101 Ways to Read the News

Fletcher switching gears? Ronnie Ellis suggests Ernest Lee could be moving on to social issues like Jesus, abortion, guns and THE GAYS. OMG!!11! The gays are coming! The gubnuh will save us! [Richmond Register]

Performance and transparency are a bitch. Kentucky Auditor Crit Luallen released a– get this– an audit (of all things) of the High-Tech Construction Pool and High-Tech Investment Pool. While the groups are allegedly funding quality projects? A commission established to monitor the effectiveness of new economic programs has not met since 2003. [Auditor]

Not surprising. The C-J reports home foreclosures in Kentucky will hit record highs. Jefferson County is projected to have 3,125 foreclosure auctions ordered by judges this year, up from last year’s record of 2,710. Bush’s economy is just wonderful. [C-J]

McConnell screws college kids again. The senator was one of just 11 Republicans voting against bringing down college costs. The College Cost Reduction Act of 2007 is the largest student aid investment since the GI Bill. The bill, which McConnell opposed, offers a debt forgiveness program that benefits nurses, teachers and law enforcement. [DSCC]

Almost got the story correct. Joe Gerth reports on the Insight-McConnell matter. He missed that Insight has contributed more than $17,000 to McConnell (far greater than the $10K he quotes). McConnell’s staff still insists that it matters that the iPod-like audio devices shipped to Afghanistan used encrypted audio files. It may come as a surprise to some non-geeks, but, uh, nearly all portable audio players– especially the iPod– use encrypted audio and it has no bearing on what the devices were used for. [C-J]

Warning: Kentuckians demand answers from Insight!

Public Campaign Action Fund just released a statement in response to Insight Communication’s weird decision to pull a commercial critical of Mitch McConnell. Read the full release here.

An excerpt:

“Executives at cable giant Insight Communications have given Senator Mitch McConnell $17,000 in campaign contributions for his campaigns. And they now are helping him even more by engaging in political censorship by refusing to run Public Campaign Action Fund’s commercial that criticizes McConnell for his special interest politics.

“Network affiliates and another cable system in Kentucky ran the ad after reviewing its content for accuracy. But with Insight, Public Campaign Action Fund was neither given an opportunity to respond to any of their concerns, nor were we notified of their decision to pull the commercial from rotation on a prime viewing slot. This is highly irregular and their action reeks of censorship.

To pull further from their relese, PCAF raises important questions that we’ll unfortunately probably never have answers to:

  1. Since every other outlet in Kentucky ran the ad after reviewing its content for accuracy, what is Insight’s justification for deciding not to air the ad?
  2. Which executives made this decision and did they make it without reviewing the background documentation that supports the ad that other media companies found adequate?
  3. What role did Insight lobbyist Keith Hall or Insight CEO Mike Willmer, both McConnell donors and allies, play in making this decision to censor the ad? Were they or anyone else at Insight urged by McConnell or his aides to censor this ad?
  4. What has Mitch McConnell done for Insight on the issues that directly impact Insight’s bottom line?
  5. Has Insight lobbied McConnell to further its interests, and how much campaign money have Willner and his associates bundled for McConnell’s campaigns and PACs?

The pulling of PCAF’s ad critical of McConnell reeks of censorship and is a complete violation of freedom of speech. McConnell, who supports flag burning and says he believes freedom of speech is one of the most important rights we have as citizens, is the very person stifling dissent.

Forget 2007. It’s already decided. 2008 is ON. Discussion and promotion of campaigns and candidates in 2008 will not affect fundraising or focus in this year’s election. We’re less than 8 weeks away from E-Day and we think it’s time to start the next cycle early.

UPDATE: Insight has approved the ad for airing.

BREAKING – Insight Says No to Anti-McConnell Ad

Senator Mitch McConnell used his clout with Insight Communications to have ads targeting him pulled from the air.

While the commercial incorrectly alleged that McConnell voted against funding for body armor, it’s not reason enough in our minds to have it pulled. Not after Insight has run despicable and factually incorrect ads supporting the slaughter in Iraq.

The ad is still running on broadcast stations throughout Kentucky, including tonight’s NFL opener on NBC affiliates.

It’s interesting to note that McConnell has received $17,000 in campaign contributions from Insight employees.

See?

ABBOT, JOHN F
NEW YORK,NY 10280
INSIGHT COMMUNICATIONS/CFO
3/30/2007
$2,000

BRECHER, ELLIOT MR
NEW YORK,NY 10019
INSIGHT COMMUNICATIONS/GENERAL COUN
9/25/2006
$1,000

DIETZ, CHARLES E
ORADELL,NJ 07649
INSIGHT COMMUNICATIONS/VP
3/30/2007
$2,000

HALL, KEITH
SIMPSONVILLE,KY 40067
INSIGHT COMMUNICATIONS/SENIOR VICE
10/14/2005
$2,000

HALL, KEITH
NEW YORK,NY 10044
INSIGHT COMMUNICATIONS
1/15/2002
$1,000

HALL, KEITH MR
SIMPSONVILLE,KY 40067
INSIGHT COMMUNICATIONS/SENIOR VICE
9/25/2006
$2,000

HALL, KEITH MR
SIMPSONVILLE,KY 40067
INSIGHT COMMUNICATIONS/SENIOR VICE
9/25/2006
$1,900

HALL, KEITH MR
SIMPSONVILLE,KY 40067
INSIGHT COMMUNICATIONS/SENIOR VICE
9/25/2006
($1,900)

KNAFEL, SIDNEY MR
NEW YORK,NY 10019
INSIGHT COMMUNICATIONS/CHAIRMAN
9/25/2006
$2,000

KNAFEL, SIDNEY R
NEW YORK,NY 10019
INSIGHT COMMUNICATIONS/CHAIRMAN
3/30/2007
$2,000

KNAFEL, SIDNEY R
NEW YORK,NY 10019
INSIGHT COMMUNICATIONS/CHAIRMAN
3/30/2007
$1,700

KNAFEL, SIDNEY R
NEW YORK,NY 10019
INSIGHT COMMUNICATIONS/CHAIRMAN
3/30/2007
($1,700)

WILLNER, MICHAEL
NEW YORK,NY 10019
INSIGHT COMMUNICATIONS
1/13/2002
$1,000

WILLNER, MICHAEL MR
NEW YORK,NY 10019
INSIGHT COMMUNICATIONS/PRESIDENT AN
9/25/2006
$2,000

Hard not to think McConnell’s direct influence wasn’t taken advantage of in this situation.

A representative from Public Campaign Action Fund tells Page One that Insight neither notified them of this decision nor gave them a chance to respond to/argue re: why they think their facts are accurate.

Patently false?

McConnell’s camp says attack ads being run in primetime slots are full of it. (Please watch the ad and read this article so you know what we’re talking about.)

Mitchypoo’s camp neglects to mention that Hunter Bates was McConnell’s COS, left to become a lobbyist using his Mitch connection (see John Cheves’ mind-blowing series from last fall), got a $200K contract to promote an earmark to send Chinese-made iPod-like devices to Afghanistan. McConnell delivered and Bates went to work raising $120K for his campaign.

While we hate what’s happened and the way Senator McConnell is trying to cover it up? We won’t swallow talking points hook, line and sinker, we’re not going to attack the following factual statement from Ryan Alessi:

While the ad doesn’t cite any source for the claim that McConnell voted against providing funding for body armor, an independent political watchdog group Factcheck.org declared a similar accusation against other Republican senators last fall as false.

The ad does not cite a source for the claim that McConnell voted against providing funding for body armor. To parse words and get semantic? On October 2, 2003 McConnell voted to table an ammendment that was to be attached to an $87 billion emergency supplemental bill. (Reference: Vote 376, S.Amdt. 1817 to S. 1689) While despicable, obscene, hate-filled, possibly murderous and typically McConnell, let’s be accurate here. McConnell voted to table an amendment (like he did in April 2003). He didn’t vote for or against something that was up for a vote to become law.

That said, McConnell’s lackeys are full of shit. They’re parsing words to obscure facts. They’re challenging the semantics about what the devices were called. E.G., Public Campaign Action Fund called them “music players” in order to describe what they are, not just what they do. They could have called them iPod-like devices or MP3 players, but McConnell probably would have found fault in any of those descriptions as well. They’re attempting to obscure the fact that he lined up a contract to send $8.3million worth of Chinese-made players to Afghanistan (to spread right-wing talking points) and got $120,000 from the lobbyist’s clients.