Mitch McConnell Helped Create Myanmar But The KDP Has No Clue How To Use It Against Him

The National Rifle Association has accepted contributions from about 23 Russians, or Americans living in Russia, since 2015, the gun rights group acknowledged to Congress. [NPR]

The public education advocacy group Pike County Strong is asking teachers to call in sick Thursday night in order to close schools Friday and allow teachers to rally in Frankfort. A group official said the move goes against the wishes of the Kentucky Education Association, which has taken a cautious approach to school closures that is frustrating many Pike County teachers. [H-L]

A reported chemical attack this weekend has once again thrust into view the Syrian government’s continued assault on civilians. But while Donald Trump has condemned the attack, he’s the one responsible for denying a safe haven in the United States to the Syrian refugees most in need. [HuffPo]

The Jefferson County teachers union has called for more protests after Matt Bevin announced on Monday he would veto both the budget and tax reform bills. [C-J/AKN]

The Keystone crude oil pipeline leak in November in rural South Dakota was nearly double the original estimate, making it one of the largest U.S. inland spills since 2010, a newspaper report on Saturday said. [Reuters]

This year’s Health County Ranking’s report revealed some changes in where area counties stand in health outcomes and factors. [Ashland Independent]

The blast swallowed the firefighters as they were charging through the smoke-clogged hallway of a Brooklyn building, searching for a 67-year-old woman believed to be trapped inside her apartment. According to a January 1999 article in the New York Post, Trump personally “called a dozen council members to lobby against sprinklers.” [WaPo]

Leave it to the Republican Party of Kentucky to screw this up. Businesses that have invested in Kentucky’s delayed statewide broadband network are concerned that the budget passed by legislators earlier this week doesn’t provide enough certainty that the state will hold up its end of the public-private partnership. [WFPL]

The F.B.I. on Monday raided the office of President Trump’s longtime personal lawyer, Michael D. Cohen, seizing records related to several topics including payments to a pornographic-film actress. [NY Times]

There were few differences between five Democratic candidates for the Sixth Congressional District at a forum here Tuesday night sponsored by the League of Women Voters. [Ronnie Ellis]

The problem is not simply that congressional leaders won’t stop Donald Trump from firing Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, and maybe Special Counsel Robert Mueller, and plunging America into a constitutional crisis. The problem is that those congressional leaders—while allowing Trump to do all this—are also allowing him to take the United States to war. [The Atlantic]

Just a reminder that Legislative Ethics are not a thing in Frankfort. An ethics complaint against former Speaker of the House Jeff Hoover, R-Jamestown, came to a close Tuesday much as it began — with a settlement that avoided public discussion of the events which led to a settlement of sexual harassment claims by a former staff employee. [More Ronnie Ellis]

US House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan will not run for re-election this year, in a big blow to Republicans ahead of autumn’s mid-term elections. [BBC]

This is one of the stupidest things to occur in Lexington in years. You people live in flipping Lexington, Kentucky. Lexington. In Kentucky. Not somewhere fancy or desirable. No one is trying to come for your shitty neighborhood. Quit with the dog ignorance, you fat blobs. People living in a Lexington neighborhood were notified last week that several dog breeds, including pit bulls, Great Danes and huskies, were being banned. [H-L]

This is the nonsense Mitch McConnell helped create but is suddenly quiet about. He’s supporting a genocidal regime. He helped create this nightmare. [HuffPo]

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Bevin: Always On The Wrong Side

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Matt Bevin’s decision to defend Scott Pruitt’s ridiculous waste, fraud and abuse should paint a clearer picture of who Bevin really is. He’s trash. A garbage human. He has no business serving in an elected capacity in Kentucky. He has no business being in charge of a company. Someone excusing Pruitt’s corruption really has no business being around flipping children. What a disgrace. [H-L]

Donald Trump signaled his support for Scott Pruitt on Friday, resisting mounting pressure week to fire the embattled head of the Environmental Protection Agency. [HuffPo]

The University of Louisville’s next president will be Neeli Bendapudi, provost and executive vice chancellor at the University of Kansas school of business. [C-J/AKN]

The Trump administration on Friday unveiled new actions against various Russian officials, oligarchs, businesses and agencies – freezing assets that are subject to U.S. jurisdiction One of the oligarchs named is Oleg Deripaska, a billionaire with links to former Trump campaign boss Paul Manafort, who has been charged in special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of Russian meddling in the 2016 election. [CNBC]

As Matt Bevin and his administration works to establish Kentucky as an engineering and manufacturing hub, the state ranks among the least innovative in a recent report. [Richmond Register]

For the first time, the U.S. government has publicly acknowledged the existence in Washington of what appear to be rogue devices that foreign spies and criminals could be using to track individual cellphones and intercept calls and messages. [AP]

The financially struggling Fairview School District continues to pay its suspended superintendent while a temporary replacement works to pull the district out of its fiscal hole. [Ashland Independent]

Racist bigots are gonna be racist bigots. Attorney General Jeff Sessions ramped up calls on Friday to criminally prosecute immigrants who cross illegally into the United States, adding to a barrage of statements on immigration by the administration of Donald Trump this week. [Reuters]

Surprise! The paper in Morehead is shilling for a for-profit college that only exists because Republicans wouldn’t allow it to be held accountable. [The Morehead News]

With his son newly installed as a top aide to the president, Mr. Kushner even expressed hope, one close family friend said, that he might receive a pardon. Absolution, however, is not what the White House has conferred on the Kushners. For the patriarch and his family, the pinnacle of American political power has turned out to be a wellspring of trouble. [NY Times]

Residents who are not registered to vote have roughly two weeks to do so if they aim to vote in Kentucky’s May 22 primary election. [Glasgow Daily Times]

The study from researchers at Ohio State University finds that fake news likely played a significant role in depressing Hillary Clinton’s support on Election Day 2016. [WaPo]

On the 58th day of the 60 day legislative session, the Republican majority unveiled the most significant change to the state’s tax code in more than a decade and the Senate passed it before the bill was even made public. The reform package includes cutting some typical tax deductions, including medical expenses and medical insurance. [H-L]

Two of Martin Luther King Jr.’s surviving children gave powerful sermons Tuesday from the pulpit their father stood at when he gave his final speech on April 3, 1968. [HuffPo]

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Will April Be Just As Crazy As March?

The General Assembly introduced a tax bill today that is a shift in taxes away from corporations and high-income people and over to low- and middle-income Kentuckians. Although the official estimate is that it would bring $248 million more in net revenue by the second year, the plan relies heavily on a fading source in a cigarette tax increase and very uncertain new revenues from conformity to the federal tax code. By moving away from more productive income taxes to slower-growing consumption taxes, it will worsen Kentucky’s budget problems in the future. [Republicans Are Screwing You]

It was fitting that Republicans rammed their newest secret pension plan through the General Assembly in a matter of hours Thursday as an amendment to a bill about sewer system regulations. The whole process stank. [Tom Eblen]

Trump touted second chances for former prisoners the day before he blasted California Gov. Jerry Brown for giving ex-convicts a … second chance. [HuffPo]

Teachers from across Kentucky stormed Frankfort on Friday morning, furious over a controversial pension bill that lawmakers passed the night before in a matter of hours. [C-J/AKN]

Thousands of Kentucky teachers descended on Frankfort on Monday morning to rally against a surprise pension reform bill that passed through the legislature late last week. [More C-J/AKN]

Investigators probing whether Donald Trump’s presidential campaign colluded with Russia have been questioning witnesses about events at the 2016 Republican National Convention, according to two sources familiar with Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s inquiries. [Reuters]

An action packed Thursday night ended in a passed pension bill, however, for many Kentucky educators the fight, they say, is far from over. [Richmond Register]

Nearly a year after record Midwestern floods killed at least five people and caused $1.7 billion in damage, a secretive lobbying effort funded by Illinois and Missouri drainage districts is underway to roll back flood regulations, documents show. [ProPublica]

Northeastern Kentucky lawmakers discussed their votes Friday on a controversial pension reform bill that surged through the state Legislature. [Ashland Independent]

Get. Off. Facebook. A Facebook executive’s memo that claimed the “ugly truth” was that anything it did to grow was justified has been made public, embarrassing the company. [BBC]

Kentucky educators expressed their concern Friday for a bill that passed the Kentucky General Assembly on Thursday. While the 291-page bill originally addressed wastewater services, it now includes pension reform. [Glasgow Daily Times]

One was Photoshopped tearing up the Constitution — a falsehood — and criticized for wearing a flag that represented her Cuban heritage. A conservative blog said that another wasn’t even at the school during the killings — then had to backtrack on Monday when that also proved false. The attacks on the teenage survivors of the shooting in Parkland, Fla., have been fierce from the beginning, and have only continued since the students helped spearhead hundreds of protests this weekend. [NY Times]

Kentucky’s Democratic attorney general says he’ll go to court to challenge the pension overhaul bill passed by lawmakers in the Republican-controlled General Assembly Thursday night. [WFPL]

The death of an icon in America’s civil rights history is a reminder of how recently school segregation existed in the United States — and how little has changed since that time. [WaPo]

A former employee of Eric C. Conn pleaded guilty Friday to helping the one-time disability attorney escape the country last year to avoid sentencing in a federal fraud case. Curtis Wyatt, 48, faces up to five years in prison for helping Conn. [H-L]

Far-right white men are dangerous. Jurors in a federal courthouse Thursday were played recording after recording of three militia members spewing genocidal hatred of Muslims. [HuffPo]

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Shoo, What A Year March Was

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How many years did I report on this while the mainstream media blew it off? The Kentucky Retirement Systems Board of Trustees is debating whether to join a lawsuit that says the state’s pension agency was cheated on up to $1.5 billion in hedge fund investments by several wealthy corporations, with blame to be shared by some of its own current and former trustees and officials. [John Cheves]

Modern Republicans are so severely gay-panicked they can’t breath. So of course they’re pulling crap like this with trans kids. At least three school districts around the country are continuing to enforce potentially hostile restroom policies for transgender students after the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights refused to investigate student complaints. [HuffPo]

Attorney General Andy Beshear says the surprise new pension bill is illegal, and he will file suit to block its implementation. [C-J/AKN]

Paul Manafort, the former chair of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, had a long professional relationship with a man connected to Russian intelligence. And special counsel Robert Mueller says that man, Konstantin Kilimnik, was still working with Russian intelligence in 2016, when Trump was running for president. [Vox]

Matt Bevin probably had no need Friday to worry about teachers hoarding sick days. Enough called in sick to close more than 20 school districts across the state. [Ronnie Ellis]

For the past 20 years, Hope Workman has hustled up a dirt path on the side of a mountain in Lovely, Kentucky, just to get drinking water. She doesn’t trust what comes out of her tap. [CNN]

Teachers in Northeast Kentucky were furious Friday after the Kentucky General Assembly on Thursday unexpectedly passed pension legislation they say insults them and will cripple the state’s ability to attract new educators. [Ashland Independent]

Cambridge Analytica’s US campaign data, which was harvested from Facebook, is still circulating – despite assurances it has been deleted. [Channel 4]

Their anger is palpable. So is their hurt. Kentucky teachers feel betrayed by a party line vote Thursday night in the Republican controlled General Assembly to make changes in their pension benefits. [Ronnie Ellis]

Donald Trump ordered the expulsion of 60 Russian officials on Monday, joining a coordinated campaign by two dozen countries to retaliate for the poisoning of a former Russian spy in Britain in a Cold War-style escalation that again highlighted the disparity between the president’s words and actions. [NY Times]

Teachers from around Kentucky descended on Frankfort Friday morning to protest a surprise pension bill that was rushed through the state legislature the day before. [WFPL]

Six months ago, the conservative radio host and blogger Erick Erickson wrote an opinion piece in the New York Times, inspiringly titled “How to Find Common Ground.” “We owe it to one another to disagree agreeably, without anger or intimidation,” he wrote, noting that social media has put us all in polarized bubbles. [WaPo]

Hundreds of angry teachers gathered in the Capitol Rotunda Friday outside Gov. Matt Bevin’s office to protest a surprise public pension bill that legislators rushed through Thursday. [H-L]

The Environmental Protection Agency on Tuesday evening sent employees a list of eight approved talking points on climate change from its Office of Public Affairs ― guidelines that promote a message of uncertainty about climate science and gloss over proposed cuts to key adaptation programs. [HuffPo]

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Matt Bevin Lives In The Damn Gutter

Matt Bevin continues to insult teachers, workers and retirees because he’s a modern Republican. That means he’s a garbage human. He’s not a decent person like Republicans from just a few years ago. He’s just trash. [Tom Eblen]

Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.), the senior Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, says that social media giant Facebook hasn’t been fully transparent about its previously unreported data leak. [HuffPo]

Maybe don’t joke-threaten to kill a sitting congressperson? A Republican candidate for Kentucky secretary of state tweeted Tuesday that he would like to use Democratic Congressman John Yarmuth as target practice. Carl Nett, a former member of the U.S. Secret Service, who worked under contract with the CIA, was responding to a tweet from Yarmuth who was bragging about his F grade from the National Rifle Association. [C-J/AKN]

Modern Republicans aren’t just garbage – they’re bigots. Donald Trump signed a memorandum on Friday that bans some transgender individuals from serving in the U.S. military, but gives the armed forces latitude in implementing policies. [Reuters]

A study released [last] week shows many Appalachian counties — especially those in eastern Kentucky — have drug overdose mortality rates that are substantially higher than the national average. [Richmond Register]

For nearly half a century, IBM came as close as any company to bearing the torch for the American Dream. [ProPublica]

Do people for real freak out about something as simple as coyotes? Hearing and seeing coyotes in her neighborhood has one Ashland woman worried, and unhappy with what she sees as insufficient official response to a serious problem. [Ashland Independent]

The political action committee founded by John R. Bolton, Donald Trump’s incoming national security adviser, was one of the earliest customers of Cambridge Analytica, which it hired specifically to develop psychological profiles of voters with data harvested from tens of millions of Facebook profiles, according to former Cambridge employees and company documents. [NY Times]

This is now dead but don’t forget that Damon Thayer was behind it. Damon is a coward with a lot to hid. And if the current Kentucky Democratic Party’s leadership weren’t so inept, you might see me sharing the research book on Damon. [Ronnie Ellis]

Donald Trump did not follow specific warnings from his national security advisers when he congratulated Russian President Vladi­mir Putin Tuesday on his reelection, including a section in his briefing materials in all-capital letters stating “DO NOT CONGRATULATE,” according to officials familiar with the call. Trump also chose not to heed talking points from aides instructing him to condemn Putin about the recent poisoning of a former Russian spy in the United Kingdom with a powerful nerve agent, a case that both the British and U.S. governments have blamed on Moscow. [WaPo]

At least four cases in Hart County have been dismissed as an apparent consequence of a federal investigation apparently targeting the Horse Cave police chief and one of his officers, each of whom invoked his Fifth Amendment right not to testify in court proceedings this week. Further, a letter from the officer’s attorney included in the court files for two of those defendants – Anthony L. Owens and Rickey Bell – states that Owens’ cases are the subject of that federal investigation. [Glasgow Daily Times]

Valentine’s Day started off as a great day for Victoria Gonzalez. “Joaquin and I exchanged gifts in the morning and he walked me to class. I was so happy,” she said. [BBC]

Eastern Kentucky University President Michael Benson recommended $25 million in budget cuts Thursday that would affect nearly every level of the Richmond-based school. His plan would cut 200 positions, close its Danville campus, eliminate academic programs and slash athletics spending by 20 percent, which might mean shutting down one or two sports teams. [H-L]

Modern Republicans are garbage humans. Former U.S. senator and presidential candidate Rick Santorum suggested on Sunday that students concerned about gun violence in their schools should learn how to revive wounded people instead of asking lawmakers “to solve their problems.” [HuffPo]

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HAHA, No, He Can’t Beat McConnell

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How much more stupid and racist can Matt Bevin get? Don’t answer that question. I know it will get way worse. [H-L]

As hundreds of thousands of protesters prepared to gather in Washington and other cities across the U.S. on Saturday to demand meaningful gun reform, the National Rifle Association took to social media to mock the “March For Our Lives” event and the young gun violence survivors who spearheaded it. [HuffPo]

If you were following me on Twitter, you would have known about this memo when I obtained it and shared it with the public long before A Kentucky Newspaper claimed to have done so. And you’d know about the other Republican Party of Kentucky documents that have been leaked to me – not as a result of hacks but because people inside have had enough. [C-J/AKN]

A former Cambridge Analytica staffer says foreigners were embedded in U.S. campaigns and making decisions, despite a legal memo that advised otherwise. [NBC News]

Where there’s smoke, there’s fire. However, soon, community members will see smoke rising from the Berea College forest, but there’s no need for alarm as its likely a prescribed burn, meant to help and not harm, according to Berea College Forester Clint Patterson. [Richmond Register]

Lie-detector tests supported the accounts of Ms. Clifford, her ex-husband Michael Mosny and Mr. Deuschle, according to reports reviewed by the Journal. After the magazine called Mr. Trump’s representatives for comment, Mr. Cohen threatened to sue, say people familiar with the matter. Mr. Cohen, 51, didn’t respond to requests for comment. [WSJ]

Health care premium costs are rising for all Ashland city workers except union fire department employees. [Ashland Independent]

The youth-led U.S. gun control movement that flexed its public muscle with huge weekend rallies has already nudged Congress to enact minor firearms changes, but must remain active if it hopes to win more meaningful regulations, lawmakers said on Sunday. [Reuters]

When Frankfort lawmakers were confident they could pass a major reform of the state’s public pension systems, they decided to help local governments by allowing them to phase in higher pension contributions over a period of years. [Ronnie Ellis]

No, Matt Jones won’t beat Mitch McConnell. He won’t even be able to win a Democratic Primary. If Adam Edelen is leading people to believe that’s possible? He’s lying to you. I know what’s in the Republicans’ research book. And it’ll choke the Democratic Party’s slate. The KDP needs to get over this Jonathan Miller-Adam Edelen wing of bullshit and move on with people who aren’t good old boys. It’s tired and ought to be drowned in a toilet bowl and flushed. [Politico]

The Kentucky House of Representatives Thursday gave final passage to a bill that will create two new Family Court judges in circuits serving Pulaski, Lincoln and Rockcastle counties and Kenton and Boone counties. [Ronnie Ellis]

A cooperating witness in the special counsel investigation worked for more than a year to turn a top Trump fund-raiser into an instrument of influence at the White House for the rulers of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, according to interviews and previously undisclosed documents. Hundreds of pages of correspondence between the two men reveal an active effort to cultivate Donald Trump on behalf of the two oil-rich Arab monarchies, both close American allies. [NY Times]

Republicans have complete control of negotiations to finalize Kentucky’s next two-year state budget for the first time in modern history, but that doesn’t necessarily mean smooth sailing for the budget talks that started Friday morning. [H-L]

Puke alert. Karen McDougal, the former Playboy model who says she had an affair with Donald Trump in 2006, described an extremely awkward compliment she received from the future president. Trump compared her to one of his daughters, Ivanka Trump. [HuffPo]

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Attacking Teachers Is Totally Disgusting

The anti-solar energy bill that was narrowly passed by the House and is awaiting action in the Senate illustrates two weaknesses in Kentucky’s civic character: We try to cling to the past, and we tolerate dirty politics. [Tom Eblen]

Stormy Daniels, the porn star who alleges Donald Trump’s personal attorney paid her to keep silent about an affair with Trump, has been physically threatened, her lawyer said Friday. [HuffPo]

The University of Louisville repeatedly violated the Kentucky Open Records Act by denying records to Courier Journal reporters about scandals in the athletic department, the state attorney general’s office has found. [C-J/AKN]

Kentucky legislators passed a bill on Friday that seeks to tighten restrictions on child marriage, which advocates said is aimed at blocking weddings between younger girls and older men, a situation they say can lead to domestic violence. [Reuters]

For the first time in Kentucky, family court in six counties, including Jefferson, are allowing the public inside proceedings. The decision went into effect on Monday as a part of a new program. [WAVE3]

Here’s your duh moment of the day. A huge new study disproves everything Republicans have claimed about abortion. [ThinkProgress]

A bill that would overhaul the state’s workers’ compensation system continues to roll forward in the state legislature despite opposition from law enforcement and labor groups. [WFPL]

The attorney general for the state of Massachusetts is launching an investigation into alleged harvesting of Facebook profiles by a firm employed by Donald Trump’s election campaign. [BBC]

Matt Bevin proves once again that he’s one of the most ignorant people on the planet. If he wants to continue attacking teachers, he’s going to experience teachers dragging his ass out of office and running him out of the Commonwealth. [WKYT]

The building at 55 Savushkina St. on the outskirts of St. Petersburg, Russia, is unremarkable. It’s four stories high, made of concrete and shares a small parking lot with the apartment building next door. [NPR]

Horse Cave Mayor Randall Curry has fired Officer Larry Dale Martin and suspended police Chief Sean Henry and rookie police Officer Chris Trulock without pay. Officer David Graves was appointed interim police chief. [BGDN]

Foreign smugglers are trying to ship advanced American technologies — which can be used for weapons and spy equipment — to China, Russia and other adversaries at rates that outpace shadowy and illegal exports during the Cold War, according to United States officials and experts. [NY Times]

A proposal to overhaul Kentucky’s unemployment insurance program has been stripped of two controversial provisions that would have cut benefits for out-of-work Kentuckians as it progresses through the state legislature. [H-L]

Donald Trump’s bowling ball test for U.S. cars is just a goofy ad from years ago. [HuffPo]

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