Yarmuth: Only Kentuckian Standing Up In DC

You know Congressman John Yarmuth?

The only Kentucky rep in D.C. with the guts to stand up for Kentuckians?

Here he is challenging Republican budget committee members to condemn Donald Trump’s call for a government shutdown:



Here he is slamming Trumpcare – the thing the New Naz… New Republican Party of Kentucky loves because it harms people with pre-existing conditions:



And here he is on the House floor asking who in the world is better off because of disastrous Trumpcare bill:


It’s a shame the remainder of Kentucky’s D.C. reps are cowards.

McConnell Is Now Apparently Complicit

Mitch McConnell is now complicit in the Trump-Russia shenanigans. He yesterday rejected calls for a special prosector on the floor of the U.S. Senate. [CNN]

A mural at a Western Kentucky elementary school depicting two black children tending a garden while a tall white man plays a violin has upset some residents. [H-L]

Former President Barack Obama warned Donald Trump about hiring retired Army Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn during a meeting in November 2016, NBC and CNN reported Monday. [HuffPo]

A Louisville lawyer who heads the local chapter of the Federalist Society – a conservative legal group that has tried to move the national debate on gun rights and campaign finance to the right – will be nominated by Donald Trump to serve on the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals. [C-J/AKN]

One of the most dangerous companies in the U.S. took advantage of immigrant workers. Then, when they got hurt or fought back, it used America’s laws against them. [ProPublica]

Federal lawmakers are moving ahead with a new approach to health care that includes changing the way insurers cover pre-existing health conditions. But the American Health Care Act that House Republicans voted to advance last week could bring back a program with which some Kentuckians may be familiar: high-risk pool health insurance. Until 2013, these high-risk pools operated in Kentucky and other states. And if the provisions of the final bill allow states to do away with coverage for pre-existing health conditions — which were made possible under President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act — they could be coming back. [WFPL]

From the moment the Republican-controlled House of Representatives approved a plan to overhaul the health care system, an onslaught of opposition to the bill has been focused on a single, compact term: pre-existing conditions. [NY Times]

“These are our neighbors needing help and our community partners who are in the trenches every day trying to meet the needs of kids and families,” said Kim Henderson, Gateway regional director. Henderson is one of fewer than 10 staff at Mountain Haven Emergency Shelter, which held its grand opening ribbon cutting ceremony on Friday. [The Morehead News]

When the state of Arkansas announced plans to carry out eight executions in an 11-day period in April, it drew intense international scrutiny that flared until well after the final lethal injection in the series at the end of the month. In part, this attention was fueled by the explanation, offered by state officials, that the timetable was necessary because the supply of one of the state’s lethal drugs was about to expire and authorities had to carry out death penalties for eight men convicted of murder before then. [WaPo]

The family court judge for Barren and Metcalfe counties who objects to presiding over adoption cases involving homosexual adoptive parents now concedes his general order recusing himself from all such cases is prohibited by the Kentucky Supreme Court. [Ronnie Ellis]

The Trump administration is so far ignoring pleas from both on and off Capitol Hill to denounce the suspected Russian-backed digital assault that appeared aimed to tilt Sunday’s French presidential election toward nationalist candidate Marine Le Pen. [Politico]

Wondering how to stick it to an already impoverished community of people? Here you go. This fiscal year, the Madison Fiscal Court is contributing $1.75 million in supplemental funds to operate the chronically overcrowded county detention center. Judge/Executive Reagan Taylor believes the county could recover nearly $790,000 of that if it charged inmates a daily $10 fee, in addition to the $20 booking fee it already charges. [Richmond Register]

Barely two days into crafting a new bill to roll back Obamacare, U.S. Senate Republicans were already on the defensive on Tuesday over the absence of any women in their core working group. [Reuters]

The attempted burglary of a statistics exam Tuesday by two University of Kentucky students wasn’t the first time someone had the idea. A similar case 30 years ago turned into one of the biggest cheating cases in UK history. [H-L]

Author Stephen King has been delivering chills for more than four decades with horror masterpieces such as “It,” “The Shining” and “’Salem’s Lot.” But King now believes there’s something more terrifying than anything he’s ever cooked up, and it’s living in the White House. [HuffPo]

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Harmon: Please Get Your House In Order

This will seem silly to some, confusing to others, infuriating to a few. I don’t care. Read it anyway. Spare me your emails about editing – this is a brain dump.

State Auditor of Public Accounts Mike Harmon offers what he calls a “SAFE-House” “secure” reporting system (SAFE, according to the site, stands for Secure, Anonymous, File-Encrypted.) on his website:


HARMON SITE


SITE DETAIL

Unfortunately, it’s not remotely secure.

It’s not safe for whistleblowers.

It’s not safe for anyone communicating with the APA.

His staff is lying to him about its security and about their dedication to both security and privacy.

I’ve tested the form throughout the past several months – most recently today – in order to keep an eye on its alleged security. Turns out, depending upon the day it’s accessed — because it apparently varies (!) — his “secure” form is less secure than holding a press conference to spill the beans. It’s alarmingly transparent. I didn’t have to put in much effort to determine what was going on.

At various times, the form serves JavaScript from an HTTP connection (not even HTTPS at times, which doesn’t offer THAT much in terms of anonymity and security but would be theoretically better than HTTP) and his staff have implemented Google Analytics code ON THEIR SECURE FORMS. That means they’re tracking your IP addresses, browsing data, all kinds of other information, sharing it with Google and potentially putting you at risk for code-injection by merely using a train wreck of a form that they claim is secure.

This means you can easily be identified. Your identifying data could potentially be subject to open records requests. Your supervisor or boss could hunt you down without much effort. Even if withheld from open records requests (that’s to be debated and could be fought because I’ve done it in the past), your data would be instantly exposed to any number of people working within state government – from Harmon’s staff to the Office of the Attorney General when deciding open records appeals. It’s a legitimate risk if you wish to protect your privacy or want to safely blow the whistle on corruption. Those staff may mean well but that means nothing in practice.

I’ve tried for months to get the APA to make changes. There’s apparently no desire to improve. Not even when it comes to security, which would come at minimal expense.

Until Harmon decides to use SecureDrop or PGP/GPG encryption (at a minimum) with more secure email addresses and explicit instructions for minimizing risk, you should not trust his claimed ability to receive confidential information. Neither he nor his staff have any idea what they’re talking about. (Pro-tip: If you don’t know what Tails is or are confused about Tor? If you’ve never heard of PGP and don’t know what an SSL certificate is? You have no idea what you’re talking about. Not to mention your confusion over Google Analytics tracking, SQL injection, .asp security and JavaScript safety.)

For the past week, I’ve attempted to pass confidential information to Harmon’s staff via his Communications Director, Michael Goins, and twice explained the importance of data security. Primarily because I have a strong desire to protect my sources from retaliation. So what’d he do? Despite knowing the risk involved (he follows me on Twitter, I’ve tweeted at him repeatedly about it the past year), he directed me to use their insecure contact form or their insecure hotline. He offered no alternative, shirking his duty and longstanding position in Frankfort. Then he ran his mouth to others, disclosing both my name and the issue I’d attempted to discuss with him. Had it been the source, he would have caused them harm. Not exactly behavior deserving respect from the media or public.

That’s the kind of intellectual laziness that resulted in Tim Longmeyer, Tim Conley, Richie Farmer and Sylvia Lovely. In each of those cases, it took someone going to federal government folks to nudge action. Because state government officials were exhibiting the same disregard and sloppiness as Goins. Yes, it’s really that simple in many cases. Yes, it’s important to name names and call this junk out when it comes to state government. Incompetence is no longer an acceptable excuse.

Another staffer (withholding their name for dramatic effect, otherwise people wouldn’t return to the site at a later date. Love it or hate it, you’ll have to have some patience), upon having a brief conversation with me, rushed to speak with former colleagues (colleages. plural.) about that conversation with me. Had I not exercised discretion, that would have turned into a typical Frankfort flustercuck.

Harmon’s Executive Director, Sara Beth Gregory, is the only person who didn’t turn a blind eye. She made an effort to accept information in a more secure manner and that’s saying a lot. Unfortunately, I’d already passed information to someone physically at that point. Gregory had a reputation for protecting people when she served in the state legislature and that’s, for whatever reason (this is Frankfort! A rarity), carried over to her work at the APA. Out of several APA staffers in positions of leadership, Gregory was the only one behaving without overt recklessness. Let that sink in.

Mind you, I’m not just some homo hillbilly off the street. Not an unknown entity. The previous Auditor and some of his staff ignorantly tried to blame me for getting Harmon elected (remember when Harmon’s campaign advertised here? they were upset over that – as if it mattered). Harmon’s staff all follow me and have communicated with me for the better part of a decade in their various capacities. I’ve provided information to some of them in the past that has led to prosecution, conviction, legislative change, termination. My point is that they know me and have had positive experiences receiving trustworthy information from me for several years.

As I’ve transitioned from writing and reporting the last couple years, it’s become increasingly common for me to facilitate contact with trustworthy people in government when sources make such a request. Usually when I feel it would be unethical for me to report or too risky for a source for me to report. But particularly when something no one else in regional media can reasonably handle reporting. It’s worked quite well.

But… If *I* can’t get data to them securely?

You absolutely cannot and you should not trust Harmon’s staff until something changes.

Mike Harmon means well. I know that is 100% the case. I detest his personal politics but still know that to be demonstrably true. The actions and lack of attention to detail from his staff, however, would lead the average observer to believe they’re incompetent. It leads someone like me to believe they’re not only incompetent but intensely partisan with no real desire to stop the good old boy corruption running rampant in the Commonwealth of Kentucky.

That has to abruptly change if there’s to be any cleanup in Frankfort.

-Jake

Bevin’s Housing Mess Isn’t Going Away

Not since Watergate. How else can one start an article about President Donald Trump summarily firing FBI chief James Comey? [Mother Jones]

A company that supplies natural gas to homes in Floyd County overcharged customers and must cut its price and make refunds, the Kentucky Public Service Commission said in an order issued Thursday. [H-L]

Los Angeles City Council just joined a growing number of American cities to pass a resolution pressing for an investigation into potentially impeachable offenses by Donald Trump. [HuffPo]

State government began working on security improvements to the Anchorage mansion where Gov. Matt Bevin’s family is now living in late October, months before the home was purchased. [C-J/AKN]

The U.S. Defense Department is finalizing a lease on a privately owned apartment in New York’s Trump Tower for the White House Military Office to use for supporting Donald Trump without providing any benefit to Trump or his organization, according to a Pentagon letter seen by Reuters. [Reuters]

Kentucky’s youth usually get a bad reputation, but a new report indicates that most students aren’t focused on shirking the rules of the administration. [Richmond Register]

When teaching hospitals put pharmaceutical sales representatives on a shorter leash, their doctors tended to order fewer promoted brand-name drugs and used more generic versions instead, a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association shows. [ProPublica]

If somebody named Jim Tom in Eastern Kentucky is trying to remove members of a Planning Commission, you know something shady as hell is about to go down. Also, it’s Morehead, home of Kim Davis. While it’s a progressive little town? It’s still got quite a few good old boy holdouts. The community’s joint planning commission’s membership may soon be cut in half, according to Mayor Jim Tom Trent. [The Morehead News]

Scott Pruitt, the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, has removed himself from some of the most contentious cases facing it, including challenges to the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan and a controversial rule related to the Clean Water Act. [NY Times]

The board of directors for the Barren County ambulance service taxing district met Charlie O’Neal, the new director of the Barren-Metcalfe County Emergency Medical Services, during their regular meeting Wednesday at the Barren County Government Center. [Glasgow Daily Times]

What started as a joke has turned into hundreds of applications to mail human ash to Republicans who voted to roll back Obamacare. [WaPo]

Yes, crime spikes in Louisville during the Kentucky Oaks and Kentucky Derby. Also, if you’re gonna write about law enforcement at Churchill Downs? Maybe put in the effort to get data and comments from the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office. JCSO had so many officers at Churchill Downs that individual horses had individual deputies assigned to them. Seems like that would be a no-brainer. [WFPL]

Eric Trump allegedly revealed in a 2014 interview that Russia funded the family’s golf resorts “all the time”. The President also reportedly told the same journalist that the family had “access to $100 million” for their newest course in North Carolina. [Independent]

A woman accused of threatening a Fayette County judge (Kathy Stein) and harassing an attorney appeared in court Friday. [H-L]

Rabbi Shmuley Boteach’s visit to the White House on Tuesday caused quite a stir, particularly after the former Republican congressional candidate and conservative columnist tweeted a photo revealing chief strategist Steve Bannon’s “to do” list. [HuffPo]

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Kentucky Republicans Embarrassing Us Nationally. Again.

Hopes for a quick rebound in coal jobs with an industry friend in the White House didn’t pan out in Kentucky in the first three months of the year. [H-L]

Major networks including CNN, ABC, CBS and NBC are refusing to air a Donald Trump 2020 campaign ad that attacks mainstream media. [HuffPo]

So many ratchet things to say about the three people taking part in this interview. This involves Rick Pitino, so you can assume some of the ratchet things are highly inappropriate. Be sure to wear rubber gloves while check this story out. [C-J/AKN]

Just in case you thought Matt Bevin and the New Naz… Republican Party of Kentucky couldn’t embarrass you nationally on the health care front again? For nearly three years, Democrats and former President Barack Obama pointed to Kentucky as one of the Affordable Care Act’s biggest success stories. [Reuters]

Ashland is getting too big for its britches, acting as if it’s Louisville or Lexington implementing TIFs that will ultimately fail. The City of Ashland plans to create a Tax Increment Financing, or TIF, district in downtown Ashland to help two investors turn the Ashland Plaza Hotel into a Marriott-brand hotel, and to fund major public projects downtown, including a new convention center and parking garage. [Ashland Independent]

Mike Roman, a longtime Republican opposition researcher who worked for billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch before joining the Trump campaign, is now the White House’s director of special projects and research. He is one of a half-dozen unannounced hires the White House has made since President Trump took office. [ProPublica]

The $1 trillion spending bill signed by Donald Trump on Friday not only keeps the federal government open through September, it also includes additional money to pay for the destruction of chemical agents stored at Bluegrass Army Depot. [Richmond Register]

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s response to the Trump administration pulling down its website detailing information about climate change: putting up his own. [Politico]

BobbiSue Holmes, current dean of students at Cumberland Trace Elementary in Warren County, was named the new principal of South Green Elementary on Thursday in the SGE library. [Glasgow Daily Times]

For local officials here, it was one thing to spar with Donald J. Trump, the developer, over the height of his ficus hedges, the crowds at his Elton John concerts and the roar of jet engines over his private club, Mar-a-Lago. Mr. Trump would often threaten or cajole. The government would often push back, impose fines or endure lawsuits. But dealing with Donald J. Trump, the president, is another matter entirely. [NY Times]

With public interest in horse racing declining, the parent company of the Kentucky Derby has evolved into an entertainment enterprise built on gambling and social gaming platforms. [WFPL]

Not only did the Trump transition team and campaign know about Flynn and Russia, they warned Flynn. [WaPo]

The parents of an autistic third-grader who was dragged down sets of stairs and a hallway have filed suit against a former Scott County teacher, principal, the superintendent and the school district. [H-L]

Twenty-seven of America’s national monuments spanning over more than 11 million acres of land and about 760 million acres of ocean are threatened by a pair of executive orders signed by Donald Trump last week. [HuffPo]

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Subjecting 300,000 Kentuckians To Death

Surprise! The Orange Idiot spent a few minutes reading words about health care from a teleprompter that he didn’t understand:



Unfortunately, some of the people who voted for him won’t be around to vote for him again come 2020. Because a lack of Medicaid funding and health care in general will have killed them.

Horsey Set Had Gambling Fun Saturday

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Coal jobs prove lucrative. But not for those actually in the minds. Which comes as no surprise to anyone paying attention. [H-L]

Democratic activists, revamping fundraising to support congressional candidates in the Trump era, said Friday they received a flood of grassroots donations in the 24 hours after House Republicans passed legislation to repeal huge parts of Obamacare. [HuffPo]

Always Dreaming continued a long run of favorites winning the Kentucky Derby on Saturday at Churchill Downs, but the upset came in the aftermath. [C-J/AKN]

In late November, a member of Donald Trump’s transition team approached national security officials in the Obama White House with a curious request: Could the incoming team get a copy of the classified CIA profile on Sergey Kislyak, Russia’s ambassador to the United States? The outgoing White House also became concerned about the Trump team’s handling of classified information. After learning that highly sensitive documents from a secure room at the transition’s Washington headquarters were being copied and removed from the facility, Obama’s national security team decided to only allow the transition officials to view some information at the White House, including documents on the government’s contingency plans for crises. [AP]

These buttcramps in Trashland (I fucking said it – what a garbage place, thanks to its elected officials and political leaders and you know it’s true) don’t understand that the First Amendment protects people from government, not the other way around. So of course the new CNHI guy is reporting on defamation by using Wikipedia, apparently. [Ashland Independent]

Always Dreaming won the 143rd Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs over a sloppy track in Louisville on Saturday, giving jockey John Velazquez and trainer Todd Pletcher their second career wins in the ‘Run for the Roses’. [Reuters]

A new state law allowing state parks and fair boards to be sponsored by private entities interested in helping to grow tourism was recently adopted by the Kentucky General Assembly and signed into law by Gov. Matt Badussy. [Richmond Register]

Tipped off by her Washington sources that an executive order blocking refugees was coming, Becca Heller fired off messages to her vast network of law students and pro bono lawyers: Tell any clients who already have visas to board a plane for the United States. Get ready for the possibility that they will be detained upon landing. [NY Times]

It’s almost embarrassing that every small town in East and West Bumblefart have renamed parks “Freedom” post-9/11, as if it means something. But people always get uncomfortable when you bring up how ridiculous it is. A ceremony was held at Freedom Park on Thursday recognizing the National Day of Prayer. [The Morehead News]

What was that, again about the New Republicans not being literal racists? [Politico]

Bright-colored outfits are the norm at the Kentucky Derby. Women, men and even children arrive with hopes of attracting attention. Derric Chumney does the same thing, but for a different reason. [Glasgow Daily Times]

Their racist flags are still flying and they don’t even realize it. Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Hypocrite) suggested on Wednesday that former President Barack Obama’s planned $400,000 speech to a Wall Street firm is the driving force behind a coming measure to cap presidential pensions. [The Hill]

Just a reminder that Matt Bevin’s leadership sucks so badly that Kentucky’s experiencing a $113 million budget shortfall. Not only is New Republicanism (AKA The Dumb, Overtly Racist Republicans Have Taken Over) dangerous, it’s economically inept. Kentucky’s state government could face more budget cuts this summer because its $10.6 billion General Fund, which pays for most state services, is expected to fall $113.2 million short when fiscal year 2017 ends June 30. [John Cheves]

Grifters gonna grift. For a fee of $500,000 made out to the Kushner family, wealthy Chinese could secure a top spot in America. [HuffPo]

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