Jim Waters: What the devil does the doctor mean?

You’ll notice Jim Waters’ column is now published a week later on Page One. This is as a courtesy to an unnamed print publication we believe is remarkable and want to succeed in every way possible. If we were being asked to bow for a Gannett or Clear Channel-owned publication we’d be foaming at the mouth with a different story. Thank goodness Kentucky is home to some great journalism we’re proud to support. Readers should feel encouraged to scout out their local alternative weekly newspapers.



What the devil does the doctor mean?

By Jim Waters

The devil’s missing from Gov. Ernie Fletcher’s latest proposal to bring medical-liability reform to Kentucky.

His plan creates an “independent board of medical professionals” to determine the merit of lawsuits against doctors. But the details – where the devil lies – remain ghost-like. Perhaps the devil got all caught up in Halloween, or maybe he’s “gone down to Georgia” to fiddle around.

The governor began his administration promoting capping noneconomic damages in medical-malpractice lawsuits. Apparently, he’s given up on being able to get that idea through a legislature filled with lawyer-legislators.

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Monday Morning Propaganda

Still on strike. Hundreds of nurses at Appalachian Regional Healthcare hospitals are still fighting for their voice. They’re heading for their third meeting with company officials in hopes of ending their strike. [H-L]

Using religion as a wedge issue. Ernie gets excited, freaks out over the Ten Commandments, tries to scare Henderson residents into believing Steve Beshear hates God, Jesus, babies. [Gleaner]

C-J calls spineless Democrats out for caving to Mitch McConnell and George W. Bush on health care for children. “If the House Democrats are who they claim to be, they won’t let George W. Bush push them, and needy children, around on this issue.” [C-J]

More gambling. Ernie just can’t get off his anti-gambling kick, runs through Ashland preaching the evils of casinos. And he’s still bitter over his merit hiring scandal– blaming Greg Stumbo every chance he gets. [Daily Independent]

Flip-flopping? Ernie changes his mind, now believes equine feed and supplies should be tax-free. Something Fletcher supporters used to attack Beshear. [WLEX18]

Mitch McConnell’s stance on SCHIP is pretty wide, isn’t it? He’s being criticized again. Can’t have your cake and eat it too. [PolWatchers]

Sen. Mongiardo is being praised for his experience in and passion for health care. The AP says he’s still engaged to Allison Patrick, though we hear that’s no longer the case. Speaking of Mongiardo: Where is he? Put him in a commercial or two! Bring him out of hiding. [AP via H-L]

Doing what’s right. John Yarmuth stands up for free speech and freedom of the press. Continuing to give us the right to protect your anonymity when you forward us private e-mails and dish the dirt about political happenings or office-paid vacations for an elected official’s mistress. [C-J]

Republicans for Beshear. Tons of Republicans showed up in Corbin this weekend to stand in support of Democrats Steve Beshear, Daniel Mongiardo and Bruce Hendrickson. Not good news for Fletcher in former Republican strong-holds. [H-L]

More endorsements. Kentucky Enquirer endorses Steve Beshear and pokes fun of his lack of a plan if gambling should fail. And the Kentucky Post endorses him. Doesn’t look like Northern Kentucky’s in the bag for Ernie anymore. [Enquirer, Post]

Like Lying Governors, Hate Comes in Many Flavors

Special to Page One by University of Kentucky student Robert Kahne

MSU Hate 1Ask any student of the University of Kentucky about Brother Rick, Soulwinner Ministries, and the man dubbed “Crazy Old Guy” and they will invariably remember the first time their ears were assaulted with the words of these street preachers. It is a time-honored practice of street preachers to spread their message of hate in free speech areas at institutions of higher education. Recently, a street preacher at Morehead State University caused quite a controversy.

Here at UK, Soulwinners Ministries is a well-known group. This group of 4 African-American people and their children pop up on our free-speech area once or twice a semester, and hold up a sign decrying homosexuals, abortion, popular culture, anything sexual, and many other things. These guys always yell really loudly at passers-by and are always willing to argue for hours on just about anything. Soulwinners usually generate more debate and agitation than any of the street preachers because of their obvious commitment to their cause. Other street preachers are easily joked about because the things they say are so over-the-top and ridiculous that it is hard to think that even the preachers themselves take themselves serious. (See our friend, Brother Rick)

Now, Soulwinners Ministries are quite ridiculous. They claim on their shirts that “Real Christians Don’t Sin” among other things. They are also very hateful, saying “Homos Go to Hell” and such. Their jaunts to UK have always passed without incident; however recently, a trip to Morehead State sparked some controversy.

MSU Hate 6MSU Hate 5
MSU Hate 4MSU Hate 2

At Morehead, Soulwinners was met by dozens of protesters that spanned several races, ethnicities, religions, and sexual orientations. Many of these appeared to be kids from campus ministries who are pissed that their religion is being hijacked. Others appear to be homosexuals who don’t like the fact that hate about them is being spewed on their campus. Other people seem to be there just to see the show. Soulwinners and the subsequent protests prompted the Dean of Students to e-mail the campus calling on people to protest peacefully and to avoid the free speech area if Soulwinners offended them.

MSU Hate 3Free speech is a fundamental tenet of our democracy. The ability to say anything we want without fear of prosecution has been used effectively to end slavery, give us women’s suffrage, end war, and to fight for civil rights. However, with the good comes the bad. Hate speech is still free speech, and as a society, we would do well to tolerate those whom we disagree with, and to protest them peacefully. While I hope we all agree (no matter what our political affiliation) that the message of Soulwinners is laced with hate and malice, I hope that we also agree that the protests that accompany our objection should be in good taste.

Tuesday: Summer is finally ending!

No chance, Ernest Lee. Republican pundit John David Dyche says Ernie Fletcher doesn’t have a chance on any level. He actually provides examples. Great list of Fletcher failures. [C-J]

Never supporting workers. Fletcher takes on Mongiardo for supporting nurses in eastern Kentucky. [C-J]

Merit scandal part two? Improper hiring investigation leads to Treasurer Jonathan Miller’s office. Miller is accused of hiring a Republican for a check printing job instead of offering it to inside employees first. His office is contesting the claim and Fletcher’s Personnel Cabinet honcho is crapping himself. [H-L]

Beef? What? The Courier-Journal tells voters they may ignore the Kentucky Central issue because it is a desperate re-election attempt of Ernie Fletcher attempting to damage Steve Beshear. [C-J]

Just an A. Mark Nickolas points out that Steve Beshear has received an A rating from the National Rifle Association, effectively squashing Fletcher’s complaints that Beshear will take away yer guns. [BGR]

What’s this? Democrats may kinda actually agree with David Adams for a change? Adams now writes for the Bluegrass Institute and yesterday he took on a charter schools bill that died in the Senate. Brings up the Academy of Math and Science at WKU that we should all learn more about. [BIPPS]

If you missed KET’s debate among the candidates for Attorney General last night? Don’t forget to check it out.

Update: Striking Nurses Being Replaced

Oh, yeah. That nurses strike at ARH we told you about?

Well… Appalachian Regional Healthcare has taken it upon themselves to permanently replace all 650 nurses on strike.

After so many claims of poor staffing and terrible working environments.

Way to go, ARH! Way to support your most important segment of the work force! What a way to screw over the people of Appalachia

What’s Your Rank? Health of Kentucky Counties

It’s no surprise that smoking, poor nutrition and lack of insurance put Kentuckians at risk. There’s a whole host of other issues to tackle, though, and for the first time ever all 120 Kentucky counties have been ranked from most healthy to least healthy.

Maybe health care is more important than gambling? Maybe health care should be taken more seriously? Wait, wait– we apologize. Gambling and alleged accountability are the most pressing issues facing Kentuckians.


120 County Ranking - Health



Oldham County leads the pack as the state’s healthiest. Wolfe County is at the bottom. No surprise, as Oldham is also one of Kentucky’s wealthiest. Wolfe is among the state’s poorest, as are the other ten counties ranked as Kentucky’s least healthy. All ten lowest-ranked counties are in Appalachia. Further evidence that our gubernatorial candidates should be focusing on the eastern part of the state.

While not the most important, we found it notable that Kentucky leads the nation in work-related injuries. Nonfatal injuries are 28% higher and fatal injuries are 75% higher than the national rate. Mostly thanks to our high concentration of workers in risky industries like mining and manufacturing.

Notable statistics: % of high school graduates: Oldham 87, Wolfe 54; % of uninsured: Oldham 8, Wolfe 21; number of drug arrests per 100k: Oldham 37, Wolfe 2,128.

Getting Something Right

Fletcher, Kentucky and the Appalachian Regional Commission finally get something right. We’re finally offering grants to develop adventure tourism in Eastern Kentucky!

The state is making $623,000 available for grants of about $20,000 each for counties to generate so-called adventure tourism, Gov. Ernie Fletcher announced Tuesday. The money can be used to plan facilities.

The tactic was adopted after a study by Pros Consulting of Dallas showed increased spending on such tourism in Eastern Kentucky could generate 132,000 new visitors annually and $54 million to $99 million in economic impact. The ventures could create as many as 1,500 jobs.

We are absolutely shocked (SHOCKED!) that the Commonwealth is recognizing what a gem we have in the Appalachian region.

Having been involved (Jake) in a long-term community development project with the Brushy Fork Institute in the 90s, we can say first-hand that adventure tourism in the Appalachians works. A group from Fayette County West Virginia developed a similar plan in their region that was met with great success.

Click Here to read the report.