Monday, June 30, 2008

BREAKING: UK football coach Rich Brooks, two others safe after boat capsizes

From WHAS-TV in Louisville:

"Kentucky football coach Rich Brooks was one of three people in a boat that capsized Monday morning. It happened on the McKenzie River near Eugene, Oregon where the 66-year-old Brooks is on vacation. Also on the boat, were Brooks' 38-year-old son Brady and one other man.

"All three people managed to make it to shore before Lane County Water Rescue personnel arrived. Brooks coached the University of Oregon from 1995-1996 and took the Ducks to the Rose Bowl.

"WHAS-11 News talked with UK Media Relations Director Tony Neely this afternoon. Neely talked with Brooks and says the coach is doing just fine and will probably be back on the river fishing tomorrow. Brooks has coached the Kentucky Wildcats since 2003, and is coming off two consecutive bowl victories."

Developing...

Evening Trio

AP: Pentagon announces charges in USS Cole bombing

OneNewsNow.com: Study: Christianity makes men better husbands, fathers

AP: Cyclist Floyd Landis loses appeal of doping ban

Chris Bailey Going to WSAZ

It is official: WKYT meteorologist Chris Bailey is moving to sister station WSAZ in Huntington, West Virginia. On his very popular blog he commented on the reasons why he chose WSAZ over other stations:

"1. I grew up watching it. 2. It is very close to my wife’s family and just as close to my family as is WKYT. 3. It is a sister station of WKYT so all my vacation and benefits transfer!"

Chris will do the 5 and 5:30 weathercasts on WSAZ and the 10pm weathercast on MyZ, WSAZ's digital sister station (similar to the CWKYT in Lexington). In addition, www.kentuckyweathercenter.com, Chris' future blog about Kentucky weather, will be online soon, but will be a scaled-down version. He will also have a blog at www.wsaz.com soon. The WKYT weather blog will cease operations shortly after Chris leaves the station.

On a personal note: Chris Bailey is the best meteorologist in the region. I have been commenting on his WKYT blog for the past few months...he KNOWS Kentucky weather. He is one of my friends on MySpace and Facebook. I will miss him on WKYT, but I will follow his new blogs since I do not have WSAZ on my cable system's lineup (TVS Cable in Hindman). May God bless Chris and his family as they begin a new chapter in their life.

Afternoon Trio

Wall Street Journal: New GI Bill's Recruiting Impact Debated

MarketWatch.com: Oil futures surge to record high above $143 (Editor's Note: Regular unleaded gas reached $4.09 per gallon today here in Letcher County.)

Richmond (VA) Times-Dispatch: James River Coal to buy coal reserves from Vicco-based Cheyenne Resources

Morning Trio

Albert Mohler: A Date with Disaster -- Presbyterians Approve Homosexual Clergy

InfoWorld: The final plea to save Windows XP

Lexington Herald-Leader: Lexington's Tyson Gay sets new American record in 100 meters

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Drudge: Bush angry at NY Times

From the Drudge Report:

"SOURCES: BUSH ANGER AT COMING NEW YORK TIMES STORY DETAILING HUNT FOR BIN LADEN... The newspaper is planning to expose a 'highly classified Pentagon order' authorizing Special Operations forces to hunt al-Qaida leader in mountains of Pakistan... DEVELOPING...."

More proof that the New York Times is aiding the enemy. Comments???

Post No. 300: McCain visits with Billy and Franklin Graham

Earlier in my Evening Trio, I mentioned that presumptive GOP presidential nominee John McCain visited Billy and Franklin Graham's retreat in North Carolina. The L.A. Times' "Top of the Ticket" blog has more details on the visit, which had a cameo by country music star and Kentucky native Ricky Skaggs.

As I mentioned in the post title, this is my 300th post. Thanks to God and you--my loyal readers--for making this blog what it is.

Evening Trio

Jerusalem Post: Israel approves prisoner swap

AP: McCain meets with evangelist Billy Graham and son

AP: 'WALL-E,' 'Wanted' team up as $100 million duo

Report: Iran's missiles aimed at Israel

If there is a time to PRAY for the peace of Jerusalem and Israel, it is NOW:

Iran ready to strike at Israel’s nuclear heart - Times Online

Morning Trio

AP: Israel reopens Gaza border crossings

L.A. Times: Bush calls Zimbabwe election 'a sham'

Lexington Herald-Leader: Free medical clinic comes to Pikeville

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Severe Weather Update

The Severe T-storm Watch for Eastern Kentucky expired at 9pm. 6582 Kentucky Power customers are without power. The hardest hit is Perry County with 3285 customers out. Knott County has 1104 customers out at present. Trees are reported down in numerous places.

Do you have any storm reports? Post them in the comments section. Thanks for your loyalty.

Evening Trio

Editor's Note: For the latest severe weather updates, see the "More Severe Weather Today" thread. On with the Trio:

AP: McCain, Obama court Hispanic voters

OneNewsNow.com: Television special tackles assault on Christianity

Sports Network: Reds, Indians continue Battle for Ohio

Morning Trio

Editor's Note: All of Kentucky is under a slight risk of severe weather today. I will post weather updates if warranted. Now on with the Trio:

Wall Street Journal: Individual Rights Make Headway

WYMT: Knott County Officials Back On The Job

Lexington Herald-Leader: General Assembly passes pension reforms

Thursday, June 26, 2008

BREAKING: Four Knott County Officials Found Guilty

From the Herald-Leader:

A jury in U.S. District Court in Pikeville on Thursday convicted Knott County Judge-Executive Randy Thompson in an alleged vote-buying conspiracy, according to an attorney involved in the case. Thompson was charged with trying to buy votes by misusing taxpayers' money to improve privately-owned driveways and build private bridges. Jurors also convicted John Mac Combs and Phillip Champion, who are deputy judge-executives, and former Magistrate Ronnie Adams. All were accused of taking part in the vote-buying conspiracy in 2006.

Thompson, a Republican in the heavily Democratic county, was appointed judge-executive in 2006 after the prior officeholder, Donnie Newsome, went to federal prison for buying votes. The judge-executive is the top administrator in most Kentucky counties. Pikeville attorney Larry Webster, who represented Combs, said the jury convicted Thompson, Combs and Adams of conspiracy and misapplication of funds, but split its verdict on some other counts.

Jurors convicted Champion of misapplication of funds, but found him not guilty on the conspiracy charge. And the panel convicted Adams on one count of vote-buying but acquitted him on another, Webster said. Webster said the convictions will be appealed on several issues. Defense attorneys felt the evidence was insufficient, and that jurors shouldn't have been allowed to consider some evidence, among other things.

Click here to read the rest of the article.

As promised, here is my take on the matter: I am strongly against vote-buying. Vote buying and selling is not just against the law, but is a sin. However, I strongly support those who want to help others. Elderly and disabled people needed--and still need--good roads. You also have to look at the improvements in Knott County--water and sewer projects, the Sportsplex, and adventure tourism. The media coverage and the strong emotions around this case have caused Knott County to be looked upon negatively. This negativity could linger for years. I have connections to Knott County--my mom's family is from there. I graduated from Alice Lloyd College in Knott County. PRAY for the people and leaders of Knott County.

Evening Trio

AP: Rocket hits Israel, second violation of Gaza truce

WAVE: Plant shooting survivor hospitalized in good condition

BBC: Sharapova upset at Wimbledon

Afternoon Trio

WYMT: BREAKING: Worker Shot At Bell County Car Lot

Wall Street Journal: Zell Looks to Tribune Real Estate To Generate Cash

NY Times: NBA Draft Puts Mayo in Customary Spotlight

BREAKING: Victory for Freedom


A historic day for the principles of freedom as the US Supreme Court upheld an individual's right to keep and bear arms. The 5-4 ruling struck down a handgun ban in D.C.
Click here to read the ruling. (Requires Adobe Reader)

Morning Trio: North Korea's Nuke List; 11 Hikers Found Safe; Cinderella Fresno State wins College World Series

Voice of America: China Says North Korea Will Release Nuclear List



L.A. Times: 11 missing hikers are found safe



AP: Detwiler, Wilson carry Fresno State to CWS title

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

AP: With conditions, utility gets OK for Va. power plant

The Virginia City power plant in Wise County, Virginia, near the Kentucky border, has been given the green light. From the AP via WKYT/WYMT:

A state board gave final approval Wednesday to Dominion Virginia Power's proposed $1.8 billion coal-fired power plant in the far southwestern corner of the state.


The 5-0 decision by the Virginia Air Pollution Control Board includes conditions intended to reduce emissions of sulfur dioxide and mercury. It also requires Dominion to convert a coal-fired plant in central Virginia to natural gas. The vote was the last major hurdle to construction of the 585-megawatt Virginia City Hybrid Energy Center in Wise, about 150 miles west of Roanoke. It is scheduled to go on line in 2012.

In a statement, the utility said: "We have not yet had the opportunity to review the final permits, but this decision paves the way for us to start construction in the very near future."
Proponents have said the energy plant would create jobs in the economically depressed region and a new market for Virginia coal. Environmentalists have raised health and safety concerns about mining of coal for the plant and the effects of the sulfur dioxide and mercury emissions.

Click here to read the rest of the article.

Jury Deliberating in Knott County Vote Fraud Trial

The federal vote-fraud case of four Knott County officials--including Judge-Executive Randy Thompson--is in the hands of a jury. WYMT has more here. As of the time of the original post, the jury is still out. I will post the verdict when it is available. There are strong---and I mean STRONG--emotions on both sides of the case. I have my own views, which I will share when the verdict is announced. When you post comments, please be courteous to me, my audience, and others commenting here. Do NOT use foul language.

UPDATE at 10:44pm ET: EKB News is reporting that after three and a half hours, the jury did not reach a verdict tonight. The deliberations will continue tomorrow at 9am at federal court in Pikeville.

UPDATE on Thursday at 6:03pm: ALL four Knott County officials were found guilty of charges. There were two not guilty verdicts. Full post later.

Evening Trio

Gallup: McCain and Obama tied at 45%

Culture and Media Institute: ABC, CBS Journalists Celebrate Acceptance of All Religions as Path to Salvation

TriCities.com: Air Board Could Decide Today on Permits for Proposed Coal-Fired Plant in Wise County

Jim Lehrer to return to NewsHour tomorrow

TVNewser is reporting that Jim Lehrer will return to PBS' NewsHour tomorrow after undergoing a heart valve procedure back in April. He will work a reduced schedule for a while and then return to his normal five-day-a-week schedule. He still plans to anchor coverage of the Democratic and Republican conventions this summer. We wish him well as he continues his recovery.

Aternoon Trio

AP: Update: 6 dead, including shooter, in Henderson plastics plant shooting

AP: Chicago-style pizzas headed to troops in Iraq

AP: Converts on trial in Algeria for spreading Christian faith

Morning Trio

Fox News: BREAKING: Employee Shoots 4 to Death at W. Kentucky Plant Before Killing Self

BBC: Court delays key Pakistani poll

CNET: The unbridled spirit of Kentucky

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Power plant battle continues in Virginia

The battle continues over the proposed Virginia City power plant. Click on the following from the Kingsport Times-News:

Dominion power plant's supporters, foes square off at hearing in Wise

Comments?

Developing: Obama asks his big money donors to pay off Hillary's debt

ABC News is reporting that presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama is asking his largest donors to help pay off Hillary Clinton's outstanding debt of over $10 million. Click here for the full story.

Your thoughts???

Evening Trio

Times of London (UK): Fears for ceasefire as rockets fired into Israel

Fox News: McCain faces energy pushback during Santa Barbara trip

ESPN: Former UK Wildcat Sean Woods to become Mississippi Valley State hoops coach

Afternoon Trio

AP via Yahoo!: Israeli police officer kills himself at airport

Wall Street Journal: Home-Price Gains Are Erased, Now Stand at 2004-2005 Levels

BBC: Amy Winehouse leaves hospital, begins rehearsals

Morning Trio

UPI: Most in U.S. believe in God or 'spirit'

Wall Street Journal: Coal Producers Struggle to Meet Demand

TriCities.com: Appalachia Service Project expects busy summer

Monday, June 23, 2008

Mediterranean Flyover: Telegraphing an Israeli Punch?

From www.stratfor.com

Mediterranean Flyover: Telegraphing an Israeli Punch?
By George Friedman

On June 20, The New York Times published a report saying that more than 100 Israeli aircraft carried out an exercise in early June over the eastern Mediterranean Sea and Greece. The article pointed out that the distances covered were roughly the distances from Israel to Iranian nuclear sites and that the exercise was a trial run for a large-scale air strike against Iran. On June 21, the British newspaper The Times quoted Israeli military sources as saying that the exercise was a dress rehearsal for an attack on Iran. The Jerusalem Post, in covering these events, pointedly referred to an article it had published in May saying that Israeli intelligence had changed its forecast for Iran passing a nuclear threshold — whether this was simply the ability to cause an explosion under controlled conditions or the ability to produce an actual weapon was unclear — to 2008 rather than 2009.

The New York Times article, positioned on the front page, captured the attention of everyone from oil traders to Iran, which claimed that this was entirely psychological warfare on the part of the Israelis and that Israel could not carry out such an attack. It was not clear why the Iranians thought an attack was impossible, but they were surely right in saying that the exercise was psychological warfare. The Israelis did everything they could to publicize the exercise, and American officials, who obviously knew about the exercise but had not publicized it, backed them up. What is important to note is that the fact that this was psychological warfare — and fairly effective, given the Iranian response — does not mean that Israel is not going to attack. One has nothing to do with the other. So the question of whether there is going to be an attack must be analyzed carefully.

The first issue, of course, is what might be called the “red line.” It has always been expected that once the Iranians came close to a line at which they would become a capable nuclear power, the Americans or the Israelis would act to stop them, neither being prepared to tolerate a nuclear Iran. What has never been clear is what constitutes that red line. It could simply be having produced sufficient fissionable material to build a bomb, having achieved a nuclear explosion under test conditions in Iran or having approached the point of producing a deliverable nuclear weapon.

Early this month, reports circulated that A.Q. Khan, the former head of Pakistan’s nuclear program who is accused of selling nuclear technology to such countries as Libya, North Korea and Iran, had also possessed detailed design specifications and blueprints for constructing a nuclear weapon small enough to be mounted on missiles available to North Korea and Iran. The blueprints were found on a computer owned by a Swiss businessman, but the reports pointedly said that it was not known whether these documents had been transferred to Iran or any other country. It was interesting that the existence of the blueprints in Switzerland was known to the United States — and, we assume, Israel — in 2006 but that, at this point, there was no claim that they had been transferred.

Clearly, the existence of these documents — if Iran had a copy of them — would have helped the Iranians clear some hurdles. However, as we have pointed out, there is a huge gap between having enriched uranium and having a deliverable weapon, the creation of which requires technologies totally unrelated to each other. Ruggedizing and miniaturizing a nuclear device requires specializations from materials science to advanced electronics. Therefore, having enriched uranium or even triggering an underground nuclear device still leaves you a long way from having a weapon.

That’s why the leak on the nuclear blueprints is so important. From the Israeli and American point of view, those blueprints give the Iranians the knowledge of precisely how to ruggedize and miniaturize a nuclear device. But there are two problems here. First, if we were given blueprints for building a bridge, they would bring us no closer to building one. We would need experts in multiple disciplines just to understand the blueprints and thousands of trained engineers and workers to actually build the bridge. Second, the Israelis and Americans have known about the blueprints for two years. Even if they were certain that they had gotten to the Iranians — which the Israelis or Americans would certainly have announced in order to show the increased pressure at least one of them would be under to justify an attack — it is unclear how much help the blueprints would have been to the Iranians. The Jerusalem Post story implied that the Iranians were supposed to be crossing an undefined line in 2009. It is hard to imagine that they were speeded up to 2008 by a document delivered in 2006, and that the Israelis only just noticed.

In the end, the Israelis may have intelligence indicating that the blueprints did speed things up, and that the Iranians might acquire nuclear weapons in 2008. We doubt that. But given the statements Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has made over the years, the Israelis have to be planning based on worst-case scenarios. What the sum total of their leaks adds up to is an attempt to communicate widely that there is an increased urgency in dealing with Iran, based on intelligence that the Iranian program is farther along than previously thought.

The problem is the fact that the Israelis are communicating. In fact, they are going out of their way to communicate. That is extremely odd. If the Israelis were intending to strike Iran’s nuclear facilities, they would want to be absolutely certain that as much of the equipment in the facilities was destroyed as possible. But the hard truth is that the heart of Iran’s capability, such as it is, does not reside in its facilities but in its scientists, engineers and technicians who collectively constitute the knowledge base of Iran’s nuclear program. Facilities can be replaced. It would take at least a generation to replace what we already regard as an insufficient cadre of expertise.

Therefore, if Israel wanted not simply to take out current facilities but to take Iran out of the nuclear game for a very long time, killing these people would have to be a major strategic goal. The Israelis would want to strike in the middle of the workday, without any warning whatever. If they strike Iran, they will be condemned widely for their actions. The additional criticism that would come from killing the workforce would not be a large price to pay for really destroying the Iranian capabilities. Unlike the Iraqi reactor strike in 1981, when the Israelis struck at night to minimize casualties, this strike against a more sophisticated program could not afford to be squeamish.

There are obviously parts of Iran’s nuclear capability that cannot be moved. There is other equipment that can be, with enough warning and with more or less difficulty, moved to unknown locations. But nothing would be easier to disperse than the heart of the program — the people. They could be moved out of harm’s way with only an hour’s notice. Therefore, providing warning that an attack was coming makes very little sense. It runs counter to basic principles of warfare. The Israelis struck the Osirak reactor in Iraq in 1981 with not the slightest hint of the attack’s imminence. That was one of the reasons it was successful. Telegraphing your punch is not very smart in these circumstances.

The Israelis have done more than raise the possibility that an attack might be launched in 2008. They have publicized how they plan to do it. Based on the number and type of aircraft involved in the exercise — more than 100 F-15 and F-16 fighter jets — one Israeli attack scenario could involve a third of Israel’s inventory of fourth-generation strike aircraft, including most of its latest-model F-15I Ra’am and F-16I Sufa fighter bombers. If Greece were the target in this exercise, then the equivalent distance would mean that the Israelis are planning to cross Jordanian airspace, transit through Iraq and strike Iran from that direction. A strike through Turkey — and there is no indication that the Turks would permit it — would take much longer.

The most complex part of the operation’s logistics would be the refueling of aircraft. They would have to be orbiting in Iraqi airspace. One of the points discussed about the Mediterranean exercise was the role of Israeli helicopters in rescuing downed flyers. Rescue helicopters would be involved, but we doubt very much they would be entering Iranian airspace from Israel. They are a lot slower than the jets, and they would have to be moving hours ahead of time. The Iranians might not spot them but the Russians would, and there is no guarantee that they wouldn’t pass it on to the Iranians. That means that the Israeli helicopters would have to move quietly into Iraq and be based there.

And that means that this would have to be a joint American-Israeli operation. The United States controls Iraqi airspace, meaning that the Americans would have to permit Israeli tankers to orbit in Iraqi airspace. The search-and-rescue helicopters would have to be based there. And we strongly suspect that rescued pilots would not be ferried back to Israel by helicopter but would either be sent to U.S. hospitals in Iraq or transferred to Israeli aircraft in Iraq.

The point here is that, given the exercise the Israelis carried out and the distances involved, there is no way Israel could do this without the direct cooperation of the United States. From a political standpoint in the region, it is actually easier for the United States to take out Iran’s facilities than for it to help the Israelis do so. There are many Sunni states that might formally protest but be quite pleased to see the United States do the job. But if the Israelis were to do it, Sunni states would have to be much more serious in their protestations. In having the United States play the role of handmaiden in the Israeli operation, it would appear that the basic charge against the United States — that it is the handmaiden of the Israelis — is quite true. If the Americans are going to be involved in a strike against Iran’s nuclear program, they are far better off doing it themselves than playing a supporting role to Israel.

There is something not quite right in this whole story. The sudden urgency — replete with tales of complete blueprints that might be in Iranian hands — doesn’t make sense. We may be wrong, but we have no indication that Iran is that close to producing nuclear weapons. Second, the extreme publicity given the exercise in the Mediterranean, coming from both Israel and the United States, runs counter to the logic of the mission. Third, an attack on Iran through Iraqi airspace would create a political nightmare for the United States. If this is the Israeli attack plan, the Americans would appear to be far better off doing it themselves.

There are a number of possible explanations. On the question of urgency, the Israelis might have two things in mind. One is the rumored transfer of S-300 surface-to-air missiles from Russia to Iran. This transfer has been rumored for quite a while, but by all accounts has yet to happen. The S-300 is a very capable system, depending on the variety (and it is unclear which variety is being transferred), and it would increase the cost and complexity of any airstrike against Iran. Israel may have heard that the Russians are planning to begin transferring the missiles sometime in 2008.

Second, there is obviously the U.S. presidential election. George W. Bush will be out of office in early 2009, and it is possible that Barack Obama will be replacing him. The Israelis have made no secret of their discomfort with an Obama presidency. Obviously, Israel cannot attack Iran without U.S. cooperation. The Israelis’ timetable may be moved up because they are not certain that Obama will permit an attack later on.

There are also explanations for the extreme publicity surrounding the exercise. The first might be that the Israelis have absolutely no intention of trying to stage long-range attacks but are planning some other type of attack altogether. The possibilities range from commando raids to cruise missiles fired from Israeli submarines in the Arabian Sea — or something else entirely. The Mediterranean exercise might have been designed to divert attention.

Alternatively, the Israelis could be engaged in exhausting Iranian defenders. During the first Gulf War, U.S. aircraft rushed toward the Iraqi border night after night for weeks, pulling away and landing each time. The purpose was to get the Iraqis to see these feints as routine and slow down their reactions when U.S. aircraft finally attacked. The Israelis could be engaged in a version of this, tiring out the Iranians with a series of “emergencies” so they are less responsive in the event of a real strike.

Finally, the Israelis and Americans might not be intending an attack at all. Rather, they are — as the Iranians have said — engaged in psychological warfare for political reasons. The Iranians appear to be split now between those who think that Ahmadinejad has led Iran into an extremely dangerous situation and those who think Ahmadinejad has done a fine job. The prospect of an imminent and massive attack on Iran could give his opponents ammunition against him. This would explain the Iranian government response to the reports of a possible attack — which was that such an attack was just psychological warfare and could not happen. That clearly was directed more for internal consumption than it was for the Israelis or Americans.

We tend toward this latter theory. Frankly, the Bush administration has been talking about an attack on Iran for years. It is hard for us to see that the situation has changed materially over the past months. But if it has, then either Israel or the United States would have attacked — and not with front-page spreads in The New York Times before the attack was launched. In the end, we tend toward the view that this is psychological warfare for the simple reason that you don’t launch a surprise attack of the kind necessary to take out Iran’s nuclear program with a media blitz beforehand. It just doesn’t work that way.

BREAKING: NY Giants release former UK star Jared Lorenzen




Former University of Kentucky quarterback Jared Lorenzen (pictured above) has been released by the world champion New York Giants, where he was a backup to Eli Manning. The Giants also released other players today. The Sports Network has more here. Your thoughts??


Evening Trio

Deseret News: LDS Church officials urge California members to support marriage amendment

BBC: Angry questions follow ferry sinking

Voice of America: EU Approves New Sanctions on Iran

Afternoon Trio

National Post: Facing the gospel truth

kypost.com: Kentucky Considering A Bear Hunting Season

AP: James, Bryant to lead US Olympic basketball team, former UK player Prince included

Morning Trio

Fox News: Tim Russert Snubbed by TV Guide

Fox News: Controversial comic George Carlin dies at 71

TriCities.com: Longtime Teacher Plans To Open Melungeon Research Center

Sunday, June 22, 2008

More Severe Weather Tomorrow???

It appears that the worst of the severe weather may be over for tonight...all watches for Kentucky have been allowed to expire. However, the Storm Prediction Center has put the eastern third of Kentucky under yet another slight risk of severe weather. It appears that the biggest threat for tomorrow is large hail.

Your humble blogger will monitor closely and will post any severe weather updates as needed.

Evening Trio

Reminder: A Severe Thunderstorm Watch is still in effect until 8pm for far eastern and far northern Kentucky. I will post if needed in the severe weather thread. On with the Trio:

AP: Tom Brokaw to moderate "Meet the Press" through the November election

BBC: Fresh dilemmas over Zimbabwe

MLB.com: Superb Pettitte helps Yanks avert sweep

Morning Trio

Voice of America: Over 700 Missing as Typhoon Fengshen Capsizes Ferry in Philippines

Jerusalem Post: State prosecutors: IDF soldier Schalit's release a priority of 'first order'

Catholic News Agency: Europe must proclaim Christ’s lordship to survive

Saturday, June 21, 2008

BREAKING: Lieutenant Gov. Dan Mongiardo weds Allie Patrick

From WYMTnews.com:

This evening in the company of family, Lieutenant Governor Mongiardo and fiancĂ©e Allie Patrick were married in a private ceremony in Covington, Kentucky. The wedding was held at Saint Mary’s Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption, a landmark church built in 1910 in the style of Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, France. The couple was married by Father Stan Puryear of St. Joseph Catholic Church in Bowling Green, KY.

“The ceremony was everything we dreamed it would be,” said the new Mrs. Mongiardo. “We couldn't be happier to start our new life together and are blessed to have our families share in our special day.” “Allison is truly one of the most remarkable women I have ever met, and I am blessed to now have her as my wife. I know she will prove to be a wonderful asset as—together—we work hand-in-hand with all Kentuckians to move our state forward,” said Lieutenant Governor Mongiardo.

The bride’s father, Dan Patrick, walked her down the aisle. Her sister, Sarah Patrick, served as Maid of Honor and the Lieutenant Governor’s brother, Vincent Mongiardo, served as Best Man.

Developing: NHRA driver Scott Kalitta killed in crash in New Jersey

From The Star-Ledger:

Funny Car driver Scott Kalitta was killed today in a fiery crash during a drag race at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park, race officials said. Kalitta, 46, was pronounced dead at a hospital in Old Bridge after his car lost control during the fourth and final round of qualifying at the National Hot Rod Association Super Nationals, according to statement by the association.

Witnesses said Kalitta was speeding at an estimated 300 mph during the National Hot Rod Association Super Nationals when the engine of his Toyota Solara exploded in a ball of flames. "The driver was killed after he lost control of his vehicle," said Sgt. Julian Castellanos, a spokesman for the State Police.

Lynette Davis, a spokeswoman for Raritan Bay Medical Center in Old Bridge confirmed that Kalitta was brought to the hospital at 4:56 p.m., but she would not release further details pending the notification of family members.

Spectators at the track watched as Kalitta's car exploded, hit a sand trap, then vaulted over a protective catch fence. A slow-moving ambulance took the driver away.

Click here for the rest of the article. PRAY for Scott Kalitta's family.

Evening Trio

Kansas City Star: Oprah's remarks rile some evangelical Christians

Wall Street Journal: NFL in Talks With ESPN, In Bid to End Cable Battle

AP via Kentucky.com: Kentucky professor killed in plane crash in Florida

Boyle County's Jordan Aumiller verbally commits to play football at Kentucky

From the Danville (KY) Advocate-Messenger:

The more Jordan Aumiller thought about it, the more he realized there was no sense delaying his decision. That’s why the Boyle County senior called University of Kentucky assistant coach Chuck Smith Friday and told him he was making his verbal commitment to sign with the Wildcats in February.

“I just thought the time was right to do it so I would not have to worry about it any more,” Aumiller said Friday. “I thought it would be fun for my family to be able to easily go watch the games.” Smith, the former head coach at Boyle, told Aumiller it was “awesome” that he committed early. Aumiller planned to meet with UK head coach Rich Brooks Saturday while Boyle was competing at a 7-on-7 passing tournament at Kentucky.

“Coach Smith seemed excited,” Aumiller said. He noted that his brother, Corey, told him that Smith called former Boyle all-state receiver Neal Brown, who is now the offensive coordinator at Troy, to tell him that Aumiller had committed.

Click here to read the full story. What impact will this have on the Cats? Post your comments.

Morning Trio

UPI: French President Sarkozy: No EU treaty, no enlargement

WYMT: Site Selection Process Begins For Future Letcher County Prison

WYMT: Mayor Gorman Says Bridge Will Change The Face Of Downtown Hazard

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Evening Trio

Editor's note: I usually release the Evening Trio around 5pm. However, due to a planned outage by Blogger at 5pm ET, this Evening Trio has been released early.

Fox News: GOP slams Obama for sidestepping public funds

L.A. Times: Brian Williams is temp replacement for Russert on 'Meet the Press' on Sunday

TechNewsWorld: Yahoo! fires starting gun in e-mail address gold rush

Afternoon Trio

AP via Cybercast News Service: Sex Offender Wins $57 Million Lottery Jackpot

CNET: Apple's iTunes hits 5 billion mark

WYMT: Isom railroad crossing on Highway 15 to close Wednesday

Morning Trio

WorldNetDaily: Rolling Stone mocks McCain's POW time

BBC: Court rejects EU treaty block bid

WYMT: Coal In Road Causes Morning Commute Concerns

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Developing: UofL's Caracter pulls out of draft, will fransfer

From FoxSports.com:

"Louisville sophomore Derrick Caracter has withdrawn from the NBA Draft, but he won't play another game for Rick Pitino. "He's transferring," Pitino confirmed to FOXSports.com. The 6-foot-8, 270-pound Caracter was considered the top player in the country at a young age, but never fulfilled his potential. He averaged 8.3 points and 4.5 rebounds per game this past season and had been suspended on multiple occasions for his inability to abide by team rules. Pitino said that Caracter was invited to the Orlando Pre-Draft Camp, but declined the opportunity."

Comments???

The Problem With Europe

From www.stratfor.com

By George Friedman

The creation of a European state was severely wounded if not killed last week. The Irish voted against a proposed European Union treaty that included creation of a full-time president, increased power to pursue a European foreign policy and increased power for Europe’s parliament. Since the European constitutional process depends on unanimous consent by all 27 members, the Irish vote effectively sinks this version of the new constitution, much as Dutch and French voters sank the previous version in 2005.

The Irish vote was not a landslide. Only 54 percent of the voters cast their ballots against the constitution. But that misses the point. Whether it had been 54 percent for or against the constitution, the point was that the Irish were deeply divided. In every country, there is at least a substantial minority that opposes the constitution. Given that all 27 EU countries must approve the constitution, the odds against some country not sinking it are pretty long. The Europeans are not going to get a strengthened constitution this way.

But the deeper point is that you can’t create a constitution without a deep consensus about needing it. Even when there is — as the United States showed during its Civil War — critical details not settled by consensus can lead to conflict. In the case of the United States, the issues of the relative power of states and the federal government, along with the question of slavery, ripped the country apart. They could only be settled by war and a series of amendments to the U.S. Constitution forced through by the winning side after the war.

The Constitutional Challenge

Creating a constitution is not like passing a law — and this treaty was, in all practical terms, a constitution. Constitutions do not represent public policy, but a shared vision of the regime and the purpose of the nation. The U.S. Constitution was born in battle. It emerged from a long war of independence and from the lessons learned in that war about the need for a strong executive to wage war, a strong congress to allocate funds and raise revenue, and a judiciary to interpret the constitution. War, along with the teachings of John Locke, framed the discussions in Philadelphia, because the founders’ experience in a war where there was only a congress and no president convinced them of the need for a strong executive. And even that was not enough to prevent civil war over the issue of state sovereignty versus federal sovereignty. Making a constitution is hard.

The European constitution was also born in battle, but in a different way. For centuries, the Europeans had engaged in increasingly savage wars. The question they wanted to address was how to banish war from Europe. In truth, that decision was not in their hands, but in the hands of Americans and Soviets. But the core issue remained: how to restrain European savagery. The core idea was relatively simple. European wars arose from European divisions; and, for centuries, those divisions ran along national lines. If a United States of Europe could be created on the order of the United States of America, then the endless battling of France, Germany and England would be eliminated.

In the exhaustion of the postwar world — really lasting through the lives of the generation that endured World War II — the concept was deeply seductive. Europe after World War II was exhausted in every sense. It allowed its empires to slip away with a combination of indifference and relief. What Europeans wanted postwar was to make a living and be left alone by ideology and nationalism; they had experienced quite enough of those two. Even France under the influence of Charles de Gaulle, the champion of the idea of the nation-state and its interests, could not arouse a spirit of nationalism anywhere close to what had been.

There is a saying that some people are exhausted and confuse their state with virtue. If that is true, then it is surely true of Europe in the last couple of generations. The European Union reflected these origins. It began as a pact — the European Community — of nations looking to reduce tariff barriers. It evolved into a nearly Europe-wide grouping of countries bound together in a trade bloc, with many of those countries sharing a common currency. Its goal was not the creation of a more perfect union, or, as the Americans put it, a “novus ordo seclorum.” It was not to be the city on the hill. Its commitment was to a more prosperous life, without genocide. Though not exactly inspiring, given the brutality of European history, it was not a trivial goal.

The problem was that when push came to shove, the European Community evolved into the European Union, which consisted of four things:

1. A free trade zone with somewhat synchronized economic polices, not infrequently overridden by the sovereign power of member states.

2. A complex bureaucracy designed to oversee the harmonization of European economies. This was seen as impenetrable and engaged in intensive and intrusive work from the trivial to the extremely significant, charged with defining everything from when a salami may be called a salami and whether Microsoft was a monopoly.

3. A single currency and central bank to which 15 of the 27 EU members subscribed.

4. Had Ireland voted differently, a set of proto-institutions would have been created — complete with a presidency and foreign policy chief — which would have given the European Union the trappings of statehood. The president, who would rotate out of office after a short time, would have been the head of one of the EU member states.

Rejecting a European Regime

The Irish referendum was all about transforming the fourth category into a regime. The Irish rejected it not because they objected to the first three sets of solutions — they have become the second-wealthiest country in Europe per capita under their aegis. They objected to it because they did not want to create a European regime. As French and Dutch voters have said before, the Irish said they want a free trade zone. They will put up with the Brussels bureaucracy even though its intrusiveness and lack of accountability troubles them. They can live with a single currency so long as it does not simply become a prisoner of German and French economic policy. But they do not want to create a European state.

The French and German governments do want to create such a state. As with the creation of the United States, the reasons have to do with war, past and future. Franco-German animosity helped created the two world wars of the 20th century. Those two powers now want a framework for preventing war within Europe. They also — particularly the French — want a vehicle for influencing the course of world events. In their view, the European Union, as a whole, has a gross domestic product comparable to that of the United States. It should be the equal of the United States in shaping the world. This isn’t simply a moral position, but a practical one. The United States throws its weight around because it can, frequently harming Europe’s interests. The French and Germans want to control the United States.

To do this, they need to move beyond having an economic union. They need to have a European foreign and defense policy. But before they can have that, they need a European government that can carry out this policy. And before they can have a European government they must have a European regime, before which they must have a European constitution that enumerates the powers of the European president, parliament and courts. They also need to specify how these officials will be chosen.

The French and Germans would welcome all this if they could get it. They know, given population, economic power and so on, that they would dominate the foreign policy created by a European state. Not so the Irish and Danes; they understand they would have little influence on the course of European foreign policy. They already feel the pain of having little influence on European economic policy, particularly the policies of the European Central Bank (ECB). Even the French public has expressed itself in the 2006 election about fears of Brussels and the ECB. But for countries like Ireland and Denmark, each of which fought very hard to create and retain their national sovereignty, merging into a Europe in which they would lose their veto power to a European parliamentary and presidential system is an appalling prospect.

Economists always have trouble understanding nationalism. To an economist, all human beings are concerned with maximizing their own private wealth. Economists can never deal with the empirical fact that this simply isn’t true. Many Irish fought against being cogs in a multinational British Empire. The Danes fought against being absorbed by Germany. The prospect of abandoning the struggle for national sovereignty to Europe is not particularly pleasing, even if it means economic advantage.

Europe is not going to become a nation-state in the way the United States is. It is increasingly clear that Europeans are not going to reach a consensus on a European constitution. They are not in agreement on what European institutions should look like, how elections should be held and, above all, about the relation between individual nations and a central government. The Europeans have achieved all they are going to achieve. They have achieved a free trade zone with a regulatory body managing it. They have created a currency that is optional to EU members, and from which we expect some members to withdraw from at times while others join in. There will be no collective European foreign or defense policy simply because the Europeans do not have a common interest in foreign and defense policy.

Paris Reads the Writing on the Wall

The French have realized this most clearly. Once the strongest advocates of a federated Europe, the French under President Nicolas Sarkozy have started moving toward new strategies. Certainly, they remain committed to the European Union in its current structure, but they no longer expect it to have a single integrated foreign and defense policy. Instead, the French are pursuing initiatives by themselves. One aspect of this involves drawing closer to the United States on some foreign policy issues. Rather than trying to construct a single Europe that might resist the United States — former President Jacques Chirac’s vision — the French are moving to align themselves to some degree with American policies. Iran is an example.

The most intriguing initiative from France is the idea of a Mediterranean union drawing together the countries of the Mediterranean basin, from Algeria to Israel to Turkey. Apart from whether these nations could coexist in such a union, the idea raises the question of whether France (or Italy or Greece) can simultaneously belong to the European Union and another economic union. While questions — such as whether North African access to the French market would provide access to the rest of the European Union — remain to be answered, the Germans have strongly rejected this French vision.

The vision derives directly from French geopolitical reality. To this point, the French focus has been on France as a European country whose primary commitment is to Europe. But France also is a Mediterranean country, with historical ties and interests in the Mediterranean basin. France’s geographical position gives it options, and it has begun examining those options independent of its European partners.

The single most important consequence of the Irish vote is that it makes clear that European political union is not likely to happen. It therefore forces EU members to consider their own foreign and defense policies — and, therefore, their own geopolitical positions. Whether an economic union can survive in a region of political diversity really depends on whether the diversity evolves into rivalry. While that has been European history, it is not clear that Europe has the inclination to resurrect national rivalries.

At the same time, if France does pursue interests independent of the Germans, the question will be this: Will the mutual interest in economic unity override the tendency toward political conflict? The idea was that Europe would moot the question by creating a federation. That isn’t going to happen, so the question is on the table. And that question can be framed simply: When speaking of political and military matters, is it reasonable any longer to use the term Europe to denote a single entity? Europe, as it once was envisioned, appears to have disappeared in Ireland.

Evening Trio

AP: Helicopter saves sandbaggers from Midwest flooding

Pol Watchers blog: Beshear calls special session on pension reform

Fox News: Joan Rivers Booted From British TV Over Curse Word

Afternoon Trio

International Christian Concern: India's government silent on anti-Christian violence

WVEC: Judge to review Virginia Tech settlements

Patriot Post: Apologia Pro Redneck

Morning Trio

CNSNews.com: Homosexual "marriages" begin in California

Lexington Herald-Leader: Vote-fraud trial begins for four Knott County officials

Fox News: Mets fire manager Willie Randolph

Monday, June 16, 2008

Severe Weather: The Aftermath

The severe thunderstorm watch has been cancelled. There have been numerous reports of hail and high wind, with tennis-sized hail in Owsley County. A barn and garage was hit earlier this evening in Jessamine County. As of 10:54pm, 1,419 Kentucky Power customers were without power in Boyd, Floyd, Knott, Letcher, and Perry Counties. Click here to see an interactive outage map. Thanks to all of you who have read my blog posts today...see ya in the morning with the Morning Trio.

Evening Trio

WorldNetDaily: U.S. to guarantee Israel's capital to Palestinians?

AP: Judge rules for White House in e-mail controversy

AP: Woods wins US Open on 19th hole

BREAKING: Fox Sports reporting Derrick Jasper to transfer to UNLV

FoxSports.com is reporting this afternoon that former Kentucky guard Derrick Jasper is tranferring to UNLV. Here is the article:

"Former Kentucky guard Derrick Jasper is transferring to UNLV. According to sources and confirmed by Jasper's summer coach, Darren Matsubara, the versatile 6-foot-6 sophomore committed to the Running Rebels shortly after a weekend visit to Las Vegas. Jasper missed the first 10 games of this past season while recovering from offseason knee surgery. He came back and averaged 4.2 points, 5.5 rebounds and 2.4 assists in a shortened sophomore campaign. Jasper, who started 27 games as a freshman, said he left Kentucky in order to be closer to his home in California. He also considered Arizona."

What does this mean to UNLV's program? How will it affect Kentucky's program? Post your comments.

Afternoon Trio

AP: Taliban fighters take over several Afghan villages

WVEC (Hampton Roads): Marcus Vick due in Norfolk court in September on DUI charge

AP: It's Woods vs. Mediate in US Open playoff

Morning Trio

NewsMax: Al Sharpton's charity, under investigation, backed by major corporations

Wall Street Journal: FCC Staff Back XM-Sirius Merger

Kingsport Times-News: Wellmont's Southwest Virginia Cancer Center opens today in Norton

Friday, June 13, 2008

BREAKING: 7.0 quake hits northern Japan

A magnitude 7 earthquake hit northern Japan at 8:43am Saturday morning (Japan time). The epicenter of the quake was the northern prefecture of Iwate.

Fox News has more here. This quake comes only weeks after a major quake hit China and a cyclone hitting Myanmar (Burma). PRAY for the people of Asia.

Evening Trio

AP: R. Kelly cleared of child porn charges

Adweek: MySpace Gets Makeover (By the way, the rumors about MySpace charging a fee to users is NOT true.)

The Sporting News: Fans flock to Kentucky for Nationwide race

In Memoriam: Tim Russert 1950-2008


The New York Times is reporting that Tim Russert, host of NBC's "Meet the Press," has died suddenly of a heart attack. He was 58. I will have more soon. PRAY for his family.
UPDATE at 3:50pm ET: NBC is reporting that he died after collapsing in the Washington bureau while doing voiceovers for Sunday's "Meet the Press." Click here for more.
UPDATE at 4:14pm ET: Reports are now saying that Russert died of a coronary embolism and not a heart attack as was previously reported.
UPDATE at 5:37pm: The MSNBC story no longer mentions the cause of death. Continue to PRAY for his wife and kids, who are on their way back from a vacation in Italy.
UPDATE at 5:52pm: The TVNewser blog has a statement from Sibley Memorial Hospital here.
UPDATE at 9:06pm: I saw earlier on another blog Wikipedia posted the news about Russert's death before the media broke the story. I looked up the revision history for the Tim Russert article and the first mention of his death was at 3:01pm ET. The revision was made by an anonymous user. Wikipedia lists the IP addresses of anonymous users on revision histories on articles. The IP address of the one who broke the news on Russert belonged to Internet Broadcasting Systems, Inc., a firm that hosts sites for local TV stations, including NBC affiliates.
UPDATE on Saturday at 6:55pm ET: NewsMax has an article about Russert's faith here.

Afternoon Trio

WorldNetDaily: Biblical message now criminalized in Colorado

Chicago Tribune: Flood forces evacuation of Iowa hospital

BBC: Despite defeat in Ireland, UK to press ahead with EU Treaty

BREAKING: Marcus Vick busted for DUI

Marcus Vick's troubles continue. According to WVEC-TV, around 2am ET Friday, police in Norfolk, VA arrested Vick, the brother of Michael Vick, on suspicion of DUI, evading police, reckless driving, and driving on a suspended license. Vick was arguing with Delicia Cordon, age 24 of Miami, in a car. Vick sped away from police when asked for his license. Cordon is charged with public intoxication.

Marcus Vick was kicked off the Virginia Tech football team due to his troubles on and off the field.

Morning Trio

Knoxville News-Sentinel: Bandleader Danny Davis dies at 83

Lexington Herald-Leader: A Kentucky TV treasure is threatened

AP: Celtics storm back, beat Lakers 97-91 in Game 4

Thursday, June 12, 2008

"60 Minutes" Legend Mike Wallace Won't Return to Television

From Newsmax.com:

Veteran “60 Minutes” newsman Mike Wallace will not be returning to television after undergoing triple bypass surgery in January, according to his son, “Fox News Sunday” host Chris Wallace. The elder Wallace, who turned 90 in May, is now recovering from a recent fall in his New York home. He was hospitalized because he is taking a blood thinner and doctors wanted to make sure “that he didn’t bleed out,” Chris told U.S. News & World Report’s Paul Bedard. Chris said his father’s heart “is working just fine” but that he was finished with TV and plans to spend the summer at his home in Martha’s Vineyard. The elder Wallace was on the “60 Minutes” staff when the program debuted in 1968. He retired as a fulltime correspondent in 2006 but continued to work for CBS News.

Click here for the rest of the article.

Evening Trio

AP: Lawmakers say Capitol computers hacked by Chinese

BBC: Secret terror files left on train

London (UK) Telegraph: Pluto gets new classification as 'Plutoid'

Afternoon Trio

Chicago Tribune: Guantanamo inmates may seek release in court, high court says

WYMT: Four arrested in Pikeville for copper theft in Jenkins

Cincinnati Enquirer: Ocho Cinco (aka Chad Johnson) reports for Bengals minicamp

A new record...

Since I posted the article on Derrick Jasper yesterday, I have been deluged with visitors. The number of visitors has been a record for the past 24 hours. Apparently, Spam's Wildcat Page had posted a link to my article. You can go to Spam's by clicking here. It is a fan page loaded with links about current UK hoops news.

For all of my new readers, I appreciate each and every one of you. I started this blog in April and I usually discuss news, weather, sports, faith, and my life. You can learn more about me by going to the About Me page on the right side of the blog.

Thanks for stopping by and God Bless. :)

Morning Trio

AP: 4 dead, 40 injured as tornado hits Boy Scout camp

AP: Bush names Presidential Medal of Freedom winners

Lexington Herald-Leader: Congress hearing on horse racing set

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Evening Trio

Fox News: Obama's veep vetter quits amid controversy

Fox Sports: Paterno against early signing period

Wall Street Journal: Google Co-Founder Drops $5 Million on Space Flight

Developing: Derrick Jasper to UNLV???

The Las Vegas Review-Journal is reporting that UNLV guard Tre'Von Willis, a transfer from Memphis, wants his "longtime friend," UK transfer Derrick Jasper, to commit to UNLV during a campus visit this weekend.



While the article is mainly about Willis, the scoop about Jasper is worth the read. Click here to read the article. Comments???

Afternoon Trio

Pol Watchers: GOP pounces on Lunsford's EKU-UK slip-up

AP: Sandbagged levee holds in Iowa, protects city

Argus Like (Britain): Christian convert could 'face death' if she returns to Iran

Morning Trio

Arutz Sheva: Security Cabinet Meeting to Decide on Gaza

Lexington Herald-Leader: Todd Borek to Replace Chris Bailey on WKYT

AP: New Southern Baptist president pledges to unite

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Evening Trio

Christian Post: Franklin Graham Festival Draws Masses in Flood-Hit Mexican State

L.A. Times: McCain slams Obama on taxes

Richmond (VA) Times-Dispatch: Gilmore: Warner a 'hungry piranha'

Afternoon Trio

Reuters: Southern Baptists hold meeting amid falling baptisms

Christian Science Monitor: NBA hopes Celtics-Lakers rivalry can respark the fans

Sports Network: Reds' Hairston fractures thumb

Morning Trio

Before we go to the Trio, as I mentioned in my previous post this morning, my father is undergoing a heart cath today. PRAY for my dad. Now to the Trio:

NY Times: King Coal Country Debates a Sacrilege, Gas Heat

AP: Surrounded by sea, sailors kept afloat with hope

AP: Griffey hits No. 600 against Marlins

PRAY for my Dad

My loyal readers:

PRAY for my dad. He will be undergoing a heart cath at the Hazard (KY) hospital today.

I will post updates if needed. Thanks and God Bless.

UPDATE at 12:22pm: They are doing the procedure on Dad at this time. There was a delay in the procedure due to the heart specialist being on an emergency call in Whitesburg. Continue to PRAY for Dad.

UPDATE at 3:41pm: Doctors found no blockages. Praise God. However, Dad will be given medication for a weak heart muscle. He is currently in recovery and will be home later today.

UPDATE at 6:53pm: Dad came home around 6:30pm. Thank you for your prayers.

Monday, June 9, 2008

What is going on at WKYT???

First it was news anchors DeAnn Stephens and Renee Charles leaving WKYT. Meteorologist Chris Bailey announced in late May he would leave the station at the end of June. And now WKYT is saying that Drew Deener, the 6pm and 11pm sports anchor, as well as the 10pm sports anchor for WDKY (Fox-56), will leave WKYT on June 20. Rob Bromley will once again anchor the 6pm sports segment, while Brandon Fisher, who recently worked in Nashville and Knoxville, will do the 11pm segment for WKYT and the 10pm segment for Fox-56. Click here to read WKYT's statement on the changes.

What is going on at WKYT??? Why so many departures??? If you know something, leave a comment.

Evening Trio

Wall Street Journal: Apple Unveils 3G iPhone, Lowers Price to $199

UPI: Kennedy returns home after brain surgery

AP: Violent and property crime declined in 2007

Political Notes: Mitchell FINALLY apologizes for "redneck" comment; McCain hopes to meet with Billy Graham

Some political notes on this sultry Monday afternoon in the Eastern US:

NBC's Andrea Mitchell finally apologized today for her derogatory remarks about Appalachia. The remarks were made as part of MSNBC's coverage of Barack Obama's recent visit to Bristol, Virginia. TVNewser has the video apology here. Yesterday, Bristol Herald-Courier columnist J. Todd Foster said:

"The last bastion of acceptable, politically incorrect stereotyping is making fun of Southerners...[a]nd we're...tired of it." As a fellow Appalachian and, more importantly, a Christian, so am I. Christ would not use stereotypes. While I accept Mitchell's apology, the liberal left should not be in the business of stereotyping God-fearing, taxpaying rural people.

In other political news, John McCain's campaign clarified earlier reports stating that he refused a meeting with Billy Graham. McCain's deputy campaign manager tells NewsMax that plans are indeed in the works for a meeting with Rev. Graham. NewsMax earlier reprinted a letter from the campaign that seemed to indicate that McCain would not meet with Rev. Graham at all, increasing fears among conservative Christians that McCain would ignore them. It appears now that this is not the case.

Comments???

UPDATE at 5:34pm: NewsMax is reporting that a Billy Graham spokesman issued a statement saying that Graham "was unaware of any communication between the McCain campaign and his office or his son's [office]." Developing...

UPDATE at 6:30pm ET: CBN's Brody File blog received this statement from a Franklin Graham spokesman:

"The offer to meet with Mr. Graham was extended by someone who is not in an official capacity to arrange such a meeting, nor is he affiliated with the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. (Emphasis mine)

"So far, Billy Graham's office has not been directly contacted about meeting with Sen. McCain.

"Franklin Graham did receive a message from one of Sen. McCain's staffers several months ago saying that they were reaching out to evangelical leaders and that if Franklin Graham would like to meet with McCain that would be welcomed. This was during the primaries and Franklin did not have any follow up to that call.

"But Franklin said he would now be willing to meet with Sen. McCain or Sen. Obama."

Still developing...

Afternoon Trio

WorldNetDaily: Congress, get off your gas, and drill!

WYMT: Free Health Clinic To Visit Eastern Kentucky

Fox News: Al Franken's US Senate race haunted by 1995 rape joke on 'SNL' set

Morning Trio

CNSnews.com: Republicans Blame Democrats for 'A Nation of $4 Gasoline'

AP via Jerusalem Post: 34 miners remain trapped underground after coal mine explosion in Ukraine (UPDATE at 8:22am ET: Britain's Sky News is reporting that 23 of the 34 miners have been found safe. The rest are still missing.)

Mission Network News: Eritrea steps up campaign against Christians

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Evening Trio

AP: National average gas price: $4.00 (QUADRUPLE OUCH!!!!)

Forbes: iPhone Rumors Conflict

WKYT: The Question Remains: What Happened To Big Brown?

Morning Trio

Voice of America: US First Lady in Afghanistan, Urges Support

Bristol Herald-Courier/TriCities.com: Southwest Virginians Should Be Proud Of Region (Reaction is still strong on both sides of the political aisle after Andrea Mitchell's ridiculous comments about Appalachia.)

AP: Former UK coach Cohen introduced as new baseball coach at Mississippi State

Saturday, June 7, 2008

BREAKING: Da'Tara wins Belmont, no Triple Crown this year

38-1 long shot Da' Tara shocked the sports world by winning the Belmont Stakes wire to wire. Big Brown did not perform well, was eased up, and finished last. The Triple Crown goes unclaimed again. It has been three decades since Affirmed last won the Triple Crown.

Evening Trio

WYMT: KRADD Executive Director Hospitalized

AP: Rain inundates central Indiana, forces evacuations

Medical Leader: Pike County Judge-Executive slams Kentucky's two largest newspapers

In Memoriam: Jim McKay

Longtime ABC sportscaster Jim McKay, who hosted "ABC's Wide World of Sports," covered 12 Olympics and covered the 1972 Munich hostage crisis, died today in Maryland of natural causes. He was 86.

ESPN has more here. My prayers go out to his family. His son, Sean McManus, is the president of CBS News & Sports. I'm sure that during ABC's coverage of the Belmont Stakes, they will have a moving tribute to McKay.

BREAKING: Casino Drive scratched from Belmont Stakes

The chances of Big Brown winning the Triple Crown are higher now. From the AP via NBC Sports/MSNBC:

"Casino Drive was scratched from the Belmont Stakes hours before the final leg of the Triple Crown on Saturday morning due to a bruised left hind hoof. Racing manager Nobutaka Tada said Casino Drive was fine during a three-furlong jog early Saturday, but he appeared to be favoring the hoof while receiving a bath following the workout. Tada said the decision to scratch the Peter Pan Stakes winner was a precautionary measure. He classified the injury as minor, but didn't want to take any chances during the grueling 1 1/2-mile race.

"Casino Drive was the early second choice behind Triple Crown favorite Big Brown. The horse will be shipped back to Japan on Tuesday, but could return later this year to run in the Breeders' Cup."

While Casino Drive's injury is unfortunate, as I mentioned above, Big Brown's chances of winning the coveted Triple Crown have gone up. There has never been a Triple Crown winner since Affirmed in 1978. Your thoughts?

Morning Trio

London Daily Telegraph: Christianity 'discriminated against by [British PM] Gordon Brown's Government'

TriCities.com: EDITORIAL: NBC News’ [Andrea] Mitchell wrong to disrespect Appalachia with ‘redneck’ comment (This editorial proves that the ultra-liberal MSNBC is hypocritical.)

AP: Big Brown is patched, ready for run at history

Friday, June 6, 2008

Evening Trio

Lexington Herald-Leader: BREAKING: John Cohen resigns as UK baseball coach

AP: Big Brown's cracked hoof is patched

AP: Stocks fall sharply on surge in oil, jobs data

Afternoon Trio

CBN's Brody File blog: Obama's Looming Jerusalem Problem

AP: Keith Olbermann's tax debt is fuel for feud

WYMT: Hazard chapter of DAV needs help with building

Missing Woman In Letcher County (UPDATE: Woman found dead)

From WYMTnews.com:

"The search continues for a missing woman in Letcher County.

"Police say Debbie Bradshaw was last seen in the Mayking area around nine Tuesday morning. Police say Bradshaw is 44 years old, about five foot one, weighing 145 pounds. She was last seen wearing blue jeans, a t-shirt and white tennis shoes. She has brown hair with green eyes and was last seen with a cocker spaniel dog.

"If you have any information about the where abouts of Debbie Bradshaw, you are asked to contact the Letcher County Sheriff's Office at 606-633-2293."

I will post more info when available.

UPDATE on Saturday at 5:35pm: WYMT has new info here. They report that Bradshaw was on medication and was diagnosed with depression and asthma. PRAY for her safe return.

UPDATE on Monday at 6:10pm: WYMT is reporting that Bradshaw was found dead on Sunday night near her Mayking home. PRAY for her family at this sad time.

Remembering D-Day

On the 64th anniversary of D-Day, the words of Reagan's 1984 D-Day speech remain true (Hat tip: HumanEvents.com):

We're here to mark that day in history when the Allied armies joined in battle to reclaim this continent to liberty. For four long years, much of Europe had been under a terrible shadow. Free nations had fallen, Jews cried out in the camps, millions cried out for liberation. Europe was enslaved, and the world prayed for its rescue. Here in Normandy the rescue began. Here the Allies stood and fought against tyranny in a giant undertaking unparalleled in human history.

We stand on a lonely, windswept point on the northern shore of France. The air is soft, but 40 years ago at this moment, the air was dense with smoke and the cries of men, and the air was filled with the crack of rifle fire and the roar of cannon. At dawn, on the morning of the 6th of June, 1944, 225 Rangers jumped off the British landing craft and ran to the bottom of these cliffs. Their mission was one of the most difficult and daring of the invasion: to climb these sheer and desolate cliffs and take out the enemy guns. The Allies had been told that some of the mightiest of these guns were here and they would be trained on the beaches to stop the Allied advance.

The Rangers looked up and saw the enemy soldiers--the edge of the cliffs shooting down at them with machine guns and throwing grenades. And the American Rangers began to climb. They shot rope ladders over the face of these cliffs and began to pull themselves up. When one Ranger fell, another would take his place. When one rope was cut, a Ranger would grab another and begin his climb again. They climbed, shot back, and held their footing. Soon, one by one, the Rangers pulled themselves over the top, and in seizing the firm land at the top of these cliffs, they began to seize back the continent of Europe. Two hundred and twenty-five came here. After two days of fighting, only 90 could still bear arms.

Behind me is a memorial that symbolizes the Ranger daggers that were thrust into the top of these cliffs. And before me are the men who put them there.

These are the boys of Pointe du Hoc. These are the men who took the cliffs. These are the champions who helped free a continent. These are the heroes who helped end a war.

Gentlemen, I look at you and I think of the words of Stephen Spender's poem. You are men who in your "lives fought for life . . . and left the vivid air signed with your honor.''

I think I know what you may be thinking right now--thinking, "We were just part of a bigger effort; everyone was brave that day.'' Well, everyone was. Do you remember the story of Bill Millin of the 51st Highlanders? Forty years ago today, British troops were pinned down near a bridge, waiting desperately for help. Suddenly, they heard the sound of bagpipes, and some thought they were dreaming. Well, they weren't. They looked up and saw Bill Millin with his bagpipes, leading the reinforcements and ignoring the smack of the bullets into the ground around him.

Lord Lovat was with him--Lord Lovat of Scotland, who calmly announced when he got to the bridge, "Sorry I'm a few minutes late,'' as if he'd been delayed by a traffic jam, when in truth he'd just come from the bloody fighting on Sword Beach, which he and his men had just taken.

There was the impossible valor of the Poles who threw themselves between the enemy and the rest of Europe as the invasion took hold, and the unsurpassed courage of the Canadians who had already seen the horrors of war on this coast. They knew what awaited them there, but they would not be deterred. And once they hit Juno Beach, they never looked back.

All of these men were part of a rollcall of honor with names that spoke of a pride as bright as the colors they bore: the Royal Winnipeg Rifles, Poland's 24th Lancers, the Royal Scots Fusiliers, the Screaming Eagles, the Yeomen of England's armored divisions, the forces of Free France, the Coast Guard's "Matchbox Fleet'' and you, the American Rangers.

Forty summers have passed since the battle that you fought here. You were young the day you took these cliffs; some of you were hardly more than boys, with the deepest joys of life before you. Yet, you risked everything here. Why? Why did you do it? What impelled you to put aside the instinct for self-preservation and risk your lives to take these cliffs? What inspired all the men of the armies that met here? We look at you, and somehow we know the answer. It was faith and belief; it was loyalty and love.

The men of Normandy had faith that what they were doing was right, faith that they fought for all humanity, faith that a just God would grant them mercy on this beachhead or on the next. It was the deep knowledge--and pray God we have not lost it--that there is a profound, moral difference between the use of force for liberation and the use of force for conquest. You were here to liberate, not to conquer, and so you and those others did not doubt your cause. And you were right not to doubt.

You all knew that some things are worth dying for. One's country is worth dying for, and democracy is worth dying for, because it's the most deeply honorable form of government ever devised by man. All of you loved liberty. All of you were willing to fight tyranny, and you knew the people of your countries were behind you.

The Americans who fought here that morning knew word of the invasion was spreading through the darkness back home. They thought--or felt in their hearts, though they couldn't know in fact, that in Georgia they were filling the churches at 4 a.m., in Kansas they were kneeling on their porches and praying, and in Philadelphia they were ringing the Liberty Bell.

Something else helped the men of D-Day: their rock-hard belief that Providence would have a great hand in the events that would unfold here; that God was an ally in this great cause. And so, the night before the invasion, when Colonel Wolverton asked his parachute troops to kneel with him in prayer he told them: Do not bow your heads, but look up so you can see God and ask His blessing in what we're about to do. Also that night, General Matthew Ridgway on his cot, listening in the darkness for the promise God made to Joshua: "I will not fail thee nor forsake thee.''

These are the things that impelled them; these are the things that shaped the unity of the Allies.
When the war was over, there were lives to be rebuilt and governments to be returned to the people. There were nations to be reborn. Above all, there was a new peace to be assured. These were huge and daunting tasks. But the Allies summoned strength from the faith, belief, loyalty, and love of those who fell here. They rebuilt a new Europe together.

There was first a great reconciliation among those who had been enemies, all of whom had suffered so greatly. The United States did its part, creating the Marshall Plan to help rebuild our allies and our former enemies. The Marshall Plan led to the Atlantic alliance--a great alliance that serves to this day as our shield for freedom, for prosperity, and for peace.

In spite of our great efforts and successes, not all that followed the end of the war was happy or planned. Some liberated countries were lost. The great sadness of this loss echoes down to our own time in the streets of Warsaw, Prague, and East Berlin. Soviet troops that came to the center of this continent did not leave when peace came. They're still there, uninvited, unwanted, unyielding, almost 40 years after the war. Because of this, Allied forces still stand on this continent. Today, as 40 years ago, our armies are here for only one purpose--to protect and defend democracy. The only territories we hold are memorials like this one and graveyards where our heroes rest.

We in America have learned bitter lessons from two World Wars: It is better to be here ready to protect the peace than to take blind shelter across the sea, rushing to respond only after freedom is lost. We've learned that isolationism never was and never will be an acceptable response to tyrannical governments with an expansionist intent.

But we try always to be prepared for peace; prepared to deter aggression; prepared to negotiate the reduction of arms; and, yes, prepared to reach out again in the spirit of reconciliation. In truth, there is no reconciliation we would welcome more than a reconciliation with the Soviet Union, so, together, we can lessen the risks of war, now and forever.

It's fitting to remember here the great losses also suffered by the Russian people during World War II: 20 million perished, a terrible price that testifies to all the world the necessity of ending war. I tell you from my heart that we in the United States do not want war. We want to wipe from the face of the Earth the terrible weapons that man now has in his hands. And I tell you, we are ready to seize that beachhead. We look for some sign from the Soviet Union that they are willing to move forward, that they share our desire and love for peace, and that they will give up the ways of conquest. There must be a changing there that will allow us to turn our hope into action.

We will pray forever that some day that changing will come. But for now, particularly today, it is good and fitting to renew our commitment to each other, to our freedom, and to the alliance that protects it.

We are bound today by what bound us 40 years ago, the same loyalties, traditions, and beliefs. We're bound by reality. The strength of America's allies is vital to the United States, and the American security guarantee is essential to the continued freedom of Europe's democracies. We were with you then; we are with you now. Your hopes are our hopes, and your destiny is our destiny.

Here, in this place where the West held together, let us make a vow to our dead. Let us show them by our actions that we understand what they died for. Let our actions say to them the words for which Matthew Ridgway listened: "I will not fail thee nor forsake thee.''

Strengthened by their courage, heartened by their value [valor], and borne by their memory, let us continue to stand for the ideals for which they lived and died.

Thank you very much, and God bless you all.