Monday, December 31, 2012


Figures at the end  of 2012 indicate 295 Americans died in Afghanistan, which is down from the year before..with our troop deaths since 2001 now totaling another war we fought based on (1) bad information, or (2) deliberate policy mistakes in DC...or both.
Meanwhile, so-called "insider"  attacks in 2012 went 65 deaths from 45 the year before. These are attacks from Afghan "friends" on U-S/NATO troops. Some friends. Some "ally!"
Figures aren't yet available, if they ever will be,. but indications are: drone attacks, in most cases illegal violations of international law, went did deaths of innocent Afghan civilians, including many children. The U-S just can't seem to find a way to stop this "collateral damage", one of the most heinous phrases in all of human language.
There is no justification for remaining there. We should pull out as fast as transport can be arranged..saving our troops lives, saving innocent civilian lives, and saving over $100 Billions a year in either taxes..or Chinese borrowings (it's the same thing).
Much of the fiscal cliff would not have happened had BOTH parties had any guts in 2001..turning down one more wrong war, one more bad fiscal decision (the first time in American history taxes went down, not up, in wartime)..
 May we start 2013 on a note of fiscal sanity...get out of Afghanistan NOW..and plow the savings into improvements at home..and take the pledge..No more wars when we don't know what we're doing..(as in Iraq)..and maybe hold this recent history before us when the DC hotheads talk about new wars with: North Korea, Syria, Somalia, Iran..we have been here before..and we should have learned!
I'm just sayin'...

Monday, December 17, 2012


Have we forgotten the ten year period when making new assault rifles was banned, and strict rules were placed on their sale and use?  It worked, limited though it may have been. The ban was passed under President Clinton and extended into Bush 2, ending in '04 when a GOP Congress refused to extend it.  For shame, as Jim Brady told his fellow Republicans.

Hunters and "sportsmen" do not need assault rifles to kill deer, bear, rabbits,  pheasants, foxes and the like.  Perfectly ordinary rifles and shotguns will do thank you. Assault rifles are civilian versions of military weapons..and that's where they the hands of our military and police..not in every home.

So first, we need to reinstate the ban on assault weapons--the weapons of choice of Columbine, Aurora, Virginia Tech, and Newtown.

Second, we need to end the gun show loophole. It is totally unfair to legal arms dealers (of which there are more in America than there are McDonald's!!!) It allows sellers at shows to by-pass the FBI check and other rules required if you buy the exact same weapon from a brick-and-mortar shop.  Totally unfair to legit businesses; are you listening GOP? (Let's ask Andy Barr where he stands on this unfair business situation!)

If we can pass these two basic laws, we can break the NRA stranglehold, much as Grover Norquist's ill-fated tax pledge is shriveling up. We might even get meaningful mental health programs designed to try to spot the potential mass killer early.

Remember, not even the Supreme Court has said you have a right to own machine guns (though some assault rifles come very close..) or bazookas. Even the Second Amendment has its limitations.

But our anguish after Sandy Hook should not be limited..nor our determination to do something.

It can be done because it has been done! 

I'm just sayin'...

Tuesday, December 4, 2012


First, this "cliff" mess is all our fault..and by "our" I mean the 2 parties in DC and we citizens at home. I shall explain, but first:

Entitlements are much misunderstood.  You and I who worked, had money taken out of our paychecks and socked away by the government for our future use. The 2 main programs being Social Security and Medicare. It's a good system,  though many objected when introduced that they could invest their own funds better. Maybe. But the point is we are "entitled" to them because we EARNED them.  The government is not giving us something. It manages the programs, that's all...except when Congress takes money out of our 2 accounts to balance its budget, which it does frequently, and which is part of the problems with these 2 funds.

The budget is a statement of public policy...basically we should spend money here, not there. So when we decide to go to war, the most costly and inefficient of all human endeavors, we have decided to spend money on war and not schools, roads, health, etc. When we citizens let this type of budget policy be made we are both supporting the war and NOT supporting spending limited funds on schools, roads, health, etc.

I supported the senior Bush's war in Kuwait. You cannot let a powerful neighbor swallow up a smaller one, or the lessons Hitler taught us from Czechoslovakia on have been unlearned.

I did not support junior Bush's wars in Iraq  (what WMD???) or in Afghanistan (another intelligence failure..the Taliban had NO role in 9/11) Worse, for the first time in U-S history we CUT taxes in wartime. In all past wars we raised taxes to support the war effort. Not during these two wars and it was a monumental mistake.

Now, bring all these broad strokes together and you have...The Cliff!  And we can only blame..Bush, Obama, the GOP, the Dems, and above all..ourselves for putting up with 2 foolish wars and even more foolish policies to pay for them: cutting takes. Now, of course few want their taxes raised. Where were they to oppose the wars, at a $110 Billion per year cost???  (That's a lot of schools and roads or..ta da! cuts.)

Don't rely on "Washington" to get us away from the Cliff. Lexington and Stinking Creek and Owensboro and Salyersville go us into this mess...and must get us out. Tell your Congressman.

I'm just sayin'...

Monday, November 19, 2012


I hope you watched Ken Burns' "The Dust Bowl" on KET last night, and part 2 tonight...if not, catch the repeats to come later on. This is a little known weather catastrophe of the early '30's in the Midwest..though the East was not immune..and a tragedy almost entirely caused by man's errors.  (Today we are still debating man's role in global warming, though there is no debate there is global warming. Perhaps we have learned something from the Dust Bowl).
If you want to see a short version of Burns' four hour epic, you can find the 25 minute "Plow that Broke the Plains" on YouTube (with a great score by Virgil Thompson)---the best documentary on the Dust Bowl til now..and produced (for $6000!) by a young West Virginian, Pare Lorentz.  Well worth the time.
The Middle East is aflame as I write this, without knowing where we are heading. Maybe a land war. I do not understand Hamas's reason for starting all this by firing rockets into Israel. It knows it cannot win such an exchange, and another invasion by the best army in  the Middle East will have the same result..defeat for Hamas and needless victims on both sides.
There is no such thing as a "surgical air strike", be it bombs or rockets or drones. Innocents suffer as they have in Iraq,Yemen, Somalia, Sudan, Pakistan and Afghanistan..all those from U-S drones. One of the things I hold against President Obama is that he has drastically increased our use of drones...which violates every canon of international law, sovereignity, and the rule of law...making us prosecutor, judge and jury..all based on "intelligence" about "suspects." I hope the same intelligence minds that brought us the WMD fiasco in Iraq, where thousands died, aren't involved here.
Even if terrorist "suspects" are involved, there is a way to bring them to justice that follows our judicial traditions...not by dealing death from the skies which, inevitably means the killing of innocent others. There are pictures all over the internet of these innocents, which asks the question the current issue of "Counterpunch" asks..."Is this child dead enough for you?"
Remember these actions were taken by the Obama administration in our name and financed with our money! This was a topic I heard mentioned only once in the debates, when it should have been front and center in any foreign policy discussion.
Israel and Hamas will fare no better; parents and children will be killed on both sides as the drones watch and the rockets fall.  And don't believe those statistics about Iron Dome bringing down most rockets, and averting innocent deaths...(remember back to the Patriot misssle kill rate of a decade ago..highly exaggerated..said to be  90% when actually more nearly 25%).
As I write, frantic efforts are going on to avert expansion.
Blessed are the Peacemakers. May their tribe increase and succeed quickly so the world may have a true Thanksgiving.
I'm just sayin'...

Monday, November 12, 2012


One may take several lessons away from last week's elections..probably depending more on what you believed going in, than coming out.  Here are a few of my "lessons."

Statehouse Democrats tried hard to redistrict the Congressional races..and it did NOT work. See: Chandler, Ben (Remember the courts upheld these districts while throwing out the maps drawn for state races.) But it failed. The "safer" 6th district for the Dems went to the GOP. And some Jessamine County citizens are still to be represented, along with Owensboro, several hundred miles away, by a man who previously, if now, had little knowledge of the issues of importance to them.

But in January the House and Senate will come up with new districts and try to get court approval...if a challenge is filed. These maps will, as ever, be designed as "incumbent protection" districts, not true representation of local citizens.

Citizens everywhere should insist this job be taken out of the hands of the legislature, and given to a nonpartisan commission of poli-sci people, and geographers and population specialists--as  many states do...with the final maps subject to being overridden by an extra-ordinary legislative majority. Will Kentucky be that smart?  When race horses fly!

We MUST end the electoral college. One person, one vote--that's true democracy. It took 125 years to get U-S Senators to be elected by the's about time we extended this to our Chief Executive--just as some districts do surveyors and dog catchers.

Polls are getting better..the ones in advance..and exit polls are getting worse. I have asked the experts, googled and searched, and I still can not find an explanation of the margin of error they supposedly have. Several experts have told me they don't understand this either. We should end this invasion of our supposedly secret ballot.

Finally, may I express my absolute dee-light at Indiana's rejection of the GOP candidate for the know, the guy who defeated Sen Lugar in the primary, but later didn't understand rape?  Before coming here 37 years ago, I spent 9 years covering politics in the Hoosier state.  Dick Lugar is my idea of a great public servant.

Any of you who wish to sign my petition nominating ex-Senator Sam Nunn (D-Ga), and soon-to-be ex-Senator Richard Lugar (R-Ind) for the Nobel Peace Prize for their work in attempting to lock-up all the loose nukes and nuke material around the world, feel free.

I'm just sayin'...

Monday, November 5, 2012


My blog last week reported that Judge Will Scott was smearing his opponent in a state supreme court race, charging Judge Janet Stumbo was "soft on crime" when there were many reasons she could have ruled the way she did.

And I reported both had signed an agreement to keep the race civil, but there was probably no sanctions if either didn't.

My blog was hardly out when the Judicial Campaign Conduct Committee issued a news release saying both candidates had violated their agreement---Scott for false and misleading TV and newspaper ads, and Stumbo for a misleading radio ad.  Stumbo said she had stopped running the ad; Scott is still running his TV smears.

The committee is an independent, non partisan group of 16 interested citizens of both parties from all over the state. It has no powers to fine or sanction, only to point out to the public when pledges are violated, and to encourage judicial candidates to campaign with integrity.

Statehouse Democrats are running TV ads that are the absolute essence of "smear tactics" and similar to Judge Scott's. The ads oppose GOP candidates for the House, saying they opposed the "pill mill bill", so of course they must "support pushers!"

There are many reasons people oppose legislation. I have covered legislatures in six states over 20 years and have often seen motions to adjourn be controversial. I support House Bill 1, but I can understand several arguments against it..not one of which includes supporting drug pushers.

House Democrats should be ashamed.

This week all those ads will end; you voters get to end them 

 By the way, the US is not #1 but 138 out of 172 countries in voter turnout.  Please do your part to get us a higher ranking.

Monday, October 29, 2012


Of all the mean, negative, and utterly illogical campaign ads this season the current champion is the ad Judge Will Scott is running against Janet Stumbo.
Scott, the incumbent (and Republican in this NON-partisan race) and Stumbo (a Democrat in this NON-partisan race) have squared off before. Stumbo is seeking to regain her seat from the judicial district which encompasses Eastern counties.  She has the endorsement of the UMW, far from the political powerhouse it once was.
Both signed an agreement in early October to keep the race civil and in keeping with the high judicial office they seek. A great goal, with probably no sanctions whatsoever if either violate that agreement.
And Scott certainly has.
His ad implies..surprise..Stumbo is soft on crime. He cites several cases where Judge Stumbo's earlier decisions favored the criminal's position which was on appeal. Ergo, she MUST be "soft on crime."
Totally illogical.
Maybe the prosecution erred, maybe the defense wasn't properly presented, maybe the jury was tainted, maybe the judge made an error, maybe...maybe..all these things happen in lower court, which is why we have an appeals system to rectify mistakes and try to see that Justice is done.  I have no idea whether, judicially, Judge Stumbo was right or wrong in the decisions she issued..but to imply there was one and ONLY one reason for her decision..being "soft on crime" absurd.
This is the Kentucky version of the famous "Willie Horton" ad from the Bush-Dukakis presidential campaign  While Dukakis was governor of Massachusettes, Horton, a vicious murderer, serving a life term without parole, was given ten weekend furloughs under a hugely misguided program... signed into law by a previous Republican governor, and broadened by that state's supreme court. Dukakis supported the program, which included much more than murderers like Horton as a means of rehabilitation.
Horton didn't return from his last furlough, and committed a second vicious crime in another state, which convicted him and refused, properly, to send him back to Boston. When Dukakis won the Democratic nomination, Bush used the Horton case, alone in the ad, to smear Dukakis as "soft on crime"...overlooking the program's Republican sponsorship and a host of other factors.
It worked, and presumably Judge Scott hopes that approach will work here, again.
I have no dog in this hunt; I can't vote in this district. But I am appalled by this type of campaigning..which is hardly "judicial."
I'm just sayin'...

Monday, October 22, 2012

A Truly Simple Idea

"One person, one vote."

You and I should elect the President...but we don't-- due to that old Electoral College, a relic of the Constitution that even Jefferson  disparaged. Four times in our history the person who won the popular vote was NOT elected President, due to that "College";  the last time being our famous "hanging chad" year of 2000.

What to do?

Get rid of the college and insist that one Kentucky vote is worth one Ohio vote, no more, but no less.

Easier said than done. There's lots of rationale, mainly by lawyers, who say the use of the popular vote will produce multiple lawsuits---as if the present plan hasn't!  But if we truly believe in a representative democracy, we need to start the ball rolling to amend the Constitution...and Kentucky can play a role.

CBS Sunday Morning, the best news program on the air, reported on the "Maryland Plan", whereby states, by agreement, no amendment, would cast their electoral votes for the candidate who does get the most votes. The plan would go into effect when enough states sign up whose electoral votes equal 270, the number it takes to win. They are halfway there... and I would hope Kentucky's legislature would pass the enabling resolution needed in the next session. The latest poll shows 62% favor ending the College, including a majority in both parties.

Meanwhile, to learn more about our "Electoral Dysfunction" see the PBS program of that title, which KET, assisting the public's education, will air this Friday at 3am! (Thanks, KET.) Set your timers.

But do urge your local Kentucky representative to pass the Maryland plan. Only the future of the Republic rides on it.

For, as the Capitol Steps reminded us Sunday night (in a wonderful program brought to us  by WUKY-FM).."Don't blame us, you elected them!" 

If only we did.

I'm just sayin'...