The segregated senate is septic

Next week in Frankfort, the Winter Games will end in a two-day marathon of statecraft which, if we’re lucky, will prolong more lives than it shortens. Thirty-day sessions (in odd-numbered years) seem to get busier and more stressful. The numbers tell the story. Last year during the 60-day session, 240 bills were filed in the … Continued

Frankfort fame and follies

The first day of the session fell on my birthday. I was feeling my age, eager to feel the energy of the new senators and recall some unforgettable highlights of David Williams’ presidency. When he wickedly mimicked then-House Speaker Jody Richards, a great swell of laughter filled the chamber and the mighty Tom Jensen spilled … Continued

Heroin and heroic storytellers

Long after we knew that the war on drugs was an epic failure, data compiled by the Public Performance Safety Project of the non-partisan Pew Charitable Trusts cited unduly punitive state laws as the reason America incarcerates more citizens longer than any other nation. House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Tilley, D-Hopkinsville, led a crusade for … Continued

Heroin hardball

In a perfect Commonwealth, politics wouldn’t matter in the legislative quest to address the growing heroin epidemic. But politics mattered last year, when high hopes for anti-heroin legislation were dashed as Republican hopes of winning control of the House and Democratic fears of losing it complicated the process. This year, the governor’s mansion is at … Continued

Requiem for a King

Longtime Metro Council President Jim King didn’t just purport to love Louisville; he proved it by tirelessly toiling to improve our quality of life. Countless challenges kept him awake at night. While most of us slept, Jim puzzled over problems. He viewed politics as the art of the possible. Much to our benefit, he exhaustively … Continued

Hope for change

“Perhaps we cannot change the world, but I do not want the world to change me,” said Elie Wiesel, a Holocaust survivor, Nobel Prize winner and author of 57 books. That is my mantra as we head into a new year of ominous challenges and exciting opportunities. My words and deeds shall also be informed … Continued

Precious casualties of a cruel year

First, the bad news: the nation went markedly madder this year. The good news is that we’ve always recovered — even from draconian surges of madness and sadness. We seem to delight in recklessly pushing the limits of risk, then averting the cataclysm just shy of oblivion. Teenagers play chicken. Politicians play brinksmanship. Whatever the … Continued

Is income inequality intractable?

Two days before Thanksgiving, the Pope addressed the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France. But he might as well have been speaking to the Congress about the United States. “We encounter a general impression of weariness and aging, of a Europe that is now ‘a grandmother,’ no longer fertile and vibrant,” he said. “The great ideas … Continued

Gratitude for beloved immortals

It’s been an unexpectedly cold and cruel year. Too suddenly and too soon, we lost legends of literature, poetry, stage and screen including Philip Seymour Hoffman, Maya Angelou, Robin Williams and Joan Rivers. A week ago, director Mike Nichols succumbed to a heart attack. Mercifully, these bigger-than-life luminaries survive through their masterpieces. What’s more, we … Continued

A pyrrhic victory

On election night, Mitch betrayed no lingering malice against Alison. Recycling phrases following Bruce Lunsford’s “spirited campaign” against him six years ago, he said, “She earned a lot of votes. And she earned my respect.” Then the master of political arson issued the ultimate understatement: “Because of the business we’re in, it also meant that … Continued