The Forward Five – Friday, 5/22/20

15 mins read

Five Things to Know Today

Good morning! I’ve gone to the store a few times lately, and I’ve been heartened to see almost everyone wearing a mask. Some are homemade, some are N-95s, but most are just the regular surgical masks, albeit with designs or other distinguishing marks. (I got a camo one as part of my COVID test, which goes well with the rest of my appearance. 😉)

However, if you have family or friends who aren’t wearing masks — or YOU aren’t wearing a mask when you go out — then go read the article I posted yesterday about masks. Even more, watch the video in the story. It uses laser photography to show how many saliva droplets you spray in just everyday conversation. Watch it, then share the story with others using the sharing buttons.

Masks are definitely part of our new normal, and will be for a long time. Let’s make sure everyone understands why.

Follow the guidelines (hands, face, space!), wash your hands, and wear your masks. It’s how we get through this, together. #TeamKentucky

Bruce Maples, publisher
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Child care reopenings set; Beshear says ‘We may be in true reduction’
Small child-care centers in Kentucky will be allowed to reopen June 8; number of new cases trending down; more openings announced. Story has many more details and more opening announcements. (Forward Kentucky)

The Breonna Taylor shooting

Louisville Police Chief Steve Conrad announces retirement in wake of Breonna Taylor shooting
After eight turbulent years leading a department beset by scandals and struggling to cope with Louisville’s skyrocketing homicide rates, Police Chief Steve Conrad is on his way out. Conrad announced his retirement Thursday, effective June 30. Deputy Chief Robert Schroeder will serve as interim chief of LMPD while a search for permanent chief is conducted, Mayor Greg Fischer announced in a news release.

Conrad’s decision to step down was his own choice. “The mayor did not ask him to resign,” LMPD spokesperson Jessie Halladay said. (Courier-Journal)

FBI opens independent investigation into fatal police shooting of Breonna Taylor
The FBI is launching its own investigation into the fatal police shooting of 26-year-old Breonna Taylor following a rising chorus of calls for an independent inquiry. The FBI’s actions go beyond what Mayor Greg Fischer had proposed when he agreed to turn over the findings of the Louisville Police Department’s Public Integrity Unit to state and federal officials for review.

Those findings were turned over Wednesday to the office of Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron for possible charges against the officers in Taylor’s shooting, with the FBI and U.S. Attorney’s office also receiving copies for review. But FBI officials confirmed Thursday that their investigation is “independent” from that of the police department. (Courier-Journal)

Mitch McConnell seeks to end Democrat’s ‘crazy policy’ of beefed-up unemployment benefits
Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell is being accused by Democrats at home and across the country of turning his back on Kentucky at a critical time after he reportedly vowed to put a stop to enhanced unemployment benefits.

McConnell made clear during a conference call with House GOP members on Wednesday how the $600 weekly boost — which was provided to help those who lost their jobs because of the coronavirus — “will not be in the next bill” out of Washington.

This statement comes as 47,000 Kentuckians filed initial unemployment claims as of May 16, and more than 246,000 Kentuckians are asking for continued assistance as parts of the state economy begin to reopen. (Courier-Journal)

Problems found in 3 county attorney offices. One gave a $126,500 bonus to his wife.
Kentucky Auditor Mike Harmon is referring three county attorney offices to federal and state law enforcement officials for questionable spending, including a $126,500 bonus to a spouse and using public funds to pay for personal expenses.

Harmon said in a news conference Thursday from his Frankfort office that the three are in Lawrence, Gallatin and Boyd counties. His review of the offices covered activity from July 1, 2017, to June 30, 2019. (Herald-Leader)

McGrath calls out McConnell for using doctored audio
Amy McGrath’s campaign is calling out the Mitch McConnell campaign for continuing to use what McGrath is calling “doctored audio” in its campaign ads. (Forward Kentucky)

A quick note about today’s “The State of Kentucky” show
Hey folks – I realized I hadn’t publicized today’s show, and so I’m dropping you this short note to tell you about it. It’s an interview with Dr. Erik Prentice, who has a Ph.D. in microbiology, and recently left government service in the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (working on coronaviruses!) to go work for a startup.

That isn’t the main point of the show, though. Instead, we’ll be talking about a new called “The Steady State” made up of National Security and Homeland Security veterans who have called Donald Trump an “existential threat” to our country, and who have endorsed Joe Biden for president. We’ll learn more about this group, why it formed, and why Dr. Prentice joined it.

You can watch the live stream on Facebook or YouTube at noon, or watch the recorded version later on Forward Kentucky. Hope you can join us today at noon – I think it’s going to be really interesting.

Did you miss any of these?

Featured Content on Forward Kentucky

([new] indicates new since last Forward Five; 🔥 indicates lots of reads)

— News —

[new] Lower the risk by hands, face, space – 5/20 update – As the holiday weekend approaches and he allows gatherings of up to 10 people, Gov. Andy Beshear is urging Kentuckians to focus on three areas to minimize risk of coronavirus infection: their hands, their face, and their space. (read)

[new] New KY poll shows interesting mixed bag for Dems in 2020 – Public Policy Polling, one of the leading polling companies in the country, has just released a new poll of voters in Kentucky, and it contains some interesting possibilities for Kentucky Democrats. (read)

🔥 [new] IG investigating McConnell’s wife fired by Trump – President Donald Trump fired another Inspector General last week, and this one was reportedly investigating Elaine Chao, the wife of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and the secretary of the Department of Transportation. (read)

🔥 [new] “Louisville wrote the book on talking” – Councilwoman calls out mayor and police, demands action – In response to the shooting death of Breonna Taylor by Louisville Metro Police, and the subsequent actions and initiatives proposed by other elected officials, Councilwoman Barbara Sexton Smith (D-4) released this statement. (read)

🔥 [new] Sixteen House Dems endorse Booker – Sixteen Democratic members of the KY House have come out in support of Rep. Charles Booker for the Democratic nomination to the U.S. Senate seat. (read)

48 Kentucky groups call on Congress for robust federal fiscal relief to states – Activist and non-profit groups across Kentucky have jointly signed a letter calling on Congress to provide fiscal relief to states to offset the impact of the pandemic on state revenues and budgets. (read)

🔥 We’re still getting an F on our census test. C’mon folks, do better! – Back in the dark ages when I was in school, you needed a 65% or better to pass. Based on that, Kentucky is still failing at the census. (Includes interactive map showing rate by county) (read and view)


Reparations for white people – The Right stays outraged over reparations to the descendants of slaves. The irony is, we already have a system of reparations — only it’s for white people. (read)

🔥 Conservatives: “Let’s play COVID Roulette!” – I continue to be amazed at the people, primarily conservatives, who just ignore the random nature of the COVID-19 virus, and want all of us to join them in playing COVID Roulette. (read)

🔥 So, you’re willing to kill for the “economy.” – If you have a family member / friend / online troll who keeps yelling “FREEDOM! I don’t need a mask — I’m not a coward! This is government overreach! Its my life — if I want to take my chances and die that’s my right!” – then feel free to tell them “So, you’re willing to kill for the economy.” (read)

— Policy —

[new] Masks help stop the spread of coronavirus – the science is simple and I’m one of 100 experts urging governors to require public mask-wearing – Every week more and more jurisdictions require mask use in public. So what is this evidence that has led so many scientists to believe so strongly in masks? (read)

Without child care, work and family are impossible – There is no such thing as the so-called work/family conflict. Good jobs – full-time, with benefits – and family, without help, are simply incompatible. (read)

— Action —

🔥 Here’s how to vote in the June primary – Here’s an infographic that explains clearly and concisely how to vote in the upcoming primary. View it, print it, post it, share it, do it! (view and share)

— Media —

[new podcast] Unemployment insurance issues, Booker endorsements, and interview with Rep. Rachel Roberts – We discuss the massive amounts of unemployment claims the state is processing, how big the problem is in context, and how and why people are slipping through the cracks. Also, the endorsement of Charles Booker by 16 of his House colleagues, and what it might mean. And, an interview with Rep. Rachel Roberts of Northern Kentucky. (listen)

 Kentucky’s contact tracing – the video – Here’s the video shared in Monday’s coronavirus press conference about Kentucky’s new contact tracing program. (watch)

[podcast] COVID lawsuits, Breonna Taylor killed by LMPD, and interview with Will Barnett – Discussion about state efforts on COVID, incl a rundown of all the lawsuits; the killing of Breonna Taylor by LMPD; and an Interview of Will Barnett. (listen)

Posts with Most Social Media Shares in Past Fourteen Days

(🔥 indicates post with surge of recent shares)

The Forward 5 is published Monday to Friday by Forward Kentucky, an independent media organization focused on progressive news and issues in Kentucky, and is re-posted with permission. You can sign up for the email version of the newsletter on their website.

DemCast is an advocacy-based 501(c)4 nonprofit. We have made the decision to build a media site free of outside influence. There are no ads. We do not get paid for clicks. If you appreciate our content, please consider a small monthly donation.

Forward Kentucky is an independent media organization focused on progressive news and issues in Kentucky. Our objectives are to provide journalism that is objective, policies that are effective, and commentary that is progressive. Our goal is to help Kentucky become all that it can be through government that works, for all. We are "the progressive voice for Kentucky politics."

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