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Darts and Laurels

A laurel to all volunteer firefighters. We appreciate and admire your dedication to your communities.


A dart to one inmate impersonating another and the officers for not doing their job. You are hired to do a job, so do it. The community depends on you.


A laurel to the Paintsville Police Department for the capture of a fugitive who had impersonated another inmate and was mistakenly released. Good job!


A dart to an official scheming with a witness to get back at an employee who blew the whistle on alleged fraud by a local disability lawyer.


A laurel to the Porter Elementary Future Problem Solving Team, who placed 6th in the international competition. Way to go!


Guest Editorial

I read the bill, and I can’t support it

By Dr. Rand Paul                                                                     

When I ran for office, I made a promise to Kentucky that I would always read the bills. So last week in the Senate when regulation of the chemical industry came up for a rushed vote, I told my colleagues, “Give me time to read what’s in it before I vote on behalf of the people I represent.”
Any Kentuckian who is fed up with the federal government’s regulatory overreach will be glad that I did. 
I spent the past week reading this bill, a sweeping federal takeover of chemical regulations, and I am now more worried than I was before I read it. 
First and foremost, this bill gives more power to the Environmental Protection Agency. As a Kentuckian, I can’t in good conscience vote for a bill that makes the EPA stronger. 
This bill, which is a dangerous preemption of state laws, gives the EPA the power to decide at some later date how and to what extent to regulate the chemical industry at the federal level. In fact, more than 100 times the bill leaves discretionary authority to the EPA to make decisions or create new rules. 
I always thought that we needed more balance, not less, in deciding on new regulations.  I always thought that we should balance the environment and the economy. Instead of balancing the economic effects and the environmental effects, this bill explicitly says that the economic impact of regulations is only considered after the EPA has decided to regulate. 
I’ve always wondered, when businesses get together and seek federal regulation, have they not paid any attention to what has been going on in Washington?  Are they unaware of the devastating explosion of federal regulations?
The Obama-Clinton War on Coal largely came from regulations that were extensions of seemingly bland well-intended laws from the 1970’s. 
As such, the supporters of this bill should have to come to Kentucky and meet the sixteen thousand people the current EPA put out of work and ask them what they think of Hillary Clinton’s plan to continue putting coal miners out of business.  They should have to come to Kentucky, look our coal miners in the face, and tell them, “This bill increases the power of the same federal agency destroying your industry.” 
The regulations that are crippling and destroying our jobs in Kentucky were not passed by Congress.  These job-killing regulations are monsters that emerged from the toxic swamp of big government bureaucrats at the EPA.  
Laws like the Clean Water Act were well intended - legislating that you can’t discharge pollutants into a navigable stream. I’m for that. But somehow the courts and the bureaucrats came to decide that dirt was a pollutant and your backyard just might have a “nexus” to a puddle, which has a nexus to a ditch, which was frequented by a migratory bird, that might have flown from the ditch to the Great Lakes.  Today, the EPA can now jail you for putting dirt on your own land. 
Reading this bill leads me to wonder if the federal takeover of chemical regulations will eventually morph into a war on chemical companies similar to what happened to the coal industry. I don’t know, but for the sake of Kentucky and our autonomy, it concerns me enough to examine this bill closely. 
Anytime we are told that everyone is for something, anytime we are told that we should stand aside and not challenge the status quo, I become suspicious that it is precisely the time someone needs to look very closely at what is happening.
How can it be that the very businesses who face the threat of overregulation support the federalization of regulations? I’m sure they are sincere.  They want uniformity and predictability, which are admirable desires.  They don’t want the national standard of regulations to devolve to the worst standard of regulation. 
Instead of passing more regulations, what could chemical companies do to fight overzealous regulatory states?  What they already do, move to friendly states.  If California inappropriately regulates your chemicals, charge them more and by all means move!  We’d love to have your business in Kentucky.
What these businesses, who favor federalization of regulations, fail to understand is that the history of federal regulations is a dismal one.  Well-intended, limited regulations morph into ill-willed, expansive and intrusive regulations. What these businesses fail to grasp is that while states like California and Vermont may pass burdensome, expensive regulations, other states like Texas and Tennessee and Kentucky are relative havens for business growth.
When businesses plead for federal regulations to supersede the ill-conceived regulations of California and Vermont, they fail to understand that once regulations are centralized, the history of regulations in Washington is only to grow. 
Just look at the food industry. Food distributors clamored for federal regulations on labeling.  Restaurants advocated for menu standards.  And now that we have federal menu standards, we also have…. federal menu crimes.  You can be imprisoned in America for posting the wrong calorie count on your menu!
Whether its regulations in the food industry, banking, healthcare, or the environment, does anyone remember ever seeing a limited, reasonable federal standard that stayed limited and reasonable?
No. Which is why I absolutely cannot grant any more power to the EPA. We should be voting to restrain the EPA, to make sure they balance regulation with jobs. We should be voting to pass the REINS act, which requires new regulations to be voted on by Congress before they become enforceable. 
Instead this bill inevitably adds hundreds of new regulations. It pre-empts the Constitution’s intentions for the federal government. It gives power to the very federal agency that has destroyed an entire industry. 
So why isn’t there more outrage? Why aren’t people standing up for their states and defending them from the federal government’s attempts to over - regulate? 
Maybe they didn’t read the bill. 
But I did. And I stood up for Kentucky and opposed it.


Darts & Laurels

A laurel to Johnson Central Eagles Boys Baseball Team for a great season and great showing at the Kentucky High School AA State Tournament! They were eliminated by the McCracken County High School team after a hard battle on Saturday. We’ll get them next year!

A dart to state and county employees facing retirement that have been blowing off local retirement meetings. They are vulnerable to losing their employee pensions as a result of Kentucky having the worst funded pension plan in the U.S.

A laurel to the Future Problem Solving International teams from W.R. Castle Elementary School for placing 1st in the community problem solving category; Porter Elementary School for placing second in the same category and 6th in the future problem solving category; Highland Elementary School for placing 1st in the presentation of action plan category; and Johnson Central High School for placing 4th in the global issues category.

A dart to theft and burglary in the area. There have been nine calls for theft and burglary over the past week from around Johnson County and in Paintsville in particular. Law enforcement are doing what they can, but advises everyone to make sure those windows stay rolled up while parked and windows and doors shut when no one is home.

A laurel to Deputy Terry Tussey, Johnson County Sheriff’s Office was presented with a Life Saving award on June 8 for his heroism in February rescuing a woman from her burning home.


Editorial

A steep price to pay for “20 minutes of action?”

The most recent sentencing of Stanford student Brock Turner, who was convicted of three felony rape charges, sends a big message about the problem with how our nation views and prosecutes crimes of rape.
For those of our readers who are unfamiliar with the trial an unidentified 23-year-old victim, who was not a Stanford student, was attacked while attending a fraternity party while visiting the California campus in January of 2015. The attack was discovered by two witnesses, who found Turner on top of the unconscious woman behind a dumpster. One of the witnesses has been described as crying in court as he described what he saw Turner doing to the victim. The two witnesses held Turner until police arrived on the scene.
Santa Clara County Superior Court judge, Aaron Pesky sentenced Turner to a mere six months in county jail, which with good behavior he could be out in three. Pesky stated in his sentencing, “a prison sentence would have a severe impact on him. I think he will not be a danger to others.”
A severe impact on Turner? What about the impact on the victim’s life?
The maximum Turner faced was 14 years. The judge handed down the sentencing amounting to a slap on the wrist pointing out Turner had no “significant” prior offenses and had been affected by the intense media coverage of the case. Pesky also states “there is less moral culpability attached to the defendant, who is… intoxicated.”
Also during sentencing when Turner’s father spoke of the felony crime his son had committed, he further insulted the severity by stating his son’s life had been ruined for “20 minutes of action” fueled by alcohol and promiscuity.
In the victim’s statement, which can be read in it’s entirety online, she stated that Turner admitted to drinking but still had not acknowledged any fault in the attack.
That sounds like someone who understands the severity of his offense, right Judge Pesky?
She also stated the court held Turner’s well being over her own and they declined to punish him severely because of his high achievements at a prestigious school.
She wrote:
“The probation officer weighed the fact that he surrendered a hard-earned swimming scholarship. How fast Brock swims does not lessen the severity of his punishment. If a first-time offender from an underprivileged background was accused of three felonies and displayed no accountability for his actions other than drinking, what would his sentence be?”
A recall effort is now being made for the Judge, who is an alumnus of Stanford, due to the light sentence in this case.
Michele Dauber, a law professor and sociologist at Stanford who is part of the committee organized to recall Judge Pesky told news sources, “if you’re going to declare that a high-achieving perpetrator is an unusual case, then you’re saying to women on college campuses that they don’t deserve the full protection of the law in the state of California.”
What message does this case send to rape victims across the United States? Ones whose cases don’t have witnesses? When a judge hands down such a light sentence for a felony crime what does that say about our judicial system? When the well being of a criminal is considered more important than that of his victim what are we saying to that woman? What does it say about a person who can liken the heinous crime of rape to “20 minutes of action?”
It is statistically proven that many women don’t report rape or choose not to go through with a trial. Can we blame them with results like this?
Having to sit and relive their worst nightmare in detail to a room of strangers while a lawyer questions every move she made, what she was wearing, how much alcohol she consumed, her level of promiscuity, how well she knows the accused, as if any of those things mean she wasn’t raped. Often times we blame the victim. We make her prove that she is somehow worthy enough to be a victim of a crime.
What message does this case sent to rapist out there? Be high achieving and consume alcohol because it makes you “less morally accountable” for your crime.
Brock Turner is not a high-achieving student athlete who attends a prestigious university; he is a convicted rapist who happens to be able to swim.


Darts & Laurels

A laurel to Paintsville Tourism. Great summer programs like Paddlefest continues to bring visitors and neighbors alike to our beautiful town. If everyone stays around town for a bite to eat or a bit of shopping, so much the better.

A dart to everyone who forgot to renew their tags, license and insurance – the police are out there and looking for you! Get your papers in order, our poor law enforcement boys and girls are getting carpel tunnel with all the tickets they’ve been writing.

A laurel to those who donated toward Texas flooding relief efforts. While the lone star state is not used to this kind of disaster, it is nice to know that our own experiences here in Johnson County last year have made us more compassionate to others.

A dart to high water potential after the drenching we are getting from Mother Nature. Water can rise quickly after a storm, so just because you came one way, doesn’t mean the path is clear on the way back. Be careful out there!

A Laurel to school being out and traffic on Hwy 321 through town finally clearing up! The Monday through Friday snarl twice a day in front of the Johnson Central High School and Middle School takes a break until August.



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