A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Bill Straub: Be prepared, ‘fanning the fames and condemning the fire’ has just gotten started

There was some strange fruit hanging from a tree on the grounds of the state Capitol in the hours before Memorial Day, fruit that was nowhere near as savage and ghastly as the sort Billie Holiday sang about, but strange nonetheless. A proud product of the Kentucky educational system, attending a rally to promote guns that morphed into a protest over state-mandated coronavirus restrictions, drove his...

Bill Straub: Where should the public invest its faith? Trust has always been the American way

The late Jimmy Breslin, my hero, said it succinctly: “You’re supposed to be despised.” Breslin was, of course, referring to newspaper reporters, that constant target of critics who complain that they are either paying inadequate attention to a critical subject or they’re paying too much attention to a trivial matter. Regardless, it’s true that reporters are always poking their collective...

Bill Straub: Ugliness joins with falsehood to come out in open, revealing McConnell’s disdain for Obama

It’s no secret that Senate Republican Leader Mitch “Root-‘n-Branch’’ McConnell has long looked upon former President Barack Obama with the sort of disdain the University of Kentucky faithful hold for Christian Laettner. Now it’s getting ugly. McConnell, of Louisville, is pulling out the falsehoods. And that sound you hear is the dog whistle growing louder. McConnell on Monday aimed some...

Bill Straub: Despite terrific failures, Trump’s possible re-election cannot really be underestimated

To quote the late, great Marvin Gaye, “What’s going on?” Before us is the president of the United States, one Donald J. Trump, aka President Extremely Stable Genius, aka President Great and Unmatched Wisdom, who has established, with no fear of contradiction, that he is not up to the task of running this great country intellectually, physically, temperamentally, emotionally, judgmentally...

Bill Straub: Mitch McConnell, known for putting party before country, does it again over ‘blue state bailouts’

In 1975, facing an excruciating financial crisis, the City of New York under Democratic Mayor Abraham Beame, looking bankruptcy squarely in the eye, went hat-in-hand to President Gerald Ford seeking some sort of bail-out to help clear the debt. Ford, a Republican, told Beame and the five boroughs to take a hike, leading the New York Daily News to print one of the most renowned front-page headlines...

Bill Straub: Kentuckians excel at picking racehorses and UK ballgame spreads, not so much DC reps

Kentuckians over the decades have exhibited a great knack for picking the exacta at Keeneland and coming down on the right side of the point spread at UK basketball game. But that acumen seems to escape them when it comes time to choose their representatives in Washington, where winners have proved few and far between. The Commonwealth has long been saddled with Senate Republican Leader Mitch “Root-‘n-Branch”...

Bill Straub: Some judges shouldn’t be considered for quick advancement, and Justin Walker is one

What, Pigmeat Markham wasn’t available? Senate Republican Leader Mitch “Root-‘n-Branch’’ McConnell, fulfilling his primary duty as consigliere to an addled wanna-be king has, as always, convinced President Donald J. Trump, aka President Extremely Stable Genius, aka President Great and Unmatched Wisdom, to nominate U.S. District Judge Justin Walker, of the Western District of Kentucky, to...

Bill Straub: The jig is up and nearly everyone can see president’s coronavirus failure but Trump himself

The time has arrived, as W.C. Fields once sagely noted, to grab the bull by the tail and face the situation. The jig is up. Folks who have placed one of the many smug portraits of President Donald J. Trump, aka President Extremely Stable Genius, aka President Great and Unmatched Wisdom, up there on the mantle next to Jesus and Ronald Reagan, have simply run out of excuses. This man who is singularly...

Bill Straub: Saying whatever is necessary to assure their legends for a place in history; it’s all in the spin

Senate Republican Leader Mitch “Root-‘n-Branch’’ McConnell has dished out some doozies during his time in the District of Columbia and the pervasiveness of the coronavirus is providing the man with a great opportunity to add to the legend that is Moscow Mitch. For instance, our boy from Louisville took to the air this week with a television campaign ad grabbing credit for passage of a $2.2...

Bill Straub: A very good case can be made for mail-in ballots, but not everyone wants more turnout

When he hasn’t been fulminating over governmental overreach in addressing the coronavirus crisis or gnashing his teeth into dust over the pending economic recovery package, Rep. Thomas Massie has been using his copious free time to warn against the potential “end of our republic as we know it. And that menace on the cusp of achieving what the likes of Jefferson Davis and the Axis powers dreamed...

Bill Straub: There’s cringe-worthy and there’s cringe-worthy; in fact, these amazing actions are a pandemic

One of the most cringe-inducing moments amidst the chaos surrounding the coronavirus pandemic came last week when, during a meeting with Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar, President Donald J. Trump, aka President Extremely Stable Genius, aka President Great and Unmatched Wisdom, credited “the UK’s” handling of the crisis, noting “it’s got the border, it’s got very strong borders,...

Bill Straub: Good ideas come and go — but for the Equal Rights Amendment, it’s an idea long past due

It was Victor Hugo who claimed “nothing is more powerful than an idea whose time has come,” yet here we are, in the year of our lord 2020 (complying with a directive from the nitwits in the Kentucky General Assembly) and the Equal Rights Amendment, initially offered to the 50 states for their consideration in 1972, remains in the dumpster, with the possibility of resurrection sketchy at best. That...

Bill Straub: When enough is really enough, whenever that may be, there’s always the November ballot box

When is enough, finally, enough? That essentially is the question that will be posed to voters of Kentucky’s Fourth Congressional District this November when it comes to Rep. Thomas Massie, R-SomewhereorotherLewisCounty, who has been applying his brand of oddball legislating in the nation’s capital for better than seven long years now. Massie, as most observers of his reckless meanderings know...

Bill Straub: Mitch McConnell has been called out, however gently; the permanent stain of failure is his

Senate Republican Leader Mitch “Root-‘n-Branch” McConnell has spent 36 long years in the nation’s capital splitting asunder a once great political institution for his own partisan purposes at significant cost to the body politic. Now a group that can’t be ignored is finally calling him out, if only in a veiled manner. A bipartisan group of former senators has launched what can only be...

Bill Straub: A look at Kentucky’s presidential primary May 19; R choice sure; D in the air, picking Sanders

As usual, this year’s presidential primary in Kentucky could be another case of closing the corral gate after the horse has escaped – the May 19 date comes so late in the candidate selection process that the results carry little or no impact in determining the parties’ eventual nominees. There exists a possibility that scenario might change a bit this year, at least on the Democratic side, with...

Bill Straub: Does the Trump cult even remember when they first sold out? Does Rob Portman?

This is a column written more in sorrow than anger, stealing a reference from Shakespeare, about a man who once upon a time stood up to President Donald J. Trump but who has since succumbed to his wiles, folding like a cardboard suitcase in the presence of President Extremely Stable Genius, aka President Great and Unmatched Wisdom. In 1994 I was chosen to serve as the Washington correspondent for the...

Bill Straub: Something isn’t exactly clear; layers of wrongdoing were peeled back, but truth didn’t matter

When Stephen Stills penned the lyrics to “For What It’s Worth,’’ declaring, “There’s something happening here but what it is ain’t exactly clear,” he certainly had no reason to believe the expression would remain pertinent 53 years later. Certainly, the present situation differs from what was occurring in 1967. Stills wrote his timeless song at a time of mounting protests aimed...

Bill Straub: Which side are you on? Who you going to believe? Sounds like the start of a sad song

There’s an old labor song emanating out of the Harlan County Wars of the 1930s, popularized by the great Pete Seeger, that posed a simple question: Which side are you on? As the impeachment proceedings against President Donald J. Trump, aka President Extremely Stable Genius, aka President Great and Unmatched Wisdom, rumbles onward it’s becoming increasingly obvious that the Republican majority...

Bill Straub: Making a hash of impeachment hearings — and of country; thanks McConnell, Barr and Paul

It’s no secret that Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell has made a hash of the impeachment proceedings against President Donald J. Trump but less noticeable thus far is Sen. Rand Paul’s determination to sling the same mélange out like a short-order cook at the corner greasy spoon. Paul, of Bowling Green, drew attention four years back when he emerged as one of the Republican Party’s biggest...

Bill Straub: The whole world is watching the ‘dive’ but that’s the way it is in McConnell’s world

America hasn’t witnessed a dive like this since Sonny Liston kissed the canvas after that infamous “phantom punch’’ from a young Muhammed Ali up in Lewison, ME, in ’65. And, just as then, the whole world is watching. Senate Republican Leader Mitch “Root-‘n-Branch’’ McConnell, of Louisville, has made it crystal clear that, regardless of whatever information comes to the fore, the...