Wednesday, February 27, 2013


One of our state historians once wrote, correctly.."Kentucky waited til the Civil War was over to join the loser."

Just when you think we can put that part of our past behind us, the state senate votes heavily in favor of an NRA-sponsored bill which denies our history (our American history that is.)

The bill, passed 34-3, would allow the state to "ignore" U-S laws it doesn't like..specifically federal gun laws.

Shades of "nullification"....secession...The Glorious Cause..and that "peculiar institution!"

We are one United States, an issue settled (?) 150 years ago..States may not "opt out" of federal programs they don't like, unless the law provides for that, as in the case of Medicaid expansion.  All, that is, all court decisions challenging this doctrine have been decided that way.

So why does Kentucky now think it can bring back the discredited doctrine of "nullification?" To pander, that's why. To the NRA, to certain rural constituencies, and to people with no knowledge of American history, apparently.  As Lexington Senator Kathy Stein, one of the 3 "No" votes said,"No one is coming to take your gun." But this is what the NRA feeds on..that fear...not an honest defense of the Second Amendment.

Explain to me how closing the gun show loophole by universal background checks violates the Second Amendment..when the non-gun show stores have been doing it for years, and no case against that has been upheld.  People who claim the proposed new laws "violate the Second Amendment", the usual cry, should be made to show precisely where and how..because in many cases it's just not true.

You and I may not buy a "machine gun"--no Second Amendment challenge to this 70 year old law has been upheld. So why does a ban on assault rifles, many of which shoot faster than any "Tommy" gun, violate that amendment?

In time the courts will doubtless straighten out all these "lawyer" bills, but in the meantime is it really too much to ask that the Kentucky General Assembly understand our history...both the American Revolution and the Civil War???

I'm just sayin'...

Monday, February 18, 2013


New figures are in..28% of Kentuckians have no health insurance..up from 23% in 2008.

The report from the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky also shows 27% receive Medicare, Medicaid, or some other type of public insurance..more than double the 11% on such programs in 2008.

The new Federal Affordable Health Care Act,(Obamacare for you so inclined), expands Medicaid and would add 400,000 Kentuckians to Medicaid; those who have NO insurance currently.

Gov. Beshear has not decided what he wants to do, and he has the option of putting these needy Kentuckians in the new U-S program. (Why is he waiting?; their health needs continue!) And Republicans in the legislature have offered bills to require legislative approval first--a way, IMHO, of killing the program.

Beshear waits, he says, to find out if the state can afford the Affordable Health Care..even though the federal government pays 100% of the program for the first three years, and 90% thereafter.       

While the governor and legislature dither, real people are really sick..and may well infect others in their families, schools, or workplace (adding to the costs which might have been avoided if they got proper medical attention).

This in a nation, mind you, founded on pursuing happiness, as well as life and liberty.

There is no happiness for parents too sick to take care of their kids, and maybe passing their illnesses on to their children.

There is no liberty for people unable to work, and enjoy the blessings a paycheck brings, when they are too ill to be employed.

There may well be no Life either..when health care is denied.

Why is it we recognize the RIGHT of all people to have an adequate legal defense if they are charged with a crime, but no right to have adequate health care if they are ill? I guess the lawyers have a better lobby than the doctors.

That should end. We should be urging the governor and the legislature, on behalf of our  400,000 fellow Kentuckians today (who will be 500,000 in 2 years, and perhaps a million in eight if we don't act now) to join Obamacare before the real and growing costs of their being uninsured really eats up the state budget.

I'm just sayin'...

Monday, February 11, 2013


One of the little known, but truly fine, services UK provides to this community is channel 219 on our cable system.

For 23 hours a day, seven days a week, this channel (available without extra payment for premium or digital service) airs classical music, excerpts from classic U-S and foreign films, and tours of the world's great art collections. All this, for free, without commercials. It costs UK nothing, being relayed from a satellite service sponsored by a foundation in California.

(The 24th hour UK relays an hour of audio from WUKY-FM, perhaps to maintain its legal claim on the channel.)

It's a fine service. I have been introduced to a lot of new classical music by it, and have been spurred to add to my own music collection because of things first seen on channel 219.

But, a few weeks ago, a small super indicated UK was ending this great service on March First. No reason was given, and no indication also of what programming, if any, would take its' place.

I called the UK-TV service to find out more and was given the name and number of an official who supposedly knew. For two weeks I have tried, without success, to find out more. All I get is that damnable "I'm away from my desk but if you'll leave a message I'll get back to you." Well, he hasn't--after 5 calls and 3 messages left. So I'm still in the dark.

What I do know is that UK's current programming on channel 219 is a great public service and it will be a loss to our fine arts community if the current service ends.  I hate to suggest storming President Eli's office, or sending mass e-mails, but since no one is answering at UK-TV, I'm at loss...and so will all of us be losers if this fine, current service ends.

Please, UK, reconsider.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013


After a month, Senator Mitch McConnell has finally answered news reports that the  "fiscal cliff" deal he brokered in Congress contained a sweetheart provision for a drug firm that has contributed $73,000 to his campaigns. Well, McConnell didn't actually answer, a spokesman did.

Part of the answer was that McConnell didn't know the provision would directly benefit the firm which had donated to him.  That's comforting.

Part of the answer was that provisions like that, and many others, were needed to get the bill thru Congress..overlooking that this is both "pork" and "earmarks" that both parties have pledged to end.

Since then, news reports show the firm involved, Amgen, pleaded guilty to offering illegal kickbacks to get its product used..and paid the largest fine ever for a biotech firm, $762 million---which it can afford, since the one drug in the fiscal cliff bill that was earmarked made them $500 million a year--which you and I pay for. And the firm has many other drugs.

The stink is getting so bad a bi-partisan group in the House is offering a bill to repeal that provision. Let's hope. (But many more similar provisions remain.)        

Meantime, a year early, McConnell has opened his re-election campaign office. Thanks to the Supreme Court's "Citizens United" decision, we may not be able to learn if Amgen backs his re-election with more thousands of dollars.

Meanwhile, new Congressman Andy Barr came home and said he voted against funds for Sandy relief because they didn't contain offsetting reductions in federal spending. He apparently wasn't asked if he would have taken the same approach had the relief funds been for Eastern Kentucky tornado victims (in his district) rather than fellow citizens in NJ, NY, and Connecticut.  I don't agree with his do you budget a year in advance for storms like Sandy?  Still it was good that he felt, properly, the need to explain his vote to his constituents; I don't remember Ben Chandler doing that very often.

You learned about his vote on local TV; I didn't see it reported in the Herald-Leader, which used to carry such votes routinely. The paper  no longer has a Washington reporter, tho it could have gotten it from the Associated Press.

I'm just sayin'...