Frankfort Always Passing Pension Buck

Thursday’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling upheld the nationwide tax credit subsidies to help people buy health insurance through the Affordable Care Act. [H-L]

A fire broke out at a prominent black church in South Carolina on Tuesday night, the latest in a series of blazes at places of worship in the South serving the African-American community. A federal law enforcement source told the Associated Press that the fire was not the work of an arsonist, and that preliminary investigations show it was not intentionally set. [HuffPo]

In a historic ruling reshaping the definition of the American family, the Supreme Court on Friday invalidated bans on same-sex marriage in Kentucky and across the country, holding that gays and lesbians have the constitutional right to marry. [C-J/AKN]

In what may not be a coincidence, a string of nighttime fires have damaged or destroyed at least six predominately black churches in four southern states in the past week. [SPLC]

Much is put into creating ceramics. A sculpture or ware starts as nothing more than a lump of dirt. Then with care, technique, and creativity, it becomes a work of art. [The Morehead News]

You can prove slavery was bad six ways from Sunday, but people can still choose to believe otherwise if they want. Addressing racism isn’t just about correcting erroneous beliefs — it’s about making people see the humanity in others. [Vox]

Data from Kentucky’s 446 public water systems shows they consistently produce excellent quality water and are nearly always in compliance with the Safe Drinking Water requirements, according to the Kentucky annual Drinking Water Report. The report summarizes the compliance data and status of public water system compliance monitoring results. [Energy & Environment Cabinet]

Congressional Republicans are using the power of the purse to do battle against a series of controversial labor regulations from the Obama administration. [The Hill]

Kentucky’s longest serving U.S. Senator says last year’s lengthy and costly campaign showed him two things about how he says people feel about the country. [WKYT]

Scientists who have devoted years developing medicines to cure disease are now working for tobacco companies to make e-cigarettes. [Reuters]

These are your friends or your family. Please consider helping them step away from their xenophobia. [Page One]

There have only been 9 days this year when the police have not killed somebody. Some news outlets put the number as high as 500 dead in the past six months, according to both The Guardian and Killed by the Police.Net. The Washington Post’s own investigation showed nearly 400 dead as of the end of May. [WaPo]

Kentucky’s retired state workers’ pension fund is a mess. It’s the most underfunded of any in the country, and it’s sinking dangerously close to running out of money. Yet state lawmakers, the men and women responsible for budgeting those pensions, don’t have quite the same worry about their own money. [H-L]

Meanwhile, Kentucky can’t even get medicinal marijuana right. Oregon ended marijuana prohibition at midnight Wednesday, joining Colorado, Washington state, Alaska and the District of Columbia in legalizing recreational use of the drug. [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]

Your ‘Lectric’s Gonna Cost More

Nine people were indicted Tuesday on charges of spiriting away what Kentucky authorities say was more bourbon whiskey than one person could drink in a lifetime. But, uh, we could definitely drink that in a lifetime. [H-L]

Defenders of the White House push for sweeping trade deals argue they include tough enforcement of labor standards. But a top union leader scoffed at such claims Tuesday, revealing that administration officials have said privately that they don’t consider even the killings of labor organizers to be violations of those pacts. [HuffPo]

A Franklin County grand jury indicted nine people Tuesday in connection with Kentucky whiskey thefts dating back to 2008, possibly including the notorious heist of 65 cases of Pappy Van Winkle Family Reserve. [C-J/AKN]

Support for ObamaCare has climbed to its highest level in more than two years, according to a new Kaiser Health Tracking Poll released Tuesday. [The Hill]

Narrowly drawn voting precincts have been an issue for protecting secret ballots in Boyd County for awhile, according to Boyd County Clerk Debbie Jones. [Ashland Independent]

The United States needs disruptive new technologies, new ways of acquiring equipment and bandwidth, and closer ties with global allies to stay ahead of growing challenges in space from China, Russia and others, the head of U.S. Air Force Space Command told Reuters. [Reuters]

The Housing Authority of Glasgow made a payment to the city of Glasgow in lieu of property taxes Thursday morning during a meeting of the authority’s board of directors. [Glasgow Daily Times]

Nearly one in three black students attend a school that looks as if Brown v. Board of Education never happened. [ProPublica]

As Earth Day approaches, a new survey shows overwhelming support from Kentuckians for environmental education, but room for improvement in residents’ environmental literacy. The Survey of Kentuckians’ Environmental Knowledge, Attitudes and Behaviors from the Kentucky Environmental Education Council (KECC) reveals that while 96 percent of Kentuckians believed that environmental education should be taught in schools, some basic information, such as the primary source of water pollution in Kentucky, was unknown by the majority of survey respondents, according to KEEC Executive Director Elizabeth Schmitz. [Press Release]

Lindsey Graham and John McCain are “lapdogs” for President Barack Obama’s foreign policy, Rand Paul said Tuesday, at once firing back at recent remarks from the hawkish Republicans and seeking to distinguish his defense credentials. [Politico]

David Dickerson planned to keep an open mind about this year’s Republican gubernatorial primary. The former Republican Barren County Judge-Executive and businessman supported Matt Bevin in last year’s U.S. Senate primary won by U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell. Bevin is running for governor this time, along with Louisville developer Hal Heiner, Agriculture Commissioner James Comer from neighboring Monroe County and former Kentucky Supreme Court Justice Will T. Scott of Pikeville. [Ronnie Ellis]

The Affordable Care Act requires all Americans to get health insurance or pay a penalty. To help coax people to buy a health plan, the federal government now subsidizes premiums for millions of Americans. [NPR]

Kentucky Utilities’ customers will pay more for their monthly electric bill while Louisville Electric & Gas customers will pay more for their gas bills according to a settlement reached Tuesday concerning the companies’ rate requests. [H-L]

Way to go, wingnuts. House Republicans advanced a measure on Tuesday that would reverse a Washington, D.C., law preventing employers from being able to fire individuals based on their personal reproductive health decisions. [HuffPo]

Jim Holsinger’s Pals With Hal Heiner

A fire alarm forced the evacuation of the Fayette County Democratic Party’s awards dinner Tuesday night, but it didn’t stop gubernatorial candidate Jack Conway from finding the stump. [H-L]

Don’t listen to McConnell but pay attention to other Kentuckians. “Before you take advice about climate change from Senator McConnell please consider first what so many knowledgeable voices from the Bluegrass State are saying about climate change, and second how failing to act gives up your state’s right to set its own course of action toward a clean energy future,” states the letter spearheaded by Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) and signed by four other senators in the Democratic Conference. [HuffPo]

A Monday fundraiser in Lexington for gubernatorial candidate Hal Heiner and his running mate KC Crosbie will look like an Ernie Fletcher reunion. Complete with bigot Jim Holsinger — remember that guy? [C-J/AKN]

Tens of millions of dollars and counting. That’s how much the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) has spent so far on a three-year campaign to improve the plight of low-wage retail and fast-food workers, an analysis of public filings shows. [Reuters]

After months of setbacks, frustrations and reformulations, the restaurant and microbrewery under development between Ashland’s signature bridges along Greenup Avenue took a major step forward Saturday with the delivery and initial installation of a batch of double-polished stainless steel equipment purpose-designed for the creation of craft beers. [Ashland Independent]

Campaigners in the Netherlands are taking the government to court for allegedly failing to protect its citizens from climate change. [BBC]

The Benham City Council took time during their meeting on Friday to discuss several items needing the panel’s attention, including an ordinance setting pay rates for city employees. [Harlan Daily Enterprise]

Presidential candidates are moving away from public financing. [NPR]

The Kentucky Valley Education Cooperative (KVEC) and Hazard Independent Schools have invited the public to attend an Action Research Summit at the Pikeville EXPO Center in Pikeville on April 21. The event is scheduled for 9 a.m. [Hazard Herald]

What does gun violence really cost? Apple’s worldwide revenue is $182 billion. The cost of gun violence is $229 billion. [Mother Jones]

Remember when media ignored the drugged-addled daughter of an elected official in Morehead stealing a man’s dog? Fascinating how that works. [WKYT]

Catholic officials announced on Tuesday plans for a landmark climate change-themed conference to be hosted at Vatican later this month, the latest in Pope Francis’ faith-rooted campaign to raise awareness about global warming. [Think Progress]

Johnny Bell can suck a frozen dog turd for the racist, sexist crap he’s allegedly done. [Bluegrass Politics]

A new poll reveals that public support for same-sex marriage is rising in all 50 states — including the ones that still haven’t legalized the institution for same-sex couples. [HuffPo]

Adam Pushes For Testing Rape Kits

As I watched the roll-out of Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul’s bid for the Republican presidential nomination last week, I thought I was about to see him announce that he was changing his party affiliation. [H-L]

The Islamic State group launched an offensive in Iraq’s western Anbar province on Wednesday, capturing three villages near the provincial capital of Ramadi where fierce clashes were underway between the extremists and government troops, residents said. [HuffPo]

The News Journal of Corbin reported Monday on an update by the Keeneland Association regarding the plans of the Lexington thoroughbred racing and auction company to build a quarter horse track near Interstate 75 that would have the slot-like historical horse racing. The story was full of interesting political bedfellows in what Keeneland apparently has decided will be called Thunder Gap. [C-J/AKN]

A major Appalachian coal mining company is laying off hundreds of workers in West Virginia and blaming the lost jobs on President Obama’s environmental policies. [The Hill]

Check out the photos of that gigantic boulder. It’s worth the click. [Ashland Independent]

Protesters in several U.S. cities blocked highways and swarmed police precincts, leading to at least two dozen arrests in demonstrations touched off by fresh cases of police violence against unarmed black men. [Reuters]

Adam Edelen on Wednesday launched a major initiative to count the number of untested sexual assault kits across the Commonwealth, as well as make recommendations for reforming how evidence in cases of sexual violence is handled in the future. [Press Release]

A federal judge got it wrong last week when he claimed President Barack Obama indicated that the changes he ordered to immigration policy late last year left immigration officials without discretion about how to handle specific cases, the Justice Department argued in a federal appeals court filing Tuesday. [Politico]

While casual statistics have been used to cast RTW in different lights, rigorous studies that examine RTW’s effect on states’ economies find no link between RTW and jobs. [External PDF Link]

US President Barack Obama offers Iraqi PM Haider al-Abadi $200m in humanitarian aid on his first official visit to Washington. [BBC]

The Franklin County Sheriff is looking for anybody who may have purchased a barrel of high-priced, stolen bourbon. [WLEX18]

It was a day of demonstrations in cities across the nation on Tuesday. The turnout and tone of the protests, organized with the Black Lives Matter movement, were varied. [NPR]

Heads-up, again, to Montgomery County Schools. Western Kentucky suspended its swimming and diving programs for five years on Tuesday after the school and Bowling Green police found violations of Title IX sexual misconduct and assault, harassment and the student conduct code. [H-L]

Opponents of legalizing marijuana can’t be happy about several new polls released Tuesday. Majority support for making cannabis legal is holding steady, while young adults are legalization’s biggest fans. And that’s true both nationally and in several swing states. [HuffPo]

LIBETY OR TRANNY!!1! Rand’s Runnin’

Republican Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky is preparing for a 2016 presidential campaign and talking a lot about change in America. But he’s not expressing much hope about the state of the nation. [H-L]

Scott Walker has transformed Wisconsin politics, winning three elections in four years and signing laws that weaken unions, crippling a key ally of the Democratic Party. But the likely Republican presidential contender has had less success changing Wisconsin’s economy and budget. The state lags in job growth and its budget faces a shortfall. [HuffPo]

Nearly 200 people are being recruited for a University of Louisville study that will help shed light on the impact of asthma on the 60-and-older crowd. The university has announced a $2.3 million grant from the National Institute on Aging to conduct a five-year study, examining asthma triggers in older adults. [C-J/AKN]

The timing of interest rate hikes are uncertain and the U.S. Federal Reserve must watch that the surprising recent weakness in the U.S. economy does not foreshadow a more substantial slowdown, an influential Fed official said on Monday. [Reuters]

Southeast Kentucky Economic Development Corporation (SKED) is giving small business owners and entrepreneurs a new way to network and connect beginning this month. [The Morehead News]

The Supreme Court has itself to blame for the surreptitious recordings of court proceedings that have surfaced in the past year, some lawmakers say. [The Hill]

Steve Riley believes teenagers keep you young and healthy, and after working for more than 30 years as an educator, thinks that he “still has the spark.” [Glasgow Daily Times]

Lowering a city’s homeless population by forcing the homeless out. Sounds like a story out of Greg Fischer’s playbook. [NPR]

The University of Louisville is expected to increase both in-state and out-of-state undergraduate tuition by 3 percent for the next academic year. [WFPL]

Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul on Tuesday announced his bid for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination, vowing to campaign as an enemy of “the Washington machine that gobbles up our freedoms and invades every nook and cranny of our lives.” [MSNBC]

As Kentucky and other states struggle with tough budget decisions about essential public services, profitable Fortune 500 companies including Kentucky-based Yum Brands and Humana pay little to nothing in state corporate income taxes around the country, according to a new study by the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy and Citizens for Tax Justice. [Mmm Hmmm]

Britain’s economic performance since the financial crisis struck has been startlingly bad. A tentative recovery began in 2009, but it stalled in 2010. Although growth resumed in 2013, real income per capita is only now reachingits level on the eve of the crisis — which means that Britain has had a much worse track record since 2007 than it had during the Great Depression. [NY Times]

Since he took office, Gov. Bruce Rauner has said repeatedly he wants to let Illinois voters decide whether to set up their own local right-to-work zones, areas where union membership and dues would be voluntary. [H-L]

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) took a shot at the foreign policy of his Republican colleague Sen. Rand Paul on Sunday, saying that the Kentucky senator was the only potential presidential candidate that could not get a better nuclear deal with Iran than the one that President Barack Obama negotiated. [HuffPo]

Old White Kentuckians Freaking Out About The Pending Gay Takeover & Redecoration

A sports thing apparently happened and a lot of people are upset. [H-L]

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz are among 57 Republicans in Congress who are calling on the Supreme Court to uphold state bans on same-sex marriage. [HuffPo]

Paul — who is expected to announce his bid Tuesday at Louisville’s Galt House — cut his political teeth on the theme of reducing the size of government and slashing spending. [C-J/AKN]

PEE ALERT! PEE ALERT! Social conservatives are doubling down on their push for state-based religious freedom laws, lashing out at businesses that have vigorously opposed the measures and accusing Democrats of trampling Christians’ civil rights. [Politico]

Let’s watch the Bowling Green Daily Fat White Guys freak out about equality: Obama also supports same-sex marriage, as does Conway, who said in his announcement of not appealing the ruling that denying same-sex marriage is discriminatory. [BGBS]

Gay rights advocates are hoping to parlay the momentum from their legislative victories in Indiana and Arkansas in the past week into further expanding legal protections for gays and lesbians in those states and others. [WaPo]

Adam Edelen tried to hide part two of a massive state audit on Friday. Kentucky Auditor Adam Edelen has released the second part of the annual statewide audit of the Commonwealth of Kentucky for fiscal year ending June 30, 2014. The audit contains one material weakness and 19 significant deficiencies and notes more than $2 million in questioned costs. [External PDF Link]

A fringe right-wing radio host who believes the government was behind 9/11, the Oklahoma City bombing, the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster, and several other catastrophes, has been a key figure in the political rise of Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), who will reportedly announce a run for president on April 7. [MMFA]

Local union workers voted on Friday to end a two-month-old strike and return to work at the Catlettsburg Refinery. [Ashland Independent]

Former Gov. Martin O’Malley, D-Md., now positioning himself as progressive populist among potential 2016 presidential candidates, told USA Today that he differs from Hillary Clinton because he opposes the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a trade agreement he said will “hollow out our middle class and middle class wages.” But just two years ago, there was no criticism to be heard when O’Malley discussed the TPP. [The Intercept]

Barren County Judge-Executive Micheal Hale appointed Jeremy Runyon as county road supervisor Tuesday. [Glasgow Daily Times]

President Obama launched a program Friday to train outgoing military personnel and veterans to work in the solar power sector. [The Hill]

More than two years after Kentucky education department officials took over the daily management of Breathitt County schools, they are offering the locally elected school board the chance to recommend candidates for a new superintendent. [H-L]

The Obama administration on Friday finalized its recommendation to expand protected areas of Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, calling on Congress to block about 12 million acres (5 million hectares) from oil and gas drilling. [HuffPo]