Post-Holiday Hangover? Read This Crap

Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul led a successful effort to block renewal of the Patriot Act early Saturday morning, followed by a deeply divided Senate leaving Washington without taking action on the National Security Agency’s soon-to-expire power to collect Americans’ phone records. [H-L]

Some electronic cigarette companies say that their products help people quit smoking, but the evidence to back up this claim is lacking, a new study finds. [HuffPo]

Republican state Sen. Brandon Smith has been acquitted of driving under the influence of alcohol. [C-J/AKN]

A federal judge on Thursday reaffirmed her earlier ruling that same-sex couples in Alabama have a right to wed under the Constitution, but she put the ruling on hold until the U.S. Supreme Court issues a landmark decision on gay marriage. [Reuters]

Roughly 17 months since the enterprise’s first summit started the conversation and began asking the tough questions, Shaping Our Appalachian Region (SOAR) returned to Pikeville for another summit, this time to provide insight and answers. [Hazard Herald]

The voicemail message was like so many others from my mom. “Hi, it’s mom,” she began, then chatted on, full Jewish mother in her distinctive gravelly timbre. “There’s a storm coming your way…Please drive very carefully….Love you. Bye.” [ProPublica]

It’s time for a reminder about Adam Edelen and educational audits. An audit is NOT a forensic accounting investigation. It’s typically a random sampling that gets reviewed unless specific concerns are brought to light. Or, in the case of Montgomery County, not. Because specific concerns were deliberately ignored by Edelen’s team. When he says there was no fraud discovered? Remember: not a forensic accounting, not an in-depth investigation of every nook and cranny. [Business First]

Arizona’s legislature has decided to try to plug a $1 billion budget deficit in part by kicking people off of welfare after just 12 months, the strictest time limit in the country. Sounds like something Frankfort would try. [Think Progress]

More than 50 community members gathered Wednesday to formulate an action plan to improve the health of Madison County residents in three areas – mental health and healthy lifestyle choices as well as alcohol, tobacco and other drug dependency. [Richmond Register]

The sleepy United States senators thought they were done voting. But then, around 1 a.m. on the Saturday before Memorial Day, Senator Rand Paul, Republican of Kentucky and presidential candidate, marched spryly to the Senate floor to let it be known that, no, he would not agree to extend the federal government’s bulk collection of phone records program. Not even for one day. [NY Times]

Bradley Lewis has resigned as a sergeant at the Glasgow Police Department, according to information released Friday by interim GPD Chief James Duff. [Glasgow Daily Times]

Mitch McConnell stood at his desk on the Senate floor after 1 a.m. Saturday, the eyes of his colleagues trained on him. He seemed bewildered. [WaPo]

We’ll miss the voice of Merlene Davis and wish her the best! It has been suggested that with this farewell column I should burn bridges and drop the mic. A couple of years ago, I might have done just that. But I’m a bit tired now, weakened by the weight of mirrors I’ve tried to hold up to politicians, school administrators, conservatives, liberals, Democrats and Republicans, neighbors and friends. I’m running out of ways to say the same thing. [Merlene Davis]

A revealing conversation on the Senate floor Thursday showed precisely how secretive President Barack Obama’s pending trade deals are, and the absurdity of arguments to the contrary. [HuffPo]

It’s Post-Primary Hangover Time!

You should check out this interactive map of last night’s vote results from across Kentucky. [H-L]

As much as journalists may fancy themselves superhuman observers of history, the truth is that we are as susceptible to trauma as the victims whose stories we tell. [HuffPo]

A Franklin County grand jury Tuesday indicted former Buffalo Trace Distillery security guard Leslie M. Wright, 34, of Frankfort, on charges of being paid to look the other way as barrels were stolen for what authorities say was a bourbon theft criminal syndicate. [C-J/AKN]

Kentucky hates old people. States with at least 40 percent of homes ranked on the bottom two rungs include North Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky, Ohio, Pennsylvania and New York. [Newsweek]

The real reason Republicans running for governor didn’t have in-depth discussions is because two of the candidates were incapable. The other two, one a former state supreme court justice and the other, an evangelical extremist who is overcompensating like woah, have never been outside their respective bubbles. Ever. [Eye Roll]

After winning reelection and control of the U.S. Senate, Republican Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., appointed Hazen Marshall, a lobbyist for Koch Industries, as his new policy chief. [The Intercept]

A historic case against the iconic Wagner’s Pharmacy near Churchill Downs is likely to end, since the Kentucky Supreme Court has ruled that morbid obesity is not a state-protected disability. [Business First]

The White House on Monday called the fall of Ramadi to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) a “setback,” but vowed the U.S. is determined to help retake the Iraqi city. [The Hill]

An online fundraising campaign was successful for the Louisville businessman who is set to buy Guntown Mountain, the Western-themed roadside attraction in Cave City. [Glasgow Daily Times]

Obese young adults may be more likely to have a stroke than people who aren’t overweight, a U.S. study suggests. [Reuters]

His first four and a half months in office have included two record-breaking winter storms, two instances of flooding, collapsed bridges and the arrest of a Chemical Stockpile Emergency Preparedness Program employee on forgery and theft charges. “All that’s missing is for a plague of locusts to hit Madison County, and we would have faced all possible challenges,” Madison Judge/Executive Reagan Taylor said Friday in his first State of the County address. [Richmond Register]

Millions of Americans use GlaxoSmithKline’s purple inhaler. But whether Advair poses a higher risk of asthma-related death remains uncertain 15 years after regulators approved the drug. [ProPublica]

The University of Kentucky has begun a sweeping overhaul of its body bequeathal program after finding numerous problems with its administration and oversight, including a three to five year delay in burying the remains of people who’d given their bodies for scientific research. The overhaul includes eliminating the position of program director Gary Ginn, who is also the Fayette County Coroner. [H-L]

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg officiated a same-sex wedding over the weekend, and according to New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd, the Notorious R.B.G. gave a big shout-out to the U.S. Constitution. [HuffPo]

Better Late Than Never, Huh, Newsies?

Ruh ro, the newspaper finally started to cover what we’ve been reporting for two years. And this bit about the school board seeking permission to fire Joshua Powell only comes a couple weeks late. [H-L]

Luisa Cintron, 25, is sitting up as straight as she can, perched on the edge of the neatly made bed that doubles as a couch inside her dimly lit apartment. She is wearing a sweater and slacks, talking about the government program that she says changed her life, and trying — without much success — not to get distracted by the 4-year-old talking loudly about Batman in the next room. [HuffPo]

Here’s the deal: We all know Whitney Westerfield is just upset that Jack Conway doesn’t hate gay people. Whitney, insecure in his own life, body and existence, projects his perceived failures as a man onto Jack. It’s a real shame because it makes him look dumber than he really is. Folks can hate Jack all they want but he’s not a bigot. [C-J/AKN]

President Obama’s approval ratings have reached their highest mark in almost two years, according to a new poll from CNN/ORC. [The Hill]

Looks like the Harlan County Fiscal Court has a bit of a problem on its hands in the latest audit. [External PDF Link]

Looks like the damage the Robert Felner crony caused in Los Angeles is finally beginning to be cleaned up. [Reuters]

Annual unemployment rates were lower in all 120 Kentucky counties in 2014 than in 2013, according to the Kentucky Office of Employment and Training, an agency of the Kentucky Education and Workforce Development Cabinet. [Press Release]

Over the past several weeks, Republicans—at least those running for president—seem to have discovered the vexing issues of income and wealth inequality. [Politico]

The man known as the Duct Tape Bandit pleaded guilty to robbery Friday under an agreement that will likely put him behind bars for close to 15 years, according to Boyd County Commonwealth’s Attorney David Justice. [Ashland Independent]

Most people can’t imagine living without smartphones or the Internet, let alone without electricity. But even today — even in the United States — there are still people who live without lights and refrigeration. [NPR]

Kentucky House of Representatives Speaker Greg Stumbo has appointed state Rep. Rita Smart, D-Richmond, as the co-chair of the General Assembly’s newly created Subcommittee on Tourism Development. [Richmond Register]

The St Louis Post-Dispatch has won a Pulitzer Prize for its coverage of the Ferguson shooting and unrest. [BBC]

A New York financier who stole millions of dollars from the Kentucky Retirement Systems will serve two to six years in prison. [H-L]

This time, Hillary Rodham Clinton wants to be on liberals’ good side. As a presidential candidate in 2008, she opposed gay marriage, equivocated on granting driver’s licenses to people who were living in the U.S. illegally and endured heavy criticism from rival Barack Obama over her stance on campaign finance. [HuffPo]

How Does Brandon Find The Time?

April Corman Colyer says her father always told her and her siblings that the farm he and they grew up on and gradually expanded to more than 1,200 acres would never be developed or sold out of the family. [H-L]

The Baghdad bureau chief for Reuters has left Iraq after he was threatened on Facebook and denounced by a Shi’ite paramilitary group’s satellite news channel in reaction to a Reuters report last week that detailed lynching and looting in the city of Tikrit. [HuffPo]

The briefs range from the wacky to the mainstream, from the profound to the ridiculous. [C-J/AKN]

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) on Friday laughed off suggestions that using gentler rhetoric would improve her relationship with big banks. [The Hill]

The Bellefonte Country Club played host to a crowd of women – plus Republican governor candidate Will T. Scott – all speaking on behalf of their male counterparts that are running for Kentucky’s high office in this year’s GOP primary. [Ashland Independent]

In the past few years, students at hundreds of colleges and universities have started pushing their schools to divest from fossil fuel companies as a way to slow climate change. [NPR]

The Kentucky Court of Appeals has vacated, or overturned, a domestic violence order that was issued against a man who was at the time a Glasgow Police Department sergeant. [Glasgow Daily Times]

The iconic name Brontosaurus, once used to describe a family of huge dinosaurs, has been resurrected after being killed off more than a century ago. [BBC]

Brandon Smith is taking time out of his busy days of drinking, driving and allegedly sleeping his way through every woman in Frankfort to pretend to be involved with the Southern Legislative Conference. [Hazard Herald]

Seattle restaurant data demolishes wingnut arguments against a $15 minimum wage. [Think Progress]

An Eastern Kentucky nurse is suing the state for not allowing her to take addiction medicine like Suboxone or Vivitrol while she’s out of jail on bond. [WFPL]

U.S. Senator Marco Rubio of Floriduh told top donors on Monday that he will run for the White House because he is “uniquely qualified” to represent the Republican Party in the 2016 presidential race, the Associated Press reported. [Reuters]

The U.S. Forest Service is halting new timber sales at Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area. [H-L]

The Affordable Care Act was designed to slash the percentage of Americans who lack health insurance, and it’s working. The uninsured rate fell to 11.9 percent during the first quarter of this year, 1 percentage point below the rate at the close of 2014, according to the findings of a Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index poll. [HuffPo]

WKU Did A Thing That Is Pretty Great

University of Kentucky graduate Reginald Smith Jr. was one of five winners Sunday in the final round of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions. [H-L]

Deception is deception. And, as with Congressman Mark Foley, whom reporters later admitted they knew was gay even as he voted for the Defense of Marriage Act a decade before he resigned in disgrace after a scandal involving male pages in 2006, had reporters exposed Schock’s deception earlier, they might have stopped the later corruption. In both cases I believe the media is implicated in the ongoing corruption by looking the other way on this particular type of deception earlier on, not seeing it as valid. [HuffPo]

There has been some very sobering science news breaking on climate change lately, but what came out of Western Kentucky University is not among those depressing headlines. [C-J/AKN]

The United States assured Afghanistan’s leaders on Monday it would keep funding Afghan security forces at a targeted peak level of 352,000 personnel at least into 2017 to provide stability as foreign troops withdraw from the country. [Reuters]

When settlers made their way to Kentucky overland from North Carolina and what is now eastern Tennessee, they followed a “trace” that Daniel Boone and a party of men in 1775 marked by blazing trees with axes. [Richmond Register]

An influential coalition of the biggest liberal donors is quietly distancing itself from the national Democratic Party and planning to push its leaders — including Hillary Clinton — to the left. The Democracy Alliance funders club at a private April gathering in San Francisco is set to unveil a five-year plan to boost causes on which some of its members contend leading Democrats like Clinton have been insufficiently aggressive. [Politico]

The housekeeping team in Rhonda Bloss’s office worked quietly and efficiently, wielding broom, dustpan, spritzer bottle and cleaning rag to sweep her floor and wipe her desk clean. [Ashland Independent]

The number of new diabetes cases identified among poor Americans has surged in states that have embraced the Affordable Care Act, but not in those that have not, a new study has found, suggesting that the health care law may be helping thousands of people get earlier treatment for one of this country’s costliest medical conditions. [NY Times]

Following an executive session Tuesday, Rowan Fiscal Court authorized Judge-Executive Walter Blevins to make an offer on a tract of property to be used as the site of a new detention center. [The Morehead News]

Every now and then, the universe rises to make clear the enormity of its size — and our relative place in it. One such moment was in February 2013, when an asteroid exploded over the Russian city of Urals, inflicting panic, broken windows and injuries upon more than 1,000 people. People were stunned by what happened, but one asteroid expert named Andrew Glikson was watching from Australia, thinking it could have been much worse. [WaPo]

A Frankfort man says he was protecting his grandchildren from a being kidnapped when he shot a stranger on Saturday evening. “He said that God sent him to get one of the kids,” Redmon told LEX 18’s Josh Breslow. “I’m thinking the man’s crazy and he’s going to hurt one of my grandkids.” [WLEX18]

Republican Ted Cruz has made individual liberty the key theme of his presidential campaign announcement. It’s just a shame he can’t spell “liberty” and is crazier than a shithouse rat. [BBC]

When the University of Kentucky’s Gatton College of Business publishes its annual Kentucky Economic Report, most people just pay attention to the front of the book, which predicts whether the state’s economy will rise or fall, and by how much. [Tom Eblen]

California Gov. Jerry Brown said Sunday that it is a “disgrace” that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is trying to thwart the Obama administration’s plan to curb greenhouse gas emissions from power plants. [HuffPo]

Common Sense Doesn’t Exist In Frankfort

Another 523 tons of mustard and deadly nerve agents are stored at Blue Grass Army Depot in Kentucky. Blue Grass isn’t expected to start destroying its weapons until 2016 or 2017, finishing in 2023. [H-L]

This is what happens when stupid people get elected. [HuffPo]

Following hours of tense negotiations on a heroin bill, House and Senate lawmakers emerged from closed-door talks late Friday to report good progress, but no final deal heading into the weekend. Leave it to Frankfort to always avoid common sense. [C-J/AKN]

Climate scientists at leading universities are joining forces to discuss the basis for a set of principles governing investment in fossil fuels. [BBC]

The artwork of students who have taken art classes through the Barren County Community Education program will be available for viewing by the public during a reception on Sunday at the South Central Kentucky Cultural Center. [Glasgow Daily Times]

In his last stop on a goodwill tour of the United States, Britain’s Prince Charles attended an international conference on sustainable communities in Louisville, Kentucky, on Friday, and said the world faces a historic chance for change. [Reuters]

It’ll probably end when he leaves, as it’s been downhill sine Ferrell left. Bill Bryant has been named the permanent host of KET’s “Comment on Kentucky.” [WLKY]

On Thursday, the Senate Energy Committee convened a hearing to discuss the U.S. ban on crude oil exports, which has been in place since 1973. With the United States in the midst of an oil boom — and with Americans using less gas than ever before — lifting the ban would have profound implications both at home and abroad, issues that dominated the panelists’ testimony and committee’s questions. [Think Progress]

Agriculture Commissioner James Comer, addressing a Richmond Chamber of Commerce luncheon Friday, criticized the General Assembly’s failure during the current session to prevent the state gasoline tax from falling. [Richmond Register]

The new rules announced Friday by the Obama administration governing how energy companies frack for oil and gas on federal lands managed to anger environmentalists and the industry alike, but represent a significant step toward protecting drinking water resources in some of the most heavily drilled parts of the country. [ProPublica]

Not even Matt Bevin can deny this year’s gubernatorial GOP primary ticket offers voters the opportunity to choose between four very different candidates. [Ashland Independent]

People forget about the air they breathe, fish don’t know they’re in the water, and political reporters come to take many of the routine corruptions around them for granted. [The Atlantic]

The jobs that underwear maker Fruit of the Loom once provided in Russell County are gone, but local officials believe the company’s tax debt remains. [H-L]

The world could suffer a 40 percent shortfall in water in just 15 years unless countries dramatically change their use of the resource, a U.N. report warned Friday. [HuffPo]

The Keith Hall World’s Finally Crumbling

Former state Rep. W. Keith Hall, D-Phelps, paid about $46,000 in bribes to cover up environmental and safety violations at his Pike County coal mines, according to a plea deal entered Wednesday by former state mine inspector Kelly Shortridge. [John Cheves]

Sounds like Frankfort during the legislative session. A highly regarded orthopedic surgeon in Las Vegas threw wild sex parties at his home where he sold illegal drugs regularly. [HuffPo]

Amid the flurry of action just before the General Assembly recessed last week, Yum! Brands was able to revive an obscure bill giving restaurants a tax credit for the donation of prepared food. [C-J/AKN]

It’s easy to think of data journalism as a modern invention. With all the hype, a casual reader might assume that it was invented sometime during the 2012 presidential campaign. [ProPublica]

Key lawmakers from the Republican Senate and Democratic House are scheduled to meet Thursday to try to cobble together an agreement on legislation to address the growing heroin addiction and trafficking problems. [Glasgow Daily Times]

The House passed legislation on Tuesday to modify the selection process for members of the Environmental Protection Agency’s Scientific Advisory Board. [The Hill]

Representatives from solid waste companies EnviroSolutions Inc. and American Environmental Group made an appearance at the Boyd County Fiscal Court meeting Tuesday to update the county on remediation efforts and take questions. [Ashland Independent]

Lifting the longstanding ban on U.S. crude oil exports would boost the country’s economy and enhance its global leadership, a former senior Obama administration official will tell senators on Thursday, introducing a strategic dimension to the growing debate over selling American oil abroad. [Reuters]

At a Tuesday morning Richmond City Commission work session, officials asked if strengthening nuisance laws would help combat crime in some areas of the city. [Richmond Register]

Vice President Joe Biden has been more visible than almost any of his 46 predecessors in the nation’s No. 2 office. He’s had more access to the Oval Office and more input on policy than all but a handful. [NPR]

It is commonly known as the “pop train” when food stamp benefits are exchanged for cash. Now, the Hazard Police Department is testing a new approach to catch the traffickers. [WYMT]

The US Federal Reserve signals a future rise in interest rates, but says it will wait until the labour market improves. [BBC]

The president of the Kentucky Community and Technical College System has started a listening tour that will take him to all 16 colleges in the statewide system. [H-L]

President Barack Obama said Wednesday that if he could go back and do his presidency over again, he would have immediately shut down the U.S. detention center in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. [HuffPo]