Monday, January 31, 2011
Florida Judge Joins Another In Finding Obamacare Unconstitutional. I Told You So!
Haley Barbour Juggles White House Hopes And The State's Past.
By Emily Wagster Pettus
JACKSON, Miss. — Haley Barbour's folksy style, savvy leadership in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and success as a GOP strategist have made the two-term Mississippi governor a serious contender early in the wide-open contest for the Republican presidential nomination.
Now if the 63-year-old could just shake his penchant for airbrushing his state's segregationist past, a period he's inclined to describe as more like Mayberry than "Mississippi Burning."
Critics have dogged him for such comments, and Barbour has recently attempted to make amends, a sign he's aware that if he is to carry his party's banner next year against the country's first African-American president, he will have to be more forthright about Mississippi's troubled history.
Even after apologizing and backtracking on certain remarks, Barbour has trouble striking the right note: Just days ago, the governor told The Associated Press he remembers little about the racial violence pulsating through the state and the South during his youth. What does Barbour recall about the Freedom Summer of 1964, when he was 16 and the slayings of three civil rights workers in Mississippi shocked the nation?
"Not much," Barbour said casually, the kind of answer his critics find at once unbelievable and predictable.
"The governor has a pattern, in my opinion, of doing things that are outrageous and insensitive," said state Rep. Rufus Straughter, who is black and a decade older than Barbour and grew up a county away from him.
"He's been getting away with it because in Mississippi, he's been speaking to groups that agree with him," Straughter said. "What he fails to understand is that whatever he says gets out there into the wider world."
The Mississippi in which Barbour grew up was home to some of the deadliest conflicts of the civil rights era, as black citizens sought to gain voting rights and to integrate public facilities, including schools and universities. Those who knew Barbour then say he stayed out of the fray, neither a civil rights activist nor a vocal opponent of the movement.
Barbour told the AP his memories of those days are more personal than political. For example, to many older Americans, the Mississippi of 1961 means images of black and white Freedom Riders being rounded up and thrown in sweltering prison cells for challenging segregation on interstate buses. Barbour, on the other hand, fondly recalls a successful season as a 13-year-old on a Yazoo City baseball team.
"I didn't know much about much," Barbour said. "I was a pretty good baseball player. We won the state championship that year."
Barbour argues that his generation of political leaders attended integrated schools, but his 1965 high school class -- he was valedictorian -- was segregated. He enrolled at the University of Mississippi three years after a bloody battle in which federal troops and marshals were ordered on campus to enforce the court-ordered enrollment of James Meredith as Ole Miss' first black student.
"I went to integrated college, never thought twice about it," Barbour said this past fall in a webcast interview with Peter M. Robinson of Stanford University's Hoover Institution, with whom he served in the Reagan administration.
It's true that the university was integrated, but just barely: Though Ole Miss had an enrollment of at least 3,300, the yearbook shows fewer than a dozen black students when Barbour arrived as a freshman in 1965.
One of them, Cleveland Donald Jr., said he didn't know the future governor, who joined a fraternity, got involved in student government and helped organize campus concerts. With no chance of joining a fraternity himself, Donald tried to attend a meeting of a Christian student group.
"I went to one meeting and they moved off campus because several of them did not want me there," recalled Donald, now a University of Connecticut history professor.
Barbour said he remembers sitting next to a pleasant young black woman in a literature class, and that she let him borrow her notes.
"I had a great experience," he said of his time in Oxford, adding after a slight pause, "I didn't study too hard."
The aw-shucks approach is vintage Barbour: Using self-deprecating humor to deflect from serious questions.
"He may be kind of remembering it the way he wants to and putting a gloss on it the way he wants to," said Charles Eagles, a University of Mississippi professor and author of a book on Ole Miss' integration. "The motivation and the intention here, we don't know."
Barbour left college to take his first political job in 1968, working in Mississippi for Richard Nixon's presidential campaign. (He never completed his undergraduate degree because he was six credits shy in Latin, but he went back to Ole Miss and earned his law degree in 1972.)
He ran unsuccessfully for the U.S. Senate in 1982, chaired the Republican National Committee in the mid-1990s and was a Washington lobbyist before being elected governor in 2003.
Barbour conceded to Robinson that Nixon's 1968 "Southern strategy" involved appealing to white voters unhappy with the Democratic Party over civil rights and affirmative action. He also said there's some truth to the widely held view that many Southern whites migrated to the GOP over racial issues.
But it was "the old Democrats who had fought for segregation so hard," and "the people who really changed the South from Democrat to Republican was a different generation from those who fought integration," Barbour maintained.
"What a lot of people don't realize is in the '60s in the South, that the Republican Party was the party of change, and the Democratic Party was the party of the status quo," Barbour told the AP. "And young people in the '50s and '60s were attracted to the Republican Party."
That assessment flies in the face of conventional thinking on the period, and Barbour's description raises deeper questions for some of his critics.
"As far as I'm concerned, he has never done anything as a governor or a citizen to distinguish himself from the old Democrats who fought tooth and nail to preserve segregation," said Democratic state Rep. Willie Perkins, who is black and five years younger than Barbour.
Barbour faced more criticism in December, when the conservative Weekly Standard magazine published a profile in which he recalled how his hometown of Yazoo City avoided violence when the public schools integrated in 1970, when his brother Jeppie was mayor.
"The business community wouldn't stand for it," the governor said. "You heard of the Citizens Councils? Up north they think it was like the KKK. Where I come from it was an organization of town leaders. In Yazoo City they passed a resolution that said anybody who started a chapter of the Klan would get their ass run out of town."
Historian John Dittmer, whose 1994 book "Local People" chronicles Mississippi's civil rights struggles, told the AP that the Citizens Council was "really a vicious organization" that helped enforce segregation by publishing lists of black people who sought to integrate schools and by pressuring whites to maintain the status quo.
"Mississippi at that time was a police state, and the Citizens Council was the major cop," Dittmer said.
Barbour eventually issued a statement saying community leaders did prevent violence and keep out the Klan when Yazoo City's schools were integrated, but condemning the Citizens Council and segregation.
Last year, Barbour declared April to be Confederate Heritage Month, proclaiming it "important for all Americans to reflect upon our nation's past to gain insight from our mistakes and successes."
The move angered some African-American leaders, as did his 2009 proposal to merge the state's three historically black universities into one, to save money. Legislators squelched the idea, but Barbour says he still wants to pursue it.
Still, Barbour finds some friends among black lawmakers when it comes to his dealings with the defining issue in his state. State Rep. George Flaggs said he often disagrees with Barbour on politics and policy, but he believes critics are being too harsh.
"I have been with the governor for almost eight years, and I know emphatically that the governor is very sensitive toward race," said Flaggs, a Democrat.
Over the recent Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, Barbour used emphatic language to address Mississippi's place in the civil rights area: "Deplorable actions including the murder of innocent people, young men in service to a cause that was right, will always be a stain on our history."
As part of the 50th anniversary of the Freedom Rides, Barbour plans to host a reception honoring the activists. And this month, Barbour used his final "State of the State" address to say this is the year for Mississippi to build a long-delayed museum dedicated to the civil rights movement.
"The civil rights struggle is an important part of our history," he said, "and millions of people are interested in learning more about it."
Does Glenn Beck Have A Jew Problem? Dana Milbank And Others Think So.
By Dana Milbank
Editor's Note: This column contains offensive language.
WASHINGTON — After MSNBC let Keith Olbermann go, Glenn Beck couldn't resist celebrating. “Keith Olbermann is the biggest pain in the ass in the world,” he judged.
But Olbermann's departure really should give Beck pause: At a time when political speech is coming under new scrutiny, how much longer can Beck's brutal routine continue at Fox News?
The latest omen of Beck's end times came on Thursday — Holocaust Remembrance Day — when 400 rabbis representing all four branches of American Judaism took out an ad demanding that Beck be sanctioned for what quotations in the ad called his “monstrous” and “beyond repugnant” use of anti-Semitic imagery in going after Holocaust survivor George Soros.
A Fox spokesman brushed off the complaint in the usual fashion, attributing it to a “Soros-backed left-wing political organization.” But that's not going to fly: The statement's signatories included the chief executive of the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism and his predecessor, the dean of the conservative Jewish Theological Seminary rabbinical school, and a number of orthodox rabbis.
Beck has survived past complaints over his race-baiting, his violent words and his conspiracy theories. He's not new to questionable talk about Jews (years ago he called Barbra Streisand a “big-nosed cross-eyed freak”), and for the past couple of years his Nazi accusations against opponents have come by the hundreds.
But in June, he promoted on air the work of a Nazi sympathizer, Elizabeth Dilling, who had, in writings Beck didn't mention, referred to Dwight D. Eisenhower with a particularly vile anti-Semitic slur, and John F. Kennedy's New Frontier as the “Jew Frontier.” A few days later, Beck referred to Soros' Jewish ancestry, accused him of currency manipulation and said “he's got disturbing hair in his nose.”
On July 13, Beck told his Fox viewers: “Jesus conquered death. He wasn't victimized. ... If he was a victim, and this theology was true, then Jesus would have come back from the dead and made the Jews pay for what they did.” (After complaints, Beck clarified that “the Romans, not the Jews, put Jesus to death.”)
Then came Nov. 9, the anniversary of Kristallnacht, a precursor of the Holocaust. Beck — by sheer coincidence, no doubt — marked the anniversary with a three-night series on Fox attacking Soros as “the puppet master.”
“The prime minister of Malaysia called Soros an ‘unscrupulous profiteer,' ” Beck reported. “In Thailand, he was branded the ‘economic war criminal.' They also said that he sucks the blood from people.”
Puppet master. Unscrupulous banker. Bloodsucker. These are hoary anti-Semitic stereotypes. The Malaysian leader's words cited by Beck came from remarks describing a Jewish conspiracy against Muslims.
And Beck wasn't done. He called Soros “a collaborator” with Nazis who “saw people into the gas chambers,” and “a Jewish boy helping send the Jews to the death camps.” In fact, Soros' father had hidden the boy from the Nazis by placing him with a Hungarian man assigned to record belongings of Jewish families who had fled.
“It is not appropriate to accuse a 14-year-old Jew hiding with a Christian family in Nazi-occupied Hungary of sending his people to death camps,” the 400 rabbis wrote in their ad.
Beck responded on his radio show Thursday by joking with his sidekicks that “attacks are coming out at me now that I'm anti-Semitic.” Beck employed a variation of a defense he has used before: that he's not anti-Semitic because he's pro-Israel and is a fierce critic of Iran.
That's true, but irrelevant: Many conservative Christians support Israel out of a belief that it will help to bring about the Second Coming. Being pro-Israel and pro-Jew aren't the same.
Beck's warm thoughts about Israel, for example, don't excuse what he did two weeks ago on Fox, when he identified nine men responsible for the “era of the big lie.” He spoke of them as propagandists who saw themselves as an “intelligent minority” manipulating the masses. Of the nine men Beck attacked, eight were Jews. “A classic case of anti-Semitic dog-whistling,” alleged Jeff Goldberg of The Atlantic.
Seventy-five years ago, Father Charles Coughlin, the celebrated “radio priest” of the Great Depression, lost his mass-media platform as he moved from veiled references to “driving the money-changers from the temple” to overt anti-Semitism. Now, Beck clings to Fox News' support as evidence that he has not crossed this line.
“Could I put on three hours of television with nothing but lies and smear and keep my job against the most powerful man (Soros) and the most powerful groups in the world?” he asked one night.
It's a question Rupert Murdoch has to confront.
Dana Milbank is a Washington Post columnist. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Labels: Keeping them honest
Just In Case You Did Not Know It, Kentuckians Are Killing Themselves With Drugs. So What Else Is New, Eh?
"The Future". LMAO!
Words To Live By, And Words To Ponder.
-- Thomas Jefferson, letter to Peter Carr, 1785
Sunday, January 30, 2011
Rand Paul's Quickly Following Through On His Campaign Promises.
A lot of politicians tell people what they want to hear, get elected, head to our nation’s capital and don’t follow through on those promises, but newly elected U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., doesn’t fit that mold.
During the campaign, he often talked about balancing the federal budget, which is in dire need of being done, and Paul is following through with that pledge.
Next month, Paul will appear before the Kentucky Senate to urge endorsement a resolution calling for an amendment to the U.S. Constitution that would require a balanced federal budget.
He has the backing of Senate President David Williams, R-Burkesville, who will be sponsoring the legislation.
The Constitution requires Congress to call a convention to consider proposing an amendment if two-thirds of the state legislatures ask for one.
Currently, about 20 state legislatures are considering similar balanced-budget resolutions.
Any amendment proposed by constitutional convention would then have to be ratified by the legislatures in three-fourths of the states.
The resolution will be a concurrent one, requiring a simple majority vote in both chambers to pass.
We agree that Paul has an uphill battle on his proposal, but his heart is in the right place. It may take some time to get this done or perhaps it may never happen, but at least Paul has followed through on his promise and by proposing this, he has opened the door to reasonable debate on the matter.
We also applaud Paul for following through on yet another campaign promise and that is introducing a bill to audit the Federal Reserve.
Paul filed the bill Wednesday and said the agency’s monetary policies need a critical look.
We couldn’t agree with Sen. Paul more. Even the Federal Reserve shouldn’t be immune from oversight.
If passed, the bill would remove restrictions now in place that prevent the Government Accountability Office from conducting Federal Reserve audits.
Another piece of legislation that Paul has introduced could save $500 billion in one year.
It would slash numerous federal programs, including $42 billion from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s food stamp program - a 30 percent reduction from the current funding level. It also would eliminate numerous other programs, including the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the Consumer Product Safety Commission and the National Endowment for the Arts. It would also cut $16 billion for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and would roll back spending to 2008 levels.
Paul’s proposal would also impose large cuts at the Department of Education. Since its creation several decades ago, this sprawling and costly bureaucracy can demonstrate only the most limited progress in the academic performance of our nation’s kids.
These deserve debate and ideas have the potential to reduce the deficit.
Paul said by rolling back spending to 2008 levels and eliminating the most wasteful programs, the government can still keep 85 percent of its funding in place.
These bills introduced by Paul are well-intentioned, and we are hopeful that they get a fair debate.
Politics, of course, is the art of the possible and Paul’s proposals set the bar high for cutting federal spending. President Barack Obama, on the other hand, set the bar too low in his State of the Union address. Most likely Congress will end up somewhere in between in their cutting efforts.
Still, Paul has done something somewhat rare in politics by quickly following up on his campaign promises regarding fiscal restraint and for that, he deserves to be commended.
Labels: News reporting
"Mark" Of Facebook Fame Gets "Zuckerberg"ed By Jesse Eisenberg On Saturday Night Live (SNL). Watch Video.
Caretaker Secretary Of State Elaine Walker Takes Over For Trey Grayson.
Joel Pett Does Not heart Rand Paul.
Saturday, January 29, 2011
George W. Bush Says He Is Through With Politics, Fundraising And Campaigning -- And Political Punditry. Watch Video.
Labels: George W. Bush
Anyone Else Doubt That Charlie Sheen Is A DEEPLY DISTURBED Man, As He Signs Check For $30,000 To A Porn "Star"?
... But According To "CLUELESS" Joe Biden, Hosni Mubarak Is Not A Dictator. LOL.
Friday, January 28, 2011
"Judicial Pique, Politics".
By the BOSTON GLOBE
President Barack Obama greeted Chief Justice John Roberts as he arrived for State of the Union speech. ROD LAMKEY JR. — MCTBuy Photo
The decision by Supreme Court justices Antonin Scalia, Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas to skip President Barack Obama's State of the Union address has been widely interpreted as payback for Obama's criticism of the court in last year's speech. If so, it's one more step in a worrisome politicization of the court.
The Supreme Court is the guardian of its own integrity. That means staying above politics and maintaining an air of dispassionate consideration of constitutional issues. The court is not an elected body, and shouldn't function like one. Justices set their own rules, and the need for comity largely prevents them from policing each other. Their shared commitment to maintaining judicial decorum is all that binds them.
That commitment has been fraying. Scalia has made himself an evangelical force in conservative legal circles, and regularly delivers pep talks to the Federalist Society. His decision to address an event earlier this week organized by GOP Rep. Michele Bachmann's Tea Party Caucus was fairly typical. There have been parallel lapses by others, principally Ruth Bader Ginsburg, whose decision to allow the NOW Legal Defense and Education Fund to name a lectureship for her, and then to attend the lecture, was unwise.
Now, the court's three most conservative justices, all Republican appointees, have chosen to skip the State of the Union address of a Democratic president. Obama is in no position to complain, because his scolding of the court last year over its campaign-finance decision was rude and self-serving. But he's a politician. The justices may claim, as some have suggested, that skipping the State of the Union is a way of demonstrating their independence, but it isn't. Showing up isn't a political gesture; boycotting it is. Chief Justice John Roberts, who had wavered about attending, seems to have realized this and agreed to lead the court contingent. He deserves credit for putting the court's reputation ahead of his own sense of pique.
Read more: http://www.kentucky.com/2011/01/28/1614470/judicial-pique-politics.html#ixzz1COvHg1U8
Lexington Herald Leader Choruses The Courier Journal And Sees Rand "Paul's Warped Fiscal Priorities".
12:00am on Jan 28, 2011 Modified at 7:10am on Jan 28, 2011
Sen. Rand Paul's plan for cutting $500 billion from the federal budget is more parlor game than serious proposal, as evidenced by its lack of co-sponsors.
You can learn a lot from games, though. So let's imagine the country we'd have if Kentucky's freshman senator were in charge.
Start with education. Paul wants to de-fund everything except Pell Grants for college students.
If his plan had been in place in 2007-08, the year before the Great Recession, Kentucky's public schools would have been $711 million poorer. Fayette County schools would have lost $31 million and the schools in Warren County, Paul's home, $11 million.
As Paul points out, federal money can't be used any way local districts choose and comes with "red tape." Indeed, federal dollars are largely targeted at leveling the playing field for poor and disabled children.
Kentucky last year received $147 million through the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, money that educates disabled children and that would go away if Paul had his way.
Also lost to Kentucky would be $435 million for schools with high percentages of low-income students and $7 million through the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act, named for a Kentuckian in Congress whose values could not have been more different than Paul's.
Perkins believed that opening opportunity to all was the path to national prosperity and a proper role for the U.S. government. Paul's ideas would tilt the playing field in favor of the rich, the powerful and corporate interests, leaving the poor and middle-class to fend for themselves.
He would eliminate the Consumer Product Safety Commission and cut the Food and Drug Administration, which oversees food safety, by 62 percent. He wants to reduce funding for the National Park Service by 42 percent, eliminate the National Endowment for the Arts and privatize the Smithsonian Institution. He would cut the National Science Foundation by 62 percent because he thinks private industry should be in charge of research.
Blaming food stamps for obesity among the poor, he wants to reduce spending on the program to 2008 levels. The average food stamp allotment for a household in Kentucky last month was $276.
Like many Republicans, Paul seems not to understand that the national debt always rises in recessions. Without the temporary spike in federal spending since 2008, the economy would be much weaker and many more Americans would be jobless and poor.
Paul pines for a land built on libertarian theory. But the country of his ideals is a place that few Americans would want to leave their children.
In drafting his plan, Paul had the advantage of knowing that no one in Congress would take it seriously.
So, it didn't matter that he includes nothing to hold down health care costs, the main driver of the deficit long-term. He does call for Medicare reform but offers no specifics.
He says his defense cuts would amount to 6.5 percent or $47.6 billion. That's less than half of the $100 billion in cuts proposed by Defense Secretary Robert Gates.
Paul also would eliminate all foreign aid, saving $24 billion and leaving the world's sole superpower with no carrots and nothing but sticks in its diplomatic quiver.
Paul's budget plan does serve a purpose, though, by showing that the enormous fiscal challenges facing this country are no parlor game.
Trimming the deficit, while making sure the economic recovery reaches beyond board rooms and Wall Street, will require a mix of spending cuts and tax reforms — and a lot of serious work and discipline on both sides of the aisle.
Read more: http://www.kentucky.com/2011/01/28/1614471/pauls-warped-fiscal-priorities.html#more#ixzz1CNjfF7qj
Louisville Courier Journal Looks For Reason To Bemoan Rand "Paul's Meat Ax".
Well, that didn't take long.
As President Obama delivered his State of the Union address to the nation, newly elected U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., let drop his competing vision for how to deal with the country's deficit challenge. The President proposed a five-year federal government spending freeze; the senator proposed $500 billion in spending cuts in fiscal year 2011.
Kentucky voters can't say they weren't warned of their junior senator's radical approach to government. Candidate Paul was not shy about his distaste for entire departments of the federal government, nor was he bashful about his fealty to the “enumerated powers” of the Constitution, when he ran for office last year.
There was plenty of truth in that campaign advertising: The senator's 12-page bill and its 37-page explanation make for interesting, if not surprising, reading.
What Department of Education? In Sen. Paul's proposal, it is all but defunded with its 83 percent decrease; Pell Grants are preserved.
The Department of Energy is zapped, “100 percent decrease,” at a time when the nation is moving, and needs to move faster, toward cleaner, renewable energy sources and alternatives.
Housing and Urban Development? Gone.
Homeland Security shrivels by 43 percent, including a big whack out of the Transportation Security Administration, which provides safety screenings at most U.S. airports.
Department of the Interior? A 78 percent liposuction, including a sizable decrease for the National Park Service. The senator proposes returning these precious, protected lands back to states or to private interests.
Oddly, the Labor Department survives almost intact (the Mine Safety and Health Administration is among those spared). Sen. Paul exempts unemployment benefits from cuts, but he does warn that the program will need to be reformed and re-evaluated.
In Sen. Paul's world, no walking softly, only the carrying of big sticks: State is gutted, Defense rolls with a 6.5 percent decrease.
The fine print? Social Security is untouched. But — Amtrak subsidies are gone, there's no more Corporation for Public Broadcasting, no more Consumer Product Safety Commission, and there's a 62 percent reduction for the Food and Drug Administration.
A senior analyst for the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research, a conservative Washington think-tank, described the senator's prescribed cuts as “a meat ax approach to the government, with no real effort to look at costs and benefits of programs, and the huge unintended consequences” of the cuts.
With his first piece of legislation, Sen. Paul is demonstrating to Kentuckians the huge, unintended consequences of sending a guy with a meat ax to Washington.
Editor's note: Check out story of Rand Paul's proposals.
Senate TEA Party Cacaus Consits ONLY Of Rand Paul, Mike Lee And Jim DeMint.
(From left: Rand Paul, Mike Lee and Jim DeMint are pictured).
Senate tea party: Members wanted
So far the caucus consists of Rand Paul, Mike Lee and Jim DeMint.
By MANU RAJU & SCOTT WONG
Tea party activists may have dramatically reshaped the national political landscape last year, but the Senate’s tea party movement could fit in the backseat of a cab.
The Tea Party Caucus is scheduled to hold its first official meeting Thursday, but so far, the entire group consists of just three outspoken conservative senators: Jim DeMint of South Carolina, Mike Lee of Utah and Rand Paul of Kentucky.
Several senators have declined invitations to join, some are holding out because they are unsure about what the new group will do and others seem to think the caucus is an all-around bad idea that could send mixed messages on what Republicans stand for.
“I would hope what they would do is just think about the fact that they are brand-new to the Senate and we got a Republican Conference and they need to see how the conference works before you jump out and start saying, ‘Well the tea party position says this,’” Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) told POLITICO. “The Republican Conference has historically been pretty conservative and will be going forward. I would hope they would try to exert their influence here and not through some independent group.”
Read more: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0111/48266.html#ixzz1CLaxivKd
Update: Jerry Moran, Kansas' freshman Senator, is now the fourth Tea Party Senate Caucus member.
Labels: Tea party
I'm Glad The Bowling Green Daily News Agrees With Me: Attack On Scott Jennings Is Dirty Politics.
By the Daily News
Scott Jennings has had a very impressive, successful career on the state and federal political levels and it is shameful that some Kentucky Democrats are attempting to destroy his good name and reputation for political gain.
Jennings, who now serves as campaign manager for Senate President David Williams’ campaign for governor, is being accused based on a report that charges the White House Office of Political Affairs during George W. Bush’s administration violated the Hatch Act by giving briefings to political employees. Jennings, former deputy director of the office, was one of the people who provided the briefings, the report says. The report goes on to say that in the three months before the 2006 elections, agency political appointees participated in 197 events.
Jennings has said he fully cooperated with investigators and answered their questions three years ago.
The problem is that Democrats fail to mention in their attacks that Jennings was investigated by the Office of Special Counsel and no criminality was uncovered in the office’s investigation.
It would appear that the state Democratic Party and Gov. Steve Beshear, who hasn’t spoke out against these attacks, are concerned about Williams, whose fundraising efforts have reached $750,000 thus far.
This is dirty politics, plain and simple.
Democratic Party Chairman Dan Logsdon charged that the public’s trust has been violated and Jennings “should be asked some questions that demand answers.”
Mr. Logsdon, those questions have already been answered by the Office of Special Council, which should have laid this matter to rest.
We should remember that Jennings isn’t on the ballot against Beshear - Williams, a Burkesville Republican, is.
Jennings has said he “told the absolute truth and make(s) no apologies for doing the job I was given and for following the guidelines provided.”
The OSC has investigated this matter and that investigation uncovered no criminality. Jennings has been neither charged nor indicted.
The effort to try to trash this man’s solid reputation for political gain is politics at its worst. That is exactly what is happening here and is another reason many are turned off by politics.
We urge the state Democratic Party and Gov. Beshear to renounce these attacks at once and focus on issues important to our state.
Labels: News reporting
Cal Thomas: [POTUS Barack] Obama Cloaked 'Liberal Agenda' In Reaganesque Words.
In his State of the Union address, President Obama at times sounded like he was channeling Ronald Reagan: cutting the deficit, hailing private enterprise and individual initiative, talking about the future. But for all his eloquence, the President wrapped his liberal ideology in conservative sheep's clothing.
On the surface, the President said many things with which conservatives might agree, but words can mean something, or they can mask true intentions.
There was no indication the President plans to retreat on his far-left agenda of the last two years. Why should he? That would require denying who he is.
Absent the glamorous rhetoric, let's examine the major subjects on which the president touched.
Education: Anyone who has seen the film “Waiting for Superman” knows the public education system in this country is a mess and that if all the money now being spent on education isn't improving the product, especially for the poor, whom Democrats are supposed to be championing, more money will not help. Competition through school choice would improve education. The speech was another sop to teachers' unions that care more about their members than students' futures.
Innovation: Government doesn't innovate. It regulates. It taxes. According to the Cato Institute (www.cato.org), the average combined federal and state corporate tax rate in the U.S. is 40 percent, first among Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries. Japan comes in second with a combined rate of 35.7 percent. In his speech, the President said he supports reducing the corporate tax rate for the first time in 25 years, but then came the caveat: “without adding to our deficit.” Cutting taxes without reducing spending will add to the deficit, and so the President can eschew responsibility when Democrats refuse to vote for business tax reductions.
Deficit reduction: Where to begin? A president and until recently an all-Democratic Congress have put our financial house in jeopardy by running up a $14 trillion debt. In March 2006, when he was a senator, Obama called the $8.27 trillion debt ceiling “a sign of leadership failure.” If the debt ceiling during George W. Bush's presidency was a sign of failed leadership, who's failing in his leadership when the debt has climbed to $14 trillion? Deficit reduction will come when the government cuts (not caps) spending.
Reforming government: The best way to “reform” government is to reduce unneeded and unnecessary programs and agencies. Congress should establish a commission similar to the successful Base Realignment and Closing Commission (BRAC), which shuttered outmoded military bases. Every government agency and program should be required to justify its existence consistent with its cost and benefit to the greatest number of Americans. If they can't, they should be eliminated.
Infrastructure: From better roads to high-speed inter- and intra-city trains, the U.S. lags behind many European and Asian countries in providing low-cost, efficient and fast transportation for its citizens. It is one of the few areas where Americans would be willing to pay more in fares or even taxes to improve the way we move around.
Included in infrastructure ought to be the mining of America's considerable natural gas supply and a “to the moon” emphasis on nuclear power and drilling for more oil in America's backyard to ease our dependence on foreign oil. It will take years to break our foreign oil addiction and so new sources of petroleum on American territory must be explored, something this president won't do.
Curiously, Obama invoked a space analogy, mentioning the Russian Sputnik satellite launched in 1957 and the American Apollo program that sent astronauts to the moon in 1969. And yet this President has effectively mothballed our space program at a time when China is moving rapidly forward with theirs.
The President's speech was all about new spending (“investment” he called it), no matter what he said about reducing the deficit. Spending on big government is what liberals do. No one should be fooled by the rhetoric, or the theatrics of congressional Republicans and Democrats sitting together. The Republican challenge is to stop the President's liberal agenda while making the case for a better one.
Cal Thomas is a columnist with Tribune Media Services. Hise-mail address is email@example.com.
Labels: General information
OK, Nick Anderson Has Today's Cartoon About Voter ID. I Don't Know Why, But It's Funny.
Thursday, January 27, 2011
Illinois Supreme Court Grants Permanent Political Reprieve To Chicago's Next Mayor, Rahm Emmanuel. Watch Video.
My Good Friend, Steve Pence, Joins Kentucky Chamber Of Commerce In Opposing Prescriptions For Over The Counter Cold Medicines. I Join Them!
By Jessie Halladay
The Kentucky Chamber of Commerce said Thursday it opposes efforts to require a prescription to buy certain over-the-counter cold medicines.
The announcement came in response to two pending proposals — Senate Bill 45 and House Bill 15 — that would require a prescription for any medicine containing pseudoephedrine, the primary ingredient used in making methamphetamine.
“We recognize that methamphetamine abuse is a serious problem,” said Bryan Sunderland, vice president of the chamber. But opponents of the measures believe that requiring a prescription would place an undue burden on patients, since they would have to pay for doctor visits.
Instead, opponents say, the state should continue to rely on electronic tracking of pseudoephedrine sales.
Sunderland announced the chamber’s opposition on a press call, where he was joined by several other people including law enforcement officials, a doctor, a pharmacist and former Lt. Gov. Steve Pence.
A hearing on the prescription issue is scheduled for Feb. 3 in Frankfort before the state Senate Judiciary Committee. U.S. Rep. Hal Rogers, R-Somerset, has come out in support of the requirement and is expected to testify.
Currently, a patient can buy only 9 grams within a 30-day period and must sign a log book in order to get the medication, which is kept behind the pharmacy counter.
Supporters of requiring prescriptions argue that restricting access to pseudoephedrine is the only way to prevent the rise of meth labs that Kentucky has seen over the past few years, logging nearly 1,100 in 2010.
Two states — Oregon and Mississippi — have passed laws requiring a prescription and have logged drastic decreases in the number of meth labs. Mississippi enacted the law in July, and early reports estimate a drop of as much as 65 percent.
“It’s a no brainer. It works,” said Tommy Loving, director of the Bowling Green/Warren County Drug Task Force and the executive director of the Kentucky Narcotics Officers Association.
But Daviess County Sheriff Keith Cain said he doesn’t believe a prescription law can help Kentucky. Eliminating the electronic tracking system now in use would make it harder for police to find clandestine labs, he said.
“It’s a simplistic solution for a complex problem and it won’t work,” Cain said.
Last year a similar effort to change Kentucky law failed, but supporters say they have some momentum this year. Several groups, including the Kentucky Medical Association, the Kentucky Association of Chiefs of Police, individual law enforcement agencies and others have signed on in support of the legislation.
Earlier this month, Rogers issued an editorial urging the change, motivated he said by the death in Wayne County of 22-month-old Kayden Branham. The toddler died after drinking corrosive drain cleaner that had been used in making meth.
Rogers said millions of dollars could be saved in Kentucky each year in enforcement, prosecution, incarceration and environmental cleanup if the number of meth labs could be reduced.
Labels: General information
Eastern Kentucky Lawmaker, Keith Hall, Helped Appropriate Funds For Local Projects, Then His Company Won NO Bid Contracts For Them. Go Figure!
State audit says lawmaker avoided bidding, won project
By John Cheves
A company owned by state Rep. Keith Hall, D-Phelps, collected more than $171,000 for electrical work from Mountain Water District in Pike County using a billing method that avoided competitive bidding and public discussion by the district board, State Auditor Crit Luallen said Thursday.
As the area's state representative and a member of the House Appropriations Committee, Hall also helped to allocate state funds specifically for the project he later won, Luallen said. The work was done in 2004 and 2005.
"What we've learned raises the concern that there was a deliberate attempt to keep this from being competitively bid and to keep this from being reported to the water district board, all so it could be directed to one particular individual," Luallen said.
On Thursday, Luallen's office released an audit critical of Mountain Water District, which provides water and sewer service to unincorporated parts of Pike County, and its ties to Utility Management Group, which has been paid more than $36 million since 2005 to privately manage the utility.
Luallen said she is referring the entire audit to Attorney General Jack Conway and the Public Service Commission for possible action. The section of the audit concerning Hall also has been referred to the Legislative Ethics Commission, she said.
Hall did not immediately return calls Thursday seeking comment.
Hall was elected to the Kentucky House in 2000. His company, B.M.M. Inc., previously was awarded at least $3.2 million in sewer line projects by the water district. As a lawmaker, Hall helped the water district get millions in state funds for sewer line projects in his area, which presents a conflict of interest for him, a government ethics watchdog said in 2009.
Change orders had driven up the final cost of Hall's sewer line projects by an average of 58 percent by 2009, when the Herald-Leader first reported on them.
Luallen said her staff reviewed Hall's sewer line projects and determined that they at least were bid and reported to the water district board, so auditors did not pursue them further.
By contrast, she said, Hall skipped the competitive bidding process for the electrical work necessary to connect 670 homes to sewer lines, usually charging $300 a home.
In fact, she said, the water district twice invited Hall's B.M.M. and other area companies to submit bids for the electrical work. The lowest bid was $275 a home. B.M.M. did not submit a bid either time.
"On July 26, 2004, B.M.M. submitted the first invoice for the electrical work on the project," auditors wrote in their report. "There are no records to explain why the vendors that responded to the bids were rejected or how B.M.M. eventually was selected to perform the work."
Auditors' interviews with Hall and water district officials indicate that Hall worked strictly with the district's then-superintendent, Will Brown, Luallen said. Brown refused to speak to auditors, citing litigation that he was involved in after leaving his job at the water district, she said.
Hall told auditors that Brown instructed him to submit invoices for his electrical work in increments of less than $20,000, which was the district's "small purchase authority limit." Anything below $20,000 did not have to be competitively bid or reported to the district board, Hall said.
Of Hall's 10 invoices in 2004 and 2005, six were for $19,800 or more, barely below the limit.
"Some of these invoices were splitting up work done on the same day just to keep the final price under $20,000," Luallen said.
On Thursday, Mountain Water District board chairwoman Rhonda James said she was appointed in 2008, after the period of Hall's work discussed in the audit.
"From what I can see, the board was never aware — there was nothing divulged to the board about any of that. That was all between our superintendent at the time and Mr. Hall," James said.
As long as Hall publicly bids for projects, the water district sees no reason he should not be allowed to perform work, James said. Hall's company currently is working on a long-term sewer project in the Phelps area, where Hall lives, she said. She did not know the cost.
Read more: http://www.kentucky.com/2011/01/27/1613728/state-audit-says-lawmaker-avoided.html#more#ixzz1CGZeIZ78
Sex, Lies And Video Tapes At The Federal Bureau Of Investigations (FBI). My, Oh, My! Tsk, Tsk.
Elaine Walker To Be Sworn In On Saturday As Caretaker Kentucky Secretary Of State.
DATE: January 27, 2011
CONTACT: Les Fugate, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State
Office of the Secretary of State
Who: Secretary of State Designee Elaine Walker
What: Secretary Designee Walker will be sworn into office by Chief Justice John D. Minton to fill the remaining term of Secretary of State Trey Grayson. Grayson submitted his resignation to Governor Steve Beshear to take effect at 12:00 p.m. Noon, EST on January 29, 2011. Beshear announced that Mayor Elaine Walker of Bowling Green will be appointed to fill the remainder of the term, which expires on January 1, 2012. The public is invited to attend.
When: 12:00 p.m. Noon EST
Saturday, January 29, 2011
Where: Supreme Court Chambers
The Capitol Building
700 Capital Ave.
POTUS Barack Obama Wants To Take Your Questions LIVE. Read More Below To Participate.
Here’s the lineup for today on WhiteHouse.gov/live:
• 11:30 a.m. EST: Economy Roundtable with Austan Goolsbee, Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers
• 1:00 p.m. EST: Foreign Policy Roundtable with Denis McDonough, Deputy National Security Advisor
• 2:30 p.m. EST: Live YouTube interview with President Barack Obama
• 3:15 p.m. EST: Education Roundtable with Secretary of Education Arne Duncan
• 4:30 p.m. EST: Health Care Roundtable with Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius
If you haven’t already, be sure to watch the President’s State of the Union Address:
Labels: POTUS Barack Obama
Kentucky Judge Likens Cabinet For Families And Children Handling Of Abused Children To Richard Nixon Investigating Watergate. And It's TRUE!
Judge blasts social service agency
By Jim Hannah
COVINGTON – A judge ripped the state agency assigned to protect Kentucky's children Wednesday during a preliminary hearing for a mother whose child died after the toddler became wedged between a mattress and wall atop a baseboard heater.
Kenton County District Judge Ken Easterling said the Cabinet for Health and Family Services - despite having contact with the mother, Megin Gray, six times - never requested that the infant be removed from the home.
Gray, 26, was in an alcohol and prescription drug-induced sleep when her infant died, Covington Police Detective Brian Fuller testified at the hearing. She was living in one room of a rental house with the infant, 9-month old Anthia Lattimore, and at least two other children.
Jim Grace, assistant director of the Division of Protection and Permanency in the cabinet's Department for Community Based Services in Frankfort, was in the courtroom during the hearing. He left without comment.
Cabinet Assistant Counsel Kelly S. Wiley also attended. She has filed a motion seeking to keep private her agency's file on Gray after the judge asked for and obtained it. The file remained secret Wednesday afternoon, but Easterling repeatedly alluded to it.
"The cabinet is a very closed, shrouded in secrecy, agency," Easterling said. "You don't have the opportunity to find out what they do."
In an apparent reference to a review the agency is conducting on its handling of the case, Easterling said it was "like asking Richard Nixon to review what happened in Watergate."
"It is self-serving, and it leaves the community with very little confidence. It leaves me with very little confidence," Easterling said.
His concerns appeared to be more aimed at policy makers in Frankfort than local social workers.
"There are some very dedicated child support workers, who work day and night ..." Easterling said.
He said that when he was a prosecutor several years ago cabinet officials discouraged him from placing children in state care because Kenton County had a disproportionate number of children being removed from their homes, compared to Lexington and Louisville.
While he was a prosecutor, Easterling said, the state declined to take custody of children living in a home with no heat or electric. He said the water pipes had broken to where there was an ice waterfall down the steps of the family's home.
Easterling said Northern Kentucky needs a "functional child protection agency" in order to reduce its infant mortality rates - one of the highest in Kentucky. He called it "repulsive" that he has to "beg the cabinet to do anything."
"We are woeful in what that state gives us, and it is criminal," Easterling said. "This is a thriving community."
Easterling then challenged the cabinet to become more transparent.
"I ask the cabinet to step outside the shield of secrecy, confidentiality," he said.
Easterling said the community deserves answers on what cabinet officials in Frankfort are doing to reduce infant deaths, such as Anthia's.
Her mother, Gray, is charged with second-degree criminal abuse, but Commonwealth's Attorney Rob Sanders said he is considering filing homicide charges against the 26-year-old single mother.
Fuller testified that, according to a preliminary coroner's report, Anthia died of positional asphyxiation. He added that Anthia's body was also covered from head to toe with deep burns from the baseboard heater.
Gray's public defender, Jamie Jameson, begged that his client's $25,000 cash bond be reduced so she could get out of jail to attend her baby's funeral today. The judge said he would consider the request but did not publicly make a ruling.
Editor's comment. Criminal, indeed.
Nick Anderson Provides Today's Laughter. LMAO!
Wednesday, January 26, 2011
Jack Conway Emerges From Hiding To Announce Passport Health Plan FRAUD 2 Million Dollar Settlement.
Democrats Pull A Political STUNT With Report Implicating Scott Jennings (David Williams' Campaign Manager) In George Bush Era Hatch Act Complaint.
By Jack Brammer
FRANKFORT — Scott Jennings, a former political aide to George W. Bush with deep Kentucky ties, figures prominently in a new federal report that says the Bush White House violated a federal law that prohibits public dollars from being used to influence elections.
The report, released Monday by the U.S. Office of Special Counsel, said that Bush’s White House Office of Political Affairs violated the federal Hatch Act by using government employees and tax dollars to help Republican candidates win election races.
Jennings, now the campaign manager for Kentucky Senate President David Williams’ gubernatorial bid, is named throughout the report in his former role as deputy director of the Office of Political Affairs. The office was led by Karl Rove.
Darshan Sheth, a spokesman for the U.S. Office of Special Counsel, said Jennings is not subject to any penalty because he no longer is a federal employee.
Sheth also said his office will not be making any referrals about its investigation to the U.S. Justice Department for possible prosecution.
Jennings said in a statement that he was “extremely disappointed” in the findings of the report. He said he performed his job duties according to instructions from the White House Counsel’s Office, “which offered plain, written advice that my position exempted me from the requirements of the Hatch Act.”
Spokesman Sheth noted that the report on page 15 says Jennings was exempt from the Hatch Act’s “proscription against engaging in political activity while on duty or in a federal workplace,” but some political appointees were not.
The report also states: “OSC concludes that by virtue of their positions, the OPA Director and Deputy Director, as well as some White House liaisons who required political appointees to attend the briefings, violated the Hatch Act’s prohibition against using their official authority or influence to affect the result of an election.”
Jennings said he “fully cooperated” with the investigation and submitted to questioning three years ago. He called it “a partisan witch hunt” that was “politically motivated from the outset.”
The Bush Administration “acted no differently than any of its predecessors or its successor,” Jennings said.
The report noted that previous White House administrations had carried on similar activities for decades.
Kentucky Democratic Party chairman Dan Logsdon, in a statement about the report, said, “The width and depth of the actions detailed in this report are startling …”
He added: “David Williams needs to know that bringing experts in D.C.-style corruption to Frankfort is not the way to earn the trust of the people of Kentucky.”
Jennings, in response to the Kentucky Democratic Party statement released by Logsdon, said: “I will debate your feckless, spineless and otherwise useless chairman at any time and in any place about the accomplishments and agenda of Steve Beshear. This debate will take approximately 10 seconds, as Mr. Logsdon will have nothing to offer.”
Williams issued no comment about the federal report. Neither did the campaign of Bobbie Holsclaw, another GOP candidate for governor.
David Adams, the campaign manager for Phil Moffett, another candidate in the May GOP primary election for governor, said in an e-mail, “Two sides of the political ruling class squabbling over who steals more from the public is just another partisan game the people can’t win.”
The 112-page report by the Office of Special Counsel paints a picture of the White House Office of Political Affairs as a political machine.
It says that the investigation began with a “complaint that, among other things, then-OPA Deputy Director J. Scott Jennings conducted a political briefing at the U.S. General Services Administration.”
The report gives specifics in which government workers directed resources and tax dollars to activities that included Republican fund raising, political briefings and get-out-the-vote efforts.
Editor's note: You can read the report here.
Editor's comment: It is SAD the KDP is trying to make hay with this report when the sun has stopped shinning on the Bush Administration.
Kentucky Parole Board Chairman, Verman Winburn, And Member, Thomas Whestone, Fight Like Children On Playground, Over Door Paint Color! SHAMEFUL!!
(Pictured on left is of the Chairman, and on right is of the member).
Parole board chairman, member fight over door color
By John Cheves
Kentucky Parole Board Chairman Verman Winburn fought board member Thomas Whetstone in their Frankfort headquarters last month after arguing about whether Whetstone, who had painted his office door red, was going to repaint it.
The Dec. 27 altercation led to a sprained wrist for Whetstone, a Workers Compensation claim against the state and a recommendation that both board members get counseling, according to interviews and public records.
The Justice and Public Safety Cabinet, where the board is based, investigated the fight after Justice Secretary J. Michael Brown learned about it.
It is unclear why Whetstone painted his door red and removed the lock in October. Building managers had asked Winburn about it. When Winburn confronted Whetstone, a profanity-laced argument ensued.
The nine-member Parole Board, which decides whether prison inmates are ready for early release, is appointed by the governor. Gov. Steve Beshear named Winburn and Whetstone to their current positions.
Speaking to cabinet investigator Steven Potts, Winburn and Whetstone blamed each other for provoking the violence. They did agree that Whetstone pushed Winburn in the chest, and Winburn grabbed Whetstone's right hand and twisted it.
"Dr. Whetstone was actually raised up onto his toes by the force applied by Mr. Winburn. Dr. Whetstone estimated (that) Mr. Winburn twisted his arm for five to 10 seconds," Potts wrote. "Dr. Whetstone has a severely sprained wrist which he is currently treating with an Ace bandage, ice and ibuprofen."
Whetstone filed a Workers Comp claim the day after the fight. He stated in his injury report that Winburn "became physically confrontational and assaulted me."
In follow-up e-mails to state officials, Whetstone expressed concern about the confidentiality of his claim. When one official told him that his claim would trigger an investigation, Whetstone said he had provided more information about the incident than he intended to.
"I think I should have been a bit more circumspect regarding the cause of the injury," Whetstone wrote to a Justice Cabinet official on Jan. 3. "Not fabricating, but being more general in terminology. My bad, lesson learned that I hope will never be needed."
Whetstone dropped his claim on Jan. 4. "I find, upon examination, that there will be no need for the provided services," he wrote in an e-mail.
On Jan. 6, in response to the fight, Brown gave Winburn and Whetstone identical, hand-written notes suggesting they seek counseling through the state's employee assistance program. Brown included a one-page handout for the program.
"I suggest that you take advantage of this resource as soon as possible," Brown wrote to the men.
In an interview, Winburn confirmed the fight and said he followed Brown's advice to seek counseling through the program. Winburn said he considers the matter closed.
"I'm really ashamed to even talk about it," said Winburn, a former probation and parole district supervisor first appointed to the board in 1997, who makes $67,811 a year. "We dealt with it less than an hour later, and we were friends again after an apology."
Whetstone declined through the cabinet to comment. A criminal-justice consultant and former police sergeant, Whetstone makes about $63,000 a year and joined the board in 2009.
Beshear plans to take no action against his appointees, spokeswoman Kerri Richardson said.
"Secretary Brown notified the governor about the incident between Mr. Winburn and Mr. Whetstone and advised that he had recommended counseling," Richardson said. "We expect Secretary Brown will continue to monitor any other issues related to the board and handle them accordingly."
The Parole Board's Code of Ethics states that board members "shall refrain from engaging in any conduct which offends the dignity or decorum of the board."
Colleagues say Winburn was involved in another altercation with a fellow board member last year.
In May 2010, Winburn and then-board member Joey Stanton got into a heated disagreement while dining with colleagues at The Lady and Sons, the Savannah, Ga., restaurant owned by celebrity chef Paula Deen, then-board member Patricia Turpin said this week.
The board members were in Savannah attending the annual conference of the Association of Paroling Authorities International.
"There was a scuffle between Mr. Winburn and Mr. Stanton. Mr. Winburn picked a knife up off the table," Turpin said.
Winburn did not use the knife and nobody was hurt, Turpin said.
"They finally calmed down," Turpin said. "I separated the two of them. It was resolved when they both kind of apologized to each other. They had been playing around with each other or something, and it just got out of hand."
In a brief interview this week, Stanton said his term on the board expired after the Savannah incident and he preferred not to discuss it. Winburn declined through the cabinet to confirm or comment on the earlier episode.
The Justice Cabinet is unaware of the out-of-state incident, spokeswoman Jennifer Brislin said.
The Parole Board plays a big role in sweeping penal code changes being proposed for the 2011 General Assembly, which resumes Tuesday. Lawmakers are looking for ways safely to reduce the state's prison population.
Rep. Kelly Flood, a member of the House Judiciary Committee, said she was disturbed to hear about altercations between Parole Board members.
"This is a very serious matter," said Flood, D-Lexington.
"Two things come to mind. One, it's important for me to know that Secretary Brown is aware of any problematic employee who is not behaving properly, especially if he's in a position of importance and influence," Flood said.
"Two, we must have a Parole Board known for its maturity and integrity, because those are the qualities they're looking for in the inmates they're deciding whether to release."
Read more: http://www.kentucky.com/2011/01/25/1611142/parole-board-chairman-member-fight.html#more#ixzz1C6OlCb3q
Verman Winburn is chairman of the Kentucky Parole Board and lives in Shelby County. He is a graduate of Eastern Kentucky University and has a Bachelor of Science degree in police administration. He has served as a corrections officer, probation and parole officer/district supervisor and a member of the Kentucky Parole Board.
Thomas Whetstone is a member of the Kentucky Parole Board and lives in Louisville. He has been a crime scene investigator, a police patrol officer, sergeant, instructor and educator. He has a Ph.D. from the University of Illinois, has done research on justice issues and is an author. He recently served as a civilian police educator in Iraq, where he provided executive-level training for the Iraqi National Police.
Editor's comment: The contenders deserve a new blog label: Juvenile(s).
Joel Pett Pokes Fun At POTUS Barack Obama's State Of The Union Address! LOL.
Tuesday, January 25, 2011
Michele Backman Gets In The Act, Too. Watch Her Video "Response" To The State Of The Union Address.
Labels: General information
Did You Miss Republican (GOP) Paul Ryan's Response To The State Of The Union Address? Well, Watch It Below.
Did You Miss POTUS Barack Obama's State Of The Union Address? Well, Fret Not And Watch It Below.
Labels: POTUS Barack Obama
In Case You Missed The News, Illinois Supreme Court Grants Rahm Emmanuel Temproray Reprieve In Chicago Mayoral Race. Watch News.
Unexpectedly, Kentucky's Final Election Filing Day Produces NO "RAWHIDE".
By Beth Musgrave
FRANKFORT — Gov. Steve Beshear will not have an opponent in the May Democratic primary for governor, but Republican frontrunner and state Senate President David Williams will have two opponents.
Tuesday was the filing deadline to run for the state constitutional offices on the May 17 ballot.
In the Republican primary race, Williams and running mate Agricultural Commissioner Richie Farmer will face Jefferson County Clerk Barbara "Bobbie" Holsclaw and retired Navy officer and Jefferson County teacher Bill Vermillion Jr. Also on the Republican ticket is Phil Moffett, a Louisville businessman, who is running with state Rep. Mike Harmon of Danville.
Williams is the front-runner in both name recognition and fundraising. Williams and Farmer, a former University of Kentucky basketball player, have reportedly raised more than $753,196. Moffett has reported raising $53,000.
David Adams, Moffett's campaign manager, said Tuesday that Williams and Farmer will not have any easy primary despite their lead in fundraising.
"Campaigning against David Williams in a Republican primary provides a Tea Party candidate like Phil Moffett a target-rich environment," Adams said. "Phil has already made great progress in only five months of campaigning, and he owes much of his early success to David Williams' awful record on debt and spending."
Scott Jennings, campaign manger for Williams, said that Williams and Farmer have no problem running on their records.
"David Williams has a long record of cutting taxes, stopping Steve Beshear from raising taxes, and of keeping a billion dollars in debt out of the budget," Jennings said." We look forward to running a positive campaign built on the strong conservative records of Williams and Farmer, and on their bold agenda for the future."
Holsclaw was the only candidate to file on Tuesday. Holsclaw said after filing her paperwork that she knows that the Republican primary for the state's top office will be tough.
"I know I'm the underdog, and I realize I have an uphill battle," Holsclaw said.
No candidates filed against Beshear and running mate and former Louisville Mayor Jerry Abramson.
Beshear and Abramson, who announced their ticket in 2009, have amassed a campaign war chest of $3.5 million.
Lexington lawyer Gatewood Galbraith and media consultant Dea Riley have also said they will run for governor. The two are collecting signatures to run as independents.
But Democrats had a tough time in the November 2010 elections. Republican unknown and Tea Party candidate Rand Paul beat two seasoned state politicians — Republican Secretary of State Trey Grayson — and Attorney General Jack Conway, a Democrat, to win an open U.S. Senate seat.
Republicans also made gains in both the state House and state Senate in November.
Matt Erwin, a spokesman for Kentucky Democratic Party, said he believes that the statewide elections in 2011 will be different.
"This is a completely different electorate," Erwin said of the upcoming statewide races. "People in Kentucky are very comfortable electing Democrats. I think that people are anxious to talk about Kentucky, which wasn't mentioned in the last election cycle. The 2010 elections are over."
Steve Robertson, chairman of the Kentucky Republican Party, could not be reached for comment Tuesday.
Agricultural commissioner: The most crowded race on the May17 ballot is for Agricultural Commissioner, the office that oversees agricultural policy in Kentucky. Farmer is vacating the position.
On the Republican side, Rep. Jamie Comer, a state legislator from Tompkinsville and a farmer, will face Rob Rothenburger, the Shelby County Judge Executive and farmer. Five Democrats have filed for the office: Robert "Bob" Farmer, of Louisville, Stewart Gritton of Lawrenceburg, John Faris Lackey of Richmond, David Williams of Glasgow and B.D. Wilson of Frankfort.
Secretary of state: One of the most-watched races in May primary will be the Democratic primary for secretary of state.
Grayson announced this month that he would not finish the remaining 11 months of his term and was taking a position at Harvard University. Beshear appointed Bowling Green Mayor Elaine Walker to fill out the rest of Grayson's term. Walker filed to run for the office but will face Lexington lawyer Allison Lundergan Grimes in the Democratic primary.
Lundergan Grimes has been backed by some of the most influential members of the Democratic Party and is the daughter of a former state Democratic Party chairman.
Republicans in the secretary of state race include Bill Johnson, a Todd County businessman and Hilda Legg, a former agricultural official.
State auditor: Two Republicans have filed to run for state auditor: state Rep. Addia Wuchner of Florence and John T. Kemper, a Lexington developer. The winner of that primary will face Adam Edelen, Beshear's former chief of staff. Edelen has no opposition in the primary.
Attorney general: Conway will have no opponent in the primary for the Democratic nomination for attorney general. He will face Hopkins County Attorney Todd P'Pool in the November election. P'Pool is the only Republican to file to run for the office.
State treasurer: KC Crosbie, a Lexington councilwoman, will have no opposition in the Republican primary for state treasurer. But Todd Hollenbach, the Democratic incumbent, will face Steve Hamrick, a Hopkinsville business owner and media consultant, in the May primary.
Read more: http://www.kentucky.com/2011/01/25/1611352/after-filing-deadline-lineups.html#more#ixzz1C6NYiM1f
Louisville Courier Journal Likes David Williams' Smoking Ban Stance!
Kentucky Senate President David Williams has taken some shots from this page in recent years, but he got one right the other day — on an issue of great significance to the health and welfare of the entire commonwealth.
During a candidates' forum at a Kentucky Press Association meeting in Louisville, Sen. Williams offered a strong endorsement of proposed legislation to ban smoking in most public places statewide. Sen. Williams, who is a Republican candidate for governor this year, said he would vote for such a prohibition if it comes before the state Senate. He argued that secondhand smoke is a workplace safety issue and not a matter of private property rights, as many other conservatives insist.
A bill introduced by Rep. Susan Westrom, D-Lexington, would prohibit smoking in all indoor workplaces with at least one employee, including restaurants, bars and private clubs. Sen. Williams, of Burkesville, expressed support for a statewide ban several years ago as an alternative to increased taxes on cigarettes, but his KPA remarks represented a stronger stance and weren't tied to wrangling over other legislative issues.
The need for such a ban should be clear to anyone who can read. Smoking is the leading cause of preventable death in the United States, claiming about 440,000 lives annually. According to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, secondhand smoke each year causes an estimated 46,000 premature deaths from heart disease among nonsmokers and about 3,400 deaths of nonsmokers from lung cancer. Among children, secondhand smoke is a cause of severe asthma attacks, respiratory infections and sudden infant death syndrome. The dangers are especially stark for Kentucky, since the commonwealth is consistently at or near the top of surveys of state smoking rates.
Sen. Williams' forthright stand was harshly condemned by an opponent in the Republican primary, Louisville businessman Phil Moffett, a tea party candidate who said that a smoking ban is an infringement on property rights. He also said that Sen. Williams' position shows he isn't a real conservative, and that the dangers of secondhand smoke are exaggerated.
All are typical tea party reactions — ignore the evidence if it's inconvenient, assign property rights or limiting government powers a higher value than protecting citizens' health, and call your opponent names.
Meanwhile, the Democrat in the race, Gov. Steve Beshear, backs smoking cessation programs and local action to restrict smoking, but has not yet supported a statewide ban. He should. This could be an area where Gov. Beshear and Sen. Williams could cooperate and accomplish something meaningful.
Lexington Herald Leader Applauds Chief Justice John Minton For His "No Leave For [Former Chief Justice Joe] Lambert [To Run For Attorney General]".
(Top photo: John Minton; bottom photo: Joe Lambert)
No leave for Lambert
At long last someone has looked at former Kentucky Supreme Court Chief Justice Joseph Lambert and said, "Enough is enough."
Our congratulations to current Chief Justice John D. Minton Jr., who declined to give Lambert a leave of absence from his lucrative senior judge stint to run as a Republican for attorney general.
Lambert wanted the leave so he could, in effect, have his cake and eat it, too. If he lost the AG's race, he'd just finish out his time as a senior judge and enjoy the rich retirement benefits the program offers. The senior judge program provides retirement benefits over and above regular judicial retirement.
Minton, understandably and admirably, was more focused on protecting the impartiality of the judiciary than Lambert's financial planning. "I felt obligated to protect the judicial branch from involvement in partisan politics," he said.
For his part, Lambert whined that Minton's decision knocked him out of the race because the financial risk was too great. "I would sustain a permanent major loss of earned retirement benefits. I was prepared to accept this loss if I were elected attorney general."
So much for selfless public service.
Lambert established guidelines for leaves of absence in 2005, a time when he was rumored to be considering a run for governor in 2007.
Minton has not granted any judge a leave from the program. Lambert apparently only granted one, for a judge to complete an advanced degree at Yale University.
It comes as no surprise that Lambert's decision about running for public office is so closely tied to his financial planning. As chief justice, he designed the senior judge program that will provide him, and others, a generous retirement.
Lambert also conceived the widely criticized $880 million courthouse construction program and hired the residential architect who designed his own home to oversee it. The firm that sold the bonds on the lion's share of the courthouse projects employed Lambert's son for a time. And the construction company that got more than half the courthouse business contributed generously to the judicial campaigns of Lambert's wife, Debra.
However, even if none of this history existed, there isn't any place for a judge to take a leave of absence to engage in partisan politics. Minton made the right decision.
Read more: http://www.kentucky.com/2011/01/25/1610271/no-leave-for-lambert.html#more#ixzz1C3aWwLO2
Today Is Last Fing Day Of The Kentucky Election Cycle In 2011. Will The Capito Resemble The Movie RAWHIDE? Stay Tuned.
On Today's Cartoon, Let's Give It Up To Joel Pett.
Monday, January 24, 2011
Tomorrow (Last Filing Day For Office) Will Be Like A ZOO In Frankfort, Kentucky. So Watch Out For The STAMPEDE. Where's Tarzan When You Need Him?!
DATE: January 24, 2011
CONTACT: Les Fugate, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State
Office of the Secretary of State
Office: (502) 564-3490
Cell: (502) 229-3803
This is a reminder that the deadline for candidate filings for the May 17, 2011 primary is 4:00 p.m. EST, Tuesday, January 25, 2011.
Secretary of State Trey Grayson will open his office all day for members of the press to use as a station for writing stories, relaxing, etc. We will try to accommodate everyone as much as possible. We anticipate having internet access available (including wireless) for anyone needing web access during this time; however, computers will not be provided in the conference room.
We will have numerous chairs placed in the hallways for those of you who would like to watch the filing room directly, as the conference room does not have a direct view of the filing room. We will also have some computers in the hallway in order for those outside of our office to access the online candidates listing page:
We will attempt to update this site as quickly as possible with the hope of being near “real time.”
We would like to make this day as accommodating as possible. If you have any suggestions, please let us know. The Secretary looks forward to seeing all of you on Tuesday.
Who: Secretary of State Trey Grayson, Candidates for 2011 primary elections
What: The 2011 election filing deadline
When: Tuesday, January 25, 2011 (4:00 p.m. EST is the exact deadline for filing with the Office of the Secretary of State)
Where: Office of the Secretary of State, RM 152, State Capitol Building
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Republican Hilda Legg Joins The Filing Crowd, Is A Candidate For Secretary Of State. Read More About Other Filings.
FRANKFORT — Two Republican women filed for state constitutional offices Monday and another Democrat entered the crowded race for state agriculture commissioner.
Hilda Legg of Somerset, former administrator of the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Utilities Service, filed for secretary of state, and state Rep. Addia Wuchner of Burlington filed to run for state auditor.
John Faris Lackey of Richmond filed his candidacy papers to run for the Democratic nomination for state agriculture commissioner.
The filing deadline to run for state constitutional offices is 4 p.m. Tuesday.
Former state Republican Party Chairman Bob Gable signed the candidacy papers for Legg and Wuchner. Both women said they were not running on any slate with other candidates.
Legg, who is making her first bid for public office, said she is running for secretary of state to continue the “outstanding efforts” of Republican Trey Grayson, who is leaving the post this week to take a job at Harvard University.
Legg said she would visit high schools in all 120 Kentucky counties to set up civic forums and to encourage every eligible young person to vote.
She also said she would work to be “a true advocate” for small business.
Besides Gable, state Sen. Vernie McGaha, R-Russell Springs, signed her candidacy papers.
Todd County businessman Bill Johnson filed last November for the Republican nomination for secretary of state. Democrats who have filed for the office are Alison Lundergan Grimes of Lexington and Elaine Walker of Bowling Green.
Wuchner, a retired hospital administrator, has been a member of the state House since 2005. Besides Gable, her candidacy papers were filed by state Rep. Marie Rader, R-McKee, and Emily Shelton, founder of the Tea Party movement in Boone County.
Wuchner said the office of auditor “is entrusted with being a principled watchdog of the taxpayers’ dollars. Kentucky taxpayers can trust that I will work to restore our Commonwealth’s fiscal health.”
She said Democrat Crit Luallen, who cannot seek re-election because of term limits, has done “a great job.”
Lexington developer John T. Kemper III filed last November to seek the GOP nomination for auditor. Democrat Adam Edelen of Lexington filed earlier this month to enter the contest.
Lackey is one of five Democrats who have filed for agriculture commissioner. The other Democratic candidates are Bob Farmer of Louisville, Stewart Gritton of Lawrenceburg, David Lynn Williams of Glasgow and B.D. Wilson of Frankfort. Republicans seeking the office are Jamie Comer of Tompkinsville and Rob Rothenburger of Shelbyville.
The current agriculture commissioner, Republican Richie Farmer, is running for lieutenant governor.