Bruce Is Making Jerry Pop A Vein Right Now

Officials in eastern Kentucky are discussing ideas, such as forming a regional economic development organization, to attract more business to Appalachia. [H-L]

Pope Francis called for more respect for nature on Saturday, branding the destruction of South America’s rain forests and other forms of environmental exploitation a sin of modern times. [HuffPo]

There’s been a lot of back-and-forth in the Kentucky Senate race about the Obama administration’s policies on coal. Both Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., who is seeking a sixth term, and his Democratic opponent, Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes, have criticized President Barack Obama for imposing anti-pollution regulations that the two believe would hurt Kentucky’s coal industry. [C-J/AKN]

How right-wing extremists took over Texas. In today’s Texas, which is falling into the hands of gun nuts, border-sealers and talk-radio charlatans, George W. Bush would practically be considered a communist. [Rolling Stone]

Effective July 1, Kentucky residents have been entitled to sales-tax credit on their automobile trade-ins, Madison County Clerk Kenny Barger said. [Richmond Register]

It’s crunch time for reining in the National Security Agency. If lawmakers are going to finalize the USA Freedom Act to reform government surveillance this year, privacy advocates warn they need to pick up the pace this month. [The Hill]

Bruce Lunsford, the last Democrat to debate Republican U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell in a race, said Alison Lundergan Grimes might be the right person to challenge McConnell — but will have her hands full in trying to face the senior senator in public forums. [CN|2]

Ordinary Internet users, American and non-American alike, far outnumber legally targeted foreigners in the communications intercepted by the National Security Agency from U.S. digital networks, according to a four-month investigation by The Washington Post. [WaPo]

Horrible stories like this help keep life in perspective. Dispatchers tell WKYT that someone found a body floating on a kiddie pool on the Licking River in Cynthiana. [WKYT]

Here’s total public spending on construction, adjusted for the price level (GDP deflator) and population growth. And if no deal is made on the federal highway fund, it will soon plunge even further. [NY Times]

John Allen is excited to be the new executive director of Bowling Green/Warren County Habitat for Humanity because he says it allows him to make a difference on both a small and large scale. [BGDN]

The University of Arizona fired a psychiatry professor this week whose research on medical marijuana and veterans was finally green-lighted by federal authorities in March after a years-long chokehold. [Think Progress]

Preservationists recently built some new, safer quarters for the barn owl population at the Perryville Battlefield State Historic Site here. The only problem is persuading the shy birds to move in. [H-L]

Taliban insurgents set fire on Saturday to about 200 oil tanker trucks supplying fuel for NATO forces in an attack just outside the Afghan capital Kabul, police said. [HuffPo]

Eating crow is never fun but that’s what Jake is doing. Help him get things squared away? If you get something out of this content, consider doing so in order to ensure that it continues. [Click Here For Details]

H-L Editorial Pushing For Campaign Finance Reform

The Herald-Leader appears to be backing campaign finance reform to prevent wealthy candidates from buying an office.

Here’s a taste:

In two attempts at winning the Democratic gubernatorial nomination, Louisville businessman Bruce Lunsford put nearly $14 million of his personal wealth into his campaigns, $8.1 million in 2003 and $5.7 million in 2007.

In the 2007 Democratic primary, former Lt. Gov. Steve Henry also spent $1 million on his campaign.

In the Republican primary the same year, Paducah businessman Billy Harper spent $6 million of his own money while former U.S. Rep. Anne Northup put $700,000 into her campaign.

-SNIP-

House Speaker Greg Stumbo, who was Lunsford’s running mate in 2007, is proposing a new approach to countering a self-funded candidate’s ability to buy statewide office.

-SNIP-

Instead, it seems a sensible way to avoid what Stumbo calls the risk of making independent wealth “an unofficial qualification for statewide office.”

He acknowledges he’s wealthy enough to meet that qualification if he should choose to run for statewide office again. The fact that others aren’t shouldn’t disqualify them from having a chance at winning one of these offices.

House Bill 366 could help level the playing field a bit for them. The House and Senate should give serious consideration to passing it.

Important note: That wasn’t Steve Henry’s money and he was convicted (on three counts) for campaign finance fraud. So he is hardly a good example. The paper’s editorial writers were aware of this fact because it was the paper who broke the story when I gave them the documents. In fact, the Herald-Leader was the only outlet that accurately covered the case and saw it though to the end.

It’s clear Kentucky’s campaign finance limits are unreasonably low. Leveling the playing field makes sense for both Democrats and Republicans.

Just a shame that everyone knows better than to hold their breath. We can wish in one hand…

EKY Series Won’t Matter, Region Will Sadly Continue To Suffer, Frankfort’s Head In Sand

You’ll want to read the latest installment of stories about coal country from the Herald-Leader. And read the previous installments if you haven’t already done so. [Here, Here & Here]

Hours before dying in a fiery car crash, award-winning journalist Michael Hastings sent an email to his colleagues, warning that federal authorities were interviewing his friends and that he needed to go “off the rada[r]” for a bit. [HuffPo]

It’s time to demand some sort of independent, bipartisan commission be given the job of drawing legislative maps every 10 years. [Ronnie Ellis]

“There is really no sitting Democrat that I can think of right now that has the firepower, monetarily, or has enough gravitas to take him on significantly,” [Bruce ]Lunsford told ABC News. “I’d be surprised if anybody can run against him who thinks they have a further career in politics.” [ABC News]

He gained national attention with a 13-hour filibuster over the Obama administration’s drone policy, and now Sen. Rand Paul is raising questions about the FBI’s revelation last week that it has drones. [C-J/AKN]

If you missed it, the Breathitt County Sheriff still hasn’t paid back $4,375 in disallowed expenditures from 2009, hasn’t made deposits on a daily basis and lacks an adequate segregation of duties. And you wonder why Eastern Kentucky can’t have nice things. [Press Release]

Kentucky officials will start a yearlong study next month to determine the effects of controversial new laws designed to curb prescription pill abuse. [WLKY]

The United States on Monday increased pressure on Russia to hand over Edward Snowden, the American charged with disclosing secret U.S. surveillance programs, and said it believed he was still in Moscow despite earlier reports he was leaving for Cuba. [Reuters]

The best thing about the freak-out over John-Mark Hack’s latest mail pieces? Watching Chad Aull melt completely down WITHOUT MENTIONING HIS CANDIDATE! It’s no secret that Aull has been involved in defamation of individuals – not even politicians or officials – so it’s really cute to watch him claim to have ground to stand on in this race. It’s a shame he isn’t running for office because there’s a great Kentucky Farm Bureau story to tell. P.S. to Chad: You should have taken the opportunity to mention that Beshear and crew support Kay. You’re way out of your league. [H-L]

Affirmative action occupies a telling place in a nation painfully aware of its racial inequities yet painfully divided over how to solve them. [ProPublica]

The number of people employed in construction jobs in Kentucky in May was 64,500, a 2.6 percent decrease from the 66,200 employed in construction in April and a 4.4 percent decrease from the 67,500 employed in May 2012, according to a new analysis of U.S. Department of Labor Statistics conducted by the Associated General Contractors of America. [Business First]

Huge list prices charged by hospitals are drawing increased attention, but a federal law meant to limit what the most financially vulnerable patients can be billed doesn’t seem to be making much difference. [HuffPo]

Remember when we wrote about Thomas Massing voting against his own hemp amendment last week? The newspaper folks finally caught on, after a bunch of pressure from hemp supporters and Republican strategists. [C-J/AKN]

Will Obama Admin Pull It’s Head Outta Its Rear?

Complaints from Pimlico Apartments tenants affected by a mass relocation has prompted the Urban County Council to question how the Lexington Housing Authority is handling the move. [H-L]

What would you do if the IRS wanted to see your interactions on social media? At least one Tea Party group in Ohio received just such a request. [NPR]

Kentucky’s change to a managed care system of delivering Medicaid services continues to rile lawmakers even though they’re the ones who demanded cost-savings measures for the health care system for the poor and disabled. [Ronnie Ellis]

Can the farm bill help save the bees? Can the bees help save the farm bill from itself? [Politico]

Have you checked out Kentucky’s fancy new health benefit exchange? Don’t worry, you’ll never be able to afford health insurance. It’s just fun to pretend. [Click the Clicky]

You know what’s outrageous? The way that Christians are constantly being oppressed in this country! [Wonkette]

The Northern Kentucky University Chase College of Law has received a $1 million gift from W. Bruce Lunsford to establish and support the W. Bruce Lunsford Academy for Law, Business + Technology. [Lane Report]

You’ll probably want to check out this interview with Jamie Comer regarding hemp. It’s a little boring but worth a few minutes. [Click the Clicky]

A religious-based organization that leased space from Jefferson County Public Schools to hold a meeting last week that featured district principals talking about bringing Christianity into the classroom has raised concerns from community members, including a Jewish group. [C-J/AKN]

The Obama administration sought on Wednesday to revive legislation that would provide greater protections to reporters from penalties for refusing to identify confidential sources, and that would enable journalists to ask a federal judge to quash subpoenas for their phone records, a White House official said. [NY Times]

The Family Foundation has filed response briefs with the Kentucky Supreme Court laying out its argument for allowing discovery in the instant racing case. [H-L]

Amid an unprecedented effort by the Obama administration to crack down on leaks of classified information, Attorney General Eric Holder on Tuesday said he was unsure how many times he’d signed off on subpoenas to seize reporter records. [HuffPo]

A Look At The McConnell Campaign 4 Years Ago

We decided it’d be fun to go trolling Mitch McConnell’s old campaign YouTube channel and looky what popped up first:




A video of Ashley Judd – from nearly five years ago – used to attack Bruce Lunsford. An almost prophetic appearance of Judd.

Also found this one:




Sadly, there’s been no effort to help Eastern Kentucky.

This race is going to get interesting, to say the least.

Coventry Cares May Be Less Popular Than Duke

Way to go, Madison County, for doing yet another horrible thing. It’s like you want to be the Clay or Laurel County of the central part of the state. [WAVE3]

Kentucky’s largest health care system on Thursday said it is terminating contracts at all its facilities with Medicaid managed care provider Coventry Cares. KentuckyOne Health — which formed earlier this year to operate Saint Joseph Health System and Jewish Hospital & St. Mary’s HealthCare — said the terminations will be effective Nov. 1 for Jewish Hospital & St. Mary’s HealthCare and Dec. 1 for Saint Joseph Health System. [H-L]

A southern Kentucky community is expanding a festival marking the legend of an alien encounter with visitors from outer space. [WLEX18]

Former Democratic strategist Peter Feld raises a good point in his response to “Mitt Romney” on Twitter: “complaining about tactics makes you look weak. Like a wimp. Man up. And where do you come off maligning a major US city?” [Wonkette]

We’ve told you for a long time that Steve Beshear holds a personal grudge against Ed Hart. It’s only fitting that he’d poo-poo the only plan the state has seen to reopen Kentucky Kingdom for the second time. And this time even harder – because he holds an even bigger grudge against Bruce Lunsford. [FOX41/WDRB/Whatever]

Army suicides hit a new single-month record in July, when 38 active-duty and reserve soldiers took their own lives, according to official figures released Thursday. [Politico]

Remember Christine “I am not a witch” O’Donnell? She’s baaaack. The teabaggers are using her as a headliner at their Tampa teabagger festival. Because she is a genius among the teabaggers. [HuffPo]

Skeptical justices on the Kentucky Supreme Court are weighing claims by a death row inmate that a missing right front lobe of his brain played a role in his attack on a mother and children near Fort Campbell in 2008. [H-L]

An official with an eastern Kentucky coal mining company has pleaded guilty to federal charges that he put miners at risk. [WTVQ]

This sounds a lot like Jamie Comer is trying to criticize Jack Conway’s world without coming out and saying his name. [WAVE3]

You can’t even been crazy drunk at the state fair these days without getting arrested for public intoxication. [C-J/AKN]

Read this story about Texas members of congress dipping once, twice and three times at the public trough and tell us it doesn’t sound dead up like Kentucky. [Texas Watchdog]

You’ve read us for several years and now you’ve got the chance to help create our new ad-free project. Your contribution can be public or private (but you have to tell us in writing that you want it to be public) – it’s up to you. [Our New Project]

Will The Environment Matter This Year? Naaaah

Thousands of Kentuckians with HIV or AIDS could have access to more effective treatment because of health care reforms if advocates and providers inform state officials what’s needed to make it work — now. [H-L]

She jumped through hoops, wrangled with bureaucrats and overcame obstacles, but Gracie Fowler finally figured out how to make sure her kids weren’t among the more than 500,000 Florida children without health insurance. [HuffPo]

Mittens Romney and President Barack Obama both face an inconvenient truth in the battle for coal country’s votes: Pollution from coal-burning power plants makes people sick and even contributes to early deaths. [Politico]

In February 2011, a nursing home resident in Michigan wandered away in a blizzard, unnoticed by staff. He was wearing only pajama pants, a sweater, canvas shoes and a knit cap. A technician driving to work found him half an hour later at a busy intersection, wet and covered with snow, government inspectors wrote. [ProPublica]

Consumer prices were flat in July for a second straight month and the year-over-year increase was the smallest in more than 1-1/2 years, giving the Federal Reserve room for further monetary easing to tackle stubbornly high unemployment. [Reuters]

The University of Kentucky’s Center for Applied Energy Research opened a new laboratory Wednesday that backers called an economic development engine, supporting research and manufacturing of biofuels, solar technology and high-tech batteries. [H-L]

Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes is speaking out against the rise of voter identification laws across the country, and she blames Republican leaders for pushing the measures. [WFPL]

There are new glimmers of hope for the only known U.S. prisoner of war held captive in Afghanistan — 26-year-old Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, who was captured by the Taliban more than three years ago. After lengthy discussions, it appears his captors may be more receptive than ever before to finding a way to send him home. [NPR]

You can’t even live in this Berea neighborhood these days without experiencing crime after crime after crime. [WKYT]

Three prominent Louisville business leaders have joined former Kentucky Kingdom operator Ed Hart in a new $40 million proposal to reopen the abandoned amusement park in 2014. The other three: Bruce Lunsford, Mary Moseley and Ed Glasscock. [C-J/AKN]

Religiosity is on the decline in the U.S. and atheism is on the rise, according to a new worldwide poll. [HuffPo]

You’ve read us for several years and now you’ve got the chance to help create our new ad-free project. Your contribution can be public or private (but you have to tell us in writing that you want it to be public) – it’s up to you. [Our New Project]