Saturday, December 30, 2006

Miller: "Love Thy Neighbor," Vote For Me

Democratic gubernatorial hopeful and former Al Gore staffer Jonathan Miller gives a glimpse of his campaign's message in the video below. A quote: "Our core, shared values such as loving your neighbor as yourself, and promoting stewardship of God's creation and of taking care of the needy and disenfranchised that those are the values we share and that we should be promoting in public policy and that it's the Democratic Party and Democratic candidates who have been the ones who have been stepping out most on those issues."

Watch the video here.

My Son Only Needs $40K, The Rest Is Yours

Find Scholarships Today!

Blogging The Democrat 2007 Primary

Checking in from Orlando-- I find that one little week out of town is more than enough for the 2007 silly season to get up and running.

Newcomer The Rural Democrat favors Gov/LG combo Steve Beshear/Daniel Mongiardo and has gone on the attack against Jonathan Miller/Irv Maze supporter Bluegrass Report alleging undisclosed financial arrangements and past firings for embezzlement.

Wow. And I thought a primary without serious candidates wouldn't be fun to watch.

Saddam Treated Like A Minimum Wage Worker

With all the noteworthy things going on in the world, Rep. Ben Chandler has a "constituent survey" on his website asking central Kentuckians if their mouths water at the hailing of the Democratic Party's favorite talking points.

Large majorities of voters support raising the minimum wage because they don't think it affects them in any way. But no one can justify making it the top economic development idea for the Democrat Congress. Middle class teenagers rejoice, but otherwise we all pay for a big government feel-good move that does nothing to impact poverty in America.

The second question asks if you "favor embryonic stem cell research." What Rep. Chandler means to ask is if you prefer spending even more of your federal tax dollars on research that, if only it showed any real promise, would have already been overwhelmed with private research dollars. Think about that.

As the hanging of Saddam Hussein puts things that are actually happening in Iraq back in the spotlight, we deserve better leadership on domestic issues than this.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Privatize, Privatize

Democrats found out in 2005 that "privatizing" Social Security didn't poll well and they succeeded in selling the idea that adding optional personal accounts to the money-losing program would somehow send packing all the bureaucrats who run the federal entitlement.

Well, things change in politics. It is certainly early, but I think we need to start talking in earnest about all the government functions in Kentucky that would benefit from privatization. If we change the focus from "government is a great service provider" to "but it costs too much in the long run," we will then find the will to alleviate most of the structural imbalances we face.

Roads should be first. Just look at what Indiana has done.

Since the biggest problem our state government has is paying for state employees' retirements, it seems reasonable we should not be looking for more things for the state government to do.

Monday, December 25, 2006

New Dem Legislator Exploits Special Needs Kids

Rep-elect Carl Rollins (D-Midway) is talking about filing a bill that would accomplish absolutely nothing for education in Kentucky. Needless to say, he is excited about it.

"Its a win-win situation. I want it to be available to low and middle-income families so it will be available to help them throughout life," Rollins said.

His grand plan is setting up an education savings plan trust for students with special needs. Currently, nothing prohibits kids with special needs from participating in any available savings plans. Such a "targeted" plan is merely marketing for a politician.

If Rollins really wanted to do something for special needs kids, he would support Rep. Stan Lee's special needs scholarship bill. But for reasons known only to his KEA handlers, he won't.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Merry Christmas 2006!

Thanks to everyone who checks this site, comments on this site, ridicules this site, or provides material -- intentionally or not -- for this site.

We have much to be grateful for in this wonderful country of ours. Not the least of which is that in another time or place many of us rabble-rousers not only would not be encouraged or tolerated, we would be rounded up and shot.

This has been a tough year in a lot of ways, so I am packing up my family and heading off to Disney World for a week.

My wife has threatened me with a fate worse than Hillary in '08 if she catches me using any of our vacation time to write, so it may be a little sparse for the rest of the year. But check back when you get a chance. I will do my best to get something up every day.


Merry Christmas!

John Kerry Still Gets It Wrong On Iraq

Sen. John Kerry's fake magnanimity on Iraq shows the rest of us why he won't be elected President in 2008:

No one should be looking for vindication in what is happening in Iraq today. The lesson here is not that some of us were right about Iraq or that some of us were wrong. The lesson is simply that we need to change course rapidly rather than perversely use mistakes already made and lives already given as an excuse to make more mistakes and lose even more lives.

But as distasteful as his snooty superiority complex is, his rhetoric about going forward in Iraq shows the same self-serving disloyalty to our country as his well-known exploits in the 1970's:

Refusing to change course for fear of the political fallout is not only dangerous -- it is immoral. I'd rather explain a change of position any day than look a parent in the eye and tell them that their son or daughter had to die so that a broken policy could live.

It is fun to impute the worst of intentions to a political opponent. But when Kerry says the continued war effort is the result of fear of political fallout, he is demonstrably -- almost comically -- wrong. The political fallout has already happened. Democrats will have their opportunity to sell implementation of "cut-and-run" soon enough. Somehow I think clashing motives in 2007 will lead to a courageous change in tactics on the Left.

Kentucky: Ford Country Or Land Of Rising Toyota?

In his column, George Will addresses the current difficulties and future challenges of Ford Motor Company. Ford directly employs thousands of people in two Louisville plants, so its precarious situation has important implications for Kentucky.

With the remarkable ascendancy of Toyota Motor Manufacturing Company, a similarly massive Kentucky employer, interesting questions about international trade, protectionism, labor unions, and even racial issues will be raised.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Gas Price Graph = A Thousand Words


(Hint: the "Adjusted for Inflation" line is the one that really matters.)
Hope you didn't forget to thank the Bush administration for not freaking out about gas prices in 2006. They could have fixed prices, raised taxes, or emptied out the Strategic Petroleum Reserve but they didn't.
Remember this?

"Are You Kidding Me?" Global Warming Alert

It's warm outside, winter coats are on sale, and the New York Times is in the fetal position whimpering softly about how it is all George Bush's fault.

This has been the warmest December since Mastodon flatulence melted the last Ice Age -- er, since 2001 -- and the scientists and clothing designers are up in arms:

The real worry is that this holiday season will not be an anomaly. Retailers and clothing designers are generally the last to weigh in on scientific debates, but some fear that they are seeing hints of global warming.
“The warm weather this season is really bringing it home,” said Dana Buchman, who creates women’s clothing for high-end department stores “What is scary is that people are saying it’s nice. It’s not good news. It’s scary.”
Scientists are less sure. While they have concluded that the global climate is warming because of trapped greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, extremes in any one season cannot be firmly linked to an underlying trend.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Harper Needs To Speak Up About School Choice

Gubernatorial candidate Billy Harper has been all over the place on education. His ads promote his support of KERA, but his campaign says he favors school choice. Meanwhile, his name appears on a one year old letter from Prichard Committee for Academic excellence director Robert Sexton claiming school choice isn't worth discussing.

Harper's name doesn't appear on a current list of the Prichard organization's committee members, though. If he left the liberal group over school choice -- or some other education issue -- he might want to be talking about it. Republican primary voters will be looking for strong leadership on education policy in May. Continued silence on this issue only benefits the status quo.

Spending billions of dollars on "education" in Kentucky only to get beaten up for not spending billions more may be fun for a Republican governor who sees pretty weak opposition standing between himself and re-election, but Kentucky schoolchildren really could use the leadership.

Will Congress Cut Waste In 2007?

It is starting to really look like it.

What's Sen. Mitch McConnell going to do, obstruct earmark reform?

Real Estate Bubble Not Busting Fast Enough

... and even if it does, that presents excellent buying opportunities for most of us.




Search for Foreclosures Nationwide.

Bush's Legacy Won't Be Iraq

Whenever personal Social Security accounts are finally implemented in America, a lot of people will call them "Bush accounts" no matter whose signature makes them a reality.

Fighting in the Middle East has been going on for a long time and George W.'s successors in office will preside over more of the same. What will be different and memorable will be the liberally derided Ownership Society gaining steam just as its loudest opponents take power.

The Democratic Party can't survive a large-scale increase in stock ownership in this country. And the "There is no crisis in Social Security" crowd knows it.

Congressional Democrats know they must escape the surrender monkey chattering if they are to have any hope of warming the office furniture in their new leadership offices for long. But our liberal activist friends might want to google Sarbanes Oxley to get a good idea of what is coming next. This bad corporate regulation measure -- which Bush signed -- has been holding publicly traded companies back even as the Dow stalks 13,000. Sarbanes Oxley has to go. When it does, it will become far more difficult for Social Security reform opponents to get away with calling the stock market a "risky scheme."

President Bush deserves a ton of credit for staying strong on the War on Terror. And he will get it. But the Ownership Society will be what he is remembered for most. The war as an issue to bludgeon Republicans will disappear quickly. But deciding whether we want to really pursue greater prosperity in America or waste time legislating huge raises for middle-class teenagers will have the real lasting impact on our nation.

The Year Of The Dark Horse

Could a President Mark Sanford set things right in Washington D.C.?

It is a little late in the game, but shining the spotlight on tough fiscal conservatives like Governor Sanford won't hurt a bit.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Reigning In The Political Blogs

This will be about as effective as price controls, the war on poverty, campaign finance reform, stopping "global warming," taxing our way to prosperity, gambling our way to prosperity, trade protectionism, affirmative action, equal pay for equal work, and a whole host of solid ideas to make things right in this crazy world.

We Need Awareness, But Not New Voting Law

I like that Secretary of State Trey Grayson wants to encourage and expand early voting. Voters should know that courthouses are open prior to Election Day and they can go in and cast their votes if they need to.

One thing to keep in mind is that the early voting police aren't very likely to come knocking on your door and haul you away if you vote early and wind up being in town on Election Day. If you want to vote and think you might not be able to make it in on that one day, go to the courthouse and cast your vote when you can.

We need greater awareness of existing flexibility for voters, not a new law with new procedures and greater expense.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

President Gilmore?

Tom DeLay says former Virginia Governor Jim Gilmore is the latest "I'm the next Reagan" candidate running for the 2008 GOP nomination.

We'll see.

Herald Leader's Favorite Republican

Now that former Transportation cabinet official Dan Druen is "spilling the beans" on Gov. Ernie Fletcher, the Lexington Herald Leader finds Druen suddenly credible.

Misplaced Economic Pessimism On Trade

It is terribly unfashionable to express optimism out loud these days, but when Newsweek's Robert Samuelson runs with the "trade imbalance disaster looms" nonsense, I can't let it go.

The people who insist the sky is falling on the U.S. economy count on readers quivering in fear and ignorance at terms like "real-estate bust," "steep gas prices," and worst of all "skewed trade."

The fact that mankind has survived and thrived through every housing cycle since the Adam and Eve were evicted from the Garden of Eden mystifies those who whisper this time could be different. If gas prices were too high, demand would have slowed by now.

And the trade deficit merely represents foreign entities sending goods and services to America in exchange for little pieces of paper. The panic wasted over this would be better spent on our broken tax system.

But even if we don't fix the tax system, we can easily overcome any hardship caused by these other bugaboos.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Left Still Blithering About "Marriage"

Rep. J.R. Gray (D-Benton) has created a bill that would establish a new type of marriage called a "covenant marriage." It looks like an end-run around no-fault divorce in Kentucky, but it has the moonbats barking at their own shadows. Again.

Surely if we can have regular marriages, and super "covenant" marriages, can it be very long before we throw in "drive-by" marriages so everyone gets to play?

Kind of reminds me of the look on Angelina Jolie's face when she tries to explain how she is going to continue to to let Brad Pitt use and abuse her and their children until "everyone can get married."

Mrs. Henry Piles On Miss USA

Miss USA Tara Conner of Russell Springs, Kentucky is expected to lose her crown today.

Yesterday, former Miss America Heather French Henry couldn't resist sticking a knife in Conner by suggesting the Miss America pageant has higher standards than the Miss USA pageant in an interview with WVLK AM in Lexington.

Such a misplaced display of arrogance at a time like this tells me she has been hanging around Steve Henry long enough for it to rub off on her.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Bipartisan Tax Reform A False Hope?

U.S. News & World Report inadvertently suggests why horse trading to get out from under our bad federal tax system may be tough to pull off.

The article states a consumption-based tax code could come about as some kind of a trade involving raising the cap on the Social Security payroll tax.

Ugghhhh...

These people really need to familiarize themselves with the FairTax before they try to discuss real tax reform. The FairTax would replace all income-based taxes and taxes on savings and investments, including the Social Security payroll tax. Democrats are establishing a solid track record of lying about the FairTax rather than addressing it.

Franken Missed Boat, Ready For A Swim

The Drudge Report says Al Franken is about to leave Air America and announce a 2008 run for the U.S. Senate. This should be fun.

His chances may have been better this year. After two more years of this, getting a moonbat like Franken elected to anything will be much more like swimming against the tide than it was for Democrats sailing with the wind at their backs -- and no need to discuss specific ideas -- in 2006.

Herald Leader: Tax Increase Bad, But Let's Keep It

The one thing that surprised me in this editorial was the first mention of the enormous shortfall in the state's public pensions I have seen in the MSM. They say it is $16 billion and I say it is $17 billion, but why quibble over the difference? We can't pay either amount.

We need to repeal the Alternative Minimum Calculation, but what we really need is state leadership willing to change expectations on government dramatically so we can cut spending enough to afford future pension liabilities. Raising new taxes -- or keeping bad ones like AMC -- won't be enough to stop the unfunded liability train from running over Kentucky.

We can't tax our way out of this.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Believing Ahmadinejad

The biggest problem Americans have with Iran is some people believe their President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad when he says he wants to use "peaceful nuclear technology as a clean energy source and as a replacement for oil," while others believe him when he says "we shall soon experience a world without the United States and Zionism."

Blogs No Longer Blocked In State Offices

The prohibition against viewing of political websites by on-the-clock state employees has apparently been quietly dropped. Should be a hot topic of conversation in the MSM to start off a slow news week.

Nothing else big is expected next week except for some kind of announcement by Sen. Dan "Human Error" Mongiardo.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Casino Campaign Of 2007 Off To A Bad Start

Otis Hensley is no longer alone.

Treasurer Jonathan Miller signed up to run for the Democratic nomination for Governor today and then went on the Kruser and Krew program in Lexington to take a few questions.

To the question of his position on casino gambling, Miller vacillated pretty effectively, saying first he was concerned about low-income people who would gamble away more than they could afford, then saying he wasn't sure that he was against it -- and that it had to do with the "framing" of the issue -- before finishing up with the let the people decide mantra of the pro-casino campaign.

Given that Governor Fletcher has essentially the same answer, we are left to wonder where the candidate is who will come forward and talk about the taxpayers bearing the burden of all the public costs associated with state-supported casinos. The Bluegrass Institute had a good point about how, if we are going to do this, we should at least raise the financial barrier to entry into the casino business. We could go one step further and raise the tax on casinos from the proposed 35% to more like 90% like they have in Germany.

Better still, let's quit fooling ourselves and others into believing that casinos will benefit Kentucky as a whole.

The Democrats Are Worse

I've taken a lot of abuse from my libertarian friends for continuing to insist Congressional Democrats will be a certain downgrade from GOP leadership, as flawed as it was.

Well, take a gander at this little shopping list. I don't see anything on here that does anything to improve America, do you?

Making illegal legislative conflicts of interest even more illegal in #1, raising taxes in #3 and #5, and of course forcing Social Security into the tank in #10 are some of the highlights. What are your favorites?

Thursday, December 14, 2006

President Kerry Wants To Understand Iran, Syria

In case you needed another reason to be glad John Kerry lost in 2004, there's this:

"It's very important for countries to talk to each other, even when you disagree. We have serious differences with Syria right now, we have serious differencess with Iran, but you can't begin to resolve those differences if you're not willing to try to understand.. I think it's important to begin a discussion," said Kerry, a Massachusetts senator.

The rub is our differences revolve around the fact that they aren't happy we are still alive.

Meanwhile, there's this. Not that the Senate Democrats will listen to reason any more than the Syrians and Iranians will.

Miller Running For Governor

Looks like the money-losing KAPT giveaway program is going to be back in the news.

With Character Witnesses Like This...

Sen. Ed Worley is back in the news:

"Johnny Ray Turner is one of the finest members in the Senate," Worley said. "He is an honorable man.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Kentucky's Proud Democrat Leaders

Sen. Johnny Ray Turner(D-Drift) refused to resign from the Senate after pleading guilty to vote-buying charges in U.S. District Court today.

Next up: Sen. Ed Worley's (D-Richmond) fraud case in Madison Circuit Court.

HillaryCare For The Dogs

Sen. Denise Harper Angel (D-Louisville) has filed a bill that would require veterinarians to treat "assistance dogs" without regard to the ability of the dog's "handler" to pay for the service.

I find it interesting that a state senator who needs a euphemism to describe someone who "owns" a dog isn't too delicate to jail a veterinarian for up to 30 days and fine him up to $1000 for having the audacity to think he owns his professional services and and his time.

Disgusting

The Lexington City Council voted quietly last night to pay off the $750,000 loan condemnation supporters guaranteed as a show of "community support" for taking over Kentucky American Water Company.

What These People Need Is A Minimum Wage Hike

Funny "Hump Day" video.

While We're Talking State Tax Reform...

Look at what they are talking about in Missouri.

"Identity Theft" Nabs Illegal Aliens

That wasn't so hard, was it?

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

DC Democrat: Screw The Uneducated Poor

The public schools in our nation's capital are the very worst in the country, and the District's Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton likes it that way.

When Congress voted to raise the income limits on the District's experimental school voucher program to prevent 300 innocent children from being booted out the program and sent back to failing schools, Norton objected. She said allowing families who are clearly pulling themselves out of their low income difficulty to stay in the program "destroys the low-income rationale for the program."

The District of Columbia already has the highest paid teachers in the nation. The student's paradise they have created is a sight to behold.

Meanwhile, here in Kentucky we have a Republican candidate for governor who keeps taking credit in his ads and press releases for KERA. What's up with that?

Dem Gov 2007: It's Worley?

Kentucky's Senate Minority Leader Ed Worley (D-Richmond) is telling people in his district that he is going to leapfrog over Bruce Lunsford and run for Governor himself as a pro-casino candidate.

State Can't Afford Tax, Borrow, And Spend

The Bluegrass Institute's legislative update pulls no punches.

Pence Ponders Pardon Power

This is a good move.

Now if we could only get LG Steve Pence to rethink his support for casino gambling as revenue enhancement, we would really be getting someplace.

Monday, December 11, 2006

A Different Kind of Blue Versus Red

The major figures in next year's GOP primary for Attorney General may wind up being Lexington's Stan Lee and Louisville's Steve Pence.

I Thought Liberals Liked Higher Taxes

Mark Nickolas of Bluegrass Report is pretty upset that GOP Rep. David Floyd has filed a "Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is" bill to allow people to contribute more in taxes if they really want to.

A Rural Ticket For GOP Governor?

State Rep. Lonnie Napier could be back in the news soon after discussing with Agriculture Commissioner Richie Farmer the possibility of forming a ticket and making a run in May.

HealthCare Reform Gets Almost No Respect

In its final flurry of activity for the year, Congress passed a bill to allow unlimited contributions to Health Savings Accounts.

This will do more immediately for the stock market than it will for reforming healthcare in America, though that may not be all bad. If you have some money you want to tuck away in a tax-advantaged account, the HSA is going to be a new way to do it.

Creating new and better ways for people to invest more in equities is good for America. The Ownership Society is one that is less likely to fall for socialist utopian schemes like government-run healthcare. As more and more Americans come to own stocks, the mostly-Democrat plan to kill America's healthcare system might get harder to sell.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Hey, It's A Culture Of Corruption!

Unbelievable. Down in New Orleans, they just re-elected Rep. William "Bribe Money In My Freezer" Jefferson to another term in Congress.

These guys are really going to try to make this fun.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Might Ben Chandler Reconsider Gov Race?

Now that new House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer is chatting up the idea of putting the House of Representatives back on a five day work week, I have to wonder if Rep. Ben Chandler might take another look at the Governor's Mansion in Frankfort.

When Ben went to Washington, he spoke openly of his appreciation for the three day work week that allowed him to be home in Versailles four or five nights a week. That left him sleeping in his D.C. office only two or three nights a week. That will be ending in January. Ben will be on the couch nearly full-time.

Frankly, I think one the best things Tom DeLay did as Majority Leader was cut back on the number of days the House was in session. Unwinding this reform just gives them more time to make more laws we could do without.

Don't Just End The War, WIN It

The incoming House Intelligence Committee Chairman, Silvestre Reyes (D-TX), said today "If the president is serious about the need for change in Iraq, he will find Democrats ready to work with him in a bipartisan fashion to find a way to end the war as quickly as possible."

I don't think it is just semantics to demand that our representatives stop talking about ending the war and start talking about winning it.

Meanwhile, the Ayn Rand Institute, provides this interesting essay which at least puts the focus where it belongs -- on defeating Islamic totalitarianism militarily.

Of course, ARI is wrong to suggest we should have left Iraq alone and bomb Iran instead. Hindsight and the Iraq Study Group provide political cover for the president's critics, but little else at this point.

Why People Don't Take Global Warming Seriously

Read about a Canadian wacko who crucified Santa in front of his own house to send a message about how materialistic people are destroying the world.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Harper To Attack Fletcher's Right Flank

GOP gubernatorial hopeful Billy Harper's campaign manager is preparing "to raise attention to issues" which Harper disagrees with Governor Ernie Fletcher on, such as spending too much money on public projects and raising taxes on Kentucky businesses.

Harper's campaign manager Stan Pulliam also said today Harper is in favor of school choice legislation.

It's Cold Outside

Yes, climate change is real.

But it has to be tough for even the most faithful adherent to the notion of mass death by greenhouse gas to get very excited when the morning temperature is nine degrees. One degree over the next century (maybe) with a cause we can do something about (maybe) just doesn't justify the hysteria.

If the moderate position on climate change is that we should cut down on pollution, then I'm a moderate on climate change. Buy long-lasting, low mercury, fluorescent bulbs for the energy savings. That's an easy thing we can all do that will help. Follow some of these tips as well.

Tax And Spend

For some insight into how Congressional Democrats are going to push tax increases, read this.

Borrow and Spend is not much better, but at least no one is trying to push it as a good for you.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

I Wouldn't Have Told That

Tericka Dye is the Kentucky high school teacher who lost her job when it was discovered that she had appeared in a pornographic movie. Given that her skin flicks were a decade old when they were discovered, I'm not sure she should have been fired. And now that she is trying to get her old job back, I am sympathetic to her cause.

Or at least I was.

In this news story, she admits that she hasn't worked since she was fired and is, instead, living off child support payments paid to her four children. If that is the case, she has bigger problems than just not being able to get back into the classroom.

Right To Work Bill In Holding Pattern

No one thinks Employee Choice legislation will pass this year in Kentucky, but a bill may be filed anyway.

To his credit, Governor Ernie Fletcher has never backed down from his support of this important policy that three-quarters of voters support.

Gore Must Be Running For Dem Nomination

Remember when a rash of post office shootings by disgruntled mail workers gave rise to the saying "he went postal?"

Well, let's just say Former VP Al Gore went "global warming" yesterday in an obvious pander to the extreme Left.

What exactly do you mean by "worse than a civil war" Al?

And seriously, we all know Al just says things for effect these days, but when he said the Iraq War was the worst strategic mistake in the history of the United States it got me thinking about what was actually the worst strategic mistake in our nation's history.

I'd say slavery. Without this particular labor situation, the American South would have likely industrialized as fast as the North and we would be a much wealthier nation now.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

So This Is What The Problem Is?

In a conference call today with reporters, Senator Jim Bunning explained why he is less than enthusiastic about Governor Ernie Fletcher.

"I've had a good relationship before he became Governor and it became strained because of his chief of staff," Bunning said.

Who, Stan Cave? No, Bunning explained.

"The first one," Bunning said.

Oh.

Bullying By Another Name Is Menacing

Senator Julian Carroll made a big deal earlier this year about schools lacking a "policy" on bullying by students.

The Senate paid no attention to him or his silly bill.

That has turned out to be a good thing. When kids go too far at school, we don't need another set of regulations for teachers and administrators to fool with. Menacing is already against the law.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Geographical Shift In House Leadership

In January, the Kentucky House Republicans appear very likely to elect Rep. Dwight Butler (R-Harned) their new Minority Whip.

Butler's district is out toward the western part of the state. Current Whip Ken Upchurch's district lies next to Minority Leader Jeff Hoover's district along the Tennessee border.

Fayette GOP Looks To Lee For AG

In advance of tonight's Fayette County Republican Christmas party, insiders report a full-court press effort to enlist Rep. Stan Lee in next year's Attorney General's race.

When Do We Lose If We Don't Surrender?

The Washington Post is excited to get Defense Secretary nominee Robert Gates on the record answering "no" to the question "Are we winning in Iraq?"

This exchange is particularly exciting for them because we have President Bush on the record from October 25 saying "absolutely, we're winning."

I'm glad these people weren't around in the dark days of the Civil War. Any optimism from President Lincoln would have quickly been hung around his neck.

The same nabobs who say Al Qaeda wasn't in Iraq before the war now expect them to stay there and blow each other up if we just leave.

A Last Ditch Effort To Restrain Spending

Fiscally conservative U.S. House members sent a letter to Speaker Hastert encouraging passage of a Continuing Resolution to restrain the new leadership coming in January from raising spending at least until February.

If they succeed, we will save billions of dollars.

Pretty important stuff.

Tis The Season For Income Redistribution

It's interesting that since the study came out about how liberals tend to be generous with other people's money and conservative's tend to be generous with their own, no liberals have tried to defend themselves against the easy charges of hypocrisy.

Come on libs, where are you?

Hating Walmart Full-time A Dem Shakedown

Presidential hopeful and anti-Walmart candidate John Edwards got caught recently turning up his nose at Walmart for a book signing and opting for Barnes & Noble instead.

The Walmart store he snubbed, who he criticizes for their labor practices, pays their employees $7.50 per hour to start. The bookstore he preferred to attend pays only $7.00.

Once an ambulance chaser, always an ambulance chaser; Edwards knows to go for the deeper pockets regardless of the facts.

Similar Democrat wars against the people who make our gasoline and the people who make our life-saving medicines suggest we may be in for a bumpy ride with this new Congress.

Monday, December 04, 2006

A Compromise With Social Security Bennies

We don't have much agreement about what to do with Social Security. In fact, a hard-core group of Democrats continues to insist there is no insolvency crisis looming on the horizon. That being the case, I thought we might look at one area of easy agreement and a free market solution that will only make the really hard core folks mad.

When you die, Social Security will pay a $255 death benefit to your survivors, presumably so they can make a down payment on a 1986 Chevy Nova.

Why don't we allow use a small portion of Social Security funds so workers can choose to purchase a life insurance policy?

If we are going to burn up all their money on a doomed redistribution scheme that will be out of surplus funds however you count them by 2040, shouldn't we at least allow taxpayers to withdraw a few dollars a month to protect their families when they die?

Hugo Chavez/Hillary Clinton Joined At Hip

Communist dictator Hugo Chavez of Venezuela won re-election -- notably, without any MSM charges of voter fraud -- over the weekend and promised to continue an "expansion of the revolution."

At the end of this AP story, Chavez insists he isn't really a communist and that he respects property rights. In the same breath, he suggests nationalizing utilities.

Sounds just like Sen. Hillary Clinton, who would vehemently deny being a communist but nonetheless supports nationalizing healthcare services.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Brian Goettl Considering Run For AG

Saying Kentucky needs a non-partisan Attorney General, Jessamine County Attorney Brian Goettl tonight announced his interest in running for the office next year.

"The Attorney General's office needs someone who can serve in a non-partisan manner," Goettl said. "We haven't had that in Kentucky and that is why I am looking at the race."

Goettl was elected last month to his second term as County Attorney in Jessamine, a county with over 2500 more registered Democrats than Republicans. He didn't draw an opponent for his re-election bid in this year's race.

"I couldn't be effective in my job if I let party labels get in the way. That no one ran against me this time indicates I have been effective at that."

"The Attorney General is more than just a prosecutor. You represent Kentucky in a number of ways like civil matters and providing legal opinions. My record shows I can do that effectively."

Kentucky Governor 2007

Ted Jackson's unfortunate comparison of Ernie Fletcher to David Koresh yesterday benefits no one. The May primary for Governor can only be a positive for Kentucky if the race is about bettering the state and not what some smartass says to get his name in the newspaper.

There will be enough pettiness in next year's race to go around. What's burning down our house is our public pension system, healthcare regulation, corporate taxation, and government spending.

Keep it on the issues. There is plenty there.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Hottest Rumor Of The Day

Anne Northup is going to announce for Governor tomorrow.

Max Cleland's Head Games

Turns out Ben Chandler wasn't the only Dem to step back from a rematch yesterday. Former U.S. Senator from Georgia Max Cleland also announced he will not take on the Republican who beat him in 2002.

But Cleland's excuse was really good.

From the AP story, Cleland "has acknowledged battling depression and said recently he was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, possibly prompted by violence in Iraq triggering memories of Vietnam."

These people have no shame.

Which Cheap Dem Will It Be?

Rep. Ben Chandler was quoted widely yesterday saying the Governor's office was "cheapened" so he didn't want it.

One interesting thing is that Steve Henry has been excoriated in the MSM for his inability to land a running mate, while no such attacks have been launched against AG Greg Stumbo who is so "cheapened" already he not only can't find a running mate, he has party leaders in Frankfort very actively trying to talk him out of running.

I-CARE Giveaway Greeted With A Yawn

Earlier this year the General Assembly put $20 million in the budget to subsidize purchase of health insurance for small business. It was a glimpse into what socialized healthcare will look like in this country: you pay for your own health coverage and your tax dollars go to pay for everyone else.

The good news is that we aren't going to wind up spending much of the money. Less than 500 individuals are in the program now after a month of accepting applications and six months of promotion prior to that.

Applications for the subsidy are trickling in, but it is very likely that when the program sunsets at the end of the biennium, much of the $20 million will remain unspent. Good.

We still have a screaming need for real insurance reform in this state. Regulation should be reduced to three words: follow your contract. If we stopped telling insurance companies how to write their contracts and focused oversight on ensuring that companies kept whatever promises they made in their contracts, costs would go down and we wouldn't need $20 million for subsidies that are too small for people to bother signing up for.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

It's Hot In The Kitchen

The race for Governor gets stirred up today and the candidates will be frying each other very soon.

Casinos will be a hot-button issue. What else do you want to hear them talking about?

Make Legislators More Accountable, Not Less

We need to look at ways to make our legislators more accountable for their actions. Instead, we keep trying to go in the other direction.

Before extending the terms of Reps. from two years to four and Senators from four years to six, let's at least cut down or eliminate legislative pensions, put limits on bonding for projects, make the entire budget meetings process open to public view, and make committee votes available on-line the day they take place.

In fact, let's do all these good things and then leave the length of terms where they are.

Minimum Wage Math Made Easy

The current proposal to raise the minimum wage from $5.15 to $7.25 represents a liability for a business owner of $84 a week per employee or $4200 for a 50 week year.

Imagine you have a small store with ten minimum wage employees and your government is telling you that your labor expenses for the same people doing the same work is about to go up nearly $50,000 -- don't forget about the Social Security taxes.

What are you going to do? How many more hamburgers are you going to have to sell just to break even? Remember that you don't just need to make $50,000 more, you will need to make $80,000 more because you have to pay taxes yourself.

Maybe you don't own a small business.

If you depend on a small business with minimum wage employees for anything, are you willing to absorb the higher prices they will be forced to pass along? If you cut back on your spending even a little bit to compensate for the increases, the business owner's math gets even harder to justify.

Fortunately for the economy, not too many businesses rely on workers right at the minimum wage. Those who do usually hire teenagers or people who don't have a family depending on their income. Pricing those people out of the economy will also not have a terribly huge negative impact on the economy.

But this does absolutely nothing to alleviate the ravages of poverty. Nothing at all. It's just a tax increase on small business and a small-time job destroying initiative. And it is the top item on the agenda for our new Congress.

Aren't you proud?

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Drooling, Forgetful Richmond Register

The Richmond Register is pretty excited to hear Sen. Ed Worley might be running for higher office.

Maybe they forgot about Worley getting caught lying on tape in his ongoing fraud lawsuit.

Mitch Caves On Minimum Wage

We've been listening all year to politicians telling us raising the minimum wage will help combat poverty, yet there is no evidence to suggest that it actually will. In fact, the evidence suggests real poor people are harmed by government price-fixing of wages.

Apparently that is enough to convince Senator Mitch McConnell to go ahead with the plan to raise the minimum wage anyway.

How are we ever going to improve the direction of our nation if we continue to give in on feel-good, sound-good nonsense like this?

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Bush Likes Estonia Flat Tax

With Congress looking to position itself as an agent of change, could implementing a flat tax be the ticket to a positive bipartisanship?

I would take it.

Keeps Going, And Going, And Going, And ...

Are you really surprised to see the merit hiring fiasco isn't dead yet?

"I Don't Pay Taxes, My Husband Does"

Talking to a large number of people one-by-one can be very interesting. That's why Jay Leno's "Jay Walking" feature is so popular. A lot of people know very little about a wide variety of topics. Put them on the spot and they say funny things.

Such was the case when a FairTax volunteer spoke to passers-by at the Oklahoma State Fair. The most commonly expressed thought was "That would be great but it will never happen."

That sentiment is understandable. Most people who honestly consider the Fair Tax agree it would be a huge improvement over the current system. Doing it right requires amending the Constitution to repeal all income taxes, which is a tall order.

But apathy is a luxury we can hardly afford on the subject of taxation in America. Nonetheless, apathy and ignorance explain why we are talking about "fixing" our economy with a minimum wage increase when there are real issues begging for attention.

Anyway, the best line from the Oklahoma State Fair came from a lady who blissfully turned away from the FairTaxers saying "I don't pay taxes, my husband does."

The more you understand about the Fair Tax, the funnier that is.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Courier Journal Gets Safety Right

Some Kentucky social workers are hot on the idea that tragedy among their ranks should lead directly to money in their pockets.

In a pleasant surprise, the Louisville Courier-Journal understands that safety measures represent a more effective solution to safety concerns than piles of borrowed pension cash.

Eight More Years Of Nothing

While the world seemingly waits for Rep. Ben Chandler to announce he would like to spend more time with his family, some people are actually speculating about Treasurer Jonathan Miller running for Governor. Looking at the last eight years in the Treasurer's office, I am reminded that the best thing we can do for the next eight years and beyond is to fold that office into the Finance and Administration Cabinet where it belongs and where its limited duties can be performed for less money.

Providing do-nothing jobs for politicians seems to be a major role of the modern-day taxpayer, but if we can knock this one down, perhaps we can find a few others worthy of elimination.

Bush Screws Up Hurricane Season

In a terrible blow to Al Gore's presidential aspirations, the end of the world has failed to materialize this fall. Still waiting for the New York Times to find a way to attack the President, though, in the face of the mildest hurricane season since 1997.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Another Good Health Reform Idea

The only people who deny the efficacy of Health Savings Accounts anymore are those who hunger for HillaryCare.

If you are healthy enough and can afford to fund one, they are terrific. If your health prevents you from qualifying, help may be on the way.

Here is a good suggestion for expanding HSA's.

Good Job By WaPo On Medicare Drug Story

The Washington Post sheds welcome light on the Medicare prescription drug story. The Bush administration deserves all the blame for not selling the "success" of the plan. Democrats' will fix it by making it worse, as the story suggests. As much as I wish the new benefit had coincided with some benefit cuts in the rest of Medicare, now is the time to support the current plan rather than the Al Gore plan they want to stick us with now.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Bluegrass Institute Takes Swipe At Fletcher

All the states surrounding Kentucky have better business tax climates than we do, according to The Tax Foundation. West Virginia is next-to-last.

The Bluegrass Institute points out West Virginia is at least moving in the right direction.

Seniors Shacking Up For The Money

The looming crisis in Social Security should not necessitate the current policy that reduces payments to recipients who get married.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Selling Socialized Medicine As Corporate Welfare

It looks like what is left of America's Big Three automakers wants to build support in Washington D.C. for a scheme that would shift a chunk of their health insurance costs to taxpayers.

Brilliant. A Detroit bail-out is just what we need right now.

In fact, what we really need is for newly empowered Congressional Democrats to be cramming this stuff down our throats as some kind of compromise between market-based reforms and Canadian-style government health insurance.

Shifting health insurance costs to taxpayers as a way to somehow magically save money just doesn't make sense at all.

Hybrid Scholarships A Bad Idea

Merit scholarships go to students with certain accomplishments. Need-based scholarships go to students with limited means. Some people in Minnesota want to set up a taxpayer-funded merit scholarship that will direct $50 million a year to pay low income students to get good grades in college prep high school courses.

It's a recipe for college tuition inflation. They might just save the $50 million and print up a graph depicting how much more money college graduates make than those who fail to earn degrees. Show the graph repeatedly to middle school kids.

Save the money. Inspire some kids. Call it a day.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Let's Be Clear About One Thing

The Washington Post picks up the story today that Social Security is "on the table" for discussion again. The Democrats scored their points this time by yammering about how horrible and risky our nation's financial markets are, while propping up an out-dated entitlement program whose collapse will make Black Monday look like a Sunday walk in the park.

The article states as fact about Democrats and personal Social Security accounts "many of them oppose such accounts on the grounds that they would weaken Social Security overall."

As more and more Americans invest in the markets and see good results for doing so, we should continue to ask them how better investment returns would weaken Social Security.

That case will only get harder and harder to make. Watching them continue to try will be fun and, ultimately, rewarding for those who stick to the facts about this key issue.

Improving Health Care In Kentucky

Expensive mandated coverages contribute to high health insurance premiums in Kentucky. There is insufficient sentiment in Frankfort to change this for us.

The answer is to allow Kentuckians to choose policies from different states that offer less expensive policies. A bill that has been in Congress for a while would do that.

The key to successful health care reform is to allow the private sector to help as many people as possible. State regulation may be necessary to provide consumer protections, but the legislature has expanded that regulation dangerously -- and expensively. If state regulators policed the market to protect against fraud but federal law were changed to enhance consumer choice with regard to policy benefit structure, family budgets would be less strained by coverages that don't fit their needs and uninsured people would find the market less expensive to participate in.

Kentuckians would benefit from Arizona Congressman John Shadegg's Health Care Choice Act.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Dyche Gambles With Libertarianism

The libertarian case for casino gambling in Kentucky demands the kind of opaqueness John David Dyche utilizes in promoting it in his Louisville Courier-Journal column:

The debate about expanded gambling divides each party and produces some unusual bi-partisan constituencies. Among Republicans, libertarians focused on freedom generally favor it, but social conservatives concerned primarily with virtue generally oppose it.

That's generally true, but the conventional wisdom on this doesn't square with the facts and shouldn't survive greater scrutiny. Casino gambling is a boon primarily to out-of-state casino owners and secondarily to big-government politicians. Those who come up short are both the gamblers who choose to impoverish themselves and the taxpayers who wind up picking up the public tab for those bad choices. Where this becomes problematic is that the public costs greatly exceed the promised revenue that comes into the state coffers to be spent quickly on politician-enhancing projects.

This recipe for disaster is by no means worthy of dreamy libertarian ballads.

Lexington's Urge To Purge

Lexington voters did a lot when they turned back the ill-considered condemnation effort against Kentucky American Water Company on election day. But does the wide margin of the vote tally suggest a desire to move forward in turning back the ever-increasing growth of government?

Maybe not, but it makes sense for voters to reject tax increases from a government that holds assets whose sale would not only generate revenue for now, but would also decrease government size and improve individual freedom. Follow me on this: why should any city or town raise taxes when they could sell off a utility or contract out a service like garbage collection?

Monday, November 20, 2006

How Is Your Financial Security Looking?

Fluctuation happens. And that works out to being a very good thing when it comes to your money.

Just today, the Dow Jones Industrial Average declined for the first time in seven trading sessions. The Dow closed at 12,316.54. That's up nearly 15% for the year and nearly double where it was four years ago.

How is your Social Security doing?

GOP 2007: Is There Any "There" There?

Take a look at Billy Harper's campaign website. Under "Polls" is a survey asking what Mr. Harper's top priority should be if he is elected Governor.

The top choice so far is "end corruption in Frankfort."

Seventy nine people had voted when I looked at the site.

MSM Shoots But Can't Hit Barn On Draft

Given nearly 24 hours to provide some kind of coverage of Rep. Charlie Rangel's (D-NY) military draft proposal, the best the MSM can come up with is a response from Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina).

Where's Nancy Pelosi on this? She is going to have to be against this stupid idea, but reporters can't manage to ask the one question that matters.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

AP London Reporter Manufactures A Wedge

Henry Kissinger did not say the war in Iraq is hopeless, but that -- of course -- didn't stop the Associated Press from reporting "Kissinger: Iraq Military Win Impossible."

In an interview, Kissinger stated that surrendering Iraq would cause "disastrous consequences" and cautioned against "total withdrawal."

The money quote was: "If you mean by 'military victory' an Iraqi government that can be established and whose writ runs across the whole country, that gets the civil war under control and sectarian violence under control in a time period that the political processes of the democracies will support, I don't believe that is possible."

This means that Kissinger doesn't think just about the narrowest possible definition of victory in Iraq is going to happen. I agree with him. But the the presence of al Qaeda campers in Iraq who keep killing and getting killed there suggests that narrow definitions of victory aren't the standard anyone on our side needs to be waiting for.

I know the liberal meme is that the war is just some Republican political scam, and I appreciate that they won the election, but these propaganda tactics are beyond the pale.

Do Liberals Hate Homosexuals?

Hypocrisy, thy name is income redistributor.

Scott Alexander Pulls A John Kerry

Sen. John Kerry made headlines recently when he questioned the intelligence of our troops in Iraq. Now Democrat Scott Alexander of Hazard, who lost his election to Rep. Brandon Smith by 40 votes, thinks he would have won if his name had been listed first on the ballot.

"I definitely think it (ballot position) made 21 votes of difference," he told the Courier-Journal.

Some political science professor in California thinks he has a lawsuit, but I'm not buying it. Mid-term election voters don't just stumble into the voting booth and hit the first name. Shame on what's left of the Courier-Journal for playing along on their "news" pages.

Running McCain

Sen. John McCain makes his case for 2008.

I'm still quite skeptical, but I am watching him on This Week now. Not too bad.

What do you think?

Saturday, November 18, 2006

No More Fake Solutions, Please

Most minimum wage workers are not poor by any standard. Stating this fact makes me a hateful s.o.b., I know, but even such clever rebuttals as that don't make mandated wage increases for the lowest paying jobs any kind of tool for fighting poverty.

If the minimum wage peddlers really wanted to help low-income workers, they would push for for expanding the state earned income tax credit. That way high school students wouldn't be the primary beneficiary of the poverty-busting crusade. The EITC can be targeted to families. Since there are so few of them who actually depend on the minimum wage, the public costs would be much smaller and the desired effect would be achieved.

It's a win-win unless your real goal is just politics.

Irregularities In Madison County

Madison county Magistrate Roger Barger won a close one this year against challenger Wayne Long. Barger prevailed by twenty votes.

Well, they keep "finding" votes in the courthouse and now have the margin down to six votes.

It's time for Trey Grayson to take a look at this one.

Williams Tackles 2007 Top Issue

Senate President David Williams' advice to Governor Ernie Fletcher couldn't be better. Now is the time to take a leadership role in killing off casino gambling in Kentucky.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Athletic Supporters, Rubber Pants, Hair Notions

I don't know what compels Rep. Bob Damron (D-Nicholasville) to re-file his "sales tax holiday" bill every year. Maybe it was a desire to make a laundry list of items which, unfortunately, includes those named above.

It certainly doesn't have anything to do with good public policy.

One of the wrinkles in this year's version of Damron's favorite bill is a provision to force businesses who can't remove sales taxes for a weekend to pay them without passing them along to customers. In other words, the way around one of the paperwork burdens of previous versions of this bill is to actually make this a tax increase for some merchants.

Shrewd.

What a terrible bill.

Inspiration From Playstation Generation

Caught a little tv news at noon today and saw interviews with exultant Playstation buyers who had camped out overnight to buy their toys. The common theme running through the comments of several of them was that they had overcome great difficulty to "earn" the right to buy their toys.

Good grief.

As fantastic as our economy is going right now, this is what passes for climbing steep mountains. What on earth are we going to do if this country is faced with hard times?

Heavy Name-Dropping Injures Politician

Former Sen. John "Breck Girl" Edwards sounds distraught in a story about a campaign volunteer of his shopping for him at a Wal-Mart and dropping his name while doing so.

The really funny part is that some electronics clerk decided to alert the media because the Presidential wannabe, now a full-time Wal-Mart critic, is going to have a Playstation game from Wal-Mart under his Christmas tree.

Let's hope his kids don't read the papers.

And then, to top it all, instead of blowing this off as a really stupid story, Edwards turns it into his own macaca moment.

It-gets-better UPDATE: Another news story quotes Edwards using his own six-year-old son as a prop in his war against Wal-Mart, claiming he castigated a classmate for wearing shoes purchased at Wal-Mart. (It's in the next-to-last sentence of this story.)

We can't all take our six-year-old sons to Brooks Brothers, Senator. I think you owe some first graders an apology for teaching your son to be such a snob.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

More Kentucky Budget Follies

The folks at the Bluegrass Institute have been talking for a long time about the state budget being unconstitutional. Not many of the talking heads have picked up on the scandal, but I have yet to hear anyone make a good case for the legitimacy of Kentucky's biennial budget.

UPDATE (for some): A lawsuit was filed in Franklin Circuit Court in May, which is pending. If it is successful, as many as another two dozen could be filed.

Still Waiting For A Democrat Idea

Democrat legislators today punted on economic development again. The best they could come up with was a hike in the minimum wage.

School Choice's Unexpected Champions

Democrats usually don't support school choice.

But some are starting to.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

No Big Deal: Merit Grand Jury Report

The Fletcher Grand Jury has issued the report they were completely expected to issue. The political carnage for this is already figured in. But what lots of people aren't thinking about now is this: if Governor Fletcher is nominated in May, the liberal blogosphere across the country will go crazy raising gobs of money against the Governor who blocked blogs.

It's stupid, I know. But that is what's coming.

Some people won't be able to resist calling me disloyal for mentioning this, but I didn't think of it first.

Who Is Ben Chandler Representing Now?

Rep. Ben Chandler is about to extend his month-long vacation by a third day, as it is expected he will be a no-show for the House session starting at 10 AM.

Lions, And Tigers, And Bears! Oh My!

Of all the challenges facing ex-convicts in Kentucky, does anyone really think restoring their voting rights is a meaningful priority for them (or us) worthy of legislative action?

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Medical Cover Up In Kentucky

The truth about Kentucky's Certificate of Need program is getting harder and harder to hide.

Where In The World Is Ben Chandler?

Louisville Mayor Jerry Abramson isn't running for governor, Auditor Crit Luallen isn't running for Governor, and Rep. Ben Chandler hasn't shown up for work the last two days.

Chandler's spokeswoman didn't return my call this afternoon so I don't know, but it is a little curious that Ben would need a couple of days off after his month-long vacation. With all this gubernatorial speculation going on, you just have to wonder.

Oh, Goody!


Meet your new House Majority Leader.

Hey John, say something stupid for the cameras about the war!

Taking Another Shot At Eminent Domain

There is a bill before the U.S. Senate that would ban the abuse of eminent domain by municipalities who take property from one private owner and give it to another.

One small problem -- Bill Frist is against it.

Typical.

Rolling Heads In Frankfort

A shake-up is in the works in House Republican leadership in Kentucky's General Assembly.

Any guesses?

Monday, November 13, 2006

Mayor Jim Newberry, Liberal or Conservative?

A rumor circulating around City Hall in Lexington has Mayor Jim Newberry scrapping the old budgeting process and going to a zero-based budget. This would involve justifying every expenditure individually rather than just taking the existing budget, raising everything five percent, and hiking taxes or fees to make it all work.

Take Another Look At Term Limits

Yeah, I know I'll take some abuse for picking the week after this election to champion Congressional term limits, but it could be worth the effort.

Nancy Pelosi has already chosen a wimpy, campaign finance reform approach to rooting out official corruption. She says gifts from lobbyists shouldn't be allowed. Sure, that will end any conflicts of interest.

If we really want to change the way Congress does business, ending the seniority-based spoils system on Capitol Hill deserves a good hard look.

I'm sure it doesn't poll very well and politicians will lie about their support for term limits in order to get elected, but it is a better idea than trying to stop legislative agents from picking up the tab for dinner. And with our finely-tuned b.s. detectors turned on high, it may be more difficult for lawmakers to shout it down.

Don't Pay Any Attention To That Civil War Going On Behind The Curtain

Media types are having a lot of fun with the idea of the Republican party struggling with the idea of going toward the center or toward the right.

But the Democratic ideological power struggle we aren't supposed to notice will be no less entertaining.

In fact, I think it will be objectively much more so because the Democrats have (slim) majorities and are supposed to be in charge.

How long before they start calling Republicans "obstructionists?"

KCFG: Liberal GOP'ers Rejected

The long-awaited launch of the Kentucky Club For Growth comes today with a press release from executive director Brian Richmond:

"The Kentucky Club for Growth will find, support and endorse candidates for elected office who are committed to free-market principles, lowering taxes, reducing spending and decreasing the size of government. Additionally, we will hold Frankfort accountable by monitoring legislation and providing scorecards to our members and the press after each legislative session."

Richmond says too many in the Republican party have "abandoned the principles that guided Ronald Reagan."

Casino Surreality

A big-government politician's dream -- casino gambling -- is playing out in absurd fashion in Indiana.

Despite ample evidence casinos cost governments more than they generate, politicians like cutting ribbons for new projects. Casino revenue generates lots of ribbon cutting. It generates even more in welfare costs, but no one calls a press conference for that.

Anyway, politicians in Indiana counties without casinos suffer a dearth of ribbon-cuttings and they are doing something about it.

Watching legislators fight to keep gambling boats here or there -- or move them, or license new ones -- is not something we want to get involved in here in Kentucky while we still have the choice. Sponsoring Senator Mudwrestling events on Friday nights would be more productive for the Commonwealth.

As Brereton Jones seeks to ride the casino gambling gravy train back to Frankfort, we should be encouraging people to take a closer look. We already rejected campaign "welfare for politicians." Casino gambling is nothing more than ribbon-cutting enhancement for politicians with a hefty price tag for taxpayers. Viewed properly, the casino gambling scam would be swiftly rejected by the people who will be buying the ribbons.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

"They Think They Won"

I remember the heady days of November 2000, when a new day of conservative dominance seemed to be dawning.

It didn't mean anything to me at the time, but I remember eavesdropping on a couple of Democrats who were talking about the difficulty the newcomers were going to have advancing any kind of agenda.

"They think they won," one said to the other.

Now I understand this sentiment. It seems liberals will come down from their euphoria and quickly realize their razor-thin majorities will not get them very far on their agenda.

The first test, Iraq, will happen very soon.

Do The Right Thing, Steve Pence

An early indicator for a pretty meaningless Governor's race next year is this limp noodle column from liberal columnist John Nelson who said, basically, "Waaaaah, we don't want divisive Republicans!" Ironically, he is talking about Gov. Ernie Fletcher, who has gone above and beyond the call of duty to give in to Democrats.

I don't care who runs for Governor next year. It's a terrible, dead-end job. The only way to get along with the legislature is to go along with massive amounts of borrowed spending and stealth tax increases. The biggest challenge facing the next governor may well be pension deficits necessitating impossible-to-hide tax increases.

The race to watch for next year is the one for Attorney General. What we need is a serious, no nonsense prosecutor to protect the taxpayers.

Steve Pence's independence could make him a strong choice for that role.

This Story Probably Makes More Sense If You're Stoned: "We're All One In This World"

The executive director of the Sierra Club came to Louisville and it sounds like everyone had the munchies.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Democrats For Fair Tax?

A rumor is swirling among Fair Tax activists that Congressional Democrats are making plans to push for passage of the Fair Tax Act.

This would be a great move for the nation, for Democrats and would serve Republicans right for dragging their feet on this reform.

Party Re-organization Starts Now

All the talk about the 2008 Presidential horse race overshadows the fact that the Republican and Democratic parties will likely see some important changes to how they operate over the next two years.

Starting in the spring of 2008, both parties will re-organize from the local precincts up to the national level. This involves potentially new faces and also fine-tuning of the parties' platforms.

If you have ideas about how things should be done for either party, you should get involved now. The Republicans must reassert their fiscal conservatism. Democrats need to be clear about where they are on the war on terror.

All to often, the same people run the county, district, and state conventions about like they always have. If you have an interest in changing that, now is the time to start gathering like-minded friends who will show up and vote with you.

The opportunity for new individuals to gain greater influence is enhanced by the shake-ups in both parties. Dem Chair Jerry Lundergan is very likely to face challenges to his leadership and the much-publicized power struggle in the Ky. GOP could create quick opportunities for new blood.

GOP Straw Poll Looks Good For Romney

It's just a straw poll I can't figure out how to link to, but it shows Giuliani and Gingrich running ahead of Gov. Mitt Romney. Seems reasonable to expect their zipper problems to knock out one or both of the front-runners, so that should benefit Romney.

McCain is fourth.

Here is the straw poll.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Constitutional Officer Reform For Kentucky

We don't need any more evidence that the office of Treasurer in Kentucky is completely worthless, do we?

After Jonathan Miller rides out his second term of auditioning for a higher elected position, we should just do away with Kentucky Treasurer as a constitutionally elected office.

No one doubts the Senate would pass such a measure. The fun thing would be to watch the House Democrats go along, as they surely would.

Give Me Benefits Or Give Me Death

Kentucky state social workers are pushing for re-classification as hazardous duty employees. They say this is necessary because they risk life and limb to remove children from dangerous home environments and often face threats themselves.

At issue if whether we are just throwing money at the problem or actually trying to solve it. Adding them to the hazardous duty category only changes eligibility for a full pension from twenty seven years of service to twenty years.

Social workers are unarmed and often walk into dangerous situations without a police escort. They say that when they do have police support on a call, the officer stands behind the social worker.

Making them hazardous duty employees does nothing to alleviate the physical risks. It just pays them more for enduring the risks and pays them from a woefully insufficient pool of funds.

Wouldn't it be better for the safety of the social worker and cheaper for the state to send a police officer with every social worker who requests one and have the armed officer stand in front of the social worker at the door? It seems the officer could stay as long as a threat is perceived. Usually that wouldn't be very long.

Just seems that if I were in a very dangerous job, seven more years of pension would be small compensation for risking my life. Given a choice, I would rather see the job made more safe.

It is curious, then, that the social workers are so fired up for the seven years and won't listen to suggestions for cutting the safety risk instead.

Welcome To The Club

With their narrow electoral victory on Tuesday, liberals Like Sen. Barbara Boxer are fired up to change the world in their image.

It won't happen.

President Bush has already shown a willingness to bend on some things -- his entire presidency -- but I don't expect him to give in on disasters like the Kyoto accord.

People on the left will soon understand the frustration conservatives have felt the last twelve years. We thought we won then, too.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

2007 Target: "Who's Your Daddy" Stumbo

While pundits are busy talking up the race for the Governor's Mansion, the contest that really matters in Kentucky is the one to determine which straight-arrow will replace scandal-tarred Attorney General Greg Stumbo.

Stumbo narrowly won a three-way primary in 2003 and then squeaked out a plurality in a cartoonish three-way general election.

Frankly, if the Republicans can't put up someone better, I would love to see former Auditor Ed Hatchett send Stumbo home. He would make a good AG.

Bill Clinton (1998): "Save Social Security First!"

In his 1998 State of the Union address, President Bill Clinton uttered the admonition to "Save Social Security First."

Now that Democrats are in charge of Congress, they might want to look into that.

Let's Box Their Earmarks

If Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Sen. Harry Reid want to get things started off right, they should end the practice of earmarking.

Fiscal Conservatism: Let's Try It

Wasteful and/or unnecessary government programs don't get straightened out or eliminated by accident. They have to be picked out, examined thoroughly, worked over, argued -- and even then they are usually left alone because each government program has a built-in constituency determined to see it survive.

The public pension crisis in Kentucky is the largest drain, has the largest constituency, and risks every other state program like a time bomb in your bedroom risks your ability to get a good night's sleep.

It isn't the easiest place to start politically, but it can't wait. Kentucky didn't feel Hurricane Katrina in the usual sense. But if you can imagine a Category Five hurricane of red ink demolishing our cities and towns, you have the idea.

We have to keep our promise to past and current state and municipal workers. But it is no exaggeration to say if we don't do something to limit future liabilities fast, we will get wiped out.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

U.S. Senate Minority Leader 2007

If Rep. Mike Pence is going to be the House Republican leader, does it really make sense for Sen. Mitch McConnell to wind up as the Senate Republican leader?

I say no.

How about Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK)?

Top Kentucky Issue For 2007: Casinos

This is a horrible idea Democrats are going to ride toward the Governor's mansion.

If Kentucky Republicans refuse to stand up against the effort, 2007 will be as bad for them as 2006 was.

And "let the people decide" is not a viable stand against casinos. Legislators who understand casino gambling isn't the answer need to get off the fence and explain what is wrong with that plan.

Defense Sec. First Test For Senate Dems

Rumsfeld is out and Senate Democrats will have a major role in determining who replaces him. The hearings will be very interesting.

Who will be the one ask Bush nominee Robert Gates for a timetable on getting out of Iraq?

"Minimum Wage" Scam Can't Stand

It was nice to see Lexington turn back the water company condemnation last night. A "Yes" vote would have just prolonged agony and the expensive court battle.

Candidates found it difficult to refute the faulty reasoning that raising the minimum wage would somehow reduce poverty in Kentucky and all over America. Now, we need to take that issue head-on.

There is nothing about the notion of price-fixing that suggests that it might produce positive results. Fixing certain wages above the market rate is not some magically different issue.

For Heaven's sake, if you want to give something more to the poor than a mere talking point, raise the Earned Income Tax Credit.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Merely A Flesh Wound

Now let's see Speaker Nancy Pelosi surrender the war, raise taxes, impeach the President for telling the truth, socialize health care, and raise the minimum wage to eradicate poverty.

Careful What You Wish For?

Larry Kudlow raises a good point that even if Dems pull a narrow House majority, the Blue Dog Democrats will usually support the President.

That would be good for taxes and good for the economy if they move away from Nancy Pelosi and her far left positions.

That's the opposite of the U.S. Senate the last few years, in which liberal Republicans have given Democrats a de facto majority. It would be ironic if the Democrats took over the House and wound up with less power there than they have in the Republican "controlled" Senate they have been running in circles for years.

A Little Surprised By The Results?

This one was too funny to pass up.

Faith Hill was darn sure she was going to get some country music award. Her reaction when she didn't get it will be on a lot of faces tonight.

Kentucky Election Prediction

Election day 2002 was fantastic for Kentucky Republicans on the county level.

Election day 2006 will be that kind of fantastic. The get-out-the-vote effort will make the difference again.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Justin Dobbs: Space Ranger

Remember in Toy Story when Buzz Lightyear didn't realize he was a toy -- a child's play thing -- and thought he was a real Space Ranger tasked with protecting the galaxy from the evil Emperor Zurg?

Well Justin Dobbs is the 2006 Buzz Lightyear. He thinks he is a real Lexington city council candidate, sent to planet Earth to make the universe safe for unemployed young adults.

His latest adventure involved stealing yard signs and making up a phone call from a fictitious attorney when he got caught.

To infinity, and beyond!!

Anticipation...

In an election which Republicans were expected to be drawn, quartered, scattered, smothered, covered, chunked, and topped -- prospects actually look pretty good.

Newberry Addresses Fayette Jail Scandal

Mayoral candidate Jim Newberry's radio ad mentions his lack of experience at being subject to an FBI raid, a clear reference to the Fayette county jail investigation.

If the race were closer, Mayor Isaac would respond. Since she is getting wiped out, she will probably just let it slide and we will hear more about this after the election.

"You Come From America And Ridicule The Iraqi People"

Everyone seems to be happy about the Saddam Hussein guilty verdict except Old Europe and LBJ's Attorney General Ramsey Clark, who screamed about the the ruling and got tossed out of court by the judge.

Modern-day liberals weren't very happy either.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Whether It Is Broken Or Not, We Should Break The Republican Party On Wednesday And Start Over

Some fiscal conservatives suggest the best thing to happen for fiscal conservatism on Tuesday would be a wipeout of Republican officeholders.

I disagree.

Republicans have joined the overspending ways of Democrats, so it doesn't make sense to expect current-day Democrats to restore fiscal responsibility on their own. They have campaigned this year on raising taxes and increasing spending further.

Republicans are going to have to clean up this mess on their own.

In the bluegrass, Kentucky Club for Growth offers great hope for those who know pro-growth policies represent the best hope for the future.

Go to their site and sign up for email updates. This battle starts on Wednesday.

An Alternative History Considered

Saddam Hussein has been sentenced to death for mass murder after a week in which we learned he almost developed nuclear weapons. Can there be any doubt that with Democrats like President Al Gore and Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Saddam's comeuppance would not be happening?

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Buy Cattle Futures!

Hillary Clinton's daughter probably will have to endure a little unwanted scrutiny for anything she does.

But news that she is going to work for a hedge fund will doubtless spark a few jokes about speculation in her mom's favorite commodity.

What Is It With This Guy?

I thought liberal bloggers were supposed to be peaceful.

Saddam Had Nuke Program

The Left has abandoned their story about online nuclear weapon information because it contradicts what they have been saying for the last few years.

Friday, November 03, 2006

What To Do With $279 Million Surplus

It is nonsensical to talk about spending the booty from recent state tax increases on projects or anything else other than the woefully underfunded state employee benefit plans. Putting this disaster on the back burner for future generations will only make it more expensive.

Direct Mail Attacking Liberal Blogger?

Sen. Joe Lieberman sent out a mailer attacking his opponent and naming his "biggest supporter:" Top lefty blogger Markos Moulitsas.

Pretty heady stuff, I guess.

Georgetown News-Graphic's Weak Pic Scam


Both of these pictures appeared on the front page of the Georgetown News-Graphic. Can you guess which one is the Republican?

Chuck Bradley, on the right, is one of the friendliest people I have ever met. He said the photographer took several pictures. Wonder why they couldn't manage to print one of Mr. Bradley smiling?

Incidentally, the smiling man on the left if liberal Rep. Charlie Hoffman who has benefited from childish pranks like this from the Georgetown News-Graphic for a long time.

Ed Worley's 2007 Gubernatorial Campaign Off To A Bad Start

The Richmond Register had a story yesterday about the 34th Senate district race between Ed Worley and Barry Metcalf.

Metcalf has exposed Worley's avid support of casino gambling when he is not in his conservative central Kentucky district. Sen. Worley's main response has been to hurl insults.

Ed has come completely unglued late in the campaign, calling Metcalf names in public and spending obscene amounts of money on Lexington television and radio advertising.

In yesterday's article, Worley even got his decades wrong trying to attack Metcalf.

Worley says Metcalf’s opposition to gambling is hypocritical. “When Barry was in the Senate, he had a chance to kill the state lottery, but didn’t do it,” he said.

Metcalf was in the state Senate from 1994 to 1999. The Kentucky lottery started years earlier, in 1989.

The added social welfare costs brought on by introducing casino gambling are certain to exceed expected revenues from casinos. Given Worley's penchant for funny numbers like state deficits, land prices, ponzi schemes, and "revenue enhancement," it should come as no surprise that he can't keep his decades straight.

UPDATE: The MSM will never report on this in a million years -- much less before Tuesday -- but this contribution from California-based casino magnate R.D. Hubbard would be interesting to anyone who actually believes Sen. Worley when he says he hasn't made up his mind whether to support the big casinos or not.

More Kentucky Pension Games

The four benefit plans administered by the Commonwealth of Kentucky have a combined shortfall of $17.5 Billion and Rep. C.B. Embry (R-Morgantown) wants to put another hole in the bottom of the boat.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Desperate Dem Voter Drive In Kentucky

This makes sense coming from the party that wants to send another convicted felon to the state Senate.

Combing the prisons for GOTV is a telling sign, isn't it? Hey guys, why don't you call the Registered Sex Offenders List next?

Mike Farmer Attacked By Susan Westrom's Son On MySpace Page

Rep. Susan Westrom's (D-Lexington) son is a real piece of work.

Herald-Leader Spanked By Yellow Dog

Judge Mary Noble had a fit recently when Supreme Court Justice John Roach pointed out her long-standing pattern of going easy on sex offenders.

The Herald Leader followed Noble's lead today calling Roach's concerns "injudicious."

But some history on the relationship between the Herald-Leader and Noble may shed light on why the paper's editorial board was so quick to come to the liberal judge's aid.

On October 26, 1994 the paper criticized Noble for setting free a sex offender who had been jailed for attempted rape and for nearly killing his victim. Thanks to Noble, he served only eight months.

On November 24, 1995 the paper mentioned that same case again and added two more like it in which Noble set the perpetrators free.

Then on November 30, 1995 the paper printed a clarification including the following:

Judge Noble called to our attention additional facts that put (one of the sex offenders) case in a different light and lead us to conclude that extremely lenient sentences are not the norm in her court.

She must have done some pretty powerful persuading to get the Herald-Leader off her back and into her camp. All this was pretty confusing until I heard former Supreme Court Justice Jim Keller call Mary Noble a "yellow dog Democrat" this summer in Frankfort.

Now I understand. The Herald-Leader editorial board got called on the carpet once for attacking a Democrat. A decade later, they are still making up for it by trying to put a liberal on the Kentucky Supreme Court.

Eminent Domain, The New Abortion?

Ralph Hacker is running a radio ad supporting the ballot initiative that would restart the taxpayer-funded court fight and battle to destroy Kentucky American Water Company.

In the ad, he says he believes eminent domain actions should be rare. Sounds like abortion proponents who say killing babies should be "safe, legal, and rare."

But let's do another one, right?

Fayette county voters who vote yes on the ballot question Tuesday won't be resolving ANYTHING. They will just be voting to resume fighting that only the lawyers can win.

Punch Foley For Joe

The New York Times has the story about Republican Joe Negron's bid to replace Mark Foley in Congress. The conservative nature of the district and a great campaign slogan reflecting the unfortunate fact that voters must still choose "Mark Foley" in order to cast a vote for Negron has put him in position to win.

It is looking more and more like the story on November 8 will be "since Democrats couldn't win in this environment, perhaps they never will."

But then, conservatives are going to need a good, long talk with their Republican representatives, who helped create the environment and a real opportunity for the "We have no message" Democrats to make a race out of 2006.

In the end, loathing of the military and a penchant for raising taxes along with a strong desire to coddle foreign criminals ruined the Democrat effort to dominate this election cycle.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Can't Keep These Good Men Down

Democrats have taken African American voters for granted for a long time. They repeat this grievous behavior when Democrats fight against any kind of school choice, champion deviant "lifestyles," and perpetuate generations of dependency on the government.

This week, while Democrats are worried about how badly John Kerry's mouth will hurt their desire for control, a little-noted event in Maryland may have started real change in American politics for years to come.

Read about it.

Latest Polling: No Cigar For Dems

... and Nancy Pelosi hasn't even weighed in on whether she believes our soldiers are stupid.

Fortunately, she is on the record for wanting to raise taxes and wanting to protect the non-existent civil rights of illegal foreign enemy combatants.

Reuters says Nancy doesn't get a new office.

Steve Kay Pulls A John Kerry

Lexington City Council At-Large candidate Steve Kay went on Lexington radio yesterday and chided Lexington voters for not being "compassionate" toward illegal aliens.

In other news: I don't know if will be enough to help Senator Rick Santorum win in Pennsylvania, but his opponent Bob Casey Jr. has John "Soldiers Are Dumb" Kerry coming in to campaign for him today.

Any chance we could get Kerry to come to Kentucky to "help" Democrats here?

UPDATE: All the John Kerry events today have been cancelled. He is available, Kentucky Dems!

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Do Kentucky Dems Back John Kerry Now?

Sen. John Kerry may not like being called an elitist snob, but it sure would be funny to see him try to deny that he is one.

Watching him try to distance himself from his own attack on America's soldiers has been pretty funny as well.

I wonder what Mike Weaver, John Yarmuth, and Ken Lucas think about that. More importantly, I would like to see what they say about it. Wouldn't you?

I-Care And Minimum Wage

The Kentucky legislature passed a health insurance subsidy this year and so, sign-ups start tomorrow in the I-CARE program. This bad idea is similar to raising the minimum wage in that it takes a more expensive path than is necessary to reach the desired end. Repealing Certificate of Need regulations would lower health insurance costs for all rather than using the subsidy to lower premiums for a few. In the same way, raising Earned Income Tax Credits would give money to poor families while the minimum wage mainly just increases the costs of employing teenagers.

State Public Pension Reform

South Carolina voters will decide next Tuesday, in part, how soon they want their public pension plan to blow up on them. Their $9 Billion deficit can begin to be addressed by allowing pension dollars to be invested in the stock market. It will take a constitutional amendment to allow it, and that is what is on this ballot.

Kentucky already allows equity investments in its pension plan. (The fact that we are much better off than South Carolina should give pause to local opponents of Social Security private accounts, but it probably won't.)

We can take little comfort in the fact that we have less than half the red ink soaking our pension plan that South Carolina has. Choosing equities is an easy decision to make. Kentucky's decisions will be more difficult. We need to start on it now.

One Week To Go

How are things looking in your part of the state?

Monday, October 30, 2006

I Am Blogger; Hear Me Roar

A couple of us Kentucky bloggers made national news earlier this year for being refused journalist's credentials at the state capitol.

The winds are changing.

Nicole Moore of the National Conference of State Legislatures is writing a column for State Legislatures magazine advocating for bloggers to be given press passes to legislative sessions.