“Stop Being So Poor, You Poors!” -Bevin

The Medicaid revamp proposed by Gov. Matt Bevin last week is built on a belief that providing health care to low-income people somehow robs them of their dignity. Also, that 20 percent of Kentuckians lacked health insurance only a few years ago, not because they couldn’t afford it, but because they were disengaged or didn’t understand deductibles. On that dubious base, Bevin wants to replace a fairly straightforward system with a red-tape tangle of penalties, incentives, premiums and cutbacks in coverage, including some proposals that the federal government already has rejected in other states. [H-L]

Mitch McConnell (R-Cowardly Grandmother) is supporting Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump for president — but he isn’t saying, at least for now, whether he thinks the business mogul is actually up to the job. [HuffPo]

It sure is fun watching the newspaper folks ignore the reality that Nancy Rodriguez misreported and/or ignored shenanigans in the Felner Scandal until she had egg all over her face. [C-J/AKN]

West Virginia’s three most devastated counties and possibly others will receive federal assistance after the state’s worst flooding in more than a century killed at least 24 people, officials said on Saturday. [Reuters]

Mayor Bill May and City of Frankfort Commissioners say they fully support actions taken by Police Maj. Rob Richardson in regard to recent allegations that appeared in the discovery file for the case against Tom Banta. [State Journal]

President Barack Obama on Thursday demanded that lawmakers put politics aside and move forward on the longstanding impasse over gun legislation in the wake of the latest tragedy. [Politico]

A house built with illicit drug money soon will shelter addicts while they work to get clean and sober. [Ashland Independent]

Republicans STILL DON’T have an actual health care alternative and they never will. The House GOP’s health-care proposal would expand savings accounts, provide tax credits for buying insurance, and allow people to purchase coverage across state lines. Just don’t ask how much it costs. [The Atlantic]

Country and bluegrass music will ring from the hills of eastern Rowan County with a concert for the late Keith Whitley on Friday, July 1, at Poppy Mountain. [The Morehead News]

Lives are on the line: the smearing of LGBT individuals by right-wing extremists is more than disturbing – it’s dangerous. [Salon]

Alyne Barrick left her home in the Laurel Ridge community of Edmonson County on the afternoon of April 12, 1996, to walk her dog. [Glasgow Daily Times]

A tax break that benefits only about 2,000 people adds up to billions in savings for them — and billions lost for the US economy. Leo Hindery Jr. remembers the call he got the night before he was to testify before Congress, in September of 2007, to close a tax loophole enjoyed by private-equity investors. It was from Stephen Schwarzman, co-founder of the Blackstone Group, the largest private-equity management firm in the US. [Bill Moyers]

Meanwhile, the people who do all the actual work at UK are paid dirt in comparison. University of Kentucky President Eli Capilouto received a 48 percent increase in his base pay and a three-year contract extension Friday. [H-L]

The U.S. Supreme Court is due on Monday to issue its first major abortion ruling since 2007 against a backdrop of unremitting divisions among Americans on the issue and a decades-long decline in the rate at which women terminate pregnancies. [HuffPo]

Kentucky’s Educational System Rewards Incompetence And Corruption Like The Rest Of Its Good Old Boy Agencies

Longtime readers will be familiar with the name Nancy Rodriguez. She’s the former Courier-Journal education reporter who intentionally (if it was unintentional, then she’s not fit to hold a job, no bones about it) misled readers, withheld information, sat on her hands and actually attempted to disparage my reporting on UofL/Robert Felner in 2008-2009. Only to end up with egg on her face when Felner went to federal prison. But she scored a sweet job as a spokesperson with the Kentucky Department of Education shortly after she played the church mouse game with scandal coverage.

I’ve mentioned her a bit recently in reporting on the Education Professional Standards Board case against Joshua Powell. Primarily because I see similar patterns emerging in the (lack of) coverage of the EPSB-Powell scandal(s) at the Herald-Leader, which I believe to be Kentucky’s most important media outlet. (Translation: Never surprises me to see this kind of behavior at the C-J but it is beyond bizarre for the H-L to screw up this badly.)

So check out this press release from Rodriguez at KDE. It’s all about “accountability” and the most recent Kentucky Department of Education/Kentucky Board of Education meeting.

Just read it all:


CLICK FOR PDF OR HERE FOR ORIGINAL

Now that you’ve had a chance to digest it for a few minutes, you’ll probably walk away with the sense that there is no real accountability in education in Kentucky. Not unless there’s someone putting up a fight to make sure something happens.

I wanted to share the release above to give readers a feel for what Rodriguez does on a daily basis. She went from sitting on her hands and effectively half-assing coverage of one of the most insane, multi-pronged education scandals in recent Kentucky history… to scoring a high-paying job with an agency that benefited in part from her half-assery. (Is that a thing? I’m making half-assery a thing.)

That’s what happens in Kentucky. You get rewarded for being terrible at your job. Be it media or government or both. This is just another sad example. Perpetuate ignorance and corruption, reap a big pay day. The good old boy system.

As a bonus, check out the Education Professional Standards Board’s report (from Executive Director of Secrecy and Open Meetings Violations, Jimmy Adams):


CLICK FOR PDF

Just serves to further illustrate the well-manicured puppies and rainbows storyline that these folks so desperately want to become mainstream. You’d think there’s never anything going wrong, that there are no major scandals, no nothing. Utopia. Everything is golden and getting better by the day.

It’s bullshit and more people need to stand up and start calling it out.

This is why Kentucky can’t have nice things.

No, Rodriguez isn’t the only former C-J staffer to get a high-paying job with a state government agency she covered. There are several others. She’s just the only one who played her violin while Rome burned. She may be a nice person but that doesn’t change a thing. I mean, Tim Longmeyer is a super-nice person.

Spare me your butthurt. I have no time for sugarcoating.

UofL Scandals Get National Press Again

Sharing this from The ‘Ville Voice because it really should be a statewide matter.

Shoooo. It’s been, what, a decade of this crap?

UofL’s problems aren’t recent. But it sure is fascinating to see people like Steve Wilson FINALLY call for Jim Ramsey’s resignation.

From Jim Higdon for the Washington Post:

But along with the advances and successes, the university remains dogged by public scandal, most recently accusations that a former assistant basketball coach paid a woman thousands of dollars to provide prostitutes to parties attended by players and recruits at an on-campus dormitory for student-athletes. The Commonwealth’s Attorney in Jefferson County has impaneled a grand jury in the matter, and the woman at the center of the allegations, Katina Powell, is cooperating with a parallel NCAA investigation, according to ESPN.

In October, Ramsey apologized for wearing a stereotypical Mexican costume — along with numerous members of university staff — during a Halloween party that came amid a national conversation about race and cultural sensitivity on U.S. college campuses.

-SNIP-

On top of that, the university has been victimized by a series of financial criminals.

Robert Felner, the dean of Louisville’s school of education from 2003 to 2008, pled guilty to defrauding Louisville and the University of Rhode Island — his previous employer — of $2.3 million in federal grant funds meant for No Child Left Behind research.

Felner was a divisive figure at the school of education, drawing complaints that he was brash, rude and unprofessional — the faculty at one point took a vote of no confidence in him — but the administration routinely defended his leadership. The university ultimately looked into Felner’s handling of grant funds, and upon discovering criminal activity, reported him to federal authorities.

Felner was indicted in October 2008 on charges of mail fraud, conspiracy to commit money laundering, income tax evasion, and conspiracy to impede and impair the Internal Revenue Service. He pleaded guilty, and in May 2010, he was sentenced to 63 months in federal prison and was ordered to pay $510,000 in restitution to the University of Louisville and $1.64 million to the University of Rhode Island. He was released from prison in May 2014.

-SNIP-

The Courier-Journal has estimated that between 2008 and 2014, University of Louisville employees have been accused of mishandling at least $7.6 million.

-SNIP-

“In my opinion, President Ramsey should resign. It’s time for a new beginning. There’s been too many scandals,” said Steve Wilson, a former member of the university’s Board of Trustees. “I think President Ramsey has been a great president over the years. His strength was in fundraising and bringing more funding into the university at the same time that the state has decreased funding, so he’s been able to bring that strength to the table. But the problems run the gamut in many areas. It boils down to leadership and accountability.”

Trust me when I say you should read the entire article.

Wilson can say these things that are based in reality about Jim Ramsey and the University of Louisville because he has money and is well-connected. He’s not at-risk for the standard brand of retaliation. He’s opening up a door that’s been bolted shut since at least 2008. Who’ll be next to cross the threshold?

LA Regrets Hiring A Felner Lackey

Remember John Deasy? He was at the center of some of the Robert Felner scandal several years ago. A scandal so broad the University of Louisville is still paying for it all these years later.

He’s the man Los Angeles Unified School District hired to be its superintendent. A man half the board freaked out about… because some of those board members sneakily flew to Kentucky to talk to me about the Felner mess. But he was hired anyway, despite their fears and concerns.

And hoo boy, did he ever cause drama in LA. Mess after mess. Hundreds of millions of dollars squandered. Federal investigations. Just the kind of crap you’d expect from someone who learned from and is extremely similar to Felner.

Well… He finally resigned and this is how the LA Times summarized his tenure:

After John Deasy, LAUSD faces a tough choice: Play it safe or take another risk?

When the school board chose John Deasy as superintendent of the Los Angeles Unified School District in 2011, it knew what it was getting: an outsized personality with a national reputation as an advocate for school reform.

And in his 31/2 turbulent years at the helm, Deasy proved to be just that. He courted wealthy donors who helped subsidize a robust travel schedule, and he spent about 200 days on the road as he attempted to raise the district’s profile and promote his agenda.

-SNIP-

At key moments of tumult in the district, the records show, Deasy was simply not in town.

-SNIP-

The beginning of the end came a year ago, just before the school year started. Deasy was in New York to discuss challenges threatening education reform.

Back at home, the city’s public schools were in disarray. By the time Deasy returned for the first day of classes, a malfunctioning scheduling system had forced students into gyms and auditoriums to await assignments. Some of them ended up in the wrong courses, putting their path to graduation in jeopardy.

Two months later, in October, a Superior Court judge ordered state education officials to meet with Deasy to fix the scheduling problems that he said deprived students of their right to an education. But Deasy flew to South Korea the next morning to visit schools and meet government officials. A week later, he resigned, under pressure, as head of the nation’s second-largest school system.

-SNIP-

Deasy was a bold choice nearly five years ago, an outsider with a background in educational foundations but also earlier experience as a public school administrator. He soon surprised union leaders and school board members with his aggressive and sometimes polarizing actions.

-SNIP-

Deasy, who was paid $350,000 a year as superintendent, took more than 100 trips, spent generously on meals as he lobbied state and national lawmakers and wooed unions, foundations and educational leaders, according to credit card receipts, calendars and emails obtained under the California Public Records Act.

-SNIP-

Test scores and graduation rates rose incrementally, and dropout rates fell during his tenure. While total enrollment decreased at Los Angeles Unified during his term, enrollment in charter schools grew from about 70,000 students to more than 101,000.

Yet Deasy’s signature effort to provide iPads to all students failed, and the cost of untangling the troubled student records system has now topped $200 million.

-SNIP-

[B]oard President Steve Zimmer said Deasy’s confrontational approach reached a breaking point for him when the superintendent became a star witness for the plaintiffs in Vergara vs. California.

Who could have predicted all of that???

Cough.

Better Late Than Never, Huh, Newsies?

Ruh ro, the newspaper finally started to cover what we’ve been reporting for two years. And this bit about the school board seeking permission to fire Joshua Powell only comes a couple weeks late. [H-L]

Luisa Cintron, 25, is sitting up as straight as she can, perched on the edge of the neatly made bed that doubles as a couch inside her dimly lit apartment. She is wearing a sweater and slacks, talking about the government program that she says changed her life, and trying — without much success — not to get distracted by the 4-year-old talking loudly about Batman in the next room. [HuffPo]

Here’s the deal: We all know Whitney Westerfield is just upset that Jack Conway doesn’t hate gay people. Whitney, insecure in his own life, body and existence, projects his perceived failures as a man onto Jack. It’s a real shame because it makes him look dumber than he really is. Folks can hate Jack all they want but he’s not a bigot. [C-J/AKN]

President Obama’s approval ratings have reached their highest mark in almost two years, according to a new poll from CNN/ORC. [The Hill]

Looks like the Harlan County Fiscal Court has a bit of a problem on its hands in the latest audit. [External PDF Link]

Looks like the damage the Robert Felner crony caused in Los Angeles is finally beginning to be cleaned up. [Reuters]

Annual unemployment rates were lower in all 120 Kentucky counties in 2014 than in 2013, according to the Kentucky Office of Employment and Training, an agency of the Kentucky Education and Workforce Development Cabinet. [Press Release]

Over the past several weeks, Republicans—at least those running for president—seem to have discovered the vexing issues of income and wealth inequality. [Politico]

The man known as the Duct Tape Bandit pleaded guilty to robbery Friday under an agreement that will likely put him behind bars for close to 15 years, according to Boyd County Commonwealth’s Attorney David Justice. [Ashland Independent]

Most people can’t imagine living without smartphones or the Internet, let alone without electricity. But even today — even in the United States — there are still people who live without lights and refrigeration. [NPR]

Kentucky House of Representatives Speaker Greg Stumbo has appointed state Rep. Rita Smart, D-Richmond, as the co-chair of the General Assembly’s newly created Subcommittee on Tourism Development. [Richmond Register]

The St Louis Post-Dispatch has won a Pulitzer Prize for its coverage of the Ferguson shooting and unrest. [BBC]

A New York financier who stole millions of dollars from the Kentucky Retirement Systems will serve two to six years in prison. [H-L]

This time, Hillary Rodham Clinton wants to be on liberals’ good side. As a presidential candidate in 2008, she opposed gay marriage, equivocated on granting driver’s licenses to people who were living in the U.S. illegally and endured heavy criticism from rival Barack Obama over her stance on campaign finance. [HuffPo]

When Will Marty Announce Against Hills?

State officials approved at or near maximum tuition increases at four state universities Friday amid a heated GOP primary for governor where the candidates have lamented the escalating cost of college. [H-L]

Former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) went after Hillary Clinton Thursday, accusing her of changing policy positions based on polls rather than her convictions. It’s the first time the prospective Democratic presidential candidate has attacked Clinton since she announced her presidential bid Sunday. [HuffPo]

The wounded warrior transition unit at Fort Knox is one of 10 across the U.S. that will be shut down by August 2016, the Pentagon said Friday. [C-J/AKN]

The campaign arm for House Democrats posted its best month of the year in March, boosted by a record number of online donations, according to figures first obtained by The Hill. [The Hill]

Individually, Madison County law enforcement agencies were making some strides against illicit drugs, according to Madison County Sheriff Mike Coyle. Working together, the three agencies have had increased success in the first three months of 2015, he told the fiscal court Tuesday. [Richmond Register]

The UK murder made international news. Meanwhile, Louisville murders happen every five seconds. [Reuters]

Randy Stapleton has been looking for a way to represent those living in his area. He may have found that way in a class action lawsuit filed against Big Run Landfill and other parties. [Ashland Independent]

Really, we’re fighting over a g.d. campaign logo?! [Politico]

The Barren County Schools Board of Education unanimously approved the RBS Design Group contract for the Red Cross Elementary addition project, as well as the schematic design, Thursday during a special-called board meeting at Barren County High School. [Glasgow Daily Times]

More from Felner land… The Los Angeles Unified School District is demanding that Apple Inc. refund millions of dollars for Pearson software that had been loaded onto iPads for the district’s 650,000 students. [NPR]

Heavy rainfall and flooding have caused Cave Run Lake to reach a record high. As of Friday, the lake was over 30 feet above summer pool and still rising. [The Morehead News]

African American and other civil rights leaders infuriated over the stalled confirmation vote on Loretta E. Lynch, the first black woman to be nominated for attorney general, are casting the delay as an issue with racial overtones. [WaPo]

A spontaneous floral memorial bloomed Saturday on a corner of East Maxwell and Transylvania Park in Lexington in honor of Jonathan Krueger, a University of Kentucky student who was gunned down early Friday in an apparent robbery. [H-L]

Support for the death penalty in the U.S. has reached 56 percent, the lowest point in four decades, according to a Pew study released on Thursday. [HuffPo]