Your Eyes Are Rolling At Little Rand

More than a dozen states have strengthened laws over the past two years to keep firearms out of the hands of domestic abusers, a rare area of consensus in the nation’s highly polarized debate over guns. [H-L]

U.S. employment gains slowed more than expected in January as the boost to hiring from unseasonably mild weather faded, but surging wages and an unemployment rate at an eight-year low suggested the labor market recovery remains firm. [HuffPo]

He fidgeted, chewed a fingernail and glanced at five pairs of children’s shoes piled by the door. The smell of Turkish coffee wafted from a tiny kitchen. The line kept ringing. [C-J/AKN]

There are so many things wrong with this story about Rand Paul’s demise that it’s almost hilarious. [Roll Call]

There are some subtle indications Republicans may be rethinking the wisdom of trying to make right-to work-an issue in this year’s legislative elections. [Ronnie Ellis]

The Pentagon’s fiscal 2017 budget will propose a $1 billion boost in spending on advanced training for the U.S. Air Force over the next five years, U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter said on Thursday. [Reuters]

Noting their excitement about “the energy that exists across campus,” Maribeth and Louis Berman, of Louisville, have pledged $1 million to Eastern Kentucky University to support a combination of academic and student-focused initiatives. [Richmond Register]

Just a reminder if you haven’t yet read this. How do you stop states and cities from forcing more disclosure of so-called dark money in politics? Get the debate to focus on an “average Joe,” not a wealthy person. Find examples of “inconsequential donation amounts.” Point out that naming donors would be a threat to “innocents,” including their children, families and co-workers. And never call it dark money. “Private giving” sounds better. [ProPublica]

A miniature satellite developed by Morehead State University’s Space Science Center could play a key role in sending a manned flight to Mars. [The Morehead News]

NPR’s Audie Cornish speaks with Matt Kibbe, senior advisor for Concerned American Voters, a superPAC supporting Rand Paul. He joins us to speak about the state of libertarians and where they will throw their support now that Rand Paul has suspended his presidential campaign. [NPR]

The coal industry is bracing for tougher rules in the next few months that are expected to slow production, cost thousands of mining jobs, and drain millions of dollars a year from the coffers of coal-dependent states including Kentucky and West Virginia. [Glasgow Daily Times]

From the Department of Things Ken Ham Wouldn’t Understand… The mystery of a deep-sea creature that resembles a discarded purple sock has been solved, scientists report. [BBC]

Just eight years ago, most of the domestic violence deaths in Louisville were from strangulation. Today, more than 71 percent are from guns. [H-L]

Former U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell and aides to his successor, Condoleezza Rice, both received classified information a handful of times via personal email accounts, the top Democrat on a congressional oversight panel said on Thursday. [HuffPo]

Coal. Just. Keeps. On. Dying. Its. Death.

People can’t stop snickering over the Alison Daddy’s Name Grimes and Jerry Lundergan subpoenas. [H-L]

Tensions soared across the Hawkeye State during Monday’s Iowa Caucuses. Polls were thwarted, two candidates ended their run for the presidency and another decided to leave the state all together to get some fresh clothes. [HuffPo]

Some 300 or more Kentuckians could retroactively earn their GEDs as the state opts to lower the score required to pass the high school equivalency exam. [C-J/AKN]

Barclays and Credit Suisse have been fined a total of $154m (£108m) by US regulators for their US “dark pool” trading operations. [BBC]

Coal production in Kentucky has slumped to its lowest level since the 1950s after declining nearly 21 percent in 2015. [Harlan Daily Independent]

Hillary Clinton narrowly defeated Bernie Sanders in the Iowa caucuses, according to results announced by the state Democratic Party early Tuesday morning, a dramatic finish to a race so close that The Associated Press declined to call it even after every precinct except one had reported results. [Politico]

At a time when private support is more critical than ever, alumni and friends of Eastern Kentucky University are generously giving of their time, talents and treasure. [Richmond Register]

Damn self-haters. The Log Cabin Republicans are interested in holding Democrats to high standards for LGBT equality, but not their own party. [ThinkProgress]

Nine candidates have filed to run for six seats on the Morehead City Council in the November general election. [The Morehead News]

A journalist immerses herself in New York’s Family Court system and finds a mix of misery and modest hope. [ProPublica]

Documents released to the Glasgow Daily Times in response to open records requests shed slightly more information on the situation that led to a Glasgow Police Department sergeant’s firing. [Glasgow Daily Times]

The Pentagon’s planned 2017 budget will shifts its focus on future wars against near-peer competitors Russia and China, Defense Secretary Ash Carter said Tuesday. [The Hill]

A non-profit working to revitalize downtown Middlesboro has been awarded $20,000 under a program aimed at making local foods a greater part of local economies. [H-L]

A great man named Donald Trump once said, “I am a whiner, and I keep whining and whining until I win.” Sadly, this Churchillian testicular fortitude came to nought on Monday, as the country’s foremost wall-promiser and fear-player-onner went down to defeat in the GOP’s Iowa caucuses. [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. For worriers: no, you don’t get identified to us if you use our link… so please consider letting us know if you do! [Ting]

Budget Reaction Still Going Strong

Maybe not the best move for Overly because it’ll be a terrible year. She’ll shoulder much of the blame for down ticket losses, along with Jim Gray. Even though it won’t truly be her fault. The Kentucky Democratic Party on Saturday chose state Rep. Sannie Overly of Paris as its new chairwoman for what promises to be a tumultuous election year. [John Cheves]

Both the Democratic and Republican races are close contests in Iowa, and pollsters say surprises are likely. [HuffPo]

A massive surplus of $500 million that is anticipated in the Kentucky public employee health insurance fund is part of Gov. Matt Bevin’s plan to restore financial stability to Kentucky’s badly underfunded public pension funds. [C-J/AKN]

Turd Cruz is beating Rand Paul (R-Cookie Tree) in the race for the hearts — and endorsements — of the ultra-conservative House Freedom Caucus. [The Hill]

The city of Ashland is now preparing for a mayoral primary this spring after three prospective candidates officially filed to run for office Tuesday. [Ashland Independent]

The United States cannot solve any problems in the Middle East without Iran’s help and should drop its “hostile” stance toward Tehran, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said on Wednesday. [Reuters]

The final tally of candidates filing to become the next district judge serving Barren and Metcalfe counties is six. [Glasgow Daily Times]

You win brownie points if you can correctly identify the “operatives” mentioned in this story about Jim Gray running against Rand Paul. [Politico]

Reaction to Gov. Matt Bevin’s first budget proposal was mixed with Republicans approving and Democratic lawmakers asking for more details and expressing concerns. [The Morehead News]

Voters have the chance to choose one of the most broadly and deeply qualified presidential candidates in modern history. [NY Times]

Former Kentucky state Sen. Georgia Powers has died. Powers was the first African-American and first woman elected to the Kentucky Senate, where she served for 21 years beginning in 1968. [WFPL]

This year’s presidential campaign has proved to be a bleak season for mainstream conservative candidates, a story of frustration, rejection and disappointment. But will that be the end of the story, or are revival and redemption still possible? [WaPo]

Frankfort is back to its old tricks. Fighting to restrict abortion access while ignoring children after they’re born. Everybody is pro-life until birth. Then it’s every child for itself. They kill child welfare programs, oppose early childhood education, prevent addicted mothers from accessing welfare benefits, kill the expansion of Medicaid. Then they wonder why so many turn to crime, drugs, suicide. [H-L]

President Barack Obama plans to visit a U.S. mosque for the first time during his presidency on Wednesday. [HuffPo]

Alvarado Pushed Frivolous Legislation

Should landlords be held responsible when their tenant’s (or tenants’) dog bites someone?

That’s a tough call because it would, if common sense comes into play, depend upon several variables and circumstances. Though, it certainly seems like Republican State Senator Ralph Alvarado is wasting time and taxpayer dollars on dog bites instead of dealing with what’s going on in his own backyard.

Because, as we all know, if there’s one thing Kentucky is overwhelmed with? It’s frivolous dog bite lawsuits.

From a Legislative Research Commission press release last week about SB 68:

Senate Bill 68, known as “the dog bite bill,” was introduced by Sen. Ralph Alvarado, R-Winchester. He said it would protect landlords from being held liable when a negligent tenant’s canine bites someone. SB 68 would do this by amending the current statute to modify the definition of persons who would qualify as the owner of a dog.

Alvarado said the legislation was prompted by a 2012 Kentucky Supreme Court opinion that a landlord could be considered a dog owner of his tenant’s dog for the purposes of legal liability. He said that opinion puts unfair pressure on property owners who may not even know that a dog is living on their property.

What kind of negligent landlord/management company do you have to be to not know there’s a dog on the property you own or operate?

This legislation seems frivolous. The kind of frivolous Republicans love to scream about. If a landlord doesn’t allow dogs in their agreement with the tenant, it’s on the tenant for violating their agreement. If a landlord does allow well-behaved dogs, as everyone should (don’t be stupid – it’s 2016), every attorney we’ve spoken with says liability can be handled with simple clauses in a lease. When asked about the 2012 supreme court case, those familiar with it suggested it wouldn’t matter if a property owner wasn’t an absentee slumlord.

And if a landlord doesn’t require rental insurance to cover that sort of thing, they probably deserve to be sued.

It’s almost as if newbie legislator Ralph Alvarado only wants the little people to take personal responsibility – not anyone a notch above middle class. Landlords – people who tend to be keenly aware of liability – have the means to afford protection in the form of strong legalese-filled leases prepared by their attorneys. It’s unfortunately not rare for those folks to be some of the most notoriously negligent people in Kentucky.

Democratic State Senator Robin Webb has it right, along with her five colleagues who opposed the legislation:

“It would totally take the landlord out of any potential recovery, whether they knew, not knew, promoted, or encouraged any activity,” she said. “It would fully insulate the landlord regardless of conduct.”

‘Cause it’s common sense. If you rent out property, you should be involved enough to know what’s going on. Only a slumlord would be so disconnected and unaware.

Wondering what could have such an influence on Alvarado, a physician, to push him to so fervently back this legislation?

Just a taste:

  • Robert Gable – $200 – 2010 – real estate broker (ret)
  • Robert Gable – $1,000 – 2013 – real estate broker (ret)
  • Robert Gable – $1,000 – 2014 – real estate broker (ret)
  • Ralph Ruschell – $100 – 2010 – real estate developer
  • Charles Conley – $375 – 2010 – Pinnacle Management
  • Katherine Davis – $500 – realtor
  • Louisville Apartment PAC – $200 – 2010
  • W.L. Rouse – $1,000 – 2014 – real estate
  • Jim McGinnis – $1,000 – 2015 – property owner

More than $5,000 in contributions that we could track down in less than ten minutes at the Kentucky Registry of Election Finance.

This isn’t meant to overlook Alvarado’s co-sponsors (Chris Girdler, Jared Carpenter, Dan Seum, Mike Wilson) who have also greatly profited from landlords. It’s just a look at Alvarado because he’s a freshman legislator.

Note: Here’s a zip file (155ish K in size) of some of the KREF data we reviewed for safe keeping.

Another Week Of Bevin Shenanigans?

Fayette County Sheriff Kathy Witt is looking for used coats to distribute to those in need. She announced Friday that Republic Bank & Trust had volunteered to collect coats at its Lexington branches. Chase Dry Cleaners on South Ashland Avenue will clean the coats before they are distributed. [H-L]

Diplomacy’s great promise is that one can never predict where discussions will lead once they have begun. [HuffPo]

Matt Bevin is just like Ernie Fletcher. Always appointing and promoting corrupt good old boys. In fairness, that means he’s just like the current mess of Democrats in charge. And that’s not a good thing. [C-J/AKN]

This is what you get. Reap what you sow, you look-the-other-way-and-whistle, ignore-the-hate-spread-by-your-leaders, just-worried-bout-your-own-money motherfuckers. Trump voters are the illegitimate children you spawned while skullfucking a bald eagle atop a pile of Peggy Noonan columns and screaming, “I JUST REALLY BELIEVE IN SMALL GOVERNMENT!!!!!” [Click the Clicky]

Told ya Matt Bevin’s decision to kill Beshear’s effort on voting rights restoration was a disaster because Republicans in Frankfort are worse than Kentucky Democrats. [WFPL]

The United States on Saturday lifted sanctions against Iran and announced that four Americans held prisoner in the country will be returning home, in a whirlwind day of diplomacy that cements President Obama’s engagement with Iran as a pillar of his legacy. [The Hill]

Nicholasville photographer Walter Roycraft has been selected as the Kentucky Arts Council’s featured artist for January and February. [Richmond Register]

This Martin O’Malley thing seems dumb as hell. Once furniture is used or lived with, it greatly depreciates in value. [Reuters]

From grappling with more than 20 inches of snow that was dumped on roadways, to dealing with day-to-day concerns that arise when overseeing government entities, Barren County Judge-Executive Micheal Hale and Glasgow Mayor Dick Doty detailed Friday the struggles and successes of their inaugural years in office. [Glasgow Daily Times]

How a woman whose muscles disappeared discovered she shared a disease with a muscle-bound Olympic medalist. [ProPublica]

Mayor Jim Tom Trent said his first year in office was largely positive and he thinks more good things are coming in 2016. [The Morehead News]

For his first State of the Union address in his new role as Speaker of the House, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) has invited a group of guests aimed at demonstrating that developing local organizations, rather than relying on government, is the solution to the problem of poverty in America. A ThinkProgress examination of the people Ryan has chosen to feature, however, shows that several have received significant government assistance for their nonprofits. [ThinkProgress]

Twelve incumbents have filed to run for the Lexington Urban County Council in the fall, but only one has a challenger. [H-L]

The Obama administration, in the first major review of the country’s coal program in three decades, on Friday ordered a pause on issuing coal-mining leases on federal land as part of new executive actions to fight climate change. [HuffPo]

You Probably Have a SOTU Hangover

Rand Paul’s struggling presidential campaign was dealt another setback Monday night when Fox Business Network announced that the Kentucky senator failed to meet the polling criteria to be included in this week’s primetime Republican presidential debate. [H-L]

Let’s get this straight. We spent the first several years of Barack Obama’s presidency obsessing about whether he was born in Kenya. Why? Because a large segment of the GOP electorate — spurred on by Donald Trump — splenetically asserted that Obama’s supposed foreign birth barred him from the White House. Merely to quell the rising political distemper, Obama was forced to release a long form birth certificate from Hawaii. [HuffPo]

Jeff Hoover ran his mouth and then nothing happened. He and his small circle of loud asshats are shooting themselves in the feet left and right. They had a group of progressive legislators ready to help them oust Greg Stumbo and ruined it. Getting the big head with Bevin probably wasn’t wise for Hoover. Republicans are privately outraged. [C-J/AKN]

Donald Trump thinks he has found Ted Cruz’s kryptonite. The Texas senator has been put on the defensive and off message since Trump began raising questions about his rival’s eligibility to serve as president. It’s an issue that resonates with GOP base voters, if few others. [The Hill]

Matt Bevin announced the appointment Friday of Adria Johnson as Commissioner of the Department for Community Based Services. [Glasgow Daily Times]

Conservative U.S. Supreme Court justices on Monday voiced support for a legal challenge that could erode organized labor’s clout by depriving public-employee unions of millions of dollars in fees that many state laws force non-union members to pay. [Reuters]

Authorities say a man who was found dead behind a University of Kentucky apparel store had died of hypothermia brought on by cold overnight temperatures in downtown Lexington. [WHAS11]

As winter sets in around the country, thousands of the nation’s poor are struggling to keep the heat on thanks to intentional underfunding of a key federal progam(sic). [ThinkProgress]

The Center for Rural Development, in partnership with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), is providing tuition-free entrepreneurial and skills training opportunities for displaced coal miners in Knox, Harlan and Perry counties. [Harlan Daily Independent]

Mitch McConnell’s life mission is to do anything and everything to be a roadblock for President Barack Obama. Even if that means screwing over his constituents. Because most of them are too disconnected and scared to notice. [Politico]

A Louisville state senator has proposed requiring police departments to submit rape kits to the state testing lab within 30 days of receiving them. [WFPL]

A US-led coalition air strike has destroyed a bank used by the Islamic State group in the Iraqi city of Mosul. [BBC]

Fascinating how quickly Bam Carney tucked his tail between his legs after a little bit of public outrage. Bystanders who post pictures on social media from the scene of a wreck could face fines under a proposal before the Kentucky General Assembly. [H-L]

Solar is the energy employer of the future — or at least that’s how the numbers look today. A new report on the state of the solar industry out Tuesday from the nonprofit Solar Foundation shows that the number of jobs in the United States in the solar industry outpaced those in the oil and gas industries for the first time ever. [HuffPo]

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]