Afghanistan Sure Is A Terrible Mess

Kentucky’s Republican voters narrowly chose Ryan Quarles to represent the GOP in the race for commissioner of agriculture in a down-to-the-wire finish Tuesday night. [H-L]

A faction of Republicans in the House of Representatives wants to stop poor people from buying junk food with food stamps. [HuffPo]

During the recent Kentucky shoot for “Moveable Feast with Fine Cooking,” there was no “Cutthroat Kitchen,” and nobody got “Chopped.” Rather, two local chefs wandered among buffalo grazing in Goshen, grilled bison brisket, bison skirt steak and fresh asparagus under tents at a Finchville farm, and relished the scent of slow-fermenting bourbon at Woodford Reserve distillery in Versailles. [C-J/AKN]

The third of four key U.S. congressional committees on Tuesday approved funding for 12 additional Boeing Co fighter jets in fiscal 2016, increasing the prospects that the company will keep its St. Louis production line running past the end of 2017. [Reuters]

The evening started with a rainbow that arced perfectly behind the commencement stage. And it ended with a fireworks display in the Friday night sky above Richmond. [Richmond Register]

This is a story about how the U.S. military built a lavish headquarters in Afghanistan that wasn’t needed, wasn’t wanted and wasn’t ever used—at a cost to American taxpayers of at least $25 million. [ProPublica]

Fairview school superintendent Bill Musick violated and impeded state education law by allowing non-teachers to teach students, interfering in hiring, withholding staffing allocations, transferring employees without posting vacancies and allowing two administrators to perform duties for which they were not certified, according to a report by the state Office of Education Accountability. [Ashland Independent]

The phrase “Aids epidemic” awakens distant memories in most of Europe, Australia or the Americas, where infection rates have generally been in decline for years. But as former UK Health Secretary Lord Fowler explains, the phrase is not used in Russia either – despite failed policies that have allowed infection rates to soar. [BBC]

Effective Monday, Glasgow Police Sgt. Bradley Lewis was placed on administrative leave with pay, according to a Glasgow Police Department press release. [Glasgow Daily Times]

A new survey of financial professionals tends to confirm the widely held belief that the financial industry has an ethics problem. [NPR]

Negative impacts of development have significantly impaired water quality and stream bank stability in the Triplett Creek watershed. [The Morehead News]

The White House has released its rural child poverty report. [External PDF Link]

Building and maintaining a linear park through downtown Lexington could cost upwards of $75 million, city officials told the Urban County Council on Tuesday. [H-L]

Throngs of students hit the streets of San Juan, Puerto Rico, last week to protest Gov. Alejandro García Padilla’s proposal to cut some $166 million from the budget for the island’s public university system — roughly one-fifth of the system’s total funds. [HuffPo]

What Your Electeds Had To Say About Sen. Ford

Since former U.S. Senator Wendell Ford died today, thought it’d be a good idea to share a few quotes from various people:

Alison Grimes:

Senator Wendell Ford was not only a close friend, but a mentor to me. He was one of the best Kentuckians I’ve ever known, and he deeply loved our Commonwealth and all of its people.

Sen. Ford was a true statesman. On every stage, he represented Kentucky with dignity and honor, embracing compromise to achieve results that benefitted the Commonwealth. His service has provided an extraordinary example for others who wish to serve Kentucky, and especially for me.

I will miss Sen. Ford’s friendship and, most of all, his incredible support and counsel. Andrew and I send our warmest thoughts and prayers to his wife Jean and their family.

Jack Conway:

This is a sad day for all of Kentucky. Wendell Ford was a lion of a public servant for Kentucky and the nation, but he had the heart and kindness of a lamb. He was my dear friend, and one of the largest influences on my professional life. I am so saddened to learn of his passing, yet I know I am blessed to have known him and learned from him. Since I was 18 years old, I have kept a picture of the two of us, signed by him, from the day we first met in his office in Washington, D.C. I keep it because I recall how extraordinarily kind and attentive he was to a high school kid, and it serves as a reminder to me of how people should be treated.

Wendell Ford fought for Kentucky – its schools, its towns, its farmers, and its airports. But most of all, he fought for the people of the Commonwealth he loved so dearly. What a public servant. What a man. What a life. Rest in peace, my dear friend.

Elizabeth and I, and our family, send our condolences to his wife Jean (who even the Senator called ‘Mrs. Ford’), to his children Steve and Shirley, to his grandchildren, and to the entire Ford family. They will be in our prayers.

Steve Beshear:

Kentucky has lost one of its great statesmen, and we all have lost a friend. Jane and I join with all of Kentucky to mourn the loss of Senator Wendell Ford. As I began my career in public service, I watched and learned from Senator Ford, who was the epitome of principled leadership. In every office in which he served, his methods were simple: Wendell Ford listened, he cared, and he got the job done. Our state and our nation are better places for his decades of thoughtful, cooperative work to help people. We are grateful for his legacy of service, and our prayers are with his wife, Jean, their children, Steve and Shirley, and their families.

Crit Luallen:

I’m deeply saddened by the loss of Sen. Wendell Ford, who was one of Kentucky’s great leaders. He was a true voice for the people of Kentucky throughout his remarkable career in public service, and so many Kentuckians are better off today because of his leadership and willingness to always put Kentucky first. I got my first job in politics in the mailroom of his Senate campaign, and he continued to mentor and guide me throughout my career, just as he did so many other Kentucky leaders. My thoughts and prayers go out to his wife, Jean, and his entire family during this time of mourning and remembrance of this iconic Kentucky statesman.

Todd Hollenbach:

Kentucky has lost a great elder statesman in Wendell Ford. He was a friend, a mentor and an inspiration. I will miss his good counsel and his fellowship. He leaves behind a legacy of progressive leadership and public service that all Kentuckians can be proud of. Our prayers go out to his family.

Mitch McConnell:


President Barack Obama:

Michelle and I were saddened to learn of the passing of former Senator Wendell Ford. A veteran, businessman, Governor and four-term Senator, Wendell dedicated his life to the people of Kentucky. He believed deeply in fairness – everyone doing their part, everyone getting a fair shot. A formidable political strategist, he fought to make sure all Americans had equal access to the polls, championed paying workers a decent wage and extending a helping hand to those looking for work, and mentored scores of young people who entered public service with Wendell’s advice and support. Few in politics were as admired as he, and few have had as great an impact on his beloved Kentucky. Wendell leaves behind an extraordinary legacy of service, and a Commonwealth and country that are stronger and fairer thanks to him. Michelle and I send our condolences to his wife Jean and all the members of the Ford family.

Vice President Joe Biden:

Jill and I were very sorry to hear of the passing of Senator Wendell Ford.

He was one of the most effective legislative leaders I’ve ever worked with throughout my entire career. His philosophy was summed up when he said, “why make a speech when you can sit down with your colleagues and work something out?”

He always took care of Kentucky, but never lost sight of the fact that he represented all of America.

During Wendell’s time in the Senate, he helped bring greater transparency to government, greater safety to the airlines, and greater access to the polls.

It was thanks to his leadership as Whip that the Violence Against Women Act passed in 1994 as part of the Biden Crime Bill, changing the lives of so many women and men in this country and around the world.

On a personal note, Senator Ford has been an important part of our family for a long time. He gave Sara Jones Biden, from Owensboro, Kentucky, her first job on the Hill when she graduated from Duke Law School, and that’s how she met my brother Jimmy.

Last May, Jill had the honor of speaking at Owensboro Community College in Wendell’s hometown, and it was clear that his legacy will long outlive him in Owensboro, in Kentucky, and across the United States.

Wendell was an extremely effective senator and a great personal friend whose advice I sought long after he had left the Senate. I will miss him.

Our thoughts are with Jean, Steve, and Shirley during this difficult time. He was a good man.

Hal Rogers:

Kentucky has lost one of its greatest defenders, the honorable Wendell Ford. The people of the Commonwealth chose to have Ford in the foxhole with them time and again, electing him to consecutive terms as lieutenant governor, governor and senator.

Although he was a staunch Democrat, Senator Ford never hesitated to reach across the aisle for issues that benefited Kentucky the most, from promoting the development of coal-based synthetic fuels to protecting tobacco farmers.

He shed a new light on Kentucky country boys in Frankfort and Washington, proving that we always keep our word, we never back down from a challenge, and showing a little kindness goes a long way.

He was a true statesman for Kentucky who not only impacted change for today, but for tomorrow and generations to follow. My wife Cynthia and I offer our deepest condolences to his wife, Jean and the host of family and friends who stood steady by his side through the years.

PeckrePointe & The Ark Park Are Still Failing

Patriot Coal Corp. is warning that substantial cutbacks at its two Union County mines could come in the next two months, affecting as many as 670 workers. [H-L]

In what’s already being hailed as “a great step forward,” the International Olympic Committee has taken a significant move against future intolerance toward the lesbian, gay and bisexual community in the Olympic Games. [HuffPo]

The group behind the proposed Noah’s Ark theme park in Northern Kentucky is launching a billboard campaign to rebut critics who have raised concerns over religious discrimination. [C-J/AKN]

UK-born US journalist Luke Somers and South African teacher Pierre Korkie have been killed by al-Qaeda militants in Yemen during a failed rescue bid. [BBC]

Kentucky’s new lieutenant governor says she’s not completely closing the door on running for another office. But everyone knows she’s pretty much done. She’s not going to be a U.S. Senator in this lifetime. [WFPL]

The Christian terrorist movement no one wants to talk about. [Think Progress]

Eastern Kentucky University will recognize 1,424 degree candidates and award honorary degrees to Trey Grayson and Jon Carloftis at its annual fall commencement ceremonies Saturday, Dec. 13. [Richmond Register]

A leak at the federal reserve revealed confidential bond-buying details. [ProPublica]

Just before daybreak Thursday, temperatures were in the low 30s and there was a constant drizzle of rain. [Glasgow Daily Times]

One of the worst myths official Washington and its establishment media have told itself about the torture debate is that the controversy is limited to three cases of waterboarding at Guantánamo and a handful of bad Republican actors. [Glenn Greenwald]

A year ago we highlighted another bad real estate mess for Kentucky Retirement Systems. Nothing has changed with that corrupt joint and its placement agents. [Page One]

“It used to be folks would say, well, maybe blacks are exaggerating, maybe some of these situations aren’t what they describe. But we’ve now seen on television for everybody to see — gives us an opportunity, I think, to finally have the kind of conversation that’s been a long time coming.” [Barack Obama]

People in Lexington are still mad about CentrePointe, which is apparently a still a thing all these years later. [H-L]

From the Department of Things Ken Ham Won’t Understand… For the first time ever, a galaxy has been observed blasting out cold, dense gas in vast quantities and at mind-boggling speed. [HuffPo]

2015 Races Are Ready To Eat Everyone Alive

Republican state Rep. Ryan Quarles of Georgetown said Tuesday he is “strongly considering” running next year for state agriculture commissioner. [H-L]

Rand Paul, a leader of the libertarian wing of the Republican Party, helped kill a bill meant to rein in the National Security Agency. [HuffPo]

Following a primary defeat in this year’s congressional elections, Democrat Geoff Young says he will run for the governor’s office in 2015 — and bring his “BS detector.” [C-J/AKN]

When it comes to racially lopsided arrests, the most remarkable thing about Ferguson, Mo., might be just how ordinary it is. Police in Ferguson — which erupted into days of racially charged unrest after a white officer killed an unarmed black teen — arrest black people at a rate nearly three times higher than people of other races. [USA Today]

Kentucky’s “gas tax” on sales of gasoline, diesel and ethanol motor fuels will drop by 4.3 cents per gallon on New Year’s Day, resulting in a loss to the Kentucky Road Fund of about $129 million on an annualized basis. [Press Release]

It was just before summer vacation in 2012 when a company named Encana began to drill for natural gas between two elementary schools in Erie, Colorado using the controversial practice of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. The eight gas wells sat about 1,600 feet from the Red Hawk and Erie schools, where a combined 750 children attend. [Think Progress]

Papaw Steve Beshear says he’s named Shannon Tivitt his new Deputy Chief of Staff, succeeding Jamie Link, who is now at the Kentucky Horsie Park. [Press Release]

The number of homeless children in America reached nearly 2.5 million last year, an all-time high, according to a new report released by the National Center on Family Homelessness. [Mother Jones]

Lieutenant Governor Crit Luallen has named Phil Huddleston, of Frankfort, as her chief of staff. His appointment is effective immediately. [Press Release]

Carmen Segarra secretly recorded 46 hours of audio while embedded as a bank examiner at Goldman Sachs between November 2011 and May 2012. [ProPublica]

The Kentucky Department for Public Health is proposing new regulations for reporting infections patients contract from healthcare facilities while receiving treatment. [WFPL]

Enough, Donna Brazile told White House political director David Simas the day after the midterms. [Politico]

After receiving Fayette County Public Schools’ plan to fix chronic financial mismanagement, a spokeswoman for Kentucky Auditor Adam Edelen said Tuesday that Edelen hopes “the next superintendent and the board will make addressing our concerns a priority.” [H-L]

TransCanada Corp., the company seeking to build the Keystone XL pipeline, has teamed up with the world’s largest public relations firm to promote a proposed alternative pipeline that’s entirely in Canada. [HuffPo]

Probably Not A Fun Week For Coal Executives

Newly elected as the leader of a new Republican majority in the U.S. Senate, Sen. Mitch McConnell returned to Kentucky this weekend, enjoying a victory lap of sorts with some of the state’s top Republicans. [H-L]

With the U.S. Postal Service planning to shut down 82 more plants starting in January, postal worker unions and allies in Congress are pushing for a late-game moratorium on closures they say will weaken the agency and further slow down the mail. [HuffPo]

When Tracey Scholen and her husband Jeff of suburban Atlanta arranged in 2009 to adopt a child from Janie and Michael Young of Lawrence County, they expected it would go smoothly. [C-J/AKN]

In 1992, Kenneth Rouse, an African American man with an IQ between 70 and 80 — “borderline intellectual functioning,” in the clinical parlance — prepared to stand trial in North Carolina on charges that he had robbed, murdered and attempted to rape a white, 63-year-old store clerk. [WaPo]

The city of Glasgow has been awarded a $3,000 grant from Kentucky League of Cities Insurance Services, according to a press release issued Thursday. [Glasgow Daily Times]

Executive actions that President Obama is expected to announce as early as this week could offer legal documents to as many as five million immigrants in the country illegally. [NY Times]

Local emergency responders will be receiving new equipment to help protect and serve the citizens of Rowan County. Morehead City Council voted unanimously on Monday to purchase new self-contained breathing apparatuses (SCBA) for the Morehead Fire Department and a used four-wheel drive vehicle for the Morehead Police Department. [The Morehead News]

A survey of American Red Cross employees shows a crisis of trust in the charity’s leadership and deep internal doubts about the Red Cross’ commitment to ethical conduct. [ProPublica]

In her first speech since becoming Kentucky’s lieutenant governor, Crit Luallen on Friday vowed to do all she could to support the policies of Gov. Steve Beshear. [WAVE3]

An agreement has been signed which will make a new way of giving contraceptive injections available to women in 69 of the world’s poorest countries. [BBC]

The city of Gainesville, Florida, won’t be buying its coal from Appalachian mountaintop removal operations anymore, and the head of a national environmental non-profit says the model could be applied in other places, too. [WFPL]

American forces have begun advising Iraqi troops in the western Anbar province, the top U.S. general told Reuters, in a faster-than-expected expansion of an operation that is central to its campaign against Islamic State. [Reuters]

Facing criminal charges in the deadliest U.S. coal mine disaster in four decades, ex-coal baron Don Blankenship has fallen silent for the first time in a while. [H-L]

Oscar winner Hilary Swank is unleashing some serious star power to help rescue dogs get adopted by families who want to make a difference on Thanksgiving — or those who just want to watch terriers instead of touchdowns on TV.[HuffPo]