Sunday, July 24, 2016

WHAT A BUNCH OF AMATEURS AT THE GOP CONVENTION!!!

No, not the people running the show, but my colleagues in the media covering it.

I’ve reported on 14 conventions and this was not good…starting with the mainstream decision not to do major coverage in prime time.

NBC trumpeted “unsurpassed coverage”---all squeezed into one hour at 10pm, as did CBS/ABC.  So on the first day, with the floor fight over rules change, there was no over the air coverage then. (It was, I am told on “streaming”===NOT the same.)  Nor did they summarize this fight in the UN-coverage at 10.

CBS’s sage, Bob Schieffer (24th convention) was promoted once, and NEVER got on. He was brought on too late 2 other times and his good remarks were cut short.

But the really bad coverage belonged to PBS (trying to co-operate with NPR and not succeeding.) My basic watching was C-SPAN, because they focus on the podium and speakers and PBS, because I like Shields and Brooks.

Judy and Gwen were totally lost first night  It has been four years since their last convention, but…these are supposed to be pros. This type of coverage is not their long suit.

Sitting next to each other they complained they couldn’t hear each other because the noise from the floor. This is NOT new. And might have been helped by the right audio mix, but it wasn’t...even a day or so later. And it took til the final night to get the right headsets on guests---but not on Gwen and Judy. Was that because of hair and make-up issues?

And one of the NPR experts mis-identified a major senator.

As to the 3 major cable networks, I have come up with a rule. The amount of wisdom and important information offered is in inverse proportion to the number of panelists.  CNN loves 6-8 panelists. Good info gets lost.

Good to see Brian Williams back on MSNBC, which had similar panelists problems.

Well, the practice and rehearsal is over. Let’s hope coverage of the Dems' convention goes better.

After all, as Editor Jason Robards once opined on the Watergate coverage..”Only the future of the Republic is at stake!”

I'm just sayin'...

Sunday, July 17, 2016

BEFORE ESTILL COUNTY GLOWS IN THE DARK: (which isn’t going to happen!!!)

But, the decision by the Attorney-General not to pursue criminal charges should be a warning to us all. (The county has filed civil charges.)

Kentucky has a law against the dumping of the type of nuclear wastes which were dumped, many tons so,  still in Estill County...that much is not in dispute.

So, either (1) the attorney-general is wrong, (2) the law is too weak to be enforced or win in court, or (3) it has been badly administered…by the state (and almost surely ignored by the waste disposal industry.)

You know darn well that industry knew what it was bringing to Kentucky, and also should have know that stuff was prohibited. The history of this industry is replete with violations in many states, of many types of materials—as well as infiltrated by mob sources from Long Guyland and New Joisie  (sorry Gov. Cuomo and Mr. Soprano).  But that type of situation exists only because state laws are weak and badly enforced.

Kentucky has a rich and lousy history here.  (Google Maxey Flats and especially a Courier-Journal editorial of June 2, 2015.

Estill Countians have a right to be upset---but so should all of us. (BTW, which came first...the landfill or the nearby county high school??)

For it continues to show, after Maxey Flats, we just haven’t learned.

I'm just sayin'...

Sunday, July 3, 2016

MY SUMMER READING LIST

West Virginia holds the distinction of being the only recent state to send two governors to prison...one Democrat, one Republican. (Corruption is bi-partisan there.)

Kentucky has been lucky…for now.

I say that because I have just finished a book on my summer reading list...all about politics and corruption in our neighbor---and how one investigative reporter helped uncover it.

The book is “Afflicting the Comfortable” by the late Tom Stafford.  Tom was a colleague and competitor when I worked in West Virginia.

What the book brings out is what happens when fraud and kickbacks and corruption are considered commonplace, and how they affect many parts of society. Also, what happens when elected officials, especially governors don’t enforce high ethical standards and when legislatures don’t supervise state agencies spending millions of our dollars. (West Virginia’s experience in investments mirrors some of the problems of Kentucky’s retirement systems…many years earlier. Couldn’t we have learned???)

Guess not, the ethical controls put in place in this state since the BOPTROT scandal of the '90s have, over the years been done away bit piece-by-piece as lawmakers chafed under being “ethical.”

But he also points out problems with the media, which didn’t pursue all the clues to scandal there as they might have…and why the media today (and that includes our Kentucky media) is less likely to pursue such investigations.

The book is not without its faults and errors. What he considers ethical for reporters to do is not always what I would have them do, and so instructed my staff. But his book is important and an eye-opener. It should be required reading in Journalism schools, in ethical discussions and for those who seek to be members of an important, but vanishing tribe, investigative journalists.

It would also be cautionary reading for citizens who should demand much more of their elected officials, and those  same officials if they are going to do their jobs properly.

I'm just sayin'...

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

THOUGHTS….THIS WEEK BEFORE JULY 4th


I honor Pat Summitt, most of us do.  Perhaps we should remember she was ready to come coach at UK, when UT offered to pay her moving expenses, estimated at $500, and UK declined.  The rest is history. (And we lost Bear Bryant similarly.)

To really honor Coach Summitt, how about more money for research into Alzheimer’s??


While the U.S. Flag Code is only advisory, and largely toothless for penalties, it does represent Congress’s considered judgment on how best to display and use Old Glory.

Among its prohibitions: using the flag in any form of advertising, using it in any way as an article of clothing, etc.

So take off all those bikinis that look like skimpy flags….and as for the NBA player with the flag emblazoned across his uniform’s  rump, that may be his idea of how to express Patriotism.

It is not mine.

I'm just sayin'...

Sunday, June 19, 2016

OUR SECOND MOST IMPORTANT ELECTION THIS YEAR

Happens this week, and not in Kentucky, or even the US.  England will vote on whether to remain in the EU—the European Union of some 20 countries---or leave.

It’s still our 2nd most important election because of the impact it will have on the US, depending on how the vote goes. There have been background stories in our papers, but little on national TV, though you should start seeing coverage this week. (It appears the murder of young Jo Cox, an “MP”---member of Parliament—was related to the vote. Hers is an even sadder case than our own Gabby Giffords.)

For the best TV coverage of this issue, watch the 11pm BBC news on KET. By midnight Thursday, or early Friday, we should know the outcome.

And, btw, England is our Mother Country---many of our own democratic traditions originated there.  Several years ago, Scotland voted on whether to leave the UK or not; now there’s this important referendum. Why can’t the US do the same?  I know of no laws preventing it.

For a starter, how about adding one more decision to our November ballot…Yes or No:

Congress should return to the bans on assault weapons and high capacity magazines it imposed years ago…and then let lapse.

That could write a new chapter for the nation that claims to be the world’s greatest democracy.

I'm just sayin'...

Sunday, June 5, 2016

HOW BEST TO REMEMBER THE CHAMP???

In Louisville a proposal has been made to solve 2 problems…remove the statue of the Confederate soldier and replace it with one of Ali.

Wrong.

Better we put up a plaque at that downtown diner that refused him service when he came home from winning an Olympic gold medal...because he was black, and Louisville/Kentucky was segregated.

We need reminders of our past history, and what courageous blacks did to stir our consciences and get us to correct past wrongs. Ali is a fine example of that---maybe even The Greatest.

We need to remember him when he exercised the right of every American to protest unjust laws and policies...as when he took his stand against the Vietnam war—saying his religion forbade taking lives in war, that “no Viet Cong had ever called him nigger," and he didn’t want to go kill brown people in behalf of their white colonial oppressors. (And the more you know about French policy of its former colony the more you know he was right.)

He stood against war—always dangerous in our society (remember more recently the Dixie Chicks?) It took 3 years for the Supreme Court to decide Ali was right.  Meanwhile professional boxing (always a sleazy sport) blackballed him from fighting in his best years.

How do we look at the 'Nam war today? Or Iraq and those great WMDs?

That’s how to remember Ali…as the Conscience of our Nation (and our World.)  I think he’d like that...and as he also said "maybe how pretty I was.”

I'm just sayin'...

Monday, May 23, 2016

SOME THOTS ABOUT NOVEMBER



1—if my Democratic friends think they will have a cakewalk this fall, and HRC or Bernie, will waltz into 1600 Pa. Avenue, think again. Trump has been a masterful campaigner, bringing out many, many people to his rallies (as The Bern has) and that bodes well for the fall.  And even with prominent defections from his cause, party histories are, they kiss and make up before the vote.

2—But this is a  unique presidential year. Never have the polls shown so many people rejecting the 2 major party candidates as unworthy or with such high negatives; never.

3---That said, forget most of such polling. It is MUCH too early for polls to mean anything. (Remember in Iowa 13 polls in advance of its famous  caucus were all wrong!) Wait till mid-October.

4—Speaking of October, this may well be the year of the “October Surprise.” What would ISIS (or other terrorist groups) give to influence our elections by causing some major, tragic event this fall close to voting time. How would that influence the outcome?

5---A “dead heat” poll is not 43-46% with the margin of error (MOE) at 3%. That’s a close race, but not the dead head major media reported over the weekend. 46-46 is a dead heat.

6---But, for the first time we are seeing polls (see item #3 above) showing Trump ahead of HRC (but not Sanders) and this should give Dems some concern. (see item #1 above)

7—In short, keep your powder dry, don’t make any election bets  just yet, and…Stay Tuned.

I'm just sayin'...