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— Publisher’s Note —
Good morning! Three items today, in increasing levels of seriousness.
● Presidents Day Quiz – We posted a quiz yesterday listing obscure facts about our presidents. Unless you are a scholar of presidential history (or a trivia master), you won’t get many right – but it’s fun to take and interesting to read the answers. It’s listed in the Recent Content section; give it a try!
● Membership Drive – We are over halfway through our New Member Month, and so far we’ve had 12 new members in 15 days. If you aren’t a paying member, and find what we do valuable, please join today. There’s a longer story at the bottom of this newsletter about why joining is important. Please read it, and click the link to join.
● Democracy in Peril – With Biden in place and Trump out, many people are sighing with relief and assuming we can get back to “normal” when it comes to our politics. That is, in my opinion, a false hope, at least for now. Here are two articles you should read about the ongoing threat to our democracy: Constitutional rot – The Senate’s decision to acquit former President Donald Trump in his second impeachment trial may have been a victory for Trump, but it is a clear sign that democracy in the U.S. is in poor health. (Forward Kentucky) Full-blown fascism: Is America teetering on the brink? – History shows that most democratic nations don’t realize how serious their fascism problem is until it overtakes them altogether. Here in America, the GOP today has a serious fascism problem, and it’s endangering all of us. It’s closer than most of us realize. (Thom Hartmann) Let me be clear – I think the threat level to our democracy has decreased since Trump left Washington. But I also think (a) we saw an attempted overthrow of an election that almost succeeded, (b) there are elements in our society that do not want democracy if it means their candidate might lose, and (c) the Big Lie that Trump actually won is going to be a problem for the GOP and for all of us for some time.
So, even as we have fun with obscure facts from history about our presidents, let’s also learn from history about why and how democracies can collapse. AND, let’s work to protect our own democracy.
Hope you are safe, and warm, and don’t have to get out today. See you tomorrow.
Today’s Five Things to Know
Pelosi announces 9/11-style commission to investigate 1/6 attack
As part of her President’s Day message to her House Democratic caucus, Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced the formation of a “9/11-style” independent commission to investigate the terrorist attack on the nation’s Capitol. (Forward Kentucky)
2/15 update — Child-care workers can now get vaccinated for the coronavirus
After months of feeling frustrated that they were not placed on a par with school personnel, child-care workers have been placed in Phase 1B and can move to the front of the line for their vaccination. (Forward Kentucky)
Poll shows majority still approve of Beshear and Paul. (McConnell, not so much.)
Mason-Dixon Polling released a poll on Friday showing a majority of Kentuckians still approve of Governor Beshear’s performance as governor. The poll also shows Rand Paul’s ratings are above water, while Mitch McConnell’s are not. (Forward Kentucky)
This bill would slap back at SLAPPs
Rep. Kulkarni’s bill — which is co-sponsored by Rep. Nemes — would establish an Anti-SLAPP (Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation or SLAPP suit) law in Kentucky. (Forward Kentucky)
Roberts files bill that would legalize adult recreational use of marijuana.
A state representative from Northern Kentucky has filed legislation that would legalize adult recreational use of marijuana. Campbell County’s Representative Rachel Roberts (KY-District 67) says that the legislation would open up new tax revenues, lead to the expungement of criminal records for potentially thousands of citizens convicted of weed-related misdemeanors, and will also open the door for those who suffer from chronic medical conditions to use the plant as an aid. (Lane Report)
Calendar Items to Know
Taken from the ForwardKY event calendar
Virtual Lobby Day for a Healthy Democracy (info)
We’ll gather online to push for the democracy Kentucky deserves – making voting convenient, fair, and accessible. We’ll push for voting rights for people with felonies in their past, longer polling hours, voting by mail, fair redistricting, and more.
The day will start with a training all together on Zoom, and we’ll divide up into groups to talk virtually with our legislators about this issue, we’ll leave messages on the legislative message line (and encourage our friends to do the same), we’ll have a virtual rally, workshops, and other events throughout the day. Use the link in the calendar to sign up!
Thursday ● 9 AM to 3 PM ● Virtual
Recent Content on Forward Kentucky
[new] indicates item not in a Forward Five before
🔥indicates high # of reads, social media shares, or both
[New] A response to Andy Barr’s recent comments – Rep. Andy Barr wrote an opinion piece at the end of January that ran in the Winchester Sun. This column is in response to Barr’s comments. (Commentary)
[New] 🔥 Trump’s acquittal is a sign of ‘constitutional rot’ – partisanship overriding principles – The Senate’s decision to acquit former President Donald Trump in his second impeachment trial may have been a victory for Trump, but it is a clear sign that democracy in the U.S. is in poor health. (Analysis)
[New] KY lawmakers weigh options for expanding voting rights – State lawmakers are considering bills to restore rights for people with felonies in their past, as well as expand polling hours, vote-by-mail options, and same-day registration. (News)
[New] Effort to get statue of Black journalist in US, KY Capitols – If Sen. Alice Forgy Kerr, a statue of Alice Dunnigan, the first Black woman to receive White House press credentials, will be added to both the U.S. Capitol and the state Capitol. (Brief)
🔥 ForwardKY contributors win six awards – Every year, the Kentucky Press Association holds a contest to grant various awards: best editorial writer, best breaking news photo, and so on. And in this year’s contest, contributors to Forward Kentucky won six of those awards. (News)
Democracy lost in Washington; can it win in Frankfort? – We can’t change the outcome of the impeachment trial … but we can, perhaps, change some outcomes in this year’s legislative session. (PubBlog)
🔥 Presidents’ Day Happy Fun Quiz – Think you know your presidential history? Take this fun President’s Day quiz from Bill in Portland Maine and see how you do! (Quiz)
‘That logic all pretzels out’: Saturday Night Live parodies McConnell over Trump impeachment – “Saturday Night Live” lampooned Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in its impeachment-themed cold open for his comments after voting to acquit former President Donald Trump. (Brief)
🔥 Kentucky’s senate president seeks to change U.S. Senate vacancy rules – Current law says that if one of our DC senators leaves office, the governor can appoint anyone to that office. A new bill would require the governor to appoint someone from the same party as the departing senator. (Brief)
🔥 Morgan McGarvey’s Legislative Update – If you don’t subscribe to the updates from your leges, you should. They’re informative and important. And in the case of Morgan McGarvey, they’re fun to read as well. Enjoy! (Feature)
Mitch McConnell – sycophant or cynic? Both, and more. – McConnell is more than a grifter, more than a cynic, and more than a Tump sycophant. Worse — he’s a destroyer of the Senate and an enabler of a would-be dictator. That is the space McConnell will occupy in history books. (Commentary)
🔥 If no conviction, use censure to invoke the 14th Amendment – If a conviction of a seditious president does not happen, House and Senate Democrats may push for a censure resolution to bar former President Donald Trump from holding future office(s) over his role in the U.S. Capitol riot. (Commentary)
🔥 Russian helmets, MAGA mobs, and Lincoln’s fears – Trump’s pal Putin may still dream of helmeted Russian soldiers seizing our Capitol. But the czar wannabe is probably content to let MAGA mobs do his bidding. (Commentary)
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