The Kentucky Derby, "America's Greatest Race," will take place at Churchill Downs this weekend. CNN international has answers to 11 general questions to get you started in the festivities, and NBC New York has a short history of the spectacle around the race, which is largely about fashion through the decades. And then there's the opening ceremony and song - My Old Kentucky Home (official "sing along" video). It sounds pretty somber, and it is, especially if you sing all of the original 1831 lyrics. The Forgotten Racial History Of Kentucky's State Song (NPR Codeswitch). [more inside]
This encounter might have been as commonplace as any other gunfight around Hell’s Half-Acre were it not for the identity of the driver. The “Sanders” who put two bullets in Matt Stewart was none other than Harland Sanders, the man who would go on to become the world-famous Colonel Sanders.
It's another day of multi-state voting in the live version of House of Cards otherwise known as Election 2016. On the Republican side, four candidates remain: Rafael Edward Cruz, John Richard Kasich, Marco Antonio Rubio, and Donald John Trump. On the Democrat side, Hillary Diane Rodham Clinton and Bernard Sanders continue their fight. As the math becomes clearer, and with several months still to go before potentially feisty party conventions, the odds [Oddschecker] [PredictWise] remain on both Clinton and Trump as the favorites to win their respective nominations. More on today's voting from ABC, Fortune and USA Today, while on the horizon, in-person voting begins in Florida... [more inside]
Yes, that Jerry Springer: Host of the world’s least classy TV show, former mayor of Cincinnati and one-time newscaster. He tapes The Jerry Springer TV show every Monday and Tuesday in Connecticut, then on alternate Tuesdays takes his Gulfstream jet to Cincinnati, where his old friend Jene Galvin picks him up. They go over to Ludlow to record a podcast called "Tales, Tunes and Tomfoolery." [more inside]
During the Depression, the Works Project Administration put American men to work on large-scale, highly-visible undertakings, like dam building and highway construction. Women, too, needed work, and some of them found it through WPA Sewing Rooms, where they earned wages for making clothing for low-income Americans. [more inside]
Kentucky counties with highest Medicaid rates backed Matt Bevin, who plans to cut Medicaid
Owsley County, one of the nation's poorest places [prev], neatly fit the trend. Nearly 1,000 of its 4,508 residents got health insurance after Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear established Kynect two years ago and expanded Medicaid to include people up to 138 percent of the poverty level, which is $16,105 a year for an individual. Newly insured people started to visit the Owsley County Medical Clinic on the outskirts of Booneville. They desperately needed medical care. Even by Kentucky's lax standards, Owsley has high rates of obesity, smoking and poor nutrition, and as a result, greater than normal incidences of cancer, heart disease and diabetes. Some patients wept with relief as longtime ailments finally were treated, clinic officials said. [...] The community's largest-circulation newspaper, the Three Forks Tradition in Beattyville, did not say much about Kynect ahead of the election. Instead, its editorials roasted Obama and Hillary Clinton, gay marriage, Islam, "liberal race peddlers," "liberal media," black criminals and "the radical Black Lives Matter movement."Owsley County voted for Bevin, a Tea Party businessman who vowed to dismantle Kynect, by a 70-25 margin. [more inside]
America's Poorest White Town: Abandoned by Coal, Swallowed by Drugs. The first in a series of dispatches from America's poorest towns by the Guardian.
During halftime on Saturday, the Kansas State Marching Band was supposed to make a formation showing the Enterprise spaceship ramming the University of Kansas Jayhawk. Things did not go as planned. [more inside]
If cuisine drives (or helps) you decide your travel plans, USA Today's list of food favorites covers Best Farmers Market, Best Food Trail, Best Food Factory Tour, Best Al Fresco Dining Neighborhood and Best Local Food Scene. All those lists are pretty self-explanatory, except for the food trails, which aren't even fully described in the more verbose slideshow of the top 10. And of course there are more than 10 food trails in the US (not to mention abroad), so let's dive in. [more inside]
Yesterday, the ACLU filed a lawsuit in the Eastern District of Kentucky in the case S.R. v. Kenton County Sheriff's Office on behalf of two elementary school children, aged eight and nine, who were restrained in handcuffs because of behavior related to attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and a history of trauma. Video footage (trigger warning) [more inside]
I’m occasionally told my life would be easier if I backed off from my relentless efforts to advance evolution education. Maybe so. But to shy away from emphasizing evolutionary biology is to fail as a biology teacher. I continue to teach biology as I do, because biology makes sense only in the light of evolution.
An oral history of the 2009-10 Kentucky basketball season. Before those guys, the narrative on "one-and-done" basketball players was almost always the same. The kids were selfish and egotistical, using college only as a place to pad their stats before inevitably departing for the NBA. They didn't care about their team or their school, or class at all; heck, the commonly held belief was that most kids stopped attending classes after the first semester (if they went at all). As it turned out, one-and-done players could come to a school, play hard, work as a team, go to class and win big.
The Rocky J. Adkins Public Library in Elliott County, Kentucky recently posted a job advertisement for a new director. The wage? US$7.25 per hour -- in other words, minimum wage. This garnered some immediate expressions of dismmay from librarians on social media. For others, it also reminded them of where they grew up. [more inside]
The Equal Justice Initiative has released a report (pdf) on the history of lynchings in the United States, the result of five years of research. The authors compiled an inventory of 3,959 victims of “racial terror lynchings” in 12 Southern states from 1877 to 1950 -- documenting more than 700 additional victims, which places the number of murders more than 20 percent higher than previously reported. "The process is intended... to force people to reckon with the narrative through-line of the country’s vicious racial history, rather than thinking of that history in a short-range, piecemeal way." Map. [more inside]
"Dying to be free : there’s a treatment for heroin addiction that actually works. Why aren’t we using it?" -- A long-form article, focusing on heroin addiction and its "treatment" in Kentucky, by Jason Cherkis. (Huffington Post Projects) [more inside]
Today, by a 2-1 decision, the Sixth Circuit upheld the same-sex marriage bans in Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee and Michigan. reversing a federal district court decision and creating a circuit split: the Sixth Circuit has upheld bans, while the Fourth, Seventh, and Tenth Circuits have struck them down. [more inside]
The other day Mrs. Crouch, of Olympian Springs, Ky., was employed in the open air and under a particularly clear sky, in the celebration of those mysterious rites by which the housewife transmutes scraps of meat, bones and effete overshoes into soap. Suddenly there descended upon her a gentle shower of meat. (PDF) That's right, in Bath County, Kentucky, flesh fell from an otherwise clear sky on March 3, 1876. Mentalfoss gathered a collection of old news articles about what people said the sky meat was based on taste and more scientific investigations. Theories for the localized "meat rain" ranged from meat descending from space like meteorites, star jelly, and the most likely, overly full vultures who vomited (Google books preview), but while in flight. One Hundred and Thirty Nine years later--on Sunday, March 3, 2015--Kurt Gohde will re-seed the clouds over Olympia Springs with meat. [more inside]
Now in its 134th year, the Fancy Farm Picnic is the biggest event in Kentucky's political calendar. Held on the first Saturday of August, the gathering includes bingo, raffles and tons and tons of barbeque. And then, of course, there are the political speeches. This year, Republican incumbent Mitch McConnell squared off against Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes. PBS has video of the stump speeches and, given that the candidates have yet to agree upon any debate locations or times, this may be their only meeting in a public forum before the November election. The Washington Post provides a explainer of the event.
Every wondered where your favorite brown liquid came from? Find its starting position on the Bourbon Family Tree. [more inside]
In which Stephen Colbert exposes how Johnny Cummings is destroying the moral fabric of small-town America.
Magic Hat Brewery is facing a ban in several Lexington, Kentucky establishments after a recent lawsuit against local business West Sixth Brewery. Many are dubious about the claims being made regarding copyright infringement. The Consumerist offers a visual guide to some of the potential similarities between the designs. West Sixth claims that they are experiencing corporate bullying and have asked the community to sign a petition and stop drinking Magic Hat, while Magic Hat argues that West Sixth has been less than straightforward with the public. West Sixth responds with further claims of corporate chicanery.
"Black jockeys once dominated the Kentucky Derby, winning 15 of the first 28 titles between 1875 and 1902. They were former slaves and their sons – a vestige of colonial times, when planters owned both horses and riders. Post–Civil War, they were the country's best riders, but the narrow window opened by Reconstruction was slammed shut by Jim Crow. Even in Northern cities, white jockeys and officials ran black riders off the track, whitewashing their legacy. Churchill Downs was completely segregated throughout the 1950s. On May 4, 29-year-old jockey Kevin Krigger looks to reverse that history at Churchill Downs, riding Goldencents, an early top-10 favorite trained by Doug O'Neill (who trained last year's winner). Krigger is just the second black jockey to compete in the Derby since 1921, and the first from the U.S. Virgin Islands." Via Men's Journal[more inside]
Between July 28 and November 10, 2003, Ron Haines canoed down the entire length of the Mississippi. Eight years later, he wrote it up as a series of blog posts with lots of interesting photos and observations: Lake Itasca to Minneapolis-St. Paul. Minneapolis-St. Paul to St. Louis. St. Louis to New Orleans. He also wrote up his logistics and some of the press coverage he got along the way. [more inside]
Our Day (Marion County 1938) is a 1938 silent film by Wallace Kelly of Lebanon, Kentucky, with a soundtrack by Rachel Grimes (previously of Rachel's)
If you're ever in Loretto, Kentucky, you're welcome to pay a visit to the Maker's Mark bourbon distillery, a National Historic Landmark. Until then, why not pour yourself a taste and watch this video? [more inside]
Remember Kentucky v. King from last year? The mis-reported conclusion was that police could enter a home without a warrant to prevent destruction of evidence based on hearing movement after knocking. A week ago the supreme court of Kentucky published (pdf) its revisiting of the case given instructions from the US supreme court, and found in favor of King (via): [more inside]
Last night, author and farmer Wendell Berry delivered a powerful lecture [video; full text here includes portions not delivered verbally] to a full house on the occasion of his accepting the National Endowment of the Humanities' Jefferson Award. The famous PC holdout has appeared previously in the blue, but this lecture is not to be missed. Here is soul nourishment for the long-time Berry follower, and for the newcomer a superb introduction to one of our time's greatest intellects. [more inside]
Quest for the Perfect Bourbon: Voices of Buffalo Trace Distillery is a documentary from the Buffalo Trace Oral History Project, part of the Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History at the University of Kentucky Libraries.
Mapping out whiskey. Start here, swimming in Drunkards Channel: Map On Temperance, 1846. [more inside]
Daily Racing Form: from nags to doping! Horse racing is one of the oldest pastimes, with wagering on the nags following closely after. Betting intelligently requires either a good eye or an available record of past performance. Originally a Chicago newspaper, this periodical gives the tout the inside scoop on past performances. The monumental digitization of this paper brings a new light on racing sport. And they're off and running...
“If you try to do what they do in West Virginia in the Berkshires, the Catskills or the Sierra Nevadas, or in Utah or Colorado, people would just put you in jail. Over the past 10 years, they’ve blown up and leveled an area of eastern Kentucky and southern West Virginia that is larger than the size of Delaware. They’ve blown up the 500 biggest mountains in West Virginia. They explode everyday 2,500 tons of dynamite, or ammonia nitrate explosives. It’s the equivalent of a Hiroshima bomb once a week.” In the valleys of Appalachia, a battle is being fought over a mountain. It is a battle with severe consequences that affect every American, regardless of their social status, economic background or where they live. It is a battle that has taken many lives and continues to do so the longer it is waged. This is the story of The Last Mountain.
The Creation Museum is seeking tax breaks to expand by building an ark-themed amusement park.
“We’re going to get this Ark Encounter,” Link said. “With every ark there is a rainbow and at the end of this rainbow is a pot of gold.”
The Pack Horse Librarian (Photo Gallery) was a welcomed and much anticipated sight in the isolated and hard-to-reach mountains and hollers of Eastern Kentucky between 1935 and 1943. They brought books and magazines, retrieved already-read materials for delivery at another stop on the route, read to residents, took requests, and generally served homes, schools, villages, mining camps, and anywhere there were people who wanted to read. [more inside]
Kentucky officials have identified the assailant in the face-stomping of a private citizen shortly before a debate between candidates for the office of Senator in the state of Kentucky. Contrary to initial reports which quickly dismissed the assault as the isolated acts of assorted private citizens, it has now been revealed that the gentleman curb-stomping the head of a MoveOn.org activist prior to the debate between candidates last night was none other than a county-level representative of the Republican nominee for U.S. Senate in Kentucky, Mr. Rand Paul.
Jack Conway, a candidate for United States Senate, is catching flak from Democrats and Tea-Partiers alike, for airing an attack ad against his opponent, Rand Paul that brings up some bizarre dirt published in GQ a few months back. At a debate between the two candidates Sunday, Paul refused to shake Conway's hand at the end. Today, the National Republican Senatorial Committee released a response to the Aqua Buddha ad. [more inside]
Commonwealth, schmommonwealth. The Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games are on. Horse lovers the world over are enthralled by the high drama and hijinks in Lexington, Kentucky this week. Already there's been a controversial withdrawal following a travel-related mishap (on the very same flight hilariously previewed here.) In all the excitement, Eitan Beth-Halachmy, a "cowboy dressage" rider in the opening ceremony, seems to have burst a spleen. As expected, the Dutch took the gold medal in Dressage despite one of their team being disqualified with a horse bleeding from the mouth. Some point to training methods like rollkur, or hyperflexion, saying they are cruel and abusive. The FEI has banned rollkur; former advocates say that what they do is not rollkur, but "LDR" (long, deep and round.) Look at the lawsuits fly! In happier news, the gloriously named Nobby took the gold medal in the Endurance event. "He could go another 100 miles today if you wanted him to," rider Maria Mercedes Alvarez Ponton said of the 15-year-old bay Arab gelding. Still to come, the equestrian triathlon: Eventing! [more inside]
The joy of Bourbon drinking is not the pharmacological effect of C(2)H(5)OH on the cortex but rather the instant of the whiskey being knocked back and the little explosion of Kentucky U.S.A. sunshine in the cavity of the nasopharynx and the hot bosky bite of Tennessee summertime--aesthetic considerations to which the effect of the alcohol is, if not dispensable, at least secondary.Bourbon, an essay by Walker Percy. A warning: "Not only should connoisseurs of Bourbon not read this article, neither should persons preoccupied with the perils of alcoholism, cirrhosis, esophageal hemorrhage, cancer of the palate, and so forth..." [more inside]
Shelby Lee Adams has spent decades photographing the holler families of rural Kentucky and the mountain folk of Appalachia. More B&W images from the Edelman gallery. Interview With An Artist: Shelby Lee Adams (alternate B&W PDF version); Essays by Adams: All of Us and The Napier's Living Room, 1989; Interview with 92-year old Scotty Stidham.
Cancer survivor, teacher, single father, and part-time U.S. Census worker Bill Sparkman was found dead September 12, hanging from a tree with the word "FED" written on his chest. It was actually a suicide. (Previously)
Lexington’s Mayor, Jim Newberry, bristled at critical questions about The Dame block, “Nothing of consequence ever happened on that block.” Richie Wireman begs to differ. [more inside]
Cancer survivor, teacher, single father, and part-time U.S. Census worker Bill Sparkman was found dead September 12, hanging from a tree with the word "FED" written on his chest.
Black Lung Rising. "When coal miners suffering from black lung reach the point where they can no longer dig coal and they meet guidelines such as working the required number of years exposed to coal dust, they become eligible to file a black lung claim to obtain monthly benefits to live on ... When the decision is made to award a miner monthly benefits, the coal company has the right to appeal that decision, and often does." [more inside]
"The 2000 census found that nearly 23 percent of families living in Letcher County, KY, fell below the poverty line. The median household income in most counties is at or below $25,000, with individuals making on average $12,000 a year." The White Family by Carl Kiilsgaard [more inside]
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