Rand Paul’s Jalopy Putters Along

More Republican dollars are flowing into Kentucky to help GOP candidates in the four special House elections on March 8. [H-L]

President Barack Obama has said that a college degree “has never been more valuable.” But if you borrow to finance your degree, the immediate returns are the lowest they’ve been in at least a generation, new data show. [HuffPo]

Local governments in Kentucky can increase the minimum wage, but a federal judge ruled Wednesday that they can’t ban labor unions from requiring employees to join them. [C-J/AKN]

Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders’ campaign has reportedly raised $3 million since Monday night’s Iowa caucuses. [The Hill]

Marlow Cook may forever be remembered by Louisvillians as the Jefferson County Executive who purchased the Belle of Louisville, but I remember him not only as my first boss, but also as someone who directly and significantly shaped my life and the lives of so many in public life [John Yarmuth]

Global equity markets rose on Thursday as diminished expectations of U.S. interest rate hikes this year pushed the dollar lower, which in turned boosted the prices of commodities. [Reuters]

The more we learn about Jamie Comer’s hemp-related shenanigans, the more disappointed we all become. Here’s hoping his nonsense doesn’t impact the overall industry. [Page One]

In internal memos, groups opposing tighter state campaign finance rules coach their local supporters on how to battle disclosure of political donors. [ProPublica]

A new study shows that Kentucky and Arkansas had the sharpest decline in the percentage of adult residents without health insurance from 2013 to 2015. [Business First]

Rand Paul was hustling to a TV hit on Fox News when security officials on hand stopped him. You’ll love the delusional reaction from Doug Stafford. [Politico]

Efforts by the Harlan County School District to replace Wallins elementary with a new facility received a boost when the board of education submitted plans that put that project at the top of its list of needs. [Harlan Daily Enterprise]

There’s still a long way to go until November’s US presidential election. But it’s not too early to look at the possible presidential administrations of some of the leading candidates. [BBC]

Cheers, Kentucky: Bourbon and American whiskey sales in the United States were up 7.8 percent to $2.9 billion in 2015, according to figures released Tuesday morning by the Distilled Spirits Council of the U.S. Looking at exports, sales of American whiskey were up 4 percent by volume, although the value fell 2.7 percent to about $1 billion, putting total sales of American whiskey at just less than $4 billion for 2015. [H-L]

Not all polluters are created equal. Just five percent of industrial polluters account for 90 percent of toxic emissions in the United States, according to a new study published in the journal Environmental Research Letters last week. [HuffPo]

Coal Continues To Die In Kentucky

Kentucky saw a continued steep drop in coal production and jobs in 2015, according to a report released Monday by the Kentucky Energy and Environmental Cabinet.H-L]

Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R) was not happy Monday when her interview with NBC’s “Today” anchors Matt Lauer and Savannah Guthrie veered away from the topic of the Iowa caucuses and toward her son’s recent arrest. [HuffPo]

Kentucky coal mines produced their lowest tonnage in 62 years, according to a new report from the Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet. [C-J/AKN]

American and British intelligence secretly tapped into live video feeds from Israeli drones and fighter jets, monitoring military operations in Gaza, watching for a potential strike against Iran, and keeping tabs on the drone technology Israel exports around the world. Under a classified program code-named “Anarchist,” the U.K.’s Government Communications Headquarters, or GCHQ, working with the National Security Agency, systematically targeted Israeli drones from a mountaintop on the Mediterranean island of Cyprus. [The Intercept]

Ten healthcare systems across the Commonwealth have joined together in an effort to better healthcare for Kentuckians. [Richmond Register]

A new analysis suggests that human-caused climate change may be having a much bigger impact on East Coast superstorms than we thought. A global slowdown in crucial Atlantic Ocean currents — caused by global warming — appears to be supercharging both precipitation and storm surge. [ThinkProgress]

Due to budget constraints, the U.S. Forest Service’s Cumberland Ranger District is taking a hard look at some of the federal roads in the Daniel Boone National Forest. [The Morehead News]

Increasing crop yields could help meet the rising global demand for more food while sparing land to protect biodiversity, a study has suggested. [BBC]

In November’s election for the Glasgow City Council, six newcomers will be competing against 11 incumbents for 12 nonpartisan seats. [Glasgow Daily Times]

In my early years as a police reporter, I often pulled up to a crime scene minutes before the homicide detectives arrived. Too many times to count I’d find a young black man my age or younger dead with a halo of blood or brain matter splashed on the pavement. Often there were shell casings sprinkled around freshly fallen bodies. [NY Times]

The three school districts in Greenup County will offer free ACT preparation sessions Feb. 13 to sophomores, juniors and seniors in all three districts. [Ashland Independent]

From the Department of Things Ken Ham Wouldn’t Understand… The mystery behind the extinction of a huge flightless bird called Genyornis that flourished in the grasslands and woodlands of prehistoric Australia may have been solved, with burned eggshells as the clue and people as the culprits. [Reuters]

Out-of-state money is coming into Kentucky for the four special state House elections on March 8. [H-L]

News of the poisoned water crisis in Flint has reached a wide audience around the world. [HuffPo]

Oldham Co Still Fighting Over Booze

Food prices in Kentucky fell by 7.5 percent last year, according to the Kentucky Farm Bureau’s quarterly Marketbasket Survey. [H-L]

Any high school in the U.S. that wants to carry an emergency opioid overdose reversal kit will now be able to get one free of charge, thanks to a new initiative announced Monday by the Clinton Foundation and the drug’s manufacturer. [HuffPo]

The dumb is thick in Oldham County. A lawsuit that questions the validity of Oldham County’s recent wet-dry referendum could delay officials’ plans to expand alcohol sales countywide. [C-J/AKN]

For kids up and down the East Coast, the snow that piled up over the weekend translates into a day or two without school. But in other parts of the country, snow days are taking on a new meaning. Just not in Montgomery County, where those Chromebooks still aren’t being put to use. [NPR]

Nicholasville-Jessamine County has become the fourth community in Kentucky to adopt a needle-exchange program. [Richmond Register]

The US Treasury has told a BBC investigation that it considers Russian President Vladimir Putin to be corrupt. [BBC]

The Russell City Council discussed rules concerning advertising alcohol sales after signage pointing passing drivers to a downtown BP station appeared to violate city law. [Ashland Independent]

As tens of thousands of Flint, Michigan, residents remain without drinkable tap water and are wondering if their children will face lifelong damage from lead exposure, new documents released in recent days cast significant doubts on the narrative embraced by Gov. Rick Synder’s (R) administration regarding how and why the city’s water supply was replaced by corrosive Flint River water to begin with. [ThinkProgress]

The Rowan County Board of Education Tuesday approved a purchase contract agreement with Morehead State University for the central office building at 121 E. Second Street. [The Morehead News]

The water crisis in Flint, Michigan – in which the city’s drinking water became contaminated with lead, bacteria and other pollutants – has come to national attention in recent weeks. [ProPublica]

Surprise! People get high on drugs. [WKYT]

President Obama wants to make it easier for Americans to save for retirement, and plans to push a host of ideas on that front in his upcoming budget. [The Hill]

Everyone talks about New Year’s resolutions, but do they really make a difference in lifestyle changes? Some may choose to eat healthier, while others may want to exercise more. If smoking cessation is one of your resolutions, it may be in your best interest to stick with your goal. [H-L]

California’s insurance commissioner on Monday asked all insurance companies doing business in the state to voluntarily divest from coal companies and said he will also require insurance companies to disclose their coal company holdings. [HuffPo]

Sounds Like Fun In Madison County…

Thousands of welds might be deficient at the weapons destruction plant in Richmond. [H-L]

The grandest and most majestic first act of 2016 by the Republican majority in Congress was to take a meat clever and sever 17 million Americans from their Affordable Care Act health insurance. [HuffPo]

Congress has effectively lifted the nation’s longstanding ban on federal funding for needle exchange programs, which allow intravenous drug addicts to trade dirty syringes for clean ones in the hopes of preventing disease. [C-J/AKN]

In 10 months, Americans will go to the polls to pick the next U.S. president. When they cast their ballots, those votes will likely hinge on how they feel about the issues most important to them. But what are those issues? [NPR]

Former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee joined the field for the Kentucky Republican presidential caucus before the Thursday deadline, bringing the total of candidates to 11. [WFPL]

US jobs growth remained solid in December as the economy added 292,000 jobs, beating expectations. [BBC]

This is what happens when people are too ignorant or dishonest to realize you can support law enforcement officers and still want accountability. [WKYT]

Young undocumented immigrants, beware: Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz will unabashedly tell you to your face that if he’s president, he would deport people like you. [ThinkProgress]

Looking back on his first year of elective office, Madison Judge/Executive Reagan Taylor said he hopes the public is pleased with what the county accomplished in 2015. [Richmond Register]

For advocates of women’s reproductive rights, 2015 was the definition of “annus horribilis:” marked by tough new limits on abortion, a debilitating Planned Parenthood scandal, and a shooting at a Colorado clinic that left three people dead. [ProPublica]

Special elections in Eastern Kentucky are always tons of fun. Yes, Eastern Kentucky, not eastern Kentucky. Kinda like website and not Web site. [Ashland Independent]

The indelible imprint left by human beings on Earth has become so clear that it justifies naming a new geological epoch after mankind, experts said on Thursday. [Reuters]

A proliferation of threats at schools across the state has officials working with police to determine best responses and prevention techniques. [H-L]

Rest a little easier tonight, Earthlings: NASA has just launched a new office aimed at protecting the planet from potential doomsday asteroids. [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. [Ting]

Bevin & Beshear Cronies: Birds Of An Extremely Wealthy Feather

The number of mining deaths in the nation in 2015 was the lowest on record, the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration announced this week. [H-L]

Wheaton College, an evangelical Christian university outside of Chicago, said on Tuesday it was taking steps to fire a tenured political science professor after she wrote in a Facebook post that Muslims and Christians worship the same God. [HuffPo]

The committee that paid for Gov. Matt Bevin’s inaugural celebration raised nearly $1.1 million – much of it from wealthy Republican donors but much from the same state contractors, appointees and lobbyists who earlier backed the political causes of Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear. [C-J/AKN]

Here’s a look at how Turd Cruz became Turd Cruz. [Politico]

Despite all the handwringing over political control of the state House, no blood was shed in the Kentucky Capitol on the first day of the 2016 General Assembly session. [WFPL]

ObamaCare has not caused employers to shift workers into part-time work, according to a new study. Imagine that. [The Hill]

March 8 will be a red-letter date for Kentucky political types, one which could lead Kentucky into the solidly red column. [Ronnie Ellis]

Wiping back tears as he remembered children killed in a mass shooting, President Barack Obama on Tuesday ordered stricter gun rules that he can impose without Congress and urged American voters to reject pro-gun candidates. [Reuters]

Jody Hicks is serving a six-year sentence for trafficking illegal drugs. He has been lodged in the Rowan County Detention Center a little over a year. About eight months ago he began working in the jail’s inmate work program. [The Morehead News]

He wants joint custody and child support from the Palins. That should go over well. [Daily Mail]

The Carter County Judge-Executive has been a bit busy in the past year. [Ashland Independent]

An emotional US President Barack Obama has unveiled new restrictions on gun purchases, saying the “constant excuses for inaction” have to stop. [BBC]

In a state with the biggest one-year surge in background checks in 2015, the president’s decision to subject more gun buyers to vetting seems likely to drive the numbers even higher. [H-L]

President Barack Obama on Tuesday gave an unusually emotional speech about gun violence. At least officially, the purpose was to introduce a series of new regulations and proposals. [HuffPo]

Four Special Elections In March

Matt Bevin filed the writs of election (yesterday) so four special elections can take place on March 8.

They are:

  • House District 8 in Christian & Trigg counties vacated by the resignation of
    Rep. John Tilley
  • House District 98 in Boyd & Greenup counties vacated by the resignation of
    Rep. Tanya Pullin
  • House District 54 in Boyle & Casey counties vacated by the resignation of Rep.
    Mike Harmon
  • House District 62 in Fayette, Owen & Scott counties vacated by the resignation
    of Rep. Ryan Quarles

“I look forward to working with the county clerks in the affected counties,” said Secretary of State Alison Grimes. “And I hope all eligible voters in these House districts will participate in the March 8 special elections to choose their new state representatives.”

So the next couple months are going to suck in those districts.