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Remember Our Military

By Glenn Mollette

One of my sons recently came home from a twelve month military deployment. My wife and I took a couple of days and flew to welcome him at his stateside arrival airport. We watched soldier after soldier pick up his or her duffel bags and other luggage in baggage claims.

We didn't see families or friends hugging them and welcoming them home. My son turned the corner and came into the area and I was so delighted to see him. For the first time in one year I heard his voice and hugged him. I'm sure I was missing something. Surely there was another area where spouses, family or others were located in waiting to greet these wonderful military men and women. However, I didn't see them. I felt like my wife and I were the only two people in waiting to welcome a family member.

I wonder if we are missing something altogether in this nation. Do we take for granted all that we still have in America? In Colorado Americans are free to smoke pot. In many of our states we are free to gamble our money away if we choose. We are free to chose the religion of our choice. In Kentucky we can choose Bourbon Whiskey or from any number of multiplying vineyards. Gay and Lesbians can find a way to legally bond somewhere in America. Street Preachers in America can still cry out the gospel. States are crying for people to start businesses. All in all in America, you can do most anything you want to do. America doesn't ask a whole lot of us. We have to pay some taxes. We aren't allowed to hurt people. We have a few rules to obey. We are to obey the driving laws and that's about it.

Soldiers are called upon to lay down their lives. We do pay them. However, most of our service people make very low wages their first few years. I realize they have some benefits but we are asking them to fight to help protect us and maintain our American way of life.

This weekend or any weekend say thank you to a Veteran or to a passing soldier. They appreciate being appreciated. Remember those who gave their lives for us in war. Without their sacrifice America would have been a thing of the past a long time ago.

Glenn Mollette is an American columnist and is read in all fifty states. He is the author of eleven books. This column does not necessarily reflect the view of any organization, institution or this paper or media source.

Like his facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/GlennMollette

Amtrak, Donald Trump, China, Expanding Monster

By Glenn Mollette

I am sad for the eight people and their families who died and the many others injured because of the recent Amtrak disaster. Tragedy can happen regardless of ownership. I wish we didn't own Amtrak.

Our federal government should get out of the train business. Amtrak is another government failure. The Government owns Amtrak and has since 1971. Our federal government has sunk 45 billion dollars into Amtrak since then while each year it loses hundreds of millions of dollars. Over the next five years we are scheduled to sink another 7 billion dollars into Amtrak.

Most Americans will never ride Amtrak yet we subsidize every ticket. The average ticket price from Washington, D.C. to New York is $69. Taxpayers (you) also subsidize each ticket by about $60. This means every time a person from the Northeast corridor buys a train ticket it costs you $60. Most of the people riding Amtrak in Philadelphia, New York and D.C. are not America's poor. The highest paid people in America live in this section of the United States. Americans pour billions of dollars into train travel that less than ten percent of Americans will ever use.

The government could save us a lot of money and headaches if they would give Amtrak away. Possibly they could give it to Donald Trump. Trump seems to make a lot of money. Maybe he could straighten it out. At least he would get it out of America's hair. Possibly we could give it to Wal-Mart? I'm not a Wal-Mart fan but they do make money. Maybe they could make Amtrak better. Maybe we could just give it to China? Now, there is an idea. We owe China more money that we can stuff into all the Amtrak cars lined up from D.C. to New York City. Let's give them Amtrak as payment for what we owe them. I don't like China but anything to get this train off our government payroll.

Amtrak is another American government monster that is failing bigger every day. Our country has a full plate. We should get this monster off our plate.

Glenn Mollette is an American columnist and is read in all fifty states. He is the author of eleven books. This column does not necessarily reflect the view of any organization, institution or this paper or media source.

Like his facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/GlennMollette

Rundown of lackluster May Primary Election...Hogan in two way race for state AG

 

By James Pilcher
The Kentucky Enquirer

The old saying in Kentucky is that no one really focuses on the state’s primary elections until after the Kentucky Derby.

Well, just two days after American Pharoah strode into the winner’s circle and was draped with the roses, the garish allegations that one of the Republican candidates had abused his ex-girlfriend in college and helped her get an abortion certainly woke everyone up.

The story was made even more lurid by the counterclaims by Agriculture Commissioner James Comer that the campaign of rival Hal Heiner was behind the accusations and that she had been offered money to come forward - a claim for which he offered no proof.

Who cares about the Preakness? Time to pay attention here in Kentucky.

So with less than two weeks before the May 19 primary, here are seven key things to know outside of the more scurrilous stuff:

Atty. General Jack Conway is expected to win handily in DEM Governor's race, Heiner ahead in 4-way GOP race

Who’s running?

There are four declared candidates in the Republican race, while Attorney General Jack Conway faces minimal resistance in the Democratic primary.

The GOP candidates are:

• former Louisville city councilman Hal Heiner;

• Louisville area businessman Matt Bevin, who unsuccessfully tried to unseat U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell in last year’s primary;

• Agriculture Commissioner and former state legislator James Comer, who has tabbed a local state senator from Taylor Mill as his running mate;

• and former Kentucky Supreme Court Justice Will T. Scott.

Who’s probably going to win?

When it comes to the Democratic primary, Conway appears to have it sewn up. He is facing token opposition from Geoff Young of Lexington, a former official in the state energy department who previously ran an unsuccessful campaign for Congress and was a former member of the Green Party. Young on Monday sued in state court to get Conway’s name taken off the ballot, saying that the Democratic elite in the state had conspired to rig the primary.

A leader is harder to discern in the Republican race. A Bluegrass Poll in late March found then that Heiner was in the lead with 33 percent of likely Republican voters, followed by Comer with 19 percent and Bevin with 12 percent, with Scott tailing with just 3 percent. But 29 percent of voters were still undecided and the margin of error was plus or minus 4 percentage points, meaning the race may be tighter than initial indications. That undecided percentage was up from 25 percent just a few weeks prior, potentially indicating more people were on the fence.

Most of the GOP candidates agree on most major issues, including rolling back the state’s involvement with Medicaid and other tenets of Obamacare, banning tolls on the Brent Spence Bridge project and not allowing a statewide smoking ban. In fact, not much separates the Republican slate issue-wise, leaving it a choice between experiences and styles.

Perhaps that’s why the campaign has started to turn nasty in its final weeks as each candidate looks for any kind of differentiation.

Where goes NKY goes the election; GOP grows

Kentucky is a state that requires voters to be registered in a party to vote in the primary. In the last gubernatorial primary, only 13.3 percent of registered Republicans voted, which accounted for about 144,000 votes. There are currently about 1.24 million registered Republicans statewide. So if turnout figures hold to form this year, all a GOP candidate needs to garner would be about 42,000 votes to win a plurality if it is a close race between all four.

That’s doubly true in Northern Kentucky, where turnout was 9.3 percent in the 2011 GOP primary, or only about 11,100 votes in Boone, Campbell and Kenton counties combined. Yet the area is considered a GOP bastion, with 135,000 total registered Republicans (up 14.6 percent since 2011 and nearly double since 1999), and where there are only two area Democratic members of the General Assembly out of more than 20 total.

In short, there are a lot of Republicans in our area, but they don’t vote very much in primaries. So a key will be whoever gets the vote out the most in Northern Kentucky.

Bevin and Heiner will look to split as many votes as they can in the Louisville area, while Comer will try to drum up support in Northern Kentucky with the help of running mate state Sen. Chris McDaniel, R-Taylor Mill. But Bevin also has a well-established presence here thanks to his previous campaign for U.S. Senate, when he fared well in the local region.

You look bigger on TV, right?

As important as Northern Kentucky’s GOP votes remain to the candidates, the region hasn’t seen nearly as many campaign ads as the rest of the state.

But there’s a reason for that. The region is part of the overall Cincinnati market, which is at least 30 percent more expensive than the rest of the state of Kentucky. That means most candidates have focused their ad spends elsewhere such as Lexington, Louisville and Bowling Green.

Still, Bevin has been on the air locally since early April, while Heiner joined in with a buy across all four major TV stations locally earlier this month, according to filings with the Federal Communications Commission.

And as much as he needs Northern Kentucky and has McDaniel in his camp, Comer has yet to throw any money into this market for TV advertising, although he has held several private fund-raisers in the area, including a well-attended brunch last Sunday.

In an interview late last week, Comer said his campaign was going to stick with its plan and its grassroots operation here and around Tompkinsville, and spend more of its marketing money in Louisville and the center of the state.

National attention? Not yet, but it’s coming

Whoever wins, the state is only one of three to hold a governor’s race in this off-election year. That means national attention with pundits across the country looking to see if Kentucky will be any kind of barometer heading into next year’s presidential cycle.

And considering most of the GOP candidates have said they would roll back state health care programs enacted under Obamacare while Conway says it would be “callous” to do so, the election could be seen as a litmus test of the country’s feelings about the controversial Affordable Care Act.

“This will garner significant national attention as one of only three gubernatorial races in country,” Conway said. “I know the respective governors’ associations will be directly involved. And it will be an important bellwether for the 2016 elections. We may not see it until the summer and fall, and what help or hindrance that will create still remains to be seen.”

The last GOP governor was Ernie Fletcher, who won in 2003 and only served one term. The last time a Republican was governor in Kentucky before that was in 1971, when Louie B. Nunn left office.

The deepest pockets award goes to ...

The candidates have taken vastly different approaches to paying for their campaigns. Comer and Conway are relying almost exclusively on donations, with some support coming from political action/issues oriented nonprofit committees.

Comer drew the most donations from Northern Kentucky, while Conway also had some donations from both here and the Cincinnati area (he also pulled in the most money overall from out of state, according to the most recent campaign finance reports). Comer raised more than $92,000 from Northern Kentucky in the first quarter, nearly a tenth of his overall haul of more than $1 million.

Meanwhile, Bevin and Heiner have almost exclusively self-funded their efforts, using their own money to enable them to avoid the fundraising race and focus on campaigning. Heiner sunk $4.5 million of his own money into the campaign last summer, while Bevin put in $1.25 million into his late-starting campaign in April.

Scott has also self-funded his effort, but much more modestly, pulling in just over $200,000 in the first quarter, putting nearly half of that in himself.

Who’s helping from the outside?

At least Heiner and Comer have received extensive outside help. A pro-Heiner issues group called Citizens for a Sound Government aired several controversial attack ads earlier during the campaign. Since it is based in Denver, it’s fundraising totals were not immediately available.

Heiner opponents have also questioned how closely linked the campaign is with the issues group (any direct “coordination” is illegal under state law). One of the group’s spokesmen and consultants is Heiner’s former campaign manager.

Meanwhile, the pro-Comer group Kentuckians for Growth, Opportunity and Prosperity (chaired by a Northern Kentucky resident) raised more than $750,000 in the quarter. The group spent nearly all of that on a pro-Comer positive ad campaign in Louisville. But again, some opponents questioned how much connection there was between the Comer campaign and the group – citing a campaign email from Comer that included the group’s leaders as one of hundreds of recipients.


What else is on the ballot?

Here is a look at the other down-ballot primaries being held on May 19 for statewide offices in Kentucky:

Attorney General

Democrat

Andy Beshear, running unopposed. Son of current Gov. Steve Beshear and a lawyer in Louisville.

Republican

State Sen. Whitney Westerfield, R-Hopkinsville. Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee and a major architect of the new heroin bill passed earlier this year.

Michael T. Hogan. Attorney from Louisa in Lawrence County.

 

Secretary of State

Democrat

Incumbent Alison Lundergan Grimes. Running for re-election after losing for U.S. Senate last fall to U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Louisville.

Charles Lovett of Louisville. Formerly ran for Justice of the Peace in Louisville in 2010 but withdrew.

Republican

Stephen L. Knipper of Independence. Running unopposed. Former Erlanger city councilman.

 

Agriculture Commissioner

Democrat

Jean-Marie Lawson Spann of Union. Running unopposed. Moved to area in the last few years, with family farm roots in western Kentucky and works for a firm that markets Kentucky agricultural products abroad.

Republican

State Rep. Ryan Quarles, R-Georgetown. Family is originally from Northern Kentucky, and he holds several degrees and also involved in farming.

Richard Heath of Mayfield. Owns a building materials company in Mayfield, and owned his family’s farm previously.

 

Treasurer

Democrat

Neville Blakemore, a businessman from Louisville who has unsuccessfully run for city council there.

State Rep. Jim Glenn, R-Owensboro.

Daniel B. Grossberg, a real estate agent from Louisville.

State Rep. Richard Henderson, D-Mt. Sterling.

State Rep. Rick Nelson, D-Middlesboro.

Republican

Allison Ball, an attorney from Prestonsburg.

State Rep. Kenneth Churchill Imes, R-Murray.

Jon Larson, former Judge-executive of Fayette County, and unsuccessfully ran for Congress.

THURSDAY, MAY 14, 2015

More counties use four-day school week to improve learning, retain teachers and cut costs
In Homesdale, Idaho, a small farming community, children no longer attend school on Fridays. Homesdale and counties across the nation—especially in Arizona, Colorado, Idaho and Oregon—have adopted the four-day school week to improve learning, cut costs and retain teachers, Madeleine Cummings writes for Slate.

Although the new schedule helps save money on transportation and food, the main appeal is that it can help teachers teach and students learn. Although empirical evidence doesn't exist to prove it, Homesdale's experience suggests that the five-day school week might not be right for every community.

Homesdale teachers say the new schedule, which includes longer class periods, allows for more in-depth instruction including more time to read complete stories, include videos and Skype with professionals about the subject matter. Christine Ketterling, a second-grade teacher at Homedale Elementary, said, "I'm not doing anything different, so the only thing I can think of is the four-day week."

The extra day is good for teachers as well. In some areas, teachers have that day to relax and prepare lesson plans. In others, that day is reserved for professional development for the exchange of teaching strategies. The four-day week is also helpful for retaining teachers. "Ketterling says Homedale's four-day week schedule is a 'huge incentive' for her to stay there although she could earn a higher salary elsewhere," Cummings writes.

Some are concerned the new schedule could have negative effects. While teachers may originally work on Fridays, they may eventually stop if districts don't require it, said Paul Hill, who chairs the Rural Opportunities Consortium of Idaho and is drafting a paper about the benefits and risks of the four-day week. Some low-income in Kentucky switched back to the five-day week when test scores dropped, and some students were not receiving the meals they would during the traditional schedule. Concerns also arose about a lack of activities for students on Fridays. (Read more)

Written by Melissa Landon Posted at 5/14/2015

Garland Cartoonists, Mohammed and Common Sense    

 

By Glenn Mollette

The Mohammed cartoon event recently held in Garland, Texas was a demonstration of free speech. People gathered to showcase their cartoons of Islam's Mohammed. Cartoons of Mohammed are commonly known to incite people of the Islam religion. I don't know of any Christians who like cartoons of Jesus if they depict Jesus in an irreverent way. I do not embrace anything about Islam. I do embrace their United States freedom to peacefully practice their religion. I am abhorred by militant Islam religion.

Protestants should find something better to do than knock Catholicism and vice-versa. Americans should find something better to do than what was done in Garland, Texas in the name of the first amendment.

Freedom of speech in this country is a wonderful gift that thousands of Americans have died to preserve. Having this right should also include respect for the faith of others. The event in Garland wasn't respectful. This respect needs to permeate our country throughout all public events, demonstrations and religious gatherings.

Some people are arguing that the Garland demonstration showed the militant Muslims that Americans will not be silenced. However, what did it show the Muslims across America who are working in our hospitals, factories and government offices? I guess it showed them that if they want to have an event and draw cartoons of Jesus that they have the freedom to do so. This would be a much better idea than the alleged Isis gunmen who showed up to kill people. By the way, we should thank the police officers who took the gunmen out. 

We need to practice free speech in America. We should practice it freely and loudly. 
We should practice respect of others and some common sense 

Glenn Mollette is an American columnist and is read in all fifty states. He is the author of eleven books. This column does not necessarily reflect the view of any organization, institution or this paper or media source.  

Like his facebook page at  https://www.facebook.com/GlennMollette