Here’s Why Kentucky Can’t Have Nice Things

Ever considered what Brooklawn does to support kids in need? Hope you’ll do so and at the same time help me give back. [The ‘Ville Voice]

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration scientists have been cleared. No evidence was discovered that they manipulated climate data to support global warming. Mouth-breather meltdown in 3, 2… [NY Times]

You folks may really love Tom Burch. But don’t you dare every tell me he’s not bought and sold like the majority of Frankfort electeds. [Ralph Long]

Jim Gooch and Steve Beshear are ruining Kentucky. 99% of Frankfort goes along with it. While 99% of the Commonwealth suffers and sinks. [Tom Eblen]

Sometimes Walmart does the right thing for health and the environment. Like bypassing federal regulators to ban a controversial flame retardant. [WaPo]

Lower income Americans have 11 fewer healthy days per month than their higher income counterparts. Preventable hospitalization rates go up as income goes down. Meanwhile, blowhards in Washington and Frankfort continue to ignore economic, racial and ethnic disparities in this country. While health care suffers. [CDC]

David Williams can slobber all over Frank Simon if he wants to. Probably because he knows the faux family foundation mouth-breathers are dumb enough to believe him. But he’ll never be able to run completely away from the reality that he and his cohort, Bob Stivers, have worked to kill anti-gay legislation. Meaning he has aided and abetted us deviants. Which is what Joe doesn’t bother mentioning in his story. David doesn’t believe it – he knows how to take advantage of the herp-a-derps. He’s trying to talk out of both sides of his mouth. Just like Steve Beshear. [B&P]

Could fracking have anything to do with recent swarms of earthquakes in Arkansas? Jim Gooch coconut cake meltdown in 3, 2… [HuffPo]

Secret campaign ad financing is as corrupt as corrupt can get. With the FEC deadlocked, Mitch McConnell and crew are fighting to kill transparency. [LA Times]

The General Assembly is winding down in Frankfort and nothing has been accomplished. A real waste of time and money. [WFPL]

Woah, like three months later the newspaper folks realize Rand Paul hired a couple people. And Milliman isn’t currently a commercial litigation attorney – he retired on February 13. [Bluegrass Politics]

Even the Republican Kentucky Democratic Party is living in some sort of time warp. [Twitter]

Jane Beshear Is Celebrating Kentucky Literacy

The issue of literacy in Kentucky is near and dear to our hearts, as regular readers are likely aware. So when First Lady Jane Beshear does anything related to reading, we’re completely on board.

This morning she announced the first annual Kentucky Literacy Celebration and issued her reading list – part of her ongoing “First Lady’s Reading Recommendations” effort.

Let’s jump right into the list:

  1. Kinfolks: The Wilgus Stories, Gurney Norman (Ages: 12 and up) – This book of short stories recounts the adventures of Wilgus, a Kentucky boy growing up in Appalachia, and his family.
  2. The Velveteen Rabbit, Margery Williams (Ages: 4 and up) – In this timeless story, a stuffed rabbit yearns to be made real by the love of a young child.
  3. The Book Thief, Mark Zusak (Ages: 12 and up) – A winner of the Michael L. Printz Award for Excellence in Young Adult Literature, this novel set during World War II tells the story of a foster girl who loves books and discovers their power in a time of strife.
  4. Life of Pi, Yann Martel (Ages: 15 and up) – As a boy raised around zoo animals, Pi is better prepared than most when he becomes stranded on a lifeboat with four wild creatures. Pi’s ensuing ingenuity and epiphanies make for a compelling journey.
  5. The Very Busy Spider, Eric Carle (Ages: 1-3) – A colorful picture book depicting a variety of animals reveals the mystery of the very busy spider.
  6. The Three Billy Goats Gruff, Paul Galdone (Ages 5-8) – In this classic tale that I used to read to my boys, three billy goats try to cross a bridge, but must first get past a grouchy, scary troll.
  7. A Penny’s Worth of Character, Jesse Stuart (Ages: 8-11) – A boy in a rural Kentucky community learns about how to put integrity before guilty pleasures.
  8. Our Brothers’ War, Maureen Morehead and Pat Carr (All ages) – Co-authored by Kentucky’s current poet laureate Maureen Morehead, this book of poems and short stories portrays the perspective of women in the Commonwealth during the Civil War.
  9. A Lesson Before Dying, Ernest Gaines (Ages: 15 and up) – This award-winning book depicts a friendship in 1940’s Louisiana between two African-American men, one an innocent prisoner on death row and one a teacher. Both find a way to transcend the trials of racism and injustice.
  10. The Mysterious Benedict Society, Trenton Lee Stewart (Ages: 8-12) – The first book in a delightful series, this story follows four kids who answer an ad in the paper calling for gifted children and find themselves on a secret mission.

“I am thrilled to kick off the first annual Kentucky Literacy Celebration and look forward to promoting reading across the Commonwealth during this week and throughout the year,” said Mrs. Beshear. “To encourage Kentuckians to use their local public libraries, I have compiled a special reading list to provide some ideas for both new and experienced armchair adventurers. In the continued spirit of reading for all, this list contains books suitable for a range of ages, from infant to adult. Everyone should set aside some time to read this week, whether it is on your own, or with family and friends.”


Meth Bill Compromise Isn’t Really A Compromise

A couple weeks ago, Addia Wuchner and other Republicans offered what they said was a compromise to the proposed meth bill (SB45). Essentially, the “compromise” would exclude medications containing pseudoephedrine in gel form.

Unfortunately, excluding gel caps is hardly a compromise. Let’s take a look at few myths/claims Frankfort is pushing…

  • MYTH: Requiring a prescription for solid dosage form of non-prescription medicines containing pseudoephedrine will allow for continued patient access to pseudoephedrine medications.
  • FACT: Extended relief formulations—including the extended release medications containing pseudoephedrine like Claritin D®, Zyrtec® D, Alavert® D, Aleve® D, Mucinex® D, and Sudafed® 12 hour—are not available in liquid or gel cap formulations, thereby forcing cold and allergy sufferers who rely on these medicines for relief to visit a doctor under this proposals. These extended relief medicines represent the majority of pseudoephedrine-containing medicines and this proposal would only limit law-abiding Kentuckians’ access to the cold and allergy products they prefer.
  • MYTH: Meth cannot be manufactured by diverting pseudoephedrine from liquid or gel caps.
  • FACT: A U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration July 2010 rule states that liquids and liquid-gels “can be readily extracted” to manufacture methamphetamine.
  • MYTH: Kentucky’s border states are moving toward prescription pseudoephedrine.
  • FACT: Missouri and Illinois already use the same electronic blocking NPLEx system used by Kentucky. In addition, Indiana and Tennessee are considering implementation of this technology to block illegal sales.

Can’t let little things like facts get in our way, though, can we?

A study conducted by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America found that 70% oppose prescription-only laws for medication containing pseudoephedrine. That includes Kentuckians.

Frankfort needs to get its ducks in a row. The more we continue to crap on the downtrodden in this state, the further we sink into the hole of being dead last in every category.

Woah, Time Sure Flies And Memories Get Short

Remember when Ernie Fletcher tried to cut $370 million from Kentucky’s budget a few hundred years ago?

Fletcher says the cutbacks will keep taxes down in the future. “Just as heavy cargo makes ships float lower and more vulnerable to high seas, too much debt also increases risk. The next time storm clouds hang over our economy, we’ll have to choose between tax increases and cutbacks in critical services if we don’t decrease our debt.”

Other projects cut from the budget: $4 million for a new Tech Center at Madisonville Community College, and $200,000 for park improvements and a miniature golf course at Lake Malone State Park in Muhlenberg County.

The governor said he made the cuts because he’s worried about amount of debt the state’s new spending plan called for.

Remember when everyone and their mother – including Republicans – freaked out over the reality that we were just cold flushing dollars down the toilet in the Commonwealth and we needed to do something about it? And instead of doing anything about it, they just kept going crazy and decided Ernest Lee was the devil?

Funny how that works. Funny how all those predictions – like this in bold above – have come true. Like furloughs, Medicaid, et al.

Even the Legislative Research Commission recognizes the nightmare Kentucky faces:

Kentucky is certainly familiar with the pension issue. The state-employees pension plan here carries about $25 billion in unfunded liabilities, a staggering amount. One bill dealing with the threat — SB 2 — has passed the Senate this session. Its approach is basically to close the current defined-benefits retirement plan to new state hires and replace it with a 401(k)-type plan, a much less expensive approach that has become standard in the private sector.

The pension-reform bill passed the Senate earlier this month and was sent to the House, where it has remained undiscussed since its referral to the House State Government Committee on Feb. 15, its fate there highly uncertain.

Must be embarrassing for Steve Beshear to experience the moment in which his increasingly complacent constituency realize that Ernie Fletcher was a better governor.

Hollenbach Grasps At Relevancy, Takes Credit

Todd Hollenbach sent out his first communique to the press last week. The first time in four years, really.

It appears to be a moment of CYA because he knows he’s about to have his rear end handed to him over his involvement in disastrous retirement dealings. And he maybe recognizes the other shoe is about to drop.

Perfect time to send out this eye-roll-worthy letter to the editor:

Guest Editorial- Letter to the Editor

As the Treasurer of the Commonwealth of Kentucky, I serve as a member of the Board of Trustees of the Kentucky Teachers’ Retirement System. In both capacities, I am very interested in the dissonant nature of recent media reports about public sector pay and pensions. These stories typically feature angry politicians, disgruntled employees, and frustrated taxpayers. In stark contrast to these negative reports from around the country of conflict and confrontation, I wish to recount a Kentucky success story realized through compromise and cooperation which benefits both taxpayers and public sector teachers.

Kentucky’s teachers have a reasonable retirement benefit, funded in large part by mandatory deductions of greater than 10% of their pay during their careers. Teachers do not participate in Social Security and rely on their Kentucky pension benefit for retirement security. The Kentucky Teachers’ Retirement System has been providing retirement security to teachers for more than 70 years and has some of the lowest plan administration costs of any public plan in the country.

Yeah, the beginning is rather mundane. But the rest of his letter? It teeters on the edge of bizarre as he attempts to take credit for alleged KTRS positives.

He must have been accomplishing all that good during all those mid-day Kroger trips (in Louisville, not Frankfort) he loves to take. Or during all of his morning country club trips to see “Dr. Green.”

Read the rest of Little Todd’s letter after the jump…

Read more…

Oh Snap Monday! Flushing Money Down The Drain

I’m baaaaaack. What kind of debauchery is in store this week?

Julie Denton isn’t afraid to tell people to stick their corrupt campaign contributions where the sun doesn’t shine. Should be a lesson to everyone in Frankfort. Too bad that’ll never happen. [Ralph Long]

Gay marriage has waned as a mouth-breather wedge issue, kinda. Maybe it’s because even Republicans (outside Kentucky) recognize that the gays should be allowed to legally torture themselves and lose everything to a vindictive c-word, too. [NY Times]

The federal government is prepared for a complete shutdown. But none of the rest of us are. Because, well, uh, that’s going to be a nightmare. [NPR]

First the gays took over Lexington. Now they’re just cold gonna redecorate the White House. [WaPo]

A Morehead State University professor took part in the sit-in at the Capitol over mountaintop removal. Here’s the local paper’s story about it. [The Morehead News]

Dunno about y’all, but I’m never voting for Steve Beshear. He doesn’t want anybody’s vote. I will vote for his opponent – no matter who it is – just because. Tons of people are following suit. And then some will vote for Gatewood, who could really shake this election up. [B&P]

For a while, Al Mohler wasn’t an anti-gay bigot. But he’s back to his old ways of gay-panicking and foaming at the mouth. It’s a real shame because a lot of folks at his seminary aren’t bigots and recognize that homosexuality isn’t a choice. He gives them all a bad name. [FatLip]

The state spent a million bucks to move a road at the request of James River Coal Company. Repeat, the state spent a million of YOUR tax dollars to move a road because a coal company said to do so. Both Fletcher and Beshear officials are culpable. [John Cheves]

The Obama Administration needs to decide whether it hates the gays or loves them. No one is this indecisive. [HuffPo]

Alison Grimes went to Bowling Green last week and apparently cleaned up. We’ve heard from all kinds of now-former Walker supporters who are suddenly on her team. [BGDN & WBKO]

Of course administrative positions at the University of Kentucky grow faster than faculty. Would you expect anything less in Kentucky? [Linda Blackford]

Really? We can waste tons of time and money debating whether or not to repeal a ban on fireworks? But we can’t do crap to protect the elderly or remotely consider comprehensive tax reform? This is why Kentucky can’t have nice things. [WKYT]