Five Things to Know Today
Good morning! I never thought I’d say this, but I miss going to the gym. I had a good routine going, and after weeks of no gym and too much ice cream, I feel like my body is turning to mush. Got to pick up the “healthy at home” exercise.
Ivonne Rovira wrote an editorial on our site that talked about the Koch Brothers and others being behind the “open up” protests. Now there are numerous investigative stories around the country backing that up. We’ll have more on this soon, but be aware that these “grassroots” protests are being coordinated and encouraged by national groups and perhaps even the White House and the president’s reelection committee.
And while some are wanting to reopen everything and get “back to normal,” others are cautioning that the “new normal” is coming, either until we get a vaccine or permanently. For one thing – get used to wearing masks.
These are tough times, and they will probably get tougher. Let’s take care of each other, and work to come out of this crisis stronger and more resilient. Remember,
We’re going to get through this, together. #TeamKentucky
Bruce Maples, publisher
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Beshear updates for Friday, Saturday, and Sunday
Friday – Beshear lays out reopening guidelines – but testing and self-quarantining still a part of the “new normal”
Some restrictions against the coronavirus in health care may be relaxed before the end of the month, and some businesses could loosen up in May, if the number of cases declines for two weeks and they show they can operate safely, Gov. Andy Beshear said yesterday. (Forward Kentucky)
Saturday – Beshear touts state’s performance, voices concern over LTC facilities and prisons – 4/18 update
The governor and acting Health Secretary Eric Friedlander said the biggest challenge in Kentucky and the nation is in nursing homes and other long-term-care facilities. (Forward Kentucky)
Sunday – Largest number of confirmed cases to date
273 new cases, 4 new deaths; long discussion of what it will take to “reopen” and what the “new normal” will look like, including face masks and quarantining. (Forward Kentucky)
Lawmakers, state officials condemn threats to Beshear
A post on Facebook on Saturday called for removing Beshear “by any means necessary via the Second Amendment.” Within hours, state constitutional officers and members of the General Assembly began responding to the comment, beginning with Senator Julie Raque Adams. (Forward Kentucky)
Judge denies Maryville Baptist Church’s bid to block Gov. Beshear’s coronavirus order
A federal judge Saturday night denied Maryville Baptist Church’s motion for a restraining order blocking enforcement of Gov. Andy Beshear’s order barring faith-based mass gatherings.
The church filed a lawsuit Friday saying that enforcement of the order discriminates against their rights under the First Amendment and the Kentucky Religious Freedom Restoration Act by prohibiting “mass gatherings” that are “faith-based.”
But U.S. District Judge David Hale said that Beshear’s order to prevent the spread of COVID-19 bans all mass gatherings — “i.e., any event or convening that brings together groups of individuals, including civic, public, leisure, faith-based, or sporting events as well as concerts, festivals and conventions.”
For that reason, Hale said it doesn’t discriminate against religion. (Courier-Journal)
Confederate flag coming down; NAACP proposes new way forward
The Confederate flag raised next to the courthouse in Marshall County is coming down. In response, the state NAACP is offering to work with others on a better solution to displaying the flag. (Forward Kentucky)
Democratic challengers surpass Senate Republicans
With almost twice as many seats up, the GOP is facing a number of serious challenges, made worse by the release of first quarter fundraising totals which show Democrats out-raising some of the most vulnerable Republican incumbents in the first three months of this year. (Forward Kentucky)
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Featured Content on Forward Kentucky
([new] indicates new since last Forward Five; 🔥 indicates lots of reads)
— News —
[new] Beshear announces “Midwest partnership” on reopening economy – Kentucky will coordinate with six other Midwest states to coordinate the process and schedule for reopening their economies. More details in Friday’s update. (read)
[new] KY to partner w/ 6 other states on reopening; 4 new test sites announced – 159 new cases, 7 new deaths; believes Friday will be higher numbers; KYGA drops reopening advisory bill; KY Chamber announces reopening webinars. (read)
[new] 🔥 Your coronavirus check is coming. Your bank can grab it. – Regulators have given banks the green light to use stimulus funds to pay off debts that individuals owe them. Here’s the scoop. (read)
Here’s what passed and failed the last two days of the General Assembly – The Kentucky General Assembly adjourned sine die just before midnight on Wednesday, April 15. Before wrapping up, the two chambers overrode vetoes, passed or amended some bills, and saw some bills fail before the midnight deadline. Here is a summary of the important actions in Frankfort over the last two days of the session. (read)
Millions of Americans might not get stimulus checks. Some might be tricked into paying Turbo Tax to get them – Congress has approved billions of dollars of checks for Americans hard hit by the biggest round of layoffs in U.S. history. But millions of Americans will have to wait months for that money — and millions more may never get the money at all. (read)
Josh Douglas lays out actual details of voter photo ID bill – With all the reaction to the final passage of the voter ID bill, we thought it wise to share some actual details of the bill. Dr. Josh Douglas does that in this post. (read)
🔥 C’mon Kentucky – our census rates stink, especially in rural areas. Let’s do better! – Less than half of Kentuckians have completed their census – and it’s even worse in many rural areas. Surely we can get over 50%! (read)
[new] America is rudderless amid the pandemic – Great presidents are forged in the crucible of great crises. Unfortunately, Donald Trump won’t be joining them in the presidential pantheon. He has failed abysmally to rise to what history will record as the defining test of his presidency. (read)
[new] 🔥 Koch Brothers try to use COVID-19 to reawaken Tea Party movement – People are aware that Erika Calihan and her Astroturf group organized a protest at the State Capitol. But these are mere puppets on the string. Where do all the bad ideas in Kentucky derive? Koch Industries, of course. (read)
🔥 Silly protests and political cheap shots by KY GOP won’t get the economy open any sooner – Protest, take cheap shots, whatever – it’s not going to change what we need to ease COVID restrictions. Linda Blackford calls it out. (read)
— Policy —
Congress must act to prevent state budget cuts from dragging the economy further down – Unlike the federal government, states can’t print money, and they face constraints from balanced budget requirements. The ball is in Congress’ court. Our well-being now, and prospects for recovery in the future, depend on its actions. (read)
🔥 Churches, COVID-19, and the First Amendment: An analysis – How do we balance First Amendment rights with the public good in a pandemic? Dr. Neal Turpin looks at the issues involved and lays out some principles. (read)
— Media —
[new show] TSOK: Sen. Morgan McGarvey and candidate Shannon Fabert – On The State of Kentucky, we’re joined this week by Senator Morgan McGarvey to share his thoughts on the concluding days of the General Assembly. Then, Shannon Fabert comes on to talk with us about her campaign to win the nomination to face Thomas Massie in the fall. Join us! (watch)
[new podcast] Veto overrides, COVID cases, Easter drama, and Glenn Hammond interview – We bring plenty of updates about Kentucky’s ongoing response to the coronavirus and its increasingly political nature. And, our interview this week was with Glenn Hammond, a Democratic candidate for Kentucky Senate from Pikeville. (listen)
🔥 Watch viral Obama video endorsing Biden and talking about what we need in the White House – President Obama released a video yesterday endorsing Joe Biden for president – but he did so much more. He reminded us of what sort of nation we can be, and he talked about what type of leadership we need in these times. It’s not just an endorsement speech; it’s a call to live out the vision of compassion, strength, intelligence, and empathy that America is supposed to be. Watch and see if you are inspired as I was. (watch)
— PubBlog —
Update on news stories – We’ve experienced some sudden changes in our news sources. Here’s the scoop on them. (read)
Posts with Most Social Media Shares in Past Fourteen Days
(🔥 indicates post with surge of recent shares)
- 🔥 C’mon Kentucky – our census rates stink, especially in rural areas. Let’s do better! (20,000+ shares) (Great Scott!)
- Confederate flags: Changing flags doesn’t change the facts (2,000+ shares)
- 🔥 Koch Brothers try to use COVID-19 to reawaken Tea Party movement (2,000+ shares)
- Churches, COVID-19, and the First Amendment: An analysis (2,000+ shares)
- Beshear even firmer against gatherings, including small family ones (1,000+ shares)
The Forward 5 is published Monday to Friday by Forward Kentucky, an independent media organization focused on progressive news and issues in Kentucky, and is re-posted with permission. You can sign up for the email version of the newsletter on their website.
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