A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

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...

Bill Straub: Sanctuary Cities — now, is this really the No. 1 problem facing a state like Kentucky?

It’s no secret that Kentucky, sadly, has been a bottom feeder among the states for so long that it swims almost undistinguished from the carp and the flounder. Consider just a few items. The Commonwealth ranks 46th in per capita income, 46th in residents with a high school diploma or higher (48th with a bachelor’s degree for those keeping score at home), 43rd in child poverty, 48th in a measure...

Bill Straub: ‘Spoils system’ on full display as judges with questionable qualifications get appointments

It was Sen. William L Marcy, assessing some of the questionable appointments rendered by President Andrew Jackson back in the day, who initially said, “to the victor belong the spoils,’’ thus brilliantly summing up the American form of democracy in one, deft phrase. Things have changed very little since the 1830s when Marcy, of New York, prowled the corridors of power. Despite occasional congressional...

Bill Straub: Prisons are bursting at seams, nonviolent prisoners deserve pardons; devil is in the details

Let me put my cards on the table: I am one of those people who would rather see 100 guilty individuals go free than witness one innocent person go to prison. I believe it should be extremely difficult – emphasize, extremely difficult – to deprive anyone of his or her freedom. The death penalty is immoral, savage, and should immediately be abolished in all 50 states, DC and the federal government. There...

Bill Straub: What’s the definition of word ‘honor,’ and doesn’t an oath to act with ‘impartial justice’ matter?

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell has attracted plenty of notorious titles over the years, ranging from Moscow Mitch to the Grim Reaper to ‘ol Root-‘n-Branch. Now we can add another one – Corrupt McConnell. I’ve tagged McConnell, of Louisville, pretty frequently – and, I might say, justifiably – over the past few years and endeavored always to stay away from connecting him too...

Bill Straub: The Grim Reaper holds fast, then blames the other side; just count the bills on his desk

The best way to describe the legislative acumen of Senate Republican Leader Mitch “Root-‘n-Branch’’ McConnell is to resurrect the three-card monte guys that used to set up outside the Port Authority Building in Manhattan to scam the Jersey guys that constantly poured out on to Eighth Avenue. These days, McConnell, of Moscow, by way of Louisville, is utilizing his sleight-of-hand skills to convince...

Bill Straub: A great political enigma of our times is why evangelicals continue to be devoted to Trump

It has developed over the past few years into one of the great political enigmas: Why have evangelicals, those Bible-quoting, sin-hating, Sunday-go-to-meeting folks who are the quintessential salts of the earth, so enthusiastically embracing President Donald J. Trump, a lying, cheating, misogynistic four-flusher who spews insults and profanity as often as evangelicals shout “amen’’ and seems...

Bill Straub: Lone holdout in U.S. House on vote to support Hong Kong freedom fighters was Massie

It was Aesop who first noted that a man is known by the company he keeps. With that in mind, Rep. Thomas Massie, aka Wonder Boy, might want to reconsider cozying up to his new BFFs, notorious international tormentors Russia and China, who aren’t exactly known for having the best interests of the United States in mind. Massie, R-SomewhereorotherLewisCounty, has long looked at Russia with admiring...

Bill Straub: Where is the line drawn on reprehensible conduct? After Sondland testimony, where is honor?

Well, it’s beginning to look like Trump was quite prescient when he declared during his successful 2016 campaign, “I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose any voters.” That bold statement apparently can be extended to the Republican members of the Senate, who have exhibited absolutely no enthusiasm for convicting and removing a president who has...

Bill Straub: Sen. Rand Paul cuddles up to Trumpism using the oldest, lamest excuse — everybody does it

Sen. Rand Paul appears to be joining other members of the flock in an exodus from the once-grand, old Republican Party and cuddling up to a new political sect – Trumpism. Paul, R-Bowling Green, who at one time called the object of his devotion “a delusional narcissist’’ and compared him to Joseph Goebbels, is doing everything except wash the feet of President Donald J. Trump, aka President...

Bill Straub: Looks like Bevin managed to step on his own tail, but don’t count Mitch out just yet

It was during the Republican National Convention in Houston in 1992 and renowned columnist Molly Ivins was talking about Clayton Williams, the Republican gubernatorial candidate in Texas who, despite all odds, lost to Democrat Ann Richards as a result of highly erratic behavior and questionable comments, like publicly recounting various adventures in a Mexican cathouse. Ivins allowed that the Williams...

Bill Straub: Ah, the memories of George Wallace’s yesteryear revisit KY in Bevin, Cameron campaign

Return with us now, for a moment, to those thrilling days of yesteryear, when Alabama Gov. George Corley Wallace, whose face, a witness once observed, resembled a clenched fist, stood before the state capital in Montgomery to declare “in this very heart of the Great Anglo-Saxon Southland’’ — “segregation today . . . segregation tomorrow . . . segregation forever.” It was Jan. 14,...

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,...

Bill Straub: Where oh where have all the statesmen gone, and looks what’s left? Then there’s Tom Loftus

Some years back, Kentucky had a gentleman serving in the Senate named John Sherman Cooper, from Pulaski County, who regularly voted against the positions endorsed by his own political party, worked diligently with members of the opposing party — befriending one who ultimately would become president — and pulled out all the stops to end the Vietnam War, much to the consternation of a president...

Bill Straub: President Trump hides in plain sight, while Mitch McConnell provides the cover he needs

WASHINGTON – It was left to Senate Republican Leader Hugh Scott and a couple of senior members of the upper chamber to make the short trip down Pennsylvania Avenue to the White House in August 1974 to tell the second-most corrupt president in the nation’s history – Richard Nixon – that the jig was up. Scott, a pipe-smoking, mustachioed, moderate from Pennsylvania, didn’t exactly blurt out...

Bill Straub: Bevin has high-flying aspirations; loves taxpayer-owned airplane, fending off immigrants

Give Gov. Matt Bevin credit. His highfalutin aspirations are frantically taking him from local embarrassment to national laughingstock. Say what you will, but the man we lovingly call St. Matt the Divine of New Hampshire continues to display grand ambitions. And there appears to be no bottom to the depths he’s willing to plunge to achieve whatever nasty goal he sets. St. Matt’s inanity consists...

Bill Straub: Standing ready to protect Constitution, John Yarmuth stands out in congressional delegation

Rep. John Yarmuth has to be one of the loneliest guys in the nation’s capital. Since he was elected to represent the Third Congressional District, which includes the city of Louisville, in 2006, Yarmuth has served much of his tenure as the lone Democrat in the sea of red that constitutes Kentucky’s congressional delegation. When former Rep. Ben Chandler, D-Versailles, lost his re-election bid...

Bill Straub: Deja Vu all over again — gun massacres, promise of controls, then nothing; repeat rapid fire

All right, let’s break this one down to its component parts. On the morning of Aug. 3, a gunman, 21-year-old Patrick Crusius, shot and killed 22 people and injured 24 others in El Paso, TX. About 13 hours later, in Dayton, OH, a second gunman shot and killed 10 people and injured 17 others. The incidents brought to 251 the number of mass shootings that have occurred in the United States of America...

Bill Straub: Kentucky’s famous statesman Henry Clay preferred being right, Bevin just wants to be governor

It was one of Kentucky’s most celebrated statesmen, Henry Clay, who, way back in 1839, uttered the memorable phrase, “I’d rather be right than be president.” Perhaps Clay’s words have served as an inspiration for Gov. Matt Bevin, aka St. Matt the Divine of New Hampshire, who seems to be giving a new twist to the old phrase through his actions – I’d rather be a twit than be governor. St....