Tuesday, October 21, 2014


Best seller author John Grisham is about to raise hackles all over Kentucky.   His new novel, Gray Mountain, based on a review I read,  is most definitely anti Big Coal.

So it is likely to become entangled in our civic discussions---and our politics. Since neither Senate candidate, to their discredit, has been answering reporters’ questions on serious issues, it is likely we are about to see something like this:

The C-J editorial board will ask Grimes if she has read the book. Since she probably doesn’t have much time on the campaign trail to read novels, she may hesitate to answer, and the Board will pounce. "Why won’t you tell us if you have read Gray Mountain?”

NBC will dispatch a team to follow her at several stops, shouting their question. "Have you read Gray Mountain?” Again, and most unwisely, she seldom stops to answer these questions, so Chuck  Todd will proclaim, "I think she has disqualified herself from a library card anywhere in Kentucky.”

You have been warned.

I'm just sayin'...

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Our "Secret" Ballot

We take it for granted today, but as with so many of our freedoms it was hard won..and Kentucky figured in its history.

“Secret” ballots..casting your vote in private...was a movement of the mid19th century..in France, and Britain and especially Australia. Before that many countries had systems which allowed the rulers to pressure the voters into voting their way. One was the “Oral” vote, so obviously subject to mob pressures..and yet, Kentucky was the last state to give up the oral vote in `1891. (To its credit, Louisville was the first city in the U-S to adopt the “Australian secret ballot” that same year. U-S presidential elections didn’t have secret nationwide ballots until 1894.

I get many calls by “pollsters” and “surveys” and I tell them all..happy to give you my views on issues but I will NOT tell you who I will vote forever-- (if I’ve decided)..and I am appalled that many people talk to exit pollsters and  tell them who they voted for...if they are truthful about it.

All this by way of background for the really outrageous way some in the media have been piling on Alison Grimes for refusing to say if she had voted for Obama. Her reasons may be ultra-political, given his low, low ratings in Kentucky…but it is also her right as an American.

That she was even asked by the Courier-Journal editorial board makes me wonder if they understand and appreciate this right we have. And the piling on by other reporters was even worse. 

NBC’s political reporter Chuck Todd was quoted that her refusal “disqualifies her” from being Senator. That’s an opinion; reporters are not supposed to express opinions in their reporting. Back to Journalism 101, Mr. Todd.

Senator McConnell was asked if he voted for Nixon. He said he did. That’s his choice and his right. 

So Mitch voted for Tricky Dick. Nixon the Crook. Nixon the only U.S. president to resign---in disgrace. And this is better than voting for Obama???

This blog is not an endorsement for any candidate; it is an endorsement for our secret ballot—and for keeping it that way!

I'm just sayin'...

Wednesday, October 8, 2014


Severe storms came to Kentucky this week..as they have in past weeks and will come again in future weeks.

Early reports are “good”..no loss of life, no serious injuries.

At least 3 EF-1 tornadoes have been confirmed, with winds doing major property damage in several counties. As usual, “mobile homes” probably suffered the most.

Weather-casters universally urged mobile home dwellers to leave..to seek shelter in more substantial buildings. What a damning indictment! These homes are basically unsafe in serious storms. Yet, given our terrain and income levels, we know such homes are popular. Outlawing them is not a possibility.

But why do we keep on resisting various safety measures which are available for such homes, especially “straps?”  These are heavy metal devices around the homes, anchored securely in the ground. Would they protect the homes from all storms? No.  Would they limit damages and possibly save lives?  Yes.

So why do we equivocate?

The legislature should pass laws requiring such straps in the future. But there doesn’t seem to be a glimmer of hope for such passage. I would guess this is due to the political clout of the “manufactured homes” industry..tho it flies in the faces of helping our citizens.

If Frankfort won’t do it, maybe Lexington's Urban County Council…and other city councils throughout our state..should impose such safety rules on future purchases.

For those storms will come again. 

Next time we may not be so lucky.

I'm just sayin'...

Tuesday, September 30, 2014


My fave state PBS network, whose praises I have sung here many times, is trying to  control the US Senate debate in ways a journalist should never do.

This, if a lawsuit filed by David Patterson, Libertarian candidate for the Senate, is correct. He charges KET changed the debate rules, between the spring primary, and the filing deadline for minority party candidates, to exclude the latter—specifically him.  He seeks, in a federal court lawsuit, to have KET restrained from such rules and he be allowed to debate with Grimes and McConnell.

I have long believed this is not a role for journalists. If a person is legally qualified under state law, to run, the “media” whether KET or a local radio station (or even the League of Women Voters) MUST allow them all on their stages. Otherwise the public they serve is short-changed in “the marketplace of ideas.”

KET probably forgets Mitch’s party was once a minority  party. It grew into a majority party by being heard. Yes, there is always a Fifi Rockefeller and that man in London who filed every four years because “my mother told me I was going to be President.” Yes, these can be the bane of KET and LWV and channel 27…but that “bane” is the lesser of several evils when  compared with the good democracy can achieve from the exchange of ideas..and our history is sprinkled with issues championed by minority parties that became mainstream…not the least of which is the 40 hour work week, and an end to child labor.

I hope the U-S court will speedily hold for Mr. Patterson. And I hope between elections the KET board will instruct its staff to come up with no more of these anti-democratic ideas.

Now, let's get on with the debates..the full debates!

I'm just sayin'...

Sunday, September 21, 2014


To observe Constitution Week, an annual event commemorating the fundamental document of our nation, U.K. had several political speakers on campus.

One was  Robert Ransdell, from Northern Kentucky, a qualified write-in candidate for U.S. Senate.

He came, he spoke, and well, we know the rest...

Ransdell, UK should have known—but apparently didn’t, has been described as a “neo-Nazi.” That he may or may not be, he definitely is anti-Semitic. His slogan is “With Jews We Lose.”

It wasn’t long before his views were very apparent in his talk at the UK Sudent Center. The audience objected and there were calls, according to news reports, that he be thrown off stage. He wasn’t, but a student center official apparently cut the power to his microphone and Ransdell quit.

So much for that observance of Constitution Week.  So much for the trade in ideas at UK. So much for a belief  in the First Amendment, which was written into  the Bill of Rights just to support ideas which are abhorrent to the majority.

UK President Eli Capilouto, who just happens to be the school’s first Jewish President, issued a statement saying “the language of hate..has no place in our community” which begs the question.

Either you support the First Amendment and allow UNpopular views to be heard, or you don’t.

I side with Thomas Jefferson, who said in his first inaugural address (relating to another civic issue then and people who held those unpopular views)…"Let them stand undisturbed as a monument of the safety with which error of opinion may be tolerated,  where reason is left free to combat it.”

UK failed its First Amendment test, and during Constitution week. A bad  lesson for students…and all of us.

I'm just sayin'...

Monday, September 15, 2014


Election day approaches and lists are being drawn of key districts to watch.

The Herald-Leader focuses on 8 districts whose outcome could change who controls the Kentucky House. 5 of the 8 have had their district lines redrawn.

Cn/2 politics focuses on 10..and 5 of these have had their lines redrawn.

In both cases, the Democrats who control the House redrew lines for their advantage. (Had the GOP been in control, based on past history in almost every state, they would have redrawn lines to favor themselves.)

This is NOT the way government should be run.  Some states, 16 I think, have been smart enough to shift the responsibility for redrawing district lines after each census to a bi-partisan group (if not non-partisan.) In most cases it’s an independent commission composed of  specialists in population studies, geography, political science—often from state universities—as well as officials of both parties. Sometimes the legislatures can overturn those lines..by a super majority..and recourse can be had to the courts.

Kentucky needs to adopt such a system..and soon..long before the next census is held and this gerrymandering begins again. The presents lines were delayed this cycle because the first set of lines didn’t pass muster in the courts.

And it’s not just the states. The “gridlock” of Washington can fairly be traced to a GOP strategy  (not that the Dems would have been  different) of gerrymandering Southern states (especially Texas where the top GOP official responsible was convicted of violating the law and N.C. where new district lines were only as wide as the interstate highway they followed, and key state Florida, where the lines got redone just weeks before their most recent election.)

Not a way to run a railroad..or a nation that prides itself on democracy.  This is  not democracy. Only such minor issues  as war and taxes and health care, and new highways, small stuff like that, hangs on those votes.

I hope the presidents of UK and UL, which have faculties that study this situation, may become “pro-active”  (and pro-democracy) and suggest a way out of Kentucky’s current mess..it’s long, long overdue.

I'm just sayin'...

Monday, September 8, 2014


Over the weekend I drove up to Owenton to meet some friends. My usual route is from Lexington to Stamping Ground, having picked up one of my favorite scenic roads, Ky 227 at the historic Great Crossing.  (Those 2 towns get their names from herds of buffalo which swarmed over Kentucky in the 18 and 19th centuries!)

I have been on that road a half down times in recent years and thought I had the route down pat. I always take along the latest KY highway map, but this time, to be safe, I added a KY Atlas and Gazetteer from the well known map maker, DeLorme, which has GPS points.  (No GPS in my 20 year old wagon.)

I never got there.

Never found Great Crossing, and Stamping Ground must have disappeared.

I turned off the 460 by-pass onto 460 proper, and just a few miles down the road found new road construction right where the turn to Great Crossing should be (and I was certain it was.) But, there were NO signs..and I mean NO signs (except one saying..”Parents---school entrance”)

I drove on, happy for the new black top, but after a mile or so, realized something was wrong. I should have been at the Crossing soon, and even the Ground shortly..but no. Good blacktop; NO signs.

Miles later, when a pickup truck came out of a side road I signaled the driver to talk to me and asked the way to Stamping Ground. He told me I would see a “T” road a mile or so away, take a right and in time I would be in Stamping Ground. I thanked him and went on. (Once in Greater Downtown Metropolitan Stamping Ground I would have no trouble picking up 227 to Owenton.)

Maybe he meant left; whatever, miles later I was on Ky 32.

Once in a while..a great while..there would be a sign that assured me this was still 32..I route I had not travelled before (and not as scenic as 227.)

OK, enough of the jokes about men will never stop and ask directions.  A young man stopped his mowing to my simple plea “(I’m lost, How do I get to Owenton?”) He had never heard of Owenton (Was I that far back in the boonies? But he whipped out a smart phone, pulled up a map ,found Owenton and said to continue on and I would eventually come to I-75 at Sadieville. (I was going East away from Owenton, but at least I knew that exit and how to go from there.)

More driving on 32..No vehicles passed, very few signs to even acknowledge 32 let alone any side roads, which would have helped me using my Atlas. I even stopped a kind lady, when I was about to make a mistake and turn off 32 onto a side road because it was marked..and 32 wasn’t.

Finally, high enough ground near 75..and the sight of a cell tower allowed me to call and tell my friends I would be late.

Up 75 to the 144 exit, then west on 330..also new blacktop. So new in fact the sides had caved away in only a dozen places on my 22 mile journey to Owenton, during which not a single car was going in my direction (which was good because the entire distance has two yellow stripes down the center making passing illegal.)

30 Minutes late I arrived for dinner and made my apologies.

Now I appreciate road repairs and new blacktop as much as anyone..but DOT folks..more signs please. Just one sign at 460 could have saved me. Signs along 32 would have helped very much—and there’s a road that truly needs new blacktop.

Just look up the word “meander” in any dictionary. It says..”See KY route 32”

I'm just sayin'...