Art Pottery, Politics and Food
Thursday, May 19, 2005
Was E.F. "Updated"?
According to an inspector general’s report detailed in today’s Louisville Courier-Journal, a one time Breckenridge County highway superintendent, Edmund A. Wilson, hired through the political intervention of the then Deputy Secretary of the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, behaved in a most unprofessional manner and was fired after repeated complaints from fellow Transportation Cabinet employees.
While on the state payroll, Superintendent Wilson:
-Carried a gun in a state truck and used a state garage to fix the home furnace of the Breckinridge County Republican Party chairman.
-Racked up complaints, including an alleged failure to take safety precautions, including “rushed” jobs without posted warning signs or flagmen…and openly flaunted the fact that he knew people in high places.
-Disobeyed a supervisor's order and violated cabinet policy by selling used tires from a state vehicle and using the $200 to buy a catered lunch.
-Ordered two employees to use their state-issued credit cards to make unauthorized purchases.
-Asked a Cabinet Administrative specialist, on state time, to type a letter in which he lobbied for early release from prison for a friend's son.
-And, used a Transportation Cabinet front-end loader to take his grandson on a joy ride around the garage parking lot.
The Digital Journalist draws attention to the arresting images of Antonin Kratochvil contained in his book, Vanishings.
Crossing West Broadway she sees that a crowd is forming.
People are stopping, turning to look south.
Toward smoke, against blue sky.
There is a fire, high up in the World Trade Center...what she will retain is that the exploding fuel burns with a tinge of green that she will never hear or see described.
--Pattern Recognition, 2003, William Gibson
Image: Antonin Kratochvil-Aftermath of the destruction of the World Trade Center, New York City
Wednesday, May 18, 2005
Knowledgeable members of northern Kentucky’s Republican establishment are buzzing over eyewitness accounts that Governor Fletcher’s newly appointed Deputy Chief of Staff Dick Murgatroyd was overheard trashing the Governor at a recent social gathering here on the former Judge Executive’s political home turf.
Murgatroyd, the bachelor and one time television music/variety producer with the can do reputation among Kenton County movers and shakers, is the former deputy Secretary of the Transportation Cabinet and has been for the last several days the focus of an investigation by the office of Kentucky’s Attorney General into illegal political patronage within the transportation department’s central office and highway garages across the Commonwealth.
Hot insider political gossip currently making the rounds claims that Murgatroyd openly referred to the Governor as “stupid” and heavily dependant upon his staff at a recent Derby party.
Though state Republican heavyweights are downplaying the investigation by the office of Attorney General Greg Stumbo, local Republican party insiders, made skittish by the Derby party story and new reports of a second northern Kentuckian involved, are nervously considering the import of Murgatroyd’s alleged remarks in light of the illegal patronage investigation while fearfully anticipating further shoe falls.
Image: Google, Cincinnati Enquirer
Too Right, Mate!
Before I succumb to the lure of the garden and today’s near 80-degree temperatures, I’d like to present two items that caught my attention late last evening and early this morning.
Firstly, I felt myself fortunate that I stumbled upon the Beeb's web page in time to watch, George Galloway, the Respect Member of Parliament for Bethnal Green and Bow’s entire testimony before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee’s hastily arraigned hearing on the United Nation’s Oil-For-Food program.
The feisty Glaswegian, expelled from Tony Blair’s Labour Party in 2003 for "bringing the party into disrepute", took no prisoners in his dealing with our own ham-fisted, unlettered and disreputable Senate enablers of the criminal Bush foreign policy.
Galloway’s first punch drew blood from the nearly bloodless Senator Norm Coleman:
“I know that standards have slipped in Washington in recent years, but for a lawyer, you're remarkably cavalier with any idea of justice…I'm here today, but last week you already found me guilty. You traduced my name around the world without ever having asked me a single question."
According to the London Guardian, before the honorable Member made Norm his bitch, he telegraphed the frankness of his upcoming testimony in this hallway response to a question posed by the alcohol-impaired talking head Christopher Hitchens:
"You're a drink-soaked former Trotskyist popinjay. Your hands are shaking. You badly need another drink.”
The BBC, today, is offering video of Galloway highlights.
I highly recommend it as I gather the failed American corporate press giving it a wide berth.
Here is background on Galloway’s Labour expulsion and his successful libel suit against Rupert Murdock’s Daily Telegraph.
Closer to home, the Kentucky patronage scandal proceeds as the offices of top gubernatorial aides and Republican party chiefs were examined yesterday afternoon under Warrants issued by a Franklin County District Judge.
Warrants were served on the Governor and Lt. Governor’s offices, the office of the Treasurer of the Kentucky Republican party and “others” having office space “along the suite of gubernatorial offices in the Capitol”.
The most interesting portion of this morning’s Cincinnati Enquirer report described the patronage jobs as being in the Transportation Department’s central office and in highway garages across Kentucky:
Documents show consideration given to loyalty to past Republican efforts and relations to local power brokers.
Images: Reuters, Google
Tuesday, May 17, 2005
Scandal in Frankfort
Former Kenton County Kentucky Judge Executive Dick Murgatroyd, recently appointed Deputy Chief of Staff for Communications in the Executive branch of Kentucky’s first Republican Governor since 1971 and former bachelor Executive Producer of WLWT’s long forgotten Bob Braun Show, is one of the targets of an investigation by the Kentucky Attorney General’s office regarding patronage within the State Department of Transportation.
Murgatroyd or “Murg”, as he is known to male and female associates and companions, is currently traveling in Japan with Governor Fletcher and was not quoted in any articles thusfar published across Kentucky and southwest Ohio.
The Attorney General’s office began its investigation last week following notification by Doug Doerting, assistant director of personnel in the Transportation Cabinet of "illegal political patronage”.
Doering also provided the AG with, according to the Kentucky Post, “a stack of papers more than an inch thick” including emails and memos submitted to the Personnel Board by various high-ranking members of the Fletcher administration that provide, according to Doering, “a window into the real world of state government personnel practices”.
Kentucky Attorney General and highest ranked state Democrat Greg Stumbo said in a press conference yesterday that a second, unnamed Transportation Cabinet official has provided more corroborating evidence in what appears to be the firing or forced retirement of more than 500 persons.
Stumbo said a grand jury could be empanelled and that "it does appear serious, and it does appear widespread”.
Before the Attorney General’s office obtained a search warrant to seize Transportation Cabinet personnel records yesterday, the Kentucky Post detailed a weekend farce that could have only happened here in the Bluegrass State:
Agents with the Kentucky Bureau of Investigation - a part of Stumbo's agency - tried Friday to obtain records from the Transportation Cabinet but were instructed to leave by acting Cabinet Secretary Bill Nighbert. Investigators from both offices spent the weekend guarding the files and watching each other…[Fletcher spokeswoman] Carla Blanton said there was some confusion Friday about the identity of the attorney general's office investigators and cabinet officials wanted to make sure personnel records were not improperly disclosed. Stumbo scoffed at that explanation. "They've got badges," he said of his investigators.
I’m wondering, following the revelations concerning Spokane’s Republican mayor Jim West and the heavily hushed GannonGate, if the illegally bartered patronage positions were also traded for favors more personally fulfilling than the merely political?
Time and the nervousness of Kentucky’s highly ranked Republican bachelors will tell.
Image: Google, Cincinnati Enquirer, governor.ky.gov
Monday, May 16, 2005
Celebrating his administration’s penchant for white washes, President Bush, today, does a product placement for Procter & Gamble with an effective Newsweek rinsing.
Modified Image: P&G, Reuters