Thank Repubs For Raising Your Taxes

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Nearly 1,300 more public employees than expected chose to retire during the fiscal year that ends this month, creating an 18 percent spike at the already cash-strapped Kentucky Retirement Systems, according to newly released data. And the numbers could get even more dramatic in August, which is traditionally the most popular retirement month for state workers. [John Cheves]

In a strange disconnect between messages from government leaders, U.S. Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats warned of Kremlin attempts to break up Western alliances and interfere in midterm elections just as Donald Trump was stumping for Russia to again be part of the Group of Seven. [HuffPo]

Surprise! The working poor in the Louisville area are getting taken for a ride again. Tolls are increasing. Tolls that are already outrageously expensive. [C-J/AKN]

Special counsel Robert Mueller on Friday filed new witness tampering criminal charges against ex-Trump campaign chief Paul Manafort as well against Russian citizen and former Manafort operative Konstantin Kilimnik. The superseding indictment — the third against Manafort issued by a Washington, D.C., federal grand jury — came days after Mueller asked a judge to revoke Manafort’s $10 million bail and jail him because of alleged efforts to tamper with potential witnesses at his upcoming trials. [NBC News]

While state officials continue to tout record-breaking business investments in the state, two recent studies ranked Kentucky among the worst for jobs and state economies. [Richmond Register]

He’s so painfully stupid. Donald Trump and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had a testy phone call on May 25 over new tariffs imposed by the Trump administration targeting steel and aluminum imports coming from Canada, including one moment during the conversation in which Trump made an erroneous historical reference, sources familiar with the discussion told CNN. [CNN]

You can thank Republicans for raising your taxes. The Ashland Area YMCA is preparing to add a 6 percent sales tax to their services, but it’s not because they want to. [Ashland Independent]

Nearly 1,800 immigrant families were separated at the U.S.-Mexico border from October 2016 through February of this year, according to a senior government official, as Donald Trump implemented stricter border enforcement policies. [Reuters]

The Franklin Circuit Judge Matt Bevin wanted removed heard arguments from the governor’s general counsel and Attorney General Andy Beshear Thursday about the constitutional validity of the pension reform bill enacted by the 2018 General Assembly. [Ronnie Ellis]

As Donald Trump prepares to meet Kim Jong-un of North Korea to negotiate denuclearization, a challenge that has bedeviled the world for years, he is doing so without the help of a White House science adviser or senior counselor trained in nuclear physics. [NY Times]

The recount for the May primary Barren County judge-executive’s race will take place Wednesday morning in the circuit courtroom at the Barren County Courthouse. [Glasgow Daily Times]

Republicans were caught off guard by the administration’s decision to abandon a popular element of the Affordable Care Act — protections for people with preexisting medical conditions. [WaPo]

Gag a maggot. The Kentucky Board of Education has unanimously approved “Bible literacy” standards for public schools after being challenged by the ACLU to keep Church and State separate, as required by the Constitution. [H-L]

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) used a Twitter post to reassure other members of the Group of Seven that U.S. citizens are still their allies even if Donald Trump no longer appears to be. [HuffPo]

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Matt Bevin’s The Only Incompetent Hack Involved In That Case

Lawyers for Matt Bevin renewed their effort Tuesday to get a judge the governor has called an “incompetent hack” removed from a case challenging Kentucky’s new pension law, potentially delaying oral arguments in the case. [H-L]

What’s the phrase about the first dog to bark??? Jared Kushner’s father, real estate magnate Charles Kushner, slammed federal ethics watchdogs who have been hounding him and his son, calling them “jerks” who can’t get a “real job.” [HuffPo]

If you thought Rick Sanders wasn’t a piece of work? You were mistaken. He’s a far-right hack and has no business overseeing the Kentucky State Police – an agency that really does try to avoid partisanship. The next governor needs to fire him the second they’re sworn in. Two Democrats in the Kentucky House have asked Attorney General Andy Beshear for an opinion on whether the Constitutional rights of anti-poverty activists were violated Monday when they were blocked from entering the Capitol. [C-J/AKN]

Most U.S. states will get only a minor revenue boost from legalized sports betting even under the most optimistic scenarios, Moody’s Investors Service said on Friday. [Reuters]

The City of Berea could be looking at millions of dollars in unexpected electric transmission costs after Kentucky Utilities filed a request to end an agreement in force for two decades between it and several municipalities. [Richmond Register]

A federal suit filed in December claimed older workers missed out on job opportunities because ads on Facebook targeted younger users. Now plaintiffs say Facebook’s tools and algorithm gave employers ways to intensify the effects of such targeting. [ProPublica]

The Pikeville attorney who fled to Honduras to avoid sentencing in a massive Social Security fraud case pleaded guilty to escape and other charges Monday in federal court, according to court records and the U.S. Attorney’s office. [Ashland Independent]

In a series of exclusive interviews, former Fox News Channel chief political correspondent Carl Cameron explained to ThinkProgress how the Russians coordinated their cyber attack on the 2016 election with the Trump campaign. [ThinkProgress]

There’s a long way to go and much could go wrong, but representatives of Kentucky’s public pension systems said Monday things are improving for the troubled systems. [Ronnie Ellis]

At 7:50 on a recent morning, Preston Carraway greeted his third-grade teacher, Keshia Speight, who stood at the classroom door dispensing hugs. Mrs. Speight’s class has a motto, which everyone chants in the morning when she raises her fist: “Be brave! Be smart! Stay humble!” [NY Times]

Student teams from across the coalfields of eastern Kentucky came together at the Knott County Sportsplex, bringing with them drones that they themselves had built. It was time for the climax of this year-long project. [WFPL]

White Americans are increasingly critical of the country’s social safety net, a new study suggests, thanks in part to a rising tide of racial resentment. The study, conducted by researchers at two California universities and published Wednesday in the journal Social Forces, finds that opposition to welfare programs has grown among white Americans since 2008, even when controlling for political views and socioeconomic status. White Americans are more likely to favor welfare cuts when they believe that their status is threatened and that minorities are the main beneficiaries of safety net programs, the study says. [WaPo]

Ham sammich. You’ll know what that’s about if you’ve read those transcripts. The ringleader of the “Pappygate” rare bourbon heist was sentenced Friday in Frankfort to 15 years in prison. [H-L]

In Donald Trump’s world populated only with winners and losers, the on-then-off-now-on-again summit with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un has one sure winner already — and, say Korea experts, it’s not Trump. [HuffPo]

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Matt Bevin Fears Anti-Poverty Activists

Anti-poverty activists were denied group access into Kentucky’s Capitol on Monday following an outdoor rally where the nation’s first work requirements for Medicaid were denounced. [H-L]

The U.S. has “probably never before had a delusional president, one who speaks gibberish, insults those around him including his closest associates, and baffles the world. We strive to make sense of Trump’s nonsense, implicitly assuming some hidden strategy. There is none,” Sachs declared. He warned: “Harming our closest allies, raising the prices on key intermediate products, and provoking retaliation cannot possibly deliver higher wages, better jobs, or an improved trade balance.” [HuffPo]

Coal executive Joseph W. Craft III, a Kentucky native and Republican political donor, is in the spotlight for his relationship with embattled Environmental Protection Agency administrator Scott Pruitt, highlighted in a New York Times article published Saturday. [C-J/AKN]

Surprise! Sessions is a key witness in the obstruction investigation. By the time Attorney General Jeff Sessions arrived at Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort for dinner one Saturday evening in March 2017, he had been receiving the presidential silent treatment for two days. Mr. Sessions had flown to Florida because Mr. Trump was refusing to take his calls about a pressing decision on his travel ban. [NY Times]

Franklin Circuit Judge Phillip Shepherd Thursday afternoon denied a motion by Matt Bevin that Shepherd should step aside in a legal challenge to a recently enacted law which alters the state’s public pension benefits. [Ronnie Ellis]

The White House has named a new National Security Council chief of staff from a group that propagates the conspiracy theory that Islamists have infiltrated the U.S. government in a plot to take over the country. [WaPo]

A recanvassing of three races from last week’s primary election has confirmed the same results as initially reported. [Ashland Independent]

Maybe it’s time for the KDA to stop supporting these people. Donald Trump’s latest “America first” policy may have just harmed America’s Native Spirit. [C-J/AKN]

Josh Farrow knows he will be following in legendary footsteps with his acceptance of the top position of Gateway Area Development District. [The Morehead News]

Poverty in the United States is extensive and deepening under the Trump administration whose policies seem aimed at removing the safety net from millions of poor people, while rewarding the rich, a U.N. human rights investigator has found. [Reuters]

The Barren County Board of Elections conducted a recanvass Thursday morning, taking another look at May primary vote totals for the Barren County Judge-Executive’s race. [Glasgow Daily Times]

Wanna spill the beans on the health insurance company that employs you? Here’s your chance. [ProPublica]

Here’s this week’s HEAD-DESK moment. Ball Homes wants city approval to build up to 77 single-family houses on a 20-acre parcel that Fayette County Schools opted not to buy because of asbestos contamination. [H-L]

I spent two weeks touring the U.S. last year in my capacity as the U.N. special rapporteur on extreme poverty. My visit, at the invitation of the federal government, was to investigate the extent to which government policies on extreme poverty met human rights obligations. My report came out last week, and the conclusions are stark. Poverty rates in the United States are shockingly high for one of the richest countries in the world. [HuffPo]

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Creepy Wayne Lewis Has Ruined KDE

Donald Trump’s decision to launch a trade war against some of America’s closest allies now threatens Kentucky’s bourbon industry and much more. But don’t just blame the fool in the White House; blame the spineless Kentucky Republicans in Congress who enable him. [H-L]

“I’m not really anything special,” Miss Major Griffin-Gracy says with a slight chuckle. “I’m just one of the girls.” But despite her modesty, Griffin-Gracy is anything but ordinary. [HuffPo]

Kentucky education officials are considering a state takeover of Jefferson County Public Schools despite a lack of evidence that such moves transform academic achievement across large, urban districts. “If people are expecting quick results and miraculous returns … they are going to be disappointed,” said Michael Petrilli, president of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, a conservative education policy think tank based in Washington, D.C. [C-J/AKN]

Two higher-education associations released statements on Wednesday opposing the U.S. State Department’s move to limit the length of student visas for some Chinese citizens. [The Chronicle of Higher Education]

Alison Grimes should definitely run. As Kentucky’s political world wonders whether Republican Matt Bevin will run for re-election in 2019, it is also watching to see what some Democrats will do. [Ronnie Ellis]

After U.S. tariffs on imports of European steel and aluminum took effect Friday morning, the EU’s top trade commissioner called them “illegal” and a classic case of protectionism. The EU plans to make its case to the World Trade Organization. [NPR]

Joe Burchett’s Attorney, Scott White, filed a motion recently requesting a change of venue for the court proceedings in a case accusing the Boyd County Jailer of malfeasance or neglect of county officer. [Ashland Independent]

The aunt of the woman shot and killed by a Border Patrol agent last week after crossing the border illegally near Laredo, Tex., has a message for the United States: “Don’t treat us like animals.” [ NY Times]

This effort is a good one but if there’s ever a community that does not need armored military surprise vehicles, it’s Morehead. [The Morehead News]

About a half-million Medicare Part D recipients “received high amounts of opioids” in 2016. Almost 20 percent of that group are at “serious risk of opioid misuse or overdose.” [WaPo]

The Barren County Ambulance Service Taxing District’s board of directors have agreed not to make a payment on the Barren-Metcalfe County Emergency Medical Service’s deficit for the month of May. [Glasgow Daily Times]

A leading U.S. group of cancer doctors is wary of new Trump administration proposals for lowering drug prices, particularly if new negotiation tools are introduced that will mean the U.S. government no longer routinely pays for all cancer drugs in the Medicare health program for older people. [Reuters]

Asher Sharp lives a life of faith and certainty in rural Tennessee. He has a wife, a 9-year-old son and a small fundamentalist Christian congregation he pastors. But when rains swell the Cumberland River into a flood of Biblical proportions, his certainty is swept away with the water. [H-L]

A vitriolic audiotape of a phone call between Donald Trump’s personal attorney Michael Cohen and a reporter reveals how the lawyer tried to protect his boss with threats and fury. [HuffPo]

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Matt Bevin Got Slapped In Court Again

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Frustrated by years of financial mismanagement and limited accountability, an Eastern Kentucky activist group this week asked Attorney General Andy Beshear to investigate. [H-L]

This is a serious violation of the First Amendment. The fact that neither the Kentucky Democratic Party nor the Republican Party of Kentucky have condemned Trump’s attacks on citizens – effectively government retaliation – speaks volumes about their cowardice. [HuffPo]

Louisville mayoral candidate and JCPS critic Angela Leet joined Metro Council Democrats on Thursday in supporting a measure that opposes the state seizing control of the school district. [C-J/AKN]

Federal prosecutors sorting through materials seized from Michael Cohen, Donald Trump’s personal attorney, said Wednesday they needed more time to piece together the contents of a shredder taken in an FBI raid. [NBC News]

The audit of the financial statement of the Boyd County Fiscal Court for the fiscal year ending on June 30, 2016 has been released. [Ashland Independent]

Donald Trump falsely accused The New York Times on Saturday of making up a source in an article about North Korea, even though the source was in fact a senior White House official speaking to a large group of reporters in the White House briefing room. [ NY Times]

It is being recommended that Warren County residents older than one year get Hepatitis A vaccinations due to an ongoing outbreak. [Glasgow Daily Times]

Donald Trump’s personal attorney, Michael Cohen, met at Trump Tower in New York days before the 2017 inauguration with a Russian billionaire who was sanctioned this year by the U.S. government. [WaPo]

Every year, Louisville police officers take hundreds of guns off the streets. Some of them were purchased legally, but were being used illegally. Some were confiscated during arrests or drug searches. Some were owned by felons. [WFPL]

Kentucky agencies considering these stunts should tread lightly, as I hear there’s a wealthy family in Louisville set to fight the hell out of these messes in court. Cough, cough. Instead of turning over requests for records, a growing number of cities, school boards and other government agencies across the nation are suing people seeking documents — forcing them to decide whether it’s worth fighting for their request in court — at their own expense. [Herald-Tribune]

If you thought the replacement for Toni Konz wouldn’t be bad, you were mistaken – because I was. Sure, she was one of the worst education reporters in Kentucky history – and played pat-a-cake with people like Terry Holliday while lying about it… but she’s slowly being upstaged. How anyone could report on Kevin Brown “resigning” from the Kentucky Department of Education without bothering to do any real reporting on the crap he’s been involved in through the years is beyond me. It’s lazy, offensive press release journalism and everyone deserves better. Wheatley’s wholly capable and a good person but I’m way over this shit with ed reporters. If *I* can do it? Anyone can. So spare me your whining. [WDRB]

House Oversight Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy said Tuesday he is now “more convinced” that the FBI acted appropriately in its handling of the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election and possible connections to Donald Trump’s campaign. [CNN]

Matt Bevin asked a judge that he recently called “an incompetent hack” to step aside in Attorney General Andy Beshear’s legal challenge of Kentucky’s new public pension law, but the judge said late Thursday he’s staying put. [H-L]

When you dream of an ideal world ― one that you would truly, emphatically wish to live in, what does it look like? What does it feel like? How do people live together there? How are wealth and power distributed? How do people find happiness and meaning within their day-to-day lives? [HuffPo]

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Woo, Another School District Scandal

A woman who worked as payroll manager in a Kentucky school district says officials want to get rid of her because she’s a whistleblower who complained about employees abusing a new time-clock system. [H-L]

Over 4,600 people died in Puerto Rico during the aftermath of Hurricane Maria ― more than 70 times the official death toll ― according to a new Harvard study released Tuesday. [HuffPo]

Two Kentucky district court judges illegally refused to let motorists participate in the Jefferson County attorney’s traffic school, the Kentucky Court of Appeals said in affirming a lower court ruling. The court in a 3-0 ruling Friday upheld an opinion by Jefferson Circuit Judge McKay Chauvin that District Judges Sean Delahanty and Stephanie Pearce Burke improperly blocked alleged traffic scofflaws from Drive Safe Louisville. [C-J/AKN]

How does one “lose” almost 1,500 children? Last month, Steven Wagner, the acting assistant secretary of the administration for children and families (ACF), announced at a Senate hearing that the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Refugee Resettlement — which is to say, an office he oversees — was “unable to determine with certainty the whereabouts of 1,475 children between October and December.” [ThinkProgress]

Almost all of northeast Kentucky’s top school officials earn six-figure salaries, but for almost all of them their salaries are lower than the state average. [Ashland Independent]

After the landmark nuclear agreement of 2015, hundreds of European, Asian and even American companies rushed to enter Iran’s largely untapped market of 80 million people, assured by the United States and the other signatories that their investments would be safe for at least a decade. [ NY Times]

A former Morehead State University recreation center may just be Rowan County’s “newest” if Morehead City Council has its way and it’s not too much of a burden on taxpayers. [The Morehead News]

The gun-control group Giffords has released a short documentary on students affected by shootings — two students from Parkland, Fla., and a Chicago teenager whose brother was killed. [WaPo]

This, like all things Matt Bevin touches, will be a disaster. Derrick Ramsey will be calling the signals for the Kentucky Cabinet for Education and Workforce Development. [Ronnie Ellis]

A new study published Tuesday estimates that Hurricane Maria killed over 5,000 people after striking Puerto Rico last September. That’s more than 75 times higher than the island’s previous official count, and if widely accepted would cement the storm as one of the most deadly natural disasters to ever affect US citizens. [Mother Jones]

The Jefferson County School board will appeal the state education department’s recommendation for a takeover of the district. [WFPL]

At a White House meeting last winter, leaders of the F.B.I. and the Justice Department made an urgent appeal to John F. Kelly, the White House chief of staff, to side with them against Republicans in Congress who were pressing for information about the Russia investigation that would compromise confidential sources. [More NY Times]

A Kentucky truck stop was evacuated Sunday after what was apparently a pipe bomb was found in a trash can, according to Kentucky State Police. [H-L]

Anti-trust nerds, consumer advocates and open internet campaigners and have been fighting to break up Facebook for years. But in their crusade against the social network’s online monopoly, the usual suspects have enlisted a growing coalition of allies: artists and progressive Muslim and Jewish activists. [HuffPo]

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Gentrification Is Bad For All Kentuckians

What can Lexington do about gentrification? Literally the opposite of everything Louisville is doing. Don’t let AirB&B take over. Don’t let wealthy people buy up neighborhoods like Portland and Butchertown. Just don’t. Yes, I’m talking about my own friends. Don’t do it. It’s not necessary. [H-L]

Amanda Painter sat at the kitchen table in an unfamiliar apartment with an absurd dilemma: She had nothing to wear to a vigil for her three dead children. Her clothes were at home, but her home was now a crime scene. [HuffPo]

Metro Council Democrats elbowed through a measure on Thursday that supporters says will help lower Louisville’s obesity rate by giving youngest restaurant patrons healthier options. [C-J/AKN]

A former Marine says he alerted the Corps to a white supremacist in its ranks last October. Six months later, he wonders how seriously the Corps is investigating. [ProPublica]

Many pension funds for public workers already owe far more in retirement benefits than they have in the bank, and the problem will only grow worse if the economy slows down, according to a report released Thursday. [Richmond Register]

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) took to the Sunday morning shows to push back on the Trump administration’s narrative that the FBI’s investigation into the Trump campaign was a political witch hunt. To the contrary, Rubio said, it was a totally appropriate investigation into suspicious individuals involved in the campaign. [ThinkProgress]

Becky Miller has officially filed a complaint against Ashland City Commissioner Marty Gute surrounding her recent claims that Gute no longer resides in the city. [Ashland Independent]

When Congress decided not to take significant action after a spate of mass shootings this year and last, some big banks opted to take matters into their own hands by restricting financing for gun sellers. Now, Republican lawmakers are pressing regulators to stop banks from doing so, over concerns they are veering too far into social activism. [NY Times]

Teachers flexed their political muscle Tuesday night, especially in Rockcastle County, spurring a surprise upset win by Travis Brenda over fellow Republican and incumbent state House Majority Leader Jonathan Shell. [Ronnie Ellis]

Ralph Stepney’s home on a quiet street in north Baltimore has a welcoming front porch and large rooms, with plenty of space for his comfortable recliner and vast collection of action movies. The house is owned by Joann West, a licensed caregiver who shares it with Stepney and his fellow Vietnam War veteran Frank Hundt. [WaPo]

The seemingly long-awaited analysis on surveys and other community input for a master plan for Glasgow Parks and Recreation was presented to the master plan steering committee this week. [Glasgow Daily Times]

Scott Pruitt, the head of the Environmental Protection Agency, spent roughly $3.5 million in taxpayer funds on his personal security detail during his first year in office, 1.7 times what his predecessors spent each year on average, according to records made public Friday by the agency. Those figures included $2.7 million on salaries and overtime for security staff and more than $760,000 on travel for security agents. [More NY Times]

Al Dilley of Glasgow owns Goat Browsers, an “environmentally friendly land enhancement service.” Dilly and his 17 goats are under contract with the city to goatscape (clean up) an overgrown, two-acre area of the park. [H-L]

Katia Hills, a healthy 27-year-old married woman, said she was afraid to have another child after what happened the last time. [HuffPo]

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