Russia Russia Russia Russia Russia Russia

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Protesters are gathering outside Gate 1 at Louisville’s Freedom Hall ahead of President Donald Trump’s planned evening rally organized to push a contentious Republican replacement for Obamacare. [C-J/AKN]

The director of the FBI, with the director of the National Security Agency agreeing at his side, in effect called the president of the United States a liar ― and, oh, by the way, the president’s 2016 campaign indeed is under investigation for allegedly having secretly teamed up with Russia to win the election. [HuffPo]

Who wants to bet Blake Brickman is probably trolling for dick on Grindr right now? And who the hell writes a column about Matt Bevin’s attack princess complaining about the use of “bromance” without mentioning that it’s homophobic as fuck?! [C-J/AKN]

“There is certainly enough for us to conduct an investigation,” he added. “The American people have a right to know and in order to defend ourselves, we need to know whether the circumstantial evidence of collusion and direct evidence of deception is indicative of more.” [NBC News]

New Republicanism in action. The Kentucky Public Service Commission (PSC) is revamping the state program that provides assistance to low-income telephone customers and refocusing it on meeting the needs of the mostly elderly and rural customers who rely on landline phones. [Richmond Register]

Federal investigators are examining whether far-right news sites played any role last year in a Russian cyber operation that dramatically widened the reach of news stories — some fictional — that favored Donald Trump’s presidential bid, two people familiar with the inquiry say. [McClatchy]

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer is asking Gov. Matt Bevin to veto a bill that would remake the city’s solid waste management district. [WFPL]

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, a vocal critic of President Trump, has hired a prosecutor who served under fired U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara to focus on public corruption cases, including those involving the Trump administration, according to a Wall Street Journal report. [The Hill]

The attorney hired by the Glasgow City Council to pursue the ouster of three members of the Glasgow Electric Plant Board’s board of directors has been busy gathering information and hopes to be ready to meet with his client as a group soon. [Glasgow Daily Times]

After his name surfaced last August in a secret ledger listing millions of dollars in payments from a pro-Russian party in Ukraine, Paul Manafort not only lost his job running Donald J. Trump’s presidential campaign but also assumed center stage in a bizarre internecine struggle among Ukrainian political forces. On Monday, the intrigue took another turn, when a member of Parliament in Ukraine released documents that he said showed that Mr. Manafort took steps to hide the payments, which were tied to Mr. Manafort’s work for former President Viktor F. Yanukovych. The documents included an invoice that appeared to show $750,000 funneled through an offshore account and disguised as payment for computers. [NY Times]

Republican Gov. Matt Bevin and the new Republican majority got pretty much what they wanted from the 2017 General Assembly. Only time – and the citizens and voters of the commonwealth – will determine if what they got makes Kentucky a better and more – or less – prosperous place. [Ronnie Ellis]

FBI Director James B. Comey acknowledged Monday that his agency is conducting an investigation into possible coordination between the Kremlin and the Trump campaign in a counterintelligence probe that could reach all the way to the White House and may last for months. [WaPo]

Rand Paul predicted Monday that the Republican health care proposal will fail in the U.S. House this week, clearing the way for “real negotiations” to begin. [H-L]

Former U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, who was removed from his post by the Trump administration last week, was overseeing an investigation into stock trades made by the president’s health secretary, according to a person familiar with the office. [HuffPo]

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Brett Guthrie Just Sold Your Privacy For A Few Thousand In Telecom Campaign Contributions

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Republicans don’t give two shits about Eastern Kentucky. An agency that pumps millions of dollars each year into economic development in Eastern Kentucky and other Appalachian states would lose federal funding if President Donald Trump’s proposed budget prevails. [H-L]

“Insurance for everybody.” When President Donald Trump made that boast in January, in an interview with The Washington Post, nobody took it literally. Even the most comprehensive health care systems of Europe don’t cover everybody. [HuffPo]

Did people actually believe Greg Fischer has any idea how important public schools are? He grew up wealthy and inherited his position in life. His parents sent him to private school. He’s knee-deep in the Sharter Schools movement. Jefferson County school board members said they are dismayed Mayor Greg Fischer didn’t talk to them before he publicly voiced support for bringing charter schools to the state. [C-J/AKN]

Trump’s former national security adviser, Mike Flynn, was paid tens of thousands of dollars by Russian companies shortly before he became a formal adviser to the then-candidate, according to documents obtained by a congressional oversight committee that revealed business interests that hadn’t been previously known. [WSJ]

Surprise! Republicans don’t care about coal miners, your environment or your health. Lawmakers in both Kentucky and West Virginia are working to loosen mine safety regulations, alarming some mine safety experts. [WFPL]

Surprise! Brett Guthrie consponsored the bill allowing telecoms to sell your personal & private internet history. [Congress]

Because of course he’s not! Republican Gov. Matt Bevin’s administration says it will not calculate how the proposed GOP health care plan will impact Kentucky, a state where more than 400,000 people got health insurance through an expanded Medicaid program under a previous Democratic governor. [WKYT]

What was that, again, about Republicans giving a shit about Appalachia? Eliminating the Appalachian Regional Commission is astounding. But only if you haven’t been paying attention. [CNN]

The most significant item Sheriff Kent Keen is eyeing for the upcoming fiscal year’s budget is a new radio system that is expected to cost in the neighborhood of $70,000. [Glasgow Daily Times]

Senate Republicans voted Tuesday night to kill an obscure Obama-era regulation because they wanted to make it easier for states to drug-test applicants for unemployment benefits. There’s just one problem: They may have just made it harder. [Politico]

The Lawrence County Board of Education on Wednesday enacted a five-cent tax increase to raise money to rebuild one of its elementary schools. [Ashland Independent]

New Republican is deadlier and dumber than you imagined. President Trump’s budget calls for a seismic disruption in government-funded medical and scientific research. The cuts are deep and broad. [WaPo]

The Kentucky House rejected changes to a bill Wednesday that would make it harder for citizens to appeal zoning changes. Of course Republicans want to restrict your rights. If you think New Republicanism is anything but racism, money, power and borderline authoritarianism, you’re probably elderly and about to die. [H-L]

Donald Trump has given the Central Intelligence Agency new authority to conduct drone attacks against suspected militants, the Wall Street Journal reported on Monday, citing U.S. officials. [HuffPo]

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People Like Bob Stivers Have No Business Making Decisions For Lexington And Louisville

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Think the Republican Party of Kentucky has your best interests at heart? Here the Republicans are voting to allow more nepotism in your school districts. [H-L]

Much has been made of the monetary cost of Donald Trump’s proposed border wall. Trump himself has cited wildly differing estimates. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Nazi-Enabler) recently said that the wall would cost $12 billion to $15 billion. Some experts have cited numbers far higher. But the wall’s true cost surpasses even the biggest numbers being discussed. There’s upkeep, of course — hundreds of millions of dollars per year will be needed to maintain the 1,000-mile barrier. There are other expenses, too, some of them intangible and difficult to quantify. [HuffPo]

If Greg Fischer really wants to know if lenders discriminate, he already has a ton of the info at his disposal. He can examine bank data to see if area banks are investing and lending in the areas they’re legally required to invest and lend in. Spoiler alert: He has people on his staff who already know this data by heart because I helped them compile it in late 2014. [C-J/AKN]

Mr. Sater, a longtime business associate of Mr. Trump’s with connections in Russia, was willing to help Mr. Artemenko’s proposal reach the White House. Mr. Trump has sought to distance himself from Mr. Sater in recent years. If Mr. Sater “were sitting in the room right now,” Mr. Trump said in a 2013 deposition, “I really wouldn’t know what he looked like.” But Mr. Sater worked on real estate development deals with the Trump Organization on and off for at least a decade, even after his role in the stock manipulation scheme came to light. Mr. Sater, who was born in the Soviet Union and grew up in New York, served as an executive at a firm called Bayrock Group, two floors below the Trump Organization in Trump Tower, and was later a senior adviser to Mr. Trump. [NY Times]

The Highlands Museum and Discovery Center has received a $1,000 grant from the Kentucky Local History Trust Fund, the Kentucky Historical Society announced Thursday. [Ashland Independent]

On its own, Trump’s relationship with Sater might be written off (albeit not terribly plausibly) as simply a sleazy relationship Trump entered into to get access to capital he needed to finance his projects. Whatever shadowy ties Sater might have and whatever his criminal background, Trump has long since washed his hands of him. (Again, we’re talking about most generous reads here.) But now we learn that Sater is still very much in the Trump orbit and acting as a go-between linking Trump and a pro-Putin Ukrainian parliamentarian pitching ‘peace plans’ for settling the dispute between Russia and Ukraine. [TPM]

After Sater got busted, somehow he managed to offer his services to the FBI and supposedly the CIA to work on their behalf purchasing stinger missiles and other weapons on the then wild and free-wheeling Russian black market. [More TPM]

The Daniel Boone National Forest is celebrating 80 years as part of America’s national forest system. [Richmond Register]

Teen suicide attempts in the U.S. declined after same-sex marriage became legal and the biggest impact was among gay, lesbian and bisexual kids, a study found. [AP]

Kentucky regulators have approved a coal ash landfill for a power plant in Trimble County, advancing a project that’s been on hold for several years as regulators worked around concerns about the area’s geology and proximity to neighbors. [WFPL]

After she lost her son, Tonda Thompson dreamed of a baby in a washing machine. She’d stuffed in dirty clothes and closed the door. The lock clicked shut. Water rushed in. Then she saw him, floating behind the glass. Frantic, she jabbed at a keypad on the machine, searching for a code to unlock the door. [The Nation]

Motions from both sides of a lawsuit against Barren County Sheriff Kent Keen – and responses to those motions – have been filed in Barren Circuit Court and are awaiting the judge’s rulings. [Glasgow Daily Times]

Most Republicans in Washington are biting their tongues when it comes to Donald Trump, fearful that any candid criticisms of the new president could invite a backlash from their constituents or, potentially worse, provoke retribution from the commander in chief himself. Mark Sanford is not like most Republicans in Washington. [Politico]

This is why you shouldn’t trust bloated (no, not their physical appearance), backwater, out-of-touch xenophobes to make decisions for metro areas like Lexington and Louisville. The Lexington Urban County Council and several Lexington neighborhoods are opposing a state House bill that they say would make it more difficult for neighborhoods to fight proposed real estate developments in the courts. [H-L]

NASA continues to steadfastly tweet urgent climate change information despite a critical president and GOP efforts to force the agency to stick to space and forget the Earth. The Trump administration aims to largely restrict NASA to focus on its space missions and abandon climate change research, which is a part of its Earth Sciences Division. [HuffPo]

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You Excited For Another Martin County Coal Slurry Disaster? If So, You Can Thank Mitch McConnell & Crew

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Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear has found that Western Kentucky University officials acted illegally by turning down open records requests from two student newspaper representatives. [H-L]

Just a reminder that Holocaust denial is alive and well IN THE FUCKING WHITE HOUSE! The State Department drafted its own statement last month marking International Holocaust Remembrance Day that explicitly included a mention of Jewish victims, according to people familiar with the matter, but President Donald Trump’s White House blocked its release. [Politico]

If you need a good laugh, check out the latest brain dead bumblings from Bridget Bush, a woman with a history of spewing racism, homophobia and general stupidity. She believes that since SHE has a great life, everyone else does, that there’s nothing up in the U.S. That’s how stupid the woman is. Straight up stupid. It’s not ignorance. She’s really that dumb. Thank goodness the paper allows her and her ilk (like Scott Jennings) to spew their bullshit out into the public so we know who to keep our children away from. Also, PEE ALERT! [C-J/AKN]

On Thursday the GOP-controlled House voted to overturn an Obama administration rule designed to keep firearms out of the hands of some people deemed mentally ill. [NPR]

What happens to our institutions when good people are not there to run them? [LEO Weekly]

After this twat threatened to invade Mexico (seriously), he got nasty with Australia. A report about heated remarks President Trump made to Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull during a Saturday phone call has sparked an incident with the close U.S. ally, and confusion over whether the U.S. will honor a refugee resettlement deal. [New York Magazine]

Amy Johnson stood on the sidewalk in downtown Louisville, waiting for a ride, and lit a cigarette. [WFPL]

The military convoy spotted on Sunday flying a Donald Trump flag near Louisville belonged to an East Coast-based SEAL unit, a Navy spokesperson told ABC News. Though known as SEAL units, Navy Special Warfare Units consist of many support staff, Maxwell said, so the occupants of the vehicle flying the flag may not have been SEALs. [ABC News]

Eastern Kentucky University’s police department had a busy year in 2016, according to information presented to the university’s Board of Regents Monday morning. [Richmond Register]

Discrimination under the guise of ‘Religious Freedom’ is still discrimination, Republican Party of Kentucky. [ACLU]

The man who in all probability will be Morehead State University’s next president is coming to campus March 5 and 6. [Ashland Independent]

A Senate subcommittee is launching an investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election and how to prevent similar attacks in the future, subcommittee leaders announced Thursday. [The Hill]

Rama Al Najjar and her family left Syria more than four years ago to escape violence, but critics’ fears that refugees will commit similar violence have caused families like hers to be blocked from the United States. [H-L]

Donald Trump takes Propecia, a hair-loss drug associated with mental confusion and impotence. But that’s not that big of a deal, right? Nothing wrong with the leader of the free world taking something that could make him even more unstable. [HuffPo]

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Will You Recognize Fascism When It Knocks On Your Door? Not If You’re A Kentucky Republican

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What the Associated Press doesn’t tell you is that those kids rallying? They were all wearing private school uniforms or wearing private school backpacks. You can check the photos out for yourself. This is all about the redistribution of public funds to wealthy people. Full stop. [H-L]

This is the hate people like Scott Jennings and the Republican Party of Kentucky are actively supporting and defending. The U.S. government must “permit lawyers access to all legal permanent residents being detained at Dulles International Airport” a federal judge in Virginia ordered late Saturday. [H-L]

Greg Fischer announced a rally with Louisville civic, faith and other community leaders will take place Monday at the Muhammad Ali Center in response to President Donald Trump’s controversial executive orders that kept an untold number of refugees from entering the U.S. on Saturday. [C-J/AKN]

If you’re supporting this, it’s time you came to terms with the fact that you’re a raging racist. President Trump’s executive order closing the nation’s borders to refugees was put into immediate effect on Friday night. Refugees who were airborne on flights on the way to the United States when the order was signed were stopped and detained at airports. [NY Times]

Hundreds of people packed into the Turkish American Friendship Center in Louisville’s Buechel neighborhood on Saturday for a rally and community dinner. The cause: to combat islamophobia and racism. [WFPL]

My worry is the president of the United States is barking mad. [WaPo]

Donald Trump on Wednesday said he plans a “major investigation” into what he claims was massive voter fraud in the November presidential election. Kentucky’s chief elections official, Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes, said Wednesday “there is no basis in fact or in reality for any claim, accusation or belief that there is widespread voter impersonation sufficient to impact the presidential race.” [Ronnie Ellis]

Yep, your new president and his team have practiced denial of the Holocaust. That really happened. AND THEY DOUBLED DOWN! [CNN]

Matt Bevin again took to social media Wednesday to attack Democratic Attorney General Andy Beshear for what Bevin claimed is Beshear’s refusal to defend a new abortion restriction law and he also attacked The Courier-Journal and one of its reporters. [Ronnie Ellis]

President Donald Trump’s nominee for U.S. treasury secretary was untruthful with the Senate during the confirmation process, documents uncovered by The Dispatch show. Steve Mnuchin, former chairman and chief executive officer of OneWest Bank, known for its aggressive foreclosure practices, flatly denied in testimony before the Senate Finance Committee that OneWest used “robo-signing” on mortgage documents. [Columbus Dispatch]

One woman relied on old needles used by her friend’s diabetic husband. Another settled for whatever syringes she could find. [Richmond Register]

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday declined to hear an appeal by Texas seeking to revive the state’s strict Republican-backed voter-identification requirements that a lower court found had a discriminatory effect on black and Hispanic people. [Reuters]

A former employee of a defunct Lexington consulting firm pleaded guilty Thursday to helping funnel bribes to a state official in order to get business for the company. Myron D. Harrod worked at MC Squared Consulting in 2014 and 2015 when owner Sam. C. McIntosh was bribing state Personnel Cabinet Secretary Tim Longmeyer. [H-L]

This is the hate people like Scott Jennings and the Republican Party of Kentucky are actively supporting and defending. The real-life consequences of President Donald Trump’s executive order on Friday banning Syrian refugees and immigrants from seven majority-Muslim nations became apparent within hours of his signing it. [HuffPo]

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The KRS/KTRS Are Still A Train Wreck

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Officials asked residents of a Knott County home to evacuate because of the threat of flooding caused by water leaking from a nearby coal mine. [H-L]

Donald Trump promised during his campaign to bring back mining jobs to struggling workers in coal country. Now the president-elect has tapped for commerce secretary a Manhattan billionaire who owned a West Virginia coal mine where 12 workers died in 2006. [HuffPo]

Greg Fischer said those seeking to address gun violence in Louisville and other cities, such as Gov. Matt Bevin, must consider multiple policy levers in order to halt the rise of shootings and homicides. [C-J/AKN]

President-elect Donald Trump’s transition-team adviser on financial policies and appointments, Paul Atkins, has been depicted as an ideological advocate of small government. But the ways that the Trump administration and Congressional Republicans are likely to approach financial deregulation could serve Atkins’ wallet as well as his political agenda. [ProPublica]

The Louisville attorneys representing three people in a lawsuit stemming from a Donald Trump campaign rally want to depose the president-elect before he’s sworn into office. Dan Canon is one of the lawyers representing the plaintiffs suing Trump and others. He said Trump incited violence at his rally in Louisville back in March. [WLKY]

On Thursday, a federal judge in Oregon ruled that a climate lawsuit brought against the U.S. government by a group of youths can move forward, a win for the strategy of fighting climate change through the judicial branch. [ThinkProgress]

Worried about irreparable damage being done to their retirement benefits, a group of public school teachers on Tuesday asked a judge to order Kentucky’s top political leaders to “perform their constitutional and statutory duties” by adequately funding the pension system. [Richmond Register]

A US serviceman has been killed by an improvised explosive device while fighting against so-called Islamic State (IS) in Syria, officials say. [BBC]

The 5,000 electric customers of Kentucky Utilities in Barren and Hart counties, along with the other 541,000 in more than 70 counties across the commonwealth, could get cost hikes in the coming year, pending Kentucky Public Service Commission approval. [Glasgow Daily Times]

Thirty years ago Friday, a shocking announcement was made in the rotunda of San Francisco’s City Hall by a visibly shaken Dianne Feinstein, who was then president of the city’s Board of Supervisors. [NPR]

The financial woes of Kentucky’s public pension systems continue to worsen, but it’s really one of the six plans which is causing the most concern. [Ronnie Ellis]

Mitch McConnell (R-Granny), whose wife Elaine Chao is Trump’s pick for transportation secretary, was asked if he plans to recuse himself from her Senate confirmation process. McConnell’s answer? In a word: no. [WaPo]

The number of homemade methamphetamine labs found in Kentucky has dropped sharply in the past few years as drug abusers switched to imported meth, reducing the danger and cleanup costs associated with the small labs. [H-L]

A Marine wounded in combat in Fallujah, Iraq, in 2004 has found new purpose as a self-proclaimed peaceful warrior fighting against a 1,172-mile pipeline that protesters fear threatens the water source of Native Americans in North Dakota. [HuffPo]

What The Heck Is Going On In Glasgow?

Paintsville Mayor Robert Porter announced his resignation in the wake of a federal corruption conviction. [H-L]

Two big-money donors who have given or raised tens of thousands of dollars for Donald Trump are livid at the Republican presidential nominee and are asking for their money back, according to a bundler who raised money for Trump. [NBC News]

Under Mayor Greg Fischer’s leadership, Louisville has undertaken several studies aimed at better understanding the city’s environmental challenges. A new national ranking suggests it may be time to move beyond research and into action. [C-J/AKN]

In August, the country’s worst natural disaster since 2012’s Superstorm Sandy hit Louisiana. Flooding killed 13 people and left more than 80,000 homes severely damaged. And once again, the American Red Cross’ response left local officials seething. [ProPublica]

Incumbent Republican Sen. Rand Paul is targeted by two separate attack ads released Tuesday, one from the campaign of Paul’s Democratic challenger Lexington Mayor Jim Gray and the other from a PAC supporting Gray. [Ronnie Ellis]

Lawmakers in a state that abolished the death penalty in 2009 want to resurrect it for political gain, according to Democratic lawmakers in New Mexico. [ThinkProgress]

Five of the seven candidates running for commissioner of Ashland answered questions about missing tires, city water and job growth on Monday in a forum hosted by the Human Rights Commission. [Ashland Independent]

Republican candidate Donald Trump has denied the allegation that he violated the US trade embargo with Cuba. [BBC]

Morehead City Council passed an ordinance on Monday evening to allow the sale of packaged alcohol sales on Sunday. [The Morehead News]

The U.S. has lifted sanctions against Myanmar that have been in place for nearly two decades. [NPR]

Everything about this smells scandalous. Glasgow Councilman Gary Oliver, when asked directly by fellow council member Karalee Oldenkamp, still would not reveal his motivation behind asking the city’s legislative body to consider reducing its size, starting with the 2018 election. [Glasgow Daily Times]

When you are threatening to investigate and then jail your political opponent in a presidential debate you have crossed an exceptionally dangerous line. [Boston Globe]

The federal government has denied Kentucky’s request for a one-year extension to comply with regulations known as Real ID, requiring tougher standards for driver’s licenses and identification cards. [H-L]

Donald Trump may be losing ground in Utah, according to a new poll that was conducted after the release of the tape in which the Republican presidential nominee boasts about sexually assaulting women. [HuffPo]

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