Tuesday, September 27, 2016

RANDOM THOTS ON THE FIRST DEBATE

Hillary wore RED (state) dress; Donald wore BLUE (state) tie.

Here ended the surprises.

It was pretty much as predicted…HRC came well prepared with specifics (often too long answers) on her views and policies; The Donald was overly broad in his vision for America, backing off of specifics, even when asked several times for them by moderator Lester Holt, NBC News.

(Holt I think did a fairly good job under trying circumstances, only twice asking for proof of the candidates' statements, both times to Trump, and both times not getting it.)

The best political fact checker I know, the Washington Post, summarized this important aspect of the debate this way: "Her misstatements paled  in comparison to the list of Trump exaggerations and falsehoods.”

That included his support for the Iraq war (though he vehemently insisted there were 2 sources to support him and challenged the media to check them,) the “birther” controversy, the IRS audit,  and others.

HRC hit him hard on why he won’t release his tax returns (“what is he hiding? Maybe he paid no taxes”..as he did in several years of state returns. Trump’s response: “that just shows I’m smart”) Trump said he would “if she will release her 30 thousand DELETED e-mails.”  Kinda hard to do so Trump is safe here.

One surprise: other than that exchange he did not hit Sec. Clinton about her e-mail problems, which polls show is a big negative for her.

Overall impression, a broad one, is...no real news, both repeated their basic positions, but I have a general feeling this one went to the lady. (Near the end Trump made the mistake of challenging her “stamina” for the job, when it appeared he was rather tired, this being his first 90 minute debate.)

At the start of each campaign “the media” tell us debates don’t matter. Then, in many of them, as events move along, suddenly “the media” realizes “this time” they “could” be important.  They are always important.

As Jason Robards opined in “All the President’s Men”, “only the future of the republic  is at stake.”

I'm just sayin'...

Monday, September 19, 2016

NOTES ON FOOTBALL BROADCASTS...AND COMMERCIALS

While I was watching UK win its first game, I was gritting my teeth because the SEC network crew/broadcast was so bad!

Let me confess that I never liked the idea of an SEC network, feeling it was just another way for the most cash rich conference of all to squeeze more money out of fans. I was especially afraid each local cable system would charge extra...and I wasn’t going to pay that, even if it meant not watching the Cats. (which, given their record that year wasn’t a bad decision.) But, bless you TWC, you didn’t and you deserve credit...just as UK doesn’t for hiking ticket prices.

Anyow ,the broadcast team last Saturday was badddd. So were their graphics, when they had them. (They lost the ability to show how much time remained to get the ball snapped, and other non-important items...with nary a mention that they had, the cause, or why they suddenly came back...but just for one team. This coming after the failure of the headphone system left viewers with many questions, all UNanswered.)

But back to our stellar broadcast crew.  Try these..."The pass was caught…it’s incomplete”   ???

Or Mark Stoops jawing with several officials for a lonnngg time without any explanation of why or what.

Or 2 crucial occasions when the clock didn’t start…with no explanations.

Or “The flag is down...on the ground.”  Darn if it wasn’t.

And those stupid commercials...OK, broadcast  crew has nothing to do with that, but:

Does anyone know why Chase Bank would use some small porker in its ads, or what that voice is saying as the white piglet ambles along, or when the last time was that you saw a pig, or any animal in a bank?

Then there’s the milk of magnesium lady, who appears on a plane, without TSA screening...or those 2 Drivetime harridans who yell at people (losing my business righht there!)..or the non-funny Dr. Pepper salesman who has outlived his time…I could go on and on...

Some Uk games are bad enuff; we shouldn’t have to settle for lousy broadcasts, and their stupid commercials.

I'm just sayin'...

Sunday, September 11, 2016

ANNIVERSARY THOUGHTS

The tragedy of 9/11 is very fresh to most of us, and I wished we had learned more lessons from it than we have. Saw one list in the papers about “things you have probably forgotten” about those events.

Let me add one of my own.

The almost immediate desire of Congress to shield the airlines and others guilty of the most horrible breaches of security from being sued. Before the twin towers many different media had pointed out major lapses---showing how easy it was to smuggle arms, explosives, knives and box cutters (!) on board.  After each story the airlines promised to improve---but did not.  (Similar stories have run periodically since 2001, btw.)

Then came 9/11..and nearly 3000 people died. Remember the video tapes of the hijackers going easily thru security in Boston and other cities? I do. Congress did, but acting with enormous speed---which Washington can do when its interests (not ours) are threatened—it said the airlines couldn’t  be sued. Once again, Big Business, which had contributed to members of Congress in major ways---their identities often protected behind weak election laws (and now totally so by the Supreme Court’s infamous “Citizens United” decision) got its way…and the families of the victims never got their day in court—against U.S. firms..although Congress last week allowed them to sue Saudi Arabia because most of the hijackers came from there. (And we wonder why American Muslims feel threatened.)

There was another recent anniversary observed by the news media…of our bombing of Laos in the Vietnam war (never declared by Congress). More bombs fell in 2 years on this NEUTRAL nation that on Germany & Japan during WW2 combined. Some stories called the bombing “covert’ or “secret.” It was also illegal, Congress never declared war here either.

30% of the bombs failed to explode. An estimated 80 MILLION un-exploded bombs are there...many little “bomblets” which look like baseballs, and which have killed and maimed Laotian kids ever since.

On his visit there last week, Mr. Obama announced a tripling of aid funds to help find and defuse them. About time.

These are some of the things all Americans should remember about our past wars and why we should follow the Constitution and go to war legally and carefully.

I'm just sayin'...

Sunday, August 28, 2016

SOME THOTS ABOUT THE TUBE

I recently got one of those BIG flat screen sets…and I still can’t read the fine print at the bottom of some ads. How can they be legal? (I guess because in most cases they are reprinted, hopefully in larger type, in a sales agreement to be signed. Still…)

Thanks to the new set I did learn:

The lawyer in this ad is NOT licensed in Kentucky.

APR (Annual Percentage Rate) for this mattress  is 29%  (yes, the interest rate on the loan is that high; how can this be legal?)

Needed at closing: $3000.  (It may be $199 a month, but…)

Some Buicks cost more than some Mercedes.

You will be entered for a gift card worth “UP TO…$50.”  $50 seems hardly too much; what’s “up to?"  10, maybe?

Congrats to WKYT for airing the tenth anniversary memorial for flight 5191 live. This is what local stations should do more of. Full disclosure: KYT is my former  employer.

And even more congrats to KET which in a few weeks will observe the 40th year of Comment on Kentucky, one of the nation’s longest running public affairs shows. Thanks to KET, Mark Hebert and Chris Galligan a lot of former hosts (myself included) and panelists and staffers got together to thank Len Press, founder of KET, and Al Smith, host for 30 plus years, for the contributions this program has made to issue discussion in our state.

Then there was the network anchor who, referring to the arrest of 2 drunken pilots in Glasgow, Scotland—before their flight to the USA—called this a “trans-continental” flight. No, that would take it the wrong way, east across Europe.  Trans-oceanic is the word.

And, sadly, Charles Osgood will soon leave as host of the top news program on the air..Sunday Morning on CBS. I was a little unhappy when he took over for founder Charles Kuralt, but he proved me wrong and the show’s audience has increased. Good luck to CBS to find another “Charles” as good. May the third time be charm.

I'm just sayin'...

Monday, August 22, 2016

NOTES AND THOTS, LARGE & SMALL

1. Gov. Bevin has come up with $500,000 dollars and hired one of America’s most Republican law firms (though as all good firms do, they contribute to both parties) to probe possible law violations in Democratic Gov. Beshear’s administration. (The firm is Taft—yes That Taft from Ohio who ran for President--- Stettinius & Hollister.)

Where did this half million bucks come from..OK, from where did this money come? We were told Kentucky had a very, very tight state budget, and now, up pops all this money. Hope it wasn’t diverted from “widows and orphans.”

2. May I commend two articles in Sunday’s Herald-Leader to you. One is the history (very current history) of vote buying in Eastern Kentucky, by the Center for Investigative Reporting---practically “torn from the front pages" tho our local tv stations gave the latest (but not the last) federal trial very little coverage.

Second is Paul Prather’s religion column, headlined “Yes, it’s true: Evangelicals used to be Christianity’s liberals.” (Gasp.) And it is true. Much food for thought here, and in a second column to come later.

I have always believed Jesus was one of history’s great rebels. (A revolutionary for good.) And if you contrast his “platform” against that of the Roman “party”, he certainly was the Liberal of his time.

Do read them both.

3. A lot has been made in the media of the recent death of John McLaughlin, ex-Jesuit priest and founder/host of the “McLaughlin Group” on PBS. Other than the death of any person to his family and friends, I do not mourn his passing. His was the MOST UNCIVIL discussion program of public issues on the air, where discourtesy and impoliteness ruled..and trumped any discussion of merits or non merits. I once asked KET to take it off the air because it was contributing zero to public manners and understanding of issues. Not a chance was the reply; it’s our most popular program.  (Says a lot about Kentucky, doesn’t it?)

4. Finally, just as Kentucky says it may study reinstituting private prisons , the U.S. announces it will no longer use them. Why? They don’t work. (And that’s just one of several reasons I have in opposition, including that some private prison officials have been charged with bribery in order to get state contracts.)

The more things change,…..

I'm just sayin'...

Sunday, August 14, 2016

TRUMP IS CORRECT, OUR ELECTION IS RIGGED

But not the way he means it.

It’s even worse.

Your vote in Kentucky does NOT count as much as one person’s vote in  MANY other states.

All because of a quirk in our constitution that MAY have been OK 200 years ago, but not today.

It’s that “college”; the Electoral College.

Basically states get votes in the college equal to their house and Senate members. The House is supposedly based on population, but even updated every ten years, the proportion between the total in Congress and the college votes become not only out-of-whack, but the disproportion grows among the states.

There is NO ratio that even a super computer can set up that will ever allow 1 vote in Kentucky to be equal to one vote in every other state.  Solution: end the Electoral College and elect the president by popular vote. Then 1 vote in Rhode Island equals 1 vote in Nevada, and in all the rest, no more, no less.

Either you believe in one person, one vote or you don’t. I do. ALL other attempts to modify the “College’ will NOT provide for one person, one vote. It’s far past time to bring our ideal of democracy into our actual practice.

I'm just sayin'...

(To hear other views, maybe even express your own, watch “Kentucky Tonight” Monday 8/15 at 8pm on KET)

Sunday, August 7, 2016

LONG DISTANCE THOTS ON FANCY FARM

“There is a mysterious cycle in Human Events.”  FDR  (Mitch belives that also, see his new book “The Long Game.”)

For years the GOP dominated our politics. Then, as FDR and Mitch know, the political pendulum swung to the Dems. Now, it may, or may not, swing back---tho the actions of the state Democratic party and leaderships are certainly giving the GOP every reason to believe it will happen.

Meanwhile, what needs to change is: Fancy Farm!

(GASP—you want to change a sacred Kentucky tradition?)

Dang right.

Have you listened to the UNcivil discourse from there?  (Watch KET Monday night at 8).

The catcalls, boos, even bull horns (til they were banned) try to drown out what the “other guy..or gal” is saying.  That is not the way America progresses. We need to hear all voices in order to decide on the best candidates and the best way to solve our most pressing issues.

I think Fancy Farm has woefully failed here…and will continue to do so.

It’s time for a new, non-partisan, civil Fancy Farm…and I nominate the Bluegrass as where it should be held. Whether centrally located, non partisan Lexington, or Centre College (which has considerable experience in these things,) or Father Jim and his experience in grabbing the big names (sorry he’s leaving but his Richmond church might easily outpace St Jerome’s, in time,) or area League of Women voters groups, or…various coalitions.

America needs something like this. Lord knows Kentucky needs something like a civil Fancy Farm. So let’s get an umbrella group formed, and maybe by the next Presidential election it will be cold craft beers and warm burgoo...and speeches people can hear…from here.

I'm just sayin'...