Campaign Craziness Kicks Into Gear

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Even while fighting blindness in the poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere this week, Republican presidential contender Rand Paul intensified political attacks against rivals in both parties, vowing to continue pressing billionaire businessman Donald Trump in particular as the Kentucky senator embraces the role as the GOP’s leading pit bull. [H-L]

Republican presidential hopeful Jeb Bush said Tuesday that the government should have broad surveillance powers of Americans and private technology firms should cooperate better with intelligence agencies to help combat “evildoers.” [HuffPo]

In a high-profile report issued in 2010, then-state Auditor Crit Luallen rebuked Passport Health Plan for wasteful spending of Medicaid funds on things like lobbying, travel, public relations, donations and sponsorships. But in May of this year, Passport made a $25,000 contribution to the Democratic Governors Association, an organization which already this year has given $600,000 to a Democratic super PAC supporting the election of Attorney General Jack Conway as governor. [C-J/AKN]

Hanni Fakhoury, a senior staff counsel with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, said courts have not yet settled the question of how specific or broad email search warrants should be, and this case is one of the most prominent illustrations of how users can fight back. [Mother Jones]

Seems like only yesterday Jack Conway and his people were touting a study indicating that testing welfare recipients was a waste of time and resources. Attorney General Jack Conway says he supports drug testing some welfare recipients in Kentucky, echoing the position of his Republican opponent. [WFPL]

Amid the horrors of war in Syria, Yemen and Iraq, it’s become easy to overlook Afghanistan. Remember Afghanistan? Back in the mid-2000s, it was known as the “forgotten war,” eclipsed by the bloodshed in Iraq. Now it’s overshadowed all over again. But there’s plenty of reason to pay attention. [NPR]

Two same-sex couples in this small eastern Kentucky county got everything they wanted in a ruling from a federal judge Monday, except for one sentence. [Ashland Independent]

Climate change is increasing the risk of severe ‘food shocks’ where crops fail and prices of staples rise rapidly around the world. [BBC]

Of course the racist rednecks are coming out of the woodwork at the state fair. [WAVE3]

Donald Trump’s immigration plan is huge in every aspect — including its price tag. Think $166 billion. And that’s on the low end. [Politico]

Just weeks after a Kentucky man gained national attention for shooting down a drone in his backyard, a state lawmaker is proposing new legislation. [WDRB]

As concerns rise about a security menace posed by rogue drone flights, U.S. government agencies are working with state and local police forces to develop high-tech systems to protect vulnerable sites, according to sources familiar with the matter. [Reuters]

Lyman T. Johnson was a grandson of slaves who grew up in the deeply segregated community of Columbia, Tenn. One day, his father, the principal of the segregated black school, sent him on an errand to the white school, where Johnson saw for the first time the truth of Jim Crow laws that created separate and unequal facilities. [H-L]

A year ago, after 18-year-old Michael Brown was killed by Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson, police responded to even peaceful daytime protests in the St. Louis suburb by deploying attack dogs and tactical vehicles, pointing sniper rifles at peaceful protesters, arresting people for simply standing still on public sidewalks, flooding demonstrators with tear gas — often without warning — and shooting them with bean bags, wooden pellets and balls filled with pepper spray. [HuffPo]

Even The Muslins Love The Environment

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A federal judge on Wednesday set an Aug. 31 deadline for his delay in ordering Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis to resume issuing marriage licenses. [H-L]

More than $1 billion in U.S. military equipment quietly began flowing to the Lebanese military over the last year. [HuffPo]

The operators of the massive, troubled and stinky landfill near Ashland, Ky., announced Tuesday that they will phase out all rail deliveries of out-of-state trash by the end of next year. [C-J/AKN]

The month before he killed 16 Afghan civilians in a shooting rampage, Army Staff Sergeant Robert Bales bloodied the nose of an Afghan truck driver in an assault that was not reported to his camp commanders, according to a report released on Tuesday. [Reuters]

During a visit with education leaders in Louisville on Tuesday, the Republican nominee for Kentucky governor talked about preschool, teacher pensions and charter schools. Matt Bevin met with the group of about 20 educators and community officials at the Jefferson County Public Schools Van Hoose Education Center for over an hour, outlining some of his goals for education in the state. [WDRB]

Birthright citizenship is enshrined in the 14th Amendment, but Donald Trump and other candidates are keeping alive the idea that some Americans should not have equal rights at birth. [The Nation]

The members of the Kentucky Coal Association want a private audience with the two major-party gubernatorial candidates, and it looks like they will get it. [Hopkinsville New Era]

Islamic leaders issued a Climate Change Declaration calling for world governments to adopt a new international climate agreement that would phase out fossil fuels and limit global warming to 1.5°C to 2°C. The collective statement of the leaders from 20 countries lays out a deadline for wealthy and oil-producing nations to phase out all greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. [International Business Times]

Kentucky’s preliminary July unemployment rate rose slightly to a seasonally adjusted 5.2 percent from a revised 5.1 percent in June 2015, and remained below the national rate, according to the Office of Employment and Training (OET), an agency of the Kentucky Education and Workforce Development Cabinet. [Press Release]

New disclosures about the National Security Agency’s partnership with AT&T could reignite constitutional challenges to the spy agency’s efforts to wiretap the Internet. [ProPublica]

The hardest thing Phillip R. Patton has had to do in his 14-year tenure as a circuit court judge, he said, was “probably sentencing 16-year-old youthful offenders to live in the penitentiary.” And he’s had to do that several times with youths that were tried as adults, he said. [Glasgow Daily Times]

For the first time this presidential election cycle, six Republican candidates will be forced to talk about education — an issue that has taken a backseat to others for the last few election cycles. [Politico]

Rand Paul is ratcheting up pressure on Kentucky Republicans who will vote Saturday on whether to hold a presidential preference caucus next year. [H-L]

Scientists at Ohio State University say they’ve grown the first near-complete human brain in a lab. [HuffPo]

Way To Go, State Board Of Education

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Rand Paul has transferred $250,000 to the Republican Party of Kentucky as a down payment on the presidential caucuses he has asked the party to conduct next March, Paul told members of the state party’s central committee Monday in an email. [H-L]

The U.S. Department of Defense is sending a team to military installations in Kansas and South Carolina to investigate the possibility of relocating some Guantanamo Bay prisoners to U.S. soil, media outlets reported on Saturday. [HuffPo]

Changes are in the works to make the 2015 Kentucky State Fair, which opens Thursday, a bigger draw by offering new promotions, discounts and a strong concert lineup. [C-J/AKN]

The National Security Agency’s ability to spy on vast quantities of Internet traffic passing through the United States has relied on its extraordinary, decades-long partnership with a single company: the telecom giant AT&T. [NY Times]

The Barren County Board of Education will consider up to a 4 percent increase in the county property tax rate after voting unanimously against a motion to maintain the current tax revenue rate during Thursday’s regular meeting. [Glasgow Daily Times]

This past week saw a lot of changes in the world markets, with China’s currency devaluation and approval of another Greek bailout. [NPR]

A former Silver Creek Elementary School Parent-Teacher Organization treasurer was sentenced to five years in prison Thursday. [Richmond Register]

Less than a month after one of the University of Cincinnati’s police officers shot and killed an unarmed driver who was not a student during a traffic stop, the school said on Friday it would resume off-campus patrols. [Reuters]

A woman who lived in Kentucky is facing felony abuse charges in Michigan after police found her disabled sister living in filthy conditions while locked in a closet. [WKYT]

After a ProPublica investigation of USA Discounters’ lending practices last summer, a barrage of lawsuits, regulatory inquiries and changes to Defense Department policies followed. [ProPublica]

The Kentucky Board of Education violated the state’s open meeting law earlier this year in its quest to find a firm to assist in searching for a new education commissioner. [WDRB]

Former Florida governor and GOP presidential candidate Jeb Bush had an awkward conversation about Common Core education standards this week, calling the initiative’s name “poisonous” while attempting to appeal to conservatives who oppose the program — even though he supports it. [ThinkProgress]

Mitch McConnell said Monday that he hopes Congress can override a veto of a resolution that disapproves of President Barack Obama’s nuclear deal with the Iranians, but he acknowledged that the president has “still got a great likelihood of success.” [H-L]

This will freak Ken Ham out… Apes may be much closer to human speech than we realized. [HuffPo]

Drew Curtis Is Probably Wasting Time & Money Going To Fancy Fart

Would-be independent gubernatorial candidate Drew Curtis is making the trip to Fancy Farm in far Western Kentucky this weekend, and he said he has a speech prepared just in case. [H-L]

Senators overruled heated conservative opposition Monday and added a measure reviving the federal Export-Import Bank to must-pass highway legislation. But House Republicans declared the transportation bill dead on arrival. [HuffPo]

An internal review of Louisville Metro Police Department’s use of force procedures released Monday found its policy largely reflects national and international guidelines. [C-J/AKN]

In response to the Supreme Court’s historic marriage equality ruling, conservative media has endorsed a newly proposed federal bill called the “First Amendment Defense Act” (FADA). Though conservatives have touted FADA as an effort to protect religious liberty, critics warn the bill would undermine the government’s ability to combat anti-gay discrimination. [MMFA]

The Ashland Board of City Commissioners voted to reverse a decision to give themselves a three precent cost-of-living raise because of “technical concerns,” City Attorney John Vincent said. [Ashland Independent]

Ori Zoller made headlines over a decade ago selling thousands of AK-47s that eventually found their way into the hands of terrorists in Colombia. Now, according to recently leaked documents, the former small arms dealer is working as cyber arms dealer, supplying the government of Honduras with powerful surveillance tools used to spy on computers and cell phones. [The Intercept]

The Kentucky State Police and the state Office of Highway Safety are teaming up to promote safe driving behavior to protect people in emergency or public safety vehicles. [WKYT]

Will the Kentucky Department of Juvenile Justice give in to a literal hate group? [ThinkProgress]

The case of Adam Horine, the mentally ill Kentucky man removed from jail and put on a bus to Florida by Carrollton police earlier this year, continues to grow in complexity. He now faces a criminal charge of groping a woman in a northern Kentucky hospital. [WFPL]

For several years, a handful of lawmakers in Congress have tried to scale back tough sentencing laws that have bloated federal prisons and the cost of running them. But broad-based political will to change those laws remained elusive. [NY Times]

You won’t want to miss Terry Holliday’s deposition in the Joshua Powell case. It’s… a doozy. [Page One]

Pluto would appear to have glaciers of nitrogen ice, the latest pictures from the New Horizons probe suggest. [BBC]

A former lawmaker accused of sexual harassment and the former head of the Legislative Research Commission made payments to settle sexual harassment and hostile workplace lawsuits filed by three female legislative staffers, House Speaker Greg Stumbo said Monday. [H-L]

The Boy Scouts of America voted Monday to lift a long-established ban on gay adults as employees and volunteers within the organization. [HuffPo]

Haven’t Fire Ants Been Here A While?

Kentucky taxpayers should learn by Wednesday what they will pay to settle two lawsuits filed against House Democrats over sexual harassment and hostile-workplace claims. [John Cheves]

The transition to a renewable economy may be a painful one, particularly in this era of aversion to active government. [HuffPo]

Nearly a century after arriving in the United States, fire ants have made it to Kentucky. [C-J/AKN]

Though previous research has suggested high blood pressure may be more dangerous for thinner people, a new study finds the cardiovascular disease risks are similar – and high – for the lean, overweight and the obese. [Reuters]

Garrett Fowles, the city of Richmond’s legal counsel for nearly 15 years, was hired on a full-time basis at Tuesday’s city commission meeting. He will earn $80,000 annually and may do private legal work that doesn’t conflict with his city work, according to his contract. Fowles previously worked also as an assistant county attorney. [Richmond Register]

Despite decades of accepted science, California and Arizona are still miscounting their water supplies. [ProPublica]

Governor Steve Beshear and Congressman Hal Rogers joined public health and university officials [yesterday] to announce a new dentist recruitment program aimed at promoting sustained oral health and well-being in eastern Kentucky. The new loan forgiveness program is supported by $500,000 in state funds and is available for dental students who practice in the region. The dental schools at the University of Kentucky and University of Louisville will administer the program, providing two to five awardees $100,000 each for a two-year commitment. [Press Release]

The American space agency’s New Horizons probe has returned further images of Pluto that include a view of the dwarf planet’s strange icy plains. [BBC]

You can’t even go to Kroger these days without getting run over and killed in the parking lot. [WKYT]

Japan’s Mitsubishi corporation is making a big apology. It’s not for any recall or defect in its products, which include automobiles, but for its use of American prisoners of war as forced labor during World War II. [NPR]

Mitch McConnell said he’ll attend the Fancy Farm picnic next month to help support a one-time rival. [WFPL]

It’s fitting that a southern white racist advocates hanging. They’re always the first to throw out hanging for punishment. Because that’s what’s always on their mind. See: any comment section on any story in Kentucky featuring an African American. [The Hill]

Kentucky’s new law that raises the school dropout age from 16 to 18 could be in for both a legal challenge and revision from the 2016 General Assembly. [H-L]

As American evangelicals lose traction at home, they are increasingly finding receptive audiences abroad. [HuffPo]

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Planned Parenthood Delusion Is Grand

On the same day Kevin Johnson buried his mother, searchers found the body of his 34-year-old son who drowned while trying to save his grandmother from flash flooding that ravaged their tiny Appalachian community. [H-L]

ExxonMobil spokesman Richard Keil told a carefully worded whopper last week. After the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) revealed that Exxon was aware of the threat posed by climate change as early as 1981 and has intentionally been deceiving the public for decades, reporters contacted Keil for comment. One reporter asked him about ExxonMobil’s long history of funding climate change denier groups. [HuffPo]

Rand Paul on Friday joined the chorus of conservative elected officials blasting Planned Parenthood based on the comments of one of its officials in a controversial video released this week by an anti-abortion group. [C-J/AKN]

Ten years ago, Barack Obama visited Detroit and delivered a speech to the city’s NAACP branch, which was celebrating its 50th annual “Fight for Freedom” dinner. He was introduced by the city’s then-popular Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick. While Obama went on to become president, Kilpatrick’s career ended after he was convicted of multiple corruption charges. And in October 2013, the former mayor was sentenced to 28 years in federal prison. [The Intercept]

Former Butler County Sheriff Joe Gaddie pleaded guilty Tuesday to second-degree criminal abuse, accepting a diversion agreement that will keep him out of jail. [BGDN]

Revelations of U.S. spying in Europe have soured transatlantic relations, prompting a White House apology and, as leak followed leak over the past two years, have fostered feelings of moral superiority among Europeans. Yet EU governments are stepping up surveillance of their own citizens. [Reuters]

About 100 homes overall will be affected by a new water line project geared toward improving water pressure levels in residences and at Ashland Middle School, City Engineer Ryan Eastwood said. [Ashland Independent]

A major new Pew Research Center study [last] week found that Americans and Europeans are only moderately worried about climate change while those in more vulnerable regions — Latin America, Africa, and Asia — expressed much higher levels of concern [ThinkProgress]

The Richmond City Commission made appointments to several city board Tuesday night, which usually are routine actions. But one appointment prompted questions and a dissenting vote. [Richmond Register]

Scientists have discovered a winged dinosaur – an ancestor of the velociraptor – that they say was on the cusp of becoming a bird. [BBC]

Michael Lovett spoke at the third quarterly Glasgow-Barren County Chamber of Commerce breakfast Friday and spoke about an initiative in south central Kentucky aimed at growing and improving the area’s workforce. [Glasgow Daily Times]

After an investigation by the Toronto Star, Canada’s top health agency considers whether to lower the maximum recommended daily dose of the active ingredient in Tylenol and other painkillers. [ProPublica]

The fourth drowning victim found after recent flooding in Johnson County reportedly helped several family members to safety before being swept away while trying to rescue his grandmother. [H-L]

Democratic presidential candidate Martin O’Malley on Thursday declared his support for raising the national minimum wage to $15 an hour, contrasting himself with frontrunner Hillary Clinton. [HuffPo]

More Tip-Toeing Around The Scary Gays

Considering Republicans’ condemnation of Beshear for implementing the Affordable Care Act by executive order, the suggestion that he wield his pen again on this issue was more laughably hypocritical than the Rowan County clerk’s explanation of her intolerant beliefs. [H-L]

After a journey of more than nine years and about 3 billion miles, NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft has made its closest approach to our solar system’s beloved dwarf planet. [HuffPo]

Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul declined on Monday to venture an opinion on the incendiary comments of fellow Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump on immigration. [C-J/AKN]

The filmmaker behind last year’s Oscar-winning documentary starring government leaker Edward Snowden is suing the Obama administration for keeping secret documents about her. [The Hill]

No, Rand, they don’t have the right to discriminate. Rand Paul doesn’t know whether county clerks in his home state have a constitutional claim to religious liberty in defense of their refusal to issue same-sex marriage licenses. [WHAS11]

A major new analysis on the impact melting polar ice sheets could have on sea level rise has given rise to some worrisome conclusions. [ThinkProgress]

If you think these work groups — comprised of people who helped create this pension disaster — are going to accomplish something, you should probably seek help. Senate President Robert Stivers and House Speaker Greg Stumbo have announced appointments to the panel tasked with examining funding issues at the Kentucky Teachers’ Retirement System. [CN|Toot]

“Here’s your prescription, walk in the forest five times a week for an hour.” According to experts, it is not inconceivable that doctors will be giving health advice like this in the not too distant future. [BBC]

The Foundation for the Tri-State Community is going to an online, crowdfunding organization to choose this year’s recipients for its Area Education Grants. [Ashland Independent]

If you had chickenpox as a child, then you’re at risk for shingles. As you age, the risk increases, probably because the immune system weakens over time. [NPR]

Two Richmond residents had their bags packed and were ready to get married June 26 regardless of Kentucky law. However, the Supreme Court’s marriage equality decision meant they could celebrate at home with their family instead of traveling to Chicago that night, they said. [Richmond Register]

U.S. District Court Judge David Bunning heard testimony today in the American Civil Liberties Union of Kentucky’s lawsuit against Rowan County and Clerk Kim Davis for refusing to issue marriage licenses to any eligible couple, in an attempt to keep same-gender couples from obtaining them. [ACLU-KY]

A woman accused of torture and murder in the bloody Bosnian civil war more than 20 years ago has lost another effort to avoid being extradited from Kentucky to stand trial. [H-L]

Good, finally some sense. Requiring GMO labeling is dumb as hell. If you’re one of those pseudoscience lunatics who freak out over GMOs (literally everything you eat is GMO) without an understanding beyond hucksters like Food Babe, move along. [HuffPo]