A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Al Cross: For our Derby visitors, real and remote, a scratch sheet on Kentucky politics

OK, we’re back to normal. Partly. The Kentucky Derby is back where it has been since the Great Depression, on the first Saturday in May, and this column is back in its annual saddle, to give Derby visitors – now more online than in person – a snapshot of Kentucky’s always interesting (and sometimes depressing) political landscape. In a nation where politics is more nationalized and polarized...

Bill Straub: Musings by the drunk at the end of the bar — and his untethered rants on this and that

WASHINGTON – Sen. Rand Paul is the political equivalent of the drunk sitting by himself at the far end of the bar with a half-filled glass of rail bourbon in front of him, loudly mumbling incoherently over whatever hobgoblin happens to be flashing through his besotted mind at the moment. The Bowling Green Republican is, in other words, the W.C. Fields of the United States Senate, although it should...

Commentary: Kentucky’s nurses deserve thanks for dedication, volunteerism in face of COVID-19

A little more than a year ago, none of us could have imagined anything like COVID-19. We went from gathering with family and friends anytime in our homes or at restaurants and working in traditional environments surrounded by co-workers to a complete shutdown overnight. Who did Kentuckians turn to in this unprecedented healthcare crisis? Who did they count on as the pandemic raged out of control?...

Constance Alexander: Meet Kentucky’s newest Poet Laureate, Casey County native Crystal Wilkinson

“Porch sittin'” meant nothing to me until I moved to Kentucky and began to learn the value of a getting-to-know-you spell before getting down to business. The phrase came to mind the other day as I watched the induction of Kentucky’s new Poet Laureate, Crystal Wilkinson. I kept thinking how much I’d love to sit with her, listen to her talking about writing and poetry and life, with...

Nicholas Brake: Investment in schools, infrastructure correlate to Kentucky’s economic competitiveness

The topic of political discourse over the past few weeks is the president’s proposed $2 trillion infrastructure plan. As with the American Rescue Plan before it, there is much hesitation in making such a large public investment. But like the American Rescue Plan, the facts support a bold investment. Let’s separate the facts from the myths. The argument goes much like this. The return on investment...

Commentary: In wake of Derek Chauvin trial and George Floyd’s death, all grieve — we must do better

April 20 is a day that never should have had to come to pass and did so because a murder took place that never should have happened. It was the day Derek Chauvin was convicted of murder for the death of George Floyd. While families on all sides grieve, the CEOs engaged in the Northern Kentucky Nonprofits Social Justice Coalition renew our commitment to building a more inclusive and just community. We...

Georges Benjamin: If we want to rebuild public health stronger, out planet can no longer be sidelined

The COVID-19 pandemic brought our public health infrastructure to its knees. As we enter a slow period of recovery, now is not the time to ignore the potential that climate change has of bringing it to full collapse. Our planet is changing before our very eyes. The use of fossil fuels and our world’s expanding carbon footprint are not only contributing to changing weather patterns, stronger heatwaves...

Brian Joslyn: Significant racial disparities in marijuana arrests in Kentucky

In today’s complex world, we’re all aware of the pitfalls of how information and opinions are shared online and within our communities. One could argue that scanning the news in 2021 is similar to participating in a game of Clue where the reader has to not only decipher what they see but also the other participants and how their intent could possibly shape the experience. I’m going to try and...

Bill Straub: Bipartisan commission on Supreme Court should perhaps consider term limits

Now that Republicans have made hash out of the supposedly non-political U.S. Supreme Court with a series of underhanded maneuvers, along with the appointment of justices barely capable of representing themselves contesting a traffic ticket, President Biden has established a commission to consider changes in the nation’s highest tribunal. “The commission’s purpose is to provide an analysis...

Commentary: Converting the state’s K-12 bus fleet to electric would be a good use of Ky’s relief funds

By Arivumani Srivastava and Andrew Brennen Kentucky Student Voice Team Imagine if our public schools were responsible for poisoning elementary school students on a regular basis.  How would the community react if each day, giant metal contraptions spewing toxic fumes were placed directly outside the buildings where our children attend school. Imagine if this occurred as hundreds of 8-year olds emerged...

Constance Alexander: Isabel Duarte-Gray’s first book of poems features voices of Western Kentucky

Every detail on the cover of Isabel Duarte-Gray’s first book of poems, Even Shorn, draws the viewer in. First, the title gets your attention, and then the distinctive name of the poet floats against a single stalk of Solomon’s Seal, a woodland plant with lance-shaped leaves. Dangling in pairs from each leaf are delicate, bell-shaped blooms. Over time, they will give way to bluish-black berries...

Mitch McConnell: Vaccine doses filled with hope, optimism — every eligible Kyian should get the shot

We’ve witnessed a modern, medical miracle over the last twelve months. Multiple safe and highly-effective COVID-19 vaccines are helping Kentuckians put the pain and worry of the past year behind us. These doses are filled with hope and optimism, and I urge every eligible Kentuckian to get their shot as soon as possible. During a recent two-week break in the Senate’s session, I traveled the Bluegrass...

Billy Reed: In mourning for a building up for sale and full of memories — the Courier-Journal building

I suppose most of us have some buildings we are nostalgic about. It could be houses that we’ve made homes. Or school buildings where we were educated and made lifelong friends. Or arenas and theaters where we had a lot of fun. For me, one of those buildings is located at Sixth and Broadway in downtown Louisville. For many years, it was home to the Bingham family’s high-quality media enterprises...

Jim Waters: Liberty is not a luxury — it is an inalienable right

“Give me liberty or give me death,” Patrick Henry thundered. Not much gray area there. No modifier, either. Nothing like “give me liberty as long as it’s convenient, there’s no pandemic or emergency and the politicians and health nannies agree it’s a luxury we can afford.” During this pandemic, too many in power find it acceptable to treat our liberties as luxuries doled out by government...

Commentary: During Crime Victims’ Rights Week, Kentuckians can celebrate progress

By Emily Bonistall Postel and Alex Otte When the pandemic brought everything to a screeching halt, it brought with it a sudden loss of stability and control, isolation, and helplessness. The world as we knew it was no longer the one we lived in. Over the past year, we have had to figure what it means to live our lives now. People began talking about our “new normal” instead of getting back to normal. This...