Friday, September 30, 2005

Is The Lexington Herald Leader A Racist Paper?

Two Lexington H-L articles jumped out at me today. One was a news story based on an African American state legislator's concerns about increasing academic standards and the resulting decrease in the admission of black freshmen. The other was an editorial that criticized the University of Kentucky for not graduating a sufficient number of African American students.

I knew in college several African American students who benefitted from special admissions preferences. They got help getting in the door, but those who got degrees earned them.

Community colleges, private schools, and online courses make higher education available to just about anyone. I think that a case can be made, however, for racial preferences in the admissions process at public universities. In any event, I'm not much interested in that fight here.

What is astounding to me is that the Lexington Herald Leader would, in 2005, suggest that UK President Lee Todd deserves punishment for not handing out more degrees to African American students.

Another fine example of the "soft bigotry of low expectations" indeed.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Rare Bipartisanship Shines Light On Frankfort

A raging battle between the Bowling Green think tank Bluegrass Institute (the Courier Journal called them a "conservative propaganda mill") and Frankfort's Legislative Research Commission over online publication of legislators' voting records seems to have broken in favor of the public interest.

Legislators who have hidden behind phony labels for years will soon have to face greater scrutiny for their official actions.

The LRC today agreed to make complete voting records publicly available on their website January 3, 2006. This action comes after weeks of LRC intransigence in the face of repeated requests from the Bluegrass Institute to make the records available electronically. BI has put up a website at that will give citizens unprecedented ability to analyze their representatives' actions.

It took both Senate President David Williams and House Speaker Jody Richards to get this done. Kudos to both of them.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Bringing Delaware To Kentucky

The Kentucky Democratic Party is bringing in Senator Joe "Howard Dean does not speak for me" Biden to the Bluegrass State October 22 to raise money.

So it's official. Republican-lite is in and Smash-mouth Deaniac ranting is out. While that is welcome progress for a state party that refused to renounce Dean's screams this summer, bringing in America's most famous plagiarist surely won't do anything to inspire the party's "Surrender Now To Terrorists Abroad And Raise Taxes At Home" base.

The slogan for next year can be "Vote Democrat: We're Like Little Republicans."

Kentucky's GOP must not miss this great opportunity to bounce these bozos to permanent minority party status.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Socialized Medicine Goes For Smoke

These are ugly times for those who want to drain taxpayers to fund a government takeover of the healthcare industry.

Federal legislators from both parties are getting the message from constituents that government spending has gone too far. That would make it a bad time to try to sell HillaryCare to a public who knows better.

So here comes Plan B.

A group called Tobacco Free Alliance is pushing a scheme to get states to mandate coverage of smoking cessation products by health insurers.

The mandated coverages that have been forced on Kentucky's health insurers have kept premiums high here. This one is being sold as a cost-saver because of the social costs of smoking that, proponents assume, would decrease if only non-smokers are forced to pay for smokers' patches and nicotine gum. It's just another half-step toward a Canadian-style healthcare system.

No thanks. We need fewer mandates, not more.

There is a bill before Congress that would allow Kentuckians to buy health insurance from other states. That is what we really need. The slim Democrat House majority we are stuck with through the 2006 General Assembly session will cling to what remains of their disastrous 1994 reforms that destroyed the Kentucky health insurance market.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Time To Act On Merit Hiring Scandal

If you are not sick of hearing about the Merit Hiring Scandal, you haven't been paying attention.

The developments in this episode have reached a critical mass; news stories are writing themselves nearly every day and political opponents get to look smart by saying nothing.

And while the best legal defense strategy may well be underway, denying that there are serious problems with the political strategy is getting to be a little tough.

I know that the public hasn't been fully engrossed in this debacle yet, but the Governor's own people have already written the Democrats' fundraising letters, speeches, and campaign commercials for them. Under normal circumstances, I'm all for waiting for the pendulum to reverse course, but this isn't your garden variety failure to communicate.

Lots of people are whispering about what might happen next. Here's a likely scenario: the 2006 legislative session is going to include several bills on merit hiring. Public discussion of each will dredge back up the whole thing. The environment for the 2006 elections can be saved, but not at the rate and in the direction we are going now. The scene in 2007 could be even worse.

The governor's race for 2007 has indeed started. The '06 House and Senate races will be impacted by all this too. Actually, it has already happened. GOP candidate recruitment is way down from this time in the last cycle, when first-time candidates were jumping up to get involved in the conservative revolution in Kentucky.

Making a clean break from recent events is looking more imperative every day.

I worked hard to help get Governor Fletcher elected. I would do it again. In fact, if he is the nominee in 2007, I will support him again. But I would be hoping for a very weak Democrat nominee. Governor Fletcher was very brave to attempt a fumigation of Frankfort. Smoking out the insurgents left over from previous administrations and set on destroying his was a battle he could have won, perhaps, but didn't.

Clumsiness and overeagerness may have been the primary culprits in this scandal. Maybe it was worse than that. I don't know. But it really doesn't matter much anymore, does it? The damage has been done and repairing it must begin immediately.

Maybe Governor Fletcher thrives on the chaos. Maybe he can cobble together enough of a list of accomplishments to garner support and win re-election. Maybe.

The Kentucky GOP Executive Committee did the right thing in refusing to throw Darrell Brock overboard when Governor Fletcher asked them to. It didn't take a great deal of insight to see that coming. Too many active Republicans are too disgusted over this whole mess to play along when given the opportunity to express discontent. Not that Darrell has cause to rest easy. But this isn't about him yet.

Kentucky Republicans' greatest strength right now is that Democrats have no coherent vision and no ideas. That may help Republicans win an election or two more, but it doesn't help us regain the moral authority to govern. Only Ernie Fletcher's resignation can do that.

Louie Nunn couldn't run for re-election, but the aftermath of his term was thirty two years of Democrat domination. The current situation is much more applicable to Richard Nixon. He resigned before his troubles destroyed his party. Ernie Fletcher should do the same.

Or... quit fighting Greg Stumbo and start fighting for Kentuckians. The widespread perception that this isn't happening is the real reason for the depth of the current mess. The Governor may have one last chance, but the window is closing very quickly.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Senate's Top Democrat Stuck On No

Harry Reid's threat to vote against John Roberts for the Supreme Court is merely the first shot in the battle for the next nominee. As it becomes increasingly likely that Chief Justice Rehnquist will be replaced by another conservative, the left has to hope that they can force President Bush to nominate a moderate next.

Bush won't play Reid's game. The fireworks that result from this clash will likely bring back up the filibuster. And that re-opens the door for his second term agenda to go into high gear. That's Social Security reform and Tax reform, folks.

And now that Tom Delay has everyone talking about cutting spending, expect some big news on that front very soon as well.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Who Is Bill Thomas?

Kentuckians who cheered passage of the tobacco buyout owe it all to a quiet policy wonk from Bakersfield California. As Republican Chairman of the House Ways And Means Committee, Rep. Bill Thomas used his favorite strategy of working outside of the limelight to draft important legislation. He combined it with unrelated initiatives to cobble together sufficient support.

The bad news for liberal interest groups is that he is working on Social Security reform now.

Expect to hear a lot more about this. And remember that Ted Kennedy railed against the tobacco buyout.

Don't underestimate Bill Thomas.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

What We Stand For

The left is going to have a ball with Saturday's events at the Republican Party of Kentucky. They should enjoy it while it lasts.

Governor Fletcher had asked the GOP Executive Committee to fire Chairman Darrell Brock. The fact that the Committee didn't comply on Saturday is ultimately meaningless, but that won't stop the crowing from Democrats counting their unearned good fortune.

Governor Fletcher had his reasons for asking for Brock's head and party leadership had good reason not to go along with that plan. Much will be made of the "divide" or "internal friction" but that is just noise that real people don't care anything about. A governor is an elected official, not a royal figure whose every decree must be quickly obeyed. There is meaning, however, in what happens next. The onus is on both men to produce positive results and to do it quickly and publicly. Brock's job is to raise money. If he is successful there, little else matters. As the Democrats understand by now, no one is going to change party allegiance because of fuzzy ethical concerns about a party chairman. Governor Fletcher is a different story, but he can still be effective. Remember that the 2006 legislative session requires a budget agreement. How that shakes out will far surpass the admitted seriousness of the merit system situation.

Rank and file conservative people care about having a government that functions efficiently and will not insert itself where it doesn't belong. The Republican party is far from perfect. It should come as no surprise that its candidates and elected officials aren't either. Fortunately for the GOP, like the old story about the two hunters running from a bear when one stops to change into his running shoes, we don't have to outrun the bear, just the Democrats. Compare the two party platforms. That should make it abundantly clear why the Dems will be unable to capitalize on this opportunity.

Political conventional wisdom states that you ignore your base and spend your efforts wooing the persuadable portion of your opponents' base. Governor Fletcher needs to turn that old saw upside down and tend to the issues of the people who want to support him the most. Remember what we stand for, Governor. The rest may, in time, take care of itself.

Make the hard choices on Medicaid. Those who will blast you for stemming the tide of red ink would blast you anyway.

Left Still Out To Destroy Healthcare

Liberals know that the only way to force socialized medicine onto American citizens is to obliterate the current system.

Senator Denise Harper Angel (D-Louisville) yesterday pre-filed a bill that would force the governor to demand re-importation of drugs from Canada.

Last year was one in which every Democrat primary candidate for President campaigned in favor of some form of HillaryCare. I think Kentucky Democrats really believe that attempting to extract capitalism from our system of health care will present them with some kind of wedge issue in the 2006 elections.

They are counting on voters' inattention to details.

In this particular case, Senator Harper Angel's bill would, if fully enacted, allow the state of Kentucky to order drugs for Medicaid recipients, at least on paper. To date, re-importation of prescription drugs from Canada has been a way for some individuals to purchase drugs at lower Canadian prices. This has long been illegal, but the Bush Administration made a point of not enforcing that law until last year. Now individuals can try to purchase Canadians drugs, but they are somewhat likely to be confiscated in transit. The Canadian government has yet to intervene in the process because ordering from the U.S. hasn't been substantial enough to noticably impact Canadian supplies. If we encouraged large-scale ordering like this and it caused shortages in Canada, then the Canadian government would quickly shut the process down by making exporting illegal. This gumming up of the works would ensure renewed calls for pricing regulation on American drug makers. With a citizenry becoming increasingly dependent on the life-saving qualities of drugs made in the last bastion of pharmaceutical innovation (the United States), we should understand that more socialism is one thing our healthcare system cannot afford.

But the Democrats don't expect this to get that far. They just want to paint Republicans as protecting the interests of the evil drug companies over the little grandmothers who need their purple pills. That will be fairly easy to do after Republican Senators kill Senator Harper Angel's little piece of socialist utopian dreaming.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

KY Supreme Court Justices ELECTED By The People

Anyone watching the confirmation process of John Roberts to the U.S. Supreme Court has to supremely underwhelmed by the lack of intelligence shown by liberal Senators. In Kentucky, we elect our state Supreme Court justices and that is a good thing.

Justice John Roach goes before the voters next year. Two things are already known: he is a conservative and will face liberal opposition.

We MUST support strong conservative candidates to our state's highest court.

Any questions?

Monday, September 12, 2005

Steve Henry in 2007: Can't Help Being Typical Dem

The Democratic Party's highest profile candidate for 2007 could well be former LG Steve Henry. In an interview over the weekend, Henry pointed to "cuts" in education and health care by the Fletcher administration as major causes for getting him into the race.

That is where this thing is headed.

Spending more money on education isn't going to get us anywhere. That we can't get beyond this simple fact is a testament only to the vast resources that we waste empowering the teachers' union.

And if what Henry really wants to do is dump more and more money into Medicaid without reforming the program, he needs to come clean on whose taxes he wants to raise and by how much.

Henry had his chance. His Patton administration's screwing around for eight years is precisely why we have many of the problems we are dealing with now.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

No Class: Clinton Snarks At Bush Over Katrina

Bill Clinton just couldn't resist.

When asked during a BET telethon how his administration would have handled the hurricane differently, Clinton let loose with another whopper: "We always thought faster was better than slower," Clinton said.

Right. Obviously Clinton hasn't gotten the latest memo which states that the Democrat lie about how awful the Bush administration handled the tragedy's aftermath is unravelling quickly.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Do The Right Thing, Governor

Despite recent efforts by Kentucky's Educational Industrial Complex to misrepresent statistics on spending for public education, all honest people should know by now that more money isn't the answer.

Innovation is the answer.

The method is school choice. I've found a website dedicated to bringing about this innovation. Democrats and their teachers' union thugs are out to shut this down.

The teachers' union thugs already hate Governor Fletcher. He should do the right thing and embrace the school choice movement. Our children deserve that.

This Man Wants More Power

Rep. Adrian Arnold (D-Mt. Sterling) has pre-filed a bill that would extend the term of state Representatives to four years. Just what we need! Less accountability for liberal politicians!

Too bad he lives in the People's State of Mt. Sterling and can't likely be voted out. But we can win elsewhere and put him in the minority. Bills like this just strengthen our hand.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Why We Can't All Just Get Along

A University of Louisville student and chairman of the school's Student Non-violent Coordinating Committee has attracted the attention of the Secret Service by calling for the assassination of President Bush.

Phillip Bailey writes on a website called The SOULution and, in addition to his non-violent activities, has written essays with titles like "I Really, Really Hate White People."

Bailey's comments were made in reference to looters in New Orleans. He said "I say shoot every cop, national guard and politician who stands in your way, INCLUDING GEORGE W. BUSH if need be."

If charged with making threats against the president, Bailey could face five years in prison.

I doubt this 21-year old kid will go to jail. Merlene Davis and Betty Baye will doubtless be welcoming him to the wonderful world of professional race-baiting all too soon.

While we all know normal people who can deal with racial differences without inciting riots, young people like Phillip Bailey help keep alive the bitter flame of hatred.

African Americans in increasingly larger numbers already know that selling out to the Democratic Party won't advance anything that matters. That's all these cartoonish verbal attacks on George Bush are about: whipping up the loyal Democrat base to hate Republicans.

This young man should wake up and realize that he can use his obvious talents to be much more than a token black columnist sell-out.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Just As Bad As The Klan

Louisville Courier Journal columnist Betty Baye ups the ante on Bush-bashing today by stating that many African Americans already thought President Bush "doesn't care about black people" before Hurricane Katrina "confirmed" it for her and her buddy Kanye West.

Baye's race-baiting (she claims that 74% of all Republicans -- those who support the President's efforts -- wouldn't be supportive if more of New Orleans' beleaguered citizens were white) is thoroughly disgusting and has no place in a major newspaper.

There is an answer to racism, but Betty Baye wouldn't be interested in that. Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. preached that answer. Love those who abuse you, he said.

I guess the race-baiting pays better, though.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

The Kiss of Death?

Senator John Kerry is injecting himself into the 2006 mayoral Democrat primary in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Any chance we could get him to bring his socialized medicine, tax-raising, defense cutting, Communist party-supported act to Kentucky for some of our 2006 races?

Yeah, I know. The Communist Party of the United States didn't actually endorse Kerry last year, but they didn't run their own candidate and they were adamant that defeating George Bush was critical to the achievement of their goals. Do the math.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

The Courier Journal's Reefer Madness

U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice William Rehnquist died Sunday and the Louisville Courier Journal editorial board can hardly contain its hallucinogenic-inspired glee.

Must be smoking some pretty strong stuff to come up with the typo (not to mention false) headline "Rehnquist's legacyPovery on the rise" and the contention that the 7-2 vote to end the Gore recounts in 2000 was not only the "most notable" decision of his tenure, but also "a low point for the Court and its reputation."

How embarrassing that the most literate liberals in our state wasted their long Labor Day weekend smoking dope and typing recklessly. What's worse, they promise to have "more to say" about Rehnquist in the days ahead.

Here's a better idea, dudes: sleep it off instead.

Friday, September 02, 2005

A Great Opportunity For Governor Fletcher

The number that jumps out from the page is 17%. That is the number that the Louisville CJ's Bluegrass Poll says represents Kentucky registered voters who say they think they will vote for Governor Fletcher in 2007.

My first thought was to look for problems with the methodology of the poll. My only possible problem is with the question that generated the 17% answer. Here it is:

In 2007, voters will decide whether to re-elect Ernie Fletcher as governor of Kentucky. As you feel today, do you think you will vote to re-elect Ernie Fletcher, or will you consider voting for someone else, or do you think you will vote to replace Fletcher?

Nevertheless, as far as any poll more than two years out from election day (and more importantly one that doesn't list even one possible opponent) could have meaning, this one does. But the number that holds the most meaning is 44%. That is the job approval rating for Governor Fletcher. At what is likely the low point of the merit hiring debacle, that is not a bad number. The Impeachment Six group of legislators and their favorite lefty blogger will, I think, continue to ride the Beat Ernie Now train right off their own cliff.

The opportunity for Governor Fletcher is to tighten up his organization for a productive 2006 legislative session. If he and the Senate can line up needed reforms and if the loudest detractors stay loud (a pretty safe bet!) he may find Kentucky's voters ready to send a majority of Republican State Representatives to Frankfort to drown out the bickering.

This opportunity is a fragile one and if it is mishandled it could cut the opposite direction quickly and decisively. I suggest taking on the Business Forum On Kentucky Education recommendations immediately and then quickly and publicly addressing the Medicaid situation. Tough and easily demagogued moves are required there. Engage the public on the important issues and, please, don't mention the Attorney General by name in regard to the merit investigation ever again.

The radio shows and newspaper columns are a great idea. I hope using these vehicles to address real issues will prove beneficial to the entire state.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Ky Native Links Katrina With War

Sure it was a dumb question. And it will probably lead some on the left to detour from blaming Republicans for the actual hurricane itself to claiming to have yet another excuse for surrendering to the terrorists. But this morning when ABC's Diane Sawyer asked President Bush about continuing to spend money on the war in Iraq when there are so many people suffering here, she veered dangerously close to this.

Straighten up, Diane. You are supposed to be on our side.