Not A Great School-Related Statistic…

Longtime Democratic activist and political consultant Larry O’Bryan, of Louisville, was charged Wednesday with federal crimes alleging that he played a role in the political bribery and kickback scheme arranged by Tim Longmeyer while Longmeyer was secretary of the Kentucky Personnel Cabinet. [C-J/AKN]

About 6 p.m. Tuesday, Attorney General Andy Beshear received what he called an unsolicited text message from Gov. Matt Bevin. It said: “I would strongly suggest that you get your house in order. Your office is becoming an increasing embarrassment to the Commonwealth.” [H-L]

The number of students charged with assaults in the third degree at Kentucky schools rose significantly in one year by 51.3 percent, according to an annual school safety report released Thursday. [More H-L]

I’ve been traveling to presidential debates since 1988, and the one I just saw here at Hofstra University was historic. Republican nominee Donald Trump turned in the worst ― and I mean worst ― debate performance in modern times. It was so bad that in a normal year, it would disqualify him from getting anywhere near the White House. [HuffPo]

They piled into the minivan, all seven of them, and drove slowly on a darkened Louisville interstate toward the exit marked for the airport. Hustling up escalators with five boys in the half-empty, late-night terminal, Ahmad Al Tybawi and his wife, Ahlam Al Swedan, found themselves back where they had arrived almost a year before — when they were gaunt and exhausted from fleeing Syria’s bloody civil war. [C-J/AKN]

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 37 states now offer voters some way to cast ballots early and avoid lining up at the polls on Election Day. [ProPublica]

Louisville has been chosen for a federal pilot program aimed at attacking the city’s heroin and prescription opioid problem. [WFPL]

Turns out that when it comes to fighting climate change, most Americans are willing to pay a little more to get the job done. [ThinkProgress]

Kentucky’s seasonally adjusted preliminary unemployment rate for August fell to 4.9 percent, down from a revised 5 percent in July, the state Office of Employment and Training announced Monday. [Richmond Register]

Kentucky sure is good at proving stereotypes correct. This clown panic is just the latest incident. [BBC]

The Kentucky Supreme Court ruling against Gov. Matt Bevin’s higher education funding reductions was welcome news at Ashland Community and Technical College. [Ashland Independent]

Mrs. Clinton seems to have bested Mr. Trump in the debate largely thanks to her mastery of three subjects that have defined her general election campaign: race, gender and national security. [NY Times]

The Rowan County Board of Education has approved a partnership with Morehead State for the use of some of the district’s kitchen facilities. [The Morehead News]

Donald Trump on Tuesday insisted that Hillary Clinton did not get under his skin during their first debate and suggested he may “hit her harder” in their next encounter by raising the subject of former President Bill Clinton’s infidelities. [WaPo]

A judge has upheld a state ethics code violation against a woman linked with former state Agriculture Commissioner Richie Farmer. [H-L]

Donald Trump accused NBC News’ Lester Holt of favoring Hillary Clinton in Monday night’s presidential debate. [HuffPo]

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Andy Beshear’s Conflict Is Front & Center

With the Ohio River as a backdrop, Democratic presidential hopeful and U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders told a crowd in Louisville on Tuesday night that they don’t need to worry about Donald Trump. [H-L]

As schools have taken steps to beef up their security measures, violence in schools has taken a dive. [HuffPo]

How on earth can Little Andy Beshear conduct an unbiased and impartial investigation into Tim Longmeyer? Spoiler alert: he can’t. [C-J/AKN]

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Obstructionist Retirement Home) is under increasing pressure to bring up a revised criminal justice bill despite staunch opposition from conservatives in his own caucus. [The Hill]

Oh, how convenient! Greg Stumbo all the sudden cares about higher education. In all of my years serving in the General Assembly, I cannot recall a more depressing time for higher education than last week. [Floyd County Times]

After sweating through the second straight year that earned the title of hottest year on record, new research from the Center for American Progress Action Fund finds that 24 governors and attorneys general publicly deny the reality of climate change. [ThinkProgress]

Matt Bevin’s attorney argued in Franklin Circuit Court on Wednesday that Bevin did not reduce appropriations to state universities when he cut their current year funding by 2 percent. [Ronnie Ellis]

A recently disclosed document shows the FBI telling a local police department that the bureau’s covert cell-phone tracking equipment is so secret that any evidence acquired through its use needs to be recreated in some other way before being introduced at trial. [The Intercept]

‘The Bern’ briefly stopped in Elizabethtown, apparently. Self-proclaimed die-hard Democrat Julie Smith’s heart pounded with adrenaline as she met Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders on Wednesday afternoon. [The News-Enterprise]

Federal jurors have returned guilty verdicts in a host of public corruption charges brought against three former Ron Paul presidential campaign aides accused of a secret plot to pay an Iowa state senator $73,000 for his endorsement. [Des Moines Register]

Gotta give Bevin credit for not coming out and endorsing Trump. “At this point, weighing in on who I’m going to vote for, I think is a mistake for me or any other person,” said Gov. Matt Bevin. [WDRB]

Alan Eller has spent more than a decade trying to convince the Department of Veterans Affairs that his bladder cancer was the result of exposure to Agent Orange almost 50 years ago in Vietnam. [ProPublica]

Kentucky basketball legend Richie Farmer, whose promising political career was derailed by accusations of misusing state money while he was agriculture commissioner, filed for bankruptcy this week as he tries to rebuild his life after serving time in prison. [H-L]

Economies across large swathes of the globe could shrink dramatically by mid-century as fresh water grows scarce due to climate change, the World Bank reported. [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]

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]

Is Reeeechie Farmer Gonna Play 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!]

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. [H-L]

The double standard can’t be more jarring: For days television networks and media outlets have been parroting the FBI in telling us how the San Bernadino shooters were “radicalized” at this or that time, or speculating on their “radicalization” and how it occurred. [HuffPo]

Richard Dwight Farmer, former basketball star, former state agriculture commissioner and most recently inmate number 16226-032, was set to be released Friday from a federal prison in Hazelton, West Virginia, his father told a Lexington television station. [C-J/AKN]

One week after Defense Secretary Ash Carter announced women in the U.S. military can serve in any combat role, a federal appeals court is considering a lawsuit from a men’s group that says a male-only draft is unconstitutional. [NPR]

ICYMI: Bill sits down with former Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear to discuss his time in office and his plans for the future. [KET]

People with names that suggest they are black are being discriminated against on room sharing site AirBnB, a Harvard study suggests. [BBC]

The Kentucky State Nature Preserves Commission (KSNPC) has presented its Biological Diversity Protection Award to Christy Lee Brown of Louisville. The annual award is given to an individual or organization that has made a significant contribution to the knowledge and protection of Kentucky’s biodiversity. “Brown is truly an international leader promoting a holistic understanding and appreciation of the earth and its environs,” said Don Dott, executive director of the KSNPC. “She leads and inspires others in the fields of sustainable food production, environmental quality and its fundamental role in human health, the interrelatedness of our natural systems, and of biodiversity protection and the conservation of land.” [Press Release]

“Facts matter, science matters, data matters. That’s what this hearing is about.” That’s how Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), the chairman of the Senate’s Subcommittee on Space, Science, and Competitiveness, began a Monday hearing he called about the reality of human-caused climate change. Cruz — who is also running for president — does not believe that human-caused climate change is real, which he made clear at Monday’s hearing. He did not make it clear that 97 percent of climate scientists disagree with him, but such is life in the U.S. Senate, where 70 percent of Republicans largely side with Cruz. [ThinkProgress]

Surprise! Jefferson County Public Schools’ administration is a disaster and now the OAG has been asked to get involved. You won’t believe the shenanigans (just kidding! you’ll believe it) going on with a woman paid $190 per hour and $53,000 per month. [The ‘Ville Voice]

From the suburbs of Los Angeles to the outskirts of Washington, D.C., mosques around the United States are warily stepping up security in the face of growing fears about reprisals on American Muslims. [Reuters]

Horrible walrus Jim Gooch has returned to embarrass the Commonwealth. A bill pre-filed in the General Assembly would declare Kentucky a “sanctuary state” for people and companies who don’t want to follow federal environmental laws that will restrict carbon dioxide emissions from power plants. [WFPL]

When Gail McGovern was picked to head the American Red Cross in 2008, the organization was reeling. Her predecessor had been fired after impregnating a subordinate. The charity was running an annual deficit of hundreds of millions of dollars. [ProPublica]

State Rep. Darryl Owens has pre-filed a bill to limit testing time in Kentucky classrooms, allow teachers more instructional time and decrease “teaching to the test” practices. [H-L]

They are known as “Three Percenters,” followers of a movement that has rallied against gun control efforts nationwide, patrolled the U.S. border with Mexico and recently begun confronting Muslim Americans. [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]

Comer Made Another Bogus Claim

This time? That he went after Richie Farmer.

But here’s the deal, according to current/former Comer employees and one lobbyist aligned with Comer’s campaign:

Holly Harris, with the assistance of former Farmer staffers, did that. She opened up her office on day one and people lined up out the door.

Jamie Comer had to be forced into doing the right thing. He fought tooth and nail out of paranoia. Not just with Harris but with auditors and Ag staffers.

They all worked with Adam Edelen’s office to push for the audit. It was not Comer.

Full disclosure time: If Jamie doesn’t stop calling the women (plural) who used to work with him “drunk whores” and “angry sluts”? I’m probably going to have to start spilling the T. You know I know it. Starting with what women at the LRC have come forward to discuss…

Would have done it already if not for his young children.

Richie Farmer’s Mess Just Won’t Quit It

The Secretary of State’s office says there are more than 3.1 million people registered to vote in the general election next week. [H-L]

He’s not on the ballot this fall, but Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul is launching new ads to help Republicans in key elections across the country. [HuffPo]

A state hearing officer has found that former Agriculture Commissioner Richie Farmer’s girlfriend did little work in her state job and recommended that she be found guilty of violating state government’s ethics code. [C-J/AKN]

The fight for control of the U.S. Senate could last far past the Nov. 4 election, with possible run-offs in Louisiana and Georgia and surprising surges by independent candidates in Kansas and South Dakota creating new uncertainty for both parties. [Reuters]

All kinds of interesting things are happening in the Phelps community in Pike County these days. [WLEX18]

The mid-term elections in the US are one week away. Unlike the presidential vote, with one clear winner, these polls are a bit more complicated. [BBC]

Kentuckians enrolling in Kynect, the state’s health care exchange, can expect changes in the way they shop for health insurance beginning Nov. 15. [WFPL]

Polls typically ask people which candidate they want to win. But some researchers have come to believe that another question — which candidate voters expect to win — produces more meaningful results. [NY Times]

The autumn months are attracting thousands of visitors to the White Oak Pumpkin Patch in Morgan County. [WYMT]

Officers use “Stingrays” to mimic a cell phone tower and intercept information from phones in a whole neighborhood. The federal government and police have kept such devices under wraps for years. [NPR]

Time to scare the bejeebers out of meemaw and poppop in Eastern Kentucky. Although the chances of an Ebola outbreak in East Kentucky are rare, officials at St. Claire Regional Medical Center (SCR) have been planning to deal with the hemorrhagic fever just in case. [The Morehead News]

A refinance of Niagara County’s tobacco bonds was good news — but for investors, not taxpayers. [ProPublica]

Parent Jacques Wigginton told the Fayette County school board members Monday night that people in Lexington had trusted them to close the achievement gap and they should approve recommendations to get the job done after years of inaction. [H-L]

Despite the best efforts of Lil’ Jon, the most recent Gallup poll suggests that turnout in the upcoming midterm election will be one of the lowest in the last five cycles. [HuffPo]