Sunday, October 31, 2010

A Message from Senator Wendell Ford

This was in an email blast sent out earlier today.

Dear Fellow Democrat,

President Bill Clinton and I fought long and hard on behalf of working families and for core, enduring values.

These families and basic Kentucky values are endangered by Rand Paul, who wants to destroy Social Security and erode our basic Civil Rights. Paul even supports a $2000 Medicare deductible and wants a crushing 23 percent national sales tax on food, medicine, homes and everything you buy.

The stakes of this election could not be higher. Governor Beshear, Jack, and I will be traveling the state before joining President Clinton for a rally in Louisville on Monday.

Please sign up to volunteer and join President Clinton and me at a rally with Jack in Louisville.

We are fighting so hard because we have a candidate who truly understands Kentucky and its values, our Attorney General and my friend, Jack Conway.

In all my years helping lead the Democratic Party here in the Commonwealth of Kentucky, I have never seen a candidate fight harder against tougher odds than Jack.

Together, we have come so far. We are very close. And so while I know we have all been fighting hard for Jack, we need to dig deeper for the final 36 hours and push Jack over the finish line.

Please sign up to volunteer and join President Clinton and me at a rally with Jack in Louisville.

Thank you so much for your support and for making me proud to be a Kentucky Democrat.

Senator Wendell Ford

An informative video about the tea party movement

I started a trend...

I CANNOT take credit for this one. I applaud whoever decided to create it.

"Rand Paul: I'm not an Aqua Buddhist. I'm you."

Krugman: Divided We Fail

Paul Krugman hits it right on the money. I'm posting the op-ed in full.
Barring a huge upset, Republicans will take control of at least one house of Congress next week. How worried should we be by that prospect?

Not very, say some pundits. After all, the last time Republicans controlled Congress while a Democrat lived in the White House was the period from the beginning of 1995 to the end of 2000. And people remember that era as a good time, a time of rapid job creation and responsible budgets. Can we hope for a similar experience now?

No, we can’t. This is going to be terrible. In fact, future historians will probably look back at the 2010 election as a catastrophe for America, one that condemned the nation to years of political chaos and economic weakness.

Start with the politics.

In the late-1990s, Republicans and Democrats were able to work together on some issues. President Obama seems to believe that the same thing can happen again today. In a recent interview with National Journal, he sounded a conciliatory note, saying that Democrats need to have an “appropriate sense of humility,” and that he would “spend more time building consensus.” Good luck with that.

After all, that era of partial cooperation in the 1990s came only after Republicans had tried all-out confrontation, actually shutting down the federal government in an effort to force President Bill Clinton to give in to their demands for big cuts in Medicare.

Now, the government shutdown ended up hurting Republicans politically, and some observers seem to assume that memories of that experience will deter the G.O.P. from being too confrontational this time around. But the lesson current Republicans seem to have drawn from 1995 isn’t that they were too confrontational, it’s that they weren’t confrontational enough.

Another recent interview by National Journal, this one with Mitch McConnell, the Senate minority leader, has received a lot of attention thanks to a headline-grabbing quote: “The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president.”

If you read the full interview, what Mr. McConnell was saying was that, in 1995, Republicans erred by focusing too much on their policy agenda and not enough on destroying the president: “We suffered from some degree of hubris and acted as if the president was irrelevant and we would roll over him. By the summer of 1995, he was already on the way to being re-elected, and we were hanging on for our lives.” So this time around, he implied, they’ll stay focused on bringing down Mr. Obama.

True, Mr. McConnell did say that he might be willing to work with Mr. Obama in certain circumstances — namely, if he’s willing to do a “Clintonian back flip,” taking positions that would find more support among Republicans than in his own party. Of course, this would actually hurt Mr. Obama’s chances of re-election — but that’s the point.

We might add that should any Republicans in Congress find themselves considering the possibility of acting in a statesmanlike, bipartisan manner, they’ll surely reconsider after looking over their shoulder at the Tea Party-types, who will jump on them if they show any signs of being reasonable. The role of the Tea Party is one reason smart observers expect another government shutdown, probably as early as next spring.

Beyond the politics, the crucial difference between the 1990s and now is the state of the economy.

When Republicans took control of Congress in 1994, the U.S. economy had strong fundamentals. Household debt was much lower than it is today. Business investment was surging, in large part thanks to the new opportunities created by information technology — opportunities that were much broader than the follies of the dot-com bubble.

In this favorable environment, economic management was mainly a matter of putting the brakes on the boom, so as to keep the economy from overheating and head off potential inflation. And this was a job the Federal Reserve could do on its own by raising interest rates, without any help from Congress.

Today’s situation is completely different. The economy, weighed down by the debt that households ran up during the Bush-era bubble, is in dire straits; deflation, not inflation, is the clear and present danger. And it’s not at all clear that the Fed has the tools to head off this danger. Right now we very much need active policies on the part of the federal government to get us out of our economic trap.

But we won’t get those policies if Republicans control the House. In fact, if they get their way, we’ll get the worst of both worlds: They’ll refuse to do anything to boost the economy now, claiming to be worried about the deficit, while simultaneously increasing long-run deficits with irresponsible tax cuts — cuts they have already announced won’t have to be offset with spending cuts.

So if the elections go as expected next week, here’s my advice: Be afraid. Be very afraid.

RIP: Ted Sorensen

Ted Sorenson, a former advisor to the late President John Kennedy, has died at the age of 82. May he rest in peace.
Theodore C. Sorensen, who was a close adviser and counselor to John F. Kennedy for 11 years, writing words and giving voice to ideas that shaped the president’s image and legacy, died Sunday in New York. He was 82 and lived in Manhattan.

He died after complications from a stroke he suffered a week ago, according to his wife, Gillian Sorensen. A previous stroke, in 2001, had taken away much of his eyesight.

Mr. Sorensen said he suspected the headline on his obituary would read: “Theodore Sorenson, Kennedy Speechwriter,” misspelling his name and misjudging his work. “I was never just a speechwriter,” he said in an interview with The New York Times in 2007.

True, he was best known for working with Mr. Kennedy on passages of soaring rhetoric, including the 1961 inaugural address proclaiming that “the torch has been passed to a new generation of Americans” and challenging citizens: “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.” Mr. Sorensen drew on the Bible, the Gettysburg Address and the words of Thomas Jefferson and Winston Churchill as he helped hone and polish that speech.

But Mr. Sorensen was more than Mr. Kennedy’s ghost-writer. “You need a mind like Sorensen’s around you that’s clicking and clicking all the time,” President Kennedy’s archrival, Richard M. Nixon, said in 1962. He said Mr. Sorensen had “a rare gift:” the knack of finding phrases that penetrated the American psyche.

First hired as a researcher by Mr. Kennedy, a newly elected senator from Massachusetts who took office in 1953, Mr. Sorensen became a political strategist and a trusted adviser on everything from election tactics to foreign policy. He collaborated closely — more closely than most knew — on “Profiles in Courage,” the 1956 book that won Mr. Kennedy a Pulitzer Prize and a national audience.

After the president’s assassination, Mr. Sorensen practiced law and politics. But in the public mind his name was forever joined to the man he had served; his first task after leaving the White House was to recount the abridged administration’s story in a 783-page best-seller simply titled “Kennedy.”

He held the title of special counsel, but Washington reporters of the era labeled him the president’s “intellectual alter ago” and “a lobe of Kennedy’s mind.” Mr. Sorensen called these exaggerations, but they were rooted in some truth.

President Kennedy had plenty of yes-men. He needed a no-man from time to time. The president trusted Mr. Sorensen to play that role in crises foreign and domestic, and he played it well, in the judgment of Robert F. Kennedy, his brother’s attorney general. “If it was difficult,” Mr. Kennedy said, “Ted Sorensen was brought in.”

Mr. Sorensen was proudest of a work written in haste, under crushing pressure. In October 1962, when he was 34 years old, he drafted a letter from President Kennedy to the Soviet leader, Nikita Khrushchev, which helped end the Cuban missile crisis. After the Kennedy administration’s failed coup against Fidel Castro at the Bay of Pigs, the Soviets had sent nuclear weapons to Cuba. They were capable of striking most American cities, including New York and Washington.

“Time was short,” Mr. Sorensen remembered in his interview with The Times, videotaped to accompany this obituary. “The hawks were rising. Kennedy could keep control of his own government, but one never knew whether the advocates of bombing and invasion might somehow gain the upper hand.”

Mr. Sorensen said, “I knew that any mistakes in my letter — anything that angered or soured Khrushchev — could result in the end of America, maybe the end of the world.”

The letter pressed for a peaceful solution. The Soviets withdrew the missiles. The world went on.

Theodore Chaikin Sorensen was born in Lincoln, Neb., on May 8, 1928 — Harry S. Truman’s 44th birthday, as he was fond of noting. He described himself as a distinct minority: “a Danish Russian Jewish Unitarian.” He was the son of Christian A. Sorensen, a lawyer, and Annis Chaikin, a social worker, pacifist and feminist. His father, a Republican who had named him after Teddy Roosevelt, ran for public office for the first time that year; he served as Nebraska’s attorney general from 1929 to 1933.

Lincoln, the state capital, was named for the 16th president. Near the statehouse stood a statue of Abraham Lincoln and a slab with the full text of the Gettysburg Address. As a child, Mr. Sorensen read it over and over. The Capitol itself held engraved quotations; one he remembered was “Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.”

He earned undergraduate and law degrees at the University of Nebraska and, on July 1, 1951, at the age of 23, he left Lincoln to seek his fortune in Washington. He knew no one. He had no appointments, phone numbers or contacts. Except for a hitchhiking trip to Texas, he had never left the Midwest. He had never had a cup of coffee or written a check.

Eighteen months later, after short stints as a junior government lawyer, he was hired by John F. Kennedy, the new Democratic senator from Massachusetts. Mr. Kennedy was “young, good-looking, glamorous, rich, a war hero, a Harvard graduate,” Mr. Sorensen recalled. The new hire was none of those, save young. They quickly found that they shared political ideals and values.

“When he first hired me,” Mr. Sorensen recalled, Mr. Kennedy said: “ ‘I want you to put together a legislative program for the economic revival of New England.’ ” Mr. Kennedy’s first three speeches on the Senate floor — late in the evening, when nobody was around — presented the program Mr. Sorensen proposed.

Jon Stewart's Speech to America

From yesterday's Rally to Restore Sanity in Washington, DC, here is a transcript of Jon Stewart's closing remarks.

I can't control what people think this was. I can only tell you my intentions. This was not a rally to ridicule people of faith. Or people of activism or to look down our noses at the heartland or passionate argument or to suggest that times are not difficult and that we have nothing to fear. They are and we do. But we live now in hard times, not end times. And we can have animus and not be enemies.

Unfortunately, one of our main tools in delineating the two broke. The country's 24-hour politico pundit panic conflict-onator did not cause our problems, but its existence makes solving them that much harder. The press can hold its magnifying glass up to our problems and illuminate problems heretofore unseen, or it can use its magnifying glass to light ants on fire, and then perhaps host a week of shows on the sudden, unexpected dangerous-flaming-ant epidemic. If we amplify everything, we hear nothing.

There are terrorists and racists and Stalinists and theocrats, but those are titles that must be earned. You must have the resume. Not being able to distinguish between real racists and tea partiers, or real bigots and Juan Williams and Rich Sanchez is an insult -- not only to those people, but to the racists themselves, who have put forth the exhausting effort it takes to hate. Just as the inability to distinguish between terrorists and Muslims makes us less safe, not more.

The press is our immune system. If it overreacts to everything we eventually get sicker. And perhaps eczema. Yet, with that being said, I feel good. Strangely, calmly good, because the image of Americans that is reflected back to us by our political and media process is false. It is us through a funhouse mirror, and not the good kind that makes you slim and taller -- but the kind where you have a giant forehead and an ass like a pumpkin and one eyeball.

So, why would we work together? Why would you reach across the aisle to a pumpkin assed forehead eyeball monster? If the picture of us were true, our inability to solve problems would actually be quite sane and reasonable. Why would you work with Marxists actively subverting our Constitution or racists and homophobes who see no one’s humanity but their own? We hear every damn day about how fragile our country is -- on the brink of catastrophe -- torn by polarizing hate and how it’s a shame that we can’t work together to get things done, but the truth is we do. We work together to get things done every damn day. The only place we don't is here or on cable TV. Americans don't live here or on cable TV. Where we live our values and principles form the foundation that sustains us while we get things done, not the barriers that prevent us from getting things done.

Most Americans don't live their lives solely as Democrats or Republicans or conservatives or liberals. Most Americans live their lives that our just a little bit late for something they have to do. Often it’s something they do not want to do, but they do it. Impossible things get done every day that are only made possible by the little, reasonable compromises.

These cars -- that’s a school teacher who thinks taxes are too high…there’s a mom with two kids who can’t think about anything else...another car, the lady’s in the NRA. She loves Oprah…An investment banker, gay, also likes Oprah…a Latino carpenter…a fundamentalist vacuum salesman…a Mormon Jay Z fan…But this is us. Everyone of the cars that you see is filled with individuals of strong belief and principles they hold dear -- often principles and beliefs in direct opposition to their fellow travelers.

And yet these millions of cars must somehow find a way to squeeze one by one into a mile-long, 30-foot wide tunnel carved underneath a mighty river…And they do it. Concession by concession. You go. Then I’ll go. You go, then I’ll go. You go, then I’ll go -- oh my god, is that an NRA sticker on your car, an Obama sticker on your car? Well, that’s OK. You go and then I’ll go…"Sure, at some point there will be a selfish jerk who zips up the shoulder and cuts in at the last minute. But that individual is rare and he is scorned, and he is not hired as an analyst.

Because we know instinctively as a people that if we are to get through the darkness and back into the light we have to work together and the truth is, there will always be darkness. And sometimes the light at the end of the tunnel isn’t the promised land. Sometimes it’s just New Jersey. But we do it anyway, together.

If you want to know why I’m here and what I want from you I can only assure you this: you have already given it to me. You’re presence was what I wanted. Sanity will always be and has always been in the eye of the beholder. To see you here today and the kind of people that you are has restored mine. Thank you.

Please give the President a break

Over in the New York Times, Nicholas Kristof makes a great case for giving President Barack Obama a break.
In politics as in finance, markets overshoot. Traders and voters swoon over stocks or politicians one week, and then rage at them the next.

That’s why I’m feeling a bit sorry for President Obama as we approach a midterm election in which he is poised to be cast off like an old sock. The infatuation with Mr. Obama was overdone in 2008, and so is the rejection of him today.

So here’s my message: Give him a chance.

The sourness toward Mr. Obama reminds me of the crankiness toward Al Gore in 2000. We in the news media were tough on Mr. Gore, magnifying his weaknesses, and that fed into a general disdain. So some liberals voted for Ralph Nader, and George W. Bush moved into the White House.

Like others, I have my disappointments with Mr. Obama, including his tripling of forces in Afghanistan. Yet the central problem isn’t that Mr. Obama has been a weak communicator as president or squandered his political capital — although both are true — but that we’re mired in the aftermath of the biggest financial crisis since the 1930s.[...]

Bill Clinton, who was as good a president as we’ve had in modern times, captured Mr. Obama’s challenge: “I’d like to see any of you get behind a locomotive going straight downhill at 200 miles an hour and stop it in 10 seconds,” Mr. Clinton told a crowd in Washington State, according to a Washington Post account.

Mr. Clinton also noted that the midterm elections are not a referendum. “Let’s make this a referendum on everything that’s bothering you about life right now,” he paraphrased the Republicans as saying, before adding: “It is not a referendum. It. Is. A. Choice. A choice between two different sets of ideas.”

The criticisms of Mr. Obama from the left often ring true to me, but I also think we elide the political difficulties of getting better legislation past obstructionists in Congress. A “public option” would have improved the health care package in my judgment, but it might also have killed it.

The economic crisis has also distracted from authentic accomplishments. Presidents since Harry Truman have been pushing for health care reform, and it was Mr. Obama who finally achieved it. The economy seemed at risk of another Great Depression when he took office, and that was downgraded to a recession from which we have officially emerged — even though the pain is still biting.

Mr. Obama has also helped engineer a successful auto bailout, a big push for clean energy, the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act to reduce sex discrimination, tighter tobacco regulations aimed at the 1,000 Americans under age 18 who become smokers each day, and tighter financial regulation including reform of credit card rules.

Above all, Mr. Obama has been stellar in one area crucial to our country’s future: education. Democrats historically have been AWOL on school reform because they are beholden to teacher unions, but Mr. Obama has reframed the debate and made it safe to talk about teaching standards and “bad teachers.” Until Mr. Obama, Democrats barely acknowledged that it was possible for a teacher to be bad.

Mr. Obama used stimulus money to keep teachers from being laid off and to nudge states to reform education so as to benefit children for years to come. His “Race to the Top” focused states on education reform as never before.

He has also revamped and expanded student loans and bolstered support for community colleges, opening a new path to higher education for working-class Americans. Millions more Americans may end up in college.

Presidents in both parties have talked for years about the importance of education, but until now it has been lip service. Improving America’s inner-city schools will be a long slog, but Mr. Obama has done far more than any other president in this area — arguably our single greatest national challenge. In my view, it’s his greatest achievement, and it has been largely ignored.

So, sure, go ahead and hold Mr. Obama’s feet to the fire. He deserves to be held accountable. But let’s not allow economic malaise to cloud our judgment and magnify America’s problems in ways that become self-fulfilling.

Are we looking at a repeat of 1994?

After looking at what history has shown us what happens when the GOP is in charge, are we seriously looking at a repeat of 1994?!? Do Americans not remember that is was the failed Republican policies that led to the recession?
Voters across the country are deeply unhappy with the performance of the Democratic Congress and as dissatisfied with how Washington works as they were in 1994, when Republicans took control of both chambers, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.[...]

Among those most likely to cast ballots in their congressional districts, 49 percent say they side with the Republican candidate, 45 percent with the Democratic one. This four-point GOP edge puts Republicans in an even stronger position than they were heading into the final days of the 1994 election.

A narrow majority of likely voters, 52 percent, also disapproves of the way Obama is handling his job as president. That's the same as the percentage of Election Day 1994 voters who said they disapproved of President Clinton's performance, according to that year's exit polling.

One big but quickly dwindling opportunity for Democrats is that Obama and his party have significantly better ratings among all registered voters than they do among those now considered most likely to participate. Among all voters, Democrats hold a narrow five-point lead on the congressional vote question: 49 to 44 percent.

Apatow's PSA

Judd Apatow and Jordan Rubin made a Public Service Announcement for the American Jewish World Service, which was not approved by the AJWS.

Here it is:

Saturday, October 30, 2010

McDonalds franchise threatens employees

The Huffington Post reports:
The owner of a franchise in Canton, Ohio enclosed a handbill in employees' paychecks that threatened lower wages and benefits if Republicans don't win on Tuesday.

"As the election season is here we wanted you to know which candidates will help our business grow in the future," reads the letter. "As you know, the better our business does it enables us to invest in our people and our restaurants. If the right people are elected we will be able to continue with raises and benefits at or above our present levels. If others are elected, we will not. As always, who you vote for is completely your personal decision and many factors go into your decision."

The note ends with a list of candidates McDonald's believes "will help our business move forward." It names Republicans John Kasich for governor, Rob Portman for Senate, and Jim Renacci for Congress. With the letter was a biography of Renacci.

"The handbill endorses candidates who have in essence pledged to roll back the minimum wage and eviscerate the safety net that protects the most vulnerable members of our workforce," said Attorney Allen Schulman of Canton law firm Schulman Zimmerman & Associates, which received the documents from an employer who stepped forward. "But it's more than that. When a corporation like McDonald's intimidates its employees into voting a specific way, it violates both state and federal election law. It's no surprise to anyone that Ohio is a battleground state in this election, and for a multinational corporation like McDonald's to threaten employees like this is morally and legally wrong. This despicable corporate conduct is the logical extension of the Citizens United decision, which has unleashed corporate arrogance and abuse."[...]

On Friday, franchise owner Paul Siegfried apologized in a written statement, saying the communication was "an error of judgment on my part." "Please know it was never my intention to offend anyone," he added. "For those that I have offended, I sincerely apologize."

Lauren Valle writes letter to Tim Profitt

It's posted at TPMDC and here is Lauren's open letter in full.
Mr. Profitt, You have asked that I apologize to you. Perhaps this is not the apology that you are looking for, but I do have some things to say.
I have been called a progressive, a liberal, a professional agitator. You have been called a conservative, a Republican, a member of the Tea Party movement. Fundamentally and most importantly, you and I are both human beings. We are also both American citizens. These two facts, to me, are far more meaningful than the multitude of labels that we carry. And if these two facts are true then it means we are on the same team.

I have not been for one moment angry with you and your actions. Instead I feel thoroughly devastated. It is evident that your physical assault on me is symptomatic of the crisis that this country is struggling through. And it seems that I will heal from my injuries long before this country can work through our separation. Only when we decide let go of our hate, our violence and our aggression will we be able to communicate to each other about the issues that divide us. Right now, we are not communicating, we are stomping on each other. No one can ever win, no one can ever be heard, with violence.

You and I, as fellow citizens, and we, as a country, have a choice. Either we choose to continue the cycle of inflicting violence upon each other, screaming at each other, insulting each other and putting one another down or we and find a way to sit down and start listening to each other. We'll see how far we get. We are all viciously and vociferously feeding a fire that will only burn us down together. We must reach inside ourselves and make space for each other. We must forgive each other. We must believe in our capacity for transformation. The moment we choose compassion and reconciliation is the moment that we will begin to move toward freedom. There is no other way.

I believe that you should be held accountable for your actions but I also recognize the incredibly negative impact that the consequences must be having on your life, and I wish you all the best as you yourself heal from this. Violence hurts everyone.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Too funny....

Hal Rogers is set to become the Chairman of the Appropriations Committee per Al Cross.
The Republican congressman from one of the nation's poorest and most rural districts said yesterday that he has the votes to become chairman of the powerful House Appropriations Committee if his party takes control of the chamber as a result of Tuesday's elections, as expected.

Rep. Harold "Hal" Rogers of Kentucky's 5th District told The Rural Blog that he has 19 of the 33 votes on the Republican Steering Committee, which determines chairmanships. Rogers, an Appropriations subcommittee chairman in his 30th year in Congress, is a member of the committee.
The tea party movement favors cutting spending...and yet the one guy that loves bringing money back to the 5th District of Kentucky is set to become Chairman of the committee that works on the budget. Hmmm....

Bill Clinton to campaign at University of Louisville

While the exact time and location on campus have not been revealed, I've confirmed that President Bill Clinton will be campaigning at University of Louisville on Monday, November 1, 2010, for Jack Conway.

Here's an update from FOX-41 in Louisville:
Clinton will hold a forum at the University of Louisville on the day before the elections. He has already campaigned for Conway at the University of Kentucky.

Details of the U of L stop are being finalized, but it will likely be held on the lawn in front of Grawemeyer Hall.
The Conway campaign has facebook event page created for the event along with a general page on the campaign website.
Join Jack Conway and President Clinton
Monday, November 1, 2010

University of Louisville,
Grawemeyer Oval (Intersection of South Third Street and Eastern Parkway.)
Louisville, KY

To Help Jack Get Out The Vote use the form on the right, or click here!

Parking Information
There is free parking available at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium. Shuttles will run continuously between Papa John's Cardinal Stadium and the event.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Judd Apatow's next movie opens June 1, 2012

Universal has set the release date for Judd Apatow's next movie for June 1, 2012.

Judd Apatow is on the clock for the next comedy he’ll write, produce and direct. Universal has set a June 1, 2012 release date for an untitled film Apatow is writing right now. Aside from his prolific output as writer/producer, Apatow has made all three of his directing vehicles for Universal: The 40 Year Old Virgin, Knocked Up and Funny People. The first two were big hits and while Apatow took his first critical brickbats for the latter, he’s among a handful of smart writer/directors you want to watch evolve as a filmmaker.

Reports: Bill Clinton in Louisville on Monday

The Courier Journal reports that former President Bill Clinton will campaign in Louisville on Monday for Jack Conway.
Former President Bill Clinton will campaign Monday in Louisville for Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Jack Conway — making his second trip to the state this month to stump for the attorney general.

Former state Democratic Party Chairman Jerry Lundergan, a close associate of Clinton, said the time and location of his visit are still being decided.
“He's pretty much in demand everywhere,” Lundergan said. “We're just happy to be able to get him back into Kentucky.”

Clinton attended a rally for Conway, who is running against Republican eye surgeon Rand Paul, earlier this month at the University of Kentucky.
Jack Brammer has more information about the rally:
Former President Bill Clinton is expected to be in Louisville Monday night on the eve of the Nov. 2 election to campaign for Kentucky Democratic U.S. Senate nominee Jack Conway.

“That’s what I understand,” Conway told reporters Thursday after a rally at state Democratic Party headquarters. “I’m getting the data like you all are getting it. I understand that he’s trying to visit five states and I understand that he’s coming to see us Monday evening.”

Asked if Clinton will be able to make it to Pikeville before the Louisville trip, Conway said, “I don’t know yet. I know his schedule is tight.”

Stop Rand Paul on Election Day

The KDP put out this ad and it will only air after 10 PM.

GOTV Rally

You can view video here.

Here are some excerpts from the WAVE-3 coverage:
In less than a week, people will head to a poll to vote for their candidate. Wednesday evening, the Metro Democratic Club held a 'Metro Louisville Rally'. The rally lasted nearly two hours. It was held at the American Legion Assembly Hall on Bardstown Road.

Among the speakers, Congressman John Yarmuth (D / 3rd District Incumbent), Greg Fischer who is running for Metro Louisville Mayor, and Attorney General Jack Conway who is a candidate for U.S. Senate.

The candidates encouraged voters to spread their message. "We can't be everywhere in these next 4 {or} 5 days, but if we have 300/400 deputies, we can be everywhere," Mayoral Candidate Greg Fischer said.[...]

Folks. Elections are about choices and boy is there a clear choice," Candidate Jack Conway told the crowd.

Governor Steve Beshear made an appearance, encouraging voters. "Five days. We can either sit here and feel like it's over and that we've won or we can get out and make sure we can win," he said.

Most of the rally was spent rounding up voters before November 2nd. "All the debating comes down to this: "who is going to get their voters out next Tuesday," Governor Beshear said.

"We have an obligation to help those who are without jobs, working to maintain their life,"Yarmuth said.

Many of the candidates went over their platforms. Candidate Greg Fischer threw a jab at his opponent Republican Mayoral Candidate, Hal Heiner. Fischer said: "I'm running against somebody that would like you to think that Louisville is a terrible place have you noticed that? Oh, this is what's wrong. This is what is bad. Did anybody stop to ask him you've been here 8 years with Metro Government what have you done?"
The Courier Journal also had a reporter there.
“This race isn't a ‘want to,' this race isn't a ‘hope to,' this race is a ‘have to' and we have to have Jefferson County and we have to have it big Tuesday night,” Conway said to raucous applause.

Conway, now the state attorney general, said the choice is clear between him and Republican Rand Paul. Conway referenced a recent incident where a Paul supporter stomped on the head of a woman who tried to confront Paul outside the most recent debate between the two candidates.

“Rand Paul and his camp have given a half-hearted apology,” Conway said. “Rand Paul needs to condemn it, condemn the other people that dragged her to the ground and step up for the women of this state.”

U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth, D-3rd District, also referenced the incident when speaking to the crowd.

“I'd like to say it would take physical restraint to keep Democrats from polls on Tuesday, but then some Rand Paul supporters might take notice,” Yarmuth said to laughter.
Yarmuth also dismissed polls that have him and Conway in tight races, saying that just because a poll concludes a Democrat is trailing or in a close contest “does not mean it is the gospel,” Yarmuth said.

“Or right,” Conway added.

“We've got to make sure that SurveyUSA's prediction of turnout is wrong, and I'm convinced that we will,” Yarmuth said.

Democratic mayoral candidate Greg Fischer also encouraged supporters to dismiss a recent poll.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

McConnell aftermath...

Political Wire tells us about a new ad that the DNC created following Mitch McConnell's outrageous remarks.

Ben Smith comments that frames the midterm elections "but, perhaps more so, the struggle for moral and political high ground in its expected aftermath."

Colbert opens with Curbstomping

I hope you enjoyed President Barack Obama's appearance tonight on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. If you were watching WAVE-3 in the Louisville region, you saw my close-up, which I was not quite ready for.

Anyway, The Colbert Report started out the show tonight with a few minutes devoted to Tim Profitt and Lauren Valle. I'll embed video in the morning when it's posted.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Bad back? Yea, right...

It gets crazier...
"We thought she was a danger; we didn't know what she was doing."

Profitt explained that he used his foot to try and keep her down because he can't bend over because of back problems. He also says police were alerted to watch her before Paul arrived because people in the crown recognized her as someone who may try and pull a stunt.[...]

"if she can hear this... All I was trying to do was hold her until police could get her."

Profit also says he wished things had never escalated to the level they did.[...]

"I think she was there for a reason... And that was hurt Rand Paul."

Curbstomping makes Daily Show Moment of Zen

Last night's pre-debate curbstomping was featured as tonight's moment of zen at the end of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.

Stomping doesn't play well in Kentucky...

Remember a guy named Christian Laettner?

I remember that Kentucky-Duke game all too well...

What Judd Apatow finds funny...

Judd Apatow recently edited a book compiled of what he thinks is funny.

Jewish Journal:
The 42-year-old Apatow is by turns wickedly hilarious, self-aware and a rapid-fire wordsmith in conversation; it’s what one might expect from the writer and director of “The 40-Year-Old Virgin,” “Knocked Up” and “Funny People” and the producer of other hit raunch-fests-with-heart such as “Superbad” that often reflect his life and career. When the struggling young Jewish comic played by Seth Rogen in “Funny People” recounts how his parents’ bitter divorce forced him to “find the funny,” it could have been Apatow speaking. Hence the therapy sessions. And the content of his new anthology, “I Found This Funny” (McSweeney’s: $25), subtitled “My Favorite Pieces of Humor and Some That May Not Be Funny at All.”

The book — which includes short stories by Raymond Carver and Jonathan Franzen alongside work by Apatow, Jon Stewart and other comedians — benefits 826 National, the nonprofit tutoring, writing and publishing organization for students 6-18 headed by Dave Eggers. On Oct. 29, Apatow will conduct a reading at Book Soup and on Oct. 30 at Skylight Books. On the evening of Oct. 29, he and Eggers will co-host an 826 fundraiser (also his book release celebration) at the Writers Guild Theater, with music and comedy by Apatow’s mentor, Garry Shandling, as well as Randy Newman and others.[...]

Comedy is usually about obstacles and things going wrong while we attempt to figure life out or try to do good in the face of a dark world,” Apatow explained. “Two incredibly happy, well-adjusted people living a calm life is a fantastic thing, but it’s not something that provides any entertainment for the rest of us. It’s nice to know other people are struggling.It makes you think, ‘I’m not the only onewho feels this way — some people feel even worse,’ ” he said, laughing.

Apatow first read “The Conversion of the Jews” 10 years ago in the midst of “a Philip Roth kick.” He identified with the sensitive boy who turns the tables on dogmatic grown-ups by threatening to jump off his Hebrew- school building. “As an aspiring stand-up comedian at the age of 11, I certainly understood the concept of standing on a roof, flapping your arms, trying to get people’s attention,” he said.

Apatow grew up in Syosset, N.Y., with parents who were supportive of his stand-up ambitions but who eschewed religion. “My parents were atheists, and there was no talk of religion or spirituality whatsoever,” he said. “The only thing my mom and dad ever said was, ‘Nobody ever said life was fair.’ That’s about as spiritual as we got in my house. When I asked to be bar mitzvahed — probably just because I heard my friends were making a lot of money [through bar mitzvah gifts] — they refused to let me go to Hebrew school, but there was no reasoning behind it. They never sat me down and explained their philosophies, which certainly did more damage than they were aware of at the time.

“It left [me] spiritually lost because there was no conversation, pro or con, in terms of religion and spirituality. So other than going to a lot of bar mitzvahs and the occasional Passover dinner, there wasn’t any religion in the house. And that’s a very dark point of view. My parents weren’t agnostic; they never said, ‘I hope there’s something more happening.’ They said, ‘That’s it.’ ”

It was a scary vision of the world: “Terrible,” he said. “And I’ve spent a lot of my life trying to recover from it.”

Apatow’s obsession with comedians was part of that journey: “Comedy is a search for answers,” he explained. “If you’re not provided with any answers in another context, you look to people who have some thoughts about what it all means. ... But comedians are very dark people, so you don’t get a lot of light answers.”

In his introduction to “I Found This Funny,” Apatow describes how his adolescent reading consisted first of books on the Marx Brothers, whose anarchic upending of wealthy snobs leveled an unfair social playing field. Besides his comedy hero Steve Martin, he said, he “also enjoyed Lou Costello; he was a big weird nerdy guy who got into trouble while his friend was giving him a hard time and whacking him in the face every once in a while. ... I felt that way with my own friends; I was always the smaller one, hanging out with athletes, picked last for the teams, getting bossed around a bit, trying to stand up for myself, usually with terrible results.”[...]

“I’m still shocked that I’ve done well,” Apatow said of his adult success. He describes some of his commitment to charity work — which currently includes producing public service announcements for the emergency relief group American Jewish World Service — as “survivor’s guilt”: “There’s a part of me that is never comfortable with the fact that I’ve done well,” he said. “Comedy is driven by your pain, and it’s sort of weird that your pain leads to your job, which leads to being comfortable — and yet you’re never comfortable.”

Apatow’s own contribution to “I Found This Funny” is titled, “How I Got Kicked Out of High School,” a diary of the rise and fall of his television show, the critically lauded but all-too-quickly canceled “Freaks and Geeks.” The story opens as Shandling visits Apatow at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center after Apatow has had back surgery for severe pain caused, in part, by the stress of the demise of “Freaks.”

“Today I found myself wondering if I should create a really smart, hilarious show that just happens to be about hot models,” he wrote in one of the diary entries.

A decade later, Apatow has produced many of the highest-grossing film comedies in Hollywood, but, he said, he’s still evolving his take on things spiritual. He’s read a lot of Buddhist thought; he’s raising his two daughters with the understanding that religion is not necessarily predestined by one’s family history (his wife, the actress Leslie Mann, is not Jewish); and he is “not closed off” to reading more about Judaism.

When pressed now about what his Jewishness means to him, he said, “I don’t know if it’s specific to being Jewish, but there’s a certain neurosis mingled with a certain amount of warmth and instinct to do well by other people. Maybe everyone in the world feels that, but there’s a combination of humor and positive intentions that feels connected that. And a fair amount of pain,” he added, 10 minutes late to his therapy session. “And more guilt than you think is possible to hold in one human shell.”

Attacker give $2500 to Paul, Rand Paul won't apologize

The attacker, as Joe notes, gave $2,500 to the Rand Paul campaign. I'm calling on Rand Paul to return the money even though he likely won't since Rand Paul loves money from white supremacists as well.

Also, there's this thing that voters like. It's called class. I don't see Rand Paul openly apologizing to the victim.

Here's a statement from the Conway campaign:
"We are still waiting for Rand Paul to apologize to the victim of this attack. A boot stomp to the head of a woman is never appropriate, Rand should apologize to her, stop blaming others, and identify the others involved in this thuggish behavior and disassociate his campaign from them immediately."

Attorney General's Office refers State Police

Given Jack Conway's campaign contribution to the Greg Fischer for Mayor campaign, the Attorney General's office was wise to transfer the investigation to the Kentucky State Police so that they could look after the matter.
Robert Foster, commissioner of the AG’s Department of Criminal Investigations, wrote to both the state Republican and Democratic parties on Monday, saying the office was referring the matter to state police because of politics.

“Given that General Conway has contributed to the Fischer campaign and given that the Kentucky Democratic Party supports all Democratic candidates, including General Conway, in order to avoid the appearance of impropriety in this matter, we are referring both of these complaints to the Kentucky State Police for any action that it deems appropriate,” the letter says.

The Kentucky Republican Party last week requested Conway’s office appoint a special prosecutor to investigate independent candidate Jackie Green’s endorsement of Democrat Greg Fischer, after an e-mail from Green to his campaign staff surfaced that said Fischer “raised the issue of our team playing a role inside gov.”

It is unclear what Green meant to that. E-mails between Green and the Fischer campaign, also made public last week, say only that Green was offered “significant input” in the creation of an environmental office that Fischer would create as mayor.

Days after the GOP request, Democrats made a similar request when Louisville Metro Council President Tom Owen said that Heiner offered Tyler Allen “significant input” into transportation matters if Allen would endorse him. Allen is a former Democratic mayoral primary candidate, who was defeated by Fischer in May.

Matt Erwin, a spokesman for the Democratic Party, said having the state police take the lead in the investigations is fine with the party.

“If the AG decided another body should handle it, we’re satisfied with that situation,” Erwin said.

Yet even more...

Excerpts from the article that is hitting the AP wires...
"I'm sorry that it came to that, and I apologize if it appeared overly forceful, but I was concerned about Rand's safety," Tim Profitt told The Associated Press.

A judge will decide whether Profitt should face criminal charges.

Lauren Valle, the 23-year-old activist with the group, said her face was swollen and her neck and shoulder were sore after she was wrestled to the ground by Paul supporters Monday night before a debate between the tea party favorite and Democrat Jack Conway.[...]

Paul's campaign dropped Profitt as campaign coordinator in Bourbon County in central Kentucky and banned him from future events.[...]

Paul campaign manager Jesse Benton said Profitt's actions were unacceptable and would not be tolerated.

"The Paul campaign has disassociated itself with the individual who took part in this incident, and once again urges all activists — on both sides — to remember that their political passions should never manifest themselves in physical altercations of any kind."

Paul's campaign called the altercation "incredibly unfortunate" and expressed relief that the woman was not injured.

Conway said he was shocked to see the video footage.

"We can disagree on issues, and I don't know what preceded the incident, but physical violence by a man against a woman must never be tolerated," Conway said in a statement. "It is my hope that steps have been taken to ensure this kind of thuggish behavior never happens again in this campaign."

Details from victim...

The Huffington Post has in-depth details from Lauren Valle on her recollection of the events.
I have been at a bunch of events before, the previous debate, and the Rand Paul campaign knows me and they have expressed their distaste for my work before. What happened last night was that about five minutes before Rand Paul's car arrived they identified me and my partner, Alex, who was with me. They surrounded me. There was five of them. They motioned to each other and got behind me. My partner Alex heard them say 'We are here to do crowd control we might have to take someone out.'

When Rand Paul's car arrived a couple of them stepped in front of me so I stepped off the curb to get around them to get back out front. At that point they started grabbing for me and I ran all the way around the car with them in pursuit. The footage is after I've run all the way around the car and I'm in front of the car and that is when they took me down. One or two people twisted my arms behind my back and took me down... It was about two-to-three seconds after that that another person stomped on my head. And I lay there for 20 seconds or so and my partner Alex came and got me up and that's the point where there is the media clip of me speaking.

Rand Paul supporter identified...

The Rand Paul supporter that stomped on a liberal activist last night before the KET debate between Jack Conway and Rand Paul has been identified as Tim Profitt, Rand Paul's campaign coordinator for Bourbon County.

Profitt spoke with the AP, I'm assuming today, but he made excuses about the camera angle. I've watched the video a few times and HE HAS NO EXCUSE:
Tim Profitt, a volunteer with the Republican's U.S. Senate campaign, told The Associated Press on Tuesday that the camera angle made the scuffle Monday night appear worse that it was. He criticized police for not stepping in and says other supporters warned authorities about the activist.
If the campaign released a press statement, it should be on their website but it isn't.According to Joe, the Lexington Police Department is taking care of matters.
The Lexington Division of Police has identified a suspect in connection to the October 25, 2010 assault of a woman at 600 Cooper Drive.

On the 25th, at approximately 7:00p.m., officers were alerted to an active assault at 600 Cooper Drive (Kentucky Educational Television Studios).

Officers responded to the scene of the assault and made contact with the victim. She identified herself as a member of and stated she was assaulted while attempting to take a picture with candidate Rand Paul. Division of Police patrol officers took an assault report and forwarded the case to the Division of Police Bureau of Investigation.

Today, October 26, 2010, detectives identified the suspect, involved in the assault, as Tim Profitt. Mr. Profitt is currently being served with a criminal summons ordering him to appear before a Fayette County District Court Judge.
Per Jake, she has had some previous history with having been charged a felony while working with Greenpeace.

Profitt made comments today but, umm, he goes on the defensive.
“The way she went after him it looked like something bad was getting ready to happen,” said Profitt, 53, of Bourbon County.

He said he put his foot on her shoulder, not her head. “I said, ‘Now you stay down,’ and called for police. The only thing we were trying to do was subdue her.”

He criticized police for not taking action after other supporters warned authorities about the activist.

Rand Paul supporters support domestic violence against women!!

In politics, there is this thing called thick skin. It's where you do not retaliate against someone, whether or not they are trying to incite you. I wasn't there so I don't know what happened but last night, Rand Paul's supporters took things into their own hand. I hope Rand Paul releases a statement because as of this very moment, by not doing anything, he silently supports domestic violence against women. That is wrong. Don't doctors, even self-certied opthamologists, take an oath that says to first do no harm?

Monday, October 25, 2010

RIP: Joseph Stein

Joseph Stein, a veteran of the Sid Caesar writing room and the writer that adapted Fiddler on the Roof into both an award-winning stage musical and motion picture, has died at the age of 98.
“Fiddler on the Roof,” based on Sholem Aleichem’s short stories about a Jewish milkman and his family who face terrifying change in a small Russian village in 1905, opened on Broadway in 1964. Sheldon Harnick’s lyrics and Jerry Bock’s score captured the high notes of the praise, but Mr. Stein’s book hardly went unnoticed.

“It goes beyond local color and lays bare in quick, moving strokes the sorrow of a people,” Howard Taubman wrote in his review in The New York Times, which also described the book as “marvelously right.”

Between memorable songs like “Sunrise, Sunset” and “If I Were a Rich Man,” Mr. Stein’s dialogue had its own kind of poetry. As Tevye’s daughter Hodel prepares to join her future husband in Siberia, she tells her father, “G-d alone knows when we shall see each other again.” He responds, “Then we will leave it in his hands.” And just before the show’s first big number, Tevye speaks to G-d: “I realize, of course, that it’s no shame to be poor, but it’s no great honor either.”

In 1965, the show won nine Tony Awards, including the one for best musical and Mr. Stein’s for best author of a musical. By 1971, when the production became Broadway’s longest-running musical (that record has since been broken several times), it had already been produced in 32 countries in 16 languages. The show closed the following year, but it has since been revived on Broadway four times, most recently in 2004.

Mr. Stein was already an old Broadway pro when “Fiddler” came along. Just the year before, he had won glowing reviews for his book of “Enter Laughing,” a comedy, based on a book by Carl Reiner, about a Jewish boy who wants to become an actor.[...]

Joseph Stein was born on May 30, 1912, in the Bronx, the son of Charles Stein, a handbag maker, and the former Emma Rosenblum. He received a bachelor’s degree from the City College of New York in 1934 and a master’s degree in social work from Columbia University in 1937.

Mr. Stein had a career as a social worker for several years before he happened to meet the comedian Zero Mostel through a mutual friend. Mr. Mostel mentioned that he was looking for comedy material for a radio show, Mr. Stein threw out an idea, and Mr. Mostel paid him $15 for it. His writing career had begun. (Mr. Mostel went on to play Tevye in the original Broadway production of “Fiddler.”)

In 1948, Mr. Stein made his Broadway writing debut, creating a single sketch with Mr. Glickman for “Lend an Ear,” a musical revue that starred Carol Channing and was choreographed by Gower Champion. And he became part of the writing staff of Sid Caesar’s classic 1950s comedy-variety series “Your Show of Shows.”
May he rest in peace.

Remembering the late Senator Paul Wellstone

Eight years ago today, we lost Senator Paul Wellstone, an iconic liberal that represented Minnesota. His loss was a tragedy not just for the United States Senate but for the people of Minnesota as well. At the time of his death, the Senate had yet to vote on the resolution to give the President the authorization to use force against Iraq.

We miss you, Senator, always and forever.

Mitch McConnell has ony ONE ITEM on his agenda

National Journal:
"The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president."

-- Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY)

Yes, Christine O'Donnell is an idiot...

Christine O'Donnell is showing how ignorant she is when it comes to politics. First, she could not name a single Supreme Court decision that she disagreed with while debating her opponent. Now comes this story from Politico.

Delaware GOP Senate nominee Christine O’Donnell struggled to name a Democratic senator she could work with Wednesday, eventually settling on Joe Lieberman, an independent from Connecticut.[...]

Well, she's not a senator anymore, but I would definitely have to say Hillary Clinton,” O’Donnell said, noting that she respects Clinton’s rise in the political world as another female candidate.

Democrat Chris Coons shot back that his Republican opponent “literally cannot name a single currently serving senator in my party with whom she would work.”

O’Donnell then interrupted with a shout of “Lieberman,” who often aligns with Republicans and supported Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) during the 2008 presidential election.
I don't know how much further of an embarrassment O'Donnell can be.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Republicans, please stop lying about Health Care

NY Times Editorial:
Here are a few basic facts that Americans need to keep in mind before they go to the polls, and afterward. First, most aspects of the reform do not go into effect until 2014. Second, things are indeed bad out there: The costs of medical care and insurance premiums are (still) rising, and some employers are (still) dropping coverage. But for that, you should blame the long-standing health care crisis and the current bad economy. Health reform is supposed to help with these problems.[...]

WE CALL THAT CAPITALISM: Republican politicians never tire of denouncing health care reform as a “government takeover” — or socialism. What is true is that the law relies heavily on private insurers and employers to provide coverage. It also strengthens regulation of those insurers and provides government subsidies to help low- and middle-income people buy private insurance on the exchanges.

Those exchanges will promote greater competition among insurers and a better deal for consumers, which last time we checked was a fundamental of capitalism.[...]

WHAT ABOUT MY PREMIUMS? Some Republicans are also claiming that health reform is driving up premiums. There have been sharp increases in some states, primarily in response to soaring medical costs. Some insurers may also be trying to increase their profits before the reform law holds them in check. A few very welcome provisions that take effect early, like requiring insurers to cover preventive care without cost-sharing, will play a minor role in premium increases for next year.

Reform has also energized federal officials and many state regulators to challenge and force down big increases sought by insurers. The Justice Department just filed suit against Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Michigan for allegedly using its market power to drive up costs for its competitors and its own subscribers.[...]

WHAT THEY’RE NOT SAYING: Health care reform has already brought substantial benefits, mostly starting in late September. Insurers are now barred from dropping coverage after a beneficiary becomes sick. Dependents can stay on their parents’ policies until age 26. Insurers must cover preventive services and annual checkups without cost-sharing. Lifetime limits on how much insurance plans will pay for treatment are gone.

The major benefits start in 2014, when tens of millions of the uninsured will gain coverage through Medicaid or by buying private coverage — with government help for low- and middle-income Americans — on the new competitive exchanges. If you lose your job, you will no longer lose access to insurance. And with government help the coverage should be affordable.

Far too few Democrats are explaining this on the campaign trail. The barrage of attack ads are hard to push back against. But the voters need to know that health care reform will give all Americans real security.

Yarmuth and Lally debate at AJ

Congressman John Yarmuth and challenger Todd Lally attended a forum at AJ this afternoon.
The two candidates spent much of their allotted time outlining their positions and, in Yarmuth's case, defending his record, and they shied away from taking potshots at one another.

Lally, a United Parcel Service pilot and Kentucky Air National Guard officer, said the country is headed in the wrong direction with debt and unemployment that are way too high.

“We have to make a change. … It's time to do better,” he said.

Yarmuth, seeking his third term, said he was proud he had supported House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and his Democratic colleagues in raising the minimum wage, shoring up Medicare, improving benefits for veterans, making prescription drugs more affordable for seniors and lowering the interest rate on student loans.

On the passage of the health care reform bill, for which Yarmuth voted, Lally said the measure is unconstitutional, is detested by a large majority of Americans and is out of financial reach of many individuals and the country as a whole. But Yarmuth said the old health care system was facing bankruptcy, had left 50 million people without insurance and was “clearly unsustainable.”[...]

Yarmuth, however, who voted for the economic stimulus package, said President Barack Obama inherited a huge debt from the previous administration of Republican George W. Bush and the stimulus bill was a last resort to halt a sinking economy. He contended that, without stimulus spending, unemployment nationally would be around 16.5 percent.

“We brought the country back from the brink,” he said, adding that the stimulus program had created about 1,800 jobs in Jefferson County alone.
I was planning to attend the forum this afternoon but an unforseen scheduling conflict came up and I was unable to do so.

The Tea Party Movement: Seventy percent have not campaigned

This comes via The Washington Post as they gauge the scope of the movement that calls themself the tea party.
In an unruly, unpredictable and chaotic election year, no group has asserted its presence and demanded to be heard more forcefully than the tea party. The grass-roots movement that was spawned with a rant has gone on to upend the existing political order, reshaping the debate in Washington, defeating a number of prominent lawmakers and elevating a fresh cast of conservative stars.

But a new Washington Post canvass of hundreds of local tea party groups reveals a different sort of organization, one that is not so much a movement as a disparate band of vaguely connected gatherings that do surprisingly little to engage in the political process.

The results come from a months-long effort by The Post to contact every tea party group in the nation, an unprecedented attempt to understand the network of individuals and organizations at the heart of the nascent movement.

Seventy percent of the grass-roots groups said they have not participated in any political campaigning this year. As a whole, they have no official candidate slates, have not rallied behind any particular national leader, have little money on hand, and remain ambivalent about their goals and the political process in general.
Let me get this straight: SEVENTY PERCENT of the grassroots organizations have not participated in any political campaigning at all this year?!? Unbelievable. Going to rallies alone does not do anything in getting the vote out. One has to go door to door, make phone calls, etc. I'm calling the bluff right now. Let's continue on now, shall we.
The local groups stand in contrast to - and, in their minds, apart from - a handful of large national groups that claim the tea party label. Most of those outfits, including FreedomWorks and Tea Party Express, are headed by longtime political players who have used their resources and know-how to help elect a number of candidates.

The findings suggest that the breadth of the tea party may be inflated. The Atlanta-based Tea Party Patriots, for example, says it has a listing of more than 2,300 local groups, but The Post was unable to identify anywhere near that many, despite help from the organization and independent research.

In all, The Post identified more than 1,400 possible groups and was able to verify and reach 647 of them. Each answered a lengthy questionnaire about their beliefs, members and goals. The Post tried calling the others as many as six times. It is unclear whether they are just hard to reach or don't exist.
So it's not as large as the media makes the movement appear to be?

What are they so concerned with?
The most common responses were concerns about spending and limiting the size of government, but together those were named by less than half the groups. Social issues, such as same-sex marriage and abortion rights, did not register as concerns.
Social issues are not a concern?!? Say what?!? The biggest issues that DRIVE Republicans to the polls are being scared of Adam marrying Steve instead of Eve. Or Suzy killing her unborn child. I can't believe that the tea party movement does not care about social issues. It's a shock.

What goes on at this tea party meetings?
One question remains: If most tea party groups don't engage in political campaigning, what exactly do they do?

Lisante, from Miami County, Ohio, said his meetings generally start with the Pledge of Allegiance, followed by a prayer, and then a speaker and a skit - the most recent was about the bank bailout. (Lisante said it was very funny.) The point, he said, is not to organize political action but to educate members and encourage them to become active on their own.

"Basically, we say: 'Listen, guys: You can no longer be the one who doesn't vote,' " Lisante said. " 'If you want to have an impact, you've got to show up.' "
Political novices, indeed. You don't get the vote out like that. You have to make phone calls and go door to door.

Rand Paul is not good for Kentucky

Jim reminds us that "A Vote For Rand Paul Is A Vote For David Duke, Mark Williams And White Supremacist

Al Cross on the Conway-Paul campaign

Al Cross wrote about the latest events in today's C-J. Read in full here but excerpts follow:
Paul's first response ad asked, “What kind of shameful politician would stoop this low, to bear false witness against another man just to win an election?” Actually, nothing in Conway's spot appears to be false, and if anyone bore false witness last week, it was Paul.

In last Sunday's debate, amid some of the most sustained indignation ever seen on Kentucky political TV, Paul repeatedly said Conway “makes up stuff” about what Paul did at Baylor University. Later in the week, he started issuing broad denials, saying “None of what's been reported ever happened.”

Specifically, though, Paul has never denied belonging to a student group “that called the Holy Bible a hoax, that was banned for mocking Christianity,” as Conway's ad said. Two former group members confirmed that for The Courier-Journal, one saying Paul “flourished in … blasphemy.”[...]

In the debate, Paul said Conway's charge was based on “an anonymous source,” with information Conway “read on a blog.” In fact, The Washington Post and GQ magazine have both reported on interviews with the woman, saying she didn't want to be identified because she is a clinical psychologist.

Rand and Ron Paul keep strange company

All of it is very well-documented but go read and find out why Rand Paul has ties to bigots.

Courier-Journal endorses Jack Conway for Senate

The Courier-Journal endorsed Jack Conway for the United States Senate.
When Kentucky voters go to the polls Nov. 2, they will be casting a verdict on one of the most closely watched Senate races in the nation.

The Republican candidate, Rand Paul, a Bowling Green ophthalmologist, is widely viewed as a measuring stick of the appeal of the libertarian values of much of the tea party movement. His candidacy rests largely on voter discontent with the administration of President Obama, who fared poorly in the 2008 election in Kentucky. Republican strategists view a victory by Dr. Paul as almost essential if they are to capture a Senate majority.

The Democratic candidate, Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway of Louisville, supports the oft-maligned national health care reform, but has tried to distance himself from Mr. Obama. Instead, he has leaned more heavily on former President Bill Clinton, who has scheduled two Kentucky visits on his behalf. Some pundits and Democratic operatives view this Senate position, which became open when incumbent GOP Sen. Jim Bunning announced his retirement plans, as the only Republican seat in the country that might be captured by a Democrat.

While all of that is interesting and indeed significant, Kentucky voters should also look out for their own interests in the United States Senate. If they do, they will elect Mr. Conway, whose candidacy we enthusiastically endorse.

Unlike Dr. Paul, who has never held a government office, Mr. Conway already has a strong record of public service. As a senior adviser and a legal counsel under Gov. Paul Patton, Mr. Conway played a key policy-making role, including as an architect of the nationally acclaimed higher education reform law of 1997. In almost three years as attorney general, Mr. Conway has saved the state's taxpayers several hundred millions of dollars, fighting high Medicaid drug costs, unjustified utility rate hikes and price gouging by oil companies. He also saved money by not joining the right-wing lawsuit against health care reform, noting that it also could open legal challenges to Social Security and Medicare.[...]

However, there is much about Mr. Conway's platform to applaud. He has a sensible plan to save $430 billion over 10 years — that's not enough, but it's a good start — by allowing Medicare to negotiate bulk rates on prescription drugs, fighting Medicare fraud and abuse, and closing offshore tax shelters and loopholes. He proposes a Small Business Loan Fund to enable local banks to lend more money to small businesses. He promises to be a sharp-eyed watchdog against the danger of war without end in Afghanistan.

Dr. Paul's campaign, on the other hand, has been a loopy journey of bizarre positions, often followed by reversals or clarifications. At various times, he has questioned the government's right to prevent racial discrimination by businesses, brushed off the need for the Americans with Disabilities Act (there are at least 12,000 disabled veterans alone in Kentucky) and tough mine-safety regulations, suggested federal anti-drug programs aren't essential in this state, floated the idea of a $2,000 deductible for Medicare and briefly seemed to endorse a regressive 23 percent sales tax to replace income taxes.

As these positions suggest, Dr. Paul has a national ideology but little understanding of Kentucky. At its core, his anti-tax, anti-spending agenda appears not to recognize that Kentucky receives far more in money from the federal government than it sends to Washington. At best, Dr. Paul's odd positions might embarrass Kentucky. At worst, he could cast votes that would inflict serious harm on the state.
Put Kentucky first and elect Jack Conway to the United States Senate.

Cincinnati/Kentucky Enquirer still finds way to endorse Rand Paul

If you are like me, you already that the Cincinnati/Kentucky Enquirer went down the drain once Pat Crowley left for the private sector. I met Pat a number of times when I was attending Northern Kentucky University for college. I read his blog all the time along with his articles.

Anyway, here's the excerpts from their endorsement of Rand Paul:
The world would be a poorer place if we did not make room for people with the courage to question conventional wisdom and the smarts to make a cogent case for their own vision. The race for Kentucky's U.S. Senate seat this fall has such a candidate - Republican standard-bearer Rand Paul.[...]

Unlike Conway, Paul doesn't fit the mold of a typical politician, and his provocative candor in advancing conservative viewpoints sometimes gets him in trouble.

To succeed, Paul has work to do. He needs to choose his words more carefully, avoid actions that make him simply an obstructionist, and - most important - commit himself to understanding and serving the specific needs of Kentucky.[...]

Conway, by contrast, seems a natural for this office. He's had the expected experience. He says the expected things in the expected way. He looks and acts the way you'd expect. If elected, he would be a perfectly capable and utterly conventional senator.
It's no surprise, really, that they endorsed Congressman Geoff Davis for another term. The district has grown conservative. At a rally on Saturday, Davis had an interesting choice of words for those in attendance.
“If we just exhale and vent our feelings and go back to our usual ways, nothing will happen,” said Davis, who is seeking a fourth term. “But if people engage, they organize, they do the hard and often thankless work of campaigns and of advocacy, you can make a difference – we can make a difference – and we will take our country back on November 2nd.”
My fear is that the people that were active as result of President Obama's candidacy were not as active this year as they were in 2008. I don't see the excitement as high as it was back then.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Obama blasts Republicans on economy

President Barack Obama blasted the Republicans on their economic policies.
With the midterm elections just 10 days away, President Barack Obama is blasting Republicans' economic policies at rallies in support of Democratic candidates and over the airwaves.

"This is a choice between the policies that got us into this mess and the policies that are going to lead us out of this mess," Obama told a crowd of about 37,000 on Friday at a rally in Los Angeles for California Sen. Barbara Boxer. "They are clinging to the same worn-out, tired, snake-oil ideas that they were peddling before."

At a rally in Las Vegas, Obama told supporters of Nevada Sen. Harry Reid: "They're banking on the fact that you might forget who got us in this mess in the first place."[...]

The president continued his attack on the GOP in his weekly address on Saturday, warning voters that Republicans seeking control of Congress would roll back his hard-won Wall Street overhaul bill.

"I think that would be a terrible mistake," he said. "Our economy depends on a financial system in which everyone competes on a level playing field, and everyone is held to the same rules -- whether you're a big bank, a small business owner, or a family looking to buy a house or open a credit card. And as we saw, without sound oversight and common-sense protections for consumers, the whole economy is put in jeopardy. That doesn't serve Main Street. That doesn't serve Wall Street. That doesn't serve anyone. And that's why I think it's so important that we not take this country backward -- that we don't go back to the broken system we had before. We've got to keep moving forward.

"This was a bill designed to rein in the secret deals and reckless gambling that nearly brought down the financial system," Obama said. "And reform included the strongest consumer protections in history -- to put an end to a lot of the hidden fees, deceptive mortgages and other abusive practices."

The measure promises limits on bank overdraft fees and an end to abuses such as retroactive interest rate increases on credit card balances. It came in the wake of a $700 billion bank rescue passed in the final months of George W. Bush's presidency. While the bailout is credited with providing stability, it's deeply unpopular with voters angry of taxpayer money being used to help prop up huge banks.

Obama promised that the measure ensures that taxpayers will "never again be on the hook for a bailout."

Friday, October 22, 2010

Rand Paul finds balls, will debate Conway

Rand Paul has decided to find his balls, which were missing in action over the past week, and has decided he will debate Jack Conway.
Saying he respects the voters of Kentucky but not the “inappropriate attacks” of his Democratic rival, Republican U.S. Senate nominee Rand Paul confirmed Friday that he will participate in a televised debate Monday night with Democratic candidate Jack Conway.[...]

Paul did not release any further information about his statement and did not take questions from reporters. He did say he wanted to raise the debate “to a higher plane.”

Conway campaign spokesman John Collins said in an e-mail that “Jack will debate on Monday without any preconditions…”

“Rand has spent the last week hemming and hawing, demanding restrictions on what he’ll answer,” Collins said. “Instead of having another tirade, Rand should show up and face the voters.”
I'm glad to know that Rand Paul has manned up after attacking Jack Conway for "not manning up," something along those lines.

Rand Paul didn't report accurate finances!

Jack Conway's campaign says that Rand Paul failed to report how much he recieved from Medicaid.
U.S. Senate Republican nominee Rand Paul failed to disclose on his financial disclosure form with the U.S. Senate more than $20,000 he received from Medicaid through his medical practice at a Bowling Green clinic, the campaign of Democrat Jack Conway said Friday.

In a telephone news conference, Conway campaign spokesman John Collins said Paul, an eye surgeon, did not list on his 2009 form his 2007 position with the Graves-Gilbert Clinic in Bowling Green.

Collins said Paul was required to list all employment positions he held in the previous two years.

“Rand Paul talks a lot about holding government in Washington accountable,” said Collins, noting that Paul has said he would file legislation to require members of Congress to read bills before they vote on them.

It seems Rand Paul can’t read instructions,” Collins said.

Collins said the Conway campaign learned through an Open Records request that Paul billed Medicaid in 2007 “over $70,000 and received more than $20,000 in payments.”

This is important, Collins said, because Paul has criticized Medicaid, saying the federal-state health insurance program fosters “inter-generational welfare” and claiming its coverage has spread beyond those truly in need.

“Why is he hiding the billing of more than $70,000 in Medicaid funds?” Collins asked.

A few things from the Forward

Read them in full but I'm printing a few excerpts here.

The Tea Party Test:

What are Jews to make of the Tea Party in this maddening election cycle? The raw anger directed at Democratic incumbency is understandable but highly disconcerting, since that anger promises to be far more destructive than constructive. The longing for a return to a constitutional nirvana is also understandable, but too often displays an appalling ignorance of what actually happened in American history.

And every day, it seems, there is fresh evidence of a candidate saying things that would have gotten him or her thrown out of high school civics.

“That’s in the First Amendment?” GOP Senate candidate Christine O’Donnell asked, twice, in a debate with her opponent in Delaware, appearing to either disagree with the constitutional prohibition against the establishment of religion, or to be unaware of it. That was October 19. The week before, O’Donnell could not name a single Supreme Court case with which she disagreed.

It may be too easy to pick on a relative neophyte like O’Donnell, considered among the weakest of the Tea Party insurgents. We’re in a deeply anti-intellectual moment, when candidates for high office feel no shame about what they don’t know. Sarah Palin couldn’t answer the Supreme Court question, either.

Yet it’s a mistake for liberals to arrogantly dismiss this powerful insurgency, and not just because it may earn the winner’s crown on November 2. The Tea Party-affiliated GOP candidate for New York governor, Carl Paladino, is also another clearly unqualified candidate in background and temperament, but his ascension is a reaction to the inexcusable incompetence of the powers that be in Albany. Reason lies behind this madness.

Progressives can’t ignore the legitimate causes of this anger, but neither can they fail to speak out against its excesses and dangers. Concern about the ballooning federal deficit, disagreement on tax policy — all fair game in a robust discussion about the limits and effectiveness of federal power.
Talk about negative, let's take a look at the California senate race.

But for California’s Jews, perhaps the oddest part of the race has been the waves of ads directed at them that allege Boxer is weak on Israel. “Barbara Boxer remained silent as the Obama administration pressured Israel and supported Israel’s enemies,” say the ads, printed in local Jewish papers by the Republican Jewish Coalition.

So far, there is scant evidence that the ads are influencing their intended audience. “It’s like attacking Henry Waxman on that issue,” said Raphael Sonenshein, chairman of the political science department at California State University, Fullerton. His reference was to the electorally unbeatable liberal House committee chairman from Los Angeles strongly favored by Jews. Though not a leader on Israel legislation, Waxman votes regularly with the pro-Israel congressional consensus. “Nobody really questions her [Boxer] as a supporter of Israel,” Sonenshein said.

Sonenshein termed the RJC campaign “puzzling.” But it’s possible the group had other goals in mind. “Because we are highlighting these issues, membership in the Republican Jewish Coalition is growing,” the ad notes in small print near the bottom, urging those reading it to join and contribute to the organization.

In California, a lot more hangs in the balance of this race than the fortunes of the RJC. Seeking a fourth senatorial term after 28 years in Congress, Boxer, at 69, holds a key Democratic seat. Nineteen Senate seats are in play. Seven of those seats are tipped toward the red, 10 are tossups and two — including Boxer’s — are polling bluish. But Boxer faces a backlash against Washington, against Obama and the sluggish economy he can’t seem to kick-start, and the general anger that is many a testy voter’s cup of tea these days. Not to mention California’s 12.4% unemployment rate and devastated state coffers. It is only recently that she has managed to pull ahead in the polls.

That wave of dissatisfaction still could sweep Fiorina, the 56-year-old former chairman and CEO of Hewlett-Packard, to Capitol Hill on a rising tide of conservative Republicans, many of them political newcomers like herself. She’s got Sarah Palin’s endorsement. But in an environment in which the economy and fear of unemployment trump all, she’s got other problems.

One is how to explain the more than 30,000 layoffs that took place at HP under Fiorina’s command, followed by her own golden parachute of more than $40 million in severance pay and stock buybacks when she was famously fired by HP’s board in 2005.
Russ Feingold is in the race for his life.

For the past 18 years, Wisconsin, where Jews constitute 0.5% of the population, has sent two Jews to fill its Senate seats. But as Election Day nears, one of those two is now fighting for his political life.

Over the course of three terms, Democrat Russ Feingold has earned a reputation as one of the Senate’s most independent members — a kind of Democratic counterpart to Arizona Republican John McCain, with whom he has partnered at times. He’s known as a liberal who refuses to toe his party’s line. Now, he is facing an uphill battle against Republican challenger Ron Johnson.

Despite polls showing him consistently behind, Feingold remains convinced that he will win. But if he does not, it will not just mark the end of Feingold’s political career. It will mark the disappearance in Congress of a recognizable political type: the independent Jewish liberal. It’s a profile that Feingold shared with Minnesota Senator Paul Wellstone, who died in a plane crash in 2002.[...]

Feingold’s selling point to Wisconsin voters is his independence. Even after 18 years in Washington, Feingold is difficult to pigeonhole. On the one hand, he has proved his progressive credentials not only by supporting health care reform, but also by being the sole vote in the Senate against the post-9/11 Patriot Act and by leading the battle against capital punishment. On the other hand, he voted against President Obama’s Wall Street reform bill, claiming that it was not sufficiently sweeping, and in 1999 he was the only Democrat to oppose dropping the impeachment process against President Clinton. Feingold is also a strong supporter of gun rights, a stance that has put him at odds with most of his liberal colleagues.

To most, the Wisconsin senator is known for his landmark legislation, which bears his own name and that of Republican John McCain. The McCain-Feingold bill sought to regulate campaign finance, an act described as declaring war against Washington lobbyists.

“I am the most independent member of the Senate, based on every analysis,” Feingold said in an October 18 interview with the Forward. “I simply call it as I see it, which is what Wisconsin people certainly in the past have liked and I think they still do now.”

Republican candidate threatens violent govenment overthrow

I kid you not. A Republican candidate for Congress says a few things that would scare the crap out of anyone.

The Dallas Morning News:
Republican congressional candidate Stephen Broden stunned his party Thursday, saying he would not rule out violent overthrow of the government if elections did not produce a change in leadership.

In a rambling exchange during a TV interview, Broden, a South Dallas pastor, said a violent uprising "is not the first option," but it is "on the table." That drew a quick denunciation from the head of the Dallas County GOP, who called the remarks "inappropriate."[...]

In the interview, Brad Watson, political reporter for WFAA-TV (Channel 8), asked Broden about a tea party event last year in Fort Worth in which he described the nation's government as tyrannical.

"We have a constitutional remedy," Broden said then. "And the Framers say if that don't work, revolution."

Watson asked if his definition of revolution included violent overthrow of the government. In a prolonged back-and-forth, Broden at first declined to explicitly address insurrection, saying the first way to deal with a repressive government is to "alter it or abolish it."

"If the government is not producing the results or has become destructive to the ends of our liberties, we have a right to get rid of that government and to get rid of it by any means necessary," Broden said, adding the nation was founded on a violent revolt against Britain's King George III.

Watson asked if violence would be in option in 2010, under the current government.

"The option is on the table. I don't think that we should remove anything from the table as it relates to our liberties and our freedoms," Broden said, without elaborating. "However, it is not the first option."
This is the kind of rhetoric that we are dealing with people. They are running on a theme of anger at Washington but this takes it way too far.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Common sense prevails...No Hangover for Gibson

Thank G-d.

Deadline reports:
Mel Gibson won't be appearing in The Hangover Part II, despite web rumors he'd play a tattoo artist in the Todd Phillips-directed pic. Warner Bros and its financing partner Legendary Pictures released a statement from Phillips.

"I thought Mel would have been great in the movie and I had the full backing of Jeff Robinov and his team. But I realize filmmaking is a collaborative effort, and this decision ultimately did not have the full support of my entire cast and crew," Phillips said.
As a member of the tribe, I am glad that they dropped the anti-Semitic actor from the cast. It's for the best.

Too funny....

Conan guests revealed

The guests during the first week have been revealed:
Monday, Nov. 8 – Seth Rogen and musical guest Jack White

Tuesday, Nov. 9 – Tom Hanks, Jack McBrayer and musical guest Soundgarden

Wednesday, Nov. 10 – Jon Hamm, Charlyne Yi and musical guest Fistful of Mercy

Thursday, Nov. 11 – Michael Cera, Julie Bowen and comedian Jon Dore

Not too shabby...

President Bill Clinton to campaign for Conwaya again

On the day before the election, President Bill Clinton will campaign again for Jack Conway.
Former President Bill Clinton will return to Kentucky a day before the Nov. 2 election to campaign for Democratic U.S. Senate nominee Jack Conway.

Conway campaign spokeswoman Allison Haley confirmed Thursday that Clinton will visit the state Nov. 1 for Conway. She said the locations of Clinton’s appearances have not been finalized.

Lexington businessman Jerry Lundergan, who is a close friend of the president, said he has talked to Clinton “and he has assured me that he will come back to Kentucky to campaign for Jack.”

Clinton, who recently was named in a national poll the most popular politician in America, attracted an estimated crowd of about 5,000 for Conway at an Oct. 11 rally in Lexington.

Clinton’s return appearance for Conway is “another indication that Jack is well-positioned to win this race,” Haley said.
This is extremely good news for the Conway campaign. Clinton draws the voters.