A Jim Gooch Funny

Ryan Alessi cracks us up again with his story about the opening of the 2008 General Assembly in Frankfort today.

With 60 degree temperatures in Frankfort, the biggest difference between the 2008 General Assembly in its infancy and past sessions is the weather.

“I think you would all agree that global warming has hit inside this room,” Richards quipped.

Rep. Jim Gooch, the House natural resources and environment committee chairman, who held a controversial hearing on that subject last fall didn’t look up from his paperwork to acknowledge Richards’ remark.

The denial of something so major and obvious has undoubtedly made it difficult for Jim Gooch to know when people are poking fun at his embarrassing presence in the state house.

Dumbing Things Down for the Lazy

As much as we question the mission and credibility of the Bluegrass Institute, this can’t be overlooked.

Kentucky’s neighboring states are in the process of lowering standards for college freshmen so they may continue to receive lottery merit scholarships. And many in Kentucky are considering similar measures because some forty percent of freshmen in the Bluegrass are losing their state lottery scholarships because they can’t maintain a lowly and embarrassing 2.5 GPA.

Yay! Maintaining our reputation for being dumb and toothless/shoeless.

Louisville Ready to Blow It?

After a judge’s ruling last Friday threw out Louisville’s smoking ban, local government officials seemed to make all the right moves. Mayor Jerry Abramson (who can’t decide if he supports a ban or not) immediately called for passing a new ban, minus a Churchill Downs exemption that created the legal loophole Judge Stephen Ryan cited for overturning the ordinance. Members of the Metro Council all seemed to be in agreement.

Most businesses, though there are exceptions, didn’t react to Friday’s news by putting out ash trays.

Then all hell broke loose.

Changes requested by the Health Department and the county attorney’s office may complicate the ban’s smooth path to passage. The Health Department wants to raise fines for those caught defying the ban, and the county attorney’s office wants to put more responsibility on the backs of building owners.

Those changes brought plenty of confusion into what should be a simple task — passing the original ban without the Churchill Downs exemption.

The law goes to the Health and Human Services Committee. Let’s hope that group does the right thing and drops the changes and brings forth the original wording. That’s the smoothest path to passage.

Louisville Lights Up… For Now

The city of Louisville took a step backward today when Judge Stephen Ryan threw out the city’s smoking ban. It’s a victory for the Metro Louisville Hospitality Coalition, which wasted no time in advising its members to begin encouraging guests to light up. Here’s an early story from the C-J.

Here’s a copy of the order, released this morning.

Without doubt, this story will dominate local headlines throughout the Christmas season. It should. And this is a case in which the city should take immediate action. It appears to be doing so.

Local government officials, operating on Holiday mode after a lengthy Metro Council meeting last night, have not been able to assemble for an emergency meeting. In order to pass the ban again, without the Churchill Downs exemption that provided a loophole for ban opponents, it must have 18 members present and 18 votes. Some Council members have left town, some are leaving today.

More after the jump…

Read moreLouisville Lights Up… For Now

Elizabeth Tori an Indian Giver?

The Paducah Sun is reporting (subscription required, or read the AP story) that state Senator Elizabeth Tori (R-Etown) wrote a letter supporting the pardon of Harry Yonts, son of state Rep. Brent Yonts.

Sen. Elizabeth Tori, R-Elizabethtown, told The Paducah Sun she wrote a letter on Nov. 8 supporting a pardon for Harrison Yonts at the request of his father, state Rep. Brent Yonts. On Nov. 13, she sent another letter saying she had further reviewed the issues in the case and decided to take no position on it.

The catch? Tori later wrote a letter to Governor Fletcher withdrawing her support for a pardon. Tori says she made the decision after further review of the case. Which begs the question: Why did Senator Tori write a letter requesting a pardon before she knew what the heck she was talking about? Wouldn’t it be wise to know all the facts of a murder case before requesting a pardon? Woops.

Miller Wrongly Processed Raises, Questions Remain

Though Jonathan Miller said he didn’t do anything wrong while Treasurer, the Personnel Cabinet ruled yesterday that two giant raises for Brooke Parker— Miller’s former Deputy– were wrongly processed. But Miller gets the opportunity to correct his “mistakes” by providing Parker’s raises to her as bonuses. Yeah, bonuses. Bonuses that total about $25,000 over the past few years.

In today’s Herald-Leader (they used our photo) Miller is adamant that he did not give Parker undue favorable treatment. He went on with the same “personal business matters” line when referencing his relationship with Parker. And totally didn’t clear up the trip he took with Parker to Las Vegas right after dropping out of the gubernatorial primary.

Miller denied any suggestion that he gave Parker undue favorable treatment, but said he has relied on her input regarding “personal business” matters such as future job opportunities.

For instance, Parker accompanied Miller on a trip to Las Vegas between May 14 and 17, just after Miller dropped out of the Democratic primary for governor. When questioned about the trip by the Herald-Leader in October, Miller initially said he couldn’t remember whether Parker went with him.

“Those people who are aware of the close friendship that Brooke and my wife Lisa have find this laughable, but it’s not funny,” Miller said.

If Miller and Parker are just close friends… why is he continuing to allow the press and blogs like ours to question the specifics? Why didn’t he “remember” if Parker went to Vegas with him if it was such an important trip and he had nothing to hide? Why didn’t he tell Mark Hebert or the Herald-Leader whether or not he and Parker had separate hotel rooms? Instead of allowing “hurtful innuendo” to persist about Jonathan Miller and his alleged mistress, why not clear things up in one fell swoop? Why not put these years-long rumors to rest?

People can huff and puff all they want in order to make this story go away. They can call us. They can threaten us. They can foam at the mouth. But truth be told, it’s not going away until all questions are answered and everything is cleared up. The former Treasurer has been given the opportunity in three major news stories the past week to end the discussion he claims is harming his family… and he’s done nothing but cut and run. The longer Jonathan Miller and Brooke Parker continue to have high-level state government positions without quashing rumors of an affair with proof that nothing fishy is going on? The longer this drags out and becomes embarrassing for the new administration.

Anne Franking it in Hardin County

From the Intrepid Reporter Dept of ‘Only a meth head could pull something like this off

From one of the best newspapers in the state (in terms of its local coverage) comes a story of a meth head hiding in a secret room concealed by a false wall and secret entrance. The News-Enterprise in Elizabethtown reports that Lakisha Alcorn and Brian Goodman were using the room in the Hardin County home to manufacture methamphetamine.

For real. The meth world has its own underground railroad.

Sarcasm and creativity aside, it’s the tenth meth bust for the area in the past month. Which should be a real wake-up call for Frankfort. But we’re not holding our breath… many in the new administration can’t figure out how to include a mainstream blog/media service when sending out press releases. Guess everyone’s too focused on spending a billion dollars to legalize casinos (which we support, to an extent).