Sorry, Frankfort Doesn’t Take Education Seriously

Dozens of people have placed bids on historical items being auctioned by the state. [H-L]

Supporting the Salvation Army this season, whether by tossing your change in their red kettles or donating your used goods to their resale shops, means assisting an aggressively anti-gay church in furthering its goals of discrimination. [HuffPo]

Spoiler alert: it’ll be a break. Kentucky Education Commissioner Terry Holliday calls the upcoming General Assembly session a “make or break” time for Kentucky public education. [C-J/AKN]

The pay gap between U.S. men and women is closing but younger women face lingering uncertainty about their future earning power, research released on Wednesday showed. [Reuters]

Racial disparities in marijuana arrests have more to do with the neighborhoods where Louisville Metro Police focuses its attention than with race, Chief Steve Conrad says. [WFPL]

Could this be the future in the United States? Canada Post will phase out home delivery in urban areas over the next five years as the postal service struggles to rein in persistent losses. [BBC]

The mainstream media in Louisville has chosen to ignore the Kentucky Retirement Systems audit. [The ‘Ville Voice]

You should go read this op-ed from the AP photo director about Obama’s “Orwellian Image Control.” [NY Times]

A Republican U.S. senator from Kentucky and a candidate for Kentucky’s other Senate seat both criticized the budget deal Wednesday. [H-L]

In the belly of the beast: A small band of animal rights activists have been infiltrating the factory farms where animals are turned into meat under the most horrific circumstances. Now the agribusiness giants are trying to crush them. [Rolling Stone]

Joe Gerth wrote an entire story about Alison Grimes’ fundraising email blast about the minimum wage. But he didn’t once mention it was a FUNDRAISING EMAIL begging for campaign contributions. [C-J/AKN]

They’ll try this Michigan abortion-insurance stunt in Kentucky in 3, 2… [HuffPo]

Pathways Chef Executive Officer Kim K. McClanahan used a quote from Charles Darwin to best describe the status of mental health care under the Affordable Care Act. [Ashland Independent]

When and some state-run insurance marketplaces ran into trouble with their Web sites in October and November, they urged consumers to submit paper applications. Now, it’s time to process all that paper. [ProPublica]

The Legislative Ethics Commission has postponed a hearing that had been set for Thursday in the case of a former lawmaker accused of sexually harassing Capitol staffers. [WKYT]

Latest Rand Delusion: He’s An Economics Genius

We can’t stop laughing: Walter Blevins running for Judge-Executive in Rowan County. [Wow]

An attorney for five Breathitt County school board members said they had reached a settlement that could signal an earlier end to the state’s control over the district. [H-L]

Here are 11 imaginary Republican enemies that could give Bigfoot a run for its money. [HuffPo]

Kentucky Retirement Systems will need $755 million each year in the next budget biennium to fully fund pension and insurance benefits and meet requirements in the state legislature’s recent pension reforms, financial experts said Thursday. [C-J/AKN]

What is even worser than taxing the rain and by extension the heavens and G_d Himself? Taxing sunshine. Hahaha, we are just kidding, it is obviously not a problem to tax the sun because it is a proposal put forth by American heroes ALEC, and not by some dumb Dummycrat. [Wonkette]

The Richmond Park Board again discussed changing the city parks’ smoking policy at its Tuesday board meeting. [Richmond Register]

Remember all of those Obamacare horror stories? Not looking so bad now. [Guardian]

Alison Grimes, who has been to Eastern Kentucky maybe five times in her life when campaigning didn’t depend on it, suddenly believes she knows what’s best for the region. Unfortunately, she’s clueless because the industrial parks in the region sit empty or are dying. Even with investment. [CN|2]

Granny Mitch was on Greta Van Facelift (hey gurl) again talking about health care and trying to scare people. [Faux News]

Some people are upset that Mitch McConnell, Alison Grimes and Matt Bevin are ignoring the SOAR dog and pony show next week. We believe they deserve a free pass because next to nothing will come from that charade. A bunch of people from Frankfort and Washington pretending to listen, writing things down, making bold statements and then sitting on their hands until something else happens to steal the public’s attention. [Hazard-Herald]

The National Security Agency is gathering nearly 5 billion records a day on the whereabouts of cellphones around the world, according to top-secret documents and interviews with U.S. intelligence officials, enabling the agency to track the movements of individuals — and map their relationships — in ways that would have been previously unimaginable. [WaPo]

Which Kentucky mayor will be the first to have the guts to add their name to this list? We called Greg Fischer and Jim Gray out in February 2012 for not having the guts to do so and they still haven’t. If you’re a Kentucky mayor and are willing to sign up, please do so – and let Jake know so he can privately put you in direct contact with FTM officials. [CLICK THIS LINK]

Now Rand Paul believes he’s an economics expert and pension genius. Rand Paul is heading to Detroit this week to pitch an economic plan for depressed urban areas he says will show Republicans can appeal to voters in areas of the country that have rejected the party’s message for decades. [Politico]

Despite trying weather, Kentucky farmers are looking at a very green year, with a record $6 billion in cash receipts for 2013. [H-L]

Wednesday’s “Daily Show” spent most of its airtime examining malfeasance on Wall Street — and, as usual, did a better job giving airtime to scandals than much of the mainstream media. Blackstone, Blackstone, Blackstone. [HuffPo]

Grimes Still Glaringly Wishy-Washy On The ACA

This is apparently newsworthy. A Kentucky woman whose van is plastered with political signs and trinkets has won a costly fight to have a $56 traffic ticket tossed in New Jersey. [H-L]

Matt Bevin stood beneath Kentucky’s Capitol dome and tore into all the things wrong with Congress, starting with the state’s U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell. [LA Times]

Curtis, a retired stockbroker, signed a plea agreement last year that would require him to serve 27 months in prison for stealing from U.S.A. Harvest. But Cox told reporters last month that Curtis now “doesn’t understand what a plea bargain is.” [C-J/AKN]

Mitch McConnell’s reelection campaign has signed up a former Mitt Romney fundraiser to lead a women’s fundraising effort for him in Kentucky. [The Hill]

What has been said to be the oldest building on Main Street is getting a new lease on life after recent renovations have attracted new businesses there, helping to preserve the past and future of downtown. [Hazard Herald]

Nearly a million fish are dying annually, and thousands of others are being deformed, by coal ash in Sutton Lake outside Wilmington, North Carolina, according to a new study. [Click the Clicky]

A number of workers and union representatives met with U.S. Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes Monday to share their worries about the impending closure of American Electric Power’s Big Sandy Power Plant and its effect on the region. [Ashland Independent]

As House-Senate talks resume Wednesday, the bad blood among rival commodity groups is becoming an embarrassment for farm bill advocates and a threat to getting legislation through Congress this winter. [Politico]

The United States Department of Justice has released more information, including a victim’s name, following an incident at a federal prison. [WYMT]

For Missouri public radio reporter Harum Helmy, the Affordable Care Act is more than just a story she covers. It is also a story she’s living. [ProPublica]

The owner of a controversial canopy tour business has filed applications for a zoning change and other permits with Lexington city planners in hopes of opening the now-shuttered operation. [H-L]

For the first time in 40 years, a majority of Americans say the US plays a less important and powerful role in the world than it did a decade ago. [BBC]

What the heck are the folks in Louisville even thinking when it comes to women in leadership roles? [The ‘Ville Voice]

The U.S. trade deficit narrowed in October as exports hit a record high, pointing to a pick-up in global demand that should help to support domestic growth in the fourth quarter. [Reuters]

Yes, another mind-numbing story of outrage involving Montgomery County Schools. This one will send you into a rage. [Page One]

Illinois lawmakers have approved a sweeping plan to close a $100 billion shortfall in the state’s pension system, which would cut retirees’ benefits. But the legislation faces promised legal challenges from public employee unions. [NPR]

Gooch To Eat More Coconut Cakes On Your $

A judge dismissed some of the charges against Bell County Clerk Rebecca Blevins on Monday but allowed one charge to stand, according to Circuit Clerk Colby Slusher’s office. [H-L]

Illinois union leaders on Friday criticized the details of a controversial deal to reform the state’s woefully under-funded public pensions, as legislative leaders revealed more specifics of the deal they reached on Wednesday. [Reuters]

Lorinda Fox of New Albany, Ind., hasn’t been to a doctor since her last child was born 21 years ago. Poor and uninsured, she treats her illnesses with over-the-counter remedies. [C-J/AKN]

The Founding Fathers weren’t big on texting. Courts have long struggled to deal with key questions at the intersection of individual privacy and ever-advancing technology with little guidance from the Constitution or from prior cases – now judges and experts are hoping that’s about to change. [Poltiico]

We’re sitting on probably the largest McConnell research database in existence. What should we do with the data? [Page One]

Rand Paul’s black friend, Allen West, is a plagiarist just like him. [Wonkette]

This article says Matt Bevin refuses to be ignored. You can imagine our surprise, then, at everyone ignoring him. [Ashland Independent]

The housing industry and consumer advocates are preparing for a frantic eleventh-hour push to save struggling homeowners from a hefty tax bill next year. [The Hill]

While the federal government races to meet deadlines for repairing, Kentucky’s health insurance exchange is receiving a boost. [WUKY]

The Moon could be a “beautiful” source of minerals and energy, a top Chinese scientist has told the BBC. Exotic materials including helium-3 and the potential for solar power could prove invaluable for humankind, he says. [BBC]

The worst politician in the Commonwealth re-filed for his office. [SoS]

Fox News incited Islamophobic fears in its reporting on a weekly swim class at a YMCA facility that ensures the privacy of Muslim girls learning to swim, framing it as evidence that “Sharia law is now changing everything.” [Media Matters]

The Perry County Fiscal Court voted last month to approve the 2014 budget for the Perry County Clerk’s office, even after some controversy arose due to raises being added into the budget. [Hazard Herald]

At least 35 states have criminal laws that punish HIV-positive people for exposing others to the virus, even if they take precautions such as using a condom. [ProPublica]

Brenda Powers, who was removed from office as Lancaster’s mayor last month by unanimous vote of the city council, filed an appeal Monday in Garrard Circuit Court, seeking to void the council’s action. [H-L]

The UN’s senior counter-terrorism official is to launch an investigation into the surveillance powers of American and British intelligence agencies following Edward Snowden’s revelations that they are using secret programmes to store and analyse billions of emails, phone calls and text messages. [The Guardian]

Everybody Is Now Really Anxious About Alison

Kateena Haynes thought her job would be about helping kids with homework, playing games and providing a positive environment as director of the Harlan County Boys and Girls Club. [H-L]

Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) smacked down a segment of conservatives, calling for establishment Republicans to stand their ground. [HuffPo]

Joe Gerth is right that a roll of toilet paper became the iconic image of Alison Grimes’ flawed campaign roll-out. And her campaign folks put it there. [C-J/AKN]

The White House is nearing a decision on splitting up the eavesdropping National Security Agency and U.S. Cyber Command, which conducts cyber warfare, a proposed reform prompted in part by revelations of NSA’s widespread snooping, individuals briefed on the matter said on Wednesday. [Reuters]

When Republican Agriculture Commissioner James Comer went to Republican U.S. Rep. Hal Rogers’ hometown to say, “The days of party bosses hand-picking candidates must end,” people noticed. [Ronnie Ellis]

Enrolling in is not easy, and it’s been particularly difficult in Alaska. Just 53 people enrolled in the first month. [NPR]

It is time to check in on Matt Bevin. Remember him? He is the multi-millionaire tea party-type Connecticut transplant who, instead of taking on liberal Louisville Democrat John Yarmuth for the House of Representatives, wants to oust Republican leader Mitch McConnell and his 90 percent lifetime American Conservative Union rating from the Senate. [BGDN]

It isn’t just words. The White House has been barring news photographers from all sorts of opportunities to ply their craft. [ProPublica]

Created by impounding a local creek in the early 1960s, Guist Creek Lake borders neighborhoods, rolling farmland and a ribbon of U.S. 60 east of Shelbyville. [WDRB]

Weatherizing homes and using more renewable energy could be part of Kentucky’s program to lower carbon-dioxide pollution, but the model the state favors also would preserve a role for coal in electricity production. [H-L]

The law establishing Obamacare was officially titled the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. And the “affordable” bit wasn’t just about subsidizing premiums. It was also supposed to be about “bending the curve” — slowing the seemingly inexorable rise in health costs. [NY Times]

The support for giving local cities and counties the option to impose a sales tax is long and lofty — Gov. Steve Beshear, Louisville and Lexington mayors Greg Fisher and Jim Gray and various state legislators, not to mention Kentucky’s Chamber of Commerce, League of Cities and the Association of Counties. [C-J/AKN]

Alison Grimes’s campaign for McConnell’s Senate seat has gotten this far for one reason: she’s not McConnell. Now she needs to say who she is and what she stands for. [The Daily Beast]

Former Dayton Independent School District superintendent William “Gary” Rye was convicted Monday of federal charges for stealing from the school district he ran for more than a decade. []

Former Senate President David Williams has filed candidacy papers to seek election to the judicial seat Gov. Steve Beshear appointed him to last year. [AP]

We Hope Your Friday Is Extremely Black

Kentucky Education Commissioner Terry Holliday will recommend next week to the Kentucky Board of Education that the Fleming County school district — deemed to be in “financial crisis” — be placed under state assistance, spokeswoman Nancy Rodriguez said Wednesday. [H-L]

He’s the Democratic governor in mostly Republican Kentucky, but Steve Beshear took a political risk and fully embraced Obamacare. He had the state build its own health care exchange, which, at 60,000 enrollees, is among the nation’s most successful. [CBS]

Republican U.S. Senate candidate Matthew Bevin said Wednesday that Sen. Mitch McConnell is too insulated to see the wave of GOP voters he believes is ready to sweep the five-term incumbent from office, despite McConnell’s assurances that he will win. [C-J/AKN]

Maybe it’s time to admit that whatever comes out of the great Farm Bill Wars in Congress will be — an experiment. [Politico]

The 2014 U.S. Senate race for the seat now held by Republican Mitch McConnell may be the most important in the nation, but it might be the second-most important election inside the state. [Ronnie Ellis]

The 2013 holiday shopping season may end up being remembered for its ugly sweaters and, for many retailers, even uglier discounts. [Reuters]

A federal judge has cleared the way for former Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner to travel to Florida for five days to watch his son play basketball. [WLKY]

Seahorses may appear slow and awkward but they are ferocious and ingenious predators, according to a new study. [BBC]

Way to go, Lexington, you’re catching up with all the fun in Louisville these days. Three people were shot in a home invasion-robbery Thursday night, but one of those injured may be also be a suspect in the case. [WLEX18]

Take a look inside the company that bungled the Obamacare website. [Newsweek]

Richmond resident and EKU student Jessica Turner approached the commission during the public comments portion of the meeting and asked for advice on how to make a “fairness ordinance” prohibiting discrimination against people based on gender identity or sexual orientation, a reality. When none of the commissioners said anything, Barnes said, “No comment, thank you.” [Richmond Register]

Steve Beshear doesn’t want you to hear about this story. Last week, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau took a big step toward reining in irresponsible, predatory lenders by taking its first enforcement action against a large payday loan operation accused of robo-signing court documents related to debt-collection lawsuits, illegally overcharging military servicemembers and their families, and trying to cover these actions up by destroying documents before the CFPB could investigate. [Consumerist]

Hazardous wastes from a glass-manufacturing plant in Danville endangered the health of employees and neighbors over a period of decades, federal lawsuits have charged. [H-L]

The Obama administration has proposed new campaign finance rules that, through the Treasury Department and the IRS, would limit the amount of political advocacy “social welfare” nonprofits—otherwise known as 501(c)(4) groups—would be able to undertake and keep their tax-exempt status. Some of these groups have flirted with the line between being a “social welfare” organization and a political campaign nonprofit with unlimited spending capability. [Slate]