You Don’t Need An Assault Weapon

A federal appeals panel has upheld the conviction of former Paintsville Mayor Robert Porter on three charges of misappropriating money and public resources. Porter is serving a four-year sentence. [H-L]

A reported shooting at a South Florida high school on Wednesday marks the country’s 18th school shooting of 2018, just 45 days into the year. That’s an average of one school shooting every 60 hours thus far in 2018, more than double the number of school shootings recorded in any of the previous three years in that same period. [HuffPo]

Pro-tip to mouth-breathers like Matt Bevin (yes, that means YOU if you support him): You can’t help someone rise up out of poverty by making it more difficult to obtain basic health care. Within Snowflake Matt Bevin’s complex plan to reshape the state Medicaid program to cut costs and hold people accountable is this fact that may surprise some Kentuckians: Under Bevin’s plan, it actually will cost Kentucky more to provide health coverage to people affected by the Medicaid changes than if the state did nothing. [C-J/AKN]

Jared Kushner’s family real estate company has backtracked on its effort to have a lawsuit filed against it by tenants of its Baltimore-area apartment complexes moved to federal court, after a judge ruled that this transfer would require it to reveal the identities of its investment partners. [ProPublica]

In the world’s bourbon capital, an effort to eliminate a quota system limiting the number of liquor licenses is getting strong pushback from some Kentucky lawmakers. [Richmond Register]

Did you know? There are North American leaders not spewing racist rhetoric on Twitter 24/7. [BBC]

Brittney Patrick never thought she’d need food stamps, and once she had them, she never thought they’d be taken away. [WFPL]

Donald Trump’s inaugural committee paid nearly $26 million to an event planning firm started by an adviser to First Lady Melania Trump, while donating $5 million — less than expected — to charity, according to tax filings released on Thursday. [NY Times]

Senate President Robert Stivers, R-Manchester, told reporters Wednesday a Senate pension reform bill will not include moving new employees or teachers to mandatory, defined contribution plans or 401-K style plans. [Ronnie Ellis]

Like last year’s budget, the Trump administration’s 2019 budget proposes large cuts to the Environmental Protection Agency. And it eliminates explicit climate change programs in other parts of the government and cuts spending for climate change-related monitoring, alternative energy, energy efficiency and flood prevention. [WaPo]

The Rowan County Sheriff’s Office was pleasantly surprised when deputies executed a search warrant in downtown Morehead last week at a residence in which police believed they were distributing narcotic cough syrup. [The Morehead News]

The Trump administration remained insistent on hardline immigration measures on Thursday as the U.S. Senate prepared to vote on various legislative proposals to protect young “Dreamer” immigrants and to tighten border security. [Reuters]

Surprise! Matt Bevin is still a homophobic bigot. Only a matter of time til he has a stroke when one of kids 50 kids come out of the closet. [H-L]

Florida Republicans Sen. Marco Rubio and Gov. Rick Scott were swift to condemn the horrific school shooting in their state on Wednesday afternoon, offering prayers after a gunman killed at least 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland. [HuffPo]

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RPK Is Still Killing Your Environment

Some Republicans in the state House of Representatives are pushing anti-solar legislation by playing one of Kentucky’s favorite political blame games: You’re Subsidized, But I’m Not. [H-L]

Donald Trump Jr. used Twitter to launch an unprovoked attack on U.S. Olympic figure skater Adam Rippon on Tuesday night. [HuffPo]

Ed Hart got his ass handed to him again, it seems. Kentucky Kingdom withdrew its support Friday for a controversial measure that would allow seasonal businesses to avoid paying employees overtime, two days after a union threatened a wider boycott against the Louisville-based amusement park. [C-J/AKN]

Donald Trump is expected to unveil on Monday a plan that would fulfill one of his signature campaign promises: a $1.5 trillion, once-in-a-generation proposal to rebuild, restore and modernize the nation’s aging infrastructure. (Posting this so you can see what folks “expected” to occur.) [NY Times]

When someone wants to purchase a keg of beer from craft brewer Adam Watson, he has to turn them away because Kentucky law limits how much he can sell to a customer. [Richmond Register]

Another day, another attack on Medicaid — and on the poor and working class. In other words, those five states want to time-limit or cap the total period of time an individual could receive Medicaid benefits over his or her lifetime. [WaPo]

This guy is clearly mentally unfit to serve if he thinks budget cuts aren’t worrying and troublesome. Kentucky Sheriff’s Departments are one of many governmental units facing budget cuts from Matt Bevin’s proposed plan, but Boyd County Sheriff Bobby Jack Woods isn’t worried. [Ashland Independent]

A second U.S. judge on Tuesday blocked Donald Trump’s decision to end a program that protects immigrants brought to the United States illegally as children from deportation. [Reuters]

As many as 14 school districts are faced with the inability to pay their bills by the end of the school year and some Kentucky lawmakers say they’re only a harbinger of things to come. [Ronnie Ellis]

More than a year after American diplomats began to suffer strange, concussion-like symptoms in Cuba, a U.S. investigation is no closer to determining how they were hurt or by whom, and the FBI and CIA are at odds over the case. A ProPublica investigation reveals the many layers to the mystery — and the political maneuvering that is reshaping U.S.-Cuba relations. [ProPublica]

Refundable tax incentives that have been made available to film production companies in the past by the state have been temporarily suspended. [Glasgow Daily Times]

A US spy chief has warned that presidential aides with interim security clearances should have “limited” access to secret information. US Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats said the clearance process was “broken” and needs to be reformed. [BBC]

In the wake of the shooting that claimed the lives of two students and injured 21 others, Marshall County High School is requiring all students to have their bags, backpacks and purses checked before entering school. [H-L]

When Betsy DeVos was named education secretary last February, she become public education’s No. 1 enemy. After all, the billionaire is notorious for her desire to expand private school choice programs (which include many religious private schools that teach Christian fundamentalist doctrine). [HuffPo]

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Public Education Barely Exists In Kentucky & Democrats Are Twiddling Their Thumbs

People who suffer from pain as a result of the shingles will have access to less expensive generic drugs under an agreement reached with a pharmaceutical company. Kentucky is one of 22 states that have reached an agreement with pharmaceutical companies Teikoku Seiyaku and Teikoku Pharma USA because of anti-competitive tactics, Attorney General Andy Beshear announced Thursday. [H-L]

Andrew Wheeler, Donald Trump’s nominee to be Environmental Protection Agency deputy administrator, appeared poised and polished at his Senate confirmation hearing in November. He couched his objections to widely accepted climate science in ambiguous legalese, and kept his cool when, at the same hearing, Kathleen Hartnett-White, the president’s pick for the Council on Environmental Quality, flamed out, stammering over questions of basic science. [HuffPo]

Dr. Bill Fannin found his son unconscious in his bedroom. Medical training and a father’s love told him what to do. Give him breath. Start his heart. [C-J/AKN]

The blue chip Dow Jones Industrial Average suffered its steepest decline since June 2016 on Friday, amid wider losses in US markets. [BBC]

A bipartisan group of lawmakers has proposed allowing casinos to open in Kentucky so the state can glean gambling tax revenue for its ailing pension systems. [WFPL]

Melania Trump could have been deported and banned from the US if Donald Trump had been president when she was working as a model in the 1990s, immigration attorneys have said. [Independent]

Make no mistake, the behind-the-scenes maneuvering of the Steering Committee for Action on Louisville’s Agenda, or SCALA, has been going on for about a year. Longer than, most notably, David Jones Jr. and Sr., have been publicly acknowledging. The group’s attempt to usurp control of Jefferson County Public Schools has been building for longer than that. It must be roundly rejected. [Aaron Yarmuth]

It’s last call for public comment on a Trump administration proposal that would give bar and restaurant owners more control over workers’ tips. The Labor Department has been asking for feedback, and already hundreds of thousands of people have weighed in. Many say they say they’re opposed to a rule that would allow restaurant owners to pocket tips for themselves. [NPR]

While public education advocates worry the next state budget will squeeze public school budgets, some districts already face the possibility they might not be able to pay all of their bills before the current school year ends. [Ronnie Ellis]

Strange how Jim Gray didn’t have the courage or conviction to publicly support medical marijuana until he realized everyone else was doing it. The only person in that race to show real leadership was Reggie Thomas. Read the latest from Jim Higdon. [Politico]

The Kentucky Medical Association President believes local medical providers would have to do some “scrambling” if the Medicaid expansion is revoked, as Matt Bevin has threatened. [Ashland Independent]

Tiny Weenus Trump’s vision of soldiers marching and tanks rolling down the boulevards of Washington is moving closer to reality in the Pentagon and White House, where officials say they have begun to plan a grand military parade later this year showcasing the might of America’s armed forces. [WaPo]

Raising the cancer stick tax could save lives and grow revenue. It probably won’t pass because Frankfort is awful. [H-L]

The Trump Misadministration wants to give states the authority to determine if plans have enough doctors. In Washington state, a woman in Spokane named Cynthia Harvey bought health insurance from Coordinated Care, in part because the brochure promised a robust roster of physicians and coverage for an array of services, including, if needed, emergency room services. [HuffPo]

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Republicans Still Wishing In One Hand…

About 2,000 additional former clients of attorney Eric C. Conn will have to prove they still deserve federal disability benefits in coming months, creating the potential for more economic hardship in Eastern Kentucky, according to people familiar with the government’s plan. [H-L]

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson warned this week that Russia is already trying to meddle in the 2018 midterm elections. And the U.S. is inadequately prepared to counter that threat, he said. [HuffPo]

After a dozen years in office, Tony Lindauer is retiring. The longtime Jefferson County property valuation administrator announced that he is no longer seeking re-election for health and family reasons. [C-J/AKN]

While Devin Nunes tries to mislead audiences about his memo, an actual document hunt in Washington could have far-reaching ramifications, both for the Russia investigation and national security writ large. On Friday Sen. Ron Wyden. (D.-Ore.) wrote a pair of letters, obtained by ThinkProgress, to both Treasury Department head Steve Mnuchin and National Rifle Association Treasurer Wilson Phillips, Jr. [ThinkProgress]

They can wish in one hand… After weeks of no news, Republican leaders are expressing renewed optimism about the prospects of overhauling Kentucky’s struggling public pension system. [WFPL]

Moscow has condemned US military proposals to develop new, smaller atomic bombs mainly to deter any Russian use of nuclear weapons. Russia’s foreign minister called the move “confrontational”, and expressed “deep disappointment”. [BBC]

Sitting at his desk in a corner of the Youth Service Center at Greenup County High School, coordinator Pete Phillips sighs and shakes his head. [Ashland Independent]

The Trump administration released a report on the state of America’s nuclear weaponry on Friday. The assessment, known as a Nuclear Posture Review, mainly concerns U.S. nukes and missiles. But buried in the plan is a mention of a mysterious Russian weapon called “Status-6.” On paper, at least, Status-6 appears to be a kind of doomsday device. The report refers to it as “a new intercontinental, nuclear-armed, nuclear-powered, undersea autonomous torpedo.” [NPR]

Pretty sure Rowan County Sheriff Matt Sparks is an idiot. What kind of intellectual lightweight can’t fire up their googler to answer the most basic questions? It’s this kind of stupidity that gives Appalachia a bad name. Particularly when it comes to medical marijuana. [The Morehead News]

For months, chemical companies have waged a campaign to reverse findings by federal fisheries scientists that could curb the use of pesticides based on the threat they pose to endangered species. They scored a major victory [last] week, when Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt announced he would press another federal agency to revisit a recent opinion triggering such restrictions. [WaPo]

If elected officials from 39 counties in southern and western Kentucky are successful in gaining enough support to pass an amendment to an existing bill this session in Frankfort, up to $6 million in additional revenue could be added to the economic development needs of those counties. [Glasgow Daily Times]

Well, that’s gonna sting a bit. The connection between the offshore accounts and the donation to the Chao family foundation were found through a search of the Paradise Papers. [The Intercept]

A legislative proposal could mean big changes to Kentucky’s largest college scholarship program, expanding it beyond college to a host of other academic programs. [H-L]

My colleagues and I marched in the Kingdom Day Parade last month, and toward the end of the route, a group of 10-15 men and women began heckling us. “All Black people don’t have AIDS,” they said, referring to the Black AIDS Institute banner we were marching behind. “You need to take that sign down. It offends us.” We tried to explain we were raising awareness to help prevent the spread of HIV within the black community, but our efforts were not exactly effective. [HuffPo]

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The RPK Is Beginning To Freak Out

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A former Eastern Kentucky lawmaker pleaded guilty to identity theft Thursday under a plea deal that calls for a two-year prison sentence. Former state Rep. Keith Hall, a democrat from Pikeville who is already serving a 7-year sentence in another case, was charged last year with three counts of wire fraud, two counts of identity theft and one count of lying to the FBI. [H-L]

Every single privacy activist I know cares about privacy in significant part to ensure the rule of law and to prevent the arbitrary exercise of justice to focus just on select groups like Muslims or Chinese-Americans, rather than those who pose the greatest risk to society, like people allegedly doing Russia’s secret bidding. Yet the actions of Ryan and Nunes reverse that, using a sham concern for civil liberties as a way to prevent themselves, their associates, and the president from being subject to the rule of law like the rest of us would be.[HuffPo]

Dan Dumas is a far-right nutso homophobe and your tax dollars paid him a $60,000 golden parachute. People like that have no business being around children. And why no mention of the $60K “mortgage” he received just a few days ago from the Southern Baptists? [C-J/AKN]

Trump wanted to know where the special counsel’s Russia investigation was heading. And he wanted to know whether Rosenstein was “on my team.” [CNN]

A Jamie Comer-Scott Jennings lackey is trying to run for Secretary of State. Which means hot garbage is running for Secretary of State. [Republican Stenographers]

The Republican Party isn’t just officially homophobic. Now it’s officially transphobic. Republicans are bigots. If that’s a tough pill for you to swallow, you need to deal with the fact that your political party of choice is one of hate. The Republican National Committee is siding with President Donald Trump on his order to bar transgender individuals from serving in the U.S. military. [AP]

The 2018 General Assembly is now one-third of the way toward its constitutionally-limited 60 days to pass legislation — and still there is no pension bill in sight. [Ronnie Ellis]

The U.S. Congress made no notable progress this week toward a deal on the status of 700,000 “Dreamer” immigrants, with Donald Trump saying on Friday that one “could very well not happen” by a deadline next month. [Reuters]

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

For Republicans in the states, the political warning signs keep mounting: In Virginia, it was an electoral shellacking that nearly snapped their 20-year grip on the State House. In Wisconsin, it was a midwinter rout in a special election for the State Senate, fought in a conservative district. [NY Times]

In a year when women candidates are expected to play an important role, 89 women filed to run for the Kentucky General Assembly. [More Ronnie Ellis]

Gene Ransom’s day was ruined within minutes of Attorney General Jeff Sessions’s announcement that he was giving federal prosecutors more freedom to go after marijuana transactions in states that have legalized medical cannabis. [WaPo]

Yes, Matt Bevin’s new Medicaid rules are all about putting up roadblocks for poor people. That’s how modern Republicanism functions. [John Cheves]

For weeks, Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee and their allies have been promising that they have a memo with damning evidence undermining special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian election meddling and Russian ties to Donald Trump’s inner circle. [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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Sticking It To The Poor Some More

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Matt Bevin’s state budget proposal does not include any money for retired teachers’ health care, causing a “huge concern” for teachers under age 65 who have retired in recent years. [John Cheves]

Donald Trump presidency is now one year old and in many respects ― the unhinged tweeting, the contempt for democratic norms, the potential collusion with a hostile foreign power ― it has been unlike any presidency in history. [HuffPo]

Yet another Matt Bevin shyster has absconded with your tax dollars. Saved this for Monday so it doesn’t disappear from the mainstream. A pastor and Baptist seminary professor hired by Matt Bevin as the state’s adoption “czar” has left Bevin’s administration midway through the first year of his controversial $240,000-a-year contract. [C-J/AKN]

The FBI is investigating whether a top Russian banker with ties to the Kremlin illegally funneled money to the National Rifle Association to help Donald Trump win the presidency. Torshin spoke to Donald Trump Jr. during a gala event at the group’s national gathering in Kentucky in May 2016, when his father won an earlier-than-usual NRA presidential endorsement. [McClatchy]

You’re better than this, Kentucky. Rabbi Shlomo Litvin was working late Sunday night, early Monday morning at the Jewish Student Center on the University of Kentucky campus when voices from a group outside got his attention. [WKYT]

Mitch McConnell is blaming Democrats for a shutdown that he voted for. Republicans control the House, Senate and White House. Democrats didn’t do this. [The Hill]

Which Kentucky counties benefited the most under Medicaid expansion? Check out this map. [WFPL]

U.S. health officials said on Friday they were revoking legal guidance issued by the Obama administration that had sought to discourage states from trying to defund organizations that provide abortion services, such as Planned Parenthood. [Reuters]

Kentucky’s public pension problem is real and Gov. Matt Bevin should be commended for demanding we do something. But that shouldn’t mean selling out our children. [Ronnie Ellis]

Matt Bevin and his staff are so backward they couldn’t be bothered with finding out what Medicaid really means for the Commonwealth of Kentucky. Here’s a look. [WaPo]

A lawsuit filed last month in Madison Circuit Court claims the city of Richmond’s police leave policy is in violation of state law. [Richmond Register]

Kentucky’s new Medicaid waiver will ask low-income people to jump over hurdles to keep their coverage. Evidence suggests that many will fail. [NY Times]

The man accused of attacking U.S. Sen. Rand Paul in November is now facing federal charges, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Indiana. Rene A. Boucher, 58, of Bowling Green is charged with one count of “assaulting a member of Congress resulting in personal injury,” which is a federal felony, according to the U.S. Attorney’s office. [H-L]

There’s no way the real number is that low. At least 677,774 people in the United States followed, retweeted or liked content distributed by Russian government-linked Twitter accounts in a 10-week span prior to the 2016 U.S. election, Twitter announced Friday. [HuffPo]

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