Throwing Water On The Comer Gremlin

Programs allowing intravenous drug users to exchange dirty syringes for clean ones are spreading in Kentucky as communities confront growing heroin abuse and concerns over the potential for disease outbreaks caused by addicts sharing needles. [H-L]

Nice to see media finally start covering what we’ve been reporting about Jamie Comer’s hemp mess for a year. Also nice to see Ryan Quarles squirm because he and his partner in Republican spin, Tres Watson, are in the hot seat and can’t find their way out of it. But it’s not as fun as knowing they’re in bed with Jonathan Miller, who has his hand YET AGAIN in something you’ll roll your eyes at. If he’s not taking advantage of West Liberty, he’s grifting on something else. [BG Daily News]

Watching the Republican Party of Kentucky stand behind racist bigot Donald Trump is entertaining and terrifying at the same time. Of course Kelly Knight supports a bigot and it’s hilarious to watch Nate Haney hitch his wagon to racism and xenophobia. His backward, true colors are shining through. [C-J/AKN]

Earlier this year, scientists were puzzled by a widespread die-off that seemed to plague over 17,000 acres of mangroves along Australia’s northeastern and northern coastlines. Now, a scientist from James Cook University has confirmed that the die-off is likely a product of unusually dry weather and climate change. [ThinkProgress]

The city of Edmonton will be adopting ordinances regarding the regulation of packaged alcohol sales, the setting of alcohol license fees, as well as permit fees. [Glasgow Daily Times]

Back in January, as the Supreme Court was preparing for its most important abortion case in a generation, some four dozen social scientists submitted a brief explaining why they believed key portions of Texas law HB2 should be struck down. [ProPublica]

After more than a year-long investigation and an indictment by a Rowan County Grand Jury, the Rowan County Sheriff’s Department says they have shut down a potentially statewide pill operation. [The Morehead News]

President Obama on Wednesday vented his frustration over persistent tensions between law enforcement and minority communities following a nearly four-hour meeting with representatives from both groups. [The Hill]

The panel to screen police chief candidates has two finalists from a field of nine, and city commissioners will shortly receive information about them, Richmond City Manager Richard Thomas said Tuesday. [Richmond Register]

As he has prepared to be named the Republican nominee for president, Donald Trump has not read any biographies of presidents. Trump has no shortage of strong opinions even about books he has not read. [WaPo]

Four of the eight candidates vying for seats on the Ashland Board of City Commissioners spoke to potential voters Tuesday at Boyd County Republican Party headquarters. [Ashland Independent]

Remember Republican Brandon DUI Smith? Looks like the appeals court just choked one of his latest schemes with a biomass plant in Eastern Kentucky. Smith is another one who relies on Tres Watson’s spin but isn’t getting much of it this week due to the RNC Racist Circle You-Know-What. [WFPL]

A week after a secularist foundation warned public school officials against taking kids to the newly opened Noah’s Ark, the attraction’s creator offered a new incentive: $1 admission for every public school student on a school-sponsored field trip and free admission for their teachers. [H-L]

Valarie Honeycutt Spears spent more time on this story about Rowan County being a hot mess of awful than she did on the entire three years of the Montgomery County nightmare. Bonus points: She relied heavily on commentary from Ed Massey, the guy who ditched Joshua Powell. And I told you Marvin Moore was a disaster. [More H-L]

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Everybody Has Donald Trump Regret

Students’ posting of a Black Lives Matter sign in Bryan Station High School fits with the Fayette County Public Schools’ values, officials said on Wednesday. [H-L]

As the saying goes, birds of a feather flock together. So it’s only fitting that within hours of being named Donald Trump’s vice presidential pick, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence (R) pulled one of his running mate’s favorite moves. [HuffPo]

What’s your risk of avoidable hospital death? Thousands of lives could be saved if more hospitals were as safe as those that received an A grade in a recent round of grading by a watchdog group that found no top scorers in Louisville. [C-J/AKN]

Centrist Democrats appear reluctant to join their party’s embrace of a public option for ObamaCare. [The Hill]

Kentucky Power Co. is moving its corporate headquarters back to Ashland after more than a decade in the capital city. [Ashland Independent]

Last week, two lawmakers introduced a bill to put new limits on what debt collectors can take from debtors’ paychecks and bank accounts. It is the first legislation to address the issue in decades and follows a series of ProPublica stories about the widespread practice of garnishment. [ProPublica]

A year later, Smith and his wife Serena, who was also deeply involved in Davis-support rallies, are working the “third shift” at Walmart. Smith said he quit his job last year in order to more fully devote himself to the cause of supporting Davis. [Richmond Register]

Connecticut Senator Chris Murphy (D) and Ohio Congresswoman Marcia Fudge (D) introduced a bill this week that aims to help public schools become more racially diverse by providing grants for school districts to create voluntary school desegregation plans. [ThinkProgress]

A brief hearing in Barren Circuit Court on Tuesday settled a scheduling conflict in the lawsuit Glasgow police Lt. Col. Guy Turcotte has against the city and James Duff, former interim chief. [Glasgow Daily Times]

The last year has shined a harsh light on two distressing realities of American life. Mass shootings are becoming more common. And more Americans are killing themselves. These disturbing trends share something in common, obvious in the first case and less so in the second: guns. [WaPo]

Officials in Gov. Matt Bevin’s administration did not directly answer whether they plan to notify users of a problem-plagued state benefits system that they should reapply for services such as Medicaid and food assistance. [WFPL]

“The Art of the Deal” made America see Trump as a charmer with an unfailing knack for business. Tony Schwartz helped create that myth – and regrets it. [The New Yorker]

Curiosity finally got the best of me. I had to drive up I-75 and see Noah’s Ark. I found the ark to be an impressive piece of woodcraft, which made me feel better about paying $40 to see it. (It cost an additional $10 to park in the 4,000-space parking lot, which was only a fraction full.) [H-L]

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence (R-Gay Panicked), Donald Trump’s vice presidential pick, opposed a successful effort in 2007 to raise the federal minimum wage to $7.25 an hour over two years. [HuffPo]

It Seems Everyone But Matt Bevin Understands Medicaid Expansion

A secular foundation has contacted hundreds of public schools in Kentucky to warn them against taking field trips to the Ark Encounter, the new amusement park featuring a 500-foot replica of Noah’s Ark and a belief that the world is only 6,000 years old. [H-L]

The GOP on Tuesday successfully drafted a platform ― a statement of its core values and principles ― but not before some last-minute drama played out behind the scenes over its refusal to moderate its tone toward lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals. [HuffPo]

Our favorite thing about Matt Bevin is just how straight up stupid the man is. Ernie Fletcher on his worst day, despite his corrupt staffers, was 100 times more intelligent than Bevin. So watching this train wreck is exciting. Next thing you know, you’re gonna hear that the Lt. Governor is being driven around in a luxury vehicle that was seized as part of a civil asset forfeiture or something because she and her boss are straight out of the movie Idiocracy. [C-J/AKN]

Following reporting by ProPublica and NPR and an investigation by his staff, Sen. Charles Grassley introduces the American Red Cross Transparency Act. [ProPublica]

Nat Maysey, who had his arm severed in a workplace accident on June 6, was visited by Michael Eatmon and Greg Wheeler on Thursday night in his room at the University of Louisville Hospital. After Maysey’s arm was severed, Eatmon used a belt to make a tourniquet and Wheeler searched the factory to find ice for Maysey’s severed arm. [Glasgow Daily Times]

A January study published in the journal Health Affairs showed that one year after Medicaid expansion, the number of Kentuckians who reported trouble paying medical bills declined by nearly 13 percentage points. Those skipping prescribed medications because it cost too much decreased by almost 11 points. And people receiving ongoing care for a chronic illness rose by more than 10 points. [Politico]

The highly successful Hazard Community and Technical College’s offering, “Electrical Lineman/Utility Operator Program,” received the Outstanding Workforce Development Award from the Community Colleges of Appalachia. [Hazard Herald]

The chant erupts in a college auditorium in Washington, as admirers of a conservative internet personality shout down a black protester. It echoes around the gym of a central Iowa high school, as white students taunt the Hispanic fans and players of a rival team. It is hollered by a lone motorcyclist, as he tears out of a Kansas gas station after an argument with a Hispanic man and his Muslim friend. [NY Times]

Some surgeons at University Hospital say a staff shortage is “putting patients in danger.” [WDRB]

For a party that pretentiously parades around with pocket Constitutions, it was funny seeing the Republican standard-bearer betray his ignorance of the most foundational of American documents: “Not only will I stand up for Article I, I’ll stand up for Article II, Article 12 [sic], you name it, of the Constitution.” You name it! Because Donald Trump certainly can’t. [The Hill]

The Kentucky Department of Agriculture is planning a second public forum on the state’s plan to protect pollinators such as honey bees. [WLKY]

They stood in a line, clasping hands as a choir sang, Democrat and Republican, black and white, politician and cop. Led by President Barack Obama and his predecessor George W. Bush, they honored the five Dallas policemen slain last week and urged Americans to rise above racial divides and reject despair. [Reuters]

If you worry the Creation Museum and its new Noah’s Ark theme park will cause outsiders to think Kentuckians are a bunch of anti-science rubes, at least take comfort in this: Lexington was home to perhaps America’s greatest evolutionary biologist. [H-L]

The U.S. government is on track to approve nearly $40billion in foreign military sales in the 2016 fiscal year that ends October 1, down from $46.6 billion last year, a top Pentagon official said on Wednesday. [HuffPo]

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Funtimes At The New Ark Park?

If you worry the Creation Museum and its new Noah’s Ark theme park will cause outsiders to think Kentuckians are a bunch of anti-science rubes, at least take comfort in this: Lexington was home to perhaps America’s greatest evolutionary biologist. [H-L]

Two separate attempts to recognize lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals in the Republican Party platform ― a statement of its core ideas and principles ― were voted down by GOP delegates on Tuesday. [HuffPo]

Just wait til the gays wake up to the reality that Bevin has turned UofL into Six Flags Over Jesus University. The University of Louisville Faculty Senate approved a statement Wednesday saying that Gov. Matt Bevin’s recent orders abolishing the Board of Trustees and appointing his own in its place “compromise” the board’s independence and “may affect the institutional ideal of democratically-shared governance at the university.” [C-J/AKN]

The phone would ring almost every week with fundraising appeals from a super PAC called Voters for Hillary. Margo Marquess and her husband, Amitava Gupta, backed the presidential campaign of the former Secretary of State, so they were happy to write checks. In all, they gave $6,000. [ProPublica]

Metcalfe County magistrates opened bids for three bridge projects on Monday, and awarded contracts two companies. Judge-Executive Greg Wilson explained that the county had two bridges, one on Pine Hill Road and another on Jack Shaw Road, that were washed out in 2015 during heavy rainfalls. [Glasgow Daily Times]

It sure is easy for uptight white guys to minimize the African American experience because it makes them uncomfortable. [The Hill]

Doug Cobb, the Louisville businessman who drew recent attention for sharing political opinions on Twitter that are far outside the mainstream, has declined an appointment to the University of Louisville Board of Trustees, according to Gov. Matt Bevin’s office. By “outside the mainstream”? They mean jacked up, homophobic and backwater. [WFPL]

At the theme park Ark Encounter, which opened last week in Williamstown, Kentucky, thousands of visitors can step inside a recreation of Noah’s Ark—built to spec as detailed in the Bible. Inside, exhibits attempt to explain how two of each animal might have fit on the boat, while visitors can pick up souvenirs at the gift shop or eat at a 700-person restaurant on the ship. [FastCo]

Addia Wuchner loves to preach the bullshit of compassionate conservatism but she wouldn’t know what was right for Kentucky’s Medicaid program if it hit her square in her xenophobic face. She’s part of the reason so many Kentuckians remain impoverished, under educated and afraid. [HEAD-DESK]

How American politics went insane. It happened gradually – and until the U.S. figures out how to treat the problem, it will only get worse. [The Atlantic]

I participated in this program something like 20 years ago and think everyone in Eastern Kentucky should get involved. Each September, hundreds of Appalachian citizen leaders travel to Berea College to participate in the Brushy Fork Annual Institute. Widely recognized as one of the premier leadership and networking conferences in Appalachia, the Institute helps residents explore regional issues and develop skills to strengthen their organizations and communities. [Hazard Herald]

The violence in Dallas last week is intensifying worries in Cleveland about visitors and protesters taking firearms downtown during the Republican National Convention, where thousands of people plan to demonstrate. [NY Times]

Central Kentucky religious leaders and Democrats spoke against presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump at Blue Grass Airport Monday afternoon, just hours before he landed in Lexington for a private fundraiser. [H-L]

A black doctor who treated shooting victims of a Dallas attack that left five police officers dead spoke out Monday on the fraught relationship between people of color and law enforcement. [HuffPo]

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Was This The Worst Weekend Ever?

The level of Matt Bevin ignorance and butthurt has reached new heights. He’s all about saving money… unless he can spend gobs of taxpayer dollars to fluff up his own ego. [H-L]

Preston Gilstrap, 64, was a Dallas police officer for over 41 years before he retired in 2013. Earlier this week, he saw the two brutal videos of police officers killing black men ― Philando Castile in St. Paul, Minnesota, and Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, Louisiana ― that shook the nation. [HuffPo]

Whitney Sweaterpuppies Westerfield, who, in addition to being a gay-panicked bigot, is super-insecure in his manhood (couldn’t have his own baby so he takes that out on everyone else – yes, I fucking said it because all of Frankfort has been talking about it for months – though good on him for adopting!), wants to control your vagina. [C-J/AKN]

Buzz is building on Capitol Hill for Indiana Gov. Mike Pence to be Donald Trump’s running mate. [The Hill]

Defense attorneys for Thomas Banta filed a motion in circuit court Friday requesting interviews with Frankfort Police Major Rob Richardson and Hendra ‘Dre’ Valentine including information recently reviewed by the Frankfort City Commission. [State Journal]

Protests against the shootings of two black men by police officers shut down main arteries in a number of U.S. cities on Saturday, leading to numerous arrests, scuffles and injuries in confrontations between police and demonstrators. [Reuters]

The Boyd Fiscal Court on Monday approved a $19.6 million budget for the county’s next fiscal year that will include less revenue from the Big Run Landfill. [Ashland Independent]

It is clear that you, white America, will never understand us. We are a nation of nearly 40 million black souls inside a nation of more than 320 million people. We don’t all think the same, feel the same, love, learn, live or even die the same. [NY Times]

Metcalfe County is now wet. County residents voted on Tuesday to allow the sale of packaged alcoholic beverages. A total of 1,839 votes were cast in favor of the measure, while 1,658 were cast against it. [Glasgow Daily Times]

The Democratic Party endorsed a “reasoned pathway to future legalization” of marijuana and called for the drug to be downgraded in the Controlled Substances Act, in a tense and unexpected victory for supporters of Sen. Bernie Sanders. [WaPo]

Let’s call this what it is: hipster-driven cultural appropriation of poor people. Period. It’s the latest endeavor by WFPL to play dumb when it comes to Appalachia. First it was that Brendan d-bag who wanted to tag people like cattle. Now it’s this. Jesus H. No wonder everybody fled LPM. [WFPL]

As the nation mourned another week of wrenching violence, Hillary Clinton stood Friday evening before a collection of flags in a cavernous, cold convention hall and pleaded with Americans to abandon hateful words and consider their neighbors’ pain. [Politico]

When state regulators caught payday lender Cash Express twice breaking consumer-protection law in 2010 at its Central City store, they could have slapped the company with fines up to $25,000 per violation or shut down the store by suspending or revoking its license. [John Cheves]

Hillary Clinton reaffirmed her support on Saturday for creating a “public option” within Obamacare and allowing people to enroll in Medicare at age 55. [HuffPo]

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Which News Dumps Will Hit Today?

This is what you call good old boy butthurt. Officials with the Bluegrass Area Development District said Tuesday they will continue to pay staff through July as they fight the state’s attempt to take away millions of dollars in federal and state funding for aging and workforce programs by Friday. [H-L]

Robert Murray, owner of the country’s largest private coal company, wasted no time pointing the finger when he announced plans earlier this week to lay off as many as 4,400 workers, or 80 percent of his workforce. [HuffPo]

Matt Bevin’s halfwit staffers spent years attacking Steve Beshear for not appointing enough minorities for the University of Louisville’s board. So what do they do? They don’t find any minority appointees. Fascinating how these people operate. Dumber than you could have ever imaged. Not corrupt – dumb. Deeply, deeply dumb. [C-J/AKN]

A review of campaign finance records by The Hill shows that the practice of skirting or openly flouting the contractor ban has become widespread in both congressional and presidential politics. [The Hill]

Any hopes for a better reception for Gov. Matt Bevin’s proposed changes to expanded Medicaid in Kentucky vanished pretty quickly at a second public hearing here Wednesday. [Ronnie Ellis]

South Carolina fire officials decided to make sprinklers mandatory in new homes. Homebuilders overturned the rule with help behind the scenes from Gov. Nikki Haley. It was one more win for an industry that has spent millions of dollars in state capitals to block a life-saving upgrade included in the nation’s model building code. [ProPublica]

Liberal state lawmakers have for 16 years pushed for a bill that would amend Kentucky’s civil rights code to protect people from discrimination in the workplace, housing and other areas based on their sexual orientation. [WFPL]

According to experts, white supremacy has experienced a renaissance in the last two years, reaching levels of popularity and influence not seen since the late-1960s. [ThinkProgress]

The Eastern Kentucky Veterans Center in Hazard was presented with a $2,500 check from the County Clerk’s Association on Monday to help the center fund an Independence Day celebration for citizens who truly represent our nation’s liberty and patriotic pride; our veterans. [Hazard Herald]

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump on Wednesday rejected criticism of his campaign tactics, in a wide-ranging speech defending his team’s use of a Jewish star and his own praise of the late Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein. [Reuters]

The Bank of Harlan has been acquired by Monticello Bankshares Inc. in a deal that will see the merger of the two financial institutions. [Harlan Daily Enterprise]

Donald Trump has to be one of the dumbest people in history. [Politico]

State alcohol regulators prepared a new map a couple of months ago showing Kentucky’s jumble of legally dry, wet and partially wet cities and counties, but it’s already out of date. [H-L]

The Iraqi man who was filmed attacking Saddam Hussein’s statue with a sledgehammer when U.S. troops stormed into Baghdad in 2003 said Iraq was in a better shape under his rule and George W. Bush and Tony Blair should be put on trial “for ruining” it. [HuffPo]

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Don’t Forget About Bevin’s UofL Disaster

A judge in Louisville has dismissed a lawsuit filed by Gov. Matt Bevin’s administration seeking to fine Planned Parenthood for performing abortions at its Louisville facility. [H-L]

Donald Trump has spent the week pedaling backward and forward on his immigration positions, leaving immigration hawks — and some of his biggest boosters — worried about the strength of his support for mass deportations and a blanket ban on Muslim immigrants. [HuffPo]

He who doth protest too much! One of Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin’s new University of Louisville trustees regularly takes to Twitter to deny mainstream climate science and say that being gay isn’t compatible with Christianity, while also taking aim at U of L sports. [C-J/AKN]

Convicting an elected official on corruption charges just got a lot harder. Government watchdogs say the Supreme Court’s decision on Monday to toss out the conviction and two-year prison sentence of former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) will create new hurdles for prosecutors. [The Hill]

Don’t worry, Doug Cobb, us gays and other educated thinking people won’t be backing down, either. We’ll win over your ignorant bigotry. [WDRB]

After a gunman opened fire at a gay nightclub in Florida this month, police dispatchers fielded calls from people inside who screamed of being shot, begged for help and spoke in hushed voices of the bloody scene around them. [Reuters]

Eastern Kentuckians can now apply for Interapt’s upcoming, new paid, work-based learning tech internships and job opportunities set to launch later this year in Paintsville following an announcement made at the Shaping Our Appalachian Region (SOAR) Innovation Summit on June 6. [Hazard Herald]

BIG TIME PEE ALERT! Vince Harris supports a white supremacist. Donald Trump has hired Vincent Harris, the former chief digital strategist for Sen. Rand Paul’s presidential campaign and for Sen. Mitch McConnell’s 2014 reelection bid, as the presumptive Republican nominee continues to ramp up his digital operations, according to multiple people familiar with the hiring. [Politico]

With one commissioner voting no and another reserving to right to vote against hires, purchases and tax increases unless a proposed police pay scale is addressed, the Richmond City Commission voted 4-1 Tuesday night to adopt the 2015-16 budget. [Richmond Register]

Who plans to show up and pay for the Trump hate circus at the RNC? Maker’s Mark, for one. While the legendary bourbon house tried to use the excuse that they’re also throwing money at the DNC, it doesn’t change the reality that their money – money you give them by buying their products – is being used to fund white supremacy, Islamophobia, racism in general, attacks on Asian people, attacks on the disabled, attacks on gay people, attacks on sense. [WaPo]

Local Congressman Thomas Massie is renewing a year-old call for the US to make its own “Amexit” from the United Nations not long after news of “Brexit” captivated the world. [Ashland Independent]

Though the United States is one of the richest countries in the world, it’s not necessarily one of the most successful. When you take a broad view of social progress—incorporating measures of health, happiness, the environment, and levels of security—we’re actually down the list of big hitters. Nations such as Sweden and the Netherlands have broader-based prosperity and better access to services like health care and housing. [FastCo]

Fun fact: the people advising Matt Bevin today are the very same people who took down Ernie Fletcher’s administration in a whirlwind of corruption. Legit – the same people. And now he has even more inexperienced, bigoted, greedy, delusional people in his ear. [H-L]

Meanwhile, Kentucky can’t get its head out of the sewage-infested creek bed sand long enough to get hemp right. Or medical marijuana right. [HuffPo]

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