Wednesday, August 9, 2017

No, Trey is Not Running



Rumors have been circulating that former Kentucky Secretary of State Trey Grayson plans to primary Rep. Thomas Massie for Kentucky's 4th Congressional District.

Trey is unequivocal:  it's not happening.

He's looking at several interesting opportunities, but that Congressional seat is not one of them.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Andy Barr Might Have a Real Race


Check out the campaign ad from Democrat Amy McGrath, who is running for Kentucky's 6th Congressional District against Andy Barr. McGrath is a retired Marine -- and the first woman to fly an F-18 in combat. Her personal story is compelling.

She's a much better candidate than those the Dems typically put up here, like Jack Conway and Allison Lundergan Grimes.

Although Barr won comfortably his last two elections, his first one was tight (five points). So I would not count McGrath out.

McGrath's ad suggests that saving Obamacare will be her primary issue.  In that sense, Republicans' failure to pass a repeal and replace may actually work to Barr's advantage. That, of course, is contrary to the notion that Republicans will get shellacked for not having kept the promise to repeal and replace Obamacare. Unless it actually happens, McGrath is running on a hypothetical.




Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Guest Post From Dr. Barry Denton on Drug Importation


Washington is Poised to Make Kentucky's Opioid Crisis Worse

Drug overdoses are skyrocketing in Kentucky. Staff at the St. Elizabeth hospital system in the northern part of the state revive six opioid overdose victims every day.[1] Twice as many Kentuckians are dying of overdoses as car accidents.[2]

Incredibly, politicians in Washington are pushing a bill that would make the crisis even worse.

The proposed law, introduced by Senator Bernie Sanders, would legalize the importation of medicines from Canada.[3]

Proponents argue that the bill would save patients money by allowing them to buy cheaper prescription drugs from abroad. In reality, those "cheaper" medicines could come at the price of hundreds of Kentuckians' lives. Many unscrupulous pharmacies will jump at the chance to make a few bucks by sending painkillers to Americans without requiring prescriptions. The bill would also seriously strain law enforcement's ability to intercept illegal drugs.

Kentuckians' drug addictions often begin with prescription pain pills. In the last three months of 2016, Kentucky residents filled prescriptions for more than 17 million doses of oxycodone and 36 million doses of hydrocodone.[4] In just one year, Clay County residents filled enough prescriptions to provide every resident -- including children -- with 150 doses of hydrocodone and oxycodone.[5]

Many of these pills wind up on the black market, fueling people's addictions. And when addicts can't find or afford prescription painkillers, they often turn to heroin.

Heroin is dangerous enough on its own -- but now, drug dealers are lacing heroin with fentanyl,[6] a deadly synthetic opioid that's 100 times more potent than morphine.[7] Some strains of fentanyl are so potent that Narcan, a lifesaving shot used to resuscitate overdose victims, doesn't work.[8]

One-third of Kentucky overdose deaths involve fentanyl.[9]

Legalizing prescription drug importation would make it easier for dealers to obtain massive quantities of illicit pain pills, heroin, and fentanyl. 

Even though it's illegal, some Americans already import prescription drugs. Many order from online Canadian pharmacies, some of which don't even require prescriptions.[10] Fortunately, authorities are sometimes able to intercept these shipments, which often contain spoiled, counterfeit, or illegal substances.

If the bill passes, many Americans would start ordering medicines from foreign pharmacies without realizing that those drugs lack the gold standard of approval from the Food and Drug Administration There'd be little stopping a drug dealer from buying opioids in bulk to resell to vulnerable addicts. And the sheer volume of shipments makes it unlikely that law enforcement would be able to stop this trafficking.

Legalized importation wouldn't just result in pain pills flooding into Kentucky -- it could also allow drug dealers to bring in pure fentanyl. Canadian authorities have warned that they don't inspect drugs that are imported from abroad, routed through Canada, and then reshipped to America.[11] The FDA also has no way to inspect or vet these imports.[12]

In other words, fentanyl-producing labs in China could ship large quantities of the drug to America via Canada. It'd be difficult for health authorities and law enforcement to distinguish between packages containing legitimate prescriptions and those containing deadly opioids.

Kentucky's cops and first responders already are stretched thin dealing with overdoses. The last thing they need is for federal lawmakers to make it even easier to obtain dangerous drugs. Senators Sanders may sincerely believe importation would help lower drug costs. But the price paid in human lives would be far too steep.

Dr. Barry D. Denton
Retired Police Sergeant – Louisville Metro Police Department



[3]https://www.sanders.senate.gov/newsroom/press-releases/affordable-and-safe-prescription-drug-importation-act-introduced-to-help-lower-skyrocketing-cost-of-medicine
[4] http://www.chfs.ky.gov/NR/rdonlyres/C32BB010-C430-4261-B285-2E308E5FB6F1/0/KASPERQuarterlyTrendReportQ42016.pdf
[5] https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2017/02/kentucky-opioids/515775/
[6] http://odcp.ky.gov/Pages/The-Heroin-Epidemic.aspx
[7] https://www.drugabuse.gov/drugs-abuse/fentanyl
[8] http://www.richmondregister.com/kentucky/news/northeast-kentucky-responders-leery-of-new-drug-that-could-be/article_bcce99c3-1ca3-58a5-907e-5a60d4ff0669.html
[9] http://www.kentucky.com/news/state/article83770067.html
[10] https://www.yourcanadianmeds.com/
[11] https://www.fda.gov/drugs/resourcesforyou/consumers/ucm143561.htm
[12] https://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Testimony/ucm113635.htm

Imagine Taking A Cancer Drug That is Fake!


This piece on the issue of deregulating prescription drugs comes from two former attorney generals. That begs the question:  what does Kentucky's Attorney General say about this?

Hat tip to the Sun-Sentinel on an issue that all of us who take prescription meds -- or have friends or family who do -- should watch.

By the way, for anyone who thinks this is not an issue in Kentucky, recall that a few years ago there was an issue in Louisville with fake Botox.

As former state attorneys general, we are keenly aware of how stretched local
law enforcement budgets are and how law enforcement officials already
struggle to contain the flood of illegal drugs flowing into the United States
from other countries. That job could get a lot harder if we have to start
tracking prescription drugs, too.

Bills before Congress would end a longstanding ban on the import of
prescription medicines not previously cleared by the Food and Drug
Administration. The proposals were floated to curb rising drug prices, but the
potential drawbacks are daunting.

Americans have access to safe and effective prescription drugs due in large
measure to the strict safeguards the FDA has established to approve new
treatments and monitor the manufacturing and distribution of existing
medicines. Meanwhile, patients in many other countries are exposed to
substandard medicines produced and sold with less-rigorous oversight by the
local government. Those conditions have spawned an already massive — and
still growing — market for counterfeit drugs all over the world.
Those dangerous knockoffs are starting to infiltrate the U.S. market. The FDA
website lists a number of counterfeit drugs seized in the United States that
were sold as popular biopharmaceutical products. These imitations include
fake Botox, fake Cialis and a number of fake cancer drugs that either lacked
the active ingredients required to be effective or had different compounds
entirely.
Counterfeit drugs are often sold by unlicensed suppliers who are not
authorized to sell or distribute prescription drugs in the United States. The
FDA has long warned that these products are unsafe and should not be used
because the agency cannot confirm that the makers and distributors of these
drugs adhered to U.S. standards when they manufactured or distributed
them.

Other countries have been inundated with these fake drugs for years. For
example, the World Health Organization estimates as many as 20 percent of
the drugs sold in India are counterfeit. The WHO started warning doctors and
other health care professionals years ago about the dangers of these
counterfeit drugs, and the organization issues frequent reports to spotlight
massive seizures of fake pills and other medicines that were intended for sale
to patients all over the world.

“Health experts believe such operations have only scratched the surface of a
flourishing industry in counterfeit medicines that poses a growing threat to
public health around the world,” the WHO declared in an official bulletin
back in 2009. In 2014, Interpol warned, “Pharmaceutical crime poses a grave
danger to public health.”

Organized-crime syndicates have established sophisticated networks to
produce and sell these counterfeit drugs in other countries. They have already
started working through doctors and medical clinics in the United States, but
U.S. import restrictions are a big reason the FDA, U.S. Customs and Border
Protection and the Drug Enforcement Agency have been able to contain the
problem.

The bills before Congress would remove many of the license and oversight
requirements on the drugs imported into the United States by lifting those
barriers, inviting an influx of bogus pharmaceutical products from the same
crime rings that are selling these drugs in other countries around the world
that would love better access to the U.S. market.
Law enforcement would inevitably be tasked with policing the problem, at a
time when most prosecutors and law enforcement officials have their hands
full with the growing opioid crisis. One of the biggest killers is fentanyl, a
potent, synthetic opioid pain medication that is being laced into counterfeit
pills.

Just last year, the DEA issued a report sounding alarm bells about these
synthetic opioids. There were more than 700 deaths attributed to fentanyl
between late 2013 and 2014, and the numbers are climbing rapidly. The DEA
report lists a number of specific cases involving counterfeit opioids, including
the seizure last year of 500 pills in Lorain County, Ohio, that included a
synthetic “that caused at least 17 overdoses and several deaths.”

Opening the door to increased prescription drug importation will just make it
easier for smugglers to ship this dangerous opioid into the United States. For
years, we have asked police officers and prosecutors to do more with less.
There are few signs that austerity will end. Changing laws to encourage
importation of drugs would only add to that burden.

Thurbert Baker is a former attorney general of Georgia. Bill McCollum is a
former attorney general of Florida. They wrote this for InsideSources.com.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

More Liberals Wage War on Women


I'm waiting for Feminists to come running to the defense of Sarah Huckabee Sanders. Sanders was recently promoted to White House Press Secretary. This mother of three has been attacked for her appearance. Ira Madison, of the Daily Beast, referred to her as a "Butch queen first time in drags at ball."  I'm not going to link to him because that would just reward bad behavior.

This is an abhorrent way to refer to a woman, any woman. But because Sanders is a conservative, she is fair game. The hypocrisy is sickening.

And how about the reference to transgender? Imagine if a Republican had said that about a liberal; Dems would call it a hate crime.



Thursday, July 13, 2017

Senate Judiciary Committee Votes Yes!


The Senate Judiciary just voted in favor of John K. Bush's nomination to the U.S. Court of  Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.

Thanks, everyone, for all the prayers

Friday, June 16, 2017

RIP Dave Armstrong


How sad to learn of the passing of former Louisville Mayor Dave Armstrong. Dave was Louisville's last mayor prior to the merger of city and county governments

Dave also was the visionary behind the Louisville Extreme Skate Park. That brought the X Games to Louisville, including tourists and the economic benefit that follows. It gave Louisville youth a fun place to get some exercise. And it made Louisville hip; Dave did all this before any of us had even heard of Extreme sports.

Most importantly, Dave was a kind and decent man. He was smart, creative, and made his corner of the world better through public service.

Dave was a Democrat whom Republicans and Independents could like and respect. We will miss him.


Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Louisville Blows Past Chicago - Not In A Good Way


The Pegasus Institute -- the new conservative/libertarian think tank here -- has just released a fascinating report on the the epidemic of violent crime in Louisville.

The statistics are beyond appalling. The murder rate is much worse than most of us thought. This becomes apparent, for example, when one looks at the crime rate inside the Watterson Expressway as distinguished from the entire metro area.

Here are a few statistics from Pegasus Institute Executive Director Jordan Harris:

  • In 2016, 71.18% (84 of 118) of all homicides investigated by LMPD took place in zip codes that are either wholly or partially inside the Watterson.
  • Using a conservative estimate , the population inside the Watterson Expressway is just under 275,000 residents,  meaning that with 84 total murders in 2016, this area had a murder rate of 30.5 per 100,000. If considered in isolation, this would be the 8th most dangerous major city in America, edging out Chicago, Illinois, which has a murder rate of 27.7 per 100,000. (INSIDE OF THE WATTERSON EXPRESSWAY IS MORE DANGEROUS THAN CHICAGO)
  • The majority of homicides in 2016 took place in five individual zip codes (listed in order of total); 40211, 40203, 40210, 40212, and 40215. These five areas accounted for just over 77% (65 of 84) of the murders inside the Watterson Expressway, 55% of murders investigated by LMPD (65 of 118), and 52.4% (65 of 124) of all murders in Jefferson County. Four of these five zip codes had an increase in homicides in 2016, helping to push the city-wide total to an all-time high.
  • The jump from 56 LMPD homicide investigation in 2014 to 118 in 2016, a 110% increase, is by far the largest jump in Louisville’s history, surpassing the previous two-year high of 44.7%, and larger than any other similar sized metro areas. (THIS IS NOT JUST A NATIONAL PROBLEM. THE SPIKE HAS BEEN MUCH GREATER IN LOUISVILLE)
  • The illicit drug market (i.e. opioid crisis) is not the cause of this spike. 
  • A study by Mathew Phillips, a research analyst with the Rochester Youth Development Study at the State University of New York at Albany, examined a panel of delinquent youth and found that the drug dealers within a gang are actually less likely to use weapons or commit certain violent acts than their non-drug dealing fellow gang members
  • Anonymous sources within LMPD confirmed that last year, of the 118 murders investigated by LMPD, 100 murders were considered gang related.