A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Bill Straub: A pox on the Republic, rest in peace RBG, but word and honor don’t count in this game

Okay, let’s agree that President Donald J. Trump, aka President Extremely Stable Genius, aka President Great and Unmatched Wisdom,  has every right to provide a nomination for a vacant U.S. Supreme Court seat despite a national election looming around the corner. And there’s certainly nothing in the Constitution or statute law to prohibit Senate Republican Leader Mitch “Root-‘n-Branch’’...

Bill Straub: Argue the facts when you have them; when you don’t, pound the table. And so they do

There’s an old bromide often circulated among lawyers in just about any courthouse you might happen upon in any part of these United States: When the facts are on your side, argue the facts. When the facts are against you, pound the table. Congressional Republicans, also known as white guys in suits, are industriously pounding the table these days in regard to the hearings being conducted that might...

Bill Straub: McConnell dismisses rules of fair play, obstructs progress, to further his own agenda

WASHINGTON – The United States Senate has been converted into a cemetery during the 116th Congress and it should come as a surprise to no one that the primary grave digger is one Addison Mitchell McConnell. Much of what the House has sought to accomplish this year has been relegated to the legislative mausoleum controlled by our own Senate Republican Leader Mitch “Root-’n-Branch’’ McConnell,...

Al Cross: Welcome, Derby visitors, to Kentucky; here’s a brief introduction to the political landscape

Welcome, Derby visitors! This column continues our longstanding tradition of giving folks who are in Kentucky for the big race, and those looking at Kentucky news media online, a snapshot of our current political landscape. We’re in the middle of a race for the Democratic nomination for governor. It’s our first contested Democratic primary for the office since 2007, an indicator of how the party’s...

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: ‘St. Matt the Divine’s’ jokes about Trump and global warming no laughing matter

WASHINGTON – St. Matt the Divine dropped his parson’s collar a few days back to engage in the one thing his gubernatorial administration has proved he’s really good at – comedy. Gov. Bevin With much of the country trapped in a deep freeze last week, including single-digit temperatures throughout the commonwealth and minus readings in places like Florence, Gov. Matt Bevin thought the time was...

McConnell says he doesn’t have votes for health care bill; will move forward on effort to repeal ACA

In a statement released late Monday night, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), acknowledged that he does not have the votes to pass the proposed new health care bill. He indicated in the statement that the Senate will now take up a vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act, and implement a two-year transition period to move to a new health care system. Sen. Mitch McConnell The statement...

Jamie Vaught: Sports, political biographies featuring Palmer, Trump headline summer reading list

This is the second of a two-part series about recently published nonfiction books that you may enjoy reading this summer. ​​ — “Arnie: The Life of Arnold Palmer” by Tom Callahan (Harper, $27.99) is a joyful biography about one of the country’s greatest golfers. Palmer was a likeable gentleman with movie star good looks who had great relationships with sports fans. When Palmer...

Bill Straub: McConnell sees Trump budget as ‘progress,’ but it’s at the expense of the have-nots

WASHINGTON – Senate Republican Leader Mitch “Root ‘n Branch’’ McConnell has had almost nothing to say about the hullaballoo surrounding President Trump and his administration’s curious ties with the Kremlin but he is waxing enthusiastic about a $4.1 trillion budget for 2018 proposed by the White House that, as you probably already have guessed, gives to them that’s got and takes from...

Commentary: Trump’s executive order is good news for Kentucky’s coal communities

By Sen. Mitch McConnell Special to KyForward At the beginning of this year, I sent a letter to then President-elect Trump urging him to work with Congress and use his executive authority to provide regulatory relief to Kentucky coal miners and their families. Last month, he stepped in to offer a much-needed reprieve from the so-called Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) regulation, which tried to extend the...

Bill Straub: ‘Root and Branch’ McConnell manages to take both sides of an issue when it suits his purpose

WASHINGTON – Senate Republican Leader Mitch “Root and Branch’’ McConnell is very much like one of those troubled volunteer fireman you hear about on occasion – the secret pyromaniac who sets the fires and then accepts the public plaudits for extinguishing them. The Louisville lawmaker’s talents are currently on full display during the debate over President Trump’s nomination of Judge...

Bill Straub: Despite policies that damage their state, Kentuckians continue to show support for Trump

WASHINGTON – So, to quote that leading light and respected political philosopher Sarah Palin, “How’s that hopey-changey stuff working out for ya?’’ From all early indications, not so well, unless, of course, playing kissy-face with the Russian bear, replacing a half-way decent health care law with a fraud that would delight Bernie Madoff, a return to the dirty air and polluted waters of...

Bill Straub: Adjustments to Obamacare could have avoided many of the problems GOP now criticize

WASHINGTON – The President of the United States recently allowed that he has proved tardy in offering his long-awaited replacement for the Affordable Care Act because “nobody knew that health care could be so complicated,’’ sounding for all the world like an eight-year-old confronting theoretical physics for the first time. The comment is yet another example of those whoppers Donald J. Trump...

Jamie Vaught: Books on Obama, 2016 Presidential race among recommended reading offerings

This is the second of a two-part series on recently-published nonfiction books. Spring is still more than a month away and it’s likely there is still some cold weather in our future. Here are a few non-fiction books you might enjoy reading around the fire. –“Fever Swamp: A Journey Through the Strange Neverland of the 2016 Presidential Race” by Richard North Patterson (Quercus, $26.99)...

Atlas Obscura: Park Service aims to protect new $40 million lawn from crowd at National Mall

By Sarah Laskow Atlas Obscura In 2009, after the first inauguration of President Barack Obama, which was attended by a record 1.8 million people, the ground of the National Mall was wrecked. As those hordes had moved over the lawn, they ground the crown of the grass plants, the part where new growth originates, into the frozen soil. After the inauguration, the Mall was more hard-packed drag-race strip...

Rural Blog: Feds finalize Stream Protection Rule; senators from coal states vow to overturn it

The federal Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement, which spent nearly the entire Obama presidency working on the Stream Protection Rule, issued a final version this week with “new limits on coal mining near waterways,” Dylan Brown reports for Greenwire. “The new guidelines stringently define ‘material damage to the hydrologic balance outside the permit area’...

Bill Straub: McConnell again placed party above country following election interference by Russia

WASHINGTON – It was some time in early 1987, as I recollect through the haze of almost 30 years, and I was seated across from Sen. Mitch McConnell in his well-appointed quarters in the Russell Senate Office Building conducting an interview. After just two years on Capitol Hill, the Louisville Republican had managed to snare a highly coveted seat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and he...

Major new health proposal includes provisions for opioids, mental health, research

By Melissa Patrick Kentucky Health News Congress passed legislation Wednesday that will, among other things, increase funding for medical research and speed up the federal approval of new drugs and medical devices. It now heads to President Barack Obama’s desk for his signature. “Sending this bipartisan legislation to the president’s desk is an important step in helping foster solutions when...

Rural Blog: Obama says Democrats need to improve efforts to win in rural areas of country

In his first news conference since the election, President Obama said Democratic candidates need to do a better job of campaigning in rural areas, Jessica Taylor reports for NPR. He didn’t mention Hillary Clinton but said, “We have to compete everywhere. We have to show up everywhere. I won Iowa not because the demographics dictated that I would win Iowa. It was because I spent 87 days...

Commentary: What if McConnell had followed Cooper’s model, worked with Obama?

By Jamie Lucke Special to KyForward A lot is being written and said about how the Republican Party is reaping — in Donald Trump — what it sowed by enabling and exploiting the noxious backlash to Barack Obama’s presidency. Along those lines, Kentuckians have our very own “what if” to ponder: What if, almost eight years ago, rather than setting out to thwart Obama at every turn, our own Sen....