the last word (tm)

Vol. 16/No. 11 - 444th issue - November 3, 2007 - - Bellevue, Kentucky
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Nov. 3 - It's that time of year again!

There was a famous scene from The Simpsons in which Mayor Quimby's handlers whispered to him, "Election in November, election in November," and he replied, "Again? Stupid country!" The past couple years, the Republicans have probably thunk the same thing and wondered why they can't just stay in power forever without having to worry about subjecting their miserable selves to the the will of the people.

And so it is again! Kentucky's elections for governor and other state offices are looming again on November 6, and it's time to let you know where The Last Word stands.

The meanies of the Republican Right have been a pox for years. And in Kentucky, their influence has been out of proportion - ah, let's not rehash everything they've done. The most striking issue now regarding Kentucky Republicans is their continued insistence that they're the party of change, despite being firmly in power. We've long found this meme by state and national Republicans to be bizarre, after they controlled the presidency for 12 years from 1981-93. And it's even more preposterous now, because many nominal Democrats in public office have supported conservative policies. Republicans have, in effect, run the country for the past 27 years.

Four years ago, Ernie "The Truth Stretcher" Fletcher breezed onto the governor's throne grandstanding about what a trenchant, unstoppable challenge to the corrupt status quo he was. It didn't take long before Fletcher became the disaster we expected.

Fletcher was caught illegally firing Democrats from government jobs, leading to his indictment by a grand jury. As further proof of his spiteful ways, he packed university boards with Republicans, which was illegal because the Republicans were outnumbered in voter registrations.

Although Fletcher isn't as much of an activist as some other right-wing governors have been, his views are so far outside the mainstream that it's a wonder he's ever been elected to anything. Besides being partly responsible for the University of the Cumberlands funding flap (which made him look every bit as silly as he is), Fletcher also claims teaching evolution violates the Declaration of Independence. Fletcher is also a supporter of unconstitutional right-to-scab laws. These statutes are already responsible for the economic exploitation in many states in the South and West.

Now Ernie "Hey Bert" Fletcher wants a second term - when he never even deserved a first. Unfortunately, the type of corruption and extremism Fletcher exhibits is pandemic throughout the Republican Party.

With independents kept off the ballot (again), you know what to do this Election Day. Make sure nobody running for statewide office in Kentucky who has the nasty stylized elephant next to their name gets your vote (even though this time it looks like most of them are gonna need it).


Nov. 3 - Message for Covington city officials: Think twice, for it's another day for you and me in paradise.

According to the Kentucky Post of October 31, a nonprofit organization wants to build an emergency homeless shelter in Covington or Newport. Covington officials, however, have taken their city out of the running by further cementing their reputation as one of the most heartless city governments in America when it comes to its treatment of the homeless.

In the early part of the decade, Covington was listed on a national ranking of the most unfriendly North American cities for the homeless after the city bulldozed a makeshift encampment without warning and brutally killed a homeless man's cat. This act was nothing short of evil. Around the same time, the city hosted a rally by Freak Rethuglic types (which was attended almost entirely by suburbanites who didn't even live in the city) who actually claimed the city's homeless had it too easy. This is the only known instance of such a demonstration ever taking place in the history of the world.

You'd think Covington's leaders wouldn't want to visit further embarrassment upon themselves. (Actually the Republicans lose Covington in presidential elections, since it's an inner city, but that doesn't guarantee a progressive city government. Look at New York, after all.) But they didn't learn, did they? Earlier this year, Covington's only emergency shelter for the homeless closed. And it can't be replaced because - get this - the city has outlawed new shelters.

It's not as if some vague policy has the accidental effect of banning shelters. It's not as if the city denies that such a policy has a deliberate effect either. It does have a deliberate effect, but the city is unrepentant enough to come right out and say so. City Manager Jay Fossett boasts that the zoning code was just changed. "Homeless shelters are no longer permitted in Covington under our zoning code," he declared. He said the new ordinance bans not just shelters but also other social service agencies. Was it intended? Fossett said, "That was their intent, so I don't think it's likely that they would change their mind and allow a shelter."

We appreciate your honesty, Jay. Most cities would just deny they intended it. Of course this honesty is driven by the city's own smug desire to appeal to the gentrified conservatives who it wants to attract. How shameless.

If any shelter or other service agency existed, it would be grandfathered and allowed to stay. But Covington lacks a shelter now, and nobody's allowed to open a shelter even where one used to stand. (Ooh, an Allowed Cloud!)

Surely nobody believes that banning shelters will decrease the problems associated with homelessness. Before the most recent shelter opened, the homeless camped nearby. Thus, most of the opposition that the shelter did generate was based largely on flimsy excuses. They claimed people staying at the shelter created too many problems, but if that's the case, wouldn't they create more problems if they were out on the streets?

You have to wonder about people sometimes. There used to be these things called ethics and standards, which restrained most government officials in our urban centers from deliberately stepping on the downtrodden. Leadership meant doing what was in the interest of your constituents - including the least well-off. But these days, anyone who's below the poverty line or who doesn't own property doesn't get a voice, and politicians are proud to have it that way.

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(Copywrong 2007)
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