McConnell Doesn’t Have Guts To Fight Back

A former chief regional Social Security judge was sentenced Monday to six months in federal prison for scheming to retaliate against an employee who blew the whistle on alleged fraud by Floyd County disability lawyer Eric Conn. [H-L]

Donald Trump on Thursday lashed out at Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Granny) over Republicans’ latest failed attempt to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. [HuffPo]

A lawsuit challenging Gov. Matt Bevin’s controversial restructuring of state education boards can move forward, a judge ruled Wednesday. [C-J/AKN]

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley has lost two of her top aides, key departures that come at a time of growing international tensions between the U.S. and North Korea. Haley’s Chief of Staff Steven Groves resigned, as did her communications director Jonathan Wachtel. [Bloomberg]

James Comer, R-Paid For An Abortion & Lied About It While Attacking His Victim Again, was slated to travel to Israel this week as part of a Congressional delegation to attend a seminar on foreign policy and national security issues both countries are facing. [Glasgow Daily Times]

When millions of Americans turn their faces skyward to witness the nation’s first coast-to-coast total solar eclipse in a century, many will reach for specially designed sunglasses, but experts caution the public to stay clear of unsafe counterfeits. [Reuters]

Narcan is a powerful drug that can yank an overdose patient back from the claws of death, and local residents can learn how to use it to save a life Friday at The Neighborhood in Ashland. [Ashland Independent]

The Matthew Shepard Foundation has been trying to learn more about why so many victims of potential hate crimes — more than 50 percent annually according to the feds — don’t file complaints with the authorities. [ProPublica]

An on-going Madison County Drug Task Force investigation resulted in officers seizing a total of 1.6 pounds of heroin, 14 grams of methamphetamine, 3.8 ounce of marijuana and eight Ecstasy tablets. [Richmond Register]

It’s basically the opposite of a major government infrastructure program. Government spending on transportation and other public works is in decline as federal funding stagnates and state and local governments tighten their belts. [NY Times]

The Trump administration’s top health official backed away from a presidential commission’s proposal to declare a national public health emergency to address the opioid crisis. [WFPL]

On Saturday, Donald Trump tweeted his gratitude to a social-media super-fan, ­Nicole Mincey, magnifying her praise of him to his 35 million followers. Here’s the problem: There is no evidence the Twitter feed belongs to someone named Nicole Mincey. And the account, according to experts, bears a lot of signs of a Russia-backed disinformation campaign. [WaPo]

Placing much of the blame on smoking, a study chronicling the ongoing health crisis in Appalachia has concluded that the 13-state region suffers from a growing disparity in infant mortality and life expectancy, two key indicators of “a nation’s health and well-being.” [H-L]

Washington and Moscow have over decades established mechanisms to prevent crises from spinning out of control, from hotlines to satellites and over-flights that allow the nuclear-armed adversaries to track each other’s military deployments. [HuffPo]

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Scott Reed Is Lying Through His Teeth. I Know Because I’m The Guy Who Caught Him.

Yes, it’s several days after Fancy Farm. You didn’t hear us mention it this year because it’s pretty much a bigoted circle jerk. It’s a catholic church picnic that is proud of racist jokes told by idiots like Scott Jennings. A church! Okay with racism. They’ve had plenty of time to apologize and haven’t. So it’s yet another Kentucky tradition we won’t be wasting much time on. [H-L]

Kentucky is really missing out. It’ll always miss out, thanks to the backward-ass white guys in Frankfort. A marijuana company purchased the entire town of Nipton, California, for $5 million this week as part of a new cannabis tourism venture. [HuffPo]

Not only is this not ridiculous, I spent three months personally researching and investigating. You can verify it by getting a copy of my ORR at KREF from March to see that I was onto him. Scott Reed willfully broke campaign finance law like it was no big deal. He can whine all he wants but I caught him and he knows it. I dare him to try coming for me (try me, Scott) because this is just scratching the surface of my research file and I’ll happily give the entire thing to the KDP – people I despise. If the KREF doesn’t fine him, I’ll release everything. Should be fun to watch. P.S. People who sign affidavits should make absolutely certain they haven’t had (disclosed – they were aware) recorded conversations with me or exchanged dozens of emails about the matter. And if anyone wants to hire me to do research? Yell my way. I’m especially keen to focus on these lying New Nazi Republicans this cycle. [C-J/AKN]

Five transgender service members serving on active duty sued Donald Trump on Wednesday over his directive to ban them from the U.S. military. [McClatchy]

Kentuckians who feel going to the doctor is too expensive — but don’t know how to shop for the lowest price — aren’t alone. [WFPL]

U.S. diplomats should sidestep questions from foreign governments on what it would take for the Trump administration to re-engage in the global Paris climate agreement, according to a diplomatic cable seen by Reuters. [Reuters]

Eight and 37. For Morehead-Rowan County EMS Director Danny Blevins and Coroner John Northcutt these aren’t just numbers. [The Morehead News]

The first results in a national effort to better measure the levels of contaminants released through the burning of munitions and their waste show elevated levels of lead, arsenic and other toxins. [ProPublica]

Ugh, why does Mt. Sterling/Montgomery County have to be so awful all the time? I guess we can blame it on the school system. [WDRB]

Investigators for the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, recently searched a home of Donald Trump’s former campaign manager, Paul Manafort, for tax documents and foreign banking records, according to a person briefed on the matter. [NY Times]

Kentucky is no stranger to the hepatitis C virus. In fact, the state had the highest rate of new hepatitis C infections in the nation from 2008 through 2015, according to the most recent data available from the Kentucky Department for Public Health. [Richmond Register]

Lawyers for black Alabama schoolchildren are appealing a federal judge’s decision to allow a predominantly white city near Birmingham to secede from its predominantly black school district, arguing that to allow such a separation would run counter to long-standing case law and undermine black students’ civil rights. [WaPo]

A Pike County school employee drugged and sexually assaulted a 16-year-old girl at a party at his home after school officials were warned of the planned gathering but did nothing to stop it, a federal lawsuit alleges. [H-L]

Rex Tillerson sought to walk back Donald Trump’s threat of “fire and fury” against North Korea’s escalating nuclear program, the latest example that doing damage control for his boss is a regular part of his job. [HuffPo]

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Latest UofL Con Artist Stunt Will Fire You Up But Isn’t Surprising

Can you imagine what would have happened if Valarie Honeycutt Spears put this much effort into covering scandals like the ones we spent YEARS uncovering in Montgomery County? Nah? Don’t worry about it – no one can. She needs to be replaced or reassigned. [H-L]

You can’t fix this kind of stupid. Donald Trump on Tuesday threatened North Korea, promising “fire and fury like the world has never seen,” following new reports the country has escalated its nuclear program. [HuffPo]

CON ARTIST ALERT! Here’s hoping she and Jim Ramsey end up in prison. They won’t, but here’s hoping. They deserve to pay for helping Robert Felner and every other criminal the past decade. Facing a potential lawsuit from the University of Louisville, fired foundation officer Kathleen Smith and her husband have transferred five properties they own valued at nearly $800,000 to shell companies. [C-J/AKN]

Mitch McConnell (R-Grandmother) on Monday expressed frustration with what he called Donald Trump’s “excessive expectations” of the legislative process as Republicans struggle to chalk up major achievements under a united government. [The Hill]

Bullshit alert. Co-founders of the New Kentucky Project, Adam Edelen and Matt Jones, will be at the Morehead Conference Center at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 9, as part of their Barnstorming Tour. [The Morehead News]

The Trump administration has reversed an Obama administration stance and will support Ohio in its bid at the U.S. Supreme Court to revive a state policy of purging people from voter-registration lists if they do not regularly cast ballots. [Reuters]

Heroin in the streets didn’t spark the vicious drug epidemic throttling Boyd County, Sheriff Bobby Jack Woods argued as he urged the fiscal court to file suit against opioid distributors. [Ashland Independent]

The 1907 episode in a seaside timber town in Washington came to be known as the Bellingham Riots. Really, though, there were no riots. There was a pogrom. [ProPublica]

Residents of Mayde Spur Road in Berea woke to a foul smelling odor early Sunday morning. The alleged culprit was an uncontrolled release of chemicals from KI (USA) Corporation, located nearby on Mayde Road. [Richmond Register]

The average temperature in the United States has risen rapidly and drastically since 1980, and recent decades have been the warmest of the past 1,500 years, according to a sweeping federal climate change report awaiting approval by the Trump administration. [NY Times]

There’s no dearth of research on health disparities in Appalachia. But a newly-formed group of researchers at Virginia Tech says there is a dearth of scientific research into why these disparities exist, and how environmental factors could be contributing. [WFPL]

You can thank these backward-ass New Nazies for maybe getting you killed on a train or bus. Continuing its quest to relieve industries of regulatory burdens, the Trump administration has scrapped a proposal that would have required truck and bus drivers, and railroad engineers be tested for a disorder that could cause them to fall asleep on the job. [WaPo]

Here’s Valarie with a one-pager asking whether Kentucky’s proposed charter schools rules are tough enough. Of course not? Seriously, she needs to be fired or reassigned. [H-L]

The Department of Justice reversed its position Monday on an important case before the Supreme Court that deals with state procedures for removing people from the voter rolls. The move signals another break with Obama administration policy on voting issues and, according to critics, shows how hostile the Trump Justice Department will be to voting rights. [HuffPo]

McConnell Bungled Health Care For Years

***Care about the future of Kentucky? Help us cover FOIA and open records request fees relating to Matt Bevin and Jamie Comer.*** [CLICK HERE]

Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes has once again declined to give detailed information about Kentucky voters to a committee President Donald Trump set up to investigate election integrity. [H-L]

Fun watching McConnell repeatedly lose on this front for more than eight years. Seven years of Republican promises to repeal the Affordable Care Act withered away to almost nothing on the Senate floor early Friday morning. [HuffPo]

Six years, five months and 11 days after she was sentenced to prison for trying to extort cash, cars and a house from University of Louisville basketball coach Rick Pitino, Karen Cunagin Sypher’s sentence officially expire[d] Friday. [C-J/AKN]

If you read Jared Kushner’s statement to congressional committees looking for evidence of a crime, there isn’t much there. But if you read it from the perspective of the Russians trying to gain a toehold—or more—inside the Trump campaign, you realize how easy he made it for them. [New Yorker]

Newsprint is dying and there’s no reason to force government to subsidize it. Maybe it wasn’t Daniel in the lion’s den, but Kentucky Press Association Executive Director David Thompson surely felt outnumbered Wednesday as a committee of state lawmakers heard a line of public agencies ask for revisions in a state law which requires public notice of official documents in local newspapers. [Ronnie Ellis]

In an arrangement prominent ethics experts say is without precedent and potentially illegal, the White House is referring questions for senior presidential adviser Stephen K. Bannon to an outside public relations agent whose firm says she is working for free. [TIME]

State Rep. Jim Wayne is viewed by some as a liberal Democrat while state Budget Director John Chilton works for, what many view, as a pretty conservative Republican governor, Matt Bevin. But both agree on Kentucky’s fiscal situation: it’s a mess and growing worse and something must be done. [More Ronnie Ellis]

The Senate rejected a scaled-back ObamaCare repeal bill in the early hours of Friday in a shocking vote that marks a major defeat for GOP leaders and the seven-year effort to repeal the health law. [The Hill]

Kentucky’s economic outlook took another hit this past week as Moody’s downgraded the state’s bond ratings to Aa3 from Aa2 following the announcement the state failed to make its revenue estimates for the fiscal year and in light of its growing public pension problems. [The Morehead News]

The Republican Party’s seven-year dream of dismantling the Affordable Care Act came to what seemed like a climactic end early Friday, punctured by the Senate’s vote to reject a last-ditch proposal to repeal a few parts of the health law. [NY Times]

Bullfrogs croaked loudly at Sloan’s Crossing Pond at Mammoth Cave National Park on Tuesday night as biologists set up nets across the walkway surrounding the pond and in the nearby woods. [Glasgow Daily Times]

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) played his hand on the Senate Republicans’ health-care proposal for the maximum political effect. It’s always the case that it’s the people who are wavering at the last minute who end up getting all the attention: Undecided voters, new car buyers, bachelorettes on reality television shows. In politics, though, there’s special cultural role acclaim for those who, at the last minute, do the unexpected — often while those who did exactly what was expected get little fanfare. [WaPo]

In an effort to increase wild ginseng populations on national forest lands, a ban prohibiting ginseng harvest in the Daniel Boone National Forest has been extended through the 2017 harvest season, from Sept. 1 to Dec. 1. [H-L]

Russia ordered the United States to cut its diplomatic staff by Sept. 1 and said it was seizing a dacha compound and warehouse used by U.S. diplomats in retaliation for new U.S. sanctions against Moscow. [HuffPo]

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Another Kentucky Republican Foot Tapper!

The number of prescriptions for a class of painkillers that inflamed drug abuse in Kentucky for years has gone down since 2010, according to a federal study. However, several counties remained near the top nationally in 2015 in the amount of the drugs, called opioids, that doctors authorized, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. [H-L]

Of COURSE a Letcher County Republican got caught trying to have sex with men in a department store restroom! Way to go, David Narramore. You’re 54. It’s beyond time for you to deal with your denial. That’s what Republicanism does to you. [WLEX18]

A six-person committee of the University of Louisville’s board of trustees began reviewing a draft nepotism policy that would more clearly define relationships, such as domestic partners, and outline other rules for university employees. [C-J/AKN]

Coward. Donald Trump reportedly told Theresa May he will not make a state visit to the UK until he is guaranteed a “better reception”. [The Independent]

This is what’s driving the news in Morehead these days. Thank goodness it’s not Kim Davis. A new development being built in southwest Morehead drew some concerns from Morehead City Council member Tom Carew during Monday’s monthly meeting. [The Morehead News]

Trump entered office pledging to cut red tape, and within weeks, he ordered his administration to assemble teams to aggressively scale back government regulations. But the effort — a signature theme in Trump’s populist campaign for the White House — is being conducted in large part out of public view and often by political appointees with deep industry ties and potential conflicts. [ProPublica]

The Grayson City Council on Tuesday voted to accept the recommendation of the city’s tourism and convention commission to impose a 3-percent tax on food served at local restaurants. [Ashland Independent]

The U.S. military is spending $130,000 a month to rent space in Trump Tower in New York City for the White House Military Office, despite the fact that Trump hasn’t stayed at the property in months. [The Hill]

The coroner here in the outer suburbs of Cincinnati gets the call almost every day. Man “slumped over the dining room table.” Woman “found in the garage.” Man “found face down on the kitchen floor of his sister’s residence.” Man “on his bedroom floor — there was a syringe beneath the body.” Coroner Lisa K. Mannix chronicles them all in autopsy reports. [Richmond Register]

As their seven-year effort to repeal and replace Obamacare derailed in the U.S. Senate, Republicans faced the prospect of doing the once unthinkable: working with Democrats to make fixes to former President Barack Obama’s 2010 healthcare law. [Reuters]

You know some “pastor” is probably about to get semi-wealthy after this pointless effort. [Glasgow Daily Times]

Rinat Akhmetshin, the Russian-American lobbyist who met with Donald Trump Jr. at Trump Tower in June 2016, had one consistent message for the journalists who met him over the years at the luxury hotels where he stayed in Moscow, London and Paris, or at his home on a leafy street in Washington: Never use email to convey information that needed to be kept secret. [NY Times]

Sorry, Bill Garner, but you’re not going to be able to fix that in the Commonwealth of Kentucky. [Tom Eblen]

After seven years of promises, Republicans just can’t find the votes to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. They don’t know what to do now. [HuffPo]

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The UofL Dam Has Finally Broken

Have you read about Matt Bevin’s latest education embarrassment? He’s appointed someone with quite the scandalous educational past. Because he has absolutely no sense at all. [Page One]

Where is the Kentucky Democratic Party? Dead, bloated, about to pop as it floats down the Kentucky River surrounded by a froth of turds and old milk jugs. Dr. Michael Winkler, a radiologist and associate professor at the University of Kentucky Medical School, took time off Wednesday afternoon from reading patients’ charts to join about 100 people protesting Vice President Mike Pence as he called for a new federal health care law. [H-L]

Bigots always run from reality. Mike Pence quickly moved to distance himself from Donald Trump Jr. this week after a series of bombshell reports found the president’s eldest son had met in June 2016 with a Russian lawyer in an effort to obtain damaging intel on presidential rival Hillary Clinton. Pence’s spokesman Marc Lotter sought Wednesday to increase that separation during an interview on Fox News but refused, repeatedly, to say if the vice president had met with any Russians himself during the presidential campaign. [HuffPo]

Hold on to your wig, Jim Ramsey, cause you’re about to feel the burn. Karma’s a real bitch. The Kentucky Attorney General’s office has informed the University of Louisville that it is investigating the disclosures in the forensic audit of the university’s foundation. [C-J/AKN]

Democratic members of the House Judiciary Committee sent a letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Wednesday asking why the Department of Justice settled a major money-laundering case involving a real-estate company owned by the son of a powerful Russian government official whose lawyer met with Donald Trump Jr. last year. [Business Insider]

A $200,000 grant has been awarded for the environmental clean-up of the former Parker Seal plant in Berea. The Brownfields Program grant was secured from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) by the Kentucky River Foothills Development Council Inc. (KRFDC) in partnership with Fahe in Berea. [Richmond Register]

Democrats say they have little reason to believe that Republicans are serious about doing tax reform on a bipartisan basis, saying they have yet to put meaningful action behind their words. [The Hill]

Mike Pence came here Wednesday “to turn up the heat on Congress” to pass a Republican-backed bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. He was largely preaching to the choir, however. A group of about 150 invited guests, nearly all of whom are Republicans and Republican office holders, including Gov. Matt Bevin and Kentucky Congressmen Andy Barr of Lexington and Brett Guthrie of Bowling Green, were at the gathering. [Ronnie Ellis]

But we’ve got no funds for health care or keeping people alive? Jeff Sessions said on Wednesday the Justice Department plans to hire 300 additional assistant U.S. attorneys to help fight a recent national increase in crime, including a focus on transnational gangs such as MS-13. [Reuters]

An open house was held at the Morehead Public Defenders office last Friday at their new location on US 60 West. Remarks were made by several staff members as well as legislators and judges. [The Morehead News]

Following the revelation that Donald Trump Jr. met with a Russian lawyer connected with the Russian government, defenders of the president’s eldest son have offered a familiar argument: Hillary Clinton’s actions were more egregious. [NY Times]

Ron Bowman drives the Barren County Reads and Feeds bus. When he makes a stop and honks the horn, children run toward the vehicle from all directions. [Glasgow Daily Times]

It was June 7, 2016, and Donald Trump stood on the stage at his Westchester County, N.Y., golf club to launch his general-election race against Hillary Clinton with a big promise. [WaPo]

In a high-stakes bid for conservative support, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has agreed to demands from Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas to allow insurers to sell low-cost, skimpier plans as part of a new but still-reeling health care bill being released Thursday, two GOP aides said. [H-L]

U.S. intelligence officials heard Russian officials discussing associates of Donald Trump in early 2015, the Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday. [HuffPo]

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Republicans Just Want To Kill Everything

Senate Republicans remain at an impasse over the bill to replace former President Barack Obama’s health care law, but it’s too early to call the GOP proposal dead, U.S. Sen. Rand Paul said Monday. [HuffPo]

In many universes, it would be strange for Rob Goldstone, a British publicist and globetrotting eager beaver whose life could easily be mistaken for extended performance art, to be at the center of a massive political scandal involving the president of the United States. [HuffPo]

Matt Bevin can’t even spell “pension” or “tax reform” without having a bout of the gay panic. He also believes the earth is 6,000-years-old. [C-J/AKN]

A “biological annihilation” of wildlife in recent decades means a sixth mass extinction in Earth’s history is under way and is more severe than previously feared, according to research. [The Guardian]

When Republican Gov. Charlie Baker recently groused in a letter to senators that the GOP health care bill reining in Medicaid spending hurts “our lowest income” residents, he echoed a concern of many other governors. [Richmond Register]

The head of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement unit in charge of deportations has directed his officers to take action against all undocumented immigrants they may cross paths with, regardless of criminal histories. The guidance appears to go beyond the Trump administration’s publicly stated aims, and some advocates say may explain a marked increase in immigration arrests. [ProPublica]

An Ashland missionary on Sunday evening called for collaborative action to combat the scourge of addiction in the region, which has led to an explosion of drug overdoses in recent years, including at least 24 overdose fatalities in Boyd County alone in 2017. [Ashland Independent]

It’s a real shame Mitch McConnell will never be poor enough to have to rely upon Medicaid. He’s publicly claiming his health care legislation would not harm anyone on Medicaid. He’s lying. People could die because of his lies and his actions. [WaPo]

Dan Olsen has been named forest supervisor of the Daniel Boone National Forest in Kentucky. Olsen had been serving as the acting forest supervisor and assumes the permanent position in Winchester immediately. [The Morehead News]

Trump’s advisers recruited two businessmen who profited from military contracting to devise alternatives to the Pentagon’s plan to send thousands of additional troops to Afghanistan, reflecting the Trump administration’s struggle to define its strategy for dealing with a war now 16 years old. [NY Times]

Members of the Metcalfe County Fiscal Court learned Tuesday that financing for the construction of the new Metcalfe County Government Center has been approved. [Glasgow Daily Times]

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions will unveil this week a major crackdown on healthcare fraud involving opioid treatment programs, Bloomberg News reported on Wednesday, citing two people familiar with the matter. Republicans will do everything they can to make the opioid crisis worse. [Reuters]

In the six months since Charter Communications replaced Time Warner as the local cable provider, its Spectrum subsidiary has united Lexington’s people. Everybody hates Spectrum. [H-L]

What was that, again, Republicans? What was that about it being about history and not racism? A few dozen Ku Klux Klan members and supporters shouted “white power” at a rally on Saturday in Charlottesville, Virginia where they protested against a city council decision to remove a statute honoring Confederate General Robert E. Lee. [HuffPo]

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