Watching Kim Davis Lose Is A Relief

HELP PROTECT OUR SOURCES! Stop the Montgomery County-Joshua Powell-Phil Rison insanity! [CLICK HERE]

The Kentucky Board of Education voted Tuesday to move five candidates forward in the search for the next state education commissioner. The candidates, who have not been named, are in-state and out-of-state educators. However, the board did not preclude adding finalists when it meets Friday in Lexington, before the start of second-round interviews. [H-L]

Last week, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration issued a dire report about the state of the planet: July 2015 was the earth’s warmest month on record, dating back to 1880. [HuffPo]

The 6th Circuit Court of Appeals has denied a request from Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis to stay a federal injunction that called on her to provide marriage licenses to same-sex couples. [C-J/AKN]

The secretly recorded videos of Planned Parenthood officials discussing how fetal tissue may be used for medical research spurred Republican governors in several states to announce a cutoff of Medicaid funds to the group’s clinics. This certainly won’t make Matt Bevin and other opportunist buttcramps happy. [LA Times]

The Madison Fiscal Court voted Tuesday to join the county school and library boards in opposing Eastern Kentucky University’s effort to exempt from property taxes the privately owned Grand Campus residential complex it leases. [Richmond Register]

A small group of county clerks in Kentucky have said that they will defy the Supreme Court’s decision on marriage equality and refuse to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. One of them, Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis, recently lost her case in federal court and is likely to lose on appeal. [Right Wing Watch]

Big Run Landfill supporters made their strongest effort yet to speak up for jobs at the waste facility that has been at the center of controversy in Boyd County for more than a year. About 500 attended Tuesday’s public hearing with the Department of Environmental Protection to record comments regarding the site’s current permit renewal application being deliberated upon by the state. [Ashland Independent]

The nation’s second-most powerful court handed a victory to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Tuesday, dismissing a challenge to a five-year-old agency rule that puts restrictions on investment advisers’ contributions to political campaigns. [The Hill]

Wondering just how confused and scared people in Eastern Kentucky happen to be when it comes to the gays? The SCOTUS is taking away all their freedumbs. [The Morehead News]

Applications for U.S. home mortgages edged up last week as interest rates declined, an industry group said on Wednesday. [Reuters]

Foiled in state court, a Jefferson County Public Schools teacher filed a federal court suit Monday claiming the Kentucky Teachers’ Retirement System illegally raised teachers’ share of pension contributions to shore up a retirement plan that is only half-funded. They sure have shopped this story around an awful lot. [WFPL]

After the Charleston, S.C, church shootings, Kentucky banned the sale of Confederate flag merchandise at its state fair next year. Vendors are under pressure not to sell it at this year’s fair. [NPR]

A state ethics panel has filed two additional charges of misconduct against Pike Circuit Judge Steven D. Combs, who has been suspended while awaiting a hearing. The new charges allege that Combs presided over a number of cases involving EQT Production Co. but failed to properly disclose that he has a financial relationship with the company. [H-L]

How did the four planets known as gas and ice giants form in the early solar system? The latest theory on Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune just received a big boost from a new computer modeling study. [HuffPo]

Where There’s A Groob, There’s Turmoil

But you already knew that.

Remember the Gateway mess in Northern Kentucky?

Here’s the latest:

The first two weeks of August haven’t been the greatest for Gateway Community and Technical College as the college’s students head back to class Monday.

Last week, long-standing conflicts among state and local school administrators and the college’s board of directors exploded into public view. That eruption comes at a time when questions about the performance of one of Northern Kentucky’s most important workforce development tools have resurfaced, raised by a candidate for Kentucky governor.

-SNIP-

Yet board chairman Jeff Groob remained unapologetic about his role in raising questions and the board’s recent actions.

-SNIP-

But Jay Box, president of the Kentucky Community and Technical College System, said that the local board only has “an advisory role” and that Groob and the rest of the board “was way out of line” in allowing public comments about personnel matters at the Aug. 6 board meeting.

-SNIP-

Jim Parsons, a well-known local attorney and former civic administrator who chairs the Gateway Foundation Board and sits on several other civic boards including TANK, was heard by this reporter calling Groob “a complete a******” before storming out of the building.

“It really wasn’t much of a conversation,” Groob said. “I don’t know how he (Parsons) got so angry.”

-SNIP-

Box criticized how Groob handled the meeting.

“The action of having the students testify at that board meeting was out of order as was a board to getting into personnel issues,” Box said. “

Box added that Groob and the board should have directed those students to make their comments to Hughes.

You’ll want to click here to read all about it.

Then roll you eyes really hard as you remember this is all Steve Beshear’s fault for involving these shysters.

And you wonder why Kentucky can’t have nice things.

Major Matt Bevin Pee Alert Moment

Okay. Watch these 16 minutes with Matt Bevin and the Mountain Advocate:



Highlights:

  • He grew up with no central heat
  • Lots of fake smiles
  • Zero use of “Commonwealth”
  • No specifics for Eastern Kentucky, just generalizations
  • Blamed EPA for everything
  • Nope, wait. Blamed the government for everything
  • Educational hypocrisies galore
  • Suggested school district audits are bad but wants to audit other agencies
  • Said transparency is great but offers no transparency about his experience(s)
  • PLANNED PARENTHOOD BOOGIEMAN!!!1!
  • He knows they don’t “harvest baby parts” for profit but continues the lie because… stupid?
  • Says all the factual claims made about him are lies
  • Bigots have rights, too. Burn the gays!
  • Derp derp derp

Still wondering why most people — including folks in the McConnell world — think Matt Bevin is an embarrassment?

Jack Conway may be a terrible candidate but… good grief.

Enjoy the weekend!

We’ve Got Work To Do In Rural Kentucky

Loving rural Appalachia can be tough when people in positions of power spout hate and ignorance at every turn.

Take this deputy sheriff in Harlan County for instance:


THE DEPUTY

His face is blurred with the hope that people like him will snap out of it.

He’s got a penchant for freaking out about people who aren’t white. With a healthy dose of Islamophobia:











CLICK EACH TO ENLARGE

Complete with intentionally misleading crap about the very people he’s tasked with protecting — the most impoverished people in the state.

And gay or transgender individuals? Yep, backward and fearful there, as well:


CLICK EACH TO ENLARGE

Still wondering what’s wrong with rural Eastern Kentucky?

Elected leaders and law enforcement are freaking out about ISIS and spreading general ignorance. If you don’t think it spreads like wildfire as a result, just visit any rural community in the state.

We’re better than this, Kentucky. We’ve got to be better than this.

Pee Alert: Frankfort Redistricting Reform

In the Herald-Leader on April 23, 2013:

Gov. Steve Beshear signed a bill into law Friday that changes boundaries for legislative districts, potentially ending nearly two years of wrangling by lawmakers over how to redraw the maps.

Three federal judges overseeing the legislature’s efforts will have the final say on the constitutionality of the House and Senate districts that the two chambers signed off on Friday before Beshear signed the bill into law.

“I expect these maps will withstand legal scrutiny, so all Kentuckians can be assured of appropriate representation in the General Assembly,” Beshear said in a statement.

The House voted 79-18 Friday morning to approve the redistricting bill soon after the Senate had passed it 35-2, reflecting broad bipartisan support.

-SNIP-

The bill Beshear signed Friday starkly contrasts with a measure passed last year that was struck down as unconstitutional by the Kentucky Supreme Court. That plan would have essentially forced some Republican representatives and Democratic senators out of the legislature. The partisan bickering that resulted from those efforts led to lawsuits that slowed Kentucky’s enactment of new boundary lines.

The Senate State and Local Government Committee made slight changes Thursday to the 13th Senate District in Lexington, held by Sen. Kathy Stein, a Democrat. The committee removed five precincts from Stein’s district, including the home precinct of Elisabeth Jensen, who is seeking the Democratic nomination for Central Kentucky’s 6th Congressional District.

Jensen acknowledged Friday that she had been asked to consider seeking Stein’s seat if Stein is appointed to a vacant seat in Fayette Circuit Court. Stein has said she would be honored to be considered for the judgeship.

-SNIP-

Friday’s legislative action is likely to trigger a new round of court motions asking the federal judges to review the new boundaries.

Chris Wiest, a lawyer who represents several Northern Kentucky residents in the federal lawsuit, said there have been concerns that many Republican districts have higher numbers of voters than Democratic districts in the new House map.

The redrawn House boundaries put four incumbent Democrats and four incumbent Republicans in the same districts. The Senate proposal would pit no incumbents against each other.

All kinds of smoke and mirrors then.

And this past Saturday:

Yet, as with other arcane mechanisms, such as your car’s engine, neglect brings on system failure.

Fortunately, the U.S. Supreme Court has kept open a path to help save democracy from breakdown. Under a June 29 ruling, states are free to shift all or part of the responsibility for apportioning congressional and legislative districts from legislatures to independent commissions.

Now would be the ideal time for Kentucky to join this reform movement. The next Census is five years off — enough breathing room to concentrate on doing what’s right, rather than how to rig the 2022 elections and beyond to advantage particular politicians or parties.

Redistricting is a decennial low point for the General Assembly. The attempt in 2012 was such a brazenly self-serving fiasco that, even before it was thrown out by the courts, Gov. Steve Beshear called for creating a non-partisan, citizen-based group to guide the process in the future.

-SNIP-

None of the ideas for reform have gained traction in a legislature unwilling to give up power. But every now and then, lawmakers do what’s best for Kentucky even at their political peril.

With a push from the public, this could be one of those moments. The reward would be competitive elections in districts that represent genuine communities of interest.

-SNIP-

Unlike in Arizona, Kentucky can’t initiate a ballot question allowing voters to reform redistricting. Kentucky voters could have a say if the legislature put it to them in the form of a much-needed constitutional amendment. The section in need of change is 124 years old and was tailored for an agrarian state with less than half the current residents.

Equal populations are fundamental to representative districts. Ill-considered state Supreme Court rulings have made it impossible to create districts anywhere close to equal populations without slicing and dicing populous counties. This muffles and distorts the voices of the places where Kentuckians are flocking and that are creating jobs — a loss in representation that hurts the whole state.

It’s been going on all these years. But the state legislature, controlled by a thin Democratic majority, has killed it at every turn.

This is why we can’t have nice things.

Come On, Matt Bevin, Quit The Schadenfreude (Just Kidding. Don’t.)

The Council on Postsecondary Education is holding a series of public meetings around the state to get input on a new five-year plan to guide Kentucky’s higher education and adult education systems. Don’t worry, this won’t matter. Don’t get too excited about it. [H-L]

A 94-year-old former SS sergeant who served at the Auschwitz death camp has been convicted on 300,000 counts of accessory to murder. [HuffPo]

Since Bevin accused the newspaper of continually trying to perpetuate lies about what he said, I went back and found every reference to him and early childhood education and every reference to him and Head Start after that. [C-J/AKN]

President Obama challenged Republicans to back the nuclear agreement with Iran, arguing it would allow a future GOP president to keep a stronger check on Tehran’s nuclear ambitions. Obama conceded few, if any, GOP elected officials will back the deal. But he called out Sen. Rand Paul by name, asking whether the 2016 presidential hopeful would support the agreement. [The Hill]

State government faces an unexpected $5 million to $6 million increase in personnel costs in a couple of years but the impact of an Internal Revenue Service ruling could have an even bigger impact on budgets of local governments and school districts. State officials have been informed by the IRS they must start withholding Social Security and Medicare taxes from employees’ contributions to their pension plans and the state — or local government employer — will have to match those contributions. [Ronnie Ellis]

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s campaign on Tuesday inadvertently tweeted a promotional photo featuring what appeared to be Nazi German soldiers superimposed on the U.S. flag alongside the controversial real estate magnate’s face. [Reuters]

People in Cave City don’t know how to parallel park and old ladies are losing their minds. Two downtown business owners approached the city council Monday night, complaining about the parallel parking along Broadway Street. [Glasgow Daily Times]

Why choosing the right surgeon matters even more than you know. In February 2012, LaVerne Stiles went to Citrus Memorial Hospital near her home in central Florida for what should have been a routine surgery. [ProPublica]

Numerous homes were damaged or destroyed, family gardens were leveled, and dozens of vehicles were submerged by rushing floodwaters after a flash flood ripped through parts of eastern Rowan County. [The Morehead News]

In three sentences laying out his overarching theory of government, Walker appears to align himself with political theorists, some of whom died more than a century ago, who would radically dismantle the American system of government. He also appears to align himself with more modern constitutional theorists who wish to reinstate long-discredited Supreme Court cases that would eliminate much of the legal framework protecting workers from exploitation. [ThinkProgress]

Tuesday evening’s storms dumped heavy rain on much eastern Kentucky. Many people had to be rescued from their homes because of the high water. [WKYT]

Climate change risks should be assessed in the same way as threats to national security or public health according to a new report. [BBC]

Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes’ efforts to allow online voter registration in Kentucky kept moving through the legislative process Tuesday, though one lawmaker tried to derail it. [H-L]

The New Horizons mission to Pluto has been a dream come true for scientists, who’ve waited years to get their first close-up glimpse of the distant dwarf planet. But some of the informal names they’re giving its distinctive features are straight out of nightmares. [HuffPo]