Friday, August 31, 2007

Bush Bites On Universal Housecare

President Bush just couldn't miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity to stand up for the free market today.

The official said Bush will direct Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and Housing Secretary Alphonso Jackson to work on an initiative to help troubled mortgage holders get services and products they need to keep them from defaulting on their loans. The official spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss details of the initiatives ahead of the presidential event.

Bush also planned to:

• Urge Congress to pass Federal Housing Administration overhaul legislation that would give the FHA more flexibility in assisting mortgage holders with subprime mortgages.

• Pledge to work with Congress to reform the tax code to help troubled borrowers rework their loans.

• Call for rigorously enforcing predatory lending laws and strengthening lending practices.

Why is anyone going to bother getting and keeping anything on their own when they will surely soon see a government program to "help" them get or keep it?

The Full-Court Press For Lexington's Blue Laws

Pastor Jeff Fugate of Lexington's Clays Mill Road Baptist Church plans to go on radio and television to convince Lexingtonians not to allow full-fledged Sunday alcohol sales in their city.

The Lexington city council is expected to vote September 13 to allow anyone with a liquor license to sell alcohol on Sundays. Currently, limited alcohol sales are available on Sunday only in certain large restaurants.

Pastor Fugate is also putting together a rally against Sunday alcohol sales.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

China: We're Killing Babies To Stop Climate Change

Chinese authorities claimed today they have done their part to cut back on man-made climate change by aborting 300 million babies.

No, I'm not kidding.

China, which rejects criticism that it is doing too little to confront climate change, says that its population is now 1.3 billion against 1.6 billion if it had not imposed tough birth control measures in the late 1970s.

The number of births avoided equals the entire population of the United States. Beijing says that fewer people means less demand for energy and lower emissions of heat-trapping gases from burning fossil fuels.

"This is only an illustration of the actions we have taken," said Su Wei, a senior Foreign Ministry official heading China's delegation to the 158-nation talks from Aug 27-31.

He told Reuters that Beijing was not arguing that its policy was a model for others to follow in a global drive to avert ever more chaotic weather patterns, droughts, floods, erosion and rising ocean levels.

But avoiding 300 million births "means we averted 1.3 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide in 2005" based on average world per capital emissions of 4.2 tonnes, he said.

Pro-abortion global warming zealots in this country should have to choose sides on this one.

Welfare For Politicians Is Back

Steve Beshear is showing no signs of running away from his support for taxpayer-financed gubernatorial campaigns.

Beshear Spends More Money We Don't Have

In his latest commercial, Steve Beshear promises to spend state money on health insurance for children and prescription drugs for senior citizens. He will have to get that money from the casinos he is going to get passed whether the legislature goes along or not.

The more he talks, the more Beshear cedes the high ground and proves himself to be a politician who will say anything to get elected.

Who Do You Want To Beat Hillary Clinton With?

Inconvenient Truth About Health Insurance

Media accounts of the U.S. Census Bureau's report of health insurance and poverty in America were not responsible for the wild swings in the Dow Jones Industrial Average this week, but you might be forgiven for thinking so.

The New York Times sobbed yesterday:

The bureau reported a large increase in the number of Americans who lack health insurance, data that ought to send an unmistakable message to Washington: vigorous action is needed to reverse this alarming and intractable trend.

Interestingly, the Club for Growth responded with the opposite diagnosis and prescription:

Of course, Hillary Clinton and her cronies fail to mention that of the 2.2 million people who became uninsured in 2006, 1.4 million, or 64%, had a household income of $75,000 or higher. In other words, an overwhelming majority of the newly uninsured can afford health insurance but are making the choice to forgo insurance because they believe it is not worth the expense.

“The conclusion to draw from this statistic is not socialized medicine,” said Club for Growth President Pat Toomey, “but the need to deregulate healthcare in this country and make health insurance more affordable. One of the best ways to do this is by passing Rep. John Shadegg’s Healthcare Choice Act, allowing insurance companies to comply with any one state’s regulatory regime and sell to individuals in all 50 states. Healthcare in this country is so overregulated and expensive, some states, like Washington, require health insurance companies to cover such crucial procedures as acupuncture, chiropractors, and massage therapy. It’s no wonder more Americans are choosing not to purchase state-mandated luxury health insurance policies.”

In much the same way government-control proponents argue we need to run up taxes on gasoline because it is hot outside, they want us to believe that we need to dismantle our health insurance markets and turn everyone over to the government because a growing chunk of the upper-middle class is deciding to flee the over-regulated, over-priced health insurance markets.

The facts clearly indicate the poor in America are gaining insurance coverage rapidly and the middle class would benefit from deregulation, not a government takeover.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Would You Hire This Train Wreck?

Fayette County Detention Center Director Ron Bishop is trying to weasel his way out of paying $832,000 in jury verdicts awarded against him last year for violations of Kentucky's Civil Rights Act, retaliation, and racial discrimination.

The lawsuits came as a result of some of his illegal activites in the 1990's while he was Director of the Jefferson County jail.

Meanwhile, Bishop is facing similar charges here in Lexington and is, predictably, trying to escape to another job in yet another city.

The Myth Of Skyrocketing Uninsured Rates

Much like the failed War on Poverty, which has spent $11 trillion on itself without having any impact, the War on lack of health insurance is going nowhere fast.

Time to throw more money at it, say government gurus from Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama to Steve Beshear and Daniel Mongiardo.

A chart from the U.S. Census Bureau shows that since its 1997 start the Clinton SCHIP boondoggle has had no impact on the rate of uninsured in this country.

So, of course, the House of Representatives wants to throw another $50 billion in to speed things up.

And then there is this late-breaking news from the CATO Institute regarding government efficiency in SCHIP:

According to a cost estimate released by the Congressional Budget Office last Friday, the Senate-passed legislation expanding the State Children’s Health Insurance Program would enroll an additional 6.1 million children in SCHIP and Medicaid. However, 2.1 million would lose their private health insurance. So while the legislation would provide government-run health care to 6.1 million children, it would reduce the number of uninsured children by only 4 million.

That’s government efficiency for you: extending health insurance to two children for the price of three!

The Left Doesn't Want You To Understand This

Government-controlled healthcare types have been exultant since the list came out that shows the United States ranked 42nd in life expectancy.

A medical blogger points out how that has nothing to do with our healthcare system.

More importantly, though, is the statistical sleight of hand that proponents of this myth like to pull. That is, citing infant mortality numbers without proper context: in many countries (even "developed" ones), infants with severe or fatal conditions aren't even counted as live births (or are aborted when diagnosed), whereas we do everything we can to save such innocents. One may argue the efficacy of such an attitude, but we value life.
Case closed.

Another left-wing myth bites the dust.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

FCDC Explosion

Major Tommy White abruptly quit his job at the Fayette County Detention Center today over the phone.

The FBI investigation into rampant corruption and abuse in the facility is ongoing.

Loving Their Kids Like Drunken Sailors

Congrats to Fayette county homeowners, who get to pay inflated prevailing wages for school construction with their new tax increase.

Of course, it's for the children.

Here's the money quote: “If you’re not for this—then you’re not for public education.”

Uninsured Rate of 14% Sounds About Right

Both gubernatorial candidates are talking about insuring more people in Kentucky by paying at least a portion of of their premium with taxpayer dollars.

The Census Bureau estimates less than 14% of Kentuckians are uninsured, which is slightly less than the national average.

If we bought coverage for another 75,000 people, we would have the highest rate of insured people in the nation.

Live Fat, Die Young, Thanks For Mississippi

Another ranking to be proud of shows Kentucky ranked #7 fattest state in the nation. Can't doubt we would be higher on this one if we weren't also #1 on the smoking chart.

All this should serve to highlight an inconsistency that shouldn't exist in America -- but does -- and will only get worse if we go to European style universal healthcare.

Americans have a great heritage of rugged individualism. It's what motivated fearless pioneers to literally walk from eastern cities to western deserts for the chance to build thriving cities in sand or on mountains.

But we are destroying that heritage. We escalate that destruction every time we put government between an individual and the consequences of his actions.

Americans like to make their own choices. When bad health choices lead inevitably to bad health these days, however, we are forging a new tradition of letting government programs intervene.

Spreading that disconnection into the middle class can only seem like a good idea to someone who is out of touch with the personal qualities that have made America great.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Alberto Gonzales Steps Down

Should President Bush just go ahead and appoint Janet Reno so Hillary Clinton won't have to?

My Babydaddy Made Me Do It

A Lexington Herald-Leader columnist claims, implausibly, that public schools are actually doing a great job if you factor in teenage pregnancies and lead paint.

Then, as if to prove the point that he had no point, the writer shifted from discussing Kentucky to providing all his data from New York.

According to Tom Layzell, the retiring president of the (Kentucky) state Council on Postsecondary education, "Too many students fail to graduate from high school, and of those who do, too many go to college unprepared. Too many college students fail to graduate in a timely manner. And too many adults lack a high school diploma."

But by whose standards or what rationale does this criticism of education emanate? While it would be nice if all children were scholars, it is truly amazing that our kids' educational progress is as high as it is.

While Layzell's brand of criticism is rampant, it does not recognize the changed society in which we live. The problem is that critics look at education today through a prism of the past, but today's society is vastly different.


New York City records show that although only 50 percent of children graduate from high school in four years, almost 70 percent finally graduate and another 8 percent receive General Education Development certificates.

Paul Attewell and David Lavin, professors of sociology at the City University of New York, found that more than 28 percent of bachelor's degree recipients obtain their diplomas more than six years after entering college and that 70 percent of women attending CUNY had graduated after an even longer period of time.

Excuses and spinning blame won't help us have better schools in Kentucky. The bottom line is Kentucky schools can't reasonably be expected to improve until we implement policies to better measure student achievement and better monitor resource allocation. SB 130 was a good step. Next year's HB 15 would be another.

Obamanation: Rock Star Screws Kentuckians

Barack Obama turned voters away at the door in Lexington yesterday.

He kept their money, of course. Probably a good preview of how his universal healthcare plan will work.

Movie Nazi: No Free Lunch For You!

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Liberal College Professor Gets Thwacked By NY Times For Calling GOP Voters Stupid

You can read the whole thing here, but here is a good excerpt:

Westen urges Democratic candidates to go for the gut, and includes a number of speeches that he wishes Democratic candidates had given. He wishes, for example, Al Gore had hit George Bush harder for being a drunk. He wishes Gore had interrupted a presidential debate and barked at Bush, “If someone is going to restore dignity to the Oval Office, it isn’t a man who drank his way through three decades of his life and got investigated by his father’s own Securities and Exchange Commission for swindling people out of their retirement savings.”

At another point, he imagines Gore exploding: “Why don’t you tell us how many times you got behind the wheel of a car with a few drinks under your belt, endangering your neighbors’ kids? Where I come from, we call that a drunk.” If Democrats would go for people’s primitive passions in this way, Westen argues, they’d win elections.

This thesis raises some interesting questions. First, why did someone with so little faith in rational inquiry go into academia, and what does he do to those who disagree with him at Emory faculty meetings, especially recovering alcoholics?

Saturday, August 25, 2007

National Porn Filter May Be Available Cheap

Australia inexplicably spent $84 million on a porn filter for its internet service. One tiny problem, though. A sixteen year old kid cracked the filter in about half an hour.

Can't help wondering if they borrowed the $84 million on twenty or thirty year bonds.

The Winds Of Change

My first thought when the Congressional Amnesty Bill for illegal aliens was defeated was that the aftermath would lead to real welfare reform.

It is starting already in Virginia. This will spread like wildfire.

Resolutions to deny a potentially wide range of public services to illegal immigrants have thrust two northern Virginia counties into the nation's immigration debate. The measures passed in July in Prince William and Loudoun counties join a flurry of recent efforts by local governments nationwide that believe the federal government has not done enough to stop illegal immigration.

Once we see how shutting off the welfare spigot cleans up our immigrant population, it won't be difficult to realize that it will have a similar effect on the natives. Fewer "crazy checks" for capable people will have a dramatic impact on our nation.

Borrow And Spend

The General Assembly yesterday authorized immediately borrowing $100 million for alternative fuels, introduced a pre-filed bill to set up local authorities to borrow money off the state's books for roads and bridges, and on Tuesday the public pension Blue Ribbon Commission will hear testimony about borrowing hundreds of millions more to bail out the state employee benefit plans.

Thank your grandchildren.

Friday, August 24, 2007

I Can't Get No Small Business Tax Breaks

A bipartisan collection of 21 House members today pre-filed a bill that can best be described as the "We still won't cut business taxes across the board so, here, apply for this unfunded small business tax credit and let's see what happens Act of 2008."

New Jersey Has Casinos And Crushing Debt

New Jersey isn't taking time off from buying votes with taxpayer money to consider the long-term costs. Why should we?

Like a cash-strapped shopaholic reaching for a credit card before payday, New Jersey is planning to borrow $2 billion to cover expenses over the next few months – including those record-high property tax rebates.

But given the state's financial situation, some wonder if it's a wise move.

The state already owes an estimated $29.7 billion to creditors. Debt service alone is costing taxpayers upward of $2.5 billion a year. And employee pension funds are at least $25 billion behind where they should be to cover projected future costs.

Overall, money is so tight that Governor Corzine is looking at selling or leasing state assets, such as toll roads and the lottery, to raise revenues.

Like many states at the beginning of a fiscal year, New Jersey is short on cash to pay its bills. But New Jersey has a $2.2 billion expense coming up this year that is unusual: property tax rebate checks.

By the numbers

Total debt: $29.7 billion

Annual debt costs: $2.5 billion

Expected short-term loan: $2 billion

Cost of tax rebates: $2.2 billion

The checks – which average $1,200 for most homeowners – are timed to be in mailboxes this fall before the upcoming legislative elections.

Illinois Says "Thanks For Playing!"

One element of the Peabody Coal giveaway no one is talking about in Kentucky right now is the fact that as soon as we pass our incentive package we will likely be outbid by Illinois.

The most interesting part of that development will be the role extreme lefty U.S. Senator Barack Obama plays in putting the deal together.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Nominating A Republican In 2008

Since the presidential nomination process belongs to people who are registered as Republicans, I say we drop Sen. John McCain from all future debates and replace him with John Cox.

McCain is just sucking up valuable oxygen in the race right now and should move out to make room for someone who is better on the issues.

Maybe Aurora, Illinois Deserves To Get Smacked Around A Little Bit

They have a casino, but they keep raising taxes there. The same thing will happen in Kentucky if we open casinos.

The fact is there is no sentiment in the General Assembly to pass casinos. It just will not happen. Even if you want a casino (or an abortion clinic) in your back yard, you have to agree Steve Beshear is wasting our time going on about this nonsense. It won't fund anything because it won't pass.

Isn't it time we addressed one of the many other issues facing Kentucky and whoever will serve as governor the next four years?

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Trouble In Coal Paradise?

I've had a heck of a time getting much back up for this story -- and even got an iffy denial from the National Mining Association -- but it seems China's tens of billions worth of coal-to-liquid projects may be in jeopardy.

We might want to get some more info on this before we start writing big checks.

Deaniacs Want You To Call Governor Fletcher

Just got an e-mail from Democracy For America, the old Dean For America group without Mad Howard, asking me to call Governor Fletcher and urge him to call President Bush and demand that he expand welfare to give government health insurance to middle-class kids.

What can you do? Let's face it; President Bush isn't going to take your call. On the other hand, when the governor of a state calls, even Bush will listen.

Call Governor Fletcher right now and demand that Kentucky stands up to President Bush's anti-children campaign.

Governor Ernie Fletcher
502 564-2611
Here's what you can say:

"President Bush's new rules which reduce the availability of the Children's Health Insurance Program for uninsured kids must be repealed. Governor Fletcher must call President Bush today and demand a complete rollback of the new rules. Can I count on the governor to stand up for our kids?"

Before you get all lathered up and make that call, read this from National Review.

The Democrats’ SCHIP outrage, while perhaps politically savvy (who could oppose insuring children?), has nothing to do with the real problem of those poor and uninsured. There are several ways the government could make insurance affordable — President Bush has proposed a generous health-insurance tax deduction, and others have proposed a repeal or circumvention of burdensome state insurance mandates that massively inflate prices.

But the Democrats’ expansion of SCHIP into the middle class is not a solution to any existing problem. It is welfare for those already faring well, and with an eye toward expanding government in the future.

The Presidential race next year will be about the direction we go in on health insurance, but the Kentucky gubernatorial race should be as well. We need to hear more from both candidates on this.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

This Is How Bad It Has Gotten

The ridiculous alternative "energy" giveaway bill is expected to be wildly endorsed by members of both parties in the House tomorrow.

Rep. Tom Riner (D-Louisville) has filed amendments that place the following language in the bill not just once, but twice:

The General Assembly further finds that the energy facilities located in Kentucky as a result of this subchapter have a moral obligation to include among their first priorities and principles of operation the health and welfare of their employees and the citizens of the Commonwealth and the protection of the environment, including the land, air, and water.

The only thing left to do now is to establish penalties for business owners for violating their "moral obligation" to the citizens of the Commonwealth or for keeping their obligations to the land, air, and water as only a secondary priority.

What a weird day it has been watching our legislators put this bill together. Not one of our brighter moments.

Day Trading With Kentucky's Nest Egg

Watching Kentucky's legislators rush to back questionable energy theories with hard (borrowed) cash reminds me of watching wild-eyed amateur stock market traders.

It takes a special brand of moron to blow his family's savings on a financial offering when he really thinks he is the first person in the world to see a particular opportunity. When all his money is gone, he realizes he was just another sucker.

The eagerness in Frankfort to be the first state to go all in on "energy independence" and "alternative fuel production" reminds me a lot of that.

Contribute To Stumbo's "Who's My Daddy?" Fund!

Reluctant child support payer Greg Stumbo has filed papers to explore how badly he wants to get his butt kicked in a race for the United States Senate next year.

He even has a website.

One interesting thing on the exploratory committee website is his policy on refunds, which would become particularly applicable should Stumbo decide not to run:

Once a contribution has been submitted, it is the policy of to not offer Refunds.

If he doesn't run, one can't help wondering what he plans on doing with that money.

Naked Money Grab: Incentive Scam Is A Waste

Energy plan supporters who claimed the scheme at the heart of this weeks special session wasn't a government giveaway now need only look at the appropriation on page 106 of the bill in the amount of $5,319,500 from the General Fund.

That is for the first year interest payment on the $100 million bonding appropriated on page 105 of the bill for the purpose of giving companies cash in advance of the start of their projects.

What is that if not corporate welfare? In the mountains of eastern Kentucky, they call welfare "crazy checks." Maybe we need to start referring to HB 1 as the Coal Company Crazy Check Act of 2007.

It wouldn't be quite so bad if we weren't borrowing the money before we give it away. But there is no justification for a fiscal conservative vote in favor of this mess. And since the powers-that-be have put out the word that only one technical correction to the bill will be allowed -- but no amendments -- the responsible thing to do is to vote against the bill.

Herald Leader Goes Daily Kos On Dick Cheney

Part of the fun of writing a blog is that you can take someone's comments out of context and beat him over the head with them.

The Lexington Herald Leader knows the feeling. The online version's editorial page this morning reprinted Nicholas Kristof's column from yesterday's New York Times.

It starts like this:

Saving energy doesn't have to mean shivering in the dark.

Vice President Dick Cheney once scoffed that energy conservation can be a "personal virtue" but is no basis for an energy policy.

Growing evidence suggests he had it exactly wrong.

Actually, growing evidence suggests the "professional" media is using the blogger's trick to slap a political enemy.

Here is what Cheney actually said:

Now, conservation is an important part of the total effort. But to speak exclusively of conservation is to duck the tough issues. Conservation may be a sign of personal virtue, but it is not a sufficient basis all by itself for sound, comprehensive energy policy. We also have to produce more. The American people have worked very hard to get where they are, and the hardest working are the least likely to go around squandering energy or anything else that costs money. Our strategy will recognize that the present crisis does not represent a failing of the American people.

And now Kentucky's General Assembly has worked up an energy policy compromise measure that is worse than the first two proposals. Tax credits are one thing, but now we are bonding $100 million to give away in advance of any energy production or job creation. Creating jobs is a good way to sell any kind of economic development project, but the fine print in the bill reveals we will be funding many of those jobs with borrowed government money.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Worley Returns To Frankfort Millions Lighter

Sen. Ed Worley (D-Richmond), one the most outspoken casino gambling supporters in the legislature, settled a fraud lawsuit earlier this summer for what is believed to be at least two million dollars.

If you see him this week, you might want to offer to buy him lunch. But don't get mixed up in any land deals with him.

I Have An Idea For The Next GOP Photo-Shopper

How about Steve Beshear in an adult diaper and a rain coat, headed to the Kentucky Casino?

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Central Kentucky Can't Afford For Lexington To Be A Sanctuary City

Now that Lexington police are practicing catch-and-release with illegal aliens who break local laws, the illegal immigration issue will soon take on a new dimension that will impact all of central Kentucky.

As word gets out that Lexington is a sanctuary for undocumented criminals -- and no, I'm not talking about farm workers without visas -- the problem will grow much worse than illegals clogging up our hospitals and courthouses.

I'm talking about gang activity.

Immigrant gangs are already present in the Cardinal Valley area of Lexington. As their activities become more widespread, "guest workers" who are only trying to better themselves and their families will get killed in the backlash.

For the safety of central Kentuckians, it is just about time to run off our local illegal immigrants.

Herald Leader's Back-To-School Tax

The editors of the Lexington Herald Leader are upset about taxes again.

This morning they -- predictably -- joined the Fayette County School District in complaining that property taxes aren't high enough to pay for school renovation.

Fayette County ranks 54th out of 176 school districts in the rate of property tax dedicated to schools.

Some of the schools schedulted (sic) for renovation were built early in the last century. None have been renovated in the last quarter-century.

Given that school financial accountability is so lacking in Kentucky, we should really look at spending first. And repealing the prevailing wage law in Kentucky would be a good second step.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Special Session Redux

Legislative leaders agree the special session will take about five days. Any guesses on when or if extra projects and domestic partner benefits get added to the call?

Macaca II For Giuliani

Rudy Giuliani says if he weren't running for president himself, he would support Sen. John McCain.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Bell County Says No To Casinos

Governor Fletcher's campaign sent out a release this afternoon touting Bell County Fiscal Court's resolution to reject casinos.

This is a good thing and other counties will surely follow suit.

Folks, this is your vote on casinos. And the people who are upset about this need to move fast to escape Steve Beshear's slavish devotion to out-of-state casino operators.

Maybe the Republican Party of Kentucky should send out doctored pictures of Steve Beshear's head pasted on top of Princess Leia's body when she was Jabba the Hutt's slave on Tatooine.

Rudy Giuliani's Macaca Moment

This comment about his time at ground zero will end the Giuliani campaign:

Thursday, August 16, 2007

CYA: Why The FCDC Is Releasing Videos

The ongoing Department of Justice investigation into prisoner abuse at the Fayette County Detention Center has City Hall so rattled they are releasing to the media internal video of a by-the-book takedown of a mouthy inmate in a high-profile arrest.

Will this provide sufficient cover to the still-employed miscreants at the jail and their enablers at City Hall when the feds come in to make their arrests?

No. And it isn't even a good try.

Bush Veto Will Save Kentucky $600 Million

Kentucky would lose more money than any other state but Florida over the next five years under the U.S. Senate's S-CHIP expansion plan, according to a Heritage Foundation report.

The Jonathan Miller Act Of 2008

Senator Damon Thayer (R-Georgetown) is putting together a bill to shut down the political rest area known as the state treasurer's office.

State Allows Some Medical Proliferation

Kentucky's certificate of need laws give the state the power to decide who needs how much supply of what medical service.

According to the Cabinet for Health and Family Services, more health providers leads to higher healthcare prices.

The purpose of Kentucky's Certificate of Need process is to prevent the proliferation of health care facilities, health services and major medical equipment which increases the cost of quality health care in the commonwealth.

It will be interesting to see how much of an increase Louisville hospital patients will suffer now that the state has has agreed to allow Jewish Hospital to add 75 beds.

As any freshman economics student quickly learns, increased supply causes lower prices.

While we are at it, could we get the CHFS to victimize Jessamine County just a little bit? We don't have a hospital at all. Frankly, when it comes to the economic theory of health care bureaucrats in Frankfort versus the real world, it looks like Kentucky could use a lot more of this proliferation stuff.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Not Good: Keeping Merit Hiring On The Front Page

Governor Fletcher's campaign manager was quick again today to declare victory in the ongoing merit hiring scandal when the Executive Branch Ethics Commission ended its investigation into the Governor's involvement.

"This letter is being released as further evidence that the (Attorney General Greg) Stumbo led witch-hunt was pure political opportunism that is now being trumpeted by Steve Beshear,” said Marty Ryall, campaign manager for Fletcher, in a news release.

Does anyone really think this is going to win back any support for the Governor's campaign?

Given that the Ethics Commission apparently only seems to have been able to find actionable fault with former administration officials who supported Anne Northup in the primary, I would have to guess it won't.

Same Old Education Spin In Kentucky

The ACT has issued their state-by-state average test scores and the Lexington Herald Leader dutifully marched out and interviewed state education commissioner Kevin Noland, who was more than happy to take credit for the slight increase.

"The ACT results are valuable because they provide another means for Kentucky's secondary educators to focus attention on specific areas," said Interim Education Commissioner Kevin Noland. "Kentucky's students are making progress, and that is most evident when we look at long-term trends."

What the bureacrats and their adoring fans in the MSM don't want you to know is the statewide statistics include private and home-schooled students. A breakout of those numbers will be available soon. They will likely show -- again -- an actual decrease among public school students and the media will ignore the real story -- again.

More Bad -- But Fixable -- KDE News

The Bluegrass Institute's Dick Innes reports the education testing people at ACT will introduce this fall a testing solution Kentucky desperately needs, but that education bureaucrats will resist.

ACT will have "a coordinated set of curriculum outlines for about 16 college preparation courses and corresponding end of course exams," Innes said. "Right now, the Kentucky Department of Education is very slowly trying to create end of course exams in just a couple of subjects."

Innes is the education analyst for the Bluegrass Institute.

Someone in the legislature should step forward as an education leader and force the KDE to abandon tests they can manipulate in favor of those that will better serve our children.

Jack Conway, Kentucky's Angry Liberal Pol

Anti-business, pandering redistributionist, and loud. If Conway didn't look the part, he would be a laughingstock.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Yellow Jacket Tuesday Open Thread

I'm taking my son to Atlanta for college on Tuesday. Talk to you Wednesday!

Hey Coach, Put Richie In

Agriculture Commissioner Richie Farmer gets discounted as a conservative leader because of his athletic career at UK and his eastern Kentucky roots. But an emerging strategy for a bold fall campaign could change that dramatically.

Early polling shows Farmer continuing his prolific voter attraction from 2003 and extending it this fall against a dreadful Democratic nominee who will be lucky to stay out of jail. Farmer's many accomplishments in office have given him quite a story to tell. What he does next could have a lasting, positive impact on the state.

"The Stress Of Success"

Massachusetts officials admit to the Boston Globe they are losing over half of the applications mailed to them for the state's new socialized medicine plan.

Thomas Dehner, the state's Medicaid director, calls it "the stress of success."

Does Kentucky really want to go through this mess again? Steve Beshear thinks so and Governor Fletcher has made troubling comments recently.

A little common sense on health care regulation shouldn't be so hard to muster. We keep trying more and more regulation and keep getting negative results. I guess we can keep doing that until we bankrupt the state.

Liberty, Security, Or Neither?

Anti-war activists like to co-opt the old quote about people willing to trade their liberty for their security deserving neither when opposing federal efforts to track domestic terrorist activity.

The same people like to decry the plight of the poor, overworked low wage American worker who just needs a union to fight off "the man" for him. But it seems we have more evidence that poverty would diminish on its own if more people simply turned off the television and went to work.

Bring On The Former Presidential Candidates

It is time for failing presidential campaigns to start ending. Today it is former Wisconsin Governor Tommy Thompson. With any luck, Sen. John McCain will be next.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Daily Kos Takes Credit For Ben Chandler

The extreme left-wingers took a break today from forcing the Democratic party over the cliff on national defense and any semblance of fiscal sanity to take credit for electing Blue Dogs to Congress.

It is amazing to see Kos pat himself on the back for electing the last legacy politician in Kentucky and with a straight face continue to run away from the liberal label in favor of the preferred "progressive" term (which apparently means to pre-emptively surrender all potential military actions, shut down international trade, and stick everyone in a union):

"This had nothing to do with being centrist or liberal or conservative. It had to do with standing tall for core progressive principles. In fact one of the first people we supported was Stephanie Herseth in South Dakota who is now a Blue Dog. Ben Chandler in Kentucky."

Rep. Chandler has already run away from Montana left-wing polemicist Mark Nickolas. How fast will he duck and cover to escape a bunch who wants to chase off Hillary Clinton for being too conservative?

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Backward Step On Most Basic Human Right

A pro-life source with inside knowledge of the campaigns of Steve Beshear and Jack Conway reports the two are planning a repeal of Kentucky's fetal homicide law utilizing Attorney General opinions declaring that a fetus is not a person.

Rep. Stan Lee sponsored the original fetal homicide bill in 2004, requiring that anyone charged with killing a pregnant woman and her unborn child be charged with two deaths. Governor Ernie Fletcher signed the fetal homicide bill into law.

Steve Beshear declared in a 1982 Attorney General opinion that an unborn child is not a "person" and instead only becomes "human" at some later point he did not specify.

It Is August, Where's Our Stupid Tax Holiday Bill?

On a day in which the Louisville Courier Journal wastes valuable ink setting the stage for an editorial calling for tax increases to fund crayons, notebooks, and clothes for schoolchildren, I have a question.

When will someone file another bill "giving" Kentucky parents a back-to-school sales tax holiday?

Rather than feel-good legislation though, wouldn't it be better if we repealed corporate income taxes across the board for the whole year? Consumers wind up paying them anyway, in addition to business compliance costs and avoidance techniques.

Bad tax policies hurt everyone in the state. Dropping sales tax on a few items for one weekend each fall does nothing at all to improve that.

Bloggers To Kill Off More Newspapers?

Well, not exactly. Not yet anyway. But if Rupert Murdoch takes the online version of the Wall Street Journal from subscription to free, you will see a lot of newspapers go down the tubes as a direct result.

Further changes to how information is delivered will have a very interesting impact on our political process.

If These People Did This To My Kids, I Would Be Going To Jail For A Long Time

And the thing is, if this happened in my local school district, I would be joined by a whole lot of friends in tearing these people limb from limb. If only we could match our social conservatism in this state with activism for education quality and for fiscal conservatism, we wouldn't be in a lot of our current messes.

Friday, August 10, 2007

More Polling Data To Check Out

The Lane Report poll making the rounds has a few interesting things I haven't seen reported. First, 49% of respondents said House Democrats did the right thing in ending the first special session without taking any action. Governor Fletcher was backed by 38% on the issue.

The Attorney General's race has the highest undecided tally at 53%. That has to be a positive for Stan Lee, whose support will grow for several reasons. More on that later.

Linda Greenwell's rematch against Crit Luallen should get a boost with the news that the race is a close 32%-26% with 40% undecided.

Here Comes The Cavalry

Former Congressman Pat Toomey, now head of the Club for Growth, is coming to Kentucky October 24-25 to raise money for free-market fiscal conservatives in the Bluegrass state.

Will Fletcher Be Like Isaac Or Davis?

Yesterday I was talking to Dave Krusenklaus, host of Kruser and Krew on Lexington's WVLK AM 590, and he brought up a parallel between Governor Ernie Fletcher and former Lexington Mayor Teresa Isaac. After never getting much traction in the polls last summer and fall, Isaac failed to get re-elected.

So is Fletcher going to be more like Isaac or instead like Rep. Geoff Davis, who trailed throughout much of the campaign last year and pulled off the win?

What do you think?

By the way, I will be on the Kruser program today at 1pm. Call in at (859)253-5959 if you get a chance.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Let's Make 2008 The Year Of The Open Budget

Kentucky's legislative leadership now writes our state's budgets every two years behind locked doors, covered windows, and armed guards.

Whether you want the budget trimmed of fat or loaded with more, you can't be happy with the thuggish tactics we see played out in the spring of each even year.

The only reason the budget isn't worked out in public is because no one has called them on it.

This should also be an issue in this fall's elections.

The Wrong State Of Emergency

Kentucky is still suing Marathon Oil over violation of a "price gouging" law that doesn't exist anymore.

Publicity hound Attorney General Greg Stumbo started the lawsuit, which charges Marathon Oil made "too much" money from Kentucky consumers in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. The state of emergency which triggered the old law, though, was called by Governor Fletcher.

The new price gouging law doesn't allow a never-ending state of emergency. Currently, we are still under the one from 2005.

Our government wasn't set up to allow politicians to attack private businesses without making a very strong case. While all these guys are trying to get our votes, they should explain in detail why we should be suing under flimsy pretenses using a 2004 law we did well to repeal earlier this year.

There are two key issues here: one, if politicians can go after one industry in such a clumsy, overbearing manner, they can go after another and yours might be next. And two, despite the current fever for alternative fuel sources, we are easily decades -- if not centuries -- away from replacing oil. It is premature and unwise to be picking meat from the carcass of fossil fuels just yet.

Governor Fletcher and Attorney General candidate Stan Lee would do well to at least denounce Stumbo's crass action against Marathon.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Cutting The Size Of Government Isn't Easy

America's Governor Mark Sanford is struggling against his own party to change the political structure and culture in South Carolina.

Keep up the good fight, Mark.

Fat And Happy On Your Dime

Rep. Harry Moberly (D-Richmond) has gotten himself in position to be appointed president of Eastern Kentucky University and, of course, to rape our public pension system while he is at it.

The fine print on House Bill 299 from 2005 allows legislators to take state jobs for three years and draw a full pension for life.

I'm Pro-Choice On Education

As our children return to government monopoly school, it might be a good idea to read up on the spreading success of school choice in America.

It looks like Newt Gingrich is on the front lines in Detroit, but the same could be going on here.

Put Up Or, Well, You Know

Global warming alarmists must be excited Kentucky temperatures at an all-time high since 2005.

They can also make some money off your mantras with a contest that pays $100,000 to anyone who can prove man-made global warming.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Governor Fletcher Goes Left On Healthcare

I understand that Steve Beshear is a weak opponent who is talking himself out of the race with his slavish devotion to out-of-state casino owners. And I understand Governor Fletcher needs to expand his base to put Beshear away. But this latest promise from the Fletcher campaign is very disappointing:

The Governor will focus on expanding access to care for thousands of Kentuckians and will help every child in Kentucky to have health care coverage.

Unfortunately, every time government tries to equalize outcomes it winds up raising costs for all of us. I know no one in the Fletcher camp is listening, but taking care of our own kids would be much easier without the government doing so much to "help."

Beshear is still demonstrably worse on the issues, but this stuff is getting harder to swallow.

... And This Was Edited By One Of His Friends

Jack Conway seems pretty upset about his race against candidate for Attorney General Stan Lee. Pretty funny that the best he can come up with is that the Lexington Herald Leader editorial board doesn't like Rep. Lee.

Next week, Conway will report that the Courier Journal editors don't like him much either.

And after Conway's years of electoral frustration, I'd hate to see what kind of government Conway thinks the people of Kentucky "deserve."

Is Steve Beshear The Next Jennifer Granholm?

Steve Beshear is going to have a hard time getting through to November without doing a John Edwards and admitting that his agenda really means big tax increases.

And should he get elected, another interesting transformation would take place: when his gambling plan fails to gain support in the House or Senate, he will start a crying tour for higher taxes like Michigan's Jennifer Granholm is doing now.

Here's A Job For Liberal Blogger Union Thugs

Instead of standing by quietly while the left-wing Congress keeps voting to raise taxes and give the money to illegal aliens or push Americans young and old off their private health plans, soon-to-be unionized lefty bloggers should join the rest of us in fighting this:

Monday, August 06, 2007

Thank You For Gambling

Our son is packing to go to college next week. He is taking a $2500 KEES scholarship (lottery money) with him. He could go to University of Kentucky and pay $7096 in tuition, but he isn't going to do that. He is going to Georgia Tech, where tuition is only $4088.

Georgia has twice as many schools and twice as many students, while spending less than 70% more than Kentucky does on higher education.

So what is Kentucky doing with our money?

I'm grateful to the lottery ticket buyers of Kentucky for paying nearly all of my son's tuition, but sorry more Kentucky citizens don't demand better stewardship of our public education system.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Don't Just Stand There, Privatize Something!

Trusting government to continue maintaining our roads and bridges isn't a very good idea, according to a Wall Street Journal columnist.

Some objections to private ownership are simply cynical ploys by politicians looking to maintain their hold on public assets, especially since roads and bridges operated by transportation authorities are often job-patronage mills. Politicians from both parties in New Jersey railed against a recent study recommending leasing some of the state's toll roads, claiming such a deal would shortchange taxpayers. Of course, the state government is among the most bloated and costly for taxpayers in the country--and the Reason Foundation recently rated New Jersey roads worst in the nation. Yet the politicians worried that an auction, which could have raised some $20 billion for the fiscally challenged Garden State, might allow a private operator to take advantage of its citizens.

Unfortunately there are too many officials in both parties who are comfortable with the size of government and its continued expansion. What we really need is serious citizen activism to enforce a contraction of government's reach.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Chandler, Yarmuth Vote For Higher Gas Prices

U.S. House Democrats passed a ridiculous bill today to raise taxes on evil oil companies.

Guess who gets to pay those?

President Bush will veto the bill if it gets to him and this will be used against some of the people who want Nancy Pelosi and Hillary Clinton ruling the world. Moments like this underscore the tragedy of the wasted twelve year opportunity of Republican majorities in Congress.

Reagan Warned Us About Socialized Medicine

Thanks to the Club for Growth for passing this along.

You might to scroll down a bit to see the video of Reagan, but it is worth it to see what way too many people want to do to us.

Friday, August 03, 2007

S-CHIPPING Our Way To Single Payer

The U.S. House and Senate have both passed bills expanding government-paid health insurance to people who don't come close to qualifying for Medicaid.

Watching the Democrat Congress run this garbage through can surprise no one. But the most disgusting part of this whole mess is watching Republican "leaders" get religion about free market principles now instead of before they lost their Congressional majorities.

The bills go to conference committee now so anything can happen. But putting middle class families in a position to drop their kids off their health policy and let the government take care of them is not pointing us in the right direction.

We will always spend too much on our healthcare system until we start spending fewer taxpayer dollars on benefits for people who can take care of themselves.

Will Beshear Champion Kentucky Porn Site?

California is looking at setting up a state-owned online casino.

So when will Steve Beshear up the ante and start proposing a Kentucky Porn Site? Isn't it about time we kept our own perverts' money at home, Steve?

Bad, Bad Taxes

I will be on Leland Conway's radio show (630 WLAP) at 9:30 this morning talking about some bad taxes and one possible solution to many of our problems.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Bridges And Roads Should Be It For State

Now that states spend so much time picking winners and losers in the business world and subsidizing bad personal decisions, can it be any surprise that bridges and roads -- a proper state government function -- are in such bad shape?

And even if roads and bridges are fine here, it would be great if we could avoid the debt and instant political gratification of all the excess junk.

Shutting Treasurer Office: Does State FOP Agree?

After eight years of serious waste in the Treasurer's office, the race for the office this year is about shutting it down.

After the state FOP endorsed all the Democrats they could, they took a pass on the Treasurer's race. The Democrat in that race seems like a decent fellow, he just doesn't seem to get that the office is a waste of time and money. The Republican, Melinda Wheeler, says shutting down the office is the right thing to do.

That should be enough to get her elected.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Junk Lawsuits By Any Other Name...

Thirteen states' trial lawyers associations have sought to conceal their identities by changing their names.

The Kentucky Academy of Trial Attorneys, for example, now calls itself the Kentucky Justice Association.

Tom Donohue, President of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, points out the damage an unfair legal system can do to a state like Kentucky.

"An unfair legal system sucks the life out of a state’s economy. It affects business expansion, it affects jobs and it takes money out of consumers’ pockets," Donohue said.

Kentucky recently ranked 33rd in the nation in terms of the fairness of its state legal system.

Kentucky's Democratic Party is trying to elevate two trial attorneys -- or should we call them "justice associates" -- to the two most powerful political offices in the state. Anyone who works for or with a business should be warned.

Illegal Immigration Opponents Can't Honestly Support Democrats' S-CHIP Expansion Bill

Rep. Ben Chandler might talk a good game about managing illegal immigration, but he's blowing his rhetoric out of the water with his party's massive expansion of S-CHIP, the Clinton-era follow-up to the failure of Hillarycare.

Among many bad things the bill would do, it provides taxpayer-paid health coverage (S-CHIP and Medicaid) for illegal aliens and even spends money telling them how to get it.

We Should All Agree On This One In January

Rep. Jim DeCesare is pre-filing a bill to repeal the Limited Liability Entity Tax, the heinous gross receipts tax formerly known as the Alternative Minimum Calculation and often referred to as the Alternative Minimum Tax in the primary election.