Tuesday, February 25, 2014


It’s the weather, and I have been watching too much TV.

Except for some great shows on KET. some of what  I see irks me.

Those twin blondes shilling for first one car dealer, and then his competitor. Which should we believe..and “historic” low prices? How can they prove that?

Course one of our “royal” pains as a sponsor has been telling us an UNproveable  claim for years that they “never have been undersold.”

Or the dealer in many things that is suddenly “mad” for savings.  As a customer, do I really want to deal with a “mad” store?

And that ailment ad that tells me “:if you have ____ like I do.” No, it’s “as I do.”

And several of our local TV sports reporters have caught the “double subject” error..as in “Cal, he..” or “UK, they..” One subject is enough..especially when one sports anchor committed this error 5 times in one short story.

Or the new people who tell us “The parole board made their decision..” No, the board is a collective noun so it should be “The board made its decision…”

Ah, well, winter will be over soon….I think.

I'm just sayin'...

Tuesday, February 18, 2014


As a reporter I have covered snake handling ceremonies, though never one that turned fatal as one did recently in Kentucky, killing the church’s pastor.

I feel sorry for him and his family...even more so for their misguided view of Christianity. When the church’s view is that a minor verse in the bible “has the same force as the Ten Commandments," then I can only pity them in their ignorance.

For the local police chief to decide he will not prosecute this case because he thinks the state is messing in religion here, I can only add that the essence of injustice is when cops decide which laws to enforce and which to ignore. I hope other officials in the area will see to it that Kentucky’s law against the use of deadly snakes in religious services is followed.

As for that publicity seeking so-called church from Topeka which plans to boycott the Kentucky church’s services this weekend, I can only say these two churches deserve each other.

For  the Topeka church truly does not understand one of the Commandments of Christianity is “love thy  neighbor.”

I'm just sayin'...

Sunday, February 9, 2014


The state’s two largest papers, the Courier-Journal and the Herald-Leader, bitter rivals when I first came to Kentucky 39 years ago (when the C-J deigned to admit there was a paper in Lexington) have combined their resources in a “new, improved” statewide polling effort.

And they have been joined by  TV stations in each city...WHAS in Louisville (a former member of the Bingham empire which once also owned the C-J) and WKYT in Lexington.  Both stations were once far and away the  number one stations in each city, but no more. WHAS has fallen to 3rd and WKYT is number two, but snapping at WLEX’s heels.

When these four announced recently a co-operative venture to share the costs and results of what once was the C-J’s own Bluegrass poll I was afraid it was but an intent to cut costs of that poll. Officials at both papers pointed out this was not the case, that the poll was being increased in number from two to six during the main political season and would seek wider response to issues.

The first several reports in poll number one are out..and with an exception I will note...have borne out the hopes of the four partners for a better insight into the feelings of John Q. Public (or is it Bubba and Mabel?)

Early reports, with about a 3% margin of error—which is good, have given us a  new understanding of how respondents view several candidates in the  critical U-S Senate race, our governor, and issues such as smoking, taxes, same sex marriage, etc. Good.

But the same old flaws of polling are still there, just more widely available. One is that so many of my journalistic colleagues put entirely too much faith in polls at all. But then, in a note of sanity, C-J political columnist Joe Gerth  took the wind out of the first poll’s major result...that Democratic newcomer Alison Lundergan Grimes narrowly led veteran Republican Mitch McConnell...(though within the margin of error, a point not sufficiently stressed.)  Gerth points out that poll shows 47% feel they don’t even know who Grimes is!

So if almost half don’t know the candidate, just how much faith can we place in polls that she leads by 3 points or 30????

We can’t.

This poll is just too dad-blamed early. People haven’t made up their minds. The candidate hasn’t been “defined” as the strategists say. The pollsters can claim all they like that an early poll is necessary to establish a “baseline” for later,  closer-to-the-election polls, but I just don’t buy it.

Nevertheless, I am happy to see this  combination of the state’s major media members, and look forward to other endeavors, especially more investigative reports into Kentucky’s problems...more and more widely disseminated.

Good Hunting!

I'm just sayin'...

Sunday, February 2, 2014


We have lost one of the most important men of the last century.

Indeed, so far as protest songs are concerned. So far as modern folk music is concerned, Pete Seeger, who recently  died at 94, was the last century.

A friend called him “the Pied Piper of musical dissent.” Another that he “dared to sing things as he saw them.”

Mr. Seeger would probably have said he was just upholding the rights of all Americans. Or as he told the House UnAmerican Activities committee, when they asked him what his politics were: “these are very improper questions for any American to be asked.” So Congress cited him for contempt, a jury of his peers convicted him, but the courts threw it out, and by that time the “Red Scare” had waned and Congress, wisely, went no further.

He was a leftist all his life, but more than that he was a singer..of his own songs or others he reworked from folk sources.

Consider a partial list:  “This Land is Your  Land” , “Turn, Turn, Turn,” “Where Have All the Flowers Gone”, "If I Had a Hammer", "Goodnight Irene", and so many more.

At a Tennessee meeting he introduced his reworked spiritual to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who, intrigued, took it next to a meeting in Kentucky, and launched “We Shall Overcome” on its way to being the anthem of the human rights movement..not just in America, but the world over. They sang it in Tahrir Square, on the barricades in Kiev, in the dusty compounds of Soweto…and as the wall came down in Berlin.

Pete would say it was all “The power of song to nudge history along.”

Beyond writing and playing his songs of freedom he wanted us to sing along. The shakier his sort-of tenor voice  got as the years went by, the more he urged us to sing, sing..sing together.

For songs, he taught us, “could be used to build a sense  of community to make the world a better place.”

Hail and Farewell Pete Seeger.

You have taught us that as we sing together, “this land is our land”..and “we shall overcome!!!”

I'm just sayin'...