Monday, October 17, 2016

796. On Assange

I'm glad he's been cut off. I remember once when I was six or seven (so this was fifty years ago) laying in the backyard by my grandfather's workshop staring up at the sky. I noticed something very small fly over. In time it flew over again, maybe an hour later, in the same pattern. Curious, I spoke to my grandfather about it. He told me it was the government and if I had done nothing wrong I had nothing to worry about. I still remember that conversation.

I've always known the government was up to something ever since that day fifty years ago. The military-industrial complex Eisenhower warned against was already in place on that day five years later and was probably in place when Ike gave his warning. I also learned that day not to fear my government if I have done nothing wrong. So far, that belief has worked. You may call it naivete; I call reality. The government does things I'll never know about for reasons I'll never understand. It doesn't matter which party is in power. So I choose my politics on which party I believe does the best for the most and I accept that whichever choice I make will never be the best choice which can be made. And I accepted a long time ago that given we have many people making these choices, all with our own perception of what is good and evil and right and wrong - this year about 110,000,000 will be doing so all with their own personal agendas.

None of us are completely right or wrong. Nor will we ever be. I'm content with that.

Here's the closing paragraph of a poem I learned when I was 8 years old by James Whitcomb Riley:

"My doctern is to lay aside
Contensions, and be satisfied:
Jest do your best, and praise er blame
That follers that, counts jest the same.
I've allus noticed grate success
Is mixed with troubles, more er less,
And it's the man who does the best
That gits more kicks than all the rest."

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

795. It's Been An Interesting Day on the GOP Side

It's been an interesting day on the GOP side. Mr. Trump gave a "foreign policy" speech mostly about Hillary Clinton. He also offered an olive branch of sorts to Muslims - he wants to be their friend now that he's going to be the nominee as opposed to banning them from Ellis Island and other points of entry to the Republic. And he didn't mention "The Wall" down there along the Mexican border he’s been proposing to build for most of the Primary season. Suddenly he is "presidential." He didn't say much else either other than "we're going to be great." No real specifics, just regular Donald stuff. Then Ted the Canadian chose Mrs. Carly Fiorina, HP and Compaq’s destroyer-in-chief, as his running mate, the sort of Hail Mary pass Ronald Reagan, the conservative icon, threw ahead of the 1976 GOP convention, naming liberal Pennsylvania senator Richard Schweiker as his running mate in the hopes of salvation at the 11th hour. It probably lost him the convention as conservatives, particularly from the South, then switched to the far more moderate incumbent Gerald Ford who up to that point had been struggling. Ford locked up the nomination but lost the election. Finally, did I mention Governor Matt Bevin, the alleged Tea Partier who lives in a nice mansion on Louisville’s east side, is on a taxpayer-funded junket to Europe? Life is otherwise okay.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

794. Where is Crittenden Drive?

Mt friend Michael and I took a drive out to South Louisville this afternoon to enjoy the traditional Green River Style fish dinner at the Suburban Lodge on the corner of S. Third Street and W. Collins Court.  Our after dinner drive turned into an impromptu tour of the neighborhoods and streets - old, new, and gone - of the area.

We progressed out of the Suburban parking lot, itself a new location prompted by the extension of Central Avenue east of 2nd Street up and over the L&N yards over to Crittenden Drive, thereby connecting Freedom Hall with Churchill Downs.

Our first neighborhood was that of Wilder Park.  We were in fact on what was at one time called Wilder Parkway but now goes by the more mundane S. 2nd Street. We followed through the area passing the Wilder Park Park, renamed for Huston Quin, a one term judge on the Kentucky Court of Appeals and later, from 1921-1925, a Republican mayor of the old City of Louisville.

Cutting over to the east a few blocks we ended up on the western edition of Louisville Avenue, the only one which is left.  There was also at one time an eastern edition of Louisville Avenue with the L&N Railroad running down the middle.  One point of the drive was to point out to Michael, who was born just over 27 years years ago, where Highland Park was, since it isn't there anymore.

I had mentioned Highland Park while we were eating as the only real competition Suburban has for its style of fish is served up at the Highland Park Lodge which at one time was on the eastern Louisville Avenue in what was at one time Highland Park.  The Highland Park Lodge has since relocated to the former Okolona Post Office building on a street called Pinecroft Drive but what originally known as Lambert Road.  But, I digress.

Tracking down the two Louisville Avenues led us to the multiple Crittenden Drives in the area.  I have complained now and then over the last twenty-five years about the name-identification problems in this area to the various Public Works directors and offered solutions but to no avail.  As all of this area was new to Michael, he clearly saw the problems.

At the intersection of Crittenden Drive and the cross-street just north of the Watterson, the sign to the west identifying the cross-street said Park Boulevard while the sign to the east said Phillips Lane.   I told him neither sign was correct.  It should or could read Seneca Avenue or maybe Ashton Avenue to the east.  It should not read Phillips Lane.  It is hard to say what it should read to the west.  Park Boulevard is and has been for a century about two blocks west of Crittenden Drive, back when Crittenden Drive was known as Ashbottom Road.  S. Floyd Street turns into Park Boulevard where the old Highland Park city limits used to begin just north of the Dakota Street right-of-way.

All of the east-west streets, like Dakota and Seneca, were named for the Native American tribes which once owned and occupied the North American continent before the illegal immigration of white Europeans.  Oh, wait.  This isn't a political post.  It is a geography post.

At the intersection of this newly built and misnamed east-west street which the city has labelled as Park Boulevard and the other Park Boulevard, there is a sign indicating the continuation of this new road to the west and south along the L&N is called Crittenden Drive, this despite the fact there is another Crittenden Drive, the original one, the one formerly called Ashbottom Road, two blocks to the east.  There is, in fact, a U. S. Post Office, at 4440 Crittenden Drive on that original roadway.  Oh well.

We followed the new roadway, the new Crittenden Drive, alongside the railroad, to its intersection with a somewhat reconfigured but still recognizable Woodlawn Overpass.  This is the overpass we long remember as starting out on (that old) Crittenden Drive as Nevada Avenue and ending up on the South Louisville side as Woodlawn Avenue.  We've always had fun with names changing like that.  Anyway, we followed this new Crittenden Drive which eventually rejoined the old one out past the FedEx plant where once stood International Harvester (1945-1985) and before that, the Curtiss-Wright Airplane shops (1942-1945).  But that Crittenden Drive comes to a dead end somewhere around the old city limits line of the old City of Highland Park which was also, later, the old city limits line of the old City of Louisville.  It was at one time Eagan Avenue but in the 1980s was changed to MacLean Avenue.

We circled back up to the Woodlawn Overpass in what I described to Michael would be a double-loop, crossing over to Allmond Avenue and the Iroquois Station Post Office, which houses the Zip Codes 40209, 40214, and 40215.  Allmond circles around and ends at Strawberry Lane, the southern appellation of the western edition of Louisville Avenue.  About two blocks south of where MacLean Avenue once crossed over the tracks, a new bridge has been built, largely at the urging and with the funding direction of long time Alderman and Councilman Dan Johnson.  This is the Crittenden Drive Connector which leads to a new street entirely, "South Crittenden Drive," a street which wasn't there when I was in high school.

I'll be honest - I cannot tell what was where back in the day.  It looks to be about where the old Kroger Distribution Center was next to the old GES Department Store, in the curve south of the airport, where the original "new" Crittenden Drive broke off from Ashbottom Road and made its way around the old "bottom" of Standiford Field, back before the great Airport Expansion Project which began in the 1980s.

This new road hugs the railroad and the spur lines which feed the Ford Motor Company and extend eastward to General Electric, although they are rarely used east of the Ford plant.  The new "South" Crittenden Drive joins Grade Lane about two blocks south of where the older "new" Crittenden Drive once did prior to 1985.

In our short drive, we were on three different "new" Crittenden Drives, plus the Crittenden Drive Connector.  While Highland Park is gone and Park Boulevard seems a little misguided, and Seneca Avenue and Ashton Avenue are out of place, Crittenden Drive is alive and well in several different and unconnected places.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

793. Time for you and time for me, And time yet for a hundred indecisions, And for a hundred visions and revisions, Before the taking of a toast and tea.

There's an old saying, "Everything in moderation, including moderation."  It's been attributed to many people including Ben Franklin and Oscar Wilde.  It comes to mind of late when thinking about the Duke Boys and their car, the General Lee.  I'm just not all that clear that taking the Duke Boys off the air accomplishes much.  Understand, this doesn't affect me.  I stopped watching TV in 1984, about six months before the Dukes of Hazzard series came to an end.  Then I think about places like Gettysburg and Perryville, both of which I've visited and both of which are celebrating battle anniversaries today.  People from Kentucky on both sides of a war fought and died acting mostly on orders well above their rank. In my post of June 28th I mentioned my unsettled and unsettling self-to-self discussion on the Old South, revisionist history, censorship, and the potential of book burning.  I'm still having that discussion.  Censorship is a big problem for me.  Book burning, deleting history from our history, is also a big problem for me.  How can we learn from the past if we have relegated it to the rubbish heap?

Thursday, June 18, 2015

792. A proposal to amend the By-Laws of the Kentucky Democratic Party

Given the events of the day - the Charleston shooting, the president's apparent surrender on Constitutional gun control (just as we have Constitutional limits of speech and assembly), and it also being my niece's birthday, this probably isn't important to most of you. But it is to me. I've just emailed a proposal to a certain governing body for changes to their body of laws, changes I've been writing in my mind since the summer of 2008. I think they're finally going to be heard and have a substantial chance of making it from my thought to their code. I am pleased.

Saturday, January 31, 2015

791. The occasional restatement of my political belief

As a kid (I'm now 54) I was probably something of a Southern Democrat. As a college student I started moving to the Left. I messed around with a leftist anti-war style of Libertarianism popular in the 1980s but abandoned it to an even more Leftist belief. Finally, once in my 30s and 40s, I came to realize that the America I knew was a fairly successful country and a fairly successful socialist country. Admittedly, it was so because of high taxes, taxes assessed on and paid mostly by the rich and the corporate. Since June 6, 1978 (or thereabouts), we have been systematically lowering taxes across the board, and especially as a percentage among the rich and corporate, and replacing them with fees and surcharges. a more pay-as-you-play system. I find this antithetical to the idea of "We the people" united in our effort to be more like our Constitution, where, in the Preamble, are the adjectives "domestic," "common," "general," and "our," and the plural pronoun "ourselves," all implying some connectivity to each other and our prosperity. I know I am in the minority among your readers but I still strongly believe our Constitution is complicit in our socialism.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

790. When We All Get To Heaven - a tribute to Wendell Ford

There's an old Methodist hymn that many of us know - When we all get to heaven.  It is very loosely based on the passage from the Gospel of Saint John, Chapter 14, Verse 2, the familiar scripture relating the many rooms of the House of God according to his son Jesus.  Well, maybe it is.  The writer, Eliza Hewitt, wrote it in the 1890s and along with the composer, Emily Wilson, was a regular at Methodist Camp Meetings in New Jersey.  If you've ever been to camp, you know there is a lot of fellowship, a lot of praying, and a lot of singing going on amongst friends close and not-so-close - like a big family reunion of those folks you only see at weddings and funerals.  Today's occasion for a blogpost was a funeral service of sorts, the State Memorial Service of the late Wendell Hampton Ford, former State Senator, Lieutenant Governor, Governor, and United States Senator, and a personal if somewhat distant friend.  Ford died January 22, 2015 at the age of 90.

I posted on Facebook a few days ago my first introduction to Wendell Ford in 1971, a rally for the election of Wendell Ford and Julian Carroll held at the old Okolona Democratic Headquarters followed by a parade out to Southern High School and another rally.  There would be many more meetings including one about six months later as I served as a page in the Senate, serving then-State Senators Tom Mobley and Walter Huddleston.  During the week, on February 18, 1972, I dropped into the Governor's Office and introduced myself to everyone.  I was 11 years old at the time.  Governor Ford sent me a letter later than day recounting my visiting his office as if it was the most natural thing in the world to do.  After visiting every-so-often with my grandmother, who probably did consider it second nature, I can only say I was following in her footsteps.  I still have that letter.

Through the years, Governor and later United States Senator Ford has been a friend, inspiration, mentor, and, for an abbreviated period, boss - twice.  In 1980 I worked under the direction of a lady from Jeffersontown who was one of his campaign bosses - I can never remember her name but I can always remember those big '70s style glasses she wore, along with wigs that were never quite where they should be.  She introduced me to "working a rolodex."  She had quite a rolodex.  Later, for a brief period in the mid 1980s, between one of those periods of unemployment at City Hall, I was offered a chance to work in the Senator's office in the District of Columbia.  I made a visit, got cold feet, and returned to Louisville.  It is one of the capital mistakes of my lifetime.

Over the years and especially since his retirement from elective office in 1998, Senator Ford has become one of the icons of Kentucky's political history, ranking up there at the top with Henry Clay, Alben Barkley, and, giving credit where it is due, Addison Mitchell McConnell, Jr., the only person serving longer than Ford as a United States Senator from Kentucky.  He has been the hero of nearly every Democratic campaign, the one person Democratic candidates seek out above all others for an endorsement.  He had most recently endorsed Jack Conway in his race to be one of his successors in the Governor's Office.

Yesterday and today, Wendell Ford became the twenty-first person to lie in state in our State Capitol, depending upon who is counting, who they are counting, and if they are counting all of our capitol buildings.  And today was the official State Memorial ceremony marking the life and death of this beloved statesman and politician.  It was beautifully delivered by Governor Steve Beshear, eulogist Thomas Preston, Lieutenant Governor Crit Luallen, cantor Colmon Elridge, and musicians from the Owensboro Orchestra. And that gets us back to that Methodist hymn, When we all get to heaven.

I have been enamored of our State Capitol and, indeed, our State Government since my very early visits with my grandmother as a little boy in the 1960s.  I remember the first time I was a page around the age of 7 for then-State Representative Tommie Riddle of Okolona.  I remember returning there when our neighbor at the end of the street, Dottie Priddy, was elected as a State Representative in 1969.  And I have a great fondness in my heart and soul for the time I spent in Junior KYA and KYA while a student at Durrett from 7th through 12th grades, and later as an Adviser for Lexington's Morton Junior High School while I was student at UK.  Then in 1980, with the help of Dottie Priddy, I got to go to work for the Legislative Research Commission, the official staff to Kentucky's General Assembly.  I was, in my mind, working in heaven.  I have never lost my passionate feeling for this wonderful body, working in a beautiful building, in what has been and remains one of my favorite cities on the planet.

Over all these years, I have come to know many, many people associated with that building.  Governors, lieutenant governors, other statewide electeds, and a lot of the folks who helped to put all those people in office.  Through involvement with the Kentucky Young Democrats (and thanks to Dale Emmons and others, the Young Democrats of America), I established friendships and relationships which have remained in tact over the decades.  I see them at political events, BBQs, football and basketball games (mostly in Lexington), and other sundry places, some planned, some unplanned.  Most of us gather the first Saturday in August for food and fun at Fancy Farm.  There are other events where any number of these folks might show up - the Hillbilly Days in Pikeville, Court Days in Mount Sterling, St. John's Picnic in Paducah, or the old Guidiglis family picnic in northern Kentucky, something I have lost track of.

Today's gathering in memory of Governor Ford brought all those people together, a sort of "When we all get to heaven" occasion.  There was plenty of rejoicing at seeing old and new friends and relaying and relating stories of the great man whose coffin was lying in state before the larger-than-life statue of Kentucky's president, Abraham Lincoln.  We were all there.  I saw former governors Carroll, Brown, Collins, and Patton.  I saw three congressmen, Yarmuth, Rogers, and Guthrie - but only spoke to one - a nice chat with Congressman Guthrie about how the 2012 redistricting plan wasn't quite put into practice.  We both laughed.  I saw Mary Sue Helm, who now works for Secretary of State Grimes, but for me is someone I've known since 1979 when we both worked in the office of then-Jefferson County Clerk Bremer Ehrler.  I saw Adrian Arnold, a former member of the House.  We chatted briefly.  Mr. Arnold came to the House in 1974, the same year as Steve Beshear.  Wendell Ford was governor at the time.  Later I stood behind James Kay, one of Kentucky's newest members of the House elected from Woodford County.  I saw my councilman, Metro Council President David Tandy, along with my senator, Gerald Neal.  I saw a number of my old Young Democrat friends, starting with Dale Emmons and Earl M. "Mickey" McGuire, who took me to my first YDA convention.  I saw many of my fellow members of the Kentucky Democratic Party State Central Committee, a body I sought office to every fourth year from 1980 to 2000 before finally winning in 2004 (and being re-elected in one fashion or another in both 2008 and 2012).  And while I didn't speak to him, the most powerful Republican in the Republic, and arguably the second most powerful man on the planet, the aforementioned Mitch McConnell was seated forty feet away, in a much more prominent place than mine.  I did say hello to former Secretary of Labor Elaine Chou, wife of the senator.  Both large city mayors were there although I only spoke with Lexington's.  Many current and former statewide electeds were there, including Alison Grimes (and her father, with whom I had an extended conversation outside the Governor's Office), Todd Hollenbach (father and son), John Young Brown (father, son, and grandson), Bobby Babbage, Ben Chandler, and old John Stevenson was upstairs in a wheelchair.  And the thing is, he touched all of these people and many more.

It was, in a word, heaven.  That isn't meant sacrilegiously.  I do believe in an afterlife which involves heaven.  But today was close.  It was quite a gathering.  The state's powerful and less-than-powerful, all together in a place they presumably love.  It is, I will note, the second such gathering of a place's powerful and less-than-powerful gathered together to pay respect to a deceased leader the likes of which we won't see again soon which I've attended in the last few days.

Rest In Peace, Senator Ford.          

(picture by John Rogers of Glasgow, Ky.)

  1. Sing the wondrous love of Jesus,
    Sing His mercy and His grace;
    In the mansions bright and blessed
    He’ll prepare for us a place.
    • When we all get to heaven,
      What a day of rejoicing that will be!
      When we all see Jesus,
      We’ll sing and shout the victory!

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

789. Gowdy, briefly, a coward.

I think the best part of the 114th Congress so far was watching Trey Gowdy's star fall so fast once he announced that he would have voted for Boehner for Speaker, something his Tea Party/Benghazi zealots simply cannot abide. Of course the BMOC Gowdy didn't even show up for the vote claiming the weather precluded his arrival in Washington DC. Excuses, excuses.

Friday, January 2, 2015

788. Counties Visited in 2014

Every year since 1979 I've maintained a Kentucky Highway Map with the counties I visited through the course of the year.  In two of those years, 1979 (which prompted the idea) and 1987, I visited all 120 counties.  Both of those milestones can be attributed to participation in political campaigns.  I also maintain an Excel sheet of the visits so as to note how many times each county has made the list. And once again, two counties in particular escaped my driving, Lawrence and Elliott.  To date, the only two years I've made it to either were '79 and '87.

So attached is this year's map.  The westernmost point was in Fancy Farm of Graves County.  No surprise there although it is the first time I had made it down to the August event since 2011.  The easternmost point was crossing into Catlettsburg along I-64 in Boyd County just a few days ago.  I exited and spent a little time in Ashland and up to Greenup, where I had not been since Robin Webb's special election to the State Senate a few years ago.  The southernmost point was crossing through the Cumberland Gap in June on US25E.  Finally, the northernmost point was in northern Owen County during a summer drive.

I made it to a total of 47 of Kentucky's 120 counties.  So far the number for 2015 is 1.  For previous entries on this subject, see postings 258, 581, 671, 719, and 759.

Happy New Year.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

787. 2015 Resolutions

On the Eighth Day of Christmas it is customary to look ahead and resolve to do this, that, and the other. My Ten Resolutions for 2015 are: 1) Everybody's favorite - lose weight. I currently weigh the most I ever have. It is depressing. 2) Go swimming. It occurs to me I never once went swimming in 2014. 3) More canoeing. This is misleading as it implies I canoe with some regularity. My first canoe trip, on Floyd's Fork, was in 2014 arranged by Councilman Stuart Benson and with the encouragement and great help of my friend Shane. I'm hoping Shane will help me again. 4) Go hiking and/or camping. This is something I have done here and there my entire life, just not enough of. 5) Write more (and not on Facebook). Readers of my blog, Ohio River 606 (which will celebrate its 8th Birthday on Sunday), know that my entries have fallen to just a few each year. Were it not for Sherman Brown allowing me to post his Counties game this past year, there would have been fifteen entries as opposed to 135. 5a) The writing directive implies I should start one of the three books I have been writing in my head for decades. 6) Take a foreign language class in the Jefferson County Public Schools Adult Ed program. In high school I had four years of Spanish, one of Latin, and two of Russian. Language and language development have always been interests of mine. 7) Work on my house. It isn't bad but it needs work. And I need to go through the fifty or so boxes which remain unpacked in either the front room or the garage. 7a) Work on the garage. I really don't need all those old yard signs, some dating back to 1985. 8) Get a little more involved in the causes in which I believe. While I run my mouth on Facebook and make nominal donations now and then, I need to dedicate a little more time and talent. My causes are generally limited to three fields - religion, politics, and theater. 9) Celebrate every day the friends, family, co-workers, and acquaintances which make up every day of life. There is a 1936 song stating "Christmas comes but once a year." It is good to remember that other than February 29th all the other days do as well and are deserving of celebration. This also implies mending the fences I tend to erect now and then with certain souls. 10) Did I mention losing weight?

Sunday, December 21, 2014

786. A brief thought on Obama

One of the things the Right doesn't understand is that the Left, of which I am a part, is nearly as upset with the president as they are. We feel he has compromised on almost every major issue. We feel he has coddled up with K Street lawyers and lobbyists and Wall Street bankers and con-men. We feel that he is far too centrist, just like most of the men (so far) which we have nominated going all the way back to at least Adlai Stevenson in 1952. But we are also confident that a bad centrist better is for the people of America than the men (so far) who have been offered as standard bearers of the GOP since Reagan. The Right has systematically lowered taxes over the last 35 years, making government less and less responsive to ourselves and our global neighbors. The lessening of civility is a direct result of Americans being less involved with their government than ever, both in the taxes they pay and in the rate they vote. There is a reason for this. Beginning with Reagan, we've been taught that government (which is America) is the problem and that rugged individualism is the solution. In that same time period of lessening taxes, the rich of our nation have gotten exponentially richer while the middle class and the poor have done the opposite. America is not the great country it once was. We lead in murders, we lack in education, and we argue over the pettiest of issues. Why? Because we have forgotten that we, America, are the "We the people" famously found in the Constitution. It isn't you and me and that one over there, but all of us collectively. I do not know if Reagan and his followers - Norquist, Gingrich, Phil Gramm, Romney, and others - have destroyed the Republic beyond repair. I personally believe they have although there are others in my party and on my side of the aisle who differ with me. Unfortunately I do not see too many people in either party doing much about it. I'll add, to close, two points. The scrolling at the end of the video is something that we each agree on. Finally, the last good liberal in the White House was Richard Nixon.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

SB-120. Woodford County. See Entry #777 for an Explanation

For all of you who have participated, today is the last day. We have gone through all 120 counties of our Commonwealth...
#120 is WOODFORD COUNTY (named for William Woodford; county seat is Versailles). Where do you eat & who do you visit? ‪#‎KY120Game‬ ‪#‎lastcounty‬
— with James Kay and 20 others.
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The Archives at Milepost 606


Louisville, Kentucky, United States
Single, male, bald, overweight, early 50s, seeking . . . Oh wait, that's goes on the other website. How about this - never married, liberal Democrat, opinionated but generally pleasant, member of the Episcopal Church. Graduate of Prestonia Elementary, Durrett High, and Spalding University; the first two now-closed Jefferson County Public Schools, the latter a very small liberal arts college in downtown Louisville affiliated with the Roman Catholic Sisters of Charity of Nazareth. My vocation and avocation is politics. My favorite pastime is driving the backroads of Kentucky and southern Indiana, visiting small towns, political hangouts, courthouses, churches, and cemeteries. You are welcome to ride with me sometime.