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Monday, May 31, 2010

On This Memorial Day, Remember "Those Who Gave The Last Measure Of Devotion" To Their Country And Country Men/Women.

Happy Memorial Day to those who made the ultimate sacrifices so that we may live in peace and freedom.


You Won't Be Laughing At This "VICIOUS" Cycle. *SIGH*.


Sunday, May 30, 2010

In Spite Of Organized Liberal Media's Frontal "ASSAULT" Of Dr. Rand Paul, New Poll Finds Their Efforts For Naught As He Leads Jack CONway.

Rand Paul holds 6-point lead over Jack Conway in U.S. Senate race
By Joseph Gerth

Republican Rand Paul leads Democrat Jack Conway by 6 points in Kentucky's closely watched U.S. Senate race, according to a Courier-Journal/WHAS11 Bluegrass Poll.

The new poll -- in which 569 likely voters were questioned by telephone -- found Paul would beat Conway by a margin of 51 percent to 45 percent if the election were held today.

Paul's lead, however, falls within the poll's margin of error, which is plus or minus 4.2 percentage points. Only 4 percent of likely voters said they were undecided in the poll, which was conducted May 25-27 by SurveyUSA.

The seat, which Republican Jim Bunning has held since 1998, is one that Democrats believe they have a good chance of capturing in the Nov. 2 election.

But Conway has work to do among several key demographic groups if he expects to beat Paul, including independents and voters in the 35-49 age group, the Bluegrass Poll shows.

In the early days of the race, Paul has tried to paint Conway as being too liberal for Kentucky voters, while Conway has tried to characterize Paul as outside the mainstream with his libertarian beliefs.

The poll was conducted one week after a political firestorm erupted when Paul appeared on MSNBC and suggested that businesses should have the right to discriminate on the basis of race, even through he said he finds racism abhorrent.

He backtracked the following day, saying that government was right to prohibit businesses that are open to the public from discriminating.
Clear-cut divisions

The poll results are similar to those from a Daily Kos survey conducted by Research 2000 earlier in the week, which found Paul leading 44-40 percent. But they differ greatly from a Rasmussen poll released last week showing Paul with a 25-point lead.

The Bluegrass Poll found that Paul has clear advantages among men and people in the 35-49 age group. He has sizable leads among those who consider themselves conservatives, abortion foes and those who agree with the political views espoused by the tea party, which favors lower taxes and smaller government.

Paul also leads handily among white voters, college graduates, those who attend church regularly, earn more than $50,000 a year and those who own guns.

He is strongest in Western Kentucky and nearly as strong in north-central Kentucky.

Conway, conversely, leads among voters age 18-34, African Americans, moderates, liberals and those who don't agree with the tea party.

He also enjoys leads among those who favor abortion rights, who never go to church and who don't own guns.

Conway is also ahead among voters who earn less than $50,000 a year and those who live in Eastern Kentucky.

Among voters in what SurveyUSA defines as the Louisville area, which extends west to Breckinridge County and south to Green County, Conway and Paul are in a statistical dead heat.

Fay Theurer, a 60-year-old semiretired nurse in Adair County who participated in the poll and agreed to a follow-up interview, said she plans to vote for Conway because he's a Democrat.

"I absolutely will not vote for a Republican," said Theurer, who worries that Republicans like Paul favor businesses over people. "I've never known of a Republican ever to think of the little man."

Theurer said she believes the Democrats have better ideas on job creation and the economy.

"There are always more jobs when there are Democrats in office," she said. "There are always more options when there are Democrats."

But Dean Bowcock, a Republican from Pulaski County who responded to the poll and agreed to an interview, said he plans to vote for Paul because of his support for a smaller, less-intrusive government.

"One of the biggest reasons is I don't think our federal government has any responsibility raising our kids," said Bowcock, 46, who is a stay-at-home father taking care of his disabled daughter.

Bowcock said he wants the federal government out of education and is particularly against federal court rulings that have "taken God out of schools."

He also said he, like Paul, favors limiting government to the specific provisions outlined in the U.S. Constitution.

Tea party solidly behind Paul

A separate Bluegrass Poll question found that much of Paul's support comes from people who identify themselves with the tea-party movement. Paul received the backing of several tea-party groups during the GOP primary, in which he defeated Secretary of State Trey Grayson.

The results of the polling on the tea party appear a bit contradictory -- although they fall within the poll's margin of error.

The poll found that a plurality of Kentuckians have neither a favorable nor unfavorable view of the tea-party movement, with 45 percent saying they are either neutral or have no opinion.

It found that 36 percent of Kentuckians view the group favorably, while 19 percent said they view it unfavorably. That poll, conducted on the same days as the U.S. Senate race poll, had a margin of error of 4.1 percentage points.

In response to another question, 4 percent of respondents said they are active members of the tea party, while another 41 percent said they aren't active members but agree with the tea party's views -- for a total of 45 percent agreeing with the tea party.

Another 23 percent said they disagree with the tea party, while 33 percent said they aren't familiar with the movement.

Among those who have a favorable view of the tea party, Paul leads 90 percent to 9 percent, while among those who agree with the movement he has an advantage of 85-14 percent.

Among those who have an unfavorable view of the movement, Conway leads 93-3 percent and among those who disagree with it he leads 93-4.

Paul holds a small advantage among those who hold a neutral view of the tea party, but Conway has a substantial lead among those who said they have no opinion of the tea party.

Reporter Joseph Gerth can be reached at (502) 582-4702.

Editor's note: check out the poll results here.

Editor's comment: Poll results demonstrate that Jack CONway is an EMPTY suit, and his views are an anathema to the views of Kentuckians. Conversely, Dr. Rand Paul's views jibe with the views of Kentuckians.


Saturday, May 29, 2010

Peggy Noonan: He Was Supposed To Be Competent.

He Was Supposed to Be Competent
The spill is a disaster for the president and his political philosophy.

I don't see how the president's position and popularity can survive the oil spill. This is his third political disaster in his first 18 months in office. And they were all, as they say, unforced errors, meaning they were shaped by the president's political judgment and instincts.

There was the tearing and unnecessary war over his health-care proposal and its cost. There was his day-to-day indifference to the views and hopes of the majority of voters regarding illegal immigration. And now the past almost 40 days of dodging and dithering in the face of an environmental calamity. I don't see how you politically survive this.

The president, in my view, continues to govern in a way that suggests he is chronically detached from the central and immediate concerns of his countrymen. This is a terrible thing to see in a political figure, and a startling thing in one who won so handily and shrewdly in 2008. But he has not, almost from the day he was inaugurated, been in sync with the center. The heart of the country is thinking each day about A, B and C, and he is thinking about X, Y and Z. They're in one reality, he's in another.

President Obama promised on Thursday to hold BP accountable in the catastrophic Gulf of Mexico oil spill and said his administration would do everything necessary to protect and restore the coast.

The American people have spent at least two years worrying that high government spending would, in the end, undo the republic. They saw the dollars gushing night and day, and worried that while everything looked the same on the surface, our position was eroding. They have worried about a border that is in some places functionally and of course illegally open, that it too is gushing night and day with problems that states, cities and towns there cannot solve.

And now we have a videotape metaphor for all the public's fears: that clip we see every day, on every news show, of the well gushing black oil into the Gulf of Mexico and toward our shore. You actually don't get deadlier as a metaphor for the moment than that, the monster that lives deep beneath the sea.

In his news conference Thursday, President Obama made his position no better. He attempted to act out passionate engagement through the use of heightened language—"catastrophe," etc.—but repeatedly took refuge in factual minutiae. His staff probably thought this demonstrated his command of even the most obscure facts. Instead it made him seem like someone who won't see the big picture. The unspoken mantra in his head must have been, "I will not be defensive, I will not give them a resentful soundbite." But his strategic problem was that he'd already lost the battle. If the well was plugged tomorrow, the damage will already have been done.

The original sin in my view is that as soon as the oil rig accident happened the president tried to maintain distance between the gusher and his presidency. He wanted people to associate the disaster with BP and not him. When your most creative thoughts in the middle of a disaster revolve around protecting your position, you are summoning trouble. When you try to dodge ownership of a problem, when you try to hide from responsibility, life will give you ownership and responsibility the hard way. In any case, the strategy was always a little mad. Americans would never think an international petroleum company based in London would worry as much about American shores and wildlife as, say, Americans would. They were never going to blame only BP, or trust it.

I wonder if the president knows what a disaster this is not only for him but for his political assumptions. His philosophy is that it is appropriate for the federal government to occupy a more burly, significant and powerful place in America—confronting its problems of need, injustice, inequality. But in a way, and inevitably, this is always boiled down to a promise: "Trust us here in Washington, we will prove worthy of your trust." Then the oil spill came and government could not do the job, could not meet the need, in fact seemed faraway and incapable: "We pay so much for the government and it can't cap an undersea oil well!"

This is what happened with Katrina, and Katrina did at least two big things politically. The first was draw together everything people didn't like about the Bush administration, everything it didn't like about two wars and high spending and illegal immigration, and brought those strands into a heavy knot that just sat there, soggily, and came to symbolize Bushism. The second was illustrate that even though the federal government in our time has continually taken on new missions and responsibilities, the more it took on, the less it seemed capable of performing even its most essential jobs. Conservatives got this point—they know it without being told—but liberals and progressives did not. They thought Katrina was the result only of George W. Bush's incompetence and conservatives' failure to "believe in government." But Mr. Obama was supposed to be competent.

Remarkable too is the way both BP and the government, 40 days in, continue to act shocked, shocked that an accident like this could have happened. If you're drilling for oil in the deep sea, of course something terrible can happen, so you have a plan on what to do when it does.

How could there not have been a plan? How could it all be so ad hoc, so inadequate, so embarrassing? We're plugging it now with tires, mud and golf balls?

What continues to fascinate me is Mr. Obama's standing with Democrats. They don't love him. Half the party voted for Hillary Clinton, and her people have never fully reconciled themselves to him. But he is what they have. They are invested in him. In time—after the 2010 elections go badly—they are going to start to peel off. The political operative James Carville, the most vocal and influential of the president's Gulf critics, signaled to Democrats this week that they can start to peel off. He did it through the passion of his denunciations.

The disaster in the Gulf may well spell the political end of the president and his administration, and that is no cause for joy. It's not good to have a president in this position—weakened, polarizing and lacking broad public support—less than halfway through his term. That it is his fault is no comfort. It is not good for the stability of the world, or its safety, that the leader of "the indispensable nation" be so weakened. I never until the past 10 years understood the almost moral imperative that an American president maintain a high standing in the eyes of his countrymen.

Mr. Obama himself, when running for president, made much of Bush administration distraction and detachment during Katrina. Now the Republican Party will, understandably, go to town on Mr. Obama's having gone before this week only once to the gulf, and the fund-raiser in San Francisco that seemed to take precedence, and the EPA chief who decided to cancel a New York fund-raiser only after the press reported that she planned to attend.

But Republicans should beware, and even mute their mischief. We're in the middle of an actual disaster. When they win back the presidency, they'll probably get the big California earthquake. And they'll probably blow it. Because, ironically enough, of a hard core of truth within their own philosophy: When you ask a government far away in Washington to handle everything, it will handle nothing well.


"Rahm To Bill To Joe" Equal Business As Usual.

Rahm to Bill to Joe
The former president as political cutout.

At his Thursday press conference, President Obama said that "I can assure the public that nothing improper took place" in the curious case of Joe Sestak and the Pennsylvania Senate primary—but he declined to say what, exactly, took place. After yesterday's pre-Memorial Day weekend news dump, now we know. Sort of. Maybe. In a way.

Last summer, Mr. Sestak said he'd been offered a high-ranking federal job in return for ending his ultimately successful bid to depose Arlen Specter, an act of interfering in an election that would constitute a felony if it was direct enough. The account released yesterday by White House counsel Robert Bauer says that Rahm Emanuel enlisted Bill Clinton "to determine whether Congressman Sestak would be interested in service on a Presidential or other Senior Executive Branch Advisory Board." And the post "would have been uncompensated."

So a two-term President who is now ambassador to the world is running errands for the White House chief of staff, and the plumb job he has at his disposal is a seat on the President's Intelligence Advisory Board, or perhaps the President's Commission on White House Fellowships?

And the Congressman was supposed to give up his reasonable chance at a U.S. Senate seat for such a sinecure? As a simple matter of political respect, Mr. Clinton could at least have thrown in a consulting gig with Yucaipa.

Mr. Sestak put out a statement yesterday corroborating that chain of events, which is somewhat credulity-straining—not least because of the White House's eagerness to clear the primary field. "There have been numerous, reported instances in the past when prior Administrations—both Democratic and Republican, and motivated by the same goals—discussed alternative paths to service for qualified individuals also considering campaigns for public office," Mr. Bauer wrote. "Such discussions are fully consistent with the relevant law and ethical requirements."

You've got to love that "alternative paths to service" rap. Mr. Clinton must be howling.

It's possible that all we really have here is a case of the Obama White House playing Washington politics as usual, which the White House refused to admit for three months because this is what Mr. Obama promised he would not do if he became President. However, this is clearly what he hired Mr. Emanuel to do for him, and given his ethical record Mr. Clinton was the perfect political cutout. So much for the most transparent Administration in history.

Then again, George W. Bush merely exercised his right to fire a handful of U.S. Attorneys, and Democrats made that a federal case for years even though it has since gone nowhere legally. The Emanuel to Clinton to Sestak job offer still needs a scrub under oath by the Justice Department and the relevant Congressional committees.

Editor's note: for those of you interested in the White House Counsel's response, go here.

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Enjoy Your Memorial Day Weekend, And Laugh.


Friday, May 28, 2010

Charlie Zimmerman: "[Justice Walter] Baker: A 'Model Public Official'". I Say: Yes, Indeed.

Baker: a 'model public official'
By Charlie Zimmerman

The death of Walter Baker is a tremendous loss to Kentucky and to every Kentuckian. He was the true public servant; I am confident that he died wishing that he had just one more day or one more hour he could work to make this a better place to live, work, and play.

After graduating as a member of the first class of Adair County High School, Walter left for Harvard, where he graduated magna cum laude four years later. He subsequently obtained his law degree from Harvard Law School. Upon his graduation, he had his pick of any job on Wall Street and all the money and prestige such a career would have brought him. Instead, Walter returned to Kentucky because he wanted to make a difference in Kentucky. He did, and we are all better because of his life.

The newspaper reports will tell of his years in the Kentucky House and the Kentucky Senate and the recognition he received from those who worked with him, beside him, and even against him. His obituary will report of his term on the Kentucky Supreme Court and his years in Washington as Assistant General Counsel for the United States Department of Defense. And, of course, the accolades will pour him from everyone and anyone who is interested in the education of Kentucky's youth -- the educators who work in and run the schools, the students of all ages who study there, and the businesses that are interested in a batter educated work force all owe much to his work in the legislature, on the Prichard Committee, and his focused and visionary 12 years on the Council on Postsecondary Education. And this doesn't even include his decades in the United States Army Reserve or his work with the Kentucky Historical Society. And on top of all of this, Walter practiced law in Glasgow for over 40 years, representing ordinary individuals who needed an advocate and an adviser.

When he became ill last fall, I told my children about all the things he had done, the positions he had held, the depth of his commitment, the sacrifices he had made on a daily basis, the battles he had fought, and the ways in which he had day by day and year by year changed Kentucky for the better. They were astonished at how much he had accomplished in his lifetime. They said that he sounded like Thomas Jefferson. I agreed.

But what the honors and offices and accolades don't tell is that in an increasingly fractious, partisan world where sound bites and bumper-stickers are a substitute for thought, winning at any cost is prized over the common good, and the future is increasingly sacrificed for short-term gain, Walter Baker was the model of what we wish all public officials could be. He was a true gentleman who treated everyone with respect. He was a scholar and a thinker, but also a great listener and someone with a common touch who worked as hard as he could every day to translate ideas into solutions. He demonstrated what kind of sacrifice we all need to make, eschewing fortune, fame, and glory for a better future for every Kentuckian. Today marks the passing not only of a great Kentuckian, but also of a great American. I hope that we can all learn not only from what he did but also from the thoughtful, constructive, positive, visionary, and concerned way in which he did it.


POTUS Barack Obama And The BP Gulf Oil Spill. LOL.


Thursday, May 27, 2010

What Is WRONG With 50 Cents?

Check out


CEO Of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, Tells Us About Privacy Fixings. Are You Satisfied? Watch Video.

Too Pig To Fail. LOL.


Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Rand Paul Makes Changes In U.S. Senate Campaign Staff.

Rand Paul makes changes in U.S. Senate campaign staff after series of controversies
By Joseph Gerth

Republican U.S. Senate nominee Rand Paul has made changes to his staff after a week of controversy over his views on issues such as civil rights.

Jesse Benton, who worked on the presidential campaign of Paul's father, U.S. Rep. Ron Paul of Texas, will take over as campaign manager for the November election. Former campaign manager David Adams will become campaign chairman.

Benton said the changes merely reflect the duties that he and Adams have undertaken over the past three months. He said they don't mean Paul, a Bowling Green ophthalmologist, is unhappy with the performance of the staff he put together in emerging from virtual obscurity to win the GOP nomination in roughly a year's time.

He also said it's not the result of establishment Republicans urging Paul to professionalize his staff.

Benton said he will be in charge of hiring new staff for the Bowling Green office as the campaign grows over the next five months and overseeing campaign operations.

"My job will be sitting at a desk, managing fundraising, working on campaign strategy and running the office," he said.

Benton was communications director for Ron Paul's 2010 presidential campaign and served as vice president of the Campaign for Liberty, which according to its website promotes "the great American principles of individual liberty, constitutional government, sound money, free markets and a noninterventionist foreign policy."

Adams, a conservative blogger-turned-political-consultant, will serve as a senior adviser to Rand Paul, helping him on campaign strategy. He also will be a spokesman and Paul's primary liaison to the people of Kentucky, Benton said.

Spencer Bell, a campaign volunteer, has been named as deputy campaign manager.

Last week, just 24 hours after claiming the nomination, Paul was grilled on national television about his previously stated view that federal civil rights law shouldn't bar businesses from practicing racial discrimination.

An uproar ensured, and the next day Paul backtracked, saying he would have voted for the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which barred businesses that provide public accommodations from discriminating. He also he said he believed government was within its rights to pass such a law.

Some Republicans, in addition to calling for staff changes, urged him to take a lower profile. It appears that he has.

Paul, who canceled an appearance on NBC's "Meet the Press" on Sunday, hasn't appeared on national television since last Friday, when he went on ABC's "Good Morning America" to criticize President Barack Obama for sounding "un-American" in his criticism of BP regarding the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

On Wednesday Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., reiterated the call for Paul to take a lower-key approach. He told CNN's John King that "the criticism of BP was obviously well-founded" and that Paul should focus his energies back home.

"My advice to him would be to speak to the people who are going to be actually voting in this election. I think he's said quite enough for the time being in terms of national press coverage," McConnell said.

Meanwhile, the Libertarian Party of Kentucky has criticized Paul for his "hurtful" statements on civil rights.

Paul is often called a libertarian, and his father ran for president in 1988 on the Libertarian Party ticket. But Libertarian Party of Kentucky vice chairman Joshua Koch said in a statement Wednesday that Rand Paul "is not a libertarian."

"Rand Paul's statements regarding all forms of discrimination are not consistent with, nor do they reflect the views of, the Libertarian Party of Kentucky. ... We condemn all bigotry based on any and all factors," Koch said.


Louisville Courier Journal Editorial: Walter Baker's Model

Walter Baker's model

The long and distinguished career of Walter Baker, who died Monday at the age of 73, was evidence that bipartisanship and cooperation can do more than advance a political agenda -- it can produce constructive results for the people. In many ways, he was Kentucky's 20th Century Henry Clay.

Mr. Baker, a lawyer from Glasgow, made his mark as a Republican representative when he first went to Frankfort in 1967. Four years later, he moved on to the state Senate, where he was a voice of reason and civility in a body then dominated by Democrats. Principle, not partisanship, was the hallmark of his actions there, culminating, in 1990, with his vote for the Kentucky Education Reform Act. He was one of only three Republicans to support the measure.

After he left the General Assembly, Mr. Baker served on the Kentucky Supreme Court and on the Council for Postsecondary Education. It is noteworthy that upon his passing, both Sen. Mitch McConnell and Gov. Steve Beshear paid glowing tributes.

To the unruly, partisan bunch who dominate the legislature these days, the passing of Walter Baker should be a reminder that cooperation, in the end, provides places in the history books.

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We Must Not Forget To Laugh.


Tuesday, May 25, 2010

It Is Time To Put Rand Paul's Civil Rights Matter To FINAL Rest. Back To REAL Issues And Solving The Nation's Problems.

Paul, back home, seeks new image
By Roger Alford

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. -- Dressed in doctor's scrubs, senatorial candidate Rand Paul sought to ditch the image of politician Tuesday in his first campaign appearance since a round of interviews in which he dismayed fellow Republicans with his views on racial segregation.

A political firestorm has followed Paul since last week, when he expressed misgivings about portions of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. He suggested to MSNBC host Rachel Maddow that the federal government shouldn't have the authority to force restaurant owners to serve minorities if they don't want to.

"I think they've used it as an issue to try to make me into something that I'm not," Paul, an ophthalmologist, told a friendly hometown audience at a Bowling Green civic club. "I was raised in a family that said that you judge people the same way Martin Luther King said, you judge people by their character not by the color of their skin."

Since last week Paul has been reassessing his campaign staff. He said he expects there will be staff changes, though he declined to give details. He won the GOP nomination last week with a campaign staff made up largely of political novices and volunteers.

"We're still working out details," he said.

Campaign manager David Adams, who had been a Republican blogger in Nicholasville before joining up, will remain but perhaps in a different role, Paul said.

Paul, who ran as a political outsider, also said he has made amends with the Republican establishment. He said he has had cordial discussions with National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman John Cornyn and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Kentucky's senior senator.

Paul's troubles since Election Day weren't evident in the warm reception he received in Bowling Green. He entered a small restaurant to applause from the local Lions Club.

He drew chuckles when he used the words of English novelist Charles Dickens to describe last week's campaign victory: "It was the best of it times. It was the worst of times."

Paul accused his Democratic opponent, Attorney General Jack Conway, of starting the controversy. He did so, Paul said, by telling reporters that that he, Paul, wants to repeal the Civil Rights Act.

"It's never been my position, and it's not my position," Paul said. "That's the bad thing about politics, not only do you have to run to defend your position, you've got to defend the position they make up for you, and that makes it hard."

Paul, a first-time candidate, easily defeated the GOP establishment's favorite, Secretary of State Trey Grayson, in last week's Republican primary. Paul said he was caught off guard by the controversy that ensued afterward.

"We were patting ourselves on the back," said Paul, son of U.S. Rep. Ron Paul of Texas. "We thought we were in the middle of enjoying our great honeymoon, and it didn't last very long."

Paul said the campaign lined up a series of media interviews the day after the primary. "We got up at 5 the next morning, had our own satellite truck, and we did 20 interviews," he said. "I think we did one too many."

Paul said he was exhausted and unprepared for questions about the Civil Rights Act.

"Some of the brutal reality of politics is that people use politics as a bludgeon to separate us rather than to bring people together," he said.

He added, "I think those of you in my hometown hopefully know me better than what's been said about me, and I will go to great lengths to prove to people that I'm not whatever I'm being depicted in cartoons and thousands and thousands of stories across the country."

Cardine Harrison of Bowling Green, a social worker at the local Salvation Army and a retired manager for General Motors, said he has known Paul for nearly two decades and is convinced he is no racist.

"That doesn't mean his opinion is right," Harrison said. "But I do respect him. And I do not believe he is a racist."


$64,000.00 A Day: That's The Price Tag Of Kentucky's Infamous Annual "Special" Sessions. Why Did We Approve Annual Regular Sessions Anyway?

The Tea Party Movement. I'm LMAO!


Monday, May 24, 2010

"Rand Paul And The Perils Of Textbook Libertarianism". *SIGH*.

Rand Paul and the Perils of Textbook Libertarianism

When Rand Paul, the victor in the Republican Senate primary last week in Kentucky, criticized the Civil Rights Act of 1964, singling out the injustice of non-discriminatory practices it imposed on private businesses, the resulting furor delighted Democrats and unsettled Republicans.

Mr. Paul hastened to state his abhorrence of racism and assert that had he served in the Senate in 1964, he would have voted for the measure.

On the surface Mr. Paul’s contradictory statements might seem another instance of the trouble candidates get into when ideological consistency meets the demands of practical politics. This was the point Senator Jon Kyl, Republican of Arizona, made when he said, in mild rebuke of Mr. Paul, “I hope he can separate the theoretical and the interesting and the hypothetical questions that college students debate until 2 a.m. from the actual votes we have to cast based on real legislation here.”

But Mr. Paul’s position is complicated. He has emerged as the politician most closely identified with the Tea Party movement. Its adherents are drawn to him because he has come forward as a kind of libertarian originalist, unbending in his anti-government stance. The farther he retreats from ideological purity, the more he resembles other, less attractive politicians.

In this sense, Mr. Paul’s quandary reflects the position of the Tea Partiers, whose antipathy to government, rooted in populist impatience with the major parties, implies a repudiation of politics and its capacity to effect meaningful change.

In an essay in The New York Review of Books, the historian Mark Lilla noted a distinction between traditional populist movements, which “use the rhetoric of class solidarity to seize political power so that ‘the people’ can exercise it for their common benefit,” and today’s insurgents, who favor “individual opinion, individual autonomy and individual choice, all in the service of neutralizing, not using, political power.”

It’s not surprising that there should be tension between Republican officials, who want to guide Mr. Paul closer to the center, and libertarians who have said Mr. Paul’s criticism of the Civil Rights Act is in line with the doctrine.

“The foundation of libertarian thinking is private property as a limit on state action,” David Bernstein, a libertarian law professor, explained to Talking Points Memo, the popular political blog. “So if a private business chooses to discriminate, a typical libertarian would say that’s a business owner’s right to do so.”

This is precisely the case Barry Goldwater, the leader of the Republicans’ conservative wing, made on the Senate floor just before the final vote on the Civil Rights Act. “I am unalterably opposed to discrimination of any sort,” Mr. Goldwater said, even as he attacked provisions of the bill that “would embark the Federal Government on a regulatory course of action with regard to private enterprise and in the area of so-called ‘public accommodations’ and in the area of employment.”

Public accommodations included gas station rest rooms, drinking fountains, lunch counters, hotels, movie houses and sports arenas. It is hard to imagine a candidate today making the case that discrimination in such places should be allowed. Indeed Mr. Paul has said he favors the “public accommodations” provision. But in advancing the autonomy of private businesses, he is reviving libertarian thought in its peak period. In his 1962 book “Capitalism and Freedom,” Milton Friedman, the right’s most influential economist, equated the Fair Employment Practices Commissions — created to prevent workplace discrimination — with “the Hitler Nuremberg laws.” But he also applied the comparison to “the Southern states imposing special disabilities upon Negroes.” In other words, he recognized that Jim Crow was itself a form of intrusive government, only enacted at the state level.

This points to the bind Mr. Paul is in. However attractive it may be just now to depict all political conflict as a neatly bifurcated either/or, with the heroic individual pitted against the faceless federal Leviathan, the truth is that legislative battles over civil rights laws were waged within government, and between competing incarnations of it, federal vs. state. Passage of the Civil Rights Act, as Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina observed last week, hinged on the Interstate Commerce Clause, which “was properly used by the courts and the Congress.”

The reasoning was clear: since the federal government built the highways that goods were shipped on and created tax codes favorable to businesses, it had jurisdiction over how businesses operated. Even Mr. Friedman acknowledged that racial discrimination could not be interpreted in the exclusive terms of individual choice. “When the owner of the store hires white clerks in preference to Negroes in the absence of the law, he may simply be transmitting the tastes of the community,” he wrote.

But he stopped short of noting the obvious, that in such instances the white community’s “taste” had made it the enemy of individual African-Americans who were forbidden to sit at a luncheonette or take their children into a Woolworth’s rest room.

Mr. Paul has tangled himself up in a similar contradiction. His championing of private businesses, ignoring the rights of just about everyone else, places him on the wrong side of history, just like the first opponents of the Civil Rights Act. One fierce opponent of civil rights legislation, William F. Buckley Jr., admitted as much. “I once believed we could evolve our way up from Jim Crow,” Mr. Buckley said in 2004. “I was wrong: federal intervention was necessary.”


"GOP Downplays [Rand] Paul's Remarks".

GOP Downplays Paul's Remarks

Republicans on Sunday sought to neutralize criticism of GOP Senate candidate Rand Paul's remarks questioning aspects of a landmark desegregation law, and his support of racial discrimination by property owners expressed in a 2002 letter to a Kentucky newspaper.

Mr. Paul, the antiestablishment tea party candidate who won the party primary in Kentucky last week, has told the Louisville Courier-Journal that he opposed provisions in the 1964 Civil Rights Act banning racial discrimination by private businesses. He told MSNBC on Wednesday that while he abhorred racial discrimination, he questioned the federal government's power to force restaurants to serve minorities, against the wishes of those businesses' owners.

On Sunday, Democratic Party officials suggested Mr. Paul's comments were more than a misstep by a new player on the national stage. They pointed to a letter Mr. Paul wrote in 2002, in which he supported "unofficial, private discrimination—even when that means allowing hate-filled groups to exclude people based on the color of their skin."

Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele said on ABC News's "This Week" that he "wasn't comfortable" with Mr. Paul's remarks about the 1964 civil-rights law. "Any attempt to look backwards is not in the best interest of our country certainly, and certainly not in the best interest of the party," he said.

But he added that he had spoken with Mr. Paul, and that he "will be four-square with the Republican Party, in lockstep with moving forward on civil rights, not looking backwards."

Democratic National Committee Chairman Tim Kaine, appearing on the same show, pointed to a letter that he said Mr. Paul had written to the Bowling Green Daily News, criticizing federal rules against discrimination in private housing.

Following his comments on the 1964 Civil Rights Act, Rand Paul said Friday morning President Obama's criticism of BP has sounded "really un-American." WSJ's Jerry Seib joins the News Hub to discuss the latest controversy and the political damage of Paul's recent comments.

Mr. Paul's 2002 letter, an electronic copy of which was viewed by the Wall Street Journal, reads, in part: "A free society will abide unofficial, private discrimination—even when that means allowing hate-filled groups to exclude people based on the color of their skin.

"It is unenlightened and ill-informed to promote discrimination against individuals based on the color of their skin.

"It is likewise unwise to forget the distinction between public (taxpayer-financed) and private entities. A society that forgets this distinction will ultimately lose the freedoms that have evolved and historically been attached to private ownership."

Mr. Paul's campaign manager, David Adams, had no comment on the letter nor its airing on television.

Mr. Steele said that view expressed by Mr. Paul in his letter was "a philosophical position held by a lot of libertarians, which Rand Paul is. They have a very, very strong view about the limitations of government intrusion into the private sector."

Mr. Steele added, "We have had a lot of members go to the United States Senate with a lot of different philosophies, but when they get to the body, how they work to move the country forward matters."
Rand Paul on the Fair Housing Act

Mr. Paul wrote a letter to the Bowling Green, Ky., Daily News dated May 30, 2002, in response to an editorial on the Federal Fair Housing Act.
Distinction blurred between private, public property

A recent Daily News editorial supported the Federal Fair Housing Act. At first glance, who could object to preventing discrimination in housing?

Most citizens would agree that it is wrong to deny taxpayer-financed, "public" housing to anyone based on the color of their skin or the number of children in the household.

But the Daily News ignores, as does the Fair Housing Act, the distinction between private and public property. Should it be prohibited for public, taxpayer-financed institutions such as schools to reject someone based on an individual's beliefs or attributes? Most certainly. Should it be prohibited for private entities such as a church, bed and breakfast or retirement neighborhood that doesn't want noisy children? Absolutely not.

Decisions concerning private property and associations should in a free society be unhindered. As a consequence, some associations will discriminate.

Alcoholics Anonymous may only accept alcoholics; Madison Avenue advertisers may choose only the young and slender; Boy Scouts may wish to exclude sex offenders; Christian churches may wish to exclude atheists from the clergy.

A free society will abide unofficial, private discrimination - even when that means allowing hate-filled groups to exclude people based on the color of their skin.

It is unenlightened and ill-informed to promote discrimination against individuals based on the color of their skin.

It is likewise unwise to forget the distinction between public (taxpayer-financed) and private entities. A society that forgets this distinction will ultimately lose the freedoms that have evolved and historically been attached to private ownership.

Former Alaska Republican Gov. Sarah Palin said Mr. Paul was "right on when he says he is a supporter of civil rights. He's a supporter of the Civil Rights Act and equal rights."

Ms. Palin, appearing on "Fox News Sunday," suggested that Mr. Paul's views were consistent with his belief in libertarian politics: "He wanted to talk about, evidently, some hypotheticals as it applies to impacts on the Civil Rights Act, as it impacts our Constitution."

Mr. Paul on Friday canceled his Sunday appearance on NBC's "Meet the Press," saying he was exhausted. He was the third guest in six decades to cancel on the show. On Sunday, host David Gregory cited additional comments by Mr. Paul over the weekend that he had decided to scale back on national-television appearances "to avoid the liberal bias of the media."

National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman Sen. John Cornyn (R., Texas) called Mr. Paul's comments on the civil rights law a "stumble." He said the Kentucky ophthalmologist's decision to avoid the national media was a good one. "I think he needs to be talking to the voters back in Kentucky," Mr. Cornyn told NBC's "Meet the Press."

Asked whether he agreed with Mr. Paul's civil-rights views, Mr. Cornyn said: "I don't know what all his views are…he's clarified his views, that he's opposed to any kind of discrimination, period."

"I think we will have a discussion about the role of government in our lives. …I think he will speak directly to that," Mr. Cornyn added.

Sen. Robert Menendez (D., N.J.), chair of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, appearing on the same show, said Mr. Paul's views were "clearly in the extreme."

Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R., Minn.), speaking on CNN's "State of the Union," called Mr. Paul's comments about the Civil Rights Act "unfortunate," but he defended the Tea Party movement and what it means for the Republican Party.

"We'll take that energy," he said. "It's still a little chaotic in some ways, but it's a good thing."

Write to Elizabeth Williamson at


"[Rand] Paul Remarks Have Deep Roots".

Paul Remarks Have Deep Roots

Republican candidate Rand Paul's controversial remarks on the 1964 Civil Rights Act unsettled GOP leaders this week, but they reflect deeply held iconoclastic beliefs held by some in his party, and many in the tea-party movement, that the U.S. government shook its constitutional moorings more than 70 years ago.

Mr. Paul and his supporters rushed to emphasize that his remarks did not reflect racism but a sincerely held, libertarian belief that the federal government, starting in the Roosevelt era, gained powers that set the stage for decades of improper intrusions on private businesses.

Mr. Paul, the newly elected GOP Senate nominee in Kentucky, again made headlines Friday when he told ABC's "Good Morning America" that President Barack Obama's criticism of energy giant BP and of its oil-spill response was "really un-American."

That followed a tussle over the landmark civil-rights law, which Mr. Paul embraced after suggesting Wednesday that the act may have gone too far in mandating the desegregation of private businesses. Late Friday, NBC said that Mr. Paul had cancelled a scheduled appearance on the Sunday morning show "Meet the Press,'' a rare development in the history of the widely watched political program. The network said it was asking Mr. Paul to reconsider.

In tea-party circles, Mr. Paul's views are not unusual. They fit into a "Constitutionalist" view under which the federal government has no right to dictate the behavior of private enterprises. On the stump, especially among tea-party supporters, Mr. Paul says "big government" didn't start with President Obama, Lyndon Johnson's Great Society of the 1960s or the advance of central governance sparked by World War II and the economic boom that followed.

He traces it to 1937, when the Supreme Court, under heated pressure from President Franklin Roosevelt, upheld a state minimum-wage law on a 5-4 vote, ushering in the legal justification for government intervention in private markets.

Until the case, West Coast Hotel v. Parrish, the Supreme Court had sharply limited government action that impinged on the private sector, infuriating Mr. Roosevelt so much that he threatened to expand the court and stack it with his own appointees.

Following his comments on the 1964 Civil Rights Act, Rand Paul said Friday morning President Obama's criticism of BP has sounded "really un-American." WSJ's Jerry Seib joins the News Hub to discuss the latest controversy and the political damage of Paul's recent comments.

"It didn't start last year. I think it started back in 1936 or 1937, and I point really to a couple of key constitutional cases… that all had to do with the commerce clause," Mr. Paul said in an interview before Tuesday's election, in which he defeated a Republican establishment candidate, hand-picked by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R, Ky.).

Mr. Paul has said that, if elected, one of his first demands will be that Congress print the constitutional justification on any law is passes.

Last week, Mr. Paul encouraged a tea-party gathering in Louisville to look at the origins of "unconstitutional government." He told the crowd there of Wickard v. Filburn, a favorite reference on the stump, in which the Supreme Court rejected the claims of farmer Roscoe Filburn that wheat he grew for his own use was beyond the reach of federal regulation. The 1942 ruling upheld federal laws limiting wheat production, saying Mr. Filburn's crop affected interstate commerce. Even if he fed his wheat to his own livestock, the court reasoned, he was implicitly affecting wheat prices. If he had bought the wheat on the market, he would subtly have raised the national price of the crop.

"That's when we quit owning our own property. That's when we became renters on our own land," Mr. Paul told the crowd.

In an interview, Mr. Paul expressed support for purely in-state gun industries, in which firearms are produced in one state with no imported parts and no exports. Guns produced under those circumstances can't be subjected to a federal background check, waiting period or other rules, he reasons.

"I'm not for having a civil war or anything like that, but I am for challenging federal authority over the states, through the courts, to see if we can get some better rulings," he said.

To supporters, such ideological purity has made the Bowling Green ophthalmologist a hero.

"He's going back to the Constitution," said Heather Toombs, a Louisville supporter who came to watch him at a meet-and-greet at a suburban home last week. "He's taking back the government."

But to Democrats, some Republicans and even some libertarians, Mr. Paul's arguments seem detached from the social fabric that has bound the U.S. together since 1937. The federal government puts limits on pollutants from corporations, monitors the safety of toys and other products and ensures a safe food supply—much of which Mr. Paul's philosophy could put in question.

David Boaz, executive vice president of the libertarian Cato Institute, said that in many ways Americans are freer now than they were in any pre-1937 libertarian Halcyon day. Women and black citizens can vote, work and own property. "Micro-regulations" that existed before the Supreme Court shift, which controlled trucking, civil aviation and other private pursuits, are gone.

"Sometimes he talks the way libertarians talk in political seminars," Mr. Boaz said of Mr. Paul. "There are not really many people who want to reverse Wickard, but there are many professors who could make a good case for it."

"Rand Paul apparently has a deeply held conviction that corporations should be allowed to do what they see fit without oversight or accountability," Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway, Mr. Paul's Democratic opponent in the Senate contest, said Friday.

Mr. Paul's views differ from those of the Republican Party on some fundamental matters. Mr. Paul opposes the anti-terrorism PATRIOT Act, which he says infringes on civil liberties. He opposed the war in Iraq and says any war cannot be waged unless and until Congress formally declares it. And he has expressed misgivings about the nation's drug laws.

Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl (R, Ariz.) told the newspaper Politico that Mr. Paul's civil rights comments were comparable to "a debate like you had at 2 a.m. in the morning when you're going to college. But it doesn't have a lot to do with anything."
—Jean Spencer and Douglas A. Blackmon contributed to this article.

Write to Jonathan Weisman at


John Sherman Cooper: "I Not Only Represent Kentucky, I Represent The Nation, And There Are Times When You Follow, And Times When You Lead." YEP!

Rand Paul in the spotlight
By James R. Carroll

In the summer of 1964, Washington was engaged in a great debate, a debate on a moral issue, as President John F. Kennedy had said the previous summer.

"It is as old as the Scriptures and is as clear as the American Constitution," Kennedy had declared. He was talking about civil rights.

A year later, after Kennedy's assassination, Congress worked in the Washington heat and passed the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Among the key lawmakers who helped make that happen was a Republican senator from Kentucky, John Sherman Cooper. And among those who watched the skillful senator, whose ability to work across the aisle with Democrats was a given, was a 22-year-old fellow working as an intern in Cooper's office.

That young man was Addison Mitchell McConnell Jr.

As detailed in John David Dyche's book, Republican Leader: A Political Biography of Senator Mitch McConnell , the young Kentuckian was inspired by Cooper's stand on civil rights at a time when there was fierce opposition to action by Congress.

So McConnell asked the senator: "How do you take such a tough stand and square it with the fact that a considerable number of people who have chosen you have the opposite view?"

Cooper's answer: "I not only represent Kentucky, I represent the nation, and there are times when you follow, and times when you lead."

It was an example McConnell never forgot. The following year, McConnell was in the nation's capital visiting Cooper on a day in early August. On impulse, Cooper grabbed McConnell's arm and took him into the Capitol Rotunda to witness President Lyndon B. Johnson sign the National Voting Rights Act of 1965.

Forty-five years after that summer, a man who wants to join McConnell in representing Kentucky in the United States Senate suddenly injected the Civil Rights Act of 1964 into the campaign of 2010.

Rand Paul, in a meeting with The Courier-Journal's editorial board, and then in post-primary broadcast interviews, balked when asked point-blank whether he supported the Civil Rights Act. While he abhorred discrimination and racism, Paul said, he had problems with the federal government dictating what private business owners could do.

Suddenly, Paul's overnight rise to national prominence as a successful tea party candidate brought with it a spotlight on his views about issues many others might have considered settled.

The furor has yet to die down, even as Paul walked back his position late Thursday to say he, in fact, supported the landmark civil rights measure.

McConnell, who had just announced his support for Paul on Tuesday night after Paul trounced Kentucky Secretary of State Trey Grayson in the Republican Senate primary, was compelled to say something.

McConnell spokesman Robert Steurer offered this: "Among Senator McConnell's most vivid memories and most formative events in his career was watching his boss, Sen. John Sherman Cooper, help pull together the votes to break the filibuster and pass the Civil Rights Act of 1964. He has always considered the law a monumental achievement for the country and is glad to hear Dr. Paul supports it as well."

Paul's post-election crisis on civil rights is unlikely to be the last conflict between the new Senate GOP candidate's views and those of McConnell and, more broadly, those of many among Kentucky's electorate.

With his comments on civil rights, Paul has broadened the conversation that dominated the primary campaign about the role of government in spending (and related issues on taxes and debt).

Now, Paul's views on the nature of the role of the federal government in American life are going to get closer examination. It is a natural consequence of his becoming the Republican nominee for the Senate.

People naturally will want to know the implications of Paul's views on federal "overreach," and whether his philosophy of limited government means he supports or opposes any number of programs or laws. The list of questions is potentially endless.

The GOP strategy is, in part, to try to define Paul's Democratic opponent, Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway. The GOP obviously does not want to get sidetracked by daily sensations over Paul's opinions.

Likewise, Republicans running for congressional seats in other states would prefer not to be peppered with questions about whether they agree with Paul on various issues. That prospect is further complicated by the fact that other GOP candidates are casting themselves as outsiders like Paul.

At the very least, what Paul has done is to ensure that the Kentucky Senate contest will be in the national political consciousness right through Election Day in November.

Reporter James R. Carroll can be reached at (202) 906-8141.

Editor's comment: So SAD we lack PRINCIPLED Leadership, like that provided by Senator Cooper, all across our nation.


RNC Chairman Michael Steele Is "Uncomfortable" With Rand Paul's Civil Rights Statement; Rand Paul Offers Clarification. Watch Videos Below.

Watch Michael Steele:

Watch Rand Paul:



Al Cross: "Jack Conway Has Made The Senate Race About Rand Paul." *SIGH*.

Jack Conway Has Made The Senate Race About Rand Paul.
By Al Cross

Last week's Senate primary elections in Kentucky, Arkansas and Pennsylvania have almost universally been described as a referendum against the political establishment. And in large measure, they were.

But the national commentary about Republican nominee Rand Paul's huge landslide, and his post-election stumbles on civil rights, has obscured an important victory for most of the Democratic establishment in Kentucky -- the nomination of Attorney General Jack Conway to oppose Paul.

Contrary to implications here a week ago, Conway's backing by most of Kentucky's Democratic bigwigs -- topped by party icon Wendell Ford -- appeared to carry him past Lt. Gov. Dan Mongiardo. Ford campaigned with Conway in the final days, generating favorable news coverage and amplifying the endorsement commercial with Ford, 6th District U.S. Rep. Ben Chandler, state Auditor Crit Luallen and House Speaker Greg Stumbo.

Some of us thought that closing message, though backed by an ample campaign fund, was too establishmentarian at a time when Paul had whipped up anti-establishment feelings among voters of both parties. But word from Conway's camp was that the endorsements (and those of the two big newspapers) were the only message that seemed to make a difference in the campaign's polling. And it seemed to prove true at the precincts; it's hard to imagine Conway winning some of those rural counties outside his home Louisville TV market without Ford's backing.

So, the Kentucky Democratic establishment won one, barely -- by 3,476 votes, about 0.7 percent of the total. But a much larger establishment, the national Democratic Party and President Barack Obama, will be a burden and not a boost to Conway in his race with Paul.

Obama lost Kentucky's 2008 Democratic primary to Hillary Clinton by 31 percentage points and has remained a stranger to the state. Much of Kentucky lies in the Pennsylvania-to-Oklahoma "McCain Belt" of counties that voted more strongly against Obama than 2004 Democratic nominee John Kerry.

Not only is that an uphill landscape for Conway, he supports abortion rights, has said that he would welcome Obama to the state to campaign for him, and that he would have voted for Obama's health-insurance reforms. Soon he will have to defend, or find a way to distance himself from, Obama's fiscal policies that have voters worried about deficits, debt and taxes and looking to Paul.

Knowing all that, Conway quickly tried to make the race about Paul, attacking him in a tough, focused and usefully short victory speech that even his detractors said was the best they had ever seen him give. It worked, perhaps faster than he imagined. His key salient was: "If you're a Democrat, Republican or independent who cares about the Civil Rights Act, then you cannot afford Rand Paul, because he doesn't think it has a place in our society."

That set the table for the national news media, and they feasted on Paul and his repeated refusal to support the 1964 law that ended segregation in public accommodations, a refusal first recorded on video during a live, online interview with this newspaper's editorial board.

"I don't like the idea of telling private business owners" whom they can admit, Paul told the editorialists, arguing that most of the act was about other things, such as ending institutional racism. But the public-accommodations section was its crucial core, and what changed American society.

Paul dug himself a deeper hole with Rachel Maddow of MSNBC Wednesday night, incorrectly saying that most of the things the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. fought were "Jim Crow" discrimination laws. Then he mischaracterized what he told the newspaper, and exhibited little appreciation of the concept of "public accommodations," suggesting that the law made restaurants "publicly owned."

Paul's interviews on the issue were filled with the very "weaving and dodging" that he said in his victory speech that he had been advised to do but would not. Under increasing pressure Thursday, he finally said he would have voted for the law. But he had already made clear that he thinks that private businesses should be able to bar people based on race. That stopped being an issue in this country 40 years ago. Paul is no racist, but puts a premium on private property, above the role of government in guaranteeing human rights to create a just society.

At his core, Paul is not a Republican, but a libertarian, and a creature of the vaguely defined tea party movement. That showed in his speech, which he began by slowly repeating the mantra of his campaign from the start: "I bring a message from the tea party." His only mention of the GOP was to criticize those Republicans who he said have strayed from the principles of limited government.

Here's another Paul quote we need to remember, from his last rally before the election: "The one thing about my campaign is that I am not afraid to be not elected." Rand Paul is a conviction politician, a rarity these days, and that's one reason he beat Secretary of State Trey Grayson by more than 23 percentage points and 82,000 votes. But incautious expressions of conviction could make him lose the general election, just as Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell fears.

McConnell, who suffered a great embarrassment in the trouncing of his candidate, may be proven right in half of what he said on "Meet the Press" last weekend: "I think Trey Grayson would be a stronger candidate in November -- but I suspect Kentucky's going to be in a pretty Republican mood this fall." That reflects his strategy for the race, which Paul seems to have adopted: Run against Obama.

The problem for McConnell and his party is that their nominee is now the issue, and isn't really a Republican -- and thus will lose many votes that usually go to a GOP nominee. Shortly before the election, a survey by Public Policy Polling found that half of Grayson voters had an unfavorable view of Paul and three out of seven said they wouldn't vote for him. His post-election stumbles surely hardened many of those opinions, and made independents and moderate Democrats stop and wonder: "Who is this guy?" Perhaps the establishment candidate will look like a safer choice.

Al Cross, former Courier-Journal political writer, is director of the Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues in the School of Journalism and Telecommunications at the University of Kentucky. His e-mail address is His views are his own, not those of the University of Kentucky.


Words To Live By , And Words To Ponder.

"Remember democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide."

-- John Adams, letter to John Taylor, 1814

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Joel Pett Is Fired Up About Rand Paul. So Is Mike Luckovich. LOL.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Jesus Christ WARNED Us Of FALSE Prophets -- And We Still Refuse To Listen.

On a Visit to the U.S., a Nigerian Witch-Hunter Explains Herself
By Michael Stravato for The New York Times

Helen Ukpabio, author of “Unveiling the Mysteries of Witchcraft,” preached last week to a small group in Houston. She is the subject of an HBO documentary.

HOUSTON — At home in Nigeria, the Pentecostal preacher Helen Ukpabio draws thousands to her revival meetings. Last August, when she had herself consecrated Christendom’s first “lady apostle,” Nigerian politicians and Nollywood actors attended the ceremony. Her books and DVDs, which explain how Satan possesses children, are widely known.

So well-known, in fact, that Ms. Ukpabio’s critics say her teachings have contributed to the torture or abandonment of thousands of Nigerian children — including infants and toddlers — suspected of being witches and warlocks. Her culpability is a central contention of “Saving Africa’s Witch Children,” a documentary that made its American debut Wednesday on HBO2.

Those disturbed by the needless immiseration of innocent children should beware. “Saving Africa’s Witch Children” follows Gary Foxcroft, founder of the charity Stepping Stones Nigeria, as he travels the rural state of Akwa Ibom, rescuing children abused during horrific “exorcisms” — splashed with acid, buried alive, dipped in fire — or abandoned roadside, cast out of their villages because some itinerant preacher called them possessed.

Their fellow villagers have often seen DVDs of “End of the Wicked,” Ms. Ukpabio’s bloody 1999 movie purporting to show how the devil captures children’s souls. And some have read her book “Unveiling the Mysteries of Witchcraft,” where she confidently writes that “if a child under the age of 2 screams in the night, cries and is always feverish with deteriorating health, he or she is a servant of Satan.”

Visiting Houston last week to lead a four-night revival for a local church, Ms. Ukpabio, 41, had no idea that “Saving Africa’s Witch Children,” which brought protesters out to greet her in London, was about to be shown in the United States. But she was eager to defend herself.

“Do you think Harry Potter is real?” Ms. Ukpabio asked me angrily, in the lobby of the Holiday Inn Express where she was staying. “It is only because I am African,” she said, that people who understand that J. K. Rowling writes fiction would take literally Ms. Ukpabio’s filmic depictions of possessed children, gathering by moonlight to devour human flesh.

Still, “Saving Africa’s Witch Children” makes clear that many rural Nigerians do take her film seriously. And in her sermons, Ms. Ukpabio is emphatic that children can be possessed, and that with her God-given “powers of discernment,” she can spot such a child. Belief in possession is especially common among Pentecostals in Nigeria, where it reinforces native traditions that spirits are real and intervene in human affairs.

In Nigeria, many preachers not only identify possessed children but charge dearly to perform exorcisms. To redeem their children’s souls — and to keep the child from being killed or banished by neighbors — parents scrimp or borrow to pay the preacher.

Ms. Ukpabio argued that “Saving Africa’s Witch Children” exaggerates or invents the problem of child abandonment. Asked how she could be so sure, she said, “because I am an African!” In Africa, she said, “family ties are too strong to have a child on the street.”

The Children’s Rights and Rehabilitation Network, a school for abandoned children run by Sam Itauma and featured in Mr. Foxcroft’s documentary, is “a 419 scam,” Ms. Ukpabio said, referring to the section in Nigeria’s criminal code that deals with fraud.

She said the children’s gruesome scars and wounds, shown in the documentary, are not real — or perhaps they are real, “but there are many ways children can get maimed.” And if the injuries are the result of witchcraft accusations against the children, she said, those accusations could not have been made by Pentecostal Christian preachers, but by charlatans.

Since “Saving Africa’s Witch Children” was first shown in Britain, in 2008, Mr. Itauma’s home state has adopted a law against accusing children of witchcraft. But Ms. Ukpabio went on the offensive by suing the state government, Mr. Foxcroft, Mr. Itauma and Leo Igwe, a Nigerian antisuperstition activist.

In the lawsuit, Ms. Ukpabio alleges that the state law infringes on her freedom of religion. She seeks 2 billion naira (about $13 million) in damages, as well as “an order of perpetual injunction restraining the respondents” from interfering with or otherwise denouncing her church’s “right to practice their religion and the Christian religious belief in the existence of God, Jesus Christ, Satan, sin, witchcraft, heaven and hellfire.”

In other words, in the name of religious freedom, Ms. Ukpabio seeks a gag order on anyone who disagrees with her.

The lawsuit also reiterates Ms. Ukpabio’s contention that Stepping Stones Nigeria and Mr. Itauma’s school are not charities but extortionate front organizations. According to Ms. Ukpabio, Mr. Foxcroft and Mr. Itauma aim not to educate abandoned children but “to use the said funds to blackmail.”

“We’re a registered charity in the U. K., so we publish our accounts,” said Mr. Foxcroft by phone in England. “She can come in and see how much money we raised and where we spend it.”

In Houston, Ms. Ukpabio reiterated that the state should close Mr. Itauma’s school. To the children living there — who, according to her, may be actors or witches, but if witches, they were not abused, and if abused, then certainly not by Christians — Ms. Ukpabio offered the services of her own church.

The school “does not understand demonic possession,” she said. “If they understood, they would take the children to Liberty Gospel.

“We would deliver them!”


So You Were Like Me And Didn't Make It To The Kentucky GOP "Unity" Rally, Well Watch The Videos Below.

Trey Grayson:

Mitch McConnell:

Rand Paul:


And ... whatever:

Oh, who can forget Gurley Martin:

Who has not lynched a Black man (WTF!):

(Thanks to our friend, Jim, over at for the videos).

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When It Rains, It Pours: Charles Djou, A Hawaiian Republican, Captures Congressional Seat In District Where POTUS Barack Obama Grew Up!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Marlene Davis: "Our Government Has Given Private Business Owners A Chance To Grow. [Rand] Paul Should Do The Same. As Bob Marley Would Say: YEP!

The Civil Rights Act: national justice trumps individual choice

It hurt a bit — listening to Republican Senate candidate Rand Paul say he sees nothing wrong with private business owners deciding who can enter their establishments even if those decisions are based on race, physical disabilities, sexual orientation, or any characteristic that marks a person as a minority.

For a moment Wednesday evening while watching the Rachael Maddow Show, I was transported to a time decades ago when similar words were rolling from the lips of noted segragationists Lester Maddox in Georgia and George Wallace in Alabama.

Back then, those men proudly proclaimed their beliefs that states’ rights superseded federal laws when it came to equality for African-Americans.

I don’t think Paul is racist, not in the vein of a Maddox or a Wallace back when the civil rights movement was gathering steam.

I truly believe he is an intellectual with conservative views that haven’t really been tried out in the real world. Paul honestly said he was in favor of most of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and I believe him.

The only part he didn’t like, apparently, was the part that required private businesses to get with the program.

When pushed, Paul had to either stick to his Libertarian/Tea Party guns. He believes that government has the right to rule over public institutions, but no right to dicker with the policies of business owners. If he abandoned that idea, he would have to join the rest of us in reality who know that selfish policies negatively affect lives.

My brother, who was an electronics engineer, said he was always glad he had been an electronics technician first, because he understood both the worlds of ideas and implementation in the real world.

Paul needs more real world experience.

As I watched that show, my 19-year-old son entered the room and focused on the exchange unfolding. Maddow tried to pin Paul down about his views of the Civil Rights Act. He did a verbal tap dance. After several minutes, my son said, “He’s not answering the questions. He’s dancing around the subject.”

Well, he has to, I said. Paul’s a politician, one appealing to his conservative base.

Paul did say he wouldn’t frequent discriminatory businesses and might even picket them to get them to change their ways. But, he said, no matter how boorish, those owners had the right to determine who they served or admitted. In reality though, Paul is saying those owners have a right to live in America, enjoy American privileges, but they don’t have to extend those privileges to others or be subjected to the laws of the land.

I have heard those arguments for decades. My parents had hoped I wouldn’t hear them and I had prayed my children wouldn’t. Their hopes and my prayers were denied.

Wednesday evening, sitting with my son, I knew yet another generation of minorities was going have to continue the fight for equality.

And it’s not just the Civil Rights Act Paul has issues with. He’s not too keen on the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Fair Housing Act and just about any other law that tries to ensure equal, basic freedoms. Instead of creating the ADA, Paul said he favored having handicap workers relegated to the first floor of a two-story building rather than having the business owner provide high-priced access to the second floor.

It is “separate but equal” in a different form. That didn’t work before the Civil Rights Act and it won’t work now.

What Paul doesn’t get is that these “rights” arguments will never hold sway over moral justice.

The Civil Rights Act was about justice; it was about equality; it had nothing to do with money or individual rights. It was about treating human beings humanely.

If we can’t manage to do that on our own, the government has to step in and correct that.

This is not an interesting intellectual discussion. This is about my life and the lives of my children.

If the doors of your business or your apartment building are open to the public, then it is open to me as well.

The good thing about the Civil Rights Act is that everybody won. Those business owners Paul talks about have daughters who watched barriers fall in their own lives because of that law’s influence on the women’s movement. They have friends who have gained a foot up. They themselves have even gained a dollar or two through anti-discrimination contracts.

It’s about people. People with feelings. Mine may have been a bit hurt Wednesday. But I’ve been hurt before.

Seeing the disappointment in my son’s eyes, however, indicates he will have to start praying his children won’t be considered disposable by folks who believe more in “me” than in “we.”

Frank A. Clark, the author of a one-panel newspaper cartoon in the 1960s and later, once said, “We find comfort among those who agree with us — growth among those who don’t.”

Our government has given private business owners a chance to grow. Paul should do the same.

Read more:


Louisville Courier Journal On Rand Paul: Hands Off Business.

Hands off business?

Rand Paul's outrageous arguments about federal civil rights laws and protections of equal access to public accommodations merit the national outcry that they have provoked. But a greater concern should be that they are but one piece of a bigger, even more disturbing picture.

Appearing Friday on ABC's "Good Morning America," Dr. Paul, the Republican Senate nominee in Kentucky, condemned President Obama's handling of the Gulf oil spill. He accused the President of putting "his boot heel on the throat" of BP Oil, whose offshore rig exploded last month, killing 11 workers and triggering a catastrophic oil spill. "I think that sounds really un-American in his criticism of business," Dr. Paul said.

On its face, it's simply a preposterous assertion -- both in its not-so-subtle evocation of fascist or communist tyranny, and in its tone-deaf obliviousness to the damage the spill is doing to the Gulf-area's economy, employment, fishing grounds and tourist destinations. Indeed, if the President deserves criticism, it's for not being more forceful in dealing with BP.

Beyond that, however, Dr. Paul's protective instincts toward BP -- like his troubling earlier assertions that private businesses should be able to discriminate without government interference -- may reflect an absolutist libertarian view that property rights (in these cases, as possessed by private businesses) supersede virtually every public interest.

If that's the case, then Dr. Paul owes Kentucky voters a lot more than explanations of his views about civil rights legislation and the BP spill. Government regulation and oversight of business are widespread in this country, and have been exercised by both parties and at federal, state and local levels. If Dr. Paul thinks governmental power over many business practices is a bad thing as a matter of principle, the questions are endless.

Would Dr. Paul oppose the government's power to inspect and certify the safety of food sources and restaurants? Does he favor government's ability to require businesses to pay minimum wages, refrain from hiring illegal immigrants and cease discriminatory practices in the workplace? Are laws forbidding sales of alcohol and tobacco to minors an unwarranted intrusion into business transactions? Is the federal government wrong to sue Toyota for allegedly covering up safety-related problems? Do consumer protections in areas ranging from lending practices, to credit-card charges, to regulation of utility rates represent unjustified government interference in businesses? Does Dr. Paul's opposition to national health care reform mean that he'd like to see insurance companies continue to be able to deny or stop coverage based on pre-existing conditions?

You get the picture. Kentuckians surely will want to add coal issues to the equation. As devastating as strip mining and mountaintop removal have been to this state, what would its coalfields look like without federal surface mining laws and regulations? Would Dr. Paul prefer to put coal miners' safety in the hands of federal inspectors, or at the tender mercies of Don Blankenship of Massey Energy?

It's a good thing there are more than five months before the November election. Dr. Paul will need every bit of that time to clear things up.

Editor's comment: "Dr. Paul's protective instincts toward BP -- like his troubling earlier assertions that private businesses should be able to discriminate without government interference -- may reflect an absolutist libertarian view that property rights (in these cases, as possessed by private businesses) supersede virtually every public interest."

YEP. That's putting it succinctly and directly.


Folks, This Is Awful. Bill Mayer On Rand Paul: "The Shit Doesn't Fall Far From The Bat", And "It's As If Sarah Palin Made It Through Medical School".

Joel Pett Strikes -- Again. LOL.


Friday, May 21, 2010

"More Controversial Rand Paul Comments Could Affect GOP Unity Rally Saturday". Well, I'm NOT Going For Sure!

More controversial Rand Paul comments could affect GOP Unity Rally Saturday

On the eve of a Republican Unity Rally in Frankfort to bring together the party for November's election, U.S. Senate nominee Rand Paul made more controversial statements-- this time when he told Good Morning America that President Obama sounded "un-American" for criticizing BP for the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

"What I don't like from the president's administration is this sort of, 'I'll put my boot heel on the throat of BP,"' Paul said in an interview Friday morning with host George Stephanopoulos. "I think that sounds really un-American in his criticism of business."

In that interview, Paul talked about the April 29 Dotiki mine collapse that killed two workers in Western Kentucky, saying "sometimes accidents happen."

The statements brought rebukes from a labor organization and from Kentucky Democratic Attorney General Jack Conway, Paul's opponent in the November election.

And they may cause ripples at the Unity Rally, where Paul will come face to face with the party establishment he spent months criticizing on the campaign trail and in his victory speech Tuesday.

At the same time, Kentucky's most powerful Republican, U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, must decide how he will embrace the outsider who beat his endorsed candidate, Secretary of State Trey Grayson, by a blistering 23 points in Tuesday's primary election.

The unity rally at the GOP headquarters in Frankfort -- named the Mitch McConnell Building -- will feature two uneasy allies trying to come together to defeat Conway.

"The marching orders from Republican voters is: Republican leaders get your act together and let's win this thing in November," said Jack Richardson IV, former Jefferson County Republican Party chairman and a member of the GOP state central committee.

Adding to the intrigue is a slew of controversial statements made by Paul in the media this week regarding his stance on civil rights, followed by his remarks on the Gulf of Mexico oil spill and last month's deadly coal mining disaster in Kentucky.

Paul came under fire for saying this week that while he abhors racism and doesn't want to see the Civil Rights Act repealed, he believes it went too far in prohibiting private businesses from being able to discriminate. It was during an interview to defend his statements about civil rights that Paul broached the subjects of the oil spill and the mine collapse.

Oil Spill

Stephanopoulos asked Paul if the U.S. government had authority to tell BP that it had to use a less-toxic dispersant in its efforts to clean up the spill, which occurred after a BP oil rig collapsed last month following an explosion that killed 11 workers.

In defending the oil company and saying that we don't yet know if BP is to blame for the environmental disaster, Paul said: "What I don't like from the president's administration is this sort of, 'I'll put my boot heel on the throat of BP.' I think that sounds really un-American in his criticism of business."

Conway replied later Friday with a statement, saying: "Rand Paul apparently has a deeply held conviction that corporations should be allowed to do what they see fit without oversight or accountability."

Paul defended his statement, saying he was only talking about the tone of a statement from Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, who said administration officials would keep their "boot on the throat" of the oil giant until it stops the flow of millions of gallons of oil into the gulf.

"No one is saying BP did it purposeful, sabotage so they could pollute the ocean," Paul said. "The thing about the statement about a boot on the throat, it sounds like something a tyrant would do to people that they are, you know, assaulting in the street. ... I think that has a tenor that is inappropriate."

Other Republicans have criticized the government's handling of the oil spill, but few have been so vocal in defending BP.
Mine collapse

It was during his discussion of the oil spill that Paul brought up the Dotiki mine collapse, saying the accident was tragic but that "we come in and it's always someone's fault. Maybe sometimes accidents happen."

Such a statement could be troublesome for a candidate in the nation's third-largest coal-producing state.

Mine-safety advocate Tony Oppegard said it's premature to make such comments because the federal investigation of the Dotiki mine cave-in is not finished.

"It's easy for him to say we look for someone to blame," Oppegard said, "but the fact is, this company had a horrible safety record."

Webster Coal, which owns the mine, has been cited 840 times since January 2009 -- 323 of the citations for "significant and substantial" violations. The Dotiki mine has been cited 17 times in the past year and a half for failing to secure roofs and walls against falling rock and coal.

In a statement, Kimberly Freeman Brown, the executive director of the pro-labor American Rights at Work, called Paul's comment "simply bizarre. Obviously he hasn't read the published reports about the mine disaster in his own state."

In an interview with The Courier-Journal Friday, Paul said he was trying to make the point that "there are tragedies that occur in all walks of our life and it's not always somebody who intentionally wanted to harm someone or was negligent, sometimes you do everything right."

Paul said he needs to learn more about the mine and its safety record.

"I think they said there were 300 safety violations, but I think a good fact would be to find out how many safety violations do each of them get every week or every month. Was that a disproportionate amount?" he said.

Paul said in an interview that he understands that miners want a safe working environment "but I think the owners do too, and a lot of times ... are made out to appear that they don't care about their workers," he said. "And I think that's not true."
No GOP boycott expected

Republicans are downplaying Paul's statements while at the same time pushing him to get back on his message of reducing the federal deficit, cutting spending and minimal government intrusion.

"I don't think any Republicans will not show up because of his comments," said former Jefferson County Republican Party Chairman Bill Stone, who supported Grayson in the primary.

But he said Paul needs to get back on message.

"I think he showed his inexperience as a national candidate in the last couple days, which is correctable because he's highly intelligent," Stone said.

On Friday Paul canceled a scheduled Sunday appearance on NBC's Meet the Press, according to show host David Gregory.

Paul campaign manager David Adams said earlier Friday that he wasn't sure whether Paul would appear.

University of Kentucky political science professor Stephen Voss said that some Republicans privately have to be worried about associating with Paul after his comments this week.

"The Rand Paul fracas over the Civil Rights Act is going to encourage some of these Republicans to keep some distance from him until they see how it plays out," Voss said.

Officials say they plan to keep the focus of the unity rally on attacking Conway.

"The issues at hand are stopping cap and trade, the Washington liberal war on coal, balancing the federal budget and getting our nation back on the right track," Adams said.

Still, party leaders remain divided whether it is up to Paul or McConnell to extend an olive branch?

"It behooves (Paul) to be a good winner and understand that the reason the Senate seat from Kentucky means so much is in many ways because of what Mitch McConnell built," Stone said.

Paul hasn't said whether he would support McConnell's bid to remain minority leader in the Senate if elected. And, Paul made a sarcastic comment Wednesday on MSNBC's Morning Joe show when asked whether he and McConnell would campaign together in the fall.

He responded: "We are going to be best friends now. I'm putting him on a short list on my cell phone."

Others in the party think McConnell must reach out and welcome Paul.

"Hopefully he will do that and put this very negative campaign of Grayson's behind us," Richardson said.

McConnell spokesman Robert Steurer on Friday referred questions to Republican Party of Kentucky officials.

"There is no onus," Republican Party Chairman Steve Robertson said. "We are one family and we are moving forward."

Grayson spokesman Les Fugate said Grayson plans to attend as well. Grayson declined to comment through Fugate Friday.

At his concession speech Tuesday, Grayson vowed to do whatever Paul requests of him.

But J. Todd Inman, a Grayson supporter and member of the GOP state central committee, said he won't attend Saturday's rally.

"I don't really know what to expect tomorrow, because after a very long campaign sometimes people want to sit back and rest and evaluate where they are," he said.

Reporter Stephenie Steitzer can be reached at (502) 875-5136.