Fundraising totals point to a possible record-breaking Kentucky governor’s race next year Tuesday, Oct 7 2014 

capitolThe latest campaign fundraising totals in Kentucky’s still-too-early to analyze race for governor indicate one of the most expensive gubernatorial elections in state history could be on horizon. Democrat Jack Conway reported late Monday he had raised nearly $400,000 over … Continue reading

Monday Business Briefing: The ‘health care highs and lows’ edition, with more issues at U of L Monday, Sep 8 2014 

TopSecret_780wWelcome to the Sept. 8 Monday Business Briefing. This is your private business intelligence briefing with Insider Louisville staff and contributors vetting tips collected during the past few days, hours and minutes before we post. As always, we’ve made multiple … Continue reading

Republicans Are Going To Love This. Jack Conway Will Be Running For Governor In 2015! Monday, May 5 2014 

If the Kentucky Republican Party could dream up a gubernatorial candidate they would love to run against I suggest they would pick Jack Conway aka "One Tough Son Of A Bitch” and it looks like their dream might come true.

State Rep. Sannie Overly, D-Paris is expected to be Jack Conway’s running mate.

Courier Journal
Attorney General Jack Conway has decided to run for Kentucky governor in 2015, according to sources close to him. Read more.


Bracket Distractions — Arts and Business and Politics Sunday, Mar 16 2014 

It’s always good to have some friends who don’t pay attention to the same things you do — it offers perspective. What’s important to you (whether U of  L will be a #2 seed or #3 seed in the NCAA bracket) is like speaking a foreign language, I’m guessing, to someone like Les Waters, the artistic director at Actors’ Theatre and my guest on the Rusty Satellite Show this week.

LISTEN TO THE RUSTY SATELLITE SHOW HERE

 

On the other hand, I suspect that my other guest, El Toro exec Stacy Griggs, can probably tell you how many points Russ Smith got (42) against Houston in the AAC Tournament. I asked neither Les or Stacy about basketball, so I’m guessing here. We all seem to know a lot about something, which is what makes finding guests for the Rusty show kinda fun.

When I was the editor of the NCAA Basketball Championship game programs, for instance, I knew the names of the head coaches and the nicknames of every Division I team. When I was syndicating a TV show to stations across the country, I knew the call letters and network affiliation of every station in the U.S.  At WKU 30 years ago, I learned a lot about constellations (those 3 stars in a row are Orion’s belt). There are a lot of experts on college basketball, or at least you would think so, if you listen to local talk radio or watch ESPN.

But being able to talk with authority about the Blue Jays (Creighton) and Shockers (Wichita State, the only unbeaten team going into the tourney) won’t help you fill out your brackets with accuracy. That’s what makes it fun.  Remember that you are as likely to pick a 14 seed upsetting a 3 seed as Digger Phelps. And none of those so-called experts will pick a perfect bracket (even with a billion dollars on the line).

I know that memorizing lists of trivial knowledge is great for impressing folks at cocktail parties. That’s because I used to recite Kentucky Derby winners that I memorized by studying Derby glasses. Attorney general Jack Conway knows the same trick.

Which is all to say that even though a LOT of people are focused today on the NCAA Final Four tournament field, I know several who wouldn’t recognize Rick Pitino if they saw him in line at a drug store (which I’ve done, btw).

I am among those interested in the tournament, though, and will be running a bracket contest at work, like a lot you will be. And having watched Pitino’s team all season, I don’t see the Cards losing short of the Final Four. It may be the most fun-to-watch group ever assembled around here, or anywhere. After winning the AAC title, Pitino told a TV audience he thinks his team should be a #1 seed, and the world of basketball watchers learned a new term — Pitino and the pundits now love saying the Cards passed the “eye test” (C-J headline: “Pitino’s pupils should pass NCAA eye test”).

Next Thursday and Friday, when U of L and UK will play their first-round games, Louisville viewers will find ways to tune in and make our city #1 in the country — for TV sets tuned to hoops. Office productivity will hit a low that won’t be matched until Oaks Day, and you’ll still have hope that you can win that office bracket pool, even if you had Arizona going all the way and they lose to Siena.

I’m rambling, I know, perhaps thinking of Dave Barry’s appearance at the Library Wednesday night. But here are the top stories, outside of basketball, discussed on the Rusty show this week:

Omni Hotel Downtown — The Omni could transform downtown, and is reason for optimism — bringing a long-needed grocery downtown along with the luxury rooms and apartments. The downside — a key player is the Cordish Cos., which was central to a huge scandal over a loan from the city at Fourth Street Live! a few years back. The block – between 2nd and 3rd and Ali and Liberty — was once talked about as the ideal place for what became the Yum! Center. Let’s credit Mayor Fischer (for now) for bringing it all together.

Among other things state lawmakers won’t accomplish is a smoking ban –  the list of ideas that aren’t getting done include casino gambling, local option sales tax, hemp, and marijuana legalization. The state session has produced plenty of talk about guns in bars, guns in schools, abortion restrictions and whether Kentucky students should be taught science or creationism.

Republicans Courting African-Americans – I’d compare Kentucky Republicans courting votes in the West End to sending Obama supporters to Leslie County in the eastern Kentucky coalfields. (Obama got 8.75% of the 2012 vote there). But Rand Paul’s support of voting rights for convicted felons and other key issues important to African-Americans could sway some votes there.

For next week — Former Rusty guest and C-J editor Neil Budde would be glad to know I took the paper up on a limited-time-free offer and read three stories making news this week — Joe Gerth’s column correctly points out that Jack Conway is not required by law to appeal that same-sex marriage ruling, and he blasts (without saying his name) WDRB’s Bill Lamb for “huffing” about it. U of L’s administration has taken to paying off former employees with lavish, and undeserved, payoffs simply to keep their mouths shut. And a special report reveals that Kentucky’s drug abuse problem, as it relates to babies being born addicted to drugs, is exploding. Few in our city will find sympathy for the two women profiled in Laura Ungar’s piece — both pregnant with multiple children born with their mothers’ addictions.

Let’s watch some hoops! Les Waters of Actors' Theatre El Toro's Stacy Griggs

 

Rusty’s Top Five on Rednecks, Gays, Governors, Plays and Big Blue Sunday, Mar 9 2014 

 

I hope you get a chance to listen to this week’s Rusty Satellite podcast featuring JCPS board member Debbie Wesslund and Louisville Sports Commission chief Karl Schmitt. You’ll find out why we had so many snow days, among other topics, and learn a little about how the city’s top sports attraction arm is focused on “heads and beds.”

LISTEN HERE TO RUSTY SATELLITE

And you’ll hear what’s in the news that I think is worth talking about. Here’s a summary of those Top Five stories.

1. OUTREACH TO REDNECKS: Not that I worry a lot about what people think, but the Kentucky Baptist Convention’s gun raffles at church services is in the New York Daily News. In the same way I’m distressed that reality shows are popular and that people think pro wrestling is real, it’s distressing to know that church leaders in Kentucky believe the best way to lead “unchurched rednecks” to God is by promising them that if you show up, you might win a firearm. We’ve got plenty of stuff to be embarrassed about around here (this week the state’s lawmakers refused to move forward a statewide smoking ban), but having the rest of the country seeing us as buffoons this gun-crazy is going to be great spectacle soon on The Daily Show.

2. SAME-SEX MARRIAGE: Just after Jack Conway took the state one progressive step forward, Steve Beshear jump-frogged that to leap backward by vowing to appeal a judge’s ruling that Kentucky must recognize marriages performed in other states.  I’m convinced history will not be on the side of those who would discriminate against gays, as it hasn’t been kind to others who’ve stood in the way of the progress of equal rights. Beshear’s move is all about politics, and let’s hope Conway’s call doesn’t hurt him in the long term.

3. HAL HEINER: I almost voted for Hal Heiner in the last Mayor’s Race, but since then the former Metro Council member has been strategizing for a run at the Governor’s Mansion. Now he’s the first in for the race, but he’ll surely get plenty of competition, and soon. Ag Commissioner James Comer is almost sure to run against Heiner, and multiple Democrats will surely get in the race. One of Heiner’s big issues is charter schools, but hopes to appeal to the electorate as a successful businessman (though he made much of his money developing real estate in Indiana).

4. HUMANA FESTIVAL:  I’ve seen two performances in the Humana Festival of New American Plays, and both deal with modern dilemmas facing regular citizens in a modern world. “Partners” takes on same-sex marriage and money, while “The Christians” focuses on a crisis within a church that looks and sounds like one we’re all familiar with around here. I’ll have a review of that one here on LouisvilleKY.com.

5. HOOPS: Since I recorded this week’s Rusty Satellite, the woes of UK hoops have gotten worse and the questions surrounding John Calipari’s approach to building a big-time basketball program have gotten louder. Not only did UK get pummeled by a senior-laden #1 team at Florida at Saturday, but four seniors led Louisville to a blowout of Connecticut on Saturday. The games were on WLKY-TV, back-t0-back. There are plenty of high-ranking teams headed to the tournament with experienced players, none that start five freshman. Expect a turbulent off-season for Coach Cal.

Karl Schmitt of the Louisville Sports Commission JCPS Board Member Debbie Wesslund

In Other News… Conway/Beshear and Forecastle lineup Friday, Mar 7 2014 

Outside Appeal: The fight over Kentucky’s same-sex marriage law continues this week, with a whiplash-inducing turn. In February, U.S. District Judge John G. Heyburn II ruled a portion of Kentucky’s 2004 ban on gay marriage unconstitutional. Last week, that decision … Continue reading

Hal Heiner in race for Kentucky Governor Monday, Mar 3 2014 

Louisville, KY – Hal Heiner is in the race for Kentucky Governor. Heiner made his announcement today in Lexington and introduced KC Crosbie as his running mate. Heiner is a former Metro Councilman, candidate for Louisville Metro Mayor, and successful Louisville businessman. He brings a lot to the table. With the expected announcement from current […] Louisville Politics - News and...

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In Other News… Clinton visits, marriage ruling, and J-Law’s Oscar odds Friday, Feb 28 2014 

Atomic Dog: Former President Bill Clinton rolled through Louisville this week, reports USA Today, ABC News (AP), NBC News, The Christian Science Monitor and TIME. The Big Dog swung by the Galt House to speak at a fundraiser for Alison … Continue reading

Councilman David James under fire Tuesday, Feb 25 2014 

Louisville, KY – Councilman David James is under fire for a non issue. Yep you read that right. Now for the back story.  David James was elected in 2010, notice that was 4 years ago, to represent District 6 of the Metro Council. At the time one of his supporters was none other than current […] Louisville Politics - News and Current Events around Louisville, Kentucky

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