Post-Holiday Hangover? Read This Crap

Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul led a successful effort to block renewal of the Patriot Act early Saturday morning, followed by a deeply divided Senate leaving Washington without taking action on the National Security Agency’s soon-to-expire power to collect Americans’ phone records. [H-L]

Some electronic cigarette companies say that their products help people quit smoking, but the evidence to back up this claim is lacking, a new study finds. [HuffPo]

Republican state Sen. Brandon Smith has been acquitted of driving under the influence of alcohol. [C-J/AKN]

A federal judge on Thursday reaffirmed her earlier ruling that same-sex couples in Alabama have a right to wed under the Constitution, but she put the ruling on hold until the U.S. Supreme Court issues a landmark decision on gay marriage. [Reuters]

Roughly 17 months since the enterprise’s first summit started the conversation and began asking the tough questions, Shaping Our Appalachian Region (SOAR) returned to Pikeville for another summit, this time to provide insight and answers. [Hazard Herald]

The voicemail message was like so many others from my mom. “Hi, it’s mom,” she began, then chatted on, full Jewish mother in her distinctive gravelly timbre. “There’s a storm coming your way…Please drive very carefully….Love you. Bye.” [ProPublica]

It’s time for a reminder about Adam Edelen and educational audits. An audit is NOT a forensic accounting investigation. It’s typically a random sampling that gets reviewed unless specific concerns are brought to light. Or, in the case of Montgomery County, not. Because specific concerns were deliberately ignored by Edelen’s team. When he says there was no fraud discovered? Remember: not a forensic accounting, not an in-depth investigation of every nook and cranny. [Business First]

Arizona’s legislature has decided to try to plug a $1 billion budget deficit in part by kicking people off of welfare after just 12 months, the strictest time limit in the country. Sounds like something Frankfort would try. [Think Progress]

More than 50 community members gathered Wednesday to formulate an action plan to improve the health of Madison County residents in three areas – mental health and healthy lifestyle choices as well as alcohol, tobacco and other drug dependency. [Richmond Register]

The sleepy United States senators thought they were done voting. But then, around 1 a.m. on the Saturday before Memorial Day, Senator Rand Paul, Republican of Kentucky and presidential candidate, marched spryly to the Senate floor to let it be known that, no, he would not agree to extend the federal government’s bulk collection of phone records program. Not even for one day. [NY Times]

Bradley Lewis has resigned as a sergeant at the Glasgow Police Department, according to information released Friday by interim GPD Chief James Duff. [Glasgow Daily Times]

Mitch McConnell stood at his desk on the Senate floor after 1 a.m. Saturday, the eyes of his colleagues trained on him. He seemed bewildered. [WaPo]

We’ll miss the voice of Merlene Davis and wish her the best! It has been suggested that with this farewell column I should burn bridges and drop the mic. A couple of years ago, I might have done just that. But I’m a bit tired now, weakened by the weight of mirrors I’ve tried to hold up to politicians, school administrators, conservatives, liberals, Democrats and Republicans, neighbors and friends. I’m running out of ways to say the same thing. [Merlene Davis]

A revealing conversation on the Senate floor Thursday showed precisely how secretive President Barack Obama’s pending trade deals are, and the absurdity of arguments to the contrary. [HuffPo]

The Downfall Of Jamie Comer Continues

Jamie Comer is lying again. He absolutely knew the effects of the bill. Quite a few people spelled it out for him. P.S. Yes, Rogers, McConnell & crew are now supporting Heiner. [H-L]

In the years since “Mission Accomplished,” some 149,053 civilians have been killed, compared to about 7,412 prior to the speech, according to the website Iraq Body Count. Since the speech, 4,637 military members in the Iraq War coalition led by the U.S. have lost their lives, versus 172 prior, according to the Iraq Coalition Casualty Count. As of September 2014, total U.S. expenditures on the war in Iraq totaled $815.8 billion, about 93 percent of which was spent after 2003. That cost is more than 16 times the Bush administration’s original projection. [HuffPo]

Truth is generally a casualty in political battles and there’s not an issue that’s suffered more wounds in this year’s Kentucky governor’s race than the Common Core academic standards that Kentucky adopted in 2010. [C-J/AKN]

Will the Supreme Court look behind the curtain of lethal injection? [The Intercept]

Adam Edelen needs to recuse himself immediately. Here’s why: he’s been asked to join the UofL Foundation board and once asked me for my opinion about it. I told him to run quickly away. But that means he’s got a conflict of interest. [WDRB]

When a member of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s security detail left his Glock and magazine stuffed in the toilet seat cover holder of a Capitol Visitor Center bathroom stall, a CVC worker found the gun, according to a source familiar with the Jan. 29 incident and two other disturbing instances when Capitol Police left loaded firearms in problematic places. A 7- or 8-year-old child visiting the Capitol with his parents found the next loaded Glock lost by a dignitary protection officer, according to the source. A member of the security detail for John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, allegedly left the firearm in the bathroom of the Speaker’s Suite on March 24. [Roll Call]

It was a record-breaking 141st running of the $1 million Longines Kentucky Oaks (Grade I) at Churchill Downs Racetrack which culminated as 123,763 fans, the highest attendance of all time, watched a memorable win by Lovely Maria. The prior attendance record was 116,046, set in 2010, during the 136th running of the Kentucky Oaks. [Press Release]

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell faces a tough choice this week on how to move forward with a controversial bill that would allow Congress to review and vote on a nuclear deal with Iran. [The Hill]

Most eyes were fixed on the Kentucky Derby this weekend, but the Republican gubernatorial primary began last week to look as if it might be headed for its own photo finish. [Ronnie Ellis]

Her campaign barely three weeks old, Hillary Clinton already has been attacked by Republicans on everything from donations to her family’s charitable foundation, to her tenure as secretary of state and her ties to Wall Street. But her rivals, and the political action committees that support them, are treading more carefully on one incendiary subject: her age. [Reuters]

While previous media reports led to the return – or at least the documentation – of several military surplus items missing from the Glasgow Police Department, more than 100 such items remain unaccounted for, and fingers seem to be pointing at a former member of the GPD. [Glasgow Daily Times]

What the Kentucky Derby owes to China. If it weren’t for KFC’s giant Asian consumer base, the annual classic would be a much poorer event. [Politico]

The Fayette County Public Schools board voted Sunday to terminate its contract with superintendent search firm PROACT Search Inc. The board went into closed session shortly before 9 a.m. Sunday to discuss possible litigation against the search firm. [H-L]

The Tata group, one of India’s largest conglomerates, promised to be a good neighbor when it took on the job of building the nation’s first “ultra mega” coal-fired power plant. [HuffPo]

Court Upholds Anti-Gay Discrimination

Fayette Circuit Judge James Ishmael issued a ruling Monday reversing the Lexington Human Rights Commission’s 2014 decision that Hands On Originals violated Lexington’s Fairness Ordinance. [H-L]

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday revived religious objections by Catholic groups in Michigan and Tennessee to the Obamacare requirement for contraception coverage, throwing out a lower court decision favoring President Barack Obama’s administration. [HuffPo]

With Kentucky making a bid for its own fracking boom, the U.S. Geological Survey this week came out with a new study showing the federal agency’s scientists are more convinced than ever that drilling waste disposal is causing lots of earthquakes in the central and eastern United States. [C-J/AKN]

A Kentucky judge has validated a printing company’s discrimination against an LGBT group under the state’s “Religious Freedom Restoration Act” (RFRA). [Think Progress]

Hey, Harlan County Fiscal Court, quit it with the horrible audits and fiscal mismanagement. You’re losing millions of dollars by acting as if you’re dumb hillbillies and you’re absolutely not. [External PDF]

José Díaz-Balart talks with Tevin Johnson-Campion, the son of two plaintiffs in one of the same-sex marriage cases before the Supreme Court, about the impact the Court’s ruling will have on his family. [MSNBC]

The Catlettsburg city council is considering installing protections against bullying to its personnel handbook in addition to what is already spelled out in its harassment policy. [Ashland Independent]

How the religious right is conspiring to put discrimination back into law. In 1983, in Oregon, two men, Alfred Smith and Galen Black, were fired from their jobs as substance abuse counselors at a drug rehab clinic. A supervisor got wind that the men had been using peyote, a powerful psychoactive drug made from a small cactus said to trigger hallucinations and feelings of deep introspection. [The Advocate]

After coal miners filed federal lawsuits against Jim Justice-owned coal mines located in Wise County, Va., both class action lawsuits have now been approved by the United States District Court for the Western District of Virginia in Abingdon, Va. [Harlan Daily Enterprise]

Poor Dubya waded back into the national conversation in the worse way. [NY Times]

Summer fun and holidays are fast approaching, and the City of Vicco is preparing to celebrate one of the biggest—the Fourth of July. To help with some of the costs of Vicco’s annual Fourth of July Bash, the city has come up with some fundraisers this year, including a new “Friends of Vicco Cookbook,” set to be released in June. [Hazard Herald]

The government’s efforts to collect information about Americans’ calls and emails received mixed reviews from government officials, according to the release of a once-classified report. [The Hill]

In addition to their state salaries, Gov. Steve Beshear and the six other Kentucky constitutional officers have additional sources of income. [H-L]

Corinthian Colleges Inc., once one of the nation’s largest chains of for-profit colleges, announced Sunday it is abruptly shutting down after failing to find buyers for its roughly 30 remaining campuses, leaving up to 16,000 students in the lurch and potentially costing the U.S. Department of Education tens of millions of dollars in foregone federal student loan payments. [HuffPo]

Don’t forget to enter to win a copy of Lawn Darts of Fate! Contest runs through the end of the week. [Page One & The ‘Ville Voice]

Adam Pushes For Testing Rape Kits

As I watched the roll-out of Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul’s bid for the Republican presidential nomination last week, I thought I was about to see him announce that he was changing his party affiliation. [H-L]

The Islamic State group launched an offensive in Iraq’s western Anbar province on Wednesday, capturing three villages near the provincial capital of Ramadi where fierce clashes were underway between the extremists and government troops, residents said. [HuffPo]

The News Journal of Corbin reported Monday on an update by the Keeneland Association regarding the plans of the Lexington thoroughbred racing and auction company to build a quarter horse track near Interstate 75 that would have the slot-like historical horse racing. The story was full of interesting political bedfellows in what Keeneland apparently has decided will be called Thunder Gap. [C-J/AKN]

A major Appalachian coal mining company is laying off hundreds of workers in West Virginia and blaming the lost jobs on President Obama’s environmental policies. [The Hill]

Check out the photos of that gigantic boulder. It’s worth the click. [Ashland Independent]

Protesters in several U.S. cities blocked highways and swarmed police precincts, leading to at least two dozen arrests in demonstrations touched off by fresh cases of police violence against unarmed black men. [Reuters]

Adam Edelen on Wednesday launched a major initiative to count the number of untested sexual assault kits across the Commonwealth, as well as make recommendations for reforming how evidence in cases of sexual violence is handled in the future. [Press Release]

A federal judge got it wrong last week when he claimed President Barack Obama indicated that the changes he ordered to immigration policy late last year left immigration officials without discretion about how to handle specific cases, the Justice Department argued in a federal appeals court filing Tuesday. [Politico]

While casual statistics have been used to cast RTW in different lights, rigorous studies that examine RTW’s effect on states’ economies find no link between RTW and jobs. [External PDF Link]

US President Barack Obama offers Iraqi PM Haider al-Abadi $200m in humanitarian aid on his first official visit to Washington. [BBC]

The Franklin County Sheriff is looking for anybody who may have purchased a barrel of high-priced, stolen bourbon. [WLEX18]

It was a day of demonstrations in cities across the nation on Tuesday. The turnout and tone of the protests, organized with the Black Lives Matter movement, were varied. [NPR]

Heads-up, again, to Montgomery County Schools. Western Kentucky suspended its swimming and diving programs for five years on Tuesday after the school and Bowling Green police found violations of Title IX sexual misconduct and assault, harassment and the student conduct code. [H-L]

Opponents of legalizing marijuana can’t be happy about several new polls released Tuesday. Majority support for making cannabis legal is holding steady, while young adults are legalization’s biggest fans. And that’s true both nationally and in several swing states. [HuffPo]

Mainstream Ignores Nightmare In MoCo

A judge turned down a request Wednesday to seal the depositions of Kentucky state Rep. Sannie Overly, who is running for lieutenant governor, and former Legislative Research Commission director Bobby Sherman in a sexual harassment case against a former state lawmaker. Thomas Clay, a Louisville attorney for two women who initiated the harassment case against former state Rep. John Arnold, said he plans to make the depositions public. [H-L]

Oh, nope, wait, the judge effed things up. Despite reports today, Franklin County Circuit Court Judge Thomas Wingate has not denied requests to seal depositions from state Rep. Sannie Overly, (D-Paris), a lieutenant governor candidate and former Legislative Research Commission director Bobby Sherman. After talking to the judge’s office Wednesday, an order tendered by the Courier-Journal requesting the depositions remain open was inadvertently signed and will not be granted at this time. [State Journal]

Forty-one people have contacted the search firm involved in finding the next superintendent of Fayette County Public Schools, a company representative told the school board Monday. Meanwhile, all hell has broken loose in the paper’s backyard of Mt. Sterling and it’s covered absolutely none of it. [More H-L]

The top American general in Iraq says the U.S. is gaining significant ground in the fight against the Islamic State, but he cautioned it will take years to ensure Iraq’s security in the tumultuous, extremist-laden region. [HuffPo]

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan is expected to make a trip to Louisville next week, a spokeswoman with the Department of Education has confirmed. [C-J/AKN]

U.S. stocks were flat on Tuesday as investors digested the initial major earnings of the first-quarter reporting season, which showed some weakness though companies topped lowered expectations. [Reuters]

To get the attention of Boyd County Democrats on Monday, State Auditor of Public Accounts Adam Edelen told the crowd one false and one true story. [Ashland Independent]

One consumer was the victim of hacking attacks on two different health insurers; a company’s privacy officer didn’t realize that health insurer Anthem even had her data. “It gives you a new perspective when you’re actually one of the folks whose data is disclosed.” [ProPublica]

The city’s restaurant tax could be raised to 3 percent, if approved by the city council. The Cave City Convention Center and Tourism Commission voted Monday to ask the city council to consider increasing the tax. [Glasgow Daily Times]

More from the Department of Things Ken Ham Wouldn’t Understand… The skull of an adolescent tyrannosaur shows signs of vicious combat and of being eaten by other big dinosaurs, possibly of the same species. [BBC]

This story is worth revisiting. An Eastern Kentucky nurse is suing the state for not allowing her to take addiction medicine like Suboxone or Vivitrol while she’s out of jail on bond. [WFPL]

Rand Paul (R-Troll) on Wednesday slammed Attorney General nominee Loretta Lynch, as he testified about the need to reform to “asset forfeiture” policies. [The Hill]

The Fayette County Public Schools redistricting committee on Tuesday presented the public with its final proposal. [WKYT]

Loretta Lynch is still waiting to be confirmed as attorney general, and her allies are hoping a hunger strike will do the trick. [Politico]

Kelly Paul’s job is to make her dry, boring husband approachable and she’s going fail at it so hard it’s sad. [H-L]

By one estimate U.S. online political advertising could quadruple to nearly $1 billion in the 2016 election, creating huge opportunities for digital strategy firms eager to capitalize on a shift from traditional mediums like television. [HuffPo]

Old White Kentuckians Freaking Out About The Pending Gay Takeover & Redecoration

A sports thing apparently happened and a lot of people are upset. [H-L]

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz are among 57 Republicans in Congress who are calling on the Supreme Court to uphold state bans on same-sex marriage. [HuffPo]

Paul — who is expected to announce his bid Tuesday at Louisville’s Galt House — cut his political teeth on the theme of reducing the size of government and slashing spending. [C-J/AKN]

PEE ALERT! PEE ALERT! Social conservatives are doubling down on their push for state-based religious freedom laws, lashing out at businesses that have vigorously opposed the measures and accusing Democrats of trampling Christians’ civil rights. [Politico]

Let’s watch the Bowling Green Daily Fat White Guys freak out about equality: Obama also supports same-sex marriage, as does Conway, who said in his announcement of not appealing the ruling that denying same-sex marriage is discriminatory. [BGBS]

Gay rights advocates are hoping to parlay the momentum from their legislative victories in Indiana and Arkansas in the past week into further expanding legal protections for gays and lesbians in those states and others. [WaPo]

Adam Edelen tried to hide part two of a massive state audit on Friday. Kentucky Auditor Adam Edelen has released the second part of the annual statewide audit of the Commonwealth of Kentucky for fiscal year ending June 30, 2014. The audit contains one material weakness and 19 significant deficiencies and notes more than $2 million in questioned costs. [External PDF Link]

A fringe right-wing radio host who believes the government was behind 9/11, the Oklahoma City bombing, the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster, and several other catastrophes, has been a key figure in the political rise of Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), who will reportedly announce a run for president on April 7. [MMFA]

Local union workers voted on Friday to end a two-month-old strike and return to work at the Catlettsburg Refinery. [Ashland Independent]

Former Gov. Martin O’Malley, D-Md., now positioning himself as progressive populist among potential 2016 presidential candidates, told USA Today that he differs from Hillary Clinton because he opposes the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a trade agreement he said will “hollow out our middle class and middle class wages.” But just two years ago, there was no criticism to be heard when O’Malley discussed the TPP. [The Intercept]

Barren County Judge-Executive Micheal Hale appointed Jeremy Runyon as county road supervisor Tuesday. [Glasgow Daily Times]

President Obama launched a program Friday to train outgoing military personnel and veterans to work in the solar power sector. [The Hill]

More than two years after Kentucky education department officials took over the daily management of Breathitt County schools, they are offering the locally elected school board the chance to recommend candidates for a new superintendent. [H-L]

The Obama administration on Friday finalized its recommendation to expand protected areas of Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, calling on Congress to block about 12 million acres (5 million hectares) from oil and gas drilling. [HuffPo]