Sarah and Gwen: the Two-Headed Monster

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

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Wake Up Lexington Event was Packed!

Gwen and I went downtown this morning to attend the Wake Up Lexington event. We arrived to find the theater packed! The demographics were mixed, to say the least: college students, young parents with their children, older people, and in-between (NOT old, damn it!) history buffs like ourselves.

From Barefoot and Progressive:

We filled EVERY seat of the 350 seat theater.

Standing room only in the back.

With a full lobby of people that couldn't get in.


Sadly, we were among the people who couldn't get in to see the presentation. We did sign the big letter in the lobby, though, and enjoyed studying the photographs of buildings and their histories. Some of them may appear in Gwen's second novel.

Kudos also to The Dame folks, who displayed several photographs of their establishment near the exit of the building. I am sorry to hear that the venue may have been sold out from under the people who actually run it.

I do hope that, at some point, we will have the opportunity to see the documentary. The theater and lobby were so crowded that we couldn't get close enough to hear, much less see, much of value. I won't complain too loudly, though, since this was just proof of the event's success!

More heartening news:

Towards the end of the event, a question was asked to Vice-Mayor Jim Gray, who gave a VERY good speech about how we should be able to come to a compromise that improves Lexington by incorporating the rich history and community that we already have here. It was "is this already a done deal?" After some delicate wording, he gave an emphatic "NO", to great applause.

I hope this interest will lead to a good turnout for the Courthouse Area Design Overlay Board Hearing. It will take place at 2 PM on Wednesday in the Urban County Council Chambers. I am afraid I will be working, as will many other sympathizers of the cause.


Monday, March 24, 2008

Money Shouldn't Change Everything

In "What's with Labor's 180-Degree Turn?" Ryan Alessi marvels:

In March 2007, amid the Democratic primary for governor, key unions in Kentucky not only wrote off the possibility of backing Lunsford, some openly campaigned against him. Many in organized labor remained steamed over Lunsford's 2003 run for governor, in which he dropped out of the Democratic primary and later backed Republican Ernie Fletcher in the general election.
Yes, labor issued an anti-endorsement of Lunsford last year. Officials even formed a 527 to fight him in the gubernatorial primary. This year, though, the KY AFL-CIO and the Kentucky chapter of the United Mine Workers are endorsing him over the other Democratic candidates in the U.S. Senate race.

So why the about-face?

First, the message from the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and its chairman, Sen. Charles Schumer of New York, was unmistakable: Lunsford is their guy. Schumer and the national AFL-CIO, therefore, had a keen interest in Kentucky's labor unions getting behind him, and they made sure to say so, said Bill Londrigan, president of the Kentucky AFL-CIO.

"There may have been a phone call or two," he said.

Second, the unions made the same political calculations that Schumer already has. Lunsford's vast personal wealth can help catch up to McConnell's $10 million fund-raising head start, and his millions of dollars' worth of TV ads run in two previous statewide races made his name familiar to voters.

Alessi has put his finger on one thing: Lunsford's preferred status in the Senate race was the result of a top-down move by Chuck Schumer and the DSCC. Too bad he doesn't include Schumer's strongarm tactics in running other, more truly Democratic, candidates out of the race.

Page One Kentucky is more stalwart. They report:
From a Fischer campaign staffer:

Schumer, et al has all ready screamed and yelled and threatened Greg and some of his key financial backer saying they will ‘crush’ Greg’s abiltity to raise money. We lost a couple of consultants that we had offered positions too because Schumer found out and basically said if you want any more work from DSCC - do not take Fischer race…

From a Horne campaign staffer:

Beshear’s people and the DSCC basically came in and screwed the entire campaign. When we wouldn’t drop out of the race they started threatening Andrew, his financial backers, elected officials who supported him, his campaign staff, told us we would never work on a Senate race again. Beshear’s people made it very clear to us that we could never work on a state race again either as long as Jennifer Moore or their other people are involved with the party.
What public spin is being put on Lunsford's endorsement by labor leaders, who should be rightfully offended at blatant threats of people becoming 'unhirable' in their chosen profession?

Again from the Herald-Leader:
"Let's be honest, there's not a whole lot of difference in how they stood on our working-family issues," he [Londrigan] said. "But on balance, we measured Bruce to be a candidate that had more capability to challenge Mitch -- money, name recognition, the support he's going to receive from the ... big players in D.C., the DSCC."

Hey, how about Fischer's lack of a track record for screwing over labor? No matter what Lunsford says now, his past says something else. He donated money to many anti-labor candidates, most notably Mitch McConnell himself. When he dropped out of the Democratic gubernatorial race in 2007, he immediately endorsed Ernie Fletcher, who abolished the Labor Cabinet and tried to pass a right-to-work (aka 'right-to-be-fired') law and a repeal of the prevailing wage law. But no, they're going with the money Big Business generates, and forgetting the reasons Big Business gave people for creating unions in the first place. Next year, they'll be reminded of those reasons if Lunsford takes that Senate seat. It is unlikely, however, since a choice between Lunsford and McConnell is no choice at all for many Democrats.

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Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Seems Appropriate

On this 5th anniversary of the Bush War, this song from Steeleye Span seemed appropriate:

Fighting For Strangers

What makes you go abroad fighting for strangers?
When you could be safe at home free from all dangers.
A recruiting sergeant came our way
To an Inn nearby at the close of day,
He said young Johnny you're a fine young man
Would you like to march along behind a military band,
With a scarlet coat and a big cocked hat,
A musket on your shoulder,
The shilling he took and he kissed the book,
Oh poor Johnny what'll happen to you.

The recruiting sergeant marched away
From the Inn nearby at the break of day,
Johnny went too with half a ring
He was off to be a soldier, he'd be fighting for the King
In a far off war in a far off land
To face a foreign soldier,
But how will you fare when there's lead in the air,
Oh poor Johnny what'll happen to you.


The sun shone hot on a barren land
As a thin red line took a military stand,
There was sling shot, chain shot, grape shot too,
Swords and bayonets thrusting through,
Poor Johnny fell but the day was won
And the King is grateful to you
But your soldiering's done and they're sending you home,
Oh poor Johnny what have they done to you.

They said he was a hero and not to grieve
Over two wooden pegs and empty sleeves,
They carried him home and set him down
With a military pension and a medal from the crown.
You haven't an arm, you haven't a leg,
The enemy nearly slew you,
You'll have to go out on the streets to beg,
Oh poor Johnny what have they done to you.



Saturday, March 15, 2008

Proving a Point I Made Earlier

When I posted in support of the amendment to return the KY General Assembly to biennial meetings, I received some criticism on Bluegrass Roots.

I was told that the amount of time spent on gay-bashing and joining church and state would shrink in comparison to the good work that could be done if our legislators were given more time to meet.

My response:

I am not convinced that longer sessions would lead to proportionately smaller time spent on bad bills. I think the panderers would do what they did in 2004 with the anti-marriage amendment, which was to bring it up again and again until they got what they wanted. Meanwhile, the budget languished.

The 2008 Assembly is proving this point. Jody Williams is still looking to see if he has the votes to pass the casino bill (even if the House cannot agree on one version!).

His only worry is his lack of time:

Time is running out for the legislation, and Richards acknowledged that “momentum has been lost on it, no question about it.”

But he added, “A lot of our members would like to see that bill, that amendment pass.”

Longer, more frequent sessions would just give him time to twist more arms. In the meantime, the legislature is resistant to other approaches that would bring KY revenue because they would be unpopular with a much larger group of people.

As long as certain officeholders view the Assembly as one long campaign commercial, this sort of crap will continue. Either the legislature should be limited in its ability to hurt Kentuckians by keeping its sessions short, or some way of limiting non-budget-related bills and floor amendments should be devised.


Friday, March 07, 2008

Broke at the crossroads and no one can agree on a direction

Okay, now Beshear is talking about increasing cigarette taxes, since the casino proposal appears to be a bust. He wants to use it as leverage to borrow money.

The House Democrats have turned him down, calling the idea of borrowing money 'irresponsible'. I would have added 'Republican'.

The KY General Assembly doesn't want to use casinos, increased taxes, or borrowed money to get the state out of the hole it's in. They don't want to downsize employees except by attrition (shrinking and delaying services), and they certainly don't want to cut out any pork!

Below is a proposed income stream they haven't thought of yet. It's certainly as likely to get through the Assembly as anything else.

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