Leave It To Republicans To Ignore Just How Bottom Of The Barrel Things Have Gotten

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The premature death rate improved in 12 Kentucky counties between 1997 and 2014 but got worse in 44 counties, in part because of increasing drug overdoses, according to a report released Wednesday. [H-L]

Of the many questions surrounding House Intelligence Committee Chair Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), and his conduct in investigating President Donald Trump’s ties to Russia, the most puzzling has to be his explanation for his recent visit to the White House grounds. People who have worked in the White House suggest that, on this matter, Nunes and the White House simply aren’t being credible. [HuffPo]

Matt Bevin’s administration is seeking to shut down Kentucky’s only abortion provider, prompting a federal lawsuit by the clinic to block the move it says would have “a devastating impact on women.” [C-J/AKN]

FBI Director James Comey attempted to go public as early as the summer of 2016 with information on Russia’s campaign to influence the U.S. presidential election, but Obama administration officials blocked him from doing so, two sources with knowledge of the matter tell Newsweek. [Newsweek]

GET INVOLVED IN WHAT YOUR LOCAL GOVERNMENT IS DOING! Very few residents turned out for a town hall-style meeting Tuesday night at the South Barren Volunteer Fire Station on Steam Mill Road during which some elected and appointed Barren County officials shared information abut their responsibilities. [Glasgow Daily Times]

For the past half century, federal law has banned employers from discriminating against people based on their age. But since the early 1990s, corporate lawyers and conservative judges have sought to shrink what counts as discrimination, making it substantially harder to prove age bias. [ProPublica]

“Killing Coal Country,” a documentary about the decline of the coal industry in Appalachia, will debut at a film festival in Eastern Kentucky early next month. [Ashland Independent]

Trump lifted an Obama-era moratorium on new coal leases on public lands, but critics say it will benefit executives, not workers. [ThinkProgress]

Kentucky lawmakers gave final passage to another round of major education reform Wednesday which is aimed at changing how schools are held accountable for student achievement and how teachers are evaluated. [Ronnie Ellis]

Grifters gonna grift. Ivanka Trump, the elder daughter of President Trump, is becoming an official government employee, joining her husband in serving as an unpaid adviser to her father in the White House. [NY Times]

Dr. Joseph “Jay” Morgan is officially Morehead State University’s 14th President. Morgan’s first day as President will be July 1. [The Morehead News]

If you think Paul Ryan is a policy wonk, you likely also believe the Bible is a work of science. [WaPo]

Elliott County’s fiscal court mismanaged its spending, debts and recordkeeping during fiscal 2015, state Auditor Mike Harmon said in a report released Tuesday. [John Cheves]

By undoing the Clean Power Plan, the Trump administration is putting projected carbon emissions back on an upward trajectory. It is also abandoning any hope of meeting the U.S. emissions reduction targets set out in 2015 in the 195-country Paris Agreement, the first global climate pact to include China and the U.S., the world’s top polluters. [HuffPo]

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RPK’s Race To The Bottom Continues

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Republicans in Kentucky love to create solutions to problems that don’t exist. This particularly legislation comes about because people like Stan Lee and Al Robinson have victim complexes. And folks like Jeff Hoover are just straight up homophobic and has a public history of pushing homophobia. [H-L]

HOLY SHIT Ben Carson is dumb! How does a person get this far while being so painfully dumb? [HuffPo]

Liquor store owner and State Rep. C. Wesley Morgan is making progress in his effort to rewrite Kentucky liquor laws in ways more favorable to liquor stores. [C-J/AKN]

In a blow to advocates of transgender rights, the U.S. Supreme Court Monday said it would not hear the case of a transgender high school student fighting to use the bathroom of his choice. [NBC News]

Leave it to the Republican Party of Kentucky to stiff workers like injured police officers and others. A bill that would limit workers’ compensation benefits has been paused after passing the state House of Representatives last week. [WFPL]

Mukasey, who served as the attorney general under former President George W. Bush, said he believes there was surveillance on Trump Tower after reading certain news reports. Mukasey said if there were a wiretap on Trump Tower, it would mean that there was suspicion someone had been acting as Russian agent. [The Hill]

Kentucky will not join 29 other states calling for a constitutional convention to propose a federal balance budget amendment — at least not this year. [Ronnie Ellis]

Demand for travel to the United States over the coming months has flattened out following a positive start to the year, with uncertainty over a possible new travel order likely deterring visitors, travel analysis company ForwardKeys said on Monday. [Reuters]

Resilient. That is the word Morehead State University presidential finalist Dr. Joseph “Jay” Morgan uses to describe the university. [The Morehead News]

The American people must immediately demand a cessation of all consequential actions by this “president” until we can be assured that Russian efforts to hack our election, in a way that was clearly meant to help him and damage his opponent, did not also include collusion with or coverup by anyone involved in the Trump campaign and now administration. [NY Times]

The House budget committee will take up a bill Tuesday designed to reward the state’s universities for performance in key areas like graduation, degrees and retention. [More Ronnie Ellis]

The Republican Party of Kentucky is now a national embarrassment for pushing the resegregation of Jefferson County Public Schools. It’s not about “school choice” or putting kids on a bus for two hours a day. It’s about racism. [WaPo]

Because there’s no way the Republican Party of Kentucky could have done this on its own. The current crop of folks in power can barely spell their own names. [H-L]

House Republican leaders on Monday formally unveiled legislation to repeal most of the Affordable Care Act and “replace” it with a very different health policy scheme ― one in which government would do a lot less to help people get comprehensive health insurance and, most likely, many more people would struggle to find affordable medical care. [HuffPo]

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Hal Heiner: Your New Educational Poison

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Wondering what kind of garbage Hal Heiner is pushing on the educational front? Here’s a taste. [H-L]

Mitch McConnell (R-Granny) denounced Russian President Vladimir Putin on Sunday, distancing himself from President Donald Trump’s more equivocal view of the foreign leader. Then he said he doesn’t want to critique the president… as he critiqued and obstructed the former president for eight years. [HuffPo]

Wondering how to scare the bejeebers out of racist mouth-breathers? With a headline like this: JCPS could become immigrant safe haven. [C-J/AKN]

U.S. Judge James Robart emerged from relative obscurity on Saturday as the first justice to come under fire from the president since he took office after his temporary order to lift Donald Trump’s immigration ban. [Reuters]

Topics flurried around the table at the [Richmond] Planning and Zoning Commission’s specially called meeting to discuss the Comprehensive Plan revision Thursday night. [Richmond Register]

Trump’s threats to disrupt trade with Mexico aren’t just worrying people south of the border. Each time Trump attacks the North American Free Trade Agreement, known as NAFTA, the executives at a 130 year-old railroad company in Kansas City, Mo., hold their breath. Like a lot of U.S. companies, cross-border trade accounts for a lot of Kansas City Southern’s business. [NPR]

This seems like it’s either pointless or rooted in typical rural Kentuckian racism. During the past decade, zero refugees have resided in northeastern Kentucky from the seven countries on which President Donald Trump recently placed a temporary immigration ban. [Ashland Independent]

The Trump White House appears to have backed off for now on its consideration of reopening overseas “black site” prisons, where the C.I.A. once tortured terrorism suspects, after a leaked draft executive order prompted bipartisan pushback from Congress and cabinet officials. [NY Times]

Concerned citizens and environmental groups are still awaiting a decision from federal regulators about a plan to repurpose the Tennessee Gas pipeline through Rowan County. [The Morehead News]

Just in case you’re still wondering who is really in charge of the White House… [WaPo]

Two elementary schools in the Bowling Green Independent Schools will benefit from a $250,000 Active Trails Grant recently awarded to Mammoth Cave National Park by the National Park Foundation. [Glasgow Daily Times]

The $3 pill known as BiDil was already a difficult sell when a Georgia-based pharmaceutical company bought the marketing rights a few years ago. A treatment for African Americans suffering from heart failure, BiDil had never really caught on, forcing the drug company that developed it to take a buyout offer. One strike against the drug was a 2009 study that raised questions about its safety and effectiveness. [ProPublica]

Morgan owns four liquor stores and a boat docked at Lee’s Ford Marina in Lake Cumberland. He has filed six bills intended to help himself as the owner of a liquor store. He’s also filed one bill that would repeal a state law that lets marinas enforce a lien on a boat. Why? Because he owes Lee’s Ford nearly $28,000 and they have a lien on his boat. [Rita Smart]

Republican members of Congress have made repealing the Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare, a top priority. [HuffPo]

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Republicans Are Rushing Because They Know Much Of What They Do Will Ultimately Be Reversed

Yes, reversed. Sooner or later.

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Although Republican lawmakers said they would focus in 2017 on jobs and Kentucky’s economy, the first bills to fly out of the Senate and House chambers on Thursday concerned women’s access to abortion. [John Cheves]

New research has further eroded a go-to argument from climate change deniers: that there’s been a significant slowdown, or hiatus, in global warming.
[HuffPo]

The Kentucky Senate on Thursday passed a bill to abolish the University of Louisville board of trustees and create a new system of appointing its members over objections of Democrats who said Republicans were rushing through a measure that could hurt U of L’s accreditation. [C-J/AKN]

The debts of President-elect Donald Trump and his businesses are scattered across Wall Street banks, mutual funds and other financial institutions, broadening the tangle of interests that pose potential conflicts for the incoming president’s administration. Mr. Trump has previously disclosed that his businesses owe at least $315 million to 10 companies. According to the Journal’s analysis, Trump businesses’ debts are held by more than 150 institutions. [WSJ]

The new Republican majority in the state House of Representatives voted Thursday to make Kentucky a right-to-work state and require women preparing to have an abortion undergo an ultrasound 24 hours before the procedure. [Ronnie Ellis]

Senate Democrats on Thursday demanded an ethics probe into Tom Price, President-elect Donald Trump’s pick for U.S. health secretary, following a report that the fierce Obamacare critic traded in healthcare company stocks while pushing legislation in Congress that could affect those shares. [Reuters]

Kentucky lawmakers in the coming days will likely approve a measure to repeal the state’s prevailing wage law. [WFPL]

House Republicans’ push to bring back earmarks this year faces a much tougher road after the GOP’s disastrous and unsuccessful effort this week to weaken a congressional ethics watchdog. [The Hill]

Here’s a look at how media is failing miserably at educating rural Kentucky about what’s at stake with charter schools. Way to go, Morehead News, for sucking harder than necessary. [The Morehead News]

The US has identified the Russian agents behind alleged hacking ahead of the presidential election won by Donald Trump in November, reports say. [BBC]

A statewide judicial redistricting plan that would strip Boyd County of two of its four judges but provide a family court judge was decried on Thursday by the Ashland Board of City Commissioners. [Ashland Independent]

Amid tension over the president-elect’s vision for intelligence agencies, R. James Woolsey Jr. said he did not want to “fly under false colors.” [WaPo]

Way to go, mouth-breathing Republicans! Repealing two key pieces of the Affordable Care Act could cost Kentucky nearly 45,000 jobs in 2019 because of reduced federal spending, according to a new study. [H-L]

Much like Donald Trump, former Exxon Mobil CEO Rex Tillerson ― the Republican president-elect’s choice for secretary of state ― appears well on his way to making Sen. John McCain’s blacklist. Asked by reporters Wednesday if he would support Trump’s nomination of the oil tycoon, a friend of Russia, McCain quipped: “Sure ― there’s also a realistic scenario that pigs fly.” [HuffPo]

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Kentucky Republicans Wish Kentucky Democrats Were More Bigoted Than Them (They’re Not)

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Angry union workers packed the hallways of Kentucky’s Capitol Annex Wednesday as Republican lawmakers pushed ahead with bills that would ban mandatory union dues and repeal a law that requires regional prevailing wages for workers on public construction projects. [H-L]

Mitch McConnell, the elderly, racist grandmother who cried on the floor of the senate when his young male staffer resigned, is moving his wattle again. He claims that Americans won’t tolerate Democrats blocking supreme court nominations. Much like they didn’t tolerate him for doing that very thing for ten months? [HuffPo]

This is like Jerry Abramson’s “16th Largest City” b.s. Don’t read this if you’re a local because you’ll be disappointed. Nothing about Louisville – as much as we all love it – makes it a “top destination” vacation spot. We held this one a while because it’s so funny. [C-J/AKN]

Several high-profile intelligence experts have signed a letter in support of legislation calling to create a bipartisan commission to look into “foreign interference” during the 2016 election that was introduced by House Democrats last month. [BuzzFart]

The Boyd County Fiscal Court accepted a $385,092 bid from Haydon Bridge Inc., a Washington County-based company, to replace the old Clay Jack Bridge in Rush. [Ashland Independent]

Lurking behind the president-elect’s frightening promises to crack down on people who live in the United States without documentation is a much larger ambition: to slow the nation’s massive demographic change by curtailing our legal-immigration system as well. [The Nation]

A medical waste facility being constructed in Carter County is concerning Rowan County residents. Near Carter City, a new medical waste processing facility is being built and their citizens filled the Carter County Courthouse last month to voice their displeasure of the new construction. [The Morehead News]

A tiny little manboy named Thomas Massie was one of the WATBs who voted to gut the Office of Congressional Ethics. [TPM]

When a team of biologists visited Mammoth Cave National Park last week to rescue mussels that were in danger of losing their habitat due to decreasing water levels in the Green River, they found a species of mussel that has not been seen in the river for many years. [Glasgow Daily Times]

Many of President-elect Donald Trump’s cabinet picks are titans of industry with significant potential business conflicts of interest. But there is one in a class by himself: Commerce secretary choice Wilbur Ross. [ProPublica]

The Republican train to roll back union-supported protections for workers is rolling rapidly toward its destination, and while not everyone is on board, the powers behind the legislation are driving the engine. [Ronnie Ellis]

California Rep. Adam Schiff, the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, said Sunday that there will be a stronger push for sanctions against Russia if Donald Trump moves to undo them. [Politico]

It’s cute when people in media deliberately fail to point out that the Kentucky Democratic Party is more backwater, homophobic, transphobic and racist than the national Republican Party. The RPK is 100x worse than that, of course, despite what racist joke-thrower Scott Jennings thinks. P.S. Chris Hartman and Fairness let this happen – Fairness has refused to take the far-right seriously since at least 2009. Source: Hartman sat across from me at Heine Bros on Longest Ave in Louisville in 2009 and refused to meet with David Williams, Stan Lee, made excuses. [H-L]

You can’t fix this brand of insane. In a dispute between Russian intelligence services and the U.S. intelligence community, the next president of the United States appears to be coming down squarely on the side of the Russians. [HuffPo]

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Poor Kentuckians Will Suffer When Republicans Kill Health Care Reform For Their Personal Gain

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John Leach has spent the holidays wondering how he’d come up with nearly $400 a month to pay for health insurance. [H-L]

Donald Trump made the dubious claim on Twitter late Monday night that his foundation pays zero expenses and donates all of its money to charity. However, a number of reports appear to prove otherwise. [HuffPo]

The forensic accounting of the University of Louisville Foundation will not come cheap. The university’s contract with the international firm of Alvarez & Marsal Disputes and Investigations LLC calls for it to be paid a fee of $687,500 and a total amount, including travel and other expenses, of up to $897,500. [C-J/AKN]

Senate and House Republicans are headed for a clash over whether to tackle Medicare reform under President-elect Donald Trump. [The Hill]

The West Virginia county with the nation’s highest drug overdose death rate has filed a lawsuit against three national distributors of prescription painkillers and a local doctor, contending they are responsible for the county’s addiction epidemic. [Ashland Independent]

Jodie Patterson’s 3-year-old, Penelope, was brooding and angry until one day she asked her child what was wrong. [Reuters]

Once again, Kentucky ranks first for its adult smoking rates, barely inching ahead of West Virginia to take back the first place spot, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. [Richmond Register]

A political action committee that backed Donald Trump’s bid for the presidency is continuing to flout campaign finance laws. [ProPublica]

Sheriff Matt Sparks told the Morehead Rotary Club Tuesday that he believes a better way is needed for county residents to look after each other, particularly those without family or friends and who live alone. [The Morehead News]

Besides the shuttering of the two compounds, administration officials announced the expulsion by Sunday of 35 unnamed Russian officials — and their families — who they said were working undercover as spies. [NY Times]

Members of the Glasgow-Barren County Industrial Development Economic Authority met Friday morning to discuss what to do about deficiencies discovered in metal panels that make up the walls of the organization’s spec building in the Highland Glen Industrial Park off New Bowling Green Road. [Glasgow Daily Times]

The career of Jeff Sessions, President-elect Donald Trump’s nominee for attorney general, has been shadowed by his prosecution of the “Marion Three.” Held this because it would have gotten ignored over the holidays. [WaPo]

An attorney for the family of a missing Kentucky woman has filed an appeal aimed at gaining access to the chain of custody of a 911 tape from the day the Webster County woman disappeared more than 20 years ago. [H-L]

Virtually every mental health professional I interviewed told me that they believed, with 100% certainty, that Mr. Trump satisfied the DSM criteria of this incurable illness and that, as a result, he is a serious danger to the country and the world. [HuffPo]

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