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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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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It’s Fun Shae Hopkins Flashback Time

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The Kentucky House of Representatives paved the way for nuclear power plants in the state Wednesday, giving final passage to a bill that removes the state’s long-time ban on nuclear power. [H-L]

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson plans to skip a meeting with NATO foreign ministers next month in order to stay home for a visit by China’s president and will go to Russia later in April, U.S. officials said on Monday, disclosing an itinerary that allies may see as giving Moscow priority over them. [HuffPo]

Hundreds of protesters on Monday waved signs and gave fiery speeches at the gates to Freedom Hall ahead President Donald Trump’s visit to tout his plan to replace Obamacare, booing as Air Force One passed overhead for landing. [C-J/AKN]

Less than forty minutes into the hearing, James Comey, the director of the F.B.I., provided the latest official confirmation that the “Russian story” is not “FAKE NEWS.” It is, rather, the most serious legal scandal to confront a sitting President in nearly two decades. In an extraordinary public statement, Comey disclosed not only that the bureau is investigating Russian meddling in the campaign but that it is also looking at what relationship the Trump campaign might have had to that meddling. [New Yorker]

Voters from small town and rural America who were key to electing President Donald Trump stand to lose the most in his budget plan to shrink the size and generosity of the federal government. [Richmond Register]

Russia has warned NATO that increased activity near its borders could spiral into a new arms race. [Newsweek]

With the General Assembly on break for a 10-day “veto period,” Gov. Matt Bevin has begun signing a flurry of bills into law. [WFPL]

Immigrants commit crimes and are incarcerated at a much lower rate than U.S. citizens, according to two separate studies released this week. [The Hill]

Top local school administrators are leery at the prospect of charter schools coming to Kentucky. [Ashland Independent]

The U.S. Justice Department is developing plans to temporarily reassign immigration judges from around the country to 12 cities to speed up deportations of illegal immigrants who have been charged with crimes, according to two administration officials. [Reuters]

Attorney General Andy Beshear has filed a motion in Franklin Circuit Court seeking to intervene in Kentucky State University’s lawsuit against a student newspaper. [Press Release]

Funny how the grifters always end up grifting. Ivanka Trump, who moved to Washington saying she would play no formal role in her father’s administration, is now officially setting up shop in the White House. [Politico]

Remember when Shae Hopkins spent years supporting Republican insanity? Those chickens are coming home to roost. Kentucky Educational Television issued a statement Thursday warning that President Trump’s proposed budget cuts would endanger its mission to provide statewide programming and instructional services for schools. [John Cheves]

German Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen on Sunday rejected U.S. President Donald Trump’s claim that Germany owes NATO and the United States “vast sums” of money for defense. [HuffPo]

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Republicans Have No Idea What They’re Supposed To Do Now And It Is Highly Entertaining

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More proof the Republicans couldn’t give a shit about education in the Commonwealth. The Kentucky House gave final passage to a bill Wednesday that gives Gov. Matt Bevin broad authority to remove public university board members. [H-L]

Sen. John McCain of Arizona attacked fellow Republican Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky on Wednesday, accusing him of doing the bidding of Russian President Vladimir Putin. It’s strange how John McCain still hasn’t picked up on the reality that Rand Paul is Stephen Bannon in a tinier body. [HuffPo]

Jeff Hoover needs to look within his own house (and House) if he wants to start talking about discrimination. House Speaker Jeff Hoover has permanently banned Dan Seum Jr., the son of state Sen. Dan Seum, from the third floor of the Capitol Annex after a legislative staff investigation found the younger Seum had made “racially charged” remarks at the offices last month. [C-J/AKN]

Get your popcorn ready! Trump on Thursday will make public his first federal budget blueprint, revealing a plan to dramatically reduce the size of government. [The Hill]

Republicans are dead set on further starving public schools. The state Senate approved legislation authorizing charter schools in Kentucky after a three-hour debate on Wednesday. Note that the racist white guys in the group trotted out their token black guy, bigoted-ass Jerry Stephenson, to sell this as if it’s not some kick in the gut to people of color. [WFPL]

A defiant Donald Trump has pledged to appeal against a federal judge’s order placing an immediate halt on his revised travel ban, describing the ruling as judicial overreach that made the United States look weak. [Reuters]

Kentucky no longer needs constables. A jury found Constable Bobby Joe Smith guilty of reckless homicide Wednesday. [WYMT]

The Trump administration has been the focus of remarkable reporting recently — much of it relying on unnamed sources. [ProPublica]

Kentucky’s Republican-led legislature handed Gov. Matt Bevin a bill Wednesday giving him and his successors more power to remove entire public university boards or individual members. [Richmond Register]

Polish officials are seeking the arrest of a Minnesota man they say was a Nazi commander during World War Two. [BBC]

A request by Kentucky State Police Post 14 on Tuesday to use the Boyd County road department garage for car maintenance and repair did not receive a motion from the fiscal court. [Ashland Independent]

A congressional plan to make Planned Parenthood ineligible for federal funding would leave many women without services to help them avoid pregnancy, resulting in thousands of additional births, according to a new federal budget analysis. [WaPo]

What in the actual fuck is this story? Seriously. Did Jack Brammer die? [H-L]

A federal judge in Hawaii has placed a nationwide hold on key aspects of President Donald Trump’s second attempt at a ban on travel ― a scaled-back version that targeted all non-visa holders from six Muslim-majority countries, as well as a halt on the U.S. refugee resettlement program ― just hours before the new restrictions were to take effect. [HuffPo]

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Trump Apparently Loves Him Some Waterworks

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In a city where investment bankers and coal magnates pay $10,000 or more for University of Kentucky men’s basketball season tickets, head coach of the Wildcats has long been a high-pressure job with rich financial rewards. [H-L]

Parts of Donald Trump’s 2005 federal tax returns were made public on Tuesday night, revealing that the president made $150 million that year and paid $38 million in taxes. [HuffPo]

U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth doubled-down on comments questioning President Donald Trump’s mental state during a Monday appearance on MSNBC. [C-J/AKN]

When Ruby Corado arrived at her office on Sunday, she found broken glass everywhere, a door ripped off its frame and a shaken staffer. [NBC News]

Why aren’t more Kentucky cities and counties jumping on this life-saving train? The Madison Fiscal Court on Tuesday morning cleared the way for the county health department to operate a syringe exchange program for users of illegal injectable drugs. [Richmond Register]

Just in case you needed a reminder that the New Republicanism is built on racism and xenophobia. [The Hill]

Build Ashland members updated the Ashland Rotary Club on their accomplishments, sharing that the group is expanding from just cleaning up the community. [Ashland Independent]

Republicans on Tuesday defended their plan to dismantle Obamacare after a bipartisan report showed 14 million Americans would lose medical insurance by next year under their proposal even as it reduces the budget deficit. [Reuters]

It’s one of a select few governing bodies within the county that can levy taxes and now because of expiring terms the Rowan County Public Library Board will look to replace two Trustees. [The Morehead News]

Girl Guides of Canada has cancelled all trips to the United States until further notice because it fears problems at the border. [BBC]

The Cave City Tourist and Convention Commission meeting was about to adjourn Monday when Wandel Strange, a member of the tourist commission, pointed out that a personnel file is a public record. Always fun when smalltown meemaws and poppops have no clue about obligations to the public they’re elected to represent. [Glasgow Daily Times]

At the State Department, the normally pulsating hub of executive offices is hushed and virtually empty. At the Pentagon, military missions in some of the world’s most troubled places are being run by a defense secretary who has none of his top team in place. And at departments like Treasury, Commerce and Health and Human Services, many senior posts remain vacant even as the agencies have been handed enormous tasks like remaking the nation’s health insurance system. [NY Times]

Maybe if people like Valarie Honeycutt Spears hadn’t been beyond lazy and deliberately shitty in reporting on the Montgomery County scandals, crap like this wouldn’t be happening in the legislature. Easing nepotism restrictions in school districts is dangerous and we’ve proved it with the Joshua Powell nightmare. Spears ought to re-examine the role she played in the disaster while sitting on her hands. [H-L]

Of course Trump leaked them himself. Or maybe it was “John Barron”? Unfortunately for him, the rest of the world wasn’t dumb enough to fall for it and Rachel Maddow used it as an opportunity to educate the world about the Russia connections. [HuffPo]

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Monday Ought To Be Relatively Gross

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A business owner and his two firms fined by the state for illegal dumping of radioactive waste have all filed for bankruptcy in federal court. [H-L]

Paul Ryan and the rest of the Republican Party either don’t understand how health care and health insurance work or they’re deliberately lying. Our money’s on lying. [HuffPo]

Mike Pence came to Kentucky and lied about the Affordable Care Act’s impact on the Commonwealth. Because that’s the New Republican way. [C-J/AKN]

Jared Kushner is keeping parts of his real estate empire. Given Kushner’s vast portfolio as an adviser to the president, it’s not clear how he’s going to avoid issues that could affect his bank account. The Trump administration has declined to give details. [ProPublica]

Kentucky is known for many things — horses, basketball, Ale-8-One, hot browns and, of course, moonshine. And for the Arvin family, moonshine has become more than a sweet beverage. [Richmond Register]

What was that, again, about Republicans not being atrociously racist? [The Hill]

Donald Trump’s resolve to shakeup the Environmental Protection Agency by slashing its budget and shrinking government regulations has states that rely heavily on EPA funding on edge. [Ashland Independent]

A group of states renewed their effort on Monday to block President Donald Trump’s revised temporary ban on refugees and travelers from several Muslim-majority countries, arguing that his executive order is the same as the first one that was halted by federal courts. [Reuters]

Attorney General Andy Beshear on Thursday called for a $142 million reduction in the Kentucky Utilities’ rate request that’s pending before the Public Service Commission. [Glasgow Daily Times]

A new analysis from the Congressional Budget Office also predicts $337 billion in deficit reduction over the same period. [WaPo]

Budget shortfalls at the University of Louisville are starting to have firsthand impacts on students. [Last] week student employees for the Brandeis School of Law were let go from their jobs. [WAVE3]

What a dark history. Rare, century-old photographs help illustrate the story of 272 slaves sold by Jesuit priests to secure the future of Georgetown University. [NY Times]

Hold on to your wigs. Donald Trump plans to hold a rally in Louisville’s Freedom Hall on Monday, March 20, the president’s website said. [H-L]

The Republican plan to repeal and “replace” the Affordable Care Act would increase the number of Americans without health coverage by 24 million and reduce the federal budget deficit by $337 billion by 2026, according to a Congressional Budget Office report published Monday. [HuffPo]

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What The Hell Is Wrong With David James? Does He REALLY Not Know When To Stop Talking?

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Mike Pence plans to visit Louisville, Kentucky, on Saturday as he tries to make the case for repealing and replacing former President Barack Obama’s health care law. [H-L]

Provisions in the House Republicans’ Obamacare replacement bill that would raise insurance costs for older Americans are drawing resistance from the influential seniors’ lobby. [HuffPo]

David James should probably tread lightly when accusing people of being over-sexualized. [C-J/AKN]

The hiring of three former lobbyists to work in the White House raises questions about how the Trump administration is enforcing the president’s executive order on ethics. [ProPublica]

A state legislative committee has approved a controversial proposal to change the way Kentucky regulates coal ash. The Administrative Regulation Review Subcommittee passed the proposal at its meeting Monday, after delaying a decision from last month. [WFPL]

U.S. and Ukrainian authorities have expressed interest in the activities of a Kiev-based operative with suspected ties to Russian intelligence who consulted regularly with Paul Manafort last year while Manafort was running Donald Trump’s presidential campaign. [Politico]

Again, a bunch of scared, fat, white Republican guys are trying to push an official religion. [Ronnie Ellis]

President Trump’s executive order barring immigrants from seven Muslim-majority countries experienced nearly universal defeat in the federal courts. On Monday, he issued a revised version of that order, but it still suffers from a fundamental, and fatal, flaw: It constitutes unlawful religious discrimination. [NY Times]

Morehead State University’s Board of Regents chose a new president Thursday. The board voted unanimously to offer the post to Joseph A. “Jay” Morgan, the chief academic officer and vice president for academic affairs and student success for the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education. [Ashland Independent]

Several states said on Thursday they would move forward with legal challenges to a revised executive order signed by President Donald Trump this week that temporarily bars the admission of refugees and some travelers from a group of Muslim-majority countries. [Reuters]

Attorney General Andy Beshear on Thursday called for a $142 million reduction in the Kentucky Utilities’ rate request that’s pending before the Public Service Commission. [Glasgow Daily Times]

Of course wingnut Republicans are still denying climate science. Science. They’re denying science. [BBC]

New details have emerged about why a Navy Seals convoy flew a campaign flag for President Donald Trump on a Kentucky highway in late January, according to documents obtained by the Herald-Leader. [H-L]

House Republicans plowed ahead with their effort to dismantle the Affordable Care Act, brushing aside new criticism of what their proposed legislation would do ― and ignoring protests over the hurried process they are using to enact it. [HuffPo]

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