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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Surprise! The Kentucky Republicans Are More Secretive & More Corrupt Than Kentucky Democrats

John-Mark Hack, who has been trying to help Kentucky comply with federal security regulations involving drivers licenses, is no longer a member of the Bevin administration. [H-L]

After orbiting Jupiter for a little more than a year and a half, NASA’s Juno spacecraft recently finished its 10th trip around the massive planet. Now the space agency is sharing some of the photos Juno snapped that were edited by citizen scientists, including this close-up shot of Jupiter’s surface. [HuffPo]

First, the incompetence of Nancy Rodriguez is what allowed A Kentucky Newspaper to effectively whitewash the monster Robert Felner scandal. Second, Allison Martin is the person who lied for Donna Hargens for months and months. So you know this is some bullshit at Jefferson County Public Schools and the Kentucky Department of Education. [C-J/AKN]

MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough thanked author Michael Wolff for opening a wider discussion into President Donald Trump’s apparent mental decline. The “Morning Joe” host has been trying to sound the alarm about the president, whom he’s known for years, but he said political and journalistic norms had kept the topic buried. “I’ve written twice in my column a quote about one of the people closest to Donald Trump during the campaign saying he’s got early stage of dementia,” Scarborough said. [Raw Story]

For years, a group of Madison Countians has worked toward a foundation that would provide funding for non-profits and other groups working to benefit the community. [Richmond Register]

Trump’s voter fraud commission is gone but scrutiny will continue. The president dissolved the commission and indicated that the Department of Homeland Security will continue its mission. Experts say DHS won’t achieve the results he wants — and critics won’t back down. [ProPublica]

A special House committee will review allegations that Speaker Jeff Hoover, R-Jamestown, sexually harassed an employee and tried to cover it up through a confidential financial settlement. [Ronnie Ellis]

The Trump misadministration may have just admitted to violating campaign finance law. The White House is reportedly considering firing a former employee from a group it cannot legally control. [ThinkProgress]

The AmeriCorps and AmeriCorps VISTA members serving in Morehead through the Homeless and Housing Coalition of Kentucky are hosting a donation drive for STAR (Saving The Animals of Rowan), the local animal shelter in Morehead, Jan. 2-12. [The Morehead News]

Did Jeff Sessions just increase the odds Congress will make marijuana legal? The opossum attorney general has created intolerable uncertainty for a growing industry that is now demanding legal protections from Congress. And lawmakers are listening. [Politico]

Some meetings of a special House committee formed to look into charges against Republican Speaker Jeff Hoover are likely to be conducted in private despite protestations from Democrats and the eight Republicans who filed the charges. [More Ronnie Ellis]

Donald Trump gave firm instructions in March to the White House’s top lawyer: stop the attorney general, Jeff Sessions, from recusing himself in the Justice Department’s investigation into whether Mr. Trump’s associates had helped a Russian campaign to disrupt the 2016 election. [NY Times]

Tiffany Dunn, who teaches English at Lassiter Middle School in Louisville, began to weep Tuesday at the state Capitol. She was speaking at a rally of educators scared of what the 2018 General Assembly will do to Kentucky’s schools when it axes up to $1 billion a year from the state’s $11 billion General Fund. [John Cheves]

Just a day after he declared himself a “very stable genius” and “like, really smart,” Donald Trump mixed up the word “consequential” with “consensual” in an embarrassing tweet. [HuffPo]

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Recent Moves Against Marijuana Are Rooted Purely In Racism & Elitist Greed

No one thinks the upcoming budget session in Frankfort — with a looming $1 billion deficit — will mean good news for higher education, but advocates are particularly worried by the possibility that lottery-financed scholarship programs might be in jeopardy. [Linda Blackford]

L-u-n-a-t-i-c. Donald Trump on Tuesday renewed his attack on his “deep state” Justice Department, and said a top aide to 2016 election rival Hillary Clinton should be jailed. [HuffPo]

It’s easy to spot drivers zipping down Kentucky highways well above the speed limit. But stopping them isn’t as simple as you might think. [C-J/AKN]

One of the top U.S. government officials working on refugee issues announced her impending retirement on Tuesday, and refugee advocates expressed concern about the fate of the country’s resettlement program which faces mounting pressure from the Trump administration. [Reuters]

From the boardroom to the basketball court, the University of Louisville had a tough year. Hall of Fame Coach Rick Pitino was fired, the school dealt with a yearlong probation from an accrediting group and an audit found mismanagement at a foundation overseeing its investments. [Richmond Register]

Chicken plants have recruited thousands of foreign workers in recent years through a little-known program to fill jobs they say Americans won’t do. [ProPublica]

Shelves in the food pantry at First United Methodist Church were seemingly full Wednesday morning. [Ashland Independent]

Joseph Flynn — brother of former presidential national security adviser Michael Flynn, who recently pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI — demanded a pardon for his brother on Tuesday. [ThinkProgress]

It’s stupid to continue arresting people for growing marijuana. The only reason it happens is because it makes local law enforcement agencies money. But no one wants to talk about that reality. [Glasgow Daily Times]

Attorney General Jeff Sessions is rescinding the Obama-era policy that had paved the way for legalized marijuana to flourish in states across the country, two people with knowledge of the decision told The Associated Press. [Associated Press]

The Louisville jail’s heating system is hobbling under cold temperatures, forcing some inmates to face near-freezing temperatures in their cells. [WFPL]

Donald Trump didn’t want to be president. One year ago: the plan to lose, and the administration’s shocked first days. [New York Magazine]

Eight members of the House of Representative filed a formal charge Wednesday calling for the expulsion of House Speaker Jeff Hoover following his decision to remain speaker even though he had promised to step down amid a sexual harassment scandal this fall. [H-L]

Donald Trump and Rand Paul both pushed this. It’s insane how racists those two folks are. [HuffPo]

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Again: Hoover Is Damned Disgusting

For many parents, snuggling up on the couch with their children to enjoy a good book before bed is one of the best parts of family life. But for some families, that doesn’t come naturally. [H-L]

This dumb motherfucker. Donald Trump again challenged North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on Tuesday, boasting that the United States’ nuclear capabilities are “more powerful” than North Korea’s. [HuffPo]

Wait til you hear who allegedly loaned him the money to pay the settlement. Someone tied to another former speaker with his own sexual harassment past and a certain congresscritter with a similar problem or two. Jeff Hoover has not resigned as House speaker, despite saying in November that he was stepping down from the post “immediately” following reports that he secretly settled a sexual harassment complaint of a staff member. [C-J/AKN]

This is what happens when you put profits over people. Workplace deaths in the coal mining industry increased last year to their highest point in three years. [The Hill]

Jeff Hoover is a disgusting piece of work. Jeff Hoover will not resign as Speaker of the Kentucky House of Representatives despite his Nov. 5 announcement he would do so in the wake of sexual harassment allegations. [Ronnie Ellis]

Drugmakers opened the new year by raising U.S. prices on dozens of medicines, but early data showed the increases generally remained within a 10 percent self-imposed limit in response to a backlash from consumers and politicians. [Reuters]

It’s a Tuesday and the Boyd County coroner is arriving to a grisly, yet familiar scene. [Ashland Independent]

If you don’t believe Donald Trump is unwell and dangerous, you’re part of the problem. But if you have functioning brain cells? Read these excerpts from his latest interview with the New York Times to get a load of the lying, scheming he pushes from his sycophants on Fox. He doesn’t understand the job he holds. [NY Times]

After reading about the Glasgow woman who was recently found dead in a parking lot — hypothermia was determined as the preliminary cause of her death according to a press release from the Glasgow Police Department — Mandy Goessling said she decided to take action. [Glasgow Daily Times]

Since 2010, the Environmental Protection Agency has been embroiled in an enforcement battle with a Michigan-based company accused of modifying the state’s largest coal-fired power plant without getting federal permits for a projected rise in pollution. [WaPo]

Wondering how stupid Bowling Green’s city commissioners are? They voted to lift a ban on concealed weapons in city buildings. [BGDN]

A ProPublica analysis shows that women who deliver at hospitals that disproportionately serve black mothers are at a higher risk of harm. [ProPublica]

The story of slain FBI informant Susan Smith of Pikeville will be featured on an episode of the new series “The Perfect Suspect,” which airs at 9 p.m. Thursday on Investigation Discovery. [H-L]

Donald Trump’s lawyers are trying to keep the “out of control” president calm so he won’t fire special counsel Robert Mueller, Watergate journalist Carl Bernstein said on CNN. [HuffPo]

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Republicans Are Killing Your Schools

A man already in prison added another charge after his pit bulls killed a woman and injured her husband on Sunday in Bell County. [H-L]

As much as America loves her guns, she has never liked the idea of seeing them in black hands. [HuffPo]

An empty stomach. A throbbing tooth. A sleepless night. For nearly 30 years, Kentucky schools have reached beyond classroom walls to tackle the things making it tough for kids to learn. [C-J/AKN]

Donald Trump’s deal with the town of Palm Beach to turn Mar-a-Lago into a private club hinged on an act of charity crafted to skirt IRS scrutiny and deliver for Trump a seven-figure tax break, a Palm Beach Post investigation has found. [Palm Beach Post]

Two unrelated lawsuits were filed just over a week apart against Baptist Healthcare Systems, both claiming medical malpractice. [Richmond Register]

Kathleen Hartnett-White, Donald Trump’s pick to lead the Council on Environmental Quality, was just one Senate vote away from becoming the White House’s top environmental adviser. But late Thursday night, the controversial former Texas regulator returned to square one. [HuffPo]

The news that Gov. Matt Bevin is likely to issue a budget reduction order in a few days has local school officials nervous about the likelihood of long-term impact on their districts and students. [Ashland Independent]

More than 700 people have left the Environmental Protection Agency since Donald Trump took office, a wave of departures that puts the administration nearly a quarter of the way toward its goal of shrinking the agency to levels last seen during the Reagan administration. [ProPublica]

For many, Christmas is one of the most wonderful times of the year. [The Morehead News]

A newly disclosed trove of about 250 complaints filed by people whose cellphones, laptops, tablets and other personal electronics were searched by border agents without a warrant as they entered the United States is shedding light on a growing debate over individual privacy, collective security and 21st-century technology. [NY Times]

All of the written arguments have been submitted now in the appeal made by a former Glasgow police chief regarding the dismissal of his lawsuit against the city and his successor, and a panel of judges has been assigned to consider the appeal, but a decision is still months away. [Glasgow Daily Times]

Hundreds of U.S. Geological Survey scientists were missing from the biggest conference in their field this month. Typically, some 450 researchers from the nation’s top natural resources and natural hazards agency attend the annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union, the largest gathering of Earth, space and climate scientists in the world. [WaPo]

Modern Republicans are pieces of poop for allowing this mess to occur. But what can you expect when folks like Scott Jennings are considered the braintrust? Spoiler alert: not much more than a racist joke at a Catholic picnic. Tuition-free Berea College lost out in the Republican tax bill approved Wednesday, but top Republicans and members of Kentucky’s congressional delegation pledged to find a way around a new excise tax on big college endowments. [Linda Blackford]

Donald Trump on Tuesday falsely claimed that congressional Republicans’ tax bill “essentially Repeals (over time) ObamaCare,” perpetuating a false claim he made previously to celebrate the bill’s passage. [HuffPo]

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New Republicanism Means Harming Refugees

More than 25,000 acres of forest in Eastern Kentucky, Tennessee and Virginia will be preserved in coming years thanks to a nearly $5 million federal conservation grant, federal officials announced Friday. [H-L]

An increasing number of new laws across the United States make it a crime to be homeless. But these laws don’t actually manage to get people off the streets ― they just perpetuate the cycle of homelessness, experts say. [HuffPo]

More than 200 hours of intercepted phone call recordings have been submitted as evidence in a federal investigation into a pay-for-play scheme involving Louisville basketball recruits, according to court documents. [C-J/AKN]

The U.S. State Department has told refugee agencies it will sharply pare back the number of offices across the country authorized to resettle people in 2018 as Donald Trump cuts the number of refugees allowed into the United States. [Reuters]

Matt Bevin conceded Thursday that it is “logistically” impossible to hold a special session before the end of the year to tackle pension reform. [Ronnie Ellis]

The rate of life-threatening complications for new mothers in the U.S. has more than doubled in two decades due to pre-existing conditions, medical errors and unequal access to care. [ProPublica]

When Dominic and Rico Castle pushed their shopping cart through the Walmart lobby Wednesday, with the promise of $400 to fill it with Christmas plunder, one would assume the brothers would take the shortest route to the toy department. [Ashland Independent]

The United Nations Security Council imposed new sanctions on North Korea on Friday that significantly choke off new fuel supplies and order North Koreans working overseas to return home within two years, in what may prove the last test of whether any amount of economic pressure can force it to reverse course on its nuclear program. [NY Times]

Kentucky’s Democratic Attorney General believes the state’s opioid epidemic is the “single greatest challenge facing Kentucky” and claims the administration of Gov. Matt Bevin is hampering his efforts to combat the scourge. [Ronnie Ellis]

US life expectancy fell last year for a second year running for the first time in more than half a century, reportedly driven by the worsening opioid crisis. Life expectancy in 2016 fell 0.1 years to 78.6, according to the National Center for Health Statistics. [BBC]

When discussing Glasgow Independent Schools’ Comprehensive District Improvement Plan with the GIS Board of Education, GIS Instructional Supervisor Michelle Tinsley and GIS Superintendent Keith Hale said everyone has bought in to the plan. [Glasgow Daily Times]

Officials at the USDA received a detailed formal complaint earlier this year regarding Aurora Organic Dairy, one of the nation’s largest producers of organic milk. [WaPo]

A national science panel might use donations to finish a study that the Trump Administration halted on whether people face greater health risks from living near surface coal mines in Central Appalachia, including Eastern Kentucky. [H-L]

This is how insanely out-of-touch these people are. It’s so bizarre-o it’s offensive. [HuffPo]

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I Guess Linda Gorton Is Big News?

This is horrifying and makes it scary to think about anyone having kids. The Kentucky Board of Medical Licensure has reprimanded a doctor whose pediatric residency at the University of Kentucky was terminated after he allegedly viewed child pornography during a work shift. [H-L]

The average American life expectancy ticked downward for the second straight year in 2016, on the back of surging drug overdose deaths, according to data released Thursday by the National Center for Health Statistics at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And while the nation hasn’t experienced a back-to-back drop in life expectancy since the 1960s, the CDC says the opioid crisis is shaping up to extend this decline for a third consecutive year, a milestone that hasn’t been seen since the Spanish flu pandemic in 1918. [HuffPo]

Former state Rep. Linda Belcher rejected a suggestion by the widow of Rep. Dan Johnson that she participated in an effort by liberal organizations to destroy Johnson. [C-J/AKN]

The Trump administration’s consideration of a wage freeze for federal employees is one piece of a renewed multifront Republican push to shrink those workers’ pay, benefits and workforce. [WaPo]

Members of the Barren County Board of Education received the results of the school district’s annual financial audit during Thursday night’s meeting. They also heard updates on construction at the Career and Technical Education facility at the Trojan Trail campus. [Glasgow Daily Times]

Don McGahn was looking at whether the national security advisor violated federal laws just days after Trump moved into the White House. [Foreign Policy]

Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes is reminding registered voters who wish to vote in another party’s May 2018 Primary Election or be a candidate as a member of another political party in the 2018 elections that they must change their registration no later than Dec. 31. [The Morehead News]

A second U.S. judge on Thursday blocked Donald Trump’s administration from enforcing new rules that undermine an Obamacare requirement for employers to provide insurance that covers women’s birth control. [Reuters]

Community Assistance & Referral Services (CAReS) is currently seeking monetary donations to offset the cost of purchases made to cover unreturned Giving Tree items. [Ashland Independent]

ALIENS!!!!!!!1!! [NY Times]

Five Madison County inmates were able to see their children visit with Santa and open Christmas gifts Saturday thanks in large part to the work of the Glover Foundation. [Richmond Register]

The United Nations on Thursday delivered a stinging rebuke of Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, casting an overwhelming vote condemning the move and calling on the U.S. to withdraw the decision. [The Hill]

Former Vice Mayor Linda Gorton announced Tuesday that she will enter the race for mayor. [H-L]

Republicans are looting the store, taking everything they can grab off the shelves, anticipating the demise of Donald Trump as progressive energy explodes. [HuffPo]

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