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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Pension Reform Is Not Now And Never Will Be A Real Thing In Kentucky

Kentucky’s highest court will hear a controversial case involving a Lexington company’s refusal to print a T-shirt for the city’s annual gay-pride festival. [H-L]

This racist jackass is still supported by people like Jeff Hoover and Bob the Bigot Stivers. Donald Trump is reportedly reviving the racist “birther” conspiracy theory, which claims that President Barack Obama wasn’t born in the United States. [HuffPo]

A whittled down tree-protection ordinance heads to the Louisville Metro Council for a vote as early as Thursday, nearly a year after the proposal was unveiled. [C-J/AKN]

U.S. Supreme Court justices on Monday appeared divided over whether a federal agency’s in-house process for challenging patents violates the constitutional rights of patent owners, leaving the fate of a system that has led to a high rate of patent cancellations uncertain. [Reuters]

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]

The US consumer financial watchdog was plunged into turmoil on Monday as rival directors vied to take charge amid a lawsuit against the White House. [BBC]

New Greenup County Commissioner Earnest “Earnie” Duty said he wants to help the county build on momentum generated by the announcement of a $1.3-billion aluminum rolling mill. [Ashland Independent]

The Senate Republican tax plan gives substantial tax cuts and benefits to Americans earning more than $100,000 a year, while the nation’s poorest would be worse off, according to a report released Sunday by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. [WaPo]

A majority of the Glasgow Electric Plant Board’s board of directors decided Tuesday that to drop three broadcast stations in Nashville and Louisville rather than pay the increases demanded for their content, but it will keep the ones in Bowling Green that also bumped up their prices. [Glasgow Daily Times]

Uh, obviously experts disagree with Republicans when it comes to the tax bill. Because facts are facts. Even though facts are something Republicans don’t understand. [NY Times]

Rowan County Fiscal Court is looking at options to help gain more revenue through the more efficient collection of occupational taxes. [The Morehead News]

Last week, we bought more than a dozen housing ads excluding categories of people explicitly protected by the Fair Housing Act of 1968. [ProPublica]

There’s no legitimate pension bill because the modern Republican Party of Kentucky is run by a bunch of con artists who can do nothing but sexually harass folks without power. [H-L]

Global arms experts say North Korea’s latest test of a ballistic missile was an expected but troubling development that further solidifies Kim Jong Un’s role as a nuclear-backed strongman. [HuffPo]

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Louisville Politicians Hate Poor People – Especially If They’re Black

Kentucky’s legislature needs billions of dollars to pay down the state’s unfunded pension liabilities. As it happens, Kentucky essentially gives away billions of dollars every year through what are called “tax expenditures.” [John Cheves]

The deputy director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau sued the Trump administration on Sunday to block the president’s appointment of Mick Mulvaney as interim director of the agency. [HuffPo]

Scott Reed, like most Kentucky Republicans, is a racist bigot. Their racism is especially easy to spot in Louisville because they freak out when low incomes are involved. [C-J/AKN]

Donald Trump thinks he’s accomplished more than FDR. There are Kentucky Republicans that believe him. [The Hill]

Discussion of the city’s purchase of electric power again dominated Tuesday’s meeting of the Berea City Council. [Richmond Register]

The Freedom of Information Act is fundamental to investigative journalism. If the Freedom of Information Act were a person, who would it be? That’s a real question I asked our newsroom this week, because that’s the kind of thing I randomly think about. [ProPublica]

A search warrant executed by the Boyd County Sheriff’s Department Tuesday resulted in four arrests and the seizing of over 50 grams of Crystal Methamphetamine, money and drug paraphernalia. [Ashland Independent]

Tens of thousands of people wanted by law enforcement officials have been removed this year from the FBI criminal background check database that prohibits fugitives from justice from buying guns. [WaPo]

The Kentucky State Police began accepting donations for their eighth annual “Cram The Cruiser” holiday food drive on Nov. 22. [The Morehead News]

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday left in place a Nebraska law that prohibits picketing near funerals after it was challenged by a Kansas church known for anti-gay protests. [Reuters]

A bill moving through Congress aims to simplify the national suicide hotline — a move that advocates say is necessary. But with that could come an increased call volume at crisis centers, and those same advocates caution additional funding will be needed to handle all the calls at money-strapped crisis centers. [WFPL]

He’s a racist bigot. Donald Trump has mocked a political rival as Pocahontas – as he welcomed Native Americans to the White House. [BBC]

A juvenile is suspected of making a threat on social media about violence this week at Madison Central High School, according to Kentucky State Police. [H-L]

Robert Jay Lifton has spent his life trying to understand some of the most unfathomable milestones of the 20th century. [HuffPo]

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Hoover Investigation Should Be Handled By Independent Agency, Not The Shady-Ass People In Frankfort

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Former state Rep. W. Keith Hall used fake documents to convince a customer that he had insurance so he could keep a contract, a federal grand jury has charged. [H-L]

The top nuclear commander in the U.S. said Saturday that he would reject an “illegal” nuclear attack order from Donald Trump, and would instead steer the commander in chief to other “options.” [HuffPo]

Republican leaders in the Kentucky House may let the Legislative Ethics Commission take over their investigation into the secret settlement of a sexual harassment claim that involved former House Speaker Jeff Hoover next week, a top official says. [C-J/AKN]

Special counsel Robert Mueller’s team has issued a subpoena to the Trump campaign asking multiple campaign officials to produce Russia-related documents, according to a source with first-hand knowledge of the matter. [NBC News]

Madison County Judge-Executive Reagan Taylor has been elected 2nd Vice President of the Kentucky Association of Counties (KACo) Executive Board of Directors. [Richmond Register]

The use of “fake news,” automated “bot” accounts, and other manipulation methods gained particular attention in the United States. While the country’s online environment remained generally free, it was troubled by a proliferation of fabricated news articles, divisive partisan vitriol, and aggressive harassment of many journalists, both during and after the presidential election campaign. [Click the Clicky]

The City of Ashland spent $6.5 million on health insurance last fiscal year, up about $369,000 from the year before. [Ashland Independent]

Taxpayers are footing the legal bill for at least 10 Justice Department lawyers and paralegals to work on lawsuits related to President Trump’s private businesses. Neither the White House nor the Justice Department will say how much it is costing taxpayers, but federal payroll records show the salaries of the government lawyers assigned to the cases range from about $133,000 to $185,000. [USA Today]

Apparently, Morehead – land of Kim Davis – is holding meetings to discuss speed humping…? Davis has spread her immoral awfulness so far that people now have to hump super-fast. [The Morehead News]

It was only 19 months ago that the Panama Papers were released. Now, it’s the Paradise Papers that are filling the front pages of English and European newspapers. Back when the Panama Papers were released, I wrote that if David Cameron’s name hadn’t been in those documents, the news probably wouldn’t have had the same impact. Today I think that if Queen Elizabeth’s name hadn’t come up, we likely wouldn’t be discussing it either. [The Guardian]

Better late than never. Barren County Fiscal Court is expected to learn more about a decision the Barren River District Health Department’s board of directors recently made to start a needle exchange program. [Glasgow Daily Times]

The U.S. military on Friday disclosed for the first time base-by-base data on sexual assault reports, showing a higher number of reports at big military installations like Naval Station Norfolk in Virginia as well as overseas hubs like South Korea. [Reuters]

The last place Lincoln Caudill expected to see his eastern Kentucky hometown was on a television in a Philadelphia restaurant, yet there it was in the summer of 2015, flickering back at him from a newscast about a defiant county clerk refusing to issue marriage licenses to gay couples. [H-L]

The “Full Frontal with Samantha Bee” team is here to break down what the GOP’s tax plan really means. [HuffPo]

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Legislative Ethics Are Not A Real Thing

Such a shame Legislative Ethics don’t exist in Kentucky. A Democratic lawmaker filed a complaint Wednesday with the Kentucky Legislative Ethics Commission, asking for an investigation into a sexual harassment settlement between four Republican lawmakers and a legislative employee who worked for them. [H-L]

On Oct. 14, 2016, then-GOP vice presidential nominee Mike Pence vehemently denied that the Trump campaign had any contact with WikiLeaks. It was shortly after that organization had released more emails from the Clinton campaign and other Democrats. [HuffPo]

The University of Louisville Foundation’s former chief financial officer claims in a new lawsuit that he was made the “fall guy” for “a wide variety of political, private and public interests” when he was fired in July. [C-J/AKN]

Six House Democrats on Wednesday launched the latest official effort to oust President Trump, introducing five new articles of impeachment revolving around the central theme that the president is a danger to the country. [The Hill]

A Richmond city commissioner is calling for action against hotels and motels in the city that are hotspots for criminal activity. [Richmond Register]

The U.S. Justice Department on Wednesday told 29 states, cities or counties it believes they are violating a law prohibiting them from limiting information sharing with U.S. immigration officials, and it asked them for details on their compliance. [Reuters]

The forced removal of state prisoners from the Boyd County Detention Center could cause the county to lose as much as $700,000 in revenue this fiscal year, and the fiscal court is weighing budget cuts as a result. [Ashland Independent]

A senior official in charge of a federal loan guarantee program resigned after ProPublica reported his prior role in obtaining a guarantee under the same program as part of a deal that failed. [ProPublica]

The governing board for emergency communications in Barren and Metcalfe counties approved an agreement from South Central Rural Telephone Cooperative for additional security technology at the dispatch center in Glasgow on Tuesday. [Glasgow Daily Times]

Republican and Democratic senators clashed on Wednesday over changes the Republicans made to their sweeping tax legislation late Tuesday night, as the momentum behind the tax overhaul showed no signs of slowing with votes expected in both chambers of Congress later this week. [NY Times]

A vote may come as soon as this week on Senate confirmation for Dingus Trump’s nominee to lead the Mine Safety and Health Administration, or MSHA. The country’s top mine safety position has been vacant since January as coal mining fatalities have risen to a two-year high. Trump’s choice to fill the post is facing opposition from congressional Democrats and safety advocates. [WFPL]

Attorney General Jeff Sessions’s public suggestion that he may appoint a special counsel to investigate Hillary Clinton has alarmed current and former Justice Department officials who fear he will further politicize the embattled agency. [WaPo]

The Republican Party of Kentucky’s communications manbaby, Tres Watson, has been whining about this on social media. He’s taken every opportunity to spew homophobic bullshit since getting his new RPK job. So I’m taking every opportunity to identify him a bigot. You know how I know? Because I know him. And when these Republicans like Watson and Scott Jennings decide it’s cool to all of a sudden turn into bigots? I’m going to call their asses out. [H-L]

The American delegation to the United Nations climate talks has not held any press conferences, though White House energy and environment adviser George Banks will occasionally venture out to the snack bar beneath the U.S. delegate’s office. [HuffPo]

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Not Many Believe The “Investigation” Into Jeff Hoover Will Be Conducted Transparently And Honestly. Wonder Why???

She’s a mess from the days of Jamie Comer. She was deeply involved in the hemp scandal. So of course she’s knee-deep in this. [H-L]

Syria took a break on Tuesday from its gruesome six-year civil war to announce plans to sign the Paris climate agreement, leaving the United States as the only country to reject the emissions-cutting deal. [HuffPo]

A New York grand jury has returned an indictment for two of the men accused of conspiring to funnel money to the families of two University of Louisville basketball recruits as part of a federal probe into college basketball recruiting. [C-J/AKN]

Federal agents have seized records from a national company that solicits thousands of Americans to donate their bodies to science each year, then profits by dissecting the parts and distributing them for use by researchers and educators. [Reuters]

Barren County Schools Superintendent Bo Matthews traveled to Frankfort on Monday with other educational leaders for a joint press conference at Woodford County High School to present an alternative pension plan – called the Shared Responsibility Plan – to the one presented by the office of Matt Bevin, according to an email from Matthews to media outlets. [Glasgow Daily Times]

The violent altercation last week that left Senator Rand Paul nursing bruised lungs and broken ribs began over a landscaping dispute between the senator and his longtime next-door neighbor, according to neighbors and three Kentucky Republicans familiar with what transpired. [NY Times]

It was a short walk for Warren County Sheriff Jerry “Peanuts” Gaines as he filed the paperwork Wednesday to run for re-election to the office he has held since 1977. [BGDN]

Long-term methadone and buprenorphine maintenance are mainstays of heroin addiction treatment. These medications bind to the same opioid receptors in the brain as does heroin, reducing cravings for and use of the deadly drug. But a new study shows that an alternative to medications that substitute for heroin in the brain can be highly effective by blocking the drug’s effect on opioid receptors. [WaPo]

One of the General Assembly’s widely admired lawmakers, 27-year veteran Louisville Democrat Jim Wayne, announced Tuesday he will not seek re-election next year. [Ronnie Ellis]

A government watchdog found irregularities in a loan guarantee arranged by Gavin Clarkson for an Indian tribe. Now Clarkson is in charge of the program that is on the hook for the mess. [ProPublica]

Despite numerous failed legislative attempts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, the Trump administration is rolling out regulatory changes that are likely to clear the way for Kentucky’s plan to remake its Medicaid system. [WFPL]

Voters in the US state of Virginia have elected their first openly transgender state legislator. [BBC]

A Louisville law firm has launched its investigation of a sexual harassment scandal in the Kentucky House of Representatives, Republican leaders said Tuesday. [H-L]

No, you delusional Republicans, prayer isn’t going to stop mass shootings. [HuffPo]

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Jeff Hoover: As Shitty As You Thought

Matt Bevin’s office violated Kentucky’s Open Records Act when it refused to provide an Arizona attorney with some of the emails it exchanged with the White House, according to a new ruling by Attorney General Andy Beshear’s office. [H-L]

You can’t fix this kind of stupid or this kind of dishonesty. Kellyanne Conway bashed political campaigns on Monday that “dig around with foreign nationals” to uncover dirt on their opponents. But three months ago, reports revealed Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign did just that. [HuffPo]

Unprofessional conduct? Haha. You should see the videos floating around of him at Six Flags Over Jesus recently – trash-talking UofL left and right. University of Louisville interim President Greg Postel accused former athletic director Tom Jurich of “ineffective management, divisive leadership and unprofessional conduct” that caused substantial damage to the school. [C-J/AKN]

The FBI’s predawn search of Paul Manafort’s northern Virginia home in July yielded important new evidence crucial to the indictment of Donald Trump’s campaign chairman and one of his close associates, according to the indictments. [Yahoo]

Told ya so about Jeff Hoover and other Republicans when this was all going down a couple years ago. Also, you *know* T. Clay is pushing this story out like crazy for the sake of publicity and it’s shady and unethical for Debby Yetter to withhold a name that is public record (I said it). Jeff Hoover has reached a confidential settlement over sexual harassment allegations by a woman who works on his legislative staff, according to sources with direct knowledge of the matter. [More C-J/AKN]

A federal court has blocked Donald Trump in part from changing the military’s transgender policy as a case against his ban works its way through court. [The Hill]

It’s been 10 years since Kentucky judges received a raise, placing judicial salaries in the commonwealth 48th among the 50 states. [Ronnie Ellis]

The questions are straightforward, with public health implications that would seem impossible to shrug off. How many American women die each year from causes related to pregnancy or childbirth? How many of these deaths are preventable? How does the nation’s current rate of maternal mortality compare to the rate 10 or 20 or 30 years ago? [ProPublica]

Thomas Massie is a miserable, racist, homophobic scab and the Kentucky Democratic Party is fucking up by allowing him to win. [Ashland Independent]

Just in case you needed more proof that Republicans hate the working class. Here you go. [NY Times]

Kentucky’s public colleges and universities want more money, but Republican lawmakers say the best they can hope for is to break even. [Richmond Register]

Appalachia is apparently for real doomed. In case you weren’t aware already? Miners are refusing retraining because they’ve been duped into believing coal is coming back. It’s not. [Reuters]

There are at least a few surprises tucked into Republican Matt Bevin’s 505-page draft legislation that would overhaul the state’s public retirement systems. One is that a controversial 3 percent pay cut for school teachers and state and local government employees — which Bevin and top GOP lawmakers touted last week as critical in order to shore up the retiree health insurance funds — would not actually add any money to those funds. [H-L]

Richard Spencer, a leader of what he calls the “alt-right” and the man known to most as the “Nazi who got punched,” agreed to talk to HuffPost the night before his speech at the University of Florida in Gainesville last week. [HuffPo]

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