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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Judge Gives State Ten Days To Release Child Death And Abuse Records With Minimal Redactions.

Judge orders state to release child-death records with minimal redactions
By Beth Musgrave

FRANKFORT — State officials have 10 days to produce 90 internal reviews of social workers' files on children who have been killed or nearly killed as a result of abuse and neglect, a judge ordered Wednesday.

Attorneys for the Cabinet for Health and Family Services told Franklin Circuit Judge Phillip Shepherd on Wednesday that they were hiring temporary staff to redact more than 180 case files involving children who died or nearly died of abuse and neglect. Once redacted, those records will be made available, said Christina Heavrin, general counsel for the cabinet, which oversees child protection.

Shepherd's order came one day after Gov. Steve Beshear announced that he would release state records of children who have been in the custody or under the supervision of the cabinet and later died. The records provoked a lengthy legal battle between the cabinet and the state's two largest newspapers, the Lexington Herald-Leader and the Louisville Courier-Journal.

Shepherd said the release of the documents will give the public and legislators more insight into the tremendous challenges that state social workers face.

"The purpose of making these records open is not to assess blame to individuals who work at the cabinet," Shepherd said. Rank-and-file social workers are doing a tremendous job. "It is the purpose of the Open Records Law to make sure that the public understands that as well."

The child-death records will help legislators who craft policy and the public know what the issues are and how they can help improve the system, Shepherd said.

Twice in the past two years, Shepherd has ordered the cabinet to turn over the records. State law says child-protection records are private with one exception: the fatality or near-fatality of a child, Shepherd has said.

On Nov. 3, Shepherd ruled that the Herald-Leader and Courier-Journal were entitled to the requested records. In addition to case files of children who have died in the past two years, the media sought internal reviews. The reviews, which would show the cabinet's involvement in a child's life and possible missteps, are required to be conducted after a death of a child.

After the Nov. 3 order, the cabinet declined to release the records. The newspapers filed a motion asking for a temporary injunction and a Dec. 2 deadline for releasing the documents. After Beshear's press conference Tuesday, the cabinet filed court documents saying it would turn over redacted versions of the documents.

The newspapers' attorneys objected, saying that Shepherd never said the cabinet could redact records.

In the court documents, cabinet attorneys had listed 18 categories of information, such as school records, that would be redacted.

In Wednesday's court hearing, Shepherd said only limited amounts of information, such as social security numbers, could be withheld. Information regarding a sibling or another child also could be omitted, Shepherd said.

Otherwise, little in the files needed to be redacted, he said.

Shepherd declined to issue an injunction and gave the cabinet time to hire staff. Shepherd also agreed to allow the newspapers to see the directive being given the temporary staff about what to redact. The newspapers would have an opportunity to object.

"I think the cabinet is acting in good faith," Shepherd said.

Although the cabinet has 10 days to release the reviews, which are investigative overviews of the cabinet's actions, no definite timetable for the release of the case files was set.

Shepherd warned that the cabinet should not take too long.

"They are entitled to these documents so the court does expect a prompt review and production of the documents," Shepherd said.

Heavrin, the cabinet's general counsel, said Wednesday that she expects the staff to be hired soon, and the case files would be released — probably in groups of 10 to 15 — when they were redacted.

It's not clear how much it will cost the cabinet to hire the additional staff.

Heavrin said cabinet representatives have not discussed whether the cabinet will appeal the Nov. 3 order to turn over the case files.

Read more:


We GREATLY Applaud Governor Steve Beshear's Decision To Lift The Veil Of Secrecy Surrounding Child Abuse/Death In Kentucky's Custody. Now Let's See If The Cabinet Will Resist His Order Like They Did For The Judge.

Beshear takes first step to fix child protection

Amy Dye
of Todd County was killed by her adoptive brother in February at age 9.

In announcing his decision to lower the wall of secrecy around child abuse deaths in Kentucky, Gov. Steve Beshear
said: "Letting newspaper reporters see more information is not a magic formula that will instantly reduce deaths involving child abuse and neglect."

We couldn't agree more. Newspaper reporters have no control over the state agency that's responsible for protecting Kentucky's children from abuse and neglect.

But Beshear does.

The four-point plan he unveiled Tuesday is a start, and Beshear's promise "to make transparency the norm and not the exception" is welcome, if overdue.

The governor's plan to create an independent panel to examine child deaths and near-deaths and make recommendations for strengthening the protective system is one we have endorsed in the past.

Beshear also said the Cabinet for Health and Family Services has begun a review and could have recommendations for improving the child-protection system ready for the legislature in January.

All that sounds good, but if Beshear really wants to better protect Kentucky's children, he will have to involve more than the cabinet in the search for answers.

An agency that has "completely insulated itself from meaningful public scrutiny," as Franklin Circuit Judge Phillip Shepherd recently described it, cannot realistically be expected to suddenly expose its own shortcomings and needs.

If Beshear wants real reform, he and the legislature should authorize an independent examination of the child welfare system.

A real examination would take an unblinking look at the effect of repeated budget cuts on the state's capacity to protect children. Another two percent cut in funding for most state agencies was announced at almost the same time Beshear was responding for the first time to what he called "the horrifying details" of recent child abuse and neglect deaths.

If Beshear wants real improvement, he'll also have to look at the management of child protection. He'll have to guarantee frontline workers the training, resources, support and manageable case loads needed to do their jobs. He'll have to strengthen Kentucky's supports for families who are at risk of violence and neglect.

Kentucky's children are our future. Child victims, such as 9-year-old Amy Dye, who have suffered and died under the state's watch, reveal a crisis in protecting our future. These children are worth the governor's and legislature's time.

How much transparency and accountability Beshear is really promising remains to be seen. The governor said he wants the General Assembly to debate and provide "clear guidance" on what information from child death case files should remain confidential.

And Beshear's administration will be back in Shepherd's court this week seeking to withhold information about child deaths from the Herald-Leader and The Courier-Journal, which have waged a legal battle to open the records.

Opening cabinet records will not automatically make Kentucky's children safer. But keeping records sealed from public scrutiny allows the cabinet to avoid accountability, and that does guarantee more avoidable tragedies.

Read more:

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Joel Pett Has It Right: Kiss The Cook Goodbye. LOL.


Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Eastern Kentucky Pike County "Neanderthal" Church Bans Interracial Couples From Church Service.

Pike church takes stand against interracial couples
By Bill Estep

A small Pike County church has voted not to accept interracial couples as members or let them take part in some worship activities.

The decision has caused sharp reaction and disapproval in the Eastern Kentucky county.

"It's not the spirit of the community in any way, shape or form," Randy Johnson, president of the Pike County Ministerial Association, said of the vote.

The issue came up at the Gulnare Freewill Baptist Church, said Dean Harville, a longtime member who serves as church secretary and clerk.

Attendance is usually around 40 people for a Sunday service at the church in the Johns Creek area, Harville said.

Harville said his daughter Stella Harville, who is pursuing a master's degree in optical engineering at a school in Indiana, brought her fiancé, Ticha Chikuni, to church in June and played the piano as he sang.

The couple performed I Surrender All, said Stella Harville, who is 24.

Chikuni, 29, who works at Georgetown College, is black. He is a native of Zimbabwe.

Stella Harville grew up in the church and was baptized there, but is not a member, Dean Harville said.

Dean Harville said Melvin Thompson, who had been pastor for many years, told him in August that his daughter and her fiancé couldn't sing at the church again.

Thompson stepped down as pastor in August, citing health issues, but refused Harville's requests to drop the issue, Harville said.

The new pastor, Stacy Stepp, said the couple could sing at the church if they wanted, Harville said.

In early November, Thompson proposed the church go on record saying that while all people were welcome to attend public worship services there, the church did not condone interracial marriage, according to a copy of the recommendation supplied by the Harvilles.

The proposal also said "parties of such marriages will not be received as members, nor will they be used in worship services" or other church functions, with the exception of funerals.

The recommendation "is not intended to judge the salvation of anyone, but is intended to promote greater unity among the church body and the community we serve," the copy supplied to the Herald-Leader read.

Members at a business meeting decided to put the matter before the whole church. Last Sunday, nine people voted for the proposal and six voted against it, Harville said.

There were more people in attendance, but some didn't want to take a stand, he said.

Harville said the resolution was motivated by racism and has given the church, the community, the county and even God a black eye.

"It sure ain't Christian. It ain't nothing but the old devil working," Harville said.

Thompson, who owns a hardware store, told the Herald-Leader on Tuesday that the proposal has been taken out of context, but declined further comment.

Stella Harville said it has been hurtful that some members of her church family made such a decision.

"They're the people who are supposed to comfort me in times like these," she said.

East Kentucky Broadcasting, which owns several radio stations, first reported the story about the vote on Monday.

Hundreds of people have since posted comments disagreeing with the decision, said reporter Shannon Deskins.

Johnson, with the local ministerial association, said the reactions have included heartbreak and disbelief.

"Most of us thought that we'd moved well beyond that," he said.

Harville said he plans to ask the conference of churches to which Gulnare Freewill Baptist belongs to overturn the vote.

Even if that happens, however, "I don't think I'll be able to go back there," his daughter said.

Read more:

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Kentucky's Commissioner Of National Resources Carl Campbell Relieved Of Duties "Without Cause".

Key mining official fired 'without cause' in Ky.

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) -- One of Kentucky's top mining regulators was fired Tuesday, three weeks after Gov. Steve Beshear won re-election to a second term in a race in which coal was a central issue.

Natural Resources Commissioner Carl Campbell was informed of his termination in a brief letter that said the action was being taken "without cause."

Campbell had previously served 25 years in the former Department for Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement. He didn't immediately return calls made to his Frankfort home.

The move caught some leaders in the mining industry off guard. Kentucky Mining Association President Bill Bissett said he was unaware of any issues the industry had with Campbell.

"Commissioner Campbell's relationship with Kentucky's coal industry was a professional one," Bissett said. "There were issues where the commissioner agreed with the industry's position and issues where he disagreed. What we appreciated was his frank demeanor in communicating his position as well as maintaining that ongoing line of communication."

Mining issues had played prominently in Beshear's re-election campaign. Both he and Republican opponent David Williams had pledged to do all they could as governor to bolster the coal industry, which employs some 18,000 miners in Kentucky.

Campbell, responsible for the state's role in permitting new mines, wasn't singled out for criticism during the campaign.

As head of the Department for Natural Resources since 2008, Campbell had oversight of mine safety and licensing, mine permits, abandoned mine lands, mine reclamation and enforcement, forestry, and oil and natural gas drilling.

The termination letter said "please be advised that effective immediately, your services as commissioner with the Department for Natural Resources are no longer needed."

Beshear spokeswoman Kerri Richardson confirmed Campbell's dismissal, saying the decision was made at the cabinet level by Environmental Secretary Len Peters, not by Beshear.

"Secretary Peters informed the governor of his decision to terminate Mr. Campbell," Richardson said.


Breaking News: Judge Sentences Michael Jackson's "SMOOTH CRIMINAL" Conrad Murray To Serve 4 Years In Prison. Good Riddance.

Watch news video below (and check out more from for live coverages):

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I Expect Her man Cain To Drop Out Of GOP Presidential Race By This Weekend. Good Riddance To Him, And His 9-9-9 Godfathers Pizza Special.

I fully expect Her man Cain to drop out of the GOP Presidential race before this week ends on Sunday.

Yes, you heard it from me.

The question is: will Godfathers Pizza celebrate the news with a $9.99 pizza special?

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CornBreadMafiagate: I'm Not Sure How "Ex-Cornbread Mafia Member [Les Berry Jr., Got] Presidential Pardon [From POTUS Barack Obama]." Maybe, He Gave A Lot Of Campaign Contribution.

Ex-Cornbread Mafia member gets presidential pardon

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) -- As state and federal investigators came through the front door of a barn in Minnesota during a bust of the "Cornbread Mafia" in October 1987, Les Berry Jr. went out the back with six others and nearly escaped - captured the next day in Wisconsin. Now after a conviction and prison time, his slate has been wiped clean by a presidential pardon this month.

The Loretto, Ky., man pleaded guilty in 1988 to conspiracy to manufacture and distribute marijuana and serve three years in federal prison for playing a bit part in what federal prosecutors described as one of the largest domestic marijuana syndicates in the country.

Berry, a one-time associate of 68-year-old Johnny Boone, a fugitive known as the "Godfather of Grass" and the "King of Pot," is now free of the legal taint carried by a criminal conviction. President Barack Obama pardoned Berry on Nov. 21, restoring his rights to vote and carry a firearm. No reason was given for granting the pardon.

Berry, 60 and declined to be interviewed about his pursuit and receipt of the pardon. But, the lead investigator in the "Cornbread Mafia" case said "I'm good with it" after Berry was pardoned.

"Fair is fair. The guy made a choice to commit a crime," said 63-year-old Phillip Wagner, who spent 16 years with the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension before retiring in 2003. "Let the man get on with his life."

But Wisconsin State Trooper Arden Asp, who arrested Berry after he fled the farm, said a pardon doesn't make any sense.

"I guess I'm rather surprised," Asp told The Associated Press.

Berry, a former U.S. Marine, was a farm worker in west-central Minnesota for the "Cornbread Mafia" for about three weeks when the raid occurred. He slipped out of the barn and made his way to a small Minnesota town, bought a 1972 Chevy Impala and drove east with six others before being caught.

Prosecutors said they found 48 tons of marijuana along with more than a dozen automatic and semiautomatic weapons and sophisticated alarms. The operation included a string of 29 farms in Minnesota, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Nebraska, Missouri, Kansas and Wisconsin.

Boone was tagged by prosecutors as the group's leader. Eventually, 70 Kentuckians, including Berry, were accused of growing 182 tons of marijuana. Boone went to prison for more than a decade and many others got six-month sentences.

Jim Higdon, a Lebanon, Ky.-based writer whose book "The Cornbread Mafia" is scheduled for release in April, said prosecutors were tougher with Berry than necessary, in part, because he wouldn't talk about how the growing operation and farm worked.

"Even though he got a raw deal, he accepted it in silence," Higdon said.

Wagner, who lives in northeast Minnesota, said Berry's pardon makes sense now because society has a more relaxed attitude toward marijuana and non-violent people involved with the operation.

"I think society as a whole would say `OK, the guy did his time, he paid the price'," Wagner said.

Based on what he knows of the case, Asp doesn't see any reason for a pardon.

"On the surface of everything we dealt with there, I would have to question the call on granting him a pardon," said Asp, a trooper for 34 years.

The "Cornbread Mafia," a name the group stuck on itself, and Berry were products of central Kentucky, an area dotted with small towns, corn fields, bourbon distilleries - and a colorful history of fostering illegal activities.

The area was home to moonshine runners during Prohibition, who often darted into rows of corn stalks and barns to hide from federal agents. In the early 1980s, as the economy soured and prices for tobacco and farm products dropped, parts of central Kentucky had unemployment rates nearing 14 percent. The rate in the area now is around 9 percent - similar to the national average.

It's also an area that doesn't have much to say to law enforcement or outsiders.

"They're pretty tight-lipped," said Deputy U.S. Marshal James Habib, who is leading the search for Boone.

Boone resurfaced in the eyes of law enforcement in 2008, when federal agents raided his farm in Springfield, about 65 miles southeast of Louisville, and seized 2,400 marijuana plants. Boone vanished and Habib said investigators haven't been able to track Boone's whereabouts since.

"It's been about three years since we had any good leads on where he is," Habib said.

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EXTREME GREED Affecting Major Airlines, Other Than My Favorite Southwest Airlines, Forces American Airlines To File For Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Protection. The Question Remains: Which Airline Will Be Next?

Check it out on WSJ.

Extreme GREED. It NEVER fails.


Ginger White Claims 13 Year Extramarital Affair With Her man Cain. Her man Needs To Quit Embarrassing Us And Quit The Race Already!

Editor's note:

Late this afternoon, Cain’s attorney, Len Wood, sent FOX 5 the following statement:

"Mr. Cain has been informed today that your television station plans to broadcast a story this evening in which a female will make an accusation that she engaged in a 13-year long physical relationship with Mr. Cain. This is not an accusation of harassment in the workplace – this is not an accusation of an assault - which are subject matters of legitimate inquiry to a political candidate.

Rather, this appears to be an accusation of private, alleged consensual conduct between adults - a subject matter which is not a proper subject of inquiry by the media or the public. No individual, whether a private citizen, a candidate for public office or a public official, should be questioned about his or her private sexual life. The public's right to know and the media's right to report has boundaries and most certainly those boundaries end outside of one's bedroom door.

Mr. Cain has alerted his wife to this new accusation and discussed it with her. He has no obligation to discuss these types of accusations publicly with the media and he will not do so even if his principled position is viewed unfavorably by members of the media."

As for me, I think Her man Cain needs to quit embarrassing himself, his wife and the whole world and QUIT his charade of a campaign already!

Just my two cents.


Thanks To The GOP Presidential Hopefuls, Cartoonists Have A Lot To Be Thankful!


Monday, November 28, 2011

CLARENCE PAGE: The Supercommittee Was Doomed From The Beginning. I AGRRE!

The supercommittee was doomed from the beginning

An old joke says that a camel is a horse designed by committee. That’s more than I can say for the congressional “supercommittee.” It was supposed to come up with a proposal to cut the deficit. It didn’t even produce a camel. Just a lot of the stuff horses and camels leave behind.

The failure was enough to make me long for the days of the “smoke-filled room,” although without the smoke. The original smoke-filled room of legend was in Chicago’s Blackstone Hotel, where a small group of powerful senators gathered to arrange the nomination of Republican Warren G. Harding for president in 1920. I’m not saying he was the best choice they could have made (he wasn’t), but at least they got it made.

The difference is that the old elitists knew how to cut a deal. In the smoke-free rooms of today’s politically polarized Washington, the art of compromise seems for now to be all but lost.

The supercommittee was created to break a deadlock between Democrats and Republicans over raising the national debt ceiling, a matter that used to be a pretty routine. But today’s divided Congress agreed to raise the debt ceiling only after referring the larger deficit problem and its thorny tax issues to a new Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, popularly known as the supercommittee.

The 12-member supercommittee, evenly divided between the parties and two houses of Congress, apparently received its catchy nickname from lawmakers who wanted to make it sound like something more than an excuse to avoid making tough decisions.

In short, it was doomed from the start. It was long on partisans and lacking independent dealmakers.

Worse, the supercommittee’s much-vaunted “trigger” isn’t much of a trigger. Nothing concentrates the mind like a firm deadline. But the supercommittee’s Nov. 23 deadline to avoid automatic across-the-board budget cuts was not much of an incentive in the Washington sense. The actual cuts would not into effect until 2013, after a new Congress and, if President Barack Obama’s luck runs out, a new president. In Washington, that’s a lifetime away. The supercommittee faced no fear of a government shutdown or default. Why hurry?

After the supercommittee’s super-collapse, the blamestorm began. Each party blamed the other, and Republicans blamed Obama for lack of “leadership.” He stayed away from negotiations partly at the request of Democratic committee members. Yet, if Obama had been more engaged, would it have made a difference? If his effort failed, he would bear some of the blame anyway, and Republicans had little wish to help him succeed.

President Obama vows he will veto any effort to circumvent the trigger’s automatic cuts with anything less than a full deficit-reduction package. He’s still pushing the “balanced” approach he proposed months ago, a mix of taxes and cuts, which polls show most voters prefer to the Republicans’ all-cuts, no-new-taxes approach.

That’s the approach upon which activist Grover Norquist, the head of Americans for Tax Reform, insists. He threatens to serve any Republican who breaks his anti-tax pledge with two of an incumbent’s least favorite words, “primary challenge,” and other efforts to unseat them. Expressing a view widely shared by Democrats, supercommittee member Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts called Norquist the “13th member of this committee without being there.”

Of course, Norquist, smiling innocently, humbly insisted in a CBS “60 Minutes” interview Sunday that it was “the voters,” not him, who were holding Republican feet to the fire. We’ll see.

Nobody likes taxes. But for a government that works, delivers the services we want and balances its budgets, polls indicate that.

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Peggy Noonan: A Kettle Of Hawks.

A Kettle of Hawks
Bombing, missiles, sanctions—a debate with too much dramatic language.

The talk this week was of who was most damaged politically by the failure of the super committee. The first, admittedly earnest answer is: the country. We have a projected deficit over the next 10 years of $44 trillion. A group of Democrats and Republicans on Capitol Hill were charged with coming up with $1.2 trillion in cuts. Just 1.2 out of 44. Not that hard. And they couldn’t do it. Everyone says we will now fight out the basic issues on which the committee failed to achieve agreement, taxes and spending, in the 2012 election. And we will. Maybe the electorate will yield up a clear answer and produce an obvious mandate. But maybe not. Maybe the big muddle will continue. Which won’t be good, because that way we sink deeper in the ditch.

Super committee success would have been important for this reason: It would have shown us, and the world, that we are not Greece. That we aren’t helpless, incapable, deadlocked, that we can take at least baby steps in the right direction.

The second party most damaged by the failure was President Obama, that grand strategic thinker who’s always playing long ball. It is a time of unprecedented and continuing economic crisis, and he went AWOL. He didn’t put his public prestige behind a good outcome, didn’t corral the Democrats on the committee, which could have made a real difference. He thought the super committee would likely fail on its own, and if it did, it only backed up his narrative—that dread word—about a do-nothing Congress dominated by Republicans in thrall to their billionaire slavemasters.

What he doesn’t understand is that Americans are tired of hearing the words “In Washington today,” followed by the words, “another failure to . . .” They think: Another failure under Obama. Can’t this guy get anything done? Doesn’t anything ever work under him?

That is what will damage him. At the end of the day, he didn’t want to spend his political capital. That, ironically, is why his reputation seems increasingly bankrupt. Maybe the most harmful aspect of the president’s leadership style is that all of his political instincts were honed and settled before 2008, when he was rising. What he learned before he reached the presidency is what he knows. But everyone else in America knows the crash and the underlying crisis it revealed—on our current course, we are bankrupt—changed everything. Strangely, inexplicably, the president thinks the old political moves apply to the new era. They do not.

To The Republicans, who met in debate Tuesday night in Washington. A note on the presentation of the debate itself. The videos each cable outfit now makes to introduce each debate have taken on a weird, hyperventilating tone. Tuesday’s theme-setter included bombs dropping, jets roaring, presidents sweating, machine guns, screaming dictators, explosions and street demonstrators. Then, in urgent and dramatic tones: “The Republican National Security Debate begins—now.” Guys, get a grip. Republican National Committee, start asking to OK the videos beforehand. This is a major-party nomination for the presidency, not a trailer for “Homeland.”

It’s Thanksgiving weekend, and we really do want to be pleasant. But the trailer seemed to set the tone for the candidates and the questioners.

Granted the candidates are Republicans, granted there was a bit of macho I’m-tougher-than-you-are, granted the audience of think-tankers seemed rather grimly, professionally hawkish. Granted also that America faces deep challenges, real threats, true dangers. But the tone of much that was said was so dire and besieged. The language was stark.

Here are just a few phrases and sentences that were lobbed about for two hours. “Protect ourselves from those who, if they could, would not just kill us individually but would take out entire cities,” “expanded drone campaign,” “they can’t be trusted,” “strong special forces presence,” “hot pursuit,” “slapped new sanctions,” “no-fly zone over Syria,” “nuclear weapon in one American city,” “break the Iranian regime,” “sabotaging the oil refinery,” “crippling sanctions,” “centrifuges spinning,” “covert actions within Syria to get regime change,” there is an “imminent threat” in Latin America, “we have been attacked,” “doctrine of appeasement.”

It was all pretty revved up and dramatic. Putting aside the substance for a moment, what I was hearing reminded me of something that happened in the Reagan White House in the mid-1980s. The president had referred in a speech to some communist insurgencies in Central America. He had spoken of them forcefully. A few days later the president’s pollster came in. The president’s language, he said, had been so forceful that a number of people listening thought he was declaring multifront wars. Sometimes you have to cool your ardor, or you begin to sound like the War Party.

I also wondered if it actually serves U.S. interests to have possible presidents in a formal venue pressed on whether they will topple this regime or bomb that sovereign nation. At one point Wolf Blitzer asked Newt Gingrich: “Would you, if you were president of the United States, bomb Iran’s nuclear facilities to prevent it from becoming a nuclear power?”

Messrs. Blitzer and Gingrich, longtime Washington insiders, live in a cultural cosmos in which things like this are chattered about with no more sense of import than if they were talking about the Redskins. In fact it’s exactly what they talk about after they talk about the Redskins game. But should we be discussing those things so blithely and explicitly in such a public way? You have to wonder what the world thinks when it hears such talk—and the world is watching.

It would have been nice to hear one of the candidates say, “You know, Wolf, I’m not sure it’s a good idea to talk the way we’re talking at a time like this, with the world so hot and our problems so big. Discretion isn’t cowardice, so let me give you the general and overarching philosophy with which I’d approach these challenges, and you can infer from it what you like. I prefer peaceable solutions when they are possible. I think war is always a tragedy, sometimes necessary, sometimes even inevitable, but always tragic, and so I don’t speak lightly or blithely of taking up arms . . .”

By the end, some of what was said sounded so dramatic that Ron Paul seemed like the normal one. He very much doesn’t want new wars or new military actions. This is not an unreasonable desire! Jon Huntsman was normal too. They both seemed to think our biggest foreign-policy challenge is the American economy, which pays for our arms and diplomacy but has grown weak. It has to be made stronger, because without it we can afford nothing.

The tone of the debate seemed to me another example of the perils of Republo-world, where politicians, consultants and policy professionals egg each other on in hopes of reaching the farthest points of the base.

The Democrats have a Demo-world too, and show every sign of wishing they could be in it, wishing they could have a presidential primary, wishing they could stop chafing under the leadership of a political figure whose instincts they doubt, and whom they don’t much like.

But Republo-world is up and operating, and should try to remember how it sounds to everyone else, who doesn’t live in it.


Watch PHONY Mitt Romney Run Against PHONY Mitt Romney. The Man Has NO Character.

(Courtesy of


Breaking News: Massachusetts Democrat Representative Barney Frank, Nemesis Of Republicans EVERYWHERE And Unabashed Liberal, Declines To Seek Re-election To CONgress.

POLITICO Breaking News
Massachusetts Rep. Barney Frank, the ranking member of the House Financial Services Committee, will not seek reelection in 2012, his office has confirmed. Frank is a 16-term Democrat who last year helped pass the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.

Frank's spokesman, Harry Gural, said in a statement that Frank will hold a conference at 1 p.m. at Newton City Hall in Newton, Mass., to "formally announce and answer questions about his decision not to run for reelelection in 2012."

Gural said neither the congressman nor his staff will answer questions before the afternoon press conference.

For more information...


I Guess We Republicans Have To Close Our Noses And Select Newt Gingrich As The Anti PHONY Mitt Romney, And The One Who Won't Have A Rick Perry BRAIN FREEZE When Debating POTUS Barack Obama.

Considering that the official GOP caucusing and primary season is upon us with NO more candidates forthcoming -- and pretty much ALL of our candidates FLAWED in one way or another, or come with some baggage or moral issue or more -- we Republicans are left with newt gingrich as the candidate intellectually capable of engaging POTUS in a debate (without a Rick Perry BRAIN FREEZE), and very capable of managing the Presidency, and anything else.

The others will give us our own brain freeze!

So let's close our noses (we will have to do that regardless of who the GOP picks -- or PUKES -- to challenge POTUS) and settle for newt as the anti PHONY mitt romney -- Lord knows the PHONY will be a DAMN DISASTER for us, if elected!



Words To Live by And Words To Ponder, And Words Of Wisdom.

"This was the object of the Declaration of Independence. Not to find out new principles, or new arguments, never before thought of, not merely to say things which had never been said before; but to place before mankind the common sense of the subject, in terms so plain and firm as to command their assent, and to justify ourselves in the independent stand we are compelled to take. Neither aiming at originality of principle or sentiment, nor yet copied from any particular and previous writing, it was intended to be an expression of the American mind, and to give to that expression the proper tone and spirit called for by the occasion."

--Thomas Jefferson, letter to Henry Lee, 1825

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Mitt Romney: I'll Be All You Want Me To Be. ROTFLMAO!


Sunday, November 27, 2011

More On The Passing "The Ikemba Of Nnewi", Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu. Rest In Peace, And Long Live BIAFRA!

Nigeria: Odumegwu Ojukwu - End of an Iconic Warrior
By Louis Achi

Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu, leader of the defunct Republic of Biafra and the opposition All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), succumbed yesterday to the ravages of stroke, after almost a year of hospitalization at Royal Berkshire Hospital in the UK. Just 22 days earlier, on November 4, his well-attended 78th birthday ceremony was marked with compelling fanfare at his Enugu residence. But the ailing revolutionary was absent on account of ill-health, a condition that finally claimed his life yesterday.

Driven by a mule-headed tenacity and innate conviction for much of his life - even against his prominent father Ojukwu, the Ikemba Nnewi and Ezeigbo gburugburu (king of the Igbo worldwide) breezed into life's stage after benefiting from some of the best preparations accessible by wealth and privilege. This background played a crucial role in shaping his eventful life.

His Life And Times...

Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu was born on November 4, 1933, at Zungeru in northern Nigeria to Sir Louis Phillippe Odumegwu Ojukwu, a businessman from Nnewi in the south-east.

Ojukwu's father was in the transport business. He took advantage of the business boom during the Second World War to become one of the richest men in Nigeria.

The younger Ojukwu began his educational career in Lagos. In 1944, the young lad was briefly imprisoned for assaulting a white British colonial teacher who was humiliating a black woman at King's College in Lagos, an event which generated widespread coverage in local newspapers. At 13, his father shipped him abroad to study in Britain first at Epsom College, in Surrey, and later he earned a Master's degree in history at Lincoln College, Oxford University. He returned to Nigeria in 1956.

Early Career

He joined the civil service in Eastern Nigeria as an administrative officer at Udi, in present-day Enugu State. In 1957, within months of working with the colonial civil service, he left and joined the military as one of the first and few university graduates to join the army: O. Olutoye (1956), C. Odumegwu-Ojukwu (1957), E. A. Ifeajuna and C. O. Rotimi (1960), and A. Ademoyega (1962).

Ojukwu's background and education guaranteed his promotion to higher ranks. At that time, the Nigerian Army had 250 officers and only 15 were Nigerians. There were 6,400 other ranks, of which 336 were British. It is not surprising that at N/29 the army found invaluable training resources in the young man. (W.U. Bassey was N/1, while JTU Aguiyi-Ironsi was N/2; the first Nigerian to be commissioned as an officer, Lieutenant L. V. Ugboma, left in 1948.

After serving in the United Nations' peacekeeping force in the Congo, under Major General Johnson Thomas Aguiyi-Ironsi, Ojukwu was promoted to Lieutenant-Colonel in 1964 and posted to Kano, where he was in charge of the 5th Battalion of the Nigerian Army.

1966 Coup, Nigeria-Biafra Civil War

Lieutenant-Colonel Ojukwu was in Kano, Northern Nigeria, when Major Patrick Chukwuma Kaduna Nzeogwu on January 15, 1966, executed and announced the bloody military coup in Kaduna. It is to his credit that the coup lost much steam in the north, where it had succeeded. Lt. Col. Odumegwu-Ojukwu supported the forces loyal to the supreme commander of the Nigerian armed forces, Major-General Aguiyi-Ironisi. Major Nzeogwu was in control of Kaduna, but the coup had flopped in other parts of the country. He surrendered.

General Aguiyi-Ironsi took over the leadership of the country after the failure of the Nzeogwu-led coup, and thus became the first military head of state. On Monday, January 17, 1966, he appointed military governors for the four regions. Lt. Col. Odumegwu-Ojukwu was appointed military governor of Eastern Region. Others were Lt.-Cols Hassan Usman Katsina (North), Francis Adekunle Fajuyi (West), and David Akpode Ejoor (Mid West). These men formed the Supreme Military Council with Brigadier B. A. O. Ogundipe, chief of staff, Supreme Headquarters; Lt. Col. Yakubu Gowon, chief of staff, Army HQ; Commodore J. E. A. Wey, head of Nigerian Navy; Lt. Col. George T. Kurubo, head of Air Force.

By May 29 1966, things quickly fell apart: There was a planned pogrom in northern Nigeria during which the Igbo were targeted and killed. This presented problems for the young military governor, Colonel Odumegwu-Ojukwu. He did everything in his power to prevent reprisals and even encouraged people to return, as assurances for their safety had been given by his supposed colleagues up north and South-west.

On July 29, 1966, a group of officers of northern origin, notably Majors Murtala Ramat Rufai Muhammed, Theophilus Yakubu Danjuma, and Martin Adamu, led the majority northern soldiers in a mutiny that was later tagged "counter-coup". The supreme commander-general Aguiyi-Ironsi and his host Colonel Fajuyi were abducted and killed in Ibadan.

First, Ojukwu insisted that the military hierarchy must be preserved; in which case, Brigadier Ogundipe should take over leadership, not Colonel Gowon. But Ogundipe no longer had the stomach to deal with the army; he was easily convinced to step aside and was posted to the Nigerian High Commission in London.

Leader Of Biafra

In January 1967, the country's military leadership went to Aburi, Ghana for a peace conference hosted by General Joseph Ankrah. The implementation of the agreements reached at Aburi fell apart upon the leadership's return to Nigeria. On May 30, 1967, Colonel Odumegwu-Ojukwu declared Eastern Nigeria a sovereign state to be known as Biafra. Part of his famous broadcast read:

"Having mandated me to proclaim on your behalf, and in your name, that Eastern Nigeria be a sovereign independent Republic; now, therefore, I, Lieutenant Colonel Chukwuemeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu, Military Governor of Eastern Nigeria, by virtue of the authority, and pursuant to the principles recited above, do hereby solemnly proclaim that the territory and region known as and called Eastern Nigeria together with her continental shelf and territorial waters, shall, henceforth, be an independent sovereign state of the name and title of The Republic of Biafra."

On July 6, 1967, Gowon declared war and attacked Biafra. For 30 months, the war raged on. Now General Odumegwu-Ojukwu knew that the odds against the new republic were overwhelming.

Most European states recognised the illegitimacy of the Nigerian military rule and banned all future supplies of arms, but the UK government substantially increased its supplies, even sending British Army and Royal Air Force advisors.

After three years of non-stop fighting and starvation, a hole did appear in the Biafran front lines and this was exploited by the Nigerian military. As it became obvious that all was lost, Ojukwu was convinced to leave the country to avoid his certain assassination. On January 9, 1970, General Odumegwu-Ojukwu handed over power to his second in command, Chief of General Staff Major-General Philip Effiong, and left for Côte d'Ivoire, where President Felix Houphöet-Biogny - who had recognized Biafra on May 14, 1968 - granted him political asylum.

After Biafra

After 12 years in exile, the Federal Government of Nigeria under President Shehu Aliyu Usman Shagari granted an official pardon to Odumegwu-Ojukwu and opened the road for a triumphant return in 1982. The people of Nnewi gave him the now very famous chieftaincy title of Ikemba (Power of the people), while the entire Igbo nation took to calling him Dikedioramma (or beloved hero). His foray into politics was disappointing to many, who wanted him to stay above the fray, joining the National Party of Nigeria (NPN) while the majority of Igbo were in the Nigeria People's Party (NPP) led by the great Nnamdi Azikiwe, Nigeria's first president. He lost the Senate seat he craved to Dr. Edwin Onwudiwe of the NPP.
Relevant Links

West Africa

The Second Republic was truncated on December 31, 1983 by Major-General Muhammadu Buhari, supported by Generals Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida and Sani Abacha. The junta proceeded to arrest and keep Ojukwu in Kirikiri Maximum Security Prison, Lagos. In 1985, General Ibrahim Babangida overthrew General Buhari and reviewed Ojukuw's prison term and charges. The charges were reviewed and many were dismissed or drastically revised.

After the ordeal in Buhari's prisons, Dim Odumegwu-Ojukwu continued to play major roles in the advancement of the Igbo nation in a democracy because, "As a committed democrat, every single day under an un-elected government hurts me. The citizens of this country are mature enough to make their own choices, just as they have the right to make their own mistakes." He played a major role in the 1995 Constitutional Conference, which gave birth to the present geopolitical structure.

Odumegwu-Ojukwu was married to former Bianca Onoh, the first Miss Intercontinental 1989, a union blessed with children. Before Bianca, he had divorced his first wife and mother of his grown-up children. His death opens up questions as to the fate of Ndigbo in Nigeria's intrigues-laden political arena.


People Like Danny Carothers, Denzel Carpenter And Troy Halcomb Of Bowling Green Make Up For The UNCHRISTIANLIKE Behavior Of Others On GUTTONIOUS Black Friday.

(Danny Carothers (center), of Bowling Green, talks Wednesday before he passes out food in the parking lot of Diemer's D & F Super Market on Adams St. Carothers, public relations director with the West Side Camp, gave turkeys and food to dozens of families. Denzel Carpenter (from right of Carothers) and Troy Halcomb, both of Bowling Green, helped hand out the food. -- Photo: Joe Imel)
Food giveaway lifts spirits of those who are nearly hopeless

When Gary Sartain wandered to a local grocery on a frigid day before Thanksgiving, he had nothing but the clothes on his back. After losing everything and living on the streets, the Bowling Green man was nearly hopeless when he got an unexpected lift Wednesday.

Sartain is one of several local residents who do not have much to be thankful for this holiday season. Like Sartain, many haven’t had a joyous holiday in years.

They’re homeless, jobless, sick, depressed and, in some cases, struggling to care for multiple children. Occasionally, their holiday is brightened when they come across people such as Danny Carothers.

On the day before Thanksgiving, Carothers handed out turkeys to complete strangers. He loaded his truck with packaged turkeys and sat in the parking lot of Diemer’s D&F Super Market on Adams Street - an area that’s home to many low-income, impoverished people.

It’s personal for Carothers, a lifelong Bowling Green resident who was raised in the neighborhood. He knows that many of these people are poor, sad and hungry during the holidays.

“I was raised in this community,” he said. “We call it the west side of Bowling Green, and we don’t want to see these people suffering.”

Minutes after Carothers pulled into the parking lot, dozens of people huddled around his truck, hoping for a Thanksgiving turkey.

There was Jennifer Sutton, a mother of four children who wasn’t sure whether she could give her kids a Thanksgiving meal this year.

“We didn’t have nothing,” said Sutton, of Bowling Green. “I’ve never seen nothing like it - he didn’t know me; he just stopped me” to give away a turkey.

There was Guyla O’Brien, a Bowling Green woman who is raising her three grandchildren and lives on disability income. Affording food can be difficult, especially during the holidays, she said.

“And my water was cut off on top of everything else,” she said.

The woman and her 13-year-old granddaughter hugged and cried as Carothers went into the store to purchase more food for their family.

“They’ll be real excited,” O’Brien said about her grandchildren. “They really like eating.”

There was Gladys Glass, a Bowling Green woman who didn’t celebrate Thanksgiving last year because she couldn’t afford it. She didn’t want to wait until Thanksgiving when she got a free turkey Wednesday - she planned to cook and eat it right away.

“I’m thankful for anything I can get. God’s working in mysterious ways,” she said. “I wouldn’t have had a turkey. Now, I’m going to get to cook.”

Then there was Sartain, a man who is unemployed and has been squatting at the apartment of a random person he met while roaming the streets.

He has medical problems and a dwindling supply of medication, and the holidays are the last thing on his mind. He walks with a limp and begins to weep when he talks about his stolen cane. He had a seizure and passed out on the street one day; when he woke up, his cane was gone.

“Times are real, real tough. It’s real hard on me,” he said. “I’m trying to live anywhere I can.”

Carothers gave away 22 turkeys and had run out when Sartain approached him. So, Carothers went into the market and purchased a turkey for Sartain.

In fact, he bought more turkeys and additional food for others who asked for help. He delivered some food to people’s homes and took one woman - a jobless single mother of five children - a turkey from his own freezer. He purchased food for strangers until his own funds nearly disappeared.

“I don’t have no more money now; that’s the real problem,” he said. “It’s hurtful because you see a lot of people in need. That’s the only thing I hate.”

Carothers has handed out food and turkeys for the past few years. It’s an outreach project for his nonprofit organization called West Side Camp, a mentor program for boys in the area. Carothers is the camp’s public relations director.

“There’s so many people without right now,” he said. “I just stop at one place, and all these people come.”

— To contribute to West Side Camp, send donations to P.O. Box 50022, Bowling Green, KY 42102.


Saturday, November 26, 2011

We Mourn The Passing Of Biafran Leader, The Ikemba Of Nnewi, Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu. His Dream Of A BIAFRAN Republic Re.

Nigeria: Breakaway Biafra leader Ojukwu dies at 78

Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu, a millionaire's son who led Nigeria's breakaway republic of Biafra during the country's civil war that left 1 million dead, died in a London hospital Saturday after a protracted illness following a stroke. He was 78.

The Biafran war brought the first televised images of skeletal, starving African children to the Western world, a sight repeated in the continent's many conflicts since. Leaders said the war's end would leave "No Victor, No Vanquished" — a claim that has yet to be fulfilled as ethnic and religious tensions still threaten the unity of the oil-rich nation more than 40 years later.

Maja Umeh, a spokesman for Nigeria's Anambra state, confirmed Ojukwu's death Saturday. Anambra state, in the heart of what used to be the breakaway republic, had provided financial support for Ojukwu during his hospital stay.

Ojukwu's rise coincided with the fall of Nigeria's First Republic, formed after Nigeria, a nation split between a predominantly Muslim north and a largely Christian south, gained its independence from Britain in 1960.

A 1966 coup led primarily by army officers from the Igbo ethnic group from Nigeria's southeast shot and killed Prime Minister Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, a northerner, as well as the premier of northern Nigeria, Ahmadu Bello.

The coup failed, but the country still fell under military control. Northerners, angry about the death of its leaders, attacked Igbos living there. As many as 10,000 people died in resulting riots. Many Igbos fled back to Nigeria's southeast, their traditional home.

Ojukwu, then 33, served as the military governor for the southeast. The son of a knighted millionaire, Ojukwu studied history at Oxford and attended a military officer school in Britain. In 1967, he declared the region — including part of the oil-rich Niger Delta — as the Republic of Biafra. The new republic used the name of the Atlantic Ocean bay to its south, its flag a rising sun set against a black, green and red background.

But instead of sparking pan-African pride, the announcement sparked 31 months of fierce fighting between the breakaway republic and Nigeria. Under Gen. Yakubu "Jack" Gowon, Nigeria adopted the slogan "to keep Nigeria one is a task that must be done" and moved to reclaim a region vital to the country's coffers.

Despite several pushes by Biafran troops, Nigerian forces slowly strangled Biafra into submission. Caught in the middle were Igbo refugees increasingly pushed back as the front lines fell. The region, long reliant on other regions of Nigeria for food.

The enduring images, seen on television and in photographs, show starving Biafran children with distended stomachs and stick-like arms.

Despite the efforts of humanitarian groups, many died as hunger became a weapon wielded by both sides.

"Was starvation a legitimate weapon of war?" wrote English journalist John de St. Jorre. "The hard-liners in Nigeria and Biafra thought that it was, the former regarding it as a valid means of reducing the enemy's capacity to resist, as method as old as war itself, and the latter seeing it as a way of internationalizing the conflict."

The images fed into Ojukwu's warnings that to see Biafra fall would see the end of the Igbo people.

"The crime of genocide has not only been threatened but fulfilled. The only reason any of us are alive today is because we have our rifles," Ojukwu told journalists in 1968. "Otherwise the massacre would be complete. It would be suicidal for us to lay down our arms at this stage."

That final massacre never came. Ojukwu and trusted aides escaped Biafra by airplane on Jan. 11, 1970. Biafra collapsed shortly after. Gowon himself broke the cycle of revenge in a speech in which said there was "no victor, no vanquished." He also pardoned those who had participated in the rebellion.

Ojukwu spent 13 years in exile, coming home after he was unconditionally pardoned in 1982. He returned to politics, but lost a race for a senate seat. He was sent to a maximum-security prison for a year when Nigeria suffered yet another of the military coups that punctuated life after independence.

He later wrote his memoirs and lived the quiet life of an elder statesman until he unsuccessfully challenged incumbent Olusegun Obasanjo for the presidency in 2003. Obasanjo served as a colonel in the Biafran war and gave the final statement on rebel-controlled radio announcing the conflict's end.

Despite the long and costly civil war, Nigeria remains torn by internal conflict. Tens of thousands have died in riots pitting Christians against Muslims in the country. Militant groups attack foreign oil firms in the oil-rich Niger Delta while criminal gangs kidnap the middle class. Poverty continues to grind the country.

The Igbos, meanwhile, continue to suffer political isolation in the country. While an Igbo man recently became the country's top military officers, others say they've been locked out of higher office over lingering mistrust from the war.

Some in the former breakaway region still hold out hope for their own voice, even their own country despite the cataclysmic losses.

As did Ojukwu himself.

"Biafra," Ojukwu told journalists in 2006, "is always an alternative."

Read more:

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We Congratulate Bowling Green Purples Football Team's Win Over 62-20 John Hardin, On Their Way To The State's Class 5A Championship. Next (And Last) Victim On December 3? Anderson County. Way To Go Purples!

Purples give John Hardin first loss of season to reach Class 5A final

Forget about Black Friday. This Friday was purely Purple.

The No. 1-ranked Bowling Green football team rode a wave of first-quarter momentum, crushing No. 2 John Hardin 62-20 in the Class 5A state semifinals at El Donaldson Stadium.

Click here for more photos from Friday’s games.

The Purples used three first-quarter turnovers to build a 34-0 lead and cruised from there, clinching their first state title appearance since 2007.

“That’s pretty good stuff right there,” BG coach Kevin Wallace said. “That’s a great football team over there. A lot of things went wrong for them tonight, and a lot of things went right for us. I’m just happy it went our way.”

Bowling Green (14-0) set the tone defensively, with three turnovers and two three-and-outs on John Hardin’s first five possessions.

Armando Music recovered a fumble on the second play of the game, setting up a Scooter Hollis 10-yard touchdown run 94 seconds into the game.

Bowling Green scored again 13 seconds later when Montel Carpenter stripped Jeremy Harness and raced 15 yards into the end zone to make the score 14-0.

It was the first of two defensive touchdowns in the quarter for the Purples, who capped a 34-point outburst with a 25-yard fumble return by Daquan Irvin late in the opening quarter.

“Turnovers are killers,” Wallace said. “For the last three weeks we’ve seen them on film and they’ve really turned the ball over - putting it on the ground. We talked to our kids about stripping the ball and trying to make good things happen. I’m so proud of them.”

The offense kept the pressure on John Hardin, with Hollis hooking up with Nacarius Fant on a pair of touchdown passes.

BG’s defense picked up one more turnover late in the second quarter, setting up a Brandon Green touchdown run.

John Hardin (13-1) picked up the final score of the half - a 12-yard reception from Harness - but still went into the locker room trailing 48-13.

The Bulldogs added another touchdown reception from Harness late in the third quarter before Bowling Green sealed the win with a pair of fourth-quarter touchdowns.

“It feels so good (walking off this field for the last time with a win),” Carpenter said. “Since seventh grade (the seniors) have been playing together, talking about getting a ring. We’re finally here, so I’m happy.”

Bowling Green finished with 372 yards of offense.

Hollis was 8-for-11 with 208 yards and three touchdown passes. The scores gave the senior 26 for his career, passing Trent Steelman’s school record of 24.

Fant finished with six catches for 158 yards.

“We came out and worked as hard as we could in practice to get the routes down and the timing right,” Fant said. “Me and Scooter have had this connection for the last two years. We just have to keep it going.”

John Hardin finished with 107 yards of offense. Harness, who entered the game with more than 1,500 yards rushing, was held to 18 yards on 11 carries and added five catches for 62 yards.

“We’re a good defensive team,” Wallace said. “I think he is probably less than 100 percent, but I thought we did a super job.”

Bowling Green will finish its season where it began - at Houchens-Smith Stadium with a 48-0 win over Allen County-Scottsville - but this time it will be for the 5A state championship at 7 p.m. Dec. 3. The Purples will meet Anderson County, a 49-8 winner over Southwestern.

“We’re going to go play at Western,” Wallace said. “We’re going to finish where we started and we’ve got to finish our business. I’ve been in five finals and I’ve been a part of winning one of them as an assistant. There is a whole big difference in how you feel when it is over with. I want to make sure we have a good feeling next Saturday night.”

JHHS 0 13 7 0 - 20

BGHS 34 14 0 14 - 62


Joel Pett Must Hate Republican Party, And Republicans!


Friday, November 25, 2011

George Will: A Few Reasons For Feeling Grateful For 2011 Written By George Will.

A few reasons for feeling grateful for 2011
Written by George Will

“People who live in a Golden Age usually go around complaining how yellow everything looks.”

— Randall Jarrell, “A Sad Heart at the Supermarket”

WASHINGTON — This is not a Golden Age, which distinguishes it from no other age. Although we are told it is our duty to be morose about the nation’s trajectory, many satisfying, edifying or entertaining things have happened this year. So on Thanksgiving, which still keeps Super Bowl Sunday in second place on the list of days when Americans eat the most, gorge yourself on some reasons for feeling at least a bit grateful for 2011:

A new genre of humor was born, the currency crisis joke. A Spaniard, an Italian and a Greek go into a bar. They drink until dawn. Who pays the tab? A German.

The euro is unraveling and might dissolve the European Union, that product of transnational progressivism based on the belief that national sovereignty should be leeched away to clever experts who, uninhibited by the consent of the governed, can create clever things like the euro.

In 2011, someone actually asked how an Amtrak employee with a $21,000 salary earned $149,000 in overtime.

A week after Barack Obama cited an Ohio restaurant as a beneficiary of the Chrysler bailout, the restaurant closed.

The reputation of a mass murderer was tweaked by Russia’s chief investigator reporting that “there is no reliable document” proving the “instigation” of Lenin in the 1918 murder of Czar Nicholas II, his wife and five children.

No one saw the possible problem with the word “despite” in this headline: “Gun crime continues to decrease, despite increase in gun sales.”

In Texas, Georgia, Wisconsin, Iowa, Pennsylvania and Maryland, lemonade stands run by scofflaw children were put out of business in a government crackdown against wee people who commit capitalism without getting the requisite bureaucratic permissions.

Ford Motor Co. issued a careful non-denial when some incorrigible cynics wondered whether political pressure from Detroit’s Washington masters caused Ford to take down a YouTube ad in which a customer says he is in a Ford showroom because “I wasn’t going to buy another car that was bailed out by our government.”

In a television commercial for Ameriprise Financial, actor Tommy Lee Jones says: “Helping generations through tough times, good times, never taking a bailout.”

Manning the ramparts on the wall of separation between church and state, a Seattle teacher required Easter Eggs to be called “spring spheres.”

Chicago's new mayor, Rahm Emanuel, told an interviewer — before bolting from the interview — that he sends his children to private schools because “my children are not an instrument of me being mayor. … I’m making this decision as a father.”

In the year when Americans became aware that there is more student debt than credit card debt, Yale offered a course on how people with disabilities are portrayed in fiction: “We will examine how characters serve as figures of otherness, transcendence, physicality or abjection. Later may come examination questions on regulative discourse, performativity and frameworks of intelligibility.”

“I carpooled this morning with my trooper,” explained Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick when, during what he designated “Car-Free Week” to save the planet, be healthy, etc., he was seen commuting in his SUV.

When the Wisconsin Education Association Council, having spent liberally defending public-sector union privileges, announced it was laying off 40 percent of its staff, it was denounced by the National Staff Organization, a union for employees of education unions.

Picking up a theme from America’s economist in chief, who suggested that ATMs and ticket kiosks at airports aggravate unemployment, Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. said the iPad is “responsible for eliminating thousands of American jobs,” such as “all of the jobs associated with paper.”

A market research firm found that people who buy the $43,000 Chevy Volt (seats four in space not taken by its 400-pound battery) or the $34,500 Nissan Leaf, and who get a $7,500 government bribe (tax credit) for doing so, have average annual incomes of $150,000, and half of the buyers own at least two other vehicles.

Under the Essential Air Service program — yes, essential — the federal government contributed $3,720 to subsidize the cost of flying each passenger between Denver and Ely, Nev.

Only about one in five drivers (according to State Farm research) admits to surfing the Internet while driving, which means that perhaps 80 percent of the drivers in front, behind and next to you are not.

Doris Day, 87, released an album of new songs. Que sera, sera.


GOP Flavor Of The Month: Newt! ROTFLMAO!


Thursday, November 24, 2011

A Thanksgiving Proclamation.

Washington, D.C.
October 3, 1863

By the President of the United States of America.

A Proclamation.

The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God. In the midst of a civil war of unequaled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union. Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defence, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle or the ship; the axe has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consiousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom.

No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy. It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People.

I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity and Union.

In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Seal of the United States to be affixed.

Done at the City of Washington, this Third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the Independence of the Unites States the Eighty-eighth.

By the President: Abraham Lincoln


Special Words To Live By, Words To Ponder And Words Of Wisdom.

"It is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favors."

-- George Washington, Thanksgiving Proclamation, 1789

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Happy Thanksgiving To All.


Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan Fires Anti Corruption Chief Farida Waziri. Who Wants To Bet That The Firing Is For Her Corruption? Anyone?

Nigeria president fires anti-corruption czar

LAGOS, Nigeria — Nigeria's president unexpectedly fired the head of the lead anti-corruption agency Wednesday, removing an official accused of being controlled by the political elite in this graft-prone nation.

A statement from President Goodluck Jonathan's office only said Farida Waziri was "effectively relieved" of her duties as chairwoman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, which once garnered international praise for its pursuit of corrupt politicians.

However, the statement gave no reason for her firing. Presidential spokesman Reuben Abati did not respond to repeated requests for comment Wednesday and Waziri couldn't be reached.

Waziri leaves an agency and a cause she herself appeared to grow weary of in recent weeks.

"The best any law enforcement agency can do is properly investigate cases and file charges," she said in a speech Tuesday. "The frustrations faced by law enforcement agencies within the tedious common law process ... must be voided."

Waziri still had at least another year in her tenure before Jonathan's sudden decision, agency spokesman Femi Babafemi said. Babafemi confirmed that Waziri had been fired, but said he didn't know the president's reasons for pushing Waziri out.

The anti-graft agency came into existence only a few years after Nigeria became a democracy in 1999. Its first chief, Nuhu Ribadu, claimed at one point that Africa's most populous nation likely lost more than $380 billion to graft between 1960 and 1999.

That post-independence period saw a string of military dictatorships and failed civilian governments. About $8 billion a year has been stolen in the time since, according to analysts.

Such thefts remain easy as government budgeting at every level remains opaque, and the nation pulls in billions of dollars from its joint ventures with foreign oil firms in its crude-rich southern delta.

The looting may be rising as crude oil prices have spiked in recent years, sending more unaccounted-for cash into one of the top suppliers to the U.S.

The nation's political class reigned with impunity until the agency's creation. Under Ribadu, who later became a failed presidential opposition candidate, the agency arrested powerful state governors and earned media praise.

However, the agency under Ribadu trampled on suspects' rights while avoiding targeting the allies of then-President Olusegun Obasanjo, Human Rights Watch said in a report released in August.

The rights group also said despite its headlines, the commission has only garnered four convictions against Nigeria's political elite since its creation in 2003, with those found guilty facing little or no prison time.

The administration of late President Umaru Yar'Adua forced Ribadu from the agency in 2008. Waziri, who took over the commission, has been criticized by U.S. diplomats in leaked diplomatic cables for being unprepared and for apparently being controlled by politicians.

Others have leveled corruption allegations against her and operatives of the commission, though none has been proven.

The commission under Waziri has charged several prominent bankers over the fraud that caused the near-collapse of the country's banks in 2009. It also recently arrested and charged former House Speaker Dimeji Bankole over corruption allegations - the first major strike against the nation's political elite in many months.

Still, prosecutions by the agency have not risen since 2007, according to a recent Human Rights Watch report. The rights group said the commission's funding tripled during that period.

The president appointed agency deputy Ibrahim Lamurde as the commission's acting chairman, Babafemi said. Lamurde served as a trusted official under Ribadu, but later was sidelined following his departure.

The return of Lamurde could signal a more robust and aggressive pursuit of corruption in Nigeria, though it remains unclear whether he'll remain as the commission's top official.

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Lexington Herald Leader: Scrutiny Of Child-Welfare Agency Welcome[sic].

Scrutiny of child-welfare agency welcome

It's encouraging that some key lawmakers want to lower the wall of secrecy that has surrounded Kentucky's handling of child-abuse deaths.

They also should go deeper, as Kentucky Youth Advocates Executive Director Terry Brooks has proposed, and examine the "signs that our child-welfare system is not working."

The latest evidence of a system in crisis was reported last week by the Herald-Leader's Beth Musgrave and Bill Estep.

A child-protective worker in Western Kentucky resigned after allegedly failing to investigate reports of abuse against a three-year-old. The reports came from medical personnel who treated the child for a broken arm. The caseworker then allegedly lied to supervisors and in documents to hide her mishandling of the investigation.

The child died less than a month later of what the medical examiner said was blunt-force trauma to the head. Her father, 22, is accused of killing her.

Managers in the Cabinet for Health and Family Services were already moving to fire the caseworker when she resigned.

What the caseworker is accused of doing is inexcusable. Cabinet officials would have been right to terminate her employment.

At the same time, this tragedy raises systemic questions about the child-protection agency.

The social worker's supervisor said their office had seen reports of child abuse skyrocket and that five workers were being asked to investigate 75 to 90 referrals a month.

That averages out to 15 to 18 new cases a worker a month — on top of cases carried over from previous months.

The Child Welfare League of America says child-protective workers should be handling a maximum of 12 cases a month, total. Other studies recommend varying numbers. But no ones says a child-protective worker should be taking on 18 new cases a month.

Investigating child abuse is not a job in which you can take shortcuts or just work faster when the workload increases. To be effective, caseworkers must spend time face-to-face with children and families when abuse is suspected or has been documented. There is no substitute for personal contact and time.

The chairs of the legislature's Interim Joint Committee on Health and Welfare are planning a hearing next month on issues raised by recent court rulings ordering the Beshear administration to unseal records in child deaths or near-deaths.

Rep. Julie Denton, R-Louisville, and Rep. Tom Burch, D-Louisville, are on the right track.

They should demand answers from the administration about the effects of successive budget cuts on the child-welfare agency's staffing and effectiveness. They also should find out what quality-control measures, if any, are in place to mitigate staffing shortages.

Children's lives depend on it.

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Lexington Herald Leader: [Richie] Farmer's Latest Waste Of Tax Money Stunning.

Farmer's latest waste of tax money stunning

Lame-duck Agriculture Commissioner Richie Farmer's decision to give his girlfriend a state job makes you wonder whether the onetime Mr. Basketball has some kind of reputational death wish.

Farmer's image took some knocks as his run for lieutenant governor focused attention on his spendthrift ways with the taxpayer's dollar. Then there was his wife's testimony when she filed for divorce about how she and their three sons were living on her pay as a teacher's aide.

Still, many Kentuckians would have forgiven Farmer, preferring to think of him coming off the bench as one of the University of Kentucky's "Unforgettables" or even his commercials promoting the state's agricultural products.

Then this.

Two months before leaving office, eight days before the election, Farmer hired Stephanie L. Sandmann, his girlfriend, as a "special assistant" in the Agriculture Department at $5,000 a month.

No one's even tried to make a case that she's qualified or that any political appointments should be made with just two months left in an incumbent's term. We have to assume she'll be gone as soon as Rep. James Comer takes over as agriculture commissioner Jan. 2.

So, to put $10,000 into his girlfriend's purse, Farmer has thumbed his nose at taxpayers yet again and removed any doubts about his contempt for the public trust.

Unforgettable? Unforgiveable. We can only hope he'll slink away never to be heard from again.

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Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear's Son, Andrew Beshear, Represents Company Seeking Tax Breaks From State.

Gov. Beshear's son represents company seeking tax breaks from state
By John Cheves

A Hindu ground-blessing ceremony for a new company in Elizabethtown became a campaign controversy last month after Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear participated and his Republican challenger criticized him for it.

What went unnoticed is that one of Beshear's sons, Louisville attorney Andrew Beshear, is paid to represent the company in question, UFLEX Ltd. of India, preparing to collect $20 million in tax breaks from the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development. The cabinet has granted UFLEX preliminary approval for tax breaks, but the factory, which will make flexible packaging, first must achieve specific goals for jobs and investment. It's eventually expected to employ 250 people.

Steve Beshear oversees the cabinet as chairman of the Kentucky Economic Development Partnership Board; in 2008, he appointed his friend and aide Larry Hayes as the state's economic development secretary.

Andrew Beshear handles economic development clients, including UFLEX, at the law firm of Stites & Harbison, where his father was a managing partner until he was elected governor in 2007.

The potential for conflicts of interest is obvious, an ethics watchdog said Tuesday.

"It does not look good for the governor's son to be involved in deals like this with state tax money at stake," said Richard Beliles, chairman of Common Cause of Kentucky. "Presumably, Andrew Beshear is getting paid a healthy legal fee for his work in this deal. This just seems a little too close."

The governor's office said Tuesday there is no potential for conflict.

Tax breaks are awarded by the cabinet's Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority, or KEDFA. While KEDFA is appointed and overseen by the board that the governor chairs, the governor is not a KEDFA member, so it should be considered "an independent agency of state government," said Beshear spokesman Terry Sebastian.

The Beshear administration does not recommend to companies that they hire the governor's son, Sebastian added.

"Companies make their own decisions on who they would like to represent them in their legal affairs, and it is understandable that some choose Stites & Harbison, one of Kentucky's largest firms and one with experience in this area for decades," Sebastian said.

Andrew Beshear, who joined Stites & Harbison in 2005, declined to comment for this story.

Ram Srivastav, business head for Flex Films (USA) Inc., the division of UFLEX that is building the Elizabethtown plant, said the company decided to hire lawyers in Kentucky based on who best could help with tax incentives, employment and construction. UFLEX is aware that its attorney is the governor's son, but that's not why it hired him, Srivastav said.

"That was a totally independent decision made for a legal firm," Srivastav said. "It was totally independent of anything else."

Andrew Beshear attended his father's speech in Elizabethtown in April announcing the UFLEX plant and led the applause for him, according to a local newspaper story at the time. That same month, he flew in a state plane with his father and other members of the Beshear family to the NCAA Final Four basketball tournament in Houston. The Kentucky Democratic Party later paid the $6,105 tab for the flight.

The chairman of Stites & Harbison, Kennedy Helm III, confirmed that Andrew Beshear and another of the firm's lawyers, Alex "Mike" Herrington Jr., are lead counsel for UFLEX in Kentucky. The company negotiated its preliminary deal for tax breaks with the cabinet prior to hiring the law firm, Helm said.

The firm assists the company with continuing "economic incentive" and other matters, he said.

Andrew Beshear is one of "numerous attorneys" at the firm who help clients with "Kentucky economic development transactions," Helm said.

He declined to name any other companies Andrew Beshear has represented before the cabinet, citing client confidentiality rules. He also declined to say how much the firm is getting paid by UFLEX.

The Cabinet for Economic Development confirmed that it has correspondence from Andrew Beshear regarding UFLEX but declined to release the documents, citing exemptions in the Kentucky Open Records Act related to documents regarding economic development deals. The cabinet said it cannot identify other tax-break projects in which Andrew Beshear may be involved unless it's presented with a list of company names.

Steve Robertson, chairman of the Kentucky Republican Party, said the governor's son should avoid doing business with state government until the Beshear administration ends in December 2015.

"I can't speak to Andrew Beshear's qualifications," Robertson said. "But any time the relative of an elected official is benefiting from the award of public funds under that elected official, you have at least the appearance of impropriety. It doesn't sound like they've decided to exercise an abundance of caution on this matter."

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We Join The Louisville Courier Journal In Asking Governor Steve Beshear To "Spare The Child".

Editorial | Spare the child

What does it take to get Gov. Steve Beshear to give his undivided attention to deaths from child abuse and neglect in Kentucky? What does it take to move him to forceful action?

One must hope that the answer to both questions will be Amy Dye.

Amy was 9 years old when she was murdered last February. Her adoptive brother, Garrett Dye, 18, awaits sentencing Wednesday for beating her to death with a jack handle.

In a heartrending account Sunday, Courier-Journal reporter Deborah Yetter reconstructed the tragedy and violence of Amy’s short life. After being shuffled among relatives and foster parents in the Northwest, she moved into the home of her great-aunt, Kimberly Dye, in Todd County in 2006 and was adopted the next year.

Amy repeatedly arrived at school with bumps, bruises and abrasions, and told alarmed school officials that her brothers had hurt her. The educators reported potential abuse to the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services, but social service officials either declined to investigate or decided the allegations were groundless.

The cabinet apparently took no notice that it had substantiated abuse of Garrett Dye in 2003 at the hands of his father, Christopher Dye, who moved back into the home after Amy’s arrival despite being divorced from her great-aunt. Mr. Dye acknowledged subjecting Amy to harsh punishments, including having left her alone in a Clarksville, Tenn., hotel parking lot.

This is only the latest horror. A series of special reports in The Courier-Journal in 2009 showed that almost 270 Kentucky children, including 41 in a 12-month span, had died of abuse or neglect. Like Amy, more than half were known to state officials.

It is simply outrageous that the cabinet continues to resist Franklin Circuit Judge Phillip Shepherd’s order that it release records and reviews related to child fatalities. It is inexplicable that the Governor, who stresses education and family issues, sits on his hands.

Instead of urgent recognition of the dimensions of this tragedy — instead of telling the cabinet that he demands transparency, accountability and full compliance with Judge Shepherd’s order — the Governor seems to take a lawyerly but passive position that the legal wrangling should play out. That, of course, could take months or even years, while children continue to suffer and die.

Gov. Beshear surely recognizes the need for systemic reform in the child welfare system. If he resists changing its culture of secrecy and its unwillingness to take responsibility, he will have failed to protect terrified and abused children from sadistic adults. That will be some legacy.


Hands Behind My Back! LOL.


Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Cal Thomas: Protecting Their Product.

Protecting their product
Americans shouldn’t play the left’s game, but instead should stand by their eventual candidate

Now it’s Newt’s turn. Having risen to the top in some opinion polls, the former speaker of the House is taking heat for large consulting fees paid to him by the government-sponsored mortgage company Freddie Mac for wisdom a New York Times editorial said was so simplistic it might have come from a fortune cookie.

As Republican presidential candidates rise only to fall when their imperfections are brought to light, Republican voters risk disappointment in 2012 by playing the left’s game on their turf and by their rules. What they must do instead is to protect their “product” at a time when the opportunity to hold Barack Obama to one term, while taking the Senate and increasing their House majority, has never looked better.

The best candidate would clearly be a composite of the eight still standing: Mitt Romney’s business sense and debating skills; Newt Gingrich’s experience in Washington and knowledge of how to tear down the enormous bureaucracy and make government function the way the founders intended; Herman Cain’s political passion and the added bonus of being a conservative African-American; Ron Paul’s fealty to the Constitution and his call for America to rethink its military role in the world; Jon Huntsman’s knowledge of China, which will remain important for decades; Rick Santorum’s and Michele Bachmann’s strong moral voices (along with her singular feminine voice) in an age of societal flux; and Rick Perry’s Southwestern values and evangelical faith.

Unfortunately, Republicans can’t vote for a composite; they’ll have to choose one candidate, hopefully one they won’t come to regret.

There is something else Republicans must not do. They must avoid making the same mistake Democrats make by looking to government as a first resource. If they are to reduce the size, reach and cost of government, they must demonstrate how they intend to empower Americans. If they are going to deprive Washington of power, they must show people who have ceded personal control to government why they would be better off taking care of themselves. Tell stories about those who have overcome obstacles to become self-sustaining.

The liberal left has so addicted half the country to government entitlement programs and the fiction that they can’t possibly make it in life without the aid of government that many have forgotten the meaning of personal freedom and the power that comes with it.

Back to Newt. That Gingrich took money from Freddie Mac, an agency he now derides, may seem like hypocrisy to some, but not to me. I, for example, think the Department of Agriculture should be closed, though I once worked for them. I also received a student loan, which I repaid, though I am now critical of how some of the government’s student loan programs are run. I attended public schools, but believe parents ought to be able to send their kids to a private school if it promises to offer a better education. Am I hypocritical?

Gingrich could return his fees to Freddie Mac, but that wouldn’t satisfy his critics. He should only make the offer if some of those top Fannie execs who received fat bonuses gave them back.

For their role in the failed government loan program that aided the bankrupt Solyndra, President Obama and Secretary of Energy Steven Chu are not getting anywhere near the heat Gingrich is getting over Freddie Mac.

The U.S. government, as part of its “Fast and Furious” program, sent guns to Mexican drug cartels in hopes of tracing them to cartel leaders and making arrests. Are we holding the administration accountable? There are different standards for Republicans and Democrats.

Looking for a perfect candidate will end in disappointment. Consider President Obama, his falling poll numbers and the misplaced faith too many voters had in him in 2008. Republicans should not make the same mistake in selecting the next GOP presidential candidate.

By realizing the imperfections in every candidate - and every person - and focusing on the ability of the one who is nominated to do what he promises, Republicans will have a better candidate and the country could have a better (but not perfect) president.