Let’s Allow The Pension Systems Die

Because that would be more worthwhile than trying to protect them from middlemen and thieves.

Remember Robert Klausner?

We mentioned him quite a bit when we were relentlessly covering Kentucky Retirement Systems.


We hear KRS general counsel Eric Wampler has moved to the KTRS and he’s hired… wait for it… Robert Klausner.

Fascinating how those incestuous systems work.

This is why Kentucky can’t have nice things.

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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Puppies & Rainbows At Retirement Systems

Couples from Rowan County, Kentucky today filed a brief in U.S. District Court supporting their prior assertion that the Rowan County clerk’s office failed to comply with orders directing deputy clerks to issue marriage licenses without interference by Clerk Kim Davis. [ACLU]

The debate on whether some Kentucky school districts start the school year too early is playing out in Scott County. [H-L]

The Environmental Protection Agency proposed tougher new limits on Tuesday on smokestack emissions from nearly two dozen states that burden downwind areas with air pollution from power plants they can’t control. [HuffPo]

Kentucky’s largest retirement plan for state workers faced more declines in funding over the past year even as the state continues to pump additional money into the system. [C-J/AKN]

There’s a scientific consensus that by 2050, the United States can expect to see an increase in flooding, heat waves, droughts and wildfires due to climate change. Now, scientists at Climate Central and ICF International have produced the first Preparedness Report Card for the United States, highlighting how states are preparing for the projected disasters. Spoiler alert: Kentucky is ill-prepared. [Vocativ]

A member of the band “Survivor” has sued Mike Huckabee’s presidential campaign for allegedly violating the copyright of the 1980s’ hit, “Eye of the Tiger.” A lawsuit filed in Chicago federal court Wednesday says the Republican’s campaign played it at a Kentucky rally for a county clerk who refused to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. The song that featured in the movie “Rocky III” played as Kim Davis departed jail with the former Arkansas governor. [WKYT]

The American Medical Association on Tuesday called for a ban on advertising prescription drugs and medical devices directly to consumers, saying the ads drive patients to demand expensive treatments over less costly ones that are also effective. [Reuters]

Kentucky State Troopers and Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Officers will help brighten the holiday season for families in need this year through the sixth annual Cram The Cruiser food drive, which begins Friday and continues through Dec. 11. [Richmond Register]

Before a SWAT team stormed a tenement in the Belgian city of Verviers in January, police used listening devices to monitor their targets inside: Belgian jihadis who had returned from Syria to attack a local police station in the name of the Islamic State. [ProPublica]

Even though candidates couldn’t officially file until last week, the U.S. presidential election has been in full swing for months, with some candidates already having dropped from the race. Kentuckians should be aware, however, that that’s not going to be the only race on their 2016 ballots. Certain legislative seats at the local, state and national levels will be up for grabs as well, and next November will bring some school board elections, too. [Glasgow Daily Times]

Starting a new job is always tough — no matter the profession. But the first year for a new teacher can be brutal. [NPR]

The big news in the hometown of Kim Davis? A church is changing its name. [The Morehead News]

Mosques in the US and Canada have experienced an increase in vandalism and threats since the Paris attacks, say campaigners. [BBC]

Berea College issued a statement Wednesday in response to incidents in which racial and homophobic slurs were allegedly directed to students over the past homecoming weekend. [H-L]

Payday loan sharks strike again. Every good idea in American politics eventually becomes a vehicle for corporate lobbying. [HuffPo]

Matt Bevin (R-Turd) Now Fears Refugees

YET ANOTHER University of Louisville official is under investigation for allegedly squandering hundreds of thousands of dollars! [The ‘Ville Voice]

Former Morgan County Judge-Executive Tim Conley’s appeal of his guilty plea in a corruption case should be dismissed, a federal prosecutor has argued. Conley waived his right to appeal his plea and conviction as part of the deal, in which the government dismissed some charges, Assistant U.S. Attorney Charles P. Wisdom Jr. said in a motion. [H-L]

Apparently, if you are a Democratic presidential candidate, there is no longer such a thing as being too strict about gun safety. All three candidates were locked in a fierce battle to prove their gun control bona fides at the Democratic debate at Drake University in Iowa on Saturday night. [HuffPo]

Just a few years ago, Louisville’s Family Health Centers were on the brink of closing clinics and laying off staff. More than half the patients at the network of seven community clinics had no health insurance. Operating losses for the clinics, a medical safety net for the poor, had reached $2.5 million. [C-J/AKN]

The Federal Reserve is emerging as one of the most popular punching bags on the GOP campaign trail. [The Hill]

Here comes Backward Bevin! Way to go, Kentucky, you’ve elected an actual dog turd. Echoing the stance of several Republican governors, Matt Bevin on Monday said he opposes the resettling of Syrian refugees in Kentucky. [WFPL]

Capital punishment in the United States has moved into the slow lane, with the number of executions and new death sentences likely to hit lows not seen for more than 20 years. [Reuters]

Mayor Jim Tom Trent on Thursday signed a proclamation declaring November as Adoption Awareness Month in the City of Morehead. [The Morehead News]

Astronomers have identified the most distant object yet in the Solar System. Observations with Japan’s Subaru telescope reveal the likely icy body to be some 15.5 billion km from the Sun – about three times further away than even far-flung Pluto. [BBC]

Tucked away in the back roads of Rowan County lies a piece of Morehead State only a few know exist. Since 1967, the Derrickson Agricultural Complex, also know as the University Farm, has been a part of the Department of Agricultural Sciences. Recently, 24 agriculture students have been given the privilege of living in the newly built Lundergam Hall that rests in the middle of the farm. [Ashland Independent]

Almost 20 percent of the people in low-income communities who die of colon cancer could have been saved with early screening. And those premature deaths take a toll on communities that can least bear it. [NPR]

The Kentucky State Police is urging all motorists to be aware of the increased dangers posed by deer wandering onto roadways during November and December. [Richmond Register & Press Release]

20 percent, or 1 in 5, were reporting patients to credit agencies or placing liens on their properties or garnishing wages, practices that aren’t supposed to happen if hospitals are following the rules. [WaPo]

Marriage licenses altered by Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis this summer don’t meet the state’s legal requirements, but they still should be considered valid, lawyers for Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear told a federal judge Friday. [H-L]

Federal and state prosecutors are poised to announce a settlement with Education Management Corporation, one of the nation’s largest for-profit college chains, that would resolve allegations it defrauded taxpayers out of $11 billion, according to people familiar with the case. [HuffPo]

All Eyes On Appalachia As Stivers Embarrasses, Abandons His Suffering Constituents

Construction on a Noah’s Ark attraction in northern Kentucky is sailing along, and the builders say they’re ready to announce an opening date. [H-L]

The prevailing view that addiction is a disease, just like depression or diabetes, is wrong, according to a leading neuroscientist. Marc Lewis, the author of Memoirs of an Addicted Brain and The Biology of Desire, insists that addiction is not a disease and that presenting it as such is harmful. [HuffPo]

Oh, man, Dan Johnson really let Jack Conway have it in his letter to the editor. [C-J/AKN]

America’s poorest white town: abandoned by coal, swallowed by drugs. In the first of a series of dispatches from the US’s poorest communities, we visit Beattyville, Kentucky, blighted by a lack of jobs and addiction to ‘hillbilly heroin’. [The Guardian]

Gov.-elect Matt Bevin’s pledge to scale back the Medicaid expansion and dismantle Kynect, Kentucky’s award-winning health insurance exchange, has caused concern among health clinics. [Business First]

Senate Republicans are divided over how far to go with an ObamaCare repeal bill that they plan to send to the president’s desk by year’s end. [The Hill]

Bob Stivers, one of the most gluttonous hypocrites in Frankfort, represents one of Kentucky’s poorest regions. So here he is advocating FOR killing health care by claiming the savings will help shore up the troubled pension system. Still wondering why his staff have slowly abandoned him over the past few years? Now you know. [CN|Toot]

The advertisement portrays the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau as a roomful of bureaucratic automatons mercilessly stamping “DENIED” on loan applications, beneath Soviet-style banners depicting CFPB’s director, Richard Cordray, and its principal architect, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass. But the ad does not disclose that the group sponsoring it is led by lobbyists for Navient, a student loan company that the CFPB is currently investigating for allegedly cheating student loan borrowers. [The Intercept]

Kentucky’s latest quarterly coal report shows new recent lows in the state’s coal employment and production. During the third quarter of 2015, Kentucky’s mines employed only 9,356 workers — a more than 50 percent decline from this quarter in 2011. Coal production is also at the lowest point since the 1960s. [WFPL]

David Bass, who served 21 years in the U.S. Army, says he tried medical marijuana in a moment of desperation. He suffered from chronic pain and PTSD as a result of multiple active duty tours in Iraq, and his doctor at the VA gave him intense narcotic and psychotropic drugs. [ThinkProgress]

The Glasgow-Barren County Tourist and Convention Commission became one of two tourist commissions that have agreed to help fund the salary of an administrative assistant who will help with the development of a master plan to connect area trails. [Glasgow Daily Times]

At the end of June, ProPublica and The Virginian-Pilot kicked off an investigation into the potential effects of Agent Orange on the children and grandchildren of Vietnam War-era veterans. [ProPublica]

As Fox Business News was cutting away to commercial almost an hour into Tuesday night’s Republican debate, U.S. Sen. Rand Paul could be seen walking toward the moderators. [H-L]

Undercover video recorded by an animal rights activist at one of the largest U.S. pork producers appears to show pigs being beaten and dragged across the slaughterhouse floor as workers cheer and throw blood-soaked towels at one another. [HuffPo]

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