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The Paducah Sun from Paducah, Kentucky • 4

The Paducah Suni
Paducah, Kentucky
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The Paducah Sun Friday, December 26, 1997 ZZ2 COMMENTARY Edwin J. Paxton, Editor Publisher 1900-1961 Edwin J. Paxton Editor 1961-1977 Jack Paxton, Editor 1 977-1 985 Fred Paxton President John Kerr Editorial Page Editor Jim Paxton Editor Karl Harrison Executive Editor ft ryfrfrfr fW V-j; 4, -fT'Tf "-ft EDITORIAL toT EE 0efT o0t I f- fcT PEG 'yyyyyyZZZZ I 1 Woes mounting as key issues pile higher 1 1 1- insurance reform. Individuals who The attention sDan of lawmakers The miracle of Boys Town Suzanne Fields LOS ANGELES TIMES SYNDICATE I if I buy their own insurance and those who work for companies too small to self-insure, are vulnerable to rising prices in a non-competitive insurance market. Lawmakers, with their well-intentioned but misguided reforms of 1994 and 1996, are responsible for the turmoil in the health insurance market and voters rightfully expect the General Assembly to repair the damage.

Legislators will also be expected to make prudent decisions about how to spend a surplus of $150 million. Among requests for grants from the surplus is Faducah's proposal to build the Four Rivers Performing Arts Center. A number of other key issues including challenges to and proposed changes in Kentucky's educational reforms and a package of recommendations for changes in the state's criminal justice system will demand the lawmakers' full attention as well. Gov. Patton, aware of the potential for trouble in the session, has taken a number of unusual steps in an effort to help keep lawmakers focused.

For example, ne included legislators in his own planning session and solicited suggestions for budget initiatives. More recently he invited leaders of both parties to sit down with him and talk about the session. There is hope, too, that political pressures might help keep legislators in line. Next year is an election year, and large numbers of voters are angry about health insurance and other issues. Incumbent lawmakers who succumb to the distractions risk giving their political opponents an added boost.

There is simply too much of crucial importance to be accomplished in the 60-day session. Voters expectations are high and they can be expected to have little tolerance for shenanigans and sideshows getting in the way of the work. is apt to be thoroughly tested by an array of potential distractions next month when the General Assembly convenes. Criminal investigations involving legislators, a developing sex scandal and other intrigues and feuds threaten to steal attention from several big issues that must be resolved in the session. As a recent series by The Associated Press noted, the political climate in Frankfort is expected to be volatile.

The possibility for infighting exists among Senate Democrats in the aftermath of a purge by Sen. Larry Saunders. With the help of Republicans, Saunders overthrew a fellow Democrat to assume the role of president. Such odd alliances and any lingering grievances could renew partisan bickering of the sort that characterized much of the chamber's activities in 1996. Criminal matters might intrude, too.

An investigation is continuing into allegations of campaign finance violations in the 1995 campaign. House Speaker Larry Clark has invoked his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination to avoid testifying before the grand jury, but indictments could be forthcoming. And earlier this year, a legislative employee, former House operations director Kent Downey, pled guilty to promoting prostitution and gambling on golf outings that some legislators reportedly attended. If Downey, who is cooperating with investigators, implicates legislators, as some observers have speculated he might just do, attention to the issues could easily give way to the resulting media chaos that would ensue. But wise lawmakers will steadfastly resist letting such a thing happen.

The stakes are simply too high to allow distractions to interfere with legislature's important agenda. Atop the list of issues to be addressed in the session is health dishes, raking the leaves, cleaning the bathrooms. Everyday each child must earn points for doing "what's right;" he loses them for doing "what's wrong." At the end of the day a child needs so many points if he maintains privileges such as listening to music, watching television, talking on the phone. But you don't have to be a mathematician to figure out what works at Boys Town. These are kids who need to learn the basics in manners, morals and study habits in a disciplined environment backed up by two supportive "parents." Most of them come from single-parent families and never learned how to play or study.

"We control the whole environment so they can gain self-control," says Father Peter. A teen-agegirl whose been sexually abused and wants to be treated with respect can't wear orange and purple hair, because it sends the wrong signal. She either washes it out or she doesn't stay at Boys Town. These kids have never understood how looks and actions beget consequences. They also are encouraged to practice their religious faith, whatever that faith may be.

Boys Town runs smaller satellite centers in 17 cities. Care in the "town" model is not cheap, but it's cheaper than prison. Each child costs approximately $108 a day, with funds derived from public support, an endowment and state agency reimbursement for services. Boys Town claims an 81 percent success rate. This year Robert, who once thought he'd live a life of crime, graduated from Boys Town and attends a community college: "I never believed in miracles, 'Tis the season to talk about miracles, large and small.

Christians recall the miracle of the birth of the Christ child in a manger in Bethlehem. Jews light candles to commemorate the rededication of their temple in Jerusalem, where a menorah filled with oil for only one night, burned for eight. Miracles revive the faith of our fathers, enabling us to acknowledge a higher power that triumphs over natural life as we know it. Great miracles draw us to simpler ones closer to home. That's what happened to Robert, 15, a black teen-ager who had watched his father beat up his mother, slicing her throat with a knife, leaving huge physical scars on her and huge emotional ones almost as large on his heart and psyche.

Robert joined a gang, carried guns, and landed in jail. "I looked for anything I could do to get into trouble," he says. And, he usually found it. Then something wonderful happened, although he didn't know it at the time. He was sent to Boys Town in Omaha, where he had to rediscover boy- hood.

"I never believed in miracles before or anything like that" he tells an interviewer, "but it's close to that." Boys Town, 1997, bears little resemblance to "Boys Town," the movie, made in 1938 starring Spencer Tracy playing Father Flanagan, the priest who founded the original Boys Town. Back then the boys were "wayward" rather than "high risks." The movie opens with kids throwing apples through store fronts. Today they a have guns, working a drive-by shooting. "The enormity of the problems today," says Father Val Peter, executive director of Boys Town, "include children being raped, abused, beaten, and sold into prostitution and pornographic rings. Love and shelter alone will not make them better." Boys Town celebrated it's 80th anniversary this year and Father Peter is in Washington to tell anyone who will listen that the new Boys Town is a model residential center for troubled and homeless young people.

It may be the right time to listen to what he has to offer. Our foster care is in crisis and there's revived interest in bringing back the orphanage. Boys Town offers another kind of approach. Today 40 percent of its inhabitants are girls. The home campus, which is organized as a village, has 76 homes with 556 young men and women.

Each home has about eight children aged 9 to 18. Girls and boys live in different homes. Their surrogate parents, who are married to each other, sometimes have children of their own in the house, and have undergone a rigorous training program for teaching the children in their care what they need to do to face the world. The couple in charge, called "family teachers," are on call 24 hours a day, just like parents. The children take turns making the dinners, doing the 3 Global warming a lot of hot air VIEWPOINT Thomas Sowell CREATORS SYNDICATE INC.

U.IJIUHI.M, WW IJIIUUIU.III wholeheartedly by our city and' county school systems. This is very unusual to all those who are viewing our county and city across the world. They find it peculiar that the youth ministers and pastors are known and turned to by so many in our time of pain. They have termed our area "religious" because of it. I have found warming" to come forward and for those scientists who think it is a crock to keep quiet.

Huge research grants are far more likely to go to those scientists who can scare money out of Congress than to those who say that there is nothing to go crazy over. Moreover, imagine yourself a skeptic in an academic department that is getting big bucks from Washington to study "global warming" and come up with "solutions." What's in it for you to publicly contradict your colleagues who are raking in big bucks for the whole department, some of which may be paying your salary? If you are a junior faculty member, you may never get to be a senior faculty member if you rock the boat. One tip-off on the shakiness of the evidence behind this latest drive to expand big government controls in the name of "global warming" is that its advocates are saying "we can't wait" to be sure. That argument proves too much. Why couldn't we wait to be sure when global cooling was the hysteria of the day back in the 1970s? If we are going to let Washington grab more of our money and expand their power over our lives every time they can throw a scare into us, then look for a lot of people to be saying "Boo!" about a lot of things.

What binds us together more important than what separates us EDITOR: Is it possible to be thankful in all the events of recent days that have shocked and numbed us all? How can we walk through this time of Christmas giving as a community? sermonizing (I promise), I wanted to be sure a few thanks were said in print and a couple of particularly "Paducah" aspects were appreciated and retained in all of this, i I want to go on record as personally thankful to live in a community of people who have Responded beautifully to a crisis of astounding proportion. The law enforcement officials of our county and city; the school administrators, teachers, students and parents of our the caring professionals of our churches, and business community; the health professionals of our hospitals and emergency response teams have worked selflessly tirelessly together throughout these past The result has not only been helpful to involved, it has been a testimony to the entire world what makes our community very special indeed. May I merely point out that what binds us together is so much more important than anything that separates us? We can truly see in these days the value of overlooking any differences in order to offer what is needed to one another. I pray that this will remind us of the I importance of working together to provide jwhat God has brought us together to share. Let's seek to continue to be known for working together and not the opposite.

I also feel compelled to express gratitude for the continued support our churches and ministers have felt in our efforts to be helpful to students, teachers, and administration officials throughout the school year. The presence of ministers and the messages of encouragement and hope provided by our entire religious community is allowed and supported "before" and "after." Global data show the earth's temperature the same in 1990 as in 1980. However, the temperature went up and down in between. Pick a low point on these oscillations and the temperature has been rising since then. Pick a high point and the temperature has been falling.

Before we get too carried away with all the big talk about "science5' and "experts," let's not forget that we are talking about a field that has trouble predicting whether or not it will be raining tomorrow. Yet we are expected to pile staggering costs onto the American consumers and taxpayers because of speculative theories turned into computer models. Some weather scientists may read the data differently from others, as has happened many tunes in the past and will undoubtedly happen many times in the future. Unfortunately, there are strong pressures at work to cause those scientists who proclaim "global their response interesting, because their surprise at our help to this crisis should not be unusual. The very students who were most affected by these events turned for aid and counsel not to people they did not know or hesitated to trust, but to the faces they were familiar with who were expressing care for them prior to these events.

The reason ministers and churches have been so helpful to so many as we have walked through these days is because they were allowed to be on a first-name basis with these young people prior to the unexpected events at Heath High School. Please realize through these tragic events, if never before, the importance of our schools and their students being open to the ministry of our churches and ministers. We cannot wait for the events to leave us grappling for a sense of comfort to enlist those who offer hope on a daily basis. Young people deal with more in today's world than many of us ever dream. They need every opportunity of support available to them.

I know I can speak with confidence for all ministers in our area to say that we will continue to be good stewards of our community's trust and to guard that our efforts will continue to be selfless and servant-minded in nature. Thank you for the opportunity to be helpful in the way our hearts seek to be. KEVIN McCALLON Pastor First Baptist Church Paducah "Pact to Slow Global Warming" said the headline. Hold it! Who said the globe is warming? By sheer repetition, we have been conditioned to respond to the phrase "global warming" the way Pavlov's dog was conditioned to salivate when a bell rang. With all the hot air about global warming, have you ever heara how much it has actually warmed? Or where? Or since when? Probably not, because most of the orchestrated hysteria about global warming comes from computer models about greenhouse gas-ses, rather than from actual temperature readings.

Computer models are no better than the assumptions and theories that go into them: "Garbage in, garbage out." Back in the 1970s, computer models were predicting economic disaster on the way. Since then, there has been one of the longest periods of economic prosperity on record. Incidentally, there were also predictions of global cooling back in the 1970s a "new ice age" was on the way. Before you start planting palm trees in Minnesota, you might want to wait for some hard evidence of global warming, rather than depend on computer models. Temperatures go up and down like the stock market.

Moreover, some particular places are getting colder while other places are getting warmer. For some places we have statistical data going way back and for other places we don't. This is very iffy stuff Temperatures have been collected in cities for a long time but this can be very deceptive because cities are generally warmer than the surrounding countryside and cities have been growing in size over time, with concrete structures and paved streets replacing wooden structures and dirt paths. In short, places and structures that hold heat are glowing. Weather balloons that circle the earth give a much more balanced picture of what is happening to temperatures on the planet as a whole.

Data from these balloons do not show the "global warming" that politicians, environmentalists and the media are hyping. Some experts sav that global temperatures have actually gotten a little cooler, in fact. A lot depends on the years you pick as WRITE YOUR REPRESENTATIVE U.S. REP. ED WHITFIELD 236 Cannon House Office Bldg.

Washington, D.C. 20515-1701 Paducah office: 502-442-6901 Washington office: 202-225-3115 Write to Us! U.S. SEN. RICHARD DURBIN Room 267 Russell Senate Office Bldg Washington, D.C. 20510 Washington office: 202-224-2152 Carbondale, 111.: 618-457-3653 U.S.

SEN. CAROL MOSELEY BRAUN 320 Hart Senate Office Bldg. Washington, D.C. 20510 Washington office: 202-224-2854 Springfield, 111.: 217-492-4126 U.S. REP.

GLENN POSHARD 2334 Rayburn House Office Bldg. Washington, D.C. 20515 Washington office: 202-225-5201 Marion, 111.: 618-993-8532 U.S. SEN. WENDELL FORD 173A Russell Senate Office Bldg.

Washington, D.C. 20510 Owensboro office: 502-685-5158 Washington office: 202-224-4343 U.S. SEN. MITCH McCONNELL 120 Russell Senate Office Bldg. Washington, D.C.

20510 Paducah office: 502-442-4554 Washington office: 202-224-2541 We wish to call attention to our rules for letters to Viewpoints. First, sign your name. Don't send a photocopy of a letter or your signature. Second, include your complete address and telephone number where we can reach you in the daytime. Third, be brief.

The object of all this is to give readers a forum for full and fair discussion of public issues..

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