Patronage Alive and Well?

Look, we don’t often try to legitimize Brett Hall, but this is something worthy of discussion.

The man to see is Larry Hayes, the new secretary of the governor’s executive cabinet. That’s according to the executive order #2008-011 issued last Friday by Governor Steve Beshear.

Is it such a terrible thing that all personnel actions be approved by the Secretary of the Governor’s Executive Cabinet? Or is this budget “crisis” just a convenient tool for a newly reborn Democratic patronage system? No less than a dozen Democratic legislators have written us in outrage about the matter today.

Seriously, we want your opinion.

Weekend Update… on Monday

Greg Stumbo has no regrets as he leaves office. Has a lot to say about Ernie Fletcher’s indictment, his campaign with Bruce Lunsford, the seat he’s taking from Brandon Spencer. Says it’d be “premature” to speculate on a House leadership position. We’re speculating, so, guess we’re premature speculators. [H-L]

Greg Stumbo’s also the Democratic nominee for the 95th district house seat to replace Spencer. 19,474 weighted votes for Stumbo compared to Chuck Meade’s 1,107. Republicans still have no viable candidate. Look for Stumbo to walk handily to victory. [H-L]

Ralph Long on Steve Beshear and the budget crunch: In other words we have the standard, predictable entrance of a new administration cooking the books on the backs of state employees. [Ralph Long]

John Yarmuth (D-KY3) donates his entire congressional salary to charity in Louisville. PolWatchers does a story on it. Commenters go crazy calling him a silver spoon liberal and a left-wing lunatic. We’d like to see Mitch McConnell or Ron Lewis donate their salaries to charity but we know that’s not going to happen. [PolWatchers]

Brian Smith penned a great good-bye about the Iraq Summer campaign and its successes. The group, as many haters of perceived libruls will recall, heightened awareness of Mitch McConnell’s role in the never-ending Iraqi quagmire. [BGR]

Getting upset that the Courier-Journal’s parent company, Gannett Co. Inc., is worth billions of dollars? Upset because they call McConnell out? What? This doesn’t even make sense. When will people stop with the “librul” crap? Interesting that so many people dismiss the truth as “dirty librulism” when it doesn’t mesh with their views. [Heffalumps]

Saving Health Care? Not On Your Life.

While reading John Cheves’ legislative preview on Health & Welfare one has to wonder why Governor Steve Beshear and his physician/senator running mate Lt. Gov. Daniel Mongiardo were never pressed to provide solid plans for the state. Solid plans beyond expanding gambling, that is. (Full disclosure: We support gambling/casinos/whatever but they’re not the pie in the sky.)

FRANKFORT– One or more unlikely things must happen before Gov. Steve Beshear can honor his campaign pledge to extend health insurance to tens of thousands of Kentuckians.

The national and state economies must improve so much that extra tax revenue gushes into Frankfort. Or Congress must overcome President Bush’s repeated vetoes of an expanded State Children’s Health Insurance Program. Or Beshear must not only cover the state’s current Medicaid deficit — $389 million for the rest of this fiscal year — but he must find money on top of that so he can afford to add people to the program.

Small wonder that Beshear’s allies in the 2008 General Assembly are counting on the clang-clang-clang of casino gambling.

Seriously. Why didn’t the voters or the press ever push Beshear to tell us just how on earth he’ll pay for everything promised? Because it sure seems to us like he can’t deliver on any promises made at any point. Beyond pushing casinos, that is.

Just wondering. Because we’re getting absolutely tired of hearing from every friend we have in the education and university system that their jobs have been cut next year. We may be in a fiscal pickle but good god. Do we really have to rape the front lines with the remnants of a rusty GOP butcher knife?

New Year’s Eve Oh Snap Update Dept

Jim Cauley, Beshear’s campaign manager and Chief of Staff, to temporarily head the Governor’s Office of Local Development. Naturally, it only took an hour for blog commenters to start throwing wag the dog accusations. We suggest holding criticism for the actual commissioner who will be named to replace Cauley. [PolWatchers]

Railing on Kentucky’s budget crisis and Steve Beshear, I think, but never really making much sense. Complete with ominous tones. Something about how he needs to get his butt in gear and not screw anything up? As if things weren’t tough enough trying to establish an administration while “fixing” the budget in a month’s time. [C-J]

The Herald-Leader has started it’s week-long series of legislative previews. The first tackles Beshear and the quickly hacked together budget. AKA the budget is screwed and everyone is about to just explode from stress. Our glowing and vibrant economy is just perfect and happy because everyone is wealthy. Surely the free market can solve this one, too. [H-L, H-L]

The debate for casinos will hit the legislature on January 8. Guess we can count on not getting anything else accomplished in 2008. Flip-flopper Jody Richards refuses to speak to the press about it all– even in his home neck of the woods. Excitement abounds! [BG Daily News]

Road construction in Winchester near the Mountain Parkway has created a sense of urgency in documenting and preserving Native American history. Once again, the rich white man and his ignorant subordinates fight to ignore Kentucky’s true history. Thankfully there are people in this world who won’t let it be forgotten. [H-L]

Mitch McConnell & friends love to spend borrowed money on their supporters and David Hawpe love to write about it. Frankly, we think keeping our legislative body kosher and free of pork would be quite nice. But even conservative “think tanks” know it’s not going to happen. [C-J]

Fletcher Screwed Nursing Homes

What, you thought Ernie Fletcher was history? Sorry. He and his cronies screwed things up so badly that we’ll be hearing about Ernie for decades to come. The man’s legacy is one of disgrace.

John Cheves is reporting that the Health and Family Services Cabinet is so broke nursing home inspectors can’t have their travel costs reimbursed.

In its final days, Gov. Ernie Fletcher’s administration warned the state’s nursing home inspectors that a “budget crisis” prevented them from being reimbursed for travel costs incurred on the job.

Inspectors also were warned that “there is NO MONEY in the budget at the present time,” so they should bring in pens and pencils from home and not use state paper to copy nursing home records unless “absolutely necessary.”

So much for that magical rainy day fund Ernest Lee used as a re-election tool. Thought our Commonwealth was in wonderful economic shape, Ernest?

David Adams reminds us of the Medicaid shortfall and looming pension fund disaster.

Propaganda & Such. Corporate Newsmedia Hacks Dept.

Times. They’re changing. Internet ad sales are set to overtake print publications in just a couple years, according to The Guardian. That makes the internets– and websites like Page One with 299,055 unique visitors and 703,483 page views in November alone– the third largest advertising medium on the planet, just behind television and newspapers. [The Guardian]

Forget the next four years. Balancing the budget for the current fiscal year is a disastrous task. State agencies have requested $166 million in additional state fund for this year. The rainy day fund allegedly has $231.5 million but people like Harry Moberly suggest cuts so we don’t have to spend it. What? [C-J]

Mountaintop removal gets some attention. Rep. Harry Moberly (yet, same guy) and more than a dozen other lawmakers saw first-hand the damage bestowed upon a community during mountaintop removal of coal. From land overburden to health problems like cancer, it’s time to stop. And time for people in eastern Kentucky to stop freaking out any time the negatives of coal mining are discussed. [Richmond Register, H-L]

63rd house district candidates. The candidates for Kenton County’s seat in the house of representatives– Jon Draud’s old seat– are: Will Terwort, Kenton Co Republican Committee; Kelly White, former McConnell aide; Alecia Webb-Eddington, director of Kentucky’s Office of Homeland Security, producer of the hideous television ads. [Pat Crowley]

Weird, ignorant biases. The Courier-Journal (and David Hawpe? Someone.) is showing their ignorant bias against Louisville’s 8664 initiative to save the Waterfront and avoid major expansion of I-64. Regardless of one’s views (a couple of us here aren’t sold on the 8664 bit) of the proposal or understanding of the issues at hand, how is it a good thing for the state’s largest newspaper to say things like, “The merry band of 8664 supporters has taken the group’s nutty proposal to rip up one of the nation’s busiest thoroughfares further than anyone would have guessed. But enough is enough.”? What on earth? Folks at the C-J– who do everything to further Gannett’s corporate bottom line– need to retire with their ugly ties. [C-J]

What’s the Treasurer’s office do with its spare time? Why, sell unclaimed property on eBay, of course. Is this a task Todd Hollenbach will be able to handle? Will a family member have to be hired to get the job done? Hopefully all of those gold watches and silver liquer goblets sell quickly. [eBay]

Don’t forget to contribute. It’s your chance to be a part of the effort to ditch Mitch McConnell by contributing to his eventual opponent. Nearly everyone reading this, the thousands of you, can afford to part with a couple dollars, and if you’re not a democrat you’re at least anti-Mitch-minded. So pony up! [Page One]