One-Day Tropical Weather Is Gone Update Edition

Study: Kentucky government’s service of public is average and has received an overall grade of B- from the Pew Center on the States in its latest “Grading the States” report. Everyone breathe a sigh of relief– we didn’t fail! [Business First]

The downfall of Kentucky’s marijuana kingpins? We’ve read the same story over and over for 20 years. Fat chance. [H-L]

Ralph Long lets it rip on all of the walking dead in Kentucky these days. Budget, casinos, Bruce, Jennifer. Ralph dishes the dirt, kids. We love him because he never holds back and is way classier than us. [Ralph Long]

Did you know? Rep. Darryl Owens admits Steve Beshear has made zero effort to push a constitutional amendment limiting a governor’s pardoning power. This is after promising in January to lead the fight for ethics reform. Don’t let your eyes roll back in your head. [PolWatchers]

Rep. Kathy Stein has joined Operation Gooch. Apparently, Kathy knows how to think for herself and realizes it’s effing heinous that Gooch chairs the Natural Resources and Environment Committee. [BlueGrassRoots]

And the gubnuh may finally be realizing that we need to raise the cigarette tax. The reality in Frankfort must be hard-hitting these days. [Hebert]

Oh Snap Monday. Sleeping Late Edition.

Humana spent $683,074 last year to lobby on children’s health insurance, Medicare and Medicaid, generic drugs, prescription drug prices, national defense legislation and other issues, according to the U.S. Senate’s lobbying disclosure database. [Business First]

Basically, the legislature is falling apart and there’s like zero leadership. Woah. Imagine that. Cat fights over gambling galore. [H-L]

Once again our so called leaders in Frankfort demonstrate their ability to see as far as the next election. This like other issues could be dealt with if the Governor and General Assembly had the vision and intestinal fortitude to actually address the nineteenth century tax laws the Commonwealth currently operates under. [Ralph Long]

Barack Osama is president of Kentucky, Ron Paul is vice president. For reals. So, does this mean Kentucky really isn’t as backwater, redneck, hate-filled and ignorant as the rest of the country believes? Is it possible our people were only momentarily swayed by Bush ignorance and gay-baiting? Garsh. [H-L]

Mark Hebert turns into a teenage girl and nearly causes us to choke on our breakfast in laughter. “Lisa wanted to check it out so that’s what she got for her birthday, a night at West Baden. Omigod. That’s my teenage kids’ lingo for Oh my God! This place is unbelievable!” Hahahaha. OMG. We can’t breathe. Hahahaha. [Hebert]

12 Casinos, 7 at Racetracks. $$$$

Here’s the question Governor Beshear wants you to vote on come November:

“Are you in favor of increasing state financial support for elementary and secondary education, expanding health care for senior citizens, children and others, support for local governments, and combating drug and alcohol abuse and other important programs by permitting the General Assembly to authorize up to five casinos subject to approval of the voters in the city or county where the casino is located; and up to seven casinos licenses for existing horse racing associations, all of which will be subject to the approval of a state agency created to oversee casino gaming.”

Thoughts? Misleading? Honest enough?

Will the magical money start rolling in? Who wants to start a casino with us?

Read about the rest of the deal at PolWatchers.

Jody Richards: “We’re raising taxes, kids!”

In the ongoing saga that is Speaker Jody Richards’ reign as the most effective and creative leader in the Kentucky Democratic Party ever, the Dear Speaker has taken it upon himself to make yet another inconclusive statement to the press!

This time it’s about– what else?– raising taxes.

And Jody’s making it clear that he isn’t clear on what he is and isn’t clear on. But he knows the cigarette tax isn’t going to cut it. You know, the tax he was against before he was supportive of it.

We know, we know. It’s rare for Jody Richards to be unclear on what’s unclear to him. We digress.

From PolWatchers:

House Speaker Jody Richards, D-Bowling Green, has also mentioned the likelihood of additional tax boosts in recent days, saying he isn’t willing to cut the state’s education budget.

Like Moberly, he declined to offer any specifics.

Richards said a cigarette tax increase “won’t do it all. We’ve got to do some other things, too.”

Richards said he is still discovering “some surprises” in Beshear’s budget proposal, so he isn’t sure yet how much new money the House will need to generate.

Way to lead, Jody! So fearless and original. We love you!

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]

Not the Bold Leadership We Ordered

Gov. Steve Beshear‘s budget address may have been a wake-up call for those who didn’t think things were as bad as they seemed. For others, it may have been a realization that the bold leadership Beshear campaigned on was nothing but campaign rhetoric.

There will be a $165 million cut in spending next year, and it will hit most areas of the state, save K-12 education and Medicaid. Higher education may have been the hardest hit.

U of L chief James Ramsey told the C-J: “. . . it’s going to be impossible for us to continue to move forward, and the question becomes will we be able to keep from backsliding.” UK’s Lee Todd said it will create a $50 million shortfall. Of note, this comes the day after Todd hired a VP of diversity for $210,000 a year.

But Beshear’s speech was full of those sorts of contradictions. Drastically cut spending here, but make up for it with a questionable expenditure there.

Beshear presented nothing bold last night. He preserved the funding for public schools, but said there would be no raises for teachers. And he authorized 2 percent raises (not much, but more than teachers are getting) for state employees, and said nothing about cuts to the state work force. He preserved $6 million for the Louisville Zoo and many other capital projects, and put money into the Bucks for Brains programs, but told University presidents to get by with less.

Read moreNot the Bold Leadership We Ordered

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]