Seems Kentucky Republicans Are Ruining Literally Everything They Touch

A prosecutor for the Legislative Ethics Commission has a copy of a secret settlement that four Republican House members made with a legislative employee who accused them of sexual harassment. [H-L]

This may be the craziest shit ever. The Pentagon is reportedly pushing a new retaliation tactic should the U.S. ever be hit by a devastating cyberattack: America could nuke the culprit. [HuffPo]

No, he won’t be able to clean the University of Louisville up. That won’t be possible until 100% of leadership there is gone – including every member of the foundation and the board. Source: My decade plus of uncovering UofL messes. No one knows that better than me. [C-J/AKN]

FBI agents showed up at Steve Bannon’s Washington home last week intent on serving him with a subpoena to appear before a grand jury investigating possible ties between Donald Trump’s campaign and Russia, according to a source familiar with the proceedings. [NBC News]

Matt Begin is a garbage human being. Matt Bevin says he will end Medicaid benefits for more than 400,000 Kentuckians if the courts stop him from requiring many of them to work. [Richmond Register]

Most members of a U.S. National Park Service advisory board, appointed while Barack Obama was president, have resigned after saying they were ignored by Donald Trump’s administration, the panel chairman said on Tuesday. [Reuters]

The City of Ashland was slapped with a $4,500 fine by the state Energy and Environmental Cabinet for a violation at the wastewater treatment plant. [Ashland Independent]

A study released late last year gives environmental experts a way to quantify how much RDX, a chemical used in military explosives, is spreading into surrounding communities. [ProPublica]

Morehead City Council voted unanimously last Monday during its monthly meeting to pass the first reading of an ordinance instituting additional and higher insurance premium fees. [The Morehead News]

Medicaid work requirements are a solution in search of a problem. Also, a pox on all the houses of shitty Republicans like Matt Bevin who push this racist nonsense. [WaPo]

Incumbent Barren County Judge-Executive Micheal Hale filed his papers to run for re-election Friday, and on Tuesday. [Glasgow Daily Times]

Bevin might care to glance south over the border. In 2005, Tennessee removed 170,000 people — almost one in 10 Medicaid beneficiaries in the state, mainly working-age adults without children — from its Medicaid program to save money. They didn’t do well. The cuts didn’t just eat into poor Tennesseans’ finances. One study found that childless adults in Tennessee — especially the least educated — started delaying or forgoing visits to the doctor. They reported suffering more days in bad health and incapacitated. And they recorded more visits to hospital emergency rooms, which are required by law to care for all comers, regardless of their ability to pay. Delayed care can kill. [NY Times]

Attorney General Andy Beshear is setting up a new unit in his office to investigate and prosecute sexual assault cold cases. [H-L]

All these wingnuts are essentially the same. A climate denial group protected a former executive charged with stalking a colleague. [HuffPo]

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Sending McConnell Folks To ARC? Just Gross. Appalachia Is Doomed.

Rand Paul said Sunday it was a “living hell” after he was attacked in November. Paul made his comments on Face the Nation, a news television show on CBS. [H-L]

Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s office released a transcript Tuesday of Fusion GPS co-founder Glenn Simpson’s testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee. [HuffPo]

PEE ALERT! Rick Pitino’s attorneys requested the University of Louisville Athletic Association’s countersuit against the former basketball coach be dismissed or for a ruling in the former coach’s favor. [C-J/AKN]

The controversy that swirled around the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity far exceeded its output. [ProPublica]

This is terrible news for Appalachia and I defy anyone to prove me wrong. Donald Trump intends to tap a member of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s staff to serve as federal co-chair of the Appalachian Regional Commission. [Richmond Register]

A number of Republican lawmakers were visibly incensed on Thursday, following a report by the Associated Press that claimed Attorney General Jeff Sessions is considering rescinding an Obama-era policy allowing marijuana legalization to move forward in several states. [ThinkProgress]

The Ashland commission is bracing for a massive wave to hit the city this year. [Ashland Independent]

The Trump administration has proposed a controversial plan to open up protected areas in the Pacific and Atlantic oceans for offshore drilling. The five-year plan expands drilling to most of the US outer continental shelf, including California and Maine, where drilling has been blocked for decades. [BBC]

If Matt Bevin or anyone in Frankfort really gave a flip about education? This self-promoting guy would be far, far away from the Kentucky Department of Education. [The Morehead News]

Customs officers stationed at the American border and at airports searched an estimated 30,200 cellphones, computers and other electronic devices of people entering and leaving the United States last year — an almost 60 percent increase from 2016, according to Homeland Security Department data released on Friday. [NY Times]

It’s an ABC affiliate. The Glasgow Electric Plant Board narrowly decided at a special meeting Thursday to drop WHAS, a CBS affiliate broadcast channel in Louisville, from its lineup after all. [Glasgow Daily Times]

The rivalry between fast food giants has taken on a strange political twist: KFC has aped Donald Trump’s message to Kim Jong-un, in an attempt to feud with McDonald’s. [BBC]

What on earth is wrong with people? Lexington-Fayette Animal Care and Control seeks the public’s help in finding whoever abandoned a puppy in a trash bag. [H-L]

Donald Trump, who recently said he would announce the “MOST DISHONEST & CORRUPT MEDIA AWARDS OF THE YEAR,” has been awarded the title of the world’s most oppressive leader toward press freedom by the Committee to Protect Journalists. [HuffPo]

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Recent Moves Against Marijuana Are Rooted Purely In Racism & Elitist Greed

No one thinks the upcoming budget session in Frankfort — with a looming $1 billion deficit — will mean good news for higher education, but advocates are particularly worried by the possibility that lottery-financed scholarship programs might be in jeopardy. [Linda Blackford]

L-u-n-a-t-i-c. Donald Trump on Tuesday renewed his attack on his “deep state” Justice Department, and said a top aide to 2016 election rival Hillary Clinton should be jailed. [HuffPo]

It’s easy to spot drivers zipping down Kentucky highways well above the speed limit. But stopping them isn’t as simple as you might think. [C-J/AKN]

One of the top U.S. government officials working on refugee issues announced her impending retirement on Tuesday, and refugee advocates expressed concern about the fate of the country’s resettlement program which faces mounting pressure from the Trump administration. [Reuters]

From the boardroom to the basketball court, the University of Louisville had a tough year. Hall of Fame Coach Rick Pitino was fired, the school dealt with a yearlong probation from an accrediting group and an audit found mismanagement at a foundation overseeing its investments. [Richmond Register]

Chicken plants have recruited thousands of foreign workers in recent years through a little-known program to fill jobs they say Americans won’t do. [ProPublica]

Shelves in the food pantry at First United Methodist Church were seemingly full Wednesday morning. [Ashland Independent]

Joseph Flynn — brother of former presidential national security adviser Michael Flynn, who recently pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI — demanded a pardon for his brother on Tuesday. [ThinkProgress]

It’s stupid to continue arresting people for growing marijuana. The only reason it happens is because it makes local law enforcement agencies money. But no one wants to talk about that reality. [Glasgow Daily Times]

Attorney General Jeff Sessions is rescinding the Obama-era policy that had paved the way for legalized marijuana to flourish in states across the country, two people with knowledge of the decision told The Associated Press. [Associated Press]

The Louisville jail’s heating system is hobbling under cold temperatures, forcing some inmates to face near-freezing temperatures in their cells. [WFPL]

Donald Trump didn’t want to be president. One year ago: the plan to lose, and the administration’s shocked first days. [New York Magazine]

Eight members of the House of Representative filed a formal charge Wednesday calling for the expulsion of House Speaker Jeff Hoover following his decision to remain speaker even though he had promised to step down amid a sexual harassment scandal this fall. [H-L]

Donald Trump and Rand Paul both pushed this. It’s insane how racists those two folks are. [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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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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We’re Coming For You, Johnson, Comer, Hoover, Et Al. The Kentucky Democratic Party Doesn’t Have The Guts But Everyday Kentuckians Will Oust You.

Two years after taking office, Gov. Matt Bevin continues to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars for his 2015 gubernatorial campaign, often from people he has appointed to state jobs, lobbyists, and contractors doing business with the state. [John Cheves]

This time, Donald Trump’s playbook didn’t work. Republican Roy Moore faced serious accusations of sexual misconduct in his bid to become Alabama’s next senator. But instead of bowing down and backing out, he stayed in the race and went on the attack ― just like Trump did in last year’s presidential race. He accused the media and the establishment of orchestrating a conspiracy against him, and cast the race as pitting good against evil, Christians versus everyone else. [HuffPo]

Another Frankfort legislator is being asked to step down amid allegations of sexual misconduct. Dan Johnson, a preacher and Republican representative from Bullit County, was accused of sexually abusing a girl who was a member of his church, Heart of Fire, in Fern Creek. Johnson was criticized last year for posting, and later removing, racist images to his Facebook page including images of the President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama as monkeys. [C-J/AKN]

Violent protests against Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital broke out on Sunday near the U.S. Embassy in Beirut, Lebanon, according to multiple reports. [The Hill]

The University of Louisville has awarded the 2018 Grawemeyer Award for Psychology to Robert Sternberg, a psychology professor at Cornell. Sternberg is being recognized for his work on what he calls the “triarchic theory of intelligence.” [WFPL]

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency could launch a public debate about climate change as soon as January, Administrator Scott Pruitt said on Thursday, as the agency unwinds Obama-era initiatives to fight global warming. [Reuters]

This is what the Republican Party of Kentucky gets for trying to cover this nightmare up. Tres Watson and others knew about the details in this mess (they did, we talked about them a looooong time ago – just like every other scandal – that’s why they kept me close until they turned homophobic) and just twiddled their thumbs. A Republican Kentucky lawmaker known for his inflammatory social media posts comparing President Barack Obama and his wife to monkeys has been accused of sexual assault by a woman who attended his church. Both Republican and Democratic leaders on Monday called for Dan Johnson to resign. [Richmond Register]

Here’s a national look at Matt Bevin making Kentucky look bad. His excuse for blocking people on social media doesn’t hold water. [ProPublica]

Those seeking office in next year’s May 22 primary election must wait until April 7 before displaying their political campaign signs in Rowan County. [The Morehead News]

F.B.I. officials warned one of Donald Trump’s top advisers, Hope Hicks, earlier this year about repeated attempts by Russian operatives to make contact with her during the presidential transition, according to people familiar with the events. [NY Times]

Pay attention to this and keep it on your radar if you’re familiar with any of my work over the past decade. Auditors found no fault with the financial records of the Cave City Convention Center when conducting an audit of the facility’s 2016-17 financial records. [Glasgow Daily Times]

The GOP tax plan on the cusp of becoming law diverges wildly from the promises Donald Trump and top advisers said they would deliver for the middle class — an evolution that shows how traditional Republican orthodoxy swamped Trump’s distinctive brand of economic populism as it moved through Washington. [WaPo]

A former Bath County attorney who served 21 months in federal prison on perjury and vote-buying charges has turned himself into Montgomery County authorities on drug and other charges. [H-L]

Another woman who has accused Donald Trump of groping her is demanding a congressional investigation into the numerous sexual misconduct allegations against him. Melinda McGillivray appeared on NBC’s “Megyn Kelly Today” on Tuesday, breaking down in tears as she described her alleged interactions with Trump. She has accused Trump of grabbing her buttocks at Mar-a-Lago in 2003. [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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