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Mon, Dec 18, 2017 10:40 AM
Wednesday, March 8, 2017 issue
Coffee Break
April: The cruelest and the coolest
Some poet called April "the cruelest month," no doubt because it contains April 15 which, of course, is the cruelest day, thanks to the IRS.

With an exception noted for that particular day, we think April, followed by May, are the two absolutely best months of every year.

Just seems like everything comes back to life then, including most of us human types who just can't stand those gray, dreary, depressing days of winter.

There's just nothing like that first whiff of freshly cut grass to get the spring fever kicked into high gear. Especially when somebody else is doing the mowing.

And just think, after the 15th has passed, we've got a whole year before we have to start grumbling again about the tax man.

April: the cruelest and the coolest, with an encore in May.

Life is good.

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And, it's getting better.

The shooting part of our war in Iraq is all but over, and that means we can start watching something other than the news on TV.

But before we switch over to regular programming, we're anxious to hear CNN explain itself.

In case you've missed that story, CNN's Baghdad bureau chief has, um, confessed that his crew knew much more about the bad side of Saddam's regime than they let on, well before the fighting broke out.

While we will accept CNN's explanation that they censored themselves to protect the lives of their Baghdad staff, that excuse expired the moment CNN's staff was kicked out of the country, just as the fighting started.

What concerns us most about the news network's self-censorship is that it aired tons of anti-American propaganda that was being broadcast on foreign TV stations, without rebutting the "news" they knew to be wrong...after the threat of danger to their staff was diminished.

CNN's credibility suffers serious damage as a result, but maybe something good will come of the exposé.

If this misadventure in censorship causes the major media of this country to stop selling their souls for access to big story sources, it will have applied a silver lining to this dark cloud.

In the meantime, CNN needs to stop promoting itself as "The Most Trusted Name In News!"

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Every news service, from the large to the small, is guilty of self-censorship, and anyone who says otherwise is lying.

We've all sat on stories at the request of sources or otherwise agreed to withhold publication of what we know, either in exchange for bigger and better news or to suit the schedule of someone other than ourselves.

There's a certain amount of give and take in the news business, but most of the don't-tell-everything-you-know has a purpose. It's done to protect the identity, or perhaps the physical well-being, of sources, and/or it's done to lead to bigger fish and more important news.

Different newspapers have different policies when it comes to self-censorship.

Ours is fairly simple...we'll sit on a story only when the end justifies the means, and we'll never, ever hold a story when public safety is at stake.

We think our record is pretty clear on censorship, too, when it comes to doing public relations work for public officials.

We just aren't in that business.

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Switching back to our pre-war schedule of TV fare is just not going to be that simple.

Our favorite show, West Wing, now stars one of our least favorite people, Martin Sheen, and that presents a conundrum.

To watch or not to watch.

Sheen has been a leader of the Hollywood anti-war crowd, which has made some absurd and inaccurate remarks about our fight in Iraq, and the very sight of the guy tends to nauseate us.

But, we're not nearly as sickened by Sheen as we are by any hint of a revival of McCarthyism in this country. We don't force people to think as we do. We use our right to ignore them.

We do not think Sheen should be booted off the show for speaking his mind, but we don't feel like supporting his career, either.

So, we've settled on a compromise.

We'll watch West Wing...when it goes into reruns.

______

The announcement last week that our region will be one of three in Eastern Kentucky that will share federal funds for stepping up the war on drugs is good news, for sure.

But the allocation of just one federal agent to assist more than 20 city and county police agencies in the 11-county region doesn't spark a lot of hip, hip, hooraying.

Because of limited resources and limited manpower, the fight against drugs has almost always focused here on street-level bad guys, the most obvious and the most expendable players in the trafficking game.

As soon as one is busted, another takes his or her place.

For a drug war to have any lasting success, the fight has to move up the food chain...to the suppliers and the money.

This program will help, though, by addressing the demand side of the drug-trafficking equation...treatment for the users.

If we can't stop the flow of drugs at the source, perhaps we can make an impact at the other end of the spectrum. As long as there is a demand for drugs, there will be a supply.

If we can help drug users with treatment programs, we'll slow the demand for illegal drugs.

Then we will have really made progress in this war.

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Our story last week on the questionable activities and actions of P'burg Mayor Jerry Fannin in relation to that city's tourism commission has already started getting some results.

We lost an advertiser.

We'll not say who, because this stuff happens when news of a controversial nature hits the stands and, usually, those offended by, well, the truth, tend to realize that we are the messenger, not the villain.

Of course, there are those times when we are afforded the permanent cold shoulder by those who just don't think we ought to be running stories that reflect poorly on their political pals.

We'll see which way the wind is blowing on this one before classifying this snub as short term ire or mortal enemy.

We are not optimistic, though.

The story that started it all is far from the last to be told.

ARH 2
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