The RPK Is Screwing Poor Kentuckians

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Republicans Are Kickin That Can, Honey

The controversial pension plan rushed through the Kentucky legislature Thursday night would do at least one thing Republican lawmakers vowed to stop this year: It would kick the can down the road. [John Cheves]

Shanna Diederichs crouches in a shallow, circular depression in the floor of a Puebloan ruin, a clear and all-too-familiar sign that looters were here, scouring for pottery and other valuable Native American artifacts. [HuffPo]

The Kentucky Public Service Commission on Friday announced that it had issued its highest ever penalty in a natural gas safety case – a $395,000 fine of Louisville Gas and Electric for a 2014 pipeline break that injured two contract workers. [C-J/AKN]

The widow of the Pulse nightclub gunman walked free on Friday after a jury cleared her of charges related to the 2016 massacre that killed 49 people in Orlando, Florida. [Reuters]

Republican lawmakers Monday morning unveiled a compromise budget which funds public schools at higher levels and paired the budget with a tax overhaul that will lower income taxes, apply sales taxes to some services and raise $479 million in new tax dollars over two years. [Ronnie Ellis]

Former colleagues say the next national security adviser — whose job is to marshal information and present it to the president fairly — resists input that doesn’t fit his biases and retaliates against people he disagrees with. [ProPublica]

River Cities Harvest’s shelves are now 40,169 pounds heavier with food thanks to the annual Food Feud competition between local hospitals. [Ashland Independent]

America needs teachers committed to working with children who have the fewest advantages in life. So for a decade the federal government has offered grants — worth up to $4,000 a year — to standout college students who agree to teach subjects like math or science at lower-income schools. But a new government study, obtained by NPR and later posted by the Department of Education, suggests that thousands of teachers had their grants taken away and converted to loans, sometimes for minor errors in paperwork. That’s despite the fact they were meeting the program’s teaching requirements. [NPR]

Kentucky teachers say they feel betrayed by Republican lawmakers who slipped changes to future pension benefits into an unrelated bill, then hastily passed it in the House and Senate on a party-line vote. [Ronnie Ellis]

The Trump administration is attempting to scale back federal efforts to enforce fair housing laws, freezing enforcement actions against local governments and businesses, including Facebook, while sidelining officials who have aggressively pursued civil rights cases. [NY Times]

Kentucky educators expressed their concern Friday for a bill that passed the Kentucky General Assembly on Thursday. While the 291-page bill originally addressed wastewater services, it now includes pension reform. [Glasgow Daily Times]

A federal judge ruled that the District of Columbia and Maryland may proceed with an unprecedented lawsuit against Donald Trump alleging that Trump’s business dealings have violated the Constitution’s ban on receiving improper “emoluments,” or payments, from individual states and foreign governments. [WaPo]

It was after supper, and Bill Turner was studying for senior finals when his friend Jim Embry ran into the library to tell him the news: “Bill, they killed Dr. King!” [Tom Eblen]

A leading figure in America’s largest Protestant denomination has resigned from his job over a “morally inappropriate relationship in the recent past.” Frank Page, who served as the president and chief executive of the Southern Baptist Convention’s executive committee, announced his retirement on Monday. A day later, he followed up with a statement explaining that he was stepping away from active ministry because of a “personal failing” that has “embarrassed my family, my Lord, myself, and the Kingdom.” [HuffPo]

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Will April Be Just As Crazy As March?

The General Assembly introduced a tax bill today that is a shift in taxes away from corporations and high-income people and over to low- and middle-income Kentuckians. Although the official estimate is that it would bring $248 million more in net revenue by the second year, the plan relies heavily on a fading source in a cigarette tax increase and very uncertain new revenues from conformity to the federal tax code. By moving away from more productive income taxes to slower-growing consumption taxes, it will worsen Kentucky’s budget problems in the future. [Republicans Are Screwing You]

It was fitting that Republicans rammed their newest secret pension plan through the General Assembly in a matter of hours Thursday as an amendment to a bill about sewer system regulations. The whole process stank. [Tom Eblen]

Trump touted second chances for former prisoners the day before he blasted California Gov. Jerry Brown for giving ex-convicts a … second chance. [HuffPo]

Teachers from across Kentucky stormed Frankfort on Friday morning, furious over a controversial pension bill that lawmakers passed the night before in a matter of hours. [C-J/AKN]

Thousands of Kentucky teachers descended on Frankfort on Monday morning to rally against a surprise pension reform bill that passed through the legislature late last week. [More C-J/AKN]

Investigators probing whether Donald Trump’s presidential campaign colluded with Russia have been questioning witnesses about events at the 2016 Republican National Convention, according to two sources familiar with Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s inquiries. [Reuters]

An action packed Thursday night ended in a passed pension bill, however, for many Kentucky educators the fight, they say, is far from over. [Richmond Register]

Nearly a year after record Midwestern floods killed at least five people and caused $1.7 billion in damage, a secretive lobbying effort funded by Illinois and Missouri drainage districts is underway to roll back flood regulations, documents show. [ProPublica]

Northeastern Kentucky lawmakers discussed their votes Friday on a controversial pension reform bill that surged through the state Legislature. [Ashland Independent]

Get. Off. Facebook. A Facebook executive’s memo that claimed the “ugly truth” was that anything it did to grow was justified has been made public, embarrassing the company. [BBC]

Kentucky educators expressed their concern Friday for a bill that passed the Kentucky General Assembly on Thursday. While the 291-page bill originally addressed wastewater services, it now includes pension reform. [Glasgow Daily Times]

One was Photoshopped tearing up the Constitution — a falsehood — and criticized for wearing a flag that represented her Cuban heritage. A conservative blog said that another wasn’t even at the school during the killings — then had to backtrack on Monday when that also proved false. The attacks on the teenage survivors of the shooting in Parkland, Fla., have been fierce from the beginning, and have only continued since the students helped spearhead hundreds of protests this weekend. [NY Times]

Kentucky’s Democratic attorney general says he’ll go to court to challenge the pension overhaul bill passed by lawmakers in the Republican-controlled General Assembly Thursday night. [WFPL]

The death of an icon in America’s civil rights history is a reminder of how recently school segregation existed in the United States — and how little has changed since that time. [WaPo]

A former employee of Eric C. Conn pleaded guilty Friday to helping the one-time disability attorney escape the country last year to avoid sentencing in a federal fraud case. Curtis Wyatt, 48, faces up to five years in prison for helping Conn. [H-L]

Far-right white men are dangerous. Jurors in a federal courthouse Thursday were played recording after recording of three militia members spewing genocidal hatred of Muslims. [HuffPo]

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HAHA, No, He Can’t Beat McConnell

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How much more stupid and racist can Matt Bevin get? Don’t answer that question. I know it will get way worse. [H-L]

As hundreds of thousands of protesters prepared to gather in Washington and other cities across the U.S. on Saturday to demand meaningful gun reform, the National Rifle Association took to social media to mock the “March For Our Lives” event and the young gun violence survivors who spearheaded it. [HuffPo]

If you were following me on Twitter, you would have known about this memo when I obtained it and shared it with the public long before A Kentucky Newspaper claimed to have done so. And you’d know about the other Republican Party of Kentucky documents that have been leaked to me – not as a result of hacks but because people inside have had enough. [C-J/AKN]

A former Cambridge Analytica staffer says foreigners were embedded in U.S. campaigns and making decisions, despite a legal memo that advised otherwise. [NBC News]

Where there’s smoke, there’s fire. However, soon, community members will see smoke rising from the Berea College forest, but there’s no need for alarm as its likely a prescribed burn, meant to help and not harm, according to Berea College Forester Clint Patterson. [Richmond Register]

Lie-detector tests supported the accounts of Ms. Clifford, her ex-husband Michael Mosny and Mr. Deuschle, according to reports reviewed by the Journal. After the magazine called Mr. Trump’s representatives for comment, Mr. Cohen threatened to sue, say people familiar with the matter. Mr. Cohen, 51, didn’t respond to requests for comment. [WSJ]

Health care premium costs are rising for all Ashland city workers except union fire department employees. [Ashland Independent]

The youth-led U.S. gun control movement that flexed its public muscle with huge weekend rallies has already nudged Congress to enact minor firearms changes, but must remain active if it hopes to win more meaningful regulations, lawmakers said on Sunday. [Reuters]

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]

No, Matt Jones won’t beat Mitch McConnell. He won’t even be able to win a Democratic Primary. If Adam Edelen is leading people to believe that’s possible? He’s lying to you. I know what’s in the Republicans’ research book. And it’ll choke the Democratic Party’s slate. The KDP needs to get over this Jonathan Miller-Adam Edelen wing of bullshit and move on with people who aren’t good old boys. It’s tired and ought to be drowned in a toilet bowl and flushed. [Politico]

The Kentucky House of Representatives Thursday gave final passage to a bill that will create two new Family Court judges in circuits serving Pulaski, Lincoln and Rockcastle counties and Kenton and Boone counties. [Ronnie Ellis]

A cooperating witness in the special counsel investigation worked for more than a year to turn a top Trump fund-raiser into an instrument of influence at the White House for the rulers of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, according to interviews and previously undisclosed documents. Hundreds of pages of correspondence between the two men reveal an active effort to cultivate Donald Trump on behalf of the two oil-rich Arab monarchies, both close American allies. [NY Times]

Republicans have complete control of negotiations to finalize Kentucky’s next two-year state budget for the first time in modern history, but that doesn’t necessarily mean smooth sailing for the budget talks that started Friday morning. [H-L]

Puke alert. Karen McDougal, the former Playboy model who says she had an affair with Donald Trump in 2006, described an extremely awkward compliment she received from the future president. Trump compared her to one of his daughters, Ivanka Trump. [HuffPo]

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RPK Thinks It Can Wash Its Hands Of Johnson But That’s Not Going To Happen

RPK talked her into going away because all hell was about to break loose. The wife of a former Kentucky lawmaker who killed himself after facing sexual assault allegations has withdrawn from the GOP primary. Maybe her racist, child sex abuse-enabling, homophobic, literal Moonie ass will finally fade into obscurity. [H-L]

Cambridge Analytica, a British consulting firm that was hired for Trump’s 2016 election campaign, made headlines over the weekend for using data acquired from 50 million Facebook users to build “psychographic profiles” about voters without their knowledge. Undercover footage — shot between November 2017 and January 2018 — released by Britain’s Channel 4 News on Tuesday shows Mark Turnbull, managing director of Cambridge Analytica’s political division, bragging about how the company came up with the “Defeat Crooked Hillary” campaign and promoted it on social media. [HuffPo]

The city of Louisville has agreed to pay Kerry Porter $7.5 million for the 11 years he spent behind bars for a murder he did not commit — the latest in a string of huge settlements for wrongful arrest and incarceration. [C-J/AKN]

A science advocacy group urged the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission on Friday to reject a longstanding industry request to limit cyber attack protections at nuclear plants, a day after the Trump administration publicly blamed Moscow for hacking into nuclear power and other energy infrastructure. [Reuters]

Unless they alter their calendar, Kentucky state lawmakers are scheduled to take off Friday and Monday, then meet for two days to consider bills passed or amended by the opposite chamber. [Ronnie Ellis]

Retired U.S. Army general Barry McCaffrey says he can’t remain quiet any longer. Late Friday, the respected four-star general sounded an alarm about uncomfortably close relations between Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin, warning in a tweet that the U.S. president appears to be “for some unknown reason under the sway of Mr. Putin.” [ThinkProgress]

Catlettsburg Councilman Richard “Andy” Brown officially resigned Tuesday – 11 days after he pleaded guilty to drug charges and was subsequently arrested for allegedly violating his probation. [Ashland Independent]

That data firm tied to the Trump Campaign? It talked business with Russians. When the Russia question came up during a hearing at the British Parliament last month, Alexander Nix did not hesitate. But Mr. Nix’s business did have some dealings with Russian interests, according to company documents and interviews. [NY Times]

The search for a new provost at Morehead State University has been put on hold. President Jay Morgan and the search committee unanimously decided to suspend the search and re-advertise the position in September. [The Morehead News]

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ testimony that he opposed a proposal for Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign team to meet with Russians has been contradicted by three people who told Reuters they have spoken about the matter to investigators with Special Counsel Robert Mueller or congressional committees. [More Reuters]

Barren County is projected to be allotted nearly $1.6 million from the state’s Rural Secondary Road Program fund for the 2018-19 fiscal year that begins July 1. [Glasgow Daily Times]

Now a clue has emerged as to how Donald Trump’s son-in-law’s firm was able to move so fast: The Kushner Cos. routinely filed false paperwork with the city declaring it had zero rent-regulated tenants in dozens of buildings it owned across the city when, in fact, it had hundreds. [AP]

Billy Joe Miles, the Owensboro businessman and former University of Kentucky Board of Trustees chairman who turned his family’s seed company into one of Western Kentucky’s largest enterprises, has died. He was 78. [Linda Blackford]

Donald Trump on Wednesday tweeted a bizarre and ominous defense of his widely criticized decision to congratulate Russian leader Vladimir Putin, who was re-elected(sic) on Sunday. [HuffPo]

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Rep. Chris Harris Is Right On Guns

It took 10 seconds Sunday to turn 46 years of Frankfort history into rubble. With a few booms, Capital Plaza Tower fell to the ground, sending out a plume of dust that coated nearby trees and clearing the skyline of the once-tallest building in Frankfort. [H-L]

A GOP member of the House Intelligence Committee is breaking ranks with his fellow Republicans over a contentious report released Monday on Russian interference in the 2016 election and possible ties to the campaign of Donald Trump. Rep. Tom Rooney told CNN that “there is evidence” the Russians worked to help Trump. [HuffPo]

Shame on Frankfort – specifically Republicans. Morehead State University student Chandra Burnett, 23, a longtime user of contact lenses, said it gets old going every year to the eye doctor and paying around $90 to have her prescription renewed, as required by Kentucky law. [C-J/AKN]

Entities like the Koch brothers’ Americans for Prosperity, the Laura and John Arnold Foundation (John Arnold made billions at Enron), the American Legislative Exchange Council and their allies are engaged in a multifaceted, multistate campaign to gut traditional pensions. If the Kochs and their allies succeed in smashing and scattering these last remaining pension funds into millions of 401(k)s, they will do more than just undermine the retirement security of millions of Americans. They will silence their economic voice. The pension reform drive should be understood, at least in part, as a campaign of economic voter suppression. [NY Times]

Democratic Representative Chris Harris of Pike County said throughout his life — growing up in a holler, working in coal mines after high school and earning a law degree — he was surrounded by gun culture. But at a town hall forum in Louisville, both Harris and Senator Morgan McGarvey (D-Louisville) said Kentucky needs gun reform. [WFPL]

During an interview on Sunday’s edition of 60 Minutes, Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos struggled to handle straightforward pushback about her plan to steer federal education dollars toward charter and private schools and away from traditional public schools. [ThinkProgress]

Just a reminder that the Livingston County Schools superintendent – Victor Zimmerman – is a shady-ass Joshua Powell wannabe. People like that need to be removed from office quickly. Don’t believe me? Check my decade of reporting on shysters like him. Get them out of education. [WPSD]

Donald Trump’s personal assistant, John McEntee, was escorted out of the White House on Monday, two senior administration officials said. The cause of the firing was an unspecified security issue, said a third White House official with knowledge of the situation. [WSJ]

No one disputes the need for an additional Family Court Judge in the 28th Circuit which serves Pulaski, Lincoln and Rockcastle counties. [Ronnie Ellis]

And then, of course, Tillerson told the truth about Russia while the White House continued denying it. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will be replaced, Donald Trump announced Tuesday morning, after a year on the job which included frequent tension between the two men. Trump said he is nominating CIA director Mike Pompeo as Tillerson’s replacement, which requires confirmation by the Senate. [NPR]

Hold on to your wigs cause Frankfort is still trying to ruin solar energy in Kentucky. [More Ronnie Ellis]

Republicans make these wild claims about there being no evidence of collusion without interviewing any of the people indicted. Fascinating how Republican bullshit has gotten so dangerous and deliberately corrupt, isn’t it? [WaPo]

First Kroger customers, and now Waffle House patrons have been exposed to Hepatitis A during an outbreak in Kentucky. [H-L]

Oskar Groening, a former Nazi SS guard known as the “Bookkeeper of Auschwitz,” has reportedly died at age 96 without serving a day of his four-year prison sentence for being an accessory to murder. Groening, one of the last Nazi war criminals to face trial for the genocide of Europe’s Jews during World War II, died in a hospital last week, German media reported. [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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