The Republican Way: Fearing Trans Kids

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Kentucky legislators took the first step Tuesday in creating a new way of funding higher education that would funnel $1 billion to public universities and colleges based on their graduation rates and other performance measures. [Linda Blackford]

White House adviser Stephen Miller said President Donald Trump’s new travel ban will accomplish much the same thing as the old one. [HuffPo]

Yet more proof that the Republican Party of Kentucky is living in the dark ages. Be thankful that the current generation of leadership in Frankfort is old enough to die of natural causes within two decades. Their wrongs can be righted. If that sounds extreme? You’re probably someone who is cool with coal slurry flooding the water table. [C-J/AKN]

The Trump Disaster withdrew Title IX guidelines that protected transgender students. So, Republicans, you can get fucked if you think you’re going to flit around branding yourselves as supporting equality of any sort. If you support or normalize these people in Washington, you’re part of the problem. [BuzzFeed]

Poor Candy Barr got his ass handed to him by constituents when he couldn’t be anything but an awful wretch on the health care front. People in Mt. Sterling know it’s not about partisanship – it’s about human rights. Opponents flooded a town hall event held by U.S. Rep. Andy Barr in Mt. Sterling early Wednesday morning. The group booed, shouted down and at times hissed at Kentucky’s 6th district congressman over his stances on cutting corporate taxes, repealing the Affordable Care Act and scaling back the Environmental Protection Agency. [WFPL]

The White House has pushed back the release of a new executive order to replace its directive suspending travel to the United States by citizens of seven mostly Muslim countries, a White House official said on Wednesday. [Reuters]

Maybe those watching as U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell confronted protesters from across Kentucky at a scheduled stop here Tuesday expected confrontation. [Ronnie Ellis]

President Trump on Wednesday rescinded protections for transgender students that had allowed them to use bathrooms corresponding with their gender identity, overruling his own education secretary and placing his administration firmly in the middle of the culture wars that many Republicans have tried to leave behind. [NY Times]

The Ashland Board of Zoning Adjustment nixed a proposal by a local doctor to turn the old Ashland Junior College building on Central Avenue into a drug rehabilitation and detox center. [Ashland Independent]

The Trump administration in its first month has largely benched the State Department from its long-standing role as the pre­eminent voice of U.S. foreign policy, curtailing public engagement and official travel and relegating Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to a mostly offstage role. [WaPo]

Barren County Fiscal Court unanimously passed the first of two readings of an ordinance to make some revisions, mostly clarifications, to the original ordinance passed late last year to establish a taxing district through which revenue would be collected. [Glasgow Daily Times]

The racist history of incarceration that Donald Trump is threatening to repeat. The internment of American citizens during World War II cannot remain a historical footnote. [ThinkProgress]

Andy Barr was laughed at, booed, interrupted, scolded and, a few times, praised by constituents who packed inside the Montgomery County Courthouse Annex early Wednesday morning. [H-L]

A CNN segment turned tense Tuesday night when the Anne Frank Center for Mutual Respect’s executive director verbally sparred with Kayleigh McEnany, the network’s in-house surrogate for President Donald Trump. [HuffPo]

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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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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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Hal Heiner: Your New Educational Poison

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Wondering what kind of garbage Hal Heiner is pushing on the educational front? Here’s a taste. [H-L]

Mitch McConnell (R-Granny) denounced Russian President Vladimir Putin on Sunday, distancing himself from President Donald Trump’s more equivocal view of the foreign leader. Then he said he doesn’t want to critique the president… as he critiqued and obstructed the former president for eight years. [HuffPo]

Wondering how to scare the bejeebers out of racist mouth-breathers? With a headline like this: JCPS could become immigrant safe haven. [C-J/AKN]

U.S. Judge James Robart emerged from relative obscurity on Saturday as the first justice to come under fire from the president since he took office after his temporary order to lift Donald Trump’s immigration ban. [Reuters]

Topics flurried around the table at the [Richmond] Planning and Zoning Commission’s specially called meeting to discuss the Comprehensive Plan revision Thursday night. [Richmond Register]

Trump’s threats to disrupt trade with Mexico aren’t just worrying people south of the border. Each time Trump attacks the North American Free Trade Agreement, known as NAFTA, the executives at a 130 year-old railroad company in Kansas City, Mo., hold their breath. Like a lot of U.S. companies, cross-border trade accounts for a lot of Kansas City Southern’s business. [NPR]

This seems like it’s either pointless or rooted in typical rural Kentuckian racism. During the past decade, zero refugees have resided in northeastern Kentucky from the seven countries on which President Donald Trump recently placed a temporary immigration ban. [Ashland Independent]

The Trump White House appears to have backed off for now on its consideration of reopening overseas “black site” prisons, where the C.I.A. once tortured terrorism suspects, after a leaked draft executive order prompted bipartisan pushback from Congress and cabinet officials. [NY Times]

Concerned citizens and environmental groups are still awaiting a decision from federal regulators about a plan to repurpose the Tennessee Gas pipeline through Rowan County. [The Morehead News]

Just in case you’re still wondering who is really in charge of the White House… [WaPo]

Two elementary schools in the Bowling Green Independent Schools will benefit from a $250,000 Active Trails Grant recently awarded to Mammoth Cave National Park by the National Park Foundation. [Glasgow Daily Times]

The $3 pill known as BiDil was already a difficult sell when a Georgia-based pharmaceutical company bought the marketing rights a few years ago. A treatment for African Americans suffering from heart failure, BiDil had never really caught on, forcing the drug company that developed it to take a buyout offer. One strike against the drug was a 2009 study that raised questions about its safety and effectiveness. [ProPublica]

Morgan owns four liquor stores and a boat docked at Lee’s Ford Marina in Lake Cumberland. He has filed six bills intended to help himself as the owner of a liquor store. He’s also filed one bill that would repeal a state law that lets marinas enforce a lien on a boat. Why? Because he owes Lee’s Ford nearly $28,000 and they have a lien on his boat. [Rita Smart]

Republican members of Congress have made repealing the Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare, a top priority. [HuffPo]

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