Monday, December 20, 2010

How about a little justice, Judge?

I do not believe in the death penalty..not even for an horrendous criminal, such as Cecil New..but that is not my subject today.

New pled guilty in Louisville to the kidnapping, sexual assault, and murder of a 4 year old boy. Judge Judith McDonald-Burkman sentenced him to life in prison, calling it even harsher than the death penalty..and issuing a thinly disguised belief, if not an outright challenge, for "prison justice" to do what she decided not to do.

As reported by the Courier-Journal, Judge McDonald-Burkman said.."He will fear for his life every day"...surrounded by "bigger, meaner men who have nothing to lose." And, she added.."Living outside of death row, in general prison population, in fear of prison justice every day is a hell more suited to you, Mr. New, than living under the protective guise of death row."

Of course, "prison" justice is not justice..and the state corrections commissioner got the judge's drift, issuing a statement that the department "in no way condones any type of inmate retaliation or vigilante justice."

But that is exactly what I suspect we will soon get..those "bigger, meaner men" don't like other men who prey on little boys. So stand by for New's murder in prison, with the likelihood no one will ever be convicted of his murder, plus extra expenses to taxpayers from this judge's extraordinary comments.

New's life term is justice for the little boy he killed, but in suggesting, maybe even urging "prison justice" for him makes a mockery of our judicial system. If New is killed in prison, can this judge be charged with being an accessory before the fact???

I'm just sayin'.....

Monday, December 13, 2010

Bah! Humbug!

"On the first day of Christmas,
The advertising's there, with
Newspaper ads, billboards too,
Business Christmas cards,
And commercials on a pear tree."

Just a sample of Stan Freberg's glorious satire of the Christmas Commercial Season from his inspired "Green Christmas" song of 1958..a song some radio stations refused to play, and some advertisers refused to pay if their spots ran within five minutes of the song's broadcast.

(In another life, working as both radio dj and newsman, I made sure I played the song on the station where I worked.)

When I came to WKYT and did commentaries for them, I tracked how early Christmas decorations appeared in Lexington stores. One year it was on Sept 10th.

Freberg's satire is set in a fictional advertising agency, headed by a certain Mr. Scrooge, who urges all his clients to take advantage of the season. In a dated reference, he applauds a client's "magazine ads showing cartons of your cigarettes peeking out of the top of Santa's sack." This year we've gone that one better an eager aide responds: "we have him smoking one."

Soon a chorus breaks in:

"Deck the halls with advertising,
Tis the time for merchandising,
Profit never needs a reason,
Get the money, it's the season."

And a little later:

"We wish you a Merry Christmas,
We wish you a Merry Christmas,
We wish you a Merry Christmas,
And please buy our beer."

(By the way, am I the only one who thinks it incongruous, to put it mildly, that there are Salvation Army kettles outside liquor stores?)

When one small client objects...guy named Bob Cratchet..urging the rest to "remember..whose birthday we're celebrating", Scrooge replies.."Don't get me wrong. The story of Christmas, in it's simplicity, is a good's just that we know a good thing when we see it."

If you truly want to see a "good thing", buy the Courier-Journal on December 24th. For years that paper has run Hugh Haynie's award winning cartoon about the true meaning of this season. I hope the paper won't let me down this year; we need his approach more than ever, especially when my Sunday paper contained an ad for one of the "hot" gifts for 8 year olds, at a mere $130.

Television deserves special mention for driving parents batty, for causing repeated gift requests from small fry for the latest "hot" toy, but let it be noted, as a recent Washington Post story put also repeats "A Charlie Brown Christmas", whose corporate sponsors never balked at including Biblical passages. The story quotes producers that "Linus' reading from the Book of Luke...(is) ..the most magical two minutes in all of tv animation."

I just may be slightly biased. Including great aunts and cousins, four members of my family were born on December 25..including myself.

On their behalf, and my own..and especially His, may I wish you the true Joy of this Christmas season, which does not come wrapped in colored paper and ribbons, but in the heart.

I'm just sayin'....

Monday, December 6, 2010

Timing is everything..and it's not the time!

I admire Mitch Barnhart, think he's been a good Athletics Director for the University of Kentucky. He's made some good calls..bringing in Coach Calipari, standing behind Coach Brooks when it was not popular, elevating Coach Phillips, and he's entitled to a major boo-boo...Billy G.

But this is not the time to expand Commonwealth Stadium, and not just because of the economy. A great stadium does not produce a great football team; it goes the other way. Do what we need to elevate our team's stature in the SEC and then the time may be ripe for a stadium expansion.

The idea he has for a new downtown arena replacing Rupp is even worse. Rupp may well need some tweaking and modernizing...probably does. But a new arena? Meadow Muffins! (especially when the real idea is, let's face it, to add sky boxes---and not for all those true Cat fans who have a hard time affording regular tickets.)

Mayor Newberry's administration did the right thing in calling off this idea. And I don't care a fig for the oft-stated UK rationale that the athletic department foots most of the bill, or the Good Old Boy Donors will. UK needs other things far more: increased faculty salaries, repairs and maintenance, labs, student aid, etc.

(And as a Lexington citizen, and UK sports supporter, I neither want added taxes for any part of a new arena, nor the disruption any such construction must inevitably cause. Lexington needs other things far more: improved sewers, better traffic flow, a planned tree program, etc.)

So, Mr. Barnhart, No Thanks. Not now. Not even if the economy improves (which, barring a new war or similar disaster, it time) Not even when we win the Final Four, which we time.

Timing is often everything...or a big part of everything...and the time is just not now for expanding Commonwealth Stadium or a new downtown arena.

Go Cats!