RPK Will Likely Clean The Democrats’ Clocks

Mitch McConnell continues to seize on the bungled taping of his Louisville campaign headquarters. [Politico]

The Republican Party of Kentucky has hired 10 new staffers from across the country with varied political backgrounds to help lay the groundwork for helping with U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell’s re-election and capturing legislative seats. [CN|2]

Most Americans see the biggest threat to public safety coming from random acts of violence committed by other Americans, rather than foreign terrorism, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll taken in the two days since the Boston Marathon bombing. [Reuters]

A federal court jury in Kentucky has awarded a family $7.24 million in damages after a hearing implant shocked a young girl. [H-L]

In the days leading up to Wednesday’s Senate vote on gun legislation amendments, the talking point that has taken off most amongst conservatives as a reason to oppose the background check compromise is that it would lead to a national database of gun owners. [HuffPo]

Tennessee just sounds flipping awesome and awful. A Tennessee legislator is catching heat for passing a resolution to honor himself. [Click the Clicky]

Are we moving from the crash to the bubble, dispensing with that pesky economic recovery thing altogether? [ProPublica]

Kentucky’s top environmental regulator on Thursday said his agency was drafting a statewide plan to control pollution that causes algae blooms in Kentucky and contributes to an oxygen-depleted “dead zone” as far away as the Gulf of Mexico. [C-J/AKN]

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), a star among Tea Party voters, said Wednesday he is considering running for president in 2016 in part because a White House bid would give him a “larger microphone” for his ideas. [The Hill]

If you missed the 8th installment of our Progress Kentucky series, you’ll want to give it a read. And then check back later for Part 9 of the entire mess. It’ll be worth it. [Page One]

Former Pakistani military ruler Pervez Musharraf and his security team pushed past policemen and sped away from a court in the country’s capital on Thursday to avoid arrest after his bail was revoked in a case in which he is accused of treason. [NPR]

Lexington immigration attorneys and members of Kentucky’s Congressional delegation said they were keeping an open mind about the bipartisan Senate bill introduced Wednesday to overhaul the nation’s immigration law. [H-L]

Interests supporting a controversial bill aimed at improving cyber security, set for a House vote Thursday, spent 140 times as much lobbying Congress as those on the other side of the debate and have dozens of former Capitol Hill insiders working on their behalf, an analysis by the Sunlight Foundation’s Reporting Group shows. [Sunlight Foundation]

Nope, Reeechie Is Not Gonna Play Tonight, Coach

Kentucky lawmakers took $700,000 in excess funds from the agency that oversees charitable gaming in 2008 and to help pay off a $265 million shortfall in the budget. Should the state have been allowed to juggle the finances like that? The state Supreme Court on Wednesday asked that. [H-L]

Senators say they fear the N.R.A. and the gun lobby. But I think that fear must be nothing compared to the fear the first graders in Sandy Hook Elementary School felt as their lives ended in a hail of bullets. The fear that those children who survived the massacre must feel every time they remember their teachers stacking them into closets and bathrooms, whispering that they loved them, so that love would be the last thing the students heard if the gunman found them. [NY Times/Gabrielle Giffords]

A Kentucky basketball icon turned politician could be the subject of a federal grand jury meeting on Friday. Frankfort defense attorney Guthrie True said he has been informed that the grand jury will look at former Agriculture Commmissioner Richie Farmer. [WFPL]

It ended in a flash. Months of work aimed at revamping the nation’s gun laws prompted by one of the worst shooting tragedies in U.S. history met an inglorious conclusion on the floor of the U.S. Senate on Wednesday. [HuffPo]

Maybe most Kentuckians think immigration reform is important in California or Arizona but won’t have that much impact on the Bluegrass State. [Ronnie Ellis]

The FBI arrested a Mississippi man on Wednesday in connection with letters sent to President Barack Obama and two other officials that are believed to have contained the deadly poison ricin, the U.S. Justice Department said. [Reuters]

After the Senate rejected a plan to toughen the nation’s gun laws, an angry President Barack Obama on Wednesday blistered an assertion by Sen. Rand Paul that the families of the victims of the Newtown, Conn., shootings were being used as “props.” [C-J/AKN]

A former teacher at a Texas charter school is defending against charges that she fondled a seven year old girl by claiming that, as a diehard racist… Hoo boy, this story is crazy. [Wonkette]

Dozens of parents, teachers and students in one southern Kentucky school district are making their feelings known regarding certain budget cuts. [WYMT]

Double Dose: in second case of flawed drug research, FDA response was slow and secretive. [ProPublica]

A lower-level foreman from Massey Energy’s Upper Big Branch Mine has reached an agreement with West Virginia regulators and will voluntarily give up his foreman’s license for three years, according to state records made public Tuesday. [Charleston Gazette]

Last week they loved him – interesting how that works. The National Republican Congressional Committee announced Wednesday that it was no longer financially backing former South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford (R) as he runs for Congress in a special election. [HuffPo]

An attorney for former Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner Richie Farmer said Wednesday that a federal grand jury in Lexington has subpoenaed former employees of the department to appear before it on Friday. [H-L]

Let’s Just Say Today Has Been A Bit Crazy

If you missed our earlier story that begins digging into Progress Kentucky, the group behind the McConnell audio tape, you won’t want to miss our multi-part series. [Page One]

An immigration bill being written in the Senate aims to wipe out nearly all illegal crossings along the southwestern border with Mexico while maintaining a 13-year timetable for existing illegal residents to win citizenship, sources said on Wednesday. [Reuters]

Kentucky is seeking federal approval to alter its methods for monitoring selenium pollution, a move environmental groups say is designed to protect the coal industry from lawsuits over polluted waterways. [H-L]

Here’s a non-shocker: Rand Paul tried to rewrite his own history on the Civil Rights Act when he spoke at Howard University. [WaPo]

Members of the group Progress Kentucky recorded part of a controversial strategy meeting of Mitch McConnell and key advisers from a hallway outside the senator’s campaign office, according to a member of the Jefferson County Democratic Executive Committee. [C-J/AKN]

Support for gay marriage is on the rise nationally but it’s going to be a long time before Kentucky voters get behind it. Only 27% of voters in the state think it should be legal, compared to 65% who think it should be illegal. Even among Democrats there’s still 37/54 opposition. [PPP]

A Kentucky history museum official says a letter written during the Civil War may shed light on where Abraham Lincoln’s parents lived immediately after marrying. [WKYT]

More than 30 family members of Newtown victims blasted lawmakers Thursday who have threatened to filibuster gun control legislation in the Senate. [Politico]

Madison County Circuit Judge William G. Clouse Jr. will hear arguments on individual documents in the Herald-Leader’s open-records case against Eastern Kentucky University and Debra Hoskins, former director of the EKU Center for the Arts. [H-L]

Analysis of commercially available rice imported into the US has revealed it contains levels of lead far higher than regulations suggest are safe. [BBC]

First Lady Michelle Obama will join former University of Kentucky President Dr. Charles Wethington and Kentucky author Silas House as speakers at Eastern Kentucky University’s spring commencement ceremonies on Saturday, May 11. [Richmond Register]

Rand Paul going to one of the top historically black colleges in the U.S. and trying to school students on who founded the NAACP? Priceless. [NPR]

We now know the identity of the 2013 Thunder Over Louisville Thundernator. That person is 62-year-old Tom Hatton of Lexington, Ky., according to a news release. [WDRB]

The Murray State Scandal Sure Is Getting Crazier

FBI agents were at the Louisville office of U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell for about an hour Wednesday as they investigated a secret recording of McConnell and his aides discussing in February how to attack actress Ashley Judd. [H-L]

Do you guys pee a little bit and nearly die laughing when the national press folks like Howard Fineman believe David Adams is actually the leader of the tea party? [HuffPo]

The overcrowding of Madison County’s 195-bed detention center has been a topic of discussion for years now. [Richmond Register]

Republicans will be meeting in Hollywood because “minorities” and “50 State Strategy” and “Dean Scream” and whatnot. This is very exciting for the Republicans, apparently, who are quite busy lately explaining how brave and also crazy they are for going places that aren’t even really America! Like California, for instance, or a black college. [Wonkette]

Kentucky Education Commissioner Terry Holliday is giving school districts an extra incentive to increase the dropout age to 18. [WFPL]

A breakthrough agreement to expand background checks for gun buyers, announced on Wednesday by two senators, boosts the prospects the Senate will approve at least some of President Barack Obama’s proposed gun restrictions. [Reuters]

FBI agents spent about one hour inside Sen. Mitch McConnell’s Louisville campaign headquarters Wednesday morning, investigating the audio recording of a private campaign staff meeting. [Joe Arnold]

In the aftermath of the Newtown tragedy, Congress is considering new national gun control measures. [ProPublica]

A controversy over the leadership at Murray State University has jeopardized private funding of two scholarships. [H-L]

Tens of thousands of demonstrators have rallied across the US in a mass call for citizenship for millions of undocumented immigrants. The co-ordinated protests were designed to press Congress to act as senators negotiate an immigration reform bill. [BBC]

Joe Gerth finally released a story about the McConnell audio recording. It’s interesting that Democrats are still feigning outrage at the private remarks McConnell’s staffers made. Since, uh, Democrats were using the same anti-Ashley Judd talking points to get her out of the race. [C-J/AKN]

Four out of five of the U.S. congressional districts with the widest wage gaps between men and women are represented by congressmen who oppose equal pay laws, according to a new report by the American Association of University Women. [HuffPo]

Bug Bug Bug Bug Bug Bug Bug Bug Bug Bug

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Tuesday accused a Kentucky Democratic super-PAC of planting bugging devices in his campaign office and asked the FBI to investigate. [The Hill]

U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell asked the FBI Tuesday to investigate a secret recording of a private meeting in which he and his campaign aides discussed Ashley Judd’s mental health and religious beliefs as possible points of political attack. [H-L]

A lot of conservative non-scientists try to tell actual scientists what they should and shouldn’t be studying. [Media Matters]

The U.S. government wants to try to do something about a growing trade in items such as elephant ivory and rhinoceros horn and is enlisting the help of another animal to accomplish that. [WKYT]

Guns and America were born around the same time and grew up together. Like feuding cousins, their histories have been linked ever since. [NPR]

The University of Louisville is inviting the public to help celebrate its men’s and women’s basketball teams Wednesday at the KFC Yum! Center. [C-J/AKN]

This tape is beyond fantastic as a primer for students of politics and opposition research. It is an absolutely classic discussion, presumably meant to stay behind closed doors, of how to take apart a “flaky” actress whose national political aspirations might get in the way of your guy. [LA Times]

The collection of Ron Lewis’ congressional papers – doodles and all – now are part of archives at Campbellsville University’s Montgomery Library. [News-Enterprise]

Will the GOP team up with Walmart’s data specialist? The Republicans have admitted it: They need to get serious about collecting and analyzing voter data. [ProPublica]

The two volunteer boards overseeing health care for the poor in Fayette County continue to bicker over such basics as scheduling meetings even as the federal government threatens to cut off $2.3 million in funding. [H-L]

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell accused the group Progress Kentucky of bugging his campaign office “Nixonian” style after a recording surfaced Tuesday of his aides plotting attacks on possible rival Ashley Judd. [Politico]

A Campbell Circuit judge’s ruling that Kentucky public libraries created by petition can’t raise tax rates without a similar petition by 51 percent of voters has libraries across the state worried. [Ronnie Ellis]

A U.S. visa program ran a lottery on Sunday to award 85,000 slots for high-skilled workers just one week after the application period opened, the Citizenship and Immigration Service said, signaling companies feel confident enough about the economy to hire more foreign workers. [Reuters]

NBC News Chief White House Correspondent Chuck Todd cautioned Hardball host Chris Matthews on Tuesday that the secret tape of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) release by Mother Jones magazine discussing avenues of attacking his potential reelection campaign opponents may be the result of a criminal act. [Mediaite]

Support Immigration Reform In Lexington Tomorrow

A rally in support of immigration reform will be held from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesday in Triangle Park in downtown Lexington, said Brian Rich, a board member of the Kentucky Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights. [H-L]

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), a potential 2016 presidential contender, will address students at Howard University on Wednesday in Washington, D.C. [The Hill]

At one point, conversations about aircraft, submarines and infantry duties overlapped as coffee flowed freely Friday morning during an informal monthly gathering of local veterans at the Lamp Post Café. [Ashland Independent]

Can a judge really block the SEC’s settlement with Steven Cohen? Judge Victor Marrero last week became the latest federal judge to question a time-honored tactic of federal regulators: negotiating settlements in which companies pay millions of dollars in penalties without admitting or denying that they’ve actually done anything wrong. [ProPublica]

A Kentucky agency is expected to give final approval Wednesday to state financial incentives requested by the group headed by businessman Ed Hart that is seeking to reopen the long-closed Kentucky Kingdom amusement park. [C-J/AKN]

PPP’s newest poll of the Kentucky Senate race finds that Mitch McConnell continues to rank as the most unpopular Senator in the country, and that several Democrats are within striking distance of him in head to head match ups. [PPP]

Simmering tensions between Transylvania University President Owen Williams and the Lexington school’s faculty and students have boiled into public view. [H-L]

Progressives are freaking out over the McConnell Campaign’s private remarks about Ashley Judd’s mental health. What they fail to realize is that it was a big joke amongst Democrats trying to push her out of the race. From people in Frankfort to those at various D.C. operations. The routine crack was about her therapy dogs and anxiety. The Republicans are merely picking up where Democrats left off. [Politico]

When Democrats call for gun control, Republicans preach the 2nd-Amendment & point to options such as increased mental health services as alternatives. Yet, in the same breath, we sign off on reforms jeopardizing the future of these same programs. [James Young]

Ignore the talk. Senate Republicans are not going to block a gun control bill from reaching the floor. [NYDN]

Forest rangers are still trying to put out a number of wildfires that have broken out in parts of eastern Kentucky over the last few days. [WKYT]

It’s almost kind of sad watching people react to news that Mitch McConnell’s campaign was set to attack Ashley Judd on all fronts. Sad that anyone would be ignorant enough to think they (his campaign) wouldn’t stoop to super-low levels like that. [NY Magazine]