Pro-Pipeline Crowd Is Going Crazy Now

A legislative committee has bet on a longshot bill to provide tax relief for Kentucky’s horse industry. [H-L]

Sen. Turd Cruz (R-Turd) is out with a deceptive new mailer that masquerades as official government business and promises people there’s a “check enclosed” when it’s actually asking for money instead. [HuffPo]

The Kentucky Supreme Court has let an appeals court decision stand that only regulated utilities can use the power of eminent domain to get land for pipelines. [C-J/AKN]

The United States and India have held talks about conducting joint naval patrols that a U.S. defense official said could include the disputed South China Sea, a move that would likely anger Beijing, which claims most of the waterway. [Reuters]

On Feb. 2, Pine Branch Coal announced more than 150 employees will be laid off in April. Three Pine Branch sites are the focus of these layoffs, two of which are located in Perry County, with one operation located in Leslie County. [Hazard Herald]

A federal court had ordered the VA to reassess its policy denying Agent Orange benefits to Navy sailors who served in the Vietnam War. The VA’s conclusion: They still don’t qualify. [ProPublica]

Eliminating the Common Core standards from Kentucky’s educational accountability requirements may be the highest-profile provision of legislation currently before the state Senate, but some educators worry that the bill will marginalize programs in music, art, theater and dance because it all but eliminates them from the accountability process. [Ashland Independent]

A year and a half after it started spending money and time to screen welfare applicants for drug use, Tennessee still hasn’t found many poor people who are “getting all potted up on weed“. Out of 39,121 people who have applied for Families First in Tennessee benefits since the state instituted drug tests in mid-2014, just 65 have tested positive for narcotics. [ThinkProgress]

The Rowan County Board of Education at its last board meeting approved the 2016-17 school calendar. The first day for students is set for Thursday, Aug. 11. But a bill pending in the Kentucky Senate would push the start date back another two weeks. [The Morehead News]

How does it feel to give up your nationality, to renounce the country you were born in, potentially forfeiting the chance to ever return? [BBC]

Glasgow Independent Schools Board of Education held a regular board meeting Monday night at South Green Elementary. Site-based councils were also in attendance and discussed student achievement in their respective schools. [Glasgow Daily Times]

Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump on Wednesday retweeted a user named “WhiteGenocideTM” before deleting the message. [The Hill]

Although they are on different political sides, first lady Glenna Bevin and Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear announced Tuesday a statewide training program aimed at protecting Kentucky’s children from sexual abuse. [H-L]

A federal appeals court on Monday ruled it is not unconstitutional for law enforcement to set up a camera on a public utility pole and record a suspect’s moves for 10 weeks straight. [HuffPo]

The Ramsey-Pitino-UofL Circus Goes On

Stung by losses under the federal health law, major insurers are seeking to sharply limit how policies are sold to individuals in ways that consumer advocates say seem to discriminate against the sickest and could hold down future enrollment. [H-L]

In their first head-to-head debate, Hillary Clinton and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) made it clear that any lingering pleasantries from a happier time earlier in the campaign are vanishing quickly. [HuffPo]

It’s hilarious that Rick Pitino is defending Jim Ramsey, as if they’re both victims of things they can’t help. Both of these men are the worst of the worst in higher education. Pitino, with sex scandal after sex scandal. Ramsey, with financial corruption mess after financial corruption mess. Both should be relieved of their duties instead of allowing a bunch of kids to take the blame for crap that those two are ultimately supposed to take responsibility. [C-J/AKN]

President Barack Obama is set on Tuesday to unveil his budget proposal for fiscal year 2017, his final year in office. [Reuters]

Lack of communication is what kept many black accomplishments from being known, said educator William Twyman, one of the 14 panelists discussing “Education in the Barren’s Region of Kentucky” Saturday at the South Central Kentucky Cultural Center. [Glasgow Daily Times]

Amid significant reforms, federal officials worry that sexual abuse in juvenile justice system remains prevalent and too often unpunished. [ProPublica]

A personal finance website study has determined Kentucky ranks 9 out of 51 for dependency on the arms and ammunition industry for jobs and political contributions, and indirectly through firearm ownership. [Ashland Independent]

At the end of last year, lawmakers in West Virginia unveiled a bill that would drug test some applicants for the state’s welfare program. Applicants who failed could eventually be barred from receiving benefits, possibly permanently. [ThinkProgress]

A bill that would eliminate the prevailing wage on public school projects on Thursday failed to pass a House committee. [WFPL]

The US economy added 151,000 jobs in January, helping to push the country’s unemployment rate down to 4.9%. [BBC]

Since Jan. 1, five Richmond Police officers have submitted resignations. At the same time, two joined the force for field training, and two others entered the Department of Criminal Justice Training’s academy for 23 weeks. [Richmond Register]

“Squat! Squat! Squat! Higher! Faster!” In the basement of the Duane Physics and Astrophysics building at the University of Colorado Boulder, a science demonstration is going on, but it looks more like a vaudeville act. [NPR]

University of Kentucky President Eli Capilouto has formed a task force to advise him on what to do about a controversial mural in Memorial Hall. [H-L]

Islamophobia is real. And it’s not going anywhere. After last year’s terror attacks in Paris and mass shooting in San Bernardino, California — and amidst a surge in anti-Muslim rhetoric from U.S. politicians — reports about Muslims in America facing violence, harassment, intimidation and bigotry have become omnipresent. Many Muslims say Islamophobia is worse now than it’s ever been — even worse than it was after 9/11. [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]

Can Rand Make It Til The KY Caucus?

With less than a week to go before the Iowa caucuses, Kentucky junior U.S. Sen. Rand Paul (R-Cookie Tree) returned to the prime-time Republican debate stage Thursday to make his closing argument to voters. [H-L]

Republicans are determined to push on with their investigation of Planned Parenthood, even after a Texas grand jury cleared the organization of wrongdoing on Monday and instead indicted two anti-abortion activists who targeted the family planning provider in a series of undercover videos. [HuffPo]

Kentucky’s main funding stream for public schools escaped cutbacks in Gov. Matt Bevin’s budget proposal Tuesday, but if approved by the legislature, colleges and universities would face reductions and a new effort to tie funding to performance. [C-J/AKN]

What is being done to fight heroin and prescription drug abuse in hard-hit states like New Hampshire? What can Congress do to help? Lawmakers tackle the issue. [NPR]

At least one new face will be added to the Russell City Council after all but one council member filed for re-election in the upcoming nonpartisan municipal race. [Ashland Independent]

Decades before Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton, there was Shirley Chisholm. As the first black woman to run for president for a major political party she was years ahead of her time. So why don’t more people know about her? [BBC]

Metcalfe County magistrates adopted on second reading an ordinance Tuesday morning adding a $35 annual membership charge/subscriber fee to county residents’ property tax bills. The fee is being levied in order to provide fire protection services for the county. [Glasgow Daily Times]

Donald Trump has caused Republican leaders to shudder at the impact the bombastic New Yorker could have on down-ticket races. Democrats, however, see only potential for election wins. [Politico]

Here’s yet another take on Jim Gray. Lexington Mayor Jim Gray, a Democrat, on Tuesday announced he will run for the U.S. Senate seat held by Republican Rand Paul. [Ronnie Ellis]

A U.S. appeals court heard arguments on Wednesday over whether a high school in Virginia should be ordered to allow a transgendered student to use the boys’ bathroom, even though he was born a biological female. [Reuters]

Reminder: This is one of the guys Bevin trusts to cut 9% from the budget at his discretion. [Page One]

The White House on Wednesday said it has “concerns” with many of the provisions in a wide-ranging energy bill being debated in the Senate. [The Hill]

The homeless count was completed in Louisville and let’s just cut to the chase: this is hugely disappointing. Compassionate City needs a bit more compassion. [The ‘Ville Voice]

In 2008, then-Senator Barack Obama promised to unite Washington and the nation behind progressive change. Then-Sen. Hillary Clinton mocked him. [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. For worriers: no, you don’t get identified to us if you use our link… so please consider letting us know if you do! [Ting]

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]

Health Care Reality Will Hit Bevin Hard

The Kentucky Housing Corp. is looking for volunteers to help count Kentucky’s homeless population. The count will begin at sunrise on Jan. 27 and continue for 24 hours. The point-in-time count is known as the K-Count. [H-L]

From the Department of Things Ken Ham Wouldn’t Understand… Witnesses of the first-ever unveiling of what just might be the world’s largest dinosaur have struggled to find an adjective to aptly capture the sheer enormity of the prehistoric creature. [HuffPo]

Matt Bevin’s about to find out just how poor and unhealthy Eastern Kentucky is and it’s going to harm him politically. [C-J/AKN]

President Obama on Saturday unveiled an unemployment insurance plan that he says will provide stability and opportunity to workers in a rapidly changing economy. [The Hill]

The state Department of Insurance is selling assets of the failed Kentucky Health Cooperative to satisfy its debts. [Richmond Register]

Here’s a selection of what has changed since Mr Obama gave his first address to Congress in 2009. [BBC]

Kesley Janes stood on the counter where the coffee pots and a slushy machine sit at the Caver’s Camp Store at Mammoth Cave National Park. [Glasgow Daily Times]

A top surrogate for Hillary Clinton is prepping a new attack in an intensifying and increasingly personal war against rival Bernie Sanders — calling on the 74-year-old to release his medical records before the Iowa caucuses on Feb. 1. [Politico]

At the end of 2015, Kentucky saw a rise in the reported cases of pertussis, or whooping cough, throughout the state. [The Morehead News]

Advisers to Hillary Clinton, including former President Bill Clinton, believe that her campaign made serious miscalculations by forgoing early attacks on Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont and failing to undercut his archliberal message before it grew into a political movement that has now put him within striking distance of beating her in Iowa and New Hampshire. [NY Times]

For Ginny Ramsey and the volunteers at God’s Net in Lexington, the winter is just getting started. [WKYT]

Certain economic sanctions will be lifted in Iran, but there are critics of the nuclear deal in surrounding countries and in the U.S. NPR’s Rachel Martin speaks with NPR’s Peter Kenyon about their reaction. [NPR]

Tim Morton was hospitalized for psychiatric treatment dozens of times over 36 years, often involuntary and in police handcuffs, because he did not recognize that he had schizophrenia. He refused treatment unless he was confined. When Morton wasn’t held inside Eastern State Hospital, he spent his days walking aimlessly around downtown Lexington. [John Cheves]

Republican presidential candidates are more full of it than you imagined. [HuffPo]

This Week Will Also Suck For UofL

You have got to be kidding! The most important newspaper in the state covered this silly situation in Clark County but has essentially ignored the mountain of scandals in Montgomery County. Scandals that have resulted in more than half a dozen lawsuits, countless firings, hearings, the end of a statewide commissioner’s career and potential legislative action. Unbelievable. [H-L]

A Swiss plane carrying American citizens, including a Washington Post reporter, who were released from Iranian prison on Saturday departed Tehran Sunday. The prisoners were freed as part of a prisoner release deal between the U.S. and Iran. The agreement is the result of 14 months of high-stakes secret negotiations between the two traditional adversaries. [HuffPo]

Tom Wine. MLK parade. Shenanigans. Read all about it. [C-J/AKN]

The nation’s cities are at the frontlines of a food system that sickens and impoverishes millions of Americans every year. Local communities where people live, shop, work, and receive healthcare bear the brunt of this system’s unhealthy, unjust outcomes, which disproportionately affect communities of color and low-income Americans. The five cities chosen—Oakland, Memphis, Louisville, Baltimore, and Minneapolis—all have populations between 400,000 and 700,000, and in all of them, the percentage of residents living below the federal poverty line is higher than the national average. [Click the Clicky]

At least 30 applications from companies seeking to mine hundreds of millions of tons of coal face suspension as the government reviews its sales of the fuel from public lands, U.S. officials disclosed Friday. [Richmond Register]

Kentucky’s new governor took a swipe at the University of Louisville’s board of trustees Thursday, filing motions in court calling into question the board’s legitimacy on racial grounds, saying it doesn’t comply with state laws requiring diversity. The governor’s actions came on the same day that a small faction of board members expressed displeasure in the university president’s leadership, circulating a proposal to reduce his powers. [WaPo/Jim Higdon]

The Barren County School System will be out more money next school year for classified employee retirement, which is when the school systems will be required to pay more to Social Security and Medicare. [Glasgow Daily Times]

Hillary Clinton heads into the next Democratic presidential debate with a 25-point lead over Bernie Sanders, according to an NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll released Sunday morning on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” [The Hill]

It’s tiresome always being a cynic, but cynicism is unavoidable covering the Kentucky General Assembly. It is especially difficult while listening to lawmakers talk about education. [Ronnie Ellis]

Tightening polls and rising tensions between White House rivals Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders could fuel a fiery Democratic debate on Sunday, their last face-to-face encounter until Iowa kicks off the presidential nominating race in two weeks. [Reuters]

No one is surprised that gay-panicked Tim Moore thinks concealed weapons around children are a terrific idea. [WDRB]

A rare January hurricane has formed far out in the Atlantic, the first to form in the month since 1938. [BBC]

No, Jim Gray cannot beat Rand Paul. Not because he’s not capable but because of the bridges he’s burned and the incompetent people he’s allowing to run his show. If he wants to set things up for another office? Run for that office instead of wasting money on a U.S. Senate bid. [H-L]

Because of course they did. Several Republican presidential candidates criticized the Obama administration’s decision to swap seven Iranian prisoners for The Washington Post’s reporter Jason Rezaian and three other Americans on Saturday. [HuffPo]