Wednesday, September 30, 2009

548. Over The Hump

My father was discharged from the hospital at lunchtime. Hopefully, like my little car for which I had to buy a new battery last week, his stay in the hospital has him recharged for a few more years of arguing with me about left-wing politics (which he does not like), the Christian Right (which is does not like), modern culture (which he does not like), Barack Obama (who he does not like), George Bush (who he does not like), the Moral Majority (which he does not like), the value of the US Dollar (which he does not like), the growing trade deficit (which he does not like), most protesters regardless of the issue (which he does not like), the maleffects of growing older (which he really, really do not like), or a good juicy homegrown tomoato (which he absolutely does like). As long as he is in an argumantative mood, I know his health is improving. So, we are over the hump with this episode.

Tomorrow, with the start of the 4th Quarter - those who fill out KREF and FEC forms know about this - I will hopefully get the blog back on the road. Thanks again to all who have called or emailed as to my father's health. He will be 70 one month from now. I think he will make it.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

547. Another Update and Wet Weekend News

First, my father is doing better, feeling better, looking better as far a coloring goes, and is eating good and taking his medicine on a regular schedule, something they make you do in a hospital that he thinks is optional at home.

My mother is enjoying his stay in the hospital as she gets a short rest. Despite 45 years of divorce, she still takes care of him. I appreciate all the emails and calls asking about him. He will likely go home on Monday or Tuesday.


Just came in from the NuLu Festival down on East Market Street. They should call it the East Market Festival. NuLu sounds goofy. They tried SoBro a few years back in the area between Old Louisville and Downtown but most people still call that the area between Old Louisville and Downtown. Five years from I expect the area the elitists call NuLu will commonly be known as the East Market Street Corridor, which is how most people refer to it. We just don't do those SoHo type names here along the Left Bank of the Ohio River near Milepost 606.

The festival ended in a downpour with 40 mph winds. I was working a booth with Jamiel Martin and his girlfriend. We had to beat the 40 mph winds taking the booth down before we flew away like Mary Poppins and her umbrella. It was eerily like the Fairdale Parade in 2008, except that that storm came at 2 in the afternoon, not 9 at night. At least we could see. But, the festival had lots of cool ideas, themed around the new theology of green and clean. There was a booth for the Botanica Gardens, planned for River Road and Frankfort Avenue, something I want to learn more about. I ate panini from The Bodega, an East Market bodega, hence the name. Actually the name is from a Spanish word for apothecary, which is slightly a different idea. The word boutique is etymologically the same word and if you squint, you can see the similarity in their spellings: bo-de-ga, bou-ti-que. Ok, maybe not.

While at the fest I saw Stuart P., my favorite, who was with his parents; we all had a good chat. Ran into Kiran Bhatraju, Chris Poynter (who showed me the radar of the storm on his Blackberry), Marty Meyer, the Lindauers, Brandon C., and a bunch of other people including two candidates for mayor, one of which I am supporting. The other remains a friend but the meeting was admittedly (and unfortunately) awkward. Also saw Jonathan Hurst of all people. He was with three young ladies. Again the party ended in a downpour in which I walked the three blocks back to my house. I haven't walked that far in a downpour in a long time and it occurred to me not to be in a hurry - slow down, enjoy the walk and the freedom of being dripping wet from head to toe and not really being concerned over it. Almost like being a kid again.

That's all for now.

Friday, September 25, 2009

546. Update and an Email

Update on my Dad: The hospital says they are going to keep him until at least Monday and then make some assessments. So, at least he is comfortable.

An Email to read. Rather than leave the "blog on hiatus" entry up there, I thought I'd copy y'all on an email I sent earlier today concerning the Kentucky Democratic Party, an amendment I proposed in 2006 to the State Party By-Laws, and the recent resurrection of that amendment by, of all people, one of the very people who worked hardest to keep me from getting it enacted.

The email was sent to members of the Louisville-Jefferson County Democratic Executive Committee. It includes an email I sent to the KDP By-Laws Committee in 2006. Feel free to comment.

Enjoy. I'll be back in a few days.


All --

I am writing to offer comments on a matter Chairman Longmeyer addressed at the Executive Committee meeting on the 23rd. I was not aware he was planning on addressing this matter or I would have attended. As it was, the 23rd was my birthday, and unfortunately was also the day my father was readmitted to the hospital, so I've been busy. For the record, my father is not well, but he is comfortable.

Chairman Longmeyer explained a proposal he has submitted (or will submit) to the State By-Laws Committee for consideration. This By-Law amendment concerns how we nominate candidates in Special Elections, especially for members of the General Assembly, but applicable to any race where the Party must make a nomination. He suggested the current By-Law is "fuzzy" something I do not believe. The current By-Law is very clear and I am pleased he is offering an amendment to the State Party By-Laws Committee to change it.

As many of you know, I was formerly a member of the State Party By-Laws Committee, but neither Chairwoman Jennifer Moore nor the current chair reappointed me to that Committee. The By-Laws have always been a very important matter to be since former Jefferson County Chair Larry Clark appointed me to rewrite our own By-Laws back in 2001, a seven month process with my proposal approved in November of that year. I have served on the Jefferson County By-Laws Committee since that time, although I do not know my present status on the Committee.

The proposal Chairman Longmeyer outlined on the 23rd is something that I generally support, although I am not clear on the absolute details. The general idea is to change the way Nominating Committees are constituted from one person to a minimum of three. The current By-Laws afford one person, the Legislative District Chair, the absolute power to nominate someone should an opening occur in either Jefferson or Fayette County.

Most of you received several emails from me on this matter back in 2006. I have copied one of them below. In it you will see that what Chairman Longmeyer is presently proposing is identical in basis to the proposal I offered in January 2006.

The email copied below - which is admittedly very, very long - is addressed to George Blackburn, who at the time was the State Party By-Laws Chair. On it I copied other members of the State Party Committee, as well as Chairman Longmeyer, former LD Vice Chair Joyce Compton, Ray Crider in his role as webmaster for the Party, the State Party Chair, and several blogs.

I have highlighted the language I proposed in this email dated January 15, 2006. For several years I attempted to have this proposal pass at the State level, but my path was always blocked for reasons I've never fully understood. The last time I attempted to raise the matter was at a State Party meeting on March 1, 2008. As I began to speak, Chairman Longmeyer, also a member of the Committee, moved for adjournment and the meeting came to an abrupt end. I can provide you the minutes if you wish to read them. After the meeting, both Chairman Longmeyer and then-State Chairwoman Moore suggested that I should run for re-election to the State Party and bring the matter up in the new term.

I accepted their suggestion and did run again, and after a contested election was seated a year ago this month. And while I have not had an opportunity to re-submit my original proposal, I am happy that someone else is. I must admit I am a little shocked that it is coming from Chairman Longmeyer, but that is neither here nor there. The idea is a good one, whether coming from me or him.

I am hopeful that the State Party By-Laws Committee will work out the kinks in the proposal and eventually bring it to the full State Party Committee. When and if that happens, I intend to support the proposal.

Thanks for reading.

-- Jeff

See below the highlighted text of my original proposal. If you have any comments, feel free to email. Also, I am copying the current State Party By-Laws Chair on this email. -- JN


[Original Message]
From: Jeff Noble
Date: 1/15/2006 12:23:05 PM
Subject: By-Laws Proposal

George Blackburn, Chair, KDP Rules Committee, Rockport, Ky.
Sheila Holbrook, Neon, Ky.
Hon. Ed Worley, Richmond, Ky.
Denzil Allen, Prestonsburg, Ky.
Charles Wells, Georgetown, Ky.
Jimmy Morphew, Paducah, Ky.

George and fellow By-Laws Committee Members:

Greetings from Louisville and Happy New Year.

I am writing to you to open a discussion about a By-Laws amendment, having
to do with the selection of nominees in Special Elections, specifically in
House elections in Jefferson County. I will be forwarding to you as part of
my request an email which I sent recently to the Jefferson County Chair
Tim Longmeyer, our State Chair Jerry Lundergan, the 37th LD Chair Joyce Compton,
and our nominee in the 37th House special election, Metro Councilman Ron Weston.

Councilman Weston was chosen as our nominee in the vacancy created by
the resignation of State Representative Perry Clark, who is running for
the 37th Senate Special Election. (Both of these special elections, the 37th
House and the 37th Senate, will take place on February 14th). This By-Laws
proposal should not and does not in any way reflect on these nominees, as I
am fully supportive of both of them. Nor should it reflect on Chairwoman
Compton or Chairman Longmeyer in Jefferson County.

As I have explained in the second email you should receive, I am
concerned that any nominee for special election is, under our present By-Laws, selected by one single person. I do not believe this is right or correct, although it is how our By-Laws presently provide for such nomination. I have spoken to Tim Longmeyer personally about this, and while he made no commitment to me on the matter, he did understand why I am pursuing this.

He also explained to me what he believed to be the reason for this, and given his explanation, I understand why the change was made, but I do not feel the change is in the best long-term interests of our Party. I have also, via email, discussed this with Chairwoman Compton, who has indicated to me she supports this effort.

Prior to the change to the current rule, Legislative District nominees were selected under a precinct committee process of the committeemen, committeewomen, and committee-youths of the precincts of a given House district. I understand that over the passage of time, many of these persons move from the precinct or district from which they were elected, thus
creating a vacancy. For instance, I was elected Precinct Committeeman for
my precinct of M-144 in the April, 2004 Reorganization, but have since moved to precinct L-143. It is very likely the position of committeeman in my old precinct remains vacant.

I see returning the Special Nomination process to these folks, the very basic level of our Democratic Party, as a way of ensuring the grassroots, to which we often refer rhetorically, remain in actuality an integral part of the system, not just a one-time need of Reorganization Day every fourth year. In 2001, I ran for chairman of the Jefferson County Executive Committee and one of my proposals was to ask the LDs to update their precinct committee personnel on a regular basis, whether it be annually or quarterly. This would provide for a ready base of voters in events when there is a need, such as a Special Election. Although I did not win that race, I feel the proposal has merit.

However, under the current By-Laws (Article X, Section B), keeping this vital link to the bottom rung of our party organization is unnecessary. This is wrong and reflects badly on the way the Party operates.

Below is my proposal:

A proposal to amend Article X, Section B, Subsection 1 of the State Party By-Laws.

To delete in that Article and Section and Subsection, in its first
paragraph, the word "legislative" from the text.

To add a second paragraph to Article X, Section B, Subsection 2 to
read as follows: "A rules committee shall be formed composed of the
Legislative District Chair(s), Legislative District Vice Chair(s), and Legislative
District At-Large member(s) from such district(s) the vacancy to be filled
Such Rules Committee shall have the authority to determine how
all nominations within such districts shall be made and to declare all nominees
not inconsistent with public or party law. Each member of said Rules Committee of the respective Executive Committee shall cast a vote proportionate to the number of registered Democrats in the political subdivision which that nominee represents divided by three (3)."

The first part of this proposal will return the power of selecting Legislative nominees to the precinct committees in a weighted vote, away from the Legislative District Chairs. By deleting the word legislative" from the text of Subsection 1, the authority for such nominations would automatically be governed by Subsection 2.

The second part creates a committee to deal with how the races are ran and who is qualified, and provides the Rules Committee members a weighted vote proportionate to their representation.

I am very eager to see this enacted.

3rd CD member
KDP, By-Laws Committee member
Louisville, Ky.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

545. Time Out

The blog is on hiatus. My father is back in the hospital for a few days. Until his release, we'll be taking a break.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

544. Summer Stops

By the time you read this, chances are really good you have already missed it. At 5:18 PM today, September 22, 2009, our world, the Earth, crossed one of those magic markers along its annual migration around the Sun. At that point, technically the Autumnal Equinox (here in the northern hemisphere), the tilt of the Earth's orbit is neither toward nor away from the Sun, but at a point on the Earth's Equator, the center of the Sun is directly above. Hence, days get shorter; nights get longer, a process which continues until December 21.

As equinoxes fall about six hours earlier every year (with some correction every leap year), they are slowly but surely moving ahead in the calendar over time. The most common date for the Autumnal Equinox is September 22, slightly different than it has been for most of my life, when it has been September 23, which is also my birthday. As I get older, which I will do tomorrow, fewer and fewer of these cardinal points of the Earth's orbit will coincide with the cardinal points of my life.

On to Autumn.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

543. An Original County Trifecta

Sometime last week my friend Keith requested a free trip to Lexington for he and his friend, something he knows I am usually up for most anytime. They didn't say exactly when it was they wanted to go, so I suggested they could travel with me to Frankfort today, attend with me the State Democratic Committee meeting, then we'd all head to Lexington where most everyone was concerned about THE FOOTBALL GAME but they were only going to see his friend's sister. In fact, they weren't even aware THE FOOTBALL GAME was being played until I explained why all the Jefferson County plates were zooming past us as I leisurely made the drive from Louisville to Frankfort.

So the three of us set out for the Kentucky Democratic Party Headquarters, located on the east side of Frankfort off US60 just south of Interstate 64's Exit #58. They sat through about the first third of the meeting before escaping to the outdoors while I sat through the rest of the meeting. While we aren't supposed to divulge what happens for fear of ouster from the Party, I can tell you without divulging any secrets that we didn't do much of anything today. There was quite a spread for breakfast of some very good food and I ate my share and perhaps that of two others. There was also a few times that I wanted to speak, or vote NO on a matter, but I didn't; I was quiet for the most part. I did speak up when there was an attempt to make an appointment to fill a vacancy on the Committee without a vote, something the By-Laws do not allow. I would have thought that the Party's legal counsel would have caught that - or maybe one of the newly appointed members of the By-Laws Committee, but no one spoke up so I did. Thus a motion was properly made and seconded, and the motion carried filling the vacancy. We are whole once again.

Eventually the meeting came to an end and I rejoined my friends for the twenty-two mile trip over to the Hamburg Place area of Fayette County where I dispatched them at an Aeropostale store in one of Hamburg Place's myriad of shopping centers. I explained to them some of the history of the once-sprawling horse farm, much of which is now developed into way-too-many shopping and office centers. It is frankly abhorrent in my opinion.

Given that I had no where to be for several hours, I thought it would be a good time to make a short drive south to some places I hadn't been in a while, checking to see what has changed and what has not. So from Lexington, I headed south on I-75 across the Kentucky River at Clay's Ferry into Madison County. Avoiding Richmond, I continued south exiting the highway at Berea and found my way into the Kentucky Artisan Center, just north of the collegiate community. This is a combination Rest Area, Restaurant, and Educational Exhibit, with students and other craftsmen and women demonstrating various things, all amidst a commercial venture where lots of Kentucky related stuff can be had for a mere buck or two - or twenty - or a hundred. I was intrigued by some hardwood tree Christmas trees which ran from about $20.00 up to about $70.00. I might go back and get one of these. They are said to be made in Elliott County which, unrelated, is one of eastern Kentucky's reliably Democratic counties, and one of only eight in the Commonwealth which carried for Barack Obama in 2008. Good for Elliott County.

From the Kentucky Artisan Center I ventured south along KY595 into Berea, home to one of Kentucky's college treasures, Berea College, whose history is worth writing about and maybe I will some other day. I got caught up in the traffic related to the Spoon Bread Festival parade, which managed to tie up all three of Berea's main streets. The festival is named for one of the signature dishes at Berea College's Boone Tavern Hotel. It is a corn meal type bread made with butter, milk, eggs, and meal with addition now and then of baking soda and/or sugar. However it is made, the festival in its honor is now in its 13th year. I headed west out of Berea along Chestnut Street, turning south onto US25 down the hill toward Mount Vernon.

Along this two-lane highway, which is a branch of Kentucky's famous Wilderness Road, one finds themself situated between two other forms of transportation. The CSX (formerly L&N) Railroad runs along the east side of the road while I-75 is about a good city block to the west. Leaving Madison County, one enters Rockcastle along the twenty or so mile drive between Berea and Mount Vernon. I followed US25 all the way into the Rockcastle County seat, passing through the Country Music mecca of Renfro Valley along the way.

At the end of US25, one can turn left and go a block and a half to the Courthouse, pictured here, or right onto US150, which is another branch of the Wilderness Road, and is, in fact, here in Mount Vernon, as elsewhere, called Wilderness Road.

Many years ago - it was 1990 - with my late friend Rob, one day we set out to drive the entire length of the eastern branch of US150, which begins over in Martin County, Indiana, follows eastwardly to Paoli and New Albany, then crosses the Ohio River into Louisville, from which it follows generally southeast through Bardstown, Springfield, Danville, Stanford, and Crab Orchard, ending in Mount Vernon. Although I wasn't going back to Louisville right away, I would be making part of that route today, but in reverse. But the route Rob and I travelled then has been greatly changed, and is presently being changed even more. Much of it has been straightened and widened, and even more is being corrected now, a part of President Obama's highway building stimulus fund package to get the economy moving again.

Thus I left Mount Vernon, then passing through the old town of Brodhead, making a left turn to stay on US150 which would in about three miles leave Rockacastle County and enter Lincoln County. The first town in Lincoln is Crab Orchard, which is one of Kentucky's oldest known places, predating the creation of the state by many years. The orchard full of crabapple trees was a meeting place for man and animal alike as it boasted several springs in the area, making it a place of hospitality in the old wilderness of what was home to Native Americans during the exploration of what would become Kentucky. Its post office was founded in 1815.

Staying on US150 requires another left turn, this one in Crab Orchard, which leads into the Lincoln County seat of Stanford. Just east of town, the highway becomes widens and becomes a by-pass. To go through Stanford, one must turn left on the "old road" which is now signed as KY78, but was still US150 when Rob and I made our journey. I believe my Young Democrats friend from back-in-the-day is still the PVA in Lincoln County. David Gambrell is a far more conservative Democrat than me, one more suitable to the voters of Lincoln County. I followed the old route of US150 through town past the courthouse, and then northward along Danville Street which leads, naturally, to Danville.

The road between Stanford and Danville, and in fact from here to my destination of Frankfort, is a wide four lane highway with medians and shoulders, a pleasant drive where one must watch one's speed between one courthouse town and the next. Danville and Stanford make up two-thirds of a trio of courthouse towns which are the closest together of any three courthouse towns anywhere in the Commonwealth. If one were to drive the triangle of US150 from Stanford to Danville, then KY52 over to Lancaster, then US27 back to Stanford, you would drive fewer miles than an entire trip between downtown Louisville and downtown Shelbyville. From this point back to Frankfort, I mostly followed the four lanes, which meant I followed around the towns of Danville in Boyle County, Harrodsburg in Mercer County, and would have driven around Lawrenceburg in Anderson County, except that I like to take the old road south of town, pausing at the Sand Spring Baptist Church Cemetery where my great-grandmother's little sister Vivian Antoinette Brawner Wheat is buried, along with other members of her family.

I followed the old US127 through town which eventually returns you to the four lane, which itself returns you to Frankfort, the place I was headed for a birthday celebration. That was all of my adventure tourism for the day. I will say the birthday party was a grand affair, with plenty of very good food and drink, copious amounts of roasted pork, homemade barbecue sauce, potato salad, and more than a few sasparillas. We were celebrating the 55th birthday of a friend, Phinis Hundley, who is the Larue County Democratic Party chair.

So I started the day in Frankfort with some delicious food at Democratic Headquarters and ended the day in Frankfort with some delicious food at the home of a friend on Watkins Court in downtown old Frankfort. That is until I returned to Louisville, the county seat of Jefferson County.

Here is a trivia question for you. How does the entry title relate to the contents of the entry?


Tomorrow is the 29th birthday of a dear friend, and one well known to many Louisville and Kentucky politicians. Will Carle, who is an employee of the governor's office, is twenty years less three days younger than me. Happy Birthday Will.

Friday, September 18, 2009

542. KDP SCEC - Odd Timing

Tomorrow is Saturday, the day the University of Kentucky and the University of Louisville are playing football. Chances are that a lot of people have plans. You would think it would be an odd day to schedule a meeting. Would it be any odder than scheduling one on the Saturday between Good Friday and Easter Sunday?

The last meeting of the Kentucky Democratic Party State Central Executive Committee was on the Saturday between Good Friday and Easter Sunday. The next meeting is tomorrow, just ahead of the UK / U of L football game. I'm sure every one's minds will be clear.

I've been a member of the Committee since 2004, saving three months last summer. One of the things I have often pushed for is a change in the State By-Laws that would prohibit one person, a legislative district chair in Jefferson or Fayette counties, from having the unilateral power to name a replacement or Special Election candidate in certain instances. For several years I have been strongly opposed in this change by Jefferson County Party Chair Tim Longmeyer and former State Party Chair Jennifer Moore.

I have never understood why they believed in such an un-democratic system as letting one person hold so much power. Not only is it un-democratic, it is also rather un-Democratic, being disrespective of the big and open tent Party. Back in February 2008, rather than allow a discussion of the matter, they adjourned the meeting instead. Very professional move; they told me I could take it up in the next term, assuming I got re-elected. They then worked to make sure I did not get re-elected.

Well, I did get elected, sort of. And someone in this term, not me, has decided that my idea was worth hearing. And, I've learned that Longmeyer has now changed his mind and is beginning to be a little more democratic in how he feels on this measure. Jennifer Moore is no longer Chair so I'm not worried about her vote, although I am sure she can still influence a handful in her place.

I can only say, it is about time.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

541. You don't say, Mr. Carter?

The other night during his speech on healthcare, President Barack Obama used some language - well at least one word - which a lot of us were waiting for. He used the word lies. He used that word to describe some of what has been said by those across the aisle, an aisle which keeps getting wider and wider as the Republican Party keeps painting itself into a smaller and smaller place on the political spectrum.

And then, after the probably-planned outburst of Congressman Joe Wilson, a tool used for fundraising no less, the president became just another in a long line of policy wonks, settling back into the political correctness that abounds amongst the more civil side of Washington DC.

Beginning back in 1980, the first year I could cast a vote for president, the Democratic nominees for president have mostly been a series of overly intelligent rather boring policy wonks. Mr. Obama is, at his core, another in this line. Sure, he was razzling and dazzling them [me] last year, but that was campaign mode. Now he is president and is being presidential, which is to say politically correct. It is the nature of policy wonks to be so. In order since 1980 were Jimmy Carter, Walter Mondale, Michael Dukakis, Bill Clinton, Al Gore, John Kerry, and Mr. Obama. And let's be honest. The only two who were elected in my voting career were only slightly less boring than the others. Bill Clinton had a southern accent and something of a swagger, which seemed to have wide appeal. Barack Obama was seen by some as almost messianic. But, at their base, all of the nominees, all uber-intelligent, all over-achievers, are also all basically boring as Hell, as is most of their ilk. That doesn't make them bad, just very smart and very boring, and sometimes boring when they should be raising some Hell.

Jimmy Carter was the Democratic nominee in 1980, the year of my first vote. He was running as the incumbent, having slipped into office on the disgruntled heels of Watergate. Naval Engineer of some sort, professional large-scale farmer of Georgia peanuts, and former governor of that state, his term in office as the 39th President did not prove successful.

Earlier today over on the Twitter, LEO writer Phillip M. Bailey, whom I follow (to use the proper Twitter-term) entered the idea of re-electing Mr. Carter as president, this in response to the former president's very correct statement that race plays a large part in many folks' oppostion to the tall skinny dude in the White House. We know that to be the case with many voters in Kentucky, and not just in southern, western, or eastern Kentucky, but also in central Kentucky amongst the well-heeled and well-educated, as well as in Jefferson County, in all regions excepting those in the West End and Newburg, where, to be honest race played a role in the other direction as candidate Obama scored about 95% of the vote in these African-American areas.

Bailey's tweet, to use another proper Twitter term, prompted me to respond that I had not supported Mr. Carter, neither in the Primary against Teddy Kennedy, nor in November, when I voted for the Independent candidate, Congressman John Anderson of Illinois. (For the record, I did that response in 140 spaces or fewer). Mr. Anderson was the first of three Illinoians I have supported for president, the other two being Paul Simon in 1988 and the current officeholder. Anderson, Simon (who is deceased), and Obama all fit the mode of boring policy wonk. Anderson, though, was a Republican running as an Independent. In that respect, he is different. Anderson, of course, did not win that race. In fact, he failed to carry one precinct anywhere in the Republic. Carter lost too. They both lost to the 43rd Best President the country has ever endured, the big-spending, big-borrowing, alleged government-hating Ronald Wilson Reagan, one of the Great Prevaricators of the 20th Century. But, I digress.

This entry is about Jimmy Carter calling a spade a spade, to use a potentially really bad analogy. Jimmy Carter suggested that Joe Wilson's probably-planned outburst of "You Lie" during the president's speech on September 9th was rooted in racism. As I do not know Mr. Wilson, I will accept his son's challenge to that thought stating that his father is not a racist. But the sentiments expressed at the Town Hall meetings during the August Congressional Recess strongly suggest that a large number of white people have a problem with the skinny black man with a funny name living in the White House. I'm sure more than a few of those with such a view are residents and voters of South Carolina's Second Congressional District, represented by Congressman Wilson. And Wilson himself admitted that the outburst was influenced by sentiments at recent Town Hall meetings.

President Carter commented in an interview with NBC News, saying, "Racism ... still exists and I think it has bubbled up to the surface because of a belief among many white people, not just in the south but around the country, that African-Americans are not qualified to lead this great country."

Joe Wilson may in fact be among those people who do not hold such a belief. But I am confident President Carter is correct. Mr. Carter has, since leaving office, gone through a Hooverisation. Like Herbert Hoover, who was a grossly unsuccessful president, Mr. Carter has rebuilt his reputation in retirement and is considered one of the great humanitarians of our day, just as Mr. Hoover did in the mid-20th Century.

My real problem today is why is the current president saying Mr. Carter got it wrong?

Sunday, September 13, 2009

540. Random Thoughts

1. Joe Wilson won his 2008 congressional race 54-46. He is being challenged a second time by Rob Miller, a Marine veteran. His fifteen seconds of fame has raised his national profile, and thus his fundraising, by huge margins. It appears that Joe's "spontaneous outburst" was a well-planned event, designed to do exactly what it is doing, which is to raise funds for what may be a difficult re-run in South Carolina's 2nd Congressional District.

2. In my previous piece, I called upon Mitch McConnell to respond to the "spontaneous outburst" and to his credit, he did. He was very clear in his comments the next morning in the Herald-Leader that Congressman Wilson was wrong, and that the president was deserving of respect, irrespective of how you felt about his politics. Kudos to Senator McConnell for his comments.

3. I've looked at my map of Kentucky counties and it has occurred to be I am woefully behind on my average number of counties visited in a given year. The current count stands at 32. I avergage 50 to 60 in a year. Not going to Fancy Farm eliminated several that are regularly visited. I did add one last night, Scott.

4. Last night I attended a wonderful event under the stars in rural Fayette County at the Kentucky Horse Park. Just Fund Kentucky is a Fairness-centered organization in Lexington begun several years ago by Ernesto Scorsone. Last night, they had an open-air dinner on a remote part of the Horse Park, a natural amphitheater. Attendees gathered with their own food and drink - and there was lots of both - along with a band - Superfecta - and a marching troupe which reminded one of festivities at Mardi Gras in New Orleans. At our table, sponsored by Morgan Ransdell and Kevin Hickey, were besides them and me eight other people, about 1/2 from Louisville and 1/2 from Lexington. Our group included Fayette District Judge Maria Ransdell and former Lexington Mayor Teresa Isaac. We had a great time and it was good to see friends from central Kentucky at such an event. There were between 800 and 1000 people out for the night. The weather could not have been nicer.


To get there, although I was running late, I left I-64 at the second Frankfort exit, and headed in a northerly direction on westbound US 60 toward Frankfort. At the big intersection, where Versailles Road turns into the Thorn Hill By-Pass, and one would turn left to go into town down the hill past Kentucky State University on the right and the Human Resources Building (commonly known in Frankfort as the Health Department) on the left, I instead turned right onto E. Main Street, which is eastbound US60. This road leads past the Elkhorn Middle School, Franklin County High School, and Franklin County's Lakeview Park. Further out, where the four lanes are reduced to two, one passes a Jim Beam Distillery on the left, then continuing, through the community called Forks of Elkhorn, or simply, the Forks. This is where Elkhorn Creek divides into the North and South Forks. Canoe enthusiasts know the area as a launching point for CanoeKentucky. The old and new Buck Creek Baptist churches are on either side of the road, which unfortunately, is scheduled at some point to be widened out to four lanes, thus destroying the bucolic feel of this area. On the east side of Elkhorn Creek, the road rises into the lush lands of central Kentucky into the horse farm area of the Bluegrass. US460 is a fairly straight due-eastward road headed toward Georgetown in Scott County. The last Franklin County area is called Woodlake, which is more of an intersection than a neighborhood. Not too far into Scott County is the turnoff just ahead of the White Surphur community onto Iron Works Pike, known as KY1973.

I wish I knew the history of Iron Works Pike but I don't. It is one of the longest runs of straight two-lane highways, bearing no curves, anywhere in Kentucky, running a course of about 24 miles from its start at White Sulphur in Scott County, across the northern and eastern tier of Fayette, ending at the Paris Pike in northeastern Fayette County. The Kentucky Horse Park, where the roads has been widened and where a slight curve allows a square intersection at US25, is about halfway along this route through the magnificent horse country for which Kentucky is well known. So, by taking this route, I got to add one county to my list of visits. I need to do some travelling to keep my average up.

Have a good week. We have nine more days of this very-bearable summer left.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

539. Fifteen Seconds of Fame - Uncivil and Embarassing

Congressman Joe Wilson of South Carolina is the face of the modern day Republican Party. It isn't enough to send outsiders into a Town Hall meeting for heckling purposes at Democratic members of the House of Representatives. This dyed-in-the-wool Republican wanted his fame spread far and wide. A sitting member of Congress during an address by the President of the United States to a Joint Session of Congress calls the president a liar. What he did was open his mouth and show his ass - as well as his true colors and those of most Republicans. They are uncivil and they are embarassing.

Kudos to Senator John McCain immediately following the speech calling for an apology. And, a short time later the punked-up "I got you Obama" Wilson called the White House and apologized to Rahm Emanuel. That isn't enough. He made the outburst on national television. He needs to make the apology on national television, maybe on the Sunday morning talk shows. He needs some face time - he needs to counter his fifteen seconds of fame with sixteen seconds of humility. John Boehner and Mitch McConnell should be at his side showing some remorse, if that is possible. And Republicans in every level of government, from county courthouses and city halls, to state legislature, state capitals, as well members of the United State House and Senate, owe the people of the United States an apology for one of their own.

The modern day Republican Party, as demonstrated by Congressman Joe Wilson, is a band of thugs, haters, bullies, and gun-toters who can't accept that a black man sits in the White House. I believe their ultimate aim is unfortunately sinister. And I believe they must be stopped before they go too far.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

537. Lazy Tuesday Entry for Metro Club Wednesday

The monthly meeting of the Metro Democratic Club is tomorrow, Wednesday, at 6:30 pm. The guest speaker will be Kyle Cox, Executive Director of the Kentucky Democratic Party. I had a great deal of problems with the previous ED of the KDP. I haven't had any with Mr. Cox, so far. Of course, I've never met him.

Here is the email blast from the club:


Guess what? There's a New Leader in Frankfort, and he's Speaking at Metro Dems this Wednesday!

Kyle Cox, the new Executive Director of the KDP, will speak at Metro Dems this Wednesday, September 9th, at the American Legion Hall on Bardstown Road. He has been on the job since June, and has insights and experiences galore to share. Join us to learn more about Kyle's plans and goals for the KDP!

Doors open at 6:00 for food, drinks, and general carrying-on.

Meeting starts more or less promptly at 6:30.::

More about Kyle Cox --
Cox has spent the past two years developing targeting and Get out the Vote strategies in several southern states for President Barack Obama's victorious Primary and General Election campaigns. Hailing from Southern Indiana, Cox grew up on a farm, raising cattle and participating in 4H. Working for Democrat campaigns since age 11, Cox has learned how to campaign and win Elections in predominantly Republican districts and also helped Indiana Democrat Governor Frank O'Bannon win re-election in 2000.

Campaigning in 11 states over 12 years for candidates up and down the ballot, Cox brings a wealth of experience to his new role in the Bluegrass state.

Cox is a 1997 graduate of the School of Public and Environmental Affairs at Indiana University-Bloomington. He was recognized in 2004 by his alma mater as a "top 30 under 30 to watch."

See you at Metro Dems!

Wednesday, September 9th

Refreshments at 6, meeting at 6:30

American Legion Hall
2919 Bardstown Road


Monday, September 7, 2009

537. Long Entry for a Short Week

Okay folks, it is the second week of September. At some point this week K-Mart and Walmart will start dragging out Christmas trees and wrapping paper. Summer, the season of leisure, is coming to an end. Time to get serious.

Using that last line as a backdrop, let us review what's ahead on the national agenda in this holiday-shortened week. The week starts with the 535 legislators elected to the Congress returning to their respective Houses to do the people's work, earning their minimum of $174,000.00 as the elected representatives of the people and the states. In the United States Senate, of the 100 members there are 58 Democrats, 39 Republicans, and two Independents, one siding for the Ds and the other for the Rs. And there is one vacancy due to the passing of Senator Ted Kennedy, a vacancy which will no doubt be felt in great measure for the next few years. In the House, of the 435 members, 256 are Democrats and 178 are Republicans. There are no Independents and presently one vacancy, in California. There are also six non-voting members representing the various colonial holdings of our Republic.

One would think that with such margins of control, the Democratic Party, led by the President of the United States of America, could move legislation through the Congress at whatever pace it determined to be appropriate. That may be true for some legislation such as the naming or renaming of a post office, or the declaration of this week or next in honor of this cause or that cause. However, there are two issues presently before the Congress which seem to be at something of a standstill: healthcare and the War in Afghanistan. The latter will eventually be referred to as Obama's War. He talked about its importance during the election and his actions have placed him not only as the de facto but also the de jure Commander-In-Chief of that war. He is gambling on that matter, gambling that the voters who elected him on a get-the-troops-out-of-Iraq platform won't turn on him as he sends more and more of them into Afghanistan. If I were a gambling man with money, I'd wouldn't bet on the president's side.

The other issue is healthcare. We've lived through a month of complaining about the various healthcare bills before the Congress. It is time for the Congress to come together and vote on one. During the Town Hall debates, Democratic congressmembers across the country endured what was essentially bitch-sessions, often populated by those who, by a vote of the people in November, 2006 and another one in November, 2008, lost control of the Congress and the presidency. But, they apparently haven't lost control of the country or this matter would be far more advanced that it is. It amazes me that a president, a House, and a Senate, all controlled by one Party cannot address the very serious problems surrounding healthcare.

Part of the problem has been messaging. With several different bills, the message of any good work such as reform might do was lost in cacophany of opposition who picked and choosed [pardon the language] bits and pieces of the bills with which they disagreed. Or, in some instances, such as that of former Governor Sarah Palin and her comments on "death panels," they just plain lied and did so intentionally. There hasn't been one clarion voice on the matter, making clear the proposal and making clear the mandate the Democratic Party received in the two preceding elections. We won. I've written that before. Why aren't we acting like it?

I'm tired of the hit-or-miss leadership from the Speaker of the House on this matter. I had been told there was an opportunity for our own congressman to be one of the voices on this matter, addressing the issues lucidly and coherently. For whatever reason, that didn't happen. Over in the Senate, with the loss of Senator Kennedy, there are no voices of courage or conviction, notwithstanding the fact that 58% of the Senators are Democrats. All of this must change and soon.

Such change might come this week. The president was just up the river in Cincinnati, Ohio addressing a labor day gathering of mostly friendly laborers on a wide variety of topics, inclduding healthcare. He joked that he might need to save his voice for Wednesday night, when he is scheduled to address the country on the matter in what might be his last shot of taking control of a country which numerically gave him control ten months ago in an election. If he does any compromising, something I usually believe in but in this case do not, he will have lost the passionate support of many of us who passionately supported him through much of 2008. If he does that, life - meaning reelection - will get much more difficult for certain Democrats in 2010.

For the record, I'm not presently concerned about the reelection of my congressman here along the Left Bank of the Ohio River near Milepost 606. He will be challenged, but he should also easily prevail. If the president doesn't come on board soon with some strong language though, the story may be different over along the Right Bank of the Ohio River near Milepost 606, where the voters returned Baron Hill to Washington mostly because he wasn't a Republican like his opponent, former Congressman Mike Sodrel. However, as part of the Blue Dog Caucus of Democrats, now and then Hill seems to be more of a Republican than a Democrat. My friend Ken says "Blue Dog" is French for "chicken-shit." People like Hill enjoyed the support of the national Party and its allies in 2008. But now that they need him, he is, well, a Blue Dog. If Hill fails to support the national Party on this matter, there should be some serious consideration to letting Indiana's 9th Congressional District fade from their financial radar screen. And Congressman Hill is not the only one in need of such an attitude adjustment.

Taking such action presumes the Democratic Party leadersip is willing and able to do so. Back in 2006, I had the opportunity [notice I did not use the word pleasure] of meeting then-chairman of the DCCC, then-Congressman Rahm Emanuel. Every thing I had heard about him he proved to be true. When President Obama tapped him as Chief-of-Staff I was pleased knowing that there was a bulldog on board to shepherd those things through Congress which might need a bulldog to get them through. I saw him as something of a Master of the Senate in the mold of Lyndon Baines Johnson. Emanuel could serve that purpose for the House just as Vice President Joe Biden could do for the Senate, having served there for more than a few generations.

Well, gentlemen, Mr. President, Mr. Vice President, and Mr. Chief-of-Staff, the time has come to do something. This week.


But first, the president wants to talk to our nation's schoolchildren. No-brainer you might say. Not so. People, mostly white people in places where Obama did not win in November, places such as Kentucky, don't want the elected black president speaking to their young-uns. Why? Oh, he's a Socialist, a Muslim, a Commie, and a Democrat. And he is black, although that is not the words many of them use. Honestly, it is embarassing to think that our political divide is such that the president can't talk to school children. But, this isn't a political divide. This is a racial divide. The people opposed to the president addressing the nation's schoolchildren may hide behind political and economic arguments. They may as well be hiding under a sheet with two holes cut out for eyesight - they might even own such a sheet. They are racists, pure and simple. And as bad as that is, it is also pitiful. These people should be pitied. They are what is wrong with America. One would have thought their day was past. Theirs is a political ideology founded in the politics of Strom Thurmond and continued in that of George Wallace, both of whom made people believe the Civil War had been won by the Confederacy. In the 1960s, the sentiment went mainstream; Nixon adopted the Southern Strategy and became a "law and order" man, code words aimed at lawlessness, some of it remnant of the riots of the summer of 1968. Reagan borrowed the ideas, as did, surprisingly, old man Bush, with his Willie Horton ads. The "official hate" is back, now found in the words of right-wing talk show hosts and politicians such as the aforementioned Palin. It is mainstream Republican politics. But it, like the Republican Party itself, is anything but mainstream.

Remember, 53% of the people voted for Barack Obama. 58% of the Senate is Democratic. 59% of the House is Democratic. Mr. President, it is time to use your bully pulpit and keep the promises of 2008 and you can not allow the Democratic Congress to be in your way.

535. Short Entry for a Long Weekend

Labor Day Weekend is about over. I think this is the latest Labor Day can be - the 7th of September, the day old George H. W. Bush once attributed to Pearl Harbor Day. At some point in its history, Labor Day was adopted by Organized Labor, of which my grandfather Dan Hockensmith was a member.

He, like his father Elijah before him, was a member of Carpenters Local 64, first in its headquarters on Washington Street, then later in the "new" building on Dixie Highway, just south of Crums Lane. That building is no longer in use and the Carpenters operate out of a building on Durrett Lane, off Preston Highway. That would have been very convenient for my grandfather during his long service as Business Agent for the local.

So growing up it was always my impression that Labor Day was specifically for my grandfather and his friends at Local 64. And, to be honest, it still is. There is an irony in the phrase Labor Day since there shouldn't be much labor by laborers on Labor Day. Shouldn't it be Laborers Day? Maybe it was but that was just to many Rs for one word.

I've arisen with a very bad headache so I don't think I'll be doing much celebrating, which would involve some laboring. No labor for me on Labor Day. Tomorrow it is back to work. Summer, while technically not over for a few more weeks, is as of today, headed into the sunset and the history books.

Happy Labor Day.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

535. Full Moon Makes Life Interesting

The first Friday of each month along Louisville's East Market Street corridor is alive and well with the monthly Trolley Hop, although more people actually walk the hop rather than ride. A cornucopia of art shops and studios, restaurants, wine tasting, knick-knack stores, bluegrass musicians, and circus acts take to the streets each month entertaining and enticing folks from all over town and from all walks of life. You'll find old and young, black and white, Democrats and others, emokids and elderly bluehaired women, and everyone in between each celebrating our city's cultural and demographic diversity. I live in this neighborhood, which has recently been re-christened NuLu. I'm not really sure what that means, although it looks like New Louisville as opposed to Old Louisville, a different neighborhood which is not as old as plain Louisville.

So my friend Chris and I ventured up and down a few blocks of Market, with our six ounce plastic cups of wine in tow - local Pinot Syrah wines from the Felice Vineyards in the 800 block. We stopped in some art shops, watched a belly dancer tango with a snake, and ran into more than a few friends doing the same. As the beautiful evening sun left us, the sky was overtaken by a large orange, almost freaky looking full moon. This early September full moon is called the Corn Moon in some circles, attributable to the early harvest of grain. Full moons which occur later in the month and closer to the Autumnal Equinox are usually called the more well-known Harvest Moon.

Under the light of this Corn Moon we trekked out to the 1700 block of Bardstown Road, seemingly just as crowded if not moreso than East Market Street to an Indian eatery on Chris' list of favorite places to eat. I had never been to Sitar before although it has nothing to do with any worry of foreign foods. Anyone who has seen me knows it is obvious me and food, of whatever ethnicity, are very good friends.

At Sitar , Chris had some sort of very-spicy vegetarian goulash while I had Chicken Tikka Masala, a medium spicy curry gravy with shredded chicken. Both meals were served over steamed rice. They were followed by some sort of honey-dipped fried bread ball, about the size of a doughnut hole. My chicken curry melange was wonderful. I spoke to the owner about how pleased I was indicating I would be back. He said to bring friends. It was really an excellent meal.

From there we visited my friend Lisa's house and she happened to have a mutual friend, Will, over as well. The four of us had a good, if brief, time catching up on where we've all been. We've all worked together and apart in various political campaigns. Of course - or unfortunately, I am the oldest of this group while Chris is the youngest. The only one's age I know for sure (other than my own) is Will who is three days off from being exactly twenty years younger than me.

At that point, I took Chris back to our starting point and I returned here where upon reading the latest news, I find that Kentucky's Attorney General has decided that our state government can not only call upon the Almighty for assistance, but that in fact of law, it is his belief that we are reliant upon the Almighty for our state's security and he is willing to appeal the decision of a Franklin Circuit Court Judge to make his case. That to me is respecting one religion over another, something I believe to be unconstitutional. But, I didn't graduate from law school, nor have I been elected Attorney General. I, in fact, supported the Attorney General in his bid for that office, as I have in his bid for every office he has sought, including the current one.

The Attorney General, who has been known to call himself a "tough SOB," is shown at left with Congressman John Yarmuth. Tonight's announcement to appeal Judge Thomas Wingate's decision is mightily trying my patience on this overt comingling of church and state. I prefer my church and state be kept separate, as far as each other's operations are concerned. After all, it was government officials, acting in collusion with religious officials, that decided Jesus Christ should be hung on a cross to die. You would think someone would learn from that incident - that letting one control the other is wrong. How I worship God or if I worship God is my business.

Those of you who know me know that I do believe and worship God and often request and sometimes rely upon his help and intervention in what is happening in my personal private life. But that is my business. It may even now and then be my fervent prayer that God intervene into the affairs of my city, state, nation, and world. It is in fact a regular part of the Prayers of the People during the church services I regularly attend. But it is quite another thing for a state of 4200000 people, not all of whom believe or worship the same or any god to have their state relying upon a particular god in their name. Again, it is unconstitutional. And I believe that deep in his heart, the Attorney General knows that.

Let's hope this phase of the moon passes soon before someone else decides to do something out there on the lunatic fringe. Maybe President Obama will want to address the nation's schoolchildren, or some woman from the South End might want to get into the mayor's race. Or - well, you get the picture.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

534. Yarmuth's Town Hall - My Non-Report

I didn't go. I'm claustrophobic. I figured the crowd would be more anti- than pro- and I wasn't going to be stuffed into Jefferson County's largest public school auditorium which holds about 1400 people just to hear John tell me what I already know amongst a majority of whom both he and I disagree. He gets paid to do that, I don't.

Here's the deal. Our system is broke. Our system needs fixing. And we won the presidency, we control the House, and we control the Senate, so we should be able to fix what we think is wrong.

I've read the Courier's take on the meeting along with their pictures. The best one shows John holding up the bill and pointing to the page and paragraph where illegal undocumented workers (those damned foreigners I think is who he was talking about) won't be convered by the bill. Will not be covered. Just the other night my friend Paul Hosse insisted on his blog that they would, referring to some kind of loophole. I would ask him to do what Yarmuth did - find the cite in the bill, mark it with a yellow stickie, and get the C-J to take a picture. Don't refer me to some talking point memo; refer to what is actually in the bill.

The best take I've read this morning came from a correspondent for The Ville Voice blog. I will not quote from it here because they are very sensitive to copyright issues and things like that, so instead I've copied below a link to that page. It is pretty good coverage, fair and balanced, and all that.

Two bottom lines. I don't really care how the minority of Americans feel about the way Obama is leading the country right now, just as most of them didn't give a damn about me when the at-first unelected Geroge Bush was in charge. We, the Democrats, won the presidency, won the House (John Yarmuth by 19 points), and we won the Senate. We won, get it.

The other point is this. My congressman, about whom I've written so much in this blog, has done something that Mitch McConnell, Jim Bunning, Ed Whitfield, Bret Guthrie, Geof Davis, Hal Rogers, and Ben Chandler didn't - and, for the record, that's six Republicans and one Democrat. Congressman John Yarmuth faced his constituents in a Town Hall meeting in his district's largest public school auditorium and told them what it is he has been doing as their representative in Congress. Even for those who disagree with him, he should get credit for being real. (And for the record, for those who are concerned about the congressional leadership across the river along the Ohio's right bank, Congressman Baron Hill, Democrat of the 9th District, also had a Town Hall meeting, his a few days ago. Good for Baron Hill too).

The link to The Ville Voice is below.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

533. California Special Election Results

Mr. Woods did not win. He ran a distant 5th overall and only did well in Solano County, where he ran second to Ms. Buchanan. She ran third overall to Lt. Gov. John Garamendi, now the Democratic nominee. Garamendi will now have to beat the Republican David Harmer, American Independent candidate Jerome Denham, Green candidate Jeremy Cloward, and 3rd indepedendent Mary C. McIlroy. This is a solidly Democratic district and it is likely that somewhere in Washington, stationery is already being ordered for Mr. Garamendi along with a nameplate.

Mr. Woods ran a proud campaign and I hope he stays in the political process. California's open congressional seat election laws are very different from Kentucky's, in at least three ways. Here the Party nominees would have been selected by a vote of that congressional district's resident members of the State Central Executive Committee. Further, Special Elections are notoriously low-voted here in the Commonwealth, Robin Webb's recent election being somewhat an exception. California allows early voting by mail and many of the district's voters had mailed in a ballot before the polls open. And a fluke this year, Governor Schwarzenegger by Executive Order extended the voting hours to allow firefighters battling California's wildfires time to return home to the district and vote, which was a very humane thing to do. So this was a high turnout election. Finally, under California law, everyone from all Parties run on one ticket. If no one gets 50% outright, then the Party candidates with the most votes advance to general election which is what will happen here. While Mr. Woods got only 8.48% of the overall vote, he got about 13% of the Democratic vote. Hopefully he will take a closer look at Solano County offices where he did the best. He obviously has something to offer the people of California. Still in all, it has to be pretty cool for a 29 year old running against the lieutenant governor of the state to get 8217 votes.

The election results are below:

John Garamendi (Dem) 25,329 26.15%
Mark DeSaulnier (Dem) 17,001 17.55%
Joan Buchanan (Dem) 11,625 12.00%
Anthony Woods (Dem) 8,217 8.48%
Adriel Hampton (Dem) 350 0.36%

David Harmer (Rep) 19,932 20.58%
Chris Bunch (Rep) 4,445 4.59%
Gary W. Clift (Rep) 3,862 3.99%
John Toth (Rep) 3,123 3.22%
David Peterson (Rep) 1,541 1.59%
Mark Loos (Rep) 382 0.39%

Jeremy Cloward (Grn) 506 0.52%

Jerome "Jerry" Denham (AI) 279 0.29%

Mary C. McIlroy (P&F) 259 0.27%

[Edited at 12:22pm, 09/02/2009]

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.