It’s Time To Kill The Death Penalty

Mitch McConnell was upbeat the night after Justice Anthony Kennedy announced he was retiring from the Supreme Court. [H-L]

Last week, at a New York Times event at UCLA, the dean of the university’s Luskin School of Public Affairs jarred several Times reporters on the panel when he took them to task during his introduction for the event ― chiding them for their reporting on the 2016 election and for the paper’s “both sides” journalism amid the current “civility” debate. [HuffPo]

Claiming the state’s abrupt cuts to Medicaid dental and vision services are illegal, health law advocates have asked federal officials to reject the changes enacted July 1 by the administration of Gov. Matt Bevin. [C-J/AKN]

One U.S. service member was killed and two others wounded in an apparent insider attack in southern Afghanistan, the NATO-led Resolute Support mission said on Saturday. [Reuters]

Some children and pregnant women in Kentucky have wrongly been denied access to dental care since the state abruptly cut dental and vision coverage for as many as 460,000 people, public health advocates say. [Richmond Register]

Jimena Madrid riveted people around the world when her voice was captured on an audiotape after she was separated from her mother inside a Border Patrol detention facility. Three weeks later, reunification remains uncertain. “She says over and over, ‘Mommy, I want to be with you.’” [ProPublica]

An interim president with former ties to the Kentucky Community and Technical College System will serve Ashland Community and Technical College until a permanent president is hired this fall, a spokeswoman said Thursday. [Ashland Independent]

The Trump administration is suppressing an Environmental Protection Agency report that warns that most Americans inhale enough formaldehyde vapor in the course of daily life to put them at risk of developing leukemia and other ailments. [Politico]

The Morehead Tourism Commission voted 3-2 last Thursday not to support funding of the Kentucky Folk Art Center. Keith Kappes can and should pay for this himself – his backwater political beliefs and the bullshit he’s pulled with the paper there through the years contributed greatly to funding cuts. [The Morehead News]

Scott Pruitt came to Washington and assembled an extraordinary team of like-minded conservatives — lawyers, energy lobbyists, free-market Republicans and close allies from his days in Oklahoma. All were committed not only to Mr. Pruitt, but also to his stated mission to be a regulation-buster at the Environmental Protection Agency. [NY Times]

Kentucky has executed 163 people since 1910 but only one since 2008 and only three since the U.S. Supreme Court reinstituted the death penalty in 1976. [Ronnie Ellis]

Maybe propping up a dictator wasn’t such a great idea after all. His rosy outlook was almost immediately rejected by North Korea’s foreign ministry, which called the talks “regrettable” and accused the United States of making unilateral demands for denuclearization. Pompeo just hours earlier said the two sides engaged in “good-faith negotiations.” [WaPo]

Strange how Kentucky media has thrown its unwritten policy of not identifying victims out the window. A Pike County woman is suing Walter May, a prominent Eastern Kentucky businessman and the former mayor of Pikeville, for firing her as his caregiver after she allegedly refused to have sex with him. [H-L]

Former Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) is calling on the chamber’s Republicans to take steps to protect special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, decrying that the probe is “under assault.” [HuffPo]

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Still Sticking It To The Working Poor

The pickings have gotten slimmer when Mike Bowling needs to hire someone for his convenience stores in London and Manchester, where he also has a tobacco store. [H-L]

A federal judge ordered the Trump administration to disclose more information about its decision to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census — a small victory for challengers who say adding the question was illegal and officials have not fully disclosed how the decision to include it was made. [HuffPo]

Public displays honoring the Confederacy are unwelcome in Louisville and do not represent what the city looks like today, according to an art panel formed by Mayor Greg Fischer. [C-J/AKN]

The Trump administration on Tuesday rescinded an extensive set of guidelines put in place under President Barack Obama that had called on colleges and universities to consider race as a way of promoting diversity. [Reuters]

While the future of a controversial pension reform bill remains in limbo, the Daily News reached out – with mixed results – to the four local legislators who voted for Senate Bill 151 to ask if they would vote for a new bill with the same provisions. Two did not return messages seeking comment, one declined to speculate on a vote and one said he probably would vote for such a bill a second time. [BGDN]

For more than a decade, if you wanted to know how many U.S. troops there were in war zones such as Iraq and Afghanistan, you could readily find that information at a public Pentagon website that’s updated every three months. But since late last year, the Pentagon’s stopped posting those numbers for Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan. [NPR]

The Trump administration’s drive to wean poor people from government benefits by making them work has been slowed by a federal judge framing a fundamental question: Are poverty programs meant to show tough love or to help the needy? [Richmond Register]

Just not in Kentucky – where Republicans are borderline evil. The Medicaid logjam appears to be breaking. [NY Times]

Some political pundits see our country as riven by tribal and ethnic divisions and partitioned by gender as we self-segregate into communities of the like-minded. Such divisions sometimes affect families and lead to alienation of longtime friends. [Ronnie Ellis]

A federal judge in Washington on Monday ordered the U.S. government to immediately release or grant hearings to more than 1,000 asylum seekers who have been jailed for months or years without individualized case reviews, dealing a blow to the Trump administration’s crackdown on migrants. [WaPo]

Linda Graham doesn’t know what she’s going to do. A few hours earlier, a judge signed an eviction order that gave her seven days to vacate her apartment in Parkway Place public housing. [WFPL]

Special Counsel Robert Mueller is reportedly hiring additional prosecutors to work on the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. [The Hill]

A man has been arrested for allegedly threatening to chop up Sen. Rand Paul and his family with an ax, according to media reports. [H-L]

Here’s your duh moment of the year. Several states that voted for Donald Trump in the presidential election are likely to be among the hardest hit in the trade war the president has triggered, according to the nation’s largest business organization. [HuffPo]

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Greg Fischer: Still Fighting Transparency

House Republicans working to flesh out their recent promise of tax reform should heed the evidence that’s piling up in other states: Cutting income and business taxes, and offsetting the losses by raising sales taxes, is no magic economic elixir. It’s more a recipe for starving education, infrastructure and other public services and dishing up more budget crises. [H-L]

Last Saturday, in a private meeting with Republican donors who had gathered at his Mar-a-Lago estate, Donald Trump attacked yet again the basic foundations of American democracy. In his freewheeling and unscripted talk, a recording of which was obtained by CNN, Trump eventually focused his comments on President Xi Jinping of China. He noted Xi’s plan to abolish China’s presidential term limits, and lavished praise on this authoritarian grab at unrestricted power. [HuffPo]

Flashback to Greg Fischer claiming to be the most transparent mayor in Louisville history. Courier Journal is suing Louisville for refusing to release details on the incentives it offered to Amazon in return for the online retail giant building its second headquarters here. [C-J/AKN]

White House counselor Kellyanne Conway violated the Hatch Act on two occasions, the Office of Special Counsel (OSC) informed the Trump administration Tuesday. [The Hill]

Madison County is now officially the only community in Kentucky, and one of only seven nationwide, to be a Blueprint for Safety Community. [Richmond Register]

Migrants separated from their children after they were detained for illegally entering the United States filed a class action lawsuit on Friday, claiming there are “hundreds” of parents in the same situation, and that the Trump administration is violating their due process rights. [Reuters]

A Catlettsburg city councilman pleaded guilty to drug charges Friday and then was accused of almost immediately violating the terms of his probation by being under the influence of heroin, meth and other drugs. [Ashland Independent]

Coal ash — the residual byproduct of burning coal — is the second-largest form of waste in the entire country, with utilities producing more than 100 million tons of it each year. For decades, companies have dealt with all that coal ash by storing it in unlined pits or landfills. Now, new reporting data shows this has lead to the contamination of groundwater at coal-fired power plants across the country. [ThinkProgress]

Rowan County Sheriff Matt Sparks talked guns with Morehead-Rowan County Chamber of Commerce members this month. [The Morehead News]

The special counsel in the Russia investigation has learned of two conversations in recent months in which Donald Trump asked key witnesses about matters they discussed with investigators. [NY Times]

The Interapt Skills proposal is being downsized after it apparently became clear that the original price tag of nearly $1.9 million was going to be “too lofty a goal for our community at this point.” [Glasgow Daily Times]

The Social Security Administration’s acting commissioner had no authority to act after mid-November because the agency is in violation of a federal law regarding vacant positions, according to a report to the president. [WaPo]

A student accidentally shot himself in a classroom at Lexington’s Frederick Douglass High School with a “pocket-sized handgun” he took to school Friday, according to school district police and administrators. [H-L]

A top GOP fundraiser pitched Donald Trump last year on a plan to recruit a thousands-strong international Muslim army — to be advised by retired Army Gen. Stanley McChrystal — that would help the United Arab Emirates battle the Taliban and the Islamic State in Afghanistan, according to a leaked memo the fundraiser wrote documenting his meeting with the president. The army “would consist of two brigades (5,000 total troops) comprised of Muslim soldiers recruited from Arab and Islamic nations,” Elliott Broidy, a Republican National Committee deputy finance chair, wrote in the memo. [HuffPo]

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Republicans Ruin Everything They Touch

It may be true, as its title suggests, that the pension plan outlined last week by Matt Bevin and Republican legislative leaders is “keeping the promise.” But what promise and to whom? Certainly, it doesn’t keep a promise to current or future public workers and retirees that they will retire with financial security. [H-L]

Once upon a time, an insurgent candidate defeated Hillary Clinton, the most prepared potential president in U.S. history, after a nasty, close and historic race. [HuffPo]

Anyone deliberately ignorant enough to claim a soccer stadium in Louisville is going to push wages higher is an asshole. That’s not remotely based in reality. It’s not going to happen. If anything, they’ll hire the lowest common denominator for work and pay them the lowest rate that’s legally possible. It happens in every development in Louisville and it’s not changing any time soon. But this is Attica Scott, the woman who refused to answer questions about her residency when she initially ran for Metro Council. So it’s not surprising she’d put false hope out there to fluff up liberals in wealthy parts of the city. [C-J/AKN]

The two Honduran women told nearly identical stories to the immigration courts: Fear for their lives and for the lives of their children drove them to seek asylum in the United States. [Reuters]

State Librarian and Kentucky Department for Libraries and Archives (KDLA) Commissioner Terry Manuel announced that Madison County Clerk Kenny Barger has received a grant totaling $17,302 from the KDLA to preserve and manage local government records. [Richmond Register]

It was about 10 a.m. on Aug. 12 when the melee erupted just north of Emancipation Park in Charlottesville, Virginia. [ProPublica]

It’s been 10 years since Kentucky judges received a raise, placing judicial salaries in the commonwealth 48th among the 50 states. [Ronnie Ellis]

With the White House under fire over its handling of the deaths of four U.S. soldiers in Niger, questions are rising about the deadly ambush. [ThinkProgress]

The Boyd County Public Library is operating on a $3.1 million budget and will likely have about $5 million in reserve this fiscal year. The library – like the school districts, volunteer fire departments and health department in Boyd County – is a special taxing district. The bulk of the library’s budget – 84 percent – is funded by property taxes. [Ashland Independent]

The Environmental Protection Agency has published a list of 10 toxic threats it will evaluate first under a law passed last year intended to crack down on hazardous chemicals. [NY Times]

Sometimes you have to wonder if the folks running Morehead State University know their ass from a hole in the ground. [The Morehead News]

Authoritarian bullshit. The White House flashed its authoritarian streak again on Friday when press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said it was “highly inappropriate” for journalists to fact-check a false claim by Chief of Staff John F. Kelly. [WaPo]

This sort of thing happened repeatedly in Montgomery County. I reported on it for a few years. Kids ‘escaped’ school on a regular basis, roamed around in traffic, you name it. It was a nightmare situation. Valarie Honeycutt Spears just twiddled her thumbs over those stories. [H-L]

For 27 years, Erwin Marks helped design military aircraft, missiles, drones and even solid rocket boosters for the space shuttle. The work was a good fit for Marks, who’d left the Navajo Nation to study design engineering technology at Brigham Young University in the 1980s. But after almost three decades, Marks had grown tired of the hiring and layoff cycles every few years as federal contracts were awarded and expired. [HuffPo]

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Birds Of A Feather: Rand & Donald

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Nearly all of the state’s child-welfare caseworkers say their workload is unmanageable — on average, it’s twice the recommended standard — even as the state of Kentucky removes more children from their parents every year because of abuse and neglect, according to a report released Thursday. [John Cheves]

The Trump administration intends to continue diplomatic efforts with North Korea “until the first bomb drops,” Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said on Sunday. [HuffPo]

The last time Rand Paul and Donald J. Trump hit the links they were talking business, but on Sunday it may have been just for leisure. [C-J/AKN]

A Taliban spokesman denied on Sunday accusations by a Canadian man that one of his children had been murdered and his wife raped while they were being held captive by militants who kidnapped them in Afghanistan in 2012. [Reuters]

Just a reminder that Rand Paul is batshit insane, racist and fighting against the very people he’s elected to represent. And you’re all just turning a blind eye. [Richmond Register]

A group of House Democrats introduced a bill on Wednesday that would require federal officials to disclose any potential conflicts of interest before they implement significant changes in U.S. regulations. [ProPublica]

The Kentucky Department of Corrections removed state prisoners from the Boyd County Detention Center after the jail failed to abide by the DOC’s order. [Ashland Independent]

The Trump campaign spent $267,924 on lawyers for Donald Trump Jr. from July to September, according to disclosures made to the Federal Election Commission on Sunday. The figure includes $237,924 for Trump Jr.’s personal attorney, Alan Futerfas. Another $30,000 went to Williams and Jensen, which helped Trump Jr. prepare for Congressional testimony. [ThinkProgress]

“Sexual assault is an epidemic,” said Attorney General Andy Beshear. Beshear visited Morehead State University on Tuesday to discuss preventing sexual assault, not only on university campuses, but statewide. [The Morehead News]

It is unlike Trump to cheer when stocks fall, but early on Saturday he did just that. “Health insurance stocks, which have gone through the roof during the ObamaCare years, plunged yesterday after I ended their Dems windfall!” he tweeted. [NY Times]

The first-ever meeting of the Barren County Fiscal Court Parks and Recreation Committee is Monday evening. [Glasgow Daily Times]

Donald Trump signed an executive order on Thursday intended to circumvent the Affordable Care Act by making it easier for individuals and small business to buy alternative types of health insurance with lower prices, fewer benefits and weaker government protections. [WaPo]

Speculation that Republicans will finally announce their proposed framework for pension reform has echoed through the walls of the Capitol this week. So far it hasn’t happened. [H-L]

Kentucky needs to jump on this. California has banned pet stores from selling cats, dogs and rabbits unless they work with shelters or rescue groups to supply the animals. [HuffPo]

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Do You Prefer Nazi Or Russian Commie Trump? Spoiler Alert: They’re The Same

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State Rep. C. Wesley Morgan failed to pay property taxes on his $350,000 houseboat for more than a decade, denying school districts and local governments thousands of dollars each year, according to public records and interviews with officials. [H-L]

A veteran international prosecutor announced she plans to quit the United Nations commission investigating human rights abuses in Syria because of the international community’s inaction when it comes to the bloodshed in the country. [HuffPo]

Another racist jackass is dead. Sonny Landham, a famed movie actor in the 1970s and 1980s who later attempted several runs for office in Kentucky, has died at age 76, according to the Associated Press. [C-J/AKN]

Sonia K. is a Holocaust survivor who was forced to live in the Warsaw Ghetto before being taken to Madjanek, Auschwitz, Ravensbruck, and Malchow concentration camps. [CNN]

Trump is correct that there is a lot of historical revision surrounding what we teach about slavery and the Civil War. But the revisionism is in the opposite direction of what Trump and Bevin claim. [Ronnie Ellis]

More civilians were killed and wounded in Kabul during in the first six months of 2017 than in war-ravaged Helmand, according to a United Nations midyear report on civilian casualties that showed deaths and injuries in Afghanistan remained near record levels documented last year. [WSJ]

The last time Democratic Attorney General Andy Beshear and attorneys for Republican Gov. Matt Bevin squared off before the state Supreme Court on the question of a governor’s power over public universities, Beshear won. [More Ronnie Ellis]

A U.S. appeals court on Friday limited the ability of police to seize cell phones from homes of people suspected of crimes, ruling the prevelance of mobile devices did not mean police could assume a suspect had one when requesting a search warrant. [Reuters]

Rowan County taxpayers will notice a decrease in their school tax rate when they receive their property taxes this year. [The Morehead News]

More than a decade ago, I chatted with Asian-American seniors at Hunter College High School in New York City about their college admission prospects. [ProPublica]

The jailer there, Joe Burchett, ought to be promptly investigated by state and federal authorites(sic). I’ve been hearing a lot about him for quite a while and it’s beyond time. First responders rushed to the Boyd County Detention Center Saturday night after maximum security inmates set a mattress ablaze, severely damaging the interior of the jail and forcing officials to relocate all 270 detainees, police said. [Ashland Independent]

As early as March 2016, a low-level Trump campaign aide claimed none other than the president of Russia was trying to meet then-candidate Donald Trump and his campaign. [WaPo]

Valarie Honeycutt Spears has been sitting on her hands as these things have unfolded for a long time. She’s also intentionally ignored mega scandals (like Montgomery County) that cost school districts tens of millions of dollars on top of everything else. She ought to be removed from covering education – just as Toni Konz was being pushed out just before she jumped ship and moved to WDRB. [H-L]

Chants of “No Trump, no KKK, no fascist USA” echoed throughout the French Quarter on Saturday as thousands of people marched in a peaceful ― but loud ― protest against racism and white supremacy. [HuffPo]

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Come On, Bulleit, Purge The Homophobia

Yep, it’s definitely time to throw out any Bulleit bourbon or rye products you’ve got in your homes or businesses. Homophobia is a disease and it should be eradicated. So when businesses like this pull clearly homophobic stunts? You’ve gotta show them that they’re not worth buying. Probably time to also ditch anything else Diageo makes. Pro-tip: If it wasn’t about homophobia? They would have been able to get out in front of it instead of flailing so badly. This is a gigantic corporation we’re talking about with a skilled PR team. They sucked this badly at it because they’re being dishonest. [H-L]

The beginning of Donald Trump’s presidency has been clouded by an ever-evolving scandal around potential collusion between his campaign and Russia. All told, there are five investigations into the matter, and from what we can tell publicly, none appears close to reaching a conclusion. [HuffPo]

Yes, there’s homophobia in the bourbon industry. There’s extreme homophobia in almost every industry in Kentucky. If you don’t live somewhere like Louisville, it’s still dangerous to be yourself in the Commonwealth. [C-J/AKN]

Government employees are growing increasingly willing to criticize or defy the White House and Donald Trump’s top appointees. [The Hill]

The late philanthropist Nancy McClellan willed $50,000 to the Boyd County Animal Shelter, and the fiscal court plans to combine the gift with county and Ashland city funding to replace it. [Ashland Independent]

Wells Fargo & Co will pay the U.S. government $108 million to settle a whistleblower lawsuit claiming it charged military veterans hidden fees to refinance their mortgages, and concealed the fees when applying for federal loan guarantees. [Reuters]

Margie Patton admits she was caught off guard when Harold “Hal” Heers stopped her one day back in 2008 to tell her he wanted to help the Barren River Animal Welfare Association expand the animal shelter. [Glasgow Daily Times]

Rex Tillerson is resisting the pleas of State Department officials to spend nearly $80 million allocated by Congress for fighting terrorist propaganda and Russian disinformation. [Politico]

A Clearfield woman has been arrested after police say she was trafficking both heroin and opiates, along with putting seven people in serious harm after exposing them to an extremely poisonous, deadly illicit drug. [The Morehead News]

Senators Tom Cotton and Ben Sasse have already been to Iowa this year, Gov. John Kasich is eyeing a return visit to New Hampshire, and Mike Pence’s schedule is so full of political events that Republicans joke that he is acting more like a second-term vice president hoping to clear the field than a No. 2 sworn in a little over six months ago. [NY Times]

This is the problem. Instead of leaving it up to sex offenders to report their location, we should be keeping track of them. [Richmond Register]

Afghan officials worry about widespread reports that Donald Trump threatened to fire Gen. John W. Nicholson Jr., the highly regarded U.S. military commander in the war-torn country. They’re also fretting over Trump’s delay in choosing a new military and political strategy. [WaPo]

What do you expect? After years and years of New Nazis/New Republicans screaming about poor people being on the take, pregnant women and women with children feel ashamed. The wingnuts fighting to end abortion but refusing to help women and children after babies are born are also a huge part of the problem. [H-L]

The Trump administration is actively advancing an agenda heralded by white nationalists, and its attempts to animate African Americans as a means to this end are becoming clearer with time. [HuffPo]

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