It’s Maybe the Last Round-Up of the Year

State Government employees lost more than 6,500 pounds in 2009. 1,200 folks took part. That’s a lot of fat. It’s too bad the legislature won’t do the same thing. [Press Release]

The Sixth Annual Not Good For Nothing Quiz is upon us! [LEO Weekly]

A plethora of numbers traces a decade of change. [H-L]

The Commonwealth of Kentucky is so broke it can’t afford the letter “B.” Thanks to the Courier-Journal for pointing this out. [Page One]

It is decided. I need a baby camel. [Daily Squee]

Horses are leaving Kentucky… for Canada. [H-L]

The blue moon of Kentucky could be here on New Year’s Eve. [HuffPo]

Candidates raised $1.4 billion in 2008. Bruce Lunsford and Mitch McConnell combined was $29 million, the second-most expensive. [Hotline]

A look at job loss by county. [Rural Blog via WFPL]

Do you like cutting stuff up and gluing it on paper? You’re in luck. There’s a wild “Scrapbooking Weekend” planned for January 15th & 16th at Greebo Lake State Resort Park. Registration fee is $45 and you can stay at the lodge (and park your gas hog) for a mere $105. [Press Release]

Louisville Republican Metro Councilcritters just did not care for Jerry Abramson’s alleged “accomplishments” so the crew released their own little list. [The ‘Ville Voice]

Jim Gray pulled in 137 contributions in under 48 hours. I’m betting Jim Newberry pulled in almost none. [Stuff on the Internets]

Kentucky is Food Stamp Central

Yet another statistic Kentucky can be proud of.


Food stamp participation in the Commonwealth of Kentucky increased by 5,407 people from October to November. Total number of recipients? Now 757,651. That’s 90,172 more than this time last year. A 13.5% increase.

The Food Stamp Program, renamed Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (nice spin) last year, helps those who have little money buy food. And obviously, it’s a solid indicator of the level of need for government assistance.

This Is Odd. Feels Like Friday But It’s Just Tuesday.

That thing you’re all waiting for me to address involving the former Lt. Governor? I’ll talk about it later today. Cramming seven days of work into three has made things interesting. But I’ll have something later. Pay close attention to him today. You know he’ll try to blame everything on a woman, like always, because he still can’t believe he’s responsible for his own actions.

The Consensus Forecasting Group says Kentucky has an additional $100 million revenue shortfall in the current year. That’s just under $1billion for the next two years. The upcoming biennial budget will likely kill us all dead of the poverty. Gas Station Governor Steve Beshear says he’s working on a plan. Because he’s been so successful with his other plans int he past. [Press Release]

Ambassador Matthew Barzun hosted a luncheon to honor Nobel laureates. [Spotted]

What is it with these coal people getting violent? [AP via C-J]

Former State Auditor Ed Hatchett is moving on up to be the next KACo director. [H-L]

You skeered yet? Even Mexico City is letting the gays get gay married. [HuffPo]

Jim “Anonymous Crap” Ramsey is about to have his contract at the University of Louisville extended to 2014. [Nancy Rodriguez]

40 states, but mainly Kentucky, is about to just cold drown in poverty because no one can afford to pay for unemployment benefits. Yay Kentucky! And America! We’re all broke. [Washington Post]

Teabagger nearly has stroke scrawling a four-page threat, which he faxed upside down. PEE ALERT. [Wonkette]

Mitch McConnell still can’t stop criticizing people for doing the same things he does. And he’s yet to offer a health care solution. So maybe it’s time for the corrupt old guy from Kentucky should just shut his thin lips? [National Review]

Is it just me or is anyone else slightly amused that the revised budget forecast makes it difficult Steve Beshear to say the sky is falling? Every time headlines say things are a “little brighter,” a reader will be less afraid of the coming econopocalypse. [Beth Musgrave]

Payday Loan Shark Governor Calls For Cap

What! Can you believe it? Steve Beshear has called for a cap on payday lending.

Let’s just share the entire release:

Gov. Steve Beshear today joined consumer advocates in calling for the General Assembly to limit the amount of interest payday lenders can charge customers to 36 percent. Currently those rates, on an annualized basis, can be more than 400 percent.

“Thousands of Kentuckians who have fallen on hard economic times are trying to find short-term means by which they can put food on the table for their families. In many cases they turn to lenders who, with no security needed, loan money with a very high expected rate of return,” said Gov. Beshear.  “A rate cap would be a strong protective measure that we can take on behalf of consumers.”

The 36 percent annual percentage rate (APR) cap is consistent with the limit the federal government implemented for military personnel and their families in October 2007. At least 15 states have followed suit and now prohibit high-cost payday lending by limiting the interest rate to a two-digit cap. Also, following the national trend away from payday lending, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. is now piloting a small-dollar loan program encouraging banks to offer affordable small loans as an alternative.

“The Governor is taking a direct and crucial step in supporting the financial well-being of Kentucky’s hard working families,” said Terry Brooks, executive director of Kentucky Youth Advocates.  “In tough economic times, we have to be creative in fighting the high price of being poor in Kentucky.  By tackling predatory lending practices through this payday loan interest cap, Governor Beshear will make a real difference for families from Prestonsburg to Paducah.”

A July 2009 Center for Responsible Lending report found that three-fourths of the loan volume of the payday industry is generated by borrowers who must re-borrow before their next pay period. The loans cannot be “rolled over,” so each time a new loan is made the full fee is applied. Consumer advocates say that this causes a cycle of debt that consumers find difficult to escape.

“The Kentucky Coalition for Responsible Lending (KCRL) applauds the Governor’s efforts to cap interest on payday loans at 36 percent,” said Anne Marie Regan, an attorney with the Kentucky Equal Justice Center and a member of KCRL, a statewide coalition of 64 member organizations that came together last year to seek reform of Kentucky’s payday lending law. “When Kentucky families are struggling to make ends meet, the legislature should ensure that all lending rates, including those on payday loans, are fair and reasonable.” More information on payday loans and the KCRL is online

Today there are 743 payday lenders – also known as check cashers or deferred deposit companies – operating in Kentucky.  A 10-year moratorium instituted in 2009 prevents new payday lenders from opening in Kentucky.  This provision was included in HB 444 sponsored by Rep. Johnnie Bell and supported and signed into law by Gov. Beshear.

While I’m glad to hear the Governor speaking out in the form of a press release, I can’t forget the recent past. Beshear held a fundraiser at the Nashville home of one of payday loan industry’s top executives.

And, of course, you can’t forget this from Greg Stumbo:

Steve Beshear: Payday Loan Sharks’ Darling

The Courier-Journal editorial board seems to have forgotten that Gas Station Governor is owned by the payday loan industry. But the paper’s leadership is rightly advocating for consumer protections.

Take a trip down memory lane with Beshear: here, here, here & here. And don’t forget that time Beshear held a fundraiser at the Nashville home of one of the payday loan industry’s top executives.

And while we’re reviewing memories, here’s this from Greg Stumbo, which still rings true:

Tuesday Morning Dept of Warring in Afghanistan

Today is World AIDS Day. [HHS]

Lt. Dan supports a surge in Afghanistan. No word where Jack Conway stands. [Hotline]

Speaking of Lt. Dan, he’s now a transportation expert. [CART]

Mitch McConnell becomes the first to lie about CBO report on premiums. [FireDogLake]

Expanded gambling ties paid off for Jodie Haydon. [Nelson County Gazette]

We’re all still dying of the poverty! Even charities that fight poverty are dying of it. [H-L]

Thanks to Dirty Joe for pointing out how racist the Moonie Times is these days. Comparing Barack Obama to a chimpanzee. How original. [Think Progress via Joe]

Mitch McConnell is now the 15th wealthiest senator. Thanks to all that RED CHINESE cash. [WYMT]

Thank goodness the Kentucky Supreme Court supports the governor’s early release program. It’s time for our leaders to show some leadership in explaining the program to the citizenry. [H-L]

Happy Day Before Gobble Gobble Pigging Out

Soo…. How long will it take our Gas Station Governor to appoint Ken Winters as Joe Meyer’s replacement in the Education & Workforce spot? [Just Wondering]

More than half of teachers report buying food for hungry students with their own money. These are the times we’re living in. [HuffPo]

Democrats like Ben Chandler should be quite nervous. [Hotline On Call]

This is why I refused to link to the Washington Moonie Times several months ago when the paper begged me to add a link. Well, one of the many reasons.  [Media Matters]

National political pundits are still hedging their bets on Jack Conway, the only candidate who isn’t wholly embarrassing in Kentucky. [MSNBC]

PEE ALERT: Apparently, we’re the “radical left.” Because I’m such a feminist and such a liberal. Never mind that David himself begged me to write about things by sending the press release to me. [Paultard Manager]

HELLO! Perfect gift for a guy named Jake. Just saying. [The WHY Louisville Store]

Another pee alert: “At about 3:15 in this horrifying white-rap teabagging paultard video, there is a vaguely hot gal literally raising her hands in the air like she just don’t care. We’re going to assume brain damage here, or some kind of congenital body odor issue severe enough to even keep away the lonesome middle-aged dudes in their Barry Lyndon hats.” [Wonkette]

Dine out for Life next Wednesday, December 2. You could go to our favorite places: Blue Dog, Cafe Lou Lou, Havana Rumba, Porcini, Simply Thai. Mmmm. [Click Here for Details]

The UofL student who won a Rhodes Scholarship is from Boyd County in Eastern Kentucky. Huzzuh. We’re smart in the mountains after all. [H-L]