Monday, August 2, 2010

Gulf Coast Oil Spill Needs an Independent Inquiry

By Rick Manning

U.S. House Democrats have stripped the establishment of a bi-partisan independent commission to investigate the Gulf Oil spill from the Carbon Limits and Energy for America’s Renewal Act (CLEAR Act).

If ever a situation needed to be investigated by independent experts with knowledge about oil drilling and a desire to get to the truth no matter where it might lie, the Gulf disaster is it.

Yet, amazingly, the Democratic majority of the House Resources Committee has decided that an independent inquiry is not needed, instead relying on the Obama-appointed commission of environmentalists to evaluate offshore oil drilling and the Gulf spill.

It is reasonable to assume that the Obama group will not look at the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) culpability in obstructing the use of oil dispersants by BP. That isn’t in its interest or even mission.

It is reasonable to assume that the Obama group will not look at the Administration’s blocking of building barrier islands to block oil from entering pristine marshlands that may never be restored to health.

It is also reasonable to assume that the Obama group will not look at the failure of the Obama Administration to take action — except for when they threatened those very BP workers who were busting their tails trying to fix the problem with litigation. After all, nothing encourages collaboration and cooperation like a lawyer looking to sue you peering over your shoulder.

Get full story here.

The Return of the States Bailout

By Bill Wilson

Not less than a week after a $26.1 billion bailout to bankrupt states like New York and California was stripped from a must-pass war supplemental, it has returned.

Senate Democrats had failed to muster the 60 votes needed for passage of a House version of the war supplemental — which included the funding for the troubled states. So, instead the House passed the Senate version that did not.

But, not to deny one of Barack Obama’s top domestic spending priorities, Senate Democrats are once again bringing the states bailout back.

This time, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is attaching the $10 billion for state public teachers unions and $16.1 billion for state Medicaid spending to tax legislation that will enable the government to double-tax U.S. companies that do business overseas. The bill will limit the use of the Section 956 foreign income tax credits for profits generated overseas.

According to a U.S. Chamber of Commerce letter to Congress, Section 956 “allows companies to repatriate cash to the United States in a tax efficient manner.” This prevents companies from paying taxes overseas on profits, then repatriating those profits and having them taxed again by the federal government. The Chamber says that the Section has been “particularly beneficial during the recent economic downturn and ensuing credit crunch when it was necessary for American worldwide companies to repatriate significant funds in order to meet the financial needs of their U.S. businesses.”

Get full story here.

Police Reportedly Scour Home Of Lorenzen Wright's Ex-Wife

Police searched the home of Sherra Wright on Sunday in connection with the death of her ex-husband, former NBA player Lorenzen Wright, Memphis television station ABC24-WPTY reports.

Lorenzen Wright was found riddled with bullets in Memphis on July 28. He was reported missing by his mother on July 22. Sherra Wright is the last known person to have seen him alive. She told police he left her house around midnight on July 18.

At least half a dozen police cars were parked outside Sherra Wright's home in suburban Memphis on Sunday, according to WPTY. Police removed several items throughout the day and paid particularly close attention to Wright's backyard grill and fire pit.

Neighbors said there was a large fire in Sherra Wright's backyard after Lorenzen Wright disappeared, according to the report. They found it odd she would start a fire on one of the hottest nights of the year

Layoffs to gut the East St. Louis Police Department

July 30, 2010--East St. Louis police Officer Carlos Coleman reacts Friday as people walk out of a City Council meeting where plans to lay off close to 30 percent of the city's police force were finalized. Coleman will retain his job, but he is concerned about the safety of patrolling the city with fewer officers.

EAST ST. LOUIS • The Rev. Joseph Tracy said he’s tired of going to funerals. And now, he suspects he’ll be going to more of them.

"It’s open field day now," said Tracy, the pastor of Straightway Baptist Church here. "The criminals are going to run wild."

Gang activity. Drug dealing. Cold-blooded killing. Tracy worries that a decision to shrink the police force by almost 30 percent will bring more of everything.

The pastor voiced his concern on Friday at a raucous special City Council meeting at which East St. Louis Mayor Alvin Parks announced that the city will layoff 37 employees, including 19 of its 62 police officers, 11 firefighters, four public works employees, and three administrators. The layoffs take effect on Sunday.

Parks said the weak economy has robbed the city of badly need money. For example, revenue from the Casino Queen was $900,000 below budget expectations last year. There are no signs of improvement, Parks said.

"I want our citizens to know we have some of the bravest police officers and firefighters in the country," Parks said. "But we don’t have the money to pay them. We have to have fiscal responsibility."

City officials wanted police and fire unions to accept a furlough program that would have required employees to take two unpaid days in each twice monthly pay period. If accepted, emergency responders would have seen a pay cut of about 20 percent for the rest of the year.

Parks said the two sides couldn’t reach an agreement. On Friday, he stared at a standing-room only crowd and told his emergency response chiefs words they didn’t want to hear: "Tell your workers to start packing their things."

The news spurred shouts from the crowd.

"The blood is on your hands," yelled Michael Hubbard, an East St. Louis police officer.

Hubbard said he will be the lone patrolman for East St. Louis’ midnight shift when the cuts go into effect.

"This is devastating," Hubbard told a reporter after the meeting.

East St. Louis has been crippled by crime and poverty for decades. Police officials say the cuts will mean fewer officers for patrols, investigations and juvenile cases. Fire officials said the region should be upset because the department will have fewer people at the ready to fight fires on some of the region’s major highways and bridges.

The police already rely on other agencies to handle some of the heavy case load. For example, the Illinois State Police routinely work on the city’s homicide investigations.

Capt. Steve Johnson, of the St. Clair County Sheriff’s Department, said his agency has no plans for stepping up work in East St. Louis.

"We don’t do calls for service in East St. Louis," Johnson said. "But, if we’re called for assistance, we will help when we can."

Worries about East St. Louis’ crime rate got little sympathy from Councilman Roy Mosley, who gave a 10-minute speech on Friday blasting the city’s police officers.

"We don’t have the money," Mosley said. "You lay off when you don’t have the money. The money’s gone."

Mosley complained that police officers take patrol cars home, park them in other jurisdictions, and misuse the city’s gasoline.

"I’m only telling the truth," he shouted.

The crowd jeered.

"You can see how disrespectful they are," Mosley said while pointing at the police officers. "You see what they’re doing to me right now."

Richard V. Stewart Jr., an attorney for the Illinois Fraternal Order of Police union, said Mosley’s claims are untrue.

Stewart said the words amounted to nothing more than "political grandstanding."

"Unfortunately, this is what I expected," Stewart said.

The union plans to fight the layoffs and work to get the jobs back.

Bad blood already exists between the two sides. An arbitrator has ruled that the city improperly imposed unpaid furlough days on its employees earlier this year. The city was ordered to pay $500,000 back in lost wages.

On Friday, the city approved a proposal to defer bond payments until next year in order to free up $500,000.

"Next year is a different situation," Mayor Parks said.

Posted by Det. Shaved Longcock

Kenny Huang to buy Liverpool football club

Kenny Huang a very famous Chinese businessman today has put a bid in to buy liverpool and end Tom Hicks and George Gillett control of the Premier League club.

Things you need to know about Huang are that although he is very rich its in his backers that really holds all the billions. The second fact is that not only will he bring wealthy backers, his connections with China’s state owned companies mean exceptionally lucrative sponsorship deals from the Far East.

One of his crucial partners in the usa was with one Les Alexander, and this is where Huang’s connections in sport become very interesting. Alexander is the owner of the NBA’s Houston Rockets and back in 2002, Huang worked with Alexander to bring Chinese giant Basketball superstar Yao Ming to the NBA to play for Alexander’s team.

Huang’s involvement in US Sport doesn’t end there though. He seems to have enthusiasm for many American sports including basketball and baseball. He uses his company SportsPro Media China to link Chinese sponsors and US Sports giants including baseball team New York Yankees where he owns a percentage of the franchise with American businessman Marc Ganis.

If Huang’s consortium does takeover, expect many pre-season tours of China, but also keep in mind that Liverpool maybe the first football club to crack the highly lucrative market in China. Huang already has a track record of doing this, tying Anta to Houston Rockets and more recently Tsing Tsao to the Cleveland Cavaliers. His passion for sport is undoubted with his deal-brokering in both Basketball and Baseball, and he now looks like turning his attention to football

Huang, chairman of the Hong Kong-based QSL Sports Group, has the backing of a wealthy investment fund behind him. “A deal has to be done before the transfer window closes,” a source close to Huang told the BBC. “Huang has made a firm proposal. The club’s board has to sanction the sale and it could be sewn up in days.”

Terrorists' Rockets Slam Into Israeli and Jordanian Red Sea Resorts

Terrorists firing Grad rockets hit the Israeli Red Sea resort city of Eilat and Jordan's Aqaba. One person was killed in Aqaba and four others were injured. No injuries were reported in Israel.

One rocket hit in Jordan's Aqaba on a main street in front of the Intercontinental Hotel, killing a taxi driver, Information Minister Ali Ayed told The Associated Press. Four other Jordanians were injured, Ayed said.

"The Grad rocket landed in a public street near a major five-star hotel and caused four injuries, with three persons lightly wounded and the other casualty in serious condition," a Jordanian interior ministry source told Reuters.

Asked where the Aqaba rocket was fired, he said without elaborating: "It came from the west." Experts were investigating the site to find out where the short-range Grad rocket had been launched, he said.

It appears that the rockets were fired from the Egyptian side of the Israel-Egypt border. This isn't the first attack in recent months, and it suggests that terrorist groups are utilizing Egypt's Sinai Peninsula to carry out attacks against the Israelis. That the rocket hit Jordan's Aqaba may have been the result of the unguided rocket being aimed incorrectly - that the target of all the rockets were Israel.

Yet, now that Jordan was hit by those rockets, the Jordanians may pressure Egypt to increase security further to crack down on terrorists using the Sinai to carry out attacks, lest they hit the Jordanians.

A Grad rocket is a larger version of the kassam rockets that Hamas typically uses to carry out attacks from Gaza.

Video: West Michigan Oil Spill - Day 6

The company estimates the total at 820000 gallons. A phone message seeking comment was left with Enbridge, which reported the spill a week ago.

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Black Catholic group convenes in St. Louis


Mary O'Basuyi slipped on her white gloves and straightened her sash with the golden cross.

Osagie V. O'Basuyi, her husband, donned his chapeau with the pale blue feather and his black cape, both symbols of honor for a knight of the highest degree.

The two systems engineers from Dayton, Ohio, then joined hundreds of fellow African-American knights and ladies in Sunday morning's grand traditional processional opening the 95th annual convention of the Knights of Peter Claver and Ladies Auxiliary. More than 1,000 members of the African-American Catholic fraternal organization are in St. Louis for the event, which is drawing priests, lay Catholics and bishops from around the country.

St. Louis Archbishop Robert J. Carlson and Mayor Francis Slay are among the speakers at the convention, which opened Sunday with a Gospel Mass at the Millennium Hotel downtown. The convention ends Wednesday.

The Knights of Peter Claver was founded in 1909 in Mobile, Ala., because black men at the time were barred from other organizations in the Roman Catholic Church. It's named for a Spanish priest who ministered to slaves in Cartagena, Colombia, in the 1600s, and converted 300,000 to Catholicism. Today the Knights are in 400 parishes and have about 19,000 members worldwide.

The O'Basuyis, who grew up as Catholics in Nigeria, have been active for 23 years. Osagie O'Basuyi said he likes the opportunity to "feed the hungry, help poor people and support our priests and parishes."

In his homily Sunday morning, Carlson told worshippers that he had just become "the latest knight of Peter Claver."

"Take care to guard against all greed," he said, quoting Luke 12:15. Carlson told worshippers that success is not about material possessions, honors or a job but instead is spiritual and through the heart.

"There is no U-Haul trailer following the hearse," he said, quoting his own father.

Supreme Knight Gene A Phillips of Opelaus. La., said the charitable organization raises money for the United Negro College Fund. It recently has been educating poor people about environmental health hazards. On Saturday, members took part in a service project at Missionaries of Charity in St. Louis and will donate to a local charity helping babies, said spokeswoman Lisa Lombard.

Alan Greenspan: Economy Feels Like A ‘Quasi-Recession’

By Barry Ritholtz

“Our problem, basically, is that we have a very distorted economy in the sense that there has been a significant recovery in a limited area of the economy amongst high-income individuals who have just had $800 billion added to their 401(k)s and are spending it and are carrying what consumption there is. Large banks, who are doing much better, and large corporations, whom you point out and the–and everyone’s pointing out, are in excellent shape.

The rest of the economy, small business, small banks, and a very significant amount of the labor force, which is in tragic unemployment, long-term unemployment, that is pulling the economy apart. The average of those two is what we are looking at, but they are fundamentally two separate types of economy.”
-former Fed Chair Alan Greenspan, Meet the Press

Fascinating quote from Easy Al on Meet the Press via Bloomberg. It has 3 subtexts that might not be readily apparent — until we break it down:
1) Extend the Bush tax cuts on highest bracket earners: Since its the 401(k) crowd that are carrying the recovery, Greenspan suggests, then we best not crimp the income of these big spenders

2) Two Americas: Greenspan seems to be channeling John Edwards when he discusses two economies. The bailouts reduced competition. They extended the life of badly structured financial firms, and forced smaller firms to scramble.

3) Greenspan’s Legacy: It seems that Easy Al can figure out precisely what he has wrought. The secret to getting such candor out of the former Fed chief is to trick him into discussing the broader economy. That way, he does not realize that he is discussing the effects of his tenure as FOMC chair.

Of course, Greenspan is still wrong on Housing. Recall that he failed to recognize the impending housing correction (collapse more accurately) and made claims that the worst was behind us — just as housing was accelerating downwards:

“If home prices stay stable, then I think we will skirt the worst of the housing problem. But right under this current price level, maybe 5, 7 or 8 percent below is a very large block of mortgages which are underwater, so to speak, or could be underwater, and that would induce a major increase in foreclosures. Foreclosures would feed on the weakness in prices, and it would create a problem. So that–it’s touch and go.”

One last thing: I have to give Greenspan credit for this touch of tax cut honesty:
“Look, I’m very much in favor of tax cuts, but not with borrowed money. And the problem that we’ve gotten into in recent years is spending programs with borrowed money, tax cuts with borrowed money, and at the end of the day, that proves disastrous.”
For once, I agree with him . . .

Previously:Greenspan sounds optimistic note on housing: report (Oct. 7, 2006)

Greenspan on Housing Bottoms (April 10, 2008)

Yet Another Greenspan Housing Bottom Call (May 13, 2009)

Sources:Meet the Press transcript for August 1, 2010Mike Bloomberg, Alan Greenspan, Ed Rendell, Doris Kearns Goodwin, Mark Halperin MSNBC, 8/1/2010 1:12:55 PM ET

Greenspan Says Drop in Home Prices Might Bring Back RecessionJoshua ZumbrunBloomberg, Aug. 2 2010

Lindsay Lohan Post Jail Rehab for Meth Addiction

Lindsay Lohan’s post jail rehab at Morningside Recovery is for meth addiction. An inside source and confidante of the troubled starlet has spilled to TMZ that Lohan will leave jail and head straight to the treatment center for a methamphetamine addiction. The source dished that Lohan’s drugs of choice are a powerful cocktail of opiates and meth, the most addictive drugs on the planet.

Additionally, Lohan’s source admitted Lindsay’s been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, a menace in itself which only worsens with drug addiction. Fortunately, Lohan’s 90 day stint at Morningside in Orange County is a duel treatment center which combines individual, group, experiential, and adventure therapies to treat clients suffering from addictions and disorders. Morningside uses progressive treatments like Equine Therapy, Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, Motivational Enhancement Therapy, Adventure therapy, Dramatherapy, and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy to help people reclaim their lives from the clutches of mental illness, drugs, and alcohol.

Video: Blasts in Gaza, Rockets Near Eilat

Israel has accused Muslim extremists of trying to derail proposed peace talks with the Palestinian leadership after a Jordanian national was killed in a multiple rocket strike near a resort popular with Western tourists.

Speed Racer? Footage Released From Tyreke Evans Highway Arrest

August 2, 2010 – Allen Moll

Details were sketchy nearly two months ago, when reigning NBA Rookie of the Year Tyreke Evans was arrested and charged with reckless driving for doing a reported 130 mph in his new Mercedes S550 on a California interstate. We found out after his court date on July 23rd that he was sentenced to 3 years of probation and his license is to be suspended for a 30 day stint, but surely all of us would like to know what exactly happened on that now fateful Memorial Day, when Tyreke decided to go on a costly joyride reminiscent of that old TV cartoon called “Speed Racer.”

We all finally get to see just how reckless Tyreke was that night since the CHP has finally released the video footage, taken from a police airplane flying overhead. The footage captures Evans traveling more than 100 mph, crossing lanes and weaving between traffic, even reaching 130mph on the speedometer at times. It also appears that another vehicle was speeding for up to 9 miles alongside Evans. An officer even comments during the footage that the two vehicles were racing. Once Evans finally pulled over, the second car went out of sight. As officers approached the car with tinted windows, Evans can be seen cooperating, as he reportedly signed a few autographs, was cited, and was allowed to leave the scene.

Inexplicably, during “Reke’s” hearing on the matter on July 23rd, the DA decided to not charge Evans with an additional street racing charge, get this, because of lack of incriminating evidence. All I can say is WTF! They have a video of him racing another vehicle! If that was you or I, we would have been led away from the scene in handcuffs and probably forced to remain in jail until our court date for speeding, evading arrest, reckless driving, attempted manslaughter, using a vehicle as a deadly weapon, or any other charges that officers could dream up. And in no way would we have gotten off with a slap on the wrist punishment like probation and a 30 day suspended license.

I guess it pays to be rich and famous. Tyreke, I love your game as a player, but you need to get your life right. I thought you would have learned your lesson and steered clear of the law after being sued earlier this year for that incident in ‘07 back in Philly, when a teenage relative reportedly shot and killed a man from the passenger seat of your vehicle.
Check out the video footage:

Waters’ Ethics Spat Bears No Relationship to Rangel’s

By: David Dayen

The headlines blare over at the New York Times: “Ethics Trial Expected for California Congresswoman.” (Since when were these called trials, anyway?) And the CW weathervanes have concluded that this series of “trials” will harm Democratic efforts to hold onto the House in November.

I guess because you have two black members of Congress embroiled in ethics violations and hearings before the relevant committee, you could pair them up and spin out some kind of Democratic-specific controversy. But the similarities really do end there. Rangel, in my considered opinion, is guilty. His own defense in the case of multiple ethics charges basically admits guilt. He says that he was inattentive to various tax issues, and that other members of Congress took similar junkets to him but weren’t charged with anything. Whether Rangel eventually receives a reprimand or not, people clearly are talking about resignation, and even the President is talking about the longtime New York Congressman ending his career with dignity.

By contrast, here’s what Waters has been charged with:

A House ethics subcommittee has charged Ms. Waters, 71, a 10-term congresswoman, in a case involving communications that she had with the top executive of a bank that her husband owned stock in while it was applying for a federal bailout in 2008, two House officials said [...]
Ms. Waters, at the time the investigation by the House ethics panel began last fall, was accused of intervening on behalf of OneUnited, a Boston-based bank. The Times reported last year that Ms. Waters called Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson Jr. in 2008, as the economy was in a free fall, to ask him to host a special meeting with executives from black-owned banks.
As a key House player on the Financial Services Committee, Ms. Waters often called Mr. Paulson. He agreed to arrange the requested meeting, The New York Times reported last year.
What Mr. Paulson did not know at the time was that Ms. Waters’s husband, Sidney Williams, owned stock in and had served on the board of OneUnited, whose chief executive turned the Treasury headquarters meeting into a special appeal for bailout assistance. The executive of the institution, one of the nation’s largest black-owned banks, asked for $50 million in federal aid, The Times reported.

It’s entirely possible that this is as fishy as it sounds, I suppose. But this case has been around for well over a year, and the evidence in it actually supports Waters’ view of the events. Here’s Zachary Roth:

Waters’ office has released to TPM two letters sent by the National Bankers Association (NBA), a trade group for minority-owned banks, to the Treasury Department, in reference to a September 2008 meeting Waters had helped set up between NBA and Treasury. The letters appear to back Waters’ contention that the meeting, at which OneUnited’s CEO reportedly asked explicitly for bailout money, was not set up exclusively to help OneUnited, but rather on behalf of minority-ownded banks more broadly.

That doesn’t contradict anything the New York Times reported, it’s worth noting. But it does appear to bolster Waters’ claim, made in a statement she put out earlier today, that she wasn’t looking out for OneUnited’s interests above those of other minority-owned banks. Waters has long been an advocate in Congress for minority-owned banks.

Waters also released a 2007 document showing that she disclosed her ties to OneUnited — her husband had previously served on the board, and owned stock — before questioning witnesses at a House hearing on minority-owned banks.

If Waters is guilty of anything, it’s not disclosing to Treasury what she disclosed in open testimony in the House. Still, it’s hard to conclude she was doing much of anything here beyond advocating for minority-owned banks.

Here’s Waters herself on CNBC explaining her view on the charges:

Waters is fighting charges that do not seem to be much more than a slight misstep in disclosure, literally nothing compared to the astounding greed we’ve seen as a result of corporate lobbying. I can think of dozens of cases off the top of my head, from Democrats and Republicans, that make this look just silly in comparison, starting with the allegations of financial services industry fundraisers on the eve of votes on FinReg in the House last December.
You don’t have to carry a torch for Maxine Waters to know that her case is wholly different than the case of Charlie Rangel’s, and that they’re being placed together because of coincidental timing and skin color.

Ahmadinejad Challenges Obama To Televised Debate

August 2nd, 2010 Posted By Pat Dollard.

(Reuters) - Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad called on U.S. President Barack Obama on Monday to face him in a televised one-on-one debate to see who has the best solutions for the world’s problems.

The provocative proposal comes as Iran deals with a new wave of international sanctions — driven by Washington — aimed at putting pressure on the Islamic Republic over its nuclear program.

“Toward the end of summer we will hopefully be there for the (U.N.) General Assembly and I will be ready for one-on-one talks with Mr. Obama, in front of the media of course,” Ahmadinejad told a conference of Iranian expatriates in Tehran.

“We will offer our solutions for world issues to see whose solutions are better.”
Ahmadinejad suggested such a debate last September, which was not taken up by Washington. He said Obama’s predecessor, George W. Bush, had declined similar invitations because he was “scared”.

Iran, the world’s fifth-largest oil producer, says its nuclear program is a peaceful bid to produce electricity.

But its uranium enrichment activities, a process which can have both civilian and military uses, has fed fears in some countries that it is trying to build a nuclear weapon.

In his speech, the president mocked the sanctions and the potential for a military strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities, an option that the United States and Israel say they do not rule out.
“Who do you think is going to attack us? The Israeli regime? … We don’t consider the regime in our equations, let alone attacking us,” he said.

“They say we’ll issue sanctions? Okay, do it. How many resolutions have you issued so far? Four? Make it 4,000,” he said to loud applause from the conference.
Both Iran and the United States have indicated willingness to return to nuclear talks which stalled last October, leading to the new sanctions.

Amid the anti-American rhetoric in which he said U.S. policy was based on colonialism and the “law of the jungle”, Ahmadinejad said he was ready for talks “based on justice and respect”.
“We are ready to hold talks at the highest level,” he said. “We have always favored talks, Iranians have never, ever favored war.”

Latest SURVEYUSA Poll Shows Rand Paul Cracking The 50% Mark, Leads Jack Conway By Eight Points (51% To 43%).

by Joe Arnold

Republican Rand Paul is maintaining a slim majority of support in Kentucky's U.S. Senate race versus Democrat Jack Conway, according to a new WHAS11/Courier-Journal Bluegrass Poll.

Paul 51%

Conway 43%

Undecided 5%

Among likely voters, Paul leads Conway 51 percent to 43 percent. 5 percent of voters are undecided. The poll is virtually unchanged from two months ago, when Paul led Conway 51 percent to 45 percent.

Conducted by Survey USA, the poll surveyed 568 likely voters among 900 adults interviewed July 27 through July 29. The survey has a 4.2% margin of error.

Note to outside media and bloggers: WHAS11 is pleased to provide this poll on We appreciate your cooperation in referring to the poll as the WHAS11/Courier-Journal Bluegrass Poll. While Survey USA is the pollster, the poll is commissioned by WHAS11 and The Louisville Courier-Journal.

Male voters:

Paul 57%

Conway 38%

Undecided 5%

Compared with the WHAS11/Courier-Journal Bluegrass Poll from May 31, Paul has gained support among men, leading Conway 57 percent to 38 percent. But Paul has lost some support among women, where Conway has a three point lead, 49 percent to 46 percent.

Female voters:

Paul 46%

Conway 49%

Undecided 5%

An analysis of the numbers by the pollster suggests that "Conway may have made up some ground in Western Kentucky, but lost some ground in Eastern Kentucky."

Eastern Kentucky voters:

Paul 47%

Conway 48%

Undecided 4%

Paul claims a narrow lead, 50 percent to 45 percent in Conway's home region, in and surrounding Louisville. The only region Conway leads is in Eastern Kentucky, where the race is a virtual dead heat with Conway at 48 percent and Paul at 47 percent.

Louisville Region voters:

Paul 50%

Conway 45%

Undecided 5%

Though the senate race is unusual in the amount of national attention it has received, largely due to Paul's prominence in accepting the mantle as a Tea Party leader, both campaigns have adopted a common strategy. Both Paul and Conway have made a concerted effort to move to the center and win the support of conservative Democrats. Though Democrats hold a 2-1 lead in party registration in Kentucky, voters in federal races have backed Republican candidates in recent years, with both U.S. Senators and four of six House Representatives, Republican.

For Conway - who was identified as the more liberal candidate in the Democratic primary - it means stressing more conservative themes and positions. At a candidate forum before the Kentucky Farm Bureau Board in mid-July, Conway insisted he is against "Cap and Trade" legislation, lashed out at the U.S. government for abrogating its responsibility on immigration, favors extending Bush administration tax cuts, and said there is "not much daylight" between he and Paul on free trade.

For Paul, it means both embracing the Republican establishment that he challenged in the primary, and backing off what might be considered some extreme positions, particularly the existence of a number of federal agencies and programs. In rural Kentucky, Paul's criticism of Agriculture Department subsidies is considered a political liability. What remains to be seen is if voters perceive Paul as ideologically rigid or appreciate his consistency on positions that are politically dangerous.

Republican voters:

Paul 85%

Conway 11%

Undecided 3%

Republicans are solidly behind their candidate, with Paul leading Conway 85 percent to 11 percent among GOP voters.

Democratic voters:

Paul 25%

Conway 69%

Undecided 5%

But 25 percent of Democrats are crossing party lines to support Paul. 69 percent of Democrats back the Democratic candidate, Conway.

Independent voters:

Paul 54%

Conway 36%

Undecided 10%

Independents are trending toward Paul's fiscally conservative message, 54 percent to 36 percent for Conway.

Conway confidantes stress that Paul came into the general election contest riding a 20 point advantage in name identification and instant access to national media. Despite those factors, Conway is still neck and neck with Paul. The hope of Conway backers is that the more voters hear about Paul, the less they support him.

The release of the WHAS11/Courier-Journal Bluegrass Poll is one week prior to the Fancy Farm picnic in Graves County, Kentucky, the traditional start of the campaign season. While the candidates were very active in the media and public eye during the Senate primaries, both Conway and Paul have been focusing more on fund raising and building their organizations, since the primary.

Conway has also had to deal with the question of whether primary rival, Lt. Gov. Daniel Mongiardo will endorse him in the general election. While Paul's GOP foe, Trey Grayson, immediately endorsed Paul, Mongiardo and Conway have been embroiled in a controversy over whether a Conway campaign official promised to help retire Mongiardo's campaign debt. While sources say the money does not represent a "quid pro quo" for Mongiardo's endorsement, they say Mongiardo believes it is a matter of trust that must be resolved before he could consider backing Conway.

Paul, meanwhile, has curtailed the all access pass the media enjoyed during the primary. A series of controversial comments, regarding the Civil Rights Act and the Gulf oil spill, among others and the resulting criticism and scrutiny has prompted Paul to be more cautious in who he grants interviews and in a softening of his libertarian-esque message.

After Lobbying From Fox, Bloomberg and NPR, Front Row Seat in White House Briefing Room Goes to Fox TV

After lobbying from Fox, Bloomberg News and NPR, the White House Correspondents Association has chosen Fox News to fill the front row seat left empty by Helen Thomas' retirement, reports The decision was "very difficult," according to a statement from the White House Correspondents Association. "[A]ll three made compelling cases. But the board ultimately was persuaded by Fox's length of service and commitment to the White House television pool," the group said, according to the story. Fox News White House correspondent Major Garrett will take the seat, the article adds. Other seating changes were made, including adding a seat for the foreign press pool, the story says.