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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Matt Bevin Continues His Losing Streak

PEE ALERT PEE ALERT PEE ALERT PEE ALERT! Why can’t candidates get their ridiculous egos in check? Neither Elridge nor Scott will be governor. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. [H-L]

Surprise! The idiot who couldn’t name a single newspaper got duped. Former Fox News pundit and vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin confirmed on Tuesday that she was duped into an interview with a disguised Sacha Baron Cohen for his upcoming TV show. [HuffPo]

Wondering what could go wrong when you hire nothing but disconnected outsiders who don’t truly care or know about the communities in which they work? This reporter completely whitewashed one of the bigger Louisville scandals involving racism and anti-Semitism. [C-J/AKN]

Perpetually in jeopardy, the use of racial preferences in college admissions is under greater threat than ever. [ProPublica]

Attorney General Andy Beshear filed suit Thursday in Madison Circuit Court alleging that a St. Louis-based pharmaceutical company “made a conscious decision” to profit from sales of opioid drugs in Kentucky which knew were addictive. [Ronnie Ellis]

Uh, Hancock and Lyon Counties are not in Eastern Kentucky. What a disaster of an article about KentuckyWired. [ThinkProgress]

How voters define traditional values is playing a role in how they vote. Morgan Mullins, 32, a registered Democrat, says values are important, but vary by individual. [The Morehead News]

China said it is “shocked” after the US announced plans for fresh tariffs, escalating a trade war between the two countries. [BBC]

Keeping a closer eye on spending is something the Glasgow-Barren County Tourist and Convention Commissioners will have to do this fiscal year. [Glasgow Daily Times]

A resolution to encourage breast-feeding was expected to be approved quickly and easily by the hundreds of government delegates who gathered this spring in Geneva for the United Nations-affiliated World Health Assembly. Then the United States delegation, embracing the interests of infant formula manufacturers, upended the deliberations. [NY Times]

A judge has denied Matt Bevin’s request to reconsider a ruling that struck down changes to Kentucky’s pension system, which were originally set to go into effect this weekend. [WFPL]

Bigots of a feather. The wife of Bill Shine, the new White House deputy chief of staff for communications, has come under scrutiny for racially charged remarks and unfounded medical theories posted to her Twitter account. [WaPo]

Supervisors who were supposed to help safeguard the health of miners at two Kentucky coal mines conspired to cheat on testing for dust that can cause debilitating black-lung disease, a federal grand jury has charged. [H-L]

The Trump administration’s campaign to undermine the Affordable Care Act notched another achievement Tuesday. This time, the agency that runs the health insurance exchanges is slashing funds for organizations that help people to shop for coverage, forcing the groups to make do with about one-fourth of the federal funding they got for this year’s open enrollment. [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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It’s Time To Kill The Death Penalty

Mitch McConnell was upbeat the night after Justice Anthony Kennedy announced he was retiring from the Supreme Court. [H-L]

Last week, at a New York Times event at UCLA, the dean of the university’s Luskin School of Public Affairs jarred several Times reporters on the panel when he took them to task during his introduction for the event ― chiding them for their reporting on the 2016 election and for the paper’s “both sides” journalism amid the current “civility” debate. [HuffPo]

Claiming the state’s abrupt cuts to Medicaid dental and vision services are illegal, health law advocates have asked federal officials to reject the changes enacted July 1 by the administration of Gov. Matt Bevin. [C-J/AKN]

One U.S. service member was killed and two others wounded in an apparent insider attack in southern Afghanistan, the NATO-led Resolute Support mission said on Saturday. [Reuters]

Some children and pregnant women in Kentucky have wrongly been denied access to dental care since the state abruptly cut dental and vision coverage for as many as 460,000 people, public health advocates say. [Richmond Register]

Jimena Madrid riveted people around the world when her voice was captured on an audiotape after she was separated from her mother inside a Border Patrol detention facility. Three weeks later, reunification remains uncertain. “She says over and over, ‘Mommy, I want to be with you.’” [ProPublica]

An interim president with former ties to the Kentucky Community and Technical College System will serve Ashland Community and Technical College until a permanent president is hired this fall, a spokeswoman said Thursday. [Ashland Independent]

The Trump administration is suppressing an Environmental Protection Agency report that warns that most Americans inhale enough formaldehyde vapor in the course of daily life to put them at risk of developing leukemia and other ailments. [Politico]

The Morehead Tourism Commission voted 3-2 last Thursday not to support funding of the Kentucky Folk Art Center. Keith Kappes can and should pay for this himself – his backwater political beliefs and the bullshit he’s pulled with the paper there through the years contributed greatly to funding cuts. [The Morehead News]

Scott Pruitt came to Washington and assembled an extraordinary team of like-minded conservatives — lawyers, energy lobbyists, free-market Republicans and close allies from his days in Oklahoma. All were committed not only to Mr. Pruitt, but also to his stated mission to be a regulation-buster at the Environmental Protection Agency. [NY Times]

Kentucky has executed 163 people since 1910 but only one since 2008 and only three since the U.S. Supreme Court reinstituted the death penalty in 1976. [Ronnie Ellis]

Maybe propping up a dictator wasn’t such a great idea after all. His rosy outlook was almost immediately rejected by North Korea’s foreign ministry, which called the talks “regrettable” and accused the United States of making unilateral demands for denuclearization. Pompeo just hours earlier said the two sides engaged in “good-faith negotiations.” [WaPo]

Strange how Kentucky media has thrown its unwritten policy of not identifying victims out the window. A Pike County woman is suing Walter May, a prominent Eastern Kentucky businessman and the former mayor of Pikeville, for firing her as his caregiver after she allegedly refused to have sex with him. [H-L]

Former Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) is calling on the chamber’s Republicans to take steps to protect special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, decrying that the probe is “under assault.” [HuffPo]

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Another Day, Another Bevin Lawsuit

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Matt Bevin’s administration violated the law by withholding funds from Kentucky’s Area Development Districts that lawmakers had earmarked for the agencies, claims a lawsuit filed in Franklin Circuit Court [H-L]

A former aide to Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt recently told congressional investigators that she was asked to help her boss’s wife find a job with a six-figure salary, according to multiple media reports on Monday. [HuffPo]

She may want to travel outside the Watterson Expressway more than a couple times before making such wild claims. Democratic state Rep. Attica Scott said Thursday she is leaning toward what would be a historic run for Kentucky governor in 2019 after months of encouragement from supporters. [C-J/AKN]

Some immigrant U.S. Army reservists and recruits who enlisted in the military with a promised path to citizenship are being abruptly discharged, the Associated Press has learned. [AP]

According to a recent report, Kentucky ranks 37th in the nation in overall child well-being. [Richmond Register]

PEE ALERT! A giant balloon dubbed “Trump baby” has been given the green light to fly near parliament during the president’s UK visit. [Sky]

Jailer Joe Burchett was granted a change of venue and will stand trial on a charge of malfeasance in Rowan County. [Ashland Independent]

The Trump administration on Saturday halted billions of dollars in payments to health insurers under the Obamacare healthcare law, saying that a recent federal court ruling prevents the money from being disbursed. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which administers programs under the Affordable Care Act, said the action affects $10.4 billion in risk adjustment payments. [Reuters]

Some political pundits see our country as riven by tribal and ethnic divisions and partitioned by gender as we self-segregate into communities of the like-minded. Such divisions sometimes affect families and lead to alienation of longtime friends. [Ronnie Ellis]

The Trump administration said Saturday that it was suspending a program that pays billions of dollars to insurers to stabilize health insurance markets under the Affordable Care Act, a freeze that could increase uncertainty in the markets and drive up premiums this fall. [NY Times]

Over the past winter, when Mandy Goessling started a Facebook group for Shelter Barren County, someone sent her an idea for a thing called a blessing box. [Glasgow Daily Times]

Those factors have contributed to the United States having a higher level of income inequality and a larger share of low-income residents than almost any other advanced nation. Only Spain and Greece, whose economies have been ravaged by the euro-zone crisis, have more households earning less than half the nation’s median income — an indicator that unusually large numbers of people either are poor or close to being poor. [WaPo]

HEAD-DESK. State Rep. C. Wesley Morgan of Richmond is suing the woman who defeated him in May’s Republican primary election, claiming her campaign falsely accused him of backing legislation to enrich himself. [H-L]

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials are telling detained migrant parents that to be reunited with their children they must sign a voluntary deportation form. [HuffPo]

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Still Sticking It To The Working Poor

The pickings have gotten slimmer when Mike Bowling needs to hire someone for his convenience stores in London and Manchester, where he also has a tobacco store. [H-L]

A federal judge ordered the Trump administration to disclose more information about its decision to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census — a small victory for challengers who say adding the question was illegal and officials have not fully disclosed how the decision to include it was made. [HuffPo]

Public displays honoring the Confederacy are unwelcome in Louisville and do not represent what the city looks like today, according to an art panel formed by Mayor Greg Fischer. [C-J/AKN]

The Trump administration on Tuesday rescinded an extensive set of guidelines put in place under President Barack Obama that had called on colleges and universities to consider race as a way of promoting diversity. [Reuters]

While the future of a controversial pension reform bill remains in limbo, the Daily News reached out – with mixed results – to the four local legislators who voted for Senate Bill 151 to ask if they would vote for a new bill with the same provisions. Two did not return messages seeking comment, one declined to speculate on a vote and one said he probably would vote for such a bill a second time. [BGDN]

For more than a decade, if you wanted to know how many U.S. troops there were in war zones such as Iraq and Afghanistan, you could readily find that information at a public Pentagon website that’s updated every three months. But since late last year, the Pentagon’s stopped posting those numbers for Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan. [NPR]

The Trump administration’s drive to wean poor people from government benefits by making them work has been slowed by a federal judge framing a fundamental question: Are poverty programs meant to show tough love or to help the needy? [Richmond Register]

Just not in Kentucky – where Republicans are borderline evil. The Medicaid logjam appears to be breaking. [NY Times]

Some political pundits see our country as riven by tribal and ethnic divisions and partitioned by gender as we self-segregate into communities of the like-minded. Such divisions sometimes affect families and lead to alienation of longtime friends. [Ronnie Ellis]

A federal judge in Washington on Monday ordered the U.S. government to immediately release or grant hearings to more than 1,000 asylum seekers who have been jailed for months or years without individualized case reviews, dealing a blow to the Trump administration’s crackdown on migrants. [WaPo]

Linda Graham doesn’t know what she’s going to do. A few hours earlier, a judge signed an eviction order that gave her seven days to vacate her apartment in Parkway Place public housing. [WFPL]

Special Counsel Robert Mueller is reportedly hiring additional prosecutors to work on the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. [The Hill]

A man has been arrested for allegedly threatening to chop up Sen. Rand Paul and his family with an ax, according to media reports. [H-L]

Here’s your duh moment of the year. Several states that voted for Donald Trump in the presidential election are likely to be among the hardest hit in the trade war the president has triggered, according to the nation’s largest business organization. [HuffPo]

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McConnell Doesn’t Want To Do Anything

Is he the most dishonest person on earth or just the laziest? In 2018, at least 26 students have died in five school shootings in America. Two of those deaths came in a shooting at Marshall County High School in Kentucky. [H-L]

It’s hard to see the sky from Mitch Whitaker’s back porch. The mountainside, lush and green on a summer day, rises almost vertically. When Whitaker was a teenager, the top of it was blown off and the land was mined for coal. In the years since, native grasses have grown back and deer have returned. He and a few buddies now run a remote-controlled airplane club up there. Some hunt, have picnics and hike with their grandkids. But things are set to change here in rural Roxana, Kentucky. [HuffPo]

In a blow to Matt Bevin’s effort to reshape Kentucky’s Medicaid program, a federal judge has struck down his plan to require some people to meet strict new requirements including working or volunteering and paying monthly premiums in order to get health coverage through Medicaid. [C-J/AKN]

As a meeting last August in the Oval Office to discuss sanctions on Venezuela was concluding, Donald Trump turned to his top aides and asked an unsettling question: With a fast unraveling Venezuela threatening regional security, why can’t the U.S. just simply invade the troubled country? [AP]

Stories like this that glorify Mitch McConnell’s bullshit with Supreme Court nominees only serves to keep Eastern Kentuckians ignorant. [Ashland Independent]

Embattled Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt directly appealed to Donald Trump this spring to fire Attorney General Jeff Sessions and let him run the Department of Justice instead, according to three people familiar with the proposal. In an Oval Office conversation with Trump, Pruitt offered to temporarily replace Sessions for 210 days under the Vacancies Reform Act, telling the President he would return to Oklahoma afterward to run for office. [CNN]

When the 2018-19 school year begins, Glasgow Independent Schools will have a resource officer in each of its schools, GIS Superintendent Keith Hale said during the board of education’s special-called meeting Tuesday at the central office, adding that he appreciates the board’s commitment to school safety. [Glasgow Daily Times]

Tackling an issue that Congress has largely ignored for decades, the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee voted Thursday to request $50 million in new funding for programs aimed at reducing the comparatively high U.S. rate of women who die in pregnancy or childbirth. [ProPublica]

Donald Trump’s desire to help boost the Ohio Valley’s energy industry and bring back mining jobs could be stymied by the administration’s escalating trade battle with China and other trading partners across the globe. [WFPL]

The Trump administration will encourage the nation’s school superintendents and college presidents to adopt race-blind admissions standards, abandoning an Obama administration policy that called on universities to consider race as a factor in diversifying their campuses, Trump administration officials said. [NY Times]

Warren County Public Schools continues to see significant gaps in test scores for students who are African-American, Hispanic, English learners, disabled and those who qualify for free and reduced lunch, according to a report recently released by the district. [BGDN]

Finally, a family separation story with a happy ending. It’s not the sort of family separation that has been in the headlines lately. [WaPo]

Andy Barr said Monday he supports Kentucky’s ability to determine who receives Medicaid benefits, a day after the Bevin administration eliminated access to vision and dental coverage for 460,000 Kentuckians on Medicaid. [H-L]

Racists gonna racist. Donald Trump’s administration is planning to undo policies that would encourage race as a factor in college admissions, according to news reports. [HuffPo]

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