Get Ready For The Stumbo Meltdown

What’s that nonsense about caring about Eastern Kentucky again? Kentucky may be the nation’s third-leading coal producer, but over the years it has increasingly turned to other states to supply coal for its power plants. [H-L]

Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush on Friday proposed an overhaul of the U.S. welfare system that would eliminate what he called failing programs for the poor and send the federal dollars from them to the states to develop their own plans. [HuffPo]

Another week, another attack by House Speaker Greg Stumbo on former House Democrats who have become Republicans in recent weeks as the GOP threatens to take control of Kentucky government. [C-J/AKN]

This isn’t “Shark Tank.” This is your democracy. But as the bidding grows higher, your voice gets lower. You’re simply priced out of the marketplace of ideas. That is, unless you are one of the ultra wealthy. [NY Times]

Some Frankfort wags like to say Democratic House Speaker Greg Stumbo thrives on chaos. If so, he ought to be positively giddy. [Ronnie Ellis]

As the price of oil plunges to its lowest point in 12 years — and threatens to drag the broader U.S. economy down with it — lawmakers say Congress should consider helping teetering energy companies with policy fixes beyond the decision to lift the oil-export ban. [The Hill]

Despite a warmer holiday season than expected, the cold reality of credit card debt may soon settle in as many receive their first credit card statements of 2016. After loading up their plastic with gifts, food and travel expenses during the holidays, many Americans are shocked by the balance owed come January. [Richmond Register]

The U.S. Supreme Court will consider on Monday a conservative legal challenge targeting public sector unions when the justices take up a case brought by non-union teachers in California who object to being compelled to pay for collective bargaining. [Reuters]

A pair of creditors is looking to force the troubled Bullitt Utilities Inc. into Chapter 7 bankruptcy, claiming it is their best hope of getting paid what they’re owed. [Business First]

The only thing standing between public sector unions and financial disaster may be Justice Antonin Scalia. [ThinkProgress]

A dozen fat, white bigots held an anti-Muslim “rally” in Frankfort over the weekend. [WHAS11]

Money clearly doesn’t buy intelligence. Donald Trump’s new call to encourage guns in schools may sound radical even by the standards of the current gun rights movement, but the reality is state legislators and activists all over the country are pushing to expand gun owners’ rights to bring firearms into schools and onto college campuses. [Politico]

Someone asked why we haven’t mentioned the departure of KDP’s chairman. Here’s why: it doesn’t matter. The KDP is dead in the water. Not even floating. Already popped and sinking to the bottom. It’ll be there until the current mess of good old boys retires and fresh, new faces claw their way back to Frankfort in a few years. [H-L]

NASA’s high-tech endeavors normally look outward. But given the existential threat facing the world’s coral reefs, the space agency has decided to focus its efforts closer to home — and the result may be game changing. [HuffPo]

Frankfort Is Already Ruining Everything

The Kentucky General Assembly began its 60-day law-making session Tuesday with a squabble over rules that could affect which party controls the state House in coming months. [H-L]

The gunmen who have occupied a federal building here for three days will resist with force any attempt to remove them, Ammon Bundy, a leader of the militants, said Sunday. But federal authorities have no immediate plans to rush in to retake the remote building. [HuffPo]

People are losing their damn minds over President Obama’s gun proposals. [C-J/AKN]

Mitch McConnell is again confirming he has no plans other than to stand in the way of President Barack Obama. Because his base of support is comprised of racist mouth-breathers who fear brown people. [Salon]

The Kentucky state legislature has gaveled in to begin work on a two-year state spending plan under a new Republican governor. [WKYT]

Military suicides among Army reservists have ticked up from last year, according to new third quarter data for 2015 released by the Pentagon on Monday. [The Hill]

Twenty-eight bottles of the most sought-after bourbon will be available to the public, after it is released from the court. [WAVE3]

Or will they? Franklin County’s sheriff says the bourbon will be destroyed. [H-L]

U.S. manufacturing contracted further in December as lower oil prices undercut spending in the energy sector while construction spending fell in November for the first time in nearly 1-1/2 years, suggesting the economy ended 2015 with less momentum. [Reuters]

State lawmakers convened here Tuesday for their bi-annual, 60-day budget session to confront badly underfunded state pension systems and other issues in a politically charged atmosphere. [Ronnie Ellis]

The success or failure of a farming operation depends hugely on the vagaries of weather and climate. For a farmer, a single intense rain event or prolonged dry period can mean a year of lost crops and income. [ThinkProgress]

he final phase of a complete road upgrade to provide better access from West Liberty to Morehead is expected to begin this spring, according to House Majority Floor Leader Rocky Adkins. [Ashland Independent]

Donald Trump is taking to the television airwaves, and his first advert prominently features his controversial call for temporarily halting the entry of all Muslim into the US and a border wall “paid for by Mexico”. [BBC]

The University of Kentucky has hired a new dean for the College of Medicine, officials announced Monday. Robert DiPaola, director of the Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey and vice chancellor for cancer programs at the Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences center, is expected to start in March, pending approval from the UK Board of Trustees. [H-L]

The Obama administration on Monday defended its deportation tactics and confirmed it has begun raids on families, despite Democratic candidates and immigrant advocates saying officials could be sending mothers and children to their deaths. [HuffPo]

Frankfort’s About To Get More Crazy

180 felons had their applications in when Matt Bevin pulled his executive order stunt. [H-L]

A woman who captivated an audience at the White House earlier this month with her story of spending years in and out of jails in St. Louis County due to unpaid debts nearly had to spend Christmas in a homeless shelter with her daughter. [HuffPo]

Seems Matt Bevin doesn’t understand the definition of “public”, which should come as a surprise to no one. How to scam people into charter schools: pander to a poor, black neighborhood with preachers and money. It’s educational woo on par with pyramid schemes. Your school sucks? Let’s give all your tax dollars to an extremist church to operate a for-profit venture that ultimately fails. Simple! [C-J/AKN]

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Despite a nationwide growth in student enrollment, education jobs and funding have seen a sharp decrease since 2008, according to a new report. [Ashland Independent]

For the poor in the Deep South’s cities, simply applying for a job exposes the barriers of a particularly pervasive and isolating form of poverty. [WaPo]

This week Greg Stumbo had his LRC staffers write a column in which they patted him on the back. He sneakily attempted to claim credit for legislation that increases transparency for special taxing districts. Mind you, this is one of the people who permitted W. Keith Hall’s corruption to go unchecked for years and years. [Floyd County Times]

As soon as next year, a driver’s license may no longer be enough for airline passengers to clear security in some states, if the Department of Homeland Security has its way. [NY Times]

Welp, another Jimbob has filed to run for congress in the First District. [SoS]

The US victims of the Iran hostage crisis are to receive compensation 36 years after their ordeal, reports say. [BBC]

The City of Glasgow’s financial statements for the fiscal year that ended June 30 yielded an auditors’ opinion that they “present fairly, in all material respects, the respective position of the governmental activities …,” according to a report presented to the Glasgow City Council Finance Committee Monday afternoon and then to the full council later in the evening. [Glasgow Daily Times]

Comedian Stephen Colbert says he had to give up his old faux conservative character on the “Colbert Report” because GOP presidential front-runner Donald Trump is playing it better than he ever could. [The Hill]

Kentucky child welfare officials place too many children with mental health problems in institutions for too long when they could be better served by relatives or foster families, according to a leading child advocacy group. [H-L]

Puerto Rico is about to default on a portion of its multi-billion debt in the new year, and its governor blamed Congress Wednesday. [HuffPo]

Your support is crucial if you want to see us continue. While other media outlets ignore scandals like those in Montgomery County, we’re shining the bright lights of transparency on issues that directly impact you across the Commonwealth. Love us or hate us, we’re putting in the time and effort to spend years reporting on issues from the pension crisis to government-sanctioned animal cruelty to educational corruption and we get real results. [Help Us!]

McConnell Says Something Else Privately

Your support is crucial if you want to see us continue. While other media outlets ignore scandals like those in Montgomery County, we’re shining the bright lights of transparency on issues that directly impact you across the Commonwealth. Love us or hate us, we’re putting in the time and effort to spend years reporting on issues from the pension crisis to government-sanctioned animal cruelty to educational corruption and we get real results. [Help Us!]

Kentuckians are earning more money, and state officials will soon be making plans to spend it. [H-L]

It was mentioned early on — by Kasich. The climate agreement world leaders struck Saturday in Paris didn’t get a mention during Tuesday night’s Republican presidential debate on CNN. [HuffPo]

No, Greg Stumbo, Republicans aren’t trying to buy anything. They’re buying it as we speak. It means the death of Democratic good old boys for the moment. The only way Democrats will survive is if young people take over during the next couple cycles. [C-J/AKN]

The Intercept has obtained a secret, internal U.S. government catalogue of dozens of cellphone surveillance devices used by the military and by intelligence agencies. The document, thick with previously undisclosed information, also offers rare insight into the spying capabilities of federal law enforcement and local police inside the United States. [The Intercept]

Kentucky’s seasonally adjusted preliminary unemployment rate for November 2015 was 4.9 percent, remaining unchanged from the revised 4.9 percent rate in October, according to the Office of Employment and Training (OET), an agency of the Kentucky Education and Workforce Development Cabinet. [Press Release]

The Federal Reserve is raising interest rates for the first time in nearly a decade, ending an era of prolonged economic stimulus that provoked intense criticism from Republicans on Capitol Hill. [The Hill]

In a 6-0 vote, the Berea City Council adopted a resolution Tuesday affirming the city’s commitment to oppose discrimination. The measure was adopted just weeks after college citizens reported being the targets of racial slurs and harrassment. [Richmond Register]

A deal to fund the U.S. government met resistance on Wednesday from conservative Republicans concerned about spending, as well as House of Representatives Democrats who complained about corporate tax breaks and a planned end to a ban on U.S. oil exports. [Reuters]

Republican Gov. Matt Bevin clearly wanted to appoint Democratic state Rep. Tanya Pullin to an administrative law judge position for which she’d been passed over by just departed Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear. [Ronnie Ellis]

As politicians and counter-terrorism officials search for lessons from the recent attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, California, senior officials have called for limits on technology that sends encrypted messages. [ProPublica]

Since 2006, the Glasgow Water Co. has made $28.5 million in capital improvements to its facilities and distribution systems, but there is still plenty of work to be done, said Scott Young, GWC’s general manager. Between now and 2020, the total estimated cost of the capital improvement plan, which contains several components, is nearly $15 million. [Glasgow Daily Times]

Russian President Vladimir Putin has described leading Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump as “a very outstanding person, talented, without any doubt”. [BBC]

This may be what Mitch McConnell says publicly but it’s not what he and his people say privately. [H-L]

Oil and gas regulators in British Columbia, Canada, confirmed this week that a 4.6-magnitude earthquake earlier this year was caused by fluid injection from hydraulic fracturing, also known as fracking. [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. Both CDMA and GSM options. [Ting]

Nepotism Could Be Kentucky’s Biggest Cash Crop If We Just Tried A Bit Harder

Your support is crucial if you want to see us continue. While other media outlets ignore scandals like those in Montgomery County, we’re shining the bright lights of transparency on issues that directly impact you across the Commonwealth. Love us or hate us, we’re putting in the time and effort to spend years reporting on issues from the pension crisis to government-sanctioned animal cruelty to educational corruption and we get real results. [Help Us!]

Christian County’s chief circuit judge has signed an order appointing his daughter to the position of master commissioner. [H-L]

House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said Tuesday that it would be good for U.S. foreign policy if Congress voted to authorize the war against self-described Islamic State terrorists — putting him at direct odds with his Senate counterpart, who has rejected the idea. [HuffPo]

Bullitt County is the worst again. It’s apparently trying to surpass Laurel County. [C-J/AKN]

Conservatives are outraged over the small number of Christian Syrian refugees who have been allowed to enter the United States — even as some on the right float a ban on their Muslim counterparts. [The Hill]

This week Greg Stumbo had his LRC staffers write a holiday gift buying guide. Because of course he did. [Floyd County Times]

President Barack Obama, who made few friends in corporate board rooms early in his first term as he pressed for tighter regulations on banks and remarked on the “fat cats” who helped precipitate the financial crisis, heads into his final year in the White House having built – or rebuilt – alliances with chief executives of the nation’s biggest companies. [Reuters]

Eastern Kentucky University and the City of Richmond were awarded a $1 million Community Development Block Grant (CDBG). The funds will be used to construct a building that will house low-income, single parent EKU student families, according to a release. [Richmond Register]

As politicians and counter-terrorism officials search for lessons from the recent attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, California, senior officials have called for limits on technology that sends encrypted messages. [ProPublica]

With all members present, the Glasgow City Council unanimously approved on first reading an ordinance that would allow water and sewer service rate increases of up to 3 percent per year for five years. [Glasgow Daily Times]

Google thinks it has what it takes to stop the spread of sexually transmitted diseases. STDs, such as syphilis, are on the rise, so the tech giant has teamed up with researchers with the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) to use Google searches for real-time disease tracking. [ThinkProgress]

As part of AT&T’s continuing commitment to supporting the communities it serves, the company donated $3,000 to the People’s Clinic of Morehead. [The Morehead News]

Veteran NBA referee Bill Kennedy has revealed he is gay after being the subject of homophobic insults from Sacramento guard Rajon Rondo. [BBC]

Former University of Kentucky basketball player and state agriculture commissioner Richie Farmer is expected to leave a federal prison for a halfway house, according to officials. [H-L]

A Las Vegas rally for Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump turned ugly Monday night, the eve of a Republican presidential debate, after multiple protesters interrupted the candidate’s speech. [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. Both CDMA and GSM options. [Ting]