Day: June 2, 2016

Jennifer LawrenceBoulevard reviews the latest media coverage of the Oscar-winning Louisville native in our exclusive Jennifer Lawrence Diary™. Today’s news, rated on a scale of 1-5 stars:

Four starsWe can’t think of a better introduction to Lawrence’s guest appearance at a wedding last weekend in Tuscany’s luxe Borgo Stomennano Hotel than today’s Pop Sugar:

“Being friends with a celebrity can’t exactly be easy, especially when it’s your very own wedding day. Because despite the fact that you’re the one saying ‘I do,’ your famous pal will likely steal some of that spotlight — unless, of course, you’re Laura Simpson, aka Jennifer Lawrence’s BFF.”

Steal?! Try pillage and plunder. Check out these headlines from the past 48 hours alone:

  • Jennifer Lawrence knocks back champagne as she celebrates with barman pal at best friend Laura Simpson’s wedding (Daily Mail)
  • Jennifer Lawrence stuns in lilac slip dress at her BFF’s wedding in Italy (InStyle)
  • Jennifer Lawrence and Aziz Ansari spotted sightseeing in Italy — just friends or something more (Inquisitor)?
  • The Jennifer Lawrence guide to attending a wedding (Elle)
  • Her best friend’s wedding! See stunning Jennifer Lawrence at pal Laura Simpson’s romantic Italian nuptials (Yahoo Style)
  • Jennifer Lawrence attended a Tuscan wedding, gave us major goals (Refinery29)
  • Jennifer Lawrence news: actress hitting the Tuscanian streets as she attends her best pal’s big day (News EveryDay)
  • Jennifer Lawrence attends her best friend’s wedding, hangs out with Aziz Ansari in Italy (Vanity Fair)
  • Jennifer Lawrence attended her best friend’s wedding in Italy this weekend looking cuter than ever (Brides)
  • Jennifer Lawrence wears her favorite boho dress in Italy before friend’s wedding (InStyle — again)
  • Jennifer Lawrence and Aziz Ansari go sightseeing in Italy (New York Daily News)
  • Bellissimo! Jennifer Lawrence goes sightseeing in Italy with Aziz Ansari ahead of her best friend’s wedding (People)
  • Hatta girl! Jennifer Lawrence looks chic sightseeing in Italy with Aziz Ansari during downtime from X-Men press tour (Daily Mail — again)
  • Jennifer Lawrence attends best pal’s wedding in Tuscany (TV3)
  • Is love in the air for Jennifer Lawrence and Aziz Ansar? (Hello!)
  • Jennifer Lawrence: Stupenda al matrimonio in Italia (Melty); (translation from Italian: Superb at the wedding in Italy)
  • Jennifer Lawrence mit neuem freund? Aziz Ansari ist ihr Hochzeitsdate (Sixx); (translation from German: Jennifer Lawrence with a new boyfriend? Aziz Ansari is her wedding date)

Best in show

Of all those, Vanity Fair’s Josh Duboff (love that name!) provided our favorite coverage because of his magnifico color commentary; take it away, Josh:

Vanity Fair Jennifer Lawrence cover
The October 2014 issue.

“Simpson was married this weekend, in what People is calling an ‘intimate’ celebration, in Tuscany, Italy. According to the outlet, the wedding was attended by just 25 guests, one of whom was Lawrence. The movie star wore a ‘lilac slip dress,’ and, semi-confusingly, People explains that she ‘was spotted spending time at the event with Los Angeles bartender Kevin “Boosh” Burtch.’ Who is this bartender? How did he end up at the wedding of Jennifer Lawrence’s best friend? Why does he have a nickname that is weirdly similar to his last name??!! So many questions about this wedding, and we’re only one bartender in.”

For that alone, Boulevard gives Vanity Fair four out of five stars. Gracie mille!

Under the Tuscan sun

The sumptuous garden view from the hotel:

Tuscan hotel

Dozens of Louisville payday lenders could be gutted under new rules out today

Those local lenders, plus untold others nationwide, would be required in most cases to verify customers’ income and confirm they can afford to repay the money. And the number of times people could roll over loans into newer and pricier ones would be curtailed, according to The New York Times.

There are nearly 70 payday loan stores in Louisville, according to Google; more than a dozen locations are shown here:

Payday loan shops map

U of L’s Pitino gripes about $39 million Adidas shoe contract that pays his $51 million salary

Adidas sneakers“Adidas has never, one time gotten me a basketball player in my 15 years. . . . They don’t promote their schools to recruits. Maybe it’s more because they are a European outfit, but Adidas has never one time directed a player my way.”

— University of Louisville basketball coach Rick Pitino, speaking to The Courier-Journal and other media outlets about the school’s sticking with a five-year endorsement contract where Adidas pays U of L a combined $39 million.

Rick Pitino

The contract helps pay Pitino’s huge annual salary: $5.1 million next year vs. $4.4 million this year. He’s also due $7.5 million in retention bonuses kicking in every three years starting in 2017. All told, his 10-year contract is worth $50.9 million in salary, according to the CJ.

Related: See the sneakers players wore during the school’s 15 best performances. The pairs, top and above, are Crazy Fast; $70 at Amazon.

Ka-ching! McConnell’s wealth jumped as much as 23% last year — to $43.2 million, new disclosure shows

McConnell,Mitch-012309-18422-jf 0024

Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell and his wife saw the value of their stocks, cash and other investments climb last year, cementing his status as one of the wealthiest U.S. senators, his new financial disclosure report shows. But the source of his riches — via his wife Elaine Chao‘s immigrant father — also demonstrates the fine line the senate majority leader must walk in supporting the GOP’s presumptive White House nominee: Donald Trump.

Senators make the finance reports public each year, valuing investments according to a predetermined range. In 2015, his portfolio was worth $9.6 million to $43.2 million, according to a new Boulevard analysis. On the low side, that was a 2% increase from 2014. On the high side: a whopping 23%.

Mitch McConnell financial disclosures 2004-2015 final

The vast majority of McConnell’s wealth is held by his economist wife, Chao (photo with senator, top), whose father made a shipping trade fortune. Chao, 63, was U.S. labor secretary during the George W. Bush Administration.

Boulevard examined the senator’s latest report, filed May 16, to arrive at his 2015 estimates. The midpoint of their values would be $26.4 million vs. $22.2 million in 2014, according to figures compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics, a non-partisan watchdog group in Washington that tracks political campaign finance. The center hasn’t published estimates for 2015 yet.

But in 2014, it ranked McConnell the 11th richest senator. No. 1: Democratic Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia, with an average net worth of $243 million — a fortune he built investing in telecommunications. Here are the 25 richest.

Tripping over Trump

Chao’s parents fled to Taiwan from mainland China when the Chinese Communists seized power in 1949, according to Wikipedia. In 1961, when she was eight years old, Chao immigrated to the U.S. on a freighter with her mother and two younger sisters. Her father had arrived in New York three years earlier after receiving a scholarship. He later went on to launch shipper Foremost Group.

McConnell has offered tepid support to Trump at best, citing his inflammatory anti-immigration postures. In an interview with Yahoo Global News Anchor Katie Couric Tuesday, McConnell said the New York billionaire’s proposals could threaten the GOP’s standing with immigrant voters. “America is changing,” he told Couric, “the Republican Party clearly doesn’t need to write off either Asian or Latino Americans, and that is not a good place to be for long-term competitiveness.”

Related: Here’s McConnell’s  report from last year, plus his 2014 report for comparison. And here’s Sen. Rand Paul’s new report, plus his 2014 report.

Add up all of Amazon’s data and distribution centers, and you’d get 229 Humana Towers

Humana building
It’s a downtown icon.

That’s one amazing measure of how big the retailer’s gotten since it was founded in Seattle 22 years ago.

And it’s still growing. Amazon just announced plans for two more giant distribution centers, both in Edwardsville, Ill. It already has two in the Louisville area employing a combined 6,000 workers, in Shepherdsville and Jeffersonville.

Worldwide, Amazon has 123 centers, including more than 50 in the U.S. alone. At the end of last year, it leased 118 million square feet of distribution and data centers, and owned another 6.8 million square feet. That’s equivalent to:

  • Football fields: 2,105
  • Humana Towers: 229
  • Empire State Buildings: 44
  • Apple headquarters “spaceships”: 43
  • Pentagons: 18 (it’s the world’s biggest office building)

The Jeffersonville center is one of only six in the U.S. open to tours. They last an hour; age restriction: 6 and up. How to schedule one.

Related: More Amazon company facts. Here’s the center in the U.K.’s Hemel Hempstead:
Embed from Getty Images

Haier in home fix-up show deal; and Taco Bell franchise owner gives Fla. ‘coma’ guy $2.5K

Tebow Home Free
Tebow (left) and Holmes host show where Haier is now a sponsor.

A news summary, focused on big employers; updated 10:32 a.m.

GE: Haier has signed on as a sponsor for the second season of the reality TV-game show Home Free, where contestants compete to win a home outfitted with Haier appliances. Co-hosts are Tim Tebow, the Heisman Trophy winner, and Mike Holmes, the series’s creator and professional contractor. On the Fox Network show, nine couples compete to renovate a dilapidated home each week, facing elimination until the winners are awarded their dream home. The series starts June 16 (press release). China-based Haier’s pending $5.4 billion purchase of the 6,000-employee Appliance Park in Louisville is expected to close this summer.

Michael Booth Taco Bell coma man
Booth in hospital with tacos.

TACO BELL: The Florida man who became an Internet sensation after waking from a 42-day coma in April and immediately asking for Taco Bell as his first meal is now closer to paying his medical bills, too: The franchise owner whose restaurant supplied the 8½ crunchy tacos last month presented Jake Booth with an oversized check for $2,500 at his Bonita Springs home, plus $250 in gift certificates for more tacos; Booth’s request led to untold millions of dollars in free publicity for Taco Bell. “We wanted to meet one of our greatest fans,” said Carlos Silva, chief operating officer of Prometheus Franchise Restaurant Holding; the Clearwater, Fla.-based company owns Taco Bell franchises throughout Southwest Florida. The money will go toward a Wake the Jake Go Fund Me campaign to raise $50,000 to help Booth pay medical bills (Naples Daily News). Watch the video. Booth’s story caught fire when someone posted a photo of him on Reddit. “Taco Bell’s marketing team have a slam dunk with this one,” said one poster.

AMAZON‘s latest round of distribution center openings is set for Edwardsville, Ill., where it plans two centers with more than 1,000 full-time jobs total. The company said today that one center will specialize in handling big-screen TVs, sports equipment or kayaks and the other will handle smaller items, including books, toys and electronics; no opening date was given for the centers (press release). Rumors had circulated last month that Amazon was headed for the area (Belleville News-Democrat). Edwardsville has 25,000 residents and is 27 miles northeast of St. Louis (Census facts). Today’s news follows Amazon’s announcement just a week ago that it would open a second distribution center in Joliet, Ill., with 2,000 jobs on top of the 1,500 already at the existing center; Joliet is an hour south of Chicago (press release).

In other news, University of Louisville has given baseball coach Dan McDonnell a $325,000 raise, to a base salary of $1 million a year, to discourage other schools from trying to poach him (Courier-Journal). U.S. stocks were modestly lower an hour into trading as Wall Street digested fresh ADP payroll data, watched an OPEC meeting, and waited for tomorrow’s May employment report from the Labor Department (Google Finance). The Boulevard Stock Portfolio of 11 big employers was mixed.