Monday, May 2, 2016

WHY “X” DOESN’T ALWAYS MARK “Z” SPOT



I watch a lot of TV, mainly PBS, and see a lot of ads. (Yes, even PBS/KET have succumbed to running ads these days!  Drat.)

I don’t know which is worse..the medicine ads or the lawyer ads. I guess perhaps the lawyer ads about medicine.

If I never hear corticosteroid again it will be too soon..or “messy-feel-lee-oh-ma(ha!), if I could spell it.

And why there  so many drugs with made up names starting with X, but pronounced as  Z. Something wrong with Z?  Are Zeus and Zorro out of favor?

(There’ll always be an ad man, and a lawyer…but must we hear those voices telling us."Don't take X if you are allergic to it!”  I mean, give me a break.)

Those lawyer ads are going down hill. The Hammer used to have whimsical, funny ads…no more. The best of what’s left are the Morgan Family ads..even if they "Ulti-muttly” go to the dogs.

But the ads that defy all logic are on the Fox 10pm news..A commercial says.."This portion of the 10pm news is brought to you by Sam’s tattoo and vampire shop.”  Two minutes later comes another ad…”This portion of the 10pm news is brought to you by Dewey, Cheatam, and Howe.”  Which means what Sam has brought you is a couple of commercials, NOT the news.  Why Sam, why?

And so it goes…"ad” nauseum,."

I'm just sayin'

Sunday, April 24, 2016

TRUMP IS RIGHT…..AH, CORRECT, BUT

He didn’t do his homework.

Yes, in many ways, our electoral process for president is rigged. But the rules, procedures and calendar are known months, even years, ahead, and Mr. Trump doesn’t seem to know that.

Yes, many of these favor the party faithful...those who work between elections, doing the grunt work, going to precinct meetings, and state conventions, ringing doorbells and working their way up to responsible party positions.

Is that so bad???

In Kentucky, and in one way, yes. The recent state GOP convention in Lexington elected a lot of people to the national gathering. Many of these were familiar names, and long time party workers. Gov Bevin, Senators McConnell and Paul, etc. etc. etc.

They will cast the vote for all Kentucky Republicans in Cleveland for President…but almost all of these people won’t tell their fellow Republicans who they favor for  America’s top job.

That just doesn’t seem right or fair.  (Not that the Democrats are much different.)

That’s what the recent primary…ah, caucus…was about..and the GOP voted for Trump ahead of the others...so on the first ballot it would seem fair…and the will of those who bothered to vote...that their choice be so reflected. (Most state and party rules allow delegates to be “free” after the first ballot…which Mr. Trump may not be aware of, either.)

So this “rigging" has been known and practiced for years. Doesn’t make it right (ah, correct) and I think the parties ought to offer their members slates committed to various candidates.

That would be fairer and more democratic (ah, republican.)

I'm just sayin'...

Monday, April 18, 2016

THE HOUSE CAN ONLY BLAME ITSELF

Checks and balances are an important part of our democracy---if our 3 branches of government operate effectively and as the Founding Fathers wanted.

But, once again, the House in Frankfort has lost the ability to consider the governor’s vetoes  (and he will do some vetoes!) by delaying budget agreement until the last minute. I blame the House more than the Senate, because its initial budget considerations and passage came very late in the session..and now the Democrats in control must pay the political penalty for not being able to override the Republican governor’s vetoes.

But, much more than this was the house failure to pass a constitutional amendment giving the legislature the right to call itself back into session. Now that power resides with the governor, and it is an unfair executive branch power over the legislative branch. It needs to be changed---soon.

BTW, if you saw “60 Minutes” Sunday and were incensed by the report showing how ALL  insurance firms are NOT paying death benefits as they promised…a bill to tighten requirements failed in the legislature.  I wonder why?

I'm just sayin'...

Sunday, April 10, 2016

THERE ARE NO EXPERTS, INCLUDING ME

The Donovan Forum at UK made the mistake of asking me to talk to them about national party nomination conventions -  (I have reported on 14 of them.) The Forum, open to all, meets each Thursday at 2pm at the Senior Citizens Center at Alumni and Nicholasville, during the regular UK semesters.

Last week was my turn. And I held forth for about an hour (making at least 2 mistakes I am aware of for now.)  Let me summarize for you.

On who will win at the summer meetings, there are NO experts. Since candidates started announcing last summer, almost all major media stories, predictions (especially) have been wrong. So have the polls. All 13 polls in advance of the Iowa caucus were wrong! (I was asked the origin of “caucus” and said it meant meeting, which it does but with political overtones---and that it came from the Latin.  First mistake: it is actually a North American Indian word.)

While I did not count them, my estimate is that over our entire history from one third to one-half of these conventions have been “brokered” or “open.” The last one was the GOP event in 1976, and we have gotten used to one candidate arriving with enough votes to win. That simply has not been true over much of our history.

Will there be a brokered convention this year?

The 3 “experts” I trust the most---CBS’s Bob Schieffer and PBS NewsHour’s Brooks and Shield (not to be missed on Friday nights for you political junkies) now say "the odds favor it.” I agree.

As of this week there are  still 22 primaries and caucuses out there...with the big New York primary set to come in soon, followed by Pa. and California. We’ll have a better idea after these states vote.  And please remember, the national news media are giving different reports of the candidates’ total delegate count based on their ESTIMATE of how the “superdelegates” in each party MAY vote on the first ballot. Since they are free to vote for anyone, unless they announce their choice, we really won’t know til then.

Stay tuned…and fasten your seatbelt, it’s going to be a bumpy ride.

(My 2nd mistake was to say writers of the Constitution wrote in a section so Alexander Hamilton couldn’t run for President. He was not born in the colonies---our first “birther” controversy. Wrong, there is a section so he could. But of course, he was killed in a duel.)

I'm just sayin...

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Lessons From The Vietnam War

The VA has set aside March 29th as a day to “welcome home” vets of all wars, but especially the ‘Nam experience.  Good. We owe our vets a lot. (full disclosure: I am a Korean war vet, non-combat.) Of all our recent “wars” our Nam vets did not receive a proper welcome home---because many in America, properly, turned against the war as it dragged out over many years.  I agree, BUT the vets had nothing to do with US policy and should never have been blamed for it. They did a nasty job, patriotically, as their country asked them at the time to do.

But, have we learned this---and other lessons—from that war?

I doubt it..and IF I am right, 58000 died and 153,000 others suffered wounds, injuries, amputations, PTSD, etc..not in vain, but not wisely either.

To begin with, Congress, as the Constitution requires, never passed a declaration of war…and hasn’t since for most of our succeeding wars, tho there have been attempts at half-hearted legalities, NO war declaration has passed Congress since WW II.  That’s more than a shame, it’s a failure of our elected representatives to carry out their oaths…and in some cases has cost vets and their families dearly—as they were denied benefits only available if war was declared.

Suicides among active duty service members remain “disturbingly high” according to media reports and among vets even more so...something the VA must bring down.

Meanwhile, we need to remember them every day, not just on March 29th (tho at least the Central Kentucky Veterans Committee did observe that day at Camp Nelson, and more power to them.)

Meanwhile, the rest of us need to remember them, remember the lessons of 'Nam, insist that if we ever do go back to war Congress at least pass the required declaration, and look very skeptically on those candidates for high office who talk so glibly about more “boots on the ground” as a way of solving foreign affairs problems.

War is never the easy solution.

I'm just sayin'...

Monday, March 28, 2016

CASUALTIES OF WAR



In recent days 2 tragedies have visited this area. In one a young mother and her 2 young children were killed, apparently by her husband, a PTSD victim from his Afghan war service.

And, a young wife from here and her husband were victims of the Brussels bombing.

To  me these are victims of war.

You can argue the US got into both the Iraq and Afghan wars because of misinformation...WMDs and the Taliban-AlQ link..(and should not have done so, as I believe)…or you can argue we needed to enter both wars for national security reasons.

Either way, the loss of these six young people are  casualties of the war.

Whether PTSD strikes 5 years after wartime service or 25, it is war related..and it is a cost of the war as surely as paying for veterans who lose a limb directly in the war and have to be maintained forever.

It is a cost usually not reckoned with when we count war’s cost, but it should be.

And it needs to be present in the debates we are hearing in the presidential campaign, from those who want US “boots on the ground” in Syria, and maybe Libya, and maybe back in Iraq, and…..

I'm just sayin'...

Sunday, March 20, 2016

A FEW DISCOURAGING WORDS…..ABOUT COAL

First, our state senate is out of its ever lovin’ mind when it passed a bill to end state inspection of coal mines...leaving the job to the feds.

This is not the way to help balance the budget, by firing more state workers in E. Ky. Can any coal supporter, in their right mind, believe we need fewer mine inspections---given safety concerns there..and the abject failure of many mine owners in this area?  See: Blankenship, Don & Massey Energy on the web.

Mine safety is often what the foreman makes it. The senate bill would end required mine foreman safety training and leave it up to the companies. (See Blankenship, Don and Massey Energy on the web.)

The feds and the state inspect for different things at different times. Both are needed.

Then there’s clean coal. It is possible…but while mine owners and the industry, even the UMW support it...nothing I am aware of its being done to make it viable. Indeed the industry keeps claiming EPA regs are the reason the coal industry is suffering, while almost never pointing out that coal’s chief competitor, natural gas, is both considerably cheaper these days, as well as cleaner.

Unless you’re HRC, that is.  When she stumbled by saying, badly, “we’re going to put a lot of coal companies out of business”, the industry pounced. Clinton tried damage repair with a letter to her supporter, W. Va. Senator Joe Manchin stating she strongly supports those “who keep the lights on” and pledged to bring jobs to Appalachia and support “carbon capture technology”—which many believe is the best method to make coal clean.

The industry keeps saying It supports “clean coal” but talk is cheap..I wish they would finally walk the walk.

I'm just sayin'...