For those of you on FDL who may not be aware, the state of Kentucky is planning on giving away $37.5 million taxpayer dollars to a group called Ark Encounter LLC.  Ark Encounter wants to build a theme park that has a giant replica of Noah’s Ark.  There is a blogger on Barefoot and Progressive called Media Czech who has been all over this story, and I heartily recommend that anyone interested go and read his blogposts.

For the rest of you not so interested folks, I will try to be brief and give you some of the gory details of this god awful spectacle.

Governor Steve Beshear, a Democrat, is all hot and bothered to get bring some jobs to Kentucky before he faces the voters again in 2011.  Seems that the Beshear has not been able to accomplish much with the Kentucky State Senate while it is dominated by Republicans, including not passing a budget.  This has made Beshear the perfect mark for a con man by the name of Kenneth Ham.

Ken Ham is the founder of the Creation Museum, and he is one of the big sponsors behind Ark Encounter LLC.  He has sold a bill of goods to Beshear with regards to building a replica of Noah’s Ark.  Seems Ken Ham has claimed that the Ark Encounter project will generate as many visitors (1.6 million a year) as Kings Island, an amusement park in Cincinnati, OH.  According to a study from the American Research Group commissioned by Ham, approximately 200 million people in the U.S. plan on visiting the Ark Encounter project.

By the way, no one outside of Ham’s group or the Governor’s office has seen the details of the study.  Beshear claims that he has “looked” at the figures provided by Ham’s group.  Frankly, it appears that Beshear is so damn desperate for any type of big  job development project to announce that he is falling hook, line, and sinker for Ham’s spin

Oh, did I forget to mention that there will be NO RIDES at this theme park?  It is just a replica of Noah’s Ark and the Tower of Babel.  Noah will be portrayed as in the bible – a 600 year old man when he built the Ark.  And dinosaurs will be included on the replica!  We will see Noah the 600 year old man herding two of every kind of dinosaur onto the Ark. 

It gets better though.  Media Czech found out that dragons and unicorns will also be included on the Ark replica, at least for now.  No, he is not kidding.  Ham’s group assured Media Czech that dragons and unicorns will be seen getting on the Ark.

Needless to say, Media Czech has been having a field day with this information.  He has photo shopped a pic of Governor Beshear riding a T-Rex.  He has also changed the state logo of a horse running above the saying “unbridled spirit” to a unicorn above “unbridled fantasy.”

I’m assuming that the elves from the Tolkien fantasy series will not be included on the Ark because they were pagans.  Now, if the elves were of the Keebler variety, they would come in handy.  The Keebler Elves could cook up enough cookies to keep all those dinosaurs, fire breathing dragons, and unicorns well feed.

On a more serious note, I will not be voting for Governor Beshear in 2011.  It is bad enough that the state of Kentucky wants to violate the separation of church and state.  It is also beyond stupid to waste one penny of taxpayer money on this con job.  Politically, Beshear will not gain any new supporters with this cynical move to appeal to the christian fundamentalists in the state.  The fundies are going to vote Republican regardless of how much a Democrat prostitutes him/herself to reactionary social policies.  But for me, as a former scientist, the insult is that Beshear is embracing  and promoting scientific illiteracy.