A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

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...

Mitch McConnell: Democrats fail to fund national defense, put partisan agenda ahead of armed forces

At the end of October, President Trump announced U.S. special operations forces eliminated Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the world’s most wanted terrorist and the vile leader of ISIS. Whatever your politics, every American should express sincere gratitude to the intelligence professionals and servicemembers who carried out this brave defense of the American way of life. Kentuckians should be especially proud...

State Representative Charles Booker announces intent to challenge McConnell in 2020 Senate race

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today A freshman state lawmaker from Louisville is the latest Democrat to announce their intent to explore a run against U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell in the 2020 race. State Rep. Charles Booker was elected to the House in 2018, becoming the youngest black state legislator in 90 years. During his term, Booker has championed gun reform, voting rights, labor laws, and criminal justice;...

Bio-acoustic fish fence aimed at stopping Asian carp migration now operational at Lake Barkley

An experimental project designed to keep invasive Asian carp from moving farther up the Cumberland River was unveiled Friday at Lake Barkley. A bio-acoustic fish fence (BAFF) was deployed on the downstream side of Barkley Lock. U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell and U.S. Congressman James Comer along with project partners, ceremonially inaugurated the BAFF system as part of a three-year evaluation to deter...

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...

Rural Blog: Department of Agriculture publishes rules allowing widespread production of hemp

The Department of Agriculture has published a final rule allowing farmers to legally begin widespread hemp production. It has “requirements for licensing, maintaining records on the land where hemp will be grown, testing the levels of THC — the active ingredient in marijuana that causes a high — and disposing of plants” that could, David Pitt reports for The Associated Press. The rule...

Kentucky by Heart: Kentucky Senator Richard Mentor Johnson led an interesting and controversial life

By Steve Flairty KyForward Columnist I have been reading The US Senate and the Commonwealth (University Press of Kentucky, 2019), by Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell and Roy Brownell II. It focuses on an overall study of senate leadership, along with a fascinating look at what the book calls “the colorful and vivid lives of fifteen Kentucky lawmakers, including Henry Clay, Alben Barkley, and John...

Al Cross: McConnell cares most about the state Attorney General race, and things are looking up

For Mitch McConnell, things in Kentucky are looking up. In Washington, not so much. The races are close, but the Senate majority leader’s state appears likelier than not to elect Republicans to the state’s top offices Nov. 5. McConnell and Gov. Matt Bevin, former rivals, have learned how to get along and stay out of each other’s way, and a Bevin victory should increase McConnell’s chances of...