Coal. Just. Keeps. On. Dying. Its. Death.

People can’t stop snickering over the Alison Daddy’s Name Grimes and Jerry Lundergan subpoenas. [H-L]

Tensions soared across the Hawkeye State during Monday’s Iowa Caucuses. Polls were thwarted, two candidates ended their run for the presidency and another decided to leave the state all together to get some fresh clothes. [HuffPo]

Some 300 or more Kentuckians could retroactively earn their GEDs as the state opts to lower the score required to pass the high school equivalency exam. [C-J/AKN]

Barclays and Credit Suisse have been fined a total of $154m (£108m) by US regulators for their US “dark pool” trading operations. [BBC]

Coal production in Kentucky has slumped to its lowest level since the 1950s after declining nearly 21 percent in 2015. [Harlan Daily Independent]

Hillary Clinton narrowly defeated Bernie Sanders in the Iowa caucuses, according to results announced by the state Democratic Party early Tuesday morning, a dramatic finish to a race so close that The Associated Press declined to call it even after every precinct except one had reported results. [Politico]

At a time when private support is more critical than ever, alumni and friends of Eastern Kentucky University are generously giving of their time, talents and treasure. [Richmond Register]

Damn self-haters. The Log Cabin Republicans are interested in holding Democrats to high standards for LGBT equality, but not their own party. [ThinkProgress]

Nine candidates have filed to run for six seats on the Morehead City Council in the November general election. [The Morehead News]

A journalist immerses herself in New York’s Family Court system and finds a mix of misery and modest hope. [ProPublica]

Documents released to the Glasgow Daily Times in response to open records requests shed slightly more information on the situation that led to a Glasgow Police Department sergeant’s firing. [Glasgow Daily Times]

The Pentagon’s planned 2017 budget will shifts its focus on future wars against near-peer competitors Russia and China, Defense Secretary Ash Carter said Tuesday. [The Hill]

A non-profit working to revitalize downtown Middlesboro has been awarded $20,000 under a program aimed at making local foods a greater part of local economies. [H-L]

A great man named Donald Trump once said, “I am a whiner, and I keep whining and whining until I win.” Sadly, this Churchillian testicular fortitude came to nought on Monday, as the country’s foremost wall-promiser and fear-player-onner went down to defeat in the GOP’s Iowa caucuses. [HuffPo]

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Get Ready For Groundhog Day 2016

A problem in the solicitation to build a high-speed broadband network across Kentucky has jeopardized funding for the project, a top administration official said Thursday. [H-L]

Coverage of the influence of money in politics tends to suffer from the same weakness that all horse-race politics writing does: it almost never connects day-to-day movements to any broader reality or purpose. [HuffPo]

WARNING! RIDICULOUS AUTOPLAY VIDEO! A month’s worth of Glumetza diabetes pills cost Margaret Meffert’s $746 last April. Then the price inexplicably began skyrocketing – to $6,714. [C-J/AKN]

Trump has the highest unfavorable ratings of any presidential candidate in either party. [The Hill]

Just weeks after Gov. Matt Bevin confirmed he would seek to dismantle Kentucky’s health insurance exchange and roll back the state’s expanded Medicaid system, 10 hospitals in the commonwealth announced they have formed a new regional health care collaborative aimed at lowering costs. [WFPL]

A conservation group said the federal government must stop approving offshore fracking from oil platforms in California’s Santa Barbara Channel under the settlement of a lawsuit it filed. [Reuters]

Glasgow attorney Danny Basil filed Tuesday as a Democratic candidate for the 23rd District Kentucky House of Representatives seat. [Glasgow Daily Times]

A blame game has erupted over the lead-ridden drinking water in Flint, Michigan. For weeks, residents, politicians, and observers across the country have been asking: Who is responsible for this public health catastrophe? [ThinkProgress]

The Kentucky Public Service Commission (PSC) has opened an administrative proceeding to investigate the Kentucky Universal Service Fund (KUSF), which provides subsidies for telephone service for low-income consumers in the state. In an order issued today, the PSC said the investigation was prompted by a rapid depletion of the fund, which is in danger of being exhausted by April. In May 2011, the KUSF balance peaked at about $11 million. It has since declined steadily, reaching just over $400,000 in October 2015. [Press Release]

Private individuals will no longer be allowed to advertise guns on Facebook and Instagram, the photo-sharing service owned by Facebook. [BBC]

Hearing there’ll be some, ahem, fun for a corrupt bunch in Shelby County tomorrow. [Things We Hear]

Most of the time when we talk about homelessness, big cities come to mind. But about seven percent of homeless people live in rural areas, where access to help is much harder to come by. [NPR]

Tucked inside Gov. Matt Bevin’s state budget bill is language that would suspend prevailing wage on public works projects and end state funding for Planned Parenthood clinics, two hot-button items for Republicans that are bottled up in the legislative process. [H-L]

James Carville, the well-known political adviser to former President Bill Clinton, is a bit baffled that more donors have given to Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) than to Hillary Clinton, especially given the former secretary of state’s résumé. [HuffPo]

Budget Reaction Still Going Strong

Maybe not the best move for Overly because it’ll be a terrible year. She’ll shoulder much of the blame for down ticket losses, along with Jim Gray. Even though it won’t truly be her fault. The Kentucky Democratic Party on Saturday chose state Rep. Sannie Overly of Paris as its new chairwoman for what promises to be a tumultuous election year. [John Cheves]

Both the Democratic and Republican races are close contests in Iowa, and pollsters say surprises are likely. [HuffPo]

A massive surplus of $500 million that is anticipated in the Kentucky public employee health insurance fund is part of Gov. Matt Bevin’s plan to restore financial stability to Kentucky’s badly underfunded public pension funds. [C-J/AKN]

Turd Cruz is beating Rand Paul (R-Cookie Tree) in the race for the hearts — and endorsements — of the ultra-conservative House Freedom Caucus. [The Hill]

The city of Ashland is now preparing for a mayoral primary this spring after three prospective candidates officially filed to run for office Tuesday. [Ashland Independent]

The United States cannot solve any problems in the Middle East without Iran’s help and should drop its “hostile” stance toward Tehran, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said on Wednesday. [Reuters]

The final tally of candidates filing to become the next district judge serving Barren and Metcalfe counties is six. [Glasgow Daily Times]

You win brownie points if you can correctly identify the “operatives” mentioned in this story about Jim Gray running against Rand Paul. [Politico]

Reaction to Gov. Matt Bevin’s first budget proposal was mixed with Republicans approving and Democratic lawmakers asking for more details and expressing concerns. [The Morehead News]

Voters have the chance to choose one of the most broadly and deeply qualified presidential candidates in modern history. [NY Times]

Former Kentucky state Sen. Georgia Powers has died. Powers was the first African-American and first woman elected to the Kentucky Senate, where she served for 21 years beginning in 1968. [WFPL]

This year’s presidential campaign has proved to be a bleak season for mainstream conservative candidates, a story of frustration, rejection and disappointment. But will that be the end of the story, or are revival and redemption still possible? [WaPo]

Frankfort is back to its old tricks. Fighting to restrict abortion access while ignoring children after they’re born. Everybody is pro-life until birth. Then it’s every child for itself. They kill child welfare programs, oppose early childhood education, prevent addicted mothers from accessing welfare benefits, kill the expansion of Medicaid. Then they wonder why so many turn to crime, drugs, suicide. [H-L]

President Barack Obama plans to visit a U.S. mosque for the first time during his presidency on Wednesday. [HuffPo]

Can Rand Make It Til The KY Caucus?

With less than a week to go before the Iowa caucuses, Kentucky junior U.S. Sen. Rand Paul (R-Cookie Tree) returned to the prime-time Republican debate stage Thursday to make his closing argument to voters. [H-L]

Republicans are determined to push on with their investigation of Planned Parenthood, even after a Texas grand jury cleared the organization of wrongdoing on Monday and instead indicted two anti-abortion activists who targeted the family planning provider in a series of undercover videos. [HuffPo]

Kentucky’s main funding stream for public schools escaped cutbacks in Gov. Matt Bevin’s budget proposal Tuesday, but if approved by the legislature, colleges and universities would face reductions and a new effort to tie funding to performance. [C-J/AKN]

What is being done to fight heroin and prescription drug abuse in hard-hit states like New Hampshire? What can Congress do to help? Lawmakers tackle the issue. [NPR]

At least one new face will be added to the Russell City Council after all but one council member filed for re-election in the upcoming nonpartisan municipal race. [Ashland Independent]

Decades before Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton, there was Shirley Chisholm. As the first black woman to run for president for a major political party she was years ahead of her time. So why don’t more people know about her? [BBC]

Metcalfe County magistrates adopted on second reading an ordinance Tuesday morning adding a $35 annual membership charge/subscriber fee to county residents’ property tax bills. The fee is being levied in order to provide fire protection services for the county. [Glasgow Daily Times]

Donald Trump has caused Republican leaders to shudder at the impact the bombastic New Yorker could have on down-ticket races. Democrats, however, see only potential for election wins. [Politico]

Here’s yet another take on Jim Gray. Lexington Mayor Jim Gray, a Democrat, on Tuesday announced he will run for the U.S. Senate seat held by Republican Rand Paul. [Ronnie Ellis]

A U.S. appeals court heard arguments on Wednesday over whether a high school in Virginia should be ordered to allow a transgendered student to use the boys’ bathroom, even though he was born a biological female. [Reuters]

Reminder: This is one of the guys Bevin trusts to cut 9% from the budget at his discretion. [Page One]

The White House on Wednesday said it has “concerns” with many of the provisions in a wide-ranging energy bill being debated in the Senate. [The Hill]

The homeless count was completed in Louisville and let’s just cut to the chase: this is hugely disappointing. Compassionate City needs a bit more compassion. [The ‘Ville Voice]

In 2008, then-Senator Barack Obama promised to unite Washington and the nation behind progressive change. Then-Sen. Hillary Clinton mocked him. [HuffPo]

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Is Education Screwed In KY? Probably.

Matt Bevin excluded K-12 schools from funding cuts in an austere state budget proposal that would slash funding to Kentucky’s public universities. [H-L]

Donald Trump may be about to do something that has never been done in the modern presidential nominating era: Win a state primary without a single endorsement from a member of Congress. [HuffPo]

On Tuesday, state Sen. Gerald Neal learned that Charles Booker, his former protege who Neal defended when he lost his job with the Legislative Research Commission for appearing in an ad for Alison Lundergan Grimes, was running against him. [C-J/AKN]

Top Democrats from Michigan’s congressional delegation have introduced a bill to expand lead poisoning notifications in the wake of the water crisis in Flint, Mich. [The Hill]

The state’s minimum hourly wage would be raised to $10.10 over the next two and half years under a bill that cleared a House committee today. House Bill 278, sponsored by House Speaker Greg Stumbo, D-Prestonsburg, would increase Kentucky’s current minimum wage of $7.25 an hour to $8.20 this August, $9.15 in July 2017 and $10.10 in July 2018. The increase would not apply to businesses that have a recent average annual gross volume of sales of less than $500,000. [Press Release]

Lieutenant General John “Mick” Nicholson, the current head of NATO’s Allied Land Command, has been chosen as the new commander of international forces in Afghanistan, the Pentagon said on Wednesday amid concerns about setbacks in the fight against the Taliban. [Reuters]

Kentucky environmental advocates are worried that budget reductions called for by Gov. Matt Bevin will make it impossible for the Energy and Environment Cabinet to perform its basic functions. [WFPL]

Donald Trump’s rivals are mocking the GOP poll leader for his decision to skip this week’s Fox News debate and deprive them of their last chance to confront him before Monday’s Iowa caucuses. [Politico]

More than 300 candidates have filed to run for office in this year’s election, including 220 for state House races. [Ronnie Ellis]

Here is some of the best reporting on, and key moments from, the on-going public health crisis in Flint, Michigan. [ProPublica]

Ashland school superintendent and former mayor Steve Gilmore told his school board Monday he will step down in June because he is seeking his previous job. [Ashland Independent]

After a Texas-based grand jury declined to indict Planned Parenthood on Monday, clearing an Austin-based clinic of any wrongdoing, GOP presidential candidates are simply doubling down on their opposition to the national women’s health organization. [ThinkProgress]

Matt Bevin’s proposed state budget includes $60 million in state bonds for a proposed $250 million overhaul of Lexington’s convention center. [H-L]

When Bernie Sanders released his universal health care plan last week, promising that most people would receive more generous insurance coverage while paying less for medical care, most policy experts said it sounded too good to be true. [HuffPo]

Quick, Scare The Meemaws With Zika!

Amid many aspects of Gov. Matt Bevin’s proposed state budget, one line item in particular raised a lot of eyebrows: $21 million to renovate and expand the University of Kentucky’s Wildcat Coal Lodge, the deluxe accommodations for UK’s basketball team that opened in 2012. [H-L]

Hillary Clinton delivered a fiery response to a Muslim veteran’s question about Islamophobia in the United States. [HuffPo]

The University of Kentucky’s 4-year-old Wildcat Coal Lodge, home of the men’s basketball team, could be heading for a renovation. [C-J/AKN]

President Obama said Monday he will ban solitary confinement for juveniles in the federal prison system and reduce the practice for certain other inmates. [The Hill]

London will be wet. Registered voters within the city limits took to the polls Tuesday to answer one simple question: “Are you in favor of the sale of alcoholic beverages in the city limits of London, Kentucky?” The result was a resounding “yes.” [Richmond Register]

Lockheed Martin Corp said on Tuesday it reached a deal to combine its information systems and government services business with Leidos Holdings Inc, and reported higher-than-expected quarterly profit and revenue. [Reuters]

City of Ashland personnel policy contradicts what City Manager Ben Bitter said about a vacation pay advance made to a department head this summer. [Ashland Independent]

Standing at a podium before the World Economic Forum, Leonardo DiCaprio briefly smiled as he received an award for his leadership in tackling climate change. Once settled under the spotlight, he quickly moved away from his grateful statements, and began railing on corporate avarice. [ThinkProgress]

City Attorney Rich Alexander released Tuesday the transcript from a portion of a disciplinary hearing that he acknowledged Monday he incorrectly closed to the public. [Glasgow Daily Times]

American scientists studying the Zika virus have warned that it could be a decade before a vaccine is publicly available. [BBC]

Marc Guilfoil is the new executive director of the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission. [Ronnie Ellis]

The Federal Reserve has decided to keep its benchmark interest rate where it is, even as Fed officials expressed somewhat more caution about global economic conditions. [NPR]

Victims of domestic violence could break rental agreements without fear of penalty to get away from their abusers under a bill approved Wednesday by a Kentucky House panel. [H-L]

Will he have the guts to stand up? Every single Democrat in the Senate, and the two independents who caucus with them, are urging Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to act quickly to help the island of Puerto Rico restructure its debt. [HuffPo]

Is The Budget Hype Dying Down Yet?

The summer playground at Lake Cumberland took a major hit from winter over the weekend, with the weight of ice and snow from Friday’s storm damaging or destroying covers over hundreds of boat slips, according to marina operators. [H-L]

Sen. Bernie Sanders jumped at a chance to talk about mental health care during a presidential town hall event in Iowa hosted by CNN on Monday. [HuffPo]

Every year, hundreds of volunteers bundle up and head to hotels, emergency shelters, camps and soup kitchens, determined to answer two questions: how many people are homeless in the Louisville area and who are they? [C-J/AKN]

A bipartisan task force created by Congress issued “an urgent call to action” Tuesday to overhaul the nation’s federal prisons and reduce the number of U.S. inmates by 60,000 over the next decade. [NPR]

Wanna read/watch one of the dumbest things out of Jim Waters and the Bluegrass Circlejerk yet? Here he is spewing misinformation about Kentucky’s broadband initiative. Leave it to the rich, fat, white Republicans to keep the Commonwealth in the dark ages. Spoiler alert: municipal broadband works. [WAVE3]

Trent Lott and Tom Daschle make an unlikely pair. Trent is gregarious, talkative and loud. Tom is retiring, mild-mannered and quiet. Interview them together and their differences are pronounced. But what makes them almost unheard of as a couple is that Lott is a Republican and Daschle is a Democrat. Specifically they are both former leaders of their respective parties in the US Senate. [BBC]

With the new year comes the continued challenge for area nonprofits to serve as many families and residents in need as possible. To energize those efforts, employees of Louisville Gas and Electric Company and Kentucky Utilities Company are lending a hand. Coupled with financial support from the LG&E and KU Foundation, the utilities’ voluntary employee-giving campaign, Power of One, raised more than $1.7 million in contributions. [Richmond Register]

A Nebraska lawmaker wants his state to join the movement to tear down one of the most harmful components of the conservative welfare reforms passed into law in the mid-1990s. [ThinkProgress]

The Russell Area Technology Center is ready for a new generation of vocational students with completion of a $1.2 million renovation. [Ashland Independent]

Cuba’s tourism industry is under unprecedented strain and struggling to meet demand with record numbers of visitors arriving a year after detente with the United States renewed interest in the Caribbean island. [Reuters]

Newly elected Gov. Matt Bevin delivered a “sober” budget message to a joint session of the General Assembly, telling them he will cut $650 million from the current budget. [Ronnie Ellis]

The religious loonies are racist as hell, apparently. Donald Trump’s support among white evangelicals stands at 37 percent, rising 5 points in one week, according to an NBC News/SurveyMonkey online poll released early Tuesday. [The Hill]

As snow piled up outside, Kelly Gibson was thrilled to see a Fayette County sheriff’s deputy waiting for her at the end of her nursing shift Friday afternoon at Shriners Hospital for Children. [H-L]

Noam Chomsky, the noted radical and MIT professor emeritus, said the Republican Party has become so extreme in its rhetoric and policies that it poses a “serious danger to human survival.” [HuffPo]