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]

HAPPY NEW YEAR ROUNDUP STUFF!

The electric bill at Lacey Griffey’s neat Harlan County home, with its yellow siding and silk-flower arrangements decorating the living room, was $582.07 in January 2013. [H-L]

A group of Syrian refugees in northwest England are lending a hand to communities devastated by flooding in the wake of one storm and bracing for another. [HuffPo]

We can’t keep track of all the UofL scandals these days! Two former University of Louisville biosafety employees who lost their jobs last year following federal investigations of biological safety practices have filed a federal lawsuit against the university, claiming repeated violations of health and safety regulations and an attempted cover-up by university officials. [C-J/AKN]

The Glasgow City Council approved by a 7-4 vote Monday evening moving forward with a new headquarters for the Glasgow Police Department at 101 Pin Oak Lane near American Legion Park. [Glasgow Daily Times]

Hepatitis C, which can damage the liver and cause cancer, affects more than 3 million people in the U.S., and new medications that have come on the market in the past few years will cure the virus in most patients. But a study has found that Medicaid in Kentucky, Indiana and more than 30 other states restrict who receive the pricey drugs. [Business First]

When officers take the lives of those they are sworn to protect and serve, they undermine their own legitimacy. [The Atlantic]

Positive employment news for the Morehead area dominated the “Good News List for 2015” of The Morehead News. [The Morehead News]

If you missed it this week, there was a whole lot of Jim Gooch hilarity. [Page One]

When the 2016 legislative session begins next month, state lawmakers will consider expanding the Kentucky Safe Infants Act to include churches. [WFPL]

And if you missed it in Louisville? Everybody is losing their damn mind over some misbehaving kids at a shopping mall. [The ‘Ville Voice]

People involved in a wide variety of food venues in Lexington are enthusiastic about the increasing demand for local food, a University of Kentucky study found. Researchers behind the Fayette County Local Food Demand Assessment estimate that Lexington businesses in 2014 spent approximately $14 million on Kentucky food products — money that went directly to farmers — with growth likely to continue to $20 million to $24 million in sales by 2020. [Richmond Register]

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]

An effort to replace aging climbing hardware in the Red River Gorge recently got a financial boost thanks to a grant from a Colorado-based nonprofit that works to protect climbing areas. [H-L]

Jeb Bush’s presidential campaign is pulling ads previously scheduled to air in Iowa and South Carolina, two key states in the nominating process, and is instead committing resources toward dispatching additional staff in early primary states with a little more than a month to go until the Iowa caucuses. [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!]

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.

Your Eyes Will Roll Back In Your Head

Lexington is more than 100 miles away from Knox County.

It’s, what, 35 miles away from Montgomery County?

Check out this story about Knox County Schools:

The Knox County school superintendent and two board members violated hiring and other rules, according to the Kentucky Office of Education Accountability.

The office, which investigates complaints about school officials, substantiated allegations against Superintendent Kelly Sprinkles, board Chairman Dexter Smith and board member Merrill Smith, according to reports released to the Herald-Leader.

The Kentucky Department of Education is reviewing the findings, said spokeswoman Nancy Rodriguez.

-SNIP-

According to the reports, Sprinkles hired an assessment coordinator without properly posting the job; demoted one man and transferred another without following the proper procedure; and improperly classified some special-education teachers, which had the effect of impeding the hiring function of school-based councils.

The OEA also said Sprinkles hired a principal without doing interviews. The man was married to the niece of a board member.

The office said that decision did not violate state law or board policy. The relationship between the principal and the board member was not close enough to be covered under the anti-nepotism law.

On two other hiring decisions, however, the OEA concluded Sprinkles violated state law by requesting emergency teaching certifications for two teachers in classes for disabled students in Lynn Camp schools.

-SNIP-

The OEA also substantiated allegations against Dexter Smith and Merrill Smith. Among other things, its report, released in November, said the two had improper involvement in personnel matters and in the day-to-day operation of schools.

The legislature many years ago barred board members from direct involvement in nearly all hiring decisions in order to try to reduce the influence of politics in schools.

-SNIP-

The OEA also concluded that the Knox County district provided bus maintenance without payment to the Barbourville independent school district, resulting in incorrect transportation costs being reported for both districts.

All that. For Knox County.

Nary a peep about Montgomery County for nearly three years, countless scandals, 22-day EPSB hearings, more than half a dozen lawsuits, federal investigations, state investigations, a few dozen terminations, several OEA scandals. Nothing.

Fun tidbit: Nancy Rodriguez is the former A Kentucky Newspaper (CJ) reporter who deliberately (there’s no way she was that bad. none. she was a terrific reporter.) dropped the ball on the Robert Felner/UofL mess at every turn. Then she — just coincidentally — scored a high-paying job at KDE.

This is why Kentucky can’t have nice things.

And no, nothing will change with Matt Bevin’s team. Don’t hold your breath.

Hold On To Your Wigs, It Ends Tomorrow!

For about the last two years, Matt Bevin, the Republican candidate for governor, has angrily lashed out at anyone who questioned whether he has had tax problems in the past. When voters have asked him about it, Bevin has called the claims bogus and bunk. And if you own a television, you’ve probably seen the clip of him saying “I have no tax delinquency problem, nor have I ever.” So it was pretty remarkable earlier this week when Bevin admitted to the Associated Press in an interview that he had in fact been late in paying his taxes at least 30 times. [H-L]

Newly elected Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) has pledged that his tenure will feature a different tone and approach than how the House has operated in the past few years. But on measures of policy, the issues that he seems poised to tackle look very much the same. [HuffPo]

The problems here are Teresa James and her regional DCBS head. James turns a blind eye to their foibles and plays pat-a-cake with some of the most unbelievably unconnected people in state government. Most social workers in the area (and in surrounding counties) breathe fire when you bring them up. [C-J/AKN]

By the time George W Bush left the White House, perceptions of the United States in the wider world were overwhelmingly negative. As the Obama presidency enters its final phase, how have attitudes shifted? (This is about Matthew Barzun) [BBC]

A fugitive accused of shooting a Tennessee police officer and firing at a Kentucky trooper was killed in a shootout with authorities early Friday, ending a nearly weeklong manhunt. [Glasgow Daily Times]

Every year American taxpayers spend more than $100 million to produce original, top-notch policy research for federal lawmakers. The reports issued by the Congressional Research Service are unclassified and nonpartisan—a remarkably useful set of factual distillations of everything from the Pentagon’s budget to an election in Haiti. And the public doesn’t have direct access to them. [Politico]

Judge-Executive Walter Blevins last Wednesday gave NewCity Morehead members an update on the progress of the new Rowan County Detention Center. [The Morehead News]

Ben Carson is seeking to rally Republican candidates to end most actual debating at future Republican debates. Instead, candidates would spend most of their time taking turns delivering speeches. [ThinkProgress]

The race to succeed Democrat Jack Conway as Kentucky Attorney General features two young, ambitious attorneys but the similarities pretty end there. [Ronnie Ellis]

We’ve heard a lot about the negative effects of climate change in the arctic and subarctic. But some Alaskans, like farmer Tim Meyers, are seeing warming temperatures as an opportunity. [NPR]

Flakka may be part of a new wave of drugs inundating communities along the northeastern Kentucky and southeastern Ohio border, but Kentucky lawmakers have been preparing legislation to combat synthetic drugs for years. [Ashland Independent]

When big data uses bad data, discrimination can result. Federal Trade Commission chairwoman Edith Ramirez recently called for “algorithmic transparency,” since algorithms can contain “embedded assumptions that lead to adverse impacts that reinforce inequality.” [ProPublica]

A county clerk from Kentucky jailed for refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples and secretly recorded videos that reignited the debate over abortion dominated national politics this summer. But in Kentucky, home to Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis and the most competitive governor’s race in the country, Republican Matt Bevin and Democrat Jack Conway have scarcely mentioned those issues in TV ads and debates in the final weeks of the campaign. Instead, the focus has stayed on issues of everyday concern to voters, such as health care and education. [H-L]

Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush said he is conflicted about the death penalty and wants to see reforms in how it is implemented. [HuffPo]

UofL Wastes Cash In Every Way Possible

Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear on Tuesday sharply criticized Matt Bevin, the Republican who hopes to succeed him, for calling Kynect “a disaster” and pledging to eliminate it if elected next Tuesday. [H-L]

The Federal Reserve decided to leave its benchmark interest rate unchanged on Wednesday, citing “moderate” economic expansion that has reduced job growth and inflation pressures. [HuffPo]

With Halloween approaching, the mansion for the University of Louisville president in the Cherokee Triangle is once again decorated for the holiday, and President James Ramsey and his wife, Jane, may hand out treats to trick-or-treaters on Halloween night Saturday as they have in the past. [C-J/AKN]

The universe really is weird, which is bad news both for Albert Einstein and for would-be hackers hoping to break into quantum encryption systems. Eighty years after the physicist dismissed as “spooky” the idea that simply observing one particle could instantly change another far-away object, Dutch scientists said on Wednesday they had proved decisively that the effect was real. [Reuters]

The job of political cartoonist and Ashland native Marc Murphy is to use imagery to provoke the responses the printed word is incapable of doing. [Ashland Independent]

Denis Villeneuve’s movie gets much right about the borderlands but crosses the line into exaggeration. A veteran border correspondent compares the film’s underworld to the one he knows. [ProPublica]

The 2015 general election is one week away and most of the ballot in Rowan County will feature statewide offices. [The Morehead News]

An undocumented immigrant has been denied a visa into the United States to reunite with his U.S.-citizen wife and children based on tattoos that U.S. consulate officials in Mexico say are gang-related. [ThinkProgress]

By all accounts, the former CEO of Massey Energy was a highly demanding man. Prosecutors argue those demands came in the form of profits and coal production, but Don Blankenship’s defense team spent another full day Tuesday cross examining former Performance Coal President Chris Blanchard to show Blankenship demanded compliance to safety regulations, too. [Richmond Register]

Whaaaat? Is this something that’s straight out of House of Cards or what? [Politico]

Glasgow City Council’s personnel policy committee will be recommending to the full council the elimination of the city’s return-to-work program for employees who have experienced an on-the-job injury. [Glasgow Daily Times]

The deputy director of the US National Security Agency (NSA), Richard Ledgett, has warned of the increasing danger of destructive cyber attacks by states. [BBC]

In September 2003, Matt Bevin felt celebratory: he had just settled a stressful legal dispute that justified his risky decision to leave a lucrative investment firm, and paved the way for him to strike out on his own. [H-L]

Finally settling the turmoil that has gripped the House Republican caucus for weeks, members of the party formally nominated Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) to be their speaker Wednesday, picking the fresh-faced former vice presidential candidate who had said repeatedly he didn’t want the job. [HuffPo]

Waste Of Time Debate, Nothing’s Changing

Everyone watched the final gubernatorial debate last night and wrote the same thing:

Fortunately, you didn’t have to watch the “debate” to know what would occur. You already knew you’d like to slap the sweat off Jack Conway’s face. Your eyes would roll back in your head every time Matt Bevin opened his mouth to deny something he’d been caught on tape saying. And Drew Curtis? Drew who?

Regardless of the outcome on November 3, not much changes. Regardless of victor, a new crew of greedy buttcramps will crawl into Frankfort near the end of the year to give their friends and donors a bunch of non-merit jobs. That’s about the extent of it.

No, health care won’t be gutted because of Matt Bevin. He’s not intelligent enough and doesn’t have the right people around him to make something like that happen without having a disaster on his hands. And Jack Conway isn’t going to magically clean government up because he’s neck-deep in the muck.

Happy Tuesday!