- Associated Press - Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Recent editorials from Kentucky newspapers:


Dec. 7

Daily News, Bowling Green, Kentucky, on Rand Paul:

U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., won election to office in 2010 by the majority of Kentuckians who voted.

Paul, a Bowling Green resident, is a popular senator in our state and has done a very good job looking out for the interests of Kentuckians and our country since going to Washington, D.C.

It is no secret that Paul is eyeing a potential run for president of the United States. We believe Paul would be a viable candidate for the presidency if in fact he were to throw his hat in the ring.

We will wait and see what our junior senator does, but in the meantime we are hopeful that Paul and his team can find some way for him to run for re-election to the Senate in 2016 and for president, if he chooses to, in the same year. He is in a bit of a dilemma over the future of his Senate seat.

Currently, Kentucky law prohibits a candidate’s name from appearing twice on the ballot.

A bill that would have allowed a candidate to appear twice on the same ballot if one of the offices is president or vice president was approved by the Kentucky Senate in the last legislative session, but it stalled in committee in the state House of Representatives.

It is no surprise that the bill stalled in the Democratic-controlled House. They don’t want Paul on the ballot for 2016 because they know he would likely be re-elected.

In all fairness, though, if Republicans controlled the House and not the Senate and a similar scenario happened with a Democratic candidate wanting to be on the ballot twice, they likely would have stalled on legislation to change state law as well.

This may not seem fair either way, but that’s politics for you.

Paul may not have won in the legislature, but he still has some options that could enable him to run for both offices.

Paul and his supporters are looking at ways around state law, such as changing the Kentucky Republican Party’s presidential nominating process from a primary to a caucus, which would mean Paul could be on the May primary ballot in just his Senate race.

Paul could challenge the state law in court. Some have argued that the state statute doesn’t apply to federal elections.

Only time will tell what avenues Paul will try in an effort to get on the ballot twice if he does indeed decide to run for president.

We believe that if Paul does decide to run for president that he should explore any and all avenues to get his name on the ballot in Kentucky for both offices.

If successful in getting his name on the ballot twice in Kentucky and he was unsuccessful in his bid for the presidency, Paul would still have the high honor of running for re-election to the U.S. Senate, and we believe he would have a very good chance of being re-elected if given the chance.




Dec. 10

The Courier-Journal, Louisville, Kentucky, on the Senate report:

Earlier in the week, there was barely a peep when the U.S. and NATO closed their operational command in Afghanistan, signaling the formal end of this nation’s longest war. Training and supporting Afghan troops are now the main missions for the foreign soldiers that will stay in country for the next two years; they also will counter Taliban and al Qaida actions with force, which doesn’t sound much like an end to anything.

Still, despite the protracted wind-down after this week’s lowering of flags, you would have thought we might have noticed the transition of a commitment that has cost the lives of more than 2,000 U.S. soldiers (with thousands more wounded and thousands suffering lingering effects from injuries and post-traumatic stress disorder) and $1.65 trillion on the war operations in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

But we didn’t - and on Tuesday that blip of a headline was overtaken by a maelstrom of headlines about another aspect of that costly war, and its costlier, pre-emptive sibling, the war in Iraq.

That would be the release of the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence report on the CIA’s interrogation methods used on 119 detained terrorism suspects.

Bottom line to a more than 500-page public summary of the greater, 6,700-page classified study: “Enhanced interrogation” was more brutal than Americans - weaned on images from Abu Ghraib - already knew or were led to believe, its oversight was inadequate and flawed, elected officials were similarly misled about the tactics, and the methods - torturous means designed to elicit reliable information about terrorism - were ineffective.

Not surprisingly, the CIA and former officials cited in the damning study are fighting back against its contents, which are the result of a five-year effort based on 6 million of the agency’s own documents. And, even before its contents were divulged and digested, it was decried by some as a partisan witchhunt whose release was reckless and would embolden enemies still not vanquished after a dozen years of war.

Tuesday’s report is a starting point toward our reckoning with these wars. The American people paid for them - and they’re going to be paying for them in dollars, destroyed lives and damaged international reputation for the foreseeable future. We should be more than oblivious bystanders in a debate about our national values and character.

If there is no excuse for torture, and there can be no excuse in a civilized society that prizes itself as an example to the world (especially one whose Senate ratified the Convention Against Torture almost 25 years ago), there is no excuse for hiding these filthy secrets from the people who paid for acts of rectal feeding and waterboarding, and in whose name and safety they were committed.

We’re not Russia. We’re not China. The U.S. is supposed to embody representative government - which means, by and large, we are supposed to know and approve what our government does. This week’s report is a belated - and controversial - delivery upon that heritage, tattered though it may be … that as Americans, we are not supposed to do these terrible things.

The sorriest truth is, we knew most of this information anyway. Or, we did if we we’d been paying attention for the past dozen years. The details, the names named, the conclusions drawn, are what’s new, and what will be debated. And they should be debated. Our honor is at stake.

Two voices from the Senate this week, worth hearing again.

Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., and chair of the Intelligence Committee: “It’s really about American values and morals. It’s about the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, our rule of law. These values exist in peacetime and in wartime. And if we cast aside these values when convenient, we have failed to live by the very precepts that make our nation a great one.”

John McCain, R-Ariz., who was tortured as a prisoner of war in Vietnam: “(We) are obliged by history, by our nation’s highest ideals and the many terrible sacrifices made to protect them, by our respect for human dignity to make clear we need not risk our national honor to prevail in this or any war. We need only remember in the worst of times, through the chaos and terror of war, when facing cruelty, suffering and loss, that we are always Americans, and different, stronger, and better than those who would destroy us.”




Dec. 4

The News-Enterprise, Elizabethtown, Kentucky, on PSC:

When the basics of life cost more, it follows that there is less to spend on living.

And any reduction in disposable income can slow the economy. So just as we are enjoying a little more spending money because of a decline in gasoline prices, a 9.6 percent increase in electricity bills next summer will shake household budgets.

LG&E-KU;, which is one company under common ownership, has filed with the Kentucky Public Service Commission to request a rate increase.

If approved, electricity bills for residences, businesses, industrial plants, schools and churches all would increase 9.6 percent.

Should it take effect in July as proposed, a typical residential customer would see an estimated increase of $11.01 per month. KU likes to break it down further because 37 cents per day seems trivial. But considering it on an annualized basis it is an impactful $132.12 per household.

Residents want and demand reliable electrical service. When the switch is flipped, the power must be there. No one today sees electricity as a luxury. It is essential to all aspects of life.

KU has spent millions on adding to the stability and reliability of its transmission and distribution network. Outages are down 10 percent, according to the company’s data, and related measurables have improved.

The company also is investing in reliable and cleaner forms of electrical generation. Next year it plans to open the state’s first natural gas combined-cycle generating unit at its Cane Run site in Jefferson County. That’s in addition to the more clean burning coal plant that opened in 2011 in Trimble County and a $36 million solar farm under development in Mercer County.

Many of these expensive capital decisions are based on compliance with federal regulations regarding the use of coal. That administrative intervention eventually must be paid for and consumers will foot the bill in some manner.

As a regulated investor-owned utility, LG&E-KU; must receive regulatory approval and has filed reams of data supporting its assertions. It is before the PSC as Case No. 2014-00371 but not yet scheduled for a hearing.

Significant information is available on KU’s website and from the PSC. Just as with KU’s most recent increase in 2011, many consumer watchdog organizations are expected to file challenges.

Common customers can object to details and findings as well. If you want to be part of the fight, this is the time to offer an informed opinion. Don’t wait until next July when the more expensive light bill comes in the mail.



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