Woah: First Came Kentucky, Then Came Virginia

This is what generosity looks like in Kentucky. The family tell us they are speechless, grateful. So let’s help them hit their mark to bring his body home for a proper funeral. [GoFundMe]

The state Senate unanimously approved a bill Thursday to protect student digital data and allow local school boards and school councils to implement academic standards more rigorous than those set out by the state. [H-L]

A federal judge has ruled that Kentucky must recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states, pointing not only to recent decisions that have struck down bans in other states but also to older rulings on a person’s right to marry. [HuffPo]

Sorry, teabaggers, but the facts aren’t a “smear” against Matt Bevin. A smear would be claiming he had an affair. A smear would be fabricating documents and alleging he signed them. Or alleging he’s a closet case. But that’s not what happened – actual documents, available to the public, allowed him to catch himself in a potential financial scandal. [C-J/AKN]

Labor contractors would be protected from some litigation under a bill that has cleared a Senate panel. If passed, the bill would insulate primary contractors from any liability for the illegal practices of their subcontractors. [WLEX18]

When President Obama signed the Farm Bill in Michigan on Friday afternoon, the “McConnell Hemp Provision” became the first Congressional action to roll back the prohibition on marijuana since World War II. [Esquire]

What a sad, tragic death in Estill County. This will probably ruin your day. [WKYT]

Remember how we first brought up Sarbanes-Oxley the other day with Matt Bevin? It’s as big a deal as we thought. [National Review]

The pipeline explosion that rocked rural Adair County early Thursday is the first “significant incident” involving a gas transmission line in Kentucky since 2012, according to federal safety records. But the operator of the pipeline is among the industry’s most penalized. [WDRB]

On Wednesday, a federal judge with deep ties to the Republican Party became the first in the South to rule in favor of gay marriage, offering the best proof yet that the balance in the nation’s long and contentious clash over how to define marriage has been tipped irrevocably in favor of gay rights. [TIME]

Yesterday Adam Edelen announced that Covington’s former finance director stole at least $793,000. [PDF Link]

Some gay-panicked folks in Washington, D.C. are in full meltdown mode. They fear the gays are taking over. [WaPo]

A Kentucky coal mine inspector is resigning amid state and federal inquiries about his relationship with state Rep. W. Keith Hall, D-Phelps. The end is nigh for Keith Hall’s political career whether he realizes it or not. And it has nothing to do with the person he’s been staying with in Frankfort, either. [John Cheves]

Five years ago, U.S. President Barack Obama and his Democratic Party had a crazy idea that maybe the richest nation in the history of the world should do something to make its fragmented, inequitable and very expensive health care system a little better. [HuffPo]

Readers: Please Help That EKY Family In Need

An Eastern Kentucky family is in need. Many of you have deep pockets, so please consider helping them. [Sad Situation]

Federal regulators violated the law by not considering potential health dangers from a large surface mine near the Knott-Perry County line, an attorney for two environmental groups argued Tuesday. [H-L]

The United States plunged 14 places in the annual Press Freedom Index released by Reporters Without Borders on Wednesday. The group said it was “one of the most significant declines” in press freedom it had tracked during 2013. [HuffPo]

A Kentucky judge on Tuesday ordered Norton Healthcare and the University of Louisville to undergo mediation to resolve their dispute over Kosair Children’s Hospital. [C-J/AKN]

You know who else collected metadata? You’ll probably want to check this out. [ProPublica]

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer’s local-option sales tax proposal took legislative form Tuesday, but even the bill’s sponsor doubts its chances in the 2014 session of the General Assembly. [WDRB]

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) has been caught using purloined passages in several of his speeches. Now the aspiring presidential candidate stands accused of filing a lawsuit stolen from its author. [WaPo]

A federal judge has ruled Kentucky’s ban on recognizing same-sex marriages performed in other states violates the U.S. Constitution’s Fourteenth Amendment’s equal protection clause. [Ronnie Ellis]

“This opinion has been a long-time coming and is in keeping with the general trend around the country,” said Dan Canon, a lawyer for the plaintiffs. “We hope it ultimately paves the way for same-sex marriage in Kentucky.” A spokeswoman for Jack Conway, Kentucky’s attorney general, did not immediately respond to a request for comment. [WSJ]

A geologist at the University of Kentucky says sinkholes like the one that shut down The National Corvette Museum are common in Kentucky. [WKYT]

Virginia Dickerson says she’s devoted the last three years to recovering from the drug problems that entangled her in the criminal justice system throughout her teens and 20s. [HuffPo]

Kentuckians should not have gay marriage “forced on us” by a federal court ruling, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said Wednesday, even as the senator’s opponents blamed him for the decision. [H-L]

Water may today exist on Mars, according to new clues revealed by spacecraft orbiting the Red Planet, what NASA describes as “dark, finger-like markings that advance down Martian slopes when temperatures rise.” [Weather]

Watching Matt Bevin attempt to redefine himself this week has been painful. Not because anyone cares about him or because flat-out misleading Kentucky voters is what’s been wrong with the Commonwealth for ages. But because he appears to have publicly admitted to potentially serious financial crimes. [Page One]

Big Gay News In Kentucky Today – Read This

Here’s the headline:

Kentucky ban on gay marriages from other states struck down by federal judge

Some excerpts:

A federal judge Wednesday struck down Kentucky’s ban on recognizing valid same-sex marriages performed in other states, saying it violates the U.S. Constitution’s guarantee of equal protection under the law.

U.S. District Judge John G. Heyburn II joined nine other federal and state courts in invalidating such bans.

Ruling in a suit brought by four gay and lesbian couples, Heyburn said that while “religious beliefs … are vital to the fabric of society … assigning a religious or traditional rationale for a law does not make it constitutional when that law discriminates against a class of people without other reasons.”

-SNIP-

Citing the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling throwing out the Defense of Marriage Act, Heyburn struck down the portion of Kentucky’s 2004 constitutional amendment that said “only a marriage between one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as a marriage in Kentucky.”

Heyburn did not rule that Kentucky must allow gay marriages to be performed in the state.

-SNIP-

Heyburn also rejected the arguments of the Family Foundation of Kentucky — that recognizing same-sex marriages would undermine the fundamental role of marriage in ensuring procreation.

This is a HUGE deal.

UPDATE: Sure, this is likely to be short-lived. But it’s a major moment in the Commonwealth of Kentucky. A real turning point.

Feel free to click here (Warning: PDF Link) to read Heyburn’s ruling.

From Rep. John Yarmuth:

“I am proud of the four Kentucky families who are standing up for marriage equality in this lawsuit and of the thousands more who continue this fight every day. Today’s ruling is an important step forward in the march toward recognition of all marriages under the law and full equality in our Commonwealth.”

Some of the right-wing reaction has been terrific:






Wow – from Rep. Stan Lee:




Mr. Gay Panick 2014 is losing his mind:


That’s right – poor Whitney Westerfield. His poor family is under attack.

Did Bevin Admit To Potential Financial Crimes?

Watching Matt Bevin attempt to redefine himself this week has been painful. Not because anyone cares about him or because flat-out misleading Kentucky voters is what’s been wrong with the Commonwealth for ages. But because he appears to have publicly admitted to potentially serious financial crimes.

Instead of killing the latest scandal – where he signed investment and other government documents and such for his business that he’s now trying to claim he didn’t read or otherwise was willfully lying to investors about – by taking things on the chin? He went on an extremely public meltdown tour and dove head-first into what could turn out to be a huge legal nightmare for him. He’s essentially said that he told his investors that they should keep pumping money into things based on government actions that he never reviewed or agreed with.

Does the man have no real business sense? Does he have no idea why Sarbanes-Oxley was passed in the wake of Enron?

This could be the perfect storm for him. One that could have been avoided if not for unbelievably terrible political sense. There’s not a snowball’s chance in hell that Republican insiders are going to let this be swept under the rug. And if he were able to beat McConnell? He’d be taken to the cleaners by Democrats, abandoned by the NRSC, forever dealing with scandals of his own making.

Get the low-carb snacks ready, kids, and make sure your bourbon supply is solid.

Yes, Kentucky Should Abolish The Death Penalty

The Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Historical Park is planning special events to celebrate the 205th birthday of the nation’s 16th president. [H-L]

New Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said on Tuesday the labor market recovery is “far from complete” despite a drop in unemployment, yet she said the U.S. central bank expects to continue trimming policy stimulus in measured steps due to broader improvements in the economy. [HuffPo]

Former President Bill Clinton will headline a fundraising event for Alison Lundergan Grimes in Louisville at the end of the month. [C-J/AKN]

Alison Grimes and Mitch McConnell could never bring themselves to do something like this. Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA) spent Friday night away from the comforts of her Bay Area home, instead sleeping in cramped quarters at a local homeless shelter to better understand what life is like on the margins. [Think Progress]

Kentuckians with concealed carry licenses could bring their guns into bars — they just couldn’t drink with them under a bill that unanimously passed through a Senate committee Tuesday morning. [Ryan Alessi]

Will your state be next to legalize pot? A snapshot of the landscape for decriminalization, medicinal use, and just plain getting high. [Mother Jones]

Here’s a quick-ish look at the guys who robbed a bank in Louisville last week, one killing himself. [The ‘Ville Voice]

A newly-released email shows that 11 days after the killing of terror leader Osama bin Laden in 2011, the U.S. military’s top special operations officer ordered subordinates to destroy any photographs of the al-Qaida founder’s corpse or turn them over to the CIA. [AP]

Matt Bevin, the Louisville investment manager challenging incumbent U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell in the Republican primary, scrambled Tuesday to explain a 2008 investment report over his signature which appears to endorse the federal “bailout” of Wall Street, an issue on which he has relentlessly criticized McConnell. [Ronnie Ellis]

When a booger bigger than your average middle schooler washed up on a beach in Tasmania in January, the family who walked by it while collecting shells inadvertently discovered a brand new species of jellyfish. [Weather]

A bill was filed Monday that would make state officials personally responsible when a court determines that the agencies they oversee have withheld state records willfully. [H-L]

When will Kentucky join these ranks? Gov. Jay Inslee said Tuesday he was suspending the use of the death penalty in Washington state, announcing a move that he hopes will enable officials to “join a growing national conversation about capital punishment.” [HuffPo]

Environmental concerns have emerged nearly two weeks after a tanker truck accident and fuel spill in Pulaski County. According to the Commonwealth-Journal, officials say some of thousands of gallons of fuel that spilled have seeped into the Sloans Valley Cave System. [WLEX18]

In a development that will shut up exactly no one, the Republicans on the House Armed Services Committee released a report on BENGHAAAAAAZI!!! knocking down yet another conspiracy-theory talking point. [Wonkette]

Greg Stumbo Has Good Campaign Finance Idea

Kentuckians should compare Sen. Mitch McConnell’s and U.S. Rep. Hal Rogers’ responses to the discovery of an endangered fish in the headwaters of Lake Cumberland. The contrast is instructive. [H-L]

At Monday’s congressional hearing on the chemical spill that left 300,000 West Virginians without access to tap water last month, lawmakers had a lot of questions — and got few satisfactory answers in return. [HuffPo]

The National Farm Machinery Show is expected to draw more than 300,000 visitors to the Kentucky Exposition Center this week, generating an economic impact of nearly $22 million, show officials say. [C-J/AKN]

Here’s audio of Rand Paul struggling to explain why he’s supporting Mitch McConnell. [TPM]

Mitch McConnell might have a slightly lower job approval rating in Kentucky than President Barack Obama, according to the Bluegrass Poll , but that’s not stopping him from continuing to use the president as a foil. [Ryan Alessi]

“What we’re trying to do is use the accurate term rather than the euphemistic term that the government wants us to use,” says Greenwald, noting that “most media outlets wouldn’t do it.” [WaPo]

What on earth?! Make Eastern Kentucky into a melting pot for immigration?! Really? That’ll save the mountains? Some people really need to get their butts out of the Golden Triangle every once in a while. For immigrants to move into Appalachia in huge numbers, there’d have to be jobs and infrastructure to support them. Guess what doesn’t exist. [Lane Report]

If you’re uninsured, your odds of being financially ruined if you go to the emergency room are quite high. [Mother Jones]

Four Warren County residents were named to the nomination board that will recommend an appointment to the vacant Warren Circuit Family Court seat once occupied by the late Judge Margaret Huddleston. [BGDN]

Fox News disingenuously blamed the Affordable Care Act (ACA) for a “coverage gap” that could leave 5 million low income Americans without health insurance. In doing so, Fox absolved the sins of the Republican governors whose refusal to expand Medicaid is responsible for the gap and will cost states money. [Media Matters]

House Speaker Greg Stumbo has filed a bill that he hopes will allow candidates running for governor and other state constitutional offices to compete on a more level financial playing field. [Bluegrass Politics]

Matt Bevin, who is challenging Sen. Mitch McConnell in a Republican primary, calls the 2008 federal bailout of banks and Wall Street giants “irresponsible” and says he would have opposed it as a senator. Yet back in 2008, as an investment fund president, Bevin backed the $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program, as well as the government takeover of troubled mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. [Politico]

The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet has awarded a $131.5 million contract to Johnson Brothers Corp. of Fort Worth, Texas to build the Kentucky Lake Bridge. [Press Release & More]

One month after a coal chemical spill contaminated the drinking water of 300,000 West Virginians, residents across the state are still awaiting clean water. A deeper look at this crisis reveals failures in our chemical safety regulations and the coal industry’s dirty water legacy in West Virginia. But it also reveals a triumph of the human spirit: how West Virginians take care of their own in times of need. [Earth Justice]

People Are Mad About Matt Bevin's Damn Dam

People in East Hampton (in New England, where Matt Bevin is from) are mad about Matt Bevin’s dam:

More than 40 people turned out Thursday for a roundtable discussion on issues involving Lake Pocotopaug but especially the Bevin Dam.

Residents arrived, in many cases, angry and/or frustrated about what they said were fluctuating water levels, and demanding answers.

But, as John Moore, president of the Friends of the Lake acknowledged, they were left with few answers and still more questions after the session at the middle school.

Several residents, however, made clear their upset with Matt Bevin, the owner of both the dam and the Bevin Bros. Manufacturing Co. The Bevin family has owned the dam since the 1740s.

“There’s just not a lot of cooperation between (Bevin) and the town,” one resident said.

-SNIP-

Bevin, who lives in Louisville, was castigated for what several of those at the meeting said was an uncooperative stance toward the lake dwellers.

Their frustration reached the point where one resident, Martin Podskoch, said if Bevin’s continues to “play hardball,” perhaps residents should play hardball, too.

If they do decide on that option, Podskoch said, it could create problems for Bevin’s primary challenge against Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.

-SNIP-

But the two, Arthur P. Christian II and Peter Spangenberg, balked at discussing Bevin’s all-important water rights, saying they were no qualified to address that issue. Christian did say the dam was rated as “a significant hazard.” But he was quick to note that designation did not apply to the dam itself but rather to the potential damage that could occur downstream if the dam failed.

The dam rating scale includes a “high hazard” designation, which means there will be “a probable loss of life” in the event of a dam failure, versus the “possible loss of life” for dam rated as “a significant hazard,” Christian explained.

McConnell ad in 3, 2…