Rand & Donald Start Mega Slap Fight

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

On the first day of the academic year, Fayette County Public Schools’ new superintendent, Manny Caulk, rode a school bus to Mary Todd Elementary with students who, he said with a smile, “told me everything.” [H-L]

The Connecticut Supreme Court on Thursday ruled the state’s death penalty is unconstitutional. The ruling will affect the 11 inmates currently on the state’s death row. [HuffPo]

Democratic House Speaker Greg Stumbo says he will file a resolution next year to remove the statue of Confederate President Jefferson Davis from the Kentucky Capitol and place it in a museum. [C-J/AKN]

Billionaire Donald Trump is firing back against Sen. Rand Paul (R-Hopeless), saying Paul “has no chance” of winning the White House in 2016 in the latest salvo between the GOP presidential candidates. [The Hill]

A revision of Richmond’s nuisance ordinance that would criminally penalize landlords after tenants receive three police citations in six months, such as late-night noise at the same location, drew protests before the city commission Tuesday night. [Richmond Register]

Transition care for transgender members of the U.S. military would cost around $5.6 million a year, “little more than a rounding error” as a share of total expenditure, according to new research published amid criticism of proposed funding. [Reuters]

The Boyd County Sheriff’s Office launched a new hotline on Wednesday for reporting illegal drug activities. [Ashland Independent]

The Food and Drug Administration has endorsed the use of a safety device for bottles of children’s medication containing liquid acetaminophen, the active ingredient in Tylenol. [ProPublica]

Legislative leaders plan to pare down from about 30 the number of applicants under consideration to become the Legislative Research Commission’s new director. [Ronnie Ellis]

Donald Trump thinks he would do “very well” in a potential general election against Vice President Joe Biden, as the chatter about a Biden presidential run ratcheted back up this week. [Politico]

The Rowan County Clerk’s Office has turned away three gay couples seeking marriage licenses today despite a federal judge’s order that dismissed Kim Davis’ argument involving religious freedom. [The Morehead News]

Prominent Muslim leaders are putting the final touches on a new statement on climate change, hoping to issue a sweeping call to protect the planet and insist that followers of Islam have a religious duty to help the environment. [ThinkProgress]

Five Kentucky state parks have become certified “waystations” for Monarch butterflies and are working to protect their habitat. [H-L]

Less than eight months into 2015, humans have already consumed a year’s worth of the Earth’s resources. [HuffPo]

This All Helps Rand Win Re-Election

It’s a rare Sunday session for senators, and on the agenda are efforts to repeal President Barack Obama’s health care law and reviving the federal Export-Import Bank. [H-L]

Someone has taken up Justice Stephen Breyer’s invitation to challenge the constitutionality of the death penalty. [HuffPo]

It wasn’t until after Sarah Norris dropped out of high school that she found an educational program that worked for her. [C-J/AKN]

Has he stalled? It doesn’t matter. This is a push to raise his U.S. Senate profile and it’s worked. A year ago, Rand Paul, the libertarian-minded senator from Kentucky, was among the leading potential candidates in the GOP presidential race, topping at least three national polls in spring and early summer. [The Hill]

Officials from Eastern Kentucky University’s aviation degree program flew into the Ashland Regional Airport Thursday to greet students interested in earning a college degree while spending as much time in an airplane cockpit as in a college classroom. [Ashland Independent]

Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz ripped into his party’s establishment on Friday, calling Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell a liar during an unusual public attack on the floor of the Senate. [Reuters]

Matt Bevin, the Republican nominee for governor, acknowledged Thursday for the first time that switching from Kentucky’s state health exchange to a federal exchange won’t in itself affect the state’s expansion of Medicaid. [Ronnie Ellis]

Twenty-five years ago this weekend, the Americans With Disabilities Act was signed into law, officially outlawing discrimination against disabled people in employment, transportation, public accommodation, communications, and government services. [Mother Jones]

Western Kentucky school boards are the absolute worst. Glasgow Independent Schools plans to appeal an opinion from the Kentucky Office of the Attorney General that said its board of education violated the state’s open meetings law in March. [Glasgow Daily Times]

The H-2 visa program invites foreign workers to do some of the most menial labor in America. Then it leaves them at the mercy of their employers. Thousands of these workers have been abused — deprived of their fair pay, imprisoned, starved, beaten, raped, and threatened with deportation if they dare complain. And the government says it can do little to help. [BuzzFeed]

Citizens and emergency responders were only hours away from what could have been a very serious situation when last week’s storms knocked out power at the radio repeater site on Tower Road off Dry Creek Road. [The Morehead News]

You should check out these photos of Dubya and Unka Dick from September 11, 2011. Seriously, not joking, check them out. [Flickr]

A bunch of fat, racist, white guys played dress-up on Friday and showed their true colors. Kentucky’s state government should not turn its back on Confederate symbols, including the “stars and bars” battle flag and Jefferson Davis, speakers told more than a hundred people at a “Southern pride” rally outside the Capitol Friday. [John Cheves]

Mitch McConnell fast-tracked a bill to defund Planned Parenthood on Friday because of an undercover video of a Planned Parenthood doctor discussing the donation of fetal tissue after abortions. But McConnell was one of many Republicans who voted to lift a ban on fetal tissue donations after abortions in 1993 — the very move that legalized Planned Parenthood’s actions. [HuffPo]

Beshear To Clerks: Ya Buncha Fools

The number of heroin overdoses at five northern Kentucky hospitals has continued to climb, but officials aren’t sure if that’s because more people are calling 911 for help, or more people are using heroin. [H-L]

Fox 2000 is developing a movie about the plaintiff in the June 26 ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court case that effectively legalized same-sex marriage. [HuffPo]

A Kentucky clerk of court said the state’s Democratic governor told him he should either issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples or resign from office. [C-J/AKN]

House Republicans are threatening to subpoena documents related to an ObamaCare program at the center of their lawsuit against President Obama. [The Hill]

Population is falling in more than half of Kentucky’s 120 counties, with rural areas bearing the brunt of losses from lagging birth rates and people moving elsewhere. [WDRB]

The National Treasury Employees Union (NTEU) said on Wednesday it has sued a federal government hiring agency over recent cyberattacks, alleging it violated constitutional privacy rights of NTEU members by failing to keep their personnel records safe. [Reuters]

Loretta Garmon has worked at Phillips IGA for 40 years, running the cash register most of the time, but also stocking shelves and carrying groceries to customers’ cars. [Glasgow Daily Times]

The US Army is to reduce the size of its force by 40,000 soldiers over the next two years, according to US media. [BBC]

It’s slightly sad when elected officials can’t comprehend what the freedom of religion does and does not entail. Whitley County Clerk Kay Schwartz is a Christian and she says issuing same-sex licenses would violate her freedom of religion. [WKYT]

In 2000 the world’s leaders agreed on an ambitious plan for attacking global poverty by 2015. [NPR]

Here’s Steve Beshear’s full statement: This morning, I advised Mr. Davis that I respect his right to his own personal beliefs regarding same-sex marriages. However, when he was elected, he took a constitutional oath to uphold the United States Constitution. According to the United States Supreme Court, the Constitution now requires that governmental officials in Kentucky and elsewhere must recognize same-sex marriages as valid and allow them to take place. One of Mr. Davis’ duties as county court clerk is to issue marriage licenses, and the Supreme Court now says that the United States Constitution requires those marriage licenses to be issued regardless of gender. Mr. Davis’ own county attorney has advised him that his oath requires him to do so. / While there are two or three county court clerks still refusing to perform their duties, the rest of the county court clerks are complying with the law regardless of their personal beliefs. The courts and the voters will deal appropriately with the rest. / I will not be calling any special session on this topic and costing the taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars doing so. Any proposal about the process of issuing marriage licenses that meets the standards of the Supreme Court ruling should be carefully thought out and could be considered in the regular session in 2016. [Press Release]

The Supreme Court says midazolam works fine for lethal injections. Experience says otherwise. [Mother Jones]

The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet is going in the right direction in raising salaries of hundreds of engineers to curb high turnover and costly contracts for private engineers, several state lawmakers said Tuesday. [H-L]

CVS Health Corp said it was withdrawing its membership from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce after media reports that the trade group was lobbying globally against anti-smoking laws. [HuffPo]

KDE Deserves A Top To Bottom Audit

Like we’ve been telling you for a long time. The Kentucky Board of Education will consider Friday whether to take over the Menifee County school district according to a news release. [H-L]

Coming back from its Independence Day vacation, Congress appeared no closer Tuesday to finding a way to avoid yet another government shutdown showdown in the fall. [HuffPo]

Coal production mountaintop removal mining has fallen 62 percent since 2008, dropping at a faster rate that overall coal production during a period of industry decline. [C-J/AKN]

Kentucky is terrible on the fiscal health front. Absolutely terrible. [Click the Clicky]

Our thoughts are with Sharon Smith-Breiner of the Montgomery County Board of Education. This is her father. Tragic situation. [WDRB]

States are mounting an uneven fiscal recovery from the Great Recession, with energy-rich states leading and Northeastern states with big pension obligations lagging, a new study shows. [USA Today]

Despite the news business becoming an evolutionary field, it seems the Daily News can’t evolve from days of the past. [WKU Herald]

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Minority Leader Harry Reid passed the blame on Wednesday over the Senate’s inability to overhaul the Bush-era No Child Left Behind bill. [The Hill]

The Native American mounds constructed in the Ohio River Valley are regarded as a feat of ancient construction. [Ashland Independent]

A federal appeals court said Louisiana is not required to install air conditioning on death row in its main state prison, but violated three death row inmates’ constitutional rights by subjecting them to extreme heat that regularly topped 100 degrees (38 Celsius) in the summer. [Reuters]

“We Will Hold”. Those immortal words from the history of the U.S. Marine Corps are now the title of the life-sized bronze statue of Col. William E. Barber that was dedicated July 4 in West Liberty. [The Morehead News]

Many students across the US must undergo security screening before entering their schools each day – including placing their bags in x-ray machines and walking through metal detectors. [BBC]

It’s cut and dry and there’s no need for a wasteful special session. The clerks either need to issue licenses or resign. We can’t say it enough. [H-L]

Say hello to one of Triceratops’ oldest relatives. Scientists recently discovered the fossilized bones of a striking new species of horned dinosaur in southern Alberta, Canada. [HuffPo]

Poor, Persecuted Rowan County Clerk

With his campaign deep in debt, Republican gubernatorial candidate Matt Bevin is trying to make new friends among Kentucky’s well-heeled donor class. At a private reception in Lexington Monday night, Bevin joined Republican presidential candidate and Florida U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, the Philadelphia 76ers’ Nerlens Noel and some of the state’s top political donors at an event organized by Lexington power couple Kelly Knight and Joe Craft. [H-L]

If you want to silence a black person’s pain, ask for forgiveness. We’re accustomed to our screams being hushed in the wake of tragedy. We’re accustomed to our grief being shoved aside in the rush to find mercy for those who have trespassed against us. [HuffPo]

Some media outlets are feigning surprise that superintendents can be suspended or fired. Almost as if it’s never happened, never resulted in revamping an entire school district, never led to the resignation of a commissioner of education. [C-J/AKN]

A fight over raising taxes has bloomed as the chief obstacle to passing a desperately needed multi-year transportation bill by the end of next month, raising the specter of a possible shutdown of highway programs. [The Hill]

After a series of judicial setbacks, Kentucky’s coal, utility and — for the most part — political interests won a significant environmental battle in the U.S. Supreme Court this week. [Ronnie Ellis]

The U.S. National Security Agency wiretapped the communications of two successive French finance ministers and collected information on French export contracts, trade and budget talks. [Reuters]

About 50 protestors bucked against the decision by the Rowan County clerk to not issue marriage licenses to neither same-sex nor opposite-sex couples during a demonstration on Tuesday. [Ashland Independent]

Justice Alito defends a lethal injection expert who did his research on drugs.com. The expert ended up prompting a back-and-forth between Supreme Court justices, who narrowly upheld use of a lethal injection drug. [Propublica]

Brian Meadows and Eddie Spears have had a very long engagement. Saturday they became the first same-sex couple to be issued a marriage license in Hart County. [Glasgow Daily Times]

Why do people believe myths about the Confederacy? Because our textbooks and monuments are wrong. False history marginalizes African Americans and makes us all dumber. [WaPo]

A steady stream of rainbow flags, signs supporting marriage equality and horn honks filled the Rowan County Courthouse lawn today. [The Morehead News]

The stupid is thick. A new bill introduced in the House of Representatives is pushing for new ways to combat California’s epic drought. But it’s doing so based on the premise that environmental policy — not climate change — is making the drought so bad in the state. [ThinkProgress]

Magoffin County Judge-Executive Charles “Doc” Hardin is seeking reconsideration of a decision that would force him out of office. [H-L]

Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign on Wednesday announced a massive fundraising haul in the quarter that ended on June 30, further cementing her status as the clear front-runner in the 2016 race. [HuffPo]

Jamie Comer Beats That Dead Horse

This was Jamie Comer’s laughable press release yesterday: Commissioner Comer is currently in Florida spending time with his family. He will issue a statement tomorrow afternoon about the next steps he will take in this race. [Press Release]

A statewide recanvass of vote totals in the Republican race for governor showed no substantial changes, Secretary of State Alison Lundergran Grimes said Thursday afternoon. But Jamie Comer still might push for a recount. [H-L]

The U.S. Department of Education has formally cleared Navient Corp., the student loan giant formerly part of Sallie Mae, of wrongdoing after an investigation into whether the company cheated troops on their federal student loans. The findings contradict earlier conclusions reached by the Justice Department, which sued the company in May 2014 after determining that Navient systematically overcharged troops and denied them key rights under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act. Federal prosecutors said the company’s actions were “intentional, willful, and taken in disregard for the rights of servicemembers.” [HuffPo]

Citing serious and persistent problems with Kentucky’s food stamp program, federal authorities have warned state officials they must fix the problems quickly or risk losing federal funds the state uses to run the program that helps the poor buy food. [C-J/AKN]

Mitch McConnell said Tuesday the chances are “pretty slim” that Republicans will grow their majority in the U.S. Senate in 2016, saying his goal is to preserve the majority for what he hopes will be a Republican president. [AP]

Nope, the recanvass didn’t change anything. Check out the results in each county. [Click the Clicky]

The Justice Department will not ask the U.S. Supreme Court to stay an appellate court ruling that President Barack Obama’s move to shield millions of undocumented immigrants from deportation should remain on hold, a spokesman said on Wednesday. [Reuters]

Bullitt County magistrates have fired a controversial animal control officer and shelter director. [WDRB]

How federal dollars are financing the water crisis in the West. [ProPublica]

Hundreds of people in Eastern Kentucky in danger of losing their disability payments may soon be part of a lawsuit against the federal government. [WYMT]

The US state of Nebraska has abolished the death penalty after a veto-override was passed through its legislature. [BBC]

There is a man holding a knife to the throat of a woman. A person gets out of their car, has a hammer in their hand and advances, yelling. [The Morehead News]

Many of us have old prescription drugs sitting around in medicine cabinets — so what’s the best way to get rid of them? Some folks simply toss old pills in the garbage, or down the toilet. [NPR]

Jean-Marie is dumb enough to think no one will see right through her desire to open an Western Kentucky office. Using taxpayer dollars to eliminate a commute for her? Right, sure, let’s do that. Kentucky has unlimited funds. [H-L]

The House of Representatives will quickly get down to unfinished business once it returns from the holiday recess: defending trading partners that engage in slavery. [HuffPo]

Commonwealth’s Nightmare Finally Ends

A fatal accident at a Union County coal mine last December happened because the mine operator did not have effective safeguards to keep workers from being hit by moving equipment, federal regulators have concluded. [H-L]

Lorca Henley of Bowling Green, Ohio, said her family’s dinners on different nights this week included taco salads, tuna casserole with mashed potatoes, spaghetti with meat sauce and hamburgers they fried on the stove because they were out of propane. [HuffPo]

A man says in a lawsuit that Norton Healthcare lost a piece of his brain. [C-J/AKN]

The place where you grow up doesn’t affect only your future income, as we wrote about last week. It also affects your odds of marrying, a large new data set shows. [NY Times]

In the midst of the celebration surrounding Governor Steve Beshear’s visit to Hazard on Tuesday, another, less cheerful, story was bubbling in the downtown community. This time, though, it did not have anything to do with the usual negative news suspects—drugs or poverty—but concerned the well-being and seemingly unnecessary removal of some of the only greenery on Main Street. [Hazard Herald]

The U.N. Human Rights Council adopted a scathing report consisting of 348 recommendations that address myriad human rights violations in the United States. [ACLU]

Remodeling projects for Foley Middle School and Silver Creek Elementary received bids from only one company, at more than $1.5 million higher than estimates for each project. [Richmond Register]

Seymour Hersh found himself in the middle of an F-5 shitstorm this week after breaking his biggest blockbuster story of the Obama Era, debunking the official heroic White House story about how Navy SEALs took out Osama Bin Laden in a daring, secret nighttime raid in the heart of Pakistan. [Click the Clicky]

The man who was with the Duct Tape Bandit when he beat up and robbed an Ashland businessman is no longer facing a robbery charge, according to a court official. [Ashland Independent]

Will this ever happen in Kentucky? Nebraska lawmakers moved legislation to repeal the state’s death penalty one step from final approval on Friday, one day after the governor, a death penalty supporter, said the state was acquiring more drugs to carry out lethal injections. [Reuters]

A number of Morehead citizens showed up at Monday’s City Council meeting to voice concerns about potential plans for about 100 acres of wooded land recently purchased near the end of Knapp Avenue. [The Morehead News]

It turns out that one of the Grand Old Party’s biggest—and least discussed—challenges going into 2016 is lying in plain sight, written right into the party’s own nickname. The Republican Party voter is old—and getting older, and as the adage goes, there are two certainties in life: Death and taxes. Right now, both are enemies of the GOP and they might want to worry more about the former than the latter. [Politico]

A Lawrence County school bus full of students on their way to school started on fire Friday, authorities said. [H-L]

Students in Puerto Rico launched mass protests this week against the governor’s attempt to slash some $166 million from the University of Puerto Rico’s budget. That’s about one-fifth of the funding for the island’s main public university system. [HuffPo]