McConnell Finally Meets Kentucky’s Rage

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Surprise! Matt Bevin and the Republican Party of Kentucky lied again for political gain. Automaker Volvo and Swedish officials dispute Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin’s recent claim that Volvo refused to consider locating a production plant in Kentucky in 2015 because the state did not have a so-called “right-to-work” law at the time. [H-L]

Multiple reports this week have cast the administration of Donald Trump as being increasingly at odds with U.S. intelligence agencies, including the National Security Agency and the FBI, just weeks into his presidency and mere days after the fall of national security adviser Michael Flynn. [HuffPo]

About 1,000 Kentuckians hoping to confront U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell about policies and appointments of President Donald Trump caught up with him Tuesday at an Anderson County Chamber of Commerce luncheon, with a few of them getting inside American Legion Post 34 to fire questions at him. [C-J/AKN]

Former Swedish Prime Minister Carl Bildt early Sunday mocked President Trump after Trump pointed to an incident “last night” in Sweden to defend his travel ban. “Sweden? Terror attack? What has he been smoking? Questions abound,” Bildt tweeted. [The Hill]

It’s eye roll time! The Berea City Council voted Tuesday evening to begin its regular meetings with the Pledge of Allegiance to the American flag and an invocation by a member of the Berea Ministerial Association. [Richmond Register]

Leaked audio reveals Donald Trump invited COUNTRY CLUB MEMBERS to sit in on staff interviews. And people like Scott Jennings and the RPK are still defending this con artist. [Politico]

As many as 1,000 unhappy protesters greeted U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell when he arrived at American Legion Park on Tuesday to address the local Chamber of Commerce. [Ronnie Ellis]

It’s with a whiff of desperation that President Trump insists these days that he’s the chief executive Washington needs, the decisive dealmaker who, as he said during the campaign, “alone can fix it.” What America has seen so far is an inept White House led by a celebrity apprentice. [NY Times]

A grassroots effort is underway to establish a homeless shelter in Barren County. [Glasgow Daily Times]

A CIA officer resigned over Trump. Edward Price worked at the CIA from 2006 until this month, most recently as the spokesman for the National Security Council. [WaPo]

The Republican Party of Kentucky is trying to make it impossible to use solar energy in the Commonwealth. And they’re cowards. Jared Carpenter didn’t even have the guts to answer questions about the bill he sponsored – likely at the behest of the Kentucky Coal Association and the group of power conglomerates in Kentucky. It’s shady and offensive. [WFPL]

Geoff Burr spent much of the last decade as the chief lobbyist for a powerful construction industry trade group. Burr sought to influence a host of regulations of the Department of Labor, opposing wage standards for federal construction contracts and working against an effort to limit workers’ exposure to dangerous silica dust. [ProPublica]

A Senate bill filed Thursday would make law enforcement agencies withhold any information that could be used to identify the victims of sex offenses, domestic violence, criminal abuse, stalking or human trafficking, raising First Amendment concerns for news organizations trying to cover such crimes. There’s no reason JRA’s bill can’t be cleaned up to be amenable to the press while protecting, at least in part, victims. [H-L]

A federal appeals court ruled on Tuesday that a Maryland ban on assault-style rifles and large-capacity magazines isn’t subject to the Constitution’s right to keep and bear arms. [HuffPo]

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People Like Bob Stivers Have No Business Making Decisions For Lexington And Louisville

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Think the Republican Party of Kentucky has your best interests at heart? Here the Republicans are voting to allow more nepotism in your school districts. [H-L]

Much has been made of the monetary cost of Donald Trump’s proposed border wall. Trump himself has cited wildly differing estimates. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Nazi-Enabler) recently said that the wall would cost $12 billion to $15 billion. Some experts have cited numbers far higher. But the wall’s true cost surpasses even the biggest numbers being discussed. There’s upkeep, of course — hundreds of millions of dollars per year will be needed to maintain the 1,000-mile barrier. There are other expenses, too, some of them intangible and difficult to quantify. [HuffPo]

If Greg Fischer really wants to know if lenders discriminate, he already has a ton of the info at his disposal. He can examine bank data to see if area banks are investing and lending in the areas they’re legally required to invest and lend in. Spoiler alert: He has people on his staff who already know this data by heart because I helped them compile it in late 2014. [C-J/AKN]

Mr. Sater, a longtime business associate of Mr. Trump’s with connections in Russia, was willing to help Mr. Artemenko’s proposal reach the White House. Mr. Trump has sought to distance himself from Mr. Sater in recent years. If Mr. Sater “were sitting in the room right now,” Mr. Trump said in a 2013 deposition, “I really wouldn’t know what he looked like.” But Mr. Sater worked on real estate development deals with the Trump Organization on and off for at least a decade, even after his role in the stock manipulation scheme came to light. Mr. Sater, who was born in the Soviet Union and grew up in New York, served as an executive at a firm called Bayrock Group, two floors below the Trump Organization in Trump Tower, and was later a senior adviser to Mr. Trump. [NY Times]

The Highlands Museum and Discovery Center has received a $1,000 grant from the Kentucky Local History Trust Fund, the Kentucky Historical Society announced Thursday. [Ashland Independent]

On its own, Trump’s relationship with Sater might be written off (albeit not terribly plausibly) as simply a sleazy relationship Trump entered into to get access to capital he needed to finance his projects. Whatever shadowy ties Sater might have and whatever his criminal background, Trump has long since washed his hands of him. (Again, we’re talking about most generous reads here.) But now we learn that Sater is still very much in the Trump orbit and acting as a go-between linking Trump and a pro-Putin Ukrainian parliamentarian pitching ‘peace plans’ for settling the dispute between Russia and Ukraine. [TPM]

After Sater got busted, somehow he managed to offer his services to the FBI and supposedly the CIA to work on their behalf purchasing stinger missiles and other weapons on the then wild and free-wheeling Russian black market. [More TPM]

The Daniel Boone National Forest is celebrating 80 years as part of America’s national forest system. [Richmond Register]

Teen suicide attempts in the U.S. declined after same-sex marriage became legal and the biggest impact was among gay, lesbian and bisexual kids, a study found. [AP]

Kentucky regulators have approved a coal ash landfill for a power plant in Trimble County, advancing a project that’s been on hold for several years as regulators worked around concerns about the area’s geology and proximity to neighbors. [WFPL]

After she lost her son, Tonda Thompson dreamed of a baby in a washing machine. She’d stuffed in dirty clothes and closed the door. The lock clicked shut. Water rushed in. Then she saw him, floating behind the glass. Frantic, she jabbed at a keypad on the machine, searching for a code to unlock the door. [The Nation]

Motions from both sides of a lawsuit against Barren County Sheriff Kent Keen – and responses to those motions – have been filed in Barren Circuit Court and are awaiting the judge’s rulings. [Glasgow Daily Times]

Most Republicans in Washington are biting their tongues when it comes to Donald Trump, fearful that any candid criticisms of the new president could invite a backlash from their constituents or, potentially worse, provoke retribution from the commander in chief himself. Mark Sanford is not like most Republicans in Washington. [Politico]

This is why you shouldn’t trust bloated (no, not their physical appearance), backwater, out-of-touch xenophobes to make decisions for metro areas like Lexington and Louisville. The Lexington Urban County Council and several Lexington neighborhoods are opposing a state House bill that they say would make it more difficult for neighborhoods to fight proposed real estate developments in the courts. [H-L]

NASA continues to steadfastly tweet urgent climate change information despite a critical president and GOP efforts to force the agency to stick to space and forget the Earth. The Trump administration aims to largely restrict NASA to focus on its space missions and abandon climate change research, which is a part of its Earth Sciences Division. [HuffPo]

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RPK Denies Trying To Take Louisville Over, Egg Still Visible On Its Face

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Kentucky Retirement Systems, the state pension agency that officially faces an $18.1 billion unfunded liability, might be in far worse financial shape than previously thought. That means taxpayers could be on the hook for much more money to honor pension commitments to about 365,000 public employees. [John Cheves]

Donald Trump’s administration labeled The Associated Press’s reporting on a leak “100 percent false” on Friday morning, only to acknowledge less than an hour later that the story was based on a real document. [HuffPo]

If you think this isn’t a Republican attempt to take over in Louisville, you’re probably someone who believes the moon landing was faked. [C-J/AKN]

From the Department of Things Ken Ham and Scott Jennings wouldn’t understand… Zircons are an ordinary gemstone found in granites from continental crust and are an incredibly accurate way to measure ages on the order of hundreds of millions to billions of years old. [Forbes]

Remember a decade or so ago when we started uncovering and reporting on corruption involving Jim Ramsey and the University of Louisville? And when Ramsey, et al (mostly Democrats tied to Jack Conway), started coming for us? Funny how that works. Turns out we were right all along. [WFPL]

Twice as many people now work in solar than in the coal industry, according to a new survey from the nonprofit Solar Foundation. [Fast Company]

If you happen to be on the campus of Harvard University this spring and you run into former Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear, don’t be surprised. Beshear will be on campus as part of the Richard L. and Ronay A. Menschel Senior Leadership Fellows at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. [Business First]

The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation is pursuing at least three separate probes relating to alleged Russian hacking of the U.S. presidential elections, according to five current and former government officials with direct knowledge of the situation. [Reuters]

After the ease with which it passed out of committee on Thursday — with no nay votes — there wasn’t much surprise Friday when the full Senate unanimously passed the latest Kentucky education reform bill. [Ronnie Ellis]

In light of the stunning events of the past week, the question is not whether the Trump administration’s ties to the Russian government need to be investigated immediately and fully — clearly they do. It’s who will be in charge of that investigation? The Republicans in Congress can’t decide whether they would rather act like a responsible, independent branch or just the friendly legislative arm of the White House. Jason Chaffetz, chairman of the House oversight committee, would sooner investigate a cartoon character named Sid the Science Kid than any allegations relating to President Trump. [NY Times]

From the Department of Things That Make You Go Hmm… Ashland is ranked eighth as one of the top places to retire in Kentucky, according to a SmartAsset study. [Ashland Independent]

Betsy DeVos criticized teachers at a D.C. school she visited and they took her ass to school. This is the backward, bigoted, out-of-touch woman Scott Jennings and the Republican Party of Kentucky are continually praising. [WaPo]

Tim Conley is a con artist who just won’t quit. He and his family hid behind Jesus – as if that’s okay – while he robbed Morgan County blind as people were suffering and mourning deaths after a tornado that wiped out West Liberty. He deserves to remain in prison until 2021. And honestly, deserves to be shunned for the rest of his time on earth. [H-L]

Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.) gave a staunch defense of the free press Saturday, noting that attacks on the media are “how dictators get started.” [HuffPo]

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Robin Webb Must Fear Losing Her Seat

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A few Kentucky lawmakers want payday loan stores to face much heavier penalties when they violate consumer-protection law. [John Cheves]

The Senate Judiciary Committee’s top Republican and Democrat are together pressing Attorney General Jeff Sessions and FBI Director James Comey to provide the committee with more details on former national security adviser Michael Flynn and his contacts with Russian officials. [HuffPo]

This should come as a surprise to no one who has followed Greg Fischer’s incompetent service as mayor. The Metro Corrections Department is trying to figure out why jail officials held an inmate for five months after his sentence was up and then turned him over to federal immigration authorities. Ironically, the handover Monday came only an hour after activists delivered more than 2,000 signatures urging Mayor Greg Fischer to designate Louisville a sanctuary city. [C-J/AKN]

Trump’s repeal of bipartisan anti-corruption measure proves he’s a fake. The man who ran as an outsider and champion of the common man plays the stooge for industry. So of course people like Scott Jennings live for the orange clown. [Rolling Stone]

The state Senate Education Committee gave a hearty — if not quite unanimous — amen to a bill sponsored by Sen. Robin Webb, D-Grayson, which would allow school districts to offer an elective Bible literacy course. Robin Webb ought to be kicked square in the ass – for other reasons, too – but this ought to be reason enough for someone (Democrat or Republican) to oust her in the next election. [Ronnie Ellis]

Funny how you don’t hear anything about stuff like this from the Kentucky GOP or Dildo Trump – even though it’s been reported by Fox. A Russian spy ship has moved 40 miles closer to the U.S. shore and is now sitting 30 miles off the coast of Groton, Connecticut. [Salon]

Do you smell the looming disaster? A significant re-working of Kentucky’s curriculum standards and assessment and evaluation of schools appears headed to easy passage after the bill’s sponsor, Sen. Mike Wilson, R-Bowling Green, got most of the major stakeholders on board. [More Ronnie Ellis]

Michael Flynn was at a beachside resort in the Dominican Republic, a stretch of sand and sun that he and his wife had visited for years, when he took a few moments out of their post-election vacation for a call with the Russian ambassador to the United States. [NY Times]

Housing authorities across the country with Housing Choice Voucher Programs could receive less administrative funding this year to pay staff for managing the programs, and it is possible less families will also be served through the programs. [Glasgow Daily Times]

Former national security adviser Michael Flynn denied to FBI agents in an interview last month that he had discussed U.S. sanctions against Russia with that country’s ambassador to the United States before President Trump took office, contradicting the contents of intercepted communications collected by intelligence agencies, current and former U.S. officials said. [WaPo]

Max Wise is another one of those guys who had trouble as a kid getting girls to be interested in him. Lawmakers have given initial approval to a plan to “defund” Kentucky’s Planned Parenthood locations in Lexington and Louisville by putting the organization at the back of the line for federal family planning dollars. [WFPL]

Several White House staffers were dismissed Thursday morning after failing FBI background checks, according to sources familiar with the matter. [Politico]

Here’s more of the Republican Party of Kentucky standing strong against the working class. A proposal to update Kentucky’s workers’ compensation program for the first time in about two decades makes changes sought by insurers and businesses but contains no adjustments sought by worker advocates and unions. [H-L]

Trump lashed out at news outlets for reporting that several of his campaign aides were contacting Russian intelligence agencies while those agencies were working to hurt Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and help Trump win ― but danced around direct questions about whether he knew of such contacts. [HuffPo]

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Scott Jennings Whines That Democrats Aren’t “Tolerant” Of Backward-Ass Bigots Like Betsy DeVos

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This editorial dangerously misses Matt Bevin’s typical, backward, slick, Republican point. That point? That poor people should pay more money to the state via consumption taxes. To suggest it’s about honest, fair tax reform is as shady as Bevin himself and the people defending him. The paper’s editorial board knows better and that’s what is most alarming. [H-L]

HAHAHAHA! This is the man people like Scott Jennings are tacitly defending. They own this huckster. OWN HIM. They have to own this mess and it’s going to be painful and hilarious to watch them have to eat it. Donald Trump on Wednesday ignored shouted questions about his administration’s reported ties to Russia. [HuffPo]

Here’s giant pussy, Scott Jennings, whining about TOLERANCE! Regarding school choice, which he says is scientific. HAHAHAHA! Seriously. You’re going to need to take a pee break before you read this one. This fucker is going to own every last idiot the Trump Administration has appointed each and every time he says this shit publicly. Make this dumb fucker own it, Democrats. Let him know that whining about how “intolerant” people are of his intolerance/racism/bigotry/whatever doesn’t compute. P.S. He’s going knee-deep on DeVos because of her money. His Super PAC. McConnell’s Super PAC. [C-J/AKN]

How did Sergei Krikov die? And why did the NYPD close the case? He was found just before 7 a.m. on Election Day, lying on the floor of the Russian Consulate on the Upper East Side. The man was unconscious and unresponsive, with an unidentified head wound — “blunt force trauma,” in cop parlance. By the time emergency responders reached him, he was dead. [BuzzFeed]

Citing “increasing public interest and media attention,” Kentucky State Police on Wednesday announced the creation of a dedicated unit to investigate police shootings across the state. [WFPL]

Donald Trump is a racist bigot and people like Scott Jennings, Damon Thayer and Jeff Hoover are all about him. Fortunately, people like Whitney Westerfield maybe see through the bullshit? Either way, the FBI has released documents related to Dildo Trump’s rental discrimination case and they are scandalous. Be sure to read what Trump’s doorman told the FBI he was directed to tell black people. [FBI]

House Speaker Jeff Hoover says Kentucky’s Republican governor will have to testify before a legislative committee and offer his personal, public guarantee that he won’t block a bill aimed at overhauling driver’s licenses in the state. [Richmond Register]

The intercepts alarmed American intelligence and law enforcement agencies, in part because of the amount of contact that was occurring while Mr. Trump was speaking glowingly about the Russian president, Vladimir V. Putin. [NY Times]

The City of Ashland is poised to acquire the old Ashland Oil building for free. Louisa Community Bank will donate the vacant, seven-story building on Winchester Avenue to the city, pending approval by the board of city commissioners during Wednesday’s commission meeting. [Ashland Independent]

Trump’s ouster of national security adviser Michael Flynn, and the circumstances leading up to it, have quickly become a major crisis for the fledgling administration, forcing the White House on the defensive and precipitating the first significant breach in relations between Trump and an increasingly restive Republican Congress. [WaPo]

Cave City has received the best audit report it could receive from an auditor. David Gilbert with Gilbert and Gilbert, a certified public accounting firm in Glasgow, reviewed the city’s 2016 audit report with city council members Monday night. In doing so, he pointed out the change in the city’s net position, which was $1,237,401. [Glasgow Daily Times]

The ex-wife of President Donald Trump’s labor secretary nominee told “The Oprah Winfrey Show” that he “vowed revenge” when she made public spousal abuse allegations, according to a 1990 tape reviewed by POLITICO on Tuesday night. [Politico]

Of course Damon Thayer and his handlers want to further corrupt politics in Kentucky. Lawmakers in Kentucky are looking for more of that sweet, sweet cash. A bill that would double the amount donors can contribute to a campaign passed the Senate Wednesday on a party-line vote after it got out of the Senate State and Local Government Committee committee earlier in the day. [H-L]

Multiple Russian military aircraft came close to a U.S. Navy destroyer in the Black Sea on Feb. 10, incidents considered “unsafe and unprofessional,” a U.S. official said on Tuesday. [HuffPo]

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Rand Paul Is Now Cool With Corruption As Long As It Involves Republicans

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Some Kentucky State University faculty and alumni are pushing back after the school’s board of regents announced Friday that their $120,000 search for a new president had produced two finalists with controversial backgrounds and one with less than two years experience in higher education. [Linda Blackford]

U.S. intelligence and law enforcement agencies have confirmed that President Donald Trump’s campaign aides and associates had constant contact with Russian intelligence officials before the election, directly contradicting public statements made by top administration officials. [HuffPo]

Immigration and Customs Enforcement raids in Kentucky and Indiana last week led to more than 100 arrests, sparking fear in some immigrant communities that President Donald Trump’s promised crackdown on illegal immigration was ramping up. [C-J/AKN]

The Senate’s second-ranking Republican and other GOP senators are calling for an investigation into connections between President Donald Trump and Russia, and want former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn to testify. [CNN]

A lack of cell phone reception in parts of Boyd County has led the fiscal court to seek a state grant that would provide more radios for county departments. [Ashland Independent]

Donald Trump knew for weeks that national security adviser Michael Flynn had misled the White House about his contacts with Russia but did not immediately force him out, an administration spokesman said on Tuesday. [Reuters]

The Kentucky state Senate unanimously condemned the “dealing in death” by heroin traffickers Tuesday by classifying trafficking in any amount of heroin sales as a Class C felony. [Ronnie Ellis]

It’s hard to find anyone in Washington who knows border issues better than Alan Bersin. His unique perspective combines years of frontline law enforcement experience with academic knowledge and intellectual interest in the historical, economic and social forces that are at work at the borders of the United States, especially the U.S.-Mexico line. [ProPublica]

Here’s your No Shit, Sherlock moment of the week. Kentucky’s state auditor has released a report detailing problems with last year’s rollout of Benefind, the new online portal for state benefits like health care, food stamps and cash assistance. [WFPL]

Democrats hold no levers of power in Washington, but they have pulled out their megaphones to demand that Mr. Flynn’s resignation open the first chapter — not the last — of investigations into contacts between Trump aides and Moscow — during and after Mr. Trump’s campaign for president. [NY Times]

Oh, how brave of them. You know half of them don’t have the guts to fight racism and homophobia in the real world. The Kentucky state Senate unanimously went on record Tuesday opposing a rally by an outside white nationalist rally scheduled for April 29 in Pikeville. [More Ronnie Ellis]

To call this past weekend in the Trump administration a garbage fire would be a disservice to garbage fires, which at least shed light and get rid of garbage. [WaPo]

To understand one of Lexington’s hot-button issues, you must appreciate the fact that what some people praise as “urban revitalization” others criticize as “gentrification.” [Tom Eblen]

Not only is Rand Paul a tiny, racist twat, he’s now cool with Republican corruption. Rand Paul (R-Nazi Sympathizer) said Tuesday that probing the Trump administration’s ties to Russia after the resignation of National Security Adviser Michael Flynn would be “excessive,” and that Republicans shouldn’t be wasting time investigating members of their own party. [HuffPo]

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RPK Is Now More Corrupt Than KDP And That Should Scare The Shit Out Of You

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This has got to be the dumbest shit from racists like Kevin Bratcher. Though, keep in mind that he’d do just about anything if he thought it would curry favor with uneducated folks who are easily frightened. Even more dumb than his freakout with Jeff Hoover over transgender kids. After a long debate and a protest from Black Lives Matter members that resulted in a lawmaker being called a racist, the House passed a bill that would cover first responders under Kentucky hate crime law. [H-L]

National security adviser Michael Flynn resigned late Monday, following revelations that he discussed U.S. sanctions against Russia with that country’s ambassador in the days surrounding their imposition ― and weeks prior to Donald Trump’s inauguration. [HuffPo]

A few Republican state senators want to eliminate required sexual harassment training for lawmakers and cut back on the ethics-related instruction they receive, citing concerns about the effectiveness of those initiatives. Sen. John Schickel, R-Union, is sponsoring Senate Bill 152, which would repeal existing requirements for lawmakers to go through sexual harassment and workplace harassment training. It also would require Kentucky legislators to sit through only 30 minutes of ethics-related instruction each January instead of the three hours currently mandated by state law. [C-J/AKN]

Infuckingsane. A visitor to President Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida posted a Facebook photo with a person he says is responsible for carrying the black bag that contains the nuclear launch codes for the president of the United States. [The Hill]

A legislative committee voted Friday to defer a decision on new rules that would change the way coal ash landfills are permitted in Kentucky. [WFPL]

A lobbying firm working for Saudi Arabia paid for a room at Donald Trump’s Washington hotel after Inauguration Day, marking the first publicly known payment on behalf of a foreign government to a Trump property since he became president. [Politico]

Kentucky has the highest rate of hepatitis C infection in the nation. However, few counties across the Commonwealth have implemented needle exchange programs. [Richmond Register]

Everything is puppies and rainbows. These are chaotic and anxious days inside the National Security Council, the traditional center of management for a president’s dealings with an uncertain world. [NY Times]

Molly Maynard is a soup beans and cornbread in a quiche kind of woman. Her love of all things Appalachia burns deep — deep down inside of her very soul — but so does a passion for New York City and all things theater that makes the city that never sleeps one of the most entertaining places on earth but also one of the most heartbreaking. [Ashland Independent]

U.S. immigration officers last week arrested more than 680 people in the country illegally, the homeland security chief said on Monday, in a broad enforcement action that alarmed immigrant rights groups. [Reuters]

Building and bonding were two of several issues discussed during a meeting of the Barren County Board of Education on Thursday evening in the media center at Barren County High School. [Glasgow Daily Times]

Louisville in particular looks like the place where Google Fiber will prototype its next generation architecture, using a mix of fiber optics for the internet backbone and fixed wireless for the last mile to connect customers. [ZDNet]

Waste Services of the Bluegrass has appealed a decision that it must apply for a zoning change to expand the Central Kentucky Landfill in Scott County. [H-L]

Hillary Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta criticized the FBI on Wednesday for how it responded to the Democratic National Committee’s hacked emails, which U.S. intelligence agencies say Russia stole and gave to WikiLeaks in order to tip the election to President Donald Trump. [HuffPo]

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