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April 22, 2004     The Ohio County Times News
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April 22, 2004
 

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TIMES-NEWS, HARTFORD AND BEAVER DAM, KENTUCKY, APRIL 22, 2004, PAGE 4--A LETTERS TO EDITOR EDITORIAL @ a state What more would you expect out of the Kentucky General Assembly than not to pass a budget d uri.'ng its regular ses- sion. Anything more positive would have been a departure from politics as usual. Not only did the do-nothing session again reflect badly on those we send to Frankfort, it reflected horribly on those of us who sent them. So now all we have to do is stand by and wait for a state already in a condition of financial flux to dole out another $50,000 a day for as many days as it takes our trusted law- makers to do what they should have been doing when they were playing stupidity. Wonder how long a local businessman or woman would put up with employees that couldn't agree on some basic te- nets of good business tenets, say, like when to come to work, when to go to lunch or how customers will be treated. While we're not saying our legislators are tangled up in such trite decim'ons, we are nonetheless, saying they very likely are not capable of handling the everyday business of running a state. But,'what else can we expect? Politics bern of Republicans and Democrats far outweighs common sense, common good and common responsibility. Democrats are not goi~ to bow to the demands of an upstart GOP governor and Republicans are not going to stand by and see their governor get slapped around. The end result is a stagnant stalemate that would sicken the average maggot. Taking a page out of Dickens' famous Christmas story, maybe it would be appropriate for ghosts of legislative ses- sions past to visit each of our astute lawmakers in the quiet of night and drag them into classrooms where children are be- ing deprived of the best education possible because of budget restrictions. And when they leave those classrooms, maybe they can be forced onto roads and highways with deep potholes, danger- ous curves and trashy-looking right-of:ways. Not stopping there, maybe the legislators could be forced to review a state malpractice insurance plan that is driving much-needed and vary capable doctors out of Kentucky and to areas not plagued with such nonsense. It's doubtful --- given theyear-at er-year track record, of the Kentucky General AssembJy-- that those chains rattling in the darkness would have any favorable affects, but maybe, just maybe. ....... In his. camp or not, .Gov. Ernie Fletcher cannot effectively operate the Commonwealth without a workable and efficient budget"And the Commonwealth cannot afford a special ses- sion to conduct business that should have been handled in the scheduled time allotted. But that's all politics and politics is no worrier of what is supposed to be. WASHINGTON- Reporters pressed President Bush at his news conference to name one mistake or error in judgment that he made either before ter- rorists struck on Sept. II, or af- terwards, as he led the coun- try to war in Iraq. Bush said he would leave it up to the his- torians to decide whether he had made mistakes. Attorney Gen- eral John Ashcroft appears to agree. This rehuml to concede error pits top officials at the White House and Justice Depart- ment against the career profession- Jack Anderson als that staff the syndicated government at columnist the highest lev- els. Richard Clarke served four presidents as a counte termrism special- ist, bringing a wealth ofknowl- edge to his argument that Na- tional Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice didn't pay sufficient attention to the threat of terrorism before Sept. 11. Testimony before the Sept. 11 commism'on by Thomas J. Pickard, acting director of the FBI in the months before the attacks, directly challenges Ashcrot 's version of events. Pickard told the commism'on under oath that Ashcroft lost interest aRer two briefings on terrorism, and tlmt going after Al Qaeda was not high on his a nda Ashcrofl, immediately countered, also under oath, that he was always focused on terrorism, and that the govern- ment was hampered in its ef- forts to combat the growing threat by the Clinton administra 's overly restric- tive legal interpretation on sharing intelligence informa- ment that during what's being called the summer of threat," he asked for $58 million in ad- ditional funds to bolster the fight against A1 Qaeda. AshcroR rejected the request on Sept. 10, a day before the attacks in New York and Wash- ington. Everyone is point- ing the finger of blame at the FBI for failing to uncover the Sept. 11 plotters, but critics shouldn't for- got that the FBI an- swers to the Justice Department. Ashcroft is the primary link be- tween the FBI and the White House, a role that he did not exercise aggressively on behalf of counter- terrorism until alter Sept. 11. The same critics who say he did not do enough be- fore the attacks fault him for doing too much aRer the at- tacks. The Patriot Act, which curbs civil liberties in an effort to broaden the U.S. reach into terrorist networks, is Ashcrofc's proudest accomplishment. It contains some logical reforms, but it also allows government to invade the privacy of ordi- nary citizens on the shakiest of grounds under the guise of fighting terrorism. For Demo- crats eager to defeat Bush, the Patriot Act has emerged as a symbol of Bush administration excess. But ~ttention before Sept. ii and excesses aRer are not the focus of the White House. The administration is dosing ranks, admitting no error, and concentrating on the present and future. But mistakes were made, anti John Ashcroft, while to the party line, may end up holding the party bag. When a federal marshal re- cently demanded the tape re- corders of two female journal- ists covering a speech by U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia in Mississippi, the reporters surrendered them without a fuss. The machines were later returned to Antoinette Konz of the Hattiesburg(Miss.)Ameri- can and Denise Grones of the Associated Press on condition that their tapes be erased. "It was called for TheNow York Times. Distra ? Embarrassing? Send Konz and Grones back to Journalism 101. Better yet, make them repeat the sixth grade. That's where American children are supposed to learn the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establish- ment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances." SO what if Scalia didn't like reporters taping his speech? Kenz and Grones had that le- gal right, guaranteed by laws Scalia took an oath to uphold. The prickly justice's subse- quent apology aside, this story's lead is the attitude, training and supervision of Konz and Grones. They didn't know or understand their role in our democracy. Neither did the editors who sent them to commit journalism without verifying they knew how to do it. When I was 25, as is Kenz, I was an uncensored Associated Press reporter writing from .was to ove, mme any obstacle preventing me from reporting and disseminating my stories into the public domain. When Carl Bernstein was 28 and Bob Woodward was 29, they broke the Watergate scan- dal story in The Washington Post. Despite threats, in- timidation and official denials, they uncovered illegal abuses of power that brought down Richard M. Nixon's presidency. At age 28, freelance jour- nalist Tina Rosenberg was awarded a $500,000 MacArthur Fellowship -- a so- called "genius" grant -- for in- vestigative stories from Latin .1CS Tad Bartimus syndicated columnist America that nearly cost her news life. a united We journalists must know' the First Amendment and Pulitzer other "sunshine" laws that porter Jacq prevent government officials suggests that from conducting the people's carry a business in the dark. Report- ers working in Hattiesburg, meetings Miss., as well as in Iraq, Af- well as the ghanistan and elsewhere, their must be ready to risk their and attorney. jobs, reputations and even "In a lives to safeguard this right, you need a The scary part of the Kenz- is-that managing neither reportez: was Times willing even to be em- barrassed for it. souri. "That "It's a sign of the powerful times," sighed Dr. bad Charles Davis, execu- half of the tive director of theknow." Freedom of Informa- Davis said tion (FOI) Center at the Missouri School of giants Journalism in Colum-news outletS bia, Mo. "The press is cowed and intimidated, news, and particularly by the abuse of power in this (George to go to W. Bush's) administration, he's "We don't stand up to our too hesitant government when they'reseiz- rights. ing tape recorders, closing "The meetings and randomly throwing up police tape." he said. "To said. "Much of today's media says 'I don2 embraces the status quo. fuss,'I say There's no solidarity among JOB!" can Q~ON: You listed al- coholism as a marriage killer. My husband has that problen It has created a great deal of pain in our home, and I am con- cerned about the emotional welfare of my children. Can it be treated, and is there hope for families like mine? DR. DOBSON: Alcoholism is a devastating disease, not only for the person who has it, but for his or her entire family. Research shows that 40 per- cent of people living in West- ern nations have a close faro- fly member who is an alcoholic. That incidence is even higher in Russia and other countries of Eastern Europe. There is no way to calculate the impact of this problem on children, on spouses, and on the culture it- self. Fortunately, it can be treated successfully for those who are willing to seek that help. I discussed the issue of al- coholism with a panel of knowl- edgeable people on the Focus on the Family radio broadcast. Included were Dr. Keith Simpson, a physician who has treated this problem for 20 years, and Jerry Butler, a mar- riage and family therapist with 25 years of counseling experi- ence. His own father had com- mitted suicide during one of his drunken binges. Also with me were "Bob," a recovered alco- holic, and his wife, "Pauline," that we with- hold their real names. I did not ask these four in- dividuals for a detailed analy- sis of alcoholism; our listeners already knew how serious it is. Rather, I wanted them to pro- vide us with practical sugges- tions as to how family mem- bers can recognize the disease and then be of help to those they love. The answers they gave were most encouraging and enlightening. Dr. Simpson was asked whether alcoholism can be treated successfully today. Is it a hopeless condition, or is there a way out for the victim and his family? This was his reply:. "I specialized in the field of internal medicine for many years, but found it to be de- pressingwork. I could help my patients with chronic lung dis- ease and severe diabetes and heart disease, but in reality, my efforts were just a delaying ac- tion. Over time, conditions worsened and the diseases pro- gressed. I made my rounds in intensive care each day and watched people losing their battle for life, whereas my al- coholic patients were getting well. ' at's why I deal almost exclusively with alcoholics now, and I find it to be extremely rewarding work. I see people who come in with more hor- rible problems than you can imagine, but they get into a months the difference is like which going from night to day. SO yes, credible, not only is alcoholism treat- able, but the medical commu- he nity does better with this dis- order than any other chronic disease. Alcoholics emerge am I doi from treatment pmgrmas more DR. functionally integrated, more you~e capable and more effective than before they 'caught' the disease." ofangor That was the theme of the Simply entire discussion: There is hope for the alcoholic! But before recovery can begin, the prob- lem has to be acknowledged and treatment sought. That applies to your own family situ- in ation, I'm sure. Your husband can be helped if he has "the want QUESTION: I've been aspedficl aware of my husband's un- in a faithfulness for some time now. must rye taken him to task for it, liver on Dr. James C. Dobson 131 W. 1