Let The Budget Freakout Fun Begin!

Matt Bevin spoke at a Republican presidential forum in New Hampshire Saturday afternoon, less than 24 hours after declaring a state of emergency and activating the Kentucky National Guard to help residents stranded by a massive snowstorm. [H-L]

The people of Michigan hired themselves a GOP businessman to be governor in 2011. And what they got was children poisoned by public water in Flint. That is, what they got was a government run based on GOP business values. [HuffPo]

The man recently appointed as director of resorts for the Kentucky Department of Parks despite a past violation of the state government ethics code has resigned. [C-J/AKN]

Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is considering a third-party bid for president, telling allies he could spend at least $1 billion to mount the uphill climb. [The Hill]

Kentucky’s new education commissioner announced plans Thursday to broaden math and English standards and acknowledged that the system of assessing student achievement remains “a work in progress.” [Richmond Register]

Is it true that rare Italian goats were airlifted to Afghanistan? Did Defense Department employees go to carpet tradeshows in Europe? How about on jewelry-related trips to India? [ProPublica]

A local folk artist’s work is featured in the book “Mommy Goose: Rhymes from the Mountains,” published by the University Press of Kentucky and set to be released Feb. 5. Minnie Adkins of Isonville carved more than 100 pieces for the book by Kentucky native Mike Norris. [Ashland Independent]

On September 9, 2002, as the George W. Bush administration was launching its campaign to invade Iraq, a classified report landed on the desk of the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. It came from Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, and it carried an ominous note. [Politico]

Barren County Detention Center inmates Damien Hurt, left, and Scott Szabo move a desk into an office at the new location of the Barren County county attorney’s office at 220 W. Main St. on Thursday. The county just recently completed the purchase of the building, which had been the home of Bailey and Grissom, a real estate company, for the offices. The former county attorney building approximately two blocks away had issues with bats, bat droppings and other concerns. [Glasgow Daily Times]

From the Department of Things Ken Ham Wouldn’t Understand… Archaeologists say they have unearthed the earliest evidence of warfare between hunter-gatherers, at a site in northern Kenya. The 10,000-year-old remains of 27 people found at a remote site west of Lake Turkana show that they met violent deaths. [BBC]

Guess some folks in Morehead finally realized Walter Junior’s just been coasting and out of it. A few Rowan County officials told Judge-Executive Walter Blevins that it’s time for him to assume control of his office during Tuesday’s Fiscal Court meeting. [The Morehead News]

At first blush, the FBI’s national crime numbers for the first half of 2015 seem like bad news: Violent crime is up 1.7 percent over the same period last year. [NPR]

The head of the state Education and Workforce Development Cabinet wants a group of elected officials to rebid an up to $11.4 million workforce training grant awarded to the Bluegrass Area Development District in early January. [H-L]

Flint was a failure of government — but it didn’t have to be so. And government wasn’t the root of the problem. It was about the people, and ideas they advocate, who have taken control of governments across the country. [HuffPo]

Tuesday Evening Dept Of Bitterness

Once again, bills have been filed in the Kentucky legislature that would provide a one-time death benefit to help the survivors of fallen employees of emergency medical services. The state pays a lump sum to the families of firefighters and police officers who die in the line of duty, but not to the survivors of EMS workers. Survivors of paramedics in Lexington are eligible for the benefits because they are part of the fire department. [H-L]

Hillary Clinton’s plan to stem her slide against Bernie Sanders in the presidential primary began to come into clear focus Sunday night in the fourth Democratic debate. [HuffPo]

A Jefferson County Public Schools board member is once again calling for the closure of the school that falls in the shadow of one of Kentucky’s largest coal-fired power plants and Louisville biggest source of industrial emissions. [C-J/AKN]

On Friday, the Obama administration announced a halt to new coal leases on federal land. In Wyoming, most of the federally-owned coal mines and revenue from coal leases pays for school construction. [NPR]

The McConathy Farm Rescue Team has rescued nearly 60 horses to date and recently took in seven horses between the ages of two and 10 from a farm in Lawrenceburg. [WKYT]

The Taliban were threatening on Tuesday to capture three key strategic districts in Afghanistan’s province of Helmand as fierce fighting with government forces stoked fears over the Islamist insurgents’ gains in their traditional heartland. [Reuters]

High pension liabilities were discussed during the presentation of the City of Ashland 2015 fiscal year audit — a problem cities all over Kentucky are having, according to officials. [Ashland Independent]

When news broke today that Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian would be freed from his longstanding imprisonment from Iran, it came as a welcome surprise to many reporters. But not, apparently, to some journalists at The Huffington Post, CNN, The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal. [Poynter]

Morehead State President Wayne Andrews lifted his Powerball ticket in the air and joked with faculty that he’d only retire if he owned the winning lottery digits. Andrews extinguished rumors he’s leaving the university and strategized ways to circumvent potential budget cuts on Wednesday during the 2016 MSU Spring Convocation at Button Auditorium. [The Morehead News]

A former Navy SEAL who shot Osama bin Laden and wrote a bestselling book about the raid is now the subject of a widening federal criminal investigation into whether he used his position as an elite commando for personal profit while on active duty, according to two people familiar with the case. [The Intercept]

“I’m not here to lecture you,” said Beth Nimmo, the mother of slain Columbine High School student Rachel Scott, speaking to students at Knox Central High School on Friday, “I’m just here to talk to you as a mother…and I hope you can use this as an opportunity to step away from something that may be harmful to you, a mindset, an activity, or whatever that may be.” [Richmond Register]

Candidates for the Democratic race for the White House have clashed on gun control and healthcare in their liveliest TV debate so far. [BBC]

The National Book Critics Circle will honor famed Kentucky author Wendell Berry with a lifetime achievement awards and has named Lexington poet Ada Limón as one of 30 finalists in six categories for outstanding books of 2015, the group announced Monday. [H-L]

A group of Americans who went missing over the weekend in Iraq were kidnapped from their interpreter’s home in Baghdad, according to an Iraqi government intelligence official. [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]

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]

Bevin Moves To Officially Choke Poors

Arch Coal, which has been hurt by the weakening demand for coal, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection Monday. [H-L]

The economy generated almost 300,000 jobs last year and cut the nominal unemployment rate to five percent. But family incomes for most people are still deeply depressed. [HuffPo]

Following through on a campaign pledge, Gov. Matt Bevin has notified federal authorities he plans to dismantle kynect, Kentucky’s health insurance exchange created as part of the Affordable Care Act. [C-J/AKN]

New U.S. dietary guidelines on Thursday urged Americans to cut their sugar and saturated fat intake to less than 10 percent of daily calories, but consumer advocates said the curbs did not provide clear guidance on the need to lower consumption of meat. [Reuters]

It’s always nice when a newspaper realizes the internet exists. [The Morehead News]

Two potentially sweeping Supreme Court cases set the stage for a seismic shift in the battle over abortion and contraception. [ProPublica]

The first of at least a handful of attorneys who may be interested in becoming the 43rd Judicial District’s next judge – serving Barren and Metcalfe counties – officially filed Friday to become a non-partisan candidate in a special election for the seat this year. [Glasgow Daily Times]

While officers raced to a recent 911 call about a man threatening his ex-girlfriend, a police operator in headquarters consulted software that scored the suspect’s potential for violence the way a bank might run a credit report. [WaPo]

Prime-time television shows have led to a growing interest in law enforcement, police work and investigative technology. [Harlan Daily Independent]

More than 16 months after Iraqi and Kurdish forces reclaimed Mosul Dam from Islamic State fighters, the structure faces a new threat: the danger that it may collapse because of insufficient maintenance, overwhelming major communities downstream with floodwaters. [NY Times]

Kenneth Hall is no stranger to public service. He has worked in the education and law enforcement professions and held an elected position on the Perry County School Board. Now Hall has decided to once again enter the public realm by launching a campaign for state representative in the 84th district, which covers all of Perry County and a large portion of Harlan County. [Hazard Herald]

The EPA’s own advisory board says the agency needs to clarify its findings on fracking. [ThinkProgress]

What can be learned over recent controversies over historic art? Nothing. Kentucky’s already forgotten. Our attention span isn’t great. Everyone forgot. [Tom Eblen]

After Senator Ted Cruz suggested that the United States begin carpet bombing Islamic State (IS) forces in Syria, the reaction was swift. Hillary Clinton mocked candidates who use “bluster and bigotry.” Jeb Bush insisted the idea was “foolish.” Rich Lowry, the editor of National Review, tweeted: “You can’t carpet bomb an insurgency out of existence. This is just silly.” [HuffPo]

Another Week, More Dumb Bevin Stuff

Glad to see there’s nothing important left to worry about. The University of Kentucky has sometimes been criticized for being a campus of independent units, with academic, athletics and health care divisions operating more separately than together. On a symbolic level, UK officials have decided that will no longer be the case. [H-L]

I’d like to offer another story of the random, haphazard nature of help and need when you’re trying to deal with a daily influx of thousands of refugees and migrants to a small island. Night has fallen. We are walking around the perimeter of Moria Camp, a temporary settlement for migrants and refugees, distributing solar lights and donated warm scarves. [HuffPo]

Christmas colors won’t be limited to tree lights this year. The unseasonably warm weather is causing some flowers to bloom early, upsetting nature’s clock. [C-J/AKN]

Where there’s NGP smoke, there’s NGP fire. There have been problems for a decade and the company hasn’t taken them seriously. Now the DNC is involved in shenanigans. The dustup over a data breach that briefly erupted in the Democratic presidential primary last week isn’t over as far as Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and his team are concerned. [Ruh ro]

The Hazard Board of Commissioners held a special called meeting on Dec. 16. The meeting was to approve the Solid Waste Contract between the City of Hazard and Rumpke Waste and Recycling. [Hazard Herald]

In the tale of the rapid influx of campaign money into our political system over the last five years, the Republican establishment often gets cast as the villain. It was, after all, Chief Justice John Roberts and his ideological allies on the court who were responsible for the 2010 Citizens United decision that rolled back caps on how much special-interest groups could spend in elections. [Bill Moyers]

A key state legislator on the ex-felon voting rights issue says Gov. Matt Bevin contradicted his own logic on two high-profile issues addressed through executive orders. [WFPL]

Iraqi troops have pushed deeper into the heart of the last remaining district held by Islamic State in the city of Ramadi, despite being slowed by bombs and booby traps, army spokesmen said on Saturday. [Reuters]

Metcalfe County magistrates took the first step Tuesday to helping volunteer fire departments collect money they can use for the purchase of equipment by adopting on first reading an ordinance allowing annual fire dues to appear on property tax bills, making it more convenient for county residents to pay the fees. [Glasgow Daily Times]

After five Republican debates, most Americans know about Donald Trump’s provocative beliefs, like his desires to end birthright citizenship, stop Muslim immigration and kill families of suspected terrorists. Much less attention has been paid to Carly Fiorina’s conclusion that the minimum wage is unconstitutional, Mike Huckabee’s pledge to defy Supreme Court rulings he deems incompatible with God’s law, Rick Santorum’s claim that Islam is not protected by the First Amendment or Chris Christie’s threat to shoot down Russian planes and launch cyberattacks on Chinese leaders. [Politico]

The Harlan Fiscal Court voted to abandon a couple of small county roads during a meeting on Thursday. [Harlan Daily Independent]

Nearly a thousand times this year, an American police officer has shot and killed a civilian. [WaPo]

Attention whore wants attention again. Who could have predicted she’s still be begging for media? [H-L]

The Pentagon says the United States hit Islamic State group targets in Iraq and Syria with 17 airstrikes on Christmas Day. [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!]

Are Republicans Still Screaming About The Needle Exchange And Saving Lives?

Rings of frozen cranberries and ornaments of seeds and peanut butter were being hung with care on a small evergreen tree, but the holiday being celebrated didn’t involve Santa Claus. Instead, the group of about 20 children and their parents were at The Arboretum on Alumni Drive on Sunday to learn about Tuesday’s winter solstice, the shortest day of the year in terms of daylight. [H-L]

The Massachusetts Supreme Court chief justice has issued a powerful and encouraging reminder to Muslims amid a wave of Islamaphobic sentiment: The U.S. Constitution is on your side. [HuffPo]

Years after Rebecca Collett got clean and served jail time, her low-level felony drug conviction continued to haunt her. She was turned down for jobs, denied subsidized housing and barred from volunteering at her kids’ school. [C-J/AKN]

Hillary Clinton’s campaign on Tuesday condemned Donald Trump’s “degrading language” about the Democratic presidential front-runner. [The Hill]

Louisville Metro Public Health can provide new syringes to people regardless of whether used syringes are exchanged, according to the state Attorney General’s Office. [WFPL]

The U.S. economy grew at a fairly healthy clip in the third quarter as strong consumer and business spending offset efforts by businesses to reduce an inventory glut, underscoring its resilience despite a raft of headwinds. [Reuters]

Republican presidential candidate Rand Paul hopes a promised vote in January on a bill to audit the Federal Reserve can boost his struggling campaign heading into the pivotal Iowa caucuses. [Richmond Register]

Global warming could severely hamper the outdoor economy of the nature rich state of Montana, a new study by the state’s oldest conservation organization found. Thousands of jobs and about a billion dollars in earnings may be at jeopardy in the coming decades, the group found. [ThinkProgress]

I grew up in rural Barren County collecting as many characters as I could find. Fortunately God blessed that place and time with an abundance of them. [Ronnie Ellis]

Donald Trump is taking his criticism of Hillary Clinton into new territory. The Republican front-runner mocked his Democratic counterpart for a “disgusting” bathroom trip she made during Saturday night’s debate, and said Barack Obama “schlonged” her in the 2008 primaries at a raucous rally here on Monday night. [Politico]

As expected, John T. Alexander has officially filed to run in the special election next year to fill the unexpired circuit court judge term of Phillip Patton, who retired earlier this month. [Glasgow Daily Times]

Iraq’s military has launched an offensive to wrest control of the city of Ramadi from Islamic State militants. [NPR]

My hope is that before dubious practitioners attempt to seep across the border into Kentucky, that we prevent the spread of hate before we have any loss of life. [H-L]

Thirteen indigent inmates are free after a federal judge in Nashville, Tennessee, granted an injunction that bars local officials from jailing poor probationers for their inability to pay probation-related fees. [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!]

Johnson & Laurel Cos Vie For Worst

It’s no secret that Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump is no fan of Kentucky’s junior senator. [H-L]

A 55-year-old man thought he had procured a working X-ray device that could focus lethal levels of radiation on residents of an upstate New York community. It’s exactly the kind of horrific plot that might raise the alarm amid the heightened concern over terrorist attacks on the United States. But there’s something notably different about this case — Eric Feight is white, and his intended victims were Muslim-Americans. [HuffPo]

A last-minute plan by Gov. Steve Beshear to increase child care assistance for poor working parents has collapsed because state officials failed to enact it before his administration ended Dec. 7. [C-J/AKN]

U.S. President Barack Obama said his administration is open to some “legitimate criticism” for failing to adequately explain its strategy to counter Islamic State, though he chided Republican presidential candidates for criticizing his policy without offering an alternative. [Reuters]

A Louisville state representative wants to tax electronic cigarette equipment and the liquid nicotine that the devices turn into smokeable vapor. [WFPL]

From his seat in the small plane flying over the largest remaining swath of American wilderness, Bruce Babbitt thought he could envision the legacy of one of his proudest achievements as Interior Secretary in the Clinton administration. [ProPublica]

Three higher education institutions are coming together to collaborate with and support the Upper Cumberland River Watershed Watch (UCWW) in their efforts to improve water quality and water protection. [Harlan Daily Enterprise]

Speaking to the Republican Women’s Club in a mall on the glitzy Las Vegas Strip, retired neurosurgeon and presidential hopeful Dr. Ben Carson repeated a debunked theory that Muslim immigrants have taken control of neighborhoods in major European cities, and warned a similar pattern could arise in the U.S. [ThinkProgress]

There’s a community Christmas party coming up later this week, and all of the proceeds are going to a wonderful cause. [WLEX18]

An American airstrike may have inadvertently killed Iraqi soldiers near the city of Fallujah on Friday, according to a statement from the U.S.-led military coalition conducting the campaign against ISIS. [NPR]

People in Paintsville are continuing to poop the floor. Audience members at a Johnson County school’s performance of “A Charlie Brown Christmas” recited a Bible passage that school officials deleted from the play. [Ashland Independent]

New calculations show that our already sizeable water footprint is 18% bigger than we thought. [BBC]

Laurel County is the worst. A 3-year-old girl is without her parents after they were shot to death Saturday night, the Laurel County Sheriff’s Department said. [H-L]

Ohio Gov. John Kasich trolled Republican presidential rival Donald Trump on Saturday after the real estate mogul publicly traded compliments with Russian President Vladimir Putin. [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!]