The RPK Is Screwing Poor Kentuckians

The Eastern Kentucky University Board of Regents voted to slash a long list of academic programs, eliminate jobs, close a regional campus and end two sports — men’s and women’s tennis — as part of a brutal budgetary process to solve a $25 million shortfall. The regents also voted to eliminate 153 positions, about 96 of them currently filled. [H-L]

Louisville could learn a lot about this effort to curtail the negatives of gentrification. But it won’t. It’s going to continue to get worse and the city will become unaffordable for longtime residents. [HuffPo]

Republican legislative leaders chided Matt Bevin for not consulting with them before announcing Monday that he would veto tax reform and budget bills. [C-J/AKN]

Trump’s attacks on China over trade are putting Republican candidates in a difficult spot, caught between support for the president and concern for their constituents’ fortunes. [WaPo]

A top Kentucky official says northern Kentucky will likely be the first area where Medicaid enrollees will have to meet the state’s new ‘community engagement’ requirement, starting July 1. [WFPL]

The special counsel is investigating a payment made to Donald Trump’s foundation by a Ukrainian steel magnate for a talk during the campaign, according to three people briefed on the matter, as part of a broader examination of streams of foreign money to Mr. Trump and his associates in the years leading up to the election. [NY Times]

The Barren County Economic Authority continues to work with industrial companies – some new, some already in place – to develop additional jobs in the area, with some cautious optimism expressed that one or more agreements may be nearing fruition. [Glasgow Daily Times]

Ex-FBI Director James Comey compared Donald Trump to a “mob boss” in a taped interview with ABC News. [The Hill]

Attorney General Andy Beshear went to court Wednesday seeking to invalidate a controversial pension reform bill passed by lawmakers without public debate or a financial analysis. [Ronnie Ellis]

The American Civil Liberties Union has filed a lawsuit challenging what it calls a pattern by Donald Trump’s administration of detaining illegal immigrants seeking to legalize their status based on marriages to U.S. citizens. [Reuters]

Teachers from Northeast Kentucky returned to Frankfort today to lobby once again for education funding. [Ashland Independent]

The FBI was seeking information about the “Access Hollywood” tape in which Donald Trump was heard making vulgar boasts about women when agents raided the office and hotel of his personal attorney Michael Cohen Monday, according to a person with knowledge of the raid. [NBC News]

In newly released recordings, a longtime Kentucky state senator reveals new details about her affair with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and what happened in the hours before his assassination. [Tom Eblen]

If Donald Trump is to be believed when he claims his White House has “no Chaos, only great Energy,” this week may well be the most energetic of his presidency. [HuffPo]

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Jeff Hoover’s Finally Had His Bigoted Butt Handed To Him And We All Get To Watch Him Melt Down

The Legislative Research Commission is still corrupt as hell. The former chief clerk of the Kentucky House has filed a lawsuit saying he was fired for reporting ethical misdeeds in the sexual harassment scandal involving former House Speaker Jeff Hoover and other lawmakers. Brad Metcalf, who was fired in January, alleges in his whistleblower suit filed Thursday that the woman who made the complaint showed him text messages she’d exchanged with Hoover, “many of an explicit nature,” as well as a timeline of their “inappropriate encounters,” before the secret settlement was reached. [C-J/AKN]

In the midst of a federal investigation into corruption in the world of college basketball, a Louisville lawmaker is trying to tighten up the rules that govern athletic agents. [Linda Blackford]

Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson is changing the mission statement of his agency, removing promises of inclusive and discrimination-free communities. [HuffPo]

Republican John Schickel is a basket of clown dicks. That old racist is fighting to keep forced child marriages legal. [More C-J/AKN]

The world’s biggest investment management firm is stepping up pressure on companies that make and sell guns after the Florida school shooting. [BBC]

Kim Davis is a hypocrite and a monster. But Matt Bevin is worse. Can’t wait til people start to talk about what goes on in his private office. 2019 will be fun. [WDRB]

A prominent Kremlin-linked Russian politician has methodically cultivated ties with leaders of the National Rifle Association and documented efforts in real time over six years to leverage those connections and gain deeper access into American politics. [NPR]

It’s a far cry from what the original pension reform proposal released last fall and it’s far from acceptable to most teachers and state employees, but Wednesdaym a state Senate committee sent a compromise pension reform bill to the full Senate. [Ronnie Ellis]

The Supreme Court ruled on Tuesday that people held in immigration detention, sometimes for years, are not entitled to periodic hearings to decide whether they may be released on bail. [NY Times]

On wintry or rainy days, most Kentucky state lawmakers travel from their offices in the annex through an underground tunnel connected to the Capitol building. [More Ronnie Ellis]

Inside the White House, aides over the past week have described an air of anxiety and volatility — with an uncontrollable commander in chief at its center. These are the darkest days in at least half a year, they say, and they worry just how much farther Donald Trump and his administration may plunge into unrest and malaise before they start to recover. As one official put it: “We haven’t bottomed out.” [WaPo]

he state House Judiciary Committee heard a second day of testimony on a bill legalizing the use of medical marijuana – this time from opponents – but took no vote. [Even More Ronnie Ellis]

George Nader, a Lebanese-American businessman, has hovered on the fringes of international diplomacy for three decades. He was a back-channel negotiator with Syria during the Clinton administration, reinvented himself as an adviser to the de facto ruler of the United Arab Emirates, and last year was a frequent visitor to Donald Trump’s White House. Mr. Nader is now a focus of the investigation by Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel. [More NY Times]

A newly-elected board of elders for Southern Acres Christian Church has taken possession of the church and ousted senior pastor Cameron McDonald from his position. [H-L]

Sen Turd Cruz (R-Racist) has a warning for his fellow Republicans: The party is in danger of losing both houses of Congress in November. [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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KY Republicans Want More Prisons

A former Kentucky lawmaker who is serving a seven-year prison sentence plans to plead guilty in a separate fraud case. Former state Rep. W. Keith Hall plans to plead guilty in a case in which he is accused of using fake documents in order to convince a customer he had insurance. [H-L]

Donald Trump claimed to be calling for Americans to come together on the issue of immigration in his State of the Union address on Tuesday. But he couldn’t resist painting immigration as an “us vs. them” struggle. Because modern Republicanism is built upon racism. [HuffPo]

It was a journalist’s worst nightmare. The editor of the Marshall County Daily Online raced to the county’s high school Tuesday morning after reports that shots had been fired. [C-J/AKN]

The emailed response from the Guggenheim’s chief curator to the White House was polite but firm: the museum could not accommodate a request to “borrow” a painting by Vincent Van Gogh for President and Melania Trump’s private living quarters. Instead, wrote the curator, Nancy Spector, another piece was available, one that was nothing like “Landscape With Snow,” the lovely 1888 Van Gogh rendering of a man in a black hat walking along a path in Arles with his dog. The curator’s alternative: an 18-karat, fully functioning, solid gold toilet – an interactive work entitled “America” that critics have described as pointed satire aimed at the excess of wealth in this country. [WaPo]

The Bevin crew says one thing and does another on the prison front. This is more hype to build more private prisons. Kentucky’s top public safety official says the state’s prisons will run out of space by May 2019, possibly forcing the early release of thousands of nonviolent inmates as the state continues to grapple with the effects of a nationwide opioid epidemic. [Richmond Register]

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Brenda Fitzgerald resigned Wednesday, one day after reports that she traded tobacco stocks while heading the agency. [The Hill]

The filing deadline for Kentucky candidates closed Tuesday, and some northeastern Kentucky lawmakers will face challengers in this year’s election cycle. [Ashland Independent]

Donald Trump urged lawmakers on Tuesday to work toward bipartisan compromises, but pushed a hard line on immigration, insisting on a border wall and other concessions from Democrats as part of any deal to protect the children of illegal immigrants. [Reuters]

The Rowan County Board of Education has hired a consultant to lead in the search for the next superintendent. [The Morehead News]

Starting in Canada, Facebook is rolling out a global program to prevent foreign meddling in elections. Ads targeted to a narrow audience may be seen by other Facebook users — if they look hard enough. [ProPublica]

Barren County Schools’ iLearn@home program, as well as other non-traditional instruction programs, would eventually be eliminated if a bill that recently passed the Kentucky Senate becomes state law. [Glasgow Daily Times]

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin urged Congress on Tuesday to raise the federal government’s statutory borrowing limit and said Washington must soon grapple with the mounting federal debt, just as lawmakers are embarking on a significant spending spree. [NY Times]

A leading Republican lawmaker has filed a bill to stop the Bevin Administration’s attempt to eliminate liquor license quotas, a move critics say would bring a glut of bars and liquor stores in rural Kentucky. [H-L]

A new era of internet regulation is about to begin. Years after Facebook and Google went public, regulators in the United States and abroad are finally taking a closer look at the internet behemoths. And they’re not only looking at the way these companies have come to dominate markets, but also examining the heart of the two firms’ business models. What they decide will have powerful implications for the way we do business on the internet. [HuffPo]

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Sending McConnell Folks To ARC? Just Gross. Appalachia Is Doomed.

Rand Paul said Sunday it was a “living hell” after he was attacked in November. Paul made his comments on Face the Nation, a news television show on CBS. [H-L]

Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s office released a transcript Tuesday of Fusion GPS co-founder Glenn Simpson’s testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee. [HuffPo]

PEE ALERT! Rick Pitino’s attorneys requested the University of Louisville Athletic Association’s countersuit against the former basketball coach be dismissed or for a ruling in the former coach’s favor. [C-J/AKN]

The controversy that swirled around the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity far exceeded its output. [ProPublica]

This is terrible news for Appalachia and I defy anyone to prove me wrong. Donald Trump intends to tap a member of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s staff to serve as federal co-chair of the Appalachian Regional Commission. [Richmond Register]

A number of Republican lawmakers were visibly incensed on Thursday, following a report by the Associated Press that claimed Attorney General Jeff Sessions is considering rescinding an Obama-era policy allowing marijuana legalization to move forward in several states. [ThinkProgress]

The Ashland commission is bracing for a massive wave to hit the city this year. [Ashland Independent]

The Trump administration has proposed a controversial plan to open up protected areas in the Pacific and Atlantic oceans for offshore drilling. The five-year plan expands drilling to most of the US outer continental shelf, including California and Maine, where drilling has been blocked for decades. [BBC]

If Matt Bevin or anyone in Frankfort really gave a flip about education? This self-promoting guy would be far, far away from the Kentucky Department of Education. [The Morehead News]

Customs officers stationed at the American border and at airports searched an estimated 30,200 cellphones, computers and other electronic devices of people entering and leaving the United States last year — an almost 60 percent increase from 2016, according to Homeland Security Department data released on Friday. [NY Times]

It’s an ABC affiliate. The Glasgow Electric Plant Board narrowly decided at a special meeting Thursday to drop WHAS, a CBS affiliate broadcast channel in Louisville, from its lineup after all. [Glasgow Daily Times]

The rivalry between fast food giants has taken on a strange political twist: KFC has aped Donald Trump’s message to Kim Jong-un, in an attempt to feud with McDonald’s. [BBC]

What on earth is wrong with people? Lexington-Fayette Animal Care and Control seeks the public’s help in finding whoever abandoned a puppy in a trash bag. [H-L]

Donald Trump, who recently said he would announce the “MOST DISHONEST & CORRUPT MEDIA AWARDS OF THE YEAR,” has been awarded the title of the world’s most oppressive leader toward press freedom by the Committee to Protect Journalists. [HuffPo]

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This Wasn’t Mitch McConnell’s Year

Everything was in place for this to be Mitch McConnell’s year. He had a Republican Congress and White House for the first time in a decade, and a simple majority of votes was all that was needed to not only confirm major nominees but pass major legislation too. [H-L]

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s government has issued a warning to the U.S.: Don’t “meddle” in the country’s upcoming election. [HuffPo]

Morgan Watkins is the person who claims to have been refused communication by the Chicago Police Department during the United Airlines fiasco but neither she nor her editor could prove it. CPD sent us proof that she’d never tried to communicate with them in any way – there was no record – but okay. Now she’s quote racist and homophobic piece of shit (check our archives) Jim Waters as some expert. A Kentucky Newspaper refuses to name plaintiffs in lawsuits but uses folks like this to make comment on important stories. She won’t last long here (mark my words) because she’ll eventually get run off like everybody else. And this Braidy situation? It’s not over. [C-J/AKN]

The cities of New York, San Francisco and Philadelphia have sued the U.S. Department of Defense to make it fix its system for reporting conviction records to a database used for background checks on gun buyers. [Reuters]

Full of highs and lows, 2017 has been political whiplash for Kentucky Republicans. [Richmond Register]

Federal prosecutors in Brooklyn have sought bank records about entities associated with the family company of Jared Kushner, Donald Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, according to four people briefed on the matter. [NY Times]

Of course the new guy at this particular CNHI paper is pushing right-wing nonsense like this story. This is how Eastern Kentucky remains in the dark. [Ashland Independent]

Former US President Barack Obama has warned against the irresponsible use of social media, in a rare interview since stepping down in January. [BBC]

Those in Rowan County who are delinquent paying certain taxes will now have three months to do so without penalty. [The Morehead News]

Tyler Haire was locked up at 16. A Mississippi judge ordered that he undergo a mental exam. What happened next is a statewide scandal. [ProPublica]

Educators from across the country have been focusing on teaching STEM, an acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. [Glasgow Daily Times]

Christians should not support policies that punish the weak and marginalized, the Anglican bishop of Liverpool said. [WaPo]

Kentucky native Robby Strong, the self-proclaimed “Prophet of Poo,” says he is the man behind the gift of horse manure left for U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, and Strong said he plans more dirty tricks. [H-L]

A Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen has killed 109 civilians in air strikes in the past 10 days, including 54 at a crowded market and 14 members of one family in a farm, the top U.N. official in the country said on Thursday. [HuffPo]

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OH! And a big P.S.: Jeff Hoover is a whiny-ass titty baby victim-blamer. [H-L]

Kentucky’s Economy: Tanking Under Bevin

This scandal involves something called the Pee Palace. Five partners in a Russell County drug-testing lab have been sentenced to prison terms after being convicted in a health care fraud case. [H-L]

As Donald Trump’s administration takes steps backward in the world’s fight against climate change, China is ramping up its commitment. Chinese Premier Xi Jinping on Tuesday made good on his promise to launch a national carbon market. Officials from the National Development and Reform Commission unveiled the highly anticipated emissions trading system during a conference call with industry and government representatives, the Australian Financial Review reported. [HuffPo]

Drowned out amid the uproar over pension reform and stunning allegations of sexual harassment in the legislature this fall has been a public policy message that will have a far greater impact on the lives of Kentuckians: The next state budget has a $1 billion hole to fill, and if there is no new revenue, massive cuts to programs are coming when the legislature convenes to tackle the problem. [C-J/AKN]

The Department of Health and Human Services tried to play down on Saturday a report that officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had been barred from using seven words or phrases, including “science-based,” “fetus,” “transgender” and “vulnerable,” in agency budget documents. [NY Times]

Former Barren Metcalfe Family Court Judge W. Mitchell Nance — who stepped down from the bench Saturday — received a public reprimand from the Kentucky Judicial Conduct Commission on Tuesday. [Glasgow Daily Times]

Just before leaving his Defense Department job two months ago, intelligence officer Luis Elizondo quietly arranged to secure the release of three of the most unusual videos in the Pentagon’s secret vaults: raw footage from encounters between fighter jets and “anomalous aerial vehicles” — military jargon for UFOs. [WaPo]

Those waiting for a preview of any proposed public pension system reform coming in the 2018 General assembly are still waiting after Monday’s meeting of the Public Pension Oversight Board. [Ronnie Ellis]

Mmmm hmm. Told y’all “Green Party” jackasses so. The top congressional committee investigating Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election has set its sights on the Green Party and its nominee, Jill Stein. [BuzzFeed]

State Budget Director John Chilton said Gov. Matt Bevin is likely to issue a budget reduction order within the next week or so in the wake of an official revenue forecast that state receipts will fall $156.1 million short of projections this year. [Ronnie Ellis]

A U.S. District Court judge ruled on Monday that President Donald Trump’s administration must allow access to abortion for two pregnant teenagers who are in the country illegally, escalating a high-profile legal fight. [Reuters]

A new permanent exhibit opening Sunday at the University of Louisville planetarium includes meteorites that visitors can touch. [WFPL]

The head of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) had his office professionally examined earlier this year to look for covert surveillance devices. [The Hill]

A contractor pleaded guilty Monday to a federal charge for paying more than $530,000 in bribes and kickbacks to a St. Joseph Hospital executive in exchange for contracting work. In U.S. District Court in Lexington, Rocky Williams, 50, who lives in Arkansas, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and wire fraud. The restitution amount included in the plea agreement is $532,660. [H-L]

Russian chess champion and political activist Garry Kasparov has a chilling warning for Americans: While you’re distracted by the bully in the White House, democratic institutions are being ripped apart. Kasparov said he sees some of the same tactics he witnessed in Russia being used in the U.S., like a leader “lying constantly while attacking targets for lying” and the “escalation of rhetoric to dictatorial extremes.” [HuffPo]

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