A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Outlier Massie becomes pariah, forcing colleagues to gather against public health advice for stimulus vote

By Al Cross Kentucky Health News Thomas Massie, the congressman from Kentucky’s Fourth District, has long been at the limits of elective politics at the national level. He is more Libertarian than Republican, but his strong stands against the tax-and-spend mentality of the federal government harken back to Republicans of old, such as the late Sen. Robert Taft of Cincinnati, just across the Ohio...

OJ Oleka: Tour of Ky. campuses indicates private colleges change the lives of low-income students

Setting the benchmark of your first 100 days is a good measure for most leaders. It is in those first few months that you get to set the vision, organize your team, and set out to achieve your goals. In my first 100 days as president of the Association of Independent Kentucky Colleges and Universities (AIKCU), I have visited all 18 AIKCU campuses and learned how our institutions are changing the lives...

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: 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...

Al Cross: We have waited patiently for the moment that Mitch McConnell would come to his senses . . .

More than once, this space has said Mitch McConnell would face a day of reckoning in his relationship with Donald Trump – a moment when the Senate majority leader would have to decide to maintain fealty to the president of his party or would say, at least to himself, that “enough is enough” when it comes to Trump’s use of the presidency to serve his personal interests. We thought the day might...

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...

Kentucky among southern states split on dealing with EPA’s rollbacks of coal ash disposal regulations

A Tennessee coal ash accident spilled onto nearby homes. States are grappling with coal ash regulations as the Trump administration loosens federal rules. (Photo by Wade Payne/The Associated Press, via Stateline) By Max Blau Pew Charitable Trusts As the Trump administration scales back federal regulation of the waste from coal-fired power plants known as coal ash, a handful of Southern states have...

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...

Al Cross: Of course, we agree with Mitch McConnell that we need more ‘civility’ in our public discourse

“Elections have consequences” is a favorite saying for politicians of all stripes, and for those of us who try to make sense of what they say (or don’t say). But elections also have lessons, and those who learn from them are usually the most successful in politics. One of America’s most successful politicians, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, often keeps those lessons to himself, but...

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...

Al Cross: Trump is back-and-forth on gun control; in the end he and McConnell must agree

In Louisville on Wednesday, President Trump said he would get, or help get, Gov. Matt Bevin and Sen. Mitch McConnell re-elected: “We’ll get them both back in.” Bevin was on hand, to bask in the glow of a president who has the approval of most Kentucky voters and whose support he needs to win a second term. McConnell wasn’t around, because he was recovering from surgery six days earlier to repair...

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...

Al Cross: Welcome, Derby visitors, to Kentucky; here’s a brief introduction to the political landscape

Welcome, Derby visitors! This column continues our longstanding tradition of giving folks who are in Kentucky for the big race, and those looking at Kentucky news media online, a snapshot of our current political landscape. We’re in the middle of a race for the Democratic nomination for governor. It’s our first contested Democratic primary for the office since 2007, an indicator of how the party’s...

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...

Mike Farrell: With so many things off track, including #MeToo, the question is — what’s our character?

The #Me Too train has run off the tracks. Please don’t misunderstand me. I have always believed in the equality of women. In my 50-year career, I have worked for two women, both of them skilled and intelligent leaders. I learned loads from them. I am revolted by the Harvey Weinsteins of the world who use their power and position to demand sex from young women seeking acting jobs. If he is as guilty...

Bill Straub: Thomas ‘Wonderboy’ Massie, darling of far-right fringe, wants to undermine the government

WASHINGTON – It’s fair to say that Rep. Thomas “Wonder Boy” Massie has one of the, well, most unusual voting records in Congress, a claim that even he is unlikely to contradict.  The Republican from SomewhereorotherLewisCounty has been busy since the outset of the 116th Congress engaging in the foolishness that has made him the darling of the nation’s far-right fringe, the Bluegrass’s...

Bill Straub: Character is indispensable, character matters, character first; did someone say ‘character’?

Apparently a person’s character doesn’t amount to a hill of beans in Sen. Rand Paul’s world. The Bowling Green Republican, who once referred to President Trump (YIKES!) as “a delusional narcissist and an orange-faced windbag,’’ has somehow emerged as the most intense defender of said orange-faced windbag in the upper chamber, going so far as to wage attacks on those who might suggest that...