Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Put Up Versus Shut Up

The Courier Journal and Lexington Herald Leader have, in the past week, touted the Kentucky Long-Term Policy Research Center's October 12 report on the progress of KERA reforms in our schools.

On November 13 at 10:30 am at the Lexington Convention Center, the author of the KLTPRC's controversial report will defend her findings.

And the Bluegrass Institute will be there to call her on it.

Hillary: Depends On What Your Definition of "Straight Answer" Is

Hillary Clinton doesn't lie as well as husband Bill does.

If Jonathan Miller Were A Republican...

Today is the third day since the story came out on the Bluegrass Policy Blog that the money-losing college aid program called KAPT, championed at taxpayer expense by the state Democratic party chairman, has sprung another $14 million leak.

Where is the mainstream media on this?

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Linda Greenwell On YouTube

Next KY Governor Gets No Honeymoon

Let's say the polls hold up and Steve Beshear wins next Tuesday. Almost immediately upon taking office, he will be forced to deal with the public employee benefits mess that has been festering for decades. Beshear has said on the campaign trail that he doesn't have a clue how to deal with this problem. By December, that answer would no longer be sufficient.

And Kentucky's legislators just aren't going to put casino gambling up for a vote. I'm not talking about on the ballot for the people to decide on. They won't vote on it themselves. Any casino bill will die quietly in some committee without lawmakers having to take a position.

It may not be long after the inauguration galas that the talk starts to turn toward what is now cooking in Illinois, where the people are taking to the notion of getting rid of their governor.

Dividing The Spoils Of War

While continuing to talk about not counting their chickens before they hatch, Beshear-o-crats in Frankfort are measuring the back yard of the Lieutenant Governor's Mansion for a chicken coop.

Expect when they go behind the armed guards to slip their illegal and unconstitutional provisions in the budget this spring for someone to write in big bucks to revamp the LG's house.

Meanwhile, rumors abound of several Republican Senators bolting for cushy jobs in the Beshear administration. The rumors appear to be just that, but for good measure we might use the scuttlebutt as an excuse to repeal the law that allows long-time legislators to gain a huge pension boost by taking a three year tour in the executive branch.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Jimmy Carter Humor

Actually, this IS funny:

A high-profile documentary, Sony Pictures Classics' "Jimmy Carter: Man From Plains," had a poor debut, taking in just $10,573 at seven theaters. The film from director Jonathan Demme ("The Silence of the Lambs") follows the former president during a tour to promote his book "Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid."

Found it in the bottom of this report. Thanks to Instapundit.

A Quick Political Quiz

Who said it? (Answers at the end.)

1. "We're going to take things away from you on behalf of the common

A. Karl Marx
B. Adolph Hitler
C. Joseph Stalin
D. None of the above

2. "It's time for a new beginning, for an end to government of the
few, by the few, and for the few ... and to replace it with shared
responsibility for shared prosperity."

A. Lenin
B. Mussolini
C. Idi Amin
D. None of the Above

3. "(We) ...can't just let business as usual go on, and that
means something has to be taken away from some people."

A. Nikita Khrushev
B. Josef Goebbels
C. Boris Yeltsin
D. None of the above

4. "We have to build a political consensus and that requires people
to give up a little bit of their own ... in order to create this common

A. Mao Tse Dung
B. Hugo Chavez
C. Kim Jong Il
D. None of the above

5. "I certainly think the free-market has failed."

A. Karl Marx
B. Lenin
C. Molotov
D. None of the above

6. "I think it's time to send a clear message to what has become the
most profitable sector in (the) entire economy that they are being

A. Pinochet
B. Milosevic
C. Saddam Hussein
D. None of the above

Scroll down for answers.


(1) D. None of the above. Statement was made by Hillary Clinton,

(2) D. None of the above. Statement was m ade by Hillary Clinton,

(3) D. None of the above. Statement was made by Hillary Clinton,

(4) D. None of the above. Statement was made by Hillary Clinton,

(5) D. None of the above. Statement was made by Hillary Clinton,

(6) D. None of the above. Statement was made by Hillary Clinton,

Another Old Media Versus New Media Story

A Louisville television station seems a little threatened by a Louisville-based blogger's youtube usage.

Kentucky Education Blogger Misses Point

Former Lexington principal Richard Day read another Louisville Courier Journal hit piece on the Bluegrass Institute this weekend, then read an Institute response, and followed up with posting his thoughts on his blog.

His conclusion misses the key issue.

Day says:

What makes the C-J's point is BGI's criticism that "cheerleading for the education establishment when it is undeserving is what undermines our public school system." In BGI's hands, it can seem that the public schools are always undeserving. That's just not a true and accurate picture.

I've never seen anything from the Bluegrass Institute suggesting or even implying in any way that "public schools are always undeserving." In fact, the cited quote speaks of the "education establishment," not students or schools. The Bluegrass Institute has spent years pointing out problems that were improperly addressed or even created by the administrators of Kentucky's public school system. Protecting current taxpayers and future taxpayers (yes, the children) by pointing out where those "leaders" fall short is an effort worthy of appreciation, not attacks from those who should be fighting the same fight.

(And yes, I work for the Bluegrass Institute. But as a father of four public school students, I wouldn't cast my lot with them if they were doing anything but showing the way for Kentucky to have world-class public schools.)

Trouble in Socialized Medicine Paradise

It's late October and time to ration healthcare in England. One question: if Rolling Stone Keith Richards wasn't involved in the protest, would most Americans ever hear about this?

Meanwhile, in America, most of us have no idea that three-fourths of uninsured children are already eligible for Medicaid or S-CHIP. That's before the Democrats' $35 billion expansion.

Expect the next effort to advance socialized medicine to involve changing the paperwork to force people onto government health plans.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Time For A Movie Theater Boycott

An anti-Christian movie coming to theaters in December deserves a full-court-press Kentucky boycott.

The movie is called The Golden Compass and is due out in theaters December 7. It stars Nicole Kidman. In the end of the movie (it is based on a book, so we already know) two kids kill God and then are "free" to do whatever they want.

This is the kind of thing internet activism is all about. Should be pretty easy to persuade Kentucky theater owners that carrying this movie wouldn't be good for their business.

Eating For A Good Cause

I'll be having lunch Monday at Surf's Up Grill in Lexington. A portion of the proceeds will benefit the Bluegrass Domestic Violence Program.

Come on by if you can.

Beshear Defines Down Immorality

Steve Beshear spoke in Winchester yesterday.

From the Winchester Sun story:

He described the Fletcher administration as "immoral" for failing to support thousands of Kentucky children without health insurance and seniors who must choose between buying food or prescription medication.

Beshear is going to have a long four years in Frankfort, given his promises not to raise taxes, to repeal the LLET, and to pass casino gambling. The legislature will only allow him to repeal the LLET and they will force him to live without casinos and with tax increases.

Also noteworthy is that Beshear scrubbed the Sun story of criticism of his ethics. On Beshear's site where you get an ellipsis, in the paper you see this:

Embroiled in an ethics arms race with the Fletcher administration, Beshear has been accused of engaging in unethical conduct when serving as an attorney during the liquidation of Kentucky Central Life Insurance Co. He has also endured criticism for his support of expanded gambling.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Turning Around Healthcare Discussion May Well Start With Michael Moore

Sicko Michael Moore is setting up house parties to try to convince people that America should be more like Cuba.

Get your free CD of "Sicko" today!

Before we go Fidel Castro on our medical professionals, we should allow people to buy health insurance across state lines and repeal Certificate of Need laws.

Hardly Worth Peeing In Your Chair For

Can't help wondering how Governor Steve Beshear would handle this one: via Drudge, ABC News reports on a casino gambler who won $1.6 million on a slot machine and was, instead, given $385 and told to go away.

And in case you don't remember the other lawsuit closer to home referred to in this post's title, here's a link to the story of a casino where the taxpayers are too busy paying taxes to go to the bathroom.

But Kentucky casinos will be different, right?

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Like Turning Loose A Bunch Of Hatfields

The Fayette County Detention Center will soon be running short of McCoys.

LFUCG Actions Louder Than Their Words

The old saying about following the money applies to just about anything that happens these days. The Fayette County Detention Center prisoner abuse scandal is no exception.

Consider this: we have two prison guards placed on leave, one with pay and one without. One has been arrested amid charges of extorting money from a jail inmate and the other is an FBI informant with whistleblower status whose bravery in the line of duty sparked a federal investigation that has taken an entire year so far involving an ongoing grand jury investigation. So which one do you keep paying a salary and which one do you strip of salary and status and try to crucify in the media?

Me too.

Lexington is, of course, paying the thug and screwing the whistleblower. Any guesses as to how much this gaffe might wind up costing the city's taxpayers? They can keep their "no comments" coming, we've heard all we need to hear.

We're Already Giving Away Stuff To Friends

Supporters of casino gambling like to say Kentuckians are already gambling so it should be no big deal to open casinos here.

Such reasoning ignores a lot, but Caleb Brown makes an interesting point I haven't seen addressed elsewhere:

Beshear needs to clarify sooner rather than later that expanded gambling will not result in a massive giveaway to Churchill Downs or other tracks.

Some proponents of licensing casinos at racetracks claim that the horse industry needs financial help. Even if we take that dubious assertion at face value -- horses constitute a billion dollar industry in Kentucky -- giving a free casino license to Churchill Downs won't do much for the parts of the industry not owned by Churchill Downs, Inc.

If Beshear would like to remain free of accusations that he's a pawn of a large corporate interest, he should instead pledge to use some revenues raised through the auction of casino licenses to eliminate pari-mutuel taxes and burdensome levies associated with horse breeding and farming.

While the projected revenue versus costs calculation only starts to make sense if the state's take is significantly more than double the often-proposed one-third, the idea of just giving away a value worth hundreds of millions of dollars so narrowly is yet another bad part of Beshear's gambling scheme.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Liars, Like Appearances, Can Be Deceiving

Don't believe it when you hear the Fayette County Detention Center prison guard extortion scandal is over.

While a second guard was arrested today in the scheme, sources inside the jail report at least four more guards need to hauled in on this one.

UPDATE: And despite claims of a joint investigation, jail officials were caught completely off-guard by the first arrest. The inmates have been running this asylum for quite a while. It is pretty funny to watch that get played out literally as employees shuttle between Lexington and Covington to answer grand jury questions. It will get serious, though, when Lexington taxpayers start to figure out how much these zoo animals will wind up costing them.

Busy, Busy, Busy

There are a lot of questions swarming around the federal investigation into the prisoner abuse scandal at the Fayette County Detention Center.

But, unfortunately, there are precious few official answers.

Spokesman for the FCDC Darrin Kelly yesterday referred questions to the Lexington-Fayette Department of Law's Carolyn Zerga.

Kelly said Zerga was told to expect my call yesterday. She has, however, been "in meetings" and "on the phone" for the last twenty four hours.

Fortunately, they can't hide from the federal grand jury in Covington.

Keeping Us In The Dark

The Kentucky School Board is hiding their list of nine candidates for the top job in Kentucky's public school system. Wonder why?

Thanks to Rural Democrat and Page One Kentucky for joining the effort to shine light on this.

Fred! Speaks In South Carolina

Presidential candidate Fred Thompson said this today in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina:

"As I scan the room, I see many people wearing FairTax stickers. I see them everywhere I go. FairTax has a better campaign going on than any of the candidates!"

He then passed on the opportunity to endorse FairTax, just like the rest of the top tier GOP candidates have done.

Herald Leader Masters Obvious, Misses Point

The Lexington Herald Leader editorial page has a news flash:

We already have government-run health care.

Yeah, thanks guys. The point of the editorial is that government control has been creeping forward for decades, under Republicans and Democrats alike, and that we should just keep on going.

But the point is separating health services from people who might keep price increases in check is what has created the runaway inflation in health care.

And pricing the middle class out of the game is government's predominant contribution to health care in America.

Did Ron Bishop Make Him Do It?

Shannon Raglin, a Fayette jail worker, has been arrested and is accused of shaking down a prisoner in the facility. It's just about time for FCDC director Ron Bishop, criminal, to go.

He Doesn't Have A Clue

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Don't Just Sit There. Smoke.

The closer you look at SCHIP, the worse it looks. Expanding it a little, like many Congressional Republicans and President Bush want to do is bad enough. Expanding it a lot like most Congressional Democrats prefer is worse. Consider this:

Calling All Kentucky Fiscal Conservatives!

Grab your checkbook and come support the Kentucky Club for Growth's efforts to elect people who will spend our tax dollars more carefully.

Lexington Jail Story Takes Another Odd Twist

A source inside the Fayette County Detention Center alleged ongoing witness intimidation in violation of Kentucky's whistleblower statute by officials in the jail.

Federal whistleblower Cpl. John Vest has been sent a registered letter, according to the source, informing him that he may not take any training related to his job at the jail because he is not employed there.

That is not true. Vest's status is actually "on unpaid leave," despite efforts by Mayor Jim Newberry and several jail officials to fire him illegally. These efforts came after they learned Vest was working with the FBI to uncover widespread prisoner abuse in the jail.

When he was contacted this morning, Vest said he had not yet received the letter. (4:23 pm update: he got the letter today.) A spokesman for the jail said all questions regarding Cpl. Vest are now being referred to the city's legal department. A call to the legal department was not immediately returned.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Miller On The Way Out From KDP

Expect to see Jonathan Miller canned from his post as Chairman of the Democratic Party of Kentucky immediately after the election, a party official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said today.

Some embarrassing emails from Miller's aborted gubernatorial campaign and other various allegations are at the heart of the coming ouster.

The Lexington Herald-Leader mentioned the proverbial tip of the iceberg this morning.

Taking On Health Insurance Rates

There can be little doubt we will wind up having a battle royale in the 2008 General Assembly over Kentucky's health insurance market.

Last year's SB 135 would be a good solution to the problem of rising premiums. Several companies have said they would return to Kentucky if we passed this bill.

More competition, not heavy-handed Beshear-Mongiardo price fixing, is what we need. The bill would give companies more flexibility in dealing with sick applicants. They would have the option to exclude coverage for illnesses going back twelve months rather than the currently mandated six months.

Plans that took that option could offer lower premiums to healthy people.

What's Going On With The KY Senate GOP?

Sen. Ken Winters (R-Murray) confirmed this morning he is interested in the Kentucky Education Commissioner's job.

Winters faces a challenge next year from convicted felon Carroll Hubbard.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Beshear's Talking Point Malfunction

Steve Beshear's comments about the SCHIP bill tonight suggest he may not fully understand the legislative process.

Beshear's previous casino constitutional amendment blooper ("I'm gonna pass it") seems, well, perfectly constitutional compared to tonight's statement.

When asked if he would have voted to override the veto of the Congressional Democratic plan to expand SCHIP with funding from a $1 a pack cigarette tax, Beshear answered that he would have voted for the bill and the tax though he is against the tax, and that he thinks the United States should surrender in Iraq as soon as possible:

"I would have voted to override it. I don't like the funding mechanism they have in terms of raising the cigarette tax, but I'm gonna tell you something. We could fund this program if we just saved a few million dollars from Iraq instead of spending it over there on a war we're never going to win."

Real Emergency Ends, So End The Fake One

Governor Kathleen Blanco's term in office can now safely draw to a close since Republican Bobby Jindal has been elected in Louisiana.

So while our friends to the south are closing the books on part of the Hurricane Katrina disaster, Governor Fletcher should take the opportunity to call an end to the ongoing state of emergency in Kentucky he called in the aftermath of that same hurricane.

It was that state of emergency called in 2005 that triggered Kentucky's bad (and since-repealed) price-gouging law under which Attorney General Greg Stumbo has sued Marathon Oil for $89 million.

The lawsuit is ongoing, but shouldn't be. Same goes for Kentucky's 2005 Hurricane Katrina state of emergency declaration.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Another Failure To Communicate

On the federal level, we have replaced welfare with alphabet soup. It would be a joke if it weren't true. At some point we are going to see expanding entitlement programs as a bad thing that gets in the way instead of something that, if we just did a little more, might just start to work:

...child care assistance, EITC, Food Stamps, housing assistance (Section 8 and public housing), Medicaid/SCHIP and TANF. While helpful for those who receive them, they find more needs to be done to ensure that hard work pays.

While these programs "for the poor" or "the children" are the purview of Democrats, all too often Republicans push corporate welfare.

Back in Kentucky, I'm guessing the Fletcher administration soon will announce the first recipient of Kentucky's "energy plan." The announcement will be the biggest yawner of an uneventful campaign.

That will be, sadly, the result of just another failure to communicate.

Jack Conway's Thinking Problem

I read the story about Attorney General candidate Jack Conway's "bush league" non-apology apology this morning and have to admit I kind of feel sorry for him.

As a pro-abortion politician bending over backwards to find a point of attack against his pro-life opponent Rep. Stan Lee, Conway showed that his reach definitely exceeds his grasp.

Then when he got caught he couldn't quite swing the mea culpa.

Conway, in an interview, said he's not faulting Lee for defending Jones. And he said it's not his intent to drag Hufnagel into the race.

"I didn't mean to cause them any additional consternation," Conway said. "If I have, I apologize. I just think it's important to point out the hypocrisy."

Conway may as well have said, "I shouldn't have attacked Stan Lee for representing a victim in a horrible tragedy and I'm sorry I got caught, but my political advisers tell me to keep saying the word 'hypocrisy' when talking about a Christian so 'hypocrisy.'"

Speaking of the h-word, it was a sight watching Conway try to get people worked up about an unborn child while displaying a vampire-in-the-sunlight's duck-and-cover maneuver away from the word "child."

"He is taking the position that ... who lost his 8-month-old viable fetus -- should not be compensated for the loss of love and affection for that 8-month-old fetus," said Conway, 38.

I've seen the polls and I have read the campaign finance numbers. Conway may well win this race, but if this dust-up is any indication, he has been pushed into the big leagues too soon.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Coach Pitino Gives Richie Farmer A Hand

The sports news guys in Lexington may be interested to know Rick Pitino will be in town tonight for a Richie Farmer fundraiser.

Mayor Abramson's $16.5 Million

Some folks in Louisville want to run a $40 million a year tax increase through on the ballot November 6 in order to raise $23.5 million to spend on the city's public library system. As part of the deal, they also want to remove library operations from local government oversight.

Many voters were falling for the idea of paying more money if the library system needed it. But this is quickly turning into a sordid mess as more facts are uncovered about what is really going on.

A good question to ask is "Why does Mayor Jerry Abramson need a $40 million tax increase to give the libraries $23.5 million and what is he doing with the extra $16.5 million?"

Mayor Abramson ran last year on funding the libraries without any tax increases. The big-taxers are very well funded for this fight. Spread the word to stop them.

Mitt Romney Keeps Endorsing HillaryCare

Mitt Romney spoke to the Club for Growth yesterday and positively mentioned the Fair Tax, which is good. Then he started on healthcare, which turned bad when he repeated the questionable statistic that there are fourty seven million people without health insurance, suggesting that we might do the same thing in America he did in Massachusetts.

"We have to see fundamental reform of healthcare overall ... Fourty seven million people without insurance means the cost of fourty seven million people is being borne by everybody else. That can't happen. You gotta get everybody in the system paying their own fair share."

No. We can afford to pay for those who can't pay for themselves if we would only let the market reduce the costs for those of us paying our own way.

Further, Romney often tries to separate himself from some of the worst parts of the Massachusetts health mess by blaming it on his Democratic legislature.

Hello? What is going to be different in Washington D.C.? I sure don't want to elect a Republican president who signs socialized medicine and then goes out and claims it isn't his fault.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Some Rumors Are More Fun Than Others

There is some internet chatter about Treasurer Jonathan Miller that I hope isn't true. We hear this kind of stuff way too often and I wouldn't wish it on anyone's family.

But the one I just got from a Democratic friend is that Miller may have spent Treasurer's office money to pay Mark Nickolas to run his blog.

Now that would be fun.

Here Comes Mr. Conservative

The leader of the Club for Growth is coming to Kentucky next week.

No Liberal Scheme Left Behind

Reps. Ben Chandler and John Yarmuth both voted this afternoon to override President Bush's veto of the Dems' rapid SCHIP expansion.

Fortunately, though, they failed.

Courier Journal's Hate Speech

The Louisville Courier-Journal's vitriolic partisanship is nothing new. But it is interesting how amateurish today's installment is:

Every time you hear Republicans brag about being the party of fiscal restraint and family values, remember what they really mean: They'll lavish money on the machinery of war but won't do what's necessary to make sure that hard-pressed American families can meet basic needs like health care and shelter.

This stuff would be barely passable as a diary entry on a liberal blog. And this is supposed to convince us that only evil people don't want to buy houses for poor people?

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Steve Beshear's Kentucky Circa 2050

Casinos have been fixing all the problems in New Jersey for fourty years. Today, half the people who live there want to move out of the state.

My favorite line from the story:

"Where do all the funds go from all the other taxable sources — the casino, the lottery, the tolls?" Cella asked. "Nobody seems to know, and yet we have a Legislature that's talking about raising taxes all the time."

McConnell's Macaca Moment?

Good grief. This is the kind of nonsense that happens to Republicans who don't stick to correct principles.

If we were arguing against the worthiness of the SCHIP program itself, the issue of one boy's eligibility and some effort to dig into his background would never come up.

You have to read the entire Courier-Journal story to see Sen. McConnell wasn't lying about anything, but if all the senator's statements were about the program's counterproductivity this stupid stuff would never be an issue.

Kentucky's Health Insurance Success

Kentucky has one of the best individual/family health insurance markets in the country. Limited mandates have a lot to do with this, as does the fact more states are edging toward HillaryCare-type setups a lot faster than we are.

Electing Steve Beshear governor would be a near-certain way to screw this up.

Check it out for yourself:

Bloodhound Alert: In Search Of Hillary Clinton

No, Hillary Clinton isn't missing. But her Ivy League-acquired math skills appear to be failing her so badly, we should probably get the dogs out anyway.

If she keeps leading in the polls, we will need them soon enough.

She's campaigning on restoring fiscal responsibility to Washington D.C. and yet champions a $100 billion health insurance program and a new $20 billion retirement entitlement. And now she is denying that Social Security has any kind of problem. That line worked well enough when her party was in the minority, just trying to stop a president they don't like from fixing a daunting problem.

But Hillary seems to be stuck on last year's talking point. At the same time, she is ignoring the slightly more distant past in which her own husband outlined the very real crisis in Social Security almost a decade ago.

The long-standing intellectual slipperiness we have come to expect from politicians named Clinton suggests we are going to need some serious help tracking Hillary down on anything that matters.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Taxing The Sinner, Not The Sin

Steve Beshear has backed off his support for the Democrats' SCHIP expansion since Governor Fletcher called him on the $1 a pack cigarette tax in that bill.

Beshear should have to explain what tax he wants to go up to pay for the entitlement.

Could this be a precursor for the failure of casino gambling in the legislature next year?

Help Mitch Ditch Democrat Internet Tax

Sen. Mitch McConnell is circulating a petition to permanently ban taxation of internet access fees.

Cut Government Waste, Send Politicians Home

Kentucky can put two constitutional amendments on the ballot in any year. Next year, we need to repeal the Treasurer's office and eliminate even-year "long sessions" of the General Assembly.

The gubernatorial candidates should be asked their position on this.

Monday, October 15, 2007


Governor Fletcher just hinted that some energy projects will be announced soon. I'm assuming he is talking about coal-to-liquid fuel projects.

Mayor Isaac Knew And When She Knew It

An outside consultant to the LFUCG told then-Mayor Teresa Isaac about abuse in the Fayette County Detention Center several months before she went on television a year ago and said no such abuse occurred.

Kentucky's Healthy Health Insurance Market?

I'm working on an analysis of the health insurance markets in the states. I'll post my findings on The Bluegrass Policy Blog when I'm finished, but after looking at plans in all fifty states I have to say Kentucky is a lot closer to the top than I thought they would be.

Grayson Goes Up

"Build 48 More Casinos, Governor"

New Jersey's Governor Jon Corzine has a problem for which Kentucky's Steve Beshear would have a quick answer.

New Jersey has a $3 billion hole in its budget. Corzine has avoided the problem as long as possible with other types of flimflammery:

One challenge will be to replace $1.9 billion in "one-shot" cash that will be gone after the current budget year. The administration this year tapped a $940 million surplus to help balance the books. The current budget also used $650 million stashed away from last year to pay for rebates. And Corzine won't be able to duplicate about $340 million in raids he made on funds dedicated to specific programs like disability insurance.

Meanwhile, Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley gave us a preview of what Year Three in the Beshear administration would look like:

Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) on Monday plans to call a special session of the General Assembly with the hope of securing quick action on his plan to close a $1.7 billion budget shortfall by raising several taxes and legalizing slot-machine gambling, his office said yesterday.

Jail Birds Singing

I'm working this morning on what might be a major break in the prisoner abuse scandal at the Lexington jail.

There are currently more than half a billion dollars worth of lawsuits against the taxpayers of Lexington directly related to the actions of a few people at the facility.

It is about to get much worse.

Stay tuned...

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Leading Meteorologist Predicts Global Cooling

Just as Al Gore was being handed his Nobel Peace prize for stirring environmentalists' wildest fantasies, another leading scientist, Dr. William Gray, explained part of what is happening:

"It bothers me that my fellow scientists are not speaking out against something they know is wrong," he said. "But they also know that they'd never get any grants if they spoke out. I don't care about grants."

My favorite part, though, was this:

But Dr Gray, whose annual forecasts of the number of tropical storms and hurricanes are widely publicised, said a natural cycle of ocean water temperatures - related to the amount of salt in ocean water - was responsible for the global warming that he acknowledges has taken place.

However, he said, that same cycle meant a period of cooling would begin soon and last for several years.

"We'll look back on all of this in 10 or 15 years and realise how foolish it was," Dr Gray said.

Sure hope Gore's prize winning junk science runs its course that soon, if not sooner.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Pimping A National Conservative Blog

Erick Erickson is a Macon, Georgia attorney who publishes If you are looking for some perspective on how conservatives might wrest control of the Republican party from the political class, you will find it there.

Exhibit A:

The GOP has ceased to be a party of ideas. We have John Boehner playing to keep Jerry Lewis on the Appropriations Committee, despite his FBI investigation. He's added to the Appropriations Committee Ken Calvert, also under investigation.

We have Mitch McConnell and the GOP in the Senate caving on earmarks reform, funding bridges to no where, and backing down on judges. We have the White House doing cutesy policy maneuvers, kissing up to China for trade, and reminding people "We gave you John Roberts and Sam Alito and the stem cell veto so suck it up" whenever we point out that they're drifting leftward.

Another Reason To Not Trust Frankfort's "Big Ed"

Remember the mess caused by state officials trying to cram the scandalous Barbara Erwin down our throats as education commissioner?

Her crime spree is catching up to her in Illinois.

Raehl, who also sparked the earlier investigation this year, said she believes Gaffney tried to use his power as a public official to get extra sick days for former Superintendent Barbara Erwin so she could become vested in the state pension system.

Raehl cites an undated memo bearing Gaffney's signature along with a note to district officials, saying the board agreed to credit Erwin with 340 sick days as part of a contract agreement in 2004, when actually Erwin's sick day allotment was not approved and did not start accumulating until 2005.

"There was an attempt to get (Erwin) vested by Jim (Gaffney)," Raehl said. "It was a misuse and an attempted misuse of public funds."

Nice to see a little ranting and raving might have helped stop at least one Frankfort headache.

Kentucky's Real Constitutional Amendment of 2008

Casino gambling won't be on the ballot next year in Kentucky because it won't get past Sen. David Williams. It probably won't even get past Speaker Jody Richards.

But cutting government waste begins with shutting down the Treasurer's office.

Friday, October 12, 2007

What Part Of "Education Bureaucrats In Frankfort Are Screwing Up Our State" Don't You Understand?

It doesn't have to be this way.

Hot Ticket Next Thursday

The Keeneland Entertainment Center in Lexington will be the setting for next week's Interim Joint Appropriations and Revenue Committee meeting next week.

UK President Lee Todd will update members on the University of Kentucky's Top 20 Business Plan and Lexington Mayor Jim Newberry and World Equestrian Games 2010 President Jack Kelly will speak about the progress of the World Equestrian Games.

The meeting is set to start at 10:30.

Now This Is Tough

The Tax Foundation released its 2008 State Business Tax Climate Index yesterday, which shows Kentucky ranked #36 in the nation and our corporate tax index ranked #39.

Unfortunately, in 2004 Kentucky was ranked #30 overall with a corporate tax index of #22.

Readers may wonder why I would point something like this out when I am a Republican. My only answer to that is I support Republicans generally, but conservatives specifically. Not raising corporate taxes would be a great way to keep our state competitive for economic development.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt Didn't "Save" America

Page One Kentucky had this video and comments that this is devastating for Ernie Fletcher. I'm not so sure it was.

What do you think?

Score One For Stan Lee

At the U.S. Supreme Court, no less.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Same-Sex Contribution Flap Is Sad

Liberal bloggers are red-hot mad because the Fletcher campaign dug up a Beshear contribution in which a man claimed his spouse is another man.

With so many more important issues that we could and should be discussing, it would be nice if we could just ignore this dust-up.

But, of course, we can't just ignore it. I wish the Fletcher campaign hadn't put this out as a press release. Whisper it to a blogger or two, maybe, but not an official campaign press release.


They Won't Take Our Cell Phones Away Like This

Talking on a cell phone in the car is not a right Kentuckians will let slip away easily.

Especially not with a bill like this one.

Hey Hey, Ho Ho, Will Fletcher Lose To This Bozo?

The Beshear campaign is mailing out unsolicited "Support the troops, end the war" protest yard signs with requested Beshear/Mongiardo yard signs.

More Media

I will be on the Kruser and Krew radio program (590 AM WVLK) in Lexington this afternoon at 2 pm talking about pre-filed bill for the 2008 General Assembly.

You can listen online and you can call in on 859-253-5959.

Here Comes The Crisis

The actual "first Baby Boomer" will sign up for Social Security on Monday.

Ignoring the impending collapse of our nation's entitlement programs will then get a bit tougher.

Conservatives Of The Commonwealth, Unite!

The Kentucky Club for Growth will host a fundraiser Wednesday, October 24 with special guest Pat Toomey in Erlanger.

Toomey is the former Pennsylvania congressman who nearly toppled Sen. Arlen Specter in the 2004 GOP primary. He now heads the national Club for Growth.

The Club for Growth supports fiscally conservative candidates for public office.

Interested? Call 859-261-2582 for details.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

How About Some Conservative Policies?

Never too early to start talking about tax cuts.

Google Search Follies

Noticed last week a google search for "Greg Stumbo Senate" brought up this Kentucky Progress post that speculated Stumbo was about to drop his bid to run against Sen. Mitch McConnell.

But now the top post for the same search brings up Stumbo's exploratory committee.

If he is sending money to Google, he must be serious...

Media Appearance

I will be on the Leland Conway show at 9:35 tomorrow morning on Lexington's WLAP 630 AM talking about the price-gouging lawsuit against Marathon Oil.

You can listen here.

"Big Ed" Fights Back Against School Choice

Caleb Brown skewers the Kentucky Department of Education for being difficult about fulfilling their legal responsibilities to our children.

If Lying To Taxpayers Were Football, U of L Would Be Back In Top 25

The University of Louisville claims that extending health insurance benefits to employees' roommates won't cost taxpayers any money because they make the roommate pay the premium.

We pledge that there will be no taxpayer dollars used for it," said university spokesman John Drees, who said employees were informed of the new plan Monday.

Despite the pledge though, the program is begging to become a magnet for sick, uninsurable people who would be delighted to wait a year and then pay premiums into the state-supported schools self insurance health plan.

After all, excessive losses to the plan simply get picked up by the taxpayers.

If you want more of state universities' gaming the system at your expense, Jack Conway is your man for Attorney General.

Bluegrass Policy Blog Goes Viral!

How about a link to a link of linked story on a national magazine's blog from little old me?

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Hillary Clinton, Super Soaker

The John Edwards presidential campaign surely knows how to recognize pandering from personal experience. Nonetheless, they earn the Line of the Day Award for noting that Hillary Clinton punted her "$5000 for every baby" plan today:

"Apparently, new polling data seems to have pressured the Clinton campaign to throw out the baby bond with the bathwater," said Edwards spokesman Chris Kofinis.

Hillary has instead jumped into the deep "there is no crisis" Social Security waters, with a plan now to increase the death tax and fund an income-based federal match for a new retirement entitlement.

As for the retirement accounts, Clinton said during a campaign stop in small-town central Iowa, "They will begin to bring down this inequality that is eating away at our social contract." She said, "This is a major commitment to how I believe we can begin to right the balance again."

Her campaign said that for every $7 million estate that gets taxed, at least 5,000 families would receive the matching funds.

Clinton said she wants to create "American Retirement Accounts" in which each family could put up to $5,000 annually in a 401(k) plan. The federal government would provide a tax cut to match the first $1,000 for any household that brings in less than $60,000 a year and 50 percent of the first $1,000 for those that make $60,000-$100,000.

Of course, the devil will be in the details but like with her government health insurance scheme, there should be enough bath water getting dumped out to soak us all.

Kentucky, Caught In The Dark Ages

Red State blog shines a light on some of the education weirdness in the Bluegrass state.

Louisville Columnist Discounts Fletcher's Chances

John David Dyche may get attacked for detailing his version of the failures of the Fletcher campaign in today's Courier Journal. And he may get attacked for listing what he calls achievements of the Fletcher administration.

But it is hard to argue with his bottom-line analysis:

So, does Ernie Fletcher stand a chance? Perhaps the prevalence of the question provides its answer. Beshear is a big government liberal Kentuckians would ordinarily reject, but these are not ordinary times. Fletcher's best hope now may be a big mistake of the kind his foe is unlikely to make.

But mistakes do happen. For example, this pundit, ever prone to optimistically overestimating the rational self-interest of Republican voters, predicted they would prefer Anne Northup to Fletcher in the GOP primary.

The Fletcher campaign probably will turn in the final days of the campaign to promoting actions of the past four years or laying out a vision for the next four years. The public has a greater need for the latter, but the campaign probably will have to focus on the former.

The major untold story of the campaign is the severe damage the Fletcher campaign inflicted on itself recruiting over the summer against GOP House members who supported Northup in the primary. Seeking retribution has its place in politics, but that place is usually only after the general election.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Huckabee Cancels Danville

GOP presidential candidate Mike Huckabee has cancelled a planned trip to Centre College in Danville on Wednesday.

His campaign said he will come to Danville in November.

Bluegrass Institute Invokes Mark Twain In Going After School Bureaucrat

It's almost automatic: say something stupid in the newspaper and it will get blogged. And if you say something stupid about Kentucky schools, the Bluegrass Institute will blog about you.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

The New Farmer's Almanac?

Fashion designers are predicting there will be no more winters:

"The fashion system must adapt to the reality that there is no strong difference between summer and winter any more… You can't have everyone showing four times a year to present the same thing. People are not prepared to invest in these clothes that, from one season to the other, use the same fabrics at the same weight."

Source: Drudge

Kentucky Already Losing $500 Million A Year To State-Sponsored Gambling

Gubernatorial candidate Steve Beshear keeps talking about bringing in $500 million a year with casino gambling.

A chart in today's New York Times about state lotteries falling short of expectations suggests the surest way to inject $500 million back into the economy would be to get rid of the Kentucky Lottery.

($742 million in sales minus $204 million in profits equals $538 million in losses last year alone.)

GOP, Dems Missing Point Of SCHIP Failure

The Lexington Herald Leader's editorial page has a funny idea of what constitutes failure of a government entitlement:

In Kentucky, 50,000 children eligible for the Children's Health Insurance Program (KCHIP) are not covered.

Resisting dependence of government programs used to be considered a good thing.

Of course their idea of a solution to this "problem" is spending more money pushing people who don't want it to take the government entitlement.

The vetoed bill provides incentives for states to enroll the poorest of the poor, kids who are eligible but not in Medicaid.

Republicans will wind up caving in on this and dramatically expanding SCHIP. This is a shame, because we should be making the case for scrapping the whole thing.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

What Beshear Knew

From the "secret report" page 34 of this section:

During the period May 5 - June 14, 1993, Beshear had general knowledge that work was being done on behalf of Bank of Louisville with respect to the Bond Powers. Neither Beshear, nor any other Stites & Harbison attorney, informed or disclosed to the Rehabilitator that Stites & Harbison was undertaking this effort on behalf, and for the benefit, of the Bank of Louisville. The failure to disclose this conduct contravened the commitment in the Engagement Letter not to represent Bank of Louisville in "that transaction," and, in addition, violated Stites & Harbison's commitment to disclose conflicts discovered or arising after the date of the Engagement Letter.

McConnell Spanks Chandler, Yarmuth For Bad SCHIP Expansion Bill

Sen. Mitch McConnell's criticism of the Democrats' failed SCHIP expansion is on point and highlights who Kentucky's two liberal Congressmen side with when Speaker Nancy Pelosi wants them to go against the interests of Kentucky taxpayers and poor children:

In my home state of Kentucky, the Democrats’ vetoed bill would provide less coverage for kids’ health care in 2008 than our Kids First plan. Kentuckians would pay $600 million more in new taxes than they would receive in new benefits under the Democrats’ plan — a $600 million wealth transfer from Kentucky to states like New York and New Jersey. Kentuckians don’t want the money they’ve targeted for poor children going to adults and middle class families who live in other states and can afford insurance on their own.

Subsidizing Success

The Fletcher campaign is touting the I-CARE health insurance subsidy program as one of the major successes of the administration.

I wish they would stop.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Shameless Self-Promotion

I just got my first post up on The Bluegrass Policy Blog, which will be a regular, full-time gig.

Please check it out if you will and leave a comment if you want. Links will be greatly appreciated.

Market Solution Saves Kentucky Health Dollars

Walmart's wildly successful $4 prescription drug program has been great for Kentucky consumers, who have saved more per capita than consumers in all but four states.

We are waiting around for Hillary Clinton to come to our rescue when we should really be getting government out of the way.

State Politicians Mugging Marathon Oil

Attorney General Greg Stumbo will be making a big deal out of a federal court ruling that his unconstitutional "price gouging" lawsuit can proceed in state court in Frankfort, which is right where he wants it.

Marathon Oil knew their only chance for a fair hearing would have been in federal court.

The old price gouging law Stumbo sued under is unconstitutional and everyone knows it. That is why it was repealed in the 2007 General Assembly.

I would suggest that our gubernatorial candidates should weigh in on this disgrace, but unfortunately they will both side with Stumbo.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

My New Responsibilities

At some point Thursday morning I will take over publishing the Bluegrass Institute's blog. The purpose of that blog is discussion of state public policy.

It is listed as one of my links to the right and you can go here to check it out.

I will keep this site updated with unique posts; same as always.

Here Is A Real Issue For Candidates

Haven't heard anything from the gubernatorial candidates about the president's veto of the SCHIP expansion/tax increase bill this morning.

Might be interesting to see where they come down on this one.

Herald-Leader's Proof-Free Higher Ed Editorial

This morning's editorial about higher education started off badly:

Kentucky's low-income families must now devote almost a quarter of their incomes to pay for a community or technical college education, even with financial aid.

This is patently absurd and I would love to see them try to attach any legitimate numbers to this.

Of course, they are extolling the wisdom of freezing tuition costs and -- worse -- the proliferation of need-based financial aid.

To Kentucky's credit, the state has also been increasing need-based financial aid at a higher rate than the region or nation.

But even with the increased financial aid figured in, the sticker shock will price many Kentuckians out of an education.

The average Pell Grant is $2500 and the maximum is $4310. Full-time annual tuition at KCTCS is $2760. A student who graduates high school with a 3.0 GPA and gets a 21 on the ACT will receive $1250 a year in KEES money.

State and institutional grants and private scholarships combine to easily -- easily!! -- cover the total cost of education for needy families.

It's all this focus on need-based aid (and the lack of price sensitivity that goes along with it) that makes it tough for middle-class families to cover the cost of college.

Even a minor shift toward more merit-based financial aid would lower costs and improve educational outcomes for Kentuckians by requiring kids to get serious about school sooner and crowding people out based on lack of preparation rather than lack of ability to demonstrate financial need.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Legal Defense Fund Bill Pre-Filed

Rep. Darryl Owens pre-filed a bill today that, if it had been in place at the beginning of this year, would have required Governor Ernie Fletcher to report all relevant details of his legal defense fund eight times before the November election.

Huckabee Coming To Kentucky

Presidential candidate Mike Huckabee is coming to Centre College on October 10. The biggest criticism of Huckabee comes from his tax-and-spending days as governor of Arkansas.

RGA Supports Half-Priced Socialism


Are there any Republican organizations out there still supporting conservative fiscal policies? I'm just curious.

The Republican Governors Association touts a newspaper editorial cheering on Indiana for expanding state-run socialized medicine. And the part they are most excited about is the Republican governor of that state got it done with a federal matching grant:

The plan will close at least part of Indiana's growing insurance gap. There are about 560,000 adult residents of the state with no health care coverage. Many of these are the working poor. They are people with jobs but not jobs that include health insurance as a benefit. And their income isn't sufficient to allow them to afford insurance on their own.

In his January State of the State Address, Daniels asked the Indiana General Assembly to approve a cigarette tax increase of at least 25 cents a pack. The tax increase grew to 44 cents by the end of the legislative session. That is $206 million a year in revenue.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Pineville Knows Bruce Hendrickson

Before former Pineville Mayor Bruce Hendrickson got demolished in his race for re-election last year, his greatest contribution to his city was either rigging the bid for building the local senior citizen center for family members or failing to apply for coal severance money.

Now the Democratic party wants us to put him in charge of "fixing" our elections.

Time To Get Our $100 Million Back

Learning from others' experiences is always cheaper than waiting around to take the hit yourself. We have a golden opportunity to avoid some serious pain right now.

We learned over the weekend China has backed off their effort to supplement their country's transportation fuel needs with coal. Meanwhile, Kentucky hasn't yet bonded the $100 million HB 1 would borrow and spend on CTL plants here.

We have a chance to cancel the whole thing and keep our money. We should do just that.

Taxing Their Way To Prosperity

Don't laugh at Michigan's financial problems. Their tough votes will be in our future pretty soon as the much-ignored public pension mess in Kentucky gets much harder to ignore.

Our state workers are overpaid and we spend too much on social services. Until we get some people willing to be one-term politicians (by their own choice), we will continue to miss opportunities to deal creatively with our fiscal problems.

Another Great Reason For You To Move To Indiana

Indiana has casinos and soon will add government health insurance for families earning up to 300% of the poverty level.

So if you think out-of-state casinos make good in-state public policy and you don't think you can get by on $62,000 without taxpayer-provided health insurance, maybe you should move north.