Local Teen Mothers Show You How It's Done

One of our hometown high schools is getting national attention… for giving teen mothers a second chance. The principal, Sara York, says things like, “Being a teen mom isn’t an excuse to fail, it’s the reason you must succeed.” And you should probably watch the show when it airs this Sunday on MTV at 9:00 P.M. Eastern.

Here’s a clip:

It’s a heartwarming look at a reality many people choose to ignore.

The show was produced by a Louisvillian.

Oh Snap Monday! Who's Rand Wanna Punch?

This is what happens when you cut a law enforcement budget every five minutes. [H-L]

By now, you’ve all read the interview and know that Alvin Greene would like to punch Grouchy Smurf (yes, seriously). The world is still waiting on pins and needles for Rand Paul to tell us all who HE would like to punch. Make your predictions now. [Read It]

Oh, look, Andy Barr-Todd Lally-Rand Paul (they’re all the same?) just teabagged everybody in Frankfort over the weekend. The former pole dancer said she “bent over backwards” for Rand. Amen. [H-L]

This is where the former pole dancing teabagger gets her logic: “White people tan, black people smoke crack. We get it. And black people get harsher sentences for crack because they pay less tanning salon tax. So everything evens out!” [Wonkette]

Fundies at Bob Jones “University” are genius scientists and know lots. Electricity is a mystery! Pee alert, kids. [Pam’s House Blend]

Rand Paul says that teabagging will be trendy by the fall. Racist, anti-Mexican music and jokes about welfare queens with six crack babies will also be trendy, I predict. [Ryan Alessi]

Whaaaat? Pamela Goodwine is a hack and should be disbarred? You don’t say! Read the story about her attending Blue Grass Airport board meetings with the very people she “sentenced.” And her cute lies. Every clerk, judge and private attorney I’ve spoken with over the past two weeks is mortified. They all think it’s time for Goodwine to do the “good Christian” thing and resign. [H-L]

Joe went to Frankfort to get teabagged, just cold speakin Eeeengleeeesh: “Marxists, Communists, we’re not racists, send em back to Mexico and send Obama with them, sleazebag Attorney General, tired of calling people with 2 tv’s poor, impeach Obama, Mexicans, global warming hoax, boy is it hot out here or what, forcing insurance companies to cover kids with pre-existing conditions is tyranny, death panels, door-to-door Feds coming to “eat us out”, Obama is a racist because he lets the Black Panthers intimidate white voters, Communists, statists, “welfare queens with 6 crack babies”, “the state-run media”, Mexicans, Obama is still a racist, statists, collectivists, tyranny, communists, impeach Obama, etc…” We’ve got illegals in our backyard! Fear!!1! [Barefoot & Progressive]

Hal Rogers made a non-statement about Ashley Judd’s chest. [WKYT]

Of course Mitch McConnell is going to filibuster for the big money. That’s what he does. [NY Times]

Listen up, folks, you need to help me give away some books. Here’s why. [Page One]

Listen Up: Help Me Give Away Some Books

This column by David Brooks in the NYWT is all about giving school kids free books to take home during the summer:

Recently, book publishers got some good news. Researchers gave 852 disadvantaged students 12 books (of their own choosing) to take home at the end of the school year. They did this for three successive years.

Then the researchers, led by Richard Allington of the University of Tennessee, looked at those students’ test scores. They found that the students who brought the books home had significantly higher reading scores than other students. These students were less affected by the “summer slide” — the decline that especially afflicts lower-income students during the vacation months. In fact, just having those 12 books seemed to have as much positive effect as attending summer school.

This study, along with many others, illustrates the tremendous power of books. We already knew, from research in 27 countries, that kids who grow up in a home with 500 books stay in school longer and do better. This new study suggests that introducing books into homes that may not have them also produces significant educational gains.

Be sure to read the entire thing.

I’m linking to this today because I’ve been working on something behind-the-scenes for several months. In addition to slowly putting together a scholarship program (couple years away, I hope?), I’ve been working with funders and educators to develop a program that puts 10-12 books in the hands of a few hundred kids in rural areas of Kentucky. Normally don’t speak of things before the dotted line is signed, but I’ll buy the books myself if I have to. And Brooks’ column reinforces my belief that if you give kids the chance to read – not just from their school library (if they have one) – their lives can be changed for the better.

But enough of my rambling. I want your input on stories about Kentucky or books (fiction or non-fiction) by Kentucky authors to be considered for purchase.

What are your suggestions? Any great, interesting, exciting or essential reads for Kentucky youth? Probably high school sophomore-aged, so not stuff for kids.

It’s not too tough to find a few hundred folks who will read. Those young Kentuckians are likely to share those books they love with friends. At a minimum, no one can tell me that’s not a good thing. At a maximum, the literacy rates in Kentucky’s high schools could be improved by a millionth of a percent. (Don’t think it’s necessary? Read a few educational audits from high schools around the state – you’ll wet yourself in fear.)

So… give me the 411. Books? Authors? Get crackin.

Oh, and if anyone wants to give me money (there’ll be a full accounting, no worries) for the endeavor or if there are enterprising authors and publishers out there who want to give us great books, email me.

Kentucky Is 7th-Most Fat In The Country

Ready for more stats you aren’t going to like? 30.5% of adult Kentuckians are obese. 21% of Kentucky children are obese. We are fat, Kentucky. Jeeeeeeeez.

Some of the key findings about Kentucky:

  • Kentucky set nutritional standards for school lunches, breakfasts, and snacks that are stricter than current United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) requirements. Twenty states and D.C. have set such standards. Five years ago, only four states had legislation requiring stricter standards
  • Kentucky has nutritional standards for competitive foods sold in schools on á la carte lines, in vending machines, in school stores, or through school bake sales. Twenty-eight states and D.C. have nutritional standards for competitive foods. Five years ago, only six states had such standards.
  • Kentucky has not passed requirements for body mass index (BMI) screenings of children and adolescents or legislation requiring other forms of weight-related assessments in schools. Twenty states have passed such requirements for BMI screenings. Five years ago, only four states had passed screening requirements.
  • Kentucky has not passed Complete Streets legislation, which aims to ensure that all users — pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists and transit riders of all ages and abilities — have safe access to a community’s streets. Thirteen states have passed Complete Streets legislation.

Is this maybe what happens when 90% of Frankfort weighs 300 pounds and eats nothing but fast food?

Oh Snap Monday! Jody's Glasses Are Famous

Papaw Beshear and Jody Richards (with his metrosexual glasses) were on AutoBlog last week. Totally missed that! [Click the Clicky]

State Government killed contracts for organizations providing services for youth leaving foster care. Something about overloaded, understaffed state workers being able to do a better job. $625,000. Like the good folks in Frankfort couldn’t have found something less important to cut? Like take-home cars? Or fancy trips for executive branch staff? If it’s not broke and you aren’t saving anyone any money, it’s ridiculous to change it. You’ll have to find Debby’s story on your own, as I won’t link to the plagiarist newspaper in round-ups any longer. [A Kentucky Newspaper]

Real estate and financial experts say even a scaled-down version of CentrePointe is both unlikely and unneeded. Wonder how Jim Newberry will spin that? I hear the Webbs are also growing disenchanted with him by the day. [H-L]

Also, go read this great piece about the Hopewell Museum in Paris. [Tom Eblen]

Oh, look, Jim Newberry was spotted on Google Street View. Shouldn’t he be in Lexington leveling historic city blocks and illegally withholding public documents from the city council? [HuffPo]

Kentucky facing budget woes because federal aid isn’t coming? This is what Frankfort gets for screwing around and never doing the job. [Ronnie Ellis]

Want to know why some Democratic campaign staffers and advisers should have lost their jobs weeks ago? Jack Conway won’t be showing up for Joe Biden’s visit today. His campaign refused to say what his “scheduling conflict” is. And when there’s a legit scheduling conflict, there’s never a refusal like that. [Fox41 & Politico]

You could win a Ford Focus by giving blood at the Holiday Hero Churchill Downs Blood Drive. Paddock Pavilion, July 6 – 8, Noon – 7:00 P.M. Every presenting donor will receive a ticket to King’s Island, they’ll be served Stoker’s Broaster Chicken and will get a coupon for a free pint of Graeter’s ice cream (I recommend the Coconut Chip – forget about the carbs, it’s worth it) – which means you must go give blood. [Press Release]

Million-year-old (okay, 92) Senator Robert Byrd passed away. [NY Times, WaPo, Charleston Daily Mail, CBS, Politico]

Rand Paul is afraid to speak to the media, so he spoke with a teabagger. [Click the Clicky]

The Real Story About AmericaSpeaks/KYA

Like I said on the 14th, the event being pushed by Kentucky Youth Advocates (and other groups like GLI) and AmericaSpeaks. is silly.

And, it turns out, it’s more silly than I could have imagined:

This Saturday an organization called AmericaSpeaks is sponsoring a “National Town Meeting” on the budget deficit in twenty cities. Although organizers claim to be non-partisan, a review of their materials reveals an ideological bias in some key sections — a bias that’s likely to manipulate attendees into “spontaneously” deciding that the social safety net must be cut (with some limited tax increases possibly thrown in for camouflage.)

AmericaSpeaks (the odd formatting is theirs) is part of a well-coordinated media campaign. It’s no coincidence that the self-described centrist group Third Way sponsored an event this week in Washington, just before this “town meeting,” which also emphasized “defeating the deficit.” That event was called “Back in Black,” which happens to be the name of a song by rock group AC/DC. Given what’s likely to happen if we slash spending even more in this troubled economy, they might have done better to name it after another one of the band’s favorites: “Highway to Hell.”


The workbook’s section on “Changing the Health Care System” stacks the deck pretty heavily, too. It lists only three options: First comes something called “Premium Support,” which paraphrases a radical privatization approach pushed by the Cato Institute. Then there’s “Single Payer” (not the more popular phrase “Medicare For All”), which is given a three-sentence summary whose third sentence reads as follows: “Federal policymakers would make the major decisions about the health care services that Americas (sic) would receive and how these services are distributed among people of different ages, incomes, and so on.”

Death panels, anyone?

The workbook repeats stale, misleading talking points from the health reform debate. It doesn’t explain that “Single Payer”/Medicare For All would be no more intrusive on medical decisions than today’s extremely popular Medicare plans, or that it would eliminate profit-driven corporate decision-making from the health process.

Click here to read the entire story.

Why would KYA waste its time with pseudo town halls that use manipulative information to force false conclusions? And why would the organization not realize that ignoring the dead economy while pretending to focus on the deficit (slashing benefits) is the way to go? Maybe they’re confused?

It’s tough to trust an organization professing to care about youth when there’s deceptive behavior like this.