Another Day, More Messy Russian Stuff

Tanya Torp had enough of the Kentucky Democratic Party when she saw one of the state’s politicians, Alison Lundergan Grimes, holding a gun. [H-L]

White House press secretary Sean Spicer insisted on Wednesday that a U.S. aircraft carrier was heading toward North Korea last week, even though a U.S. Navy photo from the time showed it was actually traveling in the opposite direction. [HuffPo]

Out-of-state groups pushing for charter schools joined the traditional Kentucky big business and other interests this year on the list of organizations that spent the most lobbying the Kentucky General Assembly. [C-J/AKN]

A Russian government think tank controlled by Vladimir Putin developed a plan to swing the 2016 U.S. presidential election to Donald Trump and undermine voters’ faith in the American electoral system, three current and four former U.S. officials told Reuters. [Reuters]

She was the first woman to become a member of East Barren Volunteer Fire Department, and one of scant few female firefighters in the entire county two decades ago. [Glasgow Daily Times]

Republican actions speak louder than their words. Their racism shines brightly. [USA Today]

A civil case between American Legion Post 76 and the post’s building corporation may be headed toward mediation. [Ashland Independent]

Exxon Mobil Corp has applied to the Treasury Department for a waiver from U.S. sanctions on Russia in a bid to resume its joint venture with state oil giant PAO Rosneft, according to people familiar with the matter. [WSJ]

Another man accused of assaulting protesters at a Donald Trump campaign rally in Louisville last year has countersued the president, saying he was following Trump’s urging to remove them. [WFPL]

Barack Obama warned President Trump that North Korea would be the gravest foreign threat he faced — and why a solution has proved so hard to find. [NY Times]

An ordinance that holds property owners responsible for minors drinking alcohol on their property with their knowledge or when they should have known minors were drinking failed to pass in Barren County Fiscal Court. [BGDN]

Instead of steaming toward the Korean Peninsula as Trump had said, the Carl Vinson strike group was actually headed in the opposite direction to take part in “scheduled exercises” more than 3,000 miles away. [WaPo]

April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month. Unfortunately for Kentucky children, reports of abuse and neglect have increased dramatically in recent years, in part because of rampant drug abuse. These numbers illustrate the problem. [John Cheves]

Bill O’Reilly weathered sexual harassment charges for more than a decade, but not this time: Fox News has fired the controversial host. [HuffPo]

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Coal Will Never Be Kentucky’s Savior

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The Courier-Journal/A Kentucky Newspaper has a long history of victim-shaming and character assassination. United didn’t have to pay for it – the C-J/AKN did it for free. The paper loves to shitsack murder victims, people of color, members of the LGBTQ community. And when you call their shitty reporters like Morgan Watkins out, they roll up with their bloated, lazy, heterosexual, white male staffers to yell at you in attempt to justify their nonsense. Not everyone there is terrible but they certainly do this shit with regularity. [Raw Story]

Letcher County officials are desperate for revenue to counter a crippling drop in coal severance tax collections, but deadlocked Monday evening on approving a business license fee on extractive operations such as oil and gas wells and coal mines. [H-L]

In 1996, Josie Slawik sat in the headquarters of the National Domestic Violence Hotline in Austin, Texas, and waited for the phone to ring. [HuffPo]

WARNING! RIDICULOUS AUTOPLAY VIDEO! Exorbitant drug prices, high deductibles and the need to jump through hoops to get procedures covered. Those were some of the realities of today’s health insurance landscape decried Saturday at a sidewalk town hall in downtown Louisville. [C-J/AKN]

Doors are kicked in, belongings are tossed on the street or carted off to high-cost storage, and evicted families are forced to move into another squalid rental or worse. That may sound like an endpoint, but often it’s just a wrenching start, leading to a deeper morass of lost jobs, missed school, family breakups, hunger, depression. [Smithsonian]

The Richmond Planning and Zoning Commission is trying to chart a road map to the city’s future, and it’s asking residents for directions. [Richmond Register]

Trump’s missile strike on Syria has drawn favorable reviews from critics and only scattered criticism from Democrats. Yet unlike other Republican presidents who enjoyed a boost in the polls from their military actions, early signs suggest Trump may not be politically rewarded. [The Hill]

Morehead State University President Dr. Wayne Andrews was recognized for his 12 years of service to the university and community at Thursday’s Morehead-Rowan County Chamber of Commerce meeting. [The Morehead News]

It was one of the uglier scandals of the Bush administration: Top officials at an agency dedicated to protecting whistleblowers launched a campaign against their own employees based on suspected sexual orientation, according to an inspector general report. [ProPublica]

Sheila Minor with Barren River Refuge Inc., an organization working to establish a homeless shelter in Glasgow, spoke to members of the Cave City City Council on Monday about the need for the shelter. “People — I don’t know if they don’t want to believe or if they just don’t believe that Barren County has a homeless problem, but we do,” Minor said. [Glasgow Daily Times]

In the latest move by a major automaker to enhance its American manufacturing operations, Toyota said on Monday that it would invest more than $1.3 billion to upgrade its assembly plant in Kentucky. [NY Times]

Eight female inmates at the Boyd County Detention Center were rushed to the hospital Saturday night after they allegedly snorted heroin inside the jail and overdosed. [Ashland Independent]

Attorney General Jeff Sessions will end a Justice Department partnership with independent scientists to raise forensic science standards and has suspended an expanded review of FBI testimony across several techniques that have come under question, saying a new strategy will be set by an in-house team of law enforcement advisers. [WaPo]

Matt Bevin’s administration is looking for expert tax lawyers, apparently in anticipation of a possible special law-making session to overhaul Kentucky’s tax code later this year. [H-L]

Several times a week, a U.S. Air Force pilot takes off from the Royal Air Force base in Mildenhall, England, and heads for the northernmost edge of NATO territory to gather intelligence on Russia. One of these pilots is 40-year-old Lieutenant Colonel Kevin Webster, a veteran of many such expeditions and a hard guy to rattle. [HuffPo]

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Grimes Has Successfully Rebuilt Her Image

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Hard-hitting press-release journalism. Meanwhile, Montgomery County’s paid out mountains of cash in settlements and the nightmare is ongoing. [H-L]

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said Sunday that he believes rhetoric from President Donald Trump’s administration is “probably partially to blame” for Syria’s deadly chemical weapons attack on its civilians last week. [HuffPo]

Instead of being whiny ass titty babies like the Democrats who enable Trump and normalize his racism… maybe it’s time to wake the heck up? If you’ve followed Adam Edelen at all, you know he’s keen on whitewashing the reasons Kentuckians supported Donald Trump. He and his cohorts still ignorantly claim it’s all economic but you know that’s not remotely the case. Kentucky Democrats will continue to lose while people like Edelen are at the helm of anything. It’s all up to Alison Grimes these days – now that she’s distanced herself from her father and proved she can speak her mind and stand up for what she (not consultants) believes in. [C-J/AKN]

Neil Gorsuch on Monday became the 101st associate justice of the Supreme Court and President Trump’s first high court appointee. [The Hill]

The plume of polluted water was black. In the satellite images, it snaked from the coal ash landfill at the D.B. Wilson Power Plant in Western Kentucky, about 40 minutes south of Owensboro. The water went through a ditch, until it reached a sediment pond. There, the images showed the black plume spreading through the murky green water, before it dissipated. [WFPL]

Internal State Department instructions to implement Donald Trump’s temporary travel ban on citizens of six Muslim-majority nations help demonstrate that the ban violates the constitution, the American Civil Liberties Union argued in court filings late on Thursday. [Reuters]

Mitch McConnell is hardly apologetic for his role in securing for conservatives the ninth seat on the U.S. Supreme Court, calling it “the most consequential decision I’ve ever been involved in.” [Ronnie Ellis]

When Jared Kushner, President Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, sought the top-secret security clearance that would give him access to some of the nation’s most closely guarded secrets, he was required to disclose all encounters with foreign government officials over the last seven years. [NY Times]

A new state law was passed at the most recent legislative session that will place the state in compliance with new federal travel standards by creating a new Travel ID driver’s license in 2019. [Ashland Independent]

Here’s the national media taking a look at racism and backwardness in Mt. Sterling. You know, the town we spent four years covering the biggest education scandal in Kentucky that the mainstream all but ignored. [WaPo]

The elegant black cat glided across the carpeted living room floor, a far cry from her previous home in war-torn Afghanistan. [Richmond Register]

Democrats heard the argument throughout the Senate’s bitter debate over Neil Gorsuch: Don’t filibuster this Supreme Court nominee — save your leverage for President Donald Trump’s next pick, the one who could change the court’s balance of power for a generation. [Politico]

Apparently, Andrew Wilkinson found religion when he got sent to prison. Isn’t that how it always goes? The corrupt political class goes to prison, claims to find Jesus and meemaw and poppop on the street buy it like it’s going out of style? At least this guy has his shitty dad to blame and Jack Brammer to help him whitewash recent history. [H-L]

Republican Governors keep vetoing legislation that would make voting easier because that’s the Republican way. They can’t let thinking people, poor people, old people or brown people vote if they can help it. [HuffPo]

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A New Week Of D.C. Nightmares Begins

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Someone should ask Hoskins about his month-long vacation in Palm Beach around the time of filing. The state hopes to prevent a man facing a $2.65 million fine for the illegal disposal of radioactive waste from erasing that penalty in bankruptcy court. [H-L]

A U.S. Navy strike group will be moving toward the western Pacific Ocean near the Korean peninsula as a show of force, a U.S. official told Reuters on Saturday, as concerns grow about North Korea’s advancing weapons program. [HuffPo]

Carroll County sends people to prison at a higher rate than any other Kentucky county, the Courier-Journal reported in October. And its tough-as-nails commonwealth’s attorney, James Crawford, made no apologies for it, saying he’s a “firm believer if there is a wrong, there has to be a corresponding punishment.” But when Sheriff Jamie Kinman pleaded guilty Monday to official misconduct for stealing painkillers, including from a terminal cancer patient while in uniform, Crawford recommended a deal that makes it unlikely Kinman will spend even a day in jail. [C-J/AKN]

No doubt, the footage from the attack is hard to take. But you have to wonder why Trump’s humanity was not similarly touched by the children killed in the 2013 Ghouta chemical attack, the stomach-churning allegations of systematic torture of children by Syrian forces, the many children killed by the Syrian regime’s barrel bombs, or the now iconic photo of a dazed little boy covered in dust in an ambulance in Aleppo, not to mention the also iconic image of a drowned Syrian refugee boy on a beach in Turkey. While all this was going on, Trump was arguing that the U.S. should be working with Assad, who he called a potential “natural ally.” [Slate]

This is the funniest thing you’ll read all day and it’s not remotely accurate. Morehead’s a great little town but most LGBTQ-friendly in Kentucky? Not in anyone’s imagination. It’s dangerous to suggest such to outsiders. It’s not safe to be out in Morehead or anywhere else in Eastern Kentucky. Especially if you’re an outsider or don’t come from a known or powerful family in the mountains. [The Morehead News]

Policies that promote school integration by race and class took a significant hit last week when the U.S. Department of Education announced that it was killing a small but important federal program to support local diversity efforts. [The Atlantic]

Mitch McConnell is hardly apologetic for his role in securing for conservatives the ninth seat on the U.S. Supreme Court, calling it “the most consequential decision I’ve ever been involved in.” [Ronnie Ellis]

The C.I.A. told senior lawmakers in classified briefings last summer that it had information indicating that Russia was working to help elect Donald J. Trump president, a finding that did not emerge publicly until after Mr. Trump’s victory months later, former government officials say. [NY Times]

Rand Paul wasted little time in expressing his opinions about President Donald Trump’s decision to strike a Syrian airfield with more than 50 cruise missiles. [Richmond Register]

Meanwhile, the garbage Republicans in Frankfort like Ryan “I Wasn’t Driving Drunk In That Parking Lot And Am Cool With Employing My Brother” Quarles and crew are spinning this as a positive. Because you can’t fix their special brand of stupid. At least there’s a chance their children won’t turn out as wretched as them. [WaPo]

Matt Bevin on Friday appointed Timothy Ray “Tim” Coleman, of Morgantown, as Circuit Judge for the 38th Judicial Circuit, Division 1 of Kentucky—representing Butler, Edmonson, Hancock and Ohio counties. [Glasgow Daily Times]

Remember Afghanistan? We’re still there. A U.S. soldier was killed while conducting operations against Islamic State in Afghanistan late on Saturday, a U.S. military spokesman said in a message posted on Twitter. [Reuters]

If there’s one thing I know for sure, it’s that I would never ever trust the Cabinet for Health and Family Services with children in need. Another? Kathy Stein ought to step down from the bench and return to practice as an attorney. Sure, Republicans have been fishing for literally anything to hang over her head. But she’s been next to terrible in defending herself or explaining what’s occurred. Being unable to stand up to Republicans – even when you’re an impartial judge – is a sign of dangerous weakness. [H-L]

Muhammed Ali Khan tried to do one of the most boring, responsible things an American taxpayer can do: set up a government-guaranteed retirement savings account. He was rejected because the Treasury Department thought he might be a terrorist. [HuffPo]

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Hillbilly Elegy Is Republican Bullshit

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When Americans remember the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., they like to recall his “I Have A Dream” speech from the 1963 March on Washington. It is beautifully aspirational — and no longer controversial. [H-L]

Republicans have spent most of the past seven years vowing to protect people with pre-existing conditions, even as they have pledged to get rid of the Affordable Care Act. [HuffPo]

City air pollution officials suspect the area near the CEMEX cement plant in southwest Louisville might violate the federal health standard for sulfur dioxide, a pollutant that’s especially hard on children, the elderly and people who suffer from asthma. But they won’t know for at least three years. [C-J/AKN]

Donald F. McGahn II, now Trump’s White House counsel, made $2.4 million as a lawyer with a client list loaded with deep-pocketed conservative groups, from Americans for Prosperity, backed by the conservative billionaires Charles G. and David H. Koch, to the Citizens United Foundation. [NY Times]

Hillbilly Elegy is bullshit. Della Combs Brashear had had enough. She backed her Cadillac long-ways across the road in front of her house, lit the Virginia Slim in her mouth, pulled her .38 pistol from her purse, and waited, stone-faced and determined, for the next coal truck to come along. [Ivy Brashear]

Former Obama national security adviser Susan E. Rice said Tuesday that she “absolutely” never sought to uncover “for political purposes” the names of Trump campaign or transition officials concealed in intelligence intercepts, and she called suggestions that she leaked those identities “completely false.” [WaPo]

Boyd County avoided losing its four-judge structure after a statewide judicial redistricting plan failed to pass through the General Assembly, but the plan will likely be reintroduced next year. [Ashland Independent]

A U.S. appeals court on Thursday upheld a preliminary injunction against Ohio’s lethal injection process for executions. [Reuters]

Attorney General Andy Beshear has once again gone to court seeking to intervene in open records disputes between a Kentucky university and student-run college newspapers. [Ronnie Ellis]

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) on Thursday said he will temporarily step aside from his committee’s investigation into Russia’s meddling in the 2016 presidential election. [The Hill]

Two people who spent years in a Kentucky jail after being wrongfully charged with murder have sued 10 police officers from three departments, alleging a conspiracy to frame them by planting evidence to protect a confidential informant. [Richmond Register]

Senate Republicans invoked the “nuclear option” to gut the filibuster for Supreme Court nominees Thursday, a historic move that paves the way for Neil Gorsuch’s confirmation and ensures that future high court nominees can advance in the Senate without clearing a 60-vote threshold. [Politico]

Funny how this story doesn’t mention an anti-trust investigation, isn’t it? It’s like McClatchy wants to suck more than Gannett these days. [H-L]

It’s the New Republican way. Late last month, federal prosecutors indicted ex-Rep. Steve Stockman and two of his aides, charging that the Texas Republican and his confidants ripped off charities, laundered money, lied to regulators and misled wealthy donors before, during and after his failed 2014 primary campaign against John Cornyn, the second-ranking Republican in the Senate. [HuffPo]

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Another Day, Another Frankfort FBI Investigation Because Kentucky = Corruption

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The FBI is conducting an anti-trust investigation into state contractors involving road work. [H-L]

Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) began an all-night protest on the Senate floor late Tuesday, promising to speak “as long as I’m able” in protest of the nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch to the U.S. Supreme Court. [HuffPo]

They carried black coat-hangers and signs that said things like “Think outside my box.” And they chanted slogans like “Mister, mister, hands off my sister” and “My body, my choice.” [C-J/AKN]

It was no secret during the campaign that Donald Trump was a narcissist and a demagogue who used fear and dishonesty to appeal to the worst in American voters. The Times called him unprepared and unsuited for the job he was seeking, and said his election would be a “catastrophe.” Still, nothing prepared us for the magnitude of this train wreck. [LA Times]

A summit on addiction held last winter at the University of Louisville has produced a slew of recommendations for overcoming the heroin and opioid epidemic in Kentucky. [WFPL]

A couple of weeks ago, for the first time ever, I represented an undocumented worker in deportation proceedings. Or rather, I tried to. My attempts to navigate this system were not what I would call successful. Part of this may be due to the fact that, though I have been a practicing attorney for 10 years, this was my first go at immigration law. But another part of it—most of it, I’d venture—is due to the fact that the U.S. immigration system is designed to be opaque, confusing, and inequitable. [Dan Canon in Slate]

Madison Circuit Judge William G. Clouse on Monday ordered a year’s delay in the trial of Raleigh Sizemore and Gregory Ratliff in the murder of Richmond Police Officer Daniel Ellis. [Richmond Register]

For years, Tammy and Joseph Pavlic tried to ignore the cracked ceiling in their living room, the growing hole next to their shower and the deteriorating roof they feared might one day give out. Mr. Pavlic worked for decades installing and repairing air-conditioning and heating units, but three years ago, with multiple sclerosis advancing, he had to leave his job. [NY Times]

Even in a state with a long history of tobacco culture and a high percentage of smokers, public support for a statewide smoking ban is growing. [Ronnie Ellis]

Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, is currently in Iraq as a White House envoy in a further expansion of his role as shadow diplomat. [WaPo]

The two families who actually showed up Monday morning to protest in front of the Barren County Courthouse had their own sets of circumstances to work through with the state agency that investigates child abuse allegations, but their stories had one thing in common: They don’t like the way the job has been done. [Glasgow Daily Times]

The United Arab Emirates arranged a secret meeting in January between Blackwater founder Erik Prince and a Russian close to President Vladi­mir Putin as part of an apparent effort to establish a back-channel line of communication between Moscow and President-elect Donald Trump, according to U.S., European and Arab officials. Prince’s sister Betsy DeVos serves as education secretary in the Trump administration. [More WaPo]

The Kentucky State University Foundation has paid nearly $85,000 to a Washington, D.C. public relations firm that reports only to the Kentucky State University Board of Regents, working independently of the president and the school’s public relations staff. [H-L]

Ten weeks after the Trump administration unceremoniously pushed out several top-level State Department officials, their positions remain unfilled, and more than half of the positions listed on the agency’s leadership chart are vacant or occupied by temporary acting officials. [HuffPo]

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It’s Fun Shae Hopkins Flashback Time

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The Kentucky House of Representatives paved the way for nuclear power plants in the state Wednesday, giving final passage to a bill that removes the state’s long-time ban on nuclear power. [H-L]

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson plans to skip a meeting with NATO foreign ministers next month in order to stay home for a visit by China’s president and will go to Russia later in April, U.S. officials said on Monday, disclosing an itinerary that allies may see as giving Moscow priority over them. [HuffPo]

Hundreds of protesters on Monday waved signs and gave fiery speeches at the gates to Freedom Hall ahead President Donald Trump’s visit to tout his plan to replace Obamacare, booing as Air Force One passed overhead for landing. [C-J/AKN]

Less than forty minutes into the hearing, James Comey, the director of the F.B.I., provided the latest official confirmation that the “Russian story” is not “FAKE NEWS.” It is, rather, the most serious legal scandal to confront a sitting President in nearly two decades. In an extraordinary public statement, Comey disclosed not only that the bureau is investigating Russian meddling in the campaign but that it is also looking at what relationship the Trump campaign might have had to that meddling. [New Yorker]

Voters from small town and rural America who were key to electing President Donald Trump stand to lose the most in his budget plan to shrink the size and generosity of the federal government. [Richmond Register]

Russia has warned NATO that increased activity near its borders could spiral into a new arms race. [Newsweek]

With the General Assembly on break for a 10-day “veto period,” Gov. Matt Bevin has begun signing a flurry of bills into law. [WFPL]

Immigrants commit crimes and are incarcerated at a much lower rate than U.S. citizens, according to two separate studies released this week. [The Hill]

Top local school administrators are leery at the prospect of charter schools coming to Kentucky. [Ashland Independent]

The U.S. Justice Department is developing plans to temporarily reassign immigration judges from around the country to 12 cities to speed up deportations of illegal immigrants who have been charged with crimes, according to two administration officials. [Reuters]

Attorney General Andy Beshear has filed a motion in Franklin Circuit Court seeking to intervene in Kentucky State University’s lawsuit against a student newspaper. [Press Release]

Funny how the grifters always end up grifting. Ivanka Trump, who moved to Washington saying she would play no formal role in her father’s administration, is now officially setting up shop in the White House. [Politico]

Remember when Shae Hopkins spent years supporting Republican insanity? Those chickens are coming home to roost. Kentucky Educational Television issued a statement Thursday warning that President Trump’s proposed budget cuts would endanger its mission to provide statewide programming and instructional services for schools. [John Cheves]

German Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen on Sunday rejected U.S. President Donald Trump’s claim that Germany owes NATO and the United States “vast sums” of money for defense. [HuffPo]

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