Thursday, October 30, 2008

403. Rednecks for Barack

I got an email from one of my Shelby County cousins, one of those “you might be a redneck if” analyses. At the end, there is a line that explains “if you got this email from me, it is because I believe that you, like me, have just enough Redneck in you to have the same beliefs as those talked about in this email.”

My Shelby and Franklin county cousins, which are numerous, think of me and my brother as city kids, as we are from Louisville, and they are from places like Waddy, Graefensburg, Bridgeport, Bagdad, Choateville, and North Benson. Then my friends from Louisville keep a wary eye on me, given that they are from Louisville, while I am from Okolona, South Park, or even Fairdale. It’s all relative. The particular cousin who sent me this is just a few days older than me. And we are affiliated with the same political party. So it stands to reason we have similar views.

One of the lines in her “you might be a redneck if” analyses reads “You know what you believe and you aren’t afraid to say so, no matter who is listening.” I’ve been accused of such thinking for most of my life, so I guess I qualify. But in the litany of “you might be’s” are several others and I’d like to comment on them, vis-à-vis the upcoming election. I think this is important since one of the reasons these emails are being passed about may be political.

So, first I’ll list the “you might be” as received in the email followed by my comments.

You might be a Red Neck if it never occurred to you to be offended by the phrase “One Nation, Under God.” This is an easy one. I’m not offended at all by that statement. I’ve written many times about my beliefs in God, God as creator, God in general. I also know that phrase is officially fairly recent in America’s history. The idea originated with the Knights of Columbus in 1951. After attending a sermon delivered by the Rev. George McPherson at the New York Avenue Presbyterian Church in Washington D.C. on February 7, 1954, President Eisenhower agreed to take up the cause. The picture at right was taken that day. A bill adding these words was signed by the president on Flag Day, 1954.

You might be a Red Neck if you’ve never protested about seeing The Ten Commandments in public places. This one is different. I’ve never personally protested. I do belong to the ACLU and the Americans United for the Separation of Church and State, both of which do protest such things. I have a problem with state-sponsored support of religion. I take it seriously. When I was a candidate for the Metro Council, one of the questions I was often asked was how or if I would support so-called “faith-based” programs for the needy. My response was I wouldn’t. Giving money to churches is not something a government should do, under whatever auspices. I do believe in government sponsored welfare of needy individuals; I do not believe in government sponsored welfare for churches, who then determine who is and isn’t needy. So, by extension, I have a problem with The Ten Commandments as an official government posting or in an official government placement. That doesn’t mean I’m anti-Ten Commandments. Nor does it mean I’m anti- people who support The Ten Commandments, of which I am one.

You might be a Red Neck if you still say Christmas instead of Winter Festival. Like Barack Obama, I am Christian. I do still say Christmas, and I never use an “X” as in abbreviation such as “X-mas.” I also keep track of solstices and equinoxes, and full, waxing, waning, and new moons, which probably makes me suspect.

You might be a Red Neck if you bow your head when someone prays. Another easy one. I pray and I believe in prayer. And I bow my head when I do or when someone else does. I've prayed for any number of things including the current presidency. I've prayed for successes in plans and help with the weather. I've prayed for good health and good jobs, both for me and others. At least once a week I pray the Lord's Prayer, which includes the line "Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us." Take note of that measurement, asking for forgiveness in the measure which we personally dole it out.

You might be a Red Neck if you stand and place your hand over your heart when you someone plays the National Anthem. Another gimme. And I love to go to baseball games and do it with a whole bunch of other people at the same time. I even tend to do so when it is played on TV. One of the greatest feelings in the world, literally in the world, is when Americans win medals at the Olympics and the whole world gets to hear my national anthem.

You might be a Red Neck if you treat our Armed Forces veterans with great respect and always have. I was raised by my maternal grandfather, a World War Two United States Navy veteran. He served in Europe and the Pacific. When I learned to play the piano as a kid, he made sure I learned all the service branch-hymns so I could play them for his buddies up at the Okolona VFW Post 8639 on the old piano in the original hall. I still play them. I still respect him, his friends, and those who have gone on to serve in his place since he is no longer here. Just last week I went on Secretary of State Trey Grayson’s website where he has a program where you sign up to get a button saying you are voting for a Veteran. I signed up, listed my grandfather and his service in the 114th Battalion of the Seabees, WW2. I got my button in the mail and will wear it Election Day.

You might be a Red Neck if you’ve never burned an American Flag not intend to. Well, I have properly burned one, actually several, to dispose of them. But I’ve never burned one myself. But, like our hopefully outgoing United States Senator Addison Mitchell McConnell, Jr., I support our United States Constitutional right to do so. And I oppose a Constitutional Amendment to change that right, thereby abridging one’s freedom of speech.

You might be a Red Neck if you know what you believe and you aren’t afraid to say so, no matter who is listening. That’s what I am doing here!

You might be a Red Neck if you respect your elders and raised your kids to do the same. I’ve only fulfilled one-half of this obligation as I have no kids. But, I’ve tried not to impose my beliefs on my nieces and nephews, even though I have helped in their raising from time-to-time. And I say “Yes, sir” and “No, ma’am” to most everyone as a rule, irrespective of their age.

You might be a Red Neck if you’d give your last dollar to a friend. I’ve been down to my last dollar a few times, so I’ve had that opportunity, but I’ve never actually had to give it away. But, I think I would. Others, many others, have been helpful to me. And, as Saint Paul tells us in his First Letter to the Corinthians, in Chapter 13, “And now faith, hope, and charity abide, these three; and the greatest of these is charity.” Charity is often translated as love in this passage, and the same holds true. Jesus said we are to love our neighbors as ourselves. He didn’t put any limitations on it. There were no suggestions that we limit our love to our spouses, significant others, children, or the people next door; nor to Americans, or English-speakers, or our softball friends; nor to UK supporters, left-handeds, or fraternity brothers.

On the whole, as I stated at the beginning, I qualify for the "you might be a Red Neck if." Now, does the fact that I am fairly liberal, like the idea of spreading the wealth, believe in a program of Universal Healthcare, and am committed to voting for Barack Obama next week nullify that?

I think not.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

402. Bus #402

I suppose you thought you'd be reading a political entry this close to the election. If not for the entry number, you probably would. But, now and then an entry number appeals to my memory for a trip into the crevices of my personal past. 402 is such a number.

I began elementary school at Blue Lick Elementary School in September, 1966, the year Blue Lick Elementary School opened on the road by the same name, on a field about one mile south of Blue Lick Road's intersection with South Park Road. In those days, kindergarten was optional, so one's first year of school was First grade, a logical name. I went to Blue Lick for two years. My mother had actually enrolled me at the old South Park Elementary School on National Turnpike over in Fairdale in anticipation of Blue Lick's fall opening.

Where I lived was just - just - over a mile from the school which, under school board policy at the time, required a bus route. The kids who lived on my street had a very short ride on the bus as we were the closest to the school. As such, we were the last stop to be picked up in the mornings and nearly the first stop to be let off in the afternoon. The one difference in the two routes - going and coming - was Old South Park Road. The logical sequence of stops in the afternoon should have placed us as the first off in the afternoon. But because Old South Park's western intersection with South Park was (at that time) essentially a fork or a "V", the route followed Old South Park the same way going and coming. Driving west on Old South Park allowed for a wider turn back to the east on South Park. This intersection is obliterated today by the relocation of both of these roads due to the construction of the Gene Snyder Freeway in the 1980s. Both roads were relocated slightly to the north. (As an addendum, back then there were two other "Old South Park Roads" further to the west. One of those is entirely gone, while the other is now referred to as South Park Court. Where South Park Court now meets South Park Road is where the original South Park village was located). But, I digress.

The bus route from Blue Lick School to my stop consisted of three streets - Blue Lick, South Park, and Old South Park. Before the opening of Blake Elementary School a few blocks to the north, kids from the subdivisions on either side of Blue Lick south of Fishpool Creek (which is just south of Foreman Lane) were assigned to Blue Lick Elementary. It was up and down Blue Lick to get these kids that my bus travelled before the detour west along South Park and Old South Park. Kids north of Fishpool Creek went to Okolona Elementary School, as did those east along South Park east of the creek. To the west, over I-65, kids on the north side of South Park went to Minor's Lane Elementary School, while those on the south side went to Fairdale Elementary School, and later Coral Ridge Elementary School. There were no Jefferson County schools to the south. Once into Bullitt County, another mile south of the school, on the east side of Blue Lick was the Overdale School district, while the west side was served by Brooks Elementary.

And, the bus I rode through all of First and Second grades was #402. Someday, I may write about the methodology of school bus numbering in the Jefferson County Public School System. For now, I'm just thinking about the fun I had on Bus #402.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

401. KFTC's Voter Guide

In an entry on October 23, 2007, after receiving my Kentuckians For The Commonwealth Voter Guide, I commented on some specific answers given by a Republican candidate in last fall's election, naming that entry "Giving Credit Where Credit Is Due." This year's guide offers yet another opportunity for me to mention a Republican whose views on immigration I find enlightened and appropriate.

As I said last year, as a member of the governing body of the Kentucky Democratic Party, I have an obligation to vote for and help elect Democrats throughout the commonwealth. The Sixth Congressional District, which at one time began just a few miles east of Louisville at the Shelby County line, but now doesn't do so until just past the 48 Mile Marker on Interstate 64 upon entry into Franklin County, pits the incumbent Democratic Congressman Albert Benjamin "Ben" Chandler III against Republican Jon Larson, who, quite frankly, I did not know was running until receipt of my KFTC Voter Guide.

To be honest, Ben has suddenly grown more Democratic this year, endearing him to a wider swath of voters than may have been enchanted by him back in 2003 when he was a candidate for governor. This is most noted in his early endorsement of United States Senator Barack Obama in the Democratic Primary earlier in the year. Ben's Republican opponent has the proverbial snowball's chance in Hell of being elected. That gives Ben the freedom to make endorsements like Barack Obama and Mr. Larson the freedom to part with his Party on issues like immigration.

The following is the KFTC's question and candidate Larson's answer on the subject of immigration.

KFTC: Undocumented immigrants are a growing part of Kentucky’s workforce, culture, and communities as they are for many states across the US. This has caused friction in many areas. Some Kentuckians think that undocumented workers are problematic because they take jobs and government services needed by citizens. Other Kentuckians say that immigrant communities make substantial positive contributions to our state and that their needs are just as important as citizens’ needs – and furthermore our economy couldn’t function without them. What is your stance on immigration and undocumented workers?

MR. LARSON: Too many Republican politicians have publicized impractical anti-“illegal” immigrant proposals. In contrast, I want to express a few common-sense reasons why our government should offer amnesty (non-quota, non-“touchback” paths to citizenship, with immediate issuance of easily renewable federal identification cards). As a true conservative, an anti-bureaucrat, valuing financial welfare for other Americans, I must state the obvious: There is no realistic way to detain and deport more than seven million undocumented Hispanic workers and their dependents.

Our immigration laws are like a discouraging maze, fostered by years of racial (“Chinese exclusion”) and anti-Southern and Easter European, anti-Irishmen, and lately anti-Hispanic prejudices. America is the “Land of Immigrants,” but we have allowed the tired, hungry and poor of the world to become disappointed by our bureaucratic roadblocks. Historically, Liberty (Ellis) Island did not send immigrants back to their birth countries to wait 5-14 years, to be solicited to pay bribes, just so they could legally re-enter our “Home of the Free.” We should never be afraid to welcome fresh blood into our National melting pot.

Please understand that the negative publicity unreasonably frightens immigrants and irritates our American-born Hispanic citizens, discouraging border cooperation. Many hard working and admirably productive undocumented immigrants have been financially victimized, some raped (and more than 450 have dies, some horrifically) along our Southern border. These same individuals, still fearing deportation, cannot obtain basic identification documents, to their disadvantage and our ultimate loss (of insurance and safety protections).

Turn these people into 100% tax payers who can use their ID’s to bank, cash checks, shop and purchase medical and automobile insurance.


Let me add that I concur with Mr. Larson's response.

Monday, October 20, 2008

400. Kentucky Democratic Party State Central Committee Appointments

Members of the Kentucky Democratic Party State Central Committee have received their (our) committee assignments for the upcoming term. The appointments were made by KDP Chair Jennifer Moore, at left, in a letter dated October 17, 2008. This letter also announced the next meeting of the Committee slated for 1:00 pm on Saturday November 22, 2008 at the Wendell H. Ford Headquarters, just outside Frankfort on Democrat Drive.

Here are the assignments:

By-Laws Committee
George Mills, Chair
Chad Aull
Jamie Jameson
David O' Neill
Harold Robinson
Kerry Morgan

Communications Committee
Tim Longmeyer, Chair
Allison Amon
Carla Arnold
Gary Best
Ann-Lynn Ellerkamp
Nathan Smith

Finance Committee
Charles Wells, Chair
Jennifer Moore
Jeremy Horton
Kathy Jo Stubblefield
Winnie Townsend
Bill Ryan
Marcus Woodward
Denzil Allen

Organization and Membership Committee
Millie Diehl and Jane Jensen, Chairs
Queenie Averette
Chrystal Chappell
Betty Morrow
Georgia Quisenberry
Roy Sizemore
Lisa Tanner
Charlotte Lundergan

Steering Committee
Steve Gold and David Tandy, Chairs
Sheryl Edge
Clay Ford
Martha Jane King
Michael Meeks

Faith-Based Caucus
Brad Bailey
Martha Jane King
Betty Morrow

Labor Caucus
Allison Amon
Gary Best
Phinis Hundley

Minority Outreach Caucus
Micheal Meeks
Jeff Noble
David O' Neill

Women Caucus
Carla Arnold
Queenie Averette
Sheryl Edge
Ann-Lynn Ellerkamp
Georgia Qusineberry
Kathy Jo Stubblefield

Young Democrats Caucus
Chad Aull
Chrystal Chappell
Jamie Jameson
Clay Ford
Lisa Tanner
Marcus Woodward


Let me make some comments on these assignments.

First, I've sent an email to the Chair expressing my desire to "aggressively attempt to move the Party forward in matters of importance in the various minority communities where my input is appropriate." The Chair has included Michael Meeks and David O' Neill in this caucus. I've known Mr. Meeks for nearly thirty years and have confidence in his ability to serve in this caucus as well as the overall Committee. My experience with David O' Neill is less lengthy, only knowing him during his recent service on the Committee in his role as the Fayette County Democratic Party Chair. I attempted to make State Party By-Law changes which would have affected both Fayette and Jefferson County during my previous term on the Committee, a move in which I did not have his support. I am hopeful I can work with Chairman O' Neill to complete that task, educating him in my belief that such changes are necessary for a more democratic Kentucky Democratic Party. Further, I intend to use my voice on the Committee to further values important to various minority communities, such as Gays and Lesbians, others who share my beliefs on immigration (surely a minority group of its own given my personal stance on the matter, and further as the immigrants are a minority body themselves), and others whose voices are sometimes lost, or can only be found on blogs here and there, blogs usually ignored or ridiculed by those in positions of power within the Party. I am hopeful I can help these voices be fully heard, and I fully expect the current Chair to listen.

Next, I wish to express my great disappointment with the Chair's failure to reappoint me to the By-Laws Committee, a request I specifically made at the meeting at KenLake where I was appointed to a newly created seat on the Committee. I have expressed this disappointment in an email. I worked assiduously with the former By-Laws Chair, George Blackburn, for four years, along with several others in crafting changes we believed were needed in our By-Laws. I believe there is much work left to be done.

I am looking forward to advancing those beliefs on to those appointed by the Chair for the new term of the By-Laws Committee. I do not know Mr. Mills, but I have known of him for years. He has served Kentucky Democrats well for some time, most recently working as part of the Governor's transition team after his election in 2007. I have great confidence in the professionalism he will bring to this committee with his wealth of experience. I know each of the other members of the Committee, and with the exception of those serving at the pleasure of the current chair, I have a similar respect for the work and support they can offer the Party, especially Harold Robinson of Frankfort, a former Franklin County magistrate and good friend.

Those are the two sets of the Chair's appointments I am most concerned about - those of the committee I sought and those of the caucus where she placed me.

As for the other committees and caucusses and their members, I offer the following. The inclusion of Lisa Tanner on the Organization and Membership Committee is a mark of genius on the Chair's part. Lisa is one the most knowledgeable people I know where it comes to organization within the State Party. I saw this first hand during my involvement with Governor Beshear's campaign, and am seeing it again in the reelection campaign of my congressman, John Yarmuth, where she holds the position I held two years ago, that of Field Director. The truth is, when this election is over in fourteen short days, some effort should be taken by whoever is in charge of the KDP to better and more fully utilize her talents in some high-paying position at Party headquarters, perhaps the only high-paying one there. I am confident Lisa's presence there would bring a more focussed energy as well as a degree of fairness which is presently missing. And we need to keep in mind that those in charge of such decisions are, ultimately, the State Central Committee members themselves and not the Chair, the Vice Chair, or the Executive Director. But, that is another discussion for another day.

Looking at the Steering Committee, my only thought is Steve Gold is a good man and, like Mr. Mills mentioned above, puts the needs of the Party well ahead of other interests and we are well served by Gold's chairmanship of this committee. I have a great deal of respect for Mr. Gold.

The chair has created a Faith-Based Caucus. This frankly concerns me. As someone who has written at length herein about my personal faith, as well as my belief in God, in "in the beginning God," and other "faith-based" values, I am hopeful that it is not the intention of the Chair or this committee to force into our Party policy or further, to force into our governments more than is already there, any additional support of "church" by "state," something I think is ill-advised and unConstitutional. At yesterday morning's mass, the Gospel reading came from Saint Matthew, Chapter 22, Verses 15 through 22. It is a discussion between Jesus and the Pharisees about the divide between church and state. Jesus responds to the Pharisees' questions about paying taxes with the famous retort, "Give therefore to the emperor the things that are the emperor's, and to God the things that are God's." In the older versions many of us learned as children it was "Render unto Caesar that which is Caesar's, and render unto God that which is God's." Even Jesus Christ, the man for whom Christians named their [our] religion, was a proponent of the separation of church and state. I think we should follow Jesus' lead in this matter. I do not have a problem with individual expressions of one's faith, as I do from time to time here in the blog, but to memorialize those beliefs into a Party creed or platform is, for me, a bridge too far to travel. It is a bridge that is already travelled far too often in government.

Finally, I wish the Chair well for the remainder of her term, however long or short it may be, and pledge to work with her for its duration. I am looking forward to working with my old friends and new on the Committee as we move the Party forward during the next several months and years. As 2009 is a non-election year in Kentucky, we have the great chance to capitalize on gains I am confident we will make on November 4. They will be our guide as we head into the 2010 elections, where our goal will be to take back the Kentucky Senate, add to our numbers in both the state and federal Houses, and defeat whichever Republican advances to November in the election for the United States Senate, whether it be Jim Bunning, who I know we can beat, Trey Grayson, who I think we can beat, or Richie Farmer, who is a nice young man.

There are fourteen days remaining until this November's election. There are (as of right now) 91 days and a little over 14 hours left in the administration of George W. Bush.

Thanks Be To God.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

399. Late Seating on Main Street

Last night my friend Preston and I took in the Late Seating performance at Actors' Theater of Louisville, downtown on W. Main Street. This is the third season for the Late Seating series, supporting a variety of local art and artists.

Last night's performances began at 10:30 pm with a 1940s style radio-script, the kind you hear if you, like me, are a regular listener to Garrison Keillor and a Prarie Home Companion on American Public Media (WFPL, 89.3 here along the Left Bank of the Ohio River near Milepost 606). The acting troupe, one of whose number is a friend of mine, came complete with an organ player and sound effects guy. It was a cute script about an invasion of Detroit. Imagine, invading Detroit - intentionally. We needn't worry. The world is safe.

That was followed by a brief conversation with the leader of the Louisville Ghost Hunters Society. They are into places like the Waverly Hills Sanitarium. Jay Gravatte, a friend who is a waiter at my favorite local eatery, the Third Avenue Cafe, at Third and Oak streets, is also a part of this organization.

This was followed by a short performance with three actors and a teddy bear, set in an airport waiting area. It had an interesting ending.

An interview with Ashley Cecil, the Painting Activist, came next. Early in the life of this blog, one of Ashley's pieces was featured, as I recall someting from Corydon, Indiana. You should check out her website,, for more information. She is a very interesting artist.

After an intermission, music was provided by Dangerbird, a Louisville-based foursome - drums and three guitars, two singers. The rock music was heavy on guitar jam sessions, something I really liked. They are a mixture of Allman Brothers, Skynard, Led Zeppelin, and some dreamy Jackson Browne, with a lead singer sounding remarkably like Axl Rose, who I like. I really enjoyed the band.

Eventually the night came to an end, by this time being early the next morning. Preston went on his way, and I went to the local Taco Bell for my Fourth Meal before retiring.

Dangerbird is playing tonight at the Rudyard Kipling, one of Louisville's most original venues, just west of Fourth Street on Oak. Check out their website at

A good time was had by all.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

398. From Sweat to Sweater

What a difference a day makes. After a beautiful full moon on the 14th, the weather here along the Left Bank of the Ohio River near Milepost 606 was a somewhat uncomfortably warm 86 degrees. There was a slight breeze and you could smell the rain somewhere in the distance. Evening came and morning followed.

This morning's temperature at the bus stop was 56 degrees. The mercury rose only to the low 60s, a frankly more appropriate temperature for mid-October than what we've been experiencing. Tonight's low is supposed to dip into the 40s.

There will be some Indian Summer later in the year. For now, the arrival of Autumn, officially occuring three weeks ago, is complete.

Happy Birthday to my friends Irving Montero, who is 38, and John David Miller, who is 35.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

397. Moose or Truffles

My grandparents, Grace and Gene Noble, were bakers. They owned and operated bakeries at Central and Colorado avenues in South Louisville and later in the Strickland Shopping Center on Poplar Level Road in the Newburg area. The last year of business for the old Noble's Bakery was 1972, when my grandfather turned 65. I was 11.

Having grandparents in the bakery business as a kid seems like a pretty good gig. And it was. My brother and I always had the latest, coolest, and biggest birthday cakes, and other family celebrations were faithfully accompanied by the freshest baked goods of many different varieties. Oftentimes on Sunday mornings, my brother and I had the run of the back part of the bakery, where the icings were made, the doughnuts were fried, and the bread was sliced. What a life.

A few years later, as a fourteen year old, I went to work in my frist job at the old Tas-T-O Bakery on Blue Lick Road. It was my first of several jobs at different entities in the Silver Heights Plaza, an older shopping center which grew up as a commercial center for the Blue Lick Road subdivisions of Silver Heights and Treasure Island, developed by David Dulworth and Ed Caven, respectively. There I learned the delicate art of when to turn the doughnuts in the deep fryer and - a lesser job - how to use a broom. The bakery was housed in a trailer which is still there out in the northern end of the shopping center parking lot thirty-four years later.

Eventually, being around all of those sweet things took its toll on my tastebuds. For several years - nearly two decades - I've been missing a sweet tooth. I've actually been ,issing several teeth, but that is a different story. On my birthdays, my mother has always provided me with either a cheesecake or a butter kuchen - not a cake. I don't like cake and I don't like icing for the most part. I do like chocolate ice cream but not most chocolate candy - especially anything made of milk chocolate. Hallowe'en always posed a problem.

But there are times when sweet things find their way into my food chain. Such was the case earlier this summer when I was invited to a friend's alleged "28th" birthday party, notwithstanding the fact that he was born 31 years ago. Whatever. Among the many food items available for consumption was a kuchen/pie looking gastronomical creation, brought to the bacchanalia by the former Vice Chair of the Kentucky Democratic Party, State Representative Joni Jenkins, Democrat of the 44th House District, representing Jefferson County precincts along the west side of Dixie Highway from Millers Lane all the way out to damn close to Watson Lane. Joni was first elected to her Frankfort position in 1995. She is the daughter of the former mayor of Shively, the Hon. Jim Jenkins, and the aunt of one John Andrew Jenkins, better known as Drew, who is a very determined young man helping to elect Democrats here along the Left Bank of the Ohio River near Milepost 606. She is currently seeking a leadership post in the Democratic caucus, hoping to defeat the current Speaker Pro-Tem Larry Clark of Okolona for that position. But, I digress.

Joni's food offering for my friend's party was what I called a Chocolate Mousse Pie. She calls in a Fudge Truffle Pie. We joked in an email exchange about the Chocolate Mousse Pie sounding like a Sarah Palin concoction, while Fudge Truffles definitely has an Obama-possibly elitist sound to it. Imagine, the entire election reduced to dessert descriptions. Except that Sarah is into Moose pies and not chocolate mousse. Sarah is probably into some other odd habits, but we'll leave those revelations to her actions and your imaginations.

Representative Jenkins has promised me one of these chocolate mousse/fudge truffle pies of my own - for my birthday - which was last month. Joni herself is celebrating a birthday soon, one of those "big ones" coming up on the Feast Day of Saint Nicholas. Hopefully, we can celebrate together with a slice of pie.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

396. To Points East - and then back.

I took a Sunday drive yesterday, which I guess made it a Saturday drive . My friend Preston was supposed to make the trip with me but couldn't. The Battle of Perryville Reenactment was on our agenda, but that changed since I had the freedom to drive where I wanted and not where I had promised.

So, here are the numbers:

Out of Louisville on 65 to 61 to 62 to 52 to 457 to 84 to 68 to 34 to 150 to 52 (again) to 27. That was the trip there.

The return trip had fewer numbers. 27 to 4 to 60 to 9002 to 127B to 62 to 127 to 512 to 395 to 64 into Louisville. Actually, the trip should have been a little different. From 27 I had intended to go east on 169 to the Valley View Ferry, then to 1156, Clay Lane, and Cassius Clay's White Hall, then to 75 and then west, but I missed the turn in Nicholasville, which means at some point I'll have to go back and do it all over again.

Along the way, I passed some places of note. One of those was the Parksville Knob. In an early entry on the blog, I indicated that the Parksville Knob was the next closest hill in elevation to Jeptha's Knob in Shelby County. This isn't exactly correct but it is close. Jeptha rises to 1184 feet above sea level. Parksville rises to 1364 feet. The nearby Mitchellsburg Peak, which I also passed, rises to 1302 feet. By comparison, Jefferson County's highest point , South Park Hill, is listed at 902 feet. I do not remember if I have been through these parts before, but I went through yesterday. Getting to that point, I had passed the new Marion County Court House in Lebanon as well as the old Saint Mary's College, outside of Lebanon, which now serves as one of Kentucky's correctional facilities. Lebanon is also home to a National Cemetery.

Once past these Boyle County summits, I ventured into Danville and Constitution Square where Kentucky's official statehood roots were established in the 1780s and 1790s. I followed KY 52 from there and ended up in downtown Lancaster, the county seat of Garrard County, and former (and possibly future) home to my UK Sigma Pi fraternity big brother Mark Metcalf, a former Garrard County Attorney who several years ago fell four votes short in a Republican Primary for Congress to a little known Fayette County state representative named Ernest Fletcher. While that is a different story, I can only imagine how the want of five votes may have changed the recent history of the Commonwealth. But, I digress.

While in Lancaster, I stopped in Napier's Clothing Store on the square. Well-known Republican State Representative Lonnie Napier, who is also a Realtor, auctioneer, and farmer, is the store's proprietor and he and I had a very nice discussion about the state of the State's political scene. While neither of us gave away any secrets, I went away feeling a little better about next month's political prospects here in Kentucky. Representative Napier is an easy going and likable fellow, a well-known legislative orator, something of a southern gentleman, but not someone who votes in any fashion as I would have him do. But, he does vote as the good people of Garrard and Madison counties would like as he has held his office since 1984. It was Representative Napier who told me my old friend Mark Metcalf, now residing in Florida and addressed as Judge Metcalf, may be returning to Garrard County.

Lancaster was as far away as I travelled from the Left Bank of the Ohio River near Milepost 606. From there I went northwest on 27 through Bryantsville and into Jessamine County, where I visited the Camp Nelson National Cemetery. This National Cemetery hold the remains of some 1600 soldiers from Camp Nelson, including over 600 African-Americans who fought on the Union side in the Civil War. Many of the dead from various Civil War battles in Kentucky have been re-interred here, including a number from the Battle of Perryville. Veterans and spouses of many veterans since that time are also interred therein. Visiting National Cemeteries can be a sobering experience, reminding those of us who never served of the sacrifices made on our behalf by those who did. On Friday, I was at another National Cemetery, this one in New Albany, Indiana, for the burial of the father, a Marine Corps veteran, of a dear friend.

Leaving the Camp Nelson cemetery, I missed the turn on KY 169 and found myself trying to get into Lexington when everyone from the UK-South Carolina game was trying to get out. In 1984, I lived for a few months on East Reynolds Road, just east of its intersection with Nicholasville Road, the road I found myself on yesterday. I spent 21 minutes travelling the 1/2 mile from East Reynolds to the westbound ramp to Lexington's New Circle Road, numbered as KY 4. From there I went out of town on Versailles Road, passing Calumet, Keeneland (which is open for a meet through October 25), the Castle, and the road over to the Pisgah Cemetery where Albert Benjamin "Happy" Chandler is buried. I detoured southwest along the Martha Layne Collins Bluegrass Parkway to Lawrenceburg, following north into and out of the city. Rather than take the "four-lane" up to I-64, I followed the old road into Alton. Alton was once known as Rough and Ready, named for the only Whig president who resided in the Commonwealth, Zachary Taylor, whose homestead on Brownsboro Road in Louisville is the site of yet another National Cemetery.

I left the Alton Road and ventured onto the Alton Station Road, eventually making my way out of Anderson County and over to the Shelby County community of Waddy, an old railroad town about two miles south of the well-known "Waddy-Peytona" exit off I-64. And from that intersection, I returned home. It was a nice trip. I wish Preston had made the trip with me.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

395. I missed the 30,000th visitor

This will be brief. I've been busy. It is election season, and not just any election season. So, in my absence, I had a visitor from Bergen University in Bergen, Norway, a place I cannot get to driving the backroads of Kentucky and Indiana. Below are some of the details from their visit. Thanks to all of you for reading.

-- Jeff


Domain Name ? (Norway)
IP Address 129.177.30.# (Bergen University, Norway)
ISP Bergen University, Norway
City : Bergen
Lat/Long : 60.3911, 5.3247 (Map)
Distance : 4,000 miles
Language unknown
Time of Visit Oct 10 2008 5:45:11 pm
Page Views 1
Time Zone unknown
Visit Number 30,000

Saturday, October 4, 2008

394. Congressman Yarmuth's Letter on the Financial Bill

This blog debuted on January 4, 2007 with the opening of the 110th Congress. I don't think I've ever printed anything directly from Congressman Yarmuth's website, but I could be wrong. Below is the letter he has posted on the vote yesterday, one of the most important votes he or any other member of Congress has ever made. I have copied the link as well.§iontree=3,14&itemid=410


Yarmuth Issues Open Letter on Recovery Bill
Friday October 03, 2008

Dear Friends,

Today, I made one of my most difficult decisions since being elected to serve Kentucky’s Third Congressional District. I was faced with two awful choices: voting for a bill that I hate or doing nothing to stop an economic meltdown that would lead to massive job loss in Louisville and throughout the country. I am angry that this is the only option we were given. However, I voted for it in order to stave off economic catastrophe—not for CEO’s on Wall Street about whom I could not care less, but for the people of our streets in Louisville.

There were significant improvements to this version of the bill to ensure that it protected taxpayers and was not a blank check for Wall Street. It authorizes only half the $700 billion requested, limits CEO compensation, and eliminates golden parachutes. The bill approved today increases accountability, provides a tax cut to millions of middle class Americans with a patch of the alternative minimum tax, extends the child tax credit and property tax credits, offers tuition assistance, invests in renewable fuel, and helps small businesses by offering FDIC insurance on deposits up to $250,000.

Still, it infuriates me that this bill is unfair to the people who played by the rules, paid their bills and taxes on time, and took out mortgages they could afford. But what would have been even more unfair is if no action had been taken today, and those same hard working people lost their jobs, houses, and savings. That is the dilemma that we faced today, and I chose to take action.

I have spoken with many Louisville business owners, and across the board, they told me if action was not taken immediately they would be forced to cut jobs-- a lot of jobs, and many felt they would have to close their doors for good. This would come on the heels of more than three-quarters of a million lost jobs in America so far this year. At Ford, Louisville’s second biggest employer, sales were down more than a third last month. Resolving the credit crunch is critical for Ford to rebound and fulfill their plans to expand and keep jobs in Louisville.

Other examples can be found with the homebuilders who are having trouble getting bonds and homeowners with no access to loans; both of which are crucial to restoring our housing market. Failure to act immediately would cause widespread foreclosures that would devalue all our homes, a credit freeze that would devastate the middle class and working families, and the loss of pensions and savings for many seniors and others about to retire.

For weeks, I have urged Congressional Leadership to devise an alternative, and for weeks they have said there was not enough time. I am dismayed by their failure to lead on this point. Yet, with all that is at stake for our community and country, I felt it would have been irresponsible not to act. As much as I hate this bill, the alternative—doing nothing—would have been far worse for working families and retirees in Louisville.

I know this decision will make a lot of people unhappy, and I don’t blame them. This unprecedented step is intended to fend off unprecedented devastation, and put simply, I could not sit back and let that happen to the community or country I love.

This is not the end of our economic turmoil. While the bill may avert immediate catastrophe, we still have a lot of work to do. I pledge to continue to put the working people of Louisville first, and to put an end to the deregulation that got us to this point of national emergency.


John Yarmuth
Member of Congress

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

393. Lame Lame Duck; October's Opening Opinion

The American history books will tell us that the British expression from the 18th century "lame duck" was first applied to the United States presidency during the closing months of the term of James Buchanan. It has come to mean a president (or any office holder) who is unable to be elected again, is on the down side of her or his term, and is essentially impotent.

My younger friends use the term "lame" as an expression meaning out of touch or unsophisticated, not far from what is has always meant - disabled, impaired, or unsatisfactory - essentially impotent. And all the erectile dysfunction medicine ol' Bob Dole has ever peddled can't correct the current lameness of the current lame duck holding court at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW in our nation's capital.

When George W. Bush took the airwaves after the failure of the House to pass the Financial Bailout bill, it occurred to me to ask, "Why in the world does this man think anybody pays him any attention?" Handed defeat at the hands of conservatives in his party and liberals in mine, he was and is the absolute personification of a lame duck and lame-ness. Has there ever been a president in a weaker position than this man? I think not.

I see bumper stickers on cars proclaimimg "Richard Nixon, No Longer the Worst Presdient Ever." In truth, Mr. Nixon, while criminal, wasn't a bad president, even if he was a strange one. I've argued here before that he was one of the last of the great New Deal presidents, in line with FDR, Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy (to a point), Johnson - especially Johnson, and even to a degree Ford, who followed the disgraced Nixon in the White House. As a New Dealer myself, I see what good could have come from the federal largesse of programs had they been handled in a responsible way, which admittedly in many cases they weren't.

The worst president in my lifetime, up until the current occupant, was Ronald Wilson Reagan. He drove us to near bankruptcy while opening up the old Soviet empire, and increasing our relations with China, or as Jacob Payne always calls it, Red China. And what has the end of communism as we knew it brought us? Competition. Capitalistic competition for we which we were and are unprepared. But, Ronnie, may God rest your soul, you have been replaced in my mind as the Republic's worst president by one of your disciples. And for others, even those for whom Ronnie holds a dear place in their heart, they've found a new president worse than - who? - FDR, LBJ. Whoever.

George Walker Bush, the lamest of the lame ducks.


You know, I really hate beginning October with this rather sour sounding entry. October is, without question, my favorite month of the year. There is potential for, at least this year, November passing October is favor, given we can change the country and the planet with our federal elections by throwing out the plutocrats posing as patriotic Republicans - and there are many of them. The deadline to REGISTER TO VOTE in Kentucky is Monday, October 6. If you aren't registered to vote, get registered in the next five days. The future of our Republic may well depend on your vote. Now you may say it is a foregone conclusion that Kentucky will support McCain and not Obama. You are probably right and that is a shame. Shameful for the people of Kentucky many of whom are rejecting Obama out of fear and more than a few out of pure racism. But, the presidency isn't the only thing we will be voting on in November.

The Minority Leader of the United States Senate is a Republican from Kentucky. George W. Bush's right hand man at the table is Kentucky's Senior Senator of twenty-four years, Addison Mitchell McConnell, Jr. As Kentucky has the earliest poll-closing time in the nation, the results from the race between Addison Mitchell McConnell, Jr. and Bruce Lunsford could have an effect on states whose polls close much later. How great would it be for the Senate map to light Kentucky up Blue on election night.

We can do that.

We should do that.

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.