Let’s Hear It For Obstruction Of Justice!

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Andrew G. McCabe, the former F.B.I. deputy director and a frequent target of President Trump’s scorn, was fired Friday after the Justice Department rejected an appeal that would have let him retire this weekend. Mr. McCabe promptly declared that his firing, and Mr. Trump’s persistent needling, were intended to undermine the special counsel’s investigation in which he is a potential witness. [NY Times]

A government program that grew by more than 6,000 percent in five years doesn’t provide medical care or feed the poor. It does indirectly subsidize profitable corporations such as Altria, parent company of cigarette-maker Philip Morris USA, and its spinoff Philip Morris International; British American Tobacco, and Japan Tobacco International. [H-L]

It is not hard to find a list of the many, stupid ways Larry Kudlow has been wrong about major economic calls in the past quarter century. He has a childlike faith in the power of tax cuts and is a committed Republican partisan, both of which drive him to say consistently outlandish things. He celebrated the dot-com bubble heights of the stock market as a triumph of Reaganomics, denied the existence of a housing bubble during the George W. Bush years, insisted the Great Recession was not a recession, claimed Barack Obama’s stimulus package would usher in raging inflation, and so on. Such unflagging technocratic incompetence makes Kudlow ― a former Bear Stearns economist better known as a CNBC personality ― an excellent fit for the bumbling Donald Trump administration. [HuffPo]

Marshall County Schools superintendent Trent Lovett is a lot like failed former Montgomery County Schools superintendent, Joshua Powell. They’re both gun-obsessed, small-minded babies with no business being around children. [C-J/AKN]

The White House has refused to comply with all three investigations by the Republican-controlled House into the questionable behavior of Donald Trump’s top aides, including Cabinet secretaries and son-in-law, Jared Kushner. And Republicans on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee are being criticized for accepting no for an answer rather than subpoena the documents. [McClatchy]

Catlettsburg Councilman Richard “Andy” Brown was indicted on a perjury charge Tuesday after allegedly claiming he wasn’t under the influence while pleading guilty to drug charges, then failing a drug test. [Ashland Independent]

Russian hackers are conducting a broad assault on the U.S. electric grid, water processing plants, air transportation facilities and other targets in rolling attacks on some of the country’s most sensitive infrastructure, U.S. government officials said Thursday. [Bloomberg]

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]

These Trump-supporting racists are keeping it in the family. Battery charges and the likelihood of a lengthy prison sentence now await Matthew Heimbach. [ThinkProgress]

Kids get it. Enough is enough. [The Morehead News]

The special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, has subpoenaed the Trump Organization to turn over documents, including some related to Russia, according to two people briefed on the matter. The order is the first known time that the special counsel demanded documents directly related to Donald Trump’s businesses, bringing the investigation closer to the president. [More NY Times]

When the Barren County Fiscal Court created a special taxing district in December 2016 solely for the purpose of creating a revenue stream to cover 60 percent of Barren-Metcalfe County EMS’ deficit, it set the tax rate in such a manner as to generate a bit more revenue than the budgeted deficit for that fiscal year, which ended June 30, 2017. [Glasgow Daily Times]

Before The Washington Post report was published, a White House spokesperson checked with several senior White House officials and did not dispute that the president had made a decision. White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly — who has personally been eager to see McMaster go —has also told White House staff in recent days that Trump had made up his mind about ousting McMaster. [WaPo]

What the hell is wrong with you, Bill Estep? Pushing propaganda – myths about marijuana – is a dereliction of your duty and is straight-up lazy. A Kentucky man who helped lead what was once called the biggest marijuana-growing operation in the nation was sentenced Thursday to four years and nine months in federal prison. John Robert “Johnny” Boone, now 74, headed the colorfully named “Cornbread Mafia,” which federal authorities said grew more than 180 tons of marijuana in Kentucky and other states in the 1980s. [H-L]

When Thomas Hofeller travelled across the country at the beginning of the decade to talk to lawmakers about the redistricting process, he brought a warning: “Don’t get cute.” [HuffPo]

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Greg Fischer: Still Fighting Transparency

House Republicans working to flesh out their recent promise of tax reform should heed the evidence that’s piling up in other states: Cutting income and business taxes, and offsetting the losses by raising sales taxes, is no magic economic elixir. It’s more a recipe for starving education, infrastructure and other public services and dishing up more budget crises. [H-L]

Last Saturday, in a private meeting with Republican donors who had gathered at his Mar-a-Lago estate, Donald Trump attacked yet again the basic foundations of American democracy. In his freewheeling and unscripted talk, a recording of which was obtained by CNN, Trump eventually focused his comments on President Xi Jinping of China. He noted Xi’s plan to abolish China’s presidential term limits, and lavished praise on this authoritarian grab at unrestricted power. [HuffPo]

Flashback to Greg Fischer claiming to be the most transparent mayor in Louisville history. Courier Journal is suing Louisville for refusing to release details on the incentives it offered to Amazon in return for the online retail giant building its second headquarters here. [C-J/AKN]

White House counselor Kellyanne Conway violated the Hatch Act on two occasions, the Office of Special Counsel (OSC) informed the Trump administration Tuesday. [The Hill]

Madison County is now officially the only community in Kentucky, and one of only seven nationwide, to be a Blueprint for Safety Community. [Richmond Register]

Migrants separated from their children after they were detained for illegally entering the United States filed a class action lawsuit on Friday, claiming there are “hundreds” of parents in the same situation, and that the Trump administration is violating their due process rights. [Reuters]

A Catlettsburg city councilman pleaded guilty to drug charges Friday and then was accused of almost immediately violating the terms of his probation by being under the influence of heroin, meth and other drugs. [Ashland Independent]

Coal ash — the residual byproduct of burning coal — is the second-largest form of waste in the entire country, with utilities producing more than 100 million tons of it each year. For decades, companies have dealt with all that coal ash by storing it in unlined pits or landfills. Now, new reporting data shows this has lead to the contamination of groundwater at coal-fired power plants across the country. [ThinkProgress]

Rowan County Sheriff Matt Sparks talked guns with Morehead-Rowan County Chamber of Commerce members this month. [The Morehead News]

The special counsel in the Russia investigation has learned of two conversations in recent months in which Donald Trump asked key witnesses about matters they discussed with investigators. [NY Times]

The Interapt Skills proposal is being downsized after it apparently became clear that the original price tag of nearly $1.9 million was going to be “too lofty a goal for our community at this point.” [Glasgow Daily Times]

The Social Security Administration’s acting commissioner had no authority to act after mid-November because the agency is in violation of a federal law regarding vacant positions, according to a report to the president. [WaPo]

A student accidentally shot himself in a classroom at Lexington’s Frederick Douglass High School with a “pocket-sized handgun” he took to school Friday, according to school district police and administrators. [H-L]

A top GOP fundraiser pitched Donald Trump last year on a plan to recruit a thousands-strong international Muslim army — to be advised by retired Army Gen. Stanley McChrystal — that would help the United Arab Emirates battle the Taliban and the Islamic State in Afghanistan, according to a leaked memo the fundraiser wrote documenting his meeting with the president. The army “would consist of two brigades (5,000 total troops) comprised of Muslim soldiers recruited from Arab and Islamic nations,” Elliott Broidy, a Republican National Committee deputy finance chair, wrote in the memo. [HuffPo]

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What Will The RPK Ruin This Week?

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Thousands of people who own houseboats on Kentucky’s lakes don’t pay required property taxes, but lawmakers are pondering a measure that could ensure the luxury boats are on the tax rolls. [H-L]

The ACLU’s top voting rights lawyer faced down one of Donald Trump’s voter fraud commissioners in court on Friday, getting him to concede that he had shaky evidence of significant voter fraud in Kansas. [HuffPo]

Denise Brown is still a damn fool and she should be disbarred. A Jefferson County Family Court judge on Monday jailed a mother whose daughter refuses to go on weekend visits with her father, saying she fears her dad and doesn’t feel safe with him. Finding the mother in contempt of court, Judge Denise Brown ordered the mother to spend two days in jail and had threatened to return her to jail Friday if the 10-year-old refused to go to her father’s home for a visit this weekend. [C-J/AKN]

A key aide to Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt has been granted permission to make extra money moonlighting for private clients whose identities are being kept secret. [AP]

This wasn’t supposed to happen. Maybe in the House but not in the Senate. [Ronnie Ellis]

Donald Trump’s lawyer is trying to silence adult-film star Stormy Daniels, obtaining a secret restraining order in a private arbitration proceeding and warning that she will face penalties if she publicly discusses a relationship with the president, NBC News has learned. [NBC News]

Rural Johnson County Kentucky native Paul Castle remembers the first time he visited Chicago in his 20s. [Ashland Independent]

In January, after a long day at his London office, Christopher Steele, the former spy turned private investigator, was stepping off a commuter train in Farnham, where he lives, when one of his two phones rang. [New Yorker]

Rowan County Attorney Cecil Watkins has advised those running for office in the May 22 primary election that they can go against county ordinance and begin placing political posting signs earlier than 45 days before the election. [The Morehead News]

In a letter marked “Private & Confidential” to the hotel’s other owners, the businessman, Orestes Fintiklis, likened the Trumps to leeches who had attached to the property, “draining our last drops of blood,” according to a copy reviewed by The New York Times. [NY Times]

The Hart County Sheriff’s Office is offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for the theft of a car in Munfordville this week. [Glasgow Daily Times]

The U.S. Department of Justice formally submitted a regulation on Saturday to ban “bump stocks,” a modification to high-capacity rifles that lets them fire like an automatic weapon. [Reuters]

Republicanism is a disease. A measure pending in a House committee would repeal a rule that cost a state representative access to his luxury houseboat for a time after he allegedly did not pay fees to a marina. The legislator, Republican Rep. C. Wesley Morgan of Richmond, is a co-sponsor of House Bill 183, which is more broadly aimed at making sure owners of houseboats pay their property taxes. But one part of the bill would address a situation that has Morgan involved in litigation. [H-L]

When the NRA lunatics claim things should be left up to the states to decide? Well… here’s proof they don’t mean that. [HuffPo]

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Republicans Can’t Do Math, Apparently

For decades, people have sparred over the University of Kentucky’s Robinson Forest, a 15,000-acre block of ecologically diverse Appalachian woodland that serves as a living laboratory for how healthy forests can impact the water and animals that run through them. [Linda Blackford]

Striking teachers and other public employees in West Virginia have shut down schools across the state for more than a week, flooding the capitol in Charleston each day to rebuke their lawmakers. The workers are demanding significant raises to their stagnant pay and a clear plan to curb rising premiums in the state employee health care program. [HuffPo]

TL;DR: More of the same from the Republican Party of Kentucky. Line 3 on page 186 of the House budget bill goes a long way in explaining how the House committee could afford to restore so much funding that Bevin cut. It shows that a whopping $480 million will be transferred between now and the end of the next two-year budget period to general state spending from the Public Employees’ Health Plan. That’s about $280 million more than Bevin proposed taking from this fund, which has been tapped regularly over the past decade. [C-J/AKN]

Donald Trump has moved aggressively in his first year in office to roll back regulations he says have harmed America’s coal miners. But the industry itself remains mired in long-term decline, a downturn that one of Trump’s own government agencies predicts will only worsen over time. [The Hill]

Pregnant women in jail or prison could not be shackled during labor or child birth under a bill passed Monday by the state Senate. [Ronnie Ellis]

Donald Trump on Friday nominated a Dow Chemicals lawyer to head-up an Environmental Protection Agency unit that oversees hazardous waste disposal and chemical spills from toxic“Superfund” sites. [Reuters]

The Fairview Schools Board of Education placed the school district’s Superintendent, Michael Taylor, on suspension with pay Monday night but the reason for the suspension was not released. [Ashland Independent]

Mitch McConnell is still enabling genocide. Mitch McConnell, a longtime advocate for democracy in Myanmar and fan of Suu Kyi, has expressed his continued support in recent months despite the bloodshed in Rakhine state. “Publicly condemning Aung San Suu Kyi, the best hope for democratic reform in Burma, is simply not constructive,” the Republican senator said in September. [Politico]

Though details have yet to be announced, search warrants were executed at the Horse Cave Police Department on Monday as part of an ongoing federal investigation. [Glasgow Daily Times]

Former European leaders who tried to bring Ukraine closer to Europe before a 2014 uprising there reacted with shock on Saturday after a federal indictment accused Paul Manafort, President Trump’s former campaign chairman, of secretly paying former European officials some two million euros in 2012 and 2013 to lobby on the country’s behalf. [NY Times]

Four Republican lawmakers in Kentucky who signed a secret sexual harassment settlement last year are scheduled to participate in a hearing next month before a state ethics commission that could recommend they be removed from office. [WFPL]

The family real estate company once run by White House adviser Jared Kushner is in talks to buy out its partner in a Manhattan skyscraper that has been losing money for years. [WaPo]

Is Marty Cockring a pervert? Why else would he lobby against ending the practice of taking child brides? [H-L]

Survivors of last month’s deadly school shooting in Parkland, Florida, have delivered a blistering message to Donald Trump. [HuffPo]

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Lexington Has A Youth Murder Problem?

The grand jury investigating alleged collusion between Russia and Donald Trump’s presidential campaign has sent a witness a subpoena seeking all documents involving the president and a host of his closest advisers, according to a copy of the subpoena reviewed by NBC News. [NBC News]

Billionaires these days are more skilled at stiffing “little people” and avoiding taxes. Instead of sending them to prison, we elect them governor of West Virginia — and president of the United States. [Tom Eblen]

For years, under multiple presidents, the State Department has ignored key court rulings that should guide how it grants citizenship to children who are born abroad to LGBTQ Americans. Instead, the department has clung to an outdated interpretation of the law under which it requires a biological tie between the U.S. citizen parent and the child. [HuffPo]

Oh, people do this when there’s a sports scandal but ignore the immediate prior decade of obscene corruption at UofL!? A group of University of Louisville fans is raising money to pay for billboards to pressure for removal of top university leaders, arguing that those in charge haven’t challenged the NCAA ruling and aren’t conducting a transparent search for a new president. [C-J/AKN]

British Prime Minister Theresa May on Sunday expressed “deep concern” to Donald Trump over his announced plans to increase steel and aluminum tariffs. [The Hill]

Sure is fun watching Diane St. Onge prove out out-of-touch she is with reality. A shame the Kentucky Democratic Party can’t get itself together enough to oust her ignorant butt from office. [WFPL]

Gun-control advocacy group Everytown for Gun Safety said on Friday it will donate up to $2.5 million to support marches around the United States on March 24, the date of a planned March For Our Lives in Washington to demand an end to school shootings. [Reuters]

The Senate passed a measure yesterday to preserve the status quo in determining how many package liquor licenses are issued in individual cities and counties by a 32-4 vote. [The Morehead News]

The Census Bureau is exploring options about adding a citizenship question to the next census, amid a firestorm of protest about the controversial proposal. [ProPublica]

A year after handing out more than $180,000 to local nonprofit groups, Ashland commission members said they plan to take a closer look at annual tax dollar contributions as concerns swell over an increase in pension costs. [Ashland Independent]

Just a reminder that this happened last week. Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and senior adviser, has been stripped of his top-secret security clearance after months of delays in completing his background check, and will now be limited in his ability to view highly classified information. [NY Times]

As community members entered the Metcalfe County Middle School auditorium on Thursday evening for a discussion on school safety, they were handed a sheet of paper that outlined all of the school safety additions and improvements to Metcalfe County Schools since 2013. [Glasgow Daily Times]

Officials in at least four countries have privately discussed ways they can manipulate Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and senior adviser, by taking advantage of his complex business arrangements, financial difficulties and lack of foreign policy experience, according to current and former U.S. officials familiar with intelligence reports on the matter. [WaPo]

For people between ages 15 and 24, homicide was the second most frequent cause of death behind unintentional injuries in Fayette County between 2013 and 2016. [H-L]

Many of America’s top trade partners bristled at the news that Donald Trump plans to impose tariffs of 10 percent on aluminum and 25 percent on steel imports next week. Canada called the tariffs “unacceptable” and “inappropriate.” Mexico is considering slapping tariffs of its own on the United States in retaliation. The European Union also plans to retaliate. [HuffPo]

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Coal Isn’t Just Killing Your Environment

Coal companies linked to the billionaire governor of West Virginia owe $2.9 million in delinquent property taxes in Kentucky, shorting schools and local government programs of money at a time many are struggling with tight finances. [H-L]

The reaction to the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, followed a familiar arc: GOP leaders offered thoughts and prayers. The media profiled fallen victims. Democrats urged action on the same gun safety bills they’ve been pushing for years, as Republicans said none of their ideas would work. [HuffPo]

Of course Greg Fischer is working against the homeless because he wants to build another unsightly stadium in Louisville. [C-J/AKN]

The troubled teen authorities say killed 17 people at a Florida high school excelled in an air-rifle marksmanship program supported by a grant from the National Rifle Association Foundation, part of a multimillion-dollar effort by the gun group to support youth shooting clubs and other programs. [NY Times]

The Berea City Council voted Monday to appoint David Rowlette to fill the unexpired term of Billy Wooten, whose resignation was announced at the council’s last meeting. [Richmond Register]

Trump’s public track record in the face of proximate danger, his words instead ended up underscoring a separate truth: His actions have, at times, read differently than his tough talk. [WaPo]

Law enforcement officers in the [Ashland] area won’t be outfitted with body-worn cameras any time soon. [Ashland Independent]

The U.S. intelligence community developed substantial evidence that state websites or voter registration systems in seven states were compromised by Russian-backed covert operatives prior to the 2016 election — but never told the states involved, according to multiple U.S. officials. [NBC News]

Shortly after Dr. Mark A. Murphy, a top opioid prescriber in the U.S., started practicing here three days a week last year, the clinic owners asked a police detective to meet for dinner. [The Morehead News]

Investigators for special counsel Robert Mueller have recently been asking witnesses about Donald Trump’s business activities in Russia prior to the 2016 presidential campaign as he considered a run for president, according to three people familiar with the matter. [CNN]

Coal companies controlled by West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice’s family owe nearly $3 million in delinquent Kentucky property taxes, money that local governments desperately need to avoid laying off teachers. [WFPL]

Hope Hicks, one of Donald Trump’s longest-serving and most trusted aides, is resigning from her job as White House communications director, a blow to the president, whose inner circle has been depleted by firings and clouded by scandal. [Reuters]

Barely literate hypocrite and bigot, Kim Davis, is pretending to have written a book. [H-L]

Norway’s doomsday agricultural seed vault will get a $13 million upgrade to better protect world food supplies amid growing threats from climate change. [HuffPo]

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Another Comer Apologist Is In Trouble

Rebecca Johnson isn’t just a fucking lunatic by claiming voter fraud is the reason she got her butt handed to her. She’s also the woman who “counseled” her husband’s alleged victim – meaning she groomed that girl and conned her into shutting up. And she’s a Moonie. The Johnsons were literal members of the damn Moonies! You can see the videos on my Twitter feed. There’s a lot more where that came from. [C-J/AKN]

Charter schools might not come to Kentucky this year after all. [H-L]

As stunned Americans mourned Wednesday’s school shooting in Parkland, Florida, Russian propaganda designed to inflame discord flooded social media, according to a tracking network operated by the bipartisan trans-Atlantic Alliance for Securing Democracy. [HuffPo]

Another senseless mass killing at another school and Matt Bevin is back on the radio and back on Facebook refusing to accept that guns had anything to do with this. [C-J/AKN]

Donald Trump’s travel ban targeting people from six Muslim-majority countries violates the U.S. Constitution by discriminating on the basis of religion, a federal appeals court ruled on Thursday in another legal setback for the policy. [Reuters]

Bad news for another Jamie Comer apologist/enabler. The U.S. Department of Justice dropped Kenton County Commonwealth Attorney Rob Sanders and his office from its national seizure and asset forfeiture program in March, citing a lack of “reliability of financial reporting” and possible violations of federal laws and regulations. [Cincinnasti]

Even before a searing report put the job of Secretary of Veterans Affairs David Shulkin at risk, some White House staffers were pushing a health care agenda at odds with his. The infighting has left vets frustrated, Congress confused — and a key piece of legislation stalemated. [ProPublica]

Fairview Middle School still has its new-school shine a year and a half after opening. [Ashland Independent]

In September, as the first detailed evidence surfaced of Russia’s hijacking of social media in the 2016 election, Irina V. Kaverzina, one of about 80 Russians working on the project in St. Petersburg, emailed a family member with some news. [NY Times]

Kentucky’s attorney general filed a lawsuit Monday against another pharmaceutical distributor linked to a pipeline inundating the state with dangerously addictive opioid painkillers. [Richmond Register]

The Trump administration is proposing to dramatically cut funding for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, a move critics say is an ongoing assault on the 7-year-old agency. [NPR]

It was nearly 10 months ago that Rowan County Attorney Cecil Watkins submitted a request for an advisory opinion from state Attorney General Andy Beshear regarding the Rowan County Extension District Board’s authority to levy a tax against county citizens. [The Morehead News]

Diplomats serving at the U.S. Embassy in Cuba “appeared to have sustained injury to widespread brain networks” there, according to physicians who evaluated them for the State Department. But the physicians could find no definitive cause for their ailments, they said in an article in Thursday’s edition of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). [WaPo]

An organization of atheists and agnostics has taken issue with a prayer circle held after a high school basketball game in northeastern Kentucky recently. [H-L]

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) announced Friday that she is introducing legislation to raise the minimum age to purchase rifles — including military-style assault weapons — from 18 to 21. Under federal law, handguns cannot be sold to anyone under age 21. But licensed gun dealers are permitted to sell assault-style rifles and other “long guns” to buyers 18 and older. [HuffPo]

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