This blog site is dedicated to those of us who are interested in seeking the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth about events that impact our lives. The site is NOT a Republican or Democratic site. Therefore, there will be NO "spinning" of the facts or "slanting" of the news to favor or disfavor any person, party or group. All of my comments and opinions will flow naturally and be logically supported.
Friday, December 30, 2011
Governor Steve Beshear Makes A Very BOLD Move, Rejects Louisville Hospitals Merger As Not Being In The Public Interest.
Listen to the Governor below:
You may also be interested in reading Jack Conway's report on the merger, and you can read more of the news account below:
University Hospital merger with Jewish, Catholic Health Initiatives rejected by Governor Steve Beshear
Written by Laura Ungar
Gov. Steve Beshear on Friday rejected a controversial merger that would have united three Kentucky hospital companies to create the state’s largest health care system.
“… After exhaustive discussions and research, I have determined that this proposed transaction is not in the best interest of the Commonwealth and therefore should not move forward,” he said in a statement. “In my opinion, the risks to the public outweigh the potential benefits.”
The merger — which cannot proceed without the governor’s blessing — was assailed by critics because a Catholic health system would have had majority ownership of Louisville’s public hospital, and many residents and community leaders expressed concern that reproductive and end-of-life care could be curtailed.
University Hospital, Louisville’s main safety-net hospital for the poor, had hoped to merge with Jewish Hospital & St. Mary’s HealthCare and Saint Joseph Health System in Lexington, owned by Denver-based Catholic Health Initiatives.
CHI follows Catholic health directives, and other merger partners agreed not to perform certain procedures banned by the directives: elective abortions; sterilizations; contraceptive dispensing for the purpose of contraception only (except in cases of sexual assault when the victim isn't already pregnant); artificial insemination and in-vitro fertilization; and euthanasia.
That raised concerns among many community members and leaders, who also worried about the possibility of more limitations in the future if Catholic directives change.
Beshear said “significant legal and policy concerns” were raised, including Constitutional and public policy questions such as those regarding reproductive care. He also pointed to the potential costs of unwinding the merger if it had gone forward.
“However, most troubling to me is the loss of control of a public asset. University Hospital is a public asset with an important public mission, and if this merger were allowed to happen, U of L and the public would have only indirect and minority influence over the new statewide network’s affairs and its use of state assets. Many of these issues have been raised and analyzed in a report from Attorney General Jack Conway, who recommends not going forward with the merger.”
If Ron Paul were elected president, you could probably smoke in public places, drive gas-guzzling cars, keep your shoes on at airport security, and pray in public schools. His “hands off” approach to government has made him the de facto leader of the Tea Party and a long-time favorite of libertarians throughout the country.
You may think you know everything there is to know about Ron Paul, whose poll numbers have been rising dramatically as the Iowa caucuses approach. He’s the candidate who signed a pledge from Personhood USA, an anti-abortion-rights group, possibly because as an obstetrician-gynecologist throughout the 1960s and 1970s, Paul (a father of five) delivered more than 4,000 babies before entering politics in 1976.
The 76-year-old Paul also says he wants to:
Balance the federal budget
Eliminate the Federal Reserve
Defund five Cabinet departments (including Commerce, Interior and Education) to save over $700 billion over four years
Eliminate the supplemental nutrition program for women and children at the Department of Agriculture
Bring home all American troops from Afghanistan and Iraq, and…
Paul, of course, has twice before campaigned for the presidency, once in 1988 as the nominee of the Libertarian Party, and again in 2008 as a candidate for the GOP nomination. Then, as now, he plans to shrink the federal government. One way to do that is by for privatizing certain government functions, like the air-traffic control system.
Paul founded the Foundation for Rational Economics and Education (FREE) in the 1970s, a tax-exempt organization that publishes newsletters, including “Ron Paul’s Freedom Report.” The Report espouses “an opportunity for greater public awareness of the limited-government principles that have been, until recently, absent from public debate.”
Although many agree with Paul’s positions on smaller government and lower taxes, they may bristle at his more controversial statements over the years about race and other social issues. Last Wednesday, Paul abruptly ended an interview with CNN’s Gloria Borger when she asked him about incendiary statements included in some of his past newsletters. One example: “If you’ve ever been robbed by a black teenaged male, you know how unbelievably fleet of foot they can be.” Paul distanced himself from these comments, saying he did not write them but that he was “morally responsible” for them since they went out under his name.
Many of Paul's positions have been given a full airing in speeches, campaign appearances, debates, bus tours and elsewhere, but the 12-term congressman’s book, Liberty Defined, while not a blueprint, is also rife with controversial positions and opinions.
In addition to the 9 points mentioned above, here’s a smattering of other Ron Paul notable viewpoints:
Paul was the only Republican to vote against the Iraq War Resolution in 2008, claiming that the government used 9/11 as an excuse to curb civil liberties and invade Iraq.
On defense spending:
“Billions of dollars have been spent on the M-1 tank over the years and yet there has never been a need for it for the defense of our country – it was purely a military-industrial complex boondoggle to serve the interests of the demands of big business and big labor and to save Chrysler and at that time to stick it to General Motors. But in the end, General Motors got its bailout, too.”
“’Taxes are the price we pay for civilization,’ according to Oliver Wendell Holmes. This claim has cost us dearly… If we as a nation continue to believe that paying for civilization through taxation is a wise purchase and the only way to achieve civilization, we are doomed.”
On unions and government labor laws:
“Union power, gained by legislation, even without physical violence, is still violence. The laborer gains legal force over the employer. Economically, in the long run, labor loses… If only it were so easy to help the working class.”
On individual freedoms:
“Government should not compel or prohibit any personal activity when that activity poses danger to that individual alone. Drinking and smoking marijuana is one thing, but driving recklessly under the influence is quite another. When an individual threatens the lives of others, there is a role for government to restrain that violence.”
On markets, the individual, and Austrian economics:
“The phrase ‘Austrian School’ or ‘Austrian economics’ [as founded by Carl Menger] is not something I ever expected would enter into the vocabulary of politics… But since 2008, it has. Reporters use it with some degree of understanding, and with an expectation that readers and viewers will understand it too. This is just thrilling to me, for I am a longstanding student of the Austrian tradition of thought… We need markets to reveal to us the valuations of consumers and producers in the form of the price system that works within a market setting.”
On a welfare state:
“We need to surrender our attachments to government in every aspect of life. This goes for the right and the left. We need to give up our dependencies on the state, materially and spiritually. We should not look to the state to provide for us financially or psychologically… Let us understand that it is far better to live in an imperfect world than it is to live in a despotic world ruled by people who lord it over us through force and intimidation.”
On the power of liberty:
“Liberty built civilization. It can rebuild civilization.”
The Republican party has a race problem. I mean, it always has, ever since Southern Democrats did what President Johnson said they would do when he signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964. “[W]e just delivered the South to the Republican Party for a long time to come,” he famously remarked. And the GOP would ride racial resentment and fear to electoral victories and greater political power up and down the ballot across the country. But as we’re seeing in the contest for the nomination, race is boomeranging on the Republicans.
Rep. Ron Paul (R-Tex.), the latest front-runner in the impending Iowa caucuses, has been tripped up by racist newsletters that bear his name from the late 1980s and the 1990s. He’s trying his best to skitter away from them by saying things like “I didn’t write them, I disavow them ... .” But that simply isn’t good enough, especially after you read James Kirchick’s “Angry White Man; the bigoted past of Ron Paul” from 2008 and “Why Don’t Libertarians Care About Ron Paul’s Bigoted Newsletters?” from last week.
The contents of these newsletters can best be described as appalling. Blacks were referred to as “animals.” Gays were told to go “back” into the “closet.” The “X-Rated Martin Luther King” was a bisexual pedophile who “seduced underage girls and boys.” Three months before the Oklahoma City bombing, Paul praised right-wing, anti-government militia movements as “one of the most encouraging developments in America.” The voluminous record of bigotry and conspiracy theories speaks for itself.
Paul is trying to dodge the controversy by saying he didn’t write such ugliness and didn’t know about it. That’s unacceptable and should disqualify him from ever sitting in the Oval Office. Still, the American people deserve a better explanation from Paul. But we won’t get one. Paul’s relative silence follows a pattern we’ve seen over the last year. Whenever racial controversies flare up, deny, disavow or dispute as quickly as possible and then pretend the matter is behind you.
Gov. Rick Perry, R-Tex., employed this tactic when he tripped over “Niggerhead.” He told The Post in October, that the unfortunate name for the hunting camp he and his family leased in the 1980s is an “offensive name that has no place in the modern world.” As I wrote then, I can’t wrap my head around how anyone could 1) lease a property with such an offensive name to begin with, and 2) not be ready to discuss the situation with clarity once the offense was inevitably revealed.
Those same questions apply to Paul, by the way. How could he allow such filth to be published in a newsletter bearing his name? How could he not know about it? And how could he not be ready to discuss the issue forthrightly once the newsletters were revealed — again? But I digress.
During his exploratory phase earlier this year, Gov. Haley Barbour, R-Miss., considered giving a major address on race if he officially kicked off a presidential campaign. Given his massive blind spot on race, which included saying about the Civil Rights era in Yazoo City, Miss., “I just don’t remember it as being that bad,” I was hopeful that a Barbour speech on race in America from his perspective would be as healing as it would be uncomfortable. But it is believed that Barbour pulled the plug on a possible campaign because he couldn’t figure out how to deliver such an address without hurting himself politically. As a longtime Barbour friend told GQ this year, “[I]f he hasn’t figured out how you overcome it, or pretty well minimize it, in my opinion he won’t run.”
Then there’s Herman Cain. The former Godfather’s Pizza chief and former front-runner for the nomination just a month ago used race as a hammer against his critics. Those who dared criticize him for anything were stuck on the “Democrat plantation,” fearful of “an accomplished, articulate, optimistic black man” or any of the other race-based excuses he used to get away from explaining his glaring deficiencies or stunning moral lapses. Cain’s allies used race to defend him. Remember “our blacks are so much better than their blacks”? And I threw a hand grenade on the table of “Morning Joe” in October when I posited that the reason why Cain was not being roundly criticized by Republicans for his astonishing unpreparedness was because white Republicans were afraid to criticize a black candidate. So, they let him continue to embarrass himself and the party until the alleged friends-with-benefits relationship with Ginger White proved too much to ignore.
Sooner or later, a major candidate for the Republican nomination will have to give the equivalent of President Obama’s speech on race during the 2008 campaign. A frank assessment of the issue that discusses the party’s role in exacerbating tensions and sowing division, the state of race relations from his or her perspective and how they see their role in making this a more perfect union. That Ron Paul rides high in Iowa demonstrates how far off that day is. And until that day comes, the Republican party will deserve to lose the political and electoral advantage ceded to them by Johnson 47 years ago.
Jonathan Capehart is an editorial writer for The Washington Post.
Editor's comment: I have voted for Ron Paul before, and I was an instrument of his son Rand winning a seat in the U. S. Senate.
And my son, Too Tall, is friends with Rand's middle son.
Words To Live By, Words Of Wisdom And Words To Ponder EVERYDAY Of Our Lives, As Liberty Loving Patriots!
"The spirit of resistance to government is so valuable on certain occasions, that I wish it to be always kept alive. It will often be exercised when wrong, but better so than not to be exercised at all. I like a little rebellion now and then. It is like a storm in the atmosphere."
-- Thomas Jefferson, letter to Abigail Adams, 1787
Two brothers caught ferrying more than 70 pounds of cocaine across the country in a plane were sentenced Thursday in federal court in Bowling Green.
Dagoberto Garcia-Guillen, 22, was sentenced to 11 years and three months in prison on charges of possession and conspiracy to possess five kilograms or more of cocaine, while his brother, Jesus Garcia-Guillen, 27, was given a nine-year prison sentence on the same charges.
The brothers, Mexican nationals who were in the United States on visas, were arrested Oct. 1, 2010, at Bowling Green-Warren County Regional Airport.
Bowling Green Police Department officers found two suitcases containing more than 70 pounds of cocaine in a Piper Seneca II twin-engine airplane piloted by Dagoberto Garcia-Guillen.
The plane had been tracked by officials from the federal Department of Homeland Security after the brothers were reported behaving suspiciously during a stop at a Cushing, Okla., airport to buy fuel.
The cocaine had a street value of nearly $1 million, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office of the Western District of Kentucky.
At Thursday's sentencing, the brothers offered apologies for their actions, speaking haltingly before Chief Judge Joseph McKinley.
"I'd like to say I'm sorry. I'm nervous now," Jesus Garcia-Guillen said through an interpreter.
It was revealed at the sentencing that Dagoberto Garcia-Guillen, in the U.S. to attend flight school, was in the process of obtaining his commercial pilot's license so that he could fly for a Mexican airline.
According to attorney Robert Kuzas of Chicago, who represented Dagoberto Garcia-Guillen, Dagoberto disclosed to investigators that he received drugs in Arizona from a man identified as "Wilbur," and then flew the cocaine-filled suitcases to Pennsylvania, where the shipments would be picked up by a man identified as "Jefe."
Dagoberto Garcia-Guillen made six such trips from Arizona to Pennsylvania in the span of several months, including a dry run without drugs on his first flight.
Jesus Garcia-Guillen accompanied his brother on three of the trips, mainly to help Dagoberto Garcia-Guillen stay awake and keep him company, according to federal public defender Patrick Bouldin, who represented Jesus Garcia-Guillen.
"This crime could have occurred without my client - it could not have occurred without Dago," Bouldin said.
The charges to which the brothers pleaded guilty call for a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years, but McKinley granted Bouldin's request for a so-called safety valve for Jesus Garcia-Guillen, a provision in federal sentencing guidelines that allows defendants in drug trafficking cases to serve less than the mandatory minimum sentence if they are determined to have been low-level participants, told the truth about their involvement in the offense, did not use a weapon, were involved in a non-violent crime and have little or no criminal history.
Kuzas also requested a safety valve exemption for Dagoberto Garcia-Guillen, arguing that his client had no criminal history prior to his arrest in Bowling Green.
"I do believe (Dagoberto) made a very, very immature decision without thinking it through," Kuzas said. "He does come from a good family. This is not the type of young man that you will ever see in this courthouse again. This is not a kid who will be on a path of destruction for the rest of his life."
McKinley denied Kuzas' request for leniency.
"I know you don't have a criminal history, but you chose a whopper for your first go at crime," McKinley said when handing down his sentence on Dagoberto Garcia-Guillen.
SORRY, Folks. I've Been Sick As A Dog For The Past Two Days. Now, Thanks Be To God And His Abiding Mercies, I'm Up And Ready To Roll. Allahu Akbar.
Yes, God Is GREAT indeed. I threw up consistently and barely stopping to breath the all day and night. Finally, I asked Him to show His mercies towards me, and He did, so I'm up and ready to enjoy this day He has made, and do His work in it, the best I can.
My Friend Gary Moore, Husband Of Court Of Appeals Judge Joy Moore And Boone County Judge Executive, Will Be Running For Geoff Davis' 4Th Congressional Office. I Will Support His Candidacy, WITHOUT Any Reservation. I Hope You Do, Too.
Breaking News: U. S. House Votes Down Two Month Payroll Tax Extension Passed By Senate. The Children's Playground In CONgress Remains Open.
POLITICO Breaking News
The House voted 229-193 Tuesday to reject the Senate-passed two-month payroll tax extension and demand a House-Senate conference to hammer out differences between the chambers on a tax break that is set to expire at the end of this year. House Republicans prefer a one-year extension of the tax cut, but Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has said he will not re-start negotiations until the House passes a two-month extension of the tax cut that the Senate approved by an overwhelming majority on Saturday.
John David Dyche: "Jon Huntsman Better Qualified Than Republican Rivals." Yes, But American Elections Have NOTHING To Do With Qualifications. Rather, They Have EVERYTHING To Do With One Being Able To Manipulate And Buy His/Her Way To The Top! Most Times, "EXCREMENT" Floats To The Top, Literally And Figuratively!!
This columnist has accumulated plenty of political memorabilia. Much of it evidences past support for unsuccessful contenders for the Republican presidential nomination. For example, there is a Richard Lugar bumper sticker from 1996 and a Rudy Giuliani button from 2008.
Now there is a new Jon Huntsman coffee mug that might memorialize my 2012 gesture of GOP futility. We will know after New Hampshire’s primary on Jan. 10.
Huntsman, 51, is not competing in the Iowa caucuses. He is staking his campaign on “beating market expectations” in the Granite State, where he is polling at 13 percent and won two newspaper endorsements last weekend.
Many Republicans reflect an increasingly desperate desire for an alternative to current national front-runners Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney. Huntsman is better qualified than his Republican rivals. He also has the kind of experience that Barack Obama so regrettably lacked when elected.
Huntsman has a business background from his family’s global chemical company. He has executive experience as a Ronald Reagan staffer, a deputy secretary of commerce, and the twice-elected governor of Utah. And he has foreign policy expertise as U.S. trade representative and ambassador to Singapore and China.
As governor, Huntsman cut taxes dramatically. He also increased state spending, but boasts that Utah “ranked number one in the nation in job creation and was named the best-managed state by the Pew Center.” Huntsman passed tort reform and what he describes as “comprehensive, market-based health care reform” that does not rely on “government control and individual mandates.”
The Wall Street Journal calls Huntsman’s economic plan “as impressive as any to date in the GOP Presidential field, and certainly better than what we’ve seen from the front-runners.” It would create three personal income tax rates (8 percent, 14 percent and 23 percent); eliminate deductions, credits, and taxes on capital gains and dividends; and reduce the corporate rate to 25 percent. Huntsman would also break up the biggest banks and abolish Obamacare, the Dodd-Frank law, the Sarbanes-Oxley law, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
Huntsman endorses Rep. Paul Ryan’s budget and plan to introduce private competition into Medicare. He advocates term limits for Congress. On social issues, the Mormon father of seven (including two adopted foreign daughters and a son at the U.S. Naval Academy) is strongly pro-life and pro-gun rights. He favors civil unions, but not gay marriage.
Writing in National Review Online recently, Michael Tanner said, “It is interesting that Huntsman was so quickly dismissed as a RINO (Republican in Name Only), when many of his positions actually appear to be to the right of both Romney and Gingrich.”
There are reasons for some Republican skepticism of Huntsman, however.
While serving as Obama’s ambassador to China he referred to the president as a “remarkable leader.” Huntsman says he was praising Obama for appointing a Republican. By taking the post Huntsman showed bipartisanship and patriotism.
Huntsman advocates “rapid withdrawal” from Afghanistan. He goes farther faster than other Republicans would, but is closer to where the American people are on the long and costly war.
“Call me crazy,” Huntsman says, but “I believe in evolution and trust scientists on global warming.” He supported a “cap and trade” initiative that columnist George Will called “a fanciful climate-change regime among Western states.”
On illegal immigration, Huntsman supports securing the border, but as for illegals already in America he says it is “logically and financially impossible” to deport them all. He advocates a “humane and comprehensive approach” requiring paying back taxes and learning English. Huntsman supports the DREAM Act, which would give children of illegal immigrants tuition assistance.
These positions alienate some in the GOP base, but appeal to independents critical to a general election victory. And beating Obama, whose re-election would be ruinous for America, is what Republicans should be all about now.
Neither Lugar nor Giuliani won the Republican nomination. Both, like Huntsman now, were criticized as insufficiently conservative.
The GOP should remember, though, that the more conservative nominees who beat those fine men went on to lose the general election.
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 online at www.courier-journal.com; email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Editor's comment: ... but American elections are NOT about qualifications. If they were, MANY of the GOATS sitting in office today will NOT be doing so, and MANY of us sitting unelected will be in office.
FRANKFORT, Ky. — As Gov. Steve Beshear finished uttering the 18 words about expanded gambling in his 2,000-word inaugural address last week, a National Guard plane flew low and noisily over the Capitol, forcing him to repeat his next line.
It was an inadvertent, mistimed exclamation point for a topic that Beshear still wants to treat gingerly, after failing to include it in his first inaugural speech or State of the Commonwealth address four years ago, though it had been the main plank of his campaign platform.
The buzzing of the Capitol created another sort of buzz, around this question: Will the second term be bolder than the first?
When Beshear first took office, commentator Al Smith wrote for the inaugural program that the new governor was the hero of the second chance: a man who had lost races for governor and senator, “survived political exile in midlife and struggled back to the summit.”
Now Beshear’s second chance gets its own second chance, as he starts a second and last four-year term, following one that fulfilled little if any of the promise felt at dawn of his first Inauguration Day. That was mainly the fault of the Great Recession, but not entirely. Beshear was overly cautious, and somewhat unprepared.
He acknowledged this month, in an interview with KET’s Bill Goodman, that he miscalculated in 2007, “not really understanding how partisan the political process had become” since his first sojourn in Frankfort ended 20 years earlier — a time when foes during the day were friends at night, blurring party lines.
In his second inaugural, the Democrat said his 20-point victory over his four-year adversary, Republican state Senate President David Williams, showed that voters “want leaders who build bridges, not dams; who are motivated by the common good, not ideology.”
Yes, but those sentiments were mainly a rejection of Williams’ public persona, not an endorsement of Beshear’s. He has become the governor of low expectations, as indicated by the sparse turnout for his second inauguration. The parade had more participants than spectators.
But we should expect more from Beshear’s second term, and we have some reasons to.
He should be at the height of his powers. He is a smart man who has learned some lessons, and Williams has been humbled — and says there are enough votes in the Senate to pass Beshear’s signature issue, expanded gambling, though the devil may still be in the details.
For a decade and a half, governors, legislators and horse-industry advocates have tried to iron out the bumpy, three-dimensional blanket that is expanded gambling, and they have failed. Perhaps now the job will be easier, especially if they can be satisfied with what can pass and not spend precious time and political capital pushing what might be better but also might not pass.
But it is still Beshear’s place to exercise the leadership necessary to forge consensus, and it will be his first big test. He had better have legislation ready to move, votes at the ready, no later than the completion of redistricting and the filing for legislative races.
Beshear has been reaching out to legislators, surely testing the Senate waters to see if Williams might be ousted as president (not for another year, at least) and hopefully building bridges in the House, where he has sometimes gotten more respect from Republicans than Democrats. “Friendships are important, and we’ve spent a lot of time building those,” he told KET’s Goodman.
Beshear’s best friend for a second term, after his wife, Jane, may be Lt. Gov. Jerry Abramson. He will be a true lieutenant, unlike Daniel Mongiardo, whose usefulness ended with the 2007 Democratic primary. In Abramson, Beshear has a trusted buddy who should be able to help him crank up his game — and perhaps change the outlook and trajectory of the administration.
Forty years ago, political scientist James David Barber published “The Presidential Character,” a seminal study of what makes chief executives tick, boiled down to two basic questions: Does the executive tend to act, or be acted upon? And is he or she fundamentally optimistic or pessimistic? The answers produce one of four personality type. The presidents when Barber wrote, Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon, were active-negative; Dwight Eisenhower and Ronald Reagan were passive-positive.
Early in his career, as a state representative and attorney general in the 1970s and 1980s, Beshear was an active-positive character like John F. Kennedy — and Abramson. But in the defensive posture he adopted in response to Williams and the recession, he has seemed more passive-positive, mainly reacting to events. That put him in the habit of waiting for the game to come to him instead of turning the game his way.
That cautious approach was reflected as he prepared for last week’s big speech. The game plan reportedly was to try to avoid a big headline about expanded gambling, presumably because the details haven’t been worked out. But in the end, he seemed to realize that gambling would, and should, be a focus of attention. He told reporters before the speech, for the first time, that he favored a constitutional amendment to resolve the issue.
With Abramson at his side, Beshear should find boldness more comfortable as he pursues tax reform and help for the health and education of children, especially preschoolers. Abramson brings a strong, active-positive attitude and could help revive the Beshear we once knew: the attorney general who took on the state police, electric utilities and oil-shale mining speculators, and the lieutenant governor who created a study group named Kentucky Tomorrow, the theme of last week’s inaugural.
Such a Steve Beshear should not be a governor of low expectations. Given this rare opportunity for a Kentucky governor, he should strive to make this term match those of first-rank Govs. Bert Combs and Louie Nunn, who also won on their second tries. They did that on their next chances, in an era when you didn’t come back after 20 years. As Beshear has learned, this is a new era, and as he should realize, he is lucky to have a second chance — and now, even a second chance at the second chance. Don’t blow it, governor.
Al Cross, former Courier-Journal political writer, is director of the Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues and an associate professor in the School of Journalism and Telecommunications at the University of Kentucky. His opinions are his own, not those of the university.
Why Is Kentucky So Corrupt? Why Can't Public Officials Serve Us Without Corruption, But With Distiinction? This Time I'm Referring To PUTRID Ordor Emanating From The Louisville Metropolitan Sewer District.
Newt Gingrich has delivered more policy statements, campaign speeches, press appearances, course teachings, newspaper op-eds, and books (24 at last count) than any of his opponents seeking the Republican presidential nomination. So you’d think all this transparency would provide a clear picture of how Gingrich would govern if he were president. But the GOP presidential hopeful is still full of surprises.
Election 2012 Complete Coverage
With Gingrich currently leading the pack, his GOP rivals have the knives out. Saturday night’s Republican debate in Iowa was proof-positive that defeating Obama took a back seat to derailing Gingrich. Ron Paul and Michelle Bachman accused Gingrich of being a compromised conservative. And Romney accused him of being a bomb thrower.
In a speech last Thursday at the National Press Club, former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman called Gingrich “a product of the same Washington that participated in the excesses of our broken and polarized political system.” And in a strategy switch, Mitt Romney dispatched surrogates to criticize Gingrich’s leadership ability and commitment to conservative principles. “He’s not a reliable and trusted conservative leader,” said former Senator Jim Talent of Missouri, a Romney supporter.
Gingrich has waved away the attacks. “We’re focused on remaining positive,” he said last week during a campaign appearance in South Carolina.
Either way, with roughly three weeks to go until the Iowa caucuses, The Fiscal Times has compiled these tidbits about the longtime politician, historian, consultant and author:
1. Gingrich avoided the Vietnam War draft through deferments because he was a student and then a father. “Given everything I believe in, a large part of me thinks I should have gone over,” he said in 1985.
2. Before his election to the House in 1978, he waged two unsuccessful campaigns to unseat Georgia’s sixth-district incumbent Jack Flynt in 1974 and 1976. In 1976 he attacked Flynt’s ethics, after a newspaper pointed out that while chairman of the House Ethics Committee, Flynt had told another congressman who was facing influence peddling charges not to worry about an ethics investigation. Gingrich lost that election with 48.3 percent of the vote, but won the seat in 1978 when Flynt retired. Some 25 years later, of course, Gingrich would face his own ethics charges.
4. Gingrich was a member of the Sierra Club, the left-leaning environmental advocacy group, from 1984 to 1990 – the years when he publicly opposed drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Later, in a 2008 book entitled Drill Here, Drill Now, Pay Less, Gingrich supported opening ANWR to drilling, as well as other parts of the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.
5. He broke from most House Republicans in 1990 by opposing a tax increase that broke George H.W. Bush’s famous “Read my lips, no new taxes,” pledge, which increased individual income tax rates from a top rate of 28 percent to 31 percent and phased out personal exemptions.
6. In 1995, Time magazine named him Man of the Year after he co-engineered the GOP’s Contract with America, saying, “Leaders make things possible. Exceptional leaders make them inevitable. Newt Gingrich belongs in the category of the exceptional.”
7.Two years later, in 1997, he was the first House speaker in U.S. history to be reprimanded by the House for ethics violations. The House Ethics committee ordered him to pay out $300,000 after it concluded Gingrich had repeatedly improperly used tax-exempt charitable organizations to advance his political goals, accepting $25,000 from a restaurant-advocacy group to teach ideas they favored in a college course he taught. Congress fined him both for the violations themselves, as well as to cover some of the costs of the investigation, after Gingrich admitted he “misled” congressional investigators.
9. He said in 2005 that tenure should be abolished at state universities, calling it “an artificial social construct.”
10. Gingrich co-chaired an independent congressional study group made up of health policy experts formed in 2007 to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of action taken within the U.S. to fight Alzheimer’s. Within the Alzheimer’s community, he’s well respected, with many in the community crediting him with helping to raise awareness.
11. He has flip-flopped on whether the government should impose an individual mandate to buy health insurance or not. In June 2007 he said, “Personal responsibility extends to the purchase of health insurance. Citizens should not be able to cheat their neighbors by not buying health insurance, particularly when they can afford it, and expect others to pay for their care when they need it.” By spring of 2011, his tune completely changed. “I am against any effort to impose a federal mandate on anyone because it is fundamentally wrong and I believe unconstitutional,” he said.
13. In a December 2010 Fox News appearance, Gingrich endorsed letting business owners decide when to let the Bush-era tax cuts expire. “What Republicans ought to do is say to people who create jobs, how many years does the tax code need to be extended for you to make an investment decision? … I would have the business leadership of the country describe the number” of years the tax cuts should remain, he said.
15. What sort of First Lady might Callista Gingrich be? Last week Gingrich’s wife told Reuters that she admired Nancy Reagan, Laura Bush and Jacqueline Kennedy. Mrs. Reagan, she said, “was always protective of her husband, looking out [for] his best interest always.” Laura Bush was “a very loving mother and wife,” while Jacqueline Kennedy had “incredible style and grace. She also focused on the arts and music and that's something I admire very much.”
Other Factoids about Newt Gingrich:
• His full name: Newton Leroy Gingrich. He was born in June 1943 as Newton Leroy McPherson and was adopted a few years later by his mother’s second husband, Army officer Robert Gingrich. He and his family (including three younger half-sisters) moved four times in seven years. They lived in Fort Riley, Kansas; Orleans, France; Stuttgart, Germany; and Fort Benning, Georgia.
• Gingrich became interested in politics as a teenager while living in Orleans, France, especially when visiting the Battle of Verdun site, where his biography says “he learned about the sacrifices made and the importance of political leadership.” He graduated from Baker H.S. in Columbia, Georgia.
• He earned a bachelor’s in history from Emory University in 1965 and a master’s and doctorate in Modern European History from Tulane (in 1968 and 1971, respectively).
• His Ph.D. dissertation topic: Belgian education policy in the Congo, 1945 to 1960.
• Before he was elected to Congress in 1978, he taught history and environmental studies at West Georgia College for eight years.
• He believes in the theory of “departure and return,” from historian Arnold J. Toynbee: It says that great leaders must be banished from their homelands before they can improve themselves and return to lead. One of his personal heroes is Charles de Gaulle, the French general who was exiled from France before returning to become one of the country’s most storied presidents.
• Among his 24 books (including 13 New York Times bestsellers) are several alternate history novels, including 1945, published in 1995, in which Hitler doesn’t declare war on the U.S. first but is injured in a plane crash on December 6, 1941, while Germany is run by Goring, Goebbels, and Halder. Gingrich has also written a series of Civil War novels, including Grant Comes East and The Battle of the Crater: A Novel.
Words To Live By, Words Of Wisdom And Words To Ponder EVERYDAY Of Our Lives, As Liberty Loving Patriots!
"If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary. In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place, oblige it to control itself."
Please Read POTUS Barack Obama's Email Confirming The Last American Troops Have Left Iraq. We Thank God For His Enduring Mercies.
Early this morning, the last of our troops left Iraq.
As we honor and reflect on the sacrifices that millions of men and women made for this war, I wanted to make sure you heard the news.
Bringing this war to a responsible end was a cause that sparked many Americans to get involved in the political process for the first time. Today's outcome is a reminder that we all have a stake in our country's future, and a say in the direction we choose.
Merlene Davis: Gingrich Will Be Faithful Because He Is Too Old To Stray[, NOT Because Of Any New Found Faith]!
Gingrich will be faithful because he is too old to stray
By Merlene Davis
I was out shopping recently when I bumped into a respected member of this community who is also a longtime Baptist minister.
We were in an outlet store for women's clothing, and he had several articles over his arm that he had selected.
Never one to miss an opportunity to tease, I greeted him and then asked if I had caught him buying clothing for a paramour.
"Is this a rumor I can start?" I asked. "Is this something I should tell your wife?"
"Please do," he said. "At 72, please start that rumor."
We both laughed and continued shopping.
I thought of that when I read that Republican presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich had pledged to keep his marriage vows this time around.
His pledge, in agreement with "The Marriage Vow: A Declaration of Dependence Upon Marriage and Family," written by Family Leader, a conservative group, is the same one signed by fellow Republican candidates Michele Bachmann, Rick Perry and Rick Santorum.
"I also pledge to uphold the institution of marriage through personal fidelity to my spouse and respect for the marital bonds of others," Gingrich wrote in an email to the group.
Now that he is headed toward his seventh decade on this earth, Gingrich has decided to remain faithful to his third and latest wife.
OK. My faith tells me to forgive, so I'm trying to give Gingrich the benefit of the doubt. And that doubt is significant.
It's no secret that Gingrich has been unfaithful.
According to his first wife, Jackie Battley, who was interviewed in 1985, Gingrich had moved out of their home before she underwent surgery for a benign tumor in 1980.
A false story has Battley recovering from cancer surgery when Gingrich brings their daughters for a visit and asks Battley to sign divorce papers.
According to Battley, her surgery for uterine cancer occurred a couple of years before that. The hospital visit in question got a bit heated because Gingrich wanted to discuss the terms of the divorce, she said. Gingrich has said they got into an argument.
That was 31 years ago, when Gingrich was 37.
In 1981, six months after his divorce from Battley, Gingrich married Marianne Ginther. They were married 18 years, during which he had an affair with his current wife.
The second marriage ended in 1999, about eight months after the couple learned Ginther had multiple sclerosis.
The affair with Callista Bisek, Gingrich's current wife, occurred during the impeachment proceedings for President Bill Clinton involving his affair with Monica Lewinsky. Gingrich married Bisek in 2000.
In a recent GOP debate, Gingrich said, "I said upfront, openly, I've made mistakes at times. I've had to go to God for forgiveness. And I think people have to measure who I am now and whether I'm a person they can trust."
Wow. It does seem he has changed, doesn't it? He seemed to be saying he wasn't going to stray from his marriage vows again, because of his faith, not because he was getting too old to do so.
That is commendable. When people turn from sin, God is willing to forgive them. I'm supposed to do the same. Anyone can change.
I was right there with Gingrich until I read an open letter to him written in November by Richard D. Land, executive editor of Christian Post and a member of the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission.
Land told Gingrich to come clean about his marriages and infidelities if he wanted to secure the votes of evangelical women.
He suggested Gingrich needed to make a speech and envision a "40-something evangelical woman" listening to his every word. Gingrich needn't worry so much about the evangelical men because they are "willing to cut you some slack over your turbulent marital history," Land wrote.
But here is the kicker.
"Make it as clear as you can that you have apologized for the hurt your actions caused and that you have learned from your past misdeeds," Land wrote. "Express your love for, and loyalty to, your wife and your commitment to your marriage. Promise your fellow Americans that if they are generous enough to trust you with the presidency, you will not let them down and that there will be no moral scandals in a Gingrich White House."
Wow. Gingrich seems to be following that advice very closely.
Land concluded, "Such a speech would not convince everyone to vote for you, but it might surprise you how many Evangelicals, immersed in a spiritual tradition of confession, redemption, forgiveness and second and third chances, might."
He was basically telling Gingrich to manipulate me through my beliefs. If Gingrich can mold my opinions of him by using my faith as his potter's wheel, what other stuff can he do in the name of God?
I'm back to believing that if Gingrich is faithful to this wife, it will be because he is too old to stray.
Reach Merlene Davis at (859) 231-3218 or 1-800-950-6397, Ext. 3218, or email@example.com.
I'll Be The First To Admit I FAILED To Acknowledge To The World, The Birthday Celebration Of Our Magnificent Master Document, The Bill Of Rights. Sorry.
Bill of Rights is nation's bedrock
By Chris Bliss
Guess what? You just missed celebrating Bill of Rights Day!
Two hundred twenty years and two days ago, on Dec. 15, 1791, history was changed forever when Virginia became the 10th state to ratify the Bill of Rights, thus making it part of the Constitution. Thus was preserved the fledgling new country called the United States of America, after the Articles of Confederation had failed.
Most Americans don't realize that without ratification of the Bill of Rights, the deal between the states on the new Constitution would have fallen apart, and with it quite possibly the United States itself.
Now, 220 years later, the Bill of Rights remains the heart and soul of who we are as a people, and it is why America remains an inspiration to those seeking liberty everywhere. Its ingenious balance of personal freedoms and political principles has proven both dynamic and durable, becoming one of history's most important and influential documents as the global road map for human rights.
It's a remarkable story, all the more so when you consider that, as a high school history teacher from Nogales, Ariz., pointed out to me, the provisions of the Bill of Rights only applied to roughly five percent of the human beings living within the United States when it was ratified. They didn't apply to slaves. They didn't apply to Native Americans. They didn't apply in large part to women, and only in full to white males of a certain amount of property and position.
And yet there is no exclusionary language within the Bill of Rights.
So as our concept of individual liberty evolved through the experience of it, as well as through the wrenching tragedy of civil war, we had the blueprint already in hand to build on, so that today it is universally accepted that these freedoms and principles apply to everyone.
Accepted, that is, by those with any clear knowledge of them. The sad fact is that at this key crossroads in the life of our nation, the Bill of Rights is barely taught in our schools and is nowhere to be found in our public squares. Worse, it is so uncelebrated in our public discourse that on December 15, while flipping through the morning news shows, I heard the following on no fewer than three networks: "It's December 15, and you know what that means ... It's National Cupcake Day!"
America is the first nation in history founded around a set of ideas and principles, rather than a single race or culture. Our greatest achievements can be traced to when we've fought to live up to these ideals, and our greatest failures to when we've abandoned them.
I hope you'll join with MyBillofRights.org in supporting the enduring genius of our Bill of Rights. Great ideas make a great nation. Looking down the difficult road ahead, it might be a good time to revisit those who made America the light of the world.
So, put it on your calendar for 2012. And maybe bake some red, white and blue cupcakes.
Chris Bliss is a comedian, writer and the executive director of MyBillofRights.org
Western Kentucky University head football coach Willie Taggart’s new contract is one step closer to being official.
The executive committee of WKU’s Board of Regents unanimously approved the contract at its meeting Friday, meaning it will go before the entire board at the next regular meeting Jan. 20.
Taggart’s new contract, the details of which were revealed Dec. 7, more than doubles his base salary to $475,000 and would make him the highest-paid employee at the university.
During the executive committee’s meeting, athletic director Ross Bjork asked board members to approve the contract. He said a raise for Taggart is necessary to continue the momentum of this football season and build a productive program.
Taggart led WKU’s football team to the biggest single-season turnaround in Sun Belt Conference history, finishing the 2011 campaign with a 7-5 overall record after starting the season 0-4.
At Friday’s meeting, Faculty Regent Patti Minter, an associate history professor, asked the board to support giving faculty merit raises. Minter isn’t on the executive committee, but addressed members before the vote.
“What this contract represents is the biggest merit raise in university history,” Minter said.
From the faculty’s perspective, the only way to counter that is for them to get raises as well. Faculty members received only a 1 percent raise this year and haven’t had a merit raise since 2008.
“WKU has to make the academic mission and the faculty that execute it a priority ... if it’s to call itself a leading American university,” Minter said. “That is a distinction you can only have when you reward faculty excellence.”
She said she can sum up the dozens of faculty comments she’s received about Taggart’s raise with one word: demoralizing. She used sports language to describe the situation faculty members are in.
“The bottom line is, if we don’t reward our players, we can’t have a successful season, and the team’s not feeling too good right now,” Minter said.
BOWLING GREEN, KY. — An Iraqi man who had claimed he was innocent of terrorism-related charges has done an abrupt about-face, pleading guilty Friday to trying to funnel weapons and cash to al-Qaida operatives in his home country.
Waad Ramadan Alwan, 30, appeared in U.S. District Court in Bowling Green to plead guilty to conspiring to attack American soldiers in Iraq and to use a weapon of mass destruction and attempting to provide material support to terrorists.
Alwan was arrested in May in Bowling Green and previously had pleaded not guilty to charges in a 23-count indictment that also named fellow Iraqi Mohanad Shareef Hammadi.
Alwan’s attorney declined to comment after the hearing.
U.S. Attorney David J. Hale said in a statement that Alwan “admitted to engaging in terrorist activities both here in the United States and in Iraq. He acknowledged he had built and placed numerous improvised explosive devices (IEDs) aimed at killing and injuring American soldiers in Iraq, and he admitted that he tried to send numerous weapons from Kentucky to Iraq to be used against American soldiers.”
Hale said the joint efforts of federal and local law enforcement had thwarted “the ongoing intentions of an experienced terrorist.”
“The guilty plea today sends a strong message to anyone who would attempt similar crimes that they will face the same determined law enforcement and prosecution efforts,” he said.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said Alwan’s guilty plea “confirms that he was a combatant who was associated with enemy forces overseas. The military should have had custody of him to begin with for purposes of intelligence, detention and punishment.”
In a statement, Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., praised the work of law enforcement officials in arresting Alwan and Hammadi and said the “incident underlines the need for a thorough review and re-examination of the process through which refugees are granted access to our country.”
“The grave offenses this man pleaded guilty of committing could have cost innumerable American lives,” he said.
Shannon Coughlin said he had to be even-handed when it came to choosing the paint scheme of his new Bowling Green restaurant, Mister B’s Pizza and Wings.
The restaurant officially opened to the public Wednesday, featuring Western Kentucky University and University of Kentucky themes. It is one of several new restaurants that have opened or are close to opening in Bowling Green.
Others include Sweet Temptations Bakery and Cafe, which opened Monday in Fairview Plaza; IHOP, which opened near Olive Garden on Scottsville Road; Tulum Mexican Restaurant, which is renovating the space formerly occupied by Peppers off Louisville Road; Peppers, which has moved and reopened on Campbell Lane near the Kroger Shopping Center; Taco Bell, which is in the final stages of paving its parking lot at its location near WKU; and a Five Guys burger joint that will go into the strip center in front of Walmart on Campbell Lane.
Coughlin said he had to be careful not to have the UK blue dominate WKU’s red, since Bowling Green is the hometown of the Hilltoppers but also home to many UK fans.
A friends and family night Tuesday went well.
“We didn’t even hand out our invitations until the day before, but we were still 100 percent full,” he said of the restaurant, which occupies the former Baker Bros. Deli space in Thoroughbred Square.
“It went really well,” he said. “We were trying to work out our kinks ... but still got lots of compliments on our food.”
Coughlin said he expects that the hand-breaded appetizers and pizzas will be the most popular items, with prices ranging from $2.99 for some appetizers to $7.49 for sandwiches and $5.99 to $18.49 for their pizzas.
The restaurant also has a full liquor license but no bar, to encourage families to come in and dine while the adults may be watching games on one of the multiple TVs or large projection screen.
Coughlin employees about 75 part- and full-time employees. The restaurant is open Sunday through Thursday 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. and 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
Coughlin, who also has a Mister B’s in Henderson, said opening the restaurant here was a pleasurable experience because of how city government and health inspectors worked to make sure the business could open on time.
“They went out of their way,” he said.
For more information, call the restaurant at 270-904-4200.
Sweet Tempations owner Dafnel Fulcher is no stranger to the restaurant business, having operated one in Russellville for several years. While she was most recently selling cars at Mansfield Chevrolet in Russellville, Fulcher has been baking cakes and selling them for 39 years.
“I just decided that I had been living in Russellville for 59 years and if I was ever going to make a move, now was the time,” she said. “Plus 75 percent of my business was coming from Bowling Green.”
Now, some of her Russellville and Logan County customers have already followed her to Bowling Green, lunching at the Fairview Plaza restaurant this week.
Fulcher said she has numerous cookies, candies and sweets, including cinnamon rolls and homemade sourdough bread for sale each day. She also will have specialty cakes to order, chicken salad and pretzel salad by the pint and daily lunch specials in the restaurant, which is open Monday through Friday from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.
“We also are doing gift baskets – we did 41 of them on Monday – and we will be open after hours for special events,” she said.
A couple of doctors have already inquired about holding meetings in the space that will hold about 45 people. Fulcher also is now booking catering for weddings.
“So far, I’ve been shocked that we’ve been so busy,” she said. “Hopefully next week we will have our big sign up instead of just our banner.”
For more information, follow Sweet Tempations on Facebook or call 270-904-4210.
The Taco Bell next to campus should open late next week, according to district manager Allan Kingrey.
“We get all this rain during the week when people are working and then it’s sunny on the weekends when they aren’t,” Kingrey said of why work has been unpredictable lately.
Workers are trying to get the parking lot finished this week.
Kingrey said drivers from both directions on Russellville Road will be able to turn into the restaurant.
“We are going to have two entrances, one for those coming from campus and one for those going toward campus,” he said.
The restaurant will employ about 35 people. Applications are still being taken at the other two Taco Bell stores. Until employment is complete, workers from the other stores will be helping out.
The restaurant will be open at 10 a.m., with the lobby closing at 10 p.m. The drive through is open until 2 a.m. every day. Kingrey said the restaurant will seat 38 people.
Once this project is complete, the North Carolina franchise owner will have Kingrey overseeing two more construction projects in Bowling Green.
“We have already purchased the land on Nashville Road,” he said.
Two separate buildings will house another Taco Bell and a Pizza Hut on sites adjacent to the new strip center that houses Lost River Pizza, Home Place Cafe, Wino’s Depot, a nail salon and Lee’s Famous Recipe.
Realtor Alex Nottmeier of Neal Turner Realty said the sale for those two new restaurants, which Kingrey named, closed Tuesday. Nottmeier also helped close the deal for Coughlin’s restaurant and was at his friends and family night.
“I think it went really well,” he said.
The Pizza Hut on Nashville Road will mark a return for the restaurant to the street.
“I know there used to be one there years ago,” Kingrey said.
Actually, U.S. 31-W had two Pizza Huts at one time – one was near the lower end of the bypass and the other was in front of WKU’s South Campus.
Kingrey said construction on the two standalone restaurants should begin after the first of the year.
The lots already are properly zoned and likely will require only building permits, according to Josh Moore, construction and flood plain coordinator at the City-County Planning Commission of Warren County.
Moore said there is a potential for another new restaurant at Three Springs and Scottsville roads. A development plan filed a few years ago proposed a restaurant for the site. The gas station that stood there was torn down about a month ago, but so far no building permits have been issued for the site.
Across the street from there, IHOP opened Nov. 28 and is open 24 hours a day every day of the week, holidays included.
No information was available about the opening of Tulum. Owner Tony Aguirre said he expects that the restaurant will open after the first of the year. He still hasn’t settled on the hours for the Tex-Mex restaurant and is waiting on approval for his liquor license.
Nottmeier said a franchisee out of Charlottesville, Va., will put in the Five Guys in the strip center in front of Walmart. The 2,500 square-foot space will be at the end of the building so it can have patio seating.
“It’s going to be a pretty substantial build-out, so I’m not sure how long it’s going to take,” he said. “We have two other leases pending for that building and expect it to be fully leased by the year end. It will be another deli-style restaurant and another national retailer.”
A two-part series of stories in The Courier-Journal earlier this week drew attention to Kentucky’s practice of warehousing “status offenders,” the legal term given to youths charged with truancy and other nonviolent offenses, charges that wouldn’t be a violation of the law for adults.
As it has in so many additional undesirable categories, Kentucky has one of the highest rates in the nation of jailing children for these relatively minor offenses, a practice whose effectiveness is seriously questioned and one that is costly in both human and financial terms. Kentucky rounds out the top three states, along with Texas and Washington state.
Staff writers Deborah Yetter and Jason Riley reported that last year, more than 1,500 of Kentucky’s youth were sent to juvenile jails for status offenses such as missing school and running away. Cost: $210 per day per child.
There are indications that the practice has gained enough attention, and has reached enough of a critical mass, that other solutions could be explored for how better to deal with children whose problems are more firmly rooted in abuse, neglect, poverty and mental illness — something no amount of incarceration or detention can fix for a child.
They should be explored.
“There has to be a better alternative than locking a child behind a door to get their attention,” said Hasan Davis, Kentucky’s deputy director of juvenile justice. “You can detain a youth all day. If what they are running away from hasn’t been addressed, they will go back to running away.”
Some of Kentucky’s problems in dealing with status offenders stem from the gray area left by state law, which doesn’t specify exactly where the youthful offenders fit into the state’s juvenile justice or social services apparatus.
That needs to change, and more of an eye needs to be given to solutions that keep kids out of jail and in school, and ones that at least try to get to the bottom of what is causing the disruptive behavior.
Several pieces of legislation will be proposed in the upcoming session of the General Assembly, including a bill from Rep. Kelly Flood, D-Lexington, that will restrict the number of juveniles who are sent to jail. The similar bill she filed last year languished in the Senate. It deserves a better fate this time around.
Other ideas also deserve a thorough hearing and consideration: requiring more information about the child charged as a status offender; imposing expiration dates on court orders for status offenders; providing legal representation for the child; allowing school officials to provide more information about children to judges.
Clearly, Kentucky can’t — and shouldn’t — just keep locking up kids. It’s time to try something else for their sakes — and everyone else’s.
POTUS Barack Obama Stands By His Medal Of Honor Receipient, Dakota Meyers.
Obama stands by Medal of Honor award to Marine
By DYLAN LOVAN
LOUISVILLE, Ky. — President Barack Obama is standing by his award of the Medal of Honor to a Marine in the Afghanistan war despite a published report Thursday charging exaggerations of the battle.
Obama presented the award to Marine Sgt. Dakota Meyer three months ago, calling him the "best of a generation" that joined the military after 9/11. He described the day in 2009 when Meyer braved enemy fire in eastern Afghanistan to save U.S. and Afghan comrades.
McClatchy Newspapers reported that its review of documents turned up numerous "untrue, unsubstantiated or exaggerated" assertions about the firefight. The report by a McClatchy correspondent who was embedded with the military and witnessed the Sept. 8, 2009, battle, based the story on analysis of dozens of military documents, including sworn statements by Meyer and others involved.
The story also said Meyer displayed heroism that day and deserves the award.
Obama spokesman Jay Carney said the president "remains very proud" of Meyer and his "remarkable acts of bravery."
Meyer, a native of Green County, Ky., could not be reached for comment Thursday. He said on his Twitter page that he has received an outpouring of support since the report was published. He posted a picture of the front page of a newspaper that prominently displayed the story.
"I can't thank everyone enough for the support people on Twitter and other Americans are showing me. So Thank You all," Meyer tweeted.
A friend of Meyer's who attended the Medal of Honor ceremony at the White House on Sept. 15 said Meyer was frustrated by the report because he has used the medal to draw attention to fallen and wounded Marines and soldiers.
"He's been very clear in almost every interview, he didn't ask for this. But he now has learned that it's his responsibility," said Chris Schmidt, of Columbia, Ky.
Meyer's grandfather, Dwight Meyer, said he hadn't seen the story and didn't know what it was about.
"Dakota just doesn't talk about (the battle), because he's had so much on his mind about it, because it's affected him tremendously," Dwight Meyer said.
Meyer has been humble about receiving the honor, calling it "the worst day of his life" because his comrades died.
The Marines said in a statement they were very disappointed McClatchy published the story. The award investigation process used first-person, eye-witness accounts and supporting documents and that Meyer "rightly deserved the nation's highest military honor," the Marines said.
The Marines acknowledged that the process was not flawless.
"Because of the nature of the events supporting awards for valor, it is normal for minor discrepancies to appear when reviewing the source information and collecting eyewitness statements," it said.
The Marines also acknowledged that the public narrative of Meyer's actions on the battlefield, as it appeared on the Marine Corps website, was his personal account.
The military said Meyer saved 13 American and 23 Afghan soldiers' lives, and he "personally killed at least eight Taliban insurgents, while providing cover for his team to fight their way out."
The McClatchy report said that could not have happened because 12 Americans and the reporter were ambushed that day.
Four were killed, and a fifth would later die of injuries. The report also said there were no statements that credit Meyer with killing eight Taliban.
The Humvee driver with Meyer during the ambush, Staff Sgt. Juan Rodriguez-Chavez, reported seeing Meyer kill one insurgent, according to the McClatchy story.
McClatchy's Washington bureau chief James Asher noted the Marines were not challenging the story.
"History isn't being well served by this, nor do I think Dakota Meyer is either," Asher said. "For reasons that are mystifying to me ... the Marine Corps wanted for some reason to make a better story."
Lexington Herald Leader Urges Kentucky Legislators To "Ban Cell Phone Use By Drivers". How I Wish Kentucky Legislators Will Ban Such DRIVEL From The Newspaper.
Ban cell phone use by drivers
The ability to rationalize is one thing that distinguishes humans from other beings.
This allows us to do any number of things that seem mutually exclusive, such as eating an extra dessert while ostensibly dieting, watching trash TV while pledging to read more books, splurging on luxury items while wanting to save money, etc., etc. ad nauseum.
We rationalize that it's just this once, everyone does it and it's different when we do it. We'll start that idealized behavior tomorrow.
In these examples most of the harm falls on the rationalizer. Our behavior makes us fatter, dumber, poorer.
Not so for texting, talking or surfing the Internet on a cell phone while driving. Rationalize as we might, they can do serious harm to others, as well as ourselves.
Kentucky should heed the recommendation issued Tuesday by the National Traffic Safety Transportation Board that all 50 states ban use of cell phones while driving and enact strict penalties.
Currently in Kentucky, drivers older than 18 face a $25 fine — $50 for additional offenses — if they are caught texting while driving, and those under 18 face similar fines for using cell phones.
It's a start but it's a law that doesn't apply to enough drivers, is tough to enforce and carries fines that are considerably less than a monthly cell phone bill for most users.
We've got to do better. Here's why:
The Virginia Tech Transportation Institute found that dialing a phone while driving makes a crash or near-crash almost three times more likely. Texting, it said, "has the potential to create a true crash epidemic,"
Car and Driver Magazine recently did its own somewhat less scientific study of the effects of both alchohol and cell phone use on drivers to see how long it took to brake at 70 miles an hour.
Being legally drunk added 4 feet to the distance it took to stop, reading an e-mail added 36 feet and sending a text added 70 feet.
Passing laws banning cell phone use won't stop it. But strict laws, combined with serious enforcement and education efforts, will reduce cell phone use while driving, just as that approach has made driving while intoxicated a much less common or acceptable practice.
NTSB Chairman Deborah Hersman, well known to Kentuckians as the lead investigator and primary spokesperson for the agency during the 2006 investigation of the crash of Flight 5191 in Lexington, pointed out the number of cell phones in the United States exceeds the number of people.
We're addicted to being constantly connected.
But Hersman, in remarks on Tuesday, said we need to stop and consider the costs of this perpetual connectedness.
"The needless lives that are lost. And, for what, convenience? For staying connected? A fatal crash severs that connection in the blink of an eye. What call, text, or update will be your last?"
Kentucky is poised to release nearly 1,000 inmates about six months early as part of a mandatory new program aimed at easing their transition back into the community, reducing recidivism and helping trim its corrections budget by about $40 million next year.
By providing support in such areas as finding jobs and homes in their first few months outside prison, the new program — part of a major corrections overhaul passed earlier this year — attempts to lessen the chances that offenders will commit new crimes, Justice Cabinet Secretary J. Michael Brown said.
House Bill 463, passed by the Kentucky legislature in the spring, requires that certain inmates who are within six months of completing their sentences be released and put under supervision by the Probation and Parole Department.
Previously, they would not have had any probation or parole.
They were “going from the most supervised place they could be in to basically opening the door and saying: ‘Good luck,’ ” Brown said. “Some would succeed on their own ... but we know that many won’t succeed because they have no transition.”
In all, 996 inmates will be granted release Jan. 3 and return to homes throughout the commonwealth, where they will have about a six-month probation until their sentences are completed as scheduled.
About 70 percent of the inmates being released to supervision are Class D felons, which is the lowest level of felony conviction in Kentucky. The range of crimes the inmates committed is broad, including robbery, burglary, some drug offenses, flagrant nonsupport and wanton endangerment.
Inmates who are not eligible for parole or convicted of a class A felony, the highest felony offenses, are not eligible for the early release.
Additionally, no one who is classified as a maximum security prisoner or who is serving a sentence of two years or less can be released early. Nor can those serving time for previously violating their probation, parole or shock probation.
Brown said he expects about 3,000 people to be released into the mandatory supervision program in the coming year.
To accommodate the increased number of inmates going into supervision, the state has hired about 90 new workers in probation and parole units across Kentucky, including about 17 in the four supervisory districts within Jefferson County.
“We delayed the implementation of this particular piece long enough to have the infrastructure in place,” Brown said.
Among the first group of people being released, are 160 prisoners who will be coming back to Jefferson County, many staying with family.
Evan Roach, the District 17 supervisor in western Louisville, said he is confident that he has the right staffing to handle the increased number of those needing supervision.
“We’ve been planning for it for awhile,” he said. “It’s business as usual.”
Each inmate being released has to have a place already set up to move into and will be required to make regular check-ins with a probation officer. Additionally, they could be subject to drug screens. In some cases, a condition of the release may also be to attend substance-abuse counseling or other programs.
In many cases, Roach said, those on supervision also will be told of optional programs that could help them find jobs, get vocational training and other assistance to ease their transition.
“We’ll try to help them with whatever they need,” Roach said.
Karyn Hascal, vice president for mission advancement at the nonprofit agency The Healing Place, said it is crucial for people coming out of prison to have transitional services that are aimed at helping them adjust to life back in the community.
The Healing Place, which helps the homeless and those addicted to drugs or alcohol, is now operating its own site for that purpose, called The Brady Center, which will provide beds for up to 140 people who are on supervised release and need assistance.
“There are huge hurdles,“ Hascal said. “Our goal is to help people have a healthy, drug- and alcohol-free place to live,” she said. Additionally, staff can help create transition plans that will put those being released on a path to having jobs and independent living.
Brown said the mandatory supervision program also is expected to lead to long-term cost savings for the Department of Corrections. First, it provides the support inmates need to return to the community and not commit new crimes. The average annual cost of incarcerating an inmate is $21,000. Placing a person on supervised release costs an average of about $987 per year, according to Corrections data.
Along with other changes put in place because of the new corrections law, the corrections department expects to save $40 million in 2012, Brown said.
That money will be reinvested in programs for inmates and to aid county jails. Most of that savings will come as a result of the mandatory supervision initiative, Brown said.