Tuesday, January 29, 2008

271. Correction to 270. Ackerson has a Primary

Somehow I missed Allison Pitzer, who filed against Brent without my knowledge - sneaky. Maybe a conspiracy. No, I just missed her. So, we have a Primary in 26.

270. Filing Deadline Day

Lunsford in for Senate; Lewis out for House. I think both of these developments bode well for Democratic victories this fall. On the Senate side, among the several candidates running, there is one thing we all know any of them would need to oppose the Minority Leader of the United States Senate - money. And while we know Greg Fischer has some, we don't know about his willingness to spend it. About Lunsford, we know there is a willingness based on past actions.

Ron Lewis, who some time ago broke his self-imposed term-limit, decided not to seek re-election in what should prove to be a year a lot of other Republicans will ultimately wish they had followed the Baptist-bookseller's path. The Democrats will likely nominate The Senator from Sorgho, David Boswell, who has spent time in both houses of Kentucky's General Assembly, as well as a term as Agriculture Commissioner. And, in all probability, Boswell will join John Yarmuth and Ben Chandler in the 111th Congress.

As for Yarmuth, he drew his likely Republican opponent today, former Congresswoman Anne Northup, who lost races in both 2006 and 2007. In 2007, she said she would rather be governor than congresswoman. Since that didn't work, I guess she changed her mind. Congressman Yarmuth should have no problem beating her a second time, and probably will do so more handily than he did the first time, given this is a presidential year, and the 3rd CD has voted Democrat for president since 1992. Northup has a primary though, one she should win over South End populist Chris Theinemann. They apparently aren't friends as they are already trading barbs. Maybe John can get in a round or two of golf before the general election commences in earnest.

Finally, my two candidates' campaigns for Council ended up as expected, Ken Herndon, a Democrat challenging the incumbent Democrat George Unseld in the 6th; and young Brent Ackerson, a newly registered Democrat against younger Graham Honaker, the Republican, in the 26th which is an open seat. And while both Brent and Graham are very young candidates, both in their early 30s, the baby of the council candidates appears to be Kungu Njuguna, an assistant Jefferson County Attorney, seeking office in the 18th, an open seat. Kungu, the former president of the DuPont Manual Young Democrats and a civil attorney, enters the race the age of 29. Good luck Kungu.

Unrelated, but worth a mention, today is the 7th Birthday of my second oldest and second youngest nephew, Kevin. Happy Birthday Kevin.

At My Uncle Bob's Wake - and other musings

There were probably 250 people present at one point or another. Conversations all tended to go something like "I haven't seen you since Uncle Henry died," [that was 1995], or "Whose child is that?" sometimes followed by "So that Elizabeth's, (pause) and Elizabeth is whose daughter?"

The "Class of 1960" from my family, those of us born in that final year of the Esienhower administration, were all there but one. Me, Debbie Brown Solmonson, Steve Collins, Bobby Lewis III (named for the deceased, who never married or had children), and Melanie Baker. Missing from our group was Robert McGohon.

At one point, one of the funeral directors had a call for a "Jim Lewis," to which the answer was "Which one?" as there were three in the room at the time. Another common name in the family is Robert (the name of the father of the deceased, my great-grandfather) and its spinoffs, Rob, Bob, Bobby, and Bobbie (for a female), all of whom were present (including the deceased). I met one of my cousins for the third time last night, yet another Bob Lewis, who was born when his father and I were both LRC employees back in 1980. I had met him the second time at Uncle Henry's funeral. After a short discussion last night, we determined we worked in the the same building here along the Left Bank of the Ohio River near Milepost 606, he for the County Clerk, me for the County Attorney. Not only is Louisville just a very big town, but Kentucky remains a small state where lots of folks are related and interrelated, some unbeknownst to each other.

The funeral was held this morning in the rain, with Uncle Bob being laid to rest a few lots above my grandmother, a few lots over from his parents, and amongst the thirty or so relatives of mine buried there in the Sunset Memorial Gardens in Woodford County.


I realize that as a "political" blog I should say something here about the State of the Union address delivered last night by the Commander-In-Chief of the Republic, but there wasn't much to the speech. Lameduck-ness must have already settled in. I was surprised he didn't call for additional tax cuts, but rather only to keep the ones he previously passed. I was happy with his comments on immigration, although he and I seem to be the only two people who seem to agree (and then only somewhat) on this great matter. He admitted the federal government is aiding and abetting faith-based groups with grant money for their social programs, something I find appalling and more properly the role of the federal government. He acknowledged the economy sucks and he offered no real solution, only a short-term fixit - his words, not mine, and one which will deepen the government's already Grand Canyon-like debt. Ironically, he called for an end to earmarks, despite having signed every earmark-earmarked bill the previous Republican-led congress had sent him. Suddenly, earmarks are bad. Maybe they are.

He did seem to enjoy his last State of the Union speech. I enjoyed it knowing he will be giving no more. Redemption draweth nigh.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

268. Yes We Can

I've just listened to United States Senator Barack Obama give his victory speech after today's South Carolina Democratic primary, a primary Obama was expected to win and win he did - big. The current margin, with 95% of the vote counted, is 55-26-18 for Obama, Clinton, and Edwards respectively.

I've been for Obama in the past and could be in the future, but I still presently believe that he will not be the nominee and thus not the next president. I still believe that mantle will fall to Mrs. Clinton. But if ever in this long-running presidential campaign thus far that I've heard a speech that awakened a sense of Camelot on the horizon, it was the one the Junior Senator from Illinois just gave in Columbia.

A thought. How ironic - and great - would it be if South Carolina - the Great Dissenter - was the state the vaulted America into having her first non-white President?

Friday, January 25, 2008

267. Robert Alexander Lewis, Jr., 1918-2008

My mother's mother's oldest surviving brother passed away today of a heart attack at a hospital in Frankfort. I have mentioned Uncle Bob Lewis on several occasions in past entries. He is one of the people, along with his older sister, my grandmother, and others, who instilled in me a desire to learn and read and appreciate the social sciences, among them politics, at a very young age. He gave me many books as a little boy, including The Complete Poetical Works of James Whitcomb Riley, a few poems of which I have passed along over time to the readers here along the Left Bank of the Ohio River near Milepoint 606.

Uncle Bob never married. He was a graduate of Pea Ridge School, Frankfort High School, and the University of Kentucky. As I recall, he was a member of Choateville Christian Church. He was an attorney and CPA, who was also a part of the "Lewis brothers" who were in and out of politics in Franklin County in the 1960s and 1970s. Uncle Bob served a term as Sheriff, before passing on that position to a distant cousin Ted Collins, who held the same post for several terms before being elected Franklin County Judge Executive in 2006.

For the past several years, Uncle Bob has been a resident of the nursing home out along US 127 South, just south of Louisville Road, on Frankfort's west side. He had become something of the life of the place traversing around on a motorised wheelchair, visiting all his co-residents on a regular basis.

While his funeral arrangements have not been made, most of my Frankfort relatives are buried from the Harrod Brothers Funeral Home in downtown Frankfort. He will be laid to rest amongst many of his (and my) relatives in the Sunset Memorial Gardens along Versailles Road just east of Frankfort.

He is the third of the children who survived infancy of my grandmother and her siblings to pass on, she, Vivian "Tommie" Lewis Hockensmith first in 1976, then my Uncle Henry in 1995. The rest are Frances C. Lewis Moore, Dorothy A. Lewis Henry, Lura E. Lewis Brown, and Jenny Lee Lewis Sharp; and Charles R. Lewis, William E. Lewis, Elbert E. Lewis, and Jimmy C. Lewis. With the exception of Jenny and Jimmy, all are residents of Franklin County.

Rest in Peace, Uncle Bob.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

266. Thanks to Kentucky Progress and others, but . . . . .

A quick note to David Adams and Kentucky Progress for his link to my comments in support of Senate Bill 3. I subscribe to Adams' KentuckyVotes.org listserve which is of great help for someone tracking legislation in the ongoing General Assembly. But it was his link on the Kentucky Progress website which gave me some new opinion-seekers. My readership, often referred to as the five faithful readers, spiked over the last few days to not-before-heralded heights. I welcome the Republican faithful who made their way from over there to over here. You will find there is more here than politics, although that's what most of it is. I also appreciate Bridget Bush, another member of the vast right-wing blogospheric conspiracy, who has put my blog on her "left-wing" list of places to visit when in need of a laugh. Her blog is called Elephants in the Bluegrass.

But the fact that my new readership simply visited over from elsewhere in the blogosphere raises a question for me. Are we all, bloggers left-and-right, mostly our own readers with very few newcomers? I once heard on NPR (I know the right wingers think NPR as anathema) that the average readership for any blog is one person, usually the blogger. I know I have those five regular readers and a handful more, and that readership grows ever so incrementally. But we are a long ways from mainstreaming. I think too many bloggers and blog-commenters oversell themselves as to the extent of a blog presence and power. Very few achieve any great success, although for me, the success is in having written mine and having anyone at all read it.

Mark Nickolas' much maligned (and sometimes deservedly so) BluegrassReport.org [for which, in the name of full-disclosure, I have posted three entries] has come and gone. But it did achieve a level of success and was instrumental in bringing about the election of a Democratic governor last year. Jacob Payne's Pageonekentucky.com is approaching similar status. But, I am still concerned when I read that any collection of two or three blogs in alignment on one issue or candidate somehow justifies calling it a force. I do not believe we are there yet.

Perhaps someday. But not yet.

As a reminder for those in Jefferson County who are wishing to seek office on the Louisville-Jefferson County Democratic Executive Committee, filings for such must be made by Tuesday, January 29th. The elections are held the weekends of April 5th and April 12. Call HQ at 502-582-1999 for more information.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

265. In support of Senate Bill 3 sponsored by the Senator from Burkesville

It would be easy to write about Interstate 265 for the 265th entry, just as I wrote about Interstate 264 for Entry #264. I-265, known as the Gene Snyder Freeway (or to some as the Jefferson Freeway, its former name) is the outer circular highway around the Left Bank of the Ohio River near Milepost 606, as opposed to the Henry Watterson Expressway (I-264) which is the inner circle, written about earlier in the day. But I've written about both the Snyder Freeway and former Congressman Snyder himself in the past and that wasn't reason enough to draw me back to the blogosphere.

What was reason enough was a comment I made in today's earlier entry about filing deadlines for state legislators and my ardent prayer that they should be later in the year, sometime after the legislators have begun casting about with their Yeas and Nays to the chagrin of many who then say "If I had known she (or he) was going to vote like that I would have filed against them."

But, just as in Jesus' Parable of the Friend at Midnight, the Lord has said (in the Gospel of Saint Luke, Chapter 11) "Keep asking - you will get an answer." Little did I know the Lord would work through Kentucky State Senator David Williams (yes, their David Williams, not ours) in granting my request.

The much maligned and deservedly so senator has a bill in this year's Kentucky General Assembly, Senate Bill 3, which would do at least one of the major things (there are others) I think need to be done if Kentucky and her people are to be properly served by our elected legislators. Briefly, it moves the filing deadline to April and the Primary to mid-August, a few weeks after the soirees at Fancy Farm and Gilbertsville on the first Saturday in August.

I would print the bill in full but it runs 63 pages when taken from the LRC website. Most of those pages are unchanged from the previous wording. The gist of all of the pages is to move the candidate filing deadline from the last Tuesday in January to the last Tuesday in April and the Primary to the first Tuesday after the third Monday in August. As an added feature, it would also eliminate the gubernatorial runoff primary, the one which was avoided this year because the Democratic nominee, now-Governor Steve Beshear, just barely did eke out a 40% vote against Bruce Lunsford, the second place finisher. On the other side, former governor Ernie Fletcher did far more than 40% in beating Anne Northup, the woman who said she would rather be governor than congresswoman but may be changing her mind now that she is neither, in their Primary, so he too avoided the costly runoff. If it were to pass, which is highly unlikely, it would take effect upon being signed into law by the Governor.

There will not be many occassions where I praise the legislative work of the Senator from Burkesville (or perhaps Russell Springs, in another county next door to his, which is also in another senatorial district). So take heed. If you, like me, think a change is needed, call your legislator and say so. The telephone number for all the legislators in Frankfort is 502-564-8100.

In case you haven't been reading your New Testament lately, or your memory of the Friend at Midnight escapes you, here it is below.

He said to them, "Which of you, if you go to a friend at midnight, and tell him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread, for a friend of mine has come to me from a journey, and I have nothing to set before him,’ and he from within will answer and say, ‘Don’t bother me. The door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed. I can’t get up and give it to you’? I tell you, although he will not rise and give it to him because he is his friend, yet because of his persistence, he will get up and give him as many as he needs. "I tell you, keep asking, and it will be given you. Keep seeking, and you will find. Keep knocking, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives. He who seeks finds. To him who knocks it will be opened. "Which of you fathers, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, he won’t give him a snake instead of a fish, will he? Or if he asks for an egg, he won’t give him a scorpion, will he? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him?"

264. Highways, filings, and comments

First, we had a real snow overnight and if one were up through the night, one could view the falling snow through the millions of prisms created by the millions of snowflakes reflecting of the Full Moon posing high overheard. 'Twas a beautiful sight.

I suppose this being entry #264, one of the more appropriate things to talk about today would be our inner-city automotive circle, I-264, and called the Henry Watterson Expressway, after the Confederate military veteran of the 1860s who went on to become editor of the local newspaper, the Louisville Journal, which later merged with another local paper, and became the Louisville Courier-Journal.

Watterson also served a term in Congress and in the 1892 Democratic National Convention was nominated and received votes to be Vice President of the United States. He is buried up in Cave Hill Cemetery, at the top of Broadway, where it intersects with Baxter Avenue, the road leading out of Louisville towards Bardstown.

Today is also, as I mentioned before, my mother's birthday, and I do not want to fail to wish her again, here on a blog she never reads, Happy Birthday. I'll be seeing her to celebrate in a more traditional fashion later this evening.

But what I want to write about today is the local Louisville-Jefferson County Democratic Executive Committee, the governing body of the local Democratic Party. This being a presidential election year, all 18 seats for Legislative District Chair and all 18 seats for Legislative District Vice-Chair are up for election. The filing deadline for such seats is one week from today, filings which must be formally done by a Declaration which must be duly signed and notarized not only by the candidate but also by two people familiar enough with the candidate to sign on their behalf. Those persons elected as Chair will also be repsonsible for electing the 18 At-Large members of the committee, as well as the Chair and Vice Chair of the County Committee.

One might surmise that instruction for filing in these offices would be found somewhere on the local Democratic Party webpage, and it is if one takes the time to look. I've had several folks ask me who is running but I am unable to provide an answer, as that seems to be a well-guarded secret. I'm not sure why. I am of the belief that we should be far more open about how one would go about being on the governing body of the local Party. I think such information should be widely made available.

So, for those who are interested, make application with the local Party by next Tuesday at 4:00 pm. Their phone number is 582-1999 and they are located at 640 Barret Avenue, behind the old Jillians restaurant, just north of Broadway. And if you file, leave me a note. Since I haven't been able to get of list from there, I try to keep track of it here.

Next Tuesday is also the filing deadline for all the various offices which will appear on the ballot in this year's primary and general elections. We are still waiting to see who all is willing to run against the Number One Republican in the United States Senate and thus become the consensus candidate after the Primary. Congressman John Yarmuth doesn't know yet what opposition he may face except he knows it won't be Erwin Roberts. Congressman Ron Lewis, who represents most of Okolona in southern Jefferson County as well as a few other Jefferson precincts, will be facing David Boswell, a sitting State Senator from Daviess County. All members of the Kentucky House of Representatives are up as well as those Senate members in odd-numbered districts. The even-numbered Metro Council Districts are up here in Jefferson County, as are most city council or commission districts across the Commonwealth. Last week Secretary of State Trey Grayson pointed out that Kentucky is falling in rank in terms of the diversity of those elected to office in our Commonwealth. He suggested that more people should be encouraged to run, especially at the local level, where most folks get their first taste of politics. That's what I am doing here.

Pray for more snow.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

263. As we approach Roe v. Wade, a look at the Death Penalty

Social Justice. The Environment. The Earth.

Those words were part of the homily this morning delivered by visiting priest Fr. Roy Stiles at my church's 8:30 Mass. I've known Fr. Roy for many years. He is an old style, old-fashioned, and getting-old priest who serves as the pastor of the combined churches of St. Therese in Germantown and St. Elizabeth in Schnitzelburg, which is sometimes said to be a sub-division of Germantown proper, itself a neighborhood of Louisville since the 1840s. Those two churches, along with mine, Holy Family, form what the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Louisville calls a cluster, meaning the three keep their indivdual identities but mingle their roles to more effectively serve their respective and collective diminishing congregations.

I spoke with Father after the Mass and expressed my great satisfaction with his inclusion of these old-fashioned Catholic values in his message, social justice (liberal) values that drove the Church in the late 1950s, and through the 1960s and 1970s, but somehow have gotten lost in the last thirty or so years, overtaken by the Me Generation on the one hand, and an undying and unyielding opposition to abortion of the other, both of which have caused the Catholic Church population to move from the left to the right and from being a major part of the Democratic Party to now playing a similar role for Republicans. I was especially pleased that abortion wasn't the centerpiece of Father's weekly message, as this is the weekend usually reserved for such a message as we approach January 22, the day in 1973 when the Supreme Court rendered its (in)famous Roe v. Wade decision. Father Roy never said the word abortion today, nor did the Prayers of the Faithful mention the usual prayer for babies born and unborn.

Like many, I've struggled with a woman's right to choose (or control her body) versus what is described by some as a murder of an unborn baby. Being neither a woman, nor being a person planning on either intentionally or unintentionally starting a family, with the procreative work that is involved, I sometimes feel I am not qualified to make any comments on the subject, pro or con.

That doesn't stifle my belief that murder is wrong and it is especially wrong if undertaken by the government (in my name) as retaliation for a serious crime. I am adamantly opposed to the Death Penalty. I strongly support the government's ability to lock a person away for the rest of their days, leaving them alone in their cell with only the minimal necessities required to exist, as a punishment. As a Catholic Christian, I do believe there is an afterlife, although as a somewhat agnostic and sceptic questioner, I am not all that sure that it involves streets paved of gold and milk and honey for constant refreshment. I've even conceived of the idea that reincarnation is a possibilty, as is nothing at all. But, also as a Christian, I am something of a Universalist who believes that as we are all daughters and sons of God, that despite our wanderings and wickedness, a loving God father-figure wants the best for us in the afterlife and that we will all eventually be the proverbial Prodigal Sons and Daughters returning home in the end, amidst much rejoicing.

For that reason, I am concerned that using the Death Penalty as a means of punishment, may be in fact, sending the criminal off to her or his eternal reward, which is ultimately determined by God and not a Court of Law. How we treat these who are condemned here on earth may play a role in whatever eternal reward, good or bad, may be waiting for us, the condemners, upon our earthly demise. I do not take this lightly. Unlike the discussion of abortion, from which I preclude myself for the reasons stated above, I feel I have a part of the discussion on the Death Penalty.

Many years ago, when I was 15, my paternal grandmother, Grace Irene Lee Noble, whose birthday was a few days ago, was murdered in the jewelry store where she was working. This was August 9, 1976. She was murdered by two men who went on to murder another person, a 19 year old gas station attendant. Eventually the two were tried and convicted of both murders. At the time, the most they could be sentenced to was 64 years, which they were. Each have been up for parole several times and I (and others) have worked to make sure they weren't paroled so they would serve the maximum amount of their sentence. Eventually, if they live long enough, they will be freed. They will have served their sentences and be returned to society. If today's law had been in effect when they were tried and convicted, they would no doubt have been sentenced to death. Having been thus sentenced, chances are we, the taxpayers, would have paid over and over for their retrials, mistrials, and appeals further and further up the judicial ladder. Or, they would have paid the ultimate price, and would have been executed by the State and gone on to whatever awaits them on the other side, something no one on this side really knows anything about. As it was, the system worked (or at least has worked so far) in that they are still incarcerated and there are no further appeals.

That is the justice I propose in lieu of the Death Penatly -- Life in Prison without the possibility of parole. Life in Prison rather than being dispatched by the government by injection or whatever lethal means are legal, and possibly being dispatched from a hardened criminal life here on earth to a reward awaiting them by a merciful and grateful heavenly father.

We've all been to funerals where we (and everyone else in attendance) are fully aware that the deceased (who was either kith or kin) wasn't the dearly beloved the eulogists have made them out to be. Nevertheless, it is usually our ardent hope, assuming we believe in any afterlife at all, that they - by their death - are removed from whatever problems had afflicted them here on earth and are "At Peace." We really do hope for these things even if it isn't comfortable to believe them. The truth is we usually pray for such things at the funeral service itself. At least I do, and I think deep in many hearts of hearts, others do as well.

So, my opposition to the Death Penalty stands strong and unwavering, while my concerns about whether or not Abortion Stops a Beating Heart, as many of the bumper stickers read on the cars parked in front of St. Martin's Church at any hour of the day, as they have a perpetual prayer going on there in opposition to abortion, wavers back and forth between the woman's right of control of her body versus the government's right to tell her she can't control the same. I have never found a happy home in this discussion and there may not be one. I believe I am personally opposed to abortion just as I am personally opposed to murder and the Death Penalty. The antiabortionists believe life begins at conception. In the Catholic Church, we bestow much adoration upon the Mother of Jesus because she was Immaculately Conceived. We even have a feast day to celebrate it, December 8, first established in 1476. We, and many other churches, celebrate the angel of the Lord appearing to Mary, telling her of her upcoming pregnancy, and her response of "be it unto me according to thy word," as told in the First Chapter of Saint Luke, the chapter preceding the much better known Second Chapter which tells of the birth of Jesus. Thus, celebrating conception as opposed to birth is a long-standing tradition of the Church. Nonetheless, most of us do not celebrate the date of our own conception, perhaps because it may be just too embarassing a question to ask of our parents exactly when it happened since chances are really good that no angel of the Lord appeared to our mothers or fathers informing them of the impending pregnancy. For me, my parents were married on a given date and nine months less three days later I was born. The math is pretty easy, but I've never addressed it as a question to either of my parents.

So, while the rest of the Cathlic world may heve been praying for an end to abortion this morning in Masses, Fr. Roy told us to look further than ourselves and our own needs and beliefs to those of others, whether they be Christian, Jew, Muslim, Hindu, and even atheists - those are his words, not mine, although I fully concur. And he talked about Social Justice in the world and physical justice for the environment and the earth and the ties that bind us, not the schisms which divide us. It was a truly great sermon in my opinion.

Looking ahead, tomorrow is the Monday Holiday celebration of the person some have called America's saint, the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The next day, the anniversary of Roe v. Wade is also the 68th Anniversary of the Nativity of my best friend, my mother Barbara Hockensmith. Happy Birthday Mom. Finally, one year from today we will inaugurate the 44th President of the United States, bringing to an end to unjust junta in control of the country since their stealing of the election in 2000.

Thanks Be To God.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

262. Short entry again

Ok, I've been busy. So, what about Greg Fischer? Not yet a consensus candidate, but then no one else is either. More on Friday. By the way, tomorrow is the 46th birthday of my only sibling, Kevin. Happy Birthday Kevin.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

261. I'm curious

I've never asked such a question before but I am curious. Someone from Georgetown University in DC has been logging in on a regular basis and spending some time reading more than just a page. Do I know you?

Sunday, January 13, 2008

260. Bush: Israel and Palestine

The Commander-In-Chief of the United States has taken to the airwaves, literally, as 2008 has started, making a several-day - several-stop trip in the Middle East with a plate full of mostly non-achievable goals as he heads toward the Fifth Act of what has mostly been a failed Play of an administration. Like Clinton, Bush pere, and Carter among others before him, the current Bush is seeking some legacy other than the one he currently has under his belt, one which many of us would just as soon move on from. And like those before him, finding Peace in the Middle East, especially peace between Israel and Palestine, is one of the avenues he is pursuing. Good for him.

I am 47 years old and since the summer I was 6, conflicts between Israel and Palestine have been a nightly feature of the national news. Lots of presidents have tried with little success to achieve a lasting legacy between these two peoples claiming the same territory as their homeland. I do not propose or suppose to know the answer here. I do think that attempting to find peace is a noble undertaking and while I disagree with the president on much of what he (hasn't) accomplished during his tenure, on this matter I wish him well.

There are those who are critical of him saying he is just looking for a good note to go out on - a new legacy. If so, then so be it. Many presidents before him, including the most famous fictional one, Josiah Bartlet, felt this was one area where a lasting legacy could be effected. And not only does Bush need a new legacy, but so do those who live in this troubled zone. While the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has been a staple of news for my whole life, I do not know or understand all there is separating these people. I have Jewish friends and I have Palestinian friends and my perspective is often framed by their respective thoughts. I will add that all of my Jewish friends are native Americans and all of my Palestinians friends are not. So the persepctives I read are from different ends of the spectrum, although my American-born Jewish friends are no where near as emotional on the issue as are their counterparts who were born in the disputed areas.

So on this day when Christians celebrate the Baptism of Jesus Christ in the nearby waters of the Jordan River, thus beginning a new chapter in the history of the world, I wish the president well in his endeavors to bring a new Peace to the peoples of Israel and Palestine, even though I have no idea what that Peace might be.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

259. Another Milestone

. . . . although we prefer to say Milepost as in the Left Bank of the Ohio River Near Milepost 606. Then somtimes I type Milepoint. Today's milestone? Our meter reader informs us that we've topped 10,000 page reads amongst our 7700+ reader-hits. So today's entry is about ego-stroking, with this first part stroking mine.

Then there is the recovery of the Mayor of Louisville-Jefferson County Metro, who after having a somewhat down 2007 rebounded Thursday night with the re-passage of the Smoking Ban, which he signed into law Friday morning (for the second time) proclaiming it was time to move on to other matters of more importance. I wont argue the plusses and minusses of the Ban. I will say the Mayor is correct. There are important issues facing the City and he needs to be addressing them.

Thursday was also election day for the President of the Louisville-Jefferson County Metro Council with that high-and-mighty post going to Tenth District Councilman Jim King, who was first elected to the Council in 2004 and has aspirations for higher office. Jim's work in the 10th District is evident every where you look. Improvements have been popping up in every nook and crannie, the most recent being the completion of the clean-up and painting of the Norfolk-Southern Railroad Crossing which, according to the signage attached to it, separates the neighborhoods of Belmar and Camp Zachary Taylor, the latter of which is normally called by the less-pompous folks who reside therein, simply Camp Taylor. No mention is made of the Prestonia community which preceded both of these names, as I have written about before here on the blog. Best Wishes to President King [an almost-reduncancy] in his term as legislative leader of the Free World, at least the 380 or so square miles along the Left Bank of the Ohio River near Milepost 606.

Finally, it looks like the presidential races may be taking off or maybe not. There has been a lot of talk about the pundits and the politicians misreading the polls and predicting Senator Obama would get Win Number Two in New Hampshire, which of course did not happen. There are competing theories as to why this misread occurred. I'll suggest that much of eastern Iowa is in the Illinois media market, where Obama has been covered reguarly since his statewide election in 2004. Similarly, all of New Hampshire gets New York news, news which would inevitably give Senator Clinton an edge there. Just my thoughts.

Closer to home, among several friends running for the Louisville-Jefferson County Metro Council, including several incumbents, are two men who aren't incumbents. Ken Herndon is seeking to upset long-term Councilman George Unseld in the 6th District, which includes Old Louisville, California, and parts of the South End, as well as some of the downtown high-rises. Brent Ackerson is seeking office in an open seat in the 26th District, a suburban area running from Saint Matthews south along Browns and Breckinridge lanes southwestward through Seneca Park, Bowman Field, Bon Air, and into the smaller cities of Kingsley, Wellington, and Strathmore. I am helping both of them in these efforts.

Anything else? The weathermen are calling for snow tomorrow. Thanks Be To God.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

258. Here and There - or rather, Plans for Here and There

A few entries back I said it was going to be a long Winter. So far this year, it has been mostly Spring, today being no exception. The temperature has been slowly dropping from the two record-high days a few days back when the thermometer reached into numbers starting with a 7, something rather unusual for the first ten days of January. Today's weather has been mostly rain and lots of it. Tornadoes have been breaking out across the South and Midwest and Kentucky experienced if not a tornado, at least the "conditions present for the possibility of a tornado," words used by that automated voice the National Weather Service at Louisville , pronounced loo-eee-ville in three distinct syllables, uses when issuing a Tornado Warning, as they did earlier this afternoon for portions of Nelson, LaRue, and Green counties, which are to the southeast of Loo-eee-ville. As I was listening to the areas affected, I recongnised it as that which I visited a few months back, along US31E near White City in LaRue County, and back KY84 across the Rolling Fork of Salt River to Howardstown over in deep southern Nelson County. While the Tornado Warning has expired, a Flood Warning remains for this area.

I haven't been out on the backroads for any extended trips so far in 2008. I did start a new map, and have colored in the counties already visited in the new year, Jefferson, Oldham, Henry, and Shelby. Last year I made it to 62 counties, which is the highest number over the past several years. I've kept these maps since 1979 and over time average in the 50s the number of Kentucky's counties visited in a given year. By outlining on the map - in bright red marker - I can readily see where I've been and where I haven't. The areas of the Commonwealth least visited are the corridor along the Tennessee border east of Bowling Green, the A-A Highway area from Alexandria southeast to Ashland, and to a lesser extent the Ohio River counties beyond Meade southwestwardly downstream to Livingston. I have made it to the mountain areas of the east as well as the Jackson Purchase area of the west with regularity.

So, among the places I hope to get back to this year are the Ferry across the Cumberland River in Monroe County along KY214 (there is a campsite just across the river on the eastern side), as well as maybe Blue Licks State Park along the Licking River in the southernmost part of Robertson County (Kentucky's smallest county), and finally the cities of Owensboro, Henderson, and Morganfield, the latter of which I haven't been through since 1999 when, on a trip back from Fancy Farm along the "old road," me and a friend encountered a old car show in the southern Union County city of Sturgis. While in Union County, I might encounter an old UK roommate, Chris Greenwell, who is a resident of Waverly, just east of Morganfield where KY141 intersects with Kentucky's Main Street, US60. Outside of Kentucky, my plans this year include camping in northeastern Tennessee, and road trips to Washington, DC to the east and New Orleans to the south. At least that's the plan.

But since I don't really like to drive in the rain, none of that will start tonight.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

257. Obama and emails; One Man's Opinion

I could write about the email exchange I had with the Barack Obama campaign, an exchange which emanated from a difference I had with a decision the campaign had made as to a certain South Carolina minister, the result of which I switched my allegiance from Senator Obama to Senator Dodd in the ongoing, seemingly neverending 2008 presidential campaign. It was my second switch. I originally supported Senator Clinton and still believe that in the end, she will be the Democratic nominee and ultimately the 44th Commander-In-Chief. But this entry isn't about my support of Clinton, Obama, or Dodd, the last of whom has since the Iowa caucus dropped out. This entry is about emails.

Below is an email I received (along with a number of other recipients) from a friend of mine who is a prominent citizen in a nearby city. The sender didn't comment on the email, but only passed it along, in the same manner in which it was received in their email-inbox. With the exception of the name of the originator, who listed her contact information (but no email address), I have eliminated all the other names of senders and receivers. Here, in italics, is the email:

Who is Barack Obama?

1- U. S. Presidential candidate, Barack Hussein Obama

2- Born in Honolulu, Hawaii,
Father : Barack Hussein Obama, Sr., a black Muslim from Nyangoma-Kogel , Kenya ;
Mother : Ann Dunham, a white atheist from Wichita , Kansas.

Obama's parents met at the University of Hawaii. When Obama was two years old, his parents divorced.

Father : Re turned to Kenya .
Mother : Married Lolo Soetoro, a radical Muslim from Indonesia.

3- When Obama was 6 years old, the family relocated to Indonesia.

4- Obama attended a Muslim school in Jakarta. He also spent two years in a Catholic school.

5- Obama takes great care to conceal the fact that he is a Muslim. He Is quick to point out That,"He was once a Muslim, but that he also attended Catholic school."

6- Obama's political handlers are attempting to make it appear that Obama's introduction to Islam came Via his father, and that this influence was, temporary.
In reality , the senior Obama returned to Kenya Soon after the divorce, and never again had any direct Influence over His son's education.

7- Lolo Soetoro, the second husband of Obama's mother, Ann Dunham, introduced his stepson to Islam.

8- Obama was enrolled in a Wahabi school in Jakarta . Wahabism is the radical teaching that is Followed by the Muslim terrorists who are now waging Jihad against the western world.

Since it is politically expedient to be a Christian when seeking Major public office in the United States , Barack Hussein Obama has joined the United Church of Christ in an attempt to downplay his Muslim backgrou nd. Let us all remain alert concerning Obama's presidential candidacy Please forward to everyone you know. The Muslims have said they plan on destroying t he US from the inside out, what better way to start than at the highest level.

Teresa Abney,
Federal Workers' Compensation Assistant
VA Medical Center, Lexington Ky
Fax: 859-281-3853


For the record, I have no idea who Teresa Abney is, or if she is even a real person. I've gotten this same email from two other friends and also from a family member in Florida. In all of those occassions, I have felt a need to respond, and did. Below is the response I sent today.

I've received this from my friend ********** and feel a need to respond.

If anyone has met Senator Obama, as I have more than once, they will know that many of the accusations such as those listed within this email are without merit. Nestled among a few facts are unfounded lies, plain and simple, lies which may have their roots in people who are simply afraid of change. There is no doubt the senator was born in an American state a little over 46 years ago. And, the names of his parents and step parents are correct. Beyond that, there is much more conjecture than fact. Finally, as a Catholic Christian, I find it disheatening that others would attempt to use religion in such a negative fashion. Al Smith endured this in the 1920s and John Kennedy did forty years later. Now, 40 years after Kennedy it seems nothing has changed and little has been learned. People cloaking themselves in the garb of a Christian are attempting it again. The difference between Smith, Kennedy, and Obama? Smith and Kennedy were in fact what their accusers were accusing them of being - Catholic. Obama is not a Muslim - he is (and has been for some time) a Christian, a member of a Christian church which has its roots in America. Smith and Kennedy belonged to a church with its headquarters in Rome, Italy. Obama's church, a purely American phenomenon, is an outgrowth of the Congregational Chruches of New England and the Christian Church which grew up on America's original frontier, including here in Kentucky.

Finally, I got a big laugh out of the last line of the email, which is in fact true. Lots of people use religion to make political gains. There was a time when a person's religion was a private matter. Now, people who claim to be religious want to force their religious beliefs on every one else. I don't buy into such pseudo-evangelism. People who do that are frauds. If you are not for Barack Obama because he is black, or mixed-race, or young, or a father, or a husband, or from Illinois, or
a graduate of Harvard, or a graduate of Columbia, or an attorney, or a Democrat, or a Christian, just say so. Don't hide in a Bible. Or, if you insist on hiding there, take time out to read some of it. I'll direct you to the Sixth Chapter of Saint Matthew.

Jesus said, "Beware of practicing your piety before others in order to be seen by them; for then you have no reward from your Father in heaven.

"So whenever you give alms, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may be praised by others.

Truly I tell you, they have received their reward. But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your alms may be done in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you. "And whenever you pray, do not be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, so that they may be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward.

But whenever you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you."

So, that was my response. I'm curious how any of you feel about such emails, and about attacks like this in general. As always, feel free to comment. Thanks.


Two unrelated items, a death and a birthday - or two.

Robert "Bob" Schulman, 91, died Sunday. I knew Bob for many years, and his wife Louise, though not well, and they both always greeted me, and apparently everyone, with a smile or even a hearty laugh. I've used Schulman's tag line "One Man's Opinion" in these entries in the past. Schulman was a media critic who arrived in Louisville in 1968 at WHAS, moved over to the Courier-Journal and Louisville Times, then to U of L, and helped found LEO, Louisville's Eccentric Observing alternative newspaper. He was well known on WFPL radio as one of the Killer Bees, and was a frequent guest and speaker at the Louisville Forum, and, to be honest, was just one of those Louisville originals, which cannot be replaced. Schulman began his career in the media in the 1940s and was as late as last week advising a college student about journalism as a career. His wife Louise and a large family survives. His wit and wisdom, his sense of humor, and his signature bow-ties will be greatly missed. Rest In Peace, Mr. Schulman.

Also, today would have been my paternal grandmother's 93rd birthday were she alive. And today is the birthday of a friend, Aaron Horner, whose age I do not know, but estimate it to be in the early 30s. Aaron recently left Congressman Yarmuth's office to take a position in Governor Beshear's administration.

Monday, January 7, 2008

256. This bus stop will be eliminated . . . . .

Most mornings I ride a city bus into work catching the bus at the corner of S. Campbell Street and E. Muhammad Ali Boulevard about 260 feet from my front door; city busses along the Left Bank of the Ohio River near Milepost 606 are known by their acronym TARC, for Transit Authority of River City. This morning I was greeted at the stop by a sign affixed to the utility pole under the bus-stop sign which reads "This bus stop will be eliminated February 2, 2008." I've shipped off emails to both TARC and the Mayor asking what consideration of the passengers who board here on a daily basis was taken. I know my neighbor two doors over, an employee at the Pendennis Club, also boards here, as well as two students who attend the Brown School, and several others who attend Central High. I haven't seen anyone from TARC asking any of us if we were interested in losing our stop. And I have to wonder how many other stops are proposed to be eliminated.

Muhammad Ali Boulevard is the second longest continuous street through Louisville, running from E. Chestnut Street on the east side (in the 1000 block east) to South Western Parkway on the west side (in the 4500 block west). Only Broadway is longer, and it only by five blocks, two on the west end and three on the east. It, along with Chestnut Street, is also the straighest street, with no curves anywhere along those 55 blocks. Like the famous boxer for whom it was named in 1978, it has a former name, or names. For most of its course, it was formerly known as Walnut Street. In the west end, beyond 30th Street (or actually the railroad tracks) it was Michigan Drive. As you drive along the route there is a bus stop at every block, with the exception of Jackson Street which has two stops (one on either side of the intersection). So why and how was this one stop proposed for elimination?

I await responses to my emails.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

255. McConnell, Hawpe, and the General Assembly

Lately when I open the Op-Ed page of the local paper, on Sundays in its own section called Forum, it seems I have been seeing certain Letters to the Editor from a particular Senior Senator from Kentucky with greater frequency. There is a certain group of people who regularly contribute on the Letters page and have been for years. Regular readers know who they (and we) are. I used to be one of those, dating back to when I was 11 years old and had my first letter printed. I haven't contributed as much in the last four years for a number of reasons, but I always enjoyed the quiet notoriety it brought when I did, seeing people at church or at the Kroger who'd say "I saw your letter in the Courier," and then would often add, "I'm not sure I agree with you." I remember many years ago the first time I met the late Henry Wallace of Prospect, Kentucky, one of the Courier's very frequent contributors and one who was reliably well to the left of anyone else on the page. Upon being introduced to Mr. Wallace, he commented, "I've read your letters," to which I responsed "And I yours." It was and is a mutual appreciation society. Mr. Wallace and I agreed on much, but he was a much bolder man than I and didn't mind saying so. Of course he had the luxury of being one of Kentucky's wealthiest individuals whereas I've always had a boss to answer to on Monday morning after having written some liberal, socialist-sounding diatribe the day before in the Sunday Forum. But, I digress.

My original comment is in response to yet another letter today from Senator McConnell in response to something David Hawpe has written. Mr. Hawpe draws ire from a number of people for the things he writes, this writer included. Recently he was taken to task by the former Congresswoman from Kentucky's Third, blaming him in some part for her loss to John Yarmuth, who made his own news this weekend by contributing his congressional salary to charity, but that is another story. To Congresswoman Northup's blaming of Hawpe, I will add that George Bush, Dick Cheney, and Donald Rumsfeld played just as large a role as Mr. Hawpe, but that is neither here nor there. Now, Mr. McConnell is falling into the same trap which Hawpe is setting. Frankly, I am a bit surprised. Despite ideological differences on a number of issues (and here I must admit there are a limited few where the Senator and I march to the same drummer), I consider Addison Mitchell McConnell, Jr. one of the great political minds in Kentucky's history, and it is usually he setting the traps for others to be felled by, not the other way around. Anyone who has listened to McConnell at the annual Fancy Farm picnic in August knows of what I speak, although at last summer's event, he was well off his normal stride.

So what do you make of politicians making their arguments in the local "Letters" section? Is it a sign of weakness, or just a "I'm mad as Hell and I'm not going to take it anymore!" response to Hawpe's continuous pounding of McConnell and his record, especially his record as the Republican Party leader in the United States Senate. I think McConnell protests too much Hawpe's essays. In those protests he betrays a sense of concern, although we Democrats have yet to agree as to a consensus candidate against him. But he is giving credence to the idea that the time may have arrived in 2008 for the Republican leader to be Daschled back to Kentucky come 2009.

What else is happening as we enter this first full week of the New Year? Kentucky's General Assembly begins its session which will no doubt be filled with proposals on any number of issues, all obsfucating the real issue of Kentucky's pocketbook being empty. No doubt the wedge issues of what to do about the gays and domestic-partner insurance will get many more column inches of news than will the budget deficit. Another issue sure to make the headlines will be how Kentucky will handle the overflow of illegal immigrants here, mostly working farms of soybean, corn, and tobacco, hotwalking horses, or in the urban areas, hammering away at nails on some (usually) Republican-owned building project. Imagine what Kentucky would be like without all those illegal immigrants? Many of those yelling the loudest publicly are wondering privately how they would fill those jobs, and how much more they'd have to pay from their own budgets if the illegals went away. Despite the knowledge that this is a federal issue, so ordained by the courts, it will be the center-piece issue for 2008. At our luncheon over the New Year's holiday, my congressman cited an interesting comparison, one I haven't substantiated, but also one I find most interesting. If you take the total cost of the Bush/Cheney/Rice/McConnell war, you will find the price tag so far is about $600,000,000,000.00. That's Six Hundred Billion with a B. Now, take the amount of money paid by illegal immigrants using illegal Social Security Numbers into the Social Security system, the one both Democrats and Republicans regularly steal from [no one ever mentions the Lock-Box anymore - seems everyone has a key], that figures is roughly $600,000,000,000.00. That's Six Hundred Billion with a B. So, its the illegals funding the senseless war, something I am sure the anti-immigrant lobby will sooner or later get around to accusing them of. Again, immigration will probably be dealt with long before the General Assembly ever gets around to funding the government, arguably the only piece of legislation they must do while assembled together for the purposes of passing legislation for the Commonwealth.

It is going to be a long Winter.

Friday, January 4, 2008

254. Blogoversary - and a Caucus in Iowa

Hope Springs Eternal.

One year ago today, the first entry was made here along the Left Bank of the Ohio River Near Milepost 606. It concerned the new Congress, especially our new congressmen here in Kentucky's 3rd and Indiana's 9th, and ended with the declaration that "[w]ith the swearing-in of the 110th Congress, America has returned."

Like rumors of Mark Twain's death, there may have been some hyperbole there that ultimately didn't exist. Many bloggers, myself included, have from time-to-time in the last 365 days lamented the fact that the Congress we thought we had elected wasn't the one we sent into battle with the president on January 4, 2007. But unlike former Defense Secretary Rumsfeld's comments from December of 2004, where he seemed willing to accept the shortcomings of his army - you'll remember his line, "You go to war with the army you have," we aren't willing to accept this Congress we have, a mediocre crew at times, unwilling to challenge the president and others for fear of being labelled soft on terror, or terra, as the Commander-In-Cheif pronounces it. And to change that, as I wrote just a couple of entries ago, we need more John Yarmuth types and fewer Ben Chandler types, those who have aided and abetted the president by compromising along the way, apparently with the blessings of the Democratic leadership of both houses of Congress.

In that same conversation of Rumsfeld's, he later added "You can have all the armor in the world on a tank and it can be blown up." It seems we have some of the armor we need in the Congress, but we need more. Elections later this year will determine if we must accept the Congress we have as opposed to the one we need to see America out of the morass she finds herself in under the so-called leadership of Bush, Cheney, Rice, and others, including the Senior Senator from the Commonwealth of Kentucky.

One thing we know for sure is that whatever happens in the Congressional elections, the far bigger prize is that of the presidency, the election for which has been going on for nearly four years and finally got officially underway last night in the cold midwestern state of Iowa, where the population breakdown reveals the state is 94.6% white, 3.8% latino, and 2.5% black, all percentages totally removed from those of the nation as a whole, which are 80.1%, 14.8%, and 12.8% respectively for those same categories.

As you all know by now, Mike Huckabee, the Republican conservative former Baptist preacher selling himself as a populist and native of Hope, Arkansas won the Republican Caucus in Iowa. On the Democratic side, Barack Obama, born in Hawaii, educated around the world and ultimately earning degrees at Columbia and Harvard, and politically on a roll since his 2004 keynote at the Democratic National Convention in Boston, where as a state senator he electrified the crowd and instantly became a national figure, won by a large margin over John Edwards and Hillary Clinton. The candidate I switched over to from Obama, who I had supported early-on, Chris Dodd, dropped out of the race last night leaving me without a first choice.

For Huckabee, the win wasn't just with his base of Christian-conservatives. He won up and down within his Party, whatever the internal constituency might be, defeating Mitt Romney and his millions of dollars. Two months ago he was a nobody. Two nights ago he played the guitar on Jay Leno and today his picture is in every daily paper throughout the land. He will have to do some very fancy footwork between now and Tuesday to keep from reverting to that nobody status. He has little money or organization and is headed to New Hampshire where his Christian-conservatism isn't as popular. If he can make it through New Hampshire, against Romney and McCain, he may well be on his way. Obama's next few days are much easier than Huckabee's. Obama has a strong campaign in New Hampshire and plenty of money in the bank. And he did last night what many said he couldn't - getting people out to the caucusses (caucuses?, cauci?) who normally do not play a role in such things. And from New Hampshire he rolls into South Carolina, a state rich with African-American voters which may make him strong enough to enter the Super-Duper Ridiculous Tuesday on February 5 as the unconditional front runner, which for the moment he is.

Winning Iowa isn't a ticket to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, but it sure does make the next few weeks interesting. Stay tuned.

Finally, I need to say THANKS to all of you, my five faithful readers, and all the rest. We will hit 7500 readers today as we enter the second year of posting. I am looking forward to a year full of politics, travel, religion, and history.

One more thing. This weekend is the birthday of my favorite American playwright. Happy Birthday Stuart.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

253. This one is pure politics, so if that isn't your cup of tea, come back tomorrow which is the blog's First Anniversary

Yesterday, Dr. Jacob Payne, who writes the PageOneKentucky blog, called me out as being the one person "fighting to educate the masses" with regard to the 2008 Democratic Party Reorganization. Notwithstanding Jake's comments, a number of people are doing just that, not just me. The night he attended a political club meeting where I made a presentation on the matter, I was to be joined by a staff member from the Kentucky Democratic Party (KDP), who is a resident of Frankfort, who had just returned that day from a well-deserved vacation in the land of the Gators. She had spent the previous six months assiduously working on the election of Steve Beshear so her absence was forgiven, at least by me.

But, having said all that, Jake is right in that there needs to be a greater amount of outreach by the Party to make people feel they are a part of it. This is the essential bottom-line purpose of the quadrennial Reorganization, which in theory takes place throughout the country. It is a process which works its way up from the precinct level to the National Convention. There are open elections along the way and any registered Democrat is eligible to participate at the earliest point which is the Precinct Convention, scheduled this year on April 5. But most people are mostly interested in How To Become A Delegate To The National Convention. And to be honest, I am not sure I know the answer to the question "How To Become A Delegate To The National Convention?". But, there is a link on the KDP web page (Jake linked to it in his entry) which explains the process, but not in any clarified way.

One thing to keep in mind with regard to the National Convention and its delegates is that there aren't that many slots. According to the latest calculations, Kentucky's delegation in Denver will have a total of 63 delegates, some of whom will go without going through the rigors of a Delegate Selection Process. Those 63 people will be representing the 1,622,526 or so Democrats registered in Commonwealth. Sixty-three out of One Million Six Hundred Twenty-Two Thousand Five Hundred Twenty-Six means that a whole lot of people who may want to be a delegate simply aren't going to be. Of that 63, six will go by virtue of their elected or political office, people such as the Mayor of Louisville-Jefferson County Metro or the Chairwoman of the Party or the allegedly anti-Christian congressman from Kentucky's Third District. Another eight will be going only as alternates in case the Mile-High air malaffects one of our chosen few. The opportunities get narrower and narrower.

Which brings me to the second part of this entry. What many of those same activist-Democrats may want to consider for their Kentucky Democratic Party is participation at the Precinct, Legislative District (in Jefferson and Fayette counties), County, Congressional, and State Conventions processes. As stated earlier, the Precinct Conventions, which in Jefferson County elect the Legislative District chairs and vice chairs, are slated for April 5. On April 12, those elected at the Precinct level will move up to the Legislative District level in Jefferson and Fayette, and to the County Executive Committee level elsewhere. Jefferson County requires filing papers for those wishing to seek office to its Executive Committee. Those papers must be filed by January 29 at the local Headquarters at 640 Barret Avenue, just north of East Broadway. But the precinct elections themselves are open to any registered Democrat who bothers to show up at their polling place at 10:00 am on the 5th. Those who do will gather, at the door of where they would normally go in to vote, and elect first a permanent chair and secretary, then a Committeeman, Committeewoman, and Committeeyouth. There have been a few elections when I showed up at the old Camp Taylor Fire House in precinct H-121 that I was the only person there. Naturally, the folks I supported won those elections.

And the role of these Precinct committeepeople is somewhat misunderstood. There was a time when their presence was required to nominate candidates in the event of a Special Election, especially for the legislature. And while such elections seems few and far between, we are in the throes of a series of them right now and the process for nominating is presently the subject of an Appeal to the State Central Executive Committee, which is to be resolved tomorrow evening. During my guest blogging at BluegrassReport.org, I spoke of plans of the State Central Executive Committee to rewrite the rules for these Special Nominations, and I invited comments from anyone interested, and three people responded. Obviously, the need is there to clearly communicate the process through the By-Laws in unmuddled words, and presently that is not the case. But, I digress.

On April 12, the Precinct committeepeople elected the previous week will gather to elect the County Executive Committees for Kentucky's 120 counties. In 118 counties, that is a one-part process, while in Jefferson and Fayette, it is a two-part, but it all happens on April 12. Again, in Jefferson, filing is required and that must be done by January 29. I am not aware if any other counties require filing, but if you are interested in your County Executive Committee, I'd recommend calling your County Headquarters or contacting your County Chair. The Jefferson County number is 582-1999.

Another thing that happens on April 12, at least according to the State Party By-Laws, is the selection from the Counties and Legislative Districts those persons who will be delegates to the Congressional District Conventions and the State Convention, both presently scheduled to be held on June 7, at 10:00 am and 2:00 pm, respectively. However, in the Delegate Selection Plan on the KDP webiste is the mention of a May 31 election to do the same thing. I need to learn what this is, and if it what is says it is, why is it being held on May 31 instead of April 12 in accordance with the By-Laws? Hopefully someone at Headquarters can provide me with an answer to that.

In any event, eventually we will hold our Kentucky Democratic Party State Convention, that eventuality to be on June 7 and presently scheduled to be in Lexington, although it may be in Frankfort. And, in the morning meetings of the Congressional District Conventions, five people from each of Kentucky's six congressional districts will be elected to serve on the State Central Executive Committee, the controlling authority of the Kentucky Democratic Party. I ran for a seat on this committee six times unsuccessfully before finally being elected on my seventh try in 2004. I intend to run for re-election this June.

I will be writing more about this at another time, so stay tuned. Below is a Calendar of Events, as best I understand them at the present time. But, they seem to be subject to revision.

January 29 - Filing deadline for Jefferson County LD Chairs and Vice Chairs.

February 1 - Forms available from KDP for Delegate and Alternate candidates for the National Convention.

April 5 - Precinct Conventions held at 10:00am at the usual polling place's front door.

April 12 - Legislative District and/or County Conventions held. Also, according to the By-Laws, delegates will be elected for the Congressional District Convention and the State Convention from each LD and/or County.

May 15 - Filing deadline at KDP HQ in Frankfort for the Congressional District level delegates and alternates candidates to the National Convention. Also due are Pledge of Support forms.
May 15 - Filing deadline for the Party Leaders and Elected Officials (PLEOs), with their Pledge of Support forms.
May 15 - Filing deadline for the At-Large delegates and alternates candidates, with their Pledge of Support forms.

May 15 is an important deadline if you are interested in attending the National Convention.

May 20 - Primary Election Day - polls are open from 6 to 6, local time.

May 26 - This is tricky and not something I can fully explain. Presidential candidates provide list of approved district-level delegate and alternate candidates, standing committee members, and PLEO’s to State Party. Primary winners have a lot of say in who actually becomes a delegate and/or alternate to the National Convention.

May 31 - This is the event I am not sure of. According to the KDP Delegate Selection Plan, County and LD Caucuses will elect delegates to the Congressional District and State Conventions. The By-Laws say this will be done on April 12.

June 7 - Congressional District Convention and State Party Convention meet. The State Party will provide a list of PLEO candidates, district-level delegate and alternate candidates, and at-large delegate and alternate candidates to the respective Presidential candidates. The Conventions will elect delegates and alternates to the National Convention. Unpledged and add-on delegates will also be chosen. I do not really know what an add-on delegate is. By the end of the day, all persons seeking to go to the National Convention will know if they actually are or not.

There will be 31 District-Level Delegates; 10 At-Large Delegates; 6 Pledged PLEOs; 8 Unpledged Delegates; and 8 Alternates. These 63 people will represent Kentucky at the National Convention.

I've written enough for one day.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

252. Nine Degrees

Nine degrees - that was the temperature this morning as I waited for the long white government owned and supported sixty-six passenger limousine to bring me (and about 21 others) into downtown this morning. The temperature is supposed to rise into the low 20s and then dip back down into the teens tonight. I'm not complaining, just reporting.

I've always been a fan of winter, of snow - but not ice, and generally cool or even cold temperatures. When I was younger, I'd take vacations in the summer not to the sunny shores of Florida with everyone else, but up northeast, in western Massachusetts around Pittsfield, and other places, where the temperatures were crisp in the mornings and only pleasant in the afternoons. One has to get north of New York City to enjoy such weather. But, I have to admit as I stood this morning at the bus stop, the idea occurred to me that it must be a lot nicer in San Juan, Puerto Rico, a city I am longing to visit in 2008. And, it is. The current temperature there is 75 degrees. It is partly cloudy and some rain is expected this morning, and maybe this afternoon. Hmmm.

Here at home, it is back to work after a something of a week and half break. San Juan will have to wait. Oh, the picture above is San Juan's Christmas Tree downtown.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008


We've done it again. With only the passing of 24 hours, we've dismissed 2007 and welcomed 2008. Happy New Year to my five faithful readers, and also to the rest of you who happen upon the Left Bank of the Ohio River near Milepost 606. The new year made its way in today with a strong dose of very cold air, and this evening has brought snow - glorious snow - covering the streets and lawns to the depth of about 1/100 of an inch - frankly, not enough.

It will be a good year. We have the opportunity to build on the Democratic majorities in the House of Representatives in Frankfort, as well as both houses of Congress in Washington, DC. With lots of hard work, a boatload of money, and the right candidate, we can defeat the United States Senate Minority Leader, although first we need to find a consensus candidate, one with instant name recognition across the Commonwealth and the ability to raise money. It can also be a year to retire David Williams as president of the Kentucky Senate and install therein someone more responsive to Kentucky and her citizens. But it will also be a year in Frankfort to address the shortfall of money that former Governor Fletcher and his Republican partisans either ignored or simply lied about.

Nationally, we've a long road ahead of us, with a war and a recession, neither of which the current presidential administration seems willing to do without. Hopefully the elections to be held this November will put the country on a surer and more realistic footing. But emerging from the damage caused by the Bush/Cheney junta will take several years, which is unfortunate.

Like the state and nation, our City/County merged/assimilated form of government is also short of money, although His Honor the Mayor proclaimed 2007 a very good year for the City. Somehow, he missed the failure of the Library Tax, the court-overturning of the Smoking Ban, the dilution of the Dog-Control ordinance, and the hiring freeze and fiscal shortfall that he himself announced late last year, shortly after the tax defeat at the polls. He cited as the two biggest accomplishments the Museum Plaza and the Downtown Arena, both projects I supported, although both come at great costs, both financially and culturally. And while the Museum Plaza is a great addition to the Waterfront, the Arena would have been better placed between Second/Third and Liberty/Muhammad Ali. And 8664 remains the only logical and cost-effective way to address the downtown traffic problems. Completing the East End Bridge, further complicated by the need to re-bid the Tunnel under US 42, should be a first priority for His Honor and his cohorts at the Courier-Journal, but that doesn't seem to be on their agenda. They are too busy comdemning the 8664 project and care too little about the destruction of the Waterfront and the surrounding areas, especially the downtowns of both Louisville and Jeffersonville, to have or make any reasonable judgments. It is time to build the East End Bridge.

What else 2008 might bring (or might not) I can't say here. But, as always, it is good to look forward and work to make it good for all involved. And, we get an extra day on February 29 to make it all happen.

Happy New Year.

The Archives at Milepost 606


Louisville, Kentucky, United States
Never married, liberal Democrat, born in 1960, 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.