A publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

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...

Bill Straub: A man and his guns (enough to get the job done) is example of how we don’t do the job

Over in the lovely old town of Springfield, located smack-dab in the middle of the commonwealth, police this week came across a patriot determined to exercise his rights under the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, armed with the sort of firepower the 101st Airborne would have welcomed as it endeavored to fight its way out of Bastogne. This individual, one Matthew Smith, was seen sitting in...

Bill Straub: A new word to enhance your vocabularly; to describe ‘beyond shameful,’ try ‘mitchful’

Occasionally when following American politics you come upon a statement or claim that is so outrageous, so mind-boggling that characterizing it as shameless tends to understate the absurdity. Such statements extend well beyond the boundaries of shamefulness into a completely new territory. They are mitchful. Those of us who have witnessed the increasingly ghastly career of one Senate Republican Leader...

Bill Straub: Real winner of Tuesday’s election in Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin who wasn’t on ballot

The real winner emerging from Tuesday’s election in Kentucky wasn’t Rep. Andy Barr, who staged a come-from-behind victory in the Sixth Congressional District, or President “Tiny’’ Trump, who insisted to his supporters that this year’s vote was all about him. Nope. The honor goes to someone who wasn’t even on the ballot – St. Matt of New Hampshire, our boy Bevin, the reigning governor,...

Bill Straub: Reagan once said ‘there is no room for intolerance,’ but Trump didn’t get the message

WASHINGTON – I can’t say with absolute certainty that the filth that gushes from the mouth of President “Tiny’’ Trump-like sewage through a straight pipe contributed to the current run of violence plaguing the nation, including the incident involving two African-Americans gunned down at a Jeffersontown Kroger last week for being black. There are experts who study the relationship between...

Bill Straub: Kentucky commands nation’s attention as Andy Barr-Amy McGrath race goes down to the wire

WASHINGTON – Kentucky doesn’t often command the nation’s attention unless it happens to be the first Saturday in May or the Wildcats are making a run in March. But during this vital political season, a lot of eyes are turning toward the congressional race in the commonwealth’s Sixth District, which could determine which party controls the House. The contest between incumbent Rep. Andy Barr,...

Bill Straub: McConnell breaking through bottom of barrel, blaming ‘entitlements’ for growth of deficit

WASHINGTON – Senate Republican Leader Mitch “Root-‘n-Branch’’ McConnell is no longer scraping the bottom of the political barrel. No, it appears our boy from Louisville has broken through the bottom of said barrel and is in the process of digging his way through to China. Just how low can Mitch go? Wait and see. You may remember, apparently Mitch doesn’t, that the Congressional Budget Office...

Bill Straub: Trying to figure out Mitch McConnell and apologizing for being too soft on him over the years

What happened to Mitch McConnell? It’s a question that has been bugging me and many others for years now. What transformed the Senate Republican leader, a seemingly earnest, hardworking lawmaker from Louisville into a political animal who has repeatedly in recent times brought disgrace to not only the legislative body he represents but, to a great extent, the republic as a whole? This is the man...

Bill Straub: Through the Valley of Death, Republicans (and McConnell) ‘pushing (Kavanaugh) right through’

WASHINGTON – I experienced an epiphany over the past few weeks that may seem counter-intuitive but nonetheless is the only reasonable explanation for Republicans, especially Sen. Mitch “Root-‘n-Branch’’ McConnell, marching into the Valley of Death to assure that U.S. Circuit Judge Brett Kavanaugh is confirmed for a seat on the Supreme Court. McConnell, of Louisville, and others, particularly...

Bill Straub: Taking bets on McConnell’s choice of doing what’s best for (1) the nation or (2) his party?

WASHINGTON – Senate Republican Leader Mitch “Root-‘n-Branch’’ McConnell is facing a dilemma. McConnell, of Louisville, has, on numerous occasions, been justifiably criticized for placing the priorities of his Republican Party ahead of the nation’s welfare. It was, after all, ol’ Root-‘n-Branch who vowed rigid non-cooperation with anything President Barack Obama, a Democrat and the...

Bill Straub: While McConnell is ‘shaking the treat box’ for money, Republicans will likely keep the Senate

Anyone who has cats (we have four, which, at times, is five too many) can tell you they can be very, well, cat-like sometimes, leaving you wondering if they’re off hiding somewhere or if they somehow snuck out of the house when you weren’t looking and are out in the street ducking traffic. The only way to get them out of their undisclosed location, to cite a chestnut from the President George W....

Bill Straub: Certainly no witch hunt as Mueller moves right along; and a word about ‘great guy’ Art Schmidt

With the November election now less than two months away, Republicans are ratcheting up their calls for a quick and painless end to the investigation being conducted by Special Counsel Robert Mueller into Russia’s apparent maneuvering in the 2016 presidential election that resulted in, and it hurts to say, “President’’ Donald J. Trump (good Lord in heaven). The probe, entering its 15th month,...

Bill Straub: The view from Trump’s DC hotel is ruined by an ‘ugly’ FBI building — and therein is a story

Senate Republican Leader Mitch “Root-‘n-Branch’’ McConnell has emerged in the past few months as such a snuggling lapdog for “President’’ Trump (Lord have mercy) that even the most adorable Pomeranian might sneer in contempt. The Louisville Republican who, history shows, regularly places the desires of his party above those of the nation he has taken an oath to serve, has been doing the...

Bill Straub: McConnell is Trump’s primary enabler as the walls come tumbling down around the President

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell is so smitten with the idea that he’s playing “the long game” in politics that he titled his self-penned hagiography after that empty phrase. But it’s quickly becoming obvious, as the walls come tumbling down around President Trump (OMG!), that the sage of Louisville, misspoke. He isn’t playing the long game. He’s playing the wrong game. And...

Bill Straub: ‘Knock ’em out, drag ’em in’ Bevin shows how divisions just get wider and more bitter

So, just what is it with this Bevin guy? It used to be during the long, sultry, Kentucky summers, with lawmakers out of town and anyone with a lick of sense off somewhere drinking sweet tea in air-conditioned comfort, a governor would lay low, hope things remained calm and start planning for his/her political future. Not so with Mad Matt, obviously. First, there was the contretemps over his rather...

Bill Straub: Andy Barr is finding Amy McGrath a formidable opponent for 6th Congressional seat

It hasn’t been a very good last few days for Rep. Andy Barr, which is bad news for a financial industry that controls his every tic in Washington but potentially good news for the residents of Kentucky’s Sixth Congressional District. Barr, R-Lexington, whose accomplishments during his first five years in office couldn’t fill a thimble, unexpectedly finds himself in a tough re-election campaign...

Bill Straub: Enough is enough is enough, it’s time for press corps to take the gloves off and tell the truth

For better or worse, I spent six years back in the early 2000s as the White House correspondent for Scripps-Howard News Service. Believe me, that’s neither a boast nor a brag, as George M. Cohan might say. I always remember the words of Ron Hutcheson, the one-time White House guy for Knight Ridder while we were sitting at a hotel bar in Waco, TX, with nothing to do but twiddle our thumbs while then-President...

Bill Straub: Trump Derangement Syndrome aside, there are legitimate questions about Putin and Trump

To Sen. Rand Paul, it can all be chalked up to Trump Derangement Syndrome (TDS). The Republican lawmaker from Bowling Green, famously referred to as a “wacko bird’’ by one-time presidential candidate Sen. John McCain of Arizona – a member of Paul’s own party, it should be noted – insists the vitriol that greeted President Trump’s (YIKES!) recent session with Russia strongman Vladimir...

Bill Straub: Humpty-Trumpty bullies way through NATO, insults May on home turf, loves Putin more. . .

President Trump’s (OMG!) recently concluded European excursion was, by all estimates, a disaster, not to mention a public humiliation that seemingly eroded America’s once commanding presence on the international stage. That is not a controversial sentiment. Republicans and Democrats, folks on the left, right and center, have spent the past few days assessing the damage perpetrated by a man who...