A publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Bill Straub: Humpty-Trumpty bullies way through NATO, insults May on home turf, loves Putin more. . .

President Trump’s (OMG!) recently concluded European excursion was, by all estimates, a disaster, not to mention a public humiliation that seemingly eroded America’s once commanding presence on the international stage. That is not a controversial sentiment. Republicans and Democrats, folks on the left, right and center, have spent the past few days assessing the damage perpetrated by a man who...

Bill Straub: Who’s on first, second and third? Don’t ask Moe, Curly or Larry, facts befuddle them

I experienced an educational moment at the ripe, old age of 65 the other day, actually it was significantly more than a moment but that’s neither here nor there because it was enlightening to say the least. It involved Facebook and an interaction with a gang of Trumpsters. I learned a lot, actually, but I ended up feeling like Bud Abbott trying to explain to Lou Costello who’s on first – sometimes...

Bill Straub: It take a certain talent to spew gibberish on a consistent basis, and McConnell has talent

Looks can, indeed be deceiving. Take Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, for example. McConnell, of Louisville, comes across as your dull, standard issue white-man-in-a-suit with a droning voice who would turn the head of absolutely no one at the neighborhood Piggly-Wiggly. But the fact is ol’ Root-‘n-Branch is one of the most outrageous figures to hit the American scene since Huey Long,...

Bill Straub: Take Carrollton KY, a good, safe place to live (as it should be) but diverse with ‘darker’ people

Some years back, at least a quarter-century ago when the burley economy was still thriving, I spent a couple days in Carrollton to research an article on migrant labor. I recall driving toward the Ohio River at the northern edge of town one evening when I happened upon a grocery store, and not just any grocery store. It was painted in red and green and the signs out front were all in Spanish. In this...

Bill Straub: No ‘Profiles in Courage’ found perusing political landscape of Trump-McConnell land

In February 1944, after seven years of guiding President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s agenda through the upper chamber, Senate Democratic Leader Alben Barkley, from the small, Western Kentucky town of Lowes, a man who would “rather be a servant in the House of the Lord than to sit in the seats of the mighty,’’ declared enough was enough. FDR had vetoed a tax bill – the first time a president...

Bill Straub: McConnell to become longest-serving GOP boss, takes home-run trot as ‘Rome’ burns

WASHINGTON – Back in January 2007, when Mitch “Root ‘n Branch’’ McConnell was just beginning what will become his historic run as the longest serving Senate Republican leader in history, Congress was held in broad contempt by the American public with only 35 percent of those questioned in the Gallup Poll expressing approval. Sen. Mitch McConnell Under McConnell, first as the minority leader...

Bill Straub: It’s Trump, Trump and more Trump in KY, where he is in pretty high cotton, no matter what

Whither President Donald J. Trump? Well into his second year in office, Trump continues to divide the nation in a manner not seen since the late ‘60s. Polls show his job approval consistently hovers in the low 40s and Republican congressional leaders are concerned his status will result in massive losses come Election Day. But there remain some places where Trump is viewed with regard. And, despite...

Bill Straub: Forget fair play, forget the ABA, just squeeze those questionable judges through

For reasons inexplicable, Democrats have never taken the appointment of federal judges as seriously as Republicans, who understandably place that particular task atop their priority list. Given the opportunity to secure control over one of the three branches of government – albeit one that is supposed to be non-partisan – is a prospect any politician with a lick of sense should jump on. But former...

Bill Straub: What’s in store for our duly sworn governor after his one term? Senate? Presidency?

Since the job of Pope is currently filled, there exists speculation aplenty over what position St. Matt the Divine, the duly sworn governor of the great Commonwealth of Kentucky, might pursue once his term expires 19 months hence. Of course, a perusal of the latest surveys, like one released last month by the Western Kentucky University Social Science Research Center, dubbed The Big Red Poll, indicate...

Bill Straub: ‘Possum’ Pruitt is a money-changer in the Temple; why oh why can’t he just be tossed out?

Should those suffering from asthma find breathing more difficult because the air has turned gray, if the water we all drink assumes the characteristics of that found in Flint, MI, if the soil suddenly begins leaching toxins, please don’t blame Scott “Possum’’ Pruitt, the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, whose policies, one might think, are having an adverse impact on this...

Bill Straub: Bevin’s actions, while reprehensible, were not surprising and his ‘apology’ didn’t help

But I’m just a soul whose intentions are good Oh Lord, please don’t let me be misunderstood. — Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin (No, check that. Try Nina Simone) WASHINGTON — A rather famous Kentuckian, a fellow named Lincoln, is credited with saying, “Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and to remove all doubt.’’ It is a precept that apparently escaped...

Bill Straub: Kentucky is the Jack Benny of the states; tries to run the government on the cheap

Kentucky is forever trying to get by on the cheap, making it the Jack Benny of the 50 states. You can bet that the only time the state will spend money to provide the sort of services necessary for the 21st Century is when it’s absolutely forced into a corner. Even then, like Benny when a robber threatened him with “Your money or your life,’’ it will offer a long, pregnant pause before responding,...

Bill Straub: Worst member of a historically rotten cabinet — drum roll, please — Yes, it’s Scott Pruitt

Identifying the worst member of President Trump’s historically rotten cabinet is akin to picking out the most malodorous skunk at a polecat farm. The senses reel. Literally. Amazingly, despite the presence of jaw-dropping incompetents like Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, one contender is lapping the field and, to borrow the renowned phrase...

Bill Straub: Key word is ‘Enough,’ though Congress is unlikely to act, only solution is at the ballot box

As noted in the past, I stopped hoping for any serious effort to end the slaughter created by guns not long after Friday, Dec. 14, 2012, the day 20-year-old Adam Lanza, entered Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CN., and proceeded to mow down 26 of his fellow human beings, including 20 children – 20, mind you — between the ages of six and seven. It became obvious soon thereafter that...

Bill Straub: Giving the devil his due, McConnell has given the President notice about firing Mueller

It could be said, if one were petulant, that Senate Republican Leader Mitch “Root ‘n Branch’’ McConnell’s strongly worded support for Special Counsel Robert Mueller and his probe into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election provides an example of an old, blind sow finding a truffle every now and again. After all, McConnell, of Louisville has in recent years raised placing...

Bill Straub: A billion here, a billion there adds up, but even KY House tax plan doesn’t go far enough

Legend has it that Winston Churchill, trying to draw the United States into WWII, famously said you can always count on the Americans to do the right thing – after they’ve tried everything else. Apparently old Winnie, in his travels, never made it to the Bluegrass where, having tried ad infinitum to escape that which needs to be done, continues on its merry way ignoring its responsibilities and...

Bill Straub: McConnell has some explaining to do for inaction on knowledge about Russians and election

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell has some explaining to do. And if he isn’t up front about the rationale regarding his actions — or, in this case, inaction — pressure should be exerted on him to resign. The issue is Russia and its assault on the American electoral process, specifically the 2016 presidential campaign. Russian trespassing represented nothing less than an attack...

Bill Straub: Guns are the problem; to say otherwise is ridiculous as well as dangerous. Stop

The Republican Party oftentimes appears to have been overtaken by zealots who have succumbed to what can only be described as a philosophy of willful ignorance. No matter the overwhelming evidence to the contrary, they stick to their partisan guns – oftentimes quite literally – for the simple reason they choose not to believe. It’s clear, for instance, that human activity is the primary motivator...

Bill Straub: How does Rand really feel? He was for it before he was against it — is that right?

WASHINGTON – Harken back for just a moment to the 2004 political season when John Kerry, the Democratic presidential nominee, rather clumsily – even for him – attempted to explain his opposition to an $87 billion supplemental funding bill to pay for the never-ending wars in Iraq and Afghanistan by asserting “I actually did vote for the $87 billion before I voted against it.” Kerry,...

Bill Straub: Prayer is powerful, good and comforting, but actions are required to stop gun violence

WASHINGTON – It is becoming quite apparent that St. Matt the Divine has little or no interest in serving as the governor of the Commonwealth of Kentucky. No, what Gov. Bevin really aspires to do is serve as prayer leader of a 4.4 million-member congregation that, collectively, will chant all of the Bluegrass State’s worldly cares away. Mad Matt was at it once again this week at the 52nd Annual...