Can Republicans Do Anything Right?

Former disability lawyer Eric C. Conn pleaded not guilty to escape charges Wednesday, a day after the FBI flew him back to Kentucky from Honduras, where he was captured Saturday after six months as a fugitive. [H-L]

Facing swift and stiff backlash from lawmakers and activists, the Department of Veterans Affairs has reportedly backtracked on a decision to slash funding for a successful program that helps provide housing to homeless veterans. [HuffPo]

The city of Louisville has paid more than $566,000 to nine law firms to fight Kerry Porter’s claim for compensation for the 14 years spent behind bars for a murder he did not commit. Porter was exonerated in 2011 by former Commonwealth’s Attorney Dave Stengel for the 1996 killing of truck driver Tyrone Camp. In 2012 he sued the city and 10 police officers, alleging a conspiracy to unlawfully arrest and convict him. [C-J/AKN]

The Trump administration is holding talks on providing nuclear technology to Saudi Arabia — a move that critics say could upend decades of U.S. policy and lead to an arms race in the Middle East. [ProPublica]

Affordable housing development could be a victim of the proposed $1.5 trillion tax cut currently working its way through the United States Congress. [WFPL]

Donald Trump’s outrageous, self-aggrandizing rhetoric is the butt of so many jokes precisely because it’s so transparently false, it should be funny. When he inflates the size of his inauguration crowd to soothe his ego, bruised after he lost the popular vote to his rival, it sounds like a kid lying about who came to his birthday party. But it’s funny until the lies have deadly consequences — beyond just discouraging the American public’s trust in democracy and its own institutions. [ThinkProgress]

Despite his Nov. 5 announcement that he is stepping down as Speaker of the House in the wake of reports he signed a confidential settlement of sexual harassment claims, Jeff Hoover, R-Jamestown, may legally still be Speaker. [Ronnie Ellis]

White House national security adviser HR McMaster says the US is “in a race” to address the threat from North Korea. [BBC]

House Republican Communications Director Daisy Olivo filed suit Monday against the Legislative Research Commission alleging retaliation for reporting allegations that then-Speaker Jeff Hoover engaged in a consensual sexual relationship with another staff aide. [More Ronnie Ellis]

Donald Trump ran a campaign on lifting up the little guy. He was, in the words of his oldest son, “a blue-collar billionaire,” and it was his plain-spoken promise to be their warrior in Washington that helped win over voters in hollowed-out Midwestern towns. But almost a year into his presidency, evidence shows he has governed not as the populist champion he proclaimed himself to be, but instead as a president siding more often with large corporations, special interests, and the wealthiest of Americans. [Boston Globe]

The recommendation of the Barren County Fiscal Court Administrative Committee to the full fiscal court will be for the county to move forward with establishing a syringe exchange program through the health department, but the decision was not unanimous. [Glasgow Daily Times]

Charter schools are among the nation’s most segregated, an Associated Press analysis finds — an outcome at odds, critics say, with their goal of offering a better alternative to failing traditional public schools. [AP]

Republican members of the Kentucky House are asking Republican Gov. Matt Bevin not to call a special legislative session on pension reform before the end of the year. [H-L]

It was late morning in an artsy cafe, the smell of coffee and baked goods sweetening the air, and Ashley Bishop sat at a table, recalling a time when she was taught that most of secular American society was worthy of contempt. [HuffPo]

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Overdoses Are Hitting Ashland Hard

The effort to preserve a 125-mile stretch of Pine Mountain that runs the length of southeastern Kentucky has taken a significant step forward with the purchase of nearly 2,000 acres, the Kentucky Natural Lands Trust announced Thursday. [H-L]

The public feud between Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) and Donald Trump continued to escalate on Tuesday. The GOP senator, who warned earlier this month that Trump’s behavior could lead to World War III, told CNN that he believes the president’s legacy will be the “debasement of our nation.” [HuffPo]

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has made its final decision for a new VA hospital in Louisville, and it is sticking with a 35-acre farmland site off Brownsboro Road. [C-J/AKN]

The U.S government issued a rare public warning that sophisticated hackers are targeting energy and industrial firms, the latest sign that cyber attacks present an increasing threat to the power industry and other public infrastructure. [Reuters]

A second person has announced her candidacy to become the next Barren County clerk, with incumbent Joanne London not seeking re-election. [Glasgow Daily Times]

Another lawmaker is asking insurers whether their policies have made it easier for patients to access cheaper, more addictive drugs over less addictive alternatives. Meanwhile, the insurance industry trade group pledged additional steps to combat inappropriate prescribing. [ProPublica]

Rowan County Fiscal Court made it clear during its monthly meeting on Tuesday that it did not support a rate increase proposed by Advanced Disposal, owner and operator of the county landfill. [The Morehead News]

This idiot. Speaking to reporters alongside Puerto Rican Governor Ricardo Rosselló at the White House on Thursday, Trump gave the White House the highest possible marks for its response to Hurricane Maria. [ThinkProgress]

A plaque proclaiming Jefferson Davis as a hero and a patriot will be removed from Kentucky’s Capitol, the latest effort to alter Confederate monuments across the country following outbreaks of racially motivated violence. [Richmond Register]

After a series of high-profile police shootings, police departments across the nation turned to body cameras, hoping they would curb abuses. But a rigorous study released Friday shows that they have almost no effect on officer behavior. [NY Times]

An overdose awareness and prevention seminar is set for Thursday in downtown Ashland amid an overdose crisis that’s devastated the Tri-State and left at least 34 dead in Boyd County this year alone. [Ashland Independent]

These fools have no idea that it’s the media’s job to constantly question those in power – no matter what. Yet again, the White House has declared itself to be above question. [WaPo]

It was time. Long past time, actually. As the sun set Tuesday on a beautiful fall day, it also set on Lexington’s two most visible symbols of history rewritten. [Tom Eblen]

Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) won’t run for re-election in 2018, The Arizona Republic first reported. Flake spoke about his decision on the Senate floor Tuesday, railing against the “appalling features of our current politics” and arguing that lawmakers should “never regard as normal the regular and casual undermining of our democratic norms and ideals.” [HuffPo]

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Thomas Massie’s True Colors Shine

State legislators enjoyed a modest investment return in their public pension fund during fiscal 2016, but the struggling funds for state and local government employees and school teachers lost money on investments despite paying a combined $171 million in fees to financial advisers. [John Cheves]

Democratic leaders found themselves in the unusual position of being on the same side as President Donald Trump on Wednesday, reaching agreement on a plan to keep the government funded and raise the debt ceiling. [HuffPo]

Surprise! Thomas Massie is human garbage. Can’t wait til his family has to suffer something tragic so we can all withhold assistance. [C-J/AKN]

Facebook Inc. said it has identified about 500 “inauthentic” accounts responsible for $100,000 in advertising spending that it believes have ties to Russia, following a review of ad buying on the site in response to intelligence-community concerns about Russian activity during the 2016 election. [WSJ]

Woo, spending money Kentucky doesn’t have! Kentucky hasn’t changed its vehicle license plates in 12 years and John Mark Hack wants to change that — and the plates themselves. [Ronnie Ellis]

Russian election hacking efforts, wider than previously known, draw little scrutiny. Russians may have come closer to tampering with the outcome in key states than previously understood. [NY Times]

Even Matt Bevin, who has promised to fix Kentucky’s public pension system problems, said he didn’t expect enthusiasm from all corners about recommended pension reforms offered by an outside consulting group. [Ronnie Ellis]

The House on Wednesday approved $7.85 billion in Hurricane Harvey disaster relief, setting up a controversial legislative maneuver in which the bill is expected to be paired in the Senate with legislation raising the debt ceiling. [The Hill]

The Boyd Fiscal Court plans to join a tidal wave of counties in Kentucky and West Virginia partnering with a Huntington-based law firm to sue mega opioid distributors facing heat amid the deadliest drug overdose crisis in U.S. history. [Ashland Independent]

Fifteen states and the District of Columbia filed a lawsuit on Wednesday challenging President Donald Trump’s decision to end protections and benefits for young people who were brought into the United States illegally as children. [Reuters]

Lori Strother was a military wife. But her world was turned upside down when her husband took his own life. [Richmond Register]

The attorney general mischaracterized Obama-era restrictions while citing a study that actually says new computers reduce crime more than heavy weapons do. [ProPublica]

Bloated bigot Scott Jennings loves to foam at the mouth when anyone points out environmental irony re: the hurricane. But when these pigfuckers come out and push nuttery? Jennings & Co remain dangerously silent. Can’t wait til their kids are old enough to be ashamed. [H-L]

Very few Americans outright regret their votes in last year’s election. But such regrets, new data reveals, are highest among voters who may now make up the most tenuous part of the base that swept Donald Trump into office: those who supported Barack Obama in 2012. [HuffPo]

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Come On, Bulleit, Purge The Homophobia

Yep, it’s definitely time to throw out any Bulleit bourbon or rye products you’ve got in your homes or businesses. Homophobia is a disease and it should be eradicated. So when businesses like this pull clearly homophobic stunts? You’ve gotta show them that they’re not worth buying. Probably time to also ditch anything else Diageo makes. Pro-tip: If it wasn’t about homophobia? They would have been able to get out in front of it instead of flailing so badly. This is a gigantic corporation we’re talking about with a skilled PR team. They sucked this badly at it because they’re being dishonest. [H-L]

The beginning of Donald Trump’s presidency has been clouded by an ever-evolving scandal around potential collusion between his campaign and Russia. All told, there are five investigations into the matter, and from what we can tell publicly, none appears close to reaching a conclusion. [HuffPo]

Yes, there’s homophobia in the bourbon industry. There’s extreme homophobia in almost every industry in Kentucky. If you don’t live somewhere like Louisville, it’s still dangerous to be yourself in the Commonwealth. [C-J/AKN]

Government employees are growing increasingly willing to criticize or defy the White House and Donald Trump’s top appointees. [The Hill]

The late philanthropist Nancy McClellan willed $50,000 to the Boyd County Animal Shelter, and the fiscal court plans to combine the gift with county and Ashland city funding to replace it. [Ashland Independent]

Wells Fargo & Co will pay the U.S. government $108 million to settle a whistleblower lawsuit claiming it charged military veterans hidden fees to refinance their mortgages, and concealed the fees when applying for federal loan guarantees. [Reuters]

Margie Patton admits she was caught off guard when Harold “Hal” Heers stopped her one day back in 2008 to tell her he wanted to help the Barren River Animal Welfare Association expand the animal shelter. [Glasgow Daily Times]

Rex Tillerson is resisting the pleas of State Department officials to spend nearly $80 million allocated by Congress for fighting terrorist propaganda and Russian disinformation. [Politico]

A Clearfield woman has been arrested after police say she was trafficking both heroin and opiates, along with putting seven people in serious harm after exposing them to an extremely poisonous, deadly illicit drug. [The Morehead News]

Senators Tom Cotton and Ben Sasse have already been to Iowa this year, Gov. John Kasich is eyeing a return visit to New Hampshire, and Mike Pence’s schedule is so full of political events that Republicans joke that he is acting more like a second-term vice president hoping to clear the field than a No. 2 sworn in a little over six months ago. [NY Times]

This is the problem. Instead of leaving it up to sex offenders to report their location, we should be keeping track of them. [Richmond Register]

Afghan officials worry about widespread reports that Donald Trump threatened to fire Gen. John W. Nicholson Jr., the highly regarded U.S. military commander in the war-torn country. They’re also fretting over Trump’s delay in choosing a new military and political strategy. [WaPo]

What do you expect? After years and years of New Nazis/New Republicans screaming about poor people being on the take, pregnant women and women with children feel ashamed. The wingnuts fighting to end abortion but refusing to help women and children after babies are born are also a huge part of the problem. [H-L]

The Trump administration is actively advancing an agenda heralded by white nationalists, and its attempts to animate African Americans as a means to this end are becoming clearer with time. [HuffPo]

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Matt Bevin Continues To Embarrass KY

Nearly two years after rejecting requests to remove a controversial statue of Confederate President Jefferson Davis in Kentucky’s Capitol Rotunda, a state panel that promised to produce educational materials to help put the statue in historical context is only now beginning its work. [H-L]

Donald Trump, apparently confirming his disregard for the risks of global climate change, reportedly told the mayor of a small Chesapeake Bay island that could soon disappear to erosion and rising seas that there’s no cause for concern. Trump phoned James “Ooker” Eskridge, the mayor of Tangier, Virginia, on Monday, a few days after CNN aired a story about the impacts of climate change on the island in the middle of the bay, The Daily Times in Salisbury, Maryland, reports. Trump “said not to worry about sea-level rise,” Eskridge told the newspaper. “He said, ‘Your island has been there for hundreds of years, and I believe your island will be there for hundreds more.’” [HuffPo]

Dan Johnson is just gross. Metro Councilwoman Jessica Green told council leadership that fellow Democrat Dan Johnson groped her and then laughed about it last week. [C-J/AKN]

U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke has recommended to President Donald Trump reducing the size of the Bears Ears National Monument in Utah, according to a copy of the recommendation seen by Reuters on Monday. [Reuters]

Matt Bevin is right that we’re mocking him and that we hate god. We hate HIS god – a hateful, vengeful, racist, homophobic, hates-the-poor god. He’s so out-of-touch that he has no idea law enforcement, religious leaders, Republicans, Democrats and even members of his own staff are criticizing his idiocy. [WFPL]

At a meeting in March, a lead analyst in the VA’s compensation service was critical of the media, scientists and the VA’s own administrative tribunal for taking positions that differ from his. The VA said his comments “did not fully or accurately reflect VA’s position” but also said his quotes were being taken out of context. [ProPublica]

While heroin and other opioids continue to draw headlines and the attention of political figures, methamphetamine has made a comeback in Madison County. [Richmond Register]

In a new legal challenge to Trump, Maryland and the District of Columbia filed a lawsuit Monday alleging that his failure to shed his private businesses has undermined public trust and violated constitutional bans against self-dealing. [NY Times]

Children in Boyd County are being fed this summer through meal programs at several sites. [Ashland Independent]

Seems like a good time to revisit this. The lawyer gave Donald Trump a note, written in Trump’s own handwriting. He asked Trump to read it aloud. Trump may not have realized it yet, but he had walked into a trap. [WaPo]

State revenues were up in May over last year but probably not enough to head off a likely budget shortfall for the fiscal year which ends June 30. [Ronnie Ellis]

Rand Paul was in the cage waiting for one more turn at the plate when shots rand down on the field, hitting Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.) and at least four other people. [The Hill]

A Pikeville psychologist was convicted Monday of taking part in a massive disability fraud scheme in Eastern Kentucky. [H-L]

Donald Trump has given Defense Secretary Jim Mattis the authority to set troop levels in Afghanistan, a U.S. official told Reuters on Tuesday, opening the door for future troop increases requested by the U.S. commander. [HuffPo]

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The Trump-Bevin Brand Of New Republicanism Is Turning Deadly In Kentucky

Just check out the comments left by the dumbest mouth-breathers the Commonwealth has to offer. You’ll note they’re the kind of garbage people who don’t have the guts to show their faces – ever – for fear if getting their asses handed to them. Several windows were shattered at the main office of the Lexington Herald-Leader in downtown Lexington, amid suspected signs of small-caliber bullet damage to the building. [H-L]

Just a reminder of the nasty, ignorant, dangerous environment the New Republicans and Matt Bevin have created in Kentucky. The Lexington Herald-Leader is staying “vigilant” after several of its windows were shattered Sunday morning, Editor Peter Baniak said Monday. [HuffPo]

When a bunch of shitty, Republican bigots launch a 501(c)4 focused on pensions, you know they’re up to no good. [C-J/AKN]

Russian government officials discussed having potentially “derogatory” information about then-presidential candidate Donald Trump and some of his top aides in conversations intercepted by US intelligence during the 2016 election, according to two former intelligence officials and a congressional source. [CNN]

Before daylight fell on White Hall State Park, several men strapped on rucksacks and began a 22-mile journey to the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post in Winchester. [Richmond Register]

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Responsible for the state of health care in this country) is tempering expectations that the Senate will pass an overhaul of the nation’s healthcare system, promising his colleagues a vote but not success. [The Hill]

As national Democrats eye the 2018 mid-term elections amid the missteps of the Trump administration, several central Kentucky Democrats are considering a race against Sixth District Republican U.S. Congressman Andy Barr. [Ronnie Ellis]

Of course there are a bunch of backward-ass people gung ho for this racist shit. A small Kentucky town gave a formal welcome on Monday to a monument to the Confederate soldiers of the American Civil War, rededicating the controversial structure after the University of Louisville removed it as an unwelcome symbol of slavery. [Reuters]

The U.S. Army is planning to grant an exclusive license to the French pharmaceutical company Sanofi Pasteur, Inc. to manufacture and sell a Zika vaccine the Army developed last year. [WFPL]

Mike Dubke, Donald Trump’s communications director, has resigned as Trump considers a larger personnel shakeup to confront the growing scandals weighing down his administration. [Politico]

Eric Sexton, a Metcalfe County native, has been chosen to lead the Barren River Area Development District. BRADD’s executive council unanimously approved the decision to hire Sexton on Wednesday. [Glasgow Daily Times]

New Republicanism has reached yet another low with this latest stunt involving law enforcement. [WaPo]

Matt Bevin answered questions from the media about his new house last week, but his responses weren’t enough to satisfy Attorney General Andy Beshear. “This is pretty simple: a governor can’t buy a mansion from a state contractor for half off and he can’t create a brand new $250,000 job for his best friend,” Beshear said Tuesday. “Those are the types of things that aren’t Democrat or Republican, they’re just right or wrong. So there is and continues to be a lot of smoke here.” [H-L]

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos said Wednesday that states should have the flexibility to decide whether schools can discriminate against LGBTQ students ― even if those schools get federal money. [HuffPo]

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Bevin Still Playing Games With UofL

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Jeff Hoover choked back tears as his hands gripped the podium at the Russell County Auditorium Complex. [H-L]

President-elect Donald Trump on Thursday appeared as if he never ended his campaign, attacking “the extremely dishonest media,” boasting about his “landslide” victory, and dashing speculation he might pivot and start acting like a president. [HuffPo]

HAHAHAHAHA! Here’s Al Cross behaving as if Matt Bevin is capable of thoughtful leadership. Spoiler alert: he’s not. [C-J/AKN]

President-elect Donald Trump has committed a sharp breach of protocol—one that underscores just how weird some important protocols are. [The Atlantic]

For Valentine, Caballine, and Madge, the vest is the cue that it is time to go to work. [The Morehead News]

Green Party presidential nominee Jill Stein said early Sunday that she will file a lawsuit in federal court on Monday seeking a statewide recount in Pennsylvania. [The Hill]

Attorneys for Gov. Matt Bevin argue there is no need for the state Supreme Court to expedite their appeal of a lower court ruling that Bevin lacks authority to remake a university board of trustees because lawmakers can shortly ratify or reject Bevin’s actions. [Ronnie Ellis]

In the back reaches of the Dakota Access Pipeline protest camp, U.S. military veterans, armed with saws, hammers and other tools, are quietly building barracks, an infirmary and a mess hall. [Reuters]

Kentucky’s first Republican House speaker in nearly 100 years says his biggest job will be managing the expectations of the state’s restless GOP leaders 7/8— starting with the governor. [Richmond Register]

Yahima Leblanc Núñez and her husband, Pavel Reyes, were Cuban government workers when, in 2009, they plotted an escape. Five years later, after an arduous trek across Central America, including 15 days in a Mexican jail, they arrived here with two backpacks of clothes and a single tidbit of information — “Kentucky Fried Chicken” — about the state they now call home. [NY Times]

Horses trotted through Main Street pulling a sleigh full of children and parents that were celebrating Hometown Holidays, a tradition that has been repeated throughout the decade. [Ashland Independent]

Will Donald Trump really go through with all of it? It’s worth stepping back and looking at the big picture for a moment. [WaPo]

The only thing more frustrating than being a Democrat these days is being a journalist. The Gallup Poll shows that public trust in the news media is at an historic low, although we still have higher ratings than Congress. [Tom Eblen]

The House of Representatives’ Science Committee sent out a Twitter message Thursday afternoon that appears to mock “climate alarmists,” an odd and disconcerting move considering the group is tasked with overseeing the government’s role in scientific research. [HuffPo]