"General Sense of Outrage" is officially finished. Find everything that's here and everything that will be there at www.leoweekly.com. The new LEO News Blog is called Fat Lip, and you can hit it directly at fatlip.leoweekly.com
Wednesday, October 8, 2008
The new local public service announcement staring Police Chief Robert White is timely given the grime context. It's about motorists and cyclists sharing the road.
hat tip to The 'Ville Voice:
The spots are a good start, and let’s hope the G.M.’s at local stations put them into a regular rotation. By raising the awareness of cyclists on the road, they’re hoping we can cut down on the number of vehicle-bicycle accidents.
It's something to keep at the forefront of our minds given the recent accidents coupled with the tragic death of Jen Futrell, who was hit by a car while riding her bike on Bardstown Road near Grinstead Drive early last week. (PB)
Posted by General Sense of Outrage at 10:40 AM
Tuesday, October 7, 2008
In reading this morning's Courier-Journal story about an apparent murder-suicide in which police say a Fairdale mother killed her two young daughters and then herself yesterday, I was perplexed by a photo than ran alongside the article online.
Posted by General Sense of Outrage at 3:24 PM
The decision by the McCain campaign to go negative is having a disturbing affect on crowd participation. Beginning with the "paling around with terrorists" comments from VP nominee Sarah Palin over the weekend, columnist Dana Milbank notes that the reactions to the red meat have worked a little too well.
When McCain recently asked, "Who is the real Barack Obama?" a supporter yelled the answer: "Terrorist!"
Turning up the volume on questions of Obama's character and associations is a gamble to stop McCain's sinking poll numbers. It just might work, but it has apparently opened up a dangerous door that the campaign may not be able to shut.
From The Washington Post:
"...Palin's routine attacks on the media have begun to spill into ugliness. In Clearwater, arriving reporters were greeted with shouts and taunts by the crowd of about 3,000. Palin then went on to blame Katie Couric's questions for her "less-than-successful interview with kinda mainstream media."
At that, Palin supporters turned on reporters in the press area, waving thunder sticks and shouting abuse. Others hurled obscenities at a camera crew. One Palin supporter shouted a racial epithet at an African American sound man for a network and told him, 'Sit down, boy.'"
Other reports of Palin rallies are even scarier. Maybe it's being overblown, but it seems some McCain/Palin events are turning into angry mobs. Certainly the McCain/Palin campaign cannot be held responsible for what a fiery supporter shouts, but they are responsible for dousing these crowds with gasoline. (PB)
Posted by General Sense of Outrage at 2:55 PM
Arguing against the multi-million dollars in funding going to the Baltimore Based Cordish Company to develop downtown Louisville, Metro Council Republicans have taken their opposition to Center City to the airwaves.
Last night on FOX 41, Councilman Hal Heiner, R-19, appeared on Point of View with a guest editorial poking holes in what he calls another "government giveaway" by Mayor Jerry Abramson.
"Our Mayor has signed an agreement with a Maryland developer to give away $36 million in cash and property in hopes they will build downtown," he says. "Unfortunately the Mayor's agreement only requires the developer to invest $12 million of their own money to receive our generous $36 million gift."
Saying the Mayor "blew this deal", Heiner petitioned the public to call their Councilperson in the hopes of stopping the deal. Council Republicans announced their opposition to the Mayor’s plan last week after Democrats passed the ordinance to purchase $12.2 million in property in a 6 to 4 vote that fell along party lines in the Budget Committee.
Highlighting the troubling financial markets, members of the minority caucus voiced their concerns regarding the giveaway of millions in taxpayer subsidies that if passed by the Metro Council this week, would be the single largest downtown investment in Louisville history.
With completion expected by 2010, the Center City District project would cost more than three times as much as 4th Street Live, covering well over six city blocks with the core of the project located on the 6-acre lot known as the Louisville Water Company Block.
"During tough financial times, our city is opting to do what it always does – give away assets and tax dollars to bring development downtown," Councilman Ken Fleming, R-7, said. "During tight times, when the Mayor says he is forced to work with a meat and potatoes budget, he is out giving away acres of prime real estate, promising to fund architectural drawings or renovating privately owned buildings."
The Mayor's office, however, says the multi-million dollar purchase is a critical continuation to the downtown development puzzle.
"When you think about the momentum we have in this community, the possibility of putting a $250 to $450 million investment downtown in a central location is very important," Chad Carlton, a spokesman for Abramson told LEO Weekly.
Over the past few weeks council members have submitted questions and inquiries to the Mayor’s Office as well as his Economic Development Director, Bruce Traughber, seeking clarification on issues related to the purchase. Carlton says those inquiries and feedback regarding the development agreement between the Mayor and the Baltimore-based Cordish Company have been helpful.
Council Republicans say some of the questions have been answered, but others have not and in reviewing the project more questions have arisen causing greater concerns.
"The Center City Project was first presented through a slideshow with renderings of the buildings and promises of up to $400 million dollars in economic investment for the downtown area," Heiner says. "After many questions, and further investigation the project’s minimal investment requirements are closer to $12 million with few protections for the citizens of this community."
Heiner says he will vote no on the proposal due to the "failure of this administration to protect taxpayers and the Mayor’s unwillingness to fix vital aspects of the development agreement".
Carlton says Councilman Heiner, however, has consistently opposed downtown development projects to the detriment of the city.
"You don't have to look very far into the the rhetoric of Councilman Heiner to see the word downtown. On this project, on the Arena Project, and Museusm Plaza, he's been against it all. The consistency is his opposition to improving downtown and its renaissance," he says.
The bad blood between Councilman Heiner and Mayor Abramson is nothing new. Earlier this year it spilled over in the pages of LEO Weekly during a one-on-one interview where with the Mayor. Heiner was a leading critic of the Mayor's library tax, a ballot initiative to increase occupational taxes to pay for better libraries. The ballot initiative failed and was rejected by voters 2-to-1. When asked about the Councilman's alternative to fund the libraries expansion plan, Abramson called Heiner a "snake oil salesman" .
Carlton says they're confident the Council will pass the ordinance to purchase the Center City property. The ordinance will be voted on by the entire Metro Council at their next meeting, October 9, 2008 at 6:00 p.m. (PB)
Posted by General Sense of Outrage at 11:30 AM
Monday, October 6, 2008
Jen Futrell, the woman on the bike who was run down on Bardstown Road near Grinstead Drive early last week, died Saturday at University Hospital. The C-J ran a nice piece on Jen in yesterday's paper.
I knew Jen — not well, but we were more than acquaintances. We met a few years ago, at an early 8664 event. Most of the room had cleared following the presentation, and we kinda stood there looking at each other, probably wondering what the hell the other was doing hanging around late, getting the finer details and such. Jen, her friend and I ended up at a bar nearby, drinking beers for a few more hours and discussing the future of downtown, a subject on which she had strong, clear opinions. She was that night, as was often the case, on her bike.
We kept in touch, and just about every time we saw one another out, she'd talk to me about LEO — good, bad, brutally ugly. She had no qualms telling me I was full of shit (when I have been), and I always sought our random conversations for their unusual depth and, really, for her unusual honesty. She was an absolutely compelling person, and full of real courage.
The last time we talked was a few months ago at Nachbar in Germantown. She was on me about the future of LEO — it had just been sold, and she was concerned about the change. I didn't know much about what would happen then, and I told her I'd do my best to keep it moving in the same direction I'd been pushing for the past few years, of which she (at least loosely, it appeared) approved. After about 15 minutes of deep, involved talking, she laughed, kinda paused and looked at me hard, and then — somewhat dismissively — asked when I would leave Louisville for a bigger market, a place more appreciative of and open to alternative art, writing and ideas. She told me I shouldn't stay here too long.
Goddamnit. This is awful, a terrible feeling. I'm sorry — to her close friends, of which there are many, and her family — that this city isn't there yet on cycling. Despite her best efforts, which were tremendous, she couldn't change it all. Nobody can, not as quickly as it needs to happen. She tried to have an impact on your mind and keep the one on this planet as small as possible. That's an important example before us.
Posted by General Sense of Outrage at 9:37 AM
Friday, October 3, 2008
With reluctance U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth, D-KY3, said he plans to vote for the economic bailout approved by the Senate.
"I do intend to vote for the Senate bill that is before us today," Yarmuth said during a conference call with local media. "I hate the bill I voted against on Monday, I hate the bill I'm going to vote for today, but I hate it less."
Yarmuth said the bill has made important improvements from the original bailout legislation that failed to pass in the House earlier this week.
"I'm very glad that some of the provisions that have been added will be very helpful to average citizens in Louisville," he says.
The added provisions include an alternative minimum tax, which will save about 30,000 households in Louisville from having their taxes increased, a mental health parity provision, which puts mental health on par with physical health needs and the extension of property tax at a deduction.
Yarmuth says he decided to vote for the "rescue package" primarily because he's convinced that the ongoing economic crisis coupled with the immediate psychological anxiety over the market could lead to an economic meltdown.
"The risk of doing nothing is to great to take and could lead to a longer and deeper recession," he says. "I don't appreciate the position we've been put it, I don't like the position the American people have been put in." Besides blaming the Bush the administration for ratcheting up the fear factor and being unprepared, Yarmuth said Democratic leadership also failed to give the public another option.
"I'm mad at our leadership for not providing an alternative proposal," Yarmuth says.
Before today's vote the freshman Congressman said he had two conversations with Democratic Presidential nominee Barack Obama this week. Yarmuth said he reached out to Obama on Wednesday and the two had a one-on-one conversation where in an analogy the Illinois Senator explained the bill was imperfect but necessary. Obama told Yarmuth, "all we're doing here is patching up a hole in the boat to get it to port" until the boat can be fundamentally repaired.
LEO Weekly asked Yarmuth if he was worried about the political fallout back home.
"Was it the safe political move for me to make today, no. It never is to change your vote," he says."But I think not only have circumstances changed but the legislation has changed over the last week as well." (PB)
Posted by General Sense of Outrage at 1:05 PM
Posted by General Sense of Outrage at 10:00 AM
Thursday, October 2, 2008
Trading on the popularity of the trademark Keep Louisville Weird marketing campaign, the re-election campaign of U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth, D-3rd, held a rally outside ear X-Tacy on Bardstown Road today, unveiling its new slogan -- "Keep Louisville Yarmuth".
Campaign staff passed out buttons and bumper stickers while the crowd of about 100 chowed on free pies from Wick's Pizza. The event was hyped as a rally, and Metro Councilman David Tandy, D-4, emceed amid speakers, including former Democratic Congressional candidate Andrew Horne, who spoke about the evils of Northup, McConnell and Bush. The speakers made the event a bit of a snooze — at least the part in between the live music by The Ladybirds and The Genius File.
Part of the bummer was that Yarmuth was unable to attend due to the upcoming vote in the House on the $700 billion bailout, which passed the U.S. Senate last night 74-25.
More pictures below. (PB)
Posted by General Sense of Outrage at 1:55 PM
Wednesday, October 1, 2008
We tackled the "truthiness" of campaign advertising in this week's LEO, challenging both candidates in Kentucky’s 3rd District congressional race on their half-truth and misleading messages.
From LEO Weekly:
"Just days after the Yarmuth ad first aired last month, the Northup campaign responded by pointing out that the state children’s health insurance legislation never took effect. In the Northup ad, entitled “Lowest,” a male narrator mockingly asks, “John, that didn’t become law, now did it?”
The Northup ad is misleading in its own right, omitting that the bill’s downfall was the result of the president’s pen and not because of the “do–nothing Congress” or any failure on Yarmuth’s part."
The Yarmuth campaign released a new TV ad highlighting that the bill failed due to President Bush's vetoes. Notice, however, Yarmuth still refuses to mention Northup by name. (PB)
Posted by General Sense of Outrage at 10:30 AM
Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Another disgusting attack campaign flier has hit Louisville's political scene. This one is aimed at District Court Judge candidate Katie King, daughter of Metro Council President Jim King.
Sent to "King James" and "Princess Kathryn", the flier contains two pictures allegedly of King with her bent over showing a tattoo on her back and the other holding her ankles with "Bend Over...Grab Your Ankles" in bold letters.
Signed by "Fanny 'Clew' O'Dye", the flier was mailed to LEO Weekly's offices earlier today as well as other TV reporters and bloggers. No word if voters in the general public received the attack piece.
King, 28, faced dogged questions and criticisms about her lack of experience once she entered the race, but she won convincingly in May among a 10-person field of experienced litigators. She will face David Holton in the general election this fall.
Claiming responsibility for the King flier is the "Citizens for Family and Moral Values", the same faux group that claimed responsibility for a homophobic flyer put out against Democratic Metro Council candidate Ken Herndon. Mailed to voters the Saturday before the election, Herndon narrowly lost to incumbent George Unseld by a razor-thin margin of 112 votes in his bid for the 6th District seat.
LEO Weekly has been covering that ugly saga from the beginning, go here and here to read more.
Herndon told LEO he officially filed a defamation lawsuit in Jefferson County Circuit Court today in the hopes of discovering who produced the mailer against him last spring. (PB)
Posted by General Sense of Outrage at 8:45 PM
As this Hobbesian decade comes to perhaps its final sad chapter, America facing economic uncertainty seems rather poetic.
After international terrorism, multiple wars, domestic destruction, a sickening popular culture and a crumbling infrastructure, a financial meltdown is almost scripted.
The failure to pass the record $700 billion bailout in the House has been the headline and will likely control the news cycle for the remainder of the week. Meanwhile, others worry about what's brewing beneath as the noticeably rising temperature of average Americans begins to steam.
A month of historic government interventions shows signs of triggering a political version of climate change - unleashing a new era of class fury that could hurt U.S. companies, business leaders, and wealthy investors for years.
"A potential calamity," predicts Democratic pollster Doug Schoen. "If the reactions we're seeing hold, we could have real spasmodic anger directed at businesses and corporations."
Remember LEO Weekly's interview with journalist David Sirota? In June we talked to the author of The Uprising: An Unauthorized Tour of the Populist Revolt Scaring Wall Street & Washington, about the brewing revolt.
We asked Sirota why Americans were so pissed off. He said, "...they're pissed off because they see a direct connection between the policies of the government and the current crises we're living through — health care, energy, national security. People no longer see government as playing a passive role, but they actually see the government contributing to and creating the crises we're now facing."
Watching Congressional leaders and President Bush quickly turn the giant federal government tanker around to save Wall Street while it annually stalls, brakes and burns out on making health care universal, college tuition affordable and energy efficient is a reason to be pissed off.
Whether it will result in changes at the fundamental level is uncertain. This momentary frustration with the market could end up being just another temper tantrum by the poor, working and middle-class before returning to our prone position. (PB)
Posted by General Sense of Outrage at 3:20 PM
A little birdie says the Women's National Basketball Association might bring a team to Louisville, thanks to a new downtown arena slated to open in November 2010.
Posted by General Sense of Outrage at 1:26 PM
Monday, September 29, 2008
Joining 40 percent of Democrats, U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth, D-KY3, voted against the $700 billion emergency bailout, which failed to pass the House today in a 228-205 vote.
This is an unusual vote against party lines for Yarmuth, who votes with Democrats 97.7% of the time. However, as national media outlets pointed out, the bailout bill faced bi-partisan opposition inlcuding more than two-thirds of House Republicans.
Stuart Perelmuter, Yarmuth's press secretary, was unavailable for comment.
Meanwhile, the Dow fell more than 700 points. (PB)
Posted by General Sense of Outrage at 3:35 PM
Via a press release issued this morning, University of Louisville Provost Shirley Willihnganz says she is outraged over the leaking of university information about a degree program and a student’s academic career posted on a local blog.
The story, published on PageOneKY, was about another questionable degree awarded by the university's School of Education & Human Development, which has been under watchful scrutiny due to the Robert Felner scandal.
The student in question is philanthropist Lewis "Sonny" Bass, a former U of L football player from the early 1940s who has been one of the university's wealthiest donors over the decades. Bass' multi-million dollar contributions to the university include a project to help single mothers earn their college degrees and a tennis center for the men's and women's teams.
According to the original PageOneKY story:
"Mr. Bass was offered an honorary degree over the summer. But he wasn’t satisfied. He wanted an actual, earned degree. So individuals within the College of Education enrolled him in a fast track program that would give him credit for life experience, which has to be documented in the form of a portfolio.
A student was assigned (and paid) to assemble a portfolio for Bass but eventually grew to be uncomfortable with the arrangement. At one point, after complaining, she was reportedly offered more money to appease her worries but eventually backed out of the process. A new student was then assigned.
According to professors we spoke with at UofL, Bass never showed up to classes he was supposed to attend this summer. He never did any of the work required of him. And professors were uncomfortable giving grades to him– that he didn’t earn– since he was never in their classes."
Jacob Payne, blogger at PageOneKY, told LEO Weekly nothing confidential was posted in his story and the university is trying to distract the public from the PR nightmare of another fraudulent degree.
"The university is trying to do damage control and attack my character and credibility," he says. "They want to threaten people because Bass is one of the biggest contributors and he's upset at my news organization."
Payne says his sources at U of L have told him that Bass was initially upset with PageOneKY for breaking several stories about the Felner scandal over the past several months. He says today's press release is a direct retaliation to the Bass post.
"It's not about the blog," U of L spokesman John Drees says. "It's about the violation of federal regulations."
Drees told LEO Weekly the university cannot release any records about a student besides basic directory information without the express written permission of the student. He says that whoever released the information has violated the Federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, which protects the privacy of student education records and applies to all schools that receive federal funds, according to the U.S. Department of Education. Drees says the university is in conversation with its legal counsel but would make no further comment on what actions the university may take.
"It is vital for the university to protect its students' privacy," he says. "This is a serious breach of their information." (PB)
Posted by General Sense of Outrage at 3:25 PM
The Rothenberg Report, a somewhat influential non-partisan newsletter that rates American electoral campaigns, has reclassified the McConnell-Lunsford Senate race as having a "Narrow Advantage for McConnell," a day after the second poll in a week has lodged the race at a statistical dead heat. Rothenberg also cited another unpublished poll as firming up those results. (SG)
Posted by General Sense of Outrage at 2:14 PM
Saturday, September 27, 2008
The C-J is reporting the results of a Bluegrass poll in the race for U.S. Senate: a statistical tie between Bruce Lunsford and Mitch McConnell. It comes on the heels of a Survey USA poll released earlier this week showing McConnell at 49 percent and Lunsford at 46 percent.
Neither campaign comments on polls. (SG)
Posted by General Sense of Outrage at 11:49 AM
Friday, September 26, 2008
The Mayor's office will announce this afternoon grants from the state of between $4 million and $5 million to make further transportation infrastructure improvements, including adding more dedicated bike lanes and paths in Louisville.
Louisville will add about 20 miles of bike paths in the coming year – five miles of striped bike lanes and 15 miles of signed bike routes. Louisville currently has 30 miles of bike lanes, 100 miles of signed bike routes and 30 miles of multi-use off-road paths. Some of the roadways that are priorities for bike lanes are Taylorsville Road, Poplar Level Road and Stonestreet Road.
The city will post Share the Road signs along roads and streets throughout the community that are too narrow for bike lines but are often used by cyclists. Some of the roadways that are priorities for signage are River Road, Frankfort Avenue, Stony Brook Drive, Old 3rd Street Road and Johnsontown Road.
Education and Safety Campaign $125,000
With more cyclists and pedestrians using our roads, education is critical to making our roadways safe. KYTC and Louisville will spend $125,000 on educational efforts, including public-service advertisements, brochures and training classes that underscore the rules for motorists, cyclist and pedestrians and promote the Share the Road theme.
Louisville Metro will begin running a new round of public service announcements in early October through a partnership with Insight Communications. A more comprehensive communications campaign will be launched next year.
LaGrange Road Bicycle & Pedestrian Improvements $1,035,000
This project includes widening a 1.5-mile section of LaGrange Road from Lakeland Road to Bowen Elementary to provide bicycle lanes and add a sidewalk on the north side of roadway.
It will provide connections to several other planned transportation improvements including turn lanes and pedestrian crossings at LaGrange Road and Whipps Mill Road near Bowen Elementary, bike lanes at University of Louisville’s Shelby Campus and the Louisville Loop, a 100-mile multi-use trail encircling the city.
Olmsted Parkways Multi-Use Path System $1,200,000
The grant will be used to design and construct a 0.6-mile multi-use path along Algonquin Parkway from Winkler Avenue to Sharp Street. The project will improve access for pedestrian and cyclists to this residential neighborhood and adjacent businesses.
River Road Corridor Bicycle Improvements $1,217,375
This grant will be used to design and implement bicycle paths along the River Road corridor between Zorn Avenue and US 42 in Prospect. Improvements will accommodate all modes of travel, with a focus on the growing number of bicyclists who are attracted to this scenic corridor along the Ohio River and numerous public parks.
A corridor management plan for the route east of Zorn Avenue will be completed next year and construction of bike paths is planned for 2010 and 2011. The project is a segment of the 100-mile Louisville Loop project.
Bluegrass Industrial Park Bicycle and Pedestrian Trail $656,766
This grant will help fund development of a bicycle and pedestrian trail system along Bluegrass Parkway, Tucker Station Road and Plantside Drive. The total includes matching funds from the City of Jeffersontown of $131,353.
Walkable Communities Improvements $375,000
This grant will fund sidewalk improvements identified during the Mayor’s Healthy Hometown Movement Pedestrian Summit and included in the Community Walkability Plan. The focus is on heavily used TARC routes and corridors for pedestrian commuting and local-destination trips.
Newburg Middle School Safe Routes to Schools $126,550
This grant will fund a number of safety improvements around the 1,000-student school including enhanced lighting, additional stop signs, a crosswalk, on-street bike lanes along Exeter Avenue and a renovated walking path to Petersburg Park and a nearby Boys and Girls Club.
Posted by General Sense of Outrage at 11:34 AM
Thursday, September 25, 2008
Holding up graphic pictures of scalded chickens and with two of its members crammed into a tank of "bloody" water (Hawaiian Punch), the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) demonstrated outside a Louisville KFC restaurant today to protest what it calls the abusive treatment of chickens in slaughterhouses that supply the fast-foot chain.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, every year millions of birds are immersed in tanks of scalding hot water that are intended to remove the birds' feathers after they are dead. According to PETA, the voltage used to paralyze the birds before slaughter usually leaves them conscious.
Nicole Matthews, a spokeswoman for PETA, tells LEO Weekly the problem is that many of the chickens are still alive when they are scalded to death. She says PETA is focusing on Louisville in the hopes that KFC executives will be responsive to their recommendations, and she expects demonstrations will continue and escalate in the coming weeks.
"We're heating things up to help customers see exactly how cold-hearted KFC is when it comes to chickens," Matthews says. "People flock to other restaurants when they learn that KFC is too cheap to make basic changes that would prevent birds from being scalded to death."
About seven members of the animal rights group stood in front of the KFC at 1004 Bardstown Road holding up large pictures of scalded and mutilated chickens. Known for their audacious demonstrations, the call to boycott the restaurant gained a few supportive cheers from onlookers and honks from passing cars, however, many others stopped traffic to yell "Get a job!" or "I love KFC" to the protestors.
"We got a laugh out of the whole idea," says Jeremy Snyder, the manager at KFC, who tells LEO the corporate office gave him a heads up about today's protest. "They're trying to show everyone we torture chickens, I guess. Really, it is their own opinion, their own judgment. If they don't like the way we treat chickens it really doesn’t matter."
The Humane Methods of Livestock Slaughter Act was passed in 1958 to protect animals during slaughter. The law requires that the animals be stunned into unconsciousness to ensure a quick, relatively painless death. Matthews says the federal law does not apply to poultry.
"The animals that people eat do not need to be slaughtered in inhumane ways," Matthews says. "We have new technologies for KFC to implement. They've said it only costs about 2 cents more per meal. People everywhere are recognizing that KFC stands for cruelty," she says. (PB)
KFC spokesman Rick Maynard sent LEO Weekly the following statement.
"KFC is committed to the well-being and humane treatment of chickens. We're proud of our responsible, industry-leading animal welfare guidelines. We buy our quality chickens from the same trusted brands that consumers buy in local supermarkets.
While we don't own any poultry facilities, we require all of our suppliers to follow welfare guidelines developed by us with leading experts on our Animal Welfare Advisory Council.
We don't comment on PETA's activities and publicity stunts, which speak for themselves."
Posted by General Sense of Outrage at 2:31 PM
From Rolling Stone:
"We just wanted to choose a really large number." – a Treasury spokesman explaining to Forbes that the $700,000,000,000 the administration is asking for is “not based on any particular data point.”
Posted by General Sense of Outrage at 2:17 PM