Sunday, November 22, 2015


For helping us, once again, at least think about “nepotism”..the practice of hiring relatives for jobs, just because you can.

The Rowan county clerk, at the heart of the marriage license for same sex couples  issue, helped refocus on that issue. While elected, she got her start in the clerk’s office when her mother, the former clerk, hired her. Kim returned the favor by hiring her son.

A recent report by the Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting, published in the Herald-Leader, points out no one keeps track of nepotism in the Commonwealth but its investigation showed 75 of our 120 counties allow it, and at least 50 have. State law gives local governments the power to set their own rules here.

That’s a baddd idea.

In too many cases there are obvious conflicts of interest, the building up of local political dynasties, and in four cases, outright stealing of public funds was found to be the case. In a dozen other counties, some variation of violation of state laws took place by those hired in a “family way.”

The report quotes one of our better legislators as pointing out some poorer counties use nepotism as a “state sponsored jobs program.”  And thus each hire is at least one vote keeping this obsolete practice.

Given the “real” problems the state has..pensions, roads, education, etc..I’m not holding my breath for any changes in the next legislature…indeed, Kim Davis may well spark bad changes in our the popular heroine she is to some.

But it’s a bad tradition, and Kentucky will just not come into its full potential until it’s eliminated and by a statewide law banning the practice.

I'm just sayin'...

Monday, November 16, 2015


Yes, France is our oldest ally, and we Americans share the Paris tragedy, too.

Back in the days of our Revolution, France came to our aid at a crucial time. Wise old Ben Franklin, the colonies representative in Paris, had worked years trying to get France, Britain’s arch enemy, to enter that war on our side.

The king finally did so, and as British Gen. Cornwallis faced Washington’s troops at Yorktown, up sailed the French fleet, cutting off Cornwallis’ retreat or resupply.  He surrendered; the war was effectively over and America was a new nation.

We have repaid that debt during WW I & II, as allies should and over the years France and the US have often stood war but also in times of tragedy and need.

“I am Charlie!”  Remember those signs during another Paris terrorism event earlier this year.

France has been attacked more than any other nation because it is free and open. “Liberty, equality, fraternity”—it’s national motto means something, but it has made France an easy target for the disaffected, and the barbaric.

Lexington has a direct connection to France. Our Sister Cities program, 2nd oldest in the US, has been “twinned” to Deauville, for over 50 years. You can’t have travelled there, as I have a half dozen times without going thru Paris. And you discover in Deauville, a part of Normandy, people still remember the Yanks who liberated them. Deauville students place flowers on GI graves every June 6th, D-Day.

France’s culture and love of Liberty speaks to many of us. As one guidebook said, on my first trip there, “France is everyone’s second home.”

Vive La France!

Monday, November 9, 2015


1—The utter dependence of the major state media on polls, and the utter failure of those polls was never more clear than in Bevin’s win over Conway.
In recent weeks in Canada, polls got wrong the election of their Prime Minister (our President); in England polls got wrong the election of the new leader of their Labour Party (and possible future Prime Minister); in Poland polls got wrong the election of their new President.

And in Kentucky…

So the 4 major media outlets behind the Blue Grass poll thanked the polling firm, said “Goodbye” and we will now try to come up with something new (and  we pray that it will be better!) But they are still relying on polling despite the abysmal failure here.  Who was it who said something like “Insanity is to keep on doing the same thing and hoping for a different result?”

2---The grandfather of all modern political blogs is the old “Washington Merry-Go-Round” of Drew Pearson.  Mr. Pearson, a gentle Quaker, exposed the foibles of public officials, from minor to criminal. For newly elected office holders he gave them one free ride on his Merry-Go-Round for their first mistake.
In an interview with WUKY-FM I said I would do the same for Gov.-elect Bevin. It only took 24 hours.
Then, Mr. Bevin broke his promise, saying he wouldn’t release his tax returns after all.
That’s his free ride. Now, let’s wish him well as he struggles with the much tougher and more important problem of what to do with the needy people on Kynect.

I'm just sayin'... 

Monday, November 2, 2015


If you didn’t watch the last GOP presidential debate on the CNBC cable channel, lucky you.

It was bad.

It gave journalism a bad name, and the GOP candidates are rightfully complaining, and want changes in debate rules.

Basically, the complaints center on the questions asked by the CNBC panel. Now, this channel specializes in business and economic news, not politics and it was obvious panel members were not familiar with things they should have known. There were questions asking one candidate to assess the “morals” of another!  Ho, boy.

Of course, the candidates complained about “gotcha” questions. Well, one man’s gotcha is another man’s legit news count me out here..although a few of the questions here bordered on truly irrelevant, and at times even irreverent.

At one point, I loved it, Gov. Christie objected..."We’re talking about fantasy football?  Come on?” Yup, while immigration and tax policy were ignored.

Debates are important and different ground rules are to be expected...but there is a minimum level of competency required of sponsors and panelists…a level not found in the CNBC debate.

That said, let me object to several recent Kentucky debates, where one candidate for governor, Independent Drew  Curtis was excluded. Wrong. That is NOT the function of sponsors or journalists. The state sets the requirements, by law. If they are faulty, change the law. (Sponsors used polls to determine who would be in..flying in the face of 3 recent major polls in Canada, England, and elsewhere that were totally wrong…here one point would have made the difference whether Mr. Curtis was admitted or not..and that one point was well within the margin of error of all the polls used.)

At the same time, I have to be sympathetic to sponsors who blanche at candidates like the late Fifi Rockefeller or Jerome Hamlin...who entered the race for governor for the most spurious of reasons...and to the Toledo TV station who, last week, did an interview with a legal candidate  for mayor...whose answers indicated she was certifiable, and ended by talking in tongues.

Somewhere between CNBC and Drew Curtis there is a happy medium. We journalists need to seek it…NOW...and not wait til the next election shows up OUR problems..or by abdicating our responsibilities, we let the candidates take over.

I'm just sayin'...

Monday, October 26, 2015


A story in the Cincinnati Enquirer reports children in Northern Kentucky are being trained to administer an OD  reversing drug…and it’s not the first time.

The paper calls it “an indication of how entrenched heroin is” across our nation.  An 8 year old, whose family is deep into that drug will be first in the new program..and a doctor who specializes in addiction treatment is “OK” with her doing it...even at her young age.

So too is a company that manufacturers the “pen” that will be used to administer the drug. It’s donating kits for the training program.

Nor is this the first use of Kentucky’s children in such a program.  The paper reports in May, 2014, 9 kids from 13 to 17, were trained in such devices.

It wasn’t  as if Kentucky didn’t  have a warning this epidemic was on the way...but the question may fairly be asked...did we prepare? Did our medical community—and our public officials—do what they could have done to head it off?

Hindsight, as we know, is usually 20-20...but to now train an 8 year old to practice medicine, for that’s what it is, just seems as if a lot of public and private agencies fell down on the job.

Maybe we should ask that of our candidates for state office, all of them ,for  this epidemic (and addiction) surely won’t be our last.

I'm just sayin'...

Monday, October 19, 2015


When the president broke his campaign promise last week and agreed to keep many more troops in Afghanistan after this year, many “experts” cited one word as the reason: Iraq.

It’s commonly agreed, and by me, that Iraq was NOT ready for the pullout of US troops and the rise of ISIL “proves” that.

But I would cite another word: Vietnam.

There, after so many years and so many dollars and so many lives lost, our military kept advising JFK and LBJ: "just 10,000 more troops, sir, and we can win this.”  Well, we couldn’t and we didn’t.

In Afghanistan at 14 years, a war even longer than ‘Nam, and $638 BLLIONS spent, we may well see a repeat of Iraq. That would prove the Afghans aren’t ready to save their own country..and if that be true, why should we—at the cost of American lives and dollars???

I do not begrudge the military advising presidents as they do, that is their job, but sometime, someday America had to stop...and put those billions into our own roads and schools and needs here.

Neither solution the president faced was a good one. But not increasing our troops staying there has at least two advantages:

1—he kept his word, and

2—no more “collateral damage” as in the tragic killing of 21 children, patients and staff at that hospital we bombed “by mistake.”

I'm just sayin'...

Tuesday, October 13, 2015


Matt Bevin doesn’t see “any reason” why he should have to make his tax returns public.

Let me count the ways.

Just for example, let’s say he is in a business partnership with someone, as reflected in those returns; is elected, and that person starts getting state contracts.  Without knowing his tax returns, reporters---and the public---would not be aware of a real conflict of interest.

Or say any candidate for governor owns some property….it later turns out the state buys it for a highway. Conflict of interest?  Sure. (Has it happened? Yes.)

Just two examples of why reporters, acting for all citizens,  invade the privacy of candidates for office and insist their financial returns be made public BEFORE the election.

And it shouldn’t be limited to candidates for governor. Republicans are challenging Andy Beshear to make public his clients list before the election for attorney-general. The same concerns over conflict of interest expressed for the governor could well apply here. He, in his official role, could favor a previous client or  fail to act to protect a previous client.  You get the point.

And, in my mind, the same approach applies to candidates for judgeships. I dislike their accepting political contributions from lawyers or firms appearing before them. Same for contributions for attorney-general candidates.

Hopefully the noise raised about Democrat Beshear and Republican Westerfield this time around will lead to new and better rules for their positions, and the judges, by the time of the 2019 elections.  One can hope, even in a state where the “politics are the damndest!”

I'm just sayin'...