Mountaintop Removal Wins, Streams Lose

It’s official. Mountaintop removal wins.

The Environmental Protection Agency on Tuesday approved a last-minute rule change by the Bush administration that environmentalists fear will lead to coal companies burying more Appalachian streams with excess rock and dirt from surface mining.

The change rewrites a 1983 rule that prohibited dumping the fill from mountaintop mining within 100 feet of streams. Environmentalists argue that regulators have not properly enforced the rule, and there were some exceptions that allowed mine debris in stream areas. Government figures show that 535 miles of streams were buried or diverted between 2001 and 2005, more than half of them in the mountains of Appalachia.

The 11th-hour change before President Bush leaves office would eliminate a tool that citizens groups have used in lawsuits to keep mining waste out of streams. Mining companies had been pushing for the change for years, and Kentucky elected officials had weighed in on both sides of the debate in recent weeks.

Looks like eastern Kentucky is going to get a lot less mountainous.

It’s Kind Of Like Friday Update Dept

He’s back! Dr. Tinycat returns! And don’t forget the original. (It’s Thanksgiving and, yes, this is what we do on the holidays… and every other day. It’s called wasting time. [Dr. Tinycat Returns & The Original]

This is quite possibly the best story we’ve read all week. Every line is comedy gold. [Best Story Ever]

The bid rigging case isn’t going anywhere. Keep on hoping and praying that it’ll just disappear. [H-L]

Who opposes mining in more healthy ways? Who opposes at least attempting to be decent environmental stewards? How is livestock runoff, urban sprawl and construction worse than, oh, not doing anything remotely responsible with mountaintop removal waste? Jody Richards and Rocky Adkins are two of those legislators. [C-J]

Crit Luallen’s office has completed its 2008 audit of the Kentucky Lottery. Its fiscal year ended in June. Some of the highlights: 2008 operating expenses were a record $778.2 million compared to $744.2 million in 2007. Scratch-off sales increased $31.3 million. Gross profit was $225.8 compared to $232 in 2007, decrease due to increase in prize payouts. Operating expenses declined $900K to $37.3 million. Payments to the Kentucky Educational Excellence Scholarship programs were $192.1 million compared to $196.3 million in 2007. [Auditor]

Despite what the Governor’s office says publicly, it’s not her choice to leave. And having input on her successor? HAHA. She’s now telling people she’s sticking around long enough to attend inaugural balls. And running for higher office? We’d love to see that. Because there’s not a member of the press who disbelieves us and/or believes what the Beshear administration is feeding them. [Politicker]

This CPE leadership search is turning into a nightmare. We hear Michael F. Adams, former Centre College President, is now in the lead amongst members of the Council. [H-L]

Wait for it. Remember that kid at the University of the Cumberlands who attempted to extort other students after breaking in to their email accounts? Now he’s facing child pornography charges. Creepy. You’ve just gotta read the story. [C-J]

Beshear Energy Plan Not The First

This week Governor Steve Beshear released his energy plan for Kentucky’s future, claiming it was a first for the Commonwealth. But that’s just not true. His plan isn’t a first.

Kentucky has disgraced former Governor Ernie Fletcher to thank for the first energy plan (Warning: Huge PDF file, 2megs). Granted, it was nothing but a hacked together bird cage liner created by everyone from the Kentucky Coal Council to Columbia Gas.

On the positive side, Beshear’s plan is definitely the first to do anything positive on the energy and environmental front– regardless of how minimal those positives may be.

It’s just important to note that Ernies plan did, indeed, come before Steve Beshear’s. We need to stop this revisionist history roll we’ve been on here in Kentucky. It’s important to recognize reality even when it’s inconvenient.

It’s Still Not The Weekend Blah ZZZZZZzzzz

Ugh. Why are we letting so many women do important things? Don’t you know they have small brains? It’s science. Arizona gubnuh Janet Napolitalesbiano has be “tapped” by Barack Obama to head Homeland Security. [Politico]

Keep track of the Al Franken – Norm Coleman recount process all on your own. Because we’re kinda bored with it. It’s almost the weekend. [Minneapoloist Star Tribune]

Oh god. Pirates r stealin r oilz! This is all that’s on the CNN. This and the story about the 8-year-old kid who shot his dad 800 times or whatever. [CNN]

We’re so shedding a tear for corrupt Ted Stevens as he bails on the U.S. Senate, finally. [The Hill]

Breast pump bandits strike again! Who knew these things were so expensive? Wow. [TCPalm]


Known Muslim terra-ist president-elect Barack Obama is poised to re-brand America with the foreigns. Experts say so. Once he finishes stealing all of your money and converting your children to the homosex and Islam, he will apparently save our image around the world. [The CNN]

By now you’ve all heard about Steve Beshear’s allegedly fancy energy plan. The mainstream media has all the fluff about it. But when you get into the nuts and bolts of it all, you’re going to want to read Taylor Shelton’s take on it all. His headline: “Beshear energy plan a big letdown”… So. Do it. [Formerly PolSmokers & Taylor Shelton’s GreenKY]

Lookit. Fancy video footage of world leaders refusing to shake Dubya’s hand:

Tuesday Afternoon Dept of Press Releases & Such

That’s right, ladies! Mitch McConnell was re-elected as the Minority Leader of the Republican Senate. He was nominated by Dick Lugar and Tom Coburn. [C-J]

Is Mitch McConnell in a hidey hole somewhere waiting out this auto industry bailout ordeal? Obviously. [H-L]

How many times is Jim Bunning going to tell us that he’s running for his U.S. Senate seat in 2010? He says he is running for “right now.” [C-J’s Political Blog]

Barack Obama soap on a rope? Um… [Etsy]

Governor Steve Beshear’s office today announced that he objects to Dubya’s waiver of a stream buffer zone in coal mining. He is joined by Jack Conway, Ben Chandler and John Yarmuth in opposition. The waiver weakens restrictions that prohibit dumping mountaintop mining waste near rivers and streams. Beshear’s objection was made in a letter to the EPA and contends that the commonwealth’s ability to protect its natural resources is threatened. [Press Release]

First Lady Jane Beshear today announced a revitalization plan for the Old Governor’s Mansion. They’re some how tying it to the World Equestrian Games (we don’t get it), but whatever. So, there’s a design entry process where people volunteer their skills and talent (for free) to give the Mansion a make-over. All furnishings, window treatments, furniture and accessories used to complete each room will remain in the mansion as donations to the Commonwealth. If you want to enter, good luck, because no web address or further details were provided in the press release. [Press Release]

Yesterday Jack Conway’s office announced that Williamsburg Police arrested (jointly, with the OAG’s Cybercrimes Unit) arrested 23-year-old Sungkook Kim at the University of the Cumberlands. Kim allegedly hacked into his fellow students’ email accounts and attempted to blackmail them with personal information. He’s being charged with identity theft, unlawful access to a computer in the first degree and unlawful access to a computer in the 2nd degree. [Press Release]

Green Team Online Film Festival Launched

Ashley Judd is joining First Lady Jane Beshear to launch the Green Team Film Festival on the internets. Using YouTube, Kentucky is requesting videos that will be judged by a panel of celebrities including Robert Kennedy, Jr., Ashley Judd, Laura Bell Bundy, Gus Van Sant, Gill Holland (who is our hero, thanks to Greg the Bunny, duh), Nappy Roots, Silas House, Bob Edwards and Billy Gillispie.

The festival’s goal is to highlight sustainable environmental practices. Click here for more information.

Films may be entered in three separate categories: a 30-second Public Service Announcement that encourages Kentuckians to reduce their energy consumption; a short film of ten minutes or less that highlights environmentally friendly, energy-saving actions that anyone can and should perform; and a short film of ten minutes or less that presents an invention, new device or new idea that would help reduce energy consumption in Kentucky.

Watch Ashley and Jane kick things off in the video below:

Thursday Afternoon Homosexualization of America!

That’s right. The Office of the Attorney General released the names of six counties selected for the post-election audit. And they’re all boring ones. Ugh. Pendleton, Edmonson, Monroe, Cumberland, Montgomery, Union. Check that picture of the thingy to the left. [Thingy to the left]

All eyes are on Mitch McConnell and Mike Duncan. [MSNBC’s First Read]

Why can’t you be an American and support our country? HFH wants to know. She’s a member of that Facebook group. It suggests such fancy things as “Republicans/Leaners join the Republican National Committee on Facebook” and “Join John McCain’s Official Facebook.” We also love that she says she is employed by an LLC that doesn’t even exist, according to the Secretary of State’s website. Maybe we’ll get lucky and she’ll threaten us in public again or beg our friends to pressure us into backing away from the investigation into her husband’s shenanigans. Who knows? [Group & Profile]

And don’t forget our fancy liveblogging from last night. We made a Metro Democratic Club meeting entertaining and surprisingly fun. Complete with photographs, threats, drama and stream-of-thought goodies. Anderson Hotsex from the CNN would approve. [Page One]

Anyone else familiar with the Shirley Q. Liquor bit “Mormons Is Chasin Me!”? Anyway, fancy Mormons, don’t forget to wear your magical underwear this Saturday because the homosexuals are coming for you! Except in Louisville. Because they’ll all be downtown where it’s already gay. [More from Page One and Magical Underwear!]

That fancy pants ethanol plant in western Kentucky that Steve Henry pretended to know so much about is dead. Dead dead dead. Done. All because Kentucky is jacked up. This is why we can’t have nice things. [The Gleaner]

Brad Cummings’ favorite television hacks, Bill O’Reilly and Dennis Miller, are really fancy. All because they love spreading homophobia and attacking people like Barney Frank purely because they’re gay. How fancy. [Huffington Post]

It’s just a librul gotcha media conspiracy that racism exists– no matter the numbers– in today’s society. We love how Ralph Dunlop sourced a racist, gay-hating Mormon and a campaign finance law-breaking publisher in his story about how Barry Obama is a secret Muslim. [C-J]

Did you love the Democrats and their anti-gay sentiments this election year? We certainly did. [Feministing]

Want a job in the Obama Administration? Kathy Groob can’t get one. All because you have to pony up info about anything embarrassing or controversial that you’ve ever written. Here’s an example, “If you have ever sent an electronic communication, including but not limited to an email, text message or instant message, that could suggest a conflict of interest or be a possible source of embarrassment to you…” The application also asks applicants to “please list all aliases or ‘handles’ you have used to communicate on the internet.” Heh. God. We could never work for Barack. Our sober text message history alone would cause us to be stoned to death. Stoned. To death. Because that’s how terrible we are. [NYWT]

Are you people going to buy us one of these or what? OR WHAT? [Engadget]

The delusional right-wing editorial crew at the Bowling Green Daily News are upset that Chuck Schumer spent tons of money in Kentucky– a major boost to our economy. Which reminds us of something that should have been mentioned last night: Bruce Lunsford forced Mitch McConnell to spend his $20 million wad in Kentucky and prevented him from spreading the wealth around to his friends like Ted Stevens and Norm Coleman. Kind of a big deal. Bruce could have single-handedly prevented a more disastrous situation for Senate Democrats this year. [BG Daily Spews]