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]

News that’s slipped by

Ernie freaks out, tells Stumbo the law isn’t the law. Apparently, violating the law (however controversial said law may be) in a partisan hack sort of way makes the law null and void. Greg’s taking him to court over the university trustee snafu. Let’s follow the law for a change, eh? [H-L]

The General came to Kentucky. Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs, told a group of WWII vets in Louisville yesterday that we shouldn’t rule out bringing back the draft but said recruiting is sufficient to keep the military afloat. Pace neglected to mention that the draft wouldn’t just be about replenishing the rank and file. It’s also about forcing Americans to think about and deal with the situation at hand. If more than the poor had to fight, maybe we’d resolve this clusterfuck before 2050. [C-J]

Attempting to curb the power of corruption. Steve Beshear unveiled a proposal to limit a governor’s power to issue blanket pardons and make appointments to the Executive Branch Ethics Commission. Ernie Fletcher is, needless to say, pissed. [C-J]

Following up on a story we did last month. A judge has ordered the status quo on liquor sales until a suit on the retardo Gallatin County liquor ban can be heard. Businesses will be allowed to continue selling alcohol on Sundays until October 29. Note that elected officials in Gallatin County were afraid to speak about the issue. Where are you, Kenny French? We hear you’re playing both sides of the aisle. [Enquirer]

Introducing Jim Waters: Jay Walking

This week, Steve Beshear released his ideas for solving our educational woes. It’s not a problem that can be solved, but something politicians have to give regular and constant attention. Beshear’s got some good ideas, but no policy can ensure that high school graduates know the basics. Still, despite millions spent with the idea of improving the collective knowledge of our democracy, Jim Waters points out here that as a whole, we’ve got a long way to go.

Let’s face it – most Americans couldn’t get half the questions on the student version of Jeopardy right. That’s no reason to give up on education. Jim’s column is funny in an “oh, shit” way.

Jim WatersJim Waters is a well-known writer and current Director of Policy and Communications at the Bluegrass Institute. You’ve read him in LEO and other publications. Now you can read what he has to say without waiting for a newspaper to go to print.

This is Page One’s first foray into publishing a regular columnist. Please welcome Jim aboard. We plan to introduce content from readers and other contributors in the weeks ahead. Let us know what you think.

Should we laugh or cry when Leno goes ‘Jaywalking’?

By Jim Waters

America’s founders knew an uninformed citizenry presented a greater threat to freedom than military power.

Thomas Jefferson wrote: “If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be.”

While Jefferson may be one of the most aggrieved victims of “revisionist history,” even the most “politically correct” clod would have to acquiesce to his assertion that citizens cannot be both ignorant and adequately preserve, much less defend, their freedoms.

Read more

Cutting our way to excellence

County Schools are headed toward financial crisis.

A three-part series in the Richmond Register details the pitfals of reality. From pension fund expenditures in Madison County to being ranked 31st in the nation when it comes to student spending, Kentucky’s educational proirities are screwed up– and it’s showing on the local level like never before.

What’s more, we’re already dumping some 60% of the state budget into education, according to Sen. Ed Worley.

down the drain


Read the entire series:

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

What was that “surplus” Ernie said he had? $400,000,000? Yeah. Let’s talk about that surplus.

If the 103-Degree Heat’s Not Killin’ Ya…

Eating their own. Novak says the Kentucky gubernatorial race leans Democratic. Huh. You mean the gubnuh who “clears” himself via his hand-picked ethics panel isn’t ahead by light years? [HE, C-J]

Astrological Forecast? CQ says Sen. McConnell is safe in 2008, going so far as to call him the state’s political kingpin. [CQ]

Fuzzy Math on the Internets. WKYT has a poll looking toward the 2008 U.S. Senate race in Kentucky.

Top 3 Contenders:

    McConnell – 40.7%
    Chandler – 19.6%
    Stumbo – 25.6%

What if Chandler wasn’t included? His 19.6 percentage points would be split among the other four Democrats in the poll. People in the Stumbo camp say he’d garner at least 15% of those points, putting him in a dead heat (40.6%) with McConnell in the unscientific web poll. [WKYT]

Make Your Voice Heard, Armchair Bandits! 2007/2008 Election Survey up on The Bluegrass Report. Mark Nickolas wants to know how you’ll vote. Go take the survey. It’s open until 12:00 noon on Aug 17. [Bluegrass Report]

S-m-r-t. We am so smrt. ACT releases Kentucky’s test scores – With 70% of Kentucky’s high school graduates taking the college prep exam, this gives us a glimpse into our abilities when it comes to standardized test taking.

National average composite score: 21.2. Kentucky’s: 20.7, with all scores improving from 2006 by about 1/10th of a point.

Average Kentucky scores:

    English 20.3 (Nat’l benchmark: 18)
    Math 20 (Nat’l benchmark: 22)
    Reading 21.2 (Nat’l benchmark: 21)
    Science 20.6 (Nat’l benchmark: 24)

Click here to download the full report. Warning: PDF link. [ACT]

Birds of a feather. “Mitch McConnell calls me one of the five finest men in America, and last time I checked he was sleeping with your boss.” Who said this? Check the Huffington Post to find out. You’ll be appalled. [Huffington Post]

Nothing to see here. U.S. spy satellites are now watching your every move. You know, in case you were interested in privacy. Officials say law enforcement use of satellites will proceed slowly to make ensure civil liberties are “protected.” Feel safer yet? [AFP]

Why Kentucky Can’t Have Nice Things

Billy’s Earworm. On his new StraigtnFlush web site, journalist Billy Reed hammers the Fletcher Administration for its “hell bent determination to throw money at Peabody.” A month ago, even Dems agreed that attracting the Peabody plant would be good for the state. But as Billy points out, it ain’t so good for the environment, and its not the economic windfall some envisioned. And he brings up the $62 million gift to e.On US that the state is providing to move some equipment across the street to make way for the flawed Louisville Arena project. [StraightNFlush]

Death by Meeting? Looks like the H-L’s John Stamper and Jack Brammer were the only media members hanging with lawmakers in Frankfort for a five and a half hour meeting – its result – plans for another meeting. Despite lawmakers’ comments afterward, the two sides are quibbling over something. Could it be that the Supreme Ruler of Kentucky, desperate to bring a social issue (a la the marriage amendment) to the table in a special session, is holding out because he wants Dems to talk about his silly domestic partner proposal? Is it coincidence that the anti-gay kooks lined up chairs in the Capitol Annex and tried to get in the meeting? Does everything Fletcher attempts reek of desperation? [H-L/PolWatchers]

Correction: Al Mayo of WHAS Radio informs us that several others were present, including: Mr. Mayo, Tony McVeigh, Tom Loftus, Joe Biesk. Our apologies.

Lesson #1 for the Kentucky Board of Education: Do what Jefferson County did and actually hire a head honcho who is qualified and capable. Is it possible to compare Sheldon Berman with Barbara Erwin? We won’t even attempt it. The state Board may learn a lot about leadership and education by reading Berman’s letter. [C-J]

JERRY!
From the WTF Dept: Jerry, Esq. What did the King of All Things Mayoral say is his greatest challenge? Get ready for it: “Absorbing the diversity of immigrants coming in from all over the world.” For real. [The Ville Voice]