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Opinion

  • The General Assembly adjourned the 2010 General Assembly Session without finalizing a budget. It is a matter that has caused much frustration and even anger. People should be mad. The fact of the matter is that the Senate would not agree to a fiscally unsound budget proposed by the House that raised over $280 million in taxes and bonded over $1 billion in projects that we cannot afford.

  • National media report that Saturday mail delivery may go the way of the milk wagon, and that a wide majority of Americans think that's OK.

    Hold on.

    Congress must act first, and that is not likely to happen soon. Some Congressional leaders worry about trimming mail service, even if only 35 percent of people surveyed by Gallup last summer disapprove.

    Poll results are guided by the way questions are asked. They don't give a full picture. Knowing that, Congress is not yet ready to decide.

  • Mothers Against Drunk Driving estimate that 11,773 died as a result of drunk driving accidents in 2008 in the United States.

    That's more than 31 percent of the 37,261 traffic fatalities reported that year.

    In 2006, 1.46 million drivers were arrested for driving while intoxicated in the U.S.

    These statistics give us a reason to understand why MADD is so passionate about its mission, but unfortunately, sometimes statistics don't help us understand the consequences of a bad decision.

  • I made a fascinating discovery recently.

    After making some budget cuts at my house, my television channel options were cut in half. I'm an NBC, CBS, and ABC type of gal, so to me it didn't really matter. And, thankfully, I still get Nickelodeon, so my son hasn't noticed that we don't watch Playhouse Disney much anymore. (If it weren't for DVR and the numerous recordings I have of Handy Manny, Go Diego Go and The Wonder Pets, I would be in serious trouble, however.)

    But, I digress.

  • As many of you have heard or read, issues around the state's budget have not yet been resolved. The primary problem is that the Senate and the House Republicans are unwilling to issue $1.2 billion in additional debt and raise an additional $280 million in taxes. We are simply not in a position to increase our debt load.

  • Last week, the cast of "Dearly Beloved" rehearsed in Angelic Hall at the Centre Square Fine Arts Building (the former Lebanon High School).

    The play is being performed twice this weekend by the St. Catharine College Players, but if everything goes according to plan, it could become the first of a series of artistic and educational opportunities that may soon be available in Marion County.

  • I joke with my friends that the robot wars are coming. The only thing is: part of me is only half-joking (I think). It probably didn't help that I saw "iRobot" (in its entirety) for the first time this past weekend.

    Why am I concerned this week?

    No, it's not the release of the iPad, although that doesn't help. (Wireless technology will just make it easier for the machines to communicate with each other.)

    My concern starts with soccer and ends in space.

  • When the Kentucky House of Representatives adopted its two-year budget several weeks ago, my colleagues and I had three main priorities: Streamline government; protect education and our most vulnerable citizens; and kick-start our economy.

  • In a landmark decision of the Supreme Court of the United States, Justice William Brennan wrote this country has "a profound national commitment to the principle that debate on public issues should be uninhibited, robust, and wide-open, and that it may well include vehement, caustic, and sometimes unpleasantly sharp attacks on government and public officials."

     

    Kentucky legislators failed to honor that principle when they voted to allow elected school board members to evaluate the performance of school superintendents in secret.

     

  • Do you know how many people in Kentucky are age 65 or older?

    In the year 2000, that number was 504,793.

    How about the number of Kentucky homes that heat with electricity?

    38.8 percent.

    Kentucky's household size? 2.47 people.

    Median age? 35.9

    And the percent of families with children 5 or under who live under the poverty level?

    21.6 percent.

    How do I know all this?

    The 2000 U.S. Census.

    Call up the Census Web site and you are quickly overwhelmed with an avalanche of data of all kinds, shapes and sizes.

  • Disc golf is not my thing.

    Neither is flying miniature jet airplanes.

    And, while my late father would be so disappointed to hear this, I don't dig bluegrass music either.

    But, just because I don't enjoy those things, doesn't mean there aren't hundreds, if not thousands, of other people who do. In fact, there are people who travel to participate in activities like these. Some even travel to Lebanon, as a matter of fact.

     

  • In the General Assembly during this time of year, "March Madness" refers to more than just a basketball tournament as the final hectic days of the legislative session draw to a close.

    In the state Senate, the focus last week was predictably on the two-year budget, with that chamber considering what changes it will make to the House version approved earlier this month. The Senate is scheduled to vote on a proposal early this week, setting the stage for legislative leaders to come up with a compromise by the end of the month.

  • As we wrap up the fiftieth legislative day, the Senate continues to build on our body of work by passing bills addressing domestic violence, education, drug use and treatment, and government efficiencies.

  • Eric Daugherty had one question for the hundreds of people gathered in the St. Augustine School gymnasium Saturday afternoon.

    "Are y'all ready to see some hair hit the floor?" he asked.

    Their enthusiastic cheering said they were.

    After Saturday's event, seven hair stylists had shaved more than 100 heads, leaving a sizable pile of hair on the floor. And that's not counting the 10 heads that were shaved at Big Jim's Friday night.

    This was the fourth year for the local St. Baldrick's event and the 10th year events have been held across the nation.

  • The 2010 Census forms should be arriving soon. In fact, by the time you read this, some of you may have already received your forms.

    I hope you will take the time to fill out this year's form, which has just 10 questions. If there is more than one person in your household, some questions will need to be answered more than once.

    Rest assured that the questions are simple, and the form shouldn't take much time to fill out.

  • When it comes to education, few days in recent years could rival last Thursday, when the state learned in the morning that it is a "Race to the Top" finalist and the Kentucky House voted overwhelmingly that afternoon to begin raising the high school drop-out age from 16 to 18.

  • Even before the House of Representatives passed its $17.5 billion budget proposal, the Senate Appropriations and Revenue Committee had our first meeting to discuss some of the tax measures that affect business. I am very concerned that these measures will hinder job creation. In the committee, I heard testimony from 10 business representatives who discussed how taxing businesses, including farms, which are already struggling would have a negative impact on employment.

  • After nearly two months of work, and in the face of a $1.2 billion deficit, the Kentucky House of Representatives voted this past week for a two-year budget that streamlines state government while investing in the Commonwealth.

    Legislators have known for months that the budget would be difficult to write, given the nation's worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.

  • Wednesday of last week, the Marion County High School girls' basketball team made its first appearance in the Sweet 16 since 1995.

    Let that sink in for a moment.

    This year's Lady Knights did something that has only been done a handful of times in the history of MCHS.

    They won regional and district championships, and they finished the season 33-2, an outstanding mark, by any standard.

  • "Go Cards. Beat Purdue."

    I don't remember who Louisville's basketball team was playing when I first heard that cheer, but I'm positive it wasn't the Boilermakers. I was a child, and I recall asking an adult, either my father or one of my uncles why the fans said Purdue.