Let’s Talk About Bad Behavior

Tonight on KET, Bill Goodman’s Kentucky Tonight will include a discussion about a statewide smoking ban. You may remember in January that Senate President David Williams proposed a statewide ban, which never went anywhere.  The Freedom Kentucky website lists 24 communities statewide that have instituted some form of a smoking ban.

Goodman’s guests include Ellen Hahn of the Kentucky Center for Smoke-Free Policy and Jim Waters of the Bluegrass Institute, taking opposing sides. It airs at 8.

While you and I might be accustomed to smoke-free restaurants, it’s not the case in places like Radcliff, where they’re stillhaving community arguments over the issue.

A statewide ban would render all the community bans irrelevant. Still, there’s enough statewide resistance that you shouldn’t expect anything out of Frankfort anytime soon.

Meanwhile, in Indiana, a new study from IU says that pregnant Hoosiers are among the nation’s worst when it comes to smoking, drinking and doing drugs while with child. The study, which doesn’t list info about other states, says Indiana is the seventh-worst state when ranked by percentage of women who smoke during pregnancy.  

IU didn’t release much info on its study, but we all know what state occupies the top spot on the list.

While we’re at it, does anyone think “Mad Men” really had to poke fun at Kentucky’s racist past by having a man singing My Old Kentucky Home in blackface? All the smoking in that show is distracting enough, but adding in Kentucky racism was a bit much.

There Are No Unbiased Town Halls

We love our radio gal Francene, but we’re sorry that she thought she could actually participate in an intelligent exchange of ideas about health care without the entire event being hijacked by extremists on both sides.

She’s hosting this Town Hall meeting on Health Care on Wednesday, with Rep. John Yarmuth hoping to have a rational discussion about the pros and cons of the health care legislation being proposed by Pres. Obama.

Francene thought the event might attract some unbiased people who sincerely want to learn the facts about the plan from their Congressman. After all, for most of us regular folks, it’s really difficult to understand what the plan’s really about. All we hear is the shouting and the anger.

She didn’t think that the extremists on both sides would hijack her event in an effort to out-shout the opposition. But that’s what’s going to happen.

Today on her show, she talked about how upset she was that Obama’s Organizing for America group is publicizing a rally right down the street from 4:00 until 5:30, when the Town Hall Meeting is supposed to start at Central High School.

Of course, local Republicans are just as un-interested in a free flow of ideas. That’s why the local party is encouraging its members to show up in t-shirts (that they’re selling, of course) with a Ghostbusters-like logo indicating they want nothing to do with Obama’s health reform plan. The e-mail suggests arriving early to make sure you get in.

Fortunately, Francene gets to ask the questions. And she won’t put up with a bunch of idiots shouting down Yarmuth.

The Meeting, however, is unlikely to dispel any myths or change anyone’s mind about the plan. Health care shouldn’t be a partisan issue, but it is.  The polarization of people has created an atmosphere in which genuine debate simply can’t occur in public.

Heiner Says He’s Thinking About It

Will Hal Heiner be the answer for Republicans in the Mayor’s Race?

Quite possibly.

Heiner said this morning that he’s taking a close look at the race, but won’t make a decision until “mid-September.” A few months back, the 19th District Metro Council rep, who’s been in office since 2002, said he would not seek the Mayor’s chair.

But things change. And local Republicans keep passing. And party regulars have continued to urge Heiner to seriously consider jumping in.

“A couple of months ago I said I wasn’t considering it at that time, but the encouragement has been continuous,” he said.

Here’s how we figure it’s going to go down. Steve Pence, who Heiner says he’s talked with several times, will announce very soon that he’s out. And shortly after that, Heiner should enter the race. It’s also likely that he’ll have no primary opposition.

Thus far, three Democrats — David Tandy, Jim King and Greg Fischer — have announced plans to run.

On Celebrating Birthdays

At an early age, I learned that birthdays were meant to be celebrated.

Mom always made a really big deal about mine when I was growing up, but that was part of who she is. All year long, she was always stopping at the card shop to pick up birthday cards for friends, family members or anybody whose name was in her little date book.

It wasn’t just Mom, though. I remember a big homemade sign Dad and a few friends (yes, it was big enough he needed help) put in our yard on the occasion of her 50th.

This was, of course, before Facebook, where everybody knows your name, and your birthday. And it only takes a few keystrokes to send along a nice note. (Thanks, by the way, for all those nice wishes today). And it was before you could just call a company and have 50 flamingos planted in the yard overnight. Mom was diligent about going and buying the card, getting the address right, affixing postage and, if it was for a friend’s kid, slipping a few dollar bills inside.

Of course, as an adult, I was too lazy or too busy to pick up Mom’s habit.  She’s never stopped, though, and I’ll bet you there’ll be a lonely card from her in the mailbox today. And when she had her 83rd on Tuesday, she got more than two dozen cards in the mail.  A lot of them were from those kids who got two bucks from her when they turned 11.

For a few years at Tennessee, we had a weird tradition that when it was your birthday, you had to bring in a cake for everybody else in the office.

My kids always get signs in the yard, favorite meals and a break from doing anything they don’t want to do on their big days.

As an adult, I’ve usually celebrated my birthday by not going to work. And after finishing this post, I’m celebrating the rest of the day. I’ve got a solitary bike ride, lunch with Mom, and a racquetball game on the schedule.

There’s no talking me out of it.  OK, if Rick Pitino holds another press conference, I’ll cover it. When I was working for other people, I rarely checked in at the office on the big day, and I’m not starting now.

What’s even more fun is sizing yourself up against the famous who were born around the same time. My fave is my baseball idol, Cal Ripken, Jr., who is four days older than me, but looks a lot older — I’ve still got hair. Sean Penn is 11 days older than me. I’m an age contemporary of David Duchovny, Antonio Banderas and Timothy Hutton. And I share something with Shania Twain, Jack Black and Leann Rimes. But they’re all younger.

This morning I learned, (thanks Facebook) that I share a birthday with Karen Blach Held, who I went to WKU with and who married one of my fraternity brothers. I went to high school with a close friend named Curt Camp, born the same exact day, in the same Sts. Mary and Elizabeth Hospital, and we usually call each other by phone wherever we are. To fellow Facebookers Robyn Cranmer and Trevor Howie — I hope you’re both taking the day off too.

Mark Hebert (9/15/59) and I used to celebrate our birthdays together with a big party, a tradition we should really start again, especially since he’ll be 50 this year. And Monday, I’ll be giving my good friend Cary Stemle a call, born three days after me in 1960.

Categories Dad

Not Just Any Friday…

Here’s some stuff that’s worth reporting…

They’re Not Evil, They’re Your Insurance Company: Wonder how many Humana employees the P.R. staff there considered before offering up Max Shireman to the NYTimes as a typical, non-evil employee? The big paper did a story on how tough it is to work for a company in the middle of the biggest political issue of our time. Shireman got a shot in at his pals over at Papa John’s, implying the food makes you sick. [NYTimes]

More Than 50,000 Drunks Served Since 2004: OK, CityScoot isn’t going to hire me to write slogans. But the local biz was featured in the Times’ story about entrepreneurs in the “take you, your car and your drunk butt home” business. A business that is booming. That’s right, Billy G., you should have called them. [NYTimes]

Count on This Book: It’s hard to hold back praise for Gill Holland, who has added “author” to his list of accolades. He’s just published “Louisville Counts”, an art book for kids featuring 21 local artists and 21 cool things about our little town. Luke, age 11, loved it. Proceeds go to the Art Sparks Interactive Gallery at the Speed Museum. Get one around town or stop by the Green Building, on East Market Street.

Just Another Joe: Don’t forget to watch Animal Planet’s “Jockey” reality series. Tonight’s second episode features 19-year-old jockey Joe Talamo on the road to the Kentucky Derby. Insight 60 at 9. [Animal Planet]

A Look Ahead: Get ready for some national media attention. Ex-PRP football coach Jason Stinson’s trial starts Monday.  A bunch of students have been subpoenaed. [AP]

Taylor Swift?: No, I haven’t suddenly got a thing for teen-age blondes or country music, or whatever Ms. Swift sings about. But please e-mail me if you can find me two tickets to Sunday’s show at the State Fair. For a friend. [e-mail me]

Bill the Bike Bully

Bill Lamb is always asking for feedback on his on-air editorials. So here’s some.

The other day Lamb was advocating that police start ticketing bicyclists, all because he happens to see some going the wrong way on one-way streets or blowing through stop signs or darting into traffic off sidewalks.

Now, this thinking goes against the general idea of making Louisville a bike-friendly city, but Lamb must have had a near-miss or something that kind of ticked him off about bikers. He claims only to want to do something about the bad bikers, that all of us law-abiding riders would have nothing to worry about. (Just kidding, I’m a dart-into-traffic champ).

Still, Lamb’s anti-biking rant doesn’t sit well with us. But what it really did was give viewers a reason to pop off with some vitriolic anti-bike hatred that shows they’re misinformed, unaware of the law and generally intolerant.

With this kind of mentality, it’s no wonder more people haven’t been killed by cars. The station aired six responses, all exhibiting a deep-seated hatred for bikes in traffic.

Here’s my favorite — “Roads were not designed for bicyclists, they should stay off.”

Then there’s — “Bikes should stay on the sidewalk where they belong (and where it’s illegal to ride)”

Another called wants to require special bike insurance for riders, and one was advocating a required license plate.

Lamb’s little rant elicited the kind of reaction that shows that city leaders — with all their talk about education about bike safety for motorists — have their work cut out for them with the big new safety campaign.

By the way, the Mayor’s Hike & Bike event, which is growing every year, is set for Labor Day morning. This time, we’re off from downtown to Iroquois Park.

And They May Even Talk About Sports

Hmmm. A new sports radio talk show focused on UK and U of L. Whatever will they come up to talk about?

It will be interesting to see if callers to these new shows actually want to talk about athletes and games, or the indiscretions of certain coaches.

This weekend, WGTK-970 AM will begin airing the latest attempt at attracting a significant radio audience aimed at a sports audience. It marks the debut of the “Sam Swope Weekend Sports Buzz,” according to producer Dugan Ryan.

Former U of L quarterback Dave Ragone and UK blogger Matt Jones will host the shows on the radio from 11 to Noon Saturday and 11-1 Sunday.  Ryan previously produced similar shows that aired on a now-defunct all sports talk radio show that aired weekdays, and TV programs that aired on the CW. Both programs were canceled after new ownership took over those media properties.

Ryan said the show will be “unfiltered,” i.e. it won’t be influenced by pressure from the athletic department officials at U of L or UK. He said they’ll focus on previews of upcoming games in college and pro football.

He said he wasn’t able to structure a deal to get the programming on during the week. You can stream the show from this link.

The show will originate from Furlongs restaurant at Hurstbourne and Shelbyville Roads.

WGTK-AM airs conservative talk during the week, featuring Bill Bennett, Hugh Hewitt and Dennis Miller.

Thank God We’re All a Little Safer Now

Let’s hear it for Franklin Circuit Judge Thomas Wingate’s decision to strike down a state law that said “dependence on Almighty God as being vital to the Commonwealth,” was required language in homeland security documents.

The language came from Kentucky’s Homeland Security office, which required crediting Almighty God in official reports. The department was required to post a plaque with the same language at its Emergency Operations Center in Frankfort.

Attorney general Jack Conway, who was asked by the Governor to defend the law in court, is thinking about whether or not to appeal the ruling. He shouldn’t.

It was a disappointment to our own state Rep. Tom Riner, a Louisville Baptist preacher who tried to sneak the language into a homeland security bill.

Last fall, when this issue was in the news, it put Kentucky jokes on the late-night talk show circuit. It also prompted a lawsuit from an atheist group.

One of that group’s reps get the best quote on the issue: “I think we can all feel a little safer now. The real threats to our society come from within, not without, and that includes building a theocracy here in Kentucky.”

Amen.

Pitino Fans, Go Ahead and Change the Station

No one in the local TV market led a newscast with Ted Kennedy or Jim King or the nutjob who shot somebody down at Waterfront Park. Sorry, Coach, you can’t tell people what to watch, and they wouldn’t change the station from this soap opera if you begged them to. Which, I guess, you did.

Wish This Guy Was Still Coach: Billy Gillispie finally got caught driving drunk and spent a night/early morning in the Franklin County Jail. If he were still the coach at UK, it might’ve come close to eclipsing the Pitino story in the national press. [Herald-Leader]

Yes, We Were Weanies: Every TV station and newspaper at the Pitino press conference yesterday sent reporters from both the sports and news departments to the Yum Center, and no one in the room (including U of L’s Kenny Klein, we think), knew what he was going to say. Most were shocked at what the Coach said. But why in the hell did not a single reporter in the room shout out a question as Rick walked away? Does anybody miss Hebert? Would the assemblage have been as quiet if it were Jerry Abramson?

How are We Ever Going to Focus On the Actual Games Again? Late yesterday, the Southeastern Conference relaxed its new social media policy, saying that it’s OK for fans to text scores and photos to friends. But they still would prohibit blogging about the action on the field. This, from MediaPost:

“As for fans or other ticket holders, the SEC now says that ‘personal messages and updates of scores or other brief descriptions’ of games are okay, but that ‘real-time descriptions’ aren’t. That line appears impossibly blurry to draw, much less enforce. But fans who cross it, even if inadvertently, appear to risk landing in court.” 

Somebody please buy me a ticket to the UK-U of L game so I can challenge this one.

The Big U of L Story You Missed: The University of Louisville appealed a court decision that it was wrong to suspend a student for posting information on her MySpace page. This is one U of L needs to give up on. Jake’s on it. [Page One]

And Here’s Billy’s Take: Which is what most people think — The Rick should listen to advice and keep his mouth shut.  [BillyReedSays]

More Lies from Media, Except What We’re Telling You

Think maybe Pitino just couldn’t take it anymore? Looked to me like U of L officials were as surprised as those of us in the media were about today’s media rant by the Coach. Not one of the several dozen media types gathered at U of L had a clue as to what the Coach was going to say. And officially, no one at the university is commenting.

Are you going to be a good fan and follow the coach’s orders NOT to watch any coverage of the Sypher mess? Guarantee it will lead the TV news at 6. Had Coach kept his mouth shut, the release of the Sypher audio, which contained nothing not already reported, would have been a minor story.

Thieneman Gets An Answer: Metro Government’s Economic Development office finally responded to Chris Thieneman’s open records request. You’ll be shocked to learn there’s no accounting of the spending of the $950,000 from the city in the documents released. It did cost taxpayers about $1,700 for four members of the staff to make the trip to Baltimore. We’ll have more tomorrow.

But Not Tandy: Good for Metro Council president David Tandy, who paid his own way to go on the trip. Still, in a LEO interview, he’s sticking to the story that he saw receipts and is satisfied with the deal. Which is not going to help him in his campaign for Mayor. [LEO]

Wrong About the PO: Wow! All those petitions that Doug Hawkins collected in Valley Station to save the post office may have actually worked. The post office sent a release saying the Valley Station branch will remain open. Sorry, Doug. We was wrong. Interesting that Bob Henderson got in the e-mail blast game to announce the news to his peeps — but he didn’t mention the petition. [BizFirst]

Why Eastwood Can’t Have Nice Things: It’s a frigging dry precinct out there, right by Valhalla, a perfect locale for an upscale restaurant. Residents who don’t want to go 10 miles down Shelbyville Road for a glass of wine with dinner will be voting for alcohol sales in a special Oct. 20 election. [Courier]