American Politics Were Madness Long Ago, Noam

The most bizarre thing all week: Matt Bevin holding a “major policy announcement” in Louisville – his home city – during the University of Louisville presser with its re-run football coach. It’s like he had no idea about 99% of people would be ignoring him in favor of watching the sports thing. Poor guy clearly has no advisers other than Billy Harper. [So Much Derp]

Hemp plus coal could equal economic prosperity for Appalachia, according to a new “white paper” released Wednesday by the Kentucky and West Virginia hemp growers cooperatives. [H-L]

Lawmaker gives unsettling explanation for how she accidentally fired gun in her office. [HuffPo]

A bill to protect people involved in violent dating relationships cleared the House Judiciary Committee unanimously on Wednesday, but again could face an uphill battle in the Senate. [C-J/AKN]

At the time, you’ll recall, Marksberry made comments here on Page One saying pretty much what he said in that 15-page letter. Then Phillip Bailey started calling him for the story. Marksberry, ignorantly, told him there was nothing to it. Despite saying otherwise publicly. At the time, Marksberry was telling us via email that he was giving Jake the story and just wanted to push others away. We have no idea why he didn’t just decline to comment. But that letter we published? He was writing it at the time he spoke with Bailey and sent it to Jake in more than a dozen drafts over the course of a few months. His story never changed with us. [WFPL]

Here’s your pee alert moment of the day. Lawmakers might need to be on the lookout for drones in the halls of the Capitol after Republican Sen. Rand Paul showed off his newest birthday gift. [Politico]

Two Kentucky lawmakers plan to file bills that would create a statewide smoking ban—an idea supported by Governor Steve Beshear. [WKYU]

President Barack Obama consulted intelligence officials on Wednesday on ways to rein in U.S. surveillance practices as he nears the end of a review likely to lead to changes as to how bulk telephone data is handled as well as restrictions to spying on foreign leaders. [Reuters]

Kentucky is to receive additional funding to help small businesses that fall short of credit standards. [WBKO]

Euro MPs have agreed to invite fugitive US whistleblower Edward Snowden to give evidence via live video link to a European Parliament inquiry into US surveillance. [BBC]

In December, there were 44 volunteers with Court Appointed Special Advocates of Lexington working with 88 abused or neglected children in the judicial system. [H-L]

Author and activist Noam Chomsky said that the congressional controversy over extending unemployment benefits is evidence that American politics has descended into madness. [HuffPo]

This is how folks in Eastern Kentucky are looking at the deal. More than $32 million won in settlements with two pharmaceutical companies will be used throughout the state to help expand and increase substance abuse treatment, Attorney General Jack Conway announced Monday with Governor Steve Beshear, and House Speaker Greg Stumbo. [Hazard Herald]

Maybe Leave Your Guns In The Car, Legislators?

University of Kentucky officials will ask the General Assembly this year for more than $200 million in state aid for new construction on campus, including a law school renovation and a new science research building. [H-L]

Help the homeless during bitter cold by providing supplies, assistance and a sense of dignity. People across the country are rushing to shutter themselves indoors as meteorologists warn of a “life-threatening” deep freeze that has settled over the Midwest and is steadily headed southward and eastward. [HuffPo]

Tom Loftus got some reactions to Governor Steve Beshear’s State of the Commonwealth address last night. [C-J/AKN]

Rand Paul on Tuesday pushed back against criticism from a fellow Republican who said “Americans will die” if they listen to the senator. [TPM]

Matt Bevin just realized that all professional campaigns use trackers and he doesn’t like it. How dare an opposing campaign follow an opposing candidate on the campaign trail to see what they have to say. [Ashland Independent]

Republicans aren’t yet willing to put their money where their mouths are on ObamaCare attacks, it seems. The Republican National Committee backed its new New Year’s-themed radio ads with as little as $15 dollars in some districts. [The Hill]

We are loathe to publish entire press releases but the latest from the Kentucky Department of Travel and Tourism is too great to ignore. Frankfort is finally paying attention to all that Louisville has to offer. [The ‘Ville Voice]

It was long thought that marriage was a solution to poverty, but new research suggests that impoverished single moms may be better off staying single. [HuffPo]

The Bell County clerk and two deputy clerks have entered not guilty pleas in a case involving vehicle registrations. [H-L]

The US trade deficit narrowed to its lowest level in four years in November, as rising sales of oil pushed US exports to a record high. [BBC]

Here’s how the Associated Press is highlighting the State of the Commonwealth address. Gov. Steve Beshear says he’ll propose a major health initiative that includes the goal of cutting Kentucky’s smoking rate by 10 percent by 2018. [BGDN]

Here’s why we don’t believe medical marijuana legislation in Kentucky would be well-received. Because New York is having a tough time with it. [Reuters]

We believe it’s time for Rep. Combs to leave all firearms secured in a vehicle or at home, where they belong. [Scary Moment]

Fleming Co. Story Will Send You Into Fit Of Rage

A Lexington attorney says prosecutors sensationalized an affidavit in the Subway harboring case. Is it a case of employing and harboring undocumented Indian nationals or a cultural misunderstanding? [H-L]

The existence of a mysterious ancient human lineage and the genetic changes that separate modern humans from their closest extinct relatives are among the many secrets now revealed in the first high-quality genome sequence from a Neanderthal woman, researchers say. [HuffPo]

A statement given to investigators by road contractor Leonard Lawson in 1983 about bidding practices for state highway contracts is an open record and should be released, the Kentucky Supreme Court ruled Thursday. [C-J/AKN]

For the first time, Matt Bevin actually knows what he’s talking about. He’s just repeating what he’s heard but it’s the truth – though, she is equipped to be a senator. It’s just that her daddy and friends are ruining things for her. Matt Bevin, the conservative challenger to Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), suggested Democratic candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes’s campaign is “keep[ing] her silent” on issues because “she really has no idea what she’s talking about.” [The Hill]

Gov. Steve Beshear said Tuesday he wants more money to “reinvest in education,” but he won’t include revenues in his new two-year budget proposal from tax reform or expanded gambling. [Ronnie Ellis]

The ACLU’s official position on Edward Snowden is that he’s a patriot. [ACLU]

U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx wants states to require first-time drunken drivers to use alcohol breath monitors before they get behind the wheel. [WLEX18]

Oh, look, here’s Kentucky being the 45th least healthy state in the entire country. [Fast Company]

Any time a newspaper uses the word “fancy” – we’re obviously going to read whatever it is the paper is covering. Lexington police saved a girl’s life Tuesday afternoon with the help of some fancy equipment. [H-L]

Go read all about Sam Youngman leaving Warshington, DeeCee to come back to the Commonwealth of Kentucky. [Politico]

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer’s Local Option Sales Tax idea may not get lost in Kentucky’s General Assembly, after all. For the first time, House Speaker Greg Stumbo (D-Prestonsburg) said Wednesday that – despite some reservations – he is open to the proposal. [WHAS11]

Roll Call has changed the Kentucky Senate race from “Republican Favored” to “Lean Republican.” But goes on to essentially say McConnell will win. [Roll Call]

Here’s your daily dose of outrage. A 17-month-old boy, from Fleming County, is still in critical condition at Kentucky Children’s Hospital after going through surgery Wednesday morning. The Kentucky State Police say the child’s injuries are a concern and they have opened a criminal abuse case. [WKYT]

Kentucky Will Never Have THAT Rainy Day Fund

The owner of a Manchester pharmacy has admitted that he routinely filled prescriptions for people even though there were obvious signs that those customers were drug addicts or dealers. [H-L]

Eighteen months and $150,000 later, a rigorous voter fraud investigation commissioned by Iowa Secretary of State Matt Schultz (R) has failed to produce any statistically significant evidence of voter fraud in Iowa, according to The Des Moines Register. [HuffPo]

A group of Commercial Vehicle Enforcement employees has filed suit against the Kentucky State Police claiming wage discrimination. [C-J/AKN]

Former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden predicted “the first of many” victories on Monday after a judge ruled an NSA surveillance program likely violated the constitution. [The Hill]

Sadly, we don’t know anyone holding their breath over the SOAR summit held on December 9. [Hazard Herald]

Can you imagine Kentucky having a BILLION DOLLAR rainy day fund? Outgoing Virginia Governor Robert McDonnell proposed a $96 billion biennial budget on Monday that forecasts continued revenue growth and lays out a plan to bring the state’s rainy-day fund to $1 billion by fiscal 2016. [Reuters]

Republicans are taking over state government because Steve Beshear’s Democratic Party is an afterthought. It’s been a disaster since Jonathan Miller started rolling all the poop downhill. [WFPL]

This is what the “charter” schools gasbags in Kentucky want to occur – they want your tax dollars for bizarre religious indoctrination. In North Carolina (translation: where Terry Holliday is from and spends most of his time), home schools can get taxpayers’ hard-earned tax dollars for Jesus. [Wonkette]

When Matt Bevin came to Cadiz last Wednesday morning, he said Kentuckians need someone who isn’t a career politician, someone who understands conservative values. Which is sad because what Kentucky needs is actual, competent leadership that considers constituents. [Cadiz Record]

A high-profile Kentucky business official is weighing a primary challenge to freshman tea party Rep. Tom Massie, raising the prospect of one more 2014 congressional primary pitting a business-backed challenger against an activist member of the GOP-held House. [Politico]

Polling in the 2014 Kentucky U.S. Senate race has been vexing at best. [H-L]

The nation’s biggest banks have quietly dodged a measure expressing Congress’s desire to eliminate the unfair advantages they may enjoy because they’re perceived as “too big to fail.” [HuffPo]

The Federal Reserve has decided to reduce its stimulus for the U.S. economy because the job market has shown steady improvement. The Fed will trim its $85 billion a month in bond purchases by $10 billion starting in January. [WLEX18]

Despite being no more likely to fall behind on their credit card bills, African Americans are far more likely than white borrowers to be targeted by debt collectors. [Think Progress]

Tuesday Evening Department Of Budgetary Fun

Veteran Democratic state Rep. Jesse Crenshaw of Lexington said Monday he won’t seek re-election next year, creating instant interest in replacing him in the legislature. [H-L]

National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden wrote in a lengthy “open letter to the people of Brazil” that he’s been inspired by the global debate ignited by his release of thousands of National Security Agency documents, and that the NSA’s culture of indiscriminate global espionage “is collapsing.” [HuffPo]

Kentucky’s U.S. senators and its five Republican congressmen have inserted themselves into a Supreme Court case, filing a legal brief that challenges environmental regulations on coal-fired power plants. [C-J/AKN]

This is what it looks like when a federal judge declares a city bankrupt—to the surprise of its residents and elected officials. [AlterNet]

When a House select committee looking into allegations of sexual harassment by a former Democratic lawmaker adjourned without an investigation last week, there were some howls of protest. But even with control of the House in the balance during the 2014 elections, several House members, Republicans as well as Democrats, say they don’t think the committee’s lack of action will have much political impact. [Ronnie Ellis]

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell recently delivered a direct pitch to one of America’s top defense contractors: Get off the sidelines and start backing Republicans who will protect military spending. [WSJ]

The small town of Hodgenville was rocked Monday after two of the city’s top officials were indicted by a LaRue County grand jury following a lengthy investigation prompted by residents’ complaints. [News-Enterprise]

A federal district judge ruled on Monday that the National Security Agency program that is systematically keeping records of all Americans’ phone calls most likely violates the Constitution, describing its technology as “almost Orwellian” and suggesting that James Madison would be “aghast” to learn that the government was encroaching on liberty in such a way. [NY Times]

Spoiler alert: it’ll be a bust because Charlotte is awful. Members of the Louisville and Lexington chambers of commerce are planning a joint road trip to see how another city handles economic development. [WKYT]

A Democratic Party clash over economic populism continued this week with the head of the progressive think tank Center For American Progress rejecting the centrist group Third Way’s criticism of the idea as a dead-end for Democrats. [HuffPo]

Kentucky motorists who get behind the wheel after drinking may be outsmarted by their phones with the introduction of a new app from the Kentucky Office of Highway Safety. [H-L]

The US health regulator has warned that antibacterial chemicals in soaps and body washes may pose health risks. [BBC]

Here’s your duh moment for the day: New revenue in Kentucky’s upcoming biennial budget will not be enough to account for an estimated $450 million shortfall. [WEKU]

Gauging Matt Bevin’s credibility and McConnell’s vulnerability in a primary is not easy. But up to this point, most observers believe McConnell will survive. [NBC News]

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]