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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Barren County Just Made Major Progress

For 50 years, the Kirwan Blanding complex — its towering twin towers looming over the south side of campus — were among the University of Kentucky’s most iconic images. But those icons can no longer provide the housing spaces that students desire, so they are being demolished. [Linda Blackford]

Narrow wins in special elections don’t typically qualify as major political events, but Tuesday night’s Senate race in Alabama, in which Democrat Doug Jones is the apparent winner, may be the exception. [HuffPo]

Oh, please, she was hand-picked. It was an open secret for months. Her lying ass needs to be dragged out of council like the rest of these good old boy shysters that have taken over. Metro Council candidate Nicole George dismissed claims that she was groomed by Louisville Democrats to replace former Councilman Dan Johnson, who was removed last month due to sexual misconduct. [C-J/AKN]

While Jared Kushner is working on a peace deal between the Israelis and the Palestinians, the Kushner Companies Charitable Foundation is funding a controversial West Bank settlement. [ProPublica]

The Harlan City Council discussed the new rates for the city’s contribution to state retirement funds during a meeting on Monday. [Harlan Daily Enterprise]

A year ago, no one would have envisioned President Emmanuel Macron of France as the public face of Western diplomacy in the Middle East. But that is not the case anymore. [NY Times]

Barren County Fiscal Court narrowly approved Tuesday a needle exchange program for the county, moving the proposal closer to becoming reality. [BGDN]

The U.S. military is preparing to accept transgender recruits for the first time beginning in January, the Pentagon said Wednesday, the latest signal that Donald Trump’s desired ban may not materialize after all. [WaPo]

The Louisville Metro Police Department is investigating state Rep. Dan Johnson for alleged sexual abuse in his church. [WFPL]

An inmate at the U.S. detention facility at Guantanamo Bay is still being tortured, the U.N. special rapporteur on torture Nils Melzer said in a statement on Wednesday. [Reuters]

Living in hiding downtown for four years, Byron “Roc” Peeler was thrust into the spotlight on Friday after challenging Mayor Greg Fischer to spend a night in his homeless camp. In a prior Courier Journal story, he took the mayor to task, saying that city leaders cannot call Louisville a “compassionate city” while pushing homeless people out. [More C-J/AKN]

The Morehead State University Board of Regents voted Thursday to sell Sunny Brook Golf Course and two other properties owned by the university. [The Morehead News]

Donald Trump called a sitting U.S. Senator a whore and no one batted an eyelash. Because it wasn’t the craziest thing to occur that morning. This is the new normal. [BBC]

The Kentucky Personnel Cabinet has requested an investigation of whether a male officer sexually harassed female employees at the prison in Elliott County. [H-L]

The number of journalists imprisoned around the globe hit a record high in 2017, with at least 262 reporters currently behind bars, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists. They’re guilty of doing their jobs. [HuffPo]

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Pension Reform Is Not Now And Never Will Be A Real Thing In Kentucky

Kentucky’s highest court will hear a controversial case involving a Lexington company’s refusal to print a T-shirt for the city’s annual gay-pride festival. [H-L]

This racist jackass is still supported by people like Jeff Hoover and Bob the Bigot Stivers. Donald Trump is reportedly reviving the racist “birther” conspiracy theory, which claims that President Barack Obama wasn’t born in the United States. [HuffPo]

A whittled down tree-protection ordinance heads to the Louisville Metro Council for a vote as early as Thursday, nearly a year after the proposal was unveiled. [C-J/AKN]

U.S. Supreme Court justices on Monday appeared divided over whether a federal agency’s in-house process for challenging patents violates the constitutional rights of patent owners, leaving the fate of a system that has led to a high rate of patent cancellations uncertain. [Reuters]

House Republican leaders say they are closer to an agreement on pension reform after a closed-door two and a half hour meeting Tuesday — but they still don’t have a final agreement. [Ronnie Ellis]

The US consumer financial watchdog was plunged into turmoil on Monday as rival directors vied to take charge amid a lawsuit against the White House. [BBC]

New Greenup County Commissioner Earnest “Earnie” Duty said he wants to help the county build on momentum generated by the announcement of a $1.3-billion aluminum rolling mill. [Ashland Independent]

The Senate Republican tax plan gives substantial tax cuts and benefits to Americans earning more than $100,000 a year, while the nation’s poorest would be worse off, according to a report released Sunday by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. [WaPo]

A majority of the Glasgow Electric Plant Board’s board of directors decided Tuesday that to drop three broadcast stations in Nashville and Louisville rather than pay the increases demanded for their content, but it will keep the ones in Bowling Green that also bumped up their prices. [Glasgow Daily Times]

Uh, obviously experts disagree with Republicans when it comes to the tax bill. Because facts are facts. Even though facts are something Republicans don’t understand. [NY Times]

Rowan County Fiscal Court is looking at options to help gain more revenue through the more efficient collection of occupational taxes. [The Morehead News]

Last week, we bought more than a dozen housing ads excluding categories of people explicitly protected by the Fair Housing Act of 1968. [ProPublica]

There’s no legitimate pension bill because the modern Republican Party of Kentucky is run by a bunch of con artists who can do nothing but sexually harass folks without power. [H-L]

Global arms experts say North Korea’s latest test of a ballistic missile was an expected but troubling development that further solidifies Kim Jong Un’s role as a nuclear-backed strongman. [HuffPo]

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Louisville Politicians Hate Poor People – Especially If They’re Black

Kentucky’s legislature needs billions of dollars to pay down the state’s unfunded pension liabilities. As it happens, Kentucky essentially gives away billions of dollars every year through what are called “tax expenditures.” [John Cheves]

The deputy director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau sued the Trump administration on Sunday to block the president’s appointment of Mick Mulvaney as interim director of the agency. [HuffPo]

Scott Reed, like most Kentucky Republicans, is a racist bigot. Their racism is especially easy to spot in Louisville because they freak out when low incomes are involved. [C-J/AKN]

Donald Trump thinks he’s accomplished more than FDR. There are Kentucky Republicans that believe him. [The Hill]

Discussion of the city’s purchase of electric power again dominated Tuesday’s meeting of the Berea City Council. [Richmond Register]

The Freedom of Information Act is fundamental to investigative journalism. If the Freedom of Information Act were a person, who would it be? That’s a real question I asked our newsroom this week, because that’s the kind of thing I randomly think about. [ProPublica]

A search warrant executed by the Boyd County Sheriff’s Department Tuesday resulted in four arrests and the seizing of over 50 grams of Crystal Methamphetamine, money and drug paraphernalia. [Ashland Independent]

Tens of thousands of people wanted by law enforcement officials have been removed this year from the FBI criminal background check database that prohibits fugitives from justice from buying guns. [WaPo]

The Kentucky State Police began accepting donations for their eighth annual “Cram The Cruiser” holiday food drive on Nov. 22. [The Morehead News]

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday left in place a Nebraska law that prohibits picketing near funerals after it was challenged by a Kansas church known for anti-gay protests. [Reuters]

A bill moving through Congress aims to simplify the national suicide hotline — a move that advocates say is necessary. But with that could come an increased call volume at crisis centers, and those same advocates caution additional funding will be needed to handle all the calls at money-strapped crisis centers. [WFPL]

He’s a racist bigot. Donald Trump has mocked a political rival as Pocahontas – as he welcomed Native Americans to the White House. [BBC]

A juvenile is suspected of making a threat on social media about violence this week at Madison Central High School, according to Kentucky State Police. [H-L]

Robert Jay Lifton has spent his life trying to understand some of the most unfathomable milestones of the 20th century. [HuffPo]

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Overdoses Are Hitting Ashland Hard

The effort to preserve a 125-mile stretch of Pine Mountain that runs the length of southeastern Kentucky has taken a significant step forward with the purchase of nearly 2,000 acres, the Kentucky Natural Lands Trust announced Thursday. [H-L]

The public feud between Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) and Donald Trump continued to escalate on Tuesday. The GOP senator, who warned earlier this month that Trump’s behavior could lead to World War III, told CNN that he believes the president’s legacy will be the “debasement of our nation.” [HuffPo]

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has made its final decision for a new VA hospital in Louisville, and it is sticking with a 35-acre farmland site off Brownsboro Road. [C-J/AKN]

The U.S government issued a rare public warning that sophisticated hackers are targeting energy and industrial firms, the latest sign that cyber attacks present an increasing threat to the power industry and other public infrastructure. [Reuters]

A second person has announced her candidacy to become the next Barren County clerk, with incumbent Joanne London not seeking re-election. [Glasgow Daily Times]

Another lawmaker is asking insurers whether their policies have made it easier for patients to access cheaper, more addictive drugs over less addictive alternatives. Meanwhile, the insurance industry trade group pledged additional steps to combat inappropriate prescribing. [ProPublica]

Rowan County Fiscal Court made it clear during its monthly meeting on Tuesday that it did not support a rate increase proposed by Advanced Disposal, owner and operator of the county landfill. [The Morehead News]

This idiot. Speaking to reporters alongside Puerto Rican Governor Ricardo Rosselló at the White House on Thursday, Trump gave the White House the highest possible marks for its response to Hurricane Maria. [ThinkProgress]

A plaque proclaiming Jefferson Davis as a hero and a patriot will be removed from Kentucky’s Capitol, the latest effort to alter Confederate monuments across the country following outbreaks of racially motivated violence. [Richmond Register]

After a series of high-profile police shootings, police departments across the nation turned to body cameras, hoping they would curb abuses. But a rigorous study released Friday shows that they have almost no effect on officer behavior. [NY Times]

An overdose awareness and prevention seminar is set for Thursday in downtown Ashland amid an overdose crisis that’s devastated the Tri-State and left at least 34 dead in Boyd County this year alone. [Ashland Independent]

These fools have no idea that it’s the media’s job to constantly question those in power – no matter what. Yet again, the White House has declared itself to be above question. [WaPo]

It was time. Long past time, actually. As the sun set Tuesday on a beautiful fall day, it also set on Lexington’s two most visible symbols of history rewritten. [Tom Eblen]

Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) won’t run for re-election in 2018, The Arizona Republic first reported. Flake spoke about his decision on the Senate floor Tuesday, railing against the “appalling features of our current politics” and arguing that lawmakers should “never regard as normal the regular and casual undermining of our democratic norms and ideals.” [HuffPo]

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Republicans Ruin Everything They Touch

It may be true, as its title suggests, that the pension plan outlined last week by Matt Bevin and Republican legislative leaders is “keeping the promise.” But what promise and to whom? Certainly, it doesn’t keep a promise to current or future public workers and retirees that they will retire with financial security. [H-L]

Once upon a time, an insurgent candidate defeated Hillary Clinton, the most prepared potential president in U.S. history, after a nasty, close and historic race. [HuffPo]

Anyone deliberately ignorant enough to claim a soccer stadium in Louisville is going to push wages higher is an asshole. That’s not remotely based in reality. It’s not going to happen. If anything, they’ll hire the lowest common denominator for work and pay them the lowest rate that’s legally possible. It happens in every development in Louisville and it’s not changing any time soon. But this is Attica Scott, the woman who refused to answer questions about her residency when she initially ran for Metro Council. So it’s not surprising she’d put false hope out there to fluff up liberals in wealthy parts of the city. [C-J/AKN]

The two Honduran women told nearly identical stories to the immigration courts: Fear for their lives and for the lives of their children drove them to seek asylum in the United States. [Reuters]

State Librarian and Kentucky Department for Libraries and Archives (KDLA) Commissioner Terry Manuel announced that Madison County Clerk Kenny Barger has received a grant totaling $17,302 from the KDLA to preserve and manage local government records. [Richmond Register]

It was about 10 a.m. on Aug. 12 when the melee erupted just north of Emancipation Park in Charlottesville, Virginia. [ProPublica]

It’s been 10 years since Kentucky judges received a raise, placing judicial salaries in the commonwealth 48th among the 50 states. [Ronnie Ellis]

With the White House under fire over its handling of the deaths of four U.S. soldiers in Niger, questions are rising about the deadly ambush. [ThinkProgress]

The Boyd County Public Library is operating on a $3.1 million budget and will likely have about $5 million in reserve this fiscal year. The library – like the school districts, volunteer fire departments and health department in Boyd County – is a special taxing district. The bulk of the library’s budget – 84 percent – is funded by property taxes. [Ashland Independent]

The Environmental Protection Agency has published a list of 10 toxic threats it will evaluate first under a law passed last year intended to crack down on hazardous chemicals. [NY Times]

Sometimes you have to wonder if the folks running Morehead State University know their ass from a hole in the ground. [The Morehead News]

Authoritarian bullshit. The White House flashed its authoritarian streak again on Friday when press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said it was “highly inappropriate” for journalists to fact-check a false claim by Chief of Staff John F. Kelly. [WaPo]

This sort of thing happened repeatedly in Montgomery County. I reported on it for a few years. Kids ‘escaped’ school on a regular basis, roamed around in traffic, you name it. It was a nightmare situation. Valarie Honeycutt Spears just twiddled her thumbs over those stories. [H-L]

For 27 years, Erwin Marks helped design military aircraft, missiles, drones and even solid rocket boosters for the space shuttle. The work was a good fit for Marks, who’d left the Navajo Nation to study design engineering technology at Brigham Young University in the 1980s. But after almost three decades, Marks had grown tired of the hiring and layoff cycles every few years as federal contracts were awarded and expired. [HuffPo]

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