Whitesburg: The Worst Place On Earth?

Way to go, Whitesburg! Now everyone thinks you’re a bunch of dumb effing rednecks. It’s like you’ve escaped from a television sitcom version of a Nathan Smith-owned trailer park and you’re spewing your stupid everywhere. Perfect stereotype: fat, white lady who sells guns is spewing fear and hatred while a confederate flag and anti-Muslim sign hang in the windows. [WKYT]

Rhyan Moseley, a rising eighth-grader at Lexington’s Carter G. Woodson Academy, has spent his summer in a program at Kentucky State University focused on topics including computer coding and programming, mathematics and game design. [H-L]

U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter arrived unannounced in Baghdad on Thursday to assess the government’s progress in healing the country’s sectarian divisions and hear the latest on support for the Iraqi army’s coming attempt to recapture the key city of Ramadi from the Islamic State. [HuffPo]

The big city folks finally started paying attention to what’s going on in Boyd County. Willing to reject more than $1 million a year in revenues, elected officials in Boyd County have called on Kentucky regulators to close a stinky, mega dump that’s fed by daily East Coast trash trains. [C-J/AKN]

Donald Trump says the chances that he will launch a third-party White House run will “absolutely” increase if the Republican National Committee is unfair to him during the 2016 primary season. [The Hill]

Glasgow firefighters sometimes re-enter a burning house to rescue a family pet that did not make it out with its owners. [Glasgow Daily Times]

Even as immigration remains a hot topic in the U.S. presidential campaign, the number of people emigrating from Mexico to the United States, legally and illegally, has dropped sharply in recent years, research published Wednesday shows. [Reuters]

Just before the Greenup Meals on Wheels program went under, two groups stepped up to keep it afloat. [Ashland Independent]

GOP presidential candidate Jeb Bush suggested that the United States should figure out a way to “phase out” Medicare, the federal program that provides insurance to more than 50 million elderly and disabled people, at a political event on Wednesday night. [ThinkProgress]

The Kentucky Arts Council has awarded more than $1.2 million in operating support to 91 arts organizations across the Commonwealth including two in Madison County for the 2016 fiscal year. [Richmond Register]

It’s illegal to hire immigrants without legal status. Yet the federal government employs thousands of undocumented workers. [NPR]

This is apparently a sports thing that happened. Rap star Drake has received a cease-and-desist letter from the University of Kentucky. [WKYT]

The documents also raise questions about the accuracy of the Red Cross’ count of how many Haitians it helped, concluding the figures on one project were “fairly meaningless.” [ProPublica]

Nathan Smith’s trailer park business just paid an $11,000 fine for sewage that’s been discharging into waterways for ages and ages. Yep, the big dogs behind Jack Conway and their spokespeople (KATHY FUCKING GROOB) are still all up in some literal shit. [WFPL]

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]

Anti-Gay Davis Heads To Court Today

In 1967, Liane Peters, an immigrant from Germany, fell in love with a quiet, handsome man she worked with at a Miami bakery. The couple went together to the Dade County courthouse and asked for a marriage license. But she was white and he was black, and a county judge turned them away. [H-L]

“When I’m complimented for speaking good English — and this happens to me frequently — the person complimenting me, they are not a mean, evil person,” Sue elaborated. “They mean to compliment me but they don’t see what message it sends — that I am a perpetual alien in my own country, I am not a true American. When you try to tell them you feel insulted, they get defensive and they don’t understand it. They begin to perceive I am oversensitive. This is the power of microaggressions.” [HuffPo]

The Bevin camp has decided to strike early on the issue of gay marriage. And now Jack Conway has decided he’s kind of afraid of the gays because it’s politically expedient. [C-J/AKN]

When will Kentucky get on this bandwagon? 2050? Washington state took in $65 million in tax revenue from the recreational marijuana market during the first 12 months since it became legal to produce and sell, according to data released by state regulators this week. [Reuters]

The civil suit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union of Kentucky on behalf of four Rowan County couples, two same-gender couples and two opposite-gender couples, against Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis and the county will be heard for a preliminary injunction hearing on Monday, July 13 at noon in U.S. District Court in Ashland. [The Morehead News]

Bankers and new accounting rules are emboldening governments to borrow-and-bet their way out of pension problems, a strategy that’s backfired in the past. [ProPublica]

The federal Mine Safety and Health Administration will phase out its District 6 Pikeville office over the next 15 months or so, splitting its duties between MSHA offices in Norton, Va., and Barbourville and reducing the number of mine inspectors. [Ronnie Ellis]

Nine current and former immigrant detainees are allowed to file a lawsuit against a private prison contractor that paid them $1 a day for forced labor at a Colorado detention center, a court ruled this week. [ThinkProgress]

Early Tuesday afternoon, Speaker Greg Stumbo, D-Prestonsburg, said he was working on legislation that would allow those authorized to perform marriages to issue marriage licenses and county clerks would just record them. [State Journal]

The Supreme Court’s recent same-sex marriage ruling left many conservative Christians steamed, with some calling for new constitutional amendments and others urging resistance against America’s new legal reality. [Politico]

Amendments to the county’s solid waste plan and enforcement of its solid waste ordinance were two tools Boyd County commissioners pondered Tuesday in what has become a twice-monthly fiscal court ritual — wrestling with a solution to the odors emanating from the Big Run Landfill. [Ashland Independent]

The result of this is an incessantly repeating argument where a Black person says “Racism still exists. It is real,” and a white person argues “You’re wrong, I’m not racist at all. I don’t even see any racism.” [Click the Clicky]

We told you this was coming but no one wanted to listen. Not even folks at the Herald-Leader. Calling for a “change in culture,” Kentucky Board of Education members voted unanimously Friday for a state takeover of Menifee County Schools, a district with about 1,100 students in Frenchburg. [H-L]

Dylann Roof, the 21-year-old from South Carolina who is accused of killing nine people at a historic African-American church in Charleston last month, never should have been allowed to purchase a weapon, the head of the FBI said Friday. [HuffPo]

People Still Losing Their Simple Minds

Redefining marriage for the nation, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled Friday that same-sex couples have a constitutional right to wed one another. The 5-4 decision in Obergefell vs. Hodges reverses a Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals decision that upheld state bans of same-sex marriage in Kentucky, Ohio, Michigan and Tennessee. Lower courts in all four states had struck down the bans as unconstitutional. [H-L]

Paleontologists in South Africa have announced the name for a new dinosaur species, but they didn’t have to do any digging to find the creature’s bones. [HuffPo]

The charitable fundraising arm of the National Rifle Association — the NRA Foundation — is applying for a special license plate in Kentucky to help collect donations from the state’s myriad gun enthusiasts. [C-J/AKN]

U.S. President Barack Obama said on Friday that for too long Americans have been “blind” to the “unique mayhem” caused by gun violence in this country. [Reuters]

The Supreme Court’s decision that all states must validate marriages between same-sex couples did not surprise Kentucky county clerks. [Ashland Independent]

The authors of the 1968 Fair Housing Act wanted to reverse decades of government-fostered segregation. But presidents from both parties declined to enforce a law that stirred vehement opposition. [ProPublica]

If Kentucky landowners didn’t previously have a legal leg to stand on against energy giant Kinder Morgan’s plan to repurpose Tennessee Gas pipeline, they might have it now. [The Morehead News]

The House of Representatives passed a bill Wednesday that would delay and weaken the federal government’s proposed regulations on power plant emissions. [ThinkProgress]

Lt. Max Graves gives a new meaning to the phrase “protecting the children.” While it is ultimately the duty of law enforcement to protect the community, one of his main duties is to ensure the safety of students inside the school. [Harlan Daily Enterprise]

The newest gay rights icon wears a drab black robe and got his job from Ronald Reagan. [Politico]

Police say a tiny amount of bath salts…mixed with a form of methamphetamine called “Ice” is enough to send a person into fits of rage and almost instant insanity. [WKYT]

The famous lemurs of Madagascar face such severe threats to their survival that none of them may be left in the wild within 25 years. [BBC]

A room of government retirees grilled Republican gubernatorial nominee Matt Bevin for more than an hour Friday afternoon in Lexington, but many left unconvinced that his “tough love” proposals would fix the state’s cash-strapped pension systems. [H-L]

An ancient reptile that doesn’t have a shell is an important link in the evolutionary history of the turtle, according to new research. [HuffPo]

Next Up: Big Gay Divorce Settlements

CHERRY ON TOP OF THE DAY: W. Keith Hall was convicted of bribing that mine inspector. He’ll be sentenced September 17. Faces a decade in prison. [Damn]

Former state Rep. W. Keith Hall, D-Phelps, took the witness stand Thursday in his bribery trial to acknowledge that he paid tens of thousands of dollars to the state inspector assigned to his Pike County coal mines. [H-L]

Love wins. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-4 on Friday that it is legal for all Americans, no matter their gender or sexual orientation, to marry the people they love. [HuffPo]

In a historic ruling reshaping the definition of the American family, the Supreme Court of the United States invalidated bans on same-sex marriage in Kentucky and other states, holding that gays and lesbians have the constitutional right to marry. [C-J/AKN]

When you flip on a light switch, odds are, you’re burning coal. But as the fracking boom continues to unleash huge quantities of natural gas, the nation’s electric grid is changing. [NPR]

The Boyd County Fiscal Court voted last week to file the audit for the previous fiscal year, which suggested problems with the body’s efforts to be transparent and organized. [Ashland Independent]

Republican presidential contenders face a dilemma when talking about racial issues after last week’s racially motivated murders at a South Carolina church, as a new poll shows many Republican primary voters are less likely to see the topic as important. [Reuters]

The Industrial Development Economic Authority board approved in a special-called meeting to create a new budget category and more money for park work in the city and the county. [Glasgow Daily Times]

Racehorses are continuing to get quicker, a study of winning times spanning 165 years of racing indicates. [BBC]

The Morehead-Rowan County Chamber of Commerce recognized Dr. Ewell Scott with this year’s Ora L. Cline Award, its highest honor. [The Morehead News]

The Federal Election Commission should just do its job already. [Mother Jones]

After struggling for years with a billing system that was created in the 1980s, the City of Hazard is finally moving toward a 21st Century way of billing its utility customers. [Hazard Herald]

In the 14 years since Al Qaeda carried out attacks on New York and the Pentagon, extremists have regularly executed smaller lethal assaults in the United States, explaining their motives in online manifestoes or social media rants. But the breakdown of extremist ideologies behind those attacks may come as a surprise. [NY Times]

Federal authorities are investigating controversial Floyd County attorney Eric C. Conn, according to an attorney familiar with the situation. [H-L]

Searches for “gun shop” are usually more popular than “gun control,” according to data Google Trends averaged from the past year. But in the 72 hours following the Charleston shooting, “gun control” was the more popular search term in 45 states. Only South Dakota, Tennessee, Pennsylvania, Kentucky and North Carolina saw more queries for “gun shop.” [HuffPo]

Fun thing: Attorneys can finally focus on making this thing happen again. Give us all your money so I can stop working 18 hours per day sometime in the future. [Just Do It]

Frankfort Repubs Harm Public Health

W. Keith Hall, then a powerful state lawmaker who owned coal mines in Pike County, secretly paid tens of thousands of dollars to a state mine inspector in 2009 and 2010 “so he could have that inspector in his back pocket if he needed it,” a federal prosecutor told a jury Monday. [John Cheves]

Those who believe slavery was not a central point of conflict in the Civil War may wish to peruse the South Carolina, Georgia, Mississippi and Texas declarations of secession. Those documents all explicitly cite threats to slavery as reasons for secession. Mississippi’s declaration goes so far as to say that “a blow at slavery is a blow at commerce and civilization.” [HuffPo]

One week into the opening of Louisville’s syringe exchange, health officials doled out 1,352 clean syringes to drug users and collected just 189. So get with the program, small town Kentucky! [C-J/AKN]

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled on Monday that a Los Angeles ordinance that lets police view hotel guest registries without a warrant violates the privacy rights of business owners, taking away what the city called a vital tool to fight prostitution and other crimes. [Reuters]

The Kentucky Public Service Commission (PSC) has approved, with modifications, a settlement agreement granting a rate increase to Kentucky Power Co. [Ashland Independent]

Racist wingnuts are the worst. The absolute worst. This country can do better than this hatred. [ThinkProgress]

After hearing additional information from Mayor Dick Doty and comments from the city’s fire chief, Glasgow City Council decided to abandon the idea of placing a third fire station at a site donated by a local manufacturing company. [Glasgow Daily Times]

On the eve of what could be a landmark US Supreme Court decision enshrining gay marriage as a constitutional right across the country, evangelical conservatives converged on Washington DC to talk politics and size up Republican presidential hopefuls. [BBC]

“Freedom Fest: Thunder Over Triplett,” is not only a fireworks show but a community event that has brought together several organizations to create an evening of fun and fellowship. [The Morehead News]

Police across the country have collected an enormous amount of data with license plate readers over the past few years. But what does that data actually tell us and who can see it? [NPR]

Leave it to backwater Republicans to complain about Louisville’s needle exchange. [WKYT]

GOP-backed legislation pending in Congress would thwart NASA’s push to end U.S. dependence on the Kremlin to send astronauts to the International Space Station, the agency is warning. [The Hill]

For Rand Paul, the rubber is meeting the road. In the wake of last week’s racist shootings in Charleston, S.C., the Republican Party has been torn on the issue of whether the Confederate flag should continue to fly on the grounds of the state Capitol in Columbia. [H-L]

Charleston, South Carolina Mayor Joseph P. Riley, Jr. (D) said on Sunday that the lack of gun control in the United States was “insane.” [HuffPo]

Mitch McConnell is unpopular in Kentucky and Matt Bevin is leading Jack Conway. [PPP]

Worst Gubernatorial Campaign Ever?

In their first public, joint appearance as candidates for governor, Democrat Jack Conway and Republican Matt Bevin traded only soft verbal blows, setting the scene for some potentially nasty campaign fights down the road. [H-L]

A website surfaced on Saturday containing a possible trove of photos of Dylann Roof and a racist manifesto explaining why he allegedly targeted Charleston, South Carolina, in a shooting this week that killed nine African-Americans. [HuffPo]

Louisville Metro Police officers and area youths held a frank conversation following a recent police shooting at a forum in the California Community Center on Thursday. [C-J/AKN]

The Confederate flag was adopted to represent a short-lived rebellion to extend and protect white supremacy and black slavery. [Vox]

Campbell District Court Judge Gregory T. Popovich is facing 15 days of suspension from the bench for misconduct. The Kentucky Judicial Conduct Commission issued its findings Thursday evening, saying Popovich violated five canons of the state Code of Judicial Conduct. [Cincinnasti.com]

South Carolina Rep. James Clyburn (D) said on Sunday that he believes the Confederate flag stirs up memories of insurrection against the U.S. [The Hill]

Oh, god, the humor. House Speaker Greg Stumbo, (D-Prestonsburg), has announced the formation of the House Special Committee on Advanced Communications and Information Technology. Rep. Martha Jane King (D-Lewisburg) has been appointed to chair the committee, which will meet during the interim months of the General Assembly. [Berea Online]

Tensions are building inside and outside the white marble facade of the U.S. Supreme Court building as the nine justices prepare to issue major rulings on gay marriage and President Barack Obama’s healthcare law by the end of the month. [Reuters]

Matt Bevin told county officials from across the state gathered here for a conference there are “very distinct differences” between him and his Democratic opponent for governor, Jack Conway. [Ronnie Ellis]

With tears welling in her eyes, Hillary Clinton on Saturday delivered an emotional call to action after the Charleston church shooting, first vowing to fight for “common sense” gun reforms, then shifting to an assessment of racism in America. [Politico]

Moments before Rowan Fiscal Court adopted its operating budget for the 2015-16 fiscal year, Judge-Executive Walter Blevins suggested the county add a half percent occupational tax increase for one year. [The Morehead News]

The People v. the Coal Baron. Don Blankenship always knew exactly what he wanted during the years he ran Massey Energy, once the sixth-largest coal company in the United States. He had specific and emphatic ideas about how to operate mines, how to treat employees and how to deal with regulators. When he issued instructions, he wanted them followed to the letter, and this wasn’t just true about his business. [NY Times]

Educators from Maine and Virginia are among the finalists for Fayette County Public Schools superintendent. [H-L]

Russell Moore still thinks the religious right will win the battle against same-sex marriage. Oh, not at the Supreme Court later this month — like nearly everyone else, Moore is almost positive the right will lose there. But the long game… that, he says, could be a different story. [HuffPo]