Monday, December 31, 2012
WORDS TO LIVE BY, WORDS OF WISDOM, AND WORDS TO PONDER FOR LIBERTY LOVERS LIKE ME.
-- Cesare Beccaria, On Crimes and Punishment, quoted by Thomas Jefferson in Commonplace Book
NEW YEAR EVE TAX PARTY. LOL.
Saturday, December 29, 2012
SCHOOL ARMED GUARD.
Friday, December 28, 2012
MIKE LUCKOVIC HAS AN ANTI-GUN MESSAGE FOR YA. LET'S OBLIGE HIM!
Thursday, December 27, 2012
Wednesday, December 26, 2012
WE WISH ALL OUR FAMILY AND ANGLOPHILE FRIENDS AND WELL WISHERS A HAPPY BOXING DAY.
Labels: Happy Boxing Day
Tuesday, December 25, 2012
Merry CHRISTmas, Happy Hanukkah And Feliz Navidad To ALL, For A Child Is Born Unto Us!
Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. -- KJV, Isaiah 7:14.
Labels: Merry Christmas
Monday, December 24, 2012
ON THIS CHRISTmas EVE, WHO ARE YOU FORGETTING?
Sunday, December 23, 2012
Friday, December 21, 2012
POTUS BARACK OBAMA MAKES A VERY WISE DECISION, ANNOUCES SELECTION OF SENATOR JOHN KERRY TO REP[LACE HILLARY CLINTON AS SECRETARY OF STATE. WATCH VIDEO.
NOW I AWAIT THE ANNOUNCEMENT OF AN EQUALLY DISTINGUISHED GENTLEMAN AS OUR SECRETARY OF DEFENSE, FORMER NEBRASKA U. S. SENATOR, CHUCK HAGEL, WHO I WAS HONORED TO VOTE FOR DURING HIS FIRST SENATE RUN.
Labels: POTUS Barack Obama
AT 12:12 ON 12/21/12, IT'S THE END OF THE WORLD AS WE KNOW IT, THANKS TO THE MAYANS!
Labels: Keeping them honest
WE ARE ALL GONNA DIE, THANKS TO THE MAYANS. NOT!
Thursday, December 20, 2012
Wednesday, December 19, 2012
BLAME FOR THE SENSELESS MASSACRE AT SANDY HOOK ELEMENTARY SCHOOL RIGHTLY BELONGS TO FAILED MATERNAL PARENTING BY ADAM LANZA'S MOTHER, NANCY. OK, I'VE SAID WHAT MANY WON'T DARE SAY!
IF ANYONE DESERVED TIME MAGAZINE'S PERSON OF THE YEAR, IT IS THE PERSON SELECTED: AMERICAN PRESIDENT BARACK HUSSEIN OBAMA. AN EXCELLENT AND WISE CHOICE FOR THE HONOR.
IS IT STILL THERE?!
Tuesday, December 18, 2012
GOP: POTUS BARACK OBAMA IS PLAYING "THE GRINCH"! LOL.
Monday, December 17, 2012
WE SAY "ALOHA" AS WE BID A VERY GOOD MAN AND PUBLIC SERVANT, SENATOR DANIEL INUOYE, ADIEUS. REST IN PERFECT PEACE, SIR.
WORDS TO LIVE BY, WORDS OF WISDOM, WORDS TO PONDER IN REMEMBRANCE OF CHILDREN KILLED IN NEWTOWN, CONNECTICUT. R. I. P. .
MEANWHILE, BACK IN KENTUCKY.
Sunday, December 16, 2012
Saturday, December 15, 2012
MORE LIPSTICK? LOL.
Friday, December 14, 2012
IN RESPONSE TO THE SENSELESS KILLING OF DEFENSELESS CHILDREN AND OTHERS AT SANDY HOOK ELEMENTARY SCHOOL IN NEWTOWN, CONNECTICUT, WE JOIN POTUS BARACK OBAMA IN MOURNING LOST LIVES.
MY REPUBLICAN PARTY!
Thursday, December 13, 2012
WHAT WE ALL WANT FOR CHRISTMAS FROM SANTA CLAUS.
Wednesday, December 12, 2012
Kentuckians Still Paying For Bad Decisions; Taxpayers Hurt By Courthouse Costs.
If any government agency should be able to write standard contracts that protect the public interest, it's the Administrative Office of the Courts.
The law is the AOC's specialty, and the agency is overseen by the state's top lawyer, the chief justice of the Supreme Court.
And yet, in 2005, under the leadership of former Chief Justice Joseph Lambert, an unusual rule was adopted that has enabled a contractor with ties to a Lambert crony to bleed the public treasury of more than $3 million.
The rule, supposedly to compensate construction managers for justifiable delays, is "not the norm in the construction industry," according to one expert. It's also "incredibly favorable" to construction managers.
One construction manager, in particular, has taken advantage of the unusual provision.
As the Herald-Leader's Beth Musgrave and Linda Blackford reported Sunday, Codell Construction has collected extended-service fees totaling $3.1 million on 17 of the 26 courthouse projects it has managed since 2006.
By contrast, of the eight other courthouse projects managed by a company other than Codell since 2006, only one applied for and received extended-service fees.
Pertinent detail: Creation of the extended-service fee rule was overseen by Garlan VanHook, Lambert's personal architect whom he put in charge of an $880-million courthouse-construction program.
VanHook resigned from the AOC in 2009 after the Herald-Leader reported that his brother worked for Codell, which has received most of the AOC construction-management contracts.
In fact, it was Jeff VanHook, representing Codell, who tried to explain to a legislative committee in September why Codell was entitled to $912,000 in extended-service fees for managing construction of the tornado-damaged Morgan County judicial center.
The insurer had balked at the increased cost and the state was being asked to pick up the difference. (In the end a new contract was negotiated that will pay Codell more for finishing the Morgan County project but without extended-service fees.)
The rule on extended-service fees was tightened this year as part of a comprehensive reform of AOC construction regulations launched by Chief Justice John Minton in late 2009.
Among other irregularities, Minton ended the AOC practice of allowing construction managers to expose county governments to great financial risk by drastically under-insuring projects.
Sadly, the tighter rules are too late to protect taxpayers on the half-dozen courthouse construction projects already under way.
And, after splurging on 65 new courthouses since 1998, the state cupboard is bare for such projects.
Taxpayers have every right to be outraged — especially when they show up at an ostentatious new courthouses and find it's closed for the day and the court workers furloughed because there's not enough money in the state budget to operate the courts.
Read more here: http://www.kentucky.com/2012/12/12/2440471/still-paying-for-bad-decisions.html#storylink=cpy
Tuesday, December 11, 2012
Urgent Case For Senate Reform; McConnell Even Filibustered Himself.
McConnell even filibustered himself
Sen. Mitch McConnell has only himself to blame for the growing sentiment to tame, if not kill, the filibuster.
In his four years as minority leader, McConnell and his fellow Republicans have made a mockery of the Senate by overusing and abusing the maneuver. They attained a historic level of absurdity last week when McConnell filibustered his own proposal.
No wonder Congress's public approval rating reached an all-time low this year.
A filibuster once required a senator to hold the floor for hours on end, such as when Sen. Strom Thurmond spoke for 24 hours and 18 minutes against the Civil Rights Act of 1957.
Once the Senate eased the talk-a-thon rule, the filibuster became more common. Democrats used it to block judicial appointments during the George W. Bush administration.
But not until Republicans lost control of the Senate in 2006 did the filibuster become part of the Senate's daily routine.
In the 60 years from 1840 until 1900, there were 16 filibusters.
In the first two years of Barack Obama's presidency there were 130.
To end a filibuster, 60 of the 100 senators must vote to invoke cloture. (In the House a simple majority may end debate and force an up or down vote.)
Accomplishing almost anything in the Senate now requires 60 votes; just the threat of filibuster stops legislation dead in its tracks.
This is not what the founders intended. Alexander Hamilton and James Madison warned against a supermajority requirement. Hamilton said it would cause "tedious delays; continual negotiation and intrigue; contemptible compromise of the public good." Madison said "the power would be transferred to the minority."
McConnell last week provided vivid evidence of Hamilton's and Madison's prescience.
Kentucky's senior senator called for a vote on giving the president unilateral authority to raise the federal debt ceiling. This was not the first time McConnell had tried to embarrass Obama by calling for a vote on something he knew Democrats had reservations about. But this time the Democrats called his bluff and agreed to the vote.
At that point, McConnell invoked the 60-vote requirement, apparently giving him the distinction of being the first in history to filibuster his own motion.
While this sounds comical, it's classic McConnell. He has been single-minded in his strategy to tie up the Senate with partisan tactics and procedural maneuvering, to the exclusion of almost any substantive debate.
As a result, the Democratic leader, Sen. Harry Reid, is proposing a rule change to restore the talk-a-thon requirement and prohibit filibusters in a few cases.
The filibuster as perfected by McConnell also is being challenged in federal court by the non-partisan political reform group Common Cause, four House Democrats and three individuals who say they have been denied a path to citizenship by filibusters of the House-passed DREAM Act.
Senate lawyers say it would be extraordinary for the courts to intervene in Senate rule-making. But the filibuster has been taken to extraordinarily undemocratic lengths.
In only eight of the past 27 congresses has a party held 60 or more seats in the Senate. If the filibuster as practiced by McConnell continues, we essentially will lose the Senate as a functioning part of our government.
Read more here: http://www.kentucky.com/2012/12/11/2439140/urgent-case-for-senate-reform.html#storylink=cpy
Labels: News reporting
JOEL PETT IS STILL NOT LOVING MITCH McCONNELL. LOL.
Monday, December 10, 2012
MAUREEN DOWD: "A Lost Civilization". YEP! SO TRUE!!
MY college roommates and I used to grocery shop and cook together. The only food we seemed to agree on was corn, so we ate a lot of corn.
My mom would periodically call to warn me in a dire tone, “Do you know why the Incas are extinct?”
Her maize hazing left me with a deeply ingrained fear of being part of a civilization that was obliviously engaging in behavior that would lead to its extinction.
Too bad the Republican Party didn’t have my mom to keep it on its toes. Then it might not have gone all Apocalypto on us — becoming the first civilization in modern history to spiral the way of the Incas, Aztecs and Mayans.
The Mayans were right, as it turns out, when they predicted the world would end in 2012. It was just a select world: the G.O.P. universe of arrogant, uptight, entitled, bossy, retrogressive white guys.
Just another vanishing tribe that fought the cultural and demographic tides of history.
Someday, it will be the subject of a National Geographic special, or a Mel Gibson movie, where archaeologists piece together who the lost tribe was, where it came from, and what happened to it. The experts will sift through the ruins of the Reagan Presidential Library, Dick Cheney’s shotgun casings, Orca poll monitoring hieroglyphics, remnants of triumphal rants by Dick Morris on Fox News, faded photos of Clint Eastwood and an empty chair, and scraps of ancient tape in which a tall, stiff man, his name long forgotten, gnashes his teeth about the 47 percent of moochers and the “gifts” they got.
Instead of smallpox, plagues, drought and Conquistadors, the Republican decline will be traced to a stubborn refusal to adapt to a world where poor people and sick people and black people and brown people and female people and gay people count.
As the historian Will Durant observed, “A great civilization is not conquered from without until it has destroyed itself from within.”
President Obama’s victory margin is expanding, as more votes are counted. He didn’t just beat Romney; he’s still beating him. But another sign of the old guard’s denial came on Friday, a month after the election, when the Romney campaign ebulliently announced that it raised $85.9 million in the final weeks of the campaign, making its fund-raising effort “the most successful in Republican Party history.”
Why is the Romney campaign still boasting? You can’t celebrate at a funeral. Go away and learn how to crunch data on the Internet.
Outside the Republican walled kingdom of denial and delusion, everyone else could see that the once clever and ruthless party was behaving in an obtuse and outmoded way that spelled doom.
The G.O.P. put up a candidate that no one liked or understood and ran a campaign that no one liked or understood — a campaign animated by the idea that indolent, grasping serfs must be kept down, even if it meant creating barriers to letting them vote.
Although Stuart Stevens, the Romney strategist, now claims that Mitt “captured the imagination of millions” and ran “with a natural grace,” there was very little chance that the awkward gazillionaire was ever going to be president. Yet strangely, Republicans are still gobsmacked by their loss, grasping at straws like Sandy as an excuse.
Some G.O.P. House members continue to try to wrestle the president over the fiscal cliff. Romney wanders in a daze, his hair not perfectly gelled. And his campaign advisers continue to express astonishment that a disastrous campaign, convention and candidate, as well as a lack of familiarity with what Stevens dismissively calls “whiz-bang turnout technologies,” could possibly lead to defeat.
Who would ever have thought blacks would get out and support the first black president? Who would ever have thought women would shy away from the party of transvaginal probes? Who would ever have thought gays would work against a party that treated them as immoral and subhuman? Who would have ever thought young people would desert a party that ignored science and hectored on social issues? Who would ever have thought Latinos would scorn a party that expected them to finish up their chores and self-deport?
Republicans know they’re in trouble when W. emerges as the moral voice of the party. The former president lectured the G.O.P. on Tuesday about being more “benevolent” toward immigrants.
As Eva Longoria supersedes Karl Rove as a power player, Republicans act as shellshocked as the Southern gentry overrun by Yankee carpetbaggers in “Gone with the Wind.” As the movie eulogized: “Here was the last ever to be seen of Knights and their Ladies Fair, of Master and of Slave. Look for it only in books, for it is no more than a dream remembered, a Civilization gone with the wind.”
Gun sales have burgeoned since the president’s re-election, with Black Friday weapons purchases setting records as the dead-enders rush to arm themselves.
But history will no doubt record that withering Republicans were finally wiped from the earth in 2016 when the relentless (and rested) Conquistadora Hillary marched in, General Bill on a horse behind her, and finished them off.
EDITOR'S COMMENT:YOU ARE SO RIGHT --- EM, LEFT?, MRS. DOWD. MY REPUBLICAN PARTY HAS MORPHED INTO A PARTY OF NEANDERTHALS, AND IT AIN'T FUNNY ANYMORE -- NOT THAT IT WAS REALLY FUNNY AT ANY TIME!
ABRAHAM LINCOLN HAS BEEN ROLLING IN HIS GRAVE DISGUSTED!!
Labels: General information
BREAKING NEWS: WESTERN KENTUCKY UNIVERSITY HILLTOPPERS HIRE BOBBY PETRINO AS HEAD FOOTBALL COACH, HIS MORAL BAGGAGE COMES FREE!
With Western Kentucky's hiring of Bobby Petrino, the school is assured of winning some football games and losing its soul. Perhaps that's a fair tradeoff in college football.
Petrino, who has a long, long history of lying to and disappointing employers, will be the role model for the young men at Western Kentucky, which will hire him to be its new head coach according to the Bowling Green Daily News' Chad Bishop.
The draw to Petrino is that he is a good football coach, which causes schools to overlook everything else.
From Jessica Dorrell to lying to Louisville about meeting with Auburn to leaving the Atlanta Falcons in the middle of the night, Petrino has quite a history. Pat Forde has recapped all of Petrino's shortcomings here. It's not just one incident, it's a decade of them.
Here's what will happen at WKU: Petrino will do pretty well. He is a very good football coach and he should build that program up. He will leave at the first available chance. If he got a better offer 10 minutes after his press conference, he would leave. And probably lie to WKU about it up to the moment he left. WKU will be lucky if Petrino doesn't embarrass the school before he leaves.
With the hire, WKU can have no reasonable expectation of its athletes doing the right thing on campus, or telling the truth. Look who the school hired to lead them. But, the Hilltoppers will win football games.
So, in that regard, this is a good hire for WKU. Petrino will have that team very competitive in the Sun Belt before he leaves at the first opportunity. And, hopefully for Western Kentucky, he doesn't leave it in the middle of a season like he did with the Atlanta Falcons.
Winning football games matters. That's why Petrino will keep getting jobs.
EDITOR'S COMMENT: MARK MY WORDS, WKU IS A TEMPORARY STOP FOR THE COACH ON HIS WAY TO BIGGER AND BETTER THINGS!
Labels: College sports
More On Kentucky Getting What It Deserves Or Wants.
By Tom Eblen — Herald-Leader columnist
When a poor person gets a government handout, it's called welfare. When a rich corporation gets one, it's called an economic development incentive.
With local, state and federal government budgets tighter than ever, social programs are getting a hard look. But what about corporate welfare?
The New York Times started a good conversation last week with a three-part investigative series called the United States of Subsidies. Reporter Louise Story spent 10 months analyzing corporate tax breaks, gifts and other incentives in all 50 states, which she figured add up to at least $80 billion in annual taxpayer subsidies to business.
Business subsidies have mushroomed since the 1980s, when automakers started pitting states against one another to host new assembly plants. The strategy worked so well that other industries demanded freebies, too.
A big reason corporate welfare has flourished is that politicians love being able to announce lots of new jobs coming to their area. (They often are out of office when those jobs never materialize or leave for another state offering better incentives.)
From a national perspective, it is a zero-sum game. State and local incentives do little or nothing to grow the national economy; they just determine where in the nation the growth will occur.
But it's more insidious than that. Incentives redirect billions of tax dollars to corporate bottom lines instead of to improving education, health, safety, infrastructure and making other public investments that will create genuine, long-term economic development.
The Times website (Nytimes.com) has state-by-state breakdowns of incentives and a searchable database of recipients. It shows that the nation's biggest business incentive Santa is high-growth, low-wage, high-poverty Texas, at $19 billion a year.
West Virginia and Oklahoma give up incentives equal to one-third of their budgets.
The Times calculates Kentucky's annual incentives at $1.41 billion — about 15 percent of the state budget, or $324 per Kentuckian. Those include $264 million in personal income tax credits; $108 million in sales tax refunds, exemptions and discounts; and $69.2 million in corporate income tax reductions, credits or rebates.
The Times reports that most Kentucky incentives, $569 million worth, go to mining, oil and gas industries — no surprise there, given their political clout. That is followed by $341 million for agriculture and $180 million to manufacturers.
As is true nationally, some of the biggest Kentucky incentive recipients in recent years were automakers: $307 million for Ford; $83.8 million for Toyota and $10 million for General Motors. Given their high wages and large supplier networks, those might be good investments.
But the big head-scratcher in the Times' database was $94.1 million in incentives to Tyson Foods from 1995-2009 for a low-wage chicken-processing plant in Henderson County. Is that the kind of economic development Kentucky taxpayers should be subsidizing?
While the Times' report is impressive in its national scope, there has long been debate about the value of incentives. The Herald-Leader published an investigative series in 2005 that questioned the value of many Kentucky tax breaks and other giveaways. The report resulted in some improved accountability, but did little to stem the flow of tax money into corporate pockets.
A state-commissioned study issued this summer came up with incentive figures smaller than the Times reported, but still pretty staggering: $1.29 billion between 2001 and 2010. The report said 577 companies took incentives to locate 55,173 jobs in Kentucky at a cost to taxpayers of $23,385 per job.
The incentive system favors large corporations over small businesses — often the employers who are already in a community and aren't looking to leave. Officials have responded by coming up with some incentives for them, too, which just further drains government coffers.
How do we stop this racket, where cities and states compete to steal jobs from one another? It would be great if Congress could pass a law, but it probably can't. Still, with about 20 percent of state and local government budgets coming from federal dollars, somebody needs to be looking out for the national interest.
Taxpayers should demand reform of these corporate welfare systems, just as they did social welfare systems in the 1990s. But it won't be easy. Corporations employ more lobbyists and make more campaign donations than poor people do.
Read more here: http://www.kentucky.com/2012/12/08/2436858/tom-eblen-economic-development.html#storylink=cpy
Can Anyone Convince Me That Kentucky Doesn't Deserve What It Gets Or Wants?
(The $30 million Franklin County courthouse project, pictured above) is one of 26 courthouse construction contracts that Cordell Construction has managed since 2006. Codell has received $227,302.44 in extended-service fees — an extra amount paid because of various delays in the project.)
By Beth Musgrave and Linda B. Blackford
Kentucky's court system has paid a construction management company an extra $3.1 million in taxpayer money over the past seven years because the company did not complete construction of courthouses on time.
Codell Construction collected so-called extended-service fees on 60 percent of the courthouse projects — 17 of 26 — that it has managed since 2006, according to documents from the Administrative Office of the Courts. The $3.1 million in those fees is about 16 percent of the roughly $19 million paid to Codell so far in overall fees for the 26 courthouses.
Of the eight other courthouse projects managed by a company other than Codell since 2006, only one applied for and received extended-service fees.
Bruce Stigger, a Louisville construction attorney, said the courts' rules were "incredibly favorable" to construction managers. Stigger said the Administrative Office of the Courts rules, which paid for bad weather, were "not the norm in the construction industry."
An attorney for Codell told the Herald-Leader that construction delays were not caused by the company. The company was entitled to the extended-services fees under the state's courthouse construction rules.
The rules on extended-service fees were changed in 2012 by Supreme Court Chief Justice John Minton after an extensive audit of Kentucky's controversial program to build 65 courthouses at a cost of about $880 million. However, the more stringent rules don't apply to the half-dozen current courthouse projects because no new projects have been approved since 2008.
Laurie Dudgeon, director of the Administrative Office of the Courts, provided written responses to the Herald-Leader's questions but never granted an in-person interview.
In the written responses, Dudgeon said Minton changed the rules on extended-service fees because they needed to be more precise.
"We cannot draw any conclusions as to why Codell has applied for extended services on more projects than any other construction managers," the statement said. "It may simply be because they have the majority of the projects."
According to a Herald-Leader analysis, Codell's extended-service payments have ranged from 15 percent to 48 percent of their original base fee. For example, Codell was paid a base fee of $703,879 for its work on the Shelby County courthouse. On top of that, $313,795 in extended service fees was added. That was about 45 percent of the base.
Questions about extended-service fees came to light after tornadoes destroyed much of the construction of a judicial center in Morgan County earlier this year. Codell requested extended-service fees of about $900 a day to reconstruct the building.
Rep. Jim Wayne, D-Louisville, questioned Codell's extended-service fees when the issue was addressed by a legislative committee earlier this year. Wayne said he had concerns that so much of the additional money that was needed to rebuild the courthouse was going to Codell.
After negotiations, the building will be completed under a change order with a total construction manager fee of $1.475 million for Codell, court officials said. Under the agreement, Codell cannot ask for extended-service fees. Including the roughly $522,000 that Codell was already paid for the job, it will receive a total of $1.99 million for the Morgan County judicial center.
Under the old rules for extended-service fees, a construction manager could collect the money if a courthouse was not completed by a set deadline and the Administrative Office of the Courts deemed that delays were not the construction manager's fault.
The money for extended-service fees and change-order fees comes out of a 10 percent contingency account created when bonds are sold for each courthouse project.
Construction managers could apply for extended-service fees for any delays that were "due to no fault of the (construction manager)," including change orders by the owner or weather delays. The daily rates were determined by the size of the project and the length of the delay.
However, the rules did not define a bad-weather day. Nor did they allow for a common practice called "liquidated damages," which forces the construction manager to pay the owner for delays that are the construction manager's fault.
The AOC confirmed that no construction manager has ever paid liquidated damages for delays on a project.
Under the new rules, liquidated damages will range between $1,500 and $1,750 a day. Also, a construction manager cannot make any claim for extended-service fees during the first 90 days of delay. After that time, they can seek fees for unknown conditions, owner changes, hazardous materials or weather, but only if that weather could not be reasonably anticipated under averages published by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, according to the courts.
The original regulations on extended-service fees were added to the AOC's construction rules in 2005 under then-Chief Justice Joseph Lambert, who started the courthouse construction program.
The rules were written collaboratively, courts officials said, but the drafting and executing was overseen by Garlan VanHook, then the executive officer of facilities for the courts. VanHook resigned in 2009 after the Herald-Leader published a story about VanHook's brother working for Codell.
Under VanHook's leadership of the court construction program, Codell also routinely under-insured its courthouse projects, a practice discontinued after the audit.
Codell's attorney, John Hays, said Codell was entitled to extended-service fees because of weather or changes made by local project development boards that oversee courthouse projects.
For example, in Franklin County, a complicated downtown site with historical buildings meant that demolition for the project added 267 days to the construction duration, which was not part of the original scope of work, Hays said. For the $30 million Franklin County project, Codell has so far received $227,302.44 in extended-service fees.
In an email, Hays said the court's interpretation of extended services is "more demanding" than standard contract provisions, because it depends on whether there is contingency money left in the budget. That means that sometimes, construction managers might not get paid for delays that were not their fault.
Steve Branscum, president of Branscum Construction in Russell Springs, said the $123,000 in extended-services fees paid to his company on the Adair County judicial center project were because of changes to the plaza and the dome of the building. The project-development board made the changes late into the project.
He said the Administrative Office of the Courts is a good steward of taxpayer money. In his case, he said, "we've been declined a lot more than we've received. They don't give us one penny extra."
Bruce Stigger, the Louisville construction attorney, called the 2012 rule changes an "improvement and a better safeguard of public monies from questionable practices."
Since the courthouse construction program started in 1998, Codell has received contracts to manage 63 percent of the projects. Since 2005, it has received 81 percent of all fees to construction managers, totaling about $19.2 million.
Most of the state's courthouse projects — which are overseen by groups of county politicians — were not competitively bid. Instead, the local boards issued a request for qualifications, allowing companies to present their background and experience. Because Codell has built the most courthouses, it is usually considered to have the best qualifications.
In addition, Codell employees have been generous political donors, giving more than $300,000 to legislative and statewide candidates since the courthouse program began in 1998.
But Rep. Wayne said Codell's disproportionate share of the extended services fees in the court house construction program is an example of the previous cozy relationship between the AOC and Codell Construction.
"It should be a concern to everyone," Wayne said of the amount of money Codell has received through extended-service fees. "The whole courthouse construction program was flawed in many ways, including wasting money in small, rural counties on these Taj Mahals that are really not appropriate."
Read more here: http://www.kentucky.com/2012/12/09/2437267/watchdog-report-millions-in-extended.html#storylink=omni_popular#wgt=pop#storylink=cpy
WORDS OF WISDOM, WORDS TO LIVE BY, AND WORDS TO PONDER FOR THOSE OF US WHO CHOOSE RIGHTEOUSNESS.
AMERICANS PREPARE TO CELEBRATE THE BIRTH OF CHRIST.
Saturday, December 08, 2012
GEORGE WILL: A Case Of Targeted Killings.
Although order says we can’t engage in assassination, we still do and that’s a wise strategy
By GEORGE WILL
“Gosh!’ Says Roosevelt On Death of Yamamoto — The New York Times May 22, 1943
WASHINGTON — President Franklin Roosevelt was truly astonished when told by a reporter that Adm. Isoroku Yamamoto, architect of the Pearl Harbor attack, had been shot down by U.S. planes over a Pacific island after Americans decrypted Yamamoto’s flight plans. FDR had encouraged this “targeted killing” – destroying a particular person of military importance – a phrase that has become familiar since Israel began doing this in 2000 in combating the second Palestinian intifada.
But was the downing of Yamamoto’s plane an “assassination?” If British commandos had succeeded in the plan to kill German Gen. Erwin Rommel in Libya in 1941, would that have been an assassination? If President Ronald Reagan’s 1986 attack on military and intelligence targets in Libya, including one that Moammar Gaddafi sometimes used as a residence, had killed him, would that have been an assassination? What about the November 2001 CIA drone attack on a Kabul meeting of high-level al-Qaida leaders that missed Osama bin Laden but killed his military chief? An old executive order and a new technology give these questions urgent pertinence.
Executive Order 12333, issued by Reagan in 1981, extended one promulgated by Gerald Ford in 1976 – in response to revelations about CIA attempts to assassinate Fidel Castro – and affirmed by Jimmy Carter. Order 12333 says: “No person employed by or acting on behalf of the United States Government shall engage in, or conspire to engage in, assassination.” What, then, of the Navy SEALs who killed bin Laden? The new technology is the armed drone, which can loiter over the suspected location of an important enemy person and, in conjunction with satellite imagery, deliver precision-guided munitions in a matter of minutes.
Fortunately, John Yoo of the Berkeley School of Law has written a lucid guide to the legal and moral calculus of combating terrorism by targeting significant enemy individuals. In “Assassination or Targeted Killings After 9/11” (New York Law School Law Review, 2011-12) Yoo correctly notes that “precise attacks against individuals” have many precedents and “further the goals of the laws of war by eliminating the enemy and reducing harm to innocent civilians.” And he clarifies the compelling logic of using drones for targeted killings – attacking a specific person rather than a military unit or asset – in today’s “undefined war with a limitless battlefield.”
To be proper, any use of military force should be necessary, as discriminating as is practical, and proportional to the threat.
Waging war, Yoo says, is unlike administering criminal justice in one decisive particular. The criminal justice system is retrospective: it acts after a crime. A nation attacked, as America was on 9/11, goes to war to prevent future injuries, which inevitably involves probabilities and guesses.
Today’s war is additionally complicated by the fact that, as Yoo says, America’s enemy “resembles a network, not a nation.” Its commanders and fighters do not wear uniforms; they hide among civilian populations and are not parts of a transparent command and control apparatus. Drones enable the U.S. military – which, regarding drones, includes the CIA; an important distinction has been blurred – to wield a technology especially potent against al-Qaida’s organization and tactics. All its leaders are, effectively, military, not civilian. Killing them serves the military purposes of demoralizing the enemy, preventing planning, sowing confusion and draining the reservoir of experience.
Most U.S. wars have been fought with military mass sustained by economic might. But as Yoo says, today’s war is against a diffuse enemy that has no territory to invade and no massed forces to crush. So the war cannot be won by producing more tanks, army divisions or naval forces. The United States can win only by destroying al-Qaida’s “ability to function – by selectively killing or capturing its key members.”
After the terrorist bombings of two U.S. embassies in East Africa in 1998, the Bill Clinton administration launched cruise missiles against suspected terrorist camps in Afghanistan, hoping bin Laden was there. If the missiles had killed him, would this have been improper? In March 2003, in the hours before the invasion of Iraq, the George W. Bush administration, thinking it knew where Saddam Hussein was, launched a cruise missile strike against one of his compounds. Was it wrong to try to economize violence by decapitating his regime? Would it have been morally preferable to attempt this by targeting, with heavy bombing, not a person but his neighborhood? Surely not.
Labels: General information