Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Water Water Everywhere - (And Not A Drop To Drink!)

Why is it not possible to mine coal and NOT pollute nearby streams???   
Trump has moved to end EPA rules forbidding this, which leaves me puzzled.
Coal is a major engineering process...and I refuse to believe it cannot be done without endangering the lives of those living nearby by dangerously polluting their water supplies.
How important water is to all of us was re-emphasized this week by boil water advisories in Richmond and Nicholasville—temporary ones. But people in Eastern Kentucky have lived for years with bad tasting, foul smelling, discolored water as their norm. In many cases this is due to coal mines polluting their streams.
What profit a man to have a job if it causes his family to become ill?
I’m sure there are overreaching EPA regulations...as an interesting column in my fave morning Lexington paper pointed out.  BUT, surely there is a common sense way to allow mining without endangering that most precious commodity of water...and reasonable people mought to be able to find it.
I'm just sayin'...

Monday, February 13, 2017

Not Ideology, Just Common Sense

You can support the 2nd amendment (as I do, tho I disagree with the top court’s interpretation) and still not want to see any more school shootings such as Columbine Virginia Tech, Newtown...and how many others?
So current moves to take back mental health checks (involved in many shootings, remember Virginia Tech,) or drop the requirement for background checks, or training programs in gun use and safety (especially handguns) are not just wrong...they run contrary to common sense.
You don’t have to get involved in AK-47 issues, or ammo sizes or muzzle lengths to know that the issues listed above CAN—and should—be in our laws WITHOUT any dangers to the 2nd amendment.
Get real, gun lovers—or prepare for more stupid, unnecessary school shootings and more children dying.
And as for Wall Street, some years ago I interviewed  CBS News’s economics reporter, asking him what made Wall Street run. “Fear and Greed,” he shot back immediately.
Have we forgotten the Savings and Loan scandal, the mortgage frauds, the banks' involvement in our last recession (only 8 years ago) and several others...all foisted on Main Street by the Fear & Greed---mainly Greed on the part of those Big Banks, and some not so big?
Attempts to cut back on consumer protections, to allow banks free range in areas they really shouldn’t be in, more freedom for hedge funds and derivatives (these are but legalized gambling on a national scale) and the “fiduciary issue...which requires people who sell you retirement plans to put you first, not their commissions...these are now under attack.   (Did you see the cartoon in my fave Lexington morning paper recently?  The salesman says to his customer,"this last paragraph simply provides that I can’t lose any money, and you can lose lots and lots of money.”  That’s the fiduciary issue at work...and it will be foisted on us if the Trump administration and the GOP-controlled Congress has its way.
I'm just sayin'...
These run, IMHO, contrary to common sense....and good politics!.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Rat On, Governor!

When the British army, then the most powerful in the world, surrendered to a “rag-tag group of rebels” at Yorktown (with considerable assistance from France,) Cornwallis’ army band played “The World Turned Upside Down.”
That was my reaction to a major pronouncement by Gov. Bevin in his “State of the Commonwealth” speech this week.
In calling for special sessions to deal with pension reform---and tax reform—he said:
”Bring the sacred cows out of the barn. Some will be returned to the barn, some will become hamburger.”
When asked that meant on KET, long time political reporter Al Cross said “It means taxes are going up.”
This from a conservative, Tea Party governor!   And he swept away 20 years of  tax reform studies by Democrats, all of whom proclaimed they must be “revenue neutral”  (some taxes up, some down but no hike in taxes overall)—and all of which went nowhere.
He’s right...and, unfortunately, got a cautious reaction by House and Senate GOP leaders. This may be our best chance to update an old, very complex tax system; where we exempt more than we take in...not a good basis for a modern state.
Gov. Bevin also called for an overhaul of our foster care system, by some measures the worst in the nation, and long needed. (If done, this will be a major contribution to our state by the Courier-Journal, and C-J reporter Deborah Yetter whose series have chronicled major problems which have resulted in child deaths (yes, deaths) needlessly.
There have been calls for these before, but this just may give Kentucky its best hope for arriving in the 20th century---if not the 21st.
Tho the governor’s speech ended a few minutes after 8pm, my C-J arrived with nary a line about it, no story at all, not a nary. What gives here? Betcha if it had been a UofL basketball game, over at 8, we would have seen a story.
I'm just sayin'...

Monday, January 30, 2017

No Grand Pronouncements This Week

Just a few little notes to consider.
I have taken our state’s 2 major papers for years, both as a journalist and as a citizen.  I believe they are trying to do their best in trying times, but some things just don’t make sense to me.
For example. The comics are among the most often read parts of any paper, yet Sunday the Herald-Leader published NEXT Sunday’s comics!  How could this happen?  Surely someone there reads them, and should have spotted the error.
Now what? Does the H-L publish this past Sunday’s comics next week, or repeat them?
And how could the C-J have a full page color shot of Willis and the final UK-KU score, but NO story in the Lexington edition? The H-L had many and, presumably it is printed (at the C-J’s Louisville plant!) after the C-J’s own edition.
Ever since our local paper made its bargain with the Devil to give up local printing and go to Louisville, many stories (tho not as many as I had feared) have been delayed 24 hours into the next day’s edition.  (Even as that they often beat local tv newscasts on major stories, especially from certain “beats” such as courts, which our tv stations generally don’t cover.)
I have a great newspaper carrier, and he often leaves me a note that not enuff C-Js were delivered to Lexington so I don’t get one this day.
The C-J knows how many subscribers it has here..why would it not send enuff papers, or...why does it deliberately shortchange them?  90% of the time when I don’t get a paper, I can drive to the nearest vending machine or store and get one.
And why is it my clear  plastic wrappers let rain in, but the blue ones don’t seem to?  Why not use the blue wrappers all the time?
And why is the H-L threatening legal action if our city council passes a law forcing papers to be placed on our porches, out of snow and rain?  That’s the way it was for years and years. You’re all heart down there on Midland Avenue.
Finally, in the hopes of helping all of you who don’t understand the arguments about fake news and similar things, maybe this example will help:
Fact: the world is round.
Alternate fact: the world is flat.
I'm just sayin'...

Monday, January 23, 2017

Never Pick A Fight

With someone who buys ink by the barrel.
An old news maxim that you can’t win fighting “the media."
Trump hasn’t learned this yet, and may not, but let’s hope he and his press minions sober up.
Case in point: attendance at the inauguration.
Aerial photos and other evidence show conclusively his was far less than Obama’s but new White House press secretary Sean Spicer insisted the “truth” was out there, and The Donald  won.
Professional  journalists do NOT estimate crowds---ever. They get someone else, more qualified to do so and attribute the size to them. Most DC events are overseen by the National Park Service, and crowd estimates usually come from them...NOT individual reporters.
Spicer should know this...he may not be long for this world.
To the rest of you...viewers, listeners, readers, this advice:
Fasten your seatbelts, it’s gonna be a bumpy ride!!!
I'm just sayin'...

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

News In Short Takes

I think John Lewis is wrong about Trump being an “illegitimate” president. But if he thinks so, why doesn't he offer an amendment to eliminate the Electoral College, and elect people by popular vote...solely?
I agree with Mr. Trump that the Democratic National Committee had very weak controls, making Russian hacking, or whomever, easier. But that’s no excuse for the FBI failure to go directly to them when its suspicions were aroused. instead, it took weeks.
Finally, a convicted drug dealer in Lexington gets his due...found by a judge to be responsible for the death of a buyer...he got a life term. It’s still murder in my book.
Something’s fishy about the Horse Park decision not to bid the World Equestrian event in 2022. The last one brought money and jobs to this area---goals of the Bevin administration. The decision was supposedly based (I have my doubts) on the “discovery” of $12 million in deferred maintenance needs. As I have said before, fix it now, or pay more later on.
Kentucky has had over 10 years to comply with the federal Real ID law...both governors and legislatures have been remiss here...and now you and I may suffer...not being able to get on planes, or visit Fort Knox (where our gold is.) The guv supported this last year, then vetoes the bill he asked for, supposedly because his Tea Party supporters didn’t like it. And so the rest of us may have problems soon.
A major marijuana report was issued recently.  Yes, there are medical uses for it, as I have believed, and Yes, states that have recently made recreational use legal have experienced a rise in auto accidents. My major concern: does smoking it cause cancer?  In my opinion this is still in the category of “needs more research.”
And the really big news of the past week...on the world’s (and US’s) wealth inequity,  EIGHT people have more money as the poorest HALF of the world....and  the world’s biggest 10 corporations have combined revenues equal to that of  the 180 poorest countries combined. Can you blame people for thinking the deal is stacked against them???
I'm just sayin...

Monday, January 9, 2017

The More Things Change

Eight years ago, as the Obama administration was beginning, Kentucky senator Mitch vows all his cabinet appointments would be subject to strict scrutiny, all their ethics and financial statements would be required before hand...BUT...this week Mitch said such statements wouldnt be needed before hearings so the new Trump administration could get started early.
For years when Dems controlled the House in Frankfort, Republicans complained---correctly—the majority party wouldn’t give them floor time to debate, wouldn’t let them offer amendments to bills, and treated them shabbily.  This past week, with the GOP running the house, guess what?  Committee hearings on their bills were held without advance notice, floor debate was limited to 30 minutes, and Democratic amendments were not allowed.
After telling the media (and the people) “Jobs are our first priority”, up pops abortion restrictions big time and revamp of the UofL board, among the first acts.  Yes there were some measures that impacted jobs...right to work and prevailing wages...where it can be argued jobs might be depressed not added.
Gov. Bevin asked for, and got, swift passage of the right to work law...after arguing that not having this put Kentucky at a great disadvantage in competing with other states around us, all of whom have such a law.   How did we ever land Toyota???
Back in DC, two senators (of many in the GOP) who have long opposed adding to the national debt, Cruz & Rubio, joined 49 other GOPers urging raising the debt limit by a mere 9 TRILLION dollars. Why? They argued it was needed as a procedural step to eliminate Obama-care.  Priorities, priorities.
Stay tuned..and remember all this next election.
I'm just sayin'...