Hard to accept: Mitch as victim; Miller as ex-pol

The Lexington Herald-Leader political columnist Larry Dale Keeling, who once wrote under the moniker, “Kentucky Curmudgeon,” writes this morning of finding a kindred spirit in The RP.  Read on:

For someone who claims to be “The Recovering Politician,” Jonathan Miller sure has been active on the political scene lately. The former state treasurer and cabinet official in Gov. Steve Beshear’s administration publically talked up the industrial hemp bill in the recent General Assembly session (Miller is a member of the Kentucky Industrial Hemp Commission). He touted actress Ashley Judd as a worthy Democratic candidate to take on McConnell in the 2014 U.S. Senate race.

And in a couple of recent pieces written for The Daily Beast, Miller got a bit in-your-face with some of his fellow Kentucky Democrats, accusing them (mostly without naming names) of elbowing Judd out of the Senate race and of botching their response to the leaked tape by focusing on the mistakes of the leakers instead of responding to what Miller termed a “vicious smear,” the tape’s revelations about the McConnell camp’s plan to exploit Judd’s past mental health issues.

In the latter piece, Miller wrote, “The circular firing squad Democrats have assembled comes as no surprise to observers of the state, who have watched for decades as McConnell’s national rise has been aided by his utterly inept opposition” before going on to chronicle the infighting within the Democratic Party that at times has resulted in McConnell facing weakened challengers.

Miller is right. Kentucky Democrats have been their own worst enemies for decades. It’s a “me first” party, a party still living in the era when winning the Democratic primary was tantamount to winning office and, consequently, a party more interested in settling internal grudges than it is in choosing the best candidate for the fall. Also, consequently, a party destined to future irrelevancy if it doesn’t wake up.

But according to its mission statement on its Web site, “The Recovering Politician provides a civilized forum as an antidote to our nation’s toxic addiction to vitriol and demonization. Here is a place for debating and discussing the issues of the day … without the finger-pointing and blame-assigning that’s all too typical on the Web and among our more crass media.”

With all due respect, I would suggest to Miller that some of his recent writings might border on the “finger-pointing and blame-assigning” The Recovering Politician’s mission statement deplores. To put it bluntly (and with more than a dollop of good fun), he’s getting close to invading my space as a vitriolic and demonizing member of the “crass media.”

Click here to read the full piece

Artur Davis: A Moment of Pause?



Who knows what this tortured week in Boston means for the future? After all, the hunting down and killing of Osama Bin Laden hardly lifted America out of the morass that has distorted politics for the better part of five years, not even a little bit. There was agony at the shooting and maiming of a congresswoman while she was attending to her constituents, and the misery of knowing that a child died that day while on an outing to see democracy in action. Those tears haven’t washed any of the anger out of our campaigns, and they haven’t slowed down the denigration of public service.

But permit me one burst of wishful thinking. It goes like this. If only the fanaticism of two brothers who twisted themselves into killers would remind us that America faces threats worse than anything our left or right fear of each other. If only the intensity of the Tsarnaev brothers’ hatred makes the values we clash over, from immigration to gun laws to the weight of government, seem not unimportant but not worth surrendering our civility over, either.

davis_artur-11If only both sides of the ideological divide will forego the politics this one time: the fact that one killer turned into a radical under the protection of a student visa, and that another plotted how to sever bodies months after becoming a citizen, tells us much about the unpredictable warp in human souls, but next to nothing about the immigration deal Marco Rubio is trying to save. The agents and officers who wove this case together in four days from thin air can’t be lifted up enough, but spare us any side lectures on sequestration or talking points about the limitations of federalism. Save it for a week that doesn’t keep punching our gut.

If only we could savor one moment, let it be the faces in the crowds gathering in Watertown to celebrate a return to the ideal of being safe in one’s own home. I spent enough time as a student in metropolitan Boston to know that the blacks and whites and browns, and Catholics and Arabs and Jews don’t ordinarily mix so easily on those streets after dark. They often clutch their purses and roll up their car windows, and clench when they see each other. What a striking thing to watch them unclench their mutual suspicions for even a little while. It only took two bad seeds to make those gritty, divided neighborhoods re-imagine the meaning of “us” and “them.”

(A version of this essay was cross-published at Ricochet.com)

The RP’s Weekly Web Gems: The Politics of Laughter

The Politics of Laughter


In the wake of the Boston Marathon bombings, comedian Patton Oswalt took to social media.  In a post that would soon go viral,  Oswalt was able to give some perspective to the hopelessness that this sort of mayhem has the potential to manifest. [The Atlantic]

Earlier this week Steven Colbert riffed on the ridiculous collaboration between country music star, Brad Paisley and rapper LL Cool J entitled “Accidental Racist.”  Colbert is joined by Broadway actor Alan Cumming to perform their new song, “Oopsy Daisy Homophobe”…  hilarity ensued.  [Colbert Report]




Get Yourself Trained for the Next Disaster

This week’s awful events provide a somber reminder about the critical role volunteers can play in aiding law enforcement and medical practitioners in the wake of a horrible human tragedy.

Your thoughts and prayers for the victims are important, but each of us can and should do a whole lot more when disaster calamity — we can all play a constructive role in protecting our friends and neighbors against an act of terrorism or a natural disaster.

The Red Cross offers some amazing programs that help train average citizens in first aid and emergency preparedness.

Please click here for links to Red Cross programs in your area.

John Y’s Musings from the Middle: Creatures of Habit

Creatures of habit and dorsal fins

I remember in 3rd grade learning that some fish used to have a dorsal fin but no longer does because over the centuries there was no longer a need for it and it just sort of evaporated with time.

We humans are comfortable with what we know and have to be dragged kicking and screaming to try a new way of doing things (in the workplace and at home), even when it is obvious to everyone but us it is a far superior to our current approach

And then we try it.

And eventually get comfortable with it and even become an advocate for the “new way.”

jyb_musingsUntil there is a newer and obviously superior way to do things.

And we have to be dragged kicking and screaming to change from the old new way we are now comfortable with to the newer new way,

Maybe the solution is to give up our notion of ever being on auto pilot. Of ever getting too accustomed or comfortable with any process. Maybe the comfort of habit is like a human dorsal fin that has outlived its purpose

But that’s an awfully uncomfortable thought.

Maybe we can at least make a fashion statement with our dorsal fin of mindless habit. Pierce or tattoo it –or hang our new high tech gadgets (iPhone or Wifi tablets) on our hook of a needless fin.

But don’t get rid of it completely.

I may not need or use it but I don’t want to give it up.
Just yet.


Julie Rath: On Avoiding Polo Shirt Monotony

The polo shirt has been unfairly accused of looking boring, most notably in the summertime. The key to avoiding a polo snoozefest is, rather than having the same exact shirt in every color it comes in, finding a variety of styles and details that suit you depending on the occasion. There are loads of options to choose from: colored stitching to make it casual, or a contrast collar for pop, to name just two. Below are some of my favs for this season in 6 different styles.

1. Supersoft Casual

Men's Style: Billy Reid Polo Shirt

The small pocket, long placket, and contrast stitching (especially the unexpected diagonal lines to the right of the pocket) combine nicely to give this polo a laid back feel. I’ve gotten this specific top for a few clients, and they’ve all remarked on how soft and comfortable the fabric is. Billy Reid, $88.

Read the rest of…
Julie Rath: On Avoiding Polo Shirt Monotony

Emily Miller: Maggie


Emily (left) & Maggie

She was tall and thin with short brown hair reaching just to her ears, and she had the prettiest hazel eyes I had ever seen.

“Hi,” she said “I’m Maggie!”

My nine year-old self was quite astounded by her excitement and outgoing personality. That summer was spent playing in the pool and running around our beloved camp. That was the beginning of many summers spent together.

As each summer passed, we only grew closer. Maggie’s hair turned long, and her previously tall stature became short when she stopped growing; but her fun and crazy personality never changed.

I remember the last summer I spent with her. Despite her frequent panic attacks, she was always entertaining. We joked about boys and sang our favorite show tunes louder than ever. It was our last year as campers, and we wanted to make the most of it. When it was time to say goodbye, we cried; but we knew we’d talk on the phone and see each other soon.

“I love you,” I said.

A few months later when my boyfriend cheated on me, I called her crying.

“He’s not worth it,” she said to me. “You’re beautiful and wonderful, and he doesn’t know what he’s missing.”

“I love you,” I said.

That spring we were reunited at a youth group convention. We stayed up all night joking and laughing and making prank calls. I can still hear her loud contagious giggle echoing through the room. I felt just like camp. When we finished laughing she said to me,

“I tried to kill myself this year.”

I couldn’t believe what she was telling me.

“I love you,” was all I could say.

We lost touch after that. Maggie lost touch with all of us.

On January 17, 2012, I got a text from my friend.

I need to tell you something.”

Is everything okay?”

Just meet me after class.”

Something felt terribly wrong, so right as the bell rang I ran to my friend. Her eyes were puffy. Her face was red.

“What’s wrong?” I asked.

“It’s Maggie,” she choked “she overdosed.”

My heart stopped.

“Well is she okay? Is she in the hospital? Can we call her?”

“No, she died this morning.”

I cried all night. 

The funeral was heartbreaking. There were so many people there. She had so many friends. She was so loved.

How could you leave us?” I thought. “How could you do this to all these people?”

It took me a while to understand why she did what she did. She was in so much pain. While I wish more than anything that she were still here, I’m glad she’s not still in pain.

I wish we had stayed in touch. I wish I could call her. I wish I could say,

“I love you,” one last time.

John Y’s Musings from the Middle: Gangsta Fantasies

jyb_musingsGangsta fantasies and crotchety, judgmental old men (me) advising.

Seeing several privileged white kids at a private school in Louisville trying to look “gansta” made me remember this video.

This is as about as tough, fellas, as you coul…d ever hope to look. (Please watch the video.) And you will never look or be as “street” as Vanilla Ice. And that should deter you.

It just ain’t happening.

Comb you hair. Pull up your pants. Tuck in your shirt. Do your homework. Because not doing your homework is about as “bad” as you are ever going to be.

Embrace it. Be grateful. Be who you are.


From Mitch McConnell’s Facebook Page…

Check out below the meme posted on Senator Mitch McConnell’s Facebook page, and the comments made by the Senator’s team and others. Then let us know what you think:

The Recovering Politician Bookstore


The RP on The Daily Show