ICYMI: Comer Is Under Investigation

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is wrestling with an unenviable, arguably impossible task this election year: protecting Senate Republicans from the political upheaval caused by Donald Trump’s presidential candidacy. [H-L]

A graphic video shows a Baton Rouge police officer shooting and killing Alton Sterling, a 37-year-old black man who was selling CDs in front of a convenience store early Tuesday morning. [HuffPo]

SURPRISE! Bevin’s proposal to reshape the state’s Medicaid program ran into a buzzsaw of criticism at its first public hearing since the governor announced it last Wednesday. [C-J/AKN]

A regulatory effort by the Obama administration to crack down on tax deals is facing backlash from business groups and lawmakers on both sides of the aisle. [The Hill]

Charles Gabbard, who is accused of stealing donations from volunteers meant for Kentucky River Regional Animal Shelter (KRRAS) and a volunteer’s cellphone was indicted this month on charges relating to the incident. [Hazard Herald]

U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch said on Tuesday fighting economic espionage was a priority for the Department of Justice. [Reuters]

Access Fund, the national advocacy organization that protects America’s climbing, is excited to announce that Breaks Interstate Park, which sits across the southwest Virginia/southeast Kentucky line, is now officially open to rock climbing. [Harlan Daily Enterprise]

At a time when Democrats and Republicans in Congress can’t agree on just about anything, there is one issue that unites them: the urgent need for criminal justice reform. [ProPublica]

Bobby Paisley’s health insurance covers his vision and dental care. He knows, because he and his wife pay for it. “I don’t have to do community service, I don’t have to earn points and I don’t have to wait,” he said. But that’s exactly what some 400,000 Kentuckians would have to do if they need an eye exam or a tooth pulled under Gov. Matt Bevin’s proposal to overhaul the state’s Medicaid program. [Richmond Register]

In his final State of the Union address in January, President Obama made an ambitious pledge to overhaul the management of fossil fuels on America’s public lands in his final year, focusing, in particular, on the antiquated and little-known federal coal program. [ThinkProgress]

Beginning this fall, the Kentucky Community and Technical College System (KCTCS) will offer a free dual credit class to Kentucky public high school juniors, allowing them to earn high school and college credit at the same time. [Ashland Independent]

If you missed it, Jamie Comer and his crew are under investigation by the Office of the Attorney General. [Page One]

Giant coal producer Murray Energy has issued notices that it could lay off up to 4,400 coal mine workers in six states come September. A news release from the St. Clairsville, Ohio, company says it issued the notices for its operations in Ohio, West Virginia, Illinois, Kentucky, Utah and Pennsylvania. [H-L]

A Texas man who sued the federal government because it wouldn’t approve his application to manufacture a machine gun doesn’t have a constitutional right to possess the automatic weapon, an appeals court ruled. [HuffPo]

Jobless Rates Allegedly Down In May

The Bevin Churchministration says Kentucky’s jobless rate fell in 91 counties during the month of May, rose in 24 and remained the same in five.

Details…

Remained the same in:

  • Letcher
  • Marshall
  • Menifee
  • Powell
  • Webster

Lowest jobless rates:

  • Woodford 3.3%
  • Oldham 3.4%
  • Fayette, Shelby, Spencer 3.6%
  • Boone 3.7%
  • Anderson, Campbell, Scott 3.8%
  • Franklin, Jessamine, Owen, Warren, Washington 3.9%

Highest jobless rates:

  • Magoffin 15.6%
  • Leslie 11.6%
  • Harlan 11.2%
  • Letcher 11.1%
  • Elliott 10.9%
  • Floyd 10.7%
  • Knott, Pike 10.5%
  • Clay 10.1%
  • Lawrence 10%

Want to dig through all the numbers? Here you go:


CLICK TO ENLARGE — PDF

Have fun.

Try not to think about Bevin appointing church loonies to every board position in the state, the RPK being homophobic and borderline (full-on?) racist, every poor person in the state getting stiffed on the health care front…

Bevin’s Still A Backward-Ass Buffoon

The University of Kentucky will lay off up to 75 people across several departments as part of an administrative reorganization, officials announced Thursday. [H-L]

Exaggerator took advantage of sloppy conditions and a “dream trip” to win the 141st running of the Preakness Stakes by 3-1/2 lengths in Baltimore on Saturday, ending Kentucky Derby winner Nyquist’s bid for the Triple Crown. And two horses died because of course they did. [HuffPo]

A lack of front door intercoms, a door propped open, overgrown shrubbery – these are some of the most common security vulnerabilities in schools, according to a Saturday panel about school safety during the National Rifle Association’s annual meeting in Louisville. [C-J/AKN]

Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, promised on Thursday to roll back some of America’s most ambitious environmental policies, actions that he said would revive the ailing U.S. oil and coal industries and bolster national security. [Reuters]

Here’s the latest from your mouth-breathing, bigoted governor. Republican Gov. Matt Bevin announced Friday that his administration will join a suit filed in U.S. District Court challenging transgender bathroom guidelines for students issued by the Obama administration. [Ronnie Ellis]

Back in the late-housing-bubble period, in 2007, Countrywide Home Loans, which was then the largest mortgage provider in the country, rolled out a new lending program. [ProPublica]

The son of a former Ashland mayoral candidate advocated for the passage of an anti-discrimination ordinance Thursday in front of the Ashland Board of City Commissioners. [Ashland Independent]

In the hot and humid conditions of downtown Dallas, the #Exxonknew ice sculpture – erected by environmental campaigners to suggest the company had known about the science of climate change but had failed to act – did not last too long. [BBC]

A plan to apply artificial turf at the Rowan County Senior High School football field seems to have hit a dead end. [The Morehead News]

For the first time, researchers have found a person in the United States carrying bacteria resistant to antibiotics of last resort, an alarming development that the top U.S. public health official says could signal “the end of the road” for antibiotics. [WaPo]

Barren County Judge-Executive Micheal Hale essentially issued a challenge to his fellow members of the county’s governing body, the fiscal court, to come to the next meeting with specific suggestions for what should be cut from next fiscal year’s budget. [Glasgow Daily Times]

As a witness to the removal of fallen U.S. troops from Afghanistan, Army Chaplain Christopher John Antal can’t recall a time when that solemn ceremony wasn’t conducted without the presence of drones passing along the horizon. [ABC News]

Kentucky officials say unemployment rates fell in 83 of the state’s counties between April 2015 and April 2016. Jobless rates rose in 33 counties and stayed the same in four. [H-L & Press Release]

The presidential campaign of Donald Trump has largely been a policy-free, fact-free, detail-free event, based on emotion (especially fear), pandering to shallow slogans (“Make America Great”), and the aggressive personal and ad hominem abuse of his Republican and Democratic opponents. [HuffPo]

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A Funny: Jim Gray Went To Ashland

The Morehead State University faculty senate voted last week to censure President Wayne Andrews. The 23-11 vote signaled the faculty’s displeasure with a lack of faculty input on major decisions affecting the campus, said faculty senate chairwoman Annie Adams. [H-L]

“It’s like one of those houses where an old lady lived with 100 cats who peed everywhere,” Maher said of the GOP. “That is your party today — a filthy, pee-stained house full of dead cats. [HuffPo]

This latest Adam Edelen stunt is going to turn into a moment of spectacular schadenfreude. Mark my words on that. [C-J/AKN]

A group of former contestants from “The Apprentice” are taking a stand against the reality show’s former host, Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump. [The Hill]

Folks at WFPL/KyCIR/whatever they want to call it recently criticized me via email for using an anonymous source. So it’s fun to see them do the same damn thing just a week later. Also fascinating that they ignored half of what MC Squared actually does – like selling incest pornography. [WFPL]

New York City’s largest public pension is exiting all hedge fund investments in the latest sign that the $4 trillion public pension sector is losing patience with these often secretive portfolios at a time of poor performance and high fees. [Reuters]

We can’t decide if Jim Gray is a horrible U.S. Senate candidate or just an embarrassingly slow and out-of-touch candidate. Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Jim Gray wants Ashlanders to know his opponent, Sen. Rand Paul, voted against the Trade Adjustment Assistance program. Gray’s Senate campaign contacted The Daily Independent with its reaction two weeks after Paul’s official visit to Ashland, during which he directed staff to help laid off AK Steel workers applying for federal assistance. [Ashland Independent]

The federal Department of Education said on Tuesday it would offer to write off $7.7 billion of student debt owed by disabled individuals, taking a big step to streamline a loan forgiveness program long plagued by bureaucratic delay and inefficiency. [ProPublica]

Madison was one of 115 Kentucky counties in which the average jobless rate for 2015 was lower than during the previous year. [Richmond Register]

Almost five years after the 2010 Deepwater Horizon spill sent millions of barrels of oil gushing into the Gulf of Mexico, the Obama administration announced a set of new offshore drilling rules that it hoped would prevent another massive oil spill. Now, as those rules appear to be racing towards finalization, House Republicans are asking the administration to revise the rules to lessen the burden on the oil industry. [ThinkProgress]

This is the big news in Eastern Kentucky. A local business owner may have lost $1 million in a fire that ravaged Main Street early on Tuesday morning. [The Morehead News]

Wounded GOP front-runner Donald Trump is quietly setting up a parallel campaign structure, hiring known Republican fixers to professionalize his operation and sidelining his original team. [Politico]

The executive committee of the Bluegrass Area Development District is moving forward with an appeal of a state order to repay $898,525 that state officials say was misspent from 2010 to 2013. [H-L]

In 1968, a pair of scientists from Stanford Research Institute wrote a report for the American Petroleum Institute, a trade association for America’s oil and natural gas industry. They warned that “man is now engaged in a vast geophysical experiment with his environment, the earth” — one that “may be the cause of serious world-wide environmental changes.” [HuffPo]

Need cheap mobile phone service? Maybe even for a backup cell phone? I’m talking $6/mo cheap? Use our Ting referral code and we’ll all get a sweet credit. You get $25 — enough for a couple months of service to determine whether you like it. Both CDMA and GSM options. For worriers: no, you don’t get identified to us if you use our link… so please consider letting us know if you do! [Ting]

Frankfort Feels Like A Panicked Warzone

NOTE: If you’re having issues with your mobile web browser, clear your temporary files and refresh the page. Maybe also consider updating your phone’s software.

Just so we’re clear, I’m taking this moment to whore out today’s 12:30 story. Tim Longmeyer-related. It’s the juiciest juicy I’ve published in weeks. Maybe one of the funniest Democratic Party-related things since the Will Coursey curved penis deposition. Yep, it’s that good. [DON’T MISS THE DUMB FUN]

The House-Senate negotiations to craft a two-year, $21 billion state budget lasted more than three hours Friday without any resolutions while concerns about funding for Kentucky’s courts intensified. [H-L]

Will they also stop travel to Kentucky? San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee (D) is barring public funding for city employees’ travel to North Carolina in protest of the state’s new law prohibiting localities from passing legislation to protect LGBT rights. [HuffPo]

Meanwhile, there’s all this unfinished business in Frankfort. [C-J/AKN]

Can you imagine $15 minimum wage in Kentucky? Of course you can’t. This happened in California. [LA Times]

Adult Kentuckians who are interested in taking college classes may be eligible for a Go Higher Grant from the Kentucky Higher Education Assistance Authority (KHEAA). [Richmond Register]

Federal officials have extended an emergency declaration for Flint that has provided supplies of bottled water, filters and test kits to the Michigan city suffering from lead contamination in drinking water, the state governor said on Friday. [Reuters]

Three graduated Friday morning from Boyd County’s first veteran-oriented drug court. [Ashland Independent]

Colleges should be doing more to recruit low-income students and to support them as they work to finish their degrees, says a new report released today by the U.S. Department of Education. The report also shines a light on the successes some colleges have had in promoting greater access to low-income students and increasing graduation rates. [ProPublica]

Kentucky Transportation Cabinet officials plan to rebuild the rest area on the southbound side of Interstate 65 between Munfordville and Horse Cave in Hart County, but they aren’t sure when that will happen. [Glasgow Daily Times]

The Dutch government has a new message for its residents: when it comes to meat, less is more. [ThinkProgress]

The fallout from this Longmeyer mess is getting worse by the second. Tim’s just the first domino to fall. No one escapes without bruises. [Page One]

Spoiler alert: it’s because this bunch of extremists believe the end of the world is nigh and they want to hasten its arrival. All three Republican presidential candidates spoke before the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) this week, but not necessarily because they were seeking Jewish votes. An appearance before the group may have been even more important to the candidates’ evangelical Christian supporters. [NPR]

Matt Bevin proposed his version of a two-year state budget. House Democrats proposed their version, and Senate Republicans their version. Legislative leaders are now meeting in secret to reach a compromise.
[Tom Eblen]

These are the kind of extremists who support Donald Trump. [HuffPo]

The First Dem Domino Has Fallen

Tim Longmeyer is just the first shoe to drop in this corrupt Democratic Party roundup by the FBI. The former secretary of the state Personnel Cabinet allegedly took more than $200,000 in kickbacks to steer business to a consulting company and make illegal contributions to political candidates. [H-L]

Tens of thousands of people have signed a petition calling for Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland to allow guns at the Republican National Convention — all in the name of safety. [HuffPo]

At the second local gathering of religious leaders in the wake of the Belgium terror attacks, Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer on Wednesday called the responses by some Republican political candidates “naive and unrealistic.” [C-J/AKN]

Donald Trump’s heretical positions on foreign policy are multiplying. [The Hill]

Richmond’s industrial park along Duncannon Lane now has a new feature to help attract business, the fastest-available broadband Internet service. [Richmond Register]

Kentucky’s House of Representatives on Friday approved a bill to create a single marriage license form for opposite-sex and same-sex couples that would allow applicants to identify as “bride,” “groom” or “spouse.” [Reuters]

Coal’s days are numbered as the dominant energy source and utility companies had better be ready to deploy other sources, a top electric company official said Monday. “Coal will not return to where it was,” said Kentucky Power President Greg Pauley, citing federal regulations and competition from natural gas and alternative energy sources. [Ashland Independent]

James Hansen and 18 leading climate experts have published a peer-reviewed version of their 2015 discussion paper on the dangers posed by unrestricted carbon pollution. The study adds to the growing body of evidence that the current global target or defense line embraced by the world — 2°C (3.6°F) total global warming — “could be dangerous” to humanity. [ThinkProgress]

The former personnel secretary for then Gov. Steve Beshear and until this week a deputy attorney general for Andy Beshear has been charged by federal officials with setting up a kickback scheme that netted him more than $200,000 during his time in the elder Beshear’s administration. [Ronnie Ellis]

This is not a joke. Senator Al Franken should be the Democratic Party’s choice for vice president. [Politico]

State regulators have told an Eastern Kentucky coal mine to immediately cease operations after a pond overflow released iron-laced water into a stream last week and killed hundreds of fish. [WFPL]

Bernie Sanders has swept to victory over Hillary Clinton in all three states that voted for the Democratic presidential nominee on Saturday. [BBC]

Lexmark, one of the city’s biggest employers, plans to lay off 143 workers in Lexington, beginning May 25, according to a notice filed with the city. The layoffs will be permanent, the notice said. Those cuts came on top of 500 job cuts announced last July. [H-L]

These anti-woman efforts aren’t just taking place in Floriduh, they’re also taking places in Kentucky. And Democrats are cheering the restrictionsi along every step of the way. [HuffPo]

February Unemployment Rate Was Awful

SURPRISE! Kentucky’s jobless rate went up in 114 of 120 counties during the month of February.

LOWEST

  • Woodford County — 3.9%
  • Fayette County — 4.3%
  • Oldham County — 4.3%
  • Shelby County — 4.5
  • Franklin County — 4.7%
  • Scott County — 4.7%
  • Anderson County — 4.8%
  • Boone County — 4.8%
  • Campbell County — 4.8%
  • Spencer County — 4.8%

HIGHEST

  • Magoffin County — 21.6%
  • Leslie County — 13.7%
  • Harlan County — 13.6%
  • Floyd County — 13.5%
  • Letcher County — 13.4%
  • Wolfe County — 13.3%
  • Elliott County — 13.1%
  • Knott County — 12.9%
  • Lawrence County — 12.8%
  • Owsley counties — 12.8%

Wanna review the report for yourself? Click here for the PDF.