I Love Kentucky

“Godzillus”: The 4.5 Million year old fossil supposedly discovered mere miles from Gov. Beshear’s Dinosaur Ark Park in Northern Kentucky

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April 26, 2012
By David M. F. Schankula

Get a load of this!

A mysterious 450 million-year-old fossil discovered by a local man was unveiled Tuesday at a Geological Society of America meeting at the Dayton Convention Center.

The fossil, dubbed “Godzillus,” was found last year in Northern Kentucky by amateur paleontologist Ron Fine, a 43-year-old mechanical designer from Dayton. The elliptical-shaped specimen measures 3.5-foot wide by 6.5-foot long and is believed to be the largest fossil recovered from the Cincinnati area.

The question Tuesday at the GSA North-Central section 46th annual meeting was whether it was animal, vegetable or mineral.

“We are looking for people who might have an idea of what it is,” said Ben Dattilo, an assistant professor of geology at Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne, who is researching the discovery.

Uh… yeah. I got a pretty good idea what it is…

A g-ddamn lie! That’s what.

Northern Kentucky is clearly home to Governor Steve Beshear’s new Bible Theme Park which will feature a to-scale model of Noah’s Ark complete with Dinosaurs on it… all of which clearly proves the earth is only 6,000 years old.

That’s roughly four hundred and forty nine millions off the supposed projections of supposed scientists about this supposed fossil.

Which leaves two sides to this issue. Either you are curious about the year and origin of this supposed fossil, or you are on the side of G-d, the Bible, The State of Kentucky and Governor Steve Beshear and this “fossil” is nothing but a g-ddamn lie.

Do you want proof?

Well, by sheer divine providence, we were blessed just days ago (before this news of fabricated fossiling) with this explanation from Ken Ham and Answers In Geneis, the creators of Gov. Beshear’s brilliant Dinosaur Ark Park which will one day sit mere miles from where this supposed fossil was supposedly discovered.

Assumptions Change Estimate of Age

To solve this puzzle it is necessary to review the assumptions on which radiocarbon dating is based. These include:

  • The production rate of carbon-14 has always been the same in the past as now.
  • The atmosphere has had the same carbon-14 concentration in the past as now.
  • The biosphere (the places on earth where organisms live) has always had the same overall carbon-14 concentration as the atmosphere, due to the rapid transfer of carbon-14 atoms from the atmosphere to the biosphere.3

None of these assumptions is strictly correct, beyond a rough first approximation. Indeed, scientists have now documented that the atmosphere’s concentration of carbon-14 varies considerably according to latitude. They have also determined several geophysical causes for past and present fluctuations in carbon-14 production in the atmosphere.4

Specifically, we know that carbon-14 has varied in the past due to a stronger magnetic field on earth and changing cycles in sunspot activity. So when objects of known historical dates are dated using radiocarbon dating, we find that carbon-14 dates are accurate back to only about 400 BC.

The conventional scientific community ignores at least two factors that are crucial to recalibrating radiocarbon (so that it accounts for major changes in the biosphere and atmosphere that likely resulted from the Flood): (1) The earth’s magnetic field has been progressively stronger going back into the past, and (2) the Flood destroyed and buried a huge amount of carbon from the pre-Flood biosphere.

It is written!

And here’s a picture for those of you too stupid to grasp all those words because Gov. Beshear hasn’t yet fixed the state’s education system by totally defunding it:

And what if in the past it wasn't that the trees and lizards were really big but instead that everything was the same size and it was just the earth itself that was really small? What would you believe then?

Get real! You could listen to pagans with million year old histories, or you could listen to the Governor of the state of Kentucky. It’s your choice. And you know what happens if you choose wrong.

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Th War for It’s Southern Independence

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April 17, 2012
By David M. F. Schankula

In Pikeville last week, the city presented John Calipari with a plaque bearing a key to the city:

It misspelled the word “the” and used “it’s” instead of “its.” This then became an excuse for people around the country to mock the state of Kentucky for being home to morons… because no one in Texas or Idaho has ever contracted a possessive before.

While you could lament the stupidity of the rest of the nation for thinking we’re all idiots, the plaque snafu did have a positive side as it stole the headlines away from something truly embarrassing happening across the state in Paducah:

Group plans to fly Confederate flag near Kentucky interstate

A Confederate history organization has put up a flagpole in western Kentucky near Interstate 24 and plans to fly a large battle flag.

The pole is on private land in Reidland at exit 16.

The Paducah Sun reported Kentucky division commander John Suttles of the Sons of Confederate Veterans said the land for a memorial park was donated by a man who had Confederate ancestors.

Suttles said the park will contain, besides the flagpole, benches and a circle of bricks to represent fallen Confederate soldiers.

“We are doing this to honor ancestors,” Suttles said. “It’s the 150th anniversary of the war for Southern independence. People may have mixed feelings about this, but it is historic.”

So, please, America… don’t label us ungrammatical nitwits when you could instead call us historically ignorant racists.

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Anti-Immigrant Forces to be Bolstered by Neo-Nazi Hate Group March on Frankfort

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April 12, 2012
By David M. F. Schankula

If you’ve ever listened to Lexington talk radio or read the comments on pretty much any article on the Herald-Leader website, you understand that underneath the sheen of pretty horses and basketball hoopla, there exists a layer of Lexingtonians who despise immigrants and harbor deep, misplaced resentment toward Blacks.

Well good news for them! On April 21st — that’s next Saturday! — the Kentucky branch of a Michigan-based neo-Nazi group will invade the state capitol and rally for “White Rights” on the steps beneath Frankfort’s rotunda.

Rise up, Racists! It’s time to make your voices heard on the important issue of illegal immigration and black kids in threatening hoodies. White people in America really have it tough, and these good folks have your back:

BlueBluegrass has a lot on this lovely subject so head on over.

The Herald, as well, has the details:

On its Web site, nsm88.org, the group posted a video featuring the state’s “Welcome to Kentucky: Unbridled Spirit” logo.

Sandra E. Coy submitted a rally application on Jan. 17. Coy listed her title as “KY East Coordinator, National Socialists Movement” and described the purpose of the group as “protest against illegal immigration.”

Coy listed the group’s address as “703 3rd St., Shelbyville” which is also the address of farm supply company Bob’s Hay Barn, where Coy is listed as manager in various business social media groups. According to its articles of incorporation, the business is owned by Marvin Leighton Sparrow, also known as Marvin Bob Sparrow. No one answered the phone at Bob’s Hay Barn late Wednesday or at Sparrow’s residence.

According to the group’s application to the Finance & Administration Cabinet, they expect about 200 people to “march up to the Capitol steps and give several speeches on illegal immigration and what it is doing to America.”

Read it all.
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‘Toto, I’ve a feeling we’re still in Kentucky’: Help the Red Cross Help Kentucky

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March 5, 2012
By David M. F. Schankula

via HerLinked, Friday’s tornados did great damage across the Commonwealth and while authorities are telling people not to drive out to affected communities and help (I think what they mean is “gawk,” I imagine your help would be appreciated) it seems the most direct — and easiest — way to help is via the Red Cross:

DONATE

The Bluegrass Red Cross is also telling folks that donations can be made in person at any Central Bank or Fifth Third Bank in Central Kentucky.

If you have any doubt about the destruction (you would have had to ignore all news, the internet and most casual conversation over the weekend) the BGRC also has a flickr stream documenting some of the havoc:

Meanwhile…

Governor Beshear spoke on Thursday with the President of the United States of America, Barack Obama, both about the Wednesday storms and the impending Friday storms. The two executives spoke again on Saturday by phone while the Governor was surveying the damage. The President of the United States of America pledged the full support of the federal government.

Beshear said the President assured him the federal government will help Kentucky.

“He said that his and Michelle’s thoughts and prayers are with us here, with our folks all over the state,” Beshear said. “That he has directed that all the federal resources that could be brought to bear it will be available to us. He understands what we’re going through.”

On Sunday, Governor Beshear wrote to President Barack Obama requesting federal aid for the state and storm victims:

Gov. Steve Beshear has asked for federal assistance in the wake a flurry of storms Friday that are said to be the worst to hit the eastern part of Kentucky in almost 25 years.

Beshear said during a news conference Sunday that he had requested a federal disaster declaration for Kentucky’s storm-ravaged areas.

The governor also confirmed that the storm has caused 21 fatalities with more than 300 injured.

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Kentucky Roadkill & Spotting British Dicks

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February 29, 2012
By David M. F. Schankula

So the Kentucky Tourism board hired a British company to set up a website promoting the rolling blue hills of our Commonwealth to snaggle-toothed British people (it’s okay, I’m half snaggle-toothed) and the British company entertained our Tourism Commissioner, paying $735 for his meals — which is insane; British food is terrible, it’s like they took the French love of pastry and decided instead of sweet fillings loaded it up with meat… all they eat is mushy peas and meat pies… how can you eat $735 worth of that?

Unless it was $735 worth of “pudding”:

The website the Brit’s put together accounted for $20,000 of their overall contract. The Herald reports:

Kentuckytourism.co.uk was part of a $179,900-a-year contract that the Kentucky Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet has with British marketing firm Gosh P.R. to draw visitors from the United Kingdom to Kentucky to see horse farms, bourbon distilleries and other sights.

But it also included less savory fare, suggesting that visitors to Kentucky play “roadkill bingo” as they track the number of dead animals they see along the highways.

After the news broke, the site was quickly vanished down the memory hole. Unfortunately, the Google Cache is still with us, so enjoy $20,000 worth of state funds:

Kentucky is a big state, compared to the UK at least, and visitors must drive pretty much everywhere. Some of the drives are among the most scenic and beautiful you will ever experience, be it through wooded national parks or skirting the rolling picket-fenced or stonewalled horse farms. With a total area of 40,000 sq miles, measuring 379 miles from east to west and 140 miles north to south, there is a lot of driving to do, especially when hurtling from A to B on a strict tourist timetable.

Some drives can drag a bit, even with the jingle jangle of the banjo on the bluegrass-playing radio said stations, so it’s good to spice them up with some fun car games, using the flora and fauna as inspiration. One popular game for long-distance trips is “roadkill bingo”.

OK, it seems a bit sick, spotting dead animals, but you will never see so much roadkill in your life, and so varied.

Sadly, roadkill is a fact of life in Kentucky; the locals are used to it and as they say, when in Rome … So, if you can get over the sadness, and the blood, give it a whirl.

All you have to do is buy a roadkill bingo board game or make one yourself and tick off the critters as you spot them. Some versions include lines and grids. Alternatively, score them as you drive. With certain points for certain beasts.

I’ve scored certain beasts depending on their frequency or rarity. There’s one point if you spot a dead racoon, they are pretty much everywhere in Kentucky and easily identifiable; with 2 points for a squirrel, 3 for a hare, and 4 points for a possum (not that possums are rare, it’s just that you never know if it’s a possum or not – they range in size from a large mouse to a large house cat).

Give five points for a coyote; I saw what looked like a dead wild dog on the road to Lexington from Bardstown, and thought it was someone’s pet, until we realised we were way out in the country and this looked too big, too wild, to be a pet. Apparently there are coyotes in Kentucky.

A deer we valued at 6 points; there’s no fun in spotting one, mind, it’s too sad, but they are very common (Kentucky has the highest number per capita in the US), especially in spring, when the males get frisky and don’t care about crossing the road to mate. There are warning signs for deer just about everywhere. Give six points, too, for wild turkey, also very common but rarely seen by roadsides. And no, the bourbon brand doesn’t count!

For the jackpot, however, it has to be a skunk; 10 points. Not because they are rare – they are not – but because when you drive slowly over a freshly killed one, it absolutely stinks. If you have the windows open, or the sunroof up, award double points, because the smell is overpowering, and with the windows down you are at one with nature for some time: the smell – and it’s as bad as the cartoons make out – stays in your car for up to five miles.

Basically, the player with the highest number of points wins. Well, it beats I-Spy or 20 questions.

Road Kill Bingo is an actual game (it’s on wikipedia) and you can buy the board game and t-shirts at the official site which, by the way, makes no mention of Kentucky.

All of this does explain why our state has, over the past year, seen tens of millions of funny talking, poorly dressed foreigners who speak our language but inexplicably phrase half their sentences as questions roaming our backroads humming Dueling Banjoes and inspecting our dead animals. $20,000 is a good price to pay for that sort of return, innit?

Obviously if those stupid monarchists had done even a second of research, they would know the only kind of bingo we play in Kentucky (outside of strip mall church halls) is White Male Liberty Patriot Bingo:

Now, as I said, while I am a 100% red blooded American, I am also part of that older Commonwealth and have spent some time there marveling at their terrible beer (they call it “Bitter” and I would be too if that’s what I had to drink all the time) and the fact that everyone always smells like must and mold because they never figured out how to manufacture a clothes dryer so I do understand that sometimes stereotypes hurt and any idiot can make fun of people they don’t know — and most idiots don’t need $20,000 to do it.

Anyway, the state pulled the website and according to the Herald the Tourism Commission is trying to figure out what to do next.

The cabinet is considering whether to scrap the company’s contract, cabinet spokesman Gil Lawson said.

“We asked Gosh P.R. to take the site down while we review the material on the site,” Lawson said.

Seems pretty obvious Gosh P.R. should gather up all their ha’pennies and give ‘em back to us so we can buy a lot of moonshine and forget this ever happened.
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We’re #2! Kentucky is second worst state in America for ‘Well-Being’

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February 29, 2012
By David M. F. Schankula

Says Gallup:

Well that sucks. Apparently our collective awareness that we are not West Virginia is the only thing that separates us from our sad eastern neighbors.

Although, digging deeper, perhaps we shouldn’t call our neighbors sad since Kentucky actually came in dead last in the sub-index category of “Emotional Well-Being.”

But at least we’ve got each other, right? So come on, y’all, let’s get happy:

And stop with all that weeping!

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Who Can It Be Now: On Damon Thayer, Political Strategery & Gambling in Kentucky

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February 27, 2012
By David M. F. Schankula

Since Thursday’s failed vote on Beshear’s gambling amendment, many around the Bluegrass and the Commonwealth have noted the sacrifice Damon Thayer made. They have lauded him for taking a stand, for crossing party lines, putting his reputation at risk, to co-sponsor the bill that could — as the argument goes — save the thoroughbred industry.

But is Damon Thayer deserving of this praise?

Or did Damon Thayer outplay everyone, working both sides to achieve his own ends?

The Paulick Report pronounced Damon a “Winner” in the 2012 Gambling battle, writing:

Since the beginning of 2012, no one has laid it on the line politically like Sen. Thayer. The horse industry destroyed him just a few years ago for not going along with a statutory approach to expanded gaming. And yet, he stood up to immense pressure from his own Republican caucus and right-wing base of supporters to bring forth the constitutional amendment bill he promised the industry when he first ran for office.

Let’s take a closer look at what Damon Thayer has done — and how he’s done it — since the beginning of 2012.

Thayer hails from Georgetown, just across Fayette County’s border. He represents Scott, Owen, Grant and Kenton Counties. A Kentucky Colonel (who isn’t?), he is a member of the Scott County Chamber of Commerce, the NRA and Kentucky Right to Life.

He is the Chair of the Senate standing committee on State and Local Government and in that capacity he was in charge of the Senate’s redistricting process. The map Thayer drew, ruled unconstitutional on Friday by the Kentucky Supreme Court, removed Fayette County Senator Kathy Stein from office, relocating her 13th District seat to Northeastern Kentucky and replacing her with a Senator from a county three hours drive to the West.

After this plan was announced on January 18th, the Herald-Leader reported:

Senate State and Local Government Chairman Damon Thayer, R-Georgetown, said moving Stein out of Fayette County was not political retaliation. The move was necessary to redraw Senate district lines to reflect the state’s shifting population, he said.

….Thayer did not answer a reporter when asked if Williams had ordered that Stein’s district be moved because of a vendetta. Stein said she was glad that Thayer at least did not lie. Williams later said he did not direct Thayer to move Stein’s district.

Upon signing the unconstitutional Senate and House redistricting maps into short-lived law on January 20th, Governor Beshear expressed unguarded skepticism about Thayer/Williams’ claim of a lack of coordination:

Beshear blasted Williams, accusing him of personally ordering Stein’s district to be moved. “The action directed by the Senate president to move Senator Kathy Stein’s district in Lexington to northeast Kentucky in order to keep her from being able to run for re-election, and moving Western Kentucky Sen. Dorsey Ridley’s district to Lexington, goes beyond partisanship. It reflects a personal vindictiveness that should have no place in this process.”

Political observers across the spectrum recognized that Williams and Thayer had worked together to craft the Senate redistricting map, in part a retaliation for the Democrat-controlled House plan which disenfranchised several Republican representatives, in part to settle partisan grudges and flex political muscle.

Days after the Governor signed the Thayer/Williams redistricting map into law, the Herald reported that Thayer would cross party lines to sponsor the Casino Gambling Amendment:

Senate State and Local Government chairman Damon Thayer of Georgetown said Wednesday he was “strongly leaning” toward sponsoring Gov. Steve Beshear’s constitutional amendment to expand gambling.

….Thayer said Williams “has said publicly and told me privately that he will not stand in the way of a constitutional amendment coming to a vote in the Senate. I have no reason not to take him at his word.”

Indeed Thayer did support the amendment, appearing with Beshear to introduce it and then pushing it out of his own State and Local Government Senate Committee for the full, and failed, Senate vote.

After that Senate vote failed, Thayer explained to reporters his conflicted position on gambling:

Thayer, a horse industry proponent and former racing executive, said after the vote he believes a constitutional amendment is the only way to address the issue. He noted he opposed gaming-via-statute legislation a few years ago. “I paid the price for that but I was able to look myself in the mirror, and I can look myself in the mirror now,” Thayer said. “Other states have done (expanded gambling) by statute, but it is wrong. I’m not afraid to give people the opportunity to decide this issue. This is a democracy.

Thayer was against casino gambling before he was for it but even when he was for it, Damon Thayer was never really in favor of it. He just wanted to let the voters decide.

That’s the Damon Thayer narrative this time around.

Just like last time, Thayer doesn’t actually support gambling but this time he professed to support the peoples’ vote.

That’s a nuanced position and any in the horse industry or in the state who wish to laud Thayer for trying should take a moment to fully consider Thayer’s actual purpose.

Thayer’s strategy allowed Damon Thayer to

  • Represent the horse interests of Scott County.
  • Represent the anti-gambling interests of the increasingly conservative voters of the rest of his Northern Kentucky district.
  • Put forward the vote under veil of giving voters what they wanted.
  • Coordinate the Senate vote’s timing with Senate Prez David Williams.
  • Ultimately lead the Bill into Williams’ buzzsaw.
  • Weaken the Governor.
  • Strengthen his own political position with both sides.

This positioning creates political capital with both sides. For the far right religious voters who opposed gambling on a Biblical premise, Thayer delivers a CYA under guise of “letting people decide.” For anyone on the inside of the KY GOP, word is whispered out that Thayer is very much on their team — as he has always been in the past — and acted out of expediency to his horse constituency while strengthening his overall statewide position.

Thayer is not pro-gambling. Thayer saw polls from the horse industry and from the Republican Party which showed a wide majority of Kentucky voters wanted to vote directly on the initiative (regardless of their support or opposition to it). Thayer presents himself as someone who has opposed gambling in the past but wishes to let the people decide this time while simultaneously planning with Williams a way to kill the bill, keep people from ultimately voting and, in the process, weaken the Governor. No gambling, no problem. A win/win.

Thayer’s committee passed the bill on Wednesday. On Thursday, David Williams announced he would bring it to a vote even though he knew full-well three “Yes” votes (all Democrats) would not be in attendance.

Ultimately, two of those three hastily re-scheduled and made it to Frankfort but the third “Yes” remained unavailable.

The bill needed 23 votes to carry. Given the divisivness of the issue and the prolonged madness of the ultimately failed Thayer/Williams/Stumbo/Beshear redistricting mess, a handful of votes remained in the balance. Senators were hesitant to take a stand one way or another without knowing what district and which voters they would be voting to represent and down the road seeking re-election from (and in this way, Thayer could be given credit for killing the bill twice, if you’re willing to acknowledge it).

Beshear said he had 23 votes. Thayer said there were 23 votes. One of those is at worst wishful thinking while the other is at best being honest.

In the middle, perhaps, there is truth.

Still unsure of their ultimate electoral districts (thanks, again, to the T/W/S/B redistricting debacle) the swing Senators who could vote Yay or could vote Nay on casino gambling and thus could account for the needed 23 were further compromised by David Williams move to force the vote on Thursday, when three of the 23 needed Yes votes were unavailable.

Even after two of those Yesses showed up, one was still missing. While some have stressed the wide margin of the eventual vote — 16 to 21 — as evidence the votes were never there to begin with, another explanation is that the missing six voters were holding out for the assurance of victory.

If the Governor could guarantee 23 votes, perhaps he could have gotten 23 votes.

As it happened, David Williams scheduled the vote on a day he knew there would not be enough votes. Williams assured there would be at best 22 votes given one Senator’s pre-established absence. The six swing-Senators then would be voting for a failing amendment and putting their own chances for re-election on the line for a failing vote.

Thayer passed the bill out of Committee on Wednesday. Williams called it to the floor on Thursday knowing it couldn’t get 23 votes. After the bill was voted down, Thayer expressed regret and extended congratulations:

Soon after the proposed constitutional amendment to allow gambling failed in the Senate by a 16-21 votes, Republican Sen. Damon Thayer of Georgetown, who sponsored the casino bill, congratulated Senate President David Williams of Burkesville for “orchestrating” the measure’s defeat.

All of this came after a Herald-Leader report that Thayer’s consulting firm represented thoroughbred interests, a revelation Governor Beshear blamed on Willaims:

“I certainly thought that that was a cheap shot that was taken this morning in the newspapers about Senator Thayer,” Beshear, a Democrat, said during a news conference after an event in the Capitol Rotunda. “He’s a fellow of integrity, and he is doing what he thinks is right in sponsoring this amendment to let people vote on it.”He implied that Williams, R-Burkesville, was behind the story and said it is “certainly further evidence of intimidation by Senator Williams and others who are against this amendment. I think it’s very clear that that’s the case.”

Again, Thayer is not in favor of gambling but he is in favor of the horse industry. That’s a good place to be politically for someone with ambitions for even higher office.

In the Gubernatorial election of 2011, Beshear trounced Williams and the theory went the Governor was trying to run up the numbers (thus, his tax task force was not a policy platform but an afterthought) in order to not only defeat Williams at the polls but render him impotent and unelectable again as Senate President.

Beshear did defeat Williams but Williams retained control over the Senate Republicans:

Williams, a Burkesville Republican who has headed the Senate since 2000, said after a retreat Thursday for Senate Republicans that there would be no leadership changes in the Senate.

He said no Republican leader faced a challenge.

There was speculation that there might be a challenge to Williams’ leadership, given Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear’s resounding victory over Williams in the Nov. 8 gubernatorial election.

Some thought Williams could be a liability for Republican candidates in the 2012 elections, when half of the Senate’s 38 seats will be up for grabs.

The Republican Party of Kentucky is powerful and forward looking. On the national level, they have foisted the nation’s most powerful Senator, Mitch McConnell, the nation’s leading Tea Party voice, Rand Paul, the holder of the nation’s pursestrings, Hal Rogers, and a trio of powerful Congressmen who control the national policy on environment unprotection and “job creation” — Whitfield, Gutrhie and Davis.

On the state level, however, the Kentucky Republican Party has over and over proven ineffective in taking over government. The Williams nomination was, in itself, a declration of failure. The Bully from Burkesville never had a chance and no one of right-thinking mind ever thought different. He was nominated because a) it was his time; and more important, b) no one else had statewide cred.

With his backhanded support of the Democratic Governor’s gambling bill, Thayer is attempting to take that mantel.

The Senate Republican caucus’ decision to keep Williams as President was not an endorsement of Dave’s job performance but a recognition of reality: Governor Beshear has four (right?) more years in office, he can’t run again which makes 2015 a clean slate struggle between the two parties. Better to have an established villain perform the task of obfuscater than run, again, someone so easily lampooned as the reason nothing gets done in Frankfort.

So David Williams carries on as bad guy and the Republicans around him jostle for position.

Who can it be now?

Damon Thayer opposed gambling in the past.

This year, in 2012, he did David Williams’ bidding on the failed redistricting bill.

Then he took a “brave” stance across party lines by sponsoring not the idea of casino gambling but the idea Kentucky voters should be able to vote it down themselves.

He worked alongside Williams on the unconstitutional disenfranchisement map. Why would you think he didn’t do the same on gambling?

He passed it out of committee on Wednesday. Williams took it to a vote on Thursday when everyone knew there weren’t enough votes.

Gambling died. Will the thorougbred industry?

Will Damon Thayer get the credit he deserves?

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Lexington Loves Mountains… and so do you!

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February 9, 2012
By David M. F. Schankula

It’s that time, folks. Time for the annual mountain fest when all you mountain lovin’ freaks take to the streets and flaunt your mountain lovin’ predilections.

Disgusting amounts of fun and activism begin today and run through next Wednesday, with the biggest event coming next Tuesday, the 14th, Valentine’s Day, aka, I LOVE MOUNTAINS DAY.

Highlights of the multi-day Lexington Loves Mountains include:

  • Thursday, Feb. 9th: Film Screening — Dirty Business: “Clean Coal” And The Battle For Our Energy Future // @ Homegrown Press 7 pm, FREE, 574 N Limestone
  • Friday, Feb. 10th: I Love Mountains Oldtime Music Showcase with Rich & the Po’ Folk, Karly Dawn, Little Sarie & The Hillfolk, Sugar Tree, The Jarflies, Carrie Jean & Sylvia Rose // @ Al’s Bar, $10, 8 pm
  • Saturday Feb. 11th: Legislative Letter Writing Party Hosted by The Morris Book Shop. Featuring Kentucky Authors and Musicians. Starts at 12 pm

And more — check the facebook list for full details — including Monday’s “Dine for the Mountains” during which 10% of all food and drink sales at Third Street Stuff, Al’s Bar and Stella’s will go to KFTC.

Tuesday, February 14th is the big day. I LOVE MOUNTAIN DAY!

12:00 p.m.: Gather on the front steps of the State Capitol (please eat lunch before you arrive).

12:30 p.m. to 1:45 p.m.: Rally and march. Our rally will feature special guest speaker, Tar Sands Activist Melina Laboucan-Massimo

You can head up earlier than noon to lobby legislators, wander Frankfort or make new friends and you’ll be done by 2PM. So why wouldn’t you go?

And afterward, there’s a happy hour shindig from 4 to 8PM at Al’s Bar featuring the music of Warren Byrom and others.

So go. Blow the top off Frankfort, poison their air with your disgusting mountain loving voices.

Tell ‘em to get off your backs.

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HBEER! Federal funds support Kentucky’s Houseboat Industry

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January 30, 2012
By David M. F. Schankula

Federal regulators are forcing Kentucky industry and employers into pursuit of “energy effecient” housing in their continuing war on coal. And Hal Rogers carrying the pork and trying to destroy King Coal. Read all about it:

Kentucky’s houseboat manufacturers once thrived by churning out luxurious floating residences, but the industry was nearly capsized by the economic downturn. Now it’s dabbling in a new venture as it looks for a different course — the construction of moderately priced, energy efficient landlocked homes.

Houseboat maker Stardust Cruisers has built two relatively low-cost modular homes in a test that area residents hope will help revive the industry and bring back jobs to this struggling town on the edge of Appalachia.

….During the heyday in the mid-2000s, area workers skilled as carpenters and electricians produced several hundred houseboats each year, Stardust’s chief executive estimated. The companies shipped finished boats to Europe, Australia and the Middle East.

Now, production has shriveled to about 20 to 25 per year. The number of area manufacturers has dropped from a dozen to about four, and where once 1,000 people built houseboats, now that number is fewer than 200, said Stardust President and CEO Terry G. Aff.

That’s deepened the impact of the recession in a place that proclaims itself the “houseboat manufacturing capital of the world” on a sign at the entrance of the town, population 6,000.

Here’s Hal:

The project has been backed by federal grants, and its proponents are hoping the venture expands to include construction of multifamily units and classrooms. The venture could be a boon to suppliers as well. Kentucky products accounted for more than 80 percent of the value of the two prototype homes built by Stardust.

Stardust has boosted its full-time work force in the past couple of years, and a few have focused on building the modular homes. Aff said that the process for building the boats and the landlocked homes is similar, so adding the new product didn’t require many equipment changes. There has been some worker retraining.

“This project meets a multitude of needs in our region by putting families back to work, providing energy-efficient housing, increasing demand for Kentucky-made projects,” said Republican U.S. Rep. Harold “Hal” Rogers, among the state and federal officials boosting the initiative.

Putting jokes about Solyndra and the Prince of Pork aside, this does look like a pretty cool project with some promising rewards. It actually started at the UK College of Design. Read more about it or watch:

And far and away the coolest piece of information out of this whole story is that Monticello’s claim to fame as the “Houseboat Capital of the World” will now be spread throughout the land:

USDA Photo by Lance Cheung

 

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Kentucky spends $311 Million a year to imprison population

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January 27, 2012
By David M. F. Schankula

Kentucky has a daily prison population of 21,347.

The average annual cost to the state per inmate is $14,603.

The total cost of the state’s prison system per year is $311.7 Million.

See the PDF here, and find more info at the VERA Institute of Justice.

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