer, that may have the ­effect of promoting religion itself. Justice Kennedy, typically, fits into neither category of reasoning. To him, the Establishment Clause preserves individual ­liberty rather than simply defining the relation of church and state. He upholds school-choice programs because they promote liberty through choice; he bans school prayers at graduation because they coerce a captive audience.

Most valuably, Mr. Colucci shows Justice Kennedy's judicial philosophy to be a deeply rooted one and not, as one might suspect, the result of varied decisions that require a casuist or law professor to make coherent. He unearths a speech from 1986 in which Justice Kennedy (then an appeals-court judge) criticized ­Bowers v. Hardwick, a case in which the Supreme Court upheld a conviction for sodomy. At the time the judge did not argue, as others had, that the decision ­violated the right to privacy minted more than a ­decade before in Roe v. Wade. He argued instead that the liberty interests of gay Americans had been breached. In 2003, the court overruled Bowers v. Hardwick, and Justice Kennedy wrote the majority opinion using the rhetoric of liberty rather than privacy.

Looking for the sources of Justice Kennedy's moral judgment, Mr. Colucci discovers one in post-Vatican II Catholic thought, including papal encyclicals like ­Dignitatis Humanae. In Roper v. Simmons, a ruling ­forbidding the death penalty for criminals under the age of 18, Justice Kennedy wrote that juveniles only rarely exhibit "irreparable corruption"—a phrase that a secular judge might not have used. (Justice Kennedy is an observant Catholic.) It is odd to reflect that the ­justice most influenced by contemporary Catholic thought may today be—because of his emphasis on ­individual rights—the decisive vote for preserving the abortion status quo.

It is implicit in Mr. Colucci's analysis that Justice Sotomayor will probably not have much influence on Justice Kennedy's decisions, despite their shared ­Catholic background. Justice Sotomayor's famous ­declaration—that a "wise Latina" will often come to a better judicial ruling than a white male—implies an ethnic-and-gender "essentialist" philosophy that is ­repugnant to Justice Kennedy's core individualism. If President Obama was hoping that Justice Sotomayor would sway the one vote that makes most ­constitutional law today, he may be disappointed.

If Mr. Colucci succeeds wonderfully in explaining Justice Kennedy, he succeeds less well in justifying him. The difficulty with moral readings of the Constitution is that, most of the time, the moral outlook that plays such a decisive role is grounded in a particular justice's personal experience and convictions or in his particular understanding of American life and history. Other moral readings of the Constitution could legitimately give pride of place to equality, or social solidarity, or national security, instead of liberty. If liberty is what most needs preserving, as Justice Kennedy seems to believe, then the better course is simply to preserve the original meaning of the Constitution, where we will find the freedoms we have chosen for ourselves.

Mr. McGinnis teaches at Northwestern University Law School in Chicago.


Louisville Courier Jornal Editorial: Coaches Behaving Badly -- And Embarrassing Us ALL. *SIGH*.

Coaches behaving badly

Memo to Rick Pitino and Billy Gillispie:

Both of you guys, knock it off.

First, Mr. Pitino:

We hate it when public relations agents and defense attorneys advise their clients not to talk to the media. It makes our jobs harder. Yet, we understand. What we don't understand is why you don't understand that attacking the media for a personal nightmare of your own making usually isn't a smart move.

But, you did it anyhow, and we're thinking that if you were one of your own players, you would coach yourself not to let anger and frustration cause you to lose sight of the goal. And the goal, you have said, is your desire to allow your family to get on with healing in the face of nasty allegations about your sexual misbehavior.

You still have your job, and your family is still intact. Yes, the unpleasantness is going to linger for a while longer, even if there are no new revelations (and there better not be for the University of Louisville's sake). But Coach, if you were to be honest about it, more often than not you have been the beneficiary of good press, not just for being a great coach, but for being one of the best when it comes to motivating young men. Bottom line, Coach Pitino: Follow your own advice, stay cool, and let the justice system work.

As for you, Coach Gillispie — or more accurately, ex-Coach Gillispie — your challenge is to stay off the bottle, and if you can't, to stay off our roads before you kill somebody or kill yourself. Of course, you are presumed innocent until proven guilty, but this isn't your first suspected DUI; it's your third. It hardly bolsters your argument that the University of Kentucky was wrong to fire you.

Meanwhile, both of you stand as unfortunate examples of why parents should not depend on big-time coaches to be role models for their children.

We wish that weren't the case, but right now in Kentucky it would be hard to argue otherwise.


Mark Story: Kentucky Boasts An Embarrassment Of Embarrassments. Yep, Mark, And Joel Pett's Cartoon Captures The Essense Of It ALL! *SIGH*.

Mark Story: Kentucky boasts an embarrassment of embarrassments
By Mark Story /

Back in the day, this is the way we used to evaluate our college basketball coaches in Kentucky.

Rupp: Six Final Fours.

Crum: Six Final Fours.

Pitino: Five Final Fours.

Now, in Kentucky's summer of Coaches Gone Wild, here is the new working tally:

Gillispie: Three Alcohol-Related Traffic Arrests.

Calipari: Two Vacated Final Fours.

Pitino: One salacious sex scandal.

In most college sports states, they worry about the players getting in trouble. Here in the commonwealth, it's the coaches that need baby sitters.

For our bad boy college hoops coaches, what a 16 days it has been.

There have been tales of sex.

Aug. 11: Police release a report in which Louisville Coach Rick Pitino, while denying a rape allegation, acknowledges having consensual sex in 2003 on a table in a restaurant with a woman he had only just met — and who, therefore, was not Mrs. Pitino.

He also admits to subsequently paying the woman $3,000 that was allegedly linked to an abortion after she told the coach she was carrying his baby.

There has been rule breaking.

Aug. 20: The NCAA announces that the 2008 Memphis team coached by current Kentucky head man John Calipari was being forced to vacate its 2008 national title game appearance due to rules violations — none of which implicated Calipari by name — involving the team's star player.

Coupled with a vacated Final Four at Massachusetts in 1996, it makes the over-achieving Cal the first coach in NCAA history to have trips to the national semifinals stricken from the records at two different schools.

There have been allegations of excessive boozing.

Aug. 27: In the wee hours of the morn (2:47 a.m.), Billy Gillispie is arrested in Anderson County for driving while allegedly under the influence of alcohol.

The arresting officer says Gillispie was so impaired, he had to lean against the door of his Mercedes Benz to stand.

For the just-deposed Kentucky head man, it is the third alcohol-related traffic interaction he's had with police since 1999.

There, ladies and gentlemen, are three of the last four men to hold the job of head men's basketball coach at the University of Kentucky.

Coaches: Molders of young men.

Of course, the name missing from that list, Tubby Smith, was a law-abiding, NCAA rules-abiding class act who won 76 percent of his games and a national title.

No wonder we couldn't wait to get that guy out of here.

Of course, yuks aside, there is a human cost to what is happening to the highly paid mercenaries we hire to fight Kentucky's basketball battles.

From the flaying Calipari took in the national media last week after the Memphis NCAA penalties were announced, it is apparent that his professional reputation — at least in the realm of running honorable programs — is in shreds.

Pitino's angry rant against the media Wednesday looked like a man cracking under the strain of scandal. There are few people I've ever encountered who are less-suited by temperament for being the butt of nationwide mockery than Rick Pitino.

With the extortion trial of his former lover, Karen Sypher, still ahead, a winter of that is exactly what Pitino has ahead.

I'll say this again: For the sake of his family and his own mental health, Pitino would be better off getting out of the limelight for a time, be it through resignation or a yearlong leave of absence.

Gillispie's abrupt dismissal as UK head coach after only two years had to have planted doubts in the minds of future employers.

Now the wide circulation of that horrid mug shot following his arrest might make it all but impossible for athletics directors at schools like Texas Tech or Houston (to name two spots much speculated upon) to hire him.

In the meantime, it's amazing how much money we are paying basketball coaches to make Kentucky the nation's sports punch line.

"It's all a little embarrassing," says Joe B. Hall, the former UK coach. "But you have to say, we sure are getting publicity."

Contrary to the axiom, not all publicity is good publicity.

So in our year of coaches behaving badly, we really should do something special for this winter's Kentucky-Louisville game.

Maybe we can invite Mark Sanford to throw up the ball for the opening tip. Maybe we can request Jerry Springer to do play-by-play. Maybe Bernie Madoff can get a weekend furlough and keep the score book.

Sad but true, they'd feel right at home.

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Lawyer Hired By Kentucky Association Of Counties (KACO) Is Subject Of Ethics Probe. NO Kidding. Only In Kentucky!

Ethics group looking into lawyer hired by KACo
By Ryan Alessi

Robert "Bobby" Russell, the lawyer hired by the Kentucky Association of Counties to do a management review of the organization, is the subject of a state ethics inquiry stemming from his work at the state Transportation Cabinet.

The Executive Branch Ethics Commission issued a subpoena in May for documents related to "every grievance filed against" Russell since December 2007, when he became the state Transportation Cabinet's general counsel.

Russell didn't return calls requesting comment Thursday.

And John Steffen, the ethics commission's executive director, declined to comment.

Russell left that post April 15 and now works as an attorney with Coy, Gilbert & Gilbert, a Richmond firm.

Russell, who is also a former Transportation Cabinet inspector general and Madison County Attorney, just began a review of KACo's chain of command, personnel, board oversight and policies in the wake of controversy over the organization's expenses and board oversight.

KACo's top five managers spent $600,000 in meals, travel, entertainment and other expenses in two years. In addition, the organization and its liability insurance has paid at least $2.2 million in legal costs related to the firing of seven former KACo employees.

KACo President J. Michael Foster, the Christian County Attorney, told legislators at an Interim Joint Committee on Local Government meeting Wednesday that Russell's management review would be critical in helping determine further reforms and personnel decisions at KACo.

"We want the benefit of the comprehensive review in order to make the best decision possible," Foster said.

Foster said he didn't know about the ethics inquiry.

He said he hired Russell, who will be paid $225 an hour, on the recommendation of several officials and didn't expect an inquiry into hiring procedures would affect the management review.

"I would have to say that I have complete confidence in his ability," Foster said.

The subpoena, obtained by the Herald-Leader through an Open Records request, also asks for documents related to Russell's hiring of former Circuit Judge William W. Trude, Jr. in the cabinet's legal office, as well as the promotion of staff attorney Jesse Rowe.

The Louisville Courier-Journal first reported in April that those personnel moves were voided because Russell and the personnel panel assigned to screen applicants didn't follow the proper procedures.

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Is Bipartisanship A "Clunker"? Nick Anderson Thinks So. LOL.


Thursday, August 27, 2009

Ann Coulter: Liberal Lies About National Health Care: Second In A Series.

Liberal Lies About National Health Care: Second in a Series (Collect All 10!)
by Ann Coulter

With the Democrats getting slaughtered -- or should I say, "receiving mandatory end-of-life counseling" -- in the debate over national health care, the Obama administration has decided to change the subject by indicting CIA interrogators for talking tough to three of the world's leading Muslim terrorists.

Had I been asked, I would have advised them against reinforcing the idea that Democrats are hysterical bed-wetters who can't be trusted with national defense while also reminding people of the one thing everyone still admires about President George W. Bush.

But I guess the Democrats really want to change the subject. Thus, here is Part 2 in our series of liberal lies about national health care.

(6) There will be no rationing under national health care.

Anyone who says that is a liar. And all Democrats are saying it. (Hey, look -- I have two-thirds of a syllogism!)

Apparently, promising to cut costs by having a panel of Washington bureaucrats (for short, "The Death Panel") deny medical treatment wasn't a popular idea with most Americans. So liberals started claiming that they are going to cover an additional 47 million uninsured Americans and cut costs ... without ever denying a single medical treatment!

Also on the agenda is a delicious all-you-can-eat chocolate cake that will actually help you lose weight! But first, let's go over the specs for my perpetual motion machine -- and it uses no energy, so it's totally green!

For you newcomers to planet Earth, everything that does not exist in infinite supply is rationed. In a free society, people are allowed to make their own rationing choices.

Some people get new computers every year; some every five years. Some White House employees get new computers and then vandalize them on the way out the door when their candidate loses. (These are the same people who will be making decisions about your health care.)

Similarly, one person might say, "I want to live it up and spend freely now! No one lives forever." (That person is a Democrat.) And another might say, "I don't go to restaurants, I don't go to the theater, and I don't buy expensive designer clothes because I've decided to pour all my money into my health."

Under national health care, you'll have no choice about how to ration your own health care. If your neighbor isn't entitled to a hip replacement, then neither are you. At least that's how the plan was explained to me by our next surgeon general, Dr. Conrad Murray.

(7) National health care will reduce costs.

This claim comes from the same government that gave us the $500 hammer, the $1,200 toilet seat and postage stamps that increase in price every three weeks.

The last time liberals decided an industry was so important that the government needed to step in and contain costs was when they set their sights on the oil industry. Liberals in both the U.S. and Canada -- presidents Richard Nixon and Jimmy Carter and Canadian P.M. Pierre Trudeau -- imposed price controls on oil.

As night leads to day, price controls led to reduced oil production, which led to oil shortages, skyrocketing prices for gasoline, rationing schemes and long angry lines at gas stations.

You may recall this era as "the Carter years."

Then, the white knight Ronald Reagan became president and immediately deregulated oil prices. The magic of the free market -- aka the "profit motive" -- produced surges in oil exploration and development, causing prices to plummet. Prices collapsed and remained low for the next 20 years, helping to fuel the greatest economic expansion in our nation's history.

You may recall this era as "the Reagan years."

Freedom not only allows you to make your own rationing choices, but also produces vastly more products and services at cheap prices, so less rationing is necessary.

(8) National health care won't cover abortions.

There are three certainties in life: (a) death, (b) taxes, and (C) no health care bill supported by Nita Lowey and Rosa DeLauro and signed by Barack Obama could possibly fail to cover abortions.

I don't think that requires elaboration, but here it is:

Despite being a thousand pages long, the health care bills passing through Congress are strikingly nonspecific. (Also, in a thousand pages, Democrats weren't able to squeeze in one paragraph on tort reform. Perhaps they were trying to save paper.)

These are Trojan Horse bills. Of course, they don't include the words "abortion," "death panels" or "three-year waits for hip-replacement surgery."

That proves nothing -- the bills set up unaccountable, unelected federal commissions to fill in the horrible details. Notably, the Democrats rejected an amendment to the bill that would specifically deny coverage for abortions.

After the bill is passed, the Federal Health Commission will find that abortion is covered, pro-lifers will sue, and a court will say it's within the regulatory authority of the health commission to require coverage for abortions.

Then we'll watch a parade of senators and congressmen indignantly announcing, "Well, I'm pro-life, and if I had had any idea this bill would cover abortions, I never would have voted for it!"

No wonder Democrats want to remind us that they can't be trusted with foreign policy. They want us to forget that they can't be trusted with domestic policy.

Ann Coulter is Legal Affairs Correspondent for HUMAN EVENTS and author of "High Crimes and Misdemeanors," "Slander," ""How to Talk to a Liberal (If You Must)," "Godless," "If Democrats Had Any Brains, They'd Be Republicans" and most recently, Guilty: Liberal "Victims" and their Assault on America.


And Now For The *SICKOs* Among Us: The SICKENING Story Of Jaycee Dugard And A Pedophile Named Phillip Garrido. *SIGH*

Kidnapped at 11, Woman Emerges After 18 Years

ANTIOCH, Calif. — A woman who was kidnapped as an 11-year-old in 1991 was reunited with her family on Thursday after the police here arrested two suspects in the case and discovered a hidden compound where she had apparently been kept for nearly two decades.

The woman, Jaycee Dugard, was dragged into a car on her way to a bus stop 18 years ago as her stepfather watched helplessly from the family home in South Lake Tahoe, Calif. The police could find no trace of the car, or Ms. Dugard, a blond, blue-eyed girl last seen wearing a pink windbreaker and stretch pants.

On Wednesday, the police arrested Phillip Garrido and his wife, Nancy, and charged them with Ms. Dugard’s abduction.

Mr. Garrido, a convicted sex offender who was on federal parole for a 1971 rape and kidnapping, was also charged with rape and acts of child molestation and sexual penetration of a minor. The police said that he had apparently fathered two girls — now 11 and 15 — with Ms. Dugard.

Ms. Dugard, 29, and her two children had apparently lived in a collection of ragged tents and sheds secreted behind the Garridos’ home, a ranch-style house in a ramshackle neighborhood in an unincorporated area outside Antioch, a Bay Area suburb of 100,000.

“None have ever gone to school; none have ever gone to a doctor,” Fred Kollar, the under sheriff for El Dorado County, said at an afternoon press conference. “They were kept in complete isolation.”

The break in the case came Tuesday afternoon when a University of California, Berkeley, police officer noticed Mr. Garrido trying to hand out religious literature on campus and asked him for identification. A check of police databases revealed that Mr. Garrido, 58, was on parole.

On Wednesday, Mr. Garrido was called to a parole office in Concord, about 35 miles east of San Francisco, for a meeting with his case officer. At that meeting, Mr. Kollar said, Mr. Garrido brought the two children, his wife and Ms. Dugard, who was using the name Allissa.

Mr. Kollar said the parole officer, who had visited the Garridos’ home on numerous occasions, had never seen Allissa or the children and was suspicious. At some point in the interview on Wednesday, Ms. Dugard apparently told the parole agent her true identity, and both she and the Garridos revealed information known “only by the victim and kidnappers.” The Garridos were subsequently arrested and were to be arraigned on Friday.

Ms. Dugard’s mother, Terry Probyn, was told on Wednesday that her daughter was alive and apparently in good health, and she flew to the Bay Area on Thursday morning to meet her.

Ms. Dugard’s stepfather, Carl Probyn, reacted with relief and with anger, telling reporters that he wanted the Garridos — and accomplices, if any — “prosecuted to the hilt.”

Mr. Probyn said he had no doubts that the woman was his stepdaughter. “She answered all the right questions. That’s why DNA isn’t necessary,” he said, adding that Ms. Probyn, Ms. Dugard, Ms. Dugard’s sister and her aunt were staying at a Bay Area hotel. “It’s her. We know.”

On Thursday, Mr. Garrido told KCRA-NBC in Sacramento that “it’s a disgusting thing that took place with me at the beginning” but that he had redeemed himself. “My life has been straightened out,” he said.

While officials said that they were shocked by the secret compound, neighbors said they had known that Mr. Garrido had structures behind his house. But they had no idea anyone was living there.

“I knew he was always strange,” said Diane Doty, whose back fence was adjacent to the compound. “But I never saw the girl.”

Another neighbor, Heather McQuaid-Glace, said that children had long known to avoid Mr. Garrido — his registration as a sex offender was online and known among parents — but that nothing had aroused suspicion that a crime might be ongoing.

“We never heard screaming; we never heard anyone crying for help,” Ms. McQuaid-Glace said.

On Thursday, agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation and other law enforcement agencies were combing the compound.

In one tent, a bouquet of yellow flowers was visible through a window. In front of another, a pair of children’s pink pajama bottoms had been removed and laid out by agents, near an evidence tag. Several ragged lawn chairs were laid about, as was a couch, a well-used barbecue, and several parched garden plants. On one shed, a heart-shape wall hanging was painted with the word “spring.”

Mr. Kollar said that the car believed to have been used in the kidnapping had also been found in the secret backyard area, which he said was strategically arranged “to isolate the victims” and not visible from the street.

Ms. Doty’s 9-year-old granddaughter, Megan, said that she had always found the area behind the fence “creepy,” but that she did not feel that way Thursday. “Finally,” Megan said, “I’m not scared anymore.”

Jesse McKinley reported from Antioch, and Carol Pogash from Placerville, Calif. Rebecca Cathcart contributed reporting from Los Angeles.

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Another Kentucky Coach, Rick Pitino, Attempts Self Inflicted Publicity Hari-Kari. Karen Sypher MUST Be Laughing While Steve Pence Scratches His Head!

BOOZING Coach Billy Gillispie Catches Another Drunk Driving Charge.

Gillispie charged with DUI
by Ashlee Clark

Former University of Kentucky men's basketball coach Billy Gillispie was being held in the Franklin County jail Thursday morning on a driving under the influence charge.

Gillispie was brought to the jail at 5:20 a.m. Thursday, jail officials said.

Gillispie was arrested by Lawrenceburg police around 2 a.m. Thursday. Another man, Charles O'Conner, was arrested and charged with alcohol intoxication. O'Conner also was taken to the Franklin jail where he remained at 8 a.m. Thursday morning.
Gillispie left the coaching job in March 2009 after two seasons when UK athletic director Mitch Barnhart said, "We obviously did not achieve the results we all desired on the floor this season," Barnhart said of UK's 22-14 record. "Those results can occur when you are trying to grow a program. We clearly understand that.

"However, it is as important to represent the Kentucky program and the basketball program, more specifically, in a manner which best utilizes our incredible tradition, assets and platform. ... It is my evaluation that we have not done all we can to manage the entire scope of the program and all that we expect."

Gillispie sued the UK Athletics Association in Texas federal court, alleging breach of contract over his dismissal. He alleged that UK's athletics department owes him $6 million for firing him two years into a seven-year agreement. The university, which filed a countersuit in Kentucky, has argued it does not owe the Texas native because he never signed a formal contract.

Thursday wasn't Gillispie's first alcohol-related arrest.

Gillispie was arrested in 1999 on charges of driving while intoxicated and improper use of a lane in Tulsa, Okla. He pleaded guilty to reckless driving and other charges were dismissed.

In 2003, he was arrested on suspicion of drunken driving while in his first year at the University of Texas-El Paso, but the charges were dismissed after a prosecutor decided there was not enough evidence to suggest Gillispie was drunk.

Gillispie was living in Jessamine County while he was coaching, but the house sold late this summer for $1.2 million.


Kentucky Lawmakers Aim To Get To The Bottom Of KACO and KLC's Financial Shenanigans.

Lawmakers grill leaders of KACo, League of Cities about spending
By Ryan Alessi

FRANKFORT — Lawmakers grilled leaders of the Kentucky League of Cities and the Kentucky Association of Counties on Wednesday about what they're doing to prevent another spending scandal and urged that staff members face "consequences" for their actions.

The Interim Joint Committee on Local Government's meeting came a day after League executive director Sylvia Lovely announced that she would step down.

After Wednesday's hearing, one lawmaker said KACo executive director Bob Arnold needs to follow suit.

"A change probably ought to be made," Rep. Adam Koenig, R-Erlanger, said in an interview. "In some ways, at least, the problems at KACo were more egregious" in the amount spent and the type of charges, the former Kenton County commissioner said.

Arnold said in an interview Tuesday that he hasn't felt pressure to resign, nor does he have plans to leave "any time soon."

Wednesday's meeting, lasting more than two hours, was the first chance for legislators to publicly ask questions about management and spending practices at the two organizations, which had been outlined in a series of Herald-Leader articles.

The three leaders of the League charged more than $300,000 in expenses over three years, and KACo's five top staff members spent nearly $600,000 in two years on travel, meals and other items, the Herald-Leader reported. Among charges on KACo credit cards were two dinners costing more than $7,000, hotel rooms with nightly rates of $450 and two charges to a Lexington escort service.

"Without a doubt, the series of articles ... that appeared in the newspaper this summer have been troubling to this committee and our mutual constituents," said state Sen. Damon Thayer, R-Georgetown, co-chairman of the committee.

Lawmakers underscored their concerns about spending by pointing out that both organizations, which provide legal advice and lobbying and sell insurance and project financing to local governments, receive public dollars.

"We answer to the taxpayers, and that's what money you're spending, whether you make it through insurance or through your dues," said Rep. Richard Henderson, D-Jeffersonville.

Both groups have implemented a series of changes to bolster financial oversight and restrict spending.

But legislators, who praised the groups for the services they provide, suggested that the groups consider limiting the number of board members, allowing people who aren't elected officials to serve on those boards, and providing the Georgetown-built Toyota Camry for the organizations' executive directors instead of the BMW SUVs that both were given.

The committee had requested that the organizations appear, and they directed their questions to the presidents — Richmond Mayor Connie Lawson, current president of KLC, and incoming president Mike Miller, mayor of Jackson; and J. Michael Foster, the Christian County attorney and KACo's leader. Thayer said legislators didn't want to hear from the paid staff, but they wanted to question the elected officials who are in charge.

Rep. Arnold Simpson, D-Covington, also said KACo might want to reduce its board from 34 members. The League has 53 board members, including 18 on its executive committee.

Rep. Steven Riggs, D-Louis ville and co-chairman of the joint committee, said the sagas of both quasi-governmental organizations show that board members must be much more engaged in operations. Even though public officials are busy running their cities and counties, they need to make oversight of these groups a priority, he said.

"If you don't want to do the job, which has some responsibilities to it, don't apply," Riggs said.

At one point, Lawson conceded that she was "not really sure if I knew exactly what a board was supposed to do in its entirety" when she joined the board.

Thayer asked League officials about $263,000 in loans the organization made to four employees to buy extra time, and thus higher benefits, in Kentucky's County Employees Retirement System. The Herald-Leader reported that the employees were lent the money but that 20 percent of it was forgiven for each year that they stayed at the League.

Miller told the committee that "technically, the loan wasn't forgiven" because payments came out of the employees' salaries. The League's general counsel, Temple Juett, later pledged to provide documents showing how the loans were handled.

Other lines of questioning focused on rebukes for top staff members who allowed the spending or made questionable charges.

"We have to have consequences; otherwise, it's all window dressing and a charade," said Sen. John Schickel, R-Union.

The League board is discussing requiring employees to repay the group for any expenses deemed improper, Miller said.

Koenig, the Erlanger lawmaker, told the committee he saw a "stark contrast" in the way the League had responded, as opposed to KACo.

"At the KLC, we have someone who either A, stood up and took responsibility, or B, was made to take responsibility," he said, referring to Lovely, who stepped down Tuesday. She will continue to draw her salary of $331,000 through December.

"I just want to make sure that is going to happen at KACo," Koenig said.

Foster responded that he is awaiting results of a management review that was just begun by former Transportation Cabinet inspector general Robert "Bobby" Russell, as well as other internal investigations and audits that are under way, before making any decisions about personnel.

"We'll do whatever's necessary to right the ship," he said.

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Lexington Herald Leader Editorial: Kentucky League Of Cities' Executive Director Sylvia Lovely's Resignation The Right Move.

KLC resignation the right move

Sylvia Lovely did the only thing she could on Tuesday.

Resigning from her job as executive director of the Kentucky League of Cities was, as she said in a statement, "the very best way to make my organization whole again."

But KLC won't be whole for long unless its board of directors acknowledges its role in letting things spin out of control and sets up checks to assure the same story won't be retold with a new executive.

The "whole" is pretty impressive after 22 years of Lovely's leadership.

She directed KLC from a small lobbying organization to a major force in state politics and a multi-million dollar provider of insurance and financing for Kentucky communities.

But somewhere along the way, Lovely apparently developed a sense that her many achievements entitled her to a huge salary, an expense account to match and a BMW SUV paid for by Kentucky's cities and towns and their taxpayers.

There was also a troublesome whiff of self-dealing in the big spending at KLC expense at a restaurant co-owned by her husband, as well as KLC-funded travel for her husband and the spouses of other well-paid top executives. Finally, KLC paid her husband's law firms $2.3 million in fees in the past decade.

Most troubling, though, is that from the perspective of KLC's rules, there was nothing wrong with any of this.

A compliant board didn't seem to question the spending or exercise any oversight concerning Lovely's salary (many members apparently didn't even know what it was) or the other expenses until Herald-Leader staffer Linda Blackford began reporting on them.

No wonder Lovely felt entitled.

Lovely is a smart, dynamic, accomplished executive who should have known better. But boards exist to provide guidance to executives and, when necessary, rein them in. KLC's board didn't do that.

Changing executives is a public and necessary step in solving the problems at KLC. But long term, the only effective check on a powerful executive is a vigilant board.


Senator Ted Kennedy To Be Buried Near His Brothers At Arlington.

Kennedy to Be Buried Near His Brothers at Arlington

Sen. Edward Kennedy will be buried in Arlington National Cemetery near his two slain brothers, former President John F. Kennedy and former Sen. Robert F. Kennedy, following a funeral in Boston.

The senator will lie in repose at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum before his funeral at the Roman Catholic Basilica of Our Lady of Perpetual Help.

Times and dates are still being worked out, but guidance from his Senate office released this afternoon said tribute planning was also under way at the JFK Museum in Hyannis, Mass., as well as at his Senate office.

In lieu of flowers, family members are asking donations be sent to the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate. A Web site,, has also been set up where people can share thoughts and memories of the senator online.

The White House has not offered official guidance, but there is wide expectation that President Barack Obama will offer a eulogy at his funeral.

The White House issued a presidential proclamation today in honor of Kennedy, ordering all American flags at the White House, public buildings, and military posts be flown at half-staff until sunset on the day of Kennedy’s interment.

UPDATE: Funeral services for Kennedy will start Thursday, when he will be escorted by his family by motorcade to Boston where he will like in repose until late Friday afternoon. The public can pay tribute to Kennedy then before a closed event Friday evening for a “Celebration of Life” memorial service at the JFK library.

On Saturday morning, the funeral will be held at the basilica and will be closed to the public. His office notes that while his daughter, Kara, was battling cancer, Kennedy attended the church every day to pray for her recovery. “Over time, the Basilica took on special meaning for him as a place of hope and optimism,” his office notes.

On Saturday evening at 5:00 p.m. EDT, there will be a burial service for Kennedy at Arlington National Ceremony and is likewise closed to the public.

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