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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I Guess Linda Gorton Is Big News?

This is horrifying and makes it scary to think about anyone having kids. The Kentucky Board of Medical Licensure has reprimanded a doctor whose pediatric residency at the University of Kentucky was terminated after he allegedly viewed child pornography during a work shift. [H-L]

The average American life expectancy ticked downward for the second straight year in 2016, on the back of surging drug overdose deaths, according to data released Thursday by the National Center for Health Statistics at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And while the nation hasn’t experienced a back-to-back drop in life expectancy since the 1960s, the CDC says the opioid crisis is shaping up to extend this decline for a third consecutive year, a milestone that hasn’t been seen since the Spanish flu pandemic in 1918. [HuffPo]

Former state Rep. Linda Belcher rejected a suggestion by the widow of Rep. Dan Johnson that she participated in an effort by liberal organizations to destroy Johnson. [C-J/AKN]

The Trump administration’s consideration of a wage freeze for federal employees is one piece of a renewed multifront Republican push to shrink those workers’ pay, benefits and workforce. [WaPo]

Members of the Barren County Board of Education received the results of the school district’s annual financial audit during Thursday night’s meeting. They also heard updates on construction at the Career and Technical Education facility at the Trojan Trail campus. [Glasgow Daily Times]

Don McGahn was looking at whether the national security advisor violated federal laws just days after Trump moved into the White House. [Foreign Policy]

Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes is reminding registered voters who wish to vote in another party’s May 2018 Primary Election or be a candidate as a member of another political party in the 2018 elections that they must change their registration no later than Dec. 31. [The Morehead News]

A second U.S. judge on Thursday blocked Donald Trump’s administration from enforcing new rules that undermine an Obamacare requirement for employers to provide insurance that covers women’s birth control. [Reuters]

Community Assistance & Referral Services (CAReS) is currently seeking monetary donations to offset the cost of purchases made to cover unreturned Giving Tree items. [Ashland Independent]

ALIENS!!!!!!!1!! [NY Times]

Five Madison County inmates were able to see their children visit with Santa and open Christmas gifts Saturday thanks in large part to the work of the Glover Foundation. [Richmond Register]

The United Nations on Thursday delivered a stinging rebuke of Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, casting an overwhelming vote condemning the move and calling on the U.S. to withdraw the decision. [The Hill]

Former Vice Mayor Linda Gorton announced Tuesday that she will enter the race for mayor. [H-L]

Republicans are looting the store, taking everything they can grab off the shelves, anticipating the demise of Donald Trump as progressive energy explodes. [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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A Good Thing Happened In Boyd Co

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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There’s Just Too Much News Lately

Authorities say a police officer in western Kentucky is facing official misconduct charges after agreeing not to arrest a woman if she would have sex with him. [H-L]

Earlier this year, House Democrats accused retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn of secretly lobbying for a huge Middle East nuclear power deal while serving as Donald Trump’s national security adviser. New details have emerged this week of just how far Flynn’s alleged lobbying effort might’ve gone. [HuffPo]

While Bernie Sanders is right about the Republican tax “plan”? He’s the most unexciting, typical, talk-down-to-you political jackass I can imagine to be stumping against it. A wealthy white guy with a history of talking down his nose at the LGBT community and people of color? Speaking for workers and progressives? Get the fuck outta here with that bullshit. [C-J/AKN]

The U.S. Supreme Court dealt a setback on Monday to gun rights proponents including the National Rifle Association, refusing to hear a challenge to Maryland’s 2013 state ban on assault weapons enacted after a Connecticut school massacre. [Reuters]

Sustainable Berea began this week by making large seed donation to the Madison County Seed Library located inside the Madison County Public Library locations Monday morning. [Richmond Register]

A disturbing report released [this week] by researchers at the prestigious Colegio de Mexico provides new details about a 2011 massacre in Allende, a quiet Mexican ranching town less than an hour’s drive from the United States, and suggests that many more people were killed in the incident than estimated by Mexican authorities. The report’s authors also repeatedly cite an investigation of the incident by ProPublica and National Geographic in calling for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration to provide information about its role in triggering the killing spree. [ProPublica]

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

Really, you can’t fix this kind of corrupt stupidity. To think people like Scott Jennings and alleged domestic violence perpetrator Jamie Comer are keen on showing their extreme ignorance by openly and proudly supporting him. Won’t it be sad when their children grow up to discover how shitty their parents are? [NY Times]

What on earth??? How was the treasurer getting away with not attending all meetings?! Glasgow’s city treasurer may be required to attend all city council meetings. [Glasgow Daily Times]

Donald Trump’s Twitter account has retweeted three inflammatory anti-Muslim videos from a British far-right group. [BBC]

The state sets aside 15.8 percent less for per public school student than it did in 2008 — the third largest drop in the nation, behind Oklahoma and Texas. [WFPL]

The missile logged a longer flight time than any of its predecessors and went farther into the atmosphere than ever before, reaching a height of 2,800 miles, 10 times higher than the International Space Station. [WaPo]

A former University of Kentucky student who survived an attack from a notorious serial killer is in Kentucky this week to talk about her new memoir. [H-L]

The Air Force has discovered “several dozen” cases in which it failed to report convictions of service members to the national background check database used for gun sales. [HuffPo]

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Frankfort Proves It Doesn’t Care About You

“Something don’t seem fair.” That’s what Mark Lunsford told reporter Bill Estep when he learned the property tax rate on his 21-foot bass boat is 30 times that levied on luxury houseboats that can cost upwards of $250,000. [H-L]

In a major win for the telecom industry, Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai announced plans Tuesday to scrap net neutrality regulations that require internet providers to treat all content equally. [HuffPo]

The Trump administration is questioning whether Louisville is out of step with federal law after approving a measure that prohibits police and other city employees from enforcing immigration statutes — and implying the city could lose more than half a million dollars as a result. [C-J/AKN]

It was just before 9 a.m. one day last July, and Noemi Martinez was on her way from one job interview to the next, running to catch a bus on Atlantic Boulevard in Jacksonville, Fla. [ProPublica]

After years of investigating, Louisville police and federal agents captured eight people suspected of skimming credit card information from gas stations in the city. The arrests were made after the individuals stole more than $3.5 million through skimmed card information. [WFPL]

No sitting justice on the Supreme Court has indicated plans to leave any time soon. But tell that to Trump, who announced on Friday his latest slate of judicial candidates to fill a vacancy that — as far as anyone knows — does not exist. [NY Times]

Warren County Public Schools Superintendent Rob Clayton and several board of education members support allowing teachers to take time off work to attend a rally in Frankfort during an as-yet-unannounced special legislative session to reform the state’s ailing pension system. [BGDN]

Since 1997, Congress’ Office of Compliance has paid more than $17 million for 264 settlements and awards to federal employees for violations of various employment rules including, The Washington Post reported last month, sexual harassment. [WaPo]

Kentucky’s attorney general is unable to determine if Braidy Industries, the beneficiary of a $15 million investment from the state, is a public agency because it hasn’t completed a fiscal year yet. [Ronnie Ellis]

The Department of Homeland Security violated two court orders in the days after Donald Trump issued a temporary travel ban on citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries, according to the department’s watchdog. [Reuters]

They’re not there. Matt Bevin said earlier this week he believes the votes are there in the General Assembly to pass pension reform legislation. [More Ronnie Ellis]

A US judge has permanently blocked a presidential order that would have cut funding from US cities refusing to co-operate with immigration officials. [BBC]

University of Kentucky President Eli Capilouto is planning to quickly replace Provost Tim Tracy, who announced Nov. 1 that he’s leaving to become the CEO of the Cincinnati-based Aprecia Pharmaceuticals. The search will be internal, not national, and he intends to choose someone by mid-December. [Linda Blackford]

Nineteen Asian-Americans protesting outside Speaker Paul Ryan’s office on Capitol Hill were arrested Wednesday while calling for him to move the Dream Act to a vote. [HuffPo]

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Matt Bevin Is Mentally Disturbed But No One Wants To Talk About It Because They Claim It’s Rude Or Inappropriate

Matt Bevin’s plan to overhaul the retirement system for public school teachers would cost taxpayers an extra $4.4 billion over the next 20 years, according to a new analysis, a whopping cost that potentially complicates the proposal’s prospects in the House as GOP leaders struggle to find votes for it. [H-L]

The House Intelligence Committee on Monday released more than 200 pages of testimony from its closed-door interview last week with Carter Page, a former foreign policy adviser to the Donald Trump presidential campaign. [HuffPo]

Matt Bevin is so painfully stupid he believes there are tons of marijuana “overdoses”. Yes, really. That crazy-eyed guy believes you can easily overdose on weed. [C-J/AKN]

Did Ronald Reagan’s 1981 tax cut supercharge the economy? [WaPo]

Both state and national polls released last week show more Kentucky voters approve of Matt Bevin than disapprove, but his approval rate is below 50 percent in both polls. [Ronnie Ellis]

Two years after his 24-year-old girlfriend was shot and killed on live television, a Virginia Democrat on Tuesday defeated an opponent who was endorsed by the National Rifle Association for a seat in the state legislature. [NY Times]

Well-known Western Kentucky businessman Billy Joe Miles is scheduled to stand trial next January on charges that he raped, sodomized and attempted to bribe a caregiver in July 2016, according to a court ruling issued earlier this week. [WFPL]

The Air Force’s apparent failure to send the criminal records of the airman behind Sunday’s mass killings to civilian authorities allowed him to obtain guns. Such reporting failings are widespread and longstanding. [ProPublica]

Just a few dozen people attended a hearing Wednesday night held by the Kentucky Public Service Commission regarding a proposed rate increase sought by Kentucky Power. [Ashland Independent]

Most Americans oppose the use of a lottery system for giving immigrants permanent U.S. residence, but a majority support allowing immigrants to obtain green cards through sponsorship by U.S. employers, according to a Reuters/Ipsos opinion poll. [Reuters]

Dumb ass. Matt Bevin insisted in a published interview this week he never said teachers “hoard” sick days, but he appears to have said precisely that in an August radio interview. [More Ronnie Ellis]

The bombshell allegations that GOP Senate nominee Roy Moore had inappropriate sexual conduct with a 14-year-old girl when he was 32 have roiled Alabama’s Senate race, where the GOP candidate had been heavily favored to win in December. [The Hill]

Jim Gray would get his ass handed to him and deservedly so. Not because he’s gay but because he’s got no guts, barely owns his identity and has surrounded himself with some of the worst people in Kentucky politics – like Dale Emmons. [H-L]

This lunatic has serious brain damage. Donald Trump said stronger background checks for gun purchases would have made Sunday’s mass shooting at a south Texas church even deadlier. [HuffPo]

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