Gov. Matt Bevin | Screenshot of video

Public Enemy: Governor Matt Bevin went on a tear this week following the announcement of a journalism collaboration between ProPublica and Louisville’s Courier Journal, says USA Today, The Guardian and The Washington Post.

On Wednesday, Mr. Bevin took to Twitter to express his displeasure alongside an accompanying video.

He wrote:


ProPublica, a left-wing activist group funded by the likes of George Soros, is now funding . . . “investigative reporting” at the @courierjournal.

Is this the future of journalism?

Who is holding the Courier-Journal accountable?

And from the video:

Now the Courier-Journal has said, ‘We don’t even care. We’ll sell our souls, we’ll be a sock puppet for the Pro Publica organization, for George Soros … for all these other people who hate America.’

I encourage everybody to just disregard the nonsense that comes out of this biased, leftwing organization.

Well, a couple of things there. Media bias site AllSides rates ProPublica’s bias as “center.” They use the following as the basis of rating: blind survey, third-party data, community feedback, editorial review and secondary research. For reference, they have ABC and CNN to the center-left, FOX and the Drudge Report to the center-right, and Bloomberg, BBC and The Wall Street Journal in the center proper.

And then there’s the Soros dog whistle. Mr. Soros’ Open Society Foundation does contribute, but only a whopping 2 percent of ProPublica’s operating budget and is but one of the organization’s 34,000 donors.

ProPublica responded quickly to the governor in a series of tweets:

And ProPublica Editor in Chief Stephen Engelberg wrote:

Here’s something that would be novel in the “Fake News” era — for the accuser to actually say what they think is fake and support their version of the truth with something that resembles factual information. And then if that information is refuted, let the dialogue continue until the public has a real understanding of the issue.

Then things look a whole lot more like we have a substantive disagreement more so than “I don’t want you to say that thing you’re saying.”

But the pre-game smear doesn’t make a lot of sense unless one worries what that reporting may be.

Meanwhile, Kentucky’s Supreme Court struck down the pension bill passed last spring, says NPRNBC News (AP) and The Hill.

You may recall, this was the infamous SB 151 bill that magically transformed itself from a sewage bill to a pension bill overnight.

On Thursday, the Supreme Court ruled you can’t do that kind of last-minute switcheroo without giving lawmakers a “fair opportunity” to consider the bill. Or even read it. And the argument that it was a “previously used legislative maneuver” did not persuade the court.

Kentucky’s Constitution requires bills get three readings on three separate days before coming to a vote; this one received its three readings, but somewhere between reading two and three transformed from an 11-page sewage bill to a 291-page pension bill.

House Republicans criticized the decision, calling it a “complete and total lack of understanding for the separation of powers” and Gov. Bevin called it “an unprecedented power grab by activist judges.”

But it looks more like the court is doing what it’s designed to do: provide checks and balances on government and make sure things are done correctly. Those rules are there for a reason, likely with this kind of thing in mind. Because you did it wrong. And calling it a “legislative maneuver” suggests everyone knows it’s shady, but that’s a thing you can do.

This seems to be the most difficult aspect of the private-CEO-turned-public-servant. You have all the questions, the scrutiny, the public accountability for every decision you make and you have to jump through all these hoops to do the thing you want to do, and it can’t just happen because you said so.

Frustrating, I’m sure, and I’m not even being snarky there. But also, that’s what you sign on for. That’s why a lot of qualified people won’t run for office. Just don’t want all of that.

KFC Firelog? | Courtesy of KFC

Smells Just Like Chicken: As the temperature dips this winter, you can warm your cockles with a firewood that smells like fried chicken, says U.S.News & World Report, EsquireFood &Wine, PasteUs Weekly, Jezebel and Golf Digest.

This, of course, comes from the mad science nuttery that is KFC in collaboration with Enviro-Log.

The 11 Herbs and Spices Firelog is made up of 100 percent recycled materials, weighing in at five pounds and can burn up to three hours.

Said Andrea Zahumensky, chief marketing officer for KFC US:

At KFC, we have always been proud of our role in bringing loved ones together at the dinner table around a bucket of our world-famous fried chicken. Now, this winter we’re bringing all the things we love—family, friends and fried chicken—together around the fire with our scented firelog.

If you want one for your very own, it’ll set you back $18.99.

Or it would have. USA Today says it sold out Thursday, just hours after it went on sale. And that was with each purchase limited to one per customer.

I would love to sit in on KFC’s creative or marketing meetings for a day. Nothing is too far out there to bring to market, and almost all of it seems to be working to keep its name out there. If you take another glance at my sourcing up there, you’ll see that’s a pretty wide pull. KFC knows how to grab attention from just about every corner of the internet.

And they’ve really reinvented their brand. Take the recently announced streetwear line, for instance. It was announced last month; Nation’s Restaurant News took a look at it this week.

Courtesy of KFC
Courtesy of KFC

For me, this is stranger than the firelog, but I’m decidedly not the target. Some of the pieces look to go for almost $300. But looking at the comments on some of the press for this, people are genuinely excited. One of my favorite comments I found reads:

Sup my friend i love KFC but i only eat it in Poland

Which sounds to me like a strangely posh thing to say.

J-Law in “X-Men” | Courtesy of “X-Men: Dark Phoenix”

Phoenix Rising: Jennifer Lawrence’s next big film “X-Men: Dark Phoenix” is coming in 2019 — right around the corner — and director Simon Kinberg and stars Sophie Turner and Jessica Chastain are starting to make the rounds, says CBR.comcomicbookDen of Geek and Bleeding Cool

While attending Brazil’s Comic Con Experience, Mr. Kinberg said the upcoming film marks a new beginning for the franchise:

I see it as a new chapter. I see it as taking the franchise in a different direction tonally. And that doesn’t mean that the next one will have the same tone, it just means that the next one can have a different tone. I think for many years, the X-Men, Bryan [Singer] really transformed the superhero genre in 2000 or 2001 when the first one came out. That’s almost 20 years ago. It is a long time ago. And at that time, superhero movies were not wildly popular, actually. There had been a few failures in the mid-90s, and there hadn’t been a lot of superhero movies, if any, around that time and X-Men sort of was revolutionary in its moment.

He’s sort of right. The franchise will certainly head in a new direction, but not necessarily because of anything here, but rather the acquisition of FOX properties by Disney. Like its phoenix namesake, this will be the end of the line for this iteration only to be reborn under Kevin Feige and Marvel Studios.

Marvel/Disney have their own way of doing things, so you’re probably looking at a clean slate with the possible exception of Ryan Reynolds with “Deadpool.”

And that’s all for the best, really, because these films are like your drunk uncle at Thanksgiving — there’s something to love in there, but they’re a bit of a mess, so you’re not entirely sure why.

He’s sort of right, part 2: The first couple of  “X-Men” movies demonstrated you could be loyal to the source material and be incredibly successful, but 1998’s “Blade” is what really set this whole thing in motion. So depending on where you stand on the super hero blockbuster, you can direct your thanks or rage that way.

That was 20 years ago. I just threw up in my mouth a little bit.

While we’re here, Mashable has a list of  “17 movies turning 20 in 2019.” That list includes films like the first “Matrix,” “Fight Club,” “Star Wars: The Phantom Menace,” Kubrik’s last film, “Eyes Wide Shut,” “The Blair Witch Project,” “Toy Story 2,” “The Sixth Sense,” and “10 Things I Hate About You.”

Coming in 2019, you have “Star Wars: Episode IX” in December; “Toy Story 4” is coming in June and M. Night Shyamalan’s “Glass” will hit in November, starring Bruce Willis, who was also in “The Sixth Sense.” So 20 years later,  these things just keep rolling along.

I think it’s going to be a big year for film. And just as I gleefully take advantage of Forecastle to do a massive music collection, I’ll just as gleefully use this as an excuse to look at some of the trailers for the coming year.

See you next week.