Mitch Still Fighting Against Campaign Finance Law

Some Kentucky board of education members asked Wednesday whether the goals set by the state are high enough to lift up low-performing schools. Since test scores were released in November, critics have questioned why low-performing schools only have to move up one point next year to be considered improving. [H-L]

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) is working to build a firewall in the House against new campaign finance reforms in the face of possible defections within his own caucus. [The Hill]

Changing the high school dropout age from 16 to 18 is a legislative priority once again for the Kentucky Board of Education. During the board’s regular meeting Wednesday, board members approved a legislative agenda for the upcoming session that starts in January. [WFPL]

Health care reform rules aimed at pressuring health insurance companies to become more efficient saved consumers nearly $1.5 billion last year, according to a study released by the Commonwealth Fund on Wednesday. [HuffPo]

The conservative polling group Resurgent Republic is out with a great new graphic this morning breaking down turnout among key demographic groups in the 2012 election. [WaPo]

Now that the father of 17-year-old Jordan Davis has buried his son, he is turning his grief and anger over the high school student’s shooting death into a crusade against guns and Florida’s controversial Stand Your Ground law. [Reuters]

If you’ve been laid off, there’s a good chance state government will pay your mortgage until you get back on your feet. But Kentucky and Indiana have spent only a fraction of $371 million the federal government awarded them last year to help struggling borrowers. [C-J/AKN]

Oscar and Jennifer Cruz knew that crossing the border would be the easy part. The Salvadoran brother and sister made their way over the international line between Guatemala and Mexico with the help of a smuggler who guided them through the jungle. [ProPublica]

A federal appeals court on Wednesday rejected the government’s request for the full court to hear a case on the Food and Drug Administration’s graphic tobacco warning labels, setting up a potential Supreme Court showdown with Big Tobacco. [Politico]

A group of students from the University of Kentucky are trying to raise awareness for hunger through their art. Students in this semester’s “Pathways To Creativity” class, part of UK’s required core curriculum, worked together to design and paint murals with the theme of hunger. [H-L]

After spending close to $270,000 of his savings on a nursing home and around-the-clock care for his wife, John McCann was horrified to learn that doctors discovered 57 maggots had hatched in her ear. [HuffPo]

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Flood Of Awful Awfulness Flowing From Frankfort

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Yesterday, Jamie Comer hyped hemp support from Christian County Sheriff Livy Leavell Jr. in a press release as being a surprise. Only… Comer’s staff have been talking about it for ages on Facebook. So, maybe not such a surprise? Or something that even matters, since hemp isn’t happening any time soon. John Yarmuth supporting the legalization of hemp in Kentucky doesn’t make it any more likely to occur. Remember, this is Kentucky. [Press Release]

A single word comes to Paul Krugman’s mind when trying to describe the U.S. political system: “dysfunctional.” [HuffPo]

Yes, remove him. The law is the flipping law. Steve Beshear is weighing whether a Republican on the state Board of Elections should be removed for possibly violating state law that says members cannot run for public office. [H-L]

The traditionally hard-line stance American officials have held against marijuana is relaxing in some places — but don’t expect Kentucky law enforcement to follow along. [WFPL]

The Mittens Romney campaign did great, right? Yes, says a man who ran Mittens’ campaign. [Wonkette]

Some lawmakers Wednesday indicated they want special taxing districts to get approval of tax rates from fiscal courts, but that might not be the best idea, according to the man who started the conversation about Kentucky’s myriad special tax districts. [Ronnie Ellis]

Louisville Metro Police Chief Steve Conrad announced Wednesday that his department was revising its pursuit policy to reduce the risk from collisions in car chases that have killed eight people and injured at least 77 since 2007. [C-J/AKN]

Former Rep. Geoff Davis, R-Ky., is joining with veteran lobbyist Hunter Bates in forming Republic Consulting, a lobbying and consulting venture. [Roll Call]

Get a load of these “experts” they talked to who think something is going to change for Eastern Kentucky now that Stivers has taken over Williams’ job. [WKYT]

The Obama administration announced on Wednesday its opposition to the latest House Republican effort on immigration: a bill that would expand visas to certain holders of advanced degrees by eliminating another visa program entirely. [HuffPo]

Two former RPD officers are appealing several rulings in a federal civil suit that accused local prosecutors and law enforcement officers of malicious prosecution in an attempt to convict them of witness tampering. [Richmond Register]

Federal prosecutors in West Virginia charged the highest-ranking executive to date on Wednesday in a broad investigation stemming from the 2010 explosion at the Upper Big Branch mine that killed 29 miners, a move that suggests more senior executives at Massey Energy, the mine’s operator, are likely to be prosecuted. [NY Times]

No Wonder Republicans Are Confused And Lost

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A southern Kentucky sheriff facing federal civil rights violations charges has been indicted on two additional counts. [H-L]

Republican presidential nominee Mittens Romney is telling top donors that President Barack Obama won re-election because of the “gifts” he had already provided to blacks, Hispanics and young voters and because of the president’s effort to paint Romney as anti-immigrant. [HuffPo]

Fortunately, Bobby Jindal isn’t as delusional as Mittens Romney. Lousiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) rebuffed Mittens Romney’s claim that President Obama won reelection because of “gifts” to minorities and young voters, calling the statement “wrong.” [More HuffPo]

As part of a proposed settlement with environmental groups, St. Louis-based Patriot Coal has agreed to phase out mountaintop removal mining at several of its mines in West Virginia, saying the controversial mining practice isn’t in the company’s best interest. [WFPL]

Seems the Red Cross response to Sandy has failed to met expectations. [Reuters]

Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) said Tuesday that there is probably a ”zero percent” chance of congressional leaders reaching a grand bargain on the looming fiscal cliff. [Politico]

Roughly 1,500 people are living on the streets of Lexington today. The growing problem has prompted the city to join an ongoing effort to raise awareness about homelessness. [WLEX18]

Was Patraeus Borked? In 1987, when Judge Robert Bork was enmeshed in a partisan struggle over his Supreme Court nomination, a reporter for an alternative weekly in Washington, D.C., got a tip that the judge was a patron of a local video store. [ProPublica]

Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway is reaching out to thousands of homeowners who might be eligible for help with their mortgage. Conway has begun a public service campaign to alert people before a Jan. 18 deadline to apply for money from the $25 billion national mortgage foreclosure settlement reached this spring. [H-L]

Mittens Romney’s top strategists don’t have to look very far to see where things went terribly wrong. All they have to do is check the bottom line. According to Kantar Media’s post-election tally of 2012 spending, the Romney campaign spent an average of $666 per television spot—$72 more than its Democratic rival. [Mother Jones]

Marco Rubio, who we have been told is the New Face of the Republican party, has a brilliant take on solving the so-called fiscal cliff: let’s just go ahead and let rich people do whatever they want because they’ll hire a bunch of lawyers and do what they want no matter what so we might as well go with it. [Wonkette]

Breathitt County Wins All Kinds Of Prizes This Week

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Former Breathitt County Schools superintendent Arch Turner has been sentenced to serve 24 months in federal prison and pay a $250,000 fine. Turner admitted he took part in buying votes in the 2010 primary election in the county, in which two factions were fighting for control of local politics. [H-L]

This is just one of the many, many reasons Kentucky can’t have nice things. [SoS]

Here’s even more on that mess. Steve Beshear’s tax reform commission on Thursday supported preliminary recommendations that would tax a larger share of Social Security benefits, reduce itemized deductions and limit tax breaks on pension income. [C-J/AKN]

Child poverty has reached record levels with over 16 million children affected. One in 13 Americans are jobless, and many children are growing up with little hope for their future. [Frontline]

The State Senate is remaining the same. It will not change. Bob Stivers reiterated that. [Ryan Alessi]

House and Senate minority leaders Nancy Pelosi and Mitch McConnell surrounded themselves with the triumphant faces of newly elected lawmakers Tuesday. But the glow of victory couldn’t hide the leaders’ own Election Day failures. [WaPo]

Eastern Kentucky University “has not been managed efficiently for many years” and needs “a change agent” as its next president. Harry Moberly, a former state representative and university administrator, expressed that view Monday night as representatives of the firm contracted by the EKU regents to assist it in selecting a new president conducted a community forum. [Richmond Register]

Nation horrified to learn about war in Afghanistan while reading up on Petraeus sex scandal. [The Onion]

Maybe Breathitt County is trying to be the next Laurel or Clay County. A standoff in Breathitt County has come to an end. It began around 4:45 a.m. Tuesday at a home on Broadway Spur Street. [WKYT]

It is so much fun to watch the Party of Personal Responsibility point fingers and self-implode, isn’t it? Today’s finger-pointing blame-game session comes courtesy the Tea Party, which has engaged in about a week of sober reflection and concluded that the GOP lost because Mitt was too moderate. [Wonkette]

Kentucky has one of the nation’s worst drug problems, but not the kind of drugs you might think. Kentucky and other southeastern states continue to overuse antibiotics, contributing to a dangerous decline in the effectiveness of the drugs, according to a study released Tuesday by a group affiliated with the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. [H-L]

President Barack Obama lifted the spirits of a room full of progressive leaders on Tuesday when he pledged to tackle immigration reform early in his second term. [HuffPo]

Will Rand Paul Leave Behind His Golden Ameros?

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That sound you heard was the absence of Martha Jane King at a Veterans’ Day event in Russellville yesterday. She refused the mayor’s requests to attend. We hear she was too busy having her road blacktopped again. [Deep Marthy Jaaane Thoughts]

Late last year Matthew Barzun, an official with the Obama campaign, called Craig Fox, a psychologist in Los Angeles, and invited him to a political planning meeting in Chicago, according to two people who attended the session. [NY Times]

Two U.S. senators launched a fresh move to put together a bipartisan immigration reform plan on Sunday, restarting talks on a proposal that includes a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants already in the country. [Reuters]

Geologists say the 4.3 magnitude earthquake that shook eastern Kentucky over the weekend was too deep to be induced by the region’s underground mining activity. The epicenter was about 10 miles west of Whitesburg, in the heart of Kentucky’s coal country, where underground mining and surface blasting are common. [H-L]

In 1979, when Jim Stigler was still a graduate student at the University of Michigan, he went to Japan to research teaching methods and found himself sitting in the back row of a crowded fourth grade math class. [NPR]

Ruh ro, it appears Tricia Macke from Fox in Cincinnasti is a homophobic twit. [Enquirer]

Hoo, boy! The CIA stank on the hang down scandal is getting crazier. And trashier. This is a made for teevee movie, kids! [The Atlantic]

Despite a scathing campaign that pilloried him for waging a “war on coal,” industry and government officials say they are guardedly hopeful that President Obama is ready take a more lenient approach after winning a second term. [C-J/AKN]

Paula Broadwell, whose reported relationship with former CIA director David Petraeus hastened the end of his career last week, has come under scrutiny for the unusual level of access she appears to have had in the process of writing a biography of the general. [HuffPo]

Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green has opened a food pantry for students or staff members in need of emergency food assistance. [H-L]

Will this be the evolution of Rand Paul or will he still do absolutely crazy things on television that serve no purpose? [Politico]

What’s With All The Public School Scandals Lately?

Voters remain overwhelmingly pessimistic about a still sluggish economy, yet appear poised to reelect President Barack Obama because of perceptions that he understands their lives better than Republican nominee Mittens Romney and would do more to favor the middle class rather than the very wealthy. [HuffPo]

The Kentucky State Police are initiating a program that allows people to text confidential tips from their cell phone. [H-L]

Mittens Romney’s health care plan wouldn’t just insure fewer people than “Obamacare” — it would make the uninsured problem worse than it would have been if the law had never passed, according to a comparison of the two plans by a research group with a history of pro-“Obamacare” studies. [Politico]

Way to go, Laurel County, you’re the worst place in Kentucky. Even beating out Clay County. A pet owner is behind bars after investigators say they found his seven dogs without food or water. Animal Control officials say they arrived at the home and soon realized the dogs had been there for awhile and had been neglected. [WKYT]

Hey, remember that guy who bragged that the state of Pennsylvania would go for Miffed Romney — despite an unprecedented 142 percent polling gap — because they had implemented voter ID? [Wonkette]

October 24 is United Nations Day in Kentucky and that’s likely to send conspiracy theorist nutjobs into a tailspin. Once they park their Rascals, that is. [SoS]

Teabagger David Adams, who we hear was paid under the table on a campaign last year, can’t stop complaining about how his pretend “christian” faux health insurance club is being discriminated against. Now he’s upset because of state law, which a judge decided is, you know, the law. [Teabaggers Lose Again]

A majority of Americans believe President Barack Obama would be better for the middle class than Mittens Romney, according to a poll released Monday, while three-quarters believe a Romney presidency would benefit the rich. [Politico]

The City of Morehead Monday approved the state’s recommendation for “compensating” real and personal property tax rates. The city will receive approximately the same amount of revenue next year and its property owners will see slight increases on tax bills. [The Morehead News]

After months of dodging the question, Mittens Romney said on Monday night that he would respect the executive action President Barack Obama put into place granting certain groups of undocumented immigrants a reprieve from deportation. [HuffPo]

The principal and the academic dean at Cardinal Valley Elementary School in Lexington have resigned after a Fayette County Public Schools investigation into allegations of misconduct. [H-L]