Magoffin County Can’t Catch A Break

Federal jurors have convicted two Magoffin County officials in a vote-fraud scheme in which the judge-executive also was implicated. [H-L]

Donald Trump has been making waves this week ― great waves, terrific waves ― after accusing President Barack Obama of creating ISIS. But earlier this year, he was saying something different: that the U.S. invasion of Iraq created the terrorist group. [HuffPo]

In the latest blow for Catholic Health Initiatives in Kentucky, a jury has returned a $21.2 million verdict against the company and its St. Joseph Hospital London for conspiring with cardiologists to perform unnecessary heart procedures. [C-J/AKN]

The “lock her up” chants started early and came often at Donald Trump’s campaign event near Fort Lauderdale, Florida on Wednesday evening. [BBC]

Eddie Sexton has always held a passion to become a school principal, and now, after 16 years as an educator, he gets to fulfill that goal as the new principal of Daniel Boone Elementary. [Richmond Register]

In 2011, Gene Sperling had a problem. He was working as President Obama’s chief economic advisor but his government salary did not cover his expenses. He and his wife lived in a Georgetown townhouse valued today at around $2 million, but did not have enough equity to qualify for a second mortgage or credit line. He didn’t want to sell the house and he wanted to keep working at a prestigious but relatively low-paid public service job. [ProPublica]

Former Elliott County Clerk Shelia Blevins and her sister, former Elliott County Deputy Clerk Jeannie Moore, were formally sentenced Friday in Franklin Circuit Court to complicity to commit abuse of public trust under $10,000. [Ashland Independent]

The Obama administration on Friday declared a public health emergency in the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico, saying the rapid and widespread transmission of the Zika virus threatens the health of infected pregnant women and their babies. [Reuters]

From what was described as a “strong pool of candidates from across the country,” the Board of Directors of the Morehead-Rowan County Economic Development Council, Inc., (EDC) has narrowed its search for a new executive director to three or four candidates. [The Morehead News]

Coal mining. Bad management. Runoff from cities and farms. These are all things that are creating major problems for America’s rivers, according to a new report. [ThinkProgress & American Rivers]

In an effort to better serve patients from the Cave City, Park City and Horse Cave areas, T.J. Regional Health has opened the T.J. Health Cave City Clinic. The new clinic at 440 Happy Valley St. provides walk-in medical and injury care. It is staffed with physicians, nurse practitioners, registered nurses and technicians, and is one of several clinics owned by T.J. Regional Health. [Glasgow Daily Times]

BHP Billiton, the world’s largest mining firm by market value, reported a record $6.4 billion annual loss on Tuesday, hammered by a bad bet on shale, a dam disaster in Brazil and a commodities slump. [CNBC]

Kentucky’s Prichard Committee Student Voice Team has received national attention for its advocacy on issues such as increasing school funding in Kentucky. [H-L]

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Grandmother) is not optimistic that he will be in charge of the Senate come November ― and Donald Trump, he implied, is not helping matters. [HuffPo]

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Matt Bevin Is Still Ruining Everything

The Affrilachian Poets, a diverse Lexington-based collective of writers directly or indirectly connected to Appalachia, has rejected its 2016 Governor’s Award in the Arts, citing Gov. Matt Bevin’s positions on education, the humanities and other issues. [H-L]

This past Monday was supposed to be a turning point for Donald Trump. That was the day many Republicans hoped their presidential nominee, who was giving a speech at the Detroit Economic Club, would make his long-awaited pivot to the general election. More teleprompter, less Trump. [HuffPo]

The NCAA has not finished interviewing people in its investigation of the University of Louisville’s men’s basketball program. [C-J/AKN]

Donald Trump is in danger of losing his grip on the Republican Party as fears grow that he’s headed for a landslide defeat in November that will wipe out GOP majorities in Congress. [The Hill]

Findings of a city probe into revelations about a Frankfort police major appear to conflict with some witness testimony in a Franklin County Sheriff’s Office investigation and a resulting court case. The State Journal’s attempts for more than a month to review information used by the city to reach its conclusions also leave some remaining questions about how the internal investigation was launched and how it was conducted. [State Journal]

Here’s Matt Bevin wasting your taxpayer dollars in favor of discrimination. Texas and a dozen other states asked a U.S. judge on Friday to block Obama administration guidance to public schools that transgender students must be allowed to use bathrooms of their choice, saying it usurps the authority of school districts nationwide. [Reuters]

The Republican leader of the U.S. Senate, Sen. Mitch McConnell, said this past week that maintaining his party’s control over the chamber is looking “dicey.” That’s primarily the product of an unfriendly 2016 map: 24 Republican senators are on this year’s ballot while Democrats must defend only 10 seats. Donald Trump isn’t making it any easier for McConnell either. [Ronnie Ellis]

New polls released Friday show Hillary Clinton with significant leads over Donald Trump in three key battleground states. [Politico]

Environmental attorney Tom Fitzgerald, founder and director of the Kentucky Resources Council, will address the Madison County branch of the Women’s Network at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 16, at Gillum’s in the Richmond Mall. [Richmond Register]

Hillary Clinton has released her tax returns, adding to the pressure on her Republican rival for the White House, Donald Trump, to do the same. [BBC]

His English is a little slow for now, but his bashful-seeming smiles come quickly and easily. Kohichi Haneda, 14, arrived in the United States from Japan on July 21 as part of the Labo International Exchange program with which 4-H youth organizations across the country team. The Labo students who are visiting around Kentucky stayed together for the first day or so, with a trip to the grocery to introduce them to American foods and a Louisville Sluggers baseball game. [Glasgow Daily Times]

The first nationwide study to ask high school students about their sexuality found that gay, lesbian and bisexual teenagers were at far greater risk for depression, bullying and many types of violence than their straight peers. [NY Times]

Former Bardstown police officer Nick Houck was served a search warrant Thursday afternoon in connection with the case of a missing local woman, Crystal Rogers. [H-L]

A spokesperson for Donald Trump’s presidential campaign has blamed President Barack Obama for invading Afghanistan ― a foreign policy decision he never made. [HuffPo]

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Fancy Farm 2016 Completely Sucked

Kentucky’s six U.S. House races look all but decided with three months remaining until Election Day. [John Cheves]

Donald Trump’s former campaign manager reignited the long-debunked “birther” conspiracy theory on Tuesday night. Corey Lewandowski, now a CNN analyst/in-house Trump surrogate, suggested that President Barack Obama hadn’t released his Harvard transcripts because they might show he wasn’t a citizen of the United States. [HuffPo]

Matt Bevin’s April vetoes must be overturned because they were not filed as required by law with the Secretary of State and were signed by autopen rather than Bevin’s own hand, the attorney for House Speaker Greg Stumbo argued Friday. [C-J/AKN]

Donald Trump is casting doubt on the prospect of fair elections come November, criticism that could prompt his supporters to reject the possibility of a Hillary Clinton victory in the fall as fraudulent. [The Hill]

Two different Clay County officials are facing charges after a grand jury indictment. Note: The Judge-Executive isn’t a member of the Democratic Party. [WKYT]

U.S. health regulators have cleared the way for a trial of genetically modified mosquitoes in Florida that can reduce mosquito populations, potentially offering a new tool to fight the local spread of Zika and other viruses. [Reuters]

Mitch McConnell’s new autobiography is entitled “The Long Game,” and Saturday he took time before the Graves County Republican Party breakfast to look back on that journey. [Ronnie Ellis]

Hillary Clinton has fueled a debate over whether her rival for the presidency, Donald J. Trump, is fit to command America’s atomic forces. “Imagine him in the Oval Office facing a real crisis,” she said in her address at the Democratic convention last week. “A man you can bait with a tweet is not a man we can trust with nuclear weapons.” [NY Times]

Once known as a thoroughly Democratic affair, the political speaking stand at Saturday’s 136th annual Fancy Farm Picnic will be dominated by Republicans. [More Ronnie Ellis]

Donald Trump sounded like a supporter of Ukraine’s territorial integrity last September, when he spoke by video feed to a gathering of political and business elites in Kiev. [Politico]

Kentucky’s attorney general is asking three members of Kentucky’s congressional delegation to get involved with a dialogue between his office and the Tennessee Valley Authority, a federal agency, regarding the rate structure for electricity from the Glasgow Electric Plant Board. [Glasgow Daily Times]

The US economy added a stronger-than-expected 255,000 jobs in July, fuelling speculation that interest rates could rise before the end of the year. [BBC]

Jennings followed last year’s Democrat-leaning emcee Matt Jones, the Kentucky Sports Radio talk show host. Both were poor choices who diminished the Fancy Farm Picnic’s credibility. [Tom Eblen]

President Barack Obama on Tuesday said Donald Trump was “unfit to serve” as president of the country, asking top Republicans in Congress why they’re still endorsing the real estate mogul even as they need to condemn his comments on a near-daily basis. [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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It’s Mitch McConnell Revisionist History Time: Book Edition

Remember the secret recording of a Mitch McConnell campaign headquarters meeting a couple years ago? It was fun. Involved someone who was focused on McConnell because of his (McConnell’s) morally bankrupt ideology and a guy with a specious past who wanted to launch a political career. Oh, and a male escort who who allegedly, according to police records, went out on paid “dates” with former Republican State Senator Lindy Casebier.

McConnell wrote about it in his book, The Long Game, and worked some revisionist history magic. Here’s what he (or the person who wrote it?) said:

Someone on our communications team had spoken with a reporter from Mother Jones magazine, Josh informed me. “He was asking a lot of questions about a meeting we held at headquarters the day it opened two months ago,” Josh said. “The details he has about what we talked about are striking.”

“What do you make of it?”

“I’m not sure. But it’s enough to concern me.”

“Is it possible somebody in the room talked to the reporter?”

“I would trust everyone in that room with my life.”

“What’s the plan?”

“I’ll call counsel. If they have a recording we may have legal recourse and at that point this would be a legal story, not a political one.”

Josh was right to be concerned. The next day, Mother Jones published a story on its website, alongside audio of a secret recording that had been made of a meeting we’d held two months earlier. It appeared to have been recorded by someone standing in the hallway, outside the door of our headquarters. Not only was this a dirty trick, it was also arguably illegal. Kentucky is a one-party consent state, which means that conversations can be recorded only if at least one person in the room agrees to it. This clearly hadn’t happened. The FBI got involved and later found the guys who’d done it–members of a left-wing group out of Louisville. The Department of Justice would decline to prosecute, a decision it never bothered to explain. My staff was quite upset, but frankly, I thought these shenanigans were just more of the same, high-lighting the level of scrutiny I was under–a level one might be more inclined to expect in a presidential campaign than a run for the Senate in Kentucky.

And it certainly wouldn’t stop there. In March, members of the same group connected to the secret recording sent out racist tweets about Elaine, suggesting the fact that she had been born in Taiwan dictated my stance on China’s trade policy. This infuriated me. The Democrats have long accused us of being the party of intolerance, and here they were, attacking my wife for the supposed crime of being born in another country.

It’s hard to underestimate just how ruthless the attacks were…

Reality? They were much more concerned about the recording than they let on. There was panic, lockdowns, investigations of everyone involved in the campaign, people who showed up at political gatherings, et al. It consumed the McConnell crew.

Trusting everyone in that room? Guess that’s why I was given dirt on a couple of them, which the campaign later shopped around to outlets like CN|2.

The Justice Department didn’t take further action on the recordings because Mitch McConnell didn’t push it. Does anyone really believe one of the most powerful men in the world – the head of the Republican Senate – couldn’t get that resolved? He used the incident to foment anti-Obama anger while playing dumb in public. In private, his staff would wink and nod about how great it was for their campaign in Kentucky.

And those borderline racist tweets? The intent wasn’t to crack jokes about Elaine Chao(sp) because of her Asian descent. They were pointing out that her family was in business with the Chinese government. But sure, okay, let’s just ignore that gigantic piece of information and use it as an opportunity to claim all Democrats are racist bigots like Donald Trump and the Republicans in their current form.

The entire book is some weird Republican fever dream. It’s not Rand Paul-style plagiarism but it’s enough to make people who think for themselves pop a vein from laughter and eye rolls.

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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