A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Bill Straub: Lear on Twitter and other things are we witnessing in the wake of the Mueller Report

John Leroy Maxwell authored a poem, later set to music, about a drunken degenerate who passes out in the gutter. He is soon joined in his idyll by a roaming pig. A woman passing nearby witnessed this slovenly scene and sniffed that you can tell a man “by the company he chooses.” “And the pig got up, and slowly walked away,’’ Maxwell wrote. Given that, it appears a whole passel of Kentucky...

Bill Straub: Since it’s baseball season, let’s bat some things around – oops, out of strikes already

It’s baseball season once again — thank the lord — so let’s toss it around-the-horn political style: First. Give Rep. Thomas Massie, R-SomewhereorotherLewisCounty, credit – he’s not afraid to make a fool out of himself. And this time Wonder Boy, as the old saying goes, did it in front of God and everybody. Massie serves on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee,...

Bill Straub: About those votes against the Violence Against Women Act; NRA saw is as gun control

The He-Man Woman Haters Club, created by Alfalfa, Spanky and other members of the Little Rascals back in the 1930s, looks to be undergoing a surprising revival even though the boyish imps of the original incarnation have been displaced by the manful, masculine, manly men known as the Republicans in the Kentucky congressional delegation. This resurrection isn’t so much because the GOP House members...

Bill Straub: What an incredible week it was for Mitch McConnell, setting a record for bollixing things up

So what has Senate Republican Leader Mitch “Root-‘n-Branch” McConnell done over the space of a single week in March to further bollix this long-suffering republic? To borrow from Elizabeth Barrett Browning, let me count the ways. 1. The Louisville lawmaker has joined his fellow Republicans in a massive home run trot over what may – or may not – be the results of Special Counsel Robert...

Bill Straub: Welcome to Tombstone (aka Kentucky) where the right to bear arms is truly unlimited

On March 11, a gentleman named Larry Walters got into an argument, subject unknown, with another patron at Uncle 7’s Bourbon Bar & Grille, an establishment off Clays Mill Road in the southern part of Lexington, leading to a physical altercation. According to police, Walters took exception to the course of the disagreement and felt compelled to draw a firearm. The 69-year-old veteran began firing,...

Bill Straub: Worth it or not, the time is coming for decisions to be made and it has to be right

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi created a bit of a stir in political circles this week when she told The Washington Post that she opposes impeaching President Trump (yech!) because the spectacle of attempting to remove him from office would prove “divisive to the country.” In something of a coda, Pelosi, a California Democrat, further offered that the blackguard currently holding down the nation’s...

Bill Straub: Hail, hail Fredonia; America is mired in Duck Soup under President Donald J. Trump

Perhaps the time has come to consider changing the name of the United States of America to Freedonia. For the uninitiated, Freedonia, land of the free and brave, is the country ruled by Rufus T. Firefly, as played by Groucho Marx, in the classic 1933 film, Duck Soup. Groucho Marx (courtesy of Wikipedia) The manner in which Firefly operated, it seems, serves as a precursor to the administration of President...

Bill Straub: Unavoidable to broach this subject again but to clarify — it’s not voter fraud, it’s election fraud

In a week where President Trump (Egads!) traveled to Vietnam — a country he assiduously sought to avoid some 50 years ago — to play footsie with a half-mad dictator who has killed thousands of his subjects, and where the president’s former lawyer served him up on a silver platter before a congressional committee, we are here once again visiting Senate Republican Leader Mitch “Root-‘n-Branch’’...

Bill Straub: McConnell has abdicated his leadership of the U.S. Senate to President Donald Trump

Well, the good news is Addison Mitchell McConnell has at long last abdicated his position as Republican leader of the U.S. Senate. The bad news is he has turned the reins of the erstwhile world’s greatest deliberative body over to President Trump (yecch!), further enhancing the perception that ol’ Root-‘n-Branch is the worst majority leader since the position was created 94 years ago. McConnell,...

Bill Straub: McConnell will pass on serious climate change discussion, go right to Green New Deal vote

WASHINGTON – Oh, that Mitch “Root-‘n-Branch’’ McConnell, such a clever boy. Progressive lawmakers, growing increasingly concerned over the impact of global climate change and the inability to address the catastrophe because of no-nothing legislators who refuse to acknowledge its looming impact, have offered up what has come to be called the Green New Deal. The package, offered by Sen. Ed...

Bill Straub: Comity, progress gone, we must protect voting rights to hold on to democratic process

If you’re black or brown or poor, it’s obvious now that Senate Republican Leader Mitch “Root-‘n-Branch’’ McConnell couldn’t care less about your sacred right to vote. House Bill 1 in the 116th Congress is titled the For the People Act, and is intended to address many of the glaring deficiencies in the nation’s electoral system. It strengthens campaign finance laws, establishes new...

Bill Straub: Thomas ‘Wonderboy’ Massie, darling of far-right fringe, wants to undermine the government

WASHINGTON – It’s fair to say that Rep. Thomas “Wonder Boy” Massie has one of the, well, most unusual voting records in Congress, a claim that even he is unlikely to contradict.  The Republican from SomewhereorotherLewisCounty has been busy since the outset of the 116th Congress engaging in the foolishness that has made him the darling of the nation’s far-right fringe, the Bluegrass’s...

Bill Straub: Character is indispensable, character matters, character first; did someone say ‘character’?

Apparently a person’s character doesn’t amount to a hill of beans in Sen. Rand Paul’s world. The Bowling Green Republican, who once referred to President Trump (YIKES!) as “a delusional narcissist and an orange-faced windbag,’’ has somehow emerged as the most intense defender of said orange-faced windbag in the upper chamber, going so far as to wage attacks on those who might suggest that...

Bill Straub: Even the ‘best bad idea’ won’t get the Republicans out the hole Trump has dug for them

Some years ago, Steve Martin (yeah, the guy with the banjo), then an up-and-coming standup comic, introduced a routine and produced an album he titled “Let’s Get Small.” “I like to get small,’’ Martin would tell his always enthusiastic audience. “It’s a wild, wild drug.” Well, apparently Senate Republican Leader Mitch “Root-‘n-Branch’’ McConnell has uncovered Martin’s...

Bill Straub: Think of all the great acts. Give big round of applause now for McConnell, Paul and Trump

In the past, we’ve had Laurel and Hardy, Burns and Allen, Abbott and Costello. Now we have McConnell and Trump. In an interview with columnist Fred Barnes, an acquaintance from the days of appearing on “Issues in the News’’ over the Voice of America, Senate Republican Leader Mitch “Root-‘n-Branch’’ McConnell, of Louisville, squealed like a four-year-old holding a double-scoop ice cream...

Bill Straub: For want of a wall, for a temper tantrum, for dodging responsibility — is government lost?

For want of a wall, the government was lost, at least partially, and it doesn’t look like the darn thing is going to be found anytime soon. President “Tiny” Trump, once again throwing one of those tantrums we have all come to welcome and love, has decided to take his ball and go home, padlocking a goodly portion of the federal government because Congress won’t give him $5.7 billion to...

Bill Straub: Gov. Bevin is playing Yosemite Sam, a ridiculous Looney Tunes cartoon character

In contemplating Kentucky Gov. Matthew Griswold Bevin, aka Mad Matt, aka St. Matt the Divine, one can’t escape the assessment that he would be much more successful as a cartoon character than a public servant. Our boy Matt, in fact, is the living embodiment of Yosemite Sam, the foil for Bugs Bunny in all those wonderful Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies shorts we used to catch on Saturday mornings. Like...

Bill Straub: Mitch McConnell is in an uncomfortable spot (and he did vote for Clinton’s impeachment)

Senate Republican Leader Mitch “Root-‘n-Branch’’ McConnell said a lot the other day by saying nothing. Asked by a reporter at a press briefing, “On Friday night, federal prosecutors implicated the president on two crime. Do you have any concerns about that?” McConnell, of Louisville, answered, to wit: “I don’t have any observations to make about that.” The inquiry, of course,...

Bill Straub: ‘Tis the season; since lots of kids are hungry, can we figure out how to feed them?

‘Tis the season, as they say, and Kentuckians caught up in the spirit are ready to spread the sort of comfort and joy one might expect as Christmas draws near. Well, most of them anyway. Rep. Thomas Massie, R-SomewhereorotherLewisCounty, a sterling advocate of the “I’ve got mine I don’t care about yours’’ philosophy of Ayn Rand, is at it again. In a state where 20 percent of the children...

Bill Straub: When you don’t know anything, it is probably best to shut up and listen to those who do

Permit me to borrow a phrase that has been used consistently by Senate Republican Leader Mitch “Root-‘n-Branch’’ McConnell and any number of his colleagues on the GOP side of the aisle: I am not a scientist. Here is my curriculum vitae on the subject: I somehow managed to survive a high school chemistry class taught by Mr. George Barstow who had been a teacher since the Roosevelt Administration...