New Republicans: Still Choking Kentucky

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Really, Tom Eblen? Asking what state officials are going to do about pedestrian deaths in Lexington? Absolutely nothing. You already know that. Because nothing’s ever been done in Louisville. [Tom Eblen]

It was billed as radical tax reform ― reducing taxes for the middle class and closing loopholes for the rich ― but the Republicans have come under serious fire for offering the biggest breaks to companies and the wealthy. [HuffPo]

General Electric Co. will cut 12,000 jobs in its power division as alternative energy supplants demand for coal and other fossil fuels. [C-J/AKN]

A zealous band of Russian trolls flooded Twitter with hundreds of thousands of divisive posts in 2016 — accusing Democrats of satanic practices and supporting rape — in an attempt to influence the presidential election, according to a new analysis of a Twitter database by NBC News. The effort tricked thousands of users into spreading graphic racial epithets across social media, interweaving provocative content with disinformation and falsehoods. [NBC News]

As talks for pension reform continues, many state employees, especially teachers, have been looking closer at retirement. [Richmond Register]

State lawmakers often blur the line between the public’s business and their own. A recent change in Iowa’s tax code spared Mark Chelgren’s machine shop, welding company and wheelchair-parts plant from paying sales tax when buying certain supplies such as saws and cutting fluid. [Public Integrity]

It’s been three years since Sabrina Sigman last saw her son. Paul Clifton Sigman disappeared sometime in the early morning hours of Dec. 2, 2014. [Ashland Independent]

Here’s a grim picture of the state of the American economy: The CEO of Dollar General explained to the Wall Street Journal why things are looking up for his company. [Vox]

An updated analysis of Kentucky’s poorly funded public pension systems by PEW Charitable Trust indicates previous reforms of the system enacted in 2013 put the systems “on track to full funding provided the state continues to stay on the course charted in 2013.” [Ronnie Ellis]

The mission that resulted in the death of eight soldiers — including four Americans — in a firefight with Islamist militants in Niger earlier this year was the result of reckless behavior by US Special Forces in Africa, according to insiders and officials with knowledge of the operation. [BuzzFeed]

Dennis Chaney, district director for the Barren River District Health Department, is on Monday’s agenda for the Glasgow City Council meeting to discuss information about syringe exchanges. [Glasgow Daily Times]

U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller unveiled a trove of documents on Friday showing what he said was “irrefutable evidence” that Donald Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort violated a court gag order by ghost-writing an opinion piece designed to improve his public image. [Reuters]

The DCCC pushed Jim Gray to run for Congress for a couple reasons. It fears and wants to overlook the black man already in the race. And the woman in the race is backed by the absolute worst people in Kentucky politics. And no, Gray has no shot. [H-L]

His actions speak louder than his words. You know he’s racist and his words are empty. [HuffPo]

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A Good Thing Happened In Boyd Co

Humanitarian and University of Kentucky graduate Ashley Judd spoke “from the heart” during a lecture Friday in Lexington about how she’s using her voice in the fight against abuse and sexual misconduct in Hollywood and around the world. [H-L]

With Michael Flynn’s guilty plea bringing fresh attention to what Vice President Mike Pence knew about possible Russian collusion and when he knew it, Pence’s office has a ready answer: Not much and really late. So far Pence has remained at the periphery of special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation. [HuffPo]

If you’re gonna hit Greg Fischer… maybe make sure it involves something he can actually control? And maybe make sure your campaign spokesperson isn’t someone with a history of idiocy because she certainly won’t be able to communicate your half-baked non-plans. [C-J/AKN]

Earlier this fall, a leader of the busiest hospital for organ transplants in New York state — where livers are particularly scarce — pleaded for fairer treatment for ailing New Yorkers. [ProPublica]

A groundbreaking ceremony on Friday celebrated the future home of the Boyd County Animal Shelter. [Ashland Independent]

The new tax bill passed by Senate Republicans does away with crucial support for public schools while adding a provision beneficial to their private counterparts. That move would help wealthy parents pay for private schools, including religious schools, while hurting lower-income families. A similar provision is in the House version of the tax bill. [ThinkProgress]

Dan Ellnor walks through a metal door into a gigantic walk-in refrigerator at the Jefferson County Public Schools Nutrition Service Center. People in hairnets, gloves and light winter jackets are filtering in-and-out, carrying boxes of fresh produce. [WFPL]

A major decision on the way the U.S. government collects information about race and ethnicity through the census and other surveys was expected to be announced this week by the Trump administration. But the White House’s Office of Management and Budget, which sets standards for this type of data for all federal agencies, was silent on Friday, which OMB had said was the deadline for an announcement. [NPR]

It’s called perjury. An email sent during the transition by President Trump’s former deputy national security adviser, K.T. McFarland, appears to contradict the testimony she gave to Congress over the summer about contacts between the Russian ambassador and Mr. Trump’s former national security adviser, Michael T. Flynn. [NY Times]

A conservative operative trumpeting his close ties to the National Rifle Association and Russia told a Trump campaign adviser last year that he could arrange a back-channel meeting between Donald J. Trump and Vladimir V. Putin, the Russian president, according to an email sent to the Trump campaign. Russia, he wrote, was “quietly but actively seeking a dialogue with the U.S.” and would attempt to use the N.R.A.’s annual convention in Louisville, Ky., to make “‘first contact.’” [More NY Times]

Special Counsel Robert Mueller has asked Deutsche Bank to share data on accounts held by U.S. President Donald Trump and his family, a person close to the matter said on Tuesday. [Reuters]

Why is a presidential advisory panel on elections operating in such secrecy? This guy is on Trump’s voter fraud commission and he’s forced to sue it to find out what it’s doing. [WaPo]

Why is it always churches and church leaders that are the worst people? Those in leadership at a Lexington church that is being sued over allegations of misconduct by its pastor said in a Facebook post Friday that the discord in the church is being led by a small group of “agitators” who are trying to “cloud minds and breed dissension.” [H-L]

Republican senators have just voted for their version of the Trump tax scam legislation, a huge giveaway to the super-wealthy. By doing so, they have brought their overlords — the billionaire donor class — one step closer to their longstanding goal of dismantling Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. [HuffPo]

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All The Trumpers Are Pleading Guilty

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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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Kentucky Republicans Are So Nasty They Refuse To Cooperate In The Latest Investigation

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Kaylee Lay, who is 5, was so happy to see the bookmobile pull up in front of her house in McCreary County recently that she ran outside with no shoes, then reached up for her mother to carry her over the rough ground. [H-L]

Republican senators on Sunday continued to distance themselves from alleged sexual predator Roy Moore, while Donald Trump reiterated his implicit support of the Alabama GOP Senate candidate in a pair of tweets that morning. [HuffPo]

These people deserve to be physically dragged into the street and forced to comply. Enough of this nonsense. If you’re protecting Jeff Hoover? I’ll follow you for the rest of your life and dig into your shenanigans. Mark my words. You will not get away with this. Proof: My decade of uncovering that Republicans and Democrats alike never wanted me to uncover. Hold on tight. Some current and former legislative staff members have refused to cooperate with the House majority leadership’s investigation into circumstances surrounding former Speaker Jeff Hoover’s confidential settlement of a sexual harassment complaint last month. [C-J/AKN]

The Nationalist’s Delusion. Trump’s supporters backed a time-honored American political tradition, disavowing racism while promising to enact a broad agenda of discrimination. [The Atlantic]

The Richmond Police Department is calling upon the generous nature of the season, and the community, to help it “Feed the Families” this holiday. [Richmond Register]

It’s always a long con with Rand Paul. That’s why the story from him has repeatedly changed. It’s also why his wife, with her Matt Bevin crazy eyes, is foaming at the mouth with multiple stories. [CNN]

The City of Ashland received two marks in an audit of its financial statement, including a failure to competitively bid two purchases. [Ashland Independent]

BuzzFeed News has uncovered a new network of suspected Twitter propaganda accounts – sharing messages about Brexit, Donald Trump, and Angela Merkel – that have close connections to the Russian-linked bot accounts identified by the social media platform in its evidence to the US Congress. [BuzzFeed]

Kentucky Power has reached a settlement agreement with the majority of groups that are part of its base rate review filed with the Kentucky Public Service Commission (PSC). The settlement, filed Wednesday, is not final until approved by the PSC. [The Morehead News]

Lawyers for former national security adviser Michael Flynn have halted communications with Donald Trump’s legal team, a potentially critical step in the probe into contacts between Trump’s election campaign and Russia, sources familiar with the investigation said on Friday. [Reuters]

Louisville Metro government’s Center for Health Equity is expected to release the third edition of the center’s Health Equity report this week. This year, the report will examine data from several factors like the city’s food systems, employment, environment and transportation, and their connections to health outcomes in Louisville. [WFPL]

Dismantling the State Department is dumb as hell. Choking the Foreign Service? Really? Fucking idiots. Republicans supporting this are all kinds of awful. Of all the State Department employees who might have been vulnerable in the staff reductions that Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson has initiated as he reshapes the department, the one person who seemed least likely to be a target was the chief of security, Bill A. Miller. [NY Times]

Blue Equity, a Louisville-based private equity firm controlled by Jonathan Blue, announced Monday the purchase of Liquor Barn from publicly traded Liquor Stores N.A. of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, for a reported $26 million. [H-L]

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson isn’t sending a top delegation to accompany Ivanka Trump to a business summit in India because he doesn’t want to promote her on the world stage, CNN reported. [HuffPo]

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Hoover’s Trying To Play The Victim

Jeff Hoover loves to hide behind religiosity – to play the victim – and uses it for political advantage. It’s shameful and indicative of his character. [H-L]

They may not have broken any windows, set any fires, tossed any rocks or thrown any bricks. But a United States prosecutor here Monday told a jury that six defendants facing felony charges in connection with the protests and mayhem surrounding Donald Trump’s inauguration in January deserve to be found guilty of several felony crimes that would expose them to potential sentences of decades in prison. [HuffPo]

Three years after an autistic teenager suffered two broken legs in a restraint at a Jefferson County public school, state officials have substantiated neglect against the teacher’s aide who restrained him. [C-J/AKN]

During World War II, the government subjected thousands of troops to mustard gas tests — and kept it a secret. More than 60 years later, an NPR reporter and researcher helped the men get justice. [ProPublica]

The state Board of Elections Tuesday voted to employ a new director and assistant director, just one month after terminating their predecessors without publicly providing a reason. [Ronnie Ellis]

Ten intolerable days after Hurricane Maria trounced Puerto Rico, Sahria Garcia finally got a call from her brother on the island. The call lasted three minutes and the news shook her: Her family had lost everything — jobs, houses, possessions, cars — and had spent days foraging for food, ice and water. [NY Times]

When she was in kindergarten, Kris Gruber had a pitcher of lemonade dumped on her. It wasn’t the first experience she had with bullying — and it certainly wouldn’t be the last. [Richmond Register]

Yes, Donald Trump – along with most (more than a simple majority) of his supporters – are unbelievably racist like this. That includes most members of the Republican Party of Kentucky and most people openly supporting him. [WaPo]

An electric rate increase proposed by Kentucky Power has led to a settlement agreement with most of the groups involved in the debate over the proposal. [Ashland Independent]

Read Trump’s words for yourself. There’s no way you can read them and walk away thinking he’s not one of the dumbest people to exist. [BuzzFeed]

After a presentation Tuesday from Barren River District Health Department representatives at a Barren County Fiscal Court meeting, Judge-Executive Micheal Hale asked District 1 Magistrate John Benningfield to look into the possibility of opening a needle exchange program in the county. [BGDN]

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Wednesday ordered a review of a government database used for background checks on gun buyers, after a man who killed 26 people in a Texas church was left off the system despite having a criminal record. [Reuters]

Amanda Hall was a promising high school student in Martin County who found herself addicted to opioids after pain from a car wreck led her to a hydrocodone prescription. By age 18, she was getting arrested for public intoxication. A few years after that, in 2010, Hall graduated to non-violent drug-related felonies and went to prison. [John Cheves]

From the outside, the Thomas Jefferson Center for the Protection of Free Expression looks like the idyllic Southern home you never had. Located on a grassy hill, the white building with black shutters is surrounded by silence and crowned by rustling trees. [HuffPo]

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There’s A Hepatitis Outbreak In Kentucky

A supervisor at a Western Kentucky coal mine has been fined $2,000 for falsifying a safety-inspection record. Daniel Couch Jr. also was placed on probation for two years, according to a court record. [H-L]

A group of about a dozen U.S. State Department officials have taken the unusual step of formally accusing Secretary of State Rex Tillerson of violating a federal law designed to stop foreign militaries from enlisting child soldiers, according to internal government documents reviewed by Reuters. [HuffPo]

William McKee lunged between two men who were fighting. “Don’t do this here; there are children,” he said, standing within eyesight of families gathered at Shawnee Park last Thanksgiving. [C-J/AKN]

Jacksonville’s enforcement of pedestrian violations raises concerns that it’s another example of racial profiling. The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office issues hundreds of pedestrian citations a year, drawing on an array of 28 separate statutes governing how people get around on foot in Florida’s most populous city. [ProPublica]

It was a busy Monday night in Berea as teachers, students, parents and administrators welcomed the newest “pirate” to captain Berea Community Schools. [Richmond Register]

After wrangling through the night, the 23rd conference of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change wrapped up early Saturday with modest accomplishments, paving the way to complete by next year the rules that will set the Paris agreement in motion. [NY Times]

The Boyd County Sheriff’s Department will increase its presence in north Boyd by creating a substation in Westwood. [Ashland Independent]

Now some nations are finding that even if they are frustrated by Donald Trump’s Washington, they can still prosper from robust relations with the California Republic and a constellation of like-minded U.S. cities, some of which are bigger than European countries. [WaPo]

Republican House leaders Wednesday announced that “procedural hurdles and a lack of cooperation by at least two people have hindered progress” of an investigation into charges of sexual harassment against former Speaker Jeff Hoover and three other Republican lawmakers. [Ronnie Ellis]

The United States in July 2019 will end a special status given to about 59,000 Haitian immigrants that protects them from deportation after a devastating 2010 earthquake, senior Trump administration officials said on Monday. [Reuters]

Kentucky health officials say they are seeing a dramatic rise in hepatitis A cases compared to recent years. The Kentucky Department for Public Health has identified hepatitis A with cases in multiple counties in Kentucky. [WFPL]

The entire world is laughing at Alabama and the United States. [BBC]

This will end poorly. Sam Gaskins is official in his bid to be a U.S. congressman, having filed to run for 1st District representative Wednesday in Frankfort. [H-L]

A former Justice Department official says that one of Donald Trump’s picks for a federal judgeship, Thomas Farr, did not tell the Senate Judiciary Committee the truth about his role in a notorious Senate campaign that tried to confuse and intimidate minority voters. [HuffPo]

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