Introducing Jim Waters: Jay Walking

This week, Steve Beshear released his ideas for solving our educational woes. It’s not a problem that can be solved, but something politicians have to give regular and constant attention. Beshear’s got some good ideas, but no policy can ensure that high school graduates know the basics. Still, despite millions spent with the idea of improving the collective knowledge of our democracy, Jim Waters points out here that as a whole, we’ve got a long way to go.

Let’s face it – most Americans couldn’t get half the questions on the student version of Jeopardy right. That’s no reason to give up on education. Jim’s column is funny in an “oh, shit” way.

Jim WatersJim Waters is a well-known writer and current Director of Policy and Communications at the Bluegrass Institute. You’ve read him in LEO and other publications. Now you can read what he has to say without waiting for a newspaper to go to print.

This is Page One’s first foray into publishing a regular columnist. Please welcome Jim aboard. We plan to introduce content from readers and other contributors in the weeks ahead. Let us know what you think.

Should we laugh or cry when Leno goes ‘Jaywalking’?

By Jim Waters

America’s founders knew an uninformed citizenry presented a greater threat to freedom than military power.

Thomas Jefferson wrote: “If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be.”

While Jefferson may be one of the most aggrieved victims of “revisionist history,” even the most “politically correct” clod would have to acquiesce to his assertion that citizens cannot be both ignorant and adequately preserve, much less defend, their freedoms.

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Jody Richards: Sellout

Jody RichardsWhy is it Stephen George is the only journalist to discuss Jody Richards‘ failure and public humiliation of the Commonwealth? Richards sold out to Peabody and, as George reports, called its energy incentive give-away an “environmental protection bill.”

How batshit crazy must one be in order to refer to the $300 million stash Peabody is getting as an environmental protection bill?

Why aren’t the mainstream press tearing this apart?

Further, why isn’t anyone in power standing up for Kentucky? Where is Anti-Mountaintop Removal Jonathan Miller on this issue? Why aren’t you standing up against the Bush Admnistration’s move to make mountaintop removal easier and more damaging, Jonathan? That was a forefront issue of your gubernatorial campaign.

Everyone should read Stephen George’s story this week. It’ll snap you back into the reality-based community wherein some of our legislators have never stepped foot.

As the dog days near an end

Surprised? Ethics complaint against Williams dropped. Think it could have something to do with two of those Ethics members being county contacts during the merit scandal? [PolWatchers, BGR] Update: As a reader pointed out, there’s no connection because we’ve confused the Executive Branch Ethics Commission and the Legislative Branch. That may be why there’s no connection being pointed out. Thanks, David.

When students speak. The Kentucky Kernel thinks Stumbo is right, says Ernie should ask trustees to resign. [KY Kernel]

Larry Craig FAQ. For real. Put down all beverages before checking the link. [Slate]

They’re pissed. Anti-Mitch and Anti-War protesters hit the streets of Berea as McConnell visited the chamber of commerce. A similar demonstration took place in Bowling Green. Interesting to note the event’s organizer has a son who believes Saddam Hussein was funding al Qaeda. Go figure. [Richmond Register, BG Daily News]

Crops are screwed. Kentucky asks for disaster assistance as southern Kentucky farmers harvesting their corn crops report that their yield is as much as 40 percent below average. It’s so severe that Gov. Fletcher ordered the Office of Insurance to allow out-of-state adjusters to work in Kentucky. Yay global warming. [H-L]

Ernie 180? Alessi has the scoop on Bluegrass Freedom Fund’s first ad spot. He provides an in-depth analysis proving two points true, two points at least half-true. Check it out. [PolWatchers]

It’s Raining Men!

An intrepid reporter sent us an e-mail this morning with some very important questions about toilet cruising Senator Larry Craig and his wide stance. They suggested we ask them of various congress critters around Kentucky.

  • “Should a congressman have to resign over a game of footsie?”
  • “Have you been to the Minneapolis/St. Paul International Airport recently? Do you know stall 4 in Terminal C?”
  • “When Sen. Craig resigns, do you think they should play ‘It’s raining men’?”
  • “Shouldn’t Sen. Craig resign just because he looks like a sex offender?”
  • “Do you think they know of homosexuals in Idaho?”
  • “If Senator Craig is gay, do you think a potato can be gay?”

We think these brilliant and pertinent questions should have been asked of Rep. Yarmuth when he appeared on WHAS11’s noon show yesterday. (Attention Renee Murphy: we were praying you’d ask if he had a wide stance!)

Page One is very interested in finding the answers to these questions. If you have answers to any of them, please let us know so that intrepid young reporter can get more of the story.

[audio:http://pageonekentucky.com/audio/rainingmen.mp3]

UPDATE: Some people have no sense of humor.

Exclusive: Fletcher & Beshear Take on Poverty

A few days ago Page One asked Kentucky’s gubernatorial candidates what they would do to eradicate poverty. We asked that the candidates respond with specific solutions for eradicating poverty without resorting to personal attacks and without bringing gambling into the discussion. We’re pretty sure there’s been enough bickering without any solid conversation about the issues facing Kentucky.

We know the respective campaigns are busy in their own right so we thank them greatly for taking time to respond. To keep things on equal footing we have decided to publish responses in full without any editing. Please read them for yourself and form your own opinion about who rose to the challenge of tackling one of the biggest problems in the state.

We have to be critical here. This in no way is a representation of our political preference and nothing should be considered an endorsement or denouncement of a candidacy. We’re not picking sides, but it’s obvious Ernie Fletcher’s campaign is addressing the poverty issue more seriously. Whether Steve Beshear has an actual agenda for addressing poverty is not clear from this response, and we’re open to hearing more from the campaign. Meanwhile, Fletcher’s folks put enough time and effort in that we’ve had to divide his response into three parts, with the rest to follow.

While only offering suggestions and not providing specific solutions for poverty itself, Beshear’s campaign has responded. Having plans for the state as a whole is a great thing. But lumping poverty in with the rest is part of the problem. Poverty will have to be specifically addressed without regard to those who aren’t suffering. We have no doubt that Steve Beshear can and will deal with poverty but we want to know what the heck he’ll do specifically. It doesn’t take much to put it in writing. Guess we have to remind ourselves that this is a campaign and getting too specific would require holding oneself accountable.

The Fletcher campaign has offered a three-part response to our question and we’ve published the first portion. To our surprise our concerns have actually been addressed. Or have begun to be addressed, anyway. The campaign deserves credit for doing so. Sure, a lot of this substance comes from Fletcher having been in office for four years (Beshear’s been an office holder, as well, and could have mentioned what he’s done in the past) and the campaign relies heavily on what it says he’s already accomplished. But the point here is that the campaign specifically addresses poverty and is beginning to offer specific solutions.

Both candidates teeter on the edge of generality almost as if they’re afraid to get their hands dirty. They have taken major steps, however, to move away from gambling and have begun to enter the territory of real issues facing real people. We hope this is a sign of things to come and look forward to both candidates dealing with the reality of life beyond casinos. Have to also congratulate the campaigns for thus far ignoring ridiculous wedge issues like gay marriage and gun ownership.

We hope Beshear’s running mate, Dr. Daniel Mongiardo, forces this issue to the forefront. Being a state senator from the poverty-stricken hills of eastern Kentucky gives him a unique perspective that needs to be more prominent in this race.

Responses after the jump.

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Getting Something Right

Fletcher, Kentucky and the Appalachian Regional Commission finally get something right. We’re finally offering grants to develop adventure tourism in Eastern Kentucky!

The state is making $623,000 available for grants of about $20,000 each for counties to generate so-called adventure tourism, Gov. Ernie Fletcher announced Tuesday. The money can be used to plan facilities.

The tactic was adopted after a study by Pros Consulting of Dallas showed increased spending on such tourism in Eastern Kentucky could generate 132,000 new visitors annually and $54 million to $99 million in economic impact. The ventures could create as many as 1,500 jobs.

We are absolutely shocked (SHOCKED!) that the Commonwealth is recognizing what a gem we have in the Appalachian region.

Having been involved (Jake) in a long-term community development project with the Brushy Fork Institute in the 90s, we can say first-hand that adventure tourism in the Appalachians works. A group from Fayette County West Virginia developed a similar plan in their region that was met with great success.

Click Here to read the report.