Monday, October 5, 2015


“Truth is discoverable, but seldom discovered” goes an old adage journalists (and citizens) would do well to pay more attention to.

Truth, the facts, is what we reporters strive for..and, in almost all cases, we in turn are dependent on what others, our “sources” tell us. If our source is wrong, we are wrong.

For example: when the news of Kim Davis’ surprising meeting with the Pope came out, it was largely based on what her attorney, Mat Staver, told reporters. But, turns out he hadn’t been there and was repeating what others, who were, supposedly told him. He got much of it wrong, at least according to later reports from a priest who had been there, and reporters had to backtrack and try to get the facts right. (Turns out this wasn’t the first time Mr. Staver had gotten his facts wrong, and his credibility has suffered..and so does that of reporters who relied too heavily upon him.)

Sources are human and often let their personal beliefs or opinions influence what they tell reporters as “facts.”

The sheriff in Roseburg, Oregon, let his beliefs stand in the way of doing his job (as Kim Davis did also.) He refused to tell reporters who the shooter was, so he wouldn’t be “glorified.”  I know of no reporter who would report this tragic story in a way to glorify the shooter..but the sheriff was trying to make sure we wouldn’t. Not his job.

Take the mess in Louisville...where charges have been made of prostitutes and drugs being used by a Cardinal’s staffer to influence basketball players to come to U of L. First, this story is in its very early stages and we would all do well to withhold judgment until more facts are in. Second, this is based on a book written by the alleged “madam” involved (with an experienced reporter.) How reliable is she as a source? (see today’s/Monday’s Courier-Journal story: “Profile of a madam in scandal: How much is true?” for the best reporting—so far—knowing that more must come later.)
The fact that her book is written for money doesn’t bother me much; most books are written for money but the basic question is that of the headline---How much is true?

And here readers, listeners, and viewers need to remind much of my beliefs, my like or dislike of Pitino and his program will color how I receive this story.

“Truth is discoverable, but seldom discovered.”  Please keep that in mind, whether it be Kim Davis, Pope Francis, a sheriff, or the Louisville Madam….and maybe say a prayer for reporters who truly struggle, in most cases, to get the Truth right, under difficult circumstances.

I'm just sayin'...

Monday, September 28, 2015


OK. This may be straining at a gnat and swallowing a camel, but…maybe that's what bloggers are supposed to do.

The presidential succession amendment makes the House Speaker 2nd in line to run this country. That is, if both president and veep become incapacitated, for any reason, the speaker becomes president. The theory was, when passed, instead of the Secretary of State—a presidential appointee, taking over, someone elected, even if IN-directly by the people, should get the job.

All this wayyyy before gridlock set in.

So 218 votes of the House could make someone our chief executive. Frankly, in all the Tea Party bickering within the majority GOP party in the House, that frightens me. It is, theoretically possible that a Tea Party Republican, or someone who would shut our government down could get that job.  Stranger things have happened. (Like Donald Trump being the top choice of one of our 2 major parties; who’d a thunk that?)

Solution?  Reason and a true love of country; an appreciation for the spirit of compromise so absent in our nation’s capital...or maybe a realization that at least the Secretary of State was an appointee of the person who won our national election and would best carry on the president’s policies. I’m not holding my breath.

Just one more manifestation of the wild things gridlock has done to our national consensus—and shows no signs of abating.

George Washington weeps.

I'm just sayin'...

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Who can you trust???

First, there was Toyota…a truly stellar, blue chip firm whose accelerators stuck, causing deaths and damages—and denials. Innocent people were found guilty of major traffic violations when it wasn’t them, it was their cars.

A massive fine one went to jail.

Then it was GM—even worse, a decade of denying a major problem that caused over one hundred deaths and even more damages. A huge one went to jail.

Now it’s VW---a deliberate, malice aforethought scheme to violate the law. No deaths, that we know of yet, but major damages to our health and environment. Fines should follow..we will see about jail time.

In between times, a peanut firm CEO in Georgia was convicted of deliberately shipping adulterated products to stores to be sold to you and me. 9 deaths resulted..and he gets 28 years.

Something is out of whack here.

When reporters questioned the US attorney who settled the GM case, asking why no one was being charged in the case, his reply was the laws he worked under didn’t permit it.

Meadow muffins..or, to quote Dickens; "If the law thinks that, sir, the law is an ass.”

Should he be correct, here are laws that need changing…and far more important than defunding Planned Parenthood or shutting down the government.

I'm just sayin'...

Wednesday, September 16, 2015


One of religion’s big problems is how we individually translate our beliefs..from what each person’s “Bible” tells him to do.

Kim Davis obviously doesn’t understand “render unto Caesar”..but then, that’s the way I interpret that verse (and I have a lot of company, but not universally.)

In Hungary the government has raised barbed wire fences to keep refugees from war-torn Syria out. Why? The prime minister said: "because they (the largely Muslim refugees)  threaten our Christian beliefs.”  Which beliefs?  How about “Am I my brother’s keeper?” Or even better what Christ  often said, "Love one another.”

And that church in Topeka, which claims to be Christian, obviously doesn’t understand that “loving” it pickets burials of our servicemen and women.

And even the conservative columnist Cal Thomas tried to tell Mrs. Davis that "America is not a Christian nation.” Religious, Yes. Christian, No.  Baptist, are you kidding?

But when public officials, whether an obscure county clerk in the U-S, or the prime minister of a European nation try to impose their translation of religion on the rest of us, I can only think of another Biblical verse  “Jesus wept.”

I'm just sayin'...

Wednesday, September 9, 2015


Nep-o-tism:  noun.  The practice among those with power and influence of favoring friends and relatives especially by giving them jobs.  (See Rowan County, Ky.)

OK, I added the last part about Rowan…but it’s true there and in many Kentucky counties...and it is almost a sure sign of corruption…an issue our state has long struggled with.

Veteran political writer Al Cross told me there are no state laws against nepotism. It is left up to local government ethics codes and many permit it. 

As in:

“Hiring my daughter was not nepotism, it was just good business.”

The practice originated centuries ago, mainly among the bishops and popes of the Catholic church. Ah, religion enters the picture. Surprise!

Either you believe the most qualified person should get the job, or you don’t. Appointing your Grandmother to office for the good of the party,  as Ambrose Bierce suggested, isn’t an option. And Kentucky won’t  progress until nepotism is outlawed...a topic that ought to be on the agenda of the January session (the regular session, not a special one at $60,000 plus a day.)

And yes, Kim Davis, under various names, worked for her mother, the Rowan clerk for 30 years, and when Kim became clerk, she named her son a deputy clerk---the only one who continued to refuse to follow court orders to issue marriage licenses to same sex couples.

It’s all an insidious, in-bred, bastard offspring of the way we conduct politics in Kentucky...and no matter what you think of Mrs. Davis’ stand, it is past time to clean up the situation.

Or just maybe, as one protestor put it..."I’d like to earn $80,000 for not doing my job.”  Can Kentucky really afford this?

I'm just sayin'...

Monday, August 31, 2015


I’ve  thought a lot about the issue of whether we should move his statue from the Capitol rotunda and have decided---leave it alone.

There are several reasons but my chief one is this: the prominent place it now has serves as a reminder of Kentucky’s past history of “race relations”---and it is not good. Move the statue and we have one less reason to remember our history here, and we need constant reminders of it.

It’s not just that “Kentucky waited til the Civil War was over before joining the loser,” which is true, as one of our historians wrote. If you want to learn about how badly we treated “our blacks” and this is an aberration,  Google “Caroline Turner + Lexington” and be horrified. I went to a lecture several years ago by UK History professor Mark Summers and was appalled by his recital of how Kentucky lynched and beat and denied rights to “our blacks” after the War and for many years thereafter.  (The last public hanging in the U-S---not lynching, but…was of a black man in Owensboro in the mid 1930s.) 

I don’t like the idea of one generation rewriting the history of a previous matter how “good” the idea behind it is. It smacks of political correctness to the Nth degree.

Actually as the only state where BOTH presidents were born…Lincoln  and Jefferson Davis...Kentucky ought to capitalize on  that unique  heritage. We might sponsor an annual conference to improve race relations and hold it in Frankfort. (We could start by having the new pastor of Charleston’s Emanuel AME  church do the invocation and sermon.)

Hang Jeff Davis from a sour apple tree if you want, but I think we need to leave his statue alone.

I'm just sayin'...