Another Huge Jail Expansion In Ashland

The Kentucky Agricultural Development Fund has approved a $500,000 combination grant and loan for hemp-processing equipment. [H-L]

The federal government and Gulf Coast states have reached an $18.7 billion settlement agreement with the oil company BP for the 2010 Deepwater Horizon spill in the Gulf of Mexico. [HuffPo]

What started as a toothache from a lost filling became a raging infection that landed Christopher Smith in the University of Louisville Hospital emergency room, then in intensive care on a ventilator and feeding tube. [C-J/AKN]

The bacterium Yersinia pestis has inflicted almost unimaginable misery upon humankind over the centuries, killing an estimated 200 million or more people and triggering horrific plagues in the 6th and 14th centuries. [Reuters]

All these years later and CentrePointe is still nothing. [WKYT]

Four U.S. Embassies got upgraded screening rooms last year, paid for by the lobbying arm of the big studios. The industry and the government say there were no strings attached. [ProPublica]

Kentucky has signed new contracts with five managed-care organizations to provide health care services to Medicaid eligible Kentuckians. [Business First]

While Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) quickly moved to donate the contributions he received from Earl Holt III to a fund established to help the victims’ families, this stands in stark contrast to his past handling of white separatist donors. [ThinkProgress]

Boyd County’s government is close to fully approving expansion of its current 200-bed jail in order to add 50 more beds that will open more space to accept federal inmates. [Ashland Independent]

The UK must take urgent action to prepare for the impacts of climate change in the UK, according to a report submitted to the government. [BBC]

Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis, divorced, is still screaming about the gays. [The Morehead News]

In a victory for opponents of partisan gerrymandering, the Supreme Court on Monday upheld the use of an independent commission to draw Arizona’s congressional districts. Writing for a narrow majority in the 5-4 ruling, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg touted the importance of direct democracy and making sure the power of the people is not hijacked by its elected representatives. [Mother Jones]

Last August, Kentucky Education Commissioner Terry Holliday issued a challenge to Kentuckians to read the state’s current academic standards in English/language arts and mathematics and suggest changes. [H-L]

Here’s something you probably didn’t know happened in California in the last few years, and maybe it’s something you never imagined could happen: In 2011, two high-ranking state regulators were fired from their posts for pissing off the oil industry. [HuffPo]

Oh, NOW The EEC Wants To Talk?

The fun thing today: Kim Davis, backward ass Rowan County Clerk, was just sued by the ACLU on behalf of four couples she turned away. [Deep Eastern Kentucky Thoughts]

Kentucky leads the nation in participation in federally funded local food projects, with 1,659 projects including high tunnels that extend the growing season, microloans for smaller farmers, and direct funding for food hubs, farmers’ markets and other local food enterprises. [H-L]

A decision this week to cut tuition for Washington state’s public universities by 15 to 20 percent over the next two years is a rare move that national experts believe could influence other states as they come out from under the recession. [HuffPo]

Shortly after he was born, tremors wracked Leopoldo Bautista’s tiny body as he suffered through the pain of drug withdrawal — pain his mother understands. Samantha Adams is being treated with methadone for heroin addiction and passed the methadone into Leopoldo’s system. Sitting vigil with him at Norton Hospital, she teared up about watching the 10-day-old she loves “going through what I’d been through.” [C-J/AKN]

You won’t believe this horrible Fox story about the homeless. Or maybe you will. [MMFA]

When the board of regents hired Michael Benson as Eastern Kentucky University president in August 2013, it announced him as EKU’s “next great visionary leader.” [Richmond Register]

The stupid is thick. GOP presidential candidate Mike Huckabee predicted that Christians will push back against gay marriage in a similar way to Dr. Martin Luther King’s fight against racial discrimination. [The Hill]

The Boyd County Fiscal Court’s 2013 audit found a weakness about the public bidding process for its home incarceration program. [Ashland Independent]

U.S. private employers hired the most workers in six months in June and factory activity accelerated, providing fresh evidence the economy was gathering solid momentum after contracting at the start of the year. [Reuters]

Barren County Judge-Executive Micheal Hale has been appointed by Gov. Steve Beshear to serve on the newly reconstituted Kentucky Workforce Innovation Board, it was announced in a press release. [Glasgow Daily Times]

Power plants will continue to able to emit unlimited mercury, arsenic, and other pollutants thanks to the Supreme Court, which on Monday invalidated the first-ever U.S. regulations to limit toxic heavy metal pollution from coal and oil-fired plants. [ThinkProgress]

The Daniel Boone National Forest welcomes Jonathan Kazmierski as the new district ranger for the Cumberland Ranger District in Morehead. [The Morehead News]

In a desperate bid to save one of the world’s most endangered animals, conservationists are taking the controversial step of defacing the last survivors. [BBC]

The Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet said Wednesday that it will meet with the FBI to determine whether a longtime coal mine inspector, Kelly Shortridge, falsified his reports beyond his work on mines that were owned by former state Rep. W. Keith Hall. Spoiler alert: cabinet folks were aware of everything before it came up at trial. They’re only talking because of public embarrassment at this point. [H-L]

Hillary Clinton has a bit of a problem on her hands. When it comes to filling a venue, Sen. Bernie Sanders is not exactly 2016’s underdog. [HuffPo]

Your County Courthouse Is Not A Church

Casey Davis, the Casey County Clerk, sent a letter to Governor Steve Beshear and it is a doozy.

Feast your eyes on the stupid (I said it — because it’s no longer ignorance at this point):

June 29, 2015
The Honorable Governor Steve Beshear
700 Capitol Avenue Suite 100
Frankfort, KY 40601
FAX (502) 564-2517

Dear Gov. Beshear,

I am deeply troubled by the ruling on marriage that was released last Friday and even more so with your letter that I received later that morning. On one hand, every American, including each of the five Justices who decided the case, knows that “marriage” is not in the U.S. Constitution and that certainly our Founding Fathers did not write that document with same-sex marriage in mind.

Even more troubling, that same document guarantees citizens like me the freedom of conscience.

Candidly, it seems to me that in one day a totally new right has been conjured up out of the Constitution, and another right clearly enumerated in the First Amendment — my freedom to exercise my faith — has been removed.

Bluntly, some have gained “fundamental rights” through this ruling and others of us have lost them.

As a County Clerk, I humbly ask for your reconsideration regarding your letter of June 26. First, in the short haul, my understanding is that the ruling is not fully official until after a brief period allotted for appeal and re-consideration has passed. (25 days?) So, why the rush to dispense these new marriage licenses before deeper issues can be weighed?

Secondly, you gave your Attorney General the option of not defending the marriage law according to his conscience but are requiring that County Clerks like me participate against what our conscience dictates. Remember, he took a very similar oath as I did.

I ask that you not attempt to force me (and others like me) to violate my deeply-held convictions about what God said about marriage and sexuality. To me, that puts me in a “prison” and it puts government on the wrong side of, as our Declaration states, the Laws of Nature and Nature’s God.

I understand that other states are working on protections for those in my capacity, so I humbly ask for your reconsideration. I would desire the opportunity to meet with you face-to-face to discuss this matter.

Yours most sincerely,

Casey Davis
County Clerk, Casey County

Let’s rip that horse shit apart.

Elected government officials do not have the “freedom” to refuse a government-sanctioned service based on personal choice to hold a particular set of religious beliefs. At home? Absolutely, refuse to have anything to do with gay people, black people, women, whatever. At work for the government? Do your job or quit.

A new right? How about the Supreme Court of the United States ruled (they did not create a new right or a new law — SCOTUS is not a legislative body) interpreted this nation’s constitution to mean that ALL people are equal and have the same marriage rights. Separate but equal is not a permissible thing.

No one lost any “fundamental rights” at all. No one lost the right to exercise their faith. No government official has the “right” to use their “faith” in performing government duties. County courthouses are not churches.

The SCOTUS ruling was “fully official” the moment the decision was released. There is no appeal.

Attorney General Jack Conway’s job is to interpret law — not to hand out marriage licenses and license plate stickers — and he interpreted the legal situation (accurately) to be one that was a waste of time and money. Jack Conway’s job duties permit him to make such decisions. He’s an attorney (“Attorney General” ring a bell?). He makes… wait for it… legal decisions and interprets the Kentucky Revised Statutes. His authority is discretionary.

There are no deeper issues to be weighed. The SCOTUS ruled.

Put up or shut up. In other words: do your job or quit. You’re in violation of state law (Warning: External PDF Link). There’s a separation of church and state. Wanna play church? Do so outside of your government job. The moment you step inside the courthouse to do your government job, you keep your Jesus, your Allah, your G-d, your Yahweh to yourself.

Has the education system really failed people so miserably? That they don’t have a basic grasp of the three branches of government? That they don’t realize that government isn’t church? (Those are rhetorical)

Good grief.

Sure is fun watching these people who think they’re constitutional law professors. The people who believe they’re being persecuted because they’re not legally permitted to discriminate against others in the name of the state.

UPDATE:

Click here to watch Casey Davis make a fool of himself on MSNBC last night.

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]

Frankfort Always Passing Pension Buck

Thursday’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling upheld the nationwide tax credit subsidies to help people buy health insurance through the Affordable Care Act. [H-L]

A fire broke out at a prominent black church in South Carolina on Tuesday night, the latest in a series of blazes at places of worship in the South serving the African-American community. A federal law enforcement source told the Associated Press that the fire was not the work of an arsonist, and that preliminary investigations show it was not intentionally set. [HuffPo]

In a historic ruling reshaping the definition of the American family, the Supreme Court on Friday invalidated bans on same-sex marriage in Kentucky and across the country, holding that gays and lesbians have the constitutional right to marry. [C-J/AKN]

In what may not be a coincidence, a string of nighttime fires have damaged or destroyed at least six predominately black churches in four southern states in the past week. [SPLC]

Much is put into creating ceramics. A sculpture or ware starts as nothing more than a lump of dirt. Then with care, technique, and creativity, it becomes a work of art. [The Morehead News]

You can prove slavery was bad six ways from Sunday, but people can still choose to believe otherwise if they want. Addressing racism isn’t just about correcting erroneous beliefs — it’s about making people see the humanity in others. [Vox]

Data from Kentucky’s 446 public water systems shows they consistently produce excellent quality water and are nearly always in compliance with the Safe Drinking Water requirements, according to the Kentucky annual Drinking Water Report. The report summarizes the compliance data and status of public water system compliance monitoring results. [Energy & Environment Cabinet]

Congressional Republicans are using the power of the purse to do battle against a series of controversial labor regulations from the Obama administration. [The Hill]

Kentucky’s longest serving U.S. Senator says last year’s lengthy and costly campaign showed him two things about how he says people feel about the country. [WKYT]

Scientists who have devoted years developing medicines to cure disease are now working for tobacco companies to make e-cigarettes. [Reuters]

These are your friends or your family. Please consider helping them step away from their xenophobia. [Page One]

There have only been 9 days this year when the police have not killed somebody. Some news outlets put the number as high as 500 dead in the past six months, according to both The Guardian and Killed by the Police.Net. The Washington Post’s own investigation showed nearly 400 dead as of the end of May. [WaPo]

Kentucky’s retired state workers’ pension fund is a mess. It’s the most underfunded of any in the country, and it’s sinking dangerously close to running out of money. Yet state lawmakers, the men and women responsible for budgeting those pensions, don’t have quite the same worry about their own money. [H-L]

Meanwhile, Kentucky can’t even get medicinal marijuana right. Oregon ended marijuana prohibition at midnight Wednesday, joining Colorado, Washington state, Alaska and the District of Columbia in legalizing recreational use of the drug. [HuffPo]

These Are Your Friends Or Your Family

Selected comments on a story about a church with a female pastor allowing the LGBT community to attend services:


CLICK TO ENLARGE

Mostly from women. All from people you know, love, welcome as family.

These people are not all immune to influence. If we want to move forward, it’s maybe not a good idea to ignore our relatives who feel as these commenters do. Education and personal interaction go a long way. Sometimes it’s as simple as meeting a gay person or someone of a non-Christian faith. Sometimes all it takes is time. Sometimes there’s nothing that will change their minds. But isn’t it worth a shot if you know these people or are related to them?

Note: These are, by far, not remotely the worst comments on the story.