Not Yet Inaugurated & He’s Already Embarrassing

We doubt that spending more than $11 billion to finish the final 300 miles of the 3,090-mile Appalachian Development Highway System is the smartest way to breathe life into local economies. But the rest of Democrat Hillary Clinton’s $30 billion plan for helping coal communities weather upheavals in the energy market is promising. [H-L]

Washington’s capacity to foster crony capitalist larceny and corruption never ceases to amaze. But according to the Bloomberg, Wall Street’s shameless thievery from US taxpayers is about to get a whole new definition. [HuffPo]

A University of Louisville study of asthma, older adults and indoor air quality is revealing a mix of potentially dangerous chemicals inside participants’ homes. [C-J/AKN]

Tell us more, Matt Bevin, about how great refugees have it and about how easy it is for them to find safety. LGBT refugees from across the Middle East flock to Turkey, escaping Islamist militias, sexual assault, and death threats. But what they find there leaves many in despair. [BuzzFeed]

The biggest double-edged sword facing the Carter Caves State Resort Park is perhaps the dangers an increase in foot traffic poses to critters living inside the popular caves. [Ashland Independent]

More than half a dozen state governors have come out against President Obama’s plans to relocate several thousand Syrian refugees within the United States. Some have pledged to actively resist settlement of these refugees. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R), for example, signed a letter to Obama that begins “as governor of Texas, I write to inform you that the State of Texas will not accept any refugees from Syria in the wake of the deadly terrorist attack in Paris.” Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) issued an executive order instructing all “departments, budget units, agencies, offices, entities, and officers of the executive branch of the State of Louisiana” to “utilize all lawful means to prevent the resettlement of Syrian refugees in the State of Louisiana while this Order is in effect.” The problem for Jindal, Abbott and the other governors opposed to admitting refugees, however, is that there is no lawful means that permits a state government to dictate immigration policy to the president in this way. [ThinkProgress]

With uncertainty about the future of his signature health initiative, Gov. Steve Beshear is touting the outcomes of Kentucky’s efforts to improve the well-being of residents. [WFPL]

At least four times in the past year, Al Gore has passed up opportunities to endorse Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, brushing off questions from People magazine and other media outlets with the admonition that it’s still too early in the Democratic primary process for him to take sides. On Monday, an aide to the former vice president told POLITICO he’ll stay on the sidelines until his party has selected its nominee. [Politico]

If you missed it the other day, there’s yet another scandal at the University of Louisville. More specifically, involving an official accused of squandering hundreds of thousands of dollars. [The ‘Ville Voice]

While Matt Bevin ignorantly sides with the bigots, here’s a video featuring Syrian immigrants in Kentucky. [BBC]

Governor Steve Beshear is keeping busy during his final few weeks in office. [WKYT]

Refugee advocates don’t seem particularly concerned that governors will be able to make good on their calls to ban Syrian refugees from their states. [NPR]

Top level administrators are being hired at the University of Kentucky at more than twice the rate of full-time faculty, according to UK employee statistics. [H-L]

Hillary Clinton argued during Saturday’s Democratic presidential debate that she could take a hard line on Wall Street excesses while accepting millions from the industry in campaign contributions. As proof, she pointed to attacks on her campaign funded by two hedge fund billionaires. [HuffPo]

Wild Ernie Fletcher Shenanigans In 3, 2…

Chiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiild. Get the popcorn ready. M. Stephen Pitt, a Louisville lawyer who defended Republican Gov. Ernie Fletcher during the state hiring investigation that led to Fletcher’s indictment in 2006, will be general counsel to Republican Governor-elect Matt Bevin. [John Cheves]

Hillary Clinton wants to reclassify marijuana as a less dangerous substance in order to allow more research into the drug’s medicinal properties, the Democratic presidential candidate said Saturday in South Carolina. [HuffPo]

Republican Matt Bevin said often during his campaign for governor that he would have no favors to repay if he was elected governor. But he’s totally gonna have all kinds of his wealthy friends pay off his campaign debt to himself. [C-J/AKN]

The Supreme Court agreed Friday to hear another challenge to the Affordable Care Act, this time to decide whether religiously affiliated organizations such as universities, hospitals and charities can be free from playing any role in providing their employees with contraceptive coverage. [WaPo]

PEE ALERT! Former U.S. Rep. Anne Northup has endorsed Marco Rubio for president and will lead his efforts in Kentucky’s first ever presidential caucus in March. [WFPL]

As the United States prepares to intensify airstrikes against the Islamic State in Syria, the Arab allies who with great fanfare sent warplanes on the initial missions there a year ago have largely vanished from the campaign. [NY Times]

“We are doing things in agriculture you can only dream about,” said the director of agriculture policy for the Kentucky Department of Agriculture. [Richmond Register]

Let’s say you are Janet Yellen. As chair of the Federal Reserve, you must decide next month whether to hold down — or nudge up — interest rates. This huge decision could affect virtually all Americans who borrow money, which a lot of people do during the holidays. [NPR]

Two newcomers are joining the Fairview Board of Education as the district continues to emerge from a tumultuous period marked by severe penalties to its athletic programs and allegations of financial irregularities. [Ashland Independent]

Accreditation agencies have recently come under fire for failing to keep schools accountable. Now the Education Department is looking to change that. [ProPublica]

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates four children die every year in large school bus crashes. The agency believes seat belts would cut that number in half. [WKYT]

The former U.S. comptroller general says the real U.S. debt is closer to about $65 trillion than the oft-cited figure of $18 trillion. Dave Walker, who headed the Government Accountability Office (GAO) under Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, said when you add up all of the nation’s unfunded liabilities, the national debt is more than three times the number generally advertised. [The Hill]

A foundation affiliated with the University of Kentucky that was questioned during the controversial ouster of a UK surgeon must turn over its records for public inspection, Attorney General Jack Conway has ruled. [H-L]

This is the kind of crap you can look forward to with Matt Bevin. An Alabama Board of Education member is drawing criticism for making a number of outlandish claims about the Common Core during a recent GOP luncheon. Betty Peters, the state school board member for District 2, in the southeast part of the state, spoke at a meeting of the Republican Women of Coffee County Oct. 21 during which she espoused views on the Common Core, “transgender values” and the “homosexualist” takeover of education in Southern states. [HuffPo]

RPK Back In Hands Of The Mega-Wealthy

Kentucky Supreme Court Chief Justice John Minton Jr. urged state lawmakers Friday to raise the salaries of justices and judges, saying they have not had “a measurable increase” in pay for 10 years. [H-L]

Oh, now Rand Paul has a black friend or something. It’s probably Ben Carson or some other person who has no concept of white privilege. [HuffPo]

State Rep. Jim Wayne says he continues to recover – slowly but steadily – in his battle with cancer and plans to return to Frankfort next week for the first time since the spring. He also said he expects to be able to return to the Capitol for the 2016 legislative session. [C-J/AKN]

During his first full week as Speaker, Paul Ryan gave a glimpse of how he’ll run the House differently than his predecessor, John Boehner. [The Hill]

From last week but more relevant today. Just a reminder – the people screaming about alleged voting machine rigging have no clue what they’re talking about. They’re the folks who get everything they know about politics from MSNBC and have no concept of what goes on in Kentucky. [Page One]

When they were kids, Simon Cherry and Ramsey Badawi both wanted to be astronomers, unlocking mysteries in far off galaxies. That didn’t work out for them. The pair still plan on unlocking mysteries but this time inside the human body. [Reuters]

In an effort to help Kentucky farmers, the University of Kentucky’s College of Agriculture, Food and Environment is getting into the wholesale market. Their goal though is not to compete with local farmers, but to be able to provide training to allow those farmers to enter the market themselves. [Richmond Register]

When William T. Riley III became the police chief of this small city west of Detroit this summer, he found a department that bore little resemblance to the city it served. Nearly three-fourths of Inkster’s 25,000 residents are black. Its mayor and all six City Council members are, too. Yet in a newly released Justice Department survey, it was listed among the nation’s least representative police forces, with 21 white officers and five black officers. [NY Times]

Governor Steve Beshear announced on Thursday that Barren County Clerk Joanne London has received a grant totaling $20,280 from the Kentucky Department for Libraries and Archives (KDLA) to preserve and manage local government records. [Glasgow Daily Times]

Former secretary of state Hillary Clinton, who is running for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination, was campaigning in South Carolina this weekend and sat down with journalist Roland Martin for an interview in which she talked about a number of topics, including one that has not featured in any of the Republican and Democratic debates: charter schools. [WaPo]

Officials of Morehead State University along with members of its Board of Regents, local and state legislators held a dedication ceremony Thursday, Nov. 5, for Lundergan Hall at the Derrickson Agricultural Complex on KY 377 north of Morehead. [The Morehead News]

Everything in Frankfort is corrupt as hell and there is no such thing as integrity there. [WFPL & Center for Public Integrity]

In case you thought the Republican Party of Kentucky was going to actually accomplish something? It no longer has a full-time chairman. A wealthy figurehead does not a functioning party make. Mac Brown is the next chairman of the Republican Party of Kentucky. [H-L]

Prescription drugs kill more people in the U.S. than any other drug, but heroin overdose deaths have exploded, leading the Drug Enforcement Administration to declare both as the most threatening drugs. [HuffPo]

Everybody’s Freaking Out Over Matt Bevin

Kentucky Mist Moonshine filed suit Monday in U.S. District Court against the University of Kentucky in a federal trademark-registration case that has garnered national attention. [H-L]

House Republicans are pushing to give private debt collectors the right to target all unpaid tax bills, handing a traditional IRS responsibility over to an industry with a long record of consumer abuse. [HuffPo]

Four Kentucky hospitals are among 457 in 43 states that have agreed to pay the government more than $250 million to settle allegations that they implanted cardiac devices in patients in violation of Medicare rules. [C-J/AKN]

Congress intends to slash funds for the Obama administration’s counterterrorism partnership fund next year to reduce defense spending to a level negotiated last week between the White House and congressional leadership. [The Hill]

A candidate who barely made it out of the primary ended up leading Kentucky Republicans to one of their most successful election days in recent history. [WFPL]

Democratic U.S. senators on Monday urged the Obama administration to reform the federal coal mine program to include costs of the fuel’s carbon emissions and potentially raise royalties paid by companies that mine the fuel on public lands. [Reuters]

Really, Montgomery County? Hunting equipment required you to call in outside law enforcement? Guess it’s good that you didn’t call in SWAT teams or anything. [WKYT]

Despite lacking access to key documents and personnel, the inspector general determined that nearly $43 million had been spent on a natural gas station that should have cost closer to $300,000. [ProPublica]

Oh man, Greg Stumbo had his LRC staffers write about traffic fatalities. It’s almost like he’s forgotten that time he was pulled over during a suspected DUI stop, hopped over into the passenger seat and claimed someone else was driving his vehicle. [Floyd County Times]

The Vatican faced fresh accusations of mismanagement, excess and resistance to change as details from two new books emerged Tuesday, a day after the Holy See announced the arrest of two insiders on suspicion of leaking internal information. [WaPo]

Kroger presented a check in the amount of $27,360 to the Bowling Green/ Warren County Humane Society. [WBKO]

The UN says the current climate plans from 146 countries represent a significant advance – but will not be enough to prevent dangerous warming. [BBC]

Two former deputy jailers have been indicted on federal charges in the 2013 death of an inmate at the Kentucky River Regional Jail in Hazard. [H-L]

One consequence of Bevin’s victory is that about 400,000 Kentucky residents who qualify for Medicaid under the expansion are now at risk of losing their health insurance. [HuffPo]

Breathe/Drink/Repeat! Campaign Is Over!

Isn’t it likely that the Klan had Jim Gray on a list of targets because he’s gay? What on earth? [H-L]

Ben Carson leads the Republican presidential primary field in a survey released Monday night by NBC News and The Wall Street Journal, marking the second time since October that the former neurosurgeon has polled ahead of Donald Trump. [HuffPo]

Licking his wounds but unable to pull himself away from politics, Comer is embarking on a campaign to replace retiring U.S. Rep. Ed Whitfield. He is considered the front-runner and may ultimately win it but not before what looks to be a nasty primary that could pit former Hopkins County Attorney Todd P’Pool against him. P’Pool is not shy about mentioning the fact that he has prosecuted abusers, an obvious jab at Comer. [C-J/AKN]

Encryption is going to continue to spread, despite the protests of law enforcement, says Gordon Corera. [BBC]

Republican gubernatorial candidate Matt Bevin and the entire GOP slate embarked on a statewide flyaround tour, stopping briefly in Worthington to talk to a group of about 20 Greenup and Boyd County Republicans. [Ashland Independent]

Amid the recent pressure on police to wear body cameras, one thing is often overlooked: Not all cameras are created equal. In fact, cameras vary a lot — and the variations — some contentious — can have a profound effect on how the cameras are used and who benefits from them. [NPR]

A county clerk from Kentucky jailed for refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples and secretly recorded videos that reignited the debate over abortion dominated national politics this summer. [Richmond Register]

The U.S. military on Sunday hailed the success of a complex $230 million test of the U.S. missile defense system that it said showed the ability of the Aegis and THAAD weapons systems to identify and destroy ballistic and cruise missiles at once. [Reuters]

Sometimes Barren County Judge-Executive Micheal Hale hears comments from residents about how much property tax they’ve paid, and they are often followed by one or more questions about how the county is using those funds. [Glasgow Daily Times]

As the widespread use of encryption starts to make surveillance more challenging, one of the nation’s fusion centers has a proposed solution: More informants. [The Intercept]

Maysville Community and Technical College Friday got a lot closer to its fundraising goal for building a new Rowan Campus. [The Morehead News]

Republicans are pouring money into a last-minute effort in Tuesday’s Kentucky gubernatorial race, aiming to rescue Matt Bevin’s struggling campaign and keep the GOP from again being shut out of the conservative state’s governorship. [Politico]

Over the tasting room bar at Colin Fultz’s Kentucky Mist moonshine distillery and store hangs a giant picture of Fultz’s grandfather Harry Holbrook, a Sawdust Junction grocer who also made moonshine. [H-L]

Webster’s defines “faith” as a “belief that does not rest on logical proof or material evidence.” Traditionally, this connotes theology. But the Republicans now offer us faith-based politics — that intellectual lotus land where dogma, blissfully unmoored from fact, suffocates reality. One stellar example, climate change, captures the party’s intricate pas de deux between ignorance and venality. [HuffPo]

Who’ll Win The Andy-Whitney Slap Fight?

One of the country’s biggest coal producers, which filed for bankruptcy earlier this year, is getting ready to sell at 16 inactive mines in four states. [H-L]

Bernie Sanders sharpened the contrast with Hillary Rodham Clinton on a bevy of liberal causes on Saturday, casting himself as a principled progressive before thousands of Iowa Democrats in an appearance that could set the tone for the leadoff presidential caucuses in February. [HuffPo]

Louisville attorney Andy Beshear launched his campaign for attorney general nearly two years ago, and his popular last name immediately made him a political force to be reckoned with. A rich boy and a gay-panicked manboy get into a slap fight. Who will win? [C-J/AKN]

The US Ambassador to the UK has told Sky News that his country’s gun violence problem is the number one issue for the British people he has met in his two years in the London embassy. [Sky]

Prosecutors used testimony Friday from former Performance Coal President Chris Blanchard to show that his boss, former Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship, focused solely on production and profits, disregarding safety regulations. But the defense countered that Blankenship was simply doing his job as the company leader and never actually directed anyone to violate safety standards. [Richmond Register]

Billionaire investor activist Carl Icahn tweeted on Wednesday that he is forming a Super PAC with an initial commitment of $150 million, representing the biggest one-time injection of money in the history of such political action committees. [Reuters]

Editors and copy editors do a great job of making a report look put together, carefully crafted and clean. But every now and then there are instances where the report almost doesn’t get delivered. On Wednesday, I covered President Barack Obama’s remarks and community forum on drug addiction and abuse in Charleston. [Ashland Independent]

University students have less privacy for their campus health records than they would have if they sought care off campus. Schools say they are trying to seek the right balance between privacy and safety. [ProPublica]

It was standing room only Tuesday at Rowan Fiscal Court when dozens of citizens showed up to express their opposition to a recent proposal to demolish two historic buildings located on the old courthouse square. [The Morehead News]

Negotiators meeting in Germany say that questions over cash are the biggest barrier to a new global climate deal. [BBC]

The judge in the case finding that the Glasgow Independent Schools Board of Education violated Kentucky’s open meetings law has agreed that the board should pay attorney fees and costs for the person who pursued the claim against it. [Glasgow Daily Times]

As Democrats gain from the nation’s growing diversity — attracting solid majorities among Hispanic and African American voters — Republicans are gaining among white, working-class voters, a group that was once a Democratic stronghold. Nowhere is this clearer than in West Virginia, where the president touched down this week to talk about drug addiction. [NPR]

The University of Kentucky is going to break with tradition when the General Assembly convenes in January — instead of asking for money for new buildings, UK is going to ask for funding to fix up older ones in the campus core. [H-L]

Targeting one of education’s most divisive issues, President Barack Obama on Saturday called for capping standardized testing at 2 percent of classroom time and said the government shares responsibility for turning tests into the be-all and end-all of American schools. [HuffPo]

UK Wastes Your Tax Dollars Yet Again

Laughable that the University of Kentucky, with your taxpayer dollars, would attempt to threaten a business for using the word “Kentucky”. [H-L]

President Barack Obama tackled the opioid epidemic on Wednesday by telling health care providers across the country that access to medication-assisted treatment must be expanded. [HuffPo]

Louisville fines don’t stop chronic polluters. A continued manufacturing base and coal-fired electricity helped Jefferson County rank fourth in the nation for industrial toxic air pollution in 2014, up one ranking from the year before, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. [C-J/AKN]

Ben Carson has knocked Donald Trump off of the top spot in Iowa for the first time since July, according to a new poll. [The Hill]

State auditors found no issues with the 2014 financial statement of Metcalfe County Clerk Carol England Chaney. [Glasgow Daily Times]

U.S. Marine General Joseph Dunford, who took over this month as America’s top military officer, pledged on Tuesday to seek new ways to build momentum in Iraq’s battle against Islamic State and bucked descriptions of the conflict as a “stalemate.” [Reuters]

Jared Arnett, executive director of Shaping Our Appalachian Region, talked to the Ashland Rotary Club about progress the group is making to enrich the economy in eastern Kentucky. [Ashland Independent]

Iceland is hunting for Rand Paul! [BBC]

During a special-called meeting on Monday, Harlan County Industrial Development Chairman Harry Gibson updated the board members on the findings regarding a $460,000 debt the Harlan County Fiscal Court said they owed. [Harlan Daily Enterprise]

Yanira, a 41-year-old Guatemalan national, left her home country with her three children because their lives were in danger from gang violence. She and her family arrived in Texas in February — but they were soon put in an immigration detention center for two months. Yanira now lives in San Antonio, Texas as she awaits her court date for her asylum case. But she said that her experience in a family detention center left her scarred. [ThinkProgress]

State-level data shows that fewer school children who do not qualify for free or reduced-price school lunches are paying full price for meals, Katherine Ralston and Constance Newman report for Amber Waves, part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. [Hazard Herald]

Civil rights lawyers are using a new strategy to change a common court practice that they have long argued unfairly targets the poor. At issue is the way courts across the country sometimes issue arrest warrants for indigent people when they fall behind on paying court fees and fines owed for minor offenses like traffic tickets. [NPR]

Democrats appear to be winning the TV ad war in Kentucky with less than two weeks left until voters pick a new governor and choose a slate of statewide constitutional officers. [H-L]

After a recent federal report from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration called for an end to conversion therapy for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) youth, survivors of the practice joined HuffPost Live last week to discuss their traumatic experiences. [HuffPo]