Can Republicans Do Anything Right?

Former disability lawyer Eric C. Conn pleaded not guilty to escape charges Wednesday, a day after the FBI flew him back to Kentucky from Honduras, where he was captured Saturday after six months as a fugitive. [H-L]

Facing swift and stiff backlash from lawmakers and activists, the Department of Veterans Affairs has reportedly backtracked on a decision to slash funding for a successful program that helps provide housing to homeless veterans. [HuffPo]

The city of Louisville has paid more than $566,000 to nine law firms to fight Kerry Porter’s claim for compensation for the 14 years spent behind bars for a murder he did not commit. Porter was exonerated in 2011 by former Commonwealth’s Attorney Dave Stengel for the 1996 killing of truck driver Tyrone Camp. In 2012 he sued the city and 10 police officers, alleging a conspiracy to unlawfully arrest and convict him. [C-J/AKN]

The Trump administration is holding talks on providing nuclear technology to Saudi Arabia — a move that critics say could upend decades of U.S. policy and lead to an arms race in the Middle East. [ProPublica]

Affordable housing development could be a victim of the proposed $1.5 trillion tax cut currently working its way through the United States Congress. [WFPL]

Donald Trump’s outrageous, self-aggrandizing rhetoric is the butt of so many jokes precisely because it’s so transparently false, it should be funny. When he inflates the size of his inauguration crowd to soothe his ego, bruised after he lost the popular vote to his rival, it sounds like a kid lying about who came to his birthday party. But it’s funny until the lies have deadly consequences — beyond just discouraging the American public’s trust in democracy and its own institutions. [ThinkProgress]

Despite his Nov. 5 announcement that he is stepping down as Speaker of the House in the wake of reports he signed a confidential settlement of sexual harassment claims, Jeff Hoover, R-Jamestown, may legally still be Speaker. [Ronnie Ellis]

White House national security adviser HR McMaster says the US is “in a race” to address the threat from North Korea. [BBC]

House Republican Communications Director Daisy Olivo filed suit Monday against the Legislative Research Commission alleging retaliation for reporting allegations that then-Speaker Jeff Hoover engaged in a consensual sexual relationship with another staff aide. [More Ronnie Ellis]

Donald Trump ran a campaign on lifting up the little guy. He was, in the words of his oldest son, “a blue-collar billionaire,” and it was his plain-spoken promise to be their warrior in Washington that helped win over voters in hollowed-out Midwestern towns. But almost a year into his presidency, evidence shows he has governed not as the populist champion he proclaimed himself to be, but instead as a president siding more often with large corporations, special interests, and the wealthiest of Americans. [Boston Globe]

The recommendation of the Barren County Fiscal Court Administrative Committee to the full fiscal court will be for the county to move forward with establishing a syringe exchange program through the health department, but the decision was not unanimous. [Glasgow Daily Times]

Charter schools are among the nation’s most segregated, an Associated Press analysis finds — an outcome at odds, critics say, with their goal of offering a better alternative to failing traditional public schools. [AP]

Republican members of the Kentucky House are asking Republican Gov. Matt Bevin not to call a special legislative session on pension reform before the end of the year. [H-L]

It was late morning in an artsy cafe, the smell of coffee and baked goods sweetening the air, and Ashley Bishop sat at a table, recalling a time when she was taught that most of secular American society was worthy of contempt. [HuffPo]

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Bevin’s Standing Up While The Rest Of Frankfort Twiddles Its Thumbs

No, Jim Gray is not going to congress. No Democrat in that district will get to congress until they learn to abandon the Kentucky Democratic Party and the good old boy system. They’ve gotta learn how to eat Republicans alive and we all know that isn’t going to happen. None of them have the guts to get nasty and dirty. [WKYT]

Nearly 25 years after strangling the life out of her stepson, Stephanie Spitser faced a chance at parole. Spitser, 46, had received a degree in divinity and a diploma in Bible studies from Christian schools while in prison, and she had taken a class that prepares inmates to re-enter society. [H-L]

A senior official on Donald Trump’s transition team suggested that Russia had “thrown” the U.S. presidential election in Trump’s favor in a December 2016 email thread leaked to the New York Times and published Saturday. [HuffPo]

A state social worker who said she suffered retaliation by supervisors after she refused to change her findings in a report on a horrific child abuse case has received a $43,000 settlement from the state. [C-J/AKN]

Poverty is normally seen as a deep, complex, social problem. But to the Dutch historian Rutger Bregman it comes down to something simple: a lack of cash. [Fast Company]

Republican House leaders will turn over their investigation of sexual harassment claims against four of their colleagues to the Legislative Ethics Commission which has the power to subpoena witnesses and evidence. [Ronnie Ellis]

When Donald Trump fired his national security adviser, Michael T. Flynn, in February, White House officials portrayed him as a renegade who had acted independently in his discussions with a Russian official during the presidential transition and then lied to his colleagues about the interactions. But emails among top transition officials, provided or described to The New York Times, suggest that Mr. Flynn was far from a rogue actor. In fact, the emails, coupled with interviews and court documents filed on Friday, showed that Mr. Flynn was in close touch with other senior members of the Trump transition team both before and after he spoke with the Russian ambassador, Sergey I. Kislyak, about American sanctions against Russia. [NY Times]

Maybe now it’d be a good time to remember that ignorance of the law isn’t a valid excuse in government. A few issues were found during the audit of the 2016-17 fiscal year financial statements of Barren-Metcalfe County Emergency Medical Services, but the auditors mostly chalked them up to office staff turnover and inexperience with government accounting standards as opposed to those used for private businesses. [Glasgow Daily Times]

These people are just insane, hate-filled bigots. There’s no other way to describe them. [WaPo]

Local officials told state lawmakers they want more control over the way they raise money to fund their governments and they are willing to take responsibility for the “inviolable contract” guaranteeing their employees pension benefits if lawmakers allow them to split off from the state employee pension system. [Ronnie Ellis]

Donald Trump lashed out at the FBI on Sunday, issuing a fresh denial that he asked former director James Comey to drop an investigation into the conduct of one of his top aides, Michael Flynn. [BBC]

Kentucky’s Republican governor asked his party on Saturday to call for the resignation of four GOP lawmakers who signed a secret sexual harassment settlement, but party leaders rejected it in a move the governor said “speaks to the fact that we’ve got real problems.” Bam Carney, the backward Republican “teacher” who fought to gut education and educator accountability, is now attacking Matt Bevin for standing up for what’s right. Absurd. [WFPL]

A federal judge on Friday ordered the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to rescind its delay of a rule that allows some foreign entrepreneurs to stay in the United States to grow their companies, court documents show. [Reuters]

A former employee in Gov. Matt Bevin’s office, who is also the daughter of an outspoken Republican lawmaker, said Thursday that a member of the State House of Representatives sent her “highly inappropriate” messages. [H-L]

Donald Trump gloated in a tweet Saturday that he fired Michael Flynn because he knew he lied to the FBI. If that was the case, Trump’s attempt to stop former FBI head James Comey’s investigation of Flynn could constitute obstruction of justice, legal experts warned. [HuffPo]

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All The Trumpers Are Pleading Guilty

***Care about the future of Kentucky? Help us cover FOIA and open records request fees relating to Matt Bevin and Jamie Comer.*** [CLICK HERE]

The Legislative Research Commission’s contract with a Louisville law firm to investigate sexual harassment in the state House of Representatives will cost Kentucky taxpayers up to $50,000. [H-L]

The U.S. Census Bureau is significantly scaling back its preparations for the 2020 census, which experts say could compromise the agency’s ability to accurately conduct its constitutionally mandated count of people. An inaccurate census could have drastic consequences, with the potential to hit minority communities the hardest. [HuffPo]

To some it seems taboo. But a nationally renowned pain doctor says a four-letter word can ease aches and anxiety without the risk of addiction: H-E-M-P. [C-J/AKN]

More than 400 U.S. Marines and their artillery are leaving Syria after helping to capture the city of Raqqa from Islamic State, the U.S.-led coalition fighting the militant group said on Thursday. [Reuters]

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

For much of its 22-year existence, few outside the corner of science devoted to toxic chemicals paid much attention to the International Journal of Occupational and Environmental Health. [ProPublica]

Local officials told state lawmakers they want more control over the way they raise money to fund their governments and they are willing to take responsibility for the “inviolable contract” guaranteeing their employees pension benefits if lawmakers allow them to split off from the state employee pension system. [Ronnie Ellis]

Carl Portman remembers watching, heartbroken, from Anchorage in 2005 as a Senate effort to allow drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge lost by two votes. Now, 17 years later, another effort to open up the reserve to oil and gas drilling is working its way through Congress. And this time, the political winds have shifted. [NY Times]

Two 27-year-old Boyd County inmates who overdosed in the jail after taking what authorities believe to be heroin now face contraband charges. [Ashland Independent]

A month after turning himself in for charges he faces connected to Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe, former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort reached a bail deal with Mueller’s team, according to court documents filed by Manafort’s lawyers Thursday. [TPM]

Matt Bevin’s just a racist bigot. Yes, he has children of color and a minority lieutenant governor. But get a damn grip – everything he says and does is racist horseshit. A plaque in the Kentucky Capitol declaring the only president of the Confederacy to be a hero and a patriot will stay until a lawyer with Republican Matt Bevin’s administration can determine if the decision to remove it was legal. [Richmond Register]

Former national security adviser Michael Flynn has agreed to plead guilty Friday to lying to the FBI about his contacts with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, marking another monumental development in the wide-ranging probe of special counsel Robert S. Mueller III. [WaPo]

Jefferson Davis, the president of the slave-holding Confederate states, remains a “hero” in Kentucky’s Capitol Rotunda. A commission that oversees state-owned statues voted last month to remove a bronze plaque attached to a controversial statue of Davis that declares him a “patriot — hero — statesman,” but that plan changed Wednesday after questions were raised about the commission’s legal authority take down the plaque. [H-L]

Everything this idiot does is bigoted. Donald Trump somehow made time to mock Asian leaders, who hosted him on his recent trip, during a speech meant to promote GOP tax bills moving through Congress. [HuffPo]

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The Republicans Are Raising Your Taxes

PEE ALERT! Matt Bevin said Thursday he still intends to call a special legislative session on pension reform this calendar year. [H-L]

Republicans insist their tax cut bill will benefit workers, though the legislation has few provisions that directly benefit people with modest incomes in the long run. [HuffPo]

A Northern Kentucky lawyer who previously worked at the state Capitol says she received inappropriate text messages from one of the four House Republicans (Michael Meredith) involved in a secret sexual harassment settlement with another female staffer that cost former House Speaker Jeff Hoover his leadership job. [C-J/AKN]

One of Bigot Donald Trump’s top cabinet officials has met with a long list of lobbyists, corporate executives and wealthy people with business interests before the government, according to calendars the Trump administration fought to keep secret. The calendars for Mick Mulvaney, the former South Carolina congressman who now runs the White House Office of Management and Budget, offer a glimpse of who has access to the highest levels of the Trump administration. [ProPublica]

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]

Meanwhile, in Canada… Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has apologised for historical injustices against the LGBT community. [BBC]

Barren County’s unemployment rate dropped slightly from September to October, according to a report released by the state Thursday. [Glasgow Daily Times]

As tensions between the United States and North Korea continue to simmer, Hawaii is preparing to resume a statewide test on Friday of a Cold War-era early warning system designed to inform its residents of an impending nuclear attack. [NY Times]

Donald L. Blankenship, the coal executive convicted of conspiring to violate federal safety standards tied to a deadly mine disaster, plans to run for the U.S. Senate in West Virginia next year, WCSH-TV reported Wednesday. [Ashland Independent]

America’s diplomatic professionals have issued a dire warning about the crisis facing the State Department: Scores of top diplomats, including some of our highest-ranked career Foreign Service officers, have left the agency at “a dizzying speed” over the past 10 months. [Madeleine Albright]

State Sen. Jared Carpenter, R-Berea, welcomed the Kentucky State Senate Majority Caucus Leadership Team Wednesday to his district for its annual retreat. [Richmond Register]

This is beyond insane. There’s no other way to describe it. The head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency on Thursday said the wave of recent U.S. disasters, from multiple storms to raging wildfires, must redefine the agency’s role and that localities must be more prepared to shoulder crises. [Reuters]

Communities with strong laws against workplace smoking have lower rates of lung cancer, a new study from the University of Kentucky found. [Linda Blackford]

A visibly frustrated federal judge ordered the Trump administration to tell her — by 5 p.m. Thursday — whether an American citizen the government has detained incommunicado for months has been advised of his constitutional rights or has asked for legal representation. [HuffPo]

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Frankfort Proves It Doesn’t Care About You

“Something don’t seem fair.” That’s what Mark Lunsford told reporter Bill Estep when he learned the property tax rate on his 21-foot bass boat is 30 times that levied on luxury houseboats that can cost upwards of $250,000. [H-L]

In a major win for the telecom industry, Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai announced plans Tuesday to scrap net neutrality regulations that require internet providers to treat all content equally. [HuffPo]

The Trump administration is questioning whether Louisville is out of step with federal law after approving a measure that prohibits police and other city employees from enforcing immigration statutes — and implying the city could lose more than half a million dollars as a result. [C-J/AKN]

It was just before 9 a.m. one day last July, and Noemi Martinez was on her way from one job interview to the next, running to catch a bus on Atlantic Boulevard in Jacksonville, Fla. [ProPublica]

After years of investigating, Louisville police and federal agents captured eight people suspected of skimming credit card information from gas stations in the city. The arrests were made after the individuals stole more than $3.5 million through skimmed card information. [WFPL]

No sitting justice on the Supreme Court has indicated plans to leave any time soon. But tell that to Trump, who announced on Friday his latest slate of judicial candidates to fill a vacancy that — as far as anyone knows — does not exist. [NY Times]

Warren County Public Schools Superintendent Rob Clayton and several board of education members support allowing teachers to take time off work to attend a rally in Frankfort during an as-yet-unannounced special legislative session to reform the state’s ailing pension system. [BGDN]

Since 1997, Congress’ Office of Compliance has paid more than $17 million for 264 settlements and awards to federal employees for violations of various employment rules including, The Washington Post reported last month, sexual harassment. [WaPo]

Kentucky’s attorney general is unable to determine if Braidy Industries, the beneficiary of a $15 million investment from the state, is a public agency because it hasn’t completed a fiscal year yet. [Ronnie Ellis]

The Department of Homeland Security violated two court orders in the days after Donald Trump issued a temporary travel ban on citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries, according to the department’s watchdog. [Reuters]

They’re not there. Matt Bevin said earlier this week he believes the votes are there in the General Assembly to pass pension reform legislation. [More Ronnie Ellis]

A US judge has permanently blocked a presidential order that would have cut funding from US cities refusing to co-operate with immigration officials. [BBC]

University of Kentucky President Eli Capilouto is planning to quickly replace Provost Tim Tracy, who announced Nov. 1 that he’s leaving to become the CEO of the Cincinnati-based Aprecia Pharmaceuticals. The search will be internal, not national, and he intends to choose someone by mid-December. [Linda Blackford]

Nineteen Asian-Americans protesting outside Speaker Paul Ryan’s office on Capitol Hill were arrested Wednesday while calling for him to move the Dream Act to a vote. [HuffPo]

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Bevin Goes Full Whiny-Ass Titty Baby

TL;DR: Hoover had a bunch of stress because his ass got caught. That’s why he had a “heart issue” – that and probably decades of eating poorly and never getting exercise. Former Kentucky House Speaker Jeff Hoover, R-Jamestown, was released from the hospital Tuesday following testing for a heart related issue, according to a statement by House Speaker Pro Tempore David Osborne, R-Prospect. [H-L]

Donald Trump on Monday announced that he plans to nominate former pharmaceutical executive Alex Azar to replace Tom Price as health and human services secretary. [HuffPo]

Matt Bevin is that twat of a kid in school believing he’s special and deserves a better grade than he earned. It’s only a matter of time until he has his Julian Carroll or Jeff Hoover moment. [C-J/AKN]

Donald Trump, Jr. was in contact with WikiLeaks during the campaign. So keep screaming, mouth-breathers, cause the chickens are coming home to roost. [NBC News]

All three incumbent judge-executives in Boyd, Carter and Greenup counties are seeking re-election, and at least two of them will face challengers. [Ashland Independent]

The Republican National Committee is withdrawing its support for besieged Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore, leaving him increasingly isolated as he confronts charges of sexual misconduct with teenagers. [Politico]

Local businessman and entrepreneur Harold M.D. Armstrong announced Monday his candidacy for mayor of Glasgow in the 2018 election. [Glasgow Daily Times]

RT America, the U.S. arm of the Kremlin-backed TV station RT, has registered with the U.S. Department of Justice as a “foreign agent” in the United States, the outlet’s editor in chief said on Monday. [Reuters]

Constituents of Sen. Steve West had the opportunity to hear his stance on Gov. Matt Bevin’s proposed pension bill during a question and answer session held Thursday at Rowan County Middle School. [The Morehead News]

Here’s your no shit, Sherlock, story of the week about Orange Dingus and the economy. [WaPo]

Matt Bevin’s efforts to overhaul Kentucky’s ailing pension systems took another twist Tuesday when his administration asked consultants to redo their analysis of his proposed changes to retirement benefits for public school teachers. [Richmond Register]

Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Tuesday denied, again, lying to Congress about the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia. He said he had forgotten about a campaign round-table in which an aide touted his Russian connections and suggested arranging a meeting for Donald J. Trump in Moscow. [NY Times]

This is the garbage Valarie Honeycutt Spears is covering these days. Never mind any of the truly significant educational stories or scandals. She’s pushing this bible bullshit. [H-L]

An upcoming case may clarify what kind of speech is permitted at the polls on Election Day. [HuffPo]

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Beshear Let Jones Off The Hook

1. Andy Beshear, who allegedly got his children’s elite private school to give him a sweetheart deal (hey, special treatment no one wants to talk about!), ought to be laughed out of Frankfort for not pressing Ray Jones to defend himself. 2. Glenn Hammond complaining that he, as a candidate, was followed or tracked by his opponent’s campaign is disingenuous beyond all belief. Because that’s what campaigns do. [H-L]

Justice Department prosecutors have dropped their case against a woman who laughed at now-Attorney General Jeff Sessions during his confirmation hearing. Desiree Fairooz was scheduled to face trial for a second time next week, but a DOJ prosecutor entered a nolle prosequi filing in the case on Monday indicating the department is dismissing the charges. [HuffPo]

LMPD not only overreacted in the Highlands, there’s… more the story. We need to quit whitewashing people when they die. It sucks that Jason Spencer got murdered. But no more than it sucks when anyone else in this city gets gunned down. His life is not more important than my life or your own. His death does not erase his history as a public bigot. He was openly homophobic, transphobic, misogynistic, classist and racist. He tried to excuse it all with the typical southern baptist bullshit but that’s what he was – a bigot. He’s white, though, and this is the Highlands we’re talking about, so everybody is freaking out. I’m just here to say fuck Jason Spencer’s bigotry. Mourn him if you want but fuck that bigotry. [C-J/AKN]

The FBI says racism motivated more than 57% of hate crimes in 2016. And nearly 18% of hate crimes were perpetrated against the LGBT community. Those are just the crimes that were reported and properly classified. [FBI]

Matt Bevin’s effort to pass his pension reform bill was already facing an uphill fight, given the feedback legislators heard during recent town hall forums as well as the House leadership shakeup brought on by a reported sexual harassment settlement involving former Majority Leader Jeff Hoover and three other state representatives. But for Pulaski County’s local legislators, it’s the actuarial analysis of what the proposed changes would do to the pension system for public school teachers that spells the biggest trouble for the bill. [Commonwealth Journal]

Rand Paul of Kentucky said he returned to work on Monday, more than a week after he suffered six broken ribs when tackled by a neighbor while mowing his lawn. [Reuters]

Louisville may soon join the list of cities that have a year-round farmer’s market. The Logan Street Market, backed by Mike Safai, is tentatively scheduled to open next year in the Shelby Park neighborhood. [WFPL]

Among the wealthy sophisticates who came and went from their seaside villas on the Spanish island of Mallorca, there was something that didn’t quite fit about the Russian who lived in a neoclassical mansion on the Avenida Portals Vells. [ProPublica]

The city of Ashland hit a snag in one of its two infrastructure projects along 29th Street, but still expects all work to be completed by May. [Ashland Independent]

Remember bump stocks? The previously obscure gun conversion kits, which turn semiautomatic rifles into weapons capable of firing long, deadly bursts, were the bane of the Capitol a month ago, after a gunman used the devices to kill 58 people and wound hundreds of others in Las Vegas. Lawmakers in both parties quickly vowed to ban them. Even the National Rifle Association appeared to endorse restrictions. [NY Times]

Assistant Barren County Attorney Mike Richardson has announced his candidacy for Barren County county attorney. [Glasgow Daily Times]

TL;DR: Fox News is making people dumber, scaring the shit out of old people and making it impossible for gullible people to determine fact from fiction. [WaPo]

Here’s Jack Brammer getting excited and acting like this will matter or change anything. Kentucky House Republican leaders said Friday that they expect to get a preliminary investigative report from a Louisville law firm in about 10 days regarding allegations of sexual harassment and secret settlements by Republican lawmakers. [H-L]

Better late than never? Mitch McConnell (R-Granny) is now calling on Roy Moore, the Republican running for Alabama’s open Senate seat, to withdraw his candidacy, telling reporters in Louisville on Monday that he believes the women who have accused Moore of sexual misconduct. [HuffPo]

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