Oh Noes It’s Cold Roundup: Jake Has Returned!

David Williams calls Dan Mongiardo a bad boy. Alleging all kinds of threats toward officials in eastern Kentucky for not supporting Scott Alexander. Williams met with Attorney General Jack Conway today to discuss a possible investigation. Call us crazy but we see this going no where fast. [PolWatchers]

Speaking of David Williams, he and soon-to-be ousted Speaker of the House Jody Richards are pushing a plan to start the use of tolls to help finance Kentucky’s various bridge projects. Uh. That won’t go over too well. Taxing roadways in Kentucky? What? Have you ever driven on our crappy highways? Like anyone wants to pay for that nightmarish opportunity. [The Arena]

Hank List is back as deputy secretary of the Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Cabinet. The job he held from 2001-2003. List is also a former state representative and has worked for companies like the devil Louisville Gas & Electric. [Hebert]

There’s still no Democratic challenger for Stan Lee. The call for a candidate totally fell on deaf ears. Both the Kentucky Democratic Party and the House Democratic Caucus have dropped the ball. If Stan Lee is ever vulnerable, it’s now. But people seem pleased as punch to piss away an opportunity to elect a true leader. [BlueGrassRoots]

Stephen George, LEO’s excellent managing editor, turns our attention to a clip from Bill Maher’s HBO program that featured sex columnist Dan Savage reporting from the Huckabee campaign in South Carolina. Can you say hilarious? Always funny to send a scary, known homosexual to anti-gay land. Alert: put down your beverage. [General Sense of Outrage, The Stranger]

Daniel Essek for U.S. Senate?

Daniel Essek, a Ron Paul Republican and truck driver, has announced that he’s running for senate against Mitch McConnell. A noble but lost cause.

Check out his site here. While the site is in desperate need of the mo touch and a makeover (come on– it’s my first day almost back! let me have my gay joke), it’s filled with information. Contracts, issues, news, a blog, press releases, resume, budget information and a full welcome page. Lots to read up on.

And if you aren’t already raising an eyebrow, check this out. From a press release:

Mr. Essek also is in favor of alternate fuels, making America more energy independant, and reducing the amount of Foreign Oil. Although he does not believe Global Warming/Climate Change is a problem, he is in favor of reducing the amount of pollution generated by Carbon Based Fuels. He is against any form of Foreign Intrusion into the United States of any kind.

How exciting is that? Another Jim Gooch Republican still in denial about global warming.

MTR and the Preservation of Eastern Kentucky

Special to Page One by University of Kentucky student Robert Kahne

In my first year of college, I was introduced to the term “Mountaintop Removal.” Eric Reese, a professor at the University of Kentucky had recently released his book Lost Mountain. The book shows how a mountain, which was seen in its full majestic glory one year, had been totally decimated the very next year. The practice saddened me. When I was nine, I visited Pine Mountain Settlement School with my elementary school schoolmates where I was first exposed to mountain heritage and culture. While it seemed strange and different to me at that young age, as I grew, I appreciated it more and more. My Father hails from Ashland. While I understand it isn’t exactly “Eastern Kentucky” in the purest sense of the region, an appreciation for the mountains and an understanding of the sometimes very damaging practices involved in coal mining exists in my family.

So learning about how mountains were getting the tops blown off of them was not exactly something I was happy about. I joined Kentuckians For The Commonwealth, a citizen’s action group concerned with all sorts of social justice issues, including MTR. Over the years, I have helped organize I [heart] Mountains day in Frankfort, and have written letters to legislators and newspapers about my issues with the practice. All in all, I won’t lie; it’s been a frustrating process. It always seems like success is out of reach.

One thing really turned my frustration around: studying the 1988 Broad Form Deed Amendment campaign. I had to do a research project for my Kentucky Government and Politics class (a great class. If you’re a UK student, you ought to take it before you graduate).

More after the jump…

Read moreMTR and the Preservation of Eastern Kentucky

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.

Stephen George on Moving Mountains

Very little can get the people of Appalachia fired up like a discussion about coal mining. Likewise, very few “big city” journalists are well-equipped to approach the subject with innate personal passion. Stephen George, Kentucky’s somewhat hidden gem of a journalist, does just that in the winter edition of New Southerner.

George tells the story of Penny Loeb’s Moving Mountains (available from the University Press of Kentucky– BUY IT!) and how it came to be. Loeb’s battle against King Coal for such basics as clean water and a healthy environment is just the tip of the iceberg for most eastern Kentuckians. It’s a story that hits close to home and is hanging in our hearts. You politicos who care about the future of our beautiful Commonwealth should give Stephen’s article (and then the book) a read.

Patricia “Trish” Bragg is a housewife who lives in Pie, West Virginia, a coal-rich hamlet close to the Kentucky border that has been mined, mountaintop-removal style, into a much different place than it was a few decades ago. Water flows differently nowadays. So does money, and so do bloodlines. It’s all because of the coal — cheap, bituminous black. Beating back the rush for it is like trying to stop an avalanche with a ski pole: the mechanics make a little sense, if you bend your mind, but the size of the task alone is so absurd, you may as well shrug it off.

Bragg was the lead plaintiff — by virtue of the alphabetical superiority of her last name — in the most far-reaching lawsuit in the history of mountaintop removal. She held the proverbial ski pole. And for it, she is a hero to some and a villain to others.

Bragg and the lawsuit, Bragg v. Robertson, are the subjects of the new book Moving Mountains by Penny Loeb, an investigative journalist and former senior editor at U.S. News & World Report who spent nine years following the monumental case that would permanently change Appalachia, King Coal and the future of this most destructive, degrading form of mining. Loeb’s account is a superb balance of storytelling with complex, difficult facts — the minutia of federal and state mining regulations is dense if anything — and the seasoned reporter deals it all in stride. She has crafted a coherent story of victory and defeat, of settlements and injunctions, capturing among it all the grand, brazen hope that a bunch of ill-read underdogs can — and did — change a world much bigger than their own.

But first, they needed some drinking water.

Click here to read the rest…

Pressure on the Gooch

We’re hearing through the grapevine (okay, a telephone call from D.C.) that Rep. Jim Gooch (D-Idiot) will be on the receiving end of national pressure to remove him from office.

Translation: You can expect lots of money if you run against Gooch in a primary. And that doesn’t include the massive fundraising drive we’d push.

So. Are you a resident of House District 12 (part of Hopkins, part of Daviess, McLean, Webster) who can read and/or write? Send us a message. You could replace Gooch in the state house.

Propaganda & Such. Corporate Newsmedia Hacks Dept.

Times. They’re changing. Internet ad sales are set to overtake print publications in just a couple years, according to The Guardian. That makes the internets– and websites like Page One with 299,055 unique visitors and 703,483 page views in November alone– the third largest advertising medium on the planet, just behind television and newspapers. [The Guardian]

Forget the next four years. Balancing the budget for the current fiscal year is a disastrous task. State agencies have requested $166 million in additional state fund for this year. The rainy day fund allegedly has $231.5 million but people like Harry Moberly suggest cuts so we don’t have to spend it. What? [C-J]

Mountaintop removal gets some attention. Rep. Harry Moberly (yet, same guy) and more than a dozen other lawmakers saw first-hand the damage bestowed upon a community during mountaintop removal of coal. From land overburden to health problems like cancer, it’s time to stop. And time for people in eastern Kentucky to stop freaking out any time the negatives of coal mining are discussed. [Richmond Register, H-L]

63rd house district candidates. The candidates for Kenton County’s seat in the house of representatives– Jon Draud’s old seat– are: Will Terwort, Kenton Co Republican Committee; Kelly White, former McConnell aide; Alecia Webb-Eddington, director of Kentucky’s Office of Homeland Security, producer of the hideous television ads. [Pat Crowley]

Weird, ignorant biases. The Courier-Journal (and David Hawpe? Someone.) is showing their ignorant bias against Louisville’s 8664 initiative to save the Waterfront and avoid major expansion of I-64. Regardless of one’s views (a couple of us here aren’t sold on the 8664 bit) of the proposal or understanding of the issues at hand, how is it a good thing for the state’s largest newspaper to say things like, “The merry band of 8664 supporters has taken the group’s nutty proposal to rip up one of the nation’s busiest thoroughfares further than anyone would have guessed. But enough is enough.”? What on earth? Folks at the C-J– who do everything to further Gannett’s corporate bottom line– need to retire with their ugly ties. [C-J]

What’s the Treasurer’s office do with its spare time? Why, sell unclaimed property on eBay, of course. Is this a task Todd Hollenbach will be able to handle? Will a family member have to be hired to get the job done? Hopefully all of those gold watches and silver liquer goblets sell quickly. [eBay]

Don’t forget to contribute. It’s your chance to be a part of the effort to ditch Mitch McConnell by contributing to his eventual opponent. Nearly everyone reading this, the thousands of you, can afford to part with a couple dollars, and if you’re not a democrat you’re at least anti-Mitch-minded. So pony up! [Page One]