Monday, August 30, 2010

America Is Not a Christian Nation!

Nor is it a Protestant nation, and it is especially not a Southern Baptist nation.

It IS a religious nation, and those two thoughts are not contrary ones.

Our Founding Fathers were overwhelmingly Christian (but not all, Jefferson was not, for one example.) They were, perhaps even more so, students of history. They had seen, first- hand, the religious wars of Europe, the bigotry, the persecutions, the killings, the holocausts of their day; and they wanted no part of it. They knew few things unite people so much as religion, or divide them.

So they drew up a nation that was (1) religious; (2) devoid of any "state religion"--the real problem many of them saw in Europe--and (3) open to the free exercise of all religions, including those whose "religion" was no religion, the disbelievers, the unbelievers. They, too, were to have the freedom to "practice" or not, and never to be coerced by the power of the state.

Recent renewed attempts by some of our county officials to post in public places (whether at taxpayer expense or not is irrelevant) the Ten Commandments reminds me, it's an election year, and the pandering of some officials for votes never ceases. And that they do not understand American history.

You cannot fight for the freedom of a Methodist to worship, and deny it to a Jew. You cannot believe Mormons have the right to establish a Temple in your town--one of America’s most persecuted minorities throughout our history, and deny the right of Muslims to do the same. That's simply not fair, not right, not American.

Court records of many Kentucky cases make clear county officials wanted to post, first at public expense, the Christian ten commandments on public property in order to promote religion; their religion. The courts struck this approach down. Then, they got devious, surrounding the Ten Cs with other religions' words (including the Ba'hai!), and history, and all manner of nonsense to try to disguise their real intent. In some places, this, unfortunately, worked.

But make no mistake, the temporary success in any of these places, and the totally unwarranted expense to the taxpayers of all faiths, is a setback along the road toward true Freedom...and it is Freedom that is America's legacy to the world, not economics, or security. It's Freedom to worship or not without the state looking over your shoulder.

“I’m just sayin’”…

Monday, August 23, 2010

Company's Comin' And Our "Place" Is A Mess!

We've been told this for months and our downtown traffic mess certainly reflects it. But besides the big projects now on the clock before the start of the World Equestrian Games, may I suggest some little ones Lexington and private groups ought to do to "hep", sorry, "help" our forthcoming tourist stream?

One: Ask every restaurant to do what many do abroad--sometimes required by law; post a current copy of their menu, with prices, OUTSIDE the establishment. It’s so simple in France to check this to determine if you want to enter. Many have them displayed in small, glass-front, wooden cabinets, lighted at night. Simple, effective, helpful. Easy to change between lunch and dinner menus if required, also.

Two: For restaurants, department stores, gift shops, etc--places that cater to tourists--have signs posted in a front window or doorway, (somewhere that can be seen easily and quickly), listing the languages spoken by store personnel. I took some French friends to Sears a few years ago, where we were waited on by a saleslady whose French was quite good, and while it wasn't needed, my guests spoke excellent English. It made for a more delightful shopping experience.

So, let's get those signs; “Habla Espanol”, "Parlez-Vous francais", "Sprechen sie deutsch", etc. printed and displayed.

Three: We need at least two large, double-sided maps; I'm talking 4x5', 5x7' etc. to "hep" our guests find their way around downtown and nearby environs. I've used these maps in many a village and city abroad and they are helpful.

For example, put one at Thoroughbred Park near the Herald-Leader. One side would show the area from there, west through the Library perhaps, while the back side would be a map of Ashland-Chevy Chase- and U.K. areas. Put a second in Triangle Park. One side maybe from that area east to the Library, so there is an overlap of our main downtown area. The other side could be South Hills and west to include the Lexington Cemetery. I know our city mapmakers can do this and have excellent ideas. It may not be too late.

And you know what's really good about all this? When WEG is over, all 3 ideas can, and should, remain, to help people visiting Lexington, whether they come from abroad, or closer to home.

Y'all come back now, you hear? And, we've made it easier for you.

“I’m Just Sayin’”

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Media Coverage of Steve Nunn Trial Should Be No Different Than Any Other

Hurray! Hurray! Steve Nunn's back in court.



No more 6 day beard, no more orange jail garb.

Now, let the Lexington TV stations , and the newspapers discard their past pictures and tapes of the "old" Nunn. They should use video, stills of the Nunn who most recently appeared in court; looking as men his age and status do when going to court.

I have long believed that "perp walks" and especially the use of file pix and tape of suspects who looked like the "old" Nunn continue to impress viewers and readers that this person is guilty. That is contrary to our long standing, basic, and absolutely essential theory of "presumed innocence."

As of today, Steve Nunn is innocent.

Let me write that again...Steve Nunn is innocent.

I hope our local media will agree, and we have seen the end of the unshaven, prison garb file stuff. I do realize that until the latest court appearance, our local media only had that type of picture to use. But no more. From now on, if they truly believe in the "presumption of innocence" they will strive to use the file pix of the "new" Nunn, the "normal" Nunn, the "regular" Nunn, and not prejudice the public, his "peers" from whom his jury must be drawn, before his case goes to trial.

Would you want any less if you were that person on trial?

“I’m just sayin’”…

Monday, August 16, 2010

NASCAR, $150 Million? Probably Not!

As a former NASCAR race broadcaster, I did the Darlington races for a dozen years "back in the day", I am delighted to see NASCAR coming to Kentucky, but let's hold off on all those rosy projections of its economic impact; as in the Guv's prediction the races will bring in $150 million to the state.

First, as usual, most news media members swallowed this whole. No questions like "where did you get that figure, governor? How did you arrive at $150 million? Or was that $105 and a typo got into the news release?" Might as well have been.

Economic projections, especially these days, have a nice ring (as in cash register ring). We just don’t want any more bad news. And, as most public officials know, it is very seldom they are called to account for their optimism. Indeed, the media almost never goes back and does any follow up stories to see just how things turned out.

(This may change in Lexington if, as I fear, we are going to be way off our WEG projections, but I am not holding my breath; except for the Herald-Leader, which has a remarkable record of doing more with less these past few years.)

And it was the paper's sports guy, Mark Story who raised the only questions I've seen. While the paper's straight news report said the guv hung the $150 million price tag on what the event might mean to Northern Ky., Story's Q&A quoted the guv as saying "speedway officials" made that projection. The guv may be hung with it, though if he repeats it on the campaign trail; as , if I were a betting man, I would bet he will.

But Story pointed out a recent study in Atlanta, a much bigger metro area, showed a $75 million impact on the long established track there.

Let the racers come, and race safely; let the crowds come, and spend; let the jobs come, and stay, and let the media do its job, by doing a proper follow-up report after the inaugural races are held.

And thank you, Jerry Carroll, (the guy who started all this), and whose vision has resulted in the NASCAR announcement; and who plodded doggedly on after the PTB (powers-that-be) at NASCAR screwed Carroll and Kentucky for years; fighting the track in many ways. Let's not forget that as we welcome the descendants of those Carolina moonshine runners to our Commonwealth. It will work; just not $150 million’s worth.

I’m Just Sayin’….

Price Gouging--Kentucky Style

"Welcome tourists to Kentucky, our friendly Commonwealth is happy you came. Oh, by the way, your hotel room's normal rate has been doubled, tickets to UK games have tripled for the very best seats, and a house for the night for the WEG might run you a mere $5,000..but y'all come back, hear!"

Surely they will, and don't call me Shirley.

We have a law now preventing price gouging in certain limited situations; in weather emergencies primarily. Stores can't just keep on raising prices for food, gasoline, generators, emergency supplies and the like. The attorney general is responsible for investigating and charging offenders.

But it's much too limited, as almost everyone must have thought reading a recent news story that a place for the night at the WEG might cost up to 5 grand. Surely this offends every Kentuckian’s sense of fair play; besides being economically counterproductive. If you want people to come back and visit us often, that's not the way to do it.

We let hotels in Louisville triple rates for the Derby; why? It's the same room as the week before and week after. Why? Because they can, and there's no law to prevent it. But there should be, and we ought to ask A/G Jack Conway if he would support broadening the current law to include these examples, as well as the candidates next year for his job.

To those of you unrepentant capitalists who feel this is the law of supply and demand in action, meadow muffins! Can you say Greed? I knew you could, and greed is not good. Competition regulates capitalism, not greed. In the long run, unrestrained greed will ruin capitalism.

Let's get our price gouging law updated, and, oh yes, drop those 500 best UK basketball seats back to something affordable by Joe Six-Pack.

I’m Just Sayin’….

Fancy Farm Needs to Change!

Let me begin by confessing that I have never been to Fancy Farm. When I was News Director of WKYT-TV, I began our extensive coverage of this annual event in a small Western Ky. Town; chartered planes, worked out joint coverage with the Herald-Leader and others, sent off reporters and photogs, but never went myself.

I thought it was an important news event, and my viewers needed to know
about this traditional kickoff to the fall campaign. I still do, but I never went.

Over the years, Fancy Farm has been around for more than a century, such events change. If you believe, as I do, that civic issues need civil discussion, you have to be worried about Fancy Farm. Ever since busloads of hecklers started report has it we have our senior Senator to thank for this change... the coverage I see and read about Fancy Farm often talks about attempts to drown out the speaker. This is neither fair, nor democratic, nor right, nor what Fancy Farm should be about.

Let's kickoff our fall election campaign by starting with a thorough
discussion of the issues. There's far too little on the broadcast media
today, so we need all we can get. Let the oratory be as hot as the food and weather, but let the speakers be heard...all of them, on all sides of the issues.

Now that I'm retired I may go to the Farm someday, but not if the heckling continues as it has the past few years. Why drive all the way across state even for good barbeque, in weather often steamy, if you can’t hear the speakers? And aren’t people who may be our next governor, or senator, due this courtesy?

Let the sponsoring church, which strained at a gnat and swallowed a camel, in censoring "bitch", get its priorities straight. It's a great
Tradition, and could be even greater, with civil discourse.

I’m Just Sayin’….