Friday, October 31, 2008

Obama energy policy

Barack Obama wants to force energy prices higher to lower demand. In his own words:

Hidden camera strikes again at Lexington jail

Correctional Medical Services Director Jonathan Bowen of the Fayette County Detention Center won't allow his nurses to give medical attention to jail staff even in the event of an emergency.

So what was he doing in Assistant Director Todd Eads' office Wednesday administering an allergy shot?

Obama commercial sticks to the facts

It's not a shortfall if you never had it

After yesterday's press conference in Frankfort about our projected overspending of $294 million in Kentucky this year, the big newspapers are all using Gov. Steve Beshear's word for the red ink: shortfall.

This is ridiculous and underscores the biggest problem we have with big government in Kentucky. Everyone knew we were spending in the new budget money we weren't likely to have, but the legislature did it anyway.

Revenues fell short of their political wish list, not of responsible spending priorities. Ignoring that reality allows a politician -- Beshear -- who campaigned on not raising taxes to claim a new and unexpected reality in which tax increases are a "necessity."

It would help if our big media didn't swallow spin about overspending quite so easily. We need more people to see fiscal mismanagement for what it is. That's the only way we will ever stop it.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Finding some Kentucky government waste

On the very day Gov. Beshear admits we will overspend at least $294 million this year, The Bluegrass Institute has the latest on the Kentucky Department of Education's waste-of-time-and-money task force affecting our children.

Education Commissioner Jon Draud and friends may have thought no one would notice.

To learn more, click here.

Another small step for nontaxable income

Even Rhode Island is starting to talk about repealing its income tax and relying instead on consumption taxes.

Massachusetts is actually leading the way this year on income tax repeal. Looks like Kentucky might be getting on board the train as well.

Ted Kennedy, moral leader on the world's stage

Sen. Ted Kennedy sent out an email this morning. Something about, uh, morals and electing Barack Obama and redistributing -- I mean building -- the economy.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Missing another golden opportunity

Years of state and local government overspending will have no reason to correct itself if the feds pass their new bailout package. From the Wall Street Journal:
"House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Charles Rangel (D., N.Y.), said he wants upcoming fiscal stimulus legislation to funnel aid to states and localities. He said he hopes that package can be approved shortly after the election."
""Our hope is that the leadership of both parties will be able to confer and come back after the election, and see what we can do to provide assistance to our local and state governments, as we have been able to do for our banking and finance industry," Rep. Rangel said at the outset of a committee hearing Wednesday on stimulus discussions."

"U.S. Rep. Charles Rangel said he wants upcoming fiscal stimulus legislation to funnel aid to states and localities."
"State governors and local officials testifying at the hearing put forward to lawmakers a wish list worth tens of billions to help shore up their finances. Their argument: we didn't create the financial mess, and we need Washington's help to get out of it."

Kentucky is never going to shake off its poor-state status if we don't learn to lower our dependence on government. This garbage is a big step in the wrong direction. It will certainly gain widespread bipartisan support.

Jim Keller and his good old yellow dog

In a radio ad for Fayette District Judge Julie Goodman, former Kentucky Supreme Court Justice Jim Keller tells listeners to vote for the Beshear appointee to keep her seat.

That reminded me of a 2006 post quoting Keller, who was then running for the State Senate, on the stump telling listeners to vote for Supreme Court Justice Mary Noble because "she is a yellow dog Democrat!"

Also worth noting in a year most Kentuckians will vote to not turn over the federal government to Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi, and Harry Reid, that 2006 Congressional candidate Tom Barlow said:
"But the funniest harangue came from congressional candidate Tom Barlow, who said: "We are delivering lower gasoline prices and when we take office in January we are going to bring peace to the Middle East peacefully, we are going to have affordable medical care and high paying jobs!""

That hasn't exactly worked out, has it?

Pandering differently; same type of results

So it looks like we are going to shift from a focus on parents dropping their own children off health insurance policies in favor of putting them on government programs to employers shutting down because their competition was deemed "too big to fail" or "too important not to subsidize" by the government.

Seems that our best hope may be city and state governments bankrupting themselves and having to cut back on spending and nannying just so people will see that small government can work. Out of control public employee pensions just might do the trick in some places. And then there is Birmingham, Alabama which is teetering on the edge of bankruptcy because of the way it tried to finance its sewers.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Another victim for Ron Bishop

A corrections officer at the Fayette County Detention Center has distributed an email at the facility that will earn him the wrath of the secretive thugs running the place. From the email:
"Safety is the major concern. In the event that you are being assaulted by an inmate and I am on break, I will not be allowed to assist you, unless I am given approval by a commander. Understand that if I stop an assault or an attempt to take your life, without direct permission from a commander, I will be progressively disciplined. Keep in mind that we have been trained with a USELESS self-defense method and your hands are tied. PPCT does not protect you from multiple attackers, attackers armed with bladed weapons, or any of the mixed-martial arts that are wildly popular today. So while you wait for designated "responding rovers" and a few command staff, you will be forced to use an incompetent self-defense method. Regardless of the consequences, I will respond to all Signal 7s. DO NOT let our lives be left to the hands of ignorant operational orders."

"By NO means am I asking that we be irrational, irresponsible, or unprofessional. I am asking that we all take the proper steps to make the changes that we need. Whether you have faith in the CWA or not, I suggest that we file our grievances and use them until the option is exhausted. If the union is ineffective then we will act as corrections officers on our own behalf. If the problem persists we will go take it up the chain to LFUCG and stay persistent until an agreement can be made. Please, for the sake of making this a safe and enjoyable work environment, don't just turn a blind eye to the problem and hope that it passes, because it won't."

Rather than address the issues brought up by the officer who wrote this, Director Ron Bishop and friends will likely just fire him. And Mayor Jim Newberry will have no comment.

Kentucky teacher quote of the day

A teacher friend said she received a political phone call at home asking her who she was going to vote for in Kentucky's U.S. Senate race. After answering that she was undecided, the caller told her the Kentucky Education Association supports Bruce Lunsford.

"Well," the teacher replied, "then I'm voting for Mitch McConnell!" And she hung up the phone.

State investment gurus won't show the money

I've been waiting for a week to get information about the toxic mortgage-backed securities held by the $17 billion Kentucky Retirement Systems (KRS).

I specifically asked for the cost-basis of the mortgage-backed securities they hold and their current market value. This morning, after I asked again, I was told that the information is not available.

Poor investment returns combined with fiscal mismanagement by the General Assembly for more than 25 years have combined to create a $28 billion actuarial deficit in the state public employee benefits accounts.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Kentucky Club rocks

If you aren't reading the Kentucky Club for Growth web site, you should be. On Monday, Andy Hightower hit the high notes on three different races:

McConnell vs. Lunsford

Flood vs. Ward (Kathy Stein's old seat)

Moore vs. Weaver (House 26)

And if you want to look up details on any of the bills Andy mentions, go to Kentucky Votes.

"Call in sick for Obama?"

The Barack Obama campaign has a new commercial out encouraging their supporters with jobs to call in sick.

Now that's an economic plan!

"What's your socialism exit strategy?"

Sen. John McCain said today in Ohio that "the government will get out of the banking business fast."

How fast, John?

Same question for Sen. Barack Obama. Now that both of you have voted us into the quagmire of a socialistic banking system, exactly when are you going to get us out?

No more bailouts!

The National Taxpayers Union has an online petition to generate support for the idea that we don't need government bailouts when the free market can clean things up. Of course, we are going to have to get past the silly notion some have that free markets caused our current problems.

The overwhelming sense that the nation has given up this battle to the wealth redistributors can't lessen the resolve to set things right.

Interesting to see the difference between the people on the federal level who are just cranking up the printing press to get through the moment and what may be happening in Frankfort. In Kentucky we can print up bonds and create a similar effect, but reality may be closing in on that strategy.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Attack of Joe the Storm Trooper

At a Lexington political event Saturday, a local citizen was handing out brochures expressing opposition to the federal banking bailout when he was approached by two Lexington police officers. The entire event was caught on tape by a camera the young Republican was carrying. The officers asked him if he had any weapons, frisked him and, after finding nothing, one of the officers proceeded to rant about "jacking around" and then threatened to "take your head off your shoulders."

The audio makes clear that the young citizen did nothing to provoke the outburst and terroristic threat from the police officer.

Unfortunately, a small group of Mitch McConnell supporters then picked right up with the intimidation where the rogue police officer left off. Not good.

UPDATE: An anti-McConnell version of the video is also up on YouTube.

A little help?

Can anyone tell me who this is?

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Thus spake Obamamessiah

A major key to Sen. Barack Obama's electoral success so far has been a remarkable ability to state something that is completely untrue -- illogical, even -- and to portray his statement as some kind of prophesy.

Take, for example, Social Security. This unsustainable program provides negative returns for taxpayers. As our years of drawing surpluses into the Social Security Trust Fund draw to a close, we have nothing to show for them. We are headed unavoidably to the time that taxpayers who know they will never see any of their money back will have to pay higher taxes to support the older generations. Everyone knows this to be true.

One way out is to allow people to choose personal accounts. And yes, that will certainly damage further the unsustainable Social Security. But the program is already headed toward utter ruination. At some point we are going to have to take a hit to get off our present course toward disaster. Taking that hit will be cheaper now that it will be in five years. It would have been cheaper still three years ago.

There is an odd "spreading the wealth" book going around called "Obamanomics: How Bottom-Up Economic Prosperity Will Replace Trickle-Down Economics."

On Social Security it says:
"If we allow people to invest in riskier assets in the stock market, we will just have more losers who end up gambling with their retirment money and end up with nothing at retirement and under Bush's plan, with no one to care for them. This is an example of Obama's greatest strength, the wisdom to see the underlying fundamental causes of our problems, so that we might structure real solutions that will be effective."

In essence, what Obama is doing is turning Social Security into Fannie Mae in reverse. In the mortgage meltdown, the government made extremely risky investments look risk-free. Why would you hesitate to loan money to ACORN voters if you knew you could take large profits on the front end and make a fortune before the music stopped? The more corrupt players gobbled up their competitors and then became "too big to fail." Social Security is now "too big to fail." Opponents of changing Social Security depend on convincing people that any deviation from the current money-losing plan involves catastrophic risk. I think we have had enough mispricing of risk in the last decade to last us for a long time. We need to get Social Security right. Allowing people to enhance their Social Security accounts by contributing less into the system and placing the difference in a personal account replaces a sure loser -- the current system -- with one in which better long-term returns would be so easy as to be a certainty for almost everyone.

The rhetoric about "losing it all" in the stock market has no place in a civilized discussion because it is so ridiculous. In fact, if you like FDR, you may be interested in a blue ribbon commission he put together back in 1934. It essentially unlocked the secret to investing in the stock market: buy a diversified collection of quality investments, the commission said, hold them for the long-term, and re-invest regularly. Ask Warren Buffet how well that approach worked for him.

Besides, if you don't like stocks, buy corporate bonds. A high quality corporate bond paying 8% will double your money in nine years. You could pour money into Social Security for a century and not do that.

The key, again, is understanding the risks associated with our actions. Voters who elevate a President Barack Obama to Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi to run the national government are showing an inability to learn lessons even from recent history.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Trey Grayson speaks out against abortion

Heading down to the University of Kentucky Student Center this afternoon to see Secretary of State Trey Grayson talk to students about his opposition to abortion.

UPDATE: Grayson noted that Barack Obama didn't mention abortion in his Democratic Party convention speech and suggested that was because Obama knows his position is way out the mainstream. He said Obama would work to codify Roe v. Wade, possibly as his first act as President. Grayson also criticized Obama's opposition to the Born Alive Infant Protection Act. He said that position exemplifies how extreme Obama is on the subject.

"That's a position that would even make John Kerry and Al Gore uncomfortable," Grayson said.

Spreading it around in Argentina

Who could have imagined even three months ago that the Wall Street Journal could write a brief story like the one below about Argentina, draw parallels to the United States, and no one would bat an eye? (click the image below to read it)

Thursday, October 23, 2008

I can't hear you!

Ho hum.

Another day, another Kentucky newspaper backing up what the Bluegrass Institute has been saying for years about public education.

If you know someone who is newly-inspired to improve public schools in Kentucky, show him/her this.

UPDATE: Apparently, it gets even better as the feds are paying attention too.

Taking care of his own

Slow down, fellas: Obama case not finished

Some legal beagle has put out a blog post overnight sure to shock the world, or at least that part that isn't much into details.

Barack Obama has NOT yet been found to be ineligible to run for president.

The blog post claims -- and even offers court document evidence -- that a judge found against Obama in the first case to have him removed from the ballot for faking his U.S. birth certificate, Berg vs. Obama.

What the legal beagle missed is that the order is not signed. It is merely a proposed order filed by Philip Berg. If Judge Barclay Surrick signs it, then Obama is in trouble.

But we are not there yet. Here, by the way, is the incorrect blog post:

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Where the guilty go free

No official information is available tonight about the Fayette jail officer Shannon Raglin was caught shaking down inmates for cash almost exactly a year ago.

The case against him has been dropped and he has moved out of the state. Amazing how local authorities don't seem to be able to tie up loose ends at the Fayette County Detention Center.

Ain't too proud to beg

Can't help thinking this morning that if we were going to start a country or a state from scratch we probably wouldn't base it on an unsustainable system of unemployment benefits, retirement benefits, health benefits, cash stimulus payments, corporate welfare, and bank bailouts.

Nor would we write laws to give exorbitant powers to nameless, faceless, unelected, or possibly even nonexistent bureaucrats.

Rep. Mary Lou Marzian has filed a bill giving serious control of private business practices to the Executive Director of Kentucky's Office of Workplace Standards. After several phone calls this morning, I still can't find out who holds that office.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Boone County's tax increase boondoggle

A microcosm of the national struggle for the heart and soul of the Republican party is happening right now in Boone County over a tax increase proposal that will be on the ballot.

The ballot language does seem a little vague:
The creation of a dedicated natural areas and parks fund (Park Fund) for the purposes of the purchase and maintenance of public parks, to improve water quality, to preserve forests and wildlife habitat, as well as to provide active parks and recreation services, in Boone County, Kentucky through an ad valorem (property) tax not to exceed two point two cents ($.022) on each one hundred dollars ($100.00) assessed valuation of all taxable property within the limits of Boone County?

It's not hard to imagine the "need" to raise more revenues for all those things might suddenly materialize.

The battle lines have been drawn.

KRS to me: go screw yourself

The expensive investment gurus at Kentucky Retirement Systems -- the people whose investment mistakes are now the taxpayers' problem -- are used to getting kid glove treatment in the media. That all changed this weekend when the Courier Journal's Stephenie Steitzer gave them a much-deserved butt kicking, that I followed up on here.

The evident incompetence brought up one simple question: how did these people we are trusting with billions of our dollars do in the recent mortgage-backed securities meltdown?

So I asked.

Rather than provide any kind of insight into what they have been doing with themselves -- and our money -- over the last year and a half, though, I got this waste-of-time response (click the image below to read):

3:39 pm UPDATE: Got another email from KRS stating that they would provide me with information but that a report may have to be generated. I'd be very surprised and disappointed if, with all the hulabaloo, no one has stopped to see just how bad our mortgage losses are.

Get Skippy off our money, now

Finance and Administration Cabinet Secretary Jonathan "Skippy" Miller's disastrous foray into higher education finance is rolling Kentucky into another river of red ink.

The 2008 actuarial report you have only read about here is out today and the news is as bad as predicted by your humble correspondent years ago.

Bluegrass Institute readers already knew about the new $35.7 actuarial deficit taxpayers will have to make up for Skippy's ponzi scheme. What's really remarkable, though, is how much worse the news is going to get for us.

From the report are future projected losses for this ridiculous money-loser:

Readers will note that the program runs out of money in 2019, leaving taxpayers with an $81 million bill.

Expect Gov. Beshear and Skippy to start pushing for re-opening KAPT to new contract sales very, very soon. As with all ponzi schemes, bringing in more suckers and kicking the losses down the road is the big-government way to deal with such problems. Sort of like what we did with Social Security, Medicare, and our state public employee benefits system.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Serious gun grabber alert

The Kentucky FOP Lodge 4 endorsements included mostly Democratic candidates, as usual. What's interesting is that while they endorsed Kathy Stein for the 13th Senate district, they went against the Democrat running to replace her in the House, Kelly Flood. Turns out Flood is as far to the left on guns as anyone I've seen running for office in Kentucky.

The FOP endorsed Kimberly Ward in the 75th House district. Flood's positions on guns include licensing citizens who wish to carry handguns and prohibiting citizens from carrying concealed weapons. Not even Kathy Stein, who wants to put serial numbers on individual bullets, holds such extreme positions.

Obviously, Flood's risk to public safety is too much for the FOP to stomach.

What part of bubble didn't they understand?

I'm not expecting Kentucky Retirement Systems to answer my questions any time soon about how much money they have in toxic mortgage securities, but data from their 2007 annual report suggests they were busy buying them at exactly the wrong time.

The chart below shows that the KRS held $845 million in mortgage securities on June 30, 2006 and that by June 30, 2007 that number had nearly doubled to $1.47 billion.

Big Ed bloggers prove wrong point, again

Education writer Diane Ravitch (via Kentucky education blogger Richard Day) takes another in an endless string of shots at free market innovations in education by jumping into the deep end for a financial markets analogy.

It doesn't work.
"I wonder if its advocates in the education arena will stop and reconsider whether they are importing free-market chaos and free-market punishments into the lives of children?"

Trying to make the point that introducing competition into the taxpayer funded education is somehow the same as government's hands-off approach to financial markets (Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, ACORN, CRA mandates, Rep. Barney Frank, Sen. Chris Dodd, Sen. Barack Obama, etc.) supports the opposite conclusion from the one they intend. And it just makes them look silly.

Free markets didn't fail in the financial markets fiasco. They were hardly even consulted. Had they been, they would have advised against pouring trillions of taxpayer dollars into artificial demand for housing. Sort of like how we keep pouring trillions of dollars into unaccountable, monopolistic government schools.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Colin Powell endorses Barack Obama

Former Secretary of State Colin Powell just endorsed Obama on Meet The Press.

"I would have difficulty with two more conservative appointments to the Supreme Court," Powell said.

No story here.

Friday, October 17, 2008

First day in office

If you were elected president, what would you do on your first day in office? While reasonable people can certainly disagree on what has to happen January 20, 2009, Sen. Barack Obama's priorities are strangely focused on aborting babies:

Where will Beshear put David Boswell?

The latest SurveyUSA poll shows Kentucky's 2nd Congressional district isn't buying the "spread the wealth around" class warfare of Senators Barack Obama and David Boswell.

The latest poll has Sen. Brett Guthrie up by nine points. Boswell is losing despite -- or perhaps because of -- campaign donations from bailout goats Rep. Barney Frank and Rep. Charlie Rangel.

Post-election scrambling in his district looking for a special election replacement for Sen. Guthrie will be nothing compared to the scrambling in Frankfort to give David Boswell a job so he can take advantage of the sweet pension deal lawmakers worked out for themselves in 2005.

Boswell should have to promise that he will not accept a state job until the excessive pension boost in HB 299 from 2005 is repealed.

Feeding at both ends of the trough

Senate Minority Whip Joey Pendleton wasn't expecting much of a race from his Republican opponent Tom Jones, but an emerging pay scandal related to Sen. Pendleton's job at Murray State University could cause him some problems.

Pendleton's contract at MSU specifies that he is not to be paid on days when he is actually working in Frankfort for the legislature.

According to a statement from the Republican Party of Kentucky, Pendleton "appears to have cheated MSU out of $69,784.00."

RPK Chairman Steve Robertson said Pendleton should "reimburse this money to Murray State University and I hope Attorney General Conway will put aside partisan politics and appoint an independent prosecutor to investigate this matter immediately. The taxpayers deserve accountability."

Massachusetts a small-government leader?

A ballot initiative in Massachusetts to repeal the state's income tax is being vigorously ignored by the national media, but recent polls suggest it actually could pass.

Unlike a possible Kentucky bill to replace the income tax, the Massachusetts plan would simply require that state to spend $12 billion less each year than its current $47 billion annual budget allows.

Voters decide on November 4, but the big-government groups are pouring millions of dollars into maintaining the status quo. Even if the effort falls short of passage, its apparent strength in the land of Sen. Ted Kennedy and Sen. John Kerry may inspire others.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

State's top lawyer stays mum on net seizure

Interesting that Attorney General Jack Conway has stayed out of Gov. Steve Beshear's effort to seize internet domain names of private companies.

Franklin Circuit Judge Thomas Wingate ruled this afternoon that Beshear's goofy move is okay with him.

Through his spokeswoman, Conway again refused to get involved.

That's a whole lot of "if" there, Mr. Speaker

Who is ready to join me in calling b.s. on House Speaker Jody Richards' victory lap in the 2008 Special Session on pension reform? If you listen to the floor speech below, think of Barney Frank talking about how everything was fine with Fannie Mae.

Debate wrap-up

Redistribution of wealth won the debate.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Barack Obama said "elf," not "wealth"

When Sen. Barack Obama was telling that plumber in the ABC News video going around that he wanted to take money from him and give it to other people so they can succeed too, some interpreted his statement as evidence of his Marxist redistribution philosophy.

The Obama campaign said that just isn't so. What he said was not "spread the wealth around." In fact, what he said was "spread the elf around."

Like this:

Some racist, right-wing hate groups have taken his words out of context. Please click the image below for a full 5:47 video of Barack and the plumber. At the 4:40 mark you will see the camera cut to an actual elf who says he has to use the bathroom:

Is this why Beshear is taking others' internet stuff?

Judge Thomas Wingate's office just called and said his decision on the Beshear seizure of internet domains fiasco will be delayed until tomorrow morning because of a computer glitch.

Does Gov. Beshear need to seize a Mac desktop computer for the Franklin County Circuit Court?

Jail plaintiffs object to attorneys' settlement

Judge Jennifer Coffman this morning ordered plaintiffs attorneys in a class-action lawsuit against the city of Lexington to answer by Thursday objections to a controversial settlement by several jail workers who are part of the class action.

According to court documents, though, it appears none of the jail employees filed the proper paperwork to object specifically to the amount of the attorney's fees they are going to have to pay to the lawyers.

A tale of two tellers

Kentucky's two big newspapers sat out another key education meeting again yesterday. If they are even going to pretend to cover public policy, the Courier Journal and Herald Leader should at least cover the single largest item in the state budget.

When Education Commissioner Jon Draud's Assessment and Accountability Task Force met yesterday, two people were there to cover it. What's amazing is how different their reports were. First there is EKU professor Richard Day:
"If a vote had been taken today it is unclear whether Commissioner Draud's Assessment and Accountability panel would keep writing portfolios in the CATS assessment."

Then consider the report from Bluegrass Institute education analyst Richard Innes:
"Until yesterday, the information provided to the public consistently indicated that findings from this task force would be collected in a report to be provided to the legislature. Well, forget that."

"Now – as announced yesterday at meeting five of the task force – the committee’s findings are going to have to be approved by the State Board of Education. Furthermore, instead of an independent and uncensored report, the task force’s findings will simply be buried in the Kentucky Board of Education’s 2009 legislative request."
While it is no surprise that this task force was set up to provide cover for doing nothing to improve education in Kentucky and provide back-up for the traditional screaming for more money, it is a bit of a shock to see the cover-up performed so publicly. Good thing Dick Innes was there to witness and report on it.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Lawsuit started against Northup opponent lives on

Third parties in Kentucky could get a boost if a lawsuit headed for federal court is successful.

Hint: whether Republican-turned-Libertarian Ed Martin has his votes counted in the November election is an interesting sideshow, but isn't the main issue. Stay tuned...

"Don't know much modern history"

You don't have to wonder why hardly anyone takes Congressional candidate Heather Ryan seriously when you see stuff like this:

Shades of Cynthia McKinney.

Will Beshear spark an Indian attack?

I wonder what Gov. Steve Beshear's approval rating will be if it leads to Kentucky being attacked by Indians.

Beshear's illegal internet domain seizure has irked the Mohawk Council of Kahnawake.
"This is a perfect example of someone who knows nothing about the effects of their actions," said Grand Chief Delisle, "It's not the first time that a government has tried to prevent us from conducting business and it won't be the last. But, rest assured, we will always protect our jurisdiction and the integrity of the Kahnawake Gaming Commission."
Maybe it would help if we could get Beshear to apologize for calling them leeches and child molesters.

Monday, October 13, 2008

A leader for a change

Here is an interesting presidential campaign ad ... from 1976:

Obama Voodoo

Sen. Barack Obama's 90 day foreclosure moratorium proposal today is bad enough. His $3000 tax credit for each new job created is a non-starter of a scheme that aspires to be counterproductive.

But his plan to give federal loans to states and cities (whose pre-existing spending problems are much greater issues than any temporary decline in tax revenues) is really bad. Besides, Kentucky has already tried that. This is not a time for more smoke and mirrors.

Hillary Clinton didn't have anything to do with this

They will have a tough time blaming this on any Republicans. Absentee voters in Albany, New York were mailed ballots last week with the Democratic nominee for President listed as "Barack Osama."

Maybe they can pin it on their blind Governor.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Appearance of impropriety in Fayette jail case

Intense speculation this weekend has Fayette jail employee plaintiffs in the wage and hour class action lawsuit against the city protesting the settlement agreement their attorneys worked out for them under suspicious circumstances.

Think low rent Fen-Phen scandal. That would be the class action lawsuit in which the plaintiffs attorneys ripped off their clients, gorging themselves on the settlement.

This case is different in the number of political connections between the low settlement for the hundreds of present and former employees who were cheated by the city ($530,463 in cash, $345,000 in paid leave time), the attorneys fees paid to lawyers at Miller, Griffin & Marks ($1,144,537), and Mayor Jim Newberry.

Judge Jennifer Coffman ordered the plaintiffs' attorneys at Miller, Griffin & Marks to get testimony from three neutral-party attorneys that the settlement amount was appropriate. Two of the three contributed to Mayor Newberry's most recent campaign. All agreed the settlement amount was not improper.

A hearing is scheduled for Tuesday, October 14 in which individual plaintiffs may express concerns about the settlement agreement. Dissatisfaction among current and former jail employees and the appearance that plaintiffs' attorneys may have short-changed the plaintiffs in deference to Mayor Newberry is further complicated by a four decades-old story from Memorial Coliseum:

The Wes Coffman in the story is not only the same Dr. Wes Coffman who donated $1075 to Mayor Jim Newberry's last election campaign, he is also the husband of Judge Jennifer (Burcham) Coffman, who is also the judge in the class action lawsuit.

Doesn't look good for the plaintiffs in this one:

Friday, October 10, 2008

When the going gets tough...

... tough Americans go to work.

In honor of the can-do, American spirit that will get us through any and all of the struggle that lies ahead, The Bluegrass Institute has rented out The Kentucky Theater in Lexington on the evening of October 29th for a special showing of the inspirational movie "Call of the Entrepreneur."

And you're invited.

For details, you may join "The Call of the Entrepreneur" group on Facebook. If you can't do that, call me at the phone number at the top of this page.

Get ready for our "Inflation Holocaust"

Any bail out supporters want to refute this?

Now is not a good time to be in debt, which has always been a good thing to avoid. But now that our politicians have made all the wrong moves to deepen our crisis of confidence, it is about to be a much worse time to be in debt.

Nevertheless, the fundamentals of the economy have been strong and they remain so. No one ever repealed the business cycle. If we can just get the politicians to back off, the power of the American economy will continue to make its rich and the poor richer. While nincompoops like Jimmy Carter and Barack Obama are stuck on blaming the Bush tax cuts and while nincompoops like George Bush and John McCain are promising to restore stability, the rest of us are working to keep the engine of the American economy roaring so efficiently that we can even afford to keep their sorry rear ends in their nice, warm seats.

We won't get it, but what we really need is some good old laissez faire capitalism around here.

Is federal government ready for economics lesson?

Can't imagine why the mainstream media wouldn't be interested in picking up a national story about trillions of taxpayer dollars being flushed down the toilet by one out-of-control federal bureaucracy, can you?

This one even has a strong local connection.

Now is the perfect time to reconsider the economic policies wrought by our federal government in the name of eliminating poverty, leveling the playing field, and labeling services provided by individuals as "rights" to be mandated by the government.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Even more criminal activity in Fayette Jail

Fayette County Detention Center muckety-mucks Mary Hester and Edye Dabney are trying to keep quiet a little problem they have with male employees sexually abusing women in the system.

Mayor Newberry?

Cut spending and borrowing, Governor

Gov. Steve Beshear had a press conference this morning to sell hard the idea that we need lots of new and higher taxes in Kentucky.

But he isn't telling you everything you need to know.

Read this, too.

Good question for Mayor Jim Newberry

Louiville Metro Corrections has a short list for hiring a new jail director. Fayette County Detention Center's Director Ron Bishop used to be the director in Louisville.

Wonder why Bishop isn't under consideration for his old job, especially since he still lives in Louisville?

That's because Bishop is a hot potato and Louisville isn't interested in playing Lexington's game.

Mayor Jim Newberry hasn't shown much gumption when it comes to dealing with real problems. Could it get any clearer that he needs to do something about the mess at the Lexington jail?

The terrorists don't want you to sell stocks short

With the oh-so-successful ban on short-selling of stocks coming off today, a finance blogger has a suggestion for those who think less government regulation of financial markets will only bring on ruination. He says you might consider converting to Islam.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Fed warns about falling property taxes

Just in time for Gov. Steve Beshear's "we're borrowing our way to prosperity" victory lap, we get the word from the Federal Reserve about what to expect -- and when to expect it -- when it comes to falling property tax revenues.

I know the presidential candidates are determined to "stabilize" real estate prices, but all the fun and games will be disrupted soon enough as our big entitlement programs come calling for money we don't have.

Let me guess: we need casinos and more taxes?

Gov. Steve Beshear has called a press conference for Thursday morning at 9:30, room 110 in the Capitol to discuss the economy.

Starting to hit the pension nail on its head

Financial difficulties can be a good thing when it forces prioritization. In flush times, a satellite dish with every channel in the world might be a lot of fun. When times get tough, it makes sense to figure out which channels you can live without.

The question we are going to have to answer in Kentucky is when our public defined-benefit pension plans become like Australian rules football on ESPN 12. The prospect of massive taxpayer losses have been too easy to overlook until now.

As part of a CNN Money article about how private defined-benefit plans should all be gone soon, there is this detail about why these taxpayer time bombs have hung on longer:

Pretty soon, more people may come to think of paying for public employee benefits that are unavailable in the real world as akin to sitting around watching Australian rules football on ESPN 12.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Anne Northup turns on Mitch McConnell

Don't know how this one is going to end up, but I like to see the fight:

I'm not crazy about the typo in the middle of this ad -- and Anne's timing for getting religion on pork spending leaves a little to be desired -- but it is a conversation Republicans are going to have to have with each other at some point.

Let's sing a happy bailing song!

The Dow Jones Industrial Average is down 1000 points since the Congress rushed through its bailout and pork sandwich and President Bush signed it last week.

And I feel great.

No, I'm not celebrating the national angst -- though it's tempting -- or the $700 billion we flushed into the abyss. I'm just relieved there is general agreement we shouldn't print up another $700 billion to fix all our problems again. And the widespread angst will be hugely profitable once we get back to allowing that sort of thing around here.

Nevertheless, I find it necessary to correct some convenient re-writing of history about Herbert Hoover. He is cast, conveniently enough for those doing the casting, as a hard-hearted Republican free-marketeer who sat by and did nothing as the nation collapsed into the Great Depression.

This simply is not true.

In fact, I found this great quote from Hoover about his efforts to stave off disaster:
"We might have done nothing",Hoover said, "[but] we determined that we would not follow the advice of the bitter-end liquidationists."

I am the type of proud "bitter-end liquidationist" that neither Hoover nor Bush would allow to get in the way of all the inverventionist fun. Our problem now, as then, is excessive credit that has to be wrung out of the system. The sooner our politicians let that happen, the sooner the economy will get back to growing.

California's hints that they will need bailing out are just the tip of the iceberg that represents the states and cities that may keep the next president too occupied on that level to do much damage on a large scale for a while.

That and the inevitable firesale prices on assets all over the world for those of us who didn't wreck ourselves in the party, may make it all worthwhile fairly soon.

Sign o' the times

I'm struck by how unhelpful the mainstream media is in the wake the financial meltdown/bailout/new Great Depression nonsense going on these last few weeks. It almost seems like party pooping to point out that if those of us who are able keep providing services people need and keep our spending to within our means and keep our wits about us when some people with microphones are screaming about the end of the world, we will emerge from any temporary setbacks as stronger people.

I hope you can see and enjoy the humor in this (click below to read):

Monday, October 06, 2008

Still looking for that pony!

The Kentucky Club for Growth adds some details to a post I put up this morning about Kentucky's deteriorating financial situation and particularly the official inaction that stands to make it all worse. (Go here to see the Club's post.)

One bit of good news that I just found out -- that's good news in the optimistic sense of the boy who spent hours digging through a room full of manure hopeful to find the pony that was surely in there somewhere -- is that Kentucky has not issued any of the billion and a half dollars in bonded indebtedness the legislature decided to issue in the budget passed last spring. Given the current state of the municipal bond market, it may be a while before they can sign our children up for any of that debt. So -- good news.

Gotta enjoy it when you can find it.

Setting off dead-tree cannibalism

A weekend discussion about the wisdom of subsidizing newspapers with scarce tax dollars has created a minor firestorm at the Bowling Green Daily News that resulted in me being deemed an unperson (reference "1984" Orwell,George). (See this for the latest from the Daily Nooze.)

More on this from me here.

I've been very interested in the ongoing transformation of the news business. So I found a discussion about how big newspapers may start going out of business soon worth a read -- including a much more civil discussion in the comments section.

Emergency Summit in Frankfort

I'm heading to the Capital Plaza Hotel in Frankfort for a 1 pm emergency summit hosted by the Bluegrass Institute dealing with Gov. Steve Beshear's seizure of internet domains.

See you there! (Click below for details)

Where have we heard this before?

The Lexington Herald Leader and the Louisville Courier Journal were too busy this weekend to print it, but bond rating agency Fitch had this to say about Kentucky:
"The Negative Outlook reflects plans to continue to deplete fund balances and virtually drain the budget reserve trust in the current biennium. Further, Fitch remains concerned about the weakened pension funding levels and the commonwealth's rising debt position as an additional $1.65 billion in debt has been authorized for the biennium."

Wouldn't want Gov. Steve "Sixty percent approval rating" Beshear to face any tough questions about any of this, would we?

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Why newspapers are dropping like flies

Some wuss at the Bowling Green Daily News has his talking points down pat when freedom of speech rolls into his wallet.

But when it starts going the other way and he can't back up his arguments, he does this:

Friday, October 03, 2008

If Barney Frank were a Republican...

No, Congressman Yarmuth, it wasn't "deregulation" or "capitalism" that caused the banking mess. I'm not any happier with the Republicans who jumped in to support "the big fix." Both parties are shooting at the innocent bystander -- free market capitalism -- but when Congressional Democrats were presented with evidence, the went Social Security "there is no crisis" on us.

Don't call KY newspaper bailout a bailout

Funny blog post by Bowling Green Daily News General Manager Mark Van Patten about newspapers and bankers followed by an even funnier discussion in the comments section.

Check it out here.

EVEN Funnier Update: I had to change my log-in on the Bowling Green Daily News website to comment because this champion of free speech was deleting my comments and, ultimately, blocked me from making comments. I just posted this:

It will be interesting to see how long it stays up. Some people's principles sure go out the window fast when their paycheck is on the line.

Having a nice credit crunch?

In the mail today came a $30,000, no fee, 0% APR till 2010 credit card offer from Washington Mutual for my 19 year-old college student son.

"I'm from the government blah, blah..."

An ironically-timed press release from the Kentucky Department of Financial Institutions today would be roll-on-the-floor funny if not for the scam perpetuated on us by the Congress utilizing tactics that were identical to those Frankfort is now warning us against.
(Click to read)

Politics at its worst

Speaker Nancy Pelosi is on the House floor taking credit for killing the first bailout bill and talking about how great the revised version is.

And the increase in federal insurance will just help the FDIC go bankrupt faster.

Pelosi also said the bill would begin to shape the financial stability of our country and the economic security of our people."

Really, Nancy? How, exactly, might it do that?

Rep. Ben Chandler repeated his no vote from Monday, as did Rep. Ed Whitfield and Rep. Geoff Davis. Rep. John Yarmuth flipped to the dark side, joining Rep. Hal Rogers and Rep. Ron Lewis.

Sen. Brett Guthrie, what say you?

Barack Youth

You may have heard of the Obama video with adoring, adorable children singing his praises. If you liked that, you will love this:

(via Caleb Brown)

Oh, and here is a response. Sans kool-aid.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

McCain-Palin sleeping through healthcare debate

In his debate, Sen. John McCain didn't answer Sen. Barack Obama's criticism about his health-care and tonight, Gov. Sarah Palin didn't either.

Sure wish they would. This link would help.

Cracking down on Obamacide

Secretary of State Trey Grayson will speak to a student pro-life group on the University of Kentucky campus later this month.

The Barack Obama fans are really going to hate that.

A voice against socialism in America

Food for thought from U.S. Sen. Jim DeMint on the the unrestrained growth of government in America:
"Our own government appears to be leading our country into the pit of socialism. We've seen this government socialize our education system and make our schools among the worst in the world. We've seen this government take over most of our healthcare system making private insurance less and less affordable. We've seen this government socialize our energy resources and bring our nation to its knees by cutting the development of our own oil and natural gas supplies. And now we see this Congress yielding its constitutional obligations to a federal bureaucracy giving it the power to control virtually our entire financial system."

And now might be an appropriate time to remind you that our entitlement disasters dwarf this mortgage/banking mess. Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and public employee pensions and healthcare benefits need our attention far more than giving the government more control over the financial system.

The only government solution to these problems is less government.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Bailout advances

The U.S. Senate right now is passing the bailout bill. Bunning voted against it. McConnell voted for it.

Seventy four ayes and twenty five nays.

Now it is back to the House where its fate is still very uncertain.

Hope this helps.

How many bailouts are we going to do?

Whether Congress is going to move closer to free market solutions for the financial mess or not, they have played their cards on socialized medicine. Congratulations, you just bought yourself $4.3 billion worth of a big-government healthcare "solution" for some people in Massachusetts. Enjoy!

Like any government program that measures its success by its increasing budgets, this one will be looking for more suckers like you and me.

(Via Club for Growth)

Wednesday LOL: Jack Conway

These are truly triumphant times for people who don't understand economics at all. While most of the politicians in Washington D.C. are content to let Americans think the raging free market caused bankers to lend money to people who were very unlikely to make good on their mortgages, most of the politicians in Frankfort are thrilled to watch Kentuckians rant and rave about evil oil companies raping consumers with high gas prices.

Enter Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway. Courtesy of PageOne, Conway claims to be studiously poring over pricing data as he readies a fresh round of gas price lawsuits after the major price disruptions in the wake of Hurricane Ike. And then he is still on some wild kick about "reviewing" the 1997 merger between Ashland Oil and Marathon Oil.

If Conway knows anything about the Ashland/Marathon merger, he would know that the FTC already fully vetted it in 1998 and again in 2004. He can't seriously think he knows something that everyone else doesn't know.