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A long time coming
Mark Foley: SICK SICK SICK!!!
Looks Like Lamont Levels Lieberman?
Oil Prices in the tank
Clinton Reams Rummy
A long time...
Chandler/Abramson in '07?
A new poll
Here's a link to Mark Nicholas' Bluegrass Report. I suggest giving it a read. It's got some interesting information in it.
posted by Stithmeister @ 10:28 PM
Right now, two reporters for might be going to jail for not revealing a source. Unfortunately, when using anonymous sources in federal investigations, that's a danger you run into. It sucks. All this stems from a Bob Novak column revealing the name of CIA operative Valerie Plame because her husband, diplomat Joseph Wilson ticked off the administration when he wouldn't follow the company line on the Iraq war.
Recently, the administration doctored a couple of NOAA reports on global warming and passed it off as the real thing. Senators Harry Reid and Frank Lautenberg called for the GAO too investigate the Bush administration official who made the changes. Cooney, an oil lobbyist for the American Petroleum Institute before he worked for Bush and now the scandal happened and he's going to Exxon Mobile.
What kind of precedent does this set for the Bush administration and what does it say about them. If you follow our instructions, even if you catch heat, we've got you covered. I can buy this. It happens a lot. But, when you don't follow the company line, we jeopardize the lives of your family. I think that's absolutely brilliant.
It shows us what type of gits we've got running this country. And it's unfortunate.
In other news, the Fletcher administration digs itself in deeper as Stumbo's investigation expands.
Also, if I actually have any readers, Tom Barlow, a Democrat in the first district and Lt. Ronald Leach, a 21 year Army man and Democrat, completing his 3rd tour in Iraq and from Hardinsburg in the 2nd district both announced they would be seeking their respective U.S. Congress seats. We need to give them all the support we can. The Republicans need to go.
posted by Stithmeister @ 10:02 PM
Yesterday, two of the greatest known historians of American history in the last century passed away. First, our resident laureate, the venerable Thomas D. Clark, died, two weeks away from 102. He'd lived more than a century and most of that time was spent studying, writing, and talking about our beloved Bluegrass. His works have influenced generations to take pride in their commonwealth's history.
The other great historian, while not a Kentucky historian per se, certainly knew his fair share. One Mr. Shelby Foote, noted civil war historian and author also passed away. Many may remember the phenomenal series on PBS, Ken Burn's the Civil War. Mr. Foote was the primary historian behind much of it and his interviews were central to the series. He wrote a magnificient narrative some 3000 pages longand his ranked as one of the greatest literary works of the 20th century. His work was intellectual and magnificient and quite readable. His life long work to put the war in perspective for Americans everywhere produced a tremendous body of work.
For those students of history out there like myself, we'll sorely miss these great resources of human lore.
posted by Stithmeister @ 7:53 PM
I've not posted in about 4 days, entirely too long I know but Dirty Ernie continues to to blanket Frankfort in the Republican brand of waste, fraud and corruption.
Y'know I'm tired of all this. Kentucky government needs to clean itself up. This good 'ol boy system has gone on long enough. When the Democrats ran Frankfort, it certainly wasn't perfect. Scandals happened. Paul Patton got caught with his pants down and it cost him his political career. BOPTROT was an ugly mess. Governor Fletcher promised to clean up waste, fraud, and corruption in Frankfort. All he's done is made it worse.
I have no doubt in my mind that Greg Stumbo has some political motivations behind what he's done. Someone told me Stumbo doesn't do anything without an angle. The point though is this "opportunity" is here. Fletcher's administration had broken the rules and they, like the Bush administration weren't subtle, they just made wholesale changes and while I respect an executive's need to have his own team in there, this time he went to far. It's a shame that qualified people have lost their jobs because of who they voted for. It's ridiculous.
The reporters at both the Herald-Leader and the Courier Journal are doing a fine job.
Unfortunately for the image of Kentucky, all this does absolutely nothing except make us look worse. Comments have been made on other blogs suggesting if a few illegal things have to be done to make it for past Democratic problems, then so be it. Not a good attitude. Republicans too often take a self righteous attitude. It's ashame then can't back it up with the moral behavior to go with it. And to imagine... Ernie's a lay minister.
posted by Stithmeister @ 7:40 PM
My politics are generally pretty liberal but I believe in individual rights in all but extreme cases. Members of SCOTUS I respect trounced on those rights today when they voted 5-4 in favor of cities being able to kick people out of their homes and businesses in the name of economic development and improvement. I don't agree with Rehnquist, Thomas, Scalia and O'Connor all that often but I did on this case. Stevens and the majority greatly broadened the power of eminent domain, particularly with regard to local governments in order to increase the value of the property to the city and public.
I recognize the need for economic development in towns but there has to be a better way of utilizing this eminent domain. The only caveat is that taking people's private property is extremely unpopular. It leaves the politicians in a bad light with many voters so they won't utilize it often. I suppose also that at least the folks get paid something. In many countries, the government would just take it and not say anything about the costs involved.
posted by Stithmeister @ 10:18 PM
My editorial side comes out today.
It's sweet to see Senate Democrats in Washington givin' hell to W on just about everything. He's looking for exit strategies on social security and war in Iraq. They kept the judicial filibuster which means they still have the power levy against SCOTUS nominees.John Bolton will probably end up being a recess appointment because Bush won't get him through either. The Senate Democrats have stuck together thanks to Harry Reid and a few Republicans came to their senses and realize Bolton is not the man for the job. All that has to happen is for the White House to turn over some documents and this issue would be solved and vote could proceed. It will be W's fault if Bolton doesn't get through.
On another note, the big banks really need to quit shafting everyone on credit card fraud. It's getting completely out of hand. Mastercard had 40 million cc#s compromised. They SAY no one should be worried and they have no plans of telling people who had their cards compromised. Just let them deal with the consequences I guess. Call Senator Schumer in New York and tell him we need this to be investigated. Better yet, tell Senator Specter from Pennsylvania. He's the judicial committee man. Tell him needs to convene an investigation because the banks don't pay for this, the businesses and customers do.
Locally, how much more can we endure from Ernie's antics? His administration is turning out to be one of the most corrupt in recent memory... or the most inept. If you come to Frankfort to play the game, you'd best know how to play it and who all the players are. It's obvious Ernie isn't. Pence is in his job unconstitutionally, Ernie's obviously doesn't know the rules. Maybe they should both just quit while they're ahead. We need a strong candidate to run for Governor because based on the way things are right now, Ernie's quite beatable.
posted by Stithmeister @ 10:32 PM
Oil prices climbed through the roof today setting a new record. It hit $58.60 a barrel before dropping back to $58.47. It's absolutely insane. I'm glad we've got energy men in the White House. We'd be lost without them.
Mark Nickolas over at BluegrassReport.org had some pleasant thing to say yesterday about possible improprieties on the new state supreme court judge and who Fletcher picked for his new attorney. You should check out his site. He used to be Ben Chandler's campaign manager and he's a great guy. He calls it like he sees it.
posted by Stithmeister @ 5:29 PM
It's a gorgeous day driving along the 127 corridor between Lawrenceburg and Harrodsburg. It was absolutely wonderful. Unfortunately, the same can't be said for the Fletcher adminstration.
Tuesday, I attended the monthly PRSA luncheon. I saw a veteran of political combat in Kentucky, Tommy Preston. Mr. Preston commented to me he felt like Governor Fletch was an intelligent man. You don't get to be a doctor and a pilot without having a fair amount of intelligence. He's just lousy at picking his staff.
Fletcher picked almost all his people from his own organization, made up almost entirely of beltway insiders. The problem is we're way outside the beltway. All his people know how to do things up in Washington. This is a long way from Washington and they're finding this out too.
The war isn't over by a long shot either. With the "defense fund" being started, one wonders how deep this thing goes. Three people have been indicted by a grand jury and one has resigned. Sounds little more than political to me. Sounds like there's some legitimate questions here.
I'm anxious to see where this goes from here. What's the next move?
posted by Stithmeister @ 10:12 PM
Michael Jackson was acquitted today of all 10 counts in his child molestation trial. What a crock. He's going to continue to molest little boys and I feel sorry for those children he will continue to abuse. The defense did their job of raising a reasonable doubt. I think we might hear about this again.
On the race relations front, the Senate apologized to black Americans today for lynchings in the the U.S. and more specifically, for not making lynchings illegal sooner. Thousands were lynched and numerous attempts were made to pass laws to stop it. Sadly, legislation didn't make it until much later.
In the same thread, Edgar Killen goes on trial for actual murders depicted in the movie "Mississippi Burning". Killen is in his 80s and has the support from such colorful individuals as the Klan. Killen's defense attorneys aren't too happy the Klansmen showed up to offer their support. This certainly doesn't help his chances of a fair trial.
Once again, in the same thread, the Supreme Court struck down a Texas murder conviction because the black defendant received a jury trial, but with only one black individual on the jury. Apparently, the city of Dallas, Tx doesn't like minorities on its juries. It was actually a matter of city policy in the 70s and 80s. Why are we trying Killen again? Why does the Senate apologize for the lynchings? We've come along was in some respects from the crime perpetrated like lynchings but the underlying feelings are obviously still there in some cases. We must work to help this situation in the future. Future generations don't deserve the hate of the past.
posted by Stithmeister @ 10:14 PM
First, the Republican leadership in Kentucky is putting together a legal defense fund. The big thing though is that the pubs are dismantling the state merit system. Larry Forgy has filed suit in federal court challenging the merit system, or at least the part that says no politics should be involved in the decision. The pubs are making every effort to dismantle our merit system.
Forgy said in an article by Jack Brammer in today's Herald-Leader.
"I don't want to be interpreted as saying there shouldn't be a merit system," Forgy said. "I'm saying that on the pitch side (for a job recommendation), there just isn't any standard. One letter could be declared to be a misdemeanor."
The other issue is Gov. Arnie in CA. He's trying to dismantle the unions and take away the legislature's power to redistrict themselves. He's going to make it tougher for teachers to gain tenure. He's going to put the redistricting issue and the tenure issue on the ballot in the fall. He's burning a lot of bridges I must say. Attacking the teachers' and nurses' unions as well as an outright war with the legislature? I hope the kick him out of office like the did Davis.
posted by Stithmeister @ 12:17 AM
Right now, I wonder about the Democratic choices for President in 2008. Hillary Clinton campaigns for reelection in New York for the 2006 Senatoral race. She's raised a fair amount of money and has ramped up the attacks on the Republicans lately. Many watchers feel like she's gearing up for a run at the White House in 2008.
Others could be in the running too as John Edwards continues to work, even though he has no elected position.He's been working closely with the nonprofit group ACORN. And other names still float out there too, Joe Biden of Delaware, Evan Bayh of Indiana, and even John Kerry. I'd say you'll start see people looking into it further.
Evan Bayh is a 2nd generation politician, following in the footsteps of his father Birch Bayh. They both did a good job for Indiana and speculation on Bayh's run at the White House remains rampant. A story in the Indianopolis Star said as much today.
Republicans are starting to lick their chops too. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist is quite probable, although realistically, he needs to strengthen his Senate leadership to do much better. Chuck Hagel is another possibility and there are others.
We shall see!
posted by Stithmeister @ 2:11 PM
My heart goes out to Mel Brooks and his family today as his wife, Anne Bancroft passed away. The 73-yearl old actress was best known for two roles. The first won her a 1962 oscar in "The Miracle Worker" playing Annie Sullivan, the teacher of Helen Keller. Her more famous role was as the infamous Mrs. Robinson in the "The Graduate". He riveting performance as the "older woman" seducing a young Dustin Hoffman was one of the most memorable moments in film.
She also won four other oscar nominations and two Tony awards. God Bless you Mrs. Robinson.
In other news,
Governor Fletcher's hiring practices remain under scrutiny Dick Murgatroyd pleaded the 5th in the early stages of the investigation. Apparently not a lot of information has come out so far on the emails and other correspondence. In defense of the Fletcher administration they will need more time to go through all this stuff but as Stumbo pointed out, they are working under time constraints so I'm sure the Fletcher's flock will make every attempt to drag this thing out.
Another matter of some contention is yesterday's SCOTUS ruling regarding medical marijuana. I understand why they ruled the way they did. The ruled that it was in the jurisdiction of the federal government to regulate marijuana and any other drugs/medicines that might come down the pike. The real killer is this. Right now, marijuana is a schedule 1 drug according to the Control Substances Act. This means the drug as no redeeming value, medical or otherwise. Congress did a study saying they found this to be true so it stays on the list. They don't listen to eyewitness testimony and first hand experience on the matter.
The two women who were strong enough to push this matter have diseases that make people's life absolutely miserable and they have to endure phenomenal levels of pain. Marijuana helps them to function and endure that pain. What's the problem here? Morphine and Oxycontin are perfectly acceptable because they help control pain. We have an drug epidemic with Oxycontin in Ky. and many others but that doesn't stop them. I wonder why? Maybe it's big drug companies. They can't make a profit all someone growing weed in their kitchen so they can actually make through the day without being in unbearable pain. The paing is so bad that people die from it.
So the court placed this issue squarely in the lap of the attorney general and congress. The attorney general, upon review could shift the drug to a schedule 2 substance, which states it has some redeeming medical value and that it can be prescribed under strict supervision. All he needs to do is discuss with Health and Human Services. The other is for congress to pass legislation. Either one is perfectly acceptable. We, as a society, have a responsibility to make people's life a little less painful if it is all possible. This little thing...a simple clerical adjustment, could save lives and help people in cataclysmic pain endure and perhaps even being able to function. Don't we have a moral duty as human beings and creatures of God to at least give others this decency. I not a supporter of getting stoned on Saturday night and eating all night. I'd be the last person to advocate reckless behavior like that but if this has a legitimate medical purpose, then we should do it and we can't afford to wait.
posted by Stithmeister @ 8:22 PM
The 37th Senate District in Kentucky continues to remain vacant. Judge William Graham, a circuit judge in Frankfort said neither Dana Seum Stephenson nor Virginia Woodward were eligible to take the seat.
Seum-Stephenson, daughter of long time Louisville legislator Dan Seum won the election with a solid majority of the votes. The problem is, according to state law, she didn't fit the residency requirement and therefore was not eligible for to run to begin with. The court also held that since Woodward didn't "win" the election but getting the highest number of votes the Senate couldn't be made to accept her.
I've talked to with Senators on both side of he aisle or as in Bob Leper's case in the middle. Most felt that their needs to be a special election and the honorable President of the Senate, David Williams could call for such a vote now but he insists on taking this further, the state supreme court.
Come on Senator, do us all a favor and call for a new election. I'm sure Ms. Stephenson is able to do the job, but she couldn't qualify on the basic requirements. She said she didn't even know the requirements.
Give the people of Louisville and in the 37th their just representation and give them a new election. Especially since the legislature starts back up in just a few months.
posted by Stithmeister @ 5:41 PM
My buddy, Jack Brammer wrote a good piece for the Herald-Leader today chronicling the continuing adventure of this investigation into the hiring practice of Governor Ernie.
Check it out:
Hiring data deadline extended
FRANKFORT - Five state agencies got more time yesterday to turn over to investigators boxes of documents and hundreds of thousands of e-mails in an investigation of hiring practices in Gov. Ernie Fletcher's administration.
Read the rest of the story
Mark Chellgren at the AP also ran a good story on this.
Prosecutor complains of delays in investigation
FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) -- The lead prosecutor in the investigation of improper politicking in state personnel matters said Wednesday he is becoming increasingly frustrated by delays and unresponsiveness from the executive branch.
The rest of the story:
posted by Stithmeister @ 5:39 PM
It was recently revealed in Vanity Fair and confirmed by Bob Woodward that former FBI honcho Mark Felt was the notorious Deep Throat. The initial work done through the Washington Post investigation was as instrumental as anything the government did during the Watergate scandal toppled the presidency of one Richard Nixon. Nixon left the White House in disgrace as investigations turned up one thing after another and a number of individuals including talk show host G.Gordon Liddy and other did hard time for their part in the scandal. One of the most important aspects of this though is still a contentious issue today: anonymous sources.
In journalism classes, they pound into your head not to use anonymous sources unless there's no other way. ALWAYS get attribution. Newsweek has gotten themselves in deep kimchee recently over using anonymous sources and it cost them a great deal of credibility. Anonymous sources are used with more and more frequency ever since Watergate happened. It's cost major journalistic institutions like Newsweek and others much of the trust the people had in them. Bob Novak made a royal ass of himself or not revealing the source of a leak he sprung the endangered the life of a CIA operative after her diplomat husband gave the White House information it didn't like and eventually got public about it.
There's a recognized standard in journalism to protect the source and some have gone to jail for it but I think one needs to discern whether that source is worth going to jail for and also when it's worth the trouble of using a confidential source at all. There's was a good story on
Mr. Felt is 91 years old and G.Gordon Liddy is certainly past his prime. I suspect the brawls or the murders would be out at this point. But the issue still remains about whistle blowers in the system, particularly with regard to journalists and where it goes from here. The FBI sources that talked to Newsweek seems to have gotten things a bit wrong but maybe Newsweek didn't go far enough to verify the story either. Where does liability begin and end for the journalist, especially when people's lives were in danger as with the Newsweek story and the riots in Afghanistan?
posted by Stithmeister @ 1:58 PM
I'm currently working in the telecomm industry but one of my passions is still politics.
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