Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Last Call For Clinton Kentucky

I've been holding out hope that Hillary Clinton could win here in Kentucky in 2016 and help beat Rand Paul, but the other half of that Public Policy Polling survey on Kentucky shows that Kentucky Democrats are mostly Reagan Democrats, and Clinton will have an extremely tough battle here.

On the Democratic side Clinton is ever dominant, getting 56% to 12% for Bernie Sanders, 7% for Jim Webb, 5% for Lincoln Chafee, and 3% for Martin O'Malley. Clinton is over 80% with African Americans, 70% with liberals, 60% with younger voters, and 50% with moderates, women, men, whites, and seniors. The only group she fails to get a majority with is the swath of Kentucky Democrats who are conservatives and don't tend to vote Democratic in national elections despite their registration.

Clinton doesn't have much of a chance in the general election in the state outside of ending up running against Trump though. Paul (50/40) and Huckabee (49/39) fare the best against Clinton with 10 point leads. Carson has a 9 point lead at 49/40 and Bush's is 8 points at 48/40. Holding more modest leads over Clinton are Cruz with a 6 point one at 48/42, and Walker (46/41), Rubio (46/41), and Fiorina (45/40) each with a 5 point advantage.

But before you go believing that it's Clinton they dislike, understand that any of the other Democratic hopefuls fare even worse here in the Bluegrass State.

Clinton may not do great in Kentucky but it's really bad for any of the other Democratic hopefuls. Scott Walker would lead Sanders 42/29, O'Malley 40/22, Chafee 41/23, and Webb 42/22. Obviously that has a lot to do with name recognition but it's still somewhat jarring to see potential Democratic candidates polling in the low 20s for the general election in any state.

So Clinton would lose by 5-10 points here and any other Dem would lose by double digits.  It's not looking good here for Team Blue.  Yes, it's 16 months out and anything could happen, but I'm thinking the Clinton campaign isn't going to be making very many visits here.

Ask Alison Grimes how much Hillary was able to help last year.

Golden Brown, Texture Like Sun

Cincinnati's heroin epidemic is just that, a public health issue that's costing the tri-state area millions of dollars and ruining tens of thousands of lives. Dan Horn and Terry DeMio at the Cincinnati Enquirer report on this area's biggest drug problem, and how lawmakers and police have only made it worse. If you want to see why America has lost the War on Drugs, the story of Samantha Gibson and other addicts is where you want to start looking for answers.

Jails are housing thousands of addicts, but they lack the resources to provide effective drug treatment. Most courts still insist on zero-tolerance rules that bounce heroin users from the streets to jail and back again. And long-term treatment remains a crapshoot for addicts and their families, who often can't find, or can't afford, quality care. 
"Our entire approach to this is wrong," says Dr. Mina "Mike" Kalfas, a certified addiction expert and family physician in Northern Kentucky. "Our approach as a society has failed miserably." 
For too long, Kalfas says, policy makers treated the heroin epidemic as a law enforcement problem and put the onus on addicts to get clean or go to jail. 
But heroin is as complicated as it is cruel. It comes with an intense physical addiction that alters brain chemistry and punishes those who try to stop using it with brutal withdrawal symptoms. 
Threats and punishment alone don't work because addicts want heroin more than anything else. More than their jobs, their homes, their health or even their children. 
That's why more than 13,000 heroin users spent time in Greater Cincinnati jails last year, and why more than 300 ended up in the morgue. 
It's also why Kalfas and others now say new approaches are needed, before taxpayers spend more money and families bury more overdose victims. 
"Heroin," Synan says, "is not something you can arrest your way out of." 
Gibson, a mother of three from Newport, is a case in point. She is no stranger to the system. Police have arrested her. Judges have sentenced her. Jails have locked her up. Hospitals have patched her wounds. Treatment centers have put her on waiting lists. Children's services has taken her kids. Paramedics have restarted her heart after an overdose. 
Society is heavily invested in her. Thousands of dollars already have been spent.
Yet here she sits, in jail again, biding her time until her next fix. 
Gibson runs her fingers over her scarred left hand and crosses her legs. It's been several hours since she shot up. She's getting impatient. 
"I can't get through the day without heroin," she says.

It's a devastating story, and there is some hope at least, the notion that more and more police and legislators are realizing that treatment, not incarceration, is the only way out of hell here.  But that requires money for government services, and lawmakers aren't going to go to bat to save the lives of heroin addicts who aren't exactly dependable voters.  Society doesn't give a damn about these guys, so why should taxpayers have to pay?

Of course, the reality is we do pay.  All of us.  And some pay a very final price.

San Juan By Way Of Athens

Greece isn't the only government this week who says it can't make its payments and wants a bailout, not by a long shot.  Much closer to home here in the states, Puerto Rico's governor says the island can't pay off the $72 billion it owes creditors.

The governor, Alejandro García Padilla, and senior members of his staff said in an interview last week that they would probably seek significant concessions from as many as all of the island’s creditors, which could include deferring some debt payments for as long as five years or extending the timetable for repayment.

The debt is not payable,” Mr. García Padilla said. “There is no other option. I would love to have an easier option. This is not politics, this is math.”

It is a startling admission from the governor of an island of 3.6 million people, which has piled on more municipal bond debt per capita than any American state.

A broad restructuring by Puerto Rico sets the stage for an unprecedented test of the United States municipal bond market, which cities and states rely on to pay for their most basic needs, like road construction and public hospitals.

That market has already been shaken by municipal bankruptcies in Detroit; Stockton, Calif.; and elsewhere, which undercut assumptions that local governments in the United States would always pay back their debt.

Puerto Rico’s bonds have a face value roughly eight times that of Detroit’s bonds. Its call for debt relief on such a vast scale could raise borrowing costs for other local governments as investors become more wary of lending.

Perhaps more important, much of Puerto Rico’s debt is widely held by individual investors on the United States mainland, in mutual funds or other investment accounts, and they may not be aware of it.

Puerto Rico, as a commonwealth, does not have the option of bankruptcy. A default on its debts would most likely leave the island, its creditors and its residents in a legal and financial limbo that, like the debt crisis in Greece, could take years to sort out.

This is going to be a big political and financial problem going forward.  It's going to be up to Congress to figure out how and if they are going to help Puerto Rico, but I don't see how they can turn the island away without risking America's credit rating.

We'll see what happens, but this on top of Greece is going to be the next major financial mess for Washington to deal with.


Related Posts with Thumbnails