Spending money to lose money

More from the Why Kentucky Can’t Have Nice Things Dept

ERNIE $$$What’s wrong with this picture? The state spent three times its previous marketing budget to promote tourism by taxing folks staying in hotels, which results in a downturn in state revenue for tourism.

Auditor Crit Luallen released the report critical of the tourism department, suggesting creation of a (light bulb going off here) strategic marketing plan and an oversight committee to keep an eye on how all the promotional money is being spent.

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Red State? Blue State?

How About WHITE State!

Our beloved homeland of Eastern Kentucky is among the whitest areas of the United States, according to the Census Bureau. Magoffin County, the birthplace of Larry Flynt, checks in with 98.9 percent of its population as milky white. That put it in with an Iowa county for whitest in the country, and 13 other Kentucky counties are more than 98 percent white. The Herald-Leader points out that these areas are also among the poorest and least educated.

Finally, it’s not the press perpetuating stereotypes, right? It’s the gubmint.

White Kentucky - Visit Appalachia

Poverty and education aside: go visit Appalachian Kentucky! Head east. It’s the gem of our fine state and it’s deserving of your tourism dollars. And Kentucky’s famed festival season starts at the end of the month.

Why Kentucky Can’t Have Nice Things

Billy’s Earworm. On his new StraigtnFlush web site, journalist Billy Reed hammers the Fletcher Administration for its “hell bent determination to throw money at Peabody.” A month ago, even Dems agreed that attracting the Peabody plant would be good for the state. But as Billy points out, it ain’t so good for the environment, and its not the economic windfall some envisioned. And he brings up the $62 million gift to e.On US that the state is providing to move some equipment across the street to make way for the flawed Louisville Arena project. [StraightNFlush]

Death by Meeting? Looks like the H-L’s John Stamper and Jack Brammer were the only media members hanging with lawmakers in Frankfort for a five and a half hour meeting – its result – plans for another meeting. Despite lawmakers’ comments afterward, the two sides are quibbling over something. Could it be that the Supreme Ruler of Kentucky, desperate to bring a social issue (a la the marriage amendment) to the table in a special session, is holding out because he wants Dems to talk about his silly domestic partner proposal? Is it coincidence that the anti-gay kooks lined up chairs in the Capitol Annex and tried to get in the meeting? Does everything Fletcher attempts reek of desperation? [H-L/PolWatchers]

Correction: Al Mayo of WHAS Radio informs us that several others were present, including: Mr. Mayo, Tony McVeigh, Tom Loftus, Joe Biesk. Our apologies.

Lesson #1 for the Kentucky Board of Education: Do what Jefferson County did and actually hire a head honcho who is qualified and capable. Is it possible to compare Sheldon Berman with Barbara Erwin? We won’t even attempt it. The state Board may learn a lot about leadership and education by reading Berman’s letter. [C-J]

JERRY!
From the WTF Dept: Jerry, Esq. What did the King of All Things Mayoral say is his greatest challenge? Get ready for it: “Absorbing the diversity of immigrants coming in from all over the world.” For real. [The Ville Voice]

Bringing Fame to Kentucky

Grace is GoneThe non-political side of Bruce Lunsford (love him or hate him, your political opinions aside) and his Kentucky-based production company, with business partner Ed Hart, has snagged Clint Eastwood to compose the soundtrack for their new flick, “Grace is Gone.”

We bring it up because the movie is about a father (John Cusack) faced with telling his daughters that their mother was killed in Iraq. Since it won the audience award at Sundance earlier this year, the wingnuts may go crazy over it. You know how they love the hippy movies dealing with the realities of this righteous bloodbath.

Exclusive: Michael Kelley to face Geoff Davis in KY-4

Davis not looking like such a shoo-in anymore?

Page One has learned there is a challenger for 4th District Congressman Geoff Davis (R), something that may surprise readers of the Kentucky Enquirer. In his Sunday column, Pat Crowley wrote that no candidate has stepped forward to face Rep. Davis in 2008. Specifically, “Kentucky Democrats struggle to even name any potential challengers to Davis.” We like Pat’s reporting, but we’ve learned Dr. Michael Kelley of Oldham County filed for 2008 candidacy just a few weeks ago, and is set to face Rep. Davis come the fall.

Side Note: Crowley reports Heather French Henry is the only name to surface as a potential challenger, despite, well, many factors. Sources say Henry has repeatedly informed Democratic Party insiders that she will not run for U.S. Congress for career-related reasons and, honestly, why would someone with as solid a career as the former Miss America give that up to run for office?

Our sources say Kelley will not be a candidate just for candidacy’s sake— he won’t be the sacrificial lamb— that he’ll have support similar to that of Ken Lucas in 2006. If you remember the horde of commercials purchased on behalf of Lucas (and the $1.5Million the FEC says he raised that year) you realize this could potentially be big bucks— and aid— for Kelley.

According to a contact at the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, “Kelley will garner strong support from the state and national party because he’s not a career politician. He’s not your average hack from Halliburton. He has a simple plan that hits home with the voters and he connects with people on a personal level that career-types like Davis cannot.”

Kelley FamilyPage One sat down with Kelley earlier this month. We’d like to share a portion of the interview with more to come later in the year.

Michael Kelley, 41, is a family man and lifelong Kentuckian. He’s been married to his wife, Gretchen, for eleven years and they have four children together. Three daughters and one son, ages 5, 6, 9, and 10. He is a self-described country physician who graduated from the University of Louisville’s School of Medicine in 1993. In 1997 he joined a small medical practice and as a direct result has become concerned about the flaws in the American health care system. Dr. Kelley is also strongly opposed to Republican-led efforts to prolong the war in Iraq.

The cornerstones of Michael’s plan, which will be released in coming weeks, are as follows:

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Absolute Power?

CBS affiliate KXMC in North Dakota begins to talk about John Cheves’ in-depth analysis of McConnell and his Labor Secretary wife.

The tragedy at the Crandall Canyon mine in Utah, where six men are currently trapped underground, has brought to light the partnership between Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and his wife, Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao and how they are aligned against the interests of working people.

Speaking of the couple, they were both at today’s national meeting of the Fraternal Order of Police held in Louisville (along with Rep. John Yarmuth). Watch the video below to hear what they had to say.

You’ll remember that Democrats caved in a vote on August 4 approving the “Protect America Act”, thereby authorizing warrantless wiretapping. No more FISA court requirement. No more privacy. If you need a refresher or want a more complete understanding of the wiretap situation, check out Robert Parry’s latest.

Senator McConnell spoke about this very issue today. (See video) Did he get it wrong by incorrectly characterizing the wiretapping issue? He said, “To me, the idea that we were supposed to extend the Bill of Rights to a bunch of non-citizens overseas, let alone terrorists, wasn’t only dangerous, it was the height of stupidity.”

[flv:/video/McConnell-FOP-08132007.flv 320 240]
Note that there was no mention of rights as they relate to U.S. citizens. No mention that your communication with a friend in Chile will be tapped without a court order, either. Bruce Schreiner has more on today’s events.