Perhaps Hannah L. Drake, a LEO columnist, poet and activist, should add fortune teller to her list of credentials. For last year’s Future Issue, she predicted that the Jan. 1, 2019 cover story would be: “Impeachment proceedings have begun.” Sure, she was off by almost a year, but… as long as it happens!
On other side of the political aisle, Scott Jennings, who has been an advisor to Republicans including U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell, predicted in 2018 that in 2019: “Trump to be impeached for farting… in 2019.” Hmmm, the GOP is now downplaying Trump’s Ukraine meddling as just business as usual… like a fart.
Then, Jennings wrote: “After the Senate laughs off impeachment, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell confirms Trump’s third Supreme Court Justice following a surprise retirement. With 51 solid GOP votes, Trump’s nominee is so conservative that several Democratic cable pundits faint on-air when they hear the name.” Could still happen!
Jennings also predicted: “Gov. Matt Bevin defeats Andy Beshear to earn re-election, although it will be with someone other than Jenean Hampton as his running mate.” He got half of that right!
For this year’s Future Issue, we have a nearly-new team of prognosticators who divine astounding scenarios, some we hope come to pass (such as Mitch loses in 2020, the music scene gets even better and we get a Jewish deli), but others we hope do never happen (especially the one about Jeffrey Epstein’s brain).
‘For a few seconds’
They had done nothing. For years.
Lily woke up as she always did on schooldays, slowly. First grade was definitely not kindergarten. She opened her eyes for the third time to see her Dad leaning over her again, stern because it was late but kindly nudging her tiny shoulder and calling her Lily Loo, which always made her smile. She rolled over, dropped to the floor in her sleep socks and stretched while her dad handed her the school clothes laid out last night. Then Puppy, the dog bigger than her and her protector, led her into the kitchen.
Lily ate Froot Loops and toast, Puppy inhaled his own breakfast, and Dad leaned against the counter sipping coffee and reading his phone. TV was not allowed before school.
In the car, which she hated because she still had to sit in a Stoopid Booster, she traced hearts on the window until Dad said, “Honey,” which she knew meant stop doing that because it streaked the glass. She kicked her feet a little and thought how weird it would be when her feet touched the floor. How would such a giant even walk without falling down?
Up the school stairs, down the hall and into her classroom, Lily hung her PackPack in her cubby and sat down. She was excited because it was Story Morning, and she was going to talk about Puppy and how he played in snow. She hoped it would snow during her story because that would make it even better. She looked out the window to check but only saw the parking lot and one of the older kids in a long coat who must have been late.
She didn’t cry when she died, 9 minutes later. For a few seconds, her terror froze her, then very close bangs, then nothing.
The next time the Kentucky legislature met, an assault weapons ban died again in committee. The new governor did not support it.
They did nothing, again.
Marc Murphy is a trial lawyer and editorial cartoonist for The Courier Journal.
‘Resistance, Justice And Just Revolution’
One of the most beautiful things about being under the age of 20 is the energy and hope we carry for determining our own future. We are the rebels, the visionaries and the troublemakers, but most importantly we are the future.
It gives many hope when young people protest injustice, give light to tragedy and are engaged civically.
But what does that hope mean for the young people massacred in our schools after years of protest? What does it mean for the evicted and unhoused in Louisville who know nothing but predatory capitalism? What does it mean for former Jefferson County Public Schools students who never received the true education they needed because our system doesn’t cater for the poor and oppressed? What does it mean for those who lost decades of their life, including their youth, because of our racist prison-industrial complex?
We often look for hope for our future in our past tragedy, but what if instead we created it in our current resistance? Why hope for a better world when we can fight for one and protect those who are doing that right now?
In 2020, I want Louisvillians to move away from calls of civility, progress and hope, toward action of resistance, justice and just revolution. Let’s see us fight for our future.
Quintez Brown is a Woodford R. Porter Scholar and MLK Scholar studying political science and Pan-African studies at UofL. He’s also a Louisville Youth Voices Against Violence fellow at the Louisville Youth Violence Prevention Research Center. Follow him at @quintez_brown on Instagram and Twitter.
‘Jeffrey Epstein’s Head Is Still Alive’
The future used to be so unpredictable.
We knew what to expect in America, until all of a sudden we didn’t. We turned a sharp corner together in 2016 — one that defied prediction, even by the best pollsters in the biz. For a couple of years there, we couldn’t take anything for granted. All the rules of politics and civility seemed to have been suspended for a time. But we’re back on track now. Democrats control the House of Representatives and are vigorously conducting impeachment proceedings. Matt Bevin was voted out of office, and all is right in Kentucky.
The rule of law is winning out.
In 2020, we can expect a stable, readily forecastable, poll-friendly set of outcomes. And you see what’s coming, don’t you? Sure, it’s going to be a roller coaster, but anyone paying attention could predict it. I’ll spell it out if I must.
You’re going to overcome your anxiety disorder to venture into the world of online dating. You’ll meet a man right away. He’s funny and charming, and he smells like an oddly pleasing mix of pine needles and biscuit dough. Alas, after a few months of serious dating, you discover that he’s been hooking up with a woman in Prospect; someone you know socially but would never have called a friend. Distraught, you’ll wait until you know he’s at her house and drive there, sobbing bitterly the whole way.
You stand outside in the rain and yell at him to get his ass out here right now or you are fucking coming in there. But his brother is a cop (you had forgotten that intoxicating pillow conversation but it’s too late now). Before you know it, you’re surrounded by beefy guys with no chins who couldn’t get into the Marine Corps, and one of them is going for the handcuffs.
You’re pounding, pounding on the hood of a state trooper’s car, howling out for someone, anyone, to listen to what you’ve been through. But there is no sympathy, only zap after zap from the trooper’s Taser, the prongs of which you now notice are sunk deep into your shoulder blade, shortening your life by tiny increments; increments that science will never prove but on a deep, somatic level, you know exist all the same.
Now, you’re in jail charged with terroristic threatening, resisting arrest and a speeding ticket from five years ago that you didn’t even know you had. There you are, in a solitary cell with walls made of Nerf darts, rolling in your own feces and muttering to yourself about all the philosophy you learned in college and how none of it means a goddamn thing when you’re in a cage. Things look bleak until a young, wild-eyed corrections officer sneaks into your cell and whispers a secret that all the guards know, but which has been carefully kept from the general public: “Jeffrey Epstein’s head is still alive.”
Happy New Year!
Dan Canon is a LEO columnist, civil rights lawyer and law professor. “Midwesticism”is his short-documentary series about Midwesterners who are making the world a better place. Watch it at: patreon.com/dancanon.
Time To Replace Mediocre White Leadership
If Mayor Greg Fischer’s administration is serious about supporting “investment without displacement” and black wealth creation, its time to replace the leadership of Louisville Forward, the city’s development arm. Of all the projects happening in West Louisville, what the team can say it helped steward was the creation and control of OneWest and messing up the West Louisville FoodPort to make way for the Louisville Urban League’s Sports and Learning Complex. Walmart didn’t build, not because I’m such an effective organizer and activist, but because Louisville Forward supported the company’s ridiculous terms to build a 1990s, suburban-style store in the middle of the ‘hood.
Louisville Forward has lost some of the brightest, most-tenured black professionals in Metro and is costing taxpayers $150,000 for promising a parking lot to two different developers. No new grocery stores or ways in which to purchase food in West Louisville or downtown have opened because of its brilliance, and Louisville Forward aided in promoting the lie that the Omni Louisville Hotel’s market was going to be a “high-quality, full-service grocery store.”
The top job at Louisville Forward should go to a black woman.
This is usually when we get the chance — to clean up someone else’s mess. We all seem to have a little Olivia Pope in us, I guess.
Cassia Herron is a social justice advocate and freelance writer with a master’s degree in urban planning from the University of Michigan.
What Our Food Scene Needs
Yeah, yeah… I know… But coming from someone who has felt the effects of this wild market, I’ve had time to reflect and also think about what the future may hold for our town…
2020 is going to be all about vegetables. I recently went to the National Restaurant Association convention in Chicago, and 85% of all samples were some type of vegetable or vegetable-based products. We have no shortage of comfort/pub food, and although we find most of our vegan/vegetarian options to be mostly at ethnic-style restaurants… I think we’ll be seeing more places like V-Grits and fast-casual versions popping up.
Other things I personally think we could use:
More late-night options that aren’t heart attack foods; technology-driven concepts are definitely coming; a comeback of classic fine-dining with the strict old school approach of white tablecloths, classic server attire with proper table-serving techniques, etc…(people will still spend big money if the wow factor plays its part); a Jewish Deli (Thanks, Keith); a true Cajun restaurant such as what Ellis Taylor is doing in New Albany with Taylor’s Cajun Meat Co. (any true authentic New Orleans cooking would be fantastic); an authentic and modern French restaurant; open kitchen concepts that get guests involved; the further rise of fermented drinks and mocktails; restaurant-prepared home meal kits; biodynamic wine (organic); more cocktails on tap; open flame cooking concepts (I still miss Palermo); and bringing back the lost art of a neighborhood butcher like what Red Hog is doing.
Eric Morris was owner/chef of the former Gospel Bird and Hull and Highwater restaurants and is opening a restaurant in The Highlands at the former location of Stout Burgers & Beers on Bardstown Road.
City Music Scene Will Get National Attention
2020 is going to be the year that a lot of attention will be given to Louisville’s music.
With all of the talent that’s in this town, it would seem impossible to just be exposed to it and then say that you’re not impressed. The Happy Yew, Shark Sandwich, Grandma’s Boys, GRLwood, Hawknose, Aphrodite, Ultra Magnus, Mike Bandanna, Trouble on Two Feet, Belushi Speedball, Wombo, Buddy Crime, Anemic Royalty, Bird Dog & his Coyote Gospel Choir, Extra Bros., Father Christmas, Ettico, Poison Control Hotline and Soft Spot — all of the bands that I can think of off the top of my head, mind you, and they are all amazing acts.
Of course, with that list there are the other unsaid bands and musician who’ll begin performing in 2020, and I’m sure they will blow everyone away as well. The scene really is a beautiful thing, and I love the community here. As long as we all stay together, spread the word about our sound and keep coming out to our shows, then the rest of the country will take notice, and they’ll want some of what we have and come down here.
2020 is going to be a big year because of us; the people who create and express themselves and the people who love the art form and express that to the world.
Hazel Kuran is front man for the band Hazelfire.
Turn Around Backward View Of Higher Education
Rightfully, there has been much angst and discussion about K-12 education in Kentucky. As a college professor, I am also deeply concerned about where the Commonwealth will go with higher education in 2020. Over the last decade and a half, the state has cut well over $220 million out of college and university budgets. Both Democrats and Republicans have shortsightedly participated in this rapaciousness.
Former Gov. Matt Bevin took the assaults to even higher levels as he continued cuts, hijacked UofL’s Board Of Trustees and weaponized the state’s Council on Postsecondary Education. He also pushed a disturbingly retrograde approach that, taken to its logical end, would morph the state’s colleges and universities into glorified trade schools.
The consistent devaluing of higher education in a state that already ranks 47th in the country in percentage of citizens who are college graduates is both disturbing and inexplicable. Great cities and states house great colleges and universities. These vehicles attract talented young people from all over the world and encourage natives to stay. That is transformational.
It will be interesting to see how committed Kentucky’s new political and educational leaders are to turning the state’s backward views on higher education around. God knows, it’s needed. Kentucky’s future depends on it!
Dr. Ricky L. Jones is chair of Pan-African Studies at the UofL and an occasional LEO columnist. His next book, co-authored with Marc Murphy, will be “Kaepernick, Confederates and Con-Artists.”Follow him on Twitter @DrRickyLJones.
Our Public Education And Healthcare At Stake
It doesn’t take 20/20 vision to see legal fireworks between Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear and Republican Attorney General Daniel Cameron on the horizon, even through their personal relationship started on good terms (when Beshear appointed Cameron to fill out the last days of his term as AG).
It’s not just that the son of Steve Beshear, Obamacare’s ablest Southern defender, will face the protégé of U.S. Senate dark lord Mitch McConnell — public education and healthcare for Kentuckians are at stake.
The first conflict will erupt over the state Board of Education. As he promised, Beshear disbanded the panel on “day one.” His real goal was to dump Commissioner Wayne Lewis, a charter schools advocate and adversary of the Jefferson County Public Schools, which the new school board accomplished by buying him out at its first meeting.
Lawsuits are planned that will surely draw Cameron into the fray. Ironically, Beshear will cite a 2019 case by the Kentucky Supreme Court, which he lost as AG but he now says he will use as governor.
Another looming fight is over Matt Bevin’s waiver of Medicaid rules to impose burdensome work requirements on Kentucky’s 460,000 recipients. Bevin’s mean-spirited plan has been tied up in the courts, but Beshear — who proclaimed that “healthcare is a human right” throughout the campaign—has already killed it. Cameron might try to intervene.
(Other lawsuits may arise because the legislature wants to strip the governor of the power to set transportation policy.)
Carl Philipp Gottfried von Clausewitz, a Prussian general and military theorist, called war “politics by other means.”
He should visit Franklin Circuit Court this year.
Kurt X. Metzmeier, is the author of “Writing the Legal Record: Law Reporters in Nineteenth-Century Kentucky” (University Press of Kentucky, 2016). Although he is a law librarian at the UofL, the opinions in this article are his own and do not represent those of the university or any of its institutions.
Music Scene Musings
More Boogie & Bourbon — Old Forester’s Paristown Hall opened this summer adding to the trend of bourbon plus music in this city, which will continue since both make money and are an easy draw to get people to events. Not to mention the local breweries that feature a music stage for this same reason.
Teddy Does No Wrong — music director of the Louisville Orchestra, Teddy Abrams, renewed his contract for five more years and will continue to push boundaries on what classical music can do. He’s collaborated with hip-hop artists and most recently Jim James of My Morning Jacket to release The Order of Nature, which reached No. 1 on the classical crossover charts.
Festivals WTF — Danny Wimmer Presents will slowly work out the kinks for his music festivals. Deemed a “trifesta,” Bourbon & Beyond, Louder Than Life and newly added Hometown Rising all happened in a new location this year, bringing with it noise complaints, dodgy ticket price changes, parking woes and unsatisfactory VIP value. He might want to talk with the producers of Forecastle whose festival only improves each year.
No Love For The Young — Under-21 shows are hard to come by. Spinelli’s Downtown and house shows host most of them, but this age group needs a permanent place because one thing they do well is show up in big numbers.
Julie Gross is a contributor to LEO and local music director at WXOX 97.1 FM where she hosts “Ohmanyes With DJ Julie Gross.”
Political Momentum Moves To The Left
2020 is the year Kentucky got rid of the carpet-bagging gubernatorial weasel we had bleeding the state dry. The centrist, second-generation governor and former attorney general, Andy Beshear, seems like a radical leftist in comparison. (He’s not.)
Already, the state Board of Education has been replaced, and 100,000 felons will have their voting rights restored. We can look for more changes, as well as a monied campaign of obstruction against the governor as Bevin’s cronies cry foul.
Look out for legal weed and bail reform.
Nationwide, Kentucky’s cowardly turtle is likely to let senators battle on the senate floor over the very rules that will govern the impeachment trial proceedings, then drag the process out as long as possible. This will draw Democratic presidential front runners to the capitol and lend plenty of airtime to conspiracy theories fomented by Russia to further muddy the electoral waters.
But this will be what changes the tide for the incumbent, as the scales fall from Kentucky’s eyes, and we all see his disconnection from his constituency. Kentucky’s citizens will come to see Mitch McConnell as the greedy, little monopoly man and power-hungry plutocrat he is. We will say “enough” to his rabid conservative appointments to the federal bench and his corporatized attacks on labor.
McConnell is set to launch the most expensive senatorial campaign in our nation’s history, but Charles Booker, who may challenge him, is doing something McConnell will never do: listening to Kentuckians. Our state will see the difference and vote in the candidate who has Kentuckian’s best interests at heart.
Reed Sedgwick is a comedian.
For Women In Kentucky, There Is Hope
I’m not much of a predictor — I usually just complain about what’s going on now. When thinking about women’s rights — my particular area of focus — there’s still a lot to complain about.
Currently vexing me is the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent decision to not hear an appeal from the Sixth Circuit, which has allowed a Kentucky law requiring doctors to both perform and describe an ultrasound to women seeking an abortion. The recent not-at-all-surprising revelation by the Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting that the Louisville Metro Police Department is basically coddling accused rapists is also kicking up my acid reflux.
But I don’t want to complain as I go into 2020, even though there is a lot to complain about.
No, I choose to go forward with hope for 2020. Hope that newly-installed Gov. Andy Beshear will reverse some of former Gov. Matt Bevin’s worst decisions so that Kentuckians will have better access to affordable healthcare (maybe even including abortion services in more than one location in the entire freaking Commonwealth) and teachers will stop leaving Jefferson County Public Schools in droves due to lack of appreciation and, you know, money.
Indeed, Beshear’s record of advocating for and listening to women gives me hope. His Survivor’s Council does great work, particularly with testing backlogged rape kits. So, for women, there is hope in Kentucky. Let’s see if it turns into something worthwhile.
Dr. JoAnne Sweeny is a UofL law professor.