McConnell-Cruz Slap Fight Is Terrific

Even after years of talk about a “war on coal,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell startled some of his constituents in March when he urged open rebellion against a White House proposal for cutting pollution from coal-fired power plants. [H-L]

President Barack Obama fired back at former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (R) on Monday after the 2016 Republican presidential candidate invoked the specter of the Holocaust in comments regarding the Iran nuclear deal. [HuffPo]

Just a reminder that a bunch of butthurt racists cried in Frankfort last week. [C-J/AKN]

In L.A. and cities across the United States, it is effectively illegal to be dirt poor in a country where more than 45 million people live in poverty. [The Intercept]

When thousands of political partisans gather Saturday in the little western Kentucky hamlet with the picturesque name of Fancy Farm, the main attraction will be the governor’s contest between Democrat Jack Conway and Republican Matt Bevin. [Ronnie Ellis]

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Granny) and other Republicans on Sunday criticized their colleague Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Cartoon), who on Friday accused McConnell of lying about a deal to revive the Export-Import Bank. [The Hill]

Madison was among the 118 Kentucky counties in which the unemployment rate was lower in June compared to a year earlier. [Richmond Register]

U.S. presidential candidate Hillary Clinton said on Saturday that she did not use a private email account to send or receive classified information while she was secretary of state, in response to a government inspector’s letter this week. [Reuters]

A revised search and seizure policy is in place for Glasgow Independent Schools that includes a section about canine monitoring. [Glasgow Daily Times]

The Pentagon has urged US citizens not to carry out armed patrols outside military recruitment centres. [BBC]

The state will pay $400,000 to settle two sexual harassment lawsuits against lawmakers and the state agency that runs administrative operations in the state Capitol. [WFPL]

It’s an extremely safe bet that the Republican nominee will not take more action to confront climate change than President Obama has. The question is more how much of the president’s climate agenda the nominee would reverse, repeal, or ignore. [ThinkProgress]

By hedging on gay marriage, embracing his pro-Second Amendment side and following in the state’s bipartisan political tradition of cozying up to coal, Conway risks losing a base he desperately needs if he hopes to offset a motivated conservative electorate in the rest of the state. But it’s really about racism — how many Kentucky Democrats will once again vote against the name “Obama” on the basis of race? [H-L]

U.S. Republican presidential contender Rand Paul said on Sunday he plans to push Congress to cut federal funding for the non-profit reproductive healthcare organization Planned Parenthood in a debate over its treatment of aborted fetal tissue. [HuffPo]

Instant Racing Case Just Got More Fun

Franklin Circuit Court Judge Thomas Wingate heard arguments Wednesday in an instant-racing lawsuit on a motion by the Family Foundation to have an in-court demonstration of the electronic games based on past horse races. [H-L]

U.S. employers added a solid 223,000 jobs in June, and the unemployment rate fell to 5.3 percent, a seven-year low. The numbers reflect a job market moving close to full health and raise expectations that the Federal Reserve will start raising interest rates as early as September. [HuffPo]

The special rounds of golf were arranged by the tournament host, the billionaire coal operator and Greenbrier resort owner Jim Justice, who has been a huge contributor to Beshear’s political causes. But Beshear’s golf excursion — not publicized by the Governor’s Office — comes as Justice remains under watch of the Kentucky Department of Natural Resources as part of an agreed order reached last August for Justice to resolve a record number of strip-mine reclamation violations. [C-J/AKN]

A federal court said in a Monday order that the National Security Agency can resume the bulk collection of American’s phone records for roughly five months as the program is phased out. [The Hill]

Calling Jack Conway a coward seems like a bit of a stretch. A man afraid to answer questions about his brother’s sheningans and how he was involved? Check. Someone who panders to coal publicly while singing a different tune privately? Absolutely. Someone who stands against homophobia while Bevin pushes anti-gay hatred? Of course. But coward? Uh, not based in reality. [WHAS11]

The White House lifted a 40-year-old ban on taking photos during public tours of the executive mansion on Wednesday, delighting tourists who immediately began posting pictures on social media. [Reuters]

The first phase of Louisville’s minimum wage increase went into effect Wednesday. [WFPL]

Now that Chris Christie is officially running for president, his record as governor of New Jersey will be getting a lot more scrutiny. As we reported with The Washington Post in April, there’s plenty to look at. [ProPublica]

The acting director of the General Assembly’s staffing and management arm won’t seek the permanent job. [Ronnie Ellis]

The good news for most Americans is that incomes have finally started to grow again. But the bad news is that the richest of the rich are still making off with far more gains, according to the latest data analysis by economist Emmanuel Saez. [ThinkProgress]

Senator Mitch McConnell is standing by his call to remove the statue of Jefferson Davis from the state Capitol Rotunda. [WDRB]

The United States and Brazil unveil ambitious energy goals in a sign of growing co-operation after a spying scandal damaged ties two years ago. [BBC]

Kentucky State University has hired former Fayette County Public Schools official Vincent Mattox as the new assistant to the president for academic and school district outreach. [H-L]

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), whose bid for the Democratic nomination for president has drawn the largest crowds on the campaign trail, is raking in major money as well. [HuffPo]

May Jobless Rate Down In 119 Counties

The Kentucky Education and Workforce Development Cabinet this morning announced that jobless rates are down in all but one county in Kentucky. Russell County’s the only one with an increase.

Lowest:

  • Woodford — 3.8%
  • Fayette & Oldham — 4%
  • Owen & Shelby — 4.1%
  • Boone & Scott — 4.2%
  • Anderson, Campbell, Jessamine & Spencer — 4.3%

Highest:

  • Magoffin — 12.7%
  • Harlan — 11.1%
  • Leslie & Letcher — 10.3%
  • Russell — 9.7%
  • Clay — 9.5%
  • Knott — 9.3%
  • Breathitt — 9.2%
  • Elliott & Wolfe — 9.1%

Click here (Warning: PDF Link) to review the labor force estimates for yourself.

Remember, these are estimates and almost always end up changing. People who have stopped looking for work or are no longer on unemployment rolls aren’t really taken into consideration.

Minimum Wage Meltdown Has Begun

Jim Gray needs to get his house in order. The Lexington Division of Police violated Kentucky’s Open Records Act in January when it required a man seeking records about the 2010 shooting of a dog by a police officer to provide his address, the state Office of Attorney General has ruled. [H-L]

In responding to Russia’s intervention in Ukraine, the crisis in Libya and efforts to advance Middle East peace, European leaders have stepped up their role after a real or perceived sense that the United States was drawing back. [HuffPo]

Here is some of the reaction to Gov. Steve Beshear’s executive order on Monday that will raise the minimum wage for executive branch state workers from $7.25 to $10.10 per hour effective July 1. [C-J/AKN]

It has become a recurrent moment in Hillary Clinton’s speeches as she campaigns for the presidency: softening her voice to a hush, she says she wants to end the “quiet epidemic” of Americans dying from overdoses of painkillers and other drugs. [Reuters]

Local residents and visitors to downtown Morehead can expect some changes in the near future. [The Morehead News]

The Obama administration has stepped up the NSA’s warrantless surveillance program on U.S. soil to search for signs of hacking. [ProPublica]

Locust Grove, the 18th century home of the sister and brother-in-law of George Rogers Clark and William Clark, is growing industrial hemp. [WLKY]

The “Live from the White House” series is usually President Barack Obama’s show. But not all of his interviews with anchors from regional TV stations [last] week worked out quite as planned. [Politico]

“Location, location, location” has meaning outside the real estate business as well. [Glasgow Daily Times]

The unemployment rate went up slightly last month to 5.5 percent. But Friday’s report from the Labor Department also shows a healthy increase in jobs for May. [NPR]

Lexington shooting people so frequently it’s beginning to resemble Louisville. [WKYT]

The Norwegian Parliament voted Friday to remove coal investments from the country’s $890 billion government pension fund, which is considered the largest sovereign wealth fund in the world. [ThinkProgress]

Kentucky’s Republican primary for governor is now officially one of the closest statewide elections in state history. [H-L]

Judy Beals of Belleville, Wisconsin, was getting ready to pay for her groceries at the store earlier this year when she found out that her monthly food stamp benefits had been slashed from $120 to $16. [HuffPo]

The Minimum Wage Executive Order

Yesterday Governor Steve Beshear announced that state government employees would see a bump in pay effective July 1.

Tipped workers will see their pay doubled to $4.90 per hour and all other employees will earn at least $10.10.

Since many have asked to see it, here’s Beshear’s executive order:




THE ORDER — CLICK HERE FOR THE PDF

“When people work hard at a full-time job, they should have enough money to live on. Right now, at minimum wage, they don’t. That’s unacceptable,” said Gov. Beshear. “A raise of less than $3 per hour may be enough for some employees to move off government assistance programs. That empowers workers and lowers costs for taxpayers. Kentucky businesses should follow the example we’re setting as the state’s largest employer and raise the minimum wage for their workers.”

Frankfort wingnuts have been losing their minds and are allegedly scrambling to find a way to try to undo Beshear’s move.

Another Hospital Bites The Dust

New Horizons Medical Center, formerly Owen County Hospital, has filed for bankruptcy protection. [H-L]

Will Hillary Clinton’s campaign mimic the Alison Daddy’s Name Grimes campaign when it comes to zero access? [HuffPo]

Property Valuation Administrator Tony Lindauer will be called to testify before a Kentucky legislative committee this month over allegations that his office is not physically examining taxable properties in accordance with state law. [C-J/AKN]

A plan for a new global research program aimed at driving down the costs of renewable energy more quickly has drawn serious interest from the world’s leading economies, its proponents say. [Reuters]

This, sadly, will surprise absolutely none of you. Per-student funding in Kentucky is falling behind other states per a recent report, and the news has the Kentucky Center for Economic Policy worried about the future for economic growth. [CN|Toot]

The number of people shot dead by US police is twice as high as official figures show. [BBC]

This week Greg Stumbo had his LRC staffers submit a column about Kentucky’s historical markers. [Floyd County Times]

On Wednesday, when President Barack Obama spoke at the US Coast Guard Academy’s commencement ceremony, he called climate change “an immediate risk to our national security.” In recent months, the Obama administration has repeatedly highlighted the international threats posed by global warming and has emphasized the need for the country’s national security agencies to study and confront the issue. [Mother Jones]

The coal business was the only business Tony Gray had ever known, having worked in the industry since he was 17. Then, at the age of 50, the bottom fell out of the industry in Gray’s native Clay County. [Hazard Herald]

Wondering what kind of people the Creation Museum attracts to Northern Kentucky? Check out this homeschool lady’s videos. This is why you should have to have a teaching certificate to homeschool. Good grief. [Here & Here]

The Harlan City Tourism and Convention Commission went over an assortment of routine business during the regular meeting on Tuesday, focusing on the economic impact of tourism on our region. [Harlan Daily Enterprise]

How the Red Cross raised half a billion dollars for Haiti and built just six homes. Kinda like they allegedly took the money and ran from West Liberty. [ProPublica]

The city of Lexington and a group that controls more than $12.8 million have entered into a new agreement that will give Fayette County more oversight of how federal workforce dollars are spent and will require that management of that money be bid competitively, city officials said. [H-L]

A judge has awarded more than $15 billion Canadian (US$12 billion) to Quebec smokers in a case that pitted them against three giant tobacco companies. The case is believed to be the biggest class-action lawsuit ever seen in Canada. [HuffPo]