Hillbilly Elegy Is Republican Bullshit

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Another Day, Another Frankfort FBI Investigation Because Kentucky = Corruption

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Republicans Don’t Care About Poor Kids In Louisville… Or Anywhere In Kentucky

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Donald Trump brought Sen. Rand Paul to his Virginia golf course on Sunday to talk health policy with the outspoken critic of the failed plan to repeal and replace so-called Obamacare. [H-L]

It took far more than a year before presidents from Ronald Reagan through Barack Obama earned the disapproval of a majority of the public, according to Gallup. It took Trump just over a week. [HuffPo]

A federal judge in Louisville said in a ruling that then-candidate Donald Trump incited the use of violence against three protesters when he told supporters at a campaign rally a year ago to “get ’em out of here.” [C-J/AKN]

Texas Roadhouse Inc agreed to pay $12 million to settle U.S. claims that the steakhouse chain refused to hire people age 40 and over to work as hosts, servers and bartenders. A consent decree resolving the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s lawsuit against the Louisville, Kentucky-based chain was filed on Friday with the U.S. District Court in Boston. [Reuters]

Disconnection and poverty plague thousands of kids in Louisville. Some 160,000 Jefferson County children live in poverty and about 11,400 young people between the ages of 16 and 24 are out of work and not attending school, according to a new report released Wednesday. [WFPL]

It is no fantasy to say the drip-drip-drip of the Trump-Russia investigations is draining this presidency of political capital. The president’s historically high disapproval rating — 51 percent in the latest McClatchy poll — tells the same story. That’s why astute Republicans are starting to look out for themselves. [The Hill]

Madison County took the next step Friday toward fulfilling Judge/Executive Reagan Taylor’s dream for an innovative, comprehensive attack on the substance abuse epidemic. [Richmond Register]

During the first public Senate Intelligence Committee hearing about Russia’s meddling in the presidential election on Thursday, former FBI special agent Clint Watts explained how Russia and the Trump campaign team up to weaponize fake news. [ThinkProgress]

The $28 million construction project for the new Maysville Community and Technical College-Rowan Campus, located in the John Will Stacy MMRC Regional Business Park on KY 801, is on schedule, according to director Russ Ward. [The Morehead News]

The husband-and-wife team of Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump, now both senior federal government officials, has been alongside Trump as the White House has hosted dozens of chief executives and a handful of world leaders in recent weeks. [NY Times]

Cortni Crews was named assistant superintendent of Barren County Schools at a press conference Friday afternoon at the BCS central office. [Glasgow Daily Times]

At the Boys and Girls Club in this rural city in southern Oklahoma, the director is unsure how he will stay open if Trump’s proposed budget goes through, eliminating money for several staff positions. [WaPo]

The coordinating agency for Kentucky’s public colleges and universities is expected to set a 3 to 5 percent limit on tuition increases for the upcoming school year. [Linda Blackford]

This is what happens when you mix corruption with stupidity. Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt still doesn’t agree with the vast majority of climate scientists who say humans are the primary cause of climate change. [HuffPo]

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Matt Bevin: The Opposite Of Transparent

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Robert Stivers doth protest too much, henny. The only ignorant and arrogant person involved is him. His bigoted self. He’s the kind of coward who fears shaking hands with a gay person. The disgusting, small (obviously not talking about his massive weight) man who spreads good old boy racism and misogyny left and right. [H-L]

The only way to fix this kind of Republican stupidity is with education. Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas), chairman of the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology, has challenged the credibility of Science magazine — one of the world’s most respected science publications. “That is not known as an objective writer or magazine,” Smith said during a hearing Wednesday on climate change, which Smith denies. [HuffPo]

It appears Matt Bevin is once again playing a shady game of secrecy and your taxpayer dollars are funding it. [C-J/AKN]

Budget documents released on Politico this week detailing the Trump administration’s proposed budget moving forward into 2017 reveal some horrifying truths, including but not limited to $342 million in cuts to HIV/AIDS prevention and research. [OUT]

University of Louisville Foundation leaders put an end Tuesday to a controversial deferred compensation plan that doled out an extra $20 million to U of L administrators. [WFPL]

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, said Sunday that “alarm bells” should go off whenever President Trump calls something “fake,” adding the White House is trying to mislead the country into believing there is no connection between Russian officials and Trump campaign associates. [The Hill]

It looked like a slam dunk, but as the clock ticked past 11:30 p.m. on the final day of the 2017 General Assembly, it suddenly became clear a bill to limit the power of Democratic Attorney General Andy Beshear wasn’t going to get a vote. [Ronnie Ellis]

Michael Flynn, Donald Trump’s former national security adviser, failed to disclose payments from a Russian television network and two other firms linked to Russia in a February financial disclosure form, according to documents released by the White House. [Reuters]

A settlement was reached in a civil lawsuit against the Boyd County clerk and fiscal court that alleged a former deputy clerk was terminated under conditions that violated the Kentucky Whistleblower Act. [Ashland Independent]

When Trump welcomes President Xi Jinping of China to his palm-fringed Florida club for two days of meetings on Thursday, the studied informality of the gathering will bear the handiwork of two people: China’s ambassador to Washington and Mr. Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner. [NY Times]

A man shot his girlfriend in the head then killed himself during a gunfight with police Tuesday night, after a two-day, cross-state crime spree in which they allegedly stabbed an elderly widower to death and stole two cars and a gun, police say. [Glasgow Daily Times]

Republicans know that drug testing before giving poor people access to life-saving health care doesn’t work. So what do they want to do? Drug test people who need Medicaid in order to survive. Now that House Republicans have squandered their shot at reordering Medicaid, governors who want conservative changes in the health program for ­low-income Americans must get special permission from the Trump administration. [WaPo]

Hold on to your wigs, Republicans like Scott Jennings and Brett Guthrie. You shouldn’t tweet out screenshots of your mobile or home internet providers if you don’t want advocacy groups to come for your browsing history. If you’re displeased with the actions of your representatives in Congress, you typically have to wait until the next election to try to hold them accountable. But in light of the recent approval of Senate Joint Resolution 34, voters are fighting back in a more creative way. [H-L]

The failure of Donald Trump and congressional Republicans to repeal the Affordable Care Act could lead to an ironic result: the expansion of government-run health care. [HuffPo]

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Leave It To Republicans To Ignore Just How Bottom Of The Barrel Things Have Gotten

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The premature death rate improved in 12 Kentucky counties between 1997 and 2014 but got worse in 44 counties, in part because of increasing drug overdoses, according to a report released Wednesday. [H-L]

Of the many questions surrounding House Intelligence Committee Chair Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), and his conduct in investigating President Donald Trump’s ties to Russia, the most puzzling has to be his explanation for his recent visit to the White House grounds. People who have worked in the White House suggest that, on this matter, Nunes and the White House simply aren’t being credible. [HuffPo]

Matt Bevin’s administration is seeking to shut down Kentucky’s only abortion provider, prompting a federal lawsuit by the clinic to block the move it says would have “a devastating impact on women.” [C-J/AKN]

FBI Director James Comey attempted to go public as early as the summer of 2016 with information on Russia’s campaign to influence the U.S. presidential election, but Obama administration officials blocked him from doing so, two sources with knowledge of the matter tell Newsweek. [Newsweek]

GET INVOLVED IN WHAT YOUR LOCAL GOVERNMENT IS DOING! Very few residents turned out for a town hall-style meeting Tuesday night at the South Barren Volunteer Fire Station on Steam Mill Road during which some elected and appointed Barren County officials shared information abut their responsibilities. [Glasgow Daily Times]

For the past half century, federal law has banned employers from discriminating against people based on their age. But since the early 1990s, corporate lawyers and conservative judges have sought to shrink what counts as discrimination, making it substantially harder to prove age bias. [ProPublica]

“Killing Coal Country,” a documentary about the decline of the coal industry in Appalachia, will debut at a film festival in Eastern Kentucky early next month. [Ashland Independent]

Trump lifted an Obama-era moratorium on new coal leases on public lands, but critics say it will benefit executives, not workers. [ThinkProgress]

Kentucky lawmakers gave final passage to another round of major education reform Wednesday which is aimed at changing how schools are held accountable for student achievement and how teachers are evaluated. [Ronnie Ellis]

Grifters gonna grift. Ivanka Trump, the elder daughter of President Trump, is becoming an official government employee, joining her husband in serving as an unpaid adviser to her father in the White House. [NY Times]

Dr. Joseph “Jay” Morgan is officially Morehead State University’s 14th President. Morgan’s first day as President will be July 1. [The Morehead News]

If you think Paul Ryan is a policy wonk, you likely also believe the Bible is a work of science. [WaPo]

Elliott County’s fiscal court mismanaged its spending, debts and recordkeeping during fiscal 2015, state Auditor Mike Harmon said in a report released Tuesday. [John Cheves]

By undoing the Clean Power Plan, the Trump administration is putting projected carbon emissions back on an upward trajectory. It is also abandoning any hope of meeting the U.S. emissions reduction targets set out in 2015 in the 195-country Paris Agreement, the first global climate pact to include China and the U.S., the world’s top polluters. [HuffPo]

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Republicans: Still Lying About Coal Jobs

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For more than a week, State Rep. Adam Koenig, R-Erlanger, has been fielding calls and emails from first-responders asking him why he sponsored a bill that would strip them of their workers’ compensation benefits. [H-L]

Lawyers for President Donald Trump tried to prevent former acting Attorney General Sally Yates from testifying before the House Intelligence Committee on links between Trump campaign staff and Russian officials. [HuffPo]

Leave it to backward-ass teabagger Republican, Marilyn Parker, to try to weaken Louisville’s smoking ban. She, like most Kentucky Republicans, reinforces the notion that conservatives in the Commonwealth are dumb as hell. (Because she’s really dumb as hell. She only wound up on council because the Democrats couldn’t get their shit together.) [C-J/AKN]

The Houston man laid out the details of his triumphant plan during a podcast last July: He told listeners that he had wanted to paste white nationalist fliers across the city’s downtown, and, just as importantly, he had wanted the Free Press, a local news and arts website, to write about the fliers. [ProPublica]

The first thing a visitor saw at the second-grade classroom door Friday was a diminutive hand stuck out for a shake. [Ashland Independent]

Trump repealed the so-called “blacklisting rule” Monday that required federal contractors to disclose labor violations. [The Hill]

A public financing method used as a subsidy for redevelopment, infrastructure, and other community-improvement projects is moving forward after both involved entities passed the first reading of the ordinance this month. [The Morehead News]

Matt Bevin and the Republican Party of Kentucky are lying to you about Trump’s anti-environment efforts bringing back coal jobs. They’re not coming back. [NY Times]

The first thing I see when I walk into Karen Blanton’s home is a pair of rhinestone-studded ruby slippers criss-crossed on the mantle. [WFPL]

Really, the Republican Party of Kentucky continues to lie to you about coal jobs. They’re never coming back. [WaPo]

When state coffers were flush in the 1990s, lawmakers were happy to sweeten the pie for state workers and retirees, adding cost of living adjustments and other enhancements to their retirement benefits. [Ronnie Ellis]

Here’s a mainstream outlet calling Trump out for trying to take credit for something Ford announced long ago. [Reuters]

Fayette County school board member Doug Barnett, an attorney, says school district officials should consider challenging the constitutionality of the law that will allow charter schools in Kentucky for the first time. This is apparently the most in-depth charters reporting you’re ever going to get from Valarie Honeycutt Spears. [H-L]

The Affordable Care Act overcame the tea party protests of 2009 and the Democrats losing their filibuster-proof Senate majority in 2010. It survived two challenges in front of the Supreme Court and the calamitous rollout of healthcare.gov. [HuffPo]

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Thank Goodness For Tennessee, Maybe…?

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Just in case you’d forgotten Tennessee was a million times worse than anything Kentucky has to offer? Steve Eimers knew something was wrong before he opened the envelope with his daughter’s name on it. [H-L]

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) met a source on White House grounds last week, one day before he alleged that President Donald Trump and his team were subjected to surveillance during the final months of the Obama administration. [HuffPo]

The University of Louisville alerted its community that gun advocates plan to walk around the perimeters of the Belknap Campus on Friday openly carrying firearms. [C-J/AKN]

State and local governments seeking Justice Department grants must certify they are not so-called sanctuary cities in order to receive the money, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced Monday. [The Hill]

The Ashland Board of City Commissioners pushed its meeting back to the evening on Thursday, and a swarm of local residents journeyed to the commission chambers to pitch ideas, raise concerns and observe the public servants conduct business. [Ashland Independent]

Roger Severino, the new head of the Office for Civil Rights within Health and Human Services, has opposed transgender patients’ rights, same-sex marriage and Planned Parenthood. [ProPublica]

Close to 100 people turned out Thursday night to learn what needs to be done to get Park City established as a trail town through the Kentucky Office of Adventure Tourism. [Glasgow Daily Times]

Donald Trump’s son-in-law and aide, Jared Kushner, will be questioned by a US committee investigating alleged ties between the Trump team and Moscow. [BBC]

House Minority Floor Leader Rocky Adkins, D-Sandy Hook, made it clear during a brief update to Rowan County Fiscal Court on Tuesday that it’s been a difficult last 28 legislative days. [The Morehead News]

Trump, looking for a flicker of hope after his Republican majority fell to pieces last week, predicted that the opposition party would eventually give in: “I honestly believe the Democrats will come to us and say let’s get together and get a great health care bill or plan,” he said. [NY Times]

Can you imagine how hard Greg Fischer would lose if Republicans had a non-wingnut candidate to run against him? Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer will seek a third term as the city’s mayor. But he’s not talking much about his decision. [WFPL]

The Trump administration is planning a much more assertive role in undertaking a broad overhaul of the tax code than it did during the failed effort to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, with some advisers working to craft a concrete blueprint for specific changes instead of letting Congress dictate details. [WaPo]

A jury has ruled that a male officer at the state prison in Elliott County sexually harassed four female guards and awarded $1.6 million to the women. [H-L]

“We’re roughly two months into the Trump Presidency, and it is the worst start to a time in office I have ever seen,” Dan Rather wrote in a Facebook post on Monday, noting that many historians have said the same thing. [HuffPo]

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