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]

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) [Ting]

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]

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]

Some Monday Evening Gloom And Doom

The most important newspaper in the state has ignored scandal after scandal in Montgomery County, just 20 minutes away from its offices, but has focused non-stop on stupid issues like this. In places hours and hours away. Really, freaking out about a student prank involving bible verses? Really, it’s Nancy Rodriguez all over again. Maybe worse this time. [H-L]

Rand Paul’s (R-Cookie Tree) new book sold fewer than 500 copies in two weeks. TWO WEEKS! Can you imagine? More people wanted Jake’s Kim Davis magnets on Twitter than bought the little man’s new book. [HuffPo]

House Democrats met Friday to talk about moving forward following Tuesday’s devastating losses in statewide elections and to steel themselves against the possibility that some of their members may switch parties or take jobs in the Bevin administration, jeopardizing their party’s hold on the chamber. [C-J/AKN]

The fossil fuel industry had already managed to shape a bill moving rapidly through Congress last summer, gaining provisions to ease its ability to export natural gas. But one key objective remained elusive: a measure limiting the authority of local communities to slow the construction of pipelines because of environmental concerns. [IBT]

Matt London took some time off Thursday from his day job to harvest soybeans on a seven-acre plot near Hiseville-Bear Wallow Road. He, like other grain farmers in the area, is a little later in the year harvesting because of weather, which is the consistent seasonal variable in agriculture. [Glasgow Daily Times]

Rand Paul (R-Cookie Tree) says that when it comes to foreign policy, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), a fellow GOP presidential candidate, and Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton are “the same person.” [The Hill]

It’s not every day the richest man in the world visits eastern Kentucky. Bill Gates and his wife Melinda were spotted eating at Texas Roadhouse in Pikeville and snapped cell phone photos of Gates enjoying his meal went viral. [Ashland Independent]

U.S. and coalition forces are likely to increase air strikes against Islamic State targets in Iraq and Syria in coming weeks after a lull in September and October, the head of U.S. Air Forces Central Command said Saturday. [Reuters]

Dr. Scott Davison, a professor and department chair at Morehead State University, Tuesday won the three remaining years on the vacant seat on the Rowan County Board of Education. [The Morehead News]

The journalists were assassinated on American soil, one after another. Duong Trong Lam was the first. He was 27 years old and ran a Vietnamese-language publication called Cai Dinh Lang, which he mailed to immigrants around the country. A gunman found him as he walked out of his San Francisco apartment building one morning and shot him, a single bullet piercing his pulmonary artery, just above the heart. [ProPublica]

A new report says more than one in 10 babies are born premature in Kentucky. The state has a premature birth rate of 10.7 percent, ranking it 38th in the U.S., according to the 2015 Premature Birth Rate Report Card. The report gave Kentucky a “D” grade for its premature birth rate. [WFPL]

The State Department has released a new chronology adding perspective to how the diplomatic agency, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and other elements of the U.S. government scrambled to respond to the attack on the U.S. facilities in Benghazi, Libya, on September 11, 2012. [Politico]

Handguns, narcotics and $30,000 in cash were stolen during a break-in of the Simpsonville Police Department, Kentucky State Police said in a release. [H-L]

Surprise! There are a bunch of Kentuckians on this list. The hackivist collective Anonymous released a much-anticipated list of people it claims are members or supporters of the Ku Klux Klan on Thursday night. [HuffPo]

Kim Davis Just Won’t Effing Quit It

Despite Kentucky’s socially conservative streak, more than half of the state’s voters think Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis should have to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. [H-L]

In a speech last week, Federal Reserve Board Chair Janet Yellen inadvertently told us why Congress should set a 4 percent unemployment target for the Fed in its conduct of monetary policy, as is proposed in a new bill put forward by Michigan Representative John Conyers. The context was Yellen’s dismissal of such a target. [HuffPo]

Don Childers and others affiliated with Childers Oil Co. combined to give $4,000 to the Kentucky Democratic Party this summer while Governor Steve Beshear’s administration was negotiating a secret settlement with the company over a 2011 spill of diesel fuel into the North Fork of the Kentucky River. [C-J/AKN]

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) is the favorite to succeed John Boehner (R-OH) after his surprise resignation as the House Speaker last week. The appointment of McCarthy, who represents a heavily Latino district, to preside over a more radically conservative Republican caucus could have implications for immigration reform. [ThinkProgress]

Ann Stewart, executive director of the Glasgow-Barren County Tourist and Convention Commission, has been reappointed to serve another term on the Kentucky Travel Industry Association’s board of directors. [Glasgow Daily Times]

The Secret Service reportedly leaked sensitive personal information to the press about Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz as the Utah Republican was investigating the beleaguered agency. [Politico]

Steve Beshear’s lawyers are using the words “absurd,” ”forlorn” and “obtuse” to describe the legal arguments a county clerk has used to avoid issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. [WAVE3]

Can we quit it with calling Drew Curtis “quirky”? It’s an insult from a bunch of old-ass white men and seems to get thrown around a lot lately. The only people who think he is quirky are people who have no idea what “URL” means. And can we quit acting like the RGA pulled out because Bevin sucks? Sure, he sucks, but the RGA’s man on the ground said six months ago their budget was $3 million. RGA never thought Bevin could win, really. Which is worse than abandoning him now. [Larry Sabato]

Kentuckians are continuing to default on federal student loans at one of the highest rates in the nation. [WFPL]

Rand Paul’s (R-Cookie Tree) daddy hauled in more money in one day than he’s raised in three months. Surprising that anyone thinks his presidential campaign is anything more than a stunt to raise his senate campaign profile. [Mother Jones]

Attorneys for a Magoffin County judge have asked the Kentucky Supreme Court to review a lower court decision that would force the judge out of office for election fraud. [WKYT]

In an interview with NPR, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani says his country will use its added billions of dollars from the nuclear deal for boosting the Iranian economy. [NPR]

This year’s Historic Paris-Bourbon County house tour Sunday is at the boyhood home of one of Kentucky’s most interesting and least known Civil War generals, who ended his short life as an American diplomat in South America. [H-L]

Thirteen people were killed and as many as 20 were wounded Thursday in a shooting at a small community college in Roseburg, Oregon, according to multiple reports. Another day, another mass shooting. [HuffPo]

Papaw’s People Pony Up The KDP Cash

Former state Rep. John Arnold, who was accused of sexually harassing two female legislative staffers, said in a deposition earlier this year that he “spanked the knee” of Rep. Sannie Overly, this fall’s Democratic nominee for lieutenant governor. Which is fine and dandy. But when I asked one of the victims about Overly earlier this week? They said that after going to Overly, she got shut down by leadership and she avoided the victims like the plague. No amount of spin will change that. [H-L]

President Barack Obama is “cautiously optimistic” about the prospect of a global climate agreement emerging from negotiations in Paris at the end of this year. [HuffPo]

The Kentucky Democratic Party continued to rake in big contributions in August, much of it from state contractors and appointees of Gov. Steve Beshear. [C-J/AKN]

The Obama administration is gearing up for what it expects to be the toughest healthcare sign-up season yet, officials said Tuesday. [The Hill]

Wondering what Joshua Powell’s attorney, Mike Owsley, is up to at other school districts? You’ll love reading about his latest shenanigans. [Glasgow Daily Times]

Los Angeles officials on Tuesday called homelessness an “emergency” in the city and proposed spending $100 million to provide permanent housing and shelters for the city’s 26,000 indigent. [Reuters]

Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear isn’t on the ballot this year; he’s finishing up his second term and is ineligible to run. But his legacy in health care is very much at stake in this fall’s gubernatorial election. [Ronnie Ellis]

This weekend, Pope Francis will visit Philadelphia’s Curran-Fromhold Jail as part of his visit to the United States. In addition to severe overcrowding, Curran-Fromhold inmates also have to contend with a bevy of private firms that make money providing services inside the jail. While it is nominally a correctional facility, life inside Curran-Fromhold is shaped at least as much by the profit motive as by the spirit of rehabilitation and penance. [ThinkProgress]

When U.S. District Judge David Bunning jailed Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis for contempt his instructions were for her not to interfere with issuance of marriage licenses. [The Morehead News]

Sales of CDs in the US dropped by 31.5% in the first half of 2015, according to music industry figures. [BBC]

State Auditor Adam Edelen says he’s looking into the financial management of the University of Louisville Foundation, which manages the university’s $1.1 billion endowment, and the university’s board of trustees as part of an ongoing investigation. [WFPL]

After more than four years of civil war in Syria, what’s driving people to Europe in such numbers now? [NPR]

Sam Walton believed in private enterprise, but that probably didn’t include selling hemp from the back of a pickup truck in a Wal-Mart parking lot. Danville police arrested a Harrodsburg man on Tuesday for allegedly doing just that. [H-L]

Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton said the idea that she started the birther movement, which questions the validity of President Barack Obama’s American birth certificate, is “so ludicrous.” [HuffPo]

Mitch McConnell Is Right, Democrats

Like it or not, Democrats, Mitch McConnell is right. If Matt Bevin wins the gubernatorial race, Democrats are likely going to maintain control of the state house. Unless Conway’s people run all the house races, that is. Then they’re doomed. Bevin could fire up the Dems.

But if Bevin loses? Republicans will likely take over the state house within two years — not four or six. Honestly, once Republicans get to 51 votes, you know all the old Dems will start to retire out of anger and frustration and then, boom, majority like woah.

How crazy is that? Matt Bevin — the guy RPK insiders say is dumber than Richie Farmer (that’s really, dangerously dumb) — could be your governator.

And how crazy is it that Andy Beshear could lose to someone (Whitney Sweaterfield) with 10x less money? All because he and his family are afraid to say the word “gay” and stake out a position that isn’t backward.

What the hell year is this?!

Fun thing: if Republicans do get power in the state house, at least it could potentially motive Democrats to get their shiz together and draw in competent young people. This pat-a-caking hasn’t worked the last decade.