Monday, February 27, 2012

One Right...One Very Wrong!

House Speaker Greg Stumbo professed not to be worried. He knew the redistricting bill passed by the Democratic House and the Republican Senate would pass constitutional muster. He even arranged for a top flight constitutional attorney to be hired (at your expense, taxpayer!) to argue the case before the Kentucky Supreme Court.

The court heard arguments in the morning, and a few hours later issued a unanimous opinion the new districts were unconstitutional. This is the legal equivalent of a Slam Dunk. So that senator from Henderson doesn't get to represent Fayette County, and Kathy Stein doesn't have to move to Bath County. Hoo-ray, hoo-ray!

All very important. Much more important is that the legislature realize its hand will be called in the future when it practices more "incumbent protection." But, the legislature will almost always try to do just that. Let's head them off in 2021--now. Let's get started on a bi-partisan commission to draw new districts and submit them to the free from political considerations as possible for an up/down vote. Other states do; it's past time for Kentucky to join those ranks. But it won't happen unless the ACLU, Common Cause, major papers, League of Women Voters, etc. start working now for this truly important change.

Guess what? David Le Terrible was Rat On! He told the guv there weren't enough votes in the Senate to pass the casino amendment, and there weren't. Not by a long shot; that one absent vote made no difference. The guv cried "sabotage" but it wasn't, just the Senate President being a much better vote counter.

Now what? Well, if I supported such an amendment I'd put up huge billboards so that as people entered and left the Commonwealth they'd be told just how much of our money was being sent to Indiana, Ohio, and West Virginia gambling establishments. And I'd put up an even "huger" billboard in Frankfort, just like the National Debt Clock, and keep track of the millions going out of state that could be spent here on roads, schools, and health care.

There certainly are arguments against the casino amendment that just failed. There is no argument that a lot of badly needed Kentucky dollars are going out of state. Somehow, we need to get them back.

I'm just sayin'...

Monday, February 20, 2012

Two of My Favorite Four Letter Words

Two of my favorite four letter words are "film" and "free"; and for the past two Sundays I have indulged each at the annual One World Film Festival--and you can,too. Many more interesting free films remain.

Two Sundays ago I saw "The Rape of Europa", how the Nazis looted fine art treasures from conquered countries, some of whom sixty years later have yet to return them to their known owners or heirs. And that includes some of the Allied countries.

This past Sunday it was "Inside Job", how the housing collapse happened, and how some of the same people who should have seen it coming--and acted, didn't...yet they are still in charge today! (The lesson is that every time Congress yields to pressure from the business community and deregulates certain industries, or fails to provide adequate oversight, bad things happen; and they are getting worse!)

Ahead are films as different as underground youth music in Iran, how trying to solve our energy problems may lead to more problems, how 9/11 and Afghanistan are related (it's not the Taliban), and the gay riots at New York's Stonewall club.

Most of these are at the Kentucky Theater on Thursdays at 5 and 7:30, the weekend films on Saturdays and Sundays are at the central library or at Transylvania. Many are in English, the rest have subtitles. A complete schedule is at

Try them--somewhere is one you will enjoy and will add to your knowledge and pleasure. And they're free!

Monday, February 13, 2012


Folks, it is the winter season. Sometimes it even snows...but that is no reason to bend your news judgment and head the newscast with a report that a light snow may be heading our way; making it the "Big Story"...that is after we get the "Breaking News"--half a day old, and a "Developing Story", and maybe even a "Follow Up."

BTW, "dusting" is a word not to be used in any Lexington weather-cast, even when said in jest.

And one more local advertiser has used a fake news report to promote its product. Shame on KIA.

More shame on our station managers who continue to dilute their most important service, local news, by allowing such pseudo-newscasts on their air; as in that fake home security system interview. Years ago, when all 3 stations belonged to the Radio-TV News Directors Association, that group's Code of Conduct forbade using commercials which mimicked newscasts. The Code is gone, so what's next--a pitchman/woman on a news set..."I'm not a reporter but I play one on TV, and I'd like to tell you about this great offer...?"

We're in a ratings period, so we have the Monday Mystery, and various other features designed to get you to watch. I wish stations would spend the time and energy on exploring issues before the legislature: redistricting (has anyone seen a map illustrating this most important issue on local newscasts?), those cold remedies that also support meth labs, the need for extra social workers, why courts in our 120 (!) counties can't talk to each other and alert authorities to the baddies amongst many others.

Have you noticed the plethora of ads supporting public charter schools? Enough to float a political campaign; and from groups that just popped up (including one with the intriguing initials: KERA) Who are they? Who funds them? Why this issue now? Surely worth looking into. Shirley.

Finally, since most local news room staffs are young, and lack what J-Schools call "institutional memory", it was no wondner the recent death of former UK First Lady Gloria Singletary didn't get the coverage it deserved. For those of us privileged to know her, she truly deserved her nickname "Glo." She did; the UK projects she championed did; UK and Lexington are much better off because she lived among us.

I'm just sayin'...

Tuesday, February 7, 2012


Kentucky's future is "wasting away" because of prescription pill abuse Gov Beshear and a host of public and medical leaders said this week. No argument here.

So surprise!

Kentucky is one of seven states with NO abuse treatment program for people on Medicaid.

This makes no sense; from a medical standpoint or from a human viewpoint.

And even less from a fiscal viewpoint as a story in the Herald-Leader points out. Treatment under Medicaid is estimated to cost payers $2500 on average, but if an adult goes to prison for drug law violations it costs at least $23,000 to treat them.

Even in these times of great budget constraints, this is a good return on investment for citizens. And there are collateral benefits. Get adults off pills and you lower: traffic accidents (including fatalities), robberies and break-ins, child abuse by pill-popping-parents, crimes of all sorts, the list goes on and on and on and all the way to Florida.

Beyond stopping our "wasting away", and lowering crimes of all kinds, setting up such treatment programs within Medicaid, allocating the money now to pay for them is simply, the right thing to do for our fellow Kentuckians who right now can't help themselves...or us.

I'm just sayin'...