Damon Thayer Has A Lot To Hide

Damon Thayer has a lot to hide – not the least of which is that time he allegedly (according to the victim) abused his former gal pal and her kid to the point that they were terrified and hid in a closet. So of course he wants to kill Kentucky’s open records law. Quit acting like this is a surprise, Kentucky, cause you get what you deserve. You vote for awful people like this? You get awful results. [H-L]

You can’t fix this kind of Republican stupidity. And in Kentucky, most Republicans are cut from the same dumb cloth. An annual day of prayer for Kentucky’s students at school would become state law under a bill passed Thursday in the House. [H-L]

John Dowd resigned Thursday as Donald Trump’s lead attorney assigned to deal with the Russia probe [HuffPo]

Students from Marshall County High School united with other Kentucky teenagers Wednesday morning, filling the steps in front of the Capitol to protest the gun violence that has claimed young American lives for years. [C-J/AKN]

It started with helping a friend pitch the Pentagon on a smartphone chip and moved on to more ambitious plans to sell nuclear reactor security in the Middle East and then to high-priced lobbying for the Turkish government. A three-month Bloomberg investigation has found that Flynn, who was fired for having lied to the FBI and the vice president about his contacts with Russians, had a slew of other problematic entanglements. Previously unreported documents, including Pentagon contracts, emails and internal company papers, point to overlapping business conflicts around the world. [Bloomberg]

Tensions mounted during the Berea City Council meeting Tuesday night as Mayor Steven Connelly and council members disagreed on how, and with whom, to fill a vacancy on the city’s planning and zoning commission. [Richmond Register]

Jared Kushner’s father met with Qatar’s finance minister three months after Donald Trump’s inauguration, a New York City session at which funding for a financially troubled real estate project was discussed, the company acknowledged Sunday. [WaPo]

Raceland-Worthington High School academic team coach Becky Clere said students are still in disbelief about winning a state title at the Governor’s Cup State Finals. [Ashland Independent]

An investigation by Channel 4 News has revealed how Cambridge Analytica claims it ran ‘all’ of Donald Trump’s digital campaign – and may have broken election law. Executives were secretly filmed saying they leave ‘no paper trail’. [Channel 4]

School construction projects are often a hotbed of corruption so it’s important to pay attention to developments like these, media. Randy Wilkinson, interim principal at Glasgow Middle School, brought up the idea of constructing a new building for South Green Elementary during the Glasgow Independent Schools Board of Education Local Planning Committee meeting on Tuesday evening at GMS. [Glasgow Daily Times]

The Trump administration’s abrupt cancellation of a federal program to prevent teen pregnancy last year was directed by political appointees over the objections of career experts in the Department of Health and Human Services, which administers the program, according to internal notes and emails obtained by NBC News. [NBC News]

A Republican candidate for Kentucky Secretary of State has apologized for posting a Twitter message about shooting Democratic Congressman John Yarmuth. [WFPL]

Sitting in a hotel bar, Alexander Nix, who runs the political data firm Cambridge Analytica, had a few ideas for a prospective client looking for help in a foreign election. The firm could send an attractive woman to seduce a rival candidate and secretly videotape the encounter, Mr. Nix said, or send someone posing as a wealthy land developer to pass a bribe. “We have a long history of working behind the scenes,” Mr. Nix said. [NY Times]

Really, $700 for a 338sq ft “apartment” in Lexington? Things are getting out of hand in Kentucky. [H-L]

Retired four-star Army Gen. Barry McCaffrey did not mince his words on Wednesday when asked for his opinion about Jared Kushner. [HuffPo]

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Let’s Hear It For Obstruction Of Justice!

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Andrew G. McCabe, the former F.B.I. deputy director and a frequent target of President Trump’s scorn, was fired Friday after the Justice Department rejected an appeal that would have let him retire this weekend. Mr. McCabe promptly declared that his firing, and Mr. Trump’s persistent needling, were intended to undermine the special counsel’s investigation in which he is a potential witness. [NY Times]

A government program that grew by more than 6,000 percent in five years doesn’t provide medical care or feed the poor. It does indirectly subsidize profitable corporations such as Altria, parent company of cigarette-maker Philip Morris USA, and its spinoff Philip Morris International; British American Tobacco, and Japan Tobacco International. [H-L]

It is not hard to find a list of the many, stupid ways Larry Kudlow has been wrong about major economic calls in the past quarter century. He has a childlike faith in the power of tax cuts and is a committed Republican partisan, both of which drive him to say consistently outlandish things. He celebrated the dot-com bubble heights of the stock market as a triumph of Reaganomics, denied the existence of a housing bubble during the George W. Bush years, insisted the Great Recession was not a recession, claimed Barack Obama’s stimulus package would usher in raging inflation, and so on. Such unflagging technocratic incompetence makes Kudlow ― a former Bear Stearns economist better known as a CNBC personality ― an excellent fit for the bumbling Donald Trump administration. [HuffPo]

Marshall County Schools superintendent Trent Lovett is a lot like failed former Montgomery County Schools superintendent, Joshua Powell. They’re both gun-obsessed, small-minded babies with no business being around children. [C-J/AKN]

The White House has refused to comply with all three investigations by the Republican-controlled House into the questionable behavior of Donald Trump’s top aides, including Cabinet secretaries and son-in-law, Jared Kushner. And Republicans on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee are being criticized for accepting no for an answer rather than subpoena the documents. [McClatchy]

Catlettsburg Councilman Richard “Andy” Brown was indicted on a perjury charge Tuesday after allegedly claiming he wasn’t under the influence while pleading guilty to drug charges, then failing a drug test. [Ashland Independent]

Russian hackers are conducting a broad assault on the U.S. electric grid, water processing plants, air transportation facilities and other targets in rolling attacks on some of the country’s most sensitive infrastructure, U.S. government officials said Thursday. [Bloomberg]

When Frankfort lawmakers were confident they could pass a major reform of the state’s public pension systems, they decided to help local governments by allowing them to phase in higher pension contributions over a period of years. [Ronnie Ellis]

These Trump-supporting racists are keeping it in the family. Battery charges and the likelihood of a lengthy prison sentence now await Matthew Heimbach. [ThinkProgress]

Kids get it. Enough is enough. [The Morehead News]

The special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, has subpoenaed the Trump Organization to turn over documents, including some related to Russia, according to two people briefed on the matter. The order is the first known time that the special counsel demanded documents directly related to Donald Trump’s businesses, bringing the investigation closer to the president. [More NY Times]

When the Barren County Fiscal Court created a special taxing district in December 2016 solely for the purpose of creating a revenue stream to cover 60 percent of Barren-Metcalfe County EMS’ deficit, it set the tax rate in such a manner as to generate a bit more revenue than the budgeted deficit for that fiscal year, which ended June 30, 2017. [Glasgow Daily Times]

Before The Washington Post report was published, a White House spokesperson checked with several senior White House officials and did not dispute that the president had made a decision. White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly — who has personally been eager to see McMaster go —has also told White House staff in recent days that Trump had made up his mind about ousting McMaster. [WaPo]

What the hell is wrong with you, Bill Estep? Pushing propaganda – myths about marijuana – is a dereliction of your duty and is straight-up lazy. A Kentucky man who helped lead what was once called the biggest marijuana-growing operation in the nation was sentenced Thursday to four years and nine months in federal prison. John Robert “Johnny” Boone, now 74, headed the colorfully named “Cornbread Mafia,” which federal authorities said grew more than 180 tons of marijuana in Kentucky and other states in the 1980s. [H-L]

When Thomas Hofeller travelled across the country at the beginning of the decade to talk to lawmakers about the redistricting process, he brought a warning: “Don’t get cute.” [HuffPo]

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Matt Bevin Doesn’t Care About Kids

Here’s your regular reminder that Matt Bevin doesn’t actually give a flip about the foster care system. He could afford to buy his children from a foreign country (don’t even try to act like that’s not what happened – wealthy people do it all the time to avoid government scrutiny from the social services system and because they’re impatient) and hasn’t really given much thought to what goes on at home. He and his wife put on little shows here and there to feign empathy but if they truly gave a flip? Stuff like this wouldn’t occur. [H-L]

Several days after a former Russian spy and his daughter were found catatonic on a bench in Salisbury, England, British, Prime Minister Theresa May revealed that the pair had been poisoned by a rare and highly-deadly nerve agent known as Novichok. The revelation prompted U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to say the poisoning “clearly came from Russia.” Novichok, he added, is a military-grade agent found “only in the hands of a very, very limited number of parties.” [HuffPo]

Donald Trump’s decision to slap tariffs on imported steel and aluminum triggered cheers at Kentucky aluminum and steel mills — and a far more somber reaction from bourbon distillers and manufacturing businesses. [C-J/AKN]

An adviser to the United Arab Emirates with ties to current and former aides to Donald Trump is cooperating with the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, and gave testimony last week to a grand jury, according to two people familiar with the matter. [NY Times]

Boyd County and Fairview Independent schools will soon have more law enforcement officers on campus. [Ashland Independent]

In the spring of 2016, longtime political operative Roger Stone had a phone conversation that would later seem prophetic, according to the person on the other end of the line. [WaPo]

Rowan County Sheriff Matt Sparks is hoping to educate the public about what to do when being followed or harassed in a public space after a social media post went viral over the past few days. [The Morehead News]

U.S. students spilled out of classrooms by the tens of thousands on Wednesday, chanting slogans like “No more silence” and “We want change” as part of a coast-to-coast protest over gun violence prompted by last month’s massacre at a Florida high school. [Reuters]

Hundreds of Kentucky high school students, including survivors of a campus shooting this year, joined a nationwide gun violence protest Wednesday by rallying in frigid weather at the state Capitol. [Richmond Register]

You can thank Mitch McConnell for killing any protections you have against corrupt banks. The Senate voted to advance Wednesday the most sweeping bipartisan changes yet to the Dodd-Frank Wall Street reform bill enacted by President Obama after the 2007 financial crisis. [The Hill]

Louisville-area schools joined nearly 3,000 others across the country Wednesday walking out of class at 10 a.m. for 17 minutes. [WFPL]

The UK will expel 23 Russian diplomats after Moscow refused to explain how a Russian-made nerve agent was used on a former spy in Salisbury, the PM says. [BBC]

Alice Forgy Kerr is a homophobic monster and Kentucky media ought not forget or excuse it. You’ll never see people like Jack Brammer report on that, however. Instead, people like Brammer paint her as some kind of victim just trying to do the right thing. It’s that kind of bullshit narrative that keeps Kentucky in the dark ages. [H-L]

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders pointedly avoided saying the word “Russia” on Monday when very specifically questioned about that country’s culpability in the poisoning last week of a former Russian spy with a deadly nerve agent. [HuffPo]

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Greg Fischer: Still Fighting Transparency

House Republicans working to flesh out their recent promise of tax reform should heed the evidence that’s piling up in other states: Cutting income and business taxes, and offsetting the losses by raising sales taxes, is no magic economic elixir. It’s more a recipe for starving education, infrastructure and other public services and dishing up more budget crises. [H-L]

Last Saturday, in a private meeting with Republican donors who had gathered at his Mar-a-Lago estate, Donald Trump attacked yet again the basic foundations of American democracy. In his freewheeling and unscripted talk, a recording of which was obtained by CNN, Trump eventually focused his comments on President Xi Jinping of China. He noted Xi’s plan to abolish China’s presidential term limits, and lavished praise on this authoritarian grab at unrestricted power. [HuffPo]

Flashback to Greg Fischer claiming to be the most transparent mayor in Louisville history. Courier Journal is suing Louisville for refusing to release details on the incentives it offered to Amazon in return for the online retail giant building its second headquarters here. [C-J/AKN]

White House counselor Kellyanne Conway violated the Hatch Act on two occasions, the Office of Special Counsel (OSC) informed the Trump administration Tuesday. [The Hill]

Madison County is now officially the only community in Kentucky, and one of only seven nationwide, to be a Blueprint for Safety Community. [Richmond Register]

Migrants separated from their children after they were detained for illegally entering the United States filed a class action lawsuit on Friday, claiming there are “hundreds” of parents in the same situation, and that the Trump administration is violating their due process rights. [Reuters]

A Catlettsburg city councilman pleaded guilty to drug charges Friday and then was accused of almost immediately violating the terms of his probation by being under the influence of heroin, meth and other drugs. [Ashland Independent]

Coal ash — the residual byproduct of burning coal — is the second-largest form of waste in the entire country, with utilities producing more than 100 million tons of it each year. For decades, companies have dealt with all that coal ash by storing it in unlined pits or landfills. Now, new reporting data shows this has lead to the contamination of groundwater at coal-fired power plants across the country. [ThinkProgress]

Rowan County Sheriff Matt Sparks talked guns with Morehead-Rowan County Chamber of Commerce members this month. [The Morehead News]

The special counsel in the Russia investigation has learned of two conversations in recent months in which Donald Trump asked key witnesses about matters they discussed with investigators. [NY Times]

The Interapt Skills proposal is being downsized after it apparently became clear that the original price tag of nearly $1.9 million was going to be “too lofty a goal for our community at this point.” [Glasgow Daily Times]

The Social Security Administration’s acting commissioner had no authority to act after mid-November because the agency is in violation of a federal law regarding vacant positions, according to a report to the president. [WaPo]

A student accidentally shot himself in a classroom at Lexington’s Frederick Douglass High School with a “pocket-sized handgun” he took to school Friday, according to school district police and administrators. [H-L]

A top GOP fundraiser pitched Donald Trump last year on a plan to recruit a thousands-strong international Muslim army — to be advised by retired Army Gen. Stanley McChrystal — that would help the United Arab Emirates battle the Taliban and the Islamic State in Afghanistan, according to a leaked memo the fundraiser wrote documenting his meeting with the president. The army “would consist of two brigades (5,000 total troops) comprised of Muslim soldiers recruited from Arab and Islamic nations,” Elliott Broidy, a Republican National Committee deputy finance chair, wrote in the memo. [HuffPo]

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Republicans Can’t Do Math, Apparently

For decades, people have sparred over the University of Kentucky’s Robinson Forest, a 15,000-acre block of ecologically diverse Appalachian woodland that serves as a living laboratory for how healthy forests can impact the water and animals that run through them. [Linda Blackford]

Striking teachers and other public employees in West Virginia have shut down schools across the state for more than a week, flooding the capitol in Charleston each day to rebuke their lawmakers. The workers are demanding significant raises to their stagnant pay and a clear plan to curb rising premiums in the state employee health care program. [HuffPo]

TL;DR: More of the same from the Republican Party of Kentucky. Line 3 on page 186 of the House budget bill goes a long way in explaining how the House committee could afford to restore so much funding that Bevin cut. It shows that a whopping $480 million will be transferred between now and the end of the next two-year budget period to general state spending from the Public Employees’ Health Plan. That’s about $280 million more than Bevin proposed taking from this fund, which has been tapped regularly over the past decade. [C-J/AKN]

Donald Trump has moved aggressively in his first year in office to roll back regulations he says have harmed America’s coal miners. But the industry itself remains mired in long-term decline, a downturn that one of Trump’s own government agencies predicts will only worsen over time. [The Hill]

Pregnant women in jail or prison could not be shackled during labor or child birth under a bill passed Monday by the state Senate. [Ronnie Ellis]

Donald Trump on Friday nominated a Dow Chemicals lawyer to head-up an Environmental Protection Agency unit that oversees hazardous waste disposal and chemical spills from toxic“Superfund” sites. [Reuters]

The Fairview Schools Board of Education placed the school district’s Superintendent, Michael Taylor, on suspension with pay Monday night but the reason for the suspension was not released. [Ashland Independent]

Mitch McConnell is still enabling genocide. Mitch McConnell, a longtime advocate for democracy in Myanmar and fan of Suu Kyi, has expressed his continued support in recent months despite the bloodshed in Rakhine state. “Publicly condemning Aung San Suu Kyi, the best hope for democratic reform in Burma, is simply not constructive,” the Republican senator said in September. [Politico]

Though details have yet to be announced, search warrants were executed at the Horse Cave Police Department on Monday as part of an ongoing federal investigation. [Glasgow Daily Times]

Former European leaders who tried to bring Ukraine closer to Europe before a 2014 uprising there reacted with shock on Saturday after a federal indictment accused Paul Manafort, President Trump’s former campaign chairman, of secretly paying former European officials some two million euros in 2012 and 2013 to lobby on the country’s behalf. [NY Times]

Four Republican lawmakers in Kentucky who signed a secret sexual harassment settlement last year are scheduled to participate in a hearing next month before a state ethics commission that could recommend they be removed from office. [WFPL]

The family real estate company once run by White House adviser Jared Kushner is in talks to buy out its partner in a Manhattan skyscraper that has been losing money for years. [WaPo]

Is Marty Cockring a pervert? Why else would he lobby against ending the practice of taking child brides? [H-L]

Survivors of last month’s deadly school shooting in Parkland, Florida, have delivered a blistering message to Donald Trump. [HuffPo]

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Coal Isn’t Just Killing Your Environment

Coal companies linked to the billionaire governor of West Virginia owe $2.9 million in delinquent property taxes in Kentucky, shorting schools and local government programs of money at a time many are struggling with tight finances. [H-L]

The reaction to the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, followed a familiar arc: GOP leaders offered thoughts and prayers. The media profiled fallen victims. Democrats urged action on the same gun safety bills they’ve been pushing for years, as Republicans said none of their ideas would work. [HuffPo]

Of course Greg Fischer is working against the homeless because he wants to build another unsightly stadium in Louisville. [C-J/AKN]

The troubled teen authorities say killed 17 people at a Florida high school excelled in an air-rifle marksmanship program supported by a grant from the National Rifle Association Foundation, part of a multimillion-dollar effort by the gun group to support youth shooting clubs and other programs. [NY Times]

The Berea City Council voted Monday to appoint David Rowlette to fill the unexpired term of Billy Wooten, whose resignation was announced at the council’s last meeting. [Richmond Register]

Trump’s public track record in the face of proximate danger, his words instead ended up underscoring a separate truth: His actions have, at times, read differently than his tough talk. [WaPo]

Law enforcement officers in the [Ashland] area won’t be outfitted with body-worn cameras any time soon. [Ashland Independent]

The U.S. intelligence community developed substantial evidence that state websites or voter registration systems in seven states were compromised by Russian-backed covert operatives prior to the 2016 election — but never told the states involved, according to multiple U.S. officials. [NBC News]

Shortly after Dr. Mark A. Murphy, a top opioid prescriber in the U.S., started practicing here three days a week last year, the clinic owners asked a police detective to meet for dinner. [The Morehead News]

Investigators for special counsel Robert Mueller have recently been asking witnesses about Donald Trump’s business activities in Russia prior to the 2016 presidential campaign as he considered a run for president, according to three people familiar with the matter. [CNN]

Coal companies controlled by West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice’s family owe nearly $3 million in delinquent Kentucky property taxes, money that local governments desperately need to avoid laying off teachers. [WFPL]

Hope Hicks, one of Donald Trump’s longest-serving and most trusted aides, is resigning from her job as White House communications director, a blow to the president, whose inner circle has been depleted by firings and clouded by scandal. [Reuters]

Barely literate hypocrite and bigot, Kim Davis, is pretending to have written a book. [H-L]

Norway’s doomsday agricultural seed vault will get a $13 million upgrade to better protect world food supplies amid growing threats from climate change. [HuffPo]

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Finally Some Progress In Martin County

***Care about the future of Kentucky? Help us cover FOIA and open records request fees relating to Matt Bevin and Jamie Comer.*** [CLICK HERE]

The newly-filed Senate Bill 1 eventually would eliminate Kentucky’s unfunded public pension liabilities — estimated at $40 billion to $60 billion, depending on whom you ask — while saving the state $4.8 billion, legislative leaders said Wednesday at a Capitol news conference. Most of the savings would come at the expense of Kentucky’s teachers. [H-L]

So painfully dumb – as are his followers who’ll swallow this hook, line and sinker. Donald Trump’s personal pilot is reportedly one of several people under consideration to lead the Federal Aviation Administrations. [HuffPo]

The circuit judge assigned to try 15-year-old Gabe Parker in the Marshall County High School shootings improperly intervened to help the suspect, Western Kentucky news organizations allege in court filings. [C-J/AKN]

The Trump administration is quietly dismantling the Affordable Care Act, taking a series of regulatory steps that will make it easier for insurance companies to sell plans that exclude patients with preexisting conditions or don’t cover basic services like maternity care, mental health treatment, and prescription drugs. Short-term coverage is allowed to skirt several of the health care law’s core provisions: Plans can deny people insurance based on their medical history, charge them higher premiums because of their preexisting medical conditions, and craft skimpy benefits packages that will appeal mostly to young and healthy people. [Vox]

Through the first half of the 2018 Kentucky General Assembly, all eyes have been locked on pension reform. Last week, Republican legislative leaders finally filed a bill which backs off some of the harsher changes to the public pension system contained in a draft proposal last October. [Ronnie Ellis]

Among dozens of stories is the case of Gordon Wheeler, a Texan whom US Marshals arrested at his home for failure to appear at a judgment debtor exam in 2015. He was recovering from open-heart surgery and couldn’t physically get to the hearing. The judgment concerned a $2,500 student loan debt from 1983, and with interest and fees was now $12,000. Wheeler didn’t have the money, so he went to jail. [The Nation]

Carter and Boyd County officials were inspecting what damage was caused by flooding in the Rush area after heavy rains through the weekend. [Ashland Independent]

Documents and bank records obtained in discovery during the federal investigation into the underbelly of college basketball detail in meticulous fashion the expenditures of prominent former NBA agent Andy Miller, his former associate Christian Dawkins and his agency, ASM Sports. They include expense reports and balance sheets that list cash advances, as well as entertainment and travel expenses for high school and college prospects and their families. [Yahoo Sports]

Nearly 50 people filled the Rowan County Fiscal Court room on Tuesday morning for a heated debate on the legalization of medical marijuana. [The Morehead News]

Richard Gates, Donald Trump’s one-time campaign aide, plead(sic) guilty Friday to two felony counts: conspiracy against the U.S. and lying to federal authorities. [ABC News]

It’s insane that this has to be a discussion. In the wake of active school shootings in Marshall County, in Parkland, Florida, and others around the country, area school administrators are reviewing their districts’ procedures and policies for keeping students and staff members safe in schools. [Glasgow Daily Times]

A former senior official in Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, Rick Gates, pleaded guilty on Friday to conspiracy against the United States and lying to investigators, and is cooperating with a federal probe into Russia’s role in the election. [Reuters]

Nearly $5 million in grants and donations will be used to make repairs and provide clean water in Martin County. Martin County residents in Eastern Kentucky have complained about lack of access to running water this winter; discolored water that comes out the tap looking like beer or milk; rashes and sores caused by bathing in the water; and illnesses like cancer they attribute to chemical contaminants. The Martin County Water District runs the system that has about 3,500 customers. [H-L]

John Oliver began his show on Sunday night with a brief moment of celebration. Last week, a West Virginia judge dismissed a defamation lawsuit against Oliver that was filed by coal baron Robert E Murray, the target of a biting “Last Week Tonight” segment last year. [HuffPo]

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