The RPK Caused These Environmental Nightmares Poor Kentuckians Now Have To Face On Their Own

The business manager of Kentucky’s “worst water district” abruptly retired Tuesday, less than a month after officials warned the district would likely collapse within 60 to 90 days if regulators don’t approve a massive rate increase. [H-L]

If Americans want gun control legislation in the wake of Wednesday’s mass shooting at a Florida high school, they need to vote Republicans out of office, a former GOP lawmaker said. [HuffPo]

One premise behind a bill pending in the Kentucky House that would roll back long-established unemployment benefits is that limiting benefits will motivate laid-off workers to try harder to find a job. [C-J/AKN]

A Russian propaganda arm oversaw a criminal and espionage conspiracy to tamper in the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign to support Donald Trump and disparage Hillary Clinton, said an indictment released on Friday that revealed more details than previously known about Moscow’s purported effort to interfere. [Reuters]

Eastern Kentucky University and the Federal Bureau of Prisons this week announced a unique partnership known as Inside-Out, and it’s the first of its type in the state of Kentucky. The Inside-Out agreement will provide EKU criminal justice students a more hands-on learning experience while also providing current inmates a chance to learn in a college environment without leaving custody. [Richmond Register]

Illinois Policy Institute has called for government reform while channeling money to firms owned by insiders. Well before John Tillman began running the Illinois Policy Institute a decade ago, the nonprofit think tank was calling for major reforms to state government, especially its finances. But few in Springfield — or elsewhere in Illinois — paid attention. [ProPublica]

Several local schools have been disrupted by threats of violence this week, although school officials say none were credible and the culprits probably were spurred by the shootings Wednesday in a Florida school. [Ashland Independent]

The Justice Department charged 13 Russians and three companies on Friday in a sprawling indictment that unveiled a sophisticated network designed to subvert the 2016 election and to support the Trump campaign. It stretched from an office in St. Petersburg, Russia, into the social feeds of Americans and ultimately reached the streets of election battleground states. [NY Times]

Morehead State is seeking volunteers to work less for less pay. [The Morehead News]

Not long after Marat Mindiyarov started working at the Internet Research Agency, the Russian troll factory indicted by the U.S. Justice Department on Friday, he began hearing about the coveted “Facebook Department.” There, workers could earn more money and work alongside a younger, hipper crowd. But to gain entry, job candidates had to prove they could seamlessly insinuate themselves into the American political conversation. [WaPo]

The Republican Party of Kentucky wants to cost you more money and kill your environment. Ronnie Tackett probably doesn’t fit your image of an environmentalist or crusader against carbon pollution. [Ronnie Ellis]

One woman’s account of clandestine meetings, financial transactions, and legal pacts designed to hide an extramarital affair. In June, 2006, Donald Trump taped an episode of his reality-television show, “The Apprentice,” at the Playboy Mansion, in Los Angeles. [New Yorker]

As national media outlets and environmental activist Erin Brockovich weigh in on Kentucky’s “worst water district,” some residents have responded with cautious optimism that change may finally come to this rural Appalachian county. [H-L]

Former congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords has begged for politicians to take action on the “gun violence epidemic” in the wake of the Florida school shooting on Wednesday, calling on voters, in an emotional tweet storm, to act to force change. [HuffPo]

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You Don’t Need An Assault Weapon

A federal appeals panel has upheld the conviction of former Paintsville Mayor Robert Porter on three charges of misappropriating money and public resources. Porter is serving a four-year sentence. [H-L]

A reported shooting at a South Florida high school on Wednesday marks the country’s 18th school shooting of 2018, just 45 days into the year. That’s an average of one school shooting every 60 hours thus far in 2018, more than double the number of school shootings recorded in any of the previous three years in that same period. [HuffPo]

Pro-tip to mouth-breathers like Matt Bevin (yes, that means YOU if you support him): You can’t help someone rise up out of poverty by making it more difficult to obtain basic health care. Within Snowflake Matt Bevin’s complex plan to reshape the state Medicaid program to cut costs and hold people accountable is this fact that may surprise some Kentuckians: Under Bevin’s plan, it actually will cost Kentucky more to provide health coverage to people affected by the Medicaid changes than if the state did nothing. [C-J/AKN]

Jared Kushner’s family real estate company has backtracked on its effort to have a lawsuit filed against it by tenants of its Baltimore-area apartment complexes moved to federal court, after a judge ruled that this transfer would require it to reveal the identities of its investment partners. [ProPublica]

In the world’s bourbon capital, an effort to eliminate a quota system limiting the number of liquor licenses is getting strong pushback from some Kentucky lawmakers. [Richmond Register]

Did you know? There are North American leaders not spewing racist rhetoric on Twitter 24/7. [BBC]

Brittney Patrick never thought she’d need food stamps, and once she had them, she never thought they’d be taken away. [WFPL]

Donald Trump’s inaugural committee paid nearly $26 million to an event planning firm started by an adviser to First Lady Melania Trump, while donating $5 million — less than expected — to charity, according to tax filings released on Thursday. [NY Times]

Senate President Robert Stivers, R-Manchester, told reporters Wednesday a Senate pension reform bill will not include moving new employees or teachers to mandatory, defined contribution plans or 401-K style plans. [Ronnie Ellis]

Like last year’s budget, the Trump administration’s 2019 budget proposes large cuts to the Environmental Protection Agency. And it eliminates explicit climate change programs in other parts of the government and cuts spending for climate change-related monitoring, alternative energy, energy efficiency and flood prevention. [WaPo]

The Rowan County Sheriff’s Office was pleasantly surprised when deputies executed a search warrant in downtown Morehead last week at a residence in which police believed they were distributing narcotic cough syrup. [The Morehead News]

The Trump administration remained insistent on hardline immigration measures on Thursday as the U.S. Senate prepared to vote on various legislative proposals to protect young “Dreamer” immigrants and to tighten border security. [Reuters]

Surprise! Matt Bevin is still a homophobic bigot. Only a matter of time til he has a stroke when one of kids 50 kids come out of the closet. [H-L]

Florida Republicans Sen. Marco Rubio and Gov. Rick Scott were swift to condemn the horrific school shooting in their state on Wednesday afternoon, offering prayers after a gunman killed at least 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland. [HuffPo]

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Another Day That Feels Like A Week

A clinic with locations in Central and Eastern Kentucky improperly prescribed thousands of doses of a drug designed to help treat people addicted to opioids such as heroin and pain pills, Attorney General Andy Beshear’s office charged in a lawsuit filed Friday. [H-L]

This needs to happen in Kentucky on a statewide level. It’s a no-brainer. [HuffPo]

The FBI ordered a wiretap of a phone used by the Adidas executive who spoke to Rick Pitino on the calls at the center of the pay-for-play allegations that cost the former Louisville men’s basketball coach his job. [C-J/AKN]

The Trump administration has adopted new limits on the use of “guidance documents” that federal agencies have issued on almost every conceivable subject, an action that could have sweeping implications for the government’s ability to sue companies accused of violations. [NY Times]

This is the dumbest shit yet from Matt Bevin’s crew. Kentucky became the first state with a work requirement for Medicaid, and now it has to do something arguably more daring: Build a mobile-friendly website that works. [Richmond Register]

There are people who will tell you — and offer research as support — that there really isn’t any link between the amount of money spent on public education and student achievement. [WaPo]

The state House approved a proposed constitutional amendment which would allow the legislature to overturn regulations by the executive branch — even when the General Assembly is not in session. [Ronnie Ellis]

Refugee resettlement agencies are preparing to shutter more than 20 offices across the United States and cut back operations in more than 40 others after the State Department told them to pare their operations, according to plans seen by Reuters. [Reuters]

Possibly as soon as next month, the Barren County Health Department will begin having a syringe exchange program for intravenous drug users. [Glasgow Daily Times]

The Federal Election Commission said in December that big political ads on the social network need disclaimers. But many candidates and groups don’t seem to be paying attention. [ProPublica]

Detectives are trying to piece together why a Kentucky man fatally shot his parents and two other people before taking his own life last weekend. [Ashland Independent]

Can you imagine if Louisville had an 11-day streak without a murder? [BBC]

A Knott County school that would have closed [last] week after the Kentucky education commissioner expressed safety concerns about the building will remain open under a judge’s order. [H-L]

When neighborhoods change, it doesn’t just affect long-term residents’ housing options. It might be making them sick. This is happening like crazy in Louisville. [HuffPo]

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RPK Is Still Killing Your Environment

Some Republicans in the state House of Representatives are pushing anti-solar legislation by playing one of Kentucky’s favorite political blame games: You’re Subsidized, But I’m Not. [H-L]

Donald Trump Jr. used Twitter to launch an unprovoked attack on U.S. Olympic figure skater Adam Rippon on Tuesday night. [HuffPo]

Ed Hart got his ass handed to him again, it seems. Kentucky Kingdom withdrew its support Friday for a controversial measure that would allow seasonal businesses to avoid paying employees overtime, two days after a union threatened a wider boycott against the Louisville-based amusement park. [C-J/AKN]

Donald Trump is expected to unveil on Monday a plan that would fulfill one of his signature campaign promises: a $1.5 trillion, once-in-a-generation proposal to rebuild, restore and modernize the nation’s aging infrastructure. (Posting this so you can see what folks “expected” to occur.) [NY Times]

When someone wants to purchase a keg of beer from craft brewer Adam Watson, he has to turn them away because Kentucky law limits how much he can sell to a customer. [Richmond Register]

Another day, another attack on Medicaid — and on the poor and working class. In other words, those five states want to time-limit or cap the total period of time an individual could receive Medicaid benefits over his or her lifetime. [WaPo]

This guy is clearly mentally unfit to serve if he thinks budget cuts aren’t worrying and troublesome. Kentucky Sheriff’s Departments are one of many governmental units facing budget cuts from Matt Bevin’s proposed plan, but Boyd County Sheriff Bobby Jack Woods isn’t worried. [Ashland Independent]

A second U.S. judge on Tuesday blocked Donald Trump’s decision to end a program that protects immigrants brought to the United States illegally as children from deportation. [Reuters]

As many as 14 school districts are faced with the inability to pay their bills by the end of the school year and some Kentucky lawmakers say they’re only a harbinger of things to come. [Ronnie Ellis]

More than a year after American diplomats began to suffer strange, concussion-like symptoms in Cuba, a U.S. investigation is no closer to determining how they were hurt or by whom, and the FBI and CIA are at odds over the case. A ProPublica investigation reveals the many layers to the mystery — and the political maneuvering that is reshaping U.S.-Cuba relations. [ProPublica]

Refundable tax incentives that have been made available to film production companies in the past by the state have been temporarily suspended. [Glasgow Daily Times]

A US spy chief has warned that presidential aides with interim security clearances should have “limited” access to secret information. US Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats said the clearance process was “broken” and needs to be reformed. [BBC]

In the wake of the shooting that claimed the lives of two students and injured 21 others, Marshall County High School is requiring all students to have their bags, backpacks and purses checked before entering school. [H-L]

When Betsy DeVos was named education secretary last February, she become public education’s No. 1 enemy. After all, the billionaire is notorious for her desire to expand private school choice programs (which include many religious private schools that teach Christian fundamentalist doctrine). [HuffPo]

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Kentucky Republicans Are Screwing Workers

Jim DeCesare, Phillip Pratt, Jim DuPlessis (the guy who publicly & proudly defends child sex predators), Richard Heath and Robby Mills are the kind of people you stick in a bad Bowling Green nursing home and forget about. They’re that awful. A proposal in the Kentucky legislature would eliminate or reduce unemployment benefits for tens of thousands of out-of-work Kentuckians each year, boosting the bottom lines of businesses by forcing the unemployed to live on less. [H-L]

Patrick McCarthy relies on tips to support his family. When a diner leaves one on his table, the career server takes comfort in knowing the tip belongs to him ― not the cook in the kitchen and not the manager in the back office. [HuffPo]

Disgraced former U.S. Rep. Carroll Hubbard, a lawyer who was sent to prison for three years for corruption in office, is in trouble again — this time for allegedly calling another attorney and her spouse “pitifull (sic) fat, ugly lesbians.” [C-J/AKN]

The Trump administration is considering making it harder for foreigners living in the United States to get permanent residency if they or their American-born children use public benefits such as food assistance, in a move that could sharply restrict legal immigration. [Reuters]

Y’all keeping an eye on this? The Special Barren County Ambulance Service Taxing District has received its first bills for the financial commitments of Glasgow and Barren County governments for the Barren-Metcalfe County Ambulance Service. [Glasgow Daily Times]

This is damning and embarrassing for Kentucky because Thomas Massie is a literal disgrace. This climate science denier powers his house with a solar battery. [ThinkProgress]

The state House approved a proposed constitutional amendment which would allow the legislature to overturn regulations by the executive branch — even when the General Assembly is not in session. [Ronnie Ellis]

Epidemiologists at the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health say they’ve identified the largest cluster of advanced black lung disease ever reported, a cluster that was first uncovered by NPR 14 months ago. [NPR]

The 2018 race for Boyd County jailer will be hotly contested following a series of troubling incidents at the detention center, and a decision by incumbent Jailer Joe Burchett to not seek re-election. [Ashland Independent]

With approval from the Trump administration fresh in hand, Kentucky is rushing to roll out its first-in-the-nation plan to require many Medicaid recipients to work, volunteer or train for a job — even as critics mount a legal challenge to stop it on the grounds that it violates the basic tenets of the program. [NY Times]

Surprise! The folks running the Bowling Green Daily News are still racist. [BGDN]

OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma said on Saturday that it has cut its sales force in half and will stop promoting opioids to physicians, following widespread criticism of the ways drugmakers market addictive painkillers. [WaPo]

The new Republican Party of Kentucky is focused on gutting education and educational accountability on all fronts. A proposal to significantly loosen oversight of for-profit colleges and schools in Kentucky has passed its first hurdle in the General Assembly, but some worried lawmakers say they hope to improve the final version of the proposal. [Linda Blackford]

Almost 390 days since Donald Trump’s inauguration, a critical White House role remains conspicuously vacant. Despite repeated calls from lawmakers and top scientists to nominate a science adviser and director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, Trump has yet to appoint one. [HuffPo]

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Public Education Barely Exists In Kentucky & Democrats Are Twiddling Their Thumbs

People who suffer from pain as a result of the shingles will have access to less expensive generic drugs under an agreement reached with a pharmaceutical company. Kentucky is one of 22 states that have reached an agreement with pharmaceutical companies Teikoku Seiyaku and Teikoku Pharma USA because of anti-competitive tactics, Attorney General Andy Beshear announced Thursday. [H-L]

Andrew Wheeler, Donald Trump’s nominee to be Environmental Protection Agency deputy administrator, appeared poised and polished at his Senate confirmation hearing in November. He couched his objections to widely accepted climate science in ambiguous legalese, and kept his cool when, at the same hearing, Kathleen Hartnett-White, the president’s pick for the Council on Environmental Quality, flamed out, stammering over questions of basic science. [HuffPo]

Dr. Bill Fannin found his son unconscious in his bedroom. Medical training and a father’s love told him what to do. Give him breath. Start his heart. [C-J/AKN]

The blue chip Dow Jones Industrial Average suffered its steepest decline since June 2016 on Friday, amid wider losses in US markets. [BBC]

A bipartisan group of lawmakers has proposed allowing casinos to open in Kentucky so the state can glean gambling tax revenue for its ailing pension systems. [WFPL]

Melania Trump could have been deported and banned from the US if Donald Trump had been president when she was working as a model in the 1990s, immigration attorneys have said. [Independent]

Make no mistake, the behind-the-scenes maneuvering of the Steering Committee for Action on Louisville’s Agenda, or SCALA, has been going on for about a year. Longer than, most notably, David Jones Jr. and Sr., have been publicly acknowledging. The group’s attempt to usurp control of Jefferson County Public Schools has been building for longer than that. It must be roundly rejected. [Aaron Yarmuth]

It’s last call for public comment on a Trump administration proposal that would give bar and restaurant owners more control over workers’ tips. The Labor Department has been asking for feedback, and already hundreds of thousands of people have weighed in. Many say they say they’re opposed to a rule that would allow restaurant owners to pocket tips for themselves. [NPR]

While public education advocates worry the next state budget will squeeze public school budgets, some districts already face the possibility they might not be able to pay all of their bills before the current school year ends. [Ronnie Ellis]

Strange how Jim Gray didn’t have the courage or conviction to publicly support medical marijuana until he realized everyone else was doing it. The only person in that race to show real leadership was Reggie Thomas. Read the latest from Jim Higdon. [Politico]

The Kentucky Medical Association President believes local medical providers would have to do some “scrambling” if the Medicaid expansion is revoked, as Matt Bevin has threatened. [Ashland Independent]

Tiny Weenus Trump’s vision of soldiers marching and tanks rolling down the boulevards of Washington is moving closer to reality in the Pentagon and White House, where officials say they have begun to plan a grand military parade later this year showcasing the might of America’s armed forces. [WaPo]

Raising the cancer stick tax could save lives and grow revenue. It probably won’t pass because Frankfort is awful. [H-L]

The Trump Misadministration wants to give states the authority to determine if plans have enough doctors. In Washington state, a woman in Spokane named Cynthia Harvey bought health insurance from Coordinated Care, in part because the brochure promised a robust roster of physicians and coverage for an array of services, including, if needed, emergency room services. [HuffPo]

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Republicans Still Wishing In One Hand…

About 2,000 additional former clients of attorney Eric C. Conn will have to prove they still deserve federal disability benefits in coming months, creating the potential for more economic hardship in Eastern Kentucky, according to people familiar with the government’s plan. [H-L]

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson warned this week that Russia is already trying to meddle in the 2018 midterm elections. And the U.S. is inadequately prepared to counter that threat, he said. [HuffPo]

After a dozen years in office, Tony Lindauer is retiring. The longtime Jefferson County property valuation administrator announced that he is no longer seeking re-election for health and family reasons. [C-J/AKN]

While Devin Nunes tries to mislead audiences about his memo, an actual document hunt in Washington could have far-reaching ramifications, both for the Russia investigation and national security writ large. On Friday Sen. Ron Wyden. (D.-Ore.) wrote a pair of letters, obtained by ThinkProgress, to both Treasury Department head Steve Mnuchin and National Rifle Association Treasurer Wilson Phillips, Jr. [ThinkProgress]

They can wish in one hand… After weeks of no news, Republican leaders are expressing renewed optimism about the prospects of overhauling Kentucky’s struggling public pension system. [WFPL]

Moscow has condemned US military proposals to develop new, smaller atomic bombs mainly to deter any Russian use of nuclear weapons. Russia’s foreign minister called the move “confrontational”, and expressed “deep disappointment”. [BBC]

Sitting at his desk in a corner of the Youth Service Center at Greenup County High School, coordinator Pete Phillips sighs and shakes his head. [Ashland Independent]

The Trump administration released a report on the state of America’s nuclear weaponry on Friday. The assessment, known as a Nuclear Posture Review, mainly concerns U.S. nukes and missiles. But buried in the plan is a mention of a mysterious Russian weapon called “Status-6.” On paper, at least, Status-6 appears to be a kind of doomsday device. The report refers to it as “a new intercontinental, nuclear-armed, nuclear-powered, undersea autonomous torpedo.” [NPR]

Pretty sure Rowan County Sheriff Matt Sparks is an idiot. What kind of intellectual lightweight can’t fire up their googler to answer the most basic questions? It’s this kind of stupidity that gives Appalachia a bad name. Particularly when it comes to medical marijuana. [The Morehead News]

For months, chemical companies have waged a campaign to reverse findings by federal fisheries scientists that could curb the use of pesticides based on the threat they pose to endangered species. They scored a major victory [last] week, when Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt announced he would press another federal agency to revisit a recent opinion triggering such restrictions. [WaPo]

If elected officials from 39 counties in southern and western Kentucky are successful in gaining enough support to pass an amendment to an existing bill this session in Frankfort, up to $6 million in additional revenue could be added to the economic development needs of those counties. [Glasgow Daily Times]

Well, that’s gonna sting a bit. The connection between the offshore accounts and the donation to the Chao family foundation were found through a search of the Paradise Papers. [The Intercept]

A legislative proposal could mean big changes to Kentucky’s largest college scholarship program, expanding it beyond college to a host of other academic programs. [H-L]

My colleagues and I marched in the Kingdom Day Parade last month, and toward the end of the route, a group of 10-15 men and women began heckling us. “All Black people don’t have AIDS,” they said, referring to the Black AIDS Institute banner we were marching behind. “You need to take that sign down. It offends us.” We tried to explain we were raising awareness to help prevent the spread of HIV within the black community, but our efforts were not exactly effective. [HuffPo]

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