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...

Mitch McConnell announces Kentucky will receive at least $7 million to help fight new coronavirus

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced Friday that Kentucky will receive at least $7 million to help fight the new coronavirus, labeled COVID-19. The funding, included in the supplemental appropriations bill, was signed into law by President Trump, will be provided to state officials who will determine how the resources will be distributed. Each state will receive no less than $4 million. The...

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...

Mitch McConnell: Obama’s regulatory ‘War on Coal’ is over, and we’re trying to repair the damage

For generations, our nation’s strength has been powered by the miners in Kentucky’s coalfields. Their hard work helps fuel American innovation and provides millions of families and small businesses with reliable and affordable energy. Unfortunately, the enduring pain from President Obama’s War on Coal has contributed to recent coal plant and mine closures in Kentucky. As a result, workers’...

Al Cross: McConnell surely cannot approve of Trump’s inappropriate behavior; why not say so?

Last Friday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell scheduled a press conference in Louisville, which he had to cancel because his flight from Washington was canceled, his office said. Too bad; there are many questions that could have been asked and can still be. Here are a few. What did you think of what President Trump said at the National Prayer Breakfast about Mitt Romney, the only senator to vote...

Kentucky receives $11.3 million in funding to clean up, repurpose abandoned coal mines

The Federal government’s Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (OSMRE) will provide $11,314,447 to Kentucky in Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 Abandoned Mine Land (AML) Reclamation grants, to clean up and repurpose abandoned coal mines. More than $170 million in AML Reclamation funding will be available to states and tribes in FY 2020. “AML grants provide states, tribes and local partners...

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...

Mitch McConnell: Trump’s landmark USMCA deal is a win for Kentucky workers, farmers and consumers

Kentuckians are rightfully known for being hard workers. I’m glad more of them, from Paducah to Pikeville, are benefitting from our country’s strong economy, which has been bolstered by Republican policies. The Republican-led Senate just gave Kentucky workers another boost in an overwhelming vote by passing President Trump’s landmark trade deal called the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement...

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...

Quarles says Kentucky to operate hemp program under 2014 Farm Bill provisions for one more year

Agriculture Commissioner Dr. Ryan Quarles has announced the Kentucky Department of Agriculture (KDA) will use 2020 as a year to transition from a hemp research pilot program to a commercial hemp program. “The 2018 Farm Bill removed industrial hemp from the federal list of controlled substances, a move which has been a catalyst for hemp growers and businesses,” Quarles said. “Wisely, Congress...

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...

Rapid confirmation of President Donald Trump’s nominees reshaping judicial branch

By Nadia Ramlagan Public News Service Over the past few years, the U.S. Senate has confirmed 185 of President Donald Trump’s judicial nominees, the majority of whom have a conservative track record. Along with two Supreme Court justices, senators have confirmed 50 circuit court and 133 district court judges. Supreme Court, court of appeals and district court judges are nominated by the president...

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...

Al Cross: Continuing the tradition of gifts for public officials; hoping for a 2020 in which facts matter most

The tradition of a Christmas-gifts column for public figures in Kentucky was started almost four decades ago by the late Ed Ryan, when he was the Courier Journal’s bureau chief in Frankfort. Those were the days of Gov. John Y. Brown Jr. and first lady Phyllis George Brown, who had an administration and an entourage of characters who provided plenty of grist for Ed’s sometimes snarky humor mill. Since...

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...

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...

Kentucky Sports Radio’s Matt Jones says he will not be running for Mitch McConnell’s Senate seat

By Mark Maynard Kentucky Today Kentucky Sports Radio host Matt Jones said Friday he will not be a candidate for the U.S. Senate race in 2020.

 The announcement ends speculation that Jones, who has gone back and forth on the decision, would take on U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. Matt Jones 

“I am coming on this morning to make the announcement that I have decided not to do...