Sarah and Gwen: the Two-Headed Monster

This blog is about everything involving Lexington, KY or anything else we feel like yapping about.

Tuesday, January 31, 2006


It strikes me as ironic that we lose Correta Scott King to ovarian cancer on the same day conservative Judge Sameul Alito is placed on the nation's highest court. King was a supportive lieutenant of her husband in the most dangerous years of the civil rights movement and a strong advocate of equality and justice. She was instrumental to carrying on his work after his assassination. I met her nearly twenty years ago and carry the memory of her gentle strength with me always. I think today may mark the close of an era as the Supreme Court turns the page on the progressive ideals. I doubt that this court shares the values of Correta Scott King or that those of us who still fight for equality and justice will have the support of the high court.

Monday, January 30, 2006

RainboWind: Governor's Prayer Breakfast: Non-Xians Shut Up and Sit Down!

RainboWind: Governor's Prayer Breakfast: Non-Xians Shut Up and Sit Down!

Some of us did know what we were getting when Fletcher ran for governor in 2003. That's why we voted against him.

Sarah G

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Update: Bill Farmer, R-88 and the Bullying Bill

This is twice now that Farmer has called me back about a message I left. I phoned him about HB 270, the anti-bullying bill. A similar bill was proposed last year to stop bullying in the schools, but bullying/intimidation over sexual orientation was included with race, religion, etc. as a type of unacceptable behavior, and the bill was torpedoed by the "Family" Foundation of Kentucky as a 'gay rights bill in disguise'. In other words, bullying and threatening gay kids is a cherished Christian right.

This year, the language was much simpler and didn't single out any 'reasons' for bullying. However, in defense of that cherished right, Mike Harmon (R-Junction City) quickly filed amendments specifying that nothing required or trained should go against anyone's individual religious beliefs. If it gets passed with the amendment intact, it'll take some Muslim kid beating up a Christian kid and claiming 'jihad' to get it struck down. We know this amendment only applies to people sharing Harmon's religious beliefs.

I called the Message Center, and asked that Bill Farmer support the bill, but not the amendment. I stated that bullying and intimidation were never acceptable. Farmer returned my call, and said that he did vote to let the bill out of committee, and against the amendment. I expressed my appreciation for this, and told him that any religion who thought threats and bullying were okay was not a good religion.

Farmer said that a similar bill had been proposed the previous year, but had been snarled up for 'some reason'. I've noticed that he tends to dissemble when gay issues are involved. He voted the way I wanted, though, at least in this case.

I suspect that he’s hoping to create a contrast between himself and Fred Brown, his opponent in the GOP primary. Brown is virulently anti-gay and is a staunch Christian fundamentalist. Farmer appears to be postioning himself the 'moderate' candidate. Republicans reading this blog might want to take notice before going to the polls.

Sarah G

Monday, January 23, 2006

Press Release: Chris Frost Files for General Assembly Seat in the 88th

Press Release
January 23, 2006

Contact: Chris Frost, Tel. (859) 257-8336 or (859) 338-6398

Frost files for General Assembly Seat

Chris Frost, a University of Kentucky Law Professor, has filed for election to Kentucky’s House of Representatives for south Lexington’s 88th district.

Frost said of his reasons for running, “Like so many people, I am fed up with the state of affairs in Frankfort.  Too often, our elected officials lose sight of the needs of their constituents and instead focus on consolidating their political power and satisfying well-funded special interests.  We need fresh faces in Frankfort – citizen legislators – public servants who will bring the best ideas to bear on the challenges and opportunities facing the Commonwealth.

As an educator and a parent of children in our public schools, I understand what it takes to provide a good education and opportunities to succeed.  Kentucky is at a crossroads.  Even though we have made remarkable gains over the past 20 years in education and economic development, we lag behind nationally.  Now we face a choice.  We can build on past successes and work toward an even brighter future, or we can retreat.  I am confident that the voters of Fayette County are eager to recommit to improving our children’s education and providing them career opportunities so that Kentucky is a place they will want to stay.”

Frost is a graduate of the UK College of Business and College of Law, where he graduated first in his class and was an editor of the Law Journal.  After graduation from law school, he practiced law in Chicago and taught at Saint Louis University and the University of Illinois before returning to Kentucky and the College of Law as a teacher and Associate Dean.

From 1997-2000, Frost served as special counsel to Attorney General Ben Chandler in litigation against Anthem Insurance Company.  That case resulted in the $45 million settlement that formed the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky.  He serves on the executive committee of the Fayette County Democratic Party and on the boards of the Office of Kentucky Legal Services Programs, the Fayette County Bar Association and the American Board of Certification.  In addition to his membership in a number of professional organizations, Frost is also a member of the Bluegrass Sportsmen’s League and the Central Kentucky Region of the Sports Car Club of America.

Frost lives with his wife Christine, their son, Alex, 15, and daughter, Nicki, 12, in the Pinnacle neighborhood in south Lexington.

*This press release was sent to me by the candidate and is printed here as written. If other candidates in our district send me information I will publish it as well.


Friday, January 20, 2006

Bill Farmer, 88th LD State Rep

I received my first call from a state legislator yesterday. Oddly enough, it was from a Republican.

Bill Farmer was calling in response to my request that he support HB 369, the bill that would prohibit discrimination against sexual orientation statewide. This bill is proposed every year, along with at least one bill that would either a) recriminalize sodomy or b) strike down the nondiscrimination ordinances that cities like Lexington and Louisville have passed. Generally, both go to the same committee and, by tacit agreement, neither one makes it to the House floor.

Farmer let me know that he would 'consider' the bill if it made it out of committee, but from his understanding this year would be no different from previous years. Naturally, he did not say whether he would support it or not, but based on his previous voting record I suspect he won't. Last year, he didn't even bother to send a form-letter response to the handwritten letter my partner sent, asking him to vote no on the anti-gay amendment.

Since I had a real live legislator on the phone, I asked about a few other issues:

He is for removing the taxes on horse feed and other portions of the KY horse industry. He thinks the breeders’ incentive fund (paid for by the taxes) only benefits a handful of mega-farms. I told him I'd heard the same thing from some farm folks and that removing the taxes sounded like a good idea.

He is for increasing UK funding. He feels that the proposed budget items are nickel-and-dime stuff, and that funding UK benefits the entire state.

The most amusing part of the phone call: he does taxes for a living, and says that he doesn’t sleep from January till April 16th.

Farmer has competition from Fred Brown in the May Republican primary. I'm not a Republican, but if I were I would find it an interesting choice. If you have other questions for Bill, you can leave messages for him toll-free at 1-800-372-7181.

Sarah G

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Lexington's Martin Luther King Jr. Program

As a non-Christian, I don't often urge people to attend events led by a Christian minister, but the annual Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration in Lexington this year is an exception. The program begins with a Freedom March in downtown Lexington on Monday, Jan. 16. The Freedom March will begin at 10 a.m., with lineup beginning at 9:30 a.m. at Heritage Hall. Following the march, a Commemorative Program honoring King's legacy will begin at approximately 11 a.m. in Heritage Hall.

This year's keynote speaker will be the Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr., spiritual and social leader, educator, author, and lecturer. Dr. Wright teaches several theological and history courses, is the the Author of four books, holds a doctor of ministry degree from United Theological Seminary and master's degrees from Howard University and the University of Chicago Divinity School. He was also named one of Ebony magazine's Top 15 Ministers.Wright is pastor of the 10,000-member Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago, where he has made political and social activism a key aspect of his church's mission.

Dr. Wright's committment to political activism and his dedication to the African-American sermonic tradition has made him a highly saught after speaker. While I am not a great fan of religious beliefs, I am impressed by his efforts to bring the taboo issue of AIDS to public attention in the African-American community. He has also been an outspoken critic of the US involvement in Iraq. I am including a 2003 quiz Dr. Wright wrote for his congregation below as an example of the thoughtful and informed way he addresses political issues in the context of his faith:

War on Iraq IQ Test

Take the War on Iraq IQ Test
Do you know enough to justify going to war with Iraq?

1. Q: What percentage of the world's population does the U.S. have?
A: 6% [correction - 4.8% of world's population - 6.2 billion vs. 280 million]

2. Q: What percentage of the world's wealth does the U.S. have?
A: 50% [correction - 22% of global GDP]

3. Q: Which country has the largest oil reserves?
A: Saudi Arabia

4. Q: Which country has the second largest oil reserves?
A: Iraq

5. Q: How much is spent on military budgets a year worldwide?
A: $900+ billion

6. Q: How much of this is spent by the U.S.?
A: 50% [explanation - military expenditures for FY2003 may be $460-470 billion including $378.5 billion for the Pentagon, $15.4 billion for nuclear weapons programs, $3.8 billion for foreign military assistance, $1.4 billion for military-related activities of other agencies, $32 billion for military retirement benefits and health care for current employees, $30 billion for the CIA, plus funding for the Homeland Security Department]

7. Q: What percent of US military spending would ensure the essentials of life to everyone in the world, according the UN?
A: 10% (that's about $40 billion, the amount of funding initially requested to fund our retaliatory attack on Afghanistan)

8. Q: How many people have died in wars since World War II?
A: 86 million

9. Q: How long has Iraq had chemical and biological weapons?
A: Since the early 1980's.

10. Q: Did Iraq develop these chemical & biological weapons on their own?
A: No, the materials and technology were supplied by the US government, along with Britain and private corporations.

11. Q: Did the US government condemn the Iraqi use of gas warfare against Iran?
A: No

12. Q: How many people did Saddam Hussein kill using gas in the Kurdish town of Halabja in 1988?
A: 5,000

13. Q: How many western countries condemned this action at the time?
A: 0

14. Q: How many gallons of agent Orange did America use in Vietnam?
A: 17 million.

15. Q: Are there any proven links between Iraq and September 11th terrorist attack?
A: No

16. Q: What is the estimated number of civilian casualties in the Gulf War?
A: 35,000

17. Q: How many casualties did the Iraqi military inflict on the western forces during the Gulf War ?
A: 0

18. Q: How many retreating Iraqi soldiers were buried alive by U. S. tanks with ploughs mounted on the front?
A: 6,000

19. Q: How many tons of depleted uranium were left in Iraq and Kuwait after the Gulf War?
A: 40 tons

20. Q: What according to the UN was the increase in cancer rates in Iraq between 1991 and 1994?
A: 700%

21. Q: How much of Iraq's military capacity did America claim it had destroyed in 1991?
A: 80%

22. Q: Is there any proof that Iraq plans to use its weapons for anything other than deterrence and self-defense?
A: No

23. Q: Does Iraq present more of a threat to world peace now than 10 years ago?
A: No

24. Q: How many civilian deaths has the Pentagon predicted in the event of an attack on Iraq in 2003? A: 10,000

25. Q: What percentage of these will be children? A: Over 50%

26. Q: How many years has the U.S. engaged in air strikes on Iraq? A: 11 years

27. Q: Were the U.S and the UK at war with Iraq between December 1998 and September 1999?
A: No

28. Q: How many pounds of explosives were dropped on Iraq between December 1998 and September 1999?
A: 20 million

29. Q: How many years ago was UN Resolution 661 introduced, imposing strict sanctions on Iraq's imports and exports?
A: 12 years

30. Q: What was the child death rate in Iraq in 1989 (per 1,000 births)?
A: 38

31. Q: What was the estimated child death rate in Iraq in 1999 (per 1,000 births)?
A: 131 (that's an increase of 345%)

32. Q: How many Iraqis are estimated to have died by October 1999 as a result of UN sanctions?
A: 1.5 million

33. Q: How many Iraqi children are estimated to have died due to sanctions since 1997?
A: 750,000

34. Q: Did Saddam order the inspectors out of Iraq?
A: No

35. Q: How many inspections were there in November and December 1998?

36. Q: How many of these inspections had problems?

37. Q: Were the weapons inspectors allowed entry to the Ba'ath Party HQ?
A: Yes

38. Q: Who said that by December 1998, Iraq had in fact, been disarmed to a level unprecedented in modern history.
A: Scott Ritter, UNSCOM chief.

39. Q: In 1998 how much of Iraq's post 1991 capacity to develop weapons of mass destruction did the UN weapons inspectors claim to have discovered and dismantled?
A: 90%

40. Q: Is Iraq willing to allow the weapons inspectors back in?
A: Yes

41. Q: How many UN resolutions did Israel violate by 1992?
A: Over 65

42. Q: How many UN resolutions on Israel did America veto between 1972 and 1990?
A: 30+

43. Q: How much does the U.S. fund Israel a year?
A:$5 billion

44. Q: How many countries are known to have nuclear weapons?
A: 8

45. Q: How many nuclear warheads has Iraq got?
A: 0

46. Q: How many nuclear warheads has US got?
A: over 10,000

47. Q: Which is the only country to use nuclear weapons?
A: the US

48. Q: How many nuclear warheads does Israel have?
A: Over 400

49. Q: Has Israel every allowed UN weapon inspections?
A: No

50. Q: What percentage of the Palestinian territories are controlled by Israeli settlements?
A: 42%

51. Q: Is Israel illegally occupying Palestinian land?
A: Yes

52. Q: Which country do you think poses the greatest threat to global peace: Iraq or the U.S.?
A: ????

53. Q: Who said, "Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter"?
A: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr

Members of Trinity are asked to think about these things and be prayerful as we sift through the "hype" being poured on by the George Bush-controlled media.

Rev Jeremiah A Wright, Jr.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Stupidity: Repeating a failed action to see if it'll work THIS time

Jerry Lundergan, the current head of Kentucky's Democratic Party, has announced that Democrats will be proclaiming their values when they campaign in 2006. Of course, they will be Judeo-Christian values. As a sign of this, Democrat Rick Nelson of Middlesboro has sponsored this year's (since this is an annual occurence in the KY General Ass) House bill to force the Ten Commandments into public buildings. Meanwhile, Jody Richardson, the Democratic Speaker of the House, recently commented that teaching 'Intelligent Design' (creationism renamed for the 21st century) should be a local school board decision rather than a vetted and proven portion of a standard science curriculum.

Lundergan and the rest of the KY Dem leadership claim that the 'liberals' in the KY Dem party are too much like the overall Democratic Party, which is 'too liberal' for Kentuckians. These claims are far from true. I am a liberal, bred and raised as such before the GOP made it a dirty word. I know them when I see them in action. There are very few liberals of either party in the Kentucky General Ass (not my abbreviation originally, but so accurate). I've endured years at the mercy of Democrat officeholders who would actually be Republican if their ancestors hadn't blamed the GOP for the Civil War.

When will Democrats realize that fundamentalists aren't going to switch parties if they mouth the same religious platitudes as Republicans? The party they've annointed is already in control of the government. They're not going to mess with the powerful bloc they already have by adding competition. They also rightfully see most of the lip service to faith and flash of Bibles as pandering when a Democrat is doing it (sad to say, they don't have the same clarity of vision when Republicans do the same thing).

There is another reason DINO tactics won't work: most voters don't really pay attention to what their officials do in office. In 2004, Democrat State Senator Dan Mongiardo (allegedly on the advice of a campaign manager) sponsored the amendment to the KY Constitution to ban same-sex marriages and civil unions. Not only did it not help his campaign for the U.S. Senate, his opponent, incumbent Jim Bunning, claimed in TV commercials that Mongiardo supported same-sex marriage.

The commercials worked. Mongiardo lost the election. The only time the polls seemed close was when rumors flew that Bunning had Alzheimer's Disease (See? Nothing to do with his actual voting record). Mongiardo gained no ground with conservative voters and sacrificed the support of Kentucky's gay and lesbian community, who refused to contribute time or money to his campaign. (Incidentally, the campaign managers were confused by the hostility they were getting from the gays they phoned. Why were they taking this so personally?)

There are a large number of idealistic, open-minded people in Kentucky who don't bother voting at all because no one is providing them with a true alternative to 'politics as usual'. I saw many non-voters come out of the woodwork to support Kucinich for President, then withdraw from the political process again when he lost the candidacy. They felt no one else really had their values, or spoke for them. Thanks to the DINO strategy, we won't be seeing them any time soon. Too bad. They are the true unreached group in this state.

Sarah G