Recent editorials from Kentucky newspapers:


Jan. 13

The Daily News on Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev suing the federal government for $250,000 over his treatment at prison:

Convicted Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, whose heinous act of terrorism in 2013 resulted in the deaths of three people and the wounding of more than 250 others, now apparently feels that he deserves a payment of $250,000 from the federal government because his white baseball cap and a bandana were taken away from him – and because he’s been limited to three showers a week – at the supermax prison where he is serving a life sentence.

Tsarnaev, 26, presumably will not receive any of the relief he seeks in a handwritten lawsuit he filed last week in federal court, nor is he likely to receive much public sympathy for the exceedingly minor indignities he claims to be experiencing inside Federal Correctional Complex-Florence in Colorado.

The safe assumption is that his absurd lawsuit will be summarily rejected as quickly as possible from the federal court system.

Still, Tsarnaev’s pathetic attempt is a distressing glimpse into the mindset of one of America’s most notorious terrorists. According to CBS News, Tsarnaev, now 26, bought the white cap and bandanna from the prison’s commissary, but it was later confiscated by prison officials. The problem, according to Tsarnaev’s lawsuit, is that “by wearing it, I was ‘disrespecting’ the FBI and the victims” of the bombing at the finish line of the marathon.

That seems like a reasonable call by prison officials, especially considering that before his arrest, Tsarnaev was seen in surveillance video from the scene wearing a white hat. In fact, law enforcement referred to him as “White Hat,” since at the time it was the main identifying characteristic in the video images. It does not seem like much of a leap for prison administration to determine that his purchase of a white hat could be interpreted as a form of taunting.

But even if that wasn’t Tsarnaev’s intention, why would he expect anyone to care that his hat was taken away? The gall it takes to ask for even a single cent from the government after his conviction in the deaths and injuries of so many people demonstrates, at the very least, an utter detachment from reality, and can easily be perceived as a lack of remorse for his actions.

Tsarnaev obviously has the right to file whatever lawsuits he wishes, no matter how ridiculous, but our hope is that he gets the message after this filing is thrown out of the courts. We, like virtually all Americans, would prefer to never hear another peep out of this terrorist for the rest of his life. Instead, he should spend his days reflecting on his crimes and hopefully coming to the realization that our society owes him exactly nothing.



Jan. 11

Lexington Herald-Leader on Republican House leaders in Kentucky appointing a committee to consider a petition calling for Gov. Andy Beshear's impeachment:

In the same week the U.S. Capitol was overrun by the domestic terrorists who make up Donald Trump’s base, Kentucky’s state legislature got to work. The “superdupermajority” of Republicans put all their energy and brain-power into making sure Gov. Andy Beshear was hampered in efforts to save us all from coronavirus, and then to put a cherry on it, announced they will set up a committee to impeach him.

So on one side of Frankfort is an earnest, serious politician, one who hasn’t gotten everything right but has tried hard to battle a pandemic the likes of which we haven’t seen since 1918. On the other side, we have some distinctly unserious people who are working hard on curbing said serious politicians, and, say, on how to hamstring the last two abortion clinics in the state while thousands of people get sick of COVID-19 and die.

If you want to know just how not serious these people are, they had to quickly amend their bill curbing the governor’s powers to close schools and businesses after Beshear himself reminded them that sometimes his rules were less stringent than the CDC.

Then to top off this tragicomedy of errors, House officials announced a panel to take up articles of impeachment against Beshear as a bunch of armed thugs circled the state Capitol. This is the same kind of militia movement that earlier this year hung an effigy of Beshear outside the governor’s mansion.

This must stop.

These issues are all related. It’s now clear that the violence at the U.S. Capitol was significantly more ominous than first reported, with the “law and order” crowd trying to, and in one case, succeeding in beating a police officer to death. That they were unsuccessful in reaching Pelosi or Pence seems merely lucky. It’s bipartisan hatred at this point.

But Republicans in Frankfort and Washington, D.C., who have played pattycake with these kinds of extremists for years, have got to stop this wing of the party from hijacking them literally, it seems, and on policy. They have got to become grown-ups and stop with these silly games that end in not so silly ways.

House Speaker David Osborne says he’s required to create a panel to address a citizen panel on impeachment, and maybe it’s his way of making sure the issue gets stuck in bureaucratic oblivion. As it should. Any thinking person knows that Beshear, whose actions have been upheld by the courts numerous times, should not be impeached. That is a grave punishment that should only be used on a president who urged his bloodthirsty followers to riot and hunt down his own vice-president because he wouldn’t overturn his Constitutional duties on his behalf.

Serious people disagree on policy issues, such as the best way to help people struggling from a pandemic. But Republicans in Frankfort want to hamstring Beshear’s executive power, AND oppose his budgetary plan to give more money to businesses AND impeach him, all while they condemn the violence in Washington AND watch it percolate around our state Capitol.

This must stop. The GOP must stop with the lies, political pandering and extremism. These are serious times, and it’s time for Kentucky Republicans to start acting like grownups.



Jan. 10

The News-Enterprise on the violent siege of the U.S. Capitol:

Unbelievable scenes emerged from Washington, D.C., as the Capitol Building was stormed by people intent on blocking Congressional action to affirm the Electoral College’s vote acknowledging Joe Biden’s win in November’s general election.

A peaceful exchange of power has been a hallmark of American democracy for two centuries and a symbol of civilization and reason to the world. Now the world is witness to the symbols of anarchists, many in MAGA red caps, storming the halls of Congress.

This is not America. It’s certainly not a sign America has been made great again. The actions Wednesday were an embarrassment and an abomination.

Whether prompted and encouraged by President Donald Trump’s infamous tweets or speech delivered Wednesday morning or driven by unknown forces seeking to contribute to tensions dividing our nation, these actions are wrong and must be condemned by all right-thinking people who love this country.

Apologists making excuses for the disruption last Wednesday in Washington are dead wrong and deserve to be condemned for their views.

Just as this editorial board said at the height of last summer’s riots and vandalism traumatizing U.S. cities: Demonstrating peaceably is a constitutionally protected right. But when a raised fist strikes another, or when a raised voice incites violence and destruction, the noble cause becomes nefarious.

Investigations continue and arrests have and will be made. Resignations have been forthcoming from Cabinet members embarrassed by the situation, the D.C. police chief whose forces were ill prepared and easily overcome and the sergeants at arms responsible for order in the Senate and House chambers.

Another resignation is needed.

With only days before the Jan. 20 inauguration, the impeachment process is too unwieldy. It also seems unlikely that Vice President Mike Pence, although reportedly furious about being publicly ridiculed by Trump, will invoke the never-before-used fourth section of the 25th Amendment to declare the president is “unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office.”

That leaves resignation as a sole option to address the magnitude of this national embarrassment. But the president has time and again indicated a high tolerance for embarrassment and a repeated unwillingness to take the high road.

Trump did take one tiny step by acknowledging Friday he will not attend the inauguration. At this point, his presence certainly would serve as a distraction and add to concern about renewed acts of insurrection.

Meanwhile, a massive 9-foot fence has been erected around the Capitol Building. The seat of power in America, the great home of debate and compromise which built a great world power known for its resolve and reason now resembles a prison.

And wherever we live we are prisoners to the divisive squabbles that continue. Blame and finger pointing dominate the national news.

True leadership continues to prove to be elusive.

The uplifting words of “America, the Beautiful” assure us “God shed His grace on thee.”

Grace is a key component missing in our nation today. God’s blessings surely are needed in abundance now.