Thunder Blunder in the River City

If you’re really planning to brave the chills downtown Louisville for Thunder, you’ll be pleased to know that the same state government officials who are slashing budgets in education and social services will be warm and cozy inside the Ali Center, noshing on top-of-the-line food and drink bought and paid for by lobbyists. You know, the folks who pressure politicians to make unpopular moves, like blocking cigarette taxes and a gaming proposal, despite overwhelming public support.

Members of the State Senate, led by President David Williams, are all lining up to get in for the expensive party as guests of lobbying firms, who will bend their ears over shrimp and martinis, peering out the Ali Center’s giant windows at the poor suckers fighting for a patch of damp grass on the Great Lawn, all the while watching the action on big-screen TVs.

It’s hard to find anything in local (Louisville) media not related to the big Thunder show Saturday — TV news this week has become little more than A) speculation about the weather on Saturday, B) advice on how to have a good time, given the expected bad weather, and C) interviews with Wayne Hettinger about the effect of the weather on the fireworks.

But through all the Thunder news, we caught a significant political story by WLKY’s Andy Alcock, in which he questioned the idea of lawmakers, fresh on the heels of a dismal performance in Frankfort, hobnobbing with lobbyists in the posh indoor climate of the Ali Center.

Bunches more after the jump…

Read moreThunder Blunder in the River City

Legislative Update, Rep. Joni Jenkins, Sen. Perry Clark

Last evening Louisville’s Metro Democratic Club hosted Rep. Joni Jenkins (D-We Heart Her) and Sen. Perry Clark (D-Beshear Apologist) for its annual legislative update. So let’s cut right to the chase: Joni is still a woman of the people and Perry seems to be toeing the Democratic Party line.

We won’t bore you by rehashing the legislative session, but Joni made good with those in attendance by delivering facts and openly discussing the legislature’s downfalls while Perry served as a Steve Beshear apologist through and through. Did you know that nothing is Beshear’s fault because he only had 30 days or whatever to craft a budget? Not a good way to curry favor with a bunch of progressives.

Word of advice, ladies: know your audience. It’ll pay off. That said, Perry faces toolbag Doug Hawkins in a re-election battle for state senate. Thank goodness Perry will handily win.

Look how hot Joni is:

Check out her make-a-huge-homo-question-his-sexual-orientation pumps:

Doesn’t Perry look like he’s made of wax?

Loads more after the jump…

Read moreLegislative Update, Rep. Joni Jenkins, Sen. Perry Clark

Late Rainy Wednesday Update Dept.

The news sucks when we don’t have the legislature to complain about.

Greg Fischer’s campaign sent an email blast today once again proclaiming his desire to get us out of Iraq. At the same time, he passively attempted to attack Bruce Lunsford (we’re not sure how or why) proving once again his campaign has no direction and zero balls. From the email:

Bruce Lunsford says: “I pray for the safe return home of our troops.”

I too pray for our troops’ safety but I also offer a real plan to safely and responsibly end America’s participation in this war and bring our troops home swiftly, safely and responsibly.

Jim Bunning blames former fed chair Alan Greenspan for the lovely situation the U.S. economy is currently in. Makes a ton of sense, doesn’t it? Because, we all know Greenspan is the only person to blame. From the article: Mr. Bunning admits he didn’t tell Mr. Greenspan at the time it was holding rates too low. “I probably should have. I didn’t realize the magnitude of the bubble and what that easy money and those sophisticated mortgages were doing to the market.” [WSJ Economics Blog]

Rep. John Yarmuth (D-KY03) will deliver the Democratic response to President Dubya this Saturday. It’s Yarmuth’s first national bit of playtime since appearing on The Colbert Report. [The Arena]

Our beloved governor who got casino gambling and all that amazing economy-saving goodness passed into law (heh) told the press today that he’s still looking at the budget, trying to decide if he’ll veto everything or almost everything. [PolWatchers]

FBI Investigates Fletcher Transportation Cabinet

The FBI is investigating the Fletcher administration’s highway construction award process. Tom Loftus reports that the federal probe “includes a look at whether the cabinet’s confidential cost estimates for contracts were leaked to bidders before bids were submitted.”

All of this comes in the wake of the resignation of James W. Rummage, a former chief district engineer under Fletcher.

James W. Rummage had worked for Fletcher, a Republican, as chief district engineer in District 7 since 2004. The district covers Fayette and 11 other counties. Before that he ran the neighboring District 9 for six years under Democratic Gov. Paul Patton.

Reached at his Morehead home Tuesday, Rummage said it was his decision to leave but wouldn’t say why. He wouldn’t comment on whether he had been interviewed by or provided information to the FBI.

“There’s nothing I can help you out with right now. There’s nothing I can say right now,” he said.

Long story short: this doesn’t smell pretty. Hold onto your hats, folks, because we hear there’s way more where this comes from.

The sound you hear is a couple Republicans complaining about this being front-page news. Like it wouldn’t be if Beshear’s crew was involved. Please.

State House Wants a New Speaker

Joe Gerth’s latest story about Jody Richards and the powerful rift among House leaders is a great read. And a good synopsis of what’s gone down in Frankfort the past several weeks.

Looks like there’s enough bitter blood to oust Larry Clark as Speaker Pro Tem and install Joni Jenkins and it sounds more and more like Greg Stumbo will be pushing Jody out as Speaker of the House. One can only hope, right?

Maybe we could finally move Kentucky forward without all of the bitter infighting and incompetence that House leadership has been responsible for the past, oh, forever.

From the C-J:

“That leadership is so divided and so split that there is a yearning in state government for somebody that can put it together and make it work,” said Senate Minority Leader Ed Worley, D-Richmond.
Rep. Joni Jenkins, D-Shively, appears poised to run for speaker pro tem, and Rep. John Will Stacy, D-West Liberty, for whip. Both are aligned with the Richards faction.
Stumbo, of Prestonsburg, is unlikely to challenge Adkins for floor leader, but many members think he will wind up in the mix somewhere.
But the budget negotiations may have hurt him (Richards). Several members — including normally low-key Democratic legislators such as Larry Belcher of Shepherdsville and Derrick Graham of Frankfort — complained on the House floor that leadership had failed them.

Late Friday Updates. Enjoy the Flooded Weekend

Greg Stumbo, whether you love him or hate him, is responsible for getting the state budget passed. Far be it from House leadership to ever recognize that bipartisanship like Stumbo has shown can, you know, get things done. Maybe if people like Jody Richards and Harry Moberly could stop fighting with everyone like little girls for a few days we could have actually had a budget that didn’t simultaneously piss everyone in the state off. [C-J]

Speaking of Greg Stumbo, Ralph Long lays out the case for making him the next Speaker of the House. We have to say that we agree with him 100%. Greg may have a flaws personal life, but who doesn’t? He’s just about the only Democratic Rep in the state house who has the balls to get anything done. Namely because he has absolutely nothing to lose and doesn’t care about losing it. Time for Jody to go. [Ralph Long]

Well-known politico Mike Bailey and his wife Kelly were profiled in Gannett’s faux weekly Velocity this week about their divided support of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. Mike supports Obama, Kelly supports Clinton. The articles writer, Joanna Richards, did a great job writing about the hilarious political war going on in their household. [Velocity]

Tomorrow, Saturday, April 5 at 10:00 A.M. the Kentucky Democratic Party will begin the reorganization process by holding Precinct Conventions all over the state. Every registered Democrat is eligible to participate. One man, woman and youth (35 and under) will be elected to lead each precinct. Perfect opportunity to stand up and take over the KDP if you’re dissatisfied. If you aren’t sure where your precinct is located, hit the link. [Where do I vote?]

Democratic perennial candidate for U.S. Senate Kenneth Stepp just said in a comment on PolWatchers that he is surprised Andrew Horne endorsed Bruce Lunsford instead of him. All right for for being gung-ho and confident. [PolWatchers]

Greg Stumbo Makes His Power Grab

Like we’ve said dozens of times, Greg Stumbo is on his way back to power. The initiative he has taken to work hand-in-hand with Senate President David Williams on negotiating a budget is a prime example of his ability to maneuver and get things done.

Jody Richards and cat fighter Harry Moberly should be on the high alert.

Rep. Greg Stumbo made his way down to Senate President David Williams’ office Tuesday and they agreed to scuttle the budget deal Harry Moberly and Speaker Jody Richards had negotiated.

In the super-secret closed-door negotiations, Moberly seemed more interested in not giving in to Williams than in arranging the budget properly so as to collect matching federal funds to build Kentucky roads.

And should take Stumbo’s message about not voting for the budget to heart.

“I think so little of it, this will be the first time in 28 years that I’m not going to vote for the budget,” said Rep. Greg Stumbo, D-Prestonsburg. “It’s a terrible document. It doesn’t adequately fund education, doesn’t adequately fund human services, it doesn’t do anything for our infrastructure.”

UPDATE: For the naysayers who question this story’s accuracy, we can personally confirm that the meeting took place. The C-J’s Arena has also reported that Williams and Stumbo have “talked.” In the same story the C-J writer claimed legislators who have spoken with Williams threatened to vote against the budget. Low and behold Stumbo made the above statement about voting against the budget after that story appeared.