Is Yarmuth The Only KY Democrat?

One year ago, Michael Todd was getting ready for a doctor’s appointment when his phone was flooded with messages from relatives. [H-L]

Iraqi forces recaptured the last district held by Islamic State militants in the city of Falluja on Sunday and the general commanding the operation declared the battle complete after nearly five weeks of fighting. [HuffPo]

The Kentucky Democrat who helped orchestrate this week’s historic shutdown of the U.S. House to demand action on gun violence said his involvement began with a voice mail. [C-J/AKN]

Former Democratic presidential candidate Martin O’Malley on Sunday called Donald Trump a racist bigot who appeals to the worst instincts in people. [The Hill]

Toward the end of the inaugural Metcalfe County Proud Festival, several members of the Hornets’ Nest Pickers gathered on Saturday afternoon behind the stage that was built on the Metcalfe County Courthouse lawn. [Glasgow Daily Times]

Hawaii’s governor signed a bill making it the first state to place its residents who own firearms in a federal criminal record database and monitor them for possible wrongdoing anywhere in the country, his office said. [Reuters]

One of the toughest ways to make a living is undoubtedly being a standup comedian. The comedian goes onstage with nothing but a microphone to face a crowd of people smugly sitting back with the attitude, “Make us laugh, if you can.” [Richmond Register]

Donald Trump claimed he was a “much better friend to the gays” than Hillary Clinton after the mass shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando earlier this month. On Sunday, it was Clinton who showed up to show she was the better friend of the LGBT community. [Politico]

After 70 weeks on the picket line near the entrance of the old fire brick plant in Grahn, United Steelworkers Local 857 President Donald Frazier sums up negotiations in a few simple words. [Ashland Independent]

Ralph Stanley, the singer, banjo player and guardian of unvarnished mountain music who was also a pivotal figure in the recent revival of interest in bluegrass, died on Thursday. He was 89. [NY Times]

Supt. Marvin Moore received an “exemplary” evaluation Tuesday from the Rowan County Board of Education. [The Morehead News]

With Dwight D. Eisenhower’s signature, the government fired thousands of federal employees for being gay or lesbian, and Francis wants the department to release the internal memos, documents and communications surrounding it. [Roll Call]

You already knew this guy was a pandering lunatic. Rep. Thomas Massie thinks it’s time for “amexit.” [H-L]

Longtime conservative columnist George Will is wiping his hands clean of the Republican Party. [HuffPo]

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Yesterday Was A Flustercuck For Kentucky

Tim Longmeyer, a former secretary of the state Personnel Cabinet under former Gov. Steve Beshear, pleaded guilty in federal court Tuesday to bribery. [H-L]

If you run a business, are employed by one, care about the stability of the financial system, or would prefer that the U.S. economy not be needlessly thrown into disarray — a group that seems like a pretty broad coalition of voters — Cruz’s economic policy is not OK. [HuffPo]

The Independent Pilots Association, the collective bargaining unit for UPS pilots, is turning up the heat on the shipping giant by opening a strike operations center in Louisville. [C-J/AKN]

Pope Francis says a brief meeting with Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders just “good manners” and not political interference. [BBC]

Five hours after the Ashland Police Department posted a Facebook status about a recent spike in theft and burglary, officers were on the hunt for a robber downtown. [Ashland Independent]

Mitch McConnell is “increasingly optimistic that there actually may be a second ballot” at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland this summer, the Senate majority leader told a Kentucky ABC affiliate over the weekend. [Politico]

People in rural areas of Appalachia are more likely to die early deaths than in other parts of the country. A big reason, researchers say, is that people in places such as Leslie County, Kentucky, or Boone County, West Virginia – both part of coalfield regions – die from drug overdoses at greater rates than the rest of the country. [Glasgow Daily Times]

If you’re a gay person surprised by the reality that most Republicans, and many Democrats, are ignoring you or politicizing you? You’re screwed up. [ThinkProgress]

Fried mushrooms, mushroom soup, mushroom hunting, and a Fungus 5K, will be just a few of the mushroom-themed items and activities sporing downtown at the City of Irvine’s 26th annual Mountain Mushroom Festival. [Richmond Register]

The Associated Press won the Pulitzer Prize for public service for reporting on abuse in the seafood industry that helped free 2,000 slave laborers, and Reuters and The New York Times shared the breaking news photography award for images of the European refugee crisis. [Reuters]

A Morehead woman was shot by accident by her son on Wednesday. [The Morehead News]

The Obama administration has made a concerted effort to improve its relationship with Mexico following Donald Trump’s call for a massive border wall and his criticism of undocumented immigrants in the United States. [The Hill]

They cover this sort of crap but ignore Montgomery County. Clark County Superintendent Paul Christy, and George Rogers Clark High School baseball coach Matt Ginter and principal David Bolen all have to take three hours of training from the Kentucky Department of Education on accounting procedures for school activity funds, according to a final report from the Kentucky Office of Education Accountability dated March 30. [H-L]

An eight-member Supreme Court appeared skeptical on Monday that President Barack Obama’s decision to defer deportation for millions of undocumented immigrants could be subject to a multi-state legal challenge in a court of law. [HuffPo]

Loss Of The Spoonbread Festival Stings

A federal judge has ruled that Kentucky cannot bar a corporation from contributing to political campaigns while no such restrictions apply to other organizations such as labor unions. [H-L]

Stagnant pay for many Americans is already a defining issue of this year’s populism-filled presidential election. But add in the rising cost of living, and the picture is even bleaker. [HuffPo]

If anyone is claiming that they’re surprised Tim Longmeyer took part in this alleged bribery corruption scheme, consider everything they say with a grain of salt. Being nice doesn’t mean you’re not corrupt. Just like being an asshole doesn’t mean you’re a terrible person. Bill Ryan is hardly the posterboy for integrity. And at least two of the people commenting in this story didn’t have nice things to say about Tim when they spoke to me. [C-J/AKN]

The court’s 4-to-4 tie on an important labor case gave Democrats a rare double victory. Not only did they get to celebrate the union win made possible by the result, they also got a fresh opportunity to remind Americans that the stalemate over the vacancy will limit the court’s ability to act. [NY Times]

While opinions on who to blame for this year’s Spoonbread Festival being canceled varied, locals were pretty unanimous on one thing — they are sad to see it go. [Richmond Register]

LaToya Fowlkes is standing outside rent court in Baltimore. A judge has just ruled that Fowlkes has to pay her landlord $4,900 in rent and fees despite her complaints that the house has leaky water pipes, chipped paint, rodents and a huge hole in the living room wall. But Fowlkes didn’t notify her landlord of the problems by certified mail — something the judge said she should have done to avoid eviction. [NPR]

There will be no competitive primary for the 98th District state representative race during this cycle. [Ashland Independent]

The US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) spent $86m (£60m) on a spy plane to be flown in Afghanistan, but it was never used, a government report says. [BBC]

Morehead Utility Plant Board customers could see a slight increase in monthly water and sewer bills after July 1. [The Morehead News]

A lawsuit last week in Canada is seeking to halt a major $15 billion sale of light-armored vehicles to the government of Saudi Arabia, part of a growing international movement to stop arms sales to the Saudi government over its alleged war crimes in Yemen. [The Intercept]

Internal investigations into whether Glasgow Police Department Sgt. Terry Flatt and Officer Tammy Britt violated city policies related to a text-message exchange between them that came to light late last year ended with the same conclusion. [Glasgow Daily Times]

In these first years of the 21st century, we may be witnessing a new world being born inside the hollowed-out shell of the American system. [Bill Moyers]

Greg Stumbo is not happy with Matt Bevin at all. [H-L]

Donald Trump has defied the laws of political physics from the moment he rode down that gold-toned elevator in his own Manhattan tower to announce his candidacy last spring. [HuffPo]

Frankfort Feels Like A Panicked Warzone

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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]

Gonna Go See Rand (R-Cookie Tree) Monday?

Yep, this is the kind of backwater ignorance and hatred that’s pervasive in Eastern Kentucky. The kind of nonsense the Kentucky Democratic Party refuses to address and stand up against. The ACLU of Kentucky is challenging the censorship of books, magazines, letters and pictures sent to inmates at one state prison because the warden believes they “promote homosexuality.” [John Cheves]

The Supreme Court on Tuesday ruled in favor of thousands of meatpacking workers at a Tyson Foods plant in Iowa who banded together and sued the company for wage theft. [HuffPo]

Kentucky’s top retail lobbying firm is stepping up its opposition to a measure that would allow local voters to add a temporary 1 percent sales tax to pay for special projects, saying it would hurt small businesses and consumers. [C-J/AKN]

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is stepping up the safety warnings on the labels of powerful painkillers amid a national epidemic of drug overdoses. Drug companies will now have to include specific warnings about “serious risks of misuse, abuse, addiction, overdose and death” on all immediate-release painkillers like oxycodone and codeine. The change will affect 228 medications, according to the FDA. [The Hill]

The Horse Cave City Council has approved a settlement of all claims regarding a matter involving one of the city’s police officers. [Glasgow Daily Times]

A federal appeals court on Tuesday ordered a lower court judge to dismiss a lawsuit challenging gun control laws approved by Colorado in the wake of a movie theater massacre in a Denver suburb, saying the plaintiffs lacked standing to bring the case. [Reuters]

Rand Paul will hold a Town Hall Meeting on Monday at 9 a.m. at the Ashland Transportation Center. Paul will be joined by Congressman Thomas Massie. [Ashland Independent]

Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump, in an apparent bid to placate conservatives who fear that he could appoint an insufficiently ideological justice if elected president, plans to release a list of 5-10 names sometime in the next week. He says that, if given the opportunity to name a Supreme Court justice, he will limit his selection to the names on that list. At a press conference on Monday, Trump also revealed an unusual detail about how he is determining which names should be on the list. “Heritage Foundation and others are working on” the list,” according to Trump. [ThinkProgress]

Students who attend Berea Community Schools next year will need to leave their lunch money at home after the Berea Independent Board of Education voted to accept a federally-funded provision Monday that will provide meals to all students. [Richmond Register]

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has revealed the first members of his foreign policy team. [BBC]

A bill aimed at modifying regulations for radioactive material coming into Kentucky passed out of a Senate committee. The bill isn’t meant to introduce new regulations, but it would modify some existing ones. The man behind it says he wants to make sure the state is doing everything it can when it comes to technologically enhanced naturally occurring radioactive material or TENORM. [WKYT]

Despite the economic embargo on Cuba, the country’s economy is changing thanks to its newly improved relationship with the United States. [NPR]

The Kentucky House of Representatives has approved a two-year, $4.5 billion spending plan on roads and bridges in an election year that has left some Republicans seething. [H-L]

The tax cuts for the rich proposed by the two leading Republican candidates for the presidency — Donald Trump and Ted Cruz — are larger, as a proportion of the government budget and the total economy, than any tax cuts ever before proposed in history. [HuffPo]

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Bevin Budget Is Still Your Nightmare

The Kentucky Senate’s budget proposal includes a complex funding formula for higher education that would eventually provide most state funding to colleges and universities based on their progress with key measurements, such as retention and graduation rates. [H-L]

A lot of U.S. companies pay top dollar just to keep labor unions out of their workplaces. It’s hard to know exactly how much — or who — they pay, because the reporting standards aren’t all that strict. But that’s about to change. [HuffPo]

WARNING! RIDICULOUS AUTOPLAY VIDEO! In a largely symbolic action, the House voted Tuesday to preserve Kentucky’s health insurance exchange, kynect, and its expansion of Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. [C-J/AKN]

The Supreme Court issued a deadlocked ruling Tuesday, its first since the death of Justice Antonin Scalia. The court tied 4-4 in a case involving whether a pair of wives should be held financially responsible for the failure of their husbands’ real estate endeavor. [The Hill]

Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear announced on Tuesday that he is filing suit against Volkswagen — and its associated brands, Audi and Porsche — over the company’s false claims about emissions on its diesel cars. [WFPL]

The U.S. government was hit by more than 77,000 “cyber incidents” like data thefts or other security breaches in fiscal year 2015, a 10 percent increase over the previous year, according to a White House audit. [Reuters]

The only thing embarrassing here is the old man doing the complaining. And when he finally kicks the bucket, he’ll be revered as if he’s a saint instead of a petulant, corrupt asshole who ran roughshod over everyone in order to attaint status and wealth. [WDRB]

Coordinated bombings in Brussels may have been in the works for some time, aided by an underworld where crime and extremism blur together. [ProPublica]

This week Greg Stumbo had his Legislative Research Commission staffers write a column all about Matt Bevin’s disastrous budget. [Floyd County Times]

In the wake of terror attacks in Brussels, Belgium on Tuesday, some Republican lawmakers have called for a ban on Syrian refugees and increased surveillance in American Muslim communities. But one Republican senator wants to make it easier for some refugees to come to the U.S. — if they’re Christian. [ThinkProgress]

The Republican state Senate agrees with Republican Gov. Matt Bevin — higher education funding should be tied to some degree to performance. [Ronnie Ellis]

The biggest achievement in the House last week was a party-line vote to file a brief in a court case. In other action, GOP leaders all but conceded they won’t be able to pass a budget, the party’s first order of business, this year. [Politico]

An official with a defunct Florida company plans to plead guilty in a case in which he is charged with helping bilk $1.32 million from a construction company through false claims about building a recycling factory in Manchester. [H-L]

An eye-opening remark from a former aide to President Richard Nixon pulls back the curtain on the true motivation of the United States’ war on drugs. [HuffPo]

Bevin Has Totally Borked State Govt

Lexmark International, the printer and imaging systems company based in Lexington, says it has spent $10.7 million trying to cure accounting deficiencies in the tax department formerly headed by Kentucky’s new revenue commissioner, Daniel Bork. Bork was Lexmark’s vice president of tax until last September, then resurfaced as a Gov. Matt Bevin appointee three months later. Bork left Lexmark as it was grappling with income tax-related accounting problems that forced the company last March to admit that it could not vouch for the integrity of its financial reporting to the investing public. [H-L]

Half of America believes Donald Trump’s campaign exhibits fascist overtones, with only 30 percent disagreeing, according to a new HuffPost/YouGov poll. The sentiment isn’t contained to Democrats, who unsurprisingly are willing to agree with a negative statement about their political rivals. Forty-five percent of independents also say Trump’s campaign has echoes of fascism, as do a full 28 percent of Republicans. [HuffPo]

Surprise! A corrupt labor organization (any labor group defending flipping AT&T is not acting on behalf of its membership, period) is butthurt that there might be real competition in Louisville. [C-J/AKN]

It’s 2016, but the Eastern Kentucky Correctional Complex didn’t get the memo. The minimum and medium security prison in West Liberty, Kentucky has a mail policy that prohibits prisoners from receiving books and magazines that “promote homosexuality” — whatever the prison thinks that means. In just a four-month period in 2015, EKCC used the policy 13 different times to confiscate mail including letters, cards, “pages out of book,” and magazines like Out and The Advocate. [ACLU]

Kentucky’s seasonally adjusted preliminary unemployment rate for February 2016 stayed at 5.8 percent from a revised 5.8 percent in January 2016, according to the Office of Employment and Training (OET), an agency of the Kentucky Education and Workforce Development Cabinet. [Press Release]

Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid (Nev.) on Thursday called on Republican leaders in Congress to renounce Donald Trump because of his controversial views, saying their “moral cowardice” led to the GOP presidential front-runner’s rise. [The Hill]

House Democrats took Republicans and their new governor, Matt Bevin, somewhat by surprise by including a larger up-front contribution to Kentucky’s troubled pension systems than expected in the budget the House passed Wednesday on strict party line votes. [Ronnie Ellis]

A U.S. service member who was part of the coalition fighting Islamic State was killed in a rocket attack in northern Iraq, a U.S. defense official said on Saturday. [Reuters]

Barren and Metcalfe counties have a new district judge – at least through November. [Glasgow Daily Times]

Perhaps you remember Corinthian Colleges. It was the country’s second largest chain of for-profit colleges, before it collapsed into bankruptcy last year amid evidence of phony marketing and predatory loans. [ProPublica]

A perennial state Senate bill to allow for charter schools gained additional traction this week when it was amended to give local school boards a say in the matter. [Richmond Register]

House Speaker Paul Ryan met Thursday night at a pricey French restaurant here with some of the party’s biggest donors to assess a political landscape dominated by one vexing question: what to do about Donald Trump. [Politico]

A judge has denied a request by Gov. Matt Bevin’s administration to temporarily close a Lexington abortion clinic that the state claims is operating illegally. [H-L]

Take note, Kentucky, take note. The National Football League signaled Friday that it may pass over Atlanta as a Super Bowl site if the governor signs a law allowing open discrimination against gay people. [HuffPo]