Sunday, June 29, 2014


“In an action that would have been unthinkable only a few weeks ago…”

That line turned up in several news stories recently…about the US & Iran co-operating to fight ISIS…and also in reports of Syria bombing ISIS inside Iraq.  Ah, the quirky Middle East!  (When I visited it years ago a veteran reporter told me..”you know as much today as you will ever know about the Middle East.”..and that was on my first day there.)

NBC did an excellent report this week, pointing out the 100th anniversary of the assassination that started WW1..after which the victors carved up the old Ottoman Empire (Turkey was on the losing side in WW1) without much regard for ethnic and religious concerns, and those artificial boundaries haunt us today in the sectarian strife, particularly in Iraq.

So after spending blood and treasure and time in Iraq, why should the US spend more? Even more important, why should we spend two BILLION, as Mr. Obama proposes, in Syria to support “moderates” an area where “moderates” are hard to determine and may only be the least BAD alternative.

Even more troubling, after all we did to train and equip the Iraqi army, 30,000 of them fled Mosul, reportedly in the face of a few hundred ISIS troops. That surely makes any policy we now adopt towards Iraq in great doubt.

A wise man said years ago…”Those who will not learn from the lessons of history, are condemned to relive it.”


Trying to learn myself, I have suggested in this blog several times that Kentucky should have more “open” primaries where those registered Independent could vote in either of the major party primaries if no independent was running. I know this is tricky. 

In Mississippi last week, incumbent Thad Cochran beat the Tea Party candidate in the GOP runoff by appealing to Democrats, especially black Democrats, to vote for him. Mississippi permits this under its “open” primary laws. That is not what I have in mind for Kentucky, and it illustrates just how tricky election rules can be.

I'm just sayin'...

Tuesday, June 24, 2014


1. Do we need further proof of the incredible closeness of UK and LFUCG?  Or that at times they  must go their own way because what’s best for one is not necessarily always  the best for the other?
2. UK’s president is right to put his campus and education first. Remember, BBN, they are still STUDENT-athletes, however long they stay.
3. Timing is everything.
4. The much locally criticized legislature,  for not giving us money—as it did Lou-ah-vul-- turned out to be right. We didn’t have enough information soon enough.
5. Much still remains to be answered..chief among them..the plans and future for the civic center part of the overall project. If memory serves, back in the 90s we sold millions in bonds to upgrade the LCC so we could attract larger (i.e. more profitable) conferences. Those bonds are not fully paid off yet, and still the plan sought to expand the LCC. Why? To attract even larger conventions? That way lies madness..and possible fiscal insanity. We need a LOT more information and public discussion here.
6. Has all this blunted the chief plank in Anthany Beatty’s campaign for mayor, since he opposed the Rupp expansion. Will he come up with other ideas and issues…which may also prove to be correct?
7. Mayor Gray says the plan will remain and when the timing is right it can be trotted out again. Let’s hope so..for we spent millions to get it, and better a  tweak in the future than $tarting over—paying more and unnece$$ary tax monie$.
8. UK still has to come up with a new proposal to the city for when the current Rupp lease runs out. So there’s sure to be new talks, new plans, and hopefully people on the same page then. Better a revamped  Rupp than a new arena, or going back to playing on campus—remember those alternatives were also suggested—at one time---and they are not good ideas.
9. Patience. The best is yet to come.

Sunday, June 8, 2014


OK, if you are a capitalist, as I am, there is no “war” on coal.

Since the 1980's, coal jobs have been declining...for many reasons.

One, new technology. The long wall miner etc. mechanized mining, throwing miners out of work. The coal hauling railroads switched from coal-powered engines to diesel, remember..all because each technology made coal production cheaper..and the mine owners are capitalists..and have been for decades, even when we called them “robber barons.”

Even cheaper coal mining in Wyoming helped decrease jobs in Appalachia. Then came fracking and cheaper supplies of natural gas---the chief  culprit in losing coal jobs in Kentucky—and yes, the Green Revolution which sought to make our air and water cleaner. But that was probably one of the lesser causes of losing coal jobs. (And if you grew up in smoky coal towns, where some days you could cut the air with a knife, or watched streams that started clean at the top of the hill run orange and black at the bottom, you were concerned, you had to be. And BTW, new rules cutting smokestack emissions were issued by administrations long before Obama.)

So let’s realize the “War on Coal” for what it is…a cynical, politically motivated, nonfactual ploy by the coal industry, the U-S Chamber of Commerce, the GOP, and those who don’t believe in climate change to try to sell Kentucky a bill of goods..and in the process re-elect certain people to office.

This is NOT to be construed as an endorsement for any candidate, not the least Alison Lundergan Grimes..who has an unenviable role straddling the fence..when she knows, as Mitch does… the real facts about coal, and the industry’s loss of jobs.

Let me say again..I believe coal CAN be made clean..I just don’t see the industry and the “Friends of Coal” taking any serious steps in that direction.

I'm just sayin'...

Sunday, June 1, 2014


As a vet, I am delighted at the return of POW Bowe Bergdahl to US custody. While the circumstances of how he got to be a POW need clearing up, first things first..welcome home!

The President may well have violated the law in his case.  Congress passed a law requiring 30 days notice before a President can make such a deal. Def. Secy. Hegel said it had to be done for the soldier’s health..and just maybe Congress wrote a too restrictive law, given the way things in wartime often are accelerated.

I do not, however, approve of the President’s signing that bill into law, while issuing a “signing declaration” that he might not enforce all its provisions..a nefarious practice started by the last President Bush. Mr. President, either sign the law or don’t, or challenge it in court..such signing declarations may well be unconstitutional and need a legal decision.

OK, to get one GI home we shipped 5 suspected Taliban leaders overseas. They had been held in Gitmo for 10 years without ever being indicted, charged or taken to court.  This is  military justice?  This is American justice? This is what our legal traditions are?  Nonsense!

The military claims the 5 were “high risk” suspects, But that it did NOT have enough proof to make their “suspicions” stand up in court. So they just kept them in jail, in limbo. This isn’t the way the USA used to work, pre 9/11..and if you have any doubt that our traditional rights and liberties are being eroded matter how much we dislike the Taliban, use the Golden rule…would you like to be held in jail for 10 years because some government official has “suspicions” you are a terrorist?  You would demand proof under our laws. That’s not what’s been happening in Gitmo and someday it will come back to haunt a non-Taliban suspect American citizen.

Think on these larger issues as we welcome Bowe home.

Last week I speculated Pure Politics on  TWC’s channel 2 might disappear when its founder Ryan Alessi leaves for Murray State.  Ryan assures me plans are in place to continue that ground-breaking show. Let’s hope so.

I'm just sayin'...