Thursday, October 20, 2016


The third debate between HRC and The Donald is now history. Moderator Chris Wallace (Mike’s son) of Fox News did the best job yet, but even struggling mightily, it occasionally got out of hand. Wallace had specific areas he wanted them to discuss.
For about 30 minutes Trump behaved, then started interrupting and talking over Wallace, which made it difficult, if not impossible for the audience to understand
Viewers heard largely restatements of views well known, including Trump favors repeal of Roe v Wade, HRC does not.
A supposed discussion of immigration soon descended into views on Putin. during which Trump said he was NOT in favor of more nuclear nations, which may be a change in position.
On the economy both had tax plans which different groups of economists say are better.  And Clinton said her tax plan would not add one penny to the national debt which I very seriously doubt.
Trump laid into HRC for how the Clinton Foundation operated, a “pay for play” when she was Sec. of State, and she fired back about its many global good works, and that several probes had found no proof of his charges.
The BIG event of this brawl, according to most analysts was The Donald saying he would not promise to accept the results until election night...while VP Pence has said the opposite. Frankly, I'm
with Trump on this. He should wait. In 1886 we DID HAVE a rigged election, in 1960 there is evidence that skullduggery in Illinois, if caught, would have elected Nixon, but he chose not to challenge.  (AS for Bush v Gore, we wuz robbed!)
On foreign hot spots, the moderator's next topic, Trump claimed ISIS fighters have left Mosul, because the Obama government told them ahead of time we would attack that city, and that “Aleppo has fallen." HRC disagreed.
On entitlements, Trump would change much in the present plan (as Sen. Paul would have through privatization) while Clinton promised not to change benefits.  Take your choice,
Wallace said no closing statements had been agreed on, and asked each to say why they should be elected. HRC said her election would make us “stronger together”, and Trump said his would “Make America great again. Uh huh.
So the debates end for another season...and I hope the Committee on Presidential Debates has taken note of a lot of changes that need to be made. Frankly, one moderator seems best, maybe 2, and I would let them control the mike switches on both—that should end the incessant interruptions!
To paraphrase Gilbert & Sullivan, "These debates have been long; ditto ditto this song; but thank goodness they're both of them over!”
I'm just sayin'

Tuesday, October 11, 2016


HRC didn’t so much as win the 2nd debate as The Donald lost it.

After threatening to make Bill Clinton’s affairs a major deal, even bringing a few of his female accusers there for a last minute media event, he only lightly touched on that issue...and also only once went after Hillary on her e-mail issue, where she is vulnerable.

But that trigger one of the 2 Donald highlights...a threat that if elected he would name a special prosecutor in an attempt to “put you in jail.’  (This may not be legal, and as one critic remarked, would make us a "banana republic.”)

Later, out of the clear blue air he charged “you have hate in your heart.”

These two instances maybe are what led the Washington Post to call this debate “dark and  nasty” and led CBS’s veteran Bob Schieffer to say it was the “most disgusting” debate he had seen in 40 years of campaign coverage.

Trump also hit the coal issue, where HRC is weak, saying there was such a thing as “clean coal” (though the industry has done little to advance it), that he had a plan to put miners back to work (not spelled out) and we had “coal for a thousand years” (though the best estimate is only one-quarter of that.)

He continued to deny his support for the Iraq war, in the face of mounting evidence that he did.

Someday  critics will begin calling this approach what it is...not  “doubling down,” but The Big Lie of Josef Goebbels.

Perhaps the most important critique of the debate came when his disagreements with running mate Mike Pence surfaced, when GOP Speaker Paul Ryan said he would not vote for Trump…and when that wily old Kentucky politician, Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell, refused in Danville and Lexington talks Monday even to comment on the debate.

The election of HRC is by no means assured, but it took a big step ahead Sunday night, courtesy of Donald J. Trump.

I'm just sayin'...

Wednesday, October 5, 2016


The veep debate was not what a lot of us expected.

Dem. Tim Kaine, largely praised as a gentle politician who easily worked both sides of the aisle with respect, came out early—swinging and often interrupting—to his detriment. I had not expected a student of the Joe Biden school of debate. Kaine calmed down later, but the damage was done.

The GOP’s Pence didn’t let this get under his skin—and faced with a horrible task: defending many of Trump’s indefensible positions—appeared largely calm. Dare I say he appeared (vice) presidential? As one of my fave analyst, PBS’ Mark Shields said; "don’t tell the top of the ticket.”

Pence also made one strategic point..he mentioned the “war on coal” five times. This may resonate in some key states that have coal mines, including Virginia, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Indiana. While he also attacked HRC, justifiably, for possible conflicts of interest between her roles as Sec. of State and as an official of the Clinton Foundation, he didn’t hit her but once on her e-mail server issues.

Kaine consistently asked Pence to justify Trump’s many lies and distortions, which Pence tried to do, but in many cases could not—the facts are against them. When Kaine calmed down, he made a few good points and consistently raked The Donald over the coals for his tax return problems, of which there are many.  Pence wiggled, but the truth is out there.

The moderator, Elaine Quijano of CBS, was simply not up to the task of keeping order, though she did have some good questions.

I would vote a split decisions, with a nod towards Kaine on substance and debate points, and a nod towards Pence for being calm, cool and vice-presidential.

But why do I sweat any decision….the Republican National Committee inadvertently sent out a news release 90 minutes before the debate started declaring Pence the winner.

I'm just sayin'...

Tuesday, September 27, 2016


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” 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, 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


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


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


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'...