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]

Bevin Moves To Officially Choke Poors

Arch Coal, which has been hurt by the weakening demand for coal, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection Monday. [H-L]

The economy generated almost 300,000 jobs last year and cut the nominal unemployment rate to five percent. But family incomes for most people are still deeply depressed. [HuffPo]

Following through on a campaign pledge, Gov. Matt Bevin has notified federal authorities he plans to dismantle kynect, Kentucky’s health insurance exchange created as part of the Affordable Care Act. [C-J/AKN]

New U.S. dietary guidelines on Thursday urged Americans to cut their sugar and saturated fat intake to less than 10 percent of daily calories, but consumer advocates said the curbs did not provide clear guidance on the need to lower consumption of meat. [Reuters]

It’s always nice when a newspaper realizes the internet exists. [The Morehead News]

Two potentially sweeping Supreme Court cases set the stage for a seismic shift in the battle over abortion and contraception. [ProPublica]

The first of at least a handful of attorneys who may be interested in becoming the 43rd Judicial District’s next judge – serving Barren and Metcalfe counties – officially filed Friday to become a non-partisan candidate in a special election for the seat this year. [Glasgow Daily Times]

While officers raced to a recent 911 call about a man threatening his ex-girlfriend, a police operator in headquarters consulted software that scored the suspect’s potential for violence the way a bank might run a credit report. [WaPo]

Prime-time television shows have led to a growing interest in law enforcement, police work and investigative technology. [Harlan Daily Independent]

More than 16 months after Iraqi and Kurdish forces reclaimed Mosul Dam from Islamic State fighters, the structure faces a new threat: the danger that it may collapse because of insufficient maintenance, overwhelming major communities downstream with floodwaters. [NY Times]

Kenneth Hall is no stranger to public service. He has worked in the education and law enforcement professions and held an elected position on the Perry County School Board. Now Hall has decided to once again enter the public realm by launching a campaign for state representative in the 84th district, which covers all of Perry County and a large portion of Harlan County. [Hazard Herald]

The EPA’s own advisory board says the agency needs to clarify its findings on fracking. [ThinkProgress]

What can be learned over recent controversies over historic art? Nothing. Kentucky’s already forgotten. Our attention span isn’t great. Everyone forgot. [Tom Eblen]

After Senator Ted Cruz suggested that the United States begin carpet bombing Islamic State (IS) forces in Syria, the reaction was swift. Hillary Clinton mocked candidates who use “bluster and bigotry.” Jeb Bush insisted the idea was “foolish.” Rich Lowry, the editor of National Review, tweeted: “You can’t carpet bomb an insurgency out of existence. This is just silly.” [HuffPo]

Your Evening Dept Of Awful Wingnuts

It wasn’t where he was supposed to be Monday morning. He was supposed to be in Frankfort, being sworn in to a second term as the state auditor and a few weeks into his campaign against U.S. Sen. Rand Paul. [H-L]

Just in case you needed yet another reason to roll your eyes at those Oregon wingnut racists. [HuffPo]

Everything is so corrupt in West Buechel that they’ve started some kind of watchdog organization. [C-J/AKN]

At 14, Deshaun Becton’s life is a roadmap to California’s faltering efforts to care for its most troubled children. [ProPublica]

Typically the first day of a General Assembly is marked by expressions of goodwill and ceremony. But the 2016 session is like no other in recent years. [Ronnie Ellis]

On September 5, 2013, The Guardian, The New York Times and ProPublica jointly reported – based on documents provided by whistleblower Edward Snowden – that the National Security Agency (NSA) had compromised some of the encryption that is most commonly used to secure internet transactions. [The Intercept]

A foreclosure case involving Land of Tomorrow Productions LLC, the company that owns the Funtown Mountain property in Cave City, is moving forward, according to action taken during Barren Circuit Court on Monday morning. [Glasgow Daily Times]

China, the largest coal producer in the world, won’t be approving new mines for the next three years as it grapples with alarming pollution and pursues other energy sources, including nuclear plants. [ThinkProgress]

If you are a high school sophomore student seeking to develop your leadership and entrepreneurial skills or an eighth-grade middle school student interested in math, science and technology, The Center for Rural Development wants to hear from you. [Harlan Daily Independent]

The Paris agreement to curb climate change calls for a dramatic shift away from fossil fuels and the greenhouse gasses they emit, especially carbon dioxide. [NPR]

Kentuckians’ views on a statewide smoking ban have remained virtually unchanged since 2013, with the vast majority of residents supporting the measure, a new poll shows. [WFPL]

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Betting on Thoroughbred racing rose 1.18 percent in 2015, amounting to a $125 million increase to almost $10.7 billion in wagering in the U.S. for the year. [H-L]

President Barack Obama issued another impassioned plea on Tuesday for Congress to take action to curb gun violence, shedding tears as he recalled the 2012 Newtown school massacre. And wingnuts mocked him for showing emotion. [HuffPo]

Fearmonger Governor Says Fearmonger Things

If you’re looking for tidings of comfort and joy this Christmas season, you won’t get any from the Republicans running for president. The 12 men and one woman vying for the GOP nomination seem to be trying their best to scare us. And in doing so, they’re giving terrorists exactly what they want. [Tom Eblen]

In the wake of a school shooting in Oregon this fall, it briefly appeared that Congress was willing to reconsider its two-decade ban on the use of taxpayer dollars to research the health impact of gun violence. [HuffPo]

Things can get worse for Kentucky Democrats but, quite frankly, it’s hard to see how. The party has been on tilt since the Nov. 3 election when Matt Bevin upset Jack Conway to become governor of Kentucky. And this week saw the party’s free fall accelerate as it saw its ever so-slight advantage in the House become even less stable. [C-J/AKN]

In the wake of a series of humiliating cyberattacks, the imperative in Congress and the White House to do something — anything — in the name of improving cybersecurity was powerful. But only the most cynical observers thought the results would be this bad. The legislation the House passed on Friday morning is a thinly disguised surveillance bill that would give companies pathways they don’t need to share user data related to cyberthreats with the government — while allowing the government to use that information for any purpose, with almost no privacy protections. [The Intercept]

ICYMI: Matt Bevin took false equivalency to new levels this weekend when he used the sad situation in Johnson County to try to justify his special brand of Islamophobia. Unity and respect? Not so much. Empty words. [Page One]

If you thought the US government’s ability to spy on its citizens had languished of late, think again. [Gizmodo]

A local boy received honors from the North Shore Animal League for his work to promote adoption of unwanted animals. [Ashland Independent]

Ayman al-Sanabani beamed as he entered his family’s home on his wedding day. He was greeting his new bride, Gamila, who was in a bedroom surrounded by friends. Ayman sat beside her for several minutes, receiving warm words of congratulations. It would be the young couple’s first and only encounter as husband and wife. [PRI]

Local, state and federal legislators were invited to attend a luncheon on Wednesday hosted by the Caveland Marketing Association at the Cave City Convention Center to hear about a new project, the Cave Country Trails Initiative, that will connect 11 communities in Barren, Edmonson, Hart and Warren counties, one national park and two state parks via hiking, biking, horseback riding and other trails. [Glasgow Daily Times]

U.S. Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton backed elements of President Barack Obama’s strategy to fight Islamic State militants in a debate on Saturday in which she clashed with top rival Bernie Sanders over national security and the economy. [Reuters]

Kentucky had its lowest incidence rate involving all employer-reported workplace injury and illnesses since the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics began recording the data in 1996. [Richmond Register]

Hillary Clinton largely looked past her Democratic rivals in Saturday night’s debate, instead repeatedly assailing the Republican field, led by Donald J. Trump. She called Mr. Trump a threat to the nation’s safety, saying he was fast “becoming ISIS’ best recruiter.” [NY Times]

A group of poker players say they — and not the state of Kentucky — should have a cut or all of a potential multimillion-dollar judgment against online gambling sites. [H-L]

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton went after Donald Trump during the Democratic presidential debate Saturday night, saying he is hurting the U.S. fight against terrorism with his anti-Muslim rhetoric. [HuffPo]

Your support is crucial if you want to see us continue. While other media outlets ignore scandals like those in Montgomery County, we’re shining the bright lights of transparency on issues that directly impact you across the Commonwealth. Love us or hate us, we’re putting in the time and effort to spend years reporting on issues from the pension crisis to government-sanctioned animal cruelty to educational corruption and we get real results. [Help Us!]

McConnell Says Something Else Privately

Your support is crucial if you want to see us continue. While other media outlets ignore scandals like those in Montgomery County, we’re shining the bright lights of transparency on issues that directly impact you across the Commonwealth. Love us or hate us, we’re putting in the time and effort to spend years reporting on issues from the pension crisis to government-sanctioned animal cruelty to educational corruption and we get real results. [Help Us!]

Kentuckians are earning more money, and state officials will soon be making plans to spend it. [H-L]

It was mentioned early on — by Kasich. The climate agreement world leaders struck Saturday in Paris didn’t get a mention during Tuesday night’s Republican presidential debate on CNN. [HuffPo]

No, Greg Stumbo, Republicans aren’t trying to buy anything. They’re buying it as we speak. It means the death of Democratic good old boys for the moment. The only way Democrats will survive is if young people take over during the next couple cycles. [C-J/AKN]

The Intercept has obtained a secret, internal U.S. government catalogue of dozens of cellphone surveillance devices used by the military and by intelligence agencies. The document, thick with previously undisclosed information, also offers rare insight into the spying capabilities of federal law enforcement and local police inside the United States. [The Intercept]

Kentucky’s seasonally adjusted preliminary unemployment rate for November 2015 was 4.9 percent, remaining unchanged from the revised 4.9 percent rate in October, according to the Office of Employment and Training (OET), an agency of the Kentucky Education and Workforce Development Cabinet. [Press Release]

The Federal Reserve is raising interest rates for the first time in nearly a decade, ending an era of prolonged economic stimulus that provoked intense criticism from Republicans on Capitol Hill. [The Hill]

In a 6-0 vote, the Berea City Council adopted a resolution Tuesday affirming the city’s commitment to oppose discrimination. The measure was adopted just weeks after college citizens reported being the targets of racial slurs and harrassment. [Richmond Register]

A deal to fund the U.S. government met resistance on Wednesday from conservative Republicans concerned about spending, as well as House of Representatives Democrats who complained about corporate tax breaks and a planned end to a ban on U.S. oil exports. [Reuters]

Republican Gov. Matt Bevin clearly wanted to appoint Democratic state Rep. Tanya Pullin to an administrative law judge position for which she’d been passed over by just departed Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear. [Ronnie Ellis]

As politicians and counter-terrorism officials search for lessons from the recent attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, California, senior officials have called for limits on technology that sends encrypted messages. [ProPublica]

Since 2006, the Glasgow Water Co. has made $28.5 million in capital improvements to its facilities and distribution systems, but there is still plenty of work to be done, said Scott Young, GWC’s general manager. Between now and 2020, the total estimated cost of the capital improvement plan, which contains several components, is nearly $15 million. [Glasgow Daily Times]

Russian President Vladimir Putin has described leading Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump as “a very outstanding person, talented, without any doubt”. [BBC]

This may be what Mitch McConnell says publicly but it’s not what he and his people say privately. [H-L]

Oil and gas regulators in British Columbia, Canada, confirmed this week that a 4.6-magnitude earthquake earlier this year was caused by fluid injection from hydraulic fracturing, also known as fracking. [HuffPo]

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Nepotism Could Be Kentucky’s Biggest Cash Crop If We Just Tried A Bit Harder

Your support is crucial if you want to see us continue. While other media outlets ignore scandals like those in Montgomery County, we’re shining the bright lights of transparency on issues that directly impact you across the Commonwealth. Love us or hate us, we’re putting in the time and effort to spend years reporting on issues from the pension crisis to government-sanctioned animal cruelty to educational corruption and we get real results. [Help Us!]

Christian County’s chief circuit judge has signed an order appointing his daughter to the position of master commissioner. [H-L]

House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said Tuesday that it would be good for U.S. foreign policy if Congress voted to authorize the war against self-described Islamic State terrorists — putting him at direct odds with his Senate counterpart, who has rejected the idea. [HuffPo]

Bullitt County is the worst again. It’s apparently trying to surpass Laurel County. [C-J/AKN]

Conservatives are outraged over the small number of Christian Syrian refugees who have been allowed to enter the United States — even as some on the right float a ban on their Muslim counterparts. [The Hill]

This week Greg Stumbo had his LRC staffers write a holiday gift buying guide. Because of course he did. [Floyd County Times]

President Barack Obama, who made few friends in corporate board rooms early in his first term as he pressed for tighter regulations on banks and remarked on the “fat cats” who helped precipitate the financial crisis, heads into his final year in the White House having built – or rebuilt – alliances with chief executives of the nation’s biggest companies. [Reuters]

Eastern Kentucky University and the City of Richmond were awarded a $1 million Community Development Block Grant (CDBG). The funds will be used to construct a building that will house low-income, single parent EKU student families, according to a release. [Richmond Register]

As politicians and counter-terrorism officials search for lessons from the recent attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, California, senior officials have called for limits on technology that sends encrypted messages. [ProPublica]

With all members present, the Glasgow City Council unanimously approved on first reading an ordinance that would allow water and sewer service rate increases of up to 3 percent per year for five years. [Glasgow Daily Times]

Google thinks it has what it takes to stop the spread of sexually transmitted diseases. STDs, such as syphilis, are on the rise, so the tech giant has teamed up with researchers with the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) to use Google searches for real-time disease tracking. [ThinkProgress]

As part of AT&T’s continuing commitment to supporting the communities it serves, the company donated $3,000 to the People’s Clinic of Morehead. [The Morehead News]

Veteran NBA referee Bill Kennedy has revealed he is gay after being the subject of homophobic insults from Sacramento guard Rajon Rondo. [BBC]

Former University of Kentucky basketball player and state agriculture commissioner Richie Farmer is expected to leave a federal prison for a halfway house, according to officials. [H-L]

A Las Vegas rally for Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump turned ugly Monday night, the eve of a Republican presidential debate, after multiple protesters interrupted the candidate’s speech. [HuffPo]

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KDP Has Serious Flop Sweat Again

Your support is crucial if you want to see us continue. While other media outlets ignore scandals like those in Montgomery County, we’re shining the bright lights of transparency on issues that directly impact you across the Commonwealth. Love us or hate us, we’re putting in the time and effort to spend years reporting on issues from the pension crisis to government-sanctioned animal cruelty to educational corruption and we get real results. [Help Us!]

Matt Bevin has removed another Democrat from the state House, putting Republicans in a better position to take control of the chamber for the first time since 1921. [H-L]

A grim new statistic is putting the spotlight back on the youngest victims of gun violence, three years after the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School. [HuffPo]

Greg Stumbo says Kentucky Democrats are ready to lose more state house seats. [C-J/AKN]

Surprising how quickly he was able to churn this book out. He solicited information about a year ago about Rand’s stances on national security and foreign policy. What’s more fascinating is to see Doug Stafford sit on both sides of the fence. He’s behind these anti-Jesse Benton stories, directly or a step removed, while publicly criticizing the book. Just fascinating how that works for him. You folks know I think the Pauls are kooky as hell. I am no fan. But the real drama here is and always has been Doug Stafford. He’s the source of drama in the Paulbot world. [BuzzFeed]

Matt Bevin’s newly appointed commissioner of revenue left his last job, at Lexmark International, after the Lexington-based technology company found a host of accounting errors and declared its internal financial controls to be deficient and in need of remediation. [WFPL]

In a rare senatorial act, full-time Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio joined with a handful of fellow legislators on Friday in an attempt to block local municipalities from undercutting big telecom companies by providing cheap, fast internet service. This is the kind of thing Jamie Comer’s people — like Riggs Lewis — make happen. They work to kill municipal broadband, get rich off TWC, ATT and other providers. You can thank that set of Republican special interests for stifling competition and innovation. [The Intercept]

What is going on in Prestonsburg is not surprising. The land of Greg Stumbo has always been and will always be corrupt. [External PDF Link]

In the midst of an incoherent and incorrect rant on the recent history of mobile technology, failed technology executive Carly Fiorina recounted an apparently true story about how she helped the NSA after 9/11. Actually, it turns out that story may have been classified. [Gawker]

Corbin has been selected as one of six Kentucky towns to host a sports-themed Smithsonian traveling exhibit in 2017. [Richmond Register]

As questions swirl around U.S. efforts to keep people with terrorism ties from entering the country, the story of Rahinah Ibrahim is a cautionary tale. [ProPublica]

City council members voted unanimously Monday night to accept a gift of 40 acres of land located adjacent to the Cave City Convention Center from the Gaunce family. [Glasgow Daily Times]

Places that spend less on Medicare do not necessarily spend less on health care over all. [NY Times]

Next up, the audit staff need to dig in to Williamsburg Independent. Because HOO BOY. [H-L]

Around two thousand and sixteen years ago, a non-Christian Middle Eastern couple was in need of refuge for the night. There was no room at the inn, but the innkeeper dug deep into his humanity and offered the travelers, one of whom was pregnant with another Man’s child, the option of bedding down in the barn. It was there that Jesus Christ was born. [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]