Appalatin: A Perfect Rhythm Falling Into Place


Nesting in Louisville since 2006, slowly taking its time to form and blossom, Appalatin is six working professionals who haven't quit their day jobs -- two native Kentuckians and four immigrant Kentuckians from Latin America, who do lot of professional-quality music in their spare time.

If one were to introduce Appalatin to the world in one longish sentence, it might be something like this: “Appalatin is sunny, high-spirited, fun music, technically a cross-pollination of Appalachian-Kentucky Hillbilly and various Latin American Sounds (primarily Andes & Coastal Central American)  read more »

Chickens from Wal-Mart?


As I arrived for a visit, my 90 year old father was perusing ads from his favorite big box store for chicken parts. Seizing the moment that all children savor, I sought to impress him with my declaration: "I buy my chicken parts – albeit at higher prices – at the natural foods store; you know daddy, where the chickens ate naturally off the barn yard floor like they did when you were a boy"? Not missing a beat and dashing my hope for an "at a boy," he retorted: "I saw what those chickens ate off the barnyard floor and I'll buy my chickens at Walmart(s)!"  read more »

It is Time to Plant


It is springtime in Kentucky – think foals and mares in the pristine meticulously fenced pastures. But, in another part of the state – the Appalachia region of eastern Kentucky – it is time to plant on those rocky hillsides. As my 90 year old father puts it, you plant your corn when tree buds are the size of squirrel ears. I confess to not having given a thought to whether squirrels even have ears or not ... but my father knows. He was born and raised in a part of the world where they know things like that, typical of the mostly Scots-Irish who settled there.  read more »

Stimulate Yourself!


Beltway politicians and economists can argue themselves silly about the impact of the Obama administration's stimulus program, but outside the beltway the discussion is largely over. On the local level--particularly outside the heavily politicized big cities--the consensus seems to be that the stimulus has changed little--if anything.

Recently, I met with a couple of dozen mayors and city officials in Kentucky to discuss economic growth. The mayors spoke of their initiatives and ideas, yet hardly anyone mentioned the stimulus.  read more »

Who will win the Car-wars?


General Motors, the venerable American auto manufacturer is sitting on the cliff’s edge in North America with a recent 3-month loss of $6 billion. However, GM watched its sales in China skyrocket 50% for the month of April, 2009. Ironically, Toyota, the company many Americans now cheer for, has posted a $7.7 billion loss for the first quarter.

This now proves, without a doubt, that the auto industry – not just in the US – is going through a massive crisis. But it’s clear that American manufacturing has reached a critical, historical turning point.  read more »

Main Street Middle America: Don’t Get Mad, Get Ahead


Like many on Main Street Paul Goodpaster is angry. Paul is my banker friend in Morehead, a retail, medical and education hub on the edge of eastern Kentucky. He observed that his bank was doing quite well – albeit hurt now by rising unemployment and an economy starting to have an impact even on those unglamorous places that had minded their business well.  read more »

What Does “Age of Hope” Mean in the Mississippi Delta?


It was during the inaugural days that an article appeared in The Washington Post about the predominantly black Mississippi Delta going for Obama – no surprise! But juxtaposed in the same time period there appeared in a Kentucky newspaper the story of predominantly white Menifee County, my birthplace – deep in the heart of Appalachia – defying the red sea of Kentucky all around it and also going for Obama.  read more »

The Dawn of a New Age in the War on Poverty


An article published in the Chicago Tribune on June 29, 1992 is entitled “The Great Society’s Great Failure.” It profiles the Inez, Kentucky family that appeared in the famous front porch photo that launched LBJ’s War on Poverty in 1964. Suffice it to say without revealing the particular gory details of their thwarted lives, the family’s fate was as dismal as the outcome of the War on Poverty. Mike Duncan, an Inez banker and now chairman of the Republican National Committee – battling to retain his position – put it mildly: “The War on Poverty did not succeed.”  read more »

Yes, Sylvia, there is a Santa Claus


My mother died seven years ago on December 19, 2001. Simon Walter (named for my father Walter) Lovely, my grandson, was born to my son Ross and his wife Emma on December 19, 2008. A strange coincidence you might say, but there is more.

My mother was diagnosed in July 2001 with advanced cervical cancer, a particularly cruel form of a cruel disease – robbing its host of all dignity along its monstrous path of destruction. It doesn’t help if its victim is bewildered by the world in general and given to bouts of depression. And, so it was with my mother.  read more »


Bailing out on the Dreamland…And Returning Home


My father, who was from eastern Kentucky, headed with millions of other Appalachian people for the “promised land” after the great depression. The promised land in that day consisted of cities such as Dayton, Detroit, Gary, and Cincinnati, out of which rose great factories that employed thousands on giant “campuses.” They thrived through the vigor of this transplanted workforce – uneducated like my father but full of gumption, tenacity and work ethic.  read more »