Caucusing Seems Silly Without Rand

The federal government wants to get involved in a whistleblower lawsuit against Eastern Kentucky disability lawyer Eric C. Conn. [H-L]

New Hampshire Republican primary voters on Tuesday made official their choice for president of the United States: real estate mogul and reality television star Donald J. Trump. The businessman’s resounding victory amid a crowded field of more experienced and accomplished candidates is a stunning turn of events for a party that vowed just four years ago to be more inclusive to minorities after failing to unseat President Barack Obama in the bitter 2012 election. [HuffPo]

Look what’s happening in Louisville while Frankfort asshats try to kill internet expansion in the rest of the state. Google Fiber is making “very good progress” in assessing whether it can install a fiber-optics network in Louisville that would provide exceptionally quick Internet service, a top city official says. [C-J/AKN]

Tightening financial conditions and uncertainty over China pose risks to the U.S. recovery, but chances are slim the Federal Reserve would need to reverse the rate tightening cycle it began in December, Fed Chair Janet Yellen told U.S. lawmakers on Wednesday. [Reuters]

As the Republican Party of Kentucky gears up to organize its presidential caucus this year, many Kentuckians have a lot of questions, as several have never participated in such an event. [Glasgow Daily Times]

Most women said they are opposed to having to register for the draft in a new Rasmussen Reports poll. [The Hill]

Kentucky’s first-ever presidential nominating caucus will be held Saturday, March 5, and it will bring Republicans from three counties to Morehead to cast ballots for a share of the state’s delegates to the party’s national convention. [The Morehead News]

The American Red Cross has failed to answer a congressman’s questions about deep cuts the charity has made to staff and local offices. [ProPublica]

Frankfort is a bunch of backward-ass hillbillies who’ll believe anything they hear on Fox News, apparently. The rhetoric in the state House over how to proceed on a bill to cut off state funding for Planned Parenthood got heated Tuesday with one lawmaker saying their services are “from the pit of hell.” [Ronnie Ellis]

The most carbon-intensive way to travel is also the one way that has escaped any kind of emissions standards — until now. On Monday, the environmental committee of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) approved a new set of guidelines, but they will take more than a decade to be fully enforced. [ThinkProgress]

Looks like things aren’t going so well in Bullitt County and special deputies are still a dumb idea. Investigators say a former Bullitt County Special Deputy has ties to a Mexican Cartel. WDRB traveled to the center of drug operations to investigate how authorities caught up with him and the other local men tied to the investigation. [WDRB]

Biologists say they have solved the riddle of how a tiny bacterium senses light and moves towards it: the entire organism acts like an eyeball. [BBC]

The funding request for the Appalachian Regional Commission is the largest in more than three decades, according to its co-chairman. [H-L]

The National Rifle Association came under increasing pressure Tuesday to distance itself from longtime NRA board member Ted Nugent, after he posted photos of prominent Jewish Americans who he claimed were “really behind gun control.” [HuffPo]

Get Ready For Groundhog Day 2016

A problem in the solicitation to build a high-speed broadband network across Kentucky has jeopardized funding for the project, a top administration official said Thursday. [H-L]

Coverage of the influence of money in politics tends to suffer from the same weakness that all horse-race politics writing does: it almost never connects day-to-day movements to any broader reality or purpose. [HuffPo]

WARNING! RIDICULOUS AUTOPLAY VIDEO! A month’s worth of Glumetza diabetes pills cost Margaret Meffert’s $746 last April. Then the price inexplicably began skyrocketing – to $6,714. [C-J/AKN]

Trump has the highest unfavorable ratings of any presidential candidate in either party. [The Hill]

Just weeks after Gov. Matt Bevin confirmed he would seek to dismantle Kentucky’s health insurance exchange and roll back the state’s expanded Medicaid system, 10 hospitals in the commonwealth announced they have formed a new regional health care collaborative aimed at lowering costs. [WFPL]

A conservation group said the federal government must stop approving offshore fracking from oil platforms in California’s Santa Barbara Channel under the settlement of a lawsuit it filed. [Reuters]

Glasgow attorney Danny Basil filed Tuesday as a Democratic candidate for the 23rd District Kentucky House of Representatives seat. [Glasgow Daily Times]

A blame game has erupted over the lead-ridden drinking water in Flint, Michigan. For weeks, residents, politicians, and observers across the country have been asking: Who is responsible for this public health catastrophe? [ThinkProgress]

The Kentucky Public Service Commission (PSC) has opened an administrative proceeding to investigate the Kentucky Universal Service Fund (KUSF), which provides subsidies for telephone service for low-income consumers in the state. In an order issued today, the PSC said the investigation was prompted by a rapid depletion of the fund, which is in danger of being exhausted by April. In May 2011, the KUSF balance peaked at about $11 million. It has since declined steadily, reaching just over $400,000 in October 2015. [Press Release]

Private individuals will no longer be allowed to advertise guns on Facebook and Instagram, the photo-sharing service owned by Facebook. [BBC]

Hearing there’ll be some, ahem, fun for a corrupt bunch in Shelby County tomorrow. [Things We Hear]

Most of the time when we talk about homelessness, big cities come to mind. But about seven percent of homeless people live in rural areas, where access to help is much harder to come by. [NPR]

Tucked inside Gov. Matt Bevin’s state budget bill is language that would suspend prevailing wage on public works projects and end state funding for Planned Parenthood clinics, two hot-button items for Republicans that are bottled up in the legislative process. [H-L]

James Carville, the well-known political adviser to former President Bill Clinton, is a bit baffled that more donors have given to Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) than to Hillary Clinton, especially given the former secretary of state’s résumé. [HuffPo]

Is The Budget Hype Dying Down Yet?

The summer playground at Lake Cumberland took a major hit from winter over the weekend, with the weight of ice and snow from Friday’s storm damaging or destroying covers over hundreds of boat slips, according to marina operators. [H-L]

Sen. Bernie Sanders jumped at a chance to talk about mental health care during a presidential town hall event in Iowa hosted by CNN on Monday. [HuffPo]

Every year, hundreds of volunteers bundle up and head to hotels, emergency shelters, camps and soup kitchens, determined to answer two questions: how many people are homeless in the Louisville area and who are they? [C-J/AKN]

A bipartisan task force created by Congress issued “an urgent call to action” Tuesday to overhaul the nation’s federal prisons and reduce the number of U.S. inmates by 60,000 over the next decade. [NPR]

Wanna read/watch one of the dumbest things out of Jim Waters and the Bluegrass Circlejerk yet? Here he is spewing misinformation about Kentucky’s broadband initiative. Leave it to the rich, fat, white Republicans to keep the Commonwealth in the dark ages. Spoiler alert: municipal broadband works. [WAVE3]

Trent Lott and Tom Daschle make an unlikely pair. Trent is gregarious, talkative and loud. Tom is retiring, mild-mannered and quiet. Interview them together and their differences are pronounced. But what makes them almost unheard of as a couple is that Lott is a Republican and Daschle is a Democrat. Specifically they are both former leaders of their respective parties in the US Senate. [BBC]

With the new year comes the continued challenge for area nonprofits to serve as many families and residents in need as possible. To energize those efforts, employees of Louisville Gas and Electric Company and Kentucky Utilities Company are lending a hand. Coupled with financial support from the LG&E and KU Foundation, the utilities’ voluntary employee-giving campaign, Power of One, raised more than $1.7 million in contributions. [Richmond Register]

A Nebraska lawmaker wants his state to join the movement to tear down one of the most harmful components of the conservative welfare reforms passed into law in the mid-1990s. [ThinkProgress]

The Russell Area Technology Center is ready for a new generation of vocational students with completion of a $1.2 million renovation. [Ashland Independent]

Cuba’s tourism industry is under unprecedented strain and struggling to meet demand with record numbers of visitors arriving a year after detente with the United States renewed interest in the Caribbean island. [Reuters]

Newly elected Gov. Matt Bevin delivered a “sober” budget message to a joint session of the General Assembly, telling them he will cut $650 million from the current budget. [Ronnie Ellis]

The religious loonies are racist as hell, apparently. Donald Trump’s support among white evangelicals stands at 37 percent, rising 5 points in one week, according to an NBC News/SurveyMonkey online poll released early Tuesday. [The Hill]

As snow piled up outside, Kelly Gibson was thrilled to see a Fayette County sheriff’s deputy waiting for her at the end of her nursing shift Friday afternoon at Shriners Hospital for Children. [H-L]

Noam Chomsky, the noted radical and MIT professor emeritus, said the Republican Party has become so extreme in its rhetoric and policies that it poses a “serious danger to human survival.” [HuffPo]

Mining Gets Back To Killing In KY

The Republican-controlled state Senate has approved a bill that requires a woman to have a face-to-face meeting with a doctor before having an abortion. [H-L]

Rand Paul (R-Cookie Tree), still disappointed at being left off the main stage at last week’s GOP presidential debate, expressed disapproval of polling criteria during a campaign stop at a barbershop on Monday afternoon. [HuffPo]

How much money do lobbyists make? More than you can imagine. [C-J/AKN]

The federal budget deficit is expected to increase this year for the first time since 2009, according to estimates released Tuesday. [The Hill]

A mining accident has taken the life of a Hopkins County miner. Kentucky Office of Mine Safety officials say 36 year-old Nathan G. Phillips was operating a continuous miner when he became pinned between the machinery and the rib wall of the mine. He was transported to a nearby hospital where he was pronounced dead. [Press Release]

Last year looks like it was an unwelcome watershed for the embattled U.S. coal industry. Power companies in 2015 for the first time may have burned more natural gas than coal to generate electricity, according to analysts who attribute it to the cheapest gas prices in 16 years and a record number of coal-fired plants retired from service because of the high cost of meeting environmental regulations. [Reuters]

A county in central Kentucky is poised to consider a zoning change that could affect a massive multi-state pipeline project. [WFPL]

Republican presidential candidate and former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA) considers deporting Latino undocumented immigrants to be a “blessing” to Latin America because skilled immigrants could “save” their native countries. [ThinkProgress]

Judge-Executive Walter Blevins said one of the biggest differences in his new job and being a state legislator is that running the county’s top office is a lot like running a business. [The Morehead News]

Welcome to a 2016 Republican presidential primary unlike any other. A crowded field, angry electorate and uncharacteristically divided establishment, not to mention the wild-card role of super PACs, have already made this nominating contest more frenzied and unpredictable than its recent predecessors. [Politico]

Mina “Mike” Kalfas wanted nothing more than to practice family medicine in Northern Kentucky where he grew up. But then he got called in to help fill a vacancy at the drug and alcohol treatment center next door. [Richmond Register]

Speaking before a crowd of more than 11,000 students and locals at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia, Donald Trump made no mention of Texas Senator Ted Cruz. [BBC]

Lexington Mayor Jim Gray spent much of his sixth state of the city address Tuesday on job growth, economic development and Lexington’s robust finances. [H-L]

Wall Street moved deep into the red in volatile trading on Wednesday, extending this year’s selloff as oil prices continued to plummet unabated. [HuffPo]

Your Evening Dept Of Awful Wingnuts

It wasn’t where he was supposed to be Monday morning. He was supposed to be in Frankfort, being sworn in to a second term as the state auditor and a few weeks into his campaign against U.S. Sen. Rand Paul. [H-L]

Just in case you needed yet another reason to roll your eyes at those Oregon wingnut racists. [HuffPo]

Everything is so corrupt in West Buechel that they’ve started some kind of watchdog organization. [C-J/AKN]

At 14, Deshaun Becton’s life is a roadmap to California’s faltering efforts to care for its most troubled children. [ProPublica]

Typically the first day of a General Assembly is marked by expressions of goodwill and ceremony. But the 2016 session is like no other in recent years. [Ronnie Ellis]

On September 5, 2013, The Guardian, The New York Times and ProPublica jointly reported – based on documents provided by whistleblower Edward Snowden – that the National Security Agency (NSA) had compromised some of the encryption that is most commonly used to secure internet transactions. [The Intercept]

A foreclosure case involving Land of Tomorrow Productions LLC, the company that owns the Funtown Mountain property in Cave City, is moving forward, according to action taken during Barren Circuit Court on Monday morning. [Glasgow Daily Times]

China, the largest coal producer in the world, won’t be approving new mines for the next three years as it grapples with alarming pollution and pursues other energy sources, including nuclear plants. [ThinkProgress]

If you are a high school sophomore student seeking to develop your leadership and entrepreneurial skills or an eighth-grade middle school student interested in math, science and technology, The Center for Rural Development wants to hear from you. [Harlan Daily Independent]

The Paris agreement to curb climate change calls for a dramatic shift away from fossil fuels and the greenhouse gasses they emit, especially carbon dioxide. [NPR]

Kentuckians’ views on a statewide smoking ban have remained virtually unchanged since 2013, with the vast majority of residents supporting the measure, a new poll shows. [WFPL]

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]

Betting on Thoroughbred racing rose 1.18 percent in 2015, amounting to a $125 million increase to almost $10.7 billion in wagering in the U.S. for the year. [H-L]

President Barack Obama issued another impassioned plea on Tuesday for Congress to take action to curb gun violence, shedding tears as he recalled the 2012 Newtown school massacre. And wingnuts mocked him for showing emotion. [HuffPo]

UofL Scandals Are Always In The News

Welp, that was messed up for a while. An all-clear was given Wednesday after the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services building in Frankfort was evacuated on reports of a man who might have had a gun. [H-L]

A prominent advocacy group is trying to enlist basketball fans to do something about the scourge of gun violence in America. [HuffPo]

Katina Powell, the author of “Breaking Cardinal Rules,” has filed a motion to dismiss a lawsuit filed against her by a University of Louisville student seeking the profits from her book that claims a former Louisville basketball staffer paid the self-proclaimed “escort queen” and others to provide strip shows and sex for recruits and players. [C-J/AKN]

Donald Trump maintains his lead among the GOP field but half of Americans would be embarrassed to have the real estate mogul as president, a new poll found. [The Hill]

Representatives from Addiction Recovery talked to the city council about its faith-based recovery center being established in Catlettsburg. [Ashland Independent]

While pretty much every aspect of the global ecosystem has been heating up, freshwater lakes are warming faster than the oceans or the air, according to a new study from NASA and the National Science Foundation. [ThinkProgress]

Seems Kim Davis still wants to be the center of attention. Fortunately for her, the Associated Press and people like Matt Bevin are hanging on her every word. [AP/WKYT]

A suicide bombing in Afghanistan has killed six US service members in one of the deadliest attacks on American forces this year, US officials say. [BBC]

The Perry County Community Foundation has awarded $9,000 to Teach for America-Appalachia in to support education in Perry County. [Hazard Herald]

The warm air surging up the East Coast on Christmas Eve will prove nothing short of historic. Dozens of records will fall, some by very large margins. [WaPo]

The Harlan County Board of Education is exploring the idea of returning at least a thousand dollars per year to the salaries of the district’s academic coaches. [Harlan Daily Independent]

Lindsey Graham’s departure from the race set off a scramble among his rivals to try to pick up the support of the South Carolina senator and his backers, a valuable commodity given the state’s first-in-the-South primary. [Politico]

So much for that billion bucks. The maker of OxyContin will pay $24 million to settle a claim that it misrepresented how easy it is to get hooked on the powerful painkiller, driving up drug problems and deaths in Kentucky, Attorney General Jack Conway announced Wednesday. [H-L]

The “Seinfeld” writer who coined “Festivus” wants Sen. Rand Paul (R-Cookie Tree) to stop tweeting about his beloved secular holiday. [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!]

Tuesday Morning Bigot Party Funtimes

Trailing badly in the polls with less than two months until the Iowa caucuses, Kentucky junior U.S. Sen. Rand Paul acknowledged Sunday that he would reassess his presidential campaign if he doesn’t do well in the four early-voting states. [H-L]

Unlike most presidential candidates, Americans are more concerned about getting sick or losing a job. Pervasive fear was practically the 10th candidate onstage at Tuesday’s foreign policy-focused GOP debate. The event opened with moderator Wolf Blitzer declaring a focus on “keeping the country safe” — a topic that came up more than 50 times throughout the night. [HuffPo]

A Bullitt County sheriff’s deputy who was recently indicted has a controversial past dating back decades, including the bloodied beating of a suspect with a flashlight that fueled an outcry for an independent review of police conduct. [C-J/AKN]

President Barack Obama urged Americans to remain vigilant against the potential threat of homegrown Islamic State militants on Friday, acknowledging the difficulty of tracking “lone wolf” attackers like those who went on a shooting spree in California. [Reuters]

A hearing for Big Run Landfill will take place at the Boyd County Community Center on January 12 to discuss the possibility of the state renewing the embattled landfill’s operational permit. [Ashland Independent]

Carlton Palms’ specialty was teenagers and adults with serious intellectual and developmental disabilities like his. Its modular classrooms and living quarters were wedged between orange groves outside the quaint town of Mount Dora. Adam had lived there for seven years, ever since his Tampa-area public school system had acknowledged that it was failing to teach him. [ProPublica]

Glasgow-Barren County Emergency Management officials are researching the best way to deal with a mold issue in one of the county’s tornado safe rooms. [Glasgow Daily Times]

The Federal Reserve decided on Wednesday that Americans’ wages will grow too fast next year and voted to slow them down by raising interest rates. While the economy has certainly recovered from the dark days of January 2009—when the economy was losing about 800,000 jobs per month—employment of prime-age workers is still well below its pre-recession level, wage growth has been anemic, and inflation practically non-existent. [ThinkProgress]

The new head of the state’s Energy and Environment Cabinet, Charles Snavely, has been on the job for a little more than a week. It’s also been about that long since he served as an official on the state’s coal association governing board. [WFPL]

The Federal Reserve raised interest rates for the first time in nine years Wednesday. NPR’s Audie Cornish talks to Megan Greene, chief economist at John Hancock, about what this means for consumers. [NPR]

The parole board determined that Brown, convicted in 1986 for her role in the high-profile murder case, will need to spend another five years in prison. [WKYT]

Yes, this is absolutely what the Republican Party has become of late. A couple of weeks ago, I wrote: “Let’s not mince words: Donald Trump is a bigot and a racist.” [WaPo]

Some in Lexington may have Internet access about 22 times faster than their neighbors. Cable and Internet provider Windstream announced a 1-gigabit-per-second Internet service trial in Lexington on Friday, with the potential for a full launch during the first half of 2016, according to a company press release. [H-L]

While the vast majority of Americans now have access to the Internet and mobile devices, regional and economic disparities persist for wired broadband access in the largest 100 American cities. [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!]