Legislators on Kentucky Tonight not only brought their verbal skills to the table Monday night; the discussion was replete with metaphors and analogies too, as both Democrats and Republicans took stabs (oops!) at explaining why the General Assembly hasn’t passed a much- needed public employee pension plan.
With only two days remaining in the session next week, both houses are mired in a debate over details of the plan and how pensions will be funded in the future.
Kentucky is staring a billion dollar unfunded liability in the current plan right in the face with no solution in sight. Negotiations between desperate House and Senate ideas are supposed to take place this week in order to avoid a special session of the legislature which the governor says he might call if a bill is not agreed to by March 26th.
There were other bills discussed last night—hemp, fixes to “pill mill” legislation passed last year, raising the high school graduation age from 16 to 18 and others which you can see and hear by viewing the full program.
When I was growing up, every kid I knew chewed bubble gum. We were either trading Topps baseball cards and chomping on the thin slice of gum that came in every package, or peeling the paper off a chunk of Bazooka just before heading out to second base.
Now, according to the New York Times, bubble gum has fallen on hard times. But, the gum brand of Bazooka Joe and his sidekick Mort, is planning a comeback.
Kids aren’t chewing as much gum as they used to. A marketing company told the Bazooka folks that only 7 per cent of children aged 6 to 12 were aware of Joe and Mort, the cartoon characters who starred in the sometimes corny comic inserts that hugged the bright pink squares of gum inside the outer package.
Maybe Bazooka Joe, who always wears a ball cap and eye-patch and his pal Mort — always with his turtleneck up over his mouth — could use a makeover aimed at elevating image awareness with this current generation of gum poppers.
Instead, Joe and Mort are all but disappearing into the background in the brand revamp. Never fear, though. They’ll make occasional appearances on the new inserts, but not in comic strip mode. They’ll simply be illustrations. Instead of comics, chewers will get brain teasers and activities and codes which — you guessed it — can be entered at the brand’s website to see videos and games.
Bazooka, the chew choice of boomers, was introduced in 1947. How can any of us forget the deep pink, white, and blue color scheme and geometric design? The new, re-imagined Bazooka will have new colors and design—fuchsia and yellow, with the splattered-paint look of graffiti.
When my dad sold it at the Goodman Candy Company in Glasgow, Ky., each single square piece of it cost a penny; the new package will feature 10 pieces of gum, five each of the original flavor and a new flavor, blue raspberry. Cost? Who knows?
Good luck, Bazooka Joe, hope we’ll see you at the ballpark!
Editor’s note: Bill Goodman asked Anne Evans, KET’s Public Affairs intern and recent Centre graduate, to share her thoughts about the VP debate.
This past Thursday, I was given the chance to attend the Vice Presidential Debate at Centre College in Danville.
As a Centre alumna, I jumped at the chance to serve as a volunteer during the days leading up to and the day of the debate. On Thursday, my job was to check the credentials of those entering the debate’s venue, Norton Center for the Arts.
Around 8:30 p.m., I realized that there could be no harm in asking the director of the Norton Center if another volunteer (Kelsey) and I could sit on the steps inside Norton’s Newlin Hall during the debate. He told me that the Commission on Presidential Debates would have to make that decision. Kelsey and I happened to be in the right place at the right time when we bumped into two headset-wearing men who worked for the debate commission.
Anne Evans inside Newlin Hall about an hour before the debate began
As we quietly and quickly walked into Newlin Hall and took our seats, I was jittery with excitement.
The atmosphere inside the debate hall was energized but quiet. The already-seated crowd of 600 included the families of Vice President Joe Biden and Rep. Paul Ryan, other prominent people from across Kentucky, the United States and the world, and 100 Centre students.
One of the most striking things about actually being in the hall during the debate was that while the debate between the candidates was intense, I didn’t think that the discussion felt as jarring as it perhaps would have had I been watching it on television… Why not?
Not only did we not have an up-close and personal view of each of the men’s emotional and facial expressions, no one in the audience was allowed to voice an opinion/say anything during the debate.
In sharp contrast to what you may experience while reclined on the couch at home, where you’re free to respond to the candidates aloud and argue with friends or family about something that was said, we were to remain silent. We got to listen to every single word that each person said, without interruptions. We were not distracted by Twitter, Facebook, or any electronic device. We had to be attentive and present in the moment and nothing else. I loved it.
It was a wonderful experience that will remain in my memory forever, and I’m grateful for the opportunity to see the debate in person. A genuine thanks goes out to the Commission on Presidential Debates for allowing me to become a very small part of this big piece of history.
The morning after the debate, my friend Jane and I went to The Hub, a little coffee house on Danville’s Main Street. We were both wearing Centre College clothing and a man asked us if we were Centre students. The man was Joseph Lord, a Courier-Journal reporter. He asked me to record a short video clip about my experience inside the debate hall. Watch the video below.