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]

Terry Holliday Threatened Fayette Co

Carl Richards, director of Madison County’s emergency management agency, was suspended indefinitely this week after an internal audit revealed the theft of $341,757 from a federally funded emergency preparedness program, county Judge-Executive Reagan Taylor said Wednesday. [H-L]

Support for same-sex marriage has reached an all-time high, according to recent polls. A new survey from Gallup shows a record 60 percent of Americans now say they approve of legalized same-sex marriage. [HuffPo]

An assault case in Jefferson Circuit Court was dismissed Tuesday by a judge who ruled an assistant commonwealth’s attorney “altered” evidence that was “deliberately not disclosed and concealed” from the defense counsel. [C-J/AKN]

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration on Wednesday announced the results of a four-state crackdown aimed at stopping illegal distribution of addictive prescription medicines, such as opioid painkillers, that yielded 280 arrests. [Reuters]

An unnamed person, while under the influence of alcohol, stabbed a man with a piece of lattice while in Ashland on Saturday, according to Ashland Police reports. [Ashland Independent]

At a hearing in Washington, a renewed call for addressing the violence and neglect that plagues group homes for foster youth. [ProPublica]

While the Republican race for governor is getting most of the attention Wednesday morning, as fewer than 100 votes separated former Agricultural Commissioner James Comer and former U.S. Senate hopeful Matt Bevin, a Floyd County native has earned her place on November’s ballot. [Hazard Herald]

“Some of his weaknesses really didn’t get relitigated in this primary,” said Scott Jennings, a Republican strategist who has advised McConnell campaigns. “In a heads-up race against Conway, I fully expect them to relitigate cockfighting and everything else.” [NY Times]

Oh, look, another empty threat from Terry Holliday. The Kentucky Education Commissioner has warned that Fayette County Schools could face state actions if low-achieving schools don’t improve. [WKYT]

States lack accurate statistics on widespread heroin use. [NPR]

Kentucky’s economy is only sunny on paper. To suggest otherwise would mean you’ve never actually stepped foot outside the Golden Triangle or spoken with actual Kentuckians. [WFPL]

Organic farms act as a refuge for wild plants, offsetting the loss of biodiversity on conventional farms, a study suggests. Fields around organic farms have more types of wild plants, providing benefits for wildlife, say scientists. [BBC]

Why the hell is Sam Youngman pretending he doesn’t know why KC Crosbie thanked Danny Briscoe?! He’s the one who told anyone who would listen about his investigation of Scott Crosbie. Come on, Youngman, you’re better than that. [H-L]

Republican Jeb Bush said on Wednesday that the Earth’s climate is changing but that scientific research does not clearly show how much of the change is due to humans and how much is from natural causes. [HuffPo]

Afghanistan Sure Is A Terrible Mess

Kentucky’s Republican voters narrowly chose Ryan Quarles to represent the GOP in the race for commissioner of agriculture in a down-to-the-wire finish Tuesday night. [H-L]

A faction of Republicans in the House of Representatives wants to stop poor people from buying junk food with food stamps. [HuffPo]

During the recent Kentucky shoot for “Moveable Feast with Fine Cooking,” there was no “Cutthroat Kitchen,” and nobody got “Chopped.” Rather, two local chefs wandered among buffalo grazing in Goshen, grilled bison brisket, bison skirt steak and fresh asparagus under tents at a Finchville farm, and relished the scent of slow-fermenting bourbon at Woodford Reserve distillery in Versailles. [C-J/AKN]

The third of four key U.S. congressional committees on Tuesday approved funding for 12 additional Boeing Co fighter jets in fiscal 2016, increasing the prospects that the company will keep its St. Louis production line running past the end of 2017. [Reuters]

The evening started with a rainbow that arced perfectly behind the commencement stage. And it ended with a fireworks display in the Friday night sky above Richmond. [Richmond Register]

This is a story about how the U.S. military built a lavish headquarters in Afghanistan that wasn’t needed, wasn’t wanted and wasn’t ever used—at a cost to American taxpayers of at least $25 million. [ProPublica]

Fairview school superintendent Bill Musick violated and impeded state education law by allowing non-teachers to teach students, interfering in hiring, withholding staffing allocations, transferring employees without posting vacancies and allowing two administrators to perform duties for which they were not certified, according to a report by the state Office of Education Accountability. [Ashland Independent]

The phrase “Aids epidemic” awakens distant memories in most of Europe, Australia or the Americas, where infection rates have generally been in decline for years. But as former UK Health Secretary Lord Fowler explains, the phrase is not used in Russia either – despite failed policies that have allowed infection rates to soar. [BBC]

Effective Monday, Glasgow Police Sgt. Bradley Lewis was placed on administrative leave with pay, according to a Glasgow Police Department press release. [Glasgow Daily Times]

A new survey of financial professionals tends to confirm the widely held belief that the financial industry has an ethics problem. [NPR]

Negative impacts of development have significantly impaired water quality and stream bank stability in the Triplett Creek watershed. [The Morehead News]

The White House has released its rural child poverty report. [External PDF Link]

Building and maintaining a linear park through downtown Lexington could cost upwards of $75 million, city officials told the Urban County Council on Tuesday. [H-L]

Throngs of students hit the streets of San Juan, Puerto Rico, last week to protest Gov. Alejandro García Padilla’s proposal to cut some $166 million from the budget for the island’s public university system — roughly one-fifth of the system’s total funds. [HuffPo]

See, What Had Happened Was…

Republicans on Tuesday picked state Senate Judiciary Chairman Whitney Westerfield, 34, as their nominee for Kentucky attorney general. [H-L]

Defrauded student loan borrowers seeking relief from the Obama administration are confronting an Education Department process that a senior House Democrat compared to the government’s bungled response to the mortgage robo-signing crisis that shook the U.S. housing market. [HuffPo]

Marathon Petroleum isn’t having a good week. First, Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway filed suit over the company’s gas prices, claiming monopolistic practices that Conway said have forced Kentucky customers — particularly those in Louisville and Northern Kentucky — to pay more at the pump than they should. [C-J/AKN]

Outside conservative groups are pressuring GOP leaders to take up targeted immigration reforms ahead of the 2016 elections. [The Hill]

A total of 6,885 Madison County voters cast ballots in Tuesday’s primary election for statewide offices. No local or federal offices were on the ballot. [Richmond Register]

Suicide rates have fallen among young white children in the U.S. but they’ve gone up among black youngsters, according to a new study of suicides in kids under age 12. [Reuters]

The Fairview Board of Education named its new superintendent Tuesday, just days after a blistering report from the Kentucky Office of Educational Accountability found retiring superintendent Bill Musick had violated and impeded state education law in several areas. [Ashland Independent]

Partisan mudslinging breaks out, suggesting that lawmakers and cop-reform advocates have a long way to go to find agreement on new police standards. [Politico]

Barren County Fiscal Court’s proposed budget for the 2015-16 fiscal year got a couple of amendments Tuesday during the first reading of the ordinance adopting it, one of which has stirred confusion. [Glasgow Daily Times]

All 50 states could become wind energy producers, according to an Energy Department report released Tuesday, once the next generation of larger, taller turbines in development hits the market. [NY Times]

The disaster recovery center in Rowan County will close at 6 p.m. on Thursday, May 21. [The Morehead News]

A search for a racist word and “house” on Google takes you to the home of the US President, Barack Obama. [BBC]

A bankruptcy attorney and a state representative, both hailing from Eastern Kentucky, will face off for state treasurer this fall. [H-L]

After hearing story after story from voters on the campaign trail about heroin’s toll, Hillary Clinton instructed her policy team to draw up solutions to the burgeoning opiate epidemic. [HuffPo]

Jack Is No Alison Daddy’s Name Grimes

It’s no secret that we despise Jack Conway’s campaign people (his office staff is terrific, even if he doesn’t let them do their jobs). But it’s a stretch to compare Jack to Alison Grimes in her mind-bogglingly awful 2014 campaign. Conway had his own bad campaign in 2010 but he still doesn’t compare to the embarrassment that was Grimes. [H-L]

Decades after the U.S. Supreme Court’s Brown v. Board of Education ruling declared segregated schooling of black students unconstitutional, many American schools with high minority populations continue to receive fewer resources and provide an education that’s inferior to schools with large white populations. Kentucky’s in a terrible spot and Frankfort doesn’t care. [HuffPo]

In a push for better Internet service across Kentucky, state government is poised to become a large-scale owner of broadband infrastructure over the next four years, raising new questions about digital privacy and the potential for censorship or bureaucratic snooping. [C-J/AKN]

Leaked video reveals omissions in official account of police shooting. [The Intercept]

A woman who works in Washington, D.C., has accused a visiting Richmond Police officer of “catcalling.” [Richmond Register & Popville]

National Rifle Association board member Ted Nugent attacked President Obama and gun safety advocates for calling attention to the deaths of children from guns, calling such efforts “The Big Lie” — a phrase associated with Nazi propaganda. [MMFA]

At a time when most states are restoring funding for higher education after the deep and sustained cuts of the recession, Kentucky has continued to reduce funding and lags behind in several funding categories, according to a new study. [Ashland Independent]

The mother of an 11-year-old girl from Kentucky who was shot dead by her father in a murder-suicide this week was on the phone with her and heard the child’s anguished last words moments before gunfire erupted on the other end of the line. [Daily Mail]

Barren County Schools is working to combat what is commonly called the “summer learning loss” or “summer slide” again this summer with its 21st Century Summer Camps. [Glasgow Daily Times]

The House is looking to use an overwhelming bipartisan vote to raise pressure on the Senate over a medical cures bill on which the upper chamber has been lagging. The House is moving forward on its 21st Century Cures measure, aimed at speeding up the FDA’s approval of new drugs and increasing funding for the National Institutes of Health. [The Hill]

Rowan County Fiscal Court is facing the possibility that the projected $15 million cost of a new jail might not be enough for the proposed 300-bed facility. [The Morehead News]

Of course the Republican National Committee is as backward and anti-gay as Kentucky Democrats. [ThinkProgress]

This is the extent of coverage that’s been provided to the Terry Holliday situation. No wonder people in Kentucky feel like they’ve been kept in the dark. [H-L]

President Barack Obama said that LGBT rights “are human rights” in a statement released Saturday to commemorate the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia. [HuffPo]

Thinking People Hate Jamie Comer

The Herald-Leader endorsed Hal Heiner over Jamie Comer, which is likely to push Comer over the edge behind closed doors. [H-L]

Honey bees, critical agents in the pollination of key U.S. crops, disappeared at a staggering rate over the last year, according to a new government report that comes as regulators, environmentalists and agribusinesses try to reverse the losses. [HuffPo]

Rand Paul would be the clear choice of Kentucky Republicans if the presidential primary were held today but, among registered voters, would have only an even chance of defeating Democrat Hillary Clinton in a general election, according to the latest Bluegrass Poll. [C-J/AKN]

After only one hour of floor debate, and no allowed amendments, the House of Representatives passed legislation that seeks to address the NSA’s controversial surveillance of American communications. However, opponents believe it may give brand new authorization to the U.S. government to conduct domestic dragnets. [The Intercept]

Ha! Daniel Grossberg has an ad highlighting Jacob Conway’s blackmail/extortion/threat attempt. [Click the Clicky]

Former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) will reportedly announce on May 30 — or possibly sooner — whether he will seek the White House next year. [The Hill]

In one of the more dubious claims of the election season, three of the four Republican candidates for governor are claiming to be running a “positive campaign” amid abuse allegations and attack ads. [WAVE3]

The U.S. House of Representatives approved a bill on Wednesday that would ban most abortions after 20 weeks, a measure strongly opposed by the White House. [Reuters]

The Richmond City Commission named a fire chief and a codes enforcement director Tuesday night, filling positions vacated by retirements. [Richmond Register]

The US House of Representatives votes to end the National Security Agency’s bulk collection of Americans’ phone records. [BBC]

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued a notice April 17 stating it plans to prepare an assessment on the environmental impacts of the Kinder Morgan natural gas pipeline repurposing project. [The Morehead News]

Here’s what would actually happen if Rand Paul eliminated the Department of Education. We wouldn’t have a federal department to administer Pell Grants to students. There wouldn’t be any oversight over states when they break civil rights laws. There wouldn’t be a department to check on rampant inequality between low-income school districts and wealthy districts. We would have inconsistent education data, as the quality of data would vary among the states. There would be more gender discrimination within schools. There would be no way to hold schools accountable for the funds they receive. [Think Progress]

Steve Beshear’s administration has spent $195,400 on private lawyers to defend Kentucky’s same-sex marriage ban in court, with more legal bills expected, according to records released Wednesday. [H-L]

Way to go, Bardstown, for your racist jackasses. It’s comments like these that can indirectly harm the bourbon industry. In a press conference Monday, Nelson County Sheriff Ed Mattingly, who is white, expressed relief — not only that the incident didn’t lead to more serious injuries, but also that Fenwick’s skin wasn’t darker. [HuffPo]

Fayette Co. Schools: Giant, Hot Mess?

The Fayette County school board took a deep dive Monday into the tentative 2015-16 budget, with district staff providing more details than in years past. [H-L]

Within a day of an Amtrak derailment that killed at least 7 people and injured many others, a House committee voted Wednesday to slash funding for the railroad service, over objections from Democrats. [HuffPo]

Attorney General Jack Conway announced Tuesday that he is suing Marathon Petroleum over gas prices and the company’s monopolistic practices that he said have forced Kentucky customers — particularly those in Louisville and Northern Kentucky — to pay more at the pump than they should. [C-J/AKN]

The state-owned oil company of Azerbaijan secretly funded an all-expenses-paid trip to a conference at Baku on the Caspian Sea in 2013 for 10 members of Congress and 32 staff members, according to a confidential ethics report obtained by The Washington Post. Three former top aides to President Obama appeared as speakers at the conference. [WaPo]

The Madison County Fiscal Court unanimously voted to terminate Chemical Stockpile Emergency Preparedness Program (CSEPP) finance officer Tamara Lynne Phelps, 54, in the midst of a criminal investigation by the Kentucky State Police. [Richmond Register]

Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio said on Wednesday that the United States must respond aggressively when rivals such as China and Iran take actions that threaten U.S. economic interests. [Reuters]

Nearly 800 Kentuckians have registered for assistance with the federal government after a series of storms in April devastated communities across the Commonwealth. [Ashland Independent]

The Vatican has officially recognized the state of Palestine in a new treaty. [Politico]

Hasn’t Jack Conway threatened to do this for at least a hundred years? Nice election year stunt. Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway Tuesday filed suit in federal court alleging Marathon Petroleum engages in anti-competitive arrangements with retailers. [Ronnie Ellis]

The sixth Sentinel in Europe’s ambitious new multi-billion-euro Earth-observation project has been contracted from industry. Sentinel-6a will measure changes in the height of the oceans – a key indicator for understanding weather and climate. [BBC]

Matt Bevin has done laps around Kentucky in a messy black suburban, searching for his big political break. [WFPL]

Scientists say they have reversed a bit of bird evolution in the lab and re-created a dinosaurlike snout in developing chickens. [NPR]

A biology class at Bryan Station High School was interrupted Tuesday when a student burst in — followed by a crowd of onlookers — and attacked another student. [H-L]

Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) railed against his own party Wednesday for failing to extend funding for the nation’s roads, bridges, and transit systems sooner. [HuffPo]