Republicans Screwed KY Charities

Every year, the Children’s Charity of the Bluegrass raises about $500,000 from its annual fundraising golf tournament. But under Kentucky’s new tax law, a 6 percent sales tax on numerous services also applies to all tickets sold for fundraisers that charities and churches put on. The organizers will have to decide if they will let participants pay the tax on tickets, or whether they will take the hit. [H-L]

A recording of then-candidate Donald Trump talking about a payment to a woman who claimed they’d had an affair is just one of a dozen audio files released to prosecutors last week, a court filing on Monday revealed. [HuffPo]

Mayor Greg Fischer won’t be able to keep his Kentucky Derby guests a secret for much longer if Democratic Metro Councilman Brent Ackerson has his way. [C-J/AKN]

Then-EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt’s staff sought to protect him from exposure to toxic formaldehyde from an office desk last year, emails show — just months before his top political aides blocked the release of a report on health dangers from the same chemical. [Politico]

Plans for a healing center and jail expansion have been scrapped less than two weeks after a proposed plan to build and finance each was presented during a special called fiscal court meeting on July 12. [Richmond Register]

Donald Trump’s former personal lawyer, Michael D. Cohen, escalated his dispute with the president on Tuesday by releasing a secret recording of a conversation in which Mr. Trump appears to have knowledge about hush money payments to a former Playboy model who said she had an affair with Mr. Trump. [NY Times]

Greenup County leaders got an update on the KentuckyWired project recently with the goal for installation of fiber optic broadband connectivity infrastructure complete in the county by next year. [Ashland Independent]

The missed deadlines puzzled real estate experts, who said that for a long-established property company such as the Trump Organization, paying property taxes should be a routine task. [WaPo]

The Morehead Tourism Commission voted 4-0 Monday afternoon to earmark $25,000 for the Kentucky Folk Art Center for a one-year period. [The Morehead News]

Maria Marroquin Perdomo fretted as she waited with her 11-year-old son, Abisai, in the New Orleans International Airport. A day earlier, the mother and son had been reunited in Texas after being separated by U.S. immigration officials for more than a month, an ordeal that followed a harrowing journey from Honduras. [Reuters]

The company under contract to develop a parks and recreation master plan for Glasgow has drafted a document for the next steps in the process that it has shared with a local steering committee. [Glasgow Daily Times]

Hundreds of migrant parents are no longer in the US, government lawyers said, ahead of a deadline to reunite families. [BBC]

The quiet, observant and community-loving Hazel Arnold left behind an unexpected gift for animal lovers in her native Frankfort. Arnold, who died in January at age 93, left $150,000 to the Franklin County Humane Society. Those who knew Arnold said she had no pets, but her friends did and that’s all that mattered. [H-L]

Former FBI director and longtime Republican James Comey has urged Americans to vote for Democrats in November. [HuffPo]

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Greg Fischer Is An Out-Of-Touch Elitist

A veteran lobbyist says his multiple cash payments to a high-ranking state official were loans between friends and not bribes meant to maintain a lucrative state contract for his corporate client. [H-L]

America’s largest shelter for migrant children looks more like a jail than a safe space for kids. On Wednesday, journalists were allowed inside the former Walmart store in Brownsville, Texas, now filled with more than 1,400 boys ages 10 to 17, and their reports are harrowing. [HuffPo]

A Louisville civil rights leader revealed Thursday that one of the secret guests that Mayor Greg Fischer spent $109,000 to entertain during Kentucky Derby week was the president of the National Urban League. [C-J/AKN]

A major construction company owned by the Chinese government was awarded another contract this week to work on the Trump golf club development in Dubai, further raising questions about potential conflicts of interest between Donald Trump’s presidency and his vast real estate empire. [McClatchy]

Kentucky ranks 48th for seniors’ health in the most recent America’s Health Rankings Report — a potential source of great concern, since the senior population in Kentucky, and the rest of the nation, is only growing larger. Only Mississippi and Louisiana ranked worse than Kentucky. [Richmond Register]

“The economy,” Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell declared this week, “is doing very well.” Yet the numbers that collectively sketch a picture of a vibrant economy don’t reflect reality for a range of Americans who still feel far from financially secure even nine years into an economic expansion. From drivers paying more for gas and families bearing heavier child care costs to workers still awaiting decent pay raises and couples struggling to afford a home, people throughout the economy are straining to succeed despite the economy’s gains. [AP]

Greenup County recently approved a $13.9 million budget for fiscal year 2018-2019, which is less than the prior year. [Ashland Independent]

Donald Trump’s former election campaign manager, Paul Manafort, was sent to jail pending trial on Friday after being charged with witness tampering, the latest episode in his long fall from grace. [Reuters]

Mark Filburn had a fairly simple message about preventing school shootings for the Interim Joint Education Committee Monday. [Ronnie Ellis]

Only a few months ago, the global economy appeared to be humming, with all major nations growing in unison. Now, the world’s fortunes are imperiled by an unfolding trade war. [NY Times]

Tourist spending in Barren County continues to increase, as it climbed from $70.1 million in 2013 to $97 million in 2017. [Glasgow Daily Times]

The actions of a Customs and Border Protection agent who confronted a reporter covering national security issues about her confidential sources are being examined by the CBP’s Office of Professional Responsibility, the agency said in a statement Tuesday. [WaPo]

More people need to be screaming, “FUCK MATT BEVIN!” at every opportunity. A federal judge says he hopes to rule by July 1 on whether Kentucky can carry out its controversial overhaul of the state’s Medicaid program that will require some recipients to find jobs, volunteer or lose their benefits. [H-L]

Fuck that orange piece of shit. Are you looking for more substance to Donald Trump’s vague claim that North Korea “is no longer a nuclear threat”? So was CBS News correspondent Weijia Jiang as she jostled with other reporters outside the White House Friday morning trying to get in a question with the president. [HuffPo]

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Eric Conn Deserves To Rot In Prison

Missing files motivated the leak – by law enforcement – of Michael Cohen’s financial records. The release occurred after it was discovered that additional suspicious transactions disappeared from a government database. [New Yorker]

Former Eastern Kentucky disability attorney Eric C. Conn plans to plead guilty to charges that he escaped to Central America before he was to be sentenced in a massive fraud case. [H-L]

The public was appalled. The family was hurt. But the White House likely won’t apologize for an aide’s cutting comment that Arizona Sen. John McCain’s opposition to Gina Haspel heading the CIA didn’t matter because “he’s dying anyway.” [HuffPo]

The release of a long-awaited special investigation into how Louisville police handled the Explorer Scout sex abuse scandal is being delayed because Mayor Greg Fischer’s office says it could hurt related criminal and civil cases. [C-J/AKN]

These child marriage statistics are nightmarishly bad for Kentucky. [Frontline]

Only two Republican candidates will be seeking citizens’ votes in the Madison County Sheriff’s race during May’s primary election. The winner of the Republican nomination will face unopposed Madison County Sheriff Mike Coyle-D, in the November general election. [Richmond Register]

Two U.S. fighter jets intercepted two Russian bombers in international airspace off the coast of Alaska on Friday. [Reuters]

Another month and half to two months could pass before Federal Emergency Management Agency money starts coming in to repair damage caused by February’s flooding. [Ashland Independent]

In the coming weeks, the U.S. Department of Energy will select a new team to run Los Alamos National Laboratory, the birthplace of the atomic bomb and one of the government’s most important nuclear weapons facilities. [ProPublica]

About 100 people sang and clapped as part of the “Poor People’s Campaign” in Frankfort Monday, saying poverty has worsened in the 50 years since Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. called for a campaign against poverty. [Ronnie Ellis]

In the past six months, the Trump administration has moved to expel more than 300,000 Central Americans and Haitians living and working legally in the United States, disregarding senior U.S. diplomats who warned that mass deportations could destabilize the region and trigger a new surge of illegal immigration. The warnings were transmitted to top State Department officials last year in a series of embassy cables. [WaPo]

The T.J. Regional Health Board of Directors announced Monday afternoon they chose not to renew the contract of the organization’s CEO, Bud Wethington. [Glasgow Daily Times]

In a wide-ranging interview with NPR, White House Chief of Staff John Kelly shared some rather racist views to justify the Trump administration’s new “zero tolerance” policy on illegal border crossings. [ThinkProgress]

On May 6, 1988, a woman’s partially decomposed body was found in a field 18 miles south of Owenton. Kentucky State Police think she was murdered, and 30 years later, they still hope to figure out who she was. [H-L]

One of Donald Trump’s top foreign policy priorities became a reality on Monday as the U.S. embassy in Israel officially relocated to Jerusalem, while only a few miles away in Gaza, Israeli forces killed dozens of Palestinian protesters and wounded hundreds more. [HuffPo]

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Kentucky Republicans: Still Killing Ethics

The general counsel for the Kentucky House Republican Caucus, who allegedly sat in the room as former House Speaker Jeff Hoover and three other Republican lawmakers secretly settled a sexual harassment complaint, will soon serve as the attorney for the Legislative Ethics Commission. [H-L]

The Environmental Protection Agency’s inspector general has opened “new reviews” into Administrator Scott Pruitt’s alleged ethical lapses, including his $50 per night condo rental, according to letters sent Friday to two top Democrats. [HuffPo]

Greg Fischer unveiled a spending plan for the city Thursday that he said builds on Louisville’s momentum in the face of a $9.4 million bump in retirement costs. [C-J/AKN]

Follow the path of immigrants fleeing violence or persecution, and get a glimpse into the complicated, evolving system designed to grant them refuge in the United States. [ProPublica]

Candidates running for state representative and sheriff laid out their plans and why they should be elected, during a recent Richmond Chamber of Commerce Meet the Candidates Community Forum hosted at Eastern Kentucky University. [Richmond Register]

Within establishment political and media circles, the mythology surrounding the motives of white working-class voters has been the most popular and enduring explanation for why Donald Trump is in the White House. Trump voters are much less worried about their financial well-being than they are about losing their dominant status as white people within a demographically diverse and ever-changing nation. [ThinkProgress]

Louisville Metro Police have now had more shootings involving officers this year than all of last year, following a fatal shooting Wednesday night in Shawnee. [WFPL]

Last year, Howard “Buck” McKeon, a former Republican congressman who chaired the House Armed Services Committee, was hired to lobby for an Albanian political party seeking access to the Trump administration and congressional Republicans. But most of his firm’s work was bankrolled by a Cypriot shell company called Dorelita Limited. [Mother Jones]

More than 3,500 Hepatitis A vaccinations have been given to area residents following an outbreak of the disease. [Ashland Independent]

A top official with the Department of Health and Human Services is expected to tell members of Congress on Thursday that the agency lost track of nearly 1,500 migrant children the agency placed with sponsors in the United States, according to prepared testimony obtained by The New York Times. [NY Times]

Matt Bevin Thursday vetoed five bills and part of a sixth but allowed a tax cleanup bill which corrected mistakes in a revenue bill he opposed to become law without his signature and didn’t veto last-minute “fixes” to the budget bill. [Ronnie Ellis]

After Donald Trump vowed last year to release all the long-secret files related to the JFK assassination, the administration announced Thursday that some documents will remain redacted until October 2021 for national security reasons. [WaPo]

The open race for Lexington’s top job has attracted one of the largest fields of candidates in recent history. And the number of candidates will likely make for a messy primary season. [H-L]

A top Democratic congressman on Friday unsuccessfully tried to create a special committee to investigate why House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Shitbag) abruptly fired the House chaplain last week. [HuffPo]

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Greg Fischer: Still Fighting Transparency

House Republicans working to flesh out their recent promise of tax reform should heed the evidence that’s piling up in other states: Cutting income and business taxes, and offsetting the losses by raising sales taxes, is no magic economic elixir. It’s more a recipe for starving education, infrastructure and other public services and dishing up more budget crises. [H-L]

Last Saturday, in a private meeting with Republican donors who had gathered at his Mar-a-Lago estate, Donald Trump attacked yet again the basic foundations of American democracy. In his freewheeling and unscripted talk, a recording of which was obtained by CNN, Trump eventually focused his comments on President Xi Jinping of China. He noted Xi’s plan to abolish China’s presidential term limits, and lavished praise on this authoritarian grab at unrestricted power. [HuffPo]

Flashback to Greg Fischer claiming to be the most transparent mayor in Louisville history. Courier Journal is suing Louisville for refusing to release details on the incentives it offered to Amazon in return for the online retail giant building its second headquarters here. [C-J/AKN]

White House counselor Kellyanne Conway violated the Hatch Act on two occasions, the Office of Special Counsel (OSC) informed the Trump administration Tuesday. [The Hill]

Madison County is now officially the only community in Kentucky, and one of only seven nationwide, to be a Blueprint for Safety Community. [Richmond Register]

Migrants separated from their children after they were detained for illegally entering the United States filed a class action lawsuit on Friday, claiming there are “hundreds” of parents in the same situation, and that the Trump administration is violating their due process rights. [Reuters]

A Catlettsburg city councilman pleaded guilty to drug charges Friday and then was accused of almost immediately violating the terms of his probation by being under the influence of heroin, meth and other drugs. [Ashland Independent]

Coal ash — the residual byproduct of burning coal — is the second-largest form of waste in the entire country, with utilities producing more than 100 million tons of it each year. For decades, companies have dealt with all that coal ash by storing it in unlined pits or landfills. Now, new reporting data shows this has lead to the contamination of groundwater at coal-fired power plants across the country. [ThinkProgress]

Rowan County Sheriff Matt Sparks talked guns with Morehead-Rowan County Chamber of Commerce members this month. [The Morehead News]

The special counsel in the Russia investigation has learned of two conversations in recent months in which Donald Trump asked key witnesses about matters they discussed with investigators. [NY Times]

The Interapt Skills proposal is being downsized after it apparently became clear that the original price tag of nearly $1.9 million was going to be “too lofty a goal for our community at this point.” [Glasgow Daily Times]

The Social Security Administration’s acting commissioner had no authority to act after mid-November because the agency is in violation of a federal law regarding vacant positions, according to a report to the president. [WaPo]

A student accidentally shot himself in a classroom at Lexington’s Frederick Douglass High School with a “pocket-sized handgun” he took to school Friday, according to school district police and administrators. [H-L]

A top GOP fundraiser pitched Donald Trump last year on a plan to recruit a thousands-strong international Muslim army — to be advised by retired Army Gen. Stanley McChrystal — that would help the United Arab Emirates battle the Taliban and the Islamic State in Afghanistan, according to a leaked memo the fundraiser wrote documenting his meeting with the president. The army “would consist of two brigades (5,000 total troops) comprised of Muslim soldiers recruited from Arab and Islamic nations,” Elliott Broidy, a Republican National Committee deputy finance chair, wrote in the memo. [HuffPo]

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Coal Isn’t Just Killing Your Environment

Coal companies linked to the billionaire governor of West Virginia owe $2.9 million in delinquent property taxes in Kentucky, shorting schools and local government programs of money at a time many are struggling with tight finances. [H-L]

The reaction to the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, followed a familiar arc: GOP leaders offered thoughts and prayers. The media profiled fallen victims. Democrats urged action on the same gun safety bills they’ve been pushing for years, as Republicans said none of their ideas would work. [HuffPo]

Of course Greg Fischer is working against the homeless because he wants to build another unsightly stadium in Louisville. [C-J/AKN]

The troubled teen authorities say killed 17 people at a Florida high school excelled in an air-rifle marksmanship program supported by a grant from the National Rifle Association Foundation, part of a multimillion-dollar effort by the gun group to support youth shooting clubs and other programs. [NY Times]

The Berea City Council voted Monday to appoint David Rowlette to fill the unexpired term of Billy Wooten, whose resignation was announced at the council’s last meeting. [Richmond Register]

Trump’s public track record in the face of proximate danger, his words instead ended up underscoring a separate truth: His actions have, at times, read differently than his tough talk. [WaPo]

Law enforcement officers in the [Ashland] area won’t be outfitted with body-worn cameras any time soon. [Ashland Independent]

The U.S. intelligence community developed substantial evidence that state websites or voter registration systems in seven states were compromised by Russian-backed covert operatives prior to the 2016 election — but never told the states involved, according to multiple U.S. officials. [NBC News]

Shortly after Dr. Mark A. Murphy, a top opioid prescriber in the U.S., started practicing here three days a week last year, the clinic owners asked a police detective to meet for dinner. [The Morehead News]

Investigators for special counsel Robert Mueller have recently been asking witnesses about Donald Trump’s business activities in Russia prior to the 2016 presidential campaign as he considered a run for president, according to three people familiar with the matter. [CNN]

Coal companies controlled by West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice’s family owe nearly $3 million in delinquent Kentucky property taxes, money that local governments desperately need to avoid laying off teachers. [WFPL]

Hope Hicks, one of Donald Trump’s longest-serving and most trusted aides, is resigning from her job as White House communications director, a blow to the president, whose inner circle has been depleted by firings and clouded by scandal. [Reuters]

Barely literate hypocrite and bigot, Kim Davis, is pretending to have written a book. [H-L]

Norway’s doomsday agricultural seed vault will get a $13 million upgrade to better protect world food supplies amid growing threats from climate change. [HuffPo]

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You’re Pigging Out Today While Kids Go Hungry Probably Just Miles From You

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Attorney General Andy Beshear said Wednesday that changes in Gov. Matt Bevin’s proposed public pension bill dealing with the cost-of-living adjustment formula violate state law. [H-L]

A bipartisan group of more than 20 former federal prosecutors has urged Donald Trump to stand by his recent statements and allow special counsel Robert Mueller to conduct his investigation into Russia’s role in the 2016 election without interference. [HuffPo]

Mayor Greg Fischer leaped to the defense of Louisville police Thursday after Gov. Matt Bevin criticized the city’s use of police overtime during a year-in-review press conference. “It is sad and surprising that a governor would criticize the hard-working men and women of our Louisville Metro Police Department, who put their lives on the line 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to protect our community,” the mayor said. [C-J/AKN]

Last May, a top White House national security official met in Washington with senior Russian officials and handed over details of a secret operation Israel had shared with its U.S. counterparts. The meeting shocked veteran U.S. counterspies. The American official was not arrested, and he continues to work in the White House today, albeit under close scrutiny. [Newsweek]

Three years ago, a then 8-year-old autistic girl spent 17 days in the hospital. She suffered from dehydration, malnutrition, bruises and pressure sores. Her body temperature was 10 degrees below normal. She came close to dying, prosecutors have said. [Richmond Register]

The pace of U.S. vehicle sales is set to slow for the third straight month in December despite aggressive discounts from manufacturers, according to industry consultants J.D. Power and LMC Automotive. [Reuters]

Kentucky attorney Eric C. Conn, who fled the country after pleading guilty to charges of social security fraud, has been captured in Honduras and returned to the United States after being on the run for nearly six months. [Ashland Independent]

The US Congress has passed a short-term bill to fund the federal government until next month, averting a shutdown of government agencies. [BBC]

Matt Bevin has scheduled special elections on consecutive Tuesdays in February to fill sudden vacancies in the 49th and 89th state House districts. [Ronnie Ellis]

At this sprawling steel mill on the outskirts of Philadelphia, the workers have one number in mind. Not how many tons of steel roll off the line, or how many hours they work, but where they fall on the plant’s seniority list. [NY Times]

Glasgow Electric Plant Board cable television customers who did not like the idea of losing WHAS beginning Jan. 1 may be relieved to learn that decision has been reversed – probably. [Glasgow Daily Times]

His tenure as a top U.S. counterterrorism official coincided with the rise of the Islamic State, a wave of attacks in Europe, and a surge in terrorist recruiting through online propaganda. But as Nicholas Rasmussen approached the end of his five-year run at the National Counterterrorism Center this month — including three years as director — he voiced concern that efforts to protect the United States from mass casualty attacks are being undermined by the nation’s policies on guns. [WaPo]

There are a lot of ideas on the drawing board or in the works to help diversify the economy of Eastern Kentucky in the wake of a crash in coal jobs, including a drone-testing facility, a large solar-power array, a wildlife center and a factory to make high-tech batteries. Some people want to add casino gambling to the list. [H-L]

The Trump administration has abruptly cut off funding for studying the safety of offshore drilling, halting a 21-month project to determine the best ways to avoid a repeat of 2010′s devastating Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The study began last year and was supposed to review and update government regulators’ outdated offshore inspection programs to improve safety. [HuffPo]

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