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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Louisville Courier Journal Editorial: "A Cause Perverted". I Agree.

A cause perverted

Fresh back from his starring role at the Lincoln Memorial playing Martin Luther King Jr. to Sarah Palin's Rosa Parks in a new production — “Reclaiming the Civil Rights Movement,” sponsored by Fox News and others on the political right — Glenn Beck quickly reverted to his usual self. After ascending to his mountaintop and seeing the Promised Land — the thousands of people who showed up for his rally Saturday — Mr. Beck took out after President Obama's religious beliefs.

Though he broke with an idea consistently peddled by commentators and guests on his network that President Obama is a secret Muslim, Mr. Beck, in a post-production interview, seems to concede that Obama may, in fact, be a Christian, but not of the sort that Mr. Beck understands or approves of. The President, he said, “is a guy who understands the world through liberation theology, which is oppressor-and-victim.” And the President's faith? Well, he explained, “It's not Muslim, it's not Christian. It's a perversion of the gospel of Jesus Christ as most Christians know it.” The President's is a faith of “collectivism, not individual salvation.”

So, what to say about Glenn Beck's rally on Saturday? He had the right to hold it and thousands showed up, though the numbers are disputed. At the same time, the rumblings that many also heard on Saturday were probably the spirits of the icons — Dr. King, Rosa Parks, Viola Liuzzo, Fannie Lou Hamer, the four little black girls murdered and martyred at the Birmingham church, Emmett Till and the three civil rights workers who were murdered by the KKK in Mississippi — crying out that their cause is being perverted by a man who promotes an agenda for America that nowhere approximates what they lived, fought, worked and died for.


David Williams And Richie Farmer Expected To Announce Gubernatorial Ticket.

The announcement is expected tomorrow.

Stay tuned.

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POTUS Barack Obama: It's Time To Turn The Page [On Iraq]", Declares War Over. Watch Video.

Tom Eblen: "Justice For All? Davender, Gobb Cases Make Me Wonder". Me Too, Tom. Me Too!

Tom Eblen: Justice for all? Davender, Gobb cases make me wonder

Steal $100,000 in a University of Kentucky ticket scam, as former UK basketball star Ed Davender did, and you could get eight years in prison.

Steal five times that much from Blue Grass Airport, as former airport director Mike Gobb and three of his assistants did, and you could get no jail time at all.

Those recent cases left me scratching my head, and I wasn't alone. No wonder people question the fairness of our judicial system and speculate that punishment is influenced by wealth, race, class, the skill of your attorney and the whims of your judge.

"We have completely lost the consistency that once existed in our sentencing system," said Robert Lawson, a UK law professor who wrote much of the foundation for the state criminal code and has spent four decades studying crime and punishment in Kentucky.

"There's a need for a complete and total overhaul," Lawson said.

While we are at it, he said, we should rethink punishment for non-violent criminals to make it more effective and affordable.

Kentucky's 1974 criminal code was designed to promote rehabilitation because most offenders return to society sooner or later. But subsequent "get tough on crime" laws and public opinion have made the system inconsistent and often unfair, Lawson said.

The problem, he said, is that "we've forgotten the difference between the people we're afraid of and those we're mad at."

In the court of public opinion, most people would say that Davender, Gobb and his assistants deserved jail time — perhaps many years in prison.

"The public is angry; they don't want to see anybody go free unless it's a relative," Lawson said. "They put a lot of pressure on judges who have to run for office."

That attitude helps explain why the United States, where the incarceration rate has almost quadrupled since 1980, locks up more people per capita than any other nation, and why Kentucky incarcerates more than almost any other state. It also helps explain why governments are going broke.

Everybody wants violent criminals — the people we're afraid of — locked away so they can't hurt us. But Lawson said his research has found that the vast majority of felons incarcerated in Kentucky are there for drug or property crimes that didn't involve violence.

Kentucky's crime rate since 1970 has risen about 3 percent. But the number of incarcerated felons has grown from fewer than 3,000 then to more than 21,000, and the state's corrections budget has grown from $10 million to more than $450 million.

Those staggering figures have caused many groups, including the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce, to call for reform. That's because paying to lock up so many people leaves Kentucky too little money for education and other priorities.

But many prosecutors "scare the public," and many politicians are afraid of being labeled "soft on crime," Lawson said. Ratings-driven TV news is all crime all the time, even though Kentucky's crime rate is relatively low. "There is enormous fear out there," he said.

There also are human costs to excessive incarceration. If offenders are simply warehoused, and not rehabilitated, they come out worse than they went in. That's especially true of the 7,000 felons now in overcrowded local jails that were not designed to house prisoners long-term. "We're making them meaner than hell under the circumstances we're having them live in," he said.

Prison is appropriate punishment for some non- violent criminals, but sentences have grown excessively long. "One year is a lot of time in prison if people would go look at them," said Lawson.

A more appropriate and cost-effective punishment for many non-violent criminals would be community service, hefty fines and home confinement. People like Gobb and Davender, who have useful skills and pose little public safety threat, could repay taxpayers with money, work and service rather than be locked away at a cost of nearly $20,000 a year.

Fines would be easier on affluent offenders than poor ones, but amounts could be adjusted to make them more equitable. Only Gobb's punishment included community service, but Lawson said the 500 hours required of Gobb "doesn't sound like enough to me for what he did."

Kentucky's criminal code needs an overhaul. And while we are at it, we must figure out ways for more non-violent criminals to pay their debt to society without costing us all a fortune.

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Sorry For SLOW Postings -- Professional Duties Took Precedence, But Here's A SHAMEFUL Cartoon. No Laughing Here!

Another view:


Monday, August 30, 2010

Read This Email From POTUS Barack Obama On The End Of Hostilites In Iraq. Enjoy.

Good evening,

Tomorrow evening at 8 p.m. EDT, I will address the nation from the Oval Office about the end of the war in Iraq.
We are at a truly historic moment in our nation’s history. After more than seven years, our combat mission in Iraq will end tomorrow.

As both a candidate and President, I promised to bring the war in Iraq to a responsible end. Now, we are taking an important step forward in delivering on that promise. Since I took office, we’ve brought nearly 100,000 U.S. troops home from Iraq, millions of pieces of equipment have been removed, and hundreds of bases have been closed or transferred to Iraqi Security Forces.

Our combat mission in Iraq is ending, but our commitment to an Iraq that is sovereign, stable and self-reliant continues. As our mission in Iraq changes, 50,000 U.S. troops will remain in Iraq to advise and assist the Iraqi Security Forces as they assume full responsibility for the security of their country on September 1. We will forge a strong partnership with an Iraq that still faces enduring challenges.

For nearly a decade, we have been a nation at war. The war in Iraq has at times divided us. But one thing I think all Americans can agree on is that our brave men and women in uniform are truly America’s finest. They have put their lives on the line and endured long separations from their family and loved ones.
All Americans owe our troops, veterans and military families a debt of gratitude for their outstanding service to our nation. Over the past few days, thousands of Americans have taken part in our Saluting Service in Iraq effort on, sending their messages of thanks and support to our troops.

Take a minute right now to see what your fellow Americans have to say and add a message of your own:

Supporting our troops and military families is the responsibility of all Americans. My Administration is doing everything in its power to ensure that our troops, veterans and their families have the support they need as they serve, and the care and opportunities they need to realize their dreams when they return home.
I hope you will join me in welcoming our troops home and showing your gratitude for their heroic service.


President Barack Obama


The Death Of Conservatism Was Greatly Exaggerated. YEP.

The Death of Conservatism Was Greatly Exaggerated
In 2008 liberals proclaimed the collapse of Reaganism. Two years later the idea of limited government is back in vogue.

Last August left little doubt that a conservative revival was underway. Constituents packed town-hall meetings across the country to confront Democratic House members and senators ill-prepared to explain why, in the teeth of a historic economic downturn and nearly 10% employment, President Obama and his party were pressing ahead with costly health-care legislation instead of reining in spending, cutting the deficit and spurring economic growth.

Still, whether that revival would have staying power was very much open to question. A year later—and notwithstanding the Democrats' steadily declining poll numbers and the mounting electoral momentum that could well produce a Republican majority in the House and a substantial swing in the Senate—it still is.

Sustaining the revival depends on the ability of GOP leaders, office-holders and candidates to harness the extraordinary upsurge of popular opposition to Mr. Obama's aggressive progressivism. Our constitutional tradition provides enduring principles that should guide them.

In late 2008 and early 2009, in the wake of Mr. Obama's meteoric ascent, the idea that conservatism would enjoy any sort of revival in the summer of 2009 would have seemed to demoralized conservatives too much to hope for. To leading lights on the left, it would have appeared absolutely outlandish.

In late October 2008, New Yorker staff writer George Packer reported "the complete collapse of the four-decade project that brought conservatism to power in America." Two weeks later, the day after Mr. Obama's election, Washington Post columnist E.J. Dionne proclaimed "the end of a conservative era" that had begun with the rise of Ronald Reagan.

And in February 2009, New York Times Book Review and Week in Review editor Sam Tanenhaus, writing in The New Republic, declared that "movement conservatism is exhausted and quite possibly dead." Mr. Tanenhaus even purported to discern in the new president "the emergence of a president who seems more thoroughly steeped in the principles of Burkean conservatism than any significant thinker or political figure on the right."

Messrs. Packer, Dionne and Tanenhaus underestimated what the conservative tradition rightly emphasizes, which is the high degree of unpredictability in human affairs. They also conflated the flagging fortunes of George W. Bush's Republican Party with conservatism's popular appeal. Most importantly, they failed to grasp the imperatives that flow from conservative principles in America, and the full range of tasks connected to preserving freedom.

Progressives like to believe that conservatism's task is exclusively negative—resisting the centralizing and expansionist tendency of democratic government. And that is a large part of the conservative mission. Progressives see nothing in this but hard-hearted indifference to inequality and misfortune, but that is a misreading.

What conservatism does is ask the question avoided by progressive promises: at what expense? In the aftermath of the global economic crisis of 2008, Western liberal democracies have been increasingly forced to come to grips with their propensity to live beyond their means.

It is always the task for conservatives to insist that money does not grow on trees, that government programs must be paid for, and that promising unaffordable benefits is reckless, unjust and a long-term threat to maintaining free institutions.

But conservatives also combat government expansion and centralization because it can undermine the virtues upon which a free society depends. Big government tends to crowd out self-government—producing sluggish, selfish and small-minded citizens, depriving individuals of opportunities to manage their private lives and discouraging them from cooperating with fellow citizens to govern their neighborhoods, towns, cities and states.

Progressives are not the only ones to misunderstand the multiple dimensions of the conservative mission. Conservatives have demonstrated blind spots, too.

In 2010—in an America in which the New Deal long ago was woven into the fabric of our lives—conservatives can not reasonably devote themselves exclusively to limiting the growth of government. Government must effectively discharge the responsibilities it has had since the founding of the republic, but also those it has acquired over more than two centuries of social, political and technological change.

Those responsibilities include putting people to work and reigniting the economy—and devising alternatives to ObamaCare that will enable the federal government to cooperate with state governments and the private sector to provide affordable and decent health care.

A thoughtful conservatism in America—a prerequisite of a sustainable conservatism—must also recognize that the liberty, democracy and free markets that it seeks to conserve have destabilizing effects. For all their blessings, they breed distrust of order, virtue and tradition, all of which must be cultivated if liberty is to be well-used.

To observe this is not, as some clever progressives think, to have discovered a fatal contradiction at the heart of modern conservatism. It is, rather, to begin to recognize the complexity of the conservative task in a free society.

To be sure, the current conservative revival was not in the first instance inspired by reflection on conservative principles.

The credit for galvanizing ordinary people and placing individual freedom and limited government back on the national agenda principally belongs to President Obama, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. Their heedless pursuit of progressive transformation reinvigorated a moribund conservative spirit, just as in 1993 and 1994 the Clintons' overreaching on health care sparked a popular uprising resulting in a Republican takeover of Congress.

The Gingrich revolution fizzled, in part because congressional Republicans mistook a popular mandate for moderation as a license to undertake radical change, and in part because they grew complacent and corrupt in the corridors of power.

Perhaps this time will be different. Our holiday from history is over. The country faces threats—crippling government expansion at home and transnational Islamic extremism—that arouse conservative instincts and concentrate the conservative mind.

Mr. Berkowitz is a senior fellow at Stanford University's Hoover Institution.


RONNIE ELLIS: Williams-Farmer Ticket Could Happen.

RONNIE ELLIS: Williams-Farmer ticket could happen

Signs point to an announcement soon that David Williams and Richie Farmer will form a Republican ticket for governor and lieutenant governor. Williams badly wants to run and openly covets Farmer as his running mate.

On Thursday at the State Fair, Farmer surprised some by saying he is still considering a race for governor. “Possibly,” he said. “But the conversations that we’ve had basically talked about (Williams) wanting to run and talking about forming a ticket.” Williams said he is confident Farmer will make “the right decision” and the two will make an announcement “about both our futures very shortly.” Nearby, their wives chatted and laughed as Robyn Williams playfully tousled the hair of one of Farmer’s sons.

Farmer said he has “a lot of respect” for Williams, calling him “very, very intelligent” and “someone who understands state government about as well as anyone.” When asked what advantage he sees in being lieutenant governor, Farmer said in “the right situation, I could be involved and possibly learn more about state government.”

That sounds like a man who wants someday to be governor but for now thinks he could use a bit more “seasoning.” It also sounds like a man who has either made his decision or is very close. Williams has no hesitation about his own ability to be governor. He does not lack confidence or ego. A reputation for partisanship, high negatives among those who oppose his policies or his aggressive style, and sometimes a thin skin are more troublesome.

But those in the press and the political echo chamber of Frankfort who say Williams is unelectable may want to think about some things. Williams isn’t quite so well known outside of Frankfort. Money isn’t likely to be a problem for a Republican ticket and money and advertising can sometimes soften a candidate’s image. Williams has name recognition and it’s not all bad. Some voters recognize the name but aren’t sure what they know about him. David Lynn Williams, a perennial candidate from Glasgow, got more votes for Agriculture Commissioner in the 2007 primary than anyone on the ballot except Jack Conway for Attorney General. And while most people don’t vote for a gubernatorial ticket because of the candidate for lieutenant governor, Richie Farmer might represent a different ballgame.

Then there’s the political climate. It’s the most intense anti-incumbent mood I can recall. The very same people who say Williams has no shot only a year ago said Rand Paul had no shot at the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate.

Well, accidents happen. Should Paul – in spite of a penchant for blunt and controversial statements — win this November’s Senate race against Conway, the “throw the rascals out” mood might carry over into next year’s race for governor. You can argue Williams is one of the rascals because he’s not been averse to spending so long as it’s where and how he wants to spend it. But that’s a tougher case for an incumbent governor who wanted to spend gambling revenue that didn’t exist.

Williams himself has a penchant for blunt statements which sometimes come off as mean-spirited. His skin isn’t as thick as it should be for someone so skillful at zinging opponents but not so good at absorbing criticism. People who dislike him passionately dislike him. It’s tough to beat an incumbent governor. Some voters give Steve Beshear good marks for managing a difficult budget which might insulate him from the “out-of-control spending” charge. Beshear will be favored, but I wouldn’t dismiss a Williams-Farmer ticket too soon.

RONNIE ELLIS writes for CNHI News Service and is based in Frankfort. Reach him at Follow CNHI News Service stories on Twitter at



Conway, Paul embrace the demagogy
AG forgets freedom of religion; libertarian ignores property rights

It should surprise no one that the usual rabble-rousers of the right have raised a ruckus over plans to build a Muslim community center and mosque a couple of blocks from Ground Zero in New York City. That's what the Sarah Palins and Glenn Becks of the world do — seize every opportunity to spew senseless demagogy that incites fears, fans the flames of hatred and spreads divisiveness across America's political landscape. It's how they feed their insatiable egos.

What disappoints, though, is the fraidy-cat stance the two men who want to be the next U.S. senator from Kentucky have taken on the mosque plans.

"While this is a local matter that should be decided by the people of New York, Dr. Paul does not support a mosque being built two blocks from Ground Zero," a spokesman for Republican Senate nominee Rand Paul said.

Attorney General Jack Conway, the Democratic nominee, expressed a similar sentiment. "I think we have to keep the families of the victims of 9/11 foremost in our minds," he told the Knox County Times-Tribune, "and because of that I would prefer to see it located elsewhere."

Paul's objection to building a mosque near Ground Zero represents pure hypocrisy, coming from a supposed libertarian who has elevated "property rights" to near-sacred status when it comes to civil rights, people with disabilities and the mountaintop removal mining that defiles the landscape and pollutes the waters of Kentucky.

Despite Paul's hypocrisy, Conway disappoints more. After all, as attorney general, he has taken an oath to uphold both the U.S. Constitution and its Kentucky counterpart. What part of those two documents' clear language on the subject of religious freedom does he not understand?

For that is the real issue involved in the Ground Zero mosque controversy: religious freedom. And the same issue is at the heart of other protests against planned mosques around the country, including one in Mayfield in Western Kentucky and another in Florence in Northern Kentucky.

Yes, Muslim terrorists were at the controls of planes that took down the twin towers of the World Trade Center on 9/11. But just as we didn't typecast everyone named McVeigh after the Oklahoma City bombing, we must not typecast all Muslims post-9/11. But that is what the rabble-rousers want us to do.

If a Christian or Jewish congregation were proposing a place of worship two blocks from Ground Zero, the only discussion would be about compliance with planning and zoning laws. This discussion has gone beyond those limits only because Muslims are involved.

Innocent Muslims were killed on 9/11, along with the innocent members of other faiths and innocent people of no faith. As long as they own the property and comply with all the laws and regulations, innocent Muslims have a right to worship within a couple of blocks of Ground Zero — or in Murray and Florence. To deny them that right is to diminish freedom of religion for all of us.

And when our response to a terrorist attack includes diminishing our own freedoms, we've let the bad guys win. Apparently, that's OK with Rand Paul and Jack Conway.

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Words To Live By.

"I consider the foundation of the Constitution as laid on this ground that 'all powers not delegated to the United States, by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states or to the people.' To take a single step beyond the boundaries thus specially drawn around the powers of Congress, is to take possession of a boundless field of power, not longer susceptible of any definition."

-- Thomas Jefferson, Opinion on the Constitutionality of a National Bank, 1791


Joel Pett Takes On "U. S. Arrogance" And Kentucky GOP Politicians. LMAO!


Sunday, August 29, 2010

In Kentucky, Al Cross Sees Visions Of A "Slam-Dunk Ticket For Kentucky Governor For David Williams [And Richie Farmer]".

Slam-dunk ticket for Kentucky governor looks likely for David Williams
By Al Cross

As the Kentucky Country Ham Breakfast broke up at the State Fair Thursday morning, a man told state Senate President David Williams that he was ready to help him start raising money for Williams' all-but-announced Republican campaign for governor next year.

“It won't be long,” Williams replied, in the confident tone of a man who has obtained the key to a door that could lead to the state's highest office and the ouster of Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear.

Barring any 11th-hour misgivings, Williams appears to have persuaded Agriculture Commissioner Richie Farmer to run for lieutenant governor on his slate. He needed Farmer in order to make an early announcement, which now seems to be forthcoming.

Farmer, who was elected in 2003 largely on his University of Kentucky basketball fame, gave reporters a head fake at the breakfast, telling them he still might run for governor. But maybe he was thinking about 2015, if the Williams-Farmer slate loses, or in 2019, if it wins and is re-elected. Williams said the pair would make a statement about a deal “in the next few days.”

Ever since the notion of such a slate became public, many have asked why Farmer, who is not ready to be governor but would be a strong bet in a race for secretary of state, would tie his political future to the fate of Williams — who has loads of political baggage from his sometimes-nasty clashes with Democrats in his 10-plus years as Senate president.

But that baggage is the big reason that Williams, who is widely seen a sourpuss, needs the popular Farmer to bring sugar to the slate and make lemonade out of a lemon. And it is likely to be a potent potable.

Louisville businessman Phil Moffett and state Rep. Mike Harmon of Boyle County are running for the Republican nomination, but most Republicans seem to think that a Williams-Farmer slate is their only hope of defeating Beshear and his new running mate, Louisville Mayor Jerry Abramson.

There has been talk that Farmer may have received assurances, from people in positions to deliver on them, that if the slate loses they will find him a place to land and remain prominent until it's time to suit up for the 2015 elections. He told reporters Thursday that he has received no such promises.

In a slate arrangement, the risk of losing rests primarily on the candidate for governor. State House Minority Leader Jeff Hoover lost little if any political capital by joining former U.S. Rep. Anne Northup's ineffective challenge to then-Gov. Ernie Fletcher in the 2007 Republican primary. Farmer lacks Hoover's gubernatorial qualifications, so he will be subject to more scrutiny than the usual running mate, but his main task will be to avoid gaffes that make him look unqualified to be governor-in-waiting.

And what if Williams makes mistakes that doom the slate? In that case, Farmer would be somewhat insulated because he already has a statewide following, as can be seen at any boys' state basketball tournament. Unlike most slated candidates for lieutenant governor, his political future will remain largely in his own hands. (But he needs to start giving better speeches than the one he gave at the Ham Breakfast.)

Farmer's apparent decision may have also been driven by the political winds in Kentucky, which are increasingly blowing Republicans' way. The latest Insight cn|2 poll, taken by Braun Research Aug. 16-18, found that a clear majority of Kentucky adults said they were conservative.

A cn|2 poll last month gave Beshear a 69 percent job-approval rating, but a Rasmussen Reports poll at about the same time had it at 54 percent. That is still good for a Kentucky incumbent in the party of Barack Obama, but Williams says his polling shows that Beshear's support is soft and many voters are persuadable. Last month he released a memo from his pollster saying a survey showed him and Farmer running only 1 percentage point behind Beshear and Abramson.

As for Williams' political baggage, he says, “Any negatives I have are not among Republican-leaning voters. Obviously, the country is trending Republican.… I think I can win because Steve Beshear is weak. He is indecisive, he has no agenda, he doesn't work well with the legislature.” But if those charges are true, they don't seem to have had much effect on voters.

Williams' unpopularity seems to have been centered in Jefferson County. He did something last week that could bring conservative Democrats and some moderates in the county his way, co-sponsoring a bill with Sen. Dan Seum, R-Louisville, that would generally give parents the right to enroll their children in the school closest to their home.

The move will surely make Williams all the more objectionable to more liberal voters, but most of them would never be in his corner anyway, and he has a statewide education issue to talk about: Kentucky's failure to get money in the federal Race to the Top competition because it does not allow charter schools. He blames that on Beshear's failure to get House Democrats to accept the idea.

A Williams-Beshear battle would be a dandy, unlike the last two races, in which scandals skewed the results, and the one in 1999, which was essentially uncontested. Both men have been winners and losers who have learned from their losses, and are lawyers with long records on issues and the skill to debate them, with the first big arena the 2011 legislative session. (Don't bet on much getting done then.)

Abramson, also a lawyer by trade, can talk rings around Farmer, as he showed at the Ham Breakfast, but they are likely to have few debates. Beshear may be tempted to argue that he has the only fully qualified slate, but he had better wait for Farmer to provide more evidence. Eighteen years after he was one of UK's “Unforgettables,” Farmer remains so, and the public will probably give him plenty of time to prove that he can, in both political and basketball parlance, “move up to the next level.”

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.


Leonard Pitts: The Theft Of Legacy.

Leonard Pitts | The theft of legacy

A few words about who “we” is.

“This is a moment,” said Glenn Beck three months ago on his radio program, “… that I think we ‘reclaim' the civil rights movement. It has been so distorted and so turned upside down. … We are on the right side of history. We are on the side of individual freedoms and liberties and damn it, we will reclaim the civil rights moment. We will take that movement, because we were the people that did it in the first place!”

Beck was promoting his “Restoring Honor” rally, to be held Saturday at the Lincoln Memorial, 47 years to the day after Martin Luther King famously spoke there. You'll notice he didn't define the “we” he had in mind, but it seems reasonable to suppose Beck was speaking of people like himself: affluent middle-age conservatives possessed of the ability to see socialism and communism in places where it somehow escapes the notice of others.

If you agree that assumption is reasonable, then you must also agree Beck's contention that his “we” were the architects of the civil rights movement is worse than nonsensical, worse than mendacious, worse than shameless. It is “obscene.” It is theft of legacy. It is robbery of martyr's graves.

We're in an odd moment. Having opposed the freedom movement of the 20th Century, some social conservatives seek, now that that movement stands vindicated and venerated, to arrogate unto themselves its language and heroes, to remake it in their image.

Thus, you get claims that “racism” is now what Shirley Sherrod said in a speech to the NAACP. And people calling Sarah Palin the new face of feminism. And conservatives touting the likelihood that King voted Republican — as if the party in 1957 bore any resemblance to the party now.

But even by those standards, Glenn Beck's effrontery is monumental. Even by those standards, he goes too far. Beck was part of the “we” who founded the civil rights movement!? “No.” Here's who “we” is.

“We” is Emmett Till, tied to a cotton gin fan in the murky waters of the Tallahatchie River. “We” is Rosa Parks telling the bus driver no. “We” is Diane Nash on a sleepless night waiting for missing Freedom Riders to check in. “We” is Charles Sherrod, husband of Shirley, gingerly testing desegregation compliance in an Albany, Ga., bus station. “We” is a sharecropper making his X on a form held by a white college student from the North. “We” is celebrities like Harry Belafonte, Marlon Brando and Pernell Roberts of “Bonanza,” lending their names, their wealth and their labor to the cause of freedom.

“We” is Medgar Evers, Michael Schwerner, Jimmie Lee Jackson, James Reeb, Viola Liuzzo, Cynthia Wesley, Andrew Goodman, Denise McNair, James Chaney, Addie Mae Collins and Carole Robertson, shot, beaten and blown to death for that cause.

“We” is Lyndon Johnson, building a legislative coalition of moderate Republicans and Democrats to defeat intransigent Southern Democratic conservatives and enshrine that cause into law.

And “we” is Martin Luther King, giving voice and moral clarity to the cause — and paying for it with his life.

The we to which Glenn Beck belongs is the we that said no, the we that cried “socialism!” “communism!” “tyranny!” whenever black people and their allies cried, freedom.

The fatuous and dishonorable attempt to posit conservatives as the prime engine of civil rights depends for success on the ignorance of the American people. Sadly, as anyone who has ever watched a Jay Walking segment on “The Tonight Show” can attest, the American people have ignorance in plenitude.

This, then, is to serve notice as Beck and his tea party faithful gather in Lincoln's shadow to claim the mantle of King: Some of us are not ignorant. Some of us remember. Some of us know very well who “we” is.

And, who “we” is not.

Leonard Pitts is a columnist for the Miami Herald. His e-mail address is


Glenn Beck's "STUNT" As Seen By The Louisville Courier Journal.

Glenn Beck's rally

Education must enable one to sift and weigh evidence, to discern the true from the false, the real from the unreal, and the facts from fiction.”

Martin Luther King Jr. said that, and it's worth remembering on this 47th anniversary of the King-led “March on Washington,” when the iconic Baptist preacher and civil rights leader delivered his famous “I Have a Dream” speech.

It's worth remembering as well, since this is the day that Fox host Glenn Beck has chosen to stage a mass gathering of his own at Washington's Lincoln Memorial to “reclaim the civil rights movement.”

People can decide for themselves whether to believe Mr. Beck's claim it's purely coincidence that the date for his rally is an anniversary of Dr. King's speech. In any event, Mr. Beck has heavily promoted the rally, which he's titled “Restoring Honor.”

Some argue that Mr. Beck, who is prone to inexplicable outbursts, ranging from tearful rants to calling the nation's first African-American president “a racist who hates white people,” seeks not simply to exploit and revise history, but is reaching for a crown that's way too big for his head.

Nevertheless, they should, as do we, support Mr. Beck's right to gather his troops, who have a different view and vision for America, at a site that most Americans think of as hallowed ground because it memorializes a president who, like Martin Luther King Jr., was often despised and was assassinated for daring to argue that an America divided against itself cannot stand.

Americans who understand the civil rights movement and who know why 1963 was such a pivotal year should be able to discern whether the Beck-led rally Saturday is “a scheme or a dream.”

They can assess for themselves whether it's fact or fiction that Mr. Beck conducts himself in the King tradition of being respectful of differences, encouraging civil dialogue, even on third-rail social and political issues — and of seeking unity of purpose among Americans across economic, racial and religious lines.


"Restoring Honor" Rally.


Saturday, August 28, 2010

Henderson County Judge Executive And Facebook Friend, Sandy Lee Watkins, Dies In His Sleep. RIP.

Henderson County Judge-executive Sandy Lee Watkins died in his sleep Friday night while attending a conference in San Diego, Calif., according to Magistrate Hugh McCormick, the judge-executive pro tem.

“He was the best judge we’ve ever had and the best friend you could ever have,” said Sheriff Ed Brady, one of the numerous county officials and public leaders who gathered at McCormick’s house on Alvasia Street soon after the news became known Saturday morning.

Watkins, 58, first ran for judge-executive in 1989, but was beaten by seven votes. He did not contest those results. He ran again and won in 1993 and sailed through re-election campaigns in 1998, 2002 and 2006. He easily won the Democratic primary in May of this year, garnering two-thirds of the vote against two challengers.

Editor's comment: I was just looking at the Judge's Facebook page, and I almost left an "I hope all is well" message, then learned of his passing.


E.J. Dionne Jr.: The Primary Differences.

The primary differences
By E.J. Dionne Jr.

WASHINGTON — Republicans are in the midst of an insurrection. Democrats are not. This vast gulf between the situations of the two parties — not some grand revolt against “the establishment” or “incumbents” — explains the year's primary results, including Tuesday's jarring outcomes in Florida and Alaska.

The agitation among Republicans is not surprising, given the trauma of the final years of George W. Bush's presidency. After heavy losses in 2006 and 2008, it was natural that GOP loyalists would seek a new direction.

Liberals who saw Bush's presidency as a failed right-wing experiment thought Republicans would search for more moderate ground, much as Britain's Tories turned to the soothing leadership of David Cameron to organize their comeback. But this expectation overlooked the exodus of moderates over the last decade, which has shifted the balance of power in Republican primaries far to the right.

As a result, the main critique of Bush in Republican ranks saw him as insufficiently conservative — too inclined to support federal action on education and in expanding prescription drug assistance to the elderly, and too ready to run up the deficit.

That the deficit increased primarily because of two tax cuts and two wars did not enter their calculation because acknowledging this was ideologically inconvenient. In the meantime, the election of President Obama by a demographically diverse coalition anchored among younger voters helped unleash the furies inside an older, overwhelmingly white and Southern-leaning GOP coalition.

Thus Tuesday's results: Democrats stayed in their comfort zone, as they did earlier this month in Colorado, while Republicans went for outsiders.

The contrast was starkest in Florida. In the Democratic primary for the state's open U.S. Senate seat, Rep. Kendrick Meek had the backing of party leaders and overwhelmed Jeff Greene, a billionaire businessman. But on the Republican side, Rick Scott, another very rich outsider, ran a brutal campaign to seize the party's gubernatorial nomination from the one-time front-runner, state Attorney General Bill McCollum, who enjoyed wide support from the party leadership.

In Alaska, Republicans produced the shocker of the night: Insurgent Joe Miller, who had Sarah Palin's backing against incumbent Sen. Lisa Murkowski, had a lead of about 2,000 votes after having trailed badly in the polls for the entire campaign. However the contest turns out when absentee ballots are counted, few races this year offered as clear a case of right-wing dominance in Republican primaries.

And even the day's major victory by an incumbent showed how much deference the right now commands. Sen. John McCain defeated former Rep. J.D. Hayworth in Arizona by abandoning or modifying long-held positions to appease hard-line conservatives — and by bringing Palin into the state to campaign for him.

The continuing transformation of the GOP was underscored by a recent analysis of Pew Research Center surveys by Michael Dimock. He found that the proportion of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents who consider themselves conservative rose from 58 percent in 2000 to 67 percent in 2010. And in a June Pew survey, 59 percent of Republicans and independents who lean their way said the party should move in a more conservative direction; only 35 percent said it should move in a more moderate direction.

In the short run, the Republican lurch right has unleashed new energy in the party and helps explain why most polls show its supporters more enthusiastic than Democrats about this year's elections. The Democrats' chances of holding down their losses in November now depend heavily on whether they can generate a backlash against an increasingly immoderate GOP.

Already, Republicans who won primaries with tea party backing — notably Senate candidates Sharron Angle in Nevada and Rand Paul in Kentucky — are facing withering Democratic attacks. The question is whether such critiques work only against marquee right-wing candidates, or whether the entire Republican Party comes to be seen as moving too far away from the views of what is still a moderate country.

The paradox is that a Republican Party in the grips of ideology now needs to shift the campaign in a less ideological direction, hoping that voters simply cast protest ballots against hard economic times. Democrats, who are more creedally diverse, now have every interest in turning the election into a philosophical contest, arguing that even unhappy voters cannot trust their fate to a party in the grips of a right-wing revolt. Once again on Tuesday, Republican primary participants seemed determined to give Democrats that opportunity.

E.J. Dionne is a syndicated columnist with the Washington Post Writers Group. His e-mail address is


Nick Anderson's "BAD Eggs".


Friday, August 27, 2010

DOUGLAS E. SCHOEN: Time For [POTUS Barack] Obama To Pull A [Bill] Clinton.

Time for Obama to Pull a Clinton
When I met with the president in early 1995, I warned him he would not be re-elected unless he changed his reputation.

As campaign season heats up—for the midterms, of course, as well as for 2012—President Obama is pursuing a strategy that is bound to fail. To secure his political future, he needs to change his approach in the way that Bill Clinton did halfway through his first term.

I first met with Mr. Clinton privately in early 1995, after the Republicans gained control of Congress for the first time since 1954. I warned him that he could not be re-elected in 1996 unless he turned around his administration's reputation: from one of big-spending liberalism (represented by his attempt to massively overhaul the health-care system) to one of fiscal discipline and economic growth.

Mr. Clinton did just that, and now Mr. Obama must do the same—and quickly. Yet the White House seems to believe its approach should be to blame George W. Bush for everything. Polls suggest that this approach is likely to have only the most limited success.

According to a recent Fox News poll, nearly half the electorate (47%) thinks Mr. Bush's policies are partly to blame for the country's current economic difficulties. But more than three-quarters (76%) says it is time for the Obama administration to start taking responsibility for the condition of the economy.

This means that Mr. Obama should seek to persuade voters that he has, at the very least, taken steps to stabilize the economy, the banks, the financial system and the auto industry. He must emphasize that he has turned around month after month of massive job loss; to do so, he can use the just-released Congressional Budget Office report that estimates the stimulus increased employment by between 1.4 and 3.3 million jobs. And Mr. Obama should forcefully explain how the job-promotion plan he launched has the potential to create the kind of private-sector jobs he has promised.

Mary O'Grady and Stephen Moore give President Obama the roadmap for moving to the center, analyze today's economic report, and respond to Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke's speech this morning in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.

Moreover, he must compellingly make the case that his administration has a consistent plan and policy agenda—something it has not had to date.

Mr. Obama and his Democratic colleagues also need to stop their phony populist campaign emphasizing that they have taken on the banks and Wall Street. Populism—particularly of the left-wing type that seeks to expand the role of government with redistributive fiscal policies and increases in government spending, intervention and ownership—rarely if ever works. In the absence of a successful argument for the administration's overarching policy approach, a populist campaign would be as fruitless as blaming George W. Bush for every ill America now faces.

Beyond that, the administration must emphasize that it understands the electorate's concern about fiscal prudence, the deficit, the debt and the need to balance the budget. The independent voters who hold the fate of the Democrats in their hands are looking for candidates who champion, in a bipartisan context, fiscal discipline, limited government, deficit reduction and a free market, pro-growth agenda. If Democrats don't offer this, they will be branded liberal tax-and-spenders.

When President Clinton had his own health-care and spending baggage, he shed it by adopting an agenda that included a balanced budget, frank acknowledgment of the limits of government, welfare reform, and the protection of key social programs such as Medicare and Medicaid. Mr. Clinton would almost certainly have lost the 1996 election had he not taken that approach. Democrats would have suffered major losses in the 1998 midterm election had they not followed him.

Mr. Obama must undertake the same kind of repositioning now in order to turn around his fortunes and those of his party. To be sure, once he's made the case for conciliation, consensus and fiscal prudence, he can emphasize that the Republicans have failed and are responsible for the debt and the deficit. But he must offer the electorate a choice by making an affirmative case for his administration's policies.

A negative campaign that focuses on the past and promotes populism is doomed to fail. After almost two years of the Obama presidency, trying to win elections by blaming Bush is an exercise in futility and, perhaps, self-destruction.

Mr. Schoen, who served as a pollster for President Bill Clinton, is the author of the "Mad as Hell: How the Tea Party Movement is Fundamentally Remaking Our Two-Party System," out from Harper on Sept. 14.


Peggy Noonan: Americans Look At The President And See A Stranger.

We Just Don't Understand
Americans look at the president and see a stranger.

All presidents take vacations, and all are criticized for it. It's never the right place, the right time. Ronald Reagan went to the ranch, George W. Bush to Crawford, both got knocked. Bill Clinton even poll-tested a vacation site and still was criticized. But Martha's Vineyard—elite, upscale—can't have done President Obama any good, especially following the first lady's foray in Spain. The general feeling this week was summed up by David Letterman: "He'll have plenty of time for vacations when his one term is up. Plenty of time."

The president's position is not good. The past few months have been one long loss of ground. His numbers have dipped well below 50%. Top Democrats tell Politico the House is probably lost and the Senate is in jeopardy. "Recovery summer" is coming to look like "mission accomplished." The president is losing the center.

And on top of that, he is still a mystery to a lot of people.

Actually, what is confounding is that he seems more a mystery to people now than he did when they elected him president.

The president is overexposed, yet on some level the picture is blurry. He's in your face on TV, but you still don't fully get him. People categorize him in political terms: "He's a socialist," "He's a pragmatic progressive." But beyond that disagreement, things get murky. When you think about his domestic political decisions, it's hard to tell if he's playing a higher game or a clueless game. Is he playing three-dimensional chess, or is he simply out of his depth?

Underscoring the unknowns is the continuing question about him and those around him: How did they read the public mood so well before the presidency and so poorly after? In his first 19 months on the job, the president has often focused on issues that were not the top priority of the American people. He was thinking about one thing—health care—when they were thinking about others—the general economy, deficits. He's on one subject, they're on another. He has been contradictory: I'm for the mosque, I didn't say I'm for the mosque. He's detached from the Gulf oil spill, he's all about the oil spill.

All of this strikes people, understandably, as perplexing. "I don't get what he's doing." Which becomes, in time, "I don't get who he is." In an atmosphere of such questioning they'll consider any and all possibilities, including, apparently, that he is a Muslim. Which, according to a recent Pew poll, 18% think he is. That is up from 11% in February 2009.

Liberals and the left are indignant about this, and angry. For a week all you heard from cable anchors was "PEOPLE think OBAMA is a MUSLIM. It's in the POLLS. How do you EXPLAIN it?" Every time I heard it, I'd think: Maybe it's because you keep screaming it.

Some of the reason for the relatively high number of people who believe he holds to one faith when in fact he has always said he holds to another, is the steady drumbeat of the voices arrayed against Mr. Obama, that are arrayed against any modern president, and will be against the next one too. But surely some of it is that a lot of people are just trying to figure him out. In that atmosphere they'll consider everything.

When the American people have looked at the presidents of the past few decades they could always sort of say, "I know that guy." Bill Clinton: Southern governor. Good ol' boy, drawlin', flirtin', got himself a Fulbright. "I know that guy." George W. Bush: Texan, little rough around the edges, good family, youthful high jinks, stopped drinking, got serious. "I know that guy." Ronald Reagan was harder to peg, but you still knew him: small-town Midwesterner, moved on and up, serious about politics, humorous, patriotic. "I know that guy." Barack Obama? Sleek, cerebral, detached, an academic from Chicago by way of Hawaii and Indonesia. "You know what? I don't know that guy!"

He doesn't fit any categories. He won in 2008 by 9.5 million votes anyway because he was a break with Mr. Bush, and people assumed they'd get to know him. But his more unusual political decisions, and the sometimes contradictory and confusing nature of his leadership, haven't ameliorated or done away with his unusualness. They've heightened it.

The fact that the public doesn't fully understand or have a clear fix on the president leads to many criticisms of his leadership. One is that a leader must show and express the emotions of the people, and he's not very good at it. But I doubt people want a president who goes around emoting, and in any case it's not his job. What people really want, in part, is someone who understands their basic assumptions because, actually, he shares them. It's not "Show us you care!" it's "Be a guy I know. Be someone I get!"

The president is a person who knows how to focus and seems to have a talent for it. But again, his focus is on other things. When a president and a nation are focused together on the same things, the possibility of progress is increased. When they are focused on different things, there is more discord and tension. Mr. Obama's supporters like to compare him with Reagan: 18 months in he had difficulties in the polls too, and a recession. But Reagan was focused on what the American people were focused on: the economy, the size and role of government, the challenge of the Soviet Union. And on the eternal No. 1 issue, the economy, Reagan had a plan that seemed to make sense, in rough terms to try to cut spending and taxes, and force out inflation. People were willing to give it a try. Mr. Obama's plan, to a lot of people, does not make sense, or does not seem fully pertinent, or well executed.

Mr. Obama seems to be a very independent person, like someone who more or less brought himself up, a child with wandering parents, and grandparents who seem to have been highly individualistic. He is focused on what individually interests him. He relies most on his own thinking. He focused on health care, seeing the higher logic. The people focused on something else. But he's always had faith in his ability to think it through.

Now he's hit a roadblock, and in November's elections he will hit another, bigger one. One wonders if he will come to reconsider his heavy reliance on his own thoughts. His predecessor did not brag about his résumé and teased himself about his lack of giant intellect, but he had utmost faith in his gut. By 2006, when he had realized he had reason to doubt even that, he flailed. The presidency has a way of winnowing you down.

The great question is what happens after November. The hope of the White House, which knows it is about to take a drubbing, is probably this: that the Republicans in Congress will devolve into a freak show, overplay their hand, lose their focus, be a little too colorful. If that meme emerges—and the media will be looking for it—the Republicans may wind up giving the president the positive definition he lacks. They could save him. The White House must be hoping that a year from now, people will start looking at the president and saying "Hey, I do know that guy. He's the moderate."


Richie Farmer Really Wants To Be University Of Kentucky's Athletics Director, May Run For Governor For Now.

Richie Farmer considering governor's race, but really wants UK athletics job
Talks with Williams about slate
By Jack Brammer

LOUISVILLE — State Agriculture Commissioner Richie Farmer said Thursday he has not ruled out a bid for governor next year but that his "dream job" would be athletics director at the University of Kentucky.

In recent weeks, Farmer has been mentioned as a possible candidate for lieutenant governor in 2011 on a slate with Senate President David Williams, R-Burkesville.

"Certainly after the fair I will make sure to let everybody know what my plans are," Farmer said, noting that running for secretary of state or some other constitutional office is an option.

Farmer said he "will be running for something" next year but would prefer being UK's athletics director. He quickly added that he does not think that's an option for him now.

Mitch Barnhart, who has been UK's athletics director since 2002, did not respond to a phone call and e-mail for comment.

Farmer, a star basketball player at UK in the 1990s, said he has talked to Williams about a possible slate next year and that they have discussed who would be at the top of ticket.

"My family is the most important thing to me," Farmer said. "I have three boys who are 13, 11 and 8, and I have to try to do what is right for them."

Farmer called Williams "somebody I have a lot of respect for. He's very, very intelligent. He understands state government probably as well as anybody."

Farmer acknowledged that he and Williams could end up as rivals in next year's contest for the Republican gubernatorial primary.

Told that Farmer has not ruled out a bid for governor, Williams said Farmer and he have been in "constant communication with each other" and that they will announce "the right decision soon."

Asked what he considers the right decision to be, Williams said, "The right decision will be the right decision.

"We have a common view of the vision of Kentucky, and we will be making an announcement about both of our futures shortly."

Asked if he would consider being the No. 2 spot on a gubernatorial slate, Williams again said that they will announce their political plans soon.

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The Ground Zero Mosque Bothers Me. LMAO!


Thursday, August 26, 2010

Former Republican National Committee Chairman And Bush Advisor, Ken Mehlman, Reveals He's Been Living In "The Closet" As A Gay (Homosexual) Man. Watch

Bowling Green Daily News: Rand Paul Shouldn't Take Local Voters For Granted.

Paul shouldn’t take BG voters for granted

Bowling Green resident and U.S. senatorial candidate Rand Paul might reside here, but he should not assume that he has this city wrapped up come November.

Paul, the Republican candidate to replace retiring U.S. Sen. Jim Bunning, isn’t as visible in Bowling Green as he could, or should, be. He is not regularly seen around town getting the message out about the damage that the Obama/Pelosi/Reid agenda is doing to our state and nation.

Understandably, he is in a race all Kentuckians will decide, so he can’t campaign in Bowling Green all the time. In order to win this election, he has to crisscross the state in areas where he is more vulnerable such as Louisville, Lexington and eastern Kentucky.

It is true that Warren County does tend to vote more Republican in federal elections and Paul has a good chance of carrying Bowling Green, but he should not take this city’s voters for granted.

His opponent, Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway, opened a campaign office in Bowling Green on Wednesday in an attempt to make a presence in Paul’s backyard.

Realistically, Conway is a smart enough politician to know that Bowling Green is not in play, but he does know that this is going to be a very close election and he would no doubt like to hold down Paul’s votes in his home area as much as he can.

Campaigning in Paul’s hometown should be a warning to Paul that although he must campaign statewide, he must also do more in Bowling Green to shore up his base and court the crossover voters he will surely need to win the election.

Paul has done a fairly good job of getting his message out during the post-primary election and it doesn’t hurt having the backing of the most powerful man in Kentucky politics, U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell, but at times he has been slow to respond to negative media stories or attacks by his own opponent.

Given the voting record of the past 20 years of federal elections, Bowling Green does vote for the Republican candidate, but this is something that Rand Paul can’t and shouldn’t take for granted if he wants to be the next U.S. senator from Kentucky.

With the unpopularity of Obama administration ideas, which Conway supports, such as “Obamacare,” card check and originally supporting cap and trade, now flip-flopping on that issue, it is hardly surprising that Conway isn’t anxious to have the president visit Kentucky on his behalf.

Now, Conway has come out in favor of extending the Bush tax cuts.

With the economy in the tank, a good argument can be made that it is not prudent to let them expire at year’s end.

Whether Conway has taken this position out of conviction or to demonstrate some belated independence from the Obama agenda is uncertain.

What is certain is that the election is Paul’s to lose.


Kentuck Supreme Court: Medi-Share Christian Only Health Care Plan Is Insurance Not Exempt From State Regulations.

Ky. court: Christian-only health plan is insurance

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) -- A Christians-only health care plan provides a "contract for insurance" and doesn't qualify for exemption from state regulations as a religious publication, the Kentucky Supreme Court ruled Thursday in a decision that potentially opens the plan to stricter regulations by the state.

A split high court found that that the Medi-Share program "fits comfortably within the statutory definition of an insurance contract" because it shifts the risk of payments for medical expenses from the individual to a pool of people paying into the program.

"Thus, regardless of how Medi-Share defines itself or what disclaimers it includes in its literature, in the final analysis, there is a shifting of risk," Justice Daniel J. Venters wrote for the court.

The court also found that Medi-Share doesn't qualify for the Religious Publication Exemption to Kentucky's insurance code because the funds paid into the program go to a pool and not directly from one person to another, a requirement to be excluded from regulations.

At issue is how tightly the state can regulate a program that serves nearly 40,000 churchgoers in 49 states by accepting contributions from participants. The program, which generates about $42 million a year, excludes non-Christians because, organizers say, their lifestyles can result in unnecessary medical care.

Participants can't smoke, use illegal drugs or abuse alcohol. They're also not allowed to enroll if they have pre-existing conditions like heart disease, diabetes or cancer.

Medi-Share, based in Melbourne, Fla., publishes a disclaimer that says it doesn't guarantee the payment of medical bills and that it should never be considered a substitute for an insurance policy. The program has about 300 families in Kentucky.

Lexington attorney Brent Caldwell, who represents Medi-Share, had not seen the opinion Thursday morning and declined immediate comment.

The Kentucky attorney general's office sought to reverse two lower court decisions that held Medi-Share to be a medical cost-sharing program, not insurance. Franklin Circuit Judge Thomas Wingate ruled in 2007 that the Medi-Share program isn't insurance and therefore doesn't violate the state's insurance laws. The Kentucky Court of Appeals agreed.

Justices Will T. Scott, joined by Justice Bill Cunningham, dissented, saying Medi-Share is in the business of promoting and managing cost-sharing, but not insurance.

"The crux of my position is based on the fact that Medi-Share bears no risk when it admits a member to the pool," Scott wrote. "The risk is carried by members of the pool - not Medi-Share."

Medi-Share argued that members aren't buying insurance, but taking part in a charitable endeavor, similar to someone who donates monthly to the United Way. Venters rejected that argument.

"The giver receives no financial benefit," Venters wrote. "The only direct benefit is the joy derived from helping a person in need or supporting a worthy cause."


Taking A Break From Hitting Rand Paul And Fearing Richie Farmer's Gubernatorial Ambitions, Lexington Herald Leader Hits Him In Latest Piece.

Richie Farmer spends big on vehicles while other state agencies cut back
By John Cheves -

While most of state government is buying fewer vehicles because of budget cuts, Agriculture Commissioner Richie Farmer has spent about $445,000 on 19 new vehicles for his department this year, including a $35,340 Chevy Suburban for his own use.

Farmer drove his previous state vehicle for 30 months, so he was due for a replacement in January, said spokesman Bill Clary.

"The commissioner uses it to travel around the state for his appearances and meetings," Clary said. "He also gets to use it to travel from home to work as part of his benefits package."

Former UK player (and current commissioner of agriculture) Richie Farmer gave a thumbs up to the crowd as he entered the Joe Craft Center on Wednesday, April 1, 2009 on the University of Kentucky campus in Lexington, Ky. Fans waited for new UK coach John Calipari to leave the Joe Craft Center after the news conference announcing his hire. Photo by David Perry | Staff

A government watchdog this week said Farmer is wasting money.

"Most Kentuckians are not trading in their vehicles after two years. They're holding onto what they have. The state government should be doing the same at a minimum," said Jim Waters, vice president of the Bluegrass Institute for Public Policy Solutions, a free-market think tank in Bowling Green. (A declared Republican candidate for governor, Louisville businessman Phil Moffett, has been a board member at Waters' think tank.)

In 2007, Farmer told the Agriculture Department to take control of its 178 vehicles, removing them from the state vehicle fleet that's managed by the Finance and Administration Cabinet, Clary said.

On Farmer's watch, the department's fleet has grown to 206 vehicles — it plans to auction 18 next month — and it regularly replaces vehicles while they're still low on mileage, Clary said. A recent inventory of the department's vehicles, mostly Chevy and Ford trucks and sport utility vehicles, shows that all but three are 4 years old or newer. About two-thirds have fewer than 50,000 miles.

"If we don't do it that way, you're going to pay a whole lot more on maintenance costs, and you're going to make a lot less back on the resale," Clary said. "We think we're doing a good job for the commonwealth, saving money on good fleet maintenance."

By contrast, Gov. Steve Beshear has cut the state vehicle fleet by 5 percent since 2008 and ordered state agencies to use the remaining vehicles for as long as possible before replacing them, said Cindy Lanham, spokeswoman for the Finance and Administration Cabinet.

Half of the state fleet's 4,639 vehicles are at least 5 years old, have more than 100,000 miles, or both, Lanham said. One in three is at least 7 years old, has more than 140,000 miles, or both. The state operates its own garage to perform maintenance.

So far this year, the Beshear administration has spent $1.4 million to replace 80 vehicles, or less than 2 percent of the state fleet. By comparison, Farmer has replaced more than 10 percent of his fleet.

"We have to get more out of them because we've slowed down our purchases tremendously," said Forrest Banta, director of the state's Division of Fleet Management. "There just hasn't been money to buy new ones."

Clary said the Agriculture Department's vehicle purchases this year were budgeted using state and federal funds. Apart from the cost of buying vehicles, the department spent $466,530 in fiscal year 2009 for motor fuel, $86,857 for repairs and $111,472 for the two employees charged with managing its separate fleet, according to internal documents.

The Agriculture Department is budgeted to spend more than $30 million overall this year. It's responsible for a variety of duties, including agriculture marketing, livestock shows, consumer and environmental inspections and the Office of State Veterinarian.

Farmer, a former University of Kentucky basketball star, is finishing his second term as agriculture commissioner. He's considered a possible Republican candidate next year for lieutenant governor, running on a slate with state Senate President David Williams, R-Burkesville, to challenge Beshear. The men have not yet announced their plans.

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Joel Pett Cartoons About "Recalled Eggs". LMAO.


Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Does POTUS Barack Obama Want To Be Re-elected In 2012?

Does Barack Obama want to be re-elected in 2012?
By Toby Harnden

Few Americans consider themselves bigger than the presidency but Obama might be one of them. The man in the Oval Office, argues Toby Harnden, may already be preparing for a role as a post-president in a post-American world.

When David Plouffe, President Barack Obama's 2008 campaign manager, wrote recently that his former boss was "not concerned with his re-election", there was predictable scepticism.

After all, it has long been a truism that every politician wants to cling to power and a reality that presidential campaigns are planned years in advance. Pronouncements about not looking at polls and concentrating on getting things done are, moreover, standard fare from poll-driven, election-obsessed politicians and their apparatchiks.

In this case, however, Plouffe may inadvertently be onto something. Almost everything Obama does these days suggests that he doesn't care much about being re-elected. Strange as it might seem, perhaps he wants to be a one-term president.

Obama was elected in 2008 at an extraordinary moment in American politics. Suddenly, this charismatic figure, elected to the Senate without serious opposition in 2004 and without any executive experience, was catapulted into the White House.

His presidential bid had been based on the power of his life story and his ability with the spoken word. Doubtless he was as surprised as anyone else that he pulled it off. Governing has been altogether more difficult for him and there are signs he is already tiring of it.

Obama's intervention on the so-called "Ground Zero mosque" issue is a case in point. There was no need for him to get involved - the Islamic community centre two blocks from the 9/11 site is unlikely to get built and there was no political advantage in his making a statement.

What he said about religious freedom was typically Obama - high-minded, principled and legalistic. He is, after all, a former constitutional law professor. What his words lacked were any real empathy with what Americans felt and practical considerations about resolving the issue - never mind the political downside for him.

Doubtless he has been advised to prove he is "connected" to ordinary Americans by doing things like be seen attending church and taking "regular" holidays. But Obama seems happy to act as a European-style secularist, vacation in Martha's Vineyard and send his daughters to one of America's most exclusive private schools.

Obama does not suffer for self doubt. He has long seemed so convinced of his own virtue that to question his motives is illogical. Increasingly, his pronouncements carry the tone of one who believes those who disagree are stupid or bigoted.

Before departing for Martha's Vineyard last week, Obama spent three days on the campaign trail raising money and support for Democratic mid-term election candidates. Don't give in to fear," he said in Milwaukee. "Let's reach for hope."

It was a message that worked once but is unlikely to appeal this time, with America in the grip of a recession, unemployment still stubbornly close to 10 percent and blame-it-on-Bush rhetoric wearing very thin.

Obama is, however, at his best in these settings. He has the crowd hanging on his every word and he is not dealing with grubby political realities or objectionable opponents. Perhaps they are a reminder for him of simpler times.

They might also be a glimpse of the future. For Obama, the crowning moment of his presidency have been speeches abroad - the statement in Strasbourg that America had been "dismissive and arrogant", the address to the Muslim world from Cairo, the acceptance in Oslo of the Nobel Peace Prize.

In Berlin in 2008, Obama cast himself as a "citizen of the world". He has dismissed the bedrock notion of American exceptionalism by describing it, also in Strasbourg, as little more than narrow patriotism. Elite opinion among liberal Ivy League types - of which Obama is the embodiment - holds that we are already living in a post-American world.

There are few Americans who see themselves as bigger than the presidency but Obama could well be one of them. In 2008, Obama showed little appetite for the down-and-dirty aspects of political campaigning.

When things got tough against Hillary Clinton, he all but conceded the final Democratic primaries and let the clock run out. Against John McCain, he developed a campaign plan and refused to deviate from it. McCain was level in the polls when the US economy imploded, handing Obama a relatively comfortable victory.

Obama is the first black American president, an established author, multi-millionaire and acclaimed figure beyond American shores.

It seems highly unlikely that Obama will decide not to run in 2012. But he might well be calculating that a embarking post-presidential role as the leading global thinker in the post-American world as a Republican successor enters office is more attractive than being sullied by the political compromises and manoeuvrings necessary to win.


Dems Depressed And Disheartened.

Dems Depressed and Disheartened
Posted by Joe Klein

The lead item on Politico--titled "Dems Urge Obama to Take a Stand"--is almost surrealistic. Take a stand? The guy passed health care, a stimulus bill that helped avoid a Depression, a groundbreaking financial reform bill that is too complicated to be popularly described, a bailout that enabled General Motors and Chrysler to survive. He nominated two estimable women to the Supreme Court. He restored America's image in the world. I can go on...

But Dems are distressed? He's not populist or ideological enough? Oh please. There are several ways to go about the presidency. Ronald Reagan chose one way: he said one thing and did another. He was for cutting back the size of government, but didn't. He was for lowering taxes and he did, but then he raised taxes--two of the laegest percentage increases in American history--when his supply-side "philosophy" proved a phony. He confronted the Soviet Union, but he also would have agreed to massive reductions in nuclear arsenals if the Soviets had allowed him to pursue his Star Wars fantasy.

Barack Obama has chosen another way.

He has pretty much done what he said he'd do. His achievements are historic. But he hasn't wrapped them up in an ideological bumper sticker--or provided some neat way for the public to understand it, or pretended to be a yeoman simpleton, noshing on pork rinds, clearing brush and excoriating the business community. That is a real political problem. He delivered a stealth tax cut to 95% of the American people; I've never seen a politician cut taxes and not take sufficient credit for it before. He made it impossible for Americans to be denied health care coverage because of pre-existing conditions or chronic problems; somehow this has gotten lost in the "socialist" shuffle as well. He ended major combat operations in Iraq, on time and without much fuss--without using the word "victory" or denying the continuing problems involved in cobbling together a coherent government there. Another President might have hyped this "achievement" relentlessly.

I find this diffidence sort of admirable and extremely incompetent. But even if Obama, and his communications shop, had been more focused on touting his achievements, and even if he delivered his major speeches on financial reform brandishing a pitchfork and a torch, I suspect the Democrats would be in pretty much the same dismal electoral shape as they are now. The country's economic problems--the depth and devastation of this recession; the possibility that we're in a different sort of trough than we've ever been in before; the confusion and anxiety wrought in certain sections of the country by changing social mores and an influx of non-white immigrants--trump and undermine abstract reports of successful government activism. So long as the Great Recession continues, it's easy--indeed, it's natural--to question any bailout, any stimulus project, that might protect and create jobs for some, but leaves the vast majority of Americans unaffected. So long as white middle-class Christian Americans live in the fear that their children won't live as well as they have, it's easy to blame Latinos, Muslims, gays, mixed-race couples (who produce ethnically confusing amalgams like Barack Hussein Obama) and elitists for attempting to steal the "real" America. It's easy to credit the paranoid prejudices of Glenn Beck.

The idea that these tumultuous anxieties would somehow be addressed if the President behaved more like Reagan is foolish. The idea, promoted by the Democratic Party's myopic left, that being more "progressive" might clarify things and restore the party's status is a fantasy. The fact is, Obama has done a great many of the things liberals have always wanted--starting with health care reform--and the country is still, for the moment, a mess. That's a problem. Democrats would be in trouble this year even if health care had passed with a "public option," even if the stimulus package had been larger, even if "cap and trade" had passed, even if Obama hadn't decided to double down in Afghanistan or continue many of Bush's national security protective measures. In fact, I suspect they'd be in worse trouble. This is a profoundly moderate country. It has a distinct libertarian streak; it distrusts "big"--government or business--even as it prospers from the carefully applied benefits of both. If there is any national ideology, it is informality, which is neither left nor right. (And it occurs to me that Obama, preternaturally cool and private, is deficient in the informality zone--another much-discussed problem.)

Sure, it would be nice if the White House were Reagan-savvy (that is, Michael Deaver-savvy) about public relations. But Democrats should not delude themselves by thinking that ideological purity, or a phony populism foreign to the President's character, is the answer. At a moment as complicated and unnerving as this, there are no easy answers. At a moment as complicated and unnerving as this, it isn't hard to imagine a failed presidency--although, of course, it would be foolishly premature to do so. But it is not possible, at this point, to imagine a dishonorable Obama presidency; he has faced the national crisis in a manner that may be politically flawed, but he has not run from, or fudged or demagogued, the problems. He has done pretty much what he said he was going to do when he ran for office. That is something Democrats should be able to live with, proudly.

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Karen Sypher Finally Wins One, As Judges Find In Her Favor. Read More Here.

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Bowling Green Board Of Ethics Finds City Commissioner, Catherine Hamilton, Did Not Break Rules In "Or*l Sex In City Park" Affair.

Ethics board clears Catherine Hamilton
Commissioner’s disorderly conduct charge did not violate city’s code

The Bowling Green Board of Ethics dismissed Tuesday a claim that Bowling Green City Commissioner Catherine Hamilton violated the city’s code of ethics this year when she was charged with second-degree disorderly conduct.

The conviction stemmed from an undercover police investigation into illicit sexual activity at Weldon Peete Park. Hamilton was spotted by police officers performing oral sex on Mark A. Vaughn of Bowling Green during the morning of April 22, according to Bowling Green Police Department reports.

Vaughn was charged with indecent exposure.

She and Vaughn both pleaded guilty the next day, and were each ordered to pay a $200 fine.

A report on the incident and whether it violated the code of ethics was performed for the city by the Cole & Moore law firm. After reviewing the police reports, audio confessions of Hamilton and Vaughn and an interview with Hamilton this month, Cole & Moore concluded that Hamilton’s actions did not break the code of ethics because the code was intended to regulate public, not private, life.

Whether that was the case or not is something that troubled board member Walter Hawkins.

“It wasn’t entirely a private affair, literally,” he said.

All members of the board in attendance agreed that Hamilton did not break the code of ethics as it is written, but that could be more of a sign of a problem with the code rather than a vindication of Hamilton.

Hamilton did not attend the hearing Tuesday, and she did not immediately return an e-mail from the Daily News seeking her response to the decision.

“I understand the argument. It’s hard to imagine, however, that what happened here doesn’t somehow fall under the code of ethics,” Hawkins said.

Hawkins voted in favor of dismissing the case, but said he did only because he felt compelled to do so because of how the limited nature of the code of ethics is written. Other board members echoed his sentiment.

“My motion is based on a technicality and not my attitude towards (Hamilton’s) action,” said board member John Parker.

According to the report issued by Cole & Moore, Hamilton’s actions did not adversely affect the integrity, efficiency or discipline of the city, nor did they have a negative effect on her performance as a city commissioner.

“Our job is not so much to be the morality police but to enforce the ethics code,” said Dan Rudloff, board chairman.

The vote was unanimous, but that doesn’t mean the dismissal was an easy decision to come by, according to Rudloff.

“It may have been a dismissal, but this was a very fact-sensitive case,” he said. “If it had happened inside this building that would have changed everything. One fact different and I think we would have made a different decision.”

Hamilton still could be impeached by the Bowling Green City Commission. Once charges had been brought against her, there would need to be a 4-0 vote to fire her. However, there has been no indication by anyone on the city commission that it is willing to do this. Something that might play into this was Hamilton’s decision not to run for re-election several months before the incident.

Because of this case, board members said the code of ethics should be reviewed. They were specifically concerned with the section that Hamilton’s case boiled down to. Section 25-3 of the ethics code states that public officials will not do anything that might hurt the “integrity, efficiency or discipline of the city service.”

The lack of a further definition of these three words in the code of ethics makes for a very legal interpretation of them, according to the Cole & Moore report. Board members said a work session will be held in the near future to help clarify these definitions, as well as look at other sections of the code of ethics.


William Kristol: "[POTUS Barack Obama Is] No Muslim, He's A Progressive". But Tin Foil Hatters Won't Listen.

He's No Muslim, He's a Progressive
And he's a golfer, too.
BY William Kristol

"Ike’s not a Communist, he’s a golfer." That was Russell Kirk’s succinct response to the claim by John Birchers in the 1950s that President Eisenhower was a Communist.

In that spirit, and speaking, we think, for the vast majority of those opposed to the Ground Zero mosque, and in response to many inquiries as to where we stand on this pressing issue, The Weekly Standard would like to say, formally and emphatically, without any mental reservations or purpose of evasion: President Obama is not a Muslim. (And, it turns out, he too is a golfer.)

Not that—we hasten to add, looking over our shoulder at Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s investigators approaching our office—there would be anything wrong with his being a Muslim. And we also hasten to add that we’ve just realized, with a gasp of embarrassment verging on horror, that in the preceding paragraph we used the term Ground Zero mosque. The Associated Press has officially expressed its disapproval of that appellation. After all, the AP has explained, the planned mosque is not right smack-dab at the epicenter of Ground Zero.

Still, with all this confusion abounding, we do wonder if it isn’t a bit judgmental of the mainstream media to condemn the 18 percent of Americans who say they think Barack Obama is a Muslim. For one thing, this is fewer than the number of Americans who say that intelligent beings from other planets have made contact with humans on Earth. And it has gotten hard even for people of good will to keep things straight.

For example, mosque defender Jeffrey Goldberg has made much of remarks by Faisal Abdul Rauf, the organizer of the Community Center Formerly Known as the Ground Zero Mosque, at a 2003 memorial service for Daniel Pearl. As evidence that Rauf is “a moderate, forward-leaning Muslim,” Goldberg quotes Rauf as saying:

We are here to assert the Islamic conviction of the moral equivalency of our Abrahamic faiths. If to be a Jew means to say with all one’s heart, mind and soul “Shma`Yisrael, Adonai Elohenu Adonai Ahad; hear O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is One,” not only today I am a Jew, I have always been one. .  .  . If to be a Christian is to love the Lord our God with all of my heart, mind and soul, and to love for my fellow human being what I love for myself, then not only am I a Christian, but I have always been one. .  .  . And I am here to inform you, with the full authority of the Quranic texts and the practice of the Prophet Muhammad, that to say “La ilaha illallah Muhammadun rasulullah” is no different.

So Rauf is a Muslim, but he’s also a Jew, and a Christian, and he’s always been all of them. It’s amazing that only 18 percent of Americans are all mixed up about President Obama’s religion.

But Americans aren’t all mixed up in their judgment of President Obama’s policies. Obama said last week, at a Hollywood fundraiser, that he and congressional Democrats “have been able to deliver the most progressive legislative agenda—one that helps working families—not just in one generation, maybe two, maybe three.”

Obama made this claim about the magnitude of his progressive agenda Monday night. By Thursday, his allies, looking at public opinion polls showing amazingly wide and deep hostility to his signature health care legislation, were on a conference call advising Democrats to minimize the scope of the health care bill.

As Ben Smith reported in Politico, under the headline “Dems retreat on health care cost pitch,”

Key White House allies are dramatically shifting their attempts to defend health care legislation, abandoning claims that it will reduce costs and the deficit, and instead stressing a promise to “improve it” The messaging shift was circulated this afternoon on a conference call. .  .  . It was based on polling from three top Democratic pollsters, John Anzalone, Celinda Lake, and Stan Greenberg. The confidential presentation .  .  . suggests that Democrats are acknowledging the failure of their predictions that the health care legislation would grow more popular after its passage, as its benefits became clear and rhetoric cooled. .  .  . “Straightforward ‘policy’ defenses fail to [move] voters’ opinions about the law,” says one slide. .  .  . The presentation also concedes that the fiscal and economic arguments that were the White House’s first and most aggressive sales pitch have essentially failed. “Many don’t believe health care reform will help the economy,” says one slide. The presentation’s final page of “Don’ts” counsels against claiming “the law will reduce costs and [the] deficit.”

And the kicker:

The presentation also counsels against the kind of grand claims of change that accompanied the legislation’s passage. “Keep claims small and credible; don’t overpromise or ‘spin’ what the law delivers,” it says, suggesting supporters say, “The law is not perfect, but it does good things and helps many people. Now we’ll work to improve it.”

So progressivism seeks to bring big changes to our backward country. Progressives like to dream about passing “the most progressive legislative agenda .  .  . not just in one generation, maybe two, maybe three.” But when progressivism has to give up its grand transformational claims, then we’re back in the world of reality and results, of the practical consequences of policy choices. A political debate over consequences rather than intentions, and over the real world rather than an imagined one, is one that is, as it has been for a long time, good for conservatives and bad for progressives.

It’s similar with the Community Center Formerly Known as the Ground Zero Mosque. Today’s progressives are multiculturalists. They’re inclined to make grand claims about the positive merits of a multicultural, non-judgmental mosaic replacing our old, uniculturalist melting-pot view of America. But when political realities force them to retreat, as Obama has done in the mosque controversy, from a proud multiculturalism to a narrow defense of the right to the free exercise of religion and the right to build on private property, they’re in trouble. The free exercise of religion and respect for private property are not a promising agenda for progressives.

Progressivism is in retreat. Obama’s problem isn’t that people falsely think he’s a Muslim. It’s that the public is correctly concluding he’s a garden-variety multiculturalist progressive. So November’s election won’t just be a repudiation of one non-Muslim president. It will be a repudiation of a multiculturalist progressive worldview—and of the bitter elites who cling desperately to that worldview and are consumed by antipathy to most Americans, who don’t.

—William Kristol