Eastern Kentucky Just Cannot Win

Is anyone holding their breath on this one? Should we? Two prominent Kentucky Democrats on Tuesday launched a nonprofit organization, the New Kentucky Project, to cultivate the next generation of political leaders. [H-L]

Emergency medical services scrambled in a West Virginia city after 26 people overdosed on heroin in a span of just four hours. Thanks to a fast response time and an overdose reversal drug, everyone survived. [HuffPo]

James Ramsey, who was forced to resign last month as president of the University of Louisville, apparently plans to stay awhile at its foundation, where he is still president. The foundation is constructing new offices at its building at 215 Central Ave., for Ramsey and Kathleen Smith, his chief of staff, according to a university official and several tradesmen who were busy working Friday on the space. [C-J/AKN]

The Pentagon warned the Syrian government Friday not to strike U.S. and coalition personnel in Syria, a day after the regime carried out airstrikes in an area near American special operations forces, prompting the U.S. to scramble jets to protect them. [WSJ]

More than a year after introducing a multimillion-dollar body camera system, the Louisville Metro Police Department isn’t keeping track of how the cameras are being used. [WFPL]

Donald Trump on Friday predicted he would get 95 percent of the black vote after four years as president. [The Hill]

Richmond police officers, along with all city employees, received a 4-percent cost-of-living raise for the 2016-17 fiscal year. However, a proposal to create a 10-step pay scale that would provide most officers with a raise every two years for 20 years remains before the city commission. [Richmond Register]

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton leads Republican rival Donald Trump by 8 percentage points among likely voters, according to a Reuters/Ipsos opinion poll released on Friday. [Reuters]

OF COURSE some wingnut pastor is trying to stop alcohol sales. Circuit Judge David Hagerman will hear the case of the City of Ashland and a local pastor against the Boyd County Clerk and Board of Elections on Monday, a day before the scheduled “wet” election. [Ashland Independent]

You’d think Donald Trump would love the Olympics: The flag-waving pageantry, the pure, unbridled patriotism—and, my god, the winning. So much winning you almost get tired of the winning. [Politico]

The Rowan County Board of Education will hold a public hearing in the board’s meeting room in the old Rowan County Middle School on Wednesday, Aug. 24, at 6 p.m. [The Morehead News]

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has made a direct appeal to African-American voters, saying “What do you have to lose?” [BBC]

We’ve been yelling about it for years and here you go. Many people in Lexington who see doctors at University of Kentucky HealthCare write checks to the Kentucky Medical Services Foundation. [H-L]

The Justice Department plans to stop using privately run prisons that typically house undocumented federal inmates following a report finding they are less safe than those that are federally run, Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates said Thursday. [HuffPo]

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Adam Edelen’s The New Jonathan Miller

No wonder Valarie Honeycutt Spears’ reporting on Montgomery County is permitted and excused – with me personally attacked – for daring to criticize her glaring, ahem, errors. It’s because the paper still has no clue how the educational system works, no clue that accrued leave and vacation days are always paid out, that many administration folks end up as borderline millionaires in a short period of time. Even in small town school districts. This is just a juicy, quick-hit scandal for them to grab onto and it’ll be forgotten in a matter of days. If they ever once – truly – cared about this issue? You’d have read about the horrors in education that I’ve reported for the past decade in the papers of that paper. [H-L]

Donald Trump’s policy agenda would quickly push the national debt to its highest level in history, according to a new report. [HuffPo]

PEE ALERT! Carly Fiorina is campaigning for Rand Paul in Kentucky, reuniting the two one-time presidential candidates as part of the Kentucky senator’s slow but steady re-election campaign. [C-J/AKN]

U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew on Monday called on the Senate to take immediate action this week to address Puerto Rico’s $70 billion debt crisis before the critical July 1 deadline for the island territory’s next debt payments. [Reuters]

More than two years of work by Cave City officials and others culminated Thursday in a groundbreaking for the Chapatcha Industrial Park off of Mammoth Cave Street within the city’s limits. [Glasgow Daily Times]

Last June, a gunman opened fire at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church – a historic black church in Charleston, South Carolina. [ProPublica]

A second reading of the City of Wurtland’s 2016-17 budget for the new fiscal year was approved at a special meeting held by the city commission Thursday afternoon. The voting was followed by a discussion about raising water rates. [Ashland Independent]

Many avoided mentioning that LGBT people were the victims — at least until a few days later, when they began reminding everybody what they truly think about gay people. [ThinkProgress]

A $5,000 budget amendment to support a project of Downtown Morehead Inc., triggered comments from Rowan County Fiscal Court members about how such changes should be handled in the future. [The Morehead News]

Transgender people are banned from serving in the US armed forces, yet an estimated 12,800 do, the vast majority in secret. Jane, a master sergeant in the Air Force, has hidden her gender identity from the military for 25 years. She hopes a policy review announced last year will allow her finally to be herself. [BBC]

WARNING! RIDICULOUS AUTOPLAY VIDEO! It’s tough to take Adam Edelen seriously because he wanted to be on the Foundation board. [WLKY]

As investigators probe the background of Omar Mateen, whose attack on Pulse nightclub in Orlando left 49 people dead, they say he bore few warning signs of radicalization. [NPR]

State lawmakers from across the South will be in Lexington July 9-13 for a conference that will include speeches by University of Kentucky men’s basketball coach John Calipari and the dynamic political duo of Mary Matalin and James Carville. Reminder: When Stumbo & Stivers raise funds from private donors, those donors are going to expect something in return. [H-L]

At least seven people were injured in stabbings Sunday when neo-Nazi demonstrators and counter-protesters clashed outside the capitol building in Sacramento, California. [HuffPo]

A Funny: Jim Gray Went To Ashland

The Morehead State University faculty senate voted last week to censure President Wayne Andrews. The 23-11 vote signaled the faculty’s displeasure with a lack of faculty input on major decisions affecting the campus, said faculty senate chairwoman Annie Adams. [H-L]

“It’s like one of those houses where an old lady lived with 100 cats who peed everywhere,” Maher said of the GOP. “That is your party today — a filthy, pee-stained house full of dead cats. [HuffPo]

This latest Adam Edelen stunt is going to turn into a moment of spectacular schadenfreude. Mark my words on that. [C-J/AKN]

A group of former contestants from “The Apprentice” are taking a stand against the reality show’s former host, Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump. [The Hill]

Folks at WFPL/KyCIR/whatever they want to call it recently criticized me via email for using an anonymous source. So it’s fun to see them do the same damn thing just a week later. Also fascinating that they ignored half of what MC Squared actually does – like selling incest pornography. [WFPL]

New York City’s largest public pension is exiting all hedge fund investments in the latest sign that the $4 trillion public pension sector is losing patience with these often secretive portfolios at a time of poor performance and high fees. [Reuters]

We can’t decide if Jim Gray is a horrible U.S. Senate candidate or just an embarrassingly slow and out-of-touch candidate. Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Jim Gray wants Ashlanders to know his opponent, Sen. Rand Paul, voted against the Trade Adjustment Assistance program. Gray’s Senate campaign contacted The Daily Independent with its reaction two weeks after Paul’s official visit to Ashland, during which he directed staff to help laid off AK Steel workers applying for federal assistance. [Ashland Independent]

The federal Department of Education said on Tuesday it would offer to write off $7.7 billion of student debt owed by disabled individuals, taking a big step to streamline a loan forgiveness program long plagued by bureaucratic delay and inefficiency. [ProPublica]

Madison was one of 115 Kentucky counties in which the average jobless rate for 2015 was lower than during the previous year. [Richmond Register]

Almost five years after the 2010 Deepwater Horizon spill sent millions of barrels of oil gushing into the Gulf of Mexico, the Obama administration announced a set of new offshore drilling rules that it hoped would prevent another massive oil spill. Now, as those rules appear to be racing towards finalization, House Republicans are asking the administration to revise the rules to lessen the burden on the oil industry. [ThinkProgress]

This is the big news in Eastern Kentucky. A local business owner may have lost $1 million in a fire that ravaged Main Street early on Tuesday morning. [The Morehead News]

Wounded GOP front-runner Donald Trump is quietly setting up a parallel campaign structure, hiring known Republican fixers to professionalize his operation and sidelining his original team. [Politico]

The executive committee of the Bluegrass Area Development District is moving forward with an appeal of a state order to repay $898,525 that state officials say was misspent from 2010 to 2013. [H-L]

In 1968, a pair of scientists from Stanford Research Institute wrote a report for the American Petroleum Institute, a trade association for America’s oil and natural gas industry. They warned that “man is now engaged in a vast geophysical experiment with his environment, the earth” — one that “may be the cause of serious world-wide environmental changes.” [HuffPo]

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Surprise! Adam Edelen Suddenly Cares

NOW Adam Edelen cares about the direction of the Commonwealth? Kentucky is headed the wrong way, down a dangerous road. [H-L]

President Barack Obama on Tuesday vowed to pick an indisputably qualified nominee for the Supreme Court and chided Republicans who control the U.S. Senate for threatening to block him from filling the pivotal vacancy. [HuffPo]

A top Bevin administration regulator over banking, insurance, horse racing and other business resigned Wednesday as a director of Kentucky’s major Republican super PAC after The Courier-Journal inquired about potential conflicts of holding both roles. K. Gail Russell, who was appointed Dec. 30 as deputy secretary of the Public Protection Cabinet, resigned Wednesday morning as a director of the super PAC Kentuckians for Strong Leadership, according to both the Governor’s Office and the super PAC. [C-J/AKN]

Polylactic acid (PLA) plastic is an increasingly common, environmentally friendly, alternative to conventional petrochemical-based mass plastics. But it’s a costly process. [Reuters]

House Republican Floor Leader Jeff Hoover, R-Jamestown, went out of his way to praise a Democratic colleague with whom he frequently disagrees — and in doing so subtly suggested most Democrats are afraid to take tough votes or stand up for their convictions. [Ronnie Ellis]

Wealth, jobs and pay inequality are big political issues this presidential primary season, and they’re bound to become bigger once the parties pick their nominees. In the plethora of plans candidates tout for tackling these problems, one favored tool stands out: the federal tax code. [ProPublica]

In the wake of the firing of a Glasgow Police Department sergeant and public information officer, questions have remained about whether any other members of the department were investigated or disciplined. [Glasgow Daily Times]

Former President George W Bush has hit the campaign trail to boost younger brother Jeb’s faltering presidential nomination bid. [BBC]

Employees of Morehead State University were directed last Friday to take immediate steps to reduce expenditures to “an absolute minimum” for the balance of the current fiscal year. [The Morehead News]

Dr. Seth Ammerman listens intently to his new, 21-year-old patient. Ernesto, who does not want his last name disclosed, is homeless. He is earning a high school degree and working part time, but at night, he and his brother share a tent that they set up on the streets of San Jose, Calif. The daily stress of being homeless is wearing Ernesto out, and making him light up too many cigarettes. [NPR]

Providers of community mental health have no choice but to sit and wait in fear of how state budget cuts will affect them, said Pathways Inc. CEO Kimberly McClanahan. [Ashland Independent]

America is getting angrier, according to one watchdog. For the first time in five years, the number of hate groups in the United States rose in 2015, according to a new report from the Southern Poverty Law Center, a legal and advocacy organization known among other things for monitoring extremist activity. [WaPo]

The state’s Kynect health insurance exchange is a financially unsustainable boondoggle that has cost $330 million, Gov. Matt Bevin’s top health officials told lawmakers at the Capitol Tuesday. An hour earlier, at a news conference down the hall, several Kentucky farmers described Kynect as a lifeline that provided their families with affordable health insurance. [John Cheves]

Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump on Tuesday praised two audience members who tackled a protester at his rally in South Carolina. [HuffPo]

It’s Frankfort Tidbit Update Time

Adam Edelen should take the KDP chairmanship.

Stop asking people, Adam, and just do it.

Unless you’re in another nervous sweat over talking out of both sides of your mouth about members of the executive committee? I can assure you no one outside of that bunch of elderly good old boys cares. Just like no one will care that you’ve publicly praised a racist fearmonger (John David Dyche).

If you don’t take the job, you can’t expect to have much of a political career. Gonna need to leave some of your drunk friends behind, though.

The Dale Emmons/Alison Daddy’s Name Grimes/Jerry Lundergan/Jonathan Hurst crew involved in Jim Gray’s race are already alienating people. It’ll be like 2014 all over again. MIA candidate, bitter asshole staffers, a lot of money and a lot more disappointment.

Unless something changes quickly. (Spoiler alert: nothing will change)

State Rep. Chris Harris, a man many credit with taking down W. Keith Hall’s regime, got his open records bill (HB 80) unanimously released from committee this week.

Because he’s pro-transparency and anti-corruption, he’s being primaried by a Ray Ray Jones/UMG-supported guy. And on the Republican side? UMG has a candidate alleged to be funded by Leonard Lawson set to take Harris on.

This is why Eastern Kentucky can’t have nice things.

Hearing from Frankfort insiders that Jamie Comer’s hemp efforts may end up being soured… by Jamie Comer.

The hot gossip (it’s not really gossip) is that Democrats have been denied hemp approval left and right, while Republicans aligned with Comer sailed through the approval process. Not sure that’s a big deal, really. Probably much more good old boy back scratching than partisanship. Because at least one longtime Democrat with ties to illegal cultivation and alleged drug smuggling from the Julian Carroll era was granted a permit. His name’s prominently displayed on state government websites even though he should be nowhere near hemp. Comer knew it at the time but turned a blind eye because of the guy’s ties to Woody Harrelson. Allegedly. Cough.

Flash back to this October 22 story:

The Shell Farm and Greenhouses in Lancaster is turning its fields away from tobacco, growing 157,000 hemp plants on 40 acres outdoors and 3,500 plants in a greenhouse.

“And we’ll be growing it indoors all winter,” Giles Shell said. Shell’s greenhouses once raised flowers; now he’s working on hemp genetics.

“There’s no seed crop, so we have to take cuttings to get the plants in the field. So I’m selecting genetics, for a hardier plant — bigger, fuller,” Shell said. “We’ve got a problem with variegation or chimera, so I trying to select away from it.”

Next year, Shell intends to grow even more hemp.

“We’re going to quit raising our tobacco crop, and if we do any flowers, it will be downsized,” Shell said.

-SNIP-

The Shell family, which has a three-year contract with GenCanna, certainly is now.

“We were very leery — I was the most reserved in my family of starting to do this,” Giles Shell said. “But … I felt like we were the best route to help commercialize this crop. Demand is really high, and supply isn’t there. Basic economics will tell you that’s profit.

“We’ve got a year ahead of everybody else that’s going to get into the game.”

One of the big partners of GenCanna? State Rep. Jonathan Shell’s relative.

Why does that matter? Shell sits on the Tobacco Settlement Agreement Fund Oversight Committee.

Consider these minutes from July 1, 2015. That’s a lot of money to be throwing around to hemp. Particularly while Shell’s relatives are knee-deep in it. Smells a lot like a CBD monopoly in the works.

Meanwhile, Comer’s telling people who have been shut out that he has no idea what’s going on, blaming Ryan Quarles left and right. Reality? Comer started this mess. And he controlled the secretive hemp committee that no one knows anything about – the group of people doling out permits.

Comer’s crew ought to back up a taste before they ruin it for everybody.

P.S. Hearing there’s a freshman state senator (R) about to be (already?) permitted despite never having farmed a day in his life. Andy Beshear’s office is gonna have its work cut out for it.

Adam Edelen: Calm Down, Beyonce!

Will Jim Gray beat Rand Paul? Probably not with his current team that consists almost entirely of Conway people. Stranger things have happened, though. [H-L]

When Diana Andino first started researching medical school — something she had been working toward for years — she hit a brick wall. [HuffPo]

A religious group building a massive Noah’s Ark tourist attraction in Kentucky has won a legal battle over the state’s withdrawal of a potential tax incentive worth millions. [C-J/AKN]

Of all things for Adam Edelen to attack, he chose to hit Rand Paul on foreign policy. That may be the only thing most Democrats can stomach from Paul. He’s also wrong about sexual orientation. Anti-gay discrimination is alive and well in Kentucky. Hell, the Kentucky Democratic Party runs so quickly away from the gays that it’s alarming. We can all agree that Rand Paul (R-Cookie Tree) is a delusional troll. But Adam Edelen needs to check his straight, white, male privilege once in a while before spouting off in another sweaty rant. [Roll Call]

State Veterinarian Robert C. Stout has re-enacted restrictions on bird sales and movement in Kentucky to protect Kentucky’s poultry industry and bird population from the avian influenza outbreak in southern Indiana that federal officials announced on Friday. [Richmond Register]

For a variety of reasons, the nomination of Donald Trump would probably not be in the best interest of the Republican Party. [Nate Silver]

SURPRISE! Johnny Bell, sexual harasser extraordinaire, has finally gotten the hint. [Ronnie Ellis]

A federal appeals court upheld the government’s new coal dust exposure rule for coal miners Monday, rejecting industry challenges to it. [The Hill]

As if people in Eastern Kentucky aren’t taxed enough. Rowan Fiscal Court could be looking at raising the occupational tax by a half percent to help pay for the new Rowan County Detention Center. [The Morehead News]

Wall Street edged higher on Tuesday morning, driven by strong earnings reports and recovering oil prices, ahead of the Federal Reserve’s policy meeting and Apple’s results. [Reuters]

Glasgow City Attorney Rich Alexander, in a letter responding to a complaint from the Glasgow Daily Times, said he incorrectly relied upon an exemption of the Open Records Act as grounds for closing a portion of a police sergeant’s disciplinary hearing last Monday. [Glasgow Daily Times]

The Supreme Court rescued an administration-supported rule that promotes electricity conservation, handing a big victory to environmentalists and President Barack Obama. [Politico]

Barbara Kleine, director of Kentucky Refugee Ministries’ office, points to a to-do list on the wall of her office: It’s a couple of feet long and takes a minimum of 18 months to accomplish. Printed on it is every permit, form and check that refugees must pass on their way to becoming settled in a new home. [H-L]

Six years ago, the Supreme Court issued its ruling in Citizens United vs. FEC. It is not a happy anniversary. I remember waiting for the ruling and opening it up on my computer: when I finally read it, I didn’t want to believe that the Court had gone as far as it had and been so careless with our democracy. [HuffPo]

Your Evening Dept Of Awful Wingnuts

It wasn’t where he was supposed to be Monday morning. He was supposed to be in Frankfort, being sworn in to a second term as the state auditor and a few weeks into his campaign against U.S. Sen. Rand Paul. [H-L]

Just in case you needed yet another reason to roll your eyes at those Oregon wingnut racists. [HuffPo]

Everything is so corrupt in West Buechel that they’ve started some kind of watchdog organization. [C-J/AKN]

At 14, Deshaun Becton’s life is a roadmap to California’s faltering efforts to care for its most troubled children. [ProPublica]

Typically the first day of a General Assembly is marked by expressions of goodwill and ceremony. But the 2016 session is like no other in recent years. [Ronnie Ellis]

On September 5, 2013, The Guardian, The New York Times and ProPublica jointly reported – based on documents provided by whistleblower Edward Snowden – that the National Security Agency (NSA) had compromised some of the encryption that is most commonly used to secure internet transactions. [The Intercept]

A foreclosure case involving Land of Tomorrow Productions LLC, the company that owns the Funtown Mountain property in Cave City, is moving forward, according to action taken during Barren Circuit Court on Monday morning. [Glasgow Daily Times]

China, the largest coal producer in the world, won’t be approving new mines for the next three years as it grapples with alarming pollution and pursues other energy sources, including nuclear plants. [ThinkProgress]

If you are a high school sophomore student seeking to develop your leadership and entrepreneurial skills or an eighth-grade middle school student interested in math, science and technology, The Center for Rural Development wants to hear from you. [Harlan Daily Independent]

The Paris agreement to curb climate change calls for a dramatic shift away from fossil fuels and the greenhouse gasses they emit, especially carbon dioxide. [NPR]

Kentuckians’ views on a statewide smoking ban have remained virtually unchanged since 2013, with the vast majority of residents supporting the measure, a new poll shows. [WFPL]

Need cheap mobile phone service? Maybe even for a backup cell phone? I’m talking $6/mo cheap? Use our Ting referral code and we’ll all get a sweet credit. You get $25 — enough for a couple months of service to determine whether you like it. Both CDMA and GSM options. [Ting]

Betting on Thoroughbred racing rose 1.18 percent in 2015, amounting to a $125 million increase to almost $10.7 billion in wagering in the U.S. for the year. [H-L]

President Barack Obama issued another impassioned plea on Tuesday for Congress to take action to curb gun violence, shedding tears as he recalled the 2012 Newtown school massacre. And wingnuts mocked him for showing emotion. [HuffPo]