Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Obama Hung in Effigy by Penis-less Morons

It appears high gas prices this summer forced Lexington's Morons Without Penises to sell their submlimation Hummers and SUVs, and now they're forced to stage fake lynchings to assuage their sexual frustration.

University of Kentucky police are investigating who hung an effigy of Democrat Sen. Barack Obama from a tree on the Lexington campus Wednesday morning.

UK President Lee Todd said that UK police have notified federal authorities of the incident. Todd said a professor saw the effigy on the tree near the Rose Street parking garage across from the Mining and Mineral Resources building this morning and called police.

SNIP

The effigy had a mask of Obama on it and there was a noose around the effigy's neck, Todd said.

SNIP

Many students on UK's campus were unaware that the racial incident had happened until noon on Wednesday. Antonio Dixon was walking out of UK's Student Center when he heard the news from another student. The black freshman from Lexington said he hoped that it was a prank.

"It's terrible," Dixon said, shaking his head. "You've got a lot of people who do that kind of stuff just to get attention. It's just not right. I think with Halloween coming... I hope it was a prank."

Sorry to disappoint you, Antonio, but this was most certainly not a "prank."

This is the logical consequence of Right-Wing Authoritarian dictatorship keeping people stupid and impotent through republican policies of Permanent War and Enriching the Wealthy.

This is the logical consequence of a Right-Wing Authoritarian republican presidential candidate exploiting that stupidity and impotence with thinly-veiled calls for racial violence.

This is the logical consequence of Kentucky's Democratic "leaders" catering to racists and pretending they're not running on the same ticket as Barack Obama instead of standing fearlessly in front of the haters and condemning their hatred. I'm talking to YOU, Gov. Steve Beshear, and YOU, Kentucky Democratic Party officials, and YOU, racist DINO David Boswell. And speaking out BEFORE the lynching starts. After is too late.

Gov. Steve Beshear, a Demcocrat, issued a statement Wednesday afternoon calling the incident "embarrassing and unfortunate."
.
"Embarrassing and unfortunate?" How about "tacky and not nice?" Or possibly "uncool, bro?"

It's a fucking hate crime. It's a fucking threat against the life of a major-party nominee for the fucking presidency.

Trust me, the Secret Service does not think this is "embarrassing and unfortunate."

"Embarrassing and unfortunate" is how the nation and the world now thinks of the University of Kentucky, the City of Lexington, and the Commonwealth.

Read the whole thing, including a surprisingly strong statement from UK President Todd.

Cross-posted at Watching Those We Chose.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Keith Gets McCain Wrong

I worship Keith Olbermann. For the last two years of the Smirky-Darth maladministration, Countdown is the only thing that's kept me marginally sane.

But in his Special Comment Monday night, Keith got one thing wrong. Dead wrong.

Senator, of all the things I don't like about you or your campaign I have never thought you a racist. As imperfect as was your moment with the Minnesota woman, mumbling about Arabs, I thought it was the finest moment of your campaign.

I believe that you feel as I do – that racial hatred and prejudice have no place in this campaign, or in this country.

I hope that Olbermann said that just as a complimentary introduction to his plea to McCain to condemn the Ashley Todd racist hoax. I hope Keith, of all people, knows how cruelly false is the persistent myth in the media that McShame is this sweet old man whose loving heart is just broken by the hateful, vicious racism of his campaign.

No. Nameless nasty "others" have not hijacked McCain's planned campaign of respect and issues; the filth and obscenities are of McShame's making and McShame's approval.

McShame is not saying those vicious, hateful, racist things just because he's stressed out. He's saying those vicious, hateful, racist things because he can't believe he's getting beat and beat bad by that uppity ni**er.

Stress doesn't cause people to do or say things out of character; stress causes people to reveal their true personality.

When I'm stressed, I freak out and scream obscenities. That's because my basic personality is obscenity-screaming freak.

When John McCain is stressed, he spews vicious, racist attacks. That's because John McCain's basic personality is vicious, racist thug.

John McCain is a vicious, racist thug. His campaign proves it.

Cross-posted at BlueGrassRoots.

"This Wickedness and Stupidity"

For his bloodthirsty defense of the Iraq catastrophe, Christopher Hitchens will surely spend eternity as a cockroach. But for a cold-eyed, rational dissection of republican insanity, there's no one better.


This is what the Republican Party has done to us this year: It has placed within reach of the Oval Office a woman who is a religious fanatic and a proud, boastful ignoramus. Those who despise science and learning are not anti-elitist. They are morally and intellectually slothful people who are secretly envious of the educated and the cultured. And those who prate of spiritual warfare and demons are not just "people of faith" but theocratic bullies. On Nov. 4, anyone who cares for the Constitution has a clear duty to repudiate this wickedness and stupidity.

Read the whole thing.

Cross-posted as BlueGrassRoots.

Monday, October 27, 2008

One Week to Change the Future

So far I can find only the last 6-1/2 minutes of Obama's "closing argument" speech in Canton, Ohio, this morning, but that's enough. More than this might kill me.



Text of full speech here.

And my favorite part:

Ohio, that's what hope is - that thing inside us that insists, despite all evidence to the contrary, that something better is waiting around the bend; that insists there are better days ahead. If we're willing to work for it. If we're willing to shed our fears and our doubts. If we're willing to reach deep down inside ourselves when we're tired and come back fighting harder.

Hope! That's what kept some of our parents and grandparents going when times were tough. What led them to say, "Maybe I can't go to college, but if I save a little bit each week my child can; maybe I can't have my own business but if I work really hard my child can open one of her own." It's what led immigrants from distant lands to come to these shores against great odds and carve a new life for their families in America; what led those who couldn't vote to march and organize and stand for freedom; that led them to cry out, "It may look dark tonight, but if I hold on to hope, tomorrow will be brighter."

That's what this election is about. That is the choice we face right now.

Don't believe for a second this election is over. Don't think for a minute that power concedes. We have to work like our future depends on it in this last week, because it does.

Cross-posted at BlueGrassRoots.

Steal Back Your Vote

Are you registered to vote? Are you sure? In every state, election boards are purging registration lists of legal voters by the thousands.

Did you sign your driver's license with your middle initial, but use just our first and last name on your voter registration? Did the DMV clerk transpose the numbers on your street address? Does your fairly common name match that of a convicted felon? House in foreclosure? Gotten a speeding ticket lately? Going to college away from home? Oops, sorry - no voting for you!

The republican party may be devoid of ideas to restore the economy, eliminate our dependence on foreign oil or keep us safe, but its imagination knows no bounds when it comes to preventing Democrats from voting.

Infamous muckraker Greg Palast, along with Riverkeeper founder Robert F. Kennedy Jr., have documented repug election fraud tactics and come up with simple, effective ways to Steal Back Your Vote.

The best tactic is to vote early and in person - do NOT send an absentee ballot! - but even in states like Kentucky that do not allow early voting, it's not too late to protect your vote.

Even if you've voted for years with no problem, call your county clerk today and get confirmation that you are, indeed, registered to vote. Get it in writing if you can. Make sure you know where your polling place is, and try to get there as soon as possible after it opens at 6 a.m. - that way, if your right to vote is challenged, you'll have to time to protest and demand to exercise your right to vote. Do NOT accept a "provisional ballot" - they're never counted.

Check out this site for more information on protecting your right to vote.

Cross-posted at BlueGrassRoots.

Steal Back Your Vote

Are you registered to vote? Are you sure? In every state, election boards are purging registration lists of legal voters by the thousands.

Did you sign your driver's license with your middle initial, but use just our first and last name on your voter registration? Did the DMV clerk transpose the numbers on your street address? Does your fairly common name match that of a convicted felon? House in foreclosure? Gotten a speeding ticket lately? Going to college away from home? Oops, sorry - no voting for you!

The republican party may be devoid of ideas to restore the economy, eliminate our dependence on foreign oil or keep us safe, but its imagination knows no bounds when it comes to preventing Democrats from voting.

Infamous muckraker Greg Palast, along with Riverkeeper founder Robert F. Kennedy Jr., have documented repug election fraud tactics and come up with simple, effective ways to Steal Back Your Vote.

The best tactic is to vote early and in person - do NOT send an absentee ballot! - but even in states like Kentucky that do not allow early voting, it's not too late to protect your vote.

Even if you've voted for years with no problem, call your county clerk today and get confirmation that you are, indeed, registered to vote. Get it in writing if you can. Make sure you know where your polling place is, and try to get there as soon as possible after it opens at 6 a.m. - that way, if your right to vote is challenged, you'll have to time to protest and demand to exercise your right to vote. Do NOT accept a "provisional ballot" - they're never counted.

Check out this site for more information on protecting your right to vote.

Cross-posted at BlueGrassRoots.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Winter Trade Days

Relive early Kentucky settler history and find unique holiday gifts at Fort Boonesborough's Winter Trade Days Thanksgiving weekend.

Merchants and traders who appear to have stepped out of an 18th century tableau will be selling wares of the era, providing a unique opportunity to do some early holiday gift shopping.

Fort Boonesborough State Park will stage its Winter Trade Days on Thanksgiving weekend, Saturday Nov. 29, 2008 from 9 am to 5 pm and Sunday Nov. 30, 2008 from 10 am to 4 pm. Dressed in 18th century costumes, merchants and traders will set up shops in the cabins and blockhouses of the fort. All merchandise for sale will consist of items available in the last half of the 18th century.

The 18th century Transylvania Store has re-located to the northwest blockhouse of the fort and includes items handmade at the fort. The Museum Store and Fort Museum will be open as well. There is no admission charge to the fort for this event.
You can find pictures of the 2007 Trade Fair at www.fortboonesboroughlivinghistory.org. Click on "Annual Events" at the top of the page.

Fort Boonesborough is located at 4375 Boonesborough Road, just 5 miles off I-75 at Exit 95, about 10 miles south of Lexington. With its strategic location in central Kentucky, Fort Boonesborough is within easy driving distance from most of the commonwealth. The original fort was built by Daniel Boone and his men in 1775.

For more information, contact Bill Farmer at 859-527-3131 ext. 216 or email ftboone@bellsouth.net.

Cross-posted at BlueGrassRoots.

Road to 270: Kentucky

Fivethirtyeight.com, the go-to-site for Electoral College and campaign analysis this year, turns its attention to Kentucky.

As noted at the outset, Barack Obama's advantage in partisan self-identification is deceptive. Particularly in rural areas and Eastern Kentucky, Obama was wiped off the map. Obama failed to win a single Democratic convention delegate in Kentucky's 5th district, the only district in the entire nation where that happened. One thing Obama does have going for him in Kentucky is the state is on the tougher end of economic times, ranking 10th in unemployment rate. As the economic crisis has helped tilt the race in Obama's favor, Kentucky would seem a place where Obama might close ground, even if it's not enough to win.

The analysis unfortunately beings with some unecessary stereotypes, but includes a fascinating demographic breakdown with stats I haven't seen anywhere else.

Read the whole thing.

Cross-posted at BlueGrassRoots.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Obama Unfiltered

Until recently, TIME Magazine's Joe Klein was one of the worst perpetrators of MSM misinterpretation-for-false-equivalence. He couldn't report actual repug attacks, lies and crimes without exaggerating or just making up some Democratic mistep to provide fake balance.

Now Klein goes journalistically commando, publishing the full, apparently unedited transcript of an interview with Barack Obama.

Obama talks about gut decisions, Rev. Wright and the race speech, McCain "suspending" his campaign, the economic crisis, Iraq and Afghanistan, and how national security, jobs, healthcare, energy and the environment are part of the same problem and require a comprehensive solution.

Full transcript here.

Cross-posted at BlueGrassRoots.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

One-Stop Online Assistance in Kentucky

Repugs nationally and in Kentucky have done a great job over the last eight years of shredding the social safety net woven by FDR's New Deal, LBJ's Great Society and other Democratic innovations.

But there are a few resources still out there for individuals and families finding it difficult to keep home and health intact in the current recession.

And now you can find them all online in one convenient spot.

As the national and global economy continues to remain uncertain and challenging, Governor Steve Beshear today unveiled a new Web site, http://www.assistance.ky.gov. This one-stop-shop provides readily accessible links for struggling Kentuckians to help find critical resources in tough times, such as health insurance and home mortgage information.

"Kentuckians, like all Americans, are facing tough economic times," said Gov. Beshear. "However, I want all Kentuckians to know that state government is on their side. This Web site is yet another step we are taking to protect our citizens and provide resources to help them when they are struggling."

The new Web site will provide information and links on topics covering a wide range of areas, including financial assistance; staying healthy; taking care of Kentucky's kids; staying in your home; job assistance; and money-saving commuting tips.

Gov. Beshear also encourages groups and businesses whose clientele may be served by these programs to link to www.assistance.ky.gov on their Web sites.

Some people will be in more financial trouble than any of these programs can deal with. But for those who may see trouble approaching - losing a job, rising prices, medical expenses, accidents - these agencies and organizations can help.

www.assistance.ky.gov. Spread the word.

Cross-posted at BlueGrassRoots.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Will Mitchie's escape from military service be the nail in his political coffin?

Former Kentucky Attorney General Greg Stumbo, whose investigation helped defeat former Governor Ernie Fletcher, has re-opened the issue of Mitch McConnell's military service.

A prominent Democrat questioned Republican U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell’s military service — specifically his discharge from the Army Reserves — as McConnell launched his latest commercial Tuesday criticizing veterans’ health clinics with ties to his Democratic opponent.

Democratic state Rep. Greg Stumbo, the former Kentucky attorney general, called on McConnell to release his military discharge records.

“Elections should be about informed choices. He’s obviously not proud of his record, Sen. McConnell isn’t, or he would have shown it by now,” Stumbo said. “Something isn’t correct about it that might cause a lot of people, including veterans, to take a second look at him.”

McConnell enlisted in the Army Reserves in July 1967 at the height of the Vietnam War but received a medical discharge after less than six months for an eye condition called optic neuritis, according to limited information that has been made public.


Questions about McConnell’s military service have popped up toward the end of each of McConnell’s last three elections. After his 2002 opponent, Lois Combs Weinberg, claimed McConnell may have received “preferential treatment,” the Herald-Leader reported that McConnell’s eye problems led to a hospitalization before McConnell enlisted in the Army Reserves and that the condition has flared up occasionally since then.

“If Lunsford wants to question the senator’s honorable discharge, the Army’s decision and the Herald-Leader’s 2002 reporting on this subject, he should do it himself and not hide behind surrogates,” said Don Stewart, a spokesman for McConnell in Washington.

Lunsford declined to touch the subject. “This campaign has been one about change — about the bigger issues,” he said.

But Stumbo — Lunsford’s running mate in the 2007 governor’s race — said Lunsford, should use it as a campaign issue. Lunsford served five years in the U.S. Army Reserves in the 1970s. McConnell has brought the scrutiny upon himself, Stumbo said.

“I’ll tell you how sorry he is, he’s sending young men and women to die in Iraq and Afghanistan and he will not share with the people of Kentucky how he got out of military service — how in the height of the Vietnam War he was able to dodge military service,” Stumbo said Tuesday before an event for Lunsford in Paris.

Stumbo said he doubted that McConnell was discharged for medical reasons.

“I think he either had a personal issue that they threw him out of the armed services and military or he had a powerful member of his party or somebody get him out,” he said. “I don’t know why you get released from the Army at the height of a war unless you know somebody or unless you did something real bad.”

The only record of McConnell’s military discharge that has been publicly released was an Aug. 10, 1967, letter from then-U.S. Sen. John Cooper, a Somerset Republican for whom McConnell interned in 1964. Cooper’s letter to the commanding general at Fort Knox said McConnell was being medically discharged for optic neuritis, according to the Sept. 11, 2002, Herald-Leader.

McConnell’s former chief of staff Hunter Bates told the Herald-Leader six years ago that Cooper wrote that letter to “expedite a discharge” at the request of McConnell’s father after the Army informed McConnell his condition was grounds for leaving the military.

Read the whole thing.

Cross-posted at BlueGrassRoots.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

KY Officials Fall for "Voter Fraud" Myth

As republicans across the country ramp up state efforts to use massive disinformation and intimidation to prevent newly-registered Democrats from actually exercising their right to vote, Kentucky's Attorney General and Secretary of State are off on a snipe hunt.

The Commonwealth’s chief law-enforcement official and chief elections officer came together today in the State Capitol to announce that they will once again be working together with agencies across Kentucky as part of a task force to prevent and investigate allegations of voter fraud during the November 4, 2008 general election. Attorney General Jack Conway and Secretary of State Trey Grayson discussed the importance of this year’s elections and how each office is working to protect the election from potential fraud.

Um, boys? BOYS! Listen up: "Voter Fraud" is a myth. It doesn't exist. It's a fairy tale of democratic shenanigans repeated by republicans to distract everyone from the very real and widespread election fraud perpetrated by republicans.

Or as Dahlia Lithwick in Slate puts it:

Believing in vote fraud may be dangerous to a democracy's health.

There is no such thing as vote fraud. The think tank created to peddle the epidemic has evaporated. A handful of cases have been prosecuted. Then why is Sarah Palin shooting off e-mails contending that "we can't allow leftist groups like ACORN to steal this election?" Why is former Sen. John Danforth announcing, all statesmanlike, that the whole 2008 election "has been tainted?" Why is Ted Olson, the Republican National Lawyers Association lawyer of the year, claiming that "[ACORN] acknowledged having to get rid of a thousand people or more who were participating in voter fraud efforts." These people know the difference between registration fraud and vote fraud. Why continue to suggest they are the same thing?

Consider the fact that, as the Brennan Center reported recently, "[E]lection officials across the country are routinely striking millions of voters from the rolls through a process that is shrouded in secrecy, prone to error, and vulnerable to manipulation." Consider the recent New York Times review of state records and Social Security records, which concluded that "[t]ens of thousands of eligible voters in at least six swing states have been removed from the rolls or have been blocked from registering in ways that appear to violate federal law." Consider the case, now on appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, in which 200,000 new Ohio voters stand to be bounced off the rolls because, through no fault of their own, their names don't match error-riddled state databases. Consider the indictment this week of former Republican official James Tobin for his 2002 role in jamming Democratic get-out-the-vote calls. Consider the much-ballyhooed Republican challenge to the eligibility of 6,000 Native American and student voters in Montana that backfired first in court, then with the abrupt resignation this week of the official who spearheaded the effort.

SNIP

Consider the fliers and robo-calls designed to spread false information and threats to Hispanic and African-American voters. (According to the Philadelphia Daily News, fliers in minority neighborhoods warned residents that undercover cops would be lurking around the polls on Election Day, arresting anyone with "outstanding arrest warrants or who have unpaid traffic tickets.")

There is wholly implausible vote stealing, and then there is the vote stealing that actually happens. You want to get all crazy-paranoid? I'd worry more about the people who want to rough up their fellow citizen at the polls than people who want to risk jail time for voting twice.

But it appears repug Grayson has thoroughly bamboozled Democrat Conway into ignoring repug intimidation of poor and minority Democrats trying to vote legitimately in order to beat the bushes for wholly imaginary fake voters.

Even though the same attempt to track down "voter fraud" during the primary in May and 2004 election turned up a grand total of - wait for it - zero cases.

During the primary, the Office of the Attorney General’s Election Fraud Hotline received 59 calls on election day from 28 counties. There were no complaints of vote-buying. The majority of calls dealt with informational questions or complaints about electioneering within 300 feet of polls and exit-polling violations.

The last Presidential election in 2004 resulted in 52 pre-election complaints, 123 Election Day complaints and 26 post-election complaints. Seventeen of those complaints were referred for review or investigation. There were no charges filed.

Keep your eyes peeled and ears sharp at the polls this year. Be ready to report immediately any suspicious activity, like anyone trying to prevent someone from voting by questioning their identification, or their address, or their citizenship, or anything else.

But don't bother to call the Fraud Twins Trey and Jack. Call the Kentucky Democratic Party's Election Protection Hotline staffed by attorneys an volunteers. You can call 888-4KYVOTE to learn more about your rights, report problems or get answers on Election day. If you don't get the help you need immediately, call your local television station or Page One Kentucky.

Cross-posted at BlueGrassRoots.

Kentucky Unemployment 7.1% - Highest in 17 years

Official unemployment in Kentucky is the highest it's been in almost 17 years.

Kentucky’s seasonally adjusted preliminary unemployment rate for September 2008 rose to 7.1 percent from August 2008’s revised 6.8 percent, according to the Office of Employment and Training (OET), an agency of the Kentucky Education and Workforce Development Cabinet. September 2007’s jobless rate was 5.4 percent.

The U.S. seasonally adjusted jobless rate stayed at 6.1 percent from August 2008 to September 2008, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

Did you get that? Unemployment in Kentucky increased 0.3 percentage points - about four percent - in just one month. Since September 2007, it's up 1.7 percentage points - almost one-third higher in a year. It's a full percentage point higher - 15 percent worse - than the national rate.

Unemployment in Kentucky has not been this high since the 7.4 percent rate in January 1992 - 16 years and eight months ago.

“Nearly every sector of Kentucky's economy experienced job losses in September 2008, showcasing widespread economic weakness. Employment declines reflect government cutbacks in the face of austere budgets, a prolonged manufacturing slump reverberating throughout the economy, and retailers and accommodations and food services enterprises suffering as financially strained consumers clamp down on discretionary spending,” said Justine Detzel, OET (Office of Employment and Training) chief labor market analyst.

SNIP

The monthly estimate of the number of unemployed Kentuckians for September 2008 was 145,843, up 6,790 from the 139,053 Kentuckians unemployed in August 2008, and up 35,400 from the 110,443 unemployed in September 2007.

There's an old unfunny joke about the difference between a recession and a depression: When your neighbor loses his job, it's a recession. When you lose your job, it's a depression.

And if 1992 sounds familiar for more than the crummy economy, it's also the year Kentucky reversed its republican trend and voted for the Democratic presidential candidate.

For details on employment in various sectors, read the whole release.

Cross-posted at BlueGrassRoots.

Monday, October 20, 2008

The True Face of the McCain/Palin Campaign


Many years ago, I struck up a conversation at a conference with a citizen of a third-world nation struggling to establish democracy. He was shocked and disbelieving at the failure of more than half of eligible voters in the U.S. to actually exercise their right to vote. I'll never forget what he said:

"If we had the right to vote in our country, not a single person would fail to do so."

Right here in the United States of America, McCain/Palin supporters are trying to intimidate eligible voters - their own neighbors - from exercising their right to vote.

The Washington Times, a self-described conservative paper, reported today on a polling site in North Carolina where "a group of loud and angry protesters who shouted and mocked the voters as they walked in." The voters were mostly black, and the "angry protesters" were "nearly all were white."

Stop and think about that for a second. In the United States, in the 21st century, we have Republican activists protesting a presidential election. McCain/Palin supporters have taken to heckling, mocking, and shouting at people who want to participate in the democratic process. Literally.

And when they're not trying to intimate voters at polling places, Republican activists are slashing voters' tires, kicking journalists to the ground, attacking middle-aged women going door to door on Obama's behalf, and vandalizing ACORN offices. And, of course, the unabashed racism is common.

The mind reels.

And the stomach churns.



Cross-posted at BlueGrassRoots..

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Now the Real Fight Begins

Josh Marshall explains why even double-digit leads may not be enough to save Obama's election from McCain's last-ditch strategy, which boils down to this:

Message: "He's a terrorist ni**er!" Tactic: "Newly-registered Democrat? Sorry, no voting for you!"

If you're thinking to yourself that there's little more than two weeks before election day and Obama has a solid lead in the polls, don't be so sure.

Yes, it looks good for the Democrats. But you need to play close attention to the McCain campaign's final weeks' strategy under and just above the radar. McCain's final strategy relies on two pillars. The first is aggressively playing to voters' fears of electing a black president. Make no mistake: not just his campaign in a general sense, but McCain himself and his top handful of advisers, are banking on the residual racism in a changing America to get them over the finish line. The second is an aggressive use of innuendo to convince casual voters that Obama is in league with Islamic terrorists bent on killing Americans.

SNIP

Many people say, well ... all this stuff just hasn't worked. But the truth is that the really corrupt and vicious part of McCain's effort only comes now because it's only in the last couple weeks that you can pull stuff that the press won't get to call you on before election day -- after which it doesn't matter. Will it take Obama down? So far McCain's gutter campaign has hurt him more than helped. But there's no reason to be sure it will continue that way. And many Obama supporters, sure the election is basically wrapped up, appear ready to slack in the stretch and let McCain smear and cheat his way into office.

Read the whole thing.

Then get out the checkbook and give 'till it hurts. Lace up those walking shoes and start knocking on doors. Fight like we're ten points down and $100 million behind, because given what the wingnut freakazoid racist fear-mongers have in store for the next 16 days, we are.

Cross-posted at BlueGrassRoots.

KDP Defrauding Dem Challenger Heather Ryan

Oh, I do love piling on, so I'm adding my voice to David Shankula and R Democrat at BlueGrassRoots and Barefoot and Progressive.

The Kentucky Democratic Party is crowning a year of non-stop fuckups with a fundraising email that falsely implies it supports a candidate to whom it has consistently refused to give a thin dime or short minute of support.

(Apologies to Shankula for quoting his entire post, but it's so tightly and powerfully written I can't edit it.)

Several months ago, Ms. Ryan entered the race against Ed (Whitfield) in a district the state's Democratic Party had entirely conceded. Since then, the Democratic Party of this state has had very, very little use for Ms. Ryan and her campaign. Until now.

Earlier this week, Exxon Eddie Whitfield refused to debate Ms. Ryan. His cowardice garnered statewide coverage and a good dose of national attention.

After having done nothing for Heather Ryan's campaign for months, (KDP Chair Jennifer) Moore and the KDP now wish to capitalize on her success as a candidate.

Jennifer Moore's e-mail is below. It recounts Ms. Ryan's triumph, Mr. Whitfield's cowardice and the sad state of our state's news media. She writes all of this simply to request money. For the state party.

Money the state party has shown no desire to share with their own Congressional candidate.

I call on Jennifer Moore to pledge $10,000 of the KDP's money to the Heather Ryan campaign immediately.

And I call on Democrats across the state to not give this Party one more cent until Ms. Moore has pledged to do what is right.

It is not right for the party to use and abuse the candidates it has forsaken. This is our party, and until our party starts representing our interests and our candidates, it shouldn't get another penny.

In the meantime, as we wait for Ms. Moore's response, please make a donation to Heather Ryan's campaign.

Lord knows the KDP won't.

Here's the fundraising email from the Chair of the KDP. Read it and weep.

Breaking with their long standing tradition of not allowing candidates who choose not to debate to appear on the air in any manner, Kentucky Educational Television (KET), has decided to make an exception for 1st District Congressman Ed Whitfield.

Whitfield, who has refused to discuss the issues facing voters in the 1st District in any forum that has included Democratic challenger Heather Ryan, will be allowed by KET to present what amounts to an unedited campaign commercial following Ryan's appearance in which she'll take questions from the press.

This is another example of Ed Whitfield's lack of accountability. More importantly, the decision by KET to accept Whitfield's demand has effectively taken away a valuable opportunity for voters to decide; and they have set a precedent that will likely result in elected officials refusing to face the press and their constituents in favor of a recorded message of their choosing.

Please call KET at 859-258-7000 to let them know how you feel about their decision.

Sincerely,
Jennifer A. Moore
Chair, Kentucky Democratic Party

P.S. Help support the long campaign ahead. You can make a one-time contribution or join our new PLEDGE TO WIN program, where you can make an automatic monthly contribution using your credit or debit card.

A commenter at BlueGrassRoots says refusing to donate to the KDP would deny funds to "excellent candidates across the state." Really? Name three. (Silence) Name one. (Crickets.) Precisely. The KDP has reserved what little it actually has to give to candidates for washed-up hacks like convicted felon Carroll Hubbard ($14,000).

Contributing money to the KDP is buying drinks for an alcoholic and then handing him the car keys.

Donate directly to Heather Ryan's campaign here.

Donate directly to another Real Democrat being ignored by the KDP, Michael Kelley, here.

Cross-posted at Watching Those We Chose.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Survey USA: Guthrie Trouncing Boswell in KY-2

One of these decades, the Kentucky Democratic Party is going to learn that
running DINOs against real republicans never, ever works.


But none of us will ever live to see it.

Republican Guthrie Positioned to Hold Open House Seat in KY2 for GOP: In an election for US House of Representatives in Kentucky's 2nd Congressional District today, 10/17/08, to fill the open seat of retiring incumbent Republican Ron Lewis, Republican Brett Guthrie defeats Democrat David Boswell 51% to 42%, according to this exclusive WHAS-TV new poll conducted by SurveyUSA.

Compared to an identical SurveyUSA poll released three weeks ago, Guthrie is up 2 points; Boswell is down 1. This 3-point net gain for Guthrie comes at a time when many Republicans across the country were losing ground and Democrats were benefiting from Obama coattails. No such evidence in KY2.

Three times as many Democrats cross-over to vote for the Republican as Republicans who cross-over to vote for the Democrat. Guthrie leads by 10 points among men, by 7 among women. Among voters age 18 to 49, Guthrie leads by 13; among voters 50+, Guthrie leads by 4.

Boswell's a racist, misogynistic punk, but the real blame here for losing an open seat in a landslide Democratic year belongs to the Kentucky Democratic Party and the national Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, for choosing to support a non-Democrat like Boswell over Real Democrats like Heather Ryan, KY-1 and Michael Kelley, KY-4.

Support the candidates who share your values. And do not send a thin dime or volunteer a short minute for anti-Democratic frauds like the KDP and the DCCC.

Cross-posted at BlueGrassRoots.

One of Us: Obama's 4-G Grandparents Are Kentuckians

In a speech in Virginia today, Democratic Senator Jim Webb, stumping for Barack Obama, told the audience they should accept Obama as one of them, because his mother comes from Kansas "by way of Kentucky."

What?! Commenter "slb" at Talking Points Memo explains:

No, it's not made up: One of Obama's 4g-grandfathers was George Washington Overall, who was born in Bullitt County, KY in 1820, and who married Louisiana Duvall of Nelson County, KY.

George Washington Overall and Louisiana Duvall are discussed in this message from the DUVALL listserv archives. The poster was apparently unaware that Barack Obama was a descendant of that couple. Incidently, the Susan Overall Clark and C[hristopher] C[olumbus] Clark mentioned in that message were Obama's 3g-grandparents. Notice that C.C. Clark was enumerated in Kansas in the 1930 census.

It is through these ancestors that Obama is linked to Dick Cheney; the Duvall line goes back to Mareen Duval who died in Maryland in 1694.

George Washington Overall was not Obama's only Kentucky ancestor; one of his 6g-grandfathers was Philip Ament (1755-1836) of Bourbon County, KY. There may be others, too, but those were two that I spotted quickly in a set of charts prepared by genealogist Gary Boyd Roberts illustrating Obama's connections to prominent Americans.

Since August, Obama has gone from 30 points down in Kentucky to just 10 points down. Now that we know he's a native son, he HAS to come visit. And once he visits, we HAVE to make sure he gets Kentucky's eight Electoral Votes.

Cross-posted at BlueGrassRoots.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Time to Have the Talk

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but with any luck, this MoveOn version of those stupid anti-drug ads will prove far more effective than the originals.



We've all seen the signs in those we love--the abandonment of hope, the furtive worry about skin tone, the sleeplessness and sudden loss of teeth. But it took MoveOn to step forward and attempt an intervention.

SNIP

In pitting the wisdom of the young against the stubbornitude of the old, MoveOn was surely inspired by Sarah Silverman's hilarious Web vid "The Great Schlep," which instructs young Jews to guilt-trip their grandparents in Florida to vote for Barack. The Obama campaign itself is pushing a nudge-your-family effort --not comedic, of course, but sprinkled with some of the do-and-don't tips that Barack seems to swear by ("Don't feel defensive. Stay calm, cool and collected").

SNIP

The McCain/Palin campaign has indeed become a kind of hillbilly heroin for the masses, or at least for their base. Right now, the GOP ticket has just two things going for it: that a fragile majority of people still believe McCain is better than Obama on national security and terrorism (if on little else), and they're white. Fear and racism are addictive, and anybody who's taking them together should never drive heavy machinery like the American electoral process.

Read the whole thing.

Cross-posted at BlueGrassRoots.

Southern Living: Kentucky's Cumberland Gap Top Fall Destination


For spectacular foliage, breath-taking views and pioneer heritage, you can't beat the mountains of Eastern Kentucky. And now the South's premier magazine agrees.

The Cumberland Gap area of southeastern Kentucky was named the top fall destination in the southern U.S. by Southern Living magazine in its October 2008 edition.

In addition to brilliant foliage, Cumberland Gap -- one of Kentucky’s highest points -- shelters buildings from a long-gone settlement, along with an unparalleled view, the magazine reports in the featured story about the top three Southern destinations for fall travelers.

For more information, contact Cumberland Gap National Historical Park: U.S. 25E, P.O. Box 1848, Middlesboro, KY 40965; www.nps.gov/cuga or (606) 248-2817.

Southern Living also tapped Greenville, S.C. and Broken Bow, Ok. as the number two and number three fall destinations. The selection of three great autumn journeys is an annual feature in the October issue of Southern Living.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

McCain Tax Lie Detector - Fast and Easy!

The Obama-Biden campaign has a widget up on their site that lets you find out how much of a tax cut you'll get in an Obama-Biden administration.

Just fill in your income, choose your filing status, check which deductions you have and voila! Takes about 30 seconds.

So when McCain starts lying about Obama's tax plan tonight, you've got the truth right at your fingertips.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Repugs Think If They Ignore Their Opponents, the Voters Will Too

I swear the rapidly approaching Obama tsunami is causing serious mental illness among republican candidates even in supposedly "red" states like Kentucky.

How else to explain the toddler-level behavior of Mitch McConnell, Ed Whitfield and Geoff Davis in refusing to play nice with Kentucky Educational Television and debate their Democratic challengers?

Especially since their temper tantrums handed the challengers the stage all to themselves - an hour of free television time to field questions from local journalists.

The first to make the most of the opportunity was Dr. Michael Kelley, seeking to take the Fourth District Congressional seat from Geoff Davis.

Watch the video of the debate (in three parts) here.

Kelley's an obvious political neophyte, unpolished but determined to make his points and not afraid to call the republicans out for the lying nation-destroyers they are.

(Note to Kelley's campaign staff: stop trying to teach Kelley to talk like a politician; sit back and bask in the warmth of genuine, passionate integrity.)

You can get more of Kelley's outspokenness in the answers he gave to the Courier-Journal for its Voter Guide. (Do I need to add that Davis never responded to the Courier's questions?)

Some choice excerpts:

Republican mismanagement has severely damaged our economy. I will support Barack Obama's efforts to repair the damage caused by the Republicans and get America's economy back on track.

SNIP

We need to get our army out of Iraq starting now. By ending our occupation of Iraq we will start to rebuild our tarnished image in the region. We then need to launch a full-blown national effort toward breaking our addiction to oil - an Apollo Project for energy independence. Once we no longer are addicted to Middle East oil we will no longer need to prop up repressive oil-rich dictatorships. Much of the hatred of America stems from our support of these repressive governments.

Let's remember, Saddam Hussein was once protected by the U.S.A. - and he had been a brutal dictator the entire time we were protecting him. Once we no longer need middle eastern oil, we will no longer be held hostage by this region of the world.
Iraq will fall apart whether we leave now or a decade from now (or 100 years from now as McCain suggested.) The Shia, Kurds, and Sunni hate each other and always have. We cannot force peace upon them - they have to want peace enough to earn it for themselves

SNIP

I oppose mountaintop removal (coal mining), which is a practice that damages our waterways while despoiling our mountains. I am running because I want my children to inherit a community that is in a condition at least as good as when we inherited it. I don't see how mountaintop removal achieves that goal.
Furthermore, any talk of "clean coal" is currently wishful thinking. ... I believe it is time for our country to focus on moving beyond fossil fuels altogether. Global warming is real. We also suffer under frequent smog alerts. Let's move to clean solar, wind, and biomass.

SNIP

(On gas prices:) There is no short term solution aside from consumer-driven conservation. For the 30 years since our last oil crisis, our leaders have spent their time doing exactly nothing to push America toward a sustainable energy policy. Thanks to this failure of leadership we find ourselves with crushing energy prices. It's time to do what we should have been doing all along - and what Carter tried to get us to do - use less fossil fuels.

SNIP

(On universal health insurance:) I am a practicing family doctor and I know healthcare can be affordable for all Americans. Other developed countries spend half what we do on healthcare with quality at least as good as ours.

(SNIP)

(On the financial bailout:) If I was going to ask the taxpayers to hand over 700 Billion (on top of our approximately 10 Trillion debt,) then I would prefer that we invested in infrastructure (such as fixing our crumbling bridges, sewers, power transmission and rail networks, etc.,) conservation, renewable energy, research, and possibly education. Those kind of investments increase the wealth-building capacity of our nation, help us live more safely and sustainably, and result in the creation of jobs.
Bailing out irresponsible lenders and borrowers is not my idea of an investment, especially when the bailout contained no regulations to prevent this from happening again.
President Bush's attempts to force the bailout through with fear-mongering and panic flew in the face of the traditions of responsible governance. This rush-job smells a lot like the rush-job that landed us in the mess in Iraq.

Read the whole thing, and be sure to watch watch the video of the debate.

Cross-posted at BlueGrassRoots.

Republican Marriage Envy

Remember how during the Clinton impeachment, we all suspected that what was really motivating the repugs' foam-at-the-mouth derangement was Fellatio Envy?

Now a piece at Huffington Post on the Obama's marriage makes we wonder if one thing driving John McCain's obvious anger at the Democratic nominee is envy of the strong, healthy relationship McCain himself has never had.

One of the greatest benefits of an Obama presidency is hidden in plain sight: the relationship between Michelle and Barack. They provide a great role model of a healthy relationship, at a time when such models are sorely needed.

SNIP

Michelle and Barack do something we've never seen before in a presidential couple: they actually look directly at each other when they're speaking to each other. They also laugh at each other's humor, and they allow their sexual attraction for each other to be visible. Contrast that with other presidential marriages, in which the sexual attraction to each other was not visible but their sexual attraction to others became highly visible ... Michelle and Barack talk openly about their feelings for each other. They're real.

SNIP

Over the last fifty years there's been a parade of not-so-great relationship models in the White House. They range from idol-worship (Nancy's perpetually-adoring glaze, oops we mean gaze, at Ronnie) to the sternly maternal faƧade of the first Mrs. Bush ... We've witnessed White House marriages strained to the breaking point by secrets.

SNIP

Have you ever seen the current occupant of the White House speak, much less listen, to his wife in public? For example, do we ever get to hear from the real Laura Bush, the one who disagrees completely with the far-right views of her husband on such matters as women's reproductive rights? No, because she's been muzzled, like most of her predecessors, and sealed off behind the glazed smile of the Perfect Presidential Wife.

It's high time we got to see an honest, loving, real relationship in the White House. If you're like us, you probably don't want to spend the next four years hearing how much the perfectly-coiffed Mrs. McCain has spent on her outfit, which of their nine houses they're weekending at or which of their thirteen cars they're wheeling around in.

SNIP

The question is: are we as a nation ready to end our national addiction to duplicity, phony adoration and Stepford wifedom in the White House? If not, we're going to get what we deserve.

The authors never say so explicitly, but isn't it obvious that the McCain marriage is about as far from role-model healthy as possible? Hard to imagine Barack offering up Michelle as a participant in a stripper contest the way John did Cindy, but even harder to imagine ever seeing a glimmer of genuine warmth between the McCains.

Read the whole thing.

Cross-posted at BlueGrassRoots.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Michael Kelley: Kentucky's Best-Kept Progressive Secret

Wishing you lived in Western Kentucky so you could vote for Real Democrat Heather Ryan? If you live in Kentucky's Fourth District, which runs through Northern Kentucky east from Louisville to Ashland, you're in luck!

You've got a Democratic Congressional Candidate you can be proud of.

On September 18, I sent an emailed question to the four people in Kentucky who are running as challengers on the Democratic ticket for a seat in Congress: Bruce Lunsford (Senate), Michael Kelley (KY-4), David Boswell (KY-2), and Heather Ryan (KY-1).

I asked each of them the same question:

I would be very interested in your response to the following excerpt from Senate testimony this week, particularly in how you, as a new Member of Congress, would work to restore Congress' Article One power and responsibility.

(At that link, long-time former GOP Congressman Mickey Edwards of Oklahoma testified before a Senate hearing on the rule of law and excoriated Congress for abdicating its Constitutional responsibilities of oversight and balance of power.)

Only Dr. Michael Kelley, Democratic nominee for the Fourth Congressional District seat of incumbent Geoff Davis, bothered to send an answer. In thanks and due respect, I am posting his response in full:

We have seen a failure of duty in all the branches of our government. We have seen the executive branch veer off wildly into uncharted territory. Territory in which the Constitution, human rights, civil rights, and the Geneva Convention are no longer respected.

The Judicial branch went off the rails right from the start when they selected the president in 2000 in a decision that was both bold and indefensible.

The "fourth branch" of government, the press, has similarly let us down by backing such nonsense as "Saddam masterminded 9-11" and "warrantless wire tapping is somehow needed to fight terror."

When seen in this light, it seems that Congress' failure to up hold their constitutional duty to serve as a check and balance to an administration run amok is only moderately contemptible.

The fear of being accused of "being soft on defense," being a "defeatocrat," "unpatriotic," failing to "support our troops," to name a few, turned congress into a grouping of boot-lickers. As long as the majority of congresspersons care more about their own job security than the nation's long term well-being, this will not be the last failure they will produce.

I am a family doctor who is running in hopes of straightening out some of these messes. I'm not taking PAC money, lobbyist money, or bundler money. I'm not taking one red cent of special interest money. This makes my odds longer, but if elected I'll get in with no strings attached. If elected I will not forget Congress' "power of the Purse," and I'll not ever place my own self interest before the nation's best interest.

That's how a real Democrat talks, y'all. Tomorrow, more on the outspoken Dr. Kelley.

Cross-posted at BlueGrassRoots.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Greedy Rich White People

One of the ugliest yet most enduring tropes in American politics is blaming every problem on the poor, the marginalized, all those who are the victims rather than the perpetrators of socio-economic crimes.

Thus Reagan blamed the budget deficit not on corporate welfare and bloated defense contracts, but on single mothers on welfare.

Republicans blame job losses not on corporations shipping jobs overseas, but on affirmative action giving "undeserving" minorities the college spots and jobs whites needed.

They even blame the economic squeeze hurting small businesses not on the lack of universal health care, but on disabled people using the Americans with Disabilities Act.

So it's no surprise that the repugs and their corporate masters are blaming the financial crisis on poor people and minorities who believed mortgage brokers who assured them sub-prime loans were a good deal. Bonus blame to "big government" in the form of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

But Daniel Gross in Slate exposes the real guilty parties: Greedy Rich White People.

We've now entered a new stage of the financial crisis: the ritual assigning of blame.... On the Republican side of Congress, in the right-wing financial media (which is to say the financial media), and in certain parts of the op-ed-o-sphere, there's a consensus emerging that the whole mess should be laid at the feet of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the failed mortgage giants, and the Community Reinvestment Act, a law passed during the Carter administration. The CRA, which was amended in the 1990s and this decade, requires banks—which had a long, distinguished history of not making loans to minorities—to make more efforts to do so.

SNIP

Let me get this straight. Investment banks and insurance companies run by centimillionaires blow up, and it's the fault of Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, and poor minorities?

SNIP

The Community Reinvestment Act applies to depository banks. But many of the institutions that spurred the massive growth of the subprime market weren't regulated banks.... the CRA didn't force mortgage companies to offer loans for no money down, or to throw underwriting standards out the window, or to encourage mortgage brokers to aggressively seek out new markets. Nor did the CRA force the credit-rating agencies to slap high-grade ratings on packages of subprime debt.... many of the biggest flameouts in real estate have had nothing to do with subprime lending....

(L)ending money to poor people and minorities isn't inherently risky. There's plenty of evidence that in fact it's not that risky at all. That's what we've learned from several decades of microlending programs, at home and abroad, with their very high repayment rates. And as the New York Times recently reported, Nehemiah Homes, a long-running initiative to build homes and sell them to the working poor in subprime areas of New York's outer boroughs, has a repayment rate that lenders in Greenwich, Conn., would envy. In 27 years, there have been fewer than 10 defaults on the project's 3,900 homes. That's a rate of 0.25 percent.

On the other hand, lending money recklessly to obscenely rich white guys, such as Richard Fuld of Lehman Bros. or Jimmy Cayne of Bear Stearns, can be really risky. In fact, it's even more risky, since they have a lot more borrowing capacity.

SNIP

Look: There was a culture of stupid, reckless lending, of which Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and the subprime lenders were an integral part. But the dumb-lending virus originated in Greenwich, Conn., midtown Manhattan, and Southern California, not Eastchester, Brownsville, and Washington, D.C. Investment banks created a demand for subprime loans because they saw it as a new asset class that they could dominate. They made subprime loans for the same reason they made other loans: They could get paid for making the loans, for turning them into securities, and for trading them—frequently using borrowed capital.

SNIP

Lending money to poor people doesn't make you poor. Lending money poorly to rich people does.

Read the whole thing.

Cross-posted at BlueGrassroots.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

What We Get To Say Now

For 28 years we've bitten our tongues. Since the 1980 election of Ronald Reagan plunged the nation into the Dark Ages when only rich, white, church-connected men had rights to life, liberty and happiness, we've held our peace, waiting for the day when speaking our minds would not earn us a prison sentence.

But our day is about to arrive. Progressives, liberals, Dirty Fucking Hippies - rejoice!

There's a new scent in the air. If you're a Democrat, you haven't felt it tickle your nostrils since October 1996, when everybody knew that Bill Clinton was about to beat Bob Dole. The perfume hasn't been this strong since October 1964, the eve of Lyndon Johnson's landside presidential victory. It's the sweet smell of success that you can take for granted.

SNIP

During the past 25 years, there have been countless sentiments that respectable Democratic politicians were never, ever supposed to say out loud for fear of angering the all-powerful Republicans. It still isn't wise for Obama to say them, but maybe the New Complacency will loosen other tongues within the political mainstream. Even if it doesn't, it's fun to think about what those utterances might be. What follows is a list, compiled with help from my fellow Slate staffers. The views expressed don't necessarily reflect those of the contributors—one of whom is a conservative Republican—or even me. But they sure are a refreshing change from what we've been hearing since 1981. With a little luck, they may soon be orthodoxies.
Read the whole thing for the full list, but here are my personal favorites:

  • I think Karl Marx had some valuable insights into capitalist economies!
  • I think abortion should be safe and legal. Rare is fine, too, but the way to achieve that is contraception, baby!
  • The Second Amendment does too allow government to ban handguns!
  • Promiscuity between consenting adults is good exercise!
  • Health care is a service, not a business!
  • Pot is no more dangerous than vodka. Legalize it!
  • I don't support the troops. I support some troops, depending on whether or not they've committed war crimes!
  • No more wars without United Nations or at least NATO support!
  • Let's teach evolution in Sunday school!
  • The military-industrial complex is a greater menace than most foreign nations!
  • If Israel isn't out of the occupied territories in six months, we'll cut off all aid.
  • Higher gas prices are good because they make everybody bike and take public transit like they should!
  • Judges should legislate from the bench if they want to. Conservatives do it, so why not liberals?
  • I do not accept Jesus Christ as my personal savior! I don't even believe in God!
  • What's so great about the Judeo-Christian tradition?
  • Big-city values are better than small-town values!
  • We're undertaxed. Look at Europe!
  • Terrorism isn't that big a threat to America!
  • I'm not a "progressive," for Pete's sake. I'm a liberal!
  • I'm not a "liberal," for Pete's sake. I'm a leftist!
  • I'm not a "leftist," for Pete's sake. I'm a democratic socialist!
  • I'm not a democratic socialist, for Pete's sake. I'm a Communist! Just kidding!
  • Let's bring back the era of big government.
  • It's not enough that the top 5 percent pays 55 percent of our taxes. Why not 75 percent? Believe me, they can afford it!
  • Prostitution is a victimless crime! Don't outlaw it; regulate it, so we can arrest physically abusive pimps, limit the spread of sexually transmitted diseases, and halt sexual trafficking in minors!
  • Many welfare moms kicked off the rolls by the 1986 welfare-reform bill are worse off in their crappy jobs!
  • Ronald Reagan was a crummy president!
  • Broad availability of gay marriage: good. Broad availability of gay divorce: better!
  • You want to know why George W. Bush was a lousy president? Because he's stupid!
  • Pornography is good for your marriage because it teaches you new sexual techniques!
  • The problem with public schools is private schools!
Read the full list, then add your own.

Cross-posted at BlueGrassRoots.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Scorched Earth Tactics

Let's say you're competing with a co-worker for promotion to director. You've been there longer, have more experience. You had some big achievements early on, but lately you've been treading water, coasting on your reputation.

Your competing co-worker is younger and less experienced, but she's sharp and full of ideas, and has brought in new business while saving the company money. The other people who work there respect you, but they really like her.

The big boss hasn't announced the promotion yet, but you can read the writing on the wall: you're losing to the upstart new girl.

You could keep competing, sharpening your arguments for yourself, maybe come up with some new ideas of your own, but you know it's no use.

You start spreading rumors about the woman who's about to become the new director. She never talks about her personal life - what's she hiding? Remember the money that disappeared last year? Wasn't she friends with the accountant who got fired for it? She's always pretending to "help" other people, but she's really stealing their work. If she were director, she'd destroy this place. Headquarters would shut us down and fire everybody. Do we really want to take that risk?

You know it won't work - she's getting the promotion. But now that you've got everybody suspicious and worried and angry, there's no way she'll ever be a success. She's going to fail. What you've done might destroy the company, too, but what do you care? The company rejected you for promotion - fuck it.

Or maybe the atmosphere will get so poisonous from your rumor-mongering that the big boss decides that promoting anyone would cause so much dissent that it would hurt the company, and just cancels it.

Ridiculous? Look around; it's happening right in front of your eyes.

Cross-posted at BlueGrassRoots.

DCCC Polling for Boswell?

Somebody from "Washington" is conducting polling in the Second District for David Boswell.

They were calling last night, and started out with the usual questions: voter registration, intention to vote, who do you support in presidential and senate races.

Then they got down to their real problem: David Boswell.

After the respondent reluctantly admits that, forced to choose between Boswell and Brett Guthrie, Boswell is the least horrible choice, this:

"I'm going to read you a series of positive statements about David Boswell, and want you to tell me whether you think each one is a strong, moderate or weak reason to vote for Boswell."

This is the problem with polls: no essay answers. If you told me that David Boswell supported having George W. Bush and Dick Cheney flayed alive and then slowly roasted over an open fire, I'd still think Boswell is a racist, mysogynistic DINO who doesn't belong in the state senate, much less Congress.

Well, at least it was a chance to provide proof that yes, Virginia, there are Obama-supporting Proud Liberals in KY-2 and we're not afraid to say so.

And Rahm? If this was, as I suspect, a DCCC poll, let me save you a lot of money and grief and strongly advise you dump Boswell now.

You want a real Democratic asset? You want family values? You want to turn a red district blue? Invest in Navy Veteran, mother-to-be and Mitch nemesis Heather Ryan, KY-1.

Do it now.

Cross-posted at BlueGrassRoots.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

The New York Times Won't Be Satisfied Until Obama Loses

I've finally figured out why McShame and Bible Spice keep attacking the New York Times as pro-Obama:

They're trying desperately to keep everyone from figuring out that the Times is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Republican Party.

Some of us have suspected it for a while - Judith Miller, David Brooks and Bill Kristol being primary evidence - but today's The Caucus piece comparing Obama's temperament to Bill Clinton's is overwhelming proof they're in the tank for repugs.

It starts out deceptively complimentary.

But Senator Barack Obama is a very different kind of candidate, judging by his performance at his own town-hall-style debate on Tuesday night and on the campaign trail. There are no volcanic explosions with Mr. Obama, rarely any finger-waving or lip-biting, and far less of the undisciplined campaigning that Mr. Clinton perfected.

SNIP

Mr. Obama’s response has been to keep firm control of his public image: That of a very cool customer, someone who is deliberative and not easily distracted, who is willing to risk appearing a bit remote if it means that at the same time he appears unruffled by pressure and crisis.

Obama advisers say that, just as Mr. Clinton’s temperament worked for him against the patrician Mr. Bush and the cranky Mr. Perot, Mr. Obama’s steadiness is proving effective in this race against Mr. McCain. These advisers note, too, that Mr. Clinton only won a plurality of the general election vote in the three-way contest; a majority of the nation never voted for him. The advisers say they believe that Mr. Obama’s temperament is more broadly appealing than Mr. Clinton’s was, and that it will help him win over larger swaths of the electorate.

But the orders from Republican Party Headquarters are clear: No praise of Obama allowed unless followed by a patronizing, cancelling "But ..."

And yet: At a time of real financial turmoil for so many Americans, is there really not much desire for a feel-your-pain politician? At the town hall debate Tuesday night, Mr. Obama largely stuck to facts, figures, and programmatic detail as he talked about the economy and domestic issues. He didn’t take advantage of the town hall format to show a bit of leg, humanity-wise. It was enough to make anxious voters feel a little lonely, whereas Mr. Clinton would have offered a psychic hug.

Are you fucking kidding me? I've lost my job, the sheriff is tossing my belongings out in the yard, my spouse is running up six-figure bills for cancer treatment our insurer won't cover, and the NY Times thinks what I need most is a HUG?!

It gets worse.

“Obama did not vary his tone of voice at all — it’s one of his main problems in connecting,” said Ruth Sherman, a political communications consultant. “It is a beautiful voice, with lots of highs and lows of pitch, but the general tone is always the same. There is much, much more he could do, just with his voice, to increase his impact.”

Yeah, I've maxed out my contributions to Obama, I spend every spare minute knocking on doors for him, but now that I read in the New York Times that his voice isn't quite right, I just can't vote for him.

Barack Obama is the most brilliant, talented Democratic politician since JFK, and possibly since FDR. He's run a flawless campaign, something many of us thought we'd never see from a Democratic candidate. He's about to win an election that will change the nation and the world for decades to come.

And the New York Times can't fucking stand it.

Read the whole thing, if you have the stomach for it.

Cross-posted at BlueGrassRoots.

Turn the Bailout Shit into Campaign Reform Salad

Could the blatant greed-a-thon of the Wall Street "bailout" finally spur the switch to fully public campaign financing?

Gregg Easterbrook reveals how giveaways to special interest groups force taxpayers to fund those interests' campaign donations to politicians. So we already have indirect public financing of campaigns, only at far, far greater cost than if we just directly funded campaigns.

Why do members of the national legislature give away your money as fast as it can be borrowed? Because they want campaign donations. Polls show Americans don't like the idea of public funding for House and Senate elections, because it seems like a giveaway. But the public already funds congressional elections, just in an incredibly overpriced, inefficient way.

Members of the House and Senate give away billions of dollars in subsidies and tax breaks to special-interest groups, in order to get back thousands of dollars in campaign donations. The $150 billion or so in sweetheart handouts in the bailout legislation will probably result in several million additional dollars given to House and Senate members as campaign donations. It would be far, far cheaper for taxpayers just to fund congressional campaigns!

Suppose the public funded each House race at $1 million (435 races every second year) split between the parties, and each Senate race at $5 million split (roughly 34 races every second year), then banned campaign contributions. (Skip whether the Supreme Court would allow the latter, this is a thought experiment.) The cost would be about $600 million every second year, when there are national elections. That's peanuts compared to the amounts House and Senate incumbents give away to PAC-backed lobbies in order to inspire campaign donations. Federal financing of House and Senate races would save the public tens, if not hundreds, of billions of dollars.

Read the whole thing.

Cross-posted at BlueGrassRoots.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Behind the Debate

In case McCain's faux-calm debate performance fooled you into thinking he's running an issues campaign, here's Keith Olbermann from Monday night to remind you what McShame/Failin' are really all about.



Cross-posted at Watching Those We Chose.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Now THIS would be a Debate

The Rude Pundit on what Obama should say to McCain tonight.

X-rated, but here's a censored taste:

"I faced down Bill and Hillary Clinton, Johnny Mac. They pulled all that shit on me. They raped and beat me like new prison meat. Do you honestly think that your gimpy ass and that dimwitted attack c**t with you are gonna lay a hand on me?

Read the whole thing.

Number 74


Sergeant William P. Rudd, 27, of Madisonville, Kentucky, died Sunday from wounds he received from small arms fire while on combat patrol in Mosul, Iraq.

Rudd was a native of rural Hopkins County in Western Kentucky. Hopkins County is where Governor Steve Beshear was born and raised.

Rudd was an Army Ranger, a member of the 75th Ranger Regiment based at Fort Benning, Georgia.

His father said Rudd, who joined the Army in October 2003, loved what he did. That's what brings his family peace.

"When someone loves something so much and something bad happens, we're at peace with it," said William E. Rudd, who still lives in Madisonville. "Through God's strength, we're able to celebrate his life."

Fighters attacked as Rudd was conducting a raid on associates of senior al-Qaida leaders. It was his eighth deployment -- his sixth in Iraq with two previous ones in Afghanistan. He was assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, Fort Benning.

A 1999 graduate of Madisonville North Hopkins High School, the future Ranger worked in a factory for a few years. His father said the job wasn't going anywhere.

"During that time, he talked about the military a few times," his father said. "We encouraged him. He said, 'I'm going to do it,' and he did. He loved what he did. He took the politics out of it and did his job. He would not comment about whether it was right or wrong. It was the bravest thing he ever did. It made a man out of a boy. It brought the whole family closer together."

SNIP

The last time Rudd's father heard from his son was in a Sept. 27 e-mail. He hadn't spoken with him for about two to three weeks.

"We were just talking about Thanksgiving," Rudd said. "He said, 'I better go hunting and spend a few quiet days hunting.' I said, 'I'll make it happen.' "


Cross-posted at BlueGrassRoots.

Mr. Lincoln of Kentucky

As the nation prepares to elect a President from Illinois, this is a good time to remember that the last president claimed by that state actually got his start in this state.

Now, during the bicentennial commemoration of his birth, prepare to see Lincoln differently. Beyond the Log Cabin: Kentucky’s Abraham Lincoln, the commonwealth’s signature Lincoln bicentennial exhibition, opens to the public Tuesday, Octoeber 21, at the Thomas D. Clark Center for Kentucky History in Frankfort.

The exhibition, which will travel to two additional Kentucky venues in 2009-2010, illuminates Lincoln’s connections with Kentucky, the perspective his Kentucky friends and acquaintances provided his life and actions, and the inspiration his legacy continues to contribute to American ideals.

Through engaging imagery, artifacts, and interactive activities, Beyond the Log Cabin presents the untold story of Lincoln's lifelong engagement with Kentucky and Kentuckians. Taking a broad view of Kentuckians’ perceptions of Lincoln from the assassination to the current bicentennial commemoration, the exhibition explores the complex relationship between Lincoln and his native state, and features unique artifacts gathered from repositories and collections across the nation.

“Museums and historical societies in Kentucky and beyond have been very generous in loaning high-quality artifacts and images for this important exhibition,” said Marilyn Zoidis, assistant director at the Kentucky Historical Society. “Pieces never presented together provide a unique story of Lincoln and Kentucky. They help to make Beyond the Log Cabin a signature exhibition.”

Beyond the Log Cabin: Kentucky’s Abraham Lincoln was designed by Gallagher & Associates, an international design firm acclaimed for its work on exhibitions and museum projects at the Smithsonian Institution, the Library of Congress, and others.

This exhibition will be on display at the Center for Kentucky History through June 6, 2009, and will then travel to the Speed Art Museum in Louisville for exhibition June 28, 2009 through September 6, 2009. It will open at the Highlands Museum & Discovery Center in Ashland on October 2, 2009 and remain on display there until February 19, 2010.

“We hope that Kentuckians will take advantage of these upcoming opportunities to experience the Beyond the Log Cabin: Kentucky’s Abraham Lincoln exhibition and to learn more about Lincoln’s Kentucky connections during this bicentennial commemoration of his birth,” said Kent Whitworth, executive director of the Kentucky Historical Society.

Beyond the Log Cabin was made possible by generous support from the James Graham Brown Foundation, the Kentucky Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission, and the Kentucky Historical Society Foundation.

During October, the exhibit will also be on display in various state office buildings in Frankfort.

Cross-posted at BlueGrassRoots.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Quote of the Day

On the contrast between Obama and McCain:

This is like choosing between an orgasm and a punch in the throat.

--Daniel Chun, at Huffpo.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Rich Trunka Shows How to Overcome Anti-Obama Racism

Rich Trumka is a throwback. He would have stood tall in the days when Labor leaders like John L. Lewis and Walter Reuther were National Leaders with moral and political authority that rivaled that of Presidents.

Last week he displayed those leadership chops in a speech to the Steelworkers Union on dealing with anti-Obama bias among union voters.

This is an issue Obama supporters in Kentucky have to deal with every day, from coworkers sneering at Obama bumper stickers to "Democratic" Congressional and state house candidates refusing to endorse Obama for fear of alienating racist voters.

Not to mention the foreign magazines swooping into the racist-est hollers they can find to gather material for pointing and laughing at the stupid, sub-human hicks.

Note to Economist reporters: You didn't have to shit all over our state; we've had indoor plumbing here for years.

Oddly enough, some of those Whitesburg natives the Economist exploited are current and former coal miners who were probably among those 26 years ago who voted into the United Mine Workers Presidency a young firebrand named Rich Trumka.

Trumka knows the hardscrabble whites of coal country. He knows how they think, he knows what's really important to them, and high-powered AFL-CIO officer he may be now, he knows how to reach them.



Kathy G., who first posted the video of Trumka's speech, wrote:

It's powerful stuff. After watching this, I understood why Trumka is one of the leading figures in the American labor movement. He pulls off something very tricky here: he names the racist opposition to Obama for what it is, but not in an accusatory, guilt-mongering way. I think it's crucial that Obama supporters speak openly about the racism that Obama faces, in such a way that causes the people who have racist thoughts about him feel at least a wee bit guilty about it. Yet at the same time, we don't want to get all superior and self-righteous about it, because that's a turn-off.

I think Trumka strikes just the right balance in this speech. He calls out the racism for what it is, but doesn't say that those who harbor racist feelings are necessarily bad people. He frames racism as an evil, but also as something that can be overcome. In short, he appeals to folks' better angels, which I think is a much more effective way to go than castigating them would be. It's a moving speech, and he's an impressive rhetorician and speaker.

Watch it. Show it to everyone you know, and forward it to a bunch of people you don't know.

h/t Steven Benen at Washington Monthly.

Cross-posted at BlueGrassRoots.

Friday, October 3, 2008

The Real McCain

You've heard all the stories of boozing and gambling and adultery. You've heard the rumors about the uncontrollable temper. Maybe you've even heard whispers about his betrayals in VietNam.

But you don't know what a sleazy, selfish, backstabbing, destructive, irresponsible prick John McCain really is until you read the devastating profile in Rolling Stone.

The whole thing is well worth your time, but here are a few highlights:

Don't Laugh at Him

McCain was not only a lousy student, he had his father's taste for drink and a darkly misogynistic streak. The summer after his sophomore year, cruising with a friend near Arlington, McCain tried to pick up a pair of young women. When they laughed at him, he cursed them so vilely that he was hauled into court on a profanity charge.

Pulling Rank

That December, McCain crashed again. Flying back from Philadelphia, where he had joined in the reverie of the Army-Navy football game, McCain stalled while coming in for a refueling stop in Norfolk, Virginia. This time he managed to bail out at 1,000 feet. As his parachute deployed, his plane thundered into the trees below.
By now, however, McCain's flying privileges were virtually irrevocable — and he knew it. On one of his runs at McCain Field, when ground control put him in a holding pattern, the lieutenant commander once again pulled his family's rank. "Let me land," McCain demanded over his radio, "or I'll take my field and go home!"

Running Away From a Crisis

The fire blazed late into the night. The following morning, while oxygen-masked rescue workers toiled to recover bodies from the lower decks, McCain was making fast friends with R.W. "Johnny" Apple of The New York Times, who had arrived by helicopter to cover the deadliest Naval calamity since the Second World War. The son of admiralty surviving a near-death experience certainly made for good copy, and McCain colorfully recounted how he had saved his skin. But when Apple and other reporters left the ship, the story took an even stranger turn: McCain left with them. As the heroic crew of the Forrestal mourned its fallen brothers and the broken ship limped toward the Philippines for repairs, McCain zipped off to Saigon for what he recalls as "some welcome R&R."

Breaking the Code

But the subsequent tale of McCain's mistreatment — and the transformation it is alleged to have produced — are both deeply flawed. The Code of Conduct that governed POWs was incredibly rigid; few soldiers lived up to its dictate that they "give no information . . . which might be harmful to my comrades." Under the code, POWs are bound to give only their name, rank, date of birth and service number — and to make no "statements disloyal to my country."

Soon after McCain hit the ground in Hanoi, the code went out the window. "I'll give you military information if you will take me to the hospital," he later admitted pleading with his captors. McCain now insists the offer was a bluff, designed to fool the enemy into giving him medical treatment. In fact, his wounds were attended to only after the North Vietnamese discovered that his father was a Navy admiral. What has never been disclosed is the manner in which they found out: McCain told them. According to Dramesi, one of the few POWs who remained silent under years of torture, McCain tried to justify his behavior while they were still prisoners. "I had to tell them," he insisted to Dramesi, "or I would have died in bed."

Dramesi says he has no desire to dishonor McCain's service, but he believes that celebrating the downed pilot's behavior as heroic — "he wasn't exceptional one way or the other" — has a corrosive effect on military discipline. "This business of my country before my life?" Dramesi says. "Well, he had that opportunity and failed miserably. If it really were country first, John McCain would probably be walking around without one or two arms or legs — or he'd be dead."

The Hero at Home

If heroism is defined by physical suffering, Carol McCain is every bit her ex-husband's equal. Driving alone on Christmas Eve 1969, she skidded out on a patch of ice and crashed into a telephone pole. She would spend six months in the hospital and undergo 23 surgeries. The former model McCain bragged of to his buddies in the POW camp as his "long tall Sally" was now five inches shorter and walked with crutches.

By any standard, McCain treated her contemptibly. Whatever his dreams of getting laid in Rio, he got plenty of ass during his command post in Jacksonville. According to biographer Robert Timberg, McCain seduced his conquests on off-duty cross-country flights — even though adultery is a court-martial offense. He was also rumored to be romantically involved with a number of his subordinates.

Uncontrollable Anger

Several years later, during another debate over servicemen missing in action, an elderly mother of an MIA soldier rolled up to McCain in her wheelchair to speak to him about her son's case. According to witnesses, McCain grew enraged, raising his hand as if to strike her before pushing her wheelchair away.

"Bush on Steroids"

The myth of John McCain hinges on two transformations — from pampered flyboy to selfless patriot, and from Keating crony to incorruptible reformer — that simply never happened. But there is one serious conversion that has taken root in McCain: his transformation from a cautious realist on foreign policy into a reckless cheerleader of neoconservatism.

"He's going to be Bush on steroids," says Johns, the retired brigadier general who has known McCain since their days at the National War College. "His hawkish views now are very dangerous. He puts military at the top of foreign policy rather than diplomacy, just like George Bush does. He and other neoconservatives are dedicated to converting the world to democracy and free markets, and they want to do it through the barrel of a gun."

Promoting the Iraq Myth

That December, just as U.S. forces were bearing down on Osama bin Laden in Tora Bora, McCain joined with five senators in an open letter to the White House. "In the interest of our own national security, Saddam Hussein must be removed from power," they insisted, claiming that there was "no doubt" that Hussein intended to use weapons of mass destruction "against the United States and its allies."

SNIP

Over the next 15 months leading up to the invasion, McCain continued to lead the rush to war. In November 2002, Scheunemann set up a group called the Committee for the Liberation of Iraq at the same address as Chalabi's Iraqi National Congress. The groups worked in such close concert that at one point they got their Websites crossed. The CLI was established with explicit White House backing to sell the public on the war. The honorary co-chair of the committee: John Sidney McCain III.

In September 2002, McCain assured Americans that the war would be "fairly easy" with an "overwhelming victory in a very short period of time." On the eve of the invasion, Hardball host Chris Matthews asked McCain, "Are you one of those who holds up an optimistic view of the postwar scene? Do you believe that the people of Iraq, or at least a large number of them, will treat us as liberators?" McCain was emphatic: "Absolutely. Absolutely."

Today, however, McCain insists that he predicted a protracted struggle from the outset. "The American people were led to believe this could be some kind of day at the beach," he said in August 2006, "which many of us fully understood from the beginning would be a very, very difficult undertaking." McCain also claims he urged Bush to dump Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. "I'm the only one that said that Rumsfeld had to go," he said in a January primary debate. Except that he didn't. Not once. As late as May 2004, in fact, McCain praised Rumsfeld for doing "a fine job."

Compromising on Principle

In the end, the essential facts of John McCain's life and career — the pivotal experiences in which he demonstrated his true character — are important because of what they tell us about how he would govern as president. Far from the portrayal he presents of himself as an unflinching maverick with a consistent and reliable record, McCain has demonstrated an unwavering commitment to taking whatever position will advance his own career. He "is the classic opportunist," according to Ross Perot, who worked closely with McCain on POW issues. "He's always reaching for attention and glory."

McCain has worked hard to deny such charges. "They're drinking the Kool-Aid that somehow I have changed positions on the issues," he said of his critics at the end of August. The following month, when challenged on The View, McCain again defied those who accuse him of flip-flopping. "What specific area have I quote 'changed'?" he demanded. "Nobody can name it."

In fact, his own statements show that he has been on both sides of a host of vital issues: the Bush tax cuts, the estate tax, waterboarding, hunting down terrorists in Pakistan, kicking Russia out of the G-8, a surge of troops into Afghanistan, the GI Bill, storing nuclear waste at Yucca Mountain, teaching intelligent design, fully funding No Child Left Behind, offshore drilling, his own immigration policy and withdrawal timelines for Iraq.

From Tortured to Torturer

Then there's torture — the issue most related to McCain's own experience as a POW. In 2005, in a highly public fight, McCain battled the president to stop the torture of enemy combatants, winning a victory to require military personnel to abide by the Army Field Manual when interrogating prisoners. But barely a year later, as he prepared to launch his presidential campaign, McCain cut a deal with the White House that allows the Bush administration to imprison detainees indefinitely and to flout the Geneva Conventions' prohibitions against torture.

What his former allies in the anti-torture fight found most troubling was that McCain would not admit to his betrayal. Shortly after cutting the deal, McCain spoke to a group of retired military brass who had been working to ban torture. According to Wilkerson, Colin Powell's former deputy, McCain feigned outrage at Bush and Cheney, as though he too had had the rug pulled out from under him. "We all knew the opposite was the truth," recalls Wilkerson. "That's when I began to lose a little bit of my respect for the man and his bona fides as a straight shooter."

Read the whole thing.

Cross-posted at BlueGrassRoots.