Monday, May 28, 2012


No one can doubt Kentucky's patriotism. Look at the turnout recently in Mt. Sterling for the funeral of a young man killed in Afghanistan.  People swelled that small town; they came from all over to pay their respects.
And that's typical of people and places all over our state.
Speaking of turnout, how's 14%?--the number of voters who voted in our primary..a ballot that not only contained local races, but those for Congress--which makes our laws--and, by the way, President--the Commander-in-Chief, who can, and has sent Kentucky's young men and women into war, and death, in far off places--sometimes on very bad evidence.
It's not very patriotic to shirk your citizen's duty to vote..and especially when Washington (and Frankfort) are receiving an increasing share of criticism for being out of touch with "Main Street", favoring Wall Street instead.
How can this be changed with a 14% turnout?  It can't--and, in my view, it's downright UN-patriotic not to vote.
Some think voting is "too difficult."  Meadow muffins! Surely between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m., most citizens can find the time to vote. Many employers allow time off to do so.  Maybe a few hours should be tacked on in the evening to do so. We ought to study how this has worked elsewhere.
But the idea of internet voting is for the birds. It is NOT safe. Voting machines in other states using the web have been hacked. And do you really think that a 21 year old Texan, with more money than brains, gives a rat's #$%  about an honest vote? He--and others like him--would happily spend their millions to crack internet voting and get their candidate elected.
More time for absentee voting? A bad idea--because when you vote early (and I realize some people must) you miss important debates and issues and final arguments of the candidates. Too early voting is ignorant voting.
So it comes down to's patriotic to vote, and its downright UN-patriotic not to!
It's as simple as that. Let's be more patriotic this November. 
Uncle Sam is calling every one of you..into the voting booth. Not much of a sacrifice, compared to our fellow Kentuckians who have given their all so we might take five minutes to be the good citizens deep down we truly know we are.
I'm just sayin'...

Monday, May 21, 2012


Another fine young Kentuckian died recently, victim  of the Afghan war. Mourned by his family and friends--actually by a lot of Kentuckians who didn't know him, myself included.

The bikers came to pay tribute; the "Flag Man" came all the way from Illinois to set up hundreds of flags along the funeral route. (I hope you saw the fine tribute to him and our hero Dustin Gross by Steve Hartman on the CBS Evening News last Friday. Just wonderful.)

Unfortunately the bikers will have more funerals to attend, the Flag Man more opportunities to plant Old Glory in more towns, small and large, across America. And yet,  the polls show 65% or more of Americans feel the war is not in our interest and we should be getting  That rivals the low point of support for Vietnam.  Isn't this message enough for our leaders in Washington.

Apparently not.

The president, backed by many Congressional Democrats, keeps adhering to his timetable of bringing the troops home in two years---while signing an agreement with the unpopular. corrupt government of Afghanistan to keep some type of U.S, presence  there for ten years or more. (The new president of France told him he plans to bring his combat troops home this year.)

And House Republicans last week endorsed continuing the war, even as they admitted the accuracy of those anti-war polls. How did Kentucky's delegation vote in this very important bill?  None of our local media told us. Ask the candidates this fall where they stand on pulling out of Afghanistan..and how soon. The bill that failed would have provided funds for "the safe and orderly withdrawal of troops", according to the AP. The vote against that plan was 303 to 113.

House Republicans also raised the Pentagon budget by $8 Billion over what their own leaders and the president (and the Pentagon) had agreed was needed...cutting funds for many safety net programs for the poor. The GOP there came down hard on the side of "guns", not "butter" and this should be a major debate this fall.

While they were at it, House GOP leaders reaffirmed a provision of a law passed last year, but under attack, to allow the administration to arrest, detain, and hold indefinitely without trial or legal aid, American citizens here "suspected" of "terrorism."  Suspected, not convicted. If that isn't contrary to the Bill of Rights, I don't know what is.,.and for an ex-instructor in the Constitution to sign it into law blows my mind. Let these concerns be in the fall debate,too.

Is this what a lot of good Kentuckians died for?  I think not. If you want to truly mourn them, ask our people in Washington to get us out of Afghanistan "safely & orderly", and stop repealing the Bill of Rights in the vague name of fighting "terrorism."

I'm just sayin'...

Monday, May 14, 2012


Kentucky law says in death penalty cases, a judge must order a DNA test "if a reasonable probability exists" the defendant would not have been prosecuted if DNA tests were available. This is often applied after conviction when material for such tests suddenly becomes available..and the state pays for the testing.

Sounds fair.

But, what about the same situation when someone has been convicted, sentenced to life in prison, and DNA material turns up. Here, Kentucky opposes such testing, even if the defendant pays for the tests.

That doesn't sound fair.

As the Courier-Journal reports, 2 men sentenced to life are asking the Kentucky Supreme Court to permit DNA tests that might clear them. At issue are 2 strands of hair found in the victim's hand. Twenty years ago, DNA tests were not available. Tests available then showed the hairs belong neither to the victim nor to the two men charged...but they were convicted and sentenced to life.

The Attorney-General will argue before the high court that even if new DNA tests rule the two men out, that doesn't mean a third person, unknown, may have been involved rather than exonerating the two men.

Kentucky has the nation's most restrictive laws on post-conviction DNA testing..and General Conway will argue our law prohibits such testing.

He is wrong.

Perhaps not legally, I'll leave that to the justices, but certainly on any basis of fairness and justice---you remember Justice--what our courts are supposed to be about. The majority of recent cases where DNA has cleared people in other states have been about life terms, not death cases.  Death is the worse tragedy, but isn't life in prison bad enough, if you're innocent..and, especially if the defendant can pay for the tests shouldn't they get their day in court?

The Attorney-General, on behalf  of you and me, because this is now our law, says "No."  I hope our high court will find a way around this, and let the new tests go forward. Our law needs to be made less restrictive, and while the Attorney-General, under his oath, may have to uphold it, I'd like to see him argue before the legislature for changes. Recent experiences in many states give him all the precedents he needs.

We may also save a lot of money by releasing two innocent people..the yearly cost of jailing someone is astoundingly high. But much more than that, Kentucky may do justice.

I'm just sayin'...

Monday, May 7, 2012


Several times a week I drive from my home to the Kroger on Euclid. Other than having to navigate this city's worse intersection, Euclid-Fontaine-High, the drive is usually uneventful.

Parking is not.

Now, admittedly, this old fabric store was never designed to be a Kroger's..and plans are under study to improve the store and its parking. The staff there could not be more helpful, but some things are beyond its control.

One is other drivers; one is American cars.

As to drivers...folks yellow lines do not designate your personal parking space. For you pleading color blindness, those are the lines right under the signs that say "No Parking, Fire Lane." (This includes the delivery trucks who don't have an exemption from obeying traffic laws!) And while parking spaces are small. please try to hit the center of these spaces, not straddle the white lines. And, yes, backing into spaces is not only UNnecessary, it usually holds up people trying to get in or out. You may think there are a lot of vacant spaces, but parking your pickup and its load of mowing machines ACROSS  the spaces (taking up 4 or more) is not cricket. Please, if you don't have the required permit, showing, do not park in the handicapped spaces--unless yours is mental, not physical.

As to cars, and full disclosure requires me to say I drive a 19 year old large station wagon, once a monster, now a pgymy compared to the SUV's and trucks of today. One hopes  this ridiculous trend will reverse, but even if it doesn't one thing can be changed--those over-sized, outside rear view mirrors. You can't get your shopping cart between them when two of these "armadas" are parked side-by-side; sometimes you can't even walk between them if they are badly parked.

Now, such mirrors are needed safety features, but in Europe many of these mirrors fold up when the motor shuts off, reopening when the car starts up. Yes, there ought to be a law requiring American cars to have such a feature, which BTW, can save those expensive gadgets from being hit and needing repairs.

For both cars and drivers, there are such features as turn signals. They still work in parking lots! They can be most helpful if used there to indicate which way you plan to turn inside the lot, or coming out. I admire those vehicles with turn arrows on their outside mirrors, and those older cars whose turn signs activated several lights in front or back, that  motion an additional reminder of which way the turn was coming. Detroit's designs are often unsafe, with small, one light signals in front, right besides, and lost in the glare of the larger day running lights.

Still, it's the person behind the wheel we need to thank most for coping with these problems, and attention to safe driving can overcome many of these other issues. Til Kroger Euclid gets the green light to upgrade, please be such a safe driver. I'll try to do my part--I really don't want to repaint the old wagon Desert Storm green and gray & sand colors.

I'm just sayin'...