Gov. Ernie Fletcherâ€™s State of the Commonwealth address Monday night left no question that heâ€™s seeking to serve the Christian conservative and big business bases that are crucial to his 2007 re-election campaign. While advocating that public schools teach intelligent design (that life is too complex not to have been created by a higher power), the former lay Baptist minister said, â€œThis is not a question about faith or religion; itâ€™s about self-evident truth.â€
In Kentucky politics, siding with creationists against evolutionists may be more of a benefit than a cost, while antagonizing organized labor amid a legislative election year is risky business. Fletcherâ€™s plans to repeal the stateâ€™s prevailing wage law and to free workers from paying union dues as a condition of employment will create uncomfortable votes for some GOP lawmakers. Mentioning his initiative to make Kentucky a so-called right-to-work state elicited boos from the balcony of the House chamber. Labor issues threaten to be among the most divisive of the session.
BY STEPHEN GEORGE
That sharp collective inhale you could hear in City Hall last Wednesday night, just seconds after Metro Council member Tom Owen cast his vote for Republican presidential candidate Kevin Kramer, was as loud as the six minutes it took to decide a new president was brief.
Some Democrats expressed a mixture of surprise and outrage at the outcome, for which Tina Ward-Pugh, D-9, and Democrat Bob Henderson, D-14, provided the other votes to give Kramer the majority needed (Republicans are a 15-11 minority). There was talk in the days following of possible Democratic Party sanctions for voting out of step; such a threat was issued two years ago, after Council Democrats George Melton, Dan Johnson and Denise Bentley helped vote Kelly Downard into the presidency. The party never formally followed through.
Since 1991, Citizens Against Government Waste has helped save taxpayers billions of dollars with its annual exposÃ©s of pork-barrel spending in federal appropriations bills known as the â€œCongressional Pig Book.â€
Saturday, Dec. 31
Zoo Yearâ€™s Eve
Iâ€™ve always thought break-dance fighting and walk-offs only occur in Ben Stiller movies, so it came as a wonderful surprise to find that theyâ€™ll both be going on at Zooavilleâ€™s first annual Zoo Yearâ€™s Eve. The party, sponsored by the likes of Carmichaelâ€™s and Wild & Woolly, features other non-traditional New Yearâ€™s Eve events like a runway fashion show and an appearance by Grotesque Burlesque. Music will be provided by several DJs, and there will also be a CD release show for Louisville musician Scott Carney. As for the walk-off, itâ€™s at midnight and is open to everyone, and thanks to the champagne you should do well, whether you look like Phyllis George or George â€œThe Animalâ€ Steele. â€”Jonathan Frank
The black of it.
Whatâ€™s wrong with this list of NFL coaches: Marvin Lewis of the Bengals, Tony Dungy of the Colts and Da Bearsâ€™ Lovie Smith? Oh, yeah, thatâ€™s right: These guys are all in the playoffs and all are of the Negro persuasion. Theyâ€™re not supposed to know how to coach in the hypertechno/computer micromanaged intricate world of big-time professional football. Huh, guess somebody â€” lots of somebodies â€” got that wrong. Of course, those guys arenâ€™t alone. There are even African-American coaches who arenâ€™t doing so well. Just ask those inveterate Cleveland Brownsâ€™ fans.
STORY AND PHOTO BY MARTY PEARL
I was shocked to read the news that Mark Daniel â€œDanimalâ€ Haines was dead. Given that he had lived on the streets of Louisville and had battled â€” or embraced â€” his alcoholism for as long as I knew him, I guess it should come as no surprise that he was found curled up near Hoganâ€™s Fountain in Cherokee Park. With a body temperature of 75 degrees, he was transported to University Hospital, where he died of hypothermia on Friday.
I met Danny in 1993 while I was employed at MRK Inc. in the Mid City Mall. He slept on the benches, bummed change and exchanged philosophies with me throughout the day. Most people wouldnâ€™t look him in the eye. Even those who contributed to enabling his lifestyle with the occasional quarter or dime usually did so with no more than a glance. He didnâ€™t care if they helped or not. He remained upbeat and always thanked them with a smile.
Public Radio Partnership President Gerry Weston is expected to resign later this week pending his agreement to terms created by the PRP Board of Directors for his departure.
Since PRP was created in 1994, Weston has led the organization, which operates three FM public radio stations â€” WFPL, WFPK and WUOL. He also has been an employee of public radio in Louisville for more than 25 years and has been an on-air personality, hosting WFPKâ€™s â€œGerryâ€™s Jazzâ€ program that airs on Sunday.
Weston has been on leave since before Christmas, according to David Handmaker, chairman of the PRP board. Weston did not respond to an e-mail message and several phone calls seeking comment.
Conventional wisdom, based on revisionist history, says Adolph Rupp was a racist. Jerry Bruckheimerâ€™s new film, â€˜Glory Road,â€™ provides an opportunity to set the record straight.
Since humans began using the Gregorian calendar, Dec. 31 has signified a day of cleansing, reckoning and perhaps most optimistically, new hope. Weâ€™ll have none of that around here, thanks.
Three days from now, television-watching Louisvillians may notice a change on their dial. WYCS â€” the call letters stand for â€œYour Community Stationâ€ â€” will be gone from channel 24, a spot itâ€™s held for nearly a decade. In its place will be TV One, which airs programming geared toward African Americans.
Commandments posted, broken
A federal appeals court upheld Mercer Countyâ€™s right to display the Ten Commandments in its courthouse, ruling that the commandments are part of a historical display and show no religious intent. The good people of Mercer County celebrated the victory by breaking the coveting, false-witness, stealing, adultery, parent-honoring, Sabbath-keeping and the-Lordâ€™s-name-in-vain-taking commandments. In the event that any death-row prisoners turn up, the Mercerians also reserved the right to kill. They were all pretty much cool with the one about not worshipping other gods, though.