Montgomery Co Mess Gets Crazier, Your Support Is Necessary

Phil Rison (here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here), of Montgomery County infamy, and his attorney from KASA, Wayne Young (here, here, here, here, here), are attempting to include me on a witness list for his upcoming hearing. Yes, despite retiring so as not to be fired for everything he’s done (not allegedly — there’s video, audio, government documents from open records requests, police reports, Education Professional Standards Board investigation records, signed agreements), Rison is pushing ahead with a due process hearing. It’s what many people believe is KASA’s last ditch attempt to prevent superintendents from being fired by school boards. They’re also attempting to do this in other lawsuits.

Here’s the deal: I’m a journalist, like it or not, and have an established history.

I’m on the state government press list. I’m on the White House press list. Various campaigns recognize me as press. Other media outlets recognize me as press.

A taste in text:

  • Governor Steve Beshear
  • Governor Ernie Fletcher
  • The Family Foundation of Kentucky (yes, even them)
  • State Auditor of Public Accounts Adam Edelen
  • Attorney General Jack Conway
  • Large PR firms
  • MSNBC
  • New York Times
  • Washington Post
  • Senator Mitch McConnell
  • Senator Rand Paul
  • Congressman John Yarmuth
  • Republican Party of Kentucky
  • Chronicle of Higher Education
  • Churchill Downs
  • Louisville Metro Council
  • Louisville Metro Government
  • Lexington Mayor Jim Gray
  • Education and Workforce Development Cabinet
  • Various judges
  • Kentucky State Police

A taste in pictures:





I don’t testify during hearings. I don’t give up confidential sources. There’s nothing you can do to compel that. There’s a shield law for a reason. I don’t and won’t answer your questions about who is or is not a source, what someone said or didn’t say, how someone did or didn’t tell me something or whether or not you know what you’re talking about.

Are you people that simple? Really?

As a journalist who protects sources? I will not be bullied by you backward-ass rednecks in the same way you’ve gone after Alice Anderson, Sharon Smith-Breiner, Michelle Henry, Amanda Reffitt, Kelly Johnson, Bill Morgan, Jennifer Hall, Kelly Wallace, Brian Wallace, Jim Dusso, Gene Heffington, Marcia Duanaway, Alicia Sneed, Michelle Williams and countless others.

But if you want to try make me the story? Want to try to blame me for reporting everything with documentation to back it up? I’ll stand up for the people you’ve wronged and an army of people will stand up with me. If you think I’m joking, watch what’s about to happen over the next couple months.

Folks can donate here (at the bottom of the page) if you want to confidentially help me fund a legal effort to shut that crap down. While there’s a shield law, it still requires legal action to shut it down. $5, $500, $2,000, whatever. I’ll send you a nerdy magnet for your support:











I’ve ignored their personal attacks for years. I’ve ignored their attempts to use homophobia in an attempt to undermine the evidence. But. Enough is enough.

Support here:





Or here.

Fancy Farm Sleepy Times In 3, 2…

Marshall County voters have chosen by a slim margin to allow alcohol sales for the first time since 1938. [H-L]

Sen. Bernie Sanders blasted Senate Republicans Wednesday for working to defund Planned Parenthood, calling it “an attack on women’s health.” [HuffPo]

When Gov. Steve Beshear replaced the Rev. Kevin Cosby on the University of Louisville’s Board of Trustees last month, he did more than remove his only African-American appointment on the board. He also removed his only appointee who has not been a strong and steady contributor to Beshear’s political causes. Note: You’ll love seeing Terry Sebastian deliberately and purposefully lie to Tom Loftus. [C-J/AKN]

Could an excess of caution hurt Hillary Clinton? This query is coming to the fore again after she dodged a question on Tuesday over whether she supports or opposes building the Keystone XL Pipeline. It’s like watching the Grimes Campaign on a national stage. [The Hill]

Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner James Comer says food stamp benefits can be used at an increasing number of farmers’ markets in the state. Which means ignorant people in, say, West Liberty are going to scream about how all benefits recipients ought to be drug tested. [WLKY]

Some Republicans gleefully scripted Donald Trump’s political obituary in the wake of his scathing comments about Sen. John McCain’s military service earlier this month, hoping that his freewheeling presidential campaign had finally imploded. [Reuters]

Republican Matt Bevin said Tuesday that if elected governor he would not immediately end the state’s expansion of eligibility for the federal-state Medicaid program, contrary to what he said for months. [Al Cross]

In the US, poverty, deprivation and exploitation draw thousands of its own children down into a dark underworld that offers few ways out. [BBC]

Rowan County argued it is “immune from suit” and that a recent federal lawsuit against the county and its clerk Kim Davis fails to find fault with the county government since Davis decided not to issue marriage licenses last month. [Ashland Independent]

Senator Rand Paul is invested in a fund that would skyrocket in value if the United States economy were to default. He’d also like your vote for president. [The Nation]

Christopher D. Steward, a former Barren County magistrate, was served with an arrest warrant early Thursday morning and charged with third-degree terroristic threatening, fourth-degree assault (minor injury) and menacing, according to documents released by the Barren County Sheriff’s Office. [Glasgow Daily Times]

It’s not easy being the DEA these days. After an unprecedented losing streak on Capitol Hill, the once-untouchable Drug Enforcement Administration suffered last week what might be considered the ultimate indignity: A Senate panel, for the first time, voted in favor of legal, recreational marijuana. [Higdon/Politico]

Convenient that this AP story doesn’t mention that people dressed up as Native Americans will chase you for a fee. Because Kentucky can’t do anything without a touch of racism, apparently. [H-L]

Seven in 10 homeowners who apply for help under the federal government’s signature mortgage aid program are rejected, according to a government report released Wednesday. The program, called the Home Affordable Modification Program, is meant to help homeowners who are at risk of foreclosure stay in their homes by reducing their monthly mortgage. [HuffPo]

Paper Trail Raises Concern About Commissioner of Education Terry Holliday’s Recent Testimony

Remember when Commissioner of Education Terry Holliday pleaded ignorance of anything going on with fired former Montgomery County Schools superintendent Joshua Powell?

Click here to review the deposition and related shenanigans if your memory is fuzzy.

Well…

Turns out there’s a paper trail that suggests Holliday knew more than he claimed. Check out this email from Holliday’s right-hand to an individual who went to him regarding the Powell mess. His name is Jim Dusso.


THE EMAIL

Text:

From: “Smith, Jody – Office of the Commissioner of Education”
Date: January 23, 2014 4:13:48 PM
To: “jimdusso
Subject: Meeting request

Hi Jim. I talked with Dr. Holliday and due to his schedule and the nature of your call, he would like for you to initially meet/talk with staff attorney Dave Wickersham. Our Associate Commissioner of Legal Services, Kevin Brown, may also be in attendance. You will find Mr. Wickersham to be kind and courteous, and most importantly, very knowledgeable and professional.
Shall I have David contact you? Or you may email him to set up a time to meet. His office is on the 1st floor of the Capital Plaza Tower, 500 Mero Street, Frankfort.

David.wickersham@education.ky.gov
Phone 502-564-4474, ext. 4833

If I can further help facilitate this meeting, let me know.
Thanks.

Jody Smith
Executive Secretary/Scheduler
Office of the Commissioner
Ky. Dept. of Education
502-564-3141 ext. 4806

Remember Dusso?

Dusso requested a meeting to discuss Powell’s directive for him (Dusso) to alter an employee’s evaluation.

Holliday’s secretary discussed it with him. Holliday knew darn well what was going on.

Are Fayette County Schools Just Terrible?

In the 2013-2014 school year, Nicole Jenkins said, her then 8-year-old son witnessed a friend “being called the n-word on the school bus.” “Later that year,” Jenkins said, “he and a Hispanic friend were called the n-word. Finally, … he was called a baboon by a classmate” at Meadowthorpe Elementary School. [H-L]

After the Republican Party took a drubbing at the polls on Election Day 2012, RNC Chairman Reince Priebus ordered an autopsy. The party, the coroner’s report found a few months later, had alienated women and minorities and came off as plutocratic. [HuffPo]

Fire investigators have blamed the total loss of a General Electric warehouse on outdated Appliance Park equipment that failed when fire crews rushed to the scene April 3. [C-J/AKN]

The FBI on Friday announced the arrests in Oakland of two animal rights activists, Joseph Buddenberg and Nicole Kissane, and accused the pair of engaging in “domestic terrorism.” This comes less than a month after the FBI director said he does not consider Charleston Church murderer Dylann Roof a “terrorist.” The activists’ alleged crimes: “They released thousands of minks from farms around the country and vandalized various properties.” That’s it. Now they’re being prosecuted and explicitly vilified as “terrorists,” facing 10-year prison terms. [The Intercept]

The U.S. Supreme Court ruling that states must recognize same-sex marriages is roiling Kentucky and pulling in other parties who probably would rather stay out of the controversy. [Ronnie Ellis]

Consumers of organic foods are getting both more and less than they bargained for. On both counts, it’s not good. When will people quit it with pseudoscience and Ferd Berb wooery? Organic doesn’t equal magic and GMOs are not the devil. [Forbes]

This may be the funniest story of the entire 2015 campaign. [Kentucky New Era]

U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter is due to meet with senior military leaders on Thursday to map out his budget priorities for the coming year, the Pentagon’s chief weapons buyer said on Tuesday. [Reuters]

Glasgow Mayor Dick Doty announced at Monday night’s city council meeting the three finalists for the position of police chief. [Glasgow Daily Times]

All these articles act as if Rand really thought he had a shot at winning the presidency. And is it really a bad thing that he’s not trying to sell his rear end for campaign cash? Really? This all bodes extremely well for his U.S. Senate campaign. No, this doesn’t mean we’re fans. [Politico]

Seriously? This guy was arrested for shooting down a drone flying over his property? Most of you reading this would do the same damn thing and so would we. [WDRB]

Half of American adults had their personal information exposed to hackers last year alone. In a recent attack at the federal Office of Personnel Management, hackers stole the most sensitive personal data for 21.5 million people. [NY Times]

Lexington leaders from city government, education and business gathered Monday evening to announce their goal of obtaining accreditation from the National Safety Council as a “safe community.” [H-L]

After a group of GOP senators huddled Tuesday afternoon to discuss the recently released undercover “sting” videos of Planned Parenthood, Republicans unveiled legislation to strip the family planning provider of its federal funding. [HuffPo]

Matt Bevin Gets More Lost By The Day

New TV ads in Kentucky’s race for governor focus not on the candidates but on Democratic President Barack Obama. [H-L]

A bill that critics say would make any significant new regulation all but impossible easily passed the House Tuesday. [HuffPo]

Matt Bevin has no idea who his opponent is. His campaign staff is so incompetent they aren’t even aware of the most basic opposition research. [C-J/AKN]

Civil libertarians are worried about an increasingly common form of domestic surveillance that has nothing to do with listening to your phone calls or reading your emails; it has to do with looking through your garbage. [The Intercept]

When a festival benefits the humane society, you can presume pets are welcome. [Richmond Register]

For seven years, a Wisconsin telecom consultant has waged an unsuccessful legal fight against AT&T, alleging that the company long defrauded a federal program by overcharging the nation’s schools and libraries for Internet and telephone services. Now an appeals court in the District of Columbia has given new life to his case. [ProPublica]

It’s not just Kentucky’s Legislative Research Commission that will pay to settle a sexual harassment suit brought by three LRC staffers. [Ronnie Ellis]

Rather than being an effective manifesto of all the arguments against recognizing same-sex relationships as marriages, it serves as a guide for just how weak this already-lost case is, and why continued fights — including the ongoing struggle over using “religious liberty” to justify anti-gay discrimination — will likely not prevail either. Some extremists in Frankfort have been talking about this book. [ThinkProgress]

Cave City Council met in closed session Monday during a special-called meeting to discuss real estate. Upon returning to open session, a motion was made to purchase “the real estate in question,” but the council voted 3-2 not to buy the land. [Glasgow Daily Times]

On the campaign trail, Jeb Bush has repeatedly emphasized his record overseeing Florida’s boom economy as the state’s governor. He says it’s an example of an economy that created a huge number of jobs and benefited the middle class — an example of what he could do as president. “I know how to do this,” he said in Maitland, Fla., on Monday. But according to interviews with economists and a review of data, Florida owed a substantial portion of its growth under Bush not to any state policies but to a massive and unsustainable housing bubble — one that ultimately benefited rich investors at the expense of middle-class families. [WaPo]

A grand jury has indicted Shepherdsville Mayor Scott Ellis on a misdemeanor criminal charge of solicitation to prostitution on July 28. [WHAS11]

A new study of veterans from the Vietnam War has troubling implications for troops who fought much more recently — in Afghanistan and Iraq. [NPR]

Courthouse Plaza Wednesday flared in the midday heat and fiery chants of a crowd that assembled in downtown Lexington to oppose Planned Parenthood and abortion. [H-L]

Russian government-backed hackers who penetrated high-profile U.S. government and defense industry computers this year used a method combining Twitter with data hidden in seemingly benign photographs, according to experts studying the campaign. [HuffPo]

Greg Fischer: Still Not Remotely Transparent

A religious group is threatening to sue the state of Kentucky over a year-old policy that prohibits anti-gay comments to youths at the state’s juvenile detention centers. [H-L]

Disastrous sea level rise is an issue for today’s public. [HuffPo]

Of course Greg Fischer’s stunt broke state law. Did anyone ever expect this man to truly be transparent? To truly be up-front? Please. Not even the Brown Family is in his corner. First-rate shyster that the Democrats are afraid to oust. The news director of WAVE-3 is accusing Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer of violating Kentucky’s open meetings law after banning photographs and video footage during a press briefing to review new designs for the downtown Omni Hotel project. [C-J/AKN]

The Senate on Sunday rejected a GOP-led amendment to repeal ObamaCare that fell several votes short of a 60-vote threshold to advance. [The Hill]

Pension spikes have become the city’s newest finance problem, and the board of commissioners is wondering how to handle this unbudgeted expense. [Ashland Independent]

The Associated Press is making thousands of hours of archival news footage available on YouTube. [NPR]

One of the defining characteristics of democracy in the 21st century is that nearly every member of the public can watch the government in action. Through live broadcasts and daily TV news reports, citizens can see and hear the deliberations and decisions that affect their daily lives. [WAVE3]

The U.S. government is violating a 1997 settlement by detaining unauthorized immigrant children, and an order may be forthcoming to require the release of the minors and parents detained with them, a judge in California has ruled. [Reuters]

A death investigation is underway in Bell County after a man was bitten by a snake Sunday during a church service. [WKYT]

Studies have shown time and again that humans are pretty effective at driving other animals to extinction — but a new study published in Science this week suggests that when it comes to some species, that blame might have been misplaced. [ThinkProgress]

Climate change will begin to have a demonstrative effect on Kentucky’s economy within five years. [WFPL]

New York state recently announced an increase in the minimum wage for fast food workers, to $15 an hour. It’s the fruit of a three-year labor campaign. But there’s another group of workers out there that hasn’t had a real wage increase in decades. [NPR]

Wealthy libertarians are giving big to Republican presidential candidate Rand Paul. Three super PACs supporting the Kentucky senator say they raised a combined $6 million through June 30. [H-L]

President Barack Obama freed dozen of nonviolent offenders earlier this month to draw attention to the harsh and often unfair sentences given under mandatory minimum sentencing rules for drug offenders. [HuffPo]