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Comment on Kentucky
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Mark Neikirk, The Kentucky Post

This guest appears on the following programs:
Program 2726
4/27/01: Concerns over rising electricity costs, consolidation and deregulation of the energy industry, and the comeback of the coal industry with help from the Bush administration and the courts. (#2726)

Program 2729
5/18/01: The foal crisis, Bush and coal, a tobacco buyout plan, the Comair strike, races for Congress, and state ideas about collective bargaining and smart growth. (#2729)

Program 2734
6/22/01: The Rev. Nancy Jo Kemper discusses the Billy Graham Crusade in Louisville and court action concerning religious activities on public school property. Mark Niekirk, managing editor of the Kentucky Post, talks about pilots, payrolls, and possibly friendlier skies in light of recent Comair negotiations. And Jack Brammer, Frankfort bureau chief for the Lexington Herald-Leader, poses some answers to the questions of how many power plants is an overload and why Gov. Patton wants to know. (#2734)

Program 2743
8/24/01: A tribute to the spirit and the heart of a courageous man who made medical history and a discussion of the politics of land stewardship: sprawl, tobacco, horses, mining, and taxes. (#2743)

Program 2802
11/9/01: Race and cities, governing in a recession, and a winter of economic discontent and change. Plus, when is a headline an outrage and when is it just hot air? (#2802)

Program 2824
4/12/02: The state budget deadlock becomes a crisis, a weakened garbage bill may pass, and only a few future teachers at Kentucky State University pass qualifying tests. (#2824)

Program 2828
5/10/02: The fate of higher education in Kentucky without Gordon Davies’ leadership, church leaders’ response to alleged sexual abuse cases, and federal judges’ rulings on President Bush’s coal permits. (#2828)

Program 2833
6/14/02: A discussion of four statistical paradoxes. For instance, the percentage of high school graduates increased more in Kentucky than in any other state in the current United States Census reports—yet our state still ranks next to last in the number of citizens who’ve finished high school. (#2833)

Program 2840
8/2/02: The state will need more money to reach education goals. That’s the message from Gov. Paul Patton as politicians flock to Fancy Farm to focus on another goal: getting themselves elected. (#2840)

Program 2850
10/11/02: Tina and the troopers, Tina and the tip-offs—more tales of true or false in the probe of Patton’s capers with Mrs. Conner. (#2850)

Program 2901
11/2/02: With less than a week until Election Day, Bush makes a final push for Kentucky and Indiana Republicans. And the struggle for control of the state Senate leaves public financing for campaigns for governor on life support. (#2901)

Program 2912
1/17/03: Attorney General Ben Chandler sues to stop prisoner release; the state cuts $250 million from the Medicaid program; students from eight rural school districts sue over funding gaps; Gov. Patton calls for a business activity tax; and Republican candidates for governor campaign in the far western part of the state, which was once dominated by Democrats. (#2912)

Program 2917
2/21/03: Kentucky lawmakers hear $400 million of ch-chings, but is it enough to approve slots? Newport wants some cash. And does the House budget really spare education funding? (#2917)

Program 2925
4/18/03: An Easter weekend discussion of the politics that now come to pass over the state. With a month until Election Day, the Democrats go to war on television, and the Republicans struggle with a war in court. (#2925)

Program 2931
5/30/03: Tax breaks kick in as Kentucky cities scramble to finance local services. Media giants claim that bigger will be better if they can control more broadcast outlets. So why is CBS pushing plans to mock and scorn Appalachia and Kentucky? (#2931)

Program 2932
6/6/03: Lexington’s battle over the water company, airports in Northern Kentucky and Bowling Green, Louisville’s new metro budget, plus politics of the week and the Prichard Committee’s 20-year crusade for better schools. (#2932)

Program 2945
9/5/03: Murray State University’s game with UK is a football first—but Murray’s high academic ranking is the story most worth telling. Other issues to be discussed: insights on the governor’s race, the Henry settlement, and Medicaid. (#2945)

Program 2946
9/12/03: Kentucky perspectives on Bush’s leadership after 9/11, plus the governor’s race, the economy, and other issues. (#2946)

Program 3004
11/28/03: Patton’s pardons: more than 1,200 rejections. Races for Congress: Lucas out, Clooney in. Keno killed: from Fletcher’s lips to the lottery’s ears, a big “NO.” (#3004)

Program 3008
12/26/03: A recap of the state’s top stories of the year. (#3008)

Program 3009
1/2/04: The Republican ascendancy and the Democratic decline. Will these trends hold? (#3009)

Program 3020
3/19/04: spinning the tax questions, Fletcher’s first 100 days, Bush in Kentucky on the Iraq War anniversary, and a major deal by Ashland. (#3020)

Program 3024
4/16/04: Failure to pass a budget tops a rancorous legislative session. The future of local programs is in limbo. And an amendment against same-sex unions is sent to voters. (#3024)

Program 3031
Topics for 6/4/04: Troubled bridges over Kentucky waters. Host’s high hopes to turn parks into a profit center. Smarty Jones lures the bettor, but he ain’t a Kentucky horse. And the Democrats take baby steps to propose a budget compromise. (#3031)

Program 3032
6/11/04: Remembering former President Ronald Wilson Reagan. His legacy in Kentucky begins with Mitch McConnell’s election to the U.S. Senate in 1984 and tracks toward the Republican capture of the state Senate and the governor’s office. (#3032)

Program 3038
7/23/04: Delta’s finances, miners’ benefits, the high cost of incarceration, expensive drugs, and the hot stove of human rights. (#3038)

Program 3043
8/27/04: Pulling the plug on life support, work rules and health benefits, the Latino impact on the workplace, and Delta’s dance with bankruptcy. (#3043)

Program 3051
The legislature gives state employes a health benefits package that averts a teachers' strike. But, not everybody's happy. And, the Bunning-Mongiardo race for U.S. Senate grows more interesting. All politics this week on Comment on Kentucky. (#3051)

Program 3108
12/24/04: The tobacco buyout and a first-term Republican governor without a budget are just two of the stories discussed in a review of the year. (#3108)

Program 3109
12/31/04: Fixing the budget—more quarrels over tax changes and a new agricultural economy. Plus, predictions on what’s to come in Frankfort in 2005. (#3109)

Program 3114
2/4/05: The governor’s austere budget, with tax reform as a carrot. Cigarette tax going up—50 cents’ worth of smoke? Tinkering with school tests again and wars over accountability. Cold medicines and addiction; meth problems and the law. And the state House of Representatives clears a bill to cover millions of dollars denied to Kentucky tobacco farmers. (#3114)

Program 3118
3/4/05: The overweight-truck bill rolls over protestors without a hearing. And the legislative session can’t last much longer, so neither can budget posturing. It’s time to fish or cut bait. (#3118)

Program 3120
3/18/05: A fresh start for Gov. Fletcher: What’s ahead? Plus, regional growth and politics: the perspectives from Bowling Green, Richmond, and Covington. (#3120)

Program 3121
3/25/05: Kentucky congressmen get involved in the Schiavo case, House Speaker Jody Richards says he won’t run for governor, and horse breeders hit the exacta. Guest host: Mark Hebert. (#3121)

Program 3128
5/13/05: Fort Knox is losing its Armor Center, along with 3,000+ personnel. Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky are losing corporate headquarters in the Cinergy/Duke merger ... hello, Charlotte! And Kentucky may get that Toyota hybrid car, but who will lose benefits as airlines dump pensions on Uncle Sam? Ask a coal miner if it hurts. (#3128)

Program 3131
6/3/05: State agencies given more time to answer requests for data on hirings—the investigation enters Phase II. The Catholic Diocese of Covington settles child abuse charges for $120 million—will sell prized properties. State Senate candidate Stephenson loses another round in court—Louisville district without representation while she appeals. And President Bush takes his campaign for Social Security privatization to the Fort Campbell area—his second visit to Kentucky to sell the plan. (#3131)

Program 3132
6/10/05: More back-and-forth on merit matters: leak claims, 5th Amendment pleas, defense funds, and a suit to stop the attorney general. (#3132)

Program 3208
12/23/05: Top stories of the year ending and a look to the year ahead. Al Smith and guests review the merit job investigation, the war in Iraq, the state’s economy, education, and the legacy of the late Dr. Thomas Clark. (#3208)

Program 3209
12/30/05: Continuing their review of the year ending and predictions for 2006, Al Smith and guests discuss the 2006 Kentucky General Assembly, Medicaid, gambling, the big ballot box in the ’06 elections, and the 2007 governor’s race. (#3209)

Program 3210
1/6/06: In the politics of lawmaking, health care and education costs seem to come first. Is that the way this new legislative session will play out? (#3210)

Program 3213
1/27/06: Saving miners—suddenly it’s a national priority. Saving jobs at Ford—it boils down to which ones. Plus more on the merit probe, a new state school board, an expensive arena in Louisville, and a nearly bankrupt orchestra. (#3213)

Program 3214
2/3/06: Inside the big ballot—those record filings. Coal’s role in energy independence. And could a run for more tobacco taxes help the schools? (#3214)

Program 3217
2/24/06: Fletcher revamps the state school board; Republicans will dominate. Homeland security—a $200 million germ lab in Somerset? Maybe. And the flap over Arabs and the ports—the same Arabs who have invested millions in Kentucky horses. Should the state take over local jails? A Crit Luallen proposal. (#3217)

Program 3218
3/3/06: The governor’s budget is whacked in the legislature. Concentrating on God and gays, Senate Republicans lose their attempt to limit the courts—but only by a whisker. A bill for face-to-face abortion counseling passes the House and seems assured in the Senate. And the Louisville arena proposal prompts row and rally. (#3218)

Program 3222
3/31/06: Legislative leaders reach a budget agreement. And with the lawmaking session in its final hours, outcomes are in view—the good, the bad, and the ugly. (#3222)

Program 3225
4/21/06: Fletcher’s hour of decision: Leave the swollen budget alone, or veto projects, cut debts, and anger legislators facing re-election? (#3225)

Program 3232
6/9/06: Fletcher fights back, aided by Robbie Rudolph and two other appointees in the shuffle over Steve Pence—minus one press secretary. (#3232)

Program 3242
8/18/06: The judge makes it official: Gov. Fletcher cannot stand trial while he’s in office. Meanwhile, the governor responds to another round of rebuffs from high-ranking members of his own Republican Party. And it might be a blue Christmas for 9,000 Louisville Ford employees. Guest host: talk show host Sue Wylie, WVLK-AM/Lexington. (#3242)

Program 3243
8/25/06: Big news and a big deal for the governor, reading political tea leaves, and the latest grades on higher education. Guest host: Linda Blackford of the Lexington Herald-Leader. (#3243)

Program 3248
9/29/06: God and Country: a look at religion in Kentucky. Weather Beaten: Eight die in floods. Is it global warming? Governor Steps Out: But top Democrats dither as their candidates’ chances for Congress improve. And Pearce’s Path: the press and public issues since World War II, with a special tribute to the late journalist John Ed Pearce. (#3248)

Program 3302
11/10/06: Democrats come home in Louisville, where Yarmuth defeats Northup. In this state, as elsewhere, Iraq was an issue and a down grade on Bush. But other Republicans hold on. U.S. Sen. McConnell won’t be majority leader, and U.S. Rep. Hal Rogers loses juice. Congressman Ben Chandler likes Washington even more, but Louisville Mayor Jerry Abramson and former Gov. Brereton Jones better decide about running for governor soon. (#3302)

Program 3308
12/22/06: Part 1 of our annual review of the year’s top stories. Ben Chandler’s decision to stay in Congress may have been one of the better blessings for Gov. Ernie Fletcher, who had a bad year—and may face a worse one. (#3308)

Program 3309
12/29/06: A review of big stories and interesting trends of 2006. Politics: a weakened governor, but how much traction do the Democrats have against him? The Judiciary: somewhat entangled in politics, but featuring more diversity and new faces. Energy and Economy: Coal booms, but more miners die and mountains are scalped as politicians dodge the outcry of critics. Money: a state budget, finally, with funds for higher education and a Louisville arena. Human Services: Oakwood is outsourced and Medicaid revised, but there are other issues. Changing Culture: smoking bans, seat belts, easing of liquor laws, and gay issues out of the closet. (#3309)

Program 3317
2/23/07: The politics of the governorís race seems to drive decisions in the legislatureóor stall them, water them down, or kill them. Why are we not surprised? (#3317)

Program 3321
3/23/07: Is Big Blue basketball too much for Coach Tubby Smith—and too much for Kentucky’s own good? The pension clash is a cliffhanger, and the fate of favored projects is in doubt in the final days of the legislative session. And we present notes from a reporter’s handbook on how citizens can play the game of politics by asking the right questions. (#3321)

Program 3329
5/18/07: Gov. Ernie Fletcher and Steve Beshear lead the polls in their respective party races. But they will have to capture 40 percent of the vote to avoid a run-off in June. (#3329)

Program 3331
6/1/07: Domestic-partner benefits may be illegal, says Attorney General Greg Stumbo. What is the role of coal in the clash between energy independence and global warming? Gov. Ernie Fletcher scopes out a special session—pluses and minues, but politics 24/7. We look at the summer scene on the campuses as well as medical science and new hospitals. And, there's no science here, but a museum for the credulous. (#3331)

Program 3334
6/22/07: Gov. Ernie Fletcher pitches a special session for coal-to-gas incentives as the U.S. Senate rejects the concept in a new energy bill. However, there will be more money for further research on coal conversion. But critics of Fletcher see only politics in his call to bring the legislature back to Frankfort in an election campaign in which he is trailing. Can he prove them wrong? (#3334)

Program 3338
Politics and poverty: We take a look at turning jobs into votes. There is a feud over the special legislative session: Gov. Ernie Fletcher and House Speaker Jody Richards disagree on incentives for coal. What is the future of coal anyway—and those pesky carbon emissions? John Edwards visits Eastern Kentucky. Appalachia is beautiful, but intractable. And, two educational agencies search for leaders. Plus, we discuss the death of a newspaper. (#3338)

Program 3341
8/10/07: A Kentucky footnote on the financial markets: We take a look at older folks and 401(k)s. Health care for poor kids: Congress wants more, but Sen. Mitch McConnell and President Bush fight the plan. An ouster and change of leaders at the State Board of Education: Is this fresh vision or political pressures? The same in higher education: Who is really running things? In business, we discuss Lexmark’s troubles, a union drive at Toyota, and new directions for East Kentucky Power. And, Big Coal: We look at a hangup over the special session for a legislative kiss-up to Peabody Energy plus a circuit court kiss-off for Peabody. How does our state play the game of energy and the environment? Go tell it to the mountains. (#3341)




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