Get Bourbon. Budget Address At 7:00.

Kentucky officials say the state’s unemployment rate increased at the end of last year. The state Office of Employment and Training said Thursday that the preliminary jobless rate in December rose to 5.3 percent from a revised 5 percent in November. [H-L]

Hillary Clinton is wrong when she says that Medicare for all is not achievable. In fact, if she and her husband had embraced the concept in 1993, we would be nearly there today. [HuffPo]

LOUISVILLE PEE ALERT! In the wake of a public fight between its former chairman and vice chairman, the Metropolitan Sewer District board has proposed adding a loyalty provision to its ethics policy. Oh, and no tweeting during board meetings. [C-J/AKN]

Fear. The simple four-letter word that works if you want to get elected. Political professionals know that playing on people’s fears – going negative – is the way to win. [BBC]

The Perry County School Board held a special meeting on the evening of Jan. 7 to hear public comments about the recently adapted district facility plan for Perry County schools. [Hazard Herald]

At home, Julián Castro’s been spending more time reading and watching television in Spanish, trying to get his speaking skills up to speed. [Politico]

Glasgow Mayor Dick Doty announced through a press release Thursday morning that he will not be making a decision regarding the discipline of Glasgow Police Department Sgt. Michael “Mike” Burton as soon as expected. [Glasgow Daily Times]

NOAA and NASA have announced that 2015 was by far the hottest year on record globally. In fact, NOAA reports that “2015 is Earth’s warmest year by widest margin on record.” [ThinkProgress]

Citing his continued desire to provide effective, experienced leadership for Eastern Kentucky, state Rep. Rocky Adkins filed for re-election last Thursday to serve the 99th House District in Elliott, Lewis and Rowan counties. [The Morehead News]

Avoid your local teevee stations this evening and watch Matt Bevin’s budget address at 7:00 P.M. Eastern on KET. You can stream it live if you don’t have cable or can’t pick it up for free over the air. Works for outsiders, too. [KET Live]

The chairman of Ashland Community and Technical College’s board of directors is one of 16 business leaders who will lobby for more postsecondary education funding in the Kentucky General Assembly. [Ashland Independent]

Donald Trump is calling for Medicare to be able to negotiate with pharmaceutical companies to lower drug prices, a policy long backed by Democrats and opposed by Republicans. [The Hill]

Wondering why Lexington can’t have nice things? The Lexington Urban County Council gave final approval Thursday to a five-year franchise agreement with Kentucky American Water. It will replace a 20-year agreement that expired in April. The council voted 13-0 to approve the agreement. Kentucky American Water was the sole bidder. There was no discussion before Thursday night’s vote. [H-L]

At a time when the media’s duty to vet candidates is more urgent than ever, journalism is giving Donald Trump a free pass. Trump deploys fame for fame’s sake; taps into populist expressions of fear, hatred and resentment and shows a knack for picking fights and a braggart’s focus on the horse race. All of which allow him to play into — and exploit — every media weakness and bad habit in a chase for audience and numbers. [HuffPo]

GE Sale Has Louisville A Bit Anxious

More than 17,000 Kentucky food stamp recipients in eight counties must begin part-time work, education or volunteer activities in order to keep their benefits under a requirement reinstated this month. [H-L]

After Mitt Romney’s resounding defeat in the 2012 presidential election, the Republican National Committee commissioned a 97-page report that laid out “a path forward for the Republican Party to ensure success in winning more elections.” It sounded great. But its drafters probably didn’t envision that the GOP’s “path forward” would involve its 2016 presidential front-runner arguing in a nationally televised debate that its second-place contender is ineligible to serve as president. [HuffPo]

Papaw Beshear’s back at Stites in Lexington. They even sent out a fancy press release about it. [C-J/AKN & Press Release]

President Barack Obama has vigorously defended his legacy while striking an optimistic note for America’s future in his final State of the Union address. [BBC]

Litigation surrounding the license for a Corbin quarter horse racing track continues after an injunction hearing scheduled for Tuesday was postponed. [Richmond Register]

The conservative state of Texas has for years scaled back its pollution laws as it sought to keep a business-friendly atmosphere, all to the dismay of environmentalists. Now, two environmental groups are pushing back against the state. [ThinkProgress]

The longer jackasses fawn over Kim Davis, the longer Kentucky looks stupid. [WKYT]

The Obama administration on Friday said it would announce the next steps in its planned overhaul of how the United States manages coal development on federal land, which sources have said includes freezing new leases. [Reuters]

Things in Bowling Green apparently suck so badly that people are making pipe bombs. [BGDN]

The United States has spent nearly half a billion dollars and five years developing Afghanistan’s oil, gas and minerals industries — and has little to show for it, a government watchdog reported. [ProPublica]

This is a sad, frustrating situation no matter how you look at it. [WAVE3]

Obama administration officials are set to announce plans Friday to overhaul the program that allows private companies to mine coal on federal land. [The Hill]

Prompted by new federal regulations, the state’s two largest utility companies are closing several storage ponds that collect the coal ash burned by power plants. [H-L]

General Electric Co agreed to sell its appliances business to China’s Qingdao Haier Co Ltd for $5.4 billion in cash, the companies said on Friday. The move comes weeks after GE abandoned a $3.3 billion deal with Sweden’s Electrolux following months of opposition from U.S. antitrust regulators. [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. [Ting]

Legislative Hell Breaks Loose Tomorrow

Ron Hink talks about being Bechtel Parsons Blue Grass project manager for the plant that will destroy chemical weapons in Madison County. [H-L]

The troubled campaign of Democratic U.S. presidential contender Martin O’Malley was dealt another blow on Thursday when the struggling candidate failed to qualify for the primary ballot in the political bellwether state of Ohio. [HuffPo]

Yes, UofL could have paid her to go away. UofL loves to pay people to go away. Look at Shirley, the former attorney, nearly everyone else who knows something and hasn’t gone to prison. [C-J/AKN]

This is from a couple years ago but you can’t afford not to re-read it. We hates us some poor people. First, they insist on being poor when it is so easy to not be poor. They do things like buy expensive designer belts and $2500 luxury handbags. [TPM]

The U.S. Alzheimer’s Disease Centers recently awarded Allan Richards and Ann Christianson of the University of Kentucky School of Fine Arts and Visual Studies a grant to study the effects of visual arts activities on quality of life for people with mild to moderate dementia and their caregivers. [Richmond Register]

But not in Kentucky! As the United States marks more than six years without an increase in the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour, 14 states and several cities are moving forward with their own increases, with most set to start taking effect on Friday. [Reuters]

Boyd County Sheriff Bobby Jack Woods knew going into his position that it would not be your average 40-hour-a-week job. He understood the challenges that would accommodate the title and has spent his first year in office tackling them all. [Ashland Independent]

This type of consideration when it comes to medical malpractice will never happen in the United States. Primarily beacuse people like Scott Jennings – for money – fight to lie to people about the need for tort reform for the wrong reasons. [ProPublica]

Union officials said Thursday that nearly 600 coal miners could lose their jobs at Murray Energy Corp. mines in West Virginia and Ohio, dealing another blow to the beaten-down industry and Appalachian region. [Harlan Daily Independent]

Why is Middle America killing itself? The fact itself is probably the most important social science finding in years. It is already reshaping American politics. The Post’s Jeff Guo notes that the people who make up this cohort are “largely responsible for Donald Trump’s lead in the race for the Republican nomination for president.” The key question is why, and exploring it provides answers that suggest that the rage dominating U.S. politics will only get worse. [WaPo]

Even media outlets outside Louisville are freaking out about a stupid mall incident. [WKYT]

Donald Trump has again defended his call for a ban on Muslims entering the US after it was used in a propaganda video by Somali militant group al-Shabab. [BBC]

Remember that time Kim Davis thought she could prevent the gays from getting married? She’s a perfect poster gal for being too hateful to breathe. [H-L]

The Affordable Care Act survived a near-death experience, made major progress and faced some significant setbacks in 2015, the fifth year since President Barack Obama’s historic health care reform program became law. These were the biggest Obamacare stories of the year about to end. [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. [Ting]

Your Monday Morning Dept Of Awful

Kentucky’s legislature returns to Frankfort on Tuesday for a 60-day session featuring an ambitious Republican governor who wants to shake up state government, a solidly Republican Senate that intends to help him and a House that almost has slipped from Democrats’ hands. [John Cheves]

White wingnut terrorists took over a federal building in Oregon and almost no mainstream media covered it. [HuffPo]

Kentucky economic and labor statistics in several key areas are surpassing comparable numbers in many parts of the country. [C-J/AKN]

President Obama says he’ll be meeting Monday with Attorney General Loretta Lynch “to discuss options” for reducing gun deaths in America. [The Hill]

Kentucky is last in animal protection laws. Trotting happily alongside Lake Reba on a blustery day in his bright red jacket, Logan pauses for a minute to observe a group of ducks waddling their way to the muddy bank — his tail wagging as Brandee Coffey, his foster mom, reaches down to scratch his ears. [Richmond Register]

U.S. President Barack Obama is expected to announce executive actions expanding background checks on gun sales, media outlets reported on Thursday, citing people familiar with White House proposals and planning. [Reuters]

Boyd County Judge-Executive Steve Towler said he had to employ his time management skills to keep business on-track during his first year on the job. [Ashland Independent]

President Barack Obama’s bid to assert himself in his final year will begin with long-awaited executive actions on gun control, expected to be released next week, shortly after he returns to Washington. [Politico]

For the next nine days, more than 30 people in Lexington will learn how to survive in the wilderness. [WKYT]

How to understand white male terrorism. We’ve been here before and we know that violent backlash is at its fiercest when movements for racial and gender justice are winning. [The Nation]

This is a letter to the editor the Bowling Green Daily News felt it needed to publish? Some butthurt white guy freaking out about the confederate flag? [BGDN]

If you are black, you’re far more likely to see your electricity cut, more likely to be sued over a debt, and more likely to land in jail because of a parking ticket. It is not unreasonable to attribute these perils to discrimination. But there’s no question that the main reason small financial problems can have such a disproportionate effect on black families is that, for largely historical reasons rooted in racism, they have far smaller financial reserves to fall back on than white families. [ProPublica]

Lexington is still trying really hard to be as murderous as Louisville. [H-L]

Two years ago, Sen. Elizabeth Warren demanded to know why a government-sponsored bank meant to expand homeownership was instead lending money on the cheap to student loan company Sallie Mae, boosting its profits at the public’s expense. [HuffPo]

Economic Reality Hitting Hard In Ashland

A former Madison County official has pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court to charges that she stole $332,524 from a federally funded program. [H-L]

In a Democratic debate focused on national security Saturday evening, one topic was notably missing from moderators’ questions: climate change. [HuffPo]

Deep in the jungle of Honduras’ Mosquito Coast, archaeologist Chris Begley fled through dense underbrush in the pitch blackness – hoping the armed outlaws weren’t close behind. [C-J/AKN]

The lives of children from rich and poor American families look more different than they have in decades. [NY Times]

According to a government report drug overdose deaths rose in 14 states in 2014. [WHAS11]

Have you ever heard an announcement from the Federal Reserve and felt like you are way under qualified to understand a word of it? That’s no accident. [NPR]

Boyd County Judge-Executive Steve Towler said the fiscal court will face a decrease in revenue in the new year, due mostly to decreased intake at Big Run Landfill and imminent layoffs at AK Steel. [Ashland Independent]

Bernie Sanders has apologised to fellow US Democrat presidential candidate Hillary Clinton after his staff stole valuable voting data from her campaign. [BBC]

According to a new report, more than 2,800 deaths in the Commonwealth could be avoided if all residents in the state had a fair chance to be healthy. [Richmond Register]

For 14 months, the first thing Dave Herrod, a special agent with the Drug Enforcement Administration, did every morning was boot up his laptop and begin tracking a 43-foot yacht with Dock Holiday painted on the stern. [ProPublica]

Laurel County’s back to being awful. The Laurel County Sherif’f’s Office investigated a double shooting off of Natures Bend Road, approximately 9 miles east of London, Ky., that left two people dead. [WKYT]

A growing number of U.S. universities are seeking religious exemptions from civil rights laws barring discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) students, according to a report by LGBT advocacy group Human Rights Campaign. [Reuters]

Despite academic improvements in the 2014-15 school year, Fayette County Public Schools had a slight increase in the number of children who were not proficient on statewide tests, school board members learned this week. [H-L]

The Obama administration wants local law enforcement agencies to crack down on officer misconduct. But the federal law enforcement agencies within Obama’s own Department of Justice haven’t gotten the message. [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!]

Is Reeeechie Farmer Gonna Play Again?

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!]

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. [H-L]

The double standard can’t be more jarring: For days television networks and media outlets have been parroting the FBI in telling us how the San Bernadino shooters were “radicalized” at this or that time, or speculating on their “radicalization” and how it occurred. [HuffPo]

Richard Dwight Farmer, former basketball star, former state agriculture commissioner and most recently inmate number 16226-032, was set to be released Friday from a federal prison in Hazelton, West Virginia, his father told a Lexington television station. [C-J/AKN]

One week after Defense Secretary Ash Carter announced women in the U.S. military can serve in any combat role, a federal appeals court is considering a lawsuit from a men’s group that says a male-only draft is unconstitutional. [NPR]

ICYMI: Bill sits down with former Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear to discuss his time in office and his plans for the future. [KET]

People with names that suggest they are black are being discriminated against on room sharing site AirBnB, a Harvard study suggests. [BBC]

The Kentucky State Nature Preserves Commission (KSNPC) has presented its Biological Diversity Protection Award to Christy Lee Brown of Louisville. The annual award is given to an individual or organization that has made a significant contribution to the knowledge and protection of Kentucky’s biodiversity. “Brown is truly an international leader promoting a holistic understanding and appreciation of the earth and its environs,” said Don Dott, executive director of the KSNPC. “She leads and inspires others in the fields of sustainable food production, environmental quality and its fundamental role in human health, the interrelatedness of our natural systems, and of biodiversity protection and the conservation of land.” [Press Release]

“Facts matter, science matters, data matters. That’s what this hearing is about.” That’s how Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), the chairman of the Senate’s Subcommittee on Space, Science, and Competitiveness, began a Monday hearing he called about the reality of human-caused climate change. Cruz — who is also running for president — does not believe that human-caused climate change is real, which he made clear at Monday’s hearing. He did not make it clear that 97 percent of climate scientists disagree with him, but such is life in the U.S. Senate, where 70 percent of Republicans largely side with Cruz. [ThinkProgress]

Surprise! Jefferson County Public Schools’ administration is a disaster and now the OAG has been asked to get involved. You won’t believe the shenanigans (just kidding! you’ll believe it) going on with a woman paid $190 per hour and $53,000 per month. [The ‘Ville Voice]

From the suburbs of Los Angeles to the outskirts of Washington, D.C., mosques around the United States are warily stepping up security in the face of growing fears about reprisals on American Muslims. [Reuters]

Horrible walrus Jim Gooch has returned to embarrass the Commonwealth. A bill pre-filed in the General Assembly would declare Kentucky a “sanctuary state” for people and companies who don’t want to follow federal environmental laws that will restrict carbon dioxide emissions from power plants. [WFPL]

When Gail McGovern was picked to head the American Red Cross in 2008, the organization was reeling. Her predecessor had been fired after impregnating a subordinate. The charity was running an annual deficit of hundreds of millions of dollars. [ProPublica]

State Rep. Darryl Owens has pre-filed a bill to limit testing time in Kentucky classrooms, allow teachers more instructional time and decrease “teaching to the test” practices. [H-L]

They are known as “Three Percenters,” followers of a movement that has rallied against gun control efforts nationwide, patrolled the U.S. border with Mexico and recently begun confronting Muslim Americans. [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. [Ting]

Watch This: Tom Brokaw On Trump

Tom Brokaw does in a couple minutes what the rest of the media has failed to do in months:

That sort of hatred has taken hold of Frankfort and it’s about to take hold nationally.

If you aren’t disgusted, something’s wrong.

Crapping your pants over Muslims and refugees, are you? Hope you’re ready for the collapse of Kentucky’s horse industry, which is propped up by… wait for it… Muslims. Keeneland. Fasig Tipton. All the property and horses owned by wealthy, foreign Muslims. Think about the Al Maktoum Family and how many billions they’ve showered on the Commonwealth through the years.

Way to go with your hatred and Islamophobia, wingnuts. We’re looking at you, Matt Bevin, and every other mouth-breather with an inability to think.