Update: Striking Nurses Being Replaced

Oh, yeah. That nurses strike at ARH we told you about?

Well… Appalachian Regional Healthcare has taken it upon themselves to permanently replace all 650 nurses on strike.

After so many claims of poor staffing and terrible working environments.

Way to go, ARH! Way to support your most important segment of the work force! What a way to screw over the people of Appalachia

Steamy, hot Tuesday goodness

Back in the USSR. Gorbachev comes to Kentucky to speak in Louisville tomorrow. Colin Powell will visit in April on his credibility restoration tour. [Hebert]

Freshly laundered money. The Associated Press picked up the campaign finance story written by Tom Loftus and dumbed it down so terribly that 99% of it disappeared. Way to go, AP, get rid of the meat. [AP via H-L]

Whistleblowing blows, man. Ernie’s whistleblower in the hiring scandal (Doug Doerting) is now helping Steve Beshear’s campaign. Ernie’s people are freaking out like there’s no tomorrow. [H-L, KY Politics]

Casino-free for one debate? Is that even possible? Billy Reed ponders whether or not it’s possible to have a gubernatorial debate without bringing up gambling. It’s certainly possible if guidelines are set. We’ve proved it here. [Billy Reed]

The facts. Make sure you have them when listening to McConnell spin about why he voted against children’s health care. [FactCheck]

Deep in the mines. The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee holds a hearing today on mine safety. All kinds of witnesses are slated to appear. Very little in the mainstream press about the matter and we’re right in the middle of Mine Central, USA. [C-J]

Fletcher Administration Hemmoraging with Ignorance?

Ernie Fletcher’s dying administration and reelection campaign has completely lost it. Lost. It.

They’ve filed an anonymous complaint with the Executive Branch Ethics Commission against Attorney General Greg Stumbo alleging violations of the ethics code in the investigation of Fletcher’s hiring practices.

The complaint allegedy compares AG Stumbo to Mike Nifong (former NC prosecutor of Duke Lacrosse case fame), something Ernie Fletcher himself did during Kentucky Tonight on September 17.

What the complaint probably doesn’t mention is that Fletcher admitted the investigation was proper and necessary last year.

An anonymous complaint. Way to go. Way to be forthcoming. Does anyone really think this will help Fletcher get the vote?

Monday: 36 days til the ads stop

Unlikely pair? Kentucky should pay attention. The Herald-Leader delves into the business partnership of Bruce Lunsford and Ed Hart and their movie making successes. From the Sundance Film Festival to Kentucky, these guys are creating an empire. Politics aside? We should be proud. These guys smell an opportunity to change perceptions of the Bluegrass state. [H-L]

Oh man, the differences. Lee is a radical in every sense of the word and Conway is a reasonable man who actually believes in the law. Not surprising only 60 people showed up to their forum. Attorney General? What’s that? [KY Post]

Singing the praises, calling a spade a spade. Talking Points Memo notices Ernie’s latest commercial and sings the praises of Alessi for pointing out the ad’s distortions and inaccuracies. [TPM]

Controversial Micro-City Government rears its ugly head again in Lexington. This time with the sale of its property without documentation of proceeds or anything else required of non-profits. Ron Berry, founder of the organization, was convicted on 12 counts of third-degree sodomy (of participants in the organization’s youth programs) in 2000. [H-L]

Five Days of Non-Answers. CNHI started its five-day series of citizen questions with Steve Beshear and Ernie Fletcher. Looks like a worthy mix of questioners and may be worth checking out. [Daily Independent]

Still not talking about the senate? Owsley Brown II was profiled and only discussed philanthropy. No mention of senate hopes at all. But with more than $600 million in stocks alone– who’d need to raise cash? We hope he stays out of the race so he can focus his attention full-time on worthy causes around the Commonwealth. [C-J]

CATS testing scores ‘hard to explain’? Hello, understatement. Not only have we slipped into a backward mindset of teaching only toward a test, we’ve now made it impossible to understand what the heck those test results mean. Yay educational failures! [H-L]

Do they always have to do this? Appalachian Regional Healthcare is once again suffering from a massive strike of nurses. When will this hospital group learn to negotiate? Public perception matters, people. You’ll win in the court of public opinion. [H-L]

Iran So Far. This has absolutely nothing to do with Kentucky but is the funniest thing to happen in months. SNL’s Andy Samberg takes on Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in a funny digital short. Give it a watch and laugh your guts out. We can’t stop watching it. [SNL via YouTube]

Yeah, sometimes we read more than the C-J and H-L. Sometimes.

Exposed: Campaign Finance Shenanigans

Tom Loftus of the Courier-Journal uncovers all kinds of campaign finance law breaking. From being reimbursed by cousins to giving cash to candidates they don’t know for who knows what reason, the gubernatorial election is wrought with money laundering.

Yep, Steve Henry is involved.

Chesney contributed $1,000 to Democrat Steve Beshear, even though he said of the gubernatorial candidate, “I don’t even know the guy.”

So why donate to a candidate he doesn’t know, in a state where he doesn’t live?

“I was reimbursed,” he said, by a cousin who is a Beshear supporter.

Note: Beshear is returning that contribution.

Here’s some Henry action:

Opal Hodges of London, is listed as giving $1,000 to Fletcher and $1,000 to Henry.

But Opal Hodges said in a phone interview she did not make the contributions.

“No I didn’t,” she said. “Look, I don’t know nothing about it.”

After she told a reporter that her daughter takes care of her money, a female voice in the background said, “Hang the damn phone up. That’s enough. You’re talking to a … reporter.”

Even more Henry dirt and juicy Ernie Fletcher tidbits:

Lauren Eggers, 21, of Somerset, is listed by Henry as making a $500 contribution and by Northup as giving $1,000. She declined comment.

Her mother, Elaine Eggers, and said she wondered how her daughter could afford to give so much money to political candidates.

“I think she was doing it for other people, to be honest with you,” Elaine Eggers said. “I didn’t know where she could get a hold of that kind of money. Because she’s a waitress, part time.”

Hannah Moses, 24, a factory worker from Williamsburg who is a friend of Amber Dufour, according to her personal Internet page on MySpace, is listed by Fletcher as giving $1,000. She also declined comment.

But her father, Michael Moses, was dubious about the contribution.

“I can’t believe that. Not my kid. Not a thousand dollars. Come on, she works in a factory,” Michael Moses said. “She doesn’t know the difference between a Democrat and a Republican.”

Interesting to note that “Dufour’s father, Phillip Dufour, and Hodges’ husband, Gordon Hodges, work for Elmo Greer & Sons, one of the largest highway contractors in the state.”

What’s going on here? Does this mean people like Steve Henry and Ernie Fletcher are illegally cultivating campaign contributions? I know for a fact (personally) that Steve Henry has done it. He’s under investigation and likely to be indicted soon. But Ernie? If he’s guilty he ought to be writing checks to return to those contributors ASAP.

And about Ernie: One has to wonder if these same individuals have contributed to his legal defense fund.

How can so many people suffer from the Steve Henry Syndrome?

Candidates: If you’re not screening the people raising your funds, screening your contributors and verifying every cent you raise– you need to close up shop and walk away right now. This is serious business. And don’t act like it’s too much work because it most certainly is not.

This is shameful. Evidence that we need campaign finance reform now more than ever.

Friday News Fun

Oh, we know you love the drama. And the best drama of all is Ernie Fletcher starting a cat fight with Vicki Glass. Oh snap. Fletcher quipped at Glass for holding a recording device close to him and pushed her arm away. Glass, rightfully so, snapped back telling the man not to push her. We’re no experts here, but, uh, we’re pretty sure no man wants to mess with a woman on a mission. [C-J]

Matthew Shepard Act passed, tacked onto defense spending bill. No worries, haters! Dubya promises a veto. McConnell and Bunning both voted against the measure. They love them some gay-hatin. [AP]

Some day they’ll stop bitching and moaning about gambling. Some day they’ll focus on real issues. Right? Doesn’t look too promising now as not even Steve Beshear will take an opportunity to clear things up. [H-L, PoLWachers]

Poo hits the Lex fan. Lexington’s transportation system (LexTran) union had $49,000 stolen, mostly by its secretary and president. More are expected to be named culprits. What the heck is going on? First Louisville’s Metro Animal Services, now LexTran. [H-L]

Children first. Senate passes SCHIP/children’s health insurance bill with 67 votes– more than the majority needed to overturn a threatened veto by Dubya. McConnell and Bunning voted against it. Big shocker there. [CBS]

No sunshine here. More on Bunning’s mess of trying to cover Dubya’s incompetence up. He put a secret hold on the Presidential Records Amendment. [TP]

Hendrickson or Grayson? The Rural Democrat chimes in in the Secretary of State debate. Did anyone watch it? What about the debate for Secretary of Agriculture? [Rural Democrat]

Standing up. The Courier-Journal covered the Bristol protest. A zillion photos were snapped of folks entering and leaving the eatery but they didn’t make the C-J’s cut. The restaurant’s owner, Pete Peters, is unable to offer any semblance of an apology. Said the Bristol’s policy is to serve all fairly but, uh, policy isn’t the problem. We hope Pete finally gets it. [C-J]