Monday, April 29, 2019

Politics And Wars

In over 40 years of covering politics, only once have I been present when someone announced they would run for President.

It was after midnight, in a small meeting room, at the end of the GOP national convention years ago. I was News Director for a small TV station in Fort Wayne, but our progressive company (owned as it happened by "Jock" Whitney, a prominent Republican, and brother-in-law of the president of CBS) sent a news team to both parties' national convention.  Our job was not to cover the race for President---we left that to CBS---but how our local delegates were taking it all in.

As it happened the best known member of our delegation was the mayor of Indianapolis, Richard Lugar---also known as "Nixon's favorite mayor."  Lugar had made a name for himself running Indianapolis well, and for his progressive views. He had been mentioned as a possible veep running mate, but that didn't happen. With Nixon safely nominated, the weary delegates---and reporters--were back at the delegation hotel ready for bed or booze, when word spread Lugar was holding an unusual midnight news conference in a hotel meeting room. My photographer and I raced there, and set up for whatever was to happen. Lugar came in, went to the podium and to our amazement told us that when Nixon's term was over, it was his intention to run for President. Til then he would continue  as Mayor, but start building a national base for his expected run. He just wanted his fellow  Hoosiers to know what his plans were. 

That was my introduction to Richard Lugar, who did run for President later, and got nowhere. Then he ran for the US Senate, won, and began a 36 year term, becoming one of its ablest members, an acknowledged expert on foreign affairs (this from a sometime isolationist state,) who didn't hesitate to "reach across the aisle" to another able Hoosier expert on foreign affairs, Democratic Congressman Lee Hamilton, and later Georgia Senator Sam Nunn. Together they crafted some of the best, bi-partisan foreign policy laws in recent history. (The Nunn-Lugar approach to trying to find and control rogue atomic weapons is still basic US policy, if not exactly front burner in the current GOP administration.)

After 6 terms, Sen. Lugar lost, surprisingly in a primary battle to a Tea Party Republican who in turn lost to a moderate Democrat.  Senator Lugar died last week, honored by those who knew him from both parties and who honored his work for his country, above his party. He was one of the finest statesmen I have known and covered, a younger man in the mold of John Sherman Cooper.

We, (and by we I mean) America needs more public officials such as Richard Lugar, who worked to keep America out of wars, we seem to so casually enter today, all then while ignoring the Constitution.   

And speaking of war, and its often hidden costs, many which only pop up years late:.
A UN report has already told us we (US and allies) killed more civilians in the last few years of fighting in Afghanistan than enemy combatants, and the same holds true of our proxy allies in Yemen--more innocents, especially children, have died in "coalition" bombing than fighters. (Pres. Trump just vetoed a bill to get us out of Yemen, one of the very few times recently Congress has stood up to the President--and for the Constitution---a veto which will probably hold, unfortunately.)

And, remember Raqqa--the Northern Syria town that was IS headquarters? An independent study reports more than 1600 civilians were killed in the US-led coalition's months of bombing that finally "liberated" that city.

As to other, often hidden costs, one more good Kentucky boy is home, finally identified following his death at Pearl Harbor, and on the West Coast, a much younger veteran, suffering from what we once called "shell shock" drove his car into a group of people waiting at a bus stop, under the delusion they were IS-type supporters from his not-so-long-ago combat.

Dick Lugar probably wouldn't have had any answers for that one, but I know he would have tried.

I'm just sayin'...

Wednesday, April 24, 2019


I am very surprised that the election this spring has been so quiet. Not at all typical for Kentucky. Is this the lull before the storm? Before a slew of negative ads choke the airways?

I hope not. Adam Edelen's ads, so far, have been refreshing and interesting. But the lack of outside polling makes political reporters think he is running 2nd to A/G Andy Beshear and might "go negative" in an attempt to catch up.

Again, I hope not. Doing that, IMHO, would destroy some of the (almost) outsider nature of his candidacy.

Rocky Adkins is probably the most qualified of the 3 major guv candidates for Dems..due to his long legislative tenure. But he is mired in the belief he is a "regional" candidate..from East Ky.

Beshear has his name, his dad, His family, and his time as A/G. Much of that time, when he sued Bevin, he won; and that includes some major Bevin policies being overturned. He still labors under a feeling that many of his suits are for political purposes and not out of fundamental beliefs, no matter what he says in his ads. I still regret, for example, he did not join other A/G's in suing the inventor of 3D printing of guns, which he could have, and didn't, and there are more of these types of suits he might have filed, but didn't.

Will Bevin survive Robert Goforth Ike Lawrence and William Woods? Probably. And that will set the stage for a very interesting fall election. As of now, Bevin is, unlike most incumbent guvs, not a shoo-in to win. Too much alienation of teachers, even members of his own party, etc. to assume that.

There should be some good debates coming up on KET especially. Depending on how the candidates do, especially the 3 top Dems, could well determine their primary winner.  Debates can be important.

AND ONE LAST THOUGHT:  The Constitution says a president may be impeached only for treason, bribery, high crimes or misdemeanors.  As of last September, the fact checkers at the Washington Post determined Mr. Trump had lied to the American people 5000 times. (I don't know what the total is now.) Lying may not be a "high crime"...but surely it is a "misdemeanor."

I'm just sayin'...

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

More News Notes


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.


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.


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.


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'...