McConnell-Cruz Slap Fight Is Terrific

Even after years of talk about a “war on coal,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell startled some of his constituents in March when he urged open rebellion against a White House proposal for cutting pollution from coal-fired power plants. [H-L]

President Barack Obama fired back at former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (R) on Monday after the 2016 Republican presidential candidate invoked the specter of the Holocaust in comments regarding the Iran nuclear deal. [HuffPo]

Just a reminder that a bunch of butthurt racists cried in Frankfort last week. [C-J/AKN]

In L.A. and cities across the United States, it is effectively illegal to be dirt poor in a country where more than 45 million people live in poverty. [The Intercept]

When thousands of political partisans gather Saturday in the little western Kentucky hamlet with the picturesque name of Fancy Farm, the main attraction will be the governor’s contest between Democrat Jack Conway and Republican Matt Bevin. [Ronnie Ellis]

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Granny) and other Republicans on Sunday criticized their colleague Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Cartoon), who on Friday accused McConnell of lying about a deal to revive the Export-Import Bank. [The Hill]

Madison was among the 118 Kentucky counties in which the unemployment rate was lower in June compared to a year earlier. [Richmond Register]

U.S. presidential candidate Hillary Clinton said on Saturday that she did not use a private email account to send or receive classified information while she was secretary of state, in response to a government inspector’s letter this week. [Reuters]

A revised search and seizure policy is in place for Glasgow Independent Schools that includes a section about canine monitoring. [Glasgow Daily Times]

The Pentagon has urged US citizens not to carry out armed patrols outside military recruitment centres. [BBC]

The state will pay $400,000 to settle two sexual harassment lawsuits against lawmakers and the state agency that runs administrative operations in the state Capitol. [WFPL]

It’s an extremely safe bet that the Republican nominee will not take more action to confront climate change than President Obama has. The question is more how much of the president’s climate agenda the nominee would reverse, repeal, or ignore. [ThinkProgress]

By hedging on gay marriage, embracing his pro-Second Amendment side and following in the state’s bipartisan political tradition of cozying up to coal, Conway risks losing a base he desperately needs if he hopes to offset a motivated conservative electorate in the rest of the state. But it’s really about racism — how many Kentucky Democrats will once again vote against the name “Obama” on the basis of race? [H-L]

U.S. Republican presidential contender Rand Paul said on Sunday he plans to push Congress to cut federal funding for the non-profit reproductive healthcare organization Planned Parenthood in a debate over its treatment of aborted fetal tissue. [HuffPo]

Kentucky Racists Proudly Fly Their Flag

The Davies household is like any other with small children and working parents at 5:30 p.m. — 10-month-old Caroline scoots across the floor; Kate, almost 3, looks frantically for her baby doll while their parents deal with dinner-making, dog-walking and bedtime-starting. [H-L]

This ought to freak some conspiracy theorists out a bit. Pope Francis appealed to world leaders on Saturday to seek a new economic model to help the poor, and to shun policies that “sacrifice human lives on the altar of money and profit.” [HuffPo]

Before this week at the Kentucky Speedway, Trevor Armes had donned a Confederate battle flag symbol on his belt buckle. The 22-year-old from Fairdale hadn’t flown the real deal atop an RV. [C-J/AKN]

President Barack Obama on Friday created three new U.S. national monuments in Texas, Nevada and California spanning more than a million acres (400,000 hectares) in a move he said helps preserve America’s beauty but that Republicans condemned as a “surreptitious land grab.” [Reuters]

The details in a 63-page report on improper spending and other matters in the Fairview School District paint a picture of poorly controlled financial management and a school board that was poorly informed and in some cases did not know its responsibilities. [Ashland Independent]

A scientific assessment on the impacts of hydraulic fracturing in California found that, in large part, the chemicals used are not being identified or tracked, and it’s nearly impossible to tell how damaging the process is to California’s water supply. [ThinkProgress]

The Cave City Council adopted a resolution during a special-called meeting Wednesday allowing Mayor Dwayne Hatcher to proceed with an application for a homeland security grant. [Glasgow Daily Times]

Over the past 15 years, America’s fortunes have changed with dizzying speed. [BBC]

The U.S. Department of Justice says it is investigating hiring practices at the Bowling Green Police Department. [WHAS11]

Democratic presidential candidate Martin O’Malley, currently polling in the low nothings, needs attention. He wants to be the lefty alternative to Hillary Clinton, but the leftier Bernie Sanders has been stealing his thunder. [Politico]

A statement from Alison Grimes’ official office on Friday: I commend South Carolina’s leaders for acting to remove the Confederate battle flag from its statehouse grounds. It is unquestionably a piece of history, and it should remain so, but it does not belong on flagpoles above our government buildings or on public grounds. We should not represent ourselves with symbols of division. As the flag comes down today, let us pray for the victims of the tragedy in Charleston and for continued healing of painful divides in our country. [Press Release]

After a nerve-rattling plunge, stocks in Asia, Europe and the United States managed to end the week ahead of where they started. [NPR]

How would Paul Prather feel if those bakery owners were screaming the n-word and refusing to serve anyone with skin darker than Rand Paul? Would it still be too much to fine them for discrimination? Please. Enough with the microaggression couched in religious kindness b.s. [H-L]

It’s one thing to fight the extremist Islamic State group’s recruitment within the United States. It’s another for the U.S. to help partners tackle the group’s fighters on the ground in Iraq and Syria. [HuffPo]

Corrupt Guy Dies, Media Gushes

Lester H. Burns Jr., a one-time candidate for governor and one of Kentucky’s most colorful, best-known defense attorneys before going to federal prison in the 1980s, has died. [H-L]

War-time suicide attempts in the Army are most common in newer enlisted soldiers who have not been deployed, while officers are less likely to try to end their lives. At both levels, attempts are more common among women and those without a high school diploma, according to a study billed as the most comprehensive analysis of a problem that has plagued the U.S. military in recent years. [HuffPo]

Lawyers for the Sierra Club and LG&E on Thursday argued for two hours over the meaning the word “occasional” in a federal court hearing stemming from a pollution lawsuit filed last year involving the Mill Creek power plant. [C-J/AKN]

Sen. Charles Grassley is demanding the American Red Cross explain how it spent nearly half a billion dollars raised after the 2010 Haiti earthquake. [ProPublica]

Fourteen schools will now offer free breakfast and lunch to the entire student population during the upcoming school year. The total includes all but four schools (Madison Central and Madison Southern high schools, B. Michael Caudill Middle and White Hall Elementary), which is a broad difference from last year. Only five schools previously offered the free lunch plan. [Richmond Register]

U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton will meet privately this month with leaders of the nation’s largest labor federation as she seeks to prevent a revolt by union members infuriated by her cautious stance on a looming trade deal, labor sources told Reuters. [Reuters]

Health officials, confronted with a shocking increase in heroin abuse, are developing a clearer picture of who is becoming addicted to this drug and why. The results may surprise you. [WFPL]

As the world enters into a sixth great extinction, scientists are racing against the clock to save genetic evidence from plants around the world. [BBC]

Kentucky has added two towns in the southern part of the state to those designated as “Trail Towns.” [WKYT & Press Releases]

The Obama administration faces an uphill battle when it seeks to convince a panel of federal judges to let the president’s executive actions on immigration take effect. [The Hill]

Um… Officials say a West Virginia man had been keeping two deer in captivity at his home for at least a year. [Ashland Independent]

Jeb Bush’s unprecedented $114 million haul makes it official: Big money rules American presidential politics. [Politico]

Has Lexington turned into the new Louisville with all the robberies and shootings? [H-L]

The U.S. Office of Personnel Management said on Thursday that hackers had stolen sensitive information – including Social Security numbers – of about 21.5 million people who have undergone background checks for security clearances since 2000. [HuffPo]

Beshear To Clerks: Ya Buncha Fools

The number of heroin overdoses at five northern Kentucky hospitals has continued to climb, but officials aren’t sure if that’s because more people are calling 911 for help, or more people are using heroin. [H-L]

Fox 2000 is developing a movie about the plaintiff in the June 26 ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court case that effectively legalized same-sex marriage. [HuffPo]

A Kentucky clerk of court said the state’s Democratic governor told him he should either issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples or resign from office. [C-J/AKN]

House Republicans are threatening to subpoena documents related to an ObamaCare program at the center of their lawsuit against President Obama. [The Hill]

Population is falling in more than half of Kentucky’s 120 counties, with rural areas bearing the brunt of losses from lagging birth rates and people moving elsewhere. [WDRB]

The National Treasury Employees Union (NTEU) said on Wednesday it has sued a federal government hiring agency over recent cyberattacks, alleging it violated constitutional privacy rights of NTEU members by failing to keep their personnel records safe. [Reuters]

Loretta Garmon has worked at Phillips IGA for 40 years, running the cash register most of the time, but also stocking shelves and carrying groceries to customers’ cars. [Glasgow Daily Times]

The US Army is to reduce the size of its force by 40,000 soldiers over the next two years, according to US media. [BBC]

It’s slightly sad when elected officials can’t comprehend what the freedom of religion does and does not entail. Whitley County Clerk Kay Schwartz is a Christian and she says issuing same-sex licenses would violate her freedom of religion. [WKYT]

In 2000 the world’s leaders agreed on an ambitious plan for attacking global poverty by 2015. [NPR]

Here’s Steve Beshear’s full statement: This morning, I advised Mr. Davis that I respect his right to his own personal beliefs regarding same-sex marriages. However, when he was elected, he took a constitutional oath to uphold the United States Constitution. According to the United States Supreme Court, the Constitution now requires that governmental officials in Kentucky and elsewhere must recognize same-sex marriages as valid and allow them to take place. One of Mr. Davis’ duties as county court clerk is to issue marriage licenses, and the Supreme Court now says that the United States Constitution requires those marriage licenses to be issued regardless of gender. Mr. Davis’ own county attorney has advised him that his oath requires him to do so. / While there are two or three county court clerks still refusing to perform their duties, the rest of the county court clerks are complying with the law regardless of their personal beliefs. The courts and the voters will deal appropriately with the rest. / I will not be calling any special session on this topic and costing the taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars doing so. Any proposal about the process of issuing marriage licenses that meets the standards of the Supreme Court ruling should be carefully thought out and could be considered in the regular session in 2016. [Press Release]

The Supreme Court says midazolam works fine for lethal injections. Experience says otherwise. [Mother Jones]

The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet is going in the right direction in raising salaries of hundreds of engineers to curb high turnover and costly contracts for private engineers, several state lawmakers said Tuesday. [H-L]

CVS Health Corp said it was withdrawing its membership from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce after media reports that the trade group was lobbying globally against anti-smoking laws. [HuffPo]

Louisville Shootings Are Out-Of-Control

Lexington is crowding in on Louisville’s obsession with shootings. [H-L]

At no point in recent memory have consumers been as excited about bourbon as they are today. [HuffPo]

The old Cane Run power plant stacks that have towered above the Ohio River for decades are silent now, their coal burners no longer sending plumes of pollution across the Louisville sky. [C-J/AKN]

The U.S. trade deficit widened in May, fueled by a drop in exports that could heighten concerns over weak overseas demand and a strong U.S. dollar. [Reuters]

The Greenup Meals on Wheels program will cease activities at the end of the month because of issues in funding and attracting volunteers. [Ashland Independent]

Two years after going bankrupt, is Detroit still Detroit? [Mother Jones]

This is the big news in Glasgow. At 2:31 a.m. Tuesday, the Park City and Cave City Volunteer Fire departments, plus the Barren-Metcatcalfe Emergency Medical Service responded to a wreck with injuries at the 45 mile marker in the north bound lane of Interstate 65. [Glasgow Daily Times]

Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush is none too happy about the amount of money he’s had to hand over in federal taxes. [BBC]

A new effort to collect unpaid county occupational tax is underway by Rowan Fiscal Court. [The Morehead News]

Nineteen years after President Bill Clinton endorsed conservative ideas about fighting poverty and signed sweeping welfare reform into law, one of the most poorly thought out elements of that political pact is on the verge of crumbling. [ThinkProgress]

Eight shootings in a single weekend. Jones was shot and killed Saturday evening outside his home, one of eight weekend shootings that Louisville Metro Police are investigating. Jones and two other people, including a Louisville musician and a 60-year-old woman, died of their injuries. [WAVE3]

The GOP-controlled Senate is on track this year to confirm the fewest judges since 1969, a dramatic escalation of the long-running partisan feud over the ideological makeup of federal courts. [Politico]

As South Carolina lawmakers debate Monday on the the fate of the Confederate flag flying outside the Capitol, see the presidential candidates who support removing the flag. [H-L]

Nearly three months after Hillary Clinton announced her candidacy, she remains the favored choice of most Democratic voters, a new HuffPost/YouGov poll finds. [HuffPo]

Gay Panic Reaches Great New Height

Watching these gay-panicked folks scramble to come up with ways to discriminate is tons of fun. [H-L]

Washington state raked in more than $70 million in taxes during its first year of legal and regulated marijuana sales. [HuffPo]

Despite hugely important state legislative elections in his home state, Rand Paul’s political action committee made more donations of more money in New Hampshire in 2014 than in Kentucky. [C-J/AKN]

Universal child care is becoming a central pillar of the liberal agenda — one that, if it is ever realized, could take its place alongside some of the great progressive reforms of the 20th Century, and possibly the Affordable Care Act, as a defining achievement of the Democratic Party. [WaPo]

Members of the Ashland Rotary Club gave a warm welcome to the new CAReS director Monday as she gave an update on the organization and future events. [Ashland Independent]

More than 150,000 U.S. families are homeless each year. The number has been going down, in part because of a program known as rapid rehousing, which quickly moves families out of shelters and into homes. [NPR]

It seems that all eyes have been on Rowan County in the past week as County Clerk, Kim Davis defied the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that there is a constitutional right to same-sex marriage. [The Morehead News]

In the great trade debate last month, the air was filled with promises to help American workers keep pace with a changing world. Days after, the Senate Appropriations Committee approved new Republican cuts from funding for adult education and worker training — programs the GOP had embraced just a year ago. [Politico]

This Fall, 69 Lexington homeowners will see an increase in their property tax. The properties were on the final list generated by the vacant property review commission to help rid the city of eyesores. [WKYT]

With coal trains chugging past in the distance, Jack Perry watches as his wife, Margie, plants row upon row of Hungarian pepper seedlings in the community garden that residents of this West Virginia coal town call the “Garden of Eatin’.” [Reuters]

Three Louisville lawmakers wrote a letter to Jefferson County Public Schools superintendent Donna Hargens on Monday raising “grave concerns” over the hiring of the district’s former lawyer as a teacher at Central High School. [WDRB]

Donald Trump doubled down on his controversial comments about illegal immigration from Mexico on Monday, saying that “infectious disease is pouring across the border.” [The Hill]

Prediction: this won’t end well. The Kentucky Board of Education hopes to have by early August a short list of eight to 10 candidates for Kentucky’s next education commissioner, board chairman Roger Marcum said Monday. [H-L]

U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton said Tuesday that Puerto Rico’s public entities should be able to use U.S. bankruptcy laws to restructure some $72 billion in debt. [HuffPo]