Monday, January 31, 2011

Money talks...and often yells.

As the legislature begins again this week, let us sing the praises of 39 people who are whole-heartedly supporting good government--through their contributions to the gubernatorial campaigns of Steve Beshear, Democrat, and David Williams, Republican.

That is their right, even if all but 5 live outside Kentucky.

That is their right even if all 39 gave the same amount to BOTH Beshear and Williams. (Bi-partisan, you say; civic minded, you say; ..ah, but wait...)

That is their right even if it appears that all 39 are members of, or have strong ties to the family that owns 124 check cashing outlets throughout Kentucky--more than any other firm.

All of this came out in a recent story in the Courier-Journal, which reminds us the highest paid lobbyist before the legislature is registered as a lobbyist for the check cashing industry..and that in his pre-governor days, Mr. Beshear was also a lobbyist for that industry.

During his time--as lobbyist and governor--bills before the legislature would cap the annual rate of interest these firms may charge at 36%. (Some loans currently carry interest rates as high as 400%!!) None of these bills has ever passed. In part I assume because the industry and its lobbyists appear before the legislature, and with a straight face, tell them they cannot make a living with a measely 36% cap. (And with a straight face, a majority of legislators believe them.)

Or maybe's its those good government contributions to candidates Beshear and Williams..and I suspect to other members of the General Assembly,too, though I do not have those records before me.

To be fair, Governor Beshear says he supports the 36% cap, now. Senate President Williams hasn't made a final decision.

Were I a betting man, I would bet the 36% cap doesn't get through this time either.

If so, then we citizens..all of us, not just those who are forced sometimes to take out these exorbitant loans..all of us should do some yelling.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Does anyone on Lexington TV know what an adverb is?

You know, what we were supposed to have learned in high school..generally, a part of speech that modifies a verb. As opposed to an adjective, a part of speech that generally modifies a subject or noun.

As in..Lexington lady anchor.."it's snowing heavy, so be sure to drive slow."

Or, weathercaster (and field reporter also).."The snows came quick."

I cringe. You should too..and let the stations know you don't like people who are supposed to be professionals in their use of the English language making such basic mistakes. It should be..."snowing slowLY"..."came quickLY."

English is a difficult language; we are all darn lucky we were born into it..and we should speak it properly, especially those who employ it in their profession. As my old college English teacher, Prof. Henry 'iggins told me.."we are the inheritors of the language of Milton, Chaucer, and Shakespeare...use it correctly."

Local stations don't seem concerned with the poor use of English by their staffs. It isn't that they haven't been told; I've e-mailed all three, probably worn my welcome out...since they almost never reply.

I would like to think the local news directors and managers know better, but after years of bad grammar on the air, I am truly not certain. Maybe Coach Cal can get away with "we got beat", but sports reporters/anchors shouldn't...even if sports---in all media---gets more lattitude than it should for slang and the vernacular.

In this university city, I would like to think we have an audience that knows better, and cares. If you feel that way, please let the stations know. Call the News Director or Station Manager.

"Like I said" (another fave but incorrect phrase on local TV)'s true bad!

I'm just sayin'...

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Rand Paul doesn't get it!

Rand Paul doesn't get it!

And he isn't alone among Kentucky and federal officials.

After the tragic shootings in Arizona he issued the oft heard response..guns don't kill people, people kill people. Wrong. Wrong. WRONG!

People with guns kill people.

It takes both..people (deranged or "normal"), and guns (single shot .22s or machine guns Uzis and AK47s.) to kill others...and the problem must be attacked on both levels.

People are the harder problem..but after Virginia Tech, and the LIRR shooting, and maybe even Columbine, when are we going to insist that a mentally unstable person's right to privacy may be overbalanced by society's right to keep many innocent people from being killed? Laws need to be in place to require mental health reporting to the appropriate agencies, without fear of legal liability.

30 people would be alive in Virginia if that state had such a law, and enforced it. It's too early for a definitive answer in Arizona, but there is information that would support a similar belief.

Guns shouldn't be that difficult..except politically. It is possible to support the Second Amendment (I do, but my reading is very different from the Supreme Court majority) and still see that certain practical things can be done. Legally, people can't possess silencers and machine guns. Registration of handguns has been upheld for gun dealers (who also must be registered under the law). My brother is one of them.

When will Kentucky, and America, fix the most glaring loophole..allowing gun shows to sell guns without any restrictions? What can not be sold in a gun store without records and a background check, gets sold without any restrictions if that store moves to a booth at a gun show. There is neither logic nor sense here.

And didn't I just see a news report that Kentucky provides the third highest number of guns used by criminals in other states, including Mexican drug lords?
Shame on us! There is innocent blood on our hands.

How many more tragedies must take place before we Kentuckians do our part and fix these things?? How many more Christina Green's must die til Rand Paul, Kentucky Legislators, and the NRA get it?

Monday, January 10, 2011

"Best of 2010" and other Fables

Don't believe all those lists of the "Best of 2010" that appear in many media.

What truly uspets me are those lists that purport to be objective, as complied by media members for the past year--such as the AP's Top Ten News Stories of last year. They aren't.

First, at the best they represent 11 months of the year, not all 12. Lists are sent out to editors for their vote too early, sometimes in November. When I asked AP years ago, why?, the answer was the necessity of having a feature to fill print space during the last week of December, one of the slowest news periods each year. Newspapers wanted a feature then.

OK, I said, if you must, at least be accurate, call it the Top Ten News Stories of the First Eleven months of Last Year. That fell on deaf ears.

Gotta have time to compile, they said. You editors are slow to vote (true); we need a month to get the mail ballots back in, and write the story based on them.
That never changed, even as e-mail replaced mailed ballots; although I did notice that some years, when there was a major story that happened late (Fidel Castro taking over in Cuba the end of December was one), AP somehow found a way to get that story in, without mailed ballots or waiting. That happened several times, but the basic system wasn't changed and the list still appeared for the world, US, or Kentucky, before the year was over.

If the news media can't be accurate, who can you trust? Here, the news media, already under attack, is deliberately, knowingly being inaccurate. It needs to stop..and it would be so easy these days to do an accurate, full 12 months listing of the Top Ten News Stories, ready for printing and airing early in the new year.

For any list you see, read, or hear that claims to be the "Best of.." or "Top Ten.." of that year..issued before the year is over..know that it was produced by a flawed system, even when it may not claim to be objective. And that includes Barbara Walters' "Ten Most Fascinating.." and the "Top Ten TV well as the "Top News Stories of the Year."

I'm just sayin'...

Monday, January 3, 2011

In Lexington, price sells....gasoline!

Last week, Lexington saw a sudden 20 cent jump in gasoline prices, especially at the "discounters", who are supposed to have the lowest prices. I heard one national explanation for why, but it didn't make sense to me.

And what makes less "cents" is this:

In capitalism, which I support, competition is the regulator. And competition is on three major things: service, quality, price. When was the last time you got service at a service station? And many reports agree, except for minor additives, all gasoline is the same. Most of us gave up brand loyalty years ago; we buy what is the lowest price.

As I was out one morning, I observed the "discounters" at $3 a gallon. But a "major" brand was at $2.85 that morning. By afternoon it had crept up to $3. I watched a tv reporter that evening, in front of a gas station which has just raised its price to $3.

So where was price competition? Why wouldn't various stations, who could have sold gas at less than $3 not do so, to attract business? That's the classical theory of capitalism. Unfortunately, Gordon Gekko has rewritten that theory...Greed is not only good, it appears to be required by all the oil firms, discounters or majors, small or large, mom & pop stores (what very few remain) or chain.

For this, you and I suffer--needlessly. We do need laws to protect us against such greed. The attorney-general should investigate last week's price gouging, and if he doesn't have the powers to do so, should ask the legislature for them.

Congress needs to look into this as well.

Years ago a top oil industry expert said.."If anyone ever figures out how gasoline is priced, someone's going to jail."

That time is long Kentucky and in our nation.

I'm just sayin'...