Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Last Call For Beshear Does Right

I will say this about Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear: his last few weeks in office are shaping up to be legendary.

The outgoing Democratic governor of Kentucky signed an executive order Tuesday to restore the right to vote and hold public office to thousands of non-violent felons who've served out their sentences. 
The order from Gov. Steve Beshear — who leaves office next month — does not include those convicted of violent crimes, sex offenses, bribery or treason. Kentucky already restores voting rights to some nonviolent convicted felons, but the felon must apply to the governor's office, which approves them on a case by case basis. 
This new order automatically restores voting rights to convicted felons who meet certain criteria upon their release. Those who have already been released can fill out a form on the state Department of Corrections' website. 
"All of our society will be better off if we actively work to help rehabilitate those who have made a mistake," Beshear said. "And the more we do that, the more the entire society will benefit." 
Kentucky was one of four states that did not automatically restore voting rights to felons once they completed all the terms of their sentences. About 180,000 in Kentucky have served their sentences yet remain banned from casting ballots. 
The Kentucky legislature has tried and failed numerous times to pass a bill to restore voting rights to felons. The Republican-controlled Senate would agree only if there was a five-year waiting period, which Democrats refused.

Governor-elect Matt Bevin has been quick to tout "criminal justice reform" in the past, and all he's really meant has been tort reform so far.  He has an opportunity here to do some real good by not reversing this order.

Democrats control state government until next month, when Republican Gov.-elect Matt Bevin takes office. Bevin could repeal Beshear's order or allow it to stand. Bevin spokeswoman Jessica Ditto said Bevin supports restoring voting rights to nonviolent offenders, but added he was not notified of Beshear's order until a few minutes before he announced it. 
"The Executive Order will be evaluated during the transition period," she said.

We'll see.  I wouldn't celebrate yet.

Read more here: http://www.kentucky.com/news/politics-government/article46208815.html#storylink=cpy

Read more here: http://www.kentucky.com/news/politics-government/article46208815.html#storylink=cpy

Business Intelligence, Applied

As French President Hollande continues his whirlwind diplomatic tour trying to drum up enough international firepower to destroy ISIS coming off a visit to London yesterday, a visit to President Obama today, Berlin on Wednesday and Moscow on Thursday, the US is trying to figure out which Islamic State oil rigs are making the most money so they can be bombed to bits.

Since last month, U.S. warplanes have struck Islamic State's oil infrastructure in Syria in a stepped-up campaign of economic warfare that the United States estimates has cut the group's black-market earnings from oil by about a third. 
In finding their targets, U.S. military planners have relied in part on an unconventional source of intelligence: access to banking records that provide insight into which refineries and oil pumps are generating cash for the extremist group, current and former officials say. 
The intent is to choke off the Islamic State's funding by tracking its remaining ties to the global financial system. By identifying money flowing to and from the group, U.S. officials have been able to get a glimpse into how its black-market economy operates, people with knowledge of the effort have said. 
That in turn has influenced decisions about targeting for air strikes in an effort that began before Islamic State's Nov. 13 attacks on Paris and has intensified since, they said. While Islamic State's access to formal banking has been restricted, it retains some ties that U.S. military and financial officials can use against it, the current and former officials said. 
"We have done a really good job of largely keeping the Islamic State out of the formal financial system," said Matthew Levitt, who served as deputy assistant secretary for intelligence at the U.S. Treasury in the George W. Bush administration. "But we haven't been entirely successful, and that may not be a bad thing."

Economic warfare taken to a literal stage, then.  We'll see if that slows down ISIS at all, but as long as the countries buying oil from the group are still acting like it's not a big deal, they'll just find other ways to fund terror.

They always do.  There's only so much economic warfare you can wage before there's no economy left.

One Yooge Thanksgiving Turkey

Trump is definitely the biggest turkey as we head into the long holiday weekend, the notion that he's America's lousy racist uncle at the Thanksgiving table certainly plays out in a new Public Policy Polling survey. It also finds that at some point, Obama Derangement Syndrome became a living, breathing beast slouching towards your Thanksgiving dinner.

Donald Trump leads PPP's newest poll by a wide margin...on which candidate Americans think would be the most likely to say something inappropriate at the table and ruin Thanksgiving Dinner. 46% say they think Trump would be the candidate most likely to ruin Thanksgiving, as much as all the rest of the candidates combined. Hillary Clinton at 22%, Bernie Sanders at 7%, Jeb Bush and Ben Carson at 6%, Ted Cruz at 4%, and Marco Rubio at 1% round out the standings on who people think would be most likely to wreck the holiday. 
When it comes to which Presidential candidate people would actually like to have over for Thanksgiving Dinner Clinton wins out with 24% to 18% for Carson, 17% for Trump, 11% for Sanders, 8% for Cruz, and 6% each for Bush and Rubio. Interestingly even though Trump leads the Republican field when it comes to who people want to be the nominee for President, Carson beats him out on the dinner invitation front, 31% to 24%. Clinton leads Sanders 51/17 among Democrats. 
The examples of the GOP's reflexive opposition to President Obama's agenda are many but this may be the best one yet: by a 27 point margin Republicans say they disapprove of the President's executive order last year pardoning two Thanksgiving turkeys (Macaroni and Cheese) instead of the customary one. Only 11% of Republicans support the President's executive order last year to 38% who are opposed- that's a pretty clear sign that if you put Obama's name on something GOP voters are going to oppose it pretty much no matter what. Overall there's 35/22 support for the pardon of Macaroni and Cheese thanks to 59/11 support from Democrats and 28/21 from independents.

The old joke that if Obama came out for mastication, there would be a national epidemic of Republicans choking on food suddenly seems a little less like humor and more like a possible national health issue.

One covered by Obamacare, thankfully.


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