A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Bill Straub: Saying whatever is necessary to assure their legends for a place in history; it’s all in the spin

Senate Republican Leader Mitch “Root-‘n-Branch’’ McConnell has dished out some doozies during his time in the District of Columbia and the pervasiveness of the coronavirus is providing the man with a great opportunity to add to the legend that is Moscow Mitch. For instance, our boy from Louisville took to the air this week with a television campaign ad grabbing credit for passage of a $2.2...

Bill Straub: A very good case can be made for mail-in ballots, but not everyone wants more turnout

When he hasn’t been fulminating over governmental overreach in addressing the coronavirus crisis or gnashing his teeth into dust over the pending economic recovery package, Rep. Thomas Massie has been using his copious free time to warn against the potential “end of our republic as we know it. And that menace on the cusp of achieving what the likes of Jefferson Davis and the Axis powers dreamed...

Bill Straub: There’s cringe-worthy and there’s cringe-worthy; in fact, these amazing actions are a pandemic

One of the most cringe-inducing moments amidst the chaos surrounding the coronavirus pandemic came last week when, during a meeting with Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar, President Donald J. Trump, aka President Extremely Stable Genius, aka President Great and Unmatched Wisdom, credited “the UK’s” handling of the crisis, noting “it’s got the border, it’s got very strong borders,...

Bill Straub: Good ideas come and go — but for the Equal Rights Amendment, it’s an idea long past due

It was Victor Hugo who claimed “nothing is more powerful than an idea whose time has come,” yet here we are, in the year of our lord 2020 (complying with a directive from the nitwits in the Kentucky General Assembly) and the Equal Rights Amendment, initially offered to the 50 states for their consideration in 1972, remains in the dumpster, with the possibility of resurrection sketchy at best. That...

Bill Straub: When enough is really enough, whenever that may be, there’s always the November ballot box

When is enough, finally, enough? That essentially is the question that will be posed to voters of Kentucky’s Fourth Congressional District this November when it comes to Rep. Thomas Massie, R-SomewhereorotherLewisCounty, who has been applying his brand of oddball legislating in the nation’s capital for better than seven long years now. Massie, as most observers of his reckless meanderings know...

Bill Straub: Mitch McConnell has been called out, however gently; the permanent stain of failure is his

Senate Republican Leader Mitch “Root-‘n-Branch” McConnell has spent 36 long years in the nation’s capital splitting asunder a once great political institution for his own partisan purposes at significant cost to the body politic. Now a group that can’t be ignored is finally calling him out, if only in a veiled manner. A bipartisan group of former senators has launched what can only be...

Bill Straub: A look at Kentucky’s presidential primary May 19; R choice sure; D in the air, picking Sanders

As usual, this year’s presidential primary in Kentucky could be another case of closing the corral gate after the horse has escaped – the May 19 date comes so late in the candidate selection process that the results carry little or no impact in determining the parties’ eventual nominees. There exists a possibility that scenario might change a bit this year, at least on the Democratic side, with...

Bill Straub: Does the Trump cult even remember when they first sold out? Does Rob Portman?

This is a column written more in sorrow than anger, stealing a reference from Shakespeare, about a man who once upon a time stood up to President Donald J. Trump but who has since succumbed to his wiles, folding like a cardboard suitcase in the presence of President Extremely Stable Genius, aka President Great and Unmatched Wisdom. In 1994 I was chosen to serve as the Washington correspondent for the...

Bill Straub: Which side are you on? Who you going to believe? Sounds like the start of a sad song

There’s an old labor song emanating out of the Harlan County Wars of the 1930s, popularized by the great Pete Seeger, that posed a simple question: Which side are you on? As the impeachment proceedings against President Donald J. Trump, aka President Extremely Stable Genius, aka President Great and Unmatched Wisdom, rumbles onward it’s becoming increasingly obvious that the Republican majority...

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...