Hal Rogers Shows His True Colors

The federal government has moved to suspend disability payments to some people in Eastern Kentucky whose cases were handled by Floyd County attorney Eric C. Conn, citing suspected fraud by Conn and doctors that his clients often consulted. [H-L]

A $62,500 settlement has been reached in a lawsuit that alleged the sheriff in Jackson County falsely arrested the judge-executive last year. The settlement deal was reached Thursday following a mediation session, said Ned Pillersdorf, a Prestonsburg attorney who represents former Jackson County Judge-Executive William O. Smith. [More H-L]

Ireland has voted resoundingly to legalize gay marriage in the world’s first national vote on the issue, leaders on both sides of the Irish referendum declared Saturday even as official ballot counting continued. [HuffPo]

The attorney for the alleged ringleader of a bourbon theft and steroid trafficking ring questioned Friday whether her client Gilbert “Toby” Curtsinger can get a fair trial with the attention the case is getting. Something tells us this story is going to get crazier by the minute all summer long. [C-J/AKN]

A U.S. federal appeals court on Friday ruled that tobacco companies cannot be forced to announce publicly that they deliberately deceived the public over the health risks of cigarettes. [Reuters]

The Glasgow Management Control Board has decided it is not the appropriate authority to determine whether the 911 dispatch center should allow a radio channel to be added for the exclusive use of one volunteer fire department. [Glasgow Daily Times]

The Distillery Innovation and Excise Tax Reform Act unveiled Tuesday would drop the current tax rate for distilled spirits from $13.50 per proof gallon to $2.70 per proof gallon on the first 10,000 gallons of productions for all distillers and then $9 per proof gallon after that. [The Hill]

Rowan County Fiscal Court Tuesday had first reading of its 2015-16 fiscal year budget which includes a cost of living pay increase for county employees. [The Morehead News]

Senate Republican leaders managed to scrape up enough votes just past midnight Saturday morning to put off decisive action on the NSA’s bulk collection of American phone records until next Sunday, May 31. But the hardliners — and make no mistake, they are taking an even harder and more absurd line than the NSA itself — have no endgame. [The Intercept]

Jack Conway’s brother has pleaded guilty to misdemeanor disorderly conduct in a case that stemmed from an allegation he hit a woman in the face following a Christmas party in 2013. [WDRB]

Five of the world’s largest banks are to pay fines totalling $5.7bn (£3.6bn) for charges including manipulating the foreign exchange market. Four of the banks – JPMorgan, Barclays, Citigroup and RBS – have agreed to plead guilty to US criminal charges. [BBC]

In a seven count indictment Perry County Clerk Haven King faces charges for an April incident. The victim Kalie Bentley claims King followed her down the road and confronted her while she was in the car. In a video posted on Facebook by Bentley she identifies King. It shows the man questioning her about driving a car with a handicap license plate. [WYMT]

Many public high schools lack funding for STEM — Science, Technology, Engineering and Math — programs. Energy companies worried about finding future employees are donating to schools. [NPR]

Of course Hal Rogers opposes needle exchanges. Until his family members figure out how to profit from them, they won’t get his support. [H-L]

Rand Paul’s dumb ass wanted to give the executive branch of government even more power. [HuffPo]

Post-Holiday Hangover? Read This Crap

Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul led a successful effort to block renewal of the Patriot Act early Saturday morning, followed by a deeply divided Senate leaving Washington without taking action on the National Security Agency’s soon-to-expire power to collect Americans’ phone records. [H-L]

Some electronic cigarette companies say that their products help people quit smoking, but the evidence to back up this claim is lacking, a new study finds. [HuffPo]

Republican state Sen. Brandon Smith has been acquitted of driving under the influence of alcohol. [C-J/AKN]

A federal judge on Thursday reaffirmed her earlier ruling that same-sex couples in Alabama have a right to wed under the Constitution, but she put the ruling on hold until the U.S. Supreme Court issues a landmark decision on gay marriage. [Reuters]

Roughly 17 months since the enterprise’s first summit started the conversation and began asking the tough questions, Shaping Our Appalachian Region (SOAR) returned to Pikeville for another summit, this time to provide insight and answers. [Hazard Herald]

The voicemail message was like so many others from my mom. “Hi, it’s mom,” she began, then chatted on, full Jewish mother in her distinctive gravelly timbre. “There’s a storm coming your way…Please drive very carefully….Love you. Bye.” [ProPublica]

It’s time for a reminder about Adam Edelen and educational audits. An audit is NOT a forensic accounting investigation. It’s typically a random sampling that gets reviewed unless specific concerns are brought to light. Or, in the case of Montgomery County, not. Because specific concerns were deliberately ignored by Edelen’s team. When he says there was no fraud discovered? Remember: not a forensic accounting, not an in-depth investigation of every nook and cranny. [Business First]

Arizona’s legislature has decided to try to plug a $1 billion budget deficit in part by kicking people off of welfare after just 12 months, the strictest time limit in the country. Sounds like something Frankfort would try. [Think Progress]

More than 50 community members gathered Wednesday to formulate an action plan to improve the health of Madison County residents in three areas – mental health and healthy lifestyle choices as well as alcohol, tobacco and other drug dependency. [Richmond Register]

The sleepy United States senators thought they were done voting. But then, around 1 a.m. on the Saturday before Memorial Day, Senator Rand Paul, Republican of Kentucky and presidential candidate, marched spryly to the Senate floor to let it be known that, no, he would not agree to extend the federal government’s bulk collection of phone records program. Not even for one day. [NY Times]

Bradley Lewis has resigned as a sergeant at the Glasgow Police Department, according to information released Friday by interim GPD Chief James Duff. [Glasgow Daily Times]

Mitch McConnell stood at his desk on the Senate floor after 1 a.m. Saturday, the eyes of his colleagues trained on him. He seemed bewildered. [WaPo]

We’ll miss the voice of Merlene Davis and wish her the best! It has been suggested that with this farewell column I should burn bridges and drop the mic. A couple of years ago, I might have done just that. But I’m a bit tired now, weakened by the weight of mirrors I’ve tried to hold up to politicians, school administrators, conservatives, liberals, Democrats and Republicans, neighbors and friends. I’m running out of ways to say the same thing. [Merlene Davis]

A revealing conversation on the Senate floor Thursday showed precisely how secretive President Barack Obama’s pending trade deals are, and the absurdity of arguments to the contrary. [HuffPo]

Terry Holliday Threatened Fayette Co

Carl Richards, director of Madison County’s emergency management agency, was suspended indefinitely this week after an internal audit revealed the theft of $341,757 from a federally funded emergency preparedness program, county Judge-Executive Reagan Taylor said Wednesday. [H-L]

Support for same-sex marriage has reached an all-time high, according to recent polls. A new survey from Gallup shows a record 60 percent of Americans now say they approve of legalized same-sex marriage. [HuffPo]

An assault case in Jefferson Circuit Court was dismissed Tuesday by a judge who ruled an assistant commonwealth’s attorney “altered” evidence that was “deliberately not disclosed and concealed” from the defense counsel. [C-J/AKN]

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration on Wednesday announced the results of a four-state crackdown aimed at stopping illegal distribution of addictive prescription medicines, such as opioid painkillers, that yielded 280 arrests. [Reuters]

An unnamed person, while under the influence of alcohol, stabbed a man with a piece of lattice while in Ashland on Saturday, according to Ashland Police reports. [Ashland Independent]

At a hearing in Washington, a renewed call for addressing the violence and neglect that plagues group homes for foster youth. [ProPublica]

While the Republican race for governor is getting most of the attention Wednesday morning, as fewer than 100 votes separated former Agricultural Commissioner James Comer and former U.S. Senate hopeful Matt Bevin, a Floyd County native has earned her place on November’s ballot. [Hazard Herald]

“Some of his weaknesses really didn’t get relitigated in this primary,” said Scott Jennings, a Republican strategist who has advised McConnell campaigns. “In a heads-up race against Conway, I fully expect them to relitigate cockfighting and everything else.” [NY Times]

Oh, look, another empty threat from Terry Holliday. The Kentucky Education Commissioner has warned that Fayette County Schools could face state actions if low-achieving schools don’t improve. [WKYT]

States lack accurate statistics on widespread heroin use. [NPR]

Kentucky’s economy is only sunny on paper. To suggest otherwise would mean you’ve never actually stepped foot outside the Golden Triangle or spoken with actual Kentuckians. [WFPL]

Organic farms act as a refuge for wild plants, offsetting the loss of biodiversity on conventional farms, a study suggests. Fields around organic farms have more types of wild plants, providing benefits for wildlife, say scientists. [BBC]

Why the hell is Sam Youngman pretending he doesn’t know why KC Crosbie thanked Danny Briscoe?! He’s the one who told anyone who would listen about his investigation of Scott Crosbie. Come on, Youngman, you’re better than that. [H-L]

Republican Jeb Bush said on Wednesday that the Earth’s climate is changing but that scientific research does not clearly show how much of the change is due to humans and how much is from natural causes. [HuffPo]

Everyone’s Numb Over That Crazy Race

This Woodford County city took the first step Monday toward becoming the eighth in Kentucky to adopt an ordinance to prohibit discrimination in housing, employment and public accommodations based on sexual orientation or gender identity. [H-L]

Louisiana residents may go gaga over Mark Wahlberg, Kurt Russell and Kate Hudson when they arrive in the state later this year to film a movie about the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion. But Louisiana and some other states are starting to question whether they are giving up too much to attract such star power. [HuffPo]

Steve Beshear’s administration has paid $195,400 to a private law firm to defend the state’s gay marriage ban after Attorney General Jack Conway refused to do so. [C-J/AKN]

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) is set to unveil legislation that would provide free tuition at four-year public colleges and universities on Tuesday. [The Hill]

Despite efforts by the city to seek a different auditing firm for the next fiscal year, the commission voted to accept a proposal from the same firm that has performed audits for the past 20 years. This move came after Kelley Galloway Smith Goolsby, PSC, in Ashland, was the only accounting firm to respond to the city’s requests for proposals. [Ashland Independent]

The dry, red earth could almost be mistaken for a Martian landscape. It is in fact the Atacama desert in Chile, one of the driest places on Earth. [BBC]

Morehead City Council approved first reading Monday of its 2015-16 budget ordinance which includes a 45-cents-per-hour pay raise for all city employees. [The Morehead News]

A coalition of public policy advocates warned on Tuesday that a group of armed conservative activists who have been guarding a mine in southern Oregon for over a month are a sign of an emerging violent anti-government movement. [Reuters]

The Energy and Environment Cabinet’s Division of Waste Management announced 46 recycling and 25 household hazardous waste (HHW) grants of more than $3.3 million. [Click the Clicky]

The bitter Kentucky Republican gubernatorial primary is going into overtime. [Politico]

In one of the most exciting and tightest statewide elections in history, Republican Matt Bevin apparently won a razor-thin, 83-vote win over James Comer in the primary race for the GOP nomination for governor. [Ronnie Ellis]

David Clarke, the sheriff in Milwaukee County, Wisconsin doesn’t think federal involvement in policing is going to change much. [NPR]

Nearly 1,300 of the 7,211 Kentucky children and youth in foster care are in group placements instead of with families, a news release from a child advocacy group said Tuesday. [H-L]

Leading Republican presidential candidates in the past week settled on an Iraq war narrative. Yes, the intelligence turned out to be faulty, so much so that there wouldn’t be a strong enough case to authorize the invasion in retrospect. But there was consensus that at the time President George W. Bush made the call, something had to be done about the threat posed by Iraq. [HuffPo]

It’s Post-Primary Hangover Time!

You should check out this interactive map of last night’s vote results from across Kentucky. [H-L]

As much as journalists may fancy themselves superhuman observers of history, the truth is that we are as susceptible to trauma as the victims whose stories we tell. [HuffPo]

A Franklin County grand jury Tuesday indicted former Buffalo Trace Distillery security guard Leslie M. Wright, 34, of Frankfort, on charges of being paid to look the other way as barrels were stolen for what authorities say was a bourbon theft criminal syndicate. [C-J/AKN]

Kentucky hates old people. States with at least 40 percent of homes ranked on the bottom two rungs include North Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky, Ohio, Pennsylvania and New York. [Newsweek]

The real reason Republicans running for governor didn’t have in-depth discussions is because two of the candidates were incapable. The other two, one a former state supreme court justice and the other, an evangelical extremist who is overcompensating like woah, have never been outside their respective bubbles. Ever. [Eye Roll]

After winning reelection and control of the U.S. Senate, Republican Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., appointed Hazen Marshall, a lobbyist for Koch Industries, as his new policy chief. [The Intercept]

A historic case against the iconic Wagner’s Pharmacy near Churchill Downs is likely to end, since the Kentucky Supreme Court has ruled that morbid obesity is not a state-protected disability. [Business First]

The White House on Monday called the fall of Ramadi to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) a “setback,” but vowed the U.S. is determined to help retake the Iraqi city. [The Hill]

An online fundraising campaign was successful for the Louisville businessman who is set to buy Guntown Mountain, the Western-themed roadside attraction in Cave City. [Glasgow Daily Times]

Obese young adults may be more likely to have a stroke than people who aren’t overweight, a U.S. study suggests. [Reuters]

His first four and a half months in office have included two record-breaking winter storms, two instances of flooding, collapsed bridges and the arrest of a Chemical Stockpile Emergency Preparedness Program employee on forgery and theft charges. “All that’s missing is for a plague of locusts to hit Madison County, and we would have faced all possible challenges,” Madison Judge/Executive Reagan Taylor said Friday in his first State of the County address. [Richmond Register]

Millions of Americans use GlaxoSmithKline’s purple inhaler. But whether Advair poses a higher risk of asthma-related death remains uncertain 15 years after regulators approved the drug. [ProPublica]

The University of Kentucky has begun a sweeping overhaul of its body bequeathal program after finding numerous problems with its administration and oversight, including a three to five year delay in burying the remains of people who’d given their bodies for scientific research. The overhaul includes eliminating the position of program director Gary Ginn, who is also the Fayette County Coroner. [H-L]

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg officiated a same-sex wedding over the weekend, and according to New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd, the Notorious R.B.G. gave a big shout-out to the U.S. Constitution. [HuffPo]

Jack Is No Alison Daddy’s Name Grimes

It’s no secret that we despise Jack Conway’s campaign people (his office staff is terrific, even if he doesn’t let them do their jobs). But it’s a stretch to compare Jack to Alison Grimes in her mind-bogglingly awful 2014 campaign. Conway had his own bad campaign in 2010 but he still doesn’t compare to the embarrassment that was Grimes. [H-L]

Decades after the U.S. Supreme Court’s Brown v. Board of Education ruling declared segregated schooling of black students unconstitutional, many American schools with high minority populations continue to receive fewer resources and provide an education that’s inferior to schools with large white populations. Kentucky’s in a terrible spot and Frankfort doesn’t care. [HuffPo]

In a push for better Internet service across Kentucky, state government is poised to become a large-scale owner of broadband infrastructure over the next four years, raising new questions about digital privacy and the potential for censorship or bureaucratic snooping. [C-J/AKN]

Leaked video reveals omissions in official account of police shooting. [The Intercept]

A woman who works in Washington, D.C., has accused a visiting Richmond Police officer of “catcalling.” [Richmond Register & Popville]

National Rifle Association board member Ted Nugent attacked President Obama and gun safety advocates for calling attention to the deaths of children from guns, calling such efforts “The Big Lie” — a phrase associated with Nazi propaganda. [MMFA]

At a time when most states are restoring funding for higher education after the deep and sustained cuts of the recession, Kentucky has continued to reduce funding and lags behind in several funding categories, according to a new study. [Ashland Independent]

The mother of an 11-year-old girl from Kentucky who was shot dead by her father in a murder-suicide this week was on the phone with her and heard the child’s anguished last words moments before gunfire erupted on the other end of the line. [Daily Mail]

Barren County Schools is working to combat what is commonly called the “summer learning loss” or “summer slide” again this summer with its 21st Century Summer Camps. [Glasgow Daily Times]

The House is looking to use an overwhelming bipartisan vote to raise pressure on the Senate over a medical cures bill on which the upper chamber has been lagging. The House is moving forward on its 21st Century Cures measure, aimed at speeding up the FDA’s approval of new drugs and increasing funding for the National Institutes of Health. [The Hill]

Rowan County Fiscal Court is facing the possibility that the projected $15 million cost of a new jail might not be enough for the proposed 300-bed facility. [The Morehead News]

Of course the Republican National Committee is as backward and anti-gay as Kentucky Democrats. [ThinkProgress]

This is the extent of coverage that’s been provided to the Terry Holliday situation. No wonder people in Kentucky feel like they’ve been kept in the dark. [H-L]

President Barack Obama said that LGBT rights “are human rights” in a statement released Saturday to commemorate the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia. [HuffPo]

Thinking People Hate Jamie Comer

The Herald-Leader endorsed Hal Heiner over Jamie Comer, which is likely to push Comer over the edge behind closed doors. [H-L]

Honey bees, critical agents in the pollination of key U.S. crops, disappeared at a staggering rate over the last year, according to a new government report that comes as regulators, environmentalists and agribusinesses try to reverse the losses. [HuffPo]

Rand Paul would be the clear choice of Kentucky Republicans if the presidential primary were held today but, among registered voters, would have only an even chance of defeating Democrat Hillary Clinton in a general election, according to the latest Bluegrass Poll. [C-J/AKN]

After only one hour of floor debate, and no allowed amendments, the House of Representatives passed legislation that seeks to address the NSA’s controversial surveillance of American communications. However, opponents believe it may give brand new authorization to the U.S. government to conduct domestic dragnets. [The Intercept]

Ha! Daniel Grossberg has an ad highlighting Jacob Conway’s blackmail/extortion/threat attempt. [Click the Clicky]

Former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) will reportedly announce on May 30 — or possibly sooner — whether he will seek the White House next year. [The Hill]

In one of the more dubious claims of the election season, three of the four Republican candidates for governor are claiming to be running a “positive campaign” amid abuse allegations and attack ads. [WAVE3]

The U.S. House of Representatives approved a bill on Wednesday that would ban most abortions after 20 weeks, a measure strongly opposed by the White House. [Reuters]

The Richmond City Commission named a fire chief and a codes enforcement director Tuesday night, filling positions vacated by retirements. [Richmond Register]

The US House of Representatives votes to end the National Security Agency’s bulk collection of Americans’ phone records. [BBC]

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued a notice April 17 stating it plans to prepare an assessment on the environmental impacts of the Kinder Morgan natural gas pipeline repurposing project. [The Morehead News]

Here’s what would actually happen if Rand Paul eliminated the Department of Education. We wouldn’t have a federal department to administer Pell Grants to students. There wouldn’t be any oversight over states when they break civil rights laws. There wouldn’t be a department to check on rampant inequality between low-income school districts and wealthy districts. We would have inconsistent education data, as the quality of data would vary among the states. There would be more gender discrimination within schools. There would be no way to hold schools accountable for the funds they receive. [Think Progress]

Steve Beshear’s administration has spent $195,400 on private lawyers to defend Kentucky’s same-sex marriage ban in court, with more legal bills expected, according to records released Wednesday. [H-L]

Way to go, Bardstown, for your racist jackasses. It’s comments like these that can indirectly harm the bourbon industry. In a press conference Monday, Nelson County Sheriff Ed Mattingly, who is white, expressed relief — not only that the incident didn’t lead to more serious injuries, but also that Fenwick’s skin wasn’t darker. [HuffPo]