Killing Kentucky’s Bourbon Industry Just Isn’t Cool

Somebody send me this shirt. Size small. Amen. [WHY LOUISVILLE]

Larry Clark is trying to kill Kentucky’s bourbon industry. Folks need to get outraged over this.  [Bluegrass Politics]

Metro Government is consolidating its automobile fleet. I’d write about it, but Jerry Abramson’s spokesgays can’t handle even a bit of warranted criticism and yanked me from their fancy list. [Joe Arnold]

The next city budget predicts a slight revenue increase. Something doesn’t smell right. [WFPL]

Kentucky’s April unemployment rate dropped to 10.6%. [Page One]

That Pussycat girl won some fancy dancing contest on the teevee! [WHAS11]

TARC’s service cuts go into effect on June 6: #35 Indian Trail, #58 Bashford Manor/Oxmoor, #59 River Road, #80 Hurstbourne Parkway. [Press Release]

The Belle of Louisville’s 96th (!!) Season opens Memorial Day Weekend and you should take a fancy cruise. I mean, the boat has fancy air conditioning this year. [Click the Clicky]

Chief Robert White is now a finalist for the Atlana job. [Jessie Halladay]

It is a shame that the libruls have not tagged my giant Republican automobile with a Gas-Hole magnet. [Swiss Miss via Broken Sidewalk]

Can’t Afford To Risk Kentucky’s Bourbon Industry

John Yarmuth’s Republican opponent addressed me directly or something. He says the military doesn’t discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation. Really. And he doesn’t like being a called a bigot. Maybe he’ll think twice about his tight association with Frank Simon if he’s not keen on that label. [The ‘Ville Voice]

Louisville is the 5th-most sluggish city in the country. Just ahead of Detroit, even! [MSN]

We can’t let federal legislation like this pass. It has the potential to completely obliterate Kentucky’s bourbon industry. [Janet Patton]

Metro Government’s deficit shrank as tax collections rose. [Dan Klepal]

Louisvillians may not always understand our love affair with Eastern Kentucky. But check this out. It’s time we preserve the region. [H-L]

Cincinnati is building a modern streetcar system, making Louisville ache with envy. [UrbanCincy]

Hundreds of thousands of Americans have exhausted their unemployment benefits. So keep that in mind when you see improvement in jobless statistics. Because many have simply fallen off the rolls. [HuffPo]

Shrinky Dink Louisville? [WFPL]

Local Republicans don’t seem too keen on Rand Paul these days. Wonder why? [ETIB]

It’s Friday! Anyone Else Had A Crazy Week?

What’s crazy? Keith Olbermann emailed me and then mentioned the site on-air last night. [Page One]

Really? Trashing people who want to preserve an entire historic district? I just… wow. [C-J]

HAHA – former mayoral candidate Fairdale Bigfoot says he is not Doug Hawkins. We’re not buying it. [Consuming Louisville]

Rescue chocolate. We’ll never feel guilty about eating chocolate again. [Click Here Immediately]

120 teachers at six troubled Jefferson County Public Schools facilities will be transferred. [Toni Konz]

Jim King pledged support for Greg Fischer while saying nice things about Hal Heiner. [Joe Arnold]

Shocker: Jerry Abramson says he’s ready to support Greg Fischer in the mayoral race. Everyone is super-surprised. [WFPL]

Governor Steve Beshear wants the legislature to deal with bourbon tasting. We approve 100%. [Bluegrass Politics]

Flashback: Sixth and Main’s Hamilton Bank Building of the past. [Broken Sidewalk]

Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship was reamed before the United States Senate on his mine safety record. You’ve gotta read this story. [Jim Carroll]

Every Political Race Is Crazy This Election Year

Jack Conway’s U.S. Senate campaign has hit Daniel Mongiardo pretty hard with the latest ad about waste, fraud and abuse. [Page One]

Which Republican will have the opportunity to lose to John Yarmuth in November? We know they’re all slightly homophobic and think women are inferior, some are global warming deniers and some are just flat-out afraid of non-whites. Predictions? [C-J]

Where do your Louisville mayoral candidates stand on issues facing young professionals? YPAL has compiled the answers for you. [Click the Clicky]

The Kentucky Bourbon Cookbook by Al Schmid is the best ever. Amen. [The Kitchn]

First Lady Jane Beshear may not be keen on her title, but she should be. Because she truly is a First Lady that Kentucky’s proud of. [H-L from The State Journal]

How do you feel about misleading bank advertising locally? [Bruce Maples]

Was it really necessary to place an unmarked car at every intersection between 5th and 34th Streets to prevent cruising? No, I’m not criticizing LMPD, just asking a question. No sarcastic responses, please. [C-J]

Tomorrow at 1:30 Chris Thieneman plans to hold a press conference to unveil his plan for economic development. [Media Advisory]

This morning at 11:00 A.M. Commissioner Tony Wilder from the Department for Local Government will appear with J-town Mayor Clay Foreman at Jeffersontown City Hall to announce an Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant. A Renaissance on Main grant announcement will also be made. [Media Advisory]

Greg Fischer’s negatives are catching up with him and the mainstream press is noticing. [FatLip]

The Courier-Journal received letter after letter of complaints. Even employee spouses are lashing out. Of course, there’s always a few mouth breathers who declare anything non-reich-wing as the librul devil. [They Get Letters]

Louisville Gets The Highest Praise In Boston

I want to know who Gill Holland/Jason Lewellyn/Bruce Ucan/Michael Paley/Michael Crouch/et al bribed to get publicity like this!

Check this mess in the Boston Globe:

Blame the macaroni and cheese. It takes your expectations of a Louisville restaurant and tramples them as mercilessly as a horse’s hoofs on the dirt track of Churchill Downs.

-SNIP-

Social is on the ground floor of the Green Building, a brick warehouse built in 1850 that was gutted and turned into a LEED-certified mixed-use facility that also houses offices and a gallery. It’s owned by Gill Holland, a movie and record producer and activist, who has pioneered the transformation of East Market District into an artsy strip steeped in Boho vitality.

In keeping with other urban neighborhoods rechristened when they boost their cool quotient, the area is now referred to as NuLu (shorthand for New Louisville). Here, farm-to-table is the new “meat and three,’’ a Southern term for a heaping plate of protein and three veggies.

The high-ceilinged restaurant embodies NuLu’s ethos to the max, from its menu options to share (they don’t call it “Social’’ for nothing) to the eco-conscious design. The slabs of wood that serve as the bar top, tabletops, and barstools, even the coasters, are made from American oak reclaimed from a Lexington tobacco barn.

-SNIP-

On Lewellyn’s recommendation, I stroll down East Market street to the Mayan Café, where Bruce Ucan turns the overlooked, if not maligned, lima bean into morsels of smoked earthiness. For his signature tok-sel lima beans, he roasts them in metal barrels, then flash-cooks them with parsley and pumpkin seeds, and finishes them with scallions and lime juice.

-SNIP-

Arguably, Louisville’s culinary transformation started with Proof on Main, the bar in the 21C Museum Hotel that opened in 2006.

-SNIP-

We tucked into the bar, where a roster of whiskey cocktails are on offer. This is a fine place to sample Kentucky’s famous spirit. The bartender catches me pondering too long over the list and comes to the rescue. “Do you like sweet? Spicy? Smoky?’’ he says. “Yes,’’ I reply. He nods and puts together a flight of three bourbons.

-SNIP-

When it comes to bourbon tasting, nothing rivals Bourbons Bistro, another stop on the bourbon trail and just a quick cab ride away. It opened five years ago, but with its dark wood paneling and antique bar and mantel holding upward of 140 bourbons, it has the air of a neighborhood institution. Chef Michael Crouch whips up whiskey-kissed complements.

Really. Go read it all.

Doesn’t it feel great to be a Louisvillian when you read something like that?

P.S. The Cincinnati Enquirer also heaped praise on Louisville.

Of New Homes, Newspapers and Music

Updates and a look ahead . .. .

Otis and Raider: We’re happy to report that Otis my dog and Raider the cat found a great new home, thanks to a loyal reader.  To all who expressed concern and volunteered to help, thank you.

Rachel: After a record-setting long shot won the Derby, no one was surprised when Rachel Alexandra took the Preakness on Saturday. In the Chuck Olmstead race at Churchill on Saturday, I’m the Truth ran third. Rachel seems to be a TV star, as Preakness ratings were the 2nd highest in two decades. [Bloodhorse]

Reggae, Mon: This weekend is the Kentucky Reggae Festival at the Water Tower. We’ve got tickets to give away, so stay tuned.

Rooftop Lunch: On Thursday, three Beatles copy bands will re-create the last Beatles concert, which took place on a rooftop in London in 1969. The lunch hour show will take place atop the Visitors Center at 4th and Jefferson. Seems there’s some Beatles event in town this weekend, too. [Abbey Road on the River]

Somebody Alert the Makers Mark Ad Dept: Here’s a good idea for a new ad for the bourbon, and some more serious analysis of the ill-conceived tax on alcohol. [Herald-Leader]

Playing in Traffic: Don’t do this.  A woman got in an argument driving on the Snyder. Pulled over. Her friend threw her cell phone on the highway. She walked into traffic to get it, and got hit. She died at 2:55 a.m. [Courier]

No, Mitch is Not Endorsing Bunning: Mitch McConnell repeated on Sunday for Fox News Sunday viewers that he’s not endorsing Jim Bunning for re-election. And Bunning again made himself unavailable for comment. [AP]

Newspaper Talk: On Sunday, the C-J splashed a speech from Arnold Garson on the front page of its Forum section. It’s the same content he’s been telling anyone who will listen for months — the paper’s in good shape, yada yada. It also served as a launching point for listeners to bitch about the paper all Sunday morning on Joe Elliott’s radio show. [C-J]

Bourbon’s Problems Explained

On Wednesday, Bill Samuels made a speech at the Bluegrass Hospitality Association meeting in Lexington. He talked about all the positive possibilities that I had discussed with him the day before — how Kentucky’s opportunity for tourism with bourbon could rival wine country in California and how the state’s signature industry, even in this economy, is growing.

The Herald-Leader’s Tom Eblen covered the meeting, and wrote a column that should be required reading for the state’s legislators.

Because after he got through with all the platitudes, Samuels launched into what’s gone wrong with the bourbon industry’s relationship with state government and how the state seems to be trying to kill its signature industry. Eblen got most of the complaints, and detailed what should be an interesting legislative strategy coming from the Kentucky Distillers Association.

Samuels also attacked the state’s rural legislators for their religious-based opposition to the sale of the product in nearly 80 percent of Kentucky counties, while every county shares in the tax revenue alcohol sales generate. But that argument, however valid, falls on deaf ears here.

Samuels, in our Tuesday interview, told me there’s another economic development issue the alcohol tax has put in jeopardy — which is that some of the industry’s major players, such as Buffalo Trace parent Sazerac, are considering moving operations to Kentucky, but won’t with an uncooperative state government. And we’ve all heard the rumors about how upset Brown-Forman execs are about the tax.

Sort of makes you wonder if any benefit that the state might derive from this tax will be worth it.