It’s Ernest Lee & Steve Day

Steve Beshear smoked Ernie Fletcher on Kentucky Tonight’s debate last evening. As John Stamper says, they argued bitterly and Ernie took the brunt of things. Who knew Steve could hold his own? [KET, H-L]

Fletcher and Beshear trade jabs on ethics. You fill in the blanks. [C-J]

Judge denies Williams’ request to stop ethics hearing. No one is surprised. [PolWatchers]

Fletcher and Beshear agree on ‘Bucks for Brians’ and Ernie pledges $100million if re-elected. Vote buying? Everyone waits with baited breath for Steve Henry to claim he contributed millions to the program. [PolWatchers, C-J]

Jim Bunning was wrong. 57% of Kentuckians disapprove of the war. 11% unsure. You know what that means. 3/4ths of Kentuckians think it’s a crock of shit. [PolWatchers]

Ernie debuts faith-based office this week. The Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives is modeled after Dubya’s plan and will seek to provide government funding for religious orgnization, further blurring the separation of church & state. [C-J]

Fletcher & Beshear to debate at NKU on Oct 3, 7:00 P.M., will be broadcast around the state. WCPO, WAVE3, WKYT, WNKU radio. [Enquirer]

Okay, a non-gubernatorial story. Anne Northup is hard at work raising money for Erwin Roberts’ bid against John Yarmuth. [NRCC]

Someone is paying attention to the economy. Federal Reserve cuts key short-term interest rate by half a point from 5.25% to 4.75%. First cut in four years. [CNN]

Don’t forget the mainstream media’s blatant attempt to ignore Kentucky Farm Bureau’s discriminatory practices.

Still high on the Kentucky win?

Do they matter? Running mates aren’t really a factor in the race for governor. But Mongiardo’s more popular and has more positives than Rudolph. [H-L]

They want to vote. Some 82% of Kentuckians want the chance to to vote on (against) casino gaming. Ernie’s strategy of ‘casinos = the gays will eat your children’ has sorely backfired. [PolWatchers]

In case you missed it. Kentucky is the talk of the Nation. Namely, everyone’s drive to rid Mitch McConnell of his elected position. The piece about bluegrass grassroots activism opens with the story of Carol Trainer (an activist friend of ours in Louisville) being arrested on Memorial day for protesting the war. We still think Democratic Sheriff John Aubrey owes her an apology for that one. [Nation]

(Lex) VA fails on Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Only VA medical center in the country to fail on four points. Things could be changing for the better in 2007. It’s about time the VA and military begin to recognize PTSD and treat it. Better late than never. [H-L]

Rep. John Yarmuth afraid of strippers. Or porn stars. For real– we would be, too! 21C hosted an event with Annie Sprinkle a week ago. She moved her breasts in time to classical music while wearing black opera gloves and folks could get into bed with her. John didn’t attend. [C-J]

Is Jim Bunning delusional? Kentuckians aren’t opposed to the Iraq war? Is he for real? He says very little communication from constituents is about Iraq. We’re beginning to believe the insanity rumors. [Enquirer]

We still need your help.

AIPAC: Another story that won’t die

Turns out Bill Yarmuth has changed his mind and won’t be hosting an AIPAC fundraiser at his home. Hebert has some details.

Rep. John Yarmuth’s office said the event has not been moved to his brother Bill’s home. News to us, since Jewish Hospital’s spokeswoman told Stephen George that’s where it would take place. And people close to Yarmuth confirmed the details with Page One. Guess the ramifications of hosting an event with controversial Dan Senor knocked some sense into someone?

For future reference: if you’re a staffer for a member of the United States Congress you can e-mail us if details change, if you have something to dispute or need to disseminate information. We know you read us.

Breaking: AIPAC Fundraiser Moved

LEO‘s Managing Editor Stephen George just confirmed that Jewish Hospital has decided not to host the September 10th AIPAC fundraiser featuring controversial figure Dan Senor. Senor is affiliated with Fox News and the group Vets for Freedom.

A source with Jewish Hospital revealed to Page One earlier today that many physicians were upset about being invited to the event and expressed concern about its location. Though not confirmed, one surgical group allegedly threatened to cancel surgeries in protest.

Barbara Mackovich, spokesperson for Jewish Hospital, told George the event will instead be hosted at the Louisville home of Bill Yarmuth.

Yarmuth is the brother of U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth (D-KY 3) and is CEO & President of the health care company Almost Family.

Where there’s smoke…

For as long as there have been politicians in Kentucky, there’s been a powerful lobbying faction working for tobacco farmers. Tobacco farmers have prospered, tobacco interests have profited, and tobacco users have been dying for decades.

Smoker - KentuckyCigarette sales flourish in Kentucky, which ranks first or second in every study ranking states by per capita rates for lung cancer and other smoking-related deaths. Two years ago, Kentucky’s legislature passed an increase on cigarette taxes, lifting the state out of last place by boosting the tax from three cents to 30 cents.

The adversity faced by tobacco interests has never been stronger than it is today, and their ability to hold politicians accountable to them is wavering. Earlier this month, a pair of Kentucky congressmen voted for a 45-cent national tax on cigarettes in Congress. Ben Chandler, whose district represents many of those farmers, apparently felt the virtues of the Children’s Health and Medicare Protection Act outweighed the risks at home of voting against big tobacco.

Read moreWhere there’s smoke…