Eastern Kentucky Just Cannot Win

Is anyone holding their breath on this one? Should we? Two prominent Kentucky Democrats on Tuesday launched a nonprofit organization, the New Kentucky Project, to cultivate the next generation of political leaders. [H-L]

Emergency medical services scrambled in a West Virginia city after 26 people overdosed on heroin in a span of just four hours. Thanks to a fast response time and an overdose reversal drug, everyone survived. [HuffPo]

James Ramsey, who was forced to resign last month as president of the University of Louisville, apparently plans to stay awhile at its foundation, where he is still president. The foundation is constructing new offices at its building at 215 Central Ave., for Ramsey and Kathleen Smith, his chief of staff, according to a university official and several tradesmen who were busy working Friday on the space. [C-J/AKN]

The Pentagon warned the Syrian government Friday not to strike U.S. and coalition personnel in Syria, a day after the regime carried out airstrikes in an area near American special operations forces, prompting the U.S. to scramble jets to protect them. [WSJ]

More than a year after introducing a multimillion-dollar body camera system, the Louisville Metro Police Department isn’t keeping track of how the cameras are being used. [WFPL]

Donald Trump on Friday predicted he would get 95 percent of the black vote after four years as president. [The Hill]

Richmond police officers, along with all city employees, received a 4-percent cost-of-living raise for the 2016-17 fiscal year. However, a proposal to create a 10-step pay scale that would provide most officers with a raise every two years for 20 years remains before the city commission. [Richmond Register]

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton leads Republican rival Donald Trump by 8 percentage points among likely voters, according to a Reuters/Ipsos opinion poll released on Friday. [Reuters]

OF COURSE some wingnut pastor is trying to stop alcohol sales. Circuit Judge David Hagerman will hear the case of the City of Ashland and a local pastor against the Boyd County Clerk and Board of Elections on Monday, a day before the scheduled “wet” election. [Ashland Independent]

You’d think Donald Trump would love the Olympics: The flag-waving pageantry, the pure, unbridled patriotism—and, my god, the winning. So much winning you almost get tired of the winning. [Politico]

The Rowan County Board of Education will hold a public hearing in the board’s meeting room in the old Rowan County Middle School on Wednesday, Aug. 24, at 6 p.m. [The Morehead News]

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has made a direct appeal to African-American voters, saying “What do you have to lose?” [BBC]

We’ve been yelling about it for years and here you go. Many people in Lexington who see doctors at University of Kentucky HealthCare write checks to the Kentucky Medical Services Foundation. [H-L]

The Justice Department plans to stop using privately run prisons that typically house undocumented federal inmates following a report finding they are less safe than those that are federally run, Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates said Thursday. [HuffPo]

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July Receipts: MORE HEAD-DESK!

Receipts for Kentucky during the month of July were not great. You know how this goes, though, because receipts are almost never great in the Commonwealth these days.

The General Fund rose 4.8% to $769.3 million and the Road Fund fell another 4.5% to $121.8 million.

Highlights:

  • Individual income taxes up 14%
  • Sales taxes rose 3.3%
  • Corporate taxes up 36.6%
  • Cancer stick taxes down 9.4%
  • Property taxes up 56.2%
  • Coal severance taxes plummeted a whopping 46.7%
  • Lottery revenue increased 2.9%
  • Motor fuels up 1.9%
  • Vehicle use taxes dropped 9%
  • License & Privilege taxes fell 11.2%

The Bevin Misadministration is in for a wild economic ride.

Click here (Warning: PDF Link) to read the entire report for yourself.

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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Fancy Fart Farm 2016 Will Be Unbearable

The University of Kentucky is starting a new program to help Appalachian students prepare for careers fighting cancer, a disease that disproportionately affects their home region. [H-L]

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump will not be releasing his tax returns, his top aide said Wednesday on “CBS This Morning.” [HuffPo]

Seems like only yesterday when Jones and his crew were trying to stifle our coverage of the pension mess when everyone else was ignoring it. [C-J/AKN]

Under the Freedom of Information Act, ProPublica requested letters closing HIPAA complaint investigations. Here’s what we’ve received so far. [ProPublica]

Cave City’s police chief and the mayor said this week they came to an understanding regarding the police chief’s retirement. [Glasgow Daily Times]

Nearly 50 years ago Richard Nixon launched his successful election under the banner of restoring “law and order” to a nation wrecked by violent protests and social upheaval. Now, another Republican nominee, Donald Trump, is going to run under that same banner. [BBC]

Glued to your television, mesmerized by the drama of the two political parties’ national conventions? Well, if you’ve never attended the annual Fancy Farm Picnic and its raucous political speaking event, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet. And with this year’s emcee, you’ll get to hear what someone who excuses racism, bigotry and homophobia thinks is cool. [Ronnie Ellis]

Big City is watching you. It will do it with camera-equipped drones that inspect municipal power lines and robotic cars that know where people go. Sensor-laden streetlights will change brightness based on danger levels. Technologists and urban planners are working on a major transformation of urban landscapes over the next few decades. [NY Times]

Republican Sen. Rand Paul made a campaign stop in Harlan on Tuesday, speaking to a large crowd of supporters at the Harlan Center. [Harlan Daily Enterprise]

Work that involves complex thinking and interaction with other people seems to help protect against the onset of Alzheimer’s Disease, according to research presented Sunday at the Alzheimer’s Association’s International Conference in Toronto. [WaPo]

Morehead State University’s Presidential Search and Screening Advisory Committee will host seven public meetings to obtain input from members of the MSU community and the general public on the presidential search. [Ashland Independent]

Cities and states have limited resources. When they’re faced with a growing homeless problem, those resources can either go toward finding housing for the homeless or to policing and criminalizing the daily habits of the homeless. [ThinkProgress]

Laurel County is back to being the armpit of the Commonwealth. A body was found Tuesday morning in a pond in Laurel County, the sheriff’s office said. [H-L]

At the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, in an interview with me on SiriusXM Progress, gay former congressman Barney Frank lashed at out Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump and his repeated claims that he is a better candidate for queer people than Hillary Clinton. [HuffPo]

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Another Frustrating Eastern Kentucky Pipe Dream

We love Eastern Kentucky more than anything but it’s never going to be like Gatlinburg. Eastern Kentucky has the potential to develop into a bigger regional tourism destination, helping boost an economy sapped by the loss of coal jobs, according to a study commissioned by an arm of the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce. [H-L]

Frustrated at the lack of enthusiasm for his vice presidential pick Mike Pence, Donald Trump is now telling those close to him that he wants a do-over of sorts, which he aims to get by rolling out the names of potential cabinet members. [HuffPo]

Despite his pledge to immediately offer his resignation to University of Louisville’s new Board of Trustees once it was legally constituted, President James Ramsey declined to do so at its first meeting Wednesday. [C-J/AKN]

Donald Trump’s family members, close political associates and several celebrities will be among those speaking at next week’s GOP convention in Cleveland. [The Hill]

The Carter County Public Library Board of Trustees officially withdrew its tax proposal at Monday night’s meeting of Carter Fiscal Court. [Ashland Independent]

The U.S. missile defense system to counter attacks from rogue states like North Korea has no proven capability to protect the United States and is not on a credible path to achieve that goal, a science advocacy group said on Thursday. [Reuters]

How a man with children of color – immigrants – could support a bigot like this is beyond telling. People can get upset all they want for mentioning Matt Bevin’s children but it’s alarming that this man doesn’t have his shit together enough to speak out against Trump’s extreme racism. [Ronnie Ellis]

In 2009, Abu Zubaydah’s lawyers interviewed their client and prepared a handwritten, first-person account of the torture their client suffered at the hands of the U.S. government. [ProPublica]

Kentuckians with certain Class D felony convictions are now eligible to apply to clear their criminal records as long as they have stayed out of trouble for five years. [WFPL]

A federal judge dismissed evidence gathered by a warrantless cellphone-tracking device that locks onto a phone’s location by pretending to be a cell tower for the first time Tuesday. [ThinkProgress]

The Rowan County Sheriff’s Department is at it again. This time, they’ve arrested five they believe have been trafficking heroin throughout the county. [The Morehead News]

Last month, in a California speech advertised as a major foreign policy address, Hillary Clinton zeroed in on an enemy at home — Donald Trump, whom she described as “temperamentally unfit” to lead the most powerful nation in the world. [WaPo]

The tallest building in Frankfort is for sale. The Bevin administration has labeled the 25-story Capital Plaza Tower as surplus property and put it on the auction block. [H-L]

Donald Trump introduced Mike Pence as his running mate at a rambling press conference on Saturday that seemed to focus more on Trump himself than his vice-presidential nominee. [HuffPo]

June Receipts: Not A Total Disaster

June (end of year) receipts weren’t a total disaster for Kentucky. The General Fund increased by 1.9% to $10,338.9 million and the Road Fund rose 9.5% to $1,482.5 million.

And by not a total disaster? That means they were not good.

Highlights:

  • Individual taxes increased 5.2% or $212.6 million
  • Sales & Use taxes rose 6% or $195.4 million
  • Cancer Stick Taxes grew a whopping 1.5% for the entire year, up just $3.4 million
  • Business Taxes dropped $1.5 million, falling 10.9% for the quarter
  • Coal Severance Taxes $120.6 million for the year, down 45.3% for the quarter
  • Property taxes rose 2.5%, up $14.1 million
  • Lot-tree & Other Revenue grew 9.2%, up $20.3 million
  • Motor fuels plummeted by more than $100 million
  • Vehicle Use Taxes, beating estimates (AKA a low-balled number to make people look good) by $51.6 million

Want to read the entire report? Click here for the PDF.

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]