John Y’s Musings from the Middle: So Over…

jyb_musingsDefinition: “I am sooo over that (or him or her).”

Something people say when they are still obsessed about some event or person and aren’t really over it (or him or her), but don’t want others to suspect they are still completely obsessed and have been seeing a therapist twice a week for nearly a year-and-a-half to work through the issue and have made little progress.


10427281_10154311285735515_7239723303620169955_nStory of my life.

At airport and huffing and puffing carrying two stuffed bags, one on each shoulder, and neither with wheels.

How do other people know about these much simpler and better options?

I know they exist. I just can’t imagine myself every being particularly orderly and organized. But when I get back into this position I always regret not being. For about 15 minutes.

Josh Bowen’s World Series of Poker Tuesday Workout for The RP

Globally-recognized personal trainer Josh Bowen will this week be providing intensive physical workout routines for The RP as he prepares to compete in the World Series of Poker.

This morning’s workout is below.

Visit Josh’s web site here and sign up for his newsletter here.


Betsy Powell: Expert advice on how Rob Ford can get his second chance

From Betsy Power of the Toronto Star:

Jonathan Miller

Jonathan Miller

Hi, I’m Rob. And I’m a recovering politician.

When Toronto’s world famous mayor leaves rehab and returns to city hall and the campaign trail Monday, Rob Ford might want to get his hands on The Recovering Politician’s Twelve Step Program to Survive Crisis, a 2013 book edited by Jonathan Miller, a former state treasurer of Kentucky. (His editor’s note opens with that take on the well-known Alcoholics Anonymous’ salutation.)

The book includes contributions from a dozen former American politicians sharing their “war stories” and advice on how to survive and transcend a crisis.

The steps include: Tell the truth. Own your mistakes, take responsibility and sincerely say “I’m sorry.” Make an emotional connection. Be first to frame your narrative in your own voice, with facts and sincerity. Present your fix-it plan.

North Americans, generally speaking, like to give public figures a second chance, Miller says, citing former U.S. president Bill Clinton, “the ultimate survivor,” and Marion Barry, the ex-Washington, D.C., mayor whom the New York Post calls the “original Rob Ford.”

Some comeback attempts don’t work out. Former New York governor Eliot Spitzer’s campaign for comptroller last year acknowledged his hooker scandal with an ad that said he’d “failed, big time,” and then he did. Former congressman Anthony Weiner scuttled his political re-entry by getting caught in a second sexting scandal.

Miller says that in his memory, no other scandal-scarred politician has sought re-election with the kind of “comprehensive baggage” Ford has accumulated.

“You’ve had people who suffered from addiction, others accused of hanging with criminal elements, and ethical impropriety. It’s just unprecedented to think of anybody with all of these accusations,” said Miller, a crisis management attorney and founder

The mayor and Councillor Doug Ford, his older brother and campaign manager, have promised the 45-year-old Rob Ford will be a “new man” after spending the last two months in a Muskoka rehab centre where he received treatment for alcoholism.

Ford went to the facility April 30 after audio recordings of him making racist remarks surfaced as well as another video allegedly showing him smoking crack cocaine, which was viewed by a Star reporter.

Ford’s actions in the coming days will be critical if he has a chance of persuading voters to re-elect him mayor on Oct. 27, Miller said.

His advice to Ford? Address the public and answer any and all questions — similar to New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s two-hour news conference after a bridge closing scandal.

“He (Ford) really needs to have a full, free, honest and sincere admission of wrongdoing and to say, ‘Here are the ways I am going to change my behaviour so you’ll never see this happen again.’ ”

Ford has scheduled a city hall news conference at 3:30 p.m. Monday, but he will not take any questions. That’s a mistake, said Miller, who is married to a Mississauga native and has spent a lot of time in Canada.

“Letting his critics come in and take every single question and answer it honestly and sincerely . . . that is the way to survive something like this.”

Miller would also advise Ford to speak to youths about the perils of drug and alcohol abuse, and donate money to addiction treatment facilities.

The key will be his sincerity, “and whether people really believe that what he is doing is sincere or rather just a cover for trying to find political redemption.”

But after months of defiance, name calling and angry denials about substance abuse and a string of embarrassing and outrageous behaviour, Ford will face a doubtful public. Emailing a photo of himself in a swimming pool and proclaiming rehab is “amazing” might play well with his hardcore base but it will do little to sway skeptics.

Down at city hall, for instance, Ford has invited councillors to join him in his office Monday afternoon for an “informal meeting.” None contacted by the Star planned to attend. Some wished him luck and hoped rehab had done him some good.

“I don’t make time to meet with bigots, sexists or homophobes,” Councillor Josh Matlow said, referring to some of the comments Ford has made in his drunken stupors…

Jeff Smith

Jeff Smith

Former Missouri senator Jeff Smith, a Recovering Politician contributor and another co-author of Scandal and Resurgence, said there’s a “reservoir of goodwill” for Ford, the same way there was for Barry, the former Washington mayor.

While both shared the ignominy of being caught on videotape smoking crack, the two men are popular with a similar constituency: people suspicious of government and media, and who view these politicians “as sort of persecuted underdogs,” Smith said.

“If Ford is able to channel peoples’ sympathies in a way that Marion Barry, I don’t think it’s inconceivable that he could be re-elected, but he can’t come back and have another episode, then it’s over,” Smith said.

Just last week, Barry, who is on a book tour promoting his memoir, Mayor for Life, denied he ever smoked crack in a hotel room when he was mayor in 1990. After going to jail, he was re-elected as mayor in 1994 and later won a seat on council that he still occupies.

Voters also respond to personal scandals differently than they do financial transgressions or those involving abuses of power,” Smith noted. In recent American history, financial scandals are more damaging.

“If it’s sex, a lot of voters are like, ‘what does that have to do with me, that’s between him and his wife and his God.’ If it’s public money, voters are like, ‘that’s my tax money,’ so it’s a different reaction.”

Smith was once a rising star in the Democratic Party and subject of the critically acclaimed documentary Can Mr. Smith Get to Washington Anymore? His political career ended after he pleaded guilty to election-related fraud and went to prison in 2010 — punishment even his political enemies believed was wildly excessive.

Now a politics professor, Smith said Ford will have to craft his message aimed at the “fence sitters,” and not direct his message to the people “who identify with the sort of grievance-based politics that fuelled his rise.”

Video of The RP’s 30 Minute Training Session with Jim Fannin prior to the World Series of Poker

Day 2 WSOP





As The RP heads to Vegas for a return trip to play in he World Series of Poker (read here about his improbable journey to the 2012 Final Table), he talks to his friend — and nationally-renowned mental fitness coach — Jim Fannin for some critical pre-tourney advice.

Jim’s advice about how The RP can get “into the zone” — a strategy that Fannin has used to advice some of the world’s most famous professional athletes — can help you better yourself at poker…and in any other aspect of life.

Read about Jim here. And here.

And listen in to their 30 minute poker coaching session…

The RP HIGHLY RECOMMENDS Jim Fannin to his friends looking for an edge in business, sports or any other competitive field. Contact him here.

Welcome Canadian Visitors to The Recovering Politician

If you are one of the thousands of new visitors to the site joining us via the Rob Ford profile in the Toronto Star, welcome!

While you are here, we encourage you to surf through The Recovering Politician, a web site dedicated to civil dialogue, led by those who’ve served in the political arena and now are using their experiences to offer lessons to fix our political system.  Here’s a sampling of some of our most popular posts and contributors:

We’ll start with The RP because, well…uh…he paid for that microphone. In his most popular piece, The RP shared his impossible journey to the final table of the World Series of Poker.  Over the course of the past year and a half, The RP has explained Why Kentucky Basketball Matters, he’s made The Liberal Case for Israel, outlined Debt Ceilings and Credit Downgrade for Dummies, and shared his Top Five lists for about everything. (Our favorite –The Top Five Jew-ish Gentiles in Pop Culture).

The Cycle‘s very own Krystal Ball, generated considerable reader interest with her first piece about Why We Need More Women in Politics.  Krystal should know; her first campaign for office was interrupted by a ridiculous media inquiry into pictures taken of her in college; PG-13 pictures that caused a mini-national-sensation only because of Krystal’s gender.

MSNBC’s commentary crew is also represented by Michael Steele  –whom you also know as the former Lt. Governor of Maryland, as well as the Chairman of the Republican National Committee. Michael has shared with RP readers his vision of the new American Dream, and assessed both President Barack Obama and Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.

Our most popular writer, hands down, has been contributing RP and former Missouri State Senator Jeff Smith.  Jeff’s first piece — the story of his rise into national celebrity, his dramatic fall that resulted in a prison term, and his hopes for redemption — put the RP on the national map, earning recognition from New York magazine’s “Approval Matrix.” Jeff’s followup — about love and sex behind bars — drew in nearly 100,000 readers, literally crashing the Web site.  Every few weeks, Jeff offers a political advice column — “Do As I Say” — and just this week, he shares the ugly fate of convicted pedophile Jerry Sandusky as he enters prison.

Read the rest of…
Welcome Canadian Visitors to The Recovering Politician

Help End the War About Coal: Support Rebuilding West Liberty, Kentucky

jmandclinton14I just returned from the Clinton Global Initiative America summit in Denver, where I saw an old friend (see pictures spanning 20 years), and spoke about an initiative that is already uniting both “Friends of Coal” and passionate environmentalists:

Rebuilding West Liberty, Kentucky

As I discussed in this op-ed in today’s Louisville Courier-Journal, Rebuilding West Liberty, a project announced this week as a Clinton Global Initiative America Commitment to Action,  is a multi-faceted approach to redevelop a small town in coal country — nearly destroyed by a tornado two years ago —  as a national model for sustainability.

Phase One of this private/public partnership involves the construction of state-of-the-art, energy efficient homes that utilize renewable technologies, and the educational promotion of its innovations to school children and similarly-situated rural communities across the country.

The project holds great promise, not simply for West Liberty itself, but perhaps more importantly, as an example for all of coal country.  It’s a chance to stop merely complaining about what’s wrong in the “War About Coal,” and start supporting what’s great about Eastern Kentucky.

Of course there’s a catch:  We need to raise $500,000 to see this exciting local vision realized.  The good news is that you can help:  With your tax-deductible contribution (the project’s fiscal agent is the nationally-estemeed Federation of Appalachian Housing Enterprises, FAHE), you can make a real difference in helping this risilient community, and working towards an end to the War About Coal.

Click here to contribute $5, $10, $50, $100, $1000 — whatever you can afford.

What’s clear is that we can’t afford to give up on coal country.  It’s time to put aside the heated rhetoric and take a step for real progress in the region.

Please join us.

John Y’s Musing from the Middle: Inspirational Thought for the Day

jyb_musingsWhen someone says to us, “That was a bad decision you made” it is important to remind ourseleves that they didn’t say, “That was a ‘very’ bad decision you made.”

Enter Raffle to Win Two Lower Rupp Arena UK Basketball Tickets for an Early Season Game

UK BasketballIt’s time to fight back.

The campaign to win Dancing with the Lexington Stars has degenerated into absurd ugliness. First the mysterious viral campaign attack ad that labeled me a steroids user and degenerate gambler. (Both true, but…) And now this email from Christian Laettner.

Due to this brutal campaign, I have fallen into second place in the voting. And I need your help before the Big Dance this Saturday, May 10.

So I will honor the grand old tradition of Kentucky politics — and try to buy your vote. Not with whiskey…even better…with UK basketball tickets!

Every time you vote for me between now and Saturday, you will be entered into a raffle, the winner of which will receive two lower Rupp Arena tickets to an early season 2014-15 UK men’s basketball game. And man, that team is stacked.

It is painfully easy to win:

1. Vote for me here. Each vote costs $5, and all the money goes to benefit an extraordinary charity, Surgery on Sunday. If you cast more than one vote (Vote early and often!) you will be entered in the raffle once for each vote. So if you contribute $100, you will get 20 entries into the raffle.
2. After you vote, you will receive a confirmation email from PayPal. Forward that email to me here as proof of your vote(s).

That’s it. You get a chance to win two terrific UK bball tickets (my seats are awesome), you benefit a great charity, and best of all, you get to stomp on Christian Laettner. What could be any better? Do it now!


ICYMI, here’s the despicable ad:

Christian Laettner: Stomp Jonathan Miller


Just was forwarded an ugly email sent by my arch-nemesis, Duke basketball “legend” Christian Laettner. Here’s an excerpt:

Screen Shot 2014-04-12 at 11.32.10 AMI hate Jonathan Miller.

First, he continually makes fun of me on his Web site. Check out here and here and here.

Then he makes fun of Mitch McConnell for using footage of my beloved Duke basketball team in a campaign ad.

So I am fighting back.

I am the Treasurer of a political action committee — the Committee that Loves Labels and Hates Jonathan Miller — that is aimed at defeating Jonathan Miller in his bid to win Dancing with the Lexington Stars, which takes place this Saturday, May 10.

Our goal? To stop Jonathan Miller.

Better yet, to STOMP Jonathan Miller, just like I stomped Aminu Timberlake in the 1992 NCAA basketball tournament.

Click here to read the entire email.

It turns out, he was behind the attack ad below.

And his campaign is working: I’ve fallen to third place in the voting.

PLEASE HELP!  If you despise this type of campaigning please vote for me here to win Dancing with the Lexington Stars. Each vote costs $5 and benefits the extraordinary work of Surgery on Sunday and the Lexington Rotary Club Endowment Fund.

Miller v. Gore — The RP to Sue to former Vice President for Copyright Infringement








From yesterday’s Politico:

PM: There’s a million different ways to ask you the  2016 question. If Hillary [Clinton] doesn’t run, would you even consider it at  that point in time?

AG: You say you can ask the question a million ways.  I’m going to only answer it one way. With apologies, I’m sure you’ve heard this  answer before. I am a recovering politician. And the longer I avoid a relapse  the more confidence that I will not succumb to the temptation to run yet again.  But I’m a recovering politician. I’ll just leave it at that.

Anyone know a good copyright infringment attorney?


It turns out Gore has been using this line a lot — even as early as 2002, 9 years before I started this Web site. From National Journal:

If politics is an addiction, Al Gore is still suffering.

It’s been well over a decade since he ran for president, but the former vice president still hasn’t managed to kick his political habit.

“I am a recovering politician,” he said in an interview with Politico Magazine, “And the longer I avoid a relapse, the more confidence I have that I will not succumb to the temptation to run yet again. But I’m a recovering politician. I’ll just leave it at that.”

If the answer sounds familiar, that might be because he’s been saying it since at least 2002, when he used that language with a crowd in Mexico City.

“I am Al Gore. I use to be the next president of United States of America,” he told listeners during a speech focused on free trade at Ibero-American University. “I’m a recovering politician.”

In 2006, the rhetoric surfaced again when, after a special screening of An Inconvenient Truth, someone asked him imploringly if he’d run for president again.

“I’m a recovering politician, on Step 9,” he said. “Thank you for your sentiment.”

That was eight years ago. Fast-forward to 2011, and there’s this: “I consider myself a recovering politician.” Fast-forward some more, and there’s this: “I’m a recovering politician, on about Step 9.” (That last quote was from a 2013 event hosted on Capitol Hill by Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, and I remember it, perhaps, because I was there.)

If politics is an addiction, Al Gore is still in rehab. And withdrawal, like his talking points, lasts a lifetime.



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