Don’t squander your right to vote
February 11, 2016 12:11 AM | 222 views | 0 0 comments | 2 2 recommendations | email to a friend | print
While watching the Republican debate Saturday night, I began to wonder just how many Cherokeeans were watching this debate with me. My conclusion — not enough. Then I wondered how many will vote for their favorite candidate on March 1. Again, my conclusion — not enough. The ideal, 100 percent, will never be achieved, but I certainly hope it’s more than 8 or 9 percent, as has been the voter turnout in recent elections. Citizens’ opportunity to be involved in choosing the president of the United States will begin March 1, less than three weeks away. And how can one vote intelligently without knowing who the candidates are or what they believe without watching the debates? It matters not which party one belongs to; it is, however, important that we are able to make an intelligent choice when we enter the voting booth. The voter, regardless of party, will have to make a choice. Both parties will have two or more candidates on the ballot. The choice Americans make in November to be the next president of these United States will likely be one of the most important choices they will make in their lifetime. And it begins here in Cherokee County on March 1. Historically, a nation reaches its apex around the 200-year mark. Then pride begins to set in and the younger generations forget what America’s Founding Fathers did for them, and they vote for those who promise largess. And when this happens a nation begins to self-destruct. This pattern has repeated itself over and over again throughout history. To fully understand how uninformed today’s younger generation is about America’s two foundational documents, the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, watch Watter’s World on the Bill O’Reilly show each Monday. Each week, Watters is sent out to interview various segments of the population about current events. A recent segment interviewed college students about what they knew about the Constitution — very little. Remember America’s future leaders will come from this rising generation. Another segment asked students to define socialism. Less than 10 percent had a clue on how destructive socialism has been throughout history, and how it has enslaved the citizens of those nations where it has been voted in. Both Cuba and Venezuela are prime examples of how quickly a nation can self-destruct when the people elect the wrong leader. And Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders is a self-declared socialist. It is interesting to hear what he is promising this younger generation and how they are swallowing it hook, line and sinker, having no clue where socialism leads to. His opponent is also on the giveaway bandwagon. One of my history books has a line that reads: “And if the time comes that the voice of the people doth choose iniquity, then is the time that the judgments of God will come upon you; yea, then is the time he will visit you with great destruction even as he has hitherto visited this land.” This is a sobering thought, a thought that all citizens should ponder deeply. We, those of us who lived through the Great Depression and World War II, saw God’s judgments activated. The Roaring ’20s, a moral and spiritual polluted time period, was followed by the Great Depression, a period of long bread lines and natural disasters. World War II followed, with the destruction of Germany, Italy, Japan and Russia — with 50 million causalities, killed or maimed. That was active judgment. How does a nation “choose iniquity?” When Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence, he declared America’s two foundational laws as “the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God.” As America rejects the God that inspired America’s Founders to create a nation to restore freedom to an enslaved world it is “choosing iniquity.” Can God’s judgments be far behind? Not likely. Another line in that history book reads “Now it is not common that the voice of the people desireth anything contrary to that which is right; but it is common for the lesser part of the people to desire that which is not right; therefore this shall ye observe and make it your law — to do your business by the voice of the people.” The “voice of the people” includes all of us — young and old — with the older generations being responsible to teach the younger generations what America’s Founders hath done for them. Hopefully all citizens interested in preserving America’s freedoms will go to the polls March 1 — and do their duty intelligently, as a freedom-loving American. Donald Conkey is a retired agricultural economist in Woodstock.
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Break the teeth-whitening monopoly
by George Will
February 11, 2016 12:10 AM | 99 views | 0 0 comments | 2 2 recommendations | email to a friend | print
It is frequently said that, unfortunately, Americans disdain government. It is more usefully said that, unfortunately, they have abundant reasons for doing so. In coming days, the Supreme Court, by deciding to hear a case from Connecticut, can begin limiting a contemptible government abuse that the court’s passive deference to legislatures has encouraged. The case concerns a minor economic activity, teeth whitening, but a major principle: Can a state limit Americans’ opportunities by restricting access to particular professions for no reason other than the enrichment of people entrenched in those professions? If the court refuses to hear the case, or if it hears it and decides it incorrectly, the “rational basis” test for judging government regulations of economic activities will no longer test anything — it will be completely severed from reasoning based on evidence. Teeth whitening is a simple, safe procedure that people can perform on themselves with materials — a peroxide-based whitener and an LED “activating light” — bought without prescriptions. Or they can pay whitening salons to do it for them. The salons charge much less, often $150 or less, compared with $350 or more charged by dentists, many of whom regard the salons as competitors to be crushed by political power. Dentists are organized, salons are not, so at least 30 states have defended the strong by giving government-licensed dentists and dental hygienists a whitening monopoly. The Connecticut State Dental Commission, which is run by and for dentists, is empowered by law to write whitening regulations. They can subject salon operators to fines up to $25,000 or up to five years in prison — per customer — for the crime of giving customers assistance (applying the whitener, positioning the LED light in front of the customers’ mouths). This is pure rent seeking — a politically connected faction bending public power for its private benefit by crippling competitors. The 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has complacently said of other people’s injuries from government favoritism: “While baseball may be the national pastime of the citizenry, dishing out special economic benefits to certain in-state industries remains the favored pastime of state and local governments.” Echoing this in the Connecticut case, the 2nd Circuit has dismissively said, “Much of what states do is to favor certain groups over others on economic grounds. We call this politics.” Yes, and if states violate, say, the First Amendment ban on abridging freedom of speech, that, too, would be politics — unconstitutional politics. Much of what deferential courts do is connive with state governments in the pretense that there is some explainable public good beyond transferring wealth to the politically connected. We call this dereliction of the judicial duty to enforce the Constitution’s Due Process and Equal Protection clauses. The rational basis test already is extremely permissive. Courts administering it defer to government restrictions on economic activity whenever legislatures enunciate any reasons for the restrictions. And courts occasionally concoct reasons the legislatures have neglected to imagine. This vast judicial deference is a consequence of the Supreme Court distinguishing, without warrant in the Constitution’s text or history, between “fundamental” rights, infringements of which must survive strict judicial scrutiny, and economic rights that receive lackadaisical scrutiny. In the Connecticut whiteners case, the 2nd Circuit held that courts can render summary judgment on behalf of the government even when plaintiffs in rational basis cases produce undisputed evidence that the challenged regulations cannot plausibly be said to advance governmental interests in public health or safety. The 5th, 6th and 9th Circuits, however, have held that naked economic protectionism — protecting an economic faction from competition — is not a legitimate governmental purpose. The Supreme Court must referee this dispute. Connecticut’s whiteners are represented by the Institute for Justice, America’s foremost defender of economic liberty and of the entrepreneurial, often minority individuals whose progress up the ladder of social mobility is blocked by cartels such as Connecticut’s dentists. The institute reduces the case to its essence: “It is unconstitutional to require someone to have eight years of higher education (college and dentistry school) before they can point a flashlight at someone’s teeth.” If the Supreme Court rejects this patent truth by allowing the 2nd Circuit’s conclusion to stand, the rational basis test will become a charade, which will effectively mean the end of judicial review of economic regulations. This will become an unlimited license for government to impede access to professions, reward rent seekers and punish consumers, thereby validating Americans’ deepening disdain for government. George Will is a columnist for The Washington Post.
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Campaigning against heroin
by Rebecca Johnston
February 11, 2016 12:05 AM | 146 views | 0 0 comments | 2 2 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Rebecca Johnston
Rebecca Johnston
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Presidential candidates campaigning in New Hampshire made heroin a top issue on which to stump in days leading up to Tuesday’s primary there. The campaign trail helped shed a light on the deadly issue that is plaguing that state and many others. Just as New Hampshire is facing a crisis from use of the addictive and potentially deadly drug, Cherokee County is in the grips of what some have called an epidemic of overdoses and deaths from heroin. Presidential candidates had a wide array of proposals on how to stem the flow of the opioid, including Donald Trump’s comments during his victory speech that he will build a wall on the southern U.S. border to stop the problem. I pray it is that easy. How hard it is to hear of young people, and some not so young, who accidentally die from an overdose of the drug. And in almost every instance where I have talked to families involved, the person who is suffering from the throes of addiction started on prescription pain medication. Some statistics put as many 23 million recovering addicts in our country right now, many of them young people. Many, many here in our own community. And the siren call of the drug is strong. There are many things wrong with America in my opinion, and one is we all want it to be easy. We don’t want to suffer or feel pain or face harsh realities. We look for escape. But it can’t come in a bottle or a pill. That is the reality. Until that becomes the bedrock belief of our culture, drugs will continue to lure and destroy people in our community. And these are people we know, good people who stumble onto a wrong path and end up at a dead end. One father told me he went with his son to rehab, and he didn’t know what to expect. He imagined it would be homeless or inner city people who had turned to a life of drugs. But he found airline pilots and Georgia Tech students and just plain folks like him and his son. Several of the people who have died from heroin overdoses in our community this year are from families I know, good families who love their children and do everything in their power to raise them correctly. The news reports concern me. In January, a Jonesboro psychiatrist was arrested who had written a multitude of prescriptions for opioids and had 36 patients to die, 12 from overdoses, reports showed. Even more recently, a north Georgia hospital was the target of a prescription drug bust and raided by federal agents just a week ago. Six arrests were made, including the hospital CEO and five other suspects, Channel 2 reported. One of the doctors arrested was accused of writing as many as 15,000 fraudulent prescriptions in the last three years for painkillers such as oxycodone. I am not saying doctors or the medical community are to blame, or even the big pharma companies that push pills like crazy. We as consumers have to take some of the responsibility and blame. I went to the emergency room a couple of years ago, where I found out I had a case of shingles. As I waited to see the doctor, a nurse came in with a syringe. I asked him what it was for and he said morphine for the pain. I wasn’t even in that much pain and said, “no thanks” pretty emphatically. But in another instance where I had a procedure, I was given a shot and later found out it was Dilaudid. I didn’t even know what that was, but it made me feel great. That one shot made me want more — it is that addictive. As a community, we have to band together and fight this drug that can so easily destroy. As a country, we have to find solutions. All of us must get involved. We never know where it will strike next. Rebecca Johnston is editor of The Cherokee Tribune.
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READY FOR FRY DAY: St. Clements serving up fish for Lent
by Kayla Elder
February 11, 2016 12:00 AM | 230 views | 0 0 comments | 10 10 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Pat Krupp adds baked beans to plates served at last February’s annual fish fry at St. Clements Episcopal Church. Last year, the church was able to assist about 120 families in Canton with proceeds from the fish fries. / Staff-Kathryn Ingall
Pat Krupp adds baked beans to plates served at last February’s annual fish fry at St. Clements Episcopal Church. Last year, the church was able to assist about 120 families in Canton with proceeds from the fish fries. / Staff-Kathryn Ingall
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The observance of Lent began this week with Ash Wednesday and will lead into Easter Sunday on March 27. For those looking for a way to mark Fridays during Lent, St. Clements Episcopal Church offers just the event. The church in Canton annually fries up fish dinners on Fridays during the 40-day Lenten season. “We are the only parish in the area and the only one doing this,” said Scott Mikkelsen, Lenten Fish Fry coordinator. As the church’s largest fundraiser, the fish fries give those who attend a delicious dinner, a social evening and the chance to help a good cause. “We are able to fund our outreach committee through this, which has a phone line for locals to call in order to receive help,” Mikkelsen said. “We started this seven years ago.” St. Clements is a small parish with about 150 to 175 active members. Around half of the parish is involved in the effort either by volunteering to serve at each fry or preparing sides and desserts for the meals. The church prepares a fish fry dinner every Friday for six Fridays during Lent. The church averages from 100 to 160 meals per week. The church provided about 950 meals last year. The meals cost $7 for adults and $3 for children. An adult meal consists of three pieces of tilapia, two hushpuppies, baked beans, coleslaw, a beverage and dessert. The child’s meal consists of one piece of fish, macaroni and cheese, coleslaw, a beverage and dessert. Last year, the church was able to assist about 120 families in Canton with proceeds from the fish fries. The church generated more than $7,500 for the committee. The Outreach Committee uses the proceeds and other donations to distribute to needy families in the Canton area to pay for incidentals as requested by families including power bills, limited groceries and clothing items. “Money made is retransmitted back into the community,” Mikkelsen said. “This also helps us interact with those that have never been to our church.” The first fish fry will be Friday from 5 to 7 p.m. and continue Feb. 19, Feb. 26, March 4, March 11 and March 18. “We prepare both dine-in and take-out meals,” Mikkelsen said. St. Clements is at 2795 Ridge Road, and the meals are served in Davis Hall, the building on the left side of the parking lot. For more information, visit www.stclementscanton.org.
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Though River Ridge has a new girls soccer coach this year, one mainstay for the Lady Knights is their Michigan-bound standout, Brooke DeSantis. 
<BR>Staff file photo
Though River Ridge has a new girls soccer coach this year, one mainstay for the Lady Knights is their Michigan-bound standout, Brooke DeSantis.
Staff file photo
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