Wednesday, August 27, 2008

In Mongiardo's remarks, an opportunity and a challenge for Kentucky GOP

During some of Lt. Gov. Dan Mongiardo's remarks in Denver concerning the candidacy of Bruce Lunsford for U.S. Senate, he pointed out that there are 1.7 Democrats to every one Republican in the Commonwealth of Kentucky. He used that statistic as a call for Democrat unity, saying that sheer numbers are on the Democrats' side.

This is a challenge for Kentucky Republicans trying to win statewide office. While Kentucky generally votes along conservative lines in federal elections, when it comes to state races, most voters can't seem to get past the party identification.

And it doesn't help when the minority party is splintered, as it was last year when far too many Republicans took the side of Democrat Attorney General Greg Stumbo over their own incumbent governor, Ernie Fletcher.

We've long believed that Kentucky Democrats bear little resemblance to their party mates in Boston or San Francisco. Ideologically, we believe most Kentuckians are truly Republicans at heart. They oppose abortion, support the Second Amendment, want lower taxes, think a strong America is good for the country and the world, and think that our government and schools should operate on a sound moral footing. They express beliefs that are more in keeping with the GOP's ideals, yet they dutifully trudge to the polls every four years and elect Democrats like Steve Beshear and Brereton Jones and Paul Patton, who turn around and echo their national party's viewpoints when they endorse someone like Barack Obama over John McCain.

Mongiardo's remark about the Democrats' strength in numbers should serve as a strong motivational point for the Republican Party of Kentucky to change that figure. The question is, will they?

There's plenty of fruit for the picking. We've heard lots of people say they'd like to register as Republicans, but their county is controlled by one party, all the local offices are decided in the primary, and they want a say in who will be their county judge, sheriff, etc., so they remain Democrats.

There are also lots of conservative Democrats out there who are more in tune philosophically with the GOP, but they remain loyal to the party of their fathers and grandfathers. They can be convinced that it's OK to think independently and be educated as to why the Democrats of today are nothing like the Democrats of their forefathers' generations.

It's time for the RPK to make a statewide appeal to these conservative Democrats and encourage them to switch, and to quit voting for the statewide candidates offered by a party that has left them behind.

A couple of years ago, just such an effort was made in the Purchase area of Western Kentucky. Mark Nickolas went apoplectic over this conversion drive. Unfortunately, his link to the actual newspaper ad image is gone (guess that's what happens when you move off and turn over maintenance of your site to some clueless partisan hack) but we remember the ad as being an accurate description of Republicans vs. Democrats.

This needs to be done all across Kentucky, even in some of those seemingly hopeless counties in the Old 7th like Breathitt, Knott and Floyd. There's a reason Barack Obama lost big to Hillary Clinton in the mountains. It's not because he's too black, as some Kentucky leftists would have you believe. It's because he's too liberal, even for the region that gave us Congressman Carl D. Perkins (Socialist-Hindman).

Next year is an election-free year. Unless there are a few special or local option elections, there will be no elections next year. We'll elect local officials in 2010, then a governor again in 2011. Since there are no election battles to fight next year, it's time for the RPK to undertake a massive voter registration drive, with an emphasis on convincing Democrats to switch. The RPK needs to appeal to their morality as well as common-sense economic issues such as tax cuts and gas prices. No expense should be spared.

Maybe in a couple of years, when Mongiardo is talking about party unity, he can say that there are only 1.3 Democrats for every Republican. Or even better, he'll have to say that the Republicans now outnumber Democrats in the Bluegrass and his party will have to undertake a voter conversion drive.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Beshear throws the baby out with the leftover concrete

We're scratching our heads over the decision late this afternoon by Gov. Beshear and Transportation Secretary Joe Prather to throw Gilbert Newman, state highway engineer, and assistant Bill Gulick overboard.

The gist of the story is that the state plans to widen a section of road in Franklin County that runs by a piece of property of which Newman is a co-owner. Newman disclosed his ownership of the property when he was hired by the fledgling administration late last year.

Gulick, an on-again, off-again Transportation employee who actually has an engineering award named for him, previously worked for the consultants involved in designing the project before he came back to state government under Beshear.

Despite the total compliance of Newman and Gulick with all applicable ethics laws, a Transportation auditor still found fault with them. They subsequently resigned, although this has all the markings of a forced resignation. In fact, that's exactly what the PolWatchers headline calls this.

The press release announcing the "resignations" was sent out by Transportation shortly before 4:30, followed immediately by a statement from Beshear's press office. Both Prather and Beshear expressed platitudes about "higher standards" in their statements.

We've been highly critical of the Beshear/Prather Transportation Cabinet on many things, especially the district reorganization and the major cutbacks in highway projects. Newman and Gulick, Gulick in particular, were the daddies of the so-called "Practical Solutions" initiative that will set back highway construction in this state 50 years. Still, they committed no crime, were open and honest about their involvement in a project that began before they came back to work for state government, and they didn't deserve to be canned. This is certainly an overreaction on Beshear's part, and an unnecessary one at that, since Newman and Gulick didn't gain any personal or financial benefits from the highway project.

Make no mistake, we're glad to see Gulick and Newman gone, but it shouldn't have happened in this manner.

If Beshear is so concerned about a new day and a new atmosphere in state government, why does his old law firm (Stites & Harbison) continue to get state contracts? Isn't that more of a conflict than this deal with Newman and Gulick?

(And speaking of highway projects being cancelled, we heard this week that a long-planned project to connect a certain Republican county in east-central Kentucky to the Bluegrass region was cancelled. This project would have replaced an old, narrow bridge and a very dangerous stretch of highway that's been the site of several accidents, some fatal, over the years. It would have been a safety improvement as well as an economic development enhancement. A consultant was already working on plans and alternatives for routes and the contract was cancelled. Thank you, Beshear/Prather Transportation Cabinet, for another example of glowing incompetence).

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Paper soaked with irony, unfit to read

As part of "Pile on Bill Nighbert Month," earlier this week, the Herald-Leader printed a story about how the Washington County Fiscal Court repaired a rural road leading to property owned by Nighbert's brother and property later purchased by Nighbert and his brother through their "Double Buck LLC" hand holding company.

The county's Democrat judge-executive, who'd have absolutely no reason to lie for Nighbert considering his party registration, his county's overwhelmingly "D" voter registration, and his county seat's place as the home of one of Frankfort's most conniving political insiders (Mike Haydon), said that the repairs were needed and were not requested by or done as favors for Nighbert.

Yet the H-L made a huge deal out of this non-story. The irony of this report was dripping off the pages of the paper, especially considering what's been done in the past for governors with state money that got nowhere near the attention of this item.

Where were these intrepid reporters when Paul Patton was building a white-elephant arena in Pikeville?

Where were they when Brereton Jones was pushing for all sorts of financial incentives for horse breeders?

And where were they when Wallace Wilkinson was building a new US 127 all the way from Danville to Russell Springs that, what a surprise, passed right through his hometown of Liberty and Casey County?

We don't remember too many howls of protest over those projects, the merits of which can be sincerely questioned (well, the first two anyway, US 127 needed to be rebuilt), but yet there's an uproar over a few thousand dollars in County Road Aid Funds?

Well, those three governors mentioned previously are or were Democrats, so it is to be expected that they wouldn't get the scrutiny that a Republican official in a Republican administration would.

Then again, it is "Pile on Bill Nighbert Month."

And an aside on Haydon, the aforementioned Washington County resident, former Springfield mayor, former cabinet secretary and property tax commissioner, and former top legislative adviser to Rocky Adkins. He got his start in state government under the Wilkinson administration after serving as Washington County tax assessor. When Wilkinson, long since out of office, began to have financial troubles, Haydon ordered his agency to remove his biography from its website's list of prominent officials. He didn't want the association with Wilkinson to become anymore widespread public knowledge than it already was, so as not to hurt his political aspirations. But when you've made your career knifing your superiors in the back and then taking over, why worry about having come up under the "You Can't Do That, Governor!" governor?

Friday, August 15, 2008

Beshear's state highway engineer under investigation for links to Lawson

An investigation is underway into current state highway engineer O. Gilbert Newman's ties to controversial Kentucky road contractor Leonard Lawson.

Sounds ominous, doesn't it?

Well, it's the truth, even if there's only a slight exaggeration.

Earlier this week, Herald-Leader reporter Ryan Alessi was asking about Newman's former employment with one of Lawson's companies. Turns out that Newman briefly worked for a Lawson venture a few years ago.

The moral of the story? Journalists and headline writers can take any set of facts and twist them to achieve a desired message.

Keep that in mind as you read the past, present and upcoming stories about the FBI probe into alleged bid-rigging at the Transportation Cabinet, especially as those stories relate to Bill Nighbert. Remember that the press has an agenda and is manipulating the facts at hand into a pronouncement of Nighbert's guilt before there are even any indictments issued.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

A challenge to western Kentucky Democrats

Ever since Ed Whitfield was elected to Congress, you have claimed that not only does he not live in Kentucky's 1st District, he does not live in Kentucky at all.

(In Kentucky, members of Congress are only required to be residents of the state and not necessarily the district they represent. That's how Chris Perkins, son of longtime Congressman Carl D. Perkins, was able to live in Mt. Sterling, in the 6th District, while he represented the old 7th District of southeastern Kentucky).

If you do not believe that Whitfield meets the residency requirement to represent Kentucky' 1st District in the House of Representatives, then file a challenge to his eligibility. Present some proof of your assertions.

If you won't, or can't, then as they say on the Internet, please kindly STFU.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Transportation investigation: Leaps of logic

Kentucky's media can't stop reporting, and Democrat bloggers can't stop commenting on, the FBI investigation into alleged bid-rigging in the Transportation Cabinet.

The big problem is that in what's being said, there's very little fact and a whole lot of speculation, conjecture, supposition, character assassination and other leaps of logic that have all but declared ex-Transportation Secretary Bill NIghbert guilty of all sorts of crimes against humanity.

It might be a good time to review the facts of this case and remind those who are rushing to judgment that they really should be careful to distinguish fact from fantasy.

As of now, the only fact of the case known to the public is that a career Transportation Cabinet employee has admitted taking money in exchange for providing confidential project estimates to a contractor who owns several paving companies that usually have no competition when they bid on blacktopping projects in various counties.

That's it. That's the sum total of the truth as it is so far known.

The engineer, Jim Rummage, says he was directed to obtain the confidential estimates both by contractor Leonard Lawson and by Nighbert. Nighbert's attorney has said that Nighbert wanted that information because he suspected -- rightly so, it tuns out -- that someone (Rummage) was leaking it to contractors.

Because of Rummage's statement that Nighbert asked him for some of the same type of information that he claims he was selling to Lawson, the FBI wants to look into the financial records of Nighbert's new employer to see if it's a front for Lawson.

So far there is no evidence that this is the case, save a statement Nighbert supposedly made in introducing of the principals in his new employer's company to Senate President David Williams that could be interpreted a million different ways; and Nighbert's comment as he left office that the Transportation Cabinet is best served if the secretary has a good relationship with Leonard Lawson.

Because of that, and because Nighbert worked for Williams' office with the Legislative Research Commission for a few months, Kentucky's biggest Democrat cheerleader blogger -- the new guy at, whose name we can't recall and never heard of until he started writing there -- is trying his best to link Williams to any corruption at the Transportation Cabinet. And remember that right now, there's only one person there who's admitted to any wrongdoing.

If jumping to conclusions was an Olympic sport, two-thirds of Kentucky's media members, Democrat bloggers and frequent posters to those blogs would be in China now.

Our circle includes several people who know Bill NIghbert, both from his time as Transportation secretary and from his tenure as mayor of Williamsburg and his time as president of the Kentucky League of Cities. All agree that he is a fine, upstanding man of integrity and it's highly unlikely he had anything to do with any illegalities such as are being investigated. It's highly likely that the FBI investigation will show no criminal behavior in Nighbert's actions and the scope of the illegality will be limited to a longtime Democrat employee who got his job with Transportation under the time-honored patronage system that Nighbert was trying to clean up.

Affidavits of the type that stirred this feeding frenzy are normally kept sealed. There is all sorts of speculation as to who leaked this one, and why.

Of course where Republicans in general and the Ernie Fletcher administration in particular is involved, one shouldn't expect logic or restraint when it comes to the press or the Fletcher-hating Democrat bloggers and commenters. Speculation and innuendo are the order of the day;this bunch could take the statement, "the sky is blue," and turn it into a rant about how God hates red and all things even remotely crimson.

As for us, we're going to take the facts at face value. Jim Rummage is dirty, by his own admission, and that's all. We'll wait for more facts to emerge, and they'll have to be pretty convincing, before we pass judgment on anyone else.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Bumper sticker update

A few weeks ago, we were lamenting the fact that no one is selling "Don't Blame Me, I Voted For Fletcher" stickers for Kentuckians who want to distance themselves from the disaster that is the Beshear administration.

Well, we got an e-mail from a reader who decided to take matters into his own hands:

After reading your blog about there being a real market out there for a "Don't Blame Me, I Voted For Fletcher" sticker, and after seeing similar posts on bemoaning the lack of such stickers, I went searching for someone who could make them for me.

I poked around on the Internet and found a site called, which makes custom-printed bumper stickers at reasonable rates. I ordered some stickers saying "Don't Blame Me, I Voted For Gov. Fletcher" and got them in the same colors as the Fletcher campaign's stickers, black and gold. I had no idea what the quality would be like but figured the price was so inexpensive that it wouldn't break my bank.

I ordered the stickers on Friday, and on Monday they were in my mailbox. And they look darn nice, too!

If anyone wants to order stickers to show support for Fletcher and disdain for Beshear, I'd recommend that they take a look at and order some from them. They have all kinds of templates but I just chose a plain black sticker with gold all-caps text.

Feel free to pass this along to your readers. Maybe we can get a whole fleet of "Don't Blame Me, I Voted For Gov. Fletcher" stickers on Kentucky's roads to let people know how we feel about this joke of a governor we have now.

The reader sent along a photo of the sticker, and we agree that it looks darn nice.

We may try to investigate some sort of deal with this outfit to offer the stickers on this site as a click-through, but even if we don't do that, we recommend for your own personal anti-Beshear message.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Legislators moving forward with reining in KHSAA

It appears that both the state Board of Education and the General Assembly are looking at ways to get control of the rogue Kentucky High School Athletic Association, which insists on punishing schools that obey court orders regarding the eligibility of student-athletes.

The Herald-Leader reports today that the state board and a legislative subcommittee will be looking into the practices of the KHSAA during hearings this month.

Of course this story wouldn't be complete without some whining from KHSAA chair Brigid DeVries, who claims that it's not fair to a school playing against another school for which an athlete competes under a court order requiring the school to do so.

Well, Brigid, why can't the opposing school seek a countering court order?

It's good to see some attention called to the arbitrary and unfair nature of the KHSAA rules, which put school officials in between the sports sanctioning body and Kentucky's courts.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Say goodbye to good roads in Kentucky

Kentucky may trail the rest of the 49 states in a lot of categories, but good roads hasn't been one of them.

Until now, that is.

An initiative announced today by Gov. Beshear and his political hack of a Transportation secretary, Joe Prather, means that in the future, Kentuckians won't be seeing roads built at the quality they've come to expect.

Beshear and his hacks call it "Practical Solutions," but there's nothing practical about scaling back projects to the point where they won't meet future traffic expectations and are not much more safe or efficient than the old roads they replace.

Transportation officials deny it, but they've already been cutting projects that have been in the works for years. For instance, a stretch of KY 80 in the western part of the state has been built as a four-lane road, but the idiots running the Transportation Cabinet have decided to only pave two of the four lanes before the road opens later this year.

So much for the longstanding promise by governors of both parties to build a four-lane US 68/KY 80 corridor across the southern tier of the Commonwealth.

Another project, to build a connector route between the Mountain Parkway and I-75, disappeared from the state's Six-Year Plan this year. This highway is vital for the economic development of a depressed area, not to mention being a huge safety improvement, but now it's gone. The state is building one last section of the road on the western end, and is spending money already committed on a planning study for two other sections, but that's it. Residents of the area have pushed for this road for years, Gov. Fletcher accelerated its development, but now the Beshear Bunch is axing it.

Other safety improvements, long planned, may be going by the wayside as well.

What highways do get built won't be as good as what's been built previously. Roads planned for four lanes may instead be two-lane routes. Two-lane roads with truck passing lanes may see those passing lanes eliminated. Wide, paved shoulders will give way to gravel or dirt shoulders. Roads with gentle grades and curves that can be easily traversed at 55 or 60 miles per hour may instead be built to a standard of 45 or 35 mph -- which isn't really much of an improvement at all.

The last four years -- indeed, longer than that -- have been very good for highway improvements in Kentucky. Two years ago, the state let a record $1 billion in road construction contracts, and then that amount was topped last year. Now suddenly the state is broke and has to cancel or scale back projects? We don't buy it for a minute. Kentucky's gas tax revenues haven't declined that much due to the high prices at the pump.

Give us a break. Just how incompetent is Joe Prather and his merry band of 'tards, anyway? We understand this "Practical Solutions" nonsense is the brainchild of a recycled engineer who was in part of the "in crowd" in past administrations but had fallen out of favor in recent years, but (like many of this administration's appointees) was brought back to prove anew just how poorly they had run the state in administrations past.

We get the feeling that the state would be better off investing its highway construction project dollars and waiting for an administration that really understands this state's transportation needs, rather than wasting these valuable funds on inadequate projects that barely address current needs and don't address future needs. We're all for wise use of tax dollars, but this new initiative is penny-wise and pound-foolish, to say the least.

Every day, the Beshear administration proves its incompetence and lunacy all over again. Today's production in Frankfort is yet another example of how this entire state is suffering at the hands of this brainless bunch.

2011 can't come quickly enough.