The Forward Five – Wednesday, 1/20/21

Five Things to Know Today

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9 mins read
With the Washington Monument in the background, President-elect Joe Biden with his wife Jill Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris with her husband Doug Emhoff listen as Yolanda Adams sings "Hallelujah" during a COVID-19 memorial, with lights placed around the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool, Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

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— Publisher’s Note —

Good morning! As I write this, we are about four hours from having President Joseph Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris sworn in.

As I write this, Donald Trump is on his way to Florida, the first president to skip his successor’s inauguration since Andrew Johnson in 1869.

As I write this, twenty thousand National Guard are in place in our capitol to try to make sure everyone stays safe during the inauguration.

As I write this, leaders around the world are wondering if the United States can once again become a reliable ally, and not seemingly beholden to a foreign power.

And as I write this, I am praying for both the safety and the success of the Biden administration.

If there was ever a time when “normal” sounded good, this is it.

Even better? A new, improved normal.

In just a few hours, we will begin to find out if Biden, and Harris, and all of us, can get there.

I can’t wait.

Bruce Maples, publisher
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Today’s Five Things to Know


Beshear vetoes five bills, explains why

Governor Andy Beshear today issued vetoes of five bills recently passed by the Kentucky General Assembly. In his veto messages, he laid out why he vetoed each bill. Here are the details. (Forward Kentucky)


Mitch McConnell’s remarks on Senate floor, including condemnation of Trump’s actions

Senator Mitch McConnell created a stir when, duing remarks delivered Tuesday on the Senate floor, he said President Trump “provoked” the attack on the Capitol. Here are McConnell’s remarks, which also include a tribute to the Capitol Police. (Forward Kentucky)

Related: Nelson County GOP censures McConnell for remarks about Trump

The leadership of the Nelson County Republican Party unanimously approved issuing a formal rebuke of U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell Tuesday evening. (KY Standard)


1/19 update — New-case trend stays down and vaccine pace quickens, but supply is a challenge

Tuesday’s update from Gov. Beshear brought some good news on COVID numbers, but also worries about vaccine availability. And, the governor explained his recent vetoes. (Forward Kentucky)


With hours left in office, Trump grants clemency to Bannon and other allies

President Trump used his final hours in office to wipe away convictions and prison sentences for a roster of corrupt politicians and business executives and bestow pardons on allies like Stephen K. Bannon, his former chief strategist, and Elliott Broidy, one of his top fund-raisers in 2016.

The wave of clemency grants, hours before Mr. Trump’s departure from the White House, underscored how many of his close associates and supporters became ensnared in corruption cases and other legal troubles, and highlighted again his willingness to use his power to help them and others with connections to him. (Editor’s note: Go read the story. The list of people pardoned is amazing.) (NY Times)

A dramatic shift

Tuesday evening, President-elect Biden and Vice-President-elect Harris led a memorial in Washington for the 400,000 Americans who have died from COVID. They both spoke briefly, there was a prayer, there was singing. And, there were lights: 400 lights shining on the Reflecting Pool, one light for every 1,000 people lost.

It was a dramatic shift in tone, mood, and leadership. After four years of Donald Trump, this event — simple, meaningful, moving — was a fitting beginning to the new presidency.

There is much, much to do to repair the damage done to our country by the past four years. But this … this gave us all hope.


Recent Content on Forward Kentucky


[new] indicates item not in a Forward Five before
🔥 high # of reads, social media shares, or both


[New] The fracturing of the GOP – There’s a shaking-out happening across the country. It’s too soon to tell how it will turn out … but the Republican Party, and conservatives in general, are choosing sides. (PubBlog)

[New] Here’s my letter to the Beshear impeachment committee – The state AFL-CIO is sponsoring a letter-writing campaign to the Beshear impeachment committee, urging them to drop the impeachment. You can use their stock letter, or write your own. I chose to write my own. Here it is. (Action)

[New] Bill to raise felony theft threshold could make a big difference in both lives and in prison costs – Kentucky’s felony theft threshold has remained unchanged for more than a decade, and critics say it’s contributing to a rise in incarceration and prison overcrowding. (News)

A Munich Moment – In 1923, a young authoritarian tried to overthrow a government, and failed. Ten years later, he succeeded. In 2021, another authoritarian tried to throw out an election. Was this a Munich Moment? (Commentary)

🔥 Our forgotten source of strength – We have to deal with the immediate task of holding people accountable, including leaders. But beyond this immediate need, we also need to take seriously the admonitions of our founders, and begin rebuilding democracy by re-teaching democracy. (Commentary)

Misusing Martin Luther King’s message – Leading Republicans who have not condemned the racist rhetoric need to leave MLK out of their platitudes and pronouncements. (Commentary)

🔥 Stivers says legislature could negotiate with Beshear on emergency bills; governor still says ‘changing the rules in the midst of a worldwide health pandemic seems like a bad idea’ – Senate President Robert Stivers said there could be negotiations instead of overrides on bills limiting governor’s powers – if Beshear is willing to discuss. (News)

🔥 Trump can issue secret pardons. Can Beshear do the same? – Legal experts seem to agree that Donald Trump can secretly pardon whomever he wants. Does Governor Andy Beshear have the same power? (Analysis)

🔥 Is impeaching President Trump ‘pointless revenge’? Not if it sends a message to future presidents – The impeachment of President Trump is an indication that there is a need to mark out, through a definitive statement, what no president ought to do. It will also set the moral limits of the presidency – and, thereby, send a message to future presidents who might be tempted to follow in President Trump’s footsteps. (Commentary)

Blood on his hands – Deaths from the terrorist attack. Deaths of children in cages. Deaths from COVID. And yet … Donald Trump says he takes no responsibility. (Cartoon)

🔥 How self-proclaimed ‘prophets’ from a growing Christian movement provided religious motivation for the Jan. 6 events at the US Capitol – A particular segment of white evangelicalism has played a unique role in providing a spiritual justification for the movement to overturn the election which resulted in the storming of the Capitol. (News)


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Forward Kentucky is an independent media organization focused on progressive news and issues in Kentucky. Our objectives are to provide journalism that is objective, policies that are effective, and commentary that is progressive. Our goal is to help Kentucky become all that it can be through government that works, for all. We are "the progressive voice for Kentucky politics."

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