McConnell Bungled Health Care For Years

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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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Ken Ham Is Just A Modern Day Charlatan

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Christopher and Angelica San Martin were watching a basketball game in their Radcliff duplex one Sunday afternoon in 2012. During a commercial, Angelica went upstairs to use the bathroom. The San Martins’ 3-year-old son and 15-month-old daughter followed her to play in the master bedroom. [John Cheves]

Efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act ran into big trouble on Friday afternoon, when the Senate parliamentarian ruled that nearly a dozen key provisions of GOP repeal legislation violate special procedural rules that Republicans are using to pass their bill. [HuffPo]

Surprise! Bevin appointees just coincidentally say he did nothing wrong. So it’s time for appropriate parties to file lawsuits. Ethics are not a real thing in Kentucky. I’ve said it for a decade and it’s remained true. The Executive Branch Ethics Commission has dismissed two ethics complaints filed against Gov. Matt Bevin, the commission’s executive director confirmed Friday morning. [C-J/AKN]

So… things aren’t so hot for Donnie these days. This is scandalous as hell. [Bloomberg]

The company that is building a facility in Richmond to destroy the chemical weapons stockpile at the Blue Grass Army Depot has received approval from the Environmental Protection Agency to move and handle M55 rockets containing PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls), a probable carcinogen. [Richmond Register]

The Russian lawyer who met Donald Trump Jr. after his father won the Republican nomination for the 2016 U.S. presidential election counted Russia’s FSB security service among her clients for years, Russian court documents seen by Reuters show. [Reuters]

The Kentucky Department of Education is seeking public comment on its request for a waiver on the number of students who can be tested using an alternate assessment on annual statewide Kentucky Performance Rating for Educational Progress tests. [Ashland Independent]

Late one night in October 2015, North Dakota prisons chief Leann Bertsch met Karianne Jackson, one of her deputies, for a drink in a hotel bar in Oslo, Norway. They had just spent an exhausting day touring Halden, the maximum-security facility Time has dubbed “the world’s most humane prison,” yet neither of them could sleep. [Mother Jones]

The state of Kentucky is on the hook for nearly $225,000 in legal fees incurred by same-sex couples who challenged a Rowan County Clerk’s refusal to issue them marriage licenses following the landmark Supreme Court ruling allowing same-sex marriages. [Ronnie Ellis]

Sean Spicer, the White House press secretary, resigned on Friday morning, telling President Trump he vehemently disagreed with the appointment of the New York financier Anthony Scaramucci as communications director. [NY Times]

Barren County Fiscal Court is having a special-called meeting at 7 a.m. Tuesday, and one of the agenda items is a first reading of an ordinance setting the property tax rates for 2017. [Glasgow Daily Times]

Russia’s ambassador to Washington told his superiors in Moscow that he discussed campaign-related matters, including policy issues important to Moscow, with Jeff Sessions during the 2016 presidential race, contrary to public assertions by the embattled attorney general, according to current and former U.S. officials. [WaPo]

The Kentucky Tourism Arts and Heritage Cabinet has suspended an incentive agreement worth up to $18 million with a Noah’s Ark-themed amusement in Grant County because the park transferred its main property to a non-profit affiliate. [H-L]

It became pretty clear this week that Donald Trump doesn’t seem to know much about how the Department of Justice operates, or much about some of the people he nominated to key positions at DOJ. [HuffPo]

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Jim Ramsey’s Out But Still Sinking UofL

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Williamstown officials are expecting a lawsuit from the Biblical amusement park Ark Encounter over a new safety tax created to raise money for emergency services, the Grant County News reported. The Williamstown City Council went into executive session Monday to discuss pending litigation, the newspaper said. Answers in Genesis, the parent company that owns Ark Encounter and the Creation Museum, had requested an exemption from the tax. But on June 29, Williamstown city attorney Jeff Shipp wrote a letter to AIG rejecting the request, asserting that Ark Encounter is a for-profit entity. [Linda Blackford]

The U.S. Senate will delay its consideration of healthcare legislation while Arizona Republican Senator John McCain recuperates from surgery, Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell said on Saturday. [HuffPo]

Federal authorities charged more than 400 people in what Attorney General Jeff Sessions called the largest health care fraud takedown operation in U.S. history. [C-J/AKN]

Republicans are the reason there are no consequences for the Russian attack on the United States. People like Brett Guthrie and Andy Barr. [The Hill]

Flatwoods councilman Kent “Pick” Picklesimer, a longtime public servant who helped coordinate the Summer Motion festival for several years, died on July 7 after a battle with an aggressive form of cancer. He was 76. [Ashland Independent]

Months after an online video of a United Airlines passenger being dragged from a plane went viral and sparked global outrage, Chicago aviation officials on Wednesday said future airport disturbances will be handled by city police, not aviation security officers. The forced removal of a passenger on April 9 to make room for airline employees trying to fly to Louisville was “completely unacceptable,” Chicago Department of Aviation Commissioner Ginger Evans said in a 12-page report. [Reuters]

A Richmond man who was facing illegal gambling charges in San Diego, Calif., was sentenced Monday to three years’ probation and a fine of $7,000. [Richmond Register]

Some Medicare beneficiaries are being prescribed opioids by 10 or more doctors, or are filling prescriptions for more than 1,000 pills a month. Hundreds of doctors appear to be prescribing indiscriminately, says the inspector general of Health and Human Services. [ProPublica]

The tow-truck operator who sued the Barren County sheriff is asking the Kentucky Court of Appeals to reverse the dismissal of that lawsuit. [Glasgow Daily Times]

Janet L. Yellen, the Federal Reserve chairwoman, delivered an upbeat message on the state of the American economy to Congress on Wednesday, highlighting the strength of job growth and indicating that the Fed remained on course to begin reducing its bond holdings in the fall. Ms. Yellen added, however, that the Fed was paying close attention to the recent weakness of inflation. While emphasizing that she expected prices to start rising more quickly, she said persistent weakness could lead the Fed to raise interest rates more slowly. [NY Times]

The University of Louisville’s accrediting body now says U of L may have violated two more accreditation standards, bringing the total possible violations to nine. [WFPL]

Of course Republicans are working furiously to further harm the economy and education in the United States. [WaPo]

Louisville’s Metro Council is basically ignoring Spectrum’s nightmare service but Lexington is taking action. [H-L]

Late Wednesday night, Republicans on the House Rules Committee quietly OK’d an amendment to the 2018 national defense authorization bill that would deny medically necessary health care to transgender people in the military. [HuffPo]

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Ronnie Ellis Has Some Troubling Stats

Cross over the old Louisville & Nashville Railroad in this town remembered for its Civil War encampment and you’ll see the first signs — there’s fresh anticipation in the rural areas that will be prime viewing locations for the first coast-to-coast total solar eclipse to sweep the United States in 99 years. [H-L]

Americans largely do not approve of the GOP Senate health care bill, and many of them are dissatisfied with the way Republicans in Congress are handling the matter, according to a new NPR/“PBS NewsHour”/Marist poll. [HuffPo]

As University of Louisville Hospital prepares to separate from KentuckyOne Health this weekend, leaders are optimistic about the hospital’s future. [C-J/AKN]

Just in case you thought Mitch McConnell wanted to have substantive discussion about health care? You’re dangerously mistaken. [The Hill]

The Russell City Council on Monday gave final passage to the city’s new budget, which will include a 2.1 percent pay raise to all employees and council members. [Ashland Independent]

U.S. Senate Republican leaders postponed a vote on a healthcare overhaul on Tuesday after resistance from members of their own party, and President Donald Trump summoned Republican senators to the White House to urge them to break the impasse. [Reuters]

Deaths from drug overdoses continue to grow in Kentucky and, according to one foot-soldier on the front lines of the drug epidemic, that’s having a perverse and surreal effect. [Ronnie Ellis]

Mitch McConnell is a coward and you’ve known that for years. This is merely a reminder. Activists in wheelchairs protesting the Senate’s newly-released health care bill were arrested and dragged from outside Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s office on Thursday. [ThinkProgress]

The eight members of the Glasgow City Council who were present at Monday’s regular meeting and others in attendance, got to see a glimpse of the next few years at the Glasgow Municipal Airport – if things go according to plan. [Glasgow Daily Times]

Federal investigators are examining financial transactions involving Paul Manafort and his son-in-law, who embarked on a series of real estate deals in recent years fueled by millions of dollars from Mr. Manafort, according to two people familiar with the matter. [NY Times]

At the Gateway Coalition for Workforce Diversity meeting held Friday, Jason Slone spoke about the need for the coalition to work directly with business leaders in the community. [The Morehead News]

Every time President Trump tweets, journalists and Twitter followers attempt to analyze what he means. Intelligence agencies around the world do, too: They’re trying to determine what vulnerabilities the president of the United States may have. And he’s giving them a lot to work with. [WaPo]

A former Pike Deputy Judge-Executive who has been convicted in two previous animal cruelty cases is again facing charges, after Pike County Animal Control officers filed 100 misdemeanor cruelty to animals charges against him related to the finding of numerous animals at his residence, many of which were sick and some of which were dead. [H-L]

When news spread in Wayne County, Georgia, that Republic Services planned to dump toxic coal ash in their landfill, citizens and the local newspaper fought back. [HuffPo]

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Thank Repubs For Killing Health Care

Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear sued Gov. Matt Bevin on Tuesday for the fourth time, claiming the Republican governor did not have the authority to dissolve and reorganize several state education boards to which Bevin appoints members. [H-L]

White House press secretary Sean Spicer’s first on-camera press briefing in over a week was full of non-answers and promises to “touch base” with President Donald Trump at a later date. [HuffPo]

Spoiler alert for Governor Dingus: hell doesn’t exist. If it did, most people with a brain would push to send him there. Not just because he’s painfully stupid but because he’s a hypocritical bigot. [C-J/AKN]

Several Senate Republicans are criticizing their own party for negotiating and writing an ObamaCare repeal-and-replace bill largely behind closed doors and without input from Democrats. [The Hill]

The old saying goes “It takes a village.” For Habitat for Humanity in Madison and Clark Counties, they saying is spot on. The volunteers, board members and homeowners alike have become the heartbeat of the organization that has continued to grow since the counties merged in 2007. [Richmond Register]

U.S. Democrats took to the Senate floor on Monday to throw a spotlight on behind-the-scenes efforts by the Republican majority to repeal former President Barack Obama’s healthcare law, known as Obamacare. [Reuters]

Attorney General Andy Beshear is again suing Gov. Matt Bevin, challenging the governor’s “unprecedented” use of executive orders to abolish and re-establish state boards. [Ronnie Ellis]

Ford Motor said on Tuesday that it would build its next-generation small car for American consumers in China rather than Mexico, where the automaker canceled plans for a new factory this year. [NY Times]

The Cave City City Council only had three items of business listed on the agenda for its special-called meeting Monday afternoon. One of those items was to consider the adoption of an ordinance regarding the city’s 2017-18 budget on second reading, but before the ordinance could be adopted Councilman Steve Pedigo questioned whether or not it was legal or illegal for the city to suspend its monthly contribution to the Glasgow-Barren County Industrial Development Economic Authority. [Glasgow Daily Times]

In Washington, the need to spin is strong. Which is why it’s so amazing that Senate Republicans aren’t even trying to spin their secret health-care negotiations as anything but: Yeah, this isn’t good. [WaPo]

This ought to melt your brain a little. “I am an eagle from the top of my head to the bottom of my feet,” said Rocky Adkins, Kentucky House of Representatives Minority Floor Leader. [The Morehead News]

Everything happened so fast as I walked out of the doctor’s exam room. I was tucking in my shirt and wondering if I’d asked all my questions about my injured shoulder when one of the doctor’s assistants handed me two small boxes of pills. [ProPublica]

Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear is pledging to fight a proposed reorganization and restructuring by Gov. Matt Bevin of nearly 40 medical and professional oversight boards, which control the licensing of more than 100,000 professionals in Kentucky and investigate complaints against them. [H-L]

Senate Republicans apparently have decided the way to improve that “mean” House bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act is to make it even meaner, at least over the long run. [HuffPo]

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All Eyes Are On The Racist Elf Today

A person claiming to be high-profile fugitive Eric C. Conn told the Herald-Leader in an email that he had assistance escaping home detention on June 2. [H-L]

Donald Trump fired U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara the day after the prosecutor refused to return a call from him, Bharara said on ABC News’ “This Week” Sunday. Bharara said he viewed direct contact from the president to himself, as a law-enforcement official, to be an inappropriate breach of protocol and reported it to the office of Attorney General Jeff Sessions on March 9. “Twenty-two hours later, I was fired,” Bharara said. [HuffPo]

Attorney General Andy Beshear said Monday that his office is exploring whether the audit of the U of L Foundation shows crimes occurred. [C-J/AKN]

A second federal appeals court has ruled against Trump’s revised travel ban. The decision on Monday, from the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, in San Francisco, was the latest in a string of court rulings rejecting the administration’s efforts to limit travel from several predominantly Muslim countries. [NY Times]

Local attorney and former state Rep. Johnny Bell and a another person were arrested Sunday afternoon and each charged with fourth-degree assault (minor injury) after the Kentucky State Police was dispatched to Bell’s Barren County residence, according to KSP citations. [Glasgow Daily Times]

These are the terrorists you should fear, New Republicans, not people with brown skin. A Florida woman who believed that the 2012 mass shooting at Sandy Hook elementary school was a hoax was sentenced to five months in prison this week for threatening the father of six-year-old Noah Pozner, one of the 20 young victims who died in the shooting. [The Guardian]

The Morehead State University Board of Regents approved the revision of two tenure policies during Thursday’s quarterly meeting. [The Morehead News]

Attorney General Jeff Sessions will appear before the Senate Intelligence Committee for an open hearing Tuesday, the committee has announced. [The Hill]

A recent grant awarded to Louisa will be used to put the city’s long-awaited riverwalk project in motion. The grant of $312,200 in federal funds was announced last week by the governor’s office. The walkway is part of Louisa’s “Rediscover Louisa” plan that focuses on renovating the city. [Ashland Independent]

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday struck down a gender distinction in U.S. immigration law that treats mothers and fathers differently when determining a child’s citizenship, calling such inequality “stunningly anachronistic.” [Reuters]

Luke Keith Jr., a graduate of Madison Central High School and Eastern Kentucky University, who served as publisher of newspapers in Laurel and Perry counties, died May 31 in Hazard. He was 72. [Richmond Register]

It’s called grift and Republicans are the kings of scamming their way to wealth. From Mitch McConnell to Donald Trump, it’s in their blood. [WaPo]

Corrupt jackass Kent Downey has died and taken his secrets with him. Kent Downey, a former state legislative aide who was at the center of a sex and gambling scandal, has died. He was 66. [H-L]

The Pentagon is distancing itself from Donald Trump over remarks he made on the United States’ relationship with Qatar. [HuffPo]

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Kentucky Republicans: Apparently Way Less Capable Than Kentucky Democrats – And You KNOW That’s Saying Something

If there’s one big question lingering here as a springtime lull takes hold of the Kentucky Capitol, it’s this: is the legislature going to overhaul the state’s tax code in a special legislative session this year? Leaders of the House and Senate are shrugging. [H-L]

Miss Lindsey Graham (R-Gurl.) said Tuesday that if “fully implemented,” Donald Trump’s proposed cuts to State Department funding would lead to “a lot of BENGHAAAAAAAAAAAAZI situations.” [HuffPo]

Kentucky needs to boost its pension funding about $700 million a year to responsibly tackle its crisis, state budget director John Chilton said Monday. [C-J/AKN]

PPL Corp. shareholders on Wednesday became what’s believed to be the first group of electric utility investors in the nation to successfully urge management to publish a report explaining how new climate change policies will affect the company’s bottom line. During the Allentown-based utility’s annual shareholder meeting in Louisville, Kentucky, more than 50 percent of shareholders voted in favor of a nonbinding proposal that asks PPL management to publish “an assessment of impact” that public policy changes and technological advances related to the 2016 Paris Agreement will have on the company’s portfolio. [Click this Clicky]

Richmond resident and 21-year-old Eastern Kentucky University student Drake Southwell was a recipient of the free and reduced lunch program all throughout grade school. [Richmond Register]

Allowing a photographer from the Russian state media into the Oval Office was an act of breathtaking recklessness. Or just straight-up corruption and treason. [Politico]

Greenup County schools will get less state money next year because of a dip in enrollment, but the funding cut won’t be enough to seriously hamper district operations, administrators said Tuesday. [Ashland Independent]

Senate Republicans are under mounting pressure to pass an ObamaCare repeal-and-replace bill before the congressional recess in August. While Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Garbage) is wary of committing to a specific deadline after the House struggled to pass a bill, the White House wants the upper chamber to hit the gas. [The Hill]

Rowan County Fiscal Court officially approved the 2016-17 operating budget last week; however, it didn’t pass with all four magistrates agreeing. [The Morehead News]

Donald Trump’s proposals to slash federal aid to the poor, the sick and people living in rural areas reflect conservatives’ demands for a smaller federal government but target many of the very people who voted for him last November. [Reuters]

The Chief Justice of Kentucky’s Supreme Court denied a local rule proposed by a Family Court Judge who does not wish to preside over adoption cases involving homosexuals because of “both procedural and substantive deficiencies.” [Ronnie Ellis]

The Faux News brand of Republicans – the Scott Jennings of the world who buy into this bullshit – are just disgusting. [WaPo]

A Tennessee man says he spent five years in jail for a murder he did not commit because a state police detective and a former Kentucky sheriff lied to protect a man who was related to the detective and had bribed the sheriff. [H-L]

“People think he’s a little crazy,” said Benedetta Alabardi, a pharmacist whose store sits a few hundred yards from St. Peter’s Square. “The first impression is that he’s crazy and dangerous,” said Orasti Gionti, a project manager for a telecommunications consulting company, who allowed for the possibility that Trump’s outrageous statements were an act. “Maybe he’s tricky.” [HuffPo]

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