Pension Monster Continues To Devour Kentucky, Frankfort Twiddles Thumbs

Remember the old TV commercials for Fram oil filters? An actor dressed as an auto mechanic would explain how a costly repair could have been prevented with regular oil changes. [H-L]

Over the next 35 years, multidrug-resistant tuberculosis will kill 75 million people and could cost the global economy a cumulative $16.7 trillion – the equivalent of the European Union’s annual output, a UK parliamentary group said on Tuesday. [HuffPo]

Oldham County has one of the state’s wealthiest populations, plus easy access to doctors, hospitals, well-stocked grocery stores, parks and gyms. But counties in the heart of Kentucky’s Appalachian region are beset by poverty, high rates of smoking rooted in the culture, and limited access to nutritious food, safe places to exercise and medical care. [C-J/AKN]

Solar energy could provide up to 4% of the UK’s electricity by the end of the decade, the government forecasts. [BBC]

The definition of insanity. Legislative leaders say they will continue looking into the Kentucky Teachers’ Retirement System and be back at the table in the 2016 legislative session over the issue. [CN|Toot]

A federal appeals court announced Tuesday that it will hold an unusual oral argument session next month on the question of whether to stay a judge’s order blocking President Barack Obama from carrying out new immigration executive actions he put forward last year. [Politico]

What’s with all the prisoner escapes in Kentucky this week? [WKYT & [More WKYT]]

The $200 billion Medicare bill backed by House leaders from both parties won a key endorsement Wednesday from President Obama, leaving supporters hopeful that Senate Democrats will warm to the deal. [The Hill]

Citizens in Hazard and Perry County now have two new, technology-driven ways to report crime and be alerted of crime and news in the area thanks two new services being offered by the Hazard Police Department (HPD) this month. [Hazard Herald]

Bad news for Steve Beshear’s payday loan shark friends! The U.S. consumer financial watchdog on Thursday outlined its plans for cracking down on the payday lending industry and ensuring that borrowers can repay their loans. [Reuters]

Water issues highlighted a recent meeting of the Evarts City Council as Mayor Eddie Manning said the city’s water plant needs to be enlarged. [Harlan Daily Enterprise]

After looking for nearly six months, the Federal Reserve says it couldn’t find out who had shared confidential policy information. Critics in Congress aren’t satisfied with the account. [ProPublica]

A partial human skull found in Clay County could be decades old, Kentucky State Police said Tuesday. U.S. Forest Service officers found the remains early Monday evening while on their way to fight a forest fire in Clay County, according to state police at the London post. [H-L]

It’s great that Kentucky is making progress on heroin. But it’s not great that these folks ignore the devil that’s in the details. [HuffPo]

Gubmint Folks Say Jobless Rates Down

Earlier today, Papaw Bigot’s office (technically, the Education and Workforce Development Cabinet) announced that jobless rates were down in 119 counties in February 2015 from February 2014, which doesn’t really mean anything.

Because who cares what was going on a year ago? And what about all the people who have fallen off the jobless rolls or have stopped looking for work?

Anyway, here are the details:


CLICK EACH TO ENLARGE

Want the PDF version? Click here for that.

Have fun with that.

Rand Paul Revisionist History Is Cringe-Worthy

Uh, Lil Randy, your hero Saint Ronnie loved him some South African apartheid, as did your Republican colleagues. Rand Paul called for a boycott of Saudi Arabia on Saturday, saying Americans should shun the kingdom as it did the apartheid regime in South Africa. [H-L]

America’s middle class is shrinking in every state in America. [HuffPo]

A ruling by the state Court of Appeals has rescued most Kentucky public libraries from a 60 percent budget cut that would have forced some to close and others to scale back services including Internet access and literacy programs. [C-J/AKN]

A federal judge in Wisconsin ruled as unconstitutional on Friday a state law requiring any doctor performing an abortion to have privileges to admit patients to a nearby hospital. [Reuters]

Following a special called meeting of the Perry County Fiscal Court last Thursday, the county has now assumed full ownership of the City of Vicco’s water and sewer systems. [Hazard Herald]

Sen. Bernie Sanders is planning to offer an amendment to the GOP budget next week that would impose a new tax on millionaires to finance U.S. military operations. [The Hill]

During the next three weeks, weather permitting, Cumberland Gap National Historical Park will be conducting a prescribed burn in the “Hoot Owl Hollow.” This 105 acre burn unit, in mixed hardwood and conifer forest, is located along the park boundary on the north side of the community of Arthur, Tenn. [Harlan Daily Enterprise]

As Seattle prepares for the April launch of the highest minimum wage law in America, conservatives are warning that businesses are already shuttering under the pressure of higher labor costs and pointing to a recent report of a rash of restaurant closures as evidence. The problem is, the actual owners of those restaurants say that they’re not closing because of wages, and the city seems to be enjoying robust growth in that industry. [Think Progress]

Jennifer Perkinson and her husband, Clay, knew for a long time that they wanted to be foster parents and, if the situation presented itself, adopt children. [BGDN]

Judicial Correction Services (JCS), the for-profit probation company at the center of the recently settled Georgia “debtors’ prison” suit, is now being sued by the Southern Poverty Law Center for violating federal racketeering laws in Clanton, Alabama. In the federal lawsuit, SPLC accuses JCS and its Clanton manager Steven Raymond of violating the federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act, by threatening jail time for probationers who failed to pay their misdemeanor fines and probationer fees in a timely fashion. This, the group argues, is plain and simple extortion. [Mother Jones]

Two young children have been placed in protective custody in Wayne County after allegations of sexual abuse by their parents. Because of their age, police are restricted as to how much information they can release about the case. However, the condition of the home that the children were living in speaks volumes. [WLEX18]

Brooke Barzun explains how she is trying to re-invent the rules of diplomacy by asking the great and the good to relax. [Belfast Telegraph]

An eastern Kentucky man whose ancestor helped Daniel Boone blaze a trail through part of Appalachia is hiking along the same path. [H-L]

But back in McConnell’s home state of Kentucky, state officials are plunging ahead with their work on a compliance plan with the new rules, which still have yet to be finalized. A piece in The (Louisville) Courier-Journal earlier this month highlighted this incongruity with McConnell’s efforts to rally other governors, citing statements from Dick Brown, the spokesman for the Energy and Environment Cabinet within the administration of Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear (D), that indicate this coal-dependent state is at work on its compliance plan. [HuffPo]

United States Representative Andy Barr (KY-6) endorsed the campaign of Ryan Quarles for Commissioner of Agriculture today. Barr, a Lexington native who represents Kentucky’s Sixth Congressional District, called Quarles a longtime friend with a lifelong passion for agriculture. [Press Release]

Why On Earth Does NKY Need A 9/11 Memorial?

A Bath County man shot and killed another man over a dog on Saturday. Travis Becraft, 20, of Olympia, shot Jeremy Clark, 36, of Owingsville, after an argument concerning the dog, according to state police. [H-L]

The gender pay gap is alive and well everywhere in America, but it’s more alive in some states than in others. [HuffPo]

Ummm. After 3 ½ years of fundraising the dream Northern Kentucky 9/11 Memorial is becoming a reality. [C-J/AKN]

The U.S. government is appealing a federal court ruling that reduced the potential penalty BP Plc must pay for the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill by almost $4 billion. [Reuters]

Late last week Governor Beshear’s office pushed out a release about kyhealthnow (can we quit it with the no caps and such?) so go look at the stuff. [Click the Clicky]

The Obama administration is ramping up its effort to rescue the president’s immigration actions from legal limbo. [The Hill]

The 2014 KESS award recipients were recognized March 11, 2015 at the Governor’s Mansion. Thirty-eight employees’ ideas were approved for implementation, and combined, saved the Commonwealth more than $350,000 during 2014. [Click the Clicky]

In 1986, I was as ready to leave the closet as I would ever be—but how would I do so? Though I was a third term Democratic congressman from Massachusetts, I had lived too long with the burden of “the gay thing” to treat coming out as a political matter alone. [Politico]

Weeks of snow and rain were the only warning signs for what happened Tuesday night. “The cracking and popping and hitting the wood. It was just the most horrible sound I’ve ever heard in my life,” said Kay King. [WYMT]

Lawmakers in Utah have proposed resuming the use of firing squads to carry out the death penalty if lethal injections drugs are not available. [BBC]

Morehead City Council unanimously approved the second reading of an ordinance on Monday that would amend the definition of smoking to include electronic smoking devices. [The Morehead News]

Why did Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel feel the need to wag the dog in Washington? [NY Times]

The partisan divide over same-sex marriage among top elected officials remains stark, with Democrats overwhelmingly on record in favor and Republicans mostly silent so far. [H-L]

While whales were land mammals 50 million years ago, they have evolved to hear each other incredibly well underwater — up to 1,000 miles apart, according to National Geographic. New research from the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History finally shows how. [HuffPo]