Saturday, March 27, 2010

612. Trivial Answers to the Jefferson County Federal Highway Route test

We had one brave soul provide answers to the Trivia Quiz from earlier in the week. Ergo, "Jeff n Clifton" wins by default. Below in bold are the questions, followed by Jeff n Clifton's answers in italics, followed by my snarky comments in regular font.

1. What is the name of the road marked as US42 northeast (or outside) of the Watterson Expressway?

I’ve never heard of the roadway outside of the Watterson ever being called by any proper noun. Do you mean to ask about Hwy 22 outside of the Watterson?

Jeff got the answer correct. US42 outside (or northeast) of the Watterson is called US42. Inside the Watterson it is called (for the most part) Brownsboro Road. A small part of it is called Story Avenue. Brownsboro Road outside of the Watterson is routed as KY22. Jeff gets 1/2 point extra credit for even mentioning KY22. 1.5 right, 0 wrong.

2. Where does Interstate 265 begin and end?

265 starts at the intersection with I 65 and ends at I 71.

Correct. Beyond those two interstates, it is numbered solely as KY841. 2.5 right, 0 wrong.

3. Two different Interstates are co-signed with two different State Highway routes. What are they and what are their co-signed state highway routes?

I’m gonna skip this one.

If you knew the answer to #2, you would have gotten 1/2 of #3. I-265 is co-signed with KY841 for its entire length, between I-65 and I-71. The other one is I-65 and KY61. They are co-signed in the area of the Hill Street overpass, with a ramp from Preston Street to I-65 to Jackson Street for northbound KY61 and from Preston Street to I-65 to Arthur Street for southbound KY61. 2.5 right, 1 wrong.

4. For whom was the Watterson Expressway named and why did she or he deserve it? (If you are under the age 30, here is an easier one: For whom was the Gene Snyder Freeway named and why did she or he deserve it?)

The Watterson was named for Henry Watterson to honor him as editor of the Louisville Times and then the Courier-Journal after the two papers merged.

Jeff must be over 30 since he didn't address the Snyder question and thus gets full credit for properly answering the Watterson part. The Gene Snyder Freeway was named for long-term Congressman M. Gene Snyder of Kentucky's 4th (and for one term, Kentucky's 3rd) congressional district. During Democratic Governor John Y. Brown Jr.'s term, the governor along with his Transportation Secretary, Frank Metts, worked closely with the Republican congressman and the newly elected Republican president Ronald Reagan to finally finish what was then called the Jefferson Freeway. 3.5 right, 1.5 wrong.

5. What three once-rural communities (and one still is) are on the "old roads or old routes" of a present day US highway?

I’m gonna skip on this one, too.

The three are Buechel (on the old US31E), along with Middletown and Eastwood (on the old US60). Eastwood remains a rural enclave with its own post office - not a branch of Louisville - and its own Zip Code, 40018. 3.5 right, 2.5 wrong.

6. What former three-digit US route once served Louisville, co-signed for most of its route with US60?

U.S. 421.

The answer is US460. Long time readers of the blog may remember an entry or two about the former US460. From the 2nd Street bridge eastward, it was co-signed with US60. At one time, it extended westward from 2nd Street down to the K&I Railroad Bridge over into New Albany. In much of southern Indiana west of New Albany, the former route is signed as IN62. 3.5 right, 3.5 wrong.

7. What was the original name of the Gene Snyder Freeway? (There are actually two answers, but only the more recent name is widely known. Either answer wins).

Jefferson Freeway.

Correct. It was first proposed as the "Outer Belt" and the Watterson as the "Inner Belt." Maps carried these names into the 1960s. By the time the Snyder was finished, another road had usurped the "Outer" name - Outer Loop. Sometime I'll write about all the former stretches of roads here and there that came together to form the Outer Loop. 4.5 right, 3.5 wrong.

8. What is the "honorary" name of US31E?

Lincoln Highway.

Correct. The official name is the Abraham Lincoln Memorial Highway. The name was only recently applied to US31E in celebration of Lincoln's 200th birthday. Much of I-65, the exception being in Jefferson County, also carries this name. 5.5 right, 3.5 wrong.

9. Where is US31?

North & South of Kentucky; it is only in Kentucky that the highway is formally divded into “east” and “west” routes.

Jeff should get some credit for taking a stab at this answer, but a quick-see at a map of Tennessee will show US31E and US31W both extend into the Volunteer State. And it wasn't that long ago that they both extended into Indiana, joining up in the Sellersburg area. But since the closing of the K&I Terminal RR Bridge in the 1970s, US31E and US31W have come together at the intersection of 2nd and Main streets at the foot of the Clark Memorial or 2nd Street bridge. Thus, for just over one mile, US31 runs north across the Ohio River, all of which save the final 112 feet (at normal water and flood stage) is in Jefferson County, Kentucky. 5.5 right, 4.5 wrong.

10. With regard to US highway routes, what is unique about the 100 block of S. 22nd Street?

I’m not entirely sure but I think it has to do with the routing of US 150 – can I get partial credit for that?

Indeed, it does have to do with the routing of US150 so partial credit is granted. Remember the quiz concerns Federal highway routes in Jefferson County. This block, which is one-way south, carries the eastbound US150 route from Main to Market. Eastbound US150 in fact follows 22nd Street from I-64 all the way to Broadway. But it is this one block about which we are concerned. This block also carries the westbound US60 route which turns directionally south onto 22nd Street from Main and continues southward toward Dixie Highway south of Algonquin Parkway. Other streets are cosigned in Jefferson County, having two routes. Bardstown Road is US31E/US150, Dixie Highway is US31W/US60, Main and Market streets are US31E/US60 or US31W/US60, Story avenue is US42/US60 from Frankfort Avenue to Baxter Avenue. But this 100 block of S. 22nd Street has three US routes. In addition to eastbound US150 and westbound US60, it also carries the southbound US31W route, which follows the westbound US60 pattern from 2nd Street downtown southward all the way to Fort Knox. But this one block is the only place in Jefferson County where three Federal routes, US31W/US60/US150, are co-signed on the same street. Jeff, generously, gets 1/2 credit. 6 right, 5 wrong.

BONUS: Name the only county in the United States with two sets of consecutively numbered Interstate routes.

I'm gonna pass on the bonus questions, too.

This was arguably the easiest question. The test is about Federal highway routes in Jefferson County, Kentucky. There could only be one answer. Jefferson County, Kentucky. The two sets of routes are I-64 and I-65 and I-264 and I-265.

Since these were bonus question, Jeff doesn't lose points for not getting the answer. With his partial credits here and there, he finishes "Best-In-Class" at 60%. Congratulations.

End of class. We'll do this again and see if we can get more participation.

The picture below, a copyright of Steve Nelson, was taken June 6, 2009. It is the northeast corner of 22nd and Market streets. Here US31W and US60 turn directionally east onto Market while eastbound US150 continues south along 22nd Street. The signage is technically incorrect. It should say "To North US31W" as US31W doesn't join Market until you cross 21st Street which is one block east of this intersection. But the picture conveys the answer above.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Munfordville Bus Crash

We've all read the tragic news of the bus crash this morning on I-65 in Hart County. Please remember the victims of the crash and their families in your prayers. Such a tragedy is beyond understanding. They were all members of a Mennonite Church in Cumberland County. The truck driver has also died. There are apparently two or three very young children who survived.

For those of us old enough it brings back memories of the Carrollton Bus Crash on I-71 in May 1988. That crash also involved members of a particular church, an Assembly of God congregation from nearby Radcliff in Hardin County, all travelling together to a particular destination. These are painful memories.

May their souls all Rest in Peace. +

Thursday, March 25, 2010

610. NCAA Brackets

Normally, by the Sweet Sixteen Round, my brackets have done what I'd like to do - flown south - usually well south of any opportunity to win. If that wasn't the case this year, I wouldn't be penning an entry called "NCAA Brackets." But, I'm not doing too bad - not too bad at all. But today the madness begins again.

My Final Four teams are all still playing: Kentucky, Syracuse, Duke, and Tennessee. And Tennessee is the reason I'm still alive and doing comparitively well. I'll be wearing my John Yarmuth Orange tomorrow night to bring in the sixth seeded Volunteers over second seeded Ohio State. That Midwest Bracket has proved the most difficult for me. I lost on UNLV, Michigan State, Georgetown, and Oklahoma State back in round 1. And it never got much better. But I do have Tennessee. Go Orange.

The East Bracket, wherein resides my 2010 NCAA Champions, has seen four games where the winning team's name did not match the name I had on my brackets. Temple and Marquette in Round 1, Wisconsin and New Mexico in Round 2. I have Kentucky and West Virginia advancing there, with Kentucky continuing the dance into the Final Game.

The South Bracket is my second worse. The University of Louisville is part of the blame along with the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame. And while I had St. Mary's in the first round, instrad of Friday's matchup between Baylor and St. Mary's, I had the more traditional one between Villanova and Notre Dame, both of whom will be back home enjoying the first week of Spring. Duke emerges from that bracket into the Final Four.

The West is best - at least in racking up points for me. I've only lost two games, both in the first round where I picked Florida State and Florida, neither of which proved a good choice. But the bracket is otherwise intact. In tonight's games, I have Syracuse and Kansas State winning, and although it would hurt my scores immeasurably - ok, in fact it will measurably hurt my score - a Xavier win would be cool. But, I'm for K-State. I have Syracuse, alma mater of my friends Stuart Perelmuter and Michael Nordmann, waltzing into the Final Game on April 5 in Indianapolis. So, again, go Orange.

But, I don't have them waltzing out as a winner. There is where my truest color bleeds through. I bleed blue. Go Kentucky. Make me a winner.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

609. Bus Routes and other routes - a Trivia Quiz

As a junior high and senior high school student at what was then known as Durrett High School on Preston Highway, I was assigned to ride Bus #6933 to and from school. Bus #6933 route was the Advanced Program route for students who generally lived on the west side of Okolona and over into South Park and Fairdale. I caught the bus at the end of my street, Whippoorwill Road. Most of the busses which served southern Jefferson County parked at the Fairdale Compound which meant that when mine let me out, it continued west on South Park toward Fairdale.

Bus #6933 wasn't the only bus I could ride but it was the only one to which I was assigned. The other one I often rode was Bus #609, today's entry number. Bus #609 was also an AP student bus, delivering students from Durrett southward, but generally serving the east side of Okolona and over into Highview. But like #6933, at the end of its route, it too travelled along South Park Road between Okolona and Fairdale to be parked at the aforementioned Fairdale Compound.

Somewhere in this blog I am sure I have mentioned a young lady named Janice Platt. She was two years behind me in school and sometime in 9th grade I fell madly in love with her and remained so for much of my high school life. I lived west of Okolona, she lived east of Okolona. Three miles of South Park Road, which at Preston Highway becomes East Manslick Road, separated us. That, and the fact that I was assigned to #6933 and she was assigned to #609.

On one schoolday somewhere in 9th grade, I exitted my school bus, #6933, at the foot of my street only to see that behind us was her school bus, #609. I checked this for several days and eventually learned why, which, again was for the purposes of evening storage at the Fairdale Compound. Thus it was that I "managed" to miss #6933 one afternoon in Durrett's parking lot only to catch #609. After a few times of doing this the bus driver, Mr. Martin, caught on. He told me I was assigned to #6933 and that I had to ride #6933. Summarily, I was dismissed from #609.

But I really wanted to ride #609 as that was really the only time I could manage an attempt at wooing this young lady who had totally captured my attention. Thus, I made my case to Mrs. Wilson. Mrs. Wilson drove #6933. I explained to her - I am sure in graphic hormonal-raging fourteen-year-old detail - my dilemma. At some point after that Mr. Martin allowed me to ride along on #609 since he was going to "end up going down South Park Road anyway" right past the foot of my street.

It is this idea of two routes travelling along the same road - #6933 and #609 along South Park Road - which leads to today's little quiz. You are free to stop reading at this point, or to take the quiz leaving your comments below.

The quiz covers Federal Highway Routes in Jefferson County. I will offer questions - you can offer answers. All answers will relate to a "US" or "Interstate" highway in Jefferson County. There are no prizes but any winners will be announced. The last quiz I had resulted in ZERO responses. Let's do better. Here we go.


1. What is the name of the road marked as US42 northeast (or outside) of the Watterson Expressway?

2. Where does Interstate 265 begin and end?

3. Two different Interstates are co-signed with two different State Highway routes. What are they and what are their co-signed state highway routes?

4. For whom was the Watterson Expressway named and why did she or he deserve it? (If you are under the age 30, here is an easier one: For whom was the Gene Snyder Freeway named and why did she or he deserve it?)

5. What three once-rural communities (and one still is) are on the "old roads or old routes" of a present day US highway?

6. What former three-digit US route once served Louisville, co-signed for most of its route with US60?

7. What was the original name of the Gene Snyder Freeway? (There are actually two answers, but only the more recent name is widely known. Either answer wins).

8. What is the "honorary" name of US31E?

9. Where is US31?

10. With regard to US highway routes, what is unique about the 100 block of S. 22nd Street?

BONUS: Name the only county in the United States with two sets of consecutively numbered Interstate routes.

EXTRA BONUS: What are the two consecutively numbered routes' numbers?

Thanks for playing.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

608. Yes We Can 219-212

March 21, 2010 - about an hour ago.

Someday a generation or two from now, this will be one of those dates that that one smart kid in Social Studies class will remember. The question, in 10th grade Social Studies, will be posed "When did the United States pass its Healthcare Reform legislation?" It'll be a question like "When did the United States pass Civil Rights reforms?" or "When did the United States create the Social Security program?" Most of us can usually answer that "such-and-such" a program was created when "so-and-so" was president. Actually the list of presidents pushing and enacting progressive legislation is pretty limited. Once you get past FDR and LBJ, there is a second tier with names like Taft, Truman, Eisenhower, Nixon, and the other Roosevelt. A new name got added tonight - Obama.

President Obama delivered on Healthcare. With the help of Speaker Nancy Pelosi and many others, the United States House of Representatives passed Healthcare Reform tonight by a vote of 219-212. The measure, supported solely by Democrats, was pushed across the threshold of 216 votes by anti-abortion Democrat Bart Stupak, congressman from Michigan's First District (northern Michigan and the UP) since 1993. It was a sort of Nixon-goes-to-China moment - the progressive legislation only happening because someone who wasn't expected to be there when it counted was. Thank you Congressman Stupak. (As a note, Stupak's legislative record is moderately progressive outside of the issue of abortion).

Here along the Left Bank of the Ohio River near Milepost 606 the measure, which will add 32,000,000 people to the ranks of the insured nationwide, was supported by 3rd District Congressman John Yarmuth of Kentucky as well as Eighth District Congressman Brad Ellsworth of Indiana and Ninth District Congressman Baron Hill, also of Indiana. Ellsworth is a candidate for the United States Senate this fall. The balance of Kentucky's congressional delegation made up of four Republicans and one Democrat, Ben Chandler of Versailles, all voted No. In Indiana, the vote was on partisan lines with all Democrats voting Yes and all Republicans voting No. No "Chandlerites" among the Hoosier Democrats.

It took more than a year, along with a black Democratic president from Hawaii with a funny name and a female Speaker of the House from San Francisco, to get the job done. If it wasn't before, it is now crystal clear that one political party is interested in the life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness by the American people - the Democratic Party. And one party isn't - the Republican Party. Republican Leader John Boehner, in a marked lack of civility on the House floor reiterated the Republican Party mantra not only on this subject but on almost every subject when he took the podium with the repeated chants of "Hell, no; Hell, no."

To that we the Democrats have a three word response - Yes We Can !

But back to that school kid who always has the answers. When the 10th grade Social Studies teacher asks that question "When did the United States pass its Healthcare Reform legislation?" she or he is going to say March 21, 2010.

Thanks Be To God.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Spring - Quick Notes

Some quick notes for this first day of Spring.

Tomorrow will be the biggest test thus far for President Obama's domestic agenda, a day which will set the pace and course for the remainder of his term. The Democrats are forcing through healthcare, finally delivering on a promise made in 2008. My congressman, John Yarmuth, has been a staunch supporter from the beginning for healthcare reform. In the last twenty-four hours, two congressmen from across the river have come on board, Indiana's 9th District Congressman Baron Hill of Seymour and the 8th District Congressman Brad Ellsworth of Evansville, the latter of whom is running to fill the seat being vacated by United States Senator Evan Bayh. It is a courageous move for Hill, and an even more courageous one for Ellsworth. Ellsworth will need the backing [read dollars] of every single healthcare reform supporter as he makes his race for this fall. His stock went up tremendously with this move. Three cheers for Baron Hill and three-times-three cheers for Brad Ellsworth.

More later. I'm off to the 10th Annual ACLU/Fairness Camapign Wiltshire Pantry Dinner. I'll be seated with my friend Morgan Ransdell, who is an attorney with the Kentucky Commission on Human Relations.

Happy Spring.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

606. The 606th Post for Milepost 606

Well, I never dreamt there'd be a 606th post when I began the blog back in January 2007. But here we are. If you google the number 606 you have to go to the second entry of the fourth page before the Left Bank of the Ohio River near Milepost 606 shows up as an option. Still, that's pretty cool. The very first option on the first page is the Area Code 606 which serves much of northern and eastern Kentucky.

My 606 is derived, more or less, from Louisville's milemarker location on the 981 mile journey the Ohio River makes from its beginning at Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to its completion, where it empties into the Mississippi south of Cairo, Illinois. Milemarker 606 is very near the location of the river's widest point anywhere on its journey, shown in the picture at left. That's the 14th Street (Pennsylvania) Railroad Bridge in the background and the northern tip of Shippingport Island at left.

Speaking of the river, it is rising. As I drove into the office this morning, I noticed the gangplank out to the Belle of Louisville is resting well above the wharf's edge and is extending up into the North Fourth Street Circle. This, of course, is a regular occurence each year as rain and melted snow make their way from such faraway places as extreme southwestern New York and extreme north central Georgia into the Ohio River valley (although whatever comes in from Georgia would not pass through Louisville). See the map of the Ohio River valley.

Louisville's history is very closely related to the river, the town having been established at the only natural navigational barrier along the 981 mile course, the Falls of the Ohio, a series of rapids lowering the level of the river 26 feet over a 3/4 mile span. Our Portland Canal (the McAlpine Locks and Dam) were originally began in 1825 as a means to get around the falls. Were it not for the falls, we Louisvillians may have grown up as part of the Westport, Kentucky metropolitan area. Westport, a now-tiny and idyllic village north of Louisville in Shelby County when established but now part of Oldham County and for which it once served as the County Seat, was founded about the same time as Louisville by a man named Elijah Craig, recognizable to those familiar with Kentucky's beverage industry.

Or, conversely, we may have been denizens of West Point, Kentucky, settled roughly about 1776, a few years before either Louisville or Westport. West Point is south of Louisville at the Jefferson-Hardin county line on what is now called Dixie Highway, but what earlier know as the Louisville-Nashville Turnpike. West Point lays at the mouth of the Salt River on the Ohio and was founded by a man named James Young.

A note: the West in both cities' names is a reference to their locations on what was then the very western edge of the explored and settled territory of the very young American Republic at the times of their establishments.

But neither Westport nor West Point had a set of falls around which to navigate at milepost 606 on the Ohio and thus it is we are Louisvillians and the blog has the "606" as part of its name. Thanks for reading and, please, keep doing so. Add comments from time-to-time so I'll know someone is out there.

Finally, speaking of "being out there and counted" most of us have received by now the forms for the 2010 United States Census. Thus, two notes: to my Republican and Libertarian friends, especially if you live in the suburbs or rural areas, ignore the Census. It is an intrusion upon the sovereignty of the Commonwealth, treading on your personal rights, and a move by Big Brother to peek into your personal lives, something Republicans and some Libertarians claim not to do, unless it relates to abortion, gay rights, gun ownership, or Muslims born in Hawaii with funny names.

To my Democratic readers, fill out the form and include the names of everyone in your house, including your crazy old Aunt Jane upstairs in the attic, Uncle Charlie out in the mobile home behind the garage, and your 35 year old son Schuyler who is still finding himself down in the basement amidst video games and assorted smoking paraphernalia. Count them all and send it in.

Incidentally, the Census is a boon for the unemployed in the Louisville area. The processing center is at the Census Bureau in Jeffersonville and there will be about 1300 jobs, albeit temporary ones, added during the Census counting.

Thanks for reading.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

605. Blog, Twitter, Facebook; Fischer, Tandy, others

There was an ABC News article over the weekend making note of the fewer number of blogs as well as the fewer number of posts to those blogs in existence. According the article the blame goes to new media sites such as Twitter and Facebook. The article offered all kinds of statistics to back up its point. I'll offer one more piece of datum.

My own personal experience upholds the finding. I have blogged less and less and have tweeted more and more. Yes, I have a Twitter page (@jtn960) as well as a Facebook page where I am listed as simply Jeff Noble. I've had the Twitter page much longer and resisted (and continue to resist) the Facebook page. I try to use the same entries on each. Facebook offers too many diversions and I believe the whole operation is controlled by Communists somewhere in Nebraska. [Ok, I made up that last line to see if you were still reading]. I do believe it is a giant marketing tool, if nothing else.

So, often, when I have something to say, I will. Like most people, I like being heard. And if it isn't going to be one of my long, rambling, run-on sentences, or worse yet, a long, rambling run-on paragraph, then I find myself taking the easy way and entering my thoughts as a Tweet, a new word-meaning developed exclusively for the Twitter medium. Of course trips to Frankfort and Fancy Farm and others place far-afield will never fit into the Twitter format of 140 spaces or less. One learns to communicate in an abbreviated style. I haven't yet succombed to skipping vowels and the like, nor have up given up spelling out words which are often abbreviated, such as Road or Street, abbreviated even in common writing, though not by me. Still, one learns the extent to which one can communicate in 140 spaces or less. As is my wont, though, given 140 spaces, I try to use every single one of them.

So, being a political hack, I wanted to spread the news and poll numbers reported this morning in the Courier-Journal about the mayor's race where I am supporting businessman and entrepreneur Greg Fischer. His chief opponent - I could say primary opponent but that might be confusing as it is a primary election - appears to be Metro Councilman David Tandy. I could go on for paragraphs - run-on paragraphs even - explaining why the numbers end up the way they do but I'm sure to exceed the space-limitation of 140 spaces or less.

Thus, in honor of Twitter, I'll make it simple. Here is today's entry:

Courier-Journal mayor's race poll: Fischer 20, Tandy 17, King 12, Allen 8, and lots of undecideds. Election Day is May 18. Remember to vote.

Go ahead and count the spaces. I dare ya'.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

604. Mayoral Forums - or is it Fora?

Last night I arrived in the 100 block of W. Kenwood Avenue for what was billed as the International Forum for the Mayoral Candidates. The event was held in the heart of Louisville's wildy diverse international community, the South End, at the Americana Center, at 4801 Southside Drive, a building which for many years housed Holy Rosary Academy, a Catholic girls school. The school closed many years ago and through the efforts of a lot of people, including Louisville Metro Councilman Dan Johnson who represents the area, the old school building has been transformed into a community center for people of all ages and ethnicities. The Roman Catholic Church next door, Saint John Vianney (where on October 9, 1960 I was baptized the first time) is a largely Vietnamese parish and I'm told that the main service there is in the Vietnamese language, something which took some form of official dispensation from either the Archbishop or perhaps, even, the Pope.

The forum was held so as to offer an opportunity for these non-traditional (and mostly non-voting) residents to hear from the women and men seeking the office of mayor of Louisville, one of whom will in fact succeed the current mayor, who was first nominated to run back when I was 24 years ago. Translators were available for those who did not clearly understand all the English being spoken, and clearly there were a number who didn't. Small groups of French, Spanish, and Swahili speaking folk listened intently to their official translators provided by the community center - a few others, Sudanese, also huddled with their own personal translators.

Hanging out in the back of the hall was an interesting experience. Here were Cubans, Dominicans, all kinds of Africans from many different countries, handfuls of Eastern Europeans, and many others. And unlike most political forums, there were also people of all ages, from the very young to the very old, all interested in the curious form of republican democracy which makes our government different from those more familiar "back home" wherever that might have been for the 150 or so in attendance.

While Louisville's earliest settlers were mostly of English or Scotch descent, arriving from the most part, down the Ohio from places in Pennsylvania, or the transylvanians from Maryland and Virginia, their sameness didn't last long. In the new century came the French to Portland and Paristown, the Germans to Germantown, the Irish to Irish Hill, and others. Still later were the Jews, who settled in Smoketown along 1st, Brook, Floyd, and Preston near the Old Male School. In the closing decades of the most recent century came an influx of Cubans and other latinos along with the Eastern Europeans, especially since the fall of communism. We've worked hard to be a welcoming community, in large part through Catholic Charities and the Kentucky Refugee Ministries. For a xenophile like me, Louisville - the word itself is essentially French meaning Louis' city - is a wonderful place to live.

If last night's forum was heterogeneous and heterochromatic, tomorrow night will be something of the opposite, where everyone is similar, in at least one way. Tomorrow's forum is for the Democratic candidates only. It is sponsored by the Metro Democratic Club and will begin at 6:30 pm sharp at the American Legion Hall on Bardstown Road. Members of the club, in theory all Democrats, will be afforded the chance to write down a question and submit it for the panel of candidates, which number eight or nine. All but Burrel Farnsley have indicated they will be present.

The Metro Club is Louisville's largest Democratic club and its membership leans somewhat to the left. It will be interesting to see how the crowd plays to the candidates and vice versa. After all, there is some theater involved in all of this - the key is knowing who is acting and who is real. For the record, I am supporting Greg Fischer.

Several more of these forums - or fora - are scheduled between now and the May 18th primary.

Friday, March 5, 2010

603. Jim Bunning started it

As everyone knows, the very senior junior United States Senator from Kentucky, the Honorable Jim Bunning, a Republican, began a one-man filibuster last week which carried over the weekend and became the talk not only of the town but also of the nation, holding hostage a $10,000,000,000.00 (ten billion dollar) piece of legislation with the goal, among other things, of extending unemployment benefits for one month to those whose benefits had expired. The filibuster, consisting of the repeated words "I object" eventually, thankfully, came to an end. A different bill allowing for the benefits passed the Senate this week, although without the support of either of Kentucky's United States Senators.

Bunning's one-man conversation served as a genesis for many, many more throughout the Republic. Some were phone calls, some were comedy shows, some were radio segments, and others could be overheard in conversations at the Kroger, the post office, or the coffee-hour after Mass on Sunday.

One of those conversations, in which I participated, began on Tuesday (and ran through (at least) today), with an initial statement by Preston Bates. Preston, for the record, is a dear friend of mine, someone I've written of many times on the blog. He is a junior (I think) at the University of Louisville. He is politically engaged both at his school and in his community, being elected as a Legislative District Chair on the Jefferson County Democratic Executive Committee in April, 2008, at the age of 19, a position he still holds. He is one of my favorite people on the planet, this despite some of his political beliefs, which became the discussion of a thread on Facebook, a thread I have copied below.

There are several people in the thread, so let me identify them as best I can. Many I do not know but will offer here the knoweledge they provide on their respective Facebook pages.

In order of appearance:

Preston Bates, age 21, from Louisville, a politically engaged resident, and a student at the University of Louisville.

Yours Truly, 49, of Louisville, a graudate of Spalding University in Louisville, edging ever closer to the half-century mark.

Michael Hughes, 21, of Peoria, Arizona, a student at the University of Arizona.

Ed Springston, 46, of Louisville, someone I have met, a Republican candidate for the Kentucky House District 28, and a blogger whose views can be found at

Andrew Grabhorn, about 21, of Louisville, a student at Morehead State University in Morehead, Kentucky.

Mande Williams Kalbfleisch, age unknown, of Carrollton, Texas.

Abby Hall, about 21, of Louisville, a student at Bellarmine University in Louisville.

Kenneth Alan Herndon, 52, of Louisville, someone I've known for 19 years, a politically active resident, twice elected to the sans-portfolio office of Jefferson County Judge/Executive, who this year did not seek reelection, but has announced his intention to seek for a second time in 2012 the office of Sixth District Louisville Metro Councilman, and a graduate of Murray State University in Murray, Kentucky.

Bruce Maples, in his 50s, of Louisville, someone I've known for several years, a politically active resident who formerly held the Legislative District Chair seat presently held by my friend Bates, a graduate of the Universoty of Tennessee, and a blogger whose views can be read at

Nick Searcy, age 21, of Owensboro, Kentucky, and a student at the University of Louisville.

Charley Helms, about 21, of Owensboro, Kentucky, and a student at the University of Louisville.

Sana Abhari, about 22, of Louisville, whom I've met, who has been or may presently be a romantic interest of my friend Bates, and is a student at the University of Louisville and (I believe) presently engaged in being elected President of the Student Government Association. (I haven't figured out to what Sana's comments refer).

Brad Hall, age 22, of Charlestown, Indiana, and a student at the University of Louisville.


I've copied the exchanges verbatim, replete with misspellings, odd sentence structures, inappropriate capitalizations, and so on. Nonetheless, there are some compelling arguments herein and I am proud, especially, of the minds of the young people who commented. While I may or may not agree with them, I am reassured that there is a generation of young people who take the time to think and then express their thoughts and that is a good thing for people like me venturing into their second half-century.


Here is the conversation, remembering, Jim Bunning started it.

Preston Bates: Bunning has a point. Gov't can't solve our problems, and a redistribution of wealth makes society less productive and more impoverised.

Jeff Noble: Governments are based on redistributions of wealth. Any government which levies taxes uses those taxes in myriad ways of redistribution, whether it be unemployment payments or defense contracts. Balancing the budget on the backs of the unemployed is not a fix. It is a schoolyard bully ploy. If Bunning has a plan to pay for the $10,000,000.00 that the other 99 senators do not, he should say so. As should anyone who thinks he has a point.

Michael Hughes: It's not a black and white issue, and saying "redistribution of wealth makes society less productive" is overly reductive (and thoroughly spurious, I might add. Any evidence to support this claim?) and besides that, it misses the point. There's more to consider in governance than an ever-increasing GDP. Social equity comes to mind.

Ed Springston: Jeff in all fairness Bunning did say that we should pay for it out of unused bailout money that is just sitting there instead of borrowing even more money.

Jeff Noble: Unused, but not unappropriated for a particular purpose. There is a major difference. Appropriation bills have a purpose. They are debated up and down on those purposes. And then they are voted up and down on those purposes. There was a large amount of stimulus dollars appropriated in Metro Louisville to rebuild highways and sidewalks. Part of it was spent last year, part of it remains unspent - appropriated, but unused, but with a purpose. Bunning should say what un the stimulus bill he doesn't want to do for the $10,000,000 needed for the unempolyed. He has not done that.

Michael Hughes: By the way, $10 mil is basically an accounting error in the grand scheme of things, so let's not get too hung up on it. Jim Bunning is a douchebag.

Preston Bates: I think he should have gone farther, jeff. Why do taxpayers fund unemployed people at all? Why should those who are working pay for those who cannot or chose no to work? These socialist programs, "social" secuity leadig the way, are federally endorsed ponzi schemes that will collapse. Bunning is no longer in a position to care abot his political capital, so he should speak his mind and just introduce bills to abolish social security, unemployment benefits, and other handouts so that people stop living at the expense of the state

Andrew Grabhorn: Only person that i have heard besides myself say that they can see his point. And its not $10 million people its $10 billion. Its not a tiny amount, there is so much more that we can put that money into, and what are the odds that the people who receive this money will even have jobs in a month? The economy isn't going to improve that fast, the one's that really need it draw welfare and/or social security.

Ed Springston: I understand Jeff but a simple vote to reappropriate the $10 billion in funds would have sufficed as well. Not all the funds have been spent as appropriated yet. Don't get me wrong I am NOT defending Bunning just sayng that he did put forth something when he voted against it. Right or wrong agree or disagree I will leave to others. :-)

Preston Bates: "everyone wants to live at the expense of the state. They forget that the state wants to live at the expense of everyone" -Frederic Bastiat. To michael's concern, any deviation away from strict liberty and individuality is a shift toward collectivism, and the destruction of the self in place of the nebulous communal whole. In fact, individuality, diversity, and rationallity are rooted in enlightenment ideas. Modern "liberals" have stolen the word liberal from classical liberals (search Ludwig Von Mises' book "Liberalism" for more information) who artiulated that point. In fact, there's nothing "liberal" about stealing property in wealth and redistributing said personal property by some bloodless communal body. People are best off when allowed to rationally pursue their own interests at their own will unless it violates the property riggs of another. To both jeff and Michael, the only practical function of government, therefore, should be to protect property rights and allow individuals to be individuals, not conform collectively into some communal ethos.

Jeff Noble: I'm just a crazy old liberal who doesn't know $10M from $10B and that's what wrong with America. We think of it as the government's money and not our own. I'm sure just throwing money at programs is a huge error - that no one on any receiving end is really in need because the truly needy are on welfare and social security. All the others receiving payments, whether they be government contractors or farm subsidy recipients or road builders or whatever will never spend it - no one ever returns money. We keep all of it. That's why America is revered for its fiscal responsibility. My satire can't get any thicker or less serious. Unemployed people are those who don't want to be on welfare and aren't ready for social security. They want to work. They understand budgetting for food, LG&E, and gas to go look for work. You are right. The economy will not improve in 30 days so lets just set these folks out on the edge of Siberia and tell them to fend for themselves.

Ed Springston: Jeff no one said that even Bunning did not say that. He agrees with funding it but thinks we should take existing money and reappropriate it instead of new borrowing. Right or wrong he does make a valid point. The sad thing is the political posturing going on instead of dealing directly with it and moving on.

Michael Hughes: Sorry, that was a typo. Meant to hit the "b". People, when you have a budget of well over 3.5 trillion, yes, ten billion is almost completely irrelevant. It sounds like a hell of a lot of money, but in terms of the overall budget, it's negligible. A trillion is such an abstractly huge number compared to what we're used to dealing with on a day to day basis that it's hard to really keep it in perspective, but really, $10 billion is folding money. And considering it's going to people on unemployment during the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, it is completely unprecedented to halt this bill's progress simply because of your political philosophy. Philosophy is fine for, you know, idle conversation at Starbucks, but this is the real world, not political theater, and the real world dictates that a.) 10 billion is a relatively insignificant amount of money and b.) the money is sorely needed.

Mande Williams Kalbfleisch: Preston- I agree with you on this issue for the main part. I don't think the working people should have to support those who ate able bodied and won't go work for what ever reason. Just like I don't think that tax payees should have to pay for an birth control for people to rid them selves of a mistake they made. But here's a thought. Your grandmother is not able to work and she collects social security. Sure it really isn't enough to cover her bill and we as a family have to help her out still. But if you abolish that program what do you propose would help support the elderly that can't work and depend on that money to survive?

Jeff Noble: Preston -- Despite Bastiat's statement - he was speaking at the time about relations between two small monarchies - France and Spain - everyone - everyone, lives at the expense of the state. If not, we would have no government. If you want, as you say, to reduce government to a minimalist role, then get it out of the business of education, out of the business of healthcare such as medicaid, and out of the business of protecting the environment, waterways, and products. Get it out of the business of providing parkspace, out of the business of making car manuafacturers buildi safe cars - and so on. Start with public education. Close the schools, from kindergarten through all the public universities. Make education a program operated solely for profit and soley by private and religious institutions. Then close the parks. They are costly and no one pays for their use. End all payments for medical care to the elderly as many of them should be able to afford it. And especially end medical payments to the poor since they did not pay into the system ever. In short, reduce government as Grover Norquist wants you to.

Michael Hughes: Preston, like I said, political philosophy is fine and dandy, but , and please excuse the language, nobody gives a fuck. Deal with the system we have now, and save the collegiate bullshit for people who care, 'cause I'll tel you who doesn't give a shit about your ideas about the proper place of government in society: people on unemployment. Also, even if your political philosophies were practical , they aren't even close to being rooted in observable human behavior. We are a communal species, if you hadn't noticed. We are not solely defined by our individual wants and desires. We instinctively band together into groups. You think the billions of dollars donated to Haiti in its hour of need was because individuals were acting in their own self-interest or a sense of personal guilt? Hell no. That kind of response comes out of a sense of community with our fellow human beings. So get over your desire for the individual to dictate how our society should work, because that's not even close to reality. Face it: the ideal enlightenment individual doesn't exist. We are just as much defined by our own wants and desires as the wants and desires of those around us. And that's not an abstract philosophical theorem or psychological argument, that's observable fact. So I don't mind the government taking a cut out of my paycheck to help support old people or the unemployed, because all things considered, those programs make this nation a better place to live. Hell, if they didn't exist I wouldn't be alive, as unemployment and welfare are the only reason my great-grandma and grandma survived the Great Depression.

Jeff Noble: I'm argued out, and frustrated that Americans are so much about themsleves and so little about the collective "we". I blame it on Ronald Reagan, but it would take me hours to explain that to people born after he was elected. Having said that, I really, really like what I've just read from Mr. Hughes.

Abby Hall: Preston, I agree. :)

Kenneth Alan Herndon: Mr. Noble is right. I happen to believe in a covenant from one generation to the next and to each other. Everything we do collectively is "socialist" if you want to reduce the world to simplistic, knee jerk, self-serving crap. Police. Fire Department. EMS, etc. the next time your house catches fire, live your liberatrian dream and put it out yourself.

Bruce Maples: Two quick comments ---- Jeff has already done an excellent job of arguing the liberal/progressive viewpoint (which, Preston, I once thought you were), so I won't add more except to say "what he said."
-- Bunning's is an ass, not because he chooses to stand on principle (which I doubt), but because he does it in a way guaranteed to cause the greatest harm to the most people, and he doesn't give a shit. In fact, he cares more about missing a ball game than he does about people going bankrupt through no fault of their own. As for principle, he had no problem voting for other budget-busting measures. He just decided to give the finger to the poor, figuratively and literally.

Nick Searcy: "I educated myself; I went to the library where books are free." Glenn Beck at CPAC 2010 on progressivism I've been saying that you seem more GOP than dem, at least on anything but social issues (GOP wants to keep the gov out of our wallets and in our social structure). Anyway, I'm all for checking the spending on the social safety net, I just don't think he's doing it the right way. Do you realize that by doing this he's wasting government money? This will get passed via couture if it must, but after we have already paid to shut these programs down and start them back up, and after those 200,000 living on this money have had to take a break for however long. We can argue about 'what government is for' all day long, but the truth is that in a (representative) democracy, the government is for whatever the voters say it's for. If voters think government should only be there to protect property rights and allow individuals to be individuals, then it will be; if voters think government should provide services such as public access to books, and social safety nets, it will. In short, I think your problem is either with the idea of democracy, or those participating in our specific representative democracy.

Charley Helms: Nick, the idea of our representative and divided system is actually not for 'whatever the voters say it's for.' We'd have a direct democracy if that was the point. The point is to follow the will of the voters with qualifications - in many cases, popular opinion is flat out wrong, and following it would lead to disaster. This places congressmen in an interesting position of choosing between the role of delegate and trustee. Bunning may feel he is actually doing both, since many of his base may actually agree with him.

Jeff Noble: Ed Springston correctly pointed out I made a few errors above and I stand corrected with regard to those. I am glad this little crisis has passed. Bunning, who professed to be supportive, voted no anyway as did McConnell. They stand together on the matter. I stand against that type of oppression, which is what those votes represent. And to Preston, I appreciate your beliefs but I also believe they are antithetical to a country whose guiding document begins with the words "We the people . . ." which indicates a collectiveness as opposed to "We the individuals . . ." which would not. But, you still possess a special place in my litany of friends.

Nick Searcy: Charley, I didn't say the idea of our representative democracy is 'whatever the voters say it's for', I said that's the truth of it. Basically, who cares what anybody says the point is, if the voters disagree. Our constitution police are really the only check on 'whatever the voters want' happening, and lately loose interpretations of our beloved constitution have resulted in very lame constitution police. If voters elect congressmen who follow the will of the voters without qualification, then what ensures than any congressmen who follow the will of voters with qualification will still be around?

Sana Abhari: Where is dr. Gohmann?

Brad Hall: "Impoverized" isn't a word. Do you mean impoverished?

Nick Searcy: I'm pretty sure he put that in there to see who was smartest. Congratulations! You win! And here I was spending my meager brain power thinking about his overall message...

Preston Bates: Mande, While our story is sad and unfortunate, the fact of the matter stands: it is not rational to ask someone in alaska to subsidize the lifestyle of someone living in texas. in your comment, you touch on something that is imperative to the study of economics often over-looked and will be the contingent point of my argument: all value is relative. something is valuable because humans say it is. there is not some intrinsic level of value that is natural to objects animate or inanimate. individuals and larger groups thereof assign value to things based upon their own relative tastes, preferences, ideas, wants, needs etc therefore, if family is something that you and i value, then we have the liberty and the freedom to financially support our family, our friends, and others in society if we so chose. that said, this is a dichotomous argument, and therefore, the opposite must also be true. if someone does not value family, etc. then society should not mandate that person to subsidize, spend resources on, or otherwise support those endeavors. this reality and principle is the foundation of charity. government, however, has never proven to be efficient or effective at charity or spending money. in fact, because government (in democracies most especially) are representative of the entire sum, they are obligated to a principle of fairness and equity, not reason nor efficiency. this truth is the reality of us social programs. because private markets allocate resources more efficiently than public redistributive institutions, it is rational to expect a better product (cheaper, higher quality, faster service, etc) in a market where competition is the driving force, not esoteric principles.

Preston Bates: Preston -- Despite Bastiat's statement - he was speaking at the time about relations between two small monarchies - France and Spain - everyone - everyone, lives at the expense of the state. If not, we would have no government. If you want, as you say, to reduce government to a minimalist role, then get it out of the business of education, out of the business of healthcare such as medicaid, and out of the business of protecting the environment, waterways, and products. Get it out of the business of providing parkspace, out of the business of making car manuafacturers buildi safe cars - and so on. Start with public education. Close the schools, from kindergarten through all the public universities. Make education a program operated solely for profit and soley by private and religious institutions. Then close the parks. They are costly and no one pays for their use. End all payments for medical care to the elderly as many of them should be able to afford it. And especially end medical payments to the poor since they did not pay into the system ever. In short, reduce government as Grover Norquist wants you to. Jeff,
Thanks for providing me context on Bastiat's quote. Compared to now, you're right: government was small. I also concede your point, everyone does live, to some extent, at the expense of government. the old confederation lacked the power to levy taxes, and so it failed. After our forefathers upgraded to USA version 2.0, we have managed to the oldest, longest modern democracy--no small feat and something of which Americans should be proud. And yes, the "minimalist" role as you put it is synonymous with the most liberal role. Liberal comes from Latin "Liber" meaning free. "Neo-Liberals" (as i am now attempting to coin the term) or modern "progressives" stole the word at some point and gave the opposite connotation. this is ironic, as now its modern connotative and denotative meanings are contradictory. less i digress. An increase of freedom is predicated on a decrease from unlawful obligation. Bastiat called laws that regulated taxation code and redistributive behavior "legal plunder" in his book "The Law" because gov't sanctioned and partook in the ongoing theft of property from others by levying high taxes. So an increase in freedom would correspondingly result in less "legal plunder" or high taxes. Now, you do make a few fair points regarding "public goods" or items and services that have positive externalities for society: national and domestic defense, infrastructure, schools, fire departments, parks, etc. I'm not a "Bastiat, reduce gov't down to the norquist, bath-tub size" kind of guy. but i do think that there is tremendous difference between transfer payments (which are not factored into the manner by which societies evaluate their growth and of which contain all social programs) and these public goods. I'm not proposing alternative organization to society, but i am trying to raise that discussion by critiquing what i observe. i hope that all of our motivations are driven by a desire to see our society be as best off as possible. i kno that's my desire.

Preston Bates: to jeff again, the word "people" is simply another word for a group of individuals. one is born alone and one dies and rots alone. and in between, one is responsible solely for his or her own. also, i don't think americans are uniquely "about themselves." i think its endemic to all persons. no one else is responsible for another's overall well-being more so than that person. this is true of all humans.

Preston Bates: ken, see my point about public goods above.

Preston Bates: and bruce, first. i was a neo-liberal until i listened to aristotle and got educated. now i'm just a liberal. and secondly, you're probably right about bunning. he does always look mad! haha

Preston Bates: nick and charley, i think most Americans are, in modern terminology, "fiscally conservative" and "socially liberal". I would go farther and say that this has been the dominant pattern for Americans since the origin of the US. i agree with you about wasting gov't money, and i agree with the difficulties you raise about representative democracy. charley re-articulated the difference between representative and direct democracies, but i think you're touching on their seemingly dissolving boundaries in the US. the pressures of populism are weighing heavily on representatives, so naturally the observable is a deviant away from small government toward big government and socialism. oh democracy! churchill was right; you are the worst form of gov't besides all the rest! haha

Preston Bates: to jeff's final place, i'm comforted knowing that our friendship is unaffected by a lively discussion of economics and politics. it seems as though others in this debate were more hysterical than others for reasons that escape me. maybe that's it. maybe i'm living in the world of reason and there's a madness of unreason ensuing out there...

Preston Bates: brad, i didn't write "impoverized" but i mistyped "impoverished" while using my twitter interface for facebook via my iphone. i'll let the hubris of your mis-correction stand on its own without further comment.

Preston Bates: due to the intensity this issue has created, i thought it appropriate to respond to each person. one by one. if we are to continue this forum, i humbly suggest that we do so in the "note" format and tag one another.

Jeff Noble: I'm not sure what the "note format and tag" thing means so I will comment here. In your "to jeff again" segment above, you have outted yourself as to where you stand on our collective roles vis-a-vis each other and thereby defined the two arguments which tread through this thread. You believe we have no communal roles vis-a-vis each other. You wrote "one is born alone and one dies and rots alone. and in between, one is responsible solely for his or her own." The first and second phrases are facts. Ashes to ashes, dust to dust is the langugage we've adapted from the Book of Genesis. The third phrase, however, is a fundamental difference in your and my beliefs. I absolutely do not believe that "in between one is responsbile solely for his or her own." Such a statement goes against every fiber of my being. In between, we are communal beings, even those of us who live rather hermit-like lives. We live and hopefully learn the so-called golden rule - "do unto others as you would have them do unto you," a tradition which be traced back in societies to at least 3000BCE. This entire thread can be divided, as most things can, into two groups: those of us who believe the so-called golden rule has application in our lives, and those who believe in its fundamental opposite, that "in between, one is responsible solely for his or her own."


Your comments are welcome.

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.