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'...

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Thoughts On Recent News Stories

1---Someone (?) tried to hack a small Vermont electric utility.
Thwarted without damage THIS time...but our entire power grid is vulnerable...AND...the power companies keep telling us their VOLUNTARY acts will keep us safe;without any federal rules or requirements.  This a major disaster waiting to happen.
2---Coal ash...that discard from mining and power plant operations...(remember the containment pond in Tennesse that collapsed holding this and killed some people?)
The Bevin administration wished to issue new orders calling for less rules here, and fewer inspections.  Both major papers editorilised against these proposals. The administration replied the media was “misleading us again." Enviro groups agreed with the media, so they  must be misleading us, too.
3---H-L story pointed out difficulties in tax code reform.
Kentucky takes in $10 billion in taxes each year...while failing to collect a possible $12 billion due to tax loopholes or exemptions.  Guess we will  make it up by volume. But then, each loophole has supporters, such as exemptions on horses sold at Keeneland. Boy, if there are any people who can afford to pay taxes here, it’s race horse buyers.
4---Coal mining reported one of the safest years ever last year.
BUT, the deaths did not factor in the low production, so maybe this good news isn’t so good after all.
5---Lexington has a new high school.
Frederick Douglass high...named for the  (not so long ago segregated school here.) The school board, after public comments made that decision...but also this week decided on the school’s mascot and colors.
Wouldn’t it have been much better to also get public comment, and maybe led the schools first students/staff make these decisions?
I'm just sayin'...

Monday, December 26, 2016

News Notes For The New Year

1---Congrats to the UK football team for a winning season and an upcoming bowl game. Did you catch all the extra bonus money the coaches got for this?  Now, they worked hard and deserved some recognition, but did they work any harder than the players?  What money did the players get? Any bonus for them?
Is this to open the argument about whether college players should be paid?  Yes; don’t know where I stand on this, yet, but it’s an argument UK needs to hold.
2---speaking of coaches being paid, I know it’s a legal product and we all need one, but it just seems to me to be “unseemly” (for want of a better word) for Coach Cal to be pitching mattresses...or don’t you agree?
3---And Yes, living 3 months longer is important..but have you noticed that “big news” shared in very large letters on the top of buildings by a certain drug maker, hides the very small print that their drug increases life by 3 months on the average.
4---Have you noticed how quiet the pollsters have been since their defeat in the general elections..not even much soul searching, or where the mistakes were, or even promises to “do better." For another view on “the polls” read the obit for Louis Harris in the Sunday H-L, who can be considered the Father of modern polling, a term he disliked. Read why. (And congrats to the H-L for a most interesting year-end section of news pix of the year.)
5---Speaking of year-end, once again major news organizations are doing their lists of top stories of the year, before the year is over...running the risk of leaving out a major story happening, as it has, in the final days.
ABC ran its show on Dec. 20th, including the “hottest trends” of the past year. Now the “mainstream media” have been plenty critical of mixing news and entertainment (and correctly so) which some news programs and channels do. And NBC this Saturday will spend 2 hours looking back on the year’s “buzziest” stories. Sometimes “the media” is its own worse enemy.
I'm just sayin'...

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Forget The Protestors

Forget the party spokesmen, who have their own axe to grind.
Think about your own vote---and that of Kentucky’s.
Why do you keep putting up with letting your vote not count as much as one vote, say in California, or Texas, or New Jersey?  It doesn’t.
Nor does Kentucky’s. Our state is upstaged by many other states...or didn’t you notice how few national candidates visited our state during this year’s elections. (Coming in just to raise $$$$$ or landing at the Cincy airport, in N. Ky., doesn’t count.)
But aren’t our citizens’ votes just as good, and needed by the parties and their candidates just as much as other states???
There’s a simple...and complete answer...the Electoral College.
Set up by the Founding Fathers in an attempt to create a Meritocracy (where the office was supposed to seek the man and not vice versa) or at least in an attempt to keep down the rabble, (you and me), the “college” soon stopped working under its original purpose.
Electors were supposed to use their best, personal knowledge and judgment in the votes they cast.  But soon states required them to vote, by law, for whoever won the popular vote---absolutely opposite what the FF’s intended.
That approach is what we live under today...despite half a dozen elections (including the present one) where the leading candidate in votes did not win in the “college” and so lost. At last count HRC was 2.8 Million votes ahead, tho 27% of Republicans either don’t know that or don’t believe that. This is democracy?
Aye, there’s the rub. Because each party believes the College does or could favor them, they oppose a change.
PBS reported in the past 200 years there have been 700 proposals to amend the Electoral College, more than any other part of the constitution.
But only ONE change matters.
Either you believe your vote is just as good, no more and no less, than the vote of any other American citizen, regardless of where they live..or you don't.  The ONLY change that will live up to our democratic ideal "one person, one vote.”...is to get rid of that College totally and let the winner be declared by the popular vote across the country.
We’ve wasted over 200 years to make this change,
Let’s get started.
I'm just sayin'...

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Media Mumbles...and Grumbles

Growing up in journalism, one of the first major things I was taught is...don’t get a name wrong. That was a major sin.
This week a Lexington TV station supered a well known UK player’s name as:  Crisco!
Isaiah is unusual, hard to spell for me, but Crisco?!!!!!!!!!
That capped a slew of bad spelling, typos, or what have you...such as “chld” for “child” and many more. The issue is not bad typing but who is proofreading? (The Herald-Leader gave up proof readers a long time ago, and its stories show that, too. I don’t care what the technical reason is, to have “is” hyphenated over two lines is just plain wrong, wrong, wrong.)
Speaking of proofing...one of our best anchors either wasn’t paying attention, or...when a major story ended with the field reporter doing a length “tag” to the story, the anchor repeated the entire closing tag we had just heard. This is bad writing, bad producing, and just plain not paying attention...and it happens often.
Grammar errors remain, in abundance...and not just on local TV...I see, hear them on network television, on AP copy, in major papers...maybe even a minor reason for not trusting the media, except that these same errors are made by public officials, and ordinary citizens being interviewed.  (Are you paying attention, high school English teachers?)
Such errors creep into our ads, broadcast or print...with even less excuse.
As my old college English teacher, Prof. Henry Higgins told me...English is a noble tongue.  Too bad so many people who use it as a tool in their daily occupation seem to be tongue tied.

I'm just sayin'...

Monday, December 5, 2016

Let Me Tell You A True Story

Once upon a time, in a small town in a border state, there was a young boy who had a winter sore throat---nothing serious, his family dosed him with a mix of ginger ale and fruit juices, which he loved. But that was why on a snowy Sunday afternoon, he was in his second floor bedroom listening to a concert on CBS Radio.
Suddenly, an excited voice broke in, “The Japanese have attacked Pearl Harbor!” and we were at war.
December 7th was my generation’s 9/11...and almost as many were killed that day as on 9/11...and in the years of war that followed, many millions more.
Looking back this week, on the 75th anniversary of Pearl Harbor, one still has questions.
Did FDR work to provoke the war?  Was a Kentucky admiral made the scapegoat of our lack of defenses at The Pearl?
Why didn’t the radar people know those Japanese Zeros were not our B-17s flying in from California? Did a midget sub really sink the Oklahoma?
On a larger scale, why did Italy, our ally in WWI become our Axis enemy in WWII?  (and how much of that was due to an ex-journalist named Mussolini---elected prime minister on a platform of making Italy great again, before he overthrew its democracy and became dictator...sorry about that, but it’s true, look it up.)
Today, with the passing years, history has changed again. Our Russian allies of WWII are “the enemy” while our foe, the Japanese are staunch friends. President Obama recently made the first trip to Hiroshima of a US president...and the Japanese prime minister has just announced he will be the first to visit Pearl Harbor.  Both visits should have have been made years ago.
What enemies now will be friends tomorrow?  What friends now won’t be in a decade?
Will a president elected by a faulty Electoral College system rise to greatness, or fail miserably and be impeached, as some experienced historians have suggested?
That small boy who heard the war begin in his sickroom has no way of knowing. He is certain of this---there were many heroes that day 75 years ago in a far-off American territory---they need to be remembered, and celebrated..and we need to remember what things we think are “true” today, may not be so in a very soon tomorrow.
I'm just sayin'...