Wednesday, November 30, 2005

At Least He Isn't Our Governor

I've been looking for a reason not to post something about a comment by Rep. Ben Chandler this morning. The conventional wisdom holds that he can do little real harm for now from his minority position in the Congress. While that is true (hey, he could be governor!), it is immensely distressing to see such political strength vested in someone with so few actual accomplishments. Nevertheless, there seems to be little hope to gain traction against him and his policy positions even though Congressman Ben Chandler says things like this:

"The upper echelon of people in this country are not being asked to sacrifice anything and they are being given huge tax cuts."

What planet is this guy from, really? Anyone? In a nation whose government is financed by this "upper echelon" he has such a problem with and in a state where most ambitious people strive to climb to the upper reaches of the income scale, one would think that blind, stupid, hateful, and wrong statements like this would carry a price. No such luck when the rhetoric comes from the top Democrat in Kentucky.

Comrade Chandler made his comments this morning on the Jack Pattie Show in Lexington.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Kids Want More, Education Officials Want Less

Saw a very interesting gap between Kentucky high school students and the state's education bureaucrats in two stories in state newspapers. First, the Kentucky Post reports that students want tougher academic standards in public schools. Then, as if on cue, the Louisville Courier Journal reports on a proposal from education bureaucrats asking the federal government to lower the expectations the schools are held to.

I say we go with the kids on this one.

The Kentucky Department of Education wants the 2001 federal standards lowered for them by shifting the focus of testing from reading and math to include social studies, "practical living" (good grief!), and arts and humanities. I'm not sure what they mean by practical living, but suspect they want a pass if our high school students can show mastery of shoe tying skills. Further, they want to lower even the appearance of accountability by dropping annual test requirements and going to every other year. And then, of course, they want a reprieve from the requirement to allow students to transfer from failing schools after two years, making it three instead. That is what this is all about -- resisting calls to increase standards and accountability for doing what schools are paid tax dollars to do.

What we have here are divergent interests. Our children know that their very survival in the knowledge-based economy depends on how much they know. Too many education officials are bureaucratic drones who are too focused on preserving their own cushy jobs without too much work.

Again, I suggest we go with the kids on this one and let the managers of the public school system sweat a little bit.

From a political perspective, I think education could be the perfect wedge issue. Democrats in Kentucky have presided over mediocre results for decades. Republicans should show the courage to make them answer for their failure. Let's make Democrat lawmakers choose between children and their teachers' union supporters.

Hurricane Hillary Hits Friday

Sen. Julian Carroll (D-Mess in Frankfort) commenting today on the Sue Wylie Show about Hillary Clinton's visit to Kentucky:

"She's coming to Louisville. She's not coming to represent the values of Kentucky. She's coming to represent the values of Louisville."

Carroll admitted that he will be at the Louisville event and claimed that Sen. Clinton is trying to change her liberal image, just as he is. He suggested that Republicans are bad, but that he is just as conservative as they are.

There was another funny exchange with a caller in which Sen. Carroll confessed that he voted for John Kerry even though he says he had "disagreements" with "his morals."

This will be lots of fun watching the Democratic Party try to figure out who they are without completely self-destructing before the 2006 elections.

Bush Gets GOP Back In The Saddle On Immigration


Monday, November 28, 2005

Earth to Hillary: The Economy Is Good

This Friday, Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) will have an opportunity to take her national "listening tour" to the average folks in Kentucky. That is, all the average people in Kentucky who put up $10,000 to get close enough for a photo with The Smartest Woman in The World.

We can only hope that one of these good folks will share these economic statistics with her.

Which One Is The Frontrunner?

The race for the 2007 Democrat gubernatorial nomination is on. Otis Hensley has filed with the Registry of Election Finance to start raising money. He will be facing Gatewood Galbraith.

At this rate, I can't imagine who will be next to file.

This Will Help: Democrats Want To Be "Mommy"

Now this is pretty funny. A Madison, Wisconsin man has written a children's book and called it "Why Mommy is a Democrat."

He claims that five percent of the proceeds from sales of the book will go to the Democratic Party. If the sample pages on their website are any indication, Kentucky's "conservative" Democrats might want to run away from this faster than they run from Hillary's Friday night soiree in Louisville. My favorite was "Democrats make sure we all share our toys, just like Mommy does."

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Media Waking Up to CATS Story

Two full weeks after Kentucky Progress reported on the Bluegrass Institute's (BIPPS) dismantling of Kentucky's fraudulent school accountability program, the media is starting to report on the disturbing findings.

It is about time.

This is a clear-cut tale of government abuse of children. The Commonwealth Accountability Testing System (CATS) very simply allows manipulation of school testing results. Parents then have an erroneous picture of the quality of education provided to their children. This is indisputable.

It is clear that repairing this instance of firmly entrenched waste, fraud, and abuse will involve clearing out more of the status quo holders in Frankfort. Anyone who has driven by the Kentucky Department of Education headquarters in Frankfort during election season knows that they function as a subsidiary of the Democratic Party. Republicans in Frankfort would do very well to make the education lobby take responsibility for their malfeasance.

Yes, I said malfeasance. If you have any doubt, you need only look at the quote from the Kentucky Department of Education's Lisa Gross. Her analysis of the BIPPS 50 page report was a curt "There's a lot wrong with it."

Oh, really? Can Ms. Gross name one thing wrong with the report, other than the fact that it embarrasses the education establishment in the state? Her arrogant answer suggests that the KDE has been exposed and hopes to spin it and make it all into some Vast Right Wing Conspiracy. But get this: the Bluegrass Institute has challenged Kentucky's top education officials to a debate about testing issues. Now that is something I would like to see. The bureaucrats have, unsurprisingly, gone underground into their no-debate spider hole.

Will the media stick to this very real story with anything like the tenacity our children deserve?

Sure hope so. I mean, it has everything: big money, big power, disadvantaged children pushed out of sight and high-achieving children used as unwitting accomplices to cover up the fraud. I suppose if the school officials literally took to defecating on our children, it would make front page, live at 6:00 news everywhere. That is essentially what they are doing. It is disgusting.

Maybe we should tell them it is all Ernie Fletcher's fault. Then the reporters would be on it like ducks on a June bug.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Terrorist News Network Shares Talk Points With D's

Amazing how this sounds just like what we keep hearing from the American Left.

Your Tax Dollars At Work: UK Studies Gay Politics

Take a look at this "Confidence in Government" study underwritten by the University of Kentucky. It seeks to survey people on the internet and the title seems fairly innocuous. But the survey questions seem to be predominantly interested in homosexuals, homosexuality, and the politics of homosexuals.

Surely this wouldn't have anything to do with the upcoming Lexington city council races, would it?

The Perfect Partisan Issue: Education

Just finished reading another petulant appeal for throwing more piles of money at the Kentucky education establishment. The author, unsurprisingly, is a former Speaker Jody Richards (D-Bowling Green) staffer.

As I was reading, it occured to me that there is bi-partisan agreement on the existence of a problem in education, but conservatives and liberals have almost no point of agreement on the path to improvement.

Republicans have historically done a poor job of taking advantage of Democrats single-minded clamoring for more money.

It is too easy. Asked what they would do with more money, Democrats insist that higher teacher pay is the answer. But we now know that Kentucky's teachers are the fifth best compensated in the United States.

More money isn't the answer. A different philosophy is.

Conservatives insist on higher standards, tough discipline, and accountability. Liberals champion permissiveness in the classroom. And when it come to holding the schools accountable, they permit outright fraud in the CATS program.

It has been two weeks since the Bluegrass Institute exposed very serious problems with the testing system that we use in Kentucky to evaluate our schools. The GOP is missing a fantastic opportunity to make real improvements to the schools that Democrats have papered over for decades.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Frankfort Should Change KEES Statutes

If the primary function of the KEES program is to hold Kentucky students in the state's public schools and colleges, then the way the program is set up makes sense. But if the purpose is to maximize educational opportunities for Kentuckians, then it needs a little work.

Currently, KEES money is not available to high school seniors taking college courses, nor is a full award available to home-school students. A college student may not currently use a KEES award for summer term courses.

All of these restrictions need to be eliminated.

A high school senior could have accumulated a $2000 annual award that will benefit no one if he or she plans to go out of state for college. A student who is undecided about plans for college or leaning toward going out of state could wind up spending some quite unproductive months during a senior year of high school. Allowing such students to use up a year of KEES money could provide substantial academic benefit to a student who would also be getting a taste of a state college that he might not otherwise have received.

Home school students who are limited to a KEES supplemental award are being penalized for not going to public school. This should only be so if we seek to make the primary beneficiary the public schools themselves. That's bogus. A home-schooler with a 28 on the ACT should be entitled to a full KEES award.

And students who go out-of-state to college could benefit from a KEES award spent at home on summer school.

These changes are a no-brainer improvement to the educational opportunities provided by the KEES program to the citizens of Kentucky. But of all the education lobbying going on in Frankfort, the only people who are not represented are the public school students. The effort necessary to correct these shortcomings in the law will help put the focus where it belongs.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

No More Lip Service: Let's Boycott CATS

You wouldn't know it if you just get your news from Kentucky's big newspapers, but the Kentucky Department of Education's CATS testing has been shown to be a fraud.

So enjoy your Thanksgiving. Rest and relax with family and friends this weekend.

On Monday, we start a full-fledged frontal assault and boycott of the wasteful CATS.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Crack To An Addict: More Money For "Education"?

Some things are just too far gone to fix. That is the case with Kentucky's government strategy for educating its population. It should be self-evident to everyone who doesn't depend directly on the status quo that blindly pouring more money into our state's public school bureaucracy is a bad idea.

And it is getting worse.

So that is why it was so curious to see "EDUCATION UNDERFUNDED" as the bold headline on the jump page in today's Herald Leader. The front page headline for the story was "State's job skills come up short" and the story was one of the typical agenda-driven factoid-laden pieces that gives the newspaper its bad reputation.

Seriously, look at who they interviewed. I count three Democrat politicians and one of them was Paul Patton! The didn't dare interview one single person who might have contradicted their premise. Our vaunted watchdogs serve so poorly when they shovel out this kind of stuff.

We continue to poor more money into public education, though the percentage of total spending decrease statistic that the paper tried to stick to Ernie Fletcher this summer was dutifully trotted out again.

Raising standards and average expectations at the primary and secondary level remains the only way to improve our education results. That doesn't take more money. Our legislators need to return disciplinary discretion to the teachers. We need to clean out the sham elements of the CATS testing and cut layers of education "management" at the county, district, and state levels.

But we already know this stuff.

The main idea of the news story today was that if we just put more money into secondary schools we wouldn't have to put state money into corporate worker training programs. But the same solution fits here. If teachers had more control in the classroom, dealing with disruptive children would not take up so much instruction time. If students had to meet higher standards to advance through school, more of them would be able to think more analytically as adults, making public financing of workplace remediation less necessary. Too much of our current focus is on the bottom tier students in our schools. If we took some simple steps to unshackle our top tier of students, they could excel with very minimal supervision at the secondary level. That would free up resources to push middle tier students toward their potential and past the point that such large numbers as at present graduate high school unable to survive either in the workplace or in freshman level college courses.

Our education bureaucrats are failing the challenge to increase productivity in the classroom. We should give more effort to helping them philosophically approach their jobs more effectively before acquiescing to their demands for more money.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Gatewood Galbraith First Dem Governor Candidate

Perennial candidate Gatewood Galbraith just announced on WVLK's Kruser and Krew program that he will register as a Democrat and run for Governor of Kentucky in 2007.

"The Democratic nominee will be the Governor in 2007," Galbraith said.

The "Last Free Man in America" isn't ready to totally buck his party boss, Jerry Lundergan, who is calling on Dem candidates to avoid expensive primary battles. Gatewood said he will meet with Rep. Ben Chandler soon and step aside if the Congressman wants to run himself.

The dynamics of a Gatewood campaign could be very interesting. If several Democrat opponents come forward, he should get lost in the crowd. An interesting possibility is that he could throw a Hail Mary attack against the eventual nominee and damage him (or her) for the fall. In a one-on-one battle for the nomination, this would have to be considered highly likely to occur.

Okay, guys. Who's next?

Meanwhile, as the Dem circus gets underway, Governor Fletcher announced penalties against Anthem Health Plans and ordered them to return $23.7 million to policyholders. Good job!

Iran's Parliament Urges Nuclear Reprisal Against Us

While the Worldwide Left is chattering about another memo (this one has President Bush bombing Al Jazeera, the Islamic media outlet), the Iranian Parliament voted to move ahead with the preparation of nuclear weapons if the UN persists in investigating Iran's preparation of nuclear weapons.

This is a much bigger story than Murtha/Sheehan. This is nuclear brinksmanship with a rogue fundamentalist regime is infinitely more serious than any coming out of the mouths out Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, and Howard Dean.

Incidentally, Iran has also jumped on the Murtha/Sheehan bandwagon and called for the United States to pull out of Iraq. Go figure.

Jim Gray On The Sue Wylie Show

Okay, so Lexington City Council candidate Jim Gray is just another liberal politician. What are we going to do about it?

Gray insists on continuing the long-dead issue of government theft of Kentucky American assets. Gray says he supports domestic partner benefits for city employees. And he doesn't recognize the private property rights of business owners who wish to allow smoking in their places of business. He fills in the rest of his speaking with psycho-babble about "good business practices."

There is still time for conservative candidates to emerge. When they do, they must not (and conservative activists must not) bring up the homosexual issue or anything close to it. There will be enough praise for his "courage" to run given his homosexuality to remind Mr. and Mrs. Voter of this controversy.

If handled correctly, having Gray on the ballot could benefit conservatives across the board in 2006. That means focusing on how domestic partner benefits makes it easier for unmarried heterosexual couples to live together, perpetuating an absence of personal responsibility that these heterosexuals pass on to their offspring. When conservatives make that case, and show the public how liberals want to shift personal responsibility away from the individual and toward the government, we win. Unfortunately, conservatives face a two-front battle because of Republican politicians who forget our values once they get elected.

Voter registration numbers continue to shift toward the GOP. As the Democrats try to battle their diminishing influence by stifling internal debate and shunning primary battles, Republicans are gaining greater strength and grow closer to the time that we in Kentucky can vote to "throw the bums out" from both parties.

"Bush Lied, My Brains Are Fried!"

Liberal blogger awaiting new signal from the Mother Ship.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Congressman Murtha, Your Fifteen Minutes Are Up

Democrats are destroying their own credibility on the Terror War.

Luckily, Rep. John Murtha continues to talk.

"The public turned against this war before I said it," Murtha whined about the backlash against his statement that we should pull out of Iraq immediately. Murtha was for the war before he was against it.

Democrats failed on Friday to support their own backseat driving on the war with actual votes. The resolution calling for a full surrender failed 403 to 3.

No amount of wishful thinking by liberal activists can keep support for the war from being the number one issue until we have a decisive victory. Seems like they would get on board with the war and get back to what is left of their domestic agenda. Sticking in the middle of the road on this one isn't going to do anything but give Republicans a pass on whatever they want to do. To be frank, America needs better from their opposition party.

Jim Gray For Lexington City Council

It is too early to make endorsements for Lexington's 2006 local races, but I think Jim Gray could make a very effective At-Large Councilman. His business experience is the main reason for my interest. Central Kentucky's largest city needs more serious leaders to compete in the years ahead.

Yes, Jim Gray is the man who publicly "came out of the closet" recently. And yes, I campaigned last year to define marriage as between one man and one woman. But with that battle won, I think we can look more to the qualifications for office. Jim Gray should be able to do the job very well. It will be very interesting to see how he puts his campaign together.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Another Day With No Democrat Plan On Iraq

Last night, Congressional Democrats refused to support the Cindy Sheehan Resolution and it failed by a 403 to 3 vote.

Rep. John Murtha, who made headlines earlier this week by calling for the immediate withdrawal of troops from Iraq, turned his back on the measure which would have given him what he said he wanted.

Given last night's cut and run by the Dems, one might expect them to try again to find their voice on this or any other issue. Nancy Pelosi and Steny Hoyer made statements at the end of this article which suggest in no uncertain terms that they still can't get it done.

Interesting that three Democrats put their money where their mouths were and voted to go ahead and surrender to the terrorist insurgency's base in Iraq. Cynthia McKinney of Georgia is a known Islamic terrorist supporter. Robert Wexler of Florida was the one Democrat courageous enough to admit their plan for Social Security is just massive tax increases. Jose Serrano of New York is an avid supporter of Communist dictator Hugo Chavez of Venezuela, who is cooking up a proletarian revolt for Serrano's district in the Bronx.

The sorry spectacle of Democrats shrieking and tussling in the House chamber last night exposed to the world that they won't engage in serious consideration of vital issues until they have their precious power back. With behavior like they have exhibited recently, they could be in for a long wait.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Battle Lines Drawn On Spending In Washington

Don't let news stories that describe last night's vote on HR 4241 as one that "squeezes programs for the poor" or even as a "major budget cut bill" mislead you. The Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 (or what was left of it) was a pitifully small reduction in the rate of growth of a few programs.

Democrats who try to make hay out of Republicans pushing homeless children on train tracks will only succeed to the extent that the media so shamelessly plays along with their gambit. Unfortunately, conservative media serves the public poorly as well by fostering the illusion that $50 Billion in actual cuts were created last night.

Budget "cuts" proposed for future years hold no weight whatsoever, so the $50 billion is, in reality, little more than a quiet suggestion. But in the political world, it is the line in the sand. All House Democrats plus Socialist Bernie Sanders voted against the bill, rejecting even a whiff of slowing down entitlement growth. So while taxpayers gained nothing from last night's vote, citizens gained a voter's guide for 2006 elections containing a list of the entire Democrat/Socialist caucus who stand in opposition to Republican spendthrifts in Congress only in the sense that they are worse.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

A Crumbling Foundation: House Can't Muster Deficit Reduction

House Republicans in Washington are trying to pass the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 but weak Republicans are joining Democrats and killing it off.

This bill would merely reduce the growth rate of spending and provide straightforward reforms to Medicaid requested by the nation's governors.

Democrats are, as usual, charging that Republican cuts will leave poor people eating cat food. Sadly, Congressman Ron Lewis isn't taking a position on this commonsense legislation.

Omnibus Post Blasts Democrats And Republicans

If you haven't read Caleb Brown's takedown of omnibus bills, go ahead and read it now. These are the bills that combine many different policy initiatives in one bill. The example cited by Mr. Brown is Governor Fletcher's tax modernization bill. He has a point, of course, and small government Republicans in Frankfort who held their noses and voted for the "revenue neutral tax increase" know all too well. Most galling is that Brown quotes a Democrat lawmaker who complains that he didn't want to vote for the bill because of the tax increase on business, but had to because failure to support the whole thing would have cost his district dearly. He has a point and Democrats have already shown an eagerness to beat GOP candidates over the head with it next year.

And this happens on a day that a Dem Congressman from Pennsylvania urges us to go ahead and surrender in Iraq. Inconsistency among conservatives makes it pretty hard to keep Democrats in their little left-leaning box. In a time that even Hillary Clinton is trying to wear the conservative label, Republicans have to know that they are hurting conservatism itself when they seek to avoid issue-driven debate.

Another Transportation Cabinet Scandal Brewing?

Mark Hebert's story is online regarding an alleged bid-rigging scandal in the Transportation Cabinet. No smoking gun in last night's report, but sources indicate that the rest of the story might be a little more troublesome.

So far, though, I don't see much to this story. The evidence that I am familiar with seems to indicate that it doesn't go any higher than David Jones, though Jones suggests otherwise. But Mark Hebert says he is still working on it and thinks it goes higher up, so stay tuned.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Frankfort Rumors: Trouble in Transport?

Mark Hebert is promoting a "big story" for 5:00 on WHAS in Louisville. He says he has uncovered details related to contracts on Transportation Cabinet work. The KSP is investigating.

This doesn't look good.

Media Helps KY Public Schools Hurt Kids, Waste $

Kentucky's Education Industrial Complex rules most counties (where the public school system system is often the largest employer) and, unfortunately, holds sway over our intrepid media outlets across the Bluegrass as well.

The Bluegrass Institute issued a damning report on Monday about the state's fraudulent use of CATS testing to avoid accountability and waste countless hours and taxpayer dollars. Several advance copies of this report went out on Saturday. So how many of our mainstream talkers, news writers, or news readers have explored these findings in order to protect the taxpayers and the children of this state?


That's pathetic. The Soviet Union was the gold standard of burying inconvenient bad news. Is that what you guys are up to? Apparent media complicity here is sickening.

If Governor Fletcher is looking for an issue to champion, this is it.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Councilman Bill Farmer Splits The Baby On Water?

Supporters for condemnation of Kentucky American Water Company were reduced at the end to appealing to a nebulous fear of outsiders. Mayoral candidate Bill Farmer veered dangerously close to joining them today when he said "I do not believe it is in the best interest of Lexington for anyone other than the community or a community-based group of investors to own the (water) system."

While condemnation for its own sake was never a good idea, bowing to the xenophobiacs by calling for "local ownership" is more likely to make sense politically than it does economically. I don't think it works either way, though. Every other municipality in the world views inflows of capital as a good thing. Farmer is already marked with a big "B" for business because of his anti-condemnation stance. Now is not the time to go wobbly, even if it is just posturing rhetoric.

Democrat Surrender Vote Fails

U.S. Senate Democrats today failed in their bid to force President Bush to set a "timetable" for removing troops from Iraq.

Thirty nine Dems and idiot Lincoln Chafee voted for the "surrender in advance." The people whose fanatical thirst for political power contrasts their meekness before terrorist murderers don't seem to understand the results of recent polls. Republican discontent with President Bush has more to do with his capitulation to the Left on such issues as tax and Social Security reform, education reform, and Medicare.

Louisville-bound Hillary Clinton, by the way, voted French on this one.

Thanks to Kentucky Senators Mitch McConnell and Jim Bunning for standing strong.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Hey, Let's Dumb Down Our Colleges Too!

Rep. Rick Nelson (D-Middlesboro) has pre-filed a bill that would direct Kentucky legislative staff to "study" the cost of college textbooks. Maybe the Democrats are cooking up a plan to "fix" higher education expenses just like they "fixed" health insurance back in 1994.

Nice spin on the current "gouging at the pump" craze, but not any more realistic than that or the utopian health insurance mess Governor Jones (D-of course) gave us.

Those kids don't need no book learnin' !!!

Bad News Travels Fast

Campaign finance reports are in and Governor Fletcher has raised $218,165.00 and spent $86,973.93.

This is not good and the Dems will be crowing as soon as they see it.

KEA's Shame: Waste, Fraud, Abuse on CATS Test

The folks at Bluegrass Institute have done it again.

As a parent of public school students, I have learned that demanding more gets good results. We learned last week that the teachers' union demands for more pay is another false alarm. Now we see that our program for testing accountability is a complete sham.

I don't see any need to send our kids to school on CATS testing days to prop up this garbage.

Such abuse of underpriviledged children should be the kind of thing the media would jump all over. Where are they?

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Purge The Mergers: Danville Mayor Goes Wild

Mayor John Bowling will hold a press conference Monday at 5pm at Danville city hall to discuss creating a single government for Boyle County.

Small government advocates may view this as a way to create fewer politicians. The problem is that the remaining office holders have more power and are less accountable to the people they represent.

If Danvillians really want to do something good, they should change their city government from a commissioner form of government to one represented by a city council. Commissioners serve the same purpose as a council, but are all elected citywide and oversee different areas of city government. This makes them accountable primarily to the city workers. A city councilman represents a specific geographic region and is accountable primarily to the people in that district.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Mike (Nancy Pelosi) Weaver Talks Smack

Rep. Mike Weaver is running for Congress against Ron Lewis. His official announcement is coming next week, but the DCCC has been blowing in his ear for months now. It is going to happen.

Interviewed recently, Weaver was bragging about how sticking him with the liberal label wouldn't work. That may be so when he is running for his safe little seat in Frankfort, but this is the big leagues. In a narrowly divided House, a vote for any Democrat is a vote for San Francisco freak Nancy Pelosi for Speaker of the House.

Exposed: KY Teachers 5th Highest Paid In Nation

State legislators buckled last year under agonizing pleas from the teachers' union that its members could not afford to feed their families if they were forced to absorb higher health care costs. Kentucky's education "reformers" have claimed for years that education nirvana could be found on the other side of higher pay for teachers.

We have been duped.

A study from the Raleigh, North Carolina-based John Locke Foundation has ranked the total compensation for public school teachers by state. Kentucky has long been listed at the bottom of educational achievement surveys and it is ranked 34th in terms of teacher salary. But when total compensation and cost-of-living are considered, Kentucky is ranked number five in the nation.

Here is the report.

The folks at the Bluegrass Institute told me about this one. They work on some very interesting things to improve education in Kentucky and are finding surprisingly little support from "conservative" and "family-friendly" legislators of both parties. Their plan is to take their information directly to parents. God help the politicians who stand in the way of this train when it gets moving.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

With Republicans Like This, Who Needs Democrats?

Let me get this straight: the GOP in Washington is killing off tax cuts as unaffordable, spending cuts as unpopular, energy independence as unfriendly to moosekind, and Medicaid reform as unfair.

Meanwhile here at home, the big press conference of the day is another weak (and failed) attempt to redirect the merit hiring debacle. The gathering conservative storm may not play out as some elected Republicans are hoping.

What continues to happen is that elected Republicans leave their right flank exposed for Democrats to out-conservative them. The only saving grace is the national Democrats. I certainly understand the strategy of reduced expectations, but aren't we making it a little easy for the lefties, their utter lack of workable ideas intact, to build support at our expense?

Bluegrass Institute Takes The Lead

It's a good day when the folks at BIPPS speak up. Today is looking like a very good day, indeed.

FALSE ALARM UPDATE: While today is shaping up to be a pretty good day at BIPPS, I'm told their explosive report on education in Kentucky will not be released until Monday. Kentucky Progress will have the first complete synopsis available ASAP.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Another Liberal Senator Coming To Louisville

The Louisville Courier Journal reports that Sen. John McCain is coming to Louisville December 14 to sell his book.

Democrats Cast Blame, Eat Fish in Danville

The Danville (KY) Advocate Messenger reports on a political rally in which Democrat officials attacked Republicans.

The money quote was from House Speaker Jody Richards who said "I'm proud to be a Democrat, proud to live up to the Democrats' message."

Which message is that, exactly, Speaker Richards?

Maybe we can ask him December 2 in Louisville at the Hillary Clinton fundraisers. Clinton will be in town to raise money for her pro-abortion, higher taxes, and nationalized health care Senate campaign in New York and, presumably, to benefit this same "message" for Democrat candidates in Kentucky. No word yet on how they are going to handle the Democrats' surrender-first foreign policy message or their special rights for gay adoptive parents message.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Grassroots Support Only For Good Republicans

Tall tales about a national Democrat resurrection in 2006 notwithstanding, individual donors continue to pour comparatively more money into GOP organization coffers. The notable exception is the National Republican Senatorial Committee, likely because of the "moderate" GOP group in that body.

In other words, a Dem takeover looks very unlikely unless they can figure out a way to be more conservative than the Republicans. Meanwhile, we have some breathing room to demand some more accountability from our Republican elected officials. That is a good thing.

Democrats Still Hiding Policy Positions

Roll Call reports that national Democrats have given up their efforts to express any specific agenda for America for now. This latest failure comes as Kentucky Democrats celebrate the far-out liberal achievements of Sen. Hillary Clinton (like her 8% rating by Citizens Against Government Waste; worse even than John Kerry's 25% failing grade and Ben Chandler's 15%).

What could they be trying to hide?

Monday, November 07, 2005

Typical Politician: On Both Sides Of The Issue

Ben Chandler supports his liberal friends' efforts to condemn Kentucky American Water, but now has a press release urging "strong safeguards to protect private property owners from having their property seized by the government." His distinction is that now he is talking about the U.S. Supreme Court's Kelo decision, but the difference in principle is non-existent.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Go Figure: Tax Reform Panel Speaks; We Yawn

For all of President Bush's talk about spending his political capital in his second term, the conservative revolution has misfired badly with him at the helm these last ten months.

Or has it?

Social Security Reform was bludgeoned nearly to death, but the Democrats with their hammers came off looking a little like the Arabs dancing in the streets on 9/11. Sure, they won. But the red ink that Social Security is drowning in will soon have voters wondering what all the celebrating in 2005 was all about.

The end runs around the crazed enviro-fascists will soon have us drilling for oil in the ANWR wilderness. This will clearly open the way to more domestic exploration that will substantially reduce our dependence on foreign oil.

The revolt by the most fiscally conservative House Republicans will likely result in reduced pork spending. A similar mutiny by conservative Senate Republicans will certainly result in the confirmation of a solid Supreme Court justice.

So now the President's own Advisory Panel on Tax Reform has issued its ideas for simplifying our tax system and everyone is waiting to see what the vox populi declares.

When President Reagan left the White House in 1989, the conservative movement suffered from the loss of a great champion. Could it be that President Bush will leave us stronger in his absence because of the way he has drawn out our liberal opponents from their fortifications with their arguments pulled down around their ankles?

I think so, yes.

The question then becomes "Can we do the same thing here in Kentucky?" Can the ground troops of the Bluegrass conservative movement wrest control of the Republican party and the social objectives that drew us to it from those who would use it for self-aggrandizement? Can we force discipline on a state government that raised our taxes last year, and continues to this day to keep us mired in an upward spiral of health insurance costs that could be alleviated with the stroke of a pen, just as the downward spiral of our public education system could be stopped dead in its tracks with a simple reform of higher standards and fewer layers of administration?

I think so, yes.

I don't know how much credit history will give President Bush for advancing conservative principles, but I fear that Kentucky will squander its opportunity for advancement without stronger conservative leadership. A few good men and women are working to change our course. I believe that 2006 will be their year.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Socialized Medicine: HillaryCare Coming To KY

We have confirmed with Hillary Clinton's Senate campaign that she is making plans to come to Louisville in December. It will be a beautiful thing to watch the "conservative" gaggle of Kentucky Democrats flit about in and out of her majesty's limelight like moths fascinated by a Bug Zapper.

Please, let this happen!

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Another Inexplicable Hiring Move In Frankfort

When the Fletcher Administration set up the Office for Merit System Referrals in October, we complained that it seemed a poor use of state resources. That the office was soon scrapped may have had more to do with its director dissing Democrats on his website, but the taxpayers dodged a bullet either way.

Now we have word that the Personnel Cabinet will be expanded by 35 jobs costing $72,000 each. What in the name of fiscal insanity is going on here?

Conservatives who rose up in opposition to the Harriet Miers nomination have to be emboldened by the President's subsequent about-face. Is it time for Kentucky Republicans to take a similar approach?

Like Rush Limbaugh said, not a crack-up but a crack-down. I think the time is right.

Media Hound Strikes Again!!

I will be a guest on The Sue Wylie Show this morning at 11:00 to talk about the President's Advisory Panel on Tax Reform. Their consensus plan doesn't do nearly enough, but that is the next thing on the table. Tune in to 590 AM and call in to 859-253-5959.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Racist, Homophobic Republican Plot Uncovered!!!

Rep. Brad Montell (R-Shelbyville) must really hate people of color and members of other disadvantaged groups, a Frankfort citizen alleged today.

Rep. Montell filed a bill (BR 272) that would require citizens registering to vote to obtain a signature from a witness on their voter registration card. It is not clear how much of a burden this will place on dead voters on Election Day, but vote merchants complain that involving one extra person in the registration process would unfairly spread the legal liability for generating excess registrations.

"It would have a chilling effect, that's for sure," said a vote merchant named Tony.

Rep. Montell could not immediately be reached to comment on his bill, but liberal groups agreed that his intent was clearly racist and anti-human rights.