Hal Rogers Shows His True Colors

The federal government has moved to suspend disability payments to some people in Eastern Kentucky whose cases were handled by Floyd County attorney Eric C. Conn, citing suspected fraud by Conn and doctors that his clients often consulted. [H-L]

A $62,500 settlement has been reached in a lawsuit that alleged the sheriff in Jackson County falsely arrested the judge-executive last year. The settlement deal was reached Thursday following a mediation session, said Ned Pillersdorf, a Prestonsburg attorney who represents former Jackson County Judge-Executive William O. Smith. [More H-L]

Ireland has voted resoundingly to legalize gay marriage in the world’s first national vote on the issue, leaders on both sides of the Irish referendum declared Saturday even as official ballot counting continued. [HuffPo]

The attorney for the alleged ringleader of a bourbon theft and steroid trafficking ring questioned Friday whether her client Gilbert “Toby” Curtsinger can get a fair trial with the attention the case is getting. Something tells us this story is going to get crazier by the minute all summer long. [C-J/AKN]

A U.S. federal appeals court on Friday ruled that tobacco companies cannot be forced to announce publicly that they deliberately deceived the public over the health risks of cigarettes. [Reuters]

The Glasgow Management Control Board has decided it is not the appropriate authority to determine whether the 911 dispatch center should allow a radio channel to be added for the exclusive use of one volunteer fire department. [Glasgow Daily Times]

The Distillery Innovation and Excise Tax Reform Act unveiled Tuesday would drop the current tax rate for distilled spirits from $13.50 per proof gallon to $2.70 per proof gallon on the first 10,000 gallons of productions for all distillers and then $9 per proof gallon after that. [The Hill]

Rowan County Fiscal Court Tuesday had first reading of its 2015-16 fiscal year budget which includes a cost of living pay increase for county employees. [The Morehead News]

Senate Republican leaders managed to scrape up enough votes just past midnight Saturday morning to put off decisive action on the NSA’s bulk collection of American phone records until next Sunday, May 31. But the hardliners — and make no mistake, they are taking an even harder and more absurd line than the NSA itself — have no endgame. [The Intercept]

Jack Conway’s brother has pleaded guilty to misdemeanor disorderly conduct in a case that stemmed from an allegation he hit a woman in the face following a Christmas party in 2013. [WDRB]

Five of the world’s largest banks are to pay fines totalling $5.7bn (£3.6bn) for charges including manipulating the foreign exchange market. Four of the banks – JPMorgan, Barclays, Citigroup and RBS – have agreed to plead guilty to US criminal charges. [BBC]

In a seven count indictment Perry County Clerk Haven King faces charges for an April incident. The victim Kalie Bentley claims King followed her down the road and confronted her while she was in the car. In a video posted on Facebook by Bentley she identifies King. It shows the man questioning her about driving a car with a handicap license plate. [WYMT]

Many public high schools lack funding for STEM — Science, Technology, Engineering and Math — programs. Energy companies worried about finding future employees are donating to schools. [NPR]

Of course Hal Rogers opposes needle exchanges. Until his family members figure out how to profit from them, they won’t get his support. [H-L]

Rand Paul’s dumb ass wanted to give the executive branch of government even more power. [HuffPo]

Everyone’s Numb Over That Crazy Race

This Woodford County city took the first step Monday toward becoming the eighth in Kentucky to adopt an ordinance to prohibit discrimination in housing, employment and public accommodations based on sexual orientation or gender identity. [H-L]

Louisiana residents may go gaga over Mark Wahlberg, Kurt Russell and Kate Hudson when they arrive in the state later this year to film a movie about the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion. But Louisiana and some other states are starting to question whether they are giving up too much to attract such star power. [HuffPo]

Steve Beshear’s administration has paid $195,400 to a private law firm to defend the state’s gay marriage ban after Attorney General Jack Conway refused to do so. [C-J/AKN]

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) is set to unveil legislation that would provide free tuition at four-year public colleges and universities on Tuesday. [The Hill]

Despite efforts by the city to seek a different auditing firm for the next fiscal year, the commission voted to accept a proposal from the same firm that has performed audits for the past 20 years. This move came after Kelley Galloway Smith Goolsby, PSC, in Ashland, was the only accounting firm to respond to the city’s requests for proposals. [Ashland Independent]

The dry, red earth could almost be mistaken for a Martian landscape. It is in fact the Atacama desert in Chile, one of the driest places on Earth. [BBC]

Morehead City Council approved first reading Monday of its 2015-16 budget ordinance which includes a 45-cents-per-hour pay raise for all city employees. [The Morehead News]

A coalition of public policy advocates warned on Tuesday that a group of armed conservative activists who have been guarding a mine in southern Oregon for over a month are a sign of an emerging violent anti-government movement. [Reuters]

The Energy and Environment Cabinet’s Division of Waste Management announced 46 recycling and 25 household hazardous waste (HHW) grants of more than $3.3 million. [Click the Clicky]

The bitter Kentucky Republican gubernatorial primary is going into overtime. [Politico]

In one of the most exciting and tightest statewide elections in history, Republican Matt Bevin apparently won a razor-thin, 83-vote win over James Comer in the primary race for the GOP nomination for governor. [Ronnie Ellis]

David Clarke, the sheriff in Milwaukee County, Wisconsin doesn’t think federal involvement in policing is going to change much. [NPR]

Nearly 1,300 of the 7,211 Kentucky children and youth in foster care are in group placements instead of with families, a news release from a child advocacy group said Tuesday. [H-L]

Leading Republican presidential candidates in the past week settled on an Iraq war narrative. Yes, the intelligence turned out to be faulty, so much so that there wouldn’t be a strong enough case to authorize the invasion in retrospect. But there was consensus that at the time President George W. Bush made the call, something had to be done about the threat posed by Iraq. [HuffPo]

Granny Mitch Still Loves Wiretapping

School districts across Kentucky are tracking down 16- and 17-year-old high school dropouts to tell them they are required to return to school this fall if they don’t get a GED by June 30. [H-L]

Nine months after police in riot gear dispelled racially charged protests, President Barack Obama is prohibiting the federal government from providing some military-style equipment to local departments and putting stricter controls on other weapons and gear distributed to law enforcement. [HuffPo]

Here’s who wound up sitting on Millionaires Row at the Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks in the 160 seats made available by Churchill Downs to Gov. Steve Beshear and his entourage. [C-J/AKN]

BIG GAY PEE ALERT! U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, a longtime Washington insider and critic of President Barack Obama’s foreign policy, said he would announce on June 1 whether he will seek the 2016 Republican presidential nomination. [Reuters]

Barren County Schools retirees were honored Thursday during a regular board of education meeting at Barren County High School’s auditorium. [Glasgow Daily Times]

The military’s mantra for Afghanistan was “winning hearts and minds.” And a key part of that strategy was cold, hard cash. [ProPublica]

Have you seen the tripe the Bowling Green Daily Toilet Paper has been pushing out lately? Kind of like their editors, behind the scenes, worked to trash talk Marilyn Thomas instead of bothering to investigate claims. [BGDTP]

A high level group of scientists is to be recruited to provide independent advice to the European Commission. [BBC]

The partnership between Kentucky Proud business owners and the Kroger Co. has been a success so far, officials say. [Business First]

At schools that offer comprehensive sex education, students tend to get the biology and the basics — they’ll learn about sexually transmitted diseases and pregnancy, how to put a condom on a banana and the like. But some public health researchers and educators are saying that’s not enough. They’re making the case that sex ed should include discussion about relationships, gender and power dynamics. [NPR]

The Benham City Council heard a proposal from the Kentucky Infrastructure Authority concerning combining the city’s waste water system with Cumberland and Lynch. [Harlan Daily Enterprise]

For thousands of years, religious people have gathered together in houses of worship to sing songs, celebrate sacred rituals, and lift up prayers to God(s) on high. And on July 1, a new religious group in Indiana intends to do just that — but with a lot more emphasis on the “high” part. [ThinkProgress]

As his fellow Republican Kentucky senator, Mitch McConnell, pushes this week to reauthorize the Patriot Act, Rand Paul took his presidential campaign to Independence Mall on Monday and said he’d do whatever he could to kill the law and the bulk collection of Americans’ phone records. [H-L]

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said on Monday he intends this week to “responsibly extend” provisions of the USA Patriot Act due to expire on June 1. [HuffPo]

Only One Day Of Political Hell Remains

One wants to abolish the state office he is trying to win. Another started her own business at age 9. Four have state legislative experience, and two are Louisville businessmen. [H-L]

Using the death penalty puts the U.S. in a select group of countries that perform executions. [HuffPo]

State Sen. Alice Forgy Kerr said on Friday that she “knows” allegations of gubernatorial candidate James Comer beat his former girlfriend to be true. [C-J/AKN]

President Barack Obama’s war on leaks faces backlash in court. Nearly a decade ago, at a federal courthouse in northern Virginia, Judge Leonie Brinkema set a new standard for taking a tough stance against people who inflict harm on America. [The Intercept]

According to an audit released in a Friday news dump, the former Edmonson County Clerk has a bit of a problem on their hands. [External PDF Link]

Rand Paul is obsessed with BENGHAZZZZZZZZI!!!!1! Obsessed. [The Hill]

On a scale of one to Christine “I am not a witch” O’Donnell, how delusional is Kenny Imes? Allison Ball should beat him handily if Republican primary voters aren’t off their rockers. [CN|Toot]

This is not bourbon and the story will likely cause you to pop a vein. [NPR]

Republican gubernatorial candidates Hal Heiner and James Comer have dropped the pretense they’re “running a positive campaign.” [Ronnie Ellis]

The toxic vapors acted quickly against the Second Platoon of the 811th Ordnance Company, whose soldiers were moving abandoned barrels out of an Iraqi Republican Guard warehouse in 2003. The building, one soldier said, was littered with dead birds. [NY Times]

The most distinctive causes of death in Kentucky over the first decade of this century were occupational breathing diseases such as black lung disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. [WFPL]

A debate over the Iraq war triggered by Jeb Bush’s wobbly response to questions about it spilled into a major gathering of Republican 2016 U.S. presidential hopefuls on Saturday, reflecting divisions about whether the conflict was worthwhile. [Reuters]

Frustrating to see a journalist stoop so low that they’re blatantly taking their opener from Comer lobbyist/consultant Riggs Lewis. Lewis was involved with the Heiner campaign in 2010 and is probably the only person on the planet who thinks the only knock on Heiner at the end of that race was that he refused to go negative. Youngman really should not be permitted to cover Kentucky politics from here on out because he’s in so deep with that bunch. [H-L]

The last intact section of one of Antarctica’s mammoth ice shelves is weakening fast and will likely disintegrate completely in the next few years, contributing further to rising sea levels, according to a NASA study released on Thursday. [HuffPo]

Another Corrupt Judge Gets Revealed

Rand Paul has hinged his fledgling presidential campaign on polls showing him ahead of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in some swing states, but the latest Bluegrass Poll suggests Paul might have a hard time beating Clinton in his own backyard. [H-L]

Pike Circuit Judge Steven D. Combs violated ethics standards in a number of instances, the Kentucky Judicial Conduct Commission has charged. [More H-L]

Americans may largely agree on the charges filed against Baltimore police officers in the death of Freddie Gray, but they remain deeply divided over the way his case, and others like it, have been covered by the media. [HuffPo]

Kentucky Kingdom amusement park could receive up to $3.75 million in tax-recovery incentives to be spread over the next decade. [C-J/AKN]

The history of the most iconic American whiskies isn’t always reflected in the names that appear on their labels. [The Atlantic]

Citing concerns for public safety and the environment, the Madison County Fiscal Court unanimously adopted a resolution expressing opposition to the proposed conversion of gas pipeline. [Richmond Register]

The Oklahoma attorney general’s office misrepresented the facts behind a key argument about the availability of certain execution drugs in its filings at the U.S. Supreme Court, BuzzFeed News has determined. [BuzzFart]

Glad to see Riggs Lewis is shopping around the information we uncovered. Yet more proof that the Comer crew is using the Marilyn Thomas incident politically. They’ve had that information about Michael Adams’ ties to Jeff Hoover since early 2014. [Ashland Independent]

A coalition of conservative groups want to make sure Congressional Republicans don’t let up on the fight to eliminate what they call D.C.’s exemption from ObamaCare. [The Hill]

A total of $300,000 is the amount the Rowan County Board of Education had to find last year to balance the budget and this year the district faces the same fiscal shortfall. [The Morehead News]

Republican Jeb Bush said on Tuesday that “mistakes were made” in the Iraq war, moving to disavow a controversial statement he made in support of the 2003 invasion ordered by his brother, then-President George W. Bush. [Reuters]

Multiple coroners in Kentucky have gone years without meeting the training standards that are set forth in Kentucky law. [WKYT]

The heart of the batting order is due up in the House Appropriations Committee beginning Wednesday: four major spending bills that will capture all the contradictions in the new Republican budget over the next month. [Politico]

The only people standing behind Jamie Comer are people like Anne “KT’s Old Fashioned” Northup, Dan “FEAR THE GAYS and Let My Daughter Illegally Run For Office” Seum, Julie “Let Me Pad My Pension” Denton and similar shysters. [H-L]

House Republicans are again attacking measures aimed at protecting U.S. troops from predatory lending practices, two weeks after a similar GOP effort failed. [HuffPo]

Tom Eblen Hit The Nail On The Head

On the campaign trail this spring, the two Republican candidates for state attorney general talk more about current officeholder Jack Conway and the lone Democrat running for the job, Andy Beshear, than they do about each other. [H-L]

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R-Slightly Smarter Dubya) would have authorized the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq, putting the likely 2016 presidential contender on the same page as his brother George W. Bush, the president who actually did so. [HuffPo]

In her autobiography “A Trail of Feathers,” Tracey Damron gives spiritual explanations for many eventful turns in a life that led her inside the world of Kentucky Republican politics. But her explanation for the breakup of a seven-year marriage to Will T. Scott is an earthly one. [C-J/AKN]

Democrats are chiding Republican leaders in Congress as standing in the way of improvements to ObamaCare that enjoy bipartisan support. [The Hill]

A heron lifted off from a branch overhanging the Little Sandy River and it immediately reminded Chuck Chambers of the time he watched a similar bird on the Elk River in West Virginia. [Ashland Independent]

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner faces a formidable challenge in his bid to reform public worker pensions by changing the state constitution, and even if he succeeds the move may not resolve the state’s pension funding woes for years to come. [Reuters]

Everyone who was supposed to turn in a financial interest statement to the Glasgow Board of Ethics did so, and it was in a timely manner, said City Clerk Tommie Birge, to whom the statements must be submitted. [Glasgow Daily Times]

Sen. Bernie Sanders hates the Supreme Court Citizens United ruling and if he becomes president he’ll make sure his Supreme Court nominees vote to overturn it, he said Sunday. [Politico]

Morehead-Rowan County-Lakeview Heights Joint Planning Commission Wednesday discussed ways to address storm water control after another major flood hit Rowan County in early April. [The Morehead News]

Scientists say they have exposed a scandal at the heart of Ancient Egypt’s animal mummy industry. A scanning project at Manchester Museum and the University of Manchester has revealed that about a third of the bundles of cloth are empty inside. [BBC]

Kentucky boasts four automobile assembly plants — two in Louisville and one each in Bowling Green and Georgetown. State leaders estimate that Kentucky is home to more than 400 auto-related businesses, when you count suppliers and other supporting businesses. [Business First]

The Labor Department’s latest report shows employers created 223,000 jobs in April and the unemployment rate went down another notch to 5.4 percent. [NPR]

Things started changing in the 1980s with “pro-business” policies and “trickle-down” economic theories that resulted in the highest level of wealth inequality in nearly a century, not to mention the greatest economic crisis since the Great Depression and a slow, uneven recovery. [Tom Eblen]

Low-income students in Kentucky and Texas are graduating high school at almost the same rates as their middle-class and affluent peers, defying a long U.S. trend. [HuffPo]

Stealing KY Bourbon Is Like Kidnapping

Court documents filed Thursday say that Gilbert “Toby” Curtsinger, the alleged ringleader in the thefts of bourbon from Buffalo Trace Distillery in Frankfort and Wild Turkey in Anderson County, was suspected of stealing years before detectives discovered bourbon barrels in March at his Franklin County home. [H-L]

An openly gay Eagle Scout said he’s been axed by the Boy Scouts — and he believes it’s because of his sexual orientation. [HuffPo]

Pee alert… At a breakfast meeting in Northern Kentucky last week, state Agriculture Commissioner James Comer told local Republican officials and business leaders who have endorsed his candidacy for governor that he will win the general election in November. [C-J/AKN]

Forests can play a vital role in supplementing global food and nutrition security but this role is currently being overlooked, a report suggests. The study says that tree-based farming provides resilience against extreme weather events, which can wipe out traditional food crops. [BBC]

More than a decade after the first plans were put to paper, the Chavies Wastewater Treatment Plant is officially open. [Hazard Herald]

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration will hold a public meeting this summer to address drug company concern that restrictions on what they can say about off-label use of drugs violate their First Amendment right to free speech. [Reuters]

Southeast Kentucky Community & Technical College has announced its plan to join a national movement to address smoking and tobacco use at community college campuses throughout the United States. Through a grant from Legacy, the national public health organization responsible for the national truth® smoking prevention campaign, SKCTC will encourage students, faculty and school administration to adopt a 100 percent smoke-free or tobacco-free policy. [Harlan Daily Enterprise]

In a little-noticed brief filed last summer, lawyers for the House of Representatives claimed that an SEC investigation of congressional insider trading should be blocked on principle, because lawmakers and their staff are constitutionally protected from such inquiries given the nature of their work. [The Intercept]

A spring-cleaning day is scheduled at Cumberland Falls State Resort Park in southeastern Kentucky. [WYMT]

The U.S. economy added 223,000 jobs in April, bringing the jobless rate to a seven-year low after slow growth in the first three months of 2015. [The Hill]

The personal, messy accusations in the Republican primary for Kentucky governor have likely opened the door for Louisville businessman Matt Bevin, a fact that some in the GOP fear. [WAVE3]

Here are the best stories we’ve come across over the past few months about the ever-increasing role of money in politics. [ProPublica]

The University of Kentucky Board of Trustees is expected to discuss a proposed new policy Friday afternoon that would return alcohol to campus in limited ways. [H-L]

Rand Paul said the attack in Garland, Texas, was “an example of how we do need to secure our border,” but neither of the attackers crossed the southern border to gain access to the U.S. Both were Americans who were believed to have been radicalized in their hometown of Phoenix. [HuffPo]