Tuesday, April 16, 2019

More News Notes

CBS's UNMASTERFUL COVERAGE:

By mid afternoon Sunday we knew Tiger had won, but CBS didn't end coverage (which had started early due to impending severe storms, wiping out the best news magazine show on the air, Sunday Morning) it kept on repeating, repeating, and still repeating what had happened right up to 7pm, the original time it was supposed to end. To say this was overkill, even for the "historic" nature of Tiger's victory, is to put it mildly.


I hope local stations throughout the South, where storms and tornadoes killed at least 8 people, cut away and ran local news and weather coverage. Probably not, unfortunately, and yup, P.O'ed golf fans in Atlanta, sent death threats (death threats!!!) to the affiliate that did cut away to let viewers know of tornadoes in the area.    It's just too easy today to use social media to send such crap; I hope local police are after these thugs.


CRAPPY NEW POLITICS:

At least twice recently, national media have announced that Joe Zilch, a largely unheard of local official, had said he was running for President. Then, 2 weeks later, he announces his "formal" bid for President. Oh, No Buster! You used to get only one go round here; a one time announcement to seek the White house should be it. I am appalled at the Main Stream Media / AKA MSM doing this.


Years ago, when I was news director of a top radio station in South Carolina, it was customary you got ONE such announcement. I remember the mayor of a major town calling our station for a phone interview in which he said he would make his official announcement of running for the US Senate  the following week. Oh No, we told him, this is it; and it was. The wire services picked up the phone announcement, and that, as I remember it, was it.


It should be that way now. Besides, we have way too many people who think they are qualified to be President (probably because Trump has shown us that any egotistical, unqualified person can have such a dream.)  Hopefully the MSM will think better of its current policy of letting candidates call the shots and apply a little political birth control.


LAST WEEK:

I wrote of the silliness potentially fatal silliness of parents and others who refuse to be vaccinated, or let their kids be vaccinated, on supposedly "religious" grounds.  To wit this AP story and its headline in the Courier-Journal: "Madagascar's measles kill 1200."  It could happen here; remember WWI's "Spanish Flu"? It killed tens of thousands in the US, far more than died in combat.


SPEAKING OF HEADLINES:

A sad one recently from South Carolina, where I spent 3 happy years covering politics almost the "damndest" as here in KY. Long time US Senator, and former governor, "Fritz" Hollings died. He was colorful, "good copy" able, intelligent, but a true son of the South who was able to grow with the times, to learn and practice new things, who moved away from segregation and bettered his state---and country--for it. He ran for president once too.  By experience he was more qualified than many of his opponents, but he had no chance in those days. He taught me a lot about politics. I considered him a friend and I will miss him.  With more like Fritz, South Carolina, the South---and America--would be better off.

I'm just sayin'...

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Your Freedom...To Kill Others!

Which is exactly what those who refuse to get vaccinated are claiming---the freedom to kill others.


Coating it in the argument of "religious beliefs" doesn't hold water. I know a church denomination which once held, as a tenet of its faith, the right to enslave people of a different color. (Was that really so long ago?) Religion has its limits.



Today, claiming "faith" as a reason to be UNreasonable may be fashionable in some areas, even sincerely believed (and often on sincerely false evidence.) Did you see the news story recently that over half of the vaccination posts on Facebook were wrong?  (Just one more argument I have to urge my friends to give up Facebook.)


It is not a coincidence that areas of the US where anti-vaccination beliefs were strongest are those areas which have seen a resurgence of measles; a malady once extinct in the US (though still a major health problem in other parts of the world.)  If I lived next to a family whose kids were not vaccinated I would tell health & school officials about them, and I would confront them as a parent, and tell them if my kids come down with what yours get, be prepared to be hauled into court.


When I was growing up, measles  was a really scary thing, especially for boys.  The word was then a bad case could make a young male impotent, forever.  Don't know if that is true today, but it was not a little worrisome then.


We have come so far in ending a disease that once killed  and maimed it would be a great shame to cause needless deaths; all in the name of  religion, which ought to be an enhancer of all our  lives.

I'm just sayin'...

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

A Legislative Review

Midway through the now concluded session a  conservative Republican friend of mine commented her party seemed determined to do some baddd things.  First, sending lawsuits it thought it might lose off to “friendly” judges elsewhere in the state, then burying information on its actions by changing open records law so no one could find out, and taking other steps which just seemed untraditional in America and Kentucky.  "What are they afraid of?” she asked.
 
What indeed?
 
Fortunately both of the cited bills failed, but not through lack of trying. To me that also indicates a  lack of faith in voters, and a “robust discussion of public issues.”
 
Governor Bevin seemed to echo those legislative actions. When the ridiculous concealed carry law passed (over the strong objections of law enforcement groups,) and a citizen raised objections with him, he basically told her to "move to another state if you don’t like what we’re doing.”
 
Geez.  Would he tell that to the CEO of Braidy Industries or any other firm he seeks to bring here?  And by the way, the Braidy deal remains mired in trouble, and you and I have invested in it. Are we going to be on the hook for its failure, as we apparently are for the Kentucky Wired project---which no one in the legislature seems interested in getting to the bottom of its problems?
 
Meanwhile, good bills-as usual, failed. I am thinking of medical marijuana, or changing our outmoded wine purchase laws, two of my own interests I admit, along with cutting the ridiculously high salary of a Bevin friend as IT czar
 
Yet, having said all this, I think the legislature itself needs modernizing. It should (1) hold annual sessions of sixty days, (2) be able to call itself into special session when needed, (3) have more research and support for bill drafting by the LRC—among other things - along with more open committee sessions to block more “sewage” bills at the 11th hour.
 
If it comes to a choice between an executive turned dictator (often in secret,) or a legislature making bad choices (after open debate) I pick the latter; as much more in our historic tradition.
 
i'm just sayin'...

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Pardon Me, But...

While I wait for a lot more of the Mueller report to be released (and by the way I do realize that  grand jury testimony cannot be released by law,) let me jump ahead, and back a bit.
 
A big part of our government is based on 3 equal branches of it: executive, legislative, and judicial. Each has its role to play; has checks (in most cases) on the other-and these checks and balances have made our Democracy what it is.
 
The President’s “pardon power” in a dictatorial aberration and should be eliminated or greatly modified.
 
Example A:  as of now the judicial system can spend years and millions investigating a suspected criminal, getting an indictment, preparing for trial, and then in the blink of an eye, the president issues a pardon and all is forgiven, legally and for the record. That not only is not fair, it is an outright and total break of our system of 3 equal branches and checks and balances.
 
This can (and I suspect—has) happened.
 
Many presidents have been criticized for the way they used the pardon process. Clinton’s pardons, in some cases, didn’t pass the smell test. Prominent people (and party donors) got off.  Bush & Obama were also criticized for some of their pardons.  Many presidents have.
 
It’s long past time for a change, and all those lawyers in Congress know it. The president probably ought to have some power to pardon, but NOT until AFTER the judicial system has done its job; not til after someone has been convicted (and probably not til after the appeals process has concluded.) To let a president pardon sooner makes a mockery of our system of justice.
 
It isn’t what Trump might do, or what Clinton did. It’s the practice of democracy at stake, and to coin a phrase:
 
It’s time for a change.
 
I'm just sayin'...

Monday, March 18, 2019

Abolish The FAA

This is not a new thought; I have stated my belief that this is the worst of all federal agencies (and that’s saying a lot) but the preliminary indications are that, once again, the FAA has failed in its mission to protect the flying public.
 
400 graves in Ethophia and Indonesia attest to that.
 
If those 2 Max 8 planes had been US carriers, and the deaths were that of Americans what do you think the public reaction would have been?
 
The FAA has consistently sided with plane makers over the public; often even siding with the Boeings and Uniteds against the National Transportation Safety Board, even when the agency had shown a clear failure of plane or pilot—and people died. NTSB findings go to the FAA, which—under the law—does not have to follow them or even study them. (That should have changed a long, long time ago; but hasn’t - a signal of the political and administrative power of carriers and manufacturers within the agency, instead of its mission to protect the public.)
 
It’s not news that the FAA turned over to Boeing the decision that its new automated safety system was, in fact, safe. It is the prime suspect in the 2 crashes. The FAA, as usual, pleads lack of staff or labs to investigate all these things  (true, and Congress shares much blame here,) but if they don’t, why approve such crucial items as new planes come on line?
 
As they say, the “culture” of this agency is bad, wrong, and I suspect beyond redemption. It should go; let some new agency take over, and give more power to the NTSB in this field.
 
#####################
 
A political thought, or two.
 
Ever heard of “FDR’s Court packing plan?” Google it.  Isn’t Trump's “packing” the court with litmus test conservatives about the same? Yet FDR’s plan failed; looks like the President’s may succeed, and all without comment (or even stories of explanation) from the “liberal” media.
 
There are too many Democratic candidates running for president (many of whom are, IMHO, unqualified.) There are too few Republican candidates running for President.  A spirited party primary is good for Democracy.
 
I'm just sayin'...

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Thoughts On Recent News Items

Another Kentucky soldier, killed in war has come home to be honored—and placed at rest. This time, he died at Pearl Harbor, Dec. 7th, 1941.
Modern science finally identified him---68 years later. Wars have a way of doing that. Bet I could ask a lot of people on the streets of Lexington when the bombing of Pearl Harbor took place and few would know. We hurry into war, often on bad or even spurious reasons. Seldom do we later repent, except briefly when a good Kentucky boy finally comes home.
(Will we lose more in Niger, Yemen, Syria, Somalia—and places Congress still has not declared us at war—and have their bodies finally come back years from now? Only time will tell.)
And speaking of time. It’s now Daylight Saving TIme. It comes too soon and lasts too long. The European Union just decided to end moving clocks forward and back each year. They haven’t decided which time will be “it” year ‘round, but a timely change is on the way. Maybe we should reconsider it also.
We lost two outstanding Kentuckians recently.       
   
I knew them both, slightly and more professionally than personally.  Ewell Balltrip was what every small town editor should be—devoted to his community, both small (Harlan) and large (the mountains.) He stuck up for both, but when he felt coal miners were wrong, he said so, and  made it stick. The New York Times recognized his talent and put him to work in their organization for many years, but he came home to the hills, ending his life with even more service to Eastern Kentucky. Later this month he will be inducted into the Kentucky Journalism Hall of Fame. Too bad it took so long for him to be so honored.
James Archambeault has left his mark in many a Commonwealth home and school and office. His pictures, colorful and outstanding of many places in our state grace them, as he graced us with his talent. A fixture at the annual Kentucky Book Fair, I always went to his table to see what new book or calendar he had out. His work has brightened our lives and we will miss him. (Is there a professional Photographers’ Hall of Fame?)
Did you catch WKYT’s recent hour program on the Wildcats? Excellent; congrats to all involved, and please don’t think this is just carping, but why is it we often get such good programs on sports events and people, but not on the issues facing our state? Yes, they are costly and undoubtedly easier for stations to sell to sponsors, but there are public spirited sponsors out there (Toyota, Alltech to mention a few.) So why haven’t we had similar documentaries on: our pension debacle (PBS Frontline thought enough of this to spent most of an hour here, and the Herald Leader’s John Cheeves was one of their “experts.” Can’t he also be the same thing for 27 or 18 or 36 or KET?) Or on serious problems facing rural hospitals (Ditto: Frontline and PBS have explored this issue in Kentucky, but no doc from local stations. Or what REALLY happened at the Beverly Hills Supper Club fire? A provocative book has been out for a half dozen years but no TV expose---yet.  Or: what really happened to kill Kentucky Central?   
Meanwhile our legislature rolls on; probably racking up one of the most dismal session records in modern times. More on that soon.

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Voting Legislation Needed NOW!

If you are tired of seeing the bigger states rule our national elections (and I am); if you are even more tired of the Electoral  College, which allows the winner of the popular vote to lose  (and I definetly am—and you should be too, regardless of your party) then please join me in urging our legislature to adopt NOW the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact.
 
Right now your vote, as a Kentuckian, isn’t the same as votes in surrounding states. Rather than being their equal, your vote could be more (but much likely less) than each voter there; and that’s not fair, not just, and not our democracy. It should be one person = one vote; no more, no less.
 
The proposed Compact allows for that, and gets around the “College.” The Constitution allows states to control how they divide their electoral votes. Most are winner take all. Some divide proportionately to how their citizens vote. The compact says each state's vote would go to whoever wins the national popular vote---if states with 270 electoral votes (a majority join). Right now 13 states with 181 electoral votes have joined. Kentucky should too, and reaffirm our belief in one person = one vote. Please urge your state representatives and senators to adopt the compact.
 
And while we’re on voting, which many complain is too cumbersome a process, registration, voting, etc., Kentucky should consider adopting AVR or Automatic Voter Registration. Simply put, if a citizen goes to any state office/agency for any matter, and isnt registered, there are forms and a person in that office who can register them there and then. Can’t force them to vote, but at least they are now ready to exercise the most important rite, or right - both most certainly apply, of American citizenship.
 
And, once again, Kentucky should be working NOW on redrawing voting lines after the 2020 census. Over a dozen states use a non-partisan commission of experts to draw these lines, and either that’s it, or the legislature can overrule them by an extraordinary vote, for example two-thirds.  No more gerrymandering, no more long drawn out, expensive, time consuming cases in the courts; do it right, do it scientifically with population and geographic experts and be done with it.
 
The problems in our Secretary of State’s office are minor compared to what important changes adopting these 3 approaches would make.
 
I'm just sayin'...

Monday, February 25, 2019

News Thoughts

1. Happy to see “Green Book” defy the odds and win the Oscar as Best Picture, despite carping from some that it is a “black picture for white folks.”  Any film that reminds us about how racist we were, even into the 1960s—and even in towns such as Lexington, where the locals thought otherwise, is worth an award.
 
BTW, when the buzz started about this flick I remembered seeing a copy of the Green book (a friend described it as “the AAA tour guide for black people”, telling them where they could sleep and eat in otherwise segregated areas) at the Lexington main public library. So I called the reference room to see if my memory was right. Maybe yes, maybe no, but they had no copy then, nor did the UK library. I find this extraordinary. Maybe now that the film has won, both libraries will see the necessity to obtain a copy.
 
2. Our legislature has gone from conservative to reactionary; and not just the least in arguments over abortion. It seems it can’t wait for Roe v Wade to be overturned, wanting our state to be first in line with new birth restrictions. (I do not like abortion. I like even less letting any administration have a say in whether a woman should give birth or not. It should be up to her and her religious beliefs. Remember: a government that can tell you you must have this baby is also a government that can tell you you must not have this baby, or have we forgotten, so soon, that China tried just that, and recently.)
 
Or the kowtowing to the utility industry which, as the CJ pointed out, spent several hundreds of thousands to get the rules changed (in the middle of the game) so they could pay homeowners less than what they promised to pay them originally.
 
Or keeping on spending millions on Kentucky Wired, long after the project has gone way over budget and way behind schedule, without finding out who screwed up the deal so badly that it may end up costing you and me millions.
 
Meanwhile it hasn’t done anything to insure our ballots can’t be hacked, or improving our elections (ex: the governor of WV changed from Dem to GOP a year after he was elected; a fraud upon Mountain State voters.) This has happened here, just not at such a high level. Why aren’t we prepared for that happening with a law that says what to do if it does? (not an easy question to answer, but one that needs to be raised.)
 
Meanwhile, still no constitutional amendment to let the legislature call itself into session, making it the UNequal of our 3 branches of government.
 
3. WKYT is the local top tv station, especially in news. A good part of the reason may be it has the only investigative reporter, Miranda Combs, and has won top regional awards for its work. That hasn’t always been the case, but LEX 18 bowed out sometime back.  Perhaps the new owners will see the light and give KYT some competition here; we would all benefit from that. Til then, channel 27 keeps on doing good work in several areas Miranda has probed.
 
Not so the way 27 handled its “news coverage” of the recent sport & boat show at Heritage Hall. Newscast after newscast just before and during the show carried thinly disguised promotions for it, passed off as legit news stories. They weren’t, and 27 never acknowledged its sponsorship of that show in those “reports.” This gets worse each year. Last year when I objected to this as both bad journalism and unethical. (Viewers had a right to know of the station’s sponsorship of the event,) the then manager agreed with me, and station sponsorship was acknowledged on following reports. Not so this year; wonder how bad it will be in 2020?
 
I'm just sayin'...

Sunday, February 17, 2019

If Timing Is Everything Our Legislature's Grade Is A D-Minus

Over 40 years in broadcasting has taught me that “Timing is everything” is a good maxim, one that works there, and seems also to work in other aspects of life, including civic activities.
 
So the Kentucky state senate’s passage of an NRA-sponsored bill to allow guns to be carried concealed, without a permit and without training (as now)—on the very anniversary of the Parkland, Florida high school shooting  that killed so many—seems more than just callous, it seems ignorant and unnecessary.
 
Kentucky parents from our own Marshall HS shooting, more on that later, had testified earlier of the anguish they felt over the loss of their children –yet the Senate seemed to ignore those same feelings by parents in another state.  More than just bad “timing.”
 
And it got worse. One senator, an NRA supporter and former cop, argued that to end permits and especially to end training programs for those carrying concealed weapons was bad practice and flew in the face of experience.
 
Before the week was out came the shooting at a factory in Aurora, Illinois. It turned out the fired worker not only had his deadly weapon illegally (another example of failed state background checks), but  this was only found out when he applied for a permit for concealed carry. Will this now happen here, if the senate/NRA bill becomes law?
 
All of which would seem to indicate our state senate doesn’t give a hoot about our own tragic shooting at Marshall High. Yes, a study group afterwards had come up with an omnibus school safety bill, but it had 2 major faults. One, it was brought up during the 30 day session when no funding can ordinarily be passed to implement the bill, and two, it contained nothing about guns and their crucial impact on school safety.  Bad “timing.” (and head in sand.)
 
Our general assembly needs to consider a constitutional amendment to allow it to call itself into session; not, as now, where only the governor can do that. (He just did, with disastrous results; nothing accomplished on pension reform, and a lot of money spent for naught.)
 
Some other legislative issues bear serious study. Ex-speaker Hoover’s bill to require candidates for statewide office to make public their income taxes is a good idea and should pass. Yes, it may cause some good candidates not to run, but the overall idea is excellent.
 
Two, the GOP’s bill to slap Democrat Grimes handling of voter data in her Sec. of State office ought to pass also. A study by the Herald-Leader shows she probably had access to data she didn’t need, and for political purposes—though she denies it. This example, coming on the heels of the Republican candidate for governor in Georgia (also their Secretary of State) being charged with using his office to purge voting roles of people most likely to vote for his opponent---and winning a very narrow race—shows safeguards are needed in these officies that control voting rules and data.
 
That “timing” is right, so to are (finally,) bills to protect small water districts from collapse; though woefully late. How many years has it been since news media stories have shown the dismal, unsafe state of drinking water in many areas of Kentucky. But, better late than never.
 
Kentucky needs either to have annual 60 day sessions –or give lawmakers the power to call special sessions—or both. An amendment can’t get on the ballot too soon.  Til then, their “timing” score is D-minus. 
 
I'm just sayin'...

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Once More A Rush To Judgment

In many ways, Virginia is Kentucky’s Mother Country. So many of our early settlers (and elected officials such as Henry Clay) came from there; so many of our counties were carved from Virginia land, we inherited much from that Commonwealth.
 
Let’s hope that does not include its rush to judgment.
 
Once again, accusations are being taken by the populace (and alas, by the professional media which should know better) as final judgments. They are not. (And this after the recent CovCath example.)
 
Let me take their Lt. Governor first. He has been charged with rape by at least one accuser. Rape is a crime, but we all know it often takes years for this crime to become public; in some cases, past the time such charges may count as a crime. Whatever the case here, judicial authorities should investigate and if the accusations prove credible, file a case against this man. If not, drop them. In the meantime, he should not resign; for in this case of “she said, he said” the way to try to discover the truth is in the courts, not the media. That’s not our job. Yes it will take time; justice usually does, but a rush to judgment, running the risk of getting it wrong, is worse.
 
Now to Virginia’s governor.  I don’t know what possessed him to say, first, he was one of those men either in blackface or Klan robes in his yearbook picture, but he soon took it back and said he was not either one. Who knows for sure? Not me. Maybe you can look beneath the robe or makeup and know, with 100% certainty, but I can not. In the meantime here is a man who has been a doctor, led the fight for civil rights and better health care in his state (and who is a member of a largely African-American church BTW!) and I will give him the “presumption of innocence” until I know more.
 
This UNAmerican rush to judgment must end. It demeans all of us, and our democratic institutions.
 
Would that John Dingle’s final words to his countrymen (which you need to read) might have touched on this, too.
 
I'm just sayin'...

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

We All Do It But...

Jump to conclusions that is.

Seems to be human nature, but that’s no excuse for trained journalists to do so.
 
Yes, I’m talking about the “CovCath” students in DC.
 
When I first saw the smiling young man standing so close to the drum-beating elderly man, my reaction was: who is he? Why is he smiling, but saying nothing? Who is the drum beater and why is he beating his drum?  Who are all those noisy people in the background and where is all this going on?
 
These are the questions reporters should ask, and many did, but a little late. Meanwhile people everywhere seem to have jumped to their own conclusions about those answers and gone on social media to tell the rest of us what the “answers” were, when, in fact, they didn’t know---either. (One lady blogger in San Francisco, telling the world she actually lived in Brazil, had a lot to say---mostly wrong...but she somehow got on the news.)
 
And now the media messed things up even more.  Not having trained journalists at the scene, we fell back on reporting the video as interpreted by social media reports, from people, not there as well. It took awhile, several days in fact to get things straightened out, at least some semblance of “the truth” all of which was not helped one whit by a statement put out by the Catholic diocese in Covington whose officials hadn’t been there either.
 
To the media’s (belated) credit, when complaints came in, and experienced minds prevailed, interviews with the participants got the “real” story (whatever that turns out to be) going, and a better approximation of what actually happened.
 
The media often quotes social media, many times it has to since no journalist was there at the time, but it needs to make very clear the “attribution” of those reports and views. (That’s  an old J school maxim, but often overlooked these days---to all of our disservice.)
 
Local case in point. Monday when Adam Edelen filed for governor (after Bevin had finally filed Friday) one local anchor reported "and the field is set over on the GOP side,too.”)  I fired off an e-mail to her saying "Not til 4:01pm tomorrow,” which was the filing deadline, and, sure enough some guy neither she nor I had heard of did file against Bevin.
 
My message is clear: resist all those jumps to conclusions, evaluate the source of the information, give it some time...things do tend to get corrected, it’s just that we can screw things up early on.
 
Remember, we’re all only human.
 
I'm just sayin'...

Monday, January 21, 2019

Some Words In Praise Of CBS's Sunday Morning

“Here begins something new.”
Charles Kuralt spoke those words as he began CBS’s “Sunday Morning:, the best news program on the air; yes, better than 60 Minutes, or Frontline or Nova (and that’ saying a lot!)---certainly the best news program on commercial networks or cable.
I don’t remember if there were news magazine shows before Sunday Morning, perhaps so, but it has outlasted and bested them all...and next Sunday will observe its 40th year on the air.It’s worth a watch, week in and week out, regularly, and certainly on the occasion of this upcoming anniversary program.
Kuralt, and his producer Robert Northshield's idea was a Sunday newspaper on television, with feature stories, opinion columns, hard news reports, coverage of the arts, and more; the things you get in a good Sunday edition, only on TV. It has succeeded wildly. Some programs are better than others, but I can’t remember ever seeing a bad one, and I’ve seen many of them.
They have special, themed programs too, as do Sunday papers, especially in their special sections. Few could eclipse when Kuralt took the program live to Moscow, when famed Russian expatriate, Vladimir Horowitz, went home after many years to play a concert. What a concert it was!  You can still buy CDs and DVD's of it. Other themed programs have been on Design and Money and Food. (And my favorite, the end of each year’s look back at the people we lost along the way.)
Staples of the program are an Almanac, a detailed backgound cover story on some current news topic, outstanding coverage of the arts, and the piece that ends the program, a natural sound only nature report, which may be bugling elks at mating season, or our own Red River gorge.
After 40 years, Sunday Morning is still “something new” and always something outstanding.  Do watch Sundays at 9, when the trumpet sounds.

I'm just sayin'...

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Happy Ratification Day!

Today, Monday, Jan. 14th is our Ratification Day; the day the Continental Congress approved the Treaty of Paris with Great Britan, ending the Revolutionary War, and legally establishing the 13 colonies as the United States of America.  Not the same as July 4th, but a much more significant day in our history than the attention it isn’t given.
So how far have we come this “greatest nation in the world?”
Well, let’s remember our democracy in 1784, a truly radical experiment, was a work in progress.
Each MAN was created equal, we told the world, thanks to Tom Paine and John Adams, and Tom Jefferson, and it was “man.”  Women didn’t vote. Blacks, even “3/5ths” of them didn’t vote. Not all white men voted; in many states/colonies you had to have “property” to vote.  “Indentured servants” (remember them?) didn’t vote. Sharecroppers didn’t vote, and, I hate to remind you, in some colonies certain religions couldn’t vote. (Those notorious Quakers among others, those quiet, most peaceful people you could find, yup, no voting for them.)
Well, OK, property requirements to vote soon fell away; so did religious tests. but it took 150 years for women to get the vote. (And by one male vote, BTW, in the last state to ratify, Tennessee.) Looking back from our wisdom of today, how in the world did that happen?  150 years!!!
And, I submit, blacks still are not 100% free to vote given the restrictions imposed by some states still, though not always Southern. And by attempts, by both parties, to gerrymander every election district they can get away with.
And as to Hispanics (the “black man” of today,) they are often found fighting to secure the vote.
(I won’t even go into what we did to American-born, Japanese citizens during WW2.)

And BTW, every person who fought for the Colonies in our Revolutionary War---every single one of them---was an immigrant. Please think about that when you hear calls to shut our borders, or make entry much more difficult, to those fleeing oppression or who seek a new life in our land---as those who fought in 1776 so often did.
All of this by way of both saluting Ratification Day, and reminding us that America is still a work in progress; a work that calls us to keep trying to live up to what the Declaration of Independence promised.
We could start by eliminating the Electoral college, which makes one Kentuckian’s vote NOT equal to the vote cast next door in Ohio, or Indiana, or Tennessee. We could demand the House (and especially the Senate) reform their  rules so that one man, even if he is a Kentuckian, can  not block new laws by refusing to bring them up for a vote. (Remember, before that one man was a Kentuckian, he was a Nevadan, and he will be again.)
We can overturn the Citizens United Decision of the Supreme Court which said that MONEY is free speech, and that while I am not a corporation, a corporation is me, a person entitled to the freedoms of every American citizen, including spending secret billions to elect people as our last few elections have actually done.
Yes, on this Ratification Day, we Americans have a lot to be thankful for, and a very lot to do to truly make this “a more perfect union” and the “greatest country in the world.”
Let’s have at it!



Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Some Thoughts At The Start Of The Year

After the ill-considered (and UNnecessarily expensive special session) the legislature is back in town for its 30 day session. Since regular sessions are less costly than special sessions---and better equipped to handle any issue—it is past time for another Constitutional amendment.  The legislature should be given the power (only the governor has it now) to call itself back into session, and it should not limit itself to 30 days every other year, but have “regular” sessions each year.
 
It should plan now for the 2020 elections but establishing a nonpartisan commission to handle drawing of state and federal election districts, with their results to stand unless overturned by an extraordinary majority of both chambers.
 
Another Constitutional amendment needed; eliminating the “dueling” provisions which makes Kentucky the laughing-stock of the nation every four years.
 
Every session some items come up which are important, which need to be taken care of, and which few thought of beforehand. Case in point: a report this week from a  national humane group that Kentucky ranks dead last in laws caring for our pets. Did you know that veterinarians are FORBIDDEN to report cases of suspected animal cruelty? Why on earth would we have such a law? What group would lobby for it? Why would lawmakers pass it? Get rid of this one right away!
 
Gossip—I stress gossip—says Bevin may not run again, possibly awaiting a call from Trump for a DC office. If he waits until the last minute to file, his party, and all of us voters, would be behind the 8 ball. It’s good someone has filed, but changes in the filing law are needed, including moving the date back closer the primary.
 
Meanwhile a major candidate, Adam Edelen, has filed for the Democratic governor's race. But the state’s largest paper, the Courier-Journal, didn’t cover his announcement, even though he has a prominent Louisville man as running mate, using a small Associated Press story instead.  This is bad journalism, and unfair to the candidate and voters. The Herald-Leader did a major article, and a 2nd one on the Lt. Governor candidate.
 
Yet both papers, AP, and most media do NOT cover properly or fully the “perennial” candidates, such as Geoff Young (mentioned but not his running mate)—even though they are legal candidates and could win.
 
Primary candidates should be required to state their party affiliation in their ads, which many did NOT do in this year’s election.
 
And so on and on it goes.  Frankfort has much to do this year (did I mention pensions, funding schools, roads??) Annual sessions would be one way to make Kentucky a more modern state, one able to handle its problems more effectively.
 
I'm just sayin'...

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Some Thoughts At Year's End

There is no excuse for any reason at any time for any person or party to shut down the government.
 
2018 seems to have brought to an end the use of a phrase which never was true where aerial bombing was concerned, "surgical strike.” An official survey by the US reported that in the 4 years the US has been involved in such bombing in Syria, a MINIMUM of 1100 innocent civilians were killed. Almost everyone connected to this survey believes the real number is higher but the US now admits to such killings, which to me are murders, pure and simple. We had no reason to enter the war, under Obama, or continue it—so far—under Trump. No Congressional Declaration of War, as the Constitution requires, for just one example. Now we admit one of the gravest errors of that decision. For all of us who didn’t object, for our Kentucky Congressional delegation—which didn’t oppose it---this is just one of the consequences; and blood on all our hands.
 
There is no excuse for any reason at any time for any person or party to shut down the government.
 
Congrats to the UK football team for its bowl win.  All season long our achilles heel has been pass defense, and it nearly cost us this game.  All season long, Stoops has not been good at time management, as it is called, especially near game’s end. This time he did it right and it saved his hind quarters.  (They will debate the field goal vs going-for-it for years at Penn State).  BTW, let’s not forget what that win also means for Coach Stoops; I think his contract calls for a $250,000 bonus, maybe more.
 
There is no excuse for any reason at any time for any person or party to shut down the government.
 
Kentucky law required people to register in a party to vote in the most important election of all—the primary. I know the reasoning, but why then do we allow candidates to run campaign spots withOUT indicating which party they belong to??? In the run-up to the November election I saw one, maybe two spots of the zillion on tv that listed the candidate’s party. One or the other of these situations should change.
 
There is no excuse for any reason at any time for any person or party to shut down the government.
 
Of the many despicable things Pres. trump has tweeted about recently the most despicable (as well as false) was to blame the Democrats for the deaths of the two children who died in government custody at the border. The policy of separating kids from parents is a recent—and Trump administration policy—as outgoing Chief of State Kelly admitted in a recent news story, blaming it on A/G Sessions. Both parties, historically, have much to answer for as to our truly bad immigration laws, but this one’s father is The Donald.
 
There is no excuse for any reason at any time for any person or party to shut down the government.
 
Doesn’t anyone proof read any more?  TV Guide informed us this week that last Sunday’s CBS 60 Minutes program was being hosted by Lester Holt. It wasn’t and the longtime NBC evening news anchor may have been even more surprised than anyone at CBS.
 
There is no excuse......
 
I'm just sayin'...