Poor, Persecuted Rowan County Clerk

With his campaign deep in debt, Republican gubernatorial candidate Matt Bevin is trying to make new friends among Kentucky’s well-heeled donor class. At a private reception in Lexington Monday night, Bevin joined Republican presidential candidate and Florida U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, the Philadelphia 76ers’ Nerlens Noel and some of the state’s top political donors at an event organized by Lexington power couple Kelly Knight and Joe Craft. [H-L]

If you want to silence a black person’s pain, ask for forgiveness. We’re accustomed to our screams being hushed in the wake of tragedy. We’re accustomed to our grief being shoved aside in the rush to find mercy for those who have trespassed against us. [HuffPo]

Some media outlets are feigning surprise that superintendents can be suspended or fired. Almost as if it’s never happened, never resulted in revamping an entire school district, never led to the resignation of a commissioner of education. [C-J/AKN]

A fight over raising taxes has bloomed as the chief obstacle to passing a desperately needed multi-year transportation bill by the end of next month, raising the specter of a possible shutdown of highway programs. [The Hill]

After a series of judicial setbacks, Kentucky’s coal, utility and — for the most part — political interests won a significant environmental battle in the U.S. Supreme Court this week. [Ronnie Ellis]

The U.S. National Security Agency wiretapped the communications of two successive French finance ministers and collected information on French export contracts, trade and budget talks. [Reuters]

About 50 protestors bucked against the decision by the Rowan County clerk to not issue marriage licenses to neither same-sex nor opposite-sex couples during a demonstration on Tuesday. [Ashland Independent]

Justice Alito defends a lethal injection expert who did his research on drugs.com. The expert ended up prompting a back-and-forth between Supreme Court justices, who narrowly upheld use of a lethal injection drug. [Propublica]

Brian Meadows and Eddie Spears have had a very long engagement. Saturday they became the first same-sex couple to be issued a marriage license in Hart County. [Glasgow Daily Times]

Why do people believe myths about the Confederacy? Because our textbooks and monuments are wrong. False history marginalizes African Americans and makes us all dumber. [WaPo]

A steady stream of rainbow flags, signs supporting marriage equality and horn honks filled the Rowan County Courthouse lawn today. [The Morehead News]

The stupid is thick. A new bill introduced in the House of Representatives is pushing for new ways to combat California’s epic drought. But it’s doing so based on the premise that environmental policy — not climate change — is making the drought so bad in the state. [ThinkProgress]

Magoffin County Judge-Executive Charles “Doc” Hardin is seeking reconsideration of a decision that would force him out of office. [H-L]

Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign on Wednesday announced a massive fundraising haul in the quarter that ended on June 30, further cementing her status as the clear front-runner in the 2016 race. [HuffPo]

Trickle-Down Economics. Who Knew???

Kentucky GOP gubernatorial hopeful Matt Bevin wants his state to remove a statue of Confederate President Jefferson Davis from its statehouse. [The Hill]

More than 90 cases involving possible child abuse or neglect in Northern Kentucky have been lost, with some languishing for months before being recently discovered, state social service officials said. [H-L]

Really, the stupid is thing with these presidential candidates. Huckabee refused to take a real position on the confederate flag. Probably because he has quite a history of palling around with racist organizations. [HuffPo & TDB]

How much should you worry when your young athlete gets headaches? Dr. Tad Seifert, a neurologist for Norton Healthcare, hoped to help answer that question through a recent study. [C-J/AKN]

The International Monetary Fund says trickle-down economics don’t work. The lending group usually known for its pro-market stance is realizing that growing income inequality can actually undermine an economy. [Fast Company]

Matt Bevin, the upset winner of the Republican gubernatorial primary, said at the statewide Lincoln Day Dinner on May 30 that he had reached out to Republican state lawmakers in an effort to get the party solidly behind his fall campaign against Democrat Jack Conway. [Ronnie Ellis]

The Earth has entered a “new period of extinction”, a study by three US universities concludes, and humans could be among the first casualties. [BBC]

Before stopping at 761.12 feet above sea level, Cave Run Lake took in a record amount of runoff water this spring. By the first week of June, however, the lake reached its ideal summer pool level, thanks to the efforts of Anthony Orr, natural resources project manager for the Army Corps of Engineers. [The Morehead News]

During the school year, over 21 million children receive free and reduced-price breakfast and lunch each day through the USDA’s National School Lunch Program. But, when school is out, many children who rely on these meals go hungry. The challenge is particularly great in rural areas and Indian Country, where 15 percent of households are food insecure. In these areas, children and teens often live long distances from designated summer meal sites and lack access to public transportation. [White House]

A new lawsuit filed in Floyd Circuit Court this week has shed more light on the tragic events surrounding a former Eric C. Conn client who committed suicide in depression over losing his Social Security disability benefits. [Hazard Herald]

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled on Monday in favor of husband-and-wife farmers in California who had been left with nothing but sour grapes by a Depression-era federal program requiring raisin producers to put aside some of their crop without guaranteed compensation. [Reuters]

An issue of who is responsible for collecting restaurant taxes due the city came up in a recent meeting of the Cumberland Tourist Commission meeting. Chair Cleon Cornett said he feels it is “the city’s sole responsibility to initiate efforts to collect restaurant tax.” [Harlan Daily Enterprise]

The Council of Conservative Citizens, an organization with white supremacist leanings, has issued a statement defending the “legitimate grievances” expressed by Charleston shooting suspect Dylann Roof. [Mother Jones]

Health officials in Louisville say 57 intravenous drug users visited the city’s needle exchange program during its first week of operation. [H-L]

A substantial share of America’s youth remains economically disconnected, even as the economy continues to recover. [HuffPo]

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]

Louisville FOP Incites Fear, Sadness

We’re still so disgusted over this FOP letter that it’s tough to focus. [The ‘Ville Voice]

Community members have both a constitutional right and a responsibility to question authority. They have a right to understand the policies employed by police, the parameters for deciding when deadly force is appropriate, and the training received on de-escalation techniques. It is unjust to equate the upholding of these rights as “anti-law enforcement” or “race baiting.” [ACLU]

Fayette school officials on Friday would not release the names of the two candidates that they are going to interview publicly next week. [H-L]

Dylann Roof is a terrorist who wanted to start a race war. But blowhards on Kentucky’s airwaves can’t figure out what his motives were. [HuffPo]

All hell is maybe going to break loose in Louisville. The makeup of the membership of the metro panel that decides some key zoning-related cases is facing a legal challenge. [C-J/AKN]

U.S. consumer prices in May recorded their largest increase in more than two years as gasoline prices surged, suggesting the drag on inflation from lower oil prices was fading. [Reuters]

Are they all going to be eagles, flags and similar crap that ignores region and culture? Tony Pence, Main Street manager for Downtown Morehead, Inc., says interest in downtown murals is growing. [The Morehead News]

The flag that Dylann Roof embraced, which many South Carolinians embrace, endorses the violence he committed. [The Atlantic]

As natural gas speculation increases in the Rogersville Shale in Eastern Kentucky, scientists are beginning research into the region’s existing seismic activity. [WFPL]

Hundreds of men and women are killed by police every year across the United States. No-one knows exactly how many because the authorities do not count how many lives are lost. [Amnesty International]

Park City Elementary School’s family resource coordinator, Penny Huffman, said she likes the Glasgow-Barren County Community Relief Fund’s Back to School Program for families in need because it “gets families started” for the school year. [Glasgow Daily Times]

The man suspected of shooting dead nine people at an African-American church in Charleston has been charged with nine counts of murder and one weapons possession charge, police say. [BBC]

Jack Conway, the Democratic nominee for governor, Thursday released three years of tax returns and challenged Matt Bevin, his Republican opponent, to do the same. What? He finally sold Kinder Morgan? Surely not. [Ronnie Ellis]

The Obama administration laid out a major step Friday in its ongoing fight against climate change, with a plan it said would reduce the greenhouse gas emissions from heavy-duty trucks and buses by 1 billion metric tons. [The Hill]

The Lexington Urban County Council approved a $323 million budget Thursday that includes 4 percent raises for most city employees, nearly $58 million in borrowing and $3 million for social service programs. [H-L]

Rand Paul (R-Cookie Tree) wants to “blow up the tax code,” and he’s proposing a new, far-reaching flat tax to do it. The only problem is that his plan could blow up the size of the deficit, too. Don’t worry, though, it doesn’t matter to Rand. He’ll be mega wealthy once this campaign is over. [HuffPo]

Legislative Ethics Are Not A Thing In KY

Just in case you were wondering why nothing ever happens when legislators are unethical mountains of awful? John Schaaf, who has been legal counsel for the Kentucky Legislative Ethics Commission since 2004, will become its news executive director Aug. 1. [H-L]

Tens of thousands of people are deported each year for minor drug offenses, even if they served their time long ago, because of draconian U.S. drug laws, according to a report released Tuesday by the international advocacy group Human Rights Watch. [HuffPo]

When an alleged victim of domestic violence recanted her claims last week, a judge interrogated her in court without counsel and threw her in jail on a $10,000 bond for filing a false report. But the offices of the Jefferson County attorney and public defender agreed that District Judge Sheila Collins’ actions were a miscarriage of justice, and in an extraordinary effort, they cooperated to win the release of Jasmine Stone. [C-J/AKN]

Asset Preservation Advisors says Kentucky could be the next Illinois and you should be highly selective about Kentucky bonds. Mostly because the state’s pension disaster is… a disaster. Despite the b.s. story Frankfort tries to sell you. [External PDF Link]

Sen. Robin Webb, D-Grayson, wrote to top state environmental officials requesting the venue for Big Run Landfill’s permit renewal public hearing be in Boyd County. [Ashland Independent]

Nobody disputes the fact that Deng Manyoun attacked a Louisville police officer with a flag pole on Saturday afternoon. What is up for debate — among police and the public in Kentucky — is whether the officer’s split-second decision to respond by firing two bullets into the 35-year-old was justified. [WaPo]

The Madison County Fiscal Court held a surplus auction on Saturday at the County Road Department #2 Building, at 208 Clarksville Lane. The auction, which brought in $39,798, was the first held by the County in three years. [Richmond Register]

A majority of Americans say Congress should make sure Obamacare subsidies to buy health insurance are available nationwide if the Supreme Court rules that the payments in at least 34 states are illegal, according to a poll released on Tuesday. [Reuters]

Cave City Council members approved on second reading four ordinances during a special-called meeting Friday. [Glasgow Daily Times]

Sen. Lindsey Graham says Sen. Rand Paul is the only Republican presidential hopeful who would not be better on foreign policy than Democrat Hillary Clinton. [Politico]

The Rowan County Chapter of Kentuckians For The Commonwealth is hosting a community meeting regarding the Kinder Morgan pipeline repurposing project on Tuesday, June 23, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Carl D. Perkins Community Center in Morehead. [The Morehead News]

The environmental justice movement has been fighting the hazards and toxins disproportionately affecting poor communities of color for decades. [Mother Jones]

Run on it or run away from it? When it comes to Kentucky’s health insurance exchange, that’s the decidedly complicated question facing Democrats running for statewide office in a state that seems to hate Obamacare and seems to like Kynect. [H-L]

If you think costs would come down if hospitals were all owned and operated by big for-profit corporations like Hospital Corporation of America, you might want to take a look at a study published last week by the journal Health Affairs. [HuffPo]

Those May Receipts Definitely Sucked

According to the State Budget Director, receipts in May sucked. The General Fund dropped 1.8% to $763.1 million and the Road Fund fell 4.1% to $126 million.

Highlights:

  • Income taxes fell 5.7%, up 9.6% for the fiscal year
  • Sales & Use taxes rose 2.6%, up 4.2% for the calendar year
  • Corporate taxes up by $6.3 million (note that they don’t include a percentage in the release — that’s for hype), up 3.6% for the year
  • Property taxes dropped 10%, up just 0.4% for the calendar year
  • Cancer stick taxes fell another 3.3%, down 2.4% for the calendar year
  • Coal severance taxes (AKA Keith Hall Slush Fund) fell a whopping 17.2%, down 8.2% for the fiscal year
  • Motor fuels fell 16.8%
  • Vehicle Use taxes rose 2.6%
  • License & Privilege taxes up 14.6%

Ouch.

Want to read the entire report? Click here for the PDF.

Told ya April was a hyped up mess.