Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Playing Games In Frankfort

Democracy took it on the chin last week in Frankfort.
The Senate got a bill to change the deadline when candidates file for office, moving it up even more. The rationale for this is the belief that little gets done in the Capitol until the members know if they will face opposition back home. Years ago the deadline used to be in late March  but was moved to late January, so members could, perhaps, take unpopular stands but it would be too late for someone back home to file against them.
It didn’t work, pension and budget bills were delayed excessively this year—for many reasons, but the work of both chambers suffered.
Now the new bill would move the filing deadline to the first Friday (of a full week) in January—almost a month earlier.
Lawmakers argued this “would end the potential for us to play games in Frankfort” and “taxpayers deserve it."
This is pure, unadulterated crap.
And the events of this session prove it.
Two of the issues caused major protests in Frankfort; the pension bill, strongly opposed by school teachers and state workers, and gun control efforts---which only came to the fore after the Parkland, Florida shooting. Yes, pension bill opposition has been there from the start, but only hit its stride after details leaked out, and that was well after the current January filing deadline. So was the Florida shooting, and the nationwide efforts by students for action.
Candidates “back home” could not have filed because they disagreed with their current representatives’ stand on either issue as the law now stands, and they would have even lesser chance to do so if the new bill passes.  Generally important and controversial bills come up for a vote late in the session. The old deadline—in March-- was much more “democratic” because it allowed local voters a chance to look at their representatives' full voting record, before deciding it they wished to run in opposition. The new bill does not allow them that option.
It is, in fact (surprise!) nothing but a disguised “Incumbents protection plan” and needs to be rejected.
(But I’m not holding my breath.)
I'm just sayin'...

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

The Mainstream Media Are Doing A Bad Job

Did you know this is Sunshine Week?
Or also when we are supposed to observe Freedom of Information Day?
Or why?
It was started in 2005 by an Editors group, and joined in by other journalists groups, such as the Society for Professional Journalists (SPJ-to which I belong) to point out the critical need, for all citizens of open government and freedom of information at all levels, federal, state and local.
The Associated Press reported that in the first year of the Trump administration more requests for public reports by journalists were censored when delivered, or reported as “couldn’t find” than in the previous decade of Obama and Bush. In Kentucky, our attorney-general, charged by law with handling similar requests—as well as those challenging violations of our excellent “open meetings” law, is constantly reporting that various state and local government units are still violating the law; thus keeping the citizens who elected their members from finding out what they are doing.
Do not think such violations are small potatoes, or have you forgotten, already, Watergate—when 2 courageous reporters kept after the Nixon administration until it fell from its own weight of breaking the law, lying to Congress, and other “high crimes and misdemeanors”; or the earlier Pentagon Papers (subject of last year’s movie “The Post”) where our government lied and lied to everyone about the Vietnam war, where thousands lost their lives, and so on.
Yet the MSM (main stream media) does a bad job of reminding us of how important they are. I saw one mention of Sunshine Week in a national media, zilch in our 2 main papers.
The Founding Fathers knew better. They wrote “freedom of the press” into  the First Amendment  (thanks to James Madison, whose birthday is this week and why we celebrate it.) (Education isn’t mentioned in the Constitution, but freedom of the Press is.)
But that Freedom is NOT exercised for members of the press, but for you.  Badmouth MSM all you want, we have our faults, but trying to exercise our rights, on YOUR behalf, isn’t one of them. I just wish we would do a better job of explaining to you, why.
I'm just sayin'...

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

3 THOTS: 1 local, 1 state, 1 national

LOCAL:  UK needs to pay more attention to its truly horrible parking situation. It doesn’t need more fancy dorms, it needs more parking (and without taking space from nearby neighborhoods, which it just did—or supported on South Hill.) Case in point:  I went to see “Showboat” last Friday at the Singletary Center for the Arts.  Besides that big draw there was also a UK gymnastics meet across the street in the Coliseum, which drew crowds. Between the two (and no valet parking on Fridays,) parking was not to be found. Once upon a time, UK had more concern  for the public and a parking lot near both was open to us after 5pm; no more. UK built a new building on that lot which took away so much parking, and I’m not even sure UK allows public use anymore ‘cause I couldn’t get near it.
If UK wants the area public to support its various events, it—and the city—MUST plan for more event parking (and at a reasonable cost.)
STATE:  Of all the silly issues in the various gun debates in Frankfort, the one that ought to get bipartisan support is the repeal of a law passed a few years ago that allows weapons confiscated by police units to be sold at public auction, with the money going to the state.  Almost all police units opposed the law, but the dollar hungry state government turned these objections aside. And what happened? Just what the cops said would happen; some of these weapons turned up in the hands of criminals, here and in other states, and new victims of violent crime were created.  Their agonies should be laid directly at the feet of the lawmakers who voted for this.  Many other countries confiscate weapons used in crimes, or in various “turn in” or “buy back” programs, and almost always they are destroyed. But not in Kentucky.  this is stupidity---codified, and should end.  What’s the 2nd amendment issue here???
NATIONAL:  A recent article in that liberal publication USA Today, pointed out the disparities between traditional Republican policies and today’s party members in Congress, especially on the issues of higher deficits and higher spending (more big government) once generally opposed by the Grand Old Party—but no more.  It’s not our oldest party but I’ve always liked that phrase Grand Old Party.  I would like to use Grand New Party, since the article pointed out they are no longer the party of Lincoln, Roosevelt (Teddy of course) or even Reagan, but I can’t. GNP means Gross National Product usually, although economists these days use Gross Domestic Product, so I wish some new phrase might be adopted just as soon as the party knows which way is up.  Trump’s way, or ??? (And BTW, the same applies to the Dems. Are they the party of Warren and Sanders, or Clinton, or Obama, or ???)
What’s a poor blogger to do?
I'm just sayin'...