Thursday, July 02, 2009

On a personal note...

I am suspending publishing of the Kentucky Progress blog immediately to take a position as a consultant with the Rand Paul for U.S. Senate Exploratory Committee.

More about that soon.

This site has been both very hard work and a lot of fun. I expect to return to it at the conclusion of this new project. Meanwhile, the site with its existing posts will remain up as will my contact information at the top of the page.

I've met and worked with a lot of fantastic people during the 4 1/2 years on Kentucky Progress who I probably would not have gotten to know otherwise. I'll always be grateful for that.

Hope to see you soon!


Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Next episode of Ben Chandler vs. voters

Lost perhaps in the recent frenzy of Congressional pillaging is the fact that President Barack Obama's labor union payoff is not yet complete. That means card check is headed back to the front burner.

U.S. Rep. Tom Price (R-Georgia), speaking on a national media conference call Wednesday morning, expressed concern about the so-called "Employee Free Choice Act," which wipes out secret ballot protections for workers in union elections and forces binding government arbitration on American businesses. It's called "card check" and it means unions will be allowed to vote themselves into workplaces by forcing workers to sign cards out in the open instead of voting a secret ballot. Then, if unions and management can't reach agreement, the federal government will swoop in and dictate terms.

Rep. Ben Chandler is in favor of this.

Price said he is concerned the bill sets the stage for "making employers liable for union pensions." That would represent very large costs that will ultimately be passed along to consumers.

Price also said he expects the card check bill to go through the Senate first, where Sen. Tom Harkin is putting together a "compromise." Price is skeptical that this move will work out well for workers.

"I don't think one can compromise away the right to a secret ballot," he said.

The devastating impact this bill would have on American prosperity combined with the cap and trade fiasco, another Chandler "accomplishment," should greatly concern central Kentucky voters.

Mongiardo splits the baby on health reform

Left-leaning Kentucky web sites Barefoot and Progressive and Page One are jumping all over U.S. Senate candidate Daniel Mongiardo for not cheerleading enough on government healthcare reform in the following video.

In fact, they are calling him a "Republican" because he knows the shortcomings of the Canadian system Democrats now seem to want so badly. Mongiardo worked as a doctor in Canada for four years.

In Canada, Mongiardo said, "There's a thing called rationing of healthcare meaning you just don't give it. I never saw a patient in the clinic that I scheduled for a tonsilectomy, in the operating room. There was a three year waiting list for a tonsilectomy. And there was, you know, months and months waiting list for a lot of different things."

Mongiardo describing this experience is considered heresy among the far left. Interesting to see how his candor affects his primary election bid.

Should Mongiardo survive the primary, his big problem becomes his inability to move past what seems to be his only political solution for any political question: electronic medical records.

Closing the barn door too late alert

State Auditor Crit Luallen sures knows how to work the news cycle on an old story that is sexier than it is substantial:

It's almost as if putting government checkbooks online and doing a full audit of the Kentucky Department of Education would be bad for business.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Why not just break some windows?

Wednesday is minimum wage increase day in Kentucky. The economic illiterates at Kentucky Youth Advocates couldn't be more thrilled. So how, exactly, does the government forcibly taking money from some people and giving it to other people benefit the state's economy?

Obviously, it doesn't.

Falling for the broken window fallacy is great politics, but the math is not much different than that supporting Obamanomics.

Wild (and misplaced) rhetoric

The Lexington Herald Leader editorial board is mighty upset about the Kentucky Association of Counties misspending perhaps several thousand dollars.

The funny part, really, is that they are worried about insufficient spending documentation of an organization whose money only indirectly comes from taxpayers when they can't be bothered to look at the much larger pool of abused taxpayer funds going through our public school system.

The last time Auditor Crit Luallen perused any Kentucky Department of Education spending at all, though, she found millions being tossed around on the disgraceful CATS testing system. Fortunately for us, the CATS program was phased out by the 2009 General Assembly.

But no one knows how much the non-functioning accounting system used by our education bureaucracy is costing us unnecessarily. Those who have succeeded in pushing for Washington D.C. to audit the Federal Reserve should help us force a real top to bottom audit of the Kentucky Department of Education.

Lee Cruse looks at taking on Ben Chandler

Growing opposition to Congressman Ben Chandler has fueled quiet speculation in recent months that he might draw a high profile opponent in 2010. One candidate has started raising money and set up a web site and several others are considering the race.

WLEX TV's morning field anchor Lee Cruse says he has been approached about entering the race and is considering it. He had a brief comment about the possibility:

"I am still on the fence because of the personal sacrifice my family would have to make. That’s due to equal time regulations that would require me to leave the job that I love."

Cruse, 39, grew up in Winchester.

Grover brings Big Mo to Lexington

A top Washington D.C. Republican came to Lexington Monday with an optimistic message for local conservatives.

"One of the things that has changed is that we have learned to react to the spending rather than waiting for the tax increases," said Grover Norquist, President of Americans for Tax Reform.

Speaking to an energized crowd in a Fifth Third Bank conference room downtown, Norquist stressed the importance of focusing on the U.S. House of Representatives in 2010 rather than getting sidetracked on animosity for President Barack Obama.

"The most important thing we can do is take the House back in 2010," Norquist said. "Nothing else comes close."

He added that he thinks this is a very realistic goal.

"There are 40 seats Republicans need to pick up and there are 49 Democrats in districts carried by McCain," he said.

That would include the Sixth Congressional district of central Kentucky.

"I think anyone who voted for stimulus, the budget, and cap and trade has a target on his back and you can beat him on those votes alone," Norquist said.

Congressman Ben Chandler voted for all three.

Norquist pointed out that the first Obama tax increase earlier this year ended the longest period in American history without a federal tax increase. The streak spanned fifteen years. He said resisting the suggestion that Republicans move to the left on their policy positions is indispensable to bouncing back in the next election.

"The fact that they want us to drop the tax issue when Obama spent so many millions promising that he wouldn't raise taxes demonstrates how important the tax issue is," Norquist said.

Healthcare reform looks to be the hottest issue for 2009. Norquist dismissed the Obama plan simply.

"I've never gotten one of them to sit still long enough to explain to me why they need $1 trillion to $3 trillion more for a healthcare system that is going to be cheaper," Norquist said.

He also made an interesting point about the global cooling/global warming/climate change controversy. He told a story about Al Gore coming to one of the Americans for Tax Reform meetings. He asked Gore which of his policy suggestions related to the climate would not apply if he suddenly learned that man-made climate change was not real. Gore responded that he wouldn't change any of them. Norquist said this makes it clear that arguing the status of the climate is a waste of time.

Norquist encouraged attendees who have grown frustrated by the Republican party to increase their involvement.

"If you want to change the Republican party, join the Republican party," Norquist said. "It's not important that people on our side of the aisle agree on everything. We just need to agree that the government should leave us alone."

Monday, June 29, 2009

Finding out what's worse than a loan shark

Another day, another one-sided, single-sourced "news" story in the Lexington Herald Leader about shutting down private businesses and turning their functions over to the state.

When are we going to see a story about how much Kentucky taxpayers "lose" to the government each year?

And if payday lending customers go to those businesses because of no alternatives, what do they think those people will do when that option is eliminated legislatively?

Easy. They will hit up the taxpayers.

Horse industry needs a better argument

The Lexington Herald Leader's pro-casino columnist Larry Dale Keeling's latest effort strays from the mark on a key point that deserves unbiased scrutiny. He wrote:

"As a political issue, expanded gambling may not be ripe in the General Assembly. But it's a lot riper than it was just two weeks ago. Progress was made when it passed the House for the first time."

It would be far more accurate to say that a big-government scam is what passed the House. Packing on more than a billion dollars worth of borrowed pork is what passed that bill through the House by one vote. Pretending otherwise just further delays the horse industry from focusing on a workable solution to their problems.

I'm all for freedom in the marketplace and am sympathetic to the industry trying to compete with those in other states. But in our smoke-and-mirrors budgeting welfare state, though, I can't support opening the door to casinos when it mainly means creating another bill of goods to elect politicians while taxpayers get stuck with more debt. The horse industry shatters any validity in its argument by joining forces with those in Frankfort who won't let a little thing like running out of money stop them from spending.

I want the horse industry to succeed, but we have to realize that slots only at the tracks will not be enough for the billion-dollar vote buyers. They will cut your throats at the first opportunity by setting up casinos outside the tracks. Figure out a way to expand your revenue stream without further damaging taxpayers. The political saber rattling just isn't going to cut it.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Sunday evening vanity alert

Found in the Lexington Herald Leader:

How about Benito Mussolini instead?

After public disclosure of his taxpayer-funded trip to see his Argentinian mistress, South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford had the gall to compare himself to the Old Testament adulterer King David, who maintained his power after his crimes became publicly known.

Sanford, a former 2012 presidential hopeful, should reimburse South Carolina taxpayers the cost of his trip, resign, and go away quietly.

"A country of arbitrary rules"

Potential U.S. Senate candidate Dr. Rand Paul said current federal policies run the risk of doing significant damage to American society:

Speaking to the Scott County Young Republicans, Dr. Paul compared the crisis in our current government to that of ancient Rome past its prime and discussed the risks of the Federal Reserve inflating the currency.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

All hands on deck!

Every club, organization, and group of every kind in Kentucky's Sixth Congressional district should call Rep. Ben Chandler's offices Monday and invite him to come to your next meeting and explain his support for Cap and Tax.

This battle is far from over. The bill now goes to the Senate and it will be amended there. If it passes the Senate, it will have to go back through the House for agreement on the changes.

Invitations to Chandler should also be sent to local media via press release. If your Rotary Club, Kiwanis, Garden club, neighborhood association, bridge club, or whatever needs help calling out Rep. Chandler for this latest outrage, I'll be glad to assist you. My contact information is at the top of this page.

The key is that when Chandler refuses to show up or fails to respond, we do another press release and keep hounding him.

Rep. Chandler's Washington D.C. office number is (202) 225-4706 and his Lexington number is (859) 219-1366.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Pelosi power pooper passes

The U.S. House of Representatives passed the Energy Tax bill 219-212. U.S. Rep. Ben Chandler voted for it.

Georgia Congressman Tom Price attempted to stop debate to request a moment of silence for the millions of Americans who will lose their jobs as a result of the bill's implementation.

Someone's desperate for a PR victory

Gov. Steve Beshear is going to great lengths today to take credit for state taxpayers picking up the tab for storm cleanup.


And, of course, it worked. The Kentucky Post seems to think that the Governor's administration, rather than taxpayers, will be picking up the $14.6 million. That's quality journalism right there!

Ben Chandler turns off your air conditioner

In case you were wondering, U.S. Rep. Ben Chandler voted for the Cap and Tax procedural vote that barely passed the House.

Evening update: Rep. Chandler voted for Cap and Tax and the bill passed the House.

We shouldn't have to beg

We can't improve a government that we can't see. That is what the transparency movement is all about. In Kentucky, Rep. Jim DeCesare, Sen. Damon Thayer, and Secretary of State Trey Grayson have been leaders in the fight against a stonewalling Frankfort which is strangely reluctant to allow taxpayers to see what is going on with our money.

The federal effort remains small as well (click here for more):

Every city and county government in Kentucky should post their checkbook registers to the internet for everyone to see. Every school district, too. We have the technology and the resources and we shouldn't have to beg for government that has nothing to hide.

Trouble in casino paradise?

Kentuckians seeking to make our state budget problems go away -- or even get just a little better -- might want to look at a Friday New York Times article about a new billion dollar tax increase in casino-rich New Jersey.

My favorite part to start the weekend with a laugh was the new tax on lottery winners.

Maybe they should just stand at the door of their casinos and bum rush any patrons who try to leave with any cash or with room left on their credit cards.

Big government is the problem here. It's a shame that Kentucky's horse industry has cast its lot with people who buy votes with billions of dollars of borrowed public money. If they really want to "level the playing field" with tracks in casino states, they should seek to do so without digging Kentucky into a deeper government hole. They have energy, passion, and numbers on their side, but if it is mainly going to go for driving our state deeper into the fiscal ditch, I wish them slow and painful failure.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

President says Kentucky needs ObamaCare

The Obama Administration will release reports for every state in the nation Friday describing how things will be better for everyone in each state if we let him implement socialized medicine.