Sunday, December 31, 2006

Edwards news roundup

Former Senator and 2008 presidential candidate John Edwards has left his position as head of the Center on Poverty, Work and Opportunity at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill so that he can run a second time for president. I'm not all that surprised as running for president is a full-time job. Unlike his last run in 2004, he won't have to risk missing votes which some of his opponents probably will as a result.
Edwards, 53, called for an increase in community service and cuts in poverty, global warming and troops in Iraq. He said he made a mistake in voting for a resolution to go to war with Iraq, but noted that he didn't conduct the war.

He also said the country should provide universal health care for all and end its dependence on foreign oil. He said he would tax oil company profits and eliminate President Bush's tax cuts to pay for his priorities.

"We need to ask Americans to be willing to be patriotic about something beyond war," he said.

He said that will include a National Call to Action Day on Jan. 27 where Americans can contribute their time to help enroll children in government health care programs, fight for an increase in the minimum wage or other efforts.

In his bid for the presidential nomination, Edwards will likely battle a host of Democrat foes, possibly including U.S. Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York, Barack Obama of Illinois, John Kerry of Massachusetts and Joe Biden of Delaware, Gov. Tom Vilsack of Iowa and U.S. Rep. Dennis Kucinich of Ohio, among others.
Shortly after making it official in New Orleans, Edwards headed to Iowa.
“And I have to tell you, it’s even better to be back as candidate for president of the United States,” he said at a Thursday evening town hall meeting at the Iowa State Historical Building in Des Moines.

Touting the slogan “Tomorrow Begins Today,” Edwards, 53, a former senator from North Carolina, pledged a grass-roots campaign that begins with domestic issues, such as eliminating poverty and strengthening the middle class — hence Thursday morning’s campaign announcement in Katrina-ravaged New Orleans.

Edwards said that he is working on a true universal health care plan, not just access to health care or affordable health care. It’s part of taking care of the nation’s people and America proving itself once again as a model for the rest of the world, he said.

“We need to be patriotic for something other than just war,” he said.

Edwards also spoke about foreign policy issues, including beginning the process of removing troops from Iraq.

“There is so much we need to do, starting with America’s moral leadership in the world,” he said.

“That morality begins with Iraq, and it would be an enormous mistake to begin with the McCain doctrine,” he said of Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain’s proposal to put more troops in Iraq. “It needs to be made clear that our troops are not going to stay in Iraq, and the best way to make that clear is to actually start leaving.”

Edwards repeatedly pointed out that he voted for the occupation of Iraq in 2003, but he said he did so because of information received while he was a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee. He maintains that he has spoken out against it since.

“I’m not responsible for the condition of this war. That’s Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld,” he said referring to the president, the vice president, and the former secretary of defense.

He also focused on the dangers of global warming and America’s energy crisis and addiction to oil. Each issue had one unifying factor, he pointed out. Every American could take part in making the country better not just by supporting him, but by taking action of their own.

“I don’t want us to stand by and wait for the next election and the next president to solve these problems — although we have some hopes for that — but we want to start taking responsibility now, and doing things now,” he said.
The Washington Post has video of the Edwards announcement from New Orleans. It's not your typical announcement with all the fanfare. The video is actually very brief.
The announcement also highlighted the changing shape of political communication. Edwards had no prepared text, spoke briefly and took a few questions from reporters. But before that, he had declared his candidacy with a video posted through his campaign Web site on YouTube, with an e-mail sent overnight to supporters and with five interviews on morning television shows.[...]

He sought to strengthen his foreign policy credentials -- a notable weakness in his first campaign -- through involvement with the Council on Foreign Relations. Asked Thursday about his national security résumé, Edwards said experience is no substitute for good judgment and cited the administration's record as evidence.

"We've had one of the most experienced foreign policy teams in American history," he said, pointing to Cheney and former defense secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld. "They've been an absolute disaster by any measure."

Edwards, 53, made millions of dollars as a trial lawyer in North Carolina before entering politics in 1998. He won a Senate seat that year, defeating incumbent Republican Sen. Lauch Faircloth. He established a reputation as a quick study, a shrewd and tough questioner, and one of the party's rising stars -- prompting him to run for president after just four years in public life.

His 2004 campaign lagged for months but caught fire just before the Iowa caucuses, where he finished second to Kerry. He parlayed that success into a victory in South Carolina, and his performance in the primaries earned him a slot on the Democratic ticket.

After events in New Orleans on Thursday, Edwards flew to Iowa for a more traditional campaign rally in Des Moines, marking his 16th visit to Iowa since the end of the 2004 campaign.
Reno, Nevada was one of the campaign stops.

New Hampshire welcomed Edwards back.

Former Iowa gubernatorial candidate Ed Fallon is now in the John Edwards camp.
"He was my second choice last time and everything I've heard since the last election has only caused me to be more excited about him," Fallon says. "I love the fact that he's taking on poverty. I like the fact that he doesn't take money from PACS and federal lobbyists. I like the fact that I think he is articulating an intelligent foreign policy when it comes to Iraq and I like the fact that he is really well-organized. That means a lot in a political campaign. I can speak from experience on that."

Fallon had an Edwards button on his lapel and he was wearing a brand new "One Corps" t-shirt last night. The Edwards camp is encouraging people to join the "One Corps" and perform public service projects. That is the kind of "grassroots" organizing that Fallon says will benefit Edwards.

"He's got a very strong organization," Fallon says. "I think it's only going to get stronger." Fallon's term as a state legislator ends soon. His replacement will be sworn in on January 8th. Fallon isn't ready to say what he'll be doing next. "There's still a lot of questions as to what I'm going to be doing with my time," Fallon says. "There's several niches that I'm looking at. Certainly helping John Edwards is one of them."

Fallon, who was criticized by fellow Democrats for endorsing Green Party presidential candidate Ralph Nader in 2000, says he's "in discussions" with the Edwards campaign about what role he'll play in the candidate's Iowa effort. Despite Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack's candidacy, Fallon says Edwards is the front-runner in Iowa.
That's about it until after the new year.

2007 New Year's Resolutions

Have a safe, healthy, and happy new year. May it bring joy to each and every one even if we may disagree in some places politically.

Now for the resolutions:
1. Get good grades
2. Eat healthy
3. Graduate from college
4. Do everything I can for Democratic candidates.
5. Encroll in a graduate school program for an MPA or MPP
6. Go back to Busch Stadium for a Cards game
7. Visit another ballpark and presidential historic site
8. Make sure that #7 is for both the Mets and Yankees home games
9. Buy season tickets for UK
10. Get another link from but for something positive
11. More blog interviews.
12. Get a car so that I'm no longer dependent on rides.
13. Paid campaign job if possible.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Paying Tribute

This has become sort of a annual thing on the blog. It's that time of year to pay tribute to all those we lost in the past year:
died at the age of
Herman Landau, a former editor of the Louisville Times and Jewish community historian, died December 28 at the age of 95.
Gerald R. Ford, a former Michigan football player and congressman who became the first vice president under the 25th amendment to be appointed and president upon Nixon’s resignation, died at the age of
James Brown, an R & B singer best known as “The Godfather of Soul,” died December 25 at the age of 73.
Frank Stanton, former president of CBS, died at the age of 98.
Ahmet Ertegun, founder of Atlantic Records, died December 14 at the age of 83
Mike Evans, known for his work with The Jeffersons, died December 14 at the age of 57.
Lamar Hunt, former owner of the Kansas City Chiefs who coined “the Super Bowl,” died December 13 at the age of 74.
Peter Arizin, one of the greatest NBA players, died December 12 at the age of 78.
Peter Boyle, an actor best known for Everybody Loves Raymond, died December 12 at the age of 71.
Martin Nodell, creator of the Golden Age Green Lantern, died December 9 at the age of 91.
Jose Uribe, a former infielder with the Cardinals, died December 8 at the age of 47.
Pete Mikkelsen, a former pitcher with the Cardinals, died November 29 at the age of 67
Willie Pep, a featherweight boxing champ, died November 23 at the age of 84.
Robert Altman, best known for directing M.A.S.H, died November 20 at the age of 81.
Bo Schembechler, a former coach of the Michigan Wolverines football program, died November 17 at the age of 77.
Milton Friedman, a Nobel prize-winning free-market economist, died November 16 at the age of 94.
Jack Palance, an actor best known for City Slickers, died November 10 at the age of 87.
Ed Bradley, a veteran CBS News journalist, died November 9 at the age of 65.
Johnny Sain, a former pitcher, died November 7 at the age of 89.
Carroll Knicely, commerce secretary for three Kentucky Governors, died November 2 at the age of 77.
Red Auerbach, a former coach of the Boston Celtics, died October 28 at the age of 89.
Trevor Berbick, a heavyweight boxing champ, died October 28 at the age of 52.
Joe Niekro, a former pitcher, died October 27 at the age of 61
Jane Wyatt, an actress, died October 20 at the age of 96.
Tommy Johnson, a session musician known for his work on the Jaws theme, died October 16 at the age of71.
Cory Lidle, a baseball pitcher, died October 11 at the age of 34.
Buck O’Neil, a former Negro League baseball player and an ambassador of the game, died October 6 at the age of 94.
Peter Norman, a sprinter who was the third man in one of the most famous photo in sports, died October 3 at the age of 64.
Byron Nelson, a golfer, died September 26 at the age of 94.
Etta Baker, a blues guitarist, died September 23 at the age of 93.
Mickey Hargitay, an actor, died September 14 at the age of 80.
Patty Berg, a golfer and founder of the LPGA, died September 10 at the age of88
Erk Russell, a former football coach, died September 8 at the age of 80.
Steve Irwin, the Crocodile Hunter, died September 4 at the age of 44.
Bob Mathias, an athlete and Congressman, died September 2 at the age of 75.
Dave Bartosch, a former outfielder and scout for the Cardinals, died August 30 at the age of 89.
Vashti McCollum, plaintiff in McCollum vs. Board of Education, died August 27 at the age of 93.
Morton Holbrook, Jr., led a movement to reform the court system in Kentucky, died August 25 at the age of 91.
Anthony Malara, former president of CBS Television, died August 24 at the age of 69.
Jay Young, one of the original news anchors on CNN, died August 23 at the age of 56.
Robert Hoffman, co-founder of National Lampoon, died August 20 at the age of 59.
Joe Rosenthal, prize-winning photographer of the raising of the flag on Iwo Jima, died August 20 at the age of 94.
Mike Douglas, a talk show host and entertainer, died August 11 at the age of 81.
Susan Butcher, a dogsled racer, died August 5 at the age of 51.
Paul Eells, a sportscaster for the University of Arkansas, died July 31 at the age of 70.
Carl Brashear, the first African-American diver in the US Navy and portrayed by Cuba Gooding, Jr. in Men of Honor, died July 25 at the age of 75.
Mickey Spillane, author of the Mike Hammer stories, died July 17 at the age of 88.
Winthrop Rockefeller, Lt. Governor of Arkansas, died July 16 at the age of 57.
Red Buttons, comedian, died July 13 at the age of 87.
June Allyson, actress but best known for Depends commercial, died July 8 at the age of 88.
Syd Barrett, founding member of Pink Floyd, died July 7 at the age of 60.
Kenneth Lay, founder of Enron, died July 6 at the age of 64.
Willie Denson, a songwriter, died July 1 at the age of 69.
Randy Walker, head coach of Northwestern’s football team, died June 29 at the age of 57.
Johnny Jenkins, a blues musician, died June 26 at the age of 67.
Jack Urban, a former pitcher with the Cardinals, died June 26 at the age of 77.
Aaron Spelling, tv mogul, died June 23 at the age of 83.
Moose, best known as Eddie on Frasier, died June 22 at the age of 16.
Claydes Charles Smith, co-founder of Kool and the Gang, died June 20 at the age of 57.
Billy Johnson, a former infielder with the Cardinals, died June 20 at the age of 87.
Kenneth Thomson, billionaire and one time media magnate, died June 12 at the age of 82.
Moe Drabowsky, a former pitcher with the Cardinals, died June 10 at the age of 70.
Billy Preston, a musician who worked with the Beatles, died June 6 at the age of 59.
Erv Fischer, a historian with the Cardinals HOF and Museum, died June 6 at the age of 80.
Johnny Grande, a member of The Comets, died June 3 at the age of 76.
Eric Gregg, a former MLB umpire, died June 5 at the age of 55.
Steve Mizerak, a world champion pool player, died May 29 at the age of 61.
Arthur Widmer, a pioneer in special effects for motion pictures, died May 28 at the age of 92.
Craig Heyward, a former NFL player, died May 27 at the age of 39.
Lloyd Bentsen, a former Senator and Secretary of the Treasury, died May 23 at the age of 85.
Floyd Patterson, a heavyweight boxing champ, died May 11 at the age of 71.
Earl Woods, father of golfer Tiger Woods, died May 3, at the age of 74.
Louis Rukeyser, business journalist best known for Wall Street Week, died May 2 at the age of 73.
John Kenneth Galbraith, economist, died April 29 at the age of 97.
Steve Howe, the 1980 NL Rookie of the Year who played for the Dodgers and Yankees, died April 28 at the age of 48.
Fausto Vitello, cofounder of Thrasher, died April 22 at the age of 52.
Louise Smith, the first woman to compete in NASCAR racing, died April 15 at the age of 89.
Bill Baker, a former catcher that played two seasons for the Cardinals, died April 13 at the age of 95.
Maggie Dixon, a women’s basketball coach at Army, died April 6 at the age of 28.
Barry Bingham, Jr., former publisher of the Courier-Journal, died April 3 at the age of 72.
Royce Lint, a former pitcher who played four months with the Cardinals, died April 3 at the age of 85.
Caspar Weinberger, one time US secretary of defense, died March 28 at the age of 88.
Paul Dana, an IRL race car driver, died March 26 at the age of 30.
Buck Owens, a country music star, died March 25 at the age of 76.
G. William Miller, Carter’s secretary of the Treasury, died March 17 at the age of 81.
Oleg Cassini, designer, died March 17 at the age of 92.
Ray Meyer, a former coach of Depaul basketball, died March 17 at the age of 92.
Ann Calvello, best known Roller Derby, died March 14 at the age of 76.
Bernie "Boom Boom" Geoffrion, hockey hall of famer, died March11 at the age of 75.
John Profumo, politician best known for the Profumo scandal, died March 9 at the age of 91.
Kirby Puckett, hall of fame baseball player, died March 6 at the age of 45.
Dana Reeve, wife of the late Christophere Reeve, died March 6 at the age of 45.
Darren McGavin, actor best known for Kolchak: The Night Stalker, died February 25 at the age of 83.
Dennis Weaver, actor best known for McCloud, died February 24 at the age of 81.
Don Knotts, comic actor best known as Barney Fife on the Andy Griffith show, died February 24 at the age of 81.
Eli Segal, a businessman and aide to President Clinton, died February 20 at the age of 63.
Curt Gowdy, broadcaster, died February 20 at the age of 86.
Ernie Stautner, a former NFL player and coach, died February 16 at the age of 80.
Andreas Katsulas, actor best known as G'kar on Babylon 5, died February 13 at the age of 59.
Peter Benchley, author best known for Jaws, died February 11 at the age of 65.
Phil Brown, best known as Uncle Owen from Star Wars, died February 9 at the age of 89.
Reuven Frank, an American TV journalism pioneer and former NBC News president, died February 5 at the age of 85.
Betty Friedan, feminist, died February 4 at the age of 85.
John Vaught, a former football coach at Ole Miss, died February 3 at the age of 96.
Al Lewis, actor best known as grandpa on the Munsters, died February 3 at the age of 82.
Coretta Scott King, widow of the civil rights leader, died January 31 at the age of 78.
Chris Penn, actor best known for his role in Reservoir Dogs, died January 24 at the age of 40.
Wilson Pickett, a soul singer, died January 19 at the age of 64.
Anthony Franciosa, actor best known for his role in the series The Name of the Game, died January 19 at the age of 77.
Bob Repass, a former MLB infielder who made his debut for the Cardinals in 1939, died January 16 at the age of 88.
Shelley Winters, actress, died January 14 at the age of 85.
Jack Snow, a former NFL player, died January 9 at the age of 62.
Jim Zulevic, a comedian who trained at Second City, died January 7 at the age of 40.
Lou Rawls, singer, died January 6 at the age of 72.
Rod Dedeaux, a USC coach who led the Trojans to 11 championships in 45 years died January 5 at the age of 91
Irving Layton, poet, died January 4 at the age of 93.

Political buzz and more...

If true, this is very interesting regarding Senator Chuck Hagel. He differs with the administration with regards to Iraq.

Missouri Senior Senator Kit Bond might resign his seat to become President of the University of Missouri.

Gerald Ford played a key role during the Cold War with regards to Soviet Jewry.
His presidency lasted less than 1,000 days, but it was enough time to support an international accord that provided a significant boost to the Soviet Jewry movement and marked a pivotal moment in the history of the Cold War.[...]

Ford already had distinguished himself as a vocal supporter of Soviet Jews. In January 1975 he signed into law the Jackson-Vanik Amendment, which denied most-favored nation trading status to countries with restrictive emigration policies — an attempt to pressure the Kremlin into approving more exit visas for Soviet Jews.

“His brief presidency was very significant for the movement,” said Mark Levin, executive director of the NCSJ, which advocates for Jews across the former Soviet Union. “By signing into law the Jackson-Vanik Amendment, which was one of the pillars of the Soviet Jewry movement, as well as being president when the Helsinki Accords were implemented, which provided the international community a tool to confront the Soviets directly on their human rights abuses, particularly as they impacted the Soviet Jewish population — for that his administration will be remembered within the American Jewish community.”

As a congressman from Michigan and Republican minority leader in the U.S. House of Representatives, Ford attended a rally for Soviet Jewry in 1971 at Madison Square Garden in New York.
Young adults, including myself, are going to be key to Miller's gubernatorial bid. The number of young voters are growing daily and they are the future of Kentucky whether it's aspiring businessmen or future politicians.
Democrat Jonathan Miller has made it no secret that he's courting the 18 to 35 demographic -- a coveted group among the New York advertising firms but not typically a key constituency in a Kentucky campaign for governor.

But Miller, the state treasurer who at 39 is one of Kentucky's younger public officials, says he sees a largely untapped power of enthusiastic activism within that group of college students, graduate students and young professionals.

Roughly half of those who have attended Miller's informal gatherings with supporters -- so-called "meet-ups" -- have been the younger crowd. About 100 attended a Northern Kentucky meet-up Wednesday night, and 250 came out Thursday night in Louisville.

Yesterday afternoon at the Lexington meet-up for Miller and his running mate, Jefferson County Attorney Irv Maze, roughly half of the 90 people who showed up -- including some who missed the end of the University of Kentucky football game -- were under 40.

"I am really excited because those are the people who I really want to see more involved in politics," Miller said at his Main Street campaign headquarters. "That's what I'm hoping to see more and more of as we go along."

Miller and Maze, 56, have already focused on launching a cyber campaign to match the beginnings of a traditional grass-roots strategy in their first two weeks as a ticket.

They've set up a page on, a popular Internet group site, as well as -- both of which are regular stops for the under-35 generation. (Their chief Democratic rivals at this point, Steve Beshear and Daniel Mongiardo, have two groups on Miller and Maze also launched their campaign Web site Thursday night:

"This is just the beginning," Miller said. "I'm really hoping the Web site will do more than just help us raise money and actually help us organize people."

Richard Becker, president of the UK College Democrats, said he's supporting the ticket because Miller talks about issues young people care about: debt reduction for college students and pushing for tuition assistance.

"He's not only speaking to young people but listening to what they have to say," said Becker, 19, who noted that Miller had joined long before politicians had groups there. Miller signed up under the umbrella of being a 1989 Harvard grad.
As a side note, I believe Miller joined after Sen. Bayh created a profile.

Leaders in Washington mourned the late president in a service today.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Louisville Meetup Tonight

I attended the second Miller-Maze meetup which was the first to be held in Louisville since the ticket became official.

Jonathan Miller and Irv Maze gave brief speeches and continued to mingle with the crowd. By the way, I interviewed your next governor, Jonathan Miller, for a YouTube video which will be posted on The Hillbilly Report. I'll link to that when it goes online.

Tonight was not part of the announcement tour but more of a grassroots meet and greet. The official tour should be in January.

I'd estimate that there were a hundred people there, if not more. It would have been higher if it were not for a college basketball game going on but they had that on the big screen.

On my way out, I was able to arrange a blog interview with former Congresman Mike Ward.

Why I now support John Edwards for President

A few weekends ago, my preferred candidate of choice, Sen. Evan Bayh, dropped out of the presidential race after testing the waters for all of two weeks. With his exit, I turned my attention towards that of John Edwards, a former senator of North Carolina. Edwards has been touring the country since the 2004 election and has a much different image today than he did in 2004 when he first ran for president.

Here is a video that was posted yesterday:Sen. Edwards made his announcement from New Orleans, a city which was hit very hard by Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Edwards is looking more and more like he will be running a populist-based campaign.

As Edwards campaign theme says: TOMORROW BEGINS TODAY

The following was posted on the main front page of his campaign site:
This campaign is about each of us taking responsibility for our country's future -- and ensuring America’s greatness in the 21st century.

It is a campaign not just about what we can do in the White House -- but what we can do on the way.

We all must take responsibility and take action now to:

-Provide moral leadership in the world
-Strengthen our middle class and end poverty
-Guarantee universal health care for every American
-Lead the fight against global warming
-Get America and other countries off our addiction to oil

If we want to live in a moral and just America tomorrow, we cannot wait until the next President is elected to begin to take action.
I agree wholeheartedly and those are issues that I can get behind in the next election.

I do believe that John Edwards can be and will be elected the next president. I'll do whatever I can to help his candidacy but my current priorities are on the 2007 elections in Kentucky and graduating from college.

I've had the chance to meet the Senator in the past (No picture exists of myself with the Senator--I hope that changes sometime) and I think he will make a fine president.

News of the day...

In campaign related news, both and are now live and you can contribute online.
We believe new online technologies can include and empower more Kentuckians
throughout our campaign, and we will continue to add innovative features to our
Web site. Ultimately will be a full-service,
fully-interactive site, where residents in every corner and region of the state
can join our grassroots campaign efforts, learn about our vision for Kentucky,
and read our comprehensive policy proposals.
Kentucky wide reciever Keenan Burton has a blog for the Music City Bowl. Lamar Mills will also be keeping a blog.

If all goes to plan, Tim Kaine might actually be a candidate for re-election in 2009. Virginia is actually looking to add a second consecutive term for governors to serve. Kentucky added a second term during the 1991-1995 legislative years but Gov. Brereton Jones asked to be excluded from running for a second consecutive term if I recall correctly.
Gov. Tim Kaine and House Republicans are negotiating on a legislative package to allow Virginia governors to serve two consecutive terms.

Currently, Virginia is the only state in the nation where governors are prohibited from serving consecutive terms.

House Majority Leader Del. Morgan Griffith, R-Salem, said his caucus has been working with the governor's office to change that, in return for the governor giving up some of the office's appointment powers. Such a change would effectively beef up the appointment powers of the legislature.

"The governor has indicated through some of his folks they'd be interested in looking at trading off a few of the appointment powers for some of the boards in exchange for a two-term governor," Griffith said.

Kaine spokesman Kevin Hall confirmed that.

"Some discussions have occurred," Hall said. "It appears there might be the opportunity in this next session to have a meaningful discussion that could end Virginia's last-in-the-nation ban on consecutive terms for the governor."
It's sad how SNL is the first thing some folks think of when it comes to former presidents.
Ford, meanwhile, had long ago laughed off Lyndon Johnson’s charge that he couldn’t walk and chew gum at the same time. But when Chevy Chase pretended to be President Ford during the first year of "Saturday Night Live" (1975-76), he created an impression that the Republican commander in chief never could shake.

Chase didn’t wear a bald cap or try to copy the president’s speech patterns. He just fell down a lot, spectacularly, after news footage had depicted Ford stumbling on a couple of occasions.

Never mind that Ford had been an all-star center with the two-time national football champion University of Michigan Wolverines, collecting the team’s most valuable player award. Chase’s act, week after week, cemented the public perception of him.

"Chevy Chase captured something that many Americans felt about Gerald Ford and they still feel about Gerald Ford: well meaning, nice guy, bumbler, a little bit incompetent," Northwestern University sociology professor Gary Fine said.

Chase’s Ford routines were arguably the centerpiece of a "Saturday Night Live" that was seen as groundbreaking and dangerous when it debuted.

"It was sort of audacious because no one had done the pratfalls, the president as a stumblebum, and Chevy’s stuff was incredibly good, and he committed to those falls," said Tim Kazurinsky, a "Saturday Night Live" cast member in the 1980s. "Because `Saturday Night Live’ was new and innovative, it did signal that there’s going to be nothing sacred to this show."

"I think it did open a door that you could poke fun at presidents on national TV and get away with it," said Jeff Cohen, a progressive political consultant and author of "Cable News Confidential: My Misadventures in Corporate Media." "Johnny Carson used to do it in his monologue, but he was pretty much aiming at all politicians, and it wasn’t so sledgehammery."

Chase said Wednesday in a Reuters interview that he came to know Ford as "a very, very sweet man" and "a terrific guy." Still, Chase had intended his impersonation to draw blood.

"He had never been elected period, so I never felt that he deserved to be there to begin with," said the 63-year-old actor, who basically made the transition from writer to performer through the Ford sketches. "That was just the way I felt then as a young man and as a writer and a liberal."

The lasting power of Chase’s impersonation was apparent in how often it was cited in obituaries for the ex-president, who died Tuesday at age 93. What remains open for debate is whether the sketches actually hurt Ford politically.
Justice Donald Wintershimer's career as a judge has likely come to an end.

Miller and Maze were in NKY last night and it looks like Maze couldn't find a parking spot. That speaks measures of the support that this ticket has.
"I had to look for a parking place," Maze told a crowd of almost 100 that came to the clubhouse at Lookout Farms to meet the pair.

"I'm glad to be up here in Northern Kentucky," said Maze, the Jefferson County Attorney. He is running for lieutenant governor with Miller, the incumbent state treasurer and candidate for governor.

"Don't worry, we'll be back," Maze said.

Miller and Maze's appearance at the two-hour meet-up was the first major political foray of a Democratic gubernatorial ticket into Northern Kentucky, a place known for its GOP leanings but still home to more than 96,000 registered Democrats, according to the Kentucky Board of Elections.

It was also the first of many planned meet-ups the Miller-Maze ticket is holding across the state. It's an informal chance for party leaders, prospective campaign volunteers and curious voters to mingle with the candidates.

"Too many people in this part of the state, as well as the far east and the far west, feel left out by Frankfort," said Miller, a Lexington lawyer in his second term as state treasurer. "They feel out of touch.

"That's why I've been up here a lot, and that's why I've made this my first stop. I want the families of Northern Kentucky to know that this will be a priority."

Diane Brumback of Boone County, a political activist and Miller supporter, helped organize the event. She was pleased with what she called a diverse turnout that included young and old, men and women, activists and newcomers as well as the chairmen of all three county Democratic parties - Ken Mullikin of Campbell County, Jamie Jameson of Kenton County and Howard Tankersley of Boone County.

"I'm looking around," said Brumback, president of Kentucky Women in Action, a political activist group, "and considering all the political events I've been to in Northern Kentucky, and I don't recognize half the people.
John Edwards did pay tribute to the late president with a statement:
"President Ford was a true leader -- he made decisions based on what he believed was right, not what was politically expedient," the statement said. "He called on us to never lose faith that we can change America."

He said Americans could honor Ford's memory by "lifting ourselves above partisan politics and acting with the courage and conviction of our ideals."
I heard this on the radio but I'm placing President Ford in the category of reasonable Republican as a result of his disagreeing on going to war with Iraq.
Former president Gerald R. Ford said in an embargoed interview in July 2004 that the Iraq war was not justified. "I don't think I would have gone to war," he said a little more than a year after President Bush launched the invasion advocated and carried out by prominent veterans of Ford's own administration.

In a four-hour conversation at his house in Beaver Creek, Colo., Ford "very strongly" disagreed with the current president's justifications for invading Iraq and said he would have pushed alternatives, such as sanctions, much more vigorously. In the tape-recorded interview, Ford was critical not only of Bush but also of Vice President Cheney -- Ford's White House chief of staff -- and then-Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, who served as Ford's chief of staff and then his Pentagon chief.

"Rumsfeld and Cheney and the president made a big mistake in justifying going into the war in Iraq. They put the emphasis on weapons of mass destruction," Ford said. "And now, I've never publicly said I thought they made a mistake, but I felt very strongly it was an error in how they should justify what they were going to do."

In a conversation that veered between the current realities of a war in the Middle East and the old complexities of the war in Vietnam whose bitter end he presided over as president, Ford took issue with the notion of the United States entering a conflict in service of the idea of spreading democracy.[...]

The Ford interview -- and a subsequent lengthy conversation in 2005 -- took place for a future book project, though he said his comments could be published at any time after his death. In the sessions, Ford fondly recalled his close working relationship with key Bush advisers Cheney and Rumsfeld while expressing concern about the policies they pursued in more recent years.

"He was an excellent chief of staff. First class," Ford said. "But I think Cheney has become much more pugnacious" as vice president. He said he agreed with former secretary of state Colin L. Powell's assertion that Cheney developed a "fever" about the threat of terrorism and Iraq. "I think that's probably true."

Describing his own preferred policy toward Saddam Hussein's Iraq, Ford said he would not have gone to war, based on the publicly available information at the time, and would have worked harder to find an alternative. "I don't think, if I had been president, on the basis of the facts as I saw them publicly," he said, "I don't think I would have ordered the Iraq war. I would have maximized our effort through sanctions, through restrictions, whatever, to find another answer."

Ford had faced his own military crisis -- not a war he started like Bush, but one he had to figure out how to end. In many ways those decisions framed his short presidency -- in the difficult calculations about how to pull out of Vietnam and the challenging players who shaped policy on the war. Most challenging of all, as Ford recalled, was Henry A. Kissinger, who was both secretary of state and national security adviser and had what Ford said was "the thinnest skin of any public figure I ever knew."

"I think he was a super secretary of state," Ford said, "but Henry in his mind never made a mistake, so whatever policies there were that he implemented, in retrospect he would defend."

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

In other news...

I would expect that television news stations will be bombarding us with the news of President Gerald Ford's death as they did in 2004 when President Ronald Reagan died. The state funeral is expected sometime this weekend with burial on the grounds of his presidential library in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Ford's death came one day after it was announced that James Brown had died.

Going from one president to another, Neal Sher writes about Jimmy Carter. Sher is a former director of the Justice Department’s Office of Special Investigations. He also served as Executive Director of AIPAC.

President Ford was probably the most athletic president of all time.
Bob Hope, a golfing friend of Ford, once quipped: "It's not hard to find Jerry Ford on a golf course - you just follow the wounded."
Former Sen. John Edwards is expected to formally announce his candidacy for President while in New Orleans, Louisiana tomorrow.

Kentucky State Treasurer and gubernatorial candidate Jonathan Miller recently said that Northern Kentucky will be an important region in the 2007 election. This doesn't surprise me. It's a growing area, albeit conservative, and NKU is probably the most underfunded public university in the state.
Gubernatorial hopeful and state Treasurer Jonathan Miller said while Northern Kentucky might not be the Democratic bastion it once was, a candidate must have a good show of support in the region to win an election.

He said that's why he and his running mate, Jefferson County Attorney Irv Maze, are kicking off a grassroots tour of the state in Crestview Hills today.

"It's essential for any Democratic candidate to perform well, to not give up on the region," he said. "You want to have a good showing, even if you don't win the three counties."[...]

Miller said he is working on setting up campaign headquarters and decided to travel the state on a series of "meet ups" to get the grassroots effort going.

"Over the last couple of weeks, we've frankly been bombarded with phone calls and e-mails," he said.

While the event today isn't a fundraiser, Miller said he hopes to start lining up donors and volunteers.
Could Sen. Evan Bayh still run for president in 2008?
Vigo County Democratic Committee Chairman Joe Etling knows Bayh well and believes Bayh will run again as either a presidential candidate or a vice presidential running mate. "When he`s in town and he`s at events, you can see people genuinely like him.. he`s been in politics so long and at such a young age, he`s still young. He has a long and bright future. He`s going to do things his own way and that`s why he`s been so successful," Etling says.

Dana Carvey does Tom Brokaw mourning Gerald Ford

This is a classic sketch from the 1996-97 season of SNL featuring Dana Carvey as NBC News anchor Tom Brokaw in which he went through many different ways of pronouncing the former president's death at the age of 83.

I know this sketch is probably inappropriate at this time but I laughed hysterically the first time I saw this sketch a few years ago in reruns. Today, I watch it as a salute to the late president. Again, may he rest in peace,

Gerald Ford dead at 93

Former President Gerald Ford has died at the age of 93. May he rest in peace.
Gerald Rudolph Ford Jr., 93, who became the 38th president of the United States as a result of some of the most extraordinary events in U.S. history and sought to restore the nation's confidence in the basic institutions of government, has died. His wife, Betty, reported the death in a statement last night.

"My family joins me in sharing the difficult news that Gerald Ford, our beloved husband, father, grandfather and great grandfather has passed away at 93 years of age," Betty Ford said in a brief statement issued from her husband's office in Rancho Mirage, Calif. "His life was filled with love of God, his family and his country."

The statement did not say where Ford died or give a cause of death. Ford had battled pneumonia in January and underwent two heart treatments -- including an angioplasty -- in August at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.

"With his quiet integrity, common sense, and kind instincts, President Ford helped heal our land and restore public confidence in the Presidency," President Bush said last night in a statement. Bush was notified of Ford's death shortly before 11 p.m., the White House said.

Ford was the longest-living president, followed by Ronald Reagan, who also died at 93. Ford had been living at his desert home in Rancho Mirage, about 130 miles east of Los Angeles.

Ford was the only occupant of the White House never elected either to the presidency or the vice presidency. A former Republican congressman from Grand Rapids, Mich., he always claimed that his highest ambition was to be speaker of the House of Representatives. He had declined opportunities to run for the Senate and for governor of Michigan.

He was sworn in as president Aug. 9, 1974, when Richard M. Nixon resigned as a result of the Watergate scandal.

"My fellow Americans, our long national nightmare is over," Ford said in his inaugural address.

"I believe that truth is the glue that holds government together, not only our government, but civilization itself. That bond, though strained, is unbroken at home and abroad."

Ford had become vice president Dec. 6, 1973, two months after Spiro T. Agnew pleaded no contest to a tax evasion charge and resigned from the nation's second-highest office. The former Maryland governor was under investigation for accepting bribes and kickbacks.
ESPN has more on the former athlete.
While known predominantly for his actions as the post-Watergate president, Ford was also a highly decorated athlete. Playing center for the University of Michigan, Ford helped lead the Wolverines to the national championship in 1932 and 1933. Michigan went undefeated in both seasons.

Following his graduation from Ann Arbor in 1935, Ford received contract offers from at least two professional NFL teams. Perhaps as an indication of where Ford would eventually end up, he spurned offers from the Detroit Lions and Green Bay Packers to instead attend law school at Yale. Ford put himself through law school as an assistant varsity football coach and a freshman boxing coach.

A member of the 1935 Collegiate All-Star football team, Ford's No. 48 jersey was retired on Oct. 8, 1994 during halftime of the Wolverines' game against Michigan State. His jersey is one of only five numbers that have been retired in the history of Michigan's storied football tradition.

Ford's death marks the second loss for the Michigan football community this year. Legendary coach Bo Schembechler died last month, a day before Michigan played archrival Ohio State.
Please join me in offering of condolences to the Fords.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Tuesday Tuesday...

Another long day at work means blogging in the evenings. Should be like this for just a few more weeks.

Buzz is building towards a Michael Bloomberg presidential campaign.
• He is a two-term mayor in a tough-to-govern Democratic city who won re-election by 20 percentage points, a near record for a Republican.

• He has built a reputation as a political independent, a social moderate and fiscal conservative. This past election, he donated money to Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger of California, Democratic Sen. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut and Claire McCaskill, a Democrat who unseated a Republican incumbent for Senate in Missouri.

• He has money, money and more money. He spent more than $70 million of his own money in his first mayoral campaign, then he dropped $85 million into his re-election effort and doesn't have to worry about getting an early start to hit the political donor circuit.
Congressional veterans are already being asked to run in 2008 despite their age.

Comedy writers are not such big fans of Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip.

State Treasurer and gubernatorial candidate Jonathan Miller will be in Northern KY with running mate Irv Maze for the first meetup of the Miller-Maze ticket.
The pair will be at the Lookout Farms Community Clubhouse, off Dixie Highway, from 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday for a meet-and-greet. Miller, a Lexington native, is a two-term state treasurer. Maze, a two-term county attorney, is also a former Jefferson County commissioner. The event is open to the public.
Miller and Maze will be in Louisville the next day.

Former North Carolina Senator John Edwards is already planning his campaign tour in the early primary states.

Point and Counterpoint on Carter's book per

This is interesting. It's more in-depth here. Here's an excerpt and take it for what it's worth:
Sources close to Bayh, who explored and then opted against a bid for the White House, does not like the pace in the Senate and the hours that keep him from coming home to dinner with wife Susan and their twin sons. As governor, the same sources said, Bayh was more in control of his schedule and preferred being an executive to being a legislator.

Should Bayh run for the governorship, he would be an instant favorite over Republican incumbent Mitch Daniels, who served as head of the Office of Management and Budget under George W. Bush. In recent months, Gov. Daniels has seen his popularity diminish over his handling of state spending issues.

If Bayh wins his old job back, the same sources have already guessed whom he would name to fill the remaining two years of his Senate term: Indianapolis Mayor Bart Peterson, Bayh’s close friend and former top aide.
This is Rabbi Dennis Sasso's sermon from this past Kol Nidre.
In 1974, an important book titled The New Anti-Semitism (by Arnold Forster and Benjamin R. Epstein) addressed the resurgence of anti-Semitism in Western society.

It explained that after the Holocaust, the Western world felt embarrassed by its anti-Semitic legacy. The birth of the State of Israel, through edict of the United Nations, helped to assuage the guilty conscience of the world. But as the State of Israel prospered and defeated various Arab aggressions, and as American Jews attained greater economic security, social acceptance and political influence, Jews began to lose their “victim” status. Following the Six-Day War, the Palestinians emerged as the new victims and Israel’s image as a beleaguered state began to fade.

There always remained a hard-core radical political right that spewed its venom against the Jews (e.g., the Ku Klux Klan and the John Birch Society), but in the midsixties the radical left emerged at the opposite end of the political spectrum. Jews, who had been actively involved in the civil rights movement and other liberal causes, felt betrayed as the radical left began to take an Anti-Semitic turn.

A new generation, largely ignorant of the Holocaust, moved now by the emerging social issues of poverty, racial inequality, the Vietnam War (issues which equally engaged Jews), were unconcerned and often hostile to Israel and Jewish interests.[...]

Regrettably, many Christians have forgotten Reverend Martin Luther King’s admonition, “And what is anti-Zionism? It is the denial to the Jewish people of a fundamental right that we justly claim for the people of Africa and all other nations of the globe. It is discrimination against Jews, my friends, because they are Jews. In short, it is anti-Semitism…Let my words echo in the depths of your soul: When people criticize Zionism, they mean Jews – make no mistake about it.” King’s words are again relevant as we hear the hateful notes of a prejudice that holds Israel and the Jews to a different standard than other nations and thinks nothing of proposing the dissolution of an internationally sanctioned Jewish State.

What is there to do? I suggest a three-pronged approach:

1. To Affirm
2. To Educate
3. To Sensitize and be Sensitive

We need to affirm publicly and proudly the importance of Israel in Judaism and in our history as a people.

Shmuel Yosef Agnon, the Israeli Literature Nobel Prize Laureate, expressed the centrality of Israel in our collective consciousness when upon being asked in Stockholm where he was from, responded, “I am from Jerusalem, but because Titus destroyed the Temple (in the year 70 C.E.), I was born in Poland.”

We need to visit and support Israel financially and morally through our generosity and our engagement in the life of the synagogue and the community. (The current Federation Israel Emergency Campaign affords us an opportunity to express our support.)

We need to educate ourselves concerning issues affecting Israel and the Middle East.

We need to cultivate positive relations with governmental and community leaders, and with Christian and Muslim groups, sharing our passion and hopes for an Israel living at peace with her neighbors.

We need to explain the indissoluble bonds between Judaism and Zionism, and the inextricable links between anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism.

We need to sensitize Jews and non-Jews concerning the threats that Israel faces and the promise that Israel holds for her people and the world.

We need also to be sensitive and responsive to the anguish and unfulfilled dreams of Palestinian children and families who suffer because of this unresolved conflict and the intransigence and violence of leaders who hate Israel more than they love their own people. There should be enough justice and compassion to go around for both peoples to live and prosper as neighbors in peace.

We must be open to fair criticism of Israel’s policies even as we would be of American policies. Israelis, living in an open and democratic society, are their own government’s most outspoken critics. But we should never countenance the notion that Israel was born in sin, that its existence is negotiable. That would not only be a betrayal of our ancestral dream, but of international law.
Here's the past year in review in the commonwealth.

Surprising as it may be, this article shows Democratic state party chairman Jerry Lundergan in a positive light.
From the tasty gingerbread house at Limestone Center to the sternwheeler paddling along the wall near Caproni's On The River, someone has made sure Maysville shines with the best of them for the season.

That someone is Maysville native and entrepreneur Jerry Lundergan.

"It is just another way to make Maysville a special place to live," said Lundergan.

Memories of watching July 4 fireworks from the old drive-in in Aberdeen or his family taking an adventure to see the menagerie of animals at Duke's Farm kept Lundergan wondering what he could do to make memories for families in a similar way.[...]

With the help of a company in Pine Mountain, Ga., Lundergan has added a winter wonderland of lights and sights to the decorations already provided by the city of Maysville, businesses and its residents.

"When we see something we think would make a nice display we send a photograph to the company and they create the lights and relays for the electronics," he said. "They also have to be made so they can be disassembled for storage."

Just how much each scene costs to produce is not the something Lundergan wants to reveal.

"Let's just say, they are very expensive," he laughed. "But it's fun."

He is not finished with adorning Maysville for the holidays.

"Each year we are planning to add more and more displays," said Lundergan. " I enjoy doing it as long as people enjoy them."

Open Thread

You know the rules...

Saturday, December 23, 2006

And I'm back!

Catching up on news from the past week, I thought I'd start off with this brief mention of your next governor!
Kentucky Treasurer Jonathan Miller is also urging his state's retirement systems to sell off investments in companies tied to the Sudanese government. He recently addressed the issue with the head of Kentucky Teachers' Retirement System, saying, "While Darfur is halfway around the world, we can do something here to respect the paramount value of life, as we protect our investment return."

These leaders are not only making a powerful statement about the horrific violence and persecution in Darfur, they are also protecting the stability of their states' pension funds by ending relationships with companies that pose serious long-term investment risks. They have set an impressive example for other state treasurers to use the power of the purse to take action in the face of an international crisis.
It's an admirable trait that I like in any politician.

Sen. Obama will make his decision while being with family in Hawaii.

Nice move on the part of the ADL. I may be a Democrat but I will not hesitate to call out my fellow Democrats when I think that they are wrong, particularly on this issue. Here is the ADL's open letter to the former president.
We have read your letter to American Jews. As much as the tone of this letter is different from that of your book, "Palestine Peace Not Apartheid," or your many public interviews, the damage to the good name of Israel and the American Jewish community from your unwarranted attacks remains. As does our outrage.

No matter the distinction you articulate in your letter, using the incendiary word "Apartheid" to refer to Israel and its policies is unacceptable and shameful. Apartheid, that abhorrent and racist system in South Africa, has no bearing on Israeli policies. Not only are Israel's policies not racist, but the situation in the territories does not arise from Israeli intentions to oppress or repress Palestinians, but is a product of Palestinian rejection of Israel and the use of terror and violence against the Jewish state. Nothing illustrates the stark difference better than Israel's offer of withdrawal made at Camp David and its unilateral withdrawal from Gaza.

Your efforts in the letter to minimize the impact of your charge that American Jews control US Middle East policy are simply unconvincing. In both your book and in your many television and print interviews you have been feeding into conspiracy theories about excessive Jewish power and control. Considering the history of anti-Semitism, even in our great country, this is very dangerous stuff.

To belatedly claim that you were really talking all along about Christian support for Israel, which you disrespectfully call "bias," neither repairs the damage of your accusations nor eases our concerns. Millions of American Christians support Israel because of their deeply felt religious beliefs and because they understand that Israel is a democracy, an ally of America, and on the front line to combat terror.

We continue to be distressed about the role you have taken upon yourself with regard to Israel and American Jews. Indeed, we know that the rabbis with whom you met in Phoenix are similarly distressed.

True sensitivity to Israel and American Jews would be demonstrated by ceasing these one-sided attacks and apologizing for damaging the good name of the State of Israel and the Jewish people.
Sen. Edwards will be having a town hall in Iowa soon.

In the event that you read this prior to 11:30 PM, tonight is the classic episode of Jack Black/Neil Young from last December 2005.

Virginia Sen. John Warner is looking to run for another term. Warner vs. Warner anyone?

Back to the former president, why won't he debate his book against Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz? Dershowitz asks the same question of Carter!
You can always tell when a public figure has written an indefensible book: when he refuses to debate it in the court of public opinion. And you can always tell when he's a hypocrite to boot: when he says he wrote a book in order to stimulate a debate, and then he refuses to participate in any such debate. I'm talking about former president Jimmy Carter and his new book "Palestine Peace Not Apartheid."

Carter's book has been condemned as "moronic" (Slate), "anti-historical" (The Washington Post), "laughable" (San Francisco Chronicle), and riddled with errors and bias in reviews across the country. Many of the reviews have been written by non-Jewish as well as Jewish critics, and not by "representatives of Jewish organizations" as Carter has claimed. Carter has gone even beyond the errors of his book in interviews, in which he has said that the situation in Israel is worse than the crimes committed in Apartheid South Africa. When asked whether he believed that Israel's "persecution" of Palestinians was "[e]ven worse . . . than a place like Rwanda," Carter answered, "Yes. I think -- yes."

When Larry King referred to my review several times to challenge Carter, Carter first said I hadn't read the book and then blustered, "You know, I think it's a waste of my time and yours to quote professor Dershowitz. He's so obviously biased, Larry, and it's not worth my time to waste it on commenting on him." (He never did answer King's questions.)

The next week Carter wrote a series of op-eds bemoaning the reception his book had received. He wrote that his "most troubling experience" had been "the rejection of [his] offers to speak" at "university campuses with high Jewish enrollment." The fact is that Brandeis President Jehuda Reinharz had invited Carter to come to Brandeis to debate me, and Carter refused. The reason Carter gave was this: "There is no need to for me to debate somebody who, in my opinion, knows nothing about the situation in Palestine."

As Carter knows, I've been to Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza, many times -- certainly more times than Carter has been there -- and I've written three books dealing with the subject of Middle Eastern history, politics, and the peace process. The real reason Carter won't debate me is that I would correct his factual errors. It's not that I know too little; it's that I know too much.
Haaretz asks if the former president is an anti-Semite.

Another article dealing with Carter. This is from Mel Konner.

Sen. Bayh looks solid as a running mate.
Gov. Tom Vilsack of Iowa has announced, and this coming week former Sen. John Edwards will declare his candidacy from the symbolic location of the Ninth Ward in New Orleans, the epicenter of Katrina's destruction. Vilsack will not get a free ride in his home state caucuses. Edwards has been working that state constantly since his second place finish there in 2004 and current polling in Iowa puts him ahead with a substantial 36 percent. We are still waiting to learn whether John Kerry and Joe Biden will try again and whether Gov. Bill Richardson of New Mexico will join Dennis Kucinich at the back of the pack.

Whoever is nominated, Evan Bayh will be at the top of the list of potential vice-presidential choices, where his charisma deficit will actually be an asset. The most important reason is geography. The Midwest is the battleground in present red-state/blue-state mathematics. With his innate understanding to the issues that affect our region -- agriculture, industry, job losses, immigration and education -- Bayh would be a far stronger partner than Edwards was for Kerry in 2004. Though some will disagree, his strong election record in Indiana raises the possibility that on the ticket, he might turn his home state blue.

Also, in our post-9/11 era, a national security credential is important and with his service on both the Armed Services and Intelligence committees, Bayh brings that. For Obama, in particular, that would be helpful. Add Bayh's executive experience, a governor who balanced the budget, cut taxes and left his successor a healthy surplus.

Finally, an asset not to be overlooked is the solid, telegenic Bayh family: his wife, Susan, and twin sons. When Bill Clinton chose Al Gore in 2000, the press went nuts over their families on their post-convention bus trip to swing states. Imagine the bus trip in 2008, the Obama daughters and the Bayh sons along with two attractive, accomplished wives. America will love it.
Obama tied Edwards in the latest Iowa poll.

You don't see this everyday.
More Fletcher opposition
A name from the past came forward this week to head the Kentucky Democrats' latest gubernatorial ticket.

Steve Beshear, a Lexington attorney who served in the state legislature, as attorney general and as lieutenant governor (under Martha Layne Collins), filed his running papers this week. His running mate is Dan Mongiardo, the doctor and state legislator from Eastern Kentucky who almost upset Jim Bunning for the U.S. Senate in 2004.

They will fight for the Democratic nomination with the Miller-Maze ticket, consisting of Attorney General Jonathan Miller and Jefferson County Attorney Irv Maze. On the GOP side, so far there's incumbent Ernie Fletcher and Robbie Rudolph
That covers everything, I think.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Did you miss me?

Well, I've pretty much moved everything from my laptop now to the new laptop. It was certainly a pain and I may just get an external hard drive for the next time that I have to move a large amount of files between computers.

Senator Tom Daschle's supporters want to see him stay involved. I'm certain he will. As to whether or not it's with Sen. Obama, I don't know.
Now that the small mystery about his presidential aspirations is settled, there still is the matter of Daschle's future role in politics.

Daschle loyalists still would like to see him stay pictured in the national scene, even if it is accepting a vice presidential slot on the 2008 Democratic Party ticket.

Whether that is appealing to him is doubtful. He can enjoy a lobbying career and still keep tabs on the national political scene. Or he could assume the role of ambassador in a Democrat-run administration.

Supporters think Daschle isn't a bad choice for a national candidate looking to improve his or her chances. He is energetic and articulate, is well-grounded on national and international affairs through his jobs as majority leader and minority leader, and knows international leaders.
Tom Vilsack was introduced to The Daily Show audience.
“Jon Stewart has had a good couple laughs with my name and I thought it was just terrific humor,” Vilsack told reporters in a conference call after the show’s taping. “We decided we’d go one step further and we provided Mr. Stewart with a little gift.”

Vilsack gave Stewart a stuffed toy duck wearing a Vilsack campaign pin, a nod to Stewart’s lampoon of Vilsack’s name weeks earlier.

Shortly after Vilsack announced his candidacy, Stewart likened Vilsack’s name to the low-cost insurer Aflac. He parodied it with a take-off on the company’s television ads, complete with a duck screeching the governor’s name.

Vilsack and Stewart also discussed Iraq and the governor’s support for the recommendations of the Iraq Study Group published this month.
If Sen. Edwards wants to win, he'll have to succeed first.
North Carolina’s former senator is expected to kick off his second run for the presidency in New Orleans next week, then hit early caucus and primary states, including Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire and South Carolina.

Edwards has his work cut out for him. The Democratic field for 2008 could include Sen. Hillary Clinton of New York, Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois, and Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack. That makes the big question for political observers how Edwards will make himself stand out this time around.

He's looking to build on his working-family message from 2004. He has more knowledge of how to campaign, however.

“I think he's much more accomplished. I think he's more polished,” conceded Republican strategist Marc Rotterman, a political critic of Edwards.

News & Observer political columnist Rob Christensen pointed out that Edwards is no longer the dark horse in the nation's first caucuses, which puts more eyes on him and more demands on his skills early on.

“The downside to that is that he's no longer the fresh face,” Christensen said. The former senator led by 20 points in recent Iowa polls. He needs to keep it up in Christensen's view. "John Edwards clearly has to win Iowa," he said.

Edwards keeps honing his message, concentrating more on poverty and labor unions. Once a supporter of the war in Iraq, he now opposes it.

“In a lot of ways, he's moved to the political left. He doesn't say that, but that's essentially what's happened. And he's now moving to the left of Hillary Clinton,” Christensen told WRAL.

Rotterman believes Edwards’ message is limited.

“I don't think that Edwards is doing anything really to reach out to the middle class or the average guy in this country. I think that's going to be a problem,” Rotterman said.
This email arrived in my inbox the other day dealing with the new DCCC chairman.
I am pleased to announce that Congressman Chris Van Hollen of Maryland will be taking over as Chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee for the 2008 election cycle. Chris came to Congress in 2002 by upsetting one of the most entrenched House Republicans in one of the most Republican election years in memory, defeating Connie Morella in the Washington, D.C. suburbs.

Coming in the same class as Chris, it was clear to me from his hard-fought primary victory and even tougher general election win that he had an acute political capacity rarely found in Washington. And, throughout this election, I sought his advice and counsel in every critical decision I had to make. There is no one better prepared to take the reins of the DCCC than Congressman Van Hollen.

Chris joined me at the DCCC in his second term as one of my top lieutenants, heading up our candidate recruiting. In this role, he emphasized the big tent of the Democratic Party, saying, "If you believe in the basic gut principles of the Democratic Party -- opportunity, fairness for all -- we're not going to hold people to a litmus test." He also co-chaired the DCCC's "Red to Blue" program, which gave dozens of winning candidates the resources and support they needed to succeed.

You'll be hearing much more about and from Chris in the coming weeks. I will be serving as Chair of the Democratic Caucus, where we will get to work fulfilling the compact we made with the American people during this campaign. I hope you will support Chris in the 2008 elections with the same energy and dedication you showed me in these historic 2006 elections.

Thank you so much for all you have done to help our Democratic candidates. 2006 is a year neither history nor I will ever forget and it was the passion of committed Democrats like you who made it possible.


Representative Rahm Emanuel
Illinois' Fifth Congressional District
Facebook has helped change Jewish life on campus.

Could this help Bayh get the VP nod?

You can spin the dreidel with Chairman Howard Dean.
"Today marks the start of Hanukkah, often called the festival of lights. Over the next eight nights, Jews all over the world will join together in lighting the Hanukkah menorah symbolizing the rededication of the Temple in Jerusalem and the survival of the Jewish religion.

"During this time, we reaffirm our faith and rededicate ourselves to creating peace in the world through our actions. We also mark this season by expressing our deep gratitude to the brave men and women of all faiths in uniform, their families and our veterans for the sacrifices that they make on our behalf.

"Tonight, as my family and I light the first candle of the menorah, we ask for a renewed sense of purpose and strength. We wish all a meaningful holiday season and a happy Hanukkah."
Mona Charen is the latest to go after Jimmy Carter.

This is a shame:
2. This Is Our Country, John Mellencamp: Until this year, I didn't have a problem with this guy. His John Cougar days were fun, he is a big-time supporter of the American farmer, his music can be very powerful (I still like Rain on the Scarecrow). And this song might not be so bad, had it not been beaten into the ground by all those Chevrolet ads. Come ON!! We get it! Sheesh!!
Mindy Myers will be the chief of staff to Senator-elect Sheldon Whitehouse.

Jim Gilmore is looking at a run for President.

That's all for now...three people fighting over the same computer!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Thursday Open Thread

I doubt I'll be blogging much today or this weekend.

I've been moving files from one computer to the other for much of the day.

Reviewing the 2006 resolutions

Original post here
1. Stick with comedy
2. Advertise the Kentucky Democrat better DONE!
3. Get good grades DONE!
4. Continue establishing Hollywood contacts
5. Re-write all comedy sketches and stand-up bits
6. Eat healthy DONE!
7. Start an improv troupe
8. Get a car
9. Obtain a summer internship with a campaign or office and hope I get paid for it. Kinda DONE!
10. Visit another ballpark and presidential historic site DONE!
11. Write more sketch comedy
12. Start performing at open mic nights at comedy clubs
13. Write to more comedians
14. Don't drink any caffinated beverages DONE! for the most part
15. Record a comedy album
16. Take another trip to Chicago and see Second City.
17. Go to the new Busch Stadium DONE!
18. Write the screenplay that I meant to write last summer. Kind of DONE!
19. Be present when Senator Evan Bayh announces that he will run for president whether I have school that day or not.

As you can see, I'm not going into comedy anymore.

2007: Jack Conway for Attorney General?

Mark Hebert reported the following a few days ago:
Jack Conway has decided to run for Attorney General, if Greg Stumbo doesn't seek reelection. Several sources tell me Conway has made that decision but still can't figure out what to do if Stumbo stays put. Does Conway run for Governor? Does he try to convince Crit Luallen to rethink her decision to stay out of the governor's race? Does he stay put and think about running against McConnell? My recent conversations with him left me with the impression that he really hasn't decided what to do.
I'd like to see Conway make a run for the Attorney General office as well.

Update on Ron Geary

The Henderson Gleaner gives us an update on Ron Geary and his potential run for Governor. He claims that he'll be a long shot if he runs.
Ellis Park owner Ron Geary acknowledged Tuesday that he has been approached about running for governor, but said he would prefer to back someone else who would support casino gambling.

"I'm definitely a longshot" so far as becoming a candidate, Geary, a Democrat, said following a speech to the Henderson Lions Club.

Geary, a Louisville businessman, served as Kentucky's secretary of revenue in Gov. John Y. Brown's administration in the early 1980s.

But he is better known as the chairman and former CEO of ResCare, a Louisville-based nursing home company he built up from 1,300 employees to more than 40,000.

After retiring as CEO last spring, he acquired Ellis Park from Churchill Downs Inc. for an undisclosed amount and has purchased a house on South Elm Street in Henderson.

Geary's name has popped up repeatedly recently as a possible candidate for the Democratic nomination for governor. Earlier this month, state Sen. David Boswell (D-Owensboro) told The Lexington Herald-Leader that Geary had indicated he planned to conduct a poll and had sold $5 million of stock to prepare for a possible run.

"I had several retired governors call me," Geary said. "They knew of my experience and my success with ResCare, which I made into the sixth-largest company in Kentucky from scratch ...

"They feel people may want someone who is not politically oriented who would run the state like a business," which was Brown's campaign theme.

"I'm flattered," Geary said.

For now, he said, "I'm looking for someone I can support,"

"But if I can't find someone, I'll have to take a look at who's left in the field," he said. The deadline for filing is Jan. 31.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

What's up with JYB3?

Apparently, this is per Mark Hebert:
John Y. Brown III returned a phone call to me on Monday. I'd tried calling him about rumors that he might be Jonathan Miller's running mate. Obviously, that was several days ago. What Brown told me Monday was that he's hoping his former boss, Ron Geary will decide in the next two weeks to join the gubernatorial fray. Brown says he hopes to be supporting a Geary candidacy but didn't give an indication about the odds of Geary running. Brown works for ResCare. Geary is the former C.E.O. who recently bought Ellis Park racetrack from Churchill Downs.

Bruce Lunsford's former campaign consultant, Dale Emmons, told me the same thing he told the Lexington Herald-Leader the other day, that he expects Lunsford to be a candidate for Governor when the January 30th filing deadline rolls around.
From what we read in the H-L a while back, if Geary's in, Lunsford is out. If Lunsford is in, Geary is out. We won't know for the next two weeks.

With regards to the Republicans, the odds are against Northup making a run with everything that has happened in the past ten months in her life.

Still here...

I'm not ignoring you all. If you remember from a while back, my laptop started acting up prior to Thanksgiving. Well, I finally got a new one and I have started the process of copying files and programs over. I'll say this, 120 GB is way more than my old one which had 30 GB.

Open Thread

Like yesterday....

In the meantime, I have thick skin but I dislike those members of the GOP that are still in denial

Monday, December 18, 2006

Long Day...

Wow, was this a long day or what?!? Before I get to blogging this evening, I need to remind you that I am supporting Jonathan Miller in the governor's race so when it comes to blogging about the other tickets, I will try not to be biased.

Former Virginia Governor Mark Warner is reconsidering his bid for the presidency. If he does run, he would split the southern and moderate votes between Sen. John Edwards and himself.

It's very unlikely that fines will be problematic for all those 527 groups that bombarded us with political advertisements.

Newt Gingrich's decision regarding 2008 may not be for a while.
Newt Gingrich suggested yesterday that he might not run for president in 2008 if a rival has all but locked up the Republican nomination by next fall.

The former House speaker from Georgia said it would not be too late for him to enter the race after Labor Day 2007, if he thinks that no candidate has a clear advantage. He cited Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, Sen. John McCain of Arizona and former New York City mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani as the contenders to watch.

"If one of them seals it off by Labor Day, my announcing now wouldn't make any difference anyway," he said. "If none of the three, having from now till Labor Day, can seal it off, the first real vote is in 2008. And there's plenty of time in the age of television and e-mail between Labor Day and 2008."

The nominee will be picked at the party convention in Minneapolis-St. Paul in early September 2008.

Gingrich noted that John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan each announced his candidacy less than a year before an election. Kennedy confirmed he was running Jan. 2, 1960. Reagan did so for the first time Nov. 20, 1975, when he did not win the nomination, and again Nov. 13, 1979, and Jan. 29, 1984 -- both times capturing the White House.
As was expected, former Lt. Governor Steve Beshear named state Senator Daniel Mongiardo, MD, as his running mate for the 2007 Kentucky Governor's race.
Beshear, 62, said Kentuckians are desperate for “mature, honest leadership with integrity.”

“It’s been sorely missing for some time,” he said, referring to a recently concluded investigation of Republican Gov. Ernie Fletcher’s hiring practices.

The state will not tolerate “an administration jammed with political cronies” or a governor who undermines laws designed to protect rank-and-file workers from politics, Beshear said.

He and Mongiardo join a race that already includes State Treasurer Jonathan Miller and running mate Irv Maze, the Jefferson County Attorney. Otis Hensley of Harlan is running a limited campaign in the Democratic primary for governor. Other candidates are expected to enter the race before the Jan. 30 filing deadline.

Beshear, and Mongiardo, 46, a surgeon, both lost bids for the U.S. Senate to incumbent Republicans within the past decade. Sen. Mitch McConnell defeated Beshear in 1996, and Mongiardo narrowly lost to Sen. Jim Bunning in 2004.

Beshear promised to “offer a bold vision” to voters, but he declined to discuss specific proposals, saying those will come after Christmas. He said he and Mongiardo will campaign on ideas, but “we’re going to defend ourselves if attacked.”
Hebert has a little more on the Miller-Maze ticket.
Their courtship was quick. State Treasurer Jonathan Miller didn't talk to Irv Maze about being his running mate until early this week. Now, they're running partners, the Democrats’s first big name ticket to sign up for the governor's race.

Miller picked the Jefferson County attorney after his courtship with Louisville lawyer Jack Conway fell through.
Evan Bayh could still be a contender for VP.
So now the question: Could Bayh still end up on the Democrats' ticket in '08? Washington insiders believe he, along with another almost-presidential candidate, former Virginia Governor Mark Warner, would be an attractive choice for number two.

Democratic strategist Peter Fenn says Bayh is "a solid, moderate senator, very articulate, still very young. The Midwest is terribly important now in presidential campaigns. I mean, I don't think folks are under the illusion that Indiana would be that easy, but it's possible, anything's possible."

If Bayh does spend next year waiting for the phone to ring from Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, John Edwards, or any of the others thinking of running, it won't be the first time. In 2000 he was on Al Gore's short list. After Joe Lieberman joined the ticket, Bayh said "it was an honor. How often do you get considered for one of the top positions in the country?"

Bayh's name was also floated as a possible running mate for John Kerry in 2004.

Some believe Bayh may have helped himself by bowing out of the Presidential sweepstakes now, saving himself from a bruising primary campaign, and allowing him to stay friends with all of the contenders.
Now that Bayh's 2008 campaign is over, most of his staffers will likely file for free agency and sign with another contender.
Anita Dunn -- served as Bayh's chief consultant. Before the election, she signed on to Sen. Barack Obama's HopeFund PAC but is no longer affiliated. It's not clear whether Dunn will do a different campaign.

Marc Farinella -- was exec. dir of Bayh's PAC.

Paul Maslin -- no major Dem campaign needs a pollster right now, but Maslin has the nat'l and pres. experience.

Dan Pfeiffer -- affable comm. dir for Bayh. Given that he's a veteran of Tom Daschle's campaign universe, it would not be a surprise if he joins the Obama camp in some capacity. That said, Pfeiffer hasn't made a decision yet/

Nancy Jacobson -- the architect of Bayh's finances, she'll end up either with Sen. Hillary Clinton (her husband is Mark Penn), Barack Obama (many Bayh donors like Obama) or remain unaffiliated.

Kory Mitchell -- the man in charge of putting together Bayh's plan to raise the tens of millions needed for a campaign. He managed Sen. John Kerry's relationships with FL donors in '04 and was key point of contact for Western donors at the DNC. We're told that four campaigns and two candidates called Mitchell directly.

Other fundraisers: key bundlers signed up by Bayh include Greg Wendt, Mark Chandler, Eric Mindich, Jeff Smulyan, Mark Gilbert, Adam Aron, Danny Holtz and Danny Ponce. All are big fish, capable of bringing in six figure sums through their rolodexes.

Chris Hayler and Sean Downey -- seved as Bayh's political directors for the pre-presidential months. Hayler is a former IA Dem staffer; Downey was Sen. Joe Leberman's dep. pol. dir in '04.

Camp Bayh staff -- the 25 in IA, 15 in NH, 2 in NV and 1 in SC. Well trained and many have deep relationships with local elected officials. In IA, the Camp Bayh-trained political team helped secure the state leg. for Dems, according to Republicans.
The latest to criticize former President Jimmy Carter is David Makovsky, a senior fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.
Carter would have us believe that ill will on Israel's part led to that initiative, but in fact it was Hamas and other Palestinian factions that effectively built the barrier by killing an estimated 1,000 Israelis by suicide bombings and other means between 2000 and 2004. After the barrier was built, the amount of suicide attacks dramatically decreased. Carter apparently minimizes terrorism in order to make it possible to blame Israel for malevolence. But his arguments don't hold water. For example, after 35 years without security barriers, why would Israel suddenly begin building a fence in 2002?

Moreover, it has not precluded a two-state solution. In fact, the barrier's route is very close to the borders that Clinton envisioned at the end of his presidency. And the Israelis have regularly adjusted the barrier's route on their own accord, so it shrinks the amount it dips into the West Bank.

Open Thread

Offline most of the day...

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Still blogging...

I'm hangin' in there and still looking at 2008 candidates. While I am saddened that Bayh dropped out, I am leaning towards former Sen. John Edwards as the Democratic candidate in 2008--if former Vice President Gore decides against running.

It's looking more like the 2008 Senate race in Virginia will pit Mark Warner against John Warner.

Florida Senator Bill Nelson recently met with with Syria's president. The visit drew much criticism from the White House.
Nelson's meeting Wednesday in Damascus was the first between a senior American and the Syrian leader since the Iraq Study Group advocated working with Syria and Iran to stabilize Iraq.

"The point is that even lending a further specter of legitimacy to that government undermines the cause of democracy in the region. The Syrians have been adventurous and meddlesome in Iraq, and in Lebanon, and working against the causes of democracy in both of those countries," said White House Press Secretary Tony Snow.

Nelson spokesman Dan McLaughlin defended the senator's decision to meet with Assad, noting that the senator will sit on the Foreign Relations, Armed Services and Intelligence Committees next year.

"Senators meet with heads of state all the time," McLaughlin said. "Nelson has taken a bipartisan approach and has taken seriously the Baker-Hamilton report that recommended the U.S. should involve Syria in finding a solution to the mess in Iraq. Maybe the administration should take the report to heart as well."

Nelson said Wednesday that Assad had said he was interested in cooperating with the Iraqi government and the U.S. to control the border between Iraq and Syria, which has been a conduit for insurgents.

But Snow said the meeting was not helpful and "not appropriate" because Syria already knows the U.S. requirements for better relations.
If Greg Stumbo runs for Governor, he would likely face an ethics investigation.

James Boyce wrote this in the Huffington Post about the reality primary.
One by one on the Democratic side, contenders only in the minds of their own staffs and consultants will see that those single digit polling numbers are real. There is little glamour in being a long shot - especially when you've been told there's a path to the Presidency for you. The conflict becomes apparent early.

On one hand, I believe we will miss the presence of Evan Bayh and Mark Warner on the Democratic side. Both men bring experience in a different part of the company to that national stage and their presence in the debate would have been healthy.

However, the road to the White House is no longer a place for long shots - it is a costly all-consuming marathon. Senator Bayh was calling former Kerry fundraisers less than two weeks after the '04 loss. Mark Warner had a fully functioning staff six months ago. Already, people are making 08 decisions with 2012 in mind. Maybe this is a good development. Maybe not. But it is the reality.
Here's how some Indiana Democrats reacted to Bayh ending his run.
"I'm a little sad and disappointed for our country because I know we would benefit from his leadership," said Indianapolis Mayor Bart Peterson, who worked as an aide to Bayh for 6 1/2 years during his tenure as governor, including two years as chief of staff.

"The flip side is, it's a very personal decision. It's the most consuming pursuit anybody could undertake," Peterson said in a telephone interview.

Peterson said he was surprised at Bayh's decision, but he felt good for Bayh, his wife Susan, and their twin 11-year-old son Nick and Beau, because they would not have to endure the rigors of a grueling presidential campaign.[...]

Indiana Democrat Party Chairman Dan Parker said he looked forward to Bayh's continued service to the state in the U.S. Senate.

"We support the Sen.'s decision not to run in 2008, and we feel fortunate to have someone representing Indiana who cares so deeply about Hoosiers and who will continue to advocate for middle class values and issues such as college affordability and energy independence," Parker said in a statement.
One day after bowing out, people wonder as to how long it will be for.
"Data shows that the Democratic primary voters are going to reward the loudest, angriest candidate, and that's just not Evan Bayh," Moreau said. "He's the one trying to articulate centrist, moderate solutions."

Bayh's lack of a red-meat agenda and his studied earnestness did not generate the kind of excitement that potential candidates like Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., and Barack Obama, D-Ill., were producing.

Bayh experienced the contrast last weekend when an event he held in New Hampshire drew several dozen Democrats compared with the hundreds who turned out for Obama the same day.

"It was difficult. Senator Bayh was doing it the traditional way. One vote at a time," said George Bruno, a former chairman of the New Hampshire Democratic Party turned out to see Bayh. "He was receiving a warm welcome wherever he want, although the crowds were a little smaller than for the Obama frenzy."[...]

Chuck Todd, editor in chief of National Journal's Hotline, a nonpartisan political newsletter, said he admires the honesty of Bayh's public withdrawal statement in saying that he didn't think he could win.[...]

Bayh partisans like Andrew, as well as some independent commentators, said Bayh still has a future as either a presidential candidate in another year or as a potential running mate to whichever Democrat gets the 2008 nomination.

Charlie Cook, editor of the nonpartisan Cook Political Report, said if the nomination goes to Clinton or Obama, Bayh and former Virginia Gov. Mark Warner will be at the top of the potential vice presidential list as moderate white men from midsized states that didn't vote Democratic for president in 2000 or 2004 but could in 2008 with a favorite son on the ticket.

By dropping out now, Cook said, "Bayh gets at least a year and a half, two years of real life and probably a better chance of being a running mate this way than if carved up in a nomination campaign and having attacked the eventual nominee."

"It looks like it could be a bloody primary," said Ann DeLaney, a former Indiana Democratic chairwoman. Now "he won't get bloody."