That McConnell-Paul Rift Is Growing

Bethany Stanziano, the attorney for a former Pulaski County preacher charged with three counts of murder, was allowed to withdraw from the case Monday after she filed a motion saying she was not in the state of mind to provide effective assistance in the wake of her husband’s fatal shooting a year ago. [H-L]

Next season’s flu shot will contain two new flu strains that weren’t present in last season’s shot, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. [HuffPo]

When Louisville resident Gillian Miller was walking atop the hill at Iroquois Park last Sunday, she noticed something odd: A bird cage attached to a tree. [C-J/AKN]

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Granny) said Monday that he has “no problems” with Sen. Rand Paul (R-Garden Gnome) in the wake of a public battle between the two over the Patriot Act. [The Hill]

Members of the Cave City Tourist and Convention Commission were scheduled to approve the commission’s budget on first reading Monday, with changes, but after some discussion they chose to approve the budget as it was presented during their May meeting. [Glasgow Daily Times]

High in the Rocky Mountains, snowmelt fills a stream that trickles down into Ohio Creek and then onward toward the Upper Gunnison River. From there, it tumbles through the chasms of the Black Canyon, joining the Colorado River, filling the giant Lake Powell reservoir, and, one day, flowing to Los Angeles. [ProPublica]

At a special meeting Monday, Rowan Fiscal Court authorized DLZ, the project architect, to present a design for an estimated 240 beds with the possibility for future expansion if needed. [The Morehead News]

Some students harmed by bankrupt Corinthian Colleges, Inc. can apply to have their student loans canceled by the federal government through a new opt-in system Education Secretary Arne Duncan announced on a Monday press call, and students who apply for debt relief will not have to make loan payments or field collections calls for the next year. [ThinkProgress]

In a recent Harlan County Fiscal Court meeting nearly every item on the agenda involved saving money in some form. [Harlan Daily Enterprise]

A North Carolina executive is pouring his own money into trying to sway people in the GOP to take global warming seriously. [Politico]

After a brief update on government funding bills, U.S. Rep. Thomas Massie gave a preview of “speed bumps” Congress will likely run over this summer. [Ashland Independent]

The rate of abortions falls across almost all of the US since 2010, a new survey from the Associated Press suggests. [BBC]

After more than five years on the back burner, design standards for renovations and new development in Lexington’s downtown cleared their first major hurdle on Tuesday. [H-L]

In the 1970s, only 3 percent of retiring members of Congress went on to become Washington lobbyists. Now, half of all retiring senators and 42 percent of retiring representatives become lobbyists. [HuffPo]

The Gays Went To Court Today

Want to hear audio of today’s Supreme Court hearing on gay marriage? Transcript will be there, as well. [Part One & Part Two]

The Kentucky State University Board of Regents approved a tuition increase during a meeting Friday. [H-L]

As he began his first re-election run in early 2013, tea party Rep. Thomas Massie had no trouble raising money from business interests. [HuffPo]

There’s an old Broadway musical song that says “Money makes the world go around” and that’s true nowhere more than in the political realm where money is quite often the deciding factor. It’s not only who can raise it, but it’s also who can spend it wisely. [C-J/AKN]

NASA on Thursday marked the silver anniversary of the Hubble Space Telescope with fireworks, of a celestial kind, conveyed by the orbiting observatory itself. [Reuters]

Looks like Jamie Comer was forced to admit his hypocrisy on the Ernie Fletcher front: Comer said Monday that he “reached out” to members of the Fletcher administration to make sure they knew he was talking only about “a few bad apples,” that the “overwhelming majority” of those in the Fletcher administration were good people and that Fletcher was a good man. He pointed out that he hired some former Fletcher administration employees at the Department of Agriculture and others are supporting his campaign. [Ronnie Ellis]

This is going to anger people like Ken Ham. People with lower back problems are more likely to have a spine similar in shape to the chimpanzee, our closest ape ancestor. [BBC]

Here’s Greg Stumbo’s latest column — written by some lowly LRC staffer — about Right to Work. [Floyd County Times]

This week’s same-sex-marriage cases at the Supreme Court brought in a record number of friend-of-the-court briefs — 148 of them, according to the court, beating the previous record of 136 in the 2013 Obamacare case. [NPR]

Kentucky State Police Trooper Rodney Sturgill is investigating an incident involving a 2-year-old girl found unresponsive off Osborne Lane in Terrys Fork in the Wallins Creek community. [Harlan Daily Enterprise]

One of the first fights of the Republican presidential primary season will be over U.S. spying. [The Hill]

The Lexington Police Department is investigating a violent home invasion after a man exchanged gunfire with four robbery suspects on Tuesday morning. [WKYT]

When the country’s most powerful union leader delivers what’s being billed as a “major address” on Tuesday, it will be widely seen as a memo to Hillary Clinton outlining what she must do to earn organized labor’s support. [Politico]

When Pellom McDaniels III was researching black athletes and their influence on the 20th century, he kept running across the name Isaac Murphy. One article referred to Murphy as “an elegant specimen of manhood.” [H-L]

When asked why they’d come to the National Mall on a recent overcast Saturday, four days before the Supreme Court would hold its latest hearing on same-sex marriage, nearly all of the dozens of people I talked to opened with the same statement, pretty much word for word: “I believe that God’s marriage is between a man and a woman.” Several added, as an afterthought, “God made Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve” — looking at me frankly, as if that settled everything. [HuffPo]

Don’t forget to enter to win a copy of Lawn Darts of Fate! Contest runs through the end of the week. [Page One & The ‘Ville Voice]

Nope, There’s No Republican Unity

Maybe Massie could stop being a WATB and put in the 40 hours a week for call time like everybody else? He’s been saying for more than a year that he’s going to leave Congress and now he’s whining about a lack of cash. It’s only a matter of time before Trey Grayson takes that seat. [H-L]

Progressive Democrats have been hoping to see a showdown between Elizabeth Warren and Hillary Clinton for years. Instead, they’re getting a public feud between the senator from Massachusetts and President Barack Obama. [HuffPo]

Folks from the big city drove out to Magoffin County to drum up some bigots for a gay marriage story. [C-J/AKN]

When will President Barack Obama apologize for all the other innocent victims of drone strikes? [The Intercept]

Berea residents may have access to larger recycling containers in the future. But they may also have to pay more for them, according to the city’s waste management provider. [Richmond Register]

Get the popcorn ready, folks, because Ron Paul has apparently been let out of his liburtea bunker. [The Hill]

Ashland city water is constantly in violation of strict cleanliness standards, City Engineer Ryan Eastwood said when asked about a violation notice sent to Ashland customers recently. [Ashland Independent]

The U.S. Supreme Court’s arguments on Tuesday over same-sex marriage will cap more than two decades of litigation and a transformation in public attitudes. [Reuters]

There was little disagreement among the four Republican candidates for governor at Thursday’s Louisville Rotary Club. [Ronnie Ellis]

Same-sex marriage is legal in most states but so is discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in the areas of employment, housing and public accommodation. [NPR]

Members of Rowan County Fiscal Court and other officials last Friday toured the Perry County Sheriff’s Office and Detention Center in Tell City, Indiana. [The Morehead News]

Swedish scientists have decoded the DNA of woolly mammoths raising the possibility of recreating the now extinct creatures. [BBC]

One thing there WON’T be is real life GOP unity after the gubernatorial primary, contrary to claims being made by Republicans. [H-L]

The U.S. Supreme Court’s arguments on Tuesday over same-sex marriage will cap more than two decades of litigation and a transformation in public attitudes. Based on the court’s actions during the past two years, a sense of inevitability is in the air: That a majority is on the verge of declaring gay marriage legal nationwide. [HuffPo]

Will Thomas Massie Really Run For Re-Election?

Democrats have become a confused political party with a muddled message and an inability to turn out enough of its loyal voters, a party task force charged with how to revive the embattled party said Saturday. [H-L]

U.S. District Judge James Boasberg issued a preliminary injunction Friday blocking the Obama administration from detaining individuals seeking asylum at the U.S.-Mexico border, saying the policy illegally aims to deter others from immigrating to the U.S. [HuffPo]

Senate Republican leaders on Friday sent the bill to ban smoking in indoor public places to a committee chaired by an opponent of the bill. [C-J/AKN]

Iraq’s defense minister criticized the United States on Sunday for declaring a timeframe for an offensive to recapture the Islamic State’s northern stronghold of Mosul, saying military commanders should not show their hand to the enemy. [Reuters]

In a special called meeting Thursday, the Berea City Council approved, 6-1, an amended 2014-15 budget, allowing the city to purchase two buildings and begin design on another major project. Under the spending plan, the city will buy the Mitchell Tolle building on Chestnut Street for $990,000. The purchase will include an adjacent corner lot that was once a Ford dealership. [Richmond Register]

A Californian start-up will be allowed to advertise a mail order DNA test that screens for a rare genetic condition, after a U-turn by the US regulator. [BBC]

Congressman Thomas Massie, R-Ky. 4th District, told a small audience at Ashland Community and Technical College’s Summit campus he is personally concerned with entrepreneurship. [Ashland Independent]

ProPublica and The Lens won their first gold medal in the Society For News Design’s “Best of Digital Design Competition” for “Losing Ground,” as announcements of the winners began trickling out over the weekend. [ProPublica]

Monroe County Fiscal Court took the first step Thursday toward adopting a county right-to-work ordinance. [Glasgow Daily Times]

The Obama administration says the current system promotes conflicts of interest, leads to high fees and erodes returns on investment. [NPR]

Last week’s meeting of Morehead City Council included a long agenda that led to multiple lengthy discussions. Council adopted a resolution to support the Local Investments for Transformation (LIFT) legislation, known as House Bill 1, during the current session of the General Assembly. [The Morehead News]

Duke is charged with nine counts of misdemeanors under the Clean Water Act. Duke isn’t challenging the case — instead, it has already worked out a proposed plea bargain with the federal government. [Think Progress]

I love free enterprise, but I believe there is a special place in hell for business people who exploit the poor and vulnerable and politicians who enable them. A good example is the payday lending industry. [Tom Eblen]

Ken Griffin, the hedge fund billionaire who once complained about the wealthiest Americans having “insufficient influence” in politics, has become the first — and so far only — donor to report giving the maximum amount to a national political party under newly loosened campaign contribution limits. [HuffPo]

Kentucky Economy: Imaginary Puppies, Rainbows

The Kentucky Supreme Court says a state law setting out procedural rights for police officers accused of misconduct should apply whether the complaints are made by citizens or by police departments. [H-L]

Never in the 30 years since the the Federal Reserve first starting collecting wealth data has the divide between the rich and everyone else been so large, according to a new analysis by the Pew Research Center. [HuffPo]

A federal spending bill that could be signed into law as soon as today by President Barack Obama contains language to prevent bureaucratic maneuvering that could hurt industrial hemp research efforts in states like Kentucky. [C-J/AKN]

Obamacare enrollment appears on track to meet administration goals for 2015, with almost 2.5 million people selecting plans on HealthCare.gov in the first month — including 1 million last week alone. [Politico]

For the fifth time, supporters of a statewide smoking ban are taking their case to Kentucky’s Capitol. But this time, they’re adding a new argument. [WDRB]

Rand Paul is breaking with other Republican presidential hopefuls and backing President Obama’s decision to launch talks normalizing relations with Cuba. [The Hill]

Don’t believe the hype. As some in media tout how magical Kentucky’s employment statistics are? Here’s the juice from the Education and Workforce Development Cabinet: In November 2014, Kentucky’s civilian labor force was 1,993,607, a decrease of 3,260 individuals compared to the previous month. [Press Release]

The U.S. Federal Reserve is lobbying to stem a rising threat to its independence as the “Audit the Fed” movement, once seen as usual background noise, looks set to gain momentum in 2015 when Republicans gain control of both houses of Congress. [Reuters]

PEE ALERT! Because a patient transported Tuesday by Madison County EMS reported symptom that could match those of an Ebola infection, as a precaution the ambulance crew followed the Ebola protocol for which they were trained. [Richmond Register]

President Obama on Tuesday again used his executive authority to enact an environmental priority as he indefinitely barred oil and gas exploration of Alaska’s picturesque Bristol Bay to protect some of the nation’s most productive commercial fisheries. [NY Times]

U.S. Rep. Thomas Massie, R-Vanceburg, was disappointed and confused Thursday when he realized reforms he has advocated for the past half year regarding “backdoor” surveillance of private data were excluded from last week’s omnibus bill. [Ashland Independent]

The EU may scrap plans for legislation on air pollution and waste in a drive to boost the economy, according to a leaked document seen by BBC News. [BBC]

Here’s what Jeb Bush’s announcement taught us about Miniature Texan Liberty Christ. [H-L]

At least 786 children died of abuse or neglect in the U.S. in a six-year span in plain view of child protection authorities — many of them beaten, starved or left alone to drown while agencies had good reason to know they were in danger, The Associated Press has found. [HuffPo]

Remember That It’s February, Not November

Basically, nothing has changed and polls this early unfortunately don’t mean much. Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes holds a slim 4-point advantage over U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell in a new Herald-Leader/WKYT Bluegrass Poll, with many voters saying they disapprove of McConnell but don’t yet know Grimes nine months from Election Day. [H-L]

Ken Ham won’t understand this. Black holes acting as companions to early stars may have taken more time to raise the temperature of the ancient universe than previously thought, a new study suggests. [HuffPo]

Something tells us it wouldn’t pass once people understood it. Kentuckians favor a constitutional amendment that would allow cities and counties to impose local sales taxes through voter referendums — but they aren’t so certain they would actually vote for such a tax when it is proposed. [C-J/AKN]

Maintaining ethics in the move from regulator to regulated. Sheila Bair took a banking job last week — an occasion for breaking out the axes and giving them a good grinding. [ProPublica]

Domestic-violence victims could seek temporary court orders allowing them to carry concealed weapons under a bill that has won approval from a Kentucky Senate panel. [WLEX18]

A river of ice in Greenland has become the fastest-flowing glacier currently known in the world, a study suggests. [BBC]

For U.S. Rep. Thomas Massie, mere passage of his proposed farm bill amendment is not satisfying enough for the Lewis County man who wishes to further expand legal production of industrial hemp. [Ashland Independent]

U.S. relations with Cuba are at their best in almost two decades, but President Barack Obama seems unwilling or unable to confront a well-organized anti-Cuba lobby and push for further progress. [Reuters]

Several legislators in the region say it’s unlikely the General Assembly will come to a consensus on tax reform legislation this session, despite a proposal put forward today by the governor. [BGDN]

Anyone who invests in the stock market knows share prices can go up — and down. That’s why they call it a market. [NPR]

Undeterred by bad weather, 54 Berea residents gathered Tuesday evening to begin the process of designing an urban farm for a 1.4-acre lot in Old Town, Berea. [Richmond Register]

Utah attorneys seeking to overturn a federal court decision that struck down a state ban on gay marriage have argued in appeals papers that prohibiting same-sex unions is crucial to safeguarding the best interests of children. [HuffPo]

A prosecutor moved to dismiss criminal charges against Jackson County Judge-Executive William Smith and county treasurer Beth Sallee at a hearing Thursday morning. Jackie Steele, acting as a special prosecutor, said he had an ethical duty not to prosecute Smith and Sallee because there was no evidence to support the charges against them. [H-L]

John Boehner spent weeks carefully trying to revive prospects for immigration legislation this year, believing House Republicans needed to make an honest effort to consider the politically charged issue ahead of the midterm elections. Then came Mitch McConnell. [Politico]

Kentucky Will Never Have THAT Rainy Day Fund

The owner of a Manchester pharmacy has admitted that he routinely filled prescriptions for people even though there were obvious signs that those customers were drug addicts or dealers. [H-L]

Eighteen months and $150,000 later, a rigorous voter fraud investigation commissioned by Iowa Secretary of State Matt Schultz (R) has failed to produce any statistically significant evidence of voter fraud in Iowa, according to The Des Moines Register. [HuffPo]

A group of Commercial Vehicle Enforcement employees has filed suit against the Kentucky State Police claiming wage discrimination. [C-J/AKN]

Former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden predicted “the first of many” victories on Monday after a judge ruled an NSA surveillance program likely violated the constitution. [The Hill]

Sadly, we don’t know anyone holding their breath over the SOAR summit held on December 9. [Hazard Herald]

Can you imagine Kentucky having a BILLION DOLLAR rainy day fund? Outgoing Virginia Governor Robert McDonnell proposed a $96 billion biennial budget on Monday that forecasts continued revenue growth and lays out a plan to bring the state’s rainy-day fund to $1 billion by fiscal 2016. [Reuters]

Republicans are taking over state government because Steve Beshear’s Democratic Party is an afterthought. It’s been a disaster since Jonathan Miller started rolling all the poop downhill. [WFPL]

This is what the “charter” schools gasbags in Kentucky want to occur – they want your tax dollars for bizarre religious indoctrination. In North Carolina (translation: where Terry Holliday is from and spends most of his time), home schools can get taxpayers’ hard-earned tax dollars for Jesus. [Wonkette]

When Matt Bevin came to Cadiz last Wednesday morning, he said Kentuckians need someone who isn’t a career politician, someone who understands conservative values. Which is sad because what Kentucky needs is actual, competent leadership that considers constituents. [Cadiz Record]

A high-profile Kentucky business official is weighing a primary challenge to freshman tea party Rep. Tom Massie, raising the prospect of one more 2014 congressional primary pitting a business-backed challenger against an activist member of the GOP-held House. [Politico]

Polling in the 2014 Kentucky U.S. Senate race has been vexing at best. [H-L]

The nation’s biggest banks have quietly dodged a measure expressing Congress’s desire to eliminate the unfair advantages they may enjoy because they’re perceived as “too big to fail.” [HuffPo]

The Federal Reserve has decided to reduce its stimulus for the U.S. economy because the job market has shown steady improvement. The Fed will trim its $85 billion a month in bond purchases by $10 billion starting in January. [WLEX18]

Despite being no more likely to fall behind on their credit card bills, African Americans are far more likely than white borrowers to be targeted by debt collectors. [Think Progress]