Democrat From Kentucky

Democrat from Kentucky
We promote fair and honest political discussion from all sides of the ideological spectrum While my own opinions and my contributors tend toward a more progressive view, that's not always the case. I ask people to comment freely and openly to promote fair discourse.
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Previous Posts

A long time coming
Happy 2007
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



May 2005
June 2005
July 2005
August 2005
September 2005
October 2005
November 2005
December 2005
January 2006
February 2006
March 2006
April 2006
May 2006
June 2006
August 2006
October 2006
January 2007
June 2007
September 2010
Current Posts
FDA Official Quits Over Plan B Pill Wednesday, August 31, 2005

One story out today was a woman quit a senior position at the FDA over their changes in plans to authorize the Plan B contraceptive. It's a pill with a super heavy dose of birth control that if it's taken within 72 hours of unprotected sex will greatly reduce the chances of pregnancy.


Associated Press

WASHINGTON - The highly regarded women's health chief at the Food and Drug Administration resigned Wednesday in protest of her agency's refusal to allow over-the-counter sales of emergency contraception.

Assistant Commissioner Susan Wood charged that FDA's leader overruled his own scientists' determination that the morning-after pill could safely be sold without a prescription, and stunned his employees last week by instead postponing indefinitely a decision on whether to let that happen.

"There's fairly widespread concern about FDA's credibility" among agency veterans as a result, Wood told The Associated Press hours after submitting her resignation Wednesday.


There are a couple of issues here. One is the age limit. The FDA thinks girls under 17 should have a prescription based on whether or not they administer it properly. The problem you run into is that in order for it to be effective, it has to be taken ASAP and sometimes prescriptions on the fly aren't feasible.

The other issue is the pro lifers consider this tantamount to abortion. Pro choicers see this as an answer to abortion. I agree with the latter. What do you think.

posted by Stithmeister @ 11:11 PM

Gas Prices Skyrocketing...No Really!

Gas prices climbed through the roof today, setting a new record of $2.92 a gallon before settling at $2.61 on the New York Mercantile Exchange. This comes as oil companies struggle to bring refineries back online after the cataclysmic Hurricane Katrina let slip the dogs of war on the Gulf Coast of the United States.

Many industry experts are predicting $4 a gallon at the pump despite authorization by the White House to tap into the strategic oil reserves. The Dept. of Energy also announced they would temporarily lift environmental regulations in order to increase production at unaffected refineries.

As initial reports come in on the condition of Gulf oil rigs amd pipelines, a number of them appear to be heavily damaged. This is particularly disheartening because it took months to bring a number of rigs online after the havoc generated by last year's Hurricane Ivan.

Oil futures have been shakey for months on supply fears for various reasons including refinery problems, hurricanes, political instability and simply an inability to produce more crude oil. The rigs in the Gulf of Mexico produce approximately 25% of the U.S. oil supply.

President Bush agreed today to release some of the stock in the strategic oil reserves and that held down prices somewhat in oil trading but it failed to solve the gasoline shortages. Some communities have already taken to rationing gasoline at $15 or $20 limits. At $3+ a gallon, that's not much petrol.

End In Sight

Not likely. New Orleans is the largest port in the United States and the city is under 20 feet of water in places. The mayor of New Orleans is predicting 16 weeks or more to pump the water out of the city. In that time, they will be working to restore utilities, clean up the mess and bury the dead, which he believes numbers in the thousands. With transportation in the city near impossible, New Orleans doesn't look hopeful.

Other cities in Mississippi got hit just as hard if not harder but the storm itself with reports of 100 dead in one county alone. Once again, it will be months before the clean up is complete and when the ports will be ready for traffic is unknown. It will also take months to get the oil rigs back in line in the Gulf. It's going to be a long wait for things to return to normal.

Economic Downturn?

Oft quoted economist Dr.Pete Morici at the Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland said some weeks ago that if mortgage rates climb another 1.25% or if oil goes to $80 a barrel then an economic slow down would occur. If both happened, he predicted a full blown recession. He really didn't address the issue of a natural disaster potentially wrecking the U.S. oil infrastructure. As gasoline prices continue to rise, one wonders whether the additional capacity of other refineries after the environmental rules were lifted will be able to make up the difference.


Not much, this is my story. You tell me!

posted by Stithmeister @ 10:37 PM

Personal Gripe About Banks

I normally don't do this here but I got an interesting letter in the mail today informing me that the financial institution that has my mortgage that a pair of laptop computers having my family's personal financial information on them were lifted from someone's trunk. I cover this sort of thing in my day job so I'll probably have a full blown rant later but needless to say it's maddening.

posted by Stithmeister @ 10:35 PM

Fletchers Followers: The Numbers Are Dwindling

It looks like Fletcher's followers are becoming fewer and far between. Back in 2003, there were very few newspapers in Kentucky that endorsed Ernie Fletcher. The most prominent of which was The Cincinnati Enquirer/Kentucky Enquirer. In all this scandal, They seem to have changed their tune just a bit. A recent blog entry from a post made by the Kenton County Democrats:

By issuing blanket pardons for present and former staff members who were charged with crimes of violating state laws regarding the merit hiring system, Governor Ernie Fletcher has taken away the public’s ability to ever know the truth.


This governor has underestimated the common sense of Kentucky’s people. Nobody pardons innocent men. Unless there is something to hide.


Ernie Fletcher keeps getting himself in deeper and deeper. He continues to show a blatant disregard for all things. He continues to lie about the whole thing and as was pointed out, why not let your men stand trial and prove their innocence. What have they got to loose?

posted by Stithmeister @ 1:49 PM

Devastation On Gulf Coast Near Complete Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Vincent Laforet/The New York Times

Aerial photograph of the devastation caused by the high winds and heavy flooding in the greater New Orleans area following Hurricane Katrina, Tuesday 30 August 2005.

I grabbed this photo from the NYT. Here's some of the story that goes with it:

Much of Gulf Coast Is Crippled; Toll Rises

Aug. 30 - A day after New Orleans thought it had narrowly escaped the worst of Hurricane Katrina's wrath, water broke through two levees on Tuesday and virtually submerged and isolated the city, causing incalculable destruction and rendering it uninhabitable for weeks to come

With bridges washed out, highways converted into canals, and power and communications lines left inoperable, government officials ordered everyone still remaining out of the city and began planning for the evacuation of the Superdome, where about 10,000 refugees huddled in increasingly grim conditions, running out of water and food, and with rising water threatening the generators.

So dire was the situation that the Pentagon late in the day ordered six Navy ships and eight Navy maritime rescue teams to the Gulf Coast to bolster relief operations. It also planned to fly in Swift boat rescue teams from California.

With the rising waters and widespread devastation hobbling rescue and recovery efforts, the authorities could only guess at the death toll in the city and across the Gulf Coast. In Mississippi alone, officials raised the official count of the dead to at least 100.

"It looks like Hiroshima is what it looks like," Gov. Haley Barbour said, describing parts of Harrison County, Miss.

Across the region rescue workers were not even trying to gather up and count the dead, officials said, but pushed them aside for the time being as they struggled to find the living.

As the sweep of the devastation became clear on Tuesday, President Bush cut short his monthlong summer vacation and returned to Washington, where he will meet Wednesday with a task force established to coordinate the efforts of 14 federal agencies that will be involved in responding to the disaster.


This devastation is horrible. Emergency relief workers are converging from all over the nation, including Kentucky. Our good friend Daniel from at Kentucky Democrat is putting together a benefit concert in Northern Kentucky. The Red Cross is taking contributions. People will need food and supplies of all types. At this point, even donating blood might help because they're going to be needing it. Whatever anyone can do will be useful. Pray for the people and families of the Gulf Coast. This is one of the most devastating natural disasters in the history of the United States and it's not done yet.

posted by Stithmeister @ 11:20 PM

Open Thread

Any regular readers got something to get off your chest? Put it here!

posted by Stithmeister @ 11:09 PM

Howard Dean's Words on The War In Iraq

Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean issued the following statement on the 60th anniversary of the end of World War II, praising the sacrifices made by the Greatest Generation to win that war and calling on President Bush to follow the model of his predecessors to lay out and stick to a clear plan for victory:

"Democratic Presidents Roosevelt and Truman led America to victory in World War II because they laid out a clear plan for success to the American people, America's allies and America's troops. President Bush has failed to put together a plan, so despite the bravery and sacrifice of our troops, we are not making the progress that we should be in Iraq. The troops, our allies and the American people deserve better leadership from our Commander in Chief. In fact, President Truman made this very clear: the buck stops at the Oval Office. Who knows where the buck stops in the Bush White House?

"Today, on the 60th anniversary of the end of World War II, we recognize the sacrifices our Greatest Generation made to rid the world of fascism and tyranny, and extend freedom. Sixteen million Americans served their country, leaving behind their families and their jobs to serve our country. Four hundred thousand of these brave Americans lost their lives. Millions more Americans worked here at home to support the war effort, working in factories, caring for veterans and doing all they could to aid the allies to victory. We owe the Greatest Generation our gratitude as we owe all of our service members, veterans and their families for the sacrifices they make on our behalf every day.

"Today, Democrats also renew our commitment to standing up for America's veterans and our troops in Iraq. We stand dedicated to making sure our troops in combat, wherever they find themselves in harm's way, have the equipment and resources they need to get the job done. We will also work to make sure they and their families receive the medical care and benefits they've earned; it's the least we can do to honor their sacrifices."


Dean's got it right. Bush doesn't have a plan other than to stay the course. It's becoming quite obvious he has nothing going on in the way of a strategy or a tactic. He constantly lets the soldiers of this war die with no method to solve the madness. Bush, through his steadfast reliance on Rumsfeld and either his lack of a strategy or an incredibly bad one that needs revamping will be one of the great blunder in American history.

posted by Stithmeister @ 9:00 PM

Konservative Komic Books In Kentucky? Yep Monday, August 29, 2005

Shocking, surprising propaganda piece by ACC. ACC studios, based right here in good old Kentucky has created a conservative comic book. Apparently, Mike Mackey aspires to be a modern day propagandist for conservatism and he has tarnished the comics medium to do it.

The premise Sean Hannity, G. Gordon Liddy and Oliver North have become bio-mechanically enhanced to to fight the "Orwellian nightmare dominated by United Nations ultra-liberalism." It's the 20th anniversary of 9/11 and Ambassador Bin Laden wants to nuke NYC. Our heros (HAH) have to stop him and the liberal madness.

This guy obviously has more than just a few screws loose here. He's going to be interviewed on Liddy's talk show. Of all the attention Kentucky could get, this nut job has to be one of the voices making it out there. It's absolutely unbelievable. He truly is shaming the state with this. The site is but I won't link to it.

posted by Stithmeister @ 10:39 PM

Fletcher Testifies Tomorrow...

It hit the fan at the rotunda today when Governor Fletcher announced his plans for tomorrow's appearance before the grand jury. He's pardoned everyone indicted in this current merit system hiring probe and will plead the 5th when going before the grand jury tomorrow. Mark Nicholas over at Bluegrass Report had an interesting take on the matter.

By pardoning everyone else -- all of whom had previously invoked 5th Amendment -- they will now be compelled to testify before the grand jury by Attorney General Stumbo and will not be allowed to take the 5th since they cannot face criminal charges. They would then be compelled to tell the whole truth and should they lie, Stumbo would go after them for perjury and if they refuse to testify, he'll get them on contempt and possibly obstruction of justice.

Assuming most would rather not have this legal nightmare continue for them -- especially the younger staffers -- they might instead implicate Governor Fletcher and make it all the more likely that he will be indicted for being the head of this criminal enterprise and conspiracy and for possible obstruction of justice for the way his administration has failed to produce critical e-mail evidence to prosecutors and the grand jury?

Also, by ensuring that his top staff are forced back into the grand jury to tell all they know, this is further likely to inflame Democratic House members -- who have a solid majority -- to proceed with impeachment hearings as was previously reported by


Everything is pure speculation at this point but I think Mark has the right idea. I think Governor Ernie Fletcher is dead in the water and I think he might even do some prison time out of this. The cynical side of this though is that statewide elections are two years away so anything could happen between now and then. In all honesty, I'd say this thing isn't over by a long shot.

posted by Stithmeister @ 7:58 PM

2004 Census Figure Out Tomorrow: Poverty Expected to Rise

In this modern age of compassionate conservatism, the Bush administration has espoused no child left behind and an ownership society. No child left behind was meant to make sure that every child had the opportunity to get a fair chance at life, to have a good education and to become productive members of our modern, compassionately conservative, ownership society. In this society, while children aren't being left behind, people are benefitting from owning their own homes, people should have full control over their own fate, being able to do things for themselves. Even their retirment should be under their own control. That way, people will be able to live, humble middle-class or better existances for everyone with people doing it themselves, pulling themselves up by their bootstraps. That what he'd like everyone to think anyway.

The age of "compassionate conservatism" is anything but compassionate. Up to this point, poverty has increased during the first term of this administration. 2004 numbers will hit tomorrow but let's examine 2003 number's first.

"The effort by the Administration to understate the extent of economic hardship in the U.S. serves their broader and extremely troubling agenda to reduce or eliminate social programs that play a positive role for low-income Americans, while pursuing egregious tax cuts for the wealthy," said Deepak Bhargava, executive director of the Center for Community Change in a press release.

-- More people live in poverty! In 2003, there were 35.9 million people living in poverty-up from 32.9 million Americans in 2001. The numbers living in extreme poverty, below 50 percent of the poverty income level, hit 15.3 million in 2003, steadily increasing during the Bush Administration. We expect tomorrow's numbers to show a similar trend.

-- More children living in poverty! By the Census' own admission, 12.9 million children lived in poverty in 2003, more than 18-64 year olds and more than that of seniors 65 years and older.

-- Less information is better! In July, the Senate Appropriations Committee sent to the Senate floor a bill with inadequate funding to continue the Census Bureau's American Community Survey (ACS). They also recommended slashing the sample size used for the national poverty data, the Current Population Survey (CPS).

The ACS is a survey that provides income, poverty, housing quality, and other important data for states. Without these data, detailed information on income and poverty by state will only be available every ten years-severely limiting the ability to plan for funding for critical social programs like TANF, food stamps, Medicaid, housing assistance, child care subsidies and energy assistance. This will not only effect federal funding levels, but state and local community planning that depend on this data.

-- Less help is available! $35 billion dollars in cuts have been mandated from low-income programs like Medicaid, food stamps, and student loans in the FY 2006 budget that Congress will consider in September. Another "reconciliation" bill to be considered in September includes more than $100 billion in new tax cuts for the wealthy.

-- Less public attention is better! For the second year in a row, the U.S. Census Bureau has released the poverty data in August-notoriously the slowest time of the year in Washington, D.C.-when Congress, President Bush, and many reporters are on summer vacation.

"With the release of the poverty numbers tomorrow, we can expect the trend to bury data to continue that might challenge overly optimistic policy statements by this Administration. Rarely has this behavior to mask the poverty problem in this country been so blatant," says Bhargava. "What America does not need is political leaders who pretend that families are not struggling everyday to sustain a dignified standard of living, because their struggles are very real for too many Americans."


The point is that this administration really promotes social darwinism which basically means, every man for himself. Do it to them before they do to you. "Decrease the surface population." Unfortunately, there's far too much of this in America and there has been for a long time. We've got to do something and we've got to many people leaving in poverty, mostly children and the elderly. Unfortunately, there are far too many children left behind.

posted by Stithmeister @ 7:24 PM

Iraq: Peter Daou's Take

Peter Daou is a good political online communications guru. He just put up an interesting take on the Iraq war and the first thing he did was quote the "Bible". I love it. I've posted a some from it but I encourage you read the whole thing, it's quite good.

The Ethics of Iraq: Moral Strength vs. Material Strength

“For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?" - Matthew 16:26

The unbridgeable divide between the left and right’s approach to Iraq and the WoT is, among other things, a disagreement over the value of moral and material strength, with the left placing a premium on the former and the right on the latter. The right (broadly speaking) can’t fathom why the left is driven into fits of rage over every Abu Ghraib, every Gitmo, every secret rendition, every breach of civil liberties, every shifting rationale for war, every soldier and civilian killed in that war, every Bush platitude in support of it, every attempt to squelch dissent. They see the left's protestations as appeasement of a ruthless enemy. For the left (broadly speaking), America’s moral strength is of paramount importance; without it, all the brute force in the world won’t keep us safe, defeat our enemies, and preserve our role as the world’s moral leader.....

It's a great piece with quite a bit of solid arguement against the war. Check out the whole thing.

posted by Stithmeister @ 2:15 PM

Oil Update: $70 A Barrel Sunday, August 28, 2005

This late night post comes after Monday trades in foreign markets climbed to $70 a barrel based on oil rigs and refineries shutting down from the hurricane. Expect it to go higher this week, depending on the extent of the damage to operations. Reuters ran the full story.

It doesn't look pleasant folks. Dr. Pete Morici, an nationally known economist at the University of Maryland's Smith School of Business suggested last week that a major economic slow down would hit if either oil hit $80 a barrel or mortgage rates went up beyond 7%. I would say the $80 a barrel isn't that far off.

posted by Stithmeister @ 11:49 PM

Administration Questioning Doerting's Credibility

The Courier-Journal reported the state the transportation cabinet is investigating Doug Doerting credibiltity. Naturally this is occuring because he's a whistleblower. He will be raked over the coals not just by Fletcher's posse but also by the department he worked for during his tenure.

Here's the first bit of the story:

FRANKFORT, Ky. -- Lawyers working for the Transportation Cabinet said they are investigating the credibility of Doug Doerting, the state worker whose complaint has led to the indictments of nine current or former officials alleging political favoritism in hiring.

And in the course of their investigation, cabinet employees have given them information about Doerting, who retired in May after filing his complaint against the Fletcher administration.

Attorney General Greg Stumbo's office said examining Doerting's background is "attempted character assassination."


It's no big surprise that the administration's trying to "discredit" the witness. His efforts have certainly discredited them. I suspect they'll work him over a little bit but I think his future, regardless of what happens is much more secure than that of Fletcher, Murgatroyd and others, especially since they'll likely see jail time.

posted by Stithmeister @ 9:49 PM

OIl Prices Continue to Rise

So the oil prices continue to rise. With Katrina creating a watery hell in the Gulf of Mexico, it's not surprise really. Gas prices climbed about 13 cents on the average so most folks are looking at a national average of about $2.63 a gallon roughly. OPEC is pumping at capacity. All the oil prices are in the hands of refiners right now. For some reason, they refuse to update the facilities and expand their capacity.

The problem I guess is that right now, I don't have a choice. To get to my job, I must drive. Like many Americans, another car is not an option at this point and even if it were, the hybrids are kinda pricey right now. So... Bush maintains he can do nothing. Hawaii did something. They put in some price controls. While civil price controls aren't desireable in a free market economy, what makes you think you live in a free market economy? We're just making the oil barons rich. They're gouging the prices not at the pump but at the market. They control refinery production, bottleneck that production and then they stick the consumer with a high price. I got news, the economy will start to show signs of wear and tear if this continues.

It's quite frustrating to know that the current administration gets part of its marching orders from the oil industry. They won't budge on this and they need to do something. They should possibly even consider releasing some of the strategic reserves to help calm the market. Of course that still wouldn't solve the problem of refinery bottlenecks.

There are few conservatives I like to read but William F. Buckley is one of them. He's a damn sight better than Coulter (although she has better legs). Earlier this month, he wrote a column on his thoughts on the oil crisis. He had some great insight on what it would take to help really solve the oil problem.

posted by Stithmeister @ 9:23 PM

Ky Kurmudgeon Calls It Right

The Herald-Leader's Kentucky Kurdmudgeon, Larry Dale Keeling had a great editorial today on the current situation in Frankfort and pointed out that even if Fletcher gets totally wrecked by the current scandal, which is entirely possible, who would the Democrats run for the slot in '07. He points out that even though they may be on the defensive a bit, They still have stronger organization in Kentucky and that any potential candidates who the Dems could run for governor, at least right now, could have some real problems.
Here's an excerpt:

Oh, sure, a scandal in a Republican administration causes the playing field to tip a bit less precipitously against them. But Kentucky Republicans remain better organized, better funded and better at recruiting voters and candidates than their Democratic rivals.

And when you start naming the prominent Democrats who might take a shot at Fletcher (or whoever leads the R ticket) in '07, you realize most of them come with baggage.

In the case of Auditor Crit Luallen, it is baggage by association due to her loyalty to former Gov. Paul Patton after he owned up to an adulterous affair with Tina Conner.

Attorney General Greg Stumbo has paternity and child-support baggage. Besides, if he were to get into the 2007 race, it would lend at least a patina of credibility to the accusation that he launched the hiring investigation for no other reason than to soften Fletcher up for that campaign.

Former Lt. Gov. Steve Henry's baggage involves his dust-up with the feds over Medicaid and Medicare billings. Defusing that issue in 30-second sound bites could be difficult.

State Sen. Julian Carroll carries some baggage from investigations of his own gubernatorial administration more than a quarter of a century ago.

Wealthy businessman Charlie Owen has the baggage of having shown little ability to inspire voters.

Among other prominent Democrats, House Speaker Jody Richards and state Sen. Daniel Mongiardo both had near misses in recent statewide races. But neither man should forget the unique circumstances surrounding those two elections, circumstances that are unlikely to be repeated in a campaign against a Republican gubernatorial slate.

State Treasurer Jonathan Miller has won two statewide races, but has not yet shown an interest in seeking the governor's office. And 6th District U.S. Rep. Ben Chandler seems to be content where he is.

Some Democrats have long dreamed that Louisville Mayor Jerry Abramson would one day lead a gubernatorial ticket, but he has never shown the gumption to jump into such a race.


I think Keeling's right. Right now, the Dems do have candidates with problems and none have really said they would come out and get the job done. The Democrats have some great openings here. Let's just hope they can take advantage of them. Then again, I wonder if the Whig part could offer up a candidate.

posted by Stithmeister @ 9:01 PM

Bush's Presidential Library

It looks like "Dub-yah" is building a presidential library. Sadly, the first thing that came to mind was "He can read?" Be that as it may, It will be built, like many presidents before him. Here's the story from U.S. News And World Report:

Bush Thinks Texas Big for His Library

Sure Jimmy Carter has his cozy Carter Center promoting democracy, George H. W. Bush has a Texas A&M school of public service named after him, and Bill Clinton runs his foundation dedicated to fighting HIV/AIDS. So how does President Bush top that when he goes home to his presidential library and museum somewhere in Texas? Go bigger. "The Hoover Institution," reveals Bush's chief library scout and former Commerce Secretary Don Evans , "is the model. That's what will differentiate our library." No kidding. Based at Stanford University, Hoover's team includes over 150 big thinkers who have shaped major national policies and still influence Washington.

Evans tells us that the "Bush Institute" won't just take up the president's agenda of advancing compassionate conservatism, fighting terrorism, and expanding democracy: Women's issues, a passion of the first lady, will also get a starring role. "This will be a very active institution," he predicts. And that's not all. In a letter to seven colleges and the city of Arlington, all vying to build the George W. Bush Presidential Library, Evans and Bush brother Marvin say the prez also wants a high-tech library and museum, including an IMAX theater, gift shop, and apartment. It'll be expensive, and the winner will have to raise gobs of cash. But, assures the duo, "the president has many donors, supporters, and friends around the world."


Bush said he's going to build this based on the Hoover Institute. Well, there is another Hoover building in D.C. and I suspect that one would be closer to how this should be viewed and that the reminder of how things shouldn't be done and the fact that presidents and the administrations need to taken down another notch.

posted by Stithmeister @ 8:45 PM

The Big Easy Havin' A Hard Time...

Right now, Hurricane Katrina is lining up for the Big Easy and may actually do a first class wreckin' job to New Orleans. The city had the delightgul geographic distinction of sitting below sea level and while there are levees, the water levels are expected to go over the levees. This doesn't bode well. Good luck to all the folks who're have to face Katrina and the Waves. Sunshine's not what you'll be walking on.

The storm's hit category 5 with 175 mph winds. This means she could conceivably almost completely wipeout the city to just about nothing. This could also disrupt the oil supply. I've included the story and a link the American Red Cross for folks who might want to don ate. Wherever this thing hits, the folks there will need all the help they can get.

Cat. 5 Katrina Heads Towards New Orleans
Written by Lesly Simmons , Writer,

Sunday, August 28, 2005 — Hurricane Katrina is now an incredibly strong Category 5 storm heading straight for New Orleans with sustained winds at 175 miles per hour.

NOAA Aug. 28, 2005
To find shelters in the affected areas only, please contact your local Red Cross chapter. For shelter information in Louisiana, please call 1-800-469-4828.

“This is a once in a lifetime event,” said New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin. ““We are telling all of our citizens to leave New Orleans. Never before has the city of New Orleans seen a storm this big heading directly toward it.”

Mandatory evacuations are in place for the entire New Orleans metropolitan area. About 70 percent of New Orleans is below sea level, and the city is protected by a series of levees. Katrina could cause storm surges up to 20 feet, which would completely overwhelm the levees and cause massive flooding.

“The problem we are having is that if the storm surges are that high, they will pop our levels and lots of New Orleans will be under water,” said Nagin, who is urging seriousness, but not panic.

Katrina is now moving west/northwest at 12 mph, putting its arrival time in the New Orleans area sometime tomorrow morning or early afternoon.

This storm is stronger than Hurricane Camille, the devastating storm that hit New Orleans in 1969. Camille killed 256 people after it slammed ashore with winds at over 200 miles per hour. Thousands of people were left homeless all along the shore and far inland.

Only three Cat. 5 storms have ever hit the United States:

The unnamed Labor Day hurricane of 1935;
Hurricane Camille in 1969; and
Hurricane Andrew in 1992.

Katrina might also disrupt the nation’s oil supply, as Nagin said nearly one-third of the nation’s oil moves through the area. He added that at least 1,500 National Guard troops are available, to deploy and assist with cleanup efforts after the storm moves through the area.

All American Red Cross disaster assistance is free, made possible by voluntary donations of time and money from the American people. You can help the victims of this disaster and thousands of other disasters across the country each year by making a financial gift to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund, which enables the Red Cross to provide shelter, food, counseling and other assistance to those in need. Call 1-800-HELP NOW or 1-800-257-7575 (Spanish). Contributions to the Disaster Relief Fund may be sent to your local American Red Cross chapter or to the American Red Cross, P. O. Box 37243, Washington, DC 20013. Internet users can make a secure online contribution by visiting


Not a lot to say really. Just pray for the folks in NOLA. Jambalaya wouldn't be the same without you.

posted by Stithmeister @ 8:29 PM

Good Commentary On Kentucky Saturday, August 27, 2005

BluegrassRoots had some good comments on the base closings, political elitism, Chandler's response on Fletcher and the Declaration of Independence. This one is particularly good as they go through multiple points of the Declaration of Independence and compare the things going on now to what went on over 200 years ago. All great material. I recommend checking it out.

Also Democratic State had a nice little editorial on your friend and mine, Pat Robertson. Check it out as well.

posted by Stithmeister @ 7:25 PM

New Kentucky Democratic Platform

Jerry Lundergan annouced the new platform for the party at the state fair this week. The new platform concentrats on veterants benefits. I picked on up this story by Pat Crowley from the Enquirer up in Cincinnati:

General Assembly plan touted as 'bold,' leans heavily to vets

Kentucky Democrats have outlined their strategy for the 2006 General Assembly session.

"It will be a bold package of change and new priorities," party chairman Jerry Lundergan said at a news conference Thursday with top Democratic elected officials at the Kentucky State Fair.

Among the goals is a $75,000 death benefit for Kentuckians killed in combat, increased funds for preschool and middle school education, and opposition to reducing preferences given to veterans who apply for state jobs.

They quoted House Speaker Jody Richards saying:

"These items are traditional Democratic values."

They also talked to a Republican strategist about the plan.

"The liberal values that the Democratic Party have espoused certainly are not working, and elections are proving as much," GOP strategist Brian Richmond said. "This is a contrived attempt by the Democratic Party to move to the right that Kentucky families will see right through."


The issue here I see is the Democrats trying to urge their agenda forward and put something together Kentuckians will be happy with. The federal government has attempted to cut the VA benefits and many veterans of the National Guard and Reserves don't get the same benefits as the active duty soldiers even though their lives are just as much on the line in the operation. The states must step up and do the work. Ben Chandler fights in Washington to protect our veterans and Kentucky's state Democrats must back his play to do all they can at home.

posted by Stithmeister @ 7:08 PM

State Democratic Website

I've got to say, I've noticed an upturn by the party in usage of their website. They've got more material showing up there, more news stories, they've sent out more emails about things go on. I think they're moving forward but I'd like to see them go further still. They've got an online forum but it gets very little traffic from what I can tell. I also think they should probably start some blogs from various prominent Democrats in the state, both past and present. It would be a great way to put out the message for the party and let online commununity have some more interaction with the party. I also think they should start a party newsletter that's weekly or biweekly. It would be great.

BTW, any party folks who're interested, on Sept. 17th, there will be a family picnic sponsored by the Democratic Party of Kentucky from Noon until 5. Folks should show up, it'll be fun.

posted by Stithmeister @ 6:51 PM

Fletcher Loyalist Dissappointed In Fletcher

Last night on "Comment on Kentucky", Paducah Sun publisher Jim Paxton had some opinions that surely won't go over well in the Fletcher camp. Paxton was an ardent supporter of Fletcher back in 2003 and even on his transition committee. Paxton said last night that was "dissappointed" in Fletcher because he's not upholding the platform he ran on. Imagine that.

posted by Stithmeister @ 4:32 PM

Ann Coulter: The Proverbial Female Dog

I'm running a little behind with no posts yesterday and not much on Thursday. First is from Thursday. The lovely and ever poignant Ann Coulter had some pleasant comments aimed for the fine citizens of New York.

I grabbed this from Crooks and Liars

" and it's far preferable to fight them in the streets of Baghdad than in the streets of New York (where the residents would immediately surrender)"

"Colmes: You don't feel that New Yorkers are cowards?


Coulter: ahhh...I think they would immediately surrender..."


I wonder how many "regular" people she's met in New York. Trying going to a fire deparment in the Bronx. They'll tell you how many buddies they lost in the Trade Towers. I don't think I'd call them cowards. I also don't think they'd surrender. They may not be willing to fight like the once did in the "five Points" but I also think that New Yorkers, whether in the big city or in the upstate would fight just like so many others.

Realistically though, Ms. Coulter is just generating lip service. Obviously, the Sheehan train has the neocons worries because she's got a message and it's obviously resonating with a more than a few people who're tired of the war. The Republicans are losing control of the agenda. The war is going badly, the economy is teetering as oil prices continue to climb. The Democrats certainly have some opening with which to press their advantage, the question is do they have the leadeship to take advantage of it. I think it's fair to say that the party on a national and possibly on a state level might not be up to the task of pressing the advantage. The Democrats need to bring what weapons they have around and start firing and they need to take start developing new weapons. The only way to take this country back from the brink is start fighting and it has to happen at all levels.

posted by Stithmeister @ 1:53 PM

Pat Robertson Backtracks? Thursday, August 25, 2005

Media Matters have made it their job to call people out when the flub up, say stupid things and screw up in general in the media. Pat Robertson is a good case in point. Here's there take on the Pat Robertson thing:

On the morning of August 24, Pat Robertson falsely claimed that he never called for the assassination of Venzuelan President Hugo Chavez. On the afternoon of August 24, Robertson issued a press release in which he claimed that his assassination comments were "adlibbed" out of frustration, suggesting they were not representative of his true thinking. So, which is it? Did Robertson "adlib" the assassination line, or did he never say it? What will his next explanation be? And is Robertson now admitting he lied earlier in the day in his statement on The 700 Club?


This goes to show that many of these evangelical ministers are frauds and hucksters. Jerry Falwell lost his case today so you should check out and see why. A young man tried to express his point of view and Falwell went after him for trademark infringement. Fortunately the 4th Circuit of Appeal felt otherwise.

In the end, as my pal Cynicus pointed out, the reason religion and government must stay separate is because you forever corrupt both and that's where we're going in this country.

posted by Stithmeister @ 9:23 PM

More Demonizing of Sheehan

I picked this up on Media Matters. It seems Mark Williams decided to lambast Sheehan on her protests. The Truth Tour is so appropriate don't you think?

WILLIAMS: Cindy Sheehan is on a mission to figuratively urinate on her son's grave and make his death stand for nothing. She represents and symbolizes all those who would cut the legs out from the men and women who are fighting now as we speak, to defend us and to build a new country in Iraq. Cindy Sheehan's not interested in the memory of her son. She's only interested in using her son as a prop to advance her own hatred for the American troops. I've got to tell you something: Since we started our "You Don't Speak for Me, Cindy" tour caravan to Crawford -- I'll be speaking there, at the Crawford community center Saturday -- I've received hundreds, hundreds of death threats from Cindy Sheehan's supporters because I dare to speak out and support our troops. My dog is getting death threats, for God's sakes. These people aren't peaceful. These people aren't anti-war. These people are creeps who hate this country and everything it stands for.

He went on Fox News:

WILLIAMS: Cindy Sheehan has been at every pro-America, pro-troop rally that I've staged for the past year to demonstrate against those concepts. She's one of our local whack-jobs here. She's -- I'm sure she misses her son -- but he's far more valuable to her as a propaganda tool for she [sic] and her friends, and you're right, the president met with her on June 24, 2004. She didn't have enough nice things to say about him when she came out of that meeting. It's only as she's become more radicalized that she's adopted her son's death as some sort of cause celebre.

Here's another comment issued by the American Legion yesterday. We picked this up at the Whiskey Bar who got it from Atrios.

"The American Legion will stand against anyone and any group that would demoralize our troops, or worse, endanger their lives by encouraging terrorists to continue their cowardly attacks against freedom-loving peoples," Thomas Cadmus, national commander, told delegates at the group's national convention in Honolulu" . . . "We had hoped that the lessons learned from the Vietnam War would be clear to our fellow citizens. Public protests against the war here at home while our young men and women are in harm's way on the other side of the globe only provide aid and comfort to our enemies."

Editor & Publisher
American Legion Declares War on Protestors
August 24, 2005

This brings me back to the Goering quote doesn't it:

"Of course the people don't want war. But after all, it's the leaders of the country who determine the policy, and it's always a simple matter to drag the people along whether it's a democracy, a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism, and exposing the country to greater danger."
-- Herman Goering at the Nuremberg trials

You do the math. It's tough to be idealistic and not get cynical when you see things like this going on.

posted by Stithmeister @ 1:51 PM

Who Will Say 'No More'? Wednesday, August 24, 2005

I picked up this article off the Washington Post. Gary Hart is former U.S. Senator and ran for President a time or too. Unfortunately he had a case of Clintonitis and it derailed his political career after some off shore drilling with a lovely Donna Rice.

"Waist deep in the Big Muddy and the big fool said to push on," warned an anti-Vietnam war song those many years ago. The McGovern presidential campaign, in those days, which I know something about, is widely viewed as a cause for the decline of the Democratic Party, a gateway through which a new conservative era entered.

Like the cat that jumped on a hot stove and thereafter wouldn't jump on any stove, hot or cold, today's Democratic leaders didn't want to make that mistake again. Many supported the Iraq war resolution and -- as the Big Muddy is rising yet again -- now find themselves tongue-tied or trying to trump a war president by calling for deployment of more troops. Thus does good money follow bad and bad politics get even worse.

He's got this one right on the money. We've got ourselves in deep in Iraq and right now, it's a no-win scenario. We either cut and run, leave the whole region in chaos (as if it's not already) and lose face with the rest of the world and be basically called cowards. It would be the beginning of the end of the U.S. OR we could "stay the course" and continue to lose more troops every day. We've even got women coming home in body bags no less. We hope the Iraqi factions in the government can get this problems worked out long enough to get our troops out of there but that is also unlikely any time in the immediate future. Thanks Bush, you've gotten the whole nation into deep kimchee on this one.

But this cannot be done while the water is rising in the Big Muddy of the Middle East. No Democrat, especially one now silent, should expect election by default. The public trust must be earned, and speaking clearly, candidly and forcefully now about the mess in Iraq is the place to begin.

The real defeatists today are not those protesting the war. The real defeatists are those in power and their silent supporters in the opposition party who are reduced to repeating "Stay the course" even when the course, whatever it now is, is light years away from the one originally undertaken. The truth is we're way off course. We've stumbled into a hornet's nest. We've weakened ourselves at home and in the world. We are less secure today than before this war began.

Who now has the courage to say this?

Hackett almost won in Ohio in a heavily Republican district. We've got some in Kentucky who might stand a chance in the right kind of campaign and there are certainly others in the country. Find them, support them, get them elected. We need to change things now. 2006 will be here soon and we need to get Republicans and Democrats too for that matter who sit idly by and let our American soldiers die in a war we shouldn't have been in to begin with.

posted by Stithmeister @ 10:25 PM

The War Effort and What Makes A Good American

"Of course the people don't want war. But after all, it's the leaders of the country who determine the policy, and it's always a simple matter to drag the people along whether it's a democracy, a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism, and exposing the country to greater danger."
-- Herman Goering at the Nuremberg trials

"See, in my line of work you got to keep repeating things over and over and over again for the truth to sink in, to kind of catapult the propaganda."—May 24, 2005 George W Bush

I'm reminded that a few weeks after Operation Enduring Freedom began in Afghanistan, a news story suggested that the U.S. was already in a quagmire. But it was several weeks later, only, that Kabul actually fell to the Northern Alliance and our forces. Throughout history there have always been those who predict America's failure just around every corner. At the height of World War II, a prominent U.S. diplomat predicted that democracy was finished in Britain and probably in America too. Many Western intellectuals praised Stalin during that period. For a time, Communism was very much in vogue. It was called Euro-Communism to try to mute or mask the totalitarian core. And thankfully, the American people are better centered. They ultimately come to the right decisions on big issues. And the future of Iraq is a very big issue. So those being tossed about by the winds of concern should recall that Americans are a tough lot and will see their commitments through. Donald Rumsfeld - Aug. 2005

I think about these things often. The current administration wanted to go to war with Iraq. This group of neocons wanted to well before Bush got into office. The problem I have is Bush's "with us or agin' us" attitude. We're either with the U.S. or you're with the terrorists. They knew the same things Goering knew in 1945. They question the judgement and patriotism of anyone who questions the administration.

LIMBAUGH: I mean, Cindy Sheehan is just Bill Burkett. Her story is nothing more than forged documents. There's nothing about it that's real, including the mainstream media's glomming onto it. It's not real. It's nothing more than an attempt. It's the latest effort made by the coordinated left.

People set up camp at Crawford to protest Cindy Sheehan and the protestors that followed her. But people like Limbaugh question her? Her patriotism, her loss? Iraq never attacked us directly. They gave a lot of lip service but they never attacked us directly. There always things we don't know but when a country goes to war, it should be a righteous war after we've been attacked. We weren't. We didn't get the people who attacked us, they're still running around in Pakistan. It's just maddening that this administration is running rough shod over everything my grandfather and my ancestors fought for.

I'm getting tired of people like Ann Coulter and Rush Limbaugh, Bill O'Reilly and Sean Hannity damning people who aren't neocons as unpatriotic and leaders like Dobson and Robertson and others damning me because I find their evangelical garbage offensive and repugnant.

I guess I've ranted enough. One thing's for sure, if people in general are sheep, we sure as hell need a new shepherd to lead this flock but right now, this country is on a road to hell and the leader haven't the least bit of good intentions.

posted by Stithmeister @ 9:35 PM

Merit Probe Getting Bigger

Mark Pitsch over at the Courier Journal had a great article today about the continuing investigation into the merit hiring problems of our state government.

Jury likely to extend inquiry to 7 cabinets
Judge grants Stumbo request to give panel 90 more days

FRANKFORT, Ky. -- Testimony and other evidence about Gov. Ernie Fletcher's personnel initiative suggest the likelihood of illegal hiring practices across state government, Attorney General Greg Stumbo said in a court filing yesterday.

"The evidence has given rise to probable cause that violations of (the state merit law) may have been committed in various cabinets … extending beyond the Transportation Cabinet," Stumbo said in the motion, which names seven other cabinets.

It looks like this is going to get bigger. This is turning out to be a great big scandal but as some have pointed out, there's still two years until the next gubernatorial election. Certainly Fletcher's credibility will be in the toilet but 2007 is a political lifetime. People do good to remember month to month let alone year to year as the audience/voter attention span is so short. Will we be talking about this during next year's congressional elections? All the Democrats' efforts should be getting people elected in Congressional seats. We've got some beatable candidates out there who need to be left home. We just need to get rid of them.

posted by Stithmeister @ 1:44 PM

Bush and Saudi: Friends Forever Tuesday, August 23, 2005

I swiped this story from the Nation. A great progressive magazine. It covers a little bit of the background and current affairs with the Saudi government. Pay close attention. This only your future you're reading about.

Mortgaged to the House of Saud

Robert Scheer

The only evidence you need that President Bush is losing the "war on terror" is this: On Sunday, the foreign minister of Saudi Arabia said that relations with the United States "couldn't be better."

Tell that to the parents of those who have died in two wars defending this corrupt spawning ground of violent extremism. Never mind the ugly facts: We are deeply entwined with Saudi Arabia even though it shares none of our values and supports our enemies.

Yet on Friday, Bush's father and Vice President Dick Cheney made another in a long line of obsequious American pilgrimages to Riyadh to assure the Saudis that we continue to be grateful for the punishment they dish out.

The only evidence you need that President Bush is losing the "war on terror" is this: On Sunday, the foreign minister of Saudi Arabia said that relations with the United States "couldn't be better."

Tell that to the parents of those who have died in two wars defending this corrupt spawning ground of violent extremism. Never mind the ugly facts: We are deeply entwined with Saudi Arabia even though it shares none of our values and supports our enemies.

Yet on Friday, Bush's father and Vice President Dick Cheney made another in a long line of obsequious American pilgrimages to Riyadh to assure the Saudis that we continue to be grateful for the punishment they dish out.

"The relationship has tremendously improved with the United States," Saudi Foreign Minister Saud al Faisal told a news conference in Riyadh. "With the government, of course, it is very harmonious, as it ever was. Whether it has returned to the same level as it was before in terms of public opinion [in both countries], that is debatable."

Well, score one for public opinion. It makes sense to distrust the mercenary and distasteful alliance between the United States and Saudi Arabia. We protect the repressive kingdom that spawned Osama bin Laden, and most of the 9/11 hijackers, in exchange for the Saudis keeping our fecklessly oil-addicted country lubricated.

Yes, it has stuck deep in the craw of many of us Americans that after 9/11, Washington squandered global goodwill and a huge percentage of our resources invading a country that had nothing to do with Al Qaeda, while continuing to pander to this dysfunctional dynasty. After all, Saudi Arabia is believed to have paid bin Laden's murderous gang millions in protection money in the years before 9/11, and it lavishly funds extremist religious schools throughout the region that preach and teach anti-Western jihad.

"Al Qaeda found fertile fundraising ground in the kingdom," noted the 9/11 commission report in one of its many careful understatements. The fact is, without Saudi Arabia, there would be no Al Qaeda today.

Our President loves to use the word "evil" in his speeches, yet throughout his life he and his family have had deep personal, political and financial ties with a country that represents everything the American Revolution stood against: tyranny, religious intolerance, corrupt royalty and popular ignorance. This is a country where women aren't allowed to drive and those who show "too much skin" can be beaten in the street by officially sanctioned mobs of fanatics. A medieval land where newspapers routinely publish the most outlandish anti-Semitic rants. A place where executions are held in public, torture is the norm in prison and the most extreme and expansionist version of Islam is the state religion.

It's hard to see how Saddam Hussein's brutal and secular Iraq was worse than the brutal theocracy run by the House of Saud. Yet one nation we raze and the other we fete. Is it any wonder that much of the world sees the United States as the planet's biggest hypocrite?

As insider books by former White House terrorism advisor Richard Clarke, journalist Bob Woodward and others have recounted, punishing Saudi Arabia in any way for its long ideological and financial support of terrorism was not even on the table in the days after 9/11. Instead, within hours of the planes hitting the towers, the powerful neoconservatives in the White House rushed to use the tragedy as an excuse for a long-dreamed invasion of Iraq.

Meanwhile, after two wars to make the Middle East safe for the Saudis, wars that cost hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars and thousands of American lives, the price of oil is soaring--up 42 percent from just a year ago. Good thing we just passed a pork-laden energy bill that will do little to nothing to ease our crushing--and rising--dependence on imported oil. Federal officials project that by 2025, the United States will have to import 68 percent of its oil to meet demand, up from 58 percent today.

There are those who argue that the best rationale for invading Iraq was to ease our dependence on Saudi Arabia's massive oil fields, which might allow for a more rational or moral relationship. Yet the dark irony is that with Iraq in chaos and its oil flow limited by insurgent attacks and a bungled reconstruction, Saudi Arabia is now more important to the United States than ever.

It's scary, but these gaping contradictions don't seem to trouble our President a whit.

As the drumbeat of devastating terrorist attacks in Baghdad, London and elsewhere continue, Bush prattles on--five times in a speech last Wednesday--about his pyrrhic victories in the "war on terror." This is a sorry rhetorical device that disguises the fact that the forces of Islamic fanaticism in Saudi Arabia and elsewhere in the world are stronger than ever.


A very revealing article I think. It goes to show you people where the real loyalty of the the U.S. government and more specifically the neocons remain, even after 9/11. I know many followers of he is the Bush say people who don't are a bunch of pansies but they're going to destroy this country and we're going to lose our position of power in the world because we suck up to a government under the thumb of extreme Islamic leaders who claim our nation is the great satan. Gimme A Break and get with the program.

posted by Stithmeister @ 8:22 PM

A Glimpse into the Future of Ernie's Follies

I swiped this photo from Mark Nicholas at BLuegrassReport. It was just too good not to pass around. Quite amusing stuff considering this was up on the state website and was pulled within minutes of Mark's post. Good job Mark.

posted by Stithmeister @ 8:13 PM

Welcome aboard

I'd like to welcome aboard my newest member Cynicus. He's not so much a loyal Democrat as a loyal cynic. He will provide intelligent, reasoned discussion, unlike me. So please enjoy his commentary and posts. Once again. I encourage discussion, just keep it relatively clean.

posted by Stithmeister @ 8:11 PM

Bill Moyer, 73, wears a "Bullshit Protector" flap over his ear while President George W. Bush addresses the Veterans of Foreign Wars. (AP Photo/Douglas C. Pizac)

OK. So I saw this on DailyKos and they grabbed from Atrios so I went to Atrios and got it from there. This one's just too good for words.

You know, I can't help but wonder how many veterans think this whole debacle with the war in Iraq is absolute horse$%@!?

posted by Stithmeister @ 8:03 PM

Pat Robertson: Certified RightWing Nutjob

So Pat Robertson thinks we should assassinate Hugo Chavez, president of Venezuela. What a delightful thought. The United States can go back to the days of offing third world dictators(wasn't he elected) and supporting others. The cold war was an easier time for the U.S. when the enemies were pinko commies instead of religious whackos who want to murder... hold on a minute. What's Robertson do for a living? Here's the quote from his show the 700 Club, borrowed from MediaMatters:

ROBERTSON: There was a popular coup that overthrew him [Chavez]. And what did the United States State Department do about it? Virtually nothing. And as a result, within about 48 hours that coup was broken; Chavez was back in power, but we had a chance to move in. He has destroyed the Venezuelan economy, and he's going to make that a launching pad for communist infiltration and Muslim extremism all over the continent.

You know, I don't know about this doctrine of assassination, but if he thinks we're trying to assassinate him, I think that we really ought to go ahead and do it. It's a whole lot cheaper than starting a war. And I don't think any oil shipments will stop. But this man is a terrific danger and the United ... This is in our sphere of influence, so we can't let this happen. We have the Monroe Doctrine, we have other doctrines that we have announced. And without question, this is a dangerous enemy to our south, controlling a huge pool of oil, that could hurt us very badly. We have the ability to take him out, and I think the time has come that we exercise that ability. We don't need another $200 billion war to get rid of one, you know, strong-arm dictator. It's a whole lot easier to have some of the covert operatives do the job and then get it over with.


Ok now, let's put this in perspective. Pat Robertson, the founder of the 700 Club, a religious media organization designed to promote the evangelical viewpoint. Robertson ran for president at one time and has made strange comments in the past including nuking the state department and others. The classic right wing nutjob. Aren''t these the same types of people we deport back to Saudi or Libya or wherever?
So... anyway, shouldn't ABC Family just dump his show anyway. They dumped Bill Maher. Why not Pat?

posted by Stithmeister @ 1:42 PM

The Price of Oil Monday, August 22, 2005

The war is going lousy, the economy is up in the air. Foreign policy is not so good and there may be a major leak in the White House to the press. Republican politicians all across the country are having their issues in their own states. What's the real misery in all this? Oil.

Oil closed today at $65.45 a barrel. Certainly not the highest but it's not so good either. Gasoline dropped a bit to $1.86 a gallon(that's at the stock exchange, not the pump mind you). heating oil (that's diesel and jet fuel too) closed at $1.81. The fall is fast approaching and the middle east certainly is not more stable.

The refineries have had their problems in recent weeks, Saudi has had problems, power outages in Iraq causing production to go down. The threat of hurricanes lingers and the prices at the pump are hitting $2.50+ a gallon. What does all this mean. The oil companies are having record profits for sure. Everyone's blaming the arabs even though OPEC currently pumps at nearly 100% production. They don't have anything left to pump. So...let's go back to the oil companies. Refineries have had problems and many say there's plent of oil, refining capacity is what sucks.

Now consider that refining capacity is less now than what it was 20 years ago. No new refinery has been built since 1976. Even though current refineries have more capacity to produce, it's still less than it was during the Reagan years. Some may blame it on tougher EPA standards but that's a load of bull. They could've set the upgraded while slowing increasing the price to cover costs but oh... that might hurt profit margins, especially now. I forgot how our current president and his father made their fortunes?

Now the oil companies have everyone bent over a barrel and they're squeezing their cahoneys while they do it. The price of everything is going up and some predictions go as high as $5 a gallon or more and $100+ for a barrel of oil. So where does that leave the average individual who has to drive 30-50 miles to work everyday. Gas prices have gone up by more than 50% in the last year. It's incredibly painful I'll tell ya. Who's got the money to buy a HYBRID. Sure, the president's new legislation has $3000 bonus for people who by them but most people can't go out and buy brand new cars on the one hand and on the other, there's not a dozen models in the entire country.

Not to worry though, as gas prices go up, oddly enough so does consumption. We've not hit that market ceiling yet. It will hit soon though when all the disposable income is one and we can't support that great free market, service economy anymore. That's thing about services, much of the money paid for services comes from disposable income.

Did I mention the price of natural gas is going up on supply worries. Better stock up on your methane converters, you're going to need them and about 30 head of cattle to pay for electricity and heat this winter.

posted by Stithmeister @ 10:22 PM

Va. Senator Likens Iraq to Normandy?

Rick Howell, a fellow Democrat over in Virginia, discussed recent inane comments made by Senator George Allen, R - Va. Unbelievable. Allen is comparing the invasion of Iraq to the landing at Normandy on D-Day. What kind of brilliant stroke of stupidity is this? D-Day. He's defaming and insulting all those brave souls who fought in Europe during the WWII. Rick elaborates pretty well. You should check out his blog.

Also, KyBlogWatch claims the liberal oriented blogs right now aren't terribly interesting. I shall endeavor to spice up this one. Thanks for the tip. ;)

posted by Stithmeister @ 10:11 PM

GOP Lookin' For Work

This is a sordid tale of intrigue, greed, envy, and the lust for power. Ryan Alessi, one of the Herald-Leader reporters who's been covering Fletcher's Follies, does gives a good accounting of the story so far:

When GOP aides met GOP job-seekers

32 years was long time to wait

By Ryan Alessi


FRANKFORT -- A governor subpoenaed to testify before a special grand jury.

Nine former or current state officials under indictment.

An administration described by prosecutors as running a "corrupt political machine."

This summer in Kentucky's capital city has been one of dizzying developments played out in courtrooms and through government e-mails and memos that have become public.

What has emerged out of that complicated paper trail is a storyline of a new administration inundated by supporters' job requests and of ambitious aides eager to please.

The saga began with complaints about the way Gov. Ernie Fletcher's administration hired state road supervisors and backhoe operators.

It has spiraled into a scandal that threatens to envelop the administration of the state's first Republican governor in three decades.

Today, the latest chapter will play out in Franklin Circuit Court, where investigators will submit documents justifying their search Friday of the computer server for the governor's office. Agents served a search warrant to review electronic files of the governor, his chief of staff, general counsel and communications staff.

To Fletcher's office, Friday's search was the latest outrage in an investigation it has described as a "witchhunt" purely "motivated by partisan politics" of Democratic Attorney General Greg Stumbo.

But the allegations of former employees and spurned job candidates have continued to gather steam as more documents, e-mail messages between officials and other details trickle out.

The grand jury's role

A special grand jury has been investigating the administration's hiring practices since June. Jurors have been sifting through that evidence and interviewing scores of former and current administration officials.

Fletcher has been called upon to appear before the jurors next week.

What has become apparent during this summer's probe is that Fletcher's administration was bombarded with job requests and candidate recommendations from GOP supporters across the state who had been longing for one of their own to be in control in Frankfort.

Roughly 32,000 of the state's 36,000 jobs are what's called "merit" positions that, by law, must be filled by candidates based on qualifications -- not politics.

The other 4,000, higher-level, posts are appointed and those officials serve at the governor's pleasure.

Starting this spring, some spurned job candidates for merit positions, mostly in the Transportation Cabinet's highway department, began complaining that they were turned away because of politics.

Some former employees also claimed that they were fired or reassigned by the Fletcher administration solely because they were Democrats or supported Fletcher's opponent in the 2003 election.

At least 13 people who say they were wronged have taken up their case with the Kentucky Personnel Board, which oversees the state hiring and firing rules. The seven members can overturn personnel decisions.

Were laws broken?

While those cases wind through the system, the attorney general's office has continued to look into whether officials' hiring practices broke the law.

So far, nine former or current officials have been charged with misdemeanors, such as conspiracy and political discrimination. Dan Druen, the former administrative services commissioner in the Transportation Cabinet, also faces 22 felony counts of tampering with a witness and with evidence.

All have pleaded not guilty. The first court hearing is set for Sept. 14.

The administration's handling of job recommendations has become a central focus of the probe.

Many Republicans funnelled applications and job requests through Fletcher's statewide outreach staff, called the Local Initiatives for a New Kentucky. The names of some of the most active LINK representatives, including Grayson Smith in Eastern Kentucky and Mary Krol in Louisville, often appeared scribbled next to job candidates in transportation officials' notes and surfaced in e-mail messages about open positions.

Other recommendations went directly to the governor's unpaid advisers, such as Dave Disponett, who had an office in the Capitol and is the Kentucky Republican Party's treasurer.

In one letter, Frankfort attorney William D. Kirkland wrote that a transportation employee should be promoted because "he and his family were also very hard workers in the campaign for Governor Ernie Fletcher."

Recommendations are not illegal. But officials who make personnel decisions solely because of those political recommendations or the candidate's party affiliation would be breaking the law.

Tracking the candidates

Within the Transportation Cabinet, officials regularly tracked the status of job candidates and charted political characteristics such as party registration and history of campaign donations, documents unsealed in Franklin District Court show.

Certain internal papers, alternately called "Position Recommendation" and "Candidate Form," included that information, as well as the names of prominent people who recommended the job seekers. Some forms even noted that prominent Republicans, such as former party chairman John McCarthy, interviewed the candidates.

Prosecutors also have alleged that Transportation Cabinet officials targeted longtime merit employees for transfers or firing.

Perhaps the most notorious document that's emerged in the investigation so far is a four-page memo dated April 18, 2005, that some in the administration dubbed a "hit list." It included 10 merit employees who were slated for demotion, reassignment or termination and their political ties, such as their party registration, Democratic administrations they served and prominent Democrats they supported.

Fletcher's office said that Druen, the former administrative services commissioner who has become a central figure in the probe, was an author of that memo.

Druen also had written in a notebook, which was confiscated by investigators in May, that the eight stages of hiring employees included getting "approval on political deal and name" of a job candidate through the cabinet's deputy secretary.

Officials have said much of the focus on personnel came from the 32 years worth of Democratic administrations, in which Republicans claim Republicans were locked out of jobs.

As Basil Turbyfill, who serves as the governor's personnel and efficiency director, put it, the administration needed to "get some 'R's' in" state road crews in areas where Democrats have had a stranglehold on jobs for years. "This pending vacancy in The Road Department may be a start," he said of a Lincoln County crew position in a handwritten note dated May 4, 2004.

Moving up the ranks

Steadily, prosecutors have been moving up the ranks of state government, culminating in the subpoena of Fletcher to testify.

In a court motion filed earlier this month, Assistant Attorney General Scott Crawford-Sutherland said that the use of local outreach staff members to recruit and vet job candidates revealed a "corrupt political machine."

That document also explains the role of what was known as the "governor's personnel initiative," which was run by Turbyfill and Deputy Personnel Secretary Bob Wilson.

The initiative included at least one representative from each of the nine cabinets, who discussed overall hiring strategies as well as specific open positions, documents have shown.

Turbyfill, according to Crawford-Sutherland's document, said the administration "wanted to see 'good Republicans' and 'our people' get jobs to take the heat off of Governor Fletcher."

It remains unclear how much Fletcher knew about the inner workings of the personnel initiative, but other e-mails and documents have revealed that Turbyfill's office in the Capitol was regularly updated on personnel moves by Transportation Cabinet officials.

Fletcher's office, meanwhile, has maintained that the personnel initiative was a training mechanism.

Overall, Fletcher has repeatedly said that although mistakes might have been made within the administration, he never knew of or saw evidence of illegal activities.

Still, a summer's worth of subpoenas and indictments already has taken a toll on Fletcher, observers have said.

"It is really freezing a governor's administration," said Larry Sabato, a national political expert from the University of Virginia, in a recent interview. "It's very damaging. These scandals always are."


This scandal has attracted national attention and threatens to bring down the first Republican governor in 30 years. The problem now is that the wheels of justice are turning and it will be difficult to stop it. The problem now is Kentucky is in a now win situation. If convictions are handed out and people go to jail, then Stumbo's efforts would certainly be worthwhile. If not, then his efforts would've been in vain. So Kentucky has it's second gubernatorial scandal in as many governors. I suspect the charge of a corrupt political machine was right but I also think it was no more corrupt than the Patton machine. In any event, in the state loses no matter the outcome. There will be no true vindication, just loss and we as Kentuckians will be left to pick up the pieces. Ernie, people expected better from you and your administration. When you say you're going to clean up the mess and stop the waste, fraud and abuse, people expected that, not just more of the same. You've let down your constituents and all those how put enough faith in you to vote for you. Fletcher needs to resign as does the rest of his adminstration and we need to have special elections.

posted by Stithmeister @ 9:14 PM

How to keep your child from being a homosexual

From those great folks at Focus on the Family, we find another brilliant lesson for life. Dr. James Dobson and his followers have secondary sight called "Focus On Your Child". They address the concerns and early warning signs for prehomosexual behavior in your children. Here is an excerpt from that sight:

Helping Boys Become Men, and Girls Become Women

Is My Child Becoming Homosexual?
Before puberty, children aren’t normally heterosexual or homosexual. They’re definitely gender conscious. But young children are not sexual beings yet — unless something sexual in nature has interrupted their developmental phases.

Still, it’s not uncommon for children to experience gender confusion during the elementary school years. Dr. Joseph Nicolosi reports, “In one study of 60 effeminate boys ages 4 to 11, 98 percent of them engaged in cross-dressing, and 83 percent said they wished they had been born a girl.”

Evidences of gender confusion or doubt in boys ages 5 to 11 may include:

1. A strong feeling that they are “different” from other boys.

2. A tendency to cry easily, be less athletic, and dislike the roughhousing that other boys enjoy.

3. A persistent preference to play female roles in make-believe play.

4. A strong preference to spend time in the company of girls and participate in their games and other pastimes.

5. A susceptibility to be bullied by other boys, who may tease them unmercifully and call them “queer,” “fag” and “gay.”

6. A tendency to walk, talk, dress and even “think” effeminately.

7. A repeatedly stated desire to be — or insistence that he is — a girl.

If your child is experiencing several signs of gender confusion, professional help is available. It’s best to seek that help before your child reaches puberty.

“By the time the adolescent hormones kick in during early adolescence, a full-blown gender identity crisis threatens to overwhelm the teenager,” warns psychologist Dr. James Dobson. To compound the problem, many of these teens experience “great waves of guilt accompanied by secret fears of divine retribution.”

If your child has already reached puberty, change is difficult, but it’s not too late.


OK. This is absolutely maddening. I'm not absolutely convinced homesexuality is entirely conscious choice anyway but it's just one more opportunity for the evangelicals to try and control and brainwash our children and the masses. It's inane. I firmly believe in freedom of speech but sometimes I just wish people would shut up.

posted by Stithmeister @ 1:26 PM

Leaving Iraq Via Tehran Highway? Sunday, August 21, 2005

The current administration declared its Axis of Evil early in the administration. These were rogue nation states that didn't play by the rules so to speak. The administration saw these governments as wild cards they couldn't keep a thumb on. Iraq is being dealt with... sort of. Who knows what the end will be and when it does come will we win? After Iraq's over, will we head to Tehran? Hooman Majd posted this editorial at Arianna Huffington's Huffington Post.

Hooman Majd: The Iraq Consequence

While America’s attention is focused on the war in Iraq; the administration and its supporters on ‘winning’ it, the Democrats and anti-war organizations on bringing the troops home, it would be good to remember the single biggest consequence of a misguided, badly mismanaged and unnecessary war: America’s impotence in the face of a newly supremely confident, influential, and soon to be nuclear-powered (if not armed) Iran.

Who would have thought that one day an influential U.S. Senator, Republican no less, would admit that his country is incapable of fighting a new war against an avowed enemy? The world’s only superpower, the world’s richest nation, with every technology and military toy available to it, incapable of striking a blow, let alone a fatal one? That’s exactly what Senator Chuck Hagel suggested today, in an interview with Reuters. Senator Hagel thinks that President Bush’s threat of “all options on the table” with respect to Iran is an empty one, and believes the U.S. should instead enter into a direct dialogue with the new Iranian administration of President Ahmadinejad. Appeasement? No; lack of options.

The Iranians may speak Farsi, but the security services and the staff of the Foreign Ministry understand English quite well. Not that they need to read Chuck Hagel’s assessment to think that the U.S. can’t get involved in another military operation----Iranians have been convinced of that since the insurgency in Iraq raised its head, but the Iranian stance on the nuclear negotiations in the last few weeks has been a direct consequence of that knowledge. Nobody I spoke to in Iran, from left, right or center, from working class to ruling elite, believes that the U.S. has any plans, or even military capability, to stop Iran from developing nuclear power. The only stick that the U.S. wields is an economic one, but with a U.S. embargo since the days of Jimmy Carter and oil over sixty dollars a barrel, the Iranians aren’t particularly worried. What more, ask many Iranians, can America do them economically that it already hasn’t? Iran’s ageing Boeing aircraft fleet won’t get replaced? Boo-hoo. Some time ago Iran ordered a new Airbus jet for its president that the French assured them would be exempt from the U.S. embargo; it’s been since fitted and sitting ready at an airport in France for months, undelivered because of U.S. objections (Airbus uses some U.S. components). Are the Iranians upset? Sure. Are they particularly concerned? Absolutely not. They’ll get a refund and the president of the Islamic Republic will simply continue to fly on an older, noisier, jet. The populist president of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, may actually prefer the old 707; he has so far made a point of refusing to use the presidential office in Sa’adabad palace in north Tehran, a sign of his commitment to his “man of the people” image.

The continued war in Iraq is doing more than killing Americans and Iraqis, it’s doing more than providing terrorists a choice theater of operations. It’s robbing the United States of any legitimacy, or any power, in its foreign policy. If the U.S. wakes up one day to a nuclear-armed Iran, one should remember that President Bush’s decision to go to war with a different country (and his refusal to end it) will have been largely responsible.


Senator Chuck Hagel's words are pretty harsh but to the point. He even mentioned the V> word that brings nightmares to many baby boomers throughout the country. Hagel has a good idea of what's good and what's not good for the country. It's ashame the president doesn't.

The other point, and my cynical friends would be pleased with me is that one must know Hagel is starting his talk for a run at the White House. Bill Frist is too but Hagel is distancing himself further from the president as a moderate, not nearly so beholdin' to Bush's base.

posted by Stithmeister @ 9:34 PM

NYT Cindy Sheehan Editorial

There's a great editorial in the NYT about Bush's inability to deal with Cindy Sheehan and what she represents and that is the needless deaths in Iraq of American soldiers. They point out that Ms. Sheehan's son was likely killed by Moktada al-Sadr and his followers. I've excerpeted the last two paragraphs.

Mr. Bush's stand-up shtick for the Beltway press corps wasn't some aberration; it was part of the White House's political plan for keeping the home front cool. America was to yuk it up, party on and spend its tax cuts heedlessly while the sacrifice of an inadequately manned all-volunteer army in Iraq was kept out of most Americans' sight and minds. This is why the Pentagon issued a directive at the start of Operation Iraqi Freedom forbidding news coverage of "deceased military personnel returning to or departing from" air bases. It's why Mr. Bush, unlike Ronald Reagan and Jimmy Carter, has not attended funeral services for the military dead. It's why January's presidential inauguration, though nominally dedicated to the troops, was a gilded $40 million jamboree at which the word Iraq was banished from the Inaugural Address.

THIS summer in Crawford, the White House went to this playbook once too often. When Mr. Bush's motorcade left a grieving mother in the dust to speed on to a fund-raiser, that was one fat-cat party too far. The strategy of fighting a war without shared national sacrifice has at last backfired, just as the strategy of Swift Boating the war's critics has reached its Waterloo before Patrick Fitzgerald's grand jury in Washington. The 24/7 cable and Web attack dogs can keep on sliming Cindy Sheehan. The president can keep trying to ration the photos of flag-draped caskets. But this White House no longer has any more control over the insurgency at home than it does over the one in Iraq.


We picked this fight with Iraq and now we're paying for it. When we went into Kuwait and kicked the Iraqi army out, our goal was clear. I said before this thing started that it's entirely something different to invade a country with the purpose of taking it over. There are a lot of people there who resent our presence. We've killed thousands of Americans and tens of thousands of Iraqis. Why? WMDs? Nope. Democracy for Iraqis? Doubtful, there are dozens of countries out there with equally repressive governments? Oil? Doubtful because we don't import that much oil from the Middle East anyway. So why? To try and build the future of America by dominating the the earth for the next century. That's why. Pure and simple. Is it worth Casey Sheehan's life. His mom certainly doesn't think so. What do you think?

posted by Stithmeister @ 5:16 PM

Ernie and his 12 disciples

There's an excellent feature in the Herald-Leader this morning. Ryan Alessi has been putting some things together and come up with some good food for thought. Once again though, all things point towards Fletcher being the very thing he sought to get rid of.

The 12 'Disciples' and their mission

Fletcher aides used group to 'streamline' hiring

By Ryan Alessi


FRANKFORT - The governor's office handpicked a dozen personnel representatives from across state government to hasten the hiring of Republican supporters and then monitored the activities of those so-called "Disciples," documents show.

Several top aides to Gov. Ernie Fletcher, including former chief of staff Daniel Groves, began setting up what was known as the "governor's personnel initiative" late last fall.

Officially, it was billed as a way to "streamline" the hiring process. But it also established a direct link between the governor's office and key appointees who handled personnel decisions for the nine cabinets during the first five months of this year.

At least two dozen hiring decisions and other personnel moves in that span -- mostly in the Transportation Cabinet -- have come under question by investigators looking into allegations of an "illegal patronage" scheme. Some employees were slated for transfers or firings based on political affiliations and recommendations. Others said they were passed over for jobs solely because of politics.

Fletcher's administration has denied any suggestion of criminal wrongdoing and has maintained that the personnel initiative was a series of training seminars.

But in one e-mail message obtained by the Herald-Leader, a key Transportation Cabinet representative in the initiative told the other participants that he was looking forward to doing the governor's bidding.

"As 'change agents' and 'missionaries' of the Governor, our task will not always be embraced by those around us," wrote Tim Hazlette, then deputy administrative services commissioner of transportation, in a Jan. 25 e-mail.

"But with the leadership of Mr. Turbyfill and support of Mr. Wilson, we can accomplish our mission."

Hazlette was referring to Basil Turbyfill, the head of the governor's office of personnel and efficiency, and Robert H. Wilson, deputy personnel cabinet secretary. All three have been indicted on one misdemeanor count each of conspiracy related to the ongoing hiring investigation.

Turbyfill, who reports directly to the governor and chief of staff, and Wilson coordinated the initiative meetings. By March the sessions were a weekly Wednesday afternoon routine at Berry Hill Mansion near the Capitol and later at the Old Governor's Mansion in downtown Frankfort.

While Hazlette doesn't spell out the initiative's mission in that message, other documents and e-mails show that the participants spent much of their time discussing how to strategically alter the state personnel process, as well as how to fill individual open positions in each of the cabinets.

'Initiative' called 'corrupt'

So far, the investigation into the Fletcher administration's hiring procedures has concentrated on the Transportation Cabinet, the agency that has employed six of the nine former or current officials who have been indicted.

But prosecutors recently described the "governor's personnel initiative" as an engine of a "corrupt political machine."

Fletcher called that characterization "ludicrous" and a "diatribe" by an overzealous prosecutor.

But the governor's office declined to answer questions about the initiative last week.

"Because this is related to the grand jury proceedings, it's best that we don't comment on it at this time," said Jodi Whitaker, spokeswoman for Fletcher.

Participants have been reluctant to talk about the initiative, which was sometimes called the personnel "roundtable."

Several former members didn't return phone calls last week.

Others, such as Tom Hoehner, the representative from the Economic Development Cabinet, said that they were "not at liberty to talk about it."

Much of the information about the initiative has trickled out through documents and e-mail messages filed in court or released by the state in response to open records requests.

An undated handwritten memo in a notebook confiscated from former Transportation Cabinet official Dan Druen listed main agenda items for one of the roundtable meetings.

"Cover positions for merit & non-merit for following week/projected," the note said, specifically listing an open director-level position in the Education Cabinet.

It also listed a suggestion "to eliminate internal registers," which give an inside track for a position to current employees who are looking to move up. The administration has said it is still considering such a proposal.

"Let's put together a joint memo" on that plan, Druen's notes conclude.

Druen declined to comment last week.

'Effective and accountable'

While the discussions wouldn't be considered improper on their face, prosecutors have argued that the work of personnel initiative participants was a key step in a systematic effort to hire rank-and-file "merit" employees based on politics, not qualifications as the law requires.

"These individuals would be the 'eyes and ears of the Cabinet' so that the cabinet secretaries could be freed up to do cabinet business and not have to deal with personnel," according to a court motion filed by lead prosecutor, Assistant Attorney General Scott Crawford-Sutherland. He quoted from sealed grand jury testimony, including that of Pam Ritter, who recently resigned as deputy director of the governor's local outreach office, called LINK.

A Jan. 20 message that LINK executive assistant Jessica Ditto sent to all the local outreach staff members across the state described the purpose of the initiative as a way "to streamline the process and ensure that it is effective and accountable."

Ditto and the LINK staff members attended the first Jan. 6 personnel initiative training seminar, according to that e-mail.

At that time, LINK officials had for months been given the task of vetting job candidates around the state and forwarding recommendations from local Republicans, particularly for highway department jobs.

"Please go directly to the people listed as the contact," Ditto said in the e-mail regarding personnel initiative members. "Do not take the recommendations to anyone else."

As a result, longtime merit employees in each cabinet's human resources department wouldn't control hiring decisions. Some of those personnel employees who were holdovers from Demo-cratic administrations were viewed as obstructionists when it came to hiring Republicans.

"Although most merit employees are hard working, dedicated workers, in some areas merit employees are politically motivated to undermine new non-merit management," according to summary minutes from a May 13, 2004, LINK meeting.

'Disciples' emerge

It remains unclear who conceived the idea of the personnel initiative and for what specific purpose.

The groundwork for it dates back to at least November. Druen's calender, which was part of a stack of unsealed court documents, shows he had an interview with Wilson and then-chief-of-staff Daniel Groves on Nov. 15.

Personnel initiative "training" began Jan. 6 and the dozen participants met with Turbyfill and Wilson five times in the next two weeks. At some point during the Jan. 19 meeting, someone dubbed the group "Disciples of Big Personnel," in reference to the personnel cabinet, according to an e-mail from Druen to former Deputy Transportation Secretary Dick Murgatroyd.

In one meeting, Wilson even told the group that the plan to fill merit jobs with as many Fletcher supporters as possible was a defensible goal, according to prosecutor Crawford-Sutherland's court filing.

"I don't care what they say. By God we can make the argument. I'll stand up any day of the week and make the argument in front of the personnel board that this person was the right candidate," Crawford-Sutherland quoted Wilson as saying, adding that Wilson "pounded his fists on the table" for emphasis.

Even Commerce Secretary Jim Host at one point addressed the participants about a "review of hiring practices," according to a Feb. 15 meeting agenda.

Republican frustration

Still, leaders of the group continued to hear frustration from Republicans around the state who were unhappy with the speed by which the administration was hiring loyal supporters.

"Three visitors from Monroe County came -- same story -- GOP locked out, getting face rubbed in, etc.," wrote Turbyfill in a March 3 e-mail to Druen. "They came with fire in their eyes but left with smiles of hope."

Other officials who weren't part of the exclusive roundtable said that they noticed a renewed effort this spring to fill more rank-and-file merit positions.

"There were people in our cabinet who were refocused on the personnel issues and reported as I understood to Mr. Turbyfill," said Frank Miller Jr., former general counsel of the Transportation Cabinet. "I did not know who he was, only that he worked in the Capitol."

Miller said he didn't learn much about the personnel initiative until earlier this summer, after he had left transportation. He moved to a different cabinet in May before resigning from state government last month.

He said from what he has learned about the personnel initiative, there "may have been some errors in terms of crossing their T's and dotting their I's" but couldn't say if they had broken any personnel laws.

Ties between Hazlette, Cave

In addition to Turbyfill, the initiative included another member with ties to the governor's office.

Hazlette, who sent the e-mail about the mission of the initiative, cited the governor's chief of staff, Stan Cave, at the top of his rŽsumŽ's reference list when seeking a state job in 2004.

Hazlette is a longtime state police official who retired in December 2003 when Lt. Gov. Steve Pence took over the Justice and Public Safety Cabinet. He didn't get a state job until December 16, 2004, two weeks after Cave took over as Fletcher's chief of staff.

Hazlette and Cave also attend the same church in Lexington, according to Hazlette's resume and the Southern Acres Christian Church Web site that lists Cave as a Sunday School teacher.

Soon after joining the cabinet, Hazlette became heavily involved in the personnel initiative alongside Druen. Both corresponded regularly with Turbyfill and Wilson about personnel strategies, according to e-mails obtained through open records requests.

Hazlette did not return several messages left at his office and home. Whitaker, the governor's spokeswoman, declined to comment on the ties between Haz-lette and Cave.

The e-mail Hazlette wrote to the initiative participants was heavily laced with religious overtones. At one point he added, "No one on earth faced more adversity than the Apostles -- we should not think we are any different."


Sorry this one was pretty long but it's a good article. It details the system the Republicans tried to put in to get their people in office much faster. If you're going to do that way, you need to be a little smoother. Really it's ridiculous. I also notice Hazlette's reasoning they are persecuted because they're "Good Christians". It seems there's a logic here that deserve the job regardless of what others thing because they are good and faithful servants. Yeah... as if any of the others in these jobs weren't just as religiously devout. I hate to be break the news, but being Republican and Christian doesn't make you one of the chosen people of God. That sounds almost Jewish. Try again. It's great you've found religion but don't try to use it as a basis for your job and your political aspirations. We're a REPUBLIC...not a theocracy and we shouldn't become one.

posted by Stithmeister @ 4:48 PM

Location: Harrodsburg, Kentucky, United States

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