Rand Paul is just afraid of imaginary beer

The Fancy Farm Picnic, a picnic held by the St. Jerome parish, is the traditional beginning of the campaign season in Kentucky. It’s a huge affair: so huge, in fact, that in 1985,  it was recognized in the Guinness Book of World Records as the “World’s Largest Picnic” for the consumption of 15,000 pounds of mutton, pork, and chicken at the 1982 picnic. Since it’s such an important event, you’d of course expect that Senate candidates Jack Conway and Rand Paul would have to make appearances.

Democratic candidate Jack Conway made some news this weekend when he told the crowd he was a “tough son of a bitch.” Of course, the RNC made an ad highlighting this use of profanity:

However, he’s not the one from which St. Jerome Parish demanded an apology. That honor belongs solely to, yes, Republican candidate Rand Paul, who gave, by all accounts, a mostly bland speech. However, that’s not what he did wrong. See, he told Sean Hannity that politicians were afraid of beer being thrown at them:

Paul told conservative radio personality Sean Hannity Tuesday that the picnic at St. Jerome Parish in western Kentucky Saturday was wild, partisan and that people boo the politicians. He also said politicians do worry that beer and other objects could be thrown at them.

The picnic does not serve alcohol because it illegal in the community. Though there was plenty of booing, nothing was thrown.

Of course, that’s not the end. Because, Randy being the guy he is, his campaign has apologized to the parish:

“Dr. Paul trying to convey just how enthusiastic the crowd was and did not mean to imply there was alcohol being served,” Jesse Benton, Paul’s campaign manager, said in an iPhone text to the Sun this morning. “Rand has always enjoyed Fancy Farm, thinks it is a wonderful event and apologizes to anyone he may have offended”

See, Randy didn’t mean to suggest that by being afraid of beer being thrown at him that there was actually beer. I promise that sentence was as difficult to write as it is to read. Let’s just say that Randy was just afraid that there would be some imaginary beer thrown at him.

(Also, how did the Paducah Sun know that the text came from an iPhone?)


Primary Colors

CC photo by Flickr user aflcio

There are several pretty important party primaries (and one special election) tomorrow around the country. Well, not important insofar as they’ll have any real impact, but important because they’ll guide the narrative leading to election day in November. Each party will see what messages worked, where the mood of the country is and is heading, and, probably less importantly, how big of a role the tea partiers can have in the election.

I’ve been paying attention to most of the races since at least earlier this year, if not earlier, and have seen a stupid amount of polling data about most of them. So, below are some thoughts and predictions of what might just happen tomorrow. Sure, perhaps I wasn’t 100% correct with my predictions on the U.K. election but: a. I don’t live there, and b. nobody bats 1.000.


I’m starting with Arkansas because, to me at least, it’s the most interesting. In the primary to decide the Democratic candidate for the Senate, the incumbent, Senator Blanche Lincoln is being challenged by Lt. Governor Bill Halter from the left. Up this point, over her two terms in office, she’s been used to being attacked for being too liberal for her state. What’s surprising, really, is the strength of a challenger from the left. Halter’s currently polling seven points down, but he could force Lincoln into a runoff (conservative businessman D.C. Morrison is pulling just enough to make it close). Granted, Halter’s been supported by DailyKos, FireDogLake and their kin, and money has been rolling in.

I don’t think Halter will be able to pull off the upset, and I don’t necessarily think that’s a bad thing for Democrats. While the bulk of Democrats may personally agree with Halter far more frequently often than Lincoln (and her new-found populism may be a little short-sighted and misguided), it is important for the Democratic Party to have conservative Southern voices. Diversity of opinion makes for a more dynamic party. With Lincoln, Nelson, Pryor, etc., in the party, the Democrats are able to keep themselves relevant in a quite diverse society. They cannot maintain that credential if they purge opposing views out of the party. Compare the two parties: Which seems to actually have a future? Which is more comfortable in any state they run in or govern? In order to not become stagnant, the strong base voices must be grounded by the center.

The Republicans have, for the most part, buttressed themselves in the South. They will never become relevant again unless they can find purchase elsewhere. On the flip side of that, Democrats will lose their dynamism and appeal if they cannot win elections in the South and properly represent Southern and centrist (even conservative) voices. For this reason, Lincoln is an important member of the Democratic party and should not be forced out for her centrism, as much as it may frustrate progressives. Progressive policies cannot be achieved if the very foundation of progressive thought: respect for rational debate and opposing views, is corrupted in the name of ideology.

Continue reading Primary Colors

Things I Drink and So Should You: The Mint Julep

There’s a woman in my church who wears a proper church crown. I call it that because it deserves the name. It’s a royal blue, straw hat with plastic sunflowers emanating from the brim. She wears it proud, as each year of the 93 she’s been alive has earned her the right to wear it, and nothing could take that crown from her head.

I wish we lived in an era where it were not only appropriate but fashionable for women to wear church crowns. Hell, as a pastor, I wish it were fashionable for women to just come to church. But, barring that, I wish women would bring the hat back. Because when a woman wears a hat, a real hat, it lets everyone know that she is not to be trifled with, not to be played. A woman in a church crown is a woman who runs shit.

I suppose I should define church crown. A church crown isn’t just a hat. Every grandmother has a hat she’ll break out when the weather gets warm and the sun beats down. This is not that hat. In fact, if you’ve never been to a prayer meeting, you don’t know what a church crown is. Church crowns don’t just cover your head and keep you cool; church crowns let everyone know you’re in church. When you stand up to praise, it’s your hat that’s seen. That royal purple blob twenty pews ahead? That’s Dotty, praying for Raymond, like she has the last twenty years. And damn if you don’t put your head down and pray that this might be the week Ray finally gets it.

After 30 years of church, the sight of an honest church crown can put my chin into my neck for a minute of prayer, or simply some good old “yes ma’am”, even when I’m running the show. When Phyllis shows up with that sunflower halo, I know she needs Jesus, and I know she needs prayer. She’s got a dozen hats that she wears for church, but Sunday School kids that graduated before I was born made her that one. When she deigns to bring that to the congregation, we all know. We all pray.

Continue reading Things I Drink and So Should You: The Mint Julep