Wednesday, August 31, 2005
Tuesday, August 30, 2005
Most educational establishment folks can't talk about their work without bitterly lamenting the "unfunded mandate" foisted upon them by President Bush's No Child Left Behind Act.
Next time you hear that talking point, you can ignore it. The man who is in a better position than anyone else in the state to know about it says there is no such unfunded mandate.
Kentucky's Education Commissioner Gene Wilhoit was asked yesterday at the Elementary and Secondary Education Subcommittee meeting about this common criticism by opponents of the President.
In front of reporters, Wilhoit said there is no such condition in Kentucky schools. You won't see that in the mainstream media, though.
Monday, August 29, 2005
Take a look at the Kentucky Democrats' "Family Agenda." Two points jumped out at me as good things to say, though a skeptic might say they had their chance. The first is a promise: "We will support reductions in the regulations, red tape, and some mandates that hamper (health insurance reform). If they really understand how well this would work, seriously, then why are they just now getting around to a more market-friendly approach to health insurance? If they had only listened to the Republicans saying this is 1994 we could have avoided more than a decade in the insurance wilderness.
The second is an attack on Tax Modernization that I couldn't agree with more. It has been a disaster for small business and clearly has to be changed. But again, the Dems all voted for it too.
So the Democrats seem to have punted on yet another opportunity to rise above the partisan tussle. And this is why, when the dust settles, Governor Fletcher should be able to gain re-election. I just hope he and his administration take full advantage of the next legislative session to advance conservatism and further strengthen the state.
One pretty funny thing: take a look at how this always-goofy leftist site goes from trying to make hay out of the merit system debacle for Democrats to infighting about racism and their own stereotypes of rampant Appalachian incest. It is beyond hilarious.
You are probably getting several emails urging a citizen revolt against higher gas prices.
You know the routine: if we all boycott the same company or all swear off gasoline for one day, the oil companies will get the message. What these would-be Crusaders are missing is that we can run our gas guzzlers on fumes all week and blow the whole thing walking to the grocery store and spending $100 on food. In short, we can all cut up our Chevron cards in protest if we want to. The shippers who bring the goods we buy will not participate. The statement is muted as soon as we buy an apple.
It isn't a giant leap from the realization that gasoline consumption plays a role in the availability (and the price) of everything from Cheerios to chaise lounges to the screaming need for federal income tax reform.
It stands to reason that three dollars a gallon for gas -- which now seems inevitable and imminent -- will not only eat into your take home pay, but will take a bite out of shippers' and truckers' bottom lines as well. So if your kiwis come from Chile, you can probably expect the price of them to be headed north as well.
Did it ever occur to you that when your favorite plumber's growing business puts him in a higher tax bracket, the same dynamic applies? And that is for a service, which isn't taxed directly at the retail level.
A "flat tax" doesn't begin to address the issue of income taxes passed along from providers to consumers. Only the Fair Tax does that. Congress goes back into session in one week and tax reform will be on the agenda. Done properly, this reform could have an enormously positive impact on the U.S. economy.
Every Economics 101 textbook refers to a "multiplier effect" that ripples through an economy as the result of certain actions. Just as gasoline price increases reverberate through layers of providers and get passed along to consumers, nearly one-third of the price of all goods and services flows back to the federal government to pay income tax liabilities incurred by those same providers. The difference is that we can actually have a meaningful impact on income taxes.
We need the Fair Tax now. If you want to affect change, join this Crusade (with apologies to our Islamo-fascist readers, of course.)
Friday, August 26, 2005
Instead of supporting Miller's money grab, the board resolved to "work vigorously with the General Assembly to pass legislation that will ensure that all currently held KAPT contracts will be honored when an unfunded liability arises." Contrary to Miller's wishes, this language echoes the sentiments expressed by members of the General Assembly.
In fact, the language of yesterday's resolution was very similar to that of a March 18, 2005 letter sent out by Senate President David Williams to KAPT contract holders which stated "The Kentucky Senate intends to live up to our commitment to the KAPT families."
Miller struck a defiant posture nonetheless, claiming unconvincingly that not only was the board's decision "a symbolic victory" for him, but that President Williams "reversed course and has announced that he supports the rights of KAPT families."
Miller's reputation for petulance is well-deserved. He slipped into name-calling mode in an email to contract holders, labeling Williams "formerly KAPT's most ardent foe."
The only person to ever suggest that the General Assembly wanted to harm contract holders' investments has been Jonathan Miller. Without provocation, Miller has attacked repeatedly the members of the State Senate for seeking to put a cap on Miller's unsustainable scheme. When the Democratic House members became convinced of the necessity for action to stem the tide, he attacked them too.
No one can know how Miller's lawsuit will turn out other than to waste more taxpayer dollars.
Every politician knows the hack's version of the sucker punch. It's called the straw man: accuse your opponent of saying something he didn't say, then attack him for saying it. This is Miller's favorite trick. He does it twice in the same paragraph of his statement on government email to contract holders. He said KAPT families were "attacked as undeserving rich people" and that legislators wanted to "shut down KAPT and force refunds (without interest)." The only person to make these claims has been Miller himself.
And he wants you to elect him Auditor of Public Accounts in 2007. Given his New Liberal Math techniques, I don't think we can afford much more of Mr. Miller.
Thursday, August 25, 2005
Rep. Stan Lee (R-Lexington) pre-filed a Right To Work bill in Frankfort yesterday. This would simply prohibit unions from forcing membership or support on individuals as a condition of employment. It's a good bill for a "conservative" Democrat to steal and push through the House.
Rep. Ben Chandler spoke to the Richmond Chamber of Commerce and his two topics were how strong China is getting and how terrible George Bush has been.
Most of his comments were nothing new, but one jumped out as odd. Chandler said "As the current administration turns its back on promising scientific research, China is working very hard to develop the know-how to develop and exploit new technologies."
Looks like the left is getting their talking points mixed up. Is China really going to toss us in the dustbin of history on the strength of their embryonic stem cell research?
Monday, August 22, 2005
What? In Communist China? You mean just as their experiment with capitalism is starting to work, they start getting all DNC-squishy on us? This story is actually a perfect example of why people on the left and right don't see eye to eye. We just keep score differently. Conservatives don't generally view equalization of outcomes as the role of government and liberals see unequal outcomes as their clarion call.
A priceless nugget: "reforms have also largely ended cradle-to-grave social support, forcing Chinese to pay far more for health care, education and other basic services. Millions have also slipped into poverty after being laid off from moribund state enterprises and rural incomes have largely stagnated as wealth fails to trickle down into the countryside."
Sounds like circumstances would improve in China if they gave up on their economic reforms and went back to "cradle-to-grave social support." Nice touch throwing in the "trickle down" part there at the end. What is the world coming to when peaceful agrarian reformers go for Reaganomics?
One might think that the next thing we would hear from the AP is how the explosive economic growth in China is causing homelessness. It probably won't happen, but it does raise an interesting question: if a man goes homeless in Shanghai but no Republicans are there to blame, does the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities still get to write a weepy research report?
I found the original article from China Daily.
And from straight-faced Chinese economic planners, some good quotes that Sen. John Kerry would never see the humor in:
"The government's top priority is to make those farmers still in poverty earn more," the team concludes in a report. "
(And if that doesn't work, Beijing will just shoot them.)
"He said incomes of laid-off workers are decreasing while the wallets of private business owners have been fattening at incredible rates."
(Imagine getting less money for not working. Expanded Unemployment Benefits, anyone? Let's send a delegation and teach them how!)
Read all about it in the Washington Post.
Update: Looks like John Edwards wants the joint next.
Meanwhile, Evan Bayh is having a bad trip. He thinks he is Jimmy Carter.
Gary Hart says Dems aren't trying hard enough to sabotage the war.
Friday, August 19, 2005
Just like a bunch of naked people in a field trying to save the world, the folks over at Ben Chandler's blog are going bananas and making a spectacle of themselves.
Mark Nickolas, Chandler's mad-as-hell campaign manager, is inconsolable over what he wants to believe is a Fletcher administration sleight to his man's grandfather. And he wants you to be just as worked up as he is.
Don't be fooled.
Nickolas reports, with Congressman Chandler as his only source, that the "petty and dishonest" Fletcher administration is planning to remove a historical marker honoring the late Happy Chandler from its current location in Corydon, Kentucky.
Have you ever seen this thing? It is about four tons of rock. It is huge and less than ten feet from the road. And the truth is the Transportation Cabinet is looking into moving the marker to a place where people can more safely look at it, not getting rid of it. The city park and the school system remain possible new custodians, but my money is on scrapping the whole idea and leaving it where it is.
Still distraught over the election loss of their man John Kerry, the folks at Bluegrass Report are perhaps letting their disappointment get the best of them.
Thursday, August 18, 2005
Wednesday, August 17, 2005
The story goes like this: Chandler of Kentucky stands on Capitol Hill and attacks the President for pursuing a "diversion" rather than going after America's attackers.
Interesting article about this today in USA Today. But the Chandler isn't Ben, the president isn't Bush, the "diversion" isn't Iraq, and the year isn't 2005. It was Senator A.B. "Happy" Chandler, President Roosevelt, Germany, and 1942.
While we can be grateful that the current president won't succumb to whims of those like the current Chandler, we must be eternally thankful (along with millions of Europeans over the years) that FDR had the good sense to ignore Sen. Chandler when he criticized the move to support our western Allies in the wake of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Had we left them to their own devices then, we might well have been rebuffed by PM Tony Blair when we asked for help against terrorists.
In fact, I suspect Blair would have said something like "Hau ab, Yankee!"
The article is here.
Tuesday, August 16, 2005
The latest media attack on Governor Fletcher (and Republicans in general) has been easy to debunk. This attack attempts to cast Fletcher as uncaring about education.
On Monday, AP reporter Joe Biesk's article in the Lexington Herald Leader reported that Kentucky was found to be last in the nation in per capita spending on education. He reports that Governing magazine's 2005 State and Local Source Book is his source for the figures he quotes, but neglects to point out that the numbers are based on 2002 Census Bureau statistics. The timeliness of the story is appropriate in that Governing magazine just released the report this month, but has nothing to do with the current resident of the Governor's Mansion.
The hard, cold fact is that a two minute phone call to the Kentucky Department of Education revealed that Kentucky's spending on K-12 education in FY 2006 is 44.1% of General Fund expenditures and that is UP from FY 2002's 41.2%.
We won't lose sleep waiting for David Hawpe, Mark Nickolas, et al to apologize for nipping at Governor Fletcher's heels when they should have in fact been chewing on Paul Patton, but spreading the word on this attempt at spin from the left should provide some perspective on other charges leveled by them.
Monday, August 15, 2005
Cindy Sheehan's run is not nearly over, but when it is what's left of the Democratic Party will be.
Sen. George Allen has said President Bush should meet with her. I disagree. The conventional wisdom would be that sitting down with her would end her fifteen minutes. There is no chance of that. Either way, this will wind up being the biggest war protest of all time.
Let it run until next year and then campaign against it.
Success in the war is not only good public policy, it is good politics. It would seem that everyone would understand that.
Sunday, August 14, 2005
Saturday, August 13, 2005
President Roosevelt knew the value of private investment and the available evidence suggests that he feared Social Security would become the ponzi scheme that it is. But no one can doubt FDR would have been mortified by what passes for talking points from his once-proud party.
"Stopping privatization and dropping partisan demands for private accounts," Rep. Jon Salazar (D-CO) whined in response to President Bush's Saturday Radio Address.
Why are the Dems still talking about this? I thought Social Security reform was as popular as leprosy and that the President's "plan" was dead in the water.
Well, of course it isn't dead. Only Nancy "Social Security has never failed to pay promised benefits" Pelosi's most zealous followers really believe the program is just hunky-dory as it is. Optional private accounts had better not pass, from the partisan Democrat point of view, or the younger generations will be lost to them forever.
This fall is going to be a lot of fun to watch!
Friday, August 12, 2005
Of course, the Administration could put both feet in the increasingly crowded pool party celebrating the Fair Tax proposal and wipe out the struggles to avert Social Security's bust in 2041 and Medicare's in 2020 in one big splash.
Thursday, August 11, 2005
We all know smoking does wonderful things to your body. Just ask Keith Richards. But as bad as smoking is, government smoking bans are worse.
As Louisville continues to argue whether to ban smoking in restaurants and bars, Lexington and Georgetown are already gone. The spread of government smoking bans should concern anyone with even a single civil libertarian bone in his body.
The momentum is clearly with the pro-ban folks. The argument always shakes out the same. They start talking about public health and the anti-banners respond that a ban would be disastrous for business. This is a bad approach, especially now that pro-banners can point to evidence that the economy doesn't come crashing down under the weight of a smoking ban.
Kentuckians are protective of their freedoms. We would do well to fight future smoking ban initiatives with the argument that success on this front will only embolden do-gooders to ban other activities they don't like. Drinking alcohol, eating fat-laden foods, or consuming soft drinks would be easy steps from here. The real question is what would they be on to from there? I'm pretty sure we don't want to find out. Better to kill this little movement before it builds up a head of steam.
The question is: what are you going to ban next?
Tuesday, August 09, 2005
One year before 9/11, four of the terrorists of that fateful day had been identified as Al Qaeda members by U.S. military intelligence, the New York Times reports.
Interestingly, the intelligence unit recommended that this highly valuable information be shared with the FBI, but the recommendation was rejected by the Clinton administration. The man pictured in this post is Clinton National Security Advisor Sandy Berger, recently noteworthy for having been caught stuffing classified documents into his pants. Our friends at www.anklebitingpundits.com wonder if this very serious scandal was the subject of the documents in Mr. Bergers tighty whiteys. We don't know.
While it is unreasonable to speculate that a suite at Club Gitmo -- complete with prayer rugs, gourmet meals, and urine-stained Qurans -- could have prevented 9/11, perhaps a little FBI scrutiny would have raised a flag or two, perhaps even before Mohammed Atta and friends headed off to the airport with boxcutters in their pockets.
Monday, August 08, 2005
Senator Jim Bunning (R-KY) arranged for funding of a feasibility study for building a connector between US-27 (Nicholasville Rd) and I-75. This project, when completed, will clear up many traffic jams on this main artery through south Lexington and save lives.
No-growth zealots will scream bloody murder. In fact, it's already started with this goofy diatribe from a guy who seems to be incapable of making his point without exaggerating profusely.
Sunday, August 07, 2005
Planned Parenthood has come out with a wonderful new cartoon that includes brilliant satire like a pro-choice "hero" drowning a pro-lifer in a trash can full of anal lubricant, blowing up abortion protestors, and (above) a condom decapitating a man.
Saturday, August 06, 2005
Rep. Ben Chandler claimed falsely in a March 23 press release that he had been appointed to the NATO Parliamentary Assembly by Republican House Speaker Dennis Hastert. Actually, Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco) had four appointments for Democrats and gave Chandler one of them. Stating that the Republican Speaker was paying attention to him must have polled well, though, because Chandler has done it again in his monthly column:
In March, I was honored with an appointment to the Assembly by House Speaker Dennis Hassert. Since that time, I have become even more convinced of the importance of our country’s membership in NATO and the valuable role NATO plays in the War on Terror.
Having a Congressional Representative so ineffective that he is reduced to making up silly little (and easily discovered) distortions as this is extremely frustrating.
Friday, August 05, 2005
During an argument about the war effort, a Manchester, Ky. man who opposed the war died from a bullet wound to the chest after threatening to kill another man who supported the war effort.
Harold Smith, the war opponent, pulled a small pistol and threatened to kill Douglas Moore of Martin, Ky, the war supporter. Moore responded pulling out his .38-caliber pistol and shooting Smith once in the chest.
The Kentucky State Police determined that Moore was acting in self-defense and did not arrest him.
The Associated Press released this story today.
Thursday, August 04, 2005
House Speaker Jody Richards filed HB 516 last session in an obvious attempt to create taxpayer funding for a Louisville arena regardless of how bad a deal it is for the actual taxpayers.
The bill would allow cities to finance 100% of the cost of building a professional sports stadium with local property tax revenues and without the possible hindrance of a net positive impact review that would otherwise be required.
A shiny new building for a sports venue is nearly always a fun thing to visit, but also quite often it is a good deal for a small handful of powerful people and a lousy one for taxpayers.
Ask George W. Bush.
Fortunately, the bill died in the Economic Development Committee, but that probably had more to do with time running out than the most powerful Democrat in Frankfort being snubbed by a vulnerable member of his own party.
Richards may well try to bring this back. He should be stopped.
Incidentally, the way I found this bill was through the www.kentuckyvotes.org site. It is not fully operational, but it is an extremely helpful tool and will be huge when it is done. Check it out. You can comment on bills.
Wednesday, August 03, 2005
Working on details, but it is related to this.
Details: The problem started on October 20, 2004 when a pro-abortion group called Physicians for the Positive Choice (PPC) placed a full page ad in the Winchester Sun newspaper advocating for the candidacy of Democrat Rep. Don Pasley. Under only the smallest amount of scrutiny (the group is not registered with the Kentucky Registry of Election Finance so we don't even know who they are or what other left wing issues they may support), PPC claims to be able to hide behind the smokescreen that they did not "expressly advocate" for Pasley or against his opponent, Dr. Ralph Alvarado, a Republican. This is confusing, then, because according to his own testimony, Rep. Pasley liked the ad so much that he went down to the newspaper office on October 25 and made arrangements to run substantially the same ad (one-half page and with the "paid for" line indicating that he in fact paid for the second ad).
Several of the people listed in the PPC ad had already made the maximum contribution to Pasley's campaign, so the likelihood that they contributed further to design and place the October 20 ad (and that Pasley didn't report the contribution) would clearly be against campaign finance laws. PPC has refused to provide information about who actually paid for the ad in question.
This matter is presently before the Kentucky Registry of Election Finance and it bears watching. If an unregistered pro-choice group is allowed to produce ads that are so effective for a Democrat candidate that he duplicates the ad and runs it himself and they all get away with it, Republican candidates would do well to set up multiple off-the-books "groups" to advocate for themselves in 2006. Or are only liberals able to get away with this?
Tuesday, August 02, 2005
This one was just across the river in Ohio, so a lot of our active liberals from here went up there. They will be juiced because it was a close race in a Republican dominated district. They have a right to be excited and Republicans had better be paying attention. Hackett ran in a conservative district as a conservative on the airwaves and as a liberal on the net. Watch for that to be duplicated in 2006 and beyond.
The hilarious thing was that the computers went down leaving nearly 10,000 votes to be counted by hand. Must have been Karl Rove flipping the switch on that one, right?
Congressman Ben Chandler is congratulating himself for securing $3.1 million to plant grass in Wilmore, Kentucky. What's worse, he quotes Mayor Harold Rainwater thanking the Congressman for his largesse, saying "we have wanted this for years."
In fact, Mayor Rainwater says he never asked for the landscaping from the federal government, and that he was surprised when the Congressman's office called to tell him what they were doing. Jessamine county has numerous road needs and could benefit by upgrades to our roads. Landscaping is far from being one of our priorities.
Chandler claims "after a hard fight, the people of Jessamine county are still receiving the important funds they need."
Give me a break.
Check here to for Chandler's announcements in other 6th district counties.
Monday, August 01, 2005
On August 1, 2000, some elected Democrats (including Sen. John Kerry) gathered to Hyde Park, New York to express ideas for Social Security reform such as personal accounts, which they were in favor of at the time.
Read this account. Would be funny if it weren't so sad. Well, okay. It's a little funny.
Senator Joseph Biden said "I think the president would make a truly serious mistake if he makes a recess appointment."
Say no more, Senator. That tells me we are on the right track. Now let's get back to Social Security reform. HR 3304 is a good first step, neatly underscoring the duplicity of "fiscally responsible" Democrats.