Dec 122012

Hints at return trip to Frankfort

NoC Newswire

Santa, elves and media in Frankfort, December 2011. Photo courtesy North Pole Media.

East Siberian Arctic Shelf  (Tuesday, December 11, 2012)—Santa Claus today reminded reporters during daily holiday press briefings that he had yet to hear from Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear regarding last year’s holiday demand to support three specific Christmas-saving initiatives:

  • To end surface mining in Kentucky, immediately.
  • To employ every surface mine worker in jobs that reclaim the land and waterways already damaged by coal operations.
  • To work to help Appalachians build healthy communities and a just, diverse, and sustainable economy.

When Father Christmas arrived last year to speak with Beshear, the Kentucky governor happened to be out on “official business.”  Always the jolly pranksters, Santa and his elves went ahead with their plan to deliver coal and switches to Beshear and other legislators for a variety of Christmas-killing decisions they had made over the previous 12 months. This year, Claus expects a face-to-face meeting with Beshear.

“Ho ho ho. Maybe what I need to do is have my communications elf schedule a visit through his chief of staff to ensure he’s at the office. I’d love to sit little Stevie down on my lap and just talk. He was such a good kid when he was little.”

Claus stated that his people are working on hammering down a date when he and his entourage can arrive in Frankfort.

“Whenever it is, we’ll be sure to get the word out quick so all those good Kentucky elves can come join me and my caroling delegation at the capital building.”

Dec 062012

The first 200 years in court

The U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights created government and rights of, for  and by the people. Nearly since their creation, however, these documents have been under assault by corporate interests, which have attempted to connect corporate rights to citizen rights. Writing during the early republic, Thomas Jefferson warned“I hope we shall crush… in its birth the aristocracy of our moneyed corporations, which dare already to challenge our government to a trial of strength and bid defiance to the laws of our country.”

With apologies to Mr. Jefferson, here’s a condensed walk through two centuries of court cases that have incrementally given corporations the powers allotted to the people. Continue reading »

Dec 062012

By Martin Mudd

In their best album since the groundbreaking debut Let’s Get Free, revolutionary hip-hop duo dead prez have released a masterpiece in Information Age. In the decade following Let’s Get Free, and M-1 have released some great singles amid some weaker material, but this album is a rock-solid return to form, a much-needed update to their radical message encoded in catchy beats and poetic lyrics.

Since their early days, dead prez have geared their artistic decisions toward using popular musical forms to spread their uncompromisingly revolutionary message to a wide audience. Let’s Get Free was a savvy blend of gangsta-rap bangers and soul-inspired tunes; Information Age, meanwhile, adapts recent trends in hip-hop and electro to incorporate bust-ya-shit-out dance beats and synthesized vocals. What has not changed is dead prez’s lyrical quality and flows, which are liquid, inspired, and inspiring. If something inside you has not changed by the time you finish listening to this album, then you probably need to check yourself. Continue reading »

Dec 052012

Be George Bailey

By Beth Connors-Manke

The transcendent part of It’s a Wonderful Life is supposed to be George Bailey’s realization that his life, disappointing as it was to him, had positively impacted others’ lives. As viewers, we’re supposed to empathize with George’s struggles and be warmed by his hope and reconciliation at the end. However, when I watched the film again last week, the part that resonated the most wasn’t George’s redemption; it was the economics of housing. Continue reading »

Dec 052012
Veteran homeless
In reflecting on hurricane Sandy, I started wondering about all the homeless that live in the old tunnels in New York City. Did NYC get them evacuated? How many of our homeless brethren did we loose to this storm? Will their deaths be counted?
So far, not counting homeless deaths due to Sandy, we’ve lost 36, 897 (Nava, November 2012). Since 6% of the homeless population are veterans who served our country with honor to protect our freedom, how are their deaths treated?
It would be wonderful to find housing for all of them. Obama fought for and got HUD funding for veterans, but he knows this isn’t enough to solve the problem that exist amongst our veterans. However, due to severe mental illness which they’ve developed while in service to this country Our Afghan War and early Iraq War veterans have even more risk of developing severe mental health disorders, which prevents them from reaching out to get help, assistance, and being able to maintain housing.
When you consider this number, 36,897 souls lost while homeless and 6% being veterans, this means close to 3,000 veterans have died while being homeless. So how do our cities/towns treat these honorable veterans’ deaths?
If their families can be located and want to take responsibility for the burial, do the families know they’re entitled to a military funeral? If the family can’t be found or don’t want to or can’t afford burial, do our cities/towns work with their local V.A. to see that these men and women who served their country get the military burial with honor that they so richly deserve? Would V.A. regulations even allow this?
If we can’t reach them before their death, we can at least restore dignity to them in their death by giving them the honor they earned when we bury them.
Robin Osgood, Rose Street, Lexington, KY
Walking while female
I hear you (“Shaming women,” November 2012). I too am female and live and used to work on the North end. During my tenure as a drafter for Windstream, currently housed in the building that used to be K-Mart on new Circle, I frequently used Lime, N. Broadway, etc., for my lunch time running grounds.
One day, I was walking back to work down N. Lime after an exhausting run for a pregnant lady. I don’t know if it was my running attire or generally disheveled appearance that signaled to some strange older guy in a minivan that I might be “working” the North Limestone area, but he shouted out the window asking if I wanted a ride. I waved him off, “no thanks, I can run” and kept on walking with a quickened pace. Really, I couldn’t run anymore…for some reason I was spent. Evidently, my decline didn’t convince him because he turned around, slowed up, stopped and waited as I walked on by. I didn’t have mace or a gun, but I had a phone, so I took it out and dialed one of my co-workers to let her know my distressing situation and where I could be located. The man decided I wasn’t worth the hassle, I guess, and drove off. Golden caravan, maybe 2000 model? This was at least 4 years ago, but I won’t forget it.
This wasn’t the first time I’ve felt threatened in a similar way by a man driving down a street, I on my feet. I used to live in Louisville and walking around at night in the highlands isn’t free of these kind of encounters.
Shannon, web post
Looking for topless mountains
Hello, I am on the search for the Topless Mountains are Obscene bumper sticker (“Outside the governor’s office,” June 2012). I am looking for the one that has the topless mountains that resemble a female’s breast. I can make donation or buy it. Any info would be appreciated.
Michael Cash, online
Author responds,
I got the rectangular shaped sticker from a woman from Louisville who was from the Unitarian Church or progressive Catholic Church. She was with a group lobbying in Frankfort last spring. You might ask Dave Cooper who is an organizer/spokesman with the Bluegrass Sierra Club and his own Mountaintop Removal Roadshow. Feel free to ask for more help if this is not enough. don pratt.
Dec 052012

Future home of 21c Museum Hotel Lexington, LLC. Photo by Kenn Minter.

The 21c public/private partnership

By Danny Mayer

In April, marital partners Laura Lee Brown and Steve Wilson, founding owners of Louisville-based boutique hotel franchise 21c, held a press conference under the pavilion at Cheapside Park to announce their $36 million purchase and renovation plans for Lexington’s 15-story First National Building, the city’s first skyscraper. Along with a pair of smaller adjoining buildings, Wilson told a crowd of local leaders gathered for the occasion, the iconic downtown structure would become the fourth 21c Museum Hotels franchise location. “This is a combination hotel and a real art museum. It is not art for decoration,” Wilson said. “The 21c Museum is the only museum in the country dedicated to collecting and exhibiting contemporary art by living artists.”

Local talk of the renovation has tracked city leader and 21c talking points, which have focused on aesthetics and downtown revitalization. But whatever its aesthetic value or ability to inspire a new urban “confidence,” 21c’s economic foundation comes straight out of the past two decades: a public/private partnership in finance in which the public assumes collateral and risk and the private owners reap the returns. Of the $36.5 million needed to purchase, renovate and open 21c as a boutique hotel with an attached modern public art museum, over 60 percent of it ($22.5 million) will come from tapping public funds at the city, state and federal levels, much of it through programs geared toward low- and moderate-income citizens.

If you want to see the democratic/economic policies pillaging the nation and globe writ devastatingly small, look no further than 21c. Here’s three themes that should be familiar to you. Continue reading »

Dec 052012

By Marcus Flores

Says the Tenth Amendment of the United States Constitution: “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” Given the stratification of state and local governments, the amendment authorizes the concept of “laboratories of democracy,” in theory allowing the states to experiment with, among other policies, the legalization of cannabis. Continue reading »

Dec 052012

The leek: a satirical take

By Horace Heller Hedley, IV

The familiar tour of Washington D.C.’s great monuments to our common past—The Lincoln Memorial, The Jefferson Memorial, the Washington Monument—will soon feature a new stop.  The new Ayn Rand Memorial, a tribute to the influential Russian émigré novelist and political philosopher, is due to begin construction in 2014.   Continue reading »

Dec 052012

A cinematic trifecta

By Cameron Lindsey

Raise your hand if you want to see a movie about Abraham Lincoln’s rise to the role of president, his famous Gettysburg Address, his assassination, or his brief stint as a vanquisher of the undead. If your hand is raised, you may not want to see Stephen Spielberg’s new movie Lincoln (though the recent Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Slayer might appeal to those who raised their hands to the last point).

No, Lincoln is not an easy flick about our favorite anecdotes surrounding the sixteenth president of our fair Union. Lincoln is, however, a captivating legal drama that gives a more honest account of the, as it turns out, not so honest Abe. Continue reading »

Dec 052012

By Joy Arnold

Record amounts of money spent in November’s election did not always reap as much as its sowers hoped. There were some glorious victories for the rest of us in spite of money.  Across the country in over 150 cities, for example, residents had the opportunity to vote on measures calling for an end to the doctrines of corporate constitutional rights and money as free speech.  In every single town the vote was supportive, often by overwhelming margins. It passed in ultra conservative Pueblo, Colorado, where the city newspaper came out against it, as well as in liberal Boston.

These ballot initiatives follow the 173 municipal governments across the country that have passed such resolutions and 55 organizations that have endorsed the work of Move to Amend, a national coalition of groups building grassroots support for a two-pronged Constitutional amendment that declares corporations are not people and money is not speech, and that therefore both can be regulated. Continue reading »