Alyssum Pohl: Paddle On!

Friday, August 28th, 2015

So you think you had an interesting summer vacation?

How about taking four months to paddle a sea kayak down the Mississippi River from Lake Itasca, Minn. to the Gulf of Mexico?

Sound like fun? Alyssum Pohl thinks so and she’s living her dream.


Pohl on the Mississippi River near Bemidji, Minn. about a week into her trip.
(Photos by Alyssum Pohl.)

Pohl, a Lexington native and University of Kentucky graduate, started her journey on June 27. That makes today her 63rd day on the mighty Mississippi.

She is compiling data for the Adventurers and Scientists for Conservation microplastic campaign. Every 100 miles Pohl collects a sample of water and sends it to their headquarters for analysis. Scientists dry the sample and burn off the organic matter, leaving the residual metal and plastic, which is otherwise invisible in the Mississippi River.


About three weeks into her trip, at a campsite near Grand Rapids, Minn., Pohl enters water quality data into a spreadsheet.

Along with the beauty of the river and the adventure she is experiencing, there have been a few problems—a broken stove, swarms of mosquitoes and some unsettling weather.

We asked Pohl to paddle into a safe spot so she could take a few minutes to tell us about her trip.

You can follow Pohl’s journey and see more pictures of her trip on her blog, Paddle On!

Political Gabfest with Massie and Yarmuth

Wednesday, August 26th, 2015

Gab-fest \’gab-fest\ n : a gathering at which there is a great deal of conversation.

That’s what we do at KET, and Tuesday we had a unique opportunity to sit down with not one but two congressmen for some conversation in our studios.

It just so happened that we scheduled back-to-back interviews for upcoming One to One programs with Kentucky’s 4th District Rep. Thomas Massie and 3rd District Rep. John Yarmuth. So between the tapings we asked the two men to sit together for a brief chat that we streamed lived on Periscope and recorded for this blog.

In our One to One conversations, which will air in September, both congressmen discussed a number of issues they will likely face when they return to Washington after their late summer recess: the Iran nuclear deal, Planned Parenthood funding, and matters of importance in their constituents.

But in our web conversation, we focused on the presidential primaries.

Massie discussed his recent trip to Iowa to campaign on behalf of Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, who is seeking the Republican presidential nomination. Yarmuth shared his thoughts on fellow Democrats Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden. And they both weighed in on Donald Trump.

Democrats and Socialism: Strange Bedfellows?

Monday, August 24th, 2015

The Donald Trump saga isn’t the only interesting story making the rounds in national politics. The other narrative gives us a chance to brush up on our political history.

You probably know that Vermont Senator and presidential candidate Bernie Sanders is drawing larger campaign crowds than his Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton. You may also know that Sanders is a socialist.

What does that mean, and can he be considered a socialist and a Democrat at the same time?

Sanders, a New York City native who moved to Vermont in the mid-1960s, has been in Congress since 1991. He is only the third socialist ever elected to the U.S. House of Representatives.

What are the differences between Democrats and socialists? That’s a topic that’s been debated before, but when MSNBC host Chris Mathews asked Democratic National Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz that question a few weeks ago, it started a lively conversation about political philosophy, socialism, and Democrats.

For those who study history and political theory, the question goes beyond sound bites and talking points. It’s a question and a comparison of socialism and democracy, not just Democrats.

KET Associate Producer Lillie Ruschell explored the topic with Stephen Voss, a professor of political science at the University of Kentucky, and Ph.D. candidate Charles Dainoff.

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