A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Bill Straub: McConnell turning a blind eye to Russian interference in elections goes beyond party loyalty

His report passed on charging President Extremely Stable Genius with illicitly coordinating with Russia on the 2020 presidential election and left the question of obstruction of justice to other authorities, but Robert Mueller, the special counsel responsible for diving into the whole sordid mess, made one thing perfectly clear – Russia “launched a concerted attack on our political system’’...

Bill Straub: Bevin had to know about firing of Lt. Governor’s deputy chief; could come back to bite him

Sayre’s Law postulates that, “In any dispute the intensity of feeling is inversely proportional to the value of the issues at stake,” an assertion that perfectly summarizes the ongoing contretemps involving Lt. Gov. Jenean Hampton and her one-time running mate and ally, Gov. Matt “Yosemite Sam’’ Bevin. Lt. Gov. Jenean Hampton The real stakes here are tinier than an atom, given that...

Bill Straub: Questions surrounding Sec. Chao not surprising, considering the company she keeps

WASHINGTON – The family that grifts together sticks together. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, ostensibly a resident of Louisville even though she shows up about as frequently as the visiting team at Slugger Field, has been in the news lately, and not in a particularly flattering way. Apparently she’s taking lessons on how to soil her vaunted office from her husband of long standing, Senate...

Bill Straub: Who’s paying attention to what KY’s DC delegation is doing? Your reps deserve scrutiny

WASHINGTON – Back in early April members of the Kentucky congressional delegation, quite appropriately, sent a letter to President Extremely Stable Genius supporting a request from Gov. Mad Matt Bevin that a large swath of the state be declared a disaster area. In the letter, the lawmakers maintained that the Commonwealth “experienced severe weather that produced strong wind and torrential rain,...

Bill Straub: True to his character, McConnell changes his stance on potential U.S. Supreme Court vacancy

WASHINGTON – Sometimes it seems Senate Republican Leader Mitch “Root-‘n-Branch’’ McConnell is bound and determined to prove to the world that he is a malevolent cad and, in the stated view of one respected historian, the “grave digger of American democracy.’’ McConnell Most successful politicians try to hide their personal flaws to attract public support. McConnell, of Louisville, forges...

Bill Straub: Bevin didn’t get a landslide, but don’t count him out; Beshear faces uphill battle

Landslide Matt Bevin, the incumbent, didn’t exactly set the world on fire in Tuesday’s Republican gubernatorial primary, garnering just 52 percent of the vote against three other jamokes who aren’t even substantial enough to be referred to as nobodies. But don’t kid yourself. When November rolls around, the Commonwealth’s least-liked-in-the-nation governor could very well earn sufficient...

Bill Straub: With King Coal’s reign about over in the Commonwealth (and elsewhere), it’s on to natural gas

To paraphrase that great American intellectual, Sarah Palin, how is that beautiful, clean coal stuff working out for ya? Well, not so hot, thanks. Cloud Peak Energy, the nation’s third-largest coal mining company, headquartered in Wyoming, where the mineral is still as plentiful as kudzu in Georgia, has filed for bankruptcy under Chapter 11. It was one of the last of the nation’s big energy players...

Bill Straub: In rear-guard action, McConnell declares ‘case closed,’ while plenty of questions remain

Senate Republican Leader Mitch “Root-‘n-Branch’’ McConnell took to the chamber floor this week and did everything but croon the lyrics from an old Stevie Wonder standard – “Ooo baby, here I am, signed, sealed, delivered, I’m yours’’ – in dedication to the true object of his current affections, President Donald J. Trump (ACK!). In so doing, McConnell, of Louisville, firmly established...

Bill Straub: There’s Trump and his ‘Mini-Me’ Bevin — but one of them benefits from distance

WASHINGTON – Unlike Superman and Clark Kent, President Trump (good golly!) and Kentucky Gov. Matt “Yosemite Sam’’ Bevin have been seen together in a room, so one can assume they are not one and the same person. But that’s about the only way to tell the two of them apart. By personality, attitude and politics there is no apparent separation between The Donald and the man who seems to be constantly...

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...