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Columns

  • Trying to bring checks and balances to executive decree

    We are five weeks from what many believe will be the most important election in generations.

    Few would argue that what is “normal” — in our economy, in our international standing, in our collective expectation regarding the proper role of government — may have shifted. While most of the attention has been on the gridlock and mismanagement in Washington, we have a number of challenges that must be turned into opportunities right here in Kentucky.

  • Exploring one unanswerable question

    In the solemn silence of introspective moments, there's one question we most often ask ourselves.

    Who am I?

    The answers are obviously quite individual.

    Sometimes it's defined by a stage of life: Son, husband, father, grandpa all have applied to me. Other times, we respond by simply considering our occupation or our education as if that alone defines anyone.

    In a more probing personal analysis, the answer can be complex. My 7-year-old grandson recently described himself as an inquirer and risk taker.

  • When you return, it's nice to be welcomed

    “Welcome back, Mr. Whitlock,” the hotel host greeted me as I returned with my wife from an evening out.

    I looked down to see if I had a name tag on my shirt. Almost feeling like a celebrity, I whispered to Lori as we got on the elevator, “How did he know my name?”

    It’s nice to be welcomed back.

    And when someone knows who we are and can call us by name, like the host at the hotel did to me, it makes us feel even more special.

  • Driving delays equate to points of progress

    hese days, most any drive around Hardin County means encountering a highway work zone. It’s a constant reminder of growth and change.

    Ring Road’s frequently marred these days with a dirt path caused by the frequent crossing of construction vehicles where the widened Rineyville Road one day will intersect. The hillsides along the road, also known as Ky. 1600, are undergoing changes from Helmwood Heights Elementary School to the place where the new connector breaks to the north en route to Radcliff.

  • It’s the patient, stupid

    We find ourselves in an election cycle again and slogans pop into the public consciousness and then fade away. In 1992, James Carville was an adviser to then-Gov. Bill Clinton and famously came up with the simple idea that resonated throughout the electorate: It’s the economy, stupid. With his southern drawl and aggressive attitude, the clear simplicity of the message hit home.

  • Like robbing Peter, paying Paul and looking for Mary

    Like ugly, entrenched weeds overtaking plush gardens, Kentucky’s $34 billion unfunded public pension liability now dominates all budget decisions – not only in Frankfort but  in Kentucky’s 418 cities.

    State political leaders have made it clear they are willing to sacrifice human capital before allowing the fiscal realities of the commonwealth’s pension debt to crowd out costly pet projects – or their own opulent retirement benefits.

  • Reflections on a pond

    The pond at White Mills Christian Camp is remarkable. It defies the very laws of nature as it rests above the flood plain that surrounds it on three sides.

    Occasionally, the Nolin River will charge out of its banks and threaten to absorb the pond. However, the pond is too lofty to attain. The river retreats slowly back to its own space as the pond calls out, “Away from me, you who are bloodthirsty!”

  • Health foundation listened to parents

    Winston Churchill famously said that “courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage also is what it takes to sit down and listen.” At the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky, we believe that it will take courage from concerned citizens, local leaders and elected officials to achieve our mission of addressing the unmet health care needs of Kentuckians. And we believe that before we can “stand up and speak,” we first need to listen to the views of the people around us.

  • Keeping U.S. flags in pristine condition

    All patriotic Americans love the sight of the American flag waving in a gentle breeze atop a flag pole. The Second Continental Congress stipulated the nation’s flag would consist of “thirteen stripes, alternate red and white; that the union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field, representing a new Constellation,” according to the official U.S. flag website. 

    The stars are symbolic of the stars in heaven. There is one for each state in the union, each added to the flag on the first Fourth of July following that state’s admission to the union.

  • Just who was Uncle Sam?

    Everybody’s heard of Uncle Sam, right? But who was he? And why is our government today called “Uncle Sam?”  Why do members of the Armed Forces tell you that they “belong to Uncle Sam?” And why should honors due to Uncle Sam be especially noteworthy during 2012?

    During October l8l2, in Troy, N.Y., workers packed pork and beef into large white oak barrels. Their boss, Samuel Wilson, had contracted with Elbert Anderson of the government to supply the military with 3,000 barrels of prime beef and 2,000 of pork.