SCOTUS Says Millions Keep Health Care

Pope Francis’ call for urgent action to combat climate change isn’t having much influence on members of Congress from the coal state of Kentucky, who are working this week to block the centerpiece of the president’s agenda to limit the greenhouse gases that are warming the planet. [H-L]

The latest and possibly the last serious effort to cripple Obamacare through the courts has just failed. On Thursday, for the second time in three years, the Supreme Court rejected a major lawsuit against the Affordable Care Act — thereby preserving the largest expansion in health coverage since the creation of Medicare and Medicaid half a century ago. [HuffPo]

Matt Bevin used $800,000 more of his own money to fuel his successful stretch run in the Republican primary for governor. [C-J/AKN]

Britain has carried out drone strikes only in war zones in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya. The documents raise the possibility that in addition, British intelligence may have helped guide American strikes outside conventional war zones. [NY Times]

Members of the Harlan Independent Board of Education voted to partner with UNITE and AmeriCorps in the creation of a position for what will be equivalent to a “teacher’s aide” at a recent meeting. [Harlan Daily Enterprise]

President Obama hosts two active duty trans servicemembers at the White House as pressure grows to let them serve openly. [Politico]

Operating costs of the Madison County Detention Center for the fiscal year ending June 30, exceeded its budget by about $500,000. [Richmond Register]

U.S. President Barack Obama reaffirmed in a phone call with his French counterpart Francois Hollande on Wednesday Washington’s commitment to end spying practices deemed “unacceptable” by its allies. [Reuters]

Carter County USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) Executive Director Gera Ferguson, announced that the nomination period for local FSA county committees began on June 15, 2015. [Ashland Independent]

The U.S. military acknowledges the negative health effects of Agent Orange on Vietnam veterans — but what about their children? [ProPublica]

The Industrial Development Economic Authority board approved in a special-called meeting to create a new budget category and more money for park work in the city and the county. Executive Director Dan Iacconi proposed Tuesday to the IDEA board for Glasgow-Barren County to create a category in the operating fund titled drainage and erosion control related to Highland Glen Industrial Park. [Glasgow Daily Times]

Acting on climate change will have major economic, environmental, and health benefits, according to a report released Monday by the Environmental Protection Agency. [ThinkProgress]

Caitlyn Jenner’s presence on the glossy cover of the July issue of Vanity Fair magazine incited a powerful moment of visibility for the transgender community, including the one in Lexington. [H-L]

Medical marijuana has not been proven to work for many illnesses that state laws have approved it for, according to the first comprehensive analysis of research on its potential benefits. [HuffPo]

Pope: Shut It, Wingnut Climate Deniers

This fall, three high school students from Fayette County Public Schools will be among the first class of 60 students who will enter Morehead State University’s new dual-credit Craft Academy for Excellence in Science and Mathematics. [H-L]

Reports that President Obama is considering even more troops and bases to fight ISIS in Iraq put me to mind of Roman general Publius Quinctilius Varus. [HuffPo]

Activists said Sunday that the police shooting of a black man in Old Louisville a day earlier illustrates their claim that officers too often use excessive force to subdue people of color, and they said they hope it leads to police measures to increase transparency. [C-J/AKN]

Workers are putting the finishing touches on rows of barracks in a 50-acre camp here, the largest immigration detention center in the country. It houses thousands of women and their children who were caught crossing the border illegally and are seeking asylum in the United States. [NY Times]

Caverna Elementary School Principal Nathan Wyatt is leaving the position he has held for 10 years to work as the Caverna Independent Schools director of district-wide programs. [Glasgow Daily Times]

As the White House considers opening operating bases in Iraq and deploying troops to bolster support for Iraqi forces against ISIS, including one in ISIS-held territory, the cost of airstrikes in the region continues its steady rise. [Mother Jones]

It’s a vital, potentially life-saving project that has been more than a decade in the making—and it finally has secured funding, according to one Perry County official. [Hazard Herald]

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said it approved a brain implant from St. Jude Medical Inc that helps reduce symptoms of Parkinson’s disease and essential tremor, a neurological disorder that causes rhythmic shaking. [Reuters]

Records from Benham Coal Company, one of several Appalachian collections to be digitized by University of Kentucky Libraries Special Collections Research Center as part of the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) funded by Coal, Camps, and Railroads project, is now available on the digital library ExploreUK. [Harlan Daily Enterprise]

Millions of Americans rely on rural hospitals for emergency medical care. But in the last five years, these facilities have been shutting down more frequently than in previous years. [NPR]

Nature’s Methane, an Indiana-based biofuel company, has plans to build not one but two biofuel facilities in west Louisville. [Business First]

During Saturday’s speech on New York City’s Roosevelt Island that marked the thematic beginning of her second campaign for the presidency, Hillary Clinton largely stuck to broader economic topics. Yet climate change merited two significant mentions, as well as a promise to make America “the clean energy superpower of the 21st century.” [ThinkProgress]

Kentucky transportation officials say a contract has been awarded for more improvements needed to upgrade the Pennyrile Parkway to interstate highway standards. [H-L]

A draft of Pope Francis’ long-awaited encyclical on the environment has leaked just days before the Vatican was set to release it to the world. [HuffPo]

Maze Dealt Another Blow To UMG

A private utility company in Pike County that gets all of its revenue from local governments must obey the Kentucky Open Records Act and publicly disclose its finances, the state Court of Appeals has ruled. Utility Management Group, based in Pikeville, has been fighting the records request, filed by Pike County officials, for more than four years. [H-L]

Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton encouraged President Barack Obama on Sunday to listen to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D) on trade. [HuffPo]

In a clearing within the wooded, hilly countryside of Grant County, two large cranes swoop over a sprawling concrete skeleton of what the developers say will become an authentic replica of Noah’s Ark. Authentic. [C-J/AKN]

Can fracking firms win public support through social media by replicating the whimsical style of Taco Bell’s Twitter account? That was one of the goals discussed at an Energy Digital Summit event with Brittany Thomas, an external affairs coordinator for Cabot Oil and Gas, a leading hydraulic fracturing company. [The Intercept]

Glasgow Mayor Dick Doty said that although money is in the budget for the construction of a third station for the city’s fire department, the location for the facility is being re-evaluated. [Glasgow Daily Times]

A more reliable terrestrial broadband network could enable Iraq to become a transcontinental transit route for Internet traffic, a senior executive at one of two firms providing submarine connectivity to the war-torn country told Reuters. [Reuters]

Those not paying their water and sewer bills on time in the city of Benham will be finding a stiffer penalty in place. The city council decided to raise the late fee during a meeting on Friday. [Harlan Daily Enterprise]

Haitian journalists grilled an American Red Cross official Wednesday about the group’s Haiti program, but the official declined to provide any new details of how it spent nearly $500 million donated after the 2010 earthquake. [ProPublica]

Most of us do not think twice before having an issue-based discussion on an email chain. But should public officials be able to discuss agenda or meeting items in an email chain prior to voting at a public meeting? [Ashland Independent]

A group led by anti-gay pastor Rick Scarborough is vowing to defy any ruling by the Supreme Court that recognizes same-sex marriage. Louisville’s Six Flags Over Jesus is part of the group. [ThinkProgress]

A dramatic decline in Kentuckians earning GED diplomas over the last two years has led some lawmakers to question the current version of the test, which rolled out in January of 2014. [WFPL]

California lawmakers have ordered farmers to reduce their water consumption – the largest cuts in the US state’s history. [BBC]

Faced with declining enrollment and continued state spending cuts, the Kentucky Community and Technical College System Board of Regents has approved an $888 million budget for 2015-16. That is $36 million less than the current budget, according to a KCTCS news release. [H-L]

As Democratic adviser James Carville says, “It’s the economy, stupid.” Yes, presidential elections tend to focus on — and be determined by — economic issues. Except in the middle of a hot war, foreign policy is secondary. [HuffPo]

Judge Burke Must Be Walking Disaster

When Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway announced this week a series of debates and forums between himself and Republican gubernatorial nominee Matt Bevin, neither he nor Bevin mentioned that they’ve already faced off behind closed doors. [H-L]

It looks like some Republicans are getting ready to take another hostage in their efforts to destroy President Barack Obama’s health care law. They’re just waiting to see if the Supreme Court will hand them the gun. [HuffPo]

Jefferson County Attorney Mike O’Connell and District Court Judge Stephanie Pearce Burke are again butting heads, this time over Burke’s handling of a case originally set for trial this week. [C-J/AKN]

In a major shift of focus in the battle against the Islamic State, the Obama administration is planning to establish a new military base in Anbar Province, Iraq, and to send 400 more American military trainers to help Iraqi forces retake the city of Ramadi. [NY Times]

The Barren County Board of Education approved the evaluation and contract for superintendent Bo Matthews on Tuesday evening during a special-called meeting at the Barren County Area Technology Center. [Glasgow Daily Times]

U.S. retail sales surged in May as households boosted purchases of automobiles and a range of other goods even as they paid a bit more for gasoline, the latest sign economic growth is finally gathering steam. [Reuters]

Outside the court proceedings against the Social Security Administration and Eric C. Conn, the struggle 900 people were facing as the disability benefits go into suspension has led to strife, desperation, and in at least one case, suicide. [Hazard Herald]

Congressional Republicans are one step closer to blocking the Obama administration’s attempt to clarify the EPA’s regulatory powers under the Clean Water Act. [ThinkProgress]

Steve Beshear this week issued an executive order to increase the minimum wage for about 800 state workers—but his term ends this year. Whether to keep the wage hike beyond 2015 will be decided by his successor. [WFPL]

From the Department of Things Ken Ham Wouldn’t Understand… A fossilised skeleton of a meat-eating Jurassic dinosaur found on a south Wales beach is revealed to the public. [BBC]

Insufficient funds to pay bills in May was discussed at the Lynch City Council on Tuesday. Mayor John Adams called for a financial report and city clerk Erica Eldridge explained the city did not take in enough money to match what had to be paid out during the month. [Harlan Daily Enterprise]

President Obama is once again poised to go it alone on labor policy, this time on overtime. The Labor Department is expected in the coming weeks to release a rule making millions more Americans eligible for overtime work — currently, all workers earning below $455 a week, or $23,660 a year, are guaranteed time-and-a-half pay for working more than 40 hours a week. [NPR]

Lexington’s police and fire pension board wants a retired disabled firefighter — who is currently chief of a volunteer fire department — to go to a doctor to determine if he is still disabled. [H-L]

For years, Guantanamo Bay prisoners’ memories of their time in CIA custody have been considered classified state secrets. [HuffPo]

Airline? In Pikeville? Well, About That…

Won’t say we told you so, but… Appalachian Air, and Public Charters, Inc., will end service to the Pikeville- Pike County Regional Airport in July with the final date of service to be announced soon. [H-L]

Defense Secretary Ashton Carter announced Tuesday that the Pentagon has added “sexual orientation” as a protected class under its Military Equal Opportunity Policy. [HuffPo]

Beve Cotton ticked off all the ways his body is failing him — high blood pressure, bone spurs, circulation problems, pinched nerves, diverticulitis, cataracts and five broken vertebrae from a car wreck. [C-J/AKN]

President Obama on Tuesday made an emotional plea to protect the Affordable Care Act just weeks before the law could face its biggest legal challenge to date. [The Hill]

Opponents of a proposed Environmental Protection Agency rule on carbon emissions by power plants lost an initial round Tuesday when a federal appeals court said it cannot review a regulation that doesn’t yet exist. [Ronnie Ellis]

Coal companies and 14 states sued to stop a draft regulation to cut greenhouse gas emissions from power plants, a priority for the Obama administration. [NY Times]

The Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) held a Strategic Planning Listening Session Thursday at the Morehead Conference Center. [The Morehead News]

Student poverty is a major barrier to learning, according to teachers polled in a new national survey of educators. [WaPo]

In 25 years, Kentucky’s energy landscape will look dramatically different than it does now. [WFPL]

U.S. stocks rose slightly on Tuesday, bouncing back partially from the previous day’s decline as higher oil prices helped energy shares, but the dollar slipped on global economic concerns. [Reuters]

Here’s the latest column Greg Stumbo’s Legislative Research Commission staffers have written for him. [Floyd County Times]

The national high school graduation rate is an impressive 81 percent. So impressive, President Obama highlighted it in his State of the Union address this year: “Our high school graduation rate has hit an all-time high.” [NPR]

Next week, the University of Kentucky Board of Trustees is expected to approve UK’s largest budget ever, a $3.4 billion document that reflects a burgeoning health care enterprise paired with continued reliance on tuition paid by out-of-state students. [H-L]

Investigative journalist Bob Woodward on Tuesday rebutted former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld’s claims that he had always been skeptical about U.S. efforts to promote democracy in Iraq following the 2003 invasion. [HuffPo]

Ole Gurl Rolled Her Eyes At Rand Paul

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is working on a memoir. [H-L]

Not even U.S. senators are exempt from a little eye-rolling. That’s exactly what Miss Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) did Friday night when Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) began speaking as the Senate debated whether to end the government’s bulk collection of phone records. [HuffPo]

It’s fun watching Republicans talk about of both sides of their mouths about Matt Bevin. [C-J/AKN]

Paul helped scuttle compromise to reauthorize government surveillance programs. [The Hill]

Matt Bevin and Mitch McConnell apparently won’t be getting together anytime soon despite two opportunities this week to do so. [Ronnie Ellis]

Iraq’s Shi’ite paramilitaries said on Tuesday they had taken charge of the campaign to drive Islamic State from the western province of Anbar, giving the operation an openly sectarian codename that could infuriate its Sunni population. [Reuters]

The Kentucky Department of Corrections is hoping to combat a high number of staff vacancies and turnover rates in state prisons by increasing compensation for correctional officers and other hazardous duty staff, according to a government release. [Ashland Independent]

Even as women distinguish themselves as enlisted soldiers, many struggle with depression and a sense of alienation in an intensely male military world. [NY Times]

Several citizens expressed concern at Rowan Fiscal Court last week over Kinder Morgan’s proposal to carry volatile natural gas liquids through around 20 miles of over 60-year-old pipeline in Rowan County. [The Morehead News]

The glaciers of the Southern Antarctic Peninsula region are now also contributing to sea level rise. [WaPo]

Each school year Kentucky State Police say they respond to hundreds of threats that wind up being student pranks, but the consequences are anything but a joke. [WKYT]

The State Department released close to 900 pages of emails from Hillary Clinton’s tenure as secretary on Friday, providing a detailed looked at how an embattled agency responded to terrorist attacks in Benghazi and how Clinton, the frontrunner for the 2016 Democratic nomination for president, deals with her inner circle of advisers and well-wishers. [Politico]

Mediation of claims involving sexual harassment, retaliation and other misconduct against state lawmakers has been postponed until June 22. [H-L]

North American energy ministers said on Monday they had set up a working group on climate change and energy, a partnership designed to help Canada, the United States and Mexico harmonize policies. [HuffPo]

The Morehead Jail Mess Rages On

There could be very little money to help Fayette County’s low-performing schools in the tentative 2015-16 budget set for approval by the school board on Tuesday. [H-L]

The U.S. has spent an unprecedented amount on incarceration and rehabilitative programs over the past decade, yet the rate of prisoners returning to jail has largely gone unchanged. But curbing those figures may have little to do with additional funding, and more so with tweaking reentry logistics. [HuffPo]

A Kentucky appeals court has upheld a ruling that prevents the developers of the Bluegrass Pipeline from using the power of eminent domain to purchase property easements. [C-J/AKN]

Genetic information from a 35,000-year-old wolf bone found below a frozen cliff in Siberia is shedding new light on humankind’s long relationship with dogs, showing canine domestication may have occurred earlier than previously thought. [Reuters]

Maybe they shouldn’t be building a monster of a new jail that costs umpteen million dollars? Rowan County Fiscal Court Tuesday authorized County Attorney Cecil Watkins to file suit against the Kentucky Department of Corrections (DOC). [The Morehead News]

Analysts, commentators and politicians are increasingly viewing President Barack Obama’s strategy on Iraq as one step forward and two steps back – or worse. [BBC]

Glasgow Mayor Dick Doty announced Thursday that the field of candidates for the city’s chief of police position was whittled to six from nearly 20 this week by members of a focus group Doty appointed. [Glasgow Daily Times]

The New York Times put a 1,700-word piece on its front page Tuesday that accuses the EPA of violating federal laws on grassroots campaigning. The paper ran the story despite knowing the accusation is not true, a fact that is buried deep in the article. [Think Progress]

The “wow” is back at Eastern Kentucky University’s Hummel Planetarium. Recent equipment upgrades have made the 27-year-old facility an even more attractive option for campus uses, for school groups from around the region, and to the public, officials said Thursday. [Richmond Register]

From the Department of Things Ken Ham Wouldn’t Understand… A scientific discovery in Kenya, first reported in April, challenges conventional wisdom about human history, say the scientists who made the discovery and are now releasing the details. [NPR]

So, what happened? Saturday is the deadline set by the Kentucky Department of Environmental Protection for the landfill to come into compliance with an agreed order issued in January of 2014 regarding odor problems. [Ashland Independent]

Charter Communications announced early Tuesday that it will acquire Time Warner Cable — a little over a month after a proposed deal between Comcast and Time Warner was killed by regulators. [The Hill]

How to fail: Matt Bevin edition. Bevin, as he has since last November, blamed the media for creating a perception that he didn’t support U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell after losing to him in the primary last year. [H-L]

The Illinois Senate approved a bill Thursday that would remove criminal penalties for the possession of small amounts of marijuana. [HuffPo]