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Conversations from the Four Rivers Region

Posts Tagged ‘Mitch McConnell

the morning cram [the double secret probation edition]

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Surprise! Big schools bring in big money.

NPR reports Harvard and Yale once again top the list of colleges for money received in 2011.

Kentucky~ Gov. Steve Beshear defends Paducah’s nuclear-enrichment plant. The University of Pikeville could become a part of the state’s higher education system. The House approves an Amish buggy bill. New legislation could give whistleblowers a cash reward. A teen is charged with killing her newborn child. Surface mining opponents rally in Frankfort. Paducah’s Fountain Avenue comes a step closer to restoration.

the morning cram [What he really hates is the stuff that gets carried out in his name; Wars. Bigotry. Tebowing.]

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Quick, get to your nearest football field and take a knee! It actually works…

NPR reports Denver pulls out an upset over the Pittsburg Steelers. And yoga classes everywhere incorporate their newest pose: downward facing Tebow.

Kentucky~  Rand Paul is hosting a town hall meeting in Murray. MSU remains undefeated! Two fires break out near USEC Paducah. The University of Pikeville proposal slows under technical scrutiny.   Instant racing is paying off at Kentucky Downs. Gatewood Galbraith’s public memorial has been announced. The new House redistricting plan hit a road block.

Tennessee~ Lamar Alexander wants to express himself.

the morning cram [The do, or do not. There is no try edition]

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The Pentagon finds fighting two wars at once can be tricky…

NPR reports military officials are revisiting the policy which states we could fight multiple wars at the same time and win. Ask any sports fan, split squad games never pack the same punch.

Kentucky~   Murray State’s on a roll! USEC may be leaving Paducah. More budget cuts are on their way.  Beshear really wants some gambling money.  Williams sounds off on Beshear’s State of the Commonwealth.

Tennessee~  Judges may no longer give to political campaigns.

the morning cram [‘Whitey’ Bulger edition]

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FBI agents have arrested a notorious Boston mobster after years of searching for him.

NPR reports ‘Whitey’ Bulger was arrested in Santa Monica, CA after having spent 16 years on the FBI’s most wanted list.

Kentucky~ A man has escaped from jail in Paducah. A Paducah pair are caught hiding meth in their kids’ swing. LBL is putting on a food drive. Murray is getting a Dunkin’ Donuts (YEEAAHH!!). Senators McConnell and Paul react to Obama’s  Afghanistan plan by warning against ‘inflexiblity’ and wanting more respectively.

Tennessee~ CDE Lightband’s budget has been approved.

McConnell: “Guantanamo is the place to try terrorists”

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Senator Mitch McConnell wrote an op-ed today for the Washington Post, in which he suggests Guantanamo as a location for trials for suspected terrorists. In this piece, he references the alleged Bowling Green terrorists Waad Ramadan Alwan and Mohanad Shareef Hammadi. Should they be tried in Kentucky or Guantanamo?

Guantanamo is the place to try terrorists

By Mitch McConnell  Washington Post op-ed  June 22, 2011

Speaking to a crowd of lawyers in Washington last week, Attorney General Eric Holder made an audacious claim about the war on terrorism. Overlooking the all-volunteer military force that has heroically battled terrorists and insurgents for nearly a decade, our outstanding intelligence and counterterrorism experts, and many others, Holder asserted that America’s “most effective terror-fighting weapon” is its civilian court system.

These comments insult those who have served on the front lines, but Holder’s clear intent was to justify the Obama administration’s two-year misadventure in treating captured terrorists like common criminals. This is evident most recently in Bowling Green, Ky., where two Iraqi nationals who have admitted to targeting American troops in Iraq were arrested last month.

Waad Ramadan Alwan and Mohanad Shareef Hammadi made their way to the United States from Iraq in 2009 through what appears to be a bureaucratic mistake. Expert intelligence and police work led to the discovery of their violent past and their plans to support their terrorist comrades from the safety of their new home. When they were arrested, they were plotting to equip foreign fighters in Iraq with missile launchers, rocket-propelled grenade launchers, sniper rifles, machine guns and cases of C4 explosives.

The Justice Department says Alwan and Hammadi should be tried in a civilian setting because they were caught here. This is ludicrous. The fact that bureaucrats mistakenly allowed two foreign fighters into the United States does not entitle them to all the rights and privileges of U.S. citizens. If it did, we’d have to grant the same rights and privileges to any foreign fighters who had escaped from the battlefield and illegally entered the United States. Once we knew who they were, our top priority should have been to capture, detain and interrogate them to ensure they could no longer harm Americans.

Outgoing CIA Director Leon Panetta recently estimated that there are 1,000 members of al-Qaeda in Iraq operating in that country. Kentuckians, including the state’s Democratic governor, want to know why two of them are sitting in a Kentucky jail cell instead of the military facility we built for such men at Guantanamo. I called on the Obama administration last week to transfer them. I have not yet received an answer, nor have I heard a good argument as to why Guantanamo is not a superior alternative.

Aside from the propriety of housing and, if necessary, trying enemy combatants such as Alwan and Hammadi in a military setting, the costs and burdens of trying them in a civilian setting are significant. My constituents do not think that civilian judges and jurors in their community should be subjected to the risk of reprisal for participating in a terrorist trial. Nor should the broader community have to shoulder the security costs or inconvenience of such trials.

Consider the trial of Zacarias Moussaoui in Alexandria, before the military commissions legislation was passed. Alexandria’s Democratic mayor summed up residents’ reaction: “We’ve had this experience and it was unpleasant,” he said. “Let someone else have it.” Last year, New Yorkers rejected Holder’s plan to try Sept. 11 mastermind Khalid Sheik Mohammed in a civilian court in Manhattan, with Sen. Chuck Schumer (D) calling the proposal to hold terror trials in New York a “wrongheaded idea.” In April, Holder reversed course and said the trial would be held at Guantanamo.

Like Bowling Green residents, New Yorkers knew that while it may be possible to try terrorists in civilian courtrooms, our overriding goal in such cases should be to prevail in the war against terrorism, not to make a point about the flexibility of our justice system.

Early on, the administration signaled its intent to use conventional law enforcement and courts to deal with unconventional enemies. The problem with this is that the civilian system was never intended to deal with foreign fighters or to gather intelligence in the pursuit of additional terrorists. The confusion surrounding the interrogation of the would-be Christmas Day bomber underscores this. Moreover, the criminal justice system is oriented toward prosecution, while our top priority in battling terrorism should be to find, capture and detain or kill those who would do us harm.

The administration has shown admirable flexibility in making decisions concerning national security and has shown that it is willing, on occasion, to put safety over ideology. President Obama launched a counterinsurgency strategy in Afghanistan, ignored calls to hastily withdraw from Iraq and recently agreed to extend the Patriot Act without weakening its provisions or making them harder to use. He should make the right decision about the treatment of captured enemy combatants.

Guantanamo is uniquely suited to the unconventional threat posed by foreign terrorists. By sending Alwan and Hammadi to Guantanamo, the president could again show his flexibility, make us safer and let Holder know that our civilian courts are off-limits to foreign fighters captured in the war on terrorism.

The writer is the Senate Republican leader.


Written by Matt Markgraf

June 22, 2011 at 11:08 am

morning cram [strauss-kahn edition]

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Embattled International Monetary Fund Managing Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn has resigned.

NPR reports he wants to devote “all his energy” to battle the sexual assault charges he faces in New York.

KENTUCKY~ Livingston County may may have 150 damaged homes. The Army Corps of Engineers will set up a Birds Point/New Madrid Levee Info Center. Paducah is closing roads prepping for the Lowertown Music & Arts Fest. MSU officials will vote tomorrow to accept Paducah/McCracken County’s funding agreement for their own mini-campus. Murray’s Pella will add 75 jobs. US Sen McConnell defends the Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant. The (unofficial) loser in the GOP Secretary of State race isn’t conceding and will ask for a recanvass. Voter counts prove not many cared about Tuesday’s Primary. The Governor’s race is heating up and Beshear is launching TV ads next week.

TENNESSEE~ Contractors don’t want a deadline to finish the Clarksville Marina. Henry County buddies up with Bethel University to add financial stability to a HCMC expansion project.

ILLINOIS~ Another round of Honeywell v USW is slated for next week.

morning cram [osama edition]

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The mastermind behind the 9/11 terrorist attacks has been killed by US forces in a surgical strike at a compound in northern Pakistan.

NPR reports Osama bin Laden’s death ends one of the longest and costliest manhunts in history.

KENTUCKY~ The latest Ohio River levels have gone up (again). Perkins Creek flooding in Paducah has closed more roads and Stuart Nelson Park. A Paducah woman drove into floodwaters yesterday and was rescued from drowning. Hickman’s Ohio River floodgates are leakingPoliticians weigh in on bin Laden’s death. The spring wildfire season has (officially) ended. The University of Kentucky announces a presidential candidate finalist.

TENNESSEE~ Clarksville cancels its 2010 Flood Commemoration (ironically) due to high waters. Henry County’s storm damage estimates > $1mil.

ILLINOIS~ The US Supreme Court will not stand in the way of blasting a Missouri levee to relieve Mississippi River flooding.

morning cram [essential] edition

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“In Washington, D.C., and at federal agencies across the country, the big question employees are asking on the eve of a possible government shutdown is: Am I essential or not? Workers and agencies that are deemed essential will be kept on the job if a shutdown occurs.”

NPR reports on who will stay and who will stay home.

KENTUCKY ~ The special session is really over this time; Senate President promises no overage pay. Trigg County is working to pass stricter adult business codes. Recent surveys show food is more expense. Paducah hosts a transportation summit, plans to discuss Panama Canal. A teenage girl gets charged as an adult in Evrard kidnapping and murder case. Rand Paul says Obama’s military action was a power violation; Mitch McConnell promises to talk about it. An Oak Grove man dies from strangling; assailant says it was a sleeper hold.

TENNESSEE ~ A former youth pastor gets a post-trial diversion for statutory rape. New funding rules could mean less money for some Clarksville nonprofits, more for others.

morning cram [unpopular edition]

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An ABC News/Washington Post poll finds 64% of those surveyed this month think the war in Afghanistan is ‘not worth fighting.’

NPR blogs the survey reflects a 4% shift in the last few months.

KENTUCKY~ Paducah wins an online popularity contest. A Heath High School shooting victim’s mom claims attorneys and doctors are making up excuses for Michael Carneal. Maybe Mayfield’s new Police Chief will catch city park vandals. A Madisonville company gets a dental award for an oral health program that saves money (and babies). A Fort Campbell teenage hero dies in Afghanistan. Jack Conway won’t investigate optometrists’ political donations. State lawmakers continue scratching their heads on how to pay for Medicaid. US Senator McConnell and Rep Whitfield are sponsoring EPA-blocking bills. MSU bows out of the NIT.

TENNESSEE~ TVA’s fuel cost next month is (up to) $2 cheaper.

morning cram [canadian gas edition]

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” . . . something unusual is happening with gasoline prices in the U.S. this winter: Prices are rising faster on the East and West Coasts than they are in the middle of the country.”

NPR reports Canada is to blame.

KENTUCKY ~ Advocacy group may help secure federal funds for I-69 corridor. At Louisville’s Lincoln Day Dinner, Senator Mitch McConnell declares President Obama’s agenda “over.” Officials say Kentucky’s sesquicentennial celebration will be sensitive to African-Americans.  Paducah has a Romantic Main Street for Valentine’s Day. MSU Scores this weekend . . .

TENNESSEE ~ . . . as does UT Martin and Austin Peay. Boatload of immigration legislation seeks to restrict passage into the state for illegals. The state polls teachers anonymously to improve student learning.