Sunday, February 26, 2017

The Truth Is Out There

(somewhere..covered up by errors and mistakes)
The New York Times Sunday took a full page ad containing just 7 words:
“Truth. It’s more important now than ever.”
I agree...and to try to help area citizens understand better, our local SPJ (Society of Professional Journalists) chapter held a public meeting last week to point out differences between fake news and the real thing. The H-L did an advance story, but I saw none of the actual meeting, and only  1 tv station covered it so far as I know.
We in the media are often our own worse enemy..and that’s especially true when we report stories full of grammatical errors and, worse, factual errors. Neither helps our mission to seek the truth and present it to readers, viewers, and listeners.
For example, one day last week, between the hours of 5:30 and 7pm I caught the following:
Lexington tv station---a good report on a Special Olympian about to go “halfway around the world” to compete—in Austria. Austria is about 6 thousand miles from Kentucky; halfway around the world is over 12 thousand miles.
The NBC Nightly News, reporting on tax reform plans spelled it “Refeorm.”
CBS in a report on Trump’s approval rating used a poll with a FIVE percentage point margin of error. That means a possible ten percentage point swing, large enough to invalidate the findings.
ABC’s evening news promoted 3 upcoming stories, ALL listed as “next.”  Only one story can be “next.”
The PBS NewsHour had a sponsor telling us “it’s 2016!”
Earlier one of our local stations presented two field reporters who told us “ I seen...”
And on an ESPN halftime report, one of its commentators reported (Joe) “run the court” well.
You may think some of these errors are minor; I don’t. If reporters don’t have much concern to use correct English, why should we think they have any concern for correct facts????
Without correct facts, there is no Truth.
And Truth, as I hope we all agree "is more important now than ever.”
I'm just sayin'...

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Water Water Everywhere - (And Not A Drop To Drink!)

Why is it not possible to mine coal and NOT pollute nearby streams???   
Trump has moved to end EPA rules forbidding this, which leaves me puzzled.
Coal is a major engineering process...and I refuse to believe it cannot be done without endangering the lives of those living nearby by dangerously polluting their water supplies.
How important water is to all of us was re-emphasized this week by boil water advisories in Richmond and Nicholasville—temporary ones. But people in Eastern Kentucky have lived for years with bad tasting, foul smelling, discolored water as their norm. In many cases this is due to coal mines polluting their streams.
What profit a man to have a job if it causes his family to become ill?
I’m sure there are overreaching EPA an interesting column in my fave morning Lexington paper pointed out.  BUT, surely there is a common sense way to allow mining without endangering that most precious commodity of water...and reasonable people mought to be able to find it.
I'm just sayin'...

Monday, February 13, 2017

Not Ideology, Just Common Sense

You can support the 2nd amendment (as I do, tho I disagree with the top court’s interpretation) and still not want to see any more school shootings such as Columbine Virginia Tech, Newtown...and how many others?
So current moves to take back mental health checks (involved in many shootings, remember Virginia Tech,) or drop the requirement for background checks, or training programs in gun use and safety (especially handguns) are not just wrong...they run contrary to common sense.
You don’t have to get involved in AK-47 issues, or ammo sizes or muzzle lengths to know that the issues listed above CAN—and should—be in our laws WITHOUT any dangers to the 2nd amendment.
Get real, gun lovers—or prepare for more stupid, unnecessary school shootings and more children dying.
And as for Wall Street, some years ago I interviewed  CBS News’s economics reporter, asking him what made Wall Street run. “Fear and Greed,” he shot back immediately.
Have we forgotten the Savings and Loan scandal, the mortgage frauds, the banks' involvement in our last recession (only 8 years ago) and several others...all foisted on Main Street by the Fear & Greed---mainly Greed on the part of those Big Banks, and some not so big?
Attempts to cut back on consumer protections, to allow banks free range in areas they really shouldn’t be in, more freedom for hedge funds and derivatives (these are but legalized gambling on a national scale) and the “fiduciary issue...which requires people who sell you retirement plans to put you first, not their commissions...these are now under attack.   (Did you see the cartoon in my fave Lexington morning paper recently?  The salesman says to his customer,"this last paragraph simply provides that I can’t lose any money, and you can lose lots and lots of money.”  That’s the fiduciary issue at work...and it will be foisted on us if the Trump administration and the GOP-controlled Congress has its way.
I'm just sayin'...
These run, IMHO, contrary to common sense....and good politics!.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Rat On, Governor!

When the British army, then the most powerful in the world, surrendered to a “rag-tag group of rebels” at Yorktown (with considerable assistance from France,) Cornwallis’ army band played “The World Turned Upside Down.”
That was my reaction to a major pronouncement by Gov. Bevin in his “State of the Commonwealth” speech this week.
In calling for special sessions to deal with pension reform---and tax reform—he said:
”Bring the sacred cows out of the barn. Some will be returned to the barn, some will become hamburger.”
When asked that meant on KET, long time political reporter Al Cross said “It means taxes are going up.”
This from a conservative, Tea Party governor!   And he swept away 20 years of  tax reform studies by Democrats, all of whom proclaimed they must be “revenue neutral”  (some taxes up, some down but no hike in taxes overall)—and all of which went nowhere.
He’s right...and, unfortunately, got a cautious reaction by House and Senate GOP leaders. This may be our best chance to update an old, very complex tax system; where we exempt more than we take in...not a good basis for a modern state.
Gov. Bevin also called for an overhaul of our foster care system, by some measures the worst in the nation, and long needed. (If done, this will be a major contribution to our state by the Courier-Journal, and C-J reporter Deborah Yetter whose series have chronicled major problems which have resulted in child deaths (yes, deaths) needlessly.
There have been calls for these before, but this just may give Kentucky its best hope for arriving in the 20th century---if not the 21st.
Tho the governor’s speech ended a few minutes after 8pm, my C-J arrived with nary a line about it, no story at all, not a nary. What gives here? Betcha if it had been a UofL basketball game, over at 8, we would have seen a story.
I'm just sayin'...