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Sunday, December 31, 2006

***** HAPPY NEW YEAR. *****

I wish the very BEST to all this New Year. ***** HAPPY NEW YEAR. *****


Person(s) for the Month.

Is there any doubt who our person(s) of the month ought to be? Can we forget Tara Conner? (Dishonorable mention goes to Miss Nevada, Katie Rees, who was eventually dethroned. Need I say (Warning Graphic: more?)) As before, you are invited to choose your picture and personality -- the innocent girl from small town Kentucky or after she was blinded by the New York City bright lights (which made her put her innocence on the line) or where teary eyed (and contrite?).


Quote(s) for the month.

For all the events of the month, and quotes uttered thereof, these three stand out:

1) "I call on you not to hate because hate does not leave space for a person to be fair and it makes you blind and closes all doors of thinking."
- Saddam Hussein, deposed Iraqi strongman, in a letter to Iraqis before he was hanged urging them not to hate, an advise he failed to heed himself.

2) "I promise you I'll be the best Miss USA ever."
- Miss USA, Tara Conner, being paraphrased promising to be better than she had been as Miss USA, after "wilding" in New York City.

3) "You may go back to '03 ... [n]one of the federal delegation endorsed me in '03 and we won fairly well in that primary."
- Gov. Fletcher, predicting his primary election win without Republican Party leadership support.


A new poll is born. Go to my blog to participate.

I have a new poll going on now. Please go to the site to participate. Thanks.


Amazingly swift justice for the "butcher", Iraqi style.

As some mourn the death of Saddam by the (Warning: graphic) hangman's noose, his tribesman hold his funeral and bury him, and as others rejoice in his demise, we are confronted with the question whether swift justice (a few days after his appeal was denied) is the way to go here in the U. S. or whether the swiftness of Saddam's punishment was because his guilt was so overwhelming that there was no need to postpone the inevitable outcome?

Another important question left unanswered is why the tribunal that tried Saddam and the United States (and the United Nations) did not take Saddam into international custody and tried in the World Court in Hague, just like Slobodan Milosevic, Charles Taylor and others before him? There, he would have been convicted and left to rot in prison, defeated and largely forgotten, rather than his death (and martyrdom?) adding fuel to the fire of secterian violence that now prevents Iraq from looking to a future of a united country.

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President Gerald Ford's secret.

Could it be that President Gerald Ford was greatly admired and considered a good President because he really never wanted to be President in the first place, thus freeing him to do right without being beholden to special interests as is the norm today? Ron Nessen, his press secretary, thinks so.

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Steve Nunn leaves the House.

Steve Nunn leaves the House, by Bob Heleringer.

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Friday, December 29, 2006

New year resolutions we'd love to see.

I saw these New year's resolutions and I thought I post them here for humor:

(Resolutions we’d like to see, courtesy of USATODAY newspaper)

Be The Listener before being The Decider. — President Bush

Aim before I fire. — Vice President Cheney

Augment wonky policy prescriptions with personal style. — Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y.

Augment personal style with wonky policy prescriptions. — Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill.

Pick fights with Republicans, not Democrats. — Incoming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.

Deposit cash in the bank, not the freezer. — Rep. William Jefferson, D-La.

Deposit classified documents at the National Archives, not under construction trailers. — Former national security adviser Samuel Berger

Study Middle East history. — Incoming House Intelligence Chairman Silvestre Reyes, D-Texas

Look for men my own age. — Former representative Mark Foley, R-Fla.

Stop trying to tell jokes. — Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass.

Stick to telling jokes. — Ranting comedian Michael Richards

Blame America second. — Ranting Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez

Visit Auschwitz and the Holocaust Museum. — Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad

Get a decent haircut and not blow up the world. — North Korean leader Kim Jong Il

Give up power when my term is up. Really. — Russian President Vladimir Putin

Not buy green bananas. — Condemned Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein

Reject "hypothetical" murder confessions. — Book publisher Judith Regan

Wear underpants. — Singer Britney Spears

Ignore Donald Trump. — Talk show hostess Rosie O'Donnell

Ignore Rosie O'Donnell. — Businessman/reality TV star Donald Trump

Stay ahead of Warren Buffett in charitable giving. — Microsoft founder Bill Gates

Give my $200 million golden parachute to shareholders or the Gates' foundation. — Former Pfizer CEO Hank McKinnell

Learn to play solitaire. — Jailed former Enron CEO Jeff Skilling

Learn to speak Greenspanese. — Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke

Never play football, or ride my motorcycle, without a helmet. — Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger

Use my head, not lose my head. — French soccer star Zinedine Zidane

Retire gracefully after my 754th home run. — San Francisco Giants slugger Barry Bonds

Play golf left-handed, to give others a chance. — Tiger Woods

Shut my mouth and catch the damn ball. — Dallas Cowboys receiver Terrell Owens


Saddam Hussien, the "butcher of Bagdad", hanged.

The BBC (British Broadcasting Corp.) first reported Saddam's hanging ... and now all the other US newsmedia are reporting on his hanging. It sounds like Saddam is gone, taking with him all of his cruelty and inhumanity to man (and woman and child). His hanging followed a last ditch effort to appeal his conviction and sentence to the U. S. Court in Washington D. C., which summarily dismissed the petition. As a non U. S. citizen, resident of the United States or someone with the minimal contacts in this country, one wonders why anyone would have thought U. S. Courts will have jurisdiction to entertain Saddam's case.

Update: (Warning: May be graphic). Video of Sadaam being led to the gallows, plus other stories -- including that of an old man dying alone.

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Quote for the week.

1) "I call on you not to hate because hate does not leave space for a person to be fair and it makes you blind and closes all doors of thinking."
- Saddam Hussein, deposed Iraqi strongman, in a letter to Iraqis as his hanging looms urging them not to hate, an advise he failed to heed himself.


Persons for the week: Gerald Ford and James Brown.

Our person(s) for the week are two men who passed away this week but whose lives impacted many. The two men are: President Gerald Ford, whose magnamity (though it is now more probable than not that it was NOT magnamity but friendship that may have influenced Ford) got President Richard Nixon a pardon, sparing the nation the embarrassment of a watergate (criminal) trial and punishment; and, the "Godfather of soul", James Brown, whose influence in music created a new genre and made many millions around the world to "feel good" (and Blacks - and Whites - to sing the refrain: "say it loud, I'm Black and proud.") By the way, did you know that James Brown and Gerald Ford have something else in common, other than death within hours of each other? James Brown was one of a few Blacks to endorse Richard Nixon's (and Gerald Ford's) candidacy!


New laws set to take effect with new year.

The new year brings with it new laws that take effect all over the country. In Kentucky, for instance, it will cost us $6.00 more to register our cars; and, the police can now issue you a $25.00 ticket -- not merely issue you a warning -- for not wearing a seat belt, even if that is your only offense. (Before the police could ticket you only if you first commit another driving infraction, like running a stop sign or traffic light). In Louisiana, the upward spiraling divorce rates in America (particularly in the south where more than half of ALL marriages end in divorce) prompted that state Legislature to take admirable steps to encourage married couples' reconciliation. There is now a law in Louisiana requiring couples with children to wait a year after seperation before divorcing. Read more about new laws.

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Thursday, December 28, 2006

John Edwards announces presidential bid.

Former North Carolina Senator and Senator John Kerry's Vice Presidential running mate, John Edwards, has launched his presidential bid. He is expected to be joined by his former presidential partner Senator John Kerry, Senator Joe Biden, Senator Barack Obama, Senator Hilary Clinton (must be something in the water at the Senate) and others in the Democratic nomination bids. Though Clinton and Obama appear to be formidable candidates, I suspect John Edwards may be the Democrat to watch, especially if Senator Evan Bayh or Senator Barack Obama end up as his running mate.

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Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Nation mourns the passing of "a reluctant" President.

The nation is today mourning the passing away of former President Ford, a man who was reluctant to be President but rose to the ocassion when his country needed him after the shenanigans of President Richard Nixon brought us the omnious dark clouds of "Watergate". The ONLY person to serve UNELECTED as both Vice President and President, President Gerald Ford was a true gentleman, decent and admired for his integrity. May the Good Lord grant him eternal rest and comfort to his family.


BIG trouble at BIG Sandy.

What has been reported to be going on at Big Sandy sounds like there is BIG trouble at the Federal Penn. in Martin County. As fictional Deputy Sheriff Barney Fife might scream out to fictional Mayberry, NC, Sheriff Andy Griffitt, we need to "nip it in the bud".

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Saddam Hussien urges Iraqis not to hate, ...

... too bad he couldn't have taken his own advise before now that his death (or martyrdom, as he sees it), barring any last minute reprieve, appears imminent.

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An advise for President Bush ...

... from a man who mastered the art of flip-flopping.


Is Billy Harper getting his money's worth from $ million advertising campaign?

Elizabeth Beardsley does another marvelous job highlighting the primary elections, taking aim at Billy Harper's self-financed campaign for Governor where he has spent "a couple of $million dollars" so far and expects to spend "what it takes to win". I know Mr. Harper is VERY wealthy and has a lot of money to "get his name out", but one has to ask the question whether he's actually getting his money's worth at this time. I guess ONLY time will tell us.

Update, 01/02/2007: Mr. Harper has spent $2.5 million dollars so far -- $2.4 million from his pocket! Read it here.

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Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Who should be person(s) for the year for Kentucky? ...

... cast your vote by Sunday to find out.


We can send a man (and woman) to the moon and back ...

... but we just can't seem to figure out how to tame Katrina and its aftermath.

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Monday, December 25, 2006

"The Godfather of soul" passes away.

James Brown, known as "the Godfather of soul" to many, many millions of fans here and around the world, has passed away at the age of 73 on Christmas day. The real cause of death is unknown, though he was admitted into the hospital on the day before he passed away for pneumonia. "Black and proud" to the end, James Brown loved "living in America" (even though "it's a man's world" out there) where "he feels good" that he's "got a brand new bag". We wish him God's speed and comfort for his family. As for his fans, I'm sure "the Godfather of soul" would want them to "please, please, please" not be sorrowful.


Merry CHRISTmas EVERYONE. Remember that Christ is the reason for the season.

To bring a needed perspective to this season and to remember the reason for the season, you have to bear with me and listen to this story. A man was driving his $125,000.00 Mercedes Benz car when he lost control and ended up in the ravine. He lost his arm as a result of the accident. When the rescue team came, they found the man sitting on the side of the road sobbing uncontrollably. The rescue team, thinking that something awfully wrong had happened to the man that they couldn't immediately see, asked him what the matter was. He responded that he loved his Mercedes Benz so much and he paid a lot of money for it that he can't bear to look at it. When the rescuers pointed out to him that the car was the least of his troubles, because he had also lost his hand and they'll have to find it for it to have a chance of being re-attached, he cried out loud: "Oh no, my Rolex watch". So what is important to you this yuletide season -- your material possession or that Christ was born and died for your sins? Have a very Merry Xmas for CHRIST our saviour is born today! Luke 2:11


Saturday, December 23, 2006

Update: An important deadline nears.

The deadline to switch party registrations for the upcoming primary elections is December 31st -- well, actually Friday December 29th since the 31st falls on a Sunday. This means that you only have three days this week (Wednesday December 27th, Thursday the 28th, and Friday the 29th), since Monday and Tuesday are public holidays and public offices are closed. Remember, Kentucky operates a CLOSED primary and ONLY members of a particular party can become a candidate of the party or vote for that party's candidates.


UN Security Council BARKS at Iran, but can it BITE, too?

The UN Security Council has BARKED at Iran imposing numerous sanctions against the errant regime for its nuclear program, which has been a source of discomfort for many of Iran's neighbors. Keeping Iraq in mind and having fresh memories of Saddam Hussein ignoring the UN, it remains to be seen whether the world body (under a new Secretary General, Ban ki-Moon) will have the BITE to follow up its BARK when Iran (like Iraq before it) ignores its sanctions.

Update: Well, that didn't take long. Already Iraq is balking at the UN imposed sanctions. Its Ambassador has accused the world body of choosing sides and ignoring Israel's "apparent" nuclear weapons program while targeting Iran's use of nuclear energy for "peaceful means." Is UN going to GROWL to signal an impending BITE? We'll all have to wait and see.

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It's Sir Bono, as U2's leader is set to be knighted by the Queen.

U2's lead singer, Bono, (real name is Paul Hewson) is the one set to be Knighted by the Queen of England for his music and humanitarian efforts all over the world. Paraphrasing Bono: we need to carry each other as we are one, whether or not we choose to play Jesus to the Lepers in our heads. So congratulations go out to soon-to-be Sir Bono.


Condi Rice thinks country is ready for a Black President ...

... but wisely cautions that "we should not be naive. Race is still an issue in America. When a person walks into a room, race is evident. It's something that I think is going to be with us for a very, very long time." Condi also made it clear she was not running and refused the interviewer's invitation to advise Colin Powell on running.

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State government WOEFULLY lacking in minority employment ...

... and there are NO REAL excuses, period.

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Friday, December 22, 2006

Persons for the week: Tara Conner.

Yes, this is one of those weeks when it is hard to pick the person(s) of the week. That is why I am late with the post. Agree or not, the persons I chose for the week are Miss USA, Tara Conner, and all of her different personalities. Below are her pictures showing each different personality profile, from the innocent girl from small town Kentucky to one after she was blinded by the New York City bright lights which made her put her innocence on the line to one where she is shedding tears (and contrition?) after Donald Trump's surprise reprieve. You pick your choice of pose (and personality to match).


Rogue cop or community servant?

A retired Tyler Texas cop, credited with being the most prolific intercepter of illegal drugs, plans to set up a web site to sell videos on how to conceal drugs so that they cannot be detected by law enforcement efforts. He says that the country is wasting money and efforts fighting marijuana rather than legalizing it. Is he a rogue cop or a public servant pointing out the error of society's ways?


Prosecutor wises up and drops Duke rape case.

The Prosecutor in the Duke Lacrosse players' rape case finally wises up and drops charges that should NOT have been brought in the first place -- and would NOT have been brought if NOT for political pandering by the Prosecutor. Though he is leaving kidnapping charges intact, those charges are dubious at best and should be viewed with suspicion.

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Thursday, December 21, 2006

With a Miss USA contestant like ...

... [WARNING: explicit pictures] this, it is no wonder "the Donald" had to come up with a second chance for Tara Conner. But on a more serious note, it continues to surprise many that Trump found it in his heart to conjure up a second chance when he is not particularly known for such unselfish acts. This IS the same Trump that his middle name ought to be "you're fired" and who previously "fired" 2002 Miss USA for not showing up for a publicity event, amongst others. So what has changed "the Donald"? Was this an epiphany or was Trump being his manipulative self for his own selfish reasons? Well, no epipanies here, I'm afraid. I think Trump just well ... "trumped" the media. The man has his eyes on an elective office and this was a big publicity stunt for a possible run for office or to benefit his Miss USA pageant (and other Trump holdings). "The Donald" set us up and we all fell for it, hook line and sinker.

Note for Tara: I do not know how you were able to convince "the Donald" to give you a second chance and I wish you luck in your future. But should he attempt to make you wife # who knows(?), please do not NOT sign any prenuptial agreement and consult me for pro bono legal advice.

Meanwhile, Rosie O'Donnell mocked Trump's hairdo while taking him to task on the view for "acting like America's moral compass" in view of his moral failings. Trump, not being one to shun publicity or back away from a fight, immediately took to the airwaves promising to "sue her fat ass" while calling her a "slob" and disgusting, both inside and out."
And the beat goes on!

Update. Katie Rees, Miss Nevada, pictured above (if you click the link ), has not only been dropped as a spokesperson for MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) but has been dethroned as Miss Nevada because of the Raunchy photos -- some of which pictured lesbian kissing. Considering the feud between Rosie O'Donnell and "the Donald" over Tina Conner's second chance, I must conclude the ONLY "misdeed" that gets the dander in Trump's hair weave up is anything to do with lesbianism. Future Miss Americas need to be aware and fore warned!

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A real Santa.

There really is a Santa Claus. Here are excerpts from the story:
Larry Stewart, 58, a successful businessman in Lee's Summit, Mo., announced a few weeks ago that he is the Secret Santa who has been doling out $100 bills anonymously to the needy in Kansas City, Mo., and other cities every Christmas for the past 26 years. Stewart carefully guarded his identity for years; only his family and a few close friends knew the truth. USA TODAY profiled him in a front-page story in 2001 but did not publish his name. That holiday season, he handed out $25,000 in $100 bills to New Yorkers who were reeling from the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center. Over the years, Stewart estimates, he has given away $1.3 million. He says he has been amply rewarded in return.
"I see the smiles and looks of hopelessness turn to looks of hope in an instant," he says. "After all, isn't that what we were put here on Earth for — to help one another?"
In this Christmas time when we hear and read about Grinches who stole Christmas and man's inhumanity to man, this story is heart warming. Thanks, Larry.


Robert Novak's musings on Ky politics.

I do not know how much, if any, Conservative Columnist Robert Novak, knows about Kentucky politics -- though I admit he is an authority on politics in general -- but it was interesting that yesterday he took at look at the Governor's race in Kentucky. He acknowledges that Fletcher has problems with his re-election efforts, largely because of Stumbo's merit system investigation, but goes on to suggest that Billy Harper's reason for running -- "that Fletcher is unelectable" -- may not be a good reason to be elected himself. Apart from recognizing that Johnathan Miller may be the only top tier Democratic candidate, Novak seems to think that Steve Pence is the candidate who will "cause Fletcher to make a tough choice about whether it is worth his while to run again."
I have his complete verbatim commentary and will post the same if requested to do so.

On an unrelated topic, I think Trey Grayson's call to not require an excuse before a voter can cast an absentee ballot -- even up to 30 days before a scheduled election -- is an excellent idea that deserves to be implemented immediately. Requiring an excuse or even feigning one before casting an absentee ballot serves NO useful election purpose at all.

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Fletcher to create agency for elderly and disabled.

I recieved an email from the Gov.'s office stating that he will sign an executive order creating an agency for the elderly and the disabled within the Cabinet for Health and Family Services. As a Lawyer who regularly represents the elderly and the disabled, I welcome the announcement as a good step towards catering to the needs of our second most vulnerable class of citizens (behind children).

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Trading accusations back and forth.

Many of you are aware that the Gov. was subpoenaed to testify before the Personnel Board investigating the propriety of Mke Duncan's firing as Deputy Inspector General of the Transportation Cabinet. The Gov.'s Counsel, Jim Decker, took issue with it chastising Duncan's Lawyer, Thomas Clay, for first alerting the news media before attempting to serve the Gov. . The Gov.'s personal Lawyer, Steve Pitt, called the subpeona a "stunt" and the Courier-Journal's editorial of December 13th, Time for the whole truth, "another gratuitous and unnecessary slap at the Commonwealth's chief executive". Now Mike Duncan's Lawyer has replied arguing that the Gov. needs to be deposed. Thomas Clay, also pretty much implies that all the participants, excepting his client, Mike Duncan, and Dan Druen, the Fletcher ex aide who was charged by the Personnel Board with violating the merit system laws, lied -- even under oath!
Stay tuned.


Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Bush signs last 2006 Congressional bill.

The last bill of the 2006 Republican controlled Congress has been signed into law by the President. The new law:
• Extends through the end of next year a deduction for research and development initiatives.
• Renews a deduction of up to $4,000 for higher education costs.
• Gives tax breaks for teachers who pay for supplies out of their own pockets.
• Lets taxpayers deduct state and local sales taxes instead of state and local income taxes, a provision that primarily benefits those in states with no income taxes.
• Opens up 8.3 million acres in the Gulf of Mexico to oil and gas drilling, and offers a dozen credits promoting alternative and efficient uses of energy.
• Prevents a 5% cut in Medicare payments to doctors from taking effect Jan. 1.
• Renews, with increased federal contributions, a program to help clean up abandoned coal mines and provide health care for miners who worked for companies that have gone out of business.
• Permanently normalizes trade with Vietnam and extends trade benefits for four Andean nations, sub-Saharan African countries and Haiti.

Is talk of abstinance wrong headed and hypocritical?

Conservatives and Christians alike discourage premarital sex and instead speak of sex abstinance as the only way to go. While I believe this is the correct path to follow, one wonders if this approach is not wrong headed and hypocrital for many. According to this report, nearly all Americans (at least 95%) from as early as the 1940s, had premarital sex. Short of handing out condoms and telling young people to "take it easy", we may be wise to leave the abstinance talk to the 5% who, at least, know what they are talking about.

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Wishing them to "... rot in hell".

Susette Kelo, the landowner whose home (pictured above on a Christmas card she sent to those she did not wish well) was condemned by the city of New London Connecticut and which formed the basis for the dubious Kelo Vs. New London, Conn. U. S. Supreme Court case that upheld the right (or more appropriately, wrong) of local governments to condemn private property for economic development, was not feeling very forgiving this Christmas season. The words written on the inside of the above card, which she sent to former and present council members of the city of New London, are:

Here is my house that you did take
From me to you, this spell I make
Your houses, your homes
Your family, your friends
May they live in misery
That never ends.
I curse you all
May you rot in hell
To each of you
I send this spell
For the rest of your lives
I wish you ill
I send this now
By the power of will

Not feeling very Christmasy in New London, Conn.!


Richards to push for Pence's pardon power limit idea.

Reacting to Steve Pence's call for the limitation of the Governor's pardon power, the Speaker of the House, Jody Richards, says he "strongly supports [the idea that] ... "a governor should have the power to pardon, but only be able to pardon persons who have first been convicted" and predicted that "there's support for it and there's real rationale to do it this session". No word yet on how the Senate feels about the issue as David Williams, Senate President, could not be reached for comment. Gov. Fletcher wants the "extremely, extremely important [pardon power]... for reasons that may occur such as prosecutorial abuse". Pence, however, disagreed and suggested instead that unless the power was curtailed, it would be used to derail the prosecution of public corruption cases. A constitutional amendment would require the approval of two-thirds of the members of the Senate, and of the House, and then a majority vote by the voters at the 2008 general election. You can read the rest of the story here.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Gov. Fletcher wants your input.

I received an email from the Gov.'s office and I want to share it with you. The Gov. wants your input on how to spend the anticipated(?) "surplus" revenue. You can go to his website: and check on the right hand side for links to express your opinion.

Meanwhile, on an unrelated matter, the SURVEYUSA poll shows the Gov.'s approval rating has slipped 4% points since last month. I am not really sure what may have caused it but I can, but will not, venture a guess. According to the poll, his approval rating is now at 31%, with 66% disapproving of his performance. His biggest disapprovals came from Blacks (a WHOPPING 81%), both sexes in the mid ages of 35-54, moderates (discounting Liberals (75%) because of differences in political philosophy, but noting Independents (at 64%) whose support the Gov. needs to win in November, and Republicans (52%) who will likely vote in the primary), who live in Louisville (75%) and Eastern (66%) and NorthCentral (65%) Kentucky. The Gov. fared best in Western Kentucky (with 56% disapproval rating). Click here to see how other Governors fared in their respective polls.

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Trump grants Miss USA reprieve, orders rehab.

It sounds that Donald Trump has agreed to give Miss USA a reprieve, granting her a second chance, as she has agreed to enter rehab (for drugs (Cocaine), alcohol, sex, I presume?). Read it here. Good for both of them. Yea, that good ol' rehab. When everything else fails in the celebrity world and world of politics you volunteer rehab. Well, she's off the political bandwagon now.


Monday, December 18, 2006

Bob Gates is in as Ahmedinejad is, hopefully, on his way out.

Robert Gates was sworn in today as the new Secretary of Defense, saying Iraq is his top priority as he ushers in a new era we hope will bring lasting solutions to the problems of Iraq and the Middle East. Read it here. Coincidentally, in Iraq things seem to be improving for the West. As reported, opponents of hardline President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad are leading, and poised to control councils across Iran. For example, former President Hashemi Rafsanjani, a reformer and moderate who lost to Ahmadinejad in the 2005 presidential election runoff, drew the most votes of any Tehran candidate to win a seat on the Assembly of Experts -- an Assembly responsible for selecting Iranian Presidents. This cannot be seen as anything but good news for the U. S. in the Middle East.

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No Peppy primary, self-promoting clown and windbag, and etc. .

All I can say is for you to read Herb Brock's update on the 2007 Governor's election. The article speaks for itself.

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Ethics loom as another Dem. ticket forms & former Fletcher aide is charged.

Another Democratic ticket is stepping forward to run for the Governor's office. This time, joining the announced tickets headed by Otis Hemsley and Johnathan Miller, is that of Steve Beshear who wants to bring "mature, honest leadership with integrity ... [that's] been sorely missing for some time." Other candidates, including Bruce Lunsford and Gatewood Galbrait (and maybe others) are expected to enter the race soon. Beshear's running mate is Sen. Dan Mongiardo, a "peripheral advisor" to DANPAC, who is facing ethics investigation that Beshear expects to "be resolved very shortly".
Meanwhile, we learn that the Ethics Commission has charged Dan Druen, former indicted and pardoned aide to Gov. Fletcher, with various violations of the merit system laws. Each of the TEN counts carries a possible $5,000.00 fine and loss of state employment. However, Mr. Druen no longer works for the Commonwealth as he was one of those fired by Fletcher at the height of the merit investigation by Greg Stumbo. You can read the charges here. The Commission, through its Counsel, makes clear that others involved with the merit system violations ought to "start sweating".

Update: In an update to this story, the Herald-Leader is quoting Dan Druen as stating today that "[i]n fact, everything I did was pursuant to a directive from my supervisors, top to bottom, including the governor, in advancement of the very initiative that carried his name." This claim is similar to the one Druen made early on in the investigation, wherein he stated that at a meeting he handed the "hit list" to the Gov. who then handed it to Basil Turbyfil, his Efficiency Director. Druen's account of events is disputed by the Transportation Cabinet Secretary, Bill Nighbert, who stated that the Gov. was not involved.

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Sunday, December 17, 2006

Episcopals splitting over Gay clergy.

The Episcopal church is split over the issue of the ordination of gay priests. Two of the largest Episcopal parishes in Virginia, TRUROR Church in Fairfax (where George Washington worshipped) and The Falls Church in Falls Church, voted overwhelmingly today to break away and join fellow Anglican conservatives forming a rival U.S. denomination.
The two churches plan to place themselves under the leadership of Anglican Archbishop Peter Akinola of Nigeria, who has called the growing acceptance of gay relationships a "satanic attack" on the church. The archbishop hopes to create a U.S. alliance of disaffected parishes called the Convocation of Anglicans in North America. As an Anglican myself and someone who has followed this issue very closely, I predict that a GREAT multitude of Episcopalians will abandon the church and opt for the U. S. alliance or join other conservative churches. My father, who is a Registrar of an Anglican Diocese and a traditionalist, has already renounced Gay clergy.


Saturday, December 16, 2006

Congratulations. You are Time magazine's Person of the Year.

If you reading this content, please accept my congratulations as Time magazine's Person of the Year. The annual honor for 2006 went to each and every one of us -- the citizens of the new digital democracy, who are responsible for the significan shift from institutions to individuals, by using or creating content on the World Wide Web -- such as Bloggers and their readers.

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"Bayh"-passing '08, as Edwards readies for Obama & Clinton, etc. .

Indiana Sen. Evan Bayh has announced that he won't be a contender for the 2008 Presidential election. Meanwhile, former N. C. Senator and John Kerry's '04 running mate, John Edwards, is planning to announce that he will run. I suspect Eva Bayh will be a STRONG contender for Edwards' running mate. Meanwhile, everyone is waiting to hear from Obama and Clinton, two of the STRONGEST Democratic contenders for the office.

On another subject, many of you have heard about the missing climbers and all the efforts being made to rescue them. My question is: should tax payers continue to foot the bill for such EXPENSIVE rescues, especially when these folks needing to be rescued take such DANGEROUS - and perhaps - unnecessary RECREATIONAL risks?

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Friday, December 15, 2006

Pageant set to uncrown Kentucky's Miss USA.

The Miss USA pageant organizers will dethrone Miss USA Tara Conner of Kentucky. An announcement is expected soon. She will be replaced by first runner-up Tamiko Nash. Miss Conner has been accused of conduct unbecoming her crown for excessive partying and "wilding" while in New York City. We hate to see her lose her crown ... but maybe with her popularity and all, she can file for political office before the filing deadline of January 30th.


Persons for the week: Ban Ki - Moon and Robert Gates.

The eyes of the world rests on the two men that I have chosen as the Persons for this week. The two men are the new Secretary-General of the United Nations, Ban ki-Moon of South Korea and Robert Gates, the new U. S. secretary of Defense. Both men (pictured above, with the men they will be replacing - Ban Ki with Kofi and Bob with "Rummy"), who will take their offices about a month apart from each other (Ban Ki-Moon on January 1st and Bob Gates on Monday the 18th of December), are expected by nearly everyone to shoulder, and attempt to find solutions to, much of the world's burdens and problems, ranging from the dire situations in the Middle East (Iraq in particular) and Africa (Dafur in particular). That is what sets these two apart, in my view, and uniquely qualified them as this blog's persons for the week.

On another note, if there was an insect of the week category, the little female Anopheles mosquito will definitely win the recognition. The mosquito, which spreads the parasite that causes malaria and spreads untold misery in Africa and elsewhere, including the enabling of the aids virus, is the subject of a White House summit that started yesterday. And you thought size equates to might.


Quotes for the week.

1) "When [America] appears to abandon its own ideals and objectives, its friends abroad are naturally troubled and confused."
- Secretary-General Kofi Annan, the outgoing United Nations leader, taking a parting shot at President Bush and his foreign policy in a farewell speech. Annan's replacement, Ban Ki-Moon of South Korea, was sworn in yesterday and will take over the post on January 1st, 2007.

2) "You know, I'd like to be in the majority, but I don't want to do it that way."
- Sen. Trent Lott of Mississippi, showing remarkable restraint while others played politics with the life of South Dakota Sen. Tim Johnson, who underwent brain surgery.


Ethics panel rebuffs Stumbo.

The Executive Branch Ethics Commission has rebuffed attempts by Greg Stumbo to reverse its "advisory" opinion stating that it would be a conflict of interest for him to run for governor after prosecuting Fletcher for alleged merit system improprieties. Though the challenged opinion does not have the force of law, ignoring the Commission's opinion could set off an ethics investigation. The next political move is Stumbo's as the ball is now in his side of the court. It will be interesting to see if the decision quells his gubernatorial ambitions or if he chooses to ignore the Commission's "advise".

Is Billy Harper a Reagan Republican?

Yesterday, I had a conversation with the Billy Harper campaign and was impressed with his Reagan Republican ideas about the role of government. This is good news for all of us who consider ourselves Abraham Lincoln/Ronald Reagan Conservatives. As his campaign continues, we will get a better sense of where he stands on a lot of issues that are dear to Conservatives' hearts and that are geared towards moving (maybe, shoving is the appropriate term here) Kentucky forward, in order for Kentucky to catch up with the rest of the country and stop thanking God for Mississippi.

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Thursday, December 14, 2006

Poll results are in.

Here are the results of my hugely UNSCIENTIFIC polls:

The winner for the Republican party is: The Governor, with 49% of the vote, followed by Hal Rogers (30.2%) and Anne Northup with 13.2%). Please NOTE that ONLY Fletcher and Billy Harper have announced they are running, so the results may reflect that reality or may just be a result of name recognition (which is the first step in winning an election).

The winner for the Democratic party is: "Other", meaning somebody else other than who I've got listed. This is understandable since many of the names I listed ended up dropping out of the race and/or not announcing yet. Following "other" are Gatewood Galbraith and Greg Stumbo tied at 13% each, Steve Henry and Berenton Jones tied at 12.3% each and Jack Conway at 7.7% (3% points above Otis Hemsley).

I will re-run these polls again once the players are known to get a more accurate (but STILL unscientific) result, but for now this is all we get -- for whatever the polls are worth.

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Steve Pence for Attorney General?

Steve Pence has appeared on the news now more frequently than he has been for a while, leading me to conclude that he IS more likely than not to be running for office in 2007. But for what office? My money is on Governor or Attorney General, though if I was a betting man I'll put all my poker chips on Attorney General. In fact, I have heard unconfirmed rumors to that effect which I am apt to believe because they jibe with my thinking on the issue. Until confirmed, however, take this post as a confirmation of nothing but my hunch which I suspect will be proven true in due course.

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Bible-totting Bluegrass Boychick.

I just read Ryan Alessi's Pol watcher and had to chuckle at the description of our Treasurer, and soon-to-be gubernatorial candidate (an announcement is expected tomorrow that Irv Mize, Jefferson county Attorney, will be his running mate), Johnathan Miller as a Boychick. Let's hope the term is a term of endearment among Jews or New Yorkers.

Update: The term "Boychick" is a Yiddish term of affection for "a boy". Interesting.

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Bush's White House holds malaria summit.

A few posts ago, I posted a medical report here about how malaria and aids work hand in hand, and suggested that eradication of malaria (or its prevention) is a necessary step in halting the spread of aids, particularly in the tropics where both diseases are epidemic. Malaria is caused by one-celled parasites called plasmodiums which are transmitted by the female Anopheles mosquitoes when they bite humans to feed on their blood. I have had several bouts of malaria and know how horrible it is. But to know that we can curtail the spread of aids by using preventive measures, such as tents and the "quinine" family of drugs, should give us hope for the future. So it is especially gratifying to see president Bush taking a leading role on this malaria/aids issue and holding a White House summit. More news is available here.

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Pence aims to UNITE the state.

Lt. Governor, Steve Pence, is urging the spread of the anti-drug program UNITE from Eastern Kentucky to the rest of the state. Read it here. The Unlawful Narcotics Investigations, Treatment and Education (UNITE) was founded in 2003 by U. S. Rep. Hal Rogers, who has directed more than $33 million in federal funds for the program through 2009. To UNITE the state, more funding is needed. I must confess I do not know much about the program or how successful it is. However, in my view, considering that the scourge of drugs has reached epidemic proportions and is fastly destroying families in our Commonwealth on a daily basis, Pence's call to extend the UNITE program (assuming it has proven successful) to areas other than Eastern Kentucky should be answered. Maybe, now that we have U. S. Rep. Ben Chandler joining Hal Rogers on the House Appropriations Committee, Senator Mitch McConnell on the Senate side (and Senator Jim Bunning on the Budget committee), we can expect our Congressional delegation to find additional federal funds (together with any available state funds) to get this idea off the ground and running.

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Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Nighbert testifies he alone, not Fletcher, fired Duncan.

Transportation Cabinet Secretary, Bill Nighbert, testified today before the personel board, that he alone fired Mike Duncan, the Cabinet's former Deputy Inspector General, and Gov. Fletcher had nothing to do with it. This statement, as John Stemper of the Herald-Leader points out, contradicts statement made by others implicated in the merit hiring investigations. You can read the entire story here. No comment is necessary from me at this point until all the evidence is in. Stay tuned.

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FEC gets tough with 527s, but real cure is SORELY missing.

The Federal Election Commission (FEC) has gotten tough with 527s (named after the section of the IRS code that creates them). 527s are allowed to spend nearly unlimited amounts of money to address issues that "do not advocate for or against a candidate or coordinate their activities with a candidate's campaign", but are barred from accepting contributions from labor unions, corporations and more than $5,000 a year from individuals. The FEC fined the three groups -- Swift Boat Veterans and POWs for Truth (remember the Kerry ads), Voter Fund (for anti-Bush ads), and the League of Conservation Voters 527 and 527 II -- $630,000.00 for either raising funds or paying for activities supporting or opposing Bush and Kerry presidential bids. Read it here.
I support 527s because I believe that they play an important informative role in our democracy -- if used properly within the rigid guidelines set up for them. Unfortunately some of these 527s skirt the rules, as these fines demonstrate, and we can expect to see more of them in the future. To cure what ails 527s, we should have them identify which candidate they support (when they mention the opposing candidate by name or inference) and have the supported candidate "approve this message", just as we do now with candidate paid political advertising.

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Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Back to Kentucky as Steve Pence takes aim at pardon power.

Meanwhile back here in Kentucky, we learn that Lt. Gov. Steve Pence is pushing the Legislature to limit the Governor's broad pardoning power so future governors cannot use that power to skirt legal scrutiny. "Clearly, the pardons that are pre-emptive -- where you don't know the name of the person or the charges against that person -- are very problematic, ... If the government engages in something that hides the ball, the public will lose respect for the law," Pence is quoted as saying while making it clear he was not refering to Gov. Fletcher. Attorney General Stumbo weighed in with a suggestion that the legislature be able to ratify gubernatorial pardons, which led Pence to state that it would likely "politicize the problem even more." Stay tuned for any future developments on this topic.

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Congress tanks, too.

So you thought president Bush was the only one fairing poorly with CNN/Gallup poll respondents, right? Well ... wrong. According to the poll, only 15% of the respondents viewed the Senate as ethical while 14% had the same view for the House! As it stands now, Congress is in STIFF competition with used car salesmen. The bright spot? Lawyers are viewed more favorably than both -- not much comfort, though, to a Lwyer like me. So grab a bottle of Maalox and see where your profession ranks by clicking here.

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Iraq war tanks how voters expect history will view Bush.

New CNN/Gallop poll results show Bush viewed more unfavourably than his six predecesors. According to the poll results which asked responders how history will view the Bush Presidency, a 54% majority says Bush will be judged as a below-average or poor president, more than double the negative rating given any of his five most recent predecessors. Just 19% thought history will view him as outstanding or above average. Rated highest? Ronald Reagan, followed by Bill Clinton. View the poll results here. It is suspected that the war continues to be a drag on Bush's approval ratings. Maybe, just maybe, history will be kinder and gentler to Bush once a pessimistic nation once a costly, according to poll results, Iraq war is resolved.

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Monday, December 11, 2006

House GOP set to undo "regressive" tax.

The Kentucky House GOP leadership announced today that they plan to pre-file bill(s) to undo the provisions of the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) passed as a part of Gov. Fletcher's tax modernization package of 2005. The "regressive" tax", which exempts companies with gross profits or gross receipts of less than $3 million while businesses with up to $6 million in gross receipts or profits get a rate reduction -- others get a base charge of $175 -- is "estimated to have delivered $190 million to $200 million into the state’s coffers since its passage", according to caucus chair, Jeff Hoover.
I could be wrong, but I opine that the law is probably a victim of unintended consequences -- meaning that I do not believe anyone expected the tax to be so "regressive" and "onerous" or uneeded as it turned out to be. Nonetheless, I am ALWAYS receptive to an idea that returns tax money to taxpayers. A good government is always one that attempts to govern (or in this case, tax) the least.

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Sunday, December 10, 2006

Malaria and Aids work hand in hand!

Just a few weeks ago we celebrated RED day to help find a cure for aids. Now we learn that the aids virus is helped in its spread by malaria, a disease of the tropics. You can read the medical report. Here is an excerpt: "Once malaria gets into the blood of a person with HIV, it increases the level of the HIV virus by up to ten times during a malaria fever episode. This significantly increases the risk of them infecting a sexual partner with HIV. And once a person has HIV, they are more susceptible to malaria, and so it continues. This could explain why HIV is spreading more quickly than through sexual transmission alone in that region".
This sounds to me like eradicating and/or preventing malara is a good place to start on the road to treating and preventing the spread of aids (especially in the tropics), other than through protected sex. Investing now in malaria preventive measures and medicines should prove to be the wise and prudent course for the future.


Just a reminder: Polls will end Dec. 14th.

I just want to remind everyone that the UNSCIENTIFIC polls on this blog site will end on Dec. 14th. If you want your vote to count, please vote before then. The results will be posted here on the 15th -- for whatever anyone wants them to be worth. I will have another poll(s) running afterwards, probably to do with the match-ups of the winners from the present polls, but not sure what the subjects will be yet.


Iraqi govt. dislikes ISG report; other Arab nations welcome it.

The Iraqi President, Jalal Talabani, pictured above, expresses reservations about the Iraq Study Group's (ISG) report calling it "an insult to Iraqi's" and a "dangerous document [that] undermines Iraqi sovereingty". Meanwhile the rest of the Arab world appears to welcome it, including Iran. One wonders if Talabani's reservations are not an unspoken concern about Iran's welcoming of the report, and/or of frustration at what he sees as America's desire to "punt" the heavy -- and unbalanced -- load (financially speaking) of a war Iraqis may now view as "America's war".

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William Jefferson wins Lousiana run-off.

William Jefferson, U. S. Rep. from Louisiana who was implicated in a bribery scandal and $90,000.00 was found in his freezer, has won a run-off election -- he is headed back to Washington. Read it here. This win came about in spite of the fact that the local Democratic leadership refused to endorse his candidacy and he has the threat of an indictment hanging over his head. I wonder how Nancy Pelosi is going to handle this one. Meanwhile, it proves the Louisiana (Kentucky, too?) adage that the only way for an incumbent to lose an election is to be caught in bed with a dead woman or a live boy.

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Saturday, December 09, 2006

GOP era ends in Congress ... for now.

The GOP controlled Congress, dubbed the "do nothing" Congress by its ditractors, ended its era during the wee morning hours of today setting the stage for Democratic control. All eyes are now on the Democrats, represented by Nancy Pelosi in the House and Harry Reid in the Senate, to prove they can deliver for the American people and "do something". Otherwise, it won't be long before the voters get another chance to act as a jury -- to deliver a verdict and pass political judgment, in the form of a change of the party controlling Congress.

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Friday, December 08, 2006

Persons for the week: The Iraq Study Group.

I have decided that this blog should also, in addition to the quote(s) for the week, have a person or persons for the week - and for the month, and for the year. The person or persons selected will be the one(s) that have had the most impact on the news for the week, month or year, whether that news is good or bad. So for this blog's first persons for the week, I choose the members of the Iraq Study Group (ISG). The Group is headed by Co-chairs James A. Baker, 111, and Lee Hamilton. I believe the group has shown enough courage, fortitude, patriotism and most importantly newsworthiness - the only real criteria for this award - to merit recognition as the persons for this week.


Fletcher : I don't need party leaders' support to win - again.

Gov. Fletcher says he doesn't need party leaders' support to win, just like he didn't need it to win in 2003. He says he will win by taking his campaign to the people. Read it here. He also said that his opponent Billy Harper's campaign won't last past the primary. On another campaign point, Ryan Alessi and Mark Herbet are both reporting on Pol watchers and On the Mark that there is a scheduled announcement on Monday by Beshear and Mongiordo. Expect them to announce their candidacy for the Democratic ticket for Governor. Stay tuned.

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Quotes for the week.

I have come to conclude, prematurely maybe, that the week is too long and events (both here and abroad) too numerous to just have one quote for the week. So until there is only one notable quote in an entire week, I shall not limit myself to choosing one quote for the week. I shall instead let events as they unfold dictate to me how many quote(s) for the week we will have. I hope you continue to come back (or sign up for email updates) to find out. Thank you for reading, and here goes this week's quotes for the week:

1) "It's like saying everybody can have a meal but only people with [a particular] skin can get the dessert".
- Justice Anthony Kennedy, U. S. Supreme Court Justice, in a quote that suggests the flawed logic, and probable dooming, of public school diversity programs that use race as a factor in deciding where students go to school.

2) "Ernie Fletcher is the David Koresh of Kentucky Republican politics. He's boarded the windows and locked the doors and said, 'Take it from us, we'll burn it to the ground."
- Ted jackson, KY Republican campaign consultant and U. S. Rep. Anne Northup's campaign chairman, "dissing" the Gov. and infuriating his staunch supporters.

3) "It is a report to solve American problems, not to solve Iraq's problems."
- Ayad al-Sammarai, an influential Sunni Muslim politician, showing disatisfaction with the Iraq Study Group report, while obviously oblivious to the reality that Iraqis will have to eventually control their own destiny.


President Bush meets with "Blue Dog" Democrats.

I am watching Fox News now which is reporting that the President is meeting with so called "Blue Dog" Democrats (no yellow in their color), the Conservative wing of Congressional Democrats, who will most likely see eye-to-eye with Conservatives in the Republican Party. They are rumored to be about 60 in the House alone, probably enough to make a difference in the president's push to get some of his Conservative agenda (or what's left of it) passed into law. It is unknown how many of them are in the Senate, but its a sure good sign that we may have a moderate Conservative Congress in the making. That IS welcome GOOD news indeed.

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Berenton Jones is out.

Berenton Jones is not going to run for Governor in 2007. Stay tuned for more developments.

Update, 12:45 p. m.: It is now official. Berenton Jones has bowed out of the Governor's race. You can read it here. Here is his statement: "I greatly appreciate the strong encouragement that we have gotten from all around the state to run for governor. However, after much prayerful consideration both Libby (his wife) and I have determined that this is not the appropriate decision for us at this stage or our lives. We extend our sincere thanks to all those who have been so supportive and encouraging".
I do not know about you but something happened between my prediction that Jones will run (based on the video posted here showing him saying that he was definitely running) and today. I suspect his decision was based on the vitroil tossed his way by Steve Henry (stating that Jones' administration was the worst in Kentucky history - ouch!) and Courier-Journal's editorial by David Hawpe (which I agreed with here, and which was cited by Ryan Alessi on Pol watchers) that Jones will not make a good Democratic candidate at this time. For Democrats, it is now up to the new comers (who we may not know of yet) and the new breed (who we have been hearing of, or speculating about, lately).

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Kenny Bishop, Grammy nominee.

Many of you who were actively involved in the state campaigns of 2003 will remember Kenny Bishop. Kenny was a devoted and valuable member of Gov. Fletcher's campaign and often would chauffer the Gov. around to his numerous campaign events. He is now the Executive Director of the Governor's mansion. Kenny often sang at events and I knew he could sing and I enjoyed his musical renditions. So it is not surprising that he finally got nominated for a Grammy. Way to go, Kenny. We will be rooting for you.

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Thursday, December 07, 2006

Stumbo seeks to remove gubernatorial impediment ...

... but says not to read too much into it, but we will. Can you guess whether Stumbo will run for office, and if so, which office he's preparing to run for? Well, let me give you a couple of tips, if you need them: #1) He has a bumper sticker on his suv that reads: Stunmbo '07. Still baffled? Here is tip #2) He is asking the Executive Branch Ethics commission to reverse its opinion that suggested it is a conflict of interest for him to run for Governor, since he was prosecuting the Governor for merit system violations. Now there you have it. Pat yourselves on the back.

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A quick update on the Iraq Study Group report.

When this blog discusssed the Iraq Study Group's Report, it was mostly the military and political problems and suggestions that were presented. As a Lawyer, I should have also mentioned the suggestions regarding the legal processes in Iraq. Retired U. S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'connor is a member of the group, and thanks to her this blog can bring you some of the legal recommendations. The report recommended that the Bush administration provide "strong" support and funding for US Justice Department efforts in Iraq "to establish courts; to train judges, prosecutors, and investigators; and to create institutions and practices to fight corruption." The report stated that "new and refurbished courthouses with improved physical security, secure housing for judges and judicial staff, witness protection facilities, and a new Iraqi Marshals Service are essential parts of a secure and functioning system of justice." You can read the report for additional information.

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Christian Conservatives chagrined.

One reason many Christians identify with the Conservative political party is a feeling that the chosen party adheres to their basic principles and beliefs, two of which are the abhorrence of homosexuality and bearing a child out of wedlock. Dick Cheney, our V. P., is considered by these Christians one of their own. So it is obviously shocking for them to learn that Dick Cheney's daughter, Mary Cheney, is a Lesbian expecting a child, with her "partner", concieved out of wedlock. To not appear to be hypocrites, Christian Conservatives will have to walk a fine line deciding between responding by pretending nothing is amiss, disowning (or disassociating themselves from) the Cheneys or hating the sin but not the sinner(s). How they choose to respond will go a long way in winning converts or being ridiculed.

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Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Senate confirms Gates with Bunning and Santorum voting NAYs!

The Washington post is reporting that the U. S. Senate QUICKLY confirmed Robert Gates as I had predicted -- well, almost as I had predicted. The final vote tally was 95 to 2 and my prediction on yesterday's posting here was that it would be 98 to 2, so where were the other 3 Senators anyway? Two Senators, Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania, who lost re-election, and Kentucky Senator, Jim Bunning, cast the 2 NAY votes. They both cited Gates' critisism of the Iraqi war and his suggestion that Iran should be engaged as a part of the Middle East solution as reasons for their votes. These nay votes came in spite of Senator Mitch McConnell's flattering remarks about Robert Gates: "The position of secretary of defense is more important than ever, and I believe the President has made an outstanding choice".
Go figure. Here's hoping Robert Gates gets to work IMMEDIATELY to begin the implementation of the Iraqi Study Group's (ISG) recommendations.

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Sen. Bunning plays "waiting game" with an "unhappy" Fletcher.

Back to Kentucky politics where we learn today that Kentucky's junior U. S. Senator, Jim Bunning, declined to endorse the re-election efforts of Gov. Fletcher. Read it here. That is not overly surprising on its face considering that a Republican primary is brewing and party leaders rarely support any candidates in the primary, though one would have expected that a sitting governor would enjoy the "unbridled" support of his party's leadership. What surprises is not only did Bunning not offer support, he joins others, like Senator Mitch McConnell, and cranks up the continuing waiting game also reported after the RPK steering committee meeting last week. Moreover Bunning, who may have already spoken with others in the party heirachy, sends an unmistaking signal by confirming that his "[lack of support for] an incumbent Republican governor [is because of a decision regarding] ... whether Anne Northup might run or Hal Rogers might run."

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Iraq Study Group (ISG) issues a candid and sobering report.

The long awaited Iraq Study Group (ISG) has issued a candid and sobering 160 page report on Iraq. The report makes 79 recommendations for dealing with the "dire" situation in Iraq and "areas wider than it". I have only glanced at the report, but you can read it in its entirety by clicking on "report" above. The first thing in the report that jumps out at you is its preamble: "Many Americans are dissatisfied, not just with the situation in Iraq but with the state of our political debate regarding Iraq. Our political leaders must build a bipartisan approach to bring a responsible conclusion to what is now a lengthy and costly war. Our country deserves a debate that prizes substance over rhetoric, and a policy that is adequately funded and sustainable. The President and Congress must work together. Our leaders must be candid and forthright with the American people in order to win their support".
Amongst the many observations and recommendations of the group, that I quickly noticed and which were not already discussed in my previous post on the subject, are: 1) "We do not recommend a 'stay the course' solution. In our opinion, that approach is no longer viable"; 2) "The U. S. must focus on an area wider than Iraq and must push for U. S. - Arab peace, incl. direct talks b/w Syria and Israel. ... U. S. diplomatic efforts should include engaging all of Iraq's neighbors, incl. the United Nations"; 3) A Five fold increase in U. S. forces training Iraqis so that Bush's goal of an "Iraq that can govern itself, sustain itself and defend itself" can be met; 4) The U. S. should not pull out "precipitously" from Iraq since doing so will cause a "bloodbath"; but adding more combat troops or "splitting Iraq into [factions]" is not the answer. President Bush, while stating that "we probably won't agree with every proposal", nonetheless "promise[d] to take the recommendations ... which brings some really very interesting proposals ... very seriously ... and act on it in a timely matter".
I hope President Bush means what he says and says what he means with respect to this report. It is time to find a formula that works not just in Iraq but in the Middle East as a whole. And this report appears likely to hold the magic key to unlocking the Middle East mystery. The Senate must do its part to immediately confirm Robert Gtaes so that he can start to quickly implement these recommendations.

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Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Dyche warns of Republican bleak winter, as Harper hires campaign manager and AG post heats up.

John David Dyche has penned another one of his very insightful columns in which he warns of an impending political bleak winter for Republicans. He suggests former U. S. Representative, Anne Northup, as a candidate who would bring Republicans back some summertime sunshine, I guess. Also, today we learn from the ever so resourceful Ryan Alessi that my good friend Tim Coleman will be running for Attorney General. I have just spoken with Tim and confirmed it. I will have more on Tim later, but he is a man I HIGHLY respect and proud to call a GOOD friend. And, we hear talk about Rep. Stan Lee and others showing some interest, too. Meanwhile, Ryan, again, is informing us that Billy Harper, who will "spend what it takes" to run for Governor has hired a credible campaign manager who learned about Harper through "reading stories online". Check out Ryan's report on "pol watchers".

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U. S. Supreme Court: No automatic deportations for misdemeanor offenders.

The U. S. Supreme Court, in an excellent 8-1 opinion (Justice Clarence Thomas was the lone dissenter) issued today, has ruled that legal immigrants holding green cards cannot be subject to automatic deportations for commiting minor crimes, even when a state classifies those minor crimes as felonies. Souter said that helping someone else possess cocaine does not constitute "illicit trafficking" under federal law. As such, he added (CORRECTLY I might add): "The government's reading would render the law of alien removal … dependent on varying state criminal classifications," rather than federal law.


Bob Gates: US not winning Iraq war, etc. .

I am sitting here actively multitasking (listening to confirmation hearings for Defense Secretary designee, Robert Gates, etc.). Dr. Gates, as he was often referred to, admitted that the U. S. was not winning the Iraqi war, that political (and not military) solutions were needed -- particularly of Iraqis controlling their own destiny -- and that Osama Bin Laden, and NOT Saddam Hussein, was directly responsible for 9/11. Refreshing, isn't it? Dr. Gates also indicated that all options were open in Iraq, including "drawing down our forces". Stay tuned for more updates as words of note are uttered by him.
Update #1 at 12:00 p. m.: The Senate confirmation hearing is on a lunch recess. Here are a few new words for Dr. Gates: Dr. Gates promised independence in his new job, if confirmed. He also warned of "regional conflagration" in the Middle East and Senator Hilary Clinton elicited from him that he would, just as Bush senior was able to do during the gulf war, "defer to the military commanders in the field" -- signaling for the first time a dramatic shift in management style from "Rummy's" "hands-on-dictate-to-the-commanders-in-the-field. And ironically, President Bush is getting a "heads up" briefing from the Iraq war study group (as James Baker's group can loosely be called) today to be followed tomorrow at 7:00 a. m. (est) by a more fuller report. The Senate committee handling Dr. Gate's confirmation hopes to send his nomination (I predict without any nay votes) to the full Senate for a vote by tomorrow. Stay tuned for more updates (I will be in a jury trial this afternoon and will update later).
Update #2 at 5:50 p. m.: I am now making it back after my jury trial and running errands and so missed the afternoon session of Robert Gates' confirmation. However, his testimony reveals that he is 180 degrees the opposite of "Rummy". Also, he was confirmed with no NAY votes as I had predicted. As Senate Armed Services Committee Chair, John Warner, gushed in announcing the panel's unanimous vote: "America got a good look at this extraordinary nominee, ... [who would make] a strong adviser to the President of the United States."
Now let's move on to the full Senate where his confirmation I predict to be unanimous, or at least 98 to 0, with 2 abstentions.

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Monday, December 04, 2006

John Bolton "bolts" from the UN (pun intended).

The embattled U. S. Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the United Nations, John Bolton has "bolted" from the world body (pun intended). Read it here. A recess appointee for the past one year, it became clear to President Bush that Democrats (who now control both Houses of Congress) and a few vocal Republicans doomed Bolton's prospects for permanent confirmation. Without permanent confirmation, Bolton would have been constitutionally unable to draw a salary. I'm sure John Bolton loves his job very much and would love to serve his country, but who wants to do the job for free? Anyway, I hope the President picks someone with more tact and diplomacy and less confrontation and biligerance -- like my favorite person, Bush Senior's former Secretary of State, James A. Baker, 111.

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$2.1 million ... and still counting!

$2.1 million ... and still counting, is the best way to describe the costs of the merit system investigations by the Grand Jury. This is because some of the costs cannot be objectively tabulated and some other bills may be forth coming. Read it here. Already, the participants in the political drama are pointing accusatory fingers at each other for the huge costs, but the voters out there will have the real decisions to make regarding the responsible party(ies) deserving to pay the ultimate political price in 2007.

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Sunday, December 03, 2006

Our ally, Saudi Arabia, takes a giant step ...

... will allow women to sell cars, but not drive them. Wow. Believe it or not, women own most cars but must hire men to drive them. What's next -- allowing women to walk side by side with their husbands or sit together with men?


Republicans play waiting game.

Ryan Alessi is reporting that the Gov. and his primary opponent, Billy Harper, both recieved cool receptions at the Republican Steering Committee meeting in Frankfort yesterday, amidst speculation that Anne Northup may run for the office. It sounded like many were taking a wait-and-see attitude. What struck me as odd though was this statement from the Gov. touting his non-partisanship to show that the merit investigation was misplaced: Fletcher said the fact that 61 percent of the political appointees he's chosen for high-ranking posts have been Democrats makes it "very clear I've not been a partisan governor."
Oh well.
Also, I was unable to make it to Mike Duncan's reception, but I was informed that it was well attended by Senator Mitch McConnell, Gov. Fletcher and about 150 - 200 party faithful. I wish Mike Duncan well and I know he will do wonders for the RNC.

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Friday, December 01, 2006

One reason the Japanese "eat our lunch".

This post is off the political beaten path, but I think it important. A few days ago, Ford Motor Company announced that thousands of its workers had opted to accept its offer and take early retirements. The news came on the heels of the company getting several billion dollar loans to sure up the company. Today, the news media announced that Toyota sold more cars here in the U. S. than Ford did. Here is the simple reason why: the Camry. If I were a Ford Executive, I would copy the Camry and paste them in Ford showrooms, figuratively speaking of course, but seriously. Japanese car manufacturers did it before to U. S. auto manufacturers back in the 70's, and now in Abraham Linclon's sage view, turn about should be fair play.


Pelosi reaches out to Hispanics, picks Reyes for top intelligence spot.

For the all powerful and heavily contested House Intelligence Committee Chair, House Speker in waiting, Nancy Pelosi, picks Rep. Sylvestre Reyes, a Hispanic House member. Here is how Reyes is described: "Border-Patrol-agent-turned-congressman" and a "Purple Heart winner who was drafted into the Army and served during 1966-68 as a helicopter crew chief and gunner. His service included 13 months in Vietnam." I do not know more about the nominee, but I wonder if Nancy Pelosi wanted to reach out to Hispanics to deflect the accolades Republicans recieved for picking Senator Martinez to lead the RNC.

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Quotes for the week.

Here are quotes for this week:

1) "Senator Trent Lott [once ousted as a Senate leader due to accusations of racial insensitivity] won election... as Senate Minority Whip. [He] was disappointed to learn this doesn't mean he gets to whip minorities."
- Seth Myers' attempt at humor on Saturday Night Live.

2.a) "It's worse than a civil war. In a civil war, you at least know which factions are fighting each other. We don't even know that anymore. It's so bloody confused.”
A senior Iraqi government official commenting on the obvious, a few hours after a National Security Council spokesman, Gordon Johndroe, denied Iraq is in a civil war.

2.b) "I can say that Iraqi forces will be ready, fully ready, to... command its own forces, and I can tell you that by next June our forces will be ready."
Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, giving hope to millions of Americans

3) "I have always been an underdog and a long shot. I've always been inspired by the stories of ordinary citizens who worked hard, overcame adversity and succeeded."
Gov. Tom Vilsack, the Iowa Democrat, in a statement that should inspire many of us, announcing his run for the presidency.

Fletcher's Cabinet Secretary, Gene Strong, resigns.

Gene Strong, Fletcher's Cabinet Secretary (?) for Economic Development, has announced his resignation effective January 31st. This leaves Robbie Rudolph as the only Cabinet Secretary left from Fletcher's first team. Strong's departure comes on the heels of some intensive media scrutiny over the way Kentucky state government doles out large monetary incentives to attract business investments and the Legislature's willingness to provide some transperency in the incentive program. Whether or not this had anything to do with Strong's depature ahead of the Legislative session is a source of speculation for me. One thing is clear though: the depature gives the Gov. a chance to incorporate the Economic Development cabinet into the Commerce Cabinet and make it a department or office there, a move the Gov. wanted to make but was rebuffed by Mr. Strong and his backers who prevailed in the end.

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It's world's aids day; wear red and help stamp out apathy to find a cure.

Today is world aids day. Please help observe it, by wearing red and participating in the red campaign. As Joel Pett's cartoon clearly illustrates, apathy has killed more than the aids disease. Knowing that aids is NOT necessarily a choice of lifestyle ailment -- many acquire aids from blood transfusions, etc. -- let's give apathy the boot it deserves and stamp out aids.

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