Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Stop Panicking, Dems: Obama is Fine

Good Grief. I haven't seen such hysteria over nothing since a spider crawled across Jonah Goldberg's keyboard.

John Dickerson on Obama's response and recovery.

Via Kevin Drum, John Cole on how ludicrously stupid this is.

And if you're not yet convinced, the Rude Pundit on the easy way to destroy whatshername once and for all.

Cross-posted at BlueGrassRoots.

Survey: Young People Overwhelmingly Democratic

Apparent a recent discussion about the upcoming election with students at Henry Clay High School helped Kentucky superdelegate Ben Chandler decide to endorse Barack Obama for president.

Smart man. Kevin Drum points us to a recent survey that found young people are voting overwhelmingly Democratic.

THE YOUTH VOTE ... A year and a half ago, the New York Times took a look at the party affiliations of different generations, producing a fascinating chart that showed a tremendous movement among young voters toward the Democratic party. By 2006, Democrats had opened up a lead among 20-year-olds of 52-37, the largest measured gap ever.

So what's happened since then? Acording to Pew, the gap has gotten even bigger. In polling done over the past six months, voters in their 20s identified as Democrats by a margin of 58-33. That's a 25-point gap. For comparison, the biggest recorded gap before now was 11 points at the height of Democratic dominance during the late 40s and 13 points after Watergate. But it turns out that even Nixon couldn't come close to doing the damage to the Republican brand that George Bush has. His administration has nearly doubled the previous record.

Via Mori Dinauer, who suggests that this means at least an extra million votes for the Democratic candidate in November. And the even better news? There's a good chance it means an even bigger advantage in 2012 and beyond.

One of the most heart-breaking political experiences of the last 25 years has been listening to teens and twenty-somethings repeat wingnut talking points with no apparent understanding of how destructive republican policies would be to them personally.

To see that pendulum swing back to the core liberal values of American Democracy warms the cockles of my liberal old heart.

Cross-posted at BlueGrassRoots.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

We Have Been Here Before, and Prevailed

If the magic of the early primaries has worn off, and you're starting to get discouraged by the ugly plow through Pennsylvania, the annoyance of Rev. Wright, the smug fake-confidence of the McCain campaign, take heart: Democrats have faced a racism-vs-sexism election before, and not only survived but emerged victorious.

In Slate, Diane Marie Amann reminds us.

Twenty-five years ago today Chicago made history when Harold Washington was sworn in as mayor.

The 42d person to lead America's Second City, Washington, who was serving in Congress at the time of his election, became the 1st African-American to hold that position. In a bruising primary, he'd bested the incumbent, Chicago's only woman mayor, Jane M. Byrne, as well as Richard M. Daley, presumptive heir to the seat his father had held for 2 decades. Still more bruises followed in the contest against Republican State Rep. Bernard Epton, as the website of the local CBS affiliate reported:

90 percent of white voters in Chicago, including ward bosses, turned their back on the Democratic Party. The atmosphere of the city became divisive and hostile in ways that would be difficult to imagine ... a quarter century later.
... It became a campaign of slurs, accusations, charges and counter-charges, and a contest dominated by the issue of race. ...


Emblematic of the ugliness of the 1983 campaign was a button that my relative saw worn openly on the floor of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange: Beneath the circle-with-slash that's the universal sign of "NO" was a green watermelon against a black background.

And yet, that year, Chicago began to rewrite its history. Citywide turnout on Election Day was nearly 88%, the highest ever. In the end a coalition of African-American, Latina/o, and "white 'lakefront liberal' voters" elected "Harold," as supporters called him, by a slim margin.

Washington's 4 years as mayor -- he died from a heart attack in 1987 -- were landmark. The city fared as it had under other mayors. That fact of competence eroded Chicago's entrenched ugliness. And though Daley eventually did become mayor, his way of running things proved far more inclusive than that of his father.

Harold's breakthrough, moreover, inspired a generation -- not only this onetime lakefront law student, but also a man who came to the city in the '80s to work with poor people. That man was Barack Obama, now himself a Member of Congress, now taking his own bruising as he endeavors to repeat in the national arena what Harold achieved in Chicago.

Barack is still, as TPM reports, meeting every apparent campaign-killer with a response that just strengthens his campaign.

My political memory goes back to JFK, and I'm telling you, I have never in my life seen a politician who grows stronger and more popular with every blow, who more effectively turns every attack into an argument in his favor, than does Obama. Not Jack, not Bobby, not "teflon" Ray-Gun himself, not even Billy the Comeback Kid.

At his very lowest point since New Hampshire, on the very day he was having to repudiate Rev. Wright, Obama achieved yet another unexpected victory: an endorsement from Blue Dog Conservative Kentucky Representative Ben Chandler.

It's going to be a long six months to November 4, and to survive we're going to have to pace ourselves. Don't panic, don't give up, and don't forget we've been here before, and prevailed.

Cross-posted at BlueGrassRoots.

DINO Ben Endorses Obama. Heads Explode. Heavens Fall

U.S. Representative Ben Chandler, D-KY6, has endorsed Barack Obama for President.

Kentucky's entire Democratic Congressional Delegation has now endorsed Obama. That's only two out of Kentucky's eight members of Congress, and two out of Kentucky's eight Democratic super delegates, but it's still 100 percent of Kentucky's Democratic Congressional Delegation.

It is also something more than a minor miracle. Ben Chandler is a DINO extraordinaire. I am on record excoriating him numerous times for his Smirky-fellating votes in the House: the despicable bankruptcy bill, gutting the Constitution, giving Smirky/Darth dictatorial powers, legalizing torture, allowing our young people to become IED fodder in Iraq.

Ben Chandler is a classic Blue Dog, the perfect Hillary-bot. What the fuck happened?

Here's a clue from the Lexington Herald-Leader: "Another Kentucky superdelegate, U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth, D-Louisville, already has voiced support for Obama."

John Yarmuth: Proud Liberal, Awesome Slayer of Mitch McConnell Pet Annie Northup, Voice of Kentucky's Democratic Conscience.

I speculated last year that Yarmuth's upset victory in 2006 might provide a courageous example for Spineless Ben, but I never expected anything like this.

Democratic U.S. Rep. Ben Chandler said that after months of intense and mounting pressure, he decided to ignore any political risks and back Illinois Sen. Barack Obama for the presidency.

"I've listened to the man. I have met with him and, like many of you, I am excited by his message of change for the future," Chandler told about 40 Obama supporters Tuesday morning in Louisville.

He praised Obama as "a man of great integrity and intellect" and of "quiet strength."

As one of the key sought-after Democratic superdelegates, Chandler's decision holds more weight than a normal endorsement. He and Kentucky's other eight superdelegates can pick a candidate during the August Democratic National Convention regardless of the outcome of the state's May 20 primary election.

He is the fifth of Kentucky's nine superdelegates to make a pick, with U.S. Sen. Hillary Clinton snaring endorsements from three of them and Obama picking up Chandler and fellow U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth of Louisville.

"Let me tell you what it's like on the floor of the House of Representatives to be an uncommitted superdelegate. It's not a lot of fun," Yarmuth said when introducing Chandler on Tuesday. He recalled recently standing on one side of Chandler on the floor ready to urge him to pick Obama with two congressman backing Clinton ready to pounce from the other side.

Chandler, the grandson of former Kentucky governor and U.S. Sen. Happy Chandler, compared the move to his grandfather's endorsement during the hard-fought 1960 Democratic primary of a young Catholic Massachusetts Senator, John F. Kennedy.

That was an endorsement "against all odds" and the will of other Kentucky Democratic leaders, Ben Chandler said.

Chandler conceded that he is taking some risk by backing Obama, who is trailing Clinton in the polls in Kentucky. But he cited Obama's popularity among young voters as a key reason why he chose to announce his support.

"Now is not the time to be timid. It's instead a time to be bold and support a candidate who can transform our future," he said.

How to say this? Boldness in politics is not a characteristic many - or any - would ascribe to Ben Chandler. That's why I see this endorsement less as a change of heart - or spine transplant - on Ben's part than a strong indication that the political tide in Kentucky is turning toward Obama.

For the record, from the Herald-Leader again:

Three of the other eight known Kentucky superdelegates -- Lexington attorney Terry McBrayer, Owensboro businesswoman Moretta Bosley and Harrodsburg banker JoEtta Wickliffe -- have publicly pledged support to Clinton.

Three other prominent Kentucky superdelegates -- Gov. Steve Beshear, Party Chairman Jennifer Moore and Vice Chairman Nathan Smith -- have remained neutral, and are expected to do so until after the May 20 primary. A ninth superdelegate will be chosen at the state party’s June 7 convention.

I am nearly certain that Beshear, Moore and Smith are all Hillarybots who are keeping quiet out of traditional neutrality before the primary.

But that's what I would have said about Chandler just a few hours ago.

If cautious DINO Ben Chandler can endorse a candidate who's 30 points down in the Kentucky polls, anything can happen.

Cross-posted at BlueGrassRoots.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Candidate with Most Fit Supporters Wins

If the Congressional or Senatorial or Presidential candidate whose supporters are the most physically fit were guaranteed to win the election, how much exercise would you do toward that goal?

May is National Physical Fitness Month, and Steve Beshear, as governor of the third-least-fit state in the (that's us, Kentuckians) has issued a challenge.

"With the warmer weather, there's more opportunity to be outdoors and be physically active," said William Hacker, M.D., Health and Family Services' acting undersecretary for health and public health commissioner. "Get Healthy Kentucky was created to help Kentuckians make a commitment to their personal health. The Governor's Challenge is a great program to help you get in shape and headed down the path of life-long wellness."

All it takes is 30 minutes of activity a day (60 minutes for kids ages 6-17), five days a week for six weeks. Participants who log on to the Governor's Challenge at will be redirected to the national President's Challenge home page where they can sign up for an account and start monitoring progress via the personal activity tracker.

To register or learn more about the Governor's Challenge, visit and click "Take the Challenge."

Get Healthy Kentucky is a statewide wellness initiative that incorporates physical activity, nutrition and tobacco cessation and prevention components. GHK has created an opportunity for individuals and groups to have a one-stop, central location for information and resources that will improve the quality of life for Kentuckians and help prevent chronic illnesses like diabetes and heart disease.

GHK is designed for residents of all ages and includes access to reliable, unbiased information on the GHK Web site, The site provides information about the Governor's Challenge program, an incentive-based fitness program designed to help participants set personal fitness goals and track progress online.

To date, around 6,500 people have participated in the challenge.

Through the Governor's Challenge, participants will be able to choose how to become and remain physically active. GHK has provided more than 100 activities from which to choose, along with the capability to track progress on an activity log. Once the initial goal is met, there are additional levels of achievement - bronze, silver and gold.

One of the cool things about the governor's/president's Challenge is that it allows you to create teams which compete against each other, and to compare your own achievement against others throughout Kentucky or the entire country, or in your same age group.

It also has a large selection of physical activities that gain you points, ranging from yard and garden work through daily steps with a pedometer up to running and aerobics. Virtually anything you do that is not sitting still watching YouTube counts.

Twenty-one days to Kentucky's Primary Election. May the Fittest Win!

Cross-posted at BlueGrassRoots.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Steve's Cabinet Games

"Governor" Beshear is still struggling to grasp the concept of cabinet-level agencies and who should run them.

Today he announced that he's releasing Environmental Protection from the commercial grip of the insurance and banking execs in Public Protection. Great move. Until the other shoe drops, and he throws a defenseless Environmental Protection into the voracious maw of Energy.

Steve, Steve, Steve. I should not have to explain to you that the purpose of Environmental Protection is to protect the environment FROM the strip miners, gas extractors, coal-burners, nuke-lovers and other nature-destroying freaks of the Energy industry.

Adding insult to injury, the new Secretary of the new Energy and Environmental Cabinet is a veteran of the most polluting, most destructive, most secretive, most uncooperative agency in the entire federal government. On pollution, on environmental destruction, on unConstitutional secrecy, this agency is even worse than the Department of Defense.

It's the Department of Energy. To make a very long story very short, DOE is the agency that wants to collect high-level radioactive waste from nuclear plants all over the country and transport them over our oh-so-safe highways and railroads to a cave in Yucca Mountain, Nevada. The highways and railroads on which that exceedingly dangerous material will travel include I-64 in Kentucky (where a tractor-trailer accident just shut down a 20-mile section for a full day) and the railroad tracks that run through downtown Frankfort.

Nothing personal against Dr. Peters, but a U.S. DOE veteran would be a poor choice even for just the Kentucky Energy Cabinet. To give a coal apologist Environmental Protection, too, is just a crime.

And Steve? The phrases "coal industry" and "renewable energy sources" belong in the same sentence only when they are connected by the phrase "... will finally die off when we adopt genuine ..."

It's not yet clear what's going to happen to the Department of Natural Resources, which used to be paired with Environmental Protection. Steve will probably combine it with Economic Development and put the Webb brothers in charge.

Cross-posted at BlueGrassRoots.

Sex and the Torturing Politican

Twenty years ago this Sunday, a Miami Herald reporter got a phone call and the rules of political campaigns changed forever.

When Tom Fiedler's phone rang the evening of April 27, 1987, he thought it might be another crank call, the kind political reporters get all the time. But Fiedler, a veteran campaign chronicler for the Miami Herald, couldn't ignore the caller's message: "Gary Hart is having an affair with a friend of mine."

Hart's inexcusable stupidity - he actually dared reporters to follow him - set a new standard for political coverage: sex lives are fair game.

The Clinton impeachment a decade later may seem to be the apotheosis of that standard, but in fact it was its nadir; it made most people realize that a politician's consensual adult sex really wasn't as important as how he did his job.

In Kentucky, Governor Paul Patton provided the egregious example of a public official who let his dick affect his job performance; he gave his mistress Tina Connor sweetheart contracts and regulatory exemptions for her businesses. His real crime, however, was that the exposure of his malfeasance led directly to the election of Republican Criminal Ernie Fletcher.

But it wasn't until the American people got collectively though metaphorically ass-raped by a frat-boy with arrested development who has probably never cheated on his wife that we really understood the moral calculus of presidential flaws.

In a president, which is preferable? Discreet extramarital affairs with consenting adults or treating the Constitution as toilet paper?

Let me put it more baldly: rather than a "good Christian" sociopathic failure bent on destroying the nation in a futile attempt to out-macho his father and who gets his jollies personally approving sexual torture of innocents, I'll take a homosexual, atheist, liberal, feminist, elitist, UN-loving, business-hating, gun-confiscating abortionist any day of the week and twice on Sunday.

Cross-posted at BlueGrassRoots.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Taking "Help" Too Far

TIME Magazine has a horrific story about a man condemned to life imprisonment for the crime of breaking his hip.

Cleaned up with a nice, strong pin in his hip, Sandy turned out to be one helluva nice guy. ... I would never have guessed that five days ago, before Sandy had been admitted to the medical service, he had been lying on the floor of his apartment with a broken hip for at least three days. Dehydrated, delirious, with bone-deep pressure sores all over his back and rear end, he was the lone city-dweller's living nightmare: no one knew for days that he had was injured, until, finally, a friend who hadn't heard from him in a while called Sandy's landlord to check on him.


As I saw him each morning after surgery, Sandy had one consistent message for me: "I gotta get back home." This was a motivated patient with a goal — home. I had started to tell him about rehab — the great majority of our hip fracture patients get a week or so of intensive physical therapy as soon as they are medically stable — but Sandy would have nothing to do with it. "Please don't let them put me in the warehouse — I'm fine, doc — just need to get back to my own bed, feed the cat, catch up on the papers." I didn't press the rehab thing, figuring that the case managers, whose full-time job is patient-disposition, would deal with it. Maybe having a clear goal helped, because he did get better amazingly fast — from nearly dead to bright and vigorous, walking 150 feet down the hall, joking with the physical therapists, in less than a week. I was pretty happy with that hip nailing.


But already the "helpers" were making plans behind Sandy's back.

I have visited psych facilities and I liked Sandy — I didn't want him in one. No, he didn't remember being on the floor and, yes, he was foggy with details of time ... But when I asked for specifics, they were wrong. That was it. He was confabulating. And he had almost no short-term memory. I wouldn't stand a chance going up against the nursing-home proponents. It was a sad realization — in those few words, a little chat about things of no real consequence, this fine American of 75 years had lost his right to self-determination. He was to be consigned, in his own eyes at least, to the rest of his life in prison. For not remembering.

It's better for him, was the standard medical answer. He'll be looked after, fed, cleaned — oh, and there are many activities ... And his apartment — it was so dirty ... He could hurt himself. How can he pay his bills? ...


So I watched as the will of the collective was exercised upon my patient. Tightly strapped down, lest he fall and be hurt, they rolled him out of sight. What can save one from this? Only a loving family. Or perhaps revolution.

People who work in the "helping professions," especially social workers, are by definition people who think living and dying alone is the worst fate imaginable. They simply refuse to believe that people consciously, rationally, sanely prefer to live alone, even in extreme poverty, even in extreme filth, even in extremely bad health, rather than live in comfort and luxury that includes other people.

I am not talking about people with diagnosed mental illness like schizophrenia or recognized dementia like Alzheimer's. I am talking about the deplorable tendency of society's "helpers" to misdiagnose as mental illness a simple - albeit un-social - desire for solitude.

Sandy probably could use someone willing to spend an hour a day visiting him, making sure he had food and other necessities, maybe doing a little cleaning or a few chores if Sandy wanted him to.

But the simple lack of short-term memory, however severe, hardly warrants life in prison.

And I have no doubt that for someone who cherishes his privacy, his solitude, his independence (however compromised by physical decay) would consider any group living situation - however physically comfortable - to be, indeed, prison.

I sincerely believe that Sandy, if given the choice between dying on his filthy apartment floor after three days in excrutiating pain, and enduring 25 semi-comfortable years in a cage full of other people, would absolutely choose the former.

Sartre nailed it more than half a century ago: Hell is other people.

Cross-posted at Watching Those We Chose.

Exploding the "primary win = general win" Myth

Josh Marshall refutes Hillary's specious claim that only she can win in the general the states she won in the primary.

As Patrick Healy explains (in Thursday's New York Times), it is simply a fallacy to claim that winning a state's Democratic primary means you're more likely to win that state in the general election or that your opponent can't win it.


And it's really not a big mystery that the argument doesn't hold up because it wasn't devised or conceived as an electoral argument. It's a political argument -- one that only really came into operation at the point at which the Clinton campaign realized that it was far enough behind that it's path to the nomination required making the argument to superdelegates that she's elected and Obama is not.

That's not to say there isn't a difference between the two as general election candidates -- at least in their current incarnations. There is. It's just not this big state nonsense. Peter Hart who, for what it's worth is actually part of the same polling firm as Hillary's new pollster/strategist Geoff Garin (though himself not working with either candidate), comes much closer to the mark when he says in the Times article, "Hillary goes deeper and stronger in the Democratic base than Obama, but her challenge is that she doesn't go as wide. Obama goes much further reaching into the independent and Republican vote, and has a greater chance of creating a new electoral map for the Democrats."


Given the spottiness of state by state polls, for now it's best to watch the national popular vote polls, which show the two Democrats basically even in how they'd face McCain. But there are differences. They run better in different parts of the country. But the 'big state' argument is just malarkey, an artifact of the spin necessities of the post-Super Tuesday campaign.

Both Josh and the Times go into a lot more detail about geographic differences, including a pretty depressing analysis of Kentucky by Josh.

Cross-posted at Watching Those We Chose.

Kentucky SAFE Patrol

We all love to attack the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, and boy do they usually deserve it.

But KyTC operates a highway assistance program that you should know about before the summer driving season starts.

Did you know that Kentucky operates is a free roadside service for highways, interstates & parkways that are funded by our taxes called SAFE Patrol. They do not require money or even a tip.

Keep this number in your vehicle. 1-877-FOR-KYTC or 1-877-367-5982

What does the SAFE Patrol do? - The Safety Assistance for Freeway Emergencies (SAFE) Patrol is designed to aid motorists and assist with incident management.

How much does the service cost? - The service is free of charge; however, if a wrecker is required, the motorist is responsible for payment.

When is the SAFE Patrol running? - The SAFE Patrol operates 6:00 AM to 10:00 PM, 7 days a week.

What areas does the SAFE Patrol cover? - The SAFE Patrol operates routes on the following roadways:

· I-75
· I-64
· I-65
· I-24
· I-71
· I-265
· US-23
· KY-80
· Louie B. Nunn Pkwy
· Wendell H Ford Western KY Pkwy
· Audubon Parkway
· Edward T. Breathitt Parkway
· William H. Natcher Parkway
· Bert T. Combs Mountain Parkway
· Hal Rogers Parkway
· Martha L. Collins Bluegrass Pkwy
· Julian Carroll Purchase Parkway

What services does the SAFE Patrol offer?
Operators assist motorists by providing the following services free of charge:

· gasoline and oil for those in need
· add air to tires or change flat tires
· provide a "jump" for dead batteries
· other minor automotive repairs

In addition to the above duties, SAFE Patrol Operators perform these services:

· assist law enforcement by directing traffic at incident scenes to keep traffic moving or assist in setting up necessary detour routes
· remove debris from the roadway
· monitor infrastructure for suspicious devices, people or activities
· check and tag abandoned vehicles
· monitor weather changes

What equipment are the vehicles equipped with? Each SAFE vehicle is fully equipped to handle minor roadside emergencies and to assist at the scene of a crash. The following are some items carried on each SAFE Patrol vehicle:

· 2 ton jack
· air compressor
· battery jump pack
· fire extinguisher
· flashing arrow board
· push bumper
· drinking water
· shovels / brooms
· impact wrenches
· oil dry
· auto fluids (gas and oil)
· cell phones
· first aid kits
· reflective cones
· radiator water
· flares
· portable signs
· blankets


Keep this number in your vehicle and program them into the cell phones of each driver in your house.

Check out the web site.

Cross-posted at BlueGrassRoots.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

It's the McCain, Stupid

The best news to come out of Philadelphia - or rather Indiana - is that Obama appears to have finally started campaigning against McCain.

In New Albany, Indiana, (just across the river from Louisville) today, Obama made clear that he's moved on to the general election.

U.S. Sen. Barack Obama told a cheering crowd at Indiana University Southeast today that the Democratic Party will be unified – whichever candidate is ultimately successful – in its effort to defeat the Republican presumptive nominee, Sen. John McCain.

“The Democratic Party is going to recognize as soon as we have a nominee that there is too much at stake for us to be divided,” Obama told about 2,500 people in the gym in the school’s Activities Building.

Today, Obama said in a press conference after the IUS town hall meeting that he’s confident he’ll be the nominee. But regardless, he said Democrats will not remain divided when they consider the alternative is McCain.

“They’ll say to themselves: This is a clear choice,” he said.

Obama told the boisterous crowd that voters already know what Republicans have to offer.

“They’re basically offering more of the same,” he said.

This is brilliant, in several different ways. It drives home the point that Hillary has lost. Even if Hillary wins every single primary from now on by 20 points (vanishingly unlikely), she still can't win the nomination. Obama is the nominee. McCain is his opponent. Hillary is irrelevant.

It changes the media narrative from Obama vs. Hillary to Obama vs. McCain.

It starts the General Election Campaign in plenty of time to ensure everyone knows all of McCain's flaws and failures before November.

As an unnecessary but pleasant side benefit, assuming the mantle of the Democratic nominee and campaigning against McCain might gain Obama more votes in states like Kentucky than campaigning against Hillary.

And I, personally, am looking forward to the sight of Hillary in the background, red-faced and screaming for attention while the adults conduct a presidential campaign.

Cross-posted at BlueGrassRoots.

Four Weeks and 36 Points to Kentucky Primary

Josh Marshall concludes that Hillary's 10-point win in Pennsylvania keeps the race pretty much at the same place it's been for a couple of weeks, all spin to the contrary.

But for Democratic voters on both sides in the remaining primary states, the victory in Pennsylvania is that our votes still count.

The last non-Pennsylvania primary polls are more than a week old, although new Indiana and North Carolina polls should be coming in shortly. Here's a roundup:

May 6 Indiana primary, Survey USA April 14: Clinton 55, Obama 39.

May 6 North Carolina primary, Survey USA April 8: Obama 49, Clinton 39.

May 20 Oregon primary, Survey USA April 7: Obama 52, Clinton 42.

Kentucky's primary is May 20. On April 15, five weeks before Kentucky's primary, Survey USA had Hillary up 36 points over Obama, 62-26.

Four weeks ago, Hillary led Obama by 20 points in Pennsylvania. That Obama made up only 10 points in a month despite outspending her more than 2-1 does not bode well for him making up 36 points in Kentucky.

Indiana's right next door, though, and if Obama beats her there - and Obama and Kentucky Democrats get on the ball promoting it - that could start some hard thinking by Kentucky Democrats, who may be conservative but are also practical. We know that states that go for Hillary, especially late in the primary season, are not likely to make President Obama's Christmas card list.

But there's another practical aspect for Kentuckians to consider. Since 1964, in every presidential contest, Kentucky has gone with the winner of the general election. (And since 2000, the person who got inaugurated.) As of April 17, Survey USA showed Clinton and McCain in a statistical tie (46-48) in Kentucky, while McCain holds a 34-point lead (63-29) over Obama.

Obama's great strength is that once he starts concentrating campaign resources - especially his personal appearances - in a state, his numbers always rise substantially and fairly quickly.

He probably can't make up thirty-six points in Kentucky in the remaining four weeks, especially without a giant-killing Pennsylvania result to build on.

But as I pointed out Monday, the key now is Controlling the Narrative. Hillary can't win either the primary or the general; don't let her fool anyone into thinking otherwise.

Cross-posted at BlueGrassRoots.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

The Vote It's Safe to ignore

The Fear That Dare Not Speak Its Name is running off at the mouth. Apparently Democrats don't have enough to worry about on this Pennsylvania Primary Day, so they've started obsessing about racism.

Specifically, how all those horrible American racists are going to doom Democratic hopes in the fall by voting Republican.

I am going to type this very slowly so everyone gets it the first time:

Racists, wingnuts, religioids and other fascist, freakazoid republicans never, ever, EVER vote for the Democratic candidate.

Not even the ones who are registered Democrats.

Yes, the Democratic Party is infested with racists and other republican freakazoids. Unfortunately, I am personally acquainted with some of them. They are registered Democrats, they call themselves Democrats, but they never, ever, EVER vote Democratic.

So can we please kill off for good this myth that it's possible to persuade such people to vote Democratic?

Seriously. This idiocy is rapidly approaching psychosis.

Democrats win by getting real Democrats off their fat asses and into the polling booth.


Anything else is a waste of time, money and effort, and the primary reason Democratic candidates lose.

Congressional Candidate John Yarmuth of Louisville stood up in 2006, proclaimed himself a Proud Liberal Democrat, and beat the shit out of five-term republican incumbent and Mitch McConnell pet Anne Northup.

He did it without getting one single vote from a racist, a wingnut, a religioid, or a republican of any kind, shape or form. And he didn't waste a single minute or a thin dime trying.

He spoke directly to the real Democrats who have always been ignored by DINOs like Hillary, and he drew them back to the polls, where they rewarded him with victory.

That's how real Democrats win. That's how Obama has won the Democratic primary. And that's how Obama will win the Presidential Election in November.

(Part of this post originally appeared as a comment on

Cross-posted at BlueGrassRoots.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Pennsylvania Primary Precautions

Before the polls open in Pennsylvania in the morning, let's remember what's really at stake in the remaining primaries: Control of the Narrative.

Hillary Clinton cannot - repeat, cannot - win the nomination. She lost philosophically on Super Tuesday and mathematically in Texas.

What she can do, however, is win enough delegates to cast permanent doubt about Obama among Democrats, independents and even fed-up Republicans.

I don't actually care why she's bound and determined to see this suicidal course through to the end; suffice that nothing, up to and including endorsements of Obama from Al Gore, Bill Clinton and John McCain - is going to stop her.

So the only remaining goal for Democrats who actually care about winning the general election in November is to make sure that Hillary does not control the narrative.

No matter how tomorrow's Pennsylvania presidential primary (seriously, it should get an alliteration award) turns out, here's what Hillary is going say:

"This is a huge win for the real Democrats who support warmongering conservatives like me, and a huge, disastrous and well-deserved defeat for the elitist, Communist terrorists who worship Boy Obama like a god."

And here's how you counter it:

One month ago, Survey USA had Hillary up 19 points in Philadelphia. One week ago, Survey USA had her up 12 points. This morning, it had her clinging to a six-point lead.

Let me make this crystal clear right now:

Any Pennsylvania result that falls short of Hillary winning by 10 points is a ginormous defeat for the superannuated Goldwater Girl.

Don't let anybody tell you anything different.

Tomorrow night: What the Pennsylvania result means for the May 20 primary in Kentucky.

Cross-posted at BlueGrassRoots.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Religious Conservatives Adopt Rational Drug Policy

Hallelujah. The conservative, authoritarian, religion-obsessed government has seen the light on drug policy.

It's making cheap condoms and syringes available to addicts, and it's even trying "to change its approach to drug addicts by treating users as 'people who need help' rather than throwing them into already overcrowded jails."

Don't believe it? Smart you. The country in question is not, in fact, our very own America the Addicted and Incarcerated. Will Saletan has the ironic facts:

This morning's news brings a face-slapping AFP story from the land of the mullahs: Iran is setting up vending machines to sell condoms and syringes. The country's drug czar tells its state news service that the machines will be in shelters for addicts: "Condoms, syringes, bandages and plasters will be easily accessible just by inserting a coin. This protects addicts from acquiring AIDS and hepatitis." Cost per item: about 5 cents.

Yes, you read that right: The country that brought you fundamentalist theocracy, Middle East proxy wars, presidential Holocaust denial, an implacable nuclear weapons program, and hundreds of days of Americans held hostage is practically throwing needles and rubbers at junkies.

Why? First, because living under a fundamentalist theocracy evidently doesn't make you any less likely to get hooked on drugs. Iran estimates that some two million of its 71 million people are regular users. We're talking pot, heroin, morphine, and opium. The country consumes some 700 tons of drugs from Afghanistan alone.

Second, because even a fundamentalist theocracy has to deal with reality.

How do you like that? On drugs and HIV, the United States has been out-liberalized and out-pragmatized by the right wing of the Axis of Evil.

No moral equivalence intended, but ... speaking of holocaust denial ...

It's common knowledge - or should be - that most of the two million people incarcerated in the U.S. today are behind bars for non-violent drug offenses.

Here in Kentucky, the budget-slashed Department of Corrections is drawing up plans to release hundreds of such non-violent drug offenders it can no longer afford to feed and house. If only there were a program of rehabilitation, job training and community support waiting for them, instead of a state full of itchy-fingered sheriff's deputies.

Cross-posted at BlueGrassRoots.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Kentucky Victim of Terrorism to be Deported

It's no surprise that the maladministration that thought the best way to find terrorists hiding in Pakistan was to attack Iraq also has trouble distinguishing victims from perpetrators.

But that ludicrous incompetence has become a matter of life and death for a student at Lexington's Transylvania University.

As Page One Kentucky neatly put it:

Sudanese scholar and refugee Lino Nakwa just had his green card application denied because he was kidnapped by the Sudan People’s Liberation Army when he was 12-years-old, the very reason he was granted entry to the United States of America as a victim of persecution. Because Nakwa was held captive against his will for one month by the Sudanese terrorist organization, the Department of Homeland Security has decided Nakwa poses a security threat.

Sound preposterous that Lino, a Dean’s List student at Transylvania University trying to make everything right with the world would be carelessly tossed aside?

Click here to learn more about Lino Nakwa and contact your legislators to urge their support of one of the few immigrants in the U.S. who follow the legal route to citizenship only to be castigated by the system.

Don’t sit idly by while the United States allows another person to die in genocidal Sudan. Which is what will happen if Lino is deported. It’s sad enough that we’ve (the world, not just the USA) allowed hundreds of thousands of others to perish.

On Wednesday, Transy students set up a phone bank on campus, providing cell phones for people to call Senator Mitch McConnell, R-KY, and Lexington Congressman Ben Chandler, D-KY6 and urge them to save Nakwa.

Nakwa hugs a fellow student at Wednesday's phone-a-thon.

As Transylvania President Charles L. Shearer wrote in a letter supporting Nakwa:

“Lino’s story is compelling, his resilience as a survivor is deeply touching, and his belief against all odds that there can be a better future brings hope that the American Dream is still possible.”

Cross-posted at Watching Those We Chose.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Oh, Stop Screaming - the Pain's Not "Severe"

Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer. But I don't believe you have to be an expert in Constitutional Law to understand what "cruel and unusual" means and to see the logical consequences of judicially approving the infliction of pain.

Today's Supreme Court decision upholding Kentucky's lethal-injection death penalty does far more than put state executions back on track.

It confirms the idea that there's an acceptable level of pain that American officials can inflict on prisoners without fear of violating Constitutional principles.

This is a philosophy of justification that owes far more to Abu Graib than to Madison and Hamilton.

Patriotic Americans still hoping to establish through the courts that the torture and denial of habeas corpus practiced at Guantanamo are un-Constitutional depravities unbecoming a Democracy should despair at this decision.

Seven of the nine Supreme Court Justices have just announced that American officials inflicting on prisoners pain that falls just short of "severe" is perfectly fine with them.

That Roberts, Alito, Scalia and Thomas align themselves with the evil depravity of Smirky-Darth is no surprise, but for Kennedy to join them is a disappointment. And the concurrence of Breyer and say-it-ain't-so! John Paul Stephens is devastating. Only Ginsberg and Souter dared to defy the torture-loving perverts among their Brethren.

I'm not saying that lethal injection constitutes torture. I'm saying that when the Supreme Court starts pronouncing on levels of acceptable pain, their justification of torture can't be far down the road.

Cross-posted at BlueGrassRoots.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Apology Not Accepted

Sooner or later in this campaign, Barack Obama is going to have pull on the boxing gloves and start delivering some hard hits. He should start today by telling Rep. Geoff Davis, R-KY4, to shove his "apology" up his tight Canuck ass.

"My poor choice of words is regrettable and was in no way meant to impugn you or your integrity. I offer my sincere apology to you and ask for your forgiveness," Davis wrote in a letter that staffers said was hand-delivered to Obama's U.S. Senate office.

Davis, a Republican representing Northern Kentucky, continued: "Though we may disagree on many issues, I know that we share the goal of a prosperous, secure future for our nation. My comment has detracted from the dialogue that we should all be having on legitimate policy differences and in no way reflects the personal and professional respect I have for you."

How excruciatingly polite. Makes it sound like Davis criticized the Illinois Senator's choice of ties. Maybe even implied Obama was color-blind.

But of course, that's not what Davis said. What Davis said was a racist slur about an inch and a half short of the n-word. And he said it in front of hundreds of people at the biggest Republican politican event of the year in Northern Kentucky. Said to the laughter, applause and cheers of the filthy rich and disgustingly lily-white audience.

Davis spoke at the Northern Kentucky 4th Congressional District Lincoln Day Dinner, also attended by Republican Sens. Mitch McConnell and Jim Bunning.

Davis compared Obama and his message to a "snake oil salesman." He said in his remarks at the GOP dinner that he also recently participated in a "highly classified, national security simulation" with Obama.

"I'm going to tell you something: That boy's finger does not need to be on the button," Davis said. "He could not make a decision in that simulation that related to a nuclear threat to this country."

National media are dismissing this as at worst the kind of slip expected from southern politicians who forget themselves in front of friendly audiences.

Senator Obama: this was no "slip." This was the opening salvo in a planned campaign of "accidental" racist "slips" that will have you wasting all your time graciously accepting passive-aggressive non-apologies.

As Media Czech points out, Geoff Davis is about as southern as Ted Kennedy.

Where was Geoff Davis Geoff born and raised? In friggin Canada.

Where did he go to college? In the good ole southern town of Pittsburgh.

This cannot simply be dismissed as a slip of the tongue due to his southern upbringing. He is a Northern carpetbagger, through and through. This is an unmistakable code word, and it was quite deliberate.

The cowardly, racist bullies are laughing at you, Senator Obama, sure you will graciously forgive them this time. And the next time. And the time after that.

What they're not expecting and have no defense for is a fast fist to the mouth, followed by a nasty kidney punch and double-handed neck-chop.

Tell Geoff Davis you don't accept fake apologies from racist, carpetbagging, dumb-as-a-rock Bush-worshippers.

Cross-posted at BlueGrassRoots.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

"Race" to Unseat Mitch McConnell Too Tragic for Farce, Too Ludicrous for Tragedy


If Kentucky Democrats had written a specific plan of action to ensure that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell would win re-election this year despite even the most complete Democratic tsunami that swept every other republican from office, it would look pretty much exactly like the clusterfuck we've got right now.

  1. Discourage, intimidate, bribe or blackmail every well-known and well-liked Democratic official in the state from entering the Senate race.
  2. Encourage half-a-dozen losers, no-hopers, perennial candidates, clueless novices and who-dats to file for the race.
  3. Persuade the single most reviled politician in the state to run for the Democratic nomination, although he is a long-time donor to republicans and BFF to Mitch himself.
  4. When a strong, viable, uncontrolled candidate emerges, enlist national power-brokers to help force him to drop out.
  5. Plant multiple stories on both progressive and wingnut state political blogs exaggerating the BFF's personal fortune and statewide popularity.
  6. Spread rumors emphasizing the naivete, incompetence and general lameness of the six also-rans.

So here we are. Not a single Democratic office-holder, past or present, is running for Mitch's seat. Six of the eight candidates are unknowns, perennial losers or cruel jokes. Marine Lt. Col. Andrew Horne dropped out under pressure from Governor Beshear and DSCC chair Chuck Schumer.

And Bruce Lunsford - Criminal, Democratic Traitor, $40,000+ Donor to Republicans, and Best Friend Forever to Mitch McConnell - is, six weeks before the primary, the presumptive democratic nominee to challenge McConnell.

It is a tribute to the utter through-the-looking-glass nature of the Democratic clusterfuck that it is necessary to debunk the propaganda that Lunsford is a viable candidate.

Bruce has spent the last five years piling up such a record of supporting republicans and attacking democrats that Mitch won't have to film a single ad against him; he'll just rerun clips from Bruce's previous campaigns.

If Mitch wins by less than 20 points, it'll be because Democrats finally remembered how to try to rig an election.

Page One Kentucky's posts on Lunsford's inevitable win in the primary and loss in the general.

Page One Kentucky's posts on Greg Fischer's lame campaign and missed opportunities.

BlueGrassRoots' posts on why Greg Fischer is a better choice than Lunsford.

UPDATE, 8:17 p.m.: Meanwhile, the national Senate electoral picture is shaping up as a rout for Democrats, who have recruited strong challengers just about everywhere. Everywhere except here. Memo to the Kentucky Democratic Party: next time New Yorker Schumer comes calling, beware Yankees bearing empty promises.

Cross-posted at Watching Those We Chose.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Why Democrats Soliciting Religious Voters is Silly, Stupid and Suicidal

Two new books on religion and politics, both reviewed in the Washington Monthly, are promoting policies that - if not aborted immediately - will be the death of the Democratic Party.

E.J. Dionne, in Souled Out, says the era of the "religious right" is over, leaving the playing field of faith open to Democrats, and evangelical apologist Amy Sullivan, in The Party Faithful, sings Hallelujah to the Democrats' recent discovery of religion as a political tool.

Let's do a dilation and curettage on this sucker right now before it reaches viability.

I use abortion imagery deliberately, because both Dionne (Catholic) and Sullivan (Protestant Evangelical) single out abortion as the issue on which Democrats have got to get religion if they want to win over voters of faith.

Sullivan laments the fierce opposition of traditional Democratic party fund-raisers to supporting candidates who are pro-life, and criticizes those who resist both the policies and the moral exhortation needed to lower abortion rates and to persuade religious voters that Democrats understand their qualms about current abortion practice.

Well. I haven't encountered a sentence that full of euphemisms and lies covering up nasty truths since the last time I read Leviticus.

There is no such thing as "pro-life." People who say they are "pro-life" are many things - anti-abortion, anti-choice, pro-incest, pro-child-abuse, pro-marital rape, pro-wife beating, pro-abandoned-children, etc. - but the one thing they are not is "pro-life."

"Moral exhortation." Would that be the screams of "Whore!" "Jezebel!" "Murderer!" aimed at any woman who enters a Planned Parenthood Clinic? Or maybe she means the abstinence-only classes that have created an epidemic of sexually-transmitted disease among teen girls.

"Qualms about current abortion practice." I seriously doubt she means qualms about the fact that American women are denied complete medical care in 97 percent of U.S. counties. Or the fact that 17-year-old women cannot save themselves from pregnancy without the express permission of the abusive stepfathers who are raping them. Roe, schmoe.

By the way, ever check to see how easy it is to buy condoms at your local grocery store? Around here, they're behind a locked counter. At my advanced age and orneryness, I have no trouble marching right up to the pharmacist and demanding a dozen boxes, size extra-large, in a voice the whole store can hear, but I hardly expect that level of self-confidence from a 15-year-old. Makes me wanna buy a few gross and hand them out at the junior-high.

Before all you Xians started whining, let me introduce myself: I was religious before religious was cool. Many years ago, I answered the altar call, confessed Jesus Christ as my savior and was immersed baptized.

Yes, I am a recovered born-again. I've seen the Xian angle from both sides, and believe me, it's hard to tell which is uglier.

But this much should be obvious to anyone who's even glanced at political news lately:

Kow-towing to the Xian freakazoids put the repugs into power, but it's also destroying their party for the next several generations.

Copying that playbook may get dems into power for a decade or two, but it'll be their downfall, and sooner rather than later. Here's why:

Repugs and religioids are natural allies for one reason and one reason only: they are both innately right-wing authoritarian. All religions, especially all monotheisms, are innately right-wing authoritarian (RWA).

Right-wing Authoritarianism is by definition: un-democratic, un-constitutional and un-American.

Right-wing Authoritarianism is anathema to the principles of the U.S. Constitution, the United States of America and the Democratic Party.

The Founders understood this. They knew that all religions - all religions - tend toward dictatorship and away from liberty.

Free, democratic government was possible only where religion was confined to the private sphere, never permitted the slightest influence on public life.

I imagine Jamie Madison taking one look at John Yoo's memo justifying torture and searching immediately for its religious source.

Twisting our Democratic and Liberal Principles to attract the authoritarians of "faith" is an act of spiritual and political suicide.

So what, you say? All that matters is corralling enough votes to win, and then we can ignore the religioids until the next election, just like the repugs do?

You don't have to implement their medieval policies to be corrupted by them, but for the sake of argument let's look at just the practical side.

"People of faith" who are receptive to the Democratic argument that Jesus Was a Liberal and Real Christians Care About Poor People and the Environment are already voting Democratic.

The ones who aren't are never going to vote Democratic, even if Jesus himself told them to. Never, never, NEVER.

To put it another way, if you profess New Testament Christian values but don't vote Democratic, there's nothing any Democrat can say to persuade you to do so. Your hypocrisy is terminal.

Soliciting the religious vote gains Democrats nothing and will end up costing us the world.

Cross-posted at BlueGrassRoots.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Amen, Ditto, and Give 'Em Hell, Media Czech!

Media Czech at Barefoot and Progressive righteously rips Kentucky Democratic Party Chair Jennifer Moore a new one over her plea for a "unity pledge" from all seven Democratic candidates for the U.S. Senate race.

Actually, it's not so much a request as it is a none-too-subtle threat to get behind Criminal, Democratic Traitor and Republican BFF Bruce Lunsford now before we slap you down like we did Andrew Horne.


... listen to what Jennifer Moore is advocating: "This oath is the first step in making sure we have a unified party going into the General Election. It is a crucial part of Democrats’ ability to provide the strongest possible front against Mitch McConnell."

That essentially means, "let's hurry up and get this primary out of the way so Bruce can win without any scars". Now, you may agree or disagree with the KDP's strategy, but let's be honest and call it exactly what it is.

Third, remember just who is asking for this "unity pledge", asking for democrats to "stay positive" and "not attack each other" to provide the "strongest front against McConnell".

I tell you what Jennifer, I have a unity pledge of my own that I'd like you to sign. Here it is.

1. When "pledging" to field Democratic candidates in every race, I will not simultaneously try to force Democratic candidates out of Congressional races in which the Republican would run unopposed without that Democrat running.

2. I pledge to not bow down in front of Chuck Schumer's thrown (sic) and let him decide what is best for the people of Kentucky. Nor will I be punk'd by reptilians into thinking that he'll actually spend money on us if we do what he says.

3. I pledge to not call the major donor base of a legitimate Democratic candidate in a primary and try to persuade/force them not to give that candidate any money. Such behavior from the head of the KDP is irresponsible and, dare I say, "negative".

How about it Jen?

Do NOT get me started on the unforgivable blunders committed by the "reformers" some of us busted our asses for four years to get into power at the Kentucky Democratic Party.

We half-killed ourselves to get rid of corrupt DINO Jerry Lundergan only to end up with spineless whiner Jennifer Moore.

This ludicrous, hypocritical and despicable "Unity Pledge" isn't the first time they've stepped on their dicks (Yes, Jennifer, I'm talking to YOU) and it won't be the last.

But this Saturday, at 10 a.m., we're all going to be at our polling places, chomping at the bit to elect new precinct officers - angry, pissed-off, loaded-for-bear precinct officers - and send them to County, District and State Conventions to slap a few arrogant party officials upside the head.

If you are a registered Democrat, this Saturday, April 5, 10 a.m. at your polling place is your once-every-four-years chance to decide who gets to run the Kentucky Democratic Party. You elect one man, one woman and one youth to represent your precinct. They choose who represents your county party, who choose who represents your Congressional District, who choose who represents all Kentucky Democrats on the state central committee.

Don't vote for anybody who thinks the current party leaders are doing a fine job. Don't vote for anybody who isn't screaming bloody murder for change. Don't vote for anybody who thinks Bruce Lunsford should ever be allowed to run for anything as a Democrat.

And for FSM's sake, get there by 9:30 to make sure they don't shut you out.

Cross-posted at BlueGrassRoots.