Your Morning Dept Of Awful Things

Jack Conway stuck to the script and Matt Bevin continued his seemingly spontaneous campaign during an hour-long debate before the rabid fans of Big Blue Nation on the state’s most popular sports talk radio show. [H-L]

U.S. airstrikes hit Taliban positions overnight around a key northern city seized by insurgents this week as Afghan troops massed on the ground Wednesday ahead of what is likely to be a protracted battle to retake Kunduz. [HuffPo]

It wasn’t a miscommunication until they were called on the carpet. People trying to communicate with the Kentucky Division of Water on new water quality standards using email were told this week to buy a stamp and send their comments via snail mail. [C-J/AKN]

A bipartisan group of senators on the Judiciary Committee is preparing to unveil a criminal justice overhaul proposal as early as Thursday. [NPR]

Jack Conway, Kentucky’s Democratic Attorney General who is running for governor, and Greg Stumbo, Kentucky’s Speaker of the House, are in the same party and are on the same side when it comes to coal, which they both defend. But they don’t always agree. [Ronnie Ellis]

Pope Francis met privately in Washington last week with Kim Davis, the county clerk in Kentucky who defied a court order to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, a Vatican spokesman confirmed on Wendesday. [NY Times]

Last week, I was proud to join with the father of Kentucky State Police Trooper Joseph Cameron Ponder and other legislators as we stood together to advocate for additional safety measures for law enforcement. [Greg Stumbo]

LaserLock Technologies, a firm that sells anti-counterfeiting products, won a powerful congressional ally on Capitol Hill after recruiting a Kentucky congressman’s wife. Representative Ed Whitfield, a senior Republican lawmaker from western Kentucky, personally submitted company documents on behalf of LaserLock to the congressional record in support of legislation crucial to the firm’s business. [Lee Fang]

The former chairman of the Republican National Committee is upset he was quoted in a television ad for Kentucky gubernatorial candidate Jack Conway. Duncan – who is from Inez, Ky., and now heads the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity – told WYMT his comments were taken out of context. “The comments that I made were as the chief executive officer of the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity. It had nothing to do with the Republican National Committee,” Duncan said Tuesday night in a phone interview. [WYMT]

U.S. bombs somehow keep falling in the places where President Barack Obama “ended two wars.” [The Intercept]

Laurel County is back to being the worst place on earth. A woman has been arrested after sheriff’s deputies say they found a man’s body inside a freezer at her Laurel County home. [WKYT]

It could have been Hillary Clinton’s tweet that did it. Just after the US government had given the go-ahead for Shell to restart its exploration in Alaska, the Democratic presidential candidate took to the social media site. [BBC]

Every community in Kentucky should be serving alcohol and selling it by the package because it’s not the dark ages. Berea voters on Tuesday approved the sale of alcohol by the drink in certain restaurants. [H-L]

After enduring a marathon House hearing on Tuesday during which GOP representatives frequently interrupted her, Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards accused them of political grandstanding and using the hearing to demonstrate how “they are obsessed with ending access to reproductive health care for women in America.” [HuffPo]

Lil Randy Pretends To Be Serious Again

Ed Whitfield is retiring, which Republicans have gossiped about for months. Now Jamie Comer can do more than toy with a run. He’ll have to make a quick decision because other Republicans are ready to jump in. [Deep Thoughts]

The University of Kentucky’s College of Health Sciences has received a $4.2 million grant from the U.S. Department of Defense to research injury prevention in U.S. Special Forces. [H-L]

Relations between Afghanistan and the U.S. are better than ever, Afghan Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah said Friday at the Council on Foreign Relations. [HuffPo]

Most public employees in Kentucky — including those of state government and Metro Louisville — will see a bit less in their paychecks starting in 2017 when the Internal Revenue Service will begin applying Social Security and Medicare tax to the employees’ contributions to their retirement funds. [C-J/AKN]

A photographer has snapped the ancient post offices and abandoned mailboxes of the South as symbols of the once invaluable postal system’s gradual disappearance as she documents the US Postal Service’s struggle to survive in the 21st century. [Daily Mail]

State Sen. Whitney Sweaterfield (R-Gay Panicked), Republican candidate for Kentucky attorney general, was the guest speaker at Tuesday’s meeting of the Rowan County Republican Party at the public library. [The Morehead News]

Races for the top House Republican leadership spots began firming up Monday as Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) made official his bid for the Speakership, and Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.) won two key endorsements for the No. 2 GOP post. [The Hill]

Some local law enforcement officers wonder why the fund used to provide training and salary supplements has grown but the stipend they receive hasn’t for more than 10 years. [Ronnie Ellis]

Barring extraordinary events, Richard Glossip will be executed on Wednesday, despite deep uncertainty about whether he is actually guilty of the crime that led to his murder conviction. [ThinkProgress]

Philip Bianchi knew something had gone wrong. Bianchi, a second-generation funeral director and Harlan County’s elected coroner, set out last November with a team that included the Kentucky State Police to exhume the remains of a young woman found murdered in 1969. [WFPL]

Rand Paul says he is “absolutely” in the presidential race for the long haul, despite sagging poll numbers and his early debate struggles. [Politico]

As you can see, Louisville loves killing its people. Totally compassionately, of course, says Greg Fischer. [WHAS11]

Scientists think they can now tie dark streaks seen on the surface of Mars to periodic flows of liquid water. [BBC]

The Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority earlier [last] week approved tax incentives for companies including Georgetown’s Creform Corp., FedEx Ground Package System and Air Hydro Power. [H-L]

They lost their daughter to a mass shooter and now owe more than $200,000 her killer’s ammunition dealer. [HuffPo]

Morehead’s Kinda Maybe Stressed A Bit

A federal judge in Wyoming says it’s tough luck that the world’s largest private coal company doesn’t dig a 1970s-era protest song. [H-L]

Chinese president Xi Jinping is leaving behind a struggling economy as he visits the United States this week. That is worrying leaders of other countries that do business with China, including the United States, and is sure to be a topic of discussion when Xi meets with President Barack Obama on Thursday. [HuffPo]

Whenever one of these lobbyists tries to tell you they’re just a common man or woman? Laugh in their face. [C-J/AKN]

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Tuesday laid out a stark choice for the cash-strapped city as he proposed a 2016 budget aimed at resolving a financial crisis linked to unfunded pensions — either slash vital public safety and other services, or enact the biggest-ever property tax increase. [Reuters]

Guess we can all look forward to another couple years of only reporting fluff about the state’s Commissioner of Education, regardless of what happens. [WDRB]

After arguing last month that local ordinances criminalizing people for being homeless are unconstitutional, the Obama administration will now tie federal funding to whether municipalities are cracking down on criminalization measures. [ThinkProgress]

A day late means Barren County’s real estate tax revenue will be approximately $94,224 less this fiscal year than it could have been. [Glasgow Daily Times]

NPR follows up on the status of “AK,” one of many Afghan and Iraqi interpreters for the U.S. military still waiting for a visa, and why thousands of interpreters struggle with the process. [NPR]

Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes wants all eligible Kentucky voters to be able to register online by next year’s elections. [Ronnie Ellis]

Pope Francis waded into politics during brief remarks on Wednesday at the White House, touching on climate change, immigration and religious liberty before a packed South Lawn audience. [The Hill]

Much of Monday’s regular City Council meeting was discussion about issues facing Morehead. [The Morehead News]

Arne Duncan has tried to reshape American schools. Now will the backlash erase his legacy? [Politico]

Lexington is basically turning into the worst place on earth. [H-L]

A little over a year ago, Sister Mary Scullion received an unexpected call from the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. The church, she was told, was making plans for the World Meeting of Families — the international Catholic festival that Pope Francis will visit in the city this week — and they needed her help. [HuffPo]

We Knew UofL Was Messy 8 Years Ago

The federal mine-safety agency opened a new Kentucky center Friday aimed at improving its capacity to handle rescues, with a response truck, communication systems and portable, high-tech equipment to test for poisonous and explosive gases. [H-L]

Military officials on Friday denied the request of Army whistleblower Chelsea Manning to grow her hair in accordance with female grooming standards. [HuffPo]

African Americans living in Kentucky saw their average yearly incomes drop by more than 11 percent in one year, according to U.S. Census Bureau data released this week. The poverty rate also rose for black Kentuckians at a rate four times more than the rest of the state from 2013 to 2014. [C-J/AKN]

Exxon’s research laid the groundwork for a 1982 corporate primer on carbon dioxide and climate change prepared by its environmental affairs office. [ICN]

The attorney for the man accused of abusing public trust while employed with the City of Ashland has been given more time for discovery in the case. [Ashland Independent]

The White House said on Monday there was a surprising increase in August in the number of children entering the country illegally after those figures fell steadily since the child migrant crisis a year ago. [Reuters]

This is not how Kathy Jones envisioned her retirement years. [Glasgow Daily Times]

For nearly 15 years, voters have been able to click a mouse to view an up-to-date list of who’s contributed to candidates for the presidency and the U.S. House, and how those funds have been spent. [ProPublica]

The more the media hype this guy up, the more they’re contributing to his mental health issues and substance abuse problems. It’s just a spectacle and is beyond unnecessary. They won’t stop until he’s dead and then they’ll turn a blind eye. [WKYT]

Jeb Bush stood before supporters in Tallahassee, the Florida capital over which he presided for eight years, and vowed in his first policy speech as a presidential candidate last June to halt the “revolving door” between Congress and K Street. But the promise was undercut both by the audience to which Bush spoke — which included numerous lobbyists from his days as governor — and by the intensity with which Bush replenished his personal bank accounts upon leaving office by cashing in on the connections he had made. [Politico]

Who could have known, over the past eight years, that there’s a morale problem with faculty and staff at the University of Louisville??? Vicious and disrespectful: that’s how some faculty and staff describe the work environment at the University of Louisville. [WDRB]

US Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl left his post in Afghanistan six years ago to express concerns with his unit’s leadership, an officer has testified. [BBC]

A case alleging that Pike County Circuit Judge Steven D. Combs violated ethics standards ended Monday with an agreement for Combs to be suspended without pay for six months. [H-L]

Seventy-three law enforcement agencies across the country will receive $20 million in federal grants to help them purchase and implement the use of body cameras, the Justice Department’s Bureau of Justice Assistance announced Monday. [HuffPo]

The Kim Davis Media Circus Continues

Shouts of joy erupted outside the Rowan County Courthouse Friday morning as William Smith and James Yates obtained a marriage license in Rowan County Friday morning from deputy county clerk Brian Mason. [H-L]

U.S. job growth rose less than expected in August, which could dim prospects of a Federal Reserve interest rate hike later this month, even as the unemployment rate dropped to a near 7-1/2- year low of 5.1 percent and wages accelerated. [HuffPo]

The city is asking residents to help Louisville’s homeless veterans take better care of their feet as more former military service members living on the street come forward. [C-J/AKN]

Many in the West are backing an effort to keep the greater sage grouse off the endangered species list. By saving the bird, they feel they can save the culture and customs of the West as well. [NPR]

In case you missed it: Rand Paul’s top guy, Mr. Morality who was “called by God” is all over Ashley Madison. [Page One]

Murder rates have increased sharply across the US in 2015, with at least 30 cities reporting a rise in violence. [BBC]

Residents offered their two-minute takes in Lexington Thursday on a thousand-page federal coal mining regulation that’s been years in the making. [WFPL]

It was a show of respect to Native Americans when President Obama on Sunday restored the name of the nation’s tallest mountain, formerly called Mount McKinley, to Denali. So it makes a lot of sense that presidential candidate Donald Trump didn’t like it. [ThinkProgress]

Rowan County residents James Yates and William Smith Jr. were the first same-sex couple to obtain a marriage license in their home county. It was also the first license issued in the office since a controversial U.S. Supreme Court ruling in June. [Ashland Independent]

Holding hands, James Yates and William Smith Jr. entered the media-filled courthouse shortly after 8, and began the process of applying for a marriage license for at least the sixth time. By 8:15, the couple had obtained their license. [Jim Higdon for the WaPo]

James Yates and Will Smith Jr. walked out of the Rowan County Courthouse this morning at 8:30 a.m. with their marriage license. [The Morehead News]

The US military has reopened a criminal investigation into some of the most serious accusations of war crimes against US forces in Afghanistan since 2001. [The Nation]

Fascinating how quickly the powerful few give up on talks of holding the University of Louisville Foundation accountable. [H-L]

The GOP presidential candidates love to warn voters of the threat of Islamic terrorists. Not a day goes by without Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) bemoaning the threat of “radical Islamic terrorism.” But amid all of the fear-mongering about terrorists, it might be wise for presidential candidates to be able to identify the names of actual terrorists, like the head of the Islamic State, Abu Bakr al Baghdadi, and the head of al Qaeda, Ayman al Zawahiri. [HuffPo]

Campaign Craziness Kicks Into Gear

HELP PROTECT OUR SOURCES! Stop the Montgomery County-Joshua Powell-Phil Rison insanity! [CLICK HERE]

Even while fighting blindness in the poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere this week, Republican presidential contender Rand Paul intensified political attacks against rivals in both parties, vowing to continue pressing billionaire businessman Donald Trump in particular as the Kentucky senator embraces the role as the GOP’s leading pit bull. [H-L]

Republican presidential hopeful Jeb Bush said Tuesday that the government should have broad surveillance powers of Americans and private technology firms should cooperate better with intelligence agencies to help combat “evildoers.” [HuffPo]

In a high-profile report issued in 2010, then-state Auditor Crit Luallen rebuked Passport Health Plan for wasteful spending of Medicaid funds on things like lobbying, travel, public relations, donations and sponsorships. But in May of this year, Passport made a $25,000 contribution to the Democratic Governors Association, an organization which already this year has given $600,000 to a Democratic super PAC supporting the election of Attorney General Jack Conway as governor. [C-J/AKN]

Hanni Fakhoury, a senior staff counsel with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, said courts have not yet settled the question of how specific or broad email search warrants should be, and this case is one of the most prominent illustrations of how users can fight back. [Mother Jones]

Seems like only yesterday Jack Conway and his people were touting a study indicating that testing welfare recipients was a waste of time and resources. Attorney General Jack Conway says he supports drug testing some welfare recipients in Kentucky, echoing the position of his Republican opponent. [WFPL]

Amid the horrors of war in Syria, Yemen and Iraq, it’s become easy to overlook Afghanistan. Remember Afghanistan? Back in the mid-2000s, it was known as the “forgotten war,” eclipsed by the bloodshed in Iraq. Now it’s overshadowed all over again. But there’s plenty of reason to pay attention. [NPR]

Two same-sex couples in this small eastern Kentucky county got everything they wanted in a ruling from a federal judge Monday, except for one sentence. [Ashland Independent]

Climate change is increasing the risk of severe ‘food shocks’ where crops fail and prices of staples rise rapidly around the world. [BBC]

Of course the racist rednecks are coming out of the woodwork at the state fair. [WAVE3]

Donald Trump’s immigration plan is huge in every aspect — including its price tag. Think $166 billion. And that’s on the low end. [Politico]

Just weeks after a Kentucky man gained national attention for shooting down a drone in his backyard, a state lawmaker is proposing new legislation. [WDRB]

As concerns rise about a security menace posed by rogue drone flights, U.S. government agencies are working with state and local police forces to develop high-tech systems to protect vulnerable sites, according to sources familiar with the matter. [Reuters]

Lyman T. Johnson was a grandson of slaves who grew up in the deeply segregated community of Columbia, Tenn. One day, his father, the principal of the segregated black school, sent him on an errand to the white school, where Johnson saw for the first time the truth of Jim Crow laws that created separate and unequal facilities. [H-L]

A year ago, after 18-year-old Michael Brown was killed by Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson, police responded to even peaceful daytime protests in the St. Louis suburb by deploying attack dogs and tactical vehicles, pointing sniper rifles at peaceful protesters, arresting people for simply standing still on public sidewalks, flooding demonstrators with tear gas — often without warning — and shooting them with bean bags, wooden pellets and balls filled with pepper spray. [HuffPo]

Even The Muslins Love The Environment

HELP PROTECT OUR SOURCES! Stop the Montgomery County-Joshua Powell-Phil Rison insanity! [CLICK HERE]

A federal judge on Wednesday set an Aug. 31 deadline for his delay in ordering Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis to resume issuing marriage licenses. [H-L]

More than $1 billion in U.S. military equipment quietly began flowing to the Lebanese military over the last year. [HuffPo]

The operators of the massive, troubled and stinky landfill near Ashland, Ky., announced Tuesday that they will phase out all rail deliveries of out-of-state trash by the end of next year. [C-J/AKN]

The month before he killed 16 Afghan civilians in a shooting rampage, Army Staff Sergeant Robert Bales bloodied the nose of an Afghan truck driver in an assault that was not reported to his camp commanders, according to a report released on Tuesday. [Reuters]

During a visit with education leaders in Louisville on Tuesday, the Republican nominee for Kentucky governor talked about preschool, teacher pensions and charter schools. Matt Bevin met with the group of about 20 educators and community officials at the Jefferson County Public Schools Van Hoose Education Center for over an hour, outlining some of his goals for education in the state. [WDRB]

Birthright citizenship is enshrined in the 14th Amendment, but Donald Trump and other candidates are keeping alive the idea that some Americans should not have equal rights at birth. [The Nation]

The members of the Kentucky Coal Association want a private audience with the two major-party gubernatorial candidates, and it looks like they will get it. [Hopkinsville New Era]

Islamic leaders issued a Climate Change Declaration calling for world governments to adopt a new international climate agreement that would phase out fossil fuels and limit global warming to 1.5°C to 2°C. The collective statement of the leaders from 20 countries lays out a deadline for wealthy and oil-producing nations to phase out all greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. [International Business Times]

Kentucky’s preliminary July unemployment rate rose slightly to a seasonally adjusted 5.2 percent from a revised 5.1 percent in June 2015, and remained below the national rate, according to the Office of Employment and Training (OET), an agency of the Kentucky Education and Workforce Development Cabinet. [Press Release]

New disclosures about the National Security Agency’s partnership with AT&T could reignite constitutional challenges to the spy agency’s efforts to wiretap the Internet. [ProPublica]

The hardest thing Phillip R. Patton has had to do in his 14-year tenure as a circuit court judge, he said, was “probably sentencing 16-year-old youthful offenders to live in the penitentiary.” And he’s had to do that several times with youths that were tried as adults, he said. [Glasgow Daily Times]

For the first time this presidential election cycle, six Republican candidates will be forced to talk about education — an issue that has taken a backseat to others for the last few election cycles. [Politico]

Rand Paul is ratcheting up pressure on Kentucky Republicans who will vote Saturday on whether to hold a presidential preference caucus next year. [H-L]

Scientists at Ohio State University say they’ve grown the first near-complete human brain in a lab. [HuffPo]