Wednesday, October 31, 2007

215. Predictions

Since Hallowe'en is a time of fun and games, I thought I'd play my own, a political one - that of predicting the governor's race. Ah, easy you say, Steve Beshear is going to win. That is a given - all the polls show him at least 15 points ahead, and yesterday and today two different polls showed him 20+ points ahead. That is an incredible margin.

So, to make it interesting, my predictions are broken down by county. We have 120 of them, the third most of any state in the Republic, Georgia exceeding us and Texas exceeding Georgia. I started this by responding to a post by Tim Havrilek, my blogging friend at the other end of the Democratic Party spectrum from me, as well as being at the southern end of the state. Here is the link to his blog's entry on the First Congressional District, a largely DINO district along the southern border of Kentucky. http://undergroundrooster.blogspot.com/2007/10/first-district-what-i-see-hear.html.

But, down in Tim's area, we (the Democrats) should do better than usual there given our standard-bearer is a native of the district, our Treausuer candidate Todd Hollenbach runs to the right of the Party on some issues, and Jack Conway went target shooting down in Ballard County back in August meaning his hunting license may be older than either Beshear's or the governor's. Steve Beshear and Jack Conway are campaigning in the First District as I am typing this.

So, without further ado, here goes the gaming, no pun intended. Well, wait. This isn't as hard as it seems which you'll see shortly. A lot of the counties are a given for one side or the other. After you throw those out, it gets a little tricky.

They are listed by county then by grade, or I mean name - a "B" for Beshear, an "F" for Fletcher. First the easy ones.

Adair - F; Allen - F; Ballard - B; Butler - F; Calloway - F; Casey - F; Clinton - F; Crittenden - F; Cumberland - F; Monroe - F; Muhlenberg - B; Russell - F; Breckinridge - F; Edmonson - F; Grayson - F; Green - F; Hardin - F; Shelby - F; Spencer - F; Taylor - F; Warren - F; Washington - F; Jefferson - B; Bath - B; Boone - F; Boyd - B; Bracken - R; Campbell - F; Elliott - B; Grant - F; Kenton - F; Lewis - F; Pendleton - F; Oldham - F; Clay - F; Floyd - B; Harlan - B; Jackson - F; Johnson - F; Knott - B; Knox - F; Laurel - F; Lawrence - F; Lee - F; Leslie - F; Letcher - B; McCreary - F; Martin - F; Owsley - F; Perry - B; Pike - B; Pulaski - F; Rockcastle - F; Wayne - F; Whitley- F; Estill - F; Franklin - B; Garrard - F; Jessamine - F; Lincoln - F; Mercer - F.

That's the first 61, or one more than half. The rest are pure speculation, like much else in politics. Run it up the flagpole and see who salutes.

Caldwell - F; Carlisle - B; Christian - B; Fulton - B; Graves - undecided; Henderson - B; Hickman - B; Hopkins - undecided, leans F; Livingston - B; Logan - from way out on a limb I am giving it to Beshear; Lyon - B; McCracken - more limb work - B; McLean - B; Marshall - B; Metcalfe - B, barely; Ohio - B, that's different; Simpson - undecided; Todd - B, just barely; Trigg - F; Union - B; Webster - B; Barren - F; Bullitt - B, for a change; Daviess - B; Hancock - F; Hart - F; Larue- F; Marion - B; Meade - B, just barely; Nelson - B; Carroll - B; Carter - B; Fleming - B; Gallatin - undecided; Greenup - B; Harrison - F; Henry - B; Mason - F, but, again why?; Nicholas - B; Owen - B, barely; Robertson - F; Trimble - B; Bell - B; Breathitt - B, hmmm; Magoffin - B; Menifee - B; Morgan - undecided; Rowan - B; Wolfe - B, by a hair; Anderson - F, but why?; Bourbon - B; Boyle - undecided; Clark - B; Fayette - B; Madison - B; Montgomery - B; Powell - B; Scott - B; Woodford - undecided.

Is there a pattern? Yes. Beshear is originally from the west and Mongiardo is from the east, and Louisville is their connecting point, a Democratic stronghold. Beshear's native western counties usually go Republican but he can mollify that to a point. Mongiardo carries the east, with the few traditional Democratic counties, as well as a few traditionally Republican counties in the Old 5th. And again, Louisville puts them over. It doesn't hurt that Beshear's present home is in the 6th, which is also Fletcher's.

We'll see what happens next Tuesday.

Happy Hallowe'en, again.

214. Hallowe'en

I prefer to say the word with an extended third syllable, as in hal - o - weeeeeeen, much like the word Tumbleweed is spoken from time to time in commercials for that Louisville eatery, tum-ble-weeeeed.

I could write for pages on Halloween which is one of my favorite holidays. It was something we celebrated in large fashion growing up. And while the day is rooted in ritual from the pre-Christians in celebration of the Last Harvest and Samhain, to the Roman Catholic and other Christian celebrations of All Saints Day, which is tomorrow, it is mostly a time of having fun, even being a little naughty, moreso for teens and adults than the little trick-or-treaters progressing from one house to the next, then maybe repeating the pattern again.

But for now, I'm just glad it is here. It leads to Thanksgiving and Christmas in this country and the ever-turning of days into weeks, weeks into months, and months into years, another of which will arrive in sixty-one days.

Happy Hallowe'en.

Someday Linus will get his Great Pumpkin.

Monday, October 29, 2007

213. When the frost is on the punkin'

The weather forecasters promised overnight lows in the 30s and some frost in the outlying areas along The Left Bank of the Ohio River near Milepost 606. They delivered. It is 38 degrees here, 35 in Shelbyville, and 33 in Salem, Indiana a few miles north of Louisville. I mention Indiana because this is one of the times of the year that the Hoosier state provides a horn of plenty for the rest of us. Corn, soybeans, gourds, and specifically for this time of year, pumpkins.

Living in Louisville one easily becomes familiar with the large commercial pumpkin patches growing up in Starlight, Borden, Scottsville, and Navilleton, just a few miles north of here. Stumlers, Hubers, and their in-laws and ex-laws all have huge operations on top of the hills just north of Floyds Knobs, between US 150 on the west and IN 60 on the east. But a simple drive anywhere not too many miles away from here, out IN 62 or I-64 to Corydon (part of the route written about some time ago), IN 64 to New Salisbury and Milltown, or US 150 to Palmyra, or IN 60 to Borden and Salem, yields acres and acres of pumpkin patches grown on small farms by individuals and families, who oftentimes will offer them for sale for two or three dollars, regardless of size and shape, with their "store" being an old flatbed wagon sitting at the foot of the driveway along the roadside. You'll even find some of these stands attended only by a bucket with homemade lettering saying "Punkin' Money."

I said at the beginning of September that my favorite three months were the one we are in and the ones on either side of it. Part of the reason is the smell of leaves (or maybe burning leaves, a smell we no longer can legally enjoy in these parts), and the briskness of the mornings such as today's.

When I was 8, I received as a Christmas present from my bachelor-farmer-lawyer-politician uncle, the second oldest of my maternal grandmother's brothers, the book The Complete Poetical Works of James Whitcomb Riley. I've mentioned this before. Throughout the large volume, my uncle Bob had marked poems he thought would be worthy of memorization. One of those, which I did memorize, is the best summary of the season I have ever read or known. I have printed in below.

*****

WHEN THE FROST IS ON THE PUNKIN

by: James Whitcomb Riley (1849-1916)

WHEN the frost is on the punkin and the fodder's in the shock,
And you hear the kyouck and gobble of the struttin' turkey-cock,
And the clackin' of the guineys, and the cluckin' of the hens,
And the rooster's hallylooyer as he tiptoes on the fence;
O, it's then's the times a feller is a-feelin' at his best,
With the risin' sun to greet him from a night of peaceful rest,
As he leaves the house, bareheaded, and goes out to feed the stock,
When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder's in the shock.

They's something kindo' harty-like about the atmusfere
When the heat of summer's over and the coolin' fall is here--
Of course we miss the flowers, and the blossums on the trees,
And the mumble of the hummin'-birds and buzzin' of the bees;
But the air's so appetizin'; and the landscape through the haze
Of a crisp and sunny morning of the airly autumn days
Is a pictur' that no painter has the colorin' to mock--
When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder's in the shock.

The husky, rusty russel of the tossels of the corn,
And the raspin' of the tangled leaves, as golden as the morn;
The stubble in the furries--kindo' lonesome-like, but still
A-preachin' sermuns to us of the barns they growed to fill;
The strawstack in the medder, and the reaper in the shed;
The hosses in theyr stalls below--the clover over-head!--
O, it sets my hart a-clickin' like the tickin' of a clock,
When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder's in the shock!

Then your apples all is gethered, and the ones a feller keeps
Is poured around the celler-floor in red and yeller heaps;
And your cider-makin' 's over, and your wimmern-folks is through
With their mince and apple-butter, and theyr souse and saussage, too! ...
I don't know how to tell it--but ef sich a thing could be
As the Angels wantin' boardin', and they'd call around on me--
I'd want to 'commodate 'em--all the whole-indurin' flock--
When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder's in the shock!


*****

Enjoy the season.

Friday, October 26, 2007

212. Rally in Okolona

The Kentucky Democratic Party brought its team and message close to The Left Bank of the Ohio river near Milepost 606 last night in the form of a huge rally [the Courier said "several hundred"], sponsored by the Metro Democratic Club, and held at the United Auto Workers union hall on Fern Valley Road, on the northside of Okolona in precinct Q124, the only one of State Representative Larry Clark's precincts which crosses over to the west side of Preston Highway. Representative Clark was among the many elected officials present last night, others including the Dean of the Legislature Representative Tom Burch, my representative Tom Riner and his wife former Representative Claudia Riner, Senator Perry Clark (the only Jefferson County senator present), former Republican Senator Lindy Casebier, former Representative Al Bennett and many others. The event was emceed [a non-word long in use] by Jefferson County Attorney Irv Maze, Jefferson County Democratic Party Chair Tim Longmeyer, Kentucky Democratic Party Chair Jonathan Miller, and Kentucky Democratic Party Vice Chair Jennifer Moore, one of Louisville and Kentucky's rising stars, both in her professional work as an attorney and is her political role which continues to grow each day. Not only is the immediate present looking good for Kentucky Democrats, but also for the first time in a long time, we seem to be developing a bench for the years down the road.

After an invocation to God and the playing of the National Anthem, the leadoff speaker was Treasurer candidate Todd Hollenbach, who as I looked around the room of many people I've known for many years, is one of the people I known since I was a young teenager, maybe even longer. Todd is two months older than me. We had a discussion at the end of the night on issues of concern to me as they regard his race and each of us are aware that it will be his home county where his father served many years as both County Judge and Commonwealth's Attorney which will prove most helpful in his victory next week. Next up was Auditor Crit Luallen, a Frankfort native and the only person who is seeking re-election. She spoke of her outstanding work in that office, work which is following decades of exemplary work in various parts of state government on behalf of the citizens of Kentucky. Crit is widely believed to be a candidate for the United States Senate next year, and her staff was working the crowd perhaps doing double duty, some for 2007 and more for 2008. She was followed by Bruce Hendrickson as I recall, who was there with his son, and still has a good chance of being Kentucky's next Secretary of State. Then came Louisville's favorite son on the ballot Jack Conway, candidate for Attorney General, arguably the second most important position in the Commonwealth, and for proof of that Jack suggested we "just ask Ernie." I've known Jack since the early 1990s and am proud to have been a part of his previous races and look forward to his presence (for a second round) on the first floor of the New Capitol Building in Frankfort. Later on, at a small gathering for Jack downtown on E. Main Street, I did express to him my opposition to the Death Penatly, offering instead the option of Life Without Parole. Jack's speeches have tended toward the right a little more than I am comfortable with knowing he will be the Commonwealth's Chief Law Enforcement Officer in a little over two months. He listened attentively to an argument made on this subject by my friend Jessie Phelps, attempting to disarm her argument with a winning smile, as he does with many folks and it usually works. It didn't work on her or me, but we are each strongly behind Conway. He is one of the rising stars building the bench for the future of Kentucky and the Kentucky Democratic Party.

Kentucky's candidate for Lieutenant Governor is Daniel Mongiardo, who was Dan Mongiardo in all his previous races, but the candidate for governor always refers to him by his proper name, so we shall as well. His speech began the frenzy which led to a speech given by His Honor the Mayor of Louisville-Jefferson County Metro, who was sped into the rally from downtown where he had just overseen the beginnings of the Museum Plaza project at 7th and Main, helping with others to shovel out the first dirt, which I assumed came from the Fort Nelson Park, a park dedicated to and commemorating the first landing at the Falls of the Ohio, a park which is to be destroyed in the Museum Plaza project. But, I digress. The mayor gave a rousing speech about Kentucky's new direction for the next few years and closed by introducing the person we all came to see, Steve Beshear, our candidate for governor, and if the polls are any indication, he will easily be elected as our next governor.

Now Beshear is an attorney from Lexington, but when he opens his mouth and you hear his voice, you know he isn't native to the Limestone and Bluegrass of central Kentucky. Steve is from Dawson Springs, in Kentucky's First Congressional District, a place where Democrats tend to elect Republicans with keen regularity. You'd have to go back to the 1990s and Thomas Jefferson "Tom" Barlow's 1992 win for congress or Paul Patton's victories for governor to find the last time the region elected a Democrat to a state or federal office. With Steve being a native to the area, and all the candidates reaching out in a variety of ways to the more conservative First District, some reaching a little more diligently than my comfort level, we should do better there than in years past. And those of us who count the votes three and four times over for any analytical value after the polls are closed, will be closely watching Hopkins, Christian, Todd, and the other counties along Kentucky's southern border to see how well they served the Party in the way of votes.

As the rally came to an end, a closing Benediction offering thanks and blessings for the Party and its candidates was offered by a Prayer asking all the Democrats in room to close the evening in Jesus' name, and a hearty "Amen" followed, although more thana few of us were more comfortable with the opening Invocation to an omniscient and overseeing God than the closing Benediction to Jesus Christ which would have and did exclude the several Jews and non-Christians (including the State Party Chair) in the room. But then inclusion is more important for me than it was to some others present, including, apparently, the Atlanta, Georgia reverend offering the prayer.

Onward Christian Soldiers, Marching As To War, With The Cross of Jesus, Going On Before.

Election Day is November 6th.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

211. It's Raining, It's Pouring

It has been raining here along the Left Bank of the Ohio River near Milepost 606 for three days and the rain is expected to continue, if only in spurts now and then, for another two days. For the record, we've received nearly eight inches here in the downtown area. While there are no crops growing in my area (other than some clandestine herb here and there, perhaps), farmers across Kentucky and Indiana are welcoming the rain as a form of Liquid Gold delivered directly from Providence.

Thanks Be To God, Alleluia, Alleluia.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

210. Giving credit where credit is due: Richie Farmer

As a voting member of the Kentucky Democratic Party State Central Executive Committee, I am committed to electing Democrats at all levels of government, believing, as I generally do, that in nearly every instance, the Democratic candidate more readily represents my views than will any Republican. Admittedly, some of my views tend well to the left of some of those Democrats, so for a Republican, I tend to be out in left field, over the fence, and deep into pastures not tred by many others.

Having said all that, I want to give credit where credit is due. As regular readers know, I have a passionate stance against The Wall being built between Mexico and the United States. My views on immigration admittedly fall to the extreme left. Very few if any politicians share my views in toto and none that I have voted for in recent memory would get a A+ 100% rating from me on this issue. Some agree here and others there. Notably President Bush and I share some views on a guest worker program. In the final year of the NBC series West Wing, presidential candidate Arnie Vinnick, the Republican, introduced a measure on guest workers which I would have supported, a measure which was intended to intimidate his latino opponent, Matt Santos. To date, none of the current crop of real-live Ds or Rs running for president have presented anything near faux-candidate Vinnick's proposal, except maybe Mike Gravel.

But, I digress.

I am on the mailing list of the Kentuckians for the Commonwealth, or KFTC, which is self-described as a "statewide citizens social justice organization working for a new balance of power and a just society." The latest mailing was a Voter Guide for next month's statewide elections, which include a race for Agriculture Commissioner, an office currently held by Richie Farmer, a Republican originally from Clay County and a former star of that county's high school basketball team, and later one of the Unforgettables on UK's basketball teams from 1988 to 1992, with his collegiate basketball career ending with the greatest college basketball game ever played, Kentucky losing to Duke 104 to 103, a game which also ended the legendary career of WHAS announcer Cawood Ledford.

But, I digressed again, and in a big way, but that was a passionate digression, as my five faithful readers will remember I have written about The Game, Richie Farmer, and Cawood before.

Anyway, KFTC's Voter Guide included a question to the candidates for Agriculture Commissioner on immigration which read, "What is your position on the current discussion around immigration policy as it relates to Kentucky's farm community?"

Commissioner Farmer, a Republican, offered the following response: "I believe that Federal immigration laws should be enforced. I also believe, however, that there must be some recognition of the need for producers to have a steady and legal source of farm labor. There has been a lot of shouting back and forth about these matters, but I believe that if we would all just listen more to each other, we can find a way to address both issues."

And that however in his response is telling and the words following that however make this an acceptable answer in my book. So, this entry is to give credit where credit is due.

209. TARCing about

The truck is still out of commission, so travelling to and from work, and other places, has been on foot or by bus - TARC as we say here along the Left Bank of the Ohio River near Milepost 606 - TARC being an acronym for the government-subsidized public transportation system serving Louisville and Jefferson County, as well as portions of Bullitt and Oldham counties in Kentucky and Floyd and Clark counties in Indiana.

Neither walking nor riding is a problem given I live about fourteen blocks from where I work, six blocks from my father, and maybe a little over 700 feet from a little market called Webb's, one of those old-fashioned corner markets with wooden plank floors, where they have a little of everything, plus a steam-table for the lunch crowd, most of whom are industrial workers in the area. While the selection isn't broad, it is decent if a little pricey, and the home-cooked meals from the steam table are great. Given they cook quite a bit of meat each day, they maintain a pretty good selection of different cuts, all fresh given, as I said, they are cooking and serving most of it as part of a meal.

My college friend Tim Darst would tell me I could be riding the bus all the time everywhere I need to go, and he may be right up to a point. But getting to my mother's requires a long walk along a narrow two-lane well-travelled county road with no sidewalks. Thursday evening, I have a Democratic Party rally to attend as well as two fundraisers afterwards. Hopefully, I'll be driving to those as opposed to relying on friends. In the long term, I have decided on two things when the times comes to purchase a newer vehicle. First, it will not be a stick. I am getting too old to switch gears. Two, it will not be a truck - this is my fourth. I am getting too old to move everyone else's stuff.

In the meantime, if you happen to see me standing along the side of Jefferson, Muhammad Ali, Chestnut, Preston, or Broadway, I'm just waiting for the next long white sixty-six passenger limousine to come my way. And presently doing all that standing in the rain, which started yesterday and may not end until tomorrow.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

208. In a rut.

Bad timing. My truck is "off the road" again - the second time in four weeks. It is a Grey 2002 Ford Ranger XLT (whatever that means), that truthfully has given me very few problems. It has been in 61 of Kentucky's 120 counties this year and has about 107,000 miles on the odometer. In the bed are several 4x4 beams, some fence posts for erecting 8x4 yard signs, and two old window frames I got from a neighbor, not really knowing what to do with them, but she was "sure" I could make something out of them. It also has about four Jack Conway signs left in the back which have yet to find homes. And it is easily identifiable by the array of liberal and left-leaning stickers adjoined to it including one that says "I'm a Card Carrying Member of the ACLU." The most recent political sticker added is one which reads "Ken Herndon - Democrat for Metro Council." In a little over two weeks, the "Conway for Attorney General" stickers will be replaced with ones reading "Yarmuth for Congress." There is also an "HRC" sticker and another one which reads "Teach Peace" which was the first sticker I put on it after purchasing it from Bluegrass Lincoln-Mercury several years ago when it had only 1600 miles on it. In an official ad, my license plate is one of those crowing about Kentucky's Independent Colleges, mine a speical plate for Spalding University, my alma mater. Finally, in the upper right hand corner is an ad for my favorite secret bunker and coffeehouse which reads "Imbibe Atomic Saucer, 1000 E. Oak St., Louisville, Ky." For the moment, all of them are doing no good since the truck is not going anywhere.

Friday, October 19, 2007

207. Getting their second wind - - -

The National Weather Service is now reversing itself and confirming three tornadoes in the Louisville area yesterday, one in town just east of downtown (where I live) along Lower Brownsboro Road (US 42) around 7:00 pm, and two others, one on either side of North Preston Highway (KY 61) north of Shepherdsville and south of Hillview, in Bullitt County. All were ranked at approximately 85 miles per hour, which is at the bottom of their ranking schedule.

As a note, the ones in Bullitt County followed just a little south of the same path taken by a tornado on Primary Election Day, May 28, 1996. That one was much stronger, starting on top of Brooks Hill and sweeping down into the low-lying areas along Blue Lick Creek and I-65 to the east. Many of the polls in that part of the county went without electricity for some time and closed without a number of people being allowed to vote. The law at the time read that those in line at 6:00 pm, the prescribed closing time of the polls, could remain in line but that all voting would cease at 7:00 pm.

Because of the delays that day (some of which were caused by too few machines in particular polls and were totally unrelated to the climactic events), the voting-times law was amended in the 1998 Kentucky General Assembly. The 1998 Kentucky Acts of the General Assembly, Chapter 4, Section 1, rewrote the statutes to allow that anyone in line at 6:00 pm would be allowed to vote before the polls were to be closed, and the polls would remain open until that last person in line at 6:00 pm voted, irrespective of the time. The new law went into effect on February 17, 1998.

206. More Weather

Yesterday was a rather adventurous day, weatherwise, here along the Left Bank of the Ohio River near Milepost 606. And the weather was more April-like than October. For the first time in over three years (if my memory serves me), the Tornado Sirens were activated around 6:50 pm, meant to indicate that a funnel cloud or tornado had been sighted somewhere in the county. The last time I recall this was during the summer of 2004, when strong winds blew through the University of Louisville area. In that storm, I stayed under the Fourth Street Viaduct, just south of campus and watched whatever it was cross over the railroad tracks and make its way east toward Germantown and Crescent Hill. Last night's storm moved in from Harrison County, Indiana, then jumped directly into downtown, crossing directly over my home just east of downtown, although we never lost power. There was a great deal of damage to a building two blocks due south of me, as well as some blown transformers, and trees being toppled all through the area. This storm then headed toward Crescent Hill, and from there it followed I-71 to Oldham and Henry counties. Despite all the damage, including a tree falling on a passing motorist along Lexington Road in which the driver, a 28 year old student from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, was not injured, today the Weather Service is saying no tornado touched down in Jefferson County, although they are confirming that the line which moved through here did produce tornadoes elsewhere. (I'm assuming that is how you spell the plural of tornado, and if Dan Quayle were around I'd feel better about my spelling prowess). A second line moved through about an hour and a half later, and a third line, stronger than the second, but not nearly as strong as the first, arrived about 11:10 pm.

Like all mornings-after the previous night's storms, the skyline today is a beautiful shade of blue, and the temperature more appropriately in the 60s and 70s, as opposed to yesterday afternoon's mid 80s.

As the storm moved through, I went next-door to a neighbor's house to watch all the excitement on TV. Everytime the weathercaster would use his computer and electronically track where the storm was headed, I recognized all those little villages and post offices that very few people know about - places like Skylight, Liro, and Sulphur northeast of Louisville, and Derby, New Amsterdam, and Sulphur (again) in the counties west of Louisville in southern Indiana. As each new "projection" was made, I was telling her where it was, or some cases, where it once was, as some of those names they use are there in name only - burgs which have passed their way into history usually leaving only an intersection, or maybe a church, to carry on the name.

They all show up on the latest Doppler projections.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

205. Rain

Early this morning, right about 3:00 am, the rain started. As I have all three of the windows in my bedroom up to enjoy the cool overnight air, I slowly but certainly became aware of the pitter-patter of rain drops against the gutters and the overhang which jut ever-so-slightly out from my home, creating not-quite a front porch.

Eventually I raised up enough to look out the north-facing window toward the traffic-lighted intersection about a half block away, adjusting my barely-awakened eyesight to the prism-like scenes of the raindrops against the red, yellow, and green lights of the traffic signal. As if in awe, I kept this lookout for a minute or two, much as I do each year, usually about this time, when the first snowflakes of what will become Winter fall in our city, a sight which has always put a smile on my face.

It has been a while since we had a good rain.

*****

Today is the birthday of a Cuban emigre, my friend Irving, an anglicised form of his given name, Irvis. He has been in the States since late 1994 and has rented property from me since 1999, property which he has markedly improved in the nine years of his tenancy, improvements for which I am grateful. It is also the birthday of my friend John Miller, a 1992 graduate of Atherton High School whose present whereabouts are unknown. Cheers to both of them.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Article One - Ask your Congressman

I often ramble on and on about the United States Constitution and specifically about the First Amendment of the Constitution. This entry isn't about Amendment One. Rather it is about Article One. And it isn't my work. Below is a copy of an email received from my favorite Congressional PR guy, Stuart Perelmuter, in the office of Congressman John Yarmuth, Democrat of Kentucky's Third District.

As our country - meaning "We the People" who make us up - has allowed the Executive and the Judicial branches to overstep bounds not conceived by the Founding Fathers, nor written into policy as part of our Constitution - and have by their overstepping in fact violated Article One of the Constitution, Congressman Yarmuth and the other Majority Makers, those elected in 2006 and by doing so relegating Dennis Hastert to the back bench and promoting Nancy Pelosi to the Speaker's Chair, will be announcing a new initiative aimed at educating the public about Article One and reaffirming the role of the United States Congress in the governance of our great Republic.

*****

Here is the Press Release --

*****

MEDIA ADVISORY

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Monday, October 15, 2007

MEDIA CONTACT

Stuart Perelmuter 202.225.5401

Rep. John Yarmuth(KY-3)



House Freshmen to Announce Article 1 Initiative

All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States,

which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives.

–U.S. Constitution, Article 1, Section 1

(Washington, DC) Tomorrow, members of the Freshmen class of the 110th Congress will hold a press conference to announce their Article 1 initiative, a campaign to reaffirm Congressional authority as outlined in the Constitution.



WHO: Members of the Freshman Class, including:

Rep. Tim Walz (MN-1)

Rep. John Yarmuth (KY-3)

Rep. Paul Hodes (NH-2)

Rep. Tim Mahoney (FL-16)

Rep. Carol Shea-Porter (NH-1)

Others.

WHAT: Article 1 Press Conference

WHEN: Tuesday, October 15th, 9:00 AM

WHERE: Cannon Terrace

Washington, DC


United States House of Representatives
319 Cannon House Office Building • Washington, DC 20515

202.225-5401 phone • 202.225.5776 fax

203. The last two weeks of October

I went to my mother's over the weekend. Her neighborhood was having a yard sale - several different houses offering items they don't need to people who think they do. I visited around - I think they mostly sell to each other, as her subdivision is a single U-shaped street (albeit with three names for the three different sides of the U) with access to no street other than the one at each end of the U, which is South Park Road.

While at my mom's I closed the pool. It had already started accumulating leaves and for the first time since she has had it, I do not believe anyone went swimming in it this year. Of course, today it is supposed to be back in the 80s, so there may have been one more potential day to do so, but no. Swimming season is over.

And darkness prevails on the way in to work. That'll last for a few more days, then we'll set the clocks back [remember Spring forward, Fall back] and another hour will magically appear one morning, but it too will slip back into darkness as we'll pass through the season of Fall and toward the season of Winter.

But first, we have a little election to hold. The Democratic contenders (with the exception of one named Williams who is running for Agriculture Commissioner) all seem to be in position to take office, either in December for Steve Besehar and Dan Mongiardo, or in January for all the others. The only race which is something of an upset will be that of Bruce Hendrickson, in line to beat the Republican's shining star, incumbent Secretary of State C. M. "Trey" Grayson, III.

I spent a few hours over the weekend delivering the last of the Beshear signs I had been assigned to precincts in the 41st Legislative District where I live, as well as the ten I had left for Jack Conway, which went up in my usual list of houses, people who I call twice a year, and with little exception, always say yes when I ask "Can I put so-and-so's sign in your yard?" One of those folks I visited over the weekend told me he had been canvassed by the well-orchestrated Democratic Co-ordinated Campaign and his response when they asked who he was for was "whatever Democrats Jeff tells me to be for." He got a Conway and a Beshear sign.

Events this week include a Debate Party tonight in the Red Room at Flanagan's on Baxter Avenue, a rally for Conway on Wednesday in front of the Marriott at 2nd and Jefferson, and more yard sign delivering wherever they send me.

Someday I may tire of these last few weeks before an election. A string of losing years headed me in that direction, but, like the leaves this time of year, the political leaves are turning in my favor. Winning the Third Congressional District in 2006 was a huge victory, setting us up for this win in two weeks in Frankfort. The big prizes come next year as a Democratic candidate will be nominated to bring to an end the lunacy and unconstitutionality of the Bush/Cheney junta currently occupying the Executive Branch of government in Washington, DC. There is also the matter of the Senior Senator currently representing the Commonwealth.

Redemption draweth nigh
.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

202. Recognition

I suppose I should make mention of the fact that the University of Kentucky football team last night defeated the Number One team in the country, the Louisiana State University Tigers, said team also being a member of the South Eastern Conference. The score was 43 to 37. Said recognition is necessary given that I may never have the opportunity to write those words again my life.

UK is now ranked 7th in the standings.

Go Cats.

Friday, October 12, 2007

201. One more thought on Hawkins

Erwin Roberts has announced his candidacy as a Republican seeking the office presently held by incumbent Democratic Congressman John Yarmuth, who I helped elect in 2006 and will do so again in 2008, and I fully expect John to win. But this entry isn't about John.

I've met Mr. Roberts once, at the Saint James Art Fair, and found him to be an amiable and attractive candidate. But neither of those qualities should serve as a reason to elect someone to Congress.

But, he has others.

Mr. Roberts has a wonderful family, a wife and four children [I think it is four] and, for some, this is an important reason to elect a person.

Mr. Roberts is a highly educated man, using his education as a prominent attorney, and that too would be helpful for him to be his Party's nominee.

Mr. Roberts is highly thought of by some in his Party, so much so that the incumbent Republican governor has not once but twice appointed him to a Cabinet position.

What does all this have to so with Councilman Hawkins' introduction of an anti- illegal-immigrant bill in the Metro Council?

Many of the people who would most strongly support ultimately denying police, fire, EMS, healthcare, and other services to illegal immigrants (measures which admittedly are not presently a part of Hawkins' proposal), those who have been most vocally supportive of Hawkins' current proposal, a forerunner which could possibly lead to those above-mentioned denials, have one big problem with the current front runner for the Republican nomination to Congress.

Mr. Roberts is black.

Mr. Hawkins may have the noblest of intentions in introducing this measure. But his supporters may have other motives. And the far-right wing of the right wingers who have the strongest opposition to anything for any illegals might be looking for someone other than a black man to be the nominee under the Republican banner. And Mr. Hawkins might be testing their will in introducing his current proposal. He has indicated in the past he may interested in seeking the nomination next year.

And if this proposition of shame sounds like something from the talk-radio madness usually heard on WHAS-840 weekday afternoons from 12 noon to 3 pm, it is.

I know Mr. Hawkins. I do not believe him to be a bad person or one who harbors ill will toward anyone. But I've read the Courier-Journal comments page below the article about his proposal, and rest assured, supporters of this matter are not shy in any way about their racism.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

A Discovery at Entry #200

Our 200th entry. Should we declare a holiday?

Tomorrow marks Christohper Columbus Day, or Italian Heritage Day for some (that's what they call it in San Francisco), or Dia de Cristóbal Colón for the Spanish speaking. Here in the place allegedly discovered by the Italian-sailer-in-the-pay-of-the-Spanish, the day was legally marked earlier in the week with a Monday Holiday, the congressionally-created creature we wrote of several entries back. I have an uncle, Chris (imagine that), who will be 54 tomorrow. I suppose it is a given that the date, October 12th, played a role in his naming. But I wasn't there and those who made that decision, my grandparents, have long since passed on from this world, so such a thought is mere speculation on my part.

As young kids, many of us were taught the rhyming mnemonic In Fourteen Hundred and Ninety Two Columbus sailed the Ocean Blue. The idea was that we needed to know when America was discovered, as if it wasn't here before the sailing Chris crossed over the Big Pond to what he thought was India. But there were people where he landed and he called them Indians, since he didn't really know where he was, and he took some of them back to Spain to be sold as slaves. As it is recorded, he made several trips from Spain to the "West Indies," but on none of those did he ever certifiably make his way to the land now known as the United States of America.

There are tales that someone did make it here about one hundred years later. The Lost Colony at Roanoke Island in what is now Dare County, North Carolina, was an attempt at colonization. But what become of these pioneers who had tred upon the territory of the Croatan family of the Carolinian Algonquins is left to speculation. Again, the explorers founded a new land, but one which was already here and apparently already populated.

So what we celebrate tomorrow, or federally speaking what was celebrated Monday, is really only a pretense. America, the land that became the United States thereof, was already here when discovered and already populated by people who apparently had a darker skin than the Anglos and Europeans who came to take from them their land. And that has been a problem ever since. Skin color. But, I digress, sort of.

The preceding paragraphs are written as background. Someone invades North America. Calls it their own. Discriminates against people they aren't familiar and/or comfortable with. Could be any where, but it is America. Americans are still finding ways to discriminate against folks with whom they aren't familiar or comfortable, or of the same skin color. Usually such speech is about injustices to African-Americans, or anyone here who happens to be some shade of brown, most of whom we whites refer to as Blacks. Today's entry isn't about that, although volumes have been and will be written on that matter.

Today's entry is about hispanics or latinos, brown people who really are brown and not black. Some are descended through the Atlantic Ocean from France, southern Europe, and Africa. Others (presumably) came over the land-channel now occupied by the Bering Sea and Straits, and settled along the western lands, well down into Mexico, Central America, and South America - La Raza or the Azlatans. These are the people we feel we need a wall to keep them in their place.

I've written before about my disdain for the wall which separates parts of the United States from parts of Mexico, thus keeping the brown-skinned over on their side, while no such fence or wall exists along our northern border where most of the folks are white and of Anglo-European descent. There is a prejudice for anyone of color, and that prejudice is becoming more pronounced as more and more brown-folk appear in our midsts.

Adding to this problem is that many of those who come over from "south of the border" do so illegally. I have written in the past on my feelings about opening the borders up, making it easier to become an American, and about supporting the president's plans (to some extent) with regard to solving the immigration problem. It is one of the few areas of his presidency with which I have found some level of credit, although the actions of his presidency in this regard have not matched his rhetoric, but that is another issue and one which I have touched on before.

Again this is all background leading to some comments on today's Courier-Journal story about Councilman Doug Hawkins' plan to deny services to illegals here in Louisville Metro. It seems the Councilman, known for his right-leaning and sometimes libertarian views, thinks our local government is providing too much to those who are among us illegally. He has no proof of this but he is probably correct in his assumption. Chances are real good we are providing some level of services to those who are here illegally. Clearly, if they drive anywhere, say to a roofing job, they are driving upon roads paid for with taxes which have probably not been collected out of their paychecks. If they use a public park and bring along their usually well-extended families, they are using land paid for with taxes which have probably not been collected out of their paychecks. And illegals are provided some services under federal law, laws which a local city councilman and his council have no authority to change. But Hawkins thinks we should be doing things, even small things, at the local level to address what he apparently sees as a huge problem. He says he wouldn't deny basic services such as police or fire protection to anyone. Frankly, I think if some of the people who support Hawkins have clearly identified people as illegal, they would push him to do just that.

There is a prejudice in this country, and it devolves down to the local level, against those who are here illegally, especially if their skin color is a darker hue than the present plurality of Americans. And they would deny these services and they would force conservatives to do the same, if they had the power to do so. These are the people in the vast right-wing media conspiracy who spend their days, nights, and weekends tying up the phone lines and the airwaves of AM talk radio. The councilman readily admits he got the idea off talk radio. What a way to govern. Councilman Hawkins' present resolution is the first step in that process of denying all services, including police, fire, and EMS, to illegals, whether he believes it is or not. And it is something which I oppose.

I printed here in these columns before both Emma Lazarus' poem at the Statue of Liberty and words from the Bible, found in Leviticus. Lazarus' poem makes no distinction between legals and illegals. Leviticus does and it is specific, saying an alien must be treated as a citizen. No mincing of words.

So, as we move on to Columbus Day, a day set aside to mark the invasion of America by folks from a different country and of a different skin color than the natives already present, Councilman Hawkins has a plan to exclude a new set of aliens from the promises and protections whites both sought and found when seeking a New World.

My tenth grade English teacher at Durrett would have called that Irony.

Below are both Lazarus' poem and the verses of Leviticus referred to above.

*****

"Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame,
"Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she
With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore,
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"


*****

"When an alien resides with you in your land, you shall not oppress the alien. The alien who resides with you shall be to you as the citizen among you; you shall love the alien as yourself, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God."

Leviticus 19:33-34. Ah, the parallels.

*****

Happy Columbus Day (tomorrow). And Happy Birthday tomorrow to my Uncle Chris as well as to my dear friend Morgan Ransdell, whose birthday was yesterday.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

199. Rolling Down 295 out of Portland, Maine

No, this entry isn't about a trip in America's far northeastern corner. Today's title is the opening words of a song from 1977 called Nothing But Time.

Among other things, today is the birthday of one of my rock-music heroes, Jackson Browne. His is the cassette tape I would plug in when driving down Preston Highway to high school at Durrett, and later trekking back and forth from Lexington to Frankfort in the days when I was a student at UK and a courier in the LRC, working on the third floor of what the good people of Frankfort call the New Capitol, it being the one most recently built, said construction being from the first decade of the last century.

When I see those pictures on the Page One blog of the Old Frankfort Pike, about which I wrote a few entries back, I am reminded of songs like Running on Empty, Nothing But Time, Rosie, Doctor My Eyes, and Cocaine. Several of those trips were spent behind the wheel of an old Mercedes named Winston and owned by Mary-John Celletti, a friend from Young Democrats days, which usually ended up in the parking lot at the old Holiday Inn on Louisville Road where much of the politicking took place during a session of the Kentucky General Assembly. It is now an apartment complex and was recently offered for sale. Word has it the General Assembly is offered for sale now and then as well. But, I digress.

Another of my music-favs from that era was most anything from the Eagles, headed by Glenn Frey, with whom Jackson Browne penned several tunes which were hits for one or the other. Frey's songs include Take It Easy, Peaceful Easy Feeling, Already Gone, and my favorite Lyin' Eyes, which was #264 on the jukebox at the old Busch's Tavern on Poplar Level Road, now called Marmadukes.

Of course, for those longer trips, playing through Freebird and American Pie could pretty much get you all the way back home in Louisville. I had a few other songs, songs which always reminded me of one particular person. Two of those were Mandy and My Eyes Adored You, both of which were special because of a young lady named Janice, who grew up to be an educator and adminstrator at a Jefferson County Public School. Another was Take It To The Limit, reminding me of yet another young lady, a certain Belinda, who lived in Audubon Park. All of these songs and memories are from the 1970s.

A few years later I got hooked on yet another song, although no one in particular is attached to its memory. Dan Fogelsberg's Same Old Auld Lang Syne came out in 1981 and is associated with Christmas Eve and is one of my favorite songs. From the late 1980s and the early 1990s, Guns N' Roses Patience, Civil War, and their remake of Bob Dylan's Knockin' on Heaven's Door made me a huge fan of William Bruce Rose, Jr., the Lafayette, Indiana musician better known as Axl Rose. Much of this later music was introduced to be my a friend, Rob, who, alas, is no longer of this world.

I can't say that any songs since the 1990s have fallen into the role of "favorite" just yet. Maybe they will, maybe not. But if anyone ever wants to put together a compilation of hits for me to play while cruising down the roads along the Left Bank of the Ohio River near Milepost 606, all of these above should be on Side A.

So, Happy 59th Birthday to Jackson Browne.

*****

Unrelated, today is the day in 1960 on which I was originally baptized into the Roman Catholic Church by a Fr. Osborne at Saint John Vianney Church on Southside Drive in South Louisville.

Monday, October 8, 2007

198. Chili, Grilled Cheese, and some chilled Pears

Entry number three for October will be short. I haven't been writing since I've had little to say. I've read where you shouldn't write if you have nothing to say. My grandmother used to say if you have nothing nice to say, keep quiet. As a "Democratic operative," I should be excited about the governor's race since our side is going to win in a landslide it seems. I can't see any way for the incumbent Republican governor to find an electoral majority, no matter how hard I try - just as an academic experiment. And the lunacy of the Bush administration is beyond comment or belief at this point. I did do some volunteering for the Kentucky Shakespeare Festival over the weekend at the 50th Annual Saint James Art Fair in Old Louisville. The festival produces the Bard's free plays in Central Park each summer, in addition to some school age productions under the title of The Globe Players.

Sometimes when bloggers have nothing about which to write, they print other folk's work. There was an interesting article today or yesterday in the Wall Street Journal about Kentucky caviar being served as a specialty at the Seelbach Hotel downtown, which incidentally was sold last week. I could have reprinted that article. Or, a friend of mine, one who is an excellent writer and thinker, sent me an article to critique - one which should be printed somewhere. But that would be cheating. Cheating, by the way, is probably the only way the governor could be re-elected, but it would have to be one hell of a cheat.

So, instead of writing all of these things, or rather not writing them, I'll just let you know for dinner tonight I made some Chili, a grilled cheese sandwich, and had some chilled pears for dessert.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Carry Me Back to old Camp Taylor

Last night I spent some time at the annual Bonfire in Camp Taylor, held in the rear of the next-door neighbor yards of Jerry McDermott and Carolyn Thompson, an event which has been going on for more than a few years. It is mostly a collection of families from Holy Family Parish who also live in the neighborhood. I was one of those for seventeen years, living at the bottom of the hill at the top of which the bonfire is held. It is when I attend events like these that I see the reason I am still struggling with my concerns about the Roman Catholic Church and my membership in it. As someone who has no wife or children of their own, no brothers- or sisters- in law who live down the streets, nor any cousins any where in Louisville, these are the people who have been my family most of my life and nearly all of them are, like me, members of Holy Family Church, a parish I voluntarily joined when I was 18 in 1979. They are the people with whom I am most comfortable breaking bread, drinking a sasparailla, or playing a round of poker - all of which could have been and was happening last night at the Indiana Avenue event. For many of those there, I am the "political guy." For others, I am the Bingo Caller or the Picnic Emcee. I know them and they know me through and through, and like the song on the old series Cheers, it is good to go to a place where everybody knows your name. It isn't that I don't have family - I do. But in this day when people live for years on a street or in a complex and manage to know only one or two people firsthand, it is good to be back and see fifty or so people all of whom are friends - or in a sense, family.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

196. Four-point-one with a Capital B

When I was just getting old enough to drive, plans were announced for the widening of the Watterson Expressway from its then-two lanes in each direction to the present seventeen lanes wide at one point multi-lane highway we currently have between US 60 in the east (Shelbyville Road) and US 60 in the west (Dixie Highway). Gone would be the short entry and exit ramps which dotted the old highway, Louisville's original by-pass. As a student at the old Durrett High School, I took Drivers' Ed classes which involved entering the old highway on a very short entry ramp from Durrett Lane, the entry ramp being about 1 1/2 car lengths, with no merging lanes. I suppose Drivers' Ed is a lot easier today than it was in the days of the old I-264. The reconstruction included removing the drive-over southbound ramp from I-65 to Preston Highway, as well as the confusion where Farmdale Drive used to enter and exit the road, winding around the old Farmdale Baptist Church, which basically set in the middle of the Watterson-Preston intersection. I took my first Drivers' School in that building, after receiving a speeding ticket on Minor's Lane the day I was going to get my Senior picture taken for the yearbook. There were similarly confusing sets of co-mingled ramps where Gardiner Lane (also known then as Schuff Lane) intersected with the intersections of Poplar Level and the Watterson as well as Newburg and the Watterson, the Newburg intersection being further compounded by the presence of Robards Lane.

Since that time, the Gene Snyder (I-265/KY 841) has been completed (and rebuilt in some sections), I-65 has been rebuilt, and this summer I-64 was refurbished in the downtown area, its first update since construction began in the 1960s. For several years now, our community has been struggling to repaint I-65 over the Ohio River, although that seems to be finally getting done. The granddaddy project of them all is still a dream. Rebuilding Spaghetti Junction, erecting not one but two bridges over the Ohio River, and figuring out a way to pay for it all. Today's Courier tells us the current pricetag is $4,100,000,000.00. Four-point-one with a B. Kentucky is responsible for about 2/3 of the cost. The greatest part of that cost is Spaghetti Junction.

I have made no secret of my support for the 8664 plan which changes those figures tremendously, and to the better. 8664 calls for building the East End bridge and directing a great deal of traffic away from the city-center, around the loop connecting the I-265 in Kentucky with the I-265 in Indiana. 'Tis a consummation Devoutly to be wished. The two roads are currently separated by several miles of prime real estate on both sides of the river, as well as the river itself. My congressman, who lives near the path which would connect the two unconnected paths of the highway, hasn't been as supportive of this issue as I would have him be, especially now that he is faced with the political realities of governing as opposed to the more easy pretenses of a campaign. He has of late basically called for the building of a second downtown bridge as a first move, something most of the powers-that-be status-quo types are seeking, contrasted with the opinions of many of us who supported him who do not support the destruction of acres and acres of the downtown districts of both Louisville and Jeffersonville for the convenience of people who will never exit the highway and spend any taxable dollars in our little burg here along the Left Bank of the Ohio River near Milepost 606. It is rather hard to think of Congressman John Yarmuth as a powers-that-be status-quo type.

But there is a deeper issue here and one which even now, after the I-35 bridge collapse in Minnesota, is one no one really wants to address. That is the ongoing costs of government itself, after a generation of tax cutting eliminating a great deal of income once spent without much forethought as though it was grown on trees out in the parks. [Which reminds me of a favorite line of my grandmother's when I would buy something she thought cost too much - Be careful with your money, it doesn't grow on trees!]

As long as we keep building roads of any sort, building public parking garages, building parks and recreation facilities, building anything for the public good, along with all those up front costs comes the maintenance costs forever. This includes infrastructure upkeep of everything we (the government) possess. As we speak, a bridge built in the 1930s along E. Oak Street over Beargrass Creek is being replaced. There are bridges from this era throughout our state and nation, all of which at one point or another will need rebuilding. It isn't enough to fix things - some needed replacement.

Our government leaders are always looking for ways to hide these real costs of such items and passing those costs along to we the public. In Indiana, they leased some of their toll roads in the northern part of the state to pay for these incidental items. Their share of the $4.1 Billion for this project will largely be paid by this leasehold arrangement. Between Christmas and New Years, I had dinner with the then congressman-to-be Yarmuth who explained this may be a path Kentucky might take, explaining some other fundraising mechanisms involving the lands alongside of new highways as being controlled by the government but leased out over the long term to generate income. Of course, much of these lands were (or will be) confiscated from private owners under the laws of Eminent Domain for some public-good purpose, that of a highway and not that of a motel/truck stop who wants to lease the land from the government, thus making a profit, but returning none of that profit to the original owner. Questions of best and highest use of the land come into play, and in the end, it is simply a matter of the government serving as a landlord or land bank for private interests.

This is nothing new in Louisville. For many years, the government has been acquiring land south of Standiford Field under the Regional Airport Authority as part of the expansion of Louisville International Airport. But these lands include property as far south as South Park Road between Okolona, Fairdale, and Coral Ridge. None of this land - the old cities of Minor Lane Heights and South Park View, will ever be used as part of the airport. Rather it is being given over to private interests for financial gain. The argument was successfully made that the houses were in the flight path of the ever-expanding airport and the noise levels resulting from the expansion were not conducive to healthy living. It is a good argument. I know full-well the noise levels from the airport, having gone to school for most of my life within a 1/2 mile of the airport. But the question which arises for me is whether or not the homeowners whose homes have been taken over the last twenty-one years were (or are being) paid a figure representing the best and highest use for the property. Acres and acres of land once home to real people in places like Highland Park, Edgewood, Prestonia, and other sites east, west, north, and south of the airport now sit vacant (some for more than a decade) waiting for redevelopment by airport-related industries. And all of this expansion is within five miles of the downtown business district.

But, as is my wont, I've digressed. I started out talking about a $4,100,000,000.00 project but I intended to get to the message of when will our governments - at all levels - start taxing people enough to properly provide for the very basics of governance - streets and roads, protection, and well-being, which - in reverse order - are enumerated in one of the more well-known phrases associated with our experiment in government - life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Because of tax cuts first imposed on us by Ronald Reagan, while simultaneously running up America's largest debt at the time, we no longer can afford to build new roads, have a capable and well-provided for military (and by entension police and fire brigades at the local level), or have any semblance of a reasonable and manageable healthcare system, let alone an outstanding government run system, a proposal I support. And it is becomiong obvious we aren't even willing to maintain those systems already in place without yielding to some privatization scheme, shifting the burden of providing basic funds away from the government and onto others.

Now, the bleeding-heart liberal-cum-socialist in me would say let the private sector (read: business) pay for these costs, as they are making the most profits on the backs of the middle class working public, or what's left of it. But then another left-leaning (Marxian) part of me says that all of us should bear the burden of the costs of government - people and enterprise, with each paying according to his own ability, for the common good of as many as possible. As it is, everyone is willing to shift the burden elsewhere, but eventually there is no where else to shift. When addressing the ways and means to provide for basic infrastructure, a shift isn't appropriate. We all use and/or benefit from the infrastructure in place and therefore we should all be paying for it. Legislators at every level of government struggle each year to reconcile budgets with ever-increasing costs because very few are willing to say with a straight face and in unequivocal terms that more money is needed and taxes must be raised. The big T word is tantamount to defeat at the polls in the next round of elections, which apparently outweighs any concerns for the long term good of the government to which they were elected or the people they are paid to serve.

If we are to have government, whether one's economic beliefs fall under Karl Marx, John Stuart Mill, or Jeremy Bentham - or for that matter the simple and self-defeating foolish economics of Grover Norquist, David Stockmann, or Ronald Reagan; eventually in the end, on the bottom line, the piper must be paid.

The Archives at Milepost 606

Personal

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.