This All Helps Rand Win Re-Election

It’s a rare Sunday session for senators, and on the agenda are efforts to repeal President Barack Obama’s health care law and reviving the federal Export-Import Bank. [H-L]

Someone has taken up Justice Stephen Breyer’s invitation to challenge the constitutionality of the death penalty. [HuffPo]

It wasn’t until after Sarah Norris dropped out of high school that she found an educational program that worked for her. [C-J/AKN]

Has he stalled? It doesn’t matter. This is a push to raise his U.S. Senate profile and it’s worked. A year ago, Rand Paul, the libertarian-minded senator from Kentucky, was among the leading potential candidates in the GOP presidential race, topping at least three national polls in spring and early summer. [The Hill]

Officials from Eastern Kentucky University’s aviation degree program flew into the Ashland Regional Airport Thursday to greet students interested in earning a college degree while spending as much time in an airplane cockpit as in a college classroom. [Ashland Independent]

Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz ripped into his party’s establishment on Friday, calling Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell a liar during an unusual public attack on the floor of the Senate. [Reuters]

Matt Bevin, the Republican nominee for governor, acknowledged Thursday for the first time that switching from Kentucky’s state health exchange to a federal exchange won’t in itself affect the state’s expansion of Medicaid. [Ronnie Ellis]

Twenty-five years ago this weekend, the Americans With Disabilities Act was signed into law, officially outlawing discrimination against disabled people in employment, transportation, public accommodation, communications, and government services. [Mother Jones]

Western Kentucky school boards are the absolute worst. Glasgow Independent Schools plans to appeal an opinion from the Kentucky Office of the Attorney General that said its board of education violated the state’s open meetings law in March. [Glasgow Daily Times]

The H-2 visa program invites foreign workers to do some of the most menial labor in America. Then it leaves them at the mercy of their employers. Thousands of these workers have been abused — deprived of their fair pay, imprisoned, starved, beaten, raped, and threatened with deportation if they dare complain. And the government says it can do little to help. [BuzzFeed]

Citizens and emergency responders were only hours away from what could have been a very serious situation when last week’s storms knocked out power at the radio repeater site on Tower Road off Dry Creek Road. [The Morehead News]

You should check out these photos of Dubya and Unka Dick from September 11, 2011. Seriously, not joking, check them out. [Flickr]

A bunch of fat, racist, white guys played dress-up on Friday and showed their true colors. Kentucky’s state government should not turn its back on Confederate symbols, including the “stars and bars” battle flag and Jefferson Davis, speakers told more than a hundred people at a “Southern pride” rally outside the Capitol Friday. [John Cheves]

Mitch McConnell fast-tracked a bill to defund Planned Parenthood on Friday because of an undercover video of a Planned Parenthood doctor discussing the donation of fetal tissue after abortions. But McConnell was one of many Republicans who voted to lift a ban on fetal tissue donations after abortions in 1993 — the very move that legalized Planned Parenthood’s actions. [HuffPo]

Thursday Evening Dept Of Awful

Democrats are pulling out the long knives, questioning Bevin’s commitment to agriculture and pressing the theme that Bevin “can’t be trusted.” During a conference call Wednesday morning organized by the Kentucky Democratic Party, one Kentucky farmer even made note of Bevin’s New Hampshire upbringing. [H-L]

Veterans were exposed to toxic chemicals and they’re accusing the VA of dragging its feet. [HuffPo]

West Virginia coal operator Jim Justice, who invited Gov. Steve Beshear to play a round of golf with the great Tiger Woods at Justice’s Greenbrier resort early this month, was the biggest contributor to the Kentucky Democratic Party last month. [C-J/AKN]

Hillary Clinton trails three top Republican presidential candidates in matchups in three key swing states — Iowa, Colorado and Virginia — a new Quinnipiac poll finds. [The Hill]

Rowan County resident Serena Smith has supported Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis and her decision not to issue marriage licenses since the day protests began in late June. [Ashland Independent]

Michigan’s Wayne County, home to Detroit, is in a financial emergency due to chronic budget deficits and a big unfunded healthcare liability, a state-appointed review team announced on Tuesday. [Reuters]

U.S. Rep. Brett Guthrie, R-Bowling Green, met Monday with constituents at a Glasgow restaurant. [Glasgow Daily Times]

Missouri cattle farmer Greg Fleshman became so concerned about keeping his local hospital open that in 2011 he joined its governing board. “I mean they’ve saved my dad’s life twice,” Fleshman says. “He had a heart attack and a stroke and they life-flighted him out of here both times.” Keeping the doors open at Putnam County Memorial Hospital in Unionville, Mo., seemed crucial to the community — but maybe an impossible task. [NPR]

Turns out Greg Fischer has another director-level hire with a drinking and driving in their city vehicle problem. [The ‘Ville Voice]

Though most states are slowing their emissions, the report shows eight states moving in the opposite direction, each seeing an increase in its emissions rate between 2008 and 2015. They include Kentucky, Louisiana, Arkansas, Nebraska, Utah, Idaho and Alaska. [Climate Central]

The Casey County Fiscal Court says homophobic County Clerk Casey Davis is wrong. May be behind a paywall but the headline and sub-head will tell you everything you need to know. [Casey County News]

Logically, Iraqi refugees shouldn’t exist, according to Sen. Rand Paul, because the United States already “won” the Iraq War. In an interview with Boston Herald Radio this week, Paul attempted to justify why he wanted to restrict the number of refugees the United States takes in, particularly from certain areas of the world like the Middle East. [ThinkProgress]

The Boyd County Fiscal Court unanimously voted Tuesday to seek closure of Big Run Landfill. [More Ashland Independent]

With a little over one week left before funding for the nation’s transportation infrastructure dries up, the Senate has reached a deal on a multiyear bill, parting ways with the House. However, the bill immediately hit some bumps. [HuffPo]

Please accept my apologies for the caching issue that made the site appear to have stopped publication on July 16. Everything should be getting back to normal. If not, clear your browser’s cache and you should be good to go. [Jake]

A Gun Nut Extremist Fears The Gays

WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH PEOPLE? A dog’s collar and chain leash were found on the passenger side of a vehicle allegedly used to drag a dog to its death, a Lexington police officer testified Tuesday. [H-L]

An evangelical Christian suggested in a video posted to Facebook that Christians should fight against gay rights with firearms. [HuffPo]

State audits of companies that provide Medicaid-funded homes and services for adults with disabilities are sending shock waves through the businesses, which say the state is demanding repayment of millions of dollars for what amounts to minor paperwork errors. [C-J/AKN]

The Des Moines Register editorial board is blasting businessman Donald Trump, saying he should drop out of the 2016 Republican presidential race. [The Hill & DMR]

Hal Rogers, a staunch supporter of Kentucky’s coal industry, said last week that the state must consider other manners of employment for the Appalachian region besides coal. [WFPL]

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and liberal stalwart Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) have reached a deal on a six-year highway funding bill. [The Hill]

Steve Beshear is placing $82.5 million of surplus funds into the state’s reserve fund, bringing the “rainy day” fund to $209.4 million, the highest amount in almost a decade. [Business First]

Less than 15 percent of U.S. adults eat enough fruits daily to meet federal recommendations, but the numbers are even worse in some states, dipping as low as 7.5 percent in Tennessee, according to a new study. [Reuters]

The state Energy and Environment Cabinet will take comments about oil and gas development from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday in a “listening session” at the Center for Rural Development in Somerset. [Richmond Register]

Meagan Taylor, a 22-year-old transgender woman of color, has been sitting in an isolated Iowa jail since last Monday simply because she was profiled for her identity. [ThinkProgress]

Truckloads of cleaning supplies, food, water and other provisions are continuing to be distributed to Johnson Countians whose lives were devastated by recent flash flooding and other weather-related problems. [Ashland Independent]

If this isn’t an honest-to-goodness crystal ball, it’s close. Neurobiologist Nina Kraus believes she and her team at Northwestern University have found a way — a half-hour test — to predict kids’ literacy skill long before they’re old enough to begin reading. [NPR]

After much criticism and refusing to utter Bevin’s name, Mitch McConnell is stepping slightly forward. Then he’ll very quickly step back into the shadows, allowing Bevin to dig his own political grave. [H-L]

President Barack Obama on Tuesday listed Americans held in Iraq by name and said the United States will not give up until they are returned. [HuffPo]

It’s All Puppies & Rainbows This A.M.

Berea College received a National Endowment for the Arts Our Town award of $100,000 to help revitalize rural areas of Eastern Kentucky. [H-L]

The European Union approved the Iran nuclear deal with world powers on Monday, a first step towards lifting Europe’s economic sanctions against Tehran that the bloc hopes will send a signal that the U.S. Congress will follow. [HuffPo]

For so long, he searched for the word. To describe what he felt but dare not say aloud. To rationalize the thoughts that consumed his days. To understand why being Jennifer, despite his most fervent attempts, just didn’t feel right. [C-J/AKN]

Anthony Cruz leaned in over the low plastic table between us, his bony knees knocking its edges, his eyes wide and full of a happy urgency that felt out of place against the dull cement block walls of the jail visiting room. [The Intercept]

“Faces of Big Run” were scattered throughout the conference room at the Holiday Inn Express on Wednesday, telling stories of Big Run Landfill employees who appear to want to protect the site against negative public perception. [Ashland Independent]

Just like in Kentucky, where it’s good for the Beshear Family’s wealthy donors and not so great for everyone else. The global economy is improving. Just don’t tell many of the people who live and work in it. [CBS News]

Runoff from heavy rains in the Cumberland River Basin is pushing the level of Lake Cumberland upward to the highest point since the seven-year rehabilitation of Wolf Creek Dam was completed. [Richmond Register]

Seeking tighter controls over firearm purchases, the Obama administration is pushing to ban Social Security beneficiaries from owning guns if they lack the mental capacity to manage their own affairs, a move that could affect millions whose monthly disability payments are handled by others. [LA Times]

A former member of Glasgow Independent Schools’ board of education and former Barren County judge-executive has sued the school board over its handling of a property donation that resulted in a school’s name change. [Glasgow Daily Times]

Polar bears are the kings of the ice surface covering the top of the globe, but the ongoing loss of the Arctic sea ice on which they hunt seals is causing summer food deprivation that threatens these imposing white-furred predators. [Reuters]

At its regular meeting (last) Monday, Morehead City Council followed through on its agreement to amend the current fiscal year budget and restore $39,000 to the Rowan County Ambulance Service. [The Morehead News]

The military built another multimillion-dollar building in Afghanistan that no one used. In its latest report, the inspector general found that the U.S. military continued to build a $14.7 million warehouse after it knew it wasn’t needed, echoing an earlier investigation into an unused $25 million HQ. [ProPublica]

The power washer was spraying away another year’s worth of grime this week as residents of Fancy Farm prepared for the annual picnic at St. Jerome’s Parish, where Kentucky’s politicos flock on the first Saturday of August each year. [H-L]

A NATO airstrike hit two Afghan military checkpoints on Monday in a restive province east of the capital, Kabul, killing seven Afghan troops in what an Afghan official describes as an accident due to bad coordination. [HuffPo]