Who’ll Win? Carpetbagger Or Rich Guy?

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Ugh, Lexington is going to elect a carpetbagger or an out-of-touch rich guy instead of Reggie. [H-L]

Sounds like Kentucky, doesn’t it? Michigan Republicans are pushing a new, Donald Trump-inspired bill that would require Medicaid recipients in the state’s mostly black cities to work to keep their health benefits, but exempt some of the state’s rural white residents from the same requirement. [HuffPo]

Wayne Lewis, like Matt Bevin, is a con artist. The Kentucky Department of Education won’t tell you that the original plan was for the state to offer assistance to Jefferson County Public Schools rather than take it over and strip the elected school board of power. [C-J/AKN]

A robotic geologist armed with a hammer and quake monitor rocketed toward Mars on Saturday, aiming to land on the red planet and explore its mysterious insides. [AP]

Two weeks after Madison County Attorney Jud Patterson announced plans to start a new home incarceration program to help decrease the jail population, the first step in a possible expansion of the habitually overcrowded facility was taken by magistrates. [Richmond Register]

Matt Wender’s vision for Fayette County begins with the New River Gorge. Whitewater rafters, hikers and mountain bikers congregate there every summer. Craft beer and artisan pizza are helping his home emerge as an outdoor tourism hub. [ProPublica]

A Rowan County resident has filed a motion to challenge “the good faith of a candidate” running in the Primary Election on Tuesday, May 22. The “good faith” motion states King challenges Kim Barker-Tabor, current Rowan County Circuit Court Clerk and running for the seat later this month, of her candidacy for election in the primary, more specifically the date of her citizenship and residency in Rowan County. [The Morehead News]

One of the nation’s largest anti-LGBTQ organizations claims that it’s been treated unfairly because of its homophobic, transphobic, and other derogatory positions. [ThinkProgress]

Barren and 38 other Kentucky counties will receive money to be used for economic development because of Kentucky House Bill 114, which Matt Bevin signed into law in April. [Glasgow Daily Times]

The jobless rate looks like old times but the economy doesn’t. The last time the unemployment rate fell below the 4 percent threshold was in 2000, during a period of frenetic activity remembered as the dot-com boom. [NY Times]

The Fairview Board of Education on Friday chose a new superintendent following two marathon days of interviews. [Ashland Independent]

The abrupt ouster and reinstatement of the U.S. House chaplain are exposing tensions among House Republicans about the role of a vocal Jesuit Catholic priest in Congress in the era of Pope Francis. [WaPo]

A woman who said she gave birth in a jail cell without medical attention has filed a federal lawsuit against staffers with the Franklin County Regional Jail. [H-L]

A new “faith-based” adoption law signed by Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin on Friday is raising red flags for LGBTQ groups. [HuffPo]

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Bevin: Too Dumb To Walk & Chew Gum?

The Eastern Kentucky University Board of Regents violated the state open meetings act when it met behind behind closed doors for more than five hours, Attorney General Andy Beshear said. [H-L]

Special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigators have questioned a Russian oligarch about hundreds of thousands of dollars in payments his company’s US affiliate made to Donald Trump’s personal attorney, Michael Cohen, after the election, according to a source familiar with the matter. [CNN]

Fox News anchor Shepard Smith sharply criticized Donald Trump on Friday for headlining the National Rifle Association convention mere months after he vowed to take action on gun control in the wake of the deadly school shooting in Parkland, Florida, in which 17 people died. [HuffPo]

Jefferson County Public Schools could fight a state takeover in court by arguing that the state board of education cannot issue a fair decision because its new members are biased, a lawyer says. Louisville attorney David Tachau, whose practice includes constitutional litigation, said the circumstances leading up to interim Education Commissioner Wayne Lewis’ recommendation for a takeover seem suspect. [C-J/AKN]

Cambridge Analytica used its own database and voter information collected from Facebook and news publishers in its effort to help elect Donald Trump, despite a claim by a top campaign official who has downplayed the company’s role in the election. [The Guardian]

Presidents facing re-election often employ what’s euphemistically called “the Rose Garden Strategy” — events outside the White House which make them look presidential. Congressmen don’t have that luxury, but Kentucky’s Republican Congressman from the 6th District, Andy Barr, gets pretty close. [Ronnie Ellis]

The lobbyist and his wife who rented a condominium to Environmental Protection Agency administrator Scott Pruitt for $50 a night last summer paid a $2,034 fine on Friday for renting the property without the proper license. [The Hill]

Four Democrats and two Republicans are vying to fill the role of Greenup County Sheriff, an office that has been occupied by Democrat Keith Cooper since 1999. Cooper has opted against running for a sixth term. [Ashland Independent]

The U.S. National Security Agency collected 534 million records of phone calls and text messages of Americans last year, more than triple gathered in 2016, a U.S. intelligence agency report released on Friday said. [Reuters]

Harold “Hal” Rogers, U.S. representative for Kentucky’s 5th congressional district, attended a special meeting of the Gateway Area Development District (ADD) Wednesday to provide an update about ongoing work in Washington, DC and across southern and eastern Kentucky. [The Morehead News]

When the United States sought to punish Russia last month for its election interference and other aggressions, it targeted some of Russia’s wealthiest men, imposing sanctions on those viewed as enriching themselves off President Vladimir V. Putin’s government. Now it turns out that one of the men, Viktor F. Vekselberg, was also singled out in another of the efforts to confront Russia’s election interference: the investigation led by the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III. Federal agents working with Mr. Mueller stopped Mr. Vekselberg, a billionaire businessman, at a New York-area airport this year and sought to search his electronic devices and question him, according to people familiar with the matter. [NY Times]

While law enforcement agencies and other organizations around the nation may be increasing their gun bring-back programs, so far, that idea is not taking off in the Barren County area. [Glasgow Daily Times]

Beijing’s International Security Defense College, which boasts of becoming “the largest private security training school in China,” sits behind a 45-foot-high exterior wall and a barricade. Inside the compound, trainers with police and military experience teach classes on tackling detainees, handling hostage situations and thwarting terrorist attacks. [WaPo]

Faced with the need to cut nearly $1 million from its budget, Kentucky Educational Television is eliminating its online campus offerings, long known as “distance learning.” [H-L]

A high-ranking political appointee at the Department of the Interior told colleagues their job is ultimately to protect their boss, Secretary Ryan Zinke, internal emails reveal ― in particular from matters that could trigger an ethics probe or negative media attention. [HuffPo]

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Reggie Thomas Is Absolutely Correct

Reggie Thomas is absolutely right. Amy McGrath is a carpetbagger and Jim Gray has been a self-hater for so long that he doesn’t have the guts to do or say anything of substance. Look who they both have hired to run their campaigns. Just the worst of Kentucky politics. [H-L]

Donald Trump’s address to the National Rifle Association convention on Friday drew fierce criticism from a survivor of February’s deadly school shooting in Parkland, Florida. [HuffPo]

Matt Bevin appears to have sold considerable real estate holdings in 2017, according to the annual personal financial disclosure statement he filed late Monday. [C-J/AKN]

The Justice Department deleted language about press freedom and racial gerrymandering from its internal manual. [BuzzFart]

As the opioid epidemic rages across Appalachia, one grim consequence has played out in Kentucky’s medical examiner’s office: A staggering increase in autopsy requests. [Richmond Register]

The uninsured rate among working-age people — that is, those who are between 19 and 64 — is at 15.5 percent, up from 12.7 percent in 2016, meaning an estimated 4 million people lost coverage. Rates were up significantly compared with 2016 among adults with lower incomes — those living in households earning less than 250 percent of poverty (about $30,000 for an individual. [Commonwealth Fund]

Court proceedings in a case against Boyd Jailer Joe Burchett accusing him of malfeasance continued Friday morning. [Ashland Independent]

On July 15, 2016, General Michael Flynn, Trump’s former National Security Adviser who is now cooperating with Special Counsel Mueller, sent an email predicting “a number of things…will happen…via cyber operations…by both hacktivists [and] nation-states.” A week later, Wikileaks began releasing hacked emails from the DNC. [ThinkProgress]

Three candidates for Rowan County Clerk participated in the Primary Candidate Forum held last Tuesday at the Morehead Conference Center. [The Morehead News]

Imagine if women could murder straight men when they hit on them or flirt and be protected by law. You can kill a gay person in all but two states and claim gay panic and get away with it. This guy did. [WaPo]

More than a dozen candidates showed up for the Barren River Rod & Gun Club’s second forum Thursday, this one highlighting different races than the one last month. [Glasgow Daily Times]

In the United States, Paul J. Manafort is facing prosecution on charges of money laundering and financial fraud stemming from his decade of work for a pro-Russian political party in Ukraine. But in Ukraine, where officials are wary of offending Donald Trump, not so much. There, four meandering cases that involve Mr. Manafort, Mr. Trump’s former campaign chairman, have been effectively frozen by Ukraine’s chief prosecutor. [NY Times]

Republicans in heavily Republican districts don’t decide to drop out of their re-election bid because they think politics are too vicious. Pro-tip: There’s a research book floating around out there. [H-L]

Donald Trump has postponed the imposition of steel and aluminum tariffs on Canada, the European Union and Mexico until June 1, and has reached agreements for permanent exemptions for Argentina, Australia and Brazil, the White House said on Monday. [HuffPo]

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Another Kentucky Newspaper Is Dying

Lexington deserves what it gets if it elects Teresa Isaac again. What a total buffoon. [H-L]

Albert Kelly, a top aide to Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt in charge of overhauling the organization’s cleanup of America’s most contaminated sites, has resigned. [HuffPo]

Matt Bevin’s mansion and the 10 acres it sits on are now valued at $2.9 million under a new round of local property valuation updates — $1.3 million higher than what a company owned by Bevin paid for it slightly more than a year ago. The 81 percent difference follows questions from last year over the home’s true value and whether Bevin got a sweetheart deal when he bought the seven-bedroom, 9,100-square-foot estate from friend and donor Neil Ramsey in March 2017. [C-J/AKN]

Fearing they could lose access to federal student loans and grants, colleges and universities hire consultants to keep student loan defaults in check. But these advisers too often encourage borrowers to temporarily postpone payments, rather than enroll in plans that would manage their debt long-term — a strategy that skews the default data and threatens the financial health of borrowers, according to a study released Thursday by the U.S. Government Accountability Office. [WaPo]

Jim Gray found a modest sized crowd but a warm reception here Monday as he opened a local campaign office, telling about 35 people he’ll “get things done” in Washington if he’s elected U.S. Congressman from Kentucky’s 6th District. [Ronnie Ellis]

The Russian lawyer who met with Trump campaign officials in Trump Tower in June 2016 on the premise that she would deliver damaging information about Hillary Clinton has long insisted she is a private attorney, not a Kremlin operative trying to meddle in the presidential election. But newly released emails show that in at least one instance two years earlier, the lawyer, Natalia V. Veselnitskaya, worked hand in glove with Russia’s chief legal office to thwart a Justice Department civil fraud case against a well-connected Russian firm. Ms. Veselnitskaya also appears to have recanted her earlier denials of Russian government ties. [NY Times]

A hepatitis A outbreak growing in the Louisville area since last summer reached a new peak recently with a travel advisory from Indiana health officials. They told Hoosiers heading to Kentucky to get a hepatitis A vaccine. [WFPL]

The Trump administration is likely to propose freezing fuel economy standards from 2020 through 2026, according to three people briefed on the matter, a move likely to spark a fight with California and other states backing tougher vehicle emissions rules. [Reuters]

A single Boyd Democrat sheriff candidate will be selected this month to face the lone Republican candidate November. [Ashland Independent]

In February 2017, a top White House aide who was Trump’s longtime personal bodyguard, along with the top lawyer at the Trump Organization and a third man, showed up at the office of Trump’s New York doctor without notice and took all the president’s medical records. The incident, which Dr. Harold Bornstein described as a “raid,” took place two days after Bornstein told a newspaper that he had prescribed a hair growth medicine for the president for years. [NBC News]

Newspapers are continuing to die in Kentucky. The Morehead News will change its publication dates from Tuesday and Friday to once a week on Wednesdays, effective June 6, the newspaper has announced. [The Morehead News]

Peabody Energy, America’s biggest coalmining company, has funded at least two dozen groups that cast doubt on manmade climate change and oppose environment regulations, analysis by the Guardian reveals. [The Guardian]

More than 1,000 employees at the University of Kentucky will be able to continue working on degrees they’ve begun at other universities under a new program announced Tuesday. Those employees had been part of a statewide tuition waiver program that allowed them to take classes toward degrees at other public colleges and universities for free. [H-L]

At a roundtable with the nation’s top educators on Monday afternoon, at least one teacher told Education Secretary Betsy DeVos that her favored policies are having a negative effect on public schools, HuffPost has learned. [HuffPo]

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McConnell Loves Racist Homophobes

A former Georgetown doctor was sentenced Wednesday to five years in federal prison after he was convicted in October of illegally distributing oxycodone. [H-L]

When Tim Purdon became U.S. attorney for North Dakota in 2010, he had a priority: improving public safety on the state’s four Indian reservations. Prosecuting violent crimes on Indian reservations falls to the Justice Department, and Purdon himself had worked similar cases as a public defender before taking on the U.S. attorney job. [HuffPo]

Ford Motor Co.’s announcement this week that it will shift away from passenger cars in favor of more profitable trucks and SUVs raised questions right off about whether the automaker’s two Louisville assembly plants are in for even more investment and jobs. [C-J/AKN]

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt told lawmakers during a heated congressional hearing on Thursday that allegations of ethical missteps plaguing his tenure are untrue and are intended to derail Donald Trump’s agenda. [Reuters]

The day after Berean Joan Moore’s job ended, she received a providential phone call from a friend. Unaware of her employment situation, the friend asked if she would be interested in going to Najaf, Iraq, to teach English for a month. [Richmond Register]

Of course Mitch McConnell pushed through a racist homophobe. The US Senate has confirmed former CIA director Mike Pompeo as secretary of state, ending a tough confirmation battle. [BBC]

In January, a former law enforcement officer was arrested on public intoxication and lodged in the Boyd County Detention Center with no mugshot accompanying his booking information. [Ashland Independent]

The Senate Judiciary Committee voted Thursday to approve a bipartisan bill to protect special counsel Robert Mueller from being fired, despite warnings from Senate leaders that the bill is unlikely to receive a vote in the full Senate. [NPR]

The race for the Democratic nomination for Congress in Kentucky’s 6th District is showing signs of tightening. [Ronnie Ellis]

Early in Scott Pruitt’s political career, as a state senator from Tulsa, he attended a gathering at the Oklahoma City home of an influential telecommunications lobbyist who was nearing retirement and about to move away. [NY Times]

Because the end of the fiscal year – when it would obtain an audit anyway – is drawing near on June 30, the board of directors for Barren and Metcalfe counties’ ambulance service decided to postpone having a special one done now. [Glasgow Daily Times]

When Donald Trump won the presidency, his longtime attorney Michael Cohen seemed in position for a coveted spot in the senior ranks of the White House. At one point, Cohen topped a list of five candidates for White House counsel, according to documents reviewed by The Washington Post. He suggested to some Trump allies that he might make a good chief of staff. [WaPo]

The saga of composer Stephen Foster, creator of Kentucky’s state song, “My Old Kentucky Home,” added another chapter Thursday related to America’s slave era. [H-L]

The most conservative Republicans in the House of Representatives initially thought the newest farm bill would kick too few people off of food stamps, but now they’re warming up to the legislation. [HuffPo]

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Democrats Are Once Again Gearing Up To Probably Lose To Andy Barr

It’s a journalism cliche to say political candidates “traded barbs” during a debate. On Monday, the candidates running to represent Central Kentucky’s Sixth Congressional District traded unsharpened pencils. [H-L]

Black students and students with disabilities routinely receive harsher punishments at school than their peers. But the Education Department is considering eliminating civil rights guidance designed to stymie these disparities ― even as data released Tuesday illustrates the scope of the problem. [HuffPo]

Kentucky State Police said it plans to appeal a recent attorney general’s decision that stated the agency violated open records law when it denied Courier Journal requests for a database of arrest and traffic citations. [C-J/AKN]

Trump administration officials rejected recommendations from federal experts on Indian gaming policy when they blocked two American Indian tribes from opening a casino in Connecticut last year. [Politico]

After the Board of Regents denied allegations of violating the Kentucky Open Meetings Act during its closed session on March 19, The Eastern Progress submitted an appeal to the Kentucky Attorney General’s office on April 17. [Richmond Register]

Wells Fargo has been fined a record $1bn by two US regulators to resolve investigations into car insurance and mortgage lending breaches. [BBC]

A cut in state funding, a downward enrollment trend and requirements that pin some of the state money to performance benchmarks have left Ashland Community and Technical College with one of the thinnest budgets yet. [Ashland Independent]

The European Union and Mexico on Saturday announced a major update to their existing free trade pact signed nearly two decades ago, a development that will allow almost all goods, including agricultural products, to move between Europe and Mexico duty-free. The deal, which has yet to be formally signed, is expected to increase trade in dairy, pork, services, digital goods and medicines between the economies. It will also give Mexico greater access to an advanced consumer market, as negotiations with the Trump administration over the modernization of the North American Free Trade Agreement still appear to be on uncertain ground. [NY Times]

A Louisville-based company that plans to add a new location in Glasgow for its operations has already been approved for state financial incentives and has cleared the first few hurdles for local enticements. Alliant Technologies is a “full-service controls company that designs, manufactures and commissions automation systems for the freight and parcel, airport baggage handling, and warehouse distribution markets,” according to its website. It also has locations in Dallas and Ontario, Canada. [Glasgow Daily Times]

Ohio, a state where 4,329 people died of drug overdoses in 2016, a death rate second only to neighboring West Virginia, is taking the fight against the opioid epidemic into the classroom with a new style of drug-abuse-prevention education. [WaPo]

A new analysis from a national nonprofit research organization finds Louisville has gained some ground over the past three decades when it comes to shrinking inequality between the richest and poorest city residents. But sizable gaps still remain between white residents and those of color. [WFPL]

Donald Trump is increasingly relying on his personal cell phone to contact outside advisers, multiple sources inside and outside the White House told CNN, as Trump returns to the free-wheeling mode of operation that characterized the earliest days of his administration. [CNN]

Officials at Mammoth Cave National Park in Kentucky plan to dedicate a trail that has been made more accessible for people with disabilities.

When Lorena Sanabria, who survived a shooting that left 17 people dead at her Florida high school, awoke on her 17th birthday this month, the first thing that crossed her mind was: “I’m one year closer to being able to vote.” [More WaPo]

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KRS Trustees Are Still Shady As Hell

The Kentucky Retirement Systems Board of Trustees voted unanimously Thursday to not join a lawsuit filed by eight public employees alleging that several major investment firms cheated it on up to $1.5 billion in hedge fund investments, with blame to be shared by some of its own current and former trustees and officials. [John Cheves]

New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman tweeted on Saturday that a source quoted in her story derided by Donald Trump as a “drunk/drugged up loser” is likely former Trump campaign aide Sam Nunberg. [HuffPo]

In a definitive win for open records advocates, the state attorney general’s office has found Kentucky State Police violated the state public records law by denying Courier Journal requests for the agency’s database of arrest and traffic citations. [C-J/AKN]

Jeff Sessions, miniature human but full-sized racist, wants to remove domestic abuse as a legal justification for seeking asylum. [Politico]

White Hall State Historic Site is set to break ground Saturday for the first hemp crop grown on the property since the early 19th century. The inaugural plot will be featured on the Heritage Hemp Trail, and showcased during events and tours. [Richmond Register]

Schoolchildren across the US walked out of their classrooms on Friday morning to demonstrate against gun violence. The National School Walkout marked the 19th anniversary of the Columbine High School massacre in Colorado. [BBC]

Carter County residents stood in a line that stretched out the door and down the hallway as they waited for their turn to receive vaccinations against the Hepatitis A virus at the Carter County Health Department on Thursday. [Ashland Independent]

Memos written by the former F.B.I. director, James B. Comey, that were released on Thursday revealed several new details about his relationship with Donald Trump and the president’s first chief of staff, Reince Priebus. [NY Times]

Rowan County Fiscal Court has decided against any further discussion about potentially contracting out the services of the Tri-County Animal Shelter. [The Morehead News]

Keith Davidson, the former attorney for two women who were paid to keep quiet about their alleged affairs with Donald Trump, has been contacted by federal authorities investigating Trump attorney Michael Cohen and is cooperating with them, a spokesman for Davidson confirmed. [WaPo]

Jeff Hoover, the former Speaker of the Kentucky House of Representatives, and three other lawmakers paid $110,000 last fall to settle a sexual harassment claim by a young female legislative aide against the backdrop of a national debate about sexual harassment. And Julian Carroll did more than “grope” a man – it was on tape and the victim went public. [Ronnie Ellis]

Judge James Ho has been a federal judge for only a few months. Until Wednesday, he had never handed down a judicial opinion in his life. But the Trump appointee’s very first opinion, a dissent calling for a sweeping assault on campaign contribution limits, is a doozy. [ThinkProgress]

Andy Barr couldn’t get a word in. “Some of you agree with what I’m doing in Washington,” Barr said in Richmond, where the crowd often booed him. “A lot of you do.” That statement will be put to the test in November. [H-L]

Ahead of a tight primary on May 8, Dennis Kucinich’s bid to win the Democratic nomination for the critical gubernatorial race in Ohio landed in trouble this week because of the revelation that he was paid $20,000 last year by a group sympathetic to Syrian dictator Bashar Assad. Now, largely overlooked election filings show that the former congressman’s political apparatus received thousands of more dollars from two brothers involved in multiple efforts to bring Kucinich and Assad together since 2007. [HuffPo]

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