KY-SEN Already Embarrassing The Commonwealth

The ACT testing company has released its annual college and career readiness report and it shows a drop in reading scores for Kentucky’s 2013 graduating class. But state education officials say that’s because the ACT has changed the way it measures reading and the state is not using the same benchmark system. [WFPL]

While the National Rifle Association publicly fights against a national gun registry, the organization has gone to incredible lengths to compile information on “tens of millions” of gun owners — without their consent. [BuzzFeed]

While explaining several problems she has with the Affordable Care Act, Alison Lundergan Grimes defended President Obama’s health care overhaul on Tuesday, saying it will add jobs and federal dollars to Kentucky and that Congress should not “throw the baby out with the bathwater.” [WHAS11]

This morning, a U.N. chemical weapons inspection team woke up in the five-star Four Seasons Hotel in downtown Damascus. No more than a 15-minute drive away, in the capital’s eastern suburbs, there were rumblings that the worst chemical weapons attack in decades was underway. [Foreign Policy]

As the redistricting bill peacefully rolls to passage in the Capitol, the war over Kentucky’s legislative district maps rages on in federal court. Greg Stumbo tried to lecture the federal court. [C-J/AKN]

That Western governments needed such a public reminder that “journalism is not terrorism” is an illustrative commentary on how intense today’s assault is on basic press freedom. [David Sirota]

Mitch McConnell came to Morehead Friday with his message of opposition to what he and other Republicans call Obamacare. He answered questions from local health officials about the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA). [The Morehead News]

If you check out the comments on this McConnell-Bevin story, you’ll quickly learn that most people outside Kentucky regard Alison Lundergan Grimes as forgettable and a lost cause. [Wonkette]

The Kentucky House on Wednesday overwhelmingly passed new legislative district lines that would create four new House districts and pair eight incumbents in four other districts. [Bluegrass Politics]

Yet another poll for which Kentuckians are grateful. A significant chunk of Louisiana Republicans evidently believe that President Barack Obama is to blame for the poor response to the hurricane that ravaged their state more than three years before he took office. [TPM]

During the last round of redistricting, state Senate Republicans tried to district long-time Democratic Sen. Walter Blevins of Morehead out of a job. [Ronnie Ellis]

Ever wondered what NSA transparency looks like? Last week, the Washington Post published an internal audit finding the NSA had violated privacy rules thousands of times in recent years. [ProPublica]

Pee Alert: Beshear Mad Businesses Leaving KY

Someone should probably clue Lexington in to the reality that prayer isn’t going to solve the gun violence problem. [H-L]

Maybe businesses wouldn’t flee Kentucky if it was worth doing business in the Commonwealth? As it stands, only businesses that back Beshear politically seem to be acceptable. Others are moving across the river or going further south. [HuffPo]

U.S. Congressman Hal Rogers, R-Somerset, the chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, admits his frustration. [Ronnie Ellis]

More than two months after documents leaked by former contractor Edward Snowden first began appearing in the news media, the National Security Agency still doesn’t know the full extent of what he took, according to intelligence community sources, and is “overwhelmed” trying to assess the damage. [NBC News]

Seems like just yesterday people were attacking us for questioning Tim Conley. [Page One]

How is this even news now? We’re all nearly over the senate race. Donald Trump, the billionaire real estate magnate, has joined the chorus criticizing Senate Kentucky candidate Matt Bevin for apparently lying on his online resume. [The Hill]

Jack Conway is still mad at for-profit colleges. And not for the reasons he should be. But because they supported his former embarrassingly bad opponent. [C-J/AKN]

EMILY’s List has endorsed Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes’ bid against Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. [Roll Call]

With the HealthFirst Bluegrass clinic in financial straits and the viability of using a $11.7 million federal grant to construct a new clinic in question, the two boards overseeing public health in Fayette County have scheduled competing meetings Thursday. [H-L]

The National Security Agency has developed surveillance programs that reach more Internet communications of Americans than have publicly been disclosed, according to current and formal officials cited in a Wall Street Journal article posted online Tuesday night. [HuffPo]

Nobody wants to find themselves in the back of a coroner van, but it is the place that many drug users in Fayette County are ending up. Overdose deaths are on the rise in Lexington. [WKYT]

U.S. businesses are hiring at a robust rate. The only problem is that three out of four of the nearly 1 million hires this year are part-time and many of the jobs are low-paid. [Reuters]

Pray To Jeebers We’ll Forget Sexytime Sypher

Students from three universities are working on a solar house concept they hope will be useful as low-cost, energy-efficient housing after natural disasters. The team from the University of Louisville, University of Kentucky and Ball State University in Muncie, Ind., are putting the final touches on the Phoenix House — a domicile that may one day replace temporary trailers provided by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. [H-L]

OH GOD WE’RE ALL GONNA DIE!!!1! Lyme disease is about 10 times more common than previously reported, health officials said Monday. [HuffPo]

A federal court ruling has complicated the schedule and process of the special session of the General Assembly which convened Monday with the intention of passing redistricting maps by Friday of this week. [Ronnie Ellis]

Those colleagues who denigrate Snowden or say reporters should trust the state to know best may one day have a cruel awakening. One day it will be their reporting, their cause, under attack. But at least reporters now know to stay away from Heathrow transit lounges. [The Guardian]

Driving along on Ky. 324, a motorist could easily miss the log cabin, but that is expected to change. [C-J/AKN]

Looks like Sexytime Karen Sypher’s attorney is having a lot of fun these days. [DOJ]

Cleanup has begun at 44 houses near the former Black Leaf Chemical Plant in Louisville. [WFPL]

Hanni Fakhoury, a lawyer at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, has compiled a rough guide of where warrantless cell phone searches are allowed and not allowed when arresting someone based on rulings in state and federal courts “that have looked at the legal issue head on.” [Forbes]

The tiny town of Vicco made national news yet again last week, and a seven-minute segment on Comedy Central’s “The Colbert Report” may not be the last America sees of Vicco on national television. [Hazard Herald]

No one knows exactly how much they’ll need to ensure a comfortable retirement. But human resources consulting firm Aon Hewitt recently released an estimate: 11 times your final working salary if you plan to retire at age 65 and maintain the same standard of living. [HuffPo]

Seriously, does anyone on the Grimes Campaign have a lick of political sense? It’s like Jonathan Hurst and crew have spent the past few years locked in a dungeon somewhere. WTF are they thinking? ARE they thinking? [More WFPL]

We all know this to be especially true in the Commonwealth of Kentucky. U.S. lawmakers are once again taking advantage of their summer recess to race around the globe on privately financed tours to places like China, the Middle East and Scotland – trips watchdog groups cite as evidence that congressional ethics reforms are unraveling. [Reuters]

Of Course KY Wastes $ On A Special Session

A special lawmaking session to redraw state legislative districts started Monday with high hopes that it will end Friday with bipartisan agreement on reworked House and Senate districts. [H-L]

The Senate’s most prominent climate change skeptic, Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), called in to Mike Huckabee’s radio show on Monday to discuss conspiracy theories on global warming and the Obama administration’s plans to deal with it. [HuffPo]

The Kentucky Supreme Court will hear arguments next week that could settle three years of legal wrangling over whether Instant Racing machines are, as touted, just another legal pari-mutuel bet — or unauthorized slot machines. [C-J/AKN]

Of course Grandmother Hal Rogers is one of the nine congresscritters up for re-election without a campaign website. [Click the Clicky]

State House Majority Leader Rocky Adkins said Monday he is considering moving his residence from Catlettsburg to one of the counties in the newly drawn House 99th District. [Ronnie Ellis]

Democrats have long despised Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) but they hope he wins his primary race against Matt Bevin because they view him as an easier opponent in 2014. Or maybe they’re realizing Bevin is an extremist lunatic who would be worse than Mitch McConnell. [The Hill]

Fayette Circuit Judge James Ishmael ruled Monday that former state lawmaker Steve Nunn is liable for $20 million in punitive damages and $3,827,968.97 in compensatory damages for causing the death of Amanda Ross. [H-L]

Things that don’t matter: Fringe teabagger groups being mad at Mitch McConnell and running web ads about defunding health care reform. [WaPo]

Jimmy Rose was not on the national stage performing for America’s Got Talent on Monday. Instead he attended an open house for Congressman Hal Rogers in Perry County. [WYMT]

The National Security Agency assured Americans last week that it only surveils a tiny percentage of the web data it collects. But it turns out the NSA screwed up the math, and that percentage was off by an order of magnitude. [The Atlantic]

With the special legislative session beginning today to focus on redistricting, we thought it’d be a good idea to focus on something that actually matters – Kentucky’s fiscal health. [Page One]

A spokesman for Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), the head of the Appropriations State and Foreign Operations Subcommittee, told The Daily Beast that the Obama administration has decided to withhold aid from Egypt. [HuffPo]

Woah, Prestonsburg Produced A Big Ass Pumpkin

State regulators and a watchdog agency for people with disabilities have reached an agreement that advocates say will dramatically improve the lives of 600 people with serious mental illness who are living in personal care homes. [H-L]

There has been lots of reporting on the National Security Agency’s surveillance programs in recent months. But the most politically significant moment might well have been Barton Gellman’s revelation late Thursday that the NSA in recent years has committed thousands of privacy violations — per year. [WaPo]

Dear Central Kentucky Teabaggers: Brett Guthrie has already said that the defund amendment is a supreme waste of time. [BGDN]

More than half of all homes sold last year and so far in 2013 have been financed without a mortgage, according to an analysis by economists at Goldman Sachs Group. [WSJ]

State House Democrats Friday released their latest proposal to re-draw House legislative districts and it pits two sets of Democratic incumbents, including Majority Floor Leader Rocky Adkins and Kevin Sinnette, and two sets of Republican incumbents against each other in new districts. [Ronnie Ellis]

Matt Bevin went on some teabagger podcast thing no one has heard of and then promoted it. But if you take a look at the podcast host’s remarks, he’s no fan. [Click the Clicky]

Alison Grimes certainly isn’t alone when it comes to avoiding questions from the press. Here’s the latest involving Mitch McConnell. [Ashland Independent]

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) on Saturday called for a Supreme Court review of the constitutionality of the National Security Agency’s top-secret surveillance programs, arguing that congressional hearings and new safeguards announced by President Obama might not be sufficient to ensure privacy rights. [The Hill]

Once able to make appointments for breast and cervical cancer screenings at HealthFirst Bluegrass, women are now having to line up outside the clinic at 7:30 a.m. to be seen and still might not be screened that day. [H-L]

The acrimony between the Republican establishment and Ron Paul supporters who took control of state parties in 2012 has begun to fade as a new period of détente – even cooperation – starts to shape their often-fraught relationship. [Politico]

An agreement has been reached that will lead to better care for some residents at personal care homes. [WKYT]

Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) on Wednesday offered an endorsement for a proposal to grant citizenship to children who were brought to the U.S. illegally by their parents. [The Hill]

Whether you go for the food, the rides or the exhibits, your first fair attraction will be the parking. After many people complained about time and hassle in the past, the Kentucky State Fair says it is off to a much better start this year thanks to a revamped system. [WDRB]

The 20-year-old document – labeled the Hotel Custody log by the Brooklyn District Attorney’s office – is not easy to decipher. [ProPublica]

Dwight Slone, a Prestonsburg grower, grabbed first place in the fourth annual Largest Pumpkin Contest at the Kentucky State Fair. His pumpkin, which was grown in a patch of sand, weighed 1,034 pounds. Slone was the 2011 State Fair runnerup in the largest pumpkin competition. [C-J/AKN]

D.C. Folks Are More Excited Than Kentuckians

A federal grand jury has added a new charge against a Kentucky sheriff’s deputy, this one related to an alleged assault in 2008. [H-L]

National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden wants to set the record straight after individuals associated with his father have, in his words, “misled” journalists into “printing false claims about my situation.” [HuffPo]

Just as a new school year is about to get underway, a central Kentucky school district has had to make some tough decisions. [WKYT]

The National Security Agency has broken privacy rules or overstepped its legal authority thousands of times each year since 2008, the Washington Post reported on Thursday, citing an internal audit and other top-secret documents. [Reuters]

King’s Daughters Health System is restructuring its operations in response to a decline in patient volumes and reimbursement levels. [Ashland Independent]

Ancient rock etchings found along a dried-up lake bed in Nevada are the oldest petroglyphs in North America, scientists have said. The carvings, in the north of the state, are at least 10,000 years old and may be as old as 14,800 years. [BBC]

The Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources says federal officials have confirmed that a gray wolf was killed in Kentucky for the first time in more than a century. [H-L]

Though the topic may be decidedly less salacious, the Republican Party is embroiled in its own semantics gymnastics this week as its national committee members gather in Boston for their summer meeting. The imbroglio playing out Thursday is over the swap of the word “may” for the word “shall” — and how that little change in a party rule could affect the 2016 presidential prospects of potential out-of-the-GOP-mainstream candidates. [NPR]

Jack Conway said Thursday he doesn’t think the firm that wants to build a natural gas liquids pipeline has the ability to take land through eminent domain. [CN|2]

The sweeping presidential power to help prisoners that Attorney General Eric Holder didn’t mention. [ProPublica]

The two leading independent political handicappers in the country — Charlie Cook and Stu Rothenberg — paint very different pictures of the race unfolding in Kentucky between Sen. Mitch McConnell (R), businessman Matt Bevin (R) and Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes (D). [WaPo]

Federal investigators found no initial evidence that a UPS cargo jet suffered engine failure or was burning before it clipped trees at the end of a runway and slammed into a hillside, killing the two crew members onboard, officials said Thursday. [WLEX18]