Sunday, August 31, 2008

Obama: keep Palin barefoot, pregnant, jobless

Sen. Barack Obama can be forgiven for not understanding economics given his life as a "community organizer" and rabble-rousing government employee.

We can even sympathize with his lack of business acumen for the same reason.

But when he tries to pass off a muddle-headed equal-pay policy as some kind of attack against Gov. Sarah Palin, it is out of more than a sense chivalry that our patience runs out.

Businesses who discriminate against women in the workplace do so at great risk to themselves. But the "Paycheck Fairness Act" Obama refers to is no more than a slick payday bill for trial lawyers like John Edwards.

Further, passage of that bill will only make it more difficult for women to get jobs because employers will judge the enhanced risk of a lawsuit to weigh more heavily than the risk of hiring a woman if a qualified man is available.

Pray for the people in Gustav's path

... or take the Michael Moore approach and have a good belly laugh about all the political gain you might get from the suffering. The point missed by some like Moore is that Louisiana replaced Gov. Kathleen Blanco with Gov. Bobby Jindal.

A timely tribute to Michael Moore

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Changing the way Kentucky votes

Rep. Jimmy Higdon has pre-filed a bill to allow voters who aren't registered with either of the two major political parties to pick a party in primary elections and choose among its candidates.

The bill would still keep candidates who are not Republicans or Democrats off primary ballots. This means Kentucky taxpayers will continue to subsidize the candidate selection process for the two major parties. Smaller parties will continue to choose their own nominees at their own expense.

While the state is supposedly trying to spend tax dollars more wisely, perhaps we should consider letting the political parties pick candidates on their own, without taxpayer money. That would save state and local governments millions of dollars.

At the very least, we should try again to move the candidate filing deadline to after the General Assembly session to improve legislative efficiency.

A little help from McCain's running mate

Gov. Steve Beshear would do well to learn at least one thing from Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.

Friday, August 29, 2008

A view of the madness in Dayton

I was pretty excited to get press credentials for the John McCain/Sarah Palin event in Dayton, Ohio Friday.

Then I realized that meant I had only a so-so view of the screen. So here is a unique view of press row and the backs of 15,000 heads:

From the Wall Street Journal:
"For starters, we'd say Governor Palin's credentials as an agent of reform exceed Barack Obama's. Mr. Obama rose through the Chicago Democratic machine without a peep of push-back. Alaska's politics are deeply inbred and backed by energy-industry money. Mr. Obama slid past the kind of forces that Mrs. Palin took head on. This is one reason her selection -- despite its campaign risks -- seems to have been so well received by Republicans yesterday. They are looking for a new generation of leaders."

Blog shot around the world

You probably have never heard of Gary Pearce. He is a Democratic political consultant in North Carolina who has managed several successful gubernatorial campaigns there.

The reason he needs a little attention today is because of a sentence in a post on his blog in which he summed up a very interesting element of the political discussion in America.

He said:

On the Bus to meet Sarah Palin

I'm on the bus going to Dayton to see Sen. John McCain name his Veep.

Like putting a rat in charge of the cheeseheads

Wisconsin is trying to pass a "health care" tax increase just like Gov. Steve Beshear's administration is secretly planning to pack onto Kentuckians' backs. The bitter irony is The Paducah Economic Development Council is trying to recruit Wisconsin businesses to come here, saying "we want your business; we aren't going to tax you out of existence."

Let's hope people in Wisconsin can't speak Kentuckian.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

At least Beshear isn't giving child molester a gun

Looks like Gov. Steve Beshear has found his new running mate for 2011. Convicted molester of little boys Ron Berry is out of jail and, thanks to Beshear, newly endowed with voting rights and, as a result, is free to run for office.

Under the partial pardon Beshear gave Berry, however, the pedophile won't be able to serve on a jury or possess a firearm.

I repeat, it would be against the law for Berry to carry a firearm. So there is no need for anyone to worry about that.

What do you think about this?

Please use complete sentences and keep your language clean:

Robbing Peter to pay Guido

Learned yesterday at the State Government Committee meeting that we are borrowing $100 million a year from the Kentucky Teachers Retirement System to pay for teachers' healthcare. And we are paying too much interest for the privilege.

Well, at least that makes their poor investment returns look a little better. How long do you think we can keep this up?

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Two candid task farce moments

The Bluegrass Institute's education analyst Richard Innes was the only member of the media at Tuesday's CATS Task Force meeting in Frankfort. His report included two very interesting statements.

Jim Applegate, VP for Academic Affairs at Council on Postsecondary Education, said:
If out of all of this we don’t end up with an assessment system that allows us at every step of the way to understand where the individual child is on the road to the next step after high school, on to college, on to the skilled workplace, whether they’re behind, they’re ahead, they’re on track – and, it’ll help us understand how to intervene with that child to do the right thing and then allows us longitudinally to reassess at a point in the future to know whether our interventions work or not – then, I don’t know why we’re even bothering to assess. You know, uh, I don’t know what the point is."

While this is a great point, Education Commissioner Jon Draud is glad you didn't hear about it in the lame stream media because then he would have a harder time ducking and covering behind his fake little study group.

And then there is this from Mr. Innes, which backs up the whole point behind Senate President David Williams' SB 1 and Rep. Jim DeCesare's HB 15:

One surprisingly candid comment came from a somewhat unexpected source, Jon Draud’s hand-picked testing expert Doris Redfield, the only testing expert in this entire group. Dr. Redfield said:
“If you are going to do an assessment of learning – an accountability assessment, an achievement assessment – what you want are the students’ very best possible products – that’s probably measured on-demand because of the reliability and validity factors.”
In other words, measuring writing on an assessment is most properly done with on-demand writing prompts such as those already given during the CATS tests. In contrast, writing portfolios do not provide the same level of reliable and valid scores.

There isn’t anything new in Redfield’s statement, but it was refreshing to hear her echo this, anyway.

More great reporting from the Bluegrass Institute.

Save pension money by paying firemen less

As Kentucky's public employee pension black hole grows toward $30 billion in size, we would do very well to consider bringing compensation levels down to private sector levels. A good place to start may be with firefighters:
"“That’s not the case for firefighters,” Frates said, recalling how a recent [single] opening in the Newport Beach Fire Department drew a crowd of 600 applicants, including some who camped overnight. “What the market is telling us is that you don’t have to offer 3% at 55 to get qualified applicants.”"

The quote above came from here.

As reality sets in, we are going to have to look at options like this. We simply can not afford to pay people with tax dollars more than they are worth in the real world.

Hit me baby one more time

I'm headed to Frankfort to hear how great we are doing on public employee pension reform. I'm sure I will hear other lies too. And I'm sure I will like it.

1:23 pm Where's Skippy? UPDATE:
What a disappointment. The first item on the agenda LRC emailed out last Thursday promised testimony today from Finance and Administration Cabinet Secretary Jonathan "Skippy" Miller.

Unfortunately, he is nowhere to be found. Nor is he on the current agenda.

Another reason to fire Ron Bishop

A multi-million dollar class action lawsuit against the City of Lexington has reached a settlement agreement, according to federal court documents, and so the city's taxpayers are about to see tangible harm for keeping Fayette County Detention Center Director Ron Bishop employed way past the time since he has proven himself to be a major liability.

Taxpayers have Mayor Jim Newberry, whose law firm represented the city in the matter and will enjoy another healthy payday, to thank for the hit they are going to take. And it will get worse.

The lawsuit resulted from a management scheme at the jail involving shorting employees on their paychecks in violation of the Federal Labor Standards Act and the Kentucky Wage and Hours Act.

This whole thing is stupid and unnecessary and, as usual with the Newberry administration, the only real winners are the lawyers.

Agreement between the city's and plaintiffs' attorneys was worked out on the phone Monday and the judge ordered a hearing for approval of the settlement for Thursday, September 4.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Ohio's Gov. Strickland hates everyone

"Ohioans for healthy families" hasn't weighed in yet on Gov. Ted Strickland's (D) opposition to their wild plan to mandate businesses provide paid family sick leave to everyone.

The economic development along Kentucky's northern border would be fabulous if these folks ran off their businesses with this stuff. Unions and left-wing groups are trying to get the mandate in the form of a ballot initiative.

Finally, a tax-me-more fund

Thanks to action by the Public Service Commission, big spenders and enviro-activists will be able to put their money where their mouths have been.

From the PSC press release:
"In an order issued today, the PSC granted Kentucky Power’s request to begin a “green pricing option” that allows customers to purchase renewable energy. A customer will be permitted to purchase up to 500 blocks of 100 kilowatt-hours per month, at $2 per block. A kilowatt-hour is the amount of electricity used by a 100-watt light bulb in 10 hours. A typical Kentucky Power residential customer uses about 1,350 kilowatt-hours per month. Kentucky Power will use the revenue produced by the optional payments to purchase renewable energy certificates (RECs) from generators of renewable energy. Sources include wind power, solar power, hydroelectric power, landfill gas, biomass and others."

That's a whole lot of green for being green. It will be very interesting to see how many people voluntarily get on board.

And if Gov. Beshear decides to provide some of that elusive "leadership" by volunteering to put the Governor's Mansion on this silly scheme, I vote no.

Just get them out of the way

The Mountain Association for Community Economic Development (MACED) gets it exactly right in their criticism of what passes for government involvement in private business:
""Kentucky as a whole has not made adequate economic progress over the last 30 years," Jason Bailey, research and policy director for the association, said
in an interview. "We are largely stuck in an old approach to economic development that's really based on recruiting industry with the use of tax incentives.""

Unfortunately, this clear-headed analysis leads into more of the same interventionism MACED tends to fall into:
The study’s recommendations include:

• An increase in the share of state economic development resources that go into entrepreneurship and small business development;

• The creation of a state commission to raise the profile of entrepreneurship, conduct research and convene an annual summit;

• A new system of expanded performance-based investments in existing and new
entrepreneurship and small business programs across Kentucky;

• A new state role in helping coordinate and connect the various public, non-profit and private programs across the state.

There is something perverse about setting up a government bureaucracy to incentivize and guide entrepreneurism. We would do much better to shut down the economic development cabinet, cut taxes, and reduce regulation that hurts private productivity.

Sure, teach entrepreneurism in the schools. In fact, make it a part of the required curriculum at every high school and state college and university. But then get government out of the way.

Monday, August 25, 2008

It's called shoring up the base

The "African Americans and Women in Politics" class at Berea College is wasting no time indoctrinating students. Hillary Clinton's "Living History" is off the required reading list and Barack Obama's "The Audacity of Hope" is on it.

School is in, time for vouchers

An extraordinary event at the Democratic convention that Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi, Howard Dean, Harry Reid, Ben Chandler, John Yarmuth, and friends don't want you to know anything about:

Hit this link.

Dems in Denver greeted by 50 of these

And there is more where this came from.

Left-wing money flows into Kentucky

Rep. Ed Whitfield's opponent, Heather Ryan, just got $5000 for her campaign for being a "Progressive Patriot."

This says a lot about Kentucky education

What does it say about Kentucky education when this message lies at the top of the Education Cabinet Secretary's web page:

"Unemployment benefits extended in Kentucky"?

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Making Ford, GM, Toyota buy us silly golf carts

Mark Hebert reports Gov. Steve Beshear may be making a big deal Monday about taking tax dollars from existing employers and giving them to ZAP, Inc.

It would be much cheaper and effective if we just made our policies more conducive to business growth across the board.

Really, we are subsidizing photo-ops for politicians with this garbage and doing it with money from existing businesses. What a waste.

Bruce Lunsford wearing thin

Larry Dale Keeling gets to the heart of Bruce Lunsford's just-folks schtick with this:
"When he’s winging it, Lunsford also can go overboard trying to establish his ”folksy“ street cred with anecdotes about his childhood on a farm..."

Oh, and did Lunsford mention he went to the bathroom outside when he was a small child and that the American Dream is dead?

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Some of us only need one

Here are twenty reasons to repeal corporate income taxes.

I have several favorites on this list, but this one is really worth a look:
"11) The OECD has found that corporate taxes are most onerous for dynamic, high-growth companies that are challenging more established firms."

All the more reason for people in central Kentucky to be aware of this upcoming rally in Lexington. Waiting around for politicians to get serious about pro-growth reforms on their own just won't cut it.

Biden his time, denying Iranian threat

I guess Sen. Barack Obama is trying to balance out his ticket with a little gravitas -- or at least gray hair -- by adding Sen. Joe Biden on as Veep.

The Republican Jewish Coalition is not impressed:
"In 1998, Sen. Biden was one of only four senators to vote against the Iran Missile Proliferation Sanctions Act, a bill that punished foreign companies or other entities that sent Iran sensitive missile technology or expertise. Biden was one of the few senators to oppose the bipartisan 2007 Kyl-Lieberman Ammendment labeling the Iranian Revolutionary Guard a terrorist organization. In a December 2007 debate, Biden said "Iran is not a nuclear threat to the United States of America." On MSNBC's "Hardball," Biden said he "never believed" Iran had a weapon system under production. "The Jewish community was already gravely concerned with Senator Obama's naïve understanding of the Iranian threat. An Obama-Biden ticket has proven that it is ill-equipped to deal with this threat. By selecting Senator Biden to join his ticket, voting for Senator Obama has now become an even greater risk," said (RJC Exec. Director Matt) Brooks."

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Looking out for their own

Jessamine County Sheriff Kevin Corman has somehow managed to weather investigations for misappropriation of funds by Attorney General Jack Conway and Auditor of Public Accounts Crit Luallen.

Sources inside both offices report Corman is being given time to repay the funds while the public is kept in the dark.

Skippy jumps in water over his head, again

In his next column -- appearing soon online and in a fast-growing number of Kentucky newspapers -- Bluegrass Institute policy director Jim Waters blisters Finance and Administration Cabinet Secretary Skippy Miller for, well, being Skippy:
"When he was Democratic Party chairman and clawing his way up the bureaucratic food chain, Miller spoke as a partisan and thought as a partisan. But now that he serves as a cabinet secretary, he should file away his partisan ploys and focus on what best serves the public."

Skippy picked a fight with Waters for challenging Frankfort to get serious about spending transparency.

No one has to die for government transparency

While so much attention is focused on China because of the Olympics, it might be easy to miss the case of a bureaucrat there sentenced to death for taking bribes.

As tempting as it might seem to have Kentucky bureaucrats having each other killed for corruption, it's not hard to image that power being abused by the wrong person. (Greg Stumbo, anyone?)

Anyway, it seems the Chinese criminal is unlikely to actually suffer the death penalty for his crimes.

But the point from those of us who want less government corruption in Kentucky is that no one has to die. We just want government spending posted to the internet so we have a better idea of what is being done with our money.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Don't forget public employee benefits reform

While the Frankfort crowd is trying to work out a way to raise taxes before the end of the year, in Kalamazoo, Michigan they are getting serious about trimming back public employee benefits.
"Taking the first steps in overhauling its employee health-care coverage, the Kalamazoo County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday unanimously approved raising the age for retiring with full benefits to 65 from 60."

"However, the board delayed action until next year on the more contentious question of whether to stop offering health-care coverage for the dependents of future employees."

Despite the increasingly outlandish rhetoric from the Beshear Administration, a seventy cent tax increase on cigarettes isn't going to save the state. Revisiting public employee benefits would be a much more meaningful step in the right direction.

Since the public sector regulates private sector access to health insurance, we should bring public sector benefits more in line with ours. Putting them on the same side of the table with the rest of us may remove some of the resistance to market reforms to bring down costs.

Give me billions and I'll save $68 million, too

The Boston Globe is fired up about the Massachusetts universal healthcare mandate saving $68 million in its fund for uninsured people because the state is sucking up billions in tax dollars to buy them insurance:
"Dr. JudyAnn Bigby, the state's secretary of Health and Human Services, said that the latest enrollment figures should bolster the state's case with the federal government."

""It shows them that it's a good model for Massachusetts," Bigby said in an interview. "The intent of healthcare reform was that if people were getting coverage," then the number of patients relying on the state and hospitals to pick up the tab for their care would decline, she said."

"That appears to be happening. For example, from July through September 2007, the most recent period for which data is available, the number of visits to hospitals and community health centers by the uninsured declined by 37 percent, compared with the same period a year earlier, the report said. That drop translated to a $68 million savings in the pool of money the state sets aside to cover the uninsured."

"Massachusetts has requested more than $11 billion in federal support during the next three years to pay for dozens of healthcare programs, including its crown jewel, its nearly universal health coverage system. The federal payments, which are crucial to keeping the landmark program afloat, were set to expire June 30, but the state has received four extensions."

Another great government success. How long before Kentucky tries to emulate it?

This is what makes Drudge Report #1

And in other news, The Lexington Herald Leader is sinking like a rock with analysis like this from Larry Dale Keeling:
"Am I the only cynic who believes the recent decline in oil and gas prices is the oil industry's attempt to influence the November election by reducing the pain somewhat so Americans will feel less anger toward a Republican administration?"

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Buh-bye Jody!

Rep. Greg Stumbo surprises no one by making clear that he wants to be the one getting Gov. Beshear's tax increases crammed down his throat by Senate President David Williams.

Should be an interesting special election to replace Richards in the House next year, too. And a question I would like to see Stumbo answer is who he will put in as Budget Chairman.

Exaggerating our way to bigger government

The MSM is all over the "report" claiming that children are dying in the streets for want of increased spending and policies that encourage welfare fraud:
"Jefferys says the number of uninsured children in Kentucky could easily drop if the state used mail-in and online applications."

Oh, and then there was this:
"When these kids don't have health coverage, nothing else matters. They can't go to school and learn, they can't focus on their learning environment if they're not healthy."
--Patrick Jefferys, Project Director

Rather than focus on the hyperbole, we could enact better policies to lower healthcare costs for everyone. Letting Americans buy health insurance policies across state lines would be a great start.

Gov. Steve Beshear, are you for safety?

Texas Gov. Rick Perry has weighed in on the idea of teachers carrying guns in schools.

He is in favor of it.

No word, though, from Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear.


Monday, August 18, 2008

Not just an abortion issue any more

You may have heard that Barack Obama doesn't like talking about babies. Watch this and you will know why.

And another 90 million suffer bouts of sadness

Congressman John Conyers (D-Michigan) had another socialized medicine photo-op today in his district.

Nothing unusual about that, but this Crain's Detroit Business coverage added a new element to the spin:
"With nearly 50 million people uninsured and another 25 million underinsured, the need for universal health coverage has..."

Are you kidding me? Now, in addition to the bogus uninsured statistic we are throwing up an "underinsured" figure to generate big-government hysteria?

With high-deductible coverage for my family, I guess I am one of the underinsured. But no government program is going to shake me off of my philosophical -- and mathematical -- opposition to buying insurance for something I can afford to pay for myself.

Conyers and company are really counting on Americans not understanding much of anything about insurance.

Warren Rogers spanks Ben Chandler

A pro-employee choice blog spanks Rep. Ben Chandler for tailoring his position on union tactics to various audiences:
"Chandler knows that while speaking in front of the pro-business community, voicing his support for the Employee Free Choice Act might not go over so well. It’s a shame that he can vote for a bill in Washington D.C. one day and dismiss his actions the next depending on who’s in the audience."

Read the whole post here. And thanks to Warren Rogers for shining light on Chandler's actions.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Speaking too soon, again

Just as soon as the Bluegrass Institute mentioned there had been no "economic development" giveaway deals in Kentucky in August, we came up with a very questionable one.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Newberry racks up more legal fees for his law firm

Fayette County Detention Center Director Ron Bishop admitted from his home in Louisville, with his City of Lexington car in the driveway, that he has fired Rashel Coatney.

The move is clearly attributable to Coatney's son developing a rare form of cancer costing hundreds of thousands of dollars to treat. Lexington Mayor Jim Newberry might want to weigh in on this one, especially after considering the millions of dollars in civil lawsuits the city's taxpayers already face for keeping Bishop employed.

It would still be cheaper for Lexington taxpayers if they demanded Newberry give Coatney her job back and, instead, get rid of Bishop. Otherwise, Newberry is just providing support to his critics who say he is in office only to enrich himself with legal fees defending his own actions.

Is McCain already affecting policy?

A North Carolina think tank rips Sen. Elizabeth Dole for supporting Sen. Mitch McConnell's Gas Price Reduction Act of 2008 because the bill doesn't open up ANWR and it limits off-shore drilling to beyond fifty miles from the coast.

The John Locke Foundation says:
"Clearly, this legislation is meant to appease the eco-alarmist John McCain, who has always opposed exploration in the ANWR and continues to do so. That is easily explained by his (and Senator Dole's) support for the massive energy tax known as "Cap and Trade," which exposes his real feelings about actually using more oil."

While The Maverick and Sen. McConnell have everyone's attention and most of us agree that we need to agressively pursue our own energy resource, perhaps they should explain to us why this bill leaves so much undone.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Starting to fight back against citizen-paid bennies

Kentucky still hasn't decided to face reality on our too-rich public employee fringe benefits. We would do well to look at what is happening in Nevada and Indiana for a little insight into what we should do before any more time passes.

Nevada is phasing out paid health insurance for some government retirees.
"The state has offered the retiree health benefits for decades. But with rising medical costs and people living longer, the cost to the state has ballooned. Currently, it has a $4 billion unfunded liability, Johnstone said."

Interesting that here in Kentucky we still aren't motivated to act when our unfunded liability is nearly $30 billion.

And in Indiana, lawmakers last year got rid of the richest pension matching program I've ever seen:
"According to a file leaked to The Indianapolis Star and verified by state officials, lawmakers have contributed $3.6 million to their pension accounts since 1992, when they put the finishing touches on the system. During that same time period, taxpayers contributed $14.2 million to the lawmakers' accounts. (You can go to to search a database showing how much the state has contributed to each lawmaker's account.)"

"The pension plan is among a set of perks that drew widespread criticism in recent years. In response to the criticism, the legislature voted last year to do away with the 4-to-1 pension match come 2009."

Meanwhile, Kentucky is content to hand parachutes to some lawmakers that are worth more than gold. We really need some more leadership on this.

Shhhhh... be vewwy, vewwy quiet!

The Fayette County Detention Center is trying to keep quiet the fact that they have fired the four indicted employees in the Fayette jail inmate abuse scandal.

Funny thing on the way to high tax Nirvana

Gov. Steve Beshear really doesn't want you to read this blog post, comment on it, or to tell your friends about it.

From the Wall Street Journal:

Beshear needs to stop talking about raising taxes and get serious about making better spending decisions. Tax increases aren't going to save him and they won't help any of us.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Beshear to channel Hillary Clinton

Behind the scenes, Governor Steve Beshear's administration is working up another socialized medicine program.

Brother, can you spare a bailout?

Former Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan said in the Wall Street Journal this morning that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac should have been allowed to collapse rather than receive a taxpayer bailout.


By the same token, overspending legislators should have to make up for years of raiding the public employee benefits plans without a taxpayer bailout.

Picture = a thousand words

Supporters of Sen. Barack Obama keep trying to spin his tax increase proposals, but are finding it a little difficult to run from the facts.

Here are the facts:

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

KDP distracted by Trey Grayson

Secretary of State Trey Grayson sent out an email to supporters this morning urging them to contribute their ideas for the national Republican Party platform:
"I am writing to encourage you to help us develop the Republican Party platform that will be adopted at the 2008 Convention."

"As you may have heard, I have been asked to serve as the Co-Chair of the "Guaranteeing Energy Independence and a Cleaner Environment" sub-committee of the Platform Committee."

"I wanted to let you know that the Party is seeking your input as we develop the policies and principles upon which we should stand for the next four years."

"To do so, we have created a webpage -- --
where you can share your thoughts, participate in polls, and communicate directly with the policymakers who will be shaping the party's agenda."

"I can personally attest to the fact that all comments and feedback will be reviewed and taken into full consideration as we prepare for our convention in Minneapolis-St. Paul."

Meanwhile, the Jefferson County GOP has put out a petition to urge some blogger to stop his half-baked Bluegrass Report attacks on Grayson.

Since we know the Kentucky Democratic Party backed the site when it was written by Mark Nickolas, maybe we should hear their thoughts on what is being posted to that site now.

Beshear hanging out with Obama too much

Gov. Steve Beshear made clear his support for Sen. Barack Obama's presidential bid earlier this month at Fancy Farm. Now his seems determined to complete his transformation into just another tax-anything-that-moves politician.

From the Owensboro Messenger-Inquirer:
"When asked after the event what other sources of revenue he had heard suggested in the town hall meetings, Beshear only mentioned one other -- increasing the tax on alcohol."

"Beshear said he hadn't decided whether he would reconvene the legislature for a special session to deal with a new revenue measure before the end of the year."

""We also don't know yet whether our revenue projections are going to hold or not to know whether we might need to take any action," Beshear said. "We don't have enough information yet to know whether we'll be doing anything like that.""

Democratic candidates across the state should be made to answer whether or not they support plans to raise taxes after the election. Otherwise, we should probably just assume we already know the answer.

Biting the hand that bites the hand

Jacob Payne of Louisville has the goods on another corrupt Kentucky Democratic Party Chair. So she got him kicked out of the national convention.

Good stuff. Be sure to read the comments.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

One-two punch: first oil, next tax reform?

While we are all excited about Speaker Nancy Pelosi and friends losing their religion on environmental extremism, it might be a good time to consider real tax reform. Here's the latest from the National Taxpayers Union:

Jon Draud is full of it

Education Commissioner Jon Draud, fresh off ripping off taxpayers to pimp his ride and pad his pension(details here), is now lying about school funding, too.

What the left tells itself when no one is listening

The latest Social Security "research" is no more reassuring than anything else from the "there is no crisis" crowd than we have heard the last few years:
"Since the early 1980s, Social Security has been taking in more in worker contributions than it has been paying out in benefits. This has resulted in a growing trust fund of more than $2 trillion. These reserves are projected to grow for another decade, and then will decline and run out in 2041. If no action is taken, benefits will have to be cut by about 25%, as they will be funded entirely from current contributions. Even if lawmakers allowed this to happen, future retirees will receive benefits that are more generous than those received by previous generations. Retiring at 65, the typical young adult born between 1980 and 1990 will receive retirement benefits valued at $188,000 in 2007 dollars, up from $181,000 for retirees born between 1960 and 1970."

Yeah, you lost me at "trust fund of more than $2 trillion."

Is the Dem well really this dry?

The partisan slugfest often looks suspiciously like a race to the bottom. In a year in which some civil rights activists are starting to figure out that environmental extremism is a thinly-veiled war on low-income people, though, there is increasing evidence some Democrats are really out of ideas.

Running amok on heating subsidies

The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities tried yesterday to make the case for jacking up taxpayer subsidies for heating expenses for low-income Americans. They are upset that President Bush is talking about a veto for a new $2.5 billion for LIHEAP, complaining that an expected 40% increase in home heating costs will cause widespread hardship.

Right. And creating billions more dollars of artificial demand each year will ensure that those huge cost increases keep coming. Then we will have more and more people depending on the government to heat their homes and will need higher and higher taxes to pay for our socialized heat.

Around and around we go...

Monday, August 11, 2008

Now THIS is a great idea

The Ohio Institute is going to put political candidates on the spot if they don't support government transparency:
"A Pledge for Transparency and Accountability in Government will be distributed to all candidates for elective office, at all levels of government, from townships and school districts to the General Assembly. It asks that candidates acknowledge the importance of Internet availability, the legal basis of transparency in the stateand federal constitutions, and the use of practical, current technology, such as searchable databases and relevant cross links."

Kentucky needs spending transparency and, while we are at it, we need to put government notices online.

Clock running out on Fayette jail defendants

Sources report at least two of the four defendants in the Fayette jail inmate abuse scandal will have their employment with the city of Lexington terminated.

In a sane world, this would beg the question of why they continue to leave whistleblower John Vest twisting in the wind after almost two years while they are figuring out quickly how to deal with the people on whom he blew the whistle.

5:13 pm UPDATE: CWA Local 3372 President Joey McCarty confirmed that all four defendants still employed by FCDC -- John McQueen, Clarence McCoy, Kristine Lafoe, and Anthony Estep got letters last week giving them seven days to decide if they wanted to resign or be fired.

Chandler: say little, do nothing

Sage campaign advice from Congressman Ben Chandler in Ryan Alessi's column this morning says it all:
"It's so basic," Chandler said. "That's what the Democrats did in the 2006 elections -- they just talked about change and a new direction and they didn't really say much about anything else."

Saturday, August 09, 2008

McCain offers VP advice to Obama

In a radio address Sen. John McCain is going to deliver today, he will suggest that Sen. Barack Obama "should consider someone with a knack for brevity and directness, to balance the ticket."

Here is his speech:
"Good morning, I'm John McCain. As you may know, the Democratic National Convention is just a couple of weeks away. It was four years ago, at the same gathering, that America heard a fine speech from an Illinois state senator named Barack Obama. He's done pretty well for himself since then. And the smart money in Denver is on another celebrated performance."

"But even the most stirring speeches are easily forgotten when they're short on content. Taking in my opponent's performances is a little like watching a big summer blockbuster, and an hour in realizing that all the best scenes were in the trailer you saw last fall. In the way of running mates, Senator Obama should consider someone with a knack for brevity and directness, to balance the ticket."

"In the meantime, let me take a stab at a plot summary of the Obama campaign: America is finally winning in Iraq, and he wants to forfeit. Government is too big, and he wants to grow it. Taxes are too high, and he wants to raise them. Congress spends too much, and he proposes more. We need more energy, and he's against producing it."

"Energy in particular seems to confound Senator Obama, because if there is any problem that can't be solved by words alone it's America's need for secure and affordable energy supplies. So far, he's managed to come up with an energy plan that's so timid only OPEC and a few interest groups in his own party are happy with it. And this week, Senator Obama set about correcting that impression."

"First there was his call for Americans to check their tires -- which is commonsense advice, but hardly has the makings of a national energy strategy. If we can't drill our way out of the problem, it seems even more unlikely that we can inflate our way out of it."

"Next came Senator Obama's mention of offshore drilling -- formerly known in the Obama campaign as a "gimmick" and a "scheme." As more people notice that his answer to most every form of energy production is "no," my opponent tried to simulate a "yes." He pledges a vague willingness to possibly consider limited drilling as part of some hypothetical compromise at an undetermined date. Careful listeners are still waiting for an actual commitment to offshore drilling."

"Apparently, Senator Obama was trying to get credit for changing his mind on drilling, without actually changing his position against drilling. This was the rare case of a politician actually hoping to be accused of a flip-flop. But even that would be giving Senator Obama's energy plan too much credit. As of today, he still has no plan to produce more oil by drilling offshore. And my opponent's most memorable flip-flop remains his frequent criticism of the Bush-Cheney energy policy, despite voting for the Bush-Cheney energy bill in 2005 -- a bill I opposed and voted against."

"Finally, Senator Obama proposed to release oil from our nation's Strategic Petroleum Reserve. For those keeping track, this comes exactly a month after he said he was firmly against using the Strategic Petroleum Reserve."

"A serious energy plan involves a lot more yes's than no's. And that is why I say yes to drilling, here and now. Yes to 45 more nuclear power plants to provide our country with electricity. Yes to clean coal technology, so that we can create jobs and use America's most abundant resource. Yes to renewable energy sources, so that we can shift away from petroleum over the long term. Yes to a break from the federal gasoline tax, so that our government helps you in a time of need instead of just adding to your costs. In short, yes to all of the above -- to a bold plan for achieving energy independence that starts today."

"Regaining control over the cost and supply of energy in America will not be easy, and it won't happen quickly. But no challenge to our economy and security is more urgent. And you have my pledge that if I am president, we're going to get it done. Thanks for listening."

Frankfort's big taxers get one more worry

I just got my first post up as a new contributor to the National Taxpayers Union. Hoping to shine a little extra light on the goings-on here in Kentucky.

Please check it out.

Friday, August 08, 2008

See no surplus, hear no surplus, speak no surplus

Remember earlier in the year when the media dutifully reported state government revenue statistics each month in the run-up to the Great Depression of 2008 as an opportunity to talk about how dire our revenue situation was and how badly we needed tax increases?

Have you wondered where that dutiful reportage went the last two months?

See this.

Taxing our way to prosperity still not working

A Tax Foundation study out today shows that in 2008, citizens of twenty four states pay a higher portion of their income than Kentuckians do. The same report, though, shows that only four states have a larger discrepancy between state rank for tax burden (25) and per capita income (47).

Neighboring Tennessee has the eighth lowest tax burden in the nation and a per capita income $3751 higher than Kentucky's. It seems that if Kentucky wants its citizens to earn income like its neighbors to the south do, it will resist raising taxes and may do well to consider eliminating all income taxes.

"Grab your wallets" alert in Frankfort

The Joint Subcommittee on Postsecondary Education is meeting Monday morning to discuss how to make college more affordable in Kentucky.

Whither the ink-stained wretches?

Found an extraordinary newspaper industry blog post with even more extraordinary comments attached about the current state of affairs in the newspaper industry.

Fascinating read.

The way people get their information and what they do with it is changing rapidly.

Meanwhile, some people at the Lexington Herald Leader are busily rearranging deck chairs:

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Cutting welfare abuse gets a boost

Rep. Lonnie Napier is still stirring up support for stopping drug abusers from also abusing Kentucky's welfare system.

Chandler caves in?

Speaking to a Madison County forum tonight in Richmond, WLAP's Leland Conway said a staffer for Congressman Ben Chandler told him the Congressman is ready to vote to drill for oil.

Vanity alert in McCain and Obama-land

Just realized I got quoted in the Washington Post today in a story about Sen. John McCain's campaign using "AstroTurf".

"Another political blogger, David Adams, who runs Kentucky-centric, was unaware that McCain's campaign had listed his site as a target for comments until he was told about it by a reporter Friday. He questioned how much good such messages would do in any case. Kentucky, he points out, is a solidly Republican state that probably will vote overwhelmingly for McCain in the fall."

""Our eight votes are going to McCain no matter what he or Barack Obama says," Adams said of the electoral college."

McCain still considers me an "other." And that reminds me, I'm headed off to Richmond for a forum on what "conservatism" means.

Hurry up those Kentucky tax cuts

Rumors continue to swirl about Gov. Steve Beshear calling a special session after the November election to raise Kentucky taxes. This will be another Beshear screw-up. Not only will the Senate not let him do it, but it would have a horrible impact on our fiscal health.

What we really need to do is cut taxes.

A Forbes magazine list of the fastest-dying cities in America should serve as a jolt back to reality for those who want to keep making government bigger:
"Where's it worst? Ohio, according to our analysis, which racked up four of the 10 cities on our list: Youngstown, Canton, Dayton and Cleveland. The runner-up is Michigan, with two cities--Detroit and Flint--making the ranking."

This should have a sobering effect on Kentuckians, given that another new study shows Michigan and Ohio both more business-friendly for manufacturers.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Just a question

On Saturday, October 25, nearly 60,000 southerners will congregate in Commonwealth Stadium in Lexington, Kentucky to watch the Arkansas Razorbacks take on the Kentucky Wildcats in a game of football.

If Barack Obama shows up to wave at the crowd and perhaps mutter a few generalities, will the media ignore the game and report on the tens of thousands of screaming fans who turned out to express repentance for their formerly racist ways?

Who do you think you're fooling, Skippy?

Governor Steve Beshear's effort to keep hiding the state's checkbook from taxpayers took an odd twist tonight involving Finance and Administration Cabinet Secretary Jonathan "Skippy" Miller.

Miller was apparently so exhausted from his first e-transparency task force meeting on June 19th that he couldn't manage to have another one until September 2nd. That, of course, is when Secretary of State Trey Grayson, the leading state official on government transparency, will be in Minneapolis for the Republican National Convention.

Miller told WHAS reporter Mark Hebert that he didn't know when the GOP convention was. Skippy has lived and breathed politics his entire life. There is no way he didn't know when the convention was.

Beshear could have enacted this months ago. It's way past time to quit screwing around.

David Boswell wants to be's boy

Sen. David Boswell is desperate to get out of the state Senate this year so he can maximize his state pension. He even tried to run for governor, but never got that off the ground.

Now he is trying to get outside groups to fund his flagging congressional campaign against Sen. Brett Guthrie. From the Owensboro Messenger-Inquirer today:
"Boswell is still attempting to tap into Democratic donors from national organizations and from outside the district and planning a fundraiser featuring former U.S. Senator and governor Wendell Ford and U.S. Rep. Steny Hoyer of Maryland, the majority leader in the U.S. House."

You can find Rep. Steny Hoyer's name on an online petition put out by Rep. Eric Cantor to urge Hoyer and Speaker Nancy Pelosi to get serious about addressing gas prices. Boswell isn't about to cross Pelosi and Hoyer while he is trying to get money out of them.
"Boswell doubted whether action on the issue was needed before the U.S. House is set to reconvene on Sept. 8."

""I think it can probably wait until the recess is over," Boswell said."

Draud still spinning, media still buying it

Education Commissioner Jon Draud told The Louisville Courier Journal's Toni Konz that he isn't going to ask for a raise six months into his job.

How magnanimous of him, especially considering that the General Assembly slipped him an extra $40,000 this spring.

Tax reform for working Kentuckians

Rep. Bill Farmer is working on a bill to repeal all Kentucky income taxes.

It isn't what they are trying to do in Massachusetts, but would involve expanding and raising sales taxes in an effort to keep revenues where they are now.

It would be a serious step in the right direction.

Hurricane Grayson: Beshear ducks and covers

Gov. Steve Beshear already embarrassed himself trying to get out in front of Secretary of State Trey Grayson's spending transparency initiative back in June, despite his dithering for six months. And he obviously heard the chants at Fancy Farm for Grayson to run against him in 2011.

So it comes as no surprise to learn Beshear has scheduled the next meeting of the E-Transparency Task Force for September 2nd, when Grayson is away at the Republican National Convention.

It would be a lot easier to take Gov. Beshear seriously about his desire to show the public what state government has been hiding all these years if the meeting he is slipping in while Grayson is unavailable were not the first one since June 19th.

Pitiful display, Gov. Beshear.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Education watchdog hopeful for real reform

Could a Frankfort task force actually do something positive for someone other than the politicians? Richard Innes, the Bluegrass Institute's education analyst, sees a glimmer of hope in the one set up to study CATS testing:
"It seems the people appointed to this group are less malleable and a bit more interested in giving this a good “college try” than the department of education anticipated. And, when I found myself in agreement with some of the comments from the Kentucky Education Association president about problems with writing instruction interference from CATS, there may indeed be some hope that what the department wanted to be a low key sort of white-wash might just turn out to be something much better."

Hard not to be skeptical, but we'll see.

This time they have really gone too far

A check of internal personnel records at the Fayette County Detention Center shows that jail employee Rashel Coatney, who was roughed up by a jail administrator and told that she was fired two weeks ago, has essentially been placed on unpaid leave.

This is outrageous because the single mom (and her son who has cancer) can't get any public assistance because she is, technically, not unemployed. So jail administration is jamming this young lady into a box she can't get out of as some kind of sick vendetta against her.

This sorry episode lays bare a sick leave policy at the jail that is being used as a weapon against employees who don't play the kind of games Director Ron Bishop has been playing for years. Fayette county taxpayers will ultimately pay many millions of dollars to clean up the messes Bishop has created in sexual harassment lawsuits, racial discrimination, a class action lawsuit for improper compensation practices, and a federal investigation into inmate abuse and misuse of public property. Mayor Jim Newberry has slept through the whole thing.

As a Jessamine County resident, I can watch and wait with a somewhat detached indifference for the massive lawsuits to keep coming down. They won't cost me a dime.

But I refuse to sit by idly while these "leaders" toy sadistically with innocent children. If you live in Lexington, please call Mayor Jim Newberry at 576-2564 and tell him to stand up for an innocent, hard-working citizen for once instead of for his political cronies at the jail. If he wants to save money, he can get rid of the administrators' taxpayer-provided cars.

Enjoy your gas price increase holiday, Ben

While Rep. Ben Chandler rests up from his hard charge to the left in Washington D.C., House Republicans are making a loud statement for energy independence on Capitol Hill.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Get off the pot, Governor Beshear

Did I mention that Gov. Steve Beshear is "studying" the idea of improving Kentucky's disastrous scholastic assessment program called CATS?

Education Analyst Richard Innes at the Bluegrass Institute has more devastating evidence that the "writing portfolios" we do in our public schools are a waste of time and money.

Here is another dead bill that would have addressed this problem. Oh, and don't forget this one. It's the reason Beshear is "studying."

Time's a wasting, Governor.

What kind of conservative are you?

The Madison County Republican party is hosting an interesting event Thursday, August 7th at 7:00 pm. They are calling it a "Community Forum on Conservatism" and seeking to answer the questions "What does it mean to be a conservative?" and "Has the meaning of conservatism changed over time?"

The panelists are the Bluegrass Institute's Chris Derry, Rep. Lonnie Napier, and WLAP's Leland Conway.

Everyone is invited to the event in Central Bank's Community Room at 350 W. Main Street in Richmond.

What are you trying to say, Governor?

Somehow I missed the press release on this one, but someone might want to ask Gov. Steve Beshear about the single largest corporate giveaway in Kentucky last week.

He gave $1.625 million to a company that makes adult diapers.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Playing by "big government rules"

We're looking at a big battle in 2009 over health insurance reform. The "Harry and Louise" ads from 2004 helped save us from HillaryCare won't cut it this time. Here is a very effective video being used to push government healthcare:

And here is the fifteen year-old stuff that needs to be updated:

It's a shame that we're arguing about whether mindless bureaucrats or mindless corporate hacks should carry the day. Getting the government out of the way and introducing real competition into the marketplace would easily deliver lower prices and better service.

Political imaginations running wild

Some people try to counter the fact that outspoken people like Dan Rather and Katie Couric dominate a mainstream media with a bias toward a statist ideology by claiming implausibly that they actually veer to the right.

Here is another nail in that coffin. Lexington Herald Leader columnist Tom Eblen said this morning, in his description of the Fancy Farm picnic:
"Young Republicans dressed as Arab sheikhs, “thanking” Lunsford for higher oil prices, through some stretch of the political imagination. Young Democrats dressed as characters with the names “Texas Oilman Mitch” and “Bush's Lapdog Mitch.”"

Lunsford hopes to join a party in the Senate that has quashed every effort to expand domestic oil exploration for many years. Joined by a handful of "Republicans" who agreed with them the last few years, they have been able to shut off the domestic spigot unimpeded for decades. Seeking to add one more vote to that sentiment, as Lunsford does, is indeed worthy of appreciation from Arab oil producers.

And that brings us to the next sentence in Eblen's column. How can Lunsford's support for rising oil prices be imaginary when the "Texas Oilman Mitch" character isn't worthy of any kind of derogatory mention?

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Another Kentucky education bombshell

Kentucky's faked high school drop-out rates missed another one.

When the Kentucky Department of Education figured out that the American Diploma Project they joined in 2002 was actually a serious effort and not marketing gimmicks and spin, they sat on the back row, put on their dark sunglasses, and went to sleep.

Road trip!

Headed off for my first Fancy Farm. I have the technology to report from there and expect to do so. Please check back.

Here's one rumor for you.

UPDATE: I think I can sum up the meaningful political discourse from the whole day in one sentence. This fall's Congressional races are about gas prices.

Today was fun. Gov. Beshear did better than I thought he would. Neither Mitch McConnell nor Bruce Lunsford drew any blood. Heather Ryan and Todd Hollenbach did pretty well also. Secretary of State Trey Grayson had the best line of the day when he talked about Gov. Beshear studying another potential policy move and the Frankfort press going down to Grayson's office to see how it was working out in practice.

Problems reading blogs this morning?

For some reason, Site Meter is causing a bunch of blogs to not be readable in Internet Explorer. The fix appears to be simply to remove Site Meter from the site. You won't see the problem if you use Fire Fox, but anyone still on Internet Explorer will.

If you have a blog or know someone who does -- and you can't open it in IE, that's the way to repair the problem. Spread the word.

Or ask your Congressman to sponsor the 2008 Blogger Hit Counter Bailout, Subsidy, And Nationalization Act. That could help, too.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Do you give a hoot about the McCain campaign?

I just got a call from Paul Farhi, a Washington Post reporter, who is writing a story about Sen. John McCain's online outreach program. He was curious about what he said was a rewards system for readers of the McCain site who post McCain talking points onto various sites on the internet.

I know the McCain site has me featured on there as one of the "other" blogs, but I didn't know anything about this.

Is that interesting? Well, no. But the fact that there is very little interesting about the McCain campaign and the guy is running even in the polls with Emperor Barack Obama is, in fact, noteworthy.

Just keep not being Barack Obama, there, Senator McCain.

Changing the world one YouTube at a time

I got off the airplane in Washington D.C. Wednesday morning and rushed over to the Americans for Tax Reform office for a couple of meetings. There I got dragged into a room and was told to talk for 45 seconds about something that should be on the Republican party's national platform. (The very nice young lady who took the video might have mentioned that my tie wasn't straight.)

If you haven't done this yet, you can go on here with your two cents.

Giving the welfare state one more chance to work

Sen. Barack Obama is proposing to raise taxes on oil companies to fund a $1000 "energy rebate." The energy rebate will spur demand and lead to higher prices at exactly the wrong time. This would necessitate President Obama, one supposes, to raise taxes further to provide further relief.

And around and around we go.

You want something to be afraid of?

Be afraid of this.

One more thing about the economy

Louisville blogger Jake Payne raises some key points in his missive about the economy yesterday:

First, the "Republican meme" is that the economy is bad and that it is the Democrats' fault. That works out pretty well because the Dems say it is the GOP. Partisan rancor is fun!

But they are both wrong. The economy is, as recently as a month ago, still growing. We are so far from going to hell in a handbasket -- as far as the economy goes -- that it isn't even funny. But Republicans in general aren't fighting the mainstream media sales pitch on this, they are just trying to reach a point of political advantage. And maybe that will work.

But if we are going to hold reasonable discussions, we need to be straight about what the facts are. The economy isn't the problem; government involvement in the economy is the problem. If you say you are worried about your ability to survive in this economy and yet you pay to watch television, pay to eat out as restaurants and eat popcorn at movies, spend money you don't have running up credit card balances and driving around in fancy cars instead of saving for retirement, you aren't worried about the economy but are instead counting on a government bailout.

That's the bad plan here.

We have a lot of economic freedom in this country and that works very well. It works so well, in fact, that we risk blowing the whole thing because we have been able to afford so much government nonsense for so long.

Just as we should get rid of some of the luxuries listed above in the name of belt-tightening, we should trim back the government we can't afford before it is too late.