• The elephant in the legislature room

    We finished the first third of this year’s session with little progress on the major issues that face us. The primary job, of course, is to pass a budget. The underlying issues that will impact the final product include: the possibility of Expanded Gambling; the funding of the state retirement system; and borrowing against the future (bonding) to fund today’s programs.

  • Are legendary monsters really living among us?

    Several months ago, for reasons I have long since forgotten, several hours were spent perusing the old bound editions of The Kentucky Standard. I assume there was a purpose in the search, but darned if I can remember.

    But interestingly enough, I did find and keep a book from 1978 out of the stack. From the Nov. 2 paper of that year a story on page A-19 struck me like lightning. The article, titled “Tall tales or real stories,” was just too good to be true. Bill Medley penned the piece and it was accompanied by an illustration credited to Mary Jean Kirtley Hagan.

  • Lets work on weaknesses, make county shine

    As a county, we don’t look so bad. Out of 120, Nelson County is ranked No. 16 in health categories — with one being the best and 120 being the worst.

    As a group, county residents have good physical activity, good oral health, are well insured and have a low diabetes rate. We also rank low in smoking, low in motor vehicle deaths and have low rates of cardiovascular deaths, lung/bronchus cancer rates and colorectal cancer rates.

  • Has the 'Debt Bomb' exploded on us?

    One of the older books on my shelves is “A Short History of the United States” by John Spencer Bassett, a professor at Smith College, and revised by his son, Richard Bassett. It was published in 1938.

    It is interesting to note what the book had to say about the causes of the Great Depression, which began with the stock-market collapse in 1929:

  • Politics are strange even across the country

    Back from the frozen tundra of Iowa and Nebraska, just in time to learn of Daniel London’s exit from the Congressional race and read an apparent heart-felt apology from Ron Lewis.

    Kentucky politics are always interesting. Nebraska, the unicameral state, snares its fair share of excitement as there continuously seems to be battles between west (the corn shuckers) vs. east (city folk of Omaha and Lincoln.) Iowans, meanwhile, mostly suffer from frozen brain cells in the winter and corn rot in the summer.

  • There is damage that must be undone

    With its larger-than-life characters and head-spinning plot twists, the presidential campaign is easily the best reality show on television: Will Barack Obama find a way to connect with Latino voters? Can John McCain somehow mollify all those angry conservatives? Could Hillary Clinton, after raising more than $100 million, run out of money?

  • Super and not so super, the word rules the week

    This past week has been filled with events prefixed with “Super.” Sunday was, of course, the Super Bowl (XLII). I caught the halftime act — Tom Petty looking like what I can only compare to a Rock ‘n’ Roll Ken doll with his beard and hair perfectly coifed, impeccable suit and mechanical movements.

    I like Tom Petty as much as the next guy — I’m not a huge fan but I don’t dislike the man’s music. It’s familiar and I enjoy it when I hear it; that’s about as far as my enthusiasm for him goes.

  • Tornadoes no less scary 27 years later

    I’m sure my grandmother thought it would be perfectly fine for me to watch “The Wizard of Oz” when I was 5 years old. It’s a classic tale for children, complete with a pretty girl, cute dog and kindhearted characters that triumph over evil.

  • I have seen the miracle and wonderment of eBay

    Do you want a 10-year-old cardboard ticket holder from a movie that didn’t do that well at the box office? But wait, it comes with a pair of long-expired coupons to a couple of national chain businesses.

    Believe me when I tell you, someone in Texas wanted it. They paid me $2 plus shipping for it. That’s right, I am now an eBay entrepreneur. I am now convinced people will buy anything.

  • Memories of places, smells, moments

    There are times in life when memories are all we have.

    My late mother always cried when she heard Tony Bennett sing “I Left My Heart in San Francisco.”

    I had no idea why her dark eyes would fill with tears. She never went to San Francisco. Never met Tony Bennett.

    But there was something about that song that stirred deep emotions in her, so she bawled.

    It’s one of the many things I remember in my childhood.