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.

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?

CWA Takes Herald-Leader to Task

In the ongoing push to get the Herald-Leader and McClatchy Company to treat its employees fairly, the Communication Workers of America lay the facts out on the table in an editorial.

Publisher Tim Kelly’s “Letter to Our Readers” makes it clear that the Herald-Leader’s management either doesn’t understand the meaning of true collective bargaining or has a total disregard for it.

Kelly neglected to mention just how much money the newspaper and its corporate owner, The McClatchy Co., are making. I suspect he omitted this because it would undermine his argument. The Herald-Leader is one of the most profitable enterprises in this community.

The paper’s publisher claims newsroom workers want assurances that nothing will change. This is clearly false. Guild leaders have told local media (including the Herald-Leader) that they’re willing to consider changes to paid time off and health care if the company demonstrates a true need.

Scathing.

We hope the H-L gets its ducks in a row soon. It’s the only major paper in the state with its finger on the pulse of society. Kentucky can’t afford to suffer when it comes to news just because an out-of-state corporation wants to reap mega-profits.

Kentuckians more racist than sexist?

Who knows. But let’s look at the latest Survey USA results for POTUS.

More people would vote for Hillary Clinton over a Republican (except McCain) than Barack Obama:

Giuliani vs. Clinton – Clinton 47%, Giuliani 45%, Undecided 8%
Romney vs. Clinton – Clinton 48%, Romney 44%, Undecided 8%
Huckabee vs. Clinton – Clinton 47%, Huckabee 46%, Undecided 7%
McCain vs. Clinton – Clinton 44%, McCain 50%, Undecided 6%

Giuliani vs. Obama – Obama 40%, Giuliani 50%, Undecided 11%
Romney vs. Obama – Obama 40%, Romney 46%, Undecided 14%
Huckabee vs. Obama – Obama 38%, Huckabee 51%, Undecided 11%
McCain vs. Obama – Obama 35%, McCain 53%, Undecided 12%

Margin of Error – 4.3%

Interesting that John Edwards has all but disappeared in the media.

Oh. And McConnell’s approval ratings are up and apparently money (or having none of it) is more important than the war.

Crunch Time & Your Help is Needed

The special election for House District 72 is only 19 days away. The coming Christmas and New Year holidays cut into campaign time significantly, leaving less than two weeks to raise funds, spread a message and get out the vote. It’s crunch time and your help is needed.

As I’ve said previously, the 72nd House District (comprised of Bath, Nicholas and Bourbon Counties with several precincts in Fayette) is one of the most important areas of the state, agriculturally, historically and economically. The 72nd is Kentucky. And it’s important we elect the most qualified, skilled and honest person for the job: Sannie Overly. To be elected, she’s going to need your support. If you have a few dollars to spare this holiday season, please contribute to Sannie’s campaign.

It can’t be said enough: Sannie Overly may just be the most well put together Democratic candidate the 72nd has seen in decades. She’s the kind of person with the values this state needs to move effectively into the 21st century. She’s not in the game for personal gain or to further an agenda which obviously can’t be said about many other candidates. For her it’s about loving her community and truthfully representing the interests of her constituency.

Who is Overly up against? Learn more about her opponent after the jump.

Read more

Transportation Cabinet Screwed by Fletcher

Ernie Fletcher has effectively killed the Transportation Cabinet. The failed governor, reported by the Herald-Leader’s Ryan Alessi, emptied the cabinet’s coffers by spending more than $2 billion on road contracts in just two short years. $1.7 billion was spent in the year 2007 alone.

On top of that $2 billion? The $350 million remaining in the state’s road fund is already promised for projects ending this fiscal year. And the meager funds projected to be available for 2009 and 2010 are already spent. Surprised? Looks like Joe Prather has his work cut out for him.

Ernest Lee used the road fund as a tool for re-election. No one is surprised.

Partial Update Dept.

Jake spent the evening in the ER so there’ll be light posting for a day or so. Medically necessary “vacation” time.

It’s the economy, stupid. Personal bankruptcy filings for the first three quarters of 2007 totaled more than all bankruptcy filings in 2006. A 40.2% increase. Business filings are up 40.5%. Great economy, isn’t it? All this after more stringent filing rules. [Business First]

Blah. Is it even worth wasting our breath anymore? David Adams rails on our failure of a Board of Education and their new Commissioner. Dear Leader was anointed by King Ernest Lee. We can only hope he’s nothing like Barbara Erwin. [KY Progress]

Hebert has the juice on political appointments. Most notable is Dana Mayton who will take the helm as Jack Conway’s Chief Deputy. Mayton, a UofL lobbyist, has a reputation for bringing home the university bacon. The funny part is in Hebert’s first graph, “Mayton takes the post currently held, and ably administered by, Pierce Whites, who has seemingly run the A.G.’s office the past four years because Greg Stumbo has rarely been seen in Frankfort. Hoo boy. [Mark Hebert]