It was a slow news week, so here are random thoughts and observations.
Last week I criticized lawmakers’ political pandering on new science standards, but this week, I saw a more positive side of lawmakers. At a meeting of the House select committee looking into allegations of sexual harassment against a former lawmaker, the three Democrats — and especially the two Republicans — sounded like they are more interested in facts and reform than in political advantage.
Republicans Robert Benvenuti and Julie Raque Adams lost two votes on party lines. Adams suggested Benvenuti — a former Inspector General in the Cabinet for Health and Family Services — chair the panel and she and Benvenuti suggested action by the committee require a super-majority vote of four.
They lost both votes 3-2 as Democrats chose Jeff Donahue to chair and voted to act by simple majority. But the general attitude was non-partisan. Given the subject and the potential for Republicans to exploit the issue in next year’s elections, that bodes well for the committee.
We suffered through another week of back-and-forth between Mitch McConnell and Alison Lundergan Grimes trying to outdo the other in their loyalty to coal. Both blamed the policies of Barack Obama and the Environmental Protection Agency.
No doubt stricter emissions standards make it hard for the industry to plan and expand. But has anyone noticed that the companies announcing layoffs of miners are shutting down existing operating mines, suggesting they can’t sell all the coal they’ve already mined?
Kentucky’s congressional Republicans are outraged over Obama’s “war on coal” and its impact on eastern Kentucky. But all five Republican House members voted to cut the SNAP or food stamp program by $40 billion, a program on which eastern Kentucky is more dependent than most of the country.
Apparently we’re headed for a government shutdown in Washington. A small number of tea party House Republicans prefer to shut the government down rather than allow the Affordable Care Act to take effect. But they’re enough to threaten Speaker John Boehner’s hold on his job, so he and the House leadership will apparently go along.
If “Obamacare” is such a disaster and so reviled why do Republicans say “this is our last best chance” to kill it? Don’t they hope to win control of the Senate in 2014 and the White House in 2016? Then why threaten seniors’ social security, the pay of our soldiers, or the feeble economic recovery now?
Could it be they fear that once the law takes effect a lot of people might like it and some of the scary descriptions of death panels, government “takeover” of health care and soaring costs might prove inaccurate?
The same Republicans also threaten to hold an increase in the debt limit hostage. Polls show the public opposes raising the debt limit. But if you ask them if the United States should pay its bills, they’ll say absolutely. The public reasonably wants spending controlled and Democrats need to compromise. But does the public really want to renege on our existing bills?
Isn’t it time someone in Washington (Democrat or Republican) explain what’s at stake if we default? That it will actually increase the deficit, likely increase mortgage rates for many of those who are against raising the debt limit; and that most reputable economists think it might wreck our economy.
Aren’t Republicans supposed to be the party of fiscal and moral responsibility, the same people telling us SNAP reductions are necessary to cut off cheats and scofflaws?
Maybe it’s asking too much for straight talk or consistency from politicians of either party these days.
RONNIE ELLIS writes for CNHI News Service and is based in Frankfort. Reach him at email@example.com. Follow CNHI News Service stories on Twitter at www.twitter.com/cnhifrankfort.
It was a slow news week, so here are random thoughts and observations.
- Local News
Judge denies renewed motion to dismiss Rosen lawsuit
A judge has refused to dismiss a former Boyd district and circuit judge’s lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of a law that affects his ability to run for re-election this fall.
In an order entered on Friday, Franklin Circuit Judge Thomas D. Wingate denied a renewed motion to dismiss by current Boyd Circuit Judge George W. Davis III, an intervening respondent in the suit filed in January by Marc I. Rosen.
Ashland football players join special-needs students for prom
The purple chiffon gown and the sparkling tiara are back in the closet four days after the big dance, but Karina McBride still hasn’t stopped talking about Saturday night — the decorations, boys bringing her cups of punch, her first kiss (on the cheek, her mother hastens to interject), and dancing the night away at her first prom.
“She’s been flying high since that night,” said Michele Woods, who is Karina’s mother and who brought together friends and volunteers to organize a prom for special needs students.
Concrete pouring at Putnam
Workers are pouring concrete foundations at Putnam Stadium and once those are dry and cured will be ready to install seats at the historic arena.
The workers are putting in 12-hour shifts to keep on schedule to complete the stadium’s reconstruction in time for this fall’s football opener, said site supervisor Craig Chinn of Trace Creek Construction.
The most visible work is happening on the home-team side of the stadium, where workers Tuesday were setting forms for the cylindrical concrete piers that will support the seats. Once those are poured, cured and inspected they will add the seats.
Unique races for Carter magistrates
Carter County magistrate ballots are full of candidates eager to represent constituents in each of the five districts that make up the county’s fiscal court.
Of the five seats available, three magistrates are seeking re-election: Clarence “Sonny” Fankell, D-Grayson, District 2; Clifford “Sodbuster” Roe, D-Olive Hill, District 4; and Brandon Burton, R-Olive Hill, District 5.
The incumbents will each have to battle as many as three opponents in their district primaries next month before they can focus on reclaiming their magistrate titles in the November general election.
This year’s magistrate race will host a total of 22 candidates, with 11 from Grayson, nine from Olive Hill and two from Denton.
Martin County marks 50 years since LBJ visit
Today marks 5o years since former U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson visited Inez resident Tom Fletcher and promised to end poverty in America on April 24, 1964. On Friday, Inez will be commemorating the occasion with a special event.
Trail Town trial run to be in Olive Hill this Sunday
Olive Hill will participate in a trial run this Saturday in the city’s push to become a certified Kentucky Trail Town.
Some area farmers may be eligible for LIP program
The Grayson Farm Service Agency, (Boyd, Carter, Elliott and Lawrence) is having registration for the Livestock Indemnity Program to eligible producers who suffered losses beginning Oct. 1, 2011, and subsequent years.
News in brief, 04/24/14
The King’s Daughters Pregancy and Infant Loss Support Group invites families who have experienced the loss of an infant during pregnancy or following birth to participate in a butterfly release and prayer ceremony at 2 p.m. May 10 at the Ashland Central Park fountain.
Garner hosting National Day of Prayer activities
The Garner Missionary Baptist Church will be hosting day long events at the Kyova Mall to commemorate the National Day of Prayer on Thursday, May 1.
Flatwoods mayoral debate set for Tuesday
A public debate among the candidates seeking to become the next mayor of Flatwoods will take place next week.
- More Local News Headlines
- Judge denies renewed motion to dismiss Rosen lawsuit