Pension Reform: Still Not A Real Thing

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Testimony began Monday in a trial in which Fayette Circuit Judge Thomas Travis must decide whether a for-profit college misled prospective students. [H-L]

Federal law doesn’t make domestic terrorism a stand-alone crime. As a result, law enforcement is “somewhat reluctant” to call domestic extremists “terrorists.” [HuffPo]

An emerging concern over the pension reform bill about to be filed in the General Assembly is that it may call for increased funding for the plans by hundreds of millions of dollars more than necessary. [C-J/AKN]

The Trump administration told U.S. states on Thursday they can for the first time move toward imposing work or job training requirements on people as a condition for obtaining health insurance under the Medicaid government program for the poor. [Reuters]

The attorney for a Greensburg-based, now former lawyer accused of misusing client funds to pay off gambling debts has requested and received extra time to prepare his defense in the federal case against his client. [Glasgow Daily Times]

New research by Canadian scientists into the spread of a chemical commonly used in military explosives has confirmed some of the worst fears of U.S. environmental regulators tracking the threat posed by the Pentagon’s handling of its munitions in this country. [ProPublica]

Kentucky’s public institutions of higher education have been directed by Matt Bevin to immediately reduce their current budgets by 1 percent. Morehead State University is losing $416,425. [The Morehead News]

The US House of Representatives has passed a controversial law allowing US spy agencies to continue intercepting Americans’ private communications. [BBC]

Kentucky Electric Steel will close its plant on South Big Run Road in Boyd County in March in a move that will cost 113 people their jobs. [Ashland Independent]

To scientists who study lakes and rivers, it seems humans have embarked on a huge unplanned experiment. [NY Times]

More than 651,000 Kentuckians — about 15 percent of the state’s population — get federal help buying food through what used to be known as food stamps. Now called the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, its funding is at risk of being cut this year. [WFPL]

“Well, again,” Donald Trump said Wednesday in response to a reporter’s question, “there has been no collusion between the Trump campaign and Russians, or Trump and Russians, no collusion.” The Democrats, Trump claimed, “all say there’s no collusion.” And, he added, “there is no collusion.” And, he said again, “there was absolutely no collusion” and “everybody knows it, every committee.” And, he said, “it has been determined that there’s been no collusion by virtually everybody.” [WaPo]

The charges were sensational and news about them reverberated across the state: Billy Joe Miles, the former University of Kentucky board chairman and one of Western Kentucky’s most prominent businessmen, had been indicted on charges of rape and sodomy. [H-L]

Republicans in the U.S. Senate don’t seem to be paying close attention to what could happen to their new tax law as states begin to respond to it. [HuffPo]

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Another Morning Roundup Of Awfulness

Jim Gray bragged on Twitter last week that Lexington was one of the best food cities in the country (please, hold your laughter). Reality? It’s… a mess. [Janet Patton]

Donald Trump has again threatened the future status of a program that allowed children who were brought to or remained in the U.S. illegally to stay here, demanding he get a bigger border wall separating the U.S. and Mexico. [HuffPo]

Here’s your regular reminder that RiverLink is operated like nothing more than a scam. [C-J/AKN]

A national recession. Years of state budgets cuts. It’s no surprise requests mental health resources for prisoners are routinely rejected. [ProPublica]

Advocating for solutions to our state’s opioid epidemic, Jennie Haymond officially filed paperwork this month to run for Madison County Attorney. [Richmond Register]

Just a reminder that old, white perverts like Roy Moore are also racist ay eff. They’re the kind of people you don’t want around your children and don’t want roaming the streets. The kind of people who’d be wearing white sheets if this were 40-50 years ago. [ThinkProgress]

All three county judge executives in Carter, Greenup and Boyd County talked recently about what their goals are for 2018. [Ashland Independent]

The Trump administration is scaling back the use of fines against nursing homes that harm residents or place them in grave risk of injury, part of a broader relaxation of regulations under the president. [NY Times]

This is what folks in Morehead are freaking out about – kids vaping weed. [The Morehead News]

Just a reminder that the Trump crew are bigots. The remaining members of the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS were fired en masse this week. [WaPo]

While educators have been busy teaching the future of Barren County, many have also been fighting for the future of their profession. [Glasgow Daily Times]

South Korea has revealed it seized a Hong Kong-registered ship last month suspected of supplying oil to the North in breach of international sanctions. [BBC]

Lower federal taxes for several Kentucky utilities is likely to mean savings for hundreds of thousands of customers under an order from the state Public Service Commission. [H-L]

United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres issued a grim warning as 2017 drew to a close. In a somber video address posted to Twitter on New Year’s Eve, he cautioned that the globe was on “red alert” following a year marked by deepening conflicts and “new dangers.” [HuffPo]

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This Wasn’t Mitch McConnell’s Year

Everything was in place for this to be Mitch McConnell’s year. He had a Republican Congress and White House for the first time in a decade, and a simple majority of votes was all that was needed to not only confirm major nominees but pass major legislation too. [H-L]

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s government has issued a warning to the U.S.: Don’t “meddle” in the country’s upcoming election. [HuffPo]

Morgan Watkins is the person who claims to have been refused communication by the Chicago Police Department during the United Airlines fiasco but neither she nor her editor could prove it. CPD sent us proof that she’d never tried to communicate with them in any way – there was no record – but okay. Now she’s quote racist and homophobic piece of shit (check our archives) Jim Waters as some expert. A Kentucky Newspaper refuses to name plaintiffs in lawsuits but uses folks like this to make comment on important stories. She won’t last long here (mark my words) because she’ll eventually get run off like everybody else. And this Braidy situation? It’s not over. [C-J/AKN]

The cities of New York, San Francisco and Philadelphia have sued the U.S. Department of Defense to make it fix its system for reporting conviction records to a database used for background checks on gun buyers. [Reuters]

Full of highs and lows, 2017 has been political whiplash for Kentucky Republicans. [Richmond Register]

Federal prosecutors in Brooklyn have sought bank records about entities associated with the family company of Jared Kushner, Donald Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, according to four people briefed on the matter. [NY Times]

Of course the new guy at this particular CNHI paper is pushing right-wing nonsense like this story. This is how Eastern Kentucky remains in the dark. [Ashland Independent]

Former US President Barack Obama has warned against the irresponsible use of social media, in a rare interview since stepping down in January. [BBC]

Those in Rowan County who are delinquent paying certain taxes will now have three months to do so without penalty. [The Morehead News]

Tyler Haire was locked up at 16. A Mississippi judge ordered that he undergo a mental exam. What happened next is a statewide scandal. [ProPublica]

Educators from across the country have been focusing on teaching STEM, an acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. [Glasgow Daily Times]

Christians should not support policies that punish the weak and marginalized, the Anglican bishop of Liverpool said. [WaPo]

Kentucky native Robby Strong, the self-proclaimed “Prophet of Poo,” says he is the man behind the gift of horse manure left for U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, and Strong said he plans more dirty tricks. [H-L]

A Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen has killed 109 civilians in air strikes in the past 10 days, including 54 at a crowded market and 14 members of one family in a farm, the top U.N. official in the country said on Thursday. [HuffPo]

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OH! And a big P.S.: Jeff Hoover is a whiny-ass titty baby victim-blamer. [H-L]

Republicans Are Killing Your Schools

A man already in prison added another charge after his pit bulls killed a woman and injured her husband on Sunday in Bell County. [H-L]

As much as America loves her guns, she has never liked the idea of seeing them in black hands. [HuffPo]

An empty stomach. A throbbing tooth. A sleepless night. For nearly 30 years, Kentucky schools have reached beyond classroom walls to tackle the things making it tough for kids to learn. [C-J/AKN]

Donald Trump’s deal with the town of Palm Beach to turn Mar-a-Lago into a private club hinged on an act of charity crafted to skirt IRS scrutiny and deliver for Trump a seven-figure tax break, a Palm Beach Post investigation has found. [Palm Beach Post]

Two unrelated lawsuits were filed just over a week apart against Baptist Healthcare Systems, both claiming medical malpractice. [Richmond Register]

Kathleen Hartnett-White, Donald Trump’s pick to lead the Council on Environmental Quality, was just one Senate vote away from becoming the White House’s top environmental adviser. But late Thursday night, the controversial former Texas regulator returned to square one. [HuffPo]

The news that Gov. Matt Bevin is likely to issue a budget reduction order in a few days has local school officials nervous about the likelihood of long-term impact on their districts and students. [Ashland Independent]

More than 700 people have left the Environmental Protection Agency since Donald Trump took office, a wave of departures that puts the administration nearly a quarter of the way toward its goal of shrinking the agency to levels last seen during the Reagan administration. [ProPublica]

For many, Christmas is one of the most wonderful times of the year. [The Morehead News]

A newly disclosed trove of about 250 complaints filed by people whose cellphones, laptops, tablets and other personal electronics were searched by border agents without a warrant as they entered the United States is shedding light on a growing debate over individual privacy, collective security and 21st-century technology. [NY Times]

All of the written arguments have been submitted now in the appeal made by a former Glasgow police chief regarding the dismissal of his lawsuit against the city and his successor, and a panel of judges has been assigned to consider the appeal, but a decision is still months away. [Glasgow Daily Times]

Hundreds of U.S. Geological Survey scientists were missing from the biggest conference in their field this month. Typically, some 450 researchers from the nation’s top natural resources and natural hazards agency attend the annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union, the largest gathering of Earth, space and climate scientists in the world. [WaPo]

Modern Republicans are pieces of poop for allowing this mess to occur. But what can you expect when folks like Scott Jennings are considered the braintrust? Spoiler alert: not much more than a racist joke at a Catholic picnic. Tuition-free Berea College lost out in the Republican tax bill approved Wednesday, but top Republicans and members of Kentucky’s congressional delegation pledged to find a way around a new excise tax on big college endowments. [Linda Blackford]

Donald Trump on Tuesday falsely claimed that congressional Republicans’ tax bill “essentially Repeals (over time) ObamaCare,” perpetuating a false claim he made previously to celebrate the bill’s passage. [HuffPo]

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New Republicanism Means Harming Refugees

More than 25,000 acres of forest in Eastern Kentucky, Tennessee and Virginia will be preserved in coming years thanks to a nearly $5 million federal conservation grant, federal officials announced Friday. [H-L]

An increasing number of new laws across the United States make it a crime to be homeless. But these laws don’t actually manage to get people off the streets ― they just perpetuate the cycle of homelessness, experts say. [HuffPo]

More than 200 hours of intercepted phone call recordings have been submitted as evidence in a federal investigation into a pay-for-play scheme involving Louisville basketball recruits, according to court documents. [C-J/AKN]

The U.S. State Department has told refugee agencies it will sharply pare back the number of offices across the country authorized to resettle people in 2018 as Donald Trump cuts the number of refugees allowed into the United States. [Reuters]

Matt Bevin conceded Thursday that it is “logistically” impossible to hold a special session before the end of the year to tackle pension reform. [Ronnie Ellis]

The rate of life-threatening complications for new mothers in the U.S. has more than doubled in two decades due to pre-existing conditions, medical errors and unequal access to care. [ProPublica]

When Dominic and Rico Castle pushed their shopping cart through the Walmart lobby Wednesday, with the promise of $400 to fill it with Christmas plunder, one would assume the brothers would take the shortest route to the toy department. [Ashland Independent]

The United Nations Security Council imposed new sanctions on North Korea on Friday that significantly choke off new fuel supplies and order North Koreans working overseas to return home within two years, in what may prove the last test of whether any amount of economic pressure can force it to reverse course on its nuclear program. [NY Times]

Kentucky’s Democratic Attorney General believes the state’s opioid epidemic is the “single greatest challenge facing Kentucky” and claims the administration of Gov. Matt Bevin is hampering his efforts to combat the scourge. [Ronnie Ellis]

US life expectancy fell last year for a second year running for the first time in more than half a century, reportedly driven by the worsening opioid crisis. Life expectancy in 2016 fell 0.1 years to 78.6, according to the National Center for Health Statistics. [BBC]

When discussing Glasgow Independent Schools’ Comprehensive District Improvement Plan with the GIS Board of Education, GIS Instructional Supervisor Michelle Tinsley and GIS Superintendent Keith Hale said everyone has bought in to the plan. [Glasgow Daily Times]

Officials at the USDA received a detailed formal complaint earlier this year regarding Aurora Organic Dairy, one of the nation’s largest producers of organic milk. [WaPo]

A national science panel might use donations to finish a study that the Trump Administration halted on whether people face greater health risks from living near surface coal mines in Central Appalachia, including Eastern Kentucky. [H-L]

This is how insanely out-of-touch these people are. It’s so bizarre-o it’s offensive. [HuffPo]

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Burchett Finally Did Something Good

Offered a deal that could have created 3,500 good jobs but ruined the beloved rural character of a corner of Bourbon County, Fiscal Court members did a remarkable thing in this money-obsessed age: They said no. It helped that this courageous act was popular with their constituents: More than 150 people packed the courthouse Thursday night to make sure magistrates killed this risky deal, which had been sprung on them only a week earlier. [Tom Eblen]

These people are so intentionally corrupt that we should all be alarmed. Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-Texas) slammed former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder in a tweet, and indicated that special counsel Robert Mueller’s findings on possible Russian collusion with the Trump campaign will only be “legitimate” if Republicans like his findings. [HuffPo]

Black drivers in Louisville were nearly twice as likely to have their car searched during routine traffic stops than white drivers in 2016, according to a study from the University of Louisville. [C-J/AKN]

While Congress races to pass a massive tax overhaul by the end of the year, Republicans in state capitals across the country find themselves in a bind as they plan their own state budget requirements. [The Hill]

Boyd County Jailer Joe Burchett officially withdrew his name as a candidate for re-election, Boyd County Clerk Debbie Jones confirmed on Friday. [Ashland Independent]

A U.S. judge on Friday blocked Donald Trump’s administration from moving forward with new rules that undermined an Obamacare requirement for employers to provide health insurance that covers women’s birth control. [Reuters]

Dr. Steven Ralston, provost at Morehead State University, has announced his plans to retire. [The Morehead News]

Scores of Texas landowners in the shadow of the border wall say the government should pay them for their damaged property values. [ProPublica]

Barren River Lake State Resort Park will host two Sandhill Crane tours in late January, which will involve guests visiting roost sites around the lake for the birds, as well as observing some of their more popular feeding areas. [Glasgow Daily Times]

One of the top executives of a consulting firm that the Environmental Protection Agency has recently hired to help it with media affairs has spent the past year investigating agency employees who have been critical of the Trump administration, federal records show. [NY Times]

If the Federal Communications Commission follows through with plans to roll back “net neutrality rules,” Kentucky will be among the states challenging that decision in a lawsuit. [WFPL]

The Trump administration is prohibiting officials at the nation’s top public health agency from using a list of seven words or phrases — including “fetus” and “transgender” — in any official documents being prepared for next year’s budget. [WaPo]

Of course this education reporter is still hyping up charter schools as if they’re a terrific thing. They’ve never done anything hard-hitting on them. The same reporter dragged their feet and ultimately bungled reporting on the Montgomery County nightmare. [H-L]

Sunnie Kahle used to think that if she promised to be good, she could go back to her old school. She’d plead with her great-grandmother to let her enroll again at Timberlake Christian Schools, where she had gone since she was 3 years old. Even if teachers were mean to her, even if other kids said bad things about her, she wouldn’t be mad. She just wanted her old life back. [HuffPo]

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Budget Reduction Order = Bevin Is Bad For Kentucky’s Economy Despite All Contrary Claims

A judge did not attend a Friday hearing to answer charges that he violated ethics rules when he objected to handling adoption cases involving gay parents. Neither W. Mitchell Nance, family court judge for Barren and Metcalfe counties, nor his attorneys attended a hearing of the Kentucky Judicial Conduct Commission in Lexington. [H-L]

Dan Johnson’s closed silver casket was at the front of the sanctuary next to his favorite Harley on Saturday, and scores of mourners lined up to wish him a final farewell, many of them sporting tattoos, black leather vests and silver skull rings. [WaPo]

Republicans say they want to reform the tax code for the greater good of corporate America, the broader economy and the middle class. Their tax legislation would also directly benefit a constituency usually omitted from GOP talking points: members of Congress themselves. [HuffPo]

The Kentucky Court of Appeals has ruled a lawsuit by Gov. Matt Bevin’s administration that had claimed Planned Parenthood illegally provided abortions at its clinic in downtown Louisville was wrongly dismissed. The ruling on Friday sent the case back to the lower court. [C-J/AKN]

Let’s quit acting like the modern Republican Party gives a flip about the people of this country. The expected repeal of the ObamaCare mandate to buy insurance means that states will soon have to step in and decide whether to create their own mandates. [The Hill]

State Budget Director John Chilton said Gov. Matt Bevin is likely to issue a budget reduction order within the next week or so in the wake of an official revenue forecast that state receipts will fall $156.1 million short of projections this year. [Ronnie Ellis]

The American Civil Liberties Union said it filed in federal court on Friday to stop the administration of Donald Trump from preventing two more young immigrant women in federal custody from obtaining an abortion. [Reuters]

The Kentucky Fish and Wildlife Commission proposed several new deer, elk and small game hunting regulations at its quarterly meeting Dec 8. [Ashland Independent]

In this era of so-called “school choice,” a pattern has emerged: Students don’t choose their alternative schools. They’re sentenced to them. [ProPublica]

It may look like a video game, but it’s anything but that. Law enforcement never knows what they’ll encounter when in the line of duty, but it’s simulations like what the sheriff’s office participated in earlier this week in the Rowan County Fiscal Court room that helps them prepare for the unexpected. [The Morehead News]

With eight planets whirling around its sun, our solar system has held the galactic title for having the most known planets of any star system in the Milky Way. But on Thursday NASA announced the discovery of a new exoplanet orbiting a distant star some 2,500 light years away from here called Kepler 90, bringing that system’s total to eight planets as well. The new planet, known as Kepler-90i, is rocky and hot. It orbits its star about once every 14 days. [NY Times]

Glasgow Mayor Dick Doty has informed the city council that he intends to nominate D.T. Froedge as the next appointee to the Glasgow Electric Plant Board. [Glasgow Daily Times]

In the final days before Donald Trump was sworn in as president, members of his inner circle pleaded with him to acknowledge publicly what U.S. intelligence agencies had already concluded — that Russia’s interference in the 2016 election was real. [WaPo]

In the last 30 days, the Nelson County Sheriff’s Office has responded to a several calls for service regarding vehicles being broken into. During the Christmas season, there is usually a slight increase in the number of reported thefts. However, the growing concern for the Nelson County Sheriff’s Office is the frequency in which these thefts are occurring and the number of firearms being stolen. [H-L]

Florida authorities released an elderly woman from jail on Thursday after police arrested her for allegedly not paying rent at the senior housing community where she had lived since 2011. Juanita Fitzgerald spent her 94th birthday on Friday in a motel room. [HuffPo]

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