Friday, April 18, 2008

Recent morsels

Mary Welp's Crab and Mushroom Soup

Mary reviews Life Class by Pat Barker and My Brilliant Career by Miles Franklin.

Spring Bellarmine Magazine (PDF)

Summary of My Discontent
A Cry for Secession

What a Week, 4/16

Fallout from the new state budget began settling on the Kentucky dystopia like a Harry Moberly White-Castle fart in a crowded movie theater. Public universities announced 9% tuition increases, the Cabinet for Health and Family Services went begging for donations and 54 public defenders got pink slips. Mental-health agency Seven Counties Services will close its southeast Louisville office, which serves 1500 people. School districts decried cuts to school safety and teacher professional development, announced increased class sizes, and warned of layoffs.

Coal, that stuff that makes it possible for Gnarls Barkley to rock your iPod, took the lives of 47 miners in 2006, prompting Congress to demand more stringent safety measures. Big Coal, that stuff that makes it possible for Republicans to get elected, has naturally resisted. Two years later, many coal mines still lack a way to bring air and wireless communications to underground miners, prompting California congressmen George Miller to lash out at Elaine Chao’s Mine Safety and Health Administration, which is clearly mailing it in.

Bypassing "Pope of Pollution," “Greaseball of Global Warming,” and other colorful Italian-slur-themed nicknames, The Leage of Conservation Voters chose "Don of the Dirty Dozen" to refer to Mitch McConnell in a campaign to expose the senator's horrendous environmental record. His lifetime achievement score of7% is the lowest in Congress and he won a special citation for consistently voting with Big Oil.

If you’re one of thousands of Jefferson County homeowners facing foreclosure, here’s some good news: this newspaper is free! But wait, there’s more: Last week, the feds awarded an extra $1 million to The Housing Partnership to hire counselors to help people avoid the repo man. To contact a counselor, call the city’s mortgage hotline 211.

What a Week, 4/9

Stupid schtupped ugly in Frankfort, resulting in a bouncy biennial budget that is both stupid and ugly. A brave citizenry clenched its collective sphincter and fretted over basketball without wondering breathlessly: Would the Senate approve the House's stingy budget or would the House settle for the Senate's even stingier budget? 10 negative points if you said the latter. Bypassing a no-brainer (and no-lung-er) cigarette tax, the Senate won and so now Kentucky will struggle with deep budget cuts in all the usual programs that fight poverty, illness, and ignorance.

In a grubby side deal, oily David Williams and slimy Greg Stumbo lubed up and rolled around together before agreeing to rural construction projects at the expense of the state's deepest needs. Recognizing that, as bad as things are, they could always be worse, Governor Beshear threatened a special session if the Bush/McConnell war economy continues to tank.

Here's what passes for progressive politics in ol' Kaintuck: On April 1, a law went into effect mandating that cigarettes sold in Kentucky must be "fire safe," meaning they must contain a special paper that makes the cigarette go out if you don't toke like mad.

Sure, Thunder's awesome, but if you're tired of curling into the fetal position and urinating on yourself when Mother America's death planes uncloak and soar into the waterfront terrordome, why not consider an alternative? The Silence Over Thunder Coalition is again sponsoring its "Peaceful Skies" picnic at the Americana Center soccer field on Saturday. The picnic features art, music, and kite flying, in an atmosphere free of weapons of mass destruction.


Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Summary of My Discontent
OCD is the new green
What a Week, 4/2

Q: Why is the Kentucky General Assembly like playing mumbelty peg with Helen Keller? A: Because it feels so good when it stops. The current session ends this week, with lawmakers taking a break until mid-April when they return for the ceremonial toe-stabbing of the governor. With the current session winding down, the havoc-wreaking reached a fever pitch last week. The pro-cancer Senate refused to raise the cigarette tax, meaning Kentucky faces deep cuts in education and social services, and might require layoffs of state workers. A final 2008-2010 budget is expected this week and barring any last-minute compassion from the Senate, it’s going to be ugly.
Q: What do blind squirrels have in common with the General Assembly? A: Both prove that if you grope around in the dark long enough you’ll eventually find your nuts. The legislature momentarily located theirs and moved ahead with bills that would reform lending, require child booster seats, fight homelessness among former prisoners, and impose stricter penalties on sexual predators.
Q: What do blind jokes and Senators David Williams and Dan Kelly have in common? A: Both are highly offensive and won’t go away. Williams and Kelly lead a Senate hell-bent on keeping Louisville from having anything shiny. The Senate steadfastly refused to raise any taxes, killed any hopes for casinos, and let a “mega-project” proposal die, making tolls an unlikely source of revenue for bridges, at least for the nonce. The party poopers also killed a measure that would have brought regulation to predatory “payday” lenders. With friends like them, this town’s going to need an enema.
What a Week, 3/26

A House committee killed Senate Bill 112, which would have “protected” straight-on-straight marriage by prohibiting universities and public agencies from providing health insurance for employees’ domestic partners. In killing the bill, Representative David Watkins put the verbal smackdown on knuckle-dragging sponsor Vernie McGaha and Family Foundation Neanderthal David Edmunds for wasting the state’s time on nonsense instead of focusing on true problems facing Kentucky families.

The commission tasked with modernizing Louisville’s library system said it will likely focus on three Wal-Marty jumbo libraries instead of smaller, groovy neighborhood libraries. The as-yet-unapproved plan calls for regional libraries in Okolona, Valley Station and Hurstbourne, and will cost the city $80 million it doesn’t have, plus $20 million in private donations it hasn’t raised.

Kentucky politics and ethics (which go together like M&Ms and Spicy V8) took center stage last week when the Senate expanded House Bill 250 to make it a felony for a legislator to vote on an issue that relates to his or her employer. The provision, a thinly veiled jab by Republican David Williams at Democratic Rep. Harry Moberly (a muckety-muck at Eastern Kentucky University), set off an entertaining pissing contest between Moberly and Williams that lasted the rest of the week. The rule presumably won’t be much of an issue once everyone is unemployed.

And speaking of unemployment, the economy keeps on kickin’ like it’s ’99… 1899, that is. Last week, Ford said it would lay off up to 10,000 employees - including 800 in Louisville - and banking giant Bear Stearns collapsed. Yum! CEO! David Novak!’s arse! was a bit more gilded: The company gave Novak a wee raise to $15.5 million in salary and stock.