Monday, December 31, 2007

Last Chance to Poke Mitch in the Eye with a stick


UPDATE Below

Today is the last day of the fundraising quarter, and your last chance in 2007 to smack Mitch McConnell upside the head with a campaign contribution to Mitch Killer Andrew Horne.

As MediaCzech at BlueGrassRoots puts it:

"Give now and make sure we keep up with the Obstructionist-in-Chief and his corporate bribe war chest.

Let's Ditch Mitch!"

UPDATE, 8:30 a.m.:Page One Kentucky notes that Mitch's fundraising is taking on a note of shrill. They quote WaPo:

McConnell sent his supporters a just-before-Christmas e-mail practically begging for campaign cash so he can take on the outta-staters who’ve put a political bull’s-eye on his back.

Too funny, if Mitch really thinks his big problem is outta-staters. That's right, Mitchie, keep your sights focused on has-beens like Carville and Schumer. Meanwhile, back here in Kentucky (remember Kentucky? the state you claim to represent?), Andrew Horne is eating your lunch.

Cross-posted at Watching Those We Chose.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Roar for Powerful Words




BlueGirlRedMissouri has honored me with a Roar for Powerful Words from the Shameless Lions Writing Circle.

About a year ago, Blue Girl recruited me from the Political Animal comment section to join her group blog at Watching Those We Chose. Apparently she doesn't regret it yet, because this is how she justified the Roar for Powerful Words award:

"I reach out and touch Yellow Dog, my fellow Watching Those We Chose blogger. Remember towards the top, when I said "write what you know"? Yeah, well, Yellow Dog knows Kentucky politics, and writes about it in a vivid and scathing manner. And YD is not shy about a well-placed "fuck" - calling 'em the way they fall, and if you're thin-skinned or delicate (besides the fact you shouldn't be here) don't click the link. Pretty simple, really, and the philosophy I follow here. And to think that a year ago, when I first started wheedling for help at WTWC, I got a bit of resistance, "I'm more of a commenter, I'm not really a blogger." I, being the irresistible force that I am, dismissed those concerns with a "pshaw" and now, Yellow Dog is a regular contributor to three blogs! And we are all the better for it."

Awardees are requested to publicize their award, along with their three keys to powerful writing, and tag five bloggers whose powerful writing we admire. So:

My keys to powerful writing are actually more goals than rules, as I often fail to follow them myself. Nevertheless:

First, Take A Stand. Nothing worse than namby-pamby "on the other hand" mush. If you can't explain in ten words or less why it's the greatest thing since sliced bread or an approaching catastrophe, don't bother writing about it at all.

Second, Memorize Orwell. No, not 1984, although the paralells to our current situation are overwhelming, but rather his essay Politics and the English Language. Written 60 years ago, it remains the best and final word on writing clearly and concisely.

Third, Remember Molly Ivins. She may never have blogged, but I have yet to encounter a progessive blogger who was not inspired by her. She always exhorted activists with the same order: Raise Hell and Have Fun.

Five bloggers whose writing inspires me, and who deserve more attention:

We'll never see Molly's like again, but her Texan Take-No-Shit-and-Keep-It-Funny legacy is kept alive by Susan at Kiss My Big Blue Butt. You know that friend you have who knows everybody and everything that's going on and always has the smartest and funniest take on it all? That's Susan. How can you not love a woman who originally named her website "The World's Most Dangerous Beauty Salon?"

My fellow Kentuckians, from whom I keep learning so much, and whom I'd like to grow up to be some day:

Jim Pence of Hillbilly Report is Kentucky's ubiquitous and indispensible video blogger. If it's a political event in Kentucky and Jim Pence wasn't there to record it, it may not have actually happened.

MediaCzech of BlueGrassRoots is a cross between a curmugeon and a '60s idealist - alternately excoriating state and national Democrats for spinelessness and encouraging progressives to get out and work to elect better ones. Keeps it real with regular "Take Action!" posts with where, when and how specifics. BlueGrassRoots, by the way, is Kentucky's first progressive political blog, established by Ben Carter in 2004.

PageOneKentucky is a relative newcomer, but has made a big splash with some scoops gleaned from its personal connections to Democratic state politicians. Funny, snarky and plugged in, PageOne usually offers a different take from other Kentucky blogs.

Rich at Logical Negativism may be the only Kentucky blogger more shrill than me. Rich was the first blogger I'm aware of who, way back in 2004, predicted that Smirky had no intention of letting go of the reins of power. He wouldn't leave office after losing re-election, Rich said, and he wouldn't leave office in January 2009 if he won. Rich's posts are gems of towering outrage - something of which the blogosphere needs more, not less. The problem is that Rich's posts have been few and far between lately. Stop by and leave a comment asking him to start blogging again.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

"She Gave Her Life"

Whatever her shortcomings, she loved her country and gave her life for it.
- Ahmed Rashid

If you read nothing else about today's assassination of Benazir Bhutto, read this piece in the Washington Post by Pakistani journalist Ahmed Rashid.

The Dangerous Void Left Behind
By Ahmed Rashid
Friday, December 28, 2007; Page A21
LAHORE, Pakistan -- The assassination of Benazir Bhutto has left a huge political vacuum at the heart of this nuclear-armed state, which appears to be slipping into an abyss of violence and Islamic extremism. The question of what happens next is almost impossible to answer, especially at a moment when Bhutto herself seemed to be the only answer.

Pakistanis are in shock. Many are numb, and others are filled with unimaginable grief. Thousands have taken to the streets, burning vehicles and attacking police stations in an explosion of violence against the government.
(SNIP)
President Pervez Musharraf's own political future has never been less certain.

Bhutto's death leaves the largest possible vacuum at the core of Pakistan's shaky and blood-stained political system. Twice elected prime minister in the 1990s, twice dismissed on charges of corruption and incompetence by the military, Bhutto was a giant of a politician in a land of political pygmies and acolytes of the military.

Benazir Bhutto and her Pakistan People's Party were the closest anyone in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan has ever gotten to espousing a secular, democratic political culture. In a country where political advances have been made recently only by the Taliban, the role Bhutto filled, trying to bring modernity to this nation of 160 million people, was immensely brave and absolutely necessary if Pakistan is to remain in the polity of nations. Whatever her shortcomings, she loved her country and gave her life for it.

Read the whole thing. Read it, and weep.

Cross-posted at BlueGrassRoots.

Monday, December 24, 2007

The 12 Lies of Mitch McConnell

Jim Pence, Kentucky's Video-Blogger-Without-Peer, brings us a special Holiday Gift - The 12 Lies of Mitch McConnell.

Sung by the Ditch Mitch Singers on Mitch's front lawn!

Kentucky Dems to Schumer: Drop Dead

UPDATE Below

As Chuck Schumer works frantically at the DSCC to promote a notorious DINO to run for Mitch McConnell's Senate seat, Kentucky progressives and its liberal blogosphere are fighting back.

Rumors are rampant here that Schumer is begging Criminal and Democratic Traitor Bruce Lunsford to challenge Mitch's re-election.

In a rational world, the person in charge of electing Democrats to the U.S. Senate would be pushing republican-in-disguise Lunsford to run either in the republican primary to wound Mitch and drain his war chest, or as an independent in the general election, to split republicans and guarantee a Democratic victory.

In a rational world, the person in charge of electing Democrats to the U.S. Senate would never dream of undermining the candidacy of a near-perfect Democratic candidate like Andrew Horne.

But Chuck Schumer lives in the DLC's Beltway World, where they think DINOs like Harold Ford actually win Senate seats against real republicans.

In 2004, Kentucky progressives, reeling from the republican takeover of the governorship, let the DLC talk us into electing DINO extraordinaire Ben Chandler to Congress. Chandler has thanked us by voting with Smirky and Darth to impoverish working families, legalize torture, promote permanent war, undermine the rule of law and destroy the Constitution.

Never again. No more DINOs.

Media Czech of BlueGrassRoots launched the first missile last week with this video of Lunsford yukking it up with his dear, dear buddy Mitch McConnell. (The other chucklehead is disgraced former republican governor Ernie Fletcher.)

Emails cited two Bluegrass Report posts from back in the spring, when Lunsford was running in the Democratic primary for governor (which he lost by 20 points):

"Top Ten Reasons to Vote Against Bruce Lunsford."

"More on Lunsford's Love of the Republican Party."

But there's more! If you've finished throwing up at the idea of this millionaire scumbag representing the Demcoratic Party at so much as a backyard picnic, try these:

Media Czech details Lunsford's 14-year record of large donations to republicans, including $7,500 to - wait for it - the National Republican Senate Committee in 1997. "Bruce Lunsford? Surely You're Joking."

And CFK activist Mike Bailey makes an impassioned plea for not letting Schumer's blackmail and Lunsford's money sway real Kentucky Democrats.

UPDATE, 9 a.m.: Page One Kentucky says Lunsford is definitely moving toward declaring his candidacy for the Democratic primary for Mitch's Senate seat.

Page One says Lunsford is making a mistake, even after disclosing that its editors once worked for Lunsford and consider him a friend. Page One has, in fact, often defended Lunsford against critics like yours truly. For Page One to tell Lunsford to stay out of this race is a huge indicator of just how united Kentucky Democrats are in support of Andrew Horne.

Post has been edited.

Cross-posted at Watching Those We Chose.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Presidential Primary Predictions

OK, slow news weekend, holiday coming up and all that, so since I'm finished my Christmas preparations, I'm going to get a jump on the presidential primary predications coming January 1 (since the Iowa caucus is Jan. 3) and make my own semi-baseless predictions:

Republicans:
Huckabee is peaking perfectly but broke. He'll win Iowa, drop to third in New Hampshire then disappear for lack of money.

McCain will turn up a surprising second in Iowa, rake in the dough from grateful Wall Street types terrified of Huckabee and win the nomination.

Romney and Giuliani will tie for third in Iowa, with Mitt coming a not-close-enough second in New Hampshire and disappearing in South Carolina. Giuliani will have a foam-at-the-mouth public freakout over losing to hick Huckabee, tank in New Hampshire, and spend the rest of 2008 tearing down McCain and whining about how he should be the nominee.

Democrats:
Edwards will win in Iowa, possibly drop to a close second in New Hampshire, rebound in South Carolina and win the nomination.

Obama will come in second in Iowa, a close first or second to Edwards in New Hampshire, a further-back second to Edwards in South Carolina, and end up the vice-presidential nominee.

Hillary will come in a close third to Edwards and Obama in Iowa, but tank in New Hampshire as her supporters reel from the shock and her money dries up.If Dodd's on the ballot in South Carolina, he might beat her.

A couple of notes on methodology, or rather the lack of any:

I've been predicting Iowa and New Hampshire would kill Hillary's campaign since last spring, about the same time I predicted Edwards/Obama would be the nominees. At the time I thought the desperate repug wingnut freakazoids would nominate Brownback. Although it seems that Huckabee has stepped into that darling-of-the-jayzus-humpers position, believers don't really choose the republican nominee; Wall Street does.

Yes, my prediction for Edwards has a little wishful thinking in it, as I'm a strong Edwards supporter, but I also think McCain is the strongest possible republican nominee and therefore hoped his summer-fall swoon would be permanent. No such luck. As Rudy, Mitt and Fred reveal their fatal flaws to the faithful, and as Huck's skeletons begin to spill out of the closet, politically rational republicans (the ones with the money and power) are realizing McCain is their only hope.

It's 12 days to the Iowa caucuses; 19 to the New Hampshire primary. At the speed this race is changing, that's plenty of time for Tom Tancredo and Joe Biden to leap out front.

But what's the fun in waiting until it's all over?

Friday, December 21, 2007

Mitch's Nemesis Snags First Endorsement

This morning's press release from Kentucky's leading progressive organization:

Democracy for America's Kentucky Organization Endorses Andrew Horne For U.S. Senate

Grassroots Organizers Believe Horne Offers Genuine Leadership and Positive Change for Kentucky

Louisville - On Friday, December 21, the leadership of Change for Kentucky (CFK), a group of progressive grassroots Kentuckians affiliated with the national organization Democracy for America, announced a pre-filing deadline endorsement of Andrew Horne for U.S. Senate.

CFK members feel that of the confirmed or rumored candidates, Horne offers the most trustworthy, competent and genuine leadership, and should be nominated to challenge Republican Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.

"Mitch McConnell has consistently blocked or voted against legislation that would help Kentuckians, like the children’s health insurance program (SCHIP). McConnell has also continually carried George Bush’s water in Iraq. As an Iraq War veteran, Lt. Col. Horne has the most compelling reason to take a stand against McConnell," said Tracey Heflin of Mason County.

"Andrew Horne is exactly the kind of candidate that CFK was founded to support - he believes in the principles of fiscal responsibility, social progress, and grassroots citizen involvement in the political process," said Dan Shumer of Fayette County, CFK's PAC chairperson.

Horne has some history with CFK. He was endorsed by CFK's Louisville chapter in 2006 during the third congressional district primary, and when his bid was unsuccessful, he quickly urged CFK members to support John Yarmuth, who went on to defeat Northup.

CFK encourages voters to learn more about Andrew Horne by examining his campaign website and his archived congressional campaign website. (Voters can also find good information about Horne here.)

"Change for Kentucky members from across the Commonwealth believe that Andrew Horne is the best candidate for U.S. Senate," said Mike Bailey, a group organizer from Louisville. "We know that he will work hard every day, that he will take his job and his responsibility seriously, and that he will be an effective, positive change agent for Kentucky and our nation."

Change for Kentucky is the organization created in February 2004 by Kentucky for Dean after Howard lost the New Hampshire primary. Its goal is to elect progressive candidates, its mission to take back Kentucky and the Kentucky Democratic Party from the repugs and DINOs who thought they owned it.

Though few in number, CFK members have proven themselves through hard, thankless, on-the-ground work for local Democratic candidates in Lexington, Louisville and Northern Kentucky. Progressive candidates compete for CFK's endorsement and the dedicated volunteers who come with it.

CFK's biggest triumph came this summer, when its co-founder, Jeremy Horton, was named Chief of Staff of the Kentucky Democratic Party.

Just months earlier, the state party's Old Guard had been condemning CFK as a bunch of radical Deaniacs. Round One to the Dirty Fucking Hippies.

As the Kentucky arm of Democracy for America, of course, CFK's endorsement also comes with the strong probability of endorsement from DFA national, and all of its publicity and fund-raising prowess.

Word is that several big union endorsements of Horne are coming this weekend.

Cross-posted at Watching Those We Chose.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Sex/Money/Ethics Scandal Dooms One-Week-Old Beshear Administration

New Democratic Governor of Kentucky Steve Beshear is about to break criminal former governor Ernie Fletcher's record for Shortest Time Between Inauguration and Stupid Scandal That Dooms Administration.

Took Ernie 17 months to start the lying and stonewalling about illegal behavior by underlings; Steve Beshear took the first step down that road today - Day 7 of his administration.

Gov. Steve Beshear will let the state Personnel Board handle questions surrounding two hiring-related moves of former State Treasurer Jonathan Miller, Beshear's spokeswoman said today.

"There is no action necessary on behalf of the Governor,” spokeswoman Vicki Glass said in a statement.

Meanwhile, Beshear has appointed one of the employees involved in the potential inquiry to a position in the Justice and Public Safety Cabinet.

Rebecca Brooke Parker, who most recently served as Miller's deputy treasurer, is being appointed executive director of inter-governmental affairs at the request of Justice Secretary J. Michael Brown, Glass said.

On Saturday, the Lexington Herald-Leader reported that Miller -- Beshear's recently named Finance and Administration Cabinet secretary -- must clean up several mistakes his treasury office made in the hiring of a state merit worker and the awarding of raises to at least one of his aides.

Beshear, who campaigned on a platform of ethics reform, pledged in his inaugural address last week that all of his top appointees would receive training in state hiring laws and ethics laws.

"We need to get our own house in order before we can be trusted to do the people's business," Beshear said in his speech.

At issue with Miller are the October 2006 hiring of merit employee Michael Bates, who works in the treasury's printing department, and two salary increases in 2004 to Parker.

In Parker's case, (outgoing Personnel Cabinet Secretary Brian Crall) questioned two salary increases, amounting to a total of $566.92 a month, awarded in June 2004.

Overall, Parker saw her salary rise from $21,000 a year when Miller hired her out of college as a secretary in 2000 to $78,981 a year this year as deputy state treasurer.

Miller denied any suggestion that he gave Parker undue favorable treatment but said he has relied on her input regarding "personal business" matters such as future job opportunities.

For instance, Parker accompanied Miller on a trip to Las Vegas between May 14 and 17, just after Miller dropped out of the Democratic primary for governor.
"We had business meetings," he said. "On trips where I'm trying to look to my future and to develop my future business contacts, yeah, she would have been involved in that kind of activity."

Page One was the first to note that the HL's initial piece on this Saturday stopped just short of saying outright that Parker and Miller were having an affair.

The rumor of Jonathan Miller’s alleged affair has been swirling around Kentucky for months. It’s been such common knowledge that it’s no longer exciting gossip in political circles. So why are we beating around the bush by merely discussing his strange-as-hell trip to Las Vegas with Brooke Parker? Someone should just ask the questions.

Has Jonathan– Mr. Ten Commandments– been cheating on his wife (with whom he has two young children) with his Deputy? Did he abuse his power when providing a 380% raise for his alleged mistress? Did he do all of this while parading around as a man of such high morality that he could publish a book about it?

We don’t personally care if he’s a cheat. It’s up to him if he wants to do something disgusting and morally bankrupt. But Miller needs to come clean with the public if he expects to ever be taken seriously. Especially if he misused his office or position while galavanting around the country.

If he did abuse his power, should he be serving as a cabinet secretary? Of course not. So if he’s done something wrong it’s time to tell the Commonwealth. Because it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to determine that the Herald-Leader is moments away from tightening its vice grip. Moments away from embarrassing our new administration.

Miller needs to understand that no one cares if he’s having an affair. We only care if he’s abused his office to benefit his alleged mistress. It’s nothing personal.

Amen. But this isn't about Miller's utter lack of personal, professional, political and governomental ethics.

This is about Governor Steve Beshear's inability to deal swiftly and decisively with a subordinate who has probably broken the law.

Particularly six weeks after Beshear upset an incumbent repug who specialized in thumbing his nose at state hiring laws, this is beyond disappointing.

Fire Miller, Governor. Fire Parker. Do it now.

Cross-posted at BlueGrassRoots.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Horne Makes It Official: Mitch Is Done

This morning, Andrew Horne, Lt. Col. USMC Ret., announced his candidacy for the U.S. Senate seat currently held by Mitch McConnell (Scumbag-KY.)

As Page One Kentucky said:

It’s official, ladies and gentleman. Mitch McConnell’s worst nightmare has become a reality. And we’re the first to bring the news to you. Andrew Horne is announcing his candidacy for the United States Senate. The months-long and successful draft movement is over. The Democratic Party’s consensus candidate is here.

This is a first for Kentucky and a signal that the blogosphere is increasingly relevant. Welcome to campaign 2008.

Media Czech at BlueGrassRoots has by far the most comprehensive coverage, including a recent interview with Horne.

And Jon Soltz, chair of VoteVets.org, gives his full-throated support to Horne and predicts Mitch's demise.

The Louisville Courier-Journal gave Horne's announcement decent coverage, and the Lexington Herald-Leader noted:

Horne made his announcement early this morning with a video message first shown by the Democratic blogs, Page One and Bluegrassroots. Horne also started a campaign Web site, www.andrewHorne.org.

Pat Crowley of the Cincinnati Inquirer had little comment, but reproduced Horne's announcement in full.

Lt. Colonel Andrew Horne (Ret.) launched his campaign today to take back the U. S. Senate seat for the people of Kentucky, now held by Mitch McConnell.

Horne, while a Marine and Reservist, served tours of duty in Desert Storm and recently in Iraq. Horne outlined his decision to run and what he plans to focus on as Senator in a video released on the internet this morning. You can watch the video here.. The full text of it is available on the site, as well.

“I’m running for U.S. Senate because it's time for a change and because Senator Mitch McConnell is more than part of the problem. He is THE problem. It is time for Kentuckians to take our government and country back. We should not be told to take a backseat to the wealthy and powerful. It's time to tackle the challenges facing our country instead of passing them off to our kids. It's time for leaders who'll take the right stand,” Horne says in the video.

“Mitch McConnell, the Republican Leader, symbolizes everything wrong with Washington. He bows to big business, practices the worst kind of politics, and doesn’t take a stand when faced with tough issues. Simply put: Mitch McConnell carries George Bush’s water on Iraq; I carried a rifle in Iraq” he added. Horne noted that under the Bush-McConnell regime, Washington politicians have:

Failed to fix our health care crisis; sent our jobs to China and Mexico; failed to lead on immigration reform; ran up a nine trillion dollar debt for our children, and led our country into an ill-conceived and mismanaged war in Iraq.

Horne also noted yesterday that the Bush-McConnell obstructionism has continued to hinder progress, pointing to the latest example, the President’s veto of S-Chip fully supported by McConnell.

In the coming weeks and months, Horne will lay out his proposals to benefit the people of the commonwealth.

ABOUT ANDREW HORNE

Andrew Horne was born to working, middle-class parents, who for 30 years owned and operated a series of small businesses in Louisville, including Horne Cleaners and Clubfit International, a golf equipment and supply store. Just before graduating from Pleasure Ridge Park High School, he enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve and, soon after commencement, headed to Parris Island, S.C. for boot camp. Horne worked his way through the University of Louisville, and in 1983 became the first in his family to graduate from college. He later earned a degree from University of Louisville's Brandeis School of Law, after fulfilling his six year active duty contract with the Marines.

After tours overseas in both operations Desert Storm and Iraqi Freedom, Horne retired this year from the Marines as a lieutenant colonel. Horne, his wife Stephanie, and their two children are members of Louisville’s Christ Church United Methodist, where he’s taught Sunday School. Horne serves as the spokesperson for the Brain Injury Association of Kentucky, leading the Wounded Warriors program which provides resources and relief to those suffering from this “signature” wound of the Iraq war. He also has been active with the Toys for Tots campaigns, the Marine Corps Coordinating Council of Kentucky, Boy Scouts of America, Junior Achievement and Boys’ State of Kentucky. He is a member of the Louisville Bar and American Bar associations. He previously served as a Senior Advisor to VoteVets.org, a pro-military group that supports Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans running for office.

"I'm in. Today, I announced my candidacy to beat Mitch McConnell, and take back our government as your Democratic Senator from Kentucky."

And in his announcement to supporters, Horne said:

We all worked hard and with passion in 2006 to change the face of Congress and to start bringing accountability back to Washington. BUT OUR JOB IS NOT DONE!

I decided to run for United States Senate because it is time for a change and because Senator Mitch McConnell is more than part of the problem. He is the problem.

CLICK HERE TO JOIN THE HORNE FOR SENATE TEAM

Here’s what it’s going to take for us to win:

First, it’s going to take foot soldiers. I’m asking everyone who gets this email to pass it on to five friends, and make sure they sign up to join the campaign, at AndrewHorne.org.

Second, it’s going to take money. Mitch McConnell might have the special interests who can cut the big checks, but if America bands together and all make a small donation, we cannot be stopped.

Third, everyday, it’s going to take you reminding people what is at stake, and urging them to join this movement.

You know it, and I know it: Washington is terribly broken, with skewed priorities, and Mitch McConnell has gone Washington. In the past few years, the Bush/McConnell regime has failed to fix our health care crisis, advocated trade policies that send our jobs to China and Mexico, failed to lead on immigration reform, given our children a nine trillion dollar debt, shredded our Constitution, and led our country into an ill-conceived and mismanaged war in Iraq that robs us of our resources and our loved ones' lives.

This is not what you asked for from your government. The problem is that Mitch McConnell and his Washington pals don’t listen to you. We're a government of the people, by the people, and for the people. I've never forgotten that, and it's a principle I've put my life on the line to defend. As your senator, the one thing you’ll always be able to count on is that I will never forget who I represent -- and who I work for.

That’s why today, I’m getting in this fight. I humbly ask that you join too. Together, we cannot be stopped.

Semper Fi,

Andrew Horne

Cross-posted at Watching Those We Chose.

Likely Mitch Opponents to Meet Friday

Ryan Alessi reports that Andrew Horne and Greg Fischer will meet Friday to discuss the race to unseat Mitch McConnell.

Two potential Democratic U.S. Senate candidates, Andrew Horne and Greg Fischer, are scheduled to have coffee Friday morning to discuss their respective intentions about entering the race, Horne confirmed tonight.

Horne said in an interview with the Herald-Leader Monday that he was hoping to sit down with Fischer this week to gauge his interest in the race. Horne, a Louisville lawyer and Iraq war veteran, said he met Fischer, who runs a stadium seating company in Louisville, earlier this fall and bumped into him at Gov. Steve Beshear's inauguration at the Capitol Tuesday.

Horne said his decision about whether to leap into the race against Republican U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell isn't contingent on what Fischer does or how Friday's meeting goes.

"I’m going to make a decision soon," Horne said, adding that he and his wife need to finish weighing all the consequences. "Making a decision and announcing are two different things. But we’re pretty close."

Horne declined to say whether he's leaning toward making the run.

For a hint as to who is going to emerge from that meeting the likely nominee, here's Media Czech's observation of Fischer at the Metro Dem holiday party last night:

I spoke with Greg Fischer briefly. I asked him about Iraq, and he started giving an answer about how he'd like to see us leave as soon as possible. It kind of ended abruptly when Schlechter pulled a recorder out. He didn't seem too fond of expanding on policy on tape. Ted hounded him until he made some type of statement about himself on tape. I assume he has it up on the Bridge now. I was going to ask him why he donated to Anne Northrup and how many other Republicans he's donated to. But I already know the answer to that and had no bourbon, so I didn't bother.

Compare that to Horne's outspoken opposition to the war, including as a national spokesperson for Iraq veterans and the Democratic Party.

Not being a veteran myself, far be it from me to suggest that non-veterans are not qualified to run for public office.

Don't know much about the military, but I do know this much, which I offer to Fischer gratis:
Do not fuck with the Marines.

Cross-posted at BlueGrassRoots.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Self-Hating Immigrant Bashers

Kentucky's new Lieutenant Governor Dan Mongiardo is a first-generation American. In his inaugural speech Tuesday, he spoke of his immigrant background in terms that nearly brought me to tears.

And it reminded me how sick and fucking tired I am of anti-immigrant hate speech. And yes, even the most deceptively reasonable mention of how "illegal" immigrants are breaking the law and therefore as criminals cannot be tolerated in a civilized society is, indeed, anti-immigrant hate speech.

Why do I have to remind anyone that 98.5 percent of the U.S. population - about 295.7 million people - are either immigrants themselves or descended from immigrants?

Why do I have to remind anyone that for 392 years, there was no such thing as "illegal" immigration to this country? (An oversight deeply regretted by AmerIndians.)

Why do I have to remind anyone that the immigrant ancestors of the vast majority of "real" Americans would never be allowed off the boat under the current immigration laws? (Including yours truly, descended from actual criminals condemned to death in their native land.)

Why do I have to remind anyone that immigrants are only classified as "illegal" because they failed to jump through a bunch of stupid bureaucratic hoops that the immigrant ancestors of "real" Americans would have ignored?

Why do I have to remind anyone that those "illegal" immigrants are ignoring those stupid bureaucratic hoops only because relatively recent laws have slashed the number of visas issued each year down to a laughable handful?

Why do I have to remind anyone that every wave of new immigrants (Irish, German, Jewish, Chinese, Japanese, etc.) to this country has been met by anti-immigrant hate that makes the current backlash against Mexicans and other brown folk seem tame?

Why do I have to remind anyone that almost every single thing accomplished in and by America was accomplished by either an immigrant or the descendant of immigrants?

Why do I have to remind anyone that immigrants built this nation, goddammit, both literally (roads, coal mines, railroads, cities) and figuratively (the entrepreneurial energy that fuels the economic engine that still runs the world.)

Why do I have to remind anyone that every single bloviating asshole pissing and moaning about "illegals" is itself a descendant of immigrants who would today have to sneak in "illegally" (I'm talkin' to you, Lou Dobbs.)

Don't listen to me. Listen to Dr. Dan, the grandchild of a coal miner from Italy, who is now the second-most powerful man in the Commonwealth of Kentucky:

It was that same American dream that led a young man named Dominic and his two brothers to leave Italy and come to Harlan County, Kentucky a century ago. Not knowing what lay ahead, but with hope and promise, they came to work in Kentucky's coal mines. It was not easy. It took hard work, but working together they made a life for themselves. The opportunity Kentucky gave them allowed Dominic to bring his children from the Old World to the New.

The promise of America allowed his son, Jimmy, to grow and prosper. My father, who is with me today, left school at 15 and went to work to provide for the family. He married my mother, Katherine, bringing her from Italy. He, too, had an American dream.

From nothing they built a life in Eastern Kentucky.

Like Kentucky's story, their story had hardship and pain. Their first son, my brother Dominic whom I never knew, was lost because quality health care was not available in Eastern Kentucky then. But, like Kentucky, my parents endured.

Kentucky gave my parents the opportunity to prosper and they gave me the chance to follow my dreams – through Hazard High School, Transylvania University, and to the University of Kentucky School of Medicine.

Their commitment to that American dream led me back to my home in Eastern Kentucky to practice medicine. It led me to the Kentucky State Senate. It led me here today where I am proud and honored to become Kentucky's Lt. Governor.

The story of my family is a uniquely American story, a uniquely Kentucky story.

It is from this Kentucky story that Steve Beshear and our entire administration embark in a new direction.
Working together, Steve Beshear and I want to make that Kentucky Dream available to everyone in this great commonwealth.

I don't want to see Mongiardo run against Mitch, but oh, the money I would pay to watch Mitch try to defend his murder of S-CHIP to the man whose infant brother died for lack of access to medical care.

Cross-posted at BlueGrassRoots.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

My Blue Kentucky Home

Twenty years ago, Kentucky rejected modest, diligent, faithful Steve Beshear in favor of flashy businessman Wallace Wilkinson, who promised lottery winnings that would fund education without raising taxes.

Today, a state ravaged and exhausted by four years of depredations by republican Ernie Fletcher watched Steve Beshear sworn in as its 61st governor.

In his first speech as governor, Democrat Steve Beshear pleaded for unity, promised ethics and pledged economic progress.

He described a stagnant state that has "fallen short," "fallen behind" and "stood still while others have moved forward."

"It doesn't have to stay that way," Beshear said in his inaugural speech from the Capitol steps. "If we address the challenges that face us, and take bold steps to meet them, I believe that we can make Kentucky 'America's Next Frontier.'"

The overflow crowd of more than 1,000 gave its loudest applause to Beshear's pledge to make ethics reform his top priority.

Beshear said one of his first official actions as governor will be to require his top appointees to complete "extensive training" in state ethics laws and hiring procedures.

He'll also propose to the legislature a package of new ethics laws that increase penalties for ethics code violations, strengthen protections for whistle blowers and change the way member of the Executive Branch Ethics Commission are chosen.

"We need to get our own house in order before we can be trusted to do the people's business," he said in an apparent reference to a hiring scandal that torpedoed former Republican Gov. Ernie Fletcher's chances of re-election.

The weather was close to perfect - 65 and mostly sunny all morning, clouding up only toward the very end of the ceremony. Fletcher's 2003 inauguration was icy - as unusually cold for December as today was unusually warm. In hindsight, that deep chill was a harbinger of the last four years.

With any luck, today's mild weather will be an equally accurate harbinger of the next four years.

And not just in Kentucky, but nationally. Ernie's victory foreshadowed Smirky's re-election, and Smirky's fortunes have fallen eerily in tandem with Ernie's.

As I wrote back on election night:

Kentucky has gone with the winner of the Presidential Election every time since 1964. With a Democrat back in the Governor's mansion, the Bluegrass State is Blue once again, and 2008 will be the republicans' Waterloo. In Kentucky, and throughout the nation.

Cross-posted at BlueGrassRoots.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Chuck Schumer Can Bite Me

Major stupidity going on in the race to challenge Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Scumbag-KY.

There are Democratic parties in red states all over this country that would kill for a Senate candidate like Andrew Horne.

Retired Marine Lieutenant Colonel, Iraq combat veteran, family man, national anti-war spokesperson, skeleton-free, responded to a primary election loss by turning his supporters on a dime to work their butts off for the winner (John Yarmuth), proud Democrat not afraid to criticize party leaders for cowardice - the man makes Jim Webb seem like a piker.

Then one of his two strongest potential primary opponents bows out of the race, and the other seems on the verge of doing so. The way is clear for Horne to cruise past two weak primary opponents to become the Mitch Killer.

So Chuck Schumer is celebrating, right? He's dancing on the tables at the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee while minions scoop campaign cash into bags addressed to Horne?

Wrong.

After spending months courting State Auditor Crit Luallen - and making no secret of it - Schumer is now, depending on which rumors you listen to, either sitting out the primary or frantically manuevering behind the scenes for someone - anyone - other than Horne.

Yoooo-hoooo! Chuuuuuuck! Over heeeeeeere! Chuck! Goddamn you, LOOK!

Seriously, that idiot is supposedly courting two Louisville millionaire businessman, one of whom is gun-shy since losing in 2003 as Ben Chandler's lite-gov running mate, and the other of whom is supported by die-hard republicans who have raised millions for Mitch and Smirky.

The excuse for even mentioning these two losers is money, and the need for many millions to beat Mitch.

Let's see. Mitch has $10 million in the bank, the vast majority of it collected back when Mitch was in the Senate majority and had a lot more power. This year, Steve Beshear, as a Democrat challenging an incumbent republican governor, raised more than $7 million in five months, and $9.6 million in less than 10 months.

He did it without the power of incumbency. He did it without earmarks. He did it without the support of the national Democratic congressional or senate campaign committees.

If Steve Beshear could raise almost $10 million as a Democratic challenger for the governor's race, how much more could the Democratic challenger to the third-most-hated republican in the country raise?

Especially if it's somebody already supported by progressive Democrats nationwide (in 2006, Horne was endorsed by Democracy for America, whose Kentucky members (Change for Kentucky) worked tirelessly for him.)

Fortunately, Andrew Horne appears to be ignoring the always-wrong Beltway "experts." Media Czech notes comments from Horne in several Kentucky newspapers over the weekend that make an announcement sound imminent.

Cross-posted at Watching Those We Chose.

Way Past Time to Ban Overhead Power Lines

Several of my fellow contributors at Watching Those We Chose are blacked out tonight, the victims less of the Midwest ice storm that knocked out power than of the power companies that refuse to prevent such disasters.

If you're missing your favorite Watching poster tonight, blame the electric company.

Those lazy cheapskates refuse to bury power lines where wind, ice and fire can't get to them, then act all surprised when your basic annual weather event knocks out power to tens of thousands of people for a week, maybe two.

Like the storm that has already ripped power away from 50,000 people in three states since yesterday. The victims include several Watching Those We Chose contributors.

In February 2003, an ice storm left me and thousands of others in Central Kentucky without electricity for two solid weeks - while the temperatures stayed below freezing all day and dropped into single digits at night.

Line crews worked heroically in horrific conditions, but the ice was so heavy on the trees that as soon as the workers got one line back up, more limbs would fall, taking the line down again.

The problem was obvious to everyone: overhead lines outside where the weather can get to them are an extremely bad idea.

Customers of Kentucky Utilities and the local rural electric cooperatives screamed bloody murder until even the Public Service Commission woke from its long nap and started to take a look.

Terrified the PSC might start actually demanding the utilities provide real, you know, service, KU and the others quickly babbled promises to bury all their power lines - as soon as the weather permitted.

That was four years and 10 months ago. Care to guess how many miles of power lines have been buried since? How many feet? You got it - zero.

Yes, burying lines costs 10 to 15 times as much as stringing overhead wire. But the 2003 storm cost KU $22.5 million - how much underground line would that have paid for? Yes, underground lines are vulnerable to flooding, idiots with backhoes, etc., but those events are far less common and affect far fewer people than the annual hurricanes, ice storms and fires that strand tens of thousands at a time without power.

We, the customers, pay for it. Not just in higher power costs the companies pass on to us, but in higher local and state taxes because of the huge price governments pay for such power failures in the form of emergency services to stranded citizens.

And yes, it's a power failure - not an "outage." When you flip the switch and the light does not come on, the power has failed. It has not been "outed," like a republican politician.

Overhead lines are vulnerable, dangerous, expensive and stupid - not to mention butt-ugly.

Bury them all. Bury them all now.

Cross-posted at BlueGrassRoots.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Get Your Andrew Horne Tattoo Now, Before the Line Gets Too Long

UPDATE Below

No, D.C., that's not an earthquake - that's Mitch McConnell shaking in his Manolos.

Crit Luallen has bowed out of the Kentucky Senate race, Greg Stumbo's "exploration" is on life-support, and the Democratic primary will come to an effective end the second Lt. Col. Andrew Horne, U.S. Marine Corps, Retired, announces his candidacy.

Which should be any minute now.

For those still harboring any doubts that Horne, who lost the 2006 Congressional primary to Proud Liberal John Yarmuth, has what it takes to wipe the floor with Mitch, Page One Kentucky takes a positive but rational look at Horne's chances. Page One concludes:

Andrew is as close as we’re going to get to a consensus candidate. There’s no baggage. He has the tenacity and political prowess of Greg Stumbo. The intellectual ability of Crit Luallen. And the “it” factor to make him as popular as Jack Conway. He elicits the kind of emotional grassroots support that causes about 1,500 Louisvillians to work tirelessly for six months only to lose and keep on going– backing him where ever he moves. He has the type of amazing personality that pushes a couple big-time filmmakers to follow his campaign for a documentary appearing on the Discovery Times Channel.

Andrew Horne is the kind of guy Kentucky so desperately needs.

While a few try to play kingmaker and work out some sort of back room deal, we’re standing up behind the first true leader Kentucky has seen in a generation.

I first heard Horne speak in February 2006, when he was an obvious political novice with an unimpressive speaking style. In July 2006, five months later and two months after he lost the Democratic primary to Yarmuth, I heard him speak again and could not believe it was the same person. He spoke easily and without notes, confident, passionate, even eloquent.

Right now, there's just one Kentucky politician who can challenge Andrew Horne for Most Inspiring Speaker in the Commonwealth, and that's Democratic Attorney General-elect Jack Conway (who, mark my words, will definitely be governor and probably president. You heard it here first.)

Have fun in the coming days, Mitch. You've only got 390 of them left.


UPDATE. 2:47 p.m.: Horne responds to Mitch's despicable insult to the troops.

"I would say that Mitch McConnell owes every member of our service and the families of the fallen an apology, but no apology from him can take back the venom he has spewed at our troops, this time. For anyone to believe that casualties of war are somehow more acceptable because they were not draftees is disgusting. For the Republican leader in the United States Senate to say that is beyond repugnant."

Read the whole thing.

Cross-posted at Watching Those We Chose.

Does Mitch Really Want to Get Re-Elected?

UPDATE Below, UPDATE II

Then why does he say unforgivable - and unforgivably stupid - shit like this?

Senate Minority Mitch McConnell (R-KY), on U.S. casualties in Iraq: "Nobody is happy about losing lives but remember these are not draftees, these are full-time professional soldiers."

In other words, the wages of professional soldiery are disability and death? Yeah, that's right, Mitch, they chose to fight in an injust occupation while handicapped by a criminal dictator pretending to be president, without enough troops, without proper equipment or protection, without sufficient help from allies, in a doomed cause Smirky is ensuring they cannot win.

So fuck 'em.

Right back atcha, Mitch.

UPDATE. 2:45 p.m.: Likely Democratic challenger Lt. Col. Andrew Horne responds to Mitch's despicable insult to the troops.

"I would say that Mitch McConnell owes every member of our service and the families of the fallen an apology, but no apology from him can take back the venom he has spewed at our troops, this time. For anyone to believe that casualties of war are somehow more acceptable because they were not draftees is disgusting. For the Republican leader in the United States Senate to say that is beyond repugnant."

Read the whole thing.

UPDATE II, 3:29 p.m.: Media Czech at BlueGrassRoots notes that Mitch's repugnant comment comes at the same time that the state he represents is mourning the deaths of three Fort Campbell soldiers in a bombing in Iraq. But hey, they're professional soldiers, they deserve it, right, Mitch?

Cross-posted at BlueGrassRoots.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Mitt Has Founders Spinning in Their Graves

In response to Mitt Romney's evisceration of the U.S. Constitution' religious protections today, I would like to post in full a long comment posted in Salon last night.

As Gadfly noted today Mitt tried to square the circle of unconstitutional Xianist wingnuttery by saying, in part:

'Our greatness would not long endure without judges who respect the foundation of faith upon which our constitution rests. I will take care to separate the affairs of government from any religion, but I will not separate us from 'the God who gave us liberty.'

Wrong, wrong, so very, very wrong and lethally dangerous.

In Salon, vasmurti commented on an article about Romney's religion problem thusly:

Romney's religious identity should be completely irrelevant
In the secular, political arena, one's religious identity should be completely irrelevant.

In 1787 when the framers excluded all mention of God from the Constitution, they were widely denounced as immoral and the document was denounced as godless, which is precisely what it is.

Opponents of the Constitution challenged ratifying conventions in nearly every state, calling attention to Article VI, Section 3:
“No religious test shall be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.”

An anti-federalist in North Carolina wrote: “The exclusion of religious tests is by many thought dangerous and impolitic. Pagans, Deists and Mohammedans might obtain office among us.”

Amos Singletary of Massachussetts, one of the most outspoken critics of the Constitution, said that he “hoped to see Christians (in power), yet by the Constitution, a papist or an infidel was as eligible as they.”

Luther Martin, a Maryland delegate to the Constitutional Convention of 1787 wrote that “there were some members so unfashionable as to think that a belief in the existence of a Deity, and of a state of future rewards and punishments would be some security for the good conduct of our rulers, and that in a Christian country, it would be at least decent to hold out some distinction between the professors of Christianity and downright infidelity or paganism.”

Martin’s report shows that a “Christian nation” faction had its say during the convention, and that its views were consciously rejected.

The United States Constitution is a completely secular political document. It begins “We the people,” and contains no mention of “God,” “Jesus,” or “Christianity.” Its only references to religion are exclusionary, such as the “no religious test” clause (Article VI), and “Congress shall make no laws respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” (First Amendment)

The presidential oath of office, the only oath detailed in the Constitution, does not contain the phrase “so help me God” or any requirement to swear on a Bible (Article II, Section 1). The words “under God” did not appear in the Pledge of Allegiance until 1954, when Congress, under McCarthyism, inserted them.

Similarly, “In God we Trust” was absent from paper currency before 1956, though it did appear on some coins since 1864. The original U.S. motto, written by John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, and Thomas Jefferson, is “E Pluribus Unum” (“Of Many, One”) celebrating plurality and diversity.

In 1797, America made a treaty with Tripoli, declaring that “the government of the United States is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion.” This reassurance to Islam was written under Washington’s presidency and approved by the Senate under John Adams.

We are not governed by the Declaration of Independence. Its purpose was to “dissolve the political bonds,” not to set up a religious nation. Its authority was based upon the idea that “governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,” which is contrary to the biblical concept of rule by divine authority.

The Declaration deals with laws, taxation, representation, war, immigration, etc., and doesn’t discuss religion at all. The references to “Nature’s God,” “Creator,” and “Divine Providence” in the Declaration do not endorse Christianity. Its author, Thomas Jefferson, was a Deist, opposed to Christianity and the supernatural.

It was Thomas Jefferson who established the separation of church and state. Jefferson helped create the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom in 1786, incurring the wrath of Christians by his fervent defense of toleration of atheists:

“The legitimate powers of government extend to such acts as are only injurious to others. But it does no injury for my neighbor to say there are 20 gods or no god. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg.”

In his 1802 letter to the Danbury Baptists, Jefferson wrote:
“Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between man and his God, that he owes account to none for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, and not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should ‘make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,’ thus building a wall of separation between Church & State.”

Later in his life, James Madison similarly came out against state-paid chaplains, writing, “The establishment of the chaplainship to Congress is a palpable violation of equal rights, as well as of Constitutional principles.” He also concluded that his calling for days of prayer and fasting during his presidency had been unconstitutional.
In an 1819 letter to Robert Walsh, Madison wrote, “the number, the industry and the morality of the priesthood, and the devotion of the people have been manifestly increased by the total separation of the church from the state.”

In an undated essay called the “Detached Memoranda,” written in the early 1800s, Madison wrote, “Strongly guarded...is the separation between Religion and Government in the Constitution of the United States.”

In 1833 Madison responded to a letter sent to him by Jasper Adams. Adams had written a pamphlet titled “The Relations of Christianity to Civil Government in the United States,” which tried to prove that the United States was founded as a Christian nation. Madison wrote back:

“In the papal system, government and religion are in a manner consolidated, and that is found to be the worst of government.”
In the early part of the 19th century, a general understanding existed that the government should not promote religion, or favor one religion over another:

“It is not the legitimate province of the Legislature to determine what religion is true, or what is false,” stated a government official.
“Among all the religious persecutions with which almost every page of modern history is stained, no victim ever suffered but for violation of what Government denominated the law of God. To prevent a similar train of evils in this country, the Constitution has wisely withheld from our Government the power of defining the divine law.”
-- vasumurti
[Read vasumurti's other letters]
Wednesday, December 5, 2007 10:05 PM



Cross-posted at BlueGrassRoots.

Report: Leading Democrat Will NOT Run Against Mitch McConnell

UPDATE BELOW, UPDATE II

I love being able to say I told you so.

Page One Kentucky:

Crit’s definitely out. That’s what we hear. We’re just waiting on her announcement.

Media Czech at BlueGrassRoots notes the departure of two close aides has more than one possible explanation:
So what does this mean, if true? Well, in my opinion, this means one of two things.

1.) She has decided not to run for Senate next year.

2.) She has decided to run, and D.C. is planning on bringing in some big name insiders to run the campaign.

Both bloggers believe an announcement from Crit is imminent.

UPDATE, 6:30 a.m., Dec. 7: Looks like Andrew Horne is going to be the Mitch Killer.

UPDATE II, 11:15 a.m., Dec. 7: Crit Luallen oficially bows out of Senate race.

Cross-posted at Blue in the Bluegrass.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Ornament Worth a Thousand Words

Hat tip and thanks for ruining my dinner to Media Czech of BlueGrassRoots for topping the blog with the image below. I, being of a far more empathetic disposition, will give you the description as a warning first.

(Yes, this is an actual item for sale - BGR has the link.)

Protect our troops - from the womb to the war. What if the fetus you were going to abort would grow up to be a soldier bringing democracy to a godless dictatorship?
Plastic replica of an 11-12 week old fetus, 3" long, holding a firearm in its precious little hand, with an assortment of other military paraphernalia, encased in a translucent plastic ornament, with a patriotic yellow ribbon on top. Includes a metal ornament hanger. If only a womb were this safe, attractive and reasonably priced!
Show that you support the "culture of life" by buying and proudly displaying one of these patriotic unborn Americans.
Also available in a "Brown" model

How does this one item embody everything that's sociopathic and beyond hope or help about the wingnut freakazoids? Don't make me count the ways ....




Media Czech gives his hat tip to Bean at Lawyers, Guns and Money, who not only had the good taste to post it last night AFTER dinner, but also explains the too-good-to-be-true description.

The description is fake -- or at least tongue in cheek. But the product is not. It is actually for sale. In both colors. The purveyor, Miss Poppy, is an "Adult Christian" shop run by a born-again Christian woman that sells "anti-masturbatory cream" (which you are to "keep applying until you get relief") as well as upside down American flags intended to express the owner's displeasure at the evisceration of civil rights. The thread that ties these products together under the banner of an alternative christian shop? Making Money. Because, as the website's tagline informs us, "What a Trend We have in Jesus!" Religion...a great way to get rich!


Cross-posted at Watching those We Chose.

Contribute to Mitch's Democratic Challenger Today!

Afraid we don't have an actual name for you yet, but we do have an official Campaign Fund that will go to whoever wins the Democratic Primary May 20.

As Media Czech at BlueGrassRoots puts it:

Hey folks, are you ready to Ditch Mitch? Are you ready to get rid of his corporate cash funded brand of politics? Do you want to kick out the man who would rather obstruct popular legislation than move our country forward in a new direction? Do you want to help end his pay-for-play conduct that puts his contributors above his KY constituents?

Well, it's going to require $$$$. And Mitch is sitting on one hell of a lot of it. But that doesn't make him invulnerable, as his disapprovals have eclipsed his approvals for the first time.

We at BlueGrassRoots are making another call to pony up whatever you can to our ActBlue page for Mitch's eventual challenger on the Democratic side of the aisle. No matter whether your favored horse in the race is Crit, Greg, Andrew, or some random rich guy, this will go to the Democrat who wins the primary.

As for who will be running in that primary, this Christmas Present to the Nation is labeled "Do Not Open Until January 29."

That's the deadline for filing as a candidate for U.S. Senator from Kentucky - Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's increasingly shaky seat.

By then, there should be at least two top-tier Democrats in the race, in addition to the Novice (Louisville pain doctor Michael Cassaro) and the Joke (perennial candidate and nominal Democrat David L. Williams) who have already announced.

Playing hard-to-get are State Auditor Crit Luallen, scandal-plagued State Attorney General Greg Stumbo, and Iraq combat veteran Lt. Col. Andrew Horne.

Crit is playing footsie with Chuck Schumer, Horne is waiting on Crit, as he's unlikely to challenge her if she runs, and Stumbo is raising money for polls that don't mean what he thinks they mean.

Page One Kentucky has a superb run-down of the pros and cons for each potential candidate, and makes an eloquent plea for the ditherers to get off the pot:

The time has come for potential Democratic candidates for the United States Senate to jump in the race. It’s now or never. An entire month has been wasted by the numerous potentials as they waffle back and forth.

Full disclosure: I'm an Andrew Horne fan. I agree completely with this analysis of why Horne is the best candidate.

I love Crit and think she would have been a fabulous governor and would be a great Senator, but her decision last year to sit out the Governor's race against a fatally wounded incumbent tells me she's not really interested in higher office. She's also way too smart to think she can overcome the bad will she'd create announcing a run for Senate two months after winning re-election to another four-year term as Auditor.

Greg Stumbo squandered his reputation for political smarts and his status as a hero for investigating ousted repug governor Ernie Fletcher by hitching his star to Democratic Traitor Bruce Lunsford in the gubernatorial primary. I think Stumbo is by far the weakest of the top-tier Democrats.

Page One mentions other possible candidates, and provides more objective analysis.
I'll predict right now the Democratic challenger to Mitch McConnell is going to be either Andrew Horne or Greg Stumbo. Either one will draw substantial national support.

But you don't have to wait! Get in on the Biggest Non-Presidential Race of 2008 now. Grab a good seat on the soon-to-be-crowded bandwagon. Contribute to Mitch's Democratic Challenger today.

Cross-posted at Watching Those We Chose.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Compared to TIME Magazine, Bill O'Reilly is Walter Cronkite

UPDATE BELOW

If you haven't been following Glenn Greenwald's blanket coverage of the Joe Klein/TIME Magazine debacle, TIME has finally jumped the shark.

Short version:

TIME Magazine is a mouthpiece for the war-mongering, Constitution-burning, Smirky-worshipping wingnut GOP, more blatant than the Washington Times, more shameless than Ann Coulter.

Long version:

Joe Klein posted on TIME's Swampbland blog obvious lies to support his thesis that Congressional Democrats are clueless about terrorism, then refused to retract them when the lies were exposed.

TIME's editor Richard Stengel not only refused to retract Klein's lies, he refused to allow the libeled members of Congress themselves to respond online or in print.

Instead, Stengel authorized three separate "corrections" that not only did not retract Klein's lies, they actually reinforced Klein's false accusations about the Democrats by avoiding the real issues and allowing the original lies to stand.

I've been reading TIME for more than 40 years, and subscribing for a quarter-century. But last week I cancelled my subscription, and I urge everyone who is still subscribing (admit it - mostly out of habit) to do so, too.

Newsweek is no improvement, having hired Karl Rove and given him prime pundit real estate to peddle his - we need a new word for what Rove spews, because "lies" just doesn't even come close.

I've switched to The Nation, a newsweekly with a much longer and far more honorable pedigree than TIME's. As the TV ad says, The Nation has "that liberal media bias you can't get anywhere else."

UPDATE, 7 p.m.: Via Blue Girl, you can get half-price gift subscriptions to The Nation here.

Cross-posted at BlueGrassRoots.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Just Clap Your Hands and Believe!

Page One Kentucky calls our attention to an editorial in the Courier-Journal criticizing the infamous Kentucky Creation Museum for causing untold damage to the critical-thinking ability of school children.

Not to mention the ability of proud Kentucky reality-based bloggers to hold up our heads in Internet public.

I haven't blogged about the Creation Museum (and no, you may NOT have a link to its website) partly out of embarassment for my state and partly because I didn't want to give it any more publicity.

But as Page One points out, the most entertaining - in an end-of-western-civilization kind of way - part of this editorial is the comment section, where you can find people who are apparently allowed access to the Internet (let's hope they neither drive nor vote) complaining about the editorial's "intolerance."

Which occasions the necessity, once again, to address a point also raised by the Joe Klein debacle.

Belief does not trump Fact.

That someone should have to point this out to anyone capable of cognitive thought is a tribute to the Friends of Tinkerbell who have persuaded the mainstream media that If You Really, Really Believe It, It's True.

This year, to the everlasting shame of the nation, nine of 10 Republican candidates for president, said on national television that they don't "believe" in evolution. That's like saying you don't "believe" in gravity. Such an admission is irrefutable proof that you are unfit for anything but serving as JoJo the dog-faced boy in the circus.

The most insidious accomplishment of the wingnut freakazoids has been the elevation of Belief over Fact. It used to be, back BR (Before Reagan), that a person could be a rational thinker and devout Christian who understood the fact of evolution and yet belived the biblical story of creation.

Fact and belief were separate, like vision and hearing. Both are nice, but neither is dependent on the other.

BR, it was annoying but possible to debate evolution vs. creation with someone because that someone understood the difference between facts and belief. He might have disputed the conclusions drawn from the factual evidence of evolution, but he did not claim that his belief alone made facts irrelevant.

Today, merely mentioning facts and evidence that contradict someone's belief makes you an anti-(whatever they believe) bigot and automatically wrong.

Geez, even the Inquisition knew that Galileo was right and therefore had to be silenced lest others discover the same facts.

I believe the sun will rise in the West tomorrow morning. By pointing to it rising in the East, you prove you are a radical, terrorist-helping, America-hating bigot.

(Parts of this post originally appeared as a comment on Glenn Greenwald's Unclaimed Territory on Salon.)

Cross-posted at Watching Those We Chose.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Michael Who? Louisville M.D. First Out of the Gate Against McConnell

UPDATE BELOW

The first Kentucky Democrat has announced he will run against Senate Minority Leader against Mitch McConnell, and it's ...

somebody nobody ever heard of.

Which would explain why the announcement appears to be flying under the media radar. But WHAS-11's Mark Hebert's on top of it:

While the unknown millionaire, the recently reelected statewide officeholder and the outgoing governor killer decide whether they want to take on Mitch McConnell, a Louisville doctor is jumping in.

Louisville pain doctor Michael Cassaro is planning to announce his candidacy at a really bad time on a really bad day. Cassaro plans to announce his long shot candidacy on Tuesday, the same day President Bush will be right across the river in New Albany. I'm guessing the President's visit might take precedence over the Cassaro announcement. Cassaro has made a few political contributions to statewide candidates in the past, giving $1000 to Ben Chandler, Ernie Fletcher AND Gatewood Galbraith in the 2003 governor's race. Nothing like covering all the bases. Thanks to Pat Crowley for the heads up.

But here's the release from the first Kentucky democrat to say they're running for U.S. Senate in 2008:

"Michael G. Cassaro, a resident of Prospect, announces his candidacy for the US Senate in 2008. Michael Cassaro is a 51 year old Democrat. Michael Cassaro is a physician in active practice. He is also educated as an engineer and as a lawyer.

Dr. Cassaro is a political newcomer in this campaign against Mitch McConnell. 'Mitch McConnell has been in the US Senate for almost 24 years. I respect Mr. McConnell's rise to a leadership position in the US Senate. But, his devotion to politics has not served the interests of the citizens of Kentucky.'

Dr. Cassaro will take his leadership qualities, experience and beliefs about the role of government and the basic needs of Kentuckians to Washington for the benefit of the citizens of Kentucky."

I imagine that after four years of Governor Ernest Lee Fletcher, M.D., Kentuckians have had their fill of physicians. But I'm also an advocate of free-for-all primaries, so: Welcome to the Fight, Mike!

And if this first-into-the-pool dive by a political novice doesn't persuade the national media that Mitch is so vulnerable next year that the only person in the state who couldn't beat him is Ernie Fletcher, nothing will.

Crit Luallen, Andrew Horne, Owsley Brown, Greg Stumbo, and your grandmother still have until January 30 to file for Kentucky's U.S. Senate race.

UPDATE, 7:42 p.m.:Media Czech at BlueGrassRoots has a video of Lt. Gov.-elect Dan Mongiardo lauding potential Mitch-slayer Andrew Horne.

And Kentucky Elections posts "10 Reasons Why Andrew Horne is Our Best Candidate" on DailyKos.



Cross-posted at BlueGrassRoots.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Governor-Elect Beshear: Liar or Fool?

"We're not going to go in wholesale and fire everybody just because they didn't happen to be hired by a Democratic governor," Beshear said.

I sincerely hope Steve Beshear is lying. Because if he's not lying, he's a fool who has already condemned his administration to failure, more than month before it even begins.

The Fletcher Fubar of the merit system has obscured what used to be common knowledge and accepted wisdom:

The whole purpose of having a class of employee positions outside the the merit system is that each new governor replaces them with his own political loyalists.

Period.

If the new governor does not replace the previous governor's loyalists with his own loyalists, he is - follow this carefully, now:

Not. Doing. His. Job.

I'm not talking about retribution or teaching anybody a lesson. I'm talking about the plain impossibility of running state government if the non-merit policy makers - the Cabinet Secretaries, the Department Commissioners, the Division Directors - are loyal to the previous administration.

It doesn't matter if they've performed genuine miracles in that position (something which - trust me - no one appointed by Fletcher has come close to doing.)

What matters is that anyone whose job it is to implement the elected executive's policies must be loyal to that executive. Competent, but loyal.

Any new governor who does not immediately fire every political appointee of the outgoing governor is setting himself up for failure.

And I say that as someone who counts more than a few Fletcher appointees as good friends.

Now, I've watched Steve Beshear as a politician for going on 30 years. He has never impressed me as either a liar or a fool.

So it's possible he's being extremely clever - out of pure self-defense.

For weeks we've been hearing that Fletcher appointees, anticipating their dismissal about five minutes after Beshear takes the oath of office on December 11, have been planning to spend the five weeks between the election and the inauguration sabotaging their own departments. Apparently Fletcher appointees in both the Transportation and Justice Cabinets have already begun falsifying and shredding documents.

Put yourself in Beshear's place for a moment. As governor-elect, you're looking at five weeks during which your political enemies can undermine your administration at will, while you are helpless to stop them.

What do you do?

Maybe you announce that you intend to govern through bipartisan cooperation. That you will hire people based on merit, not political affiliation. That you won't conduct wholesale firing of Fletcher appointees.

And the very first person you appoint to your transition team is republican Steve Pence, the sitting Lieutenant Governor.

Suddenly, the shredders stop whirring. "Hmm," people think. "Maybe Beshear really is that stupid. Maybe he really is going to keep at least some of us on. Maybe I might be one of the survivors. Maybe I should hold off on the sabotage until I know for sure."

Now you've got a little breathing room, a small insurance policy. You smile at everybody and don't mention that under state law, political appointees can be fired for any reason or for no reason - not "just because they didn't happen to be hired by a Democratic governor."

And if, come Inauguration Day, you fire every Fletcher appointee before the sun sets behind the Capitol, you won't be either a liar or a fool.

Cross-posted at BlueGrassRoots.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Rubbing It In

I will leave it to the fine writers of the Lexington Herald-Leader and the Louisville Courier-Journal to talk about Governor Ernie Fletcher's gracious concession speech.

Here, we're gonna wallow in schadenfreude. Just how bad did Ernie lose?

  • Fletcher is the first sitting Kentucky governor to lose a bid for re-election.*
  • Out of 120 counties, he took 28. Twenty-three of those are in the south-central "Old Fifth" district where Democrats stay deep in the political closet. Even in overwhelmingly republican Wayne County, Ernie won by only four votes.
  • Ernie and running mate Robbie Rudolph both lost their home counties.
  • Ernie lost the 10 biggest metropolitan areas in the state.
  • Ernie lost all six Congressional Districts.
  • Ernie's losing 18-point margin is short of a record, but Beshear's 619,000 votes are the most ever garnered by a gubernatorial candidate in the state.

* OK, OK: Ernie's only the second Kentucky governor to stand for re-election since the 1992 constitution change permitted it. Geez, you people are picky!

But the biggest loser of the night was Kentucky's Republican Party. Not only is Kentucky now a purple state poised to turn deep UK Wildcat Blue next year, but two of the big winners are Democratic up-and-comers poised to win big races in the future.

Attorney General-elect Jack Conway is not yet 40, and watching him light up the crowd last night it was easy to see him in eight years accepting victory as Governor. And doing the same in 2024 as President.

Re-elected State Auditor Crit Luallen got more than just cheers; the whole crowd sang along to her theme song "Kentucky Woman." The moment the polls closed last night, Crit became the front-runner to challenge Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell next year.

Mark Nickolas has the scoop: apparently DSCC Chair Chuck Schumer is telling people Crit is definitly running and will have the DSCC's full support.

I've said it before and I'll say it again: I'll believe Crit is running for another office immediately after winning re-election when I see her signature on filing papers in January.

Cross-posted at BlueGrassRoots.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Preview of Great Democratic Things to Come

Friends, neighbors, Kentuckians: Our long Commonwealth nightmare is over.

Beshear-Mongiardo 59 percent, Fletcher-Rudolph 41 percent.

Nowhere near the record for a gubernatorial victory, but more than enough to make Fletcher concede before 10 p.m.

I wasn't in Little Rock on election night in 1992, but I imagine the feeling was the same as it was at the Convention Center in Frankfort tonight: throats raw from cheering, tears of joy, the overwelming rightness of it all.

More tomorrow, but for tonight, just remember: Kentucky has gone with the winner of the Presidential Election every time since 1964. With a Democrat back in the Governor's mansion, the Bluegrass State is Blue once again, and 2008 will be the republicans' Waterloo. In Kentucky, and throughout the nation.

Cross-posted at Watching Those We Chose.

Gay-bashing Robo-Calls Getting National Coverage

Hard to get away from Kentucky politics in either the MSM or the blogosphere today. While AP, CBS and CNN are covering Ernie's approaching history-making disaster, Talking Points Memo, Crooks and Liars, TAPPED, and Lawyers, Guns and Money are covering the gay-bashing robo-calls sent out yesterday by someone who did not vote for Steve today.

TPM has put its Election Central reporters on the case, and they report that someone in the Beshear campaign traced the calls to a for-hire 800 number, but hit a dead-end there.

Brett Hall, former Fletcher campaign manager and press secretary who got fired last year for dropping the F-bomb in a recorded conversation with a reporter, remains a primary suspect. TPM also notes that former Karl Rove aide and Kentucky native Scott Jennings has recently returned home, though he denied involvement in response to a TPM inquiry.

Meanwhile, Page One Kentucky is rejecting the claim that the calls' lack of a "paid for by" disclaimer does not violate Kentucky election law.

We’re close to determining the source of the calls. And contrary to what Kentucky Registry of Election Finance has unfortunately told some people, it is illegal not to have a disclaimer on electronic advertisements. That includes telephone calls advocating the election or defeat of a candidate. Cite: KRS 121.190(1); 32 KAR 2:110. We remind the culprits that they’re required to file their independent expenditure with the KREF.

And don't forget Media Czech at BlueGrassRoots, who scooped everybody on this story yesterday and will be live-blogging from the Beshear-Mongiardo election party in Frankfort tonight starting in two hours.

Cross-posted at Watching Those We Chose.

Goal: 64.9 percent, 246,017 vote margin

UPDATE BELOW

In 1987, Wallace the Weasel Wilkinson beat John Harper by 231,533 votes, taking 64.8 percent of the total.

In 1991, Brereton Jones beat Larry Hopkins by 246,016 votes, taking 64.7 percent of the total

Can Steve Beshear break either of those two modern records for gubernatorial victories?

If all he does is win by the thinnest of margins, he will have already set a record as the first challenger to unseat an incumbent governor running for re-election.

But considering that Kentucky governors have only been running for re--election since 1999, that's not saying much.

No, beating The Weasel's margin will be much more satisfying, since it was The Weasel who took the nomination away from Steve in 1987.

246,017 votes, 64.9 percent margin - that's the goal.

Polls are now open - why aren't you voting?


UPDATE, 8:52 a.m.:Election Weather: It's sunny and in the 40s all across the state. NOT typical November weather, and practically unheard-of for election day.

Either global warming is real, or the Flying Spaghetti Monster has blessed Steve Beshear's campaign.

There better be pasta at the party tonight.

Polls close in 10 hours, 8 minutes.

Cross-posted at Watching Those We Chose.

Monday, November 5, 2007

The Job's Not Over 'Til the Gay-Bashing's Done

UPDATE BELOW, UPDATE II

This morning, 36 hours before the polls close, the calls started.

“For the first time in 20 years the homosexual lobby proudly endorses a Kentucky candidate for governor, Steve Beshear. Beshear is receiving major support from out-of-state gay activists and has publicly committed to same-gender relationships, employment of more homosexuals in state government including teachers, and support for homosexual adoption of children.

If you believe these rights are fair please vote for Steve Beshear for governor. Visit Fairness.org."

Everybody who believes those calls came from Louisville's Fairness Campaign or any other actual gay-rights group, stand on your head. And sing God Bless America. Backwards.

So far, no one's been able to trace the calls to any number, and of course soon-to-be-former Governor Ernie Fletcher's campaign is claiming innocence. An innocence that rings a little hollow after a comment like this from Ernie's camp:

"I don't know who would be impersonating the Fairness Campaign," said spokesman Jason Keller. "Obviously we wouldn't support anybody misrepresenting themselves in a call." Having said that, Keller added that the Fairness Campaign's political action committee did endorse Beshear, and "certainly there's a fair question to be asked there."

Getting off a little there, bubeleh?

I'll let the Fairness Campaign speak for itself:

Desperate opponents of Steve Beshear have stooped to a new low by using deceptive automated telephone calls falsely representing themselves as the Fairness Campaign. Fairness has received dozens of calls from concerned Kentuckians who have reported receiving these misleading and inaccurate phone calls.

The Fairness Campaign has issued the following statement: "We believe Kentuckians are looking for a governor who will work to bring Kentuckians together to improve the lives of all people in the Commonwealth. That's why CFAIR, the Committee for Fairness and Individual Rights, has endorsed Steve Beshear for Governor. These last minute dirty-tricks should remove any doubt about who fair-minded Kentuckians should elect as their next Governor on November 6."

Neither CFAIR nor the Fairness Campaign are making any automated calls in this election. Voters who receive an inappropriate call should report it to the Secretary of State's Office, the Attorney GeneralĂ‚¹s Office and their local Board of
Elections.

No fear on that score. In addition to whatever response the Beshear campaign is launching as I type, Kentucky's liberal bloggers are furious. They've already drafted complaints to the Kentucky Registry of Election Finance and legal motions to take to court the minute they track down the source.

The call (hear a recording at BlueGrassRoots) is illegal on its face, as it lacks the required "this call paid for by -" disclaimer.

PageOneKentucky reports that someone is trying to put the blame on Democrats.

We’ve received reports that the robocall originates from a telephone number owned by Lee Murphy of Poli-Tech Consulting - an organization that works only for Democrats in Kentucky - including Dan Mongiardo’s 2004 campaign. I spoke to Mr. Murphy moments ago and he confirms that he’s absolutely not involved, saying he “would never work against a Democrat” and that he’s actually friends with Mongiardo.

So where does this leave us? It appears a Republican or anti-Beshear lackey has an ax to grind and is wrongly claiming Poli-Tech is behind the robocall.

Someone is trying to cover up their tracks.

I'll update as I can.

Polls open in 11 hours, 50 minutes.

UPDATE, 7:05 p.m.:Good News, Bad News Department: Polwatchers reports that Beshear has a responding recorded call up and out.

"Ernie Fletcher is spreading lies to scare you," says Rev. John Dunaway, a retired Baptist minister who has volunteered in the Beshear campaign. "Don't fall for the last-minute dirty tricks."

However, Rich Miles at BlueGrassRoots notes that's not all the message said:

I got a robocall from a "Rev. John Dunaway", whoever he is, telling me not to believe the nasty lies about Steve Beshear. That Steve was raised in a family of preachers, and believes marriage is between a man and a woman, and all that. (SNIP) Ain't it a cryin' shame that we live in a state and a nation where either of those calls was possible or even conceived of?

UPDATE II, 8:38 a.m.:CRAP! Mark Hebert of WHAS 11 in Louisville did some actual reporting, calling the Kentucky Registry of Election Finance, and discovered that the calls may not be illegal after all.

The call contains no disclaimer, and doesn't have to, according to Sarah Jackson, executive director of the Registry of Election Finance. Jackson says there's no state law requiring candidates, parties or independent groups to identify themselves in phone calls, like they do on printed materials, radio and TV ads.

Cross-posted at Watching Those We Chose.