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University of Louisville hosted a panel on political discourse Monday. Congressman John Yarmuth, outgoing Kentucky Secretary of State Trey Grayson and political science professor Jasmine Farrier were all on the panel, which was convened in response to calls for civil debate after the shooting in Arizona.

You can read about the panel’s remarks here.

You can listen to the entire discussion here. (mp3) It’s long, but very interesting. The panelists weighed in on divisive media, shifts in political behavior and a number of other topics.


Congressman John Yarmuth talked with reporters on Saturday afternoon about the shooting spree that led to several deaths (six at the time of this post) and left Arizona Representative Gabrielle Giffords critically injured.

WFPL’s Rick Howlett has the story. His piece mentions that this violence may change the way Yarmuth (and other members of Congress) hold public events. As for the role of political rhetoric in inspiring the shooting, Yarmuth says that discussion is very premature. And NPR’s Ken Rudin offers these words about such speculation:

What is also unsurprising, but regrettable, is that everyone is ascribing a motive for the shooting without any credible information.

The Internet and the Twitterworld have been filled with speculation on why she was shot: that she was too liberal and was shot by a Tea Party conservative.  Or that she was too moderate and shot by someone on the left.

All we know is that the shooter is under custody.  No statement has been released, no motive revealed.

I talked with Kentucky May Day Coalition co-convener Stephen Bartlett today about the protest outside of Derby. Here’s the WFPL story:

Drivers and pedestrians heading to the Kentucky Derby may see demonstrators protesting the new immigration law in Arizona.

Among other things, the Arizona legislation allows law enforcement officers to ask anyone for proof of citizenship. The Kentucky May Day Coalition will pass out fliers denouncing the law at intersections around Churchill Downs.

Coalition co-convener Stephen Bartlett says the fliers highlight the role immigrants play in the horse industry.

“The whole Kentucky Derby could not take place without the immigrant workers who work in the horse industry at all levels, including even the jockeys,” he says.

Bartlett says the fliers will encourage people to call Senator Mitch McConnell and ask him to support federal immigration reform that’s friendly to immigrants.

“The system is broken,” he says. “Basically, the Arizona law is a terrible omen on what could happen to tear our society apart. A new Jim Crow Law, in effect, that’s going to take effect in three months in Arizona.”

The fliers will be distributed from 10 am to 1 pm.

The Kentucky May Day Coalition will lead a protest against Arizona’s new immigration law outside of Churchill Downs on Saturday. The law, among other things, allows law enforcement officers to question anyone about their immigration status, if the officers have reason to suspect the person may be in Arizona illegally.

LEO says:

…demonstrators plan to pass out at least 2,000 fliers Saturday morning at all intersections leading to Churchill Downs to educate attendees about who the law targets.

“The Derby itself would not be possible without immigrant workers and that’s the point we’re going to make this Saturday,” says Stephen Bartlett, a co-convener of the coalition. “If you examine it, the horse farms, the trainers and even a lot of the jockeys are all immigrants. It’s the underground economy of the whole horsing industry.”

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