Thursday, July 31, 2008

Bill Clinton promises a night to remember

Couldn't resist showing this email I just got from the Hillary Clinton isn't running for President (until 2012) campaign:

Spend less, spend better, have more

Keeping anyone from a family, business, or government afloat in tough budget times involves managing fixed and variable revenue streams and liabilities. As people drive less and make other changes to better manage personal budgets, though, public officials looking at dwindling road funds struggle to understand what they are going to have to do to get our fiscal heads back above water.

In much the same way individuals cut back on entertainment and eating out, governments are going to have to spend less money filling the pockets of people who could do better taking care of themselves if they weren't so heavily incentivized to remain dependent.

In other words, we would have more money to build and maintain roads if we didn't waste so much providing health insurance to middle-class families who should be expected to get it on their own.

And putting government spending online so taxpayers can share in the decision-making is the best way to improve the quality of these necessary prioritization discussions.

Bad news for nation of whiners

The Great Depression of 2008 not only has not materialized, but we aren't even in a recession.

I bring this up to point out that the people who are moaning and complaining about how horrible everthing is really need to check their bearings. You remember the old Frank Sinatra song where he sings "if you can make it here, you can make it anywhere?" It's corollary might be this: if you can't make it in an expanding economy, it probably isn't the government's fault.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Mayor Newberry, sell the cars and save the kid

Sources with the City of Lexington report Mayor Jim "fire them if their kids get cancer" Newberry is still waffling about whether to do the right thing and give Rashel Coatney her job back.

A commenter on this post spelled out details of an alleged deal that Ms. Coatney is supposed to have gotten.

Newberry has been extraordinarily worthless is dealing with matters at the jail during his term. Forcing this young woman to compromise with the wolves at the facility is wrong on many levels.

He needs to step up now. Sell the cars your jail administrators are driving around in, Mayor Newberry, and do right by Rashel Coatney.

Making racism a taxable event

I know there are still a few people in Kentucky who really hate people based on the color of their skin.

This isn't for them.

This is for the rest of us who are driving around in cars to destroy the earth; African Americans first.

Just raise our taxes and everything will be fine.

Reality TV bailout coming up next!

Just saw this from Associated Press:
LAKE CITY, Ga. - More than 1,800 people showed up to help ABC's "Extreme Makeover" team demolish a family's decrepit home and replace it with a sparkling, four-bedroom mini-mansion in 2005.

Three years later, the reality TV show's most ambitious project at the time has become the latest victim of the foreclosure crisis.

After the Harper family used the two-story home as collateral for a $450,000 loan, it's set to go to auction on the steps of the Clayton County Courthouse Aug. 5. The couple did not return phone calls Monday, but told WSB-TV they received the loan for a construction business that failed.

We have already justified so many forms of unjustifiable government bailouts, how can we complain when our erstwhile celebrity recipients feel the need to do a little speculating?

Monday, July 28, 2008

Ready for another tax scam?

It is almost time for Frankfort politicians to start talking up a back-to-school sales tax holiday just in time for free publicity in advance of the November elections.

Don't fall for it.

The Tax Foundation has a detailed discussion about this political game, but the bottom line is that if Frankfort really wants to give us a break, why don't they cut the sales tax from 6% to 5.9% for everything all year?

No takers on that suggestion, I'll bet. Wonder why?

It's the government involvement, Gov. Beshear

Just saw this from a recent gubernatorial trip to Somerset:
“We need to start emphasizing preventative health care and wellness,” (Governor Steve Beshear) said. “That’s why health care is so expensive.”

Sounds like more government programs are headed our way.

Lowering excessive government spending, regulation, and utilization could more effectively address medical costs than changing lifestyles the way Gov. Beshear wants to do ever will.

He is talking about educating people to choose good habits but continuing to subsidize the bad ones.

Getting rid of Certificate of Need and removing welfare benefits from illegal drug abusers would work better. Raising deductibles and co-pays for government workers and retirees would help.

Instead, of course, Beshear wants to dig the hole deeper by signing up more people on government health insurance:
"Questions were also raised about the K-CHIP program, which offers free health care to children in families that are 200 percent or below the federal poverty level."

"Some 60,000 to 65,000 children qualify for the K-CHIP program in the state that aren’t in it, and Beshear said more must be done to give children the health care they need to stay healthy and develop well mentally and physically."

Which liar lied last, Stumbo or Beshear?

Here's a great passage deep in Ryan Alessi's Monday column:
"Last week, Beshear said he would stay out of House leadership races and didn't speak to Stumbo about that subject when the two met in Prestonsburg earlier this month."
"But Stumbo had a different recollection."
"“What he asked me was if I was interested in getting back into legislative leadership. And I said, ‘Yeah, I enjoyed it (previously),'” Stumbo said. “Then he asked, ‘If you got back into legislative leadership, would you and I have any problems?' And I said ‘No.'”"

And which issue is at the forefront of this unholy alliance? Is it raising taxes on you, expanding the welfare state one slot machine at a time, or finding fresh, new ways to slap each other on the back while public employee fringe benefits drive us to bankruptcy?

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Greg Stumbo whines his way to prosperity

Ryan Alessi picked up Saturday on a 2005 law I may have mentioned once or twice. Great job getting this quote from Representative/former Attorney General/future pension glutton Greg Stumbo:
"Stumbo said he doesn't have a problem with lawmakers receiving generous pension benefits.
”The General Assembly is a full-time job with part-time pay,“ he said."


That's pretty rich coming from someone who has spent decades scheming for new ways to gorge himself at the public's expense.
From the 7-22-2005 Big Sandy News:
"Last week, Stumbo said in a statement that he did not have to register his businesses although the AG's consumer protection divisions advises people to do business with licensed and registered companies.
"The Attorney General's strong leadership on consumer protection issues is obviously unaffected by these facts," spokeswoman Glass said in a written statement.
Stumbo did not address a question from the newspaper about whether it is a conflict to develop lots on the golf course because while Stumbo was a state legislator, he helped secure millions in state and federal funds to develop StoneCrest which will also have recreational grounds."

Friday, July 25, 2008

Jefferson County GOP picnic Friday

Congressman John Yarmuth's campaign got video of his opponent Anne Northup Friday night saying that her "secret weapon" on the ballot this November will be Sen. Mitch McConnell's name right above her's.

It will be interesting to see what they might do with that.

Northup spoke to about 300 Jefferson County Republicans at an outdoor meeting and Jefferson County GOP Chair Brad Cummings said a key difference between the candidates is in their approaches to gas prices:

Congressman John Yarmuth hopes to lower gas prices by forcing oil companies to drill in places they have been unable to find oil.

Just a thought about Rashel Coatney

If Lexington taxpayers weren't paying for their detention center administrators to drive around in taxpayer-provided cars, they could probably afford to pay medical expenses for the young son of a single mom jail officer instead of firing her because of her sick boy.

If you would like to call Fayette County Detention Center Director Ron Bishop and tell him to turn in the car he drives from Louisville every day, here is his cell phone number: 859-948-9113.

Tell him David Adams told you to call. He will appreciate that.

Just say no to the horsing bailout

I get that any business or trade association would want to have some kind of political connection to offer resistance when the government goes looking for someone to screw over, but when did we get to the point that if you don't go running to the politicians when you business gets in trouble you get steamrolled by your competitors with your own tax dollars?

That stampede you hear is the horse industry coming to the trough.

Barack Obama's economic plan at work

A Chicago blogger has seen Obama Magic at work on the mean streets of the Windy City. Check it out.

Just the way it goes

I'm off to cover what will either be a really neat exclusive story or a complete nothing I can't talk about. Either way, I'll be back soon.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Still can't keep a good idea down

Back in late May, hackers caused the Bluegrass Institute site to be taken down several days for repairs.

Well, it has happened again.

The Bluegrass Institute stands for government spending transparency, lower taxes, better schools, economic freedom, and personal liberty. The main site has been hit again and may have been totally destroyed, but the work of the Institute continues with no interruption.

The Institute's blog is just fine as is Kentucky Votes, a tracking device for legislative bills and lawmaker voting records.

I just went to a meeting today at which progress on an all-new site for the Institute was discussed. The new site won't be up for several more weeks, but the battle for creating a brighter future for Kentucky will continue despite any and all temporary setbacks.

Corporate welfare weakens America

I'm reading a very interesting book about how out-of-control fringe benefits wrecked Detroit automakers over the last half a century, destroying manufacturers' ability to come up with new products under crushing health care expenses.

(That doesn't sound familiar to anyone, does it?)

Sen. Barack Obama wants to flush $4 billion down the same toilet.

State Medicaid transparency, what a concept!

South Carolina continues to kick our butts on Governor-driven state spending transparency.

Their latest victory is in posting Medicaid spending to the internet. Governor Steve Beshear, meanwhile, is still dithering.

Rep. Jim DeCesare says he will re-file his transparency bill from last year, but he shouldn't have to when Beshear could get it done via executive order.

Need video conferencing Thursday

Just when I thought I was almost completely off the gasoline-consuming grid, I have to drive around to meetings today.

That doesn't mean you shouldn't check back here often for updates (because I'll figure out a way!) but it just means new posts will be a little sparse for a little while.

I'll throw out one thought. I may have the ability to bring in some national speakers to Kentucky for a conservative activists' convention. Any thoughts?

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

"Newberry's judge" has to go

The plaintiffs in the Lexington illegal welfare benefits case will ask that Judge Jennifer Coffman recuse herself from the case because of her close ties to Mayor Jim Newberry. From Dr. David Duncan's filing:
"She represented the interests Lexington Fayette Urban County Government while
in private practice prior to her appointment as a Federal judge;"

"2. She swore in the present Mayor James Newberry at his request and he is the Chief Executive Officer of one of the Respondents;"

"3. Petitioner does not believe Judge Coffman cannot be unbiased in this case."

"4. A ruling in this case by this judge would give the appearance of corruption given this judge’s connection with the Lexington Fayette Urban County Government."

Meanwhile, Mayor Newberry seems to be playing "hide the politician" by ducking multiple attempts to serve papers on him from the lawsuit.


Barry can't do math

Do you really like Sen. Barack Obama's tax proposals and economic ideas?

This will help:

Lexington jail defendants duck and cover

The defendants in the Lexington jail prisoner abuse scandal are attempting this morning to give up their right to a speedy trial in order to delay the August 18 start of their trial.

Defendant Anthony Estep said through his attorney Brian Butler "the length of their investigation, the nature of the alleged conspiracy, the voluminous discovery much of which must be inspected at the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Office and
the number of co-defendants make this matter complex and warrant a continuance."

He is probably right, but I can't imagine what kind of magic bullet they are going to find in a few more weeks or even months.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Why can't it be "press one for freedom?"

Just took a call from James "Jim" Wells of Lexington. He said he wanted to talk to me about something. Said he had just called in to Verizon customer service and had a recorded voice tell him to press one for English.

"I didn't serve in the war on foreign soil to press one for English," Wells, who will be 82 in January, said.

Wells joined the United States Navy on his 17th birthday and spent most of World War Two in England, Ireland, and Wales. He earned four battle stars.

"I could hear the Battle of Normandy," he said. "I wasn't in it, but I could hear it."

He then went to the Pacific and arrived in Tokyo thirteen days after the war had ended. He remembers seeing suicide bombers.

Mr. Wells said he enjoyed reading this site and asked if I might help put his frustration into words. Done, Mr. Wells. God bless you. And thank you for your service to America.

Beshear makes move to behead Draud

Gov. Steve Beshear's first action after his election last November was to try to get rid of Education Commissioner Jon Draud.

Looks like he has found his man.

Not that Draud has been any kind of change agent at the Department of Education, but if Beshear plans to replace him with Rep. Frank Rasche, he is not exactly moving us forward.

It's the stupid out-of-control spending

Congress is getting ready to misspend another billion dollars of your money:
"The federal government doesn’t need to spend more money on infrastructure. The 2005 highway bill, for example, increased funding by 42 percent – to a record $286.5 billion. This isn’t to say that Congress can’t reevaluate where existing funds are allocated. If bridge inspection is a priority, tax dollars should be shifted from less pressing projects. If just 1/25 of the funds that went to the 2005 highway bill’s 6,500 earmarks (totaling 9 percent of the total cost) were devoted to bridge repair, the new spending in H.R. 3999 would be more than offset. Taxpayers shouldn’t have to shell out another dollar until Congress gets its transportation spending priorities straight."

"Roll call votes against H.R. 3999 will be significantly weighted in our 2008 Rating of Congress."

It's the same story all over again. Taxpayers tighten their belts at home while politicians whip out the credit card.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Landmark lawsuit rocks sanctuary city

Americans who value our freedoms are genuinely proud to see people from around the world risk everything they have to come here for the opportunity to enjoy what we often take for granted.

Few of us, however, include in our definitions of freedom the unfettered ability to live off the efforts of others through welfare and public benefits. Unfortunately, too many of those few who do are elected officials.

For the rest of us, Jenean McBrearty of Danville comes to the rescue today as the author of a lawsuit in federal district court in Lexington. You can get details of the lawsuit here.

McBrearty said inaction by Lexington officials left no choice but to file the lawsuit:

Dr. David Duncan has been a high-profile voice for fiscal responsibility and public safety. He blasted Mayor Jim Newberry for falling short of his public duties in these areas.

The importance of this case will become apparent as citizens come forward and file similar suits in other cities across the state and nation.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Al and me in Austin

Al Gore is across town talking to Netroots Nation. Americans for Prosperity has a hilarious Al Gore video:

Why not just spend less on stupid stuff?

From the Associated Press:
"Among other revenue-raising possibilities, the commission recommended gradually increasing the current federal fuel taxes to 40 cents a gallon.

The American Road & Transportation Builders Association is calling for a 10-cent-a-gallon raise and indexing the tax to inflation. With construction costs soaring because of competition for building materials from China and other developing nations, the tax rate would have to be about 29 cents a gallon to achieve the same purchasing power as the 18.4-cent rate imposed in 1993, the association says.

Including state and local levies, people in the U.S. pay about 47 cents on average in taxes for a gallon of gasoline. Fuel in many European countries costs $8 to $9 a gallon, with half or more of that going to taxes."

We just love tax increases, don't we? Sure would like to see public spending restraint emerge as a silver lining of the gas price cloudiness.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Live blogging Americans for Prosperity

I'm at the Americans for Prosperity conference in Austin, Texas. Robert Novak is the keynote speaker.

I'll cover his remarks on the Bluegrass Policy Blog.

UPDATE: the post is up on Bluegrass Policy blog including comments about Senator Mitch McConnell. (Hint: Novak said he is not a big fan of McConnell, but that he expects him to be Minority Leader next year.)

Few hail the hero's return

A couple of years ago, Ben Chandler's campaign consultant Mark Nickolas caught lightning in a bottle when he started a blog called Bluegrass Report. He frequently received fawning coverage in the mainstream media and claimed traffic rivalling that of many weekly newspapers in the state.

BGR 2.0, with a new writer, isn't off to a very good start. In fact, it's dreadful:

It is impossible to deny the devastating impact Bluegrass Report had on Ernie Fletcher's administration. Seeing it reduced to putting a happy face on Steve Beshear should maybe be a worth a little laugh. Instead, it is just sad.

Will Jim Ramsey get a pass?

Louisville Business First looks pretty silly congratulating University of Louisville President Jim Ramsey for not taking a $113,000 bonus earlier this month.

The hundreds of thousands of dollars in fraudulent grants doled out under his watch dwarf that amount.

There is going to be much more on this ahead.

Another scalp so soon?

There are unconfirmed reports this morning Fayette jail Assistant Director of Operations Jim Kammer is being forced to retire at the end of August.

He would join Don Leach in getting a long overdue kicking to the curb.

The timing of these high level retirements is significant because they will cost both men dearly in terms of lost pension money.

Unfinished business remains.

The city of Lexington probably has no comment.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Bad numbers in Whitley county

The Corbin News Journal reports today that the Whitley County School Board "voted to provide a free breakfast for all students."

Setting aside for now the argument about whether that is a necessary and proper government expenditure right now, the numbers just don't make sense.

According to the newspaper, the school superintendent said the cost would be $50,000 a year. It also says the cost per breakfast is $1.15.

In a district with ten schools, that just doesn't add up.

Of course, we are talking about Kentucky schools. The numbers often don't add up.

Aim for their heads, Jim Bunning

Sen. Jim Bunning did a quick interview with Larry Kudlow about how our Republican administration is screwing us fiscally.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Gonna get another scalp soon

With Fayette County Detention Center schemer Don Leach forced out this week, we turn our attention to which domino falls next.

Some say Jim Kammer. Others guess Ron Bishop.

Getting both of them off the public payroll -- and a few more, too -- can't happen fast enough.

Getting McCain right on education reform

Sen. John McCain was in Cincinnati this morning talking up school choice. That's a good thing, says the Cato Institute, as long as he doesn't try to do it on a national level.
"...the Constitution mentions neither the word “education” nor the word “school.” Congress and the president simply do not have a mandate to create such a program. More than that, a national private school choice program risks extending pervasive government regulation over private schools from the Potomac to the Pacific, homogenizing the options available to families and thus defeating the entire point of school choice. It is far better and safer for presidential candidates to tout the merits of school choice and encourage their state-level counterparts to put these programs into place."

Kentucky should start with special needs scholarships because official abuse is so bad against students with special needs in Kentucky public schools.

Four minutes of smaller government whoopass

Just as Massachusetts is asking for another $100 million for their socialized medicine program, the people who are pushing to repeal their state income tax are now asking for government spending transparency.


Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Hillary Clinton STILL not dead?

They are switching superdelegates away from Barack Obama.

And my favorite quote from a Fox News interview (linked here) with a Hillary supporter is "we all know that politicians say things to leave them room to maneuver." Sounds like a great Clinton campaign motto for the fall campaign.

Second favorite quote: "the Democratic party is right now in a crisis. They have tried to create a sense of faux unity and it isn't working. And it doesn't take a genius to see that it isn't working."

Replacing Ernesto

Lots of behind-the scenes action on the Republican side in the effort to keep Rep. Kathy Stein out of the state Senate.

From the Lexington City Council, At-Large member Linda Gorton is having her name tossed around as a possibility.

Will there be another study group?

Talk radio host Leland Conway made Gov. Steve Beshear say this morning he would consider a plan to eliminate Kentucky's income tax. Rep. Stan Lee then came on the show and said he would get started on a bill.

Leland has been out front on this effort for a while now.

Beshear sets up a website without a study group

Gov. Steve Beshear announced today an interactive website to allow state employees to arrange carpool rides to work. Apparently he did this without the aid of a task force or study group.

That's probably a good thing because his government transparency task force he started with much fanfare a month ago (and under pressure from Secretary of State Trey Grayson) appears to have ground to a halt.

Perhaps he thinks we have forgotten all about that "people's right to know" stuff.

2:39 pm UPDATE: Finance and Administration Cabinet spokeswoman Jill Midkiff just confirmed that no meeting of Beshear's task force is currently scheduled.

One down

Under intense pressure for his role in multiple scandals at the Fayette County Detention Center, Don Leach is resigning August 1.

He leaves a Lexington jail that, under his de facto leadership, has become embroiled in a massive federal investigation, lawsuits Fayette county taxpayers will be paying off for decades to come, and a gathering storm of the type of political scandal Lexington has in the past been able to sweep under the rug.

Mayor Jim Newberry probably has no comment.

Cutting off Medicaid's nose to spite KY's face

The Lexington Herald Leader takes a swipe at the drug problem this morning by suggesting we burden our drowning Medicaid entitlement with paying for drug treatment.
"County jails are particularly ill-equipped to provide treatment or deal with addiction. And Kentucky Medicaid does not pay for drug treatment.
The legislature and Gov. Steve Beshear are taking smart steps by diverting more non-violent criminals from prison and increasing treatment, though modestly.
But Kentucky, which has the fastest-growing prison population in the nation, will need the cooperation and ideas of everyone, from Main Street and the courthouse to the statehouse, to beat this beast."

I can't imagine a quicker way to bankrupt the state, can you?

Since they asked, there is a much better way. Welfare reform.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Compared to what?

I would love for anyone to explain to me why Lexington taxpayers wouldn't be better off selling their public golf courses. The fact that the Lexington Herald Leader editorial page insists that they are a "bargain" should cinch it.

Forcing private golf courses to compete with (and subsidize) public courses on land that could more efficiently be used for neighborhoods or businesses would be impossible to justify if the big-government types were forced to do so.

Four days from the truth

Last Thursday, Gov. Steve Beshear's budget office admitted that state revenue was up for the fiscal year ending in June.

I still haven't seen anything in the MSM about that. Have you?

Lex jail head circles wagons, shoots "wounded"

As a criminal trial with an August 18 start date threatens to shine unwanted light on his own checkered past, Fayette County Detention Center Director Ron Bishop is trying to intimidate potential witnesses by threatening to fire employees who aren't "on the team" and charging them with abuse of the facility's vague employee leave policy, jail employees say.

That's interesting because when Bishop himself was testifying in his own civil suit in Louisville in July of 2006, jail records show he was on the clock back in Lexington.

This isn't the first time Ron Bishop thought the rules for everyone else didn't apply to him.

All the key players in Lexington had no comment.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Is Hillary still not dead yet?

Sure would like to hear what Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton have to say about this.

FDIC: a stupid idea that should die now

Some people are trying to blame yesterday's failure for IndyMac bank on Sen. Chuck Schumer and some are jumping on Sen. John McCain, but President Franklin Roosevelt is a more likely culprit.

IndyMac, a Pasadena, California thrift, specialized in jumbo mortgages for so-called "liar loan" applicants. The only way they could get away with that is because they could bring in large deposits from investors who felt secure because of the Depression-era federal deposit insurance program, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.

Without the FDIC, depositors would have to ask the tough questions about what their money would be invested in. We have the technology to regulate that very well now, thanks. We could have figured out how to do that back in the 1930's, but there is absolutely no excuse for overpaying for the illusion of safety now.

Until we kill off the FDIC, taxpayers will be on the hook for more banks' bad investment practices.

Fayette jail defendant should have talked to dad

Lieutenant Kristine Lafoe, the only female defendant so far in USA v McQueen et al, the Fayette jail inmate abuse scandal, had good reason to steer clear from the official misdeeds of which she is accused.

At the very least, she should have known better than to ignore the warnings of whistleblower Cpl. John Vest, who said in sworn testimony he reported cases of excessive force against inmates up his chain of command. Lafoe was in charge of the intake area of the jail when Vest worked there.

Kristine Albaugh Lafoe is the daughter of former Fayette County Chief Deputy Sheriff Joe Albaugh. Mr. Albaugh assisted in the indictment and conviction of former Sheriff Lonas Taulbee, who did hard time for theft and malfeasance after getting caught stuffing cash in the ceiling of his office.

When Albaugh ran for sheriff himself in 1998, he told Ace Magazine "I came forward with great danger to myself and my family."

Lafoe's trial starts August 18 and Vest is suing the city of Lexington for millions of dollars for trying to shut him up when he put himself and his family in danger.

An interesting side note is that Lonas Taulbee's daughter is Fayette County Property Valuation Administrator Renee True, who ran on a gubernatorial slate last year with the ethically challenged Steve Henry.

GOP Online Platform Committee open for you

I just found this. Check it out and report back, please.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Gutsy move in Massachusetts

I've watched with mild curiosity a movement to get state income tax repeal on the ballot this November in Massachusetts.

But now I'm a believer.

The Massachusetts Secretary of State certified yesterday that income tax repeal had gotten a sufficient number of signatures to force a November election, eliciting this response:
"In a statement to the News Media, Carla Howell said:

"Governor Deval Patrick, the state legislature, and the Massachusetts Teachers Union no longer control the decision of whether to END the Income Tax. The voters will decide this November 4th."

"Our END the Income Tax Ballot Initiative is the first major tax cut for working class and middle class Massachusetts taxpayers in 28 years. Since Proposition 2 1/2."

If that doesn't get you, this will. They are proposing to not replace the income tax with anything and to simply require government to spend less.
"Ending the Massachusetts Income Tax would roll back the state government spending 39% -- to the 1995 budget.

Between 1990 and 2007, the population of Massachusetts rose from 6 million residents to 6.5 million. In 17 years, the population increased 8.3%.

During the same period, Massachusetts state government spending more than DOUBLED.

During the same period, most city and town government spending also more than DOUBLED.

Reducing state government spending by only 39% leaves the state government more than it needs."

The big government types will go to war on this, but Kentucky should take a lesson. The only way we are going to get our government finances under any kind of control is to cut way back on the spending.

Thanks to Grover Norquist for the heads-up on this.

"You can't handle the evidence!"

A motion in US District Court in Lexington over the Fayette jail inmate abuse scandal defendants' request to view sealed evidence has been set aside by Judge James Todd. A hearing scheduled for this morning has been cancelled.

11:45 update: The federal court online document program which has been down all morning has come back up. It looks like the defendants asked for two kinds of evidence and were granted access to one of them. The other, called Brady material, is evidence that might be beneficial to the defense and includes names of witnesses who have received immunity for their testimony. The prosecution said there was no such evidence but agreed to provide any if it becomes available.

A third type of evidence, called Jencks Act evidence was requested by the defense and denied for now by the prosecution on the grounds that no such evidence exists until the trial starts. When witness testimony begins at trial, Jencks Act evidence would include any statements, written or oral, by a witness including grand jury testimony. There is a pre-trial conference set for July 23 and the jury trial begins August 18 before Judge Karen Caldwell.

MSM wakes up to Kentucky pension issue

A good article in Business Lexington this morning addresses important issues about the state's public employee fringe benefits disaster.
"In a floor speech Monday, House Speaker Jody Richards tried to sound hopeful.

He said "the structural changes we are making will prevent the system from going bankrupt provided that future legislators have the will to fund the system at an actuarially acceptable level as statutorily required by this legislation." Then he added that "investment performance will need to be improved."

All that means if increasingly higher amounts of money are poured into public retirement funds each year, health-care costs don't get too far out of control and investment returns improve, the benefits system may not become insolvent. Insolvency would necessitate putting in even more taxpayer dollars.

Rogers is skeptical about the legislators' plan.

"That's crazy," he said. "That's no reform at all. Uncertainty like that would run my company out of business. Frankly, a well-funded defined contribution plan properly invested can provide much more retirement benefit to an employee than a company pension. There is a reason that virtually the entire private sector has converted to defined contribution plans and the public sector remains mired in the past."

Speaker Richards (or whoever winds up running the House next year) had better get serious about public employee compensation and bringing it more in line with what is available in the private sector.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Whiners and crybabies and economic growth

If the people who are ready to kill Phil Gramm would stop hyperventilating long enough to hear what he actually said, a lot of them would agree with him.

KY Libertarian Chair: better if Obama wins

Kentucky's Libertarian Party Chairman's message for Republicans who aren't happy with Sen. John McCain as their presidential nominee is similar to the official Republican Party statement: if you vote third-party, you elect Barack Obama.

The difference is that what Republicans says as a warning, Libertarians say with hope for a brighter future.

"Please support and vote for 3rd party and independent candidates," Ken Moellman, LPK Chair, said. "Tell your "hold your nose for McCain" friends that in the long run, it'll be better if Obama wins. Once the Republican Party starts consistently
losing by 4 or 5 points, they'll adopt the platform of the 3rd party
that's getting 5% or better of the vote; because at the end of the day,
political parties are about winning.

"And besides, it took a Jimmy Carter to give us Ronald Reagan," Moellman said.

Sen. Barack Obama had the single most liberal voting record in the U.S. Senate in 2007, according to National Journal. He supports higher taxes, unprecedented federal intrusions into private business transactions, socialized medicine, and an amazing variety of extremist ideas you are just going to have to see to believe.

Hillary Clinton won't go away

Sen. Hillary Clinton is selling t-shirts for $50 on the internet to pay off her campaign debt (to herself.)

She even says near the bottom of her email "by helping us pay down the debt from one of the hardest-fought races in Democratic primary history, you're making a real difference today for all our future efforts.

Wonder what she means by that?

Obama has to love this.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Rumors and more

Got a copy of a goofy Fayette County Detention Center internal email. Here, see for yourself (click to read):

As funny as it is to see them getting worked up about rumors (imagine that, at the Lexington jail!), the hilarious part is that it is true.

This is how administration is going to fire Lt. Revel.

More Fayette jail cover-up craziness

As Mayor of Lexington, Teresa Isaac said and did some pretty strange things.

But even after hearing her threaten to condemn Lexington Mall and turn it into a softball field, would you ever believe she would vet her hiring of Fayette County Detention Center Director Ron Bishop through a phone call to a woman who runs a coalition of left-wing groups in Memphis, Tennessee?

From Isaac's deposition:
Isaac: (Bishop) had been a jailer before and he had worked in state government.

Question: Jailer where?

Isaac: I believe Memphis.

Q: High jailer or was he just a jail employee?

Isaac: I would not be able to recall without his file in front of me, but I did call a reporter for the Memphis Commercial Appeal and talked to her about what his tenure at the jail in Memphis had been.

Q: What did you find out?

Isaac: That there had been some issues that had come up but all of them had been resolved in his favor.

Q: What issues?

Isaac: I don't recall now.

Q: Sexual harassment?

Isaac: I truly don't recall now but I do remember calling the reporter from the Memphis Commercial Appeal and talking to her.

Q: What did the reporter mean that they had been resolved?

Isaac: I guess if there was some kind of an investigation that it came out it wasn't his fault.

There are a couple of funny things about this: the "reporter" is Deborah Clubb, executive director of Memphis Area Women's Council. She used to be a "reporter" but when she was making excuses for Bishop's long line of issues she was, instead, a firmly entrenched left-wing group activist. Hadn't been a reporter for quite a while.

If Isaac would lie about this, what else might she lie about?

And if Bishop were a Republican rather than a well-connected Democrat, do you imagine these two feminists would be covering for him?

Forget Japan; send Beshear to California

Enticing businesses to move from California to Kentucky may not be such a hard sell if a massive $9.7 billion tax increase goes through in Sacramento.

Saving a few dollars on Gov. Beshear's junkets overseas would be nice. Putting Kentucky in position to benefit from the disastrous tax policies of another state would really be great.

Of course, we need to look out for our own disastrous policies, not the least of which is the public employee benefits mess we still need to clean up.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Coveting North Carolina's partisan rancor

North Carolina has a Democratic governor and Democratic majorities in its House and Senate.

And unlike Kentucky, it has Republicans in both chambers who are speaking out about the level of debt they are slathering on future generations of taxpayers because of profligate spending.

What's really interesting is that, since North Carolina is more than twice Kentucky's size, the amount of debt they are balking at is much smaller than that which sailed through Kentucky's legislature.

Is the state lottery era almost over?

Anyone who made it past third grade math understands that buying a state lottery ticket is little more than a quick way to pay taxes.

So it is more than a little funny to see a university business professor in Virginia get upset enough to sue his state after learning that he was buying tickets with absolutely no chance of a big payoff.

Kentucky's Senate picked up on the idea to stop advertising the lottery to save money. While House Dems would have little of it, the idea is too good not to come back.

As ridiculous as it is to expect Kentuckians to go to the store and buy a lottery ticket because they saw a tv advertisement, it is foolish to expect lottery revenues to keep fueling our big spenders forever.

Probably not a bad idea to assume the Virginia lawsuit marks the beginning of the end for state lotteries.

Either way though, we should seriously reconsider placing so much confidence in such a bad bet. Wouldn't it be better to eliminate business taxes and watch the economic growth expand opportunity in the state?

How about another price fixing scheme?

From the same people who caused your food prices to explode while trying to lower your gasoline prices, we now have expressions of concern about college education costs.
“Something's got to happen,” said Richard A. Crofts, the interim president of the state Council on Postsecondary Education.
“It can't continue, and we're going to have to develop a plan,” he said.

Last year's big idea from the General Assembly was freezing tuition increases.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Big week coming up for Fayette jail defendants

Attorneys for the five indicted Fayette jail employees in the inmate abuse scandal will be back in US District Court Friday trying to get their hands on the evidence against their clients.

Federal prosecutors are fighting the effort.

Before that battle, though, intense speculation surrounds a Wednesday morning hearing in the same courtroom for three "sealed defendants." If those defendants turn out to be Fayette jail employees who have agreed to testify against the five indictees, this story will quickly become very difficult to ignore.

Same goes for this story.

Doing something about gas prices

A new bill pre-filed today will allow people to drive electric cars on some Kentucky roads.

If you go to and sign up for daily updates, you will get information about all the new bills as they are filed.

Big government rally in Edgewood

Smoking ban fans will have a party to discuss infringing on private property rights Wednesday at 6pm.

Still spending too much in Kentucky

Kentucky's end of the year revenue figures due out later this week are expected to show cash inflows have continued upward, outpaced only by government spending.

As politicians continue to promote higher taxes to make up the "revenue shortfall," debt for taxpayers keeps going up.

It is amazing that when bureaucrats talk about running government like a business they mean they want to grow it. But when it comes to paying for it, your business -- and not theirs -- it what they focus on.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

WLEX spiked damaging Newberry, Isaac story

Lexington's NBC television affiliate WLEX-18 is sitting on a story about Mayor Jim Newberry and former Mayor Teresa Isaac repeatedly attacking whistleblower Cpl. John Vest since Vest disclosed in 2006 he had assisted a federal investigation of inmate abuse while serving as an employee of the Fayette County Detention Center.

In sworn testimony, Newberry admitted speaking to Vest on multiple occasions about problems at the jail, doing nothing about the jail situation for almost a year and a half into his administration, and signing an order to fire Vest. Isaac made inflammatory comments about Vest after the FBI raided FCDC in the fall of 2006 and sparked renewed abuse of inmates when she was quoted in the Lexington Herald Leader saying "I've reviewed the same records they've reviewed, there's absolutely nothing in there that would amount to a civil rights violation and I've been a civil rights attorney for 25 years so I think I would know."

Isaac later admitted under oath that she hadn't actually seen the same records as federal investigators.

A federal grand jury in Covington indicted five FCDC officers on June 12 for excessive use of force against inmates and for conspiring to cover up their actions. Vest is suing the city of Lexington as well as Isaac and Newberry for the government's treatment of him in the scandal.

Let's prove David Williams right on this one

State and local officials in Kentucky are still claiming pension reform in the end of June special session will improve or even eliminate the $27 billion public employee benefits shortfall. Some also continue to insist that lawmakers "saved" local governments $56 million in HB 1.

Senate President David Williams is leading the charge in Frankfort for much more significant changes and insists the people will rise up and demand necessary action from the legislature before it is too late.

Sure hope so.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Stu Silberman, school choice poster boy

With all the talk in Frankfort the last few years about making school districts set up policies to deal with bullying (a bullying bill was finally signed into law this year after several failed attempts), it is amazing that Fayette County Schools is still asleep at the wheel.

From the Lexington Herald Leader:

The key part is the school's refusal to move the daughter out of harm's way despite multiple requests. When taxpayers can take the public money dedicated to each child's education and move that child elsewhere in pursuit of better results, the system will cease to function primarily for the benefit of the bureaucrats who run the system.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Have you seen this?

Out with the old, in with the really old

Here goes Gov. Steve Beshear with another one of his bold leadership things.
"Governor Beshear has abolished the Kentucky Horse Racing Authority, forming a new board called the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission. The new commission contains many of the same members as the Horse Racing Authority though Beshear replaced Authority vice-chair Connie Whitfield with his chief backer and campaign fundraiser Tracy Farmer."

I'm sure getting rid of Congressman Ed Whitfield's wife will make everything all better in Kentucky's horse racing industry.

Steve needs a hurricane

Gov. Steve Beshear rages about gas prices in Louisville, but what he really needs is a hurricane.

Hurricane Katrina allowed Gov. Ernie Fletcher to declare a state of emergency in Kentucky in 2005, which triggered our 2004 price gouging law, enabling Attorney General Greg Stumbo to sue Marathon Oil for price gouging. That law was ridiculous, which inspired the General Assembly to make it somewhat less ridiculous.

The current standard for price gounging in Kentucky involves a state of emergency and prices that are "grossly excessive." The law does not define that term.

We might need a new law that is more clear. What we will probably get is a new law that allows the government to crush any business when the Governor's approval rating slide is found to be "grossly excessive."

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Louisville gas prices making Beshear sick

My YouTube account is more than ready for Gov. Steve Beshear to have his Jimmy Swaggart moment over gas prices in Louisville.

LFUCG doesn't want you to read this

Fayette jail whistleblower Cpl. John Vest said the following under oath in his multi-million dollar civil suit against the city of Lexington (LFUCG):
"I did my job really, really good and one of these days you'll find out how well I did my job. I upheld the oath that I took in the military to protect and defend the constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic. I uphold the oath that Fayette County gave me when they commissioned me as a peace officer, a sworn officer. I took that oath. I upheld it. I risked myself greatly."

"And I want to tell you something, ma'am. Every day that I went to work undercover, I was scared to death, every day, and I watched things that still affect me to today."

"No pay; you're shunned by your government that you're working for; you're protecting the Constitution, but the government you're working for doesn't want to support you even though they could, and they want to do anything they can to slander you or put you down. They want to deny that I received any training whatsoever from LFUCG when I'm still a sworn officer."

"And ma'am, I am still a sworn officer today as far as I'm stil an employee. They haven't fired me. And if I had done anything wrong, I would have been gone a long time ago. And the FBI just doesn't walk into facilities like that and take a U-Haul truckload of stuff out. And it just doesn't take the FBI three nights to look at all that evidence. And it didn't take -- it didn't take me being a dishonest peace officer or being -- or not being credible to get a federal judge in Washington D.C. to sign a sealed search warrant to where they can walk in that facility and escort your director to master control and tell him, you open these doors and we are taking this stuff. That didn't happen because I was not credible, and that didn't happen because they didn't have evidence that supported a sealed search warrant, ma'am, and that search warrant's still sealed."

"You haven't even read that search warrant, have you, ma'am? It's not open. I was credible. I still am credible."

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Seven billion dollars buys a lot of misery

The state of Kentucky started the new fiscal year Tuesday with $7,016,000,000 in bonded debt. As a percentage of our economy, that's more than every other state in the nation except Massachusetts and New York.

When lawmakers try again to pull money out of our economy for tax increases or borrow even more to spend, think how much better off we would be without the roughly $350 million a year in debt service we already have.

Happy 401-k Day!

Now that we have finished the worst June for stock market investors since June 1930, today is exactly the wrong time to be getting down on the stock market.

For a little perspective, the Dow is currently trading near 11,200. In May 1930, the Dow closed at 275.07. It finished June 1930 at 226.34. A significant drop, yes. But the end of the world?

No. In fact, If I were a state or local employee trying to figure out if I wanted to lock myself in to hoping bureaucrats and politicians were going to work things out for my retirement, I would be following Rep. Bob Damron's advice and start demanding a defined contribution retirement plan.