Let’s Allow The Pension Systems Die

Because that would be more worthwhile than trying to protect them from middlemen and thieves.

Remember Robert Klausner?

We mentioned him quite a bit when we were relentlessly covering Kentucky Retirement Systems.


We hear KRS general counsel Eric Wampler has moved to the KTRS and he’s hired… wait for it… Robert Klausner.

Fascinating how those incestuous systems work.

This is why Kentucky can’t have nice things.

Mainstream Racist Freakout Continues

Kentucky legislators, who often call for greater transparency from the struggling state employee pension system, keep their own retirement accounts in a much better-financed system that publicly offers no information about itself. [John Cheves]

Pushing back against efforts to bar Syrian refugees from resettling in the U.S., President Barack Obama vowed Saturday that his country will be a welcoming place for millions fleeing violence around the world “as long as I’m president.” [HuffPo]

This story originally ran in late January. Twenty-one Syrian refugees will arrive in Louisville over the next two weeks, a figure expected to increase in Kentucky and beyond as the U.S. begins to take in an expanded number of refugees fleeing Syria’s bloody civil war. [C-J/AKN]

During the 1930s and early 1940s, the United States resisted accepting large numbers of Jewish refugees escaping the Nazi terror sweeping Europe, in large part because of fearmongering by a small but vocal crowd. They claimed that the refugees were communist or anarchist infiltrators intent on spreading revolution; that refugees were part of a global Jewish-capitalist conspiracy to take control of the United States from the inside; that the refugees were either Nazis in disguise or under the influence of Nazi agents sent to commit acts of sabotage; and that Jewish refugees were out to steal American jobs. Many rejected Jews simply because they weren’t Christian. [The Intercept]

No one thinks Butler’s switch is a surprise — his Democratic colleagues in Jefferson County have long considered him a Republican. State Rep. Denny Butler is the first Democrat to switch parties in the aftermath of Republican Gov.-elect Matt Bevin’s convincing win and in advance of the November 2016 state legislative races which could switch control of the House to Republicans for the first time since 1921. His switch might not be the last, but his decision was a surprise. [Richmond Register]

Donald Trump’s rhetoric since the Paris terrorist attacks appears to have helped him with GOP primary voters, according to most polls. But Republican insiders are concerned that his words could come back to haunt the party as it seeks to appeal to a broader audience. [The Hill]

If you’ve followed the Montgomery County saga, you’ll love reading about Jefferson County Public Schools violating open records laws. [The ‘Ville Voice]

As you’re pissing and moaning about veterans during a very real refugee crisis, remember what Republicans in Washington have and haven’t done. U.S. Senate Republicans blocked legislation on Thursday that would have expanded federal healthcare and education programs for veterans, saying the $24 billion bill would bust the budget. [Reuters]

Many have written in to ask for a synopsis of what went down with Jamie Comer during the primary. So here are two stories that will help you understand everything. [May 20, 2015 & October 1, 2015]

Two former advisers to Republican presidential candidate Sen. Rand Paul (R-Cookie Tree) were re-indicted by a federal grand jury in Iowa Friday, just weeks after a criminal trial that produced a muddled result. [Politico]

More than 150 students staged a walkout protest Friday morning at East Carter High School over what they allege was the unfair dismissal of a substitute teacher. [Ashland Independent]

It is one of the central political puzzles of our time: Parts of the country that depend on the safety-net programs supported by Democrats are increasingly voting for Republicans who favor shredding that net. [ProPublica]

Matt Bevin said Friday he hopes to present to state lawmakers in the upcoming legislative session a plan to implement a 401(k)-style retirement plan for new state government employees. [H-L]

Several people attending a rally for Donald Trump in Birmingham, Alabama, physically assaulted an African-American protester on Saturday, witnesses said. [HuffPo]

Need cheap mobile phone service? Maybe even for a backup cell phone? I’m talking $6/mo cheap? Use our Ting referral code and we’ll all get a sweet credit. (You get $25 — enough for a couple months of service to determine whether you like it) [Ting]

What We Revealed A Year Ago Today

This story:

There were more than fifteen calls made to law enforcement over the course of an evening from his wife and family members. An Emergency Protective Order was issued but never served. Emergency custody of the children was granted to his wife. There were allegations of serious physical abuse, fears children would be killed by him, fear of suicide, allegations of holding guns to his wife’s head, frightening concerns about a cache of automatic weapons and anxiety over the alleged abuser’s close relationship with a small town sheriff.

The alleged abuser? Montgomery County Schools superintendent Joshua Powell. The wife? Anna Powell, the person the State Auditor of Public Accounts says Joshua Powell illegally hired.

The incident led to a heated scene at a January 2013 school board meeting. Montgomery County’s local newspaper half-covered it without really bothering to dig in. We highlighted it all in May of this year.


Powell swore on the EPO that her husband violently attacked her, abused her for seven years, had about 70 guns in his basement and she feared for her life. Joshua allegedly picked Anna up by the throat on Friday, December 28, 2012. Twice, in her sworn statement, she said she knew he would kill her. Two days later, several counties away, the EPO was filed on December 30, 2012.

Though immediately sent to Montgomery County Sheriff Shortridge, it was never served. We now know that Anna Powell expressed concern to several law enforcement officials about her husband’s close relationship with Shortridge.

Anna later retracted the EPO, as we reported, claiming she was (to paraphrase) having difficulty because of a pregnancy.

The whole thing was just a sad mess. But any time someone on the school board or any concerned citizen asked a question, they were threatened by Powell and other education officials with legal action and retaliation.

So the community left it at that, afraid to pursue anything, left with nothing but unanswered questions.

Thanks to a months-long open records effort, we have obtained copies of law enforcement reports and more than a dozen telephone calls between Anna Powell, her relatives, the sheriff and others in law enforcement. Note: Due to the sensitive nature of the calls we won’t be releasing them in their entirety — or at least not unredacted — even though they’re part of the public record. It would be inappropriate to release telephone numbers, addresses and such. Surely everyone reading this can agree.

The calls tell a much different story than the one shared during that January 2013 school board meeting. Claims made by Anna Powell and her relatives weave together a narrative that’s so far removed from what the public was told that we feel it’s imperative to shine light on the rest of the story.

Montgomery Countians can form their own opinions. The incoming school board can do the same. They all deserve the full story and it has so far been kept from them. Thanks to open records laws (these calls are public record, so move along with your claims of anything different), citizens can now get answers and leave gossiping in the dust.

Before listening: please keep in mind that the Powells have small children who deserve love and support. Their marital problems and whether or not they exist would typically be no one’s business — they’re only public because they made them public in late 2012 and early 2013 by filing an EPO and involving law enforcement. The real issue here is comparing what was said publicly and what was said during a number of calls to law enforcement.

Here we are a year later and it’s still one of the most talked about stories in Montgomery County.

You definitely want to listen to those 15 calls to police if you haven’t yet done so. A terrifying and fascinating glimpse at root of the problems still plaguing the school district.

Radcliff Mayor Has Something Big To Hide

Remember Mike Weaver? He’s the guy you thought was senile when he ran for congress way back when (2nd District, 2006). He’s the guy Gen. Wesley Clark told me — way back in 2006 at Charle Owen’s house — shouldn’t be left alone or without adult supervision.

He’s now the mayor of Radcliff. Crazy, yes, but not the craziest thing about him.

Check this crap out — he’s demanding videos council meetings be destroyed!

From the News-Enterprise:

The city of Radcliff made a request this month to have all videos posted to the Hardin County Educational and Community Tele­vi­sion website of city council meetings deleted and all DVD copies destroyed.

“None of the other government bodies have ever requested that before,” HCEC Director Gina Ryan said.


Ryan said she received a letter from the city of Radcliff requesting all such programs prior to Sept. 1, 2015, be deleted or destroyed and then to send some form of documentation stating videos of the meetings were deleted or destroyed and by what manner.

The letter said training received by the city through the Kentucky Department of Libraries and Archives stated recorded documentation of any kind of council meetings, audio, video or paper, were not needed to be kept or archived 30 days past the approval of the minutes for any public meeting, according to Radcliff Mayor Mike Weaver.


“It’s legal and I thought we should do this,” Weaver said.

If the videos have any value beyond 30 days after minutes are approved, Weaver said he doesn’t know what it would be.


Councilman T.W. Shortt said he learned of the request when he contacted HCEC-TV to get copies of particular council meetings.

“I spoke with Weaver about his justification for requesting destruction of the files and he responded by talking in circles,” Shortt said in an email.

Utter nonsense.

Mike Weaver, long tied directly to the Steve Henry-Jerry Lundergan circle of good old boys, has something to hide. There’s no other excuse for destroying public information.

People in Radcliff are asking the OAG and feds to step in. So… this should end really well.


All Eyes On Appalachia As Stivers Embarrasses, Abandons His Suffering Constituents

Construction on a Noah’s Ark attraction in northern Kentucky is sailing along, and the builders say they’re ready to announce an opening date. [H-L]

The prevailing view that addiction is a disease, just like depression or diabetes, is wrong, according to a leading neuroscientist. Marc Lewis, the author of Memoirs of an Addicted Brain and The Biology of Desire, insists that addiction is not a disease and that presenting it as such is harmful. [HuffPo]

Oh, man, Dan Johnson really let Jack Conway have it in his letter to the editor. [C-J/AKN]

America’s poorest white town: abandoned by coal, swallowed by drugs. In the first of a series of dispatches from the US’s poorest communities, we visit Beattyville, Kentucky, blighted by a lack of jobs and addiction to ‘hillbilly heroin’. [The Guardian]

Gov.-elect Matt Bevin’s pledge to scale back the Medicaid expansion and dismantle Kynect, Kentucky’s award-winning health insurance exchange, has caused concern among health clinics. [Business First]

Senate Republicans are divided over how far to go with an ObamaCare repeal bill that they plan to send to the president’s desk by year’s end. [The Hill]

Bob Stivers, one of the most gluttonous hypocrites in Frankfort, represents one of Kentucky’s poorest regions. So here he is advocating FOR killing health care by claiming the savings will help shore up the troubled pension system. Still wondering why his staff have slowly abandoned him over the past few years? Now you know. [CN|Toot]

The advertisement portrays the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau as a roomful of bureaucratic automatons mercilessly stamping “DENIED” on loan applications, beneath Soviet-style banners depicting CFPB’s director, Richard Cordray, and its principal architect, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass. But the ad does not disclose that the group sponsoring it is led by lobbyists for Navient, a student loan company that the CFPB is currently investigating for allegedly cheating student loan borrowers. [The Intercept]

Kentucky’s latest quarterly coal report shows new recent lows in the state’s coal employment and production. During the third quarter of 2015, Kentucky’s mines employed only 9,356 workers — a more than 50 percent decline from this quarter in 2011. Coal production is also at the lowest point since the 1960s. [WFPL]

David Bass, who served 21 years in the U.S. Army, says he tried medical marijuana in a moment of desperation. He suffered from chronic pain and PTSD as a result of multiple active duty tours in Iraq, and his doctor at the VA gave him intense narcotic and psychotropic drugs. [ThinkProgress]

The Glasgow-Barren County Tourist and Convention Commission became one of two tourist commissions that have agreed to help fund the salary of an administrative assistant who will help with the development of a master plan to connect area trails. [Glasgow Daily Times]

At the end of June, ProPublica and The Virginian-Pilot kicked off an investigation into the potential effects of Agent Orange on the children and grandchildren of Vietnam War-era veterans. [ProPublica]

As Fox Business News was cutting away to commercial almost an hour into Tuesday night’s Republican debate, U.S. Sen. Rand Paul could be seen walking toward the moderators. [H-L]

Undercover video recorded by an animal rights activist at one of the largest U.S. pork producers appears to show pigs being beaten and dragged across the slaughterhouse floor as workers cheer and throw blood-soaked towels at one another. [HuffPo]

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Jorbs Are Leaving NEKY Like Woah Now

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The city of Frankfort is considering a resolution that would establish a needle exchange program. [H-L]

Love him or hate him, few people until recently would deny that Sen. Rand Paul (R-Cookie Tree) has a unique brand as an independent, libertarian-leaning Republican, which he has successfully leveraged to national fame. [HuffPo]

About 500 soldiers from Fort Campbell’s 101st Airborne Division will deploy to Iraq and Kuwait early next year to lead the effort to train Iraqi forces battling the Islamic State, U.S. Army officials said. [C-J/AKN]

Sen. Marco Rubio (Nation’s Hang Down) slammed his colleague Sen. Rand Paul (Cookie Tree) as a “committed isolationist” as the pair sparred over taxes in the fourth GOP presidential debate Tuesday. [The Hill]

Circuit Judge Phillip Patton had told most everyone he didn’t want any sort of a gathering planned in recognition of his upcoming retirement. [Glasgow Daily Times]

About half of California’s undocumented immigrants are poor enough to qualify for Medi-Cal, the state’s insurance program for its poorest residents, according to a new report. [Reuters]

The Germans weren’t raining fire on Normandy’s Omaha Beach when Bill McKenney, 92, was working to unload ammunition from Allied ships, but the beach was still a dangerous place. [Richmond Register]

In its ongoing Failure Factories series, the Tampa Bay Times is investigating the disastrous effects of the Pinellas County School Board’s 2007 decision to abandon school integration in favor of “neighborhood schools.” Schools in high-poverty black communities were promised additional funding and resources. Then the promises weren’t met, and performance at the schools has plummeted. [ProPublica]

The possible loss of hundreds of jobs, even if temporary, in northeast Kentucky, and the trickle-down ramifications have caught the attention of the state’s highest officials. [Ashland Independent]

How is marriage equality like being forced to own a giraffe? Oddly enough, that’s what passes for legal analysis at the Mississippi Supreme Court, where two justices testily dissented from a routine order recognizing that the Supreme Court’s landmark gay rights decision in Obergefell v. Hodges does indeed apply in the state of Mississippi. In one dissenting opinion, Justice Josiah Coleman compared Obergefell to hypothetical court decisions giving each U.S. Supreme Court justice a 5 million salary or requiring all members of a minority group to be sent to work camps. He also likens the Court’s marriage equality decision to “a United States Supreme Court decision that held the Constitution of the United States required every household in America to own a giraffe.” [ThinkProgress]

Rowan School Supt. Marvin Moore had a chance to meet with the state’s new commissioner of education, Dr. Stephen Pruitt, at the recent Kentucky Educational Development Corporation (KEDC) meeting. [The Morehead News]

Matthew Barzun, the American ambassador to the Court of St. James’s, stood before a buzzing, boisterous audience of several hundred teenagers in a poor borough on the southern edge of greater London and asked them what frustrated or concerned them the most about the United States. [NY Times]

State Rep. Stan Lee has prefiled a bill for the 2016 General Assembly that would allow home-schooled students to play athletics on public school teams. [H-L]

As friends and family gathered Tuesday at the funeral of Tyshawn Lee — one of the youngest Chicago residents lost to gun violence this year — to mourn and remember the boy, Father Michael Pfleger delivered a fiery eulogy indicting the city over the execution of a 9-year-old child. [HuffPo]