Elisabeth Jensen: Kentucky Kynect the Right Remedy at the Right Time

MpHJO.AuSt.79I am passionate about healthcare for the people of Kentucky. That is why I am proud of the leadership Governor Steve Beshear has done with our Kentucky Kynect, which now covers more than 402,000 people in the Commonwealth. Governor Beshear recognized opportunity, and knew the remedy for at just the right time for the people he serves.

And that is why I am disappointed that Representative Andy Barr and Senator Mitch McConnell are still blind to the facts, maintaining even stronger attempts to undermine Kentucky Kynect for people who had no insurance.

I often say Kentucky moms like me get more done by noon than Congress gets done in a week.  So when I learned Congressman Andy Barr has voted 19 times to repeal healthcare reform I was disappointed.

Barr, along with Mitch McConnell, voted to end Kynect and let insurance companies drop coverage, deny care and charge women more.

Barr has been in office as 6th District Congressman since January 2013. Since then, he has voted at least 19 times to repeal healthcare. His latest effort was just last week, when he cast his vote for the disastrous Barr/Ryan Budget, which would also change Medicare as we know it. During his career, he has taken more than $148,000 in contributions from the insurance industry, according to Opensecrets.org.

Overall, Congress has voted about 54 times to repeal the health care law. McConnell has even been criticized nationally for grossly distorting statistics, particularly when Governor Beshear’s office was reporting great success right here in Kentucky.

When I am in Congress, the families of Kentucky’s 6th District won’t have to be afraid of me serving special interests over their interests. And when it comes to their healthcare, I will protect Kentucky Kynect. When it comes to Andy Barr and me that is a big difference.

Elisabeth Jensen, as an executive of a non-profit and with deep experience in the business community, brings the tools and experience needed to get the economy working again. She is running for Congress to seek common sense, bi-partisan solutions to the challenges facing our country. See www.elisabethforkentucky.com for more information.

 

 

George Phillips: The View from a Dukie

Aaron Harrison Shot WisconsinEditors’ Note:  The author, a Duke alum,  is one of my very best friends, and also one of my biggest enemies on game day.  I have excerpted a letter he wrote me this morning.

I didn’t text or call last night because I knew how crushing that loss must have been, and even this may be too soon.  But you know I hope you will forgive me for intruding on your, “It was a great season moment.”

You had the most talented team in the nation, they were favored, they could taste it and they deserved it having beaten Wichita State, Michigan and Louisville, and they were playing UConn who lost to Louisville 3 times this year, once by 30 points, who the Cats killed twice this year.  I know you thought even if UConn was able to lead in the first half it would only a matter of time before UK’s immense talent would take over and dominate in the second half.  It looked that way, UConn was on the ropes, everybody knew it was only a matter of time, UConn’s bigs were in four trouble, Randle was, as he was all year, a man among boys, one of the Harrison twins could be counted on to hit a 3 if it was needed, the Cats were destined to win.

UK had a dozen possessions in the second half 0with UConn clinging to a 1-pt lead, and they just couldn’t take the lead.  Instead they will always be remembered as one of the most talented basketball teams in NCAA history not to win the National Championship.  Right up there with Calipari’s 2008 Memphis team ranked #1 with Derrick Rose with a 106-9 record over the last 3 years coming into the finals with Kansas.  Rose had an unbelievable second half leading Memphis to a 9 point lead with 2 minutes left.  But then like last night, Calipari’s stars as talented as they were, couldn’t hit their free throws missing 4 of 5 over the last minute.  The other less talented team last night like Kanas hit theirs, all 10 of them.  The team with less talent, with less freshmen starters, who worked at free throws intently in every practice where misses result in wind sprints, won.

Comparisons to the ’83 Houston Cougars with Olajuwon and Drexler, or Michigan’s ’93 Fab Five or the most dominant team ever the ’91 UNLV Running Rebels led by the Calipari like Tark the Shark.  The Running Rebels demolished every team they played in 1990, including the largest blow-out ever in the finals beating Duke by 30 points.  In ’91 they were undefeated trouncing teams by an average margin of victory of almost 30 points and they faced Duke in the quarter finals who they had humiliated in the finals the year before. And they, like UK last night, lost. And like last night, there was a feeling that the more talented team lost, but somehow there was justice in Calipari like Tarkanian being denied a Championship that by all rights they should have won.  Sometimes preparation, hard work and experience beats talent.  Sometimes there is justice in the world.  Last night felt to a non-Kentucky fan like one of those times.

College basketball is a cruel, crushing sport, and none more cruel to BBN and one of the most talented teams in the history of College basketball, than last night’s loss.  I feel your pain.

Chris Barnes: Greed – The Real #MarchMadness

college-basketballBy the time that you read this, #MarchMadness2014 will probably be over and a winner will be crowned. College basketball fans: How did you like it? Do you hear Pharrell Williams singing his ubiquitous song “Happy” playing in the background? If you are a UConn fan or a Kentucky fan, you probably do.

Unfortunately, your joy may be quite short lived. One team will cut down the nets in a state of utter euphoria after the game. The other team will bury their heads in towels to absorb a downpour of tears and to mask the looks of sheer frustration on their faces. Let’s consider a little history and the culture of the March Madness.

The 1992 Michigan Wolverines — affectionately dubbed the “Fab 5” — and the 2013 Kentucky Wildcats: Do you see the similarity between the teams? They are the only teams ever to start five freshmen in an NCAA Championship Game. That’s large…XXL!

In 1992, the notion of five freshmen starting in an NCAA Championship Game was unheard of…almost preposterous! Five freshmen (Webber/Rose/Jackson/King/Howard) outranked all the seasoned sophomores, juniors, and seniors already on the team who held their egos in check and who gave new meaning to the phrase “Team First.”

The Wildcat Five (Johnson/Randle/Young/Aaron/Andrew Harrison) faced no competition among their upper-class teammates, of which only two were seniors. Such is the state of Kentucky basketball these days. Coach John Calipari guarantees starting spots to blue-chip recruits…a highly questionable recruiting strategy. One and done—NBA here I come! The best high-school players want instant gratification and adoration and Coach Cal loves to bring athletes like that into his system.

In the 90s, the players wanted to be part of a team. Not now. Incoming freshmen come the team packed with attitude. Basketball did not change. You still need to run the pick and roll the way it’s been done for decades. [Side note: Thankfully the tight uniforms got jettisoned!]

For the record, John Calipari stated, “There is always next year when I have the top recruits once again coming for one year.” A lot of Calipari’s counterparts deem him to be a sleazy coach with no moral compass…especially when it comes to recruiting.

For those with short — or selective — memories, consider the time that Temple Owls Coach John Chaney and then U Mass coach Cal almost came to blows at a press conference after Chaney uttered the words, “I’m going to tell my kid, to kick yours kid’s butt,” as a result of the tactics used on the court by U Mass—a classic moment in intercollegiate athletics.

How many Kentucky Wildcats ever played in the NBA? More important: How many earned degrees from that storied institution.

Why don’t today’s players stay for four and graduate? The radical new culture in NCAA basketball comes down to “cream”—Cash Rules Everything Around Me. How soon can I get paid?

If the Kentucky Wildcats emerge victorious John Calipari will deposit a whopping $700,000 check in his bank account. If the Huskies cut down the nets Connecticut Head Coach Kevin Ollie receives a “measly” $166,000—but he’s only in his second year on the job so…The colleges themselves will receive over millions of dollars. The players get beautiful rings from the good folks at Jostens, but no “paper.”

The Fab Five never won an NCAA Championship, although they reached the finals twice in 1992 and 1993. They made a pact to stay another year to see if they could win it all and they stayed true to their words.

The Wild Five stand on the threshold of history: They can win with a starting five consisting of only freshmen. If they lose will the Wild Five put fame and fortune on hold for just one more year—like the Fab Five? Or — as seems more likely to be the case — will they pursue the pot of gold at the end of the NBA rainbow? Talk amongst yourselves!

 

Cross-posted from BK Nation h/t Kevin Powell

Christie Mitchell: Laments of the Unemployed Millenial – While We May Be Raised To Feel “Special”, We Are Also Honest

Unemployed MillenialI am 27 years old. I can sugar-coat things by saying I am single, free-spirited, and full of optimism when really I live under the security blanket of those words.  So let me be clear: I am alone. I am, at times, spirit-free. I am unemployed and more than I’d like to admit, feel the glass is half empty. Being honest and showing vulnerability is not to win some sort of Purple Heart, literary or otherwise. It is, justly and in fact, the truth.

I don’t want to earn or gain sympathy. Exercising my right to free speech and type will always bring the bearers of bleeding heart and bleating doubt. So it is essential that I assert through this brief dissertation that I have said and done these things by choice.

I have made many decisions that have led me to this fork in the road. I have no blame to point towards myself or others. I have no regrets either. Instead, I have nothing but time to learn. Quaint as my living quarters may be, the vast and unknown are things I am facing…as I should in my twenties.  I have no doubt the evidence of struggle and the peace I find with this time in my life will line my pockets one day. I am, of course, the quintessential millennial with high hopes and dreams. The only question now is how.

It would be nice to contemplate my navel with this time away from the working world. I did for a couple of weeks after the hangover wore off from the perpetual hamster-spinning and mind cluster crap I became accustomed to in my previous position.  Now, I only wish for an opportunity that would make the wheels in my brain turn, a new thought, a new idea, a break from the monotony, a way out…a paying job. At this point, it doesn’t have to be the job.  Just A job.

There are moments in my wallows of self-pity that I do find comfort and the ability to think positively.

Christie MitchellI find being unattached at this juncture a blessing. I hear stories of those who have lost jobs and are working hard to provide for their families and I find my scenario as a single female and tiny dog in tow much less harrowing. He eats out of one bowl, poops outside, requires less attention and is always happy when I come home. Also he sleeps. A lot. It is my disturbed sleep schedule that puts a wrench in his day.

As free-spirited as I used to be as a younger tot (yes, Baby Boomers, there is a complete shift in mentality from the ages of 22-27…just go with it), I have become indebted and feel power from the responsibilities that keep me yearning for more.  To meet a cute boy and hop on a tour bus at 27? Well, that’s stupid, painfully unaware, and desperate. I lived those days. I loved those days. Although I have time to spend on whatever my heart desires, my spirit leads me towards watching Tom Brokaw, not Tom Petty. The days of free falling are over. I loved them, I thank them for being in my life, and I don’t miss them.  I like the news now.

I have learned by age and experience that it is also okay to not trust everyone, everything, and every situation.  Sometimes it is okay to be a little weary. The glass may be half-empty at times because I realize there is a glass half-full waiting for me somewhere else. I would not trade the wisdom and the newfound ability to trust my gut for anything in the world.  It has given me the most mature outlook on the world I have possessed thus far in my life – one that keeps me from diving in head first. I have learned to be patient and cautious enough to check the temperature of the water.  I also avoid hot tubs. Another habit rid from the early twenties.  I hear those things have lots of germs.  Gross.

So I show this vulnerability.  Why?

Didn’t you know?  It’s the age of the Internet.  People love to scan through this stuff and make judgments either in favor or in contempt. Or to give some other opinion that makes voicing it on the Internet a special experience for those deprived of human contact and self confidence. I am, at times, lacking in both as well. Why take to the vast and unknown and divulge my inner feelings?  Again, Baby Boomers – it’s just what we do.  Go with it.

I do know that I am not the only one.  And I, along with many of my millennial brothers and sisters out there struggling to figure it all out, will have lined pockets one day after contemplating our belly buttons, watching educational programs, searching our souls, calming our too-free of spirits (sometimes), buckling down, earning – and loving – the next move in our journeys. Interesting enough – it won’t take Journey or Tom Petty, but we Don’t Stop Believing. We are resilient little twerps, aren’t we?

Career, life, and love are like really great bourbon.  They’re fun when they’re young, but there is something sweet and powerful when they get a little age on ‘em.

Oh, and they’re more of a commodity – because they’ve grown to become something very special. The days of boxed wine and cheap seats are over for this gal. At least that’s the metaphor.  I will be drinking boxed wine and looking on from the nosebleeds until I find a job to soothe the pockets…and then line them.  Love? I assume that may be next.

Life? Well, that’s what I’ve had all along. I won’t be waiting for wrinkles to become special. This is one thing I’m confident of; a sweet gift I do have in my half-empty pocket that’s sure to surprise – Tom Brokaw and all.

Greg Coker: Emotional Intelligence: A Key Factor in Life, Business & Politics

590594230_1395223918The political season is in full swing, and it is not uncommon to see candidates/potential candidates, consultants and supporters at public events and in the media floating trial balloons and testing the political waters. And while many gravitate toward one candidate and/or party, most would agree certain candidates on both sides of the isle seem to have more appeal than others and are clearly gaining more traction. That appeal and political movement may have more to do with “Emotional Intelligence” than any other factor.

From a life, business and political perspective, Emotional Intelligence is changing our concept of “being smart.” Emotional Intelligence (EI)-how we handle ourselves and our relationships-coupled with IQ, determine life, career and political success. Most have witnessed someone with extremely high IQ coupled with low EI crash and burn. In the business world way too many CEO’s are hired on their expertise and fired on their personality. Politically, way too many candidates are recruited because of their resume and defeated at the ballot box because they never really connected with voters.

Simply put, a candidate’s emotions are contagious, resonating energy and enthusiasm, all playing a crucial role in the success of a political organization. Volunteers, campaign staff and voters get excited, want to get involved, will work the long hours and most importantly, support the EI candidate and recruit others to do the same. Similarly, in business, we follow leaders with whom we connect. In fact, a recent Gallup Poll cited the number one reason for employee engagement was a personal relationship with one’s immediate supervisor, a supervisor with high EI that recognizes this important link between relationship and performance.

Greg Coker PortraitIn short, our view of human intelligence tends to be narrowly focused, and often ignores a crucial range of abilities that matter immensely in terms of how well we do in politics, business and in our personal life. Emotional Intelligence might be a key factor and help explain when people of high IQ flounder and those of modest IQ coupled with high EI do surprisingly well. The following are key factors in determining our Emotional Intelligence:

Self-Awareness

  • Emotional self-awareness: understanding one’s own emotions and recognizing their impact; using “gut sense” to guide decisions
  • Accurate self-assessment: knowing one’s strengths and limitations
  • Self-confidence: A sound sense of one’s self-worth and capabilities

Self-Management

  • Emotional self-control: Keeping disruptive emotions and impulses under control
  • Transparency: Displaying honesty and integrity; trustworthiness
  • Adaptability: Flexibility in adapting to changing situations or overcoming obstacles
  • Achievement: The drive to improve performance to meet inner standards of excellence
  • Initiative: Readiness to act and seize opportunities
  • Optimism: Seeing the upside in events

Social Awareness

Nathan and Asher Moskowitz: A Bar Mitzvah Tribute to a Struggling Friend

Editor’s Note:  Last summer, 13 year old Ethan Kadish was struck by lightning at Goldman Union Camp Institute in Zionsville, IN — the camp at which my wife and I met, as well as where my parents met.  Here’s the story of the horrible event.  Ethan’s camp buddies, Nathan and Asher Moskowitz are celebrating their Bar Mitzvah this weekend by making a tribute to their friend and raising money for his health care.  Here are their stories:

N_MLK_songleadingNathan Moskowitz:

Sometimes in life we don’t stop and think about what we are thankful for. With the sacrifice of well being our ancestors were forced to take a moment, appreciate their blessings and give thanks.

In my Torah portion, the Israelites made a special offering called the sacrifice of well being. They slaughtered the animal, and then splashed the blood of the animal all over the walls of the altar. The kidney and the liver were then turned into smoke in front of the altar. Not the most pleasant – laws about sacrifice and blood. But for me, all this blood and smoke, is teaching us about how we give thanks.

For our ancestors, the forced sacrifice of well being made them appreciate the blessings they had. It was a way to stop and think about what was really happening and what they needed to be thankful for. Today, fortunately, we don’t make sacrifices.  Instead, we have our prayers – and they are here to remind us of what is good in our lives. But also, what we can do more of. Just like the sacrifices, they help us think of what needs to be done in our world, like who might need our help.

For me, this entire bar mitzvah has made that happen. When I first thought of what my bar mitzvah meant to me, there were a few ideas that immediately popped into my head. Being a Jew, the importance of our Jewish tradition and that being up here tonight is part of our history. But there was one idea that had me thinking for a long time; that we have to work at making the world a better place and helping others. That’s the value that we have always learned as most important in being Jewish. And after what we experienced last summer, I knew we could live this Jewish principle for our b’nai mitzvah.

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Ash_soccerAsher Moskowitz:

My Torah portion talks about the sin offering, a sacrifice that had to be made when someone did something wrong.  It says that if one person in the community commits a sin, the entire community is responsible and has to make a sacrifice.  The sacrifice made was a bull and if they didn’t have a bull, the community used a goat.  Our ancestors brought the bull before G-d and then slaughtered it in the Tent of Meeting.  Then they burned the animal’s blood in the fire.

When I first read this, I found how they dealt with sins in ancient times really weird and gruesome.  Besides, how does sacrificing a bull and sprinkling bull blood fix our mistakes?

I imagine that the Israelites were concerned about giving up something as valuable as a bull, so maybe that would stop them from committing a sin. That fear would make them behave better. Though in my mind, linking this to G-d, doesn’t make a lot of sense. I don’t think G-d cared about someone’s sacrificed animal that was killed to make up for a mistake made. I believe that all G-d wants us to do, is that which is good and that we should work on fixing our world.

Yet what would happen if we could fix our mistakes and take back the wrong we did in such a simple and practical way?  When I was at a temple retreat, one of the counselors asked “have you ever squeezed toothpaste out of a tube and tried to put it back in?”  Well the thing is, it’s impossible.  Once we do something bad – once we hurt someone, once we call someone a name, we can’t take it back.  Now some people might think you can always just say, “I’m sorry.”  But for me that doesn’t cut it.

Words aren’t enough. Even though as Hannah Montana taught, “Nobody’s Perfect,” and “Everyone makes mistakes,” our actions need to show that we care enough to work at the wrong we did, that we can redeem ourselves and do something kind to help and to make things right.

This got me thinking. There are moments when mistakes are made and we wish we could go back in time and fix them. But that’s really true with everything we experience, everything we might want different. Think about all the things we would change! I wish we were able to do this because then I’d get my friend Ethan out of the way so that lightning wouldn’t strike him.

Of course, that’s not possible.  But I wish it were.  I guess the lesson is that when things happen, even bad things, we can’t change them. But we can work to make things better. And that actually is connected to my Torah portion.

Like I said before, the whole community is responsible for the sin that one person committed.  Yet, why is the entire community connected to what went wrong when only one person had sinned.  I think that is the most important lesson here, that community means everyone is responsible. When things are good, everyone can experience the good. When things aren’t good, everyone can try to make things better.

Today we are part of Ethan Kadish’s community. To help Ethan, Nathan and I are doing a 5k fun run walk so that we can raise money for Ethan’s medical care.

Ethan

Ethan

Becoming a bar mitzvah means I have the chance to be more of a leader – for my temple community leading us in prayer and also celebrating a tradition that has been passed along to me.  The most meaningful part of this is connecting with my temple, my family and my friends and bringing everyone together. And that tomorrow we will be a community that works together to help our friend Ethan.

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Nathan Moskowitz:

Our friendship with Ethan is ever lasting. We played Ultimate Frisbee together and we even had our own handshake after one of us scored. I hope and pray that one day we will be able to do our handshake again. The day he was struck by lightning, all of us at camp broke into tears. That night a new tradition began as we sang the prayer of healing, the Misheberach, together as a community. We continued doing this every day for the rest of the session, dedicating it to Ethan. It gave us time to think about how we wanted to help him. On the day we left camp, on the car ride home, I said, “we have to do something for Ethan.”

We’re blessed to be able to share Ethan’s story and ask everyone to make a difference in his life. It makes us feel good to know that our b’nai mitzvah is helping. And on some level, not only helping Ethan, but also reminding us how much helping there is to do in our community and in our world.

Gary Yarus: Defining the Left

the leftIt seems, there are many people, who contribute or frequent the RP website, who claim to be progressive Democrats or politically define themselves as “on the left”.  I have my    doubts!

Here’s is my test to see if you really are operationally and ideologically “the left”

You can test yourself for compliance using my 12 Point Platform:

1. A Living Wage
2. Medicare for all
3. Tax the Rich
4. Job or Income Guarantee
5. Debt Jubilee
6. Retirement Security
7. Post Office Bank
8. Enforce the Bill of Rights
9. End the Wars
10. Food Sustainability
11. Clean Air and Water
12. Carbon Negative Economy

Supporting the 12 Points, and necessary to pass, implement, and sustain them, are 12 Reforms:

1. Net Neutrality
2. Fairness Doctrine
3. Local Ownership of Media
4. Public Campaign Financing
5. Electoral Integrity
6. Self-organized web-based citizen deliberation
7. MMT Macro-economic Policies
8. Preserve and Expand the Commons
9. More Co-operatives, Fewer Corporations
11. Fiat Justitia. Ruat Caelum
10. Strategic Non-Violence
12. Points and Reforms Are Indivisible

gary-yarus-1953e8f7beFinally, to explain, revise, or extend the 12 Points and 12 Reforms,    One value:

The One Value
1. Public Purpose.

My test is a work in progress. Google searching may be required to   answer. What are your results? Suggestions for list improvement are welcomed.

Gary Yarus is a freelance writer, a student of political movements,  an escapee from the duopoly, a progressive populist, a Green Party pro-democracy advocate, who is committing a revolutionary act as the    publisher/editor/curator of an online magazine, devoted to democracy, ecology, peace and social justice called “The Beacon” (http://bit.ly/TheBeacon ). Email: garyyarus@yahoo.com

Berry Craig: The ‘fresh face’ who wants to retire Ed Whitfield

DSC_04600008Wesley Bolin, a 25-year-old college student from Murray, knows it usually takes a ton of money, name recognition and some political experience to win a seat in Congress.

The candidate confesses he lacks all three.

Plus, Bolin is running as an unabashed liberal in the First Congressional District, where more than a few voters cast ballots based on what some wags call the “Four Gs – God, guns, gays and government.”

“People say we need a fresh face in Washington,” said Bolin, a Democrat who wants to unseat 10-term incumbent Republican Rep. Ed Whitfield in November. “Well, nobody’s face is fresher than mine.”

Bolin’s mug is also bearded.  He considered shaving his whiskers for the campaign but decided against it “because it is better to look 25 than twelve. My beard isn’t presidential like Lincoln’s, but I think it looks congressional.”

Bolin is a senior history major at hometown Murray State University. His dad, Dr. Duane Bolin, is a history professor, author and well-known Kentucky historian.

Both Bolins are partial to hand-tied bow ties. Neither Bolin minds being compared to the late Sen. Paul Simon of Illinois, who ran for the Democratic presidential nomination in 1988.

The Bolins, Wesley, his dad, mom Evelyn, and sister, Cammie Jo, are devout Southern Baptists and active in the Murray Baptist Church.

The candidate believes in strict separation of church and state and promises not to pander on the social issues. “I believe in equality for all Kentuckians,” he declared.
Bolin leans decidedly leftward on economic issues. He is for upping the minimum wage and extending unemployment benefits to the approximately 1.4 million jobless Americans whose eligibility ended Dec. 28. Bolin is also pro-Affordable Care Act.

Bolin, like his dad, is a fan of President Franklin D. Roosevelt. The candidate favors New Deal-style public works programs.

He is staunchly pro-labor, declaring “I learned a lot about unions listening to Pete Seeger songs.”

Bolin opposes right to work laws. He supports prevailing wage laws and the Employee Free Choice Act. He believes public employees should have the right to unionize.

He opposes the North American Free Trade Agreement and similar trade deals including the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership, “NAFTA on steroids” to its opponents.

He said he isn’t fazed by the fact that the district delivered more than        66 percent of its vote to Republican Mitt Romney over President Obama in 2012. Nor is he daunted because Whitfield piled up nearly 70 percent of district ballots against Charles Hatchett, another little known and underfunded Democrat, and a conservative, to boot . Hatchett has also filed in the Democratic primary.

Bolin knows his path to Washington is a steep climb. “I’ve only been to Washington twice,” he confessed, “once on a band trip.”

He says a big reason he decided to run for congress “is because I’m tired of having to choose between the lesser of two ‘who cares’ on election day.”

Bolin plans to shake a lot of hands across the district, which meanders from the Mississippi River through western Kentucky and rolls eastward to Casey County in south central Kentucky. “But I’m not kissing any babies until after flu season.”

He added, “In 20 years, I’ve learned to read and write, tie my shoes, ride a bicycle and play two instruments – banjo poorly, and saxophone well . A lot has changed for the better in my life, but the district hasn’t changed for the better since Newt Gingrich helped elect Ed Whitfield in 1994.”

Bolin says he has no choice but to run a campaign on a shoestring.  Between classes, he works as a library assistant and makes $8.92 an hour. He will take a leave of absence to hit the campaign trail.

Bolin said he understands all too well that Whitfield enjoys an almost bottomless campaign war chest, much of it filled by well-heeled contributors, the candidate added. The Democrat doubts any corporate cash will come his way.

Bolin’s email address is wesley@bolinforkentucky.com.  Also, he can be reached at his official Facebook page, www.facebook.com/bolinforkentucky and on twitter @wesleybolin.

Jon Huntsman and Joe Manchin: No Labels’ National Strategic Agenda

nolabelsorg-87_600Time and time again, we’ve heard our leaders tell us they want to be “uniters, not dividers,” but no one has ever explained how they plan to achieve that.

That is why No Labels is calling for a new governing process — a process that starts with bringing our political leaders to the table to develop shared national goals before the debates and policymaking begin.

In our book released today, we lay out our blueprint – how we bring our leaders together and forge consensus around an American agenda for national success.  No Labels: A Shared Vision for a Stronger America, edited by Governor Jon Huntsman and featuring a forward by Senator Joe Manchin, is just the beginning of a three-year campaign to change politics in America.  It will take combined efforts and resources to get the word out.  So once again, we need to ask for your help.

Please click here and take a moment to rate and review No Labels: A Shared Vision for a Stronger America. Your comments are integral to building buzz around the ideas, moving the e-book up the charts, and helping others to find and join our campaign for a new politics of problem solving.

From Mexico to Singapore to Brazil, our competitors are thinking strategically about how to achieve clear goals for their own success. If we don’t start thinking strategically, we will fall behind.

And while you’re at it … be sure to tell your friends and colleagues about the e-book. Get them reading! No Labels: A Shared Vision for a Stronger America is about developing shared goals. The only way our leaders will be convinced that the time is right for a new national strategic agenda is if the groundswell of support from across the country is impossible to ignore.

Please, help us spread the message.  We all have our sights on a strong, prosperous, secure nation. Together, we can get there.

Gary Yarus: The New Hampshire Rebellion

Untitled1A “rebellion” is about to begin the second day.  I am tracking its progress on the Internet.

Staging what they have dubbed “the New Hampshire Rebellion,” a group led by Harvard professor, author and activist Lawrence Lessig set out for a 185 mile journey across the “live free or die” state calling attention to what they see as one of the most important issues in U.S. politics today—the dire need for campaign finance reform.

Lessig recently wrote in The Daily Beast:

On Saturday, we begin a walk across the state of New Hampshire, to launch a campaign to bring about an end to the system of corruption that we believe infects DC.

The march will pay homage to a similar attempt by famed activist Dorris Haddock, or “Granny D,” who, fifteen years ago at the age of 88, marched across the United States from Los Angeles to Washington DC with a sign reading “Campaign Finance Reform” across her chest.

Haddock is credited with helping to galvanize public will around the McCain-Feingold Campaign Finance Reform Act,” “which was signed into law in 2002.

gary-yarus-1953e8f7beHowever, since then, the Supreme Court, has ruled in favor of big donors, and the politicians who use them. In 2010, in Citizens United vs. Federal Election Commission, and in 2013, in McCutcheon vs FEC many of the limits put in place on campaign finance has been overturned, paving the way for a new era of unprecedented spending by special interests, corporations and individuals.

Lessig said he expects over 100 people to join him along the way as they stop in over a dozen towns over the course of two weeks. The group will hold events and public discussions centered around the issues of big money in politics—and how to cleanse such influence from the democratic process.

Citing the importance of New Hampshire in U.S. presidential elections, being the site of the first presidential primary, the goal of the walk will be to convince voters to pressure candidates on the issue of campaign finance reform.

Lessig continues:

Along the way, we will recruit everyone we can to do one thing: We want them to ask every presidential candidate at every event between now and January 2016, this one question:  ’How will YOU end the system of corruption in Washington?

A system of corruption,  a system of campaign funding in which fundraising is key, and the funders represent the tiniest fraction of the 1%. That system, we believe, corrupts this democracy. (We, and 71% of Americans according to a recent poll.) And until that system changes, no sensible reform on the right or the left is possible.

As this question gets asked, we will record the responses. Literally. And post them. And through allied campaigns, we will put pressure on the candidates to surface this issue — and if we’re lucky — make it central to their campaigns”.

The walk began in Dixville Notch, NH, the place where the first presidential ballots are cast and will end in Nashua, NH, on the day Granny D was born, January 24th.

The activists embarked Saturday January 11th, exactly one year after the the suicide of internet activist Aaron Swartz, a close friend and colleague of Lessig’s.

“I wanted to find a way to mark this day,” Lessig writes. “I wanted to feel it, as physically painful as it was emotionally painful one year ago, and every moment since. So I am marking it with the cause that he convinced me to take up seven years ago and which I am certain he wanted to make his legacy too.”

Lessig talks about the New Hampshire Rebellion:

The walkers current location, Akers Pond Inn, Errol, NH. Distance Traveled: 10 miles. Distance To Go: 175 miles.

How would YOU end the system of corruption in Washington?  Send responses to garyyarus@yahoo.com. I will summarize them in a future article.

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