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Local News Politics

Kentucky Republicans Hold Unity Rally

In the wake of Tuesday’s primary election, around 200 Kentucky Republicans turned out for a unity rally Saturday at state GOP headquarters in Frankfort.

The spotlight fell mostly on Senate President David Williams, the Republican gubernatorial nominee. After getting all of Tuesday’s winners to join him on stage, Williams launched into an attack on Gov. Steve Beshear, the Democratic nominee.

“One of the first things that’s been in doubt, by the Courier-Journal and the Herald-Leader, was answered. After a series of tests, they determined I do have a heart!  And they knew I had a brain. And unlike Steve Beshear, I have a spine,” he said.

And it’s clear Williams is going to keep making an issue of Gov. Beshear’s recent snub of President Obama at Ft. Campbell.

“There are some things more important than politics, and honoring those folks are more important than that. Steve Beshear went to a horse race because he was worried about his own race,” he said.

Williams often sounded much like a tea party candidate.

“It was the various states that created the federal government,” he said. “The federal government did not create the states. And this team here will go forward and challenge the federal government.”

U.S. Senator Rand Paul appeared briefly via the Internet, but Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell was at the rally. He said the best way to stop President Obama and get Kentucky going in the right direction, all on the same day, would be to elect David Williams governor.

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Local News

Largest U Of L Fundraising Campaign Officially Kicks Off Wednesday

The public launch of the largest fundraising campaign in University of Louisville’s history is Wednesday.

The “Charting our Course” campaign began silently three years ago. During the silent phase, U of L officials raised about 360 million dollars toward the campaign’s 750 million dollar goal. Vice president of university advancement Keith Inman says the quiet start is common for large fundraising efforts.

“Typically what you try to do in campaigns is, obviously you want to get it organized, you want to get some momentum going, and classically you try to announce when you’re close to 50% of the goal,” he says.

The campaign is more than twice as large as the university’s previous drive in the 90s.

“We’ve had two previous campaigns: one in the 80s, the Challenge for Excellence which raised about $62 million; and then the bicentennial campaign in the mid-90s which raised over $350 million,” he says.

Inman says the money is necessary to offset cuts in funding from the state.

“We’re certainly hopeful that we can increase the number of scholarships available and help the students not be the bearer of all that burden,” he says.

U of L has had to raise tuition in recent years to offset budget cuts. About 330 million dollars of the money raised in the new campaign will go toward academic programs, equipment and scholarships.

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Blog Archive Environment Environment Blog

PR Push for Hormones & Grain for Cattle

Here’s a study in public relations painted in science.  The Hudson Institute’s Center for Global Food Issues has launched a public relations campaign to boost the image of conventional meat production versus grass-fed and organically produced beef.

Their claims are that growth-enhancing drugs increase production safely, and make meat more affordable; that “beef animals finished in a conventional feed yard using grain-based rations and growth-enhancing technologies are three times more land efficient than organic or grass-fed beef animals;” and that they produce fewer greenhouse gas emissions.

Cattle feedlot in Texas (Creative Commons license)
Cattle feedlot in Texas

But take note:

  • Supporters include almost exclusively animal pharmaceutical manufacturers Pfizer, Eli Lilly, Elanco, and Schering-Plough.
  • Recent books by two of the Center’s five staffers include:  “Unstoppable Global Warming: Every 1500 Years,” which claims the current warming period is related to sunspot cycles, not human activity;  “Saving the Planet with Plastics and Pesticides;” and “The Truth About Organic Food.”
  • And finally, the Center cites its own researchers in footnotes, but only two other researchers from Iowa State University, whose findings they have incorporated into documents complete with photos of a happy family grilling meat in the backyard – not exactly the picture of academic integrity. Nowhere in their literature do I find a full accounting of the environmental benefits of raising cattle on feedlots, with grain, and injecting them with growth hormones.  What about all the water, transportation fuel, pesticides, and fertilizers needed to grow grain? What about the fact that cow stomachs are meant for grass, not grain?

Needless to say, my “spin-o-meter” reading is off the charts. But it’s not personal bias. I’m looking for the science. Evidence. Peer-review.  Bottom line: claims without much substantiation, supported by interested third party industries, should be suspect.

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Local News

Sen. Clinton to Campaign for Lunsford Saturday

Senator Hilary Clinton will rally supporters for Bruce Lunsford on Saturday at noon at the Pikeville airport.  Then at 2 o’clock supporters can hear her speak at the Kentucky Horse Park near Lexington. Clinton comes at a time when national attention is largely focused on the national presidential race, and few expect democratic candidate Barack Obama to visit the state.  Bruce Lunsford’s Senate campaign spokesman Cary Stemle says Clinton’s visit should invigorate voters.

“She’s in pretty high demand and so the fact that she’s coming to Kentucky is pretty exciting,” Stemle says.

Over the weekend, incumbent Senator Mitch McConnell’s campaign got a boost from a visit by McConnell’s wife, U.S. Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao.  McConnell’s campaign coffers are also significantly heftier than Lunsford’s, weighing in at more than $9 million in cash on hand versus Lunsford’s $1.3 million.