Sunday, June 25, 2017

In Liberating Strife

Even that non policy wonk, Pres. Trump admits  he didn’t know “health care could be so complicated.”
But it is, except (see later)...for all the double-speak or “political speak” going on.
Prime example...Sen McConnell saying The GOP agrees “on the need to strengthen Medicaid.” He then offered his party’s bill which would do just the opposite. It would eventually end the Medicaid expansion under Pres. Obama, and in years to come most likely force people off the program.
This revelation inspired a Forum column in the Sunday C-J by longtime political reporter Al Cross under the headline “McConnell will cause many to suffer” and a full page ad in that same issue by a Blue Chip list of health care providers---doctors, nurses, social workers, etc..imploring him to “stop the mad rush to pass this bill.” (drafted in secrecy, with no women senators involved.)  They want a chance for ALL of us “to weigh in on this bill so that we might be a part of redesigning a health care system that works for the benefit of all.”  Mitch wants to pass the GOP version before the July 4th recess, which is this week. I don’t think he’ll make it, but as so many others point out “he is a master of the Senate."
Actually there is a far less complicated way to handle health care for ALL Americans; join the rest of the world in declaring health care a “modern right of citizenship," pass a “Single Payer” bill, which is far less complicated and provides decent health care for every citizen. Naturally, conservatives in both parties will cry  “Socialism” but it works in a lot of countries, most of whom are our fellow capitalists.   
The Swiss, a conservative, peaceful nation, have had enough of the climate debate. They know the world IS getting warmer, that 100,000 weather observers all over the globe tell us their observations prove it. So the Swiss have started putting special white blankets on some of their scenic (tourism producing, job producing) glaciers to stop them from melting.
Yes, the world IS getting warmer. There is NO argument here.  Why is another matter?  Maybe fossil fuels, maybe auto exhausts, maybe rampant consumerism, maybe Chinese hacking...but...this is where we should be having our debate...NOT denying climate change is taking place. It is. Now let’s figure out what to do about it.
I'm just sayin'...

Sunday, June 18, 2017

So Much News; So Little Time

Let’s look on the bright side of the shooting this week at GOP congressmen practicing for their annual charity baseball game:
So far only 1 serious injury, the House GOP Whip, (I pray for his recovery)...with the nut case shooter dead.
Other good news:  House members are re-examining their relations with each other “across the aisle” 
with the leaders saying this could lead to better, less vitriolic understandings in the future. It’s about time.
Also we learned much more about Congressional “security," even more important than “jobs” to elected officials, it seems. I didn’t know the whip has his own, private security detail (which you & I pay for!) or that the capital police force numbers 2200 people. It’s leader recently asked for $33 million more to hire 72 new officers. With this shooting, he’ll probably get it. (Again, you & I will pay for this.)
But if the major reaction of Congress is “security” and not an examination of how this mental case got his weapons (legally bought we are told,) Congress will have failed again...and the fact that, this time, someone shot at them...then the lessons of Columbine, Virginia Tech, Sandy Hook, etcetcetcetc will be lost again. There ARE common sense things that Congress can do without seeming to capitulate, as usual, to the NRA:  (1) better record keeping on mental health cases and passing of this information on to ALL who need it, (2) close the gun show loophole, which adversely affects mom and pop gun stores, (3) outlaw AK47s, which we DID once, and expanded magazines so that nut cases don’t out duel the cops. Remember one congressman said the capital police had handguns while “he had a rifle..not a fair fight.”
OK, Congress, make it “fairer!”
Finally, the NCAA reported on the sex scandal at Louisville...and boy, did it drop the hammer (with much more yet to come, possibly.) UofL will appeal, which as one sports reporter said was silly...because they had already admitted to all the NCAA charged violations.  And while Rick keeps saying he knew nothing about all the shenanigans which went on over 3 years, the NCAA said he should have—and so should the university. It’s sad—but it could be worse. If the NCAA decides it is worse, and orders Louisville to vacate its national title...then the litigation will really boil over (which Kentuckians will pay for.)—all because one guy and one madam screwed a good school.
But then, maybe Rick’s charmed life will end...maybe
Meanwhile..yes I will say it again..WHEN will the NCAA rule on North Carolina; an even worse case of lack of “institutional control” that went on for much longer.
Gov. Bevin has asked for suggestions and comments from Kentuckians...which is both right and practical...but, as the CJ reported Sunday, he has blocked, so far, as many as 600 people from using his social media to contact him. His office said it was for “obscene or off-topic comments.”  Somehow I doubt that. It may just be one more example of thin-skinned public officials, including The Donald, from not wanting to receive criticism.
The Knight First Amendment Institute says this “suppresses speech. Your Twitter account is a designated public forum”..(which you&I pay for) just as are open city council and school board meetings.
Governor, please support free speech and set a better example for all Kentuckians...and yes, this is a way you can reaffirm our traditions...which that nut in Alexandria tried to kill.
I'm just sayin'...

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Jobs Is A Four Letter Word

Some thoughts on jobs from a news perspective:
It’s the most important word in our politics—at least in campaigning. And especially with Republicans, at home (Frankfort) and abroad (Washington).
Gov. Bevin keeps stressing it...and for the well being of most Americans I guess they should...although sometimes I wonder about the emphasis they place.
For example, our guv issued a news release on 15 jobs coming to E. Ky. with an aviation facility last week. I remember years ago a new fast food chain restaurant opening in Lexington with 65-120 jobs involved. I was surprised; maybe you are too.
It’s good to know the spirit of enterprise is alive and well in Frankfort. Kent Downey died this of several who went to jail in the '90's during the BOPTROT scandal. He ran whores out of his state office for legislators and others. And we learned this week also of a new whistleblower case there...a woman who charged she was fired when she reported two state employees were selling adult toys out of their office in the state capital.  The more things change....
Speaking of BOPTROT, both parties in succeeding legislatures have systematically undone all the improvements made after that scandal...and the courts seem determined to undo even more. The recent decision allowing lobbyists free range to BUY, yes BUY legislators is exactly what BOPTROT changes were designed to end. If lawmakers truly want to operate ethically, they MUST move to meet these court decisions with new laws.
Off the subject of jobs, but I cannot end this week without writing of my utter amazement that there is a guy named Alex Jones (“InfoWars” whatever that is) who believes the killing of 26 students and teachers at Sandy Hook is a hoax, that it never happened!
Talk about “false news” or “alternative facts!”
I'm just sayin'...

Monday, June 5, 2017

Thoughts On Recent News Stories

1.Bevin calls for Prayer Patrols...So far the governor’s only action to end violence in Lou-ah-vul was to call a meeting in the troubled west end and urge these. (He tried to keep the news media from the meeting but found out he couldn’t in that building.)
I believe in the power of prayer. It can’t hurt, and it may help.
But as a former Notre Dame football coach wisely said “Prayers work better when the players are bigger.” And this is,  as Nancy Reagan’s anti-drug program “Just Say No” was, truly a band aid.
Especially since it’s the governor’s party (here and in Washington) that allows so many guns on the street...with few background checks, bad rules against the mentally ill getting guns, the gun show exemption, larger magazines, etcetcetc.  Let’s pray our legislators realize their responsibility to end gun violence.
(And if you doubt that, as the Texas legislature ended a rancorous session, one GOP lawmaker  told a Democratic opponent he would “shoot him in self defense.”  Austin, as Frankfort, allows lawmakers to carry guns into sessions.)
2. America’s “longest war” (Afghanistan) took a horrible turn when insurgent bombs killed 90 in the capital, not far from the Presidential Palace. (Our White House.) Just one of such blasts recently. This while our president considers sending more American troops there...while corruption remains strong, tribal rivalries grow, local militia run many areas, etcetc.
(BTW, the US under Trump continues our policy of being one of, if not the largest seller of arms around the world. He inked a $350 Billion arms deal with Saudi Arabia on his trip there...just what the war torn Middle East needs. He argued this was a jobs creator back here. Maybe so, but it is sure to create jobs there...morticians, casketmakers, grave diggers, white helmets, etc.)
3. As we observed Memorial Day—if we observed it, instead of seeing it as another 3 day was pointed out that there are still EIGHTY thousand US service members missing in action from WW2 on. That does not include the missing from WW1...and, perhaps, that “police action," officially, known as the Korean War. A thought to remember when next Congress or the President sends us into has already been threatened in the first hundred days of this new administration and Congress.
4. Coal continued to terms of annual production---and JOBS---in the latest official figures. (SUR-prize.)
5. Jim Bunning died...a staunch conservative (and better baseball player) who represented Kentucky for many years in Washington. In KET’s tribute to him on “Comment on Kentucky” our fine public broadcast service couldn’t find a way to use a picture of him on its air.
I'm just sayin'...