Monday, January 30, 2012

And Now, The Big One!

If you are as unhappy as I am over the illegal shenanigans in Frankfort; where the Democratic House screwed some of its GOP members, all in the name of protecting Democratic incumbents, and the GOP Senate screwed some of its Democratic members, all in the name of politics---take heart.

People are upset. House Republicans have filed a lawsuit; in the Senate Fayette County Senator Kathy Stein, banished to north east Kentucky, may do the same. It's always hard to predict how such suits will turn out, but the state Constitution seems to give both a reasonable chance of success.

Please let your state senators and representatives, regardless of party, know of your displeasure; and that it doesn't have to be this way. Other states use bipartisan commissions to do the redistricting. It works there, and Kentucky should follow suit. A bill to do this may be introduced by Fayette Rep. Bill Farmer, possibly others; it's chance of passage is not good, but there is no chance unless all of us insist a change needs to be made.

But this state skirmish is but a warm-up for the BIG battle coming this fall. Right now you and I do NOT elect the President. "Electors" we vote for do, and the Electoral College constitutes the most corrupt and rotten of all political redistricting. Several times in our history candidates without a majority have become president thanks to this "college."

If you believe, as I do, that one Kentucky vote is just as good as one vote in Tennessee or Nevada, then you must believe that one California vote should be worth one Kentucky vote; no more, an no less. It's either "one person, one vote" or it isn't. There is no middle ground, and there is no super computer in all the world that can make votes equal through an Electoral College.

The "college" should be abolished and all of our votes made equal. There is no other way.

It will take an amendment to do this. Let's get started, before we witness, once again, hanging chads in Florida, incorrectly counted votes in Iowa, or a Supreme Court that wrote its own politics into its decision and made a loser President.

I'm just sayin'...

Monday, January 23, 2012


There is NO EXCUSE for the dirty, politics at its worse, mean-spirited legislative redistricting bill the Kentucky House recently sent the Senate.

There is NO EXCUSE for the dirty, politics at its worse, mean-spirited legislative redistricting bill the Kentucky Senate recently sent the House.

Both were "incumbent protection bills", with some incumbents, in both chambers, on the outs with their leadership being screwed; they and of course, the citizens they represent. Among the more egregious mistakes, totally planned by Sen. Pres. David Le Terrible, and acquiesced in by Georgetown Sen. Damon Thayer and the majority of the Senate, was giving Fayette County a senator for the rest of this year from 200 miles away in Henderson, while shifting longtime Fayette Senator Kathy Stein to Northeast Kentucky. Neither of the "shiftees" knows the territory they have willy-nilly inherited.

Do you begin to see the enormity of this contradiction of our theory of representative government?

There is NO EXCUSE for any member of the Fayette House and Senate delegation who voted for this bill--and I hope it comes back to haunt them in future elections.

There is NO EXCUSE for Governor Beshear to have signed this monstrosity. He could have vetoed it and he should have. His "excuse" was the need to have districts set by the filing deadline, Jan 31st. Meadow muffins! That deadline itself is another incumbent protection law, designed to force people to file locally long before they know what stands the incumbent takes on major legislation which comes up late in the session.

In fact, the governor was a member of the House when that deadline was in late March; where it should be. And the Jan. 31st deadline may have to be moved anyhow if the legislature can't agree on Congressional districts still not settled.

Since the current bill divides counties unnecessarily, in what appears to be a violation of Section 31 of the state constitution, there is NO EXCUSE for the Attorney-General not to challenge the redistricting law in court. He's supposed to represent all the people (and took an oath to uphold the Constitution), not just the few incumbent people in Frankfort.

There is, also, NO EXCUSE for you and I not to insist this affront of logic, justice, and our democratic traditions never be done again. We need, as other states do, a nonpartisan commission to draw these lines, subject to a straight up-or-down vote; as Congress does now on other hot potatoes.

Let's have no more excuses!

Monday, January 16, 2012


I truly believe that if Dr King had been allowed to live, America would be a different and better place today. I can't tell you how but there is no doubt in my mind that he, and his movement, would have helped all of us, and our country, to be better.

His was the most revolutionary of all messages-love your fellow man--a message spread by one of the most revolutionary men of all times: Jesus. Other prophets of such a message--Gandhi for one--also met an ironic end through violence.

I think Dr. King would have tried, had he lived, to spread his gospel, as Gandhi did, among the nations. Lord knows we need that today; when we have yet to learn the lessons of Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, and now Afghanistan. Having not learned, warmongers in both parties, are beating the drums,and sometimes not very softly, for a new war with Iran.

Iran hasn't helped matters with bellicose positions on Hormuz and nuclear policy.
But let's put the shoe on the other foot. If Iran had the bomb, and the U-S didn't, could any American leader not have a policy of getting our own bomb as quickly as possible? Why then do we proclaim that a sovereign state like Iran cannot do the same?

Wars in the four cases cited earlier have solved few problems. Why should we think a new war with Iran would? Knowledge is universal; the atomic genie IS out of the bottle and a new war would not put it back in.

If war can't solve our problems, and it can't, just delays them, then diplomacy must. The approach Dr. King urged on us throughout his too short life must be our new foreign policy, as well as our approach to many domestic problems.

"Can't we all get along?"

Dr. King, I think, would say we can and his urging us to observe the brotherhood of all peoples, at home and abroad, can, in time, give us a much better chance at peace than all the sabre rattling by any and all of the nuclear nations---whose numbers, no matter what we do, are just going to increase.

Armageddon can be avoided, and Dr. King has shown us the way.

I'm just sayin'...

Monday, January 9, 2012


For days my non-media friends have asked me,"why are you paying so much attention to a man who never won an election?"

To us, Gatewood Galbraith, who died suddenly last week, was "good copy." If you asked him for a comment, you got it; short, to the point, and almost always colorful. Not like his fellow lawyers, and certainly not like most of his fellow candidates. That endeared him to reporters, as was his willingness to expound on almost any issue. In my newsroom, he was known, with considerable affection, as Gatemouth.

Unfortunately he was too often linked to his early pro-hemp stand, though his views changed over the years. (Let me add there is a growing movement, even in Kentucky, to support an industrial form of hemp, as a legitimate business.) As a libertarian (whatever that is) he could, and often was, all over the map on issues; conservative on some, liberal on others, and just Gatewood on many more.

Beyond Gatewood, the 7 time candidate for governor and Congress and other offices, was a very able lawyer, and a charming, friendly, gregarious man. He was polite to the point of being courtly, almost always smiling, even as he delivered zingers to his opponents. He laughed a lot, smiled a lot, and always greeted you as if he had known you for years.

He gave money he didn't have to homeless people in downtown Lexington--and a pat on the back to encourage them to get off the streets and back into life. He brought doughnuts to firemen and inspiration to many. You didn't have to agree with him (I didn't very often) to know that here was a man who cared about life, about issues, about improving his state and nation.

Paraphrasing one story I saw, over all those years, Kentuckians couldn't give Gatewood their votes, so they gave him their love.

Hail and Farewell, Gatemouth! We shall not see your like upon this Kentucky stage again.

Monday, January 2, 2012


My journalistic friends know I put very little faith in polls--and the polling in Iowa demonstrates why.

Assuming each and every poll was accurate (a very large assumption) within their various stated limits, consider:

6 different candidates have led the polls, often 2 within the same week.

At various times there have been swings of 10-15% in a very short period of time.

Some polls did not even give us the Margin of Error (MOE) which I consider essential for any understanding of their accuracy. (CBS aired a poll with a 6% MOE. Ridiculous. This means a very small sample and a very large margin of error, so large it shouldn't have been used.)

In my own thinking a 4% MOE is as large as should be used. Here's why: Come the general election and a close race (and I have seen this in the past) Candidate A has 52%, Candidate B has 48% with a 4% MOE. This means: (1) a possible complete reversal. B could have 52%, A could have 48% and thus a completely UN-trustworthy poll. Thanks; just what we need. (2) and the actual spread is from 44% to 56%. (see sentence just before (2).

Then, Iowans "vote" this week (they really don't, it's a caucus system, very much less accurate than voting at polls, and subject to great pressures), and yet, as many as one-third of Iowans still haven't made up their minds, and about an equal number say they could change their minds between now and the caucus!

That even further imperils the accuracy of the polls so far. If they don't know or that many may change, why should we believe what they are telling the pollsters???

In short, the only poll worth taking is the one taken election day; and I mean in the polling booth--forget exit polls, whose alleged MOE is even worse and much subject to disbelief and inaccuracy.

And having said that election day is the only good poll, don't forget Florida and "hanging chads". Remember?

Oh yes, after Iowa comes New Hampshire and more polls you shouldn't believe in a state that is about as UN-typical as an American state can get. It is a helluva way to elect a president; and don't get me started on the worse feature of all: the inaccurate, UN-democratic, UN-fair but UN-fortunately LEGAL electoral college method of electing presidents.

I'm just sayin'...