Jane Beshear Gives Back to Hospitalized Kids

Today First Lady Jane Beshear delivered wrapped toys to 65 young patients at Kentucky Children’s Hospital in Lexington.

“This is what the spirit of the season is really all about—giving back,” said Mrs. Beshear. “I know how hard illness can be not only on young children but on the families as well. I hope this celebration today and these toys provide a little bit of joy in what can be a difficult time.”

Here she is in action:

Pictured above: Mrs. Beshear greets Jeanna Muschong, age 7, and her mother, Kelly.

Maybe some day she’ll run for office herself?

Tuesday Evening Dept of Papaw Is Sinking

Papaw Steve Beshear’s approval rating has taken a major hit. At its lowest since 2009. Just 44% approve. One-termer? [SurveyUSA]

Jefferson County Family Court judges don’t think dating violence is as important as other forms of domestic violence. Way to go, folks! [The ‘Ville Voice]

The 18 biggest falsehoods in Sarah Palin’s book, which she couldn’t even write herself. [HuffPo]

Kentuckians should take note: Republicans are headed for a bloodbath in Florida. It could happen here. Though, we don’t have a gay Republican governor. [CNN]

New county-level education data is available from the Kids Count Data Center. [Click Here]

Kentuckians are smart. They don’t want Sarah Palin to run for anything ever, because she is insane. Also, who cares? This is a non-story and this wench is more of a media whore than me. [Joe Arnold]

Rand Paul hates Medicare and rights a fancy unicorn, ladies. [Barefoot & Progressive]

ATTENTION! Rand Paul wants it both ways! This is why Ronnie Ellis is our favorite dirty journalist. Hahaha. [Ronnie Ellis]

Quick, everybody feel sorry for Steve Nunn. He pleaded not guilty to six charges of wanton endangerment in Hart County. [WHAS11]

Uninsured emergency room patients are twice as likely to die. [MSNBC]

Hey, science geeks: the birth of a new species witnessed by scientists. [Wired]

FACES of Coal PR folks descended upon Breathitt County’s elected officials. [Business Lexington]

It’s Not Just the Rain That’s Messy Today

Worst kept secret ever? Richie Farmer says he’s considering a run for governor. If he runs? Steve Beshear is finished. [Bluegrass Politics]

Heh. Going Rouge goes live on the teevee. This book mocking Sarah Palin is sure to be a hit and will confuse mouthbreathers. [The Nation]

Want some surplus gubmint property? Hit up the state site. [Clicky Clicky]

Jerry Abramson has a disgusting mess on his hands in Louisville these days. He knew his pick to head Metro Animal Services has a corrupt and sickening past and he still appointed him. And he’s stood by as more and more corruption has surfaced over the years. Read it all. [The ‘Ville Voice]

Oh, wait, the guy was finally forced to resign. [More ‘Ville Voice]

Despite student protests and national media embarrassment, trustees approved the silly Wildcat Coal Lodge on the University of Kentucky campus. [H-L]

The U.S. Census Bureau released poverty data on Kentucky counties with populations of 20,000+. Of those 55 counties, 41 have higher rates of poverty than the national average of 13.2%. 27 have rates higher than the state average of 17.3%. Of the 44 counties with child populations 20K+, three have child poverty rates higher than 40%: Floyd, Harlan and Perry. [Kentucky Youth Advocates Press Release]

If you can’t beat em, appoint em. That appears to be Governor Steve Beshear’s new credo as he uses his appointment powers to try to reduce the number of Republicans in the GOP-controlled Senate. It’s the governor’s latest tactic in his bid to bring casino gambling to the state. [Tony McVeigh]

Mitch RED CHINA McConnell says a vote for cloture is a vote for Democratic health care reform. Duh. [The Hill]

Frankfort is abuzz with talk about Helen Mountjoy. Dozens of questions are flying about. Many folks want to know why the KCTCS is suing the Messenger Inquirer to keep the former President’s (of OCTCS) evaluation secret. Especially in light of the recent Jefferson County ruling from the Office of the Attorney General. [Frankfort Rumor Mill]

Louisville Public Media’s fall membership campaign raised more than $400,000 and generated 1,133 new members. [Business First]

Dental Help Comes to Eastern Kentucky Kids

Governor Steve Beshear has launched an initiative that he says will improve dental health among children of Eastern Kentucky.

“With this announcement I have made improving Kentuckians’ poor dental health a priority, especially when it comes to our children,” Gov. Beshear said in announcing this initiative this morning in Frankfort. “This funding will allow us to aggressively focus on increasing the number of dentists who treat young patients by offering more and better training opportunities for these professionals, as well as providing special resources targeted at building community involvement in distressed counties in Appalachia and ensuring communities have access to needed equipment.

Papaw does not approve of loud children

The Beshear Administration will use $1.6 million+ in federal grants over the next three years to focus on:

  • Training more dentists to work with children
  • Creating community coalitions throughout Eastern Kentucky to help tailor health care programs to impacted counties
  • Providing two sets of portable dental equipment to community coalitions to increase access and use of dental services for children and adults

The Kentucky Oral Health Program in the Cabinet for Health and Family Services will coordinate.

The Appalachian Regional Commission will also provide Kentucky with two additional grants to focus on the 40 counties currently designated as distressed. The funds will help financially offset the time taken off from practice for dentists in the ARC region who participate in Access for Babies and Children to Dentistry program.

To kick things off, Governor Beshear will be in four Eastern Kentucky towns tomorrow to hold press conferences:

  • 9:00 A.M. @ Russell Primary School
  • 11:00 A.M. @ McBrayer Elementary School
  • 1:30 P.M. @ Highland Elementary
  • 4:00 P.M. @ Dennis Wooten Elementary

Man, What a Political Day This Has Been!

Don’t miss these stories about the Daniel Mongiardo mess:

Everybody in Kentucky should be taking these words to heart. [Bullet Counter Points]

What the crap is with Newsmax? Wow. Talk about Obscene. [Crooks & Liars]

The Kentucky Association of Counties has implemented speeding reforms and has created a code of ethics. [Ryan Alessi]

Kentucky Equine Education Project says that David Williams’ attacks cement industry unity. [Paulick Report]

What’s ahead for children and families in the 2010 General Assembly? [Kentucky Youth Advocates]

Prescriptions for controlled substances are up in 118 or 120 counties in Kentucky. So when are we going to begin addressing the pill problem we’ve got in this state? [Bluegrass Politics]

You’re absolutely going to love this great Bernie Madoff art. Trust me. [HuffPo]

Greg Stumbo is going to China to represent Kentucky and we don’t have to foot the bill. The State Legislative Leaders Foundation will be paying for air fare, lodging and meals. Stumbo will be part of a group of legislators from more than 30 states who will travel to Red China in November to attend the Sino-US Provincial Legislative Leaders Forum. Stumbo is bill this as a “major trade mission” and has asked the Kentucky Coal Association to “provide him with information about opportunities in Eastern and Western Kentucky that he could share with the Chinese business leaders and government officials.” [Press Release]

It’s Thursday Afternoon, Give Kids Some Books

Ron Weston is retiring to “spend more time with his family.” Who do you think will replace him? [Joe Gerth]

Once upon a time Glenn Beck lived and worked in Louisville. He pulled racist stunts and was absolutely nasty to Liz Curtis. Kudos to Terry Meiners, who often ticks people off, for standing up to him at the time. [Media Matters]

Does Humana have a free speech right to mislead the elderly? Is it political or commercial speech? Falsities or debatable points? [HuffPo]

Just kids being punks or instances of racism? Who knows. [WFPL’s The Edit]

In an email blast today, the Louisville GOP’s new chairman squandered nearly everything the local Party had built: credibility. The blast was 100% anti-Obama with cherry-picked opinion spewed as fact. A large portion of the message was dedicated to confusing Medicare Advantage plans with guaranteed Medicare benefits. Fitting that it was just a recycle of the RNC’s daily blast. [GOP Blast]

Are we really supposed to believe the Republican Party has had a change of heart about Medicare? The Service Employees International Union has chimed in on the Humana ordeal. [SEIU]

We need 50,000 books for Kentucky children. So go vote! [State-Journal & Books for Kids]

Guess our beloved Appalachia didn’t get the memo about embarrassment. 8 people staged an accident to collect an insurance payment. [H-L]

Yesterday I asked the Kentucky Democratic Party what it is up to these days. The response? KDP is a big organization, KDP is doing lots of stuff. No specifics. Here we are more than a day later and no one has been able to show me anything KDP has done or is doing to build, you know, a future. And fairness? It’s been a week since I asked the Republican Party of Kentucky the same question and no one has even acknowledged it. [Partisan Thoughts]

The University of the Cumberlands case heard by the Kentucky Supreme Court today. [Bluegrass Politics]

Racial Disparity in the Juvenile Justice System

Kentucky Youth Advocates has released data indicating that youth of color face harsher treatment than their white counterparts at nearly every stage of the juvenile justice system. This even appears to be the case when they’re engaging in the very same behaviors as their white peers.

“Research shows that there are few substantial differences in risk-taking behaviors between youth of color and their peers, yet our system treats them differently,” says Terry Brooks, executive director of Kentucky Youth Advocates. “Involvement with the juvenile justice system has a deep impact on the trajectory of a child’s life. By allowing the system to continue in its current fashion we are cutting opportunities short for too many youth of color.”

From a KYA press release:

Disproportionality can occur when systems are not monitored for their impact on different populations of youth. For instance, we know disproportionality exists in the early stages of arrest and the filing of formal court charges, yet prior arrests and adjudications can be considered when determining a young person’s eligibility for diversion or in determining placement if they are committed to the Department of Juvenile Justice. This practice can compound disproportionality present from earlier stages with decisions that appear objective at face value.

The report measures disproportionality at seven key stages within the system, based on available data. The data range from charges/complaints filed against youth to cases transferred for handling in the adult court system. For each stage it examines how contact with the juvenile justice system among a population of youth increases or decreases at each successive stage in addition to the cumulative effects of disproportionality across the many stages of the juvenile justice system.

Diversion and cases petitioned to court represent two critical stages at the beginning of the juvenile justice process. Youth who are eligible for diversion and successfully complete it can make amends for their actions and avoid a formal court process. The data show African-American and Hispanic youth are significantly less likely to have their cases closed due to successful diversion. Cases are most often petitioned to formal court when a youth is not eligible for diversion, or the County Attorney or judge requests formal processing even when a case is eligible for diversion. Cases petitioned also show African-American and Hispanic youth are more likely to have cases sent to court for formal processing.

You may click here (Warning: PDF Link) for a copy of the extensive report. Cause it’s about time we start having a discussion about race in the Commonwealth.