These New Kentucky Republicans Are Sneaky, Dishonest, Conniving, Awful People And They’ve Proved It

How do we make schools safe in this age of anxiety and easy access to weapons of mass murder? That’s a question that sent more than a million people into America’s streets last Saturday. [Tom Eblen]

Secretary of Veterans Affairs David Shulkin is the latest to depart Donald Trump’s turbulent White House. [HuffPo]

A University of Louisville trustee with a deep background in health care financing warned Thursday that the university faces an array of risks as KentuckyOne Health’s parent company looks to sell its Louisville facilities to a New York hedge fund. [C-J/AKN]

For Elliott Broidy, Donald J. Trump’s presidential campaign represented an unparalleled political and business opportunity. [NY Times]

After weeks of saying that a proposal to overhaul retirement benefits for state workers was likely dead, Republican leaders of the Kentucky legislature slipped new pension language into an unrelated bill dealing with governance of wastewater sewage districts. [WKMS]

One consequence of the success of the National Rifle Association’s expansive gun-rights agenda — and its lobbying power in Congress — is that groups favoring more gun control have pared down their ambitions in recent years. [WaPo]

Richmond Utilities, a department of the City of Richmond, rightfully refused to provide the addresses where water service had been cut off after an open records request, the Kentucky Attorney General’s office has ruled. [Richmond Register]

A U.S. judge on Wednesday rejected Saudi Arabia’s bid to dismiss lawsuits claiming that it helped plan the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks and should pay billions of dollars in damages to victims. [Reuters]

The Ashland commission has taken a major step in restructuring two crucial city departments at the request of City Manager Michael Graese. [Ashland Independent]

Adult-film star Stormy Daniels has filed a court motion for Donald Trump to testify about her claim that they had a relationship. Her lawyer wants sworn testimony from Mr Trump about a “hush” agreement the actress says she signed. [BBC]

Officials with the Housing Authority of Glasgow have filed an appeal regarding a score it received during its Real Estate Assessment Center inspection, which occurred in January. [Glasgow Daily Times]

Let this serve as a reminder that wealthy bigots will always do what’s best for wealthy bigots. [ProPublica]

As the City Hall turns…. A real-life soap opera in the city where consumer products maker Procter & Gamble helped pioneer the daily dramas is in its fourth week. There’s a stalemate over the Cincinnati mayor’s effort to oust the city manager in what an NAACP official calls “a self-inflicted crisis,” one that has racial overtones in an Ohio city with a troubled past. [H-L]

Three anti-Muslim militia members, on trial for plotting to slaughter Somali refugees in southwest Kansas, have adopted a defense strategy that could’ve been culled directly from Donald Trump’s Twitter feed: suggesting that a biased FBI conspired against them in the lead-up to the 2016 election due to their political beliefs. [HuffPo]

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Stop Letting Nemes Off The Hook

To the list of big ideas that appear to have flopped during the 2018 General Assembly, such as pension reform and tax reform, add criminal-justice reform. [John Cheves]

Calling it “a relic of the 18th century,” retired Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens called Tuesday for the outright repeal of the Second Amendment, saying it would achieve “more effective and more lasting reform” than other efforts to curb the country’s scourge of gun violence. [HuffPo]

Shady-ass Jason Nemes deserves a ton of the blame for this. As to people like Tres Watson at the Republican Party of Kentucky’s headquarters. It’s a shameful attack on veterans and those in need of less deadly (i.e., no opioids) relief. They hate it because Alison Grimes and people smarter than them support it. They discuss it internally at RPK and have strategized to personally attack supporters of the bill. They should tread lightly, however, as people within their ranks are leaking like crazy. [C-J/AKN]

The FBI possesses a secret report asserting that Vladimir Putin’s former media czar was beaten to death by hired thugs in Washington, DC — directly contradicting the US government’s official finding that Mikhail Lesin died by accident. [BuzzFeed]

A road plan passed Thursday by the Kentucky Senate includes $24 million in funding for the second phase of construction of the Berea Bypass, a project that had not been included in the original road plan introduced in the House. [Richmond Register]

Democratic attorneys general in several states said Tuesday they would bring legal action to stop the Trump administration from adding a question on citizenship to the next U.S. census, a question they said would lead to serious undercounts that could reverberate for years to come. [The Hill]

Russell Police Chief James “Ned” Crisp said he wants to enhance community relations between the department and its citizenry as part of a long-term approach to combatting crime. [Ashland Independent]

A self-inflicted gunshot wound, not a bullet fired by a sheriff’s deputy, killed a 17-year-old who had just shot another student at a Maryland high school last week, authorities have said. [Reuters]

Budget negotiators from the Kentucky state House and Senate adjourned for the evening Monday, expressing optimism they can come to an agreement on a new $22 billion, two-year state budget. [Ronnie Ellis]

A POLITICO review of public documents, newly obtained FEMA records and interviews with more than 50 people involved with disaster response indicates that the Trump administration — and the president himself — responded far more aggressively to Texas than to Puerto Rico. [Politico]

The former Glasgow police chief who stepped down from that position, but not from his employment by the department, and then sued the city and interim chief claiming he was not treated fairly has lost his appeal of the decision to have the lawsuit dismissed. [Glasgow Daily Times]

Oops, they did it again. After Republicans rammed through their big tax cut, there were a rash of stories about corporations using the tax break to give their workers bonuses. [NY Times]

Dear Damon Thayer: You should tread lightly in trashing broadband expansion in rural Kentucky. You could get your ass kicked to the curb. [H-L]

The Commerce Department announced late Monday that the 2020 census would ask people whether they were U.S. citizens, a controversial decision that civil rights groups say is unnecessary and could jeopardize the accuracy of the entire survey. [HuffPo]

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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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