Democrat From Kentucky

Democrat from Kentucky
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A long time coming
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Looks Like Lamont Levels Lieberman?
Oil Prices in the tank
Clinton Reams Rummy
A long time...
Chandler/Abramson in '07?
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Current Posts
Open SOTU Thread Tuesday, January 31, 2006

What did you think about the state of the union speech. I blogged it here. Tell me what you thought.

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Also, please take a moment and give me your grade of the SOTU. I appreciate it.

posted by Stithmeister @ 11:29 PM

Stephenson For House Seat

Among the people who registered to run for office today was Dana Seum Stephenson. She plans to run for a House seat being vacated.

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posted by Stithmeister @ 11:25 PM

TIm Kaine's Democratic Rebuttal - "There's a Better Way"

I had blogged the rebuttal and my computer crashed mid response for some reason. Here's my take on Kaine's rebuttal.

The speech was good. It made some great points although it wasn't terribly unpredictable. He didn't rebut Bush point for point but a good case for many different things that need fixing and he made a good foil to much of Bush's speech. All in all a good job I think.

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posted by Stithmeister @ 10:56 PM

Blogging the State of The Union Address -2006

Blogging the SOTU - Views on the MSNBC LIve Feed

Cindy Sheehan was supposed to be a special guest but was arrested and not let on the premises.

Nod to Coretta Scott King, who was found dead by her daughter late last night/early this morning.

Calls for respect, getting along in debating issues

Gives the "the United States will continued to lead" point.

Talking about all the people who live in democratic nations. Rattled off nations like Zimbabwe, Burma, Syria, Iran and other. No mention of Saudi or Pakistan or even China.

Talks about aims of terrorists and talks about "loving our freedom and fighting to keep it" - no mention of wiretaps and new rules against protesting.

"No peace in retreat, no honor in retreat" - "The United States will not retreat from the world and never surrender to evil." - we've elected him twice.

Downplays isolationism - talk about liberating deathcamps in Europe - didn't mention his granddad helped fund them.

Talks about progress in Iraq - plays up strengths of Iraqi police and military. - I really doubt it.
"Job is difficult because enemy is brital" - no mention of Abu Ghraib

"Confident in plan for victory" - whatever that is. I don't think he knows either.
"We are winning" - right...that's we still have lots of casualties every single day.

Whines about tone of members of congress's criticism. Then moves into "stay the course" for Iraq section. Essentially says we shouldn't complain about getting our troops out of there.

Had dead soldier's family there. Nice photo op - quoted soldier with words of defending our freedoms, dying for the country etc.

"Offensive against terror" - supports democratic reform throughout the middle east.
Mentions Egyptian elections, Hamas winning in Palestinian authority

Calls out Iran as repressive theocracy, supporter of terrorists, can't be allowed to gain nukes - though he can't say nuclear correctly.

Talks about plight of the third world - "Show compassion of America"

Talks about superb professionals in law enforcement. It's ashame he's cut their budgets tremendously in the last five years.

Called for reauthorization of the USA Patriot Act - I call BULLSHIT
Then he defends the wiretapping - says he has constitutional and statutory authority. Nothing new... same lines he's been giving all along. The problem is none of these leads have paid off.
He says he keeps congress informed.

Bet he doesn't talk about torture at all

Calls for rejection of isolationism - needs bipartisan support to keep the march of freedom

Domestic Agenda/ Economy

Created more than 4.6 million jobs - manufacturing jobs? Probably not... service jobs
Defended immigrants, tax cuts
Agenda that raises standards of living, new jobs
$880 billion in hands of the masses - 4 years of uninterrupted growth - this year was slowest growth in 3 years, wealthiest 1% control 60% of wealth

Called for permanent tax cuts, even more tax cuts on top of current.
Called for line item veto

Talked about retirement/aging of baby boomers
Medicaid will be 60% of federal budget
Too social security pot shot
There were a few boos
Mixed calls on "costs of entitlements"
Wants a commission on baby boom retirement impact on Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security

Secure borders, stronger immigration enforcement/ border protection and rational, humane immigration policy

Affordable healthcare - says we're meeting responsibility to provide care for poor and elderly - except Congress plans to cut all these programs. Talks about medical liability reform this year. It's ashame the malpractice insurance has nothing to do with malpractice suits.

America's Oil Addiction - zero emission coal fire plants, nuculer (how he said it) energy, solar power.

Talks about ethanol of wood chips, weeds, corn and other things.
Wants to replace 75% of oil imports by 2025. - Kentucky should work on the zero coal

"American Competitiveness Initiative" - double commitment to physical sciences. Make permanent research tax credit, Need kids to take more math and science. - then teachers cheat to get the scores higher.

Violent crime is lowest levels since 1970s - abortion the reason?

Unethical conduct section - moral lecture

congratulates Alito and Roberts - O'Connor

Called for bans on cloning, trafficking of embryos
Supports ethics reform

Called for adults to work with more children
Encourage kids to stay in school
Touts funding for Gulf Coast
Reform and reauthorize Ryan White Act.

Nice little wrap up - 51 minute speech

Lots of things Bush called to happen, won't probably happen because of divided Congress.

Overall, not much in the way of new things. His foreign policy section was same old line. He defended eavesdropping.

Update: Cindy Sheehan was arrested for wearing an anti-war tshirt in the gallery she kept covered up until she got there. She apparently was warned by police not to wear it but she did anywhere. So, in a place that is supposed to protect the freedom of speech, she's not allowed to speak her mind. It's delightful predicament.

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posted by Stithmeister @ 10:19 PM

Alito's In

It comes as no great surprise Samuel Alito was sworn in as an associate justice of SCOTUS. I really, most sincerely hope this isn't the beginning of the end of the nation we've enjoyed and love but it doesn't look hopeful does it.

Our only hope is that changes occur in Congress in the coming months, that perhaps they can muster the strength to challenge the power of the Bush administration. At this point, it seems like they don't have it. Some Democrats voted against Alito but it wasn't enough.

What this means is we need to fight harder, muster more support, gather more strength and continue the fight. The lines have been drawn, the trenches have been dug and we are the front lines.

I could rant and give pep talk but I won't be long winded (lord knows I could) but I will say this: People are measured by their actions, societies are measure by achievements, a nation is measured by the people and the society they become. Our nation is full of people who overcame the odds, who achieved something more. Our nation is not the underdog anymore. We've not been for a long time. But we still have something to prove. The Great Experiment is not over. We must prevail.

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posted by Stithmeister @ 8:49 PM

Newsletter Calls

I'm making a call for the newsletter email. I plan to get the first one out this weekend. It's going to be a who's running in Kentucky with a few other tidbits probably. It'll be relatively simple at first but hopefully, it will be good enough for people to read it again and pass it around a bit.

Interested parties can leave a comment and I can get back to them that way or email me

posted by Stithmeister @ 3:07 PM

My God How the Money Rolls in

Seemed appropriate for today:

My father makes book on the corner
My mother makes second-hand gin
My sister makes love for a dollar
My God,, how the money rolls in!

(Chorus:) Rolls in, rolls in, my God, how the money rolls in, rolls in!
Rolls in, rolls in, my God, how the money rolls in!

My mother's a bawdyhouse keeper
Every night when the evening grows dim
She hangs out a little red lantern
My God, how the money rolls in!

My grandma makes pink prophylactics
She pierces the end with a pin
My grandpa gets rich on abortions
My God, how the money rolls in!

My brother's a poor missionary
He saves gorgeous women from sin
He'll save you a blonde for five dollars
My God, how the money rolls in!

My brother's a medical student,
With instruments long, sharp, and thin.
He only knows one operation.
My God, how the money rolls in!

posted by Stithmeister @ 10:43 AM

Coretta Scott King Dies

Coretta Scott King, 78, was found dead late last night. And the world mourns.

King picked up the torch after her husband was shot down and she carried it and his legacy. Lots will be said about her in the coming days. Lots will be said about her husband as well. All I'll say is I know this country and the world is a better place for her having been here.

The Kings fought for more than just racial equality. They fought for socio-economic equality, so the poor could improve their life. Unfortunately, that part of their legacy has stalled.

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posted by Stithmeister @ 9:19 AM

Why We Fight

I heard song today I'd not listened to in a while. I love the song but it nearly brings tears to my eyes when I hear it because it is true to life. Some may groan (you know who you are) but I'm a big fan of John Mellancamp. He's a populist troubadour and he sings about the what he knows... the people. He wrote a soung several years ago on his Big Daddy album. It was called Jackie Brown

The lyrics:

Is this your life, Jackie Brown?
Poorly educated and forced to live on the
poor side of town

Is this your daughter, Jackie Brown?
This pretty little girl in worn out clothes that have
been hand-me-down

Is this your wife, Jackie Brown?
Sad blue eyes, walking on eggshells, so you
don't see her frown
Is this your family Jackie Brown?

Dream of vacationing in a mountain stream
and giving the world more than it gave you
What ugly truths freedom brings
and it hasn't been very kind to you
Is this your life, Jackie Brown?

Is this your meal, Jackie Brown?
Barely enough, I've seen people throw more
than this out

Is this your home, Jackie Brown?
This three room shack, with no running water
and the bathroom out back

Is this your grave, Jackie Brown?
This little piece of limestone that says another desperate man
took himself out
Is this your dream, Jackie Brown?

Going nowhere, and nowhere fast
We shame ourselves to watch people like this live
But who gives a damn about Jackie Brown
Just another lazy man who could take what was his

One hell of a life, Jackie Brown
Forever more, Jackie Brown
Well amen-n-amen, Jackie Brown

People like this exist in our country. I've seen them, worked with them, maybe even been one at one time. Sometimes I forgot why I try and fight and rant about all this stuff and what it really means. Then I hear something or see something and it reinvigorates me. This song is one of those things.

People in New Orleans and on the Gulf Coast still struggle. Bodies are still being found. The government at all levels continues to flounder around as the politics of the moment drowns out those who already drowned once. The president made all politicians do and they forget about them. Pictures of bodies floating and buildings burning still haunt the memories of many in America as the dirty underbelly was exposed but we've successfully rolled back over. Hopefully we won't fall back asleep.

One headline said the president's state of the union address tomorrow will be "visionary and directional" as the House gets set to vote on a bill that would cut $39 billion from the national deficit over the next 5 years. And in the process they will cut food from the mouths of babes, cut medicine away from the elderly and infirm. We'll save money because more people will be forced to do with out.

ExxonMobile announced their 2005 earnings. They made more money last year than any corporation ever made in the whole history of this country. I bet the stockholder are happy. The oil companies also get subsidies and tax breaks. They cut the federal government out of royalties. Gas prices have doubled at the pump in the last year and heating costs are higher than they've ever been oil prices went up again today.

Kraft announced they're laying off 8000 people. Our own local company Lexmark announced massive layoffs. We barely missed the Ford restructuring. General Motors had record losses in the last quarter again. The airlines continue to have problems. The top job prospects in America right now involve retail sales and customer service. That's where the future lies. Corporations continue to shaft the men and women of this country, not just the brutally poor, who don't even get counted.

But then we have those poor. The huddled massives yearning to breathe free. The problem, much of the air is difficult to breathe isn't it. Those folks who in New Orleans who didn't leave because they had no where else to go anyway? Who continue to remain jobless and homeless like unwanted refugees in a war torn nation. I could continue to rant but it's time for the people to mobilize... to take care of their own. It's not about just giving money either. It's to put your actions where you mouth is. I suppose I'm preaching to the choir but it's important.

There are lots of organizations who use your help. A soup kitchen, a homeless shelter, food bank and tons of other places. This isn't about conservative or liberal, baptist or atheist or whatever. It's about being human, helping others be human and live better. The reason to do it may not even be for them. It's for yourself.

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posted by Stithmeister @ 12:02 AM

Senate Votes Not To Extend Debate Monday, January 30, 2006

The Senate Democrats choked and many voted to end debate on Sam Alito for SCOTUS. Many knew this was mostly likely going to fail but a nod to the Senators from Mass for trying to put something together. Being from Kentucky, nothing short of an act of God would have prevented Mitch and Jim from voting for cloture.

The 3-1 vote was a little surprising. I had hoped it would be a little closer than that but alas, twas not to be.

Now comes the vote to confirm. I'd say its a safe bet although some Republicans have said they would vote against it. The problem is that some Dems have said they would vote in favor of Alito. What must be done then is this: Democrats must take control of Congress. It's absolute necessity of we want humans to survive in America.

The Republicans are wearing everyone out by not only doing all the traditional Republican stuff of giving lots of money to all the rich but also by being perhaps the most crooked bunch of Republicans maybe since U.S. Grant.

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posted by Stithmeister @ 8:31 PM

Rep. Marty Meehan Spins His Wikipedia Listing

I'm a loyal Democrat, liberal, progessive etc. But when the Dems screw up, I've got to call them out. Check out this story about U.S. RepresentativeMarty Meehan (D-MA).

When he first won the race, he won on a promise to only be there for four terms. He's running for his 8th term. He's also got $4.8 million in the bank and ready to fight. That's the largest warchest of any House member. Yep... he's bucking the status quo alright.
The interesting part of this is the Wikipedia thing. Wikipedia is an online encyclopedia with tons of topics. Meehan had one of his staffers rewrite the info on the entry for him, eliminating things like "he promised term limits" and how big his warchest is.

Meehan needs to be called out. He made a simple promise he could keep. There was no "tough choice" on it. He's just another player in the game now. Liberal or not, he should've quite when his 4 terms was up.

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posted by Stithmeister @ 5:39 PM

Ken Lucas Running For Ky. 4th

Ken Lucas announced he's running for his old seat in Kentucky's 4th Congressional district. Current incumbent Geoff Davis ran in 2004 after Lucas adhered to his campaign promise to only stick around for three terms. He came out though saying, "I'm very dissappointed that Geoff Davis has done nothing to separate himself from many of the figures involved in those scandals.

This race is going to get interesting and will be very high profile. Davis has already got $450,000 in the war chest and more is sure to flow in the conservative northern Kentucky area. Lucas however has some clout too, especially considering John Lapp, who used to work for Lucas runs the DCCC. This should be a war indeed.

I'd say this race for northern Kentucky will generate several million on each side for running and this race is sure to get ugly. This is going to be tough to Mitch McConnell and Hal Rogers who've both got their own trouble to worry about. Rogers is facing a race in his district, although not that strong considering Rogers has been in the seat for a while. McConnell however may be more interesting. As major fundraiser and organizer for the Republicans, his input will be crucial. Also consider though, he's widely expected to be the next Senate Majority Leader as Frist leaves the senate and prepare for a presidential run. McConnell will have his hands full with all that. The RCCC will have its work cut out for it.

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posted by Stithmeister @ 11:42 AM

GOP Lawmakers Wanna See Abramoff/Bush Records Sunday, January 29, 2006

An interesting story showed up on CNN's website disccusing new demands from GOP lawmakers wanting to see records of Bush's relationship with Jack Abramoff.

The adminstration has tried to scrub away any links for the past several days and it would seem they should've been more subtle in their changes. It was established Abramoff did give some large sums of money to the Bush campaigns. There's got to be more too it than just some donations. As linked together as Grover Norquist and Ralph Reed were to Abramoff, there's bound to be a lot more going on there.

Bush might get impeached for the wiretap thing but what happens when they aren't able to scrub all the Abramoff stuff away. The problem though is that regardless of what happens to Bush, Cheney will still be there. Someone really needs to figure out a way to get Cheney first or else nothing will really change.

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posted by Stithmeister @ 11:39 PM

"Palace Revolt"

There's an excellent article in the newest issue of Newsweek discussing the battle inside the administration over the expansion of executive powers and those who fought to rein it in (including John Ashcroft).

This is an incredible story over the battle for certain factions in the administration trying to keep the POTUS to actually following the law. If most people really sat down and thought about the powers the administration had assumed in this who thing, they would be afraid. We can only hope other people in the corners of the adminstration will continue to try and manuever through and actually follow the law.

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posted by Stithmeister @ 11:28 PM

Washington State Gay Rights: They're Winning Friday, January 27, 2006

It looks like the state of Washington, one of the more progressive states, has finally gotten it together and voted yes on their gay rights bill. It is interesting to see that even good ol' Republicans will do the right thing when the money threatens to walk.
Sen. Bill Finkbeiner, R-Kirkland, reversed his previous position to turn the tide this year.

"This has been a terribly difficult issue for me," said Finkbeiner as he explained his change of heart.

"What we are really talking about here is...whether or not it's OK to be gay or homosexual in this state. On whether or not it's appropriate to be discriminating against or to discriminate against someone because of that."

He said being gay or lesbian isn't a choice.

"People don't choose this. We don't choose who we love, the heart chooses who we love," Finkbeiner said.

"I don't believe that it is right ... to say that it's acceptable to discriminate against people because of that , because of who their heart chooses to love. I can not stand with that argument."

Apparently, the kids at Microsoft decided the bill was a good thing, made a few calls and the Republican changed his vote to yes. Hat tip to America Blog.

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posted by Stithmeister @ 6:49 PM

Another Note From Cynicus

Something i put up on Eschaton ( in reply to a comment today:

We all live in a communist regime,
a communist regime,
a communist regime!

Ah no, not exactly.

but have you considered that old quote about "fighting dragons, you become a dragon?"

After years of opposing the Soviet Union, in which the check on becoming them was the comparison - "we can't do that....what are we, Communists?" - the USSR fell, communism went away, and all the tendancies toward centralist power and military-industrial-governmental-media complexing had no more check.

And so now our news is Pravda, photographs annoying to the White House disappear (Bush-Abramoff, now gone where old photos of Trotsky died), instututional corruption is the norm, production success is how well you can cultivate the government, the spy services are monitoring the citizens, the Army is cracking from a long-term war in Afghanistan, the only technology in which we lead is military, the laws guarantee rights but only within the definitions of the Supreme Executive.........

(pant, pant) Sorry, i'm wearing down and not done.

but if you ever wondered why Condaleeza Rice having advanced degrees in studies of the (demised)Soviet Union was supposed to be such a point in her favor......

just sayin'


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posted by Stithmeister @ 12:31 PM

Quote of the Day

A Cynicus contribution in the morning hours:

Necessity is the plea for every infringement of human freedon. It is the argument of tyrants; it is the creed of slaves. --William Pitt

The scary thing is Pitt was quite the potent prime minister of England himself way back when.

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posted by Stithmeister @ 8:59 AM

Kerry & Kennedy Call For Filibuster Thursday, January 26, 2006

The honorable gentlemen from Massachusetts called today for a filibuster to be used against Supreme Court nominee Sam Alito. They made the call despite having sufficient numbers immediately to fight against the nomination. Some Dems, like Byrd of W.Va have said they're voting for Alito. Byrd's got one helluva fight for his senate seat. It is odd though that Byrd, at one time, was senate majority leader back in the 70s. Byrd's been in the senate for 48 years.

But anyway, this is going to be a close and the Dems might just loose this fight, quite probably they will lose this fight. The leadership will probably not filibuster as my pal Cynicus pointed out because they lack the cahoneys to do so. Keep in mind the very foundation of our government is at stake here. Our only shot will be if the Dems make significant gains in one or both houses...enough to fight some of this Republican crap.

Earlier this evening, the Repubs said they want to try and shut down debate earlier.

A number of progressive blogs have been calling for people to support the filibuster by calling their senators. I would but it would be a wasted phone call as our senators are McConnell and Bunning. The rest of you can though. You can influence Senators, particularly those Dems who are teetering right now. Call them and get them to slap this thing down.

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posted by Stithmeister @ 11:07 PM

Go LadyCats

The University of Kentucky Women's NCAA basketball team knocked off #1 ranked Tennessee in a game down to the wire. I'd like to congratulate the women's team on their first ever win over a #1 ranked team, a team that is perennially the best with the one of the greatest coaches in the history of college baskteball, men or women with 900 wins.

Way to go UK women. Maybe you'll climb into the rankings now. This makes the women 4-2 in the SEC and 15-4 overall.

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posted by Stithmeister @ 10:33 PM

Additional Commentary On Alito

Cynicus' thoughts on Alito Confirmation:

The current crop of Democratic Senators are prison bitches of the GOP.

There will be no filibuster.

Alito will be confirmed.

Alito will lead the crusade to give the office of POTUS 'unitary' (= unlimited) power.

Another Republican in 2008 as POTUS, plus continued GOP Congress control - by any means necessary.

A nice, smooth, well-transitioned slide into one man, one party rule of the US in perpetuity.

End of the Great Experiment.

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posted by Stithmeister @ 5:21 PM

Hamas Shit Hits The Fan

Whoa Boy. Those wacky Palestinians did something no one expected during their solid election yesterday. There was no real violence, no bombs or nasty fights or anything like that. What they did was elect Hamas to 76 of the 130 or so seats in the Palestinian Parliament. Doesn't that make everyone feel special.

Keep in mind Hamas is rated as a terrorist organization and does have an armed wing. Their primary goal is the destruction of the state of Israel. What shall we do. The Bush administration said, "we don't deal with terrorists." Fine... but in order to deal with Palestine, we're going to HAVE deal with Hamas, a terrorist organization. Obviously Hamas offered something to the Palestinian people they weren't getting from the existing administration.

So where do we go from here? It's a tough choice but I think the U.S. must follow Israel's lead on this. If Israel is willing to deal with Hamas or whoever, then we must accept that. The political side of the group obviously have been gaining strength and we can hope they continue to do, that they will negotiate and continue the disarming. It's mostly just a wait and see at this point though.

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posted by Stithmeister @ 2:14 PM

Geheim Staats Poletzei: Do You Want A National Police Force

Steve Gilliard at the News Blog had a couple of very interesting yet very frightening posts this week.

The first is regarding a section of the Patriot Act establishing a national police force. It would be an offshoot of the secret service and while they wouldn't operate in secret, it would certainly go a long way toward establishing that fascist dictatorship the administration would like to have put into place.

"A permanent police force, to be known as the 'United States Secret Service Uniformed Division,'" empowered to "make arrests without warrant for any offense against the United States committed in their presence" (what is "an offense against the United States?), "or for any felony cognizable under the laws of the United States if they have reasonable grounds to believe that the person to be arrested has committed or is committing such felony"

followed further down the legislation by...

The Secret Service, Uniformed Division will not operate solely in DC, but anywhere former Presidents travel, or foreign dignitaries, or even "as the President, on a case-by-case basis, may direct." #8

So there you have it. A new national police force with jurisdiction and authority where ever the president tells them to go. Then they'll be able to tell you where to go.

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posted by Stithmeister @ 9:12 AM

Time For the Newsletter

I'm putting together a Kentucky Democrat newletter. It will cover both state and national news. We'll try to keep a strong focus on what's happening in Kentucky on the state and local level, covering local races, some gossip and other goings on. I've got some contributors lined up to do some writing and plan to add more. At this point though, anyone who reads the blog and who is interested, please send me an email. The address to send to For folks who wish to contribute or who have tips, please send to the above address.

Deadlines for submissions will be Fridays at 7:00 p.m. The emails will go out on Saturdays unless otherwise stated. I'd like to have the first one out for the first weekend in February for a special "Who's running" edition.

posted by Stithmeister @ 12:45 AM

Mark Nickolas Calls Out KDP

Mark Nickolas of BluegrassReport called out the Kentucky Democratic Party, charging that the party is the same old corrupt machine it's been in the past. Blasting party chair Jerry Lundergan and advisor Dale Emmons as well as policies for the party. Check out the full release at his site for the complete comments. It's a little long but he said what I felt needed to be said.

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posted by Stithmeister @ 12:31 AM

Former Supreme Court Justice Runs For State Senate

A nod to BluegrassReport for this one.

It looks like former state supreme court justice James Keller has filed to run for the state senate, challenging Alice Forgy Kerry for her district. I've met Senator Kerr and while she is a nice woman, I think we could put a stronger player in the state senate. Keller has the legal mind to be a potent force for Democrats in the state Senate. All it would take is a few solid wins and the entire face of the state Senate changes.

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posted by Stithmeister @ 12:07 AM

Willy Nagin and the Chocolate Factory Wednesday, January 25, 2006

My liberal conspirators may hate me for this one but this was pretty funny. New Orleans was a horrible tragedy but still this is funny.

I'm Not Chocolate

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posted by Stithmeister @ 5:33 PM

A Sharon Story You Might Not See On The News

This story is really just wrong but I couldn't help but laugh. The Onion, showing they have no fear... or shame printed this one in this week's edition.

Sharon's Neurotransmitters Reach Cease-Fire Agreement

January 25, 2006 | Issue 42•04

JERUSALEM—After more than 77 years under constant fire, the neurotransmitters of Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's brain could be nearing a truce. "These endless, often senseless patterns of never-ending discharge must come to an end," a spokesman for Sharon's neurostructure told reporters. "Activity has already slowed considerably since the violent blood-clot explosion in his brain earlier this month. We expect a total cessation of cranial nerve firings within two weeks." Observers are unsure whether the cease-fire will bring peace to Sharon's war-torn cranial region, but they remain guardedly optimistic.

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posted by Stithmeister @ 5:26 PM

The Weekly Poll: Alito's Confirmation

I've put in the new weekly poll on the right hand side there. The question this week is "Will Samuel Alito be confirmed?"

Your choices are Yes, No or Filibuster.

So let's talk about it. It's more than likely that Alito will be confirmed. There are all kinds of reasons not to confirm him. Ideologically, he's got some problems. His honesty is in question after lying about the CAP thing. The big issue everyone's worried about the abortion issue because he's obviously against it and will seek to actively weaken abortion. Then there's the more important presidential powers issue and does the White House (not just Bush) have the level of powers they're claiming? This one isn't just political fight, this goes to the very heart of the document itself. When we consider we set out for a limited government, do we grant the chief executive of this nation the power he thinks he should have?

These are issues the next SCOTUS judge will have to face. Do you think Alito is capable of making the correct choice? Is there a correct choice?

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posted by Stithmeister @ 2:06 PM

Donald Defamed About Lack of Wealth

I ran across quite amusing story that really sounds pretty damned stupid on the surface of things. Donald Trump has filed suit against Warner Books and Timothy O'Brien. O'Brien published a book suggesting the Donald was only worth a measly $150-250 million. The Donald wouldn't stand for it. He's filed suit for $5 billion dollars.

Trump's lawyers quote Forbes saying he's worth upwards of $2.7 billion. It might be $7.7 billion after he's done.

What a chump. Suing someone because they said you weren't a billionaire. WAAAHHH. Trump is filing whining ...and make no bones about it, it's whining, than most people could possibly hope to see in ten life times. Tell you what "Donald," you go take all that money you're suing for and fund that $100 computer project at MIT. Then I'll have some sympathy. Go fund AIDS research to the tune of a few hundred million. If you're going to whine about them misquoting your worth, get over it. There are certainly better pissing contests. Maybe you need a new apprentice to explain real life to you.

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posted by Stithmeister @ 12:10 AM

Kentucky And Pam Anderson's Bust Removal Request Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Pam Anderson requested the Kentucky state government remove a bust of Colonel Harlan Sanders from the state capitol in Frankfort. For once, I agree with Ernie Fletcher as he said the state had no plans to remove Sanders likeness.

Anderson's bust removal request came as she and her organization, PETA, continue to hound Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) for what they consider the unethical treatment of chickens.

Gov. Ernie Fletcher wrote the "Stacked" actress to say a bust of the KFC founder will stay in the Kentucky Capitol, despite Anderson's claim that Sanders is a symbol of cruelty to chickens.

"Colonel Sanders remains a Kentucky icon," Fletcher wrote last week. "His success story has been an inspiration to many. The industry he began has employed hundreds of thousands of workers over the years. His business and his legacy have been good for Kentucky."

As much as I respect people's right to say what they want, I don't have to respect what they say. I think Pammy's PETA is poking around in the wrong chicken coop. There are other battles to fight that should be more significant. Besides... I like KFC pretty well. Fried chicken is one of my favorite foods.

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posted by Stithmeister @ 3:32 PM

Alito Makes It Out Of Committee

Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito was voted out of committe on a party line vote, 10-8. Now he heads for a vote in the full Senate and most feel the Democrats won't fight this.

There'll be a lot said over why etc. Something I've noticed about this though is once again, the Democrats like the Republicans frame the discussion and control the agenda. Roe v Wade is an incredibly devisive issue. People on both sides are quite emotional and generally anything but rational on it. Some of the other issues, like the boundaries of presidential power are more abstract. Much of this is philosophical in nature and most of America isn't. Many of them want a fair shake, want oil prices to go down etc. How is Alito's nomination helping or hurting the people?

The Democrats still can't control the agenda. They're going be candy-asses and not fight the nomination in the Senate. Kennedy will probably bellow as will a few others, they'll vote and that's it. Many feel like the CAP thing was a witch hunt. We didn't hear substantive debate on property rights issues, on workers rights, or many of the other major things to come up before the Courts. If they're going to go over his record, go over it. The Democrats had months to plan this and didn't do a great job at it. Has Harry Reid got some ball-buster lined up for the Senate? Are they going to bring out the big fillibuster? They should.

One thing I respect in folks is a little backbone. Lord knows my wife's got it. But, unfortunately, it seems like many Democrats don't....certainly not on the national level. There are a couple but most of them seem to roll over and just take whatever's tossed to them, especially in Congress. Sure they can say lots of things when the campaign, but very little is actually fought over. It's all lip service and when the voting's done, nothing's changed.The Alito vote will be no different.

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posted by Stithmeister @ 2:07 PM

Julian Carroll For Governor

A hat tip goes to Mark over at BluegrassReport Rumors are beginning to surface about Julian Carroll possibly making a run for the governorship in 2007. Carroll was governor once, taking over for Wendell Ford when left the Governor's office to become senator.

I don't know if Carroll is what we need as governor right now. We're trying to get rid of the old Frankfort and he's been there for a very long time.

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posted by Stithmeister @ 1:37 PM

A big weekend for sports Monday, January 23, 2006

Last weekend was a big weekend for sports. I did well in somethings and not in others. My belove Kentucky Wildcats beat South Carolina on a buzzer beater. They still looked ugly but a win's a win. Then, I was enraptured almost as much when I head Duke lost, Florida lost and Louisville lost. It was music to my ears. My EKU Colonels lost too, both men and women. That sucked.

But then on Sunday, my delight ended when the Carolina Panthers lost to Seattle. I've been lousy at picking football this year. I had the Colts pegged to win it all. Then I'm rooting for my Panthers and it's the Steelers and the Seahawks.

While I don't follow either team, tonight, the women's matchup of Tennessee and Duke, the 1 and 2 teams turned out to be a lopsided whipping by Duke over Tennessee. The Lady Vols are legendary with their HOF coach.

Ah well... next week looms as Kentucky has more games with one of the weakest teams in the history of the program. How long until the NFL starts again?

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posted by Stithmeister @ 11:56 PM

Oil Prices Heading Back Up... $3 A Gallon Again?

When I first started my current job as a newswriter for a tech-based website, we covered a lot of general business. One of my regular beats was the oil business. I don't write the stuff for them anymore so I can do a bit more with it here, although I've not so far.

Oil continues to skyrocket as Iranian problems continue to hang around the hostages at a Nigerian oil rig remain in captivity. The price remains over $68 a barrel and doesn't show any promise of retreating despite oil, gas and natural gas levels being up in last weeks government energy report.

Heating oil prices continue to fluctuate, running right now around $1.86-a-gallon mark and gasoline running for about $1.79-a-gallon. Natural gas prices are dropping somewhat on the unsually mild winter. The problem though is this is supposed to be the slow time fo gasoline. While the summer driving season is still five months away, these prices don't bode well for the summer.

Some argue that ANWR would help but even if ANWR were started right now, it would take years before it was ready to produce oil and then it wouldn't last long in all honesty. Based on U.S. consumption levels, it wouldn't last long at all.

They say the hurricanes created great problems and I'll grant them that... they do cause problems. But those problems weren't there they entire year. Some say the supply is stretched so thin they can't help the price. They say any little tremor in the market cause a disruption. A refinery goes down, some government gets pissy, it's one excuse after another as to why oil prices are so high. The White House is occupied by oil men, both POTUS and the VP. Men who made money in the energy business. Yet they maintain they can't do anything. I'm calling BULLSHIT on this.

You can't tell me the market wasn't manipulated. When Congress threatened hearings, the prices went down almost immediately. The oil companies were turning in record profits for any business. The federal government also gave these companies massive subsidies for growth and exploration. These companies were making more money than any company in this history of America. WHAT? They need subsidies?

The natural gas companies cheat the federal government out of nearly a billlion dollars a year in royalty fees because they were allowed to write the laws governing such behavior.

But lets look at the real damage to our economy. Our economy is built on one basic concept: consumption. We consume everything and the rest of the world exists to feed us our good and services. So we raise the price of oil, gas, heating oil, natural gas etc. Lots of things go up in price as a result. We can't consume those goods and services and that will hurt the economy.

Many people in this country commute to work. People have to drive anywhere from 30 minutes to two hours or more in some cases as part of their job. If you live in a state like mine, mass transit isn't an option unless you live inside the city limits of Louisville or Lexington and Lexington's not great because the buses don't have the frequency needed for many people. So... in the last year, fuel costs have nearly doubled on average. Over the summer, gas prices hit $3+ a gallon and with prices teetering near the $70 mark, they're crawling up again. So an expense that once cost workers maybe $100-$175 is now $225-$300 a month or more.

That's trips to restaurants, vacation times cut back, spending less on electronics and all kinds of other goods. Maybe that's fewer trips to nail salon, not so many trips to the bookstore...all these go into those categories. Not so much to spend on services. Most of those services come from the disposable income category. Not so much disposable income anymore. But wait...aren't we a service-based economy? We don't have the need for so many services anymore. Since we bought everything on credit anyway, we're spending all the money we made paying off all the credit cards we can't declare bankruptcy on. But oil prices continues to climb.

So, no one can afford to buy anything now. Everyone's home has already been refinanced 10 times in two years as rates dropped. The building boom is stopping. Lots of things start slowing up or dissappearing because no one can afford the good and services... certainly not those who are just above the poverty line. This should finish them off.

Now this isn't just a Republican problem, although they are in this quite deeply. It's everyone's problem because we don't have suitable alternatives to fossil fuels. We're at the whim of many countries we don't get along with like Venezuela or countries that are politicall unstable. It's not a pretty picture for a nation who relies so much on oil. And I've not even gotten into people freezing to death because they can't afford to heat their homes.

We've got two do two things. One is find alternative sources of energy and the other is to wrest power from those energy companies of which I'll discuss more later.

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posted by Stithmeister @ 11:32 PM

Bob Ney Smackdown Friday, January 20, 2006

It looks like Bob Ney (R-Ohio) of Ohio may be losing support at home. The Cincinatti Enquirer turned in an interesting article talking about words from the Ohio Republican Party boss.

WASHINGTON - Ohio Republican Chairman Bob Bennett said Thursday that he'd ask Rep. Bob Ney to resign from Congress if he were indicted on felony charges.

Bennett stressed that Ney, R-Heath, has not been charged with any crime and that the party backs him for re-election.

However, if the Justice Department investigation of former Washington lobbyist Jack Abramoff leads to a Ney indictment, that would change.

"If he's indicted for a felony, we would ask him to step aside until the matter is cleared up," Bennett said in a phone interview with The Enquirer.

Not good for the Ney home team. I agree completely with him but it's still not good for them. Ney did respond the statement though:

Ney, who was traveling in Ohio this week, called The Enquirer to repudiate Bennett's comments.

"No party boss tells my constituents what to do," Ney said. "They will decide this thing."

It would seem in Ohio, the animals are fighting amongst themselves. I really can see the Republicans losing some real ground in Ohio this time. The Democrats are putting up a strong challenge, particularly after the graft of Taft on top of the Ney scandal. This should continue to get interesting.

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posted by Stithmeister @ 5:37 PM

WIlson Pickett: In the Midnight Hour Thursday, January 19, 2006

The gravelly, raspiness known as Wilson Pickett took one of the great voices of soul from this world and into the next. Pickett, 64, died of a heart attack in Virginia. Pickett was known for great songs like "In the Midnight Hour," "Mustang Sally," and "Land of a Thousand Dances."

Wicked Pickett left a wonderful catalog of work that will be around for generations and he was one of those people was cool, the embodiment of the word you might say. No one ever said you were wrong for liking Wilson Pickett. We'll miss the man but his voice will live on forever.

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posted by Stithmeister @ 10:14 PM

Former EPA Chiefs Blame Bush For Global Warming Wednesday, January 18, 2006

It's nice to see Republicans bonking Bush on the head, especially when it's one of his own. Six former heads of the EPA, five of which were Republicans accused Bush and his peeps of not paying attention to global warming. One of those five was Bush's first EPA person, Christie Todd Whitman.

There were a lot of interesting things being said in their but all of it amounted to putting a stop to Bush's "fuzzy science". The sad thing is the administration is doing nothing but pandering to the oil companies. It would nice to have a president who at least can put on the image of being intelligent. Instead, Bush makes himself and everyone else look like an idiot.

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posted by Stithmeister @ 10:42 PM

Hump Day Open Topic

These are the top U.S. Headlines for the morning Check out the links for my newsfeed on the left:

Sen. Clinton Slams Bush, Congress...
CBS News Wed Jan 18 10:40:52 EST 2006

Groups Sue To Stop Bush Spy Program...
CBS News Wed Jan 18 10:39:57 EST 2006

Gerald Ford 'Doing Well' In Hospital...
CBS News Wed Jan 18 10:39:45 EST 2006

Blogs Buzz About Author Under Fire...
CBS News Wed Jan 18 10:39:05 EST 2006

Progress And Problems In New Orleans...
CBS News Wed Jan 18 10:38:53 EST 2006

Democrats Take On Ethics Reform...
CBS News Wed Jan 18 10:38:46 EST 2006

Okla. Bomb Conspirator To Be Freed...
CBS News Wed Jan 18 10:08:50 EST 2006

Stolen sports car back after 37 years...
CNN Wed Jan 18 09:19:11 EST 2006

Sports car returned ... 37 years after it was stolen...
CNN Wed Jan 18 08:41:44 EST 2006

Iraqis work to free U.S. journalist...
MSNBC Wed Jan 18 07:57:27 EST 2006

posted by Stithmeister @ 11:47 AM

Supreme Court Upholds N.H. Abortion Limits

The Supreme Court put in an unexpected unanimous vote affirming a New Hampshire law placing restrictions on abortion.

"In the case that is before us ... the lower courts need not have invalidated the law wholesale," O'Connor wrote. "Only a few applications of New Hampshire's parental notification statute would prevent a constitutional problem. So long as they are faithful to legislative intent, then, in this case, the lower courts can issue a declaratory judgment and an injunction prohibiting the statute's unconstitutional application."

This will probably be Sandra Day O'Connor's last opinion. She was often the swing vote for many abortion cases and came up with the undue burden standard used in so many abortion cases.

At this point, the case goes back to the lower courts for them to reconsider the ruling and come up with a new solution:

An appeals court must now reconsider the law, which requires that a parent be informed 48 hours before a minor child has an abortion but makes no exception for a medical emergency that threatens the youth's health.

The legislation will probably have to be rewritten at this point, or at least part of it will be. This is a victory for the pro-lifers though and it will give them more fuel for the fire. At the same time, for the entire court to voting one way on this, they obviously felt there were some real problems with the lower court ruling as it stood. The wait and see part comes now as the lower court reworks its ruling on this case.

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posted by Stithmeister @ 11:41 AM

Defense Dept. Nixes Some Personal Body Armor Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Cynicus pointed this story out earlier today. The website, Soldiers for the Truth, ran a couple of articles in their online magazine DefenseWatch.

The first article mentions problems with soldiers and their body armor. The body armor in question is called Dragon Skin from a company called Pinnacle. The writers at the site have been talking to soldiers getting ready to deploy:

Two deploying soldiers and a concerned mother reported Friday afternoon that the U.S. Army appears to be singling out soldiers who have purchased Pinnacle's Dragon Skin Body Armor for special treatment. The soldiers, who are currently staging for combat operations from a secret location, reported that their commander told them if they were wearing Pinnacle Dragon Skin and were killed their beneficiaries might not receive the death benefits from their $400,000 SGLI life insurance policies. The soldiers were ordered to leave their privately purchased body armor at home or face the possibility of both losing their life insurance benefit and facing disciplinary action.

Now... the armor in question runs about $6000. The soldiers and their families paid for the stuff themselves yet they were told they couldn't wear it. They had to leave it at home. What was one of the major problems early on in the war? It was lack of protection. Now, we look at the fact that 9 top brass in Afghanistan who're "testing" the body armor. The argument being since it's not "officially approved" body armor, then it's not to be used.

So, the soldiers and their families fork out hard earned money for body armor that's at least as good as what they're getting off the plane. What am I referring too. Well, a recent Marine internal document surfaced on this article on the site as well suggesting the standard issue Interceptor OTV body armor ain't so great.

A recent United States Marine Corps forensic study obtained by DefenseWatch slams the Interceptor OTV body armor system, claiming "as many as 42% of the Marine casualties who died from isolated torso injuries could have been prevented with improved protection in the areas surrounding the plated areas of the vest. Nearly 23% might have benefited from protection along the mid-axillary line of the lateral chest. Another 15% died from impacts through the unprotected shoulder and upper arm," the report says.

The internally produced report revealed that a random sample of 93 Marine deaths studied for the report showed that 60 percent of the fatalities suffered by the Marines who were killed in Iraq between March 2003 and June 2005 died from gunshot wounds received while wearing Interceptor OTV body armor. Another 38 percent died from wounds sustained in Improvised Explosive Device (IED) attacks while wearing Interceptor gear and roughly two percent died from unknown causes.

Let's sum up. The U.S. military isn't letting soldiers use armor they chose to purchase with their money. The U.S. military also says the current armor isn't doing the job. They're saying that improved quality armor would probably have prevented a lot of marine deaths. As Cynicus suggested, "Although the Army and Marines have authorized soldiers to purchase their own body armor, apparently it is a violation of regs to use a brand that hasn't paid their kickbacks - even when it's one that the flag-rank brass is choosing for themselves."

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posted by Stithmeister @ 8:11 PM

Cynicus's Iran Comments

Often, my pal Cynicus offers some interesting if not cynical insight on some issues. He left this as a comment but I felt it was good enough to post:

Our hope is that some of these European countries will sit Iran down and say "Look, you're about to get half Iraq for your very own. Why rock the boat? Stop this nuclear program for a year or two and we'll give you our oil contracts - and we will help you keep this goddamn American cowboy from invading you in order to crock his country's November elections."

However, the Euro countries have a very long career - 60 years now? - of saying "Yes, yes. Hear, hear!" and then waiting for the idiot U.S. to spend blood and treasury to do the job for them. So, the chances of them doing nothing are quite good.

And, as Bushco desperately, desperately needs some propping up of the wartime excuse, and never objests to any chance for some no-bid cost-plus contracts, it's a lock that unrestrained Bushco will do something military.

Will Israel participate? Hard to say. Sharon is not at the helm. The great point to the Way of the Neocon for Israel was that it was the US carrying out Israel's interests at US expense. Why stop that now? The other hand is that Iran is the loudest of the sabre-rattlers vs Israel right now.

In the end, it's this : A gambler on a streak thinks it will last forever. As long as it does last, he looks brilliant. Bushco has been on a long streak, making big bilk profit and corporate-written legislation, not being held accountable for screwups, limping along through a bad war on the cheap, not being hit again with terror incidents despite doing the cube root of squat to prevent same.

All streaks end. Right now the problem is trying to get the Big Hat - No Cattle gambler away from the table while America still has its pants.

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posted by Stithmeister @ 1:06 PM

Gore Takes Aim At NSA Spying Monday, January 16, 2006

Former Vice-President and 2000 presidential candidate Al Gore gave a speech condemning Bush's usurpation of authority regarding the wire-tapping of various American citizens without the benefit of a warrant. Gore prepared a speech that while a little lengthy, comes down and tells some important points. Something to keep in mind though, as you read the speech. Gore was VP. Chances are he knew when Clinton might have wanted to execise such powers. The question to ask is did Clinton have these same type of operations running and how much did Al Gore know?

There are reasons for concern this time around that conditions may be changing and that the cycle [of presidential overreach during wartime] may not repeat itself. For one thing, we have for decades been witnessing the slow and steady accumulation of presidential power. In a global environment of nuclear weapons and cold war tensions, Congress and the American people accepted ever enlarging spheres of presidential initiative to conduct intelligence and counter intelligence activities and to allocate our military forces on the global stage. When military force has been used as an instrument of foreign policy or in response to humanitarian demands, it has almost always been as the result of presidential initiative and leadership. As Justice Frankfurter wrote in the Steel Seizure Case, "The accretion of dangerous power does not come in a day. It does come, however slowly, from the generative force of unchecked disregard of the restrictions that fence in even the most disinterested assertion of authority."

A second reason to believe we may be experiencing something new is that we are told by the Administration that the war footing upon which he has tried to place the country is going to "last for the rest of our lives." So we are told that the conditions of national threat that have been used by other Presidents to justify arrogations of power will persist in near perpetuity.

Third, we need to be aware of the advances in eavesdropping and surveillance technologies with their capacity to sweep up and analyze enormous quantities of information and to mine it for intelligence. This adds significant vulnerability to the privacy and freedom of enormous numbers of innocent people at the same time as the potential power of those technologies. These techologies have the potential for shifting the balance of power between the apparatus of the state and the freedom of the individual in ways both subtle and profound.

Don't misunderstand me: the threat of additional terror strikes is all too real and their concerted efforts to acquire weapons of mass destruction does create a real imperative to exercise the powers of the Executive Branch with swiftness and agility. Moreover, there is in fact an inherent power that is conferred by the Constitution to the President to take unilateral action to protect the nation from a sudden and immediate threat, but it is simply not possible to precisely define in legalistic terms exactly when that power is appropriate and when it is not.

But the existence of that inherent power cannot be used to justify a gross and excessive power grab lasting for years that produces a serious imbalance in the relationship between the executive and the other two branches of government.

There is a final reason to worry that we may be experiencing something more than just another cycle of overreach and regret. This Administration has come to power in the thrall of a legal theory that aims to convince us that this excessive concentration of presidential authority is exactly what our Constitution intended.

This legal theory, which its proponents call the theory of the unitary executive but which is more accurately described as the unilateral executive, threatens to expand the president's powers until the contours of the constitution that the Framers actually gave us become obliterated beyond all recognition. Under this theory, the President's authority when acting as Commander-in-Chief or when making foreign policy cannot be reviewed by the judiciary or checked by Congress. President Bush has pushed the implications of this idea to its maximum by continually stressing his role as Commander-in-Chief, invoking it has frequently as he can, conflating it with his other roles, domestic and foreign. When added to the idea that we have entered a perpetual state of war, the implications of this theory stretch quite literally as far into the future as we can imagine.

This effort to rework America's carefully balanced constitutional design into a lopsided structure dominated by an all powerful Executive Branch with a subservient Congress and judiciary is-ironically-accompanied by an effort by the same administration to rework America's foreign policy from one that is based primarily on U.S. moral authority into one that is based on a misguided and self-defeating effort to establish dominance in the world.

The common denominator seems to be based on an instinct to intimidate and control.

This is some of the commentary. More to come later.

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posted by Stithmeister @ 11:09 PM

Thoughts On Martin Luther King Jr

Many have thoughts on Martin Luther King Jr. He was a great leader who was dead before I was born. He was a hero. Not and American hero...but just a hero. He did what he felt he had to do. He wasn't perfect by any means. But he was man who saw something was wrong. He wanted children to be able to play together regardless of what they looked like. He was a man of principal, of devotion, and he tried to live the life for God and man. And as such, he was martyred violently. To this end, we commemorate his birthday every year and that is as it should be.

What are your thoughts on Martin Luther King Jr and why hasn't anyone fulled his roll?

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posted by Stithmeister @ 11:04 PM

Security Council Has "Serious Concerns" Over Iran's Move For Nuclear Power

The five permanent members of the security council on Monday agreed that Iran should suspend it's nuclear program. Those members include China, Russia, France, the UK and the U.S. The AP story said the British Foreign Office reported on a Security Council meeting and they were all in consensus about Tehran's decision to resume uranium enrichment activities. Germany also joined in the discussion and the statement.

e Foreign Office said all five veto-wielding permanent members of the Security Council — the U.S., Britain, France, Russia and China — and Germany had shown "serious concern over Iranian moves to restart uranium enrichment activities."

They agreed on the need for Iran to "return to full suspension," according to a statement.

This is good news on some levels. At least for now, the big 5 are getting along and that is significant. How long this will last remains to be seen. China has major economic interests in Iran regarding oil development but at the same time, nuclear power will upset the balance in the middle east even more so than it already is.

The argument for Iran getting nukes is that Israel has them already. The problem is Israel hasn't stated they seek the obliteration of Islamic states like Iran. The opposite cannot be said to be true.

Iran has said they are interested in negotiating further but at the same time, if they're not willing to give up their nuclear weapons development programs, one has to wonder how far this will go.

The other issue that comes up is the currency situation. Some have suggested that Iran is trying to shift the their oil trading currency to the euro. If this were to occur, it could create significant upheaval regarding our own currency. Some have suggested this was the real reason we went into Iraq. Hussein threatened to switch currencies and that couldn't happen. This would explain why China is interested in keeping Iran away from the currency changes.

China currently spends signficant portions of their own GDP on the U.S. dollar. Our trade deficit with China is high, they peg their own yuan to our dollar and many Asian economies have followed their lead. If the value of the U.S. dollar dropped dramatically, then China would be in trouble too. It would devalue their own currency and economic capabitilies.

I've digressed a bit, but in the end, I think it's we won't invade Iran other than a possible air strike. How much will these countries will change? Probably not much. We'll have to far this goes.

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posted by Stithmeister @ 2:15 PM

Bob Ney Steps Down As Chair of Admin Committee

Bob Ney (R-OH) stepped down from his lofty perch as chair of the House administration committee at least for the moment. Ney is the congressman named in the Abramoff scandal and it looks like he's got some things to sort out. While his committee chairmanship may be returned to him, if this problem continues to grow, one must wonder whether or not Ney would even be re-elected. At this point however, Ney's not even determined whether or not he will seek re-election.

This is just the next notch in the corruption scandal. Delay's in the middle of it. Ney is in the middle of it. Who else might be in the middle of all this. We may just be tipping the iceberg on this one. Delay and Ney are decent sized fish though and the Republicans are fighting hard to get rid of this tarnish before the elections. The only thing they've got going for them is that most Americans think the Democrats are just as tarnished.

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posted by Stithmeister @ 9:25 AM

Poll Shows Delay Dropping In His District Sunday, January 15, 2006

Rice University and the University of Houston completed a poll on Thursday showing Delay's stock in his own district is dropping. The numbers show Delay trailing Democratic rival Nick Lampson. The only problem with the poll is Delay has 22%, Lampson has 30%. The margin of error is +/- 4%. The numbers are within the margin of error.

The href="" target="_blank" ran a good story on the subject. Delay's camp said they were polling good numbers and questioned the validity of it all.

These scandals must be taking their toll on Delay's constituents. Everytime more news hits, it makes them feel like they were lied too, swindled, etc. And they were. They every right to demand more honest congressman. In some ways I think though, the people of Texas still won't learn their lesson.

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posted by Stithmeister @ 1:58 AM

Heading Out of Iraq Via Tehran Highway Saturday, January 14, 2006

It looks like we might have a much bigger problem on our hands than Iraq. We might just be heading into a new world war and why you ask? Well consider the current scenario. FIrst, the U.S. has about 130,000 troops in Iraq. We're trying to organize groups of people who've hated each other for centuries. Insane perhaps but we're trying to do it anyway.

The WW3 part comes in because Iran seems rather insistant on building nuclear weapons. While they state they just want a power source, the reality of the situation is they're going to build a bomb. Now, the Europeans are getting rather rattled about it all. Russia has called them a bad child and they shouldn't be doing things like this. China's not said much of anything. They won't though because they've got a lot of oil development business in Iran, so strife there could cause them problems.

So now people are speaking on referring the problem to the Security Council. It certainly seems appropriate, given the situation. Iran's open defiance of what the west wants, namely no nuclear weapons. They've already defied the IAEA, the internation agency oversees regulation nuclear development of any kind, bet it municipal or otherwise.

So what are the qualifications of invasion per se: Well, we're pretty, we're pretty sure they've got the potential to build nukes or they're getting it. They've disregard international rules, they seem to be a... dare I say it, a rogue nation. But the U.S. can't invade and Iran has said if sanctions happen, then all inspectors will be booted. So what's next?

This is where the WW3 part comes in. Israel already has scenarios to take out various key points in Iran should they proceed. Reports are suggesting March as a possible attack date. Now... if Israel hits Iran, things, more than likely, will get ugly. Anyone who knows history knows Israel beat the hell out pretty much all the arabs in one swoop the last time they all fought. The problem is there are other factors. What if China determines they need to assist Iran to protect their own interests? What happens if fighting spills into Iraq? Would a ground war be right out? Most watchers feel like Iran will be able to start creating weapons with the next 12 mos.

As the New York Times pointed out in their article, the head of Iran said Israel should be wiped off the map. Nukes would allow them to do that. Israel has a legitimate threat on its hands. The U.S. can't bail them out on this one though. We've got most of our resources tied to Iraq. We could probably lend some other naval and air support but the point is clear.

The administration lacks any ability to the deal with the current situation in Iran because of the administration's ineptitude. Once again, the seven Ps are going to get them into trouble. We're going to end up in another conflict in Iran and we've not solve the Iraq issue.

7 Ps: Piss Poor Planning Promotes Piss Poor Performance.

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posted by Stithmeister @ 5:35 PM

Republicans Trying To Shoot Down the Murtha Marine

The juggernaut known as the Murtha Marine is currently under fire from Republicans in a full blown "depatriotization" campaign similar to what they did with Cleland in Georgia and to McCain when he ran against Bush in 2000. People should worry about this because they've been particularly effective at knocking these guys down. Murtha is a powerful congressman who's a big defender of the military. He even voted for the Iraq war initially.

The conservative online rag called FreeRepublic calls in to question Murtha's record, specifically regarding his purple hearts. Naturally the people they call on to refute them in the story are people's he's been in elections. They are trying to destroy the career of yet another veteran and soldier, a man who spent literally 38 years as a marine. I'm not surprised but ashamed of them.

Murtha questioned the administration after having talked at length to soldiers in the field and at the pentagon. He knows the stakes, he has his whole life and know he's having to face perhaps the most vicious enemy he's every faced... Republicans.

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posted by Stithmeister @ 4:48 PM

Open Topic For the Weekend

IThe University of Kentucky men's basketball team dropped it's third straight and second conference game. I'm beginning to think they'll be luck to make the NIT if they keep this up. Their record is 10 and 6 overall and the only team of consequence they beat was Louisville. Some needs teach these boys to shoot.

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posted by Stithmeister @ 4:19 PM

Governor On Newsmakers This Morning

Governor Ernie Fletcher went on Ky Newsmakers on WKYT this morning, giving the same lines he's been giving all week. Nothing new was expected and I wasn't surprised. It would be a nice surprise once in a while to hear the governor actually put out something of substance... just once.

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posted by Stithmeister @ 12:39 PM

Arnie's Gonna Kill Another One Friday, January 13, 2006

It looks like Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger will send another man to lethal injection, authorizing death in state sponsored murder. A 75-year-old man who's legally blind and requires a wheelchair will be put to death right after his birthday. He's old, feeble the punishment is cruel and unusual. Tuesday will be his last day barring action from the Supreme Court.

His lawyers are trying a new approach. They are using the issue of his age and illness as the reason not to execute him. The reason for his execution is he ordered three murders while in jail for on he committed personally. He's obviously not a nice man. He's been on death row for 23 years, going there in 1982.

The thing I don't understand is this. He's on death row for all these years. He had a heart attack last year. Why didn't they let him go then? I'm not an advocate of the death penalty. I think it's vile that society can do this to another human being. Even if the costs of all the appeals were zero, I still think it's an absolute evil and vile behavior. But regardless, He's been there an excessively long time. He's barely able to get to the place where needs to go to be executed. What's the reason at this point?

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posted by Stithmeister @ 11:53 PM

Real ID Costing Just A Big More Than Expected

The controversial Real ID system recently passed by the federal government was essentially, a federal ID system, regardless of wha they say. The system would force all the states to modify their own drivers' licensing systems, computers and all, to reach a federal standard. The bill was passed without any form of funding at all and most states were worried at the time they wouldn't be able to fund such issues.

Reports are coming in about the costs among the various states and they just can't afford. Security guru Bruce Schneier recently referred to an AP story on his blog about some of those costs:

Pennsylvania alone estimated a hit of up to $85 million. Washington state projected at least $46 million annually in the first several years.

Separately, a December report to Virginia's governor pegged the potential price tag for that state as high as $169 million, with $63 million annually in successive years. Of the initial cost, $33 million would be just to redesign computing systems.

So we look at this logically. The federal government passes a mandate on the states can't afford and the federal government won't fund. While this thing is a violation of civil liberties, I agree with not funding...ever. Thoughts?

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posted by Stithmeister @ 5:28 PM

NOLA & Nonsense

On occasion, I like to sit back and read comments from our President, George W. Bush. It helps remind me why I consider him such a putz. I have picked out several pieces that seem to highlight how Bush seems to lack understanding or at least has incredible gall.
The following sections are from a
NY Times article.

In New Orleans, Bush Speaks With Optimism but Sees Little of Ruin
By Elisabeth Bumiller
Mr. Bush spent his brief visit in a meeting with political and business leaders on the edge of the Garden District, the grand neighborhood largely untouched by the floodwaters of Hurricane Katrina, and saw little devastation. He did not go into the city's hardest-hit areas or to Jackson Square
"It may be hard for you to see, but from when I first came here to today, New Orleans is reminding me of the city I used to come to visit," the president told the local leaders

OK, I guess if Bush does not see it, it is not a problem? Simple solution.

(T)he Bush administration revised the deficit upward to more than $400 billion and blamed it largely on Hurricane Katrina

Yup, I guess the $400 billion from Katrina is what got us in trouble. The current 3 Trillion dollar estimated cost for the Iraqi war has had no effect on the deficit. Isn't this rather like me buying a $3,000 big screen TV and then saying that a $250 emergency room bill from falling off the roof putting up an antenna was the cause of my finiancial woes?

The president ignored questions about the city's new rebuilding plan, introduced Wednesday night to enormous community criticism, and White House officials traveling with Mr. Bush declined to offer opinions. The plan, which depends on nearly $17 billion more from the federal government, gives neighborhoods in low-lying parts of the city from four months to a year to attract sufficient numbers of residents or be bulldozed.

OK, anyone else see a bit of oddness? Basically, you need people to return to damage homes, with no support infrastructure or job possibilities. In many cases, they'd be squatting without reliable utilities. If they don’t return, their property will be bought under 'Imminent Domain', at no doubt a very good price for the buyer. ... and speaking of potential buyers.

From New Orleans, Mr. Bush traveled to Waveland and Bay St. Louis in Mississippi, where he viewed destruction along the Gulf Coast. He then headed for Palm Beach, Fla., for a closed-door $4 million fund-raiser for the Republican National Committee and Republican candidates at the home of Dwight Schar, a homebuilder and a co-owner of the Washington Redskins.

Think a 'Homebuilder' might be thinking of the financial possibilities of buying up neighborhoods, tearing down old homes to erect tract housing or apartments to sell or rent. Lots of folks might like to return to NOLA. When they do, if their houses having been "Imminent Domain-ed", guess they’ll be forced to buy or rent from someone.

One of my base rules of understanding any situation is "Follow the Money". The money trail here is pointing not to rebuilding NOLA for it’s long time residents, but for 'Carpet bagger' real estate investors.
I'm sure that at the fund raiser, more than a few potential Real Estate folks were giving a big thumbs up and saying "Heck of a Job, Georgie!"

posted by Greymagius @ 10:33 AM

PETA Gunning For The Colonel Thursday, January 12, 2006

Sometimes certain groups really piss me off. Now... I'm a left-wing nutjob liberal, just left of Chairman Mao in most cases but I think some groups get a burr in their saddle and really need to be slapped off their horse. The group this time is PETA, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.

An article in the Herald-Leader details a request by PETA, led by inflatable doll Pam Anderson to have a bust (there's a joke isn't there) of Colonel Harland Sanders, founder of the Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) restaurant chain. They claim suppliers for KFC, owned by Yum! Brands in Louisville, commit cruelties on the chickens. Because of this, the head of Harland should come down.

Pammy and PETA really should be quiet. It's utterly and completely ridiculous. Animals are not humans (this is going to get me in trouble) and do not have the same rights as humans and shouldn't. WE (humans) are at the TOP of the food chain here. We're overpopulated sure. We do stupid stuff sure, but we eat animals. It's part of being an omnivore. Besides, anyone ever consider the pain a corn cob goes through being boiled alive? What about an orange being plucked from it's mother tree? BAH!!

There is another PETA I might support though: People for Ethical T&A. The big question remains: Is Pammy's T&A Ethical.

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posted by Stithmeister @ 11:24 PM

A Good Buckley Column: Cleaning Mud

I do read some conservative commentary from time to time. People like Coulter, Limbaugh and O'Reilly generally just piss me off. They're loud, obnoxious and damned annoying. I do like Buckley however. Even though I generally despise his point of view, his commentaries are generally logical, brutally so, always will supported and informative. Occasionally, I even agree with what he said He posted one last week I thought quite good and I agreed with it


By William F. Buckley Jr.Fri Jan 6, 8:13 PM ET

There was creeping dismay about Congress before the Abramoff indictment. Government spending was out of hand, the president's refusal to exercise the veto began to seem almost as if he were bound by a secret oath, supplementary spending bills began to sound as though written for "Saturday Night Live." There is national disgust, but it is never quite clear whether this can be transformed into effective action for reform. There are many ideas floating about on measures that might be taken.

It was back in the early '70s that national attention was given to reforms focusing on money in the area of campaign financing. Efforts were made to reason in terms of gross dollars spent. If the spending of money by individual candidates was an invitation to corruption, why -- regulate the amounts spent!

The money-quantity approach to reducing campaign spending ran into two problems, one of them constitutional. The Supreme Court ruled that federal election expense limits could be set, inasmuch as the government had a legitimate interest in protecting an appearance of integrity in electoral proceedings. But to limit what an individual could spend in promoting himself as a candidate, or in promoting his cause, would be an incursion on First Amendment rights and, as such, unconstitutional.

During the disputes of that period, two voices sounded weightily. Milton Friedman argued mostly on the question of personal rights. If individuals wished to make contributions to political candidates reflecting intense enthusiasm for them or for their causes, what to do? Answer: Follow the first rule of a libertarian society, and let them do what they want to do.

The columnist George Will argued with devastating effect that there was no purpose in electoral reform that sought to reduce moneys spent for the simple reason that contributors will find ways to contribute, and politicians will find ways to spend. All that can be done, argued Mr. Will, is to insist that money traffic be disclosed, so that the broader constituency can decide for itself whether the courtship of a candidate or a cause has become smelly.

Many pundits bowed before the pressure of these arguments. But what has now happened in the area of government spending is on the order of a structural breakdown, a flight from responsibility that doesn't get punished because everyone apparently is guilty. The executive has not been punished for failing to exercise a veto against inordinate spending. And legislators get de facto immunity on the grounds that problems are systemic, not individual.

Consider the device by which pork is engineered. The so-called "earmark," appended to a huge bill providing, say, for the common defense, brings on arrested motion if the earmarker's request for money for the famous bridge from nowhere to nowhere is not authorized.

One practical suggestion has been made, but would of course require filibuster-proof action. Namely, that all the earmarks attached to a particular bill may not constitute more than 1 percent of the money being authorized by that bill.

A second suggestion is made by former Speaker Newt Gingrich. It is that incumbents be prohibited from fund-raising in Washington, D.C. This would greatly reduce the influence of lobbyists on congressional action.

And so on. I remember as a student in Mexico City hearing the derisory suggestion on how to limit graft in the executive. President Manuel Avila Camacho stressed his personal incorruptibility in the matter of profiteering from the sale of beef -- he pointed out that he owned no cattle. Ah. But his brother Maximino, petitioned by starving American meat buyers for 100,000 head of cattle, famously replied, "What color?" A so-called reformer in the national assembly amused his colleagues by suggesting an amendment to the Mexican constitution forbidding a president to have a brother.

Well, we cannot change human nature. Accordingly, we can assume that corruption will continue, but the graver problem is the apparent indifference to corruption. Perhaps a nation that seems to have been persuaded by its legislature that medical care can be free suffers from permanently dulled senses, and has to learn from some dire future jolt that self-government cannot hope to work without effective public concern.

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posted by Stithmeister @ 10:52 PM

Location: Harrodsburg, Kentucky, United States

I'm currently working in the telecomm industry but one of my passions is still politics.

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