The RPK Is Beginning To Freak Out

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A former Eastern Kentucky lawmaker pleaded guilty to identity theft Thursday under a plea deal that calls for a two-year prison sentence. Former state Rep. Keith Hall, a democrat from Pikeville who is already serving a 7-year sentence in another case, was charged last year with three counts of wire fraud, two counts of identity theft and one count of lying to the FBI. [H-L]

Every single privacy activist I know cares about privacy in significant part to ensure the rule of law and to prevent the arbitrary exercise of justice to focus just on select groups like Muslims or Chinese-Americans, rather than those who pose the greatest risk to society, like people allegedly doing Russia’s secret bidding. Yet the actions of Ryan and Nunes reverse that, using a sham concern for civil liberties as a way to prevent themselves, their associates, and the president from being subject to the rule of law like the rest of us would be.[HuffPo]

Dan Dumas is a far-right nutso homophobe and your tax dollars paid him a $60,000 golden parachute. People like that have no business being around children. And why no mention of the $60K “mortgage” he received just a few days ago from the Southern Baptists? [C-J/AKN]

Trump wanted to know where the special counsel’s Russia investigation was heading. And he wanted to know whether Rosenstein was “on my team.” [CNN]

A Jamie Comer-Scott Jennings lackey is trying to run for Secretary of State. Which means hot garbage is running for Secretary of State. [Republican Stenographers]

The Republican Party isn’t just officially homophobic. Now it’s officially transphobic. Republicans are bigots. If that’s a tough pill for you to swallow, you need to deal with the fact that your political party of choice is one of hate. The Republican National Committee is siding with President Donald Trump on his order to bar transgender individuals from serving in the U.S. military. [AP]

The 2018 General Assembly is now one-third of the way toward its constitutionally-limited 60 days to pass legislation — and still there is no pension bill in sight. [Ronnie Ellis]

The U.S. Congress made no notable progress this week toward a deal on the status of 700,000 “Dreamer” immigrants, with Donald Trump saying on Friday that one “could very well not happen” by a deadline next month. [Reuters]

The filing deadline for Kentucky candidates closed Tuesday, and some northeastern Kentucky lawmakers will face challengers in this year’s election cycle. [Ashland Independent]

For Republicans in the states, the political warning signs keep mounting: In Virginia, it was an electoral shellacking that nearly snapped their 20-year grip on the State House. In Wisconsin, it was a midwinter rout in a special election for the State Senate, fought in a conservative district. [NY Times]

In a year when women candidates are expected to play an important role, 89 women filed to run for the Kentucky General Assembly. [More Ronnie Ellis]

Gene Ransom’s day was ruined within minutes of Attorney General Jeff Sessions’s announcement that he was giving federal prosecutors more freedom to go after marijuana transactions in states that have legalized medical cannabis. [WaPo]

Yes, Matt Bevin’s new Medicaid rules are all about putting up roadblocks for poor people. That’s how modern Republicanism functions. [John Cheves]

For weeks, Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee and their allies have been promising that they have a memo with damning evidence undermining special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian election meddling and Russian ties to Donald Trump’s inner circle. [HuffPo]

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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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Bevin & RPK Are Terrible For Education

If you support this lunatic, you need to realize you’re a racist. You can’t be non-racist and support him. It’s not possible. [HuffPo]

This continuing Jeff Hoover meltdown is getting crazier by the minute. Just straight-up craziness. [H-L]

Democrats on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee released a sweeping report Wednesday outlining Russian President Vladimir Putin’s decades-long efforts to undermine democracy and issued stark warnings that the Kremlin will likely move to influence upcoming U.S. elections, including those this year and in 2020. [HuffPo]

Matt Bevin and the General Assembly have approved yet another cut to higher education funding in Kentucky. [C-J/AKN]

The U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday passed a bill to renew the National Security Agency’s warrantless internet surveillance program, overcoming objections from privacy advocates and confusion prompted by morning tweets from Donald Trump that initially questioned the spying tool. [Reuters]

Jody Richards, who served as Speaker of the Kentucky House of Representatives for longer than anyone in history, announced Monday he will not seek re-election this year. [Ronnie Ellis]

The president’s son is combining three apartments overlooking Manhattan’s Central Park — one of them bought at a steep discount from his father — to create 2,400 square feet worth considerably more than he paid. [ProPublica]

Glasgow Mayor Dick Doty announced his intention Tuesday to run for re-election. [Glasgow Daily Times]

The poorest of the poor always get the shaft when Republicans are making decisions. The Trump administration has issued new guidance that would allow states to impose work requirements on low-income healthcare recipients. [BBC]

The Boyd County Fiscal Court will “take a hard look” at a new, $600,000 request from the county jail for more staffing, but it would likely be impossible this fiscal year according to Judge-Executive Steve Towler. [Ashland Independent]

For years, Texas education officials illegally led schools across the state to deny therapy, tutoring and counseling to tens of thousands of children with disabilities, the federal government said Thursday. [NY Times]

A new position that is hoped will lead to greater retention in the Richmond Police Department was approved Tuesday by city commissioners. [Richmond Register]

Former White House strategist Stephen K. Bannon has hired prominent Washington attorney William Burck to represent him as he prepares to testify to the House Intelligence Committee about his role in Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, according to a person familiar with the arrangement. [WaPo]

Matt Bevin reportedly said that he would fight to bring a new $1.6 billion automaker plant to Kentucky, but now the joint venture between Toyota and Mazda is expected to go to Alabama. [H-L]

A federal judge in California ordered the Trump administration on Tuesday to keep in place the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which protects undocumented immigrants who entered the country as children from deportation and allows them to work legally, while a lawsuit proceeds. [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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Republicans Are Killing Your Schools

A man already in prison added another charge after his pit bulls killed a woman and injured her husband on Sunday in Bell County. [H-L]

As much as America loves her guns, she has never liked the idea of seeing them in black hands. [HuffPo]

An empty stomach. A throbbing tooth. A sleepless night. For nearly 30 years, Kentucky schools have reached beyond classroom walls to tackle the things making it tough for kids to learn. [C-J/AKN]

Donald Trump’s deal with the town of Palm Beach to turn Mar-a-Lago into a private club hinged on an act of charity crafted to skirt IRS scrutiny and deliver for Trump a seven-figure tax break, a Palm Beach Post investigation has found. [Palm Beach Post]

Two unrelated lawsuits were filed just over a week apart against Baptist Healthcare Systems, both claiming medical malpractice. [Richmond Register]

Kathleen Hartnett-White, Donald Trump’s pick to lead the Council on Environmental Quality, was just one Senate vote away from becoming the White House’s top environmental adviser. But late Thursday night, the controversial former Texas regulator returned to square one. [HuffPo]

The news that Gov. Matt Bevin is likely to issue a budget reduction order in a few days has local school officials nervous about the likelihood of long-term impact on their districts and students. [Ashland Independent]

More than 700 people have left the Environmental Protection Agency since Donald Trump took office, a wave of departures that puts the administration nearly a quarter of the way toward its goal of shrinking the agency to levels last seen during the Reagan administration. [ProPublica]

For many, Christmas is one of the most wonderful times of the year. [The Morehead News]

A newly disclosed trove of about 250 complaints filed by people whose cellphones, laptops, tablets and other personal electronics were searched by border agents without a warrant as they entered the United States is shedding light on a growing debate over individual privacy, collective security and 21st-century technology. [NY Times]

All of the written arguments have been submitted now in the appeal made by a former Glasgow police chief regarding the dismissal of his lawsuit against the city and his successor, and a panel of judges has been assigned to consider the appeal, but a decision is still months away. [Glasgow Daily Times]

Hundreds of U.S. Geological Survey scientists were missing from the biggest conference in their field this month. Typically, some 450 researchers from the nation’s top natural resources and natural hazards agency attend the annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union, the largest gathering of Earth, space and climate scientists in the world. [WaPo]

Modern Republicans are pieces of poop for allowing this mess to occur. But what can you expect when folks like Scott Jennings are considered the braintrust? Spoiler alert: not much more than a racist joke at a Catholic picnic. Tuition-free Berea College lost out in the Republican tax bill approved Wednesday, but top Republicans and members of Kentucky’s congressional delegation pledged to find a way around a new excise tax on big college endowments. [Linda Blackford]

Donald Trump on Tuesday falsely claimed that congressional Republicans’ tax bill “essentially Repeals (over time) ObamaCare,” perpetuating a false claim he made previously to celebrate the bill’s passage. [HuffPo]

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Bevin Lost Another Of His Dumb Games

Steve Bannon plans to back primary challengers to almost every Republican senator who runs for re-election next year in an effort to depose Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and streamline Senate voting procedures, three people familiar with his plans said. [H-L]

There’s nothing about these people that isn’t horrendously trashy. Absolutely nothing. [HuffPo]

Matt Bevin’s administration cannot keep secret the names of investors in Braidy Industries Inc., which received $15 million in public funding for a new aluminum plant in Eastern Kentucky, Attorney General Andy Beshear has ruled. [C-J/AKN]

Wannabe YouTube stars and diehard Donald Trump supporters ‘Williams & Kalvin’ totally swear they’re from Atlanta. In reality, they were working for the Kremlin. [TDB]

The first legally recognized and chartered Native American Indian group celebrated its 45th anniversary last month. [The Morehead News]

The Treasury Department’s Office of Intelligence and Analysis has been illegally rifling through and filing away the private financial records of US citizens, Treasury employees alleged. “This is such an invasion of privacy,” said one official. [BuzzFeed]

Scott Gillum was officially appointed Flatwoods police chief by the city council — three years after he was named acting chief. [Ashland Independent]

Have you seriously considered filing for bankruptcy any time in the last ten years? [ProPublica]

The Madison County Fiscal Court announced the opening of the 2017/2018 Charitable Giving Program grant cycle. The program, which provides gap funding for nonprofit programs focused on assisting Madison County residents, is in its third year. This year’s program will award $37,000 in grants to eligible recipients. [Richmond Register]

Two decades ago, the Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein invited Ashley Judd to the Peninsula Beverly Hills hotel for what the young actress expected to be a business breakfast meeting. Instead, he had her sent up to his room, where he appeared in a bathrobe and asked if he could give her a massage or she could watch him shower, she recalled in an interview. [NY Times]

You may not know Jon Fleischaker, but if you live in Kentucky, you probably know more about your government than citizens in many states. You can thank Jon Fleischaker. [Ronnie Ellis]

After nearly nine months of the Trump administration, many of the closest U.S. allies have concluded that the hoped-for “learning curve” they believed would make Trump a reliable partner is not going to happen. Policy, and who makes it, remains a riddle, and there is growing acceptance the administration’s unpredictability is a permanent condition. [WaPo]

What on earth? There are only a couple people on this list who aren’t straight-up con artists. [Tom Eblen]

Surprise! A bigot wasted your taxpayer dollars for a personal, racist stunt. Mike Pence leaving an NFL game early on Sunday was a costly political “stunt,” according to some Democratic lawmakers. [HuffPo]

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Bevin Gets Back Into Bed With For-Profit Prisons, Proving His New Naz… Republican Feathers Are Coming In Strong

Mitch McConnell has known Trump-Russia specifics since August but has continued to lie to Kentuckians and the American people. He’s also publicly attempted to quash investigations and prevent the appointment of a special prosecutor. He’s a treasonous old fucker and he’s only in power because the Kentucky Democratic Party is ineffective garbage. So it’s time to sack the KDP as it currently exists so you can sack McConnell. [Mother Jones]

Leave it to shitty Republicans like Matt Bevin to further harm Kentucky with private prisons. Matt Bevin’s administration is preparing to place state inmates in a private prison in Lee County four years after former Gov. Steve Beshear decided to end Kentucky’s use of for-profit lockup. On Tuesday, the state formally awarded a contract to the Louisville law firm of Wyatt Tarrant and Combs to “assist in drafting and finalizing a complex contract for operation of a private prison in Lee County, to accommodate prisoners in state custody due to serious overcrowding problems at existing state correctional facilities.” [John Cheves]

So of course Mitch McConnell is in love with the plan. He and his fellow delusional self-promotors love the idea of killing thousands of Kentuckians. Twenty-three million fewer Americans would have insurance under legislation that House Republicans narrowly passed last month, the Congressional Budget Office reported on Wednesday. [HuffPo]

Just before taking office, President Donald Trump promised to donate all profits earned from foreign governments back to the U.S. Treasury. But MSNBC has learned the Trump Organization is not tracking all possible payments it receives from foreign governments, according to new admissions by Trump representatives. By failing to track foreign payments it receives, the company will be hard-pressed to meet Trump’s pledge to donate foreign profits and could even increase its legal exposure. [NBC News]

Finally, a Pitino-related sex scandal nightmare that he and UofL didn’t get to manipulate and win. [C-J/AKN]

Trump asked two of the nation’s top intelligence officials in March to help him push back against an FBI investigation into possible coordination between his campaign and the Russian government, according to current and former officials. [WaPo]

The Madison Fiscal Court heard first reading of its 2017-18 budget Tuesday morning, with only minor adjustments from the draft it reviewed a week earlier. [Richmond Register]

The Chinese government systematically dismantled C.I.A. spying operations in the country starting in 2010, killing or imprisoning more than a dozen sources over two years and crippling intelligence gathering there for years afterward. [NY Times]

Eastern Kentucky towns always bog themselves down with the dumbest shit possible while their community gets lost in the dark. If skateboarders in Russell want to practice kickflips and ollies, or simply spin their wheels on pavement, they’ll have to do it on private property. [Ashland Independent]

An escalating feud between the White House and the Office of Government Ethics (OGE) has boiled over, with the Trump administration refusing to produce waivers it has granted to lobbyists that allow them to work in government agencies. [The Hill]

The Rowan County Board of Education voted Tuesday to approve a 1 percent raise for all district employees. [The Morehead News]

A federal appeals court on Tuesday revived a Wikipedia lawsuit that challenges a U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) program of mass online surveillance, and claims that the government unconstitutionally invades people’s privacy rights. [Reuters]

A consulting firm tasked with analyzing Kentucky’s unfunded public pension fund crisis says the state could address the problem more quickly if it committed to a fixed-dollar annual contribution similar to a 30-year mortgage. [Ronnie Ellis]

Sam Clovis likely to be named undersecretary of the USDA department that manages research on everything from climate change to nutrition. [ProPublica]

The AFL-CIO and Teamsters Union filed a lawsuit in Franklin Circuit Court Thursday challenging the constitutionality of a new law that prohibits unions from requiring employees to pay dues in a unionized workplace. [H-L]

Antarctica, the desolate southernmost continent boasting the coldest climate on Earth, usually brings to mind visions of ice, snow and penguins. But global warming is transforming Antarctica’s icy expanses, new research from the University of Exeter in the United Kingdom shows. Parts of the continent are “greening,” researchers say — and fast. [HuffPo]

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