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February 15, 2018



By Dr. Glenn Mollette

Back in the seventies my dad brought some delicious cheese home from our local town. "They were giving this cheese out in front of the courthouse so I picked some up" he said. The cheese was all part of the so called fight against poverty. My dad was a hard-working coal mining man so we had food to eat. However, who is going to turn down free cheese? The cheese was actually pretty good.

Processed cheese developed by James L. Kraft of Illinois in 1916 became a mass production of Colby and cheddar with curds and emulsifiers that tasted good and had a very long shelf life. The cheese would become a staple of the American diet but also a symbol of American poverty. Through the Temporary Emergency Food Assistance Program a significant portion of America's low income people were eating cheese packaged and distributed by our government.

The seventies were a while back but today we are hearing that America is going to advance to a new solution for feeding our hungry. The current administration is proposing that America help the hungry with government-picked, nonperishable food every month instead of food stamps or at least replacing some of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program known as SNAP. Of course this sounds better than passing out cheese to low income families. Digestive systems respond differently to the intake of cheese. Distributing healthy food to low income families sounds interesting. We all need to eat healthy.

When I was a child my first encounter with helping out the hurting was watching advertisements on television about donating for CARE packages to the poor in other countries. We now are hearing about a CARE package from Uncle Sam to America's low income people. I do not know what the packages will contain but I have heard canned fruit, chicken or fish, beans and among other things peanut butter. You can never go wrong with peanut butter. What about nuts? I've heard a handful of nuts every day are good for you? What about salmon? Alaska has a lot of salmon. I would like to see more wild Alaska salmon distributed in America instead all the farm raised salmon which is not supposed to be very healthy.

Unfortunately, I don't think the CARE package to America's low income families is the solution to saving America. The idea behind this new endeavor is to cut America's costs. We are trillions of dollars in debt and now the current administration with this new budget is recommending increasing our debt even more to so we can increase defense spending. I'm not opposed to increasing our defense spending. I am very opposed to all of the wars in the Middle East and nation-building which is driving us further into debt. Why would we jump on America's most vulnerable hurting people to solve our nation's economic woes?

I agree the food stamp or SNAP program needs help. The overhaul should limit Americans to five years of lifetime use of the program. No one should be allowed to buy soda pop, cookies and candy on the program. I suppose ice cream might be okay. The emphasis should be buying healthy food at the stores. Americans are already very obese and buying junk food through the SNAP program is adding to America's debilitation. I also hear stories of Americans buying a lot of soda pop and selling it cheap for cash to buy drugs. There definitely must be some reform on how much junk food can be bought through the SNAP program.

Sending low income Americans a box of food or requiring them to line up at a government distribution center reminds me of something I've seen on television maybe like from Russia or Germany. Are we going to force our poor to line up and get their food rations for the month?

I think the idea of America's corporations paying less in tax dollars should be good for America if it will keep factories in our country. I agree with this move. We need the jobs. However, if we are going to make up the difference by cutting back on Social Security, Medicare and SNAP recipients then we are not a very good people. The idea of corporations paying less in taxes is to stimulate our economy which should mean more cash flow, more tax dollars to help our nation and more money to pay down our debt if that's how we are going to use the extra money.

Charities across America give out water, food baskets and used clothing. Most of them provide a respectful service. The government of the United States of America can do better by our poor than a monthly box of food.

Dr. Glenn Mollette is the author of 12 books. His syndicated column is read in all 50 states.


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February 15, 2018


FRANKFORT, Ky. — More than 100 people, including many mothers, rallied Wednesday at the Capitol to denounce three bills that would relax Kentucky's gun restrictions, particularly at public schools and universities. 

Volunteers for the Kentucky chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, a grassroots movement dedicated to preventing gun violence, said they believe the bills pose a danger to Kentuckians of all ages. 

"We are here to go toe to toe with the gun lobby," said Connie Coartney, who volunteers with the Kentucky chapter of Moms Demand Action, which itself is part of Everytown for Gun Safety, a national organization with more than 4 million supporters. "Why do we show up? Because we know it doesn't have to be like this. We can make a difference."

The bills Moms Demand Action opposes are:

» House Bill 210, which would prohibit Kentucky's publicly funded colleges and universities from restricting someone's ability to possess a gun on campus if that person has a license to carry a concealed deadly weapon;

» House Bill 36, which would let people carry concealed deadly weapons without a license in the same places people who are licensed can carry them;

» and Senate Bill 103, which would allow public school boards (and private schools) to appoint employees as school marshals who would be allowed to store — and, if necessary, use — a gun on campus to protect other people.

"For over 20 years, our elected officials have offered trite condolences," said Hollan Holm, who survived the 1997 shooting at Heath High School in Paducah, not far from Marshall County High School, where two 15-year-olds were killed in another shooting last month.

"We are the moms and dads of this commonwealth," he said, addressing the state's legislators and Gov. Matt Bevin as the crowd applauded. "We need action, and if you continue to ignore our voices then it's time for you to retire — or be retired by us at the ballot box."
University of Louisville law student Ilya Chernyavskiy, who supports HB 210, recently told Courier Journal that licensed gun owners such as himself shouldn't have to choose between their lives and their livelihoods when they leave for class.

"There's no 100 percent measure that'll protect against violence ... but I think that having the option to have some form of self-defense is better than having nothing at all," he said.

And Republican state Sen. Stephen West of Paris, who sponsored SB 103, told Courier Journal his bill — which would require marshals to have concealed carry permits and would limit the number of marshals each school could have — offers educators another tool to improve the safety of their institutions. 

"It gives them another option to enhance their security within the school building and it allows them to not be a soft target," West said.

But Karl Stankovic, a retired law enforcement official, disputed the notion that designated school marshals could deal with a shooting effectively.

During the rally, he pointed out that those incidents don't happen in a controlled environment, such as a gun range. And even police officers, who receive extensive, ongoing firearm training, sometimes make mistakes or have accidents, he said.

Stankovic also criticized HB 36 as a measure that would let people carry loaded guns with zero training.

Anita Franklin, a Kentucky volunteer for Moms Demand Action, spoke Wednesday about losing her son, Antonio Franklin Jr., to gun violence a few years ago when he was shot in the head at a park in Lexington.

She encouraged the people gathered in the Capitol that morning to fight against measures that allow people to bring guns onto school property and to advocate for better regulations.

"There's no way that our kids can learn with guns in schools," she told them. "We can no longer remain quiet about our safety."

Then she got the crowd to join her in reciting the same mantra: "Let's get better, and do it together."

By Morgan Watkins
Louisville Courier Journal


February 12, 2018


Working on a water line near Torrey, Utah (Photo from National Rural Water Association)Working on a water line near Torrey, Utah (Photo from National Rural Water Association)

President Trump announced his long-awaited infrastructure plan today, calling for federal investment of $200 billion, $50 billion of it designated for rural areas. But most of the money would have to come from state and local governments.

"The bulk of the dollars in the Rural Infrastructure Program will be allocated to state governors, giving states the flexibility to prioritize their communities’ needs," the plan says. "The remaining funds will be distributed through rural performance grants to encourage the best use of taxpayer dollars." The plan calls for "reducing regulatory barriers" to infrastructure projects, including faster permitting, with a “one agency, one decision” structure for environmental reviews, which could last no longer than two years.

The plan says it is designed to spur investment of $1.5 billion in infrastructure, the great majority of it from state and local governments and private sources. "Critics say that will lead to higher state and local taxes, and an increased reliance on user fees, such as tolls, water and sewer fees, transit fares and airline ticket taxes," David Schaper reports for NPR. "Half of the funding, $100 billion, will be used as incentives to entice cities, counties and states to raise at least 80 percent of the infrastructure costs themselves. . . .That's a radical departure from the way many projects are funded now. Funding for federal-aid highways, including interstates, is usually allocated in an 80-20 federal-state split."

Schaper reports, "Critics worry that would lead to only projects that could generate revenue, such as toll roads or bridges, getting funded." Revenue-generating projects are usually in urban areas; rural areas tend to rely more on direct government support. The plan also has a subsidy for the Rural Utilities Service, a Department of Agriculture agency that funds broadband, electric, water and wastewater projects, and new mineral-lease revenues to fund projects in national parks and on other public lands infrastructure. It also opens the door to sales of assets by government-owned utilities: the Tennessee Valley Authority, the Southwestern Power Administration, and the Bonneville Power Administration in the Northwest, The Daily Yonder reports.

Schaper adds, "Senior White House officials who briefed reporters over the weekend say the plan is aimed at fixing the current system of funding infrastructure that they say is broken in two ways. The first is that the country has been under-investing in infrastructure, leading a state of growing disrepair. The American Society of Civil Engineers gives the nation a grade of D+ for the condition of transit, highway, bridge, rail, water and other infrastructure, and says the country is in need of an investment of $2 trillion more than is currently budgeted.

The second way the White House says the system is broken is in the lengthy federal permitting process, which officials say can take five to 10 years or longer, driving up costs."

Written by Al Cross Posted at 2/12/2018