Tuesday, March 24, 2015

NO NO! HELL NO!!



The new president of Afghanistan, the 2nd elected in rigged elections, is in Washington to see Obama, and urge the US to keep not the 10-20,000 troops we have committed to (for security and training purposes) but to raise the number to 350,000.

His reasons will probably be that his country can not fend off the Taliban without much more help.

We should say NO to this, and quickly…but don’t hold your breath with this Congress.

One, we should never have gone into Afghanistan in the first place. Remember the lies the Bush administration told us about WMD that got us into Iraq?  More lies were told to get us into Afghanistan...that the Taliban were in cahoots with Al-Qaida and also responsible for 9/11. It wasn’t true. The two groups had different religious views and political goals at the time, and the Taliban was NOT involved in 9/11. (Later the two grew closer because of opposition to US troops in Afghanistan.)

Two, we spent billions there...wasted more billions according to our government’s own reports..then “abandoned in place” additional billions of equipment the Afghans could have used…are we to repeat this again? That money could have been spent on roads and schools and better water, etc in this country.

Three, that country is corrupt in a way we will never understand here...not even in Kentucky’s most corrupt counties. Tribal leaders, local warlords control much of the country, each exacting tribute (kickbacks) even as public officials do the same. You pay to get even the slightest matter done. Shall we keep encouraging this?

Four, its relations with its two powerful neighbors, Iran (!) and Pakistan, will almost surely continued to be more important to it than its relations with the US..and more long range, often contrary to our goals..no matter what their President says.

Five, it is the world’s largest source of heroin and that will continue. Indeed, GI's had to look the other way as they passed field after field of poppies, knowing the result might well be that, back in the States, the drugs produced in Afghanistan, would take the lives of members of their own families. What a moral morass! There is no need for the US to continue to support it.

These are but a few of the argument, as I see it, for NOT increasing our troops there. If you are so inclined, let your views be known to Congressman  Andy Barr and our two senators.

I'm just sayin'...

Monday, March 16, 2015

To Err is Human



And yes, journalists are human...but their occupation is to deal with facts and figures, with information the rest of us need, so there are important reasons why they should not be as error prone as the rest of us mere mortals.

However I wonder.

The New York Times, in the lead sentence of a recent Sunday story made the same mistake that several Lexington TV stations make almost daily in their reports.  CBS on the evening news had another similar error, very popular with Lexington journalists.

They are having bodies “drug” across floors, instead of “dragged,” for example.

And one local  sports reporter insists on doubling up on his subjects, half a dozen times a cast:  "The Wildcats, they…Coach Cal, he...Ashley Judd, she…”

And as for geography, well...back to school, or consult the newsroom atlas (assuming there is one.)

Vanuatu is a  nation, composed of a string of islands, much as the Bahamas. Only it’s in the far South Pacific, not just off our shores. When Cyclone Pam (a tornado over the ocean) hit Vanuatu with Category 5 winds recently, NBC’s evening news  located it “just east of Australia.”  Just East is about 1300 miles!  A Fox News report described Vanuatu is one of the islands near New Zealand, also about 1300 miles away.

Does that make Boston “just East” of Lexington?

I'm just sayin'...

Sunday, March 8, 2015

BOPTROT REVISITED



The AT&T bill causes all my suspicions about Frankfort to be strengthened. I have no evidence, but I strongly suspect some money changed hands here..if not a direct buying of votes  (illegal) than just the massive spending AT&T did to get this bill passed.

A small army of lobbyists, more than 30..a half million spent in their expenses, and at least $60,000 in direct contributions to various campaigns over the last few years..to get a bill passed allowing the carrier to drop landlines in certain circumstances..even tho the AT&T top official said they wouldn’t do that and haven’t done that in other states where similar bills have passed.

The governor has promised to sign it..all in the name of “progress”..to get better, hi-speed broadband services throughout Kentucky. Now, we need such service, and right now, we are deficient in it.  Whose fault is that?  AT&T and other carriers. There is money to be made in providing such service so go ahead and provide it. Besides, these new digital services come with higher bills than plain old vanilla landlines.

In the 90s, money changed hands to get bills passed. Deals were made, kickbacks offered—or extorted and the whole mess smelled so badly, the Speaker of the House went to prison. It was called the BOPTROT scandal. Reforms were passed..but since then every single major one of those reforms have been either diluted or  undone by new legislation.

The stage is ripe for a new BOPTROT scandal. Is the AT&T bill it? I don’t know; I have no evidence-so far. Pity, the press corps in Frankfort has also been diluted and we may never know because there are now fewer investigative reporters there to figure out if a new BOPTROT has, in fact, occurred..now..or in the future.

Where are you, 4th Estate, when we really need you???

I'm just sayin'...

Sunday, March 1, 2015

NOTES ON ITEMS IN THE NEWS

1---Do NOT jump to conclusion we know who Jihadi John is. So far, only the media has reported his identity, not any government agency.  The media may be right, but….Even such a notorious person as “JJ” deserves the benefit of the doubt until we are 100% sure who he is.

2. If ever there was a case for a change of venue, the Boston  bomber case is it.  How in the world can this guy get a fair trial in that city?  I know, 5 different courts have said he can. I don’t believe it..and IF I am right and he is convicted, this would be a grounds for overturning his conviction on appeal…and that is just not worth taking such a risk.  Better to hold the trial elsewhere and avoid such a problem.

3. Sometime we learn. After years of letting Nazi  criminals live here undetected (or because our government didn’t want to know, which was worse)—several of whom lived into their 90s before we brought them to justice, the US has recently moved to deport 300 Bosnians, maybe involved in the same genocide  as the Nazis, only as recently as the 1990s. Maybe we have learned.

4. Maybe. Remember Attica? Perhaps the bloodiest prison riot in US history, forever staining the otherwise admirable administration of NY Governor Nelson Rockefeller. 40 years ago, and yet..3 prison guards at Attica have been charged with the brutal beating of a prisoner and are awaiting trial.

5. Remember those Somali pirates? They just released 4 poor fishermen from Thailand, held longer than any of their other captives. A UN agency negotiated their release. If you are out of the news,  except to your family, who works for your wellbeing? Apparently only the UN.

6. And while we are remembering, how about  Tupperware? Once a staple of American life, its biggest market is now Indonesia.  Just thought you’d like to know.

Monday, February 23, 2015

SOME ADVICE FOR THE KENTUCKY GOP



Not that they asked me..but then, they didn’t ask Sen. Rand Paul either, and he wants them to change their decades old state primary way of selecting candidates into a caucus system. Why? So Sen. Paul may run for 2 federal offices at once (President and Senate) which is now prohibited.

Bad idea.

One, the system has worked for a long time, why change to an untried system?

Two, procedures based on people seldom work as well as systems based on experience or objective factors.

Three, if you have looked into the Iowa caucus system, on which Paul bases his request, you know that it has many problems.  (A New England style town meeting it is not, and that tradition would be better IF the GOP must change.)

Four, why should we allow one person to run for two offices in the same election?  We don’t do it locally, or on the state level..and that’s from years of experience (as well as fairness to other candidates), so why allow it on the federal level?

It’s a bad idea Sen. Paul and I hope the state GOP will reject it…not that they asked me.

I'm just sayin'...

Monday, February 9, 2015

COLOR ME OPPOSED



Cardinal Hill, our truly great local rehab  hospital, announced last week that it has been sold  to HealthSouth, a Birmingham based health conglomerate.

The announcement of the sale, to me, was strange. It seemed to come out of thin air; I saw no news conference footage on any local TV station, as if they just sent the sale story to the Herald Leader. If you don’t hold a news conference, you don’t have a lot of reporters asking tough questions.

And tough questions should be asked about this sale.

HealthSouth has a checkered past, to put it lightly. It was formed by a man, Richard Scrushy,  who has been charged with many SEC violations, basically for cooking the books...but was found not guilty by a local jury. He was later tried on political bribery charges, along   with the governor, convicted, but may escape additional prison time because the Supreme Court narrowed the scope of the law afterwards. In Alabama, he seems to have more than 9 lives in court.   Most of these law violations were in the past, perhaps  8-10 years ago and I’m sure the firm will say "our founder’s gone, we’ve cleaned up our act..and we really want to buy Cardinal Hill.”

Maybe so, but the headline in the Herald Leader said "all services to remain the same.”  I don’t believe that. I’ve yet to see a sale like this, in any field, where everything stayed the same. It just doesn’t pass the smell test.

I don’t know if there is a state agency that has to approve this sale, but if so, I hope they look into it very carefully.  Maybe our consumer advocate, the attorney general, should do so.  And I am surprised that the Herald Leader hasn’t raised an objection, editorially, and run some story on HealthSouth’s seamy  background.

This is another great local institution we should not give up without a fight, or at least knowing a lot more about HealthSouth and its current operations and standards than we do.

I'm just sayin'...