The Republican Party of Kentucky’s Assault On Education Hits Raceland

Republican Senate candidate Don Blankenship stepped up his unconventional attacks on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Thursday with a new ad that accuses him of creating “millions of jobs for China people.” [H-L]

Aides to Donald Trump, the US president, hired an Israeli private intelligence agency to orchestrate a “dirty ops” campaign against key individuals from the Obama administration who helped negotiate the Iran nuclear deal, the Observer can reveal. People in the Trump camp contacted private investigators in May last year to “get dirt” on Ben Rhodes, who had been one of Barack Obama’s top national security advisers, and Colin Kahl, deputy assistant to Obama, as part of an elaborate attempt to discredit the deal. [The Guardian]

Louisville prosecutors want probation revoked for the leader of a white nationalist group who repeatedly pushed a woman at a Donald Trump campaign rally in Louisville in 2016. [C-J/AKN]

Surprise! Republicans are still massive homophobes. The Kansas Legislature on Friday approved a bill that allows faith-based adoption agencies to turn away gay and lesbian couples based on religious beliefs, and the state’s governor said he would sign it. [Reuters]

The Attorney General issued an opinion Thursday stating the Eastern Kentucky University Board of Regents violated the Open Meetings Act in discussing multiple potential layoffs in a session closed to the public. [Richmond Register]

Jared Kushner’s ethics disclosure filing misstated the financials on two Brooklyn loans, the latest in a long series of errors and omissions on the form. [ProPublica]

The board of directors for Barren County’s special ambulance service taxing district has decided it will not pay – at least for April – the typical portion Barren-Metcalfe County Emergency Medical Services bills it for its deficit. [Glasgow Daily Times]

Donald Trump knew about a six-figure payment that Michael D. Cohen, his personal lawyer, made to a pornographic film actress several months before he denied any knowledge of it to reporters aboard Air Force One in April, according to two people familiar with the arrangement. [NY Times]

The Henderson School Board unanimously voted a century ago to ban the teaching of German in city schools, which was just the tip of the spear in the community’s case of anti-German hysteria at the time. [Frank Boyett]

A prominent Southern Baptist leader whose comments about spousal abuse set off a firestorm last week said in an interview Friday that he couldn’t “apologize for what I didn’t do wrong.” [WaPo]

The state budget crunch and changes in reciprocal enrollment agreements have taken their toll in Raceland-Worthington schools, where a number of staffers will be laid off at the end of the school year. [Ashland Independent]

Donald Trump harkened back to the racist attack he made on Mexican immigrants on the first day of his campaign in the summer of 2015 during a speech at the National Rifle Association (NRA) convention Friday. [ThinkProgress]

Becky Mullins’ heart broke two decades ago when the 2- and 3-year-old sisters for whom she cared as a foster mother were ordered back to their biological parents, where they had been abused until the state of Kentucky removed them. [John Cheves]

There were reasons to suspect the serial murderer and rapist known as the “Golden State Killer” worked as a cop. He knew to conceal his identity, wearing ski masks and gloves, ordering his victims not to look at him, disguising his voice in a whisper. [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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Kentucky Republicans: Still Killing Ethics

The general counsel for the Kentucky House Republican Caucus, who allegedly sat in the room as former House Speaker Jeff Hoover and three other Republican lawmakers secretly settled a sexual harassment complaint, will soon serve as the attorney for the Legislative Ethics Commission. [H-L]

The Environmental Protection Agency’s inspector general has opened “new reviews” into Administrator Scott Pruitt’s alleged ethical lapses, including his $50 per night condo rental, according to letters sent Friday to two top Democrats. [HuffPo]

Greg Fischer unveiled a spending plan for the city Thursday that he said builds on Louisville’s momentum in the face of a $9.4 million bump in retirement costs. [C-J/AKN]

Follow the path of immigrants fleeing violence or persecution, and get a glimpse into the complicated, evolving system designed to grant them refuge in the United States. [ProPublica]

Candidates running for state representative and sheriff laid out their plans and why they should be elected, during a recent Richmond Chamber of Commerce Meet the Candidates Community Forum hosted at Eastern Kentucky University. [Richmond Register]

Within establishment political and media circles, the mythology surrounding the motives of white working-class voters has been the most popular and enduring explanation for why Donald Trump is in the White House. Trump voters are much less worried about their financial well-being than they are about losing their dominant status as white people within a demographically diverse and ever-changing nation. [ThinkProgress]

Louisville Metro Police have now had more shootings involving officers this year than all of last year, following a fatal shooting Wednesday night in Shawnee. [WFPL]

Last year, Howard “Buck” McKeon, a former Republican congressman who chaired the House Armed Services Committee, was hired to lobby for an Albanian political party seeking access to the Trump administration and congressional Republicans. But most of his firm’s work was bankrolled by a Cypriot shell company called Dorelita Limited. [Mother Jones]

More than 3,500 Hepatitis A vaccinations have been given to area residents following an outbreak of the disease. [Ashland Independent]

A top official with the Department of Health and Human Services is expected to tell members of Congress on Thursday that the agency lost track of nearly 1,500 migrant children the agency placed with sponsors in the United States, according to prepared testimony obtained by The New York Times. [NY Times]

Matt Bevin Thursday vetoed five bills and part of a sixth but allowed a tax cleanup bill which corrected mistakes in a revenue bill he opposed to become law without his signature and didn’t veto last-minute “fixes” to the budget bill. [Ronnie Ellis]

After Donald Trump vowed last year to release all the long-secret files related to the JFK assassination, the administration announced Thursday that some documents will remain redacted until October 2021 for national security reasons. [WaPo]

The open race for Lexington’s top job has attracted one of the largest fields of candidates in recent history. And the number of candidates will likely make for a messy primary season. [H-L]

A top Democratic congressman on Friday unsuccessfully tried to create a special committee to investigate why House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Shitbag) abruptly fired the House chaplain last week. [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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What Bad Stuff Will Happen Today?

Morehead State University will not raise tuition next school year, becoming the third state-funded Kentucky school to bow to increasing pressure to lower students’ costs. [H-L]

California Gov. Jerry Brown on Tuesday expressed confidence his state would prevail in a looming legal battle over the Trump administration’s plan to weaken auto fuel economy and emissions standards. [HuffPo]

People should be storming the castle over his nonsense. [C-J/AKN]

A provision in U.S. law requiring the deportation of immigrants convicted of crimes of violence is unconstitutionally vague, the Supreme Court ruled on Tuesday in a decision that could hinder the Trump administration’s ability to step up the removal of immigrants with criminal records. [Reuters]

The percentage of Kentucky adults who were prescribed pain pills nearly dropped by half from 2011 to 2017, according to the latest report from the Kentucky Health Issues Poll (KHIP). [Richmond Register]

Matt Bevin appoints anti-public education extremist Hal Heiner and racist pseudoscience-pusher Kathy Gornik to the Kentucky Board of Education. Meanwhile… Broken laptops, books held together with duct tape, an art teacher who makes watercolors by soaking old markers. Teacher protests have spread rapidly from West Virginia to Oklahoma, Kentucky and Arizona in recent months. We invited America’s public school educators to show us the conditions that a decade of budget cuts has wrought in their schools. [NY Times]

For the past three years Lily’s Place has provided individualized care to babies with prenatal drug exposure. [Ashland Independent]

Donald Trump on Monday put the brakes on a preliminary plan to impose additional economic sanctions on Russia, walking back a Sunday announcement by U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley that the Kremlin had swiftly denounced as “international economic raiding.” [WaPo]

Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear filed suit Wednesday against another pharmaceutical manufacturer alleging deceptive marketing to generate higher profits from opioid drugs. [The Morehead News]

It was the start of the 2017 Fall Family Weekend at Liberty University, the school founded by Jerry Falwell Sr. 47 years ago in Lynchburg, Virginia, and the lines were especially long to get into the basketball arena for the mandatory thrice-weekly student convocation. [ProPublica]

It didn’t take long for the newly configured state Board of Education, whose members have now all been appointed by Gov. Matt Bevin, to change directions. [Ronnie Ellis]

Mitch McConnell is complicit with the Trump-Russia shenanigans. His actions make him complicit. [ThinkProgress]

This fucking guy. Matt Bevin revisited Tuesday the firestorm he created last weekend when he linked teacher protests to the sexual assault of children. [H-L]

Strange how it’s always a certain political segment that ends up hating women, gay people and being racist. [HuffPo]

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Bevin: Now A National Embarrassment

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Matt Bevin is a disgusting, garbage human. DCBS needs to visit his home ASAP to make sure his kids are safe. Matt Bevin, asked Friday about teachers leaving the classrooms to attend a protest rally in Frankfort, said, “I guarantee you somewhere in Kentucky today a child was sexually assaulted that was left at home because there was nobody there to watch them.” [H-L]

Donald Trump’s decision to strike Syrian facilities in response to Syrian President Bashar Assad’s reported use of chemical weapons against civilians fulfills Trump’s promise of being tougher than President Barack Obama. But it’s unlikely to have much impact beyond that ― and will likely be historically judged as a failure on Trump’s own terms. [HuffPo]

Despite the scandal over the secret harassment settlement involving former Kentucky House Speaker Jeff Hoover, the legislature hasn’t passed any measures to address the issue this session. [C-J/AKN]

The Justice Department special counsel has evidence that Donald Trump’s personal lawyer and confidant, Michael Cohen, secretly made a late-summer trip to Prague during the 2016 presidential campaign, according to two sources familiar with the matter. Confirmation of the trip would lend credence to a retired British spy’s report that Cohen strategized there with a powerful Kremlin figure about Russian meddling in the U.S. election. [McClatchy]

If you rely on public transportation in Louisville, it might limit not only how long it takes you to get where you’re going, but also where you’re able to work, and live. A story by WFPL’s Amina Elahi looks into how bus routes affect the lives of those who commute on them. [WFPL]

High school physics teacher Craig Hoxie filed to run for Oklahoma’s House of Representatives on Friday, a day after the end of a two-week teacher walkout that had pressed lawmakers for school funding. [Reuters]

Kentucky’s 2016 child abuse rate — more than double the national average — was the second highest rate in the nation. [Richmond Register]

Why is Trump’s business arguing its properties are worth just a fraction of what Trump has claimed they are on his own financial disclosures? To save on taxes. [ProPublica]

In a rebuke of their own governor, the Republican-controlled General Assembly overrode three major vetoes by Matt Bevin on Friday. [Ronnie Ellis]

It has been an iron rule for candidates in rural areas and red states for decades: Do not antagonize the National Rifle Association. But that was before the massacre at a high school in Parkland, Fla., galvanized gun politics across the country. Now, a striking number of Democratic candidates in coming midterm elections, from congressional contests in the Rocky Mountains to governor’s races in the Deep South, are openly daring, defying and disparaging the N.R.A., a group with deep pockets, a loyal membership and a record of Election Day score-settling. [NY Times]

The former speaker of the Kentucky House of Representatives and three other legislators paid a former female staffer $66,000 and her lawyers $44,000 last fall to keep sexual harassment complaints against them hush-hush. [Ashland Independent]

More than 200 former Justice Department employees are urging Congress to “swiftly and forcefully respond” should Donald Trump fire Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel investigating Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, or Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein, who is overseeing the federal probe. [WaPo]

Legislative Ethics are not a thing in the Commonwealth of Kentucky. And those “secrets”? Someone has them in their possession. A little more than five months after a secret sexual harassment settlement agreement wreaked havoc on the Republican Party of Kentucky, former House Speaker Jeff Hoover reached another settlement Tuesday, this time with the Kentucky Legislative Ethics Commission. Hoover, R-Jamestown, agreed to admit that he violated legislative ethics laws, pay a $1,000 fine and subject himself to a public reprimand. The deal saves his seat in the Kentucky House of Representatives while keeping secret the details of his alleged harassment of a former House Republican staffer. [H-L]

Former U.S. ambassador Joseph Wilson, a man whose family was turned upside down by Scooter Libby and other President George W. Bush administration officials, sharply criticized Donald Trump for pardoning Libby, saying it showed his disregard for America’s national security. [HuffPo]

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The RPK Is Screwing Poor Kentuckians

The Eastern Kentucky University Board of Regents voted to slash a long list of academic programs, eliminate jobs, close a regional campus and end two sports — men’s and women’s tennis — as part of a brutal budgetary process to solve a $25 million shortfall. The regents also voted to eliminate 153 positions, about 96 of them currently filled. [H-L]

Louisville could learn a lot about this effort to curtail the negatives of gentrification. But it won’t. It’s going to continue to get worse and the city will become unaffordable for longtime residents. [HuffPo]

Republican legislative leaders chided Matt Bevin for not consulting with them before announcing Monday that he would veto tax reform and budget bills. [C-J/AKN]

Trump’s attacks on China over trade are putting Republican candidates in a difficult spot, caught between support for the president and concern for their constituents’ fortunes. [WaPo]

A top Kentucky official says northern Kentucky will likely be the first area where Medicaid enrollees will have to meet the state’s new ‘community engagement’ requirement, starting July 1. [WFPL]

The special counsel is investigating a payment made to Donald Trump’s foundation by a Ukrainian steel magnate for a talk during the campaign, according to three people briefed on the matter, as part of a broader examination of streams of foreign money to Mr. Trump and his associates in the years leading up to the election. [NY Times]

The Barren County Economic Authority continues to work with industrial companies – some new, some already in place – to develop additional jobs in the area, with some cautious optimism expressed that one or more agreements may be nearing fruition. [Glasgow Daily Times]

Ex-FBI Director James Comey compared Donald Trump to a “mob boss” in a taped interview with ABC News. [The Hill]

Attorney General Andy Beshear went to court Wednesday seeking to invalidate a controversial pension reform bill passed by lawmakers without public debate or a financial analysis. [Ronnie Ellis]

The American Civil Liberties Union has filed a lawsuit challenging what it calls a pattern by Donald Trump’s administration of detaining illegal immigrants seeking to legalize their status based on marriages to U.S. citizens. [Reuters]

Teachers from Northeast Kentucky returned to Frankfort today to lobby once again for education funding. [Ashland Independent]

The FBI was seeking information about the “Access Hollywood” tape in which Donald Trump was heard making vulgar boasts about women when agents raided the office and hotel of his personal attorney Michael Cohen Monday, according to a person with knowledge of the raid. [NBC News]

In newly released recordings, a longtime Kentucky state senator reveals new details about her affair with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and what happened in the hours before his assassination. [Tom Eblen]

If Donald Trump is to be believed when he claims his White House has “no Chaos, only great Energy,” this week may well be the most energetic of his presidency. [HuffPo]

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