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]

RPK Back In Hands Of The Mega-Wealthy

Kentucky Supreme Court Chief Justice John Minton Jr. urged state lawmakers Friday to raise the salaries of justices and judges, saying they have not had “a measurable increase” in pay for 10 years. [H-L]

Oh, now Rand Paul has a black friend or something. It’s probably Ben Carson or some other person who has no concept of white privilege. [HuffPo]

State Rep. Jim Wayne says he continues to recover – slowly but steadily – in his battle with cancer and plans to return to Frankfort next week for the first time since the spring. He also said he expects to be able to return to the Capitol for the 2016 legislative session. [C-J/AKN]

During his first full week as Speaker, Paul Ryan gave a glimpse of how he’ll run the House differently than his predecessor, John Boehner. [The Hill]

From last week but more relevant today. Just a reminder – the people screaming about alleged voting machine rigging have no clue what they’re talking about. They’re the folks who get everything they know about politics from MSNBC and have no concept of what goes on in Kentucky. [Page One]

When they were kids, Simon Cherry and Ramsey Badawi both wanted to be astronomers, unlocking mysteries in far off galaxies. That didn’t work out for them. The pair still plan on unlocking mysteries but this time inside the human body. [Reuters]

In an effort to help Kentucky farmers, the University of Kentucky’s College of Agriculture, Food and Environment is getting into the wholesale market. Their goal though is not to compete with local farmers, but to be able to provide training to allow those farmers to enter the market themselves. [Richmond Register]

When William T. Riley III became the police chief of this small city west of Detroit this summer, he found a department that bore little resemblance to the city it served. Nearly three-fourths of Inkster’s 25,000 residents are black. Its mayor and all six City Council members are, too. Yet in a newly released Justice Department survey, it was listed among the nation’s least representative police forces, with 21 white officers and five black officers. [NY Times]

Governor Steve Beshear announced on Thursday that Barren County Clerk Joanne London has received a grant totaling $20,280 from the Kentucky Department for Libraries and Archives (KDLA) to preserve and manage local government records. [Glasgow Daily Times]

Former secretary of state Hillary Clinton, who is running for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination, was campaigning in South Carolina this weekend and sat down with journalist Roland Martin for an interview in which she talked about a number of topics, including one that has not featured in any of the Republican and Democratic debates: charter schools. [WaPo]

Officials of Morehead State University along with members of its Board of Regents, local and state legislators held a dedication ceremony Thursday, Nov. 5, for Lundergan Hall at the Derrickson Agricultural Complex on KY 377 north of Morehead. [The Morehead News]

Everything in Frankfort is corrupt as hell and there is no such thing as integrity there. [WFPL & Center for Public Integrity]

In case you thought the Republican Party of Kentucky was going to actually accomplish something? It no longer has a full-time chairman. A wealthy figurehead does not a functioning party make. Mac Brown is the next chairman of the Republican Party of Kentucky. [H-L]

Prescription drugs kill more people in the U.S. than any other drug, but heroin overdose deaths have exploded, leading the Drug Enforcement Administration to declare both as the most threatening drugs. [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]

Democrats Freaking Out, Republicans Kissing Butt

How could anyone be shocked that Jack Conway didn’t take more people down with him? He didn’t campaign alongside the rest of the slate on any occasion that’s rememberable. Heck, he didn’t even campaign. He hid out in his Glenview estate in that haughty community overlooking the river. What people knew of Jack Conway, they didn’t like. And by people? We mean Democrats. Democrats disliked him enough not to vote for him. [H-L]

British spies would be allowed to legally hack into smartphones and computers under the Tory government’s new surveillance law. Telecoms firms will be forced to help MI5, the domestic intelligence agency; MI6, overseas intelligence; and the U.K.’s Government Communications Headquarters use James Bond-style “equipment interference” — remotely accessing phones and using them as listening devices — as part of the draft Investigatory Powers Bill. [HuffPo]

Perhaps the biggest test that Gov.-elect Matt Bevin will face early in his administration will be whether he can fulfill his promise to remake Gov. Steve Beshear’s expansion of Medicaid. [C-J/AKN]

I would be careful of making too much of the Kentucky results. Only three polls not sponsored by a candidate came out during the final three weeks of the campaign. That’s far less polling than was conducted in other recent polling mishaps, such as in Israel and the United Kingdom over the past year. The Kentucky results match most of the bigger misses in the U.S. during the 2014 midterm elections, such as in the Maryland gubernatorial race and Virginia Senate election, when few polls were released during the final weeks of the campaign.1 That’s a good thing for 2016, when the most highly anticipated races will have lots of polls in the field. [FiveThirtyEight]

Shorter Matt Bevin: Screw the poors and screw the gays! Governor-elect Matt Bevin on Friday announced the early priorities of his administration — dismantling the state-run health exchange and removing county clerk’s names from marriage licenses. [WFPL]

By most accounts, Kentucky’s implementation of President Barack Obama’s 2010 healthcare reform was a success. Tuesday’s elections in the state could mean big changes are coming, however – with ominous portents for the future of the president’s signature legislative achievement. [BBC]

It has been two years since President Barack Obama signed into law the Agricultural Act of 2014, which included a provision legitimizing research into industrial hemp. Since then, Kentucky has been among the most active states taking steps to prepare for the potential legalization of the crop with an ambitious pilot program aimed at once again putting the state at the forefront of production. But in Barren County, industrial hemp has yet to make an appearance. [Glasgow Daily Times]

Recording and mixing music are Vernon Thomas’ passions, but being CEO and producer of Mantree Records isn’t his day job. He’s an HIV outreach worker for a county health department outside Newark, N.J. He took what was to be a full-time job in May because the gig came with health insurance — and he has HIV himself. [NPR]

It’s fun watching Ellen Williams praise Matt Bevin after spending years trashing the bigot of a man up one side and down the other. Ellen Williams, the former chairwoman of the Republican Party of Kentucky, knows a thing or two about winning elections. This week she offered an insight to Matt Bevin’s appeal in his surprising win in the governor’s election. [Ronnie Ellis]

Former Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg of New York City said this week that he would run millions of dollars in political television ads against four state attorneys general who are suing the Obama administration over regulations on power plant emissions. [NY Times]

Stan Lee, R-Gay Panic, is sponsoring legislation in the 2016 Regular Session of the General Assembly that if passed would allow students who are home schooled the ability to play sports in their public school district. Because what public school kids need is to be exposed to half-literate religious extremist children. [Richmond Register]

The coalition soldiers arrived on a dusty ridge line east of this city near dusk, as a cool breeze swept in from the hazy desert plain that stretched for miles below. Fighting positions likely dug decades ago by the Russian military sat at the edge of the ridge, and were marked with numerous stones painted bright blue on one side. [WaPo]

Blair Wilson walked into a storefront at a Louisville mall. An hour later, she walked out with Medicaid coverage for herself and her father, who lost his insurance this year after two strokes. [H-L]

The medical humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders released its internal report on Thursday about the October attack on its hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan. The report also revealed that pilots shot at staff members fleeing the hospital. [HuffPo]

Is This Dang Race Over Yet? Ugh

With a little more than a week to go until Election Day, tempers are flaring in the race for governor, and Republican Matt Bevin brought some sharp elbows and questionable claims to Sunday night’s debate against Democrat Jack Conway. [H-L]

Early in the summer of 2013, Sarah Karp was reading through a report on a Board of Education Meeting when she came across something suspicious. Buried in the report was a notice that the Board had voted to approve a $20.5 million no-bid contract to a company called SUPES to provide professional development for principals. [HuffPo]

We’ll know who Kentucky’s next governor is in just over a week, and it’s still up in the air as to whether Democrat Jack Conway or Matt Bevin will win. [C-J/AKN]

While humanitarian groups and religious charities across the country are urging the U.S. to open its arms to refugees fleeing the bloody conflicts in Syria and Iraq, a number of bloggers and political pundits are beating the drums of intolerance, using conspiracy theories and anti-Muslim rhetoric to mobilize the American public against accepting migrants escaping war. Several of the leading voices in this effort are sponsored by Robert Shillman, a wealthy donor to conservative causes who lives in Rancho Santa Fe, a suburb of San Diego. [The Intercept]

Adam Edelen, the Democratic state auditor seeking re-election, is considered one of the Kentucky Democrat Party’s best young politicians, perhaps even a challenger next year for Republican U.S. Sen. Rand Paul. [Ronnie Ellis]

Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair acknowledged the 2003 invasion of Iraq played a part in the rise of the Islamic State militant group, and apologized for some mistakes in planning the war, in an interview broadcast on Sunday. [Reuters]

A new statewide survey shows the average price of retail food items has dropped for the third straight quarter in Kentucky. [Glasgow Daily Times]

Low-carbon electricity, not gas, is the cheapest way to keep lights on and meet carbon targets, says the government’s climate advisory panel. [BBC]

Ashland Community and Technical College’s Adult Learning Center is offering free General Education Development Ready testing to any one in need of earning the GED certificate. [Ashland Independent]

A Milwaukee hospital is trying a new approach to get newly insured residents to stop using emergency rooms as their main source of medical care and develop relationships with doctors instead. [NPR]

At NewCity Morehead’s regular meeting Wednesday, Judge-Executive Walter Blevins offered his opinion about Rowan Fiscal Court’s decision to keep the old courthouse square and all of its structures intact. [The Morehead News]

It’s like they did a case study about everything Joshua Powell and his people have perpetrated against countless individuals. From attempting to paint school employees as “whores” and folks reporting the news as “cross-dressers” to trying to play the victim. This summer, American Psychologist, the official journal of the American Psychological Association, released a special issue on the topic of bullying and victimization. [New Yorker]

Tucked away off a narrow country road in Clark County, in the middle of a farm, 27 acres of hemp grew all summer. Now, the plants will be harvested and processed. [H-L]

Nearly a decade before the Supreme Court ruling in Brown v. Board of Education made segregated schooling of black students unconstitutional, a group of five Mexican-American families fought for integrated schools in Mendez v. Westminster. [HuffPo]

Even The Mormons Hate Kim Davis Now

Jurors acquitted former Paul campaign chair Jesse Benton of a single count of lying to FBI agents. [Des Moines Register]

The Mormon Church staked a deeper claim to middle ground in American society on Tuesday, advocating for compromises between protecting religious liberties and prohibiting discrimination, and criticizing Kentucky clerk Kim Davis for refusing to license gay marriages. [H-L]

Every once in a while, somebody who’s a political adversary most of the time does something righteous and politically useful. Some of us call this happy occurrence “friend for a day.” [HuffPo]

Stripper/prostitute allegations don’t do the state any good, according to Steve Beshear. But people like Robert Felner and the other swindlers at UofL since 2008 are puppies and rainbows? Please. [C-J/AKN]

Clinton said she has “serious concerns” with the proposed mergers between Anthem and Cigna and between Aetna and Humana that are currently underway. The deals will be under review by the Department of Justice for the next year or so, likely running into the next president’s tenure. [The Hill]

CSX workers with operations in Russell are hoping the reduction at the sites in Erwin, Tennessee, and Corbin isn’t a sign the runaway layoff locomotive is headed this way. [Ashland Independent]

A federal appeals court on Monday upheld parts of New York and Connecticut gun control laws banning semiautomatic assault rifles and large-capacity magazines, ruling the measures passed after a 2012 school massacre did not violate the Constitution. [Reuters]

In a sure sign the election is nearing, candidates for so-called down ticket offices have begun airing television commercials two weeks from the Nov. 3 election. [Richmond Register]

Ten prominent Democratic lawmakers, including presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, are urging the U.S. secretary of labor to come up with a plan to ensure that state workers’ compensation programs are properly caring for injured workers. [ProPublica]

Since late June, Rowan County has been controversial and attracted the attention of organizations, media, and protesters from all over the country. And while everyone has an opinion of the cause of the controversy, the topic was barely discussed and Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis was barely mentioned. But on Monday morning Westboro Baptist Church made a four-person stand at the Rowan County Courthouse and at Morehead State University. [The Morehead News]

The American Cancer Society has revised its guidelines for when and how often women should receive screenings for breast cancer. [BBC]

A trial date has been set for next year in the case of a former Glasgow Police Department sergeant who is appealing the city’s termination of his employment to Barren Circuit Court. [Glasgow Daily Times]

NPR’s Ari Shapiro talks to Larry Yungk, who coordinates refugee resettlement programs with the U.S., and Allentown, Penn., Mayor Ed Pawlowski about his appeal for more refugees in his city. [NPR]

The director of West Virginia’s mine safety office says there is a growing substance abuse problem among miners. [H-L]

At a time when both left and right have begun to agree on the needless financial and human costs of mass incarceration, the State of Texas is conspiring with the Obama administration to undermine a federal court order so they can keep innocent children in prison. [HuffPo]

UofL Sex Scandal Isn’t Going Away

In the ever expanding universe of Kentucky bourbon, it can be hard to keep up with new distilleries and new things to sample. But it is so much fun trying. [H-L]

Whether or not you think Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) won Tuesday night’s Democratic debate, it’s clear his campaign’s bank account did. [HuffPo]

Oldham County officials plan to move forward with a vote on becoming a wet county, despite previous questions about whether they’d collected enough voter signatures to hold a special election. [C-J/AKN]

University of Louisville is investigating claims that a former staffer hired escorts to have sex with basketball players and recruits. [NPR]

The Cumberland Ranger District of the Daniel Boone National Forest is known for the Red River Gorge and Cave Run Lake. It stretches across Rowan, Bath, Menifee, Morgan, Powell, Wolfe, Estill, and Lee counties. [The Morehead News]

Sheldon Adelson, one of the Republican Party’s most sought-after contributors, is leaning increasingly toward supporting Marco Rubio — and the Florida senator is racing to win the backing of other uncommitted megadonors who have the potential to direct tens of millions of dollars his way and alter the contours of the Republican primary fight. [Politico]

Charles “Chuck” Doolin of Dry Fork was 5 years old when his father bought a new tractor. “This tractor here,” he said, as he stood beside the 1954 TO 30 Ferguson on East Washington Street on Saturday, “was delivered new there to my daddy in 1955. … It came from Fred Smith Motor Co. right here in Glasgow, Kentucky.” [Glasgow Daily Times]

Police officers Bryan Norberg and Graham Kunisch each had lasting physical problems after being shot while on the job in 2009. Now, because of their civil lawsuit against the store that sold the gun, the incident may have a lasting legal impact too. On Tuesday, a jury ordered gun store Badger Guns to pay $6 million for its role in an illegal gun sale, which ultimately led to both officers getting shot in the face. [ThinkProgress]

Jack Dunlap did not want to build a memorial when he planned a flag display for the front of his home, although he did honor military memories by design. [Ashland Independent]

The board that certifies orthopedic specialists will use ProPublica’s Surgeon Scorecard to help assess the competency of its surgeons, the organization’s top administrator said today. [ProPublica]

Nestled underneath a canopy of trees with falling leaves swirling around him, James Bonta of Barefoot Royals Studio looks comfortable at his pottery wheel as he shapes his creations amid the hustle and bustle of the Kentucky Guild of Artists and Craftsmen Fair Saturday. [Richmond Register]

The U.S. Supreme Court appeared divided Tuesday over whether it has jurisdiction in a case challenging a state’s sentencing of a minor to life in prison without parole. [The Hill]

Toyota, under ambitious environmental targets, is aiming to sell hardly any regular gasoline vehicles by 2050, only hybrids and fuel cells, to radically reduce emissions. [H-L]

A Russian scientist says he’s discovered the world’s smallest free-living insect — and the critter sure is tiny. [HuffPo]