The Gays Went To Court Today

Want to hear audio of today’s Supreme Court hearing on gay marriage? Transcript will be there, as well. [Part One & Part Two]

The Kentucky State University Board of Regents approved a tuition increase during a meeting Friday. [H-L]

As he began his first re-election run in early 2013, tea party Rep. Thomas Massie had no trouble raising money from business interests. [HuffPo]

There’s an old Broadway musical song that says “Money makes the world go around” and that’s true nowhere more than in the political realm where money is quite often the deciding factor. It’s not only who can raise it, but it’s also who can spend it wisely. [C-J/AKN]

NASA on Thursday marked the silver anniversary of the Hubble Space Telescope with fireworks, of a celestial kind, conveyed by the orbiting observatory itself. [Reuters]

Looks like Jamie Comer was forced to admit his hypocrisy on the Ernie Fletcher front: Comer said Monday that he “reached out” to members of the Fletcher administration to make sure they knew he was talking only about “a few bad apples,” that the “overwhelming majority” of those in the Fletcher administration were good people and that Fletcher was a good man. He pointed out that he hired some former Fletcher administration employees at the Department of Agriculture and others are supporting his campaign. [Ronnie Ellis]

This is going to anger people like Ken Ham. People with lower back problems are more likely to have a spine similar in shape to the chimpanzee, our closest ape ancestor. [BBC]

Here’s Greg Stumbo’s latest column — written by some lowly LRC staffer — about Right to Work. [Floyd County Times]

This week’s same-sex-marriage cases at the Supreme Court brought in a record number of friend-of-the-court briefs — 148 of them, according to the court, beating the previous record of 136 in the 2013 Obamacare case. [NPR]

Kentucky State Police Trooper Rodney Sturgill is investigating an incident involving a 2-year-old girl found unresponsive off Osborne Lane in Terrys Fork in the Wallins Creek community. [Harlan Daily Enterprise]

One of the first fights of the Republican presidential primary season will be over U.S. spying. [The Hill]

The Lexington Police Department is investigating a violent home invasion after a man exchanged gunfire with four robbery suspects on Tuesday morning. [WKYT]

When the country’s most powerful union leader delivers what’s being billed as a “major address” on Tuesday, it will be widely seen as a memo to Hillary Clinton outlining what she must do to earn organized labor’s support. [Politico]

When Pellom McDaniels III was researching black athletes and their influence on the 20th century, he kept running across the name Isaac Murphy. One article referred to Murphy as “an elegant specimen of manhood.” [H-L]

When asked why they’d come to the National Mall on a recent overcast Saturday, four days before the Supreme Court would hold its latest hearing on same-sex marriage, nearly all of the dozens of people I talked to opened with the same statement, pretty much word for word: “I believe that God’s marriage is between a man and a woman.” Several added, as an afterthought, “God made Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve” — looking at me frankly, as if that settled everything. [HuffPo]

Don’t forget to enter to win a copy of Lawn Darts of Fate! Contest runs through the end of the week. [Page One & The ‘Ville Voice]

Yet Another Dumb Comer Hypocrisy

People who know Hal Heiner in Louisville are rolling their ways way back in their head when they read this. [H-L]

Did you see some crazy ass Tony Perkins video at your church this weekend? [HuffPo]

Isn’t it fun watching Jamie Comer complain about Hal Heiner’s ties to former Ernie Fletcher aides? Considering Jamie Comer is surrounded by former Fletcher aides — including Riggs Lewis, who faced (wrongly or not) indictment during the Fletcher scandal. What about Kristen Branscum? [C-J/AKN]

Families of American hostages who communicate with foreign kidnappers or raise money and pay ransoms will no longer have to fear prosecution for aiding terrorist groups, a White House-ordered advisory group on U.S. hostage policy is expected to recommend, senior officials told ABC News last week. [ABC News]

Madison County Schools closed the doors of the district’s old office Thursday, as staff began moving into a new building on Highland Park Drive. [Richmond Register]

A century ago, America purported to open its arms to the “wretched refuse” of other societies. Now we have “disappeared” our own underclass into permanent exile right in our own backyards. [The Intercept]

The city of Ashland has had its annual audits performed by the same local accounting firm for about 20 years, but that may change. [Ashland Independent]

Top lawmakers are laughing off the possibility that the U.S. Postal Service might rely on drones in the coming years. [The Hill]

Glasgow Mayor Dick Doty has confirmed eight of nine people who will assist in the process of selecting the city’s next chief of police from a pool of “right at 20” applicants. [Glasgow Daily Times]

A Mexican archeologist hunting for a royal tomb in a deep, dark tunnel beneath a towering pre-Aztec pyramid has made a discovery that may have brought him a step closer: liquid mercury. [Reuters]

The Rowan County Board of Education spent much of its meeting hearing good news from the schools but later agreed to meet to talk about cutting the district’s operating budget. [The Morehead News]

With the introduction of DNA analysis three decades ago, criminal investigations and prosecutions gained a powerful tool to link suspects to crimes through biological evidence. This field has also exposed scores of wrongful convictions, and raised serious questions about the forensic science used in building cases. [ProPublica]

Jerry Parton waded slowly down Station Camp Creek, scanning the rocky bottom beneath shallow riffles. He carried a plastic bucket in one hand and a three-pronged rake in the other, using it to turn over stones now and then. Parton bent down, picked up one and rolled it in his hand. Then he shook his head. [Tom Eblen]

Loretta Lynch was sworn in as U.S. attorney general on Monday, becoming the first African-American woman to fill the position. [HuffPo]

On Diversity & Such In State Govt

Is Affirmative Action a thing in state government? What about diversity? Is there a diversity plan or are those just words on a screen/sheet of paper?

It’s necessary to ask those questions. Which means it’s time throw up some words and put them in a story on this clap trap called Page One.

Since the days of Ernie Fletcher’s corrupt and backwater administration, the Commonwealth has included white women in reports to lift up the state’s minority numbers. Because folks in charge (read: governor & friends) don’t want to detail how many African Americans, Latinos, et al work in state government. Transparency is not a thing in Kentucky.

Governor Paul Patton’s goal was to have 6% actual minorities (not white women) in state government. Governor Fletcher padded reports with white women, increasing the rate to 10%. Now Governor Steve Beshear has raised that amount to 12%, still including white women as minorities. No one in Beshear’s office wants to talk about it.

An example: Just a few years ago the Transportation Cabinet ran into problems with federal funding when it wasn’t meeting minority hiring requirements. Add white women? Voilà, numbers look good, funds keep flowing, no one’s the wiser.

We started sniffing around the governor’s minority management training program to examine statistics on graduates. Talk about a futile attempt to figure out what’s really going on in Frankfort. The program was moved from the Governor’s Office to the Personnel Cabinet, apparently with the hope that it would slip through the cracks.

It obviously has fallen through the cracks. We’ve been asking questions since January and haven’t received an answer to anything.

The program was designed to recruit and train a pool of minority employees to be prepared for positions in management. Cabinets in state government, according to current and former employees with direct knowledge, claimed they were unable to identify any minorities to hire for upper management. Which… right… control your laughter. So a program was developed to solve that problem and then it was promptly ignored.

Like it or not, this continues to happen in Kentucky because it’s ingrained in the good old boy culture. Regardless of the names of those in positions of leadership, policies don’t change, actions don’t change, practices don’t change.

It’s why people like Yolanda Costner can so easily be abused and discarded. The people carrying out the abuse know there are no consequences. Their good old boy brethren will protect them. From John Arnold to Johnny Bell to Greg Stumbo.

Before progressives try to blame this on Republicans? Remember that the Republican Party of Kentucky hasn’t been in charge in your lifetime. The Kentucky Democratic Party maintained control. For your entire lifetime.

The Democrats — the people you think of as the lesser of two evils — have been in charge for decades and this is what you’ve got.

Going to try to claim I’m being paid by Republicans or some nonsense? This website more than proves I hate both parties equally, as any thinking person should. It’s not about partisanship.

You’re going to be hearing a lot more about that good old boy network and how it’s maintained power over the next 18 months. They’ll still be in charge, sure, but Kentucky’s going to have an uncomfortable conversation or two.

Hal Heiner Knows He’ll Never Be Your Governor

Hal Heiner knows he’ll never win a gubernatorial election in the Commonwealth of Kentucky for myriad reasons. Not the least of which is he’s a big damn bigot who spends tens of thousands of dollars fighting to support discrimination. Not the part where he was chairman and funder of a state PAC that supported legislators while publicly meeting with those legislators and attempting to influence them, either. All that barely scratches the surface.

Two of the major reasons?

  • Ernie Fletcher
  • Leonard Lawson

Why those two? Let’s break it down…

  • Fletcher: Heiner is surrounded by Ernie Fletcher’s people. Daniel Groves, Darrell Brock, John Roach, Brian Crall, Stan Cave, Jess Correll. Do you remember what that was like, folks? The indictments, corruption and extremism?
  • Lawson: Heiner, like Jack Conway, is owned by Leonard Lawson. That’s why the wife of Scott Crosbie is his running mate. In fact, Lawson’s highway henchmen have been making calls to prominent political folks to beg them to support Heiner and when he loses, to support Conway.

Heiner’s chief campaign guy has little political experience outside Louisville, so it’s understandable that he wouldn’t have a sense of what’s really going on. But why would he? He’s making kickbacks on every mail piece, every ad buy, every email sent, every contribution.

We could talk for days about how Heiner says he’s going to run a positive campaign and will not go negative or attack people… while his campaign staff personally attack not just Jamie Comer but his employees and rumored-to-be campaign staffers. Getting nasty and personal when you don’t have a leg to stand on sounds familiar, doesn’t it? Like the Democrats in 2011. Heiner’s folks have even been attacking Jake, as if he’s a candidate instead of just the messenger of things they don’t want to hear.

So many Republicans are coming out of the woodwork to express their distaste for Heiner that they’ve started producing material like this:


CLICK TO ENLARGE

Funny, isn’t it?

2015 is going to be intense.

Edelen Polls Poorly Against Conway In Louisville

A federal appeals court will hear arguments in gay marriage fights in Ohio, Michigan, Kentucky and Tennessee in a single session, setting the stage for historic rulings in each state. [H-L]

Two-thirds of Americans back President Barack Obama’s push to reduce carbon emissions from power plants. [HuffPo]

This might be some of the dumbest junk we’ve read in years. If you want to work in media, you should be registered INDEPENDENT. That goes for lazy journalists (not all journalists, we’re singling some folks out) in addition to folks like Bill Lamb. [C-J/AKN]

U.S. consumer prices recorded their largest increase in more than a year in May as costs for a range of goods and services rose, likely easing the Federal Reserve’s concerns that inflation was running too low. [Reuters]

A Corbin primary center serving grades K-2 and an Ashland elementary school are among the 25 beneficiaries of “bornlearning Academy” grants from Kentucky’s Race to the Top Learning grants and 14 more of the academies to assist parents of pre-kindergarten children will be funded by Toyota Manufacturing. [Ashland Independent]

President Obama unveiled a proposal on Tuesday that would create the world’s largest ocean sanctuary south and west of Hawaii. [NPR]

Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear told a Washington conference Tuesday that Kentucky’s embrace of the Affordable Care Act has been “life-changing” for thousands of Kentucky enrollees and “transformative” for Kentucky. [Ronnie Ellis]

Mitch McConnell attended a Koch Brothers summit to plan a $500 million campaign for Republican control of the U.S. Senate. [The Nation]

Welp, Ernie Fletcher is officially trying to reinvent himself and take credit for things he neither came up with nor took part in. [Click the Clicky]

The odd couple of Sen. Barbara Mikulski and Rep. Harold Rogers is a rare bipartisan success story. [WaPo]

If Adam Edelen isn’t running for governor it means one thing: He’s a political coward who is not as good as his word. Edelen, who has been pushing against Conway for months (along with his staff), is not in the game for the reasons he claims if he’s not running. He’s in it to promote himself, fluff up his ego and toe the line. [Deep Political Humor]

House Republicans rolled out a $21.3 billion financial services bill Tuesday that cuts more than $2 billion from President Barack Obama’s budget requests — chiefly at the expense of the Internal Revenue Service and Securities and Exchange Commission. [Politico]

Ohio-based CareSource and Florida-based WellCare have filed paperwork with state regulators indicating their interest in selling policies through kynect. Both companies provide Medicaid plans in Kentucky but have not sold on the individual market. [H-L]

Despite its disastrous rollout, Obamacare has been a good thing overall, according to Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz. [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]

The U.S. Senate Race Makes Everyone Crazy

Competition is fierce for a couple of seats on a western Kentucky utility board that recently saw rate increases. [H-L]

This place got its name because the main road was straight as a gun barrel. Today, it’s at the center of a fight over gay marriage. [HuffPo]

The state spent $75.2 million to clear snow and ice from roads this winter — a “significant increase” compared to what it spent to clear highways the previous two winters. [C-J/AKN]

Four major healthcare companies offer plans separate from ObamaCare marketplaces that are more costly than similar plans on the exchanges, according to a study. [The Hill]

While growing hemp remains illegal as a drug banned by the federal government, experimental plots have been planted in Kentucky and Colorado since Congress approved them for research purposes this year. [McClatchy]

New climate change rules are seen as a coming employment renaissance for clean energy. As states seek to limit emissions by investing in cleaner technology like solar and wind, jobs will be created across multiple sectors — manufacturing, construction, and agriculture — industries which are already in dire need of a boost. [Think Progress]

It was supposed to be about Mitch McConnell and, in the end, it was. But the statewide Republican Lincoln Day Dinner here Saturday night started out as much about 2016 and Rand Paul as about McConnell’s race this fall against Democratic challenger Alison Lundergan Grimes. [Ronnie Ellis]

The White House held off any action on deportations because it wants to give House Republicans time to act on immigration reform. That’s not going to happen – at least in the month of June. [Politico]

A documentary on the life of bluegrass musician Bill Monroe is debuting on Kentucky Education Television. Tonight at 9:00 P.M. Eastern! [Ashland Independent]

The unemployment rate held steady at 6.3 percent — a rate that remains elevated because the number of jobs has not grown as fast as the population over the last six years. [NPR]

A Somerset city official said the city, in an effort to stabilize gasoline prices, will start selling regular-grade gasoline at its fuel center on Chappells Dairy Road in about two weeks. [Commonwealth Journal]

It’s time for an Ernie Fletcher flashback moment! The U.S. Capitol was evacuated briefly on Saturday afternoon after a plane flew into restricted airspace, Capitol Police said. [Reuters]

When most of us think about the CentrePointe block’s history, we focus on its role as a center of Lexington commerce for two centuries. [H-L]

Money molds not just the agenda but the shape of Congress itself. Think of it as a host-parasite relationship in which the host, Congress, adjusts to interact most effectively with the parasite, money. [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]

Digging Into Potentially Corrupt Campaign Cash

Go read this story from Wolfson.

Some highlights:

The U.S. attorney in New York has called Louisville businessman W. Anthony Huff a “vortex of fraud.”

Witnesses have testified that he is a “financial terrorist” and a “puppet maker,” while an attorney for Louisville investors said in a lawsuit that he is an “unmitigated scoundrel.”

A federal grand jury in New York has charged Huff with bribing officers of a now-defunct bank, plundering an insurance company, and looting an employment services firm of $58 million, allegedly spending some of it on himself and his family for vacations, designer jewelry and luxury cars.

Now Huff, 52, who also has been slapped with federal civil fraud judgments and interest totaling $32 million in Florida and Washington State, has issues closer to home:

The Louisville Metro Arson Squad is investigating whether a fire in March that destroyed the $924,670 home he shared with his wife in Eastwood was set, according to chief investigator Maj. Henry Ott.

-SNIP-

Anthony Huff is awaiting trial on 13-count indictment returned in 2012 in New York that accuses him bank bribery, bank fraud, insurance fraud, theft and tax evasion … took tens of millions of dollars from clients, businesses and banks — as well as $53 million allegedly due the Internal Revenue Service.

-SNIP-

in exchange for allowing him to run up $9 million in overdrafts and other favors, paid them paid them $400,000 in bribes and flew them aboard his corporate jet to the Super Bowl and the Masters.

-SNIP-

Kentucky revoked Huff’s insurance license for theft of a $113,000 insurance premium. And in 2003, he pleaded guilty in federal court in Louisville to mail fraud for taking insurance premium financing he obtained for members of the trucking association and spending it on himself and his family.

-SNIP-

Also in 2010, a federal court jury in Washington state returned a $19.3 million verdict against Huff, his wife and Certified’s CEO

-SNIP-

That, in part, was what got Huff charged in the pending indictment in New York that accuses him and co-defendants of executing interwoven schemes that defrauded others of $100 million.

Really, you need to read the entire thing.

Unreal, isn’t it? His ties to Steve Pence got us interested in his campaign finance history. So we took a few minutes to check out the Kentucky Registry of Election Finance and the Federal Election Commission to see who he’s been tied to.

This list is in no way comprehensive and appears to be just scratching the surface. All of the contributions were made with the following names:

  • Wilbur Anthony Huff
  • W. Anthony Huff
  • Tony Huff
  • A. Huff
  • T. Huff
  • W. Huff

Highlights:

STEVE PENCE

  • $500.00 on 07/15/1998 — PENCE, STEPHEN for COUNTY ATTORNEY – JEFFERSON

ERNIE FLETCHER

  • $1,000.00 on 04/09/2007 — FLETCHER, ERNIE for SLATE – STATEWIDE

STEVE BESHEAR

  • $1,000.00 on 09/27/2010 — BESHEAR, STEVEN for SLATE – STATEWIDE

DAVID WILLIAMS

  • $1,000.00 on 02/15/2011 — WILLIAMS, DAVID for SLATE – STATEWIDE

MITCH MCCONNELL

  • $2,000 on 03/07/2007 — MCCONNELL MAJORITY COMMITTEE; THE

GEORGE W. BUSH

  • $2,000 on 07/16/2004 — BUSH, GEORGE W VIA BUSH-CHENEY ’04 (PRIMARY) INC

JOHN MCCAIN

  • $4,000 on 07/09/2008 — MCCAIN VICTORY KENTUCKY
  • $2,000 on 07/09/2008 — MCCAIN, JOHN S. VIA JOHN MCCAIN 2008 INC.

REPUBLICAN PARTY OF KENTUCKY

  • $2,500 on 12/09/2005
  • $1,000 on 02/27/2006
  • $5,000 on 05/31/2006
  • $2,000 on 08/04/2008

OTHERS

  • $1,000.00 on 07/28/2004 — GIBSON, CARROLL for STATE SENATOR – 5TH DISTRICT
  • $1,000.00 on 08/17/2006 — CLEMONS, RICK for SHERIFF – GRAYSON
  • $1,000.00 on 08/21/2006 — DENNISON, DARWIN for JAILER – GRAYSON
  • $1,000.00 on 06/30/2010 — DENNISON, DARWIN for JAILER – GRAYSON
  • $1,000.00 on 08/23/2006 — LOGSDON, GARY for COUNTY JUDGE EXECUTIVE – GRAYSON
  • $2,000.00 on 08/23/2006 — DEWINE, RICHARD MICHAEL VIA MIKE DEWINE FOR US SENATE

We didn’t dig in to any contributions made by his spouse or family members but it’s an interesting look at those who benefited from his alleged crimes.

Kentucky politics sure makes for strange bedfellows.