Friday, March 28, 2008

Did taxpayers pay for state workers to attend Clinton rally?

Last week, Brett Hall at reported that Gov. Beshear was getting pressure to grant state employees leave time to attend Bill Clinton's appearance at a Frankfort political rally in support of his wife's presidential bid.

We know of no executive order that was issued allowing state workers to attend without using vacation or comp time, but we have heard that a number of the state employees who attended Tuesday's campaign event did so on state time and did not use leave time.

We can only imagine the uproar that would have ensued had this occurred in Ernie Fletcher's administration and this had been George H. W. Bush rallying for John McCain.

As it is, though, we doubt we'll hear a peep from anyone about this incident. The attorney general won't investigate, neither will the auditor, and the press won't look into it at all.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Bluegrass Embarrassment: George cLooney

Kentucky native George cLooney may be a good actor (we don't know, none of us are avid moviegoers and among us we aren't sure we have ever seen cLooney on screen) and he may make the ladies' hearts flutter with his rugged good looks, but that doesn't change the fact that he's a political idiot and he embarrasses himself and his hone state every time he opens his mouth and says something that hasn't been written for him to say.

Kentucky's media was all a-fuss over cLooney's appearance in Maysville earlier this week for the premiere of his latest movie. That reminded us of the dumb liberal comments he's made over the years.

And who can forget cLooney's comments in the wake of 9/11 that celebrities who lend their names to various charities don't have a moral obligation to ensure that the charity is on the up-and-up and is honest and above-board about where the proceeds go? Bill O'Reilly tore cLooney a new one repeatedly over that.

Liberal tendencies run in cLooney's family. His father, Nick, is semi-famous in his own right but wasn't able to cash in on his popularity in the Cincinnati television market to defeat Republican Congressman Geoff Davis a few years ago. Nick is a member of the Kentucky Journalism Hall of Fame and his induction prompted one fellow honoree, a staunch Republican to say that the elder cLooney's inclusion cheapened his own induction.

Looney cLooney -- that's why we write his last name as "cLooney" instead of "Clooney." His outlandish liberal philosophies don't mesh with the attitudes held by the residents of his home state, many of whom turned out to see his appearance in Maysville.

Perhaps they should have held up signs saying, "'Tis better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt."

Everytime cLooney spouts off on politics or current events, he shames his home state. He needs to stick to what the script writers prepare for him to say when he's acting.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

No state employees allowed between 8 and 4:30 local time

A couple of liberal/Democrat blogs are reporting that the state is lifting its proxy server-level ban on blogs that was instituted in the Fletcher administration.

Even though we are a blog whose pages would be opened up to state employees at work as a result of this action, we do not support it. In fact, we denounce it wholeheartedly. We don't want state workers reading this, or any other blog, while they're on the clock. We want them to be working.

Except for a very small handful whose job duties require it, state employees aren't being paid to read blogs or news sites on state-owned computers, across the state network, on state time. State IT policies, in fact, expressly prohibit the expression of personal political opinions over the state network and this would include posting to blogs.

So if you're reading this on a state computer, please click the little "x" in the upper right hand corner of the page and close this blog. You are more than welcome -- and in fact, are encouraged -- to read this blog at home or at a public computer such as can be found at a library. But if you're at work, you need to be working instead of reading blogs.

State officials say they're going to put measures in place to make sure that employees don't waste time reading blogs, but even that shouldn't be considered the go-ahead for them to drop in and take quick glimpses. Some agencies, most notably Transportation, have strict policies concerning Internet usage and those policies prohibit any kind of personal use of the Internet, including shopping, bill payment, online banking, and .... wait for it .... blogging. These acts can lead to firing on the first offense, so state employees should take care while they're on the 'Net.

But we'd hope they'd be conscientious enough not to read blogs on work time anyway. Mark Nickolas thought it was of vital importance that state employees have access to his lies and slander on the nearly-dead site while they were at work; so much so that he filed a lawsuit against the blog ban. And he couldn't understand why conservative bloggers like David Adams at Kentucky Progress not only did not support his position, but adamantly opposed it.

We guess the concept of working on work time is foreign to Nicklolas and his successors in the Kentucky Dem/lib blogosphere who are popping corks in celebration at the thoughts of state employees wasting even more time at work instead of working in this day and age of the alleged budget crunch.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Greg Stumbo and Eliot Spitzer: Two peas in a pod

What do Greg Stumbo and Eliot Spitzer have in common?

(Besides being adulterers, of course)?

Both prosecuted behaviors that they themselves were personally involved in.

Spitzer, it's coming out, was using the services of prostitutes even while prosecuting them as attorney general of New York.

Stumbo, as attorney general, prosecuted the same behavior in which he was involved as a state representative.

Letters exist, written on Stumbo's 95th District legislative letterhead, in which the once and current General Assembly member made recommendations for state merit system jobs. If the political connection was not so important, those recommendations could have been written on "Greg Stumbo, Attorney At Law" stationery or on plain white paper instead of his official stationery. The political implication was clear through the use of his official elected position as a Democrat leader.

And yet among those prosecuted during Stumbo's attack on the Fletcher administration was attorney and private citizen J. Marshall Hughes, whose only "crime" was being a Republican activist who made some job recommendations to Fletcher's people. Hughes had no official position within the Fletcher administration and no authority to make hiring decisions, yet he found himself on the business end of one of Stumbo's indictments.

Stumbo remains a disgrace to this state. The fact that he seems on the verge of pulling a power play and taking control of the House of Representatives astonishes us. He deserves as much, if not more, scorn as Spitzer is getting for his conduct. At least it hasn't come out that Spitzer fathered a child with one of his hookers and then not only refused to pay child support but countersued for harassment once the mother went to court to collect the back child support.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

A poll question we'd like to see asked

If the gubernatorial election was held today, for whom would you vote, Steve Beshear or Ernie Fletcher?

Monday, March 10, 2008

Bluegrass Embarrassment: The Rev. Albert Pennybacker

Today we unveil the first honoree in our new series, Bluegrass Embarrassments, which will highlight those who bring disrepute upon the Bluegrass State through their public statements or deeds. Our first choice is "The Rev." Albert Pennybacker, who has become notorious for apparently believing that the concept of "separation of church and state" is a requirement of the First Amendment.

We've read the First Amendment hundreds of times, and we've never found a requirement that there be a separation of church and state. We see a prohibition against choosing an official state religion and a directive against outlawing any particular religions, but we don't see anything that prohibits any interaction between government and spiritual interests.

Pennybacker, a Lexington resident, interprets things differently. You'll see him listed as an officer or member of various organizations, but his message is always the same when he appears on national television. He doesn't think there should be any connection whatsoever between government interests and churches. He was a prime go-to guy in the wake of last week's Kentucky court decision in Franklin County concerning the funding of a pharmacy school for the University of the Cumberlands, formerly known as Cumberland College.

Pennybacker misinterprets the Constitution and embarrasses the Commonwealth every time he goes on television to assert his misguided philosophy. He is truly a Bluegrass Embarrassment. Pennybacker professes to be a man of God. He should spend more time saving souls and less time spreading misinformation about our country's supreme law.

Friday, March 07, 2008

When they say "it's not about the money," it's usually about the money

We generally believe that sympathy does not make good public policy. And we think there can, and should, be a serious public policy debate on the awarding of financial compensation to survivors of persons killed in accidents outside of that person's future earning power to support their family that was lost with the death.

That's why we've been very skeptical of the efforts made since the tragic crash of Flight 5191 in Lexington to legalize financial awards for "loss of companionship" when someone loses their spouse through an accident that leads to a wrongful death civil suit.

Kathy Ryan, a Flight 5191 widow, has been pushing for such a law. She came a step closer for the second legislative session in a row, when such a bill was filed in the Senate this week by State Sen. Robert Stivers, a Clay County Republican who is also a lawyer. Ryan and another 5191 widow gave tearful testimony last year when the bill was being considered (which is why we say sympathy is not a good rack on which to hang a public policy hat) and said that they weren't advocating a change in existing law (which prohibits loss of companionship awards for spouses but allows it for parents and children) for their own enrichment, but for the sake of others who might experience such tragedy in the future.

The widows were treated with the proper amount of reverence, respect and sympathy when they testified before a Senate committee last year, but they felt personally slighted when Senate President David Williams raised the same questions we have about making public policy based on sympathy.

Why do we bring this up now, and in this manner?

Ryan has often stated that her efforts are not about the money. The bill sponsored by Stivers, and planned changes to a House bill currently under consideration in the lower chamber of the General Assembly, would not make compensatory damages for loss of consortium retroactive to the Flight 5191 crash which occurred in the summer of 2006. That, of course, means that Ryan and other surviving spouses would not be eligible for any "loss of consortium" benefits that might result from any wrongful death lawsuits.

Ryan's reaction? "It's obviously sad that it's not retroactive," was her quote in yesterday's Herald-Leader.

Why is it sad that you won't be eligible for financial compensation for "loss of consortium" if your efforts have been for others who may have the same misfortune in the future? Must be because you won't be getting the money.

We still have the utmost sympathy for Ryan and the other surviving family members of the 5191 fatalities, but we still don't think sympathy is a sound foundation for public policy. And we hate to see yet another example of it being about the money, despite earnest claims to the contrary.

We're still disgusted by the rush to sue literally in the week after the accident, the trolling for plaintiffs done by out-of-state law firms through ads in the H-L, and the general litigious nature of our society. Seeing another play on sympathy as the basis for rushing into questionable legislation doesn't go down to well in light of what's gone on since that hot August morning in 2006.

Two new features

We alluded to our plans to expose some of the more far-out of the lefty loons that are popping up across the Kentucky landscape like wild onions in our late-winter lawns back when we discussed Paducah goofball Heather Ryan's crazy behavior at a Mitch McConnell appearance in her hometown.

We've expanded that a bit and plan to roll out a couple of semi-regular features here at K-Pac2 to shine a little beam of enlightenment and truth on our out-of-kilter world.

The first we're calling "Kooks, Idiots & Nutjobs" and will spotlight some of the more outrageous liberal participants in various Kentucky blogs and public forums. We'll give you a sample of some of their statements and demonstrate why you should view them with equal parts of pity, contempt and astonishment.

The second feature will be called "Bluegrass Embarrassments" and will point out some prominent Kentuckians who are often in the national spotlight on matters of political, cultural or breaking news interests.

We have honorees in mind for the initial round of both categories. Just stay tuned. And we will gladly accept nominations if you e-mail them to and provide some examples of or links to their qualifications.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Democrats bemoan the results of their own policies

Two of Kentucky's leading Democrats, Gov. Steve Beshear and Louisville Mayor Jerry Abramson, were quick to react with unhappiness at this morning's news that Ford will eliminate the second shift at its Louisville plant due to lagging sales of the pickup trucks and SUVs manufactured there.

Why are sales declining? Not coincidentally, another record price was set for oil this morning. As the price of gas goes up, people steer away from larger vehicles that burn more fuel in favor of econo-boxes that get a zillion miles to the gallon at the sacrifice of occupant comfort and safety.

We find it funny that the Democrats are lamenting the loss of jobs at the Ford plant when their party's policies are the cause of the layoffs, and the cause of higher oil prices that ultimately led to the layoffs.

Democrats like to say that Republicans are in bed with "big oil," but we'd remind them that it's not the Republicans that are standing in the way of new drilling and exploration that would increase the supply of oil, especially domestic oil, and thus reduce the price. Republicans aren't implementing onerous environmental regulations that have inhibited the building of new refineries in the continental United States that would increase the gasoline supply and make prices less vulnerable to outside influences such as weather and refinery explosions. Republicans don't insist on the sale of expensive reformulated blends in certain areas. And Republicans aren't pushing for higher corporate average gas mileage standards that discourage the production of big vehicles and encourage the manufacturing of econo-boxes.

So as you see and hear Beshear, Abramson and other Democrats cry crocodile tears about the loss of jobs, keep in mind that their fellow Democrats are the ones responsible, through their policies that discourage the increased domestic pumping of oil and production of gasoline. Maybe those UAW members at the Ford plant in Louisville ought to keep that in mind, as well, the next time their union leaders endorse the likes of Beshear or John Yarmuth or Bruce Lunsford.