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...

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...

U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, of Bowling Green, tests positive for COVID-19, third Congressman with positive test

By Mark Hansel KyForward managing editor U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-KY, announced on Sunday that he has tested positive for the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). He is the first U.S. senator and third member of Congress known to have contracted the virus. Sen. Paul’s office released the following statement regarding his test result: Sen. Paul “Senator Rand Paul has tested positive for COVID-19. He is feeling...

Bill Straub: Something isn’t exactly clear; layers of wrongdoing were peeled back, but truth didn’t matter

When Stephen Stills penned the lyrics to “For What It’s Worth,’’ declaring, “There’s something happening here but what it is ain’t exactly clear,” he certainly had no reason to believe the expression would remain pertinent 53 years later. Certainly, the present situation differs from what was occurring in 1967. Stills wrote his timeless song at a time of mounting protests aimed...

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...

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...

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: 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...

Bill Straub: Rand Paul’s excuse for voting against 9/11 victim’s compensation bill was deficit. Really?

Sen. Rand Paul wants it both ways. That, as you likely realize, is par for the course with politicians who too often say one thing and then do something different, hoping no one notices. But it’s particularly striking for the Bowling Green Republican who presents himself as the Drakon Kholkikos when it comes to guarding the federal treasury, tersely rejecting various efforts to fund initiatives that...

Bill Straub: Who’s paying attention to what KY’s DC delegation is doing? Your reps deserve scrutiny

WASHINGTON – Back in early April members of the Kentucky congressional delegation, quite appropriately, sent a letter to President Extremely Stable Genius supporting a request from Gov. Mad Matt Bevin that a large swath of the state be declared a disaster area. In the letter, the lawmakers maintained that the Commonwealth “experienced severe weather that produced strong wind and torrential rain,...

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...

Rural Blog: Trump, McConnell urge TVA not to close two of its oldest coal-fired plants, one in Paradise

The Tennessee Valley Authority’s Paradise Fossil Plant in Muhlenberg County. The town of Paradise, which no longer exists, was made famous in 1971 by John Prine’s eponymous anti-strip mining song. (Photo by Kathleen Cole) President Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky are trying to convince to the federally owned Tennessee Valley Authority not to close two of its...

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...

Bill Straub: Think of all the great acts. Give big round of applause now for McConnell, Paul and Trump

In the past, we’ve had Laurel and Hardy, Burns and Allen, Abbott and Costello. Now we have McConnell and Trump. In an interview with columnist Fred Barnes, an acquaintance from the days of appearing on “Issues in the News’’ over the Voice of America, Senate Republican Leader Mitch “Root-‘n-Branch’’ McConnell, of Louisville, squealed like a four-year-old holding a double-scoop ice cream...

Bill Straub: Mitch McConnell is in an uncomfortable spot (and he did vote for Clinton’s impeachment)

Senate Republican Leader Mitch “Root-‘n-Branch’’ McConnell said a lot the other day by saying nothing. Asked by a reporter at a press briefing, “On Friday night, federal prosecutors implicated the president on two crime. Do you have any concerns about that?” McConnell, of Louisville, answered, to wit: “I don’t have any observations to make about that.” The inquiry, of course,...

Rand Paul files legislation to cut off aid to Saudi Arabia until missing journalist is freed

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today U.S. Sen. Rand Paul filed legislation on Thursday that would cut off aid to Saudi Arabia until a missing journalist is determined to be alive and free. Jamal Khashoggi, a columnist for the Washington Post, was last seen alive entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, on Oct. 2, and Turkish authorities believe he was murdered. “Time and again, clear evidence has...

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...