Sunday, September 23, 2012

BOOBS ON THE TUBE (and other media errors of the last week)

The first print version I saw of this story said Kate had been caught sunbathing at a chateau belonging to the Queen in northern France. Wrong.
The chateau was in southern France, and was owned by a relative of the Queen (and she has many).
CBS mis-spelled the name of the chateau.
ABC said the pix were taken from a mile away by a woman photog. By week's end, NBC said it was a half-mile away and by a male.
BTW, wherever and whoever was shooting, these were small potatoes. Anyone who has seen the Duchess knows that. It is her smile that lights up the Palace, any chateau, and our world.  Fortunately, I am a "smile man", too.
Meanwhile back at home, our local media had its hands full with other errors. One sportscaster reported.."he was DRUG out of bounds at the nine."  Another reminded us a Cincy team manager had "an IL-regular heart beat."
Our media, as usual,  went overboard on Big Blue Madness, tho it is a great feature. But they never told me WHO is "Stone Cold Willow" and why did he get to go one-on-one with Nerlens? This story needed backgrounding. In another game played for the benefit of the 600 tenters camping out for free tickets, the 9 foot Nerlens stumbled over a 2 foot tall kid in making a shot. One channel asked "Hope the big guy wasn't hurt?" I was wondering if the little tyke was injured. No report on that.
My fave Lexington morning paper keeps reporting that something "has gone viral" and tho I have e-mailed them for a definition of that phrase..which they won't send it to appears that if it's on YouTube it's gone viral." Meadow muffins. There ought to be a minimum number of hits, maybe a million, before that phrase could accurately be used.  Not all entries ring up such a score. The media should be more specific.
Speaking of errors, bless my fave Lexington morning rag for pointing out the errors in those TV political ads. Wish our local TV stations would do the same.
I'm just sayin'...

Monday, September 17, 2012


 Distrust them.
At least for now. Presidential election polls make little sense until after Oct. 15th most years..because of a maddening tendency for Americans not to make up their minds until the last minute.
And there is always lurking an "October surprise."  Who knows what they might be, if indeed it ever happens, but it has in the past and that can change things...quickly.
The conventions, both, ignored foreign policy. This week that's campaign topic number one. Who knows what next week might bring? (hopefully a new War on...Poverty, or how to counteract the growing income inequality of our citizens).
It was supposed to be about jobs...but the impact of the economy appears to be less, now that some economic indicators are improving...slowly.
Maybe the polls will reflect this; maybe not.
But not all polls are created equal. Which do you trust? (none, right now, too early).
But even supposedly reputable polls, using accepted methodology vary widely.
An AP story last week exemplified this. In Florida one poll had Obama up by 2 points, another by 4, while a third had Romney by 3. You can NOT square these. Something is wrong. Even if we knew their MOE--the margin of error, but that wasn't in the AP story. (Do not trust any poll that does not tell you some basic facts...size of sample, how conducted, and MOE are essential).
It's not just Florida. In Minnestoa one poll had the president winning by 10, another poll only 7. (And it's still too early).
In my own thinking, a MOE of 3-4 percentage points is acceptable, though I don't like it. And the pollsters are starting to fudge, some trying to tell us that maybe 5-6 points are OK. They're not.
The respected Bluegrass poll run by the Courier-Journal has Romney winning Kentucky right now (it's too early) by  53 to 39, with a MOE of 4.1. Don't like that. If 4.1, why not 4.2, or 4.6..gotta draw the line somewhere. Mine is 4.0.
BTW, that (early) poll means Obama may be as high as 43, and Romney as low as 49. Or Romney may be as high as 57, and Obama as low as 35. Quite a swing there.
So, pay attention my fellow the issues, not the alledged polls. (Already I've been called by 3-4 "push" polls, which under the guise of a legit survey, actually try to further some candidate by the way the questions are phrased..pushing the results, not reflecting your views).
And do vote. Nothing is more important.
When you come out of the polls, should there be an "exit poller" there, run do not walk away. Do not stay and answer their questions. They will want to know how you voted..and too many Americans have died over the years preserving your rights, one of the main ones being our secret ballot to give that right away so easily now.
I'm just sayin'...

Monday, September 10, 2012


The most regretable line from either convention was that uttered by a GOP official on one of the Sunday morning talk shows, when reporters pointed out certain factual differences between what veep candidate Paul Ryan had said and the truth.
Bet he'd like to take back his response.."we're not going to let the fact checkers determine our policies."  Unfortunately, probably true, just not to be uttered out loud. (And, I suspect, something a Democratic official might also have said, in his unguarded moment.)
I mean, why let the facts get in the way of a good ad, especially a good, negative ad?
Only because the parties have an obligation to talk sense, truthfully to the American people. There is room for disagreement over many important issues:  health care, foreign policy, taxes, the deficit, defense spending...reasonable people can disagree...but..that disagreement should not be over inaccuracies, but over the best course for America. Indeed, without the facts, disagreements over policies become meaningless.
I'm glad there are fact checkers. I'm glad the Herald-Leader has waded in already to a couple of major local issues, such as the big, fundamental disagreement between Ben Chandler and Andy Barr over medicare and health care. But where are the broadcast fact checkers, especially the tv ones? TV stations get the lions share of campaign dollars; they can afford to have someone on their news staffs spending time checking the accuracy of the ads they run. Indeed, I would argue they can't operate "in the public interest, convenience and necessity"--as the law requires--unless they do.
They might start with a very easy fact to check.  Barr is a Republican, I think.  Chandler is a Democrat, I think. I say "I think" because neither puts his party affiliation in their ads. Are they ashamed of their parties? Are they ashamed of being a member?  Are they afraid to tell the voters that? Do they not believe in party responsibility? All basic questions and easy for the stations to check.
If we have to wait til election day, and then find out under which party label Chandler and Barr fall, by then it may be too late.
Sic 'em, fact checkers!  Your role is vital.
(You might also ask them where they stand on some issues both conventions failed to touch on much..poverty, Afghanistan, Syria, foreign policy, etc..that is, if they are party members.)
 I'm just sayin'...

Tuesday, September 4, 2012


To me, growing up, it was self evident. America was so diverse, so wide ranging with so many people having come here from different lands and cultures (we are all immigrants... even the "Native" Americans!), and we had so many differing beliefs..about  social issues, ethics, morals, economics, and especially politics... why in the world would anyone expect this nation to have only two major political parties?
Then I went to college.
Both there and later in grad school my major was poli sci. The vast majority of my professors (some really good ones) held fast to the two party system. "The purpose of a party is to govern" was the mantra, whenever that party won an election. Many parties meant less chance for a majority to be formed for governing, for a "stable" administration, and more chances for chaos and disunity.
Certainly history provided my teachers with many examples. Especially the Italians, and often the Greeks where governments could last a few weeks because no parliamentary majority could be found among a half dozen or more parties. But Britain has had three parties for several generations, Germany and Israel and often France sustained viable governments for years with shifting majorities among multi-parties. This, too, is history.
So is this, and recent history, too:  I grew up with the "Solid South"---solidly Democratic.  LBJ and the '64 Civil Rights Act (long overdue) changed that. Before long the South was pretty solidly Republican (when it wasn't Dixiecrat or worse.). Many mountain states of the West also shifted traditional party allegiances.  
Politics is fluid---as people are changeable. And those many, many differences among Americans--a diversity which is often our strength--have led us to where we are right now..a two party system that can't govern, that has failed the American people, and which seems determined to perpetuate that system in Power. Each of the two tries to manipulate voting laws in states they dominate to help themselves, and put down the other party. See court cases in Texas last week (and probably soon in Ohio, Pa,, and N.C.) Remember the redistricting squabble in Frankfort the courts had to settle?  That's only temporary, by the way.
But Washington is my prime example. Henry Clay, Kentucky (and America's)  " Great Compromiser", would be tossed out of Mitch's Senate on his ear. (And when Nancy Pelosi was running the House, Republicans complained, correctly, there were times they were not allowd to even offer amendments. It was  her way or the highway).
Ron Paul's Libertarian Party deserves to be heard, deserves to be on the ballot in many states. So does the Tea Party. So does the Green Party (which is running a Presidential candidate in at least 20 states; had you heard about her?) And yes, the Flat Earth Party and the Gold Standard Party and the Vegatarians and the Prohibitionists should all have the right to be heard--because it is in the contest of "ideas" , of issues that we learn, and America advances.
Am I holding my breath that this will happen in this year's election? No, coin a phrase.."let us begin." Begin by being willing to listen to others, evaluate their ideas, and then decide..not rule them out at once because they are advanced by a member of a group other than our own.
I hope more "independents" are elected this year, and Libertarians and Green party members, too.  The history of America is the history of small groups forming around an idea or issue and, if their idea was a good one, convincing the rest of us. We got only a few Prohibitions for every Child Labor Law and Eight Hour Days.
If the Democrats and Republicans want to stay in Power, paradoxically, they need to open up new ideas, new people, and new parties. Their record, the record of just two parties in Washington recently is shameful..downright Un-American.
I'm just sayin'...