McConnell: Politicians better at spending money

Mitch McConnell told right-winger Larry Kudlow on CNBC that, well, just read it:

Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell told me in a CNBC interview that elected politicians are more knowledgeable about spending people’s money than faceless bureaucrats. And while McConnell has done a terrific job maintaining conservative policies in the Senate, he is wrong on this topic. The earmarks shouldn’t be made. And the money shouldn’t be spent. Period.

Moneybags Mitch thinks he’s better at spending money than the everyday man. Which may be true– Mitch is woah better at doling out the pork than almost anyone else in the history of the United States.

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

Herald-Leader Treats Employees Badly

The Lexington Newspaper Guild is making its voice heard over the Herald-Leader’s decision to fight for the right to slash and eliminate health care for part-time workers and cut sick leave for all employees. Mind numbing, isn’t it? The very paper that has editorialized support for universal health care and economic justice for decades is kicking its employees in favor of corporate profits.

The H-L is owned by McClatchy, an organization based in Sacramento, CA, which purchased the paper in mid 2006. McClatchy promptly paid former Knight Ridder execs more than $60 million (the paper’s profits were $23 million in 2005) but can’t find the means to provide their workers with the basics.

The Lexington Newspaper Guild has been in talks with the company over its contract which expired on January 1 of this year (which remains in effect via an evergreen clause) and there are two major obstacles the company is sticking with. What are they? Health care and sick leave. Arguably the state’s most important news organization in the history of the Commonwealth is on the verge of disaster over health care and sick leave. Shameful.

The Guild recently held a demonstration outside the Herald-Leader and has released a video of the event:

UPDATE: Editor & Publisher has a great story on the Guild’s fight for fairness. Publisher Tim Kelly seems to think the truth is damaging. So maybe it’d be a good idea to, you know, provide employees with the basics and stop beating around the bush.

Rumors on the Internets

Beshear: The state budget is effed! Hide yer money in the freezer! Worst financials since the last Republican administration. [H-L]

ARH nurses strike is the end of the world. Patients not crossing the picket line, forcing layoffs and unit closures. [H-L]

More on Stumbo favoring the Kentucky House, more non-denial denials from Vicki Glass about a job for Brandon Spencer. [C-J]

David Williams sought change for road at close of business for Fletcher, Ernie’s biggest contributors stand to make mega bucks. [C-J]

Did you know comprehensive sex education is better than Bush abstinence-only quackery? [DMKY]

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 Northup Unloads on Hawpe

You can only imagine how much pleasure former U.S. Rep. Anne Northup must have taken as she wrote a fiery letter to the Courier-Journal this week. She said the proverbial straw that unhinged her was a mention by David Hawpe in a Sunday column professing his fairness to Republican candidates. She must have been considering this rant, though, for some time. Like, for years.

We tend to believe Anne wrote this one herself, with no help from handlers or political advisors. It’s way too emotional to have gone through a thorough political vetting.

But we wonder why she, and other politicians, don’t do more public bitching about the way they’re treated in the media. There’s nothing in Northup’s letter that couldn’t have been said during her time in office or during a campaign. Sure, it would be tough to take on Hawpe and risk alienating voters. But wouldn’t it be interesting to have a winning political candidate open an acceptance speech with a line like this — “I just want to say to David Hawpe – I’m not taking any more of your crap.”

Northup started by calling Hawpe “abusive and dishonest” but it got better – or worse – from there. Her piece wasn’t so much about the unfavorable treatment she got in the paper, but about Hawpe’s out-of-print political activity, like ripping her in speeches and (allegedly) recruiting political opponents. She didn’t like the demanding e-mails he sent, requesting items that took up staff time and yet never became the subject of anything editorial.

Northup makes a convincing case against Hawpe. It will be interesting to see if Hawpe responds. His advantage in this war of words, of course, is that he always gets the last word.

Sidenote: What the hell are “conservative” values? And what politician doesn’t understand that news outlets have demanding deadlines? Jesus.