:: The drownings of the 3-year-old boy, his 5-year-old brother and their mother off the coast of Turkey struck me harder than they otherwise might have because five years ago, Patty and I, while vacationing in Turkey, visited Bodrum, the beach city where the bodies washed up.
I remember vividly that as we approached Bodrum, descending a steep hill in a van, I was mesmerized by the sight of the sparkling blue water of the Aegean Sea below us. Normally, I’m not much of a beach person, but seeing that water, my overriding thought was to get in the water as soon as I could. And I did, shortly after we arrived. The cool water felt as good as it looked.
What a stark contrast that five years later, the world’s attention is on that beach because four people died in a desperate attempt to make a 14-mile trip from Bodrum to the Greek island of Kos on a rubber raft, in search of a better life.
For some reason (local, local, local?) The Star did not run the haunting and heart-rending photo of 3-year-old Aylan Kurdi lying face down on the beach, as if he were asleep. The Star ran a relatively short and uninformative wire story on A-2 today, while The New York Times had one story about the Kurdi family and another about the migrant crisis across the top of its front page.
I’ve said this many times before: I think it’s just crazy that The Star seldom runs big national and particularly international stories on the front page. As far as I’m concerned, The Star does a tremendous disservice to its print and online readers by virtually ignoring these blockbuster stories.
In case you haven’t seen that photo, here it is…
:: I was in Louisville visiting relatives earlier this week when the story broke about the nutty county clerk in eastern Kentucky — Rowan County — refusing to issue marriage licenses to gay couples. My first thought was that the clerk, Kim Davis, was a latter day George Wallace standing in front of the school doors, refusing to admit black students.
My second thought had to do with the federal judge who had Davis jailed for contempt of court. The judge’s name is David Bunning. I immediately surmised he must be related to Hall of Fame baseball pitcher Jim Bunning, who represented Kentucky in the U.S. Senate from 1999 to 2011. I was right: 49-year-old David is Jim’s son.
Extending the Kentucky connection, while growing up in Louisville I was a huge fan of the Cincinnati Reds. On the final day of the 1964 regular season, Jim Bunning, pitching for the Philadelphia Phillies, ended the Reds’ hopes of winning the National League pennant by pitching a six-hitter against the Reds in Cincinnati. In deep pain, I listened on the radio as the Phillies won the game 10-0.
:: I see that the Obama administration is once again considering transferring some of the Guantanamo Bay prisoners to the U.S. Disciplinary Barracks at Fort Leavenworth. And just as you would expect — and just like last time — Gov. Sam Brownback is out front, railing against the idea. “We’re going to fight this with everything we’ve got,” he told Leavenworth residents at a town hall meeting Thursday.
Never mind that the U.S. Disciplinary Barracks is one of the most secure facilities on earth and a logical and obvious place to relocate some of those prisoners. There aren’t going to be any tunnel escapes like the one in New York State in June, or more notoriously, the one in Mexico where drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman got virtual red-carpet treatment and departed through a mile-long tunnel constructed by his associates.
And, finally, regarding the possibility of terrorists making their way to the fort and wreaking havoc…First, I wonder if they could find their way to Leavenworth, and, second, would they really think they could make much of a splash in Leavenworth, Kansas?
I mentioned that I was in Louisville earlier this week. Here’s a photo of me with three of my brainy and beautiful cousins. That’s Sharron Hilbrecht on the left, her sister, Colleen Salazar, at far right (both of Louisville) and Josie Fitzpatrick on my left. Josie is assistant principal viola player for the Barcelona Symphony Orchestra.