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]

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) [Ting]

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]

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) [Ting]

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]

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) [Ting]

State Democrats Are Still In Major Denial

It’s always the rich white guys who fight minimum wage increases. Lexington Mayor Jim Gray declined to say Wednesday if he would sign an ordinance raising the minimum wage in Fayette County to $10.10 an hour over the next three years. [H-L]

Separation of church and state? Republican presidential candidate John Kasich says he’d set up an agency with a “mandate” to promote what he calls “Judeo-Christian values” overseas to counter Islamist propaganda. [HuffPo]

Kentucky Republicans announced Thursday morning that state Rep. Denny Butler of Louisville is switching parties, putting the GOP one seat closer to capturing the House majority in the wake of Gov.-elect Matt Bevin’s victory. [C-J/AKN]

What was that about Rand Paul valuing your privacy? When someone downloads the official Ben Carson, Ted Cruz or Rand Paul campaign apps, they’re handing over personal information that can be shared with any group that has “similar viewpoints” as those candidates. For Cruz supporters, that means giving your data to a British-based company that specializes in psychological warfare. [Vocativ]

Kentucky’s preliminary October 2015 unemployment rate dipped to 4.9 percent from a seasonally adjusted 5 percent in September 2015, according to the Office of Employment and Training (OET), an agency of the Kentucky Education and Workforce Development Cabinet. Kentucky’s jobless rate had not been that low since May 2001 when it was 4.9 percent. [Press Release]

The political network helmed by Charles and David Koch has quietly built a secretive operation that conducts surveillance and intelligence gathering on its liberal opponents, viewing it as a key strategic tool in its efforts to reshape American public life. [Politico]

Kentucky Democrats just didn’t want to listen. Now all good old boy hell is breaking loose. [House Republicans]

Are you ready for more HYSTERIA OMG SYRIAN MUSLIM REFUGEE PANIC?! Cool, because Fox News lady windsock Andrea Tantaros went to work Wednesday. [Wonkette]

The 911 services throughout Kentucky are straining county budgets because of an outdated funding mechanism, county government representatives told state legislators on Wednesday. [WFPL]

From the Department of Things Ken Ham Wouldn’t Understand… DNA extracted from a skull and a molar tooth of ancient human remains discovered in the southern Caucasus region of Georgia is helping sort out the multifaceted ancestry of modern Europeans. [Reuters]

Council members met in closed session Monday night with members of the Industrial Development Economic Authority of Glasgow-Barren County’s board of directors to discuss the acquisition of real estate. [Glasgow Daily Times]

President Obama is moving to cement a significant legacy in the fight against smoking. Despite Obama’s own struggles with cigarettes, many public health advocates see him as a champion on the issue, and a series of proposals in the waning months of his presidency could bolster his record. [The Hill]

Democrat Jack Conway spent nearly twice as much as Republican Matt Bevin on TV ads, but it was not enough to get him elected governor. [H-L]

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), one of the Senate’s biggest defense hawks, on Tuesday rejected calls by some Republicans that the U.S. accept only Christian refugees fleeing Syria, not Muslims. [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]

Rand Paul Is A Tiny, Simple Xenophobe

Louisville Gas and Electric Co. and Kentucky Utilities Co. are asking regulators to allow them to own and operate charging stations for electric vehicles. [H-L]

After the Islamic State (ISIS) claimed responsibility for Friday’s wave of attacks that killed more than 130 people in Paris, the hactivist collective Anonymous declared war on the terrorist faction and its supporters. [HuffPo]

Gov. Steve Beshear says his staff is reviewing thousands of pardon applications sent to his office over the past eight years, but he said he has not yet decided whether he will issue any pardons before leaving office at midnight Dec. 7. [C-J/AKN]

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday rejected an anti-abortion group’s bid to force the federal government to reveal more information about a $1 million grant it made in 2011 to women’s health provider Planned Parenthood in New Hampshire. [Reuters]

Carter Caves may be the “best kept secret of the park system,” according to its park manager, but it may also be Carter County’s best-kept secret for how to truly open up recreational tourism in the northeast region of Kentucky. [Ashland Independent]

The justices reopen the abortion debate by agreeing to decide whether the state’s restrictions on clinics and abortion doctors go too far. [ProPublica]

The Cave Region Trails Initiative Steering Committee took steps toward seeking more input as it works to develop a master plan to connect trails in and around 11 communities bordering Mammoth Cave National Park during its meeting at the Cave City Convention Center on Thursday night. [Glasgow Daily Times]

The most-read story on the BBC News website on Sunday was about a terror attack – but not the one currently dominating the news. [BBC]

Sitting on the hard wooden benches inside the fifth-floor courtroom in the Charleston federal courthouse for eight hours, Monday through Friday, for the past month has been uncomfortable for everyone observing the criminal trial of former Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship. [Richmond Register]

Here comes Little Randy Paul flying his bigot flag. Now he wants to halt refugee visas. Small people do small things. [The Hill]

Harlan Appalachian Regional Hospital representatives spoke to the Harlan Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday during their regularly scheduled meeting to explain the Wound Care Center and its services. [Harlan Daily Enterprise]

Political leaders in the United States must not turn away Syrian refugees as part of a religious test, an emphatic President Barack Obama declared Monday, entreating public officials “not to feed that dark impulse inside of us.” [Politico]

Because there aren’t already enough reasons to think Tommy Turner and his crew are backwater as hell. The Hodgenville City Council has unanimously voted to allow the words “In God We Trust” to be lettered on the town’s police cars. [H-L]

And the Republicans nationally, like many in Kentucky, are beginning to fly their racist flags high. Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump would consider shuttering some mosques in the United States after last week’s deadly terror attacks in France. [HuffPo]