Poor Kentuckians Will Suffer Under Bevin

Fayette County School District officials say they have found the student responsible for a graffiti threat left in a bathroom at Edythe J. Hayes Middle School. [H-L]

One Middle East catastrophe apparently wasn’t enough for some supporters of the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq. So they’ve continued to try to shape policy relating to the region, offering punditry in the wake of each fresh crisis. [HuffPo]

Traveling around rural Clay County, Jennifer Gates seeks out people in need of health coverage. There are plenty of them. From the homeless veteran under a bridge to the low-paid school cafeteria cook, Gates helps them find health coverage through kynect, Kentucky’s version of the Affordable Care Act. [C-J/AKN]

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) on Sunday said Donald Trump’s claim that scores of Arab-Americans cheered as the Twin Towers fell on 9/11 is unsubstantiated. [The Hill]

Members of the Housing Authority of Glasgow’s board of directors were scheduled to approve flat rent increases for the 2016 fiscal year, but action on the issue was tabled, once again. [Glasgow Daily Times]

South America’s vast Amazon region harbors one of the world’s most diverse collection of tree species, but more than half may be at risk for extinction due to ongoing deforestation to clear land for farming, ranching and other purposes, scientists say. [Reuters]

For the 16th holiday season, a local musician is helping provide for those less fortunate. Eddie Riffe organized his first food drive in 1999, when he asked those who visited the AMVETS in Ashland to donate nonperishable foods when they came to hear him perform. [Ashland Independent]

Alberta’s carbon footprint, spurred on by the tar sands industry, has been steadily growing in recent years. So when the New Democratic Party took power in a surprise victory earlier this year, environmentalists hoped it signaled a turning point for Canada’s largest oil-producing province. [ThinkProgress]

Just a little over a year ago, it was “space and shelves,” but no food was stored there. Now, the Colonel’s Cupboard helps feed the one in five Eastern Kentucky University college students who admitted to food insecurity in a study conducted just last year. [Richmond Register]

The ex-GOP House Benghazi Committee investigator who accused the panel of conducting a partisan witch hunt against Hillary Clinton filed suit Monday against the committee and Chairman Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) for wrongful termination and defamation. [Politico]

Big news in the hometown of small-minded bigot Kim Davis. A tanker carrying powder used to make concrete overturned on I-64 in Rowan County Monday morning. [The Morehead News]

A US air strike aimed at an IS checkpoint is likely to have killed four civilians, possibly including a child, the US military has said. [BBC]

What the hell is in the water in Lexington to make everyone — from the people still bickering about the election to self-hating Jim Gray — so terrible lately? [H-L]

Donald Trump approves of the way his supporters responded to a Black Lives Matter protester, reportedly beating him during a Saturday rally in Birmingham, Alabama. [HuffPo]

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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]

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State Democrats Are Still In Major Denial

It’s always the rich white guys who fight minimum wage increases. Lexington Mayor Jim Gray declined to say Wednesday if he would sign an ordinance raising the minimum wage in Fayette County to $10.10 an hour over the next three years. [H-L]

Separation of church and state? Republican presidential candidate John Kasich says he’d set up an agency with a “mandate” to promote what he calls “Judeo-Christian values” overseas to counter Islamist propaganda. [HuffPo]

Kentucky Republicans announced Thursday morning that state Rep. Denny Butler of Louisville is switching parties, putting the GOP one seat closer to capturing the House majority in the wake of Gov.-elect Matt Bevin’s victory. [C-J/AKN]

What was that about Rand Paul valuing your privacy? When someone downloads the official Ben Carson, Ted Cruz or Rand Paul campaign apps, they’re handing over personal information that can be shared with any group that has “similar viewpoints” as those candidates. For Cruz supporters, that means giving your data to a British-based company that specializes in psychological warfare. [Vocativ]

Kentucky’s preliminary October 2015 unemployment rate dipped to 4.9 percent from a seasonally adjusted 5 percent in September 2015, according to the Office of Employment and Training (OET), an agency of the Kentucky Education and Workforce Development Cabinet. Kentucky’s jobless rate had not been that low since May 2001 when it was 4.9 percent. [Press Release]

The political network helmed by Charles and David Koch has quietly built a secretive operation that conducts surveillance and intelligence gathering on its liberal opponents, viewing it as a key strategic tool in its efforts to reshape American public life. [Politico]

Kentucky Democrats just didn’t want to listen. Now all good old boy hell is breaking loose. [House Republicans]

Are you ready for more HYSTERIA OMG SYRIAN MUSLIM REFUGEE PANIC?! Cool, because Fox News lady windsock Andrea Tantaros went to work Wednesday. [Wonkette]

The 911 services throughout Kentucky are straining county budgets because of an outdated funding mechanism, county government representatives told state legislators on Wednesday. [WFPL]

From the Department of Things Ken Ham Wouldn’t Understand… DNA extracted from a skull and a molar tooth of ancient human remains discovered in the southern Caucasus region of Georgia is helping sort out the multifaceted ancestry of modern Europeans. [Reuters]

Council members met in closed session Monday night with members of the Industrial Development Economic Authority of Glasgow-Barren County’s board of directors to discuss the acquisition of real estate. [Glasgow Daily Times]

President Obama is moving to cement a significant legacy in the fight against smoking. Despite Obama’s own struggles with cigarettes, many public health advocates see him as a champion on the issue, and a series of proposals in the waning months of his presidency could bolster his record. [The Hill]

Democrat Jack Conway spent nearly twice as much as Republican Matt Bevin on TV ads, but it was not enough to get him elected governor. [H-L]

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), one of the Senate’s biggest defense hawks, on Tuesday rejected calls by some Republicans that the U.S. accept only Christian refugees fleeing Syria, not Muslims. [HuffPo]

Only 13 Governors Asked Questions…

While extremist, xenophobic governors around the country are flying their racist flags in attempt to refuse refugees, the White House attempted to help give reassurance.

Here’s a press release we received from the White House Tuesday night:

Readout of the White House Call with Governors

Today, the White House hosted a call with a bipartisan group of 34 governors (EMPHASIS OURS) from across the country to provide information about existing refugee admissions policies and security screening measures. White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough led the call and was joined by Alejandro Mayorkas, Deputy Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security; Simon Henshaw, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Department of State’s Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration; Mark Giuliano, Deputy Director of the FBI; and representatives from the National Counterterrorism Center and the Department of Health and Human Services.

The call lasted almost 90 minutes, including an extensive question and answer session among the governors and Administration officials. The officials briefed the governors on the rigorous screening and security vetting process that is required before a refugee is able to travel to the United States. Thirteen governors asked questions. (EMPHASIS OURS)

The Administration officials reiterated what the President has made abundantly clear: that his top priority is the safety of the American people. That’s why, even as the United States accepts more refugees—including Syrians—we do so only after they undergo the most rigorous screening and security vetting of any category of traveler to the United States.

Several Governors expressed their appreciation for the opportunity to better understand the process and have their issues addressed directly by representatives of the agencies responsible for the refugee and screening programs. Others encouraged further communication to ensure that governors are able to better respond to questions from the public about the refugee screening and resettlement process.

Denis McDonough also committed to working with the National Governors Association to improve information sharing and maintain an ongoing dialogue.


You see that? Of all the handwringing and freaking out, only 13 of those governors asked questions.

Fascinating how that works.

These bigoted folks, like Matt Bevin, don’t care about whether or not the immigration process works, whether or not the extensive screening process is legit. They only care about ginning up fear and keeping the brown people out.

And blaming Obama, of course.

Guess it’s time to learn how to breathe through our mouthes, Kentucky.

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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Northup Has Crawled Out Of The Darkness

Fayette County Public Schools’ e-school program allows as many as 400 to 500 students who have good reading test scores to take online courses on a full- or part-time basis. [H-L]

Oh, nowwwwww we know why Anne Northup is five Old Fashioneds deep in Marco Rubio’s world. Gay panic beams are on high, henny. [HuffPo]

Scott Jennings is attempting to whitewash history in claiming that Ernie Fletcher didn’t lose the election for himself. Almost as fascinating as watching he and his friends try to kiss Matt Bevin’s butt after spending years trashing him. Yes, the Kentucky Democratic Party is burning to the ground. It has been for years. That fire will burn out in a year or so and a new crop of people will take over and flush the Republicans back down the drain. It always happens like that. One party gets into power and turns corrupt, wasteful, awful. Happened to Democrats and it’s about to happen to Republicans again. If Republicans like Scott Jennings can’t see the writing on that wall, then it’s no wonder they always find themselves pleading the fifth when called to the accountability altar. [C-J/AKN]

In December 1988, Jörg Winger was a West German Army radio operator eavesdropping on Soviet military channels when he overheard a startling message: The Russians wished him Merry Christmas by name. “That was the moment where we realized that we had moles on the base,” he recalled. [NY Times]

Kentucky’s environmental sanctions plummeted under Steve Beshear. Acrid smoke blanketed a neighborhood off Dixie Highway in Southwest Louisville on an unseasonably warm fall day last November. For more than 24 hours, a 30-foot-tall pile of tires burned at Liberty Tire, a tire recycling center on Bohannon Avenue. Those living within a mile of the site were urged to shelter in place. [WFPL]

Oil giant Exxon Mobil is being investigated for misleading the public about the impact of climate change. [BBC]

Good grief, what is going on in the mountains these days? A woman is dead and two people are in the hospital after a triple-shooting in Wolfe County. [WKYT]

After six years of environmental reviews, permitting battles, and vocal opposition from climate activists, the Keystone XL pipeline is officially dead. [ThinkProgress]

Council members, restaurant owners and concerned citizens all came out Monday night for a public form over a 3 percent restaurant tax. [Ashland Independent]

It’s customary for members of the House of Representatives to file an explanation when they miss a vote. These Personal Explanations are a glimpse into the pace and trade-offs inherent in modern government. [ProPublica]

Bob Stivers is straight up lying to you. Sen. Robert Stivers, president of the Kentucky Senate, said here Thursday that the funding shortfall in the Kentucky Teachers’ Retirement System (KTRS) is not as critical as many believe. [The Morehead News]

Where the lunatics running for president in 2016 stand on immigration, in one chart. [NPR]

The military says about 500 soldiers from the 101st Airborne headquarters at Fort Campbell are deploying to the Middle East to support military actions against the Islamic State group. [H-L]

If countries fail to sustain policies that combat the impacts of climate change while also providing safety nets for the world’s poor, global warming will drive an additional 100 million people into poverty by 2030, a new World Bank report finds. [HuffPo]

Wild Ernie Fletcher Shenanigans In 3, 2…

Chiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiild. Get the popcorn ready. M. Stephen Pitt, a Louisville lawyer who defended Republican Gov. Ernie Fletcher during the state hiring investigation that led to Fletcher’s indictment in 2006, will be general counsel to Republican Governor-elect Matt Bevin. [John Cheves]

Hillary Clinton wants to reclassify marijuana as a less dangerous substance in order to allow more research into the drug’s medicinal properties, the Democratic presidential candidate said Saturday in South Carolina. [HuffPo]

Republican Matt Bevin said often during his campaign for governor that he would have no favors to repay if he was elected governor. But he’s totally gonna have all kinds of his wealthy friends pay off his campaign debt to himself. [C-J/AKN]

The Supreme Court agreed Friday to hear another challenge to the Affordable Care Act, this time to decide whether religiously affiliated organizations such as universities, hospitals and charities can be free from playing any role in providing their employees with contraceptive coverage. [WaPo]

PEE ALERT! Former U.S. Rep. Anne Northup has endorsed Marco Rubio for president and will lead his efforts in Kentucky’s first ever presidential caucus in March. [WFPL]

As the United States prepares to intensify airstrikes against the Islamic State in Syria, the Arab allies who with great fanfare sent warplanes on the initial missions there a year ago have largely vanished from the campaign. [NY Times]

“We are doing things in agriculture you can only dream about,” said the director of agriculture policy for the Kentucky Department of Agriculture. [Richmond Register]

Let’s say you are Janet Yellen. As chair of the Federal Reserve, you must decide next month whether to hold down — or nudge up — interest rates. This huge decision could affect virtually all Americans who borrow money, which a lot of people do during the holidays. [NPR]

Two newcomers are joining the Fairview Board of Education as the district continues to emerge from a tumultuous period marked by severe penalties to its athletic programs and allegations of financial irregularities. [Ashland Independent]

Accreditation agencies have recently come under fire for failing to keep schools accountable. Now the Education Department is looking to change that. [ProPublica]

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates four children die every year in large school bus crashes. The agency believes seat belts would cut that number in half. [WKYT]

The former U.S. comptroller general says the real U.S. debt is closer to about $65 trillion than the oft-cited figure of $18 trillion. Dave Walker, who headed the Government Accountability Office (GAO) under Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, said when you add up all of the nation’s unfunded liabilities, the national debt is more than three times the number generally advertised. [The Hill]

A foundation affiliated with the University of Kentucky that was questioned during the controversial ouster of a UK surgeon must turn over its records for public inspection, Attorney General Jack Conway has ruled. [H-L]

This is the kind of crap you can look forward to with Matt Bevin. An Alabama Board of Education member is drawing criticism for making a number of outlandish claims about the Common Core during a recent GOP luncheon. Betty Peters, the state school board member for District 2, in the southeast part of the state, spoke at a meeting of the Republican Women of Coffee County Oct. 21 during which she espoused views on the Common Core, “transgender values” and the “homosexualist” takeover of education in Southern states. [HuffPo]