Category: Kentucky

I can’t believe they actually did it.

If you don’t live in Kentucky, you’re almost certainly unaware of this story (and likely won’t care about the rest of this entry), but in the November elections, Republican candidate Dana Seum Stephenson defeated Democrat Virginia Woodward by over a thousand votes for the 37th District state Senate seat. The 37th District is Jefferson County, which is now effectively metro Louisville.

The only problem was that from 1997 until December of 2000, Stephenson lived in Jeffersonville, Indiana. She owned a house there. She paid Indiana taxes and voted in two Indiana elections. According to the Kentucky constitution, you must be a legal resident of Kentucky for six years before you’re eligible to run for state Senate; Stephenson was three years short.

The news about Stephenson’s residency issues only came out close to Election Day, when she was already on the ballot. She dismissed the whole thing, saying she had remained a resident of Kentucky the whole time because she “always intended to return.” She pretty clearly won the popular election. It was only a couple weeks ago that a judge ruled that she wasn’t eligible to run in the first place. The judge refused to issue an order for Stephenson to concede, however, passing the buck to the Senate.

They took it, appointing a special committee to determine the issue. That committee recommended, 5-4, that Stephenson be rejected and Woodward seated.

You have likely guessed by now that last night, the Senate ignored the constitution, the judge’s ruling and their own committee, voting 20-16 straight down party lines to swear in Stephenson. One Republican, Bob Leeper of Paducah, abstained and announced he’d be drafting a letter of resignation (he later said he’d decide for sure “within a few days”).

The other Republican abstention was, presumably, Stephenson’s dad, Senator Dan Seum of Louisville. He’d earlier stated he was going to abstain, at least, so good for him, I guess. Oh, and by the way, this state is currently running without a budget.


Issues of concern to people who ride TARC a lot

I need to write about the three locally available tabloid-style free newsweeklies in Louisville (LEO, Snitch and Velocity) one of these days. I don’t have time right now. But in case you need a quick way to figure out which is by far the worst and most vapid, I pose this question:

Of LEO, Snitch and Velocity, which would bald-facedly publish the sentence

“Think precious, not pompous: The 36-page books, which sell for $12, teach values and lessons and record special moments, which is exactly the purpose of literature.”


(That’s right. Exactly the purpose of literature.)

If you live in Louisville, of course, you’ve already guessed the answer.

Kentucky is entering about Year 18 of an ever-cascading educational disaster. The current horrible mistake is the proposed health plan for teachers, which (under a typical family plan) would have employees pay the highest state-insurance premium in the country, with the state making the next-to-lowest contribution. The idea was that a 3% raise would help cover the cost, but that means $1050 before taxes for the average teacher. The premiums alone for that family health plan would exhaust that in two months.

I’ve been half-following the story as it develops, because I went to a Kentucky public high school and I’m interested by the state’s boundless inventiveness as it races to achieve the worst school quality in the country (right behind you, Alabama!). There will very likely be a statewide (and illegal) educator strike on October 27th. Tonight I saw some TV news coverage of a teachers’ union protest at Waterfront Park; after a couple of crowd shots, they pulled in close on one woman, who held a posterboard sign stating that


Some truths are self-evident.

Yes, for the record, Elizabethtown has been filming about a hundred feet from my apartment for a couple days now. No, I haven’t seen anybody famous (although Ian has), and I’m finding it very difficult to care, except that traffic is worse because of all the blocked lanes. No concern for celebrity! I feel practically un-American.

From the pokéblog

We watched out the balcony window last night as a huge storm thrashed by, and today there are a lot of downed trees along my bus route. This is remarkable mostly because it’s not a particularly arboreal area–I just got on the bus, and I live downtown.

Update 0810 hrs: Actually, our bus has had to take a detour because of one road-blocking tree, after the world’s most laborious three-point turn. The tree didn’t look all that big, really. My GTA experience suggests that we totally could have taken it.

Update 0825 hrs: Almost had to detour twice more, for trees blocking like a lane and a half. Both of them had pulled down power lines; we just managed to squeeze around. The way it looks up here in the Highlands makes me grateful that our building didn’t blow down last night. There really is a lot of damage.

(This entry is posted as dated in my pocket notebook.)

I’ve passed the Waddy Peytona exit probably a hundred times. For the first time in my life, I’m actually in Waddy, at a somewhat sleazy Citgo truck stop, in a back room with no windows. Ian is asleep on one end of the beaten couch; I’m writing at the other. By all accounts, we’re within a few miles of a tornado.

There’s a scattered copy of The Trucker, a half-sheet format free newspaper, on the floor. It appears to be largely concerned with rising diesel prices. Maria called two minutes ago to say that the heart of the storm should be where we are in about three minutes. The rain just slacked off a bit; it sounds like there’s hail mixed with it now. There’s a thick skylight over our heads, which makes me nervous, but it beats the big window-walls out front.

There’s a large TV back here, which is turned off, and a smaller cycling-ads set which is on. It’s connected to some kind of truck load monitor with four large buttons. Every ten minutes or so it shows “local weather,” by which it means the highs, lows and actual temperatures in five parts of Kentucky. Amusingly, it shows nothing related to storm or tornado status.

Maria just called again. Apparently the funnel clouds have dissipated just before reaching Waddy. It should be safe to drive in ten minutes or so.

Given the cicada invasion on Bardstown Road as of late, plus the enormous and doomed Fourth Street Live revitalization project being advertised all over, well, Fourth Street, I’m pretty sure today’s Mac Hall takes place in Louisville.

I wish I didn’t read so much MSN content

Apparently Louisville ranks among the worst 10 cities for dating. “Louisville (overall No. 76) scores low in the concert category; apparently the tour buses are not making a habit of stopping and rocking in Louisville,” they say. Given that I’m going to see Ben Folds in Danville tomorrow, I’m not surprised. (Also, I like the implication that the best way to get dates is to have sex with transient roadies.)

On the other hand, I’m going to see Ben Folds in Danville tomorrow! Whoo!

This is Kentucky

“I had never seen something so corrupt and lawless in my entire career … interference with a federal investigation of the most serious environmental disaster in the history of the Eastern United States.”

I have a friend who’s from Inez originally, and I remember talking to him over IM when the spills happened in 2000 (we were home on fall break at the time). He took some pictures of water in the area; I’ll have to ask if I can post some of those, if he still has them.