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Monday, October 31, 2011

By The Way: The Fourth Amendment Applies EQUALLY To ALL, Including Blacks And Hispanics.

Simply unacceptable: Big Apple's 'stop and frisk policy' violates the Constitution

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated...

- Fourth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States

Just in case you forgot.

There has been, after all, an appalling amount of forgetting where that amendment is concerned. And New York City has become the epicenter of the amnesia. Yes, the “stop and frisk” policy of questioning and searching people a cop finds suspicious is used elsewhere as well. But it is in the big, bruised apple that the issue now comes to a head.

Federal agents recently arrested a New York City cop on charges of violating the civil rights of an African-American man. Officer Michael Daragjati allegedly stopped the man in April and threw him against a parked van to search him. No drugs or weapons were found, but Daragjati reportedly became angry the man questioned his rough treatment and requested the officer’s name and badge number. So Daragjati ran him in on a charge of resisting arrest. Later, talking on the phone to a friend, he bragged that he had “fried another nigger” and that it was “no big deal.” This was overheard by the feds, who had him under surveillance in a separate investigation.

Let no one fix his or her mouth to pronounce themselves “surprised.” Blacks and Hispanics have complained for years about the selective attention they get from police. Giving cops the power to randomly stop and search pedestrians they find suspicious could not help but exacerbate the problem.

Last year, about 600,000 people were stopped and frisked in New York. Though blacks and Hispanics account for just over half the city’s population, they represent about 85 percent of those stopped. The Center for Constitutional Justice, a civil rights group, says drugs or weapons are turned up in less than 2 percent of those stops.

It bears repeating: less than 2 percent.

That failure rate suggests at minimum a need to change the standard by which police decide whom to stop. “Suspicion” obviously isn’t cutting it.

Daragjati’s alleged malfeasance also suggests a crying need for stricter oversight.

The argument in defense of stop and frisk can be boiled down to two words: It works. Marc Lavorgna, a spokesman for New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, says crime has been driven to “historic lows” in part by this tactic.

The response to that argument also boils to two words: So what?

The crime rate has been falling for years all over the country, so it’s hard to single out what effect this particular tactic in this particular town might have had. But assume it does work. Can that truly be our standard for deciding what is acceptable?

If it is, why not allow police to search private homes without warrants? Why not ban private ownership of firearms? These things, too would work. More criminals would be arrested. Fewer people would die.

And all it would cost is a few constitutional rights.

Most of us are not black or Hispanic, most of us do not live in New York. But all of us have constitutional rights, so all of us have a stake in the drama playing out in our largest city.

The Fourth Amendment means what is happening there is wrong. Or it means nothing at all.

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Louisville Courier Journal Piece Finds That "Steve Beshear Managed In Tough Times".

Steve Beshear managed in tough times
State has had economic, political hardships
Written by Tom Loftus

FRANKFORT, KY. — This is one in a series of stories about Kentucky’s statewide races for offices on the Nov. 8 ballot. A profile of Senate President David Williams, the Republican nominee for governor, appeared last Sunday.

After an unlikely and somewhat unexpected return to politics, Steve Beshear achieved a long-held goal when he was inaugurated as governor in December 2007 — but under circumstances that clouded his chances for success.

On the economic front, state revenues were plunging, as the nation slipped into the worst recession of modern times.

On the political front, things looked no better for the new Democratic governor. Anything he proposed — including his main campaign promise to legalize expanded gambling — would have to pass a state Senate in the firm grip of Republican David Williams.

Still, on the unseasonably warm afternoon of his swearing-in on Dec. 11, 2007, Beshear spoke of “progress,” and declared, “The status quo is unacceptable to me.”

Today, as Beshear seeks a second term against Williams, the GOP nominee, and independent Gatewood Galbraith in the Nov. 8 election, his critics claim that maintaining the status quo is exactly what he did.

Expanded gambling, the issue that surely would have changed the status quo and which more than any other propelled his political resurgence, has failed to gain traction.

And his current campaign is not so much claiming progress — which would be a hard sell given that unemployment has risen to 9.7 percent from 5.6 percent when he took office — as it is success in managing the economic crisis without resorting to draconian actions taken by many states.

“We’ve kept our budget balanced without having any broad-based tax increases, and at the same time we’ve maintained what I’ve felt are our most important priorities — education, public protection, job creation and health care for our most vulnerable,” the governor said in a recent interview.

His Republican critics, however, say Beshear has failed to deliver the bold leadership he promised.

“Steve Beshear has done an adequate job as governor. But Kentucky needs much more than adequate,” said John David Dyche, a Louisville attorney and freelance contributor to The Courier-Journal’s op-ed page. “His biggest failing is that he has no agenda on the many important issues that confront Kentucky today.”

Beshear’s campaign website and advertising tout his record of the past four years — balancing the budget, an ethical government, and the creation of jobs. But there is little hint of plans for the next four years, and Williams’ allies in the Senate Republican caucus say that’s because the future looks gloomy. Moody’s downgraded Kentucky’s bond rating in the spring because of the state’s large debt, badly underfunded pension program and use of one-time revenues to pay recurring expenses.

“Gov. Beshear is running a very good political campaign,” said Senate Republican Leader Robert Stivers of Manchester. “He’s stayed away from the controversial issues because they are a major hornet’s nest.”

Beshear’s message to voters is much more upbeat. In a television ad, he promises, “There is light at the end of the tunnel because we’ve made the tough decisions to position Kentucky for a better future.”

That message seems to be working as polls suggest Beshear holds a comfortable lead in what could be the last election in a long, two-phase political career.
Young man on the move

Beshear is one of five children raised by Russell and Mary Elizabeth Beshear in the small Hopkins County town of Dawson Springs. Russell Beshear was a funeral director, Baptist minister and mayor.

His son was valedictorian of his tiny class at Dawson Springs High School, then student government president at the University of Kentucky.

After graduating from the UK law school in 1968, he married Jane Klingner of Lexington and worked for a law firm in New York City.

The Beshears returned to Lexington in 1971, and two years later he won his first race for public office when he was elected to represent the 76th District in the Kentucky House. He was twice re-elected to the House, and then won elections in 1979 as attorney general and in 1983 as lieutenant governor.

That chain of electoral victories was broken in 1987 when Beshear finished third for the Democratic nomination for governor won by Wallace Wilkinson.

Out of the public arena, Beshear became head of the Lexington office of the Stites & Harbison law firm, and he helped it get the highly lucrative accounts of the state-managed Kentucky Central Life Insurance Co. He and his wife bought a small farm and built a home in Clark County near the Fayette County line.

He was lured by party leaders to challenge Republican U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell in 1996, but McConnell won easily with 56 percent of the vote.

Fading from the political scene a second time, Beshear continued his law practice and did some lobbying for the payday lending industry in 1997 and 1998.

But he was drawn back to politics in 2007 when no obvious frontrunning Democrat emerged to take on Republican incumbent Ernie Fletcher, who’d been politically crippled by a scandal over alleged political hiring of merit employees.

“Fate has an intriguing way of altering life,” Beshear said, as he announced his return to electoral politics.

He said his election losses had “made me a better man” by giving him time to spend with his family and develop a successful law practice.

With his sons grown and his family financially secure, Beshear told The Courier-Journal in 2007 that he returned to politics because his parents “always taught us that we ought to leave this world a little better off than we found it.”

Running on a promise to bring expanded gambling to Kentucky as a way of easing the state’s financial troubles and helping its signature industry of horse racing and breeding, he emerged as winner among four major contenders in the Democratic primary. And in the general election, he swamped Fletcher, capturing 59 percent of the vote.

But in the two decades he was out of politics, Frankfort had changed.

“Any new governor faces a learning curve, and it is always steeper than they expect,” said House Speaker Greg Stumbo, D-Prestonsburg. “Gov. Beshear had a distinguished career in Frankfort, but in the years he was gone the General Assembly had grown more independent, and he was going to have to deal with a lot of people he didn’t know yet.”


Confronted with a revenue crisis that was worse than he expected, Beshear was late in proposing to the 2008 legislature a constitutional amendment asking voters to approve some casinos and casino gambling at racetracks. It was never even called for a vote in the House, which his party controlled.

In 2009, during a special session, a bill to legalize slot machines at racetracks passed the House narrowly but was defeated in the GOP-controlled Senate budget committee.

Last year Beshear premised his budget on revenues that would be gained from passing a bill to legalize slots at the tracks. But by then, both chambers ignored it.

Beshear has a simple explanation for why his paramount promise of 2007 was unfulfilled.

“Because of Sen. Williams. Pure and simple,” Beshear said. “Unfortunately he has an ironclad control of his Senate majority. … And, so far at least, he’s taken the position that he’s not going to let anything about expanded gaming pass the Senate.”

Rob Wilkey, former House Democratic whip, agrees that a major reason the amendment didn’t get a vote in the House in 2008 is that members did not want to vote on a controversial bill they expected to be killed in the Senate. But Wilkey said there also were other reasons.

“The governor may have read his election results as a mandate for expanded gaming, but the House saw it more as a repudiation of the former occupant of the governor’s office,” Wilkey, a Scottsville attorney, recalled. “Getting that amendment passed in 2008 would have been a heavy lift under the best of circumstances.”

Wilkey said it took time to get agreement among supporters on details of the measure. And, he said, Beshear had not yet established a relationship with House Democrats.

Beshear said he hasn’t given up. Though his ads and website don’t mention the issue, he said he plans “to get that issue addressed in the 2012 General Assembly.”

As for the details of the proposal and whether it will be an amendment for voters or a bill for slots at race tracks, he said, “We’re still working on the issue.”


Beshear and his supporters emphasize that Kentucky — unlike many states — made it through the past four years without a broad-based tax increase and without a cut in base funding of public schools.

“The economic circumstances he’s had to deal with were much worse than anything we could have possibly imagined and much worse than any other governor in recent times has had to deal with,” said Paul Patton, the Democratic governor from 1995-2003. “And Steve Beshear has dealt with that while somehow protecting important things like education and public safety.”

That, however, was made possible largely by $3 billion in federal stimulus dollars that came Kentucky’s way.

Also, while broad-based taxes were not increased, Beshear and Williams did work together in 2009 to persuade most lawmakers to cast the most difficult vote of the past four years — for a bill that raised crucial revenue by doubling the per-pack cigarette tax, to 60 cents, and applying the 6 percent sales tax to store sales of alcoholic beverages.

And Beshear and the legislature did make tough spending cuts. Most state agencies have been cut 25-30 percent from their original appropriations in 2008.

The number of state employees, according to the Personnel Cabinet, has fallen from the 35,655 when Beshear took office to 33,412 currently.

Funding cuts of about 10 percent have been imposed on state universities, where tuition continues to rise. Tuition and fees for an in-state student this semester at University of Louisville total $4,465, compared to $3,435 four years ago.

And while base funding for public education has held about even, funding of key support programs — including extra help for students who fall behind and professional development for teachers — has been slashed.

“I’m concerned because, while the governor and General Assembly have done their best to protect the base, these key support systems have eroded,” said Stu Silberman, executive director of the Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence.

Sen. Bob Leeper, the Paducah independent who is chairman of the Senate budget committee, said the financial crisis was also partly managed by putting the problem off to the next budget.

Leeper, citing research by his staff, said last week the state faces a $337 million deficit next fiscal year.

“Some actions of the governor made it less painful the last two years by making it more painful in the next two,” Leeper said. “So unless there’s some big improvement in the national economy, I don’t think we’re going to have money for increases in the next budget.”

Then there’s Medicaid. Beshear accounted for a $139 million shortage of Medicaid funds in last fiscal year’s budget by taking the money from this year’s budget. In a plan he and Stumbo pushed into law over Williams’ opposition, the resulting hole in this year’s budget would be filled by savings from handing the management of care under Medicaid to private contractors.

But the administration delayed the launch of the program from Oct. 1 until Nov. 1. And critics such as Leeper and Stivers are worried that the delay and other possible difficulties will mean the plan will not achieve its promised savings.

But Beshear has not retreated from his promise of Medicaid savings. He accentuates a positive budget development — resumed revenue growth last year that allowed a deposit of $122 million in the state’s Rainy Day Fund.

Beshear and the General Assembly did agree during a 2008 special session to changes in the state’s woefully underfunded pension system, including reduced benefits to future employees and the adoption of a schedule of increased payments by the state into retirement system trust fund.

Williams says the unfunded liability of the Kentucky Retirement Systems is still growing and more must be done. But Beshear has said he’s satisfied the fund will be sound if lawmakers honor the schedule of increased payments to the fund outlined in the 2008 law.

Despite the financial problems he has confronted, Beshear did fulfill a campaign promise by reducing barriers to the Kentucky Children’s Health Insurance program, a move that led to 52,000 more children getting coverage. And he started a program in Eastern Kentucky to train more dentists in pediatric dental care.

“He deserves gold stars for improving health care access for kids,” said Terry Brooks, executive director of Kentucky Youth Advocates.

But the bill Beshear’s campaign touts most is a 2009 measure that revamped and expanded incentives the state can offer to companies that create jobs.

“We’ve had great success in the toughest of economic times with our job creation programs. We revised all of our incentive programs,” he said. “We gave ourself the ability for the first time in Kentucky to work with existing businesses and help them grow and expand.”

News reports this fall have challenged Beshear’s claim of creating about 19,500 jobs, noting that many of the jobs do not yet exist. Beshear said the claim is not misleading because it will take many of the companies a year or two to build new facilities and hire the workers.

The biggest job-creation success for Beshear has been a series of announcements by Ford that total $1.2 billion in investments and plans for 3,100 jobs at the Louisville Assembly Plant by the end of next year.

One deal that was controversial was a state incentive package of up to $43 million for a Bible-themed amusement park in Grant County.

The state subsidy for the Ark Encounters project, expected to completed in 2014, has been criticized as a violation of the constitutional requirement of separation of church and state.

But Beshear told The Courier-Journal editorial board last year, “The law doesn’t allow us to look at the theme that somebody proposes for a theme park and say, ‘Well, some people may not like that.’ ”

He said he considered it an economic development project that could create 900 jobs, and — like other projects — will not get any incentives unless it produces the jobs.

The traditional Democratic constituency most disappointed in Beshear is no doubt the environmental community.

A year ago the Beshear administration joined a lawsuit brought by the Kentucky Coal Association against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s enforcement of water pollution laws.

And early this year, in his State of the Commonwealth address, he said, “Washington bureaucrats continue to try to impose arbitrary and unreasonable regulations on the mining of coal. To them I say, ‘Get off our backs! Get off our backs!’ ”

Doug Doerrfeld, a past chairman of Kentuckians for the Commonwealth, which advocates for economic and environmental justice, said the coal industry “is not following the Clean Water Act, and we’ve been working diligently to get EPA to take a stronger enforcement tact. So it was extremely disappointing to hear the governor say just the opposite.”

Beshear’s campaign website says he has added 19 employees at the Division of Mine Permits “to speed up” the review of mine permit applications.

But Tom FitzGerald, director of the Kentucky Resources Council, complains that at the same time Beshear’s budget-balancing efforts have slashed funding for environmental protection by 25 percent.

Beshear told the Sierra Club last month, “In this technological age, I believe it is possible to make economic progress and at the same time protect our environment.”

About Steve Beshear

Political party: Democrat
Born: Sept. 21, 1944
Residence: Clark County
Occupation: Governor, lawyer
Marital status: Married; two sons, three grandchildren
Education: Bachelor’s and law degrees from University of Kentucky
Political experience: Member, Kentucky House, 1974-79; attorney general 1979-83; lieutenant governor, 1983-87; governor, 2007-present


Words To Live By, Words Of Wisdom And Words To Ponder EVERYDAY Of Our Lives, As Liberty Lovers.

"Our peculiar security is in the possession of a written Constitution. Let us not make it a blank paper by construction."

-- Thomas Jefferson, letter to Wilson Nicholas, 1803

"Here, in strictness, the people surrender nothing; and as they retain every thing they have no need of particular reservations. 'WE, THE PEOPLE of the United States, to secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.'

Here is a better recognition of popular rights, than volumes of those aphorisms which make the principal figure in several of our State bills of rights, and which would sound much better in a treatise of ethics than in a constitution of government."

– Alexander Hamilton, Federalist No. 84, "Certain General and Miscellaneous Objections to the Constitution Considered and Answered," Independent Journal, July 16, 1788; "The Federalist (The Gideon Edition)," (1818), Edited with an Introduction, Reader's Guide, Constitutional Cross-reference, Index, and Glossary by George W. Carey and James McClellan (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2001)

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Happy Halloween Courtesy Of Kentucky's Own Joel Pett. LOL.


Saturday, October 29, 2011

More On Mitt "I'm A PHONY" Romney. LOL.


Friday, October 28, 2011

WARNING: Graphic Pictures Showing Muamur Gadaffi Being SODOMIZED By His Rebel Captors. (Warning: GRAPHIC). Barbarians!


Kentucky Democratic Party Files Registry Of Election Finance Complaint Alleging Collusion Between David Willians, His Father In Law, Terry Stevens, And Restoring America PAC. Oh, Brother: Will The Election Get Here SOON Enough?!

Democrats allege collusion between Williams and outside group funded by father-in-law
By Jack Brammer

FRANKFORT — The Kentucky Democratic Party filed a complaint Friday with the state alleging that Republican gubernatorial nominee David Williams has illegally coordinated and cooperated with his father-in-law, Terry Stephens, and an outside political group that Stephens is funding.

Stephens has acknowledged being the sole contributor to Restoring America, which has spent $1.365 million on television ads that criticize Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear and compliment Williams.

"He now claims ... it is mere coincidence that the group is spending every dime supporting his son-in-law and attacking his opponent," Democratic Party Chairman Dan Logsdon said in a news release announcing the complaint with the Kentucky Registry of Election Finance.

"Kentuckians demand and deserve candidates who follow and obey the state's campaign finance laws, and I urge KREF to investigate this suspicious and scurrilous scheme between David Williams and his sugar daddy, Terry Stephens," Logsdon said.

A Franklin Circuit Court judge ruled early last week that Restoring America had violated the law by trying to hide the names of its donors. Stephens and Restoring America later acknowledged that he was the group's sole contributor.

In Friday's complaint, Logsdon notes that Stephens' hosted a fund-raiser at his home on Sept. 13 that was attended by the leadership of the Williams-Farmer campaign. Seven days later, Restoring America and Restoring America, Inc. were incorporated and funded, and they were on the air six days later with at least four different television ads, Logsdon said.

The ads were produced by an Ohio firm Williams was known to admire, he alleged.

Williams and Stephens have denied any wrongdoing. They were not immediately available for comment about Friday's complaint.

"The more Terry Stephens speaks, the more obvious it is that Restoring America is an outlaw organization, and that he and David Williams have some serious explaining to do," Logsdon said.

Read more:

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With Polls Showing Him Ahead Of His Two Opponents, Davis Williams And Gatewood Galbraith, Steve Beshear NOW Feels Comfortable Enough To Show His Support For POTUS Barack Obama.

Beshear alone in support for Obama's re-election

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) -- Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear says President Barack Obama should be re-elected to a second term, setting himself starkly apart from his general election opponents who mention Obama often in hopes that his negatives among Kentucky voters will rub off on Beshear.

Obama's name has been at the center of the race for governor, dragged there repeatedly by Republican David Williams and independent Gatewood Galbraith.

The Associated Press asked all three candidates in a questionnaire if they favor Obama's re-election to a second term, and asked them to explain why or why not.

Beshear answered "yes," but provided no elaboration. Both Williams and Galbraith said "no" and offered sharp criticisms of the president.

"President Obama told us exactly what he was going to do if elected - redistribute wealth, destroy the coal industry, and nationalize our health care system - and he is attempting to do all of those things," Williams said. "I did not support him before and I strongly oppose him for reelection in 2012."

Williams said Kentuckians can express their disapproval of Obama by voting Republican in Kentucky's general election on Nov. 8.

"I just don't see how any Kentuckian - Republican or Democrat - could support President Obama for re-election given his job-killing energy and economic policies," Williams said.

Galbraith gave a one sentence explanation for not supporting Obama.

"I do not favor his re-election because I believe he is a Socialist and I do not believe in socialism," Galbraith said.

The AP also asked the gubernatorial candidates if they approve of the job performance of Kentucky's two U.S. senators, Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul, both of whom are Republicans.

Beshear skirted the question, saying "as governor, I work closely and often with all members of Kentucky's congressional delegation. Whether on the state or federal level, I will not hesitate to cross party lines to get things done for the people of Kentucky."

Williams said he approves of both senators.

"Although they have different styles, McConnell and Paul make a great one-two punch in standing up to President Obama and advancing conservative solutions," he said. "They both favor low taxes, less regulation, and have worked together to protect our coal jobs from President Obama's EPA. They are also both strongly pro-life and I think that's very important as well, since neither President Obama nor Gov. Beshear stands up for the unborn."

Galbraith gave the senators a mixed review.

"I do not approve of Senator McConnell because he is a spokesperson for our current police state and approves of Free Trade and a New World Order where big money and transnational corporations hold an inordinate sway over our domestic policy, Galbraith said.

"I am pleased that Senator Paul has found an early voice in that body and am hoping that he will continue to shake up the establishment regarding smaller government, less taxes and a greater recognition of personal privacy and sovereignty of the individual. If he will, then I approve. If not, then I will be greatly disappointed."

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We Are All For Reversing ANY Greed, Including The BIG Pension GREED For Kentucky Lawmakers.

Reverse cushier legislative pensions

Could greed be getting a bad name in Frankfort?

A bipartisan move is afoot to undo a bit of nest-feathering that lawmakers bestowed upon themselves in the closing hours of the 2005 session.

In the 11th-hour skulduggery, lawmakers, who already had pretty cushy pensions, decreed they could count years spent in other state jobs when calculating their legislative pensions.

This enabled members of the General Assembly to hop into a full-time state job for a few years — in the administration, the judiciary or a statewide office — and qualify for annual pensions well in excess of $100,000.

USA Today recently highlighted Kentucky as an example of states where lawmakers are inflating their pensions through such provisions and loopholes.

What makes it even more galling is that lawmakers sweetened their pensions after underfunding public employees' pensions for years.

Not only does the unfunded liability in the retirement systems for state employees and teachers amount to $26 billion, the pension funds also have been returning less than expected on investments, which has the effect of further swelling the unfunded liability.

It's hardly surprising, given the lackluster performance of the stock market over the last decade, that the pension funds are underperforming. And there's little reason to think they'll return to consistently earning a 7.5 percent return anytime soon.

The issue of lawmaker pensions came up as a sidelight to an interim committee meeting at which legislators received a report about the underperformance of the pension funds.

The Courier-Journal's Mike Winn reports that Rep. Jimmy Higdon, R-Lebanon, said he will sponsor legislation revoking, effective 2014, the provision allowing lawmakers to factor into their legislative pensions much higher salaries from full-time state jobs.

Rep. Mike Cherry, D-Princeton, chairman of the House state government committee, said he also supports repealing the provision.

The rest of the legislature should join them in undoing this greedy bit of self-serving legislation. It would demonstrate good faith while lawmakers continue to work to put state finances and state retirement plans on sounder footing.

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I'm "Taking A Shot" At Louisville Courier Journal Editorial's OBSESSION With Forcing Our Daughters To Receive HPV Shots: Hands Off My Daughter's Body!

Editorial | Taking a shot

If an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, then why aren’t more moms and dads having their daughters and sons vaccinated against the human papilloma virus, the most commonly sexually transmitted disease and one that leads to thousands of cancers each year?

Even if parental squeamishness is factored in, it’s hard to argue against taking precautions against the possibility of one’s offspring contracting the cancers associated with the virus. Those include cervical and anal cancers, as well as genital warts; there also is reason to believe an increase in head and neck cancers is linked to HPV through oral sex.

The federal government has recommended for several years that girls between the ages of 9 and 26 receive the vaccine to reduce risk of cervical cancer, but it is mostly given to 11- and 12-year-old girls. The vaccine is most effective when it is given to people who are not yet sexually active.

Despite that medical advice, and federal approval of two vaccines, the numbers of girls receiving the vaccination is disappointingly low — only 49 percent of adolescent girls have received at least the first of three shots, and fewer than a third have received all three doses.

This year, the American Academy of Pediatrics added the HPV vaccine to the list of recommended vaccines for boys, too, and this week a federal medical advisory panel bumped up the consciousness-raising by making the same recommendation — an important step in leading to federal policy adoption and doctors’ advice.

None of this — the recommendations, the medicine, the prevention — will mean much unless patients (or their responsible guardians) step up for this lifesaving measure. So far, that’s not happening.

That means the medical community, and the federal government, will have to do a better job of communicating the reasons for the vaccine.

The media will have to do a better job of clearing up falsehoods about the prevention and calling purveyors on their malicious myth-making. (Witness Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann and the recent and damaging whopper she told about the vaccine; responsible media outlets debunked her bogus claims.) Parents will have to read up on the prevention and overcome their own hang-ups on sexuality and their children — and make responsible decisions about their children’s present and future health, despite the emotionally tricky territory.

As one of the doctors involved in this week’s discussion said, “This is cancer, for Pete’s sake. A vaccine against cancer was the dream of our youth.”

It can be the reality of American youths’ present — if only the kids were getting the shots.


Was George Bush's Iraq War Poster Better Than POTUS Barack Obama's? I'm ROTFLMAO!


Thursday, October 27, 2011

Kentucky Supreme Court Disbars Former Judge Joseph F. "Jay" Bambergerin Who Presided Over Fen-Phen Diet-drug Settlement. Good Riddance.

Ky. court disbars judge in diet-drug settlement

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — A once-ballyhooed $200 million settlement over a diet-drug has claimed five legal careers, the latest being the judge who oversaw the case.

The Kentucky Supreme Court on Thursday permanently disbarred retired judge Joseph F. "Jay" Bamberger for "the highly egregious nature of his ethical violations" in overseeing the 2001 settlement involving the drug fen-phen.

Bamberger, a circuit court judge in Boone and Gallatin counties from 1992 until his retirement in 2004, signed off on a deal that gave attorneys nearly two-thirds of the settlement and didn't disclose to clients the terms of the deal.

The court also ordered Bamberger to pay $18,700 to cover the cost of the disciplinary proceedings.

Bamberger described himself as "embarrassed" during a criminal trial related to the settlement and he stepped down as judge in February 2006 to avoid being removed by Kentucky's judicial conduct commission for his actions.

To date, Bamberger and four attorneys who took part in the settlement have lost their licenses. The state's high court is also weighing a request from the Kentucky Bar Association to revoke the license of Stanley Chesley, a prominent Cincinnati attorney known as the "Master of Disaster" for his handling of large, class-action cases.

Chesley, who has denied any wrongdoing in the settlement, has asked the high court to hear oral arguments over the Kentucky Bar Association's request to revoke his license, a move that could jeopardize his ability to serve as co-counsel in multiple high-profile class action cases.

Bamberger's disbarment stems from his handling of the settlement.

The high court found that attorneys William Gallion and Shirley Cunningham Jr., who once owned prized racehorse Curlin, along with Melbourne Mills Jr., kept $126 million, more than 63 percent of the settlement, for themselves and took another $20 million in "excess funds." The men distributed $74,194,577 to their clients, who were never told about the total amount of the settlement or the fees kept by the lawyers, Chief Justice John D. Minton wrote.

After the Kentucky Bar Association began investigating, Gallion, Mills and Chesley held an "off-the-record" meeting with Bamberger on Feb. 6, 2002 to have the judge secretly sign off on their fees, Minton wrote. After the meeting, Bamberger signed an order finding the attorneys' fees and expenses as paid in the case were "reasonable and necessary." Bamberger later admitted he had not read the settlement agreement or taken an accounting of it.

Four months later, Bamberger had the order filed with the clerk's office, but also ruled that all future orders would be provided only to the plaintiffs' lawyers and that all orders in the case be sealed.

Bamberger later authorized the creation of the Kentucky Fund for Healthy Living, a charity set up by the attorneys, with the $20 million in excess funds.

"Despite statements to the contrary, the plaintiff class never consented to the creation of KFHL with settlement funds," Minton wrote.

Gallion, Cunningham and Mills would become directors of the fund and receive $7,500 per month in salaries. Just before retiring as a judge, Bamberger relinquished court authority over the charity, saying it had fulfilled its charitable purpose, even though it had "never made any distributions for charitable purposes," Minton wrote. Bamberger then became a paid director of the funds, drawing $48,150 in salary over nine months.

Gallion and Cunningham resigned from the bar and were convicted in federal court on fraud charges. Both are in federal prison while they appeal. Mills and David Helmers, an associate of Gallion, have been disbarred for their roles in the settlement.

The former plaintiffs have sued the attorneys, winning a $42 million judgment in state court. That case is now before the Kentucky Supreme Court for review.

Gallion and Cunningham sold an 80 percent interest Curlin to a group led by Jess Jackson, the founder of Kendall-Jackson Winery and owner of Stonestreet Stables, and his wife, Barbara Banke. Jackson, who died in April, bought out the partners and retired Curlin from racing after his 4-year-old season.

Curlin won $10.5 million over his two-year racing career.

Read more:


FYI: Rand Paul Supports John Kemper For Auditor.

I support John Kemper for KY State Auditor

Dear Friend,

As a Kentuckian, a conservative and a constant thorn in the side of the political status quo, I fully support John Kemper for Kentucky State Auditor.

At times, Frankfort can be a lot like Washington. The political class believes it knows what is best and doesn't listen to the voice of the people.

I can tell you John Kemper would fight the establishment in Frankfort. Fight it every day. And he would bring honesty and transparency to our state finances.

You see, the State Auditor is the watchdog of your tax dollars. Who is spending it, when and why. Too often, this post is filled by a card-carrying member of the political class -- someone who has his eye so firmly on the next office he wants that waste, fraud and corruption are often swept under the rug.

But John Kemper is different.  

One of the strongest ideas I've heard from any politician in recent memory is John's plan to shine a spotlight on government spending by putting state government expenditures online – where a simple search by any citizen would uncover problems.

It is a simple, yet powerful idea. Common sense, you might say. But then, John is having to run on this idea this year because no one in Frankfort has had the common sense to do this before!

I think we can all agree: Common sense is a great trait in an officeholder – and perhaps the one too often lacking.

John is a true fiscal conservative. He supports lower taxes, smaller government and more jobs through a better energy policy.

He also believes every area of government should be examined so that as little of your tax dollars and freedom are taken in the name of government.

We share these goals and ideals, and I hope you'll consider voting for John on November 8.

But beyond that, I hope you will help John in his fight by helping his campaign with a contribution today.

John is fighting the special interests and the moneyed elite in this battle. They know he can't be bought, and they know he isn't one of them, so they are fighting tooth and nail to keep him out of this auditor's job.

John will expose the corruption. He will crusade against the cronyism. He will declare war on the waste and abuse.

Because of that, the tax-and-spend, grip-and-grin lobbyist crowd is loading the campaign of his opponent with cash.

John must have your help to fight back today.

So please, give John your support. Send him your maximum possible contribution by going to his website:

Volunteer for him. Ask if you can make some calls. Help make sure John can bring change to Frankfort this election day.

In Liberty,

Rand Paul


I Not Only Agree With Louisville Courier Journal That Texas Governor Rick Perry "Doesn’t Act Presidential", He Is NOT Presidential Material, At All!

Editorial | Birther blather

Here’s more evidence of the not-ready-for-prime-time status of Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s presidential candidacy:

Incredibly, unbelievably, he resurrected the odious and debunked “birther” notions about President Obama and his American citizenship. And then, after allowing a little time to pass to let it all sink in with the conspiratorial loonies, he said he didn’t mean it.

Perhaps Gov. Perry’s political gyroscope was thrown off by his dreadful showings in several televised debates. Or maybe it was the size and the scrutiny attendant to the national stage that knocked the Texas governor off his cock-of-the-walk stride. Whatever the case, Gov. Perry has tumbled in the polls, and he seems to be grasping at desperate straws as he falls.

In an interview published this week, the Republican contender expressed skepticism about the authenticity of the President's birth certificate that the White House released earlier this year to quell the cottage industry of fringe hysteria about Mr. Obama’s constitutional qualifications.

Of course, that hysteria had been whipped into a media frenzy by another GOP hopeful with famous hair: business mogul and reality show host Donald Trump, who destroyed his own prospects as a serious candidate for president with his uninformed bleatings about Mr. Obama’s origins. Who, then, is really surprised to learn that Gov. Perry’s flirtation with the birthers’ junk science stemmed from a recent dinner with Mr. Trump?

“It’s a good issue to keep alive,” Gov. Perry said in another interview.

But Wednesday, after being criticized by other Republican governors and GOP mastermind Karl Rove, Gov. Perry was singing a different tune, telling a Florida television interview that he has “no doubt” about the President’s birth in the United States and saying he was just having fun with Mr. Trump.

Maybe he has a weird idea of fun. Maybe he’s trying to play the issue on both sides. All we can really know is that he doesn’t act presidential.


Flavor Of The GOP Week? Well, ANYONE, But Mitt "I'm A PHONY" Romney. Check It Out, And Thanks To Nick Anderson. I'm ROTFLMAO!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Adam Edelen HITS John Kemper HARD, But The Ad Could Backfire! Watch Video.


As I Did For David Williams, So I Am Doing For Steve Beshear: Before You Vote In Kentucky's General Election For Governor, You Owe It To Yourself To Watch ThIs Steve Beshear's Interview With Louisville Courier Journal's Editorial Board.

Federal Judge Rebuffs JacK Conway's Politicul Stunt, Rules Kentucky Can't Piggyback On United State's Case Against Education Management 2 Years AFTER The Case Was File. What A Shame.

Kentucky Can’t Join U.S. Case Against Education Management
By Sophia Pearson

(Updates with excerpt from judge’s ruling in third paragraph.)

Oct. 24 (Bloomberg) -- Kentucky can’t join a U.S. lawsuit claiming Education Management Corp., the nation’s second-largest for-profit college chain, used improper recruitment practices to secure more than $11 billion in student aid, a judge said.

Kentucky filed in August to intervene in the case in federal court in Pittsburgh after the Justice Department and four states filed a 16-count complaint alleging the company violated rules for colleges that get U.S. student grants and loans. Kentucky sought to file a three-count complaint alleging among its claims violation of the state’s consumer protection law. U.S. District Judge Terrence McVerry denied the request.

“This case is already over four years old and the addition of ‘consumer protection’ claims would cause further delay and prejudice to the existing parties,” McVerry said today in a written opinion.

Education Management, which is 41 percent owned by Goldman Sachs Group Inc. funds, is accused in the government’s civil suit of illegally paying recruiters based on the number of students signed up. The government joined the employee whistle- blower suit earlier this year. The case was filed under the False Claims Act, which lets private citizens sue on behalf of the government and share in any recovery.

Allison Gardner Martin, a spokeswoman for Conway, had no immediate comment on the ruling.

Federal False Claims

Kentucky doesn’t have a state law equivalent to the federal false claims act and intervention by the state “is not warranted under the circumstances of this matter,” McVerry said in the ruling.

Education Management owns Brown Mackie College, which has three Kentucky campuses, Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway said in August. The state’s Higher Education Assistance Authority has paid more than $6 million in need-based and merit- based financial aid grants to the colleges since 2004, according to Conway.

The Pittsburgh-based company has maintained that its compensation plan complies with the 2002 U.S. Department of Education Safe Harbor regulation. The measure allows schools to compensate admissions staff based on student enrollments as long as that isn’t the sole consideration, Education Management said in court papers.

The case is U.S. v. Education Management Corp., 07-00461, U.S. District Court, Western District of Pennsylvania (Pittsburgh).


Read Rand Paul's Email: Jack Conway Is At It Again.

Jack Conway is at it again

Dear Friend,

You were with me last year when we stood up for liberty, shocked the nation and defeated Jack Conway.

Today, I need your help again.

Our old friend Jack Conway is back at it…making false claims, pretending not to be the big-government liberal that he truly is – and falsely attacking my friend Todd P’Pool.

Todd P’Pool is a small-government conservative running against Jack Conway for Kentucky Attorney General. I met Todd during my campaign last year. He stuck his neck out for me and stood by my side when some others would not. That took courage, and I’ll never forget it.

Todd is a crime-fighting prosecutor who will help us dismantle Obamacare – the disastrous big-government health care scheme that Jack Conway helped pass and still supports. Todd will ensure Kentucky reports for duty in the fight against this ruinous law. His very first week in office, Todd will join the suit against Obamacare. I can’t think of a more important fight for our liberty and freedom.

More than two dozen states have filed suit against Obamacare’s unconstitutional individual mandate – but not Kentucky. We have to change that. Todd will join the suit against Obamacare because Todd understands how vital this fight is to the future of our country.

Todd also understands the importance of holding Obama’s EPA accountable. Kentucky is feeling the full burden of President Obama and Lisa Jackson’s all-out assault on our farmers, energy producers and small businesses. As Attorney General, we can count on Todd to stand up to the EPA’s job-killing regulations that are devastating our economy.

How will he do it? Todd has announced that he will create a federalism unit as Attorney General to monitor the out-of-control federal government so Kentucky can push back when they overstep their Constitutional limits. Todd’s federalism unit will fulfill a vital mission – acting as a check on the limits of federal power over our freedom and liberty.

Todd is in a very tight race. In fact, even the liberal Louisville Courier-Journal said Todd was “within striking distance” and that he was the GOP’s best hope.

Clearly, liberals are worried. Let’s give them even more to be worried about.

Please join me in supporting Todd P’Pool today by making a secure, online contribution of $100.

We knocked down Jack Conway last year. It was a severe blow to President Obama and his liberal, partisan agenda. Now, we can knock Jack Conway out for good. With your help, Todd P’Pool will do it.


Rand Paul
U.S. Senator

P.S. – Please send your most generous donation to Todd P’Pool today. Even if you cannot contribute $100, send $50 or $25 to help Todd defeat Jack Conway!


Herman Cain's Presidential Campaign Is Being Hurt By His Skin Color -- And That's So SAD!


Tuesday, October 25, 2011

CAL THOMAS: Gadhafi’s Gone, Now What?

Gadhafi’s gone, now what?
The verdict is still out on what type of country Libya will now become

“Another one bites the dust

And another one gone, and another one gone

Another one bites the dust.” — Queen

Forgive me if I don’t join the State Department, American officials and world leaders in their euphoric Hallelujah Chorus celebrating the demise of Libya’s Moammar Gadhafi. Oh, I’m happy he’s dead, but I have as much faith that things will change for the better in Libya as I do in the Great Pumpkin rising from the pumpkin patch on Halloween night (sorry, Linus).

“Gadhafi’s Death Ushers in New Era,” read the headline in last Friday’s usually sober Wall Street Journal. “West Hails a Turning Point,” read the sub-headline. The question is, or should be: a turning to what? As Richard Boudreaux sensibly wrote in the Journal, “(Gadhafi) leaves a nation torn by war, devoid of civic institutions and difficult to govern.” What can be built on that rubble when Libyans have no history of practicing any of the values the West holds dear? No functional nation can rise when it rests on such a weak foundation.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has dropped an additional $11 million on Libya ($135 million since the uprising began), no doubt borrowed from the Chinese since we don’t have that kind of money. Why do Democrats think money is the answer to everything? Let’s see if the rebels submit receipts and expense vouchers showing what they spent. It’s a safe bet much of it will go down the rat hole of corruption, as our money has in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan.

We have been assured by various sources throughout the misnamed “Arab Spring” that these revolutionaries are genuine democrats, who want free elections and will guarantee at least some rights (if not equal ones) for women, religious minorities and perhaps even political opponents. But the attacks by Muslims on Coptic Christians and their churches in Egypt ought to be a warning sign that an Egyptian (and Libyan) version of America is unlikely to bloom in such putrid soil.

Turkey was supposed to be the shining light of 21st-century Islam, a beacon to the rest of the Muslim world. Instead, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been turning more and more to Islam’s conservative wing while rebuffing Israel and behaving in ways not befitting a U.S. ally or member of NATO.

In Tunisia, where the Arab uprisings began, an election was recently held. Initial returns indicate that a once-banned Islamist party, Ennahda, may have won a majority.

And Afghanistan isn’t turning out as many had hoped. The U.S. State Department reports “there is not a single, public Christian church left in Afghanistan,” the last one having been razed in March 2010. In March 2011 a Congressional Research Service report showed that Afghanistan has cost American taxpayers more than $440 billion (and counting), 1,700 lives (and counting) and the country is as intolerant of any faith other than Islam as when it was run by the Taliban. This is progress?

If real progress is to be made in Libya toward representative democracy, women’s rights, religious pluralism, economic stability and diplomatic cooperation with the West, the first step must be to rewrite the National Transition Council’s draft constitution. As I wrote in August following Gadhafi’s ouster, Article 1 tells us all where the rebel leadership wants to take the country: “Islam is the religion of the State and the principal source of legislation is Islamic Jurisprudence (Sharia).”

Should Libya’s new leaders approve a constitution without that clause, if they keep the Muslim Brotherhood at bay - which is now active in other Arab nations experiencing upheaval - and if they turn toward the West for more than economic aid, embracing the most fundamental of human rights, I will move from pessimism to guarded optimism. Confidence isn’t warranted when a headline in the London Daily Telegraph says, “Interim (Libyan) ruler unveils more radical than expected plans for Islamic law.” Than expected? What are they drinking?

I remain a skeptic that Libya is capable of heading in a direction that improves the lives of its people, aligns itself with the U.S. and our interests and lessens tensions in the region.

But I am open to evidence to the contrary, if it’s not based on wishful thinking.


We Have Met The Enemy, And The Enemy Is Us! Read More About This Enemy!

This is something that the Legislature needs to prohibit KSP and all other law enforcement agencies in Kentucky from accepting grants to do. This is garbage.

Norman Davis
by Ron Paul

If you thought the “Transportation Security Administration” would limit itself to conducting unconstitutional searches at airports, think again. The agency intends to assert jurisdiction over our nation’s highways, waterways, and railroads as well. TSA launched a new campaign of random checkpoints on Tennessee highways last week, complete with a sinister military-style acronym–VIP(E)R—as a name for the program.

As with TSA’s random searches at airports, these roadside searches are not based on any actual suspicion of criminal activity or any factual evidence of wrongdoing whatsoever by those detained. They are, in effect, completely random. So first we are told by the U.S. Supreme Court that American citizens have no 4thamendment protections at border crossings, even when standing on U.S. soil. Now TSA takes the next logical step and simply detains and searches U.S. citizens at wholly internal checkpoints.

The slippery slope is here. When does it end? How many more infringements on our liberties, our property, and our basic human rights to travel freely will it take before people become fed up enough to demand respect from their government? When will we demand that the government heed obvious constitutional limitations, and stop treating ordinary Americans as criminal suspects in the absence of probable cause?

The real tragedy occurs when Americans incrementally become accustomed to this treatment on the roads just as they have become accustomed to it in the airports. We already accept arriving at the airport 2 or more hours before a flight to get through security; will we soon have to build in an extra 2 or 3 hours into our road trips to allow for checkpoint traffic?

Worse, some people are lulled into a false sense of security and are actually grateful for this added police presence! Should we really hail the expansion of the police state as an enhancement to safety? I submit that an attitude of acquiescence to TSA authority is thoroughly dangerous, un-American, and insulting to earlier freedom-loving generations who built this country.
I am certain people will complain about this, once they have to sit in stopped traffic for a few extra hours to allow for random searches of cars. However, I am also certain it merely will take another “foiled” plot to silence many people into gladly accepting more government mismanagement of safety.

Vigilant, observant, law-abiding, gun-owning citizens defend themselves and stop crimes every day before police can respond. That is the source of real security in America: the 2nd Amendment right to defend oneself. The answer is for people to be empowered to protect themselves. Yet how many weapons might these checkpoints confiscate? Even when individual go through all the legal hoops of licensing and permits, the chances of harassment or outright confiscation of weapons and detention of citizens when those weapons are found at a TSA checkpoint is extremely high.

Disarming the highways and filling them full of jack-booted thugs demanding to see our papers is no way to make them safer. Instead, it is a great way to expand government surveillance powers and tighten the noose around our liberties.

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Steve Beshear's Campaign Coffers Top $10 Million. Where Is ABBA When You Need The Group To Sing: "Money, Money, Money; It's A Rich Man's World".

Read more here.



John David Dyche Bemoans "These []Times That Try Kentucky Republican Souls".

Kentucky Democrats fail to provide leadership
Written by John David Dyche

These are times that try Kentucky Republican souls. As one dispiriting campaign season draws mercifully to a close, another has already begun.

Polls show David Williams — the state’s most effective GOP legislator ever, perhaps Frankfort’s most knowledgeable policy person, and author of a progressive issues platform — trailing incumbent Steve Beshear badly for governor. Why? Williams is not nice enough. Williams would be a strong, progressive Republican governor like Louie Nunn. Revered now, Nunn was not exactly Mister Rogers. But in today’s overly sensitive, touchy-feely society, it is a liability for a politician to possess the personality strength successful leadership requires.

Beshear has done little and aspires to less. He crapped out on expanded gambling. He boasts of balancing state budgets, but needed federal bailout billions to do it. He shamelessly exaggerates job creation facts. He winks at his finance secretary’s improper fund-raising.

“Status Quo Steve” is the antithesis of activist Democratic governors past. He hid behind the troops at Fancy Farm, dodges debates and lacks any agenda. But Beshear matches the mood of voters who disdain government except for their own benefits.

So Kentuckians content with their poor economy, education, health and living standards seem prepared to re-elect Beshear and practically revel in the prospect of four more years of mediocrity. Surrounding states will advance dynamic Republican leadership while Kentucky deservedly stagnates.

As for lieutenant governor, the press relentlessly pounds Republican Richie Farmer while giving Democrat Jerry Abramson a free pass. Farmer opened the door to his demise from folk hero to flame-out with petty mismanagement as agriculture commissioner, but Abramson failed on a grander scale in his last term as Louisville mayor. Inexplicably, he still enjoys immunity from meaningful media scrutiny.

If Democrats do retain power, there should at least be a Republican positioned to exercise oversight. But the GOP auditor candidate, John Kemper, is in personal bankruptcy. Lots of GOP voters will back entrepreneurial Democrat Adam Edelen despite his having been Beshear’s chief of staff.

That leaves attorney general. GOP nominee Todd P’Pool drew impressive Democratic support as Hopkins County prosecutor. He hopes for more now by campaigning against President Obama and brandishing the state Fraternal Order of Police endorsement.

Democratic incumbent Jack Conway is a product of other people’s ambition. He spent most of his term running an awful, losing campaign for U.S. Senate. Now Conway claims, with characteristic insincerity, to have had an epiphany that attorney general is the right place for him after all.

Conway’s visage is inescapable as he inserts himself into almost every public controversy. He bristles at fair questions about his allegedly improper involvement in his brother’s criminal drug investigation, takes credit for cases begun by his predecessor and forgets his failed publicity-seeking suits alleging gasoline price-gouging.

Further down ballot, the Republican secretary of state candidate, tea party automaton Bill Johnson, stands little chance against Democratic rising star Alison Lundergan Grimes. Her ad with her grandmothers is Kentucky’s best since Mitch McConnell’s 1984 “hound dog” spot. Grimes is also easy on the eyes, which seems sexist to say, but is undeniably relevant to success in Kentucky’s superficial politics. Indeed, how else can one credibly explain the ineffectual Conway’s continued viability?

Republicans have an appealing and well-qualified contender of their own in treasurer hopeful K. C. Crosbie. The Lexington councilwoman seeks to unseat Democrat Todd Hollenbach and become the first GOP female elected statewide. Hollenbach enjoys better name recognition, has done nothing to disqualify himself from re-election to the obscure post, and benefits from Beshear’s lead and late campaign clutter on the airwaves.

With trepidation, many Democrats will support the clearly more qualified Republican, James Comer, over Bob Farmer for agriculture commissioner. Comer could emerge as the GOP gubernatorial frontrunner for 2015. The Democratic early line favors a ticket of House Speaker Greg Stumbo and Grimes over an Abramson-Edelen pairing.

The 2012 presidential picture compounds Kentucky Republican frustration. President Obama is failing and vulnerable, but so is the GOP field. Any Republican nominee will win Kentucky, but the fear is that none can win nationally. Kentucky and America both desperately need better executive leadership. Unfortunately for both, Republicans do not appear positioned to provide it.

John David Dyche is a Louisville attorney who writes a political column on alternating Tuesdays in Forum His views are his own, not those of the law firm in which he practices. Read him on-line at; email:


"BIRTHERS" Are Poised To Start "Eating" Their Own -- Kinda Like In The Animal Kingdom!

"Birthers" begin to turn on allies
Written by Dana Milbank

WASHINGTON — Say what you will about the birthers, but don't call them partisan.

The people who brought you the Barack Obama birth-certificate hullabaloo now have a new target: Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, a man many people think could be the Republican vice presidential nominee. While they're at it, they also have Bobby Jindal, the Republican governor of Louisiana and perhaps a future presidential candidate, in their sights.

Each man, the birthers say, is ineligible to be president because he runs afoul of the constitutional requirement that a president must be a “natural-born citizen” of the United States. Rubio's parents were Cuban nationals at the time of his birth, and Jindal's parents were citizens of India.

When I heard of the birthers' latest targets, from a comment this week from a reader in my online chat, I figured it was a joke. But, sure enough, Alex Leary of the St. Petersburg Times reported that various bright lights of the birther community — Mario Apuzzo, Charles Kerchner, Orly Taitz and Alan Keyes — were casting doubt on Rubio's eligibility.

“Sen. Marco Rubio is not a natural-born citizen of the United States to constitutional standards,” Kerchner writes in his blog. “He was born a dual citizen of both Cuba and the U.S.A. He is thus not eligible to serve as the president or vice president.” A few months ago, Kerchner used the same logic to proclaim that “Jindal is NOT a natural-born citizen of the United States. His parents were not U.S. citizens when he was born.”

This relies on a rather expansive interpretation of “natural born.” At this rate, it is surely only a matter of time before birthers begin to pronounce candidates ineligible if they were born by C-section, or if their mothers were given pain medications during childbirth. Will Donald Trump demand to see their medical records?

The absurd accusations of the birthers by themselves won't stop Rubio from becoming president. There are far more serious impediments in their way — most recently a devastating report by The Washington Post's Manuel Roig-Franzia proving false the central narrative of Rubio's political rise — that he is the son of exiles who fled Cuba under Castro. In fact, his parents left the island, apparently for economic reasons, two and a half years before Castro came to power.

But the wild new turn the birthers have taken should serve as a timely reminder to Republican leaders that they need to push back more forcefully against the angry and the unstable in their ranks. Too often, they have done the opposite. Jindal, for example, encouraged the birthers earlier this year when he announced his support for legislation that would require candidates for federal office to show proof of their American birth before being allowed on the ballot in Louisiana. It was, as many pointed out, a sad gesture for a man born Piyush Jindal.

Similarly, few of the Republican presidential candidates have condemned the spectators at the presidential debates who applauded the liberal use of the death penalty, allowing those without health insurance to die, and the sentiment that the jobless are to blame for being unemployed. And it seems doubtful that we'll hear from Republican leaders about the new effort by Tea Party Nation to get business leaders to pledge not to hire people until the Democrats' “war against business” ends.

Of course, this isn't a uniquely Republican problem. My colleague Jennifer Rubin, noting a number of anti-Semitic messages seen at Occupy Wall Street events, asked this week, “for respectable politicians and media outlets, where is the outrage?” There's no evidence that the demonstrators blaming Jewish bankers for the nation's troubles are anything but a small minority. But that doesn't excuse public figures from an obligation to push back against the extremes.

The higher prominence of loons of all stripes is a natural consequence of a political system that has lost every last vestige of a political center. But in the Obama age, this is particularly a problem for Republican lawmakers who are cowed into silence by the fear that any criticism of the crazies will invite a primary challenge. Now that the birthers have begun to eat their own brightest prospects, perhaps Republican lawmakers will finally feel compelled to say something.


Don't Know Much ... . LOL.


Monday, October 24, 2011

Calls Ring Out For Probe Of Muamar Ghaddafi's Death. Watch.

Peggy Noonan: "The GOP Wins By Bruising."

The GOP Wins by Bruising
The debates have been an unexpected success.

The candidates were not-so-subtly pitted against one another, and the Vegas staging—the lights, the applause, the set—was like a 1970s game show. And now here’s your host, Mi-i-i-it Romney! I wondered if this was CNN’s sly spoof of the Republican Party, or just someone’s idea of good TV in the age of “Dancing With the Stars.” The candidates’ arguments, which occasionally descended into bickering, yielded a soundbite festival for future Democratic ads: “You hired illegals in your home!”

But in the end, Tuesday night’s debate was a real plus for the GOP. All the Republican debates have been, because they’ve made the Republicans look like the alive party. There’s been jousting and predictable disagreement, but there has also been substance. Often this is thanks to Ron Paul, who had the wit and depth the other night to score Herman Cain for not seeing that the unemployed are the victims of bad policy, not the perpetrators.

Ratings have been strong for the eight debates so far: Thursday’s delivered 5.5 million viewers to CNN, and Fox News’s two weeks before drew 6.1 million. Most of those viewers are politically engaged; most will be voters.

I’ve never seen TV debates play such a prominent role in a nominating process. The reasons people are watching are obvious: They’re deeply concerned about America’s future. They’re shopping for a new president, and TV is an easy way to judge the merchandise. It’s live, so that if something dramatic happens—some flub, some breakthrough—it won’t be removed in the editing. And the debates have developed an internal arc of their own. Because they’ve been held so regularly, five in the past six weeks, people can see particular candidates rise and fall, they can see their dramas play out. This one impresses you against your will (that would be Newt Gingrich), that one consistently fails to gain his footing (Rick Perry.) And so the debates have gained a reputation as decisive: They did in Pawlenty, made Cain, solidified Romney.

This week Mr. Romney got jarred and did fine. Mr. Perry drew blood, but that only proved Mr. Romney can bleed, like a normal person. A big Romney virtue is the calm at his core. The word unflappable has been used, correctly, and that puts him in contrast to the incumbent, who often seems not so much calm as insensate. Sorry to do archetypes, but a nation in trouble probably wants a fatherly, or motherly, figure at the top. What America has right now is a bright, lost older brother. It misses Dad. Mr. Romney’s added value is his persona. He’s a little like the father in one of those 1950s or ‘60s sitcoms that terrorized and comforted a generation of children from non-functioning families: Somewhere there was a functioning one, and it was nice enough to visit you on Wednesday at 8. He’s like Robert Young in “Father Knows Best,” or Fred MacMurray in “My Three Sons: You’d quake at telling him about the fender-bender, but after the lecture on safety and personal responsibility, he’d buck you up and throw you the keys.

Mr. Romney’s past flip-flopping continues as the challenge that does not go away. A problem for him is that when you go to YouTube and see his old statements, and then watch more recent ones, he always looks the same. When he says in 1994 or 2002 that he’s pro-choice on abortion, and when he says in 2008 or today that he’s pro-life, he seems to be the same person: an earnest, dark-haired man whose views are serious, well-grounded and equally sincere. Which is disorienting. It’s not the flip-flopping itself. People are allowed to change their minds. Gov. Ronald Reagan signed the first California law legalizing abortion in 1967. By the late 1970s he had changed his mind, partly because of the influence and arguments of the Catholics around him, such as Bill Wilson and Judge William Clark. But he was allowed to change his mind, because you believed he changed his mind. Not his stand, his mind.

Herman Cain continues to rise in the polls, in large part because people like his bold tax-reform plan, and also because they like him. To many of his supporters, his lack of experience in government seems not an impediment to but an argument for his candidacy. People are desperate for leadership; they look at what Washington has given us and think: The establishment got us into this, maybe it will take a gifted amateur to get us out. It didn’t start with Mr. Cain. The longing for the gifted outsider helped fuel the rise of Barack Obama. He was the furthest thing possible from George W. Bush, and he was uncorrupted by experience.

But I also suspect some Republicans tell pollsters they like Mr. Cain as a way of keeping Mr. Romney in line—to keep him from daydreaming about who’ll be in his cabinet, to keep him scared and make him humble.

The Republican Party is going to make Mitt Romney work for it. They’re going to make him earn it. They’re going to make him suffer. Because that’s what Republicans do.

As for Mr. Perry, he freely admits that he is not at his best in debate, and he’s not. He doesn’t know how to do it, and so it’s all jugular with him, no finesse, no calibration in the uses of aggression.

We turn briefly to Occupy Wall Street, because people, including the president, continue to compare it to the tea party. It is not the tea party. The tea party was a middle-class uprising that was only too happy to funnel its energy into the democratic process. They took their central concerns—spending, taxes and regulation—and followed the prescription of Joe Hill: Don’t mourn, organize. They did. They entered politics and helped win elections. They did the Republicans a big favor by not going third-party but working within the GOP—at least for now.

Occupy Wall Street is completely different. They mean to gain power and sway by going outside the political system. They are a critique of the political system. They went to the streets and stayed there. They are not funneling their energy into the democratic process because there is no market for what they are selling: Capitalism should be overturned, I am angry that my college loan bills are so big, the government is bad, and the answer is more government. You can’t win elections in America with that kind of message. So they will stay in the streets, where they can have an impact by stopping traffic, inconveniencing people going to and coming from work, and appearing to be an amorphous force that must be bowed to.

The difference between the occupiers and the tea party is the difference between acting out and taking part.

Where is Mr. Obama in all this? He has made sympathetic sounds about Occupy Wall Street, probably seeing it as ultimately part of his base. Beyond that, he’s out campaigning. Sometimes he is snarky about Congress: He’s giving them “another chance” at voting on his jobs bill. Sometimes he is self-justifying. He told ABC’s Jake Tapper that “all the choices we’ve made have been the right ones.” Sometimes he lectures America. But he doesn’t buck it up, and he must know in his heart that it’s coming for the keys.


Cal Thomas: "[Blacks] Need A Reality Check".

Playing the race card
Although Obama has failed country, Sharpton, others say re-elect him because he’s black

At the 2004 Democratic National Convention in Boston, Sen. Barack Obama said, “There is not a black America and a white America and Latino America and Asian America - there is the United States of America.”

Those were welcome and commendable words. Unfortunately, they appear to be only words. Since then, Obama has divided us along race and class lines more than any modern president.

Some of his strongest, high-profile supporters in the black community are now saying that Obama’s race, alone, should be enough for black voters to vote for his re-election.

Krissah Thompson of The Washington Post reports that on “The Tom Joyner Morning Show,” which has an estimated 8 million radio listeners, Joyner, who is black, said, “Stick together, black people.” The show reaches one in four African-American adults.

The Rev. Al Sharpton, who also has a radio show and a gig on MSNBC, admonished blacks who have been critical of the president, “I’m not telling you to shut up. I’m telling you: Don’t make some of us have to speak up.”

The attempt at poetry is getting tiresome, Al. Why don’t you leave that to Jesse Jackson?

Joyner went even further on his blog, writes Thompson: “Let’s not deal with the facts right now,” he said. “Let’s deal with just our blackness and pride - and loyalty. We have the chance to re-elect the first African-American president, and that’s what we ought to be doing. And I’m not afraid or ashamed to say that as black people, we should do it because he’s a black man.”

Try that in football. Never mind that the black quarterback continues to throw interceptions or drop the ball, keep him in the game simply because he’s black. If that happened, he’d be booed until the coach pulled him off the field, and those boos wouldn’t just be coming from whites.

In the same week the memorial to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was dedicated in Washington, Joyner and Sharpton are saying that Obama should be judged not on the content of his character and policies, but rather on the color of his skin. How sad. How racist.

If a black president cannot be held accountable for his policies and must receive the votes of African-Americans solely because of his race, then all the marching for equal rights has been for nothing. The question ought to be this: are African-Americans, indeed, are all Americans, better off than they were when Obama took office? By any objective standard, the answer must be “no.” How do black people expect their circumstances to improve if Obama is elected for another four years? If they conclude they will not, why not vote for someone who can create the conditions under which more of them might get a job, for example? Black unemployment is 16.7 percent, the highest it’s been in 27 years.

Sharpton and Joyner don’t have to worry too much about their financial futures. But too many African-Americans remain mired in conditions that have characterized many in their community for decades. Why would they want to continue their lifestyles out of “pride” and “loyalty” when the Democratic Party has been disloyal to them and a better way is available?

Recent Washington Post-ABC News polls reveal a decline in the number of blacks with “strongly favorable” views of the president and his efforts to improve the economy. What people like Joyner and Sharpton fear is a loss of a place at the political table, a table that has been set far more elegantly for them than for too many of the African-Americans for whom they claim to speak.

What the slide in Obama’s support in the African-American community demonstrates is that increasing numbers of black people are beginning to understand they have been played for suckers by the Democratic Party. They are right to feel this way. Their loyalty should not be to a party, but to themselves, their families and their best interests, which lie outside a welfare system that has locked too many of them into dependence and an addiction to a government check. What they need instead is a reality check.


I Can't Believe You Missed CBS' 60 Minutes Interview With Steve Jobs Biographer Walter Isaacson, But Watch It Here. Yes, Your Apologies Are Accepted.

FYI: Todd P'Pool Announces Media Availability With Rudy Giuliani; David Williams Readies Bus Tour.

Below's Todd P'Pool's media advisory (I will update post or repost with David Williams' bus tour schedule. Stay tuned).

October 24, 2011
Contact: David Ray 901-288-4300

P’Pool to Hold Media Availability with Mayor Rudy Giuliani

MADISONVILLE – Todd P’Pool and former New York City mayor and presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani will hold a joint media availability on Wednesday, October 26th at 3:00 pm. The event will take place at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Louisville.
After the media availability, Giuliani will rally supporters with Todd P’Pool at another event at the Crowne Plaza.

WHO: Todd P’Pool and Mayor Rudy Giuliani
WHAT: Media Availability
WHEN: Wednesday, October 26th at 3:00 pm
WHERE: Crowne Plaza Hotel, 830 Phillips Lane, Louisville KY (Elliott Room)


I'm Sure You Are Shocked , But True To Form And My Prediction, Louisville Courier Journal Endorses Steve Beshear's Re-election.

Editorial | Endorsements 2011: Re-elect Steve Beshear as Kentucky governor

This the last in a series of endorsements in races for Kentucky statewide offices contested in the Nov. 8 general election.

By any reckoning, the last four years have been brutal ones to undertake running Kenucky state government. Sharp drops in revenue and federal money, elevated unemployment and increased need for services and aid for hard-pressed citizens placed severe demands on Frankfort.

This was not going to be a period, in other words, of broad and innovative progressive advances. The challenge was to do as much with less as humanely possible.

In that context, Gov. Steve Beshear has done a competent and, in many respects, admirable job. The Governor, the head of the Democratic ticket, deserves re-election to a second four-year term.

While leading the way to balanced budgets nine times in four years and slashing more than $1 billion from the ledger sheets, Gov. Beshear correctly resisted calls for across-the-board spending cuts. Instead, he wisely identified the key priorities of education, health care and public safety and protected them as best he could.

Gov. Beshear’s boast that he did this without a broad-based tax increase is doubtless a political asset, and it is defensible in a deep recession. However, neither he nor anyone else should be under any illusions that the revenue stream, and the tax system that produces it, is adequate to meet Kentucky’s long-term needs.

The Governor failed to advance his primary initiative for greater revenue — expanded legal gambling. He says he’ll try again if given a second term, but whether or not he succeeds in the gambling arena, he must work with the legislature to enact a comprehensive tax reform that modernizes the state’s tax code and brings in meaningful revenue increases.

Gov. Beshear’s accomplishments include an executive order that instituted a tough ethics code for state employees, the need for which had been illustrated during the preceding Fletcher administration. He provided steady management during natural disasters, including floods, Hurricane Ike and the 2009 ice storm. He responded forcefully to allegations of financial improprieties in the Passport health program. He has pushed hard to stem the pipeline of illegal prescription drugs into Kentucky, especially from Florida.

Despite budget woes, the Governor has protected Medicaid — even expanding it to cover smoking cessation programs — and launched a commendable drive to enroll all eligible children in state health insurance programs through KCHIP and Medicaid. His office says 60,000 children have been added to the lists.

The Beshear administration’s touch has not been flawless. The Governor’s criticism of federal regulatory oversight of the coal industry was cynical, uninformed and counter to Kentuckians’ best interests. His support of tax breaks for a creationist-themed Ark Park ranked high on the cringe meter. He failed to serve voters’ needs when he avoided most debate opportunities this fall.

But even with missteps, the Governor has conducted himself far better in the past four years than his Republican opponent, Senate President David Williams. The latter has taken obstructionist partisanship to new lows. It is true that no legislative majority ever coalesced around a single proposal to expand gambling, but Sen. Williams’ relentless opposition to an idea on which the Governor had been elected certainly was central to blocking compromise and consensus.

It is a pity, really. Sen. Williams is intelligent, well-informed and in many ways a gifted legislator. His understanding, for example, of the need for tax reform could have been — and could still be — a key to moving the state forward. Yet, his obstinacy and arrogance are often at the base of gridlock in Frankfort. It is difficult to picture him forging constructive alliances as governor. It would be far better to see him change his stripes as a Senate leader.

Moreover, Sen. Williams erred badly in choosing Agriculture Commissioner Richie Farmer as his running mate. Mr. Farmer has spent public funds unwisely on personal and departmental perks and is utterly unqualified to assume the governor’s chair, should that become necessary. Mr. Beshear’s running mate, former Louisville Mayor Jerry Abramson, is an accomplished public servant who can bring talent and insight to Frankfort, especially regarding urban issues.

Independent Gatewood Galbraith — an entertaining but increasingly tiresome perennial candidate
— is also on the ballot.

The voters should choose Mr. Beshear and Mr. Abramson.

Candidates not endorsed are invited to respond. Letters of no more than 300 words will be published if received by 10 a.m. Wednesday by email at, by fax at (502) 582-4155 or by our first-floor reception desk at 525 W. Broadway.


Read More About David Williams From The Courier Journal.

David Williams' record: not just a 'no' man
Written by Andrew Wolfson

This is one in a series of stories about Kentucky’s statewide races for offices on the Nov. 8 ballot. A profile of Gov. Steve Beshear will appear next Sunday.

As a backbencher in the Kentucky Senate, young David Williams carved a reputation as the Democrats’ favorite Republican, supporting measures such as the Kentucky Education Reform Act and the massive tax increase to fund it.

After completing his first session as Senate president in 2000, he still offered a progressive vision:

“When we come up here, we have a responsibility to every child who’s in school, to every person who needs protection, every community that needs water, every university that needs funding, and every sick person who needs access” to health care, “and we accept that,” he said in an April 2000 interview.

But in 11 years as Senate leader, the greatest legacy of Williams, the Republican candidate for governor, may be what he has stymied, rather than what he has shepherded into law, say lawmakers of both parties.

Conservative supporters praise him for his role in ending public financing of gubernatorial elections, thwarting expanded gaming and blocking tax increases and the enlargement of government.

“He has stopped things that would have been bad for Kentucky,” said Louisville businessman Phil Moffett, who lost to Williams in the Republican primary and now supports him.

University of Kentucky political science professor Stephen Voss said: “His main role has been to obstruct, and I don’t mean that as an insult.”

But Democrats, including House Speaker Greg Stumbo, said that while Williams has a record of accomplishment in education issues, his legacy to voters is the gridlock in Frankfort that over the past 10 years has seen three regular sessions of the General Assembly end without a state budget.

During that period, Stumbo notes, “We have had three governors, two speakers, but only one Senate president.”

In an interview, Williams, 58, said that by saying no to House Democrats, he and other Senate Republicans have saved Kentucky from billions of dollars of additional debt and taxes, as well as the loss of thousands of jobs.

“It would have been easy for me to go along, to pass irresponsible budgets or not lower taxes,” he said.

Still, he said accusations that he is an obstructionist are ill-founded. He said his role in blocking casino gambling and video slots at racetracks, for example, has been wildly exaggerated.

“I haven’t been for it and won’t be for it,” he said, “but to say one person can stop it ... is to give one person more power than actually exists.”

Williams cites as accomplishments his role in building bipartisan support in 2009 for Senate Bill 1, which scrapped the controversial Commonwealth Accountability Testing System — known as CATS – and replaced it with tests that make it easier to compare student results with national scores.

Williams also pointed to two less publicized measures. One was the Revised Uniform Anatomical Gift Act of 2010, which made organ donation procedures consistent across the state.

The second was a bill that established the now-11-year-old state Agency for Substance Abuse Policy, which last year, working through 75 local boards in 113 counties, allocated more than $1.9 million in grants to drug courts, treatment services, educational programs and law enforcement agencies.

Williams, a graduate of the University of Louisville law school, also said he’s been a friend to Jefferson County by helping secure money for the KFC Yum! Center and helping create the bi-state commission to build new Ohio River bridges.

And his constituents say he has secured money to build and improve roads in his Senate district — Cumberland and five other counties along the Tennessee border.

A lawyer from Burkesville, Williams served in the Kentucky House in 1985-86 before moving to the Senate in 1987. In his only other statewide race, he lost to Democratic incumbent U.S. Sen. Wendell Ford in a 1992 landslide.

Last May, running on a ticket with Agriculture Commissioner Richie Farmer, Williams defeated Moffett and Jefferson County Clerk Bobbie Holsclaw to win the GOP gubernatorial primary.

He says he and Farmer are running because Kentucky is adrift and many Kentuckians have given up hope of finding work and providing better opportunities for their children. He said the state needs “true conservative” leaders who provide “an agenda for progress” and “smaller, leaner government that helps more than it hurts.”

He did not have to give up his Senate seat to run, and if defeated he said he would finish his term, which runs through 2014. He would have to run for Senate president again in January 2013.

Political scientists, including Western Kentucky University’s Scott Lasley, said Williams’ greatest legacy is holding the Republican majority in the Senate and working to get GOP senators re-elected. Only one has lost to a Democrat during his presidency.

“He will be remembered for making Republicans relevant in state politics,” said Lasley, who chairs the Warren County Republican Party.

UK’s Voss said Williams — along with U.S. Senate Minority Leader and fellow Republican Mitch McConnell — has made Kentucky a two-party state, which he said is a healthy development.

“He is a party builder,” Voss said.
Moving to the right

Dashing the initial hopes of liberals, Williams has forged a solidly conservative record on a range of hot-button issues:

He supports the mining of coal through mountaintop removal, reflected by the “Friend of Coal” sticker on his used Lincoln Town Car.

The National Rifle Association Victory Fund gives him its highest grade. (He is licensed to carry a concealed weapon and says he does.)

He has been endorsed by the Kentucky Right to Life Association, whose executive director, Margie Montgomery, has said he is the most significant leader “the pro-life movement has ever had in Frankfort.” In the 2011 session, he fast-tracked a bill through the Senate that would have required doctors to show women an ultrasound of their fetus before performing an abortion. It did not pass the House.

Williams said he opposes abortion even for cases of rape and incest, and he likens it to murder: “If somebody shot my mother, I would want to kill them, but I don’t think that is the appropriate thing to do. We have laws against murder.”

Williams said he has friends who are gay but that he stands behind his 2008 statement that homosexuality is “aberrant behavior.” The Kentucky Equality Federation says no pro-gay legislation has passed the Senate under his watch. That includes a bill that flew through the House 99-0 last year that would have given members of same-sex couples the right to visit each other in the hospital. (Some hospitals have barred visits by people not related to an incapacitated patient by blood or marriage.)

Williams said he doesn’t discriminate against gays but doesn’t think they deserve “special legal status” and would rescind Gov. Steve Beshear’s executive order barring the hiring or firing of state employees based on their sexual orientation, gender identity and other characteristics.

Williams said he supports the right of individuals to join unions, but his campaign plan to revive the economy would let residents of individual counties vote to adopt local right-to-work ordinances and do away with prevailing-wage laws. Both measures are opposed by unions, and the Williams-Farmer ticket has been endorsed by only one labor organization, the state Fraternal Order of Police.
Bucking expectations

But Williams’ record also includes surprises.

In 2007, he voted to raise the state minimum wage, saying at the time that he’d voted against an increase years earlier in the House and had regretted it since. In an interview, he said that as a former dishwasher, bouncer, short-order cook and warehouse guard, he knows what it’s like to work for low wages.

In 2009, he came out in favor of a statewide ban on smoking in public places, calling it a workplace-safety issue rather than a matter of private property rights, as many conservatives maintain. In an interview, Williams, who doesn’t smoke, said he thinks smoking contributed to a series of strokes suffered by his father, Lewis P. Williams, the longtime Cumberland County clerk who died in 2006.

That same year, over the objections of some conservatives, Williams helped pass a bill stiffening enforcement of Kentucky’s seat-belt law, and two years later he voted for a measure requiring that small children be placed in booster seats.

He said both measures have saved lives and that a cousin who ran a hospital emergency room in Louisville told him about patients who would have survived had they been restrained.

In 2009 he voted to double the tax on cigarettes to 60 cents a pack and introduce a 6 percent tax on beer, wine and liquor, prompting then-blogger and now U.S. Sen. Rand Paul to write that Williams “apparently drank the Democrat Kool-Aid and accepts their argument that Kentucky has a budget shortfall.”

Williams said then that he had a “a constitutional duty to provide sources of funds to carry out what government is supposed to do,” and adds now that he successfully fought to reduce the cigarette tax hike.

Sen. Gerald Neal, D-Louisville, and others said that Williams also deserves praise for easing through the Senate this year the corrections-reform legislation that reduced prison costs by $42 million a year, in part by steering non-violent offenders to drug and alcohol treatment, rather than incarceration.

“This is one of the best days in the 26 years I've been up here,” Williams said when it passed.

Democrats and Republicans alike say Williams has supported reading and math intervention in the schools and adult literacy programs.

Defending his vote on the school reform act in 1990 — and the $1.2 billion tax increase that accompanied it — Williams said at the time that “some things are more important than politics, and the children … are one of those things.”

Now he says he voted for KERA because the legislature was under a state Supreme Court order to make changes and that in retrospect it turned out to be “one of the worst votes on tax policy that has ever been initiated” because it drove away some companies and made it harder to recruit new ones.

“I didn’t understand what it would do to business,” he said.

Williams said he made another miscalculation when he failed over several sessions to push through a bill that would have put a constitutional amendment on the ballot to limit damages in medical malpractice cases. He said it never had enough support to pass and he should have sought a compromise that didn’t require changing the constitution. But he said he has no regrets about his key role in 2002 in scrapping public financing for political campaigns — “welfare for politicians,” he called it — despite Beshear’s 4-1 edge in fundraising dollars in this year’s governor’s race.

Williams was criticized for opposing casino gambling when records in his divorce from his first wife showed he reported gambling losses of $36,417 from 1999 to 2002. But he said patronizing casinos himself was not hypocritical, because he opposes casinos in Kentucky not on moral grounds but because they don’t create good jobs and can corrupt state politics.
Call to end busing

Williams has continued to wrangle with education issues.

Last year under his leadership the Senate refused to act on a bill supported by Beshear that would have raised the high school dropout age to 18. Williams said it would have been expensive and there is no proof it would raise the graduation rate.

This year Williams quickly pushed through the Senate a measure that would have guaranteed children the right to attend the school closest to their home, over the fierce objections of Democrats and Jefferson County educators, who warned it would unravel decades of desegregation. The bill, which died in a House committee, also would have allowed charter schools.

Williams has called Jefferson County’s student-assignment plan “a failed social experiment” and said the money used for busing could be better spent in troubled schools. He also has said parents and grandparents could be more involved in children’s education if their school were closer to home.

Neal said the legislation seemed like a “cynical” ploy to curry favor with parents weary of busing and that it “fostered division” in the community.

Williams’ plan to create new jobs calls for measures that have long been popular with conservatives, such as a moratorium on new regulations, eliminating “junk lawsuits” against doctors, tax cuts for industries and a local right-to-work option, as well as replacing the corporate and personal income tax with a tax on consumption to make Kentucky more attractive to business.

“You should not tax productivity,” Williams said.

Economists say consumption taxes, including sales taxes, are regressive because they disproportionately affect the poor, who tend to spend more of their money. But Williams said they are not as bad as the alternative — income taxes, which he says prompt businesses to locate elsewhere.

“The most regressive tax is one that keeps you from having a job,” he said.