Monday, March 25, 2013


First, there's Ashley Judd. A good looking gal, a fine actress, and an about to be dee-vorced Tennessean, who hasn't run for office before. Some say that's a plus, in these anti-Washington days, if she decided to run against Mitch. I think it would be a dreadful mistake, apart from some interesting legal questions of residence. If you thought Mitch's "hound dawg" ads were bad, wait til you see the sexy scenes his supporters (Mitch would never stoop that low himself!) lift from her films in a new series of campaign ads.

Political writer Al Cross says, correctly, what Mitch fears is the money Miss Judd can raise. Money is "the mother's milk of politics" and buys TV ads, mailings, billboards, and lots of etc. That gets attention. But is she qualified? Is the object of state/national Dems to defeat Mitch, even if we then add a second unqualified person to our senate delegation? How does that serve our citizens in Washington?

Then there's Alison L. Grimes.  The L stands for Lundergan, as in her dad, Jerry, ex state party chair, ex legislator, and current tight friend with the in, we can raise money well as avenge old wounds. She has yet to fill out her first term in a statewide office. How well qualified is she? And what are her views on Syria, Iraq, drones. same sex marriage, abortion, and of course, sequester?  (You too Miss Judd--what are your views on the issues)?

Finally, Crit Luallen. By all accounts she is one of the ablest women ever to serve in state government..and that's the rub. She throws out major hints she wants to use that experience and continue working in state government. We would be wise, if she decides to run to avail ourselves of that experience.

And yet, the guv's race is years off..and her long time political buddy, Jack Conway, the Attorney General, would like to head the Dem ticket for guv..and few party leaders want to see a Conway-Luallen primary. Something has to give.

Perhaps, taking a note from history, one should remind Mrs. Luallen that, while the choice is hers alone, Mitch parlayed a state legislative office into the U-S Senate...maybe she could, too.

I'm just sayin'....

Monday, March 18, 2013


Fifty years ago this week, the Supreme Court issued one of its greatest decisions, the Gideon case. After a poor man in Florida wrote, in pencil, an appeal to the high court that he was convicted when he could not afford a lawyer, that "liberal Warren court", reversing a previous case, decided all of us are entitled to a lawyer, whether we can afford one or not.
Questions still remain because many states, Kentucky included, do not adequately fund the Public Defenders office, and it need greater help, but the principle remains. Gideon's rights now belong to all of us.
35 years ago this month the Scotia mine in Letcher county exploded..not once but twice..killing 26 miners and then rescuers, too.  It was one in a long line of tragic mine blasts, but this time Congress did something. It took 2 years but the Mine Safety and Health Act passed, setting up that federal agency to deal with mine safety. In the time since then, major improvements have been made, and mine deaths have greatly declined. But, mine blasts continue..the latest needless tragedy being the Upper Big Branch mine in West Virginia. Mine safety remains a continuing problem, but the nation---and the industry--started towards solutions 35 years ago.
Ten years ago the U-S began its misguided war against Iraq. Based on dubious and faulty intelligence about WMDs (weapons of mass destruction) the U-S convinced the United Nations (and  our Congress) to pass resolutions conveying a semblance of justification for the war that began in "shock and awe." No WMDs were ever found, and now the shock and awe are the five thousand military deaths, 50,000 other casulaties..and a long range cost (including lingering health care for vets) at $4.4 Trillion..not billion, but trillion. And Iraq is hardly safer today, or an ally of the west. Are there lessons here for Afghhanistan, an even longer war?  Worth reflecting on this week of anniversaries.
I'm just sayin'...

Sunday, March 10, 2013


I rarely agree with the senator, and I do not like the filibuster as a debate tactic...but Sen. Paul's central point in his anti-drone argument was right on.
We are, supposedly, a nation of laws. But the use of drones for a decade or more has made the executive, not the judiciary,  prosecutor, judge, jury, and executioner..and that is not the American way..nor the rule of law.
Whether used by the military or the CIA, suspect lists are drawn up (on what evidence we do not know) and with executive approval drones are launched, not to capture terrorism suspects (which might be the source of valuable information) but to kill. Inevitably the innocent die, whether family members, neighbors, or just plain bystanders.
It does not make any difference to me whether those killed, without the benefit of indictment, trial (and defense) are foreigners or Americans--though the latter makes the situation even worse. The U-S has followed certain rules in finding and punishing these people for years,.but no more. Drones make it too easy, and Congress didn't seem to get upset until Americans were targeted. But that goes back at least to the last Bush administration, if not earlier. (We don't know.)
And why we would let the agency that brought us WMD, that didn't "connect the dots" in the 9/11 hijackers, or know that North Korea had long range missles and maybe nuke bombs, be responsible for summarily killing our fellow citizens means we have turned our back on all the checks and balances, all the historic laws that have made America the land of freedom and liberty.
That is what Sen. Paul pointed out in his filibuster. But as a Washington Post columnist wrote: "this is an argument with America's conscience over what actions should be permissible in the 'war' against terrorism.  Adding "We forget how much we've debased (our) ethical standards in the decade since America went to war against Al-Qaida and drones became the weapon of choice."
That is what Sen. Paul reminds us--and it is a call to our conscience:  it's time for America to have a debate on drone policy, before the problems they present overseas become problems here in the USA.
And for that we need to thank him.
I'm just sayin'...

Monday, March 4, 2013


Absolute insanity; absolute inanity..and no way to run a government as both parties thumbed their noses at us voters and left town, again, allowing the sequester law to take effect.

Let's review a bit.

That law was passed over a year ago, supported by both parties in Congress and the President. It was to buy time for further talks, but in the reporting at the time phrases were used, such as.."no one in their right mind would allow the sequester to go into effect!" Yes, truly..the cuts were so deep, so illogical no sane person would allow this to happen.

Guess what?

All those idiots in Washington did. Worse, they left town for long periods of time, when it might have been possible to head this off. They said they went home to find out what the voters thought..and from all parts of the land, to both parties, came a thundering chorus.."do not allow this law to happen!"

Guess what?

Our elected representatives did, totally ignoring the voters..totally.

The rationale seems to Republicans..."we gave the President a tax hike, which we are philosophically against, now it's his turn to cut spending."  ( True, in small part..a slight hike was passed, but far from the hike on all people making over $250K the president sought.)  By Democrats..."We have the advantage; look what happened the last time the GOP shut the government down. So let's do nothing and we'll come out on top."

Sequester you!

Do you hear the strains of a bad fiddler among the smoke and the theory of representative government is about to come crashing down? And perhaps with it, the recent gains in employment, the housing market, the economy? Not one major economist thinks sequester is a good idea.

Our new Congressman  from Central Kentucky, Republican Andy Barr, a few weeks ago expressed hope a way out would be found and sequester would not happen. Wrong. Perhaps this will be the beginning of wisdom for him. As for the rest of the Congress, both parties, you are making a wonderful argument for term limits.

Sequester you!

I'm just sayin'...