Rusty’s Top Five on Rednecks, Gays, Governors, Plays and Big Blue


I hope you get a chance to listen to this week’s Rusty Satellite podcast featuring JCPS board member Debbie Wesslund and Louisville Sports Commission chief Karl Schmitt. You’ll find out why we had so many snow days, among other topics, and learn a little about how the city’s top sports attraction arm is focused on “heads and beds.”


And you’ll hear what’s in the news that I think is worth talking about. Here’s a summary of those Top Five stories.

1. OUTREACH TO REDNECKS: Not that I worry a lot about what people think, but the Kentucky Baptist Convention’s gun raffles at church services is in the New York Daily News. In the same way I’m distressed that reality shows are popular and that people think pro wrestling is real, it’s distressing to know that church leaders in Kentucky believe the best way to lead “unchurched rednecks” to God is by promising them that if you show up, you might win a firearm. We’ve got plenty of stuff to be embarrassed about around here (this week the state’s lawmakers refused to move forward a statewide smoking ban), but having the rest of the country seeing us as buffoons this gun-crazy is going to be great spectacle soon on The Daily Show.

2. SAME-SEX MARRIAGE: Just after Jack Conway took the state one progressive step forward, Steve Beshear jump-frogged that to leap backward by vowing to appeal a judge’s ruling that Kentucky must recognize marriages performed in other states.  I’m convinced history will not be on the side of those who would discriminate against gays, as it hasn’t been kind to others who’ve stood in the way of the progress of equal rights. Beshear’s move is all about politics, and let’s hope Conway’s call doesn’t hurt him in the long term.

3. HAL HEINER: I almost voted for Hal Heiner in the last Mayor’s Race, but since then the former Metro Council member has been strategizing for a run at the Governor’s Mansion. Now he’s the first in for the race, but he’ll surely get plenty of competition, and soon. Ag Commissioner James Comer is almost sure to run against Heiner, and multiple Democrats will surely get in the race. One of Heiner’s big issues is charter schools, but hopes to appeal to the electorate as a successful businessman (though he made much of his money developing real estate in Indiana).

4. HUMANA FESTIVAL:  I’ve seen two performances in the Humana Festival of New American Plays, and both deal with modern dilemmas facing regular citizens in a modern world. “Partners” takes on same-sex marriage and money, while “The Christians” focuses on a crisis within a church that looks and sounds like one we’re all familiar with around here. I’ll have a review of that one here on

5. HOOPS: Since I recorded this week’s Rusty Satellite, the woes of UK hoops have gotten worse and the questions surrounding John Calipari’s approach to building a big-time basketball program have gotten louder. Not only did UK get pummeled by a senior-laden #1 team at Florida at Saturday, but four seniors led Louisville to a blowout of Connecticut on Saturday. The games were on WLKY-TV, back-t0-back. There are plenty of high-ranking teams headed to the tournament with experienced players, none that start five freshman. expect a turbulent off-season for Coach Cal.