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: Who to believe? New stimulus package (choose one: does, does not) look promising

It was Sen. George Aiken, a Republican from Vermont, who suggested in the fall of 1966 that the United States relieve itself from a growing quagmire in Vietnam by simply declaring victory and calling the troops home. “It may be a far-fetched proposal,” Aiken said in a now-famous floor speech, “but nothing else has worked.” Fast-forward 54 years and you’ll find Senate Republican...

Bill Straub: Overseeing destruction of the planet, president declares he is great environmentalist

With all the attention being afforded his derisive comments aimed at military personnel, his abject failure to address the COVID-19 crisis, the ever-increasing volume of his racist dog whistling and, well, his general imbecility, little notice is being given to President Donald J. Trump as he oversees the destruction of the planet. Fires are raging in California, hurricanes are popping up like bubbles...

Bill Straub: ‘The time for change is now,’ and yes the fine young men of UK are talking about racism

Kentucky has a problem. It’s a problem that devastates the entire nation, for sure, and the Bluegrass is no exception. It came to the forefront this week when members of the University of Kentucky basketball team, along with coach John Calipari, appeared in a two-minute video pleading with fans and foes alike to join them in opposing the sin of racial injustice. It’s an issue that is finally receiving...

Bill Straub: Don’t assume, don’t assume, don’t assume; presidential race undecided in very bad year

I was a 15-year-old high school student in 1968, the year often cited as the worst in modern history, if you consider anything that occurred 52 summers ago within the realm of modernity. It had everything, a veritable little shop of horrors – the assassinations of two great men, vicious rioting, street protests over an unjust and immoral war, police going berserk in Chicago, families torn asunder. For...

Bill Straub: Truth or lie? Well, it’s probably a lie if the President says it — and James Comer believes

President Donald J. Trump, aka President Extremely Stable Genius, aka President Great and Unmatched Wisdom, is notorious for anyone of a million sins. But perhaps the man’s most infamous character flaw is his propensity to prefer climbing up a tree to tell a lie over standing on the ground to tell the truth. Even his most avid supporters – and don’t kid yourself, there’s still plenty of them...

Bill Straub: Where is the Senate traditionalist now? Could he be the Emperor with no Clothes?

After what seems like centuries masquerading as the grand wizard of the U.S. Senate, a man whose ingenious strategies and maneuvers left the likes of Daniel Webster and Lyndon Baines Johnson disheveled in his imperial wake, Senate Republican Leader Mitch “Root-‘n-Branch’’ McConnell has been revealed for what he really is – a gutless wonder. He is the emperor with no clothes. He is, as the...

Bill Straub: Jobless wait nervously while McConnell dawdles on the unemployment supplement they need

More than 30 million jobless workers – including about 140,000 in Kentucky – will soon find that their unemployment checks used for superfluous purposes like, oh, food and rent and various other play pretties, are a little lighter during these mean economic times because, apparently, a bunch of folks here in Washington could care less. Topping that list, unsurprisingly, is Senate Republican Leader...

Bill Straub: Rand Paul objects to Trump’s Gestapo and wants Dr. Fauci to be more optimistic

In The Sound of Music, that wholesome hash of low-brow entertainment produced on both stage and screen, a waddle of nuns is heard crooning the tune, “How do you solve a problem like Maria?: In Kentucky, the song might be improved if Oscar Hammerstein’s lyrics could be edited to ask, “How do you solve a problem like Rand Paul?” The Republican senator from Bowling Green often comes across...

Bill Straub: Leave it to Mitch to make terrible situation unbearable, and welcome to McConnell World

With the Covid-19 juggernaut sweeping across the nation, sidestepping the federal government’s thus-far paltry efforts to rein it in, you can always count on Senate Republican Leader Mitch “Root-‘n-Branch’’ McConnell to make a terrible situation even worse. Despite recent bromides paying tribute to Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases...

Bill Straub: Art and history, statues and reality — removing any offending art does not change the past

A few years ago I had the privilege of visiting the Museo Reina Sofia in Madrid to view Picasso’s Guernica, one of the most amazing and unsettling works of art imaginable. It depicts the April 1937 bombing of the Basque city of Guernica by the Nazis at the request of the Nationalists, led by Generalissimo Francisco Franco, during the Spanish Civil War. The painting, in stark black and white and greys,...

Bill Straub: Amy McGrath has won nomination to challenge Mitch McConnell; what will she do with it?

So, now that Amy McGrath has won the Democratic nomination to challenge Senate Republican Leader Mitch “Root-‘n-Branch” McConnell in the fall, what is she going to do with it? Not much, if you listen to the analysts who are paid to handicap this sort of thing. Both Sabato’s Crystal Ball, ramrodded by Larry Sabato at the University of Virginia Center for Politics, and the Cook Political...

Bill Straub: Will McConnell maintain majority leader status, even if he defeats his Democrat opponent?

To the vast relief of a grateful but beleaguered nation, Senate Republican Leader Mitch “Root-‘n-Branch” McConnell, has made it clear that, should the good folks of Kentucky choose to return him to the upper chamber for the seventh time this November, he would be more than willing to continue to serve as capo di tutti capi of the GOP caucus, whether it maintains its majority for another two...

Bill Straub: Georgia Davis Powers represents all that should be celebrated by a statue in Capitol Rotunda

Unless you’re a devotee of Turner Classic Movies – I plead guilty – you’ve probably never come across Judge Priest, a 1934 film starring Will Rogers and directed by the American master, John Ford, who, a year before his passing, said it was his favorite movie. Based on the writings of Paducah native Irvin S. Cobb, Judge Priest takes place in an unidentified Western Kentucky town sometime around...

Bill Straub: It’s the autocratic way — using (or threatening) military force against U.S. citizens

The nation dodged a bullet, figuratively and, perhaps, literally, this week when President Trump, aka President Extremely Stable Genius, aka President Great and Unmatched Wisdom, failed to follow through on his threat to deploy the military to deal with the generally peaceful protests generated in wake of the death of George Floyd up in Minneapolis. Floyd, an African-American, died when a white policeman,...

Bill Straub: Quite a pair. As Trump disintegrates, McConnell just keeps digging grave for democracy

America’s Il Duce, one Donald John Trump, aka President Extremely Stable Genius, aka President Great and Unmatched Wisdom, in MacArthur-returns-to-the-Philippines mode, stormed Lafayette Park like a ground sloth on Monday to stand in front of a church and display a book he has never read, The Bible, whose passages he couldn’t distinguish from a limerick that starts “There once was a man from...

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: 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...