Your Eyes Are Rolling At Little Rand

More than a dozen states have strengthened laws over the past two years to keep firearms out of the hands of domestic abusers, a rare area of consensus in the nation’s highly polarized debate over guns. [H-L]

U.S. employment gains slowed more than expected in January as the boost to hiring from unseasonably mild weather faded, but surging wages and an unemployment rate at an eight-year low suggested the labor market recovery remains firm. [HuffPo]

He fidgeted, chewed a fingernail and glanced at five pairs of children’s shoes piled by the door. The smell of Turkish coffee wafted from a tiny kitchen. The line kept ringing. [C-J/AKN]

There are so many things wrong with this story about Rand Paul’s demise that it’s almost hilarious. [Roll Call]

There are some subtle indications Republicans may be rethinking the wisdom of trying to make right-to work-an issue in this year’s legislative elections. [Ronnie Ellis]

The Pentagon’s fiscal 2017 budget will propose a $1 billion boost in spending on advanced training for the U.S. Air Force over the next five years, U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter said on Thursday. [Reuters]

Noting their excitement about “the energy that exists across campus,” Maribeth and Louis Berman, of Louisville, have pledged $1 million to Eastern Kentucky University to support a combination of academic and student-focused initiatives. [Richmond Register]

Just a reminder if you haven’t yet read this. How do you stop states and cities from forcing more disclosure of so-called dark money in politics? Get the debate to focus on an “average Joe,” not a wealthy person. Find examples of “inconsequential donation amounts.” Point out that naming donors would be a threat to “innocents,” including their children, families and co-workers. And never call it dark money. “Private giving” sounds better. [ProPublica]

A miniature satellite developed by Morehead State University’s Space Science Center could play a key role in sending a manned flight to Mars. [The Morehead News]

NPR’s Audie Cornish speaks with Matt Kibbe, senior advisor for Concerned American Voters, a superPAC supporting Rand Paul. He joins us to speak about the state of libertarians and where they will throw their support now that Rand Paul has suspended his presidential campaign. [NPR]

The coal industry is bracing for tougher rules in the next few months that are expected to slow production, cost thousands of mining jobs, and drain millions of dollars a year from the coffers of coal-dependent states including Kentucky and West Virginia. [Glasgow Daily Times]

From the Department of Things Ken Ham Wouldn’t Understand… The mystery of a deep-sea creature that resembles a discarded purple sock has been solved, scientists report. [BBC]

Just eight years ago, most of the domestic violence deaths in Louisville were from strangulation. Today, more than 71 percent are from guns. [H-L]

Former U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell and aides to his successor, Condoleezza Rice, both received classified information a handful of times via personal email accounts, the top Democrat on a congressional oversight panel said on Thursday. [HuffPo]

The Ramsey-Pitino-UofL Circus Goes On

Stung by losses under the federal health law, major insurers are seeking to sharply limit how policies are sold to individuals in ways that consumer advocates say seem to discriminate against the sickest and could hold down future enrollment. [H-L]

In their first head-to-head debate, Hillary Clinton and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) made it clear that any lingering pleasantries from a happier time earlier in the campaign are vanishing quickly. [HuffPo]

It’s hilarious that Rick Pitino is defending Jim Ramsey, as if they’re both victims of things they can’t help. Both of these men are the worst of the worst in higher education. Pitino, with sex scandal after sex scandal. Ramsey, with financial corruption mess after financial corruption mess. Both should be relieved of their duties instead of allowing a bunch of kids to take the blame for crap that those two are ultimately supposed to take responsibility. [C-J/AKN]

President Barack Obama is set on Tuesday to unveil his budget proposal for fiscal year 2017, his final year in office. [Reuters]

Lack of communication is what kept many black accomplishments from being known, said educator William Twyman, one of the 14 panelists discussing “Education in the Barren’s Region of Kentucky” Saturday at the South Central Kentucky Cultural Center. [Glasgow Daily Times]

Amid significant reforms, federal officials worry that sexual abuse in juvenile justice system remains prevalent and too often unpunished. [ProPublica]

A personal finance website study has determined Kentucky ranks 9 out of 51 for dependency on the arms and ammunition industry for jobs and political contributions, and indirectly through firearm ownership. [Ashland Independent]

At the end of last year, lawmakers in West Virginia unveiled a bill that would drug test some applicants for the state’s welfare program. Applicants who failed could eventually be barred from receiving benefits, possibly permanently. [ThinkProgress]

A bill that would eliminate the prevailing wage on public school projects on Thursday failed to pass a House committee. [WFPL]

The US economy added 151,000 jobs in January, helping to push the country’s unemployment rate down to 4.9%. [BBC]

Since Jan. 1, five Richmond Police officers have submitted resignations. At the same time, two joined the force for field training, and two others entered the Department of Criminal Justice Training’s academy for 23 weeks. [Richmond Register]

“Squat! Squat! Squat! Higher! Faster!” In the basement of the Duane Physics and Astrophysics building at the University of Colorado Boulder, a science demonstration is going on, but it looks more like a vaudeville act. [NPR]

University of Kentucky President Eli Capilouto has formed a task force to advise him on what to do about a controversial mural in Memorial Hall. [H-L]

Islamophobia is real. And it’s not going anywhere. After last year’s terror attacks in Paris and mass shooting in San Bernardino, California — and amidst a surge in anti-Muslim rhetoric from U.S. politicians — reports about Muslims in America facing violence, harassment, intimidation and bigotry have become omnipresent. Many Muslims say Islamophobia is worse now than it’s ever been — even worse than it was after 9/11. [HuffPo]

Jerry Lundergan’s Good Old Boy Mess Is Once Again Center Stage

During her three political campaigns, including an $18 million run for the U.S. Senate in 2014, Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes reported paying $111,831 to Lexington companies owned by her father, former state Democratic Party chairman Jerry Lundergan, and $41,745 more in direct payments to him and other family members, for various services. [John Cheves]

As Sen. Turd Cruz (R-Tex.) campaigns across the Granite State ahead of next Tuesday’s first-in-the nation primary, he’s changing rhetoric in an attempt to expand his base and attract libertarian-leaning supporters following Sen. Rand Paul’s (R-Cookie Tree) exit from the race this week. [HuffPo]

Conservationists have pounced on a bill that sought to allow motorized all-terrain vehicles on the Pine Mountain State ScenicTrail that’s being developed for backpacking and primitive camping along 120 miles of scenic Eastern Kentucky. [C-J/AKN]

The State Department Inspector General has found that classified emails were received on the personal accounts of former Secretary of State Colin Powell and the senior aides to his successor, Condoleezza Rice. [The Hill]

The new head of Kentucky’s Energy and Environment Cabinet doesn’t expect any short-term rebound in the state’s struggling coal industry. In his first appearance before the state Senate Natural Resources and Energy Committee, Secretary Charles Snavely told senators the outlook wasn’t good over the next five years. [WFPL]

U.S. President Barack Obama will launch a long-shot bid next week to impose a $10-a-barrel tax on crude oil that would fund the overhaul of the nation’s aging transportation infrastructure, the White House said on Thursday. [Reuters]

House Democrats proved willing to compromise on one abortion-related bill in a critical election year, but there were signs Friday they aren’t prepared to do it a second time. [Ronnie Ellis]

US presidential hopeful Marco Rubio has seen a surge in high-profile endorsements, after a surprisingly strong finish in the Iowa caucuses. [BBC]

A group of students from Clark-Moores Middle School will be traveling to Frankfort Tuesday where they will meet with legislators and advocate for the passage of Senate Bill 33, which will make training in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) a requirement for graduation in Kentucky schools. [Richmond Register]

If U.S. and British negotiators have their way, MI5, the British domestic security service, could one day go directly to American companies like Facebook or Google with a wiretap order for the on-line chats of British suspects in a counterterrorism investigation. [WaPo]

It’s been no secret that Morehead City Council has been mulling the thoughts of building a joined police and fire station in the near future. [The Morehead News]

Really? It takes “insiders” to know that Marco Rubio crashed and burned? [Politico]

An ongoing cultural battle between coal mining and environmental groups played out in a Senate hearing Wednesday over an Obama administration proposal to mitigate the impacts of coal mining activity on streams. [H-L]

The United States has to reduce greenhouse emissions to less than a quarter of what they were in 2005 to meet its commitment under the Paris climate agreement. [HuffPo]

Bevin Drags KY Health Into Dark Ages

As Gov. Matt Bevin prepares to remake Kentucky’s Medicaid program, a new national survey shows what’s at stake: gains in insurance coverage matched only by one other state. [H-L]

American schools are hotbeds for racial discrimination, according to a preliminary report from a group of United Nations experts. [HuffPo]

Former U.S. Sen. Marlow W. Cook, a leader of the Republican renaissance in Louisville and Jefferson County during the 1960s, has died. [C-J/AKN]

Every day in America more than 50 people die from an overdose of prescription pain medication. Some people who start out abusing pain pills later turn to heroin, which claims another 29 lives each day. [NPR]

These are the candidates who have filled for city commissioner in Hazard. [Hazard Herald]

Presidential candidate Donald Trump has called for a new election in Iowa, accusing the Republican winner, Ted Cruz, of fraud. [BBC]

Jim Ramsey knows his days at the University of Louisville are numbered. [Business First]

In the lead-up to Donald Trump’s loss in Iowa, staffers sought additional funding for campaign infrastructure and were denied. [Politico]

WARNING! RIDICULOUS AUTOPLAY VIDEO! The Creation Museum wants Boone County’s blessing for an expansion. Leaders of the museum’ dedicated to a literal interpretation of the Bible wants to nearly triple its exhibit space over the next three years. [Cincinnasti.com]

The U.S. Justice Department is considering legal changes to combat what it sees as a rising threat from domestic anti-government extremists, senior officials told Reuters, even as it steps up efforts to stop Islamic State-inspired attacks at home. [Reuters]

What does 100 days of school mean to White Hall Elementary School second grade students? That in 74 more days, they will be third graders, said teacher Susan Huntzinger. [Richmond Register]

The Des Moines Register is calling for a “complete audit” of the Iowa Democratic caucuses in light of concerns by Bernie Sanders about the razor-thin margin. [The Hill]

A proposal in Congress would provide $1 billion for mine reclamation projects in Eastern Kentucky and other areas grappling with a sharp downturn in coal jobs. [H-L]

Republican presidential candidate Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) slammed President Barack Obama’s visit to a mosque on Wednesday, during which the president denounced anti-Muslim rhetoric, for “pitting people against each other.” [HuffPo]

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Rand Paul’s Jalopy Putters Along

More Republican dollars are flowing into Kentucky to help GOP candidates in the four special House elections on March 8. [H-L]

President Barack Obama has said that a college degree “has never been more valuable.” But if you borrow to finance your degree, the immediate returns are the lowest they’ve been in at least a generation, new data show. [HuffPo]

Local governments in Kentucky can increase the minimum wage, but a federal judge ruled Wednesday that they can’t ban labor unions from requiring employees to join them. [C-J/AKN]

Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders’ campaign has reportedly raised $3 million since Monday night’s Iowa caucuses. [The Hill]

Marlow Cook may forever be remembered by Louisvillians as the Jefferson County Executive who purchased the Belle of Louisville, but I remember him not only as my first boss, but also as someone who directly and significantly shaped my life and the lives of so many in public life [John Yarmuth]

Global equity markets rose on Thursday as diminished expectations of U.S. interest rate hikes this year pushed the dollar lower, which in turned boosted the prices of commodities. [Reuters]

The more we learn about Jamie Comer’s hemp-related shenanigans, the more disappointed we all become. Here’s hoping his nonsense doesn’t impact the overall industry. [Page One]

In internal memos, groups opposing tighter state campaign finance rules coach their local supporters on how to battle disclosure of political donors. [ProPublica]

A new study shows that Kentucky and Arkansas had the sharpest decline in the percentage of adult residents without health insurance from 2013 to 2015. [Business First]

Rand Paul was hustling to a TV hit on Fox News when security officials on hand stopped him. You’ll love the delusional reaction from Doug Stafford. [Politico]

Efforts by the Harlan County School District to replace Wallins elementary with a new facility received a boost when the board of education submitted plans that put that project at the top of its list of needs. [Harlan Daily Enterprise]

There’s still a long way to go until November’s US presidential election. But it’s not too early to look at the possible presidential administrations of some of the leading candidates. [BBC]

Cheers, Kentucky: Bourbon and American whiskey sales in the United States were up 7.8 percent to $2.9 billion in 2015, according to figures released Tuesday morning by the Distilled Spirits Council of the U.S. Looking at exports, sales of American whiskey were up 4 percent by volume, although the value fell 2.7 percent to about $1 billion, putting total sales of American whiskey at just less than $4 billion for 2015. [H-L]

Not all polluters are created equal. Just five percent of industrial polluters account for 90 percent of toxic emissions in the United States, according to a new study published in the journal Environmental Research Letters last week. [HuffPo]

Do You Still Have A Sad For Lil Rand?

You can thank Kentucky Democrats for allowing this informed consent nonsense to happen. Way to go, Democrats! Who you gonna attack and defame now that you’ve alienated everybody? [H-L]

Rand Paul (R-Cookie Tree) is suspending his presidential campaign, Politico and CNN reported Wednesday. “It’s been an incredible honor to run a principled campaign for the White House. Today, I will end where I began, ready and willing to fight for the cause of Liberty,” the senator said in a statement on Wednesday, following his fifth place finish in the Iowa caucuses. [HuffPo]

Louisville had the sharpest increase of any U.S. city in terms of residents age 65 or older who are scrapping by to pay their rent, according to findings released Monday by a national affordable housing group. [C-J/AKN]

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) head Gina McCarthy said Michigan state officials misled her agency in the run-up to Flint’s lead contamination crisis. [The Hill]

Allie Secor, manager of the Community Recycling Center, said she plans to retire in June. In a recent meeting of the recycling center board, one idea that was mentioned was for her replacement to be an employee of the city, which would mean adding a benefits package in order to attract qualified candidates. [The Morehead News]

The lawyers who enable an abusive business model for collecting consumer debts are now on the hook for their clients’ screwups. [ThinkProgress]

The 2014 tax audit for Metcalfe County Sheriff Rondal Shirley was released Monday by state auditor Mike Harmon. [Glasgow Daily Times]

Republican Senator Rand Paul (R-Cookie Tree) has dropped out of the race for US president after a disappointing fifth place finish in the Iowa caucuses. [BBC]

Peoples Bancorp Foundation, a non-profit corporation formed to make donations in Peoples Bank market areas, recently awarded $3,000 to Russell Independent Schools Endowment Foundation, Inc. [Ashland Independent]

The U.S. House of Representatives has subpoenaed the former Midwest chief of the Environmental Protection Agency over the Flint, Michigan, drinking water crisis, Representative Jason Chaffetz said on Wednesday. [Reuters]

Main Street and High Street in downtown Hazard were closed to traffic on the morning of Jan. 28, as a Kentucky State Police dog sniffed through the area in search of possible explosives. [Hazard Herald]

The United States is still lagging the world in the rollout of broadband. Look at the map and you’ll hate people like Brett Guthrie, Jim Waters and anyone associated with them even more than you already do. You’ll rage against just about any telecom-tied lobbyist you can think of after seeing it. Disgusting. [The Register]

When Benjamin Harrison moved from Indianapolis to Washington in 1889 to become the nation’s 23rd president, the White House kitchen steward hired a French chef to prepare meals for the new president and his guests. [Tom Eblen]

Jared Fox, 28, knows first-hand about the perils of intolerance. Just two years ago, when Fox was visiting his hometown of Cleveland, Ohio, from New York, he was brutally attacked by a group of teenagers. They beat him, stole his belongings and called him anti-gay slurs. He suffered bruises all over his body. [HuffPo]

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The Powell-Holliday Ties Get Stranger And Stranger As The Days Go By

Or, more to the point: here’s yet another reason to be suspicious of just about everything going on at EPSB.

If you’re reading this, you likely already know who Terry Holliday is. There’s almost no need to link to the countless stories we’ve published filled with gobs of government documents proving his ties to fired former Montgomery County Schools superintendent Joshua Powell. Holliday enabled Powell and spent years excusing and dismissing scandal after scandal after scandal.

Holliday, of course, was run out of the Commonwealth last year by the Beshear Administration.

But whattya know, his daughter, Ellie Holliday, is now the Assistant Director of International School Partnerships at the University of Kentucky College of Education in the Office of the Dean.

The dean? Mary John O’Hair, a friend/confidant of Terry Holliday. And a voting member of the Education Professional Standards Board, which will soon decide whether or not it’s necessary to hold Joshua Powell accountable. The same EPSB of which Holliday was a member.

Terry Holliday’s pal employs his daughter and just happens to sit on the board of the entity set to determine his friend’s future. Surprise!

And you wonder why Kentucky can’t have nice things. Or why there are so many doubts about educational accountability and the EPSB.

The Bevin Administration can’t step in quickly enough.

Note: No, there’s no immediately available evidence of wrongdoing on the part of O’Hair. But Holliday’s verified history, along with well-documented shenanigans that have been pulled at EPSB, makes this not only fair game but worthy of discussion. The appearance of impropriety matters when it comes to something as serious as educational accountability.