Monday, October 25, 2010

Religion and Politics Don't Mix Well-Nor Should They

A few thoughts about Religion in our Politics:

In 1960 in West Virginia, I covered one of the most important presidential primaries in our history, that of John F. Kennedy versus Hubert Humphrey; the "primary that made a president" as some have dubbed it. For in a state that was at that time 95% Protestant, the Catholic Kennedy won overwhelmingly.

Some thought that had put the issue of religious intolerance to rest; it hadn't, but it helped. JFK fought religious discrimination in almost every primary after that, but its importance as a campaign issue was diminishing. His eloquent speech to the Greater Houston Ministerial Association was replayed throughout the nation during his fall campaign.

Here's an excerpt, and a point he made being overlooked today..."I believe in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute; where no Catholic prelate would tell the President--should he be Catholic--how to act, and NO PROTESTANT MINISTER WOULD TELL HIS PARISHIONERS FOR WHOM TO VOTE.."

Ironically, in the years since, we have grown more tolerant of Catholic candidates; there have been a slew for President after all, with hardly an outcry from anyone....but we have had a slew and a half of Protestant ministers telling their parishioners how to vote; especially ministers from the religious right.

To me, this is just as intolerant as those who opposed JFK because some (quite wrongly) thought his Catholicism threatened our democracy.

Is religion important in a person's life? Of course it is. Should it matter in an election campaign? 99% of the time, I say no.

I am appalled by the extent and manner in which religion has been injected into our Senatorial campaign--by both sides. In the voting booth I will cast a vote on the issue stands both men have stated-- not "Paul believes in Aqua Buddha" or "Conway is challenging my faith."

In that way I hope to give this type of Religion In Politics another type of R.I.P.

I’m Just Sayin…..

Monday, October 18, 2010

A few thoughts now about the UK presidency.

A few thoughts now about the UK presidency.

One, I think Dr. Todd has made a good president, and am sorry he has decided to resign. I wish he could be persuaded to stay on.

Two, I do not favor hiring a search firm to assist the board of trustees in finding his replacement. Such firms often are a waste money, and fail to do their jobs properly, because some suspect they are "head-hunting" for other groups at the same time; a conflict of interest in my book.

Let's remember the fiasco of only a few years ago in the search for a new state Commissioner of Education--or whatever the exact title was then-- when the firm failed to do its job of checking applicants' past history, had to go back and search again, and I think, was later sued by the state for its miserable job performance. (Lexington had similar problems finding a new library head.)

Now, each firm shouldn't necessarily be judged by that bad one but...

Three, I think members of the board, Dr. Todd himself, and top administration officials ought to know who a half dozen or so of the best candidates are already, without the use and expense of such a search firm. That, in my opinion, is part of their job.

Besides, I'll make the search a quick one.

Hire back Dr. David Roselle.

At least on an interim basis to give the search extra time, if not permanently. Now, I seriously doubt that he would take the job, given the way he was treated by the the state government and UK when he was president before, but he certainly earned my respect--and went right out of UK to the highest paid university presidency in the nation in a much bigger state, Delaware.

He's retired now, but only 70 or so (the "new 50.") Probably very happy in his new life, but some of us can dream.

The rest of the university family may put their faith in a "national search firm", but I am not one of them.

"I'm just sayin"

Monday, October 11, 2010

Negative Ads Do & Don't Work

"Negative ads DON'T work": political consultant A.

Negative ads DO work": political consultant B.

Both are right--unfortunately.

Negative ads, those that attack an opponent's views, rather than putting your own views forward, predominate in the 2 major campaigns in this area: Conway versus Paul, Barr versus Chandler; to my intense regret. These guys should know better, and we voters certainly deserve better.

But since both are taking the negative ad approach--and one will win--ergo, for one candidate, negative ads work (and for the other, they don't). Drat!

May I make a modest proposal?

In future races, after the primary, can the candidates get together, perhaps with the help of an objective third party, such as the League of Women Voters, and agree on a few major issues that all candidates should address--issues the voters have a right to know where the candidates stand. Let Rand Paul pick 3 issues which Jack Conway MUST answer in their debates, and in the ads Conway runs on tv. Conversely, let Jack Conway pick 3 other issues which Rand Paul MUST answer in his ads and debates. Things such as: cap and trade, Bush tax cuts, the war in Afghanistan, health care, extending the Patriot Act, and so on. If Paul doesnt like Conway's answer on tax cuts, he can state his own position in a reply ad.

This does not completely rule out negative ads, darn it, but at least we will know where they stand on important issues, and not just in ads that attack the other.

Who knows? Maybe we will learn that "positive ads work!"

I'm Just Sayin'

Monday, October 4, 2010

Danger Will Robinson! Danger Coach Cal!

OK: the skinny lady has sung and the NCAA says it won't investigate the Eric Bledsoe case.

Lucky us; no telling what they might have found.

The one official probe into his Birmingham grades was unable to prove problems..emphasis on "prove." Grades were changed, and the teacher asserted his right not to say why. What little he did say the probe found "not credible." Another principal said he would "go to my grave" without answering other pertinent questions. Grade books, which by law were to be kept for there years, were missing. (In fairness the school where they were kept was closed and things do happen when major closing like that happen, things just aren't kept.)

So, those who hate the Cats can say, "see, we told you!" with justification. And Cat fans can say "Nothing was proven", with equal justification.

But this entire "one and done" approach by Coach Cal bothers me because that approach increases the possibility of things like the Eric Bledose case happening. When you're in-and-out in a hurry (in UK, out NBA) someone is always interested in cutting corners to make quick cash, knowing that the odds are as fully exemplified in Eric's case..the infractions won't be caught in time.

Ah, time.

Cat fans want another Final Four championship and many have embraced Coach Cal's approach as a way to win it. He's obviously a great coach; he also holds the record for the only coach to have two Final Four appearances wiped from the record books due to player ineligibility.

What irony it would be if UK wins some future Final Four, only to have the NCAA forfeit our win because some "one and done" player's grade books were found, and oh boy, what they showed!

Surely the NCAA wouldn't forfeit the championship game. (Surely they wouldn't forfeit the Heisman trophy; surely.)

Surely, the NCAA wouldn't "spring" for eliminating UK from that "field."


"I'm Just Sayin'"...