Import everything from China. Learn to further screw the economy and small business everywhere. China is the answer. So is India. Outsource, outsource, outsource. [Business First]

Louisville’s smoking ban has improved air quality 97% since it went into effect. Imagine that. No smoke to choke you and give you cancer means the air is cleaner. Wow. [C-J]

See? Barack really is the president of everywhere. Or at least Wisconsin. And every other state. [BGR]

Gov. Steve Beshear’s budget recommends a 58 percent cut for school safety programs, and the news couldn’t have come at a worse time. Ouch. [C-J]

Steve Beshear’s Chief of Staff Jim Cauley is taking heat from hardcore Beshear supporters these days. Talk of kingmaking, student newspapers in Connecticut, Democratic Party anarchy, third party emergence. Ruh ro. [The Rural Democrat]

The scary gays are taking over our schools! All the more reason for school vouchers, religious proselytization in public schools, killing public schools, bankrupting teachers, teaching creationism as fact, killing teachers, making it impossible to further education by slashing educational budgets, etc. [C-J]

Uncle Steve’s casino legislation got an overhaul and a cut to nine locations, down from twelve. Woops. Joni stuck it to the man. [H-L]

527 groups/Beshear slush funds now have stricter reporting guidelines in Kentucky. The runoff is dead. And Kentucky will probably vote for pretzeldent on Super Tuesday in a few years. [C-J]

Mohler and his Media Powerhouse

If you think about it, no Louisville resident gets more national publicity, or generates more media himself, than Southern Baptist Seminary president Dr. Albert Mohler. He was in the news again this week, after announcing he won’t be a candidate for the presidency of the Southern Baptist Convention due to a health issue — he’s got to have surgery for a precancerous tumor in his colon.

It’s been a decade since I wrote a profile of Mohler in Business First, which at the time was a pretty big deal. Then, he’d been in place over at Southern about five years, and had shaken things up quite a bit – initiating a near complete turnover of the Seminary faculty. He was the target of a lot of criticism, but what impressed me about him in our interview was his unwavering conviction in everything he said. Nothing I asked him brought about any pauses for contemplation. He was on a mission, and for those who opposed him, well, his message was not to let the door hit you on the way out.

There were always issues, he told me, on which “no diversity of opinions can be tolerated.”

In the decade since, Mohler has continued to be featured in our national press, and he’s been interviewed on a wide range of issues as the go-to guy for the Conservative Right. Just last March, Mohler found himself in the middle of a firestorm after writing that gays may be proven to be born gay, a position that goes against most conservative thinking.

Read the rest along with the 1998 Business First profile of Dr. Mohler after the jump…

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It’s Friday! Day After Black Thursday Update

More than 1,000 showed up to love mountains in Frankfort yesterday. Persona non grata: Jim Gooch. Mr. Walrus was no where to be seen. We hear he was locked away somewhere rolling around in a pile of global warming denial cash. Take a look at the photographs and then tell me mountaintop removal isn’t hated. And don’t forget to watch Jim’s video of the event. [BGR, Hillbilly Report]

Beshear down 10 points from 62 to 52, not good. Get ready for the spin machine to kick up like woah. Because his disapproval rating is shooting through the Democratic Disapproval Ceiling at 38% (!!). That’s up 14 points and the dude’s only been an office a month. Support among independents is really taking a beating. The man needs to hire someone who knows public relations and someone who actually gives a flip about bettering Kentucky with the political process. [SUSA]

David Williams on casinos, Greg Stumbo and mountain folks loving education, hypocrisy over Gov. Paul Patton. All after the jump…

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UK’s College Democrats Speak Out

In response to University of Kentucky student body president Nick Phelps’ controversial racist email about Barack Obama, UK’s College Dems have written a letter to him.

We’ve obtained a copy of that letter:

Dear President Phelps,

It has come to our attention that you recently forwarded a defamatory e-mail that was anti-Muslim, anti-Atheist, racist, and overtly partisan, the subject of which was Sen. Barack Obama. We write to you to express our extreme disappointment and also to ask you to resign. We understand that the e-mail was not supposed to reach as far as it did; however, the fact of the matter remains that you put yourself in the position for this email to reach into campus.

The office of Student Body President is a publicly funded position which carries with it considerable responsibility. The main responsibility in our opinion is to represent all UK students at all times. This includes all students, regardless of race, religion, creed, ethnicity, sexual preference, or political affiliation. We feel that you have failed in this responsibility.

Read the rest after the jump…

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CYA 2008: Education & Student Aid Damage Control

Mere days after Governor Steve Beshear delivered the gloom and doom news of his budget cuts for state universities, days after University of Kentucky President Lee Todd sent out a damning email and only one day after six state university presidents testified in Frankfort, the Kentucky Higher Education Assistance Authority sent out a blast of its “Financial Aid Tip of the Month” preaching wonders of student financial aid, the CAP program and KEES scholarships.

Perhaps the best known program is the merit-based Kentucky Educational Excellence Scholarship (KEES). Students at certified Kentucky high schools earn college scholarships based on their yearly grade point average and their best ACT score. Home school graduates and GED recipients earn awards based on their ACT score.

Students do not have to apply for a KEES award. If they attend a participating Kentucky college, KHEAA will automatically send the scholarship money after the school reports that they are attending classes. KEES awards may also be used at some out-of-state colleges, but only if the school is in a state that participates in the Academic Common Market and the student is pursuing an approved major not available in Kentucky.

Classic CYA, no? Bad news hits on Tuesday with Beshear’s budget address. KEES funding cuts catapult the entire state into a living nightmare. Lee Todd sends this message (PDF link). Everyone hauls ass to Frankfort to bitch & moan. Then we’re all blessed with a blast straight out of the CYA playbook.

On a somewhat related note: We’ve heard through the grapevine (okay, via Facebook) that University of Louisville students and faculty are planning protests and sit-ins in opposition to upcoming budget cuts. References here and here on Facebook.

Wouldn’t it be a complete nightmare for the current administration and higher education in general if every university in the state cancelled classes in favor of standing up for the most important insurance policy we have for the future– education?

Not the Bold Leadership We Ordered

Gov. Steve Beshear‘s budget address may have been a wake-up call for those who didn’t think things were as bad as they seemed. For others, it may have been a realization that the bold leadership Beshear campaigned on was nothing but campaign rhetoric.

There will be a $165 million cut in spending next year, and it will hit most areas of the state, save K-12 education and Medicaid. Higher education may have been the hardest hit.

U of L chief James Ramsey told the C-J: “. . . it’s going to be impossible for us to continue to move forward, and the question becomes will we be able to keep from backsliding.” UK’s Lee Todd said it will create a $50 million shortfall. Of note, this comes the day after Todd hired a VP of diversity for $210,000 a year.

But Beshear’s speech was full of those sorts of contradictions. Drastically cut spending here, but make up for it with a questionable expenditure there.

Beshear presented nothing bold last night. He preserved the funding for public schools, but said there would be no raises for teachers. And he authorized 2 percent raises (not much, but more than teachers are getting) for state employees, and said nothing about cuts to the state work force. He preserved $6 million for the Louisville Zoo and many other capital projects, and put money into the Bucks for Brains programs, but told University presidents to get by with less.

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Stuff Over the Weekend: Short Update Dept

KCTCS tuition rates creeping out of reach for the everyday student in Kentucky? David Hawpe thinks so and states his case with a story of– get this– pickled walnuts and Henry Bains Sauce. Only David Hawpe could write about Henry Bains Sauce when discussing tuition hikes. [C-J]

Pat Crowley says Kathy Groob needs to toughen up if she hopes to get anywhere in her race. To quote him, “But she’ll have to toughen up; last time, her skin was as thin as the Morningview phone book.” Also says Jack Westwood will have to prove his accomplishments. [Enquirer]

John Yarmuth was elected president of the 43 Democratic freshman in the U.S. House of Representatives this week. Proving his ability to lead and be supported by people from both sides of the aisle. Anne Northup thinks she can beat him? This isn’t a Hill-Sodrel race a few years ago. It’s John Yarmuth in liberal Louisville in 2008. [C-J]