Eastern Kentucky University’s Board of Regents has approved a $332 million budget, up slightly from this year. The school also said 180 staff members have taken a voluntary buyout offer and 16 faculty members have decided to take early retirement as part of the school’s plan to reallocate funds to allow incoming president Michael Benson to make strategic decisions. [H-L]
Just in case you’re still wondering why Washington is a dysfunctional mess. A recent briefing by senior intelligence officials on surveillance programs failed to attract even half of the Senate, showing the lack of enthusiasm in Congress for learning about classified security programs. [The Hill]
They call it the Lincoln Day Dinner, but when Kentucky Republicans gathered Saturday night at the Hyatt Regency, it was mostly about Mitch McConnell. [Ronnie Ellis]
The faces of more than 120 million people are in searchable photo databases that state officials assembled to prevent driver’s-license fraud but that increasingly are used by police to identify suspects, accomplices and even innocent bystanders in a wide range of criminal investigations. [WaPo]
When it comes to helping nature adapt to climate change, biologists say it’s all about resilience, or the ability of plants, animals or ecological systems to bounce back after disturbances. [C-J/AKN]
The Supreme Court did not issue any major decisions on Monday morning. The justices are scheduled to hand down more rulings on Thursday. [HuffPo]
No, the “Turtle Man” didn’t put Lebanon on the map. Ever heard of the Chitlin Circuit? [WDRB]
Here’s a poll from Gallup that nicely encapsulates why the Republican party is so screwed: Among Republicans, Paul Ryan is the top choice out of five prospective candidates to lose the presidency to Hillary in 2016. [Wonkette]
A federal judge has ruled that the state can not stop a Lexington moving company from operating in Kentucky. U.S. District Judge Danny Reeves ruled Thursday that the state can not enforce a law that lawyers for Wildcat Moving says gives existing moving firms veto power over any new moving business in Kentucky. Reeves also ordered that the state could not at the same time pursue a state court lawsuit that would stop Wildcat Moving owner Raleigh Bruner from pursuing his anti-competition claims in federal court. [H-L]
The Supreme Court agreed on Monday to consider whether an airline had legal immunity from a defamation claim after employees reported a disgruntled colleague to federal authorities as a possible security risk. [Reuters]
When Louisville musician Bennie J. Smith announced he was seeking the Democratic nomination to run against Republican Senator Mitch McConnell even he compared it to a David versus Goliath proposition. [WFPL]
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has urged the US to repeal the huge federal budget cuts introduced this year, denouncing them as “excessively rapid and ill-designed”. [BBC]
Click this clicky right now. If you can’t, here are some excerpts:
A Kentucky Republican operative named David Adams is doing everything he can to drive Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell crazy.
But for the past few weeks, Adams has been announcing to the press that he has found such a challenger. He will not, however, say whom.
Adams suggests his expertise stems from his time as Paul’s campaign manager during his 2010 primary election, but Kentucky operatives who worked with Adams on that and other campaigns were skeptical of Adams’ claims and his influence.
“I wore my car out traveling around all over the state trying to help a guy who was a virtual unknown become elected to the U.S Senate. Worked my guts out,” Adams said of his time on the Paul campaign. He parted ways with the campaign after the primary, he said, to go work on Phil Moffett’s unsuccessful gubernatorial bid, something he said he was “setting some groundwork for” before he joined the Paul campaign.
Other people from the Paul campaign tell the story differently, describing Adams as a likable person, but a poor campaign manager.
“David Adams? The guy we fired? He’s just so incompetent,” Jesse Benton, who managed Paul’s campaign after he won the Republican primary and is currently managing McConnell’s campaign, told TheDC in March, regarding Adams’ efforts to find a challenger to McConnell.
Another source close to the Paul campaign told TheDC that Adams’ claim that he was campaign manager was “not accurate in any capacity.”
The source said that other members of the Paul campaign were often not sure what Adams was doing, or where he was, and that, at times, he was simply inaccessible.
A source close to the Moffett campaign told a similar story.
Sources said that Adams’ quotes to the press did not necessarily translate into action, voicing skepticism that he could get a candidate to challenge McConnell.
“He loves to talk to the media, and he loves to drop hints or sort of smack talk, if you will,” Grayson said, calling Adams “more of a talker than a doer.”
Before Adams joined the Paul campaign, Grayson said he tried to get a job with Grayson’s campaign and “made a statement that he preferred me to Rand.” Grayson said he was not personally involved in the conversation and that Adams spoke to his communications director. The campaign did not offer Adams a job, and a few weeks later he called back to say he had taken a job with the Paul campaign.
A real hatchet job of a piece for sure.
But he’s why no teabagger (Adams is not a tea partier) will beat Mitch McConnell – the most hated U.S. Senator in the nation.
If you watched Friday’s Comment on Kentucky, you didn’t learn anything about the special election in the 56th State House District. Jack Brammer claimed there had been next to no get out the vote (GOTV) effort. Despite Lyen Crews working for five or six weeks going door to door – he’s knocked on more than 5,000 doors personally. Despite John-Mark Hack’s campaign reaching out to voters with targeting, telephone calls, advertising and mail every day. Despite James Kay’s campaign doing mail and walking for two weeks.
Ferrell Wellman allowed his bitterness and anger to boil over, slamming a Kay mail piece down on the desk, insinuating he was the only candidate reaching out to voters. In discussing the piece, he further suggested Kay wasn’t using negative advertising. Despite Brammer pointing out that Kay was launching television attack ads over the weekend.
Head – desk.
So let’s take a look at highlights from the newsprint world this weekend.
Kay is facing scrutiny from his opponents for his youth — he’s 30; speeding tickets — 11 in the last 11 years; and whether he has misrepresented his status as an attorney.
Crews is having to deal with questions about his performance as financial officer in two major Woodford County financial disasters — the cash-strapped former Woodford Memorial Hospital and Midway College’s costly failure to build a pharmacy school in Paintsville.
Hack is being attacked by both sides.
Kay does not deny that he has gotten 11 speeding tickets since 2002. “This race is not about my speeding tickets,” he said.
Republicans hope to make it an issue, especially a ticket Kay got in May 2010 in Scott County for driving 94 miles per hour in a 55-mph zone.
Republicans also are contending that Kay misrepresented himself as an attorney when he was arrested because his release form, after he posted $100 bond, listed his occupation as “lawyer.”
They note that Kay had graduated from the University of Kentucky law school in 2009 but did not pass the state bar exam until July 2011.
Kay said he was not successful in passing the entire exam on two earlier occasions.
Kay maintains that he has never misrepresented himself as an attorney. He said when he was arrested in May 2010 he had simply told the officer he had graduated from law school.
Kay previously told people he had never had issues passing the bar exam. As our readers know, the lawyer bit with him went much further than telling an officer he had finished law school. He told corrections staffers and wrote a letter that’s part of the official record on a law firm’s letterhead.
Meanwhile, Democrats are raising questions about Crews’ work at Woodford Memorial Hospital and at Midway College from March 2000 to earlier this year when he took a job with eCampus in Lexington.
At Woodford Memorial from 1994 to 1997, Crews, the chief financial officer, was responsible for the hospital’s assets. Its budget was $9 million to $11 million.
In 1999, the hospital’s chief executive officer, Nancy Littrell, who had hired Crews, was dismissed. In 2002, she was acquitted of one count of felony theft involving accusations that she grossly overstated her mileage expenses.
In 2003, Littrell averted a trial on another theft charge by agreeing to pay $3,400 toward indigent health care and performing 200 hours of community service.
From Al Cross, who seems to have a better grasp on what the race means for the Commonwealth:
It remains to be seen whether Hack’s underfunded campaign in the 56th District can get its message through the clutter of advertising for Crews and Kay, which have relied heavily on intellectually bankrupt mailers built around catch phrases, labels and innuendo.
“The two parties are so devoid of ideas and so inept at developing solutions to the complex problems we face, they have to . . . make people believe things that are not true, and that takes a lot of money,” Hack said in an interview. “The cigarette companies spent a long time doing the exact same thing, convincing people to act against their own best interests.”
But Hack’s main target is the legislature itself. He calls for repeal of the 2000 constitutional amendment that began annual sessions, an end to “full-time pensions for part-time legislators,” making all state pension payments public, and turning legislative redistricting over to an independent, nonpartisan commission.
Those proposals evoked interesting responses from the other candidates, showing how Hack is cutting across party lines, ideologies and attitudes, and making the race three-dimensional.
Crews and Kay favor keeping annual sessions, but Kay agrees a commission needs to draw districts. Crews says he doubts a truly nonpartisan panel could be created, says legislators should have no pensions at all, and agrees that any public employee’s pension should be a public record.
Kay said legislators should be in the same pension system with state employees, and legislative salaries and pensions should be set by an independent body. As for making all public pensions public, “It’s something maybe I’d consider, but I’d want to hear from the state employees first.”
Kyle Thacker’s bloodline in the underground coal mines of Eastern Kentucky goes back decades. His grandfather Willard Thacker raised 16 children on a miner’s pay, beginning in the days when the back-breaking job involved blasting down coal and loading it into carts with a shovel. [H-L]
President Obama told attendees at an LGBT Pride Month celebration that the U.S. needs to get marriage equality “done now,” but that he believed the nation had reached a “turning point” on gay rights. [The Hill]
In a case that could have far reaching implications about what law enforcement agencies across the commonwealth are allowed to routinely blackout on their police reports, the Kentucky Supreme Court heard oral arguments Thursday from attorneys representing the Kentucky New Era and the city of Hopkinsville. [Kentucky New Era]
The US government searched for detailed information on fewer than 300 phone numbers last year, according to a government paper. They were among millions of phone and email records collected by the National Security Agency (NSA) in 2012, it says. [BBC]
Kentucky officials are launching a yearlong study to find out whether the state’s controversial new laws cracking down on prescription drug abuse are making a difference in curbing one of the nation’s worst pain-pill epidemics. [C-J/AKN]
President Barack Obama has vowed to tackle climate change in his second term, but so far has not acted to strengthen a tool that does not require backing from Congress – the National Environmental Policy Act. [Reuters]
Shawn Slone chased diminishing coal jobs in Eastern Kentucky for years before he and his wife, Karin, decided that their future lay somewhere other than Knott County. After their daughter, Cydnee, 13, collected her academic awards May 16, the family drove to Alabama, where Shawn landed a job as a foreman at an underground coal mine. [H-L]
Bank of America employees regularly lied to homeowners seeking loan modifications, denied their applications for made-up reasons, and were rewarded for sending homeowners to foreclosure, according to sworn statements by former bank employees. [ProPublica]
A woman alleging she was the target of racial discrimination while working at GR Spring and Stamping has been added as the second plaintiff in a lawsuit against the company. [Richmond Register]
Over a week after the Guardian and the Washington Post first reported that leaked documents showed the National Security Agency accessed user data from nine major tech companies, the extent of those businesses’ involvement in the surveillance program is still far from clear. [TPM]
The first section of what will be the state’s largest rail trail has opened in eastern Kentucky. [WKYT]
On March 12, 2004, acting attorney general James B. Comey and the Justice Department’s top leadership reached the brink of resignation over electronic surveillance orders that they believed to be illegal. [WaPo]
The libertarian streak in Congress is starting to show. A group of conservatives in the House have managed to hang together and cause a lot of headaches for leadership. [Politico]
Churchill Downs Inc. executive vice president and CFO Bill Mudd might have raised a few eyebrows last week when he said the Louisville-based gaming company might have to quit racing at Arlington Park sometime in the future. [Business First]
The federal surveillance programs revealed in media reports are just “the tip of the iceberg,” a House Democrat said Wednesday. Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D-Calif.) said lawmakers learned “significantly more” about the spy programs at the National Security Agency (NSA) during a briefing on Tuesday with counterterrorism officials. [The Hill]
Now Greg Stumbo is in full-on CYA mode. Kentucky House Speaker Greg Stumbo said that the use of excess multi-county coal severance revenue to move Rupp Arena renovations forward is not an unprecedented concept, and that he will also work to see the $2.5 million is re-paid as the Fayette County project moves forward. [Floyd County Times]
For more than two years, Jabbar Collins and his lawyer have pursued a multi-million dollar wrongful conviction lawsuit against New York City. [ProPublica]
Governor Steve Beshear today named Thomas Zawacki of Georgetown as the new secretary of the Education and Workforce Development Cabinet effective July 1, 2013. [Press Release]
For the first time, half (49.9%) of American children under the age of five are of a racial or ethnic minority, according to the US Census Bureau. The agency projected that in the US, whites would become a minority in the under-five age group this year or next. [BBC]
The Office of Inspector in the Kentucky Cabinet for Environmental and Public Protection has opened an investigation into the Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources. [WKYT]
U.S. shale is a boon to manufacturers but not their workers. This city has been down for so long, it’s hard to believe what’s risen up here in the heart of America’s “Rust Belt.” [Reuters]
The rare firing of an Ashland firefighter was precipitated by multiple infractions that amounted to a pattern of serious misbehavior, according to charges filed by Chief Scott Penick. [Ashland Independent]
Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Americans say they feel more accepted in society than they did 10 years ago, and they’re overwhelmingly optimistic that the trend will continue. But a sweeping new Pew Research Center survey also finds persistent levels of stigmatization and secrecy in the community. [NPR]
Hoo boy, the Kentucky Democratic Republican Party and the Republican Party of Kentucky are really showing their rear end this week. [Page One]
Money talks. Frequently it finds its voice only when it is given to others. Consider Senators Mitch McConnell (R – KY) and Richard Burr (R – N.C.). Senator Burr, having received $534,000, has the distinction of being the recipient of more money from cigarette companies than any other member of Congress, according to statistics compiled by the non-partisan Center for Responsive Politics. [HuffPo]
Hoo boy, the Kentucky Democratic Republican Party and the Republican Party of Kentucky are really showing their rear end this week.
They’re both claiming that John-Mark Hack is a pea. Well, something like that:
CLICK TO ENLARGE
CLICK TO ENLARGE
How hilarious is that mess?
Two peas in a pod mailers from both sides hitting him as too conservative and too liberal.
This illustrates just how intellectually bankrupt the Democrats and Republicans have become in Kentucky. Just like they’ve bankrupted the Commonwealth.
And now for some additional funtimes in the 56th District. From the Herald-Leader:
John-Mark Hack, independent candidate in Central Kentucky’s special House election this month, railed Thursday against involvement of heavily financed outside special interest groups in the race.
He was especially concerned about the Washington, D.C.-based Republican State Leadership Committee that has spent $140,538 to benefit the Republican candidate Lyen Crews.
Its chairman, Cary Blankenship, said Thursday he is not sure how the group will spend its money, “probably something to do with getting out the vote.” He said he knew nothing about reports of phone calls the group made in the district that question Crews’ work performance as a financial officer for the former Woodford Memorial Hospital and for Midway College during its failed attempt to build a pharmacy school in Johnson County.
He said he called both Crews and Kay in early May and pledged to run a positive campaign.
He played a recording of a return phone call from Crews, pledging to do the same.
Crews, in response, said, “I have directed all funds I have control over to operate on an issues-based campaign and to stay out of the negative.”
Hack said Crews’ answer is “insulting” to the district’s voters.
Here’s the transcript of that message Hack received from Crews:
Hello, thismessage is for John-Mark Hack.
Mr. Hack, myname is Lyen Crews.
Thank youfor your call the other day and the message that you left.
And I lookforward to speaking with you, not on voicemail and not playing voice tag, butpersonally.
I sure doappreciate the words that you left, and I will pledge to you to do the same inthis campaign,
to run anhonorable campaign that I can be proud of too, and that brings honor to myfamily.
So, that wasextremely good news,
I doappreciate it and look forward to meeting you.
Thanks alot, bye-bye.(sic)