We’re Not Even 100 Days In Yet…

The University of Kentucky has received $11.2 million from the National Institutes of Health to finance a new center that studies the links between obesity and cancer. [Linda Blackford]

Whiny little Mitch, indeed. Kentuckians have known this for years but it’s fun to watch the rest of the world find out just what a butthurt little baby these people are. [HuffPo]

A researcher at the University of Louisville is stepping up her study into whether coal ash from power plants may be making children in Louisville sick with a new study backed by federal research dollars. [C-J/AKN]

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau announced Monday that it filed a lawsuit against Weltman, Weinberg & Reis, accusing the debt collection firm of falsely representing in millions of collection letters that attorneys were involved in collection for overdue accounts. The firm collects on overdue credit card, installment loans, mortgage loans, and student loans debt nationwide, but only files lawsuit in Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, New Jersey, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. [Consumerist]

At 8:36 p.m. Monday night, Glasgow Police Chief Guy Howie released information on the woman who was found dead Monday morning on the rooftop of a building located on the west side of Glasgow’s public square. [Glasgow Daily Times]

Lost amid the uproar over the Trump administration’s crackdown on undocumented immigrants is a change coming to the legal immigration system that’s expected to be costly for both U.S. companies and the government itself. [ProPublica]

New preschool and vocational school buildings are at the top of a construction priority list the Boyd County Board of Education is expected to adopt Wednesday. [Ashland Independent]

Donald Trump has congratulated Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on his victory in Sunday’s referendum that gave him sweeping new powers. The US president’s phone call contrasts with European concern that the result – 51.4% in favour of the changes – has exposed deep splits in Turkish society. [BBC]

With a meeting on his proposal for a new, comprehensive approach to the drug epidemic only a week away, Madison Judge/Executive Reagan Taylor got the opportunity to present his ideas directly to U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell as he met Monday with local leaders. [Richmond Register]

If this doesn’t scare the crap out of you, nothing will. How does the surge in drug overdoses compare with other causes of death in the U.S.? [NY Times]

In the first project of its kind, a Kentucky coal company is partnering with a global renewable energy giant to explore putting a major solar installation on a former mountaintop removal coal mine. [WFPL]

Racism motivated Trump voters more than authoritarianism. Which surprises absolutely no one who isn’t in denial. [WaPo]

Knox County and Barbourville Independent schools were closed Tuesday after a threat was called in Monday night to a West Coast police agency, according to a statement from the school system. [H-L]

Donald Trump, like most New Republican Nazis, doesn’t actually know who is running North Korea. [HuffPo]

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Let’s Speculate More About Matt Bevin!

Following up on yesterday’s shenanigans about why Matt Bevin deserves scrutiny from folks in Washington, D.C. …

Neil Ramsey isn’t just an investment manager – he owns and runs a hedge fund. RQSI, short for Ramsey Quantitative Systems Inc. Think about that – not just an investment manager. But a hedge fund owner. Sitting at KRS. Why that’s a concern: It’d be easy for other hedge funders to steer tens of millions into his company with no disclosure.

From a PDF (Warning: External PDF Link) on the Kentucky Retirement Systems website:

Neil Ramsey is the founder and president of RQSI, a Kentucky corporation that is registered with the CFTC as a Commodity Pool Operator, Commodity Trading Advisor, and Introducing Broker, and is a member of the NFA. RQSI is engaged in the management of proprietary and client investment capital through the allocation of funds to independent money managers as well as managing a portion of the funds on a discretionary basis.

Mr. Ramsey is responsible for the leadership of quantitative strategies development and providing strategic direction for RQSI. Prior to forming these entities, Mr. Ramsey was a consultant at the Boston Consulting Group where he worked with both domestic and foreign multi-nationals in developing corporate strategies. Neil received his B.S. in Engineering from Vanderbilt University, Summa Cum Laude. Neil also received his M.B.A. from Vanderbilt University.

He is also president and CEO of CONFICARE, a senior housing developer and investment company headquartered in Louisville, Kentucky. He is responsible for directing all external investments for the firm including allocations to the real estate sector both domestically and internationally.

Matt Bevin also owns a hedge fund, of course, called Waycross Partners. Since he doesn’t release his tax returns, there’s no way to know what he earns from it or has earned from it.

KRS trustee Bill Cook probably still has ownership (no one will answer questions, so who knows if he gave it up when he retired in 2015?) in KKR PRISMA Hedge Fund of Funds. Probably makes millions per year in fees from KRS in its secret, no-bid contract. All we can do is speculate because transparency is not a thing with KRS.

Cook’s top lieutenant at PRISMA is/was Donna Heintzman, who was named by Bevin to protect hedge fund interests at the UofL Foundation.

And… Cough, cough.

No-bid contracts in hedge funds and private equity, like Mitt Romney’s Bain Capital, from KRS & KTRS produce more than $100 million per year in fees that go directly to Wall Street. So it’s pretty easy to assume hedge funders would want to keep their cash cow alive and they’d want to reward anybody helping them baby said cow.

Bevin’s last-minute stripping of Senate Bill 2 (competitive bidding), along with Senate Bill 223 (CERS divorce), was probably (possibly?) directed by Ramsey to save hedge fund and private equity contractors tens of millions. They could afford to buy him a new Anchorage estate every year.

Frankfort Republicans want to play this game where they portray themselves as saviors of Kentucky’s pension disaster(s) but they’re no better than their Democratic Party predecessors. They’re just as secretive, shady, vindictive and eager to secretly enrich themselves and their friends. If they want to lead? They ought to shed their good old boy skin and shine a bright light on what’s going on. Otherwise, Democrats are going to clean up in 2018, 2019 and 2020.

Kentucky Has A Student Loan Default Mess On Its Hands & Frankfort Doesn’t Care

For the first time in the 107-year history of Kentucky’s Capitol, a ceremony was held Friday in the Rotunda to make 40 immigrants from 25 countries American citizens. [H-L]

China said on Friday tension over North Korea had to be stopped from reaching an “irreversible and unmanageable stage” as a U.S. aircraft carrier group steamed towards the region amid fears the North may conduct a sixth nuclear weapons test. [HuffPo]

Kentucky ranks 49th of 50 states and the District of Columbia in having the nation’s highest college student loan defaults at over 16 percent, and the KCTC system is a big contributor. [C-J/AKN]

North Korea displayed what appeared to be new long-range and submarine-based missiles on the 105th birth anniversary of its founding father, Kim Il Sung, on Saturday, as a nuclear-powered U.S. aircraft carrier group steamed towards the region. [Reuters]

Jefferson County Public Schools Spoiler Alert: If history is any indicator, Donna Hargens’ replacement will be worse. The past four JCPS superintendents have been nightmarishly bad. And, no, it’s not a secret that we’ve had a hand in their dismissal. No good will come of this until the board changes hands and a couple current members – particularly the wife of a former congressional candidate – are ousted. [WFPL]

These shit-for-brains folks in the Trump Administration can’t get any dumber, right? The new acting head of the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights once complained that she experienced discrimination because she is white. [ProPublica]

A Pittsburgh, Pa., company has reached a settlement with the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services in connection with the disposal of radioactive waste at the Blue Ridge Landfill in Estill County. [Richmond Register]

The line outside the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum stretched halfway down the block Wednesday, raindrops freckling the sidewalk, as Barbara Conroy and her teenage granddaughter, Molly Giguiere, inched toward the doors. They were in town for only a few days, but at this particular moment, it topped the list of sites they had to see. [WaPo]

A specialist in local food and farm to table cuisine is working with Carter County schools this month to load its lunch menus with better, more nutritious dishes made from fresh local products. [Ashland Independent]

He apparently has no concept that the First Amendment protects citizens from government retaliation – not the other way around. Donald Trump’s lawyers in a Friday afternoon federal court filing argued that he cannot be sued for inciting his supporters to hurt protesters because, as the president, he is immune from civil lawsuits. The lawsuit was brought by three protesters who allege they were roughed up and ejected by Trump supporters from a March 2016 campaign rally in Louisville, Kentucky, after Trump barked from the stage “get ’em out of here!” [Politico]

Although the Glasgow Water and Sewer Commission heard bits and pieces about numerous projects and plans, one of the primary topics still is the project to install a new, larger sewer line along the south side of Glasgow, which is “substantially complete and placed in service,” said Scott Young, general manager of Glasgow Water Co. [Glasgow Daily Times]

This isn’t the first time attorney Tom Demetrio has gone up against United Airlines. Mr. Demetrio, who is representing the Kentucky doctor dragged off United Express Flight 3411 last week, has spent more than four decades suing on behalf of injured airline passengers, consumers and medical patients. [WSJ]

The Drug Enforcement Administration uncovered a money-laundering conspiracy dealing in large amounts of cash from suspected drug proceeds, including more than $500,000 found in the cab of a truck in Scott County, according to documents filed in federal court in Lexington. [H-L]

Late Monday night, when many Americans were in bed, Donald Trump quietly announced his intention to nominate former Washington state senator Don Benton (R) to be director of the Selective Service System, which operates the nation’s military draft. This was when the problems first came to light. [HuffPo]

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Matt Bevin Deserves Scrutiny From D.C.

For several Donald Trump-esque reasons.

Here’s why, starting with this story from CNN:

More delays in ambassador nominations, trainings

But donors are expectant and impatient, especially with an investigative vetting process that can ask wealthy Trump supporters to divest or take other steps to avoid conflicts of interest.

Already one candidate, Kelly Knight, a Republican fundraiser thought to be the choice for ambassador to Canada, has faced questions on the energy-rich company given her husband, coal magnate Joe Craft, according to a person with knowledge of the discussions.

That inquiry (if you want to call it that) into Alliance Coal ownership by Joe Craft sure is interesting. Especially in light of Matt Bevin’s private meetings with coal executives – at their demand – during his gubernatorial bid. And in light of Bevin’s sudden refusal after those meetings to release his tax returns. You know, those same tax returns he previously pledged to release.

Is this a pay-to-play situation? What’s he got to hide?

Democrats in D.C. should start asking those same questions.

Other, uh, situations raising questions…

Bevin’s co-investors in a company called Neuronetrix (he owned at least 5% in 2016) are receiving $320,000 in tax credits for that investment. They are (Warning: External PDF Link):

  • Neil P. Ramsey ($120,000)
  • Robinson Brown III ($40,000)
  • Charles A. Hill ($60,000)
  • David Tuell Richardson ($40,000)
  • Bradford P. Stengel ($60,000).

Bevin’s apparent ownership of The Anchorage Place LLC property uncovered by Tom Loftus. (And don’t miss this column.)

The deed from March 9, 2017 (Warning: PDF Link) indicates that tax bills should be sent to Anchorage Place LLC, 804 Evergreen Road and that all future taxes are to be paid by the grantee. The sewer easement (Warning: PDF Link) from Anchorage LLC to Neil Ramsey and his wife, dated March 28, 2017, lists Anchorage LLC’s address as 804 Evergreen Road. So it would appear to anyone with a bit of sense that Ramsey owned both Anchorage Place LLC and Anchorage LLC at the time ownership was conveyed. With Kentucky State Police serving as security on the property at the time of conveyance to Bevin, it’s tough not to jump to conclusions with Bevin refusing to answer questions.

After he spent $500,000 “investigating” Steve Beshear’s prior administration and preaching about pay-to-play deals, of course.

Bevin also:

Are those pay-to-play situations?

Since Bevin refuses to answer simple questions or exhibit the tiniest bit of transparency, it’s time for folks in Washington, D.C. to take note of everyone he’s tied to. Especially those being potentially nominated by Donald Trump to positions of international significance.

In 2018 and 2019, Democrats on the national front should make Bevin’s broken promises a huge deal. They’ll own the moral high ground because the Kentucky Democratic Party certainly isn’t capable of finding morals.

Greg Fischer Rewards Incompetence & Disregard For Decency. He’s Done It Again.

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The Administrative Office of the Courts is considering changes to clean up its sales of surplus goods and vehicles in the midst of an ongoing investigation by Attorney General Andy Beshear’s office. [H-L]

White House chief strategist Steve Bannon came into President Donald Trump’s administration with what he called an “economic nationalist” agenda. But now, Bannon is reportedly on the outs, and Trump has flip-flopped on NATO, Chinese currency manipulation and the Federal Reserve. [HuffPo]

Matt Bevin reported Friday that in 2016 he owned parts of five businesses as well as 12 pieces of real estate in six states. [C-J/AKN]

The House Intelligence Committee sent one of its members to Cyprus this week as part of its ongoing investigation into Russia and the Trump campaign, adding a new twist to the ongoing inquiry. “Cyprus has a reputation as a laundromat for the Russians who are trying to avoid sanctions,” Rep. Mike Quigley told The Daily Beast. “It was extraordinarily helpful in understanding how the Russians launder money and why.” [TDB]

Homicide detectives are working overtime after a violent night in Louisville that left four people dead in five hours. [WDRB]

Remember Kellie Watson? The trainwreck of a human who actively and admittedly participated in the coverup of Louisville Metro Animal Services’ torture and abuse of a dog? One of the people Louisville Metro Council had to create whistleblower laws in reaction to? Greg Fischer has rewarded her with a promotion to Chief Equity Officer. Apparently, someone who couldn’t handle being truthful and transparent regarding government abuse/torture of a dog is capable of ensuring racial equity. What a farce. [HERE, HERE & HERE and Press Release]

Donald Trump and the Republicans just made it harder for you to get health insurance and raised the price of your doctor visit. [Reuters]

Matt Bevin is talking about a special legislative session on tax and pension reform in the fall. Among proposals being considered is removing the sales tax exemption from groceries. [Richmond Register]

The head of the House Democratic Caucus is accusing President Trump of “political blackmail” for threatening to withhold ObamaCare funds that lower health costs for poor Americans. [The Hill]

City and county officials will meet next month to discuss creating a tax increment financing, or TIF, district in downtown Ashland as part of a multi-million-dollar project that involves demolishing the old Ashland Oil building. [Ashland Independent]

Mitchell says that after covering every president since Jimmy Carter, Trump is by far the most hostile to the press—and to the truth—she’s ever seen, with a White House staff using the briefing room as a daily disinformation machine and a president and secretary of state outright undermining the ability of reporters to do their job. [Politico]

Green River and Nolin River within Mammoth Cave National Park have reopened to river users following completion of the demolition of Lock & Dam No. 6 near Brownsville, by the US Army Corps of Engineers and the US Fish & Wildlife Service. [Glasgow Daily Times]

The Trump administration has hit the pause button on an Obama-era regulation aimed at limiting the dumping of toxic metals such as arsenic and mercury by the nation’s power plants into public waterways. [WaPo]

Uh, no, not all the hemp that has too much THC gets burned. Source: people who work at Ag, former Ag staffers and former Ag officials. And common sense. [H-L]

What was that about transparency, Republicans? The Trump administration will not make its records of visitors to the White House available to the public. [HuffPo]

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Shocking Just How Dumb Matt Bevin Has Turned Out To Be

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Matt Bevin says Kentucky media is pathetic. But he’s obviously projecting, as it’s his administration that is so pathetic it has one of its RPK lackeys huddle up with the personnel secretary to go on a Democratic Party witch hunt, digging through personnel files, calling me up asking for information about people (I refused to assist). Spoiler alert: there were so many stories about his wife’s silly doll because his staff went insane trying to get people to cover the doll. [H-L]

Even before Trump, the Republican Party was reluctant to push out Nazi-linked officials. [HuffPo]

This story will make you hate people. Like straight up hate them. [C-J/AKN]

If this is true, it’s impeachment-level insanity. One source suggested the official investigation was making progress. “They now have specific concrete and corroborative evidence of collusion,” the source said. “This is between people in the Trump campaign and agents of [Russian] influence relating to the use of hacked material.” [The Guardian]

Carter County Fiscal Court is facing a lawsuit aimed at preventing the location of a medical waste facility in the East Park industrial complex. [Ashland Independent]

The United Airlines passenger dragged from a plane in Chicago in an incident that sparked international outrage and turned into a corporate public relations nightmare suffered a concussion and broken nose and will likely sue, his attorney said on Thursday. [Reuters]

The U.S. has dropped the largest conventional weapon ever used in combat to hit an underground ISIS complex in Afghanistan, Pentagon officials say. [WFPL]

When North Korea launched its Kwangmyongsong-4 satellite into space last February, officials heralded the event as a birthday gift for dead leader Kim Jong Il. But the day also brought an unexpected prize for the country’s adversaries: priceless intelligence in the form of rocket parts that fell into the Yellow Sea. [WaPo]

Matt Bevin wants to revise the state tax code in a way that produces more revenue that can stabilize the state’s troubled public pension systems. [Ronnie Ellis]

For more than 15 years, jails that hold immigrants facing deportation have had to follow a growing list of requirements: Notify immigration officials if a detainee spends two weeks or longer in solitary confinement. Check on suicidal inmates every 15 minutes, and evaluate their mental health every day. Inform detainees, in languages they can understand, how to obtain medical care. In disciplinary hearings, provide a staff member who can advocate in English on the detainee’s behalf. [NY Times]

More Kentucky adults favor syringe exchanges than oppose them, and the more they know about them, the more likely they are to support them, according to the latest Kentucky Health Issues Poll. [Richmond Register]

We found insurers such as Allstate, Geico and Liberty Mutual were charging premiums that were as much as 30 percent higher in zip codes where most residents are minorities than in whiter neighborhoods with similar accident costs. [ProPublica]

Attorney General Andy Beshear’s office has opened an investigation into employee-only vehicle auctions held by the Administrative Office of the Courts. [H-L]

Donald Trump signed a resolution on Thursday that will allow states to withhold Title X family planning funds from Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers. [HuffPo]

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