Education in Kentucky: Still National Laughingstock

Yesterday national blog Wonkette brought a story to readers’ attention about the reading levels at which journalists write. The story quotes an internal Cleveland Plain Dealer memo discussing the importance of dumbing everything down. Included in the memo? The following horrible quote that brings about the embarrassing state of education in Kentucky:

As a final note, years ago, when John Carroll was editor in Lexington, he refused to publish a series, Cheating Our Children, about the poor education in Kentucky until the writers got it down to grade level THREE. You can’t write respectable journalism at the third-grade level, can you? The series was a Pulitzer finalist, won several major awards and, most importantly, led to a revolution in the Kentucky educational system.

This is STILL the impression outsiders have of our beautiful Bluegrass state. We’re ignorant hicks who can’t read beyond a third grade level.

Sure, this story merely makes the case for dumbing crap down by reminding folks of the ‘Cheating Our Children’ series. But it’s damaging to our image and reputation.

Perfect example of why our leaders need to step up to the plate. If we don’t immediately improve our image– we never will.

Monday: 36 days til the ads stop

Unlikely pair? Kentucky should pay attention. The Herald-Leader delves into the business partnership of Bruce Lunsford and Ed Hart and their movie making successes. From the Sundance Film Festival to Kentucky, these guys are creating an empire. Politics aside? We should be proud. These guys smell an opportunity to change perceptions of the Bluegrass state. [H-L]

Oh man, the differences. Lee is a radical in every sense of the word and Conway is a reasonable man who actually believes in the law. Not surprising only 60 people showed up to their forum. Attorney General? What’s that? [KY Post]

Singing the praises, calling a spade a spade. Talking Points Memo notices Ernie’s latest commercial and sings the praises of Alessi for pointing out the ad’s distortions and inaccuracies. [TPM]

Controversial Micro-City Government rears its ugly head again in Lexington. This time with the sale of its property without documentation of proceeds or anything else required of non-profits. Ron Berry, founder of the organization, was convicted on 12 counts of third-degree sodomy (of participants in the organization’s youth programs) in 2000. [H-L]

Five Days of Non-Answers. CNHI started its five-day series of citizen questions with Steve Beshear and Ernie Fletcher. Looks like a worthy mix of questioners and may be worth checking out. [Daily Independent]

Still not talking about the senate? Owsley Brown II was profiled and only discussed philanthropy. No mention of senate hopes at all. But with more than $600 million in stocks alone– who’d need to raise cash? We hope he stays out of the race so he can focus his attention full-time on worthy causes around the Commonwealth. [C-J]

CATS testing scores ‘hard to explain’? Hello, understatement. Not only have we slipped into a backward mindset of teaching only toward a test, we’ve now made it impossible to understand what the heck those test results mean. Yay educational failures! [H-L]

Do they always have to do this? Appalachian Regional Healthcare is once again suffering from a massive strike of nurses. When will this hospital group learn to negotiate? Public perception matters, people. You’ll win in the court of public opinion. [H-L]

Iran So Far. This has absolutely nothing to do with Kentucky but is the funniest thing to happen in months. SNL’s Andy Samberg takes on Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in a funny digital short. Give it a watch and laugh your guts out. We can’t stop watching it. [SNL via YouTube]

Yeah, sometimes we read more than the C-J and H-L. Sometimes.

It’s Ernest Lee & Steve Day

Steve Beshear smoked Ernie Fletcher on Kentucky Tonight’s debate last evening. As John Stamper says, they argued bitterly and Ernie took the brunt of things. Who knew Steve could hold his own? [KET, H-L]

Fletcher and Beshear trade jabs on ethics. You fill in the blanks. [C-J]

Judge denies Williams’ request to stop ethics hearing. No one is surprised. [PolWatchers]

Fletcher and Beshear agree on ‘Bucks for Brians’ and Ernie pledges $100million if re-elected. Vote buying? Everyone waits with baited breath for Steve Henry to claim he contributed millions to the program. [PolWatchers, C-J]

Jim Bunning was wrong. 57% of Kentuckians disapprove of the war. 11% unsure. You know what that means. 3/4ths of Kentuckians think it’s a crock of shit. [PolWatchers]

Ernie debuts faith-based office this week. The Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives is modeled after Dubya’s plan and will seek to provide government funding for religious orgnization, further blurring the separation of church & state. [C-J]

Fletcher & Beshear to debate at NKU on Oct 3, 7:00 P.M., will be broadcast around the state. WCPO, WAVE3, WKYT, WNKU radio. [Enquirer]

Okay, a non-gubernatorial story. Anne Northup is hard at work raising money for Erwin Roberts’ bid against John Yarmuth. [NRCC]

Someone is paying attention to the economy. Federal Reserve cuts key short-term interest rate by half a point from 5.25% to 4.75%. First cut in four years. [CNN]

Don’t forget the mainstream media’s blatant attempt to ignore Kentucky Farm Bureau’s discriminatory practices.

Wait. What?

Secret investigation? Steve Beshear’s law firm was the target of a secret investigation relating to the Kentucky Central liquidation. Maybe the longest story every written that leaves you hanging. Mark Nickolas has a few reminders for the public and they mostly point back to Fletcher. [H-L, BGR]

Suing Ernie. Attorney General Greg Stumbo’s lawsuit against Ernie Fletcher for illegally appointing more Republicans than Democrats to university boards makes the rounds every day. Every day there’s a new story. [C-J]

Party switcher. Republican Rep. Milward Dedman of Harrodsburg becomes a Democrat. Republican commenters on the C-J forum cry fowl… then cry a river of tears that their party is in shambles. [C-J]

Shock and awe. Okay, not really, everyone knew No Child Left Behind was a collasal failure. Now we hear it’s incompatible with policies that actually– get this– with policies that actually work. Search the No Child Left Behind Database to see how your child’s school holds up. [C-J]

7 new Human Rights commissioners. Fletcher has appointed newbies to the agency that investigates, well, Human Rights. An amazing thing– victory for minorities– six of the new members are African American. Though, many leaders in the black community are upset Fletcher has let so many commission members go at once. Note that Todd Hollenbach, Democratic candidate for Treasurer, was a commission member. [C-J]

Instead of watching Osama tapes, how bout some news?

A woman? What?! Who needs progress? Myra Tobin will face Fletcher crony Steve Branscum to become the first female chair of the University of Kentucky’s Board of Trustees. She should be elected if for no other reason than to, you know, flipping diversify the board’s leadership history [H-L]

Lisabeth makes two. State appeals court judge Lisabeth Abramson of Louisville has been appointed to replace Justice McAnulty’s vacant seat on the Kentucky Supreme Court. Fletcher’s appointment Seems to be receiving praise from all over. [C-J]

The surge is working! Say it enough and you’ll eventually believe it. Sen. Jim Bunning wants us to stay in Iraq, approves of the deaths of countless thousands. Gotta kill all those innocent Iraqis there so we don’t have to kill them here, right? [WBKO]

Dan Druen is ready to air the truth. Demands that the Kentucky Executive Branch Ethics Commission hear his case— publicly– before the November 6 general election. Also throws in that the Commission may not be as impartial as they should be since they were all, you know, appointed by Ernest Lee. [H-L]

Gays, guns & God! John David Dyche seems to be all about Ernie using hateful bullshit to win. And term limits. Term limits will save us all! P.S. John David: there are plenty of Democrats who aren’t so hot on casino gambling– just ask organized labor. [C-J]

Oh, Rep. Melvin Henley of Murray and Rep. Milward Dedman of Harrodsburg will switch their party registrations to Democratic. More Republicans jumping ship. Diane Brumback reported this weeks ago. [Hebert]

Can you help us? It’s greatly needed.

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]