Happy Friday! Everything Probably Sucks

Democratic Attorney General Jack Conway enjoys a sizable cash advantage over Republican Matt Bevin as the two men head down the home stretch of the governors race. [H-L]

Syria’s chief-of-staff on Thursday declared a wide-ranging ground offensive by government forces, a day after Russian airstrikes and cruise missiles launched from the Caspian Sea backed Damascus’ multipronged advance into two Syrian provinces. [HuffPo]

Former Louisville basketball recruit JaQuan Lyle, in an interview with the NCAA this week, confirmed “the gist of allegations” against U of L in a new book. [C-J/AKN]

When David Martine arrived at the redbrick federal courthouse in Alexandria, Virginia, in the summer of 2011, he was three years past his retirement and had not participated in an interrogation since 2007, when he was one of the CIA’s top inquisitors. On this day, however, he was not going to be asking questions. He was going to be answering them. [Newsweek]

There were some frightening moments at a southern Kentucky elementary school on Wednesday. [WKYT]

The Obama administration has formally threatened a veto on a House bill that would lift the federal ban on crude oil exports. [The Hill]

The Shaping Our Appalachian Region (SOAR) Executive Board has given the green light for communities in the region to apply for grants up to $250,000 for job creation and broadband expansion via the Kentucky Appalachian Regional Development (KARD) fund. [State Journal]

A U.S. jury on Wednesday awarded a cancer patient $1.6 million after finding DuPont was liable for leaking a toxic chemical used to make Teflon into drinking water near one of its plants. [Reuters]

Following a report this summer showing Floyd County led the state last year in the per capita number of drug-overdose deaths, House Speaker Greg Stumbo is gathering state and local leaders in Prestonsburg on Friday morning to discuss solutions. The public and community partners are invited to attend. [Floyd County Times]

In March 2015, a Saudi-led coalition began bombing Yemen in an attempt to support the embattled regime and counter the advances of the Houthi rebels. This coalition, supported by logistics and intelligence provided by the United States, has now been accused of war crimes in a recent report by a prominent international rights group. [ThinkProgress]

Some prominent Northern Kentucky Republicans have told the Enquirer they support Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jack Conway. The bitterness among many Republicans against the tea party, which has challenged many in leadership recent years, might catch up to Republican candidate Matt Bevin, often seen as an outsider candidate who has heavy tea party support. [Cincinnasti.com]

The death penalty reared its head again at the U.S. Supreme Court Wednesday. It was the first time the court publicly considered a death case since last term, when a constitutional challenge to lethal injection procedures erupted into a rare, nasty and vituperative debate among the justices. This time, the issues were far more technical but still a matter of life and death. [NPR]

The University of Kentucky College of Pharmacy will train pharmacists across the state to distribute naloxone, a medication used to prevent overdoses from heroin and other opioids. [H-L]

From the Department of Things Ken Ham Wouldn’t Understand… If you’ve ever wanted to experience space from the perspective of an astronaut, here’s your chance. [HuffPo]

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]

Someone Said A Thing About Something

Debating on television for the first time, Kentucky’s three candidates for governor displayed conflicting positions Tuesday night on a multitude of issues, including same-sex marriage licenses. [H-L]

Ten years after her brother was sentenced to prison for bringing undocumented immigrants over the border, Carla Gonzalez’s parents have only just begun to catch up on the crippling debt caused by his incarceration. [HuffPo]

Acknowledging that Kentucky’s social workers are overworked and underpaid, the state’s commissioner of social services said Monday her agency will seek “millions of dollars” to hire more workers, boost salaries and improve working conditions. [C-J/AKN]

The Obama administration has said it will allow 10,000 Syrian refugees to resettle in the US over the next year. Is this enough? And are there any risks? [BBC]

On June 25, a Madison Circuit Court jury awarded $18 million in damages to the estate of Eliza Jennings which had sued The Terrace Nursing Home in Berea. The suit alleged Jennings suffered injury and wrongful death because the nursing home failed to provide the “degree of ordinary skill expected of a reasonable and prudent nursing home.” [Richmond Register]

When will the wingnut wing of the liberals quit it with the GMO fearmongering? This is as dumb as birtherism and such. [Mother Jones]

Park City Commissioners met in special-called session on Monday to approve on second reading an ordinance setting the tax rates for 2015. [Glasgow Daily Times]

The White House on Wednesday indicated it is open to accepting a short-term funding bill that keeps in place spending caps in order to avert a government shutdown. [The Hill]

Ryan Russell walked briskly through the dining room of the Ashland Community Kitchen, a place where the homeless and working poor of the Tri-State congregate for a warm meal and fellowship. [Ashland Independent]

The last time the Federal Reserve raised interest rates Lance Armstrong was a hero and Lehman Brothers was a thriving investment bank. [NPR]

Legislative Research Commission staffers working for Greg Stumbo have realized Kentuckians need a civics education. [Floyd County Times]

Cities, states, and provinces from the world’s biggest superpowers — and by far the world’s biggest carbon emitters — just pledged to reduce their carbon emissions at a summit in Los Angeles on Tuesday. [ThinkProgress]

Every fall, bourbon lovers make a pilgrimage to Kentucky for two things: the Kentucky Bourbon Festival, which runs through Sunday in Bardstown, and the fall bourbon releases. [H-L]

The United States has secretly indicted top officials connected to the government of Bolivian President Evo Morales for their alleged involvement in a cocaine trafficking scheme. [HuffPo]

Anything Bourbon-Related Is Good News

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

Sometimes the best ideas really do come while enjoying a glass of bourbon. [H-L]

A universal flu vaccine — one that provides immunity against every strain of the influenza virus for multiple years — is the holy grail of flu research. It would be a medical breakthrough on the order of penicillin, with the potential to save hundreds of thousands of lives every year. And scientists just got one crucial step closer to making it a reality. [HuffPo]

As the 2014 legislative session drew to a close with casino legislation dead, House Speaker Greg Stumbo vowed the issue would be his top priority the next year. [C-J/AKN]

The science of predicting hurricanes has come a long way since Katrina caught New Orleans officials off guard 10 years ago. [Reuters]

On October 1, 2014, many local residents visited Berea’s Boone Tavern Inn to mark what they believed would be a milestone. After years of being alcohol free, wine and spirits were on the menu in the tavern restaurant. [Richmond Register]

In the fall of 2003, police in New Jersey received a call from a concerned neighbor who’d found a boy rummaging in her garbage, looking for food. He was 19 years old but was 4 feet tall and weighed just 45 pounds. Investigators soon learned that the boy’s three younger brothers were also severely malnourished. [ProPublica]

We live in cynical times and my job exposes me to lots of people and events which feed cynicism. [Ronnie Ellis]

If conservatives are so convinced that gun-free zones attract killers, then why do so many conservative places and events ban guns? [ThinkProgress]

The Caverna Board of Education needed less than 10 minutes to complete a public hearing and subsequent vote in favor of increasing the tax rate for the 2015-16 school year during Thursday’s special-called school board meeting. [Glasgow Daily Times]

Remember way back to two weeks ago when the Donald Trump candidacy was the best thing to ever happen to Jeb Bush? [Politico]

Casey County Clerk Casey Davis, who recently embarked on a bicycle ride from Pikeville to Paducah, made a stop at the Rowan County Courthouse on Friday morning to show his support for Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis, who is still refusing to issue marriage licenses despite a federal court ruling. [The Morehead News]

The White House has appointed its first presidential envoy for hostage affairs as part of the US government’s review on responding to hostage situations. [BBC]

Open spaces, communication and environmental responsibility were the focuses of the recent $5.5 million renovation to the Council of State Governments building off of Lexington’s Iron Works Pike. [H-L]

West Virginia lawmakers will begin talks next month about establishing an independent state inspector general’s office tasked with coordinating investigations into corruption, waste and fraud across state agencies. The new office would be modeled partly on successful examples of IG offices in other states, including Virginia, Louisiana, Indiana and Ohio. [HuffPo]

No Puppies & Rainbows Here Today

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

The Kentucky Kernel, the University of Kentucky’s independent campus newspaper, announced Monday that it will cut production of the print newspaper from five days a week to two in an effort to put more emphasis on its online products. [H-L]

This is just… sick. Two beloved Virginia journalists were shot and killed Wednesday morning when a gunman opened fire in a shocking moment caught on live television. [HuffPo]

A wildlife research organization that studies the expanding range of cougars in North America has come to a different conclusion from the one offered by state authorities on how an ill-fated mountain lion made its way into Kentucky. [C-J/AKN]

Here’s a real ruh ro moment for a few legislators… The chief executive of Rentboy.com and six employees running the website were arrested Tuesday and charged with promoting prostitution under the federal Travel Act. [The Hill]

The high fence surrounding a Purdue University research farm here was installed to keep out pesky deer, but this summer it served a second purpose: Keeping federal drug agents at bay. The research farm, 10 miles south of Purdue’s West Lafayette campus, is home to the first legally grown industrial hemp crop in Indiana in decades. [News & Tribune]

Often maligned for speaking too frankly, Vice President Joe Biden’s reputation for shooting from the lip might be one of his biggest weapons if he does decide to run against Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. [Reuters]

Three Kentuckians made Modern Healthcare’s “100 Most Influential People in Healthcare” list. [Business First]

Across the country, those who support abortion rights and those who oppose them are feuding in court over how much information should be disclosed about women undergoing abortions. Supporters say there’s no margin for error. Opponents say it’s about ensuring quality care. [ProPublica]

House Speaker Greg Stumbo will propose a constitutional amendment that would allow as many as seven casinos to open in Kentucky, with tax revenue from the businesses dedicated to public education, boosting the racing industry and shoring up the state’s ailing retirement system. [WFPL]

By 2050, an area of forests the size of India is set to be wiped off the planet if humans continue on their current path of deforestation, according to a new report. That’s bad news for the creatures that depend on these forest ecosystems for survival, but it’s also bad news for the climate, as the loss of these forests will release more than 100 gigatons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. [ThinkProgress]

Only the Madison County School Board and the fiscal court as well as the cities of Richmond and Berea, have not set property tax rates for 2015. [Richmond Register]

NPR’S Audie Cornish talks to Megan Greene, managing director and chief economist at Manulife, about how the interest rate hike will affect mortgages, auto and student loans, and consumer behavior. [NPR]

Visitors entering the Georgetown Police Department’s new $5 million headquarters on Bourbon Street might notice two details. [H-L]

White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest renewed the Obama administration’s call for Congress to take action on gun control after a gunman shot and killed a reporter and cameraman during a live television broadcast on Wednesday. [HuffPo]

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]

Will A Republican Caucus Be A Thing?

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

In April 2005, President George W. Bush hailed “clean coal” as a key to “greater energy independence,” pledging $2 billion in research funds that promised a new golden age for America’s most abundant energy resource. [H-L]

Whatever eventually happens to Donald Trump’s candidacy — and he stumbled personally as a candidate here Thursday night — this much should be clear to America and the world after the first Republican debate: Trumpism is taking over a political party that will have a good chance to win the presidency in next year’s election. [HuffPo]

You think this DCBS retaliation is unique to Northern Kentucky? One social worker we’re aware of was targeted for holding people accountable. Teresa James actually sat in on the worker’s hearing — something that came about after their supervisor, retaliating against them, accused them of stealing a cheap camera… despite having a fancy phone and even fancier camera of their own. Retaliation is the norm. Period. [C-J/AKN]

In America, only the rich can afford to write about poverty. There’s something wrong with the fact that a relatively affluent person can afford to write about minimum wage jobs while people experiencing them can’t. [The Guardian]

If Sen. Rand Paul wants a presidential caucus in Kentucky, state Republican Party leaders want to see the money to pay for it upfront. [WFPL]

Mitch McConnell is discretely laying the groundwork for the fall’s budget negotiations, which promise to be a major headache for the new Senate majority leader. The Kentucky Republican has three priorities for the year-end talks that will dominate Congress starting next month. [The Hill]

Kentucky’s proposed Republican presidential caucus would be March 5 and candidates would only need 5 percent of the vote to qualify for delegates as the state seeks to woo the large field of contenders and their millions of dollars amid Rand Paul’s sluggish campaign. [Ashland Independent]

A majority of Americans, white and black, believe that more needs to be done to fight racism in the United States, following a year of protests over the treatment of minorities by police, according to a Pew Research Center survey released on Wednesday. [Reuters]

After thinking about it overnight, Republican candidate for state auditor Mike Harmon announced Thursday Jesse Benton will cut ties to Harmon’s campaign. [Ronnie Ellis]

This is why we can’t have nice things in rural America. How a little known agency mishandled several billion dollars of stimulus money trying to expand broadband coverage to rural communities. [Politico]

In a bold move, Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis filed a lawsuit Tuesday in federal court against Gov. Steve Beshear and Wayne Onkst, state librarian and commissioner of the Kentucky Department of Libraries and Archives. [The Morehead News]

Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush was forced to backtrack after saying funding for female health was too high. [BBC]

A multistate law firm has stepped into the effort to represent hundreds of people in Eastern Kentucky facing the potential loss of their Social Security disability payments. [H-L]

Ohio Gov. John Kasich drew applause during Thursday’s Republican presidential debate for saying that he accepted gay marriage even though it was counter to his “traditional” views. [HuffPo]