Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Your First Kentucky 2018 Candidate for Donations: Sam Gaskin

He's a gun owner who wants background checks, closing the gun show loophole and "red-flagging" people with more than one assault rifle.

No word yet on reproductive rights, but for the moment he looks good.

From the Hopkinsville New Era:

Sam Gaskins is official in his bid to be a U.S. congressman, having filed to run for 1st District representative Wednesday in Frankfort.

If no one else files as a Democrat for the seat, Gaskins is expected to face a familiar foe in 2018 in incumbent Rep. James Comer. Comer won that election in a landslide, but Gaskins did garner 27 percent of the vote.

This time, he believes he has what it takes to win and is better prepared for the long campaign ahead.


“Our president needs to shut up,” Gaskins said in references to Trump’s rhetoric on North Korea, including comments about fire and fury.

As a veteran, Gaskins doesn’t believe there should be troops on the ground, saying they are stretched thin as it is; however, he said if Kim Jong Un continues on his path, and the growing rhetoric between him and Trump continue, he’s afraid troops on the grown will be a reality.


 Gaskins has said many times he believes a single-payer system, like in other countries, is the only way to solve the country’s problem with rising health care costs. As long as competing health care companies are involved, he believes the prices will keep rising. But, whether it’s what is currently happening to health care under the Trump administration or the Affordable Care Act under President Obama, the system needs a full overhaul.
Hopkinsville, by the way, is by far the most diverse community in the far-western First District. If Gaskin can mobilize the African-American community there, he's got a real shot at this.

His website is still under construction - Sam!  Get that thing up and running!  Money won't wait! - but here is his facebook page.

Read more here:

Read more here:

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Segregation From Reality

This has been a Southern/Confederate speciality literally for centuries. Facts and reality too painful to face? Just ignore them and cling to the myth. 

Political Animal:
David Roberts’s analysis of the American right’s self-segregation from reality, though written before the Moore news broke, nevertheless explains why Moore will likely win in a landslide:
The US is experiencing a deep epistemic breach, a split not just in what we value or want, but in who we trust, how we come to know things, and what we believe we know — what we believe exists, is true, has happened and is happening.
The primary source of this breach, to make a long story short, is the US conservative movement’s rejection of the mainstream institutions devoted to gathering and disseminating knowledge (journalism, science, the academy) — the ones society has appointed as referees in matters of factual dispute.
But the right’s institutions are not of the same kind as the ones they seek to displace. Mainstream scientists and journalists see themselves as beholden to values and standards that transcend party or faction. They try to separate truth from tribal interests and have developed various guild rules and procedures to help do that. They see themselves as neutral arbiters, even if they do not always uphold that ideal in practice.
The pretense for the conservative revolution was that mainstream institutions had failed in their role as neutral arbiters — that they had been taken over by the left, become agents of the left in referee’s clothing, as it were.
Moore win would be the least surprising development in modern American politics. There are millions of Americans, in Alabama and elsewhere, who walked away from facts, truth and reason decades ago. They will never come back. They are wedded to the vision of a permanent 1950s where women, African-Americans, members of the LGBTQ community and anyone who isn’t a straight white Christian male knows their place and knows their role. They regarding voting Democratic as a sin, not what Moore allegedly did to those young women. There is no bottom to the American right, no limits to its loathsomeness, no cap on its cruelty. When it comes to viciousness and venality, it’s fair to say that right-wingers just can’t get enough–and only want Moore.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Stop Targeting the Wrong People for Opioid Abuse

Visit a nursing home sometime.  Look for the old men and women sitting in their chairs with tears running down their faces. They're not lonely; they're suffering non-stop agony because Kentucky's lethal yet ridiculous KASPER law has taken away their painkillers.

Kevin Drum brings the scientific facts:

The main reason prescriptions went up is that doctors really had been undertreating pain for a long time. And it turns out that the biggest problem with high rates of opioid prescription don’t come from pain patients anyway. Addiction rates among pain patients are actually fairly low: anywhere from 0.1 percent to less than 8 percent, and very few pain patients ever move on to heroin or other drugs. Rather, the biggest part of the problem comes from people who score opioid painkillers elsewhere. And where do they get them? From leftovers sitting around their parents’ medicine chests. From friends. From the black market.
In other words, if we really want to address the opioid epidemic, our best strategy is not to focus all our attention on prescriptions among legitimate pain patients. Nor is it to refight the war on drugs yet again. Instead, we need to:
  • Get better at screening people with previous (or current) addictions.
  • Prescribe fewer pills after surgeries, but make it easy to get refills. The idea here is to limit the number of leftover pills lying around, but to do it without making things difficult for pain patients.
  • Crack down on pill mills and on shipments plainly bound for the black market—but without making doctors live in fear of the DEA knocking on their door if they treat their pain patients properly.
  • Get tougher on misleading pharmaceutical marketing.
  • Fund much more research on pain management and alternative pain strategies.
This is what President Trump ought to be doing as part of his “public health emergency” over opioid deaths.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

What's next? Child marriages and executing gays. They won't stop.

Don't worry, they said.  Allowing public prayer by citizens at public meetings is harmless.  It's not like elected officials themselves proselityzing on public property at public meetings ... oh WAIT.

From the press release, because they're not even trying to hide it.

FRANKFORT, Ky. (Nov. 16, 2017) – Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin is joining with West Virginia and 20 other states in filing an amicus brief in support of North Carolina’s writ of certiorari asking the U.S. Supreme Court to review Rowan County v. Lund.
The Bevin Administration along with the states of West Virginia, Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah and Wisconsin are petitioning the Court to uphold well-established precedents protecting the freedom of prayer before public meetings. (SIC)
“Intervention is critical to resolve the disagreement in the lower courts and to preserve the ability of state and local legislative bodies to accommodate the spiritual needs of lawmakers,” states the brief. “This Court should grant review to provide certainty for the thousands of state and local governments that have long allowed lawmaker-led prayer in their proceedings—and thereby continue a tradition that has become part of the fabric of our society.”
In recent months, lower courts have issued conflicting rulings in regard to this topic. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit (which covers Kentucky) and a panel of the 4th U.S. Circuit both ruled in favor of religious liberty (SIC). However, the full 4th Circuit later reversed its panel’s earlier decision.
Citing two landmark Supreme Court cases—Marsh v. Chambers (1983) and Town of Greece v. Galloway (2014), the states argue that the 4th Circuit’s conclusion “is entirely unmoored from [Supreme Court] precedent.”
“Lawmaker-led prayer is a common and important form of legislative prayer, which connects lawmakers to a tradition dating to the time of the Framers and allows part-time and volunteer lawmakers to reflect the values they hold as private citizens,” the brief notes. “This Court’s review is necessary to undo the 4th Circuit’s erroneous decision, which would sweep away what has so long been settled, and threaten to create new controversy and begin anew the very divisions along religious lines that the Establishment Claus seeks to prevent.”
A copy of the full amicus brief can be downloaded here.
First, that's not how you spell "Clause." Second, "religious liberty" under the Establishment Clause does not mean "everybody else has to follow my religion."
In fifty years, christianist have gone from following biblical injunctions to not engage in the world outside the church to demanding that secular society adopt their freakazoid stupidity.
We ignored the warnings of history and the Founders and let them take over one step at a time, and now they're too powerful and our secular institutions too weak to stop them.
When they arrest you for mowing your lawn on a Sunday, don't say I didn't warn you.  

Saturday, November 18, 2017

A Southern Tradition: Lynching Black Veterans

Veterans Day: A perfect time to remember one of our national legacies, white people lynching black soldiers and recently returned veterans.

A month after World War I ended, Private Charles Lewis returned home to Tyler Station, Kentucky, where a mob of masked men lynched him on December 16, 1918. Private Lewis was wearing his uniform when he encountered Deputy Sheriff Al Thomas, who attempted to arrest him for robbery. Private Lewis denied guilt and pointed to his uniform, declaring that he had been honorably discharged and had never committed a crime. The two men argued and Private Lewis was charged with assault and resisting arrest. Private Lewis was awaiting transfer to the Fulton County Jail in Hickman, Kentucky, as news of his challenge to white authority spread and a mob of 75 to 100 people formed. At midnight, masked men stormed the jail, smashed the locks with a sledgehammer, pulled Private Lewis out of his cell, tied a rope around his neck, and hanged him from a tree. The next day, hundreds of white spectators viewed Private Lewis’s dead, hanging body, still in uniform. At least 10 more black veterans were lynched in 1919 alone.
But Colin Kaepernick is the traitor.
Tyler Station doesn't exist on state maps any more, but Fulton County is in the far southwestern corner of the state, on the Mississippi River.
According to this archive, 142 black people were lynched in Kentucky, along with 63 white people.  That puts us ahead of West Virginia, Virginia, even South fucking Carolina.  Kentucky lynched more black people than North Carolina.  More than Oklahoma. More than Missouri. More than Indiana.

Only eight states lynched more black people than Kentucky did, and they are all of course deep-south shitholes.
While Kentucky doesn’t have quite as many lynchings on record as other states in the South, it does have some of the most gruesome and heinous accounts of lynchings that took place during this time. Reports indicate that 205 people were lynched in the state during this time frame and 142 of them were Black. They all met with unbelievably inhumane deaths. A glimpse of just how much terrorism Blacks faced in Kentucky can be found in the March 25, 1871 letter sent to the U.S. Congress asking for protection from the Ku Klux Klan for the newly-freed African Americans in Kentucky. In the book Racial violence in Kentucky, 1865-1940 Dr. George C. Wright says “the letter was from Colored citizens of Frankfort & vicinity, signed by Henry Marrs, a teacher; Henry Lynn, a livery stable keeper; N. N. Trumbo, a grocer; Samuel Damsey; B. Smith, a blacksmith; and B. T. Crampton, a barber.” The document contained a list of 116 incidents of beatings, shootings, hangings, tarring and feathering, and other violence that had taken place around the state.
No of course we didn't learn about this in school, or even college. The civil war was about industrialization and states rights. Lee was a hero, Gone with the Wind was nonfiction, Jim Crow who?.  There were whispers, but only about the heinous rapes of white women that those men must have committed to earn lynching.

And that was Kentucky public education in the 1970s.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Trump Administration Targets Lexington Diversity

Complete, total, unmitigated bullshit. And nothing at all to do with Lexington's mayor being gay and the first openly gay candidate for statewide office and contemplating challenging Candy Barr for the Sixth District congressional seat.

Ya know what, assholes?  Jim Gray has dealt his entire life with bigger bullies than you.  Bring it on.

From the Herald:

The Federal Highway Administration wants Lexington Mayor Jim Gray to remove a rainbow-themed crosswalk in downtown Lexington that was installed to promote diversity, saying it poses a legal liability to the city.

“While we recognize in good faith your crosswalk art was well-intended for your community, we request that you take the necessary steps to remove the non-compliant crosswalk as soon as it is feasible,” wrote Thomas L. Nelson Jr., administrator for the Kentucky division of the Federal Highway Administration in Frankfort, in a two-page letter to Gray.

The crosswalk at the intersection of North Limestone and Short Street was painted in rainbow colors just before the June 25 Pride Festival. The Blue Grass Community Foundation sponsored the project through a grant from its Knight Foundation Donor Advised Charitable Fund.

Lisa Adkins, president and chief executive officer of the foundation, said in June that the rainbow crosswalk was intended to celebrate the city’s rich diversity and improve safety at a busy intersection. 

“It surprises me that none of these issues exist in other parts of the country where they are doing the same thing,” said Josh Mers, chairman of Lexington Fairness, a nonprofit group that advocates for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights. “It’s just another effort by this administration to try to push Lexington into a corner.” 

It’s odd that transportation officials in other states haven’t raised similar concerns, said Mers, who is running next year for a state House seat in Fayette County.

Read more here:

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Thursday, November 16, 2017

Don't Stop There, Alison: Go for the Recreational Gold

Calling for medical marijuana is so 1990s, Secretary Grimes.  All the cool states are legalizing recreational pot and raking in billions of tax dollars.

Demand Kentucky become the first southern state to reject the ridiculous War on (some classes of people who use some) Drugs, tell Jeffy Sessions to fuck off and die and join the coalition of smart states.

Do that, Alison, and you'll crush Gov. Sniveling Heartless Worm in a landslide in 2019.

From the Courier:

Could legal medical marijuana be on the horizon in Kentucky? 

Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes said Wednesday she wants to legalize medical marijuana in the Bluegrass State by 2018. 

A task force, led by Grimes, will also study and propose potential implementation and regulation processes. 

In a statement, Grimes said, "2018 is and must be the year when Kentucky finally steps up on medical marijuana. We have to get this done to help Kentuckians who are hurting."

Judge to medical marijuana users: Talk to lawmakers about legalization, not me

State Rep. John Sims, D- Flemingsburg, will co-chair a task force alongside Grimes the statement said.

"Kentucky is getting left behind on this issue. Already 29 states and the District of Columbia have enacted medical marijuana legislation to help their people," Sims said in the announcement. "The research is done. The studies have been conducted. It works, and it's time we end our idling and start having conversations to bring medical marijuana to the Commonwealth."