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.

Finishing Strong for August

Last day of August. Back to work, and there’s plenty of material. Let’s get into some of it…

“This is better than a hole in the head.”: Excellent quote from attorney Jon Fleischaker, in a C-J story about the Kelly Downard-Jim King ordinance designed to prevent another one of those Cordish loans.  [Courier]

The Movie Endorsement: 500 Days of Summer. Because every guy has a Summer in his past. And Zooey Deschanel.

Damn New York Media: Check out Mike Lupica’s view of the Rick Pitino mess in the New York Daily News. Rick won’t want you reading this either. [NY Daily News]

Swedish Testing: Looks like our pal Matthew Barzun is a hit with bloggers in Sweden, or at least one that’s actually from here.  The new U.S. ambassador passes the Sweden test. Try the video. It’s about goat cheese. [Sweden]

Speculating: More on this later, but Joe Gerth writes that Hal Heiner may be the Republican choice for Mayor. He confirms out thoughts that Steve Pence is out. [Gerth]

John just finished: The post at 7:59 p.m. on John Boel’s blog about the Ironman yesterday. 12 hours, 16 minutes. Congrats! [Boel Blog]

Oh, Yes, The Coach Thing: The trial of ex-PRP coach Jason Stinson finally starts today. Conventional wisdom is that the prosecution won’t be able to get a conviction. The ultimate story is that the trial will forever change conditions at football practices. [Sports Illustrated]

A Butchertown Decision: Eventually, the slaughterhouse in Butchertown will be moved. Today could be an important first step, if the zoning board stops its expansion. [Courier]

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.

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.