Sure, People Are A Problem. But So Are Unchecked, Unregulated Firearms That Get Into The Hands Of Children.

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The first warning of trouble many students had during the deadly shooting at a Western Kentucky high school Tuesday was a pop that some mistook for a balloon bursting, but the scene turned to hell in seconds, according to several who were there. [H-L]

A male same-sex couple is suing the U.S. State Department after one of their twins, born in Canada, was denied American citizenship, even though his birth certificate lists one citizen parent. [HuffPo]

It was a normal day. Joseph Morton was in the school library working on a computer. Ariyanne Posey stood in an area called the commons with friends. Keatyn Gamble was about to leave her home, across the street from Marshall County High School. [C-J/AKN]

The Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency has officially gained agency-wide access to a nationwide license plate recognition database, according to a contract finalized earlier this month. The system gives the agency access to billions of license plate records and new powers of real-time location tracking, raising significant concerns from civil libertarians. [The Verge]

It’s not just Republicans with zero desire to do something about the school shooting epidemic that’s been a Kentucky problem for more than 20 years. It’s also Democrats. Both just want to twiddle their thumbs. [WFPL]

A federal judge late on Thursday said President Donald Trump’s administration cannot immediately deport 92 Cambodian citizens from the United States without first allowing them a chance to challenge the action in court. [Reuters]

According to the Kentucky Department of Education, schools in the Bluegrass saw frightening levels of weapons being brought to the schools. [WKYT]

A Trump administration appointee to the National Labor Relations Board benefited the interests and clients of his former law firm when he cast the deciding vote to undo rules protecting workers’ rights in two cases last month. [ProPublica]

The Madison County School Board approved a 2018-19 draft budget at Thursday’s meeting. However, many of the numbers had to be allocated to unknown costs noted in Matt Bevin’s new proposed state budget, which would require the district to contribute hefty amounts to retirements, health insurance, transportation and more. [Richmond Register]

We’re looking at you, Six Flags Over Jesus in Louisville. Several people have died from suicide over the last several years as a result of their conversion therapy program. This person was tortured in gay conversion therapy. It’s still legal in 41 states. [NY Times]

The monthly board of directors meeting for Barren-Metcalfe County Ambulance Service was cut short Wednesday due to the lack of a quorum partway through, but several items of business were conducted in the meantime. [Glasgow Daily Times]

Jeffrey Wertkin had a plot to bring in business and impress his new partners after joining one of Washington’s most influential law firms. As a former high-stakes corporate-fraud prosecutor with the Department of Justice, he had secretly stockpiled sealed lawsuits brought by whistleblowers. Now, he would sell copies of the suits to the very targets of the pending government investigations — and his services to defend them. Wertkin carried out his plan for months, right up until the day an FBI agent arrested him in a California hotel lobby. [WaPo]

The University Press of Kentucky celebrates is 75th birthday Monday as the primary publisher of books about this state. For the past 49 years, it also has been the main publisher for Kentucky’s public and private universities and historical societies. But if Matt Bevin has his way, this birthday will be its last. [Tome Eblen]

A little over a year ago, American commerce quietly passed a techno-dystopian landmark when IBM ― one of the most prestigious and storied computer companies ― undertook a new project: automating the revolving door between Wall Street and Washington. [HuffPo]

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Budget Proves Bevin’s Worthlessness

Matt Bevin proposed a two-year state budget Tuesday night that would eliminate “about 70” state government programs and cut spending at many state agencies by 6.25 percent. [H-L]

Pope Francis said on Monday he was really afraid about the danger of nuclear war and that the world now stood at “the very limit”. [HuffPo]

Choked and knocked unconscious, Jeanette McCue said a violent attack in 2016 by her husband left her bruised and battered, with black eyes, a split lip and marks around her neck. The attack that sent her husband to prison for 10 years was shocking enough, she said. But she was shocked further when she sought to divorce him and discovered that an obscure provision of Kentucky law required her to pay for his lawyer, because as an inmate, he had no means to hire one. [C-J/AKN]

In a notable back flip, the Trump administration has decided that maybe the Obama administration was right in its efforts to change the way doctors and hospitals are paid under Medicare. [NY Times]

On a bitterly cold night, Matt Bevin promised a joint session of the General Assembly to fully fund the state’s poorly funded public pension systems, purchase more cruisers for Kentucky State Police, spend more on foster care and adoption and devote an extra $34 million to the fight against opioid addiction. [Ronnie Ellis]

The slope rises as high as London’s Big Ben tower. Beneath its ruddy layer of dirt is a sheet of ice 300 feet thick that gives the landscape a blue-black hue. If such a scene sounds otherworldly, it is. To visit it, you’ll have to travel to Mars. [WaPo]

Ashland commission members are mulling whether to turn the city’s vacant city attorney job into a full-time position. [Ashland Independent]

Outsiders like this have no business drafting narratives – and that’s what this is. They ignore Jack Conway, ignore Democratic Party inaction, ignore the dishonest and immoral Republican messaging backed by outsider dark money, ignores that Kentucky generally has low turnout, ignores that media in Kentucky has been dying for years. [TPM]

Following the recent retirement of Rowan Circuit Clerk Jim Barker, I, as Chief Circuit Judge for the 21st Judicial Circuit, requested that any Rowan County citizen who had taken and passed the Dec. 2, 2017, Circuit Clerk’s examination, apply for the temporary appointment to be interim Rowan County Circuit Clerk for the remainder of the current term, which will end upon certification of the November 2018 General Election. [The Morehead News]

Instead of responding to open records requests, some local governments have filed lawsuits against those who ask for public information in order to keep it secret. Like at the University of Kentucky. [Reason]

Four Republican lawmakers facing sexual harassment allegations waived a preliminary hearing before the Kentucky Ethics Commission Tuesday setting up a public hearing on the charges sometime before mid-April. [More Ronnie Ellis]

Steve Bannon told lawmakers investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election that the White House instructed him not to answer questions related to his tenure as a top White House adviser, prompting a rare subpoena to compel testimony, multiple congressional sources tell NBC News. [NBC News]

Matt Bevin had plenty to say about education in his budget address Tuesday night to lawmakers, saying he wished he could do more for students in classrooms while admonishing school districts that pay too many administrators. He also talked about spending “millions of dollars” in reserves held by both local school districts and state universities. [Linda Blackford]

Just a few days before a shutdown, lawmakers are still sorting out how they plan to fund the government past Friday. [HuffPo]

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Pension Reform: Still Not A Real Thing

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Testimony began Monday in a trial in which Fayette Circuit Judge Thomas Travis must decide whether a for-profit college misled prospective students. [H-L]

Federal law doesn’t make domestic terrorism a stand-alone crime. As a result, law enforcement is “somewhat reluctant” to call domestic extremists “terrorists.” [HuffPo]

An emerging concern over the pension reform bill about to be filed in the General Assembly is that it may call for increased funding for the plans by hundreds of millions of dollars more than necessary. [C-J/AKN]

The Trump administration told U.S. states on Thursday they can for the first time move toward imposing work or job training requirements on people as a condition for obtaining health insurance under the Medicaid government program for the poor. [Reuters]

The attorney for a Greensburg-based, now former lawyer accused of misusing client funds to pay off gambling debts has requested and received extra time to prepare his defense in the federal case against his client. [Glasgow Daily Times]

New research by Canadian scientists into the spread of a chemical commonly used in military explosives has confirmed some of the worst fears of U.S. environmental regulators tracking the threat posed by the Pentagon’s handling of its munitions in this country. [ProPublica]

Kentucky’s public institutions of higher education have been directed by Matt Bevin to immediately reduce their current budgets by 1 percent. Morehead State University is losing $416,425. [The Morehead News]

The US House of Representatives has passed a controversial law allowing US spy agencies to continue intercepting Americans’ private communications. [BBC]

Kentucky Electric Steel will close its plant on South Big Run Road in Boyd County in March in a move that will cost 113 people their jobs. [Ashland Independent]

To scientists who study lakes and rivers, it seems humans have embarked on a huge unplanned experiment. [NY Times]

More than 651,000 Kentuckians — about 15 percent of the state’s population — get federal help buying food through what used to be known as food stamps. Now called the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, its funding is at risk of being cut this year. [WFPL]

“Well, again,” Donald Trump said Wednesday in response to a reporter’s question, “there has been no collusion between the Trump campaign and Russians, or Trump and Russians, no collusion.” The Democrats, Trump claimed, “all say there’s no collusion.” And, he added, “there is no collusion.” And, he said again, “there was absolutely no collusion” and “everybody knows it, every committee.” And, he said, “it has been determined that there’s been no collusion by virtually everybody.” [WaPo]

The charges were sensational and news about them reverberated across the state: Billy Joe Miles, the former University of Kentucky board chairman and one of Western Kentucky’s most prominent businessmen, had been indicted on charges of rape and sodomy. [H-L]

Republicans in the U.S. Senate don’t seem to be paying close attention to what could happen to their new tax law as states begin to respond to it. [HuffPo]

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Bevin & RPK Are Terrible For Education

If you support this lunatic, you need to realize you’re a racist. You can’t be non-racist and support him. It’s not possible. [HuffPo]

This continuing Jeff Hoover meltdown is getting crazier by the minute. Just straight-up craziness. [H-L]

Democrats on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee released a sweeping report Wednesday outlining Russian President Vladimir Putin’s decades-long efforts to undermine democracy and issued stark warnings that the Kremlin will likely move to influence upcoming U.S. elections, including those this year and in 2020. [HuffPo]

Matt Bevin and the General Assembly have approved yet another cut to higher education funding in Kentucky. [C-J/AKN]

The U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday passed a bill to renew the National Security Agency’s warrantless internet surveillance program, overcoming objections from privacy advocates and confusion prompted by morning tweets from Donald Trump that initially questioned the spying tool. [Reuters]

Jody Richards, who served as Speaker of the Kentucky House of Representatives for longer than anyone in history, announced Monday he will not seek re-election this year. [Ronnie Ellis]

The president’s son is combining three apartments overlooking Manhattan’s Central Park — one of them bought at a steep discount from his father — to create 2,400 square feet worth considerably more than he paid. [ProPublica]

Glasgow Mayor Dick Doty announced his intention Tuesday to run for re-election. [Glasgow Daily Times]

The poorest of the poor always get the shaft when Republicans are making decisions. The Trump administration has issued new guidance that would allow states to impose work requirements on low-income healthcare recipients. [BBC]

The Boyd County Fiscal Court will “take a hard look” at a new, $600,000 request from the county jail for more staffing, but it would likely be impossible this fiscal year according to Judge-Executive Steve Towler. [Ashland Independent]

For years, Texas education officials illegally led schools across the state to deny therapy, tutoring and counseling to tens of thousands of children with disabilities, the federal government said Thursday. [NY Times]

A new position that is hoped will lead to greater retention in the Richmond Police Department was approved Tuesday by city commissioners. [Richmond Register]

Former White House strategist Stephen K. Bannon has hired prominent Washington attorney William Burck to represent him as he prepares to testify to the House Intelligence Committee about his role in Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, according to a person familiar with the arrangement. [WaPo]

Matt Bevin reportedly said that he would fight to bring a new $1.6 billion automaker plant to Kentucky, but now the joint venture between Toyota and Mazda is expected to go to Alabama. [H-L]

A federal judge in California ordered the Trump administration on Tuesday to keep in place the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which protects undocumented immigrants who entered the country as children from deportation and allows them to work legally, while a lawsuit proceeds. [HuffPo]

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You’re Pigging Out Today While Kids Go Hungry Probably Just Miles From You

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Attorney General Andy Beshear said Wednesday that changes in Gov. Matt Bevin’s proposed public pension bill dealing with the cost-of-living adjustment formula violate state law. [H-L]

A bipartisan group of more than 20 former federal prosecutors has urged Donald Trump to stand by his recent statements and allow special counsel Robert Mueller to conduct his investigation into Russia’s role in the 2016 election without interference. [HuffPo]

Mayor Greg Fischer leaped to the defense of Louisville police Thursday after Gov. Matt Bevin criticized the city’s use of police overtime during a year-in-review press conference. “It is sad and surprising that a governor would criticize the hard-working men and women of our Louisville Metro Police Department, who put their lives on the line 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to protect our community,” the mayor said. [C-J/AKN]

Last May, a top White House national security official met in Washington with senior Russian officials and handed over details of a secret operation Israel had shared with its U.S. counterparts. The meeting shocked veteran U.S. counterspies. The American official was not arrested, and he continues to work in the White House today, albeit under close scrutiny. [Newsweek]

Three years ago, a then 8-year-old autistic girl spent 17 days in the hospital. She suffered from dehydration, malnutrition, bruises and pressure sores. Her body temperature was 10 degrees below normal. She came close to dying, prosecutors have said. [Richmond Register]

The pace of U.S. vehicle sales is set to slow for the third straight month in December despite aggressive discounts from manufacturers, according to industry consultants J.D. Power and LMC Automotive. [Reuters]

Kentucky attorney Eric C. Conn, who fled the country after pleading guilty to charges of social security fraud, has been captured in Honduras and returned to the United States after being on the run for nearly six months. [Ashland Independent]

The US Congress has passed a short-term bill to fund the federal government until next month, averting a shutdown of government agencies. [BBC]

Matt Bevin has scheduled special elections on consecutive Tuesdays in February to fill sudden vacancies in the 49th and 89th state House districts. [Ronnie Ellis]

At this sprawling steel mill on the outskirts of Philadelphia, the workers have one number in mind. Not how many tons of steel roll off the line, or how many hours they work, but where they fall on the plant’s seniority list. [NY Times]

Glasgow Electric Plant Board cable television customers who did not like the idea of losing WHAS beginning Jan. 1 may be relieved to learn that decision has been reversed – probably. [Glasgow Daily Times]

His tenure as a top U.S. counterterrorism official coincided with the rise of the Islamic State, a wave of attacks in Europe, and a surge in terrorist recruiting through online propaganda. But as Nicholas Rasmussen approached the end of his five-year run at the National Counterterrorism Center this month — including three years as director — he voiced concern that efforts to protect the United States from mass casualty attacks are being undermined by the nation’s policies on guns. [WaPo]

There are a lot of ideas on the drawing board or in the works to help diversify the economy of Eastern Kentucky in the wake of a crash in coal jobs, including a drone-testing facility, a large solar-power array, a wildlife center and a factory to make high-tech batteries. Some people want to add casino gambling to the list. [H-L]

The Trump administration has abruptly cut off funding for studying the safety of offshore drilling, halting a 21-month project to determine the best ways to avoid a repeat of 2010′s devastating Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The study began last year and was supposed to review and update government regulators’ outdated offshore inspection programs to improve safety. [HuffPo]

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Bevin Harms Progress On Opioid Front

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Grant the Republican Party leaders one thing: their tactics in passing their hugely unpopular tax bill have been consistent—consistently evasive. [New Yorker]

Kentucky’s Democratic attorney general says his efforts to sue companies that make powerfully addictive opioid-based painkillers have been stymied by Republican Gov. Matt Bevin’s administration. [H-L]

They were obtained lawfully. An organization established for Donald Trump’s transition to the White House a year ago said on Saturday that the special counsel investigating allegations of Russian meddling in the 2016 election had obtained tens of thousands of emails unlawfully. [HuffPo]

This backward-ass person thinks the media attacked her husband because he wasn’t liberal. This is how lunatics like Danny Ray Johnson and his now-candidate wife operate. They lie, cheat, con their way into the public eye. They excuse alleged child rape. They blame others for alleged arson. They blame everyone but themselves. Can’t wait until she, as a candidate, faces scrutiny. The hate these people have pushed is unbelievable. [C-J/AKN]

Donald Trump has insisted that he will be tougher on terrorism than his predecessor, but a new report indicates that the White House may be planning to reduce funding for key U.S. counterterrorism programs and to eliminate one program altogether. [Foreign Policy]

Three years ago, a then 8-year-old autistic girl spent 17 days in the hospital. She suffered from dehydration, malnutrition, bruises and pressure sores. Her body temperature was 10 degrees below normal. She came close to dying, prosecutors have said. [Richmond Register]

The chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee says he is worried that President Trump has not issued an “outright condemnation” of Russia for meddling in the 2016 election. [The Hill]

Getting children into good preschool programs is a key to making them ready to learn in kindergarten, according to some local educators. [Ashland Independent]

The Trump administration put new requirements in place on Friday for the 38 countries participating in the U.S. Visa Waiver Program, including that they use U.S. counterterrorism data to screen travelers, officials said. [Reuters]

Two eastern Kentuckians are in jail after police arrested them during a controlled buy in downtown Morehead on Tuesday. [The Morehead News]

As another fevered push to open the pristine Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to energy exploration collapsed on the Senate floor in December 2005, Ted Stevens, then the powerful and wily Republican senator from Alaska, declared it “the saddest day of my life.” [NY Times]

Barren Metcalfe County Family Court Judge W. Mitchell Nance should know by the end of next week whether he’ll face a public reprimand from Kentucky’s Judicial Conduct Commission. [Ronnie Ellis]

The Trump administration will suspend a rule to limit methane leaks from oil and gas operations on federal land, but its true aim may be to kill the Obama-era requirement. A notice slated to be published Friday in the Federal Register by the Bureau of Land Management said the agency “has concerns regarding the statutory authority, cost, complexity, feasibility, and other implications” of the 2016 rule, which is set to go fully into effect next month. [WaPo]

That ought to end miserably. The widow of state Rep. Dan Johnson, who committed suicide Wednesday night, said she will seek to replace him in the legislature. [H-L]

Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee may be looking to prematurely shutter the committee’s investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election, a ranking Democrat warned Friday. [HuffPo]

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New Republicans: Still Choking Kentucky

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Really, Tom Eblen? Asking what state officials are going to do about pedestrian deaths in Lexington? Absolutely nothing. You already know that. Because nothing’s ever been done in Louisville. [Tom Eblen]

It was billed as radical tax reform ― reducing taxes for the middle class and closing loopholes for the rich ― but the Republicans have come under serious fire for offering the biggest breaks to companies and the wealthy. [HuffPo]

General Electric Co. will cut 12,000 jobs in its power division as alternative energy supplants demand for coal and other fossil fuels. [C-J/AKN]

A zealous band of Russian trolls flooded Twitter with hundreds of thousands of divisive posts in 2016 — accusing Democrats of satanic practices and supporting rape — in an attempt to influence the presidential election, according to a new analysis of a Twitter database by NBC News. The effort tricked thousands of users into spreading graphic racial epithets across social media, interweaving provocative content with disinformation and falsehoods. [NBC News]

As talks for pension reform continues, many state employees, especially teachers, have been looking closer at retirement. [Richmond Register]

State lawmakers often blur the line between the public’s business and their own. A recent change in Iowa’s tax code spared Mark Chelgren’s machine shop, welding company and wheelchair-parts plant from paying sales tax when buying certain supplies such as saws and cutting fluid. [Public Integrity]

It’s been three years since Sabrina Sigman last saw her son. Paul Clifton Sigman disappeared sometime in the early morning hours of Dec. 2, 2014. [Ashland Independent]

Here’s a grim picture of the state of the American economy: The CEO of Dollar General explained to the Wall Street Journal why things are looking up for his company. [Vox]

An updated analysis of Kentucky’s poorly funded public pension systems by PEW Charitable Trust indicates previous reforms of the system enacted in 2013 put the systems “on track to full funding provided the state continues to stay on the course charted in 2013.” [Ronnie Ellis]

The mission that resulted in the death of eight soldiers — including four Americans — in a firefight with Islamist militants in Niger earlier this year was the result of reckless behavior by US Special Forces in Africa, according to insiders and officials with knowledge of the operation. [BuzzFeed]

Dennis Chaney, district director for the Barren River District Health Department, is on Monday’s agenda for the Glasgow City Council meeting to discuss information about syringe exchanges. [Glasgow Daily Times]

U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller unveiled a trove of documents on Friday showing what he said was “irrefutable evidence” that Donald Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort violated a court gag order by ghost-writing an opinion piece designed to improve his public image. [Reuters]

The DCCC pushed Jim Gray to run for Congress for a couple reasons. It fears and wants to overlook the black man already in the race. And the woman in the race is backed by the absolute worst people in Kentucky politics. And no, Gray has no shot. [H-L]

His actions speak louder than his words. You know he’s racist and his words are empty. [HuffPo]

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