Wednesday, January 31, 2007

2008: Al Franken is in

Two DFL Congressman confirm that they recieved calls from Al Franken about his run for the Senate in 2008.
The Star Tribune confirmed today that Franken made calls to at least two members of the Minnesota congressional delegation in Washington to break the news. The sources spoke on the condition of anonymity, not wanting to pre-empt Franken's announcement.

"From his voice to my ears, he's running," said one House member, who relayed the remark via his press secretary.

"I can tell you we got one of those calls," said a top-ranked aide for another House member.

One long-time DFL House member said she was happy to receive a call from Franken: "He said he's in and he just wanted to let me know."

Franken declined to be interviewed.

"He's not going to comment on his private conversations," said Andy Barr, his spokesman. But he added that Franken has "made no secret" of his interest in Coleman's seat.[...]

Franken expects his years in New York to be an issue in the campaign but has had a ready line as he promotes himself to Minnesota audiences: "If I do run against Norm Coleman in `08, I'll be the only New York Jew in the race who actually grew up in Minnesota."

Coleman grew up in New York and moved to Minnesota as an adult.

Owen's speech

Here is video of Charlie Owen's speech from last night: Credit The Hillbilly Report

More videos from last night

These videos are from last night's affair in Louisville.

Steve Beshear
Gatewood Galbraith
Renee True

Biden enters race, Klobuchar on global warming

Congressman Ben Chandler is one of those co-chairing the Anti-Terrorism Caucus. It certainly is nice to see him moving on up in leadership positions since being elected to Congress in early 2004.

I admit that I was hesitant on blogging about the Democratic primary for the office of Attorney General as I did not find out til Tuesday afternoon, after class, that Ed Hatchett would not be a candidate for any public office. I supported State Auditor Hatchett's bid for Attorney General in 2003 when he ran in the primaries. I also supported Jack Conway's congressional bid in 2002--and knowing both candidates, I did not want to be placed in such an awkward position of blogging on the race without going negative as to why I support the one and not the other. As is the case, I am pleased to say that I support Jack Conway's bid for Attorney General and will do what I can to help.
Conway said he would focus on things such as being an advocate for consumers.

"I want the office, and it was just an opportunity that I couldn't pass up," Conway said at a Capitol rally attended by state Auditor Crit Luallen and former Kentucky Supreme Court Justice John Palmore.

Conway faces Robert Bullock, a former longtime assistant attorney general, in the primary.

Three other Republicans have filed - Louisville lawyer Philip Kimball, Jon Larson of Lexington and Tim Coleman of Morgantown.

Conway's name had been mentioned as a possible candidate for either governor or lieutenant governor, but Conway said he was not looking at the attorney general position as a springboard to higher office.

Conway said the fact that he had not previously held public office and was mostly known within Jefferson County contributed to his decision.

"I'm known in Jefferson County, but I need to begin a dialogue with people statewide," he said.
This is good news relating to Iran and their leadership.
More than 100 Iranian scholars, writers and activists living at home and abroad honored Holocaust victims and excoriated Iran’s government for denying the genocide.

A petition appearing in the latest New York Review of Books begins calls the Nazis’ “Final Solution” and their ensuing campaign of genocide “undeniable historical facts,” deplores the Iranian regime’s use of Holocaust denial as “a propaganda tool” and says “the new brand of anti-Semitism prevalent in the Middle East today” has no precedent in Iran’s history.

The petition concludes by saying that the petitioners “pay homage to the memory of the millions of Jewish and non-Jewish victims of the Holocaust, and express our empathy for the survivors of this immense tragedy as well as all other victims of crimes against humanity across the world.”
Longtime Deleware Senator Joe Biden has announced his candidacy for President today. While John Edwards is my first choice right now with the depature of Sen. Bayh from the race, Biden certainly would not be a bad choice to lead the ticket given his standing in the Senate Foreign Relations Cmte. He has his flaws with the plagarism scandal in 1988 though. In an interview with the New York Observer, Biden certainly had a lot to say about the other candidates. Biden will appear on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart this evening at 11 PM eastern.

Freshman Senator Amy Klobuchar has called for action to be taken on global warming, citing the shorter season in Minnesota due to the warmer than usual temperatures.
She said she wanted to see several specific provisions in legislation aimed at curtailing global warming, including:

-Strong limits on economy-wide emissions of greenhouse gases;

-A cap and trade system, in which companies would be able to buy and sell emissions allowances;

-Strong renewable fuel content standards for cars and trucks;

-Incentives for hybrid and flex-fuel vehicles;

-Renewable energy standards for electricity generation, to make greater use of wind, solar and other renewable energy sources.

"In Minnesota, stewardship for the environment is a part of our heritage and it has been an especially important part of preserving our economy," Klobuchar said. "So global warming is an issue that strikes us close to home."

President Bush, while acknowledging concerns about global warming, opposes mandatory caps of greenhouse gas emissions, saying that approach would be too expensive.

Sen. Barbara Boxer, a California Democrat who chairs the committee, has the most aggressive bill, touted as reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent by mid-century.

"I generally support that bill as well as the McCain-Lieberman bill," Klobuchar told reporters on a conference call later in the day. The latter bill, by Sens. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Joe Lieberman, I-Conn., would cut emissions by two-thirds by 2050.

Klobuchar stressed that no one will get everything they want in the final bill.
Amanda Marcotte of Pandagon has signed on with the John Edwards for President campaign.

How the Democrats took back the Senate...

Senator Chuck Schumer has revealed that picking a favorite in a primary was key to winning in 2006.
Schumer contends, instead, that a bigger factor was his sometimes controversial decision to have the DSCC play favorites and “mix” in the primary elections that chose Democratic nominees for some of the year’s key races.

Schumer said that this was one of the conditions he laid out when he was negotiating with Senate Democratic leaders about whether he would accept the DSCC chairmanship after the 2004 election. He referred in the book to a meeting he had with Sen. Harry Reid of Nevada, who was stepping up to the position of minority leader vacated when Democratic Sen. Tom Daschle lost his 2004 re-election bid in South Dakota.

“Of all the things Harry Reid and I discussed the day I took the DSCC job, I believe that aggressive candidate selection — through both recruitment and intervention in primaries — contributed to winning the Senate majority more than any other (even more than our fundraising advantage, which was significant, to be sure.),” Schumer wrote.

Immediately after taking the job, Schumer started seeking out Republican seats for Democrats to target in 2006. It hardly took much time for the Schumer team to set their sights on Pennsylvania, a Democratic-leaning state where Republican incumbent Rick Santorum’s strongly conservative views rendered him highly vulnerable, even before the anti-Republican tide of 2006 had set in. Schumer worked with Edward G. Rendell, Pennsylvania’s Democratic governor, to recruit a proven prodigious vote-getter, Bob Casey, the incumbent state treasurer, a former state auditor and namesake son of a late, popular former governor.[...]

In Virginia, where Republican Sen. George Allen entered his re-election bid as a solid favorite, Schumer preferred Jim Webb — a former Navy secretary under President Ronald Reagan and, until not that long ago, a Republican — over technology industry lobbyist Harris Miller, a longtime Democratic Party activist.

Webb’s military background, which includes combat service during the Vietnam War, gave credibility to his outspoken opposition to the Iraq war and his characterization of Allen as a knee-jerk supporter of President Bush’s Iraq policy. Schumer wrote that Webb “fit like a glove” in Virginia, a state with many residents who are active or retired military or who have ties to defense-related industry.[...]

Schumer’s candidate recruitment efforts even included moments of serendipity. Schumer was vacationing in London with his family and learned that state Auditor Claire McCaskill of Missouri — whom Schumer was coaxing to challenge Republican Sen. Jim Talent — happened to be vacationing with family in London at the same time.

“I found out where her family was staying and invited them to dinner,” Schumer wrote, adding that the trip enabled him to convey to McCaskill that “being in the Senate wouldn’t foreclose a family life.”

McCaskill agreed to run, and she defeated Talent.
Kentucky has a big race in 2008 to unseat Republican incumbent Mitch McConnell. It will be interesting to see who the DSCC will go after.

Snow Advisory

The weather could always change but it's always better to be safe than sorry.

The Louisville area could be in for its first significant snow of the winter, starting sometime early Thursday.

The National Weather Service said much of Central Kentucky should brace for 2 to 4 inches of snow Thursday.

In anticipation of the snow, 10 Louisville Metro dump trucks began putting down brine, a salt and water mixture, on major snow routes Tuesday and plan to continue Wednesday, said Metro government spokeswoman Allison Martin. The brine is intended to prevent precipitation from freezing on roadways.

A storm system moving up from the Southwest will enter the Ohio Valley overnight, bringing with it "a light, steady snow" that could persist from morning into evening, said Mike Callahan of the weather service.

Slightly less snow -- a maximum of 3 inches -- is predicted for much of Southern Indiana.

Owen on 2008

Ryan Alessi spoke with Charlie Owen last night and here's what Charlie had to say about the 2008 race.
While opting not to jump in the governor's race yesterday, Democrat Charlie Owen, a Louisville millionaire, instead began lobbing sharp criticism at Republican U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell, who is up for re-election next year.

"We need serious people," Owen said. "We should replace our senior senator."

When asked if he will enter the 2008 race against McConnell, Owen said only that "if people in this state want to get serious, they better take note of some of this."

Specifically, Owen said McConnell willingly participated in piling up of a record national debt, while "doing nothing to fix a broken-down health care system" and failing to help the country keep up with growing economies of China and India.

In addition, Owen called McConnell "the staunchest, steadiest, strongest supporter of the president." He noted that a majority of Americans think Bush erred in the handling of the Iraq war.[...]

"What we in Kentucky should do is say enough of the man who has been the strongest supporter of the president, and a supporter of this governor -- both of whom have put us on the wrong path," Owen said.
Owen also defended the candidates running in 2007.

Video from tonight

Just got word of this one:

2008: Charlie Owen for Senate?

Mark Hebert had this to say about Charlie Owen's political future.
Apparently about the same time I was writing this brilliant analysis, Owen was hammering Mitch McConnell in a speech to Louisville's Young Democrats Club and implying that he's seriously considering running for McConnell's U.S. Senate in 2008. Tough chore. We'll see if Owen will return my phone call tonight.
Given his track record in prior years, it's hard to say how well he would do in a primary or general election. However, he does have the finances to run his own campaign. Now while I am one that would wait and see how the field develops, I do think that Charlie Owen would make a great Senator should he decide to run.

A bit of background on Mr. Owen for those of you who are uneducated on his history:
He earned his bachelor's degree at Princeton University and his law degree at the University of Virginia. Owen worked as a federal prosecutor before Governor of Kentucky Edward T. Breathitt asked him to return to Kentucky to head the state crime commission. In that capacity Owen worked under three different governors (two Democrats, one Republican) and played a major role in enacting Kentucky's penal code, medical examiner system, law enforcement training programs and a host of other accomplishments.
Here's some more from the archived 2003 Chandler-Owen caampaign site.
Owen was appointed Director of the Kentucky Crime Commission and served in that position for Governors Breathitt, Nunn, and Ford. Under his leadership, the Crime Commission created the nation's first salary incentive program and local police throughout Kentucky were trained for the first time. Last year, over 9,000 law enforcement officers attended the program established by the Commission at Eastern Kentucky University. The Commission also rewrote all the state criminal laws for the first time in history, created Kentucky's Medical Examiner Program, established a Public Defender System and successfully promoted a Constitutional Amendment changing the way Kentucky judges are elected. Owen was recognized for the extraordinary progress Kentucky made during this 7 year period when he was twice elected Chair of the National Conference of State Crime Commission Directors.

From 1974 to the present, Owen has been a successful businessman and attorney. As a corporate attorney, he represented both small and large businesses, including several Fortune 500 companies. As a businessman and entrepreneur, he served as President or Managing Partner of numerous cable television systems, a construction company and several real estate development entities. He has employed thousands of people in these successful businesses.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Democratic Primary Debate set for April 12

The Campbell County Democratic Executive Committee, Northern Kentucky Labor Council, Change for Northern Kentucky, and the Northern Kentucky University College Democrats are sponsoring a regional debate for Democratic candidates for Govenor on April 12, 2007.

The debate will be at the Campbell County High School auditorium in Alexandria, KY.

The moderator will be Maryanne Zeleznik of WVXU Radio. Panelists include Misty Maynard (Maysville-Ledger Independent) and Jack Brammer (Lexington Herald-Leader)

The debate will start at 6 PM with introductions and the Pledge.

At 6:15, the candidates will debate.

There will be a press room for editors of high school and college newspapers.

Statement of 2007 Endorsements

As I said sometime yesterday, I would be making a statement around 4 PM on Tuesday. Well, 4 PM is finally here. I'm keeping this short and simple.

Here are my 2007 endorsements for the Democratic Primary:
Governor/Lt. Governor - Jonathan Miller/Irv Maze
Attorney General - Jack Conway
Secretary of State - Dick Robinson
State Treasurer - Mike Weaver
State Auditor - Crit Luallen
Agricultural Commissioner - David Neville

In other news, there is a campaign taking place this weekend between the states of Indiana and Illinois. It comes as no surprise that I say that I am ready...for the Indianapolis Colts to win the Super Bowl!

2007 Official Candidates

I've added the 2008 congressional elections to this post.

2007 Statewide
Official Tickets
Jonathan Miller (State Treasurer) and Irv Maze (Jefferson County Attorney)
Steve Beshear (Lt. Governor, 1983-87, Attorney) and Dr. Daniel Mongiardo (State Senator, 2004 US Senate candidate)
Otis Hensley, Jr. (Demolition Contractor) and Richard Robbins
Jody Richards (House Speaker) and John Y. Brown III (Former Secretary of State)
Gatewood Galbraith (Attorney) and Mark Wireman
Dr. Steve Henry (Lt. Governor, 1995-2003) and Renee True (Fayette Co. PVA)
Bruce Lunsford (Businessman) and Greg Stumbo (Attorney General)

Secretary of State
Dick Robinson (Central Kentucky businessman, creator and general manager of The Joe B. and Denny Crum radio show)
Bruce Hendrickson (former mayor of Pineville and city councilman)
MaDonna J. White (College Instructor)

Atty. General
Robert Bullock (former Assistant Attorney General)
Jack Conway (Louisville attorney, 2002 Congressional candidate)

L.J. "Todd" Hollenbach
Patrick Dunmire (Frankfort Democrat)
Mike Weaver (Former State Rep., 2006 Congressional candidate)
Jack D. Wood (former judge and Republican attorney general candidate)

Crit Luallen (incumbent)

Agricultural Commissioner
David Neville (cattleman)
David Williams (Retiree & Frequent Candidate)

2008 Congressional
KY1 - Jerry Rhoads (State Senator)
KY2 - Tommy Thompson (State Representative)
KY3 - John Yarmuth (Incumbent)
KY4 - Tanya Pullin (State Representative)
KY5 - Is Rogers beatable? If yes, Greg Stumbo (Attorney General)
KY6 - Ben Chander (Incumbent)

2008 US Senate
Ben Chandler
Jonathan Miller
Charlie Owen
Paul Patton (former Governor)
Wendell Ford (People are saying, despite his age, that he's the only one that can beat Mitch McConnell)
Dr. Daniel Mongiardo

2010 US Senate
Ben Chandler

With regards to Republicans:
Governor/Lt. Governor
Ernie Fletcher/Robbie Rudolph
Billy Harper (McCracken County Board of Education Chair & Businessman) and Dick Wilson (Paducah Businessman)
Anne Northup (ex-Congresswoman)/Jeff Hoover (State Rep.)

Secretary of State
Trey Grayson (Incumbent)

Attorney General
Timothy R. Coleman (Commonwealth Attorney from Morgantown)
Jon Larson (Lexington attorney)
Stan Lee (House Minoriy Whip)
Phillip C. Kimball (Louisville Attorney)

Brandon Smith (State Representative)
Melinda Wheeler (Director, Administrative Office of the Courts)
Ken Upchurch (State Rep. ex-Minority Whip)
Lonnie Napier (State Representative)

Linda Greenwell (2003 Candidate)

Agricultural Commissioner
Richie Farmer (Incumbent)
Don Stosberg(Former executive director of the Kentucky Recreation and Park Society, budget analyst LRC)

2010 US Senate
Jim Bunning (incumbent)

Dyche attacks Miller's Sideburns

Let me first state that, over the years, I've had some long sideburns and they usually stay long...although my winter beard takes its place this time of year. But let me just state, for the record, that I have no problems with the long sideburns.

Here's what the campaign sent out in response:
Dear Friends: Today, we have seen negative attack campaigning taken to a new level. We've seen politicians attack each others' records. We've even seen politicians attack each other personally. But, in the lowest blow in political history, conservative columnist John David Dyche, in today's Louisville Courier-Journal, attacked me where it hurts the sideburns.

Dyche writes, "Treasurer Jonathan Miller sports perhaps the longest sideburns on a gubernatorial candidate since the Seventies – the 1870s."

My campaign is about bringing real change to Kentucky. That sometimes means new ideas based on the technological innovations of the 21st century. But it also sometimes means returning to the enduring values that have made America great. My 1870s fashion role models may not have been the greatest Presidents, but they had great sideburns: Rutherford B. Hayes, Chester Alan Arthur, and the late great, Samuel Tilden. What Dyche doesn't know is that my greatest sideburns role model was still with us in the 1970s. Not only was Elvis The King of rock 'n roll, but he sported the best sideburns ever.

Hotmail down?

I can't access MSN or Hotmail at all since late last night. Anyone else having this problem?

It's currently 1:01 PM and I've had no luck at being able to access email. As such, blogging will be light today.

It's almost 2:30 and it appears to be an issue on campus that's causing this problem and Hotmail appears to be the only site that it's causing problems for. I'm very knowledgable when it comes to internet related issues--this one is out of my control.

More on Barbaro

Just got word of this guestbook through Thirty-one pages so far.

Barbaro was survived by Dynaformer, his father; La Ville Rouge, his mother; an unnamed brother, and La Ville Rouge's unborn colt or mare.

Edwards acknowledges 2004 inexperience

Other candidates running for president in 2008 should certainly take note of Sen. John Edwards' comments today to students at Wake Forest University.
The former North Carolina senator was serving his first and only Senate term four years ago when he declared himself a presidential candidate. During a forum at Wake Forest University on Monday, Edwards said he might agree with critics who said he left Congress too soon to seek the presidency.

"They may have been right," Edwards said, adding that the experience he has gained since the election has now prepared him for another run in 2008.

"When I ran in 2004, I spent most of my time thinking about being a good candidate," Edwards told a packed crowd spilling out of the 2,300-seat Wait Chapel. "These days I think about what I want to do as president of the United States."

Monday, January 29, 2007

Other news...

Scroll down to the very bottom of the blog but right above the site meter links. I've got a big surprise in store for much of you...

In other news, I will have an important statement up tomorrow around 4ish relating to a huge campaign that's coming up pretty soon.

Yossi Klein Halevi & Michael B. Oren wrote an interesting article featured in The New Republic titled Contra Iran.
The first reports from military intelligence about an Iranian nuclear program reached the desk of Yitzhak Rabin shortly after he became prime minister in May 1992. Rabin's conclusion was unequivocal: Only a nuclear Iran, he told aides, could pose an existential threat to which Israel would have no credible response. But, when he tried to warn the Clinton administration, he met with incredulity. The CIA's assessment--which wouldn't change until 1998--was that Iran's nuclear program was civilian, not military. Israeli security officials felt that the CIA's judgment was influenced by internal U.S. politics and privately referred to the agency as the "cpia"--"P" for "politicized."

The indifference in Washington helped persuade Rabin that Israel needed to begin preparing for an eventual preemptive strike, so he ordered the purchase of long-range bombers capable of reaching Iran. And he made a fateful political decision: He reversed his ambivalence toward negotiating with the PLO and endorsed unofficial talks being conducted between Israeli left-wingers and PLO officials. Rabin's justification for this about-face was that Israel needed to neutralize what he defined as its "inner circle of threat"--the enemies along its borders--in order to focus on the coming confrontation with Iran, the far more dangerous "outer circle of threat." Rabin's strategy, then, was the exact opposite of the approach recently recommended by the Iraq Study Group: Where James Baker and Lee Hamilton want to engage Iran--even at the cost of downplaying its nuclear ambitions--in order to solve crises in the Arab world, Rabin wanted to make peace with the Arab world in order to prevent, at all costs, a nuclear Iran.

Now, more than a decade later, the worst-case scenario envisioned by Rabin is rapidly approaching. According to Israeli intelligence, Iran will be able to produce a nuclear bomb as soon as 2009. In Washington, fear is growing that either Israel or the Bush administration plans to order strikes against Iran. In Israel, however, there is fear of a different kind. Israelis worry not that the West will act rashly, but that it will fail to act at all. And, while strategists here differ over the relative efficacy of sanctions or a military strike, nearly everyone agrees on this point: Israel cannot live with a nuclear Iran.

For over two decades, since the era of former Prime Minister Menachem Begin, the Holocaust was rarely invoked, except on the extremes, in Israeli politics. In recent months, though, the Iranian threat has returned the Final Solution to the heart of Israeli discourse. Senior army commanders, who likely once regarded Holocaust analogies with the Middle East conflict as an affront to Zionist empowerment, now routinely speak of a "second Holocaust." Op-eds, written by left-wing as well as right-wing commentators, compare these times to the 1930s. Israelis recall how the international community reacted with indifference as a massively armed nation declared war against the Jewish people--and they sense a similar pattern today. Even though the United States and Europe have finally awakened to the Iranian nuclear threat, Iran's calls for the destruction of Israel tend to be dismissed as mere rhetoric by the Western news media. Yet, here in Israel, those pronouncements have reinforced Rabin's urgency in placing the Iran situation at the top of the strategic agenda.

One of the men most responsible for doing precisely that is Labor Party parliamentarian and current Deputy Defense Minister Ephraim Sneh, whom Rabin entrusted with his government's "Iran file." Like most in the defense establishment, Sneh doesn't believe Iran would immediately launch a nuclear attack against Israel. But, he adds, it won't have to actually use the bomb to cripple Israel. "They would be able to destroy the Zionist dream without pressing the button," he says.

In clipped tones that reveal his long military background, he outlines three repercussions of an Iranian bomb. To begin with, he notes, the era of peace negotiations will come to an end: "No Arab partner will be able to make concessions with a nuclear Iran standing over them." What's more, Israel will find its military options severely limited. An emboldened Iran could provide Hezbollah and Hamas with longer-range and deadlier rockets than their current stock of Katyushas and Qassams; yet, threatened with a nuclear response, Israel would have little defense against intensifying rocket fire on its northern and southern periphery, whose residents would have to be evacuated to the center. Israel already experienced a foretaste of mass uprooting in the Lebanon war last summer, when hundreds of thousands of Galilee residents were turned into temporary refugees. Finally, says Sneh, foreign investors will flee the country, and many Israelis will, too. In one recent poll, 27 percent of Israelis said they would consider leaving if Iran went nuclear. "Who will leave? Those with opportunities abroad--the elite," Sneh notes. The promise of Zionism to create a Jewish refuge will have failed, and, instead, Jews will see the diaspora as a more trustworthy option for both personal and collective survival. During the Lebanon war, Israeli television's preeminent satirical comedy, "O What a Wonderful Land," interviewed an Israeli claiming that "this" is the safest place for Jews--as the camera pulled back to reveal that "this" was London.

Even without the bomb, Iran's threat to Israel is growing. Working through Shia Hezbollah, Alawite Damascus, and Sunni Hamas, Tehran has extended its influence into Lebanon, Syria, and the Palestinian territories. As a result of Hezbollah's perceived victory in the Lebanon war and Hamas's ability to continue firing rockets at Israeli towns despite repeated army incursions into Gaza, Iran has proved it can attack Israel with near-impunity. Iranian newspapers are replete with stories gloating over the supposed erosion of Israel's will to fight and the imminent collapse of its "postmodern" army, as one recent article put it. Iran's self-confidence has been bolstered by Israel's failure to extract a price from Tehran for instigating the Lebanon war and for funding terrorist operations as far back as the early '90s, when Iran masterminded the bombing of the Israeli Embassy in Buenos Aires and, two years later, that city's Jewish community headquarters. Nor has Israel--to say nothing of the U.N. peacekeeping forces--managed to prevent Hezbollah from rearming. And, if Iran manages to overcome U.S. threats and U.N. sanctions and achieve nuclear capability, it will be seen throughout the Muslim world as unstoppable.
Oren recently authored Power, Faith, and Fantasy: America in the Middle East, 1776 to the Present.

The Global Forum Against Anti-Semitism notes that prelimenary data shows that Anti-Semitism is on the rise.
The Forum, which represents the Jewish Agency, the World Zionist Organization and the Foreign Ministry, pointed out that the second war in Lebanon sparked anti-Semitic outbursts, especially in countries with large Muslim and Arab populations.

"The Kafr Kana incident marked a peak in anti-Semitic outbursts," said Hermon, referring to the IDF bombing of a residential building which housed missile launchers aimed at Israeli civilian populations. These launchers were purposely positioned by Hizbullah among Lebanese civilians to maximize collateral damage.

Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, Chairman of the Jewish Agency Ze'ev Bielski, Chairman of the Jewish Agency Task Force Against Anti-Semitism Amos Hermon, and Shlomo Molla who holds the anti-Semitism portfolio in the World Zionist Organization presented the findings at a press conference at the Jewish Agency Sunday.

2006 was also a year of the proliferation of Holocaust denial. Iran hosted an anti-Semitic caricature competition in August, as well as a conference devoted to examining the veracity of the Holocaust.
Is it possible that relations with Iran could get back to where they were before the hostage crisis in the late 1970s? Anyway, here's this interesting piece of news relating to the Tehran Film Festival.
“Requesting the movie to Iran raises our tremendous success in the world by a thousand levels,” said Ziv Koren, the photojournalist whose story is followed in the film.

“This is an exceptional opportunity to show the Iranians a film about life in Israel. The film doesn’t deal with my work as a photographer. It serves as a mirror for Israeli society and presents my feelings as a human being who lives in Tel Aviv. I hope that the human message will get through.”

It was not immediately clear why the film was selected but its Israeli director, Solo Avital, suggested it might be a sign that there are growing voices in Iran who want to know more about Israel and don’t necessarily agree with the current regime’s policy.
John Edwards is set for an appearance at Wake Forest.

Mike Weaver officially filed to become a candidate for State Treasurer.

Sad news today in Israel as three people were killed in Eilat by a homicide-bomber. Sadly, the killer's family was very proud. I would like for President Carter to condemn the act of terror.

Political Wire

Are you looking for coverage of national news in politics? The best site for that is none other than Political Wire. Frpm the quote of the day to the latest poll numbers, it's guaranteed to be up to date on the latest.

If it weren't for, I doubt I would have known that Boston Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling was considering a run for the Senate or that Schilling plans to endorse Senator John McCain for President.

Political Wire is run by Taegan Goddard, an author of You Won, Now What: How Americans Can Make Democracy Work from City Hall to the White House. Goddard's essays on politics and public policy have appeared in various newspapers.

While I don't usually like to tell people how to run their own blog, Taegan actually wants to get advice from bloggers. My suggestions would be to have some articles on the 2007 gubernatorial races since it will be big in states like Kentucky and Louisiana. Also, I would suggest adding a link to, given how large it's become in the blogosphere, especially here in the Commonwealth of Kentucky.

Given that I'm a college student, I don't read the the paper edition of the newspaper unless I am at home and have it in front of me. I read the papers online daily, especially the Courier-Journal and the Herald Leader. However, blogs are starting to be the sources of the most recent breaking news--and that is what draws me to Political Wire each and every day: to read the most recent political news that have only recently broke but hasn't hit the news in other areas.

In addition, has an aggregator of some of the top Democratic blogs out there.

Quote of the Day

"I think the Colts should dedicate the game to this great colt."
--Woody Paige on Barbaro, Around the Horn, January 29, 2007

Trey Grayson: Pick a running-mate after primary

In several states, the primary candidates are decided in a manner similar to that of the presidential election, in which the nominee chooses his own Lt. Governor after the election.

I'd have to sleep more on this idea before considering whether or not to support the idea proposed by Secretary of State Trey Grayson.
Prospective candidates couldn't raise or spend any campaign cash until they found a running mate and filed with the Kentucky Registry of Election Finance.

That made it difficult for them to commission a poll to show off their viability to potential lieutenant governor candidates or pay for trips to build up support networks or even trek across the state to find a slate-mate.

So all this may help Secretary of State Trey Grayson make his case for a bill that would allow each party's nominee for governor to name a running mate after the primary election.

"I think it has strengthened the argument for it," said Grayson, a Republican.

Under that system, each candidate would run solo and the lieutenant governor candidate would be selected and nominated at a party convention after the primary -- just like the presidential election process.

Grayson said he's still looking for someone to sponsor the bill in the General Assembly next month. Democratic Rep. Tommy Thompson of Owensboro -- who was running mate with former Secretary of State Bob Babbage in the 1995 Democratic primary -- introduced it last year but hasn't committed yet to push it during this session.

Kathy Groob, a Democratic activist in Northern Kentucky, said she likes Grayson's proposal because it opens new opportunities for surprise candidates.

"There could be a strong No. 2 who comes out and runs strong in the primary," she said. "I think we'd have a stronger team."

The current running mate requirement is left over from the 1992 election reforms that created gubernatorial slates.

But at that time, someone considering running for governor could create an exploratory committee by him or herself and raise money to cover costs of polls and travel. The legislature killed exploratory committees in 2005, making this the first election run under these conditions.

He said that despite the buzz in political circles, he seriously considered just two potential running mates: True and state Sen. Joey Pendleton of Hopkinsville, who said last fall that he declined Henry's invitation.

Pendleton said he would oppose Grayson's running-mate measure.

"I kind of like to know who the whole team is going to be from the start to the finish," he said.
What do you think?

Air America Update

Air America has been sold but Al Franken will be leaving the network. This can only mean one thing and one thing only: he will seek the Senate seat and continue the tradition of two Jews running for Hubert Humphrey's old Senate seat.

RIP: Barbaro (2003-2007)

Barbaro, foaled April 29, 2003, was euthanized on January 29, 2007. May he rest in peace. Many of us remember watching the Preakness and seeing him break down shortly after being released from the starting gate. No one was really concerned with following the rest of the race as everyone's hearts and souls were focused on how Barbaro was doing. I offer my condolences to his owner, trainer, and jockey as they mourn his tragic passing.
Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro was euthanized Monday after complications from his breakdown at the Preakness last May.

“We just reached a point where it was going to be difficult for him to go on without pain,” co-owner Roy Jackson said. “It was the right decision, it was the right thing to do. We said all along if there was a situation where it would become more difficult for him then it would be time.”

Roy and Gretchen Jackson were with Barbaro on Monday morning, with the owners making the decision in consultation with chief surgeon Dean Richardson.
Barbaro shall be missed.


I'm sorry, Mr. Lunsford, but there are very rare cases in which I'm not forgiving as I usually am. This is one of those times. I CANNOT find it in my heart to forgive your decision to endorse Ernie Fletcher over the Democratic nominee, Ben Chandler, in the 2003 governor's race. You can try whatever you want but you will not forgiveness within me.

What Lunsford did in 2003 was wrong and he knows it. By running again in 2007, his campaign is already dead on arrival--as is that of Steve Henry. With an already crowded field, their campaigns will hardly gain any traction amongst the others. Lunsford can write a huge check as he pleases, but he will not be buying my votes.

This campaign is about change for Kentucky and to move the state forward, not backwards as the current governor has done.

As for Attorney General Greg Stumbo, I've lost what little respect I had for him after Fletcher was let off the hook.

I love Kentucky as much as the next person does but Bruce Lunsford is not the person to lead the state forward into the 21st Century.

My support will go to one slate and one slate only: Jonathan Miller and Irv Maze.

ETA: There's a new site devoted to Bruce Lunsford

Ron Lewis

Looks like a Ron Lewis site has popped up for 2008...

Least we forget Anne Northup and Jeff Hoover

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Mitch McConnell 2008

I just got word of this site for Mitch McConnell 2008.

We've got a long two years ahead of us but I believe that Mitch McConnell can be defeated once and for all.

Miller press release

I just got word of this one and I hope that the questions are asked of Mr. Lunsford.

Thanks to The Hillbilly Report, we now have video:
Statement of Jonathan Miller on Possible Candidacy of Lunsford
As I said, when I announced my campaign for Governor, this election is about one thing, plain and simple: do you want change, or more of the same? I’ve talked to people from all 120 Kentucky counties, and their answer is resoundingly clear: they want real change, and they want it now.

Unfortunately, the Democratic primary is looking like what Yogi Berra once described as “déjà vu all over again.” While the calendar reads 2007; it is beginning to look a lot like 2003. And it has a whole lot of people very concerned.

In the past 48 hours, my campaign has received hundreds of phone calls and e-mails about the prospects of Bruce Lunsford's possible entry into the Democratic primary.

Some of these people are longtime Democratic activists, the heart and soul of our party. Some of these people are the ones who are simply demanding real change. And some are the bedrock citizens of this state, many of whom are not involved in party politics at all, but who are horrified, or embarrassed, about what has happened to our state. What worries me most is that a large number of those concerned come from the new generation of Kentuckians, young people who have been so turned off by the attack politics as usual.

They have some important, vital questions, questions that need to be answered:

• They want to know if Bruce Lunsford will again spend millions of dollars of his own money to tear down fellow Democrats, and if unsuccessful, endorse the Republican nominee, as he did in 2003.

• They want to know why Bruce Lunsford headed up the Fletcher Blue Ribbon commission which was supposed to end “waste, fraud and abuse” but ended up giving us the opposite, and leaving us now with the merit-pay mess and the pardon scandal.

• They want to know if Bruce Lunsford again will quit the race if he is confronted with questions about his business.

• They want to know how he can be a candidate in the Democratic primary when he has put his money and his support behind both of the Republican candidates he supposedly wants to run against: Governor Fletcher, whom he worked for, and Former Congresswoman Anne Northup.

I do not have the answers to those questions. But that is why I wanted to make this statement today. I want to make it clear that I think these questions need to be asked and deserve to be answered. And at his official announcement tomorrow, I challenge Bruce Lunsford to answer these questions for the people of Kentucky.

If we want to turn around this state, we need to have a fair, open and honest debate. About their record, their beliefs, their values.

Last Friday some of you were there when I said I like my country music old-school, like Johnny Cash, and I like my football old-school: smash-mouth defense played outside in the cold on the grass. But Kentucky cannot afford any more old-school politics.

They want real change. They want a campaign that focuses on hope and opportunity, not fear and anger. They want a campaign that brings people together, not one that tears people apart. They want a campaign that appeals to the best in all of us, one that will rise above self-interest and cynical sound-bites, one that will lift us up, inspiring all of us to work together, with compassion for all, in order for Kentucky to reach its true potential. Today, I challenge Bruce Lunsford to join us in a campaign that all of Kentucky can be proud of.

I want to promise the state of Kentucky, the tough questions will be asked; we will have a full and honest debate about how to bring change to this state. And together, we will bring real change to Kentucky.
Here's the statement released in response to Lunsford's candidacy announcement:
"Seeing Bruce Lunsford in the Democratic primary is like seeing Rick Pitino at a UK pep rally. He is welcome to attend, but he appears more than a little out of place.

"I have always said that this election is about a simple choice: do you want change, or more of the same. I fully expected Governor Fletcher to try and make the case for ‘staying the course’ with his administration. I did not expect to hear that case made by one of Fletcher’s own Republican appointees in the Democratic primary.

"I am told that Bruce made a public promise today, that he will not go negative this time around and that he will support the Democratic nominee. He said the same things in 2003. Then he ended up spending millions going negative, endorsing Republican Ernie Fletcher and even working as a political appointee in the Fletcher Administration.

"Though his record, like the record of his Governor Ernie Fletcher, is far from encouraging, I hope he will actually keep his promise this time."

Miller's Thursday Press Conference

Thanks to The Hillbilly Report, those that were not at the press conference this past Thursday are able to watch.

Tuesday's Deadline

With the exception of the Governor's race, I've steered clear of endorsements in the downticket races. Rest assured that after the deadline, I will start to make endorsements in those races.

Should Ed Hatchett decide against running for Lt. Governor on a slate with Charlie Owen, my best guess is that he would most likely run for Attorney General as he did in 2003. In that event, we might have yet another three-way primary but who knows. He could decide to run for State Treasurer instead. I haven't heard anything as of late but we have just over 49 hours remaining til the deadline on Tuesday at 4 PM.

Stumbo's decision to run with Lunsford certainly through everyone a curveball as it clears up the AG office. Louisville attorney Jack Conway will run. Former Deputy AG Bob Bullock is already in the race. It's still up in the air as to what former State Auditor Ed Hatchett decides to do.

I doubt anyone else will run for Secretary of State or Agricultural Commissioner. There could be some folks making a last minute decision on Tuesday.

Thank you, John Yarmuth

Congressman Yarmuth was back in Louisville over the weekend and The Hillbilly Report was in attendance and brings us these videos:

Are we headed towards WW3?

Former Mossad chief Efraim Halevy seems to believe that World War 3 is already underway.
A third World War is already underway between Islamic militancy and the West but most people do not realize it, the former head of Israel’s intelligence service Mossad said in an interview published Saturday in Portugal.

‘We are in the midst of a third World War,’ former Mossad chief Efraim Halevy told weekly newspaper Expresso.

‘The world does not understand. A person walks through the streets of Tel Aviv, Barcelona or Buenos Aires and doesn’t get the sense that there is a war going on,’ said Halevy who headed Mossad between 1998 and 2003.

‘During World War I and II the entire world felt there was a war. Today no one is conscious of it. From time to time there is a terrorist attack in Madrid, London and New York and then everything stays the same.’

Violence by Islamic militants has already disrupted international travel and trade just as in the previous two world conflicts, he said.

Halevy, who was raised in war-time London, predicted it would take at least 25 years before the battle against Islamic fundamentalist terrorism is won and during this time a nuclear strike by Islamic militants was likely.
Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz had an op-ed recently published in the Jerusalem Post.
President Carter's speech at Brandeis University on Tuesday should have been a real debate. Instead, it was a one-way dialogue with pre-screened questions and no rebuttals. Had Carter allowed the dialogue he says he wants to provoke, we all could have learned something.

President Carter and I agree on many issues. We both want a two-state solution to the conflict. We both want to see an end to the occupation. We both oppose new Israeli settlements. We both wish to see the emergence of a democratic, economically viable Palestinian state.

Fundamentally, we are both pro-Israel and pro-Palestine. There need not be any contradiction between the two.

But President Carter and I have our differences, too. I favored a compromise peace based on the offer by President Bill Clinton and Prime Minister Ehud Barak in 2000-2001. Carter, however, defends Yasser Arafat's refusal to accept these generous terms, or to make a counteroffer.

In fact, Carter never mentions in his book that the Palestinians could have had a state in 1938, 1948, 1967 and on several other occasions. Their leaders cared more about destroying Israel than they did about creating Palestine.

That is the core of the conflict. It is Palestinian terror, not Israeli policy, which prevents peace.

Carter chooses to believe Arafat's story over that of Clinton, Barak and Saudi Prince Bandar, who called Arafat's refusal a "crime." Why?

We know from Carter's biographer, Douglas Brinkley, that Carter and Arafat strategized together about how to improve the image of the PLO. It is highly likely, therefore, that Arafat sought Carter's advice on whether to accept or reject the Clinton/Barak offer.[...]

President Carter also left out some important details. Not once, for example, did he mention the Palestinian refugee problem, which the Arab states still exploit against Israel. And not once did he mention Iran and the nuclear threat it poses-not just to Israel, but to the entire world.

It was not Israel that rejected UN Security Council Resolution 242, which called for Israel to withdraw from territories-allowing for adjustments-that it won in 1967. It was the Palestinians, together with the other Arab nations, that said "no" to recognition, negotiation and peace.

I would like to join with President Carter in working for peace in the Middle East. But peace will not come if we insist on blaming one side in the conflict. And real dialogue, at Brandeis or in the Middle East, means talking with people you might not agree with.

Update on Lake Cumberland

An outside group of engineers wants an additional 30-70 feet lowered to take pressure off of the Wolf Creek Dam at Lake Cumberland. It will be interesting to see how this develops given the long-term effects on the economy as it is a seven-year project.
An outside group of engineers recommended a much more drastic lowering of Lake Cumberland than the 10-foot drop the Army Corps of Engineers began last week.

Those experts backed lowering the lake level an additional 30 to 70 feet to take pressure off the leaky Wolf Creek Dam as a safety precaution, according to a senior corps official.

But David Hendrix, manager of a project to fix the dam, said corps officials decided that an extreme drawdown wasn't necessary. They believed they could protect people who live downstream by lowering the water level to 680 feet above sea level, he said.

"Public safety is our No. 1 concern," said Hendrix, who is overseeing a $309 million, seven-year project to shore up the aging dam.
Two local Democrats and one Republican are playing big roles in the House of Representatives.
Charged with advising the party leadership and helping to round up votes are: Rep. John Yarmuth, D-3rd District, who has been appointed an at-large whip for the Democrats; Rep. Ben Chandler, D-6th District, who is an assistant whip for Democrats; and Rep. Geoff Davis, R-4th District, who is a deputy whip for Republicans.
I beg to differ with CQPolitics as to the status of Mitch McConnell's current seat in the senate. I would have probably differed in late 2005. However, the times have changed and circumstances are much different. Without the shadow of a doubt, McConnell is vulnerable. The Democrats will likely start the process to field a candidate after the 2007 gubernatorial elections. Things will be much different in 2008 for Mitch McConnell.

Speaking of the 2008 elections, Katrina Swett is one of the latest candidates to be looking to challenge Senator John Sununu in New Hampshire. Swett is the daughter of Congressman Tom Lantos and husband of former Congressman Richard Swett.

The military draft debate is starting to heat up yet again. Here's how some local congressman see the debate.
Rep. Ben Chandler, D-Versailles, said he wasn't in favor of reinstituting a military draft and that he didn't believe the American people were in favor either. Chandler said the way the issue has surfaced "is indicative of the strain our government is placing on our military and the growing dissatisfaction over the war in Iraq."

"I understand the point Chairman Rangel is trying to make with this bill, which is that the country is less likely to go to war if more of our citizens are required to participate," Chandler said. "With that said, this bill is not going to have my support."

Chandler said he thinks the country should focus on building up intelligence agencies, special operations forces and advanced equipment and technology. "While the draft would produce large numbers of military personnel, it does not lend itself to the years of training and motivation necessary for the well-trained military that I believe we need," he said.

The Army had 732,000 active-duty soldiers during the 1991 Persian Gulf War. It now has about 512,000 active-duty soldiers.

Lunsford-produced movie wins Sundance awards

Grace is Gone, a movie produced by Louisvillians Bruce Lunsford and Ed Hart, won two awards at the 2007 Sundance Film Festival.
The film, a tear-jerker starring John Cusack as a father who takes his young daughters on a road trip to postpone breaking the news that their Army sergeant mother has been killed in Iraq, won the audience award for favorite U.S. drama as chosen by balloting among Sundance movie-goers.

Writer-director James C. Strouse won the Waldo Salt screenwriting award for “Grace Is Gone.”
Lunsford is currently an all-but-announced gubernatorial candidate. Hart was a key political advisor to Lunsford in the 2003 election.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Bruce Lunsford-Greg Stumbo?!?

Please tell me that I am reading the following headline, Lunsford, Stumbo may form ticket, wrong! To contradict what Danny Briscoe said, money doesn't buy a political election as you saw what happened with that of Ned Lamont in Connecticutt. While I certainly like Charlie Owen and think he is a great guy, I just do not see him as a viable candidate after losing three elections in a row.
Louisville businessman Bruce Lunsford will run for governor with Attorney General Greg Stumbo as his running mate, a former law partner and close friend of Stumbo's said yesterday.

"He called me and told me I could tell my people that he's running for lieutenant governor" with Lunsford at the top of the ticket, said Mike Bowling, a former state representative from Bell County.
In some other news, this does pave the way for Jack Conway to run for Attorney General.
Among other things, Stumbo's decision clears the way for Louisville lawyer Jack Conway to run for attorney general. After learning last night of Stumbo's decision, Conway said he would talk with his wife and consider making a race.

Mark Riddle, Conway's longtime political consultant, said he believes Conway will run.

"In my opinion, Jack will be the Democratic party's consensus candidate for attorney general, and I fully expect Jack will be filing his papers to run next week," he said.
Here's more on an update with a rumored Charlie Owen-Ed Hatchett ticket.
Former state Auditor Ed Hatchett said last night that he has been talking with Louisville businessman Charlie Owen about possibly being his running mate in the governor's race.

"No decisions have been made," Hatchett said. "Charlie is doing his homework very methodically."

Owen ran unsuccessfully for U.S. Senate in 1998 and was Chandler's running mate in 2003. Hatchett said he's not sure how Lunsford and Stumbo's entrance would affect Owen's decision.
I won't lie that I voted for Ed Hatchett in the 2003 primary for the Attorney General's race. I'd rather see Hatchett run for Treasurer than Lt. Governor given the large Democratic field which may end up being larger than that of the 2004 presidential primary at this pace.

My condolences to the family of Sen. George McGovern on his wife's passing at the age of 85.

Presidential candidate John Edwards has hired James Katz to serve as his New Hampshire Political Director.

Friday, January 26, 2007

2008: Curt Schilling for Senator (Massachusetts)

Uh, wow, what can I say. The fact that people are willing to draft future Hall of Fame pitcher Curt Schilling into the race speaks something.

Schilling is pretty popular in Massachusetts where he helped lead the Boston Red Sox to the World Series against my beloved St. Louis Cardinals.
Curt Schilling seemed surprised yesterday by the sudden groundswell of local supporters hoping to draft him into national politics and a 2008 Senate run against John Kerry.

The Red Sox [team stats] pitching hero didn’t flatly rule out the idea, either, though he didn’t sound like he was about to hit the campaign trail anytime soon.

“I couldn’t rule it out because it’s not something I ever thought about in a serious capacity,” Schilling told the Herald.

“I envision that I will probably be pretty busy in 2008,” he said. “But I’m flattered as hell to even make this phone call.”

The chatter around Schilling taking on Kerry in a senate race started on talk station WRKO-AM (680) yesterday, when a caller to the Todd Feinberg show suggested Schilling would be the best candidate for the job.[...]

Schilling, who is planning to retire from baseball after this season, did give a glimpse of what he would do in a political office. His first task would be to “fire everybody and anybody who had anything to do with the Big Dig,” he said.

Schilling said in 2008 he’ll vote either for Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), whom he called a personal friend, or Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.). “If they are both on the ticket it will be a tough choice,” he said.

Schilling, who spoke passionately about various political issues, said his own future is centered around winning another World Series, running his charitable foundation for ALS research and heading up his new video game business, Green Monster Games.


A few more people have filed in the past couple of days, including Todd Hollenbach.

I've updated the list of 2007 candidates to mark who is still considering what based on what I have heard. The list is constantly changing as people are deciding what they will do and will likely make their final decisions over the weekend.

That said, Bob Bullock's entrance into the Attorney General's race does change things. I certainly look forward to hearing what he has to say and what he would do if elected.

One final thing, I still have Peppy Martin listed as I've not heard otherwise with regards to her running or not running. If she is running, it would likely be as an independent if she does not file by 4 PM next Tuesday.

That's it until LATE tomorrow night.

Illegal Subsidies and more

Senators Evan Bayh and Susan Collins are both calling on the government to crack down on illegal subsidies.
“It is essential that American manufacturers, farmers and workers have all the tools at their disposal to deal with unfair trade practices in China,” the Senators wrote in the letter. “China’s trade surplus with the United States continues to explode, fueled in large part by subsidies provided by the Chinese government to favored industries in China. As Chinese exports have grown, the impact of unfair government subsidies on the U.S. economy has increased.”
Nebraska Senator Chuck Hagel is still considering the Republican nomination for president. Hagel is what one would call a maverick. He and the administration are both in disagreement over the way that the war has been handled so far.
Both parties have their Iraq war contrarians. For the Democrats, it is Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman of Connecticut, whose steadfast support for President Bush nearly cost him his seat last year and forced him to run as an independent. The Republican version is Hagel, a career maverick from Nebraska and the only GOP senator to call for an end to the war.

Hagel's sharp criticism of the war has placed him squarely in the mainstream of public opinion on Iraq and revived long-dormant speculation about his presidential ambitions. Hagel has been eclipsed by Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), a leading contender for his party's presidential nomination who has vigorously endorsed the president's war policies.

But with McCain appearing increasingly isolated on the issue as public opinion has turned overwhelmingly against the war, Hagel is acting like a politician who believes his stock is climbing. In other words, he is considering a White House run.
Hagel would be a strong candidate if he were to be nominated by the Republican Party.

Haaretz reports that Iran may be about to launch a spy satellite into space.

Trouble for Carter?

Just a few days after it appeared that the trouble for President Carter was finished, this piece of news breaks.
Former President Jimmy Carter once complained there were “too many Jews” on the government’s Holocaust Memorial Council, Monroe Freedman, the council’s former executive director, told WND in an exclusive interview.

Freedman, who served on the council during Carter’s term as president, also revealed a noted Holocaust scholar who was a Presbyterian Christian was rejected from the council’s board by Carter’s office because the scholar’s name “sounded too Jewish.”
Joe Gandelman says that the president's name is most definitely out of the running as a candidate for the B'nai B'rith Leader of the Year award.

It's disappointing that Carter sees things this way. While the Jewish people were not the only people to be executed in mass genocide during the Shoah, we had the most people slaughtered by ruthless racists who are being punished even to this day.

Update on Greg Stumbo

The latest update on the status of Attorney General Greg Stumbo's decision is that he has ruled out running for Governor. However, he did not discount running for the position of Lt. Governor on someone else's slate. Three remaining potential candidates have yet to make a final decision:
Charlie Owen (Businessman)
Bruce Lunsford (Businessman)
David Armstrong (Former Mayor of Louisville and Attorney General)

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Why I didn't post on the false Obama article...

A while back, I got an email detailing how Sen. Obama was brought up. I decided against posting it and here's why. I was unsure if it was true and the last thing I want to do is participate in "character assasination." Turns out, the article that I was emailed was completely slanderous seeing as how CNN investigated into the article and found out it was completely untrue.

Furthermore, as I've been growing religiously over the past few years (These days, I'm probably closer in beliefs to Orthodox Judaism.), while I do not force my religious beliefs upon you, there is this thing in Judaism called Lashon Hora, the sin of gossip. For those of you unfamiliar with the concept, here is some background on the definitions as defined by the Chafetz Chaim:
Lashon Hara - any derogatory or damaging (physically, financially, socially, or stress-inducing) communication.
Rechilut - any communication that generates animosity between people.
It's one of thirty-one positive or negative mitzvot relating to speech--and it's also one of the reasons as to why I'm rarely blogging about the other participants of the governor's race.
Lev. 25:17 - "You shall not wrong one another" which the Talmud (Bava Metzia 58b) explains that this means saying anything that will insult or anger someone.
Our religious beliefs may be different but when it comes down to it, we are all human and no matter how hard we try, no one is perfect.

However, character assasination will not be tolerated by this blog. I admit right now that I have deleted comments in the past few weeks after seeking the advise of some close friends. I believe in free speech and it can only go so far. However, I reserve the right to moderate comments if things do get out of hand so please try and be civil. Name calling will not be tolerated here nor will character assasination. I have zero-tolerance for those that deny the Shoah (Holocaust) and I just deleted a comment this very evening which I interpreted as borderline anti-Semitic.

I think I've said my $.02.

The Return of Responsible Government

The Miller-Maze team released their plan for the Return of Responsible Government. Anyway, here is an excerpt from the email:
Kentucky Democrats are ready for new leadership.

The working families of Kentucky are tired of the recycled, failed politics of the past.

Having visited all 120 counties as state Treasurer, I know the people of Kentucky are looking for a change. Real change, not stale, vague promises or soundbites.

I am running for Governor to bring just that real change: a new approach and a new generation of leadership to get this state back on track.

Together with Jefferson County Attorney Irv Maze, we will bring new leadership that packs a strong law-and-order punch.

That's why today Irv and I officially filed our candidacy to lead Kentucky in a new direction and we wanted you to be one of the first to know.

A new generation of leadership that soundly rejects back-room deals and an unethical government that operates behind closed doors.

A new way of solving problems that puts common sense back in charge.

A new way of solving problems that gets beyond the political bickering and endless debates to deliver real bottom line results for Kentucky families and small businesses.

Irv and I have a record of openness, fairness, and a commitment to putting people first.

Whether it's making a college education more affordable, protecting our military families, cracking down on deadbeat dads, or forcing government to do better with the money it already has -- we've made a difference in people's lives.
Now, on to proposals announced within the detailed plan:
Campaign Finance Reform:
Miller-Maze will take up Trey Grayson’s task force proposal for a 60-day pre-election report and expand it to 90 days. Their campaign will voluntarily report 90 and 60 days before this May’s primary election and before this November’s general election. Our campaign requests all other candidates to follow suit.

Lobbying Reform:
Miller-Maze will require annual reports by lobbyists clearly showing their last five years of contributions to lawmakers. Disclosures will be made on line because the public has a right to know which lobbyists have contributed to which members of the General Assembly. Miller-Maze will eliminate legislative trusts and caucus funds. They will put an end to the loophole around current contribution restrictions. They will extend the current ban on lobbying by former state executive branch officers and elected officials who currently can be on special interest payroll just six months after leaving office and can be lobbying state lawmakers just one year after leaving office. Miller-Maze will work to extend from six to 18 months the ban on which former officials can get a job with special interests and from one year to two the ban on which they can lobby.

Open Budget Process:
Miller-Maze will fight to make conference committee meetings public when lawmakers are discussing the budget. Just last year, lawmakers met for hours to discuss the state budget with no public vote taken on compromises made and with expenditures that likely would never have seen passage if the votes were up to public scrutiny. Miller-Maze will work to require on-line posting of all conference committee bills at least 24 hours in advance of any final vote. Disclosure would include names of General Assembly members who sponsor any pork-barrel project. Miller-Maze will also fight to see that if lawmakers don’t pass a budget, they don’t get paid.

Fair and Open Contracting:
Miller-Maze will put an end to no-bid state government contracting. Kentucky does billions of dollars of business each year with private contractors. To ensure citizens get the best service at the best price, all bids on state contracts will require bidding, except in cases of emergency. Miller-Maze will fight to require that our bidding process is fair and open. All contracting should be brought into the open with an on-line database for public disclosure of the bidding process and an explanation of each decision.

All political appointees, including administration “volunteers,” will be required to sign and uphold a strict Code of Ethics. If an appointee or volunteer breaks the Code, he or she will be removed immediately from the administration. Miller-Maze believes those who break the rules must pay the price, period. Miller and Maze will put an end to political pardons and will create a bipartisan, independent commission to fully investigate charges of both ethical and criminal wrong-doing. People who courageously expose waste and fraud in our government must be protected from intimidation. Miller-Maze will remove from office managers who try to punish whistleblowers. An important part of whistleblower protection is making violations of the merit laws a felony instead of the current status of misdemeanor. Miller-Maze will expand the enforcement resources of the Executive Branch Ethics Commission by creating an independent task force to battle corruption. The new task force will report to the Executive Branch Ethics Commission and will operate within the Kentucky State Police. Miller-Maze will also take the politics out of the Executive Branch Ethics Commission by ending partisan appointments to the body.

Openness for Public Protection:
Juveniles are increasingly committing most violent crimes at earlier ages, but only about 10 percent of these cases are remanded to Circuit Court where records become public. For public protection and public confidence in our court system, Miller-Maze will work to lift that confidentiality for violent offenders.

2008 candidates on Israel and more

Mark Warner will not be a candidate in 2008 despite some rumors that were surfacing a while back after Sen. Bayh dropped out of the race.

Senator Jim Bunning believes that Anne Northup will appeal to the rest of the state. I'll say this in response. No candidate from Louisville has ever been elected to the position of governor and I highly doubt that it will happen in 2007 despite the sitting governor's lack of popularity.

The big story at this past week's Herzliya Conference was the threat of Iran. It's no surprise at all. Iran is a serious threat to the free world. The problem lies in how we will address that problem.
At Israel’s premier strategic forum this week, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was invoked more often than Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Tehran dwarfed Tulkarem, and nuclear proliferation trumped suicide bombs.

The central role of the Iranian threat at this year’s Herzliya Conference, sponsored by the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya (IDC), reflected the shift in Israel’s strategic agenda over the last 12 months. If a year ago, Israelis were still debating unilateral pullbacks and settlement dismantlement, the month-long war with Hezbollah and the escalating showdown over Tehran’s nuclear ambitions now figure as the primary challenge for Israeli policy makers.[...]

U.S. presidential hopefuls Mitt Romney, John Edwards and John McCain, along with Newt Gingrich, were in Israel, seemingly competing to see who can be most strident in defense of the Jewish state during personal or video appearances at the conference here, just north of Tel Aviv.

The four politicians called for ways to prevent Iran’s government from acquiring nuclear weapons. While stressing the strong U.S.-Israel ties, the presidential hopefuls all agreed that the U.S. has to ratchet up sanctions on Iran and leave the possibility of a military attack “on the table.”

Romney, who served one term as governor of Massachusetts, called for economic sanctions against Iran “at least as severe” as those imposed on South Africa during its apartheid era. He compared the challenge posed by Iran and militant Islam to the clash of the West with 20th century conflicts with fascism and totalitarian communism.

“It is time for the world to plainly speak these three truths,” Romney said at the conference. “One, Iran must be stopped. Two, Iran can be stopped, and three Iran will be stopped.”

Gingrich, who spoke by a satellite video link, said that the existential danger to Israel has never been higher since the 1967 Arab-Israeli war. The former House speaker also said that many in Israel as well as the U.S. don’t fully appreciate the nature, size or scope of the threat posed by Iran.

“I have two grandchildren,” said Gingrich, “and I think there is a greater danger of them dying in an action than I faced during the cold war.”

For presidential hopefuls, the conference gives them an opportunity to float policy positions and reach out to Jewish voters.[...]

Sen. McCain (R-Ariz.) said he supported exploring a strengthening of ties between Israel and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, as a means of easing Israel’s insecurity.

“A friendly democracy under siege should be closer partners to the world’s most successful security alliance,” he said, speaking via a satellite link. “American support for Israel should intensify. The enemies are too numerous, margin of error too small, and shared values too great.”

Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.), the only Democratic presidential hopeful to address the conference, sounded similar notes of toughening sanctions and the threat of military force. But he was the one speaker to suggest that the U.S. needs to open a dialogue with Iran.

“I support being tough, but I think it’s a mistake strategically and ideologically not to engage them on this issue,” he said. “American should engage directly on this issue.”
Here's more on President Jimmy Carter's speech at Brandeis. However, here's how Kenneth Stein, a historian and former friend of the president, sees things.

The 2007 Wendell Ford Dinner has been set for February 24, 2007 at the Clarion Hotel in Louisville. My guess is that all of the Democratic candidates for governor will be there.

Louisville Mayor Jerry Abramson and his fellow mayors have asked senators in Washington for more aid.
With major cuts in federal aid to cities in recent years, the mayors can do only so much, Abramson and the others said.

The mayors said they were deeply disappointed that President Bush, in his State of the Union address Tuesday night, talked about violence on the streets of Baghdad but not about rising violence in the streets of American cities.

The State of the Union "was not a list of every ongoing commitment and important issue before the president," White House spokesman Blair Jones said later. "The president remains dedicated to working with Congress to provide … (funding for successful) programs dedicated to fighting crime and bettering community development."

He said those commitments will be reflected in the president's budget proposal next month.

But Sens. Evan Bayh of Indiana and Debbie Stabenow of Michigan, two of a dozen Democratic senators who met with the mayors, said they share the urban leaders' concerns.

"What about the safety of our citizens here at home?" Bayh asked.

Stabenow said Bush's per-capita spending on Baghdad would equal $11 billion in funding for American cities.
Enough already!

Naomi Ragen is taking the lead in Israel to end the segregation of bus lines.
Orthodox novelist Naomi Ragen is leading efforts by Israeli women to end sexual segregation on some bus lines in Israel.

Ragen and five other women this week petitioned Israel’s High Court of Justice to order the national bus lines not to go along with demands from fervently Orthodox communities that female commuters sit in the back and dress modestly.

The biggest bus company, Egged, says that 30 of its lines are segregated by gender at the passengers’ request.

Ragen told Israel Radio that her campaign was prompted by the experience of being ordered to the back of a bus by a male passenger.

“The driver didn’t even open his mouth in my defense,” she said.

“I got off the bus with the dreadful, dreadful feeling that in my country I have to take a public bus home that is under Taliban rule.”
The candidates for president in 2008 have already started to outreach to prospective supporters within the Jewish community. With regards to Democrats running, it appears that almost all of them have pro-Israel voting records or have gone on record with policies in favor of Israel.

Some rare maps of Israel have been found and posted online.

Typepad down?

I'm assuming it as I can't access any typepad blog on my favorites right now.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Stumbo has a primary

Should Attorney General Greg Stumbo decide to run for re-election, it should be noted that Robert V. Bullock, a former Assistant Attorney General, has filed for that race.

Should Greg Stumbo decline to run, both former State Auditor Ed Hatchett and Louisville attorney Jack Conway are still considering the race.

Pol Watchers has more. Apparently, Bullock worked in the AG office from 1968-2000.

2008: John Kerry bows out

Massachusetts Senator John Kerry has removed his name from consideration in 2008 for the presidential election. This was a good move given his 2004 campaign which focused only on battleground states and the botched joke that almost ruined the 2006 Democratic tsunami. Senator Kerry, thank you for doing the right thing.
Senator John F. Kerry plans to announce today that he will not run in the 2008 presidential race, and will instead remain in Congress and seek reelection to his Senate seat next year, according to senior Democratic officials.

Kerry, a Massachusetts Democrat, plans to say he will remain in the Senate to recommit himself to efforts to extricate the United States from the war in Iraq. His decision to stay out of the presidential race reflects a realization that he would have had an uphill climb in capturing the Democratic nomination, given the other party heavyweights who are already in the race, according to the officials, who spoke to the Globe on condition of anonymity.

Kerry plans to make his plans known with a speech on the Senate floor this afternoon, and is taping a message to e-mail his supporters to explain his decision.

Kerry, the party's 2004 presidential nominee, has been acting like a 2008 candidate virtually since he lost to President Bush -- traveling the country, spreading money to other Democratic candidates, and keeping in place a campaign infrastructure that was ready for another presidential bid.

But according to Kerry associates, the senator's plans changed dramatically in the fallout of his election-eve ``botched joke" about the education levels of US troops. The harsh reaction to that incident -- from many Democrats as well as Republicans -- displayed to Kerry the extreme skepticism within his own party about whether he should mount another run.
In the meantime, Massachusetts will continue to not have an open senate seat.

DNC ignores own charter

Please sign this petition dealing with the DNC's ignorance of their own charter.

2008 primary, Democratic Response, and more

Could John Edwards be the candidate that benefits most from an early primary in California? Edwards has a lot of support from within the labor community. Should California decide to move their primary to Super Tuesday, I believe it would be an advantage for the former senator.

Senator Evan Bayh is one of four senators to ask the IRS to expand their audits of businesses.

Here is how some of our local area congressmen reacted to last night's annual State of the Union address.
But Rep. John Yarmuth, D-3rd District, called the president’s Iraq policy a failure and said the health insurance was a “diversion” that would not make medical care more affordable.

“He failed to do what I think everyone was hoping he would do, which is explain why this new strategy has a better chance for success than the others over the last four years,” Yarmuth said in an interview.

Yarmuth said Bush’s energy proposals were good, but he questioned how much the administration and congressional Republicans would push them.

“It was an excellent speech,” the congressman said. “If another president was giving it, I might have had more confidence in what was in it.”

Rep. Ben Chandler, D-6th District, didn’t hear much he liked.

“I hope the President will reach across party lines in the next two years to back up his rhetoric with sound policy,” Chandler said in a statement. “It certainly would be a refreshing change if his actions matched his words.”

On Iraq, “the president has promised a safer America, but his policies are creating a world more dangerous and an America less safe,” Chandler said.[...]

Sen. Evan Bayh, D-Ind., said Bush’s energy proposal was “a positive step toward achieving energy independence, but we can do more.”

Bayh called on Bush to support what the senator called a more aggressive plan he is sponsoring, along with Lugar and others in both parties, to cut dependence on foreign oil.
Newly elected Virginia Senator Jim Webb delivered the Democratic response to the president's address.
Webb accused the president of taking the country into Iraq "recklessly" and forcing it to endure "a mismanaged war for nearly four years."

"Many, including myself, warned even before the war began that it was unnecessary; that it would take our energy and attention away from the larger war against terrorism; and that invading and occupying Iraq would leave us strategically vulnerable," Webb said.

Webb held up a picture of his father as a young Air Force captain. As a small boy, he said, he took the picture to bed with him to remind him of his father's sacrifice. Now, Webb's son is serving in Iraq as a Marine infantryman.

"We need a new direction," said Webb, a decorated Marine veteran of the Vietnam War. "Not one step back from the war against international terrorism, not a precipitous withdrawal that ignores the possibility of further chaos, but an immediate shift toward strong, regionally based diplomacy."

Democrats owe their newfound control of the Senate to Webb's slim and improbable victory over former Virginia senator George Allen. Webb -- who served as secretary of the Navy under Ronald Reagan -- also embodies his party's central message: a determination to oppose the Iraq war while supporting the troops who are there.

Webb has become a folk hero among liberals and Democratic bloggers for brusquely telling Bush at a White House event that questions from the president about Webb's son are "between me and my boy."

Caption Contest

Choose your favorite caption for this photo from last night.

Edwards' response to the SOTU

This was sent to his supporters.
Chapel Hill, North Carolina - Senator John Edwards released the following statement in response to President Bush's State of the Union address.

"President Bush's address tonight was heavy on rhetoric, but light on everything else. The American people said they wanted change and what they got was more of the same - small ideas that won't make a difference in the lives of working Americans.

They said they wanted straight talk and a vision for the future, what they got was a rationalization for the failed policies of the past.

The next President will have to do more than just undo this President's mistakes - the next President must offer a vision for fundamental change that will transform America and ensure our greatness in the 21st century.

America needs leaders who will do more than propose half-measures and baby steps; President Bush has left us a legacy of challenges that can only be met with courage, conviction and bold change.

And that change must begin in Iraq. President Bush's decision to adopt the McCain Doctrine and escalate the war in Iraq is terribly wrong. There is no military solution to this civil war. Instead of increasing the number of troops in Iraq, we should immediately withdraw 40-50,000 troops. In order for the Iraqi people to take responsibility for their country, we must show them that we are serious about leaving, and the best way to do that is to actually start leaving. Since the President refuses to change course, Congress must use its power of the purse and block funding for an escalation of war. Over 80,000 people from across the country have joined me in calling on Congress to stop President Bush's misguided plan to escalate the war. Congress has the power to stop this escalation - they should use it.

We also need real leadership to address the health care crisis in our country. Since President Bush took office in 2000, the number of uninsured Americans has increased by 8 million. While it is nice that he is finally talking about America's health care crisis, President Bush's proposal will do little to help working Americans, and is it unlikely to reduce the number of uninsured because it encourages companies to drop coverage, but does nothing to help people buy their own insurance. President Bush's proposal offers much more help to a family making $300,000 than one making $30,000. The time for patching up our health care system has ended. We need universal health care in this country and we need it now.

Finally, America will never break its dependence on foreign oil without bold leadership. After years of catering to the oil industry, President Bush says he is finally ready to take action and curb our dependence on foreign oil. But neither his actions nor his proposals match his rhetoric. The President has the authority now to raise fuel economy standards if he wants to, but the standard has been at 27.5 miles per gallon since 1985. Under his leadership, we are now importing 60 percent of our oil, up from 53 percent in 2000. In order to curb our dependence on foreign oil and address global warming, the United States needs a major investment in energy innovation, on a scale that this President isn't talking about. We need to ask Americans to be patriotic about something other than war and involve everyone - government, industry, and individuals - in the solution.

Tonight, the president once again made it clear that we cannot count on him to be honest about our challenges or offer the bold solutions we need to meet them.

But we know that the great power of America lies in the hands of the people of America. If we take responsibility and take action together, we can build a nation lives up to the greatness of America's promise."
I did not watch the SOTU but I will catch the highlights this evening on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Boswell update

A source close to the Kentucky Democrat has told me that State Senator David Boswell is tired of David Williams and is interested in possibly leaving the Senate. Boswell is still considering running as Lt. Governor for a gubernatorial candidate. This same source has told me that if Boswell is not an announced candidate for 2007 then he can be considered a likely candidate for the second district congressional race.

Boswell is an advocate for expanded gaming.

Blogger is acting up so I'll post this when it cooperates.

Dershowitz Debate

You can listen to Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz at Brandeis right here. It's a live stream. Some will be paraphrased summaries, others might be direct verbatim.

Dershowitz thanks Brandeis for letting him speak. He thinks a debate would have been better and more informative (audience applause).

Carter used it to make clear and clarify matter's related to the book. The book and TV interviews were quite different then what Carter said today on stage.

He said he wished he could work with Carter to bring about peace in Israel.

Both favor a two-state solution, end of settlements, etc. Dershowitz is not a defender of every single policy.

Says to read the Israeli newspapers. Visit Israel.

Talks of how he first met President Carter. Gives him credit for accomplishments.

Both are pro-Israel and pro-Palestine. Would like both states living side by side in peace. A safe and secure Israel that does not have to worry about terrorism.

Some things absent from Carter's speech that were absent:
Dershowitz agrees with the Clinton-Barak offer from either 1997 or 2000. Dershowitz supports the Camp David Accord but Carter rejects it. If Palestinians had accepted it, we wouldn't have had the second intifada.

Dershowitz believes it is a self-inflicted wound. The Palestinians had a state in 1948 but rejected it. They could have had a state, they said no. They could have had one in 1967 (excluded from the book). Israel accepted 242 but the Arab states denied it.

They could have had one in 2000 and 2001. They said no. It would have been a contiguous states (see Dennis Ross' book). Clinton and Ross are telling the truth and that Arafat's refusal to accept was a crime--this was excluded from Carter's book.

Dershowitz was in the audience during Carter's speech. Quote's Brinkley on Carter working with Arafat in the 1990s. Answer the question: Were you ever asked to give your advice on Camp David...did you advise Arafat to turn down the offer? If the answer is yes, to what extent is Carter responsible?

Wonders if he influenced them on turning down Olmert's offer. Thinks he is pressuring Palestinians to not compromise for peace. Dershowitz believes Israel should give some territory to the Palestinians. Dershowitz helped Goldberg draft 242. Purposely left out the before territories. Insists on reciprocity only on condition that they are recognized by the Arab states.

The Arab plan called for a return of all the Palestinian refugees which would turn it into a radical Islamic state. Israel will not, could not, and should not accept this offer from 2002. Nothing was mentioned today.

Israel tried land for peace. This never worked. They gave back Gaza and eliminated check points. Many Israelis are reluctant to give up the West Bank because of rocket attacks. Carter thinks it is simple. It's not.

Carter left out Iran today. Not a mention of a nuclear power threatening to annihilate Israel. Palestinians cheered the SCUD's during the first gulf war. Carter didn't talk much about Hezbollah. They hide behind civillians and fire rockets on civillians.

Heard simplicity, not complexity.

They had to put a wall due to snipers. The wall is justified by the need to prevent terror. The wall was the idea of the peaceniks. Would like to see the wall and fence come down.

Carter thinks Israel's future should be left in the hands of Russia, UN, and EU. The UN is the same one that won't let Israel serve on the Security Council. They said Zionism was racism. Nothing against Libya or Syria. UN was so one-sided. Russia has their own problems and doing everything to not sanction Iran. He joins with Carter to try and start negotiations again. Palestinian legislature is dominated by Hamas, whose charter calls for the destruction of Israel. Dershowitz believes in democracy. The electoral success of Hamas have consequences in that other countries don't give money to groups that buy rockets. Carter is wrong that Hamas doesn't fire rockets any more. Dershowitz then reads off a list.

Carter says rockets should not be equated with terrorism. Today, he corrected it.

There are two different Jimmy Carter's: the one on Al-Jazeera and the one at Brandeis.

Ends with Peace, Shalom, Salaam. Large applause

Now takes questions from audience.

ETA: Here is this update from the Boston Globe on today's event's.
"This is the first time that I’ve ever been called a liar, and a bigot, and an anti-Semite, and a coward, and a plagiarist," Carter said to a hushed audience at the predominantly Jewish university, referring to the reaction to his book.[...]

In response to a question, Carter apologized for a sentence in his book that he acknowledged seemed to justify terrorism by saying that suicide bombings should end when Israel accepts the goals of the roadmap to peace with Palestinians.

"That sentence was worded in a completely improper and stupid way," Carter said. "I’ve written my publishers to change that sentence immediately in future editions of the book. I apologize to you personally and to everyone here."

But he defended the use of the word "apartheid" in his book title.

"I realize that this has caused great concern in the Jewish community," he said. "The title makes it clear that the book is about conditions and events in the Palestinian territory and not in Israel. And the text makes clear on numerous occasions that the forced separation and the domination of Arabs by Israelis is not based on race."