Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Hey state workers: How do you like your new gov now? Beshear proposes smaller wage increase than Fletcher's program

One of Steve Beshear's most hardened constituencies last fall was the collective body of people known as state merit employees.

Upset because the General Assembly had failed to give them 5 percent increases during Ernie Fletcher's term, and fueled by the lies that that the Fletcher administration had illegally fired hundreds of their fellow merit workers (not true in the least), it's pretty widely held that the bulk of the state employee vote went to Beshear.

They believed that state employees would be valued and the merit system respected under the new governor (despite Beshear's history as attorney general, when he turned his back on the illegal termination of merit employees by the Brown administration), and they also believed their value would be rewarded through the statutory 5 percent raises.

Last night, state employees got theirs when Beshear unveiled his biennial budget.

Under Fletcher, state employees did not get an across-the-board percentage raise. Instead, Fletcher embarked on an ambitious wage equity program to increase the salaries of the lowest-paid state workers. Other workers got a lump-sum pay increase based on a sliding scale, from $1,350 for those making less than $30,000 to $400 for those making more than $80,000 annually.

State employees may not believe it, but unless they make more than $50,000 per year, they were better off under the Fletcher administration.

The lump sum increases given to workers making $50K and below on Fletcher's watch amount to more than the 2 percent raises Beshear's proposing. In fact, Fletcher's raises for those under the $30K level were more than twice what those lowest-paid workers will get under Beshear. An employee making 40 grand a year will get a raise of only two-thirds what he or she got under Fletcher.

Beshear's raise benefits only the highest-paid state workers. An employee making $60,000 a year got a $600 annual raise under Fletcher, but will get twice that from Beshear. And if you're in the top tier, making more than $80,000 annually, you got $400 under Fletcher but will get at least $1,600 from Beshear.

And we thought the Democrats were the party that looked after the poorest among us.

State employees shouldn't go crying to their legislators, wanting more. Back last fall, even before Steve Beshear manufactured this budget crisis to help make his case for casino gambling, Jody Richards was brushing off requests that the legislature fully fund the legally-mandated 5 percent increment.

Once again, state employees have been used and abused. Like most Democrat governors before him, Beshear used them during the election but has now discarded them like a used condom. Unfortunately, state workers have short memories and will probably be lining up again in four years to support Beshear over whomever the GOP challenger is.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Embargo this! Advance text of Beshear's budget speech

Vicki Glass, Gov. Beshear's surrogate liar, has released the text of the governor's budget address tonight to members of the press. The speech is embargoed until 7 p.m. tonight, when Beshear addresses the General Assembly.

However, since we have no respect for Beshear, we have no respect for his mouthpiece's embargo. We have received a copy of Beshear's budget address and are only too happy to bust the embargo and publish it below.


State Budget Address
House Chambers
Tuesday, January 29, 2008
Governor Steve Beshear

Mr. President, Mr. Speaker, distinguished members of the Kentucky General Assembly, Lt. Governor Mongiardo, Constitutional Officers, Honorable Members of the Court of Justice, honored guests, including my First Lady as well as Kentucky's, and my fellow Kentuckians.

(What, you thought we would leave this bunch of crap up after Beshear made his speech? The only reason we put his propaganda up in the first place was to violate his spokeswitch's silly embargo. If you want to read his crap, go somewhere else. We're not interested in promoting Beshear or his lies or his fantasies).

Democratic responder to Bush, Kansas Gov. Sebelius, lacks credibility, is a hypocrite

We don't usually comment on matters of national interest, preferring instead to concentrate on what's going in the Bluegrass State. But the rank hypocrisy of the Democratic response to President Bush's state of the union address last night causes us to make a rare exception.

Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius tried a novel approach, claiming the response was not by the Democrats, but by Americans. However, she has no credibility whatsoever and no moral authority at all to claim the bipartisan high ground after statements she made last year after a tornado leveled the Kansas town of Greensburg.

The situation made waves in political circles but never really got noticed in the mainstream, but in a nutshell, here's what happened: After the tornado struck, Sebelius blasted President Bush, saying that personnel and equipment from the Kansas National Guard had been sent to Iraq and therefore the Guard wasn't able to respond to the tornado site in a proper manner. After she made the statements, she called Republican Kansas Sen. (and at the time, a presidential candidate hopeful) Sam Brownback to apologize for the comments. Sebelius told Brownback that she had basically been ordered by Democratic National Committee chair Howard Dean to make those comments to take political advantage of the situation and use the opportunity for yet another anti-war statement.

Sebelius is viewed as a rising star among the Democrats and some in Greensburg speculated that she was jockeying for a vice-presidential slot when she allowed Dean to pull her strings. If Democrats really want America to believe they are looking for bipartisan solutions, they'll have to do better than the hypocrite Sebelius to carry their message.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Preliminary presidential endorsement: Anybody but McCain

As the Florida presidential primary draws nigh, conservatives have to be worried about the rise in the stock of Sen. John McCain.

Of all the legitimate, serious candidates for the Republican nomination, McCain is the least conservative of the bunch.

His positions on limiting political speech, voting against tax cuts and supporting amnesty for illegal aliens should give all conservatives and Republicans pause when they consider voting for him.

McCain got a shot in the arm over the weekend when Florida's governor, Charlie Crist, endorsed him.

McCain must be stopped at all costs.

Many conservative thinkers believe that the Republicans lost the House and Senate in 2006 not because of Iraq, Jack Abramoff or Mark Foley, but because the GOP officials abandoned their conservative principles somewhere along the way.

And they expect to retain the presidency if they nominate a RINO who has basically spit in the face of conservatives for years?

We honor McCain's military service and the sacrifice he made while a prisoner of war, but we don't think that translates into him being the best possible Republican nominee.

McCain is the worst possible choice that Republicans can make among the serious, legitimate candidates (and that excludes you, Crackpot Ron Paul) and any Republican that would consider nominating him really ought to go register as a Democrat.

Since Kentucky doesn't hold its primary until May, our voters won't have much say in choosing the nominee. However, most of us know someone who lives in Florida or in one of the Super Tuesday states.

We have a preference among the candidates, but we won't reveal it at this time. However, we believe any of the legitimate candidates -- Romney, Huckabee or Giuliani -- would be infinitely preferable to McCain.

So we urge you to get on the phone or on your computer and get in touch with your friends in Florida. Implore them to vote for anyone except McCain tomorrow. Then start working your friends in the Super Tuesday states.

If McCain isn't stopped now, we run the horrible risk of having to choose between two liberals in the general election.

Anybody but McCain!

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Red light, green light, go go go

The mainstream press and bloggers from both sides of the aisle made a controversy this week about the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet's Elizabethtown district office's decision to install a left-turn traffic light on a turnoff that leads to the subdivision where new KYTC Secretary Joe Prather lives.

Unlike many others, we didn't get worked up over this. To the contrary, we think this was probably a good decision and one that should be emulated statewide.

We have a very reliable source in Transportation, so we checked with them to get information about not this situation in particular, but about traffic lights in general. Here's what we learned.

There are basically four types of signals or cycles that can be used at intersections with left turns. At intersections that have no specific signal or cycle to deal with left turns, the setup is called a "permitted left." That means that if traffic going through the traffic signal has a green light, traffic can turn left on green but only while yielding to oncoming traffic. This was the previous situation at the traffic light on Ring Road in E-town.

If one signal in one direction turns red before the signal for traffic in the oncoming direction does, or if the signal stays red after oncoming traffic gets the green, this is called a delayed or advanced red or green, depending on local terminology. Kentucky does not use this setup very frequently, but the best example that Kentuckians may be familiar with is the main drag in Gatlinburg. This setup is used at Traffic Light #8, for southbound traffic turning left onto Airport Road.

The third signal type is called a "protected left" and is when there is a special signal specifically for the left-turn lane. In Kentucky, those signals usually have red, yellow or green arrows instead of balls. You can only turn when the light above the turn lane is green. If the light for the turn lane is red but the light for the through lanes in the same direction of travel is green, you can't turn. A protected left is the safest left turn because the only time there will be oncoming traffic is if someone runs the red light.

The fourth signal type, which was the one installed in E-town, is called a "permitted/protected left" and probably is the most common signal used at left-turn intersections. When turning traffic has a green arrow, it has the right of way because oncoming traffic is being held by a red light. But when turning traffic has a green ball, it must yield to oncoming traffic from the opposite direction. The unofficial slang term for this type of light setup is called a "doghouse" because you have one red light in the center of the assembly, then four lights below the red (yellow arrow, yellow ball, green arrow and green ball) in a 2x2 setup.

Installing some form of a protected left is a highway safety issue. These lights are the safest. A permitted/protected left still offers a margin of safety because even if oncoming traffic is heavy, there will be a cycle for a protected left and motorists can be assured they'll get a chance to turn without having to judge the speed and distance of oncoming traffic.

We favor the installation of some type of dedicated left turn signals, be they protected or protected/permitted, at all traffic lights in Kentucky as a highway safety improvement. So we won't complain about Secretary Prather getting one for his neighborhood -- although we wonder if Prather is still living in E-town, and if so, does he get to drive a state car home every night. His predecessor, Bill Nighbert, moved from Williamsburg to Lexington. We wonder if Prather has any plans to relocate closer to his new Mero Street office in Frankfort.

And in case anyone wonders, the headline on this post is a song lyric taken from an old Kiss song circa 1977.

And they still say the mainstream press isn't biased to the left?

It's amazing some of the tidbits you can pick up while reading the loony left's blogs.

A recent perusal of Bluegrass Roots turned up a familiar name in a post lamenting the fact that the Democrats haven't found a challenger for State Rep. Stan Lee's seat yet. In a list of Democrat contact people, the name Elisabeth Beardsley showed up.

The non-traditional spelling of her first name, coupled with that last name, rang a bell. And since Google is our friend, it was easy to confirm our recollection of where we'd seen that name before.

Ms. Beardsley is a former political reporter for the Courier-Journal who now works for the Democrats in the Kentucky House of Representatives.

Imagine that. A partisan Democrat liberal was working as the political writer for Kentucky's largest newspaper. Isn't that special?

Thursday, January 24, 2008


Steve Beshear's much-hyped Tuesday personnel announcement? A woman will be heading the state Department of Corrections.


Meanwhile, Jonathan Miller and his gal pal Brooke Parker are laughing all the way to their Las Vegas hotel room and to the bank respectively, because no one is investigating the illegal way Miller's questionable pay increases granted to Parker have been justified.

Where are you, Little Jackie Conway? We're still waiting for you to show us you're not a partisan hack and boob and investigate this travesty.

Makes perfect sense, doesn't it?

Heather Ryan, the crackpot woman with who together with her screaming kid threw a hissy-fit duet when Mitch McConnell filmed a re-election campaign commercial at her former place of employment and blames the senior senator from Kentucky for her subsequent filing, is now considering running for office....

....not against McConnell, but against incumbent GOP Congressman Ed Whitfield!

Way to get revenge on Mitch, there, crazy woman. We're sure McConnell is shaking in his shoes because you're going to annoy Whitfield with a going-nowhere-fast congressional candidacy.

If you feel you've been so wronged by McConnell, why not run against him instead? How will running against (and losing to, if you get out of the primary) Whitfield help you get even with McConnell?

While you're at it, teach your bratty kid some manners. If the reports we've read are true that she's the heathen who screamed "SHUT UP!!!" at the top of her lungs when Ernie Fletcher was speaking at Fancy Farm, you're even worse of a mother that it appears. We especially like one comment on Bluegrass Roots that said you strapped the verbal equivalent of an IED to your daughter when you sent her to ask why McConnell wants to kill her daddy, who's serving in Iraq. Obviously you have no concept of military discipline or respect for your superiors. Looks like your stint in the Navy was a waste of time.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

The new poster child for Kentucky's emerging loony left

Over the past several months, we've noticed the emergence of the radical left in Kentucky. Heretofore, about the only redeeming thing that could be said about Kentucky Democrats was that they were, for the most part, conservative. Their association with a corrupt and power hungry state and local party structure aside, they generally believed in the same God, family and country values as most conservatives.

During the past year, something's happened. The loony left has emerged in the Bluegrass State and is showing its lunacy. Mark Nickolas was a prime example in the weeks leading up to the gubernatorial election, but he's since gone pretty much silent (did he get committed to some asylum out in Montana or something?).

The Kentucky blogosphere gives prime examples of just how crazed the left is becoming. Visit sites like Bluegrass Roots, Ditch Mitch or Page One Kentucky and you can almost see the spittle flying off the lips of these moonbats. Some of the screeds that have shown up on Bluegrass Roots are beyond belief. Some of the pieces there trashing Christianity, Christmas and conservatism make you want to feel sorry for the person who wrote them, that they can really be that stupid and misguided.

That site is trying to make a Democrat activist from Paducah, Heather Ryan, into a martyr because she lost her job due to some incredibly bad judgment over a visit by Sen. Mitch McConnell to her place of employment. We made reference to this brewing controversy a few days ago but had no idea it would escalate into the brouhaha it has become.

Ryan's acts, which she has recounted herself on Bluegrass Roots, reek of sheer stupidity, but the most appalling thing is knowing that this foul-mouthed Navy vet sent her 12-year-old daughter out to ask McConnell why he wanted to kill her father (who is active duty military in Iraq).

If the poor little girl, who is running around the Purchase area with pink hair, really believes that McConnell wants her dad dead, then she has been brainwashed and someone ought to revoke Ryan's parental rights. From her own account of her actions, she doesn't appear stable enough to keep her children.

Other bloggers and commenters on the lefty blogs have been active in pointing out just where Ryan made her errors that led to her losing her job, so we won't reinvent the wheel. But we do think this whole episode is one of the best examples we've yet seen of the left wing lunatics in action.

If you're so inclined, go visit Bluegrass Roots for yourself and read the Ryan saga. Read her own words of how she sent her poor kid out to do her dirty work and discover what the radical left in this nation has become.

We have no sympathy for Heather Ryan for losing her job. She embarrassed her employers, she potentially endangered their federal funding, and she trotted out her kid to make her political points. The left is trying to claim that McConnell forced her firing, but we would hope that the board of directors of a public facility in Paducah would take steps to preserve their community image and their funding.

Heather Ryan makes an excellent poster child for the rabid ignorant left, don't you think? We sure do.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Wonder what this could be about? Beshear plans "personnel announcement" for Tuesday

Late Friday afternoon, after the sun had gone down and state employees had gone home for the long Martin Luther King Jr. Day holiday, one of the Beshear administration's spinmistresses sent forth an e-mail proclaiming that Beshear will have a "personnel announcement" Tuesday afternoon at 4 p.m.

What could this be about? The new governor has already made most of his key appointments and we can't imagine that his propagandists would be putting out a notice at 7:30 p.m. EST on the Friday of a holiday weekend for a run of the mill commissioner appointment or anything like that.

The wording of the announcement is a bit unusual, as well. No mention is made of an "appointment." Instead, the event is cryptically categorized as an "announcement."

Thinking out loud, we're wondering if perhaps Beshear won't be telling the state that he has asked Attorney General Little Jackie Conway to investigate the illegal raise given to former State Treasurer Jonathan Miller's gal pal Brooke Parker.

When it came to light that the paperwork for Parker's dramatic salary increases had not been properly filed, Beshear's personnel advisers proclaimed that they could fix the problem by processing an ACE award for Sweet Brookie. The only problem is that ACEs can only be given to an individual once every two years and they are capped at 10 percent (most ACEs given in state government are only 5 percent). So there's no doubt that the "fix" prescribed by the new Personnel Cabinet gurus is illegal as can be.

Is it possible that Beshear is going to actually call for investigation into this travesty?

Wait a minute -- Gov. Beshear is the same man who, as attorney general, sat idly by and watched Gov. John Y. Brown violate state merit system laws left and right and did absolutely nothing. When a valid complaint was brought to him about the personnel law violatons in Secretary of State Frances Jones Mills' office, Beshear said it was a job for the Personnel Board.

So given Beshear's history of not doing the right thing when it comes to personnel laws, we have trouble believing he's suddenly found religion.

Nope, Tuesday's announcement will probably be yet another disclosure that some recycled hack from the 1980s has been brought back into state goverment and given a prominent, overpaid position.

Democrats cripple Operation UNITE

If you're one of the voters whose ballot helped John Yarmuth oust Anne Northup from Congress two years ago, or otherwise helped the Democrats claim a majority in Congress in 2006, you may not be very welcome in eastern Kentucky these days.

Operation UNITE, the prototypical and very successful anti-drug task force created by Hal Rogers five years ago, is reeling under massive budget cuts implemented by the Democratic House of Representatives.

UNITE blends the three major aspects of combatting drug abuse -- education against the harmful effects of drugs for youngsters, treatment for those already addicted and law enforcement to punish dealers -- in a unique partnership that has drawn praise from across the region and the country.

Modeled on the successful PRIDE program Rogers also created, which deals with garbage and straight-pipe sewage problems in hi' district, UNITE was Rogers' brainchild and was formed in response to a Lexington Herald-Leader series outlining just how bad the drug abuse problem is in the mountains and foothills of Kentucky.

For each of its first three years, UNITE got $8 million in federal funding. That money, coupled with other grant programs and some faith-based partnerships, enabled UNITE to hire police officers to arrest dealers, fund drug courts within the state court system, pay salaries for special prosecutors and judges, and implement treatment, counseling and educational programs. The federal ante was upped to more than $9 million during the last year the Republicans held the majority in Congress.

However, the transition to the Democrat Congress resulted in the gutting of UNITE (this despite the fact that Ben Chandler liked the program so much he got it expanded into his district's easternmost counties, Estill and Powell, which were already a part of state judicial districts where the other counties were in Rogers' district and thus already part of UNITE). After getting nothing from the feds in 2007, UNITE got only $4 million this year.

As a result, UNITE is laying off police officers and suspending other programs.

Although Rogers' spokesman was diplomatic and blamed the cuts on other factors, make no mistake: This was politically motivated and was intended to be a slap in Rogers' face to punish him for being in the minority.

UNITE isn't pork. It's the perfect example of a successful federal program designed to serve an overall public purpose. It's not income redistribution or welfare or a program designed to benefit individuals instead of society at large. Local officials of both parties have been highly complimentary of UNITE and are lamenting its cuts. Communities that relied on UNITE to help enforce drug laws are now wondering how they're going to take dealers off the streets and are fearful that the drug culture will overtake their towns and counties.

Democrats have proven time and again that they're vengeful people. Anytime they can take power and punish Republicans, they do, without regard for the negative consequences the public may suffer. This is another one of those episodes.

UNITE has been a blessing for eastern Kentucky, just as surely as the Mountain Parkway and US 23 and expanded drinking water lines. Democrats should be ashamed of themselves for crippling such a successful and purposeful program.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Not that we'd ever wish ill on anyone...

...but it would be strangely fitting if the next person killed in a car wreck on dangerous KY 90 in Cumberland County was a relative or close friend of Steve Beshear, Joe Prather or Gilbert Newman.

Time for Little Jackie Conway to make a stand

With the decision by the Personnel Board not to investigate improper hiring decisions made by Jonathan Miller when he was state treasurer, the ball is now squarely in the court of the state's new attorney general, Little Jackie Conway.

Little Jackie has a decision to make. Does he want to be a strong, courageous AG like Ben Chandler and pursue wrongdoing by a prominent member of his own party, or does he want to be a partisan hack like Greg Stumbo and play politics with the AG's office?

The method chosen by Miller to legitimize an outrageous raise given to his female "friend" Brooke Parker is blatantly illegal. The new Beshear administration Personnel Cabinet advised Miller to backdate a couple of Awards for Continuing Excellence (ACE) for Parker. The only problem with that is that ACE awards are statutorily capped at 10 percent of an employee's salary and can only be given to one person once every two years. Parker's salary increases, for which the proper justification was not filed, amounted to 280 percent in eight years.

So now it's up to Conway. This may well be the defining moment in his tenure as attorney general. Will he do the right thing and investigate this improper personnel decision, along with another one made by Miller? Or will he defer to the Personnel Board's decision and play the partisan game?

We get the feeling that the Personnel Board is just passing the buck here and washing its hands of the matter. That's hardly a way to instill confidence that the board's decisions are being made in the spirit of the laws and regulations governing state personnel decisions.

Stumbo didn't wait for the Personnel Board before he went after Ernie Fletcher's administration for allegations of personnel law violations. A decision by Conway not to investigate a fellow Democrat even after the Personnel Board took a powder would be further conformation that Stumbo's acts were politically motivated.

So, Little Jackie, are you going to do the right thing? Or are you going to protect your cronies? The eyes of the state are upon you.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

And she kisses her pink-haired daughter with that foul mouth?

Thus begins our campaign to expose the loony lefties that are trying to take over the Kentucky Democratic Party for the buffoons, idiots and tactless jerks that they are.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

The perfect idea for making Kentucky relevant in presidential politics

As the presidential primaries and caucuses go on around the nation, Kentucky is nowhere to be found. By the time we hold our primary in May, the nominees will probably already be known and our election will be merely an afterthought. We won't be hearing from the candidates, unless on the off chance the Republican nomination is still up in the air and our delegates would make a difference, and the national media won't be giving us the same scrutiny they give Iowa and New Hampshire and the other early primary states.

Secretary of State Trey Grayson is pushing the idea of rotating regional primaries to make Kentucky a player in the presidential nominating process, but that is probably a non-starter. Kentucky really doesn't need to be spending money on what amounts to a statewide special election when, due to the legislative election schedule, we'll still be holding a May primary.

In 1988, Kentucky tried moving its presidential primary to February as part of the "Super Tuesday" election day to make our state's votes count. That turned into an expensive failure. The election was just as costly as the regularly scheduled May primary, and voter turnout was abysmal with only one race on the ballot. So the state wisely abandoned the February presidential primary for 1992.

This year's presidential campaign has been very unusual. Unlike most elections, there is no incumbent involved. George W. Bush's two terms are up and Vice President Dick Cheney is not running. This is the first truly wide-open presidential race the nation has seen in 40 years. As a result, the process became very front-loaded. Candidates announced earlier than ever and began their campaigns earlier than ever. Conventional wisdom had it that if you waited too late to get into the race -- "too late" being defined as the time when under normal circumstances most candidates would just start their campaigns -- you were toast. (Fred Thompson may be Exhibit A). As a result of this front-loading, states were racing to hold the first caucuses or primaries and the media scrutiny was more intense than ever in those early voting states. This further erodes Kentucky's relevance in the process.

We have the ultimate solution to make Kentucky a player in the presidential primary game. We recommend moving Kentucky's presidential primary to coincide with the general election in the year prior to the presidential general election. At the same time voters are going to the polls to elect a governor, they could cast their votes for their party's presidential nominee.

This would be perfect. It would not cost the state one extra cent, and it would propel us to the forefront of the national political stage. Candidates would flock here and the attendant national media would as well.

There's nothing sacrosanct about Iowa or New Hampshire (or even Wyoming, which held caucuses this past weekend totally out of the national spotlight). Why should those states be first to pick nominees? Why not Kentucky?

The enabling legislation to move the presidential primary from May of the general election year to November of the year prior should include a prohibition against the political parties punishing Kentucky for jumping ahead of the existing pecking order by docking the state delegates. Elections are a function of state government, not political parties. The parties should not dictate to states how or when they conduct their elections; to the contrary, states should be setting the rules and agendas and the parties should abide.

How about it? The General Assembly is now in session. It's too late to do anything for this year, but for the 2012 presidential election, we'd love to see the presidential primary coincide with the 2011 general election. It makes perfect sense.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Fletcher's legal defense fund: Nothing to see, Dems, just move along

Former Gov. Fletcher released the names of contributors to his legal defense fund today, as required by state law.

Prior to the election, which Fletcher lost, Democrats tried to make the names of the contributors a campaign issue. They wanted to exploit any possibility that Fletcher was rewarding contributors to that fund with fat state contracts.

The list of contributors as printed in the Courier-Journal shows nothing of the sort.

The major donors were Robbie Rudolph, Fletcher's Finance & Administration secretary and running mate in last year's race, and Don and Mira Ball, two prominent supporters of his from Lexington. They contributed more than half of the total in the fund.

So the loudmouth Democrats who screamed long and hard about this can shut up now. There was never any "there" there.

EXCLUSIVE: Transportation Cabinet investigates allegation of political intimidation against Beshear supporter

The Transportation Cabinet's Office of Inspector General has been investigating allegations that a merit system employee who strongly supported Steve Beshear in last fall's gubernatorial election used threats of political retaliation and intimidation against a fellow employee who was believed to be supporting Ernie Fletcher's re-election.

We have been provided several details of this incident. We are choosing at this time to withhold the names of the employees involved. We believe disclosing the pattern of behavior by Beshear's allies within the ranks of state merit workers is more important that revealing individual names.

The incident in question occurred in late summer. The incident began when the Beshear supporter and the other employee became involved in a heated discussion that did not involve politics. At one point during the conversation, the Beshear supporter made a veiled threat to the other employee. The exact wording of the threat is not known, but fell along the lines of "You just wait until after the election and see what happens." This was clearly construed as a threat, as the Beshear supporter had previously been heard to speculate on having influence with the new governor should Beshear win the election, which he did.

Transportation Cabinet officials became aware of the incident several weeks later, sometime prior to the election, although we do not know if the threatened employee filed a complaint or if one of the witnesses to the altercation reported it. However, no one from Transportation looked into the affair until after Beshear was sworn into office on Dec. 11.

The outcome of the investigation has not been made public, so at this time we do not know if the employee has been disciplined or not. Those types of punishments usually remain confidential, but given the fact that a Beshear supporter made the threats and the deal was investigated by the Beshear administration's Transportation Cabinet, we do not expect any discipline to be forthcoming.

We have been aware of this matter for some time, but have chosen to make it public at this time only because of the recent statements made by former Attorney General Greg Stumbo during his "exit interview" with the Lexington Herald-Leader. During that interview, Stumbo said that there may have been isolated incidences of merit system violations during previous Democrat administrations, but nothing like what happened during the Fletcher administration. This is a blatant lie. Merit system violations, such as the threat reported here, were part and parcel of the Democrats' standard operating procedures during the 32 years between the Nunn and Fletcher administrations.

To our readers: We received this information through a tip. If you have any other verifiable incidents of merit system violations by the Beshear administration or during previous Democrat administrations, please drop us an e-mail at and include some way for us to confirm your report. If we can verify your information through a credible source, we will make it public and guarantee your anonymity.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Sometimes it pays to read the fine print

This week marks the first of what will be several special elections in Kentucky to fill legislative vacancies, just as Kentucky's General Assembly convenes to begin its biennial budget session.

One of those elections is in central Kentucky, where voters in Bourbon, Bath, Nicholas and part of Fayette counties will go to the polls to select a replacement for former State Rep. Carolyn Belcher.

The party's nominees are Bryan Beaumann for the Republicans and Sannie Overly for the Democrats. Beaumann tried to unseat Belcher last year, while this is Overly's first run for elective office.

Kentucky's ultra-left Democrats are really singing the praises of Overly, who is being hailed as an outsider with fresh new ideas to rejuvenate not only the Kentucky Democratic Party, but the General Assembly and the state at large. As a relative newcomer to politics, not much is known about Overly so the Lexington Herald-Leader did its part to help introduce the candidate to the voters.

Buried in the personal information box about Overly is a key piece of info that sheds a lot of light onto her candidacy.

Overly is married to Michael Kalinyak, who is about as far from being an outsider in state government as Greg Stumbo or Dan Mongiardo are.

Kalinyak was a staff attorney for the agency formerly known as the Revenue Cabinet. Among his mentors were Dana Mayton and Mike Haydon, two Democrat activists. Mayton is a former Revenue Cabinet secretary who went to work for the University of Louisville after the Patton administration ended, but is coming back to state government as deputy attorney general under new AG Little Jackie Conway. She is an Arkansas native who was a political protege of none other than William Jefferson Blythe Clinton, the disgraced former president of the United States.

Haydon is also a former Revenue secretary and close ally of Crit Luallen, who left the executive branch to work for Rocky Adkins when the Fletcher administration began and is now back as Beshear's legislative liaison. He is also the former longtime mayor of Springfield and served as property valuation administrator in Washington County before joining state government in the Wilkinson administration.

Despite his Democrat pedigree, Kalinyak stayed on with the Fletcher administration, serving as general counsel for the Finance & Administration Cabinet until resigning in 2006, reportedly due to a conflict with Robbie Rudolph over the administration's handling of Greg Stumbo's political persecution of the Fletcher administration's hiring practices.

So, that's the kind of political insider that Sannie Overly goes home to every night. So the question must be asked. Is she really a breath of fresh air and an agent of change for Kentucky politics, or is she a link to the same old failed policies and politicians that the Democrats have foisted upon this state for decades without any appreciable improvements or positive results?

It's worth mentioning that although Kalinyak is pictured on Overly's Web site, his name is never mentioned. There is no indication that Overly is married to Kalinyak. Inquiring minds might wish to ask why his name is not mentioned.

Sometimes it pays to read the small print in candidate profiles. These blurbs and tidbits can prove to be very illustrative when it comes time to consider which candidate is really worthy of your vote. Overly's status as the wife of a political insider certainly is worthy of pondering when voters in the 72nd District participate in their special election.

Friday, January 04, 2008

How much do you suppose that server space is worth?

Over at Page One Kentucky, blogger Jacob Payne -- whom we wish we could buy for how smart he really is and sell for how smart he thinks he is -- has been jumping up and down congratulating himself for supposedly uncovering an election law violation by potential Democrat Senate candidate Greg Fischer.

Fischer, a Louisvillian who is CEO of stadium seating company Dant-Clayton, sent an email from his work account attempting to recruit paid and volunteer staffers for a potential run in the primary election to be nominated to be Mitch McConnell's next sacrificial lamb this fall.

Payne thinks this is a major, egregious violation of campaign finance laws. In short, he considers it to be a corporate contribution.

This ought to be fun.

The beauty of email communication is that it's free. You don't have to pay for a postage stamp, a piece of paper or an envelope, or anything of the sort. There is no physical, material product that must be bought or produced. You really can't put a pricetag on an email. About the only value that could possibly be assigned to an email message is the amount of server storage space it takes up.

We had one of our collaborators take a look at his email box to see how much space a typical message takes. He reported back that the average text-only message in his inbox only takes up 3 or 4 kilobytes (KB) of space.

Approximately 1,000 KBs make up one megabyte (MB). It takes approximately, 1000 MBs to make up one gigabyte (GB.) We'd venture to say that Dant-Clayton's email server is a decent-sized machine, but for the sake of argument we'll say it's a 500 GB hard drive. You can buy a hard drive of that size for less than $200, but we'll assume for the sake of argument that it cost $200.

Now do the math. That translates to 40 cents a GB. Or 0.0004 cents a MB. Or 0.0000004 cents per KB. Let's say that Fischer's message took up 100 KB on the server (and that's being way too generous). That means the corporate "contribution" amounts to 0.00004 cents. How many pieces would you have to split a penny up into to get that value? Somehow we don't think this "violation" will be worth pursuing.

That dog won't hunt, Payne. If you want to go after someone who could very easily beat your beloved Andrew Horne in the Democrat primary, you'll have to find something more substantial than 4 ten-thousandths of a cent to hang your complaint on.

Freshman Democrat legislator calls on heavy hitters in re-election bid

Freshman Democrat Rep. Richard Henderson must be running scared that he'll draw an opponent in his re-election bid this year. So he's called on the House leaders from his party and others to help him raise funds and campaign for him.

Henderson, the former Jeffersonville mayor who represents Montgomery and Powell counties and a portion of Wolfe in east-central Kentucky, had a fund-raiser and dinner this week in Powell County. The list of hosts reads like a who's-who of Kentucky Democrats.

Scheduled to attend the dinner were House Speaker Jody Richards; Speaker Pro-Tem Larry Clark; Floor Leader Rocky Adkins; Caucus Chairman Charlie Hoffman and Whip Rob Wilkey. The incoming attorney general, Little Jackie Conway, was also scheduled to attend.

Why would such an esteemed list of House leaders go all the way to Stanton to support a freshman Democrat in a district that's safely in their party's hands?

Henderson emerged from a crowded primary two years ago as Democrats scrambled to replace the retiring Rep. Adrian Arnold. He vaulted over some better-known, longtime Democrat politicians to take the seat. Some of those same big names are expected to challenge him in this year's primary; politicians that are, quite frankly, more experienced, more intelligent and more widely respected than Henderson. One prominent Montgomery County Democrat has already vowed to beat Henderson this year; whether that means he'll run for the office himself or throw support to another candidate, we don't know.

So what's so appealing about Henderson that would bring Richards and Conway and the rest to Powell County to campaign and raise funds for an inexperienced freshman?

Henderson made statewide news recently when he and Rep. Ancel "Hard Rock" Smith from Knott County pre-filed a bill banning public agencies from offering insurance benefits to the shack-up partners of public employees. Can the leadership's early campaign support of Henderson be construed as support for his bill?

We've heard some troubling rumors about Henderson's personal life. We won't repeat them here, other than to speculate if any of the funds raised from this week's dinner will go to support Kentucky's black-market agricultural industry. But what troubles us more are reports that he is trying to personally influence or interfere with the day-to-day operations of state government agencies in his district. Somehow we don't think that's why legislators are elected.

The campaign for the 74th District will bear watching closely. In the meantime, we'd like to find out why the state's Democrat House leaders have jumped in so early behind an obscure freshman legislator.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

They say it like it's a bad thing

One of the arguments frequently used when discussing the urgency to reform Kentucky's public employees pension system is that there will be a large number of state workers retiring this year. Hundreds of state employees are expected to call it quits in 2008 due to a quirk in the pension calculation formula making this a prime year for retirement. Lots of them delayed their retirement until this year to take advantage of the system in order to receive a larger monthly pension check.

While some are concerned about the financial strain this influx of pensioners will put on an already-overburdened Kentucky Retirement System, others are lamenting the loss of years' of experience and the departure of so much institutional knowledge from state government.

Some may think that's a bad thing, but for those of us who believe state government is woefully mismanaged and terribly run, we say "good riddance." Getting rid of hundreds of "but we've always done it this way" drones and replacing them with fresh faces with new ideas may be just what this state needs to get its bureaucracy out of the toilet and functioning more efficiently and effectively.

We have to admit, though, we were more enthused about this prospect three years ago, when there were still reasonable chances for Ernie Fletcher to be re-elected as governor. We were salivating at the thoughts of replacing all those Democrat patronage hack hires of years past with good conservatives who would bring conservative values to the bowels of the bureaucracy.

Seeing that the Democrat patronage system is back in full force, we're not quite as optimistic about this upcoming rollover of state employees as we were a few years ago when it appeared Fletcher would still be in office in '08, but we're still cautiously hopeful that there will be some new ideas brought aboard with the new hires.

Institutional knowledge may be a good thing, but when the knowledge is of a system that is fundamentally flawed and inherently wasteful, that knowledge needs to be purged. The upcoming wave of state employee retirements is just such an opportunity to reinvent state government and make it more efficient.