Thursday, May 22, 2008

337. Kentucky's Presidential Primary - A Look Back

Ok, one quick entry.

Back on May 14 - an eternity ago in this political season - I made some presidential predictions for Kentucky over on Jacob Payne's

A friend of mine emailed me today and suggested I look at my predictions to see how I did with those predictions. As those of you who were at Ken's party Tuesday night know, I predicted Ken would win by 54 votes, but he lost by 112. So my numbers are a little iffy for the moment. So, here goes.

In the First Congressional District, I wrote --
"Clinton 61, Obama 27. Obama scores some few numbers in McCracken, Hopkins, Christian, and Calloway, but nothing to impress. John Edwards picks up a few votes here."

What really happened was Clinton 71, Obama 23. I was off by 14 points, 10 in Clinton's favor and 4 to Obama's detriment. Obama got 30.14% in McCracken, 22.74% in Hopkins, 37.21% in Christian, and 25.98% in Calloway. McCracken and Calloway beat the statewide average of 30%. So, I don't really know much about the 1st District.

In the Second Congressional District, I wrote --
"2nd CD — Clinton 57, Obama 29. Obama has pockets of support in Meade, Warren, and Daviess, and maybe Hardin. “Uncommitted” runs up a few votes in the 2nd, maybe into double digits."

What really happened was Clinton 69, Obama 26. My predictions were off by 15 points. That's a little better than I did in the 1st, but not much. "Uncommitted" outpolled John Edwards here by about 1000 votes, just as in the 1st. In Meade, Obama got 24%; in Warren, 32.72%; in Daviess, 29.43%; and in Hardin, 35.40%.

In the Third Congressional District, where I am supposed to know what I am doing I wrote --
"3rd CD — Obama 55, Clinton 42. Obama carries the 3rd with large support as expected in African-American precincts, as well some unexpected parts out 3rd Street, Preston Highway, and Shelbyville Road."

What really happened was Obama 53.2, Clinton 44.1. I was off by about 4 points. I feel pretty good about my 3rd Congressional District predictions. I haven't yet pored through the precincts yet to know whether my further suggestions were true or not, but I will and I will report back.

In the Fourth Congressional District, I wrote --
"4th CD — Clinton 53, Obama 42. Obama garners support all through the 4th, with similar but losing percentages in each county, but none in large enough numbers to overcome Clinton."

What really happened was overwhelming to say the least. Clinton won with 71.21%, Obama got 24.35%. My target was 36 points off. My views of the upper Ohio River counties were way off. Obama did well, meaning he didn't lose that bad in Oldham, Campbell, Kenton, and that part of Scott in the 4th CD. Otherwise, he was thumped.

In the Fifth Congressional District I wrote --
"5th CD — I expect the 5th CD to be a surprise in this contest. My brain says that the 5th CD should vote in numbers similar to West Virginia where Clinton won 67 to 25, but my gut says Obama does better than expected, but still loses. Clinton 55, Obama 42."

What really happened was that I must have been deep into either the bottle or the herb when I wrote that. Clinton 87.68%, Obama 8.80%. That's a 65 point error on my part. I'll be honest. I went back and checked my math because I was astonished. This was West Virginia except on steroids. This was a step back into the Old South and the Old Dominion. Carry Me Back to Old Virginny! But, that is why we have elections. People have the right to vote and vote for the candidate of their choice. It is a far, far better thing to have voters who vote their minds and in ways with which you disagree, than to have voters who are told they can only vote for the official party sanctioned candidate - things we read about in other countries.

In the Sixth Congressional District, I wrote --
"6th CD — Clinton 52, Obama 41. Lexington and Frankfort run up some numbers for Obama but not nearly enough, but still more that anticipated. “Uncommitted” does well here too, but not into double digits."

What really happened was Clinton 60, Obama 34. I was off by 15 points. Obama carried Fayette with 51.42%. He got 30% in Franklin County. In Congressman Ben Chandler's home county of Woodford, Obama scored a favorable 37.19%.

Over for the Commonwealth, I wrote --
"Kentucky as a whole goes for Clinton by less than expected but still a large comfortable win - Clinton 56, Obama 36."

The actual number was 65 to 30. Again, I was wrong to the tune of 15 points.

So, if there are any statewide campaigns out there looking for a prognosticator, above is my latest resume. It isn't pretty unless you are only looking to win in the Third Congressional District.


As I stated in the last two postings, I will be out for a few days, maybe more. I've noticed some comments on my previous entry but I have been advised not to comment on the matter as there are investigations underway. I still plan to seek reelection to the Kentucky Democratic Party State Central Executive Committee at the Convention on June 7. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

336. There's got to be a Morning After - and then some rest

The primaries are over. Obama won Louisville, Clinton won Kentucky, and George Unseld defeated Ken Herndon by a vote of 2093 to 1981 - a 112 vote margin in a 4074 vote race. I believe Ken was winning until an anti-gay mailing attacking both Ken and me went out at the last minute. It was a soft-porn piece along with some false allegations and a photo-shopped picture and was, as it was planned to be, quite damning, and with certainty, it cost Ken the race. Whoever created and paid for the piece got what they paid for.

Questions which need to be answered are:
1) Who would gain by Ken's losing?
2) Who would gain by defaming me?
3) Who prepared the mailing, which was a four-color glossy piece, which is expensive?
4) Who paid for the mailing, which was placed in a plain white envelope and mailed First Class?

The mailing and printing would have total costs of somewhere around $4000.00.

That's the report for the Morning After.

Today marks the birthday of seven friends of mine, some very close, some more distant, one of whom I saw for the first time just two days ago while campaigning in the California neighborhood in Louisville's 6th Council District. Happy Birthday to all of them.

This will be the last entry for a while. Our visitor ticker stands at 12,890. I will be back in a few weeks. Stay tuned.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Election Day in Kentucky

Tomorrow is Election Day in Kentucky. The polls are open from 6:00 am to 6:00 pm local time. Anyone standing in line at 6:00 pm will be allowed to vote no matter how long it takes.

Vote for the candidate of your choice, or in the case of the Democratic nomination for president, you have the option of voting "Uncommitted" which is to say voting for the non-candidate of your choice.

As I said previously, the Democratic presidential race will come to an end tomorrow. Barack Obama will garner enough delegates by the end of the night from Kentucky and Oregon (2026) to be the nominee. Polls will close in Oregon at 11:00 pm Louisville time.

On Wednesday or Thursday I will make some comments on the election, especially the race in the 6th Council District of Louisville which turned ugly over the weekend. Then, on Friday, I am going to the doctor who will likely put me up in a private room for a few days.

Vote Early, Vote Often.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

334. Miscellany

Barret Avenue is being repaved from Broadway, US 150, to Eastern Parkway, US 60A. Barret itself does not carry any numerical designation. That part of Barret north
of Broadway, in the area where the Louisville-Jefferson County Democratic Headquarters, Barret was once known as Underhill Street. The part of Barret which leads south from Broadway to Castlewood, and then up Castlewood to Baxter, was the original Newburg Road, or the road to Newburg, which historically was a white farming community between Buechel and Okolona. The original Newburg community was centered at what is now Poplar Level Road and Old Shepherdsville (or, as the Metro calls it, Shepherdsville Road, as there is no "New" Shepherdsville Road). Of course, today, the word Newburg still refers to a neighborhood between Newburg Road and almost to Preston Highway, south of Buechel and north of Okolona, but no longer white at all. Much of what is today known as Newburg was built in the 1960s as housing for the nearby General Electric Appliance Park, shown below in 1997, which itself has been in the news this week.

This week's announcement that Appliance Park was for sale obviously caught His Honor the mayor of Louisville-Jefferson County Metro by surprise. It reminded me of the time about twenty years ago when the mayor made the Airport Expansion/UPS announcement, catching elected officials such as Fourth Ward Alderman Cyril Allgeier and "B" District Commissioner Irv Maze completely off-guard. The mayor's sometimes misdirected responses this week with two of Louisville's biggest employers, GE and Ford, made clear that some of the glitter is gone from the golden days or ore when a cheer here and a begonia there was all that was needed to keep the City on track.

Tracks brings us to another event held yesterday in Maryland. Big Brown, shown above, the horse which won the Kentucky Derby three weeks ago yesterday won the Preakness Stakes in a commanding performance and 5 1/4 length victory. On to New York and a possible, and apparently probable, Triple Crown win at the Belmont Stakes in Elmont, New York. The last horse to win the Triple Crown did so the weekend I graduated from Durrett High School, thirty years ago next month. Steve Cauthen was aboard Affirmed for all three of the Triple Crown races, winning the final leg in 2:26.8 over Alydar, the first, last, and only horse to run second in all three races. The rivalry between Affirmed and Alydar is unmatched.

Finally, speaking of rivalries, we are having an election this week. My church's school, Holy Family School, held its School Board elections today, with four people seeking two seats on the school board. I only knew one of the candidates, a former student whose father is a friend of mine. I voted for her. My other vote went to a school mother who has a child in the 1st grade. All the other candidates' children were in higher grades. I figured with her's only in the 1st, she has seven more years of dedication and she may as well get started early.

There is of course that other election, the one that started so so many moons ago. It will come to an end Tuesday night in Louisville. Although the polls will close five hours later in Oregon, between the votes Senator Barack Obama will get in Oregon and the ones he is expected to get here along the Left Bank of the Ohio River near Milepost 606, he should have the 2026 delegates needed to claim the Democratic nomination for president. Expect to see one, if not both, of the candidates, along with their spouses, here in Louisville Tuesday night. Who could have ever dreamt we'd play such a role?

Finally, some birthdays. Yesterday was my middle niece's 12th birthday. Her name is Kavesha. Today is my friend Eleanor Jordan's birthday. I know how old she is but just in case she reads the blog, I'll omit it here.

That's all for today. Off to do a Herndon lit-drop in the 6th Council District, where based on the opponent's last minute barrage of negative ads, the race must be closer than people thought it would be.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

333. In the Mailbox

I really want to write something about the Triple-3 entry number, but nothing comes to mind, other than there should be something significant about the entry which is numbered 3-3-3.


From the mailbox today, I retrieved a bill from my dentist (who wants some money), a bill from LG&E (which also wants money), and from my State Senator, who included a donor envelope with his letter (so he wants money to).

My State Senator sent a letter today which in the first line tells me that representing me is a privilege that he "does not take lightly." He tells me he has been "dedicated, focussed, and effective" in his representation of me. And, he tells me that the district has approximately 105,000 and "it takes a great effort to communicate in a short period of time and it is costly." Hence, the donor envelope.

During the past three years while I have been represented by my State Senator, this is the first and only letter he has ever sent me telling me anything about his "dedidation, focus, and effectiveness." This is the first time I knew he "didn't take representing me lightly." In short this is the first time he has communicated with me while he has been on my and your payroll.

Conversely, I have communicated with him, at least twice during the recent General Assembly. I sent him an email on 01/24/2008 expressing my support for Senate Bill 3. I sent him another email on February 1, 2008 expressing my thanks for his support of Senate Bill 112. Neither email was responded to. I sent the same email to my other representative, Tom Riner, who serves me as the 41st District State Representative, who managed to respond back. I sent the SB3 email to a number of friends in the legislature and a few of them responded, but not my State Senator.

Now the truth is my State Senator pretty much votes the way I would want him to vote, whether he communicates with me or not. I have no qualm with his voting record. My State Representative, who does communicate regularly, with emails, phone calls, and personal conversations when we see each other in public, does not always vote the way I would want him to, but he bothers to tell me. And he bothers to just say hello. A lot. He sends Christmas cards, puts little American flags in yards on the Fourth of July, and helps out politically in the Fall, as he did in 2006 when we used his truck to transport tables for a John Yarmuth event in Fairdale, well removed from his district.

Another truth is that my State Senator will very likely very easily win his Primary a week from today, which is no doubt the reason he decided to finally send a letter telling me all the good things there are to know about him. His opponent hasn't raised much money and probably wouldn't vote nearly as well as my current State Senator. But, his opponent has asked me, in person and more than once, if I would vote for him. I know him through his former wife and their children. He has been asking me for that support since he filed for office back at the beginning of the year. He has used every opportunity he had, whether at the Kroger or the corner coffeeshop, to communicate in the same short period of time during which the incumbent has sent exactly one letter. As the incumbent said, it is difficult to communicate with so many people in such a short period of time. I mean he has only had three years.

Monday, May 12, 2008

332. Obama does Louisville

Tonight's Obama event in Louisville can be summed up in one or two or three sentences, although I've never been real successful at summing anything up in one or two or three sentences.

It is the largest indoor political event I've ever been to in forty years. It may have been the largest political event I've ever been to period. And most of the people there didn't have titles like State Representative, State Senator, State Central Committee Member, or Precinct Captain - most of them were simply the one majic commodity everyone is seeking - Voters. All types, all colors, all ages, and more than a few Republicans - all told between Eight and Ten Thousand. And that's the ones that got in before people were turned away.

Election Day is May 20th.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

331. Pentecost and how it relates to today

Be forewarned, this is a religiously entrenched entry, but it is about living together mutually respecting each others differences and similarities.

Today in the calendar of the Church, the Feast of Pentecost is celebrated, marking the 50th day past Easter, and according to Scripture and tradition, the date of the founding of the Church as it was on this day that the Holy Spirit, the third entity in the Holy Trinity was sent down by Jesus upon his disciples. Pentecost, like many other Christian celebrations, finds its roots in other older tradition, that of the Jews, marking the giving of the Law on Mount Sinai on the 50th day after their departure from Egypt. There is something called shavout, which I will admit I do not understand which is analogous to Pentecost. And, it is likely the Jewish feast is itself based on some older tradition. There really is nothing new under the sun.

But I like Pentecost for other reasons. I am a fan of the Arthurian Romances, the stories handed down over the years pertaining to a semi-mythical leader from 5th century Britain - King Arthur, the Knights of the Round Table, and especially Prince Merlin, who was said to have been born upon the Autumnal Equinox, as was I. King Arthur's annual big backyard party, complete with fatted calves, lots of wine, jousting tournaments, and the eventual search for the Questing Beast and the Holy Grail, was held each Pentecost. It was on the Feast of Pentecost, or Whitsunday as it is called in old Britain, that Arthur held a Plenary Court inviting all the knights and ladies, kings and princes, and other petty officers from throughout the land to his court. There they could visit, catch up on old news, find out who is a new father or mother, and learn any other news from both the neighboring kingdoms as well as the foreigners across the Channel or the Irish Sea.

But there is another even more important reason I like Pentecost, and one which is important in today's multicultural, multiracial world - the readings assigned to it in the Lectionary, the Church's three year cycle of Bible readings.

This morning I attended the 8:30 AM mass at Holy Family. Arriving about 8:00, there were great clouds and strong winds, appropriate weather for today's first reading taken from the Book of Acts.

Acts 2: 1-11
When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly a sound came from heaven like the rush of a mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared to them tongues as of fire, distributed and resting on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

Now there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men from every nation under heaven. And at this sound the multitude came together, and they were bewildered, because each one heard them speaking in his own language. And they were amazed and wondered, saying, "Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? And how is it that we hear, each of us in his own native language? Parthians and Medes and Elamites and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabians, we hear them telling in our own tongues the mighty works of God."

My point here is this. Even 2000 years ago, men (and women, even though they aren't mentioned) of different cultures, races, and ethnicities found themselves living, working, playing, and probably procreating with each other on a regular basis. They spoke different languages, they lived by different codes and mores, they followed different leaders, and they ate different foods. But, on this occasion at Jerusalem as the Holy Spirit descended upon this motley crew of seemingly different people, the Spirit didn't divide them into groups of white or black or brown or yellow, or of rich or poor, or of gay or straight, or of men or women, or of Obama-followers and Hillary-followers, or Democrats or Republican or Libertarians, or even of blog-readers and blog non-readers. The God of Abraham and Isaac and David and Isaiah and of Jesus and Matthew and Mark and Luke and John, and even of Paul (about whom I have reservations) - this God draws no lines in the sand. We are all one people, the people of God. Paul himself makes this argument to the people of Christ about 20 years after Jesus' death writing in the Book of Galatians, at Chapter 3, Verses 28 and 29:

There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free person, there is not male and female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham's descendant, heirs according to the promise.

I don't really like quoting Paul a lot. I complain often that the Christianity preached by some modern-day right-wing Christian people is too based in some of the prejudices of Paul and not based enough in the simple words of Jesus Christ, who reduced all of the law (which is to say all of the Old and New Testaments) into Two Great Commandments, first to love God, and then to love each other.

It is this very simple theology, whether one wants to call it Christianity or any other name, that assures me that my very liberal beliefs about people, my acceptance of others from different races, cultures, socio-economic backgrounds, religions, and even political philosophies, puts me clearly on the right side of God. I believe that.

And in these closing days of this year's presidential Primary season, when I hear code words on talk radio here and there, when I see cartoons depicting one or the other candidate with exaggerated features, or when I get emails questioning someone about their ties to Muslims while simultaneously attacking the same person over the views of their very Protestant (former) pastor who served in both the United States Marines and the U. S. Navy, it is in these times I am thankful that the words from the Book of Acts tells us the Holy Spirit doesn't discriminate. Perhaps, to be good Christians, or more broadly, to be good people, we shouldn't either.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

330. Briefly, KDP event last night.

Everyone else was live blogging, so this is admittedly not the freshest news. But, I did have fun.

Arrived early to crowds of volunteers and staffers being kept from the room until way too late.

There was a large anteroom for candidates to greet the guests. I was there to work John Yarmuth's table. As it turned out, the anteroom activity was mostly the candidates and their supporters greeting each other. We were placed about 150 feet out of the general route of the arriving guests and very few made the journey over to the sidelines.

Worked the John Yarmuth table with Lisa Tanner, Shannon White, Jessie Phelps, and Brandon Jewell. Lisa came over early and worked setting the table up which was really nice, so she left early. Orange balloons. The John Yarmuth campaign owns the color orange. I think that was Dan Borsch's idea in 2006. John eventually visited our table and we had a nice chat.

Met and spoke with Heather Ryan, Democratic candidate for Congress in the 1st. Her table was to John's right. At the Democratic Women's Club table to our left were Joyce, Mary Allgeier, and Dottie Winfield. I've known Mary and Dottie since high school having gone to school with their sons. KDW President Diane Wood was there briefly and I took all their pictures.

Harry Johnson was working the Fischer table. Harry and I go back to the 1979 Lieutenant Governor's primary.

I spoke brielfy with Mrs. Press of Lexington about the evening. She is always interesting and delightful.

Several of the several candidates for Jefferson District Judge were there although Shellie Santry easily made the best impression with her large lavender sign in the corner. Met her husband, who is from Philadelphia, then Boston. Says he loves living in Louisville.

Chatted with Cathy Yarmuth who is the best candidate spouse ever.

Then we went into the big hall. I did not buy my way into the expensive seats, although I did try to sneak in, but to no avail. Had a good time meeting and greeting out front. Eventually my friend Keith Dickerson arrived - for the record he is not the Keith Dickerson who made the papers yesterday. That one was white and 35 - this one is African-American and 24.

Saw all the media, most of whom were blogging. Listened to Wanda Mitchell-Smith's long prayer about union. She mentioned union seven times. She is a Union leader. She did not invoke the Son's name at the end of her prayer but rather made it all-inclusive. I don't think God really cares how we end our prayers as long as we pray, but a lot of progressives make a big deal about it, as I have here.

DuPont Manual High School sent a chorale group which sung the National Anthem and My Old Kentucky Home. That was good.

Chatted a little with Jon Hurst. We'll get together after the Primary, the end of which is finally coming into sight. Chatted a little with Aniello Alioto, who is working for Obama and Lunsford. I saw Lunsford briefly. And Lynn Fischer, sister of Greg. I did not see Cassaro or anyone from his campaign. I met a tall woman named Stephanie who works for Congressman Chandler and so I made a joke about Chandler's Chief of Staff Denis Fleming, for whom I was a paralegal in the 1990s. God only knows what else I said. She was with Aaron Horner and a few others on a smoke break. But, I digress.

Jennifer Moore, Dan Borsch's girlfriend and simultaneously Chair of the Kentucky Democratic Party began the night. No wait, David Tandy was up there for a while but I have no idea what he said. Then my congressman spoke but he was interrupted by some very rude Clinton supporters, which was uncalled for.

Then maybe Jennifer spoke again. I had a two beers and part of a Bloody Mary. What was I thinking? Keith had red wine. I even bought Harry Johnson a Bloody Mary. Again, what was I thinking? While I was at the bar, they read out the names of the State Central Committee. Jimmy Morphew (of Paducah) and I were standing out front chatting about the 1st CD at the time. When our names were called, we clapped for each other.

I did not see many other State Committee members there, although they may have been in the more expensive seats. I saw Jeremy Horton, who was very busy with headphones and a walkie talkie, and Millie Diehl, and Jimmy Morhpew. That was it. I know Tim Longmeyer was in there but he is still upset with me that I found fault in the way he has ran the Jefferson County part of the KDP reorg, so we didn't chat.

Eventually, we left. I was tired and I still had work to do in the Ken Herndon campaign before getting to sleep.

One final thought - strictly my opinion with no basis in actual knowledge. I didn't get a chance to see my friend Jerry Lundergan who in all likelihood arranged this whole thing. He saw a chance to help the Party raise money and agreed to bring in his good friend Hillary Clinton to help do so. She had been here before at his behest and for the same reason, as had the former President, her husband Bill Clinton. For all the Lundergan haters out there, and there are several, Jerry is a good guy. He may have a rough personality and you may not like him. But for four years, while there was a Republican in the Governor's Mansion, through whatever means, he personally kept the Kentucky Democratic Party open and alive and viable enough to help elect Steve Beshear in 2007. Lundergan's very good friend Greg Stumbo helped in that effort as well. So, if, as I believe, that Jerry had a large part in last night's affair - here is my thanks to him.

One final thought - His Honor the Mayor of Louisville-Jefferson County Metro was there for about 15 minutes. (Did you get that Paul? - fifteen minutes. No doubt he was off to a soccer game or something more important).

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

329. Playing Hookie, An Impromptu Family Reunion, and other comments

Today was a beautiful, if somewhat breezy, day - a good day to play hookie (hooky?) from the office, and that is what I did. I had already planned to attend to some family business in Frankfort, so off I went to Kentucky's capital along I-64, where the widening project is coming along between the Weigh Stations and Waddy (or Waddy-Peytona for those of you who aren't aware these are two different places, the former an actual village a little south of I-64, the latter an intersection where the Elmburg Pike crosses the Old Louisville Road near Shelby County's recently built Heritage Elementary School. Eventually the interstate is to be widened all the way from Louisville to Frankfort. Eventually, given the state of affairs of the affairs of the state, may be a long wait, but the first steps have been taken.

After disposing of the family business, I made my way over to the Kentucky Democratic Headquarters, to see someone I had previously emailed about viewing some paperwork therein. Due to some scheduling conflicts, that paperwork-viewing didn't happen. There is some grand planning taking place at Headquarters as Friday, May 9th (pointed out to me in a phone call as being a mere 48 hours away) is the date scheduled for a big Kentucky Democratic Party fundraiser in Louisville, to be held downtown at the Convention Center. As an aside, I am old enough to remember when saying the words "the Convention Center" referred to a building on Muhammad Ali Boulevard between Armory Place and Sixth Street, back when Muhammad Ali Boulevard was still called Walnut Street. But, I am not of an age to remember the building alongside Armory Place actually being called The Armory, which for years it was. That building is now called The Gardens. The fundraiser is being held a few blocks to the northeast at 4th and Market streets. But, I digress.

While at HQ for my non-paper reviewing meeting, I struck up a conversation with the two women volunteering at the front desk, Hazel and another one whose name I have since forgotten. I didn't mention to them the aforementioned paper-viewing plans, but rather paid for two tickets to the aforementioned fundraiser scheduled this Friday in the aforementioned Convention Center. As I understand it, there are levels of financial participation, from the $10,000.00 level on down to the $50.00 level, the level upon which I will be participating. The higher the ticket value you purchase, the closer you will be to two bottles of wine, some dessert, Jerry Lundergan, Jon Hurst, and the Guest of Honor, New York Senator Hillary Clinton. At the $50.00 level, my seats may well be out in the middle of the Clark Memorial Bridge a few blocks away, but, as is sometimes lamented in these situations, it is for a good cause.

Before I left HQ, I also filled out one of those "I wanna be a delegate to Denver" forms, telling the two volunteer ladies I didn't really want to go, I just wanted to say I wanted to go. One of them, the one whose name escapes me, asked about the weather on my drive up which led to a conversation about how it is always windy at Democratic Headquarters, something I know to be true based on 35 years of visits. I remarked to her that across the street the Sunset Memorial Cemetery was also similarly typically windy. I mentioned my grandmother being buried there, and she assented in my suggestion that the cemetery was indeed a blustery place.

Upon leaving Headquarters, without viewing any papers or speaking to anyone in charge other than the two ladies, I made my way over to the cemetery. Buried therein are my grandparents, their parents, several of their brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews, cousins, and in-laws, all generally in the same area. While I was visiting the graves, first one car, then another pulled up behind mine and I noticed they were noticing me, and noticing in particular that I was standing generally in the same area they would be standing if they had beaten me to the area. Eventually emerging from the first car were my grandmother's first cousin, Mary Margaret Collins Jackson, her daughter Nancy who lives in Lexington, her granddaughter-in-law who is another woman whose name I didn't catch, and that young woman's child, Dominic Filipini, a resident with his parents and grandparents of Florida. Emerging from the second car was Mary Margaret's husband Jim, residents of Versailles.

Mary Margaret's father, Earl Louis Collins, and my great grandmother, Rachel Scott Brawner, were half-brother and sister, although we generally disregard that half business in our family. In common lingo then, me and Dominic Filipini, the young boy from Florida, are sixth cousins. A true genealogist would correct me on this pointing out that he is my third cousin thrice removed and I am his fourth cousin twice removed. In any event, including the deceased upon whose graves we were standing, there were five generations of us there, all descendants of Annie Choate Brawner Collins, who is herself buried downtown in the Frankfort Cemetery.

Eventually we all hugged and departed the confines of the decedents of our family. From there I made my way downtown, passing the Obama for President Frankfort HQ recently opened on Main Street, opening in the building next door to where my great-great grandmother Annie Choate Brawner Collins raised all those children. I met with my friend Aaron Horner for a cup of coffee at the Kentucky Coffeetree Coffeehouse, having of cup of the Peru blend brewed by Erec the barista. We chatted on the sidewalk about horseracing, roadtrips, Pat Riley (yes, THE Pat Riley), schedules, and a little politics. Former State Senator Lindy Casebier stopped by for moment and chatted as well, telling us of his connection with THE Pat Riley. One of Frankfort's street characters, a man named Tom, stopped to tell us he had enjoyed three coney-island dogs from the vendor on Saint Clair Street and was on his fifth cup of coffee from the coffeeshop, although his cup is one which, given the generosity of the coffeeshop, never runs dry. A Nicholasville-based R J Corman train came through from the west (which would mean it had probably passed through Waddy) to the east (toward Lexington) down the center of Broadway, headed for the pre-Civil War tunnel which Aaron suggested he might want to explore sometime. It was dug through in 1849 and is seen in the image below. I remember going through it several times as a teenager, which was a long time ago.

Finally, I departed my favorite capital city and made my way back home along the Left Bank of the Ohio River near Milepost 606, where the beautiful but breezy day, has given way to some slight rain showers and an overcast sky.

Happy Trails.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

328. Not much longer.

Edward G. Robinson was always one of my favorite actors. In Cecil B. DeMille's 1956 classic The Ten Commandments, he portrayed Dathan, a role expanded from just a few biblical mentions in the Book of Exodus into one whose raison d' etre was to be a thorn in the side of Moses. Dathan repeatedly asks Moses "How long?" "How long must we wait?" He would have felt right at home asking those questions during the current Democratic Presidential Primary, which seems to have been going on a long time, perhaps starting shortly after the Parting of the Red Sea.

"How long?" you ask. Today's primaries in Indiana and North Carolina may bring some resolution. No, I'm not predicting an upset by either United States Senator against the other. Obama will win North Carolina; Clinton will win Indiana. After today, six primaries remain, and they will likely split as predicted, three for the Senator from New York; three for the Senator from Illinois. How then will today's very predictable outcome bring some resolution?

The Obama camp has been making the argument that Clinton can't win given the delegate count. They do not bother to say they can't either. But, the truth is, they can't either, barring some dramatic downfall of the former First Lady. As always, there are powers-that-be lurking in some erstwhile smoke-filled backrooms worrying about how to resolve the apparent deadlock as they approach the end of the line. And, there isn't any divine power lifting up a staff parting the waters of the Red Sea, drowning the non-believers anywhere on the horizon. Or is there?

Two superdelegates, one from Tennessee, the other from California, may hold the key, or Moses' proverbial staff. One is an environmentalist Nobel Prize winning nerd, the other an outspoken grandmother who wields more power in her gavel than any other woman in the history of the Republic. And after tonight's no-surprises of an election in North Carolina and Indiana, those two may just become the talk of the town.

Maybe. Maybe not.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

327. A Brief Derby Entry

Suffice it to say, my horses lost. I sent bets out on Derby Day with my friend Jessie Phelps who was there with her beau, Brandon, in the infield. None of my three finished in the money. Here is the chart for the race:

Pgm Horse Win Place Show
20 Big Brown 6.80 5.00 4.80
5 Eight Belles 10.60 6.40
16 Denis of Cork 11.60

$2 Exacta (20-5) $141.60
$2 Trifecta (20-5-16) $3,445.60
$2 Superfecta (20-5-16-2) $58,737.80

My horses ran 6th, 16th, and 17th. There is always next year. A horse named Big Brown won the race by nearly five lengths. The filly Eight Belles placed second 3 1/2 lengths ahead of Denis of Cork, spelled Catholic-style with one "n", which ran third. Big Brown's win was tragically overshadowed by Eight Belles, which immediately after the race broke both her front ankles and was then euthanized on the track. It was a very sad ending to what had been a picture perfect day and a very strong performance by both Eight Belles and the winner Big Brown.

The 135th Running of the Kentucky Derby is set for May 2, 2009.

Just before the finish, that's Eight Belles on the left and Big Brown on the right.

Friday, May 2, 2008

326. My Derby Bets

Exacta Box with Gayego, Colonel John, and Bob Black Jack.

Across the Board bets on all three horses.

Happy Derby.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Happy Derby

See you Sunday or Monday.


Born in the valley and raised in the trees
Of western Kentucky on wobbly knees
With mamma beside you to help you along
You'll soon be a-growin' up strong.

All the long, lazy mornings in pastures of
Green, the sun on your withers, the wind in
Your mane, could never prepare you for what
Lies ahead. The run for the roses so red.

And it's run for the roses as fast as you can.
Your fate is delivered. Your moment's at hand.
It's the chance of a lifetime in a lifetime of
Chance. And it's high time you joined in the dance.
It's high time you joined in the dance.

From sire to sire, it's born in the blood. The
Fire of a mare and the strength of a stud. It's
Breeding and it's training and it's something un-
Known that drives you and carries you home.

And it's run for the roses as fast as you can.
Your fate is delivered. Your moment's at hand.
It's the chance of a lifetime in a lifetime of
Chance. And it's high time you joined in the dance.
It's high time you joined in the dance.

Written, sung, and recorded by Dan Fogelberg in 1980, and released on The Innocent Age album in 1981.

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.