Thursday, December 29, 2005

LG&E -- Lousy Gougers and Estimators

We've all heard about the 43% increase in Louisville Gas & Electric's gas prices. Like my own natural gas, something smells about this story. I did the math on my own bill, the gas rates alone, and game up with a 56% increase over the rates on my bill last year.

THinking I misheard something, I went to the Courier Journal, where I came across this story:

State approves LG&E gas price revision
The Courier-Journal

Kentucky regulators Monday approved Louisville Gas & Electric Co.'s application to pare its December-January natural gas price increase.

The company says the new rate will save typical customers using 8,000 square feet of natural gas about $18 a month, compared with November gas price. The rate will be about 43 percent higher than last winter.

LG&E asked the Kentucky Public Service Commission for the adjustment last month after determining that wholesale prices from its suppliers wouldn't be as high this winter as the company had expected. Gas companies are normally allowed to pass on their supply costs to customers, but aren't permitted to make additional profit.

November's typical bill was up 64 percent from a year ago, reflecting natural gas price spikes brought on by higher demand, lower production and fall hurricane damage to production and transmission equipment on the Gulf Coast.

LG&E normally files its prices, based on wholesale natural gas costs from its providers, every three months. The company said it asked for an interim adjustment to reduce the sharp increase in heating bills customers are expected to face this winter.

I e-mailed the CJ's editor, Pam Platt, about the story, and got a response that the 43% was actually on the "typical bill". What the hell is a "typical bill"? How is it figured? Given the fact that there are now numerous stories about business owners and homeowners going into shock over their bill, even AFTER being prepared, I'm wondering if the news outlets weren't too willing to accept LG&E's comments at face value.

I fear that Louisville Gas & Electric, now that they're shifting to their foreign owned parent company, will wind up moving from a proud locally oriented concern to just another profit center for a larger company.

In the mean time, I gotta buy some long underwear.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Cheesecake Factory -- A pleasant combination of expensive and average

For years I've heard coworkers rave about visiting Cheesecake Factory in other cities, and so when I heard one was opening here, I was anxious to visit. I finally got my chance a few weeks ago. Color me unimpressed.

First.... the location. Located in perhaps the worst spot for parking in the entire Mall St. Matthews, Cheesecake Factory occupies the old Fashion Shop / OG Wilson spot. Because it is on the corner right near the Shelbyville Road entrance, EVERYONE wants to park there, guaranteeing it's tough to get near the restaurant at any time. Of course, if you want to, you can valet park next to the restaurant in some of the primo spaces that the valet parkers have commandeered for themselves.

Second.... the decor. A far cry from the basement museum decor of most restaurants with huge menus, Cheesecake Factory looks fancy enough, and the interior was obviously expensive, with custom designed ceilings, seating, and decorations. It's huge, nicely done, and makes the place look fancier than it truly is.

Third.... the menu. It's huge. Ranging from Pizza to Breakfast, the menu covers most everything you would want to eat. In a tacky nod to commerce, the menu features many ads for items and stores unrelated to the Cheesecake Factory. The prices are a bit outrageous. Note the $6.95 for a Grilled Cheese.

Fourth.... the service. The waitstaff was efficient, and worked everyone's tables, not just their own, which definately is a plus. Our waitress was a little too unattentive for lunchtime, when many people want to get in and get out. One thought..... why do they have people wear white? Having waited tables, white is the WORST color because everything shows and you wind up having to buy several outfits a year because you keep ruining everything.

Finally.... the food. There were six of us in our party, and everyone seemed to enjoy what they had. And while the food was certainly acceptable, the prices, in my mind, were not. You're paying for the experience, decor, and probably the rent. My Tomato, Basil, and Cheese pizza was good, but was nothing outstanding compared to other restaurants I've eaten at. My coworker's omelet was good, she said, but she also thought it was nothing special for the price you paid.

Of course, nobody goes to the Cheesecake Factory for just the food, you have to have a Cheesecake. In that respect, I'm still unimpressed. While the volume of cheesecake to choose from is huge, both selections I've had there, the Tiramisu, and White Chocolate Carmel Latte were good, filling, but nothing much better than specialty cheesecakes I've had for far cheaper in other places.

Of course, Louisville loves its high concept restaurants, so I predict that Cheesecake Factory will enjoy a long successful run, at least until the Mall rent goes sky high or the prices kill the people used to a cheap meal at O'Charley's.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Crooked Beak Can't Serve -- Supreme Court

The Kentucky Supreme Court ruled Thursday that Laura Dern's uglier sister, Dana Seum Stephenson, can't serve in the 37th district election for state Senate, and neither can Democrat Virginia Woodward. In the meantime, the guy with the small heart and even smaller guyparts, homophobic Senate President David Williams sat in the wings and fumed because for once a Republican wasn't allowed to step all over the constitution and do whatever the hell he pleased.

I personally think the election should work like the Ms. America pageant. If the winner is disqualified, the runner up should take her place. The idea that because Dana Seum Stephenson chose to try and work the system in Indiana and try to claim residency in Louisville, the city/state should have to hold yet another election is just beyond me. At the very least, she should be held liable for the entire cost of both elections, since the first was a waste and the second was the result of her blatant disregard for rules. I'm just glad that daddy's name didn't get her the result she wanted.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Thou Shall Not Beat a Dead Horse

Once again we have Kentucky Legislators asking for bills to allow the 10 Commandments to be displayed. Can we stop the madness? Do we really need to tie up public money fighting a losing battle over something anyone can see if they walk 20 feet to their bookshelf or use a search engine?

But hey, it beats actually doing work for the good of the public.

Two lawmakers -- one Democrat and one Republican -- have filed bills aimed at returning Ten Commandments displays to public buildings, sparking a battle over which party will claim ownership of the issue for political purposes.

State Republican Party chairman Darrell Brock said the bills would show whether Kentucky Democrats can separate themselves from the national Democratic Party, which he perceives as too liberal for most Kentuckians.

"I believe this will be one of the first tests of the liberal wing of the Democratic Party, who seems to be running the state House," he said.

But state Democratic Party Chairman Jerry Lundergan said he believes the Ten Commandments belong in public places and said the "golden rules" shouldn't be the subject of political partisanship.

Lundergan said the "days are over" when Democrats allow themselves to be painted as lacking in moral values.

"We will no longer allow the Republican Party to identify themselves as the only political party that is considered to be a party of people of faith," Lundergan said. "The Democrats are standing up and saying hey, this is an issue that we should probably be joining hands on."

He accused Republicans of using religion as a "wedge to win elections."

Brock said the issue would prompt voter interest, bringing citizens to the state House to lobby their legislators. But Brock denied Lundergan's charge that Republicans are using the issue as a way to mobilize voter support.

"In my view, the Ten Commandments transcends politics," Brock said.

The proposals
One of the bills, filed by Republican Rep. Stan Lee of Lexington, would authorize the posting of the Ten Commandments at the state Capitol in Frankfort, as part of a broader display that includes other historical markers.

The other bill, offered by Democratic Rep. Rick Nelson of Middlesboro, proposes a constitutional amendment to allow the Ten Commandments in any public building, but Nelson is rewriting it to add the provision about other historical markers.

The proposed bills follow this summer's U.S. Supreme Court ruling that courthouse displays of the Ten Commandments in Kentucky's Pulaski and McCreary counties were unconstitutional. But in a separate ruling, the court said an exhibit in Texas could remain because it included other historical markers and had been in place for about 40 years.

Analysts said such legislation could serve the same political function next year as the gay-marriage amendment did last year, defining the parties.

Kentucky House Democrats had initially resisted allowing a vote on the amendment, but eventually relented and then went on to lose seven seats in the 2004 elections. The gay-marriage amendment's presence on the ballot – in Kentucky and 10 other states – is widely credited with contributing to Democratic losses.

Joe Gershtenson, director of the Center for Kentucky History and Politics at Eastern Kentucky University, said for state Democrats, proposing a Ten Commandments bill would inoculate the party against Republican attacks over social issues.

"We know where public opinion is on this, and it is lopsided," said Gershtenson, a registered Democrat. "There's very strong political incentives for the Republicans to do it. For Democrats, there's some incentive to do that as well."

ACLU opposition
Democratic and Republican lawmakers in the House and Senate say they expect some form of Ten Commandments legislation to pass during the session that starts next month.

David Friedman, general counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union of Kentucky, who argued successfully to have the Kentucky counties' displays struck down this year, predicted such bills would also be struck down in court if they're passed.

The legislature already passed a similar bill to bring the Ten Commandments to the Capitol, which included a preamble with overtly religious motives, which was struck down in 2000, Friedman said. The courts would view the new bills as a "rather thinly veiled" attempt to achieve the same end, he said.

"We sued last time they did it, we won last time they did it," Friedman said. "It's just an incredible waste of taxpayer dollars for the citizens of the commonwealth to keep paying the ACLU to strike down these unconstitutional laws."

Democrats' dissension
The bills originated in the House, which the Democrats control by a margin of 56-44.

Some Democrats were dismayed by the quickness of Democratic leaders to support placing the Ten Commandments in public places.

Rep. Mary Lou Marzian, D-Louisville, said lawmakers should focus on "bread and butter" Democratic issues such as caring for the needy and paying for public education.

"I think it's a big mistake to try to out-Republican the Republicans," Marzian said. "The voters of Kentucky are not stupid, and they can see through that for what it is, which is just using religion for political opportunism."

House Speaker Jody Richards said he expects to support a rewritten version of Nelson's bill that House Majority Caucus Chairman Bob Damron, D-Nicholasville, is helping to draft.

Richards denied that House Democrats' efforts are aimed at neutralizing a potentially divisive political issue in an election year.

"I think it's pretty crass to think of the political benefits of doing something like this," Richards, D-Bowling Green, said. "What we want to do is what the people want, and to do it in a constitutional way."

Senate President David Williams said he expects to see similar legislation filed in the state Senate. He predicted there would be "broad support" in the legislature.

"I think there are a lot of people that feel like that the Ten Commandments are primary documents, and they played an important part in the development of our country," Williams, R-Burkesville, said.

Lee's bill would require that the Ten Commandments be returned to the Capitol as part of a package of historical markers commemorating "important people, ideals, or events in the history of Kentucky."

The bill attempts to conform with the Supreme Court's ruling in the Texas case, Lee said.

Asked what other historical markers he would add to make a Kentucky Capitol display pass constitutional muster, Lee said, "whatever we can find."

"No sane thinking person, in my opinion, can dispute that the Ten Commandments have formed the basis for many of the laws that we all now rely upon," Lee said.

Nelson's bill proposes a constitutional amendment that would allow the Ten Commandments to be posted in any public building. The amendment would require voter approval.

But Nelson said that with Damron's help, he's rewriting the bill to make it a statute, which would not require ballot approval, and to incorporate other historical monuments, in keeping with the Texas ruling. He said that approach would be quickest, easiest and most likely to be found constitutional.

Damron said Democrats are just trying to provide legally acceptable guidelines for communities that want to voluntarily display the Biblical rules.

"It's not a requirement that anybody do it," Damron said. "It more or less is informative and instructional."

Elisabeth Beardsley can be reached at (502) 875-5136

Friday, December 16, 2005

Holiday Shopping Shout Outs

Some local people I'd like to give a shout out to this Christmas Season.

The jackass who "designed" the parking lot for Mall St. Matthews (which has always struck me as pretentious). The entire front perimeter going left is a mass of blind spots that require you to stick your front end out to see if its okay to get out, and the lack of speed bumps guarantees that you'll have to enter the main ring of traffic at highway speeds or die.

The guy who backed into my mother in law's new car at the Hurstbourne Wal-Mart and didn't leave a note. May you be rear-ended by a bullet train with a spear in the front, and not while you're in a car.

The idiots at city/county zoning who allowed an entrance every 27 inches along all major shopping roads in eastern Jefferson county, but only giving about five car lengths of turning lanes at major intersections, thus ensuring bottle necks.

The twenty five people in line for Wal-Mart's layaway. Still don't understand layaway, especially at Wal-Mart. Why not just start a savings account and save some money and THEN buy it. It's like buying something new at a pawn shop. So bless you for being patient to buy your own stuff this year.

The Salvation Army guy at the Hurstbourne Wal-Mart. Your Ho Ho Ho made me smile. It's cold, people are cranky, and HE's still happy. God bless YOU!

The idiots who put lights at major intersections WITHOUT turn arrows. There's nothing like that near fatal mating dance of two cars meeting at an intersection wondering if they can trust the lack of a turn signal to mean that they're both going straight. A special shout out to the guys who put the lights in at Hurstbourne and Stony Brook and the five second light that lets out traffic from Pier 1 and Cherry Springs at Hurstbourne.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Les Nessman Newsreader Award of the Day

Teresa Peyton of 84 WHAS didn't quite get a Chy Chy Rodwegweez, but it was close. Today she referred to John McCain as John Mc Cann (as in Thom McCann). How is it that these people so readily screw up names that have been in the news for years?

Build it and they will come.... Hopefully

One of my daily rituals with my daughter is to watch an episode of the Simpsons in reruns. One recent rerun involved the building of a Springfield Arts center with architecture by Frank Gehry. The center is built and quickly closes after everyone realizes they hate classical music, and the city of Springfield is thrown into debt. Why did this remind me of the plan to build a downtown arena in Louisville?

Once again, I have to think that somebody's palms are being greased. The proposed location and the fairgrounds location both, to be polite, suck in terms of economic development. If you're going to spend hundreds of millions of dollars, you need to pick a site that is near other economic development and entertainment (like say.... the Water Company site), and put it there. As for Fletcher's assertion that the LG&E plant is an eyesore, I'd say it's a thing of beauty next to many of the dilapidated buildings that line Main Street.

Fletcher says Senate backs plan for arena
Jefferson House caucus still needs to be won over

By Joseph Gerth
The Courier-Journal

Gov. Ernie Fletcher said yesterday that he has been assured that he has the votes in the state Senate to spend $75 million on a new downtown arena in Louisville -- and he believes the House will follow suit.

Fletcher, in town for Humana's announcement that it has leased three floors of Waterfront Plaza to house new employees, said the arena is among his top priorities.

"I'm going to do everything I can," Fletcher said. "I spoke to (Senate President) David Williams, who said in the Senate the support is there.

"You have support from the governor's office -- it's going to be firm and strong. We've got support from the Senate, so I give it pretty good odds for passing."

A Williams spokeswoman didn't return a call yesterday.

The biggest hurdle appears to be in the House, where Speaker Pro Tem Larry Clark, D-Okolona, has questioned Fletcher's financing plan and has said he favors locating an arena at the fairgrounds.

Rep. Tom Burch, D-Buechel, said that he doesn't know whether he'll support the proposed location but that he, like Clark, favors a fairgrounds site. He said Fletcher needs to get to work winning over the Jefferson County legislative delegation if he wants to build the arena.

"If the Jefferson County delegation is not united for it, it will not go," Burch said. "The votes are not there unless we're for it."

Last week, the Louisville Metro Council sent a letter signed by 25 members asking legislators to support the downtown site.

Local legislators have been slow to respond.

"I think we probably have some work to bring the local Louisville-Jefferson County caucus together," Fletcher said. Later, he said he "couldn't imagine" Jefferson County legislators not supporting the arena.

Rep. Scott Brinkman, R-Louisville, said that he supports the downtown arena and that several other Republican members of the Jefferson County delegation have told him they support it.

Brinkman said the key to getting broad support from House Democrats may be persuading Clark to support the plan.

"I know Larry has said publicly he has some concerns," Brinkman said. "Larry's a member of leadership, Larry's very powerful … and I know members of the majority caucus have deferred to him on matters unique to Jefferson County."

Rep. Denver Butler, D-Louisville, said he would oppose the arena if the vote were today -- largely because he doesn't trust Fletcher's numbers. "It's kind of like a shirt that doesn't fit," he said.

He agreed that Clark could influence whether House members support the arena. "Larry has a strong input on it," Butler said, noting that Clark served on a committee that Fletcher appointed to make recommendations on the arena.

Clark didn't return a call yesterday.

Fletcher said he hopes a revised financing plan due soon will show the arena will generate more than enough tax revenue to pay for the state's share.

Louisville Metro Mayor Jerry Abramson has pledged $100 million that would come from increased tax revenue spurred by the arena, as well as additional parking fees.

Yesterday Abramson and Fletcher walked around the proposed arena site on Main Street between Second and Third streets. Fletcher said it was the first time he has taken a close look at the location.

"It's really a pretty good arrangement," Fletcher said as Abramson explained how the complex would be designed.

When Fletcher looked at the Louisville Gas and Electric Co. power station that will have to be moved, he said that the station "needs to be out of downtown anyway."

The station needs upgrades and is an eyesore that harms economic development, the governor said.

Joseph Gerth can be reached at (502) 582-4702.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

How to attract people to your blog.....

I was looking at search statistics for this blog and saw that the vast majority of hits revolve around Carrie Weil and Kevin Harned. It seems nothing interests people more than a little local gossip. Now the mystery, judging from my search terms again, is "Where is Carrie Weil." I asked my wife the same thing the other day. I wonder if she's looking for a way out of WAVE.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Snow Snow Snow

Well, the brine is down in Louisville and once again city officials are overconfident about their ability to handle snow.


The brine will wash off with rain, meaning thousands of dollars were wasted. Salt trucks and plows will start an hour or more too late. Rush hour will be a mess. Thousands of Louisville residents will be stuck in traffic or worse. Everyone will ask what the hell the city is doing.

Hey.... Nice interactive map though!

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Note to the CJ -- It's Time for Tom Dorsey to retire

Being a TV junkie, I confess to reading Tom Dorsey's column in the CJ. It used to be for information, now it's for a wicked form of fun in which I try to determine which shows Tom actually watched and which ones he read the press release for.

What irritates me the most is that Tom is not truly a critic, or even a reporter. His name gets a nice picture and plenty of space, but only on a rare occasion does he write something that can truly be considered criticism. And many times, he misses the mark completely.

Consider his column on Barbara Walters 10 Most Fascinating People. My comments are in bold.

Walters' list of 10 most fascinating people includes some duds

Besides Christmas shows, bowl games and basketball tournaments, the end of the year always means a flurry of TV specials reviewing the people and events that made news.

Barbara Walters, who is semi-retired from ABC, has been doing her "10 Most Fascinating People" of the past year since Bill Clinton's first year in the White House. Julia Roberts and Tim Allen were hot that year.

Every year Walters leaks the names of some of the celebrities to get people to tune in and leaves out the rest of the bunch to tease the audience into tuning in to see who they are. That means the folks used as bait probably aren't going to be crowned Most Fascinating. That's a good thing, because Tom Cruise and Teri Hatcher are two of those whose names have been released ahead of tonight's show at 10 on ABC. So here we have a column based on the fact he's not seen the show, but read the press release.

Why Cruise? Not for "War of the Worlds," which was less than a box-office blockbuster. WOTW made $234 million domestically to date in a down box office year, and is, according to Box Office Mojo, the number 2 movie this year and 43 of all time. I guess Tom was looking for #42. Additionally, it's Tom's biggest grossing movie. So it must be for hooking up with Katie Holmes, who is young enough to be his daughter. But, as my wife and Oprah Winfrey keep reminding me, he still looks pretty good to them. I think that means better than I do. Interesting to me that he fails to mention the second most compelling reason that Tom Cruise is fascinating (read: A train wreck), his devotion to Scientology and his nutty interview with Matt Lauer and Extra.
The showbiz couple seem happy when he stands on tippy-toes to kiss her. Now that I've got that cheap shot in, I'll just say that when the lists of who's in and who's out are made for 2006, I think Cruise will wind up being out unless Holmes saves him by delivering a lot of cute baby pictures. But come on, Cruise is one of the 10 most fascinating of the year? I don't think so. His story is certainly more interesting than alternatives Tom mentions below.

Hatcher is last year's news too. She was on everybody's magazine cover and interview show last season for being one of those "Desperate Housewives."

"Housewives" is already slipping in the ratings while "Grey's Anatomy" is on the rise at ABC. Ellen Pompeo, the cutie doctor in training on that series, is the hot star of the moment. She is? Either her or Hugh Laurie, as the anti-physician hero on Fox's "House."

There are some TV guys Walters is overlooking, too, for their comebacks. Topping the list would be Mark Harmon on "NCIS," followed by David Caruso on "CSI: Miami," Mandy Patinkin on "Criminal Minds" and William Petersen of "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation." They might have made the list if they had married women young enough to be their daughters or if their shows were on Walters' network. The comment about ABC is probably deserved, but three of those shows predate Desperate Housewives by several years and with the exception of David Caruso, I wouldn't say any of these people really made a "comeback".

Walters herself has made some top 10 lists. Check out, one of those Internet sites that prove there's room for anything on the World Wide Web. Interestingly, it appears that she's NOT on the top 10 list here.

She was deemed irritating for posing softball questions. Why? Just because she asked some celebrity what kind of a tree they'd like to be? If Tom had done some research, he'd have found that the celebrity was Katherine Hepburn and the question was asked of Kate in response to HER saying she'd like to be a tree. The Web site also faults her for tap dancing as a kid under the alias Babs Elliot and for insisting she be photographed only on the right side of her face-lift. Oh, yeah, she also pronounces "R" like "W." And you thought I was hard on Cruise? Yeah, you were terrible.

I e-mailed my criticisms to Tom and the paper and got this response.

Thanks for your input...I was referring to the critical reaction and reviews of "War of the Worlds" ...I did do an Internet search on Walters and the tree comment. The sites I saw said Walters initiated the tree exchange,. What's a crutrnacker?

I can't remember a time when I've heard blockbuster used to qualify critical response, but if that's what he meant, so be it. As for the tree exchange, I will admit it is tough to find the full story of the tree, and most sites portray it as though she asked the question without prompting. But, I was able to find the story I read easily and quickly in the Wikipedia. And reading the story, I remembered Barbara showing the full clip on a special she had, which made it clear that Katherine Hepburn caused her to ask the tree question as a follow up.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Open Letter to Clear Channel

This was sent to Clear Channel after I spent 30 extra minutes in traffic behind an accident that WHAS never once reported on during the time I was stuck.

Over 30 years ago, a traffic reporter from WHAS radio in Louisville, KY became a hero when he flew the helicopter around town following the path of the storm. That traffic reporter, Dick Gilbert, went on for many years to do traffic reports on WHAS that you could depend on, giving you information about where the back up was, how far back it went, what lane was blocked, and alternate routes to get to downtown. The station broke in for traffic reports on serious delays and allowed them to continue as long as necessary.

What do we get today? The traffic copter appears to have been grounded. The cell phone hotline for traffic reports of a few years ago is no longer mentioned. And instead we get a reporter on the ground reading accident reports from a website that appear to have come mostly from watching a few stationary cameras throughout the city and police reports. The reports are read quickly so they can be sandwiched in between two ads. There is seldom a mention of an alternate route, blocked lanes, or how far the backup is unless it goes to someplace where the cameras can see.

Yesterday I was stuck in traffic about a half an hour longer than normal. I turned on WHAS in hopes I could find out why. For two cycles of the traffic report (approximately 15 minutes of listening) there was not a single mention of the accident. I didn't listen any further, having switched back to my MP3 player.

Clear Channel's purchase of WHAS is the communications equivalent of Wal-Mart buying Neiman Marcus and then filling it with cheap crap from China and expecting the people to still shop there. Buy ignoring the value that WHAS (and other stations, for that matter) provided to the local community, you are driving away long time listeners such as myself to other forms of entertainment and information. If I can no longer get quality local content, why would I WANT to tune in to a local station?

I have no hope that this will receive any form of action, other than a form letter telling me how the traffic is somehow better these days, but I would like you to know that I think Clear Channel has taken a once quality station and turned it into crap in the interest of saving a buck.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Dodging the terrible Louisville tornado of 2005

Years ago, John Belski and former WAVE 3 weather guy Craig Edwards were doing a tag team on one of the latest tornados. It was a bad night for weather, and Belski was in full Belski's Bluster. As the storms intensified, so did his demeanor. By the time a major storm was rolling through, he was taking charge and stepping all over everything Craig Edwards was saying. I remember thinking, "What a jerk."

Within the next year, Edwards would leave, and Belski would go from the mode that is now reserved for Jay Cardosi into a much more mellow demeanor. Judging from tonight he hadn't let it go completely. As WAVE 3 showed off their new triple team doppler (appropriate for triple team weather coverage), now with flippovision. Flippovision is the annoying 3D feature of the radar that shows you exactly how high the clouds are over Louisville, or wait, is that Corydon, or is it Des Moines? I can't tell.

Trying to watch a lot of this coverage is like sitting in a room with a kid that has ADD and a remote control. As you try and get your barings and figure out where Popcorn, Indiana is in relation to Louisville, they're flipping it in and out, showing you colors that show the velocity of the wind, throwing in lightning strikes, zooming in to show you the weather at Earl's pig farm, and writing more crap on the screen than John Madden on crack.

Equally troubling is the fact that Wave 3's coverage is the new coverage for WHAS. The former "News, Weather, and Traffic" station is now simulcasting their TV coverage in major weather events. The problem is that none of these guys does their weather coverage for radio. If I'm listening on WHAS, I really am not going to get much from telling me, "As you can see here....." I need to know where thing are and when they're heading my way.

Anyway, we got sent home early from work, as did a lot of people because of this storm of the century. Around the time that it was supposed to hit, the two hours of non-stop weather coverage was switched back to the network. The storm disappeared with a wimper. I'm not complaining, but I do always find it amusing how unpredictible the weather is.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Rick Moranis calls the kettle black.

The administration of Kentucky's Governor Ernie "Rick Moranis" Fletcher, former star of Honey I Pardoned the Kids and Ethicsbusters I & II indicated today that it had a database proving that former Lov Gov, Paul Patton did the same things they're accused of doing.

Kids, in case you didn't get the message, Governor Fletcher is using now answering "yes" to the question, "if your best friend jumped off a roof, would you do it too?" Fletcher campaigned on restoring integrity to state government. Maybe he figured it would be best if state government was eased back into integrity, so it didn't suffer from withdrawl from going cold turkey on corruption.

And while we're at it, shouldn't Scott Crawford-Sutherland drop his maiden name? It looks obnoxious.

When asked for a comment about the story, the Governor said, "pardon?"

News story below:

Administration says politics influenced hiring during Patton era


Associated Press

FRANKFORT, Ky. - Gov. Ernie Fletcher's administration claimed Monday that an electronic database showed political considerations were a factor in personnel decisions during his predecessor's term.

Fletcher spokesman Brett Hall, during a hastily called press conference, said administration officials found a database containing 7,400 names of people seeking state jobs, promotions or other awards during former Gov. Paul Patton's administration.

Fletcher's administration has long maintained it is being investigated and punished for the same kind of hiring practices as other governors. And several months ago, Fletcher and his office has provided what it claimed was evidence of such previous conduct.

Assistant Attorney General Scott Crawford-Sutherland, the lead prosecutor in the personnel probe, noted that the statute of limitations on personnel offenses is a year.

Crawford-Sutherland compared Fletcher's point on Thursday to a speeding offense. Just because somebody didn't get pulled over for speeding three years ago doesn't mean they shouldn't be pulled over for speeding now, Crawford-Sutherland said.

Crawford-Sutherland said the administration event was a "diversion."

Hall claimed that to get on the list, individuals had to be politically connected, Hall said. It shows evidence of preselection in state hiring, among other things, Hall said.

Steve O'Daniel, an investigator in the state Justice Cabinet who worked on decoding the database, said there was not specific evidence of illegal activities. Officials had not cross-referenced all the names to see if some people were pushed ahead of more qualified candidates.

The database has been forwarded to the offices of State Auditor Crit Luallen and Attorney General Greg Stumbo for further review, Hall said.

Stumbo's office has been investigating since May allegations that the Fletcher administration broke the law in making personnel decisions involving rank-and-file state employees. That investigation, which is being reviewed by a Franklin County special grand jury, has netted 13 indictments of current or former Fletcher administration officials.

The special grand jury was meeting across town at the time of Hall's event.

Patton said in a telephone interview his administration did not have an "organized, systemic" way of placing people into state Merit System jobs.

"There was no program or effort comparable to what it appears the Fletcher administration may have had," Patton said.

The database was discovered in June, while administration officials were compiling documents for the ongoing attorney general's investigation, Hall said.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Southeast Christian -- Good for Louisville?

As a Catholic, I know I don't have a lot of room to talk about scary churches. But when I look at SECC, read their paper, and listen to some of their members and their pastors, I get a cold feeling.

Don't get me wrong, I don't doubt that the good people outnumber the bad by far at Southeast, and that they do a lot of good work within their own community. But I have trouble believing that every one of their thousands of members believes half of what the church teaches, or that many of the people there came there because of Jesus.

Here's a list of things that concern me about SECC.

1) Their bashing of other religions, sometimes subtle and sometimes not. Bob Russell has made attacks on Catholics in his sermons, usually subtle, but there. In the aftermath of 9/11, the church seemed to take glee in attacking Islam, ignoring the commandment to Love Thy Neighbor in order to attack a small subset of another religion that embraces violence.

2) Their embracing of "intelligent design". There is nothing intelligent about it. I've never understood why science can't be seen as a gift from God.

3) The idea that God "blesses them" because they have a country club for a church. I've always had trouble with this thought because, while you should be thankful for good things, you shouldn't take away that somehow you're God's chosen one because you have more than someone else.

4) This quote from Bob Russell (in Louisville Magazine), in explaining that they were not being anti-Semetic when they withdrew from a ministry involving multiple churches when it changed its bylaws to become "Interfaith" instead of "Christian".

"We have the utmost respect for Jewish people," he says. "Jesus Christ himself was Jewish. We have a number of people of Jewish nationality in our church. Our whole faith comes from a Jewish background."

This seems dangerously close to the cliched defense of your average bigot, "some of my best friends are (insert group here)."

5) The influence the church seems to have on the community at large. I don't believe any church should act as the moral compass for a community, nor should it be able to bully the government, legal system, or any other entity to act.

6) What I call the "hierarchy of sins" that many "Christians" embrace. At the top of the list, homosexuality. You could be a vicious murderer (like say, Mel Ignatow), and be accepted by SECC, but if you're gay, the church will probably direct you to one of the ministries designed to cure you of your "sickness." While there is certainly biblical reason to condemn homosexuality, there are dozens of rules in Leviticus and elsewhere that don't seem as important to churches like SECC. Who decided which of these rules was most important? Not God or Jesus, but man. I don't think it is coincidence that Jesus and the apostles spend lots of time talking about loving one another, and being good to each other, but scant time on some of the issues that so disturb the Christian right.

7) The idea that "our way is the right way" because God said so. Faith certainly involves belief, but the idea that a certain church within a larger faith (like say, Christianity) is the one right way to worship has always amused me because the divisions in faith are manmade, not made by God.

I will admit that SECC seems to be a good community. Just as the Catholic Church population shouldn't be condemned for the actions of the priests and archbishops, I can't dismiss Southeast Christian because there are things I don't support within their ministry. But I do remain concerned that their huge size gives them too much power in the community and its foothold within the community keeps some of its congregation from truly thinking for itself.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Carrie Harned & Kevin Harned -- The Scoop courtesy of the CJ's Buzz Column

"The Buzz" has been getting lots of questions about WAVE-TV reporter Carrie Harned's on-air name change to Carrie Weil. She and former husband Kevin Harned, also of WAVE, sent the C-J a joint statement:

"For the past four years, we have shared not only our talents and passion for the TV business and community with our viewers, but also our marriage. With that in mind, we certainly understand the interest generated by the announcement of our divorce. …

"We have always appreciated the support we have received professionally and personally from many of our viewers, and ask that you continue to keep each of us in your thoughts and prayers during this difficult time."

Friday, October 21, 2005

Carrie Weil and Kevin Harned -- The End?

Channel 3's super cute couple, Carrie & Kevin Harned are now apparently going by different names. I found a story on October 17th that has her as Carrie Harned, but today she's going by her maiden name Carrie Weil on WAVE 3. Although the two seem to be completely different, it will certainly be sad if they truly are no longer a couple.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Powerball Mania

Everytime the Powerball jackpot gets in the $150,000,000 range, there is the obligatory story on every newscast locally (and surely nationally) about buying tickets, what people would do, etc.

What always bothers me is the story I hear at least five or six times a year.

"Long lines expected for Powerball".

I've never seen a line more than five deep at my local convenience store, and half of them are only buying gas.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

No wonder Bobby Petrino wanted to bolt....

U of L made the move to the Big East and promptly fell on its face. With two losses in the conference, they're pretty much done for the season, blowing two games they should have won.

So did Bobby Petrino get lucky last year and know it? Whatever the story, I hope that the end of the season won't end the enthusiasm of fans. There's always next year. You can't let the momentum die before it begins.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Louisville Zoo -- A Great Place to Spend the Day

Mrs. Crutnacker and Daughter Crutnacker took me to the Louisville Zoo today. We didn't go into their big exhibit this year, with the lorakeets, but we did walk the entire thing with my 3 year old walking most of the hills by herself.

We bought a yearly membership for $59, the cost of going twice in a single year, so it seems like a bargain. The sheer number of beautiful animals in the zoo astounds me for a city the size of Louisville. To get to see four tigers together, acting like kittens (big, scary, man eating kittens, but still....) was great fun, and both my wife and I said we could spend hours just watching them. We also enjoyed the Gorilla exhibit, which seemed more awe inspiring than the last time we saw it, as the sheer size of the gorillas was more evident.

If you live in Louisville and haven't been since you were a kid, take the time to make the trek.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Corrupt Arena

This is a commentary I just submitted to WFPL.

I recently heard a news story in which Kentucky's Lt. Governor said that the new downtown arena would be an architectural marvel as important to Louisville as the Arch is to St. Louis.

Wow, if I wasn't dreaming, I'd think these were the same words we heard leading up to the fabulous Louisville Falls Fountain, that supercharged water cannon in the Ohio River that the Bingham family "gifted" us with. It was supposed to produce a grand fleur de lis (Latin for "lots of water") that could be seen as you drove through Louisville. Instead, it looked like a junked battleship that had sprung a huge leak.

We are not talking about Wrigley Field, Camden Yards, or even Riverfront Stadium here. We're talking about a college arena, one that's not even for the most popular team in the state. No matter how architecturally marvelous the building is, unless it's in the shape of a naked lady, or is surrounded by fountains of beer, tourists aren't going to flock here just to see it.

What makes the arena plan all the more troubling is the planned location, sandwiched between an ugly bridge and a gauche hotel, and close to almost no destination your average sports fan or concert goer will want to visit. Okay, maybe a fan will want to take in Waterfront park on a freezing January day, but that's about it. If I was a cynical man, I might guess that the consideration of this site had more to do with the greasing of palms by owners of the surrounding property than long term economic planning.

Don't get me wrong, I'd love to think that one day I could see U2 without a two day drive or be able watch a U of L game in a seat wide enough to accommodate both of my buttocks. But I think that there are wiser ways of bringing tourism and attention to Louisville. Perhaps an arch shaped tunnel under the city. We could say it's what they carved St. Louis' arch from.

Monday, October 10, 2005

The story below is about one of the many protesters of KFC from PETA, this one living here in Louisville. I've always contented that most PETA people care less about their cause than the attention it brings them. I understand if you're a vegetarian or "vegan" for health reasons, or because you want animals to die of old age before someone eats them, but the lengths that PETA goes to in order to make a point are the same reason why nobody takes them seriously. Personally, I don't care how my chicken gets to the table, as long as he doesn't have bird flu and he's tasty.

Protester's vehicle plays a role in her anti-KFC campaign

Katya Cengel

The Courier-Journal

Aqua Man was the first to drive the white hearse with neon green under-car lights around Louisville. Cynthia Withers was the second.

It was Halloween 2002 when the 32 -year-old Withers spotted the 1991 Buick hearse outside a local bar. The car, which she later named Lily - after Lily Munster from the creepy 1960s CBS television show "The Munsters" - was Aqua Man's prize for winning a costume contest. He drove it around for two months before selling it to Withers for $2,000.

"He had a girlfriend at the time who didn't care for it," says Withers.

The dark-haired Hollywood native, who admits to being goth at times, had no problem riding in a car that once transported dead people from a funeral home in Wisconsin to their final resting place. Actually she found it rather fun. Of course there were a few snags - parking and driving being the main ones.

"I had to practice in a parking lot when I first got it," says Withers. "My husband goes nuts; he thinks I'm going to hit everything.

"Which has happened."

Last month she hit a fence at Indiana University Southeast, where she is a student. She has backed into her husband, Chad Byers ', Pontiac Sunbird more than once. But always softly. Withers has a gentle touch. Her voice is smooth, her hair long, loose and wavy, and her smile sweet. Only the horizontal surface piercing at the bottom of her neckline (called a Madison) and the blue tattooed lines and dots on her feet hint at an underlying edginess. And, of course, the hearse, which she takes clubbing, to school and camping - it's made to fit a body perfectly.

And it has blood all over it. Not real blood, just red paint made to look like blood.

The blood is part of a drawing that includes a bleeding chicken, a blood-covered knife-wielding Colonel Sanders and the words "PETA KentuckyFriedCruelty. com." The knife-wielding colonel and bloody chicken appear on both sides of the hearse and in part on the back window. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals paid for the paint job, which cost about $1,600 . But the idea was Withers'. The soft-spoken vegan was using her car as a portable protest platform long before she became PETA's Louisville KFC campaign coordinator in 2004.

First there was "War is Death," which became "Meat is Death" when Withers realized the war in Iraq wasn't going to stop because she spray-painted a slogan on her car. She has higher hopes for ending what she calls KFC's cruel treatment of chickens. Withers and PETA maintain that KFC chicken suppliers treat their chickens with unnecessary cruelty.

The fight has been going on for years. PETA launched an international boycott of KFC in January 2003. In July 2003 PETA filed a lawsuit against KFC and Yum! Brands claiming the company was falsely advertising a commitment to the humane treatment of chickens by its suppliers.

PETA dropped the lawsuit after Yum! altered the wording on its Web site, making clear that it recommends, but does not require, certain humane standards for the chickens purchased by KFC.

In 2004 PETA released a video showing slaughterhouse employees at a KFC supplier in West Virginia kicking and stomping on chickens. In response the supplier fired 11 employees, installed quality assurance monitors and ordered managers at other plants to educate workers about animal-welfare policies. KFC hired an inspector at the plant trained in animal-welfare investigations and said it would no longer buy from the facility unless assurances could be made that no abuses were taking place.

But PETA still wants KFC to require its suppliers to implement more humane methods of slaughter, such as controlled-atmosphere killing, a process that replaces oxygen in the air with an inert gas.

The KFC public-relations office e-mailed a message saying the company is "committed to the well-being and humane treatment of chickens and we expect suppliers to adhere to our industry-leading welfare guidelines."

For Withers, that is not enough.

That is why every Friday she stands outside Yum! Brands Inc. headquarters in Louisville, which owns KFC, waving at employees as they go to work with one hand and holding a white "Boycott KFC" poster with the other. Most Saturdays she does the same thing outside a local KFC. She parks the hearse, which boasts interior strobe lights, fuzzy blue seats, front door locks topped with red-eyed skulls and a "LV 2DAY " license plate, nearby.

On a recent Friday morning, Withers was joined by Byers, who held up a "Boycott KFC" poster with a picture of a little yellow chick on it, before heading to his job as vice president at a local software company.

"My dad used to take me hunting, and I always felt remorse," says Byers, a tall, bearded 35-year-old. "I thought if I didn't want to kill an animal, I shouldn't let someone else do the dirty work for me."

Standing next to Byers was Becca Nesbit , a tiny 20 -year-old IUS student who was hidden behind a large "Beaks Cut Off" poster. Nesbit, who wore little makeup and many piercings, looked the image of a hard-core protester. She wore jeans, black Converse All-Star-type shoes and a green shirt. Withers wore loose black capri pants, a brown sweater and glasses balanced on her head. When cars passed, Withers offered a beauty pageant-style wave and a warm welcoming smile.

Her routine looks practiced - and it is. She has been doing this for almost a year.

KFC, which didn't return phone calls seeking comment about Withers, doesn't seem to have taken note. But others have.

Outside Yum! Brands Inc. headquarters, passing trucks, minivans and delivery cars honked in support. Others offered a different kind of greeting.

"I got a few more one-finger salutes than usual this morning," said Withers, packing up after an hour or two.

She has also had people leave her notes in her door handle and on her windshield. One was from a Californian who said she finally felt at home in Kentucky after seeing such an over-the-top protest vehicle. The other six were a mix of supporters and detractors.

After the protest, in the parking lot outside a coffee shop on Bardstown Road where Withers was dropping off PETA Vegetarian Starter Kits, she and Lily greeted another fan.

"That is awesome," said Amy Rock , a 26-year-old University of Louisville student.

A few minutes later, a young man who worked on a chicken farm in Arkansas stopped to chat. Withers welcomes all comment; her husband has even made up a point system to rate each kind of reaction.

"He assigns more points to the negative response because he feels we are affecting them," says Withers.

A wave is one point, someone yelling is six. Withers can't remember the rest.

She does remember what started it all. She was 8 years old, and her mother was serving fish for dinner. It suddenly dawned on Withers that dinner wasn't that different from her pet goldfish. By high school she was a vegetarian; in her 20s she became a vegan.

Byers has been a vegan for two years. Their cockatoos, Marco and Windy , and sheep dogs, Masha and Mikhail , are vegetarian. Only Libra , the python, is holding out.

"I tried to offer her vegetarian alternatives, but she doesn't recognize it as food," says Withers.

Libra eats raw rodents or she doesn't eat. "I try not to make her feel bad about eating animals," says Withers.

After distributing a few more kits, Withers headed to Kroger to buy meat substitutes for a potluck casserole.

At the counter she pulled out her checkbook, with pictures of Libra curled in a tree and dressed as an angel. Back in the parking lot, Withers loaded her groceries into the back of the hearse.

"The thing about a hearse," she says, "there is plenty of room for groceries."

There is also plenty of room for furniture, dogs and friends. The car was the perfect vehicle to use several years ago when a friend underwent a sex-change operation and wanted to hold a mock funeral for her male self.

There is really only one place Withers wouldn't take her hearse - a funeral.

Photos by Pam Spaulding, The Courier-Journal

Cynthia Withers' 1991 Buick hearse was serving as her portable protest platform long before she became People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals' Louisville KFC campaign coordinator in 2004. PETA paid for the $1,600 paint job taking KFC to task.

Every Friday Cynthia Withers protests in front of the headquarters of Yum! Brands Inc., which owns KFC.

Photos by Pam Spaulding, The Courier-Journal

PETA activist Cynthia Withers shopped for vegan food. She remembers thinking at age 8 that a fish dinner wasn't that different from her pet goldfish. By high school she was a vegetarian; later she became a vegan.

Cynthia Withers and PETA say KFC suppliers treat chickens with unnecessary cruelty. KFC says it is "committed to the well-being and humane treatment of chickens" and expects suppliers to comply.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Blues News -- WHAS Radio Slowly Turns Into Amateur Hour

WHAS Anchor Chris CHandler disagrees with me, but WHAS once highly praised news department continues its slow slide into irrelevance. Like most other things on WHAS since Clear Channel has taken over, including traffic, weather, and programming, the shift has been from quality to whatever can be gotten cheaply and benefits the 45 stations CC owns in the area.

So, we see traffic go from a helicopter report that was allowed to run as long as it needed to and broke in during times when a new major back-up happened to a guy sitting and reading information off of a Clear Channel database based on a few dozen cameras around the Louisville area and people calling in. Forget about hearing about alternate routes, how long the back up is, or even which lane it's in. No time. Gotta get your two ads in per traffic report.

That brings us to the news. All of WHAS' seasoned reporters and anchors seem to have disappeared, most using it as a springboard to TV. Not that anyone can blame them, because there seems precious little to do anymore. Chris Chandler's not too bad, but his tendency to want to be a junior Jon Stewart with his asides during report can be a distraction. Most of the others are a mixed bag, however. It is fun to hear certain reporters struggle over words. Case in point, Teresa Payton (unsure if spelling is correct), a news anchor who yesterday struggled over the words Legionnaires' disease in a story about a nursing home. WHen she got to the word, it was like she'd had a verbal traffic accident, pronouncing it in a manner similar to Leh gee on are ays disease. Granted, this isn't a word you encounter everyday, but Legionnaires' is not uncommon, especially in cases where numerous people who share a building are hit with a mysterious illness, so I can't understand why it tripped her up. Not to mention the fact that reading over the story before she went on the air could have prompted her to look up the word.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Unbridled Bull$&!^ -- My Blog

As a lifelong resident of Kentucky, I decided to create a separate blog to discuss my views on the state and Louisville, the place I call home.

For my first entry, I wanted to address our states "branding effort", the phrase Unbridled Spirit, something that sums up all that is wrong with our state.

Let's see what the state has to say about the phrase. Text comes directly from the Unbridled Spririt website. My comments are in bold.

How This Process Came About

One of the first things Governor Fletcher noticed upon taking office was the large number of state logos, slogans and messages that permeated state government. Since the governor has put a priority on bringing more jobs and people to Kentucky, he raised the issue with Commerce Secretary W. James Host. It was something Host noticed, too. What the hell does one have to do with the other? Do companies look at the state and say "wow, they've got too many slogans and messages, I can't do business there. “When (Economic Development Secretary) Gene Strong and I sat down to discuss how we were going to actively promote Kentucky to improve economic development, including tourism, the first thing that struck me was the lack of a single strategy and theme between Economic Development and Tourism, even though we are both about jobs,” Host said. “That made no sense. No business would operate that way.” Actually, it depends on the business.

The fragmentation also has led to state government spending more than it should have on advertising and marketing efforts. “When we added up the advertising and marketing budgets across state government, it came to approximately $14 million a year, divided among more than a dozen different advertising agencies,” Host said. Individually, the budgets weren’t large enough to negotiate lower commissions and fees or to leverage the state’s buying power to secure better media rates. Each agency received the standard 15 percent commission on advertising media buys as well as hourly creative and public relations fees of up to $155. Kentucky was paying up to $2.5 million a year in agency commissions and fees. Okay, this one makes sense.

All advertising and marketing contracts were consolidated into one with the selection of New West, a Kentucky-based public relations, advertising and marketing firm. New West was awarded the contract after a comprehensive process during which state officials issued a request for proposals, reviewed qualifications from 18 applicant firms, and received oral presentations from seven of them. The final decision was based on scoring from judges in each cabinet in accordance with the RFP. Host and Secretary of Finance Robbie Rudolph then negotiated the final contract with the firm that scored best by the judges.

New West receives no advertising commission and no “markup” charges. The company receives one flat rate of $95 per hour for all services performed. To date, the company has billed approximately $400,000 in fees and advertising expenses.

“By eliminating past agency commissions and other charges, we are creating a brand for the state, marketing the commonwealth more effectively AND saving money in the process,” Governor Fletcher added.

Creating the Brand

Okay, this is a misnomer. You don't create a brand, the brand creates itself by the way people perceive it. Motel 6 could call itself a luxurious place to stay for the night, and that wouldn't make it so.

From the day of the initial announcement, virtually every Kentuckian has had an opinion on what Kentucky’s new brand should be. Governor Fletcher said in his announcement, “Our goal is to harness the pride and the passion Kentuckians have for our state, and showcase that pride to the rest of the world, so more businesses will want to locate here, more visitors will want to vacation here, and more people will want to live here." Do people really visit someplace because the people there like it? People visit places because there are things to do and see.

So what is most important to people inside and outside Kentucky? Finding out took several steps.

The first step was to solicit citizen opinions in the state. More than 1,000 people visited the Web site and gave their opinions on what made Kentucky stand out from other states. Among the most common responses: our beauty, our diverse terrain, our people, our quality of life, our strong feeling of “home,” our love for horses, and our central location.
Next, New West conducted research in a variety of areas. More than 225 people in the tourism industry were asked their opinions. According to the tourism experts, Kentucky’s beauty, parks, hospitality, cultural heritage and wildlife are strong attractions for the state.

National business leaders were quizzed about their impressions of Kentucky and the likelihood of their locating a business here. Kentucky was rated on par with most surrounding states, but lower than several. Business leaders said that changing Kentucky’s image would significantly improve their perception of Kentucky as a business location. How does an image change? Is it with a new slogan and a new logo, especially one that once again talks about horses? Maybe investing in education and in building up the two major cities.

Some 40 out-of-state consumers were then questioned about their knowledge of the state. Other than horses, those polled didn’t know much about Kentucky. 40 is a huge sample.... NOT! And how does this explain our brilliant decision to put a horse in our logo and slogan?

Finally, dozens of Kentuckians participated in focus groups and were questioned individually about Kentucky’s strengths and challenges. While our friendliness, heritage, pride and family scored high, there also was a feeling that Kentuckians are self-limiting. In other words, we take seriously the jokes people make about us and may not realize all that Kentucky has to offer. Or, maybe the jokes hurt because they are true.

Summarizing the research, here are key facts that became evident:

Kentuckians too often sell themselves short
Non-Kentuckians view Kentuckians through negative stereotypes, or not at all
Kentuckians want to see themselves as progressive, but not at the expense of their heritage, environment or quality of life. Okay, if this statement is true, it speaks volumes to the problem. Hey, I want to move forward in the state, but not if it means I can't be a hillbilly and live in a trailer.

Based on all this research, New West created and reviewed hundreds of potential logos and slogans (including those used by other states), tested dozens of different ideas in focus groups, adjusted and refined strategy, and finally selected four concepts for consideration. Governor Fletcher decided that, since Kentuckians had been so interested and involved in the process, they should have a vote in deciding Kentucky’s new brand.

How to Judge the Brand

Choosing a brand is more than just selecting a pretty logo or a fancy slogan. The brand will become the state’s image for years. It will be the first image visitors see when they enter the state, and it will signify how we as Kentuckians feel about this place we call home. That's a lot to ask of two words and a picture, but I hey, you gotta sell using tax dollars for this crap, so why not. Here are the goals that have been set for the new brand:

It should foster pride among Kentucky citizens Landing new businesses, improving education, and raising the state's intellectual profile would work much better.
It should cause people to think more positively about visiting or doing business in Kentucky Again, a lot to expect of two words.
It should attack negative stereotypes about Kentucky But let's horses on there so they know who they're dealing with. So as you judge which brand most effectively communicates Kentucky’s strengths to the world, look at each choice, using the following criteria:

Is it unique?
Does it suggest Kentuckians are progressive and forward-thinking?
Is it easy to remember?
Is it motivating?
Is it long-lasting?

I'd argue that, other than the third, it's none of these.