Jamie Comer Beats That Dead Horse

This was Jamie Comer’s laughable press release yesterday: Commissioner Comer is currently in Florida spending time with his family. He will issue a statement tomorrow afternoon about the next steps he will take in this race. [Press Release]

A statewide recanvass of vote totals in the Republican race for governor showed no substantial changes, Secretary of State Alison Lundergran Grimes said Thursday afternoon. But Jamie Comer still might push for a recount. [H-L]

The U.S. Department of Education has formally cleared Navient Corp., the student loan giant formerly part of Sallie Mae, of wrongdoing after an investigation into whether the company cheated troops on their federal student loans. The findings contradict earlier conclusions reached by the Justice Department, which sued the company in May 2014 after determining that Navient systematically overcharged troops and denied them key rights under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act. Federal prosecutors said the company’s actions were “intentional, willful, and taken in disregard for the rights of servicemembers.” [HuffPo]

Citing serious and persistent problems with Kentucky’s food stamp program, federal authorities have warned state officials they must fix the problems quickly or risk losing federal funds the state uses to run the program that helps the poor buy food. [C-J/AKN]

Mitch McConnell said Tuesday the chances are “pretty slim” that Republicans will grow their majority in the U.S. Senate in 2016, saying his goal is to preserve the majority for what he hopes will be a Republican president. [AP]

Nope, the recanvass didn’t change anything. Check out the results in each county. [Click the Clicky]

The Justice Department will not ask the U.S. Supreme Court to stay an appellate court ruling that President Barack Obama’s move to shield millions of undocumented immigrants from deportation should remain on hold, a spokesman said on Wednesday. [Reuters]

Bullitt County magistrates have fired a controversial animal control officer and shelter director. [WDRB]

How federal dollars are financing the water crisis in the West. [ProPublica]

Hundreds of people in Eastern Kentucky in danger of losing their disability payments may soon be part of a lawsuit against the federal government. [WYMT]

The US state of Nebraska has abolished the death penalty after a veto-override was passed through its legislature. [BBC]

There is a man holding a knife to the throat of a woman. A person gets out of their car, has a hammer in their hand and advances, yelling. [The Morehead News]

Many of us have old prescription drugs sitting around in medicine cabinets — so what’s the best way to get rid of them? Some folks simply toss old pills in the garbage, or down the toilet. [NPR]

Jean-Marie is dumb enough to think no one will see right through her desire to open an Western Kentucky office. Using taxpayer dollars to eliminate a commute for her? Right, sure, let’s do that. Kentucky has unlimited funds. [H-L]

The House of Representatives will quickly get down to unfinished business once it returns from the holiday recess: defending trading partners that engage in slavery. [HuffPo]

Ole Gurl Rolled Her Eyes At Rand Paul

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is working on a memoir. [H-L]

Not even U.S. senators are exempt from a little eye-rolling. That’s exactly what Miss Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) did Friday night when Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) began speaking as the Senate debated whether to end the government’s bulk collection of phone records. [HuffPo]

It’s fun watching Republicans talk about of both sides of their mouths about Matt Bevin. [C-J/AKN]

Paul helped scuttle compromise to reauthorize government surveillance programs. [The Hill]

Matt Bevin and Mitch McConnell apparently won’t be getting together anytime soon despite two opportunities this week to do so. [Ronnie Ellis]

Iraq’s Shi’ite paramilitaries said on Tuesday they had taken charge of the campaign to drive Islamic State from the western province of Anbar, giving the operation an openly sectarian codename that could infuriate its Sunni population. [Reuters]

The Kentucky Department of Corrections is hoping to combat a high number of staff vacancies and turnover rates in state prisons by increasing compensation for correctional officers and other hazardous duty staff, according to a government release. [Ashland Independent]

Even as women distinguish themselves as enlisted soldiers, many struggle with depression and a sense of alienation in an intensely male military world. [NY Times]

Several citizens expressed concern at Rowan Fiscal Court last week over Kinder Morgan’s proposal to carry volatile natural gas liquids through around 20 miles of over 60-year-old pipeline in Rowan County. [The Morehead News]

The glaciers of the Southern Antarctic Peninsula region are now also contributing to sea level rise. [WaPo]

Each school year Kentucky State Police say they respond to hundreds of threats that wind up being student pranks, but the consequences are anything but a joke. [WKYT]

The State Department released close to 900 pages of emails from Hillary Clinton’s tenure as secretary on Friday, providing a detailed looked at how an embattled agency responded to terrorist attacks in Benghazi and how Clinton, the frontrunner for the 2016 Democratic nomination for president, deals with her inner circle of advisers and well-wishers. [Politico]

Mediation of claims involving sexual harassment, retaliation and other misconduct against state lawmakers has been postponed until June 22. [H-L]

North American energy ministers said on Monday they had set up a working group on climate change and energy, a partnership designed to help Canada, the United States and Mexico harmonize policies. [HuffPo]

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]

Post-Holiday Hangover? Read This Crap

Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul led a successful effort to block renewal of the Patriot Act early Saturday morning, followed by a deeply divided Senate leaving Washington without taking action on the National Security Agency’s soon-to-expire power to collect Americans’ phone records. [H-L]

Some electronic cigarette companies say that their products help people quit smoking, but the evidence to back up this claim is lacking, a new study finds. [HuffPo]

Republican state Sen. Brandon Smith has been acquitted of driving under the influence of alcohol. [C-J/AKN]

A federal judge on Thursday reaffirmed her earlier ruling that same-sex couples in Alabama have a right to wed under the Constitution, but she put the ruling on hold until the U.S. Supreme Court issues a landmark decision on gay marriage. [Reuters]

Roughly 17 months since the enterprise’s first summit started the conversation and began asking the tough questions, Shaping Our Appalachian Region (SOAR) returned to Pikeville for another summit, this time to provide insight and answers. [Hazard Herald]

The voicemail message was like so many others from my mom. “Hi, it’s mom,” she began, then chatted on, full Jewish mother in her distinctive gravelly timbre. “There’s a storm coming your way…Please drive very carefully….Love you. Bye.” [ProPublica]

It’s time for a reminder about Adam Edelen and educational audits. An audit is NOT a forensic accounting investigation. It’s typically a random sampling that gets reviewed unless specific concerns are brought to light. Or, in the case of Montgomery County, not. Because specific concerns were deliberately ignored by Edelen’s team. When he says there was no fraud discovered? Remember: not a forensic accounting, not an in-depth investigation of every nook and cranny. [Business First]

Arizona’s legislature has decided to try to plug a $1 billion budget deficit in part by kicking people off of welfare after just 12 months, the strictest time limit in the country. Sounds like something Frankfort would try. [Think Progress]

More than 50 community members gathered Wednesday to formulate an action plan to improve the health of Madison County residents in three areas – mental health and healthy lifestyle choices as well as alcohol, tobacco and other drug dependency. [Richmond Register]

The sleepy United States senators thought they were done voting. But then, around 1 a.m. on the Saturday before Memorial Day, Senator Rand Paul, Republican of Kentucky and presidential candidate, marched spryly to the Senate floor to let it be known that, no, he would not agree to extend the federal government’s bulk collection of phone records program. Not even for one day. [NY Times]

Bradley Lewis has resigned as a sergeant at the Glasgow Police Department, according to information released Friday by interim GPD Chief James Duff. [Glasgow Daily Times]

Mitch McConnell stood at his desk on the Senate floor after 1 a.m. Saturday, the eyes of his colleagues trained on him. He seemed bewildered. [WaPo]

We’ll miss the voice of Merlene Davis and wish her the best! It has been suggested that with this farewell column I should burn bridges and drop the mic. A couple of years ago, I might have done just that. But I’m a bit tired now, weakened by the weight of mirrors I’ve tried to hold up to politicians, school administrators, conservatives, liberals, Democrats and Republicans, neighbors and friends. I’m running out of ways to say the same thing. [Merlene Davis]

A revealing conversation on the Senate floor Thursday showed precisely how secretive President Barack Obama’s pending trade deals are, and the absurdity of arguments to the contrary. [HuffPo]