• What if this doesn’t work against the Islamic State?

    President Obama has committed the United States to another open-ended Middle East war in which the potential for doing harm rivals the possibility of doing good.

    That’s the bottom line from Obama’s sober address to the nation.

    The president made his decision cautiously, reluctantly, even painfully. But make no mistake: The pledge to “destroy” the Islamic State is a long-term commitment, and success will depend on a host of partners who may be unreliable.

  • President Obama’s immigration red line

    No one will ever mistake President Barack Obama for Lyndon Johnson, the master legislator as president. He doesn’t really do congressional schmoozing or arm-twisting. Compromise and deal-cutting are beneath him.

    Once he lost the Democratic supermajorities of 2009-2010 and the power to push things through Congress by sheer brute force, his legislating essentially came to an end.

    So perhaps it shouldn’t be a surprise that even the niceties of unilateral lawmaking are beyond him.

  • The Summer of Our Discontent

    Lee H. Hamilton

    Director of the Center on Congress

    Indiana University

    There is great unease in the land — concern about economic inequality, disgust with scorched-earth politics in Washington. But the long reach of our history teaches that when an aroused public forces political leaders to focus on finding solutions to problems, we can overcome differences and make progress.

  • Wedding planning is stressful, but worth it

    Apparently in September, my family had marriage on our minds.

    Last Saturday, Sept. 6, my husband and I shared our fifth wedding anniversary. This Saturday, Sept. 13, we’ll celebrate my little sister’s wedding. On Sept. 17, my parents will celebrate 37 years of marriage. Earlier in the month, my father’s parents would have celebrated their anniversary.

  • What I could do, I did do!

    There is something you can do to save the world. As dark as things seem sometimes—where there is vision, there is hope! We are warned in Proverbs, however: “Where there is no vision, the people perish.” So first, before we do anything, we have to check our vision.

  • Senate campaigns obscuring the truth

    Al Cross

    Director of the Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues

    University of Kentucky

    LEXINGTON, Ky. — If there was ever a week that this space needed to cut through the crap and clutter of Kentucky’s U.S. Senate race, this is it. The facts and the truth have never been so obscured by the artifice, spin, stonewalling and discipline of the campaigns — and the largely unimportant things they would rather talk about than the real issues.

    But even so, the latest episodes tell us something about the candidates.

  • What is really going on in our local races?

    Shonna Sheckles

    Community Columnist


    In the past couple of weeks, every time I open up our local paper, there is mudslinging going on between our local politicians, some of whom are currently occupying seats in our city and county and some of whom dream of occupying a seat after the smoke clears on Nov. 4.

    I really thought the highly contested state Senate race was a doozy, but that race has nothing on what is going on in Nelson County this election year.

  • Our challenge with fundamentalist Islam

    Destroying, degrading or containing the Islamic State — whichever goal President Obama chooses — will be the easy part. Finding ways for fundamentalist Islam to express itself peacefully is a bigger, tougher and more important project.

  • The collapse of Obama’s foreign policy

    President Barack Obama’s stated goal in the fight against the Islamic State, aka ISIS, is to reduce it to a “manageable problem.”

    What this means, he hasn’t spelled out in great specificity. Presumably fewer beheadings. A slower pace of Western recruiting. Fewer genocidal threats against embattled minorities. A downgrading of the caliphate to a mini-state, or merely a large swath of territory in Syria and Iraq.

  • Once again to ‘the gates of hell’

    Americans and Britons are weary of war. Our nations have been a bulwark against jihadists since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. And for a decade, we fought in Iraq against a rogue dictator and Al Qaeda. So soon after we withdrew our forces, it looks like we’re going back in again.

    The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, has taken control of large parts of Syria and northern Iraq and unleashed a reign of terror unlike anything we have seen in that region.