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Tuesday, October 31, 2006

*** SHAMEFUL: $1 out of $10 campaign ad money spent on negativity! ***

It is truly SHAMEFULLY amazing that $1 out of every $10 in campaign advertising money goes towards negative advertising. Read it here. The message ingrained in such negativity, as shown by the disparity in numbers, is that voters should not vote for a candidate but against the candidate's opponent! Negative ads are essentially the last acts of desperation for losing candidates and the last refuge for scoundrels turned politicians. Is there any wonder that voters are turned off by politics -- I estimate 25-30% percent turnout for next Tuesday's general elections -- and mistrust politicians. But the voters do not get off so easily; if negative campaigns were not eaten up by voters (a natural reaction to their mistrust of politicians), politicians will shy away from them and be FORCED to discuss the issues that are important to our Republic. It is time the voters sent a message to the politicians that enough is enough. The first politician to hurl a negative ad gets the heave-ho.


A House Democratic majority is expected to bring changes.

David Jackson, a political contributor for USATODAY, concludes that a Democratic majority is expected to bring changes. Here are excerpts: A Democratic takeover of the U.S. House would put more women and minorities in positions of power, as well as more senior citizens. Democrats say ... [they will] pass tax cuts for the middle class and devise a strategy to get U.S. troops out of Iraq. They promise more time in the hot seat for members of the Bush administration. Other possible changes: •New power brokers. The most dramatic difference ... [is that] House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi [will] become the first woman to serve as speaker of the House, [and] would be behind Vice President Cheney to succeed Bush. Pelosi already has signaled that she will name committee chairpersons based on seniority, [and] the gavel would go to at least four African-Americans, including John Conyers of Michigan at the Judiciary Committee helm and three women, including California's Juanita Millender-McDonald and New York's Nydia Velázquez, who would be the only Hispanic committee leader. Barney Frank of Massachusetts, who is openly gay, would lead a committee. Currently, all of the House GOP committee chairmen are white and male. The age of House chairpersons [will also rise from around 60 to 70]. •New issues. Pelosi wants to raise the minimum wage from $5.15 to $7.25 an hour, halve the interest rate on student loans and enact the recommendations of the 9/11 Commission to fight terrorism. ... Democrats want to give the federal government the authority to negotiate lower prescription-drug prices for seniors and expand research using embryonic stem cells,[all in] Pelosi's first 100 hours as speaker. Pelosi also has promised a bill that would ban lobbyists from underwriting lawmakers' trips and prohibit corporations from providing discount travel on private jets. On Iraq, Democrats are likely to press for withdrawal of U.S. troops "in conjunction with the White House." Democrats ... would explore universal health care and debate ways to diversify the nation's energy supplies. Prospects for a sweeping immigration overhaul could improve, [but with the dreaded provision] blocked by Hastert and other GOP leaders who oppose provisions that would offer a chance at citizenship to estimated 12 million people now living in the USA illegally. ... [Democrats would also] want[] tax cuts for child care and tuition assistance, [and] for rolling back taxes [they say] benefit wealthier Americans such as estate tax. •A new atmosphere? Murtha, a Pelosi confidant, says Democrats won't try to impeach [Bush], though ... Pelosi says she wants probes of Bush's first-term energy task force and the intelligence leading to the Iraq war[, and to] extend[] the amount of time House members spend in Washington, which shrunk to three days or less per week under the GOP. Some bills, such as one to expand federal funding of embryonic stem cell research that Bush vetoed, are likely to be offered even if Bush or Republicans don't support them, [in a bid] "... to lay down markers for the 2008 campaign," Frost says. Rep. Dingell counsels his fellow Democrats to focus first on Election Day: "Before you sell the bear's hide, you first have to shoot the bear."
Word to the wise.

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Monday, October 30, 2006

2 wars, 2 Bushes and 2 of the 10 who saw the wars differently.

Here is an article about the two Iraq wars and the ten Congresspersons who voted yes (for the first Iraqi war) and no (for the second). Find out what made the difference for two of Congresspersons. The larger unanswered question is what do we do now in Iraq since we shouldn't just "cut and run"?


Worried voters could decide Lewis/Weaver race.

Elizabeth Beardsley does another excellent job in her piece this morning discussing the 2nd Congressional race between Incumbent Rep. Ron lewis and his challenger Mike Weaver. The piece shows that many voters are worried about Iraq and Congress' mess, though a political scientist thinks incumbency may help Lewis turn back Weaver's blitz.


Why Barack Obama should run.

I have always thought that Sen. Obama should run for President in 2008. And I believe he will have the money to run a credible race, though I'm uncertain about his chances of winning. For the reasons why he should run and his chances of winning, read Charles Krauthammer

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Sunday, October 29, 2006

***** Popular elections are not to blame. Candidates are! *****

Though I echo some of the sentiments Bruce Fein raises in this piece, I disagree with his conclusion that Kentucky needs to do away with popular elections for judges. We, the people, have to continue to decide our own political fate (even when it means that sometimes we elect the wrong candidates) and to give voice to the rule of popular soveringty. Rather than blame popular elections for the loss of judges' impartiality, we should place the blame rightly where it belongs: with judicial candidates who pervert justice by "selling" themselves to the highest bidders.


***** The Party of Dixiecrats. *****

One of the reasons Black people mistrust the Republican party is that the Party of Lincoln continues slowly to morph into the party of the Dixiecrats. A few years back the political operative for the Republican Party, Lee Atwater, borrowed a cue from the Dixiecrats' political playbook to give us Willie Horton. Now, in a move that would make Atwater proud, Ken Mehlman, the Republican National Committee Chair, conjures up his own Willie Horton ad in the Tennessee U. S. Senate race. Read it here. So the Republican Party is serious about courting Black voters? I do NOT think so. The Party continues to confirm that is overrun and controlled by people who are Dixiecrats posing as Republicans.

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Thursday, October 26, 2006

Robbery at the pumps; consumers demand reprieve.

Oil industry behemoth Exxon Mobil's earnings rose to $10.49 billion in the third quarter, the second-largest quarterly profit ever recorded by a publicly traded U.S. company. The largest quarterly profit ever was Exxon Mobil Corp.'s $10.71 billion profit in the fourth quarter of 2005. Standard & Poor's predicts the profit will top the $40 billion mark for the year, easily surpassing the previous highest annual profit ever by a U.S. company held by ... yes, you guessed it -- Exxon Mobil with a record 2005 profit of $36.1 billion. Please join me in demanding consumer reprieve from being robbed at the pumps.


Killer of social worker confesses.

One of the killers of the state social services worker in Henderson who was the subject of a nationwide manhunt has confessed to the killing. Read it here. Now the courts can concentrate on making sure that justice is done.

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Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Anne Northup: Welcome and do the "Rummy Shuffle"!

I have to take this opportunity to welcome U. S. Rep. Anne Northup to the sensible group to which I belong. The sensible group is the name of the group whose members are calling for the ouster of Rummy Rumsfeld. I am a founder of this group as I have been calling for the "Rummy Shuffle" for a very long time, but President Bush is stone deaf on this one. So the Sensibles want to welcome you to the group, Anne, and please join us as we do the Rummy Shuffle.


Is Gen. Colburn in or out? If in, then as what?

I received this e-mail from Derek Combs and I thought I post it here: "I have corresponded with General John Coburn. He has informed me that he has not decided to run at this time.
Additionally, if he does run, he hasn't decided if he will run as a Democrat or a Republican."


Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Having your cake and eating it, too.

Talk about having your cake and eating it, too. It is no secret that most in the GOP are shying away from the Gov. during this election cycle because of his admitted missteps in Frankfort. They do not want him to campaign for them and at the same time they would like for him not to campaign for himself. Read it here. This sounds to me like a case of having your cake and eating it, too -- as the cliche' goes.


Obama beware.

Here is a well taken advice for Sen. Barack Obama, the new media darling: beware. They build you up so they can delight in tearing you down.

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Sunday, October 22, 2006

Now that's how you handle illegal immigration ...

... you hit employers who employ them where it hurts the most -- right in their pockets. What am I talking about? Well, how about this story excerpted here: Harboring illegal immigrants to work at hotels in London (that's London, KY) has cost two companies a total of $1.65 million. U.S. District Judge Danny C. Reeves yesterday fined Asha Ventures LLC and Narayan LLC each $75,000. The companies also together paid $1.5 million in lieu of turning over a motel and other property to the government, said Jennifer L. Pollard, spokeswoman for the regional Internal Revenue Service criminal investigation office. That $1.5 million cash payment in lieu of forfeiture of assets is one of the largest, or possibly the largest, of its kind in the federal Eastern District of Kentucky, said Assistant U.S. Attorney Frances E. Catron, who helped prosecute.
Way to go guys. Let's keep it up.

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Saturday, October 21, 2006

Trooper's lie sets man free.

The Kentucky Supreme Court reversed a Paducah man's drug conviction yesterday, because a state trooper "crossed the line of civilized notions of justice" when he told the man he was investigating that a young girl had been sexually assaulted in the house so the trooper can search the house without a warrant. In the 5-2 ruling, the court acknowledged that not all police lies were unconstitutional, but said the trooper's fabrication "cannot be sanctioned", because it "absolutely undermined" the requirement that consent for warrantless searches be voluntarily obtained without any coercion.
As a part of the court's ruling, Justice Graves found consent for the search was coerced in part because the trooper went to the house so early in the morning. "A knock on the door at 4 a.m. by uniformed police officers is a frightening event in and of itself," Graves wrote. "Couple this knock with a heinous and shameful accusation, such as the rape of a young girl, and nearly any person would feel overwhelmed and stunned." Graves also said that trooper's tactics were unnecessary because he could have investigated further to try to gather evidence to justify a warrant. Moreover, the majority noted, "If the type of ruse utilized by the Trooper was sanctioned by this court, citizens would be discouraged from aiding ... in the apprehension of criminals since they would have no way of knowing whether their assistance was being called upon for the public good or for the purpose of incriminating them." Justice John Roach joined Justice Wintersheimer in dissent to state that consent could have been refused for a search, no matter the reason given for it, but the defendant chose not to. "It is almost beyond belief that any drug dealer with illegal drugs in an apartment would not resist to the utmost anything other than a search before letting law enforcement in the premises," Wintersheimer wrote. As a Constitutional lawyer, I note that many people are unaware they can refuse such a search, much less choose not to do so. Ignorance of the law in this case, however, shouldn't erase the defendant's "consent"; and, neither should the trooper's troubling trickery validate his search and excuse the need for a warrant. So it is back to status quo ante, as the court correctly ruled, to the defendant's obvious satisfaction (and the dissatisfaction of all of us law abiding citizens) who found the outcome "refreshing these days when we seem to be losing more and more of our individual rights."


Friday, October 20, 2006

Justice sold to special interests!

Here are excerpts from an article in USAToday regarding the selling of justice in America. Mind you, Kentucky is NO exception. If you are NOT yet incensed, you should be:
Big money erodes judges' credibility
Players would surely be reluctant to compete in the World Series if they knew that the umpires were beholden to the other team for their jobs, and fans would have little faith in the outcome.
Yet people are going into courts across the nation these days in which the playing field looks just as tilted. That's because once-staid judicial elections have turned into big-money brawls among special interests, often with big business and trial lawyers vying for a friendly judge on the court. Want to read more? Click here.

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Bush admits Iraq's "Tet" offensive.

What was President Bush thinking when he admitted to a reporter's comparison of the Iraqi resistant movement to the Viet Cong "Tet" offensive of the Vietnam era? Read it here. As many of you know, the "Tet" offensive was the turning point of the Vietnam war as public opinion swung against the war forcing President Johnson to end it. So why was Bush acquiesing to Vietnam comparisms to Iraq? Did the takeover of the Iraqi city of Amarah by Shiites militants run by anti-American cleric Muqtada al-Sadr have anything to do with Bush's "Tet" moment? Or was Bush "reading the tea leaves" and acknowledging that public opinion has, or will soon turn, against the Iraqi war? And is the President's new "Tet" acknowledgment a Johnson moment expected to lead to some end of Iraqi hostilities? Too many questions, but only the President can provide answers to his "Tet" moment.

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Thursday, October 19, 2006

Registration statistics for Kentucky: 36.55% Republicans, 57.05% Democrats and 6.3% "Other".

The office of the Secretary Of State (SOS) has just released the latest election filing statistics for voters. The released information shows that 2,766,288 citizens are eligible to vote in Kentucky's largest general election. The total number is a slight increase of 56,329 voters from the May primary election's total of 2,709,959 or 2.08%. In terms of party registration, Democrats, Republicans, and “others” increased their percentage of registered voters by 1.93%, 2.19%, and 2.80% since May of 2006, respectively. With these latest registration figures, Republicans now comprise 36.55% of Kentucky voters and “others” 6.39%. Though Democrats saw their percentage decrease slightly from 57.14% of the voter rolls in May to 57.05% for the upcoming election, they still hold a sizable majority. You may visit for more valuable information.


Wednesday, October 18, 2006

LDK from H - L continues assault on Mitch.

Larry Dale keeling continues assault on Mitch. No word yet from H - L on whether they plan to tell us about others and make their reporting truly non-partisan or whether they plan to make no such pretenses and accord their subjects equal treatment.

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Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Another reason voters dislike Congress.

Read this piece and this piece to understand why voters are turned off by politics and politicians -- particularly, but not exclusively in, Congress. Congress makes laws, such as the one discussed here that allows family members to be engaged in questionable and unethical conduct, without feeling any shame or guilt. This piece comes on the heels of the F. B. I. probe of Rep. Weldon and other malfactors . I guess this is what we are to expect from our government when special interest groups buy and run it!


Sunday, October 15, 2006

A political hatchet job on Mitch.

Now that the Herald-Leader has done a political hatchet job on our Senate Majority Whip, Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, can we expect the H-L to do the same to others -- particularly those of the opposing political party -- or is this purely partisan?

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Saturday, October 14, 2006

Rep. Jefferson is out in Louisiana as FBI investigates Rep. Weldon.

Louisiana U. S. Rep., William Jefferson, whose bribery scandal (remember the sack of dollar bills in the freezer?) set off a showdown between Congress and the Justice dept. has had his bid for re-election torpedoed by the Democratic party. Read it here. This comes on the heels of the Rep. Foley's "textapade" (my word coinage!) and other Congressional misdeeds and now we hear that the F. B. I. is investigating whether Rep. Curt Weldon, R-Pa., used his influence to secure lobbying and consulting contracts worth over $1 million for his daughter. Read it here. Is there any relief in sight from both parties' mess?

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Friday, October 13, 2006

Want to restore judicial integrity ... ?

... how about encouraging (or demanding of judge candidates) to resist the temptation to shakedown lawyers and others for campaign contributions, when the public (other than those judge candidates who take the money) suspect that lawyers hustle to "buy" judges at election time!?! So it is kudos to Frederic Cowan, a former state Attorney General and candidate for a seat on the Jefferson County Circuit Court, who recognizes that "it is important for judges to go out of their way to be impartial and independent"-- a sentiment I continue to echo, and which CANNOT be fruitful while hustling by campaign contributors rages on.


Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Sen. Harry Reid "makes out like a bandit".

This story could grow wings and fly! It appears that Senate Minority Leader, Harry Reid (D-NV), may have "sullied his hands" with a questionable land deal that netted him more than a cool $ million return on investment. Read land deal. I will keep you updated as the story unfolds, but I expect the voters are ALL scratching their heads wondering what is wrong with many of our representatives in Congress.

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Bloggers beware: Fla. jury slams Blogger!

A Florida Jury has slapped a blogger with an $11.3 million verdict for defamation of character. Read the story here. While this case does not really establish much by way of a persuasive legal precedent, because it was more of a judgment by the default of the Defendant (in failing to defend the suit) than anything else, it should concern EVERY Blogger out there. This is because just as the Florida jury did, any other jury could easily find compensable injury to one's reputation as a result of a Blogger's posted comments. As such, this latest development could portend "dark clouds looming in the not - to - distant horizon" for Blogger's who use the internet to defame people out of pure malice or sheer irresponsibility. The First Amendment's free speech protection is NOT absolute. So Bloggers BEWARE!


Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Fletcher draws another primary challenger.

The Republican primary for Governor is drawing a crowd with the announcement from Retired four-star Army General John G. Coburn of Mount Sterling that he is running for Governor against Fletcher. You can check out his website where he proclaimed: "The commonwealth of Kentucky needs a proven leader, a proven executive with strong managerial skills, and as someone who truly cares about the people. John Coburn is that person!" Coburn, 65, retired in Dec. 2001 after 39 years in the Army, where he last led the Army Material Command, which had about 50,000 employees and a $19 billion budget. Coburn joins Billy Harper of Paducah, check out Harper's website, who previously announced his 2007 gubernatorial ambitions.


Monday, October 09, 2006

Mark Foley's follies damage Republicans.

The latest poll results unnerve Republicans as voters appear to be in a sour mood to "throw the bums out", 30 days before mid term elections. Speculation is such that Republicans stand to lose up to 30 House seats, a prospect that will put Democrats in charge. Read it here. And Republicans can blame all of this on themselves for the way they have responded to, and mismanaged and bungled, a series of scandals and ethical lapses culminating in Rep. Mark Foley's follies with underage MALE pages. But as fortune or misfortune (depending on which party you cozy to) would have it, Kim Jong II, the ill-tempered (no pun intended) and essentric leader of North Korea, purportedly explodes a nuclear device. By so doing, Kim (isn't that a female's name?) has probably given Republicans a probable election saving national security issue to exploit before November 7th; unless, of course, Democrats are successful in keeping Foley (and his foibles) and other Republican misdeeds before the voters as they vote.

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Saturday, October 07, 2006

Judge ignores Constitution; draws rebuke.

The Constitution is the basis of ALL of our laws. In fact, that the Constitution is the SUPREME law of the land is without question; it is so stated in that very document. As such, in matters relating to immigration, the Constitution gives the federal government exclusive jurisdiction. No state of the Union has ANY inflence in that exclusive sphere. So it is very troubling that a state judge took matters into her hand and attempted to insert herself in federal immigration matters. It is also troubling that the same judge managed to violate the Constitutions of both the U. S. and our Commonwealth by holding people without bond (when only capital offenses, such as murder are reserved for such treatment) and denying them their constitutional right to counsel. Some "fortunate" ones were given probation, but told to leave Kentucky within 72 hrs. as a condition of that probation. I happen to be frustrated, just as many others are, by the ineptitude displayed by Congress in dealing with their constitutional duty to solve the immigration mess, so I share the judge's obvious frustrations. Frustrated though anyone may be, it is important to remember that we are a nation of laws and must therefore apply the laws equally to ALL persons. The judge stated she took the drastic actions because she "had little information about the [defendants'] residency status [sic]" (presumably the judge needed to know their residency statuses because their Mexican ancestry suggested they must be illegal immigrants!), but it was not the judge's place to ask about any residency statuses as she was not an immigration official -- moreover, I'm certain the judge did not ask the same questions of other non-Mexicans!! Mind you I am not suggesting that anything racial happened. I know the judge and I have no reason to suspect that she'll tolerate anything racial in her court. I'm concerned, however, that the judge should have only focused on the cases before her and applied the relevant state law to the facts of those cases, rather than risk violating the constitution she swore to uphold in order to solve an imagined FEDERAL immigration problem. So kudos to judge Gill who righted these wrongs and released the detainees. Taking the laws into our own hands to deny the same to some, on the mere suspicion that they may be illegal because of their visible and immutable ancestral traits as the judge has done, suggests to many that our constitution and laws are to be flouted at will. This is no different from Congress' ineptitude on immigration suggesting to the illegal immigrants, who frustrate us as they break our immigration laws, that we are a nation of laws in principle only -- and not in practice.


Fletcher raises $ million; Harper airs TV ad.

Gov. Fletcher raises $ million for his re-election as his likely primary election challenger, Billy Harper of Paducah, fires off the first T. V. ad of the 2007 gubernatorial campaign. There is still no firm word yet from the Democrats, who are waiting to see whether U. S. Rep. Ben Chandler, their heir apparent, who has said he will make a decision after the fall elections, will decide to stay in Congress or return to Kentucky to run for Governor.


Friday, October 06, 2006

Our children deserve better.

Children who find themselves in family courts are appointed lawyers who speak for them and act as their guardians ad litem. By state law these guardians are paid a maximum of $500.00 per child regardless of how many hours they spend on the case. Read the C-J article. It is easy to see why most lawyers will shun this type of work, opting instead to handle other types of cases where they can bill their clients their normal hourly rate. The risks to children's welfare are thereby enormous. The Legislature needs to IMMEDIATELY look at this problem to ensure that those who have the passion to work for children's welfare do NOT get discouraged and quit, because the Commonwealth takes undue advantage of them and caps their legal worth (fees) at $500.00 per child.

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Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Woodward: Bush is in a state of denial!

The latest book by Bob Woodward of Watergate fame argues that Bush is in a state of denial. Most of the facts contained in the book have largely being substantiated, including White House Chief Of Staff, Andy Card's beyond sage advise to President Bush to replace Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld with Bush's father's Secretary of State, James Baker. I belief the Iraq situation will be different now if Bush, jr., had heeded the advise. You can read Bob Woodward's op-ed piece of excerpts from State of Denial. But Andy Card was not alone in wanting to see "Rummy" go (along with many others, I have for several months suggested the same). It appears the first President Bush was also apprehensive about Rumsfeld (who he described as arrogant and Machiavellian) and Iraq. Bush's father appears now to know best and Bush's course of terror war is, if you believe the polls, looking more like it may no longer be America's choice.

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Grand Old Problems (GOP) or a Congressional Cesspool?

While some may conclude that recent ethical lapses and moral failures that have engulfed Congress in recent years amount to Republican Party's Grand Old Problems (GOP), I'll like to think that thay are NOT exclusive to one party or the other. What they suggest is that we may have a non party favoring Congressional Cesspool. So instead of anyone pointing partisan accusatory fingers and further alienating an increasing disgusted and frustrated electorate, let us now resolve to get on with the HUGE task of fixing an obviously broken democracy.