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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Kentuckians Hate The Repub Tax Hike

Matt Bevin’s administration violated the law by limiting access to the Kentucky Capitol for members of the Poor People’s Campaign advocacy group, Attorney General Andy Beshear said Monday in a legal opinion. [H-L]

Families Belong Together rallies drew crowds dressed in white to cities big and small across the United States on Saturday to protest the Trump administration’s zero tolerance immigration policy. [HuffPo]

Rand Paul is not happy with the jail sentence of his neighbor, Rene Boucher, who attacked the senator last year over yard debris between their homes in Bowling Green. [C-J/AKN]

This investigation is not, primarily, an investigation into Donald Trump. It’s an investigation into people who attacked the United States. It’s time Republicans started acting like that matters. [Empty Wheel]

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]

Gross alert. Although he lacked federal appellate-court experience, usually a prerequisite for a Supreme Court justice, Thapar was one of four candidates, along with Thomas Hardiman, William Pryor and the eventual nominee, Neil Gorsuch, to be interviewed personally by the president. [SCOTUS Blog]

The Kentucky Public Service Commission (PSC) has completed its review of the effect of federal corporate income tax reductions on the rates of Kentucky Power Co. and ordered further reductions of those rates. [Ashland Independent]

It’s impossible to see from the street, so you would never know it’s there. To get to St. George Cemetery, especially its oldest section, you have to make your way past branches and thorns, across the weathered hills and over downed trees. [ProPublica]

Within six months of receiving its latest Kentucky Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit from the state Division of Water, the Glasgow Water Co. is required to re-evaluate the levels of 13 elements that can be discharged to its wastewater treatment plant. [Glasgow Daily Times]

Javier Solana, a former secretary general of NATO who played a central role in negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program when he was the European Union’s foreign policy chief, has been denied electronic authorization to enter the United States because of a visit to Iran in 2013. [NY Times]

Business owners affected by the tax hike say they’ve been unfairly targeted. [WFPL]

A federal investigation into Facebook’s sharing of data with political consultancy Cambridge Analytica has broadened to focus on the actions and statements of the tech giant and now involves multiple agencies, including the Securities and Exchange Commission, according to people familiar with the official inquiries. Representatives for the FBI, the SEC and the Federal Trade Commission have joined the Department of Justice in its inquiries about the two companies and the sharing of personal information of 71 million Americans, suggesting the wide-ranging nature of the investigation, said five people, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss a probe that remains incomplete. [WaPo]

Mitch McConnell, who spent over a quarter century promoting human rights and democracy in Myanmar, is now the principal senator holding up fresh legislation pressuring the country to improve its treatment of the the country’s Rohingya population. [H-L]

The White House late Saturday issued a statement backing down from Donald Trump’s earlier tweet that said he had persuaded Saudi Arabia’s king to produce as much as 2 million additional barrels of oil a day to bring prices down. [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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Massive Republican Tax Increase Is Live

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Married couple Jim Fryman and Roger Wright found a spot under a shady tree near the stage Saturday to watch activities of Lexington’s 11th annual Pride Festival that attracted 25,000 to 30,000 people. [H-L]

At least 20 new mining claims totaling about 460 acres have been staked on land Donald Trump removed from national monument protection late last year. [HuffPo]

From pet grooming to car repairs, limo rentals to fitness classes, a range of services will start charging sales tax beginning Sunday thanks to a law that zipped through the General Assembly this legislative session. [C-J/AKN]

A Trump administration appointee to the State Department tore into standard UN documents that condemn racism as a threat to democracy. [CNN]

Gilbert “Toby” Curtsinger, the only defendant to receive jail time in connection to the theft of a large quantity of bourbon from two local distilleries, was granted shock probation by Franklin County Circuit Court Judge Thomas Wingate on Friday. [State-Journal]

Holy shit, Donald Trump is dumb. U.S. intelligence agencies believe that North Korea has increased its production of fuel for nuclear weapons at multiple secret sites in recent months — and that Kim Jong Un may try to hide those facilities as he seeks more concessions in nuclear talks with the Trump administration, U.S. officials told NBC News. [NBC News]

A federal judge has blocked Kentucky’s work requirements for Medicaid and has ordered the Trump administration to reconsider the program. [WKYT]

Tens of thousands of protesters marched in cities across the United States on Saturday to demand the Trump administration reverse an immigration crackdown that has separated children from parents at the U.S-Mexico border and led to plans for military-run detention camps. [Reuters]

Matt Bevin’s attorneys are asking a Kentucky judge to rule on lingering legal questions surrounding a new public pension law before the case goes to the state’s highest court. [Richmond Register]

These Trump staffers – including an ex-NRA lobbyist – left their financial disclosure forms blank. [ProPublica]

Thanks to shitbag Republicans, of course. The fundraising plans for Kentucky nonprofits have just changed. [Ashland Independent]

For Malaysian factories that make light-emitting diodes, it is an opportunity. For American makers of outboard boat motors, it is a threat. For the biggest sellers of flat-screen televisions, it is a nuisance. The emerging trade war between the United States and China has prompted predictions of severe economic and geopolitical disruption. [NY Times]

It was a unique experiment in Jacksonian America: A federally funded school where for 23 years more than 600 Native American young men and boys from 17 tribes came to study together with a few whites and be served by black slaves. [Tom Eblen]

Many of the migrant children who remain separated from their parents will have to appear in immigration courts alone and are at greater risk of deportation. [HuffPo]

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