In Other News… The divine Jennifer Lawrence, Bullitt fire chief, senators to work Fridays and Cardinal sports Friday, Nov 21 2014 

From November's Vanity Fair. She's naked in the water holding a bird. Don't question it; just go with it.Dumb and Dumber: The Washington Times, Gawker, Mic, Opposing Views and Fire Chief report that a Bullitt County Fire Chief landed in some hot water this week with two—count ‘em—two taped incidents of racism and one seemingly unnoticed incident of … Continue reading

Senator McConnell, you’re no Alben Barkley. Sunday, Nov 16 2014 

I asked Dorothy Barkley what she’d say if Sen. Mitch McConnell showed up at her door in Paducah. “I’d tell him, ‘Granddaddy was a yellow dog Democrat, and I can see right through what you are doing by using his name,’” the feisty septuagenarian replied.

Her granddaddy was Alben W. Barkley of Paducah, Harry Truman’s vice president and the only Kentuckian to serve as senate majority leader. But McConnell, who often praises Barkley for his leadership, is almost certain to become the second one when the new GOP-majority senate convenes in a few weeks.
McConnell handily won another term, but not with Barkley's vote. She cast her ballot for “that nice young woman,” Alison Lundergan Grimes, Team Mitch's Democratic challenger.
Dubbed “The Veep,” Alben Barkley had been majority leader in the 1930s and 1940s under President Franklin D. Roosevelt and The Man from Missouri, who became president when FDR died in 1945.
Truman tapped Barkley as his running mate in 1948. Barkley was reelected to the senate in 1954 but died in office in 1956. He was 78.

McConnell likes being compared to Barkley, who was a congressman before he was a senator.
No matter, a stint as majority leader would be the only thing McConnell would have in common with Barkley, according to The Veep's granddaughter. “I remember my granddaddy well. I was 13 when he died.”

Last summer, Barkley, 71, got so perturbed about McConnell gushing over her grandparent that she dashed off a letter to the editor of the Paducah Sun, her hometown newspaper. The Sun endorsed McConnell.

Barkley wrote that she appreciated “Sen. Mitch McConnell’s pleasant words about my grandfather.” But she cautioned that “Alben Barkley was a ‘yellow dog’ Democrat.”

“I don’t know how many people know what that means anymore,” she wondered. For the uninitiated, it translates as a Democrat so devout he would vote for a “yellow dog” if the pooch were on the Democratic ticket.

Anyway, Barkley said the Veep “would have seen right through” McConnell’s “kind words.” She urged Sun readers, “Let’s get a new face in Washington, D.C., a Democrat.”

Barkley’s record backs up what his descendant says about him.

McConnell is a conservative whose bane is “big government.” Barkley didn’t duck the liberal label. He ardently supported FDR’s Depression-fighting New Deal program of massive federal action to put people back to work and to boost the economy. Too, Barkley was on board with Truman's "Fair Deal," which the president hoped would continue New Deal liberalism.
McConnell is partial to filibusters but not to unions. Barkley disdained the former and championed the latter.

While their political perspectives are as different as chalk and cheese, so are their political styles.
McConnell is prone to bare-knucks politics. “His glower has usually been enough to dissuade those who consider crossing him,” Jason Zingerle wrote in Politico.

Barkley preferred winning hearts and minds through humor and charm. While McConnell routinely demonizes Democrats, Barkley didn't talk like Republicans were hell-bound heathens.
In addition, Barkley practiced the politics of give-and-take. He didn't think "compromise" was a dirty word.
“I have been a loyal, regular Democrat all during my career,” he wrote in That Reminds Me, his folksy 1954 autobiography. “….However, that has never precluded me from recognizing a lot of good things emanating from the opposition. In the period when I was in Congress and the Democrats were in the minority I supported measures I thought were beneficial for the people, regardless of which side of the aisle they came from.”

Also, McConnell is less than Barkley-like on the stump. The Veep was a master at homespun campaign oratory. His story bag was bottomless.

Though Barkley became a politician in Paducah, where “Angles,” his brick antebellum home, still stands, Dorothy Barkley credits her ancestor’s celebrated wit and bonhomie (probably not a word the down-to-earth Barkley frequently used) to his rural Graves County origins.

The Veep was born in 1877 in a long-since disappeared two-story log cabin in the long-gone farming community of Wheel, about 20 miles from Paducah. “Graves County is where he got his sense of humor and his savviness,” Barkley said.

Joee Conroy s Thumbs Down Gets a Thumbs Up Thursday, Nov 13 2014 

Ut Gret’s founder and longtime leader Joee Conroy, who gave a thumbs-down to Mitch McConnell at the polling place and made national news thereby, talks to Michael Jones at LEO about the reactions from the photobomb. Read it here.

Interview: Ut Gret Friday, Nov 7 2014 

Syd Bishop at Never Nervous has an interview with the ever-peculiar, ever-interesting Ut Gret, including Joee Conroy, who got more fame for photobombing Mitch McConnell with a thumbs-down than he has ever gotten for some band. Read it here.

Our Journal: On Voting in Kentucky Thursday, Nov 6 2014 

We apologize for the short break – Luke and I are back to journaling:


11/5/2014 Wednesday. This is the day after elections so that’s all everyone wants to talk about. After an election of some kind people really like talking about politics in general. I am a fairly liberal person and people in my class are fairly well divided, with extremes on both sides. One guy is all the way to where he doesn’t think global warming is a thing, abortions are wrong, religion very important etc. and then you have some who are the exact opposite, which is one of the interesting things about public school is that you meet every type of person you can think of. On the actual elections I was pretty surprised about quite a lot of the results like Colorado, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia to name a few. Woo boring politics!



my ballot

I voted first thing on Tuesday. I’m amazed at the way the Senate race turned out – not that McConnell won, but by the size of the margin. Though I voted for her, I think she blew any chance she had when she refused to answer the question about who she voted for in the 2012 presidential election. Her handlers were so fearful of backlash from Obama detractors that they wouldn’t let her speak the truth.

And that’s the most disappointing part of living in Kentucky — the hatred of Obama is palpable. Whenever someone derides about Obama around me, I ask them what exactly has he done as president that is so horrible, or what policies have hurt them personally. I keep reading about how well the economy is doing while I’m buying #$3/gallon gas. I know we’ve pulled out of Iraq and generally the world is safe, the stock market is doing well. A lot of people have health insurance that didn’t have it before, and I’m confident the President is taking steps to protect our planet and encourage people to live healthier lives.

But in a lot of groups it’s almost the “in” thing to do to criticize the President.  I’m not one of them.

I had a great time on Wednesday, interviewing Mario Muller and Matthew Landan for the Rusty Satellite Show.  The interviews took me away from politics, which was a good thing.


Sorry America! We Kentuckians Reelected Mitch McConnell, But He Didn’t Get My Vote. Tuesday, Nov 4 2014 

Click here to visit the Sorry America Facebook page.



She’s more than just the anti-McConnell candidate Sunday, Nov 2 2014 

I’m one of those “liberal national Democrats” that conservative Kentucky Democrats sometimes scorn.

I know some Kentuckians of my persuasion are less than enthusiastic about Team Switch. They say Alison Lundergan Grimes is merely the anti-McConnell.

I beg to disagree.

This union card-carrying Hubert Humphrey Democrat is voting for Grimes. As far as I can tell, so are all of my left-leaning buddies here in deep western Kentucky, where I was born, reared and still live.
Anyway, when Grimes revealed her not-exactly-liberal policy agenda early in her campaign, blogger Joe Sonka suggested it might “cause enough Kentucky liberals to totally check out from the race and sit at home next November and drag away thousands of potential votes in Louisville and Lexington to affect the outcome in a close race.”
I especially worried he might be right after Grimes declined to tell the Louisville Courier-Journal editorial board if she voted for President Obama.
I cringed at her inartful dodge. So did a lot of us left-leaning Kentuckians. (Okay “a lot” is a relative term. We are an endangered species in the Bluegrass State.)

But the hedge didn’t shake my support for the captain of Team Switch.

Oh, the captain of Team Mitch would love for loads of lefties to stay mad at Grimes for her less-than-liberal platform and for her less-than-forthrightness on whom she voted for.

I wouldn’t bet the farm that will happen.

“DEMOCRATS WHO STAY HOME ELECT REPUBLICANS,” warns a Texas sign, a photo of which appeared on Daily Kos, one of my favorite blogs. Kentucky liberals know that opting not to vote is, in effect, voting for McConnell.
This two-time Obama voter will be among the first in line at my precinct come Tuesday. I’ve cast an enthusiastic vote against McConnell every time he’s run for the senate. Here’s hoping this time will be the charm.
To be sure, some liberals might call me less than a real McCoy lefty for sticking up for Team Switch. I call it living in the real world.

I dwell in a state where Obama’s popularity rating is close to rock bottom. (Let’s not kid ourselves. A lot white folks, and not just in Kentucky, don’t like the president because he’s not white.)
I’d also bet the farm that Obama won’t hold Grimes’ evasion against her, especially if she ditches Mitch. The president lives in the real world, too.
Anyway, the headline on Sonka’s story in LEO (he has since switched to Insider Louisville) proclaimed “Alison Lundergan Grimes’ website reveals Blue Dog policy agenda.”

I’ve looked at her agenda. If she is a Blue Dog, her hue is closer to azure than to midnight, at least to me.

Grimes is solid on union issues. The Kentucky State AFL-CIO endorsed her last year and for good reason.

So did the Courier-Journal, whose editorial page generally leans to the liberal side.
Grimes is also sound on other issues important to me. “Ms. Grimes supports abortion access, describing it as ‘a personal choice between a woman, her doctor and her God’ and she believes all couples, regardless of gender, should be able to make the commitment of marriage,” the C-J endorsement editorial said.

I’m with her on all of that.

McConnell, on the other hand, shamelessly panders on the so-called “social issues.” He is a master at dog whistle politics.
I like the Affordable Care Act, though I would prefer a single-payer, Medicare-for-all system. “Grimes is for the   Affordable Care Act and Kynect, Kentucky's version of the federal health law that now provides about 520,000 Kentuckians with health coverage and access to care,” the C-J editorial said. “While Ms. Grimes says she would work to ‘streamline’ and improve the law, she does not seek its repeal.”
McConnell wants to get rid of the Affordable Care Act “root and branch.”

I’m for boosting the minimum wage and for reducing gender inequality across the board. McConnell is not.
“Ms. Grimes supports an increase in the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour. She supports eliminating the wage gap between men and women. And she supports federal help making child care more affordable to working parents,” the editorial said.
I’m a retired public community college teacher. My wife (also a Grimes backer) has been a public high school librarian and teacher since 1980.
“Early childhood education including pre-school and Head Start is a priority for Ms. Grimes who says the U.S. must invest more in such programs that reduce poverty and improve opportunities for children,” the C-J editorial said. We agree.
McConnell’s ideal America is a country where rich, right-wing white guys like him rule the roost. He gets an “F” rating from the NAACP, by the way.

Simply put, McConnell is a millionaire, bare-knucks, Social Darwinist union-buster. His definition of free enterprise means free of unions, free of government help for people who need help, free of laws designed to safeguard workers on the job, to shield the environment against polluters and to protect consumers against shoddy and dangerous products, and free of business and industry owners’ moral obligation to help promote the general welfare of their communities and their country.
McConnell is a high priest of the gospel of greed. His politics are meaner than a junk yard dog.
Even so, in my heart, I pined for movie star Ashley Judd, whose politics are a lot closer to mine than Grimes’s are, to come home and take on McConnell. In my head, I’m glad she didn’t.

I couldn’t get elected dog catcher in Mayfield, where I was born, reared and still live. Judd probably couldn’t have come close to getting elected senator.
I know the polls don’t look good for Team Switch. But here it comes. It’s trite but true: The only poll that counts is the one on Tuesday.

In Other News… Election, Cardinals almost upset FSU, Lawrence breakup Friday, Oct 31 2014 

McConnell GrimesElection Day: Ok. Here it is. Nov. 4 is right around the corner. Election Day. This is it. And so here’s where we are in the home stretch: The final Bluegrass Poll has McConnell in the lead, 48-43. The Grimes … Continue reading

Other McConnell father-in-law businesses that look a little shady Friday, Oct 31 2014 

Sen. Mitch McConnell's father-in-law, James S. C. Chao, may have ownership interest in other "Foremost" businesses besides the one receiving international scrutiny in a drug trafficking investigation.

The Nation reported Thursday that Colombia was investigating Chao's Foremost Maritime Company LLC for cocaine trafficking. About 90 pounds of cocaine was found locked inside one of his Liberian-flagged ship's chain lockers. From a report published here in August, Chao will have 23 ships in his fleet by 2016, with the newest ones costing $58 million each.

But the coke boats might be only the tip of a Gatsby-style drama. Speaking of Gatsby, let's visit Long Island.

Foremost International Shipping Inc.

Chao lived in the Long Island hamlet of Syosset before moving his family to the more affluent suburbs of Westchester County, according to Laura Flanders in her 2003 book Bush Women. According to the New York Secretary of State, the "principal executive office" of Foremost International Shipping Inc. is still in Syosset, at 345 Split Rock Road. Check it out:

Foremost International Freight Services Corp.

Foremost International Freight Services Corp. HQ
And then there's Foremost International Freight Services Corp., which at least has a humble storefront. Foremost Freight is located at 241 Rockaway Avenue, in the quaint Long Island village of Valley Stream, New York, a little South of Syosset. 

Foremost Freight's looks a little shady, and not just because the blinds are closed. Only a small square sign on the front door even gives notice this is where the business is located, and the business does not appear to be registered with the New York Secretary of State. 

"Our company specialize on export shipments from USA to Asia, includes all main ports of China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam and Bangladesh."
"We provide our customers door to door services for import shipments. For example, garments, CNC machine tools, chemicals, furniture, 99cents store items.etc. , we can offer both air and ocean shipments from origin factories to your warehouse, include shipping, Customs clearance, trucking and storage."
And they do all that from here:

I call shenanigans. 

11/02/2014 Update:

From the judge's opinion in a 2004 lawsuit in U.S. Federal Court, JI MAY Navigation Corporation was the" "owner and operator of the M/V JI MAY. Defendant Foremost, organized under the laws of the state of New York, acted as an agent of Ji May by securing charterers for the M/V JI MAY."

According to Panadata, at least six other Panamanian-registered corporations are named for Foremost Maritime ships:  
Raising the question - if Foremost Maritime's ships are actually owned by corporations in Panama (or the Marshall Islands in the case of the Ping May), yet they appear to all be registered in Liberia, what is left to give the Chao's claim to that the Chao's are running an American business? And are the Chao's paying any taxes? 

Ditch Mitch Witches Show Up At Kentucky Republican Party Headquarters. Thursday, Oct 30 2014 

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