Another Bevin Administration Scandal

Lexington has been chosen as one of 10 places nationwide where federal authorities will take part in a special enforcement program aimed at curbing distribution of synthetic opioids, powerful painkilling drugs that have helped drive up overdose deaths in Kentucky. [H-L]

You don’t have to believe there was collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia to see this clearly: When Vladimir Putin and his top military intelligence officers facilitated the hacking of the computer systems of the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton’s campaign, they engaged in an act of war against the United States. [HuffPo]

The state’s former top social services official says a colleague sexually harassed her and she was discriminated against at the Cabinet for Health and Family Services, allegations the cabinet says are unsubstantiated. Adria Johnson, who resigned June 4, made the allegations in her resignation letter and a subsequent June 11 letter from her lawyer, Thomas Clay, according to copies of the documents the Courier Journal obtained through an open records request. [C-J/AKN]

Shortly before Donald Trump detonated a NATO summit, shanked the beleaguered British prime minister and prepped for a face-to-face love session with Vladimir Putin, his White House quietly divested itself of a senior official hawkish on Russia and bullish on the transatlantic military alliance. [TDB]

For 10 years, Liberty Place has been a beacon in the night for many women who have faced drug or alcohol addiction. [Richmond Register]

Long-struggling U.S. gambling industries hope to cash in on newly legal sports betting, but the growing wave of electronic and mobile gaming choices is considered more likely to change the face of those businesses rather than revive them. [Reuters]

A proposed doubling of the payroll tax in Raceland has staffers in the Raceland-Worthington School District up in arms, but city officials say there is no other way to get money it needs to pay bills. Teachers, administrators and support workers in the school district dispute the fairness of the tax because many don’t live in the city and they believe Raceland is using them as a cash cow. [Ashland Independent]

Donald Trump pardoned two Oregon ranchers Tuesday, firing a new salvo in a complicated culture war previously marked by air-mailed sex toys, nuanced disputes over the management of public lands, and a police shootout that killed a would-be leader of a modern crackpot revolution. [ThinkProgress]

Morehead State University President Jay Morgan reported to the institution’s Board of Regents last month that he had to cut nearly $11 million in personnel costs to balance the budget for the 2018-19 fiscal year. [The Morehead News]

When President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia sits down with Donald Trump in Helsinki, Finland, on Monday for a meeting he has long wanted, he will already have accomplished virtually everything he could reasonably hope for. [NY Times]

Jimmy Tosh sells a lot of pigs. He is owner and CEO of Tosh Farms, Tosh Pork, and Bacon By Gosh, in Henry County, Tennessee, and has 84 contracted barns in the region where farmers grow pigs for his products. [WFPL]

Scott Pruitt was known inside the Environmental Protection Agency’s headquarters for sipping $10 organic juice infused with kale, sporting Ferragamo shoes with his Hickey Freeman suits, and making biblical references in texts and conversations with aides. [WaPo]

A judge has barred the removal of signs that KentuckyOne Health paid to have at Rupp Arena as the University of Kentucky’s marketing partner tries to kick the hospital company out. [H-L]

Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin were welcomed to Helsinki, Finland, with a potent message about the importance of press freedom ahead of their bilateral summit. [HuffPo]

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The AOC Is Beginning To Melt Down

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While the report often mentioned Brown as an example of the lack of oversight at the agency, it also confirmed at least one thing he alleged in his whistleblower lawsuit — that a supreme court justice leased his office space from a company owned by his sons. The request to re-lease the space revealed that the rent was three times higher than the next bid and would require extra work to make it accessible to people with disabilities. While the audit did not mention the justice’s name, it has previously been revealed to be Justice Samuel Wright. [H-L]

A grand jury convened by special counsel Robert Mueller indicted 12 Russian intelligence officials in connection with the hack of a DNC server during the 2016 election. [HuffPo]

Eight years later — after about 200 University of Louisville men’s basketball games, 200 or so concerts, financial struggles and grave concerns about a potential bond default — the arena finances are still being discussed. In large part, that’s because taxpayers still have decades and hundreds of millions of dollars to go to pay it off. [C-J/AKN]

John Schnatter—the founder, chairman and public face of pizza chain Papa John’s—used the N-word on a conference call in May. Schnatter confirmed the incident in an emailed statement to Forbes on Wednesday. [Forbes]

Mike Pence turns nostalgic when he talks about growing up in small-town Columbus, Indiana, where his father helped build a Midwestern empire of more than 200 gas stations that provided an upbringing on the “front row of the American dream.” [Richmond Register]

There were no immediate specifics on what Trump said he had achieved, and French President Emmanuel Macron quickly disputed Trump’s claim that NATO allies had agreed to boost defense spending beyond their existing goal of 2 percent of gross domestic product by 2024. [TPM]

Another inmate was erroneously released from the Boyd County Detention Center this week — this time due to an apparent miscalculation of credit for time served. [Ashland Independent]

Hours after Donald Trump departed NATO headquarters Thursday, U.S. military leaders embarked on a full-scale “damage control” operation with calls to their counterparts across Europe to reassure them that America will abide by its defense commitments in the region. [NBC News]

The next 2018 election candidate filing deadline – for all Cave City and Park City government seats, open school board seats and the county conservation district board seat – is 4 p.m. Aug. 14. [Glasgow Daily Times]

There’s an ongoing channel between Robert Mueller and the British investigation into Facebook and Cambridge Analytica. [The Guardian]

Louisville’s Coalition for the Homeless will receive a $3.45 million grant to help combat youth homelessness. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced the award Friday. [WFPL]

Shame on the Kentucky Democratic Party for being dead in the water on this. They should be dragging this guy up one side and down the other. Here’s Rand Paul excusing and supporting literal treason. [Politico]

Candidates for Lexington mayor spent more than $825,000 in the seven-way May primary, campaign finance reports show. [H-L]

In the morning of July 27, 2016, Donald Trump encouraged Russian hackers to find emails that had been deleted from Hillary Clinton’s private server that she used while serving as secretary of state. Russia appeared to be listening and heeded Trump’s call, according to a bombshell revelation on Friday. [HuffPo]

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UK Needs A Serious Reality Check

Really, suing poor people because they can’t afford health care?! A group of Kentuckians has asked a Franklin County judge to grant class action status to a lawsuit aimed at stopping the University of Kentucky and the Kentucky Department of Revenue from garnishing people’s wages for unpaid medical bills. [H-L]

But they are not the only Kochs. There are, in fact, four Koch brothers and nearly a dozen Koch kids, many of whom have their own billions, their own ideologies and their own political ambitions. [HuffPo]

Democratic candidate for governor Andy Beshear has promised that any money his 2015 campaign for attorney general received that was tainted by the Tim Longmeyer kickback scandal will be donated to the political watchdog group Common Cause. But an analysis of the campaign contributions to Beshear’s 2015 primary and general election committees shows that Beshear may not have enough remaining in his current balance to cover what might be considered “tainted” dollars. [C-J/AKN]

The Trump administration is cutting most of the funds previously provided to groups that help people get health insurance under the Affordable Care Act and will push them to promote plans lacking the law’s benefits and protections, a government agency said on Tuesday. [Reuters]

Madison County is seeking a transportation grant in the amount of $25 million to complete the widening of the KY Highway 52 connector road, judge/executive Reagan Taylor said Tuesday during a regular scheduled fiscal court meeting in Berea. [Richmond Register]

It’s unclear what Jens Stoltenberg, the secretary general of NATO, has said to Mr. Trump. But the notion that Mr. Trump single-handedly and drastically reversed military spending by members is inaccurate. [NY Times]

A federal appeals court has reinstated the conviction of a former Ashland cardiologist accused of performing heart procedures on patients who did not need them. [Ashland Independent]

The American Civil Liberties Union is calling on the Trump administration to stop distributing a government form that offers to reunite detained migrant parents with their children once the parents are ready to be deported from the United States. [WaPo]

After a 3-2 vote by the Morehead Tourism Commission two weeks ago went against backing a quarter of the funds needed to support the Kentucky Folk Art Center, a revote could be in sight. [The Morehead News]

Donald Trump has clashed with German Chancellor Angela Merkel over Russian influence and defence spending, ahead of a Nato summit. [BBC]

It was hardly a surprise and he won’t be the last, but Democratic Attorney General Andy Beshear announced Monday he will run for governor next year. [Ronnie Ellis]

A family of chemicals — known as PFAS and responsible for marvels like Teflon and critical to the safety of American military bases — has now emerged as a far greater menace than previously disclosed. [ProPublica]

Dr. Misty Clark, a dentist who operates her own practice in Prestonsburg, pulled up her schedule Tuesday afternoon and shook her head. Her calendar showed five and a half hours of vacancies — an usual sight for Clark, who normally fills her schedule with as many as three patients an hour. But since last week, when Matt Bevin cut dental and vision coverage for about 460,000 low-income Kentuckians on Medicaid, more than half of Clark’s patients have been turned away. [H-L]

In 2005, a group of workers at a meatpacking plant in Brooklyn voted to join a union. Their employer, a kosher meat wholesaler called Agri Processor, fought the organizing effort as best it could. Once the workers were unionized, the company refused to bargain, arguing that most of them weren’t covered by collective bargaining law because they were undocumented immigrants. [HuffPo]

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Rocky v. Andy Will Be A Funny Fight

A planned appearance by the president of the National Rifle Association, not far from the site of a Kentucky school shooting, is stirring controversy. [H-L]

It what may be an early onslaught of Kremlin-linked Twitter attacks ahead of the U.S. midterm elections, Russia(sic) bots appear to be fueling a wave of criticism targeting Democrats over alleged intimidation in political confrontations and a lack of “civility,” according to bot trackers. [HuffPo]

A group of protesters confronted Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Bardstown Road in Louisville Saturday, calling out “Abolish ICE,” before adding they know where he lives. And of course Jonathan Shell, a human-shaped turd, spewed racism. [C-J/AKN]

The 1-year-old boy in a green button-up shirt drank milk from a bottle, played with a small purple ball that lit up when it hit the ground and occasionally asked for “agua.” [AP]

This time they got in, into what they call “our house,” the people’s house, the Kentucky state Capitol. [Ronnie Ellis]

North Korea has accused the US of using “gangster-like” tactics to push it towards nuclear disarmament after a fresh round of high-level talks. [BBC]

A plan by the city of Greenup to annex highway right of ways stunned Greenup County leaders Tuesday, prompting calls for the county to move its courthouse out of the city of Greenup. [Ashland Independent]

Attempts by Anne Frank’s father to escape the Nazis in Europe and travel to the United States were complicated by tight American restrictions on immigration at the time, one of a series of roadblocks that narrowed the Frank family’s options and thrust them into hiding, according to a new report released on Friday. [NY Times]

Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear, son of the state’s last Democratic governor, Steve Beshear, officially announced his intentions to run for the state’s highest seat on Monday morning. [The Morehead News]

Trump’s delusions are about to blow up in his own voters’ face. [WaPo]

Do you keep up with what’s happening around the Commonwealth? A misunderstanding regarding purchase orders for a communications tower to be installed in the Summer Shade area led to a lengthy discussion Tuesday during a Metcalfe County Fiscal Court meeting. [Glasgow Daily Times]

With tears and smiles, Salvadoran asylum seeker Walter Armando Jimenez Melendez reunited with his 4-year-old son Jeremy on Tuesday after six weeks of anguished separation. [Reuters]

Matt Bevin’s administration has been ordered to pay the Courier Journal’s legal cost because it refused to release public records identifying shareholders of a company planning to build a state-subsidized $1.5 billion aluminum rolling mill near Ashland. [H-L]

Donald Trump on Wednesday kicked off what is shaping up to be a contentious NATO summit by lashing out at Germany, saying the country is “captive to Russia” because of a gas pipeline deal. [HuffPo]

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Fuck Matt Bevin And His Enablers

The Kentucky Court of Appeals has thrown out a unanimous jury verdict awarding Republican state Sen. Ralph Alvarado of Winchester $200,000 in damages in a defamation suit. [H-L]

Jodi Goodwin has spent the past month helping grief-stricken parents with their asylum cases. [HuffPo]

Matt Bevin will go down in history as one of the most wretched assholes to walk the earth. Matt Bevin’s administration has abruptly cut Medicaid dental and vision benefits to nearly half a million Kentuckians, prompting an outcry from Democrats who called the Republican governor’s decision “rash.” [C-J/AKN]

In his first in-depth interview since the FBI raided his office and homes in April, Cohen strongly signaled his willingness to cooperate with special counsel Robert Mueller and federal prosecutors in the Southern District of New York — even if that puts Dingus Trump in jeopardy. When I asked Cohen if President Trump knew about that meeting before it happened, he declined to answer. [ABC News]

The state of Kentucky and its taxpayers shelled out more than $200,000 over four years to a contractor to formulate a 911 statewide plan. [Ronnie Ellis]

Legal experts say it’s likely special counsel Robert Mueller secretly gained access to the National Rifle Association’s tax returns as part of the investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election, according to a McClatchy report. [The Hill]

A quickly developed and implemented policy restricting access to the state Capitol by the Poor People’s Campaign was improperly formulated and illegal, according to an Attorney General’s opinion. [Ronnie Ellis]

The U.S. government said in a court filing on Friday that it has the right to detain children and parents caught crossing the U.S. border illegally for the duration of their immigration proceedings. [Reuters]

The state of Kentucky gave preliminary approval for a $1.5 million tax incentive package for a potential purchaser of the Kentucky Electric Steel plant in Boyd County Thursday. [Ashland Independent]

There is an unusual space in the basement of the University of Louisville library, in the large anteroom to the official archives for Sen. Mitch McConnell. [ProPublica]

Fuck Matt Bevin. Democrats on Monday called Republican Matt Bevin’s decision to cut dental and vision benefits for Medicaid recipients “rash,” “callous” and “not legal.” [More Ronnie Ellis]

One staffer publicly mocked senators who criticized Donald Trump as “clueless” and “crazy.” Another accused Hillary Clinton of having a campaign aide killed and employing pedophiles. A third wrote the “shameful” press was trying to deny Trump his victories. These are not faceless trolls but midlevel political appointees at the Health and Human Services Department. [Politico]

A former employee of Eric C. Conn was sentenced Friday to seven months in prison, with credit for time served, for helping the disability attorney escape the country to avoid sentencing in a federal fraud case. [H-L]

The U.S. ambassador to Estonia has announced his resignation, saying he is taking the “honorable course” in the wake of Donald Trump’s “inaccurate” slams against the European Union, Foreign Policy reported Friday. [HuffPo]

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More Messy Turnover From Matt Bevin

Two-year-old Charlee Campbell’s sudden and mysterious reappearance after 32 hours missing raised more questions among law enforcement, according to media reports. [H-L]

Kentucky’s top official overseeing child protection in Kentucky plans to leave her job as commissioner of the Department for Community Based Services, an agency spokesman said Monday. [C-J/AKN]

“To be a first responder, your DNA is built differently,” said Omar Delgado, a former Florida police officer who responded to Orlando’s Pulse nightclub shooting, in which 49 people were killed and at least 53 others wounded. “Everyone’s going to be running out of danger; you’re going to be running in.” [ProPublica]

Summer brings fun and lazy days to kids across the county, but for the many families relying on school meals to feed their children, summer break can prove stressful as they try to fill the nutritional gap. [Richmond Register]

The deaths of the designer Kate Spade and the chef Anthony Bourdain, both of whom committed suicide this week, were not simply pop culture tragedies. They were the latest markers of an intractable public health crisis that has been unfolding in slow motion for a generation. [NY Times]

The city of Ashland has fine-tuned its plans for a new park area at 16th Street and Winchester Avenue adjacent to the Community Trust Bank building. [Ashland Independent]

In “I Sing the Body Electric,” poet Walt Whitman waxed lyrically about the “action and power” of “beautiful, curious, breathing, laughing flesh.” More than 150 years later, MIT materials scientist and engineer Canan Dagdeviren and colleagues are giving new meaning to Whitman’s poem with a device that can generate electricity from the way it distorts in response to the beating of the heart. [WaPo]

An ordinance adopting Cave City’s budget for the 2018-19 fiscal year on second reading was approved Monday night by the Cave City Council. [Glasgow Daily Times]

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Monday overturned a key immigration case that had granted asylum to a Salvadoran woman who had been raped and beaten by her former husband. [Reuters]

Students stream through the orange-lockered hallways of Fern Creek High School and eventually make their way outside of the school. It’s the end of the day on a Thursday afternoon, but the day isn’t over yet for a group of students gathering for a Black Student Union meeting. [WFPL]

UK Prime Minister Theresa May has paid tribute to Canadian PM Justin Trudeau’s leadership after a G7 summit which she described as “difficult”. “I want to pay a particular tribute to Prime Minister Trudeau for his leadership and skilful chairing, which enabled us after two days of negotiation between leaders to agree actions and a shared approach on some of the most pressing challenges facing the international community and our citizens,” she told parliament. [BBC]

In 2012, Lexington, which uses a joint city-county government system, had a $296 million unfunded liability to its police and firefighter pension plan. [H-L]

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Pre-Existing Condition? You’re Screwed

Rick Sanders apparently thinks leaving sidewalk chalk messages in Frankfort is reason to block people from the Capitol. Matt Bevin has been pressuring KSP to retaliate against protestors because he can’t handle criticism. [H-L]

The Twitterverse exploded in a spyware panic after a Dutch journalist in Singapore posted a photo of a press kit freebie of a tiny fan that connects to computers via the USB portal. It was part of a goodie bag for the journalists covering Donald Trump’s meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. [HuffPo]

Adam Edelen is right about health care but dangerously wrong about the work he did as Auditor. There were hundreds of cases he refused to push with Jack Conway. So many, in fact, that his office kept a spreadsheet of cases he was afraid to have the Attorney General investigate. Because of politics. Feel free to dig through the archives here to find those stories. He’s the wrong voice for health care. Or anything, really. He’s wrong for Kentucky and can’t beat Matt Bevin. [C-J/AKN]

Many of us have distinct memories of our own childhood homes. That’s not the case for hundreds of children trapped in Illinois psychiatric hospitals. [ProPublica]

Mark Filburn had a fairly simple message about preventing school shootings for the Interim Joint Education Committee Monday. [Ronnie Ellis]

Diplomacy cannot be dictated by “fits of anger”, French President Emmanuel Macron has warned after the G7 summit in Canada ended in acrimony. [BBC]

The Boyd County Public Library has purchased three acres in Summit and plans to build a branch on the land, director Debbie Cosper said. [Ashland Independent]

After failing to repeal the Affordable Care Act with a Republican-controlled Congress, the Trump administration is seizing on a different strategy for dismantling the law, one fraught with political risk. It is asking a court to throw out major elements, including hugely popular provisions that protect sick people from being denied health insurance or charged higher rates. [NY Times]

After he posed several questions about the proposed budget for the 2018-19 fiscal year for Glasgow government and proposed an amendment that failed with a tie-breaking vote by the mayor, Councilman Jake Dickinson cast the sole vote against the budget as a whole. [Glasgow Daily Times]

Donald Trump’s last-minute refusal to sign a joint statement with America’s closest allies was met with shock but also resignation in Europe, where leaders have grudgingly accepted an increasingly isolated U.S. presence on the world stage. [WaPo]

The Louisville Metro Police Department has formally closed its sexual assault investigation into the late Kentucky state Rep. Dan Johnson, roughly five months after his death. [WFPL]

Hundreds of protesters, including survivors from two of Florida’s deadliest modern mass shootings, staged a rally in Orlando on Monday to call for tougher firearms restrictions two years after a gunman killed 49 people at the Pulse nightclub. [Reuters]

The University of Kentucky is raising tuition for Kentucky students by the smallest amount in more than a decade, but the 2.5 percent increase will push the sticker price for undergraduate students above $12,000 a year. [H-L]

When Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross announced that the Trump administration would add a question asking about citizenship to the 2020 census in March, he pointed to a Census Bureau analysis saying there was no empirical evidence that adding the question would cause people not to respond to the survey. [HuffPo]

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