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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Republicans Just Want To Kill Everything

Senate Republicans remain at an impasse over the bill to replace former President Barack Obama’s health care law, but it’s too early to call the GOP proposal dead, U.S. Sen. Rand Paul said Monday. [HuffPo]

In many universes, it would be strange for Rob Goldstone, a British publicist and globetrotting eager beaver whose life could easily be mistaken for extended performance art, to be at the center of a massive political scandal involving the president of the United States. [HuffPo]

Matt Bevin can’t even spell “pension” or “tax reform” without having a bout of the gay panic. He also believes the earth is 6,000-years-old. [C-J/AKN]

A “biological annihilation” of wildlife in recent decades means a sixth mass extinction in Earth’s history is under way and is more severe than previously feared, according to research. [The Guardian]

When Republican Gov. Charlie Baker recently groused in a letter to senators that the GOP health care bill reining in Medicaid spending hurts “our lowest income” residents, he echoed a concern of many other governors. [Richmond Register]

The head of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement unit in charge of deportations has directed his officers to take action against all undocumented immigrants they may cross paths with, regardless of criminal histories. The guidance appears to go beyond the Trump administration’s publicly stated aims, and some advocates say may explain a marked increase in immigration arrests. [ProPublica]

An Ashland missionary on Sunday evening called for collaborative action to combat the scourge of addiction in the region, which has led to an explosion of drug overdoses in recent years, including at least 24 overdose fatalities in Boyd County alone in 2017. [Ashland Independent]

It’s a real shame Mitch McConnell will never be poor enough to have to rely upon Medicaid. He’s publicly claiming his health care legislation would not harm anyone on Medicaid. He’s lying. People could die because of his lies and his actions. [WaPo]

Dan Olsen has been named forest supervisor of the Daniel Boone National Forest in Kentucky. Olsen had been serving as the acting forest supervisor and assumes the permanent position in Winchester immediately. [The Morehead News]

Trump’s advisers recruited two businessmen who profited from military contracting to devise alternatives to the Pentagon’s plan to send thousands of additional troops to Afghanistan, reflecting the Trump administration’s struggle to define its strategy for dealing with a war now 16 years old. [NY Times]

Members of the Metcalfe County Fiscal Court learned Tuesday that financing for the construction of the new Metcalfe County Government Center has been approved. [Glasgow Daily Times]

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions will unveil this week a major crackdown on healthcare fraud involving opioid treatment programs, Bloomberg News reported on Wednesday, citing two people familiar with the matter. Republicans will do everything they can to make the opioid crisis worse. [Reuters]

In the six months since Charter Communications replaced Time Warner as the local cable provider, its Spectrum subsidiary has united Lexington’s people. Everybody hates Spectrum. [H-L]

What was that, again, Republicans? What was that about it being about history and not racism? A few dozen Ku Klux Klan members and supporters shouted “white power” at a rally on Saturday in Charlottesville, Virginia where they protested against a city council decision to remove a statute honoring Confederate General Robert E. Lee. [HuffPo]

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Will Ramsey Ever Be Held Accountable?

Education will never, ever matter in Kentucky and corrupt fools like this will always remain in control. Unless you stop voting for the lowest common denominator. Vic Adams, president of Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College, recently hired Texas community college dean Joel Michaelis as chief academic officer for its five campuses. [H-L]

On a solemn afternoon in December 2012, President Barack Obama broke down in tears in the Oval Office. It was the first time many of his aides had seen him cry. That morning, 20 students had been killed in a mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, and like the rest of the nation, the president was shaken by the news. [HuffPo]

Karma’s a real bitch, Jim Ramsey. I was right about your crew in 2008 when I broke the Felner mess wide open. When you and your Democratic Party pals thought it’d be a good idea to retaliate, I knew I was right. And whattya know? Everything’s coming to light now. You’ll never be held accountable because you’re wealthy but at least you’ll die (not now, obviously – I mean when you kick the bucket years from now from natural causes) tainted and your family will forever be tarnished with your blood money. Same goes for your circle of supporters. Glad to see you assholes getting a healthy dose of Karma. [C-J/AKN]

Experts say the plan is certain to produce thousands of false positives that could distort the understanding of the potential for fraud, especially given the limited data states have agreed to turn over. [ProPublica]

Of course Matt Bevin’s band of merry idiots, Derrick Ramsey included, think they know what’s best in education again. [Ronnie Ellis]

Canada will issue an apology and compensation to former Guantanamo Bay detainee Omar Khadr for abuses he suffered while in prison, reports say. Canadian-born Khadr, 30, was convicted in 2010 by a US military commission of killing a US soldier in Afghanistan. [BBC]

The last meeting of the Glasgow Electric Plant Board’s board of directors occurred simultaneously with the final of three meetings of a community advisory council that was developing recommendations the utility should use for future electric-rate designs and educating the public about them. [Glasgow Daily Times]

A few Sundays ago, federal immigration agents walked through the doors of handsome houses here in the Detroit suburbs, brushing past tearful children, stunned wives and statuettes of the Virgin Mary in search of men whose time was up. If the Trump administration prevails, more than 100 of these men may soon be deported, like the tens of thousands of other people rounded up this year as part of a national clampdown on illegal immigration. [NY Times]

The Ashland Board of City Commissioners on Wednesday agreed to direct up to $4.5 million to business developers who plan to turn the Ashland Plaza Hotel into a Marriott-brand hotel. [Ashland Independent]

U.S. private employers hired fewer workers than expected in June and applications for unemployment benefits last week increased for a third straight week, pointing to some loss of momentum in job growth as the labor market nears full employment. [Reuters]

During an hour-long WFPL News special on Wednesday, city officials discussed public safety and surging violence in Louisville. [WFPL]

Nineteen Democratic state attorneys general are suing Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos over rescinded student loan regulations. [The Hill]

Developers signed a lease Wednesday that will allow work to start on the parking lot and boat ramp for the first new commercial marina on Lake Cumberland in decades, according to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. [H-L]

Even as controversy continues over President Dumpster Fire’s tweet of a video showing him beating up a personified version of CNN, a poll released Tuesday shows the cable news outlet edging him in trust among most Americans. [HuffPo]

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