Mountaintop Removal, Gooch, House Leadership

Stephen George once again knocks his weekly feature out of the ballpark. He’s the only journalist in the state to give face time to the issue of mountaintop removal and the massive KFTC demonstration that took place in Frankfort last Thursday. He lends emotions and a face to serious issues before us in the Commonwealth and is one of the few who attempt to hold Reps. Jody Richards and Jim Gooch responsible for their actions.

If you aren’t reading Stephen every Wednesday you aren’t paying attention.

High on the mountaintop

By Stephen George

Advocates descend on Frankfort to persuade lawmakers to help stop mountaintop removal mining in Eastern Kentucky. Is anyone listening?

We’re standing outside the home of Todd and Barbara Bailey, a sprawling one-story perched on a slight hill just off Kentucky Route 7 in Hueysville, on a bitter-cold February afternoon. Todd is showing me a crack in the red brick; it snakes from the house’s concrete foundation up to a bay window about six feet off the ground. He says it’s from blasting on a nearby job, permit no. 836-0335, an expansive mountaintop removal mining operation that has taken a handful of peaks across the road, behind the modest homes of his neighbors, too high to really notice from ground level.

A tan, late model Toyota Tacoma 4×4 pulls into his driveway, and out come two young men, one probably in his early 20s, the other a little more worldly. They smile politely. The worldly one announces they’re from Miller Bros. Coal, that they’ve come to deliver notices to landowners within a half-mile of this and another job, no. 836-0338, just over the hill behind the Bailey residence. Before the jobs can expand, the company is required by law to notify residents that they may request pre-blasting home surveys at no charge. I ask for copies of the notices as well; it’s clear they smell my city stink, so we posture at each other for a couple seconds before the younger one goes back to the truck for the copies.

Click here to read the rest…

Operation Dumbo Dro… er… Gooch!

The ever embarrassing Rep. Jim Gooch (D-Tool) is blocking Stream Saver legislation which would put an end to the destructive practice of dumping mine waste from mountaintop removal into Kentucky’s headwater streams.

In response to the insanity, BlueGrassRoots has launched Operation Gooch.

Is this the kind of party you want? And will anyone stand up and demand his removal from this seat?

Well, let’s find out. Today, I’m unveiling Operation Gooch. We are going to call every single one of these Democrats and ask them- “Do you support or oppose Jim Gooch chairing the Natural Resources and Environment Committee?”

Get involved.

Jim Gooch: More Embarrassing Than Before

Thanks to Heffalumps for the link.

This takes the cake.

Just when you think it can’t get worse? Jim Gooch garners national attention for his stupidity. First it was spewing his global warming denial on Good Morning America. Now it’s continuing to foam about how mean and terrible editorial writers and cartoonists are– for making fun of his giant, stupid ass.

The Moonie Times printed an editorial yesterday about Mr. Gooch and his silliness and went pretty far in calling for his retirement. Just what we need, right?

Here’s a peek:

Not that Mr. Gooch thinks that opinion writers and editors are just another interest group seeking favor. That regrettable viewpoint would be merely wrongheaded and unconstitutional. No — Mr. Gooch’s attack on the First Amendment is much more frontal. He calls the actions of editorial writers and cartoonists who lampoon him “beyond lobbying. [It’s] almost extortion.”

“It’s almost as if they want to silence you,” Mr. Gooch complained of his opinion-page critics, seemingly unaware of the irony. “They want to hurt your credibility. They do it by either trying to make you look stupid or corrupt.”

This bill does far more damage to its author’s credibility than any political cartoon could. It suggests a new depth of unsuitability for public office. Indeed, a lawmaker who reaches to deny press freedoms to opinion writers merely because the opinions are inconvenient and perhaps contrary to his official acts is a lawmaker who richly deserves retirement.

Go read the rest. Gooch – a serious embarrassment for Kentuckians everywhere.

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…

Read moreIt’s Friday! Day After Black Thursday Update

New Beshear Hire Lacking Experience?

F. Ryan Keith, 33, is rumored to be Governor Steve Beshear’s pick to serve as general counsel for the state Environmental and Public Protection Cabinet.

The EPPC is the regulatory agency responsible for oversight of environmental law including mining, forestry, utilities, horse racing, some construction, alcoholic beverage control, et al. But Mr. Keith doesn’t seem to have any experience in that realm of legal service beyond a bit of work against government and regulatory agencies. His experience seems to be 100% political.

Keith’s bio on Stoll keenon Ogden’s website indicates his experience includes four years of practice in Washington, D.C. along with a clerkship with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.

We’re not questioning his ability as an attorney or his credibility. But is he experienced enough for the job? Is there anyone more experienced who could be considered for the job?

Just wondering. Because, like most of the security community, we still can’t believe Adam Edelen is head of Homeland Security.

Let us know if we’re way off base here.

Almost Ready to See Our Shadow Update

Millionaires who hate Democrats and the Democrats who love them. Imagine that. A non-Page One blogger dishing the dirt. They’re moments away from receiving the wrath of those opposed to the truth. Beware. [Yellow Dog via BGR]

Scrapping the run-off? The house has joined the senate with a bill to get rid of the headache Kentucky almost faced in 2007. Almost no one believes a run-off is necessary. Insane that we had the provision in the first place. [PolWatchers]

Ben Chandler and Ernesto Scorsone hate America. The two opposites of Jim Gooch were part of a forum on global warming held at the University of Kentucky yesterday. [H-L]

Pay for play politics? Surely you jest! Beshear appointed John Paul Chappell to a district judgeship just days after he gave Scott Alexander $200 for the 30th district senate race. Just a coincidence? No clue. You decide. We just hope a judgeship would sell for a lot more than $200 if that’s what’s going on. [PolWatchers]

70-cent cigarette tax proposed (instead of 30-cents that’s hot discussion these days) to ease budget constraints. Kudos to the legislature for this move! Not only would Kentucky benefit financially, but overall health would improve tremendously as Ernie Fletcher has repeatedly said. Goodbye, teen smoking! [Courier-Journal]

Delving into the political nightmares of both the Democratic and Republican parties of recent days.  Both Ron Lewis and Steve Beshear are causing drama. [Hebert]

And in case you missed our fuming a couple days ago, get up-to-date on the state domestic partner benefits ban. Welcome to the 19th century, Kentucky! [H-L]