Of Course They Want To Kill Library Taxes…

After a screening of Sole Survivor at the Kentucky Theatre on Thursday, emotions about the crash of Comair Flight 5191 resurfaced and left audience members with mixed feelings about the cause of the crash, and its sole survivor, James Polehinke. [H-L]

That awkward moment when the tea party rally gets overtly racist. Something that happens every week in Kentucky. [HuffPo]

The state medical examiner’s office has issued a preliminary report in the death of a jail inmate which indicates injuries sustained by the inmate were the result of a “jail beating.” [Hazard Herald]

Jack Conway’s latest stunt continues to embarrass Kentucky around the United States. It’s the butt of many jokes in Washington. [Moonie Times]

Of all the legislative conferences, in all the towns, in all the world, House Speaker Greg Stumbo found himself in Casablanca this month. Senate President Robert Stivers, meanwhile, conferred with legislators in Scotland. [C-J/AKN]

Owners of the World Trade Center cannot demand billions more dollars in compensation for the 9/11 attacks, a New York judge has ruled. The twin towers owners wanted more insurance money, in addition to the $5bn (£3.3bn) already claimed, from the airlines of the hijacked planes. [BBC]

The Henderson Gleaner has been filled with anti-McConnell letters lately. [Here & Here]

Detroit’s historic municipal bankruptcy filing on Thursday came less than 10 minutes before lawyers for the city’s pension funds and retirees had rushed to another court to try to block it. [Retuers]

Kentucky environmental officials are seeking public comment on a draft report dealing with stream impairments in three stream segments in the North Elkhorn Creek watershed in central Kentucky. [H-L]

Sequestration could curtail hurricane hunter missions. Federal furloughs caused by sequestration could ground “Hurricane Hunter” aircraft, depriving forecasters of real-time measurements of storms during what’s expected to be an especially active Atlantic hurricane season. [NPR]

It’s been just over two years since a mother of two was killed by a stray bullet near Shawnee Park in West Louisville and no one has ever been arrested for her murder. [WHAS11]

In a major ruling about press freedoms, a divided federal appeals court on Friday ruled that James Risen, an author and reporter for The New York Times, must testify in the criminal trial of a former Central Intelligence Agency official charged with providing him with classified information. [NY Times]

Attorneys say that the outcome of lawsuits seeking to reduce library taxes in Anderson and Montgomery counties could have implications for other Kentucky libraries. [WKYT]

This will end in a mountain of hilarity. An emerging conservative challenger to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has reserved airtime in Kentucky starting next week. [Politico]

Damning Report Ranking Asset Managers Released

Last week the American Federation of Teachers released a damning report that ranks asset managers.

As you can imagine, it just scratches the surface.

The report lists 34 executives at hedge funds and other investment firms that help lead or make contributions to organizations with a hostile stance toward traditional defined benefit plans.

SAC Capital making that list won’t surprise. You already know that Kentucky holds that fund via its massive investment in Blackstone. More specifically, the Blackstone Hedge Fund of Funds.

Thomas J. Healey is also identified in the report. Currently with Anthos, he’s also the founding partner of PRISMA, another Fund of Funds that’s held by Kentucky Retirement Systems.

But here’s what will really get the goats of a bunch of folks….

The AFT report highlights conservative groups like the ShowMe Institute, which was founded by a hedge fund manager.

What’s similar in Kentucky? The Bluegrass Institute, which was founded by a hedge fund partner. In fact, a partner at Waycross Partners, a Kentucky-based hedge fund:

Chris Derry – Partner and Client Service Officer

Chris helps guide the firm’s client service and marketing efforts. He is also the founder of the Bluegrass Institute for Public Policy Solutions, an independent policy research institution. Chris started his career in investments in 1979 and more recently worked as the regional director for INVESCO (National Asset Management) with responsibility for ten southern states and South America. Chris is a graduate of the United States Air Force Academy and earned an MBA from Vanderbilt University.

Interesting how that works.

Also interesting that Matt Bevin, the tea party guy who wants to run against Mitch McConnell, is also a partner at Waycross:

Matt Bevin – Partner / Advisor

Matt helps guide the firm’s overall strategic direction. Prior to this role with Waycross, Matt was the CEO of Integrity Asset Management, a Louisville based investment management firm focused predominantly on the U.S. value equity arena. Prior to founding Integrity, Matt worked at INVESCO-NAM as the Director of Product Management and was the Marketing Director and Principal at National Asset Management. Before National Asset, Matt was a Vice President with Putnam Investments. Matt graduated from Washington & Lee.

Want to review the AFT report for yourself? Click here (Warning: PDF Link) to download it.

And you wonder why Kentucky can’t have nice things.

Will Steve Beshear Have The Guts To Stand Up?

Republican Sen. Rob Portman’s surprise endorsement of gay marriage pushed the issue even further to the forefront of the national political conversation. But at the largest annual gathering of conservative activists this week, top speakers have been mostly mum about it. [Politico]

People who live near mountaintop removal mining sites in Floyd County have significantly higher cancer death rates and suffer a higher incidence of other diseases than residents in other Kentucky Appalachian counties where mountaintop removal doesn’t occur. [Ronnie Ellis]

Again, Matt Bevin is not a credible challenger to Mitch McConnell. This is merely the latest hilarity. [The Hill]

With only two days left in the 2013 General Assembly session, Kentucky lawmakers remain divided on how to address the state’s most pressing problem — the multibillion-dollar shortage in state pension funds. [C-J/AKN]

The US state of Maryland is poised to abolish the death penalty after its lawmakers voted 82 to 56 in favour of the move. The measure now needs to be signed by Governor Martin O’Malley to become law. [BBC]

Floyd County Sheriff John K. Blackburn was being held in the Powell County jail Monday on a DUI charge, officials said. Powell Deputy Jailer Scott Wells confirmed that Blackburn was in the jail. [H-L]

For Airman First Class Stephen Sinatra, the budget cuts prompted by deadlock in Washington have turned his plans upside down. [Reuters]

A central Kentucky judge has ruled that two counties may place 911 funding fees on water meters issued in those counties. [WKYT]

Alyssa Corcoran experienced combat on her first patrol in Afghanistan. After she walked seven miles through the hills with 70 pounds of gear on her back, Corcoran and her platoon arrived in a mud-brick village in Logar province. [NPR]

The Executive Branch Ethics Commission decided Monday to charge former Agriculture Commissioner Richie Farmer on 42 instances of breaching the public’s trust stemming from his personnel actions and use of state resources. Poor Reeeechie. We all know he’ll never end up paying $210,000 in fines. [CN|2]

On Friday we were all fascinated by the tale of a Tea Party-sponsored minority outreach panel at CPAC gone horribly wrong. The head of a group we had never heard of, the Frederick Douglass Republicans, led the panel and had a very nice discussion with a young man who is in no way racist just because he praised segregation and asked why Frederick Douglass could not have been more grateful that his former masters had given him food and shelter. [Wonkette]

The mayor and city commissioners of Covington, Kentucky are asking Governor Steve Beshear to block the so-called ‘religious freedom’ bill, renewing pressure for Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer to join the opposition. [WFPL]

In some states, gun rights trump orders of protection. Early last year, after a series of frightening encounters with her former husband, Stephanie Holten went to court in Spokane, Wash., to obtain a temporary order for protection. [NY Times]

A New Problem For Potential McConnell Challenger

Political unknown Matt Bevin denies any role in that big time investment scandal:

Matt Bevin, who may challenge Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), is distancing himself from improper activities that took place at an investment company where he worked a decade ago.

Bevin, a New Hampshire native, was virtually unknown in Kentucky political circles until a few weeks ago when he began reaching out to Tea Party leaders to explore a race against McConnell in the 2014 Republican primary.

Some of the initial reviews of Bevin among conservative activists have been positive, but as they begin to dig into his record Bevin will have to address his role at a company that was penalized hundreds of millions of dollars for its role in a market-timing scheme from 2001 to 2003.

Since he’s a potential primary challenger of Mitch McConnell, that story and his role at Invesco are significant. Though, probably not for the reason you’re thinking.

It’ll be a big deal because Invesco is one of the firms Kentucky Retirement Systems invests in.

Anyone who thinks McConnell’s crew won’t try to weave a story out of that is delusional.

Bright Spots: Kentucky’s National Historic Landmarks

The campaign arm of the congressional GOP is moving to reboot its polling operation after a messy 2012 cycle, the first concrete remedy taken by the Republican side since candidates and outside groups were left stunned on Election Day by results that their internal data never came close to predicting. [Politico]

A federal appeals court will hear arguments on whether prayer should be allowed at the start of public meetings. [H-L]

Matt Bevin, who may challenge Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), is distancing himself from improper activities that took place at an investment company where he worked a decade ago. [The Hill]

Claudie Rusk squinted as she pointed her black handgun toward the silhouette target, summoning the lessons she’d just learned on grip, safety and targeting. The 64-year-old grandmother squeezed off 20 rounds that hit more than missed, good enough to pass her skills test during a daylong training class that Kentucky requires to obtain a concealed deadly weapon license. [C-J/AKN]

A Florida mayor has apologised to an elderly woman forcibly removed from a train for singing, local media report. Emma Anderson, 82, was singing religious songs on a commuter train in southern Florida on 20 February. [BBC]

Well, at least the tone has improved. Predictably, the 2013 General Assembly reached the final scheduled day for passing bills and suddenly lawmakers snapped into action, passing a flurry of bills in rapid succession. [Ronnie Ellis]

Abolitionist Harriet Tubman’s struggle to help roughly 70 slaves escape to freedom using the Underground Railroad was remembered on Saturday at the groundbreaking of a Maryland state park in her honor. [Reuters]

Earlier today, the White House and Department of the Interior announced that two sites in Kentucky have been named National Historic Landmarks: Camp Nelson Historic and Archeological District in Jessamine County and George T. Staff Distillery in Franklin County. [Press Release]

Since this month marks the ten-year anniversary of the War to Soothe George W. Bush’s Daddy Issues… it’s time for a children’s treasury of people you never wanted to think about ever again. [Wonkette]

Last fall, the Murray Human Rights Commission decided to focus on updating its 35 year old human rights ordinance and address the ongoing issue of bullying. In January, the commission launched the Murray Bully Free Community Education Campaign. [WKMS]

Republican Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky launched a nationwide conversation last week with his 13-hour filibuster of the president’s nominee to lead the CIA. Paul vowed to keep talking until the White House clarified whether it has authority to kill U.S. citizens on American soil with drones. [NPR]

A woman was found dead in a car in the parking lot of the Wal-Mart in Somerset on Saturday. [H-L]

No, It’s Not A $100,000 Anti-McConnell Media Buy

The Associated Press is horribly mistaken: The Progressive Change Campaign Committee began airing the spot Monday, spending what it said is $100,000 on both ads. What the group said: his ad will bring our campaign aimed at Mitch McConnell to $100,000. Meaning in total, over all, for everything they’ve ever done on McConnell. [H-L]

Details on the latest anti-McConnell ad buy: $12 spent on the buy, $4,806 in D.C., $2,000 in Bowling Green, $5,350 in Paducah. [Tiny Buy]

Former White House press secretary Robert Gibbs says he was instructed when he joined the administration not to “acknowledge” the existence of America’s drones program. [Politico]

It didn’t take long after a Senate committee approved Senate Bill 129 last week for tea party and gun rights proponents to take to social media to say that those who had voted for the gun-rights measure had not violated the U.S. Constitution [C-J/AKN]

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor on Monday condemned racially charged language used by a federal prosecutor in Texas. The justice, appointed to the court by President Barack Obama in 2009, took the relatively unusual step of writing a statement to accompany the nine-member Supreme Court’s announcement that it would not take up a criminal case. [HuffPo]

Morehead’s former tourism director, indicted in September for embezzling nearly $75,000 from a sister organization she also headed, pleaded guilty Thursday to a reduced charge. [Ashland Independent]

Hey Rand Paul, what are you ranting and raving about today? Oh nothing, just wanking off about the best way to destroy public education (or what’s left of it) no big deal. [Wonkette]

Jennifer Lawrence won the leading actress Oscar for “Silver Linings Playbook.” Making Kentucky proud. [WKYT]

Why Mitch McConnell isn’t worried about that Bevin guy: go read this article. Contributing to Greg Fischer’s mayoral campaign after understanding his politics from his U.S. Senate run doesn’t help matters. [The Hill]

This is why we still need the Voting Rights Act. Though, a handful of mouth-breathing bigots will say otherwise. [WaPo]

Because there obviously aren’t more important issues facing Lexington than ugly road signs. The days are numbered for those gaudy banners that have been sprouting up like dandelions along Lexington’s major commercial roads. [H-L]

Obsess all you’d like about President Obama’s nomination of Mary Jo White to head the Securities and Exchange Commission. Who heads the agency is vital, but important fights in Washington are happening in quiet rooms, away from the media gaze. [ProPublica]

Day 89385298 Of Pension Disaster, Frankfort Blinks

McKee Mayor John Tompkins said Wednesday that he is resigning his second job as a Jackson County school bus driver because he unknowingly left a 5-year-old student on a bus. Tompkins said he did not see the child, who had curled up in a seat and fallen asleep, before Tompkins ended his route for the day. [H-L]

The National Rifle Association’s political action committee raised $1.1 million in January, according to the committee’s latest filing with the Federal Election Commission. [Politico]

Do-nothing Republicans and Democrats in Frankfort continue to act like these little stunts will help the pension disaster. Future state legislators would get no state-funded pensions under a bill approved by the Senate State and Local Government Committee on Wednesday. [C-J/AKN]

More than half of Congress has turned over since the last time the House and Senate tried to move legislation to overhaul the nation’s immigration laws. [The Hill]

When Jamie Teabagger was running for office, he was terrified of Louisville Metro Animal Services and said he’d never get involved in a mess like that. Interesting turn of events. [WDRB]

More Americans than expected filed new claims for jobless aid last week and consumer prices were flat in January, supporting the argument for the Federal Reserve to maintain its very accommodative monetary policy stance. [Reuters]

On February 11, 2013, U.S. Rep. Harold “Hal” Rogers (KY-05) and Governor Steve Beshear joined federal, state and local officials to announce a unique $29.3 million funding effort to help Morgan County rebuild from the disastrous storm and tornado damage suffered in March 2012. [Salyersville Independent]

The White House has vowed to fight foreign theft of US trade secrets, a day after a report linked China’s military to prolific cyber-theft. The administration’s strategy document warned that such activity threatened US economic and national security. [BBC]

Rand Paul isn’t sure if Louisville businessman Matthew Bevin would pose a problem for Mitch McConnell in a primary election. [WFPL]

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has warned that the automatic spending cuts due to hit the Pentagon and other branches of government next week will damage U.S. national security. In a letter to Congress, he said those cuts would put the military on a path toward a “hollow force.” But the warnings don’t appear to be moving the needle with lawmakers or the American public. [NPR]

Eastern Kentucky University President Doug Whitlock made an unsuccessful attempt to persuade Madison County’s legislative delegation to support rewriting of legislation that funded the $37 million facility and continues to provide $200,000 annually in operating funds. [Richmond Register]

Republicans would bear more of the blame for a failure to reach a deal on the looming federal spending cuts known as the sequester, but most Americans are tuned out of the debate and many don’t oppose allowing the cuts to go into effect. [WaPo]