What A Week In Our Lovely, Backward, Corrupt Commonwealth

Let’s all just laugh about this one last time. House Speaker Greg Stumbo announced Wednesday he is appointing a committee to investigate what he says have been threats by Gov. Matt Bevin against state lawmakers. [C-J/AKN]

The United States broke off talks with Russia on Monday on implementing a ceasefire agreement on Syria and accused Moscow of not living up to its commitments under the Sept. 9 deal to [HuffPo]

Saying small cash bonds pose an unfair burden on the poor, a Jefferson County public defender Monday asked a circuit judge to release three defendants from jail on the grounds that district judges had violated their rights by failing to inquire about their financial ability to post bond. [C-J/AKN]

A video of a US student in “blackface” apparently mocking the Black Lives Matter campaign has sparked outrage. [BBC]

Real estate property owners in Glasgow will have the same tax rate as last year. [Glasgow Daily Times]

What does it mean to declare that #blacklivesmatter in education? Last month the Movement for Black Lives, representing elements of the Black Lives Matter movement and related groups, issued a detailed policy platform denouncing what it called “corporate-backed,” “market driven” “privatization” in school reform, and helped set off a furor over this question. [NPR]

“Backing the Lines,” an event showing support for first responders, was held on Friday evening at the Carl Perkins Center. [The Morehead News]

President Barack Obama made his case for a deliberate, measured path toward economic progress in an op-ed published Thursday in The Economist that reads like a plea to disenchanted voters tempted by the economic populism of Republican nominee Donald Trump. [Politico]

On Nov. 8, Kentuckians will decide who represents the Commonwealth as United States Senator. One of Kentucky’s two senate seats is occupied by Mitch McConnell. The other seat belongs to Rand Paul. However, Rand Paul, a republican, has a democratic challenger in the November election, and that challenger is Lexington Mayor Jim Gray. [Hazard Herald]

Voters in four states appear likely to approve ballot measures that would legalize marijuana for recreational purposes, according to recent surveys, while voters are split on the question in a fifth state. [The Hill]

The Republican Party of Kentucky has tons of other racists in their midst. Tons of them appointed by Matt Bevin to various and sundry positions. You’ve read all about them on Page One. This is their attempt to appear non-racist by throwing some nobody with no shot of winning to the wolves as a sacrifice. [WDRB]

Forty-four Afghan troops visiting the United States for military training have gone missing in less than two years, presumably in an effort to live and work illegally in America, Pentagon officials said. [Reuters]

Horse Country hopes to boost Thoroughbred racing, Central Kentucky tourism by offering behind-the-scenes tours of farms, equine clinics and feed mills. The goal is to do for horse breeding what the Kentucky Bourbon Trail is doing for whiskey-making. [H-L]

Civil rights icon Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) on Monday implored young leaders invited to the White House to continue his generation’s legacy of civil rights activism by reminding them of sacrifices that won the right to vote. [HuffPo]

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The UofL Messes Just Won’t Quit!!!

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission wants more time to complete its environmental review of a proposed conversion of the Tennessee Gas Pipeline that runs through Kentucky. [H-L]

Donald Trump, the real estate mogul and reality television star who is now the Republican presidential nominee, has long bragged that he can identify terrorism before anyone else. [HuffPo]

Promising a “new era of harmony” between the University of Louisville and its foundation, the foundation’s new chairwoman has announced she’s formed a committee to review its governance and create “a structure of which the entire community can be proud.” [C-J/AKN]

Carla Hayden, a career librarian who grew up in Chicago and kept Baltimore’s libraries open during last year’s civic unrest, was sworn in Wednesday as the 14th Librarian of Congress, becoming the first woman and the first African-American to lead the national library. [WaPo]

An announcement about the forming for a three-person personnel committee during a meeting of the Cave City Tourist and Convention Commission led to a discussion about the Kentucky Open Meetings Law, specifically regarding the reasons why a board of directors can meet in closed session. Patrick McKenzie, chairman of the tourism commission, made the announcement about the committee, which will consist of himself, Wandel Strange and Russ Yonker. [Glasgow Daily Times]

A national campaign led by Walmart, Lowe’s and other big companies to let employers opt out of workers’ comp insurance was dealt a blow after the Oklahoma Supreme Court ruled such plans unconstitutional. [ProPublica]

The city of Berea will allow Baptist Health of Kentucky to use up to $1 million of its bonding authority to help finance a 20,000-square-foot ambulatory care facility off Exit 77 of Interstate 75. [Richmond Register]

In a radio interview with Chris Stigall in Philadelphia on Thursday, Donald Trump Jr. casually dropped a Holocaust metaphor, comparing “the media” to Nazis. [ThinkProgress]

School officials in Ashland should know within a week whether the district will need a $750,000 line of credit to meet payroll, Superintendent Sean Howard said Tuesday. [Ashland Independent]

Arctic ice cover in 2016 reached the second lowest minimum on record, tied with 2007. [BBC]

Despite the insistence of state officials that problems have been largely eliminated, the state’s one-stop online portal for social benefits — “benefind” — continues to frustrate clients. [Ronnie Ellis]

Of course Mitch McConnell is playing politics with issues of major importance. Mr. Cornyn concedes the tumult of this election year was a major factor given sharp disagreement among Senate Republicans reflected in the decision by Senator Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky and the majority leader, to not allow a vote on a proposal most believe would pass easily. [NY Times]

When Muslim extremists attack, we often hear they were “radicalized” by watching videos, listening to speeches and engaging in social media that fueled their fears and resentments. Can immersing yourself in toxic media really cause crazy behavior? Of course it can: It has been happening to some American conservatives for years. [H-L]

The undocumented immigrant population isn’t growing, despite Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s insinuation that unauthorized immigration is out of control and getting worse. [HuffPo]

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Bevin Still Trying To Choke Medicaid

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is unlikely to approve changes to Kentucky’s Medicaid program that would interfere with its “extremely successful” progress at helping more people get health insurance, a top official said Wednesday. [John Cheves]

Police shot and killed a teenager in Columbus, Ohio, on Wednesday night following a reported armed robbery. [HuffPo]

Frustrated state social workers have turned to Facebook to vent about what they say is an ongoing crisis in the overwhelmed, underfunded Child Protective Services agency charged with investigating child abuse and neglect and protecting children. [C-J/AKN]

Former Secretary of State Colin Powell called the events surrounding and following the attack on the American diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, “a stupid witch hunt,” saying that fault partially lies with the US ambassador who was killed in the attack, according to personal emails. [BuzzFeed]

A walking cemetery tour, the Harvest of History, which serves as a fundraiser for the South Central Kentucky Cultural Center was canceled for this year, initially, but on Tuesday an announcement was made during the Glasgow-Barren County Tourist and Convention Commission that the event will take place, but it will be held later in the year. [Glasgow Daily Times]

Guess which borderline racist, definitely homophobic PR guy pushed this story on Reid Wilson. In November 2014, days after Republicans recaptured control of the U.S. Senate in the midterm elections, Mitch McConnell called Kentucky state Rep. Jonathan Shell to complain. McConnell had just scored a huge reelection win, and when the 114th Congress gaveled into session, he would fulfill his lifelong goal of becoming majority leader. [The Hill]

The regional heroin epidemic seemingly has hit Rowan County with eight suspected heroin overdoses reported last Thursday in a 24-hour period. [The Morehead News]

Tanya Walker had lung cancer and was coughing up blood, but she says her emergency room doctor kept asking about her genitals. [Reuters]

The Ashland Board of Education on Tuesday announced it will seek a line of credit up to $750,000 and retain a financial consultant, a few days after Director of Finance Timothy Walters announced his retirement. [Ashland Independent]

Three years ago, the Republican-led House was close to reaching a compromise on immigration. This is the inside story of what went wrong. [ProPublica]

[Yet Another] study shows that Kentucky has the worst-funded pension system in the nation, compounded by the fact that of all the states, the commonwealth is doing the worst at paying off its pension debt. [WFPL]

Former president Bill Clinton did not shy away from addressing Donald Trump’s appeals to white supremacists on Wednesday, asserting at a campaign stop that “Make America Great Again” is a racist dog whistle. [ThinkProgress]

The city of Lexington failed to deposit more than $400,000 it had agreed in 2013 to give to the police and fire pension fund, city officials confirmed Wednesday. The city made a payment of more than $500,000 to the fund late last week to cover earnings on the missed payment. [H-L]

These racists just won’t quit. Add Islamophobia to Republican lawmaker Steve King’s growing resume of ignorance. [HuffPo]

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Do You Smell The Republican Scandals?

University of Kentucky officials will eventually unveil a controversial mural in Memorial Hall that was shrouded last year and will surround it with other works of art and more context, President Eli Capilouto announced Thursday. [H-L]

Are House Republicans trying to have it both ways on Hillary Clinton? [HuffPo]

The James Graham Brown Foundation, which has provided more than $72 million in grants to the University of Louisville and related entities over the past 55 years, has threatened to cut off funding unless the U of L Foundation hires a nationally recognized forensic accounting firm to review its finances. [C-J/AKN]

Secretary of Health and Human Services Sylvia Burwell said Thursday that the ObamaCare marketplaces, which have been troubled by exiting insurers, can be made sustainable even if Congress does not act to make fixes to the healthcare law. [The Hill]

There’s a set of concrete steps leading down the hill to Smoky Bridge, the natural span near Smoky Valley Lake, and Paul Tierney walks down them the same way he would the stairs to his rec room. [Ashland Independent]

Median income is down but public college tuition is way up. Public colleges play a special role in making higher education affordable, but in recent years, soaring tuition is pushing that dream out of reach. [ProPublica]

The Glasgow Electric Plant Board voted during a special-called meeting Wednesday to send a letter to the Kentucky Attorney General, explaining the GEPB could not revert back to the rates it charged in 2015 and that it will be designing a rate structure that will involve customers paying the “real cost of their energy usage.” [Glasgow Daily Times]

The U.S. has set a new record for how much gasoline the country consumes in a month. Drivers burned more than 405 million gallons of gas a day in June, the latest month counted. The Energy Information Administration says that’s the highest amount ever, on records dating back to 1946. [NPR]

An individual and two of his companies will remain defendants in a civil action filed by the Estill Fiscal Court involving the dumping of low-level radioactive wastes at a landfill near Irvine. [Richmond Register]

Three federal prisons in California and others nationwide appear to be falling short in preparing inmates for safe release into society, investigators are warning. [McClatchy]

Republican Gov. Matt Bevin left a message on a Democratic lawmaker’s cellphone voicemail on Dec. 17, 2015 that seems to imply he planned to punish the lawmaker for refusing to switch parties. [The Morehead News]

Donald Trump paid the IRS a $2,500 penalty this year, an official at Trump’s company said, after it was revealed that Trump’s charitable foundation had violated tax laws by giving a political contribution to a campaign group connected to Florida’s attorney general. [WaPo]

The University of Kentucky violated the state’s Open Records Act by refusing to disclose documents the Herald-Leader requested concerning a Hazard cardiology practice that UK once owned, the attorney general’s office has ruled. [John Cheves]

President Barack Obama made history on Tuesday by nominating the first Muslim person to the federal judiciary, Abid Qureshi. [HuffPo]

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Heroin Hell Has Hit The Commonwealth

House Speaker Greg Stumbo raised the possibility of impeaching Gov. Matt Bevin Saturday after CNHI News Service reported that a Democratic state lawmaker said he was threatened by Bevin’s chief of staff for refusing to switch political parties. If true, the governor’s actions “are criminal in nature and in my judgment rise to the level of an impeachable offense.” [H-L]

Donald J. Trump is causing some high anxiety inside the military. He has suggested carpet-bombing Syrian cities, assassinating the families of Islamic State fighters and torturing detainees, all illegal under international or U.S. law. He has proposed withdrawing troops from South Korea (a similar troop withdrawal helped ignite the 1950 Korean War), advocated disengaging from NATO, and declared that Japan would be “better off” with its own nuclear weapons. And he has famously bragged, “I know more about ISIS than the generals!” [HuffPo]

Authorities have reported more than 200 overdoses in the region over the past two weeks. [C-J/AKN]

Three Congressional leaders on Monday asked top federal environmental and safety officials to extend by 60 days the public comment period on new vehicle emissions and fuel economy standards. [Reuters]

Two of the wilder caves at Carter Caves State Resort Park have been reopened to limited public use, a park official said. [Ashland Independent]

States that voted against President Obama twice are more dependent on the federal government, according to an analysis of new data released by the Pew Charitable Trusts on Monday. [The Hill]

The Rowan County Board of Education voted unanimously Aug. 24 to set the tax rates for real and personal property. [The Morehead News]

The National Labor Relations Board decided in two separate cases last week that — as far as federal labor law is concerned — charter schools are not public schools but private corporations. [WaPo]

Kentucky public high school graduates held steady in meeting the state’s college-readiness benchmarks on the ACT college-entrance exam in reading and English, but lost ground in meeting the state mathematics benchmark. [Glasgow Daily Times]

The planet is warming at a pace not experienced within the past 1,000 years, at least, making it “very unlikely” that the world will stay within a crucial temperature limit agreed by nations just last year, according to Nasa’s top climate scientist. [The Guardian]

Even with the assistance of detoxification and rehabilitation programs, 80 percent of people attempting recovery from opioid addiction will relapse. [Richmond Register]

The United States admitted its 10,000th Syrian refugee this week in a resettlement program announced by President Obama last fall, according to The White House. [NY Times]

After giving a speech critical of the Obama Administration and Democrats in Congress, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said politics in Washington aren’t as polarizing as they seem. [H-L]

The producers of EpiPen will offer a generic version of the emergency allergy treatment following outrage last week over price increases, the company announced Monday. [HuffPo]

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Mitch McConnell Is Apparently Hilarious

Coal is dying and there’s nothing the Republican Party of Kentucky can do about it. Although the state’s coal industry continued to shed jobs from April through June, the decline was not as steep as in the first three months of the year, according to a report released Monday. [H-L]

Retired Marine Gen. John Allen warned on Sunday that if Donald Trump were elected president, there would be mass unrest among the military rank and file over the policies that he would implement and pursue. [HuffPo]

Senate Bill 11 – signed into law earlier this year – took effect July 15 and is now allowing alcohol-related businesses statewide to receive new and increased privileges that are meant to support tourism and advance production. [C-J/AKN]

The U.S. Navy will name one of its new class of oil tankers after Harvey Milk, an activist who became one of the first openly gay people to be elected to public office in the United States before his assassination in 1978, officials said on Friday. [Reuters]

Local leaders and advocates for the hungry joined State Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles on Tuesday to discuss what is being done at the local level to combat food insecurity in the area. [The Morehead News]

Some restaurants have secret menus, special items that you can only get if you know to ask. New Jersey’s student loan program has secret options, too — borrowers may be able to get help from the agency, but only if they know to ask. [ProPublica]

Revelations about lucrative perks doled out to former University of Louisville president James Ramsey’s top deputies brought outrage Friday from faculty members and taxpayers, but was of no concern to two top trustees. [WFPL]

Unlike every other major party nominee since 1976, Donald Trump has not released his tax returns. [ThinkProgress]

Opponents of a plan to let an aging pipeline carry natural gas liquids through Kentucky continue to call on federal regulators to conduct a more thorough review of the project. [WDRB]

The US economy grew at a much slower pace than expected in the second quarter and GDP was revised down in the first three months of the year. [BBC]

Perry County lost a beloved citizen on July 26. Danny Rose passed away at the age of 56. Rose served as an attorney in Hazard for many years, with his office located downtown. [Hazard Herald]

Donald Trump is pushing back on a key Democratic argument against him: that he’s dangerous and too erratic to be commander in chief. [Politico]

Pee alert… Out with a new book this year, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell signaled on Sunday that he’s far from reaching the epilogue of his long political career. The Kentucky Republican said there’s a “great likelihood” he’ll seek a seventh Senate term in 2020. [H-L]

Donald Trump appears either unfamiliar with Russia’s annexation of Crimea or directly supportive of the intrusion that began in the winter of 2014, further chilled U.S.-Russian relations and has left thousands dead. [HuffPo]

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Mitch McConnell Is Trump’s Chump

TVA is closing and capping 10 coal ash ponds at power plants in Tennessee and Alabama, against the urging of environmentalists who want the ash dug up and removed. [H-L]

In what has become a familiar pattern, GOP leaders on Sunday denounced Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s latest round of offensive remarks. But they continue to support his campaign. [HuffPo]

On the third floor of the Copper & Kings brandy distillery near the edge of Butchertown, a spacious tasting room that’s accented by a view of the Louisville skyline is expected to soon be renovated into the neighborhood’s latest cocktail spot. [C-J/AKN]

Hillary Clinton’s campaign had its computer network hacked as part of the cyberattack on Democratic organizations, Reuters reported Friday. [The Hill]

The Morehead Utility Plant Board voted unanimously Tuesday to amend its 2016-17 budget to include two capital projects. [The Morehead News]

A U.S. appeals court on Friday struck down a North Carolina law that required voters to show photo identification when casting ballots, ruling that it intentionally discriminated against African-American residents. [Reuters]

It became apparent to Marvin Claywell about a year ago that there is very little documentation about those from the Barrens area who fought during World War I, so he decided to see what information he could find that would enable him to put together at least one, if not more, exhibits at the South Central Kentucky Cultural Center featuring information about the soldiers, as well as life on the home front during the World War I era. [Glasgow Daily Times]

On the 50th anniversary of the Freedom of Information Act, here are ProPublica reporters’ most frustrating public record failures. [ProPublica]

Kentucky Power recognized the Ashland Alliance by presenting an $84,000 check to help spur economic development in the aerospace industry. [Ashland Independent]

One of the ringleaders of the militia takeover of an Oregon nature preserve last winter is now hoping to avoid prison by convincing the courts that the United States is actually being run by a shadow government that enslaves children at birth. [ThinkProgress]

The Richmond Planning and Zoning Commission will conduct a town hall type discussion of its comprehensive plan revision on Tuesday evening, Aug. 19. [Richmond Register]

He walked onto the convention stage Thursday night with his wife beside him, the Constitution to guide him and the pride of a father who knows he has a story to tell. [Politico]

An administrator in Crittenden County has been jailed on charges of trafficking drugs to inmates. [H-L]

Both Donald Trump and his campaign chairman said Sunday they had nothing to do with altering the Republican Party’s position on Ukraine ― which must have been news to GOP leaders who confirmed last week that Trump’s campaign insisted on exactly that change. [HuffPo]

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