Saturday, May 31, 2008

Bluegrass Institute hacked, sites down for days

If you can't beat them, hack them.

That's seems to be the philosophy of whoever hacked the Bluegrass Institute's websites Saturday and stifled much of the organization's public communications until at least Monday.

The Bluegrass Institute, Kentucky's free market think tank, has raised the ire of Frankfort politicians and bureaucrats with its non-partisan advocacy of open and honest government spending practices and public education statistics reporting.

An early Institute victory forced the legislature to post floor votes onto the internet each day the General Assembly is in session. The website that came about as a result, Kentucky Votes, managed to escape the hack which brought down The Bluegrass Institute's main site ( and the group's blog, Bluegrass Policy Blog (

Current initiatives, which have rankled many, include an effort to place government expenditures on a searchable website, pushing for a serious discussion of public employee fringe benefit reform to avert bankruptcy of state and local governments, creating more meaningful oversight of the Kentucky Department of Education, and reducing corporate taxes across-the-board to bring more jobs to Kentucky.

"Clearly, more than a few people have us in their cross-hairs," said Institute founder and President Chris Derry. "But this temporary setback doesn't slow the need to operate government under correct principles. We shall return and double our efforts."

Is Don Leach the lone gunman or just a patsy?

Fayette County Detention Center Deputy Director Don Leach is currently trying to dig himself out of trouble for a contraband violation in the intake area of the Lexington jail. An internal incident report has been filed and it has been a hot topic of discussion among rank-and-file employees who are watching the jail administration implode under federal investigations and lawsuits.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Does John McCain think you are a conservative?

We've all heard a lot of debate about Sen. John McCain's conservative credentials. And while the certain prospect of a fall campaign against either Sen. Barack Obama or Sen. Hillary Clinton burnishes McCain's reputation as a bona fide heir of Reagan, I couldn't help noticing McCain has taken to classifying political blogs on his campaign's website. At least one of his classifications was somewhat noteworthy.

Daily Kos is actually featured as a liberal blog and a longer list of conservative blogs hits on several of the biggies like Michelle Malkin, Power Line Blog, and Club for Growth.

But under a list of "Other" Suggested blogs, there is the following (click the image to expand it):

You can go here and check it out for yourself.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Both House and Senate full of it on pension mess

Please, someone try to convince me this latest pension dog-and-pony show is not the biggest pile of manure in a state containing many big piles of manure.

What say you, Bruce Lunsford?

The Intrade prediction market has Kentucky's U.S. Senate race tightening. Last trades at midday have Sen. Mitch McConnell at $65 and challenger Bruce Lunsford at $35.

Sen. McConnell would do well to challenge Lunsford to state his position on the mult-billion dollar Mortgage Bailout Bill.

Got a minute for a little internet activism?

I'm on my way to Frankfort to see the shiny new Senate offices we are buying.

If you have a minute, please join the Facebook group "Where in the world is Kentucky's checkbook?" (It seems you have to join Facebook first, but that's not a bad idea. Great way to keep in touch with people.)

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Skippy is hiring

Finance and Administration Cabinet Secretary Jonathan Miller is looking for a Chief Information Officer. Lots of huge benefits for the right girl.

Bruce Lunsford doubles up on Mitch McConnell

The prediction market Intrade prices a Bruce Lunsford victory over Mitch McConnell at $38, one week after trading at $17.

A McConnell victory remains priced at $80.

Shock: new Kentucky ed numbers don't add up

Kentucky's education bureaucracy has an amazing ability to make schoolchildren disappear and then magically reappear when they are needed to calculate funding.

Take, for example, the following press release that was printed without question by the Lexington Herald Leader.

In the news story, we see a Kentucky graduation rate of 83%, a drop out rate of 3%, and a retention rate of 3%. Add that up and think about it just a little.

And, by all means, don't take my word for it. Ask Crit Luallen.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Now is a great time to talk about this

Sen. John McCain should promise to run for just one term as President.

Of course, doing so really puts the spotlight on who he picks for Veep.

Please, don't let it be Mike Huckabee.

Is getting someone who is conservative on both fiscal and social issues too much to ask?

Vote for me to elect the other guy?

Interesting post on Peach Pundit from the Libertarian Party convention provides an unusual approach to getting a presidential nomination:
Gravel has a hit piece on Barr up around the convention this morning. It reads, “Do you really think we will win the White House? If we run Bob Barr, he will take votes away from McCain, then Obama or Clinton will be president for 8 years with a Democratic Congress. If we run Mike Gravel, he will take votes away from the Democrat and McCain will be president for 4 years with a Democrat Congress. Mike Gravel is our only smart choice!”

If the candidates' best line this year is going to be "waste your vote on me," enthusiasm for the Libertarian Party must be pretty low. Perhaps not as bad as the Greenies, but probably pretty low.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Locking and loading for President Obama

I think it is pretty funny to see Hillary Clinton get creamed for not suggesting someone shoot Barack Obama so she can get the Democratic presidential nomination.

That said, it's interesting that, with Obama leading in national polls, a Missouri car dealership is offering gas coupons or handgun coupons to people who buy a car.

Most people are choosing to exercise their Second Amendment rights, by accepting the guns rather than the gas. Barack can't be happy about that.

Too bad car dealers can't offer properly regulated health insurance as an incentive. If Barry wins in November, people in the flyover states may be looking for some of that.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Conservative Edge coming back to life

If you have gotten out of the habit of checking out The Conservative Edge, now is a good time to go back.

And while you are at it, head over to Real Clear Politics and vote for Leland Conway's "I am not a racist" essay.

Who likes buying cars and gas for bureaucrats?

Glad to see Kentucky Education Commissioner Jon Draud catch a little grief for his fancy taxpayer-provided car. It's pretty hard to see how pimping his ride is going to help educate any children out of poverty here.

Of course, rewarding government employees for less than stellar results in Kentucky is hardly unprecedented. Take, for instance, the administrators at the Fayette County Detention Center who are zipping around at taxpayer expense.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

I think we just found some missing state money

Jessamine County Sheriff Kevin Corman appears to have serious problems with the Kentucky State Police related to financial irregularities in his office.

Picking a bad decade to expand Medicaid

Remember when Kentucky figured out we overspent on Medicaid and needed more money to fill in the gap?

Ohio is now finding the same thing.

"State Budget Director J. Pari Sabety told legislators yesterday that the budget needs another $344 million ($122 million in state funds) to cover increased Medicaid costs because 66,000 more people than expected are using the state-federal health-insurance program for the poor and elderly."

And some folks want to sign everyone up for government health insurance. Sheesh...

Kentucky, circa 2020?

French bureaucrats are having a meltdown over public employee pension reform, a subject Kentucky politicians are striving mightily to ignore here.

A government employee revolt has to be considered inevitable in Kentucky, given what we are seeing in France and our limited ability to tax ourselves out of a Bluegrass version of the same mess here.

What are you waiting for, Monsieur Beshear?

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

If we don't teach our kids, people will forget

Kentucky educators are now busily putting together a curriculum on the Holocaust, as state law requires them to do.

And may we never forget the horrors perpetrated on innocent human beings in the name of an ideology.

While we are at it, though, perhaps we should remember even worse atrocities committed in the name of a much larger ideology: communism.

Kentucky legislators should start to work immediately on a bill for the 2009 General Assembly requiring schools to teach children about the millions of lives destroyed by communist leaders.

This little piggy ate subsidies...

After watching Republicans get creamed in elections and, subsequently, going to CPAC this year for the first time in his presidency, George W. Bush found the will to veto The Farm Bill.

The override is coming, but it was a worthy effort.

Health insurance changes headed your way

In comparing Sen. Barack Obama's health care plan against Sen. John McCain's health care plan, it may be helpful to consider whether someone would want to be a New Yorker buying health insurance in Kentucky or a Kentuckian buying health insurance in New York.

Read this.

Yet, she can't

Sen. Hillary Clinton can't shake the image that, even after winning Kentucky's battle last night, she is going to lose the war against Sen. Barack Obama.

Providing a sure sign Hillary is doomed, Mark Hebert reports Governor Steve Beshear is set to cast his superdelegate vote for her.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

What is Steve Beshear hiding now?

Just learned this morning California is about to set up a website listing every government expenditure. Gov. Steve Beshear knows he is going to get himself sued on some of his executive orders, but instituting government transparency would merely make him look like he took one of his campaign promises seriously.

Why would he not want us to know what is happening to our money once we send it to Frankfort?

Anyone know a good First Amendment lawyer?

Fayette County Detention Center bagman Sgt. John McQueen is looking like the fall guy for Dr. Don Leach this morning.

Please place all angry anonymous responses below. And if you want to sue me for libel, you know where to find me.

Monday, May 19, 2008

63rd House primary shocker

Will Terwort appears to be about to beat Rep. Alecia Webb-Edgington in tomorrow's Republican primary.

Will you beat Mitch McConnell and not get paid?

If you really think Greg Fischer or Bruce Lunsford is going to beat Sen. Mitch McConnell in November, you might want to look at

A more Democratic Senate might get you free government healthcare, or nationalized oil companies (free gas, anyone?), or whatever.

But at a last trade of $17 for a contract on "any Dem beats Mitch," the prediction market presents an excellent opportunity for you (if you really believe!) to put someone else's money in your mouth.

Kentucky's rigid political spoils system too costly

Tennessee is pushing for government spending transparency and Ohio is pushing for an end to back-slapping double-dippers.

Kentucky would do well to pursue both (or even just one) of these initiatives. But all we get is hot air.

Each day with no positive action is another day in which we draw closer to disaster.

Friday, May 16, 2008

A little action in Kentucky's Sixth

Congressional candidate Tony McCurdy appeared on the Leland Conway Show in Lexington this morning and announced his support for the FairTax.

Skippy on the stump

Kentucky Finance and Administration Cabinet Secretary Jonathan Miller today endorsed Barack Obama for President and railed against gas prices to a huge crowd of adoring fans who really wish he had been elected governor.

The Obama campaign provided the podium. And the crowd. And the videographer.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Trousers ablaze

Congressman Ben Chandler promised the citizens of Kentucky's Sixth district in 2004 he would never vote for a tax increase if they honored him by sending him to Congress.

Today he broke his promise for the fifth time in the current session.

Does Senator Barack Obama condone such blatant chicanery?

Louisville Metro Council race heats up

See if you can spot any problems with this mailer in the ongoing battle between Jon Ackerson and Ellen Reitmeyer:

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Playing Fayette Jail Twister

The federal grand jury investigating the Fayette County Detention Center has extended its term one month into June, fueling speculation one or more targets in the inmate beatings scandal has provided new information necessitating a delay in the proceedings.

Also getting some interesting details in about the city's investigation into possible embezzlement at FCDC.

Will Hillary out-Nader Nader?

The Drudge Report suggests this morning Sen. Hillary Clinton could shift to an independent run for POTUS after she sees the handwriting on the Democratic Party wall.

Apparently, 29% of Democrats want her to go indy after Sen. Barack Obama clinches their party's nomination.

Why we can't all just get along

Recent polling suggests widespread disgust with Kentucky's legislature, much of it for good reason.

But the real problem is the finding that, despite our rapidly expanding entitlement spending, bonded indebtedness, and unfunded fringe benefits, 58% of Kentuckians don't think state government is spending enough money.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Black Wednesday open thread

I'm not expecting any official announcements tomorrow regarding the federal investigation into the Fayette County Detention Center.

So if you know anything, please put it in the comments section below.

Busy morning

House Speaker Jody Richards had to fend off two Legislative Ethics Commission complaints this morning in Frankfort.

He was successful at shutting down one of them.

The Republican Party of Kentucky filed a complaint against Richards, Rep. Joni Jenkins, and Rep. Tim Firkins. That complaint was dismissed.

A complaint by Amy Mischler was heard and found worthy of further discussion at the Commission's next meeting in June. Mischler's complaint is against Richards, Rep. Greg Stumbo, and Rep. Kathy Stein.

RINO hunter bags a sign stealer

Louisville metro council candidate Ellen Reitmeyer was caught by police this morning stealing signs from opponent Jon Ackerson.

Thanks for the tip, Corley Everett.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Changing your underwear times two

Yeah, you're just going to have to read this.

Obama runs home to blow up local governments

The Obama campaign has just announced cancellation of tomorrow's campaign event in Lexington so he can go back to Washington D.C. to force unionization of fire fighters and police officers nationwide and stop contributions to the strategic petroleum reserve so politicians can claim to be doing something about gas prices.

Hebert: Beshear should apologize

WHAS reporter Mark Hebert suggests Governor Steve Beshear should apologize for urging Vice President Dick Cheney to assassinate President George W. Bush.

Might be a good opportunity to poll the Democratic presidential candidates to see if Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama condone the actions of this undecided superdelegate.

Also, if disgraced former Governor Paul "Beshear should have shot David Williams" Patton had been able to keep his pistol in his pocket five years ago, Congressman Ben Chandler would now be a disgraced former Governor himself.

Chandler: bomb North Carolina and Virginia

Rep. Ben Chandler has 142 co-sponsors on his bill requiring the expansion of prevailing wage laws to states like North Carolina and Virginia that currently save millions of dollars by not saddling their school building projects with added prevailing wage costs.

Technical difficulties on Bluegrass Blog

The Bluegrass Policy Blog is off-line right now and we are working on getting it back up.

If you go to the site now, it looks like you are back in 2006. Should be fixed pretty soon.

Deck chairs

Kentucky's two largest newspapers can't agree on which candidate should lose to Senator Mitch McConnell in November.

Some interesting choices for Veep

Help pick a VP candidate for John McCain, single-elimination tournament-style.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Courier Journal catches Obama fever

It's not unusual to see Louisville Courier Journal writers get light-headed and sniffly in support of a Democratic party presidential nominee, but when they start convulsing, their eyes roll back in their heads and white foam starts gathering at the corner of their mouths, it's a little hard to ignore.

Especially for someone who had friends who lost their businesses after Kentucky tried in 1994 what is essentially Barack Obama's healthcare plan, it is a little much to see the CJ proclaim, unattributed to anyone, that it would "cut the medical cost for all families."

You can read the whole plan here, but if you know anything about healthcare finance you will probably want to do it on an empty stomach.

Friday, May 09, 2008

Beshear earning his first lawsuit

When you get a letter from an attorney that says "Hopefully, we can work together to resolve this within the law and without unnecessary legal expense," you should know you are about to get sued.

Governor Steve Beshear is about to get sued.

The letter is from Senate President David Williams. It should be clear to the Governor, after he reads this, that he won't be in court arguing about stopping the clock or if ten days really means eleven days. This will be a lawsuit Governor Ernie Fletcher already fought and lost about gubernatorial spending authority.

Bipartisan discussion on Kentucky pension reform

House Speaker Jody Richards went off his meds before he wrote a letter to the editor of the Danville Advocate Messenger:

Today, Senator Dick Roeding responds by setting the record straight some and then finishes off Richards by agreeing with House Democrats who called Richards a liar:

I'm glad we have everyone, save our MIA Governor Steve Beshear, talking about our fiscal future and I'm glad we have all agreed Jody Richards is full of it. But we need more than just political points on public employee benefit reform. Kentucky needs to get our political class off the gravy train now, before we bankrupt the state.

Mitch McConnell is a Club for Growth guy

The Club for Growth put out its Congressional Scorecard last night and it is good news for Senator Mitch McConnell. McConnell actually edged out Senator Jim Bunning, 84% to 82%. On the House side Rep. Geoff Davis and Rep. Ron Lewis managed to get 85%, followed by Rep. Hal Rogers, who turned in a 68%, and Rep. Ed Whitfield, who got a 58%.

Rep. Ben Chandler scored a Sen. Barack Obama-like 7% by voting for tax increases, bloated spending bills, the Death Tax, and bills to expand the power and reach of the federal government into citizens' lives. Rep. John Yarmuth earned a 1%.

Oh, did I mention Rep. Chandler is now really, really close to Sen. Barack Obama?

(Thanks to Mark Hebert for pointing out the video)

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Kentucky watches while Ohio walks into the light

State government officials in Kentucky are wasting our time talking about being fiscally responsible until they start putting government expenditures online so citizens can keep track of what is going on with our money.

Now even Ohio is ahead of us on this.

How big an anchor will Barack Obama be in KY?

Rep. John Yarmuth took a poll back in February, but has not said anything publicly about his results. Now that Democratic nominee Sen. Barack Obama is headed for a crushing defeat in KY-3, it's hard to imagine Yarmuth would have any current numbers to brag about either.

"Whip me, beat me, make me use bad grammar!"

Rep. Susan Westrom is so upset at House Speaker Jody Richards, she can't even speak correctly:
"As a legislator representing a Republican district, should I be replaced
this fall by Mike Farmer, I can assure you he be (sic) as ineffective as I
feel I have been this session."

Richards, in turn, called Rob Wilkey a liar:
"I can only assume that this email was written out of frustration and in haste without appropriate attention to accuracy," Richards said.

And this came, of course, after Wilkey's email attack on Richards culminated in his own grammatical malfunction:
"I hope our members think long and hard about re-election (sic) some members of this leadership group," Wilkey wrote.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Ron Bishop shows his hand

Fayette County Detention Center Sgt. John McQueen is on administrative leave with pay, which means Director Ron Bishop is still hoping the federal investigation into inmate abuse at the Lexington jail will just go away.

Kentucky Progress fans inside the facility have been calling May 14 "Black Wednesday," speculating that the first inmate abuse indictments will come down that day.

Gun grabbers freak alert: McCain won't die in KY

When the National Rifle Association convention comes to Louisville next week, concealed carry permit holders will refrain from assassinating GOP presidential nominee John McCain.

Let the seething begin.

Some people are lying about the economy

Here's what I don't understand: Al Gore and friends have spent the last decade campaigning for higher gasoline prices. Thanks to their ability to inhibit domestic oil exploration, they have succeeded in getting us higher gas prices.

They should be happy and proud, right?

Well, no. Instead, they are trying to divert attention from this happy circumstance by overstating the economic slowdown and blaming Republicans. The following conversation took place today:
"The fracas started after Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D., Texas), said lawmakers needed to move aggressively to help homeowners avoid foreclosure. “We’re not in a recession,” she said on the House floor. “We’re moving toward a 1929 Depression.”

Rep. Pete Sessions (R., Texas) took umbrage at her characterization of the economy: “My Gosh! Let’s at least tell the American public the truth… Let’s not make things worse than they already are. Let’s not lie to the American public.”

Lee, who was sitting down at that point, rushed back to the podium.

“Are you calling me a liar?” she yelled. Shouting erupted in the room.

“It is not a true statement,” Sessions yelled back."

Yes, Sheila Jackson Lee, you are a liar. Rep. Ben Chandler and Rep. John Yarmuth should have to explain whether or not they condone her histrionics.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Is Obama stealing Indiana?

It wouldn't surprise me if by Wednesday morning, there are charges of voting "irregularities" in the Indiana Democratic primary.

If it happens, the focus will be on Michael Jackson's hometown.

Wouldn't that be fun?

UPDATE: and here it is.

Trey Grayson responds

I put up a post on the Bluegrass Policy Blog this morning urging Secretary of State Trey Grayson to get on board with the transparency movement by posting his office's expenditures online.

Trey has responded by sending me a copy of an email dated May 2, 2008 in which he described his efforts to Rep. Jim DeCesare to do just that "even without legislation."

Guess this fits someplace between timing being everything and great minds thinking alike. Expecting the House Dems and the Governor to lead on an important issue like this will mean nothing more than a long, disappointing wait. By the way, did I mention Grayson will be our speaker at the Bluegrass Institute's June meeting in Frankfort?

Press one for John McCain...

Seeing that Senator John McCain has a Spanish language website presents an opportunity for blanket amnesty opponents to remind people that their opposition has nothing to do with skin color and everything to do with real welfare reform.

Have at it...

Monday, May 05, 2008

Governor from poor state wants you to vote Obama

Just noticed a press release from the Obama campaign saying that former Mississippi Governor Ray Mabus will be campaigning today and tomorrow across Kentucky for Obama.

Two things: I guess Brereton Jones was too busy battling off banking regulators. And maybe Obama thinks Kentuckians won't know the difference between an old politician from our own poor, Southern state and one from another poor, Southern state.

Did Stu Silberman cheat, or did he lie?

As the discussion about Peggy Petrelli continues to slowly fill in some of the blanks, it's becoming apparent Fayette County Schools Superintendent Stu Silberman either had to know there was cheating going on or he just made the whole thing up to get rid of a principal he didn't like.

Also, there's interesting insight here. And much more here.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

How can you tell a teachers' union official is lying?

Yep, you guessed it. Here's proof.

Another conflict for Kentucky Department of Ed

The Kentucky Department of Education can't be impartial in the retaliation of Stu Silberman against former Booker T. Washington Academy principal Peggy Petrelli. Putting KDE in the position to decide if Fayette County Public Schools should write a big check to someone who has been defamed (Petrelli) or not would only make sense in the corrupt educational backwaters of Kentucky.

And, of course, there is no sense expecting any help from Governor Steve Beshear.

Petrelli's best option is probably to leave the state. That is Kentucky's loss.

Friday, May 02, 2008

Tick tock, tick tock: FCDC update

Internal affairs will hand a hot potato to Fayette County Detention Center Director Ron Bishop on Tuesday. That's when he gets the use of force report on Sgt. John McQueen and has to decide whether to suspend, fire, or reinstate him.

If Bishop fires McQueen, likely a key target of the prisoner abuse scandal, that would open up a can of worms at this late date in the investigation. Why open a hole in the stone wall at this point?

Suspending or reinstating McQueen puts him back in a position to hurt inmates way too soon.

So which way will Director Bishop go on this? He won't say. Fayette County Public Safety Commissioner Tim Bennett and Mayor Jim Newberry are playing dumb too.

Can Obama give Rev. Wright to Hillary Clinton?

Hollywood actor Ben McKenzie wrapped up a two-day tour of Kentucky colleges today. I caught up with him at Transylvania University in Lexington. Speaking on behalf of Senator Barack Obama, McKenzie tried, amazingly, to attach the words of Obama's pastor of two decades to Senator Hillary Clinton.

And then there is Obama's plan to get all of our troops out of Iraq in sixteen months unless, of course, it can't be done that fast. Oh, and then he wants to leave a few troops there to "minimize terrorism."

A couple of bright spots in Kentucky's future

Watching actor Ben McKenzie bumble through his campaign appearance today on behalf of Senator Barack Obama was a pretty painful hour. On the bright side, I got to meet some outstanding young people at Transylvania University.

Amanda Moore is a Montgomery High School student attending her first political event. She was diplomatic in describing Mr. McKenzie, calling him "informative but not thorough." Her grasp of the issues shows a wisdom I'm sure she doesn't even realize she has.

Fine young lady.

Daniel Rison is a Transy student from Mount Sterling and the host of a campus radio program. He came to the event to see if he might be persuaded to support Obama rather than his preferred candidate, Senator Hillary Clinton.

He said the presentation didn't change his mind. He said "the further along we get in the process, the more I think I made the right decision. Unfortunately, it seems that may be a lost cause."

Daniel hopes Kentucky policymakers don't lose sight of the opportunities presented by the upcoming World Equestrian Games in 2010.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Looks like a major scandal in Congress

A New York television station has a report on about half of its Congressional delegation taking part in a car leasing program that pays all auto expenses (including gas) with taxpayer money.

This could be just like the House banking scandal a few years back. It will be interesting to see which Kentucky members are playing this game.

And its not a partisan thing with me at all. Anyone in the Kentucky delegation driving around in a car we are paying for deserves all the hell he gets.

It's a pandering thing, you wouldn't understand

In the following video, Congressman Ben Chandler invokes the names of Happy Chandler, Jackie Robinson, God, and even baseball itself to spin the political calculation behind his endorsement of presidential candidate Barack Obama.

No excuse to mess with the doctrine of my castle

The gun control crowd is trying to make poster boys out of Tadarvis Gardner and Andreas Lobsiger in Lexington.

It won't stick.

The lesson of this sad tale is to not go banging on someone's door early in the morning. Someone in his own home shouldn't have to open the door to determine he is in danger. Senate Bill 38 from 2006 was created to ensure safety of people in their own homes. In this case, it did what it was supposed to do.