Thorns & Roses: The Worst, Best & Most Absurd (12/31)

Thorn: What Will City Clowncil Do?

A thorn goes to the Clown Council because we know it will choose wrong again this year as the city shoulders $10 million more in pension costs. Mayor Greg Fischer told WFPL that a 3% restaurant tax would cover most of the obligation, or the city could try again to pass the insurance premium tax. Remember — this would have cost the average homeowner $12 a month but more for (rich) people who own boats and such. No, we expect the Clowncil to cut even more services. (But not a library in Clowncilman Tony Piagentini’s district!) We also bet the Clowncil endorses a restaurant tax, which would result in fewer people dining out (because of higher prices) and more restaurants closing. Good thing Louisville is not considered a foodie destination!

Thorn: Kentucky’s Bad Marriage

U.S. Sen. Mitch “Dim Reaper” McConnell came home with a sack full of money for Kentucky from the newly passed $1.4 trillion spending package, which is OK if it weren’t such a naked ploy to win votes for his 2020 campaign. Like the philandering husband who buys his wife a diamond ring before stepping out again.

Rose + Thorn: McConnell Thinks: Never Too Young To Get Smoked

Included in that funding bill is McConnell’s provision to raise to 21 from 18 the minimum age for buying tobacco. This is good! Smoking kills some 480,000 Americans a year, according to a federal estimate. But why would a senator who sucks on the tobacco industry’s teat do such a thing? Simple! He is “covering for them,” Dr. David Kessler, a former Food and Drug Administration commissioner, told NPR. McConnell raised the smoking age with the support of Big Tobacco and Vaping. Sharon Eubanks, who led the Justice Department’s racketeering case against tobacco, told NPR, “It’s a Jedi mind trick.” E-cig companies really just want to avoid liability for youth vaping, and “the industry’s support for such measures gets them off the hook,” she said. Maybe McConnell will take aim at guns next… Or, likely, not enough people die from gunshots (39,773 in 2017) to convince him to buck the NRA. After all, McConnell knows who pays his bills, so to speak (he has collected some $1.2 million in NRA campaign contributions over his career). Apparently, McConnell is content to stop young smokers but is OK with them being shot in their schools (45 school shootings in 46 weeks in 2019).

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