Thorns & Roses: The Worst, Best & Most Absurd (4/24)

‘World’s greatest no-goodnik’  |  Thorn 

Unable to raise enough money through usual routes, developers of the Braidy Industries aluminum plant found help the old-fashioned Trump way — they asked a Russian oligarch. Oleg “Badenov” Deripaska’s United Co. Rusal says it will invest $200 million in the Eastern Kentucky project. Deripaska, according to New York Times stories, is tied to the Russian mob (he denies that), and was hit with economic sanctions by the U.S., that is, until the Trump administration lifted them. He even appears in the Mueller Report. What a perfect bedmate for Gov. Matt Bevin and his Braidy cronies. Remember, Bevin hoodwinked the legislature into investing $15 million of your money in Braidy without telling lawmakers why — until it was too late.

Behind the Smokescreen?  |  Thorn 

Call us skeptical. OK, cynical… We believe U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell, a longtime ally of Big Tobacco in a Big Tobacco State, was not really concerned about helping teens avoid another addiction when he proposed raising the smoking age to 21. A former Food and Drug Administration official told The New York Times he wondered whether the bill would also weaken the 2009 tobacco control law. And, we wonder whether McConnell’s seemingly altruistic bill is really meant to deter future vaping restrictions. (Altria, a big McConnell donor, owns part of Juul, a teen-vaper fav.)

Kicking the homeless down the street  | Thorn 

Another week, another rousting. This time CSX is set to clear a homeless encampment where some people went after the city evicted them from under the Interstate 65 overpass on Jefferson Street. Of course, the city has no plan for where they can go next, let alone legally. The latest homeless count was recently released, and it found nearly 7,000 homeless people using services in the city in 2018, some 300 more than in 2017. About 635 were sleeping rough. “While the visibility of street homelessness has drastically risen in the last two years, it is not necessarily true that the number of those sleeping in camps or on the streets has risen,” said Natalie Harris, of the Coalition for the Homeless. “Homeless individuals are having greater difficulty finding safe locations for homeless camps and many see greater security in well-lit downtown sites where they believe there is safety in numbers.”