Edited excerpts of John Carroll's columns in the Herald-Leader:
"A week later, having listened to perhaps a thousand opinions on the series, I think I can find two common sentiments. They are: The story should never have been written because no Wildcat ever took a payoff. The story should never have been written because everybody already knew Wildcats were taking payoffs."
— Nov. 3, 1985, after the Herald-Leader exposed improper payments to University of Kentucky basketball players
"A visitor to Kentucky might conclude that Kentuckians are living in two states. One is a land of million-dollar horses, Rolex watches, gourmet restaurants and glittering shops. Jobs are plentiful and opportunity abounds. Then there's the other Kentucky, a land of bootleggers, rocky hill farms, half-idle coal mines and poverty. Some of the stereotype is unfair, but the poverty is all too real. Generation after generation, it seizes the hope of the young and grinds it as fine as coal dust. There is no simple remedy. But the first step is clear to virtually all who have studied poverty in Kentucky: decent schools. The two Kentuckys aren't strangers, either. For better or worse, they are on a journey together; neither is going far without the other."
— Dec. 7, 1986
"Happy Chandler and his politics might not be the wave of the future for Kentucky. But on the issue of race, he is not the problem. The problem is the existence of well-intentioned, well-to-do whites who have no inkling of the black experience, no glimmer of insight into the feelings that ignited the civil rights movement, not even a touch of regret or compassion about what happened to blacks in America. The problem is not the man who says 'n .....' The problem is the man who looks you in the eye and asks — with all sincerity of a cocoon-dweller who truly doesn't know — what more the black people could possibly want now that we've named a street after Martin Luther King Jr."
— April 10, 1988, after the University of Kentucky trustee and former governor used a racial pejorative during a meeting of a UK board committee.
"In a series of in-depth TV ads, our future governor explained that we had reached a point in Kentucky's history when it was time to stop worrying about all the state's problems and have a lottery instead. Well, that set him apart from the crowd, and those gloomy candidates were never heard from again. Now, under (Wallace) Wilkinson, our taxes are low and so are our prospects for anything but a Third World future. But we don't care, because as of Tuesday, we'll be eligible to win a million dollars. Whoo-eee!"
— April 2, 1989, the Kentucky Lottery is born.
"When I first was inspired to enter the Bluegrass 10,000, it seemed entirely natural to observe our nation's birthday by joining 3,000 others at sunrise for an hour of groaning, retching and incoherent cursing. Because my employer, the Herald-Leader, was co-sponsor, I knew it would be a lot of fun. (I also enjoy the frequent phone calls at dinnertime offering me a chance to buy yet another subscription.) Beyond that, I had a vision. Every Fourth of July, which happens to be the muggiest day of the year, I would put myself to a severe physical test. At the end of a decade, it took me seven minutes and six seconds longer to run the race than it took at the beginning. I have projected this trend into the future. If my calculations are correct, by the time I complete the race in the year 2000, the city workers will have taken down the sawhorses on Main Street. In fact, they'll have put them back up again for the parade. What I was seeking 10 years ago was eternal youth. What I got was a precise calibration of my decline: 42.6 seconds per annum."
— July 1, 1990
"Among the many inventions that have sprung from the fertile minds at IBM is one that has never been patented: the modern city of Lexington, Ky. Power in the old days was a fairly simple matter. You were fine if you had connections at First Security Bank, the law firm of Stoll Keenon & Park, the Herald-Leader or a prominent horse farm. Today Lexington has multiple bases of power. People can and do get rich without securing the blessings of those who got rich before. In spite of the modern prosperity, many Lexingtonians long to turn back the clock. The changes are resented, even by those who have made millions from them. If you doubt the power of the old ways, consider how David Roselle was driven off as president of the University of Kentucky.
"Like IBM, Roselle had insight into the worlds of technology and business. He understood the ways a university might serve in nurturing high-tech business here. But Roselle was irritating to our governor, among others. He insisted on doing things by the book, particularly with regard to sports. He was also conspicuously intelligent, a trait some find unbecoming. His departure was a triumph of the old ways — resentment of outsiders, suspicion of intellectuals, the subjugation of education to politics. The routing of Roselle struck me as a turning back of the clock. And now IBM is going. It makes me wonder about Lexington's future. Will we give up on competing in the modern world? Will much-needed outsiders like Roselle and the IBMers always face resistance? Is the boom over? Will there be parking spaces again on Main Street? And, if all that happens, will the simpler life prove as pleasant in reality as it is in our memories?" — July 22, 1990