Tuesday Update. Closer to Friday than Yesterday.

It’s what you’ve all been waiting for – the endorsement of the year – after months of nail biting and bated breath. We totally don’t understand why someone off the street making an “endorsement” matters? Daniel Solzman has “endorsed” Bruce Lunsford for U.S. Senate. [Things that make you go hmm]

Heather French Henry gets a mention in the story about George Clooney’s shindig in Maysville but her husband doesn’t get mentioned for being the former Lt. Governor. Oh, how the mighty have fallen. [Enquirer]

The state senate approved a budget with no new taxes. Meaning we’ll never have a budget in Kentucky. Further restoring everyone’s great faith in Frankfort. Special session is on its way. [PolWatchers]

Don’t forget that former President Bill Clinton is all over Kentucky today. 10:30 rally at the Frankfort Convention Center. 12:15 veterans event at the Bourbon County Fairgrounds American Legion Building. 2:30 rally at Mason County High School. 5:45 rally at the Morehead Conference Center. Everyone go take all kinds of pictures as you fawn all over the big dog. [The Arena]

Steve Beshear is now wondering why he bothered to run for governor. His approval rating fell below 50% and more Kentuckians disapprove of him than approve. WHAS11/Survey USA polling data say 46% approve, 48% disapprove. Those same numbers were 52-38 in February, meaning there’s been a six percent drop in less than a month. Ruh ro. [Hebert, Crosstabs]

Oh Snap! Monday. Updates. Mexicans. Dougie.

Everyone is pissed that the Beshear Misadministration is acting all open and happy and such. But the crew is really more restrictive than Ernie Fletcher or whatever. At least everyone can spend all day every day reading Page One. [Ralph Long]

Are you black or female? Probably not if you’re an elected official in Kentucky. Apparently it takes Barack Obama for our state’s newspapers to realize we’re a little backwater in the Bluegrass. Woops. [H-L]

Bill Clinton in Morehead and such. Dozens and dozens of jokes commence. And no, we probably won’t be able to drive the six hundred hours back home to see him on Tuesday. Basically, eastern Kentucky is going to prematurely you-know-what all over the place because the savior is visiting. It’ll be worse than Jim Gooch at a Shoney’s buffet. Ugh. Unclean. [C-J, PolWatchers]

Lexington hates mexicans, Doug Hawkins (R-Collagen-Lipped Protector of our White Women) should move there. Long story short: some dudes rented to some mexicans and the courts went crazy, ACLU got involved. Moral of the story: renting to mexicans is bad for you if you’re a landlord in Lexington. [H-L]

The centralized pocket of freepers in Louisville still use the tired argument that only Democrats raise taxes and cost us money. (See the letter: “Taxes going up? Democrats must be in charge”) Some concern troll wrote a letter to the Courier-Journal proclaiming that the end is nigh because anyone would have the audacity to raise the cancer stick tax. [C-J]

Florida resident and Kentucky Congressman Ed Whitfield penned an op-ed for the Courier-Journal detailing the important (please, hold your laughter) work he’s done to stop doping in major league sports. Yeah, that’s what the residents of the first district are worried about. [C-J]

King Coal Corruption? Surely Not!

What happens when a coal miner videotapes serious safety issues inside a mine and shares the footage with federal mine safety officials? He gets punished by his employer, of course, and then has to file a lawsuit seeking cash.

Yay King Coal and the lovely labor practices this great country employs. Overlooking incidents like this is a great way for the Mine Safety and Health Administration to further improve its lovely image among everyone who pays attention to the world around them.

From the Herald-Leader:

On April 27 last year, Howard, a veteran miner, took video footage of seven mine seals at Cumberland River’s Band Mill No. 2 mine. The seals, constructed to close off abandoned sections of underground coal mines, are supposed to be impenetrable so that explosive methane gas can’t seep into working areas.

These seals were so cracked that water gushed through them, the lawsuit says.

Before videotaping the cracked and leaking seals, Howard had documented the problems in writing in a Cumberland River preshift examination book and had told company officials, including the mine superintendent, two mine foremen, and two section foremen, about the unsafe conditions, the lawsuit says.

After nothing was done, Howard testified at a public hearing held by the Mine Safety and Health Administration in July 2007 and showed those in attendance the video he had taken of the mine seals.

MSHA later cited Cumberland River for multiple seal violations.

After the company was cited, Cumberland River officials gave Howard “a written warning of disciplinary action” for “taking a non-permissible video camera underground.”

Regardless of whether Cumberland River had a company policy about videotaping underground, Oppegard said Thursday, Howard had the right under state law to document and report to MSHA unsafe conditions at the mine.

Another Fletcher Scandal Brewing

Right-wingers everywhere are screaming “hit piece” over the latest news about the former scandal-plagued governor.

The Eastern Kentucky hospital that has hired former Gov. Ernie Fletcher as a consultant got a $3.4 million state settlement in the final weeks of the Fletcher administration for disputed Medicaid claims.

Records from the state Department for Medicaid Services show that last Oct. 9, the state agreed to pay $3,446,836 in exchange for Pikeville Medical Center dropping its claims for additional reimbursement.

Although 45 hospitals have made similar claims against the state, it was the only settlement reached late in the Fletcher administration and one of only two last year.

Turns out the hospital Ernie Fletcher got hired up by received a trillion zillion dollar payment in the form of a rare Medicaid settlement.

Fletcher supporters are up in arms, claiming the Courier-Journal has it out for Ernest Lee. That’s fine and all. But this has more than an appearance of impropriety now that Fletcher’s Secretary of Health & Family Services is afraid to talk.

More after the jump…

Read more

Scott Alexander Nominated in 84th House District

From the KDP press release:

Alexander is the owner of MJ&M Sales, a mining supply company. He previously served as State Representative and is prepared to begin work in the House Chambers immediately.

“I was pleased to learn tonight that Scott Alexander will be the Democratic nominee for the 84th House District vacancy. The nomination process shows that Democrats continue to work together as a united front to nominate quality candidates,” Chair Jennifer Moore said. “Scott’s prior experience in the legislature makes him uniquely qualified to fill this vacancy for the remainder of the term and work to help make the transition smooth for the next Democrat who will be elected in November.”

Is it just us or is it completely silly that the KDP didn’t bother, you know, running someone who is actually on the ballot in 2008 for the 84th District House seat? Why not run someone who could use the next nine or ten months to develop a following and name for themself?

And why isn’t the RPK fielding a candidate?

Ernest Lee Goes to Camp

Or, Ernie Fletcher has a new job.

That’s right, kids! Former Governor Ernie Fletcher has a new job as a consultant for Pikeville Medical Center.

Ernie’s new job will entail completing a comprehensive review of the entire hospital’s medical residency program (yay eastern Kentucky!) and will most likely be set to overhaul the staff’s wellness program. Perfect for the former governor.

“I’m very interested in improving the health and well-being of the people of eastern Kentucky,” Fletcher said in a written statement. He said he is “grateful for the opportunity” to use his medical experience to do that.

We’re glad to see Ernie back in the saddle and hopefully taking steps forward to revive his once great reputation. He has an opportunity before him that no other (recent) former governor has and that’s to really get involved in changing his community for the better.

Does Greg Stumbo Have a Plan?

You bet he does. And we hope that plan includes taking Jody Richards’ place as Speaker of the House. Greg, as he showed throughout is tenure in the House, has the ability to lead and stand up to people like David Williams (as well as work with him). He’d even have a backbone when it comes to dealing with the governor. It’s time for Jody to step aside as he is weak, embarrassing and ineffective. He should do so to restore power and leadership in the State House. Democrats and Republicans alike would benefit. Eastern Kentucky could potentially flourish.

Larry Dale Keeling ponders what Greg’s plan could be:

But the thing is, I have as much trouble imagining Greg Stumbo accepting a role as just one out of 100 in the state House as I do with multimillionaire businessman Bruce Lunsford being happy as just one out of 100 in the U.S. Senate.

So, I suspect Stumbo has a plan. I don’t know what it is or whether it coincides with any of the Beshear administration’s plans.

But he has a plan. Stumbo always has a plan.

And based on my observations of his political career, I figure it’s more of a short-term plan than a long-term one.

The only thing Larry didn’t bring up is whether Democratic House caucus director Jonathan Hurst will have a job once Jody is ousted. It’s likely that he will, but it’s probably time for him to move on. He’s pushed a few too many personally hypocritical pieces of legislation this session. Or is it possible that a man could be so self-hating that he could keep it up for several more years?