Monday, December 31, 2007

2007 Kaypee Awards

Probably should have thought about this a week ago, but I was inspired today by Bluegrass Roots' Rooties and came up with a name for a Kentucky awards show called the Kaypees.

Time is short to really do it justice, but if you have a funny nomination, have at it. Otherwise, I thought we might take the high road and try to come up with a consensus Best Public Policy Idea/Worst Public Policy Idea for 2008.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Eyes On Arizona

Starting Tuesday, Arizona starts cracking down on employers of illegal aliens. Kentucky has a bill that would do the same thing here.

The Song That Never Ends

One thing that would really inform the present debate about what kind of fiscal shape state government is in would be to put all state government checkbooks online.

Where are all you good government types on this?

The House Democrats should have all kinds of motivation for supporting this. Jody Richards was out there this past week blaming the state shortfall on the national economy, for heaven's sake. If his much hoped for recession doesn't materialize -- or even doesn't materialize soon enough to lend some credibility to his ridiculous assertion -- what will he do?

Face it, big spenders, the cat is out of the bag. Citizen awareness and communication will soon demolish the old way of running Frankfort. Soon Rep. Harry Moberly (Mr. Government Secrecy and Mr. Conflict of Interest) will be the last one operating in the shadows.

Other legislators with better motives had better make sure there is no confusion about which side they are on in this most important battle.

Saturday, December 29, 2007


The great state of Oklahoma leads the way on government transparency and Kentucky would do very to follow them.

Did I mention we already have a bill?

If you don't like being surprised by details of the state's finances when we change governors, you will probably want to get on board the transparency movement as well.

Saving State Health Dollars

We all agree that having more affordable health insurance would be a good thing. What should be clear, but apparently isn't, is that more competition and wider consumer choice would create a more efficient health insurance market.

In Kentucky, we seem to like to pack our insurers with mandated benefits. This increases costs, pricing more people out of the market. So, rather than address the root cost of the higher prices, we then seek to subsidize those prices with tax dollars. Any economics textbook would tell you this just causes prices to go up further still.

We need to give up the long-running lawsuit against Christian Care Medi-Share and encourage more such providers to come to the state. We need to shut down the ICARE subsidy Governor Beshear wants to expand.

And we need to give insurers more flexibility on which people they agree to insure.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Cut Spending, Have More Money

If we only cut the level of executive branch employment to the legal limit, stopped advertising the Kentucky Lottery, stopped the coal-to-liquid subsidy nonsense and cancelled the Louisville Arena project, we wouldn't have a "budget crisis."

I'm still laughing about Julian Carroll comparing state overspending to getting a car repossessed, but it's probably time we should seriously start talking about what assets the state should sell -- or at least stop leasing.

Beshear's Campaign Promises Dropping Like Flies

In his weekly column, Bluegrass Institute's Jim Waters says if we really want to lower healthcare costs we will push to allow people to buy insurance across state lines and let individuals purchase coverage just like businesses do -- with pre-tax dollars.
Typically, with the Bush vetoes came attempts to label him as the Grinch who stole health care from needy kids. But the president made the right decision.

Bush argued that expanding the program would hurt kids. It would “move children who already have private health insurance to government coverage,” he said.

Buckeye Institute researcher Marc Kilmer agrees: “Kids who would have had better private care will instead be using substandard government care.”

All of this sounds Grinch-like to those with an inclination to expand public programs rather than look for better solutions.

Reality is forcing Governor Steve Beshear to abandon more and more of his pie-in-the-sky plans. Cutting spending and state employee benefits will be the first two dominoes to fall. Casino gambling has no chance in a possible GOP super-majority Senate. Might socialized health insurance be next?

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Anybody Up For A Media Appearance?

I will be a guest on the Leland Conway Show tomorrow with guest host Jim Waters. It's on 630 AM or from nine to noon.

Skippy Miller, Gambling Man

Finance and Administration Cabinet Secretary Jonathan Miller met with the State Tax Increment Financing Commission this afternoon to discuss blowing more state tax dollars on the Louisville Arena project.

He didn't answer any questions, though, about about last spring's Las Vegas vacation he took one week after kissing the ring of soon-to-be casino nominee Steve Beshear and dropping his own bid for governor.

The scandal is in the cover-up, Skippy, not the sex. The real question is not who Miller was bunking with in Vegas, but who he was meeting with to discuss "career options."

Miller will be under a dark cloud until all these questions are answered. It is time for Miller to produce some of these suitors he met with, assuming he can remember them.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Your State Needs More Than Your Mouth

As the General Assembly warms up for its 2008 session, the big spenders really don't have a good reason not to create a "Tax Me More Fund."

The lottery and casinos are supposed to be voluntary as well, aren't they? How are those who don't want to wait in convenience store lines behind ragged, toothless scratch-off buyers and their malnourished, snot-nosed kids or who don't want to risk sitting in a urine-soaked chair going to pay a little extra?

It is only being humane to afford those generous souls the opportunity to avoid these indignities in support of their Commonwealth.

Perhaps Speaker Jody Richards would sign on to this bill if we agreed to send one-third of any contribution directly to foreign casino owners.

Kentucky's Education Odd Couple That Isn't

There is an interesting story in the Baltimore Sun about the Democratic governor in Maryland trying to run off the Republican state superintendent of schools.

Governor Steve Beshear already tried to get the state school board to not hire now-education commissioner (and former GOP state representative) Jon Draud. But while the difference between the two officials in Maryland has some basis in ideological conflict, their Kentucky counterparts seem to have little if anything they disagree about in terms of policy.

The education story for 2008, though, may well be that budget realities force a much tighter fiscal rein on the education establishment and an overhaul of the fraudulent CATS program, something neither Draud nor Beshear would ever be inclined to pursue in fatter economic times.

Specifically, what we need is an outside financial audit from the top of the Kentucky Department of Education to the bottom of the smallest elementary school. A bill to mandate this and to strip the KDE of the ability to grade itself with the CATS testing should be something both parties can get behind.

The education bureaucracy will be much easier to handle when their game is exposed for all to see.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Christmas

It has been a good year writing on this blog. I really appreciate the comments, criticisms, emails, and news tips. The way we get and share information is changing rapidly. I hope this site plays a role in how you stay connected.


Help For The Dentally-Challenged

You may have heard about the New York Times/IHT article discussing tooth loss in Kentucky.

Quoted in the article is a Corbin man who illegally provides dentures to people who need them.

It is currently illegal for anyone other than a licensed dentist to provide dentures. There is a bill from Rep. Tom Burch seeking to change this.

Are we actually allowing the private sector to lower a medical cost? Let's hope this idea catches on in Frankfort.

Did I mention this?

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Getting Benefits Right Another Beshear Opportunity

The Louisville Courier Journal's David Hawpe gets it right this morning when he calls the effort by the Fletcher administration on public employee benefits weak.
The answer clearly is not the anemic approach suggested last week by a (pale) blue ribbon commission. The truth is, the current system is unsustainable. It must be changed. Future state hires will have to accept the kinds of changes that millions of Americans have had to stomach, as private employers have adjusted their retiree pension and benefit plans.

Empowering a generation of state government employees as a strong goody-getting voting block was never going to work for our fiscal health. Demanding a phase-out of legislator pensions would also help change this culture of self-destruction.

Cutting the benefits won't hurt state government. Not cutting them will bankrupt us. Do the math.

This political gift was wrapped up by Ernie Fletcher last summer when he didn't make the special session about public employee benefits.

Friday, December 21, 2007

For Mayor Jim Newberry's Eyes Only

The meltdown at the the Fayette County jail includes a sexual harassment lawsuit whose mishandling is indicative of the leadership failure in Lexington.

It will be interesting to see if the sexual harassment grievance filed at the Lexington Police Department is managed any differently. (You know, the one regarding the effects of a bullet-proof vest.)

Pinching Pennies

If Governor Steve Beshear is looking for new ways to save money -- and he'd better be -- he should get rid of the law that requires government entities to publish public notices in local newspapers.

It's much cheaper to put them online. The Kentucky Press Association already has a website set up.

Any other ideas?

Dissenting Comments On A Blog Make It Better

I don't know when the Louisville Courier Journal will start deleting unfriendly blog comments like some other newspaper's political blog. Maybe they just haven't seen this yet.

McCain Is Not Going To Win KY Primary

SurveyUSA did a presidential poll but left off Fred Thompson.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Highlighting A Good Gun Bill

Theres's a lively discussion on Kentucky Votes about Rep. Bob Damron's new gun bill.

Ben "Tax Man" Chandler Strikes Again

Rep. Ben Chander voted late yesterday joined 63 hardy tax-raisers in the U.S. House of Representatives in voting against the commonsense Alternative Minimum Tax "patch" that will save 22 million middle-class Americans from the punishing tax in 2008.

Just One Goal

The Lexington Herald Leader jumps on the Fletcher administration's handling of the Medicaid program this morning.
You'd think someone would be keeping track of whether reforms affecting all that money (for fiscal year 2006, about $1 billion from Kentucky's General Fund and $3.3 billion in federal funds) was being spent effectively.

You'd think wrong. Neither the cabinet administering the program nor the governor's office to which it answered nor the legislature that passed the budgets funding the program seemed to know what was going on.

The politics of this is very much beside the point.

The only way to gain anything from this is to recognize the need for greater transparency in our government agencies. There is already a bill, pre-filed by a House Republican, that starts to address this issue. Rather than just kill it for partisan reasons, House Dems should expand it.

Medicaid's accounting issues are miniscule compared to the public employee benefits programs that have been allowed to go underfunded for decades. Now everyone is starting to pay attention because the black hole we have there threatens to swallow up the entire state.

Both of these problems -- and many others -- will benefit from a full-court press toward putting all the state's checkbooks online.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

I Thought The Other Guy Was The Flip-Flopper

Double Dipper Dan v. AG Steve Beshear ('81)

The citizens of the 30th Senate district in Bell, Harlan, Leslie, and Perry counties would have a new state senator today if Governor Steve Beshear had called the special election on November 9 when Senate President David Williams made the request.

As it is, a special election for the seat can not now be held before the end of January. Double-Dipper Dan should do the right thing and insist Governor Beshear do his part to ensure the people in his district have the representation they deserve.

Governor Beshear really does understand the need to protect citizens on issues like this. Well, sometimes. He understood it when he wrote the following Attorney General's opinion in 1981, in which he ordered legislative staff not to mail but to hand deliver the Writ of Election for a special election.
As the Court pointed out in the case of Furste v. Grey, 240 Ky. 604, the framers of the Constitution had in mind that vacancies in the General Assembly shall not continue but should be filled immediately in the manner provided by the legislature.

Thus, because of the urgency for filling the vacancy in question so that the residents of the 75th Legislative District will be properly represented at the earliest possible time following the beginning of the Session starting on January 5, it is suggested that the Writ of Election be issued on January 1st and hand delivered rather than mailed, to the sheriff.

Governor Beshear also recognized this necessity when he elevated Rep. J.R. Gray to Labor Cabinet Secretary last week and immediately called the special election. He understood the need to call a special election right away. Why doesn't he get it now?

The $14 Million Jonathan Miller Subsidy

Wouldn't it be great if you could spend state tax dollars promoting your latest great idea? Wouldn't it be even better if you could go back every year and get a huge government check when your great idea blew up in your face again and again?

Governor Steve Beshear's hand-picked Finance and Administration Cabinet Secretary-designate Jonathan Miller has a $14 million check coming from the state's General Fund to fill the current year's hole in the KAPT program.

Heckuva job, Johnny.

Fiscal Time Bomb Still Ticking

There is really only one thing that matters in Kentucky right now and that is what we need to do now to survive a full-blown crisis in our state employee benefit plans.

It is nearly impossible to exaggerate this disaster. The best analogy I can think of is that we are on the Titanic and can only avoid getting sunk by the iceberg if we start turning now.

We are nearly $30,000,000,000 short in the funds we use to write pension checks and pay health benefits for state government workers. If we don't raise taxes, -- and we can't afford to raise taxes -- we are going to have to cut spending. A lot. There is no other way around this and if the people don't start screaming about it now we will see, within ten years, employers fleeing the state and leaving a real mess behind them.

And we can't fund our state government on Social Security checks.

What this will take is radically changing the way we look at state government. We are going to have to get out of providing a lot of services we have gotten used to. We will have to cut out a lot of programs.

Our bloated and inefficient school system might be a good place to start with a surgeon's knife. Did you know that no other state has a higher percentage of non-teacher school employees than Kentucky? If we start there and then eliminate most of the Kentucky Department of Education we will be heading in the right direction.

Then we need fewer state employees and we need them to stop retiring from one government job only to take another. Did you know only fourteen states have more state and local government employees per 10,000 people than Kentucky does? Kentucky has a law limiting the number of state employees to 33,000 but every two years the legislature votes itself an exemption from this law. In January they are going to do it again unless we make them stop it. Ask your Senator or Representative why he or she thinks government can't get by with less when the rest of us have to sometimes.

If you want your children to be able to live in Kentucky ten or fifteen years from now, you will take this threat very seriously.

I Guess We Know Results Of Stumbo Poll

Now we know what a political hit job looks like. Rep. Brandon Spencer just last week was filing a bill to line his own pockets with Medicaid money and now he is resigning quietly so Greg Stumbo can have a job.

Could Jody Richards be the one quaking in his boots this morning?

Monday, December 17, 2007

Yarmuth: I Wanna Go Home NOW!

An hour ago, House Democrats in Washington D.C. tried to shut down their session for the year. Yarmuth voted to surrender.

Has he been talking to Jody Richards?

Smart Republicans Won't Touch Medicaid Fight

I just got off the phone with a spokeswoman from the Cabinet for Medicaid Services who told me they didn't have a comment on the Auditor's Performance Audit of their activities. She told me they are reviewing the audit and might have a comment by the end of the week.

The only problem with that is the audit included -- on page 108 -- a letter from the department dated December 5 responding to the audit.

This doesn't look good for what is left of the Fletcher administration.

Sniffing Out (Some) Conflicts Of Interest

The state just lost an appeal to eliminate what it said was a conflict of interest for a lowly technician at the airport in Frankfort who took on a second job to improve his skills.

But there has still been no official action taken against Rep. Harry Moberly in his conflict of interest as Budget Chairman and Vice President of Eastern Kentucky University.

I thought Governor Beshear said he was going to be different.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Tax Reform Idea Catching On

I will be on Leland Conway's radio show at 9:00 Monday morning talking about the Fair Tax. You can catch it in the Lexington area on 630 AM or on the net at

Boycott of Golden Compass A Success

The anti-Christian film Golden Compass has been a flop.

Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Baseball Analogy For Fayette Jail Employees

Some of the criminals working inside the Fayette County Detention Center continue to delude themselves. They seem to think lack of mainstream media interest in their crimes and the fact no one with dark sunglasses and arrest warrants has shown up yet means no one is coming for them.

But several internal conversations at the jail have turned to the the inconvenient fact investigators took four years to indict slugger Barry Bonds.

The jail abuse evidence isn't nearly as hard to sort through as the steroid evidence, though.

Happy Hanukkah: MIller "Mistakes" Like Noodling?

Told you three weeks ago about the Lexington Herald Leader sitting on a Jonathan Miller scandal. Why they put it out now, in the middle of December and on one of the slowest circulation days of the year, makes about as much sense as this:
Overall, Parker saw her salary rise from $21,000 a year when Miller hired her out of college as a secretary in 2000 to $78,981 a year this year as deputy state treasurer. That's an increase of nearly 380 percent in seven years.

Miller denied any suggestion that he gave Parker undue favorable treatment but said he has relied on her input regarding "personal business" matters such as future job opportunities.

For instance, Parker accompanied Miller on a trip to Las Vegas between May 14 and 17, just after Miller dropped out of the Democratic primary for governor.

Miller said in an interview in September that he flew to Las Vegas in May for a trip that was "personal or personal business" in nature.

"No state government work," he said. "I'm kind of looking at my own job opportunities after I'm treasurer and also it's a nice place to relax."

It may well sound like sour grapes at this point, but this sordid episode displays perfectly how the mainstream media in Kentucky covers for Democrats. Can there be any doubt if Miller were a Republican that the last three weeks would have featured wall-to-wall news stories speculating about wild sex and gambling parties in Las Vegas and systematic abuse of the merit system?

This story is far from over.

Blog Blockergate 2

The Beshear administration is trying to decide if state employees should be reading political blogs on the job.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Is A Blog Without Comments Really A Blog?

Kentucky's Rep. Adam Koenig has started our first state legislator blog. It will be interesting to see how he does with it, who else follows him in putting one up, and if he decides to accept comments.

U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell already has a blog.

Sentenced To Life In New Jersey

We already know that half the people living in casino paradise New Jersey want to leave the state as soon as they can.

So it's hard not to wonder if they are now getting rid of the death penalty as some kind of economic development ploy.

Price Tag For Relevant KY Schools? $60 Million

This bill might have a chance to improve low-performing schools if it didn't have to depend so heavily on the Kentucky Department of Education.

Better Point Out Penalty For Misuse Of Military ID

Rep. David Floyd has pre-filed a bill to allow underage military members to purchase, possess, and drink alcohol.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Lexington's Wildcatting Taxi Service

Not everyone in the Lexington Police Department is happy that University of Kentucky basketball coach Billy Gillispie gets a free ride home when he gets pulled over in town and needs a little extra help finding his way home safely.

Hitting The Ground Walking

Since Governor Beshear seems to be struggling to find things to talk about since his inauguration on Tuesday, may we suggest he seriously engage in the effort to open up the state's finances for oversight by those of us paying his bills?

I Admit I Am Biased

I don't have a problem with a Mormon getting elected President of the United States. What I have a problem with is this.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Is More Gang Violence Coming Here?

Someone with a New York City IP address just came to my site after googling "Are the Latin Kings going to invade Kentucky?"

I have heard about this before, but nothing recently. Any information related to this anyone has would be very helpful.

Beshear's Labor Secretary Co-Sponsors Benefits Bill

Twenty one House Democrats, including Labor Secretary-designate J.R. Gray, co-sponsored a bill that would overturn the domestic partner benefit plans at University of Kentucky and University of Louisville.

Governor Beshear has promised to veto any such bill.

Empty Symbolic Gestures Can Be Fun!

We can wait patiently while taxpayers fund Governor Beshear's drywall hanging stunt, but if he really wants to improve accountability he needs to talk seriously about making government more transparent.

Isn't Mike Huckabee Satan's Brother?

Gov. Mitt Romney gave his "don't hit me; I'm a Mormon" speech so Gov. Mike Huckabee, of course, had to hit him.

I think Huckabee could have done a lot better than this.

Today I'm With Ron Paul and Mike Huckabee

This is not, repeat NOT, a presidential endorsement.

Instead, it is a statement that I'm in favor of a bold federal tax reform plan call the Fair Tax.

Rep. Paul and Governor Huckabee have several problems with their campaigns, but being wusses on tax reform isn't one of them.

I'll be a guest on the Leland Conway radio show this morning at 11:30 talking about the Fair Tax. You can listen on 630 AM WLAP or

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Will Beshear Look At Lexington Jail?

None of the 89 names on former Governor Ernie Fletcher's last-minute pardon list work at the Fayette County Detention Center. If that's what you were counting on, I'm sorry about your luck.

Meanwhile, one thing jumped out from the coverage of Governor Beshear's inaugural address:
Beshear said he would introduce a legislative package that would strengthen penalties for ethics violations, improve protection for whistleblowers and change the way appointments are made to the Executive Branch Ethics Commission.

It's easy to guess Beshear is talking about merit system whistleblowers. But does he know something about the mess Lexington officials have made of their local jail and the systematic abuse of whistleblower Cpl. John Vest?

Speculation at the jail has the long-awaited federal indictments coming down very soon. But that isn't the important part. With the indictments comes the unsealing of the evidence the FBI collected in their 2006 raid on FCDC. You may remember: that's the hundreds of hours of video and audio evidence which brought dozens of FBI agents in to storm the jail and pull out even more evidence. This is the evidence Mayor Teresa Isaac claimed to have examined thoroughly in a one night cram session.

If he hasn't already, Governor Beshear would do very well to look into this fiasco right away. Getting to the bottom of Mayor Jim Newberry's stunning mishandling of this sorry episode presents a fabulous opportunity for the state's new chief executive.

Global Warming Thaws Frankfort Hiring Freeze

The city of Frankfort is determined to cut energy usage (there is a joke in there about hot air but, never mind...) and so they have decided to start, of course, with hiring a city sustainability coordinator despite the city's hiring freeze.

Another Politician Who Doesn't Know Where He Is

Madison County Judge Executive Kent "Otis" Clark has resolved his latest alcohol-related issue, but not without causing a stir.
When Shirley told Clark he was under arrest, the judge-executive became "very argumentative and began yelling," according to the citation. The document said Clark didn't really resist arrest, but was uncooperative.

"He caused quite a scene," Russell Springs Police Chief Joe Michael Irvin said in an interview.
In June 2004, Clark was charged with alcohol intoxication after he was found passed out on a Lexington sidewalk. An arrest citation said Clark did not know what city he was in. Clark pleaded guilty and paid a fine, according to court records.

As Governor Steve "I'm gonna pass it" Beshear lands in Frankfort today, we will wait for his casino industry giveaway ranting and raving to die down a little bit before gently reminding him he is in Kentucky and we don't do things that way around here.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Rich Brooks, Call Your Lobbyist

Tim Tebow grew up a home-schooled student in Florida. Florida has a law that allows home-schooled students to play high school sports. Tim Tebow played high school sports and is now the 2007 Heisman Trophy winner and University of Florida quarterback.

Alabama is working on passing a law.

Ask Mitt Anything Easy

I signed on to an "Ask Mitt Anything" internet chat session this afternoon and quickly submitted a half dozen policy questions to the moderator.

What a waste.

All the questions that got through were about how great Romney's "Mormon" speech was, what a great leader he is, what a jerk Huckabee is, and how can we send more money to the campaign.

No questions of any substance got through at all. Well, maybe one, but that question about abortion got a run-around answer.

Still looking for a candidate...

Actions Speak: Harry Moberly's Macaca

Sen. Mitch McConnell is certainly fortunate no one was running a video camera on November 28 when he spoke in Grayson county. Otherwise, this video would be his "macaca" moment.

As it is, he has a chance to explain. His campaign says he was taken out of context by his opponents and that the entire quote better explains that he was talking about funding the troops.
“Our brave soldiers have protected us for six years successfully. If we brought all of them home today (terrorists) they would be back here, so we need to stay the course. It's gotten better and there is a dramatic decrease in causalities and we have begun to withdraw troops.” said McConnell. ”The polls are reflecting that there is a 15% increase in optimism in American's views about the war.

“I won't tell you everything is great in Iraq; it is not. But we want to keep a steady flow of funds so that we don't disrupt the military,” said McConnell. “Unfortunately, most of our friends on the other isle are having a hard time admitting things are getting better; some days I almost think the critics of this war don't want us to win. Nobody is happy about losing lives but remember these are not draftees, these are full-time professional soldiers.

“We ought to provide funding fully without restrictions and without Congress micromanaging the war, ” added Mcconnell.

Whether this context totally eliminates the damage from what was certainly an ill-advised comment, no one really believes McConnell isn't concerned about volunteer soldiers.

The misplaced rage in this case might be put to better use in Kentucky by turning itself toward the very real conflict of interest our state's House Budget Chairman was caught in the same week.

But his political affiliation probably has something to do with that.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Stumbo Contribution Scam Overlooked

The Lexington Herald Leader reprised its familiar role this week as press release printer for Attorney General Greg Stumbo. In the release (I mean story), Stumbo reminds Kentuckians that not everyone asking for money this holiday season is what they portray themselves to be.
Stumbo held a news conference in his Capitol office with Better Business Bureau officials to publicize his office's Web site to show how much of consumers' donations actually go to charity.

No mention of the fact contributors to Stumbo's Senate campaign will get nothing when he drops out of the race.

CJ Questions Brain Development In Others

The Louisville Courier Journal editorial page seeks this morning to downplay concerns about potential conflicts of interest in the Beshear administration, calling it "moralistic hyperbole."

In the very next editorial, though, we get this:
And that's notwithstanding one conservative scholar's ridiculous claim that teens who became pregnant were "highly educated about contraceptives but wanted to have babies." His line of reasoning is easily discredited by scientific findings that teenage brains are works in progress. Development is slow in the region of the brain that allows one to fully consider the consequences of actions, for oneself or for others.

We might call that "amoralistic hyperbole." In any case, I'm glad the CJ editors didn't raise my children.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Score One For Mitch McConnell

Senate Democrats had no choice but to go along with the Republican plan to cut the Alternative Minimum Tax without keeping their campaign promise to match tax cuts with revenue neutral tax increases.

Think the mortgage bailout won't affect you?

Think again.

The General Assembly Is Coming!

Monday morning I will be on the Jack Pattie Show in Lexington at 9:00 talking about bills coming up in Frankfort and the session that starts January 8.

You can listen on 590 AM or and you can follow the legislative activity in Kentucky by going to

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Scrooged By Mayor Jim Newberry

Fayette County Detention Center whistleblower Cpl. John Vest helped spark an FBI raid on the Lexington jail over a year ago. For his trouble -- and despite Kentucky legal protections for whistleblowers -- Vest has been on unpaid leave all this time and has had to fight repeated efforts by the city to fire him. Officials continue to claim the ongoing Justice Department investigation is without merit.

Just learned tonight, though, Vest was granted vacation time for Thanksgiving. Could Mayor Newberry be changing his tune? It will be interesting to see what Newberry does at Christmas.

Shining Light On Kentucky Tax Dollars

A new bill just pre-filed in Frankfort might help open up the process to greater scrutiny, but the bill isn't perfect.

Terwort's Rope-A-Dope

Conservative candidate Will Terwort, running for the 63rd House seat formerly held by Education Commissioner Jon Draud, has started planning his first fundraiser for the primary election in May.

His Republican opponents are vying for a nomination from the Kenton County Republican Executive Committee, a spot in the special election, and a guarantee of being stuck in Frankfort while Terwort campaigns in the district.

"I'm taking my message directly to the people of the 63rd district," Terwort said.

Rudy Cuts Through Bluegrass

Johnathan Gay has up not one, but two, great posts about Rudy Giuliani.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Final Word On Chamber of Commerce Ed Report

You may have noticed several media stories on the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce higher education report.

Dick Innes of the Bluegrass Institute has a take you won't get from the mainstream media.

Covering Up For Jonathan Miller

No idea how long Kentucky's MSM has been sitting on this evidence of Finance Secretary-designate Jonathan Miller illegally using state resources for his personal business.

Jim Newberry Not The Efficiency Fairy

Lexington Mayor Jim Newberry's personnel policies in office haven't exactly inspired confidence.

Now we find out city employees signing up for benefits are spending an average of nearly three hours each online and with a representative doing an on-the-clock enrollment.

Remind me again why Lexington voters were so eager to get rid of Teresa Isaac.

Competition, Web Killing The Corporate Tax Man

The rationale for what we now call the Limited Liability Entity Tax was that some companies were shifting taxable revenue to lower-tax states.

The growth of internet shopping is doing the same thing, isn't it?

And then we spend economic development crediting back taxes to corporations to either come here or stay here and provide jobs to Kentuckians.

Now that Republicans and Democrats agree the LLET needs to go, shouldn't we consider phasing out our corporate income tax as well?

After all, even Massachusetts is considering ending taxes of corporations.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

What's Wrong With Polwatchers, The Arena?

It has now been four days since the Lexington Herald Leader called on House Budget Chairman Harry Moberly (D-Richmond) to step down, given the clear conflict of interest in taking a high-level position with Eastern Kentucky University one week ago.

In fact, both major newspapers in the state -- neither of which has made a habit of asking Democrats to resign from anything -- have pointed out Moberly's conflict, but the political blogs of both papers have been completely silent on the controversy swirling around Moberly who, like his comrade Sen. Ed Worley (D-Richmond) always seems to have some kind of trouble with the law.

Cat got your tongue?

Bad Economics From KY Chamber of Commerce

With a tighter budget expected in Frankfort in January, it is imperative the discussion is based on reality. The Kentucky Chamber of Commerce higher education report released today isn't really a step in that direction.

A key part of the Chamber's proposal is the Kentucky 21st Century Scholars Program.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Are We Denying Liberties Or Saving Money?

The Kentucky Club for Growth is butting heads with the Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce over the Chamber's support for a statewide smoking ban and boost to the cigarette tax.

"The Kentucky Club for Growth is amazed that with all of the (public) education bureaucrats that have infiltrated the chamber, not one of them is teaching basic economics to its leadership," the Club said in a statement.

"The Club for Growth said if the "goal of the chamber to reduce smoking is to reduce health care costs, at what point does the chamber start lobbying for a fast-food and doughnut tax?"

If what we are really concerned with is saving public health dollars, why not just cut people off of state welfare benefits unless they can test negative for nicotine?

Carroll Hunting For Successor

Senator Julian Carroll is looking for a candidate to run for his seat in 2008 so he can spend more time with his family.

Voting Noe

Someone is going to replace Lieutenant Governor-elect Dan Mongiardo in the state Senate in a January special election. Democratic candidate Roger Noe seems to be off to a bad start trying to position himself in the eastern Kentucky district.

Pretty funny to watch.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Begging The Question: What Is A Right-Wing Extremist In Education?

When Education Commissioner Jon Draud was asked if he is a right-wing extremist "when it comes to education," he said that he has always supported public education, so he isn't one.

Here is audio of the quote.

I guess what we need is a definition of an education "right-wing extremist" so we can be on the lookout should one happen to come along.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Kenton County Candidate Conundrum

The 63rd House district special election will almost certainly be won by the Republican nominee. The Kenton county GOP executive committee gets to pick the nominee.

And they have been given their marching orders from what's left of the establishment in Frankfort.

But Will Terwort will be the fiscal conservative in the primary in May when the voters get to decide. RPK should stay out of this.

Here Come The Thompsons

Fred Thompson's wife, Jeri, will be in Louisville on Tuesday for a private get-together with supporters.

Are Polwatchers Boycotting Their Boss?

A full 24 hours after the Lexington Herald Leader joined Kentucky Progress and the Louisville Courier Journal in asking Budget Chairman Harry Moberly to rectify his conflict of interest by resigning, there is not one single word about it on the paper's political blog.

What's up guys, boycotting your own paper?

Here is an exerpt from Friday's Herald Leader:

Ethical government, it bears repeating, involves not just avoiding conflicts of interest but also avoiding their appearance or the potential for them.

For that reason, state Rep. Harry Moberly, D-Richmond, should give up his powerful legislative chairmanship if he continues serving as the top financial administrator at Eastern Kentucky University...
Moberly also should decide where his first loyalty lies and act accordingly.

This is a terrific opportunity for Kentucky's independent blogosphere to assert itself and give fellow Kentuckians reason to follow our lead, don't you agree?