King Coal’s Control of Frankfort is Real

Want to know why Frankfort won’t touch the coal severance tax like other coal producing states have done?

From John Cheves:

“If you try to raise the severance tax, we’ll squeal,” said Bill Caylor, Kentucky Coal Association president.

Coal’s squeals are hard to ignore in Frankfort. The coal industry spent more than $1 million on state political donations in recent years and $255,145 to lobby the last two legislative sessions.

Several top lawmakers work for coal companies, including House Speaker Greg Stumbo, D-Prestonsburg, and House Majority Leader Rocky Adkins, D-Sandy Hook, both employed by Ashland-based Energy Coal Resources.

And check out these other gems:

Of the top coal-producing states, Kentucky gets the least from severance taxes — only 2.9 percent of its total tax income, compared to 7.1 percent for neighboring West Virginia.


Apart from the severance tax, the state Division of Mine Permits last year collected $1.6 million in fees from mining companies, using the rates set in 1982.

But the agency, which reviews surface and underground mining applications, needed an annual budget of $8.6 million, most of which came from the state’s General Fund and the federal government.

In essence, taxpayers subsidize a regulatory agency for the coal industry…

One has to wonder, like Kathy Stein questions in the article, why Governor Steve Beshear and other elected officials in Frankfort are afraid to put everything on the table during this economic crisis. Guess that coal company cash during election year is too sweet to risk.

Tuesday Evening of Press Release Excitement

A gay rights movement veteran who did work for Daniel Mongiardo’s Senate campaign tells us that he and his campaign staff had changed their tune on gay marriage and equality and that he stands against SB245 these days. Could that be true? Will Mongiardo eventually come out of the proverbial homo woodwork and denounce SB245 in support of equality and gay marriage? We’re not holding our breath. We think our pal was duped. But wouldn’t it be hilarious to watch Mongiardo’s anti-gay supporters foam at the mouth?

Daniel Mongiardo says the ice storm was as a larger disaster than Hurricane Katrina! Not kidding. We lost urine over this. [Barefoot & Progressive]

Earlier today we received a press release from the Energy and Environment Cabinet with the subject, “Gov. Beshear announces crumb rubber grants.” We laughed uncontrollably for a few minutes and then got terribly uncomfortable. While the $200,000 grants program encourages environmental stewardship like we’ve rarely seen in Kentucky, we still think the subject is a tricky one. Thoughts? Are we just sick in the head? [Press Release]

142 days later and Lexington embarrassment Jim Newberry has only erected a sign. [Barefoot & Progressive]

The Department of Parks will be selling freshly baked biscuits with your choice of country ham, sausage or chicken, homemade muffins, apple juice and orange juice for $1.00 at the Governor’s Kentucky Derby breakfast this Saturday. While many are complaining about the Governor’s decision to charge for the once-free breakfast, we think it’s a steal. A dollar a biscuit? That’s crazy. Because Kentuckians know how to make a buttermilk biscuit. So go eat up. Deeeelicious. [Press Release]

Today Attorney General Jack Conway announced the launch of a new website called Kentucky Traffic Safety. The site will allow prosecutors and law enforcement to view dates of upcoming traffic safety trainings, serve as a contact point for community concerns involving traffic safety issues and provide access to state and national statistical data to help reduce highway fatalities. [Kentucky Traffic Safety]

Peep the rest after the jump…

Read moreTuesday Evening of Press Release Excitement

Mountaintop Removal on Kentucky Tonight

A few weeks ago Kentucky Tonight with Bill Goodman hosted an hour-long discussion about the destructive practice of mountaintop removal. Rather than go on for several paragraphs about the hypocrisy of highly-paid coal industry spinmeisters, let’s take a look at some highlights of the program.

Trust me, you’ll wanna watch these excerpts as well as the entire program:

Our favorite part is when Bill Caylor tried to deny global warming.

Watch the entire show at KET’s website. KET’s an unsung gem here in the Commonwealth and we could all do more to give the folks at KET the kudos they deserve. Very few states have public television programming as great as what we have in Kentucky.

Page One & The ‘Ville Voice on TeeVee!

Problems with Louisville Metro Corrections, the Karen Sypher and Rick Pitino craziness, Jerry Abramson’s corrupt administration screwing local businesses, JCPS Supe Sheldon Berman’s big time conflicts and Governor Steve Beshear/Lt. Gov. Daniel Mongiardo’s worst nightmare comes true as President Barack Obama seeks to end disastrous mountaintop removal practices.

Check us out this week. You know it’s good when both Rick and Dan are uncomfortable.

Obama Wants Mountaintop Removal Reversal

President Barack Obama wants to reverse the Bush-era rule allowing mountaintop removal wastes to be dumped near streams.

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said Monday that the administration will ask the courts to abandon a rule that made it easier for coal mining companies to dump waste near streams. Prior to President George W. Bush’s change, regulations since 1983 have barred mining companies from dumping waste within 100 feet of streams if the disposal would diminish water quality or quantity.

Daniel Mongiardo’s head is surely spinning. Along with Steve Beshear, Greg Stumbo and a few other mountaintop removal obfuscators.

Oh Snap Monday! Wasn’t the Weekend Beautiful?

The Los Angeles Times reported Mitch McConnell’s criticism of reconciliation without noting his past support of profess. [Media Matters]

What is it with American Administrations and their complicity to allow genocide to occur? And why is Barack Obama such a coward? Why is he afraid to call Armenian genocide what it is? [LA Times]

Can you believe Jefferson County Republican Party Chairman Brad Cummings would promote Rush Limbaugh? Even after reading about his racism and ignorance? [Huffington Post]

Ron Eller really did stir things up. And Dale Emmons is spot-on about mountaintop removal. [Ronnie Ellis]

Hear excerpts of Ron Eller’s speech and that of Greg Stumbo, as well. [Tom Eblen]

Thank you, Jerry Abramson, for screwing local business owners in Louisville. Hope the rumors that Steve Beshear is considering you as Lt. Governor are just rumors. [C-J]

Read the rest after the jump…

Read moreOh Snap Monday! Wasn’t the Weekend Beautiful?

Beautiful Friday of Fancy Extortion & Such

Remember Karen Sypher? She was charged today with the extortion of Rick Pitino to the tune of $10 million and with lying to the Feds. Just wait til you hear what she’s accusing Pitino of. It’ll blow your mind and you’ll pee yourself laughing. The judge ordered her to stay quiet. We give her all of 24 hours til she’s blabbing again. [The ‘Ville Voice & C-J]

Pervert priest Louis Miller has been denied parole. You can thank your legal system, Kentucky, for doing the right thing. [Stephenie Steitzer]

These would be some helpful cards for Scott Jennings, the well-known bacon lover. [Serious Eats]

Will Lt. Dan listen to Eller on mountaintop removal? Or will he continue to line his pockets with sweet, sweet campaign cash? [Barefoot & Progressive]

Really, the state legislature has done a terrible job and there’s no reason to trust a word Greg Stumbo or anyone else in leadership have to say about what has or will be accomplished. [Kentucky Club for Growth]

Tom Wills is retiring after 40 years of doing the weather. Damnit! [The ‘Ville Voice]

Remember when Greg Fischer filmed a campaign ad at a company he moved from Kentucky to Indiana? Marcus Green’s story in the Courier today focuses on MedVenture as a prime example of businesses leaving downtown Louisville. [C-J]