The Forward Five – Tuesday, 4/21/20

10 mins read

Five Things to Know Today

Good morning! Now that we’ve dropped our paywall, our readership numbers are way up (quelle surprise), especially for our own original content (more quelle surprise). While expected, the difference has been quite striking.

And yet, I continue to hear from readers who think most people have never heard of us, and believe we would have even more email subscribers and paying members if word got about the site.

Here’s the secret: Nothing we might do on our end is as effective as YOU telling others about us.

So, just for this week, I’m moving the “share this” box to the top of the Forward Five. (Well, under my opening message; got to keep our priorities straight, you know? 😉) Use those sharing buttons to post a link to this newsletter on social media, or to email it to a friend. Let’s see if we can grow our email subscribers (or even our paying members) through good recommendations from YOU, the readers.

And as always – Take care of yourselves. We’re going to get through this, together. #TeamKentucky

Bruce Maples, publisher
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In-person instruction cancelled for remainder of year – the 4/20 update
State crosses 3,000 confirmed cases, 150 deaths; more drive-thru testing starting; nursing homes and LTC facilities still a major concern. More bullets and video in the story. (Forward Kentucky)

‘Political game’? Governors push back on Trump virus charge
A chorus of governors from both parties pushed back hard Monday after President Donald Trump accused Democrats of playing “a very dangerous political game” by insisting there is a shortage of tests for coronavirus. The governors countered that the White House must do more to help states do the testing that’s needed before they can ease up on stay-at-home orders. (Herald-Leader)

AOC cuts rent payments; local officials ready to evict them
The Kentucky Administrative Office of the Courts is cutting statewide court facilities reimbursements by 50%, and local mayors and judge-executives are not happy. (Kentucky Today)

SCOKY to hear arguments virtually for first time in its history
For the first time in its history, the Kentucky Supreme Court will not hear oral arguments this week from their chambers at the Capitol, but instead through a teleconference. (Forward Kentucky)

These air pollution standards kept people out of the hospital. Trump just rolled them back.
Last week, the Environmental Protection Agency announced it would not tighten air quality standards for fine particle pollution, despite warnings from scientists that the current rules were not strict enough and could result in tens of thousands of premature deaths. The agency then finalized a decision on the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards, determining that it is not “appropriate and necessary” to regulate mercury and other pollutants from power plants despite the fact that utilities have already spent millions of dollars to comply with the standards.

The announcements arrived the same week as a new study that links these two regulations to tangible public health improvements, featuring data from Louisville Gas and Electric. Using zip code–level data from the city’s Department of Public Health and Wellness, the researchers found that after one of LG&E’s power plants in Louisville was retired in 2015, and pollution controls were installed on three other coal plants in the area, there were approximately three fewer asthma-related hospitalizations and ER visits per zip code per quarter over the following year across the county’s 35 zip codes. That adds up to nearly 400 avoided doctor visits. (Grist)

Did you miss any of these?

Featured Content on Forward Kentucky

([new] indicates new since last Forward Five; 🔥 indicates lots of reads)

— News —

[new] Trump wants sports back – but fans aren’t so sure – “We have to get our sports back,” Trump said. But a recent poll shows that Americans may be less enthusiastic than the president about the prospect of “Play Ball!” – at least, until there are some effective COVID-19 treatments in place. (read)

🔥 [new] 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. (read)

[new] Largest number of confirmed cases to date – 4/19 update – 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. (read)

[new] 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. (read)

[new] 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. (read)

🔥 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)

(Most-read story ever) 🔥 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)


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)

🔥 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)

— 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)

— 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)

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.

DemCast is an advocacy-based 501(c)4 nonprofit. We have made the decision to build a media site free of outside influence. There are no ads. We do not get paid for clicks. If you appreciate our content, please consider a small monthly donation.

Forward Kentucky is an independent media organization focused on progressive news and issues in Kentucky. Our objectives are to provide journalism that is objective, policies that are effective, and commentary that is progressive. Our goal is to help Kentucky become all that it can be through government that works, for all. We are "the progressive voice for Kentucky politics."

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