Kentucky Republicans Failed Miserably

Kentucky’s New Republicans are some of the dumbest people you’ll ever meet. I mean it. Straight-up dumb. From victim-blaming Jeff Hoover to racist guy with brown kids Matt Bevin, they’re just garbage people. The worst. All sex education classes in Kentucky’s public schools would have to include abstinence education under a proposal approved by a Senate panel Thursday, despite the dramatic testimony of a high school rape survivor who said such efforts shame people. [H-L]

Two FBI officials texted each other burns about politicians, but their main ideological commitment seems to be to the power and independence of the FBI. [HuffPo]

Union mechanics at UPS have turned to Sen. Mitch McConnell to ratchet up pressure amid contract talks, citing assurances from lawmakers and the shipping giant that tax reform would lead to boosted paychecks for workers — when they’ve gone four years without a salary increase. [C-J/AKN]

A federal judge pushing for a quick settlement of lawsuits against opioid manufacturers and distributors by U.S. cities and counties is seeking to meet with states that are separately suing and probing the companies, Ohio’s attorney general said on Thursday. [Reuters]

Candidates for the 89th District Representative seat, which will be decided in a Feb. 27 special election, have been chosen. [Richmond Register]

The controversy that swirled around the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity far exceeded its output. The commission made no decisions, issued no reports, and consequently had no impact on election laws. The group’s existence was brief: Its creation was announced in March. It had its first meeting in July, its second in September, and as of yesterday, it is no more. [ProPublica]

The Boyd County Fiscal Court will “take a hard look” at a new, $600,000 request from the county jail for more staffing, but it would likely be impossible this fiscal year according to Judge-Executive Steve Towler. [Ashland Independent]

A Wisconsin school district has agreed to pay $800,000 to settle a lawsuit filed by a transgender student who said he was forbidden from using boys bathrooms at his high school and felt degraded by administrators. [NY Times]

In his second convocation as president of Morehead State University, Dr. Jay Morgan spoke of the positive things happening at the university, despite recent obstacles. [The Morehead News]

Ever since the abortion pill RU-486 began to hit the market in the 1980s, questions have lingered about its safety, especially for women who take it in countries where terminating an unwanted pregnancy is restricted and they cannot openly seek help from a medical professional if something goes wrong. [WaPo]

Administrators of a local school district say they are following the guidelines set by state law to teach a Bible literacy course as a high school elective after being challenged by a watchdog group. [Glasgow Daily Times]

Most people on Medicaid already work, and mandating work for others does not help them escape poverty. In fact studies show it can make things worse. Some myths just won’t die, no matter how odious or untrue. And in the Trump era of outright lies masquerading as “alternative” facts, it is no surprise that we are seeing decades-old canards creep back into, and muddy, policy debates. A new Trump administration policy does just that by encouraging states to place work requirements on people who want to receive health insurance coverage through Medicaid. [USA Today]

Berea College has received $30 million in federal grant money to help improve the Perry County schools. [H-L]

Past presidents volunteered on MLK Day. Donald Trump spent it lining his pockets at one of his gaudy golf clubs. [HuffPo]

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Bullitt County May Be Kentucky’s Worst

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Widow v. widow? Bullitt County is insane. Linda Belcher, from Bob’s Burgers, will face Rebecca Johnson, widow of alleged child sex predator Dan Johnson. What on earth?! It’s gonna be crazy when the Rebecca Johnson research file hits. The fact that she allegedly helped her husband cover things up won’t be the half of it. Hold on to your cult wigs, kids. [H-L]

This was the year the political media couldn’t stop reminding us of the forgotten Americans. All year long, outlets parachuted reporters into “Trump Country” to observe his voters in their habitat — “Cletus safari” is the derisive term of art — and the reporters returned with tenderly crafted soft-focus portrait after tenderly crafted soft-focus portrait of people aching to say the n-word. [HuffPo]

Screw Matt Bevin’s backward, racist, homophobic, end-timer opinions. He’s easily the dumbest man to be elected governor in our lifetime. Secretary of State Alison Grimes’ New Year’s resolution is blunt: Medical marijuana must be legalized in Kentucky to help veterans suffering from PTSD and others who are painfully ill. [C-J/AKN]

Transgender people will be allowed for the first time to enlist in the U.S. military starting on Monday as ordered by federal courts, the Pentagon said on Friday, after Donald Trump’s administration decided not to appeal rulings that blocked his transgender ban. [Reuters]

Matt Bevin named Kevin Williams, of Irvine, as judge-executive of Estill County on Wednesday, replacing Wallace Taylor, who has resigned. [Richmond Register]

This year ProPublica documented the many ways waste is baked into our health care system, from destroying perfectly good medication to junking brand new supplies. Eliminating the waste could insure millions of Americans. [ProPublica]

Attorney General Andy Beshear said his office secured $152,000 for the state’s General Fund from a settlement with a Connecticut-based pharmaceutical company for improperly promoting its drugs to Kentuckians. [Ashland Independent]

The entire Trump universe is a nightmare. A US singer has filed a sexual assault claim against Donald Trump’s former campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski. [BBC]

What’s ahead for Louisville in 2018? More of the same. That’s what’s ahead for Louisville in 2018. More death, more b.s. As long as people like Matt Bevin are fighting against common sense? Louisville is going to be frozen in time. [WFPL]

Stoking racist fears, Trump defied bureaucracy to advance his bigoted immigration agenda. [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]

Since 2010, the Environmental Protection Agency has been embroiled in an enforcement battle with a Michigan-based company accused of modifying the state’s largest coal-fired power plant without getting federal permits for a projected rise in pollution. [WaPo]

Eric C. Conn violated his bond conditions when he left the country and did not show up for sentencing in his Social Security disability fraud case, U.S. Magistrate Judge Magistrate Judge Robert E. Wier ruled Thursday. The decision means the government can immediately sell the former disability attorney’s office complex on U.S. 23 in Floyd County, Conn’s attorney, Scott T. White, said after the hearing in federal court in Lexington. [H-L]

The Justice Department is pushing for a question on citizenship to be added to the 2020 census, a move that observers say could depress participation by immigrants who fear that the government could use the information against them. That, in turn, could have potentially large ripple effects for everything the once-a-decade census determines — from how congressional seats are distributed around the country to where hundreds of billions of federal dollars are spent. [HuffPo]

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Kentucky’s Economy: Tanking Under Bevin

This scandal involves something called the Pee Palace. Five partners in a Russell County drug-testing lab have been sentenced to prison terms after being convicted in a health care fraud case. [H-L]

As Donald Trump’s administration takes steps backward in the world’s fight against climate change, China is ramping up its commitment. Chinese Premier Xi Jinping on Tuesday made good on his promise to launch a national carbon market. Officials from the National Development and Reform Commission unveiled the highly anticipated emissions trading system during a conference call with industry and government representatives, the Australian Financial Review reported. [HuffPo]

Drowned out amid the uproar over pension reform and stunning allegations of sexual harassment in the legislature this fall has been a public policy message that will have a far greater impact on the lives of Kentuckians: The next state budget has a $1 billion hole to fill, and if there is no new revenue, massive cuts to programs are coming when the legislature convenes to tackle the problem. [C-J/AKN]

The Department of Health and Human Services tried to play down on Saturday a report that officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had been barred from using seven words or phrases, including “science-based,” “fetus,” “transgender” and “vulnerable,” in agency budget documents. [NY Times]

Former Barren Metcalfe Family Court Judge W. Mitchell Nance — who stepped down from the bench Saturday — received a public reprimand from the Kentucky Judicial Conduct Commission on Tuesday. [Glasgow Daily Times]

Just before leaving his Defense Department job two months ago, intelligence officer Luis Elizondo quietly arranged to secure the release of three of the most unusual videos in the Pentagon’s secret vaults: raw footage from encounters between fighter jets and “anomalous aerial vehicles” — military jargon for UFOs. [WaPo]

Those waiting for a preview of any proposed public pension system reform coming in the 2018 General assembly are still waiting after Monday’s meeting of the Public Pension Oversight Board. [Ronnie Ellis]

Mmmm hmm. Told y’all “Green Party” jackasses so. The top congressional committee investigating Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election has set its sights on the Green Party and its nominee, Jill Stein. [BuzzFeed]

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]

A U.S. District Court judge ruled on Monday that President Donald Trump’s administration must allow access to abortion for two pregnant teenagers who are in the country illegally, escalating a high-profile legal fight. [Reuters]

A new permanent exhibit opening Sunday at the University of Louisville planetarium includes meteorites that visitors can touch. [WFPL]

The head of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) had his office professionally examined earlier this year to look for covert surveillance devices. [The Hill]

A contractor pleaded guilty Monday to a federal charge for paying more than $530,000 in bribes and kickbacks to a St. Joseph Hospital executive in exchange for contracting work. In U.S. District Court in Lexington, Rocky Williams, 50, who lives in Arkansas, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and wire fraud. The restitution amount included in the plea agreement is $532,660. [H-L]

Russian chess champion and political activist Garry Kasparov has a chilling warning for Americans: While you’re distracted by the bully in the White House, democratic institutions are being ripped apart. Kasparov said he sees some of the same tactics he witnessed in Russia being used in the U.S., like a leader “lying constantly while attacking targets for lying” and the “escalation of rhetoric to dictatorial extremes.” [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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Bevin Harms Progress On Opioid Front

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Grant the Republican Party leaders one thing: their tactics in passing their hugely unpopular tax bill have been consistent—consistently evasive. [New Yorker]

Kentucky’s Democratic attorney general says his efforts to sue companies that make powerfully addictive opioid-based painkillers have been stymied by Republican Gov. Matt Bevin’s administration. [H-L]

They were obtained lawfully. An organization established for Donald Trump’s transition to the White House a year ago said on Saturday that the special counsel investigating allegations of Russian meddling in the 2016 election had obtained tens of thousands of emails unlawfully. [HuffPo]

This backward-ass person thinks the media attacked her husband because he wasn’t liberal. This is how lunatics like Danny Ray Johnson and his now-candidate wife operate. They lie, cheat, con their way into the public eye. They excuse alleged child rape. They blame others for alleged arson. They blame everyone but themselves. Can’t wait until she, as a candidate, faces scrutiny. The hate these people have pushed is unbelievable. [C-J/AKN]

Donald Trump has insisted that he will be tougher on terrorism than his predecessor, but a new report indicates that the White House may be planning to reduce funding for key U.S. counterterrorism programs and to eliminate one program altogether. [Foreign Policy]

Three years ago, a then 8-year-old autistic girl spent 17 days in the hospital. She suffered from dehydration, malnutrition, bruises and pressure sores. Her body temperature was 10 degrees below normal. She came close to dying, prosecutors have said. [Richmond Register]

The chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee says he is worried that President Trump has not issued an “outright condemnation” of Russia for meddling in the 2016 election. [The Hill]

Getting children into good preschool programs is a key to making them ready to learn in kindergarten, according to some local educators. [Ashland Independent]

The Trump administration put new requirements in place on Friday for the 38 countries participating in the U.S. Visa Waiver Program, including that they use U.S. counterterrorism data to screen travelers, officials said. [Reuters]

Two eastern Kentuckians are in jail after police arrested them during a controlled buy in downtown Morehead on Tuesday. [The Morehead News]

As another fevered push to open the pristine Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to energy exploration collapsed on the Senate floor in December 2005, Ted Stevens, then the powerful and wily Republican senator from Alaska, declared it “the saddest day of my life.” [NY Times]

Barren Metcalfe County Family Court Judge W. Mitchell Nance should know by the end of next week whether he’ll face a public reprimand from Kentucky’s Judicial Conduct Commission. [Ronnie Ellis]

The Trump administration will suspend a rule to limit methane leaks from oil and gas operations on federal land, but its true aim may be to kill the Obama-era requirement. A notice slated to be published Friday in the Federal Register by the Bureau of Land Management said the agency “has concerns regarding the statutory authority, cost, complexity, feasibility, and other implications” of the 2016 rule, which is set to go fully into effect next month. [WaPo]

That ought to end miserably. The widow of state Rep. Dan Johnson, who committed suicide Wednesday night, said she will seek to replace him in the legislature. [H-L]

Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee may be looking to prematurely shutter the committee’s investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election, a ranking Democrat warned Friday. [HuffPo]

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Barren County Just Made Major Progress

For 50 years, the Kirwan Blanding complex — its towering twin towers looming over the south side of campus — were among the University of Kentucky’s most iconic images. But those icons can no longer provide the housing spaces that students desire, so they are being demolished. [Linda Blackford]

Narrow wins in special elections don’t typically qualify as major political events, but Tuesday night’s Senate race in Alabama, in which Democrat Doug Jones is the apparent winner, may be the exception. [HuffPo]

Oh, please, she was hand-picked. It was an open secret for months. Her lying ass needs to be dragged out of council like the rest of these good old boy shysters that have taken over. Metro Council candidate Nicole George dismissed claims that she was groomed by Louisville Democrats to replace former Councilman Dan Johnson, who was removed last month due to sexual misconduct. [C-J/AKN]

While Jared Kushner is working on a peace deal between the Israelis and the Palestinians, the Kushner Companies Charitable Foundation is funding a controversial West Bank settlement. [ProPublica]

The Harlan City Council discussed the new rates for the city’s contribution to state retirement funds during a meeting on Monday. [Harlan Daily Enterprise]

A year ago, no one would have envisioned President Emmanuel Macron of France as the public face of Western diplomacy in the Middle East. But that is not the case anymore. [NY Times]

Barren County Fiscal Court narrowly approved Tuesday a needle exchange program for the county, moving the proposal closer to becoming reality. [BGDN]

The U.S. military is preparing to accept transgender recruits for the first time beginning in January, the Pentagon said Wednesday, the latest signal that Donald Trump’s desired ban may not materialize after all. [WaPo]

The Louisville Metro Police Department is investigating state Rep. Dan Johnson for alleged sexual abuse in his church. [WFPL]

An inmate at the U.S. detention facility at Guantanamo Bay is still being tortured, the U.N. special rapporteur on torture Nils Melzer said in a statement on Wednesday. [Reuters]

Living in hiding downtown for four years, Byron “Roc” Peeler was thrust into the spotlight on Friday after challenging Mayor Greg Fischer to spend a night in his homeless camp. In a prior Courier Journal story, he took the mayor to task, saying that city leaders cannot call Louisville a “compassionate city” while pushing homeless people out. [More C-J/AKN]

The Morehead State University Board of Regents voted Thursday to sell Sunny Brook Golf Course and two other properties owned by the university. [The Morehead News]

Donald Trump called a sitting U.S. Senator a whore and no one batted an eyelash. Because it wasn’t the craziest thing to occur that morning. This is the new normal. [BBC]

The Kentucky Personnel Cabinet has requested an investigation of whether a male officer sexually harassed female employees at the prison in Elliott County. [H-L]

The number of journalists imprisoned around the globe hit a record high in 2017, with at least 262 reporters currently behind bars, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists. They’re guilty of doing their jobs. [HuffPo]

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Don’t Forget Your Elders, Appalachian Millennials & Outsiders

Suicide is never the answer. But it’s disgusting for people like Jeff Hoover and Matt Bevin to praise this monster in his cowardly death. [H-L]

An already dire situation for North Atlantic right whales became even worse in 2017. This species of whale is among the most endangered animals in the world, and if significant actions to recover their populations aren’t taken soon, they could face extinction, researchers at the National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration said this week. [HuffPo]

Authorities say a Kentucky constable has been charged with helping a jail inmate escape from custody. [H-L]

Mmmm hmm. Investor Charles Price hosted a lucrative fundraiser for Gov. Matt Bevin a few months after the governor announced that Braidy Industries, a company at which Price is a director, would receive an unusual $15 million state investment. [C-J/AKN]

It took 16 years and more than 1,000 deaths for the Consumer Products Safety Commission to crack down on deadly portable generators. Trump’s appointees could undo that in a matter of months. [ProPublica]

Maybe it isn’t working out because no one in the area can afford to shop there? That’s apparently lost on these wealthy white folks running the show. [WFPL]

E.P.A. enforcement officials nationwide rely on provisions of the Clean Air and Clean Water acts that give them the power to order polluters to test their emissions to see if they are violating the law. Mr. Pruitt, after a request from the oil industry, has put new limits on that power. [NY Times]

On average, a new synthetic drug is identified in the U.S. every seven to 10 days. [Richmond Register]

The Environmental Protection Agency released a list of Superfund sites around the country Friday that it said regulators will target “for immediate and intense attention.” [WaPo]

Four law enforcement agencies are investigating allegations of malfeasance by County Jailer Joe Burchett at the Boyd County Detention Center, a prosecutor said Tuesday. [Ashland Independent]

Contrary to the narrative you’ll hear from DC/NYC outsiders, this is not a new movement. There have always been women fighting to improve lives in Appalachia. Until recently, there was almost always progress on that front. My mother was running prenatal clinics in Morgan and Rowan Counties 30+ years ago, working with a network of individuals focusing on radical progress. They had successes. They built what these younger folks are standing upon today. Do not forget them. [CNN]

The process is well underway now to have a family court judge in place for the 43rd Judicial Circuit relatively soon after the resignation of Mitchell Nance takes effect at 11:59 p.m. Saturday. [Glasgow Daily Times]

A U.S. judge questioned on Tuesday whether the federal government properly formulated new rules that undermine an Obamacare requirement for employers to provide insurance that covers women’s birth control. [Reuters]

Bourbon County officials are considering a plan to expand Bluegrass Station at Avon by 2,500 acres to build an 8,000- to 10,000-foot runway and two two-bay hangars to accommodate C-130 military cargo planes that need to be outfitted for special operations missions, according to a report in the Bourbon County Citizen. [H-L]

Southern bigotry is real, Bernie Bros and the worthless executive director of the KDP. The sooner you own it, the sooner you eradicate it. It’s time to shut the hell up with the “stop highlighting our racism” schtick. It’s real and you have to deal with it. [HuffPo]

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