Matt Bevin Doesn’t Care About Kids

Here’s your regular reminder that Matt Bevin doesn’t actually give a flip about the foster care system. He could afford to buy his children from a foreign country (don’t even try to act like that’s not what happened – wealthy people do it all the time to avoid government scrutiny from the social services system and because they’re impatient) and hasn’t really given much thought to what goes on at home. He and his wife put on little shows here and there to feign empathy but if they truly gave a flip? Stuff like this wouldn’t occur. [H-L]

Several days after a former Russian spy and his daughter were found catatonic on a bench in Salisbury, England, British, Prime Minister Theresa May revealed that the pair had been poisoned by a rare and highly-deadly nerve agent known as Novichok. The revelation prompted U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to say the poisoning “clearly came from Russia.” Novichok, he added, is a military-grade agent found “only in the hands of a very, very limited number of parties.” [HuffPo]

Donald Trump’s decision to slap tariffs on imported steel and aluminum triggered cheers at Kentucky aluminum and steel mills — and a far more somber reaction from bourbon distillers and manufacturing businesses. [C-J/AKN]

An adviser to the United Arab Emirates with ties to current and former aides to Donald Trump is cooperating with the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, and gave testimony last week to a grand jury, according to two people familiar with the matter. [NY Times]

Boyd County and Fairview Independent schools will soon have more law enforcement officers on campus. [Ashland Independent]

In the spring of 2016, longtime political operative Roger Stone had a phone conversation that would later seem prophetic, according to the person on the other end of the line. [WaPo]

Rowan County Sheriff Matt Sparks is hoping to educate the public about what to do when being followed or harassed in a public space after a social media post went viral over the past few days. [The Morehead News]

U.S. students spilled out of classrooms by the tens of thousands on Wednesday, chanting slogans like “No more silence” and “We want change” as part of a coast-to-coast protest over gun violence prompted by last month’s massacre at a Florida high school. [Reuters]

Hundreds of Kentucky high school students, including survivors of a campus shooting this year, joined a nationwide gun violence protest Wednesday by rallying in frigid weather at the state Capitol. [Richmond Register]

You can thank Mitch McConnell for killing any protections you have against corrupt banks. The Senate voted to advance Wednesday the most sweeping bipartisan changes yet to the Dodd-Frank Wall Street reform bill enacted by President Obama after the 2007 financial crisis. [The Hill]

Louisville-area schools joined nearly 3,000 others across the country Wednesday walking out of class at 10 a.m. for 17 minutes. [WFPL]

The UK will expel 23 Russian diplomats after Moscow refused to explain how a Russian-made nerve agent was used on a former spy in Salisbury, the PM says. [BBC]

Alice Forgy Kerr is a homophobic monster and Kentucky media ought not forget or excuse it. You’ll never see people like Jack Brammer report on that, however. Instead, people like Brammer paint her as some kind of victim just trying to do the right thing. It’s that kind of bullshit narrative that keeps Kentucky in the dark ages. [H-L]

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders pointedly avoided saying the word “Russia” on Monday when very specifically questioned about that country’s culpability in the poisoning last week of a former Russian spy with a deadly nerve agent. [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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Repubs Screwing Teachers Part 2,037

Morehead State University will save $1 million by cutting five upper level administration positions, another belt tightening move amid state budget cuts and rising pension costs. Vice President for Administration. Facility Management Director. Assistant Vice President for Student Engagement. Associate Vice President for Academic Success. Assistant Vice President for Regional Engagement. [Linda Blackford]

When White House Communications Director Hope Hicks resigned on Wednesday, she was only the the latest of a series of high-profile departures from Donald Trump’s administration. [HuffPo]

A plan to give local governments, school districts and others more time to adjust to the soaring pension costs they face beginning later this year was approved by the Senate budget committee Tuesday morning. [C-J/AKN]

Ken Ham won’t like this. It’s long been an insult to be called a Neanderthal. But the more these elusive, vanished people have been studied, the more respect they’ve gained among scientists. [NY Times]

The far right reaction to gun-related stories explains a lot about why Kentucky tends to remain in the dark ages. Not just in terms of ability to effectively use language but the Fox News-induced panic beams on high. [WDRB]

Four Commerce Department political appointees working on interim security clearances lost their jobs Tuesday because of problems in their background checks, the latest fallout from the intensifying public scrutiny on administration officials working without permanent clearances. [WaPo]

Despite some changes to a proposed measure to alter Kentucky’s public pension systems, changes the bill’s sponsor insisted were in response to teachers’ concerns, hundreds of teachers who showed up Wednesday for a hearing on the bill were apparently not persuaded. [Ronnie Ellis]

Walmart Inc, the largest U.S. retailer, joined Dick’s Sporting Goods Inc in raising the minimum age to purchase firearms to 21 after the massacre at a Florida high school that has reopened a fierce debate over gun control in America. [Reuters]

Meth appears to be making a resurgence in Boyd County, replacing heroin and fentanyl as the street drug of choice amid a deadly overdose crisis. [Ashland Independent]

A full-time fellow, New York Times reporters and some of the country’s best journalism students have joined ProPublica’s project to report on hate crimes and bias incidents. [ProPublica]

The state Senate budget committee Tuesday approved a bill which will give local governments extra time to “phase in” their full contributions to the County Employee Retirement System. [More Ronnie Ellis]

Donald Trump has stunned lawmakers from both parties by accusing them of being “petrified” of the National Rifle Association (NRA). In a break from his party’s anti-gun control stance, Mr Trump urged lawmakers during a televised meeting to come up with a “strong” reform bill. [BBC]

This is dishonest bullshit. On the store’s website, they direct customers to use PayPal to buy store gift cards and then to use those gift cards to purchase firearms. That’s why they got their asses handed to them. [H-L]

An already complicated day for Donald Trump’s administration was capped with several shocking reports Wednesday night. The barrage of stories shed new light on the extent of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation and raised questions about several officials in the president’s inner circle, including communications director Hope Hicks and the president’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner. [HuffPo]

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Bevin Claims He’s Pushing Prison Reform But He’s Really Doing The Opposite. Source: The Facts

Senate Republicans on Tuesday filed their long-awaited bill to overhaul Kentucky’s ailing public pension systems. Here are highlights of the plan that have a direct affect on Kentucky’s current and retired school teachers. [H-L]

Kentucky is mentioned at least 55 times but no one in Frankfort will notice. Because the private probation and private prison industries fund many campaigns. [Human Rights Watch]

Jefferson County Attorney Mike O’Connell is once again locking horns with Metro Councilman David Yates by claiming he has a conflict of interest in a court case. [C-J/AKN]

It’s going to take something more pronounced than a postcard to get right with campaign finance law, Facebook. Start by hiring people well-versed in campaign finance law in all states and on the federal level. [Reuters]

The Boyd Fiscal Court may look to fortify a county jail plagued by security breaches, based on recommendations from a new security audit by a private firm. [Ashland Independent]

Just months before Donald Trump announced his bid for president in 2015, federal regulators announced they were slapping one of his longtime Atlantic City casinos with a record-setting $10 million fine for lack of controls around money laundering. The problems went back years. The penalty was actually the second record-setting fine for the Trump Taj Mahal involving money-laundering oversight. [ProPublica]

Ronnie Tackett probably doesn’t fit your image of an environmentalist or crusader against carbon pollution. [Ronnie Ellis]

Special counsel Robert Mueller’s office has told a federal judge it has found evidence that Paul Manafort, the former Trump campaign chairman, committed bank fraud not addressed by the indictment last October in which he was charged with money laundering and failure to register as a foreign agent. As legal wrangling continues over a $10 million bail package for Manafort, prosecutors this week accused him of submitting false information to a bank in connection with one of his mortgages. [Politico]

Due to the recent school shootings in southwestern Kentucky and Florida, administration at Rowan County Senior High School and Rowan County Middle School are taking a proactive approach to deter such incidents from happening in their schools. [The Morehead News ]

The White House has refused to release a photo of Donald Trump signing a law making it easier for some people with mental illness to buy guns. [BBC]

The Kentucky Office of the Attorney General released an opinion Monday stating that the Glasgow Electric Plant Board does not have to abide by the state’s Model Procurement Code unless it actually adopted it. [Glasgow Daily Times]

The indictment by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III of 13 Russians associated with a St. Petersburg online “troll factory” that allegedly interfered with the U.S. election has brought a sense of vindication to the handful of former employees who have already been speaking out about what they witnessed. [WaPo]

Way to go, mouth-breathers, you’ve done it again. Yep, I’m happy to call anyone open in their ignorance a mouth-breather. A fundraiser for a central Kentucky girls softball team has gotten some attention, both positive and negative, for plans to raffle off both an AR-15 and a semi-automatic pistol to help cover costs of tournaments, uniforms and other equipment. [H-L]

Maybe if “conservatives” focused on the life of children after they’re born, this kind of statistic wouldn’t be a nightmarish reality. Newborn survival rates in the United States are only marginally better than in Sri Lanka. [The Guardian]

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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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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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KY Republicans Want More Prisons

A former Kentucky lawmaker who is serving a seven-year prison sentence plans to plead guilty in a separate fraud case. Former state Rep. W. Keith Hall plans to plead guilty in a case in which he is accused of using fake documents in order to convince a customer he had insurance. [H-L]

Donald Trump claimed to be calling for Americans to come together on the issue of immigration in his State of the Union address on Tuesday. But he couldn’t resist painting immigration as an “us vs. them” struggle. Because modern Republicanism is built upon racism. [HuffPo]

It was a journalist’s worst nightmare. The editor of the Marshall County Daily Online raced to the county’s high school Tuesday morning after reports that shots had been fired. [C-J/AKN]

The emailed response from the Guggenheim’s chief curator to the White House was polite but firm: the museum could not accommodate a request to “borrow” a painting by Vincent Van Gogh for President and Melania Trump’s private living quarters. Instead, wrote the curator, Nancy Spector, another piece was available, one that was nothing like “Landscape With Snow,” the lovely 1888 Van Gogh rendering of a man in a black hat walking along a path in Arles with his dog. The curator’s alternative: an 18-karat, fully functioning, solid gold toilet – an interactive work entitled “America” that critics have described as pointed satire aimed at the excess of wealth in this country. [WaPo]

The Bevin crew says one thing and does another on the prison front. This is more hype to build more private prisons. Kentucky’s top public safety official says the state’s prisons will run out of space by May 2019, possibly forcing the early release of thousands of nonviolent inmates as the state continues to grapple with the effects of a nationwide opioid epidemic. [Richmond Register]

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Brenda Fitzgerald resigned Wednesday, one day after reports that she traded tobacco stocks while heading the agency. [The Hill]

The filing deadline for Kentucky candidates closed Tuesday, and some northeastern Kentucky lawmakers will face challengers in this year’s election cycle. [Ashland Independent]

Donald Trump urged lawmakers on Tuesday to work toward bipartisan compromises, but pushed a hard line on immigration, insisting on a border wall and other concessions from Democrats as part of any deal to protect the children of illegal immigrants. [Reuters]

The Rowan County Board of Education has hired a consultant to lead in the search for the next superintendent. [The Morehead News]

Starting in Canada, Facebook is rolling out a global program to prevent foreign meddling in elections. Ads targeted to a narrow audience may be seen by other Facebook users — if they look hard enough. [ProPublica]

Barren County Schools’ iLearn@home program, as well as other non-traditional instruction programs, would eventually be eliminated if a bill that recently passed the Kentucky Senate becomes state law. [Glasgow Daily Times]

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin urged Congress on Tuesday to raise the federal government’s statutory borrowing limit and said Washington must soon grapple with the mounting federal debt, just as lawmakers are embarking on a significant spending spree. [NY Times]

A leading Republican lawmaker has filed a bill to stop the Bevin Administration’s attempt to eliminate liquor license quotas, a move critics say would bring a glut of bars and liquor stores in rural Kentucky. [H-L]

A new era of internet regulation is about to begin. Years after Facebook and Google went public, regulators in the United States and abroad are finally taking a closer look at the internet behemoths. And they’re not only looking at the way these companies have come to dominate markets, but also examining the heart of the two firms’ business models. What they decide will have powerful implications for the way we do business on the internet. [HuffPo]

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