Let’s Hear It For Obstruction Of Justice!

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Andrew G. McCabe, the former F.B.I. deputy director and a frequent target of President Trump’s scorn, was fired Friday after the Justice Department rejected an appeal that would have let him retire this weekend. Mr. McCabe promptly declared that his firing, and Mr. Trump’s persistent needling, were intended to undermine the special counsel’s investigation in which he is a potential witness. [NY Times]

A government program that grew by more than 6,000 percent in five years doesn’t provide medical care or feed the poor. It does indirectly subsidize profitable corporations such as Altria, parent company of cigarette-maker Philip Morris USA, and its spinoff Philip Morris International; British American Tobacco, and Japan Tobacco International. [H-L]

It is not hard to find a list of the many, stupid ways Larry Kudlow has been wrong about major economic calls in the past quarter century. He has a childlike faith in the power of tax cuts and is a committed Republican partisan, both of which drive him to say consistently outlandish things. He celebrated the dot-com bubble heights of the stock market as a triumph of Reaganomics, denied the existence of a housing bubble during the George W. Bush years, insisted the Great Recession was not a recession, claimed Barack Obama’s stimulus package would usher in raging inflation, and so on. Such unflagging technocratic incompetence makes Kudlow ― a former Bear Stearns economist better known as a CNBC personality ― an excellent fit for the bumbling Donald Trump administration. [HuffPo]

Marshall County Schools superintendent Trent Lovett is a lot like failed former Montgomery County Schools superintendent, Joshua Powell. They’re both gun-obsessed, small-minded babies with no business being around children. [C-J/AKN]

The White House has refused to comply with all three investigations by the Republican-controlled House into the questionable behavior of Donald Trump’s top aides, including Cabinet secretaries and son-in-law, Jared Kushner. And Republicans on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee are being criticized for accepting no for an answer rather than subpoena the documents. [McClatchy]

Catlettsburg Councilman Richard “Andy” Brown was indicted on a perjury charge Tuesday after allegedly claiming he wasn’t under the influence while pleading guilty to drug charges, then failing a drug test. [Ashland Independent]

Russian hackers are conducting a broad assault on the U.S. electric grid, water processing plants, air transportation facilities and other targets in rolling attacks on some of the country’s most sensitive infrastructure, U.S. government officials said Thursday. [Bloomberg]

When Frankfort lawmakers were confident they could pass a major reform of the state’s public pension systems, they decided to help local governments by allowing them to phase in higher pension contributions over a period of years. [Ronnie Ellis]

These Trump-supporting racists are keeping it in the family. Battery charges and the likelihood of a lengthy prison sentence now await Matthew Heimbach. [ThinkProgress]

Kids get it. Enough is enough. [The Morehead News]

The special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, has subpoenaed the Trump Organization to turn over documents, including some related to Russia, according to two people briefed on the matter. The order is the first known time that the special counsel demanded documents directly related to Donald Trump’s businesses, bringing the investigation closer to the president. [More NY Times]

When the Barren County Fiscal Court created a special taxing district in December 2016 solely for the purpose of creating a revenue stream to cover 60 percent of Barren-Metcalfe County EMS’ deficit, it set the tax rate in such a manner as to generate a bit more revenue than the budgeted deficit for that fiscal year, which ended June 30, 2017. [Glasgow Daily Times]

Before The Washington Post report was published, a White House spokesperson checked with several senior White House officials and did not dispute that the president had made a decision. White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly — who has personally been eager to see McMaster go —has also told White House staff in recent days that Trump had made up his mind about ousting McMaster. [WaPo]

What the hell is wrong with you, Bill Estep? Pushing propaganda – myths about marijuana – is a dereliction of your duty and is straight-up lazy. A Kentucky man who helped lead what was once called the biggest marijuana-growing operation in the nation was sentenced Thursday to four years and nine months in federal prison. John Robert “Johnny” Boone, now 74, headed the colorfully named “Cornbread Mafia,” which federal authorities said grew more than 180 tons of marijuana in Kentucky and other states in the 1980s. [H-L]

When Thomas Hofeller travelled across the country at the beginning of the decade to talk to lawmakers about the redistricting process, he brought a warning: “Don’t get cute.” [HuffPo]

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Boyd County Jail Nightmare Continues

Seventeen crosses with the names and ages of the victims killed in last month’s Florida school massacre have been hung from a Kentucky billboard advertising a gun show. [H-L]

The White House announced support Sunday for firearms training for some teachers to protect schools, and has backed off an earlier call by Donald Trump to raise the age individuals can purchase assault-style weapons from 18 to 21. [HuffPo]

Rand Paul is all in for Kentucky’s medical marijuana bill. House Bill 166, which has gained support of Republicans and Democrats in the Kentucky legislature, would allow patients with certain conditions to use the drug. [C-J/AKN]

Donald Trump’s decision to impose tariffs on steel and aluminum imports could result in economic growth that is slower than states assumed in their budget forecasts, S&P Global Ratings said on Friday. [Reuters]

A special prosecutor was assigned to the case against Boyd County Jailer Joe Burchett, who has pleaded not guilty to a charge of malfeasance or neglect of county officer. [Ashland Independent]

A complex banking bill currently making its way through the Senate is praised by proponents as a common sense revision of banking regulations, that would help small banks and lenders thrive. But activists for fair housing practices are increasingly sounding alarms warning the bill opens the door for many financial institutions to hide racially discriminatory practices in mortgage lending. [ThinkProgress]

Facing a $15 million budget shortfall, Western Kentucky University announced last month it would return its regional campuses in Glasgow, Owensboro and Elizabethtown to the Division of Extended Learning and Outreach. [Glasgow Daily Times]

It was late in the afternoon of November 9, 2013, in Moscow, and Donald Trump was getting anxious. [Mother Jones]

A lawsuit has been filed by a large shareholder of Louisville-based Kindred Healthcare that seeks to block the sale of the company to Humana and two private equity firms. [WFPL]

A Belarusian escort with close ties to a powerful Russian oligarch said from behind bars in Bangkok on Monday that she had more than 16 hours of audio recordings that could help shed light on Russian meddling in United States elections. [NY Times]

Local school officials are working with students should they decide to join in a national school walkout to protest gun violence and call for tighter gun laws this week. [BGDN]

Donald Trump would be able to dispatch Secret Service agents to polling places nationwide during a federal election, a vast expansion of executive authority, if a provision in a Homeland Security reauthorization bill remains intact. [Boston Globe]

John Ray of Martin County worked in coal mines nearly 10 years before the company told him he would be laid off. [H-L]

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos had one of the most contentious confirmation hearings of the Trump administration, with two Republicans voting against her nomination. On Sunday night, she told Lesley Stahl of “60 Minutes” that she’s “more misunderstood than anything.” [HuffPo]

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Greg Fischer: Still Fighting Transparency

House Republicans working to flesh out their recent promise of tax reform should heed the evidence that’s piling up in other states: Cutting income and business taxes, and offsetting the losses by raising sales taxes, is no magic economic elixir. It’s more a recipe for starving education, infrastructure and other public services and dishing up more budget crises. [H-L]

Last Saturday, in a private meeting with Republican donors who had gathered at his Mar-a-Lago estate, Donald Trump attacked yet again the basic foundations of American democracy. In his freewheeling and unscripted talk, a recording of which was obtained by CNN, Trump eventually focused his comments on President Xi Jinping of China. He noted Xi’s plan to abolish China’s presidential term limits, and lavished praise on this authoritarian grab at unrestricted power. [HuffPo]

Flashback to Greg Fischer claiming to be the most transparent mayor in Louisville history. Courier Journal is suing Louisville for refusing to release details on the incentives it offered to Amazon in return for the online retail giant building its second headquarters here. [C-J/AKN]

White House counselor Kellyanne Conway violated the Hatch Act on two occasions, the Office of Special Counsel (OSC) informed the Trump administration Tuesday. [The Hill]

Madison County is now officially the only community in Kentucky, and one of only seven nationwide, to be a Blueprint for Safety Community. [Richmond Register]

Migrants separated from their children after they were detained for illegally entering the United States filed a class action lawsuit on Friday, claiming there are “hundreds” of parents in the same situation, and that the Trump administration is violating their due process rights. [Reuters]

A Catlettsburg city councilman pleaded guilty to drug charges Friday and then was accused of almost immediately violating the terms of his probation by being under the influence of heroin, meth and other drugs. [Ashland Independent]

Coal ash — the residual byproduct of burning coal — is the second-largest form of waste in the entire country, with utilities producing more than 100 million tons of it each year. For decades, companies have dealt with all that coal ash by storing it in unlined pits or landfills. Now, new reporting data shows this has lead to the contamination of groundwater at coal-fired power plants across the country. [ThinkProgress]

Rowan County Sheriff Matt Sparks talked guns with Morehead-Rowan County Chamber of Commerce members this month. [The Morehead News]

The special counsel in the Russia investigation has learned of two conversations in recent months in which Donald Trump asked key witnesses about matters they discussed with investigators. [NY Times]

The Interapt Skills proposal is being downsized after it apparently became clear that the original price tag of nearly $1.9 million was going to be “too lofty a goal for our community at this point.” [Glasgow Daily Times]

The Social Security Administration’s acting commissioner had no authority to act after mid-November because the agency is in violation of a federal law regarding vacant positions, according to a report to the president. [WaPo]

A student accidentally shot himself in a classroom at Lexington’s Frederick Douglass High School with a “pocket-sized handgun” he took to school Friday, according to school district police and administrators. [H-L]

A top GOP fundraiser pitched Donald Trump last year on a plan to recruit a thousands-strong international Muslim army — to be advised by retired Army Gen. Stanley McChrystal — that would help the United Arab Emirates battle the Taliban and the Islamic State in Afghanistan, according to a leaked memo the fundraiser wrote documenting his meeting with the president. The army “would consist of two brigades (5,000 total troops) comprised of Muslim soldiers recruited from Arab and Islamic nations,” Elliott Broidy, a Republican National Committee deputy finance chair, wrote in the memo. [HuffPo]

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Andy Barr & Mike Pence Sittin In A Tree

Don’t forget that Andy Barr is tightly aligned with Trump and Pence. Mike Pence touted the GOP tax overhaul and U.S. Rep. Andy Barr’s re-election bid Wednesday at More Than a Bakery in Versailles. [H-L]

Students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School weren’t pleased with Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’ visit to the Parkland, Florida, school on Wednesday, saying that she met with few students. [HuffPo]

The House this week restored funding to 24 of the 70 programs that Matt Bevin proposed be eliminated in his proposed budget. [C-J/AKN]

An industry group says the Trump Misadministration is run “like a bad family-owned small business” and they love it. [ProPublica]

Pension continues to be the most haunting word for politicians seeking solutions to Kentucky’s failing pensions in a session, which Senator Jared Carpenter called “unique and difficult,” during a legislative update Monday. [Richmond Register]

Billionaire investor and longtime Trump confidant Carl Icahn dumped $31.3 million of stock in a company heavily dependent on steel last week, just days before Trump announced plans to impose steep tariffs on steel imports. [ThinkProgress]

Who else forgot Hampton existed? When she was a child, she never envisioned her life would take the path it has, Kentucky’s lieutenant governor told nearly 80 youths in Glasgow on Monday morning. [Glasgow Daily Times]

China has warned that it does not want a trade war with the US, but will not sit idly by if its economy is hurt. [BBC]

Probably has something to do with Jim Gray’s efforts to sweep as many homeless individuals off the streets as possible. Lipstick on a pig, if you will. Officials in Kentucky’s second-largest city say the number of homeless has declined to its lowest level in more than a decade. [WKYT]

The devastating explosion in the Upper Big Branch coal mine killed 29 men in 2010 and scarred West Virginia like few events in modern memory. Don Blankenship, the head of the mining company, went to prison over it. Not many people would call that a springboard for a career in politics. [NY Times]

Effective communication is one key toward school safety, parents and education officials in the Boyd County district agreed Monday in a community meeting. [Ashland Independent]

These people are dumb as hell. White House trade adviser Peter Navarro insisted that other countries won’t retaliate in a way that hurts U.S. consumers, dismissing the concerns of many economists and some Republican lawmakers. [WaPo]

Back off the bourbon. And stop trying to annoy Mitch McConnell. That’s the message from two powerful Kentucky interests — distillers and McConnell, the Senate’s most powerful leader. [H-L]

Experts say one of the most pervasive misconceptions about mental illness is that perpetrators of America’s all-too-common mass shootings have mental health issues. [HuffPo]

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Republicans Can’t Do Math, Apparently

For decades, people have sparred over the University of Kentucky’s Robinson Forest, a 15,000-acre block of ecologically diverse Appalachian woodland that serves as a living laboratory for how healthy forests can impact the water and animals that run through them. [Linda Blackford]

Striking teachers and other public employees in West Virginia have shut down schools across the state for more than a week, flooding the capitol in Charleston each day to rebuke their lawmakers. The workers are demanding significant raises to their stagnant pay and a clear plan to curb rising premiums in the state employee health care program. [HuffPo]

TL;DR: More of the same from the Republican Party of Kentucky. Line 3 on page 186 of the House budget bill goes a long way in explaining how the House committee could afford to restore so much funding that Bevin cut. It shows that a whopping $480 million will be transferred between now and the end of the next two-year budget period to general state spending from the Public Employees’ Health Plan. That’s about $280 million more than Bevin proposed taking from this fund, which has been tapped regularly over the past decade. [C-J/AKN]

Donald Trump has moved aggressively in his first year in office to roll back regulations he says have harmed America’s coal miners. But the industry itself remains mired in long-term decline, a downturn that one of Trump’s own government agencies predicts will only worsen over time. [The Hill]

Pregnant women in jail or prison could not be shackled during labor or child birth under a bill passed Monday by the state Senate. [Ronnie Ellis]

Donald Trump on Friday nominated a Dow Chemicals lawyer to head-up an Environmental Protection Agency unit that oversees hazardous waste disposal and chemical spills from toxic“Superfund” sites. [Reuters]

The Fairview Schools Board of Education placed the school district’s Superintendent, Michael Taylor, on suspension with pay Monday night but the reason for the suspension was not released. [Ashland Independent]

Mitch McConnell is still enabling genocide. Mitch McConnell, a longtime advocate for democracy in Myanmar and fan of Suu Kyi, has expressed his continued support in recent months despite the bloodshed in Rakhine state. “Publicly condemning Aung San Suu Kyi, the best hope for democratic reform in Burma, is simply not constructive,” the Republican senator said in September. [Politico]

Though details have yet to be announced, search warrants were executed at the Horse Cave Police Department on Monday as part of an ongoing federal investigation. [Glasgow Daily Times]

Former European leaders who tried to bring Ukraine closer to Europe before a 2014 uprising there reacted with shock on Saturday after a federal indictment accused Paul Manafort, President Trump’s former campaign chairman, of secretly paying former European officials some two million euros in 2012 and 2013 to lobby on the country’s behalf. [NY Times]

Four Republican lawmakers in Kentucky who signed a secret sexual harassment settlement last year are scheduled to participate in a hearing next month before a state ethics commission that could recommend they be removed from office. [WFPL]

The family real estate company once run by White House adviser Jared Kushner is in talks to buy out its partner in a Manhattan skyscraper that has been losing money for years. [WaPo]

Is Marty Cockring a pervert? Why else would he lobby against ending the practice of taking child brides? [H-L]

Survivors of last month’s deadly school shooting in Parkland, Florida, have delivered a blistering message to Donald Trump. [HuffPo]

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Lexington Has A Youth Murder Problem?

The grand jury investigating alleged collusion between Russia and Donald Trump’s presidential campaign has sent a witness a subpoena seeking all documents involving the president and a host of his closest advisers, according to a copy of the subpoena reviewed by NBC News. [NBC News]

Billionaires these days are more skilled at stiffing “little people” and avoiding taxes. Instead of sending them to prison, we elect them governor of West Virginia — and president of the United States. [Tom Eblen]

For years, under multiple presidents, the State Department has ignored key court rulings that should guide how it grants citizenship to children who are born abroad to LGBTQ Americans. Instead, the department has clung to an outdated interpretation of the law under which it requires a biological tie between the U.S. citizen parent and the child. [HuffPo]

Oh, people do this when there’s a sports scandal but ignore the immediate prior decade of obscene corruption at UofL!? A group of University of Louisville fans is raising money to pay for billboards to pressure for removal of top university leaders, arguing that those in charge haven’t challenged the NCAA ruling and aren’t conducting a transparent search for a new president. [C-J/AKN]

British Prime Minister Theresa May on Sunday expressed “deep concern” to Donald Trump over his announced plans to increase steel and aluminum tariffs. [The Hill]

Sure is fun watching Diane St. Onge prove out out-of-touch she is with reality. A shame the Kentucky Democratic Party can’t get itself together enough to oust her ignorant butt from office. [WFPL]

Gun-control advocacy group Everytown for Gun Safety said on Friday it will donate up to $2.5 million to support marches around the United States on March 24, the date of a planned March For Our Lives in Washington to demand an end to school shootings. [Reuters]

The Senate passed a measure yesterday to preserve the status quo in determining how many package liquor licenses are issued in individual cities and counties by a 32-4 vote. [The Morehead News]

The Census Bureau is exploring options about adding a citizenship question to the next census, amid a firestorm of protest about the controversial proposal. [ProPublica]

A year after handing out more than $180,000 to local nonprofit groups, Ashland commission members said they plan to take a closer look at annual tax dollar contributions as concerns swell over an increase in pension costs. [Ashland Independent]

Just a reminder that this happened last week. Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and senior adviser, has been stripped of his top-secret security clearance after months of delays in completing his background check, and will now be limited in his ability to view highly classified information. [NY Times]

As community members entered the Metcalfe County Middle School auditorium on Thursday evening for a discussion on school safety, they were handed a sheet of paper that outlined all of the school safety additions and improvements to Metcalfe County Schools since 2013. [Glasgow Daily Times]

Officials in at least four countries have privately discussed ways they can manipulate Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and senior adviser, by taking advantage of his complex business arrangements, financial difficulties and lack of foreign policy experience, according to current and former U.S. officials familiar with intelligence reports on the matter. [WaPo]

For people between ages 15 and 24, homicide was the second most frequent cause of death behind unintentional injuries in Fayette County between 2013 and 2016. [H-L]

Many of America’s top trade partners bristled at the news that Donald Trump plans to impose tariffs of 10 percent on aluminum and 25 percent on steel imports next week. Canada called the tariffs “unacceptable” and “inappropriate.” Mexico is considering slapping tariffs of its own on the United States in retaliation. The European Union also plans to retaliate. [HuffPo]

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Medicinal Marijuana Is A No-Brainer

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The Lexington city council voted Tuesday to support medical marijuana, becoming the largest city in Kentucky to back efforts to allow some patients access to marijuana. Bullitt County, Maysville and Mason County have passed similar resolutions in recent years supporting state-level changes in the law to allow patients to get marijuana for medical conditions. [H-L]

The conservative majority on the Supreme Court looks poised to deliver a historic blow to labor unions after hearing oral arguments in the Janus v. American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees case on Monday. [HuffPo]

Con man. The Kentucky Economic Development Cabinet has approved another $400,000 in “angel investments” in a company that is owned partly by Gov. Matt Bevin. [C-J/AKN]

US counterintelligence officials are scrutinizing one of Ivanka Trump’s international business deals, according to two sources familiar with the matter. [CNN]

A school safety expert told state lawmakers Thursday there’s “no way” arming teachers would make schools safer in the wake of the mass shooting at Marshall County High School. [WFPL]

Kentucky Republicans are disgusting for defending marriage between children and adults. And it’s a shame that Julie Raque Adams is such a coward that she refused to name the Family Foundation lobbyists working to keep child brides legal. Comes as no surprise, though, as she’s defending Jamie Comer’s alleged domestic violence. [USA Today]

The new members of the board of directors at Ashland Community & Technical College were sworn in Friday morning in a meeting that also detailed the timeline in a search for a new college president. [Ashland Independent]

Former CIA director John Brennan delivered a brutal assessment of Donald Trump on Friday, capping off the most tumultuous week the administration has seen in months. Trump is “unstable, inept, inexperienced, and also unethical,” Brennan said in an interview with MSNBC. [Business Insider]

For six years, a pharmaceutical distributor sent more than 50 million doses of prescription opioids to five eastern Kentucky counties, enough for every person there to have 417 pills each. [Richmond Register]

Whatever the special counsel concludes legally about “collusion,” evidence on public display already paints a jarring picture. It shows an American president who has embraced Russian money and illicit favors, while maintaining rhetoric and policies benefiting Russia and undercutting national security officials of his own country. [CNBC]

The Glasgow Electric Plant Board has approved a rate plan that implements a $5 reduction in the flat customer charge portion of residential customers’ bills in order to meet the agreement it made to appease certain council members and fulfill a request made by a customer advisory group. [Glasgow Daily Times]

The European Union will hit back at the heart of the United States, slapping tariffs on products like Harley-Davidsons, Kentucky bourbon and bluejeans, if Very Stable Genius Trump goes ahead with a plan to place tariffs on steel and aluminum imports, the president of the bloc’s executive arm vowed on Friday. [NY Times]

Attorney General Andy Beshear — who has had to spend way too much time reining in Bevin’s illegal overreaching in a number of areas — should find a way to recover profits from this book to repay Kentucky taxpayers some of the more than $225,000 in legal expenses Davis’ actions have cost us. Beshear won’t do it, though, because he won’t even try to recover what’s owed to Montgomery County Schools. [Tom Eblen]

Last year was the deadliest on record for LGBTQ people, but you wouldn’t know that based on news coverage. According to a new report from press watchdog Media Matters, cable and broadcast news spent less than 40 minutes across seven networks covering anti-LGBTQ violence, despite a year of unprecedented attacks. [HuffPo]

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