No One Believes Little Todd’s Office Matters

Democrat Todd Hollenbach, not yet sure what he’s going to do after his term as state treasurer ends in December, says that his post is critical to Kentuckians and that his leadership has saved the state millions of dollars. [H-L]

The first nationwide strike at U.S. oil refineries since 1980 is spreading to two BP plants in the Midwest. [HuffPo]

From the Department of Things That Won’t Matter… The Republican-controlled Senate passed a charter schools bill Friday, but the measure is almost sure to die in the House where Democrats rule. [C-J/AKN]

Both President Obama and Rep. Paul Ryan want to expand a key tax break for the working poor, but any hopes for a bipartisan compromise face a familiar obstacle – immigration reform. [The Hill]

For motorists, the recent dramatic decline in gas prices is a windfall. For the state’s Transportation Cabinet and local officials, it’s a kick in the gut — or at least in the Road Fund budget which is financed by a fluctuating gas tax based on wholesale prices. [Ronnie Ellis]

Two congressional Democrats have asked the Federal Reserve Board for a briefing about its investigation into a leak of confidential Fed policy deliberations two years ago. [ProPublica]

Kentucky State Police Post 3 Commander Captain John Clark is reporting the following activity by the troopers and detectives for the month of January 2015. [Glasgow Daily Times]

A study from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration concludes that driving after smoking marijuana does not make you more likely to get into a car crash — especially when compared to driving after alcohol consumption. [Think Progress]

Regal Beloit, a global manufacturer of electric motors, mechanical and electrical motion controls, and power generation products, has acquired the Power Transmissions Solutions arm of Emerson Electric Company. Included in that acquisition was the Morehead SealMaster plant which has a workforce of about 200. [The Morehead News]

The Agriculture Department is getting ready to tell a lot of people who’ve been getting farm subsidy checks without lifting a hay bale, swinging a pitch fork or driving a tractor that they’re cut off. [ProPublica]

After depending solely on decades-old marketing methods since its inception, the Office of Hazard/Perry County Tourism has finally stepped into the 21st Century this year. That move was made possible by the new tourism marketing manager, Sam Neace, who has cannonballed into the position, creating social media pages and revamping the tourism website within his first month on the job. [Hazard Herald]

High school police asked a judge to let them pepper spray and arrest unruly students. [Mother Jones]

As a medical doctor, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul has a rare set of credentials at the intersection of science and politics. But the glare of the 2016 presidential race is searing, and under it, Paul had a rough week. [H-L]

It’s no secret that the United States is headed toward marriage equality. A majority of states recognize same-sex marriage, and the Supreme Court will soon decide whether to extend that right nationwide. In this progressive climate, the battle has shifted to the state level, where conservatives are waging a last-ditch campaign to target LGBT Americans. [HuffPo]

What Your Electeds Had To Say About Sen. Ford

Since former U.S. Senator Wendell Ford died today, thought it’d be a good idea to share a few quotes from various people:

Alison Grimes:

Senator Wendell Ford was not only a close friend, but a mentor to me. He was one of the best Kentuckians I’ve ever known, and he deeply loved our Commonwealth and all of its people.

Sen. Ford was a true statesman. On every stage, he represented Kentucky with dignity and honor, embracing compromise to achieve results that benefitted the Commonwealth. His service has provided an extraordinary example for others who wish to serve Kentucky, and especially for me.

I will miss Sen. Ford’s friendship and, most of all, his incredible support and counsel. Andrew and I send our warmest thoughts and prayers to his wife Jean and their family.

Jack Conway:

This is a sad day for all of Kentucky. Wendell Ford was a lion of a public servant for Kentucky and the nation, but he had the heart and kindness of a lamb. He was my dear friend, and one of the largest influences on my professional life. I am so saddened to learn of his passing, yet I know I am blessed to have known him and learned from him. Since I was 18 years old, I have kept a picture of the two of us, signed by him, from the day we first met in his office in Washington, D.C. I keep it because I recall how extraordinarily kind and attentive he was to a high school kid, and it serves as a reminder to me of how people should be treated.

Wendell Ford fought for Kentucky – its schools, its towns, its farmers, and its airports. But most of all, he fought for the people of the Commonwealth he loved so dearly. What a public servant. What a man. What a life. Rest in peace, my dear friend.

Elizabeth and I, and our family, send our condolences to his wife Jean (who even the Senator called ‘Mrs. Ford’), to his children Steve and Shirley, to his grandchildren, and to the entire Ford family. They will be in our prayers.

Steve Beshear:

Kentucky has lost one of its great statesmen, and we all have lost a friend. Jane and I join with all of Kentucky to mourn the loss of Senator Wendell Ford. As I began my career in public service, I watched and learned from Senator Ford, who was the epitome of principled leadership. In every office in which he served, his methods were simple: Wendell Ford listened, he cared, and he got the job done. Our state and our nation are better places for his decades of thoughtful, cooperative work to help people. We are grateful for his legacy of service, and our prayers are with his wife, Jean, their children, Steve and Shirley, and their families.

Crit Luallen:

I’m deeply saddened by the loss of Sen. Wendell Ford, who was one of Kentucky’s great leaders. He was a true voice for the people of Kentucky throughout his remarkable career in public service, and so many Kentuckians are better off today because of his leadership and willingness to always put Kentucky first. I got my first job in politics in the mailroom of his Senate campaign, and he continued to mentor and guide me throughout my career, just as he did so many other Kentucky leaders. My thoughts and prayers go out to his wife, Jean, and his entire family during this time of mourning and remembrance of this iconic Kentucky statesman.

Todd Hollenbach:

Kentucky has lost a great elder statesman in Wendell Ford. He was a friend, a mentor and an inspiration. I will miss his good counsel and his fellowship. He leaves behind a legacy of progressive leadership and public service that all Kentuckians can be proud of. Our prayers go out to his family.

Mitch McConnell:


President Barack Obama:

Michelle and I were saddened to learn of the passing of former Senator Wendell Ford. A veteran, businessman, Governor and four-term Senator, Wendell dedicated his life to the people of Kentucky. He believed deeply in fairness – everyone doing their part, everyone getting a fair shot. A formidable political strategist, he fought to make sure all Americans had equal access to the polls, championed paying workers a decent wage and extending a helping hand to those looking for work, and mentored scores of young people who entered public service with Wendell’s advice and support. Few in politics were as admired as he, and few have had as great an impact on his beloved Kentucky. Wendell leaves behind an extraordinary legacy of service, and a Commonwealth and country that are stronger and fairer thanks to him. Michelle and I send our condolences to his wife Jean and all the members of the Ford family.

Vice President Joe Biden:

Jill and I were very sorry to hear of the passing of Senator Wendell Ford.

He was one of the most effective legislative leaders I’ve ever worked with throughout my entire career. His philosophy was summed up when he said, “why make a speech when you can sit down with your colleagues and work something out?”

He always took care of Kentucky, but never lost sight of the fact that he represented all of America.

During Wendell’s time in the Senate, he helped bring greater transparency to government, greater safety to the airlines, and greater access to the polls.

It was thanks to his leadership as Whip that the Violence Against Women Act passed in 1994 as part of the Biden Crime Bill, changing the lives of so many women and men in this country and around the world.

On a personal note, Senator Ford has been an important part of our family for a long time. He gave Sara Jones Biden, from Owensboro, Kentucky, her first job on the Hill when she graduated from Duke Law School, and that’s how she met my brother Jimmy.

Last May, Jill had the honor of speaking at Owensboro Community College in Wendell’s hometown, and it was clear that his legacy will long outlive him in Owensboro, in Kentucky, and across the United States.

Wendell was an extremely effective senator and a great personal friend whose advice I sought long after he had left the Senate. I will miss him.

Our thoughts are with Jean, Steve, and Shirley during this difficult time. He was a good man.

Hal Rogers:

Kentucky has lost one of its greatest defenders, the honorable Wendell Ford. The people of the Commonwealth chose to have Ford in the foxhole with them time and again, electing him to consecutive terms as lieutenant governor, governor and senator.

Although he was a staunch Democrat, Senator Ford never hesitated to reach across the aisle for issues that benefited Kentucky the most, from promoting the development of coal-based synthetic fuels to protecting tobacco farmers.

He shed a new light on Kentucky country boys in Frankfort and Washington, proving that we always keep our word, we never back down from a challenge, and showing a little kindness goes a long way.

He was a true statesman for Kentucky who not only impacted change for today, but for tomorrow and generations to follow. My wife Cynthia and I offer our deepest condolences to his wife, Jean and the host of family and friends who stood steady by his side through the years.

Ready For A Todd Hollenbach Pee Alert Moment?

Wondering why the pension system in Kentucky is jacked?

Because of people like Todd Hollenbach.

From a release:

Kentucky Treasurer Todd Hollenbach, ex-officio board member of the Kentucky Teachers Retirement System(KTRS), praised House Speaker Greg Stumbo for taking action to shore up the unfunded liability of the pension system for teachers.

“I wholeheartedly support Speaker Stumbo’s proposal to authorize the issuance of bonds to refinance the pension debt and take advantage of the current favorable interest rates. It is a welcome example of legislative leadership to push this fiscally responsible initiative”, Treasurer Hollenbach stated.

“The KTRS board has been doing all it can but legislative involvement is critical to any long term solution,” Hollenbach added. “This action today by Speaker Stumbo is the best way right now to make KTRS whole and secure the future for our teachers”


It’s Fancy Farm 2014 – Video Roundup Time

If you missed Fancy Farm, here are all the speeches. In no particular order.

Steve Beshear:

Stan Humpries:

Richard Heath:

Jesse Wright:

Floridian Ed Whitfield:

Some crazy guy named Charles Hatchett:

Grandmother Mitch McConnell:

Alison Daddy’s Name Grimes:

Little Todd:

Rand Paul:

Adam Edelen:

Big Ole Tough Man Jack Conway:

Jamie Comer, as he announces his gubernatorial bid:

Who had the best speech? It’s tough to say but the race for best is definitely between Mitch McConnell and Jamie Comer.

Thanks to KET for being awesome.

We Found Little Todd Trying To Promote Himself

People always ask what Little Todd Hollenbach is up to these days. In addition to being close friends with notorious bigot and homophobe, Frank Simon.

Well, really, he’s not up to much. Since his job is pointless and he rarely shows up in Frankfort.

He’s lately been on a self-promotional tour because he wants to run for another office:


Fortunately for Kentucky? Todd isn’t really capable of doing much else. And if he was ever to run for an office with a credible opponent, his life would be torn apart.

Your Taxes Paid For Him To Attend The Event

On the morning of Alison Grimes’ fundraiser with Bill Clinton, we spied this tweet from Todd Hollenbach:


Maybe the day would have been better spent actually doing the work taxpayers pay you to do, Little Todd.

Along with Jack Conway, Adam Edelen, Greg Stumbo, Steve Beshear and crew.

If LRC staffers aren’t permitted to take part in partisan campaign activity, then constitutional officers shouldn’t be paid for their own direct roles in partisan events. They ought to return that day’s pay to the taxpayers. (The entire day – because most attended a fundraiser for Andy Beshear a bit later.)

Poll: Kentucky Is Slowly Hating The Gays Less

For over 40 years, the Endangered Species Act has been saving plants and animals from extinction. [HuffPo]

Most Kentuckians still support a state ban on gay marriage, but their numbers have declined significantly from a decade ago when an amendment to the state constitution banned civil unions and limited marriage to a man and a woman. [C-J/AKN]

During a live Web chat in late January, National Security Agency whistle-blower Edward Snowden explained one of the least discussed dangers of bulk collection. By indiscriminately sweeping up the call records and the international communications of Americans, the government has the ability to engage in retroactive investigation, or mining the historical data of targets for any evidence of suspicious, illegal or simply embarrassing activities. [AJ]

It was 50 years ago today and Ed Sullivan asked the band to play, four lads from Liverpool who would change the world. [Ronnie Ellis]

Republicans are buoyant they can capture the Senate this year – but will Mitch McConnell still be there as majority leader? [The Hill]

House Speaker Greg Stumbo called the prospects of passing the governor’s tax reform package unveiled Tuesday — a proposal that could raise nearly $210 million in new revenue — “daunting.” [State Journal]

A closer look: three golden ages of journalism? [ProPublica]

The Kentucky Senate last week passed a Northern Kentucky lawmaker’s bill that would eliminate the state treasurer’s office. That prompted an angry reply from the state treasurer. []

It’s been one month since a leak was discovered at a chemical storage facility operated by Freedom Industries on January 9, spilling an estimated 750,000 gallons of crude MCHM — a chemical mixture used in the coal production process — into the Elk River and the water supply for 300,000 West Virginians. [Think Progress]

This tragedy in Campton should serve as a reminder to wear your seat belts. [KSP]

Climate change is likely to be a factor in the extreme weather that has hit much of the UK in recent months, the Met Office’s chief scientist has said. [BBC]

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer is running for re-election and we’re taking a trip down memory lane all week. [The ‘Ville Voice]

The BBC has discovered a crow that has more intelligence than most legislators in Frankfort. [HuffPo]

The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet has launched a web portal that makes vast amounts of information available to the public. [WKYT]

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said on Friday he will appoint a senior officer to report directly to him on matters of military ethics after a spate of embarrassing scandals including widespread exam cheating among nuclear missile launch officers. [Reuters]

A big reveal took place Monday afternoon to unveil the design plans for Rupp Arena. [WDRB]

Friday’s unemployment report confirmed what many workers already had suspected: Five years after the job market plunged off a cliff, the climb back remains a tough slog. [NPR]