Republicans Are Now Killing NASA

Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s interest in former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort stemmed in part from his suspected role as a “back channel” between the campaign and Russians intent on meddling in the election, a Justice Department lawyer told a judge. [Bloomberg]

Ann Oldfather will own their asses before this is over. Kentucky Retirement Systems lost public money on more than $1.5 billion in hedge fund investments in recent years, although its own advisers privately urged the agency to stay away from such “unacceptable risks,” according to new claims in a lawsuit brought by eight public employees. [H-L]

Modern Republicans are garbage humans. The Senate on Thursday confirmed Rep. Jim Bridenstine (R-Okla.), a former Navy pilot with no scientific credentials and who doesn’t believe humans are primarily to blame for the global climate crisis, to lead NASA. [HuffPo]

A member of the Jefferson County Public Schools board said Monday night that members have been told that a state audit will recommend that the district receive state assistance, stopping short of a full state takeover. [C-J/AKN]

The parents of two children killed in the 2012 Sandy Hook school massacre have sued conspiracy theorist Alex Jones for defamation, accusing him and his website InfoWars of engaging in a campaign of “false, cruel, and dangerous assertions.” [Reuters]

The Hep A panic isn’t just paralyzing Louisville. [Ashland Independent]

Early one winter morning last year, Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents were scouting the last-known address of a fugitive they had labeled Target #147 when they happened upon Isabel Karina Ruiz-Roque. [ProPublica]

The air around Louisville is among the most polluted in the country according to a new study. The American Lung Association ranked the region around Louisville 21st out of the nation’s 25 most polluted cities for year-round particle pollution. [WFPL]

For people living in flood-prone areas, there is a large income gap between those who hold insurance policies and those that don’t. [ThinkProgress]

With county employees lining half of the perimeter of the Barren County Fiscal Courtroom, the county’s governing body – with all members present – unanimously approved a resolution Tuesday honoring the memory of Rusty Anderson, a Barren County Sheriff’s Office detective who had turned 47 exactly a week before he died March 18. Anderson suffered a heart attack as he was leaving his home that Sunday to assist with an investigation. [Glasgow Daily Times]

PEE ALERT! A lawyer for Michael D. Cohen said in court on Monday that one of Mr. Cohen’s clients was Sean Hannity, the Fox News personality and an ardent defender of Donald Trump. [NY Times]

After spending nearly two days helping lay out the prosecution’s case against former Dr. Roy Reynolds, the government’s expert witness withstood a cross-examination by Reynolds’ attorney. Reynolds, a former Franklin family physician, is on trial in U.S. District Court in Bowling Green on 19 counts of illegal distribution of controlled substances, including a count alleging he is responsible for the 2011 overdose death of patient Jackie Hughes. [BGDN]

David Hardy has been treating HIV-infected patients since the early 1980s, when the epidemic began. In those days, people newly diagnosed with AIDS lived for only about six months. Hardy, an infectious-disease specialist and internist, was ecstatic when powerful new drug combinations came into widespread use in 1996, enabling HIV-infected people to measure their lives in decades rather than months. But in recent years, his euphoria has turned bittersweet. [WaPo]

Matt Bevin chose Regina Stivers, the wife of Kentucky Senate President Robert Stivers, to lead the state’s Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet Tuesday after announcing that current tourism Secretary Don Parkinson will take the top spot at the Education and Workforce Development Cabinet. [H-L]

Growing up, Ashley Hernandez knew that there were problems in her community of Wilmington in South Los Angeles. She remembers staying indoors when explosions rocked the city’s oil refineries, being warned by adults not to drink tap water, and having her school soccer field roped off by yellow tape because of soil contamination. [HuffPo]

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Matt Bevin Is Gutting Public Education

Matt Bevin and former House Speaker Jeff Hoover scrapped Friday as the House voted to override Bevin’s veto of the state tax bill, with Hoover knocking Bevin’s attempted education budget cuts and Bevin hitting Hoover for a sex harassment scandal. [H-L]

Donald Trump’s sudden decision not to impose tough new sanctions on Russia left many lawmakers dumbfounded this week and led some to question whether Trump had seriously undermined Nikki Haley, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, who had announced the sanctions just a day prior. [HuffPo]

Matt Bevin’s statement on the effect of teacher protests and rallies on the state’s children is prompting outrage among state officials — including members of his own party. [C-J/AKN]

A major donor with close ties to the White House resigned on Friday as deputy finance chairman of the Republican National Committee after the revelation that he had agreed to pay $1.6 million to a former Playboy model who became pregnant during an affair. [NY Times]

Attorneys for Matt Bevin filed a motion Tuesday in Franklin Circuit Court seeking to disqualify Attorney General Andy Beshear in a suit filed by Beshear challenging the constitutionality of a recently passed law which makes changes to Kentucky’s public pension systems. [Ronnie Ellis]

Demoralized by rounds of job cuts, journalists at San Jose’s Mercury News and East Bay Times in Oakland, Calif., took their case to the public last month. At a rally in Oakland, they handed out a fact sheet detailing the “pillaging” of their papers, accompanied by a cartoon of a business executive trying to milk an emaciated cow. [WaPo]

Due to an ongoing outbreak of Hepatitis A, the Department for Public Health (DPH) within the Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS), is recommending vaccination for everyone residing in Boyd, Greenup and Carter Counties. [Ashland Independent]

Don Blankenship… hahahahahahahahahahaha,. Just move all beverages away from your computer before clicking the clicky [ThinkProgress]

State lawmakers put the finishing touches on the General Assembly’s 2018 session by overriding gubernatorial vetoes, most notably on the state budget and tax reform legislation, and passing bills right up to the session’s final hours. [The Morehead News]

Barbara Bush, former US first lady and literacy campaigner, has died aged 92. [BBC]

Pruitt was terrible and needed to go but his replacement is going to be a nightmare. It didn’t take long for the newly configured state Board of Education, whose members have now all been appointed by Gov. Matt Bevin, to change directions. [More Ronnie Ellis]

The parents of a 17-year-old student who was shot five times as he shielded others during the Parkland, Florida high school mass shooting on Tuesday filed the first lawsuit on behalf of a victim in the massacre that killed 17 people and wounded 17 others. [Reuters]

Lexington is still arguing about dogs. Because there’s obviously nothing more important going on. [H-L]

This guy did exactly what Steve Henry did! The Missouri attorney general’s office has uncovered “evidence of potential criminal acts of wrongdoing” by Gov. Eric Greitens, Attorney General Josh Hawley announced Tuesday. At issue, Hawley said, is an electronic donor list Greitens obtained from a Missouri nonprofit called The Mission Continues. [HuffPo]

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Kentucky Teachers Are Still Fired Up

Can legalizing marijuana fight the problem of opioid addiction and fatal overdoses? Two new studies in the debate suggest it may. [H-L]

Andrew Bailey had toyed with the idea of running for public office in Kentucky for years. A teacher at Fairdale High School in Louisville, Bailey figured he’d start small: maybe a seat on the Board of Education for Jefferson County Public Schools, the state’s largest school district, or perhaps a spot on Louisville’s Metro Council. [HuffPo]

Hold on to your corrupt wigs, Republicans. Guessing there’s a reason Jeff Hoover has been MIA for weeks and weeks. Tuesday was fun and you know there’s more fun to come. Even though the Legislative Ethics Commission is a load of horseshit that’s never held anyone accountable. That’s why Schaaf was installed there – to make sure nothing ever occurs. [C-J/AKN]

Jason Foster, chief investigative counsel to the Senate Judiciary Committee, fits a classic Washington profile: A powerful, mostly unknown force at the center of some of the most consequential battles on Capitol Hill. [ProPublica]

Just over a month after the Richmond City Commission voted to commit more than $1 million to connect with Kentucky Wired, the state project, that would build more than 3,000 miles of fiber optic cable across the state to provide high-speed Internet service, has hit a major roadblock. [Richmond Register]

In July, David J. Pecker, the chairman of the company that owns The National Enquirer, visited his old friend Donald Trump at the White House. [NY Times]

If Republican lawmakers thought some additional funding for education in the new state budget might soften the anger of teachers over pension changes passed last week, they may be rethinking that idea after Monday. [Ronnie Ellis]

Donald Trump is a paranoid racist and has been poisoned by Fox News. But you already knew that and none of this will come as a surprise. [WaPo]

The Morehead Utility Plant Board has begun moving forward on an initiative to help pay employees closer to the market value of their position to help decrease turnover. [The Morehead News]

Top intelligence chiefs issue a dire warning about the Kremlin’s ongoing efforts to influence the US, defend against Trump’s attacks on the FBI, and explain what happened with a shady Russian offering dirt on Trump. [BI]

The Barren County Economic Authority has set up the process for a local industry that is leasing a facility to pay it off and take over ownership if it decides to move forward with that decision. [Glasgow Daily Times]

Ken Ham won’t like this… Researchers have uncovered more than 50 dinosaur tracks along a Scottish beach, some of which have retained their original shape and even the outline of claws. The discovery is shedding light on the kinds of dinosaurs that lived in this region some 170 million years ago. [Gizmodo]

An investment firm pushing Kentucky lawmakers to approve a $60 million tax break aimed at creating jobs in rural parts of the state has a history of persuading lawmakers in other states and then making millions from tax breaks that often don’t create the promised jobs. [H-L]

Fifty years after Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination, his status as a civil rights icon isn’t really in question. In recent polls, 85 percent of Americans say he made things better for black Americans, and nearly 70 percent say that his legacy remains relevant today. [HuffPo]

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Told Ya They Were Cheating The KRS Years Ago But Mainstream Media Tried To Discredit It

Several major investment firms that are being sued for allegedly cheating Kentucky Retirement Systems over $1.5 billion in controversial hedge funds want to take the lawsuit behind closed doors. [John Cheves]

Special counsel Robert Mueller is drafting a report about Donald Trump’s actions in office as part of his ongoing investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election. [HuffPo]

A bill that establishes a flat income tax rate of 5 percent, applies the sales tax to 17 services, and increases the cigarette tax by 50 cents per pack was approved by a legislative conference committee Monday morning. [C-J/AKN]

In a broad expansion of the information gathered from applicants for U.S. visas, the federal government is proposing to collect social media identities from nearly everyone who seeks entry into the United States, according to a State Department filing on Friday. [Reuters]

A Berea City Council member is again questioning a contract the city signed in 2016 with Kentucky Municipal Energy Association (KyMEA) and asking for reports from the other company the city has contracted with, American Municipal Power of Ohio (AMP), about a discrepancy in costs. [Richmond Register]

Five expert committees advised the federal government on ways to improve workplace safety and enhance whistleblower protections. Under Donald Trump, their work has stopped and their recommendations are now stalled. [ProPublica]

The Legislative Ethics Commission Tuesday dismissed complaints against three of four lawmakers who signed a confidential settlement with a former legislative aide who alleged she was victim of sexual harassment. But the commission will continue to investigate charges against former Speaker of the House Jeff Hoover. [Ronnie Ellis]

The guy Trump fired at the VA is speaking out – and loudly. If that doesn’t (it won’t) wake you loyalists up, nothing will. [NY Times]

Board elections, preliminary enrollment numbers, and voluntary separation reports were all on the agenda at last Thursday’s Morehead State University Board of Regents meeting. [The Morehead News]

The carefully maintained secrecy around Donald Trump’s finances is under unprecedented assault a year into his presidency, with three different legal teams with different agendas trying to pry open the Trump Organization’s books. [WaPo]

Democrats outnumber registered Republicans in eastern Kentucky’s Elliott County 10-1 and voted twice for Barack Obama. But in 2016, Elliott County voted 2-1 for Republican Donald J. Trump. [More Ronnie Ellis]

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein authorized special counsel Robert Mueller to investigate whether former Donald Trump presidential campaign manager Paul Manafort colluded with the Russian government to affect the outcome of the 2016 election, according to a newly released classified memo. [NBC News]

House and Senate Republicans unveiled the most significant changes to Kentucky’s tax code in more than a decade Monday in attempts to provide funding in a tight budget year. [H-L]

Donald Trump has made his promise of aggressive immigration enforcement the centerpiece of his domestic agenda. But two agencies tasked with enforcing the nation’s immigration laws — U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) — have long attracted criticism for failing to release documents and data in a timely manner, if at all. That makes it hard for journalists, advocates, lawyers and the public to keep tabs on what the administration is doing. [HuffPo]

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Will April Be Just As Crazy As March?

The General Assembly introduced a tax bill today that is a shift in taxes away from corporations and high-income people and over to low- and middle-income Kentuckians. Although the official estimate is that it would bring $248 million more in net revenue by the second year, the plan relies heavily on a fading source in a cigarette tax increase and very uncertain new revenues from conformity to the federal tax code. By moving away from more productive income taxes to slower-growing consumption taxes, it will worsen Kentucky’s budget problems in the future. [Republicans Are Screwing You]

It was fitting that Republicans rammed their newest secret pension plan through the General Assembly in a matter of hours Thursday as an amendment to a bill about sewer system regulations. The whole process stank. [Tom Eblen]

Trump touted second chances for former prisoners the day before he blasted California Gov. Jerry Brown for giving ex-convicts a … second chance. [HuffPo]

Teachers from across Kentucky stormed Frankfort on Friday morning, furious over a controversial pension bill that lawmakers passed the night before in a matter of hours. [C-J/AKN]

Thousands of Kentucky teachers descended on Frankfort on Monday morning to rally against a surprise pension reform bill that passed through the legislature late last week. [More C-J/AKN]

Investigators probing whether Donald Trump’s presidential campaign colluded with Russia have been questioning witnesses about events at the 2016 Republican National Convention, according to two sources familiar with Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s inquiries. [Reuters]

An action packed Thursday night ended in a passed pension bill, however, for many Kentucky educators the fight, they say, is far from over. [Richmond Register]

Nearly a year after record Midwestern floods killed at least five people and caused $1.7 billion in damage, a secretive lobbying effort funded by Illinois and Missouri drainage districts is underway to roll back flood regulations, documents show. [ProPublica]

Northeastern Kentucky lawmakers discussed their votes Friday on a controversial pension reform bill that surged through the state Legislature. [Ashland Independent]

Get. Off. Facebook. A Facebook executive’s memo that claimed the “ugly truth” was that anything it did to grow was justified has been made public, embarrassing the company. [BBC]

Kentucky educators expressed their concern Friday for a bill that passed the Kentucky General Assembly on Thursday. While the 291-page bill originally addressed wastewater services, it now includes pension reform. [Glasgow Daily Times]

One was Photoshopped tearing up the Constitution — a falsehood — and criticized for wearing a flag that represented her Cuban heritage. A conservative blog said that another wasn’t even at the school during the killings — then had to backtrack on Monday when that also proved false. The attacks on the teenage survivors of the shooting in Parkland, Fla., have been fierce from the beginning, and have only continued since the students helped spearhead hundreds of protests this weekend. [NY Times]

Kentucky’s Democratic attorney general says he’ll go to court to challenge the pension overhaul bill passed by lawmakers in the Republican-controlled General Assembly Thursday night. [WFPL]

The death of an icon in America’s civil rights history is a reminder of how recently school segregation existed in the United States — and how little has changed since that time. [WaPo]

A former employee of Eric C. Conn pleaded guilty Friday to helping the one-time disability attorney escape the country last year to avoid sentencing in a federal fraud case. Curtis Wyatt, 48, faces up to five years in prison for helping Conn. [H-L]

Far-right white men are dangerous. Jurors in a federal courthouse Thursday were played recording after recording of three militia members spewing genocidal hatred of Muslims. [HuffPo]

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Shoo, What A Year March Was

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How many years did I report on this while the mainstream media blew it off? The Kentucky Retirement Systems Board of Trustees is debating whether to join a lawsuit that says the state’s pension agency was cheated on up to $1.5 billion in hedge fund investments by several wealthy corporations, with blame to be shared by some of its own current and former trustees and officials. [John Cheves]

Modern Republicans are so severely gay-panicked they can’t breath. So of course they’re pulling crap like this with trans kids. At least three school districts around the country are continuing to enforce potentially hostile restroom policies for transgender students after the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights refused to investigate student complaints. [HuffPo]

Attorney General Andy Beshear says the surprise new pension bill is illegal, and he will file suit to block its implementation. [C-J/AKN]

Paul Manafort, the former chair of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, had a long professional relationship with a man connected to Russian intelligence. And special counsel Robert Mueller says that man, Konstantin Kilimnik, was still working with Russian intelligence in 2016, when Trump was running for president. [Vox]

Matt Bevin probably had no need Friday to worry about teachers hoarding sick days. Enough called in sick to close more than 20 school districts across the state. [Ronnie Ellis]

For the past 20 years, Hope Workman has hustled up a dirt path on the side of a mountain in Lovely, Kentucky, just to get drinking water. She doesn’t trust what comes out of her tap. [CNN]

Teachers in Northeast Kentucky were furious Friday after the Kentucky General Assembly on Thursday unexpectedly passed pension legislation they say insults them and will cripple the state’s ability to attract new educators. [Ashland Independent]

Cambridge Analytica’s US campaign data, which was harvested from Facebook, is still circulating – despite assurances it has been deleted. [Channel 4]

Their anger is palpable. So is their hurt. Kentucky teachers feel betrayed by a party line vote Thursday night in the Republican controlled General Assembly to make changes in their pension benefits. [Ronnie Ellis]

Donald Trump ordered the expulsion of 60 Russian officials on Monday, joining a coordinated campaign by two dozen countries to retaliate for the poisoning of a former Russian spy in Britain in a Cold War-style escalation that again highlighted the disparity between the president’s words and actions. [NY Times]

Teachers from around Kentucky descended on Frankfort Friday morning to protest a surprise pension bill that was rushed through the state legislature the day before. [WFPL]

Six months ago, the conservative radio host and blogger Erick Erickson wrote an opinion piece in the New York Times, inspiringly titled “How to Find Common Ground.” “We owe it to one another to disagree agreeably, without anger or intimidation,” he wrote, noting that social media has put us all in polarized bubbles. [WaPo]

Hundreds of angry teachers gathered in the Capitol Rotunda Friday outside Gov. Matt Bevin’s office to protest a surprise public pension bill that legislators rushed through Thursday. [H-L]

The Environmental Protection Agency on Tuesday evening sent employees a list of eight approved talking points on climate change from its Office of Public Affairs ― guidelines that promote a message of uncertainty about climate science and gloss over proposed cuts to key adaptation programs. [HuffPo]

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More Boel Bullshit Promoted By WAVE

A Kentucky attorney who fled the country to avoid going to prison before being captured is seeking to have part of a federal case against him thrown out. [H-L]

The tone of the website abortionpillreversal.com is filled with urgency. Women who have taken the first dose of the “abortion pill” — actually two drugs, mifepristone and misoprostol, taken over the span of several days to terminate a pregnancy — are exhorted to call right away if they regret their decision. [HuffPo]

Corrupt secrecy is the University of Louisville way and it’s not going to change any time soon. If you want to know how to stop it? Someone is going to need to do what I did with Robert Felner on a grand scale. A closed-door board of trustees meeting at the University of Louisville Sunday was held with campus police stationed on sidewalks around the University Club to turn away the public. [C-J/AKN]

A judge on Monday denied a defense motion to dismiss charges against the widow of the gunman in the 2016 massacre at Orlando’s Pulse nightclub, saying that the gunman’s father’s work an FBI informant was not relevant to the case. [Reuters]

Here’s John Boel doing something stupid again. Stupid and racist. Yes, I fucking said it. Racist. Nearly every “undercover” thing the man has done has been against people of color. It’s disgusting. [WAVE3]

Older Americans who face discrimination on the job can’t rely on the courts as much as earlier generations did. [ProPublica]

Kentucky Republicans love screwing poor people and the working class. Edna Bland had just adopted a child, her father was dying and her husband was having risky heart surgery when a mortgage company tried to take her house in 2009. [Richmond Register]

A pair of letters released on Tuesday reveal that the National Rifle Association (NRA) has received foreign funds, calling into question that much further the tens of millions of dollars the NRA donated to the Donald Trump campaign — money that came from an arm of the NRA not required to reveal the identities of its donors. [ThinkProgress]

Kentucky lawmakers are looking to allocate tax money to spur economic development and jobs — even while they struggle to cobble together a budget without sufficient revenues which will still fund education and the state’s badly underfunded public pension systems. [Ronnie Ellis]

Medicare officials thought they had finally figured out how to do their part to fix the troubling problem of opioids being overprescribed to the old and disabled: In 2016, a staggering one in three of 43.6 million beneficiaries of the federal health insurance program had been prescribed the painkillers. [NY Times]

The cost for Metcalfe County to offer a 401K-type of retirement package to employees of the Barren-Metcalfe County Emergency Medical Service, should the ambulance service’s board of directors choose to go that route, could range from $534,000 to $413,000. [Glasgow Daily Times]

Donald Trump frequently said Mexico would pay for a wall along the southern border as he sought the presidency in 2016. Now, he is privately pushing the U.S. military to fund construction of his signature project. [WaPo]

A proposed $60 million tax break aimed at creating jobs in rural Kentucky is poised to get final approval from Kentucky lawmakers, but critics contend the bill lacks one key element: proof that those cashing in the tax break actually created jobs. [H-L]

The Louisiana attorney general said Tuesday he won’t charge two white police officers in the fatal shooting of a black man that sparked heated protests across the country. [HuffPo]

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