Schools, Money & Trump Racism Fun

The Fayette County school board voted Monday to hire national auditors to review school district operations at the request of Superintendent Manny Caulk. [H-L]

Here’s one more indication that American teachers work really, really hard — and don’t make nearly enough. An analysis released Tuesday by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development looks at the state of education around the world, examining everything from intergenerational mobility in education to graduation rates to teacher pay. [HuffPo]

While Kentucky’s two U.S. senators are trying to throw a political wrench into a major world summit on climate change, at least several of the state’s residents plan to carry messages of cooperation and environmental protection to the gathering in France. [C-J/AKN]

Allegations are mounting that senior intelligence officials at Central Command not only skewed findings on the ISIS war to please D.C., but tried to hide what they did. [TDB]

The waiting game continues after four full days of deliberation, as jurors have yet to reach a verdict in the criminal trial of former Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship. [Richmond Register]

Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump is not backing down from his claim that “thousands of people” in Arab communities in New Jersey were cheering on 9/11. Trump defended himself by telling an NBC News reporter that he has “the world’s greatest memory” and everybody knows that. [The Hill]

Rand Paul, R-Cookie Tree, said after a town hall at the Highlands Museum and Discovery Center he is in conversations with the CEO of AK Steel about how to keep hundreds of jobs at Ashland Works afloat. [Ashland Independent]

PEE ALERT! Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump’s campaign warned the party on Tuesday about donors pooling funds for attack ads, saying the party must treat him fairly to keep him from launching an independent bid. [Reuters]

Keeping public money in public schools is one of five priorities of Kentucky school district superintendents, according to a report C.D. Morton presented Thursday during a meeting of the Harlan Independent Board of Education. [Harlan Daily Enterprise]

Current and former government officials have been pointing to the terror attacks in Paris as justification for mass surveillance programs. CIA Director John Brennan accused privacy advocates of “hand-wringing” that has made “our ability collectively internationally to find these terrorists much more challenging.” Former National Security Agency and CIA director Michael Hayden said, “In the wake of Paris, a big stack of metadata doesn’t seem to be the scariest thing in the room.” [ProPublica]

A chair commemorating military service members who have been prisoners of war, missing in action or killed in action was officially dedicated to become part of Glasgow City Council’s chambers in Glasgow City Hall on Monday evening. [Glasgow Daily Times]

America has just lived through another presidential campaign week dominated by Donald Trump’s racist lies. Here’s a partial list of false statements: The United States is about to take in 250,000 Syrian refugees; African-Americans are responsible for most white homicides; and during the 9/11 attacks, “thousands and thousands” of people in an unnamed “Arab” community in New Jersey “were cheering as that building was coming down.” [NY Times]

A federal judge has denied a request to block hearings on whether hundreds of Eastern Kentucky residents will keep federal disability benefits. [H-L]

Triatomine bugs, known more commonly as “kissing bugs,” have been found in North Carolina, Georgia, and Tennessee, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The bug is native to the southern United States, South America, Central America and Mexico, and can carry a parasite called Trypanosoma cruzi that causes the potentially deadly Chagas disease. [HuffPo]

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Poor Kentuckians Will Suffer Under Bevin

Fayette County School District officials say they have found the student responsible for a graffiti threat left in a bathroom at Edythe J. Hayes Middle School. [H-L]

One Middle East catastrophe apparently wasn’t enough for some supporters of the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq. So they’ve continued to try to shape policy relating to the region, offering punditry in the wake of each fresh crisis. [HuffPo]

Traveling around rural Clay County, Jennifer Gates seeks out people in need of health coverage. There are plenty of them. From the homeless veteran under a bridge to the low-paid school cafeteria cook, Gates helps them find health coverage through kynect, Kentucky’s version of the Affordable Care Act. [C-J/AKN]

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) on Sunday said Donald Trump’s claim that scores of Arab-Americans cheered as the Twin Towers fell on 9/11 is unsubstantiated. [The Hill]

Members of the Housing Authority of Glasgow’s board of directors were scheduled to approve flat rent increases for the 2016 fiscal year, but action on the issue was tabled, once again. [Glasgow Daily Times]

South America’s vast Amazon region harbors one of the world’s most diverse collection of tree species, but more than half may be at risk for extinction due to ongoing deforestation to clear land for farming, ranching and other purposes, scientists say. [Reuters]

For the 16th holiday season, a local musician is helping provide for those less fortunate. Eddie Riffe organized his first food drive in 1999, when he asked those who visited the AMVETS in Ashland to donate nonperishable foods when they came to hear him perform. [Ashland Independent]

Alberta’s carbon footprint, spurred on by the tar sands industry, has been steadily growing in recent years. So when the New Democratic Party took power in a surprise victory earlier this year, environmentalists hoped it signaled a turning point for Canada’s largest oil-producing province. [ThinkProgress]

Just a little over a year ago, it was “space and shelves,” but no food was stored there. Now, the Colonel’s Cupboard helps feed the one in five Eastern Kentucky University college students who admitted to food insecurity in a study conducted just last year. [Richmond Register]

The ex-GOP House Benghazi Committee investigator who accused the panel of conducting a partisan witch hunt against Hillary Clinton filed suit Monday against the committee and Chairman Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) for wrongful termination and defamation. [Politico]

Big news in the hometown of small-minded bigot Kim Davis. A tanker carrying powder used to make concrete overturned on I-64 in Rowan County Monday morning. [The Morehead News]

A US air strike aimed at an IS checkpoint is likely to have killed four civilians, possibly including a child, the US military has said. [BBC]

What the hell is in the water in Lexington to make everyone — from the people still bickering about the election to self-hating Jim Gray — so terrible lately? [H-L]

Donald Trump approves of the way his supporters responded to a Black Lives Matter protester, reportedly beating him during a Saturday rally in Birmingham, Alabama. [HuffPo]

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KDP’s Arms Flailing, Sinking, Lost Again

The American Civil Liberties Union says a Kentucky county clerk’s office should reissue altered marriage licenses even though the governor has promised to recognize them as valid. [H-L]

In the lead-up to Thursday’s House vote for tightening restrictions on Syrian refugees seeking entry into the United States, senior Democrats warned fellow members that they faced a massive backlash next fall if they didn’t support the bill. [HuffPo]

Dawn has barely broken, and Melanie Lowe is already in a hurry. She’s on her way to court. A familiar route, timed to the minute. Jericho Road to avoid the train. Burks Branch to skip the lights. She scarfs a protein bar and dials a colleague. No, she can’t cover for another public defender in juvenile court. Too many cases. [C-J/AKN]

Basically, Democrats don’t have a chance now that Matt Jones has realized it’d be dumb to run for congress. [Roll Call]

Guess he learned from weed in Ohio and maybe from the last dozen times he’s tried gambling bills. Kentucky House Speaker Greg Stumbo pre-filed legislation that, if passed, would ensure that no business could acquire more than one horse-racing license except under special circumstances in Kentucky. [WMKY]

First-hand accounts like this won’t deter pandering bigots like Rand Paul and Matt Bevin. Until last year, I was one of 4.3 million people at the mercy of the legal immigration system, waiting for the chance to stay in the U.S. for good. [BuzzFeed]

Republican Gov.-elect Matt Bevin told a statewide gathering of county officials the crisis in state pension systems requires immediate attention and the solution will have to come from the general fund at the expense of other spending needs. [Ronnie Ellis]

Donald Trump tweeted a series of inaccurate murder statistics from the “Crime Statistics Bureau — San Francisco.” The bureau doesn’t exist and the statistics were fabricated. [ThinkProgress]

Steve Riley, one of two Republicans who have voiced their intent to be candidates for the 23rd District Kentucky House of Representatives seat, said he’s been interested in politics for a long time, but it wasn’t “the right thing” for him to be part of it before now. [Glasgow Daily Times]

When it comes to terrorism, more Americans trust Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton than the top Republican candidates in the field, according to the latest results of an ABC News/Washington Post survey released Monday. But among those who worry most about terrorism, Donald Trump is the preferred candidate. [Politico]

It took six tries but Rowan Fiscal Court on Tuesday finally passed a longevity pay scale for full-time county employees. [The Morehead News]

This Turtleman charade is certainly embarrassing for Kentucky. But it’s not as dumb as the handful of New Yorkers that constantly scream about it every chance they get in an attempt to shame Kentuckians in some bitter, vengeful rage. A Kentucky farmer has accused Animal Planet of setting a fire, damming a creek, chopping down trees, and illegally trespassing and building structures on his property during the production of the reality TV show Call of the Wildman. [Mother Jones]

Terrorist attacks like the one in Paris make me fear for America’s future. I don’t fear the terrorists so much as the reaction they prompt among America’s fearmongers and the people who listen to them. Their actions are capable of doing far more damage to this country than jihadists could ever accomplish. [Tom Eblen]

Weather-related disasters such as floods and heatwaves have occurred almost daily in the past decade, almost twice as often as two decades ago, with Asia being the hardest hit region, a U.N. report said on Monday. [HuffPo]

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Kentucky Leaders Embarrass Thinking People

They took time to write about all this but are still ignoring the dozens of scandals in Montgomery County. Powell County Superintendent Michael Tate said Saturday that school district officials contacted Kentucky State Police after investigating allegations of inappropriate conduct by members of Powell County High School’s boys basketball team. [H-L]

Rand Paul’s (R-Racist Cookie Tree) tough proposals aimed at limiting the admission of refugees in the wake of the Paris terror attacks are disappointing libertarian opinion leaders, days after a presidential debate performance in which he appeared to return to his independent roots. [HuffPo]

Wasn’t this news a few weeks back? An evangelist who organized rallies in support of Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis is planning to run for the state House of Representatives against Democratic House Majority Leader Rocky Adkins. [C-J/AKN]

We’re looking at you, Rand Paul, and the rest of the bigoted cowards this state sends to Washington. Acutely aware of the consequences to Jews who were unable to flee Nazism, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum looks with concern upon the current refugee crisis. While recognizing that security concerns must be fully addressed, we should not turn our backs on the thousands of legitimate refugees. [United States Holocaust Memorial Museum]

The Barren County School district took another step toward breaking ground on the long-awaited Red Cross Elementary School renovation at Wednesday’s special-called Board of Education and Barren County School District Finance Corp. meeting. [Glasgow Daily Times]

Billionaire Donald Trump continues to dominate the polls and drive the debate in the Republican presidential nomination, staying a step ahead of his competitors on the issues of immigration, border security and the Syrian refugee crisis. [BBC]

The Boyd County Fiscal Court spent three hours in closed session trying to “fine tune” an agreement regarding future operations of the embattled Big Run Landfill. [Ashland Independent]

As President Obama tries to save his plan to shield some five million people from deportation, immigration activists have been marching and planning more demonstrations to support him. [NPR]

A racially-motivated threat found in a Madison Central High School boys’ bathroom stall Thursday has many parents upset, not so much because of the threat’s contents, but because they were not notified. [Richmond Register]

In recent days, presidential candidates and even the American Medical Association have griped about rising drug prices, pointing to brand-name blockbusters with splashy ad campaigns. [ProPublica]

The Rowan County Board of Education Tuesday discussed a plan to make changes to the district’s bullying policy. The changes deal primarily with cyber-bullying or harassment via social media and the Internet, hazing, and other forms of harassment. [The Morehead News]

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Still Has No Health Care Alternative) is making a bull rush at the conservatives running for president who are withholding support from an ObamaCare repeal package that they feel doesn’t go far enough. [The Hill]

Fayette County had a higher rate of children living in foster care from 2012 to 2014 than the state rate, according to child well-being rankings released recently by Kentucky Youth Advocates. [H-L]

Retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson said Saturday that he wants to expand the government’s surveillance operations aimed at potential terrorist threats, even beyond tracking American Muslims as rivalDonald Trump has suggested. [HuffPo]

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Mainstream Racist Freakout Continues

Kentucky legislators, who often call for greater transparency from the struggling state employee pension system, keep their own retirement accounts in a much better-financed system that publicly offers no information about itself. [John Cheves]

Pushing back against efforts to bar Syrian refugees from resettling in the U.S., President Barack Obama vowed Saturday that his country will be a welcoming place for millions fleeing violence around the world “as long as I’m president.” [HuffPo]

This story originally ran in late January. Twenty-one Syrian refugees will arrive in Louisville over the next two weeks, a figure expected to increase in Kentucky and beyond as the U.S. begins to take in an expanded number of refugees fleeing Syria’s bloody civil war. [C-J/AKN]

During the 1930s and early 1940s, the United States resisted accepting large numbers of Jewish refugees escaping the Nazi terror sweeping Europe, in large part because of fearmongering by a small but vocal crowd. They claimed that the refugees were communist or anarchist infiltrators intent on spreading revolution; that refugees were part of a global Jewish-capitalist conspiracy to take control of the United States from the inside; that the refugees were either Nazis in disguise or under the influence of Nazi agents sent to commit acts of sabotage; and that Jewish refugees were out to steal American jobs. Many rejected Jews simply because they weren’t Christian. [The Intercept]

No one thinks Butler’s switch is a surprise — his Democratic colleagues in Jefferson County have long considered him a Republican. State Rep. Denny Butler is the first Democrat to switch parties in the aftermath of Republican Gov.-elect Matt Bevin’s convincing win and in advance of the November 2016 state legislative races which could switch control of the House to Republicans for the first time since 1921. His switch might not be the last, but his decision was a surprise. [Richmond Register]

Donald Trump’s rhetoric since the Paris terrorist attacks appears to have helped him with GOP primary voters, according to most polls. But Republican insiders are concerned that his words could come back to haunt the party as it seeks to appeal to a broader audience. [The Hill]

If you’ve followed the Montgomery County saga, you’ll love reading about Jefferson County Public Schools violating open records laws. [The ‘Ville Voice]

As you’re pissing and moaning about veterans during a very real refugee crisis, remember what Republicans in Washington have and haven’t done. U.S. Senate Republicans blocked legislation on Thursday that would have expanded federal healthcare and education programs for veterans, saying the $24 billion bill would bust the budget. [Reuters]

Many have written in to ask for a synopsis of what went down with Jamie Comer during the primary. So here are two stories that will help you understand everything. [May 20, 2015 & October 1, 2015]

Two former advisers to Republican presidential candidate Sen. Rand Paul (R-Cookie Tree) were re-indicted by a federal grand jury in Iowa Friday, just weeks after a criminal trial that produced a muddled result. [Politico]

More than 150 students staged a walkout protest Friday morning at East Carter High School over what they allege was the unfair dismissal of a substitute teacher. [Ashland Independent]

It is one of the central political puzzles of our time: Parts of the country that depend on the safety-net programs supported by Democrats are increasingly voting for Republicans who favor shredding that net. [ProPublica]

Matt Bevin said Friday he hopes to present to state lawmakers in the upcoming legislative session a plan to implement a 401(k)-style retirement plan for new state government employees. [H-L]

Several people attending a rally for Donald Trump in Birmingham, Alabama, physically assaulted an African-American protester on Saturday, witnesses said. [HuffPo]

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Papaw Prepares For The Retirement Home

And we’ve found the perfect gift for him… [CLICK THE CLICKY]

With his days dwindling as Kentucky’s governor, Democrat Steve Beshear took time Tuesday to tout his eight years in office and reflect on his regrets of making “no meaningful progress” in tax reform and not bringing expanded gambling to the state. [H-L]

Bobby Who? Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) ended his presidential campaign on Tuesday. [HuffPo]

The local prosecutor’s office is asking Jefferson Circuit Court Judge Olu Stevens to recuse himself from every criminal case that comes before him, citing comments the judge made on his Facebook page that calls into question his impartiality, the commonwealth argues. [C-J/AKN]

The British Government has announced that it plans to shut down all of its coal-powered fire stations by 2025, with restrictions put on their use as early as 2023. [Gizmodo]

Heck yes alcohol sales bring in revenue for communities. Rob Fogle is the co-owner of Mammoth Liquors, located at 101 Gardner Lane in Cave City, along with Eric Hall. The two also own a liquor store in Radcliff, which saw take-home liquor sales approved by voters in 2011. [Glasgow Daily Times]

President Obama would love the chance to run against Donald Trump, but his family — and the Constitution — are standing in his way. [The Hill]

Only one bid was submitted to the Rowan County School Board for the central office building at 121 E. Second Street. Morehead State University submitted the lone bid of $2 million. [The Morehead News]

They share a small two-bedroom apartment in Sacramento with few possessions, but for Syrian refugee Mohammad Abd Rabboh, his wife and two daughters, there is finally freedom from fear. [Reuters]

A Berea College student told the city council Tuesday night that pickup trucks flying Confederate flags have frequently driven around the campus the past three months yelling racial slurs at them. [Richmond Register]

Ninety minutes into the first day of his first job, Day Davis, a 21-year-old temp worker, was called to help out near a machine at the Bacardi bottling plant in Jacksonville, Florida. He was killed before making it to his first break. [ProPublica]

Jennifer Stepp is proud her son is in recovery from his heroin addiction, but if he ever needs it, her 8-year-old daughter knows how to administer the drugs that would save his life. [Ashland Independent]

Friday’s terrorist attacks have made the Paris climate talks “even more” important now, according to Christiana Figueres, head of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). And on Sunday, Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders elaborated on why climate change remains “the biggest national security threat facing the United States,” after remarks he made in Saturday’s Democratic debate were criticized by people who apparently don’t understand the existential nature the climate threat poses to this country and the world. [ThinkProgress]

The water tower in Lebanon is about to get a new mural that should make it very popular on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail. The tower will be graced by a bottle of bourbon, making it look like the world’s largest Maker’s Mark pour. The city’s 135-foot water tower will be getting a mural by internationally recognized muralist Eric Henn, who will paint it to look like the neck of a gigantic bottle, complete with signature red wax, is pouring bourbon straight down. [H-L]

A Scottish newspaper offered a warm message to Syrian refugees arriving in the country this week. “To the first refugees fleeing war-torn Syria who will arrive at Glasgow Airport today, we’d just like to say: Welcome to Scotland,” read the front cover of The National on Tuesday. [HuffPo]

How Many Friends/Donors Will He Pardon?

Fayette County schools superintendent Manny Caulk has hired a Kentucky Department of Education associate commissioner with 18 years of experience in state government to oversee the district financial services, budget and staffing, and human resources departments. [H-L]

President Barack Obama is accusing Republicans who oppose allowing Syrian refugees into the U.S. of being scared of widows and orphans. He says the political posturing “needs to stop.” [HuffPo]

Louisville area Ford workers on Tuesday resoundingly rejected a proposed national contract. [C-J/AKN]

In 2012, GOP presidential candidates accused President Obama of waging a war on the coal industry. Three years later, coal is largely taking a back seat in the Republican race for the White House. [The Hill]

The Kentucky School Boards Association is all up in the latest Jefferson County Public Schools controversy. On the one hand, people who serve their time ought to be able to give back to society and hold down gainful employment. Especially when they’re as honest and forthcoming as this woman. On the other, JCPS looks stupid for getting into mess after mess like this. [KSBA]

U.S. consumer prices increased in October after two straight months of declines as the cost of healthcare and other services rose, evidence of firming inflation that further supports views that the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates next month. [Reuters]

Gov. Steve Beshear hinted Tuesday he’ll restore voting rights for many non-violent ex-felons before leaving office on Dec. 7. [Ronnie Ellis]

Hillary Clinton’s top deputy will be on Capitol Hill on Tuesday to continue the campaign’s outreach to African-American Democrats. [Politico]

Kentucky earned a “D” on the March of Dimes Premature Birth Report Card, and Warren County’s preterm births are worse than statewide rates. [BGDN]

Poverty does not treat men and women equally, especially in old age. Women 65 years old and older who are living in poverty outnumber men in those circumstances by more than 2 to 1. And these women are likely to face the greatest deprivation as they become older and more frail. [NPR]

Gov. Steve Beshear and state librarian Wayne Onkst said in federal court filings late last week that the state will recognize as valid marriages of couples who received altered licenses issued by the Rowan County clerk’s office. [Ashland Independent]

The federal privacy law known as HIPAA doesn’t cover home paternity tests, fitness trackers or health apps. When a Florida woman complained after seeing the paternity test results of thousands of people online, federal regulators told her they didn’t have jurisdiction. [ProPublica]

On Friday night around 7 p.m., while the world looked on in horror as terrorists in Paris made flesh our collective nightmares, Rand Paul took to Twitter. With uncertainty, fear and carnage gripping the globe, Kentucky’s junior U.S. Senator, in the cellar when it comes to presidential polls, was focused — on Marco Rubio. [H-L]

After a series of attacks in Paris by the Islamic State group killed 129 people on Friday, several prominent Republican politicians called for the U.S. to stop taking in refugees from Syria, arguing that authorities might unwittingly allow terrorists to enter the country. [HuffPo]