How bad laws get made: a glimpse at what Fark's Drew Curtis would be like as Kentucky governor


I don’t quite understand.

Certainly schools should be responsible when they encourage bullying and don’t protect students from violence, as well as when they inflict violence.

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Generally speaking, you don’t get to sue someone if you yourself were not involved or harmed. Further, the idea that you would get to sue the school for something you witnessed but were not harmed in is quite ridiculous.

This particular piece of legislation seems to actually be about preventing transgendered kids from going into the “wrong” bathroom - to the tune of $2500 per student who witnesses them going into the “wrong” bathroom.


Endorsing a political candidate is a pretty big deal - can someone tell me how Curtis proposes to govern? Saying that he’ll follow the data isn’t enough - if he’s running for office the voters deserve some kind of policies to look at. This article is a fine example of how not to make laws, but is missing any kind of policy proposal. (Besides a tired attack on trial lawyers. But does that make him in favor of tort reform in general?)

From what I have been able to learn from his website, he is a single-issue candidate on campaign finance reform.

On further reading he seems to place himself alongside (endorse?) some very reactionary candidates including David Brat, a darling of the Tea Party. If he is aligning himself with the extreme right does he really deserve a BoingBoing endorsement?

Of course, he could just admire Brat’s defeat of Cantor without endorsing his positions; we have no way of knowing anything about Curtis without clear statements of policy. I’m not saying Curtis isn’t a good guy and might be a good governor, but I’m suspicious of the lack of policy statements from him. I’m a fairly swift reader but I shouldn’t have been able to read his entire site in 20 minutes.

TL;DR: Don’t vote for/endorse an outsider just because he’s an outsider. Sometimes the “insider” you know is better than the “outsider” you don’t.


The law that was passed banned a transgender student from using the gendered restroom that he or she identified with. A student simply witnessing someone who “shouldn’t be there” entering a bathroom wouldn’t normally be able to claim damages.

An excellent case of advocating for non-gendered bathrooms to be made available in schools. It’s interesting that Curtis makes a pretty big reach to place the blame on trial lawyers.


The current governor of Kentucky, Steve Beshear, has done absolute wonders over there. By fully embracing the Affordable Care Act and working hard to make Kentucky’s health care exchange, Kynect, a success, Kentucky has led the nation in reducing their uninsured rate:

This alone is a huge deal. Kentucky used to be one of the worst states in terms of health insurance, and now it’s a leader. And all this in one of the most conservative states in the union. Fun fact - in a spectacular feat of cognitive dissonance, a majority of people polled in KY love Kynect but hate Obamacare, even though they’re basically the same thing.

So it’s not enough to impress me that Drew Curtis rails against bad laws - he has to show me that he’s going to be better than the current governor, who is actually really great. What is it about the status quo in Kentucky that he wants to change? Will he try to dismantle Kynect? What is his position on concealed carry? What about Kentucky’s coal industry - it’s vital to the economy and you can’t win without embracing coal, but it’s also an environmental disaster with a limited supply. What is his vision for the energy future of the state? What is his position on fracking? How will he work with the legislature to accomplish his goals? Beshear managed to expand Medicaid and set up Kynect into a successful program despite massive conservative opposition inside and outside KY (including from Mitch McConnell, who holds a decent amount of local influence). These are all complex issues that require sensitive and difficult tightrope walking to govern through. Railing against trial lawyers and dumb laws won’t cut it.


A good point, but don’t throw around “majority” unless it’s really a majority: Kentuckians Hate Kynect A Lot Less Than Obamacare | HuffPost Latest News

Trans kids should just report themselves every time they need to use the facilities and finance their retirement before graduating high school.

And report everyone else as possibly being trans - including the bill author & his spouse. People may presume one of those kids is trans - but no one knows this. The same applies to all equally. Prove you’re not.


Then it’s a law targetting and outing trans students, and thereby encouraging and enabling violence against trans students.

It’s not bad because of trial lawyers.

It’s bad because of exterminationist lawmakers.


The point of the article is that the issue itself doesn’t matter, so I think discussing the particulars of of trans issues and/or trial lawyers is missing the point- the point he is making (as I see it) is that

a)politicians like to jump on a hot-button topical issue to score points with their teams, not because it will actually do anything beneficial and will just likely make the people on different teams angrier at each other.

b)badly or vaguely worded laws add costs to everything they touch because then it has to go through the courts before anyone knows what it actually means.

I completely agree with the author. This is the way that Legislators have for far too long gotten away with passing something that sounds good enough to enough constituents but when it comes to specifics they throw up their hands and toss the grenade at the courts, and we’re left cleaning up the mess and paying the costs. They love basking in the glow of “accomplishment” without actually making the hard decisions, that they leave to the courts (then they get to rile up their team by railing against the courts when it doesn’t go their way. It’s a two-fer!). The ACA (“pass it to find out what’s in it”) is just one of the more blatant examples.

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Remember Jesse Ventura?

Even in the south, the governor is not a king. Convince me that this person could work with the legislature that he’s implicitly insulting (however deservedly). Then we’ll discuss moving to Kentucky.

Hey Matthew (And everyone in the comment section!)

This is great conversation and we’re thrilled that Boing Boing picked up Drew’s op-ed. I just wanted to provide our issues pages that you and others have asked about. You can find it at

Drew has a wide array of thoughts and ideas on how to improve government and the lives of voters in Kentucky and we will be adding to our issues page as we meet more and more citizens.

Thanks for following the campaign!

As I shared with someone else, I encourage you to drop by to answer a lot of your questions.

What I was trying to say before is that, if he does, he’s not talking about them. The Issues page referenced was part of the 20 minutes it took to read your site, and a very careful reading of that page gives me one possible policy proposal - early college high school curricula. Even that’s half-baked, with no specifics or plans for implementation. The rest is a couple of hundred flowery, meaningless words.

Put forth some real, detailed proposals for how Kentucky ought to be run and we’ll all be happy to pick them apart. If they’re worth anything I’ll donate to the campaign. But my original point still stands - a major media outlet (BoingBoing) shouldn’t endorse a candidate about whom there is little to no information available.

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OK, but how far are you willing to go in order to legislate this? Will it be acceptable to you if the laws mean thousands, perhaps even millions of uninvolved children will be deprived of an optimal education? What if it means the destruction of families and the establishment of a school-to-prison pipeline that does more harm than the Ku Klux Klan ever could? Are the consequences of the principle you’ve espoused something you are willing to live with no matter how many people get hurt?

In my state, we have something called “zero tolerance” which is supposed to protect the innocence of all the good, unspoiled little boys and girls. It has a huge support base among liberal female voters, who justify it using exactly the kind of language you’ve just used. Schools have to protect the children, it’s a fundamental principle! And the result has been a massive destruction of families and the establishment of a school-to-prison pipeline.

Naturally, the wealthier folks are able to buy their kids’ way out of the pipeline, and the poor, who are overwhelmingly people of color, cannot - so in the name of fairness voters have created a self-perpetuating racist wet dream, and our educational system is an impoverished shambles, with massive amounts of money spent on charter schools for the rich and the poor shunted off into jail cells to “protect” the poor little middle class kids from being occasionally beaten up for their lunch money, or even <gasp> called hurtful names.

Is it worth that? Are these kinds of principles more important than actual harm to actual people? Because that’s what Curtis is talking about - are we as citizens and voters more interested in the emotions surrounding the issue that sparked legislation, or what the actual effect of the proposed legislation will be?

Personally, I like Curtis well enough, and agree with the point he’s making, but I am also pretty impressed by the current governor of Kentucky, and anyway I don’t live there.


I don’t want to rain on anyone’s parade,but I doubt if he’s going to do all that well and I think most folks know that. The political machines in kentucky are just too strong. Conway and this Heiner guy are the contenders. This fella isnt even on the radar to the Courier Journal, the main newspaper in louisville, and that’s likely the only city in the state that would be receptive to a canidate like him.

I have a migraine, and I was forced out of one school for being bullied, and I was beaten unconscious at the next school, by people who were rumored to be neo-Nazis, and I am triggered, so I am not going to answer your question.

My apologies, I was also abandoned by my schools and forced to “deal with it” when bullied and sexually harassed. You have in me a fellow traveller.

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I think I’ll be content to remain in San Francisco, even if Drew wins the governorship of Kentucky, but I have been holding on to a couple bottles of the w00tstout he and Wil Wheaton made, with Stone Brewing, a couple years back, and if I manage to have not drunk them by election night, and Drew wins, I’ll make a point of toasting!

Not basically - they’re exactly the same thing, which makes it particularly wonderful that Mitch McConnell promises Kentuckians he will destroy Obamacare but they can keep their Kynect.