Monday, August 25, 2014


The recent brutal death of journalist James Foley, beheaded by ISIS, brings into focus something reporters have known for years, but not done a very good job of educating the rest of us.

It’s a brutal world out there for reporters in many places.  Right now, Syria is the most dangerous country on earth..for reporters trying to get their stories out.

A few years ago it was Iraq, before that the Balkans. As the news changes, so does the place of greatest danger..but the risks of being a journalist never cease. 13 have been killed, so far, next door in Mexico, most covering the drug wars there.

Since 1982 when the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) began keeping records, over 1070 reporters, photographers, etc have been killed. These are “confirmed” many others are merely “missing”, 39 in fact, with over 20 in Syria this year alone.

And that doesn’t count the more than 200 in prisons and jails all over the globe.

In 2009 and 2012 74 journalists died worldwide practicing their profession…for you. These were  the worse years ever. Not that 2013 was much better; only 70 died then.

As freedom is not free (ask any Gold Star family),  freedom of the press is not free. People die supporting it, practicing it, improving it.

The Information Age comes with risks and cost, not the least of which was so dramatically and tragically demonstrated by James Foley.

Once in a while, please remember him…and the many you watch, read, or listen.

I'm just sayin'...

Monday, August 18, 2014


There are days when I wonder if any of our local reporters ever paid attention in 6th grade English class (or any other English class for that matter.)

The grammar mistakes they make seem to be getting worse and more numerous. (Let me concentrate on TV, my field, but let me assure you these pop up on radio and in our newspapers as well.)

Here’s the most numerous one:  “like I said earlier…like the mayor said.” No, it’s “AS I said earlier.” You can like me on Facebook, but for comparisons,’s “as.”

Or “he left the burning car quick.” No, adjectives modify nouns, adverbs modify verbs. “He left the burning car quickly.”

Or  “When me and my photographer arrived”.  Me arrived? Try “when my photographer and I arrived…”

Other mistakes involved bad journalism: the station that, while promoting its lottery report has the anchor say..”you can’t win if you don’t play.”  That’s a commercial for the lottery, and reporters/anchors aren’t supposed to do commercials---for sponsors or not.

On the constant failure to use alleged in convicting someone by your story..”the twin brothers had porn in their home.”  No, they had alleged porn in their home.” Or “Police say they had…” It is so easy to forget the presumption of innocence and local reports do it often.

Our lack of national and world news on local newscasts is another matter, not grammatical but perhaps far more important.

When Robin Williams died, his death not known in time to make the 6:30pm network news, our 10pm Fox newscast had a perfect chance to tell its viewers this “new” news, but instead led with a story about a S. Kentucky couple charged with keeping a too dirty home for their I saw on 27 at noon.

If you want to get the world (and US national)  news before bed, watch the BBC news on KET at 11pm. It's excellent.

Of course, NPR news is there much of the time; hopefully their people don’t make the simple mistakes of our local folks outlined above.

I'm just sayin'...

Monday, August 11, 2014



Who knew???

But this ancient, pre-Christian religious group has been much in the news this past the terrible Islamic State army tore thru more of Iraq, threatening this sect with death on a craggy mountaintop.

President Obama did the right thing, the thing Americans have always done to help those in dire distress. He ordered food and water sent to them, as he ordered airstrikes on the fanatical group besieging them. (Already several thousand Yazidis have made it safely out of harm’s way.)

And the president used the presence of our consulate and 150 military “advisers” in Irbil, a major Kurdish town the Islamic army threatens, as justification. But “no boots on the ground.”

I hope it works out that way. The lessons from Iraq (and Afghanistan and Viet nam) are not hopeful. And, BTW, those military advisers are trained, with weapons, and if fired upon will fire back..actually, aren’t they “boots on the ground?”

It isn’t much of a stretch to point out it was President Eisenhower’s sending of “military advisers” to Saigon, after the French were defeated and left, that began our long running escalation of the war in 'Nam…and our defeat. We’ve never learned the lessons of Vietnam, and so have been destined to repeat our mistakes.

And yet, could we have done anything else but help these poor any way we can? No, and it looks like the Brits and others will soon be sending aid as well.

The Yazidis.

Who knew???


I'm just sayin'...

Sunday, August 3, 2014


A bit late, but nevertheless welcome.

19 year old Pvt. Randolph Allen of Rush was laid to rest in Arlington National Cemetery, 70 years after he died fighting for us on a tiny dot of an island in the Pacific. Full military honors were accorded him, as family members stood by---not one of whom ever knew him.

Each year the military finally identifies the remains of our finest who have been missing in he was..maybe 80 a year. But there are 84-THOUSAND GIs still missing from past wars..and at 80 a year, we may get the last of them buried by the year 3064.

We don’t think of that when America goes off to war. We are too “het up” over WMDs and Osama Bin Laden often to  think of the long view—or 84,000 families who will not have closure for years, if ever.

We know, now, the WMDs were lies..and the reports that bin Laden was in cahoots with the Taliban in Afghanistan was wrong also (but it didn’t stop us from going into our longest war ever—then.)

Now, it’s different.  75% of us think the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were failures, according to a recent poll.

While almost all of us think WW2 was justified, we have also just discovered  it will take another $420 M to get the Paducah atomic plant  cleaned up from contamination and, maybe, ready for a less warlike future.

Wars have a way of getting out of control, dollar-wise and moral-wise. Pres. Obama confirmed what we all knew, the US tortured people—a violation of our own laws, while the “government” spied on our Senators. We know they are spying on us but we kinda thought maybe Senators were different. They were supposed to be under an agreement between them and the “government” but the government broke the agreement and then lied about it to the Senators…and us.

Things just happen differently in wartime. We may try to be the same honest, ethical people, but we aren’t.  We need to be reminded of these things (and a lot more, such as we are still finding munitions buried in WW I) when we are in the throes of patriotic fervor and ready to march off to war.

Putin’s action in the Ukraine are wrong and dangerous, and could lead to war..that’s just one of a half dozen places I have heard public officials say we should consider going to war---this year.  Let us, instead, consider the many, and long range consequences of war before we act—consequences neither Israel nor Hamas apparently took into consideration before rushing into their current, tragic entanglement.

I'm just sayin'...