Friday, November 22, 2013

772. From Kennedy to Johnson

I do not remember "where I was." Like the president's son, in whom I had later placed my hope for a renewed Camelot, I had just celebrated my 3rd birthday. In adulthood, I formed the personal opinion that I favored Bobby more than John and Teddy more than Bobby. My very first vote in a Presidential Primary, 1980, was for Teddy. But today we remember a self-described liberal, from a very wealthy family, who many feared because he was a minority being a Roman Catholic, and whose time was shortened by hate. The torch has passed. Rest in peace, Mr. President.

 --- and ---

Fifty years ago today my favorite president took the Oath of Office on-board Air Force One, administered by U. S. District Judge Sarah Hughes, the only woman to ever administer the presidential oath. To be sure, the administration of LBJ did not turn out as expected, its goals not fully reached, its aspirations for the poor and underrepresented not fully completed. But for a war, perhaps, this could have been Camelot - not the glamor of the Brahmin and Hyde Park elite, but the idea that every American had a president and administration working for them, irrespective of race or class, or the other divisions of the day. All the way with LBJ.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

771. Hallowe'en past

Growing up trick-or-treating always ended up with 25 kids and a weenie roast in our back yard. The fire-pit was toward the back of the yard, a 1/2 plot of land which seemed as big as an enchanted forest on Hallowe'en, with a section behind the garage which then, as now, was never cut.
And there were two reliable pranksters - my grandfather and Vic Gutermuth who lived next door. They'd sneak down in Vic's yard, then crossover into the high weeds, waving sheets around on a broomstick, scaring everyone at the party. My mother would end up walking half the kids home, all of whom lived within two blocks.

Friday, October 25, 2013

770. Predictions - one year and one week away

Playing with national numbers tonight trying to find enough House seats to switch the chamber from Reverse to Drive.  Assuming - [the worst possible word to begin any sentence] - no Democrats lose to a Republican and that each of the following Republicans has a well-financed Democratic challenger, alas, I can only come up with thirteen so far.

But, it is early.

Here are the Republican losers, the first predictions from me for 2014, again with assumptions made.  Mica (FL-7), Ros-Lehtinen (FL-27), Barr (KY-6), Upton (MI-6), Rogers (MI-8), LoBiondo (NJ-2), King (NY-2), Turner (OH-10), Gerlach (PA-6), Wolf (VA-10), Beutler (WA-3), Reichert (WA-8), and, my favorite, the charming Mr. Ryan (WI-1).  The election is one year and one week away.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

769. The Republican-created shutdown is shutdown

285-144, 3 not voting, 3 vacancies.

All 144 against were Republicans.

The president will sign the bill.

The Republican Senate deserves some kudos in this as does, to a far lesser extent, the Republican House. But I am confident Speaker Boehner and the Tea Party will not survive in 2014.

By the way, I've never before thought the Tea Party would not survive. But they dealt themselves a suicide blow by forcing the Speaker to hold out to this point. Once McConnell relented and then Boehner relented, the death knell began for the Tea Party.  It will ring loud in November 2014.

And what did the Republicans get for their shutdown?  Nothing.  Nothing at all.

Thanks Be To God.

Saturday, October 12, 2013


The following were the Prayers of the People written for Advent Parish for July 24, 2011 - the ninth in a series.  This particular date was special for me marking to the day the 20th Anniversary of Rob's death.  
See Entry #736 for a full explanation.
July 24, 2011

O God who searches our hearts, Teach us your will.

READER:  By these prayers, we seek an understanding mind and the ability to discern between good and evil in serving your will and one another calling upon you saying, O God who searches our hearts, Teach us your will. 

1)  We pray for all people throughout the world, asking that you make steady their footsteps, find them rescue from their oppressors, and help them in their weaknesses, praying O God who searches our hearts, Teach us your will. 

2)  We know that all things work together for good for those who love God and as a community we pray for the needs of the Diocese of Port Elizabeth, South Africa in the Anglican Communion.  We pray also for Saint George’s Community Center in the Diocese of Kentucky, and for our neighbors at Highland Baptist Church in the Highland Community Ministries.  We pray for all those who believe in your commandments and have been welcomed into the family of faith by you who sent Jesus to us, praying O God who searches our hearts, Teach us your will.

3)  We pray in particular for our city and its people.  We pray for our mayor Greg and all those charged with governance here, and in Frankfort, and in Washington.  We pray for those in our midst in need of proper housing, sufficient employment, encouraging health, and the support of friends and families as they walk through the paths of their lives, asking that your countenance shine upon them, making them whole, praying O God who searches our hearts, Teach us your will. 

4)  We pray for those whose needs have not been met, whether by their own actions or the inactions of others.  We pray they may find the talent, time, and desire to help themselves even as we assist them by our Advent ministries.  We pray knowing that even the least among us are to you as important as the highest of angels, of rulers, and powers.  For those who are infirm of mind, body, or spirit, especially [sick-list names], we ask that you restore them to the innocence and vigor of a child of God praying O God who searches our hearts, Teach us your will. 

5)  We pray always for those who travelled before us the paths of life and suffering, of devotion and friendship, of support and concern, no longer in our presence; and for those families, friends, and they have others left behind, knowing that by clinging to your commandments in this life we will know and work with them together in eternity.  We ask especial prayers for [names of deceased go here], praying O God who searches our hearts, Teach us your will. 

CELEBRANT:  O God of Solomon and David, your words go forth giving us light and understanding.  Hear our prayers this day and always, for we know that neither death nor life, nor anything else in all creation can separate us from your love and understanding; we ask these prayers in your name.  AMEN.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

768. Theater review gets an "AA"

Last night, with my friend Linton Hauss, I attended the second-night's performance of Auctioning The Ainsleys, as part - the final entry - of Theatre [502]'s third season. The play was performed at Actors Theatre in the intimacy of the Victor Jory Theatre, under the direction of Amy Attaway, who is a founding co-artistic director of Theatre [502] and a graduate of the University of Evansville.  It was written by Laura Schellhardt, a professor of playwriting at Northwestern University, where she received her undergraduate degrees.  She also holds a Masters from Brown University.

The story concerns the family of a deceased auctioneer, leaving behind the dying mother delightfully played by former YPAS teacher Pat Allison, and four children, three of which have remained in their home (or carriage house which is ten feet away).  The oldest child, a rather independent woman and the only one not still at home has led the life of a roaming small-town auctioneer, selling off estates all with a story and a bit of fast-talking and a cute wink.  The role is skillfully played by veteran actor Leah Roberts, a YPAS and Bellarmine grad.  Her two sisters are played by Cara Hicks and Erica McClure, both of whom have performed in numerous productions locally and elsewhere.  The former plays the bookkeeper who has missed out on life keeping the memories of the past estates alive in a bizarre filing system - thoughts of my favorite childhood book, From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, briefly permeated my soul for a moment; the latter daughter, living in the carriage house ten feet away, is a matchmaker in a failed marriage who insists on proper arrangements down to the silverware.  The only son in the family is an uptight, unattached, and unadorned gay male who is particular about the image the family must portray to the community, continually cleaning and polishing the relics of the auction house.  The role of Aiden is played by Neill Robertson, a graduate of the American Music and Dramatic Academy in New York.
 [I must add at this point, as I did in a much longer entry dated March 19, 2012, that of all the actors I have seen play the role of Ernest "Jack" Worthing in one of my two favorite plays, The Importance of Being Earnest, Neill's was simply the best.  I wrote in that entry, "Robertson was absolutely delightful to watch in every way and I look forward to seeing him again. His was the worthiest Jack Worthing I've had the pleasure to watch."].  But, I digress.  
 They are all catalogued in a fashion by the man "the agency sent over" at the mother's request, the actor Lucas W. Adams in the role of Arthur, to record her life as it is slipping from her, memory-by-memory and, with a little sleight-of-hand, piece-by-piece from the curio shelves which adorn her third floor room, away from the family problems, physically and emotionally.  Arthur with his pen and notebook dutifully records the life and times of the family and in doing so intermingles and insinuates himself into it, eventually falling in love with Aiden, as Arthur has a collection of things and Aiden has a room of empty shelves.

One-by-one we learn the values and the misfortunes of each child, their personal alliances with each other, despite the separation from the older sister for a period of fifteen years.  And we see the matriarch, Alice, failing with each passing scene bringing the four children along with Arthur to a final summons on the intercom, the system which provided communication between them but also by which they had avoided each other.  Using the leit-motif of some snap-crackle-and pop, Alice dies and like the pieces in the curio, disappears from sight.

The story concludes with the ultimate auction, that of the auction house itself.

Something should be said about the floor layout into quarters, allowing each character their own "room" in the house, while Alice's suite is raised and to the rear, arrived at by a short series of stairs.  There are several scenes where an auction is taking place and Robert's acute performance of a fast-talking, auctioneer is worthy of a job in some small-town auction agencies, but then that would be life-imitating-art.

I was delighted by the play and my friend seemed pleased as well.

Now, having said all this I hesitate to add these next paragraphs but will.  You've read my review of the story line above of this wonderfully performed play by Theatre [502]'s troupe.  Earlier this year in the Humana Festival of New American Plays, performed in the larger Pamela Brown Theatre, I saw another play called Appropriate.  That night, although I had planned (I thought) to be with someone, I was alone.  I loved the play and mentioned to Linton last night the similarity between the two.  Here is the advert for it and while they were remarkably different, I find them peculiarly similar.

When the Lafayettes descend upon a crumbling Arkansan plantation to liquidate their dead patriarch’s estate, his three adult children collide over clutter, debt, and a contentious family history. But after a disturbing discovery surfaces among their father’s possessions, the reunion takes a turn for the explosive, unleashing a series of crackling surprises and confrontations. A play about the trouble with inheritance, memory loss, and the art of repression.


Saturday, October 5, 2013

767. Day Five of the Republican-created so-called Shutdown

Day Five of the Republican-planned so-called shutdown and a little has changed. In order to understand this post, you have to had previously read my post of October 2nd which begins "So the second day . . . " The gist of that entry is two fold - 1) this isn't a shutdown but a selective slowdown, and 2) unless everyone participates, it really doesn't matter.

Yes, I have friends suffering the financial effects of the shutdown and if I were in their shoes, it'd only take a few paychecks and I'd be in trouble but for some friends and family who might help me one way or another. And those same families may already be like me helping out their own family and friends who are already out of work. I've read today that the House has voted unanimously to pay them. Well, that's good and they need it but it defeats the purpose. It honestly isn't good economics but it is good PR and that is something in short supply in the Federal City. Similarly, there's a bill to open some of the National Parks as if this makes a dint in the $17,000,000,000,000.00 debt. It won't and it is silly. It will allow some Republican members of Congress the opportunity to beat their chests showing their approval while going unanswered will be the systematic cuts those same members have been making to veterans for years. Again, it is really for show. While I am on that topic, I'm trying to imagine some company owner who decides for whatever reason to take a two-week vacation, furloughing their employees, and closing all of their facilities. Imagine their reaction if some overzealous politicians showed up at their plant, rushed the gates, and opened the doors for all the world to see since they made sure a camera was close-by recording their heroic efforts. How would the owner feel? Just a thought. The counter-argument is the parks are public property and I have a place in my property rights-oriented heart for that idea. Still, someone has to clean up after the invasion, emptying the trash, and paying the water, light, and gas bills which were supposed to be at a minimum during the shutdown. But, I digress.

The previous diatribe mostly asked the question "how does the Republican-created so-called shutdown do anything about the $17,000,000,000,000.00 debt?" No one answered that one. Since that time, I've ventured further into the idea that no one on the Republican side of the aisle has answered because they have no answer. Their intention has little to do with Obamacare or the debt or even the deficit, although some of their followers may not realize this or may not acknowledge they are being used. It is all really about a handful of Tea Partiers threatening their caucus and its leader, Speaker Boehner, with primaries in the 2014 cycle, such as the Kentucky kind which elected Senator Rand Paul to office in 2010 and Congressman Tom Massie in 2012. Moderate and even conservatives Republicans are demonstrably concerned about losing their asses in 2014. Wait, I mean losing the congressional seats. Sorry. Or, is that the reason?

Maybe it is simply a desire on the part of the Republican Party to close down the government. I came across an article in the Republican-leaning website Politico from September 10, 2010, a little over three years ago. In the article Congressman Lynn Westmoreland, R-GA3 (SW Atlanta suburbs southwest to Columbus) predicts the current shutdown as part of plan should the Republicans regain the House, as they did in the 2010 elections. The other part of the plan was the recall of Obamacare, something they tried and failed at 42 times (so far). I don't often cite to certain sources in my research, concerned about their political bias. In this case, the site's bias is to the Republicans so I feel a little more at ease in using it. And I feel a little better in calling the so-called shutdown solely a creation of the Republican Party, and not just a creation but part of a plan according to one of its own members.

Here is a link to the story:


Wednesday, October 2, 2013

766. The so-called federal shutdown

So the second day of the Republican-created so-called shutdown winds to a close. I have learned today that some of my friends have been affected by it in different ways and they are having to make do. But that's the problem with a partial shutdown and, let's face it, that's all this is. Until everyone - that means me, you, our parents, your kids - feels some of the pain, there will always be people calling for more cuts and an end to the "rampant socialism" in Washington DC. Parting with nearly all in my Party, I supported "going over the Fiscal Cliff" back in December and supported the Sequestration, both of which were mere baby steps in addressing a number of spending problems. But addressing spending isn't enough - not at all. And if we are going to "shutdown" then let's really shutdown. Start with the air-controllers thus closing the airports. Shut down Amtrak, especially on the east coast [although have it open by November 10 when I take my train ride to Seattle]. And close the Federal Reserve Banks' overnight borrowing and lending. Next, cease Medicare and Medicaid payments, sending all those parents and grandparents in nursing homes back to their middle aged children's suburban streets. Then de-guarantee the federal student loans of all the college kids and watch the universities send them home as well to share the bedrooms with their grandparents. There's lots more I'd do if I were the American god, but I'm not and we don't have one. Again, let's be honest. We're 17 Trillion dollars in debt, 68% of which was on the books when Obama took office, and a great deal of it is owed to Americans, not to China as some would have you think although we owe them as well. All of these clowns in legislative leadership on both sides are responsible for it - they all voted on it, including the 68% of it amassed before Obama was elected. No amount of cutting "waste, fraud, and abuse" will get us out of that debt - $17,000,000,000,000.00. Our annual budget is about 3.5 Trillion. Do the math - 17 divided by 3.5. It would take almost 5 years of a complete shutdown - ZERO spending on ANYTHING for FIVE YEARS - just to get us to ZERO. That's the problem with the "waste, fraud, and abuse" cry. It's rhetoric and nothing more. While there is no doubt it takes place, eliminating all of it doesn't begin to address the problem. In fact, it does little other than offer a few photo ops like some in the Congress did today at the WW2 Memorial. And if you are truly interested in addressing the problem - our collective problem, then you need to shout something more than "waste, fraud, and abuse" or you're just a part of the problem and not the solution. The only way out is cutting spending and raising taxes. It has taken us 35 years of tax cutting to get into this situation. It might take that long to get out. But, if you want America to continuing being America, then pay for it. Either be willing to pay for it, maybe for 35 years, or shut up and get out of the way as you are part of the problem. The other way is anarchy and anti-American, and perhaps even treasonous.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

P8. Prayers of the People from June 26, 2011

The following were the Prayers of the People written for Advent Parish for June 26, 2011 - the eighth in a series.  See Entry #736 for a full explanation.


We, the children of God, come now in prayer, seeking guidance, peace, mercy, and grace, responding to O Lord Our Provider, Hear Our Prayer.

We pray for God’s people throughout the world, seeking light for their eyes and peace for their families.  We pray for the daily needs of all created in your image, praying O Lord Our Provider, Hear Our Prayer.

We pray for peace and understanding among the nations.  We pray for our own women and men in uniform.  We pray for those rebuilding after storms in Louisville and throughout the nation.  We seek the well-being of all people, praying O Lord Our Provider, Hear Our Prayer.

We pray for the poor, the sick, the hungry, the downtrodden.  We pray for the unemployed and underemployed.  We pray for those in prisons of any kind.  We pray for those in need of healthcare, of friendship, of peace.  We pray for our own efforts at funding the programs of Advent Parish, to address our ministry of providing the pantry needs of those in our midst, praying O Lord Our Provider, Hear Our Prayer.

We pray for our friends in Christ.  In the Anglican Communion we pray for the Province of Niger, Nigeria.  We pray for the All Saints Center and Episcopal Youth Event in the Diocese of Kentucky.  We pray for our partners and friends in the Highland Community Ministries at Metropolitan Community Church.  We ask your blessings upon each of their missions and all of their members, praying O Lord Our Provider, Hear Our Prayer.

We pray for ourselves, our Advent Parish, our bishop Terry, our rector Tim, and all those providers of your blessings to those who pass through our red doors on Baxter Avenue.  We pray for the success of our program celebrating the visit of Bishop Robinson in July.  We also pray especially for [names go here].  We seek peace for all those in need, praying O Lord Our Provider, Hear Our Prayer.

We pray for those who have brought us to this place, our deceased families and friends, for those lost to wars and conflict, for those lost to famine or weather events, and for all who have passed from this life to the Church Eternal, and for all of those they have left behind, praying O Lord Our Provider, Hear Our Prayer.

O Lord our Provider throughout the ages, lead us in the days ahead, healing our wounds, fulfilling our needs, bringing peace and mercy and grace, now and forever, AMEN.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

765. Guess who's coming to dinner!

The question was asked on Facebook by a Kentucky political site, "Which politician would you wish to have dinner with and why?"  I offered the following lengthy answer, or four answers, living and deceased for both Kentucky and the Republic.

Here are the responses.

National (deceased) - John Hay, secretary and biographer to Lincoln, later US Ambassador to Great Britain, and later US Secretary of State under McKinley and Roosevelt, and a native of Salem, Indiana.

Kentucky (deceased) - James Wilkinson, American soldier and statesman in the mid to late 1700s in Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Kentucky. Laid out and named the streets in Frankfort, was involved in a scandal with Spain over Kentucky and access to the Mississippi River, friend of presidents and vice presidents including the notorious Aaron Burr. Teddy Roosevelt, 65 years after his death, said of him, "In all our history, there is no more despicable character." He is buried in Mexico City.

National (living) - George H. W. Bush, who had the best-ever resume upon running for the White House - not that I voted for him (I didn't), had served under a known traitor (Iran-Contra) and early-on recognized that Trickle Down was, as he called it, voodoo economics. He lived through the transformations of both political parties, saw his sons elected governors of two different states and one elected president, and was himself the son of a US Senator. And he wears cool socks in his old age.

Kentucky (living) - this one is difficult. I remember my conversation with the late Frank Burke, mayor and congressman, just before his passing on the 20th century political history of Louisville which was fascinating. That would have been my answer. So my answer may need to come from a politically related person and not a politician. In that respect, I would turn to journalism and narrow my choices to Al Smith or David Hawpe. Hawpe and I are friends so that can be arranged. That leaves Al Smith as my answer.

What are your thoughts?

Sunday, July 14, 2013

764. On activism, or "Who is my neighbor?, He who showed mercy."

    The readings today were Saint Luke's version of the Good Samaritan story which asks "Who is our neighbor?" and answers "He who showed mercy." followed by Jesus's prompt to "Go and do likewise." Doing likewise is different things for different people.

    Much to the chagrin of several of my liberal-activist friends, I'm not the ideal activist. The truth is I'm not much of an activist at all. I have firm beliefs and convictions and other than trying to get people to vote for one candidate over another (because I think she or he better represents my beliefs and convictions), you will not find me in the front rows of protests or the front pews at church. I stand or sit in the back, content with my beliefs, in the fervent hope that others will see the wrongs of their beliefs and after an epiphany come to agree with me. I know it isn't very forceful at all.
    Honestly, I'm tolerant. Keep in mind, tolerance doesn't equal acceptance, but I am tolerant. Again, tolerance doesn't equal acceptance. So when asked to pray for a limited group as I was this morning when a friend specifically requested prayers for my Jewish and atheist friends (she is one of both), I simply say "yes I will do that."  What I admittedly don't do (and I think this is what some would wish I did) is say "why be so exclusive?"
    I accept their vibes and am hopeful they accept mine. And I will work to try to elect politicians who think more my way than theirs. So, I'm not an evangelizer nor am I an activist. But I am a believer. 
    There is a poem, My Philosophy, by James Whitcomb Riley, which my uncle Bob Lewis (1918-2008) had me memorize when I was eight years old. It explains a lot of my political temperament, even to this day. Here is the poem:
    by James Whitcomb Riley.

    I ain't, ner don't p'tend to be,
    Much posted on philosofy;
    But thare is times, when all alone,
    I work out idees of my own.
    And of these same thare is a few
    I'd like to jest refer to you--
    Pervidin' that you don't object
    To listen clos't and rickollect.

    I allus argy that a man
    Who does about the best he can
    Is plenty good enugh to suit
    This lower mundane institute--
    No matter ef his daily walk
    Is subject fer his neghbor's talk,
    And critic-minds of ev'ry whim
    Jest all git up and go fer him!

    I knowed a feller onc't that had
    The yeller-janders mighty bad,--
    And each and ev'ry friend he'd meet
    Would stop and give him some receet
    Fer cuorin' of 'em. But he'd say
    He kindo' thought they'd go away
    Without no medicin', and boast
    That he'd git well without one doste.

    He kep' a-yellerin' on--and they
    Perdictin' that he'd die some day
    Before he knowed it! Tuck his bed,
    The feller did, and lost his head,
    And wundered in his mind a spell--
    Then rallied, and, at last, got well;
    But ev'ry friend that said he'd die
    Went back on him eternally!

    Its natchurl enugh, I guess,
    When some gits more and some gits less,
    Fer them-uns on the slimmest side
    To claim it ain't a fare divide;
    And I've knowed some to lay and wait,
    And git up soon, and set up late,
    To ketch some feller they could hate
    Fer goin' at a faster gait.

    The signs is bad when folks commence
    A-findin' fault with Providence,
    And balkin' 'cause the earth don't shake
    At ev'ry prancin' step they take.
    No man is grate tel he can see
    How less than little he would be
    Ef stripped to self, and stark and bare
    He hung his sign out anywhare.

    My doctern is to lay aside
    Contensions, and be satisfied:
    Jest do your best, and praise er blame
    That follers that, counts jest the same.
    I've allus noticed grate success
    Is mixed with troubles, more er less,
    And it's the man who does the best
    That gits more kicks than all the rest.
    By the way, to loyal readers of the blog, this isn't the first time this poem have been cited herein.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

763. Swabbing the Fourth Amendment

I've been searching, tongueswab-in-cheek, for any Fourth Amendment comments on Facebook or Twitter. There are surprisingly few. Anyone secure enough in their persons willing to submit? Between my liberal friends and my Libertarian friends, am I the only one thinking Scalia warrants an oath of affirmation?

Saturday, May 11, 2013

762. A little road trip - and an excuse to post

Thanks to my friend Keenan Wilson, I made a short road trip out into the heartland of the Commonwealth today.  Keenan, from Radcliff in Hardin County, today joins the ranks of college graduates turned over from their in loco parentis overseers to face the world.

For Keenan, the overseeing college was Saint Catherine College, a Dominican based school just outside of Springfield, Kentucky at the dead end of the old US 150, a couple of miles west of downtown and about 58 miles southeast of Louisville.

For his persistence in getting an education, Keenan was today awarded a Bachelor of Arts degree during the 81st Commencement Ceremonies at the school, which was initially founded in 1823.  Congrats to Keenan.

I had made him the promise of attending the ceremonies thus giving me an excuse to pursue a favorite hobby, driving the old roads and highways of Kentucky.  This trip covered very little in the way of a new route, although one of the main routes along the way has been rerouted on some new land, this being US150 beginning right at the college's property west of town.

The new US150 winds around the north side of Springfield and a new roundabout was built at the college's formal entrance, connecting the new road with the old road and the college.  The ceremony began with College President William D. Huston explaining the delay in beginning the commencement was due to an accident involving a semi-trailer in the roundabout, something he said was getting to be all to common.

I can only think of a few roundabouts in Louisville.  The most famous one encircles Enid Yandell's statue of Daniel Boone at the entrance to Cherokee Park, at Eastern Parkway and Cherokee Road.  As an historical note, I would add that location is neither the original entrance to the park nor the original location of the statue.  There is another roundabout in my friend Preston's subdivision in far northeastern Jefferson County, where Hunting Creek Drive begins on one side of the circle and splits into Westover Drive going east and Deep Creek Drive going south.  There is a "sort-of" extended roundabout in front of the Louisville Zoo along Trevilian Way, a signature project of the current councilman representing that area, Jim King.  Another roundabout has been planned for many years in "downtown" Fairdale, connecting Fairdale Road, Mitchell Hill Road, West Manslick Road, and Mount Holly Road.  I am sure there are others here and there.

So, my purpose today was to get from here along the Left Bank of the Ohio River near Milepost 606 to there, at the new roundabout on the old US150, just west of Springfield.  The road travelled today is one often travelled; the most direct route from here to there - essentially out I-65 to the Clermont exit (also known as the Bernheim Forest exit, and gaining popularity as the Jim Beam exit) which is KY245.  KY245 runs along a northwest-southeast corridor from KY61 (Preston Highway) on the west to and through the northside of Bardstown where it serves as a by-pass of sorts, ending at US150, the Springfield Road, on the southeast side of Bardstown.  At one time this road ended at N. Third Street in Bardstown, the road to Louisville, but it was pushed through about twenty years ago.

From the southeast side of Bardstown, the road to St. Catherine used to be a straight shot since the college is located on what was the main road into Springfield.  Recently, however, US150 has been routed around the north and east sides of Springfield along a new mostly two-lane concrete highway with wide emergency lanes and even wide shoulders.  I followed the new road as far as KY55, or Bloomfield Road, which I took into town and angled back to the west to the college, making my first encounter with the new roundabout from the east, and entering the college proper.

Although this entry is about the roadtrip, it would be disrespectful at this point not to acknowledge (again) the graduation of my friend Keenan.  For the school, this was a day of firsts.  In addition to their Baccalaureate program, this past year they introduced a "Commander College" program for Washington County high school students and the first of this class also participated in today's program.  Another new group of students included those receiving Master's Degrees, the first year of completion for this program as well.  But, I digress.

Upon leaving the ceremony, as is my wont, I travelled a different path getting back to the Derby City.  Returning (almost) to town, I took a right onto KY55 and proceeded south on a road officially known as the Western By-Pass, but usually just called the By-Pass.  Further south the old road joins from town and it is known as Lebanon Hill Road - the road into Lebanon.  Once in Lebanon, KY55 is known as N. Spalding Avenue for a distance and along this distance is the historic antebellum home Myrtledene, built in 1833, at the southwest corner of Saint Rose Road and N. Spalding Avenue.  The home is operated as a Bed and Breakfast by the innkeeper, James Spragens, and is somehow, I'm not clear how, affiliated with the family of a young Republican banker friend of mine, Sean Holleran, formerly of this town but now residing in Evansville.

I followed KY55 into town on N. Spalding and out of town on W. Main Street, where it joins US68 and heads southwest towards Campbellsville.  Not too far along the way, I turned right on KY426 and headed west.  This was the southernmost point of today's journey so far.  I followed KY426 west to its intersection with KY84, which would be my main road west to begin the northward trip home.

KY84 is a long sometimes meandering and sometimes straightway road, running through Raywick and Howardstown and around the hills of Cecil Ridge, then crossing the Rolling Fork (of Salt River), which was running high itself due to the recent rains.  KY84 eventually joins US31E between Bardstown and Hodgenville at a wide place in the road known as White City.  US31E/KY84 follows Main Street into town and around Lincoln Square - another roundabout - and follow south out of town along Lincoln Boulevard.  At Tanner Road, KY84 breaks off to the west and shortly thereafter becomes Sonora Road, the road which will take us to I-65 and the return trip northward.  There's about nine miles between this turn-off and Sonora but our travels only takes us about 8 1/2 miles to the intersection with I-65 North, about equally south as the corner of KY55 and KY426, and the return trip through or around Elizabethtown, Colesburg, Lebanon Junction, Shepherdsville, Brooks, and Okolona, to Louisville.

A very pleasant ride in the heartland of the Commonwealth.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

761. Legislative Unease

(The following are remarks I made at today's Quarterly Meeting of the Kentucky Democratic Party.  The meeting was held at the Hilton Hotel in Lexington).

Mr. Chair and members of the Committee --

Last week the Kentucky Senate passed a bill which would allow Kentuckians to disobey certain Federal laws and certain Federal Executive Orders.  Such laws are known as Nullification Laws.  They aren’t new and most have been struck down over the years by what is known as the Supremacy Clause of the United States Constitution.

Nullification isn’t a new idea for Kentucky.  We were the second state to offer such laws, the Kentucky Resolutions, back in 1799.  Virginia, our mother-state, beat us to it in 1798.  And over time many states in all parts of the country have passed laws which have come to be known as Nullification Laws.  We’re not paving the way with any new ideas, but we are jumping on the bandwagon of many states which are, for their own reasons, unhappy about the administration of Barack Obama, our recently re-elected Democratic president.  The current national leader of the nullification movement is our own United States Senator Rand Paul. 

That our Senate has followed the direction of Rand Paul is not a surprise – we all know the Senate is controlled by the Republicans and, unfortunately, is likely to remain so for some time.  My greater concern is that with the exception of my senator Gerald Neal, my favorite senator from Lexington Kathy Stein, and my favorite newest Democratic senator, Morgan McGarvey, every other Democratic senator has followed Rand Paul’s lead on this matter.

It is my belief that when our state and the other 49 joined the union, by their participation in the Federal government, they agreed to participate in all of it.  As a Louisvillian, there have been times when I have accepted the fact that Louisville sends considerably more money to Frankfort than we receive in return.  This is part of the compact we as Louisvillians have with our fellow Kentuckians.  It is a good thing.  In the reverse manner, we as Kentuckians should be grateful to the Federal government, with all its warts and shortcomings, as we receive in return much more than we send to Washington, DC.  I’ve expressed my concerns about this vote to two senators who were yes votes in whose campaigns I have played a part - and wanted to extend knowledge of my dissatisfaction to this body.

On a different matter, and in the other house of the General Assembly, I am also concerned and dissatisfied.  Two days ago, the Kentucky House, in the name of religious freedom, passed a law which subverts the gains Kentucky and a few - very few - of its local communities have made with regard to civil rights protections for lesbians, gays, and others.  In the name of religious freedom, which I would call religious preference, something forbidden by the United States Constitution, our House passed a law by an overwhelming vote – seven Democrats voting no and the balance of the Chamber in favor – which could strip away discrimination protections in the name of religious freedom.

Two attempts were made by my representative in the House, Darryl Owens, to amend the bill, one passed and one was not called for a vote - both in the name of protecting the gains made in civil rights over the years, and especially in the cities of Vicco, Covington, Lexington, and Louisville.

Each of these bills now head to the other Chamber where both will likely be passed. Each bill needs work and if passed as written I would hope Governor Beshear would give the General Assembly more time to think through their votes by vetoing these horrible pieces of legislation.

Thank You.

JEFF NOBLE, 3rd CD Committeeman

Saturday, February 23, 2013

760. A little Wilde.

“Life is not governed by will or intention. Life is a question of nerves, and fibers, and slowly built-up cells in which thought hides itself and passion has its dreams. You may fancy yourself safe, and think yourself strong. But a chance tone of color in a room or a morning sky, a particular perfume that you had once loved and that brings subtle memories with it, a line from a forgotten poem that you had come across again, a cadence from a piece of music that you had ceased to play - I tell you that it is on things like these that our lives depend.”

From Oscar Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray, 1890.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

759. Counting counties

My seven faithful readers know that each year there has been an accounting of the counties in Kentucky visited by Yours Truly during the course of the previous year.  As has been previously explained, since 1979 I have maintained a series of maps of the Commonwealth on which I mark the counties I visit through the course of the year. 

Over the years the number varies and only twice has it to the mountaintop, so to speak, in those years where my feet somehow touched terra firma in all 120 of Kentucky's junior fiefdoms.  That was not the case in 2012 when the number reached just past the 1/3 mark at 41 counties visited.  And, as has been the case in every year except 1979 and 1987, neither Lawrence nor Elliott were among them.

There are the stand-bys - all close to Louisville, Frankfort, and Lexington, with trips made between the three cities on a regular basis.  Fayette was the first county visited in 2012 since I had celebrated New Year's Eve in, as one friend calls it, the Center of the Universe.

The northernmost county visited was technically Boone since it extends more northward than any other county, but the northernmost point in the state I actually visited was in Campbell on a road trip with my dear friend Preston Bates.  We trekked along KY8 heading east out of Newport before returning later than evening and having dinner at a Mexican restaurant on Monmouth Street.

My trip to Charlotte for the 2012 Democratic National Convention afforded the southernmost point, at Exit #11 of I-75 in Williamsburg, Kentucky and Whitley County, just north of the Tennessee line.  I stopped there on the way down, but not on the way back.

To the east was a brief visit into Owsley County while travelling one afternoon with my friend Aaron Jent, the same trip where we walked across the Natural Bridge a few counties over.  That was a fine afternoon ride.

Finally the westernmost place visited was in Hawesville, in Hancock County.  I usually get much further west than this, but illness prevented my usual trip to West Kentucky and Fancy Farm.  On the day before Thanksgiving, determined that Muldraugh wasn't going to be my westernmost city this past year, I drove westward on US60 and other routes to the Hancock County seat where I toured the old Court House and had a conversation with County Judge/Executive Jack McCaslin, a Democrat who first took office in 1999.

That the report.  We'll see if 2013 takes us more places.  So far, sixteen days in, I haven't as yet left the bounds of Jefferson County.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

758. Kerry and Cuba

Opening the doors of Cuba is something I have believed in for over three decades. I have never understood America's stance on the matter, from either the left or the right, and especially after the fall of most of the world's Communist states. Anytime there is a glimmer of hope, it gets my attention. It was one of the two things I thought George W. Bush got right and he came close. But then the powers-that-be got to him and he backed off. The other was his green-card-to-freedom program for immigrants working in America. It, too, has been met by a deaf ear from the current administration, much to my dissatisfaction. I'm hoping a lame-duck second term and a different Secretary of State will allow the president to realign his priorities in these matters.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

757. Some numbers

First, my apologies for missing the Winter Solstice, Christmas, the final Full Moon of 2012, and, more recently, the New Year celebration.  They've been covered in the past and there is little to add.  Minus any bad gifts or bad dates for New Year's Eve, there are minimal changes in how these are celebrated.  And, they happen with precision.  The Solstice, the Full Moon, Christmas, and New Year.  But that precision is determined in different ways.  And that is sort of (the opposite of) what this entry is about.

Solstices and Full Moons don't happen at the exact same time every year or month.  While solstices have only happened, to my knowledge, in June and December, like their counterparts, the equinoxes, which only happen in March and September, full moons come and go on a moving pattern about every 28 days, so they roam through the dates on a calendar.  Christmas and New Year, however, are well-established on their dates of December 25 and January 1.  If someone wishes to take me task on that latter date, that is ok.  I am aware that the Romans cited March 1 as their New Year.

But this entry isn't even about that except for the part dealing with numbers.  As my seven faithful readers may or may not know, I have a fascination with numbers, one which is manifested in many different ways.  I like the way they interact, I like the way they add up, multiply, divide, and diminish.  I even like their fractions, perfect numbers, prime numbers, denominators, and numerators.  All of it.  I've made something of a career out of it.

Thus, I've been pleased to have lived my life in the time frame I have as I've been witness to some interesting dates over time.  In this essay, by dates I will not always mean things like March 23 or December 13 or June 30 or September 2, all of which do have my attention for one reason or another.  I might mean their corresponding dates, such as 03/23 or 12/13 or 06/30 or 09/02.  You get the idea.

During my lifetime we've lived through some interesting combinations of dates.  The numbers assigned to make up our dates, we must accept, are arbitrary.  We currently operate under what is known as the Gregorian Calendar.  It was put in place by Pope Gregory in the days when a pope could do such things.  It replaced the Julian calendar.  It was adopted in the United Kingdom, and thus the British colonies, on September 2, 1752, which was then followed by September 14, 1752.  Not everywhere adopted it at the same time.  Russia didn't start using it until January 31, 1918.  Alaska's calendar changed from the former Julian calendar, also named for a pope, between the British adoption and the Russian adoption, when its ownership changed hands in what is sometimes referred to as Seward's Folly, the purchase of Alaska by the United States.  The treaty approving the purchase passed the Senate in April 1867 with a six month delay in taking effect.  Thus, October 6, 1867 was followed by October 18, 1867, in America's Last Frontier.  Some of you have heard the reference to Seward's Folly since high school history classes.  If you have been to see the movie Lincoln, he, Seward, after Lincoln, played one of the largest roles in the handling of the Civil War, a most interesting character.  But, I digress.  

As stated, the calendar is ever-changing, even if in miniscule ways, such as leap-seconds.  A leap second is added, usually unbeknownst to most of us, now and then so that our clocks are in accord with the passage of a day, which in lay terms is the amount of time between the passes of the sun directly overhead.  The most recent leap-second was added at the end of the 23rd hour and the 59th minute of that hour and after the 59th second of that minute on June 30th just six months ago.  Did you feel it?  They are added either at that point on June 30 or at that same point on December 31, which is when one was added in both 2005 and 2008.  The more common change of the calendar is the one we all do experience every four years in February when a leap-day is added.  2012 was one such year.  But here is one of those extraordinary days that caught my attention, in a reverse sort of way.  Back in 2000, you remember Y2K, we added, as might be expected, a leap-year day and called it February 29, 2000.  But, there wasn't a leap-year day added in 1700, 1800, or 1900.  Nor will there be one in 2100, 2200, or 2300.  Every hundred years, according to the rules, we don't add one, unless the first two digits of that year is divisible by four, as was the 20 in 2000.  And we were there.

I don't remember when dates and numbers first caught my attention.  I do remember recognising at a very young age that my brother and I were each born on a prime number, he on the 17th, me on the 23rd.  I remember noticing the birthday of a girl I dated in high school, Janice.  Her birthday was January 9, or 1/9.  And she was born in 1962.  Her birthday could read 1/9/62, from 1962.  A little thing, but it got my attention.  The same would be true of anyone born on January 9th, at least in the 20th century.  But because there is no 0th day of February, that little fascination went out of style almost fourteen years ago.

Some other oddities we've lived through are more palindromic years than usual, meaning two.  Since the year 1000, palindromic years have been 110 years apart.  For example, 1001, 1111, 1221, 1331, and so forth.  But we who have lived in the last 22 years have made it through two in that 110 year window, 1991 and 2002.  The next one will be 2112, then 2222, and so on.  I remember working this out in my head in 1991, an exceptionally bad year for me and I was looking for reasons as to why that was the case.  We also have had the fortune of living through all the repetitive dates and even times.  Just three weeks ago was the much flaunted 12/12/12.  There were also 11/11/11 and 10/10/10.  But we cannot count the others because of that 0 ahead of the final digit.  I have two friends, Bobby and Morgan, who were born on 8/8 and 10/10 respectively.  My former boss and friend, E. Porter Hatcher, Jr., who passed away three days ago, was born on 9/9.  My step-nephew, Jimmy Jones, was born on 5/5.  He was born in the palindromic year 1991, giving him a double fun-fact.  I've often tried to co-relate my parents' birth dates of 11/1 and 1/22.  Surely there is something there, you'd think.

Two more thoughts.  First, years with consecutive numbers.  Admittedly, none of us have lived in a consecutive in-a-row year, what the Lottery would call a straight-box.  The last one was 1234 and the next one is 2345.  But we have lived in two which were made up of consecutive numbers.  These were 1980 and, now, 2013.  The next will be in 2019 and hopefully many of us will see it.  The next after that is 2091, presumed to be out-of-reach.

Finally, to my readers and friends under the age of 25, this is an historic year for you. It is the first year of your life that one of the digits isn't a repeater.  Every year from 1988 to 2012 has been made up of only three different numbers amongst the four digits, and in two cases, only two different figures - 1999 and 2000.  2013 is the first year since 1987 that the four numbers are all different.

So, it really is a new year, at least as far as numbers go.

Happy New Year.  Celebrate!

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.